Ferret: A Level Only Just Below Living   57 comments

Just when I think this game has reached maximum chutzpah, it ups the ante again.

(Prior posts on Ferret here.)

Close-up of a dusty Data General Dasher keyboard, via Reddit.

Perhaps moreso than any previous traditional adventure game I’ve played, the Phases 9-16 section of Ferret has felt like a Puzzle Hunt of the same nature as Masquerade or Alkemstone; lots of clues spread out where they have to be fit into a larger structure but without much guidance, and a large enough “landscape” (given the number of locations available) that the ability to “go anywhere” in a real-life Puzzle Hunt is mirrored here.

This carries the same unfortunate issue many Puzzle Hunts share which is combinatorial explosion. There are no so many clues and cryptic words and numbers that it is non-obvious what might match with what. If there is a clear surface similarity (like the giant red herring ADFGVX code) then the pieces can easily fit together, but otherwise there needs to be a second-order leap which isn’t highly motivated or obvious, making what might be a simple puzzle into something much harder. The best example of this is the crypto-crossword having some “starter clues” in a later phase, but it took a lateral leap of faith to try to apply one to the other. In retrospect the connection seems obvious, and maybe from the author’s standpoint it is, but from the player’s perspective there is no guarantee an attempt at connection will be fruitless. My discussion of second-order puzzles here is highly relevant, as are my thoughts about how adventure game puzzles typically involve abductive reasoning, yet authors don’t often account for this:

…with deduction, we have fully known rules and circumstances that when together force some kind of conclusion. With abduction, we have circumstances where we have to infer the chain of events, but it’s a probabilistic guess.

Abduction can be highly satisfying when it works, but the lack of guarantee of it working can cause a fair amount of strain in adventure game if there’s a long route between forming a guess and testing it.

Let me first get into a satsifying use of abduction. One room I mentioned in passing last time was a Bibliotheque with no books.

This room is very large and softly lit. The walls are covered with shelves all of which have been deprived of their contents. One bookcase remains, apparantly still resplendent with books. There is a spiral staircase in the middle of the room that leads up.

The bookcase can be pushed, which suggests a new area.

The bookcase revolves around a central vertical axis carrying you with it. After one revolution the bookcase grinds to a stop returning you to your original position. During your journey you perceived a brightly lit tunnel, possibly carved from rock, leading away from you.

However, the bookcase’s full revolution is an issue; it seems like it would be helpful to jam something, but none of the items I was trying were helpful. The leap here is to realize that this is similar to a scene way back at the Deslination Plant which involved riding a canoe. If you’re holding a long pole (which is a pretty natural thing to do at this puzzle, I assumed it was going to be used for paddling) it gets jammed up all on its own:

As you surge onward down the canal the banks narrow to a width where the pole wedges itself between the banks. As you were holding it at the time you are physically lifted out of the canoe which charges off down the canal.
The flow of the canal reduces to a mere trickle and then to nothing.
Swinging on a Pole
You are swinging on a pole above a dry area of canal bed. It’s very cold here.

This is what we want to happen. So, we’ve had precedent that long objects will automatically jam into things if carried, and we need to jam something. This suggests a “javelin” that has been sitting out the open would be useful to be holding (it is heavy enough it is not likely it would be in the player’s inventory accidentally).

The bookcase revolves around a central vertical axis carrying you with it. The javelin you are carrying is forcibly jammed between the bookcase and the wall, unceremoniously throwing you forwards.
Adit
You are in a brightly-lit tunnel cut through rock.

There isn’t enough data to call this induction; this was still clearly a guess based on the information that could have failed. If the javelin had failed, though, it isn’t too long a side-trip to pick it up, and more solving attempts could have easily been made after.

On the other hand, there is the puzzle I solved which still involved picking up on a subtle clue, yet required so much work to even test that it brought annoyance rather than satisfaction. Let me go back to the ghost house:

Study
A small room with a writing desk, sideboard and chaise longue. There is a marble fireplace in the east wall.
There is a security capsule here
-> examine capsule
The capsule appears very robust, possible because it is designed to be a secure item. It is cylindrical in form. Embossed along one side is the legend: “Property of FTS (Subway) Systems Ltd. If found, deposit in any mailbox with your name and address and a reward will be payable. Thank you.”
-> climb chimney
Initally the chimney is wide enough to allow ingress but eventually, just as you expect to become stuck, you hit daylight. Oh joy. As you leave the chimney you feel wonderfully light-headed, oops, oh no, its falling, falling, falling, not light-headedness. You slide down the roof of the cottage and land on the ground with a sickening thud.
Your health has become constrained to a level only just below living.

