Survey Island, also known as Spike Island, Plateu Island or Garden Island is one of the five main islands of Riven. Gehn used this island to study the deterioration of the Fifth Age. It likely also served a ceremonial role, as Gehn surrounded the island with Wahrk tusks.

The tusks, standing like grim sentinels, and the knife-like rocks that stand out, are a witness of Gehn's brutal and chaotic aspect.[1]

In the underground path, one can see Gehn's Scribe running away and mounting the maglev to the Jungle Island.


This L-shaped island has a wide plateau covered with water illuminated by lamps, and rimmed by Wahrk tusks. A path passes through a formation of spikes and a gigantic "miniature" map of the Rivenese islands. An elevator leads to another plateau 100 ft above, with an artificial lake housing the Map Room, and Fire Marble Dome connected by a catwalk. A Wahrk can be heard bumping below.

A balcony overlooks the gigantic map of the islands, and a button controls which of the island is "selected" by raising Rivenese water on its surface, forming its geophysical features.

From the plateau, one can see below the pathway, a lower level. A north-south path leads to Gehn's Survey Room.

Places of interest[]

Tram to Book Assembly Island
Located to the north of the island, it is connected to the balcony outside Gehn's Laboratory in that island. Unlike other tram stations, there are two exits in this; each exit is accessible according to where the tram is rotated.
Tram to Jungle Island
Located to the underground level, to the east shore of the island, it is connected to the "secret" station in Jungle Island, below the Wahrk idol, presumably used only by Gehn and his minions, like his Scribe.
Map Room
A metallic structure floating in the middle of the elevated lake. It has a rotting spike matrix. According to which island is selected in the panel outside, it displays parts of the island on the matrix. It an be used to locate the exact coordinates of all Fire Marble Domes.
Fire Marble Dome
Situated in the elevated lake, it is marked with the symbol of ORANGE. It houses a linking book to Age 233. The kinetoscope across the catwalks has been bent by a Wahrk.
Accessible by the corridor of the other side of the tram station, it is located in a pentagon-shaped chamber, passes through an elevation of Rivese water, and leads to the underground corridor leading to the Jungle Island tram or the Survey Room.
Gehn's Survey Room
An underwater observatory room. Stairs lead up to a throne where Gehn can sit and spy on other places around Riven. This room is mentioned in Gehn's journal. The right-hand gadget has 6 buttons marked with the D'ni color symbols. Rotating the dial and pressing a button, lights an underground bulb of the corresponding color. The purple light (corresponding to Book Assembly Island) is out, while the red light summons a Wahrk. The purpose of this gadget for Gehn is unknown, although it probably has to do with feeding the Wahrk (and The Stranger learns the D'ni color symbols).
The left-hand gadget has two functions. The one function is to rotate the dial and control the periscope in the Village Lake of the Jungle Island. From there one can see the cave formation that makes the outline of a Rivenese fish, and its wooden eye symbol. The other function of the gadget is to spy on Catherine's cell in Prison Island.


Notes & trivia[]

  • Initially there was a "Garden Island" with pentagonal English gardens, but while surveying the designed maps, the team decided not only that there would be nothing there to do[2] but also that it wasn't consistent with Gehn's brutal character, so the garden was replaced by the miniature map room[3] (previously there would be an underground map somewhere in Temple Island)[4]
  • Originally there was a closet with chemicals, serving the role of revealing to the player the D'ni color symbols. Richard Vander Wende enriched that concept by creating Gehn's throne room, with baroque/Victorian fixtures, to demonstrate how the scenery can reveal much about the character's personality and megalomania. This persuaded the team to redesign much of what they already thought, in order to integrate the story into the scenery.[5]
  • The animation of the elevator inludes a mix of several sound effects including whirring gears, shutting metal doors, dripping water, and some filters to simulate the echoes of the enclosed environment.[6] Tim Larkin based it on the rattle of San Francisco cable cars.[7]


  1. From Myst to Riven, p. 84
  2. From Myst to Riven, p. 39
  3. From Myst to Riven, p. 44
  4. From Myst to Riven, p. 37
  5. From Myst to Riven, pp. 41-42
  6. From Myst to Riven, p. 100
  7. From Myst to Riven, p. 103