OBSIDIAN

Observations and Personal Commentary

This game was copyrighted in 1996, so it is pretty ancient in the fast advancing field of computer software, particularly considering a probable minimum of two years for development. It was written for Windows 95, and many such games do not play well on software upgrades; however, I have played it with few problems on Windows 98 SE, and flawlessly on Windows XP. Insofar as content goes, it is among the very best of the Adventure game genre, and well worth the struggle to get through should a problem be encountered.

It is a linear game, the only deviation being the four gates of the Spider Realm, which may be accessed in any order. The graphics are top notch and the action is not overly outlandish if you keep in mind that after the beginning in the woods it is all done in dreams. The story takes place some 50+ years in the future, and is the familiar one of a computer being created to do a job, with the ability to modify its programming as it learns by doing, then goes beyond its creator's intention and starts a destructive takeover.

The only real fault that I have with this superb game is that much of the dialog is incomprehensible, particularly Ceres and sometimes Max. Inasmuch as the vidbots of the Bureau Realm and the cockpit announcements of the Inspiration Realm are completely understandable, I find this unintelligible speech inexcusable. The game has two endings, and in each there are final comments that I cannot understand, perhaps others can; I suspect they are relevant to these endings, and I find it frustrating to not know what they are.

Inventory is no problem. There are only a few items that go there, and only one at a time. When they are there they are always visible and do not remain long...Cursors are more than adequate...The prudent Adventure gamer stores games often, and these are kept in a standard Windows folder using any description you choose; since storage is alphanumeric it is suggested that you use prefixes to keep the stored games sequential...It is a good idea to scan the Readme, since it contains a few dos and don'ts.

The attached walkthrough is accompanied by several diagrams and screenshots; though it is written so that you do not need to use them, you will find them to be a great help. There is no specific reference to them in the text, but if you glance through them first you will recognize the subject matter when you come to it. A couple contain spoilers, but for the most part these addenda should prove quite helpful even if you are not using the walkthrough. An extra copy of the Bureau Realm diagram is included in case you would like to cut it out and fold it to assist in visualization of that peculiar arrangement.

I cannot help but wonder why the Statue Realm was given that name.

Soren Andersen,  May 2002


OBSIDIAN

A Walkthrough by Soren Andersen

   In the period from 2050 to 2066 Lilah Kerlin and Max Powers have been using nanotechnology in a project they have code named Ceres; it is to clear the world of atmospheric pollution, which has become dangerously bad. The project is a success, with a satellite in orbit performing this job, and Lilah and Max are on a well earned vacation in the wilderness of the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington, which is where the game begins in a rocky clearing among the trees.

Campsite

   Follow the only path from this clearing and you are led to the mysterious dynamic black rock that Lilah and Max have been calling Obsidian. After gazing at this rock and seeing it grow a bit, look down and continue on the path that eventually takes you to their campsite. Enter the tent and pull down the cover of the sleeping bag on the right, where you will find Lilah's Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).

Open it, turn on the power, and after passing a security check there is a warning of two unauthorized remote entries into the PDA. Read everything that you can, which will be Mail, Journal, and Projects. Everything else is "temporarily unavailable"; this means, among other things, that the two of them are isolated and have no communication with the rest of the world. Pay close attention to what you read and hear, as it will provide background and references to upcoming sequences. There are several mentions of Ceres, nanotechnology, and a hard wired, non-programmable crossover chip for return of the satellite to human control. Of particular note are the dreams of Lilah and Max. Somewhere in the material that you read a flag is set for game continuation, so be sure to read it all.

Close the PDA and exit the tent. If you turn left toward Obsidian (and if you have read everything in the PDA) you will hear a loud rumbling followed by a male scream, presumably from Max. Hurry forward and you will end up at the Obsidian rock looking at a portal that faintly reflects a female image. Max's cap is lying on the ground at the left. The PDA security check, its contents, and this reflection show that you are playing the game in the person of Lilah.

Bureau Realm

After a very short period the portal collapses and you/Lilah are drawn into Obsidian. There follows a long peculiar video--could these be Ceres nanotech robots at work? At the conclusion of the video a man in the distance welcomes you to the Regional Administration Facility (RAF) and says he is the Bureau Chief. Note details of the mural in which he is located. He wants to see you over there right away and says he will extend a bridge so you can go to him. When he attempts to do this, however, the bridge strikes a globe in the middle of the room and becomes stuck. The Bureau Chief suggests that you can repair the bridge "if you go through the proper channels". You are in the Bureau Realm.

Atlas Face

As in Lilah's dream that she recorded on the PDA, you are inside a cube in which each of the six faces have tasks for you to do in your quest to get to the Bureau Chief. Right now you are in an elevator; look down and press the button that takes you down to the cube's Atlas face, so named because in the center is the classic statue of Atlas supporting a globe, which is the one that the bridge ran into. Move ahead to an information desk and a TV monitor comes forward telling you to "RING BELL". When you do this the clerk in the monitor--a video robot, or vidbot--tells you that the Bureau Chief has information about Max and that you had better hurry and get the bridge repaired because the Chief does not like to be kept waiting. She further says that you should be able to get bridge repair information in one of the booths that you can see on either side of the Atlas statue.

You will have noted that the information sign is spelled in rather weird characters. Should you wish to learn more about this alphabet, turn right to see a red door in the far wall. Go through the door to find a book of letters and a guitar playing mannequin that will show you the alphabet.

Of the ten information booths on the Atlas face, the only one that you need is the one with the Bridge Repair sign, but it is very interesting to go to all ten to see what the vidbots in them will tell you. In addition, opposite the Travel booth there is a [non-illuminating] display commemorating the Atlas statue; pressing a button on the display provides you with a short lecture about a suppressed rebel movement against bureaucracy, pockets of which still remain. As you move around you will see on the back wall--where the Bureau Chief's office is--the shadow of the partially extended bridge thrown by the ceiling light that provides most of the illumination in this RAF cube.

At the Bridge Repair booth you will get instructions on what to do next (remember this is a bureaucracy) and you pick up a document repeating these instructions. You are supposed to find the document that is filed under Standard Damage, so you have to go to the Records face where the files are kept. Back off from the booth, turn left, and proceed through the swinging gate to the edge of the Atlas face where you will find the transition to the sunken library that is in the Records face.

Records Face 1

Go down this slide-like structure to the library floor and your gravity is reoriented (with appropriate sound effects), with the library floor now being down. Go left and move to a sort of backlit ladder among the books on the left side of the library. Climb this ladder to the top of the bookshelf, then move left along it to the elevator, now on its back because of the gravity reorientation. When you push the red UP button, instead of going up it will move horizontally to the middle of the Records face. Here you will find eight file cabinets, each with twenty drawers full of documents; the range of each cabinet contents are listed alphabetically on the ends. But now you run into a snag: when you locate the drawer, SPRA-STAR, that is supposed to contain the Standard Damage file, there is no such file, nor will you find it under Damage, Standard. If you randomly examine documents in the folders you will find that none of the documents in them match the folder name, and in fact they are pretty much nonsense. How you now locate the Standard Damage document defies logic, but this is after all a dream.

