Archive for the ‘warp’ Tag

Warp (1980)   9 comments

WARP \`wo(e)rp\ n 1: a series of yarns crossed by the woof 2: a mental twist or aberration 3: a computer fantasy simulation of adventure and intrigue ~ vt 1: to deplete weight by expungance of existance 2: to become warped

— via the WARP user manual

Rob Lucke and Bill Frolik’s Warp is a tricky game to date because it never had a “release”, and kept getting developed all the way to 1983. Work seems to have started very late in 1979 (and arguably people other than the authors weren’t playing until 1980). Hence I would normally save this game for later in my sequence, but

a.) The only way to play it is via logging in a HP3000 mainframe via telnet. The authors were very canny about not releasing their source so it never has had a modern port. Having this sort of circumstance makes me paranoid the game will disappear forever so I’d like to play sooner rather than later.

b.) Due to the long development time it is very large, with 49 treasures and 1216 points possible. I hence likely will be spreading it out amongst shorter 1979 games.

c.) I have had people reach this blog searching for Warp specifically so there’s at least one person out there waiting for this one.

So, random anonymous Internet person, here you go.

(ADD: I later moved this up to 1980. This makes Warp more consistent with my other mainframe games which start at when the game was first playable by others; I also had gotten worn down at my first attempt. My prophecy that the telnet server would disappear came true, but fortunately there’s a way now to play offline.)


Despite Warp being described as a “fantasy” above, it appears to be generally set in contemporary times. The objective seems to be to collect treasures about the world and put them in a “curator’s case” although I haven’t found any such case yet.

Central Plaza.
You are standing in what appears to be the central plaza of a small seacoast resort. There is a large fountain in the center of this square, and the plaza extends quite a distance to both the north and south. You can see the ocean in the distance to the west, and to the east there is a large building on which there is a sign that reads “WARP BUILDING”.

I can see the following:
Round Peg

Round Peg taken.

Warp Building Lobby.
You’re standing in the lobby of the Warp Building. On the door to the north you read “MEN”; similarly, on the door to the south, “WOMEN”. There’s a security desk between you and the corridor to the east. The only other exit is to the west.

I can see the following:
Security Guard, who possesses:
a Gun

Women’s Room.
Welcome to the women’s room. Looks a lot like the men’s room in many respects, except that there’s only one exit — to the north. A message carved into the wall says: “Call 333-2583”.

I can see the following:
Digital Watch

The digital watch is the first treasure of the game.

There’s a wandering mugger who will take your treasures and stash them in an alley, and a wandering policeman who will take your “weapons” and stash them … I’m not sure where, exactly. There’s a police station but I didn’t find anything there.

“Weapons” seem to include the round peg and a banana. Someone could slip!

I have just been trying to get the feel of the land, which includes dying:

Columbus was wrong.
You’ve floated right off the edge of the known world. All around you lie the remnants of past explorers and their vessels, coffins of worthless hulks. High above you, the waters of the ocean spill down from the world’s edge and splatter like grandiose raindrops all about you.

You begin to thrash madly in the waves as the shark fins come nearer. Your thrashing, however, only serves to send the man-eaters into a feeding frenzy as they home in on you. You hear the crunching of bones as the first shark removes your leg. Suddenly, everything grows dark around you …

You sense yourself leaving your physical body — A spiritual entity in a black haze. The bleakness begins to clear, however, and you begin to recognize familiar things, only everything appears in various shades of grey.

This small cemetary appears to serve the City of Warp, but it does not have room to contain many graves. Small simple grave markers show the location of those in eternal sleep. A large fence prevents you from going east into a very deep ravine.

I can see the following:

Noteworthy is that even that you are *not* resurrected (“>DIAGNOSE” returns “You are dead.”) you can still wander around and look at things, although you can’t pick anything up. I don’t think I’ve hit another game with this feature before.

There’s some interest in Warp past obscurity and massive size; it’s got some monster ambitions for the parser which includes an attempt to make it “smarter than Zork”. It has: backtracking (letting you type BACKTRACK 4 and retrace your last four rooms, for instance), macros (letting you define a set of actions as one command) and conditionals (“IF SEE THE BEAR THEN LOOK AT IT. GO NORTH”). I’ll explore these (and the rest of the game, of course) and report back next time.

Posted January 3, 2016 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Warp: Supermassive   Leave a comment

This is only a fraction of the overall map.


(3 out of 49 treasures found, no idea where to stash them!)

There’s a lot of sameness to the rooms to enough an extent I normally associate with MUDs, not single player games.

Easy Street.
You’re in the middle of a long north-south street. To the west you can see the ocean in the distance, and to the east you can see a large building.

Easy Street.
You’re in the middle of a long north-south street. The ocean is in the distance to the west, and a large building can be seen to the east.

Wall Street.
You’re in the middle of a long street, extending primarily to the north and south, but also at this point there is a side street going to the east. The ocean is in the distance to the west.

West Bridge.
This is the famous West Bridge of Warp, known primarily for no reason at all other than the fact that Warp needed a bridge and this was a convenient place to put one. The road extends to the north and south, and there is a river below running east-west.

Easy Street.
You’re at a point where a north-south street meets an east-west street. To the south you can see what looks like a large park.

In a MUD, there needs to be some space so not everyone is crowded in small spaces, and even the most neutral of rooms can build up character if events occur in them throughout inter-character interaction (Battle of the West Bridge, say). Unfortunately, Warp is a single player game. The currently roaming NPCs just aren’t that impressive yet (I keep getting followed by a mugger with “A sordid individual is following you.” being displayed, which is far less interesting than anything in Adventure or Zork.)

