MiSTings and More

In the Stars

a do-it-yourself MiSTing
by Louise Hope
with Fred Hope and Alex Hoffer
based on a game by Greg Pollock

Fade in. Jake, Zainab, Lucy and Fred are clustered around the computer.
Some of the players are real. Some are fictional. But if you don’t already know which is which, then it doesn’t really matter, does it?

Fred: I just downloaded this WorldBuilder game called—

Jake: Oh, please, not another WorldB—

Zainab: Let me guess. Crude graphics, illiterate text, no responses to even the most obvious input—

Jake: —adolescent humor, sudden death in every other scene—

Zainab: —inept programming, sloppy window layout—

Lucy: Ingrates, the both of you. And Jake, you’re thinking of GameMaker.

Jake: Did you make this game?

Lucy: Bite your tongue. But I will never deny my roots.

Zainab: Did Ray Dunakin make it?

Lucy: Is the Pope a San Diego Republican?

Jake: Uhh . . .?

Zainab: Was Mother Teresa an Islamic fundamentalist?

Jake: Uh . . . no?

Fred: You guys aren’t making any sense. Let me read you the ReadMe. [Reads:]

“In the stars is a neat demo

Jake: I thought you said on the hard drive was the demo.

I came up with all on my own

Lucy: Aw, nuts. I was sure he’d had help from the Miller brothers.

and I admit

Jake: Never admit anything until your attorney advises you to do so.

there will be some errors in the game but it is bug free and virus free with the help of Norton Disk Doctor and Sam antivirus. If you have any questions or comments, E-mail me at GanonG@aol.com. Oh heck, send me your demos too!”

Lucy: Send me your tired, your poor, your huddled demos . . .

Jake: Demonstrating once again the utter futility of . . .

Zainab: Thirty demonstrators were arrested, and a dozen more were hospitalized after—

Fred: Let’s start the game.

about “In the Stars”

This game and all characters and images it contains are property of Greg and Robert Pollock. Copyright 1998

Jake: Didn’t he just get through telling us he, singular, made it all on his own?

Fred: Robert said if he didn’t get credit he’d put slugs in Greg’s bed every night for a week.

“BEGINING!!!!”

Zainab: If I’d managed to misspell the name of the very first scene, I’d use four exclamation marks too.

Fred: Oh, don’t be so hard on him, it’s a WB spelling convention. One of the default dialog boxes uses the word “Quiting,” remember?

You are on the Voyogor,

Zainab: Voyogor? Is that Bulgarian for voyeur?

Jake: Ukrainian for yogi?

Lucy: You’re thinking of Vlad the Voyogor.

connected to the Defeant, connected to the Enterpreters, connected to the DS19 Station,

Jake (singing): “The skull bone’s connected to the neck bone, and the neck bone’s connected to the . . .”

Zainab: I wonder if they used an SCSI connection or USB.

Fred: I think they’re just tied together with bits of string.

Knocked unconcious with a Phaser in one hand, assumably yours, and a Tricorder in the other, also assumably yours.

Alex (reading over their shoulders): If I’m unconscious, why do I have all this stuff in my hands?

Jake: I assume this is my hand, but can I assume the other one is too?

Fred: To assume is to make an ass out of—

Adults: Shut up, Fred!

How do you know all of this?

Alex: Just a hunch.

You read it on the panel in front of you.

Jake: While unconscious?

Zainab: “Important Notice! Please be advised that the hand containing the phaser is yours, and so is the one containing the Tricorder.”

HEY!

All: HO!

It could help you with info on where you are and where main power is!

Alex: Why should I care where main power is?

Jake (singing, as Roger Daltrey): “Why should I care . . .?”

You are actually in an advantage situation!

Fred: My cat’s in an Advantage situation and she hasn’t had fleas in months.

On the ground you see a Latenem, a Phaser, and a Tricorder.

Zainab: Tricorder? That technology was obsolete in my grandfather’s day. Don’t settle for anything less than a Heptacorder.

Jake: I’d prefer an Earlynem, thanks.

Fred: I thought he said the phaser and tricorder were in my hand.

Jake: On the ground you see a selection of hands.

Zainab: Could you give me a hand with this?

Lucy: Let’s all give a big hand to . . .

Alex: He needs a hand UP, not a handOUT.

Jake (singing): “Hands . . . across the water . . .”