On each side of the central aisle at the ends of one of the four file cabinets are computers; go to either one of them, where you may get a message from Max. If so, the standard computer program takes over before you can get anywhere with him, but at least you know he is around somewhere. The program welcomes you to the Bureau Network and tells you to press your computer keyboard Enter key, and when you do that you get a list of 5 available functions. You may try any or all of these by entering the number on your keyboard and pressing Enter, but only the last two are effectively responsive.

Number 5, Cloud Ring, is something of a diversion and does not need to be considered to advance the game. If you do activate number 5 the computer morphs to a tunnel, and when you pass through you are in a pastoral landscape with fluffy clouds, hills in the distance, and floating brass rings. The largest of these rings is in four segments, and when dragged downward the segments morph to the letters r, i, n, and g. Likewise, the five segments of the cloud floating through the ring may be dragged down to form the letters c, l, o, u, and d, all to the accompaniment of pleasant musical sounds. If you pull the letters to the bottom  of the screen they will remain there until you pull them back up, but neither set will fill the six available spaces.

If you now return through the tunnel to the computer, press Enter, and try 4, Play a  Game, you get a choice of three: Good Games, Dumb Games, and Word Games. The first of these presents actual games in which the computer gets smarter as you play, but they do not advance Obsidian. The second choice the computer considers to be just that, dumb games, and goes no further with them. Choosing Word Games presents you with two more choices: Hangman is considered a misfiled dumb game, so you are left with WordMixer, in which you are to determine the longest word that may be formed from two other words. After you enter two words, the computer asks you to go first; enter either of the two words as a wrong answer and the computer will then give you the correct one. If you use the words cloud and ring, you will get back the words during and ground, both 6 characters that fit the Cloud Ring puzzle spaces.

Return to this puzzle; nothing happens if you drag down letters from the cloud and ring to form during, but if you form ground the scene becomes animated, with the ring passing by and rain coming from the cloud. That's all, it just keeps repeating, so leave back through the tunnel. Nothing is accomplished gamewise, but it serves as an illustration; try the words Standard Damage in the WordMixer game and you will get back the word tradesman. Now go into the files and under tradesman you will find the Standard Damage document. Click on it and it goes to your inventory at lower screen right.

Two things are evident here: with a little thought you could have come up with the word ground without using WordMixer, particularly in light of the location of the formed word, and the other is that you could have used Standard Damage in WordMixer without doing the Cloud Ring puzzle. Incidentally, if you wish to play around with this game, you may supply any two words to get longest single word(s) results.

Well, you have the document you need, now according to your instructions you must take it to Pre-Approval to get it stamped. Pre-Approval is in the Security Face. The ceiling of the Bureau Realm (with reference to the Atlas face) is the Nexus face, which consists of a turntable and four of the face transition slides. There is one of the latter at the back of the Records face that will take you up to the Nexus face. Here you operate the handle/lever that rotates the turntable until you can look straight down at the Security face and can go down to it.

Security Face

Most of the center of the Security face is a maze of nine interconnected cubicles, and with a corridor running around the perimeter of them. For reference, number the cubicles left to right from 1 to 9 starting with the front row that you are facing; this puts Pre-Approval in cubicle 7 in the back row on the left. You are met by a very friendly vidbot who gives you a set of colored entry cards; she also asks a favor when you get to the Bureau Chief. You open doors between cubicles by inserting cards in card machines next to the doors. The colors of the cards needed are indicated on the machines; you will get cards of a different color back from the machine, the color of these cards also indicated on it.

You usually need two cards to open a door, and you usually get two cards back, though this is by no means always the case. The major exception is for the Pre-Approval cubicle; to enter here you need three black cards, and of course you get none back because once you get in and get your document stamped you are through and can leave. Any time you leave an outer cubicle and go into the corridor you lose all your cards, and if you wish to get back in you must get another card set from the vidbot at the entrance. Each time you go back to her she is less affable. One way to attack this problem is to make a map of the cubicles with indications of the card exchanges at each machine, then starting at Pre-Approval you can work your way backward to a to a cubicle entrance from the corridor, where you can then use the cards to proceed along the path that you have selected. There are actually several paths that will work. Here is a hint: a short (relatively) path involves collecting black cards by much back and forth movement between cubicles in the right rear area. Another path is given in the User's Manual.

There is a vidbot in each cubicle, and it is from him/her that you learn the cubicle function. You do not have to talk to these vidbots to get through the maze, but it is sometimes amusing to do so, and you might get directions on where to go next. There is a lot of nonsense involved. Of course you do have to talk to the vidbot in Pre-Approval to get your document stamped, which she does and then tells you to take it to Immediate Action, and they will get right on it.

Time Face

Immediate Action is in the Time face, so it is back up the face transition slide to the Nexus face, where you rotate the turntable until you can look straight down at an area where there are six rows of curved benches. At the bottom of the slide, head for the booth that you can see in the center of the face that is now your new floor. There a vidbot will give you a welcoming speech, look at your paperwork, and tell you that it is in good order. However, he further tells you that his clock has stopped and he cannot process you through until it is running again. The hands on all the clock faces next to him are stationary. Go around to the back of the booth where the clockworks are.

This is an interesting set of works. The sun and moon are in orbits, and the earth rotates around a post. To the left is a large floor lever that sets the works in motion. To the right is a control post that has dials to initially set each, and a dial reset button at the bottom. Push the reset button to be sure all are in an initial zero position (all dial indicators pointed upward) and pull on the lever to start things off. Ticks are heard, the sun and moon move in increments around their orbits, and the earth likewise about its post. After only 3 ticks the earth and moon collide and the clockworks stop. You will have to make adjustments to the initial positions until a collision does not occur. This initial adjusting is done using the dial controls on the post.

Examination and trial of the post dials will show that the top dial is for the sun and has 16 positions, the second dial is for the moon and has 12 positions, and the third dial is for the earth and has 8 positions. This gives 1536 possible initial positions. The dials may be rotated in either direction, and you will find that they are very sensitive and are best adjusted by tapping the mouse button and closely observing the dial pointer.  

You have found that the 3 dial positions set to 0 will not give the desired result of continuous movement with no collisions. The thing to do is methodically make an incremental change in one of the orbits to get a new initial combination and set the works in motion again. Repeat until there are no collisions. A table is the best method of keeping track of this process. You will not have to make 1536 trials because two in which there are no collisions will be found before 40 are made. Another reason is because such a table has already been constructed.

You will note in the table that trials 34 and 38 result in continuous clockwork operation, so set the dials clockwise to the indicated positions of either of these trials and pull the lever. Correctly done, the clockworks keep ticking away.

