Brass Lantern
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How to Play a Text Adventure, Part 2, Page 3

by Stephen Granade

>throw frisbee at metallic object
The metallic object is too high to reach with your hands alone. Perhaps you could find something to help you get it down.

Okay, this is one of the problems that text adventures have: what do you do when you know what you want to do, but the adventure game doesn't understand what you've typed? There are a couple of possibilites. You might have to use a different verb, a synonym to the one you tried. You might have to use a more complex command, one with an indirect object. In this case, I'll try a simpler version of my command.

>throw frisbee
The Frisbee Helipta spins furiously as it leaves your hand, hovers briefly before shooting straight up into the air, knocking into the vegatation at the top of the retaining wall, and dislodging a metallic object, which falls back to the ground with it.

There we go! Let's see what we got.

This appears to be some kind of courtyard in the centre of an Ancient dwelling. The building itself swings around to the north and west, terminating in a crumbling retaining wall due south. A smaller domed construction opens to the northeast, through a wide metal door (closed). To the east is a flat space that could bear further exploring.

You see a silver rod and a Frisbee Helipta here.

>get rod

>x it
This is definitely a piece of your equipment. It's a magprobe, a silvery rod about ten centimetres long and half a centimetre wide. The ceramic inductors inside are crude, useless for interfacing with any modern technology, but sufficient to manipulate small ferromagnetic devices.

Ferromagnetic devices, eh? I think I remember something like that being mentioned....

>x door
The door is wide, around three metres across, and twice as tall as yourself. It's constructed of some Ancient metal alloy, probably tungsten or aluminium. It's closed, and locked.

>open door
The door appears to be locked, using a simple ferromagnetic latch from the middle Ancient period. Perhaps the magprobe might prove useful here, after all.

Ah, a gentle nudge in the right direction. All we have to do is figure out how to use the silver rod. There's no switch or trigger on the rod. Maybe all we have to do is put the rod against the door.

>put rod against door
I don't know the word "against".

>put rod on door
There's no good surface on the northeast door.

Well, that didn't work. Maybe I'm making this harder than it really is. What I really want to do is use the rod to unlock the door.

>unlock door with rod
After a few minutes of careful manipulation with the magprobe, you feel the door's magnetic contacts click open. You breath a sigh of relief; those hours of studying Ancient artifacts at the Institute training finally paid off.

Excellent! Now we can go inside the complex to the northeast.

I'm going to stop here, to let you discover more of Glowgrass on your own. Hopefully this has given you a taste of how to play a text adventure. If I were you, at this point I would SAVE my game so that I could RESTORE it later if I needed to.

I've covered a lot of ground in this article, so let me sum up. First and most importantly, read carefully. The descriptions of rooms and objects will hold clues as to how to use them. Don't be afraid to take notes or make a map, though you don't have to if you don't want to. You may have to rephrase your commands, sometimes called "guess the verb." Although better games will allow you to use a wide range of different commands, even the best games sometimes fall victim to this problem.

There's a lot more to playing a text adventure; what I've given above is merely a taste of what to expect. At this point you should have the basic tools you need to play. The best way to learn more is to experiment more with Glowgrass and other text adventures.

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