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How to Play a Text Adventure, Part 2

by Stephen Granade

If you've not read the first article in this series, you'll be hopelessly lost, since I'm diving straight back into our game of Glowgrass which is already in progress.

Okay, when we last stopped, we had just reached the Lawn. Let's load our saved game.

>restore "example.sav"

You're standing in a square area of neatly trimmed green lawn, shimmering faintly in the afternoon light. To the west, the lawn gives way to courtyard, and beyond it to the west and north are buildings. An odd, paved rectangular depression in the ground leads down to the southeast; the encroaching jungle vegetation further back is kept at bay by a barrier of translucent sheeting.

Something about the scene gives you a sudden tingle of recognition, a surge of awe. As if you're walking into a legend.

Now we're back to where we left off. We can give that sheeting a closer look.

>x sheeting
The barrier is a thin, translucent film, resembling modern polycarbon alloys. Possibly an early form of monomolecular diamond; if so, it confirms some of your theories about the development of Ancient materials handling. It stands nearly three metres high, forming a protective wall across the entire south and east edges of the lawn area.

I guess we won't be going south or east. Nothing else here looks that interesting, so let's keep going.

You're standing in a concrete rectangle set into the ground, paved with a grey substance, probably stressed concrete. It's recognisable as a swimming pool, a popular Ancient recreation fixture. Whatever water was once here has long since drained away, probably through the outlet grate set centrally in the pool's floor.

You see a bright orange object here.

Ooh, an object to play with! And there's a grate in the pool which might be important. But first, let's find out about that orange object.

>x object
It's a bright orange polymer casting, moulded in the shape of a spiral disk. A tiny legend on the now faded material reads, in the Ancient language, FRISBEE (tm) HELIPTA.

Our character may not know what this is, but we do! And I know one thing Frisbees are good for.

>get frisbee

>throw it
The Frisbee Helipta spins furiously as it leaves your hand, hovers briefly before shooting straight up into the air, then glides in a graceful spiral back into your hand. Reminds you of a a modern dropship in flight.

Notice that I referred to the Frisbee as IT. IT refers automatically to the last thing you did anything with. It's pretty useful shorthand.

So I've got a Frisbee I can throw around. I think I know how this will come in handy. But before I do anything with it, I'll take a look at that grate.

>x grat
I don't know the word "grat".

>oops grate
In the outlet grate you see a set of cards.

If you're like me, you'll make a number of typing mistakes. The OOPS command is good for fixing one misspelled word. Above I mistyped "grate" as "grat", and the game complained. OOPS tells the game, "Replace the word you didn't understand with this word." So OOPS GRATE told the game to replace "grat" with "grate" in my command and try again. OOPS has its limits, since you can only replace one word, and the game can't have understood the word you mistyped.

What if you make a mistake that can't be fixed by OOPS? If, for instance, you accidentally burn the map that would lead you to the treasure? UNDO undoes the last turn, letting you back up one step in time.

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