I did manage to solve one puzzle (getting into the Warp Building by wearing a nametag) but otherwise my gameplay has consisted entirely of mapping.

Unfortunately I’ve also had crashes. Remember I playing by logging into an HP3000 terminal and the experience is much flakier than I’d like; while I haven’t built up a game yet and am simply in the gathering info phase, if I want to be serious about attempting a win I need to work out how to get a little more stability.

I haven’t played with the new parser features much other than to try a macro.

(Define X)
=E LOOK @1
(X defined)


Round. Made of wood. Not very big.

The command above reroutes the command “X” which is normally unrecognized into “LOOK”.

One last random observation before I sign off: I’m finding the “reject a command” response grating.

This is part of the lush grounds of Warp Park.

I can see the following:
Fig Tree

>climb tree
That makes no sense.

>FLAP FLAP FLAP< I think it's hopeless.

shake tree
"Shake" is Danish to me. Try English.

This is made worse by the existence of a nearby tree that you can climb (by going up). I know authors sometimes try to be colorful in their error messages, but it is highly unlikely the reason a player’s command is unrecognized is a lack of being in English. It’s like the game is expecting the player to apologize and not the game itself.

Posted January 10, 2016 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Warp: Help solve it   13 comments

I have been occasionally hacking at Warp but I am still mainly just adding rooms to my map and don’t have anything interesting to comment on yet (other than it is ludicrously easy to die — my favorite was entering a desert and having a rock fall on my head out of the sky).

I did hit one puzzle that might be self-contained enough I can send it to you, the readers. Or possibly we’ve got a red herring here. I’m in the Warp Museum (which has the display case you need to put found treasures in, hurrah) and just next to the display case room there’s a room with a stone disc that has a green, red, blue emeralds embedded within. All three count as treasures (and the stone disc is too large to move) so they must be extractable somehow. There’s an inscription on the stone disc.


It might be a cryptogram. If not, then there’s likely some item that will clarify that I haven’t found. Either way, I’m curious what all of you can do with this.

(Incidentally, ASCII art such as the above is extremely common in Warp. It has the most ASCII I’ve seen of any text adventure game of the mainframe era.)

ADD: Definitely a cryptogram. I have rejiggered letters to put it in more traditional form if anyone else wants to have a go.


I solved it with this website which is not an autosolver but lets you easily make substitutions and have them automatically carry to all letters.

Also, thanks to Tjeerd who has the solution in the comments.

Posted January 24, 2016 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Warp: Fancy/stupid parser tricks   8 comments

There are two ways to look for creative innovation.

The conventional way is to look at recent efforts in a field (see, for example, Emily Short’s post Experimentation in the Parser Domain).

The paradoxical way is to look at older work. Many times a work’s innovation is lost because the work itself is obscure or the implementation of a promising concept was badly done. Often you can find the future in the past.


This seemed neat, but I had trouble making it work until I tried to ride a bus. The bus moves about the map at three stops travelling back and forth, and if you want to get on the bus it sometimes takes a long wait. Several times I accidentally waited past the bus arriving. I made a macro.


Now every time I type “X”, the game will first check there is a bus. If so it will ride the bus (in needs to be in that exact syntax; for all the advanced tricks the parser can do it misses some obvious synonyms). If not then it takes inventory to wait a turn. (While WAIT is an actual command it causes a real-time delay.) The game still takes inventory when successfully getting on the bus, but it doesn’t cause an issue with timing.

Here’s the macro in action:


You are carrying the following:
Transit Pass


The roar of an engine and squealing tires can be heard up the street.

You are carrying the following:
Transit Pass
You look in the distance and see a large bus approaching. The bus
pulls to a stop before you and its doors open with a loud hiss.


There is a large bus here that looks like it’s getting ready to leave.

You wave your bus pass and the bus driver smiles as you climb aboard the bus.
Easy Street. (on bus)

The bus door closes and you hear the grind of gears as it pulls away
from the stop.
The bus rattles somewhat as it carries you ahead.
Easy Street. (on bus)

The bus rattles somewhat as it carries you ahead.
Easy Street. (on bus)

Now I can just rattle of Xs until the bus arrives and the player character hops on automatically as opposed to spamming just a wait command and missing the bus altogether.

ADD: I realized this would be a better way to write the macro:


This way there’s not the extra turn taken after riding the bus. This required a bit of a programmer’s sensibility; the player won’t see the “bus object” after getting on the bus, meaning if the statements are in reverse order the NOT SEE statement will still trigger after boarding the bus.

This is so convoluted it only seems thematically appropriate in a “robot character” game like Dan Shiovitz’s Bad Machine or Paul O’Brian’s LASH. I’m not convinced the “IF” command is that helpful in more standard text adventure games.

Posted February 3, 2016 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Warp: Playing Offline   8 comments

My last update promised I would get to the mainframe game Lugi soon, but in the process of trying to set it up I made a new discovery regarding Warp.

Brief reminder: Warp is a gigantic mainframe game with 1216 points possible on the HP3000. It has an unusual parser that allowed “conditional” statements and macros. The only way I had of playing it was via a telnet server, so I was paranoid it would eventually disappear forever.

In May of last year, a genuine expert at the HP3000 (Big Dan the Blogging Man) made a “packaged” version of the HP3000. If you’ve tried the Digital Antiquarian’s TOPS-10 in a Box, this is similar: you just download and run.

