Ferret: Insufficient Light   24 comments

Sort of a matter-the-fact update this time, but I wanted to finish writing up the remaining phases.

(Prior posts on Ferret here.)

I’d left off last time in the middle of a dark maze which still needed mapping. I’ve finished that, at least:

This might look clean, small, and pleasant to map, but keep in mind (in addition to it taking a while to realize the map was on a regular grid) any “wrong direction” will teleport you to a random spot in the maze. So I had to test every direction, with something like (holding onto a picnic box)

DROP BOX; NE; SW; GET ALL

and see if this picks up the box. Then repeat for every single direction. I made a big cut-and-paste that tested every direction at once, but I still needed to check after which ones were valid.

As I mentioned last time, one room had a life vest, and one had a puce transparency.

-> look at transparency
There is insufficient light available to discern any meaningful information from the transparency.

I have not found a place with sufficient light.

The maze held one more secret (as discovered by K), back where I had found the life jacket.

-> D
Below Stairs
You are in a small poorly lit room carved from rock. Above you is another room with a low wall. There is a rickety staircase leading to the room above at the western end of the room.
Exits: —- ——– U-
There is a life jacket here
-> PULL ON STAIRS
The rickety staircase wobbles and groans and slides ungracefully to one side revealing a dark and dingy exit.
-> LOOK
Below Stairs
You are in a small poorly lit room carved from rock. Above you is another room with a low wall. There is a rickety staircase at the eastern end of the room.
Exits: N— ——– —
There is a life jacket here
-> N
Grizelda’s Chamber of Correction
You are in a small poorly lit cavern carved from rock. Scratched into the rock is a quotation.
Exits: -S– ——– —
There is a leather wallet here
-> READ QUOTATION
Mong the Magnificent, King of Throb, Ruler of the Vibrations, Artisan of the Pulsating Wobblers was universally revered for his insights into the art of personal pleasure, usually of an exotic nature. It is assumed that he had discovered some incredibly good blow before coining this wonderful quip, full of deep thought and liberating enthusiasm:

“It could be that 0123789 is a number pure and simple, representing, say, the number of days since a given start point, possibly denoted by some other equation. Alternatively, it could be symbolic, with, for example, 9 and 0 denoting some simple code, one that often stares people in the face.”

Or, just maybe, Mong has sustained such physical and mental abuse in pursuit of hedonistic pleasure that he had gone completely barking.

Curious! I might guess 0123789 is a “telephone” code (the way “2” stands for ABC on a regular telephone dial) but 0 and 1 don’t have letters attached. I have yet to get the number to do anything, but that can be filed under “information that might be sent backwards in time”. If we go with the “number of days” hint instead, that’s 339 years long. What would the start point be?

Moving on to phase 14! I mentioned glancingly on my quick survey that it has a fragile floor.

Entrance Hall
A large spacious area without seats and benches probably provided for the convenience of the passengers using the railway.
The flooring seems a little strange and has a hollow feel to it.
Exits: N— ——– —
-> jump
Boingey, boingey, boinge! This is jolly wizzer fun. Uh oh, the floor appears to be suffering from your bouncing affections. Lordy, you seem to have hit the resonant frequency of a section the floor timbers which becomes dislodged and clatters to the floor of the room below. As you were jumping on the floorboards at the time you are rudely deposited in the room below with a resounding thump on your little botty.
Basement
You are in a small dimly-lit area with a steep ramp providing a route upwards.
Exits: -S– ——– U-

Just past this is yet another set of riddles-in-rooms, with the twist that the riddle given has its answer in the room after the one it appears.

Preface
A pleasant airy place with a high ceiling and a stairway leading down. Hanging from the centre of the ceiling is a microphone. You can just discern what appears to be a soft voice whispering around the room.
Exits: -S– ——– -D
-> listen
The ethereal voice is somewhat indistinct and appears to be repeating: “The average hydrogen atom, number of neutrons it has?”

That is, the answer here is zero, but that gets typed into the next room.

-> s
Old Nick
A pleasant airy space with a high ceiling. Hanging from the centre of the ceiling is a microphone. The flooring seems a little strange and has a hollow feel to it. You can just discern what appears to be a soft voice whispering around the room.
Exits: N— ——– —
-> say 0
‘0’
There is a tremendous grinding of gears and the hiss of compressed gas escaping as the floor shakes violently, closely followed by the lower part of one of the walls lowering out sight.

All the riddles are numerical:

“Normally represented, the square root of what, the letter i by?”

“The number before the turn on the river?”

“One from the devil less the disciples?”

And eventually, they just stop. There is still a microphone described in the room, but there is nothing to listen to in the room before. The trick is to realize the riddles have been giving a pattern…

0, -1, 3, -6, 10, -15, 21, …

so the “non-riddle” rooms are simply solved by following the pattern.

