Hard at work on Meriwether, the team was debating how to include a spyglass (i.e. a little handheld telescope) among the various tools Lewis will have at his disposal. From a gameplay perspective, a spyglass seemed like a cool addition: you could use it to scout ahead and find otherwise hidden parts of the landscape. As we started experimenting with it, however, it became clear that the spyglass would be most useful in the game if you could set it to different levels of magnification: far, farther, and really far. But then Josh asked the question, "Do spyglasses of the period really work that way? Did they have different levels of magnification?"
It was actually two different questions: 1) do spyglasses in general work that way? and 2) did spyglasses of the time work that way? To answer both completely, we'd have to get our hands on a period spyglass—not the easiest thing in the world to do.
Enter Rebecca Mir. You might remember Rebecca from her appearance on our "Meri-thon" at the end of our Kickstarter campaign. Rebecca works as an Educator at the New-York Historical Society, which Josh had visited in the past to research The Lewis and Clark Expedition. So Josh contacted Rebecca and asked her our spyglass questions.
We knew we could count on Rebecca to provide us great information, but she went much, much farther. She invited the team to see the New-York Historical Society’s collection of spyglasses, as well as other Lewis and Clark artifacts in the museum's holdings.