HP3000 with Simh

In any case, to get to the games, start with


which is the games account, and then you can RUN WARP to play Warp offline! Bill Wolpert’s Mystery Mansion from 1978 is on there too (RUN MANSION) so you can emulate it running on the original hardware rather than using a port.

To quit, press CTRL-A to enter console mode, then type SHUTDOWN.

Posted February 7, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Warp: Everything So Far   15 comments

So, IFComp 2019 is about to hit, and I do intend to play and even possibly write about some of the games, but I also wanted to keep my momentum going on 1980. What better contrast to a bunch of small games than a very, very, very large one?

From >READ POSTER in an early room in Warp.

I will try to keep my Warp posts to a more-or-less weekly pace, and put my IFComp posts in between.

You may want to read my old entries, but the summary is: Warp was an attempt one-up Zork developed all the way from 1980 to 1985, and made gigantic in the process. The sole objective is to gather all the treasures and get all the points (1216 of them). Even though I have my old map, just looking at it scares me.

Even given the amount of work I put in, I barely made any progress. This is one of those wide-open puzzle games where there are far too many things to work on at once and I’m not sure where to start.

I often have this sort of “game paralysis” with strategy games — I’m on move 3 and there’s lots of choices already, and I’m worried that the wrong direction will screw my game up at move 40 (because sometimes, it has) so I end up just losing interest. If I can overcome this kind of start and get immersed, the game can get going. I’ve never come up with a good coping mechanism for strategy games (I’ve only got through the start of every Six Ages game I’ve played and it’s been on my phone since release day).

With adventure games, sometimes it helps for me to list everything out. Both for my benefit (given my last “real” Warp post was over 3 years ago) and so y’all fine people see what’s going on, I broke the giant map into five regions.


Central Plaza.
You are standing in what appears to be the central plaza of a small seacoast resort. There is a large fountain in the center of this square, and the plaza extends quite a distance to both the north and south. You can see the ocean in the distance to the west, and to the east there is a large building on which there is a sign that reads “WARP BUILDING”.

The game starts right outside the “WARP BUILDING”. Nearby the building is a place with a video game (I have no coins for it) and a police station. The police officer wanders the area and will arrest you if you are carrying a weapon.

It is unclear what the building is used for. After getting by a security guard (with a nametag out in the PARK area) there’s an abandoned kitchen and dining room, an two elevators with three buttons each (one which is “out of order” and kills you if you use it), and a “mad doctor”.

Operating Room.
This is a very clean, sterile-looking room with white walls and chromed stainless-steel fixtures. There is a large operating table in the center of the room, and various pieces of machinery surrounding it. There are exits to the north and west.

I can see the following:
Mad Doctor
Suddenly the doctor produces a huge syringe, and quickly flings it at you.
You feel a painful sting as it sticks in your leg!

The mad doctor runs rather like a Zork battle with random messages; I haven’t experimented with fighting back yet.

Other items: Round peg, Digital watch, Digital scale, Banana.

The banana is considered a weapon, and the policeman will arrest you if you have it.


You’re standing in the northeast corner of Warp Park. The grass in green, the sky is blue, and you can go almost any direction. There is one particularly large tree growing nearby.

There’s a silver flute here which counts as a treasure (and makes a high pitched “dog whistle” sound), a nametag (used in the Warp building), a sign which warns you not to dig on the grass, a crank and well, a random fig tree and pine tree, and a “bathing ugly”.

There’s also a koala bear high in a redwood which also counts as a treasure, although it eats through your inventory if you’re carrying it around. Also, if you try to put it in the display case for treasures (see the next area), it wanders off, so I’m guessing I need some sort of sedative-laced food.


Just east of the park is the museum, which has a wandering curator and a display case for storing the treasures of Warp.

Curator’s Office
This is a large office with a musty smell. The walls are lined with rows and rows of books. Numerous stacks of paper and partially restored objects are piled about the room. A large desk with a leather-backed chair stands in one corner of the room. The only exit is through the door to the east.

I can see the following:
Display Case

The display case has a lamp (which the curator doesn’t mind if you take). The curator does mind if you abscond with anything else; there’s a Mayan Room with an odd disk (with a cryptogram I’ve written about before), a gemstone room with “Leeverite”, a Sarcophagus Room with a casket, a dinosaur room with a Warpasaur.


To the west of the park, if you dive through the ocean and swim, you can find an island and a lighthouse.

You’re standing in a gently sloping meadow, surrounded on three sides by steep rising cliffs. To the east, there is a small sheltered cove, its waters placidly lapping near your feet. A rickety boat dock extends somewhat out into the water. You can go most any direction.

There’s a cave entrance but it is dark inside and I haven’t been able to get the lamp from the display case over because the ocean washes away any items I try to carry.

Other items: hardhat, rusty shovel, ruby lense. (Spelled that way in the game.)


To the east of the Warpian building is an area with a mall, an alley, and a desert.

You’re at the northeast corner of the Cobblestone Square, where before you looms a magnificent statue of Miles A. Weigh, one of the most famous of the Warpian explorers. The cobblestones stop, but the square appears to continue to the north.

The alley has a mugger who is Warp’s equivalent of the thief from Zork, and is keen on stealing all your treasures.

The mall has a bank and a subway station, which I haven’t quite worked out how to use even though I have a “transit pass”. I assume I can reach another new large section once I get in.

Heading east from here there is a “desert” with a sign warning of falling rocks, and if you keep going east you die via a rock randomly falling out of the sky on your head.