The 5th triangular number, 15, being made into the 6th triangular number, 21, by adding 6 blocks. The pattern is just +1, +2, +3, +4, etc., except that it also alternates positive-negative.

The pattern continues for maybe a little too long. I get the impression the author(s) here really wanted to avoid a brute force solution, but this was trying too hard. (At least this wasn’t like Hezarin’s pit puzzle, where the authors went as far as sabotaging the save game system in order to avoid people solving the puzzle through brute force.)

-> say 406
‘406’
There is a tremendous grinding of gears and the hiss of compressed gas escaping as the floor shakes violently, closely followed by the lower part of one of the walls lowering out sight.
-> l
Devil
A pleasant airy space with a high ceiling. Hanging from the centre of the ceiling is a microphone. The flooring seems a little strange and has a hollow feel to it.
Exits: N–W ——– —
-> n
Satan
A pleasant airy space with a high ceiling. The flooring seems a little strange and has a hollow feel to it.
Exits: -S– ——– —
There is a silver obol here

The flooring does suggest further jumping carnage, but nothing seems to work. There’s also one dark room that gets lit up once you start solving riddles, but I haven’t found anything useful there.

Prototype
An area with a low ceiling. The feeble ambient lighting appears to be seeping through the ceiling.

Onward to phase 15:

Holloway Museum

Opened 1957

A system of deep trenches created through the woods during the War of The Three Forests.

To confuse the enemy in the event of invasion the trenches changed direction many times with curves, rises and falls to disorient anyone unfamiliar with the layout. The difficulty of navigation was exaserbated by the many dark, interconnecting tunnels between the trenches. An intrinsic feature of the deep sheer-sided trenches was the propensity to flood during rainy periods, which mandated the need for regular and frequent maintenance of the drainage system. Regular users of the Holloways knew to follow the green arrows painted on the wooden signs if the water level started to rise.

An infosign provided by the Trustees of Holloway Museum. Digest and Enjoy.

This area consists of a subway, a raised platform with a cable overhead, and a building where almost all the floors are closed off, although you can climb to the roof and get reminded that yes, this is still the post-apocalypse.

An area of roof commanding a spectacular view of the surrounding country. Unfortunately, the vistas are quite depressing, showing as they do, a world of total devastation. The extensive earthworks continue off into the where you can some form of tall construction, reminiscent of the power delivery system from the old world. Hanging over the north wall is the ladder of a fire escape.
Exits: NS– ——– -D
-> n
Cradle of the Window Cleaners
You are in a cradle used by the esteemed Guild of Professional Window Cleaners to, er, clean the windows. To the south is a large building, to all other points of the compass nought but a view of terrible devastation. Above you is the ladder of a fire escape.
Exits: —- ——– U-

From the Cradle you can still go Up and out. If you have anything in your inventory, the Cradle will activate when you enter and get you stuck. (This may be just an indication to Not Do That, but even if you can get out, there doesn’t seem to be anything useful to do in the cradle?)

The ancient, and probably malfunctioning, automatic equipment that controls the cradle grinds into action, transporting the cradle down the building.
Cradle of the Window Cleaners
You are in a window cleaner’s cradle. To the south is a large building, to all other points of the compass nought but a view of terrible devastation.

Try as I might, I couldn’t extract any more clues or make any systemic discoveries past the fact the Cradle responds badly to weight. So I had nothing to do but to proceed to Phase 16 (Liberation) and get immediately stuck again.

Ticket Office
You are in what was probably a ticket office, though it is now hard to tell as the room appears to have suffered from a number of nearby explosions. The north end of the room appears to consist of an automatic barrier, to the right of which is a turnstile and a slot. Unfortunately all of the guidance instructions appear to have been obliterated at some time in the past.

The slot will eat items you put in there; nothing I’ve tried has activated it.

That means I’ve reached the end of the line! The book had some curious info, the lime transparency was unreadable, the number at the wallet was cryptic, but hopefully one of those will help on my next cycle through. Just to summarize:

It seems very likely that the information passing will then lead to getting new physical objects (other than the tan block I already mentioned), which then need to be taken forward in order to get a second round of information, which then itself needs to be sent back to the past, so we’re cycling through multiple times in order to truly finish this portion of the game.

I really want to lock in soon to focus on just finishing this before the end of the year, although I do have a one-shot Apple II game that will be dropping in (either with my next post or the one after). For anyone working on this, please feel free to amply drop whatever hints you want; this is far too messy for the solo approach.

Posted December 5, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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24 responses to “Ferret: Insufficient Light

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  1. Just a quick response in case you didn’t progress with the tan block like I mentioned earlier. No ROT13, small straight spoiler now – have you tried eating it, it is similar to but “better” than the cake in the sewers.
    Not much time this week, I will add more of what I know and what I don’t when I have the opportunity.

    • I did a TEST on it which got the memory card, yeah. (Didn’t think to eat it!) Didn’t go anywhere I could find so I was going to save it for discussing my next loop.

      • I noted that you can put the card in the slot in phase 16 but of course it wasn’t as easy as that. :)
        Also I haven’t tried yet to see if maybe the slot reacts similarly to other objects.

  2. “stares people in the face” makes me wonder if they’re referencing a clock face, with the numbers corresponding to directions, but that would either be ten or seven directions (if we’re discarding the numbers that don’t appear), which wouldn’t map neatly to compass directions…

    • Still seems promising!

      Also possible is a Calculator code? The digits when typed in and flipped over become

      GBLEZIO

      which maybe just does something straight-up as a password somewhere?

  3. > this is far too messy for the solo approach.
    Indeed. Good luck! 👍

  4. 456 are the middle missing numbers too.

    • I do wonder if thinking of it like “keypad with the middle three ripped out” would help (kind of like the cross earlier) but I haven’t had any luck in that direction.

  5. Got a nudge from the authors. To get through the window-lift section:

    1. Abgvpr gung vg qbrfa’g npgvingr vs lbh ner ubyqvat abguvat, ohg vg nyfb qbrfa’g vs lbh ner ubyqvat bar irel yvtug guvat.
    2. Lbh arrq gb rkcrevzrag jvgu qvssrerag jrvtugf.
    3. Bar cnegvphyne jrvtug npgvingrf gur yvsg ohg vf fgvyy hfrshy.
    4. Gurer ner yvxryl zhygvcyr pbzovangvbaf, ohg gur bar V sbhaq jbexrq vf ubyqvat gur gbl gehpx naq gur gbl ebobg gbtrgure.

    (having visited and solved the thing there, there may be a second option other than #4)

    • Further detail on that section.

      Gurer ner n ohapu bs bssvpr ebbzf, jvgu 20 pbqrf fpenjyrq gung ner ahzorerq. Gurl pna nyy or chg gbtrgure gb sbez na NQSTIK pvcure juvpu vf qrpvcurenoyr jvgu gur pbqrxrl sebz gur frjref.

      Nyfb, gurer’f gur bgure fvqr bs gur “4” qbbe fb guvf vf ng gur 4gu sybbe.

      Guvf chgf nyy gbtrgure gb, qrpvcurenoyr jvgu gur gbby urer uggcf://jjj.qpbqr.se/nqstik-pvcure

      NITINTSSQITTSKSINNTSQTTTNNKSTISTSKKKTNISQTTITITTNKTK

      S2UXR45OMY9TL6VPAQWI3E1BHFZN7D0K8JCG

      xrljbeq SERG

      juvpu genafyngrf gb GUVF NERN UREEVAT PBYBHE BS ERQ

      htttttu

      Fb V’z thrffvat jr’er ng gur jebat sybbe? V qba’g unir tbbq jrvtugf svtherq bhg sbe zl pheerag vairagbel fb V’z abg fher juvpu sybbef V’ir purpxrq lrg.

    • managed a new floor with jacket + casket

      Fryyref
      Nccneragyl na bssvpr va na bssvpr oybpx. Gurer vf n pbeevqbe gb gur jrfg.
      Unatvat sebz gur prvyvat va sebag bs gur abegu jnyy vf n cebwrpgbe fperra.
      Arkg gb gur cebwrpgbe fperra ner gjb pbeqf, bar ybat naq bar fubeg.

      chyyvat gur fubeg pbeq xvyyf lbh, bgurejvfr, abg svaqvat nalguvat hfrshy

    • It looks like the lift goes back up if you throw one of your items overboard (at the cost of the item thrown). It’s possible to come back to the roof this way. This means you should be able, at least in theory, to visit multiple floors before returning to the top. This could also make it easier to determine the relative weights of various items.

      • re: the jacket and casket floor, if you take along one more very light item (like the indigo pin) it is enough to nudge to the next floor. So jacket + casket is floor 5 (even though it isn’t marked that), jacket + casket + indigo pin is floor 4.

      • Here’s a much bigger combo that works, tested by starting with the casket and slowly adding light things

        casket + gold key + indigo pin + obol + lime ticket + ring + linen + transparency + ruby + fur + bracelet

      • I don’t think I’ll have time to finish update tonight, but there’s a super interesting location here that feels like something out of Hadean Lands

        A strange ethereal humming noise eminates from underneath the plexiglass. The plexiglass starts to glow, first red, then orange then white. You smell the acrid stench of burning from a long uncleaned surface. You appear to have discovered an automatic induction hob. Bang! A faulty one too. The food detection system seems to have inappropriately calculated the cooking temperature required resulting in some overheating, thereby welding the chip basket to the surface of the plexiglass.
        The vinyl that melted in the chip basket has cooled to form a shallow pool.

      • At the risk of sounding incurably lazy, not having several of the items listed above (the indigo pin and gold key in particular), and feeling loathe to play long sections of the game over again, I don’t suppose anyone would be willing to share a save file in which the lacking pre-phase-9 items are available in phase 9? I think K has the right idea, eschewing saves in favor of transcripts.

      • here’s a phase 9 save

        https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PC7bHLy8LeLKmolepU2J7JVyU79W2xfU/view?usp=sharing

        Can’t guarantee I’ve done things right, there’s technically a silver key that I could’ve swapped with the gold (but I wasn’t able to carry all five pins + both keys down after landing the helicopter, so I had to drop one). However, despite all the other rather cruel tricks, the game isn’t too keen on having many dependencies on prior objects.

      • Thank you kindly!

      • I’m not sure how much this is worth, but putting certain items in the wire basket before induction will result in a puddle of vinyl. So far I’ve only found one type of item that will leave anything behind, however dubious in utility.

      • I can’t help but wonder if the purpose of the chip basket/induction hob is to make ourselves [n uryzrg gung pna uryc hf fheivir gur cebwrpgvba rdhvczrag snyyvat ba bhe urnq jura jr chyy gur fubeg pbeq].

  6. Two other hints from the Ferret authors I just got but haven’t had time to process yet but I wanted to put in the comments:

    the mobile phone and the explosive

    1. Unir lbh sbhaq n fpebyy ol Gur Ubabhenoyr Fbpvrgl bs gur Cnegl sbe Serrqbz sebz Crefrphgvba?

    2. Unir lbh sbhaq n pbzzhavpngbe?

    the lake

    1. Jung qbrf gur oryy qb?

    • I briefly tried out the lake:

      Lbh whfg arrq gb jnvg n juvyr nsgre evatvat gur oryy — V zhfg unir onvyrq bhg nsgre 10 gheaf be fbzrguvat yvxr gung gb gel fbzrguvat ryfr ohg gur qrynl gvzr vf ybatre. Gura lbh pna ubc ba gur sreel gb tb gb “Gernfher Vfynaq” naq trg oybpxrq ol n ebpx jvgu n penpx. Lbh pna chg guvatf vafvqr gur penpx. Vg frrzf cbffvoyr vs jr pna zbir gur rkcybfvir naq qrgbangr vg gurer gung jbhyq trg evq bs gur ebpx naq nyybj cebterff.

  7. I haven’t had any breakthroughs, but I have gone through and catalogued all the actions in Phases 9 through 16 that we’ve seen so far that provide points:

    Phase 9
    – 5 points for reaching the station
    – 5 points for reaching Small Kitchen Garden (??? there’s a locked gate here, perhaps it’s legitimately important?)
    No points for reaching any of the pyramid/sewer locations known so far

    Phase 10
    – 5 points for reaching the station
    – 5 points for reaching Large Kitchen Garden (where the communicator is)
    No points for reaching any of the known theatre locations

    Phase 11
    – 5 points for reaching the station
    – 10 points for reaching Shrapnel Corner (on the way to the explosive)
    – 20 points for reaching Pier (???)
    No points for reaching the ferry, island (via ferry), or hogshead barrel locations

    Phase 12
    – 5 points for reaching the station
    – 10 points for reaching Odycee in Wood (a gimme – just a couple steps from the station on the way to everywhere else in the phase)
    – 20 points for reaching Broom Cupboard (in the warehouse, with the ASCII art book)
    No points relating to the waterfall

    Phase 13
    – 5 points for reaching the station
    – 20 points for reaching the Stonewalled Chamber in the northeast corner of the maze (with the life jacket)
    – 50(!) points for reaching Grizelda’s Chamber under the rickety staircase (with the wallet, lemon ticket, and quotation)
    No points for the puce transparency location or the other empty Stonewalled Chamber in the southeast corner

    Phase 14
    – 5 points for reaching the station
    – 25 points for reaching the Sub-basement (jumping through the floor)
    No points for any of the number puzzle locations or for getting to the silver obol at the end

    Phase 15
    – 5 points for reaching the station
    – 5 points for reaching Holloway Museum (the linear path of rooms with the wire cable overhead)
    – 10 points for reaching the Roof
    – 25 points for reaching Milligan (floor 5 via the cradle)
    No points for floor 4

    Phase 16
    – 5 points for reaching the station

    • Interesting you get points for Milligan — I kind of assumed that was a one-way trip where you just get the info. (on the Mastermind phase, if you go in the cave to get the number hint, the directions upon leaving trap you in, but the information is useful anyway)

      relatedly, re: the sewers

      nhgubef unir pbasvezrq gurer vf ab jnl bhg bs gur frjref

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