Oops, I didn’t mean the last part (as discovered by K, a reverse-Santa in the holiday spirit)! I meant just the security capsule. Usually, when typing UNLOCK ITEM WITH KEY on a locked item, the game states:

“Shan’t” returned Algy, teasingly.

and if unlocking is to occur, it is to be by means other than a key. However, in the case of the capsule, I got the message

I don’t think that will work somehow.

suggesting that a key does really work here.

I need to rewind a bit to right after landing the helicopter and entering Phase 8. I had a pile of items that fit in the helicopter…

an orange pin
an indigo pin
a white pin
a black pin
a brown pin
a shining silver disc
a silver key
a gold key
a pretty envelope
a short letter

…but I now needed to go down a hole, and not all the items would fit, so I had to prune down further. I found I could take all the pins + one and only one key. Since I had used the silver key already to drive a subway car, I took the gold key, as it had not been used yet.

In any normal game, this would be sound logic. You’ve got an item unused in any puzzle, that’s the one that should be moved forward. Ferret is not a normal game. You need to take the silver key even though it has already been used; the gold key is a red herring.

I want to emphasize the silver key was dumped all the way back at the start of phase 8. I had to play the entirety of phase 8 again to get here, with no confidence this would even work:

-> unlock capsule
Done.
-> open capsule
Opening the security capsule reveals:
a teleport bracelet
-> examine bracelet
The bracelet is circular and quite thick. It is large enough to slip on quite easily. Around the outer edge of the bracelet are some strange hieroglyphs.

I have yet to get the bracelet to activate, but I suspect it only occurs somewhere special. In the meantime, back to that passage that I jammed with a javelin:

New locations are in orange. Rather straightforwardly I found a spanner, some tweezers, and yet another clue to toss onto the pile:

Crypt
You are in a dimy-lit room carved into the rock.
Along one wall are a number of stone tombs, opposite is a solitary marble tomb with an rococo inscription.
Exits: –E- ——– —
-> read inscription
Here lies the most distinguished and exulted family of Jocasta.
Theirs was the misfortune to be the most gifted yet the least loved.
They gave their lives for their country, every last one.
Their legacy is the freedom we all enjoy in a beautiful land.
If only you had one hundreth of their dignity and honour.

The tweezers let you get the “rectangle of mica” unstuck from the trapdoor (PULL RECTANGLE WITH TWEEZERS) so you can open it and go in and find it closes behind you and you are stuck forever. Terrific! Also, there’s yet another diving suit (like in the red-herring sewers) to rub salt into the wound.

Weee, oh, woe is you. The trapdoor has slammed shut behind you.
Chambre Forte
Obviously designed for sanctuary this hideaway was probably once stocked with provisions. All, of course, are long gone, leaving a squalid little dingey bolthole.
There is a diving suit here

I did make one more piece of progress — I mentioned another “password computer” with a strange message. What I hadn’t tried before was the HINT command. Every time the game has had a “riddle sequence” the HINT command has worked.

-> push rocker
Click.
There is a whispering of fans and a hum of mains flow.
After a brief delay you hear a computer generated voice intone:
AMCBHWAWALAHDNLH
-> hint
An aphorism is a clever, usually short, saying that is used as an expression or metaphor for a generally recognised truth. They were much liked by Oscar Wilde (to quote Python: “his majesty is a stream of bat’s piss”).

So the letters AMCBHWAWALAHDNLH spell a phrase. This comes from The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. You have to jam the phrase together all as one word.

-> type amancanbehappywithanywomanaslongashedoesnotloveher
Typed.
After a brief delay you hear a computer generated voice intone:
AFYENATSM

This one’s easier to find: “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” Also Wilde.

-> type alwaysforgiveyourenemiesnothingannoysthemsomuch
Typed.
After a brief delay you hear a computer generated voice intone:
AHOBDBCBIHABHU

This last clue I have no idea. I scoured common Wilde quotes thoroughly, but it could be a completely random phrase from any of Wilde’s works. (The HINT hasn’t changed, so I think it is still Wilde; this would be untenably hard otherwise. Not like the authors wouldn’t be willing to go that far!)

