IFComp 2015: Ether   1 comment

By Mathbrush. Played on computer using Gargoyle. Finished without hints or walkthrough.


“Well,” I thought, booting up the game, “if nothing else this will be the first game ever made where you play as a magical flying nautilus.”

It contains a list of items and requirements to travel to your next world. As you continue to read, you realize with surprise that you will not just be travelling to the next world.

You will be creating it.

The main novelty is the world is entirely open on a three-dimensional grid, where the edges invoke different opposites (windy/calm, for instance). Puzzles generally involve floating to particular objects and maneuvering them to a particular environment.

The chunk of red ice bobs upward. It now lies far to the north and far below you.

A lot of work was put into the directions and the fact objects float about, but in practice I found myself typing >GO TO OBJECT a bunch and eventually I was there. I imagine the author spent months getting to code to work correctly to get to the point where it could mostly be ignored by the players (which is both good and sad at the same time).

Unfortunately, the puzzle simplicity also meant I just randomly wandered after grabbing an object until something happened. The player gets “special abilities” but they never get used in any combinatoric way that requires puzzlement; it’s pretty easy to just blast through without thinking.

I still can’t be too hard on a game for being easy, and while the ending payoff is not as powerful as it could be the plot is pleasant enough and the sort of thing that only could work correctly in interactive form.

Some major spoilers on the ending after the shell…

shell

[Image by Caitlin McCormick. Creative Commons attribution license.]


S
E
R
I
O
U
S
.
.

S
P
O
I
L
E
R
S

…so I gather the main character has created “Earth” so the last scene occurs after a very, very long life. I was disappointed that nothing could be done with the bathysphere in the way of communication or violence or peace. For me this mute hanging scene led to something awkward instead of what should have been epic.

Perhaps I’m missing some syntax, though? Should something have happened in that scene?

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Posted October 27, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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One response to “IFComp 2015: Ether

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  1. Pingback: IFComp 2015 Summary | Renga in Blue

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