READ PANEL
Read what?
READ WALL
Read what?
READ
Read what?

Fred: But he said the panel could help me with info!

Players sneak off to consult code. On return:

USE PANEL
The access panel tells you that you are the captain of this ship, the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Jake: Oh, my head. Oh, what a night. Did I get married last night?

Zainab: No, that was last month. Last night you accepted the captaincy of the Federation starship Enterprise.

Fred: Didn’t he just get through telling us that we’re on the Voyager?

You have a long way to go to get to main power. The main power
is the bridge. Type NEXT.
Huh?

Lucy: Next, please!

NEXT
The only way to know where the bridge is, would be to Register the game for $5.00. Send it to Greg Pollock P.O. Box 6094 Branson, MO.
You have a long way to go to get to main power. The main power is the bridge. The only way to know where the bridge is,

Jake: Is there an echo in here?

Alex: It’s those hard metal access panels. You should replace them with padded ones.

would be to Register the game for $5.00.
Send it to Greg Pollock P.O. Box 6094 Branson, MO.
What?

Zainab: Oh, no, don’t tell me, let me guess. Greg doesn’t understand the difference between END and EXIT, even though every piece of text ever published by Ray Dunakin explains it.

Jake: I’m starting to think about EXITing this game.

Fred: He said there were some errors. It’s right in the ReadMe.

Jake: So if the product label said “May explode under normal operating conditions,” that would make it all right?

Alex: If the prescription insert said “May cause death in a small percentage of cases,” that would make it all right?

Jake: The answer to both questions is yes. This message brought to you by your local chapter of the Libertarian Party. Tune in next week for justifications of slavery, child labor and the twenty-five-cent hourly wage.

Lucy: If the cautionary note said “Some men may experience certain sexual side effects,” that would—

Zainab: I like Jake’s hairline the way it is, thank you very much.

Fred: There was something in the code about opening a door. I want to try it!

OPEN DOOR
The door opens with a for some reason satisfying, SHWEE!

Alex: Open door! Close door! Open door! Close door! Open door! Shwee, shwee, shwee! I could do this all day! Shw . . .

Lucy: Shut up.

Zainab: I have a question. If there’s nothing in the scene description about a door, and nothing in the picture that looks like a door, why would the player ever think of opening a door?

Jake: Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Fred: Look, there’s more.

You can't open anything here.

Zainab: See what I meant about END and EXIT? He doesn’t understand that the code keeps going until it hits an EXIT. And if there isn’t one, it defaults to “Huh?” or “What?”

Jake: Can we exit this scene?

Lucy: I don’t know; it doesn’t say.

N
Unless you wish to get sucked into the Vacuum of space don't go that way.
S
You can't go south.
W
Unless you wish to get sucked into the Vacuum of space don't go that way.

Fred: Gee, Greg, thanks for warning us instead of just killing us instantly like a bad game would have done.

“Corrodor”

This is just another corrodor. Nothing special here.

Zainab: Corrodor . . . a thing that corrodes? I believe the technical term is “corrosive,” or perhaps “caustic.”

Jake: Maybe he means “abrasive.”

Fred: Maybe he means “annoying.” Let’s look at the code.

All consult scene code. It is blank.

Jake: Oh, well, that explains everything.

You encounter a Cyber-Borg.
The Cyber-Borg runs west.

Fred: Look, a cyberborg just ran past.

Jake: Let’s go get ’im!

Zainab: Get ’er, you mean. It’s Seven of Nine.

Players go west, pursuing Cyber-Borg.

The Cyber-Borg runs east.

Fred: Stay still so I can kill you!

Players go east.

The Cyber-Borg escapes.

Jake: Let’s just wait until he gets tired.

Zainab: She.

Lucy: Look, I found something extra on the Commands menu: Open and Close. Try it, Fred!

OPEN
You can't open anything here.
CLOSE
You can't close anything here.

Jake: Well, that’s a great timesaver. It would have made me really mad if I’d had to type four or five letters and hit Return just to find out the command isn’t valid here.

“Twenty-Six Forward.”

Lucy: The period is his way of telling us that the action comes to a full stop in this scene.

This is the bar of this ship. Gueenen is the bar-tender. Wow, this is the most exciting bar you have ever seen.

All (ad lib): Really? Is it? Wow! You don’t say!

(Being Sarcastic)

All: Oh.

Alex: I guess the topless dancers went home.