Posted December 20, 2022 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction, Video Games

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57 responses to “Ferret: A Level Only Just Below Living

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  1. I thoroughly and genuinely enjoy the challenge of the game’s current vast expanse of narrative, possibilities and problems, but that would not have been the case of it hadn’t given us such good support with parser meta-tools and especially the scripting support. I think that it also has been well designed in letting us gradually be presented with more freedom and harder challenges.
    Maybe it should be more emphatic about telling the player to use the power of scripts/READFILE for easily modifying previous choices and trying out different forks and alternate paths, but I think by now that point is clear.

    Now that the teleport bracelet is out in the open, can anyone imagine why these hieroglyphs were somehow readable in the locomotive? Unless they were just another set of similarly unreadable hieroglyphs.

    (Jason: I think you have an editing error in the post, you are going straight to AFYENATSM in the game text and then telling that twice, but missing the AMCBHWAWALAHDNLH section before that which seems was your intention to have first.)

    • Fixed, thanks.

      Maybe the train is where the bracelet gets used and there’s a bug in implementation? Honestly would not read too much into it — when doing typing experiments on the computer once it started giving messages like I was also typing on the communicator.

  2. AHOBDBCBIHABHU solution:
    Nzrevpn unq bsgra orra qvfpbirerq orsber Pbyhzohf, ohg vg unq nyjnlf orra uhfurq hc.

    Not tested, and you probably will have to reformat it like the ones before.

    • I’ve now constructed a small tool on my phone to find Wilde quotations from the kind of prompts we get, if there are more coming. :D

      • Fascinating! What do you use to build such a tool?

      • First I downloaded much of Wildes works in standard text format (most available from Project Gutenberg) and put it all in one big text file. I also found som good collections of his quotes/aphorisms and added them to the same file too.

        I then use a text editor with support for regular expressions (RE), and construct an RE which finds a sequence of words based on the first letters in the words and use this to search the big text file.

        REs is a very powerful way to search and replace in text data, it is almost like a programming language in itself off you know your way with it.

        The RE used here was quite simple if you have worked with REs before. For example to find the matching sentence for the clue FERRET, I would use:
        [^a-z]+F[a-z]*[^a-z]+E[a-z]*[^a-z]+R[a-z]*[^a-z]+R[a-z]*[^a-z]+E[a-z]*[^a-z]+T[a-z]*

        To find another sequence I just change the clue letters and modify the length of the whole expression.
        The search procedure is very quick for such a relatively simple RE.

      • Cool! Thank you for the education!

  3. Some progress at the keyboard now. Even with my tool I got stuck later at “BLTDANT”. Either it is something I do not have in my text file with all Wilde’s works I could find plus a bunch of quote collections, or it is something else…

    Solutions for everything up to that:
    glcr nznapnaorunccljvgunaljbznanfybatnfurqbrfabgybirure
    glcr nyjnlfsbetvirlbherarzvrfabguvatnaablfgurzfbzhpu
    glcr nzrevpnunqbsgraorraqvfpbirerqorsberpbyhzohfohgvgunqnyjnlforrauhfurqhc
    glcr nalbarjubyvirfjvguvagurvezrnaffhssrefsebznynpxbsvzntvangvba
    glcr nethzragfnergbornibvqrqgurlnernyjnlfihytnenaqbsgrapbaivapvat

    • So BLTDANT; I still have nothing.

      Could it be something misattributed to Wilde? Or an unusual spelling/phrasing?
      Still most likely either it is just due to some unpolished aspect of my tool, or that it simply isn’t in the texts I have gathered.

      And it is just seven letters long.. I am hopeful someone will recognize it just out of memory!

      Just some random whittlings while trying to carve the unknown image:
      Better Life/Live/Loved Than/Then …
      … Daily And Nightly Toil
      … Are Not True
      … Long To Dress …

      • Do you get anything with just DANT or ANT? I found a quote with “be less trouble” but in the middle.

        Phases 9+ have quite a few more typos than prior sections so I am willing to believe a typo.