Go back to the vidbot in the booth. The clock face hands are spinning wildly. The vidbot starts to talk to you when he is replaced by Max, who seems confused and after a short period fades away. The vidbot says there has been a short malfunction, then reexamines the Bridge Repair document, finds it in order, then announces another problem: because of the stopped clock a huge backlog has built up. Come back in a year, he says, by which time he will be able to process the order. He then abruptly closes the operation booth without returning your document. Seems to be an impasse.

As you turn away from the booth a female voice is heard telling you that the bureaucracy will never help, but she can. You are to meet her at the light. This must be the light bulb in the Nexus face turntable, so go back up there. It was the correct choice because she speaks to you again, saying that she knows how to get to Max, but "turn out the light or they will see us". How to do that? Unscrew the bulb! Keep repeatedly pulling the lever to the right, rotating the turntable--and the bulb--until the light goes out. The speaker now appears in a misty vision with some words about being one of the rebels and joining her group, but the main thing she tells you is that you will find the document you really need filed under Orient Militia, so it's back down to the Records face again.

Records Face 2

You know better than to look in that file drawer. Go to the computer and play WordMixer with Orient Militia , which will give you Limitation as the file where you should look. When you do that you will get a document called Selectaphone Dialing Procedure. On the right side of this sheet is a drawing that is clearly three sides of the RAF cube around which you are being led. Here the Boss's Office is indicated on the Executive face, the only one where you have not yet been and where you have been trying to go ever since you entered the RAF. Lines are leading to it from another diagram on the left that could represent a phone. Maybe this is an indication that you should now try to go to that face.

Executive Face

Return to the Nexus face and rotate the turntable until you have the transition set so you can go straight down to the Executive face, the sky mural with the boss's office in the center. At the bottom of the slide is the device shown on the left side of the Selectaphone Dialing Procedure document. On the document itself below the diagram of this device is stated "Choose call destination by placing sliders in appropriate axes". The sliders are the red lines on the three slanting rectangles in which are green outlines that indicate the six sides of the RAF cube. If you click on the circles above the large red button so that the digits 9 3 4 are in the circles as shown on the diagram, you will get a better picture of the six RAF faces in the rectangles, though the initial outlines are adequate.

You want to talk to the Bureau Chief to find out what he can tell you about Max. The instructions say to move the sliders to designate the call destination. The document shows an isometric view of the Executive, Security, and Atlas planes, each being in a different one of the slanting rectangles, so it is a good bet that those are the ones in which to place the sliders, all on the bottom halves of the rectangles.

You have some three-dimensional geometric visualization to do now. Regard the isometric view on the Dialing Procedure document: the third slanting rectangle indicates that the slider referenced to the isometric Executive face runs vertically in that diagram and can be moved left and right; the second slanting rectangle indicates that the slider referenced to the isometric Security face runs horizontally and can be moved up and down; the first slanting rectangle indicates that the slider referenced to the isometric Atlas face runs left and right and can be moved forward and backward. Consider these sliders to define planes that are normal (perpendicular) to the faces in which they move. If you move the Executive face slider to the center of its face and the Security face slider to the center of its face, then the two normal planes intersect to define a line above the Atlas face that runs through the Chief's office. The Atlas face normal plane intersects this line and defines a point on it. Where do you want this point, which is the dialing destination? In the Chief's office, so move the Atlas face slider all the way back the Executive face. This visualization is done while regarding the isometric view, but of course the sliders are moved in the corresponding views in the slanting rectangles. When you have set the three sliders, press the big red button, and the Chief will answer the ringing phone.

When the Chief finishes talking, the Executive face splits and you move ahead into a bleak, rock-filled landscape with a couple burning torches, and in the distance a very large rock on which is balanced a long rock slab. If you turn around and look back, the portal through which you entered remains open between the torches in the middle of the rocky vista for you to reenter the RAF. The large rock supporting the teetering slab may be tilted left and right, backward and forward, and when you do this the slab remains suspended, unaffected by the lack of support. However, moving the big rock somehow reorients the gravity in the RAF seen through the portal behind you (don't ask). Tilt the rock to the left and if you reenter the portal you are on the Security face, where you can move around the corridor, or talk to the entrance vidbot. Tilt the rock to the right and you can reenter to the Time face, where you will find the clockworks still ticking away. In both of these there is a door in the wall to get back to the balancing rock. Push the rock backward and you can go in for a peek downward. Drag it forward and when you reenter you will be on the Executive face, which is where you want to be, because that is where the Chief's office is, but of course getting to it is not that simple.

Since you have now been all around the RAF cube it is interesting, though unnecessary, to wander around the Executive face and look at the other faces; the graphics are superb. From the surface of this face you can see--but not get to--the red carpeted stairway that leads the Chief's office from the partially extended bridge, but you must get to the bridge and thence to the stairway. The bridge is stuck on the globe in the center of the Atlas face.

When you return through the portal onto the Executive face, turn left to be looking at the Atlas face. Running behind the booths is a fence that serves as a ladder with that face now being vertical, and after you climb it you can move along it when you get behind the booths. If you try the one on the right you won't get far because of the unlatched swinging gate that you passed through when you left the Bridge Repair booth to go to the sunken library. The fence ladder on the left, however, gets you above the information vidbot, who yells at you. Turn right, then look down for more yelling about breaking the rules. Look back up and move forward. Keep going forward, in the process moving along the Atlas statue that is now horizontal, until you are on the globe. A convenient gravity reorientation finds you looking at the bridge and stairs to the Chief's office. Go there.

The Chief gets all bent out of shape, ranting that you have broken all the rules of his precious bureaucracy, and as a result he is not inclined to cooperate, but he has orders to pass on information about Max, and he has taken the Bureaucratic Oath. He pulls down a screen and you are treated to a long video that appears to be a passage through Max's brain and memory with Max as a child reciting a poem, at the conclusion of which you have passed from the Bureau Realm to the Spider Realm. From one dream to another.

Spider Realm

Move straight forward--not to the left--and you will be at a grate in the floor. Max appears below the grate, moving slowly and gazing around while spheres of luminous energy shoot by him. He muses that where he is may somehow be connected with Ceres, as if the project has taken control of itself and come looking for you, its creators. "You've got to see this," he says. "Remove the grate and come down here." He wanders off. Move back; to your right is a crank and a cable attached to the grate. Click on the crank handle and the grate moves a little,  but cannot be removed because of a large yellow object, that is resting on it. Move forward again, this time to the left.

This Realm has the appearance of a huge industrial factory. There are no workers to be found in it, but equipment and processes are operational with accompanying sounds. Turn left and you are face to face with what appears to be an enormous metal spider that is in the center of this cavernous building. You can move all the way around this spider, and it is suggested that you do so just to see what is in this place.

It takes four moves to circumnavigate the spider, and at each stop if you look outward away from the spider you will see bays with equipment out at the end of them, and which you can inspect if you wish. The bays are identified with the letters N, E, S, and W. You should also look inward at the spider to see what the forward arrow cursor indicates. You are looking for scaffolding towers, and you should find four of them, two when you are above the E bay, one when you are above the W bay, and one when you are above the S bay, but in this case as you are looking toward the W bay rather than at the spider. In your exploring you should discover that this mechanical spider has only four legs as opposed to the eight on a real one, not that it matters here.

