[beta] Tree and Star, v. 2

I’m calling this release a “public beta.” There’s no sense in having a private beta, since the game was already released, but I figure I should still call it a beta, since it has never been tested. I do hope to release a fully tested and competent version, but since it took me this long just to produce a debugged beta, all bets are off as to when to expect a non-beta release. :wink:

I will appreciate any feedback, but I might not be looking at it very closely for a while, since I’m working on a different Hugo game for the Hugo Comp right now.

Here’s the zip archive containing the Hugo game file and resource file:
dl.dropbox.com/u/101625269/Tree … icbeta.zip

Thank you. And happy Thanksgiving, fellow Americans.

Doing a little survey of 2012 games I’ve missed playing before XYZZY time rolls around, and I’m stuck in this one. I’ve gotten through the first scene, but now:

[spoiler]I’m in the data center looking at some encrypted text that is obviously A Big Clue; I’m not allowed to leave the room until I finish dealing with it. But I’m not sure what vocabulary to use to do that. Here’s what my attempts look like so far:

x text
The strings of text form small combinations of letters and symbols, none
more than several characters long. It looks like an encrypted document,
or one being viewed with the wrong encoding scheme.

decrypt text
You don’t need to use the word “decrypt.”

encrypt text
That doesn’t make any sense.

use password
You don’t need to use the word “password.”

read text
The strings of text form small combinations of letters and symbols, none
more than several characters long. It looks like an encrypted document,
or one being viewed with the wrong encoding scheme.

translate text
You don’t need to use the word “translate.”

debug text
You’ve been doing enough of that, lately.


The Data Center
The walls of this large room are composed of metal brackets to hold
the assortment of terminals and screens. The automatic door opens
between the girders in the fore wall.
The terminal at which you have been working displays strange,
somewhat-garbled text.

You are carrying your datapad.

read datapad
You can’t do that with the datapad.

look up text in datapad
You haven’t encountered any “up text”. (If you’re sure you need to refer
to that, try putting it another way.)

turn on datapad
You can’t do that with the datapad.

use datapad
Be a little more specific about what you’d like to do with the datapad.[/spoiler]

Try ‘get document’.

Actually I should say, type in that command secure in the knowledge that it will allow you to continue.

  • Wade

Well, we have a winner! Nick Turner, known as the “heartless zombie” occasionally sighted on this forum, sent me the first transcript of a winning playthrough of “Tree and Star,” coming to one of the two proper endings rather than the consolation ending. The fact that more players have not gotten one of the better endings is fully my fault and not the players’; however, Nick’s persistence and general IF savviness allowed him to defeat even the meta-puzzles of bugs and bad design! :smiley:

I’m sorry that I missed Emily’s question. Thanks for answering it, Wade.

I actually got through to the end.

ONly to be stuck on a hideous guess the verb at the very very last. “Tell story” should really be a recognised command… or, in the vein of the game’s previous design, “talk to crowd”.

I don’t think I’ve seen that ending, Peter. I used UNDO so I can’t say I’ve beaten the game.

That’s the other ending that I consider to be complete and satisfactory, different from the one Nick got. So, both successful endings are now accounted for. Thanks and congratulations, both of you!

Oh. I wonder where the split was.

Although I can imagine it was probably in that place where an obvious choice had to be made.

I feel the need to apologize for never having released my proposed revamped update. Authors should demonstrate more care about their own works than I have, even authors who don’t consider themselves remotely professional. (I know that no one is literally professional here, so interpret “professional” as “serious amateur” in IF context.)

People sent me transcripts to help me fix bugs and improve the design and writing. I’ve gone through the transcripts and fixed the small things. But there’s a lot of things I haven’t fixed. I feel bad because the handful and players and betatesters have shown more enthusiasm for the project than I have felt or demonstrated. I owe you guys more.

I decided to post this today because I’m just beginning to figure out how I can make the activity of hacking the main game mechanic. After my general conceptual thoughts about the mechanic, I was struck by the realization that I should have been working on this like 10 months ago!

These excuses are not good ones:

  • In some places, the hastily-written text in the game suggests that there is a whole fleet of ships. I was uncertain about that when I was writing. Now that I’m mostly certain that there could have only been one ship at the time when the story takes place, I’m struggling to figure out the details.
  • I half transitioned from Windows XP to Kubuntu Linux. I haven’t yet been successful in figuring out a workable solution for developing Hugo projects on Linux, and my knowledge of Linux is still limited. I can’t even get any of the Linux text editors to show syntax highlighting for any language that doesn’t come built-in, even when I have the highlighter definition file. The salvaged desktop that I installed Linux on takes up most of my desk space, seriously limiting my productivity.
  • I don’t know how to write a relationship, and I’m terrified of trying.
  • I have a couple other hobbyist projects competing for my attention.
  • It’s really hard to navigate through my long, messy source file.

I badly hope that I get this done some day, but I will not deceive myself or anyone who may read this post by implying that success is very probable.

Untrue, by any definition of ‘professional’. (But I get your point; we have some pretty high standards for ‘amateur’ around here.)

Well, on the plus side, if you do ever finish your work on it, the game will be fresh even to people who played it before!

  • Wade

I think I’ll keep updating this thread to discuss conceptual ideas and development goals, since I think it’s good for developers/writers to share inspiration. Expect anything else I post to potentially contain slight spoilers for this game, but if I post any explicit spoilers, I’ll tag them.

From the beginning, I’ve been trying to make the technology have a near-future feel to it, despite the fact that the setting is extremely far-future. I’m trying to extrapolate the trends toward apps and cloud computing.

I’m assuming that there’s a vaguely UNIX-esque operating system at the core of every terminal and datapad on the Godspeed, but even the command-line system at its most fundamental level is based entirely on the concept of the cloud. The OS has very little concept of individual servers, or even of the individual terminal. The ship’s cloud system is not sentient or aware, but it is thoroughly integrated into almost everything that runs on electricity. Almost everything can be controlled or at least accessed by a good enough hacker. That’s why Rood’s job as a system tech is so important. I’m going to try to revamp the initial plot hook to utilize the nature of the cloud (it’s mentioned in the original, but I didn’t know where I was going with it).

The datapad is the player’s main toy. It’s kind of like a modern tablet, but of course it was really inspired from the e-pad in Andromeda Awakening. Rood’s datapad is not a scholar’s computer like Ektor’s e-pad, though. Instead, it’s a rugged hacker’s tool. The handgrips on either side of the narrow screen should be enough to let anyone know that the device was not made by Apple. In the new version of the game, I think I’m going to mention that the clear screen is made of virtually unbreakable crystal. The handgrips contain the “USB” ports as well as the “wifi” interface. Mounts unfold from the back of the handgrips, allowing it to be firmly attached to a terminal port or a wall bracket, for dedicated hacking.


I would really love to interact with some sci-fi gimmick. A hacker tool that can do many things when connected to something o via the cloud.

I NEED rood to be a geek of epic proportions, the Morpheus of Andromeda. :slight_smile: