Savage Island Part 1: Intricate Choreography   21 comments

I’ve been thinking of this game in terms of Andrew Plotkin’s A Change in the Weather. That’s a game with a slate of actions that must be done in time for a weather event, and various dependencies require a sort of choreography where things get in the right places at the right times.

I made a decent chunk of progress since last time, then realized in a way I hadn’t, because there was an action I missed. My sequencing is now thrown for a loop, and I don’t know how to fix it.

First, and most silly, is the fact that after DIG SAND / WITH HANDS, I could LOOK SAND, which yields seeing a hole, followed by LOOK HOLE which yields finding a bottle. I’d like to emphasize how little sense this makes in a mimetic context; if you make a hole when digging, you’d know by the act of digging, right? This isn’t like pushing a button and not seeing a result because things moved off screen, this is the direct result of physical action your player takes. I suspect Mr. Adams never even thought it was a puzzle.

The bottle contained rum, but I could empty it and fill it with saltwater. Then I took it to a room next to the bear cave and poured it out:

I’m on the edge of a hot rocky cliff outside the volcano
Visible items:
Puddle. Crevice.

Since the cliff is hot, the puddle of water evaporates to leave salt behind. The poor bear, who all this time had been “sickly” and trying to lick me when sweaty, was short of salt.

One happy bear later, I was able to go down in the dark maze, whereupon I used WAIT and found the hurricane passing (??). A little confusion, here: I guess this is meant to be a “dynamic schedule” that reacts to what puzzles you’ve solved, and since I found a good place to camp away from the hurricane, the hurricane came and went without a fuss. It’s not like I waited more turns than usual; the hurricane just passed by faster.

Darkness still approaches, but as I mentioned last time, I found an area west of the lake where I could SLEEP without interference from wild animals. Huzzah, survival to day 2! I also made it to the beach where I heard cannon offshore, but can’t find a ship. >GO SHIP does get an amusing response:

not till

Except: in the events above I made a fatal error. Pause before going on; do you see it?

Public domain island picture, for spoiler space.

Before filling the bottle with seawater I had to waste the rum inside. On a hunch during a replay, I tried EMPTY BOTTLE at the stone basin in the cave (which I still hadn’t used yet):

Uh oh. The fact this works (and not with anything else) indicates that the rum needs to be used somewhere, and this is the method of preserving it. Normally this would be fine: I could just go and fill the bottle with seawater and be on my way. However, the volcano area’s lake is fresh water so doesn’t have any salt, and I can’t swim through the lake holding the bottle without drowning. Somehow I need to send the bottle back to the opening area so I can fill it with seawater and get my progress back on track. As is, I just sent myself back to Day 1, and I suspect not for the last time.

Posted May 22, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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21 responses to “Savage Island Part 1: Intricate Choreography

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  1. Got it! In fact I got it before reading the post, and that was the one thing I accomplished, and I didn’t know I had accomplished it correctly. I succeeded in filling the basin with the rum–and then I figured the saltwater should go in the basin, and then I forgot the command I had used so even after wasting the rum I couldn’t manage to get the saltwater in the basin.

    • You can’t put the saltwater in, even if you use the same command. EMPTY BOTTLE just dumps it on the ground.

    • Oh neat: DIG HOLE works at the beginning as well as DIG SAND.

      Hmmm…. PUSH BOTTLE while swimming gives “how?” Which means it might be possible to push it with something. Perhaps the log? Could it be possible to use the log to float? Seems like the log appears much too late for this to be useful though.

  2. Is there an amusing response for drinking the rum?

  3. Is the following observation, from your post before this one, helpful here?

    “The only time I’ve seen JUMP work is a spot where you can get from the volcano area back to the opening beach.”

    I’m unclear on the map layout, so I don’t know if this is a means of getting around the lake and getting the bottle back to the beach.

    • Where was this place? The only place I’ve found where JUMP does anything is in the crevice, and it kills you.

      • Wait nvm I found it with the help of Jason’s map. I didn’t realize that the shores in the lake were walls rather than directions you *can* go.

      • I think that was intended as deceptive (rather than accidentally so), I’m just stubborn and will try every direction always because I often miss them even when they’re staring at me from the text.

  4. OK, some experimentation–since I haven’t looked at anything other than this blog I figure it’s OK for me to post it, but rot13ing just to be sure.

    univat n ybt nyybjf lbh gb fjvz jvgu fbzrguvat njxjneq yvxr gur obggyr naq pbpbahgf. Lbh pna trg gb gur perivpr naq whzc gb gur ornpu ohg lbh pna’g trg gur ybt guebhtu gur perivpr, juvpu zrnaf rnpu ybt vf tbbq sbe bar genirefny bayl–ab jnvg, lbh pbhyq qhzc lbhe vairagbel ol gur ynxr naq fjvz gb gur jrfg bs gur ynxr gb ergevrir gur ybt.

    Of course this doesn’t solve the problem. One theory I had was maybe you could break the coconuts and pour the rum into them? I tried dropping them on the stone head but it didn’t work.

    • Pardon my denseness, but why doesn’t this solve the problem? From everything discussed so far I’m envisioning this sequence (I fully appreciate there may be some impediment along the way I’m not realizing):

      Pyvzo ibypnab jvgu obggyr bs ehz -> cbhe ehz va onfva -> pebff ynxr jvgu ybt naq obggyr -> whzc gb ornpu jvgu obggyr -> svyy obggyr jvgu fnyg jngre -> pyvzo ibypnab jvgu obggyr bs fnyg jngre -> srrq gur orne -> qebc vairagbel -> pebff ynxr -> oevat ybt onpx npebff ynxr

      • Gur ybt qbrfa’g nccrne hagvy gur uheevpnar uvgf, naq (nf sne nf V pna gryy) lbh arrq gb unir cynpngrq gur orne nyernql ol gura fb lbh pna jnvg bhg gur uheevpnar fnsryl va gur pnir.

  5. Not enough to make a post, but since a couple people are thwacking at the game, I should report I realized HOLD BREATH is a thing, and that lets you explore the bottom of the lake.

    • I was wondering if the intended verb wasn’t TAKE BREATH, and HOLD just happened to be a synonym.

      Petter Sjölund
      • HOLD BREATH makes more sense in English (if that’s what you’re wondering)–it means to breathe in deep and not breathe for as long as you can, and that’s clearly what’s going on. You get an “Argh!” a turn or two before you have to breathe, and if you breathe while under water you drown.

      • …in fact it looks like TAKE BREATH is the opposite of HOLD BREATH–that’s the command to stop holding your breath, which is idiomatic in English.

      • I mean as in TAKE A DEEP BREATH. HOLD BREATH sounds to me more like what most people would do instinctively when under water, i.e. you stop breathing. As a puzzle that is a bit silly, something like requiring the player to type BREATHE every other turn. But perhaps that initial deep breath is implicit in English, as you say.

        Petter Sjölund
      • Well, requiring the player to explicitly say HOLD BREATH or they’ll drown when they swim down seems very much in the same spirit as requiring LOOK SAND/LOOK HOLE to find the thing you just dug up. We should be thankful Scott Adams didn’t think of requiring the player to type BREATHE every other turn. I was pleasantly surprised that if you try TAKE BREATH underwater it refuses instead of drowning you.

      • Yeah, now that I think about it, it is pretty clear that the player IS holding their breath, with that final “I breathed!” message after a few turns. So it really is that silly.

        Petter Sjölund
  6. Made a *lot* of progress now. Maybe will do a weekend post. I have a raft.

    Also a knife, a plastic block, and coconut meat.

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