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Re: What powers the spinning door?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:55 am
by Magic88889
Now you see, that brings up another question: do the islands keep moving apart? So much of what we see would seem to indicate that the islands are at that point relatively stable, likely because of Atrus' attempts to stabilize things.

I've always thought that the splitting of the islands was sudden and happened quickly, rather than the result of some gradual process.

Re: What powers the spinning door?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:22 am
by Twitch
Didn't it happen over a period of 30 years? I was under the impression that the point of the maglev was that tracks could be added as needed, and the metal was flexible enough to deal with the stresses.

Re: What powers the spinning door?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:55 am
by Magic88889
I don't remember there being a timeframe, but 30 years is Very sudden geologically.

I suppose you have a point about the maglev, I never thought about it that way. However, that doesn't explain the bridges, or the connecting conduits between generator island and the rest. Plus, didn't that minecar take you from one island to another? I seem to remember at the very least going underwater during that ride.

And again, I believe geothermal requires there to be a vent in a specific location. If the islands were unstable as to be still moving, I'm not sure how Gehn could get stable power like that.

Re: What powers the spinning door?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:11 pm
by Twitch
The degradation of Riven isn't geological in nature. Without knowing the contradictions that Gehn introduced to the age, we'll likely never know the specifics of Riven's collapse. A few things don't really make sense if we consider the islands moving in a geological way, such as the seemingly stationary steam vents, and more importantly: the nature of the fissure. If the islands were being forced apart by Writing-induced geographic forces, then the first fissure should have opened on the ocean floor instead of on one of the islands, several hundred feet above the elevation where the islands are anchored.

Regarding the minecart, I have a theory about that based on two factors:
-People never ride it, so it doesn't need to be nearly as reliable as a maglev
-It goes underwater for some unknown reason, and then comes back up (presumably under some sort of power, since inertia doesn't work that way)

What I believe is that the second half of the track is anchored to the sea floor, close enough to boiler island to be moving at the same speed of the island. The underwater section could be floating on some sort of inflatable assembly that floats on the bottom surface of the water-tunnel (which is generated by the track-mounted heat rings.) Such an assembly would essentially be weightless; the track would be generating it's own tunnel and then floating on the water, which is basically a fancy way to get the weird water-bacteria to support the track for you. Because of this, as boiler island drifts away, it would slowly pull the track tighter, which would slowly straigten out the dip in the track like a slack piece of rope. Eventually, more track would have to be added, but not until the track was lifted far enough upwards to be lifted out of the water.
Just about the only pathway that I can't explain is the wooden walkway that goes to the superdome, but it's possible that it's just so cheap to repair that he never saw the point in investing in another maglev.

When I get home I'll draw up a diagram to explain the minecart theory, and also double check the actual cart video to see if I can find any structural clues... but again, the fact that the fissure didn't open on one of the faultlines between islands indicates that whatever is happening doesn't follow geological rules.

Re: What powers the spinning door?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:19 pm
by Graizur
The kind of power it takes to make one of Gehn's linking book function are probably considerably more than what it takes to move large objects in Riven. Big heavy things are spinning all over Riven, from the Starting Island's gate room to spinning domes.


Re: What powers the spinning door?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:56 pm
by Ainia
Looking at the fissure across Myst, Riven and into Uru, my own belief is that the fissure is a separate phenomenon from the Riven instabilities. Particularly since the fissure just "happens" to drop us at the front door of the cavern, is hospitable to human life and transports objects across Ages/dimensions/universes (the Myst book from Riven to the Cleft on Terra), it seems to be a far more sophisticated and powerful Age link than the D'ni Books.

Considering what we know of the Bahro and their history of enslavement to the D'ni, the fact that they remained enslaved even after their overlords' civilization collapsed, that they have a number of inter-Age outposts in the midst of the stars, that they can link at will without being encumbered by Books, that they do not seem to be encumbered by the constraints of string theory... well, my vote is that the fissure was created by them. To what purpose is a separate mystery. At whose behest, or of their own will... intriguing questions! All we can say is that it wasn't at the will of Gehn or Atrus (since they both were puzzled by its existence).