Immediately after making this list, I went over to the “hardhat” (which required swimming over the ocean in the far southwest of the map), wore it, was able to get through the ocean without dropping it (since I was wearing it) and used it to scoot through the desert safely and make it to a region beyond, which looks like it might also be big. This game just keeps going and going.

I have marked the location of the hardhat and the place where it solved a puzzle, just to give an idea of what kind of back-and-forth is required in this game.

Posted September 30, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Warp: Swimming and Sailing   25 comments

With IFComp, I’ve managed to plow through about 10 Twine games and 0 text adventures. Warp occupies enough headspace that I have trouble fitting anything similar in, but other interactive fiction seems to occupy a different brain category. (I will probably do reviews, but as a “compilation” where I will compare a bunch of games at once.)

A “majestic Spanish Galleon” which patrols the seas. If you’re swimming, it doesn’t bother you; if you’re sailing, it fires cannons. Warp has the largest amount of ASCII art I’ve seen in an adventure game. Both mainframe Zork and Stuga included a handful, but I’ve seen something like 30 pictures in Warp so far.


I’ve opened up quite a bit of map and found many more treasures, although I haven’t done a run yet where I’ve gathered them all at once. Part of this has to do with a nasty discovery Roger Durrant made.

I had (without too much difficulty or fanfare) discovered that in the Bank of Warp, the vault opens at a particular time (hinted at by a note in the Director’s office). I was then able to sneak in and grab some gold bullion, delivering it to the display case in the Warp Museum and netting a total of 35 points. Roger subsequently tested out the same solution and found he couldn’t do it; essentially, if you miss the time window near the start for entering the vault, you have broken the game.

I am hence somewhat paranoid about other potential softlocks, and since Warp is fairly open, I’ve got various save games running in parallel as I thwack at the various mysteries and puzzles. Most notably, there’s a lamp with a battery having limited time, just like Adventure/Zork/Acheton, and I’m worried once all the uses are taken into account the time limit is tight. I still remember in the last part of Acheton having to walk through darkness to the endgame (saving repeatedly and restoring when I fell into a pit by chance); with Warp I have no such way out, because if your lamp gives out in darkness you die right away.

My major lamp use went into mapping a maze.

I first thought this was going to be a “well-behaved” maze where directions go back and forth in the direction you expect, and indeed the first portion of my expedition went that way. The map was laid out in “micro-floors” with up-and-down stairs connecting a little randomly, but each floor being normal. There was a treasure which took a little effort to find, I mopped up most of the available directions, and that was that.

However, in one of the last exits I checked (in a pair of rooms marked “Kilroy Was Here” and “Kilroy Was Here Too”) the micro-floor idea continued, but there were now many more “punishment” one-way exits. By that I mean if you went the “wrong way” you were sent far off course, essentially guaranteeing there was no way to find a good route at random. Structurally, this seems intended as a fake-out — trying to coax players into giving up at finding the first treasure and assuming the maze has nothing else to yield.

Secretarial Pool.
This is a large room with a high ceiling, glass walls, and a large, deep, swimming pool in the center. There is a sign next to the diving board that reads

(Executives Forbidden)
Please Wash Toes Before Entering
the Pool.

There are two ways out, to the east and back to the north.

I can see the following:
Swimming Pool
Postage Stamp

Incidentally, JUMP IN POOL is death.

You gracefully execute a perfect swan dive into mid air. In your great haste, however, you failed to notice that the Warp Building Maintanence crew has drained the pool to keep it from leaking into the Operating room below. But they are efficient, and will undoubtedly scrape up your remains before refilling the pool …

In an adjacent room there’s a hole that you can pick up, and move to other places (!). I haven’t worked out the full mechanics of how this works. I was too busy otherwise trying to map out the ocean.

Haunt’s 7 by 7 by 7 cube of water was technically larger, but this still trumps anything I’ve previously played in terms of elaborateness. You can swim out alone (although if you are out more than 3 turns, you get attacked by sharks). There is the occasional stable position which resets the “shark counter” — like a fog bank — so I was able to use those to do produce quite a bit of the map.

Some locations are just too far from shore and you need a boat. There is a boat sitting out in the open and I’m fairly sure using it wasn’t really intended as a puzzle, yet it’s very easy to miss how to launch it. You can go DOWN and find another room.

You find yourself in the main cabin of the boat. The walls here are dark paneled, and there is a well-used bunk along the port side. A small wooden cabinet is built into the wall at the bow end of the bunk. At the aft end of the starboard wall is a large closet, and the remainder of the room sports nothing of interest other than a few shelves. A few short steps at the aft end of the cabin lead back up to the main deck, while next to them another short stairway leads down, apparently to a lower deck.

I can see the following:
Wooden Cabinet

There’s a sail in the closet; take it upstairs and RAISE SAIL and the boat will become mobile.

While reefs are no threat while swimming, they smash up the boat if you hit them while sailing. I find the dual-meaning to the locations intriguing. (There actually seems to be triple-meaning because diving underwater seems to be possible, although I haven’t tested it yet — hopefully next time.)

I will be traveling so the next post might be delayed a little. If you need some reading material in the meantime, there is a spreadsheet that is collecting the current reviews for IFComp.

Posted October 6, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Warp: The Deep Places   120 comments

Last time, I came across a hole in the center of a maze.

The hole, being the absence of anything, is impossible to inspect.

The hole turns out to be incredibly useful; you can pick it up (!) and wear it (!!). You can put it down wherever you like; usually, it then connects to some random spot on the map, so you can use it to move items when you normally can’t.

For example, there’s a “Fog Bank” …

The fog is so dense you could cut it with a knife! There is nothing but whiteness in every direction!

