The Freewill Cycle: Volume 1


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Weekday Escape

Grinnyp[Note: This game has been completely redesigned. Read about and play the updated version here.] I am very fond of classic adventure games. The games in which you wake up in a strange place with no idea where to go or what to do. No intro, no handy tutorial, no friendly ghosts, no bloodthirsty zombies, just a lot of questions that need answers. The Freewill Cycle: Volume 1, by first time designer William Buchanan, will take you back to the days when the first thing you have to figure out is "What the heck am I doing here?" Cue mysterious music...

thefreewillcycle1-title2.jpgYou awake in a room. Could be in a spaceship, could be in a space station, could be just a strange building in East Podunk, Michigan. There's no way of knowing, because all you can see out of the windows are pretty, pretty moving lights. You notice that the ominously pulsating glow has breached the room next to the one you started in. Should you walk into the light? On second thought, not a good idea. Perhaps you should explore a little more...

A JIG exclusive, The Freewill Cycle: Volume 1 is in essence a simple point-and-click escape game. The cursor turns into an arrow to let you know where you can go, or it turns into a hand when you encounter something you can touch, move, or take. Finding your way around is fairly easy; figuring out what needs to be done? Not so much. Take your time, look around, pry into other people's private e-mail, and slowly a pattern emerges. How good are you at reproducing lab experiments and repairing potentially radioactive machinery? You're about to find out.

thefreewillcycle1-3.jpgThe first part of a planned trilogy, The Freewill Cycle: Volume 1 is reminiscent of the genre classic, Myst. You will have to examine everything, take anything that's not nailed down, and go everywhere. As you explore the story unfolds, giving, in a few short clues, a vivid account of what may have happened and the personalities of the people involved. Who, by the way, are mysteriously missing...

Analysis: It is amazing what can be packed into such a compact game. Considering that it contains only a handful of rooms and a corridor, there is a world of information to be gleaned. As you read the e-mails the story takes shape, and you get a glimpse into what the facility must have been like before the...incident. Gameplay is smooth and simple with the cursor letting you know when you've encountered something important. The puzzles range from easy (guessing the computer passwords) to extremely complex (...but that's a spoiler for the end of the game).

thefreewillcycle1-2.jpgThe graphics are stunning and uncluttered, allowing you to both enjoy the beauty of the design and easily identify the important hotspots. Rendered in 3D, with colors and textures galore, the game invites you to take the time to look around and enjoy. The background music is simultaneously eerie and unobtrusive, enhancing your claustrophobia and paranoia as you wander around trying to figure out what went on. One tip: don't play on mute. There are a few audio cues you might miss if the sound is turned off.

A minor quibble is that the environment seems a bit too sterile. Any kind of working facility would certainly have a little more clutter (have you ever worked with engineers?). Also, the solution to the largest of the puzzles requires a bit of lateral thinking. The clues are all there, but your ability to synthesize will be key. Also, for the sequel I'd like to see Buchanan add in a save feature and a mute button, two elements that are welcome in any game.

This game has been completely redesigned. Play The Freewill Cycle Volume 1: Redux Edition instead.

All in all this is a dramatic, eye-catching experience; the game is immersive enough to lose yourself in while being short enough for casual gameplay. I am most amazed that this is a first effort by the designer, who taught himself both Flash and 3D Studio Max as he went along. If the trial effort is this good, I can't wait for part two.

Oh how I have longed for this day! A game with the complexity of Myst boiled down into a bite sized chunk. An amuse-bouche of a game, if you will. This lovely little taste left me hungry for more!

Play The Freewill Cycle: Volume 1

Update: A new version has been uploaded that should address the issues with the inventory items that some people were having.

Walkthrough Guide


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Freewill Cycle I Walkthrough

  1. Click on the papers on the desk to the right of your starting point.

  2. Click and drag the papers aside until the legal pad underneath is fully revealed. Make a note of what is written there (ORION313). Click on the bottom of the screen to return to main view.

  3. Click on the window just above the desk. Enter in ORION313 as the password.

  4. Read all of the emails. Pay attention to everything in bold as this is either a direct hint to solve puzzles, or otherwise provides useful information for navigating in this station. Note that Ritner's desk is made out of MAPLE, and that Jordan hid Ritner's keycard somewhere that will GRATE on his nerves. When you are done return to the main view.

  5. Click on the button beside the door and enter the main hallway.

  6. Go forward one step and click on the grate by the floor on the right. Click on the grate again and get the keycard.

  7. Return to the main view and turn left once. Use the keycard on the slot (NOTE: you will have to use this keycard every time you intend to enter Ritner's office).

  8. Once in Ritner's office, click on the black panel display on the desk. Enter in MAPLE as the password.

  9. Read all emails. Important things to note: Standard water flow formula: 33r 49b 2g. Laser frequency: 57 hz. Return to main view.

  10. Click on the gold statue on the desk. Continue to click it until the following formula appears: 23r 75b 9g. Return to the main view.

  11. Click on the tree in the area of the leaves. Click on the leaves again (a light will flash and a chime will sound). Return to the main view and then click on the tree's pot. Get the key that is resting just to the left at the base of the tree. Return to the main view.

  12. Turn right and click on the filing cabinet. Click on the bottom draw and click on any of the files. Click on the paperclip to put it in your inventory and return to the main view.

  13. Turn right again and leave Ritner's office. Turn left and go all the way down the hall until you reach a door in front of you and a door to the left. Enter the door on your left.

  14. Once in side, turn to the left and click on the small gray box on the wall. Use the paperclip on the keyhole and get the handwheel. Back out to the main view.

  15. Click on the left most leg of the table to get the metal rod, turn right twice.

  16. Click on the cabinets. Use the key on the rightmost cabinet. Get the glass container on the upper shelf of the cabinet. Return to the main view. Turn right and leave the room.

  17. Turn left and enter the room.

  18. Once inside, turn right and use the metal bar in the empty space next to the black tubing that is installed in the conductor.

  19. Click on the right side of the conductor/reactor and throw the lever you see there. Leave this room and head to the room across from Ritner's office.

  20. Once you are fully in this room, you will see three tanks with colored windows. Turn to the right to see an assembly. To the right of the assembly you will see a small port in the piping with a hole in it. Put the handwheel in that hole. Now go to the three tanks.

  21. Set each tank accordingly. Red: 33. Blue 49. Green 2. Return to the assembly and press the glowing red button (note: you have to place the metal bar in the conductor and flip the switch on its side before the button will glow red). The red bar will automatically place itself in your inventory. Now return to the room where we got the glass container and the handwheel.

  22. Now click on the yellow and black striped panel in front of you and adjust the value to 57. Return to the main view.

  23. Click on the area under the lamp. Click on the gray tube by the tray to put it in the proper position. Place the red bar in the empty space on the tray. Flip the switch just to the left of the tray. The laser will automatically be placed in your inventory. Return to the room with the three tanks.

  24. First change the values for each tank as follows: Red 23. Blue 75. Green 9. Second, go into the close up view of the apparatus. Use the laser on the length of pipe between the apparatus and the handwheel. Third, use the glass container in the empty space below the red button, then press the red button. Now go to the room with the conductor/reactor in it.

  25. Click at the top of the conductor where you see a purple object that looks sort of like a mobius strip gone horribly wrong. You will hear clicking in the background. Use the glass container on the mobius strip. Now go all the way back to the room you started in.

  26. Turn left. You will see a door with its open button hanging a bit off the bracket. Click the button and enter.

  27. Click on the hole with the odd color pattern floating beyond.

  28. Congratulations you just beat the game!

100 Comments

Freewill Cycle I Walkthrough

  1. Click on the papers on the desk to the right of your starting point.

  2. Click and drag the papers aside until the legal pad underneath is fully revealed. Make a note of what is written there (ORION313). Click on the bottom of the screen to return to main view.

  3. Click on the window just above the desk. Enter in ORION313 as the password.

  4. Read all of the emails. Pay attention to everything in bold as this is either a direct hint to solve puzzles, or otherwise provides useful information for navigating in this station. Note that Ritner's desk is made out of MAPLE, and that Jordan hid Ritner's keycard somewhere that will GRATE on his nerves. When you are done return to the main view.

  5. Click on the button beside the door and enter the main hallway.

  6. Go forward one step and click on the grate by the floor on the right. Click on the grate again and get the keycard.

  7. Return to the main view and turn left once. Use the keycard on the slot (NOTE: you will have to use this keycard every time you intend to enter Ritner's office).

  8. Once in Ritner's office, click on the black panel display on the desk. Enter in MAPLE as the password.

  9. Read all emails. Important things to note: Standard water flow formula: 33r 49b 2g. Laser frequency: 57 hz. Return to main view.

  10. Click on the gold statue on the desk. Continue to click it until the following formula appears: 23r 75b 9g. Return to the main view.

  11. Click on the tree in the area of the leaves. Click on the leaves again (a light will flash and a chime will sound). Return to the main view and then click on the tree's pot. Get the key that is resting just to the left at the base of the tree. Return to the main view.

  12. Turn right and click on the filing cabinet. Click on the bottom draw and click on any of the files. Click on the paperclip to put it in your inventory and return to the main view.

  13. Turn right again and leave Ritner's office. Turn left and go all the way down the hall until you reach a door in front of you and a door to the left. Enter the door on your left.

  14. Once in side, turn to the left and click on the small gray box on the wall. Use the paperclip on the keyhole and get the handwheel. Back out to the main view.

  15. Click on the left most leg of the table to get the metal rod, turn right twice.

  16. Click on the cabinets. Use the key on the rightmost cabinet. Get the glass container on the upper shelf of the cabinet. Return to the main view. Turn right and leave the room.

  17. Turn left and enter the room.

  18. Once inside, turn right and use the metal bar in the empty space next to the black tubing that is installed in the conductor.

  19. Click on the right side of the conductor/reactor and throw the lever you see there. Leave this room and head to the room across from Ritner's office.

  20. Once you are fully in this room, you will see three tanks with colored windows. Turn to the right to see an assembly. To the right of the assembly you will see a small port in the piping with a hole in it. Put the handwheel in that hole. Now go to the three tanks.

  21. Set each tank accordingly. Red: 33. Blue 49. Green 2. Return to the assembly and press the glowing red button (note: you have to place the metal bar in the conductor and flip the switch on its side before the button will glow red). The red bar will automatically place itself in your inventory. Now return to the room where we got the glass container and the handwheel.

  22. Now click on the yellow and black striped panel in front of you and adjust the value to 57. Return to the main view.

  23. Click on the area under the lamp. Click on the gray tube by the tray to put it in the proper position. Place the red bar in the empty space on the tray. Flip the switch just to the left of the tray. The laser will automatically be placed in your inventory. Return to the room with the three tanks.

  24. First change the values for each tank as follows: Red 23. Blue 75. Green 9. Second, go into the close up view of the apparatus. Use the laser on the length of pipe between the apparatus and the handwheel. Third, use the glass container in the empty space below the red button, then press the red button. Now go to the room with the conductor/reactor in it.

  25. Click at the top of the conductor where you see a purple object that looks sort of like a mobius strip gone horribly wrong. You will hear clicking in the background. Use the glass container on the mobius strip. Now go all the way back to the room you started in.

  26. Turn left. You will see a door with its open button hanging a bit off the bracket. Click the button and enter.

  27. Click on the hole with the odd color pattern floating beyond.

  28. Congratulations you just beat the game!

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pinky_popo July 1, 2009 1:23 AM

This game is really a bummer because it's visually beautiful and has a great ambiance and feel, but the difficulty of using items really makes it not worthwhile to play... I hope the developers fix that and re-release.

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DarkOrion Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 1:27 AM

Wow. This one was really good. Certainly a great effort for someone self trained with no artistic background.

The atmosphere was great. In some ways it really did feel like Myst. The music helped with that feeling too.

If there was one artistic complaint I had, it was the "pretty moving lights" were noticeably tiled.

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Am I the only one who's having trouble using items in their proper place? More than once I've gotten stuck on something, gone to the walkthrough, and it tells me to use Item X on Spot Y...but when I go to do that, no matter where I hold Item X or where or Spot Y I drag it, nothing happens!

Dang, and I thought pixel-hunting was annoying. :[

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Onyx Mouse: are you using a Mac by chance? I'm on a Mac and I had an issue at first with the keycard. It eventually worked, but I had to try a few times.

Other JIG authors using Windows didn't seem to have the same issue with it. Seems the hotspot is smaller on a Mac? I dunno, but the author, Bill, did try making the hotspot larger for us.

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Jonathan Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 1:58 AM

I'm using a Mac ... tried for 10 minutes to get the keycard to work and gave up.

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Coldfrog Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 2:02 AM

Unbelievably intuitive except for one exception, clever, engrossing and fun. This is precisely what I could ever hope for out of a game of this sort. If he got himself a professional artist he could do some serious work, though if he got that far learning on his own he might just make it by himself. The most impressive thing I've seen in quite a while.

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Anonymous July 1, 2009 2:39 AM

I'm also on a Mac, and had the same trouble with the keycard. Tried for a good long time, then gave up.

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Hmm everything is black, and just a hand pointer, no hotspots or anything, is this normal?

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It's not just Johnathan's Mac that's having trouble placing things. I'm running IE 8 on Vista, and had the same problem - in some cases, I had to drag an item onto the screen no fewer than twelve times before it would finally stick. The detection boxes on these items needs to be larger.

Oh, and the last step, the next-to-last thing on the walkthrough? Why in the heck would I want to do that? Totally counterintuitive.

One last thing: the e-mails were difficult to read; a different font might've helped.

Other than that, pretty good for a first attempt. I'll be keeping an eye out for part two (or a touch-up of part one).