Fred: Being Sarcastic? Isn’t that a third-level opponent in Darkwood? It comes right after “Being, Ironic” and before “Being, Satirical.”

Lucy: You’re thinking of “Being, Corrosive.”

So, ORDER something!

Alex: You should order something because the bar is an exciting place?

Jake: Alcohol makes everything exciting! This message brought to you by the Booze Council.

BUY BEER
What?

Alex: Buy beer!

TALK
What?

Jake: Talk!

Zainab: Don’t you ever pay attention? He told you to ORDER something.

Lucy: In fact, you might say he ORDERED us to order something.

ORDER BEER
OH! HI!

Jake: Finally. Ya deaf?

Do you want something?

Alex: Yeah, you know what I . . .

Zainab: No.

Maybe a drink?

Alex: Hence the phrase, “order beer.”

If you want a DRINK than just pay one Starfleet Credit,

Jake: No, I wanted a cake. That’s why I went to the bar, see?

I see you have VERY

Alex: Big . . .

Zainab: Alex.

Alex: Pockets.

many.

Zainab: X-ray vision is a job requirement for Starfleet bartenders.

May I also interest you in some "Brailian Wine"?

Fred: Hey, the guy’s not blind!

Jake: No, he’s deaf. I ordered a beer.

HERE YOU GO!

Alex: Just because you’re deaf doesn’t mean we can’t hear.

I think the Brailian Wine is Great try it!
what?

All: Try it!

DRINK
Some Brailian wine will quench your thirst for weeks.

Jake: Yeah, 50 gallons will do that.

“OOOOPPPPSSSS!!!!”

Brailian Wine is spilled on the floor, you act as if it isen't yours. (Even though it isn't!)

Zainab: You act is if it isen’t yours, but in fact it isn’t?

Fred: Don’t even ask.

Lucy: Is there any code?

Jake: He was too drunk from the Brailian wine to write any.

Fred: Hey, remember how the bartender offered you a drink and also some wine? You’re not supposed to drink the wine. It was for spilling on the floor.

Zainab: At home we use Pine-Sol, but the Federation’s Prime Directive instructs us to respect cultural differences.

You meet Cue.
Cue: Bonjour mo` vice capieton.

Lucy: Hey, what gives? The access panel said I was the captain.

Jake: Well, who you gonna believe, a real person or a piece of metal?

Zainab: Which is which?

Alex: Maybe you’re captain of the ship’s vice squad.

Cue swings his fist at Wills Ricker's head.

Fred: Who, or what, is Wills Ricker?

A miss!
Cue kicks his foot at Wills Ricker's side.

Jake (as Bruce Lee): Gaaaahhh!!! Oof! Thud!

A hit to the side!

Lucy: Well, I didn’t see that one coming. I thought he’d manage the thigh, at best.

Zainab: It’s always comforting to meet an opponent who can hit the body part he’s aiming for.

Cue: When will you foolish humans figure out, I am omnipitent!

Jake: Uh . . . Made entirely of pita bread?

Lucy: . . . Eating everything including the pit?

FIRE PHASER
A hit to the side!
Cue: Ha! That didn't hurt at'oll.
Cue: I'm not dead yet! We'll meet again!

Zainab: I could do lunch on Thursday, but Friday’s out.

Cue is dead!

Jake: Long live TelePrompTer!

“Twenty-Six Forward Table.”

Nobody Here, nice veiw of the stars, though.

Jake: Kate Mulgrew.

Zainab: Jeri Ryan.

Fred: The guy who plays Neelix.

Jake: My pal Nobody, here, says it’s a viewing of William Shatner.

You encounter a Security officer 2.
The Security officer 2 runs south.

Fred: Hey, was that a Security Officer that just ran by?

Lucy: I want to run south, 2!

Zainab: Is there something interesting to the south, or was he running from something to the north?

Jake: He’s running for the bathrooms. He had too much Brailian wine.

Fred: I’ll go chase him.

Players run after Security Officer.

You encounter a Cyber-Borg.

Zainab: The security officer must have gone off shift. He was running for the bus.

Jake: No, don’t you remember? That Cyber-Borg ran out of an earlier scene. He must have just finished up in the bathroom.

Zainab: She.

The Cyber-Borg swings his fist at Wills Ricker's head.

Jake: I told you it was a he. He’s mad because we got in his way when he was running for the bathroom.

A miss!
USE PHASER
A hit to the side!
The Cyber-Borg is dead!

Jake: Now that the excitement is over, let’s go find a quiet table and drink our wine.

Fred: We can’t—we spilled it on the floor.

Jake: We diden’t either. It was someone else.

Lucy: I never saw that wine before in my life.

Zainab: Spilling wine is against my religion.

Fred: It was already on fire when I sat down on it.

“Twenty-Six Forward Table 2.”

Zainab: Coming up with clever scene titles is obviously not Greg’s forte.

There are some people here! Talk! Talk!

Fred: All right, don’t get excited!

TALK
These people see your rank and they think you are wanting to take them to the Brig and they leave, oh well.

Zainab: The Captain habitually has anyone he finds in the bar thrown into the brig, just to maintain discipline.

Lucy: It’s part of his duties on the Vice squad.

“Twenty-Six Forward Table 3.”

Another view at another table!

Jake (singing): “Another openin’, another show! / Another table, to crawl below!”

You see a Kigon Warbird!

Zainab: Does he mean Klingon?

Lucy: I doubt it. That would imply that he means something, and this is all pretty meaningless.

SEARCH
You find nothing unusual.

Jake: Well, apart from the Kigon Warbird, that is.

Fred: Let’s get rid of it.

USE PHASER
There is no one to fight.
GET WARBIRD
What?
GET KIGON WARBIRD
Huh?

Jake: I see it, I just can’t get a grip on it.

Fred: Maybe we could call on Vishnu.

Zainab: Maybe we could consult the scene code.

Players do so. Code is blank.

Lucy: That was no warbird, it was a red herring!

Alex: No, wait, we’re looking in the wrong place. A Klingon Warbird is a ship. Look out the window.

Others scream in terror: Help! We’re under attack! Find the weapons bay!

Jake: Weapons? He hasn’t even taken us to the bridge yet.

“Locked Door”

You see a door to the transporter room. You cant get in the door is locked, and the overide panel has been destroyed!
UNLOCK DOOR
What?
USE PANEL
Huh?
USE OVERIDE
What?
BREAK DOOR
You can't break that.
KICK DOOR
What?
OPEN DOOR
You can't open anything here.

Fred: I give up. Let’s check the code.

Players consult scene code. It’s blank.

Zainab: Did it occur to Greg that the player might conceivably take some action in an attempt to get the door open, and that they might then reasonably expect a response of some kind?

Jake: They do get a response. It says “Huh?” or sometimes “What?” What more do you want?

Fred: Another “r” would be nice in “overide”.

Jake: Better skip the grammar-and-spelling flames, or we’ll be here all night.

Zainab: Overide. It’s a mineral, like telluride, or bromide, or cyanide, or . . .

Lucy: Cyanide is starting to look pretty good by this point.

“Broken Door”

In front of you, you see a door that leads to a green setting. Force the door open to get inside. But you need to register to get the door forcer.

Jake: Hey, Behind the Green Door! I saw that movie when I—

Zainab: Yes?

Jake: Uh, no, I forgot, it was my brother. I mean my cousin. I mean his roommate.

Lucy: Or, as Greg would say, roomate.

Fred: I don’t understand all these specialized tools. Why do we have to use a door forcer? Can’t we just find a crowbar? My mom’s games always have a crowbar when you need one.

Lucy: This message brought to you by the Crowbar Manufacturers of America.

Jake: Grignr the Ecordian would just kick the door down.

Zainab: But then Greg would have to write code telling us we can’t.

Lucy: Gregnr?

Zainab: You may be on to something there.

OPEN DOOR
You can't open anything here.
FORCE DOOR

Fred: Hey, it didn’t say “Huh?” That must mean we’re on the right track. Let’s look at the code.

Jake: No, wait until we get to a dead end. Try some compass commands.

“Security”

This appears to be one the ship's weapons closets.

Zainab: This appears to be, two, the ship’s janitor’s cupboard.

Jake: This appears to be, three, the ship’s linen storage room.

Fred: This appears to be the only closet on the ship.

Lucy: There used to be more, but he donated them to Detective.

But, these weapons are damaged beond repair.

Jake: Yeah, I’ve got closets like that. Don’t look at me like that, Zainab, I’m going to fix that stuff one of these days. I just need a couple of gaskets and a differential oscillating stabilizer.

“Register Point”

At this point you must register the game to get any further.