  4. BLTDANT probable solution:
    Ovbtencul yraqf gb qrngu n arj greebe.

    • brilliant, thank you!

      next up:

      After a brief delay you hear a computer generated voice intone:
      CITLROTU

      • oho, that was an easy one, answer: pbafvfgraplvfgurynfgershtrbsgurhavzntvangvir

        now on:
        EPTIPWFIAPOTANOTS

        add: on a roll, answer
        glcr rirelcbegenvggungvfcnvagrqjvgusrryvatvfncbegenvgbsgurnegvfgabgbsgurfvggre

        next up:
        After a brief delay you hear a computer generated voice intone:
        EITNEOGTTM

        Need to be careful about the fact modern renditions of the quote spell things different than the original!

        glcr rkcrevraprvfguranzrrirelbartvirfgbgurvezvfgnxrf

        next up:
        FIAFOUSITWHTAIESM

      • Some more quick solutions, thanks to the tool. Now stuck on another short one.

        Full list so far:
        glcr nznapnaorunccljvgunaljbznanfybatnfurqbrfabgybirure
        glcr nyjnlfsbetvirlbherarzvrfabguvatnaablfgurzfbzhpu
        glcr nzrevpnunqbsgraorraqvfpbirerqorsberpbyhzohfohgvgunqnyjnlforrauhfurqhc
        glcr nalbarjubyvirfjvguvagurvezrnaffhssrefsebznynpxbsvzntvangvba
        glcr nethzragfnergbornibvqrqgurlnernyjnlfihytnenaqbsgrapbaivapvat
        glcr ovbtenculyraqfgbqrngunarjgreebe
        glcr pbafvfgraplvfgurynfgershtrbsgurhavzntvangvir
        glcr rirelcbegenvggungvfcnvagrqjvgusrryvatvfncbegenvgbsgurnegvfgabgbsgurfvggre
        glcr rkcrevraprvfguranzrrirelbartvirfgbgurvezvfgnxrf
        glcr snfuvbavfnsbezbshtyvarfffbvagbyrenoyrgungjrunirgbnygrevgrirelfvkzbaguf

        After a brief delay you hear a computer generated voice intone:
        GIBNP

      • check my solves — I’ve got that one

        glcr travhfvfobeaabgcnvq

        this one might not be a real Wilde quote so it doesn’t surprise me it wouldn’t be in your collection

        I’m stopped on the one after.

  5. still going! answer to FIAFOUSITWHTAIESM was

    glcr snfuvbavfnsbezbshtyvarfffbvagbyrenoyrgungjrunirgbnygrevgrirelfvkzbaguf

    next is GIBNP

    glcr travhfvfobeaabgcnvq

    then IANYETKE, which I don’t have yet

    • ok, I’m leaving off here on IANYETKE if anyone wants to take up the baton

      To recap everything so far in rot13 format:

      glcr nznapnaorunccljvgunaljbznanfybatnfurqbrfabgybirure
      glcr nyjnlfsbetvirlbherarzvrfabguvatnaablfgurzfbzhpu
      glcr nzrevpnunqbsgraorraqvfpbirerqorsberpbyhzohfohgvgunqnyjnlforrauhfurqhc
      glcr nalbarjubyvirfjvguvagurvezrnaffhssrefsebznynpxbsvzntvangvba
      glcr nethzragfnergbornibvqrqgurlnernyjnlfihytnenaqbsgrapbaivapvat
      glcr ovbtenculyraqfgbqrngunarjgreebe
      glcr pbafvfgraplvfgurynfgershtrbsgurhavzntvangvir
      glcr rirelcbegenvggungvfcnvagrqjvgusrryvatvfncbegenvgbsgurnegvfgabgbsgurfvggre
      glcr rkcrevraprvfguranzrrirelbartvirfgbgurvezvfgnxrf
      glcr snfuvbavfnsbezbshtyvarfffbvagbyrenoyrgungjrunirgbnygrevgrirelfvkzbaguf
      glcr travhfvfobeaabgcnvq

      • Oops, missed the continuation here.

        Some more:
        glcr vnzabglbhatrabhtugbxabjrirelguvat
        glcr vguvaxgungtbqvaperngvatznafbzrjungbirerfgvzngrquvfnovyvgl

        After a brief delay you hear a computer generated voice intone:
        IYWTTPTTMTLOTKY

        The next one must be a variation on “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” Needs to be mangled around somehow though.

      • glcr vslbhjnaggbgryycrbcyrgurgehguznxrgurzynhtubgurejvfrgurlyyxvyylbh

        next up is IITFOAP

      • About IYWTTPTTMTLOTKY, for trivia also see https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Bernard_Shaw#Disputed .