Anyway, it would make sense to me that the Riven island movement was geologically driven. :)

Re: What powers the spinning door?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:40 pm
by Twitch
Well, first my findings with the minecart:
The minecrart, which goes from village to boiler, is the longest of any of the inter-island passages. My whole floating idea is clearly wrong, because upon closer inspection there are obvious cement pillars anchoring it to the sea floor, and it winds around the way it does simply to avoid rocks.
However, there is a section in the middle of the underwater ride where the sea floor is not visible, as if there is a huge canyon there. There are also no pillars in this canyon. It looks like the only spot in the game where we can SEE the separation in progress.
What's odd is that the rest of the ocean floor is not a similar canyon; if Riven was one island which broke apart, then why would the sea be shallow around the islands, and then have a large and deep chasm right between the islands?

I think some of these inconsistencies are caused by Atrus trying to fix the island. It would make sense, and here's why:
Gehn is known to ignore details which he deems irrelevant, so it is likely he wouldn't have been verbose about the underground geology of the age. He did the exact same thing with age 37.
So if Gehn introduced a contradiction that implied the islands should drift apart, they wouldn't be able to do it naturally, so the force of the Art would be driving it (at a very fast rate, apparently.) Once Atrus started fixing the age, all he would have to do is define things like subterranean mechanics and tectonic drift, which would therefore slow the expansion of the islands down to what would be possible following natural rules. So when Riven was pure Gehn, the space between the islands wasn't geologic; it was just large swaths of immensely deep ocean because he didn't put the laws in place to account for the drift. In comes Atrus, and suddenly the ocean floor is defined, filling in all the gaps between the island. The chasm we can see underwater is the result of thirty years of regular plate tectonics pulling the islands apart and forming a regular old faultline. (Very fast plate tectonics, yes, but remember that they are being forced to occur by the contradictions) In fact, it's possible that Boiler and Temple islands weren't even drifting apart anymore after Atrus introduced these changes, allowing the construction of a regular wooden bridge.

As far as the position of the fissure; The fissures we see always form at link-in points, and drop you at a link-out point. This makes sense: places where links occur are probably the most stressed areas in the expanse; why WOULDN'T it drop all of the debris it collects right on top of where D'ni is buried, the epicenter of all linking? No doubt the Bahro can influence them to some extent, but I doubt they had anything to do with the one that occurred in Riven; it forms at the link point of a poorly-written world, and everything that goes into it lands on top of where it was linked in from. Heck, when the Riven cleft first formed, the Grower wasn't even born yet, and Releeshahn hadn't been started. Why would the Bahro put that fissure there, then?

Re: What powers the spinning door?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:47 am
by KathAveara
Twitch wrote:The chasm we can see underwater is the result of thirty years of regular plate tectonics pulling the islands apart and forming a regular old faultline. (Very fast plate tectonics, yes, but remember that they are being forced to occur by the contradictions)

I'd be inclined to agree, here, but chasms on Earth are created by subduction (plates coliding), rather than spreading, which creates ridges. Admittedly, I don't know exactly what would happen if you sped things up, but I'd advise caution in ascribing this trench to tectonic activity.

Incidentally, do you have a picture of this chasm?

Re: What powers the spinning door?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:29 am
by Twitch
Its impossible to get a good photo of it, because of how distorted everything is when viewed through the water. Take the trip yourself from village to boiler and watch the ocean floor; you'll see it.

Re: What powers the spinning door?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:19 pm
by Ainia
Here are a couple of relevant snips to the discussion (emphasis added).

The only scientific explanation I have found thus far about the Riven instabilities; it's anyone's guess how tainted this might be with Wingrovisms:

[Reveal] Spoiler: Excerpt From Rand and Robyn Miller with David Wingrove, The Myst Reader
He had built ten such Ages in the past few weeks. Two for each experiment. In this and one other he was testing whether the changes he sought to make in the orbital system of Age Five would have the desired effects, while in others he was experimenting with the structure of the tectonic plates beneath the planet’s crust, the type and strength of the oceanic currents, fluctuations in gravitational fields, and the composition of the crust itself.

