Hole 7: The People of CYAN
One of highlights of our trip to CYAN was meeting the cool people who work there. Basically, we had the opportunity to spend the day with Rand Miller, Richard Watson, Tony Fryman, and Al Carlson. Unfortunately, several members of the Cyan team were out of town attending a graphics trade show. We missed meeting Mark DeForest but hope to see him on our next trip.
These guys were great and gave us tours of the building, met with us in meetings, and took us out for a GREAT lunch at the official CYAN food spot, "Red Robin". (Of course, we'd eaten there the night before, but we weren't about to turn down the chance to go again. Besides, Doug had never eaten at a Red Robin before this trip.) Richard and Gordon rode with Rand in his new truck and Doug and Tony traveled in Al's car. For the record, Rand made Gordon ride in the back seat while Richard, the D'ni historian, got to ride in the front. We suspect it may have been a job perk or something in his contract. Doug, on the other hand, was offered the "shotgun" seat in Al's car; probably because he is about a foot taller than Tony.
Rand's truck is really neat and has a whole bunch of electronic equipment. Without going into detail, he could have easily started the space shuttle with it. When we arrived at the restaurant, we walked in and it was like the pharaohs had just arrived at the pyramids for lunch. The service was great, the food hot and the CYAN employees spoiled rotten by the staff.
Meeting with Rand and the crew was like meeting old friends. Finally meeting Richard Watson was great because he has been active on the Riven Lyst mailing list for so long. Tony Fryman was funny and both he and Gordon were teased by everyone else because of their accents. The atmosphere at lunch was very relaxed and just hanging out with these guys was a lot of fun.
After lunch and back at Cyan, we met with Rand, Al and Richard in this conference room. This room is on the upper floor in the rear of the building, and has a great view overlooking the patio and waterfall in back. With the trees in the background, the view is breathtaking. As seen in this photo, there is a HUGE log suspended over the table with lights bored to it. It almost looks as if it had been used a battering ram in a previous age. Richard told us that when the log was originally hung, small piles of sawdust accumulated on the table from the critters that were still living inside.
Things got serious as we discussed D'ni business. This was when we were able to see their creative side. Everyone had been joking and having fun all afternoon, but they each had a serious side as well. When we discussed "RIVEN and MYST" issues, Rand and Richard were all ears. They both were sincerely interested in what we had to say and the feedback we had received from fans. As Rand explained what their explorations have revealed about D'ni, Richard just sat quietly and smiled, as if he knew more than he was able to reveal. Though they have made many of their findings public, only a small portion of what they have discovered has been released. On the other hand, in some cases information which been released which is not yet fully understood by the fans...
Before the meeting was over, we also had the opportunity to watch the new "Making of Riven" video which now appears on the DVD version of Riven. We ended the meeting, as Rand apparently had other important matters to attend to. As we were leaving the room, both of us passed by the whiteboard seen in the above picture. Because we only saw it for a split second, neither of us could make much sense of it. The diagrams appeared to contain explanations with angles and numbers. We can't say much about it, as we really don't know what it all meant.
Near the conference room, Al pointed out to us another interesting D'ni artifact. This is the original version of the map into D'ni which is included in copies of the Book of Ti'Ana, and also appears on the Cyan Web page. It was much clearer than the replications we had seen, and contained a number of details which we had never noticed before. The colors seemed more vivid, the lines sharper, and the notations were much more clear. If only everyone had such a clear copy of this map to review, we might be able to unlock some of the other secrets hidden in this map.
We were talking to each other about the details of the map when we realized that we still hadn't taken a picture of some "original artwork" in Richard Watson's work area. As seen in this photo, Richard has taken several computer disks and cut them to make Cyan "C" logos to decorate his work area. As we arrived at RAWA's desk we were surprised to also find an item which had not been there earlier in the day: a huge book. The cover looked thick, and had a strange insignia on the cover. Though we didn't dare pick it up, it looked heavy and very old. Wherever it came from, it certainly looked out of place here on the desk.
Though they weren't coming together very well, there certainly seemed to be more puzzle pieces laying around here than we realized...
Doug said, "The initial awe of being around Rand, Richard, and the rest of these people was soon replaced with a genuine feeling that they are just normal people. That may sound strange, but I think above everything else I was most impressed with their ability to make me feel comfortable around them. It was almost as if they didn't realize how much everyone looks up to them and what they've accomplished. I remember when we were first led back to Rand's office to meet him, and I was just trying to remember to not call him "Atrus". After spending the day with the Cyan team, I realize they have a key ingredient which makes them such a success: They just have fun."
Gordon commented, "The day was highlighted with meeting the CYAN staffers. Everyone was so friendly. Sitting in Rand's office was neat as I tried to mentally photograph the room. I seriously considered asking Rand if he would adopt me. Maybe even a trial adoption complete with full D'ni rights. :+)
Now the book on RAWA's desk... that was a mystery. I had seen a copy of this book on another desk. On a few occasions these books would disappear and would either be hidden or moved. I have collected old books that are over 100 years old and this one was much older. What I would have given to pick it up and read the contents. That coupled with the map on the wall….made things sort of mysterious. Again, this building may yield some more clues yet…"
All photos © 1998 - Doug McBride.
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