        I am thinking that this is getting really tedious by now, and with Ferret that stinks of a red herring alley. I still hope we get something for our work!

      • There you go, no need to ROT:
        type ifyouwanttotellpeoplethetruthmakethemlaughotherwisetheyllkillyou

      • Not able to actually boot up the game right now, but I am guessing IANYETKE is: [vnzabglbhatrabhtugbxabjrirelguvat]

  6. Oops, should have refreshed before posting :)

    IITFOAP: [vyyhfvbavfgursvefgbsnyycyrnfherf]

    I note that the quotes are going in alphabetical order.

  7. Done?

    glcr nznapnaorunccljvgunaljbznanfybatnfurqbrfabgybirure
    glcr nyjnlfsbetvirlbherarzvrfabguvatnaablfgurzfbzhpu
    glcr nzrevpnunqbsgraorraqvfpbirerqorsberpbyhzohfohgvgunqnyjnlforrauhfurqhc
    glcr nalbarjubyvirfjvguvagurvezrnaffhssrefsebznynpxbsvzntvangvba
    glcr nethzragfnergbornibvqrqgurlnernyjnlfihytnenaqbsgrapbaivapvat
    glcr ovbtenculyraqfgbqrngunarjgreebe
    glcr pbafvfgraplvfgurynfgershtrbsgurhavzntvangvir
    glcr rirelcbegenvggungvfcnvagrqjvgusrryvatvfncbegenvgbsgurnegvfgabgbsgurfvggre
    glcr rkcrevraprvfguranzrrirelbartvirfgbgurvezvfgnxrf
    glcr snfuvbavfnsbezbshtyvarfffbvagbyrenoyrgungjrunirgbnygrevgrirelfvkzbaguf
    glcr travhfvfobeaabgcnvq
    glcr vnzabglbhatrabhtugbxabjrirelguvat
    glcr vguvaxgungtbqvaperngvatznafbzrjungbirerfgvzngrquvfnovyvgl
    glcr vslbhjnaggbgryycrbcyrgurgehguznxrgurzynhtubgurejvfrgurlyyxvyylbh
    glcr vyyhfvbavfgursvefgbsnyycyrnfherf
    glcr vgvfnirelfnqguvatgungabjnqnlfgurervffbyvggyrhfryrffvasbezngvba
    glcr vgvfnyjnlfnfvyylguvatgbtvirnqivprohggbtvirtbbqnqivprvfsngny
    glcr zbenyvglyvxrnegzrnafqenjvatnyvarfbzrcynpr
    glcr barfubhyqnyjnlfcynlsnveyljurabarunfgurjvaavatpneqf

    Typed.
    There is a muted whirring of old cogs, the revolving of decrepit gears and the slapping of ancient belts. After an appropriate delay for warming up and cooling down a hidden slot dilates on the front of the cabinet and expels a laminated scroll. The slot contracts in order to resume its hidden existence.

  8. link to newly-found scroll

    click here

  9. Do you have at least a vague idea how close you all might be to solving this? It seems like this blog has become a Ferret blog and nothing but. I’ve been marking giant swathes of posts and comments read every day.

    • I wish I knew! I was hoping to be over by the end of the year.

      I’ve got a non-Ferret coming up soon (this week, maybe? holiday stuff always muck about with things), I just need to get around to writing it.

    • just for you!

      Fun House (Ramella, 1982)

      I was meaning to only insert more short game to break up the stream of constant Ferret, but I think I’ll need at least three more. Hoping at least to make it past the 9-16 nightmare Phase 17 (Guru) by Jan 1, and then we can say we’re in the endgame.

  10. Some guesswork which might be wildly off.

    First off, I took the “broken calculator” display and tried comparing with regular calculator digits and seeing what the missing numbers could be. Based on the gap and sizing there are 9 digits in the helpline number.

    I did it once right-side-up and another time upside down (with all the clues about calculator-flipping).

