IFComp 2015: Untold Riches   2 comments

By Jason Ermer. Finished with one hint.


You’ll need to find the professor’s map to help you narrow down your search. Otherwise, you could dig a hundred holes without any success.

It would be like that time you dug for weeks in the Valley of the Benevolent Spirits, only to realize the professor had mistranslated the runes and you should have been digging in the Valley of the Bloodthirsty Spirits, just over the ridge, the whole time.

You seem to be the teenage assistant to some Indiana Jones-type treasure hunter … er, I mean “archaeologist” … and a lifeboat incident has left you alone on an island with a map.

This was a fairly short parser game and took me about 15 minutes to play to completion. It’s good if you’re looking for a snack-sized game and is appropriate for kids.

I enjoyed how the writing interspersed details of past adventures of the professor, giving ordinary actions some vivacity and color.

> get tub
The professor once dangled you by your feet over the La Brea tar pits so that you could pull out a crate filled with twenty-eight pounds of stolen diamonds. You got it just moments before it sank forever into the sea of sticky, black gloop. The grease in the tub looks just like that tar, which you were cleaning out from under your fingernails for weeks.

Anyhow, you pick up the tub of grease.

The puzzles are all straightforward and reasonable, although I did need to use the hints once for what turned out to be a parser issue.

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> x map
The sheet of yellowing parchment shows the outline of an island, hand-drawn in black ink. Most of the terrain is just sketched in, but the northwest region is mapped out in great detail and shows some unusual red symbols.

I had a shovel to dig for treasure, but the game says I need to study the map to find where to dig. I tried various failed attempts like >STUDY MAP, but it turns out the proper thing to do is >X SYMBOLS.

This is a “second-order object” — an object that can be examined in another object. While this sort of thing is technically fair it is not a default ability in IF and needs to be hinted at a little more pointedly than Untold Riches did that it’s possible to do. (Alternately, it could just accept STUDY and assorted variants as doing the same thing as examining the symbols.)

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Posted November 14, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “IFComp 2015: Untold Riches

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  1. I remember my first instinct was the unsuccessful “x northwest”, but yeah, I’m surprised “study” isn’t a synonym in that context. If it actually says “study the map” or something verbatim, that’s probably part of the issue, I guess? I mean, absent that, the player would most likely stick to examining.

  2. Pingback: IFComp 2015 Summary | Renga in Blue

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