What he had done, here and elsewhere, was to recreate the same underlying structures that he had found in the Age Five book, only incorporating specific minor alterations—additions mainly—to the way the thing was phrased. If that new phrasing was correct, then this Age was now stable. And if this was stable, then so would Age Five be once he had written the changes into the book.”

Looking about him, he jotted down his observations, then, closing the journal, slipped it into his knapsack.

Thus far his tests had proved one thing conclusively. Age Five was doomed. It would degenerate and be destroyed within a generation, unless he made these vital, telling changes to the book.

Lifting his glasses, he blinked, then rubbed at his eyes. He was tired, more tired than he’d been in years, yet he could not let up now. It was only ten days until the ceremony, and everything—everything—had to be ready for that time.

Pulling his glasses back down, Atrus waited. The moon would be rising soon, and then he’d know.

If he was right, Gehn had placed Age Five’s single moon well inside the synchronous orbital distance from the planet. This had the effect of increasing the planet’s tides dramatically, and, ultimately, would result in the moon being dragged into ever-lower orbits until it would finally smash into the planet’s surface. That final catastrophe would take many lifetimes, but long before that happened, the great tides generated by the moon’s ever closer orbit would destroy the island, smashing it into the surrounding sea.

He needed to push Age Five’s moon back into a stable, synchronous orbit: one where its rotation rate would be equivalent to the planet’s. What complicated the task was that he would have to achieve this in a manner that could not be directly observed.

RAWA's commentary about the Riven events and fissure:

[Reveal] Spoiler: RAWA, 1997
From: Richard A. Watson
To: The Riven Lyst
Subject: Re: Ages: created or bridged?
Date: Wednesday, September 17, 1997

I have a question about some of Atrus’s observations in BoA. Gehn tells him that the books actually create the ages, thus giving Gehn the excuse to act like a GOD once he gets there. And why not? If he actually did create the world, then this is a GOD-like act... (even if this would be considered breaking rule #1 of the D’ni Guild writers).

BUT, Atrus comes to the conclusion that the books don’t create the Ages; they act as a bridge to an infinite number of pre-existing worlds--and I believe that in BoT, this idea is the one they support as well....

The D’ni histories indicate that the D’ni did not believe that they were creating the Ages they linked to. They seemed to understand that the Ages already existed, and that they were merely creating the _links_to these Ages. This is Atrus’ view as well.

Gehn, on the other hand, wants to control the Ages he has made, and uses the power of the Books to intimidate the inhabitants of those worlds. He believes he has the power to create, and therefore the right to do what he wishes with the Ages (and the inhabitants).

So, my question is this: if Atrus is right, then how is it possible for Catherine and Anna to rewrite Riven while Gehn and Atrus are there and then all the changes they wrote alters the Age?

This is the most complicated and confusing aspect of The Art.

In order to gain a deeper knowledge of the workings of the Books, we’ll need a working knowledge of quantum mechanics.


Many of the interpretations of quantum theory say that until a state of matter is observed, it exists in many states simultaneously - it creates a bizarre “probability wave” that contains all of the possible states of that matter. Therefore, as was proposed in Schrodinger’s famous cat analogy, bizarre things happen on the quantum level that allow things like Schrodinger’s cat to be both alive and dead at the same time, until one of the states is observed, locking it in a single state, and collapsing the “probability wave.”

What the D’ni seem to have concluded (proved?), is that those waves don’t actually cease to exist altogether, instead each possibility continues to exist in an alternate quantum reality (read “parallel universe”), until a state is observed in that quantum reality, and the possibilities not observed in that quantum reality continue to exist in still another, and so on ad infinitum. This makes the universe infinitely complex, with every possible quantum combination since the creation of the universe existing in a quantum reality somewhere (even the “unstable Ages”). The Books somehow allow observation of (thus the locking of) and travel to those quantum realities.