    Suppose there are 9 things clued from the prior text:
    4 words from #1 – #4 (cryptic crossword?)
    and 5 words in #5 (all missing words)

    where the missing words are
    great command friends strength Europe

    then take the number of letters in each word
    a, b, c, d, 5, 7, 7, 8, 6
    (where a through d are unsolved)

    and then rearrange the digits to be the right spots on the broken calculator

    If the calculator is right side up, there’s no way to do it — there is only one “7” spot other than “any” so both of those get used up, and then “5” has nowhere it can go

    (also, made a mistake on the image, you can’t even have 7 in the first digit so this really doesn’t work)

    therefore it would be (if this is at all remotely what is supposed to happen) the digits are placed on the upside down version of the image. This is possible (although sadly it isn’t just in order –5 can’t go in the middle). This would require solving for a, b, c, d

    I may of course be completely going the wrong direction.

  11. Quick note for anyone who hasn’t wanted to deal with the silver key or our latest shenanigans — I have a save game from the start of phase 9

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

    and also one with “everything so far” done in phase 9 (including getting the new scroll and teleport bracelet) and loaded up into the train

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/12pQUrsmI4ZZ5LVAXmB-2U7neP7-MuhP6/view?usp=sharing

  12. some more hints on the theater fire:

    1. while you’re entering a number, it isn’t morse code

    2. we were correct to focus on 911, and “a retrospective”; they additionally note the British emergency number is 999 so it wouldn’t make sense to actually dial 911 there

    3. “Think about the pads and how they might be used. Take into account the differences and beeps (Yes/No/True/False/OK/Error).”

    My best guess is we are entering either 119 or 116, so it is a matter of figuring out how to get numbers from the buttons. The big problem is, despite all my efforts to get something different, the behavior has always been

    square –> short beep, the long if pressed after a second time
    triangle –> always long beep
    oval –> short beep, the long if pressed after a second time
    round –> short beep, the long if pressed after a second time

    Having square, oval, and round all having the same behavior is especially baffling — how do we know if we are pushing the right one?

    My guess is we are trying to imagine a system which might normally in a modern sense come with a display, but we have to work just with the sounds it makes instead. One model for such a system might be

    one button moves a “cursor” left and right on a three-digit number
    one button advances the digit in that space
    one button sends the three digit number

    However, this doesn’t make any sense for what the buttons are doing; there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to push a button more than once (or at least, there’s no reason for behavior to differ with a button pushed twice in a row).

    • No breakthroughs, just various musings on the theater pads to perhaps continue/spark further discussion

      I keep thinking some permutation of binary is what we’re intended to do here (119 being 01110111, or 116 being 01110100) but haven’t had any luck implementing yet. Braille is another option that relies on “on-or-off” data points but I have even less idea how to input that.

      I even tried a very long sequence designed to replicate the “rows of three characters” ASCII art from the Dial 911 poster itself. But then we’re getting into the second-order/combinatorial explosion problem; even if that was somehow the right idea, with no way to differentiate between the square/oval/round pads by their behavior – and with no clear way to ascertain the *order* to enter such data (left to right? top to bottom? reverse either or both of those?) – there are so many different equally plausible ways to enter such lengthy sequences that testing them becomes an exercise in demoralizing frustration.

      I do keep thinking we’re supposed to glean something meaningful from the *shapes* of the buttons, and square as “4th digit” and triangle as “3rd digit” seems reasonable, but then where does that leave oval and round? And what to do about triangle apparently being “stuck” in an error state (if a long beep means “wrong”)?

  13. Is the oval a two-sided figure? I’m not playing along, just skimming the posts and comments, so I’m probably way off, but it looks like it could be a way to enter octal digits. Circle (one-sided) sets bit zero, oval (two sided) sets bit one, square (four sided) sets bit two. Triangle (three sided) makes no sense, so long beep. Setting a bit twice makes no sense, so long beep.

    • I do think the number-of-sides thing is promising!

      I’m not sure about the octal, given the max would be 1 + 2 + 4 so we couldn’t get 9? I did test 1-1-6 with having the triangle being “input the number” and the other buttons and it didn’t work.

    • Oh! A breakthrough!

      [Bpgny vf pbeerpg, naq gevnatyr *qbrf* zrna “vachg gur ahzore.” Naq jr ner ragrevat bar-bar-avar. Gur svany gevpx vf gung gur jnl gb trg avar jvgubhg gevttrevat n “ybat orrc reebe” vf gb cerff biny, gura ebhaq, gura biny ntnva (jr qba’g trg na reebe orpnhfr jr qvqa’g cerff biny *gjvpr va n ebj*), naq gura fdhner.]

