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Most of the mechanical items found on Riven are based on real-world items or have some mechanical logic. On the first island of Riven, there is a giant golden dome, inside of which can be found a lake and some mechanical devices on the ceiling, from which many large pipes lead to the smaller domes. Although the purpose of this device is clear to anyone who has finished the game, after solving all of the puzzles, I do not understand how it is expected to work.

  • How does the machine work? Is it a giant steam engine? Or does it function entirely through magic?
  • Does the water inside serve a purpose? Is the water exposed to any of the same repelling force as seen in the lake with the submarine?
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Yes, the golden dome is a steam engine. The device at the top generates fire marbles and the pipes send steam to work all the mechanical devices throughout the islands of Riven. I don't think anything in Myst is considered magic.

I believe all of the water in Riven exhibits repulsion from heat. But this isn't some mysterious force, it's caused by bacteria living in the water.

  • Does the large room with the lake and walkways beneath the dome have a part in this mechanism, or is all of the device inside the ceiling of the dome? Does the large room inside the dome ever become pressurized? – Village May 7 '12 at 14:39
  • I'm not sure if the large dome was intended to be pressurized, but the bottom of the dome with the lake appears to be related to steam pipes powering bridges and such. The fire marble device on the ceiling sends raw energy from the fire marbles to the five fire marble domes throughout Riven. – IngisKahn May 7 '12 at 15:32
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    The Books (and the broader non-book applications of the Art that occasionally come up) are occasionally considered to be magic. – user867 Jul 29 '15 at 1:09

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