Jake (singing): “I’m always a cockeyed optimist / And I can’t get it into my head!”

Zainab: My God, I almost missed it. A full sentence without a single grammar or spelling mistake.

Fred: He’s trying to make us think he can make a good game, he just doesn’t feel like it unless you pay him first.

Jake: Can we go home now?

Zainab: No, first we have to look at the code and see what we missed.

Players crank open the game’s source code. It is written in the WorldBuilder programming language, which is easy for non-programmers to learn . . . for better or for worse.

Global Code

The global code is invoked whenever the player gives a command that wasn’t handled in the current scene. Many common actions such as fighting, or picking up or dropping objects, are “hard-coded” into WorldBuilder and don’t need to be programmed at all.

IF{TEXT$=MOVE}OR{TEXT$=PUSH}OR{TEXT$=PULL}THEN
PRINT{You can't move that.}
EXIT
IF{TEXT$=SEARCH}THEN
PRINT{You find nothing unusual.}
EXIT
IF{TEXT$=OPEN}THEN
PRINT{You can't open anything here.}
EXIT
IF{TEXT$=CLOSE}THEN
PRINT{You can't close anything here.}
EXIT

Zainab: I don’t see anything wrong with it so far.

Fred: Of course not. He’s just using Ray Dunakin’s default WB code.

Jake: No, wait, here’s something all the way at the bottom.

IF{TEXT$=NEXT}THEN
PRINT{ You have a long way to go to get to main power. The main power is the bridge.

Zainab: I’m confused. Is he saying that main power is on the bridge, or that main power is the bridge?

Jake: Well, it’s like those lines from the Bhagavad Gita:

ahaṁ ca tvaṁ ca rājendra / lokanāthāv ubhāv api
bahuvrīhir ahaṁ rajan / śaṣṭhītatpuruṣo bhavān

Others: Huh???

Jake: “You and I, divine king, both power in the world: I, king, have power, while you, lord, are power.”

Fred: And this has what, exactly, to do with the bridge of the Enterprise?

Zainab: Let’s just move on.

The only way to know where the bridge is, would be to

Jake: Ask the bartender.

Alex: Ask the access panel. It knows everything.

Register the game for $5.00.

Zainab: That’s asking far too much.

Send it to
Greg Pollock P.O. Box 6094 Branson, MO.}
END

Fred: Yeah, I remember, in the first scene it printed the same thing twice and then it said “Huh?”

“BEGINING!!!!” code

IF{PLAYER=SCENE@}THEN

Jake: So if the player isn’t in the scene, the code will just secretly execute in the background?

Lucy: Maybe he means “if player is conscious and aware of his surroundings.”

Fred: If you’re unconscious you’ll be in STORAGE@.

MOVE{ACCESS PANEL.1}TO{SCENE@}

Alex: Where’d you want this access panel?

Zainab: Ah, just move it to SCENE@.

MOVE{DOOR.1}TO{SCENE@}

Zainab: And the door, too.

END

Zainab: OK, stop, that’s good.

IF{TEXT$=USE PANEL}THEN
MOVE{ACCESS PANEL.1}TO{STORAGE@}

Zainab: On second thought, you can just put that panel away.

MOVE{ACCESS PANEL.2}TO{STORAGE@}
PRINT{The access panel tells you that you are the captain of this ship, the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Alex: Eloquent access panel!

You have a long way to go to get to main power. The main power is the bridge. Type NEXT.}
MOVE{ACCESS PANEL.2}TO{STORAGE@}

Zainab: I said, move the panel to storage!

Alex: Oh, yeah, sorry.

MOVE{ACCESS PANEL.1}TO{SCENE@}

Zainab: No, move it back! I’ve decided not to store it after all. No, not against that wall, I want it under the window—no, not that window, the one with the view of the Millennium Falcon.

Lucy: Or, as Greg would say, Milenium.

END
IF{TEXT$=NEXT}THEN
PRINT{ The only way to know where the bridge is, would be to Register the game for $5.00. Send it to Greg Pollock P.O. Box 6094 Branson, MO.}

Zainab: Knowing the location of the bridge is clearly not in the captain’s job description.

Alex: It used to be, but the Access Panels’ Union protested.