… where you can take the text quite literally and >CUT FOG WITH KNIFE:

>cut fog with knife

The fog quickly thins out.
Flat Rock Shoal.
A light fog mists about as you find yourself at a small, flat-top rock rising a few feet above the water. The rock extends somewhere to the north, and although the fog is light, you cannot see very far in that direction. Water lies all about in other directions.

I can see the following:
Boat, which contains:
a Sail

Once you’ve done this, you can find a safe with a black pearl. The safe is unlocked (so easy to open) but if you take the pearl you are unable to move (undoubtedly some mystical security system the game fails to clarify). If you have the hole dropped in the safe location, you can just DROP PEARL IN HOLE and safely make your escape.

The hole is an appropriate item to start this post since my general theme has been “finding things beneath other things.”

Mayan Room.
A large disc, covered with ancient Mayan inscriptions, dominates this display. The disc is made of solid rock, and if I remember my ancient Mayan history, it’s probably some kind of calendar. There is a door to the west, and the museum continues to the north.

I can see the following:
Stone Disc, which contains:
a Green Emerald
a Red Emerald
a Blue Emerald
Curator’s Door

Green Emerald
The emerald is a rich, traditional shade of oceanic green, and is perhaps the size of a small golfball.
Red Emerald
This emerald is unusual in that it is a brilliant hue of ruby red. About the size of a walnut, it glistens in the light before your eyes.
Blue Emerald
A sky-blue emerald, extremely rare! Maybe 19 millimeters across, and undoubtedly worth a king’s ransom.

This place is in the museum; a long while black I blogged about a cryptogram which translated as THIS PASSAGE UNLOCKS ONLY TO HE WHO SOLVE THE SECRET OF THE STONES. I’d been hacking at this puzzle in frustration for a long time before Roger Durrant mentioned something about rubbing the emeralds. I had tried that, I thought to no avail:

The Blue Emerald does nothing.

While the Blue Emerald “does nothing”, one of the other emeralds changed.

Green Emerald
The emerald is a rich, traditional shade of oceanic green, and is perhaps the size of a small golfball.
It is glowing intensely.
Red Emerald
This emerald is unusual in that it is a brilliant hue of ruby red. About the size of a walnut, it glistens in the light before your eyes.
Blue Emerald
A sky-blue emerald, extremely rare! Maybe 19 millimeters across, and undoubtedly worth a king’s ransom.

Notice the “glowing intensely” now attached to the green emerald. There doesn’t seem to be any logic here — this is a straight-up maze were you transition from state to state of various emeralds glowing, with the goal of having all three emeralds be glowing. The full move list is


You can then PRESS DISC to get

As you press, the disc slowly slides back into the wall, revealing a long, musty staircase descending down into the unknown.

The underground includes a “Batcave”, which is too weird to describe, so I’ll just quote it:

This cavern appears to be all that’s left of a long-lost television series. Bats hang from the ceiling all about you, and the floor is sticky with bat guano. Across one wall you can see the remains of what looks like a large computer, and near the other wall there is a large city map labelled “GOTHAM”.

I can see the following:
63 Chevy

Oh, wow, man. Complete with dingle balls in the windshield!

The doors have been welded shut and all the dingle balls hanging in the windows make it impossible for you to put more than your arm into the car.

Framastat taken.

It’s a small metal cube with octagonal indentations on each face.

There’s also a section with a tiny maze where you can only go east and west:

Room with Two Exits.
You are in a small, featureless room with cold, grey stone walls
A crude rock slide leads up the way you came, but you cannot climb it. You have available two passages carved from the stone, one the east, and one to the west, both mirror images of each other.

(Note: Exit with WEST. WEST. EAST. WEST.)

This is followed by a “Monitor Lizard” guarding a Jade Egg.

Lizard Den.
You find yourself inside a small alcove that was probably once the home of a large reptile. Shedded skin and unfamiliar bones litter a small earthen hole worn a few inches into the ground. The only way out is back to the north.

I can see the following:
Jade Egg
Monitor Lizard
A huge lizard seems to be following you.
It is hissing threateningly!

The lizard seems to become a permanent follower after this encounter and comes with you all about the map, including if you go sailing in the ocean. It is possible to temporarily “lose the trail” (which gives you enough a window to go back and get the Jade Egg) but eventually, it seems like the lizard will always find you. I’m saving this to be one of my last treasures; even if the lizard does nothing but watch, it’s still a constant irritant, kind of like the beeping sounds in Zelda when you’re down to one heart. (Here’s an hour-long loop of the aforementioned beep.)

Getting out of this area was one of the niftier puzzles of the game, because I had to realize how the various bits of geography related. I had reached this room, which seemed to be the end of the line:

Cliff Ledge.
You are standing at the brink of a sheer rock wall, the ocean swelling and churning far below you. A large opening in the face of the cliff is to the east, and you can hear band music playing somewhere far above your head.

However, the band music was a clue to the location; this had to be below the northwest corner of the Warp map.

This led me to realize I could tie a piece of rope to the pine tree at Land’s End (see on the map above) which would let me climb to and from the Cliff Ledge area.

One of the enemies I’ve passed mentioning last time was a Mad Doctor. He attacks more or less like a Zork enemy.



You deal a swift attack! The doctor trips …

You feel a tightening in your throat and gasp for air as the doctor whips his stethoscope around your neck!

Unlike a classic Adventure or Zork enemy which disappears in fog, this one leaves a corpse.

You issue a final blow, and the doctor slumps dead to the floor!