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On a mac the keycard activation spot is SLIGHTLY under the keycard spot. Similar for most activation points up till the wheel.

I can't do anything with the wheel, so I gave up there I tried. Damn pixelhunting.

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Schmorgluck Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 3:19 AM

I'm on Linux and I give up too, impossible to use this card.

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I have a litlle problem with this game....

Can't use the keycard... I'm with windows, I don't uderstand it ¬¬

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Having the same damn problem with the use of the card and I'm not even using Mac, but a normal PC. Tried everything you suggest, tried any possibly and reasonable way - no success.
Shame, because it's such a nice polished game and now all I'm getting out of it is anger and disapointment. I'll go on trying a bit more (I'm strongly counting on the power of posting), but I'm close to giving it up and look for something with more entertainment than disappointment value.

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(So, grinnypa, as a feedback to your inquiry, what you've suggested doesn't seem to work for me.

And nor did the power of posting effect this time.)

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(I meant grinnyp, sorry for the typo.)

And I joined the quitters' club, gave it up. That card slot just won't work for me. I see it got a lot of complaints, maybe it would be fair and helpful to somehow include this problem in the article? Just an idea.

bio

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Mystery July 1, 2009 4:25 AM

Very nice game, I enjoyed it :D
I look forward to the continuation!

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Grinnyp, It doesn't work.
But, in this moment I'm playing this game with my other computer, and it work right....

This is the same navegator(firefox), but the operation sistem is Vista....

Sorry for the bad english people..

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Anonymous July 1, 2009 4:54 AM

I had problems with a couple of the hotspots, for which reason I needed to use the walkthrough. A few other clicks seemed like they shouldn't work, either... hmm.

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Gabriel July 1, 2009 5:07 AM

Could be a nice game, but had to quit. The card slot is just not doable.

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man, the keycard thing is complete crap! I have tried many, many times. all in different spots, moving a tiny bit here and there, and no dice. What gives?

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GREAT game and nifty music!!
Two only gripes:
1) some things dont work in their proper places (and I'm on windows) - have to try again and again
2) Why does the broken button suddenly work after creating the formula - that doesnt make sense. There were a few things that suddenly starting working without logical connection to previous steps.
All in all, really amazing work for a first try, keep it up!

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Anonymous July 1, 2009 6:34 AM

I am stuck with the

laser

I can't seem to get that in the right place, following the walkthrough instructions :(

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Keycard does not work

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Tried the game in FF 3, IE 7 and Safari 4 - all on WinXP SP3

Keycard does not work in any of them.

Disappointing.

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DISCLAIMER: when using inventory items, the position of the CURSOR ITSELF when you release the mouse button is what matters, not the position of the item's icon. (i.e. ensure that the white hand is over the keycard slot when you release the mouse button)

-Buchanan

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DISCLAIMER: When using inventory items, it is the location of the CURSOR ITSELF when you release the mouse button that matters. The location of the item icon (which has been dragged) is irrelevant.

Hope this helps. I just pulled up the game and tried it and the keycard works fine here.

-Buchanan

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I always place my cursor over the hotspot while dragging an item. Keycard works for me. Cool game, nice atmosphere.

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ottoman Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 7:53 AM

I am in the large pool of the keycard not working. I must have tried it 30 times from slightly different angles and nothing works. Maybe we have to trigger something before we can have the card work? Or maybe we accidentally triggered some bug which will prevent us from using the card? I tried restarting - easy if you

Walk into the ether and die

- and changing the order I did things but that didn't seem to help.

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Still no satisfaction. I have placed the fist, systematically, everywhere on the card slot. What browser are you using, Buchannan?

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I'm on a mac.

Firefox eventually let me use the card... but it still took 12 tries. Safari remains totally unusable.

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I've got a trick to let the keycard work!

If you position your mouse over the keycard-reader and press TAB a few times till it points the key card, you've got to press space to let it work!

(sorry for my bad English, I'm from Holland)

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Anonymous July 1, 2009 9:12 AM

While this game has good visual and sound effects, the interface itself rates no more than a D- for extreme difficulty of use in the areas where it counts.

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There is nothing you should have to do before using the keycard on the slot.

This is very odd. I've tested it on Internet Explorer as well as Firefox, and the keycard works flawlessly. So do all the other inventory items.

It's clearly not an OS specific glitch. I developed in Flash 8...but I'm using the newest version of the browser plugin and I still can't replicate the problem.

Sorry, folks. I'll try some things tonight, but I can't fix a bug that isn't happening for me.

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Oh, two other things:

- You are using the keycard on the slot next to the door...not the door itself, right?

- I see comments regarding "difficuly of use" on the interface. Am I correct that this is referring to the hotspot locations, or is there some other facet? I have the disadvantage of having developed it, so click-and-drag seems pretty straightforward to me.

