August by Matt Fendahleen -- opening text and more

When I start Matt Fendahleen’s “August,” some text seems to flash up on the screen that I can’t see before I get to the pre-title text. Does anyone know what that is?

Also, I hear rumors of a walkthrough that discloses multiple endings; does anyone have access to it? I’ve only been able to get one ending, and that only via a bug (I leave the dance hall and return, and a conversation resumes as if I’d never left).

Any ideas about what’s going on would also be appreciated.

I think the people who are drinking green wine are all dead and those with red wine are still alive, but that’s about all I got.

It’s not the best implemented game, for sure. Which is a shame, because it’s long been one of my favourites.

All the opening text that I get is below (enclosed in spoiler tags to save space):

[spoiler]The crags of Panhelios still haunt your waking. The thin scream of the wind rushing in your ears. The pale, rocky spires like petrified talons clawing at the sky. The impossible vastness of the canyons. The heat. And the distance. Especially the distance.

Manfred isn’t breathing. He isn’t breathing. He died in your arms as you tried pathetically to staunch the flow of blood from his side. And she, she watches from a distance, stalking back and forth like a hunting cat. Her hair is a bloody halo against the wind. Her every movement is a naked threat.

A few moments ago, the world made sense.

“Maybe you should just surrender, Ikthanadar.” she calls out to you, lips twitching in inhuman amusement.
You do not reply. You just kneel there, staring at nothing, cradling your comerade’s head in your bloodied hands as her soft, lilting voice sings you its fatal lullaby, and…

You tried so hard.

The woman sighs. “Perhaps I should be more specific.” she says, gathering up the child and shoving her roughly into the arms of a black-armored attendant. “Surrender now, or the girl dies. Slowly.” Heat and horror. Revulsion.


By Matt Fendahleen


“Begging your pardon, milord?”

You blink, glance around you. The doorkeeper gazes at you with a sort of… sympathetic absence of concern. Quite a feat.
“Nothing.” you tell him. “I was just…” you shake your head. “Nothing.”

The man raises an eyebrow. “I’ll just be announcing you then, so I shall.” he gives you a tight smile. “And welcome to Luna Plina, Lord.”[/spoiler]
Unless you think there’s more you should be getting? (What 'terp are you using?)

In terms of finishing the thing, I have done in the past, and I think the multiple endings are obvious once you get to the end (you’re offered a choice), but it’s been too long to remember how you get there.

Okay, trying to replay it… it’s annoying that none of the party-goers appear in the room description. Here’s how to get to the meat of the game:

From what I can tell, you basically need to hang around for 42 turns, and then, after hanging around a bit longer, you’ll finally get to make some meaningful interactions.

Thanks – there’s a window at the top of the screen that blanks out the first two paragraphs in Zoom. I think it might be there to cover the status bar at the beginning.

…oh hey, the description of the Long Hall gets the exits backward. That accounts for some of my confusion in the endgame.

So this is what tends to happen:

I’ve got to the 42-turn point, and I’m dancing with whatsername, and I’ve run out of things to say to her (“talk to [her]” yields a blank response, as I think it always does). Then I exit to the long hall. Then I return west, and go east again, and that triggers the ending I think I should’ve got when I exited. I’m not sure what the choice was supposed to be. Am I offered it if I go east instead of exiting?

UPDATE: Oh, and the partygoers I found to talk to were

The Prince and Orlock, Cathbad (who had many topics of conversation – “Fendahleen put you up to that, the bastard!”) – and Felicity, when she came (she ignored me until a cutscene).

Man, I feel so bad-ass right now. I can’t solve even the simplest puzzles, but I’ve never had the same problems with conversation games that other players seem to, even unprompted ask/tell games like August.

So playing it through again and trying to figure out where the triggers are, I’m not sure that it isn’t possible to get it into an unwinnable state if you ask about topics in the wrong order. Certainly, the first time I played it just now I completed it easily, but rearranging the ASK ABOUT commands, I seem to get stuck. (Basically, I suspect that there’s a condition set by a topic if another condition is true, but if you use that topic early, you can’t trigger it a second time and the condition will never be set.)

So, assuming that I’m right, in general you need to steer your conversation in these general terms to progress:

First talk to Bloodwyn about herself.
Then talk to her about recent events.
Finally talk to her about an abstract topic that presents itself.

So a minimal walkthrough for the conversation is:

[spoiler]>ask bloodwyn about herself

ask bloodwyn about rosalyn
ask bloodwyn about rosalyn
ask bloodwyn about rage
ask bloodwyn about rage[/spoiler]
Although, of course, players should ask about plenty of other topics if they want to find out what’s going on and get the best sense of the characters’ feelings.

A meta-spoiler on my walkthrough:

There are different paths through the conversation, especially topics which become synonymous or separate out from one another, or change the contents of subsequent topics. The last two commands above can also incorporate the topic “fear” (synonym “hurt”), for example by asking about rage and then fear - but I think the second rage response is the most interesting, and so was the one I included above.

And it seems that the multiple-endings are hit by a glitch as well, so if you want the bad ending first:

After the major reveal, say BLOODWYN, FAREWELL immediately. Twice. Although she’s mentioned in the next room, and it’s clearly implied that you should be able to leave her there, her object isn’t actually moved with you, so the farewell command won’t work.

And for the good ending:

After the major reveal, go EAST twice.

And I suppose you can mix them up a bit like so:


And you can also throw in >KISS BLOODWYN at the end as well, at least before you move to the room where she’s supposed to be present but isn’t implemented.
So, yeah, it’s a game that’s pretty thoroughly broken in some major ways, but I still love it to bits.


Another ending, the one I think you may have already found (the really bad ending, I’d say):

[spoiler]During the dance:


Yup, it’s the really bad ending that I got, and I did screw up the conversation by asking wossname about something in the wrong order – it redirected to “ask wossname about that,” which was confusing. I’m glad to see that there’s a major reveal that I’ve missed, because everything I read about the game suggested that you discover what’s going on all at once and then the game ends, and that was not what happened for me.

Conversation systems really kick my ass sometimes. Had to hit the walkthrough for every single topic in Losing Your Grip (well, I also had to hit the walkthrough for everything else in Losing Your Grip before I discovered that I had made my save file unwinnable).

I played August fairly recently. I would say the main puzzle is discovering the conversation topics. It took me a long time and a lot of fruitless guessing, but I eventually did stumble upon the right ones. Although the puzzle is simple and possibly unfair by many players’ standards, solving actually does characterize the main NPC very well, and arriving at the best ending, revealing the not-so-secret gimmick of the story, really is satisfying.