This is a clue the corpse is useful. You can go to a nearby graveyard and bury it.

If you do so you get a Devil’s Trident (a treasure) which you can then use to access an “Underworld”.

This is still part of the overall Warp map. You end up in “river zone” between the town and the desert.

Within this region, there’s not much other than a Shrubbery, a Monty Python joke …

The shrubbery is just a small inconspicuous bush. If you had another one, you could brace it alongside the first shrubbery, but a little bit lower to get a two level effect with a path running down the middle …

… a ride down the river with a bathtub …

Boiling Headwaters. (in tub)
The rushing waters of the Great Rift River boil and churn about you. Steam fills the air as it rises from the waters below to from a dense fog overhead.

… and a very strange bit with an Obelisk. I really don’t know what to do here.

Lost Civilization of the Implementors.
Around you stretches the expansive remains of some now lost civilization. Rectangular obelisks of varying height and size march in all directions in a pattern that appears to be circular in nature and centered about one large obelisk in particular. Shadows cast by the sun create a landscape dominated by light and dark contrasts, permeated with the sound of flowing water echoing and reverberating throughout the area.

I can see the following:
Ebony Obelisk


You are carrying the following:
Yellow Diamond
Crystal Sphere

(Side note: The “Carpet” is a flying carpet that seems to be the only way to leave this area.)

>enter obelisk

… you begin to hear a low hum …


Lost Civilization of the Implementors.
Around you stretches the expansive remains of some now lost civilization. Rectangular obelisks of varying height and size march in all directions in a pattern that appears to be circular in nature and centered about one large obelisk in particular. Shadows cast by the sun create a landscape dominated by light and dark contrasts, permeated with the sound of flowing water echoing and reverberating throughout the area.

I can see the following:
White Obelisk

>enter obelisk

You feel a short heatwave.
The humming has stopped.


You are carrying the following:
Ebony Cube

Finally, there is a pyramid in the southeast corner of the desert.

It’s possible to land inside randomly via hole teleport, or if you stick a hole right on top you’ll be able to get inside that way.

You find yourself in the antechamber of the Great Pyramid of Warp. The room about you is fairly barren, with huge sandstone walls and only one apparently continuing passage to the north. Ancient heiroglyphics decorate the walls in a lost language of signs and symbols, but are now largely obscured and unreadable due to many years of senseless vandalism by scores of would-be grave robbers.

I can see the following:
Stone Button
Stone Pedestal


Inside the Pyramid.
You are somewhere inside the Great Pyramid. A door is to the north.

I can see the following:
Stone Button
Stone Pedestal

It’s a gimmick maze that’s very hard to describe, but I’ll do my best. The map has an “Antechamber” at the center and “spokes” leading out.

The only direction you can go at any point is “north” if you keep going north eventually you’ll rotate back to the start of whatever section you’re in (assuming you have access, this means you keep returning to the antechamber).

“North” on this map is the starting rotation (at least the one I saw). If you push the antechamber button, you’ll rotate clockwise one step. So for example, if you push the antechamber button twice, you are in the Antechamber-chamber-chamber portion of the map with three linked rooms. If you push it five times (so you are “facing the southwest” on the map above, even though you’re going north) then heading north from the antechamber just loops back to the antechamber with no extra rooms.

If you push a button in one of the regular chambers (as opposed to the center room) things start to go really crazy. I haven’t been able to even begin to scratch the surface of the puzzle, but it seems like there are rotating walls that get moved around, but I haven’t found any configuration that works consistently.

For example, on the map above, if you go to the chamber “south” or “southeast” of the opening room and push the button, the map changes to the one below:

I’ve tried a couple methods of mapping and all of them have given me a headache.

While I think I’ve hit most of the thresholds of the game, I’m starting to reach my exhaustion point. I may have to do the unprecedented step (for the All the Adventures project) of taking a second breather from Warp before I finish it, unless I have some kind of major breakthrough soon.

Posted October 21, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Warp: The Deadliest Treasure Collection in the World   11 comments

I have, according to Russell Karlberg’s walkthrough, collected every single treasure in the game and placed them in the display case.

This might be my last post on Warp, so: extreme spoilers as usual.

Image from a Video Game in Warp. This game seems to be a red herring; you can find a shiny quarter and try it, but the machine is busted.


Curator’s Office.
This is a large office with a musty smell. The walls are lined with rows and rows of books. Numerous stacks of paper and partially restored objects are piled about the room. A large desk with a leather-backed chair stands in one corner of the room. The only exit is through the door to the east.

I can see the following:
Lead Box
Display Case

The Display Case contains the following:
Platinum Apple
Bronze Ball
Koala Bear
Railroad Bond
Golden Bullion
Expensive Camera
Nautical Chart
Silver Coins
Silver Cross
Jeweled Dagger
Crystal Decanter
Yellow Diamond
Ebony Diamond
Jade Egg
Green Emerald
Red Emerald
Blue Emerald
Silver Flute
Golden Globe
Ruby Lense
Holy Mackeral
Treasure Map
Golden Matador
Black Opal
Large Pearl
Shiny Quarter
Silver Ring
Scarab Ring
Mink Slippers
Crystal Sphere
Green Stamp
Devil’s Trident
Ivory Tusk
Egyptian Urn
Patagonian Vase
Deadly Warponium
Digital Watch
Silk Web

Mind you, this case has

a.) a chunk of Uranium, where if you are nearby long enough you’ll die
b.) deadly Warponium, where also if you are nearby long enough you’ll die

The upshot of a.) and b.) is if you admire the collection for longer, than, say, two turns, this will happen:

The constant, relentless bombardment of your body by ionizing radiation from the uranium results in your half-life expectancy reaching zero. Your hair is falling out in patches and you feel incredibly weak. Next time, I would take the proper precautions in handling radioactive materials …

If the Uranium and Warponium happen to be together anywhere *other* than the display case, the effect is even shinier:

A strange sizzling sound begins to eminate from the container as the U238 and Warponium come within fighting distance. Upon taking a closer look, you see an intense purple glow interspersed with lightning-like bolts of energy being exchanged. As you watch, the two elements melt, run together and reach critical mass. You are really quite fortunate, as not many people get to see the beginnings of a mushroom cloud from this close…

Here were how my outstanding issues from last time were resolved, in reverse order:

1.) The Pyramid maze I confess I didn’t resolve at all. That portable hole I mentioned does connect with almost everywhere, including the final burial chamber of the maze, so I kept experimenting until I got lucky and was able to scoop up the Egyptian Urn (25 points) and use my Magic Carpet to escape.

2.) Resolving the obelisk was anticlimactic; I did almost the same thing as in my last post’s transcript, except I was holding only the yellow diamond. By doing so, I ended up with both the yellow diamond and an ebony diamond. I don’t understand the logic to why this happened, or if there even is logic.

3.) The monitor lizard really almost wasn’t a puzzle. While you can’t take the Jade Egg while it is in the room with you, any form of teleportation (by, say, portable hole) will cause it to “lose your trail” so you can go back and pick up the egg.

You may notice a thread of not-terribly-satisfying solutions, and that unfortunately held for most every problem that remained. All this time in the ocean there’s been a Spanish Galleon moving about, and I finally found (via a hint of Russell Karlberg’s) that standing on the deck of the ship and typing


will fire a torpedo. This allowed me to sink the Galleon, and then dive and get some treasures that were inside.

>lower sail

The sail falls limp as you lower it.

>attach ladder to boat

Short Ladder attached to Boat.


Well, okay, if you really want to …
>>> SPLASH ! <<<



You’re submerged beneath the waves. Sharks can be seen coldly
circling nearby.

I can see the following:
Sunken Galleon, which contains:
an Astrolabe
a Jeweled Dagger

I would have preferred at least an indication that the boat had some sort of voice-recognition control. There’s also lower decks to the main boat but I was never able to enter them legitimately; I just used the portable hole/carpet combination again to pick up the one treasure that was down there.

The very last puzzle I resolved was one of the very first puzzles I attempted back when I first started Warp. There’s a Koala Bear up a tree that counts as a treasure, but every time I tried to put it in the display case for points (as one typically does with any normal koala bear) it would wander out. I eventually found the solution was … reloading and attempting the same thing again 15 times before I got a lucky roll and was able to close the display case before the koala got out.

Despite the anticlimaxes, I did find getting the last treasures exciting insofar as I’ve been living with Warp a long time, so each of the last treasures led to a tangible sense of success.

I’m going to make some conclusions below, but note I’m probably not technically done with the game — there’s supposedly an “endgame” just like Adventure and mainframe Zork. I don’t know how to get it to trigger; I might just take a pass and let my hardy commentators go for it. My guess is it involves either this location

W.I.T. Laboratories.
You have entered sacred ground. In this very small, round, green windowless room, all of the conceptual puzzles of Warp were devised. There is one desolate computer terminal collecting dust in one corner, while numerous computer listings lie neatly stacked in another.

I can see the following:
Coke Machine
Transit Pass

and/or this location

Warp Room.
In this otherwise vacant room, you see before you a doorframe, roughly centered against a solid brick wall. Two large cables snake their way from the frame into the center of the room. The other walls of the room are completely blank, and the only apparent exit is the way you entered, back to the east.

I can see the following:
Short Cable
Long Cable

neither which I have found useful up to this point. (The professor will say random phrases like “I never swim with short cables.” or “I think a ship will easily bite in the dark of night.” if you TELL something to him.)


The first time I played Warp, the map was so large I got too exhausted to solve any puzzles before bowing out. The second time, there was still a lot to fill in, but as I got more familiar with the geography, the map “felt” smaller and smaller. I could rapidly type of a string of E.E.E.E.E.N.N. (etc) to go from location to location, so it was as if the world had compressed once I was familiar enough with it. This was even true for the large ocean sailing section, where I mentally tagged things by relative location as opposed to thinking of it square by square (“the fog bank is here, and if I go south here I’ll hit the sealion caves”).

The ocean wraps around (that is, if you keep going one direction you end up where you started), so there’s a little redundancy here.


I’m wondering if it would be possible to accelerate this process. An automap would help, surely, but that might not be everything; perhaps some equivalent to the friendly guides and arrows that appear in modern RPGs. Maybe the automap can work not just at the “room” level but the “region” level where it starts to indicate how to group sections (so it’s easier to think in terms of the “meta-map” of smaller pieces).

An approximate “meta-map” of the world of Warp. This is how it was stored in my head.




The authors really tried hard to make an elaborate parser. Not only does it understands full sentences and multiple commands, it includes features I’ve seen rarely elsewhere (or never seen at all) like backtracking, macros, and conditional IF-THEN statements.

The parser is still terrible.

Really, it’s like they focused on the wrong things. Synonyms are essentially non-existent. Typos count as in-world commands so when doing a time-sensitive task you can die just by typing WARPINIUM rather than WARPONIUM. LOOK IN is considered a special command opposed to LOOK (something I didn’t learn until after about being 80% through the game). A number of actions which I wouldn’t think about in an Infocom game I tore my hair out on here, like trying to use a transit pass to get into a subway. (When there’s a bad parser and full sentences, “guess the verb” can turn into “guess the complete phrasing”.) The characters barely react to any conversation attempts.