Thanks!
Buchanan

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Eireyes Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 9:55 AM

So I made the red bar, and it fell. I tried to click it and when I did it disappeared. Now I have no red bar, and no way to make another. (Believe me, I've tried!) It seems I'm going to have to start over...

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Eireyes Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 9:57 AM

Woohoo! The power of the post prevails! I went into the laser room and poked at the setup, and when I backed up, the bar suddenly appeared in my inventory. Very wierd, but I won't complain!

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Papachabre Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 10:08 AM

Too many illogical steps and not enough information. For example:

The paper clip unlocks the box on the wall? There's no visual implication that the clip could be used as a lock pick. And the ending - I know the potion protects you from the ether, but why would you want to walk out in to it? It makes no sense.

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VanceWade July 1, 2009 10:12 AM

I love that in 2350 the computer interface is phosphor green text on a black screen, a la an Apple ][e. LOL.

I share the interface frustration. I clicked on the

paperclip

10 times before it would let me take it. Same thing with the

grate hiding the keycard

Door buttons also seem very touchy; you have to touch the exact right spot.

Also not sure why you have to be

standing by the reactor to drink the protective solution.

Agree there should be some indication that

the broken button in the final room now works (maybe it should light up).

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Vance:

In all actuality, the door with the broken looking switch can be opened at any time. It only looks broken, there's just no reason to go in there until the very end.

Go on, start from the beginning and go in then. It'll be funny.

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sandsnake Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 10:48 AM

great idea and atmosphere, but I have a couple of complaints which I think keep it from being "truly" great.

1. The need to enter the ratios by clicking the mouse...by the time you figure out what is what, you've clicked a few hundred times.
2. Some of the interface is unintuitive...when you radiate the jar, there's an odd sound which you may or may not realize is swallowing. A little blurb of explanation when an action is done might really help keep the user aware of what is going on.
3. The fact that you can die and have to start all over by walking into the "ether" is a real turn-off. Why would I want to try it again late in the game? It discourages testing. A simple "That would kill me if I tried that right now" or a save function would mitigate the problem.

Aside from that, I really liked it.

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drakono Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 11:39 AM

Why, oh, why do we have to click 74 times to move a counter from 1 to 75?!?!?!?! The game has text fields for passwords, so why not make that a text field?!Or let us click and hold? Or anything else?

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Nafets' solution works on the keycard issue.

Since then Ifound a whole lot of other hotspots that fail to work, unless i try the nafets-method. I found myself blindly following the walkthru instead of actually trying to play by myself.

Buchanan, there is surely some woirk still to be done here, but it's promising. If these issues are dealt with I might give it another try.

bio

PS: Buchanan says:

"When using inventory items, it is the location of the CURSOR ITSELF when you release the mouse button that matters. The location of the item icon (which has been dragged) is irrelevant."

Great and logical. But in this case, please, next time avoid having icons so big that they completely cover the hotspot, so you have to guess where it actually is compared to the cursor (which is a clenched fist that shows no indication as to which part of it is the "point" of the cursor, btw). Eg. the keycard covers the card slot, so, if you pull the keycard on the slot, you cannot see the slot for the card's icon, so you have to put the cursor on it by feeling alone. Might be improved, I'd say.

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Without the hint from Nafets this would have been impossible. Same trick was needed multiple times!

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Chisato Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 12:14 PM

1 step missing in the walkthrough to escape without dying: Click on the potion to drink it then enter the odd color thing.

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Ooh, this was a good one! I thought every step was logical, so it was a pretty smooth, fairly easy playthrough. The graphics were nice, the music suited the mood... Really can't think of any gripes this time. Though I never used the laser when I escaped, so I checked to see if I was supposed to use it anywhere. I guess I was, but I got out just fine without that step, hah.

Just for the record, I had absolutely no technical difficulties. All of my items worked perfectly, and there were no glitches or anything. Don't know if it matters, but I'm using the newest version of FireFox on Vista.

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I'm beginning to think that whether a player has any difficulty with using items may be due to a Flash Player versioning issue.

I'm using Shockwave Flash 10.0 r22 on a Mac, and experienced some trouble.

To find out your version, type about:plugins in the Firefox address bar.

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Chisato

in the step that tells you to use the container on the mobius strip thing, you automatically drink it when you do that.

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Daibhid July 1, 2009 12:49 PM

I also had a few problems getting things in the right position, although not to the same extent as others seem to.

And I walked into the void and killed myself straight off. But as soon as I

read the e-mail about "Protectium". I thought "So that's how I can survive that." It's an escape game, and the view out the windows make it clear that "escaping" into Nullspace is the only exit on offer.