      Results:

      -> cerff ebhaq;cerff gevnatyr
      Cerffrq. Gur cnq rzvgf n fubeg orrc.
      Cerffrq. Gur cnq rzvgf n ybat orrc.
      -> cerff ebhaq;cerff gevnatyr
      Cerffrq. Gur cnq rzvgf n fubeg orrc.
      Cerffrq. Gur cnq rzvgf n ybat orrc.
      -> cerff biny;cerff ebhaq;cerff biny;cerff fdhner;cerff gevnatyr
      Cerffrq. Gur cnq rzvgf n fubeg orrc.
      Cerffrq. Gur cnq rzvgf n fubeg orrc.
      Cerffrq. Gur cnq rzvgf n fubeg orrc.
      Cerffrq. Gur cnq rzvgf n fubeg orrc.
      Cerffrq. Gur cnq rzvgf n ybat orrc.
      Gur cbqvhz tragyl yrivgngrf nf n uvqqra gencqbbe bcraf nobir lbh. Gur onfr bs
      gur cbqvhz fgbcf zbivat bapr vg vf syhfu jvgu gur fgntr juvpu vf pheeragyl
      cnegvpvcngvat va n fvtavsvpnag pbasyntengvba.
      Jryy, gung’f fnirq gur perzngbevhz n wbo.

      • So after all that, the sequence kills you? The Authentic Ferret Experience ™ indeed.

        Maybe it is a matter of timing and having it happen right at the collapse?

      • And while some additional work beyond the above was needed, I have now successfully escaped the theatre with the zinc key and the PVC pipe bomb.

        Hints regarding that “additional work” are below. However, I *strongly* encourage fellow solvers to give themselves time to really grapple with this conundrum before diving too deeply into these hints. Out of everything we’ve encountered so far in Ferret, I consider this to be the most satisfying (and logical!) solve to date.

        1. Gur fbyhgvba qbrf abg vaibyir rvgure rkgvathvfuvat gur sver be jnvgvat vg bhg va gur Pybfrg.
        2. Gur fbyhgvba nyfb qbrf abg vaibyir arire fgnegvat gur sver va gur svefg cynpr. Lbh *qb* arrq gb fgneg gur sver gb trg qbja gb gur onfrzrag nern.
        3. Abe pna jr qverpg gur cbqvhz gb rzretr naljurer bgure guna Pragre Fgntr…
        4. …naq vs Pragre Fgntr vf ba sver ng gur gvzr jr qb fb, bhe tbbfr vf pbbxrq.
        5. Pbafvqre ubj sverf (gung fgneg va ohvyqvatf) orunir va erny yvsr.
        6. Gur sver fgnegf va gur Terra Ebbz.
        7. Jung pna jr qb gb cerirag, be ng yrnfg fybj, gur sver’f fcernqvat gb Pragre Fgntr sebz gur Terra Ebbz?
        8. Pbafvqre er-rkcybevat gur gurngre (orsber fgnegvat gur sver) jvgu guvf ceboyrz va zvaq.
        9. Qb lbh frr nalguvat va nal bs gur ebbzf gung pbhyq vzcrqr gur sver?
        10. Nal oneevref lbh pna znavchyngr, creuncf?
        11. Ng yrnfg bar bs juvpu vf znqr bs zrgny?
        12. Ng yrnfg bar bs juvpu vf va gur Terra Ebbz vgfrys?
        13. Gurer’f n fgrry qbbe gung pbaarpgf gur Terra Ebbz naq bar bs gur Jvatf.
        14. Juvyr va gur Terra Ebbz, orsber fgnegvat gur synzrf, PYBFR QBBE.
        15. Abj jura lbh evfr hc ba Pragre Fgntr, lbh’yy svaq gur sver unfa’g ernpurq gurer lrg…
        16. …nu, ohg jura lbh tb gb yrnir, lbh’yy svaq lbhe rkvg oybpxrq orpnhfr gur Sblre (gur bayl jnl bhg) vf noynmr.
        17. Ubj qvq gur sver ernpu gur Sblre jura lbh fuhg gur qbbe va gur Terra Ebbz?
        18. Jryy, gurer *vf* gur rkvg fbhgu sebz gur Terra Ebbz, gung yrnqf gb n Pbeevqbe gung yrnqf gb gur Sblre…
        19. …naq nygubhtu vg znl abg or pnyyrq bhg nf znqr bs fgrry…
        20. …gurer vf nyfb n qbbe orgjrra gur Pbeevqbe naq Sblre. Orsber fgnegvat gur oynmr, pybfr *gung* qbbe nf jryy.
        21. Naq qba’g jnfgr gvzr! Gur ragver gurngre jvyy fgvyy pbyyncfr nsgre rabhtu gheaf cnff, gnxvat lbh jvgu vg hayrff lbh’ir rfpncrq shyyl ol gura!