Mind you, this isn’t Deathship-level pain here, but a good parser is about understanding most of what someone would reasonably type and giving helpful guidance leading the player to the right syntax when it doesn’t happen. Even a two word parser can do this! Multiple commands and so forth are nice, but they aren’t everything.


I don’t want to linger here too long, because it’s 0.00001% of the game, but there’s a “bathing ugly” part which grated me the wrong way. If you’re playing this game, just know you can attempt to >KISS UGLY (this scares them away) and then not have to think about that scene any more.


Because this is a mainframe game that isn’t based on Adventure (see: Castle, Aldebaran III, Library, Haunt, Battlestar, Lugi), it is nearly obliged to have a scene like this:

Rocky Beach.
This is the eastern most point of the beach that you can get to; there’s a large fence to the east, too tall to see over, that features a sign reading

Au Natural Beach
Entrance by invitation only

You swim ahead, oblivious of danger.
Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink. (Unless you like salt water.) There’s land to the north.

On a Reef.
You’re over an underwater reef. There’s land visible to the north.

Say, did you ever see “Jaws”?

A jeering band of nudists prevents you from landing on the beach.

The puzzle is probably the best of the game. You can find in a Lighthouse, rather oddly, Absolutely Nothing. This is an item you can not only take but you can wear.

Absolutely Nothing put on.

You swim ahead, oblivious of danger.
Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink. (Unless you like salt water.) There’s land to the north.

On a Reef.
You’re over an underwater reef. There’s land visible to the north.

Say, did you ever see “Jaws”?

This is one of two nude beaches in Warp. Congratulations for figuring out how to get in here (it’s usually reserved for invited guests only.)

I can see the following:

As I did earlier state, I’m possibly stopping here, although if I do wander into the Endgame later it may be worth a post. In the meantime I do want to get a few IFComp reviews up before the November 15 deadline; then I’ll start to take down the last 1980 games. My goal is to make it to 1981 by the end of the year.

Posted October 24, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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Warp: The Endgame   34 comments

After an extremely long comment thread on one of my prior posts on Warp, I managed to get all the points (1216 out of 1216) and then properly stuck on the final puzzle.

I’m going to explain everything that I believe to be relevant so you can be stuck on the final puzzle, too.

Another piece of ASCII art from the game; not relevant to the final puzzle but here for spoiler space.

The way to the endgame essentially involved fussing about what is most likely a bug, and none of us playing the game (myself, Russell, and Roger) quite understand what triggers it, so I’m not going to put details here. The final result was getting a “power unit”

>look power unit

The power unit is a large, heavy metal box, roughly three feet on each side. Through a perforated metal back panel, you can glimpse large vacuum tubes and transformers inside. It has a small, square receptacle in the top, with a small, hexagonal metal stub rising slightly from the bottom of the receptacle. On the front there is a small access panel, and on the back, near the bottom, there is a large cable connector.

>look in power unit

The Power Unit contains the following:
Rocker Switch

>look at switch

It is a small rocker switch with two positions: ON and OFF.

and a “control unit”:

>look control unit

The control unit is a small, rectangular metal box, perhaps 12 inches wide and 6 inches high. Its face consists of a small hinged metal access panel. A cable connector is located on the back side of the unit. Otherwise, it is featureless.

>look in control unit

The Control Unit contains the following:
Round Depression
Knurled Knob

look at depression

The depression is about four inches in diameter and hemispherical in shape. It has been carefully machined into the control panel, just to the left of the knob and lever.

>look at knob

The knob is small and knurled for a better grip. It can be turned to several positions, clearly labeled 1 through 5.

>look at lever

The lever is short and stubby, more like a switch of some sort. It can be moved to three positions, clearly marked 0, 1/2, and 1.

Also relevant is a “printout”; you have to use up one of the treasures (a Shiny Quarter) to get it, so it’s not an item in my current save file, but the information seems important for the endgame.

This is all referring to a “Warp Room” which has been a longstanding mystery in the game.

Warp Room.
In this otherwise vacant room, you see before you a doorframe, roughly centered against a solid brick wall. Two large cables snake their way from the frame into the center of the room. The other walls of the room are completely blank, and the only apparent exit is the way you entered, back to the east.

I can see the following:
Short Cable attached to a Power Unit
Long Cable attached to a Control Unit
Power Unit
Control Unit

I do have a “framastat” and am able to attach it to the power unit as marked in Step Three of the instructions. What’s missing is Step Four (right before Step Five: Profit!)

Here’s my complete list of items:

I can see the following:
Name Badge
Bag, which contains:
a Scalpel
Glass Bottle, which contains:
a quantity of Water
Treasure Chest
Short Ladder
Absolutely Nothing
Round Peg
Digital Scale
Rusty Shovel
Yellow Wrapper

While I can technically get back a treasure from the display case, Russell already indicated the treasures don’t get used here.

I can “push switch” to get a “Click. Nothing Happens.” but I have not been able to operate either the lever or the knob in the control box. >PUSH on either gives me “Doesn’t seem to work” but I don’t know if that means I have a parser issue or I need to activate something else first. I don’t know what would go in the depression; the round peg doesn’t seem to help.

Feel free to suggest actions in the comments, up to and including for setting the game on fire for having such a tough final puzzle.

Posted November 7, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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