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This game seems very well conceived but seems to have one fatal flaw. The difficulty in using items with specific locations on screen has, for me, drained all the enjoyment right out of it. Pixel hunting is one thing, but constantly having to click-drag-drop dozens of times to use an item had me running to the walkthrough to ensure that I was doing the right thing only to find that I was right and it still wasn't working. I don't mind being frustrated by a puzzle I haven't figured out yet, but not being able to move past a task I have figured out is pointless and irritating. Pardon my venting; I understand that it's a game by a first time designer. I just find it especially frustrating that it's such a good game otherwise. I look forward to the sequel and would be ecstatic for fixed version of this game.

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Folks, expect Volume 1 Redux to come by the end of the week.

-Buchanan

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ottoman Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 1:24 PM

The trick with hitting Tab and Space worked like a charm for me. The Flash version I'm using, which I confirmed thanks to Jay's plugin lookup, is Shockwave Flash 10.0 r12 (also on a Mac).

Now that I was able to finish I can say this game was quite cool! All the clues were there, and the ambience reminded me of Myst!

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I also have Flash version 10.0 r22, but again, no trouble... Hm......

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I consider myself to be very good at escape games. In other games, I rarely encounter supposed "glitches" others complain about. In this case however (and I know it's been said already), my game experience was utterly ruined by the unreal difficulty of using items. It didn't matter if it was:

The keycard, the key, the paperclip, the handwheel, the metal bar, etc.

Every single item had to be tried literally scores of times before they worked. I'm using a PC with XP, Firefox and Flash 8. I read the comments about the cursor from the author. It still took 20, 30 sometimes 40 or more times before it worked. This led to me to question whether I was doing it right: should I NOT be zoomed in? Another 30 tries to no avail. I resorted to the walkthrough constantly (which to me negates the fun and purpose of playing in the first place). Of course, my approach was correct; it just didn't work. Careful noting the exact position then trying to duplicate the action was just as futile. There simply was no sweet spot that consistently worked.

I guess release on this site ended up as a "proving ground" and the author is working on corrections. For those experiencing similar problems, STOP PLAYING NOW. Wait for the corrected version. It will be worth it, because this is a good game. My experience was ruined. But the storyline is interesting, the graphics good and the puzzles challenging. So I have every reason to believe the sequels will be very good once this flaw is rectified.

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Jalathas Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 3:30 PM

Shockwave Flash 10.0 r22 on Firefox 3.5 and Vista here, and while I occasionally had to click-drag twice, I'm positive it was just my bad aim. No glitches, and most of it made sense, although

the table leg and the paperclip

seemed a bit unintuitive to me.

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shadowscribe July 1, 2009 3:51 PM

I'm running Firefox 3.0.11 on Vista and didn't have any problems with the card,etc. Was wondering if screen resolution might be a factor.

I agree with the comment that some textual cues as to what's going on would enhance the game.
If I were in that situation, *I* would sure be talking to myself.

Very promising!

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There are several aspects that I find really dampen the game

1- The difficulty of using items. Now, I'm using Firefox with the latest versions of the plugins that I've chosen (albeit on XP, but I doubt that matters) and I'm still having problems

2- The lack of a mute button for the music. It sets the mood, but the same music repeating over and over like this gets really annoying. Besides, I have music I like to listen to while playing games like this

Other than these, it's a pretty good game

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EVERYONE:

I'm working on some changes at the moment. I'm working with Jay (who is an incredibly patient person, btw) to get a new revision posted...one which will hopefully allow these darn mouse onRelease events to work properly.

-Bill

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tenkuchima Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 6:53 PM

fun, but a little short

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New revision is posted. Mac users should be able to play now.

-Buchanan

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I can verify that the inventory item issue is indeed fixed. I was able to complete the game from beginning to end flawlessly on my Mac.

Well done, Buchanan! :)

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The fix applies to PC users who experienced problems as well. It works perfectly, Bill. YAY!

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Michelle S. Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 8:21 PM

Congrats--I liked the game quite a bit, and most of everything was logical. I think the only thing that wasn't was:

the table leg, and why the matching black tubing was removed and why I couldn't pick it up in the first place

but great otherwise. (And maybe it's just me).

Can't wait for another part. ^^

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Oh, wow, that's a LOT better! :D Thanks Bill!

*goes back to enjoying the background music and...being completely and hopelessly lost*

@Jay: A MacBook, yeah.

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BladeStorm Author Profile Page July 1, 2009 9:51 PM

Only played game after revision, but i had no problems and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I realise that this is part 1, but if it had been a little bit longer (25%?) it would have been perfect

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Hey Buchanan, great game overall. I just played through it for the first time since the redux was made, and I have to say no problems from my point on hotspots. I did have an issue, however, that may need to be looked into for future applications.