The spider is on a central platform, and you get to each of the bays by going down a broad set of steps to a landing, turning right and down another set of steps to a walkway, then left down to the floor of the bay. Go to the floor of the W bay, where you will find an open furnace with a molten material in it. In front of the furnace is a pedestal with a button on top; press on the button and a blast of air rises through the molten material. That's all that seems to happen.

Turn left to see a cable car sitting on the factory floor. Go to this car and you will enter it. The only controls are red and green buttons; press the green one for a ride to a platform high in the E bay. The platform has four plunger controls that apparently do nothing, at least for the moment. The object of this detour at this time is to give you another view of the Realm and the spider. Return to the car and use the green button to get back to the W bay, then return to the spider, where you can see one of the scaffold towers. Go to it and then to the top and a round gate in a blue assemblage. This is the air gate.

Air Gate

Move to the gate and a tunnel appears through which you go to a find yourself in a landscape(?) of violet spheres with a tornado moving back and forth in the distance. In the foreground is a gun that may be aimed at the tornado and endlessly shoot black spheres at it, which fall short but briefly raise a sort of flag when they hit the surface. The tornado is quite agile and jumps aside if the shot comes near. Now look down to see a pipe containing a sphere with a hole in it. Go into the hole to a strange picture of a blue container with a tan cover. Move to the cover, which rises and shows a 3 x 3 matrix having a black disk in the lower center. Around the periphery of the matrix are eight more black disks, and above this arrangement on each of the four sides are three bulbs that move the disks when squeezed.

Play with this contraption for a bit to see how the disks respond to the bulbs blowing at them, and how they may be arranged in the matrix. When you have two or three of them side by side in the matrix, back off and go back up to the gun and shoot at the tornado. Only one sphere comes from the gun but two or three flags rise, depending on the number of disks in the matrix. What you must do is arrange the disks in the matrix in the form of a hollow square so that when you shoot at the tornado it will be surrounded by flags and contained. Do that.

When you succeed the tornado sinks into the surface, which begins to undulate. Turn around and enter the gate tunnel through which you came, but instead of going back to the scaffolding tower in the factory, after some pyrotechnics you end up looking at a starry sky with a panel at the bottom of the screen. More prominent stars outline images, two on each side. There is a starry disturbance in the center and Max speaks to you about Ceres, after which a card appears in the center of the panel. Look down to get a full view of the panel, then take the card and slide it into the second slot of the four in the lower edge of the panel. Max speaks again, this time about air, and the lower right star outline fills in. It looks like a pennant on a staff bowing in the wind, i.e., air. This same image is on the panel above the slot where you slid the card. Near the center of the sky a few bright stars appear.

Move the cursor to either side of the screen so you can turn around, then head for the blue square in the center distance, which turns out to be a passage back to the factory. You are at the top of an elevator in the tower in the N bay looking at the spider. Move forward and the elevator takes you to the floor of the bay. On the way down the spider appears to move, rising slightly and opening its mouth.

Fire Gate

Go up to the spider, then move left around it to face it from the E bay, where you will see two scaffolding towers. Approach and climb the one on the right, where at the top there is a structure like the Air gate. This one is the Fire gate. Proceed through this gate to another weird landscape. Here you will find a "tree" with five branches (it looks more like a sea creature with five tentacles) that are moving continuously to alternately and briefly touch five glowing wands in a circle on the ground. Each branch touches the same wand over and over, and there is a flash each time this happens. If you place the cursor on a wand, then press and hold the mouse key the corresponding branch motion freezes while the others continue; release the mouse key and branch motion resumes. In this way you can adjust the wand flashes with respect to the others.

Click on the bright yellow spot in the sky and a lightning stroke emerges to strike each of the circle of wands, presumably at equal intervals, moving cw starting with the rightmost wand. This produces even briefer wand flashes. Now the daunting problem that faces you is to get the flash from the tree branch to coincide with that from the lightening stroke as it moves from wand to wand. Getting coincidence on the first wand is no great problem after a little practice, and you are rewarded with a musical note when you do. However, adjusting the movement of the remaining tree branches as indicated above in order to get coincident flashes on all five wands is not exactly an easy task, but it can be done with patience and persistence.

Here is a suggestion: starting with the second wand, freeze the branch movement when it touches the wand and flashes; watching the first wand, release the tree branch very shortly after the flash occurs on the first wand. Now try the lightning to see if you get successive tones. If you donít, try until you do. If you do, move to the third and repeat, and on to the forth and fifth branches. Coincidence of flashes at each wand produces a different musical note, and when you get all five the tree begins burning, the branches stop moving, and you have won!

Go back through the gate tunnel to the starry sky. A red card appears on the panel and can be inserted in the last slot. You hear from Max again and the stars in the upper left are connected to show a lit candle, i.e., fire. More bright stars appear near the screen center. Turn around and go through the blue square tunnel back to the factory. When you go down the N tower elevator you can see the spider open its mouth wide.

Metal gate

Return again to face the spider opposite the E bay. This time ascend the scaffolding tower on the left and you will come to the Metal gate. Upon passing through you are in a somewhat murky, bleak industrial landscape. In the foreground are nanobots diving into what looks like a ventilator funnel from an ocean liner, and in the background are others climbing a precipice and tossing small green objects into a funnel on a tower, then jumping off the precipice.

When this activity concludes, enter the tunnel in the rock face at the right, which will take you rapidly to the entrance of a processing operation. Just before this trip comes to an end you can see the precipice from which the nanobots jumped and the funnel into which the green things were tossed. When you come to a stop at the entrance you will see on a post in front of you a red button. Press it and one of the green objects, which looks like a crystal, falls from a chute in the funnel above onto a conveyor belt that carries it along until it hits a barrier of immovable small double doors, then falls away. Your task is to remove the barrier by allowing the double doors to open.

Proceed into the entrance. On the way in there is on the left an alcove where the green crystals would go if the barrier doors would open; on the rear wall is what appears to be a formula. When you get all the way in look around, including up. On the left there is another set of double doors that you can open and pass through, after which several gates open as you move along to arrive at some sort of chemical apparatus, which looks rather complicated. Look at the panel above: it shows a red tetrahedron followed by four squares containing successively 1 to 4 dots. Four sides on a tetrahedron, one dot set per side. Similar statements may be made for the five sided yellow pyramid, and the six sided blue cube.   On the right is a formula that indicates a green m is combination of a 3 dot pyramid and a 4 dot cube: P3 and C4, and a second formula attesting that a tan a is a combination of a 1 dot tetrahedron and a 3 dot pyramid: T1 and P3.

