(Surprised there isn’t a thread about this already!)

Anyway, I’m stuck. Successively spoilery content:

I have all four treasures, am sure of where the finish line is, and am ready to go there, but:

The taxi driver won’t take me to the finish line:
“Actually,” the cabbie says, “I’m just about to go on a break. Why don’t you try again later?”
I don’t see anything in the hints or walkthrough about this situation.
The next spoiler shows the treasures and destination:

[spoiler]I have the following, which I’m sure are the treasures:
a heliotrope swimsuit
a heliotrope button
a heliotrope balloon (deflated)
a heliotrope pencil topper

and I’m trying to travel to:

“Where do you want to go, Gamer?” > ashley donaldson hotel

and I previously sent Lori to the Holland Odyssean.[/spoiler]

Hi, this is J. Michael, author of Diddlebucker! Thanks for your question! I did try to cover every eventuality in the hints, but it seems I missed this.

[spoiler]Usually, the cabbie only refuses to take you to a place if you haven’t actually seen the riddle card for that place. That keeps the player from jumping over several steps to get to the end of the game and keeps the game interesting if he accidentally sees one of the locations in the hints. (He would still need to get the card, even if he knew what the location was).

However, I’m not sure how you could have the pencil topper, escaped from the Haunted House and NOT have seen the riddle card. Can you shine any light on this? What happened in the Haunted House?[/spoiler]


[spoiler]I examined the clue card, looked up the hotels in the phone book, told Lori “the holland odyssean hotel”, and told her the styrofoam carton, lighter, map, and cane were the treasures, whereupon she went away.

This was on the nth time through, but looking at my transcript I don’t think I did anything anachronistic.

I can send you a transcript / savegame if you like? (Contains many false starts, of course.)[/spoiler]

That would be great, thanks! You can e-mail the transcript and the savegame to me if you like at frotzing@gmail.com. I’m playing through my game right now and seeing if I can make this error pop up.

I’m at the end of my game, but I can’t make the cabbie refuse to take me. Your info might help. I may need to check my code.

[EDIT] I’ve looked at my code and I have a theory. I’ll be back in a bit.

Ok, my theory didn’t pan out.

I’m going to be away from the computer for the rest of the evening, but I want to look at this again tomorrow. So far, you’re the only player or beta tester who has told me of this error, so I am thankful that you found it, but much more importantly, I really want you to enjoy the experience of my game and I’m disappointed for you that you got this close to the end only to have something go wrong.

[spoiler]I played the game on Gluxe for Windows up to the point where you need to hail a taxi to take you to the finish line. I continued from that point and was able to finish up the game and win, so you should be able to do so as well. If you give me an e-mail address, I’d be happy to e-mail you the save file so you can finish up the game. If you got that far, you deserve to win without having to go back to the beginning or a much earlier save.

If you’d rather wait to see if we can fix the game from your save point, it might take a day or so, but I’d be happy to help figure it out.[/spoiler]

I think I’ve got it!

I figured it out (I hope!) from your transcript. There’s a long answer and a short answer.

Here’s the short answer:

[spoiler]Restore to whatever point gets you the four treasures and successfully out of the Haunted House. Go back to White House Tours, sit through the show, go north to the stage and “examine the Presidents” and “examine left hand.”

If the game gives you the third riddle card, you’re back in business. You should be able to win the game from here.

If not, I’m full of it and I need to go back to your transcript.[/spoiler]

Now for the long answer:

[spoiler]Ok, so as I said earlier, I put in a line of code that wouldn’t let the player go to a place on a card without having seen that card. That keeps you from jumping to the Amusement Park as soon as you get to Cleveland Avenue for the first time.

As you know, there are also four treasures. It’s also impossible to get into the Haunted House without the first three: button, balloon and swimsuit.

You can’t get the button without the riddle card (you have to show it to Cindy).

You can’t get the balloon without getting to American Dreamland and the cabbie won’t take you to American Dreamland if you haven’t seen the second riddle card.

Unfortunately, there is no card tied to the swimsuit. That didn’t seem like an issue to me because you won’t know how to get into the Haunted House without having figured out the third riddle card. Nobody is going to just randomly sing happy birthday to the guy.

And that’s where I made my mistake. With a creative bit of saving and restoring, you can find a loophole.

Looking at your transcript, you had seen the third riddle card at one point. All well and good.

But later on, you restored to an earlier position where your character in the game hadn’t seen the card, but you still knew what to do, so you didn’t examine the left hand to “see” it again. Why bother, right? You got all three treasures, sang to Kirk, escaped, went to the cabbie and he wouldn’t take you to the hotel.

So, I have a couple of options at this point. The easiest would simply be to add a section to the Hints about “Why won’t the cabbie take me where I want to go?” I need to do this regardless. I simply forgot about in when writing the Hints.

I think I need to make it more obvious why the cabbie won’t take you to a place when you haven’t seen the riddle card for it. It’s too vague now, but if I change his dialogue, I might be able to nudge the player into realizing he shouldn’t know what he knows.

I also could simply allow the cabbie to take you to the hotel once you’ve escaped from the Haunted House regardless of what you have or haven’t seen.

At any rate, I’m glad you found this bug and I’m really glad you enjoyed the game in spite of it. I hope what I’ve said here all makes sense and gets you to the end successfully![/spoiler]

I’ve also posted a review of this game on my blog.

My only struggle with Diddlebucker:

There’s nothing in the room description that says you can go east from the registration where you get your t-shirt. When you register, there’s a one-off text that says something like “she vaguely gestures you to the east” but my brain didn’t register it and I got stuck for a very long time. That’s my one major note - either list the exit and block it till the player registers, or change the room description to mention the lockers are to the east after the player is registered, or (if as I tried many times) if the player tries to register again or ask the rep about something, have her direct the player to go east. Fun game, very Infocom!

That is a very valid point and something I’ll fix in the post-comp release. Thanks!

Also, I’m glad you found the game fun! That was my goal with this game. I wanted the player to have a good time. And saying it’s “very Infocom” is (to me anyway) very high praise! I appreciate that.

Thank you for your review! It’s very fair, thorough and respectful. I appreciate the effort you go into writing reviews as you clearly put a lot of thought into them.

I’ve been wondering if the guy who promised “reviews of all the games (seriously, all of them)” was ever going to get to mine! I was beginning to feel like the kid who gets picked last in gym class! (But of course I understand somebody has to come at or near the end of the list.)

Thanks for the comments on the review, and thanks for making a fun game! (And the placement of the game toward the end of the pack was just bad luck with the randomizer. Having been on the other side of things in the last IFComp, I know how stressful it can be waiting for reviews of your game to come out.)

I figured it was the randomizer. I wasn’t really bothered, just eager to read your review!