The post-comp release of Alias ‘The Magpie’ is now available to download or play at IFDB. Minor spoilers ahead.
I’ve focused on improving the game in two main areas. Firstly, near the beginning of the game, I have made it possible to summon the butler to the drawing room whilst he is setting the table for dinner. You can now not only summon him to bring the tray, but again to converse with him once he has brought it. He returns to the dining room if you break off conversation or leave the drawing room. Several people thought that they had made the game unwinnable because they couldn’t summon Hives whilst he was laying the table. They hadn’t, but I thought it best to eliminate the issue altogether.
Secondly, I have improved the description of the cucumber frame, making it clear that it is a large wooden box with a lid made of glass. The weather in Britain is not really suitable for growing cucumbers, hence the need for these small greenhouses. Being British, and a bit naive, I assumed that everyone would know what a cucumber frame was! I have also massively broadened the range of syntax for the puzzles involved in getting into the cucumber frame, as well as providing helpful responses for a wide range of incorrect, but reasonable actions. A lot of work has gone into improving this puzzle, and I am indebted to Martin Höfler and Jack Welch, who both volunteered annotated transcripts during the competition.
In addition I have:
- Added implicit taking for several common actions which require the player to be carrying something, but which is not carried.
- Added implicitly dropping the ladder when CLIMB LADDER is used in the correct locations. Improved the syntax around climbing generally.
- Better clueing on the correct command used to operate the soda syphon.
- Created better custom hints for several puzzles that were causing difficulty.
- Inserted in-game hints for two of the more obscure puzzles into the text of the murder mysteries in the library.
- Added implicit removal of a worn disguise when the player attempts to wear another disguise.
- Broadened the range of accepted syntax for numerous actions.
- Broadened the character conversation across all characters, particularly the servants.
- Added LOOK BEHIND as a synonym for LOOK UNDER.
- Added noun synonyms for dozens of items.
- Numerous small bug fixes.