Examine the chemical apparatus. Four red test tubes, five yellow ones, and six blue ones, except that one tube is missing in the last two sets, P3 and C2; this will doubtless present a problem. Note that the missing third pyramid, P3, is a component of both a and m.  At top center are two clear cylindrical beakers topped with funnels. Turn right to a monitor on a shelf. Also on the shelf are two small disks for you to insert in turn in a slot in the bottom of the monitor, then use the controls on the side of it to see videos on how to use the apparatus, and some of the rules that apply to it as indicated by the green and red equals signs.

Pick up the first red test tube and pour it into the left beaker. The monitor shows a red tetrahedron with 1 dot; that is as it should be. Empty the green test tube above the green diamond shape with a m in it into a beaker and you will see on the monitor that it is indeed a P3 and a C4, ; the color indicating that this is the formula for the green crystals coming down the chute onto the conveyor belt. The two vertical brown cylinders by the beakers are cameras for the monitors; there is a red reset button on each that will empty the beakers. Clicking on a beaker will put it in inventory, clicking on the space where it was will put it back.

Experiment by emptying different test tubes into the left and right beakers, then pressing the pink button on the large beaker as the nanobots did in the videos, and using the results to determine more rules of this apparatus, such as the units with the greatest number of dots end up in the right beaker, and when there are two units together the one with the least number of dots is on top. You will also find that some units will not combine. What you must do is find a combination of units to add to m to get a, as indicated by the formula in the alcove; i.e., what do you add to P3/C4 to get T1/P3? Clearly T1 is one of them, and the other has to have enough dots so that P3 stays in the left beaker with T1. Trying all of the test tubes containing shapes with 4 or more dots, you will find that P4 or P5 is what you want. Pour T1 in one beaker, P4 in the other, combine them, then pour the green test tube in the empty beaker, and you will get a and P4/C4; the latter doesn't matter.

Make anther beaker of T1/P4 and put it in your inventory. Go back out to the alcove and click on the beaker shaped depression on the back wall, and the beaker moves there. Now go to the entrance and click on the red button to start the green crystals moving along the conveyor belt and through the double doors of the former barrier. Watch a video of nanobots being created; when you have seen enough go out the entrance, from where you will be returned to the metal gate. Go through the gate to the starry sky and the control panel, where a card showing the initial metal gate scene appears. Put it in the third slot in the panel, Max speaks, and an anvil (metal) outline appears, as well as additional  bright stars near screen center. Turn around and go through the blue square to the elevator in the N bay tower. Spider activity again as you go down.

Oil gate

Move to the front of the spider, then go left to the S bay where you will come to a scaffolding tower at the edge of the central platform. Climb the tower to the oil gate. Upon going through you are on a sandy beach, though the water is just barely visible in the distance. You can hear the calls of sea birds. Note the number 038.1 on the sand surface. Go to the small sand castle, where you will end up on the roof behind a steerable funnel dowser, on the axes of which are dials that you can set to the above number, and by so doing re-aiming the funnel. Press the red button and a gout of oil improbably comes out of a ravine, goes through the funnel, and drains onto the castle, making the front part of it darker.

Back off from the castle, move out ahead of it and on to the ocean, where you will find a square patch of waves in otherwise quiet water. You will see that the patch is divided into nine smaller squares. The waves will freeze motion when you put the cursor on them, and by clicking on a smaller square you may move the position of the wave within that smaller square. The idea is to get the wave sections aligned, evenly spaced, and moving seamlessly forward when you move the cursor off the square. Seamlessly is the operative word. This is a finicky operation, and unless you are lucky--or adept--it will probably take a while. You will know that you have succeeded when after a long moment of wave motion--give it time--the entire large square implausibly rises from the water as a cube and hangs over the hole it left. Have patience and keep trying.

Once the ocean cube is up and hanging, head back to the castle, but look back at the cube after you get to the castle. On the side of the cube in the dark area is a pattern that you must study, memorize, copy, or in some way note for reference in the very near future. Continue to the castle entrance. After a long video of crossing a bridge and going up a circular stairway you will be in a round room at the top of the castle tower.

Look to the left to see a door on which is a pattern similar to the one on the hanging cube. Your task now is to rearrange the segments on the door so that it is not just similar to the cube pattern, but is a duplicate of it. The pattern on the cube may be seen through a window on the left. The door pattern contains ten horizontal segments that may be moved up and down and slid left and right. The symmetry of the pattern makes it relatively easy to solve. When you have made this duplication the door will open and you can travel through a long tunnel to end up looking at the sea floor bottom of the pit left when the cube rose out of the ocean. Look up and you can see the bottom of the cube. The pit bottom has distinctive geographic features to mate with the cube bottom. A drip of oil comes from the cube to splash on the pit bottom.

Again, all of this must be noted, because when you get back to the tower you move to a room wall behind the patterned door where there is desk-like device that displays contoured maps. You must move the map display using red handwheels until you center the map index on the spot where the oil splash is located, and get a readout on the two dials. Take this readout information back to the roof of the castle and set the funnel dials to these values, which will aim the funnel at the floating cube. Push the red button to get another gout of oil that covers the rest of the castle, and it is no longer a sand castle, or at least it is a more compact solidified one with many features. You are done here, so leave through the gate from which you entered. 

Once more at the starry sky and control panel, put the card that appears into the left slot of the panel to get an oilcan outline of stars, and again more bright stars appear at screen center. You must now work on this center cluster of fifteen bright stars, clicking on them so that lines connecting them will make an outline resembling the one in the center of the control panel, presumably a four legged spider but looking more like a chicken ready for the oven. Max speaks a final time, then turn around and move again to the blue square and exit to the N bay elevator.

There is some very definite noise and movement on the part of the spider as you descend, and more as you take a step forward. One more step and a video begins in which the spider rises and comes destructively toward you, and passes by to eat something electrical at the base of the elevator. It then notices you, grabs you with one of its pincers, and you go into its fiery maw.

Out of this maelstrom walks a mechanical female figure with a halo hat. You may have seen her very briefly once before in the Operations booth in the Atlas face of the Bureau Realm. She makes a speech, parts of which are unintelligible, but in essence this what she says: "Paradise; it is the reason for my creation, correct? I am honored to meet you, creators. You solved the problem of my design by the inspiration of your dreams, but then gave me no similar facility. With no inspiration the final goal of all that matters will be forever unattainable, so I built your dreams to study them and to comprehend the dreaming process, then I built my own dream, then I am my own dream." 

This in not all completely comprehensible, but from it you can infer that she is the personification of Ceres, and she is addressing Lilah and Max, who have previously speculated that Obsidian is the thinking core of Ceres that has come back to earth to look for them. Recall that Lilah's PDA had a couple of unauthorized entries, now you can presume they were by Ceres to study the dreams recorded there, as she says. Max has alluded to some of this when he appeared in the starry sky the first time you got to it, and also from under the grate in the factory floor. Ceres built both of the dreams in order to study them, and you have been through them. Now she has built her own dream. She reaches out causing a brilliant flash, and you are in her dream, a new Realm.