END
IF{TEXT$=OPEN DOOR}THEN
MOVE{DOOR.1}TO{STORAGE@}

Lucy: DOOR.1 will be right back in the scene in the very next loop, thanks to that IF{PLAYER=SCENE@} stuff, so it’s a good thing nothing in the code depends on the presence or absence of either door.

MOVE{DOOR.2}TO{SCENE@}
PRINT{The door opens with a for some reason satisfying, SHWEE!
END

Jake: I didn’t hear anything.

Lucy: Me neither. Let’s check the World Data.

Sound library #1: TYME Sounds

Zainab: What does he mean by “TYME Sounds”?

Jake: It’s TYME to look for that sound library.

Fred: Not in this folder.

Zainab: Not in this one either.

Jake: Nope. No sounds file.

“Twenty-Six Forward” code

IF{TEXT$=ORDER}THEN
MOVE{GWEENEN}TO{SCENE@}

Zainab: Notice how the bartender doesn’t know how to spell his own name?

Jake: Remember what we said before about spelling flames.

PRINT{OH! HI! Do you want something? Maybe a drink?

Fred: Is OH! HI! the name of the guy who’s talking?

Lucy: No, I think he means the speaker is, oh, high.

If you want a DRINK than just pay one Starfleet Credit,

Jake: I’d rather DRINK than PAY, thanks.

Fred: Does the captain of a ship have to pay for drinks on his own ship?

I see you have VERY many.

Jake: Could I get a drink for half a credit if I just need a lower-case drink?

Zainab: No, that would just cost very many lower-case credits.

May I also interest you in some "Brailian Wine"?}

Lucy: What does he mean, “also”? A drink and also some wine? What do I do with the wine, if I’m not supposed to drink it?

Fred: Read it with your fingertips. Duhh.

Jake: Spill it on the floor. We’ve been over that already.

MOVE{DRINK}TO{SCENE@}
PRINT{HERE YOU GO! I think the Brailian Wine is Great try it!}

Fred: His name’s HERE YOU GO? I thought his name was OH! HI!

END
IF{TEXT$=FILL}AND{TEXT$=CANTEEN}THEN
IF{CANTEEN=PLAYER@}THEN
LET{W1#=2}
SOUND{RUNNING-WATER.2}

Zainab: Where is the sound of running water coming from? We’ve already established that there’s no sound file.

PRINT{Your canteen is now full.}

Jake: What I want to know is what you’re filling your canteen with. That beer’s going to get pretty rank if you mix it in with your recycled water.

EXIT
PRINT{You don't have a canteen.}

Alex: Do too!

Fred: Do not!

Alex: Do too!

Fred: Do not!

Alex: Do too!

Fred: Do not!

Zainab: Shut up.

EXIT
IF{TEXT$=DRINK}THEN
LET{H2#=9000000}
PRINT{ Some Brailian wine will quench your thirst for weeks.}
EXIT

Zainab: The fact that WorldBuilder variables are standard two-byte variables with a range of +/- 32767 doesn’t seem to worry our Greg.

Jake: Are you sure? Let’s cheat.

Zainab types in a line of code:

IF{TEXT$=DRINK}THEN
LET{H2#=9000000}
PRINT{ Some Brailian wine will quench your thirst for weeks.}
PRINT{H2#}
EXIT

Zainab: Now try it.

DRINK
Some Brailian wine will quench your thirst for weeks.
21568
DRINK
Some Brailian wine will quench your thirst for weeks.
21568
DRINK
Some Brailian wine will quench your thirst for weeks.
21568

Jake: 21568? Is that the author’s ZIP code?

Alex: I don’t think they have them yet in Missouri. All he gave us was a PO box number.

Zainab: It’s simply WorldBuilder’s attempt to deal with a number outside the +/- 65535 range.

Jake: I thought you said it was 32,000 and something.

Lucy: Even Homer nods.

Fred: I didn’t quite get that. But I just noticed something else. You don’t have to BUY the wine or ORDER it or anything. Just DRINK when the bartender isn’t paying attention.

Lucy: Clever lad. You’ll go far.

Jake: Yeah, right into Sing Sing.

Zainab: It’s all pretty academic anyway, since Greg never bothered to code for a drink counter.

Jake: Really? Let me see that global code again.

Players consult code.

Jake: You’re right. I can eat and drink, but I don’t need to, because my counters never go down.

Lucy: In your case, that’s just as well. With a counter of nine million, figuring five minutes per room, you wouldn’t need another drink for [counting on fingers] 85 years.