When I played through I never actually had to use the paperclip. I used the small key to open the box on the wall (on my first click/attempt), and only realized that I should have used the paperclip by having read the walkthrough.

In the same manner, once when returning to the keycard room, I was able to open the keycard door by using the small key in the keycard slot. I tried doing it again and couldn't get it to work in the next 4 or 5 clicks, and gave up on trying. I'm not sure what could have caused it, but I am 100% sure that the wrong items were used and worked. Just thought I would bring it to your attention incase it is something that is reproducible and/or fixable. Great game! Looking forward to more from you.

~Reynor

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I just wanted to congratulate Buchanan on such a successful first outing. It was such a pleasure watching this game grow, and I'm glad I got to write the walkthrough.

The best is seeing all these folks enjoy it as much as I did.

Can't wait for the next one!

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Possibly a bug in the game?

I was able to get the blue liquid and beat the game without ever using the laser in my inventory.

Also, I never could open the second cabinet... is it able to be opened?

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Hmmm, I'm still stuck with the metal rod. I guess it might help if I knew exactly WHERE near the tube it's supposed to go

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Gabe:

The metal rod goes in the space under the purple reactor compartment, on the left (next to the black ribbed tubing).

Here's a screenshot.

I'm guessing that space used to hold another section of black tubing, but it had been ripped out and is now over on the floor.

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First, before I have my little grumble, let me say how impressed I am with this game especially as a first game by the designer. Well done Mr. Buchanan.
I've been playing the updated version and was thoroughly enjoying the game until I got to the cabinet with the chemistry beakers. I know that I need to pick one up, I had a sneaky look at the walk through as I was completely stuck, and i cannot for the life of me pick up anything from the cabinet. Help, I don't want to be stranded in space forever.

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Lurgus:

Make sure you're in the correct cabinet. One of them has items you don't need and therefore can't pick up.

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Yep, it appears the laser automatically uses itself once you re-approach the synthesizer. But you do still need it, or you won't be able to get the steam supply going.

The issue with the key is an odd bug, likely introduced with the latest corrections made. Small fries, though...will fix it some other time.

For now, I'm having a beer to celebrate the end of this project. But just to put it out there: I've already completed 20% of the modeling for Volume 2. Peace!

-Bill

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I entered the password, nothing happened.

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yui - maybe you entered it incorrectly?

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This game could use a little more feedback on what your actions do. For example, the

key hidden in the plant. I touch the plant, and I see a brief glowing light. Nothing to tell me that a key fell off of a leaf.

Similarly, I'm told to irradiate the protectium, but when I do so, there's no information that I drank it as well. (Evidently there's a sound effect, but I often play with sound turned off).
Finally, when I'm told to get a glass container, I can find about 5 different containers. Test tubes, Erlenmeyer flasks, etc. I can only get one of them. How about a note saying "That one's not big enough." Or something?

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Aegeus - During our evaluation process, we did ask for some feedback for

the key, something visual and audible. One of our reviewers actually asked for the glow as a signal that something just happened. I can see your point about wanting to be told about the key, but since this game doesn't use any textual cues, I feel the feedback provided was sufficient.

As for drinking the protectium and the glass containers, yes I agree more feedback would be better in those situations.

In general, I believe feedback is a very good thing, and providing some textual cues can certainly help. But there should be a comfortable balance struck between providing sufficient feedback and allowing for discovery within the game world and its objects. For example, presenting textual cues for everything you click on, even if it's something like "Nothing happened." would seem superfluous and distracting to me.

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Anonymous July 3, 2009 12:32 PM

I can't make the red bar. I eventually broke down and consulted the walkthrough, and I've done everything up to that point. When I push the button, there's a flash, but nothing else happens.

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Cheers for the tip Jay, not had time to try again yet but will do so shortly. Sorry if I should have put my.. err..query in spoiler tags as it pertained to a task in the game. I was in a real hurry due to not realising the time and didn't think about it. The fact that i was running late had absolutely nothing to do with so called time wasting, this site or games though...
Also whenever my 8 year old boy wants to play a game he asks to look on this site. His favourites so far are Fancypants and the flash Mirrors Edge, so not only does the site promote the best games available, it also helps instill good taste in the young uns.

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Thanks, Lurgus. We love to get feedback like that. :)

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JenniferJuniper Author Profile Page July 3, 2009 6:32 PM

Please help. I cannot seem to get the

red bar. I have the correct numbers in the tanks, the metal bar in position on the main power tank and turned the switch on the side.

What am I doing wrong?