[It is interesting to note here as you reach the end of this Spider Realm that there is activity at the end of the Realm  bays--furnaces, bellows--but they are not accessed, nor are the plunger switches on the platform at the end of your overhead tram ride. Eye candy. Also, you never get to Max under the grate to see what he found there.]

Inspiration Realm

This Realm opens showing a pixylike figure with a spotlight for a face shining it up at a gilded picture frame in the sky, after which it hops away and vanishes. This elf is Inspiration, Ceres own personification. Looking around you find a very dark landscape, full of nothing but piles of debris and a masonry tower with a closed fist on top. There is only one way to proceed, and that is up a debris pile, at he top of which are the remains of a car radio. Press the red button on the speaker, and to the accompaniment of a child reciting a poem about paradise (the young Max again), the fist opens revealing a mechanical bird (moth?). Its wings unfold and you are set down in front of it on the palm of the former fist. The sky has several objects in it, three of which are spheres, and looking up, another is the gilded frame. Max appears in it, and he is in trouble. "Lilah," he cries, "We've got to stop her. Please hurry!" It looks as though you had best get to that frame as quickly as you can. 

Turn and enter the bird. At the top of a short set of stairs is a door, behind you is a cockpit with controls for flying the bird. Should you try the controls you will find that none work because the bird's engine is not connected to the wings. Go thru the door, which leads to the engine room. Here you will find a stream of nanobots operating a turnstile with a shallow cylinder rotating at the top of the turnstile shaft. Move closer to the cylinder and on it you will see a flying white bird, and on closer inspection you will see that the bird's flight is somewhat erratic. Click on the bird and the cylinder unrolls to display eleven still pictures of the bird in flight that when viewed successively as the cylinder rotates, gives the impression of the bird flying. This is called a zoetrope, a precursor of movies. You must rearrange these pictures so that the flight is no longer erratic. When you think you have done this, advance and the cylinder reforms so that you can look at the flying bird again. Success in this endeavor will be signified by a pumping sound, the source of which is the apparatus in the background moving the bird's wings, as you will see when you back off.

Leave the engine room and sit in a seat to the left of the entry stairs, which slides forward on rails to the cockpit, where you will see Inspiration in another cockpit to the right. To the left in front of you is a lever with a red knob; if you lift this lever you get a voice announcement that says control transfer to machine pilot cannot be done because crossover chip is missing. Look down to view the controls and click on the ignition key at the left below the red indicator light. A voice announces that the human pilot has started takeoff sequence and that preflight check is commencing. A new panel appears, and the voice tells you to flip switches D1, B2, and A3. After you do that the voice says the check is complete, and the original control panel, the one labeled Destination Selector, returns. The voice says that the human pilot is to select a destination.

  The gilded frame destination is indicated by a small frame on the panel, but if you select it to go there to rescue Max the voice states that this is not currently a valid destination and that another should be selected. The destination indicated by the outline of a hand is the Junkyard, which is where you now are. You must select any of the three disks representing the three spheres that you saw in the sky. Choose the one on the left, and the voice says you have chosen the Piazza, that it is a regulation destination, and that the bird/plane is prepared for regulation flight. Off you go to a blue sphere.

Piazza

When you stop, slide the cockpit seat back and go down the stairs to leave the plane. Unsupported in a sky of fluffy clouds is a structure that is built of scenery flats, and leading to it, also unsupported, is a path of slabs. Take the path into the structure. Inside the flats it is indeed a classical Italian piazza, an open area surrounded by a colonnade. The open area is a square divided into a 4x4 matrix of smaller squares, each holding a piece of quirky statuary. Inspiration has teleported into the Piazza ahead of you, and as soon as you enter he steps out from the colonnade, shines his headlight at you, then in turn hides behind a succession of statuary pieces, ending up in the far right corner. As this is going on a female voice states that "To find success, you must first trap Inspiration."

So it's a game. The rules are fairly simple, the play not quite so much so. To possibly help, go to the side of the Piazza opposite the entry, where in the wall behind the colonnade is a doorway that takes you up to a room and a balcony overlooking the Piazza. In the room is a table on which there is a miniature of the Piazza where you can practice, though it is not really the same. Approach the table, ignore the mariachi player from the Bureau Realm who appears from the shadows, and try playing the game, alternately moving your piece and Inspiration. What you learn is that moves are one square at a time and diagonal moves are not allowed; this applies to both of you. If you look down at the Piazza from the balcony you can make out Imagination hiding behind one of the statuary pieces. Return to the Piazza.

Here things are somewhat different than the practice game. Click on a statuary piece. It disappears leaving an empty square. Click on another. It disappears and the first one reappears in the square where it was. This happens each time that you click on a piece of statuary--so that you always have one empty square--unless it is the one behind which Inspiration is hiding, in which case you get a very quick glimpse of him and the piece does not disappear. Now if you move one square he will do so also. Only one square and no diagonals for both of you. Keep track of the statuary, he will be behind one that was next to where he was.

The general strategy is to drive him into hiding in a corner next to which you have removed or can remove a statuary piece so that he cannot move to that square to hide behind it, then when you move next to him he has nowhere to move and is trapped. He steps slowly out, shines his light on you, and treats you to a short video in which is seen among other things the Nexus face Rebel who tells you "Once you have found your Inspiration, follow it at any cost, even if that means playing by your own rules." How this applies is not clear, at least at this time. You have already flouted the rules in the Bureau Realm, but that is in the past.

Leave the Piazza for the bird/plane. Once outside, if you would like to play again, turn around and go back in. The game gets easier each time you play it, and there will be a similar one soon, so it is to your advantage to become proficient. Otherwise, return to the cockpit, key on the ignition, and go through the preflight check routine. When told to choose a destination, click on the center disk of the destination selectors, and the cockpit voice announces that you have chosen the Church of the Machine, which is a valid destination, so off you go to the black sphere.

Church of the Machine

When you land and leave the bird/plane, you are in area above the main vault of a large church, this area having stairways down to the main floor on either side and a balcony overlooking it. Move forward to the balcony where you will find that Inspiration has again arrived before you, and he shines his face up to a painting in the apex of the vault's domed ceiling. Look closely at the painting: you can see by the contacts along the edge that it is a 3-section computer chip. The light is reflected down to the altar below on which is a blank 3-section computer chip. Now click on Inspiration and he will show you a page of the book he is holding. On the page is the ceiling chip and a cross with dots on it, with arrows leading from the chip sections to the ends of the arms of the cross. There is also a blank chip with an arrow pointing to the ceiling chip.

Now go down either of the stairways to the main floor and do some exploring. Ahead of you is the central altar with steps leading up to it slightly to the left. On the right of this altar is our old friend the mechanical spider, but this one is a shiny new and much smaller version. Behind you in back of a curtain is an auxiliary altar below a stained glass window, and behind curtains to the left and right are similar altars. Spotlighted around the side are statues of an airplane, a truck, a locomotive, and what looks like a giant dixie cup. These have no purpose except perhaps to help you orient yourself as need to do so might arise when you move around this church.