Zainab: And if you did happen to drink from your canteen, your drink counter would reset to its default value of 90 no matter how much wine you’ve had.

“Twenty-Six Forward Table 2.” code

IF{TEXT$=TALK}THEN
MOVE{SCARED PERSON}TO{STORAGE}

Lucy: His mother must have told him never to talk to strangers.

Fred: Oh, no!!! The SCARED PERSON starts out in STORAGE@, and as soon as you open your mouth he’s bumped over to STORAGE! Poor person!

Jake: Wasn’t “Storage” next door to the attic in the Grey Tower?

Zainab: I thought you told me it was the grotto.

Fred: Zainab, I don’t think Jake wants to talk about that.

Jake: I’m sleepy.

Zainab: This game would put anyone to sleep.

PRINT{These people see your rank and they think you are wanting to take them to the Brig and they leave, oh well.}
END

“Broken Door” code

IF{TEXT$=FORCE DOOR}THEN
IF{DOOR FORCER=PLAYER}THEN

Lucy: If, on the other hand, the player isn’t equivalent to a door forcer, then . . .

PRINT{THE DOOR OPENS BUT NOT FOR LONG!}

Zainab: Please don’t shout. Netiquette applies to games too.

MOVE{OPEN DOOR}TO{SCENE@}
MOVE{PLAYER}TO{HOLODECK}

Jake: Leaving the player exactly three picoseconds to read the text.

END

Zainab: And then just leave the door-forcer-less player dangling in mid-command.

EXIT

Jake: I looked at the picture of the door forcer, and you know what? It’s just a Frisbee. I’d ask for my money back, only I never paid for it in the first place.

Zainab: It’s nice of Greg to be concerned about getting this PLAYER character into the next room, but wouldn’t it be more helpful to get PLAYER@ in there?

Fred: Oh, yeah, I forgot all about that. There’s no such thing as PLAYER— you’re called PLAYER@ in the code. Like STORAGE@ and SCENE@ and MONSTER@.

Lucy: Let’s pretend we’re PLAYER and look at the text for those locked rooms.

“Holodeck” (scene text)

This the green setting

Lucy: Hey, that’s an old parlor-game clue, isn’t it? “Chartreuse setting” becomes “green scene.”

Alex: “Muted goldenrod” becomes—

Lucy: “Mellow yellow.” “Definite ending”—

Jake: “Certain curtain.” “Astral tavern”—

Alex: “Star bar.” “Crippled entertainment”—

Lucy: “Lame game.” “Facsimile of Zainab’s husband”—

Zainab: Enough.

You saw from outside.

Fred: What does he mean by “You”? Are We God? Then why did We need that stupid Frisbee to get in here?

“Register Point” code

MOVE{PLAYER}TO{STORAGE@}

Zainab: The instant you enter this scene, you die, so you never get a chance to read the message on the door.

Lucy: That Kigon Warbird we saw from the window in the restaurant has finally come within firing range.

Jake [newsreader]: The U.S.S. Voyager was reported lost today. There were no survivors.

Fred: This is a ripoff! Everyone knows WorldBuilder games are supposed to have the registration details right there in the scene code so anyone who’s halfway literate can sneak a look and get in for free.

Zainab: Once you’ve put the words “WorldBuilder” and “knows” in the same sentence, you have by necessity excluded Greg.

Lucy: And his brother.

Jake: Hence the phrase “everybody and his brother.”

Fred: I don’t know what you guys are talking about, but look at what I found. On the object list is someone named Warf. We never met him.

Lucy (as Warf): I’m tired of being treated like an object!

Jake: Is that warf as in pier?

Zainab: Warf factor three?

Lucy: Warf and weft?

Fred: Warf and peace?

Alex: I think it’s supposed to be Worf. He’s from Next Generation.

Jake: He can’t be. Right at the beginning Greg said he made it up all by himself.

Zainab: Well, he definitely made up a lot of his spellings.

Jake: I’m still wondering about this PLAYER. It isn’t on the object or character lists.

Zainab: We went over that already. He meant PLAYER@. And STORAGE@.

Lucy: You’re right. A simple misspelling has saved our lives. Greg, I take back all those nasty cracks.

Fred: There’s one more scene.

“Locked Room” (scene text)

This is the room you needed to get to. In the back is a transporter.

Jake: Oh, what a relief. I can finally transport myself out of this game.