So, you can make “unobserved” changes (probabilities that haven’t been locked down by description in the Book, or by physical observation in the Age itself) without forcing the Book to link to a new quantum reality.

This is why being careful of contradictions is so important. The problem with contradictions is that the Book attempts to link to a quantum reality that matches a contradictory description, and the closest thing it can find is usually fairly unstable.

I could write for days and still not do this subject justice, but that’s the best I can do right now. Hope it helps explain it a bit.

Oh, and I see that hand in the back.

“What about the changes to Riven? You still haven’t answered that.”

The changes made to Riven near the end of the Book of Atrus (pg 268 in the hardcover edition), were a collaboration between Anna and Catherine. Anna’s main contribution was probably keeping the Book free of contradictions. Catherine’s intuitive (but D’ni rule-breaking) style was so bizarre that earlier Atrus had claimed that her Books wouldn’t even work - yet they did.

The daggers which mysteriously appeared around the island, and the lava filled fissures were made possible by her odd style - which I cannot explain. And although Catherine and Anna intended for the lava filled fissures as part of their plan to rescue Atrus while still leaving Gehn trapped in his Fifth Age, the Star Filled Fissure was not intentional or anticipated.

To me, it remains the most mysterious object in all the D’ni histories.


CYAN - Richard A. Watson

[If you’re interested in further study of quantum physics, my two favorite books on the subject are: “In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat” by John Bribbin, and “Quantum Physics” by Nick Herbert.]

Re: What powers the spinning door?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:50 pm
by Twitch
I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that the fissure opened during a solar eclipse.

Re: What powers the spinning door?

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:18 am
by Twitch
I ran the scenario by a friend of mine, and he had a thought:

Riven may have formed on top of a sunken caldera over an empty magma chamber. Tidal forces caused by the problematic moon may have increased the volanism in the area to reinflate the magma chamber, which would cause a rising expansion of the ocean floor where Riven was mounted, which would also cause the islands to break apart. (Think of it like you're pushing a bowl downwards to flatten it out; it would spread out like a flower and be forced into many pieces) This would cause the steam vents to stay where they were before, since the actual vent would be moving atop the magma chamber. Atrus fixing the moon would slow down the magma chamber's expansion, and likewise slow down the speed that the islands are spreading.

Re: What powers the spinning door?

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:58 am
by Magic88889
You should have a look at Map Island again. Particularly the view from up high where you can activate the island formation water thing. You see there is a HUGE canyon running right between everything. It's also the walkway you use to get there, but I believe it is still an accurate representation of the Age.

It looks to me like we have two potential problems here:

From what we know of the Art, there is a chaotic element to it. Essentially you describe the age, and then you randomly connect to one of a infinite number of Ages that match your description. So there would be actual rules in place, just not ones Gehn wrote in. The only real problem with this is that you never know what your going to get. So you could get paradise, or a link to the center of a star, and anything in between.

Ghen's have more to do with the contradictions that n put into his ages. Like he said the sky was both blue and green, but on a more basic level than that. This causes instability in the age, and, eventually, causes the Age to "die". How, exactly, that happens is never explained, but I'm certain it has something do to with quantum mechanics and is WAY over my head.

Personally, I think that the issues Atrus was correcting were more of the first problem than the second problem. You can't remove things from an age without contradicting "observed" things, which would shift the link, and Atrus would lose everything. No, I'm rather more inclined to believe that the changes that Atrus makess to Riven were more fundamental changes to correct some of the omissions that Gehn made. Because the Age could become completely inhospitable without the age dying.

Things like the Star Fissure seem to be something more related to the second problem. And like I said, I have know clue what the results of those would be.

Also remember, the laws of nature on Riven may not be exactly what we're familiar with. While I HATE this hand-waving type of explanation, Riven IS a different universe, and if we've learned anything from Catherine's writing, it's that Ages don't always have to follow the same rules.