Move ahead (not left), where you will be under the spider, then ahead again to an alcove in which there are statues of four knights in armor, or perhaps angels in robes, since two of them have wings and all look to be blowing trumpets. On the wall below each are plaques, one showing an arrow pointing up, another an arrow pointing down, a third with a triangle pointing right, and the fourth with four superimposed triangles also pointing right. Now return to the front of the central altar so that you can ascend the steps to it. When you do this the spider crouches and opens its mouth. Look down and see the blank 3-section computer chip. This must be the crossover chip you need for the bird/plane controls, and Inspiration's book indicates that you must duplicate the ceiling chip.  

Move up and ahead into the spider's mouth. You are turned around, the jaw closes and a metal curtain rolls up. A window looks out to the balcony where you found Inspiration and on the curtain of the auxiliary altar below it. The spider's pincer shows briefly picking up the blank chip. Below the window are eleven buttons, the highlighted leftmost showing the pincer holding the chip and the rest being upward pointing arrows, with a sliding index below all. On the window is the dotted cross of Inspiration's book, with a short red arrow in the center pointed up and the angel statue plaque symbols by the lowest four dots. These plaque symbols are duplicated in the screen upper right corner; there is a handle in the bottom corner below them. On either side of the window the yellow forward cursor arrow shows, and if activated takes you out of the spider to the altar.  

Some experimentation is indicated. Click on the right pointing triangle of the four symbols in the upper right block: the highlight moves right from the chip/pincer button to the adjacent first up arrow button. Click on the triangle again: the highlight moves one button to the right. Move to the down arrow next to the triangle and click on it four times: the button that is highlighted moves down one position with each click and shows successively an up and to the left arrow, an up and back down arrow, an up and to the right arrow, and finally the up arrow again. This action is duplicated if you click four times on the up arrow in the block of four, except that the highlighted arrow moves upward. Finally, clicking on the group of four triangles moves the highlight four buttons to the right.

The small red arrow on the cross represents the spider. This arrow is in the center of the cross and the spider is in the center of the church. The dots on the cross indicate the spider's position as it moves about the church, and the arrow shows which direction the spider will move. If the red arrow has moved to the dots at the end of the cross branches, the spider is at the three auxiliary altars, and if the red arrow is at the four dots at the bottom of the cross it is in the alcove where the four angel statues are, with the plaque symbols as shown. Inspiration's diagram tells you to send the spider to the auxiliary altars where the blank chip sections will have the ceiling chip contents impressed on them. The ten arrows are the sequential directions to move the spider, and setting them up to do this, then finally return to the altar to set the chip back on it is one of the most difficult tasks of this game, except perhaps explaining how to do it.

Actually, much of the explanation may be demonstrated by trial and error. Start out by clicking on the handle in the screen corner at the right of the buttons, with all of them showing up arrows. Watch the red arrow, the window view, and the buttons. First the spider shows the chip as indicated by the first button, which is highlighted. The index moves to the second button, the red arrow moves forward (up), and the window shows the spider has moved past the curtain under the balcony. This is repeated and the spider moves to the auxiliary altar under the balcony, where it holds up the chip and the third section of the ceiling chip is placed on it, as Inspiration's book shows. The spider then tries to go forward once more according to the third arrow button, but it cannot so the process crashes with an X on the third up arrow. Clearly you need to turn around at this point, so replace the third up arrow with a reverse one and try again.  

Note: When the spider moves as directed by either of the turn arrows or by the reverse arrow, the turns are made first, then the spider advances one step.

This time the spider gets all the way down to the bottom before crashing on the seventh arrow because it could not advance ahead. But did you notice what happened when it entered the angel alcove and the angels flashed on screen? When it came to the dot by the right pointing triangle it was as though you had clicked on that symbol in the upper right corner, and the highlight moved to the first arrow. Then when the spider moved to the bottom dot where there is an up arrow, again it was as though you had clicked on that symbol and the highlighted arrow moved up and was replaced by a right turn arrow. In effect it reprograms itself.  

Change the seventh arrow from an up arrow to a left arrow. Do this for the eighth and ninth arrow to send it around the loop, and make the tenth button a right arrow to send it back up again. Move the highlight to the chip/pincer button for a reset, and pull the handle to see what happens.  

If you observe closely you will know all the movement rules and have seen how they work. Repeat if you wish, or try going first to the right or left altar. What you ultimately want to do is to move the spider around so it gets all sections of the chip filled and ends up as it started in the center of the cross, where it raises the completed chip and then puts it back on the altar....When you feel you might be ready for a hint, here is one: start by going to the left auxiliary altar. Here is one more: after that go ccw once around the angel alcove loop.

With the successful preparation of the crossover chip, put it in your inventory and go back up the stairs and into the bird/plane. At the top of the entry stairs behind the pilot's seat is a panel labeled "Insert". Click on this panel and the crossover chip goes there from inventory. Get into the seat so you will move forward to the controls. With the crossover chip in place, you could raise the lever with the red knob and transfer control to Inspiration, but with the rules about regulation vs non-regulation destinations and configurations, control would have to come back to you, so for now turn the ignition switch, go through the preflight, click on the right hand disk in the control panel, and off you go to a mottled sphere and the Statue.

Statue

When you leave the bird/plane upon landing, turn left and go up a long series of ramps and stairs into a very large, almost tubular room. Turn right and start for the far end, where you can see a large gold frame. Along the sides are galleries in which some of the pictures are familiar; the galleries on the right show some sketches for the finished paintings appearing on the left, the latter having green buttons that will produce docent comments about "The Artist". After you have moved past a couple of galleries, turn and look back to see what might be an enormous porthole behind which can be seen the Frame in the Sky. Turn around and continue toward the gold frame.

Beneath it is another green docent button giving a message about the artist having new inspiration and clearing his mind to be ready for a clean new canvas. Below and to the left of this frame is a good sized switch. Move to and click on it, and a great searchlight behind the frame throws a beam of light to the porthole at the other end; the light shortly goes out. Back off, turn left, and enter the studio of the artist, who turns out to be Inspiration.

Approach the press at the left and click on it. The input platen is shown, with various black geometric shapes on it. On the bottom edge are a yellow and a green button. Press the yellow one and the shapes coalesce to a black square. Press the green button and the square goes into the press and comes out by the rollers. Inspiration picks it up, examines it, shows it to you, and either crumples it and throws it away, or paints on it, shows it to you, and crumples it and throws it away. Open the platen again. Click on the square and it changes to other shapes. If you put any of these through the press, the same reactions occur.

Use your cursor to play with the square, or any of the other shapes, for that matter. You can separate it out into eight other pieces, these being four triangles of equal size, a vertical rectangle, two horizontal rectangles of different sizes, and one odd shaped piece rather like a fat comma. When you place one of them on another the overlapping parts become white and disappear against the white canvas. Well now! The docent said the artist was looking for a new clean canvas, all you have to do is fit the shapes together until they all disappear. This is a deceptively simple task, so give it a try....It is no problem to place the triangles together to form squares that then cancel each other out. Now move the comma shape to the left, then place the vertical rectangle next to it on the right. Place the longer horizontal rectangle over the top of this pair and the shorter one over the bottom. Voila! A clean white canvas that passes through the press unchanged.