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JenniferJuniper Author Profile Page July 3, 2009 8:22 PM

Yes, grinnyp, I

got the valve using the paperclip and attached it to the right of the button. The button is red and it glows when I push it, but nothing else happens.

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Jennifer - Did you

set the Green, Blue, and Red meters to the "Normal" flow parameters? If not, then pressing the red button will make it glow, but you won't get the red bar. Check Riter's emails for the normal flow parameters.

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JenniferJuniper Author Profile Page July 3, 2009 9:16 PM

thanks jay!

I remembered the numbers but in the wrong order. In my head, I kept repeating rgb, rgb, rgb as I maneuvered around the game and when I put in the numbers, I put them in that order. The right order is rbg.

whoops, sorry to waste your time. Thanks for the prompt responses to my questions grinnyp and jay! That is why I love this site so much :)

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joeynow Author Profile Page July 3, 2009 10:23 PM

What, no save function??? It's modeled on myst which had a save function, it's too long for one sitting (and anyway I like a night's break when stumped)--it should save my progress.

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Yes, Joeynow, we mentioned that in the review.

But in defense of the author, the game isn't very long, can be completed in about 15 minutes, and it is his very first Flash game project.

If Bill needs any help with it, I'd be glad to offer some assistance with getting a save function in Volume 2.

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I am amazed at the quality of your first game, but as far as things which can be improved upon, it would be nice if you could add more animations in, fix the function tab has (tab makes the selectable things on the screen have yellow boxes around them which takes away part of the immersiveness of the game and can tempt people into cheating), textual cues, and make it so you don't have to type in the passwords every time you want to look at the emails. Keep up the good work. Oh, and make the next one longer :P

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Tobberian Author Profile Page July 4, 2009 6:29 AM

Not providing music mute is moronic (like me), especially in games with sound cues (short distracting loop too).

Won't play this one.

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Great first effort Will, I really enjoyed the ambiance. I disagree with the notion that text feedback is needed, as I feel that disrupts the from the atmosphere (you don't get text cues in real life!).

My one complaint is that all of the information for the game comes at you very early in the emails. For one thing, this is information overload and you learn everything storywise in the first few minutes of gameplay. Scatter things around a bit, in notes, unfinished letters to home, various documents inside the file cabinet. Give us some tantalizing hints about who these people are, why is there such animosity between two of them, and what is the nature of this project.

Second, since the machines have no nearby context that explains what they are, I was often clueless regarding the significance of my actions. The emails didn't make much sense until I already knew what all of the machines did, so I ended up just entering given numbers and clicking on everything. This is a an expected strategy in escape-the-room games, but I don't think it's what you intended here. Some cleverly worded warning labels or torn up and stained instruction sheets would help a lot here.

All in all though, it was an enjoyable game, looking forward to part 2.

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meggers Author Profile Page July 6, 2009 2:16 AM

Just finished the game (with a few tips from the walkthrough), but at the end, when

I walked into the void,

the result was no different than

when I walked into the void on my first try through the game.

Not sure what happened...ideas? I definitely

created the final "potion" and fed it to the radioactive mobius, which made a flash.

Thanks.

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There is a bug in the game. A few people have mentioned it so far, but I felt it worth mentioning again.

On my first play through the game, the red bar appeared but didn't get into my inventory. I eventually had to check the walkthrough to figure out that it was a bug. The bug didn't appear after I restarted.

Overall the game was great, especially for a first time developer. A few things could have been better.

I would have never thought to click on the table leg. Maybe an an audible clue when clicking on any of the other legs would be a nice indicator to check all of the legs. I wouldn't have been as bothered by this if that sort of item hunting was more consistent with the rest of the game, but it seems like this was a singular event.

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joeynow Author Profile Page July 7, 2009 12:24 AM

Sorry for the snappy comment. Must read reviews all the way through, even if I can't wait to play.

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allimarie Author Profile Page July 14, 2009 9:47 PM

Yay, great effort, fun game, UNBELIEVABLE job on a first-time game.

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Some Weird Girl August 27, 2009 7:08 PM

I can't get the handle wheel (bar?) to go in the hole in the pipe next to the "assembly". I think this is an inventory item problem similar to the keycard. I' m surprise no one else has already complained about this.

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One small glitch I found not previously mentioned was that when I entered the correct value in Hz before entering R G B values, the Hz value reset itself to 1 and had to be entered again.

Great first effort. I loved the graphics, the music and the overall Myst-like feel.

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unplayable for me
doesn't accept the password.
after 1 hour of searching and trying I decided to take a look at the walkthrough
The password was right, the game is broken thanks for stealing 1 hour.

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^ You know there are two computers? And that the password is case sensitive, and only works on one of the computers?

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