  14. And I’ll just add further that the PVC vessel *and* the zinc key, brought together, are the solution to [gur Gernfher Vfynaq penpxrq ebpx jnyy, ernpurq va cunfr ryrira ol obneqvat gur sreel, cyhf jung pbzrf vzzrqvngryl nsgre vg.] Stopping there for others to catch up, as this new place and its stuff looks quite intriguing.

    • I managed to solve the bit after the buttons without too much trouble, because: (anyone who is playing please try to solve on your own first before revealing)

      V tbg gur cneg nsgre snveyl dhvpxyl, ohg V unq orra abbqyvat jvgu gur qbbe va gur terra ebbz cevbe gb gur ohggbaf jvgu gur gubhtugf znlor gur ohggbaf jrer n pbzcyrgr erq ureevat.

      For the part after using the items:

      V thrff gur znva dhrfgvba vf vs vg vf n bar-jnl ragenapr be abg, be vs gur “nafjre furrg” vasb vf gur bayl ernfba jul jr’er urer. Bar guvat V jnf jbaqrevat vf ubj gb trg onpx sebz gur vfynaq, fvapr gur sreel frrzf gb or n bar-jnl gevc.

      Vs vf cbffvoyr gb trg onpx, znlor urer vf jura gur gryrcbeg oenpryrg vf hfrshy?

      • V fhfcrpg vg’f n bar-jnl gevc nf lbh trg ab cbvagf sbe ragrevat gur Tenirlneq (be vaqrrq, sbe nal cneg bs fbyivat gur Gurngre). Fb sne rirel gvzr gur tnzr unf njneqrq hf cbvagf sbe fbyivat n chmmyr vg’f orra sbe n “pevgvpny cngu” ybpngvba – n ybpngvba va juvpu jr’er *abg* genccrq sberire, naq ner noyr gb pbagvahr gur tnzr jvgubhg erybnqvat. V’ir yrnearq gb vagrecerg gur ynpx bs cbvagf nf vaqvpngvat n “jebat ghea” – gubhtu bsgra na vasbezngvir bar.

        (Abgr gung gur Zvyyvtna sybbe va cunfr 15, juvpu lbh trg cbvagf sbe ernpuvat ivn gur jvaqbj-jnfure’f penqyr, vf *abg* n cbvag bs ab erghea. Gur penqyr npghnyyl jnvgf sbe lbh bhgfvqr – hayvxr gur erq ureevat sybbe, jurer vg vzzrqvngryl yrnirf lbh fgenaqrq – naq vs lbh jnyx onpx bhg gb gur penqyr jvgu lbhe vairagbel qvirfgrq, vg mvcf lbh onpx hc gb gur ebbs.)

        Va nal rirag, creuncf gur Nafjre Furrg jvyy uryc hf svther bhg gur pelcgvp pyhrf va gur Fpebyy? Nffhzvat gur nafjre oynaxf zngpu hc jvgu gur fpebyy pyhrf, rira whfg xabjvat gur ahzore bs fcnprf naq jbeqf sbe rnpu “nafjre” vf jrypbzr nqqvgvbany vasbezngvba.

      • I share the same interpretation of points/pointless sections.
        I have a separate “map” with just the “points graph” which is so very clear and linear in retrospective, but we know how all-over-the-map the way TO that path has been.
        Great work with breaking the pads sequence!

  15. if the island is one-way, we may have a second place we can use the explosion also. Tested the exploding vessel on the cyborg:

    -> give vessel to cyborg
    The cyborg extends a sinuous curvaceous limb and most delicately takes the gift. It then swings away from you and after some brief but strange tearing and rendering noises it turns to face you again. Your gift has disappeared.
    The cyborg has glided out of the room.
    There is a small explosion nearby.

    The cyborg is fine — the presence of the explosion sound just seems to be a bug, since it tears apart the explosive without getting hurt.

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