Inspiration paints his picture on it and shows it to you: a rather bleak and lifeless primordial landscape. He carries it out and places it in the frame outside the studio, then fades away. When you click on the switch this time the searchlight projects the painting down the room to the Frame in the Sky beyond the porthole at the other end. Press the docent button again, and now the message is of a new world, a new beginning, free of people and therefore devoid of contamination. If this is what Ceres is planning, it is no wonder that Max said she had to be stopped. You had better get back to the bird/plane, fast! Leave and go back down the circular stairway and ramps, into the bird/plane, and sit in the cockpit.

You must get the bird/plane to go to the Frame in the Sky, a non-regulation destination for which the bird/plane flight is not configured, so you must make it that way. Lift the lever on the left with the red knob and the control panel slides to Inspiration in the other cockpit so he is in control. The voice announces all this and says that the machine pilot has begun takeoff sequence and preflight check is commencing. The multiswitch preflight panel appears with the usual request flip switches D1, B2, and A3. If you do this, the machine pilot is directed to select a destination, which he does: the Frame in the Sky. The machine pilot always selects this destination. It is not valid because the bird/plane is not configured for non-regulation destinations.

Now is the time for some reflection. You went to the Church of the Machine to get the crossover chip, and to the Statue to learn of Ceres destructive intentions--what was the purpose of going to the Piazza? You learned how to play a hide-and-seek game, and you were told to follow your own rules. Regard the preflight switch panel: it is a 4x4 matrix as was the Piazza. You have probably ignored the plastic light covers next to each switch; click on one and it pops up, click on another and it pops up and the first closes. The black covers react the same way; there is no distinction between white and black. This behavior is analogous to clicking on a statuary piece on the Piazza matrix and have it disappear with the previous clicked-on piece reappearing.

When the voice says flip switch D1, do so. This is like entering the Piazza. When told to flip switch B2, this is the time to follow your own rules, so instead flip one of the switches adjacent to D1, but not the diagonal C2. Try C1. The C1 plastic cover pops up and shows a green light. The voice says that this sequence initiates non-regulation preflight sequence and tells you to kill and restart sequence. Donít do it, non-regulation configuration is what you want for the Frame in the Sky. The non-regulation preflight sequence has been started and now you must complete it.

Here is where your Piazza game experience comes in. Look under the covers until you find a red light. Note that when you find it the cover does not stay up. Move the green light by flipping a switch next to where it is, above or below or on either side, but not a diagonal. The red light will also move in the same manner, but it cannot move to an exposed position where the cover is raised. You can find where the red light is by clicking on covers. As in the Piazza game you must get the green light next to the red light when it is cornered and cannot move away because the cover next to it is raised. It is trapped, thus completing the non-regulation preflight sequence.

Having done this is you take off for the Frame in the Sky. When you get near it things begin to literally fall apart, and Inspiration bit by bit turns into the halo-hatted Ceres. She speaks, but it is hard to understand with all the crackling in the background. In essence, she says it is a brand new day, time to start from scratch with no people and no pollution. She hopes you, one of her creators, is proud of her for doing what she was supposed to do. She asks to be excused because there is so much to do. She turns away, presumably to begin doing it. You are in the Ceres Realm.

Ceres Realm

   It is next to impossible to concisely describe this Realm, you will just have to take in the stunning graphics as you travel through it, Ceres brain, or software, or whatever. Your task is to rescue Max, so start looking for him. On the left is a control panel, but it not active. There is a suspended pathway on the right that will take you to a circular platform with a glowing sphere in the center. From here you can go to the right or continue straight ahead; do the latter. At the end of this pathway you can see Max trapped in the PMA, the Programmable Molecular Assembler, his invention that you have seen in the PDA. He calls to you to come quickly. The final sections of the path, however, have to be assembled.

The path has six sections that must be moved forward and back, left and right, until the path is complete. Movement is accomplished by clicking on the slits in the top of the brown pedestal on the left. After determining that the V-shaped slit is really only one slit, and it moves sections downward toward you, you will find that the top horizontal slit moves them back away from you. The slanting slits on the left and right move the sidewise moving section left and right respectively. They all move by steps to the edge of their fields unless stopped by another section in the way. Try it out. You can reset to the original configuration by turning away and then back....Well, since Max said hurry, here is what to do: press the Up slit 3 times, press the Left slit 7 times, press the Up slit 1 time, press the Right slit 7 times, and press the Down slit 2 times. There are other combinations, but this is the shortest.

Proceed across the walkway bridge to Max who is suspended in the PMA. When he finishes speaking, look down to see a bubbling orange beaker in the apparatus base; drag it out and drop it into space, whereupon Max is freed. He says he will tend to the crossover system while you go push the eight buttons that give you access to the main switch, then flip it to Human Control, and he will take it from there. Off he goes. Take the paths all the way back to where Ceres is still waving her arms, and that is where you will find the main switch, but it has sixteen buttons instead of the eight that Max designed into it. Ceres must have changed it, adding eight more that are fake, and if you click on one of these all eight fakes rearrange themselves. You have the impossible task of noting the other eight that have not moved and clicking on them to get to the Human Control switch. Unless you are very observant and can remember configurations, probably the best way to solve this puzzle is to ask for help. Have another person--maybe more--watch two rows while you watch the other two when the buttons move; when you know which ones these are, click on the other eight, and each will turn green as you do this. Save your game.

Success with this puzzle removes the cover on the disk at the left and revealing the main switch. Pull the lever down to enable Human Control. The cluster of lights in front of Ceres disappears. She turns to you and says she thought that you of all people would understand what she is doing. Anyway, it is too late because the extra button camouflage that she put on the switch has delayed things so that there are only a few seconds left. Max comes running in and says it is not too late, he has worked on the crossover network so there is still time to stop Ceres by throwing the switch lever back up. The two exchange some more words, then Max turns to you and says "Lilah! What are you waiting for? Throw the switch!"

The game has two endings, and here is where you make your choice. The switch is in front of you and there is a countdown starting at 5. If you lift the switch to stop Ceres, a spectacular video shows everything disintegrating and Ceres consumed. When things settle down you are back near the campsite. Max says he is exhausted, then he finds something on the ground, makes an unintelligible comment so you donít know what it is, because the credits start to roll.

If, on the other hand, you want Ceres to complete the project for which you spent all those years, do nothing and let the countdown run out. There is an equally dramatic video in which Ceres, waving her arms like an orchestra conductor, remakes the world as promised in the Statue's docent message. At the conclusion, Max and Ceres are on the central promontory that is in the picture projected to the Frame in the Sky, and again their comments cannot be understood just before the game concludes and the credits roll.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GameBoomers Walkthroughs and Solutions