August 24th-27th 2012 :: Theme: Evolution

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The Erebus and the Terror

by sfernald - 48 Hour Compo Entry

This is a work of interactive fiction. In other words, no graphics and sounds, just text, like a novel.

The Erebus and the Terror is a science fiction thriller set on the prospector ship Erebus. If you like reading science fiction stories or watching science fiction movies or playing survival horror games, you might enjoy it.

The game was made with Inform 7. You can play it online with any computer, iOS device such as iPad or IPhone, Android phone or tablet, or pretty much anything with a CPU and a browser that has javascript.

Please let me know what you think. I am going to withhold providing the source code or any hints until the last day of voting. I really want to see if anyone can solve this one on their own without cheating.

I know it's hard to commit to the time and effort needed to play an IF game when most submitted games can be evaluated in a couple minutes. So play all the other games, with their exciting graphics and gameplay, and then later when things have died down and you feel like something meaty, come by and give this one a try!

Downloads and Links




BuffaloPhil says ...
Aug 27, 2012 @ 11:40pm

Great work; fun read!

Aug 28, 2012 @ 12:36am

Good writing

kevincorrigan says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 12:45am

great story, I honestly wasn't expecting any text adventures, but this was great!

Mach60KAS says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 1:13am

I'm really, really enjoying this IF so far; mine pales in comparison! However, I've reached a point where I feel the game may be slightly broken - it seems you are allowed to open the pantry multiple times. I'm unsure if this is intended behaviour (I'm trying to complete Raul's second objective).

mdkess says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 1:22am

My first N/A rating on graphics :)

I like this - it's nice to see something different. Your writing voice is very consistent, and the game is perfectly sized - the world is small, detailed enough to have purpose but not to the extent that it's overwhelming.

I haven't played very many interactive fiction games, so it may just be my lack of experience, but I got stuck on this one a few times, so I think that in the non obvious points a few hints might be nice.

Other than that though, great. I'm very impressed - you've inspired me to try to get into the IF world, which I've always known has existed but I've never taken the time to explore.

sfernald says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 2:01am

Mach, that's a bug. Once you have it open you are set. Now you just got to figure out what to do from there. You are doing great! Can't wait to see if you like the ending.

sfernald says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 2:04am

Raul was supposed to give hints and details of the backstory as you played the game, but I ran out of it. Hints got left out. I'll give hints on here, if you run into any particular things you can't get past.

ps, mach, let me know if you want more of a hint on what to do next and I'll give it to ya.

yettatore says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 4:14am

The game shows me this error:
"An error occurred:
Parchment could not load load the story. Check your connection, and that the URL is correct."

Drabiter says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 4:30am

The story is well written and the commands are easy to understand even on first glance.

Uberi says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 4:31am

Great writing, intuitive controls, best text adventure I've seen in a while!

nseward says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 4:46am

So much fun!

sfernald says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 4:58am

yettatore, what computer(or device)/os/browser are you using?

I just checked it and it's up. Is it still not working for you?

hamster_mk_4 says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 5:02am

This is well written but I got stuck on the quest for popcorn.

Wampus says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 5:38am

Good stuff. Although it takes a lot longer to review a game like this I appreciated the writing. Was very immersed in the exploration of the spaceship.

sfernald says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 6:45am

hint for popcorn: try searching around. it is where you think it is.

sfernald says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 6:47am

Has anyone made it to the Kat-A-Klone machine yet? That's where I think it starts getting interesting ;)

Mach60KAS says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 11:15am

I made it to the kat-a-klone last night, but I'm stuck looking for a seed card or whatever.

sfernald says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 3:28pm

Hint for seed card: where do we sometimes lose stuff in real life?

sfernald says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 4:25pm

Anther time. The command SAVE creates a URL with all your state so you can resume the game at that point at any time.

sfernald says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 4:26pm

Another tip I mean.

DaveDobson says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 6:16pm

A fun entry - brought me back to my early days of playing text adventures. Well-written and interesting, with lots of stuff to try out. I enjoyed it - nice work.

Mach60KAS says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 9:57pm

Finished the game (I think?), some very nice parallels with Alien throughout! Great job! :)

Mach60KAS says ...
Aug 28, 2012 @ 10:01pm

Oh, I tried something different and got the proper end! ;) I knew there was a reason why I could go in there...

rxi says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 2:53pm

Really liked this game at the beginning. It set a solid atmosphere and the mystery of what was going on encouraged me to continue playing. I unfortunately ended up getting frustrated after wandering around for a while and despite trying a few things to progress I concluded that what I was thinking wasn't the "correct" way of moving forward in the story or I just wasn't phrasing what I wanted to do properly. Having no more ideas of what I could possibly do given the items I had, I decided to give up.

I may return and try the game later on, since it does pose a good mystery. I also quite liked what I felt it was foreshadowing and did find it enjoyable up to the point where I got completely stuck.

sfernald says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 4:01pm

RxiI, where did you get stuck? Did you get through part one, getting some sleep?

gnx says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 5:08pm

Good writing. Compact, descriptive, yet setting a definite mood without forgetting some humour!

It is funny, I can sort of see a visual game playing out while I'm reading it :D

rxi says ...
Aug 29, 2012 @ 5:29pm



From memory of a few hours ago, so I may be recalling some things wrong:

I'd slept and gotten the grenade. Raul told me to get popcorn and watch a movie, I found the room with Raul in and got the combinator, I tried to sit on the couch and used the remote but I couldn't find the popcorn anywhere. I tried to use the grenade on a bunch of things by taping it and using it, which it didn't seem to understand. I hadn't got through the blast doors at the south, I hadn't got into the pantry, If there was a kitchen I couldn't find it, I couldn't go into any of the "up" exits.

But I will most likely give it all another shot later on, as I'm sure I missed something obvious!

sfernald says ...
Aug 30, 2012 @ 3:57pm

rxi, you got to figure out where to use the grenade.

Try this, 'attach grenade to [something that looks like it's in your way]'.

rxi says ...
Aug 30, 2012 @ 4:56pm


Aha, "Attach" I think is the word I was missing out on (since I did try "putting" and "taping" it to a number of things). I'll give it another blast, thanks for the tip!

sfernald says ...
Aug 30, 2012 @ 6:06pm

I think I added "place" too as a verb. Good luck!

rxi says ...
Aug 30, 2012 @ 7:11pm

I think I got to the end (the part that says *** The End *** at least..). Quite enjoyed it, a good couple of bits made me chuckle. Some parts did feel like you were expecting the player to be a bit psychic though (the "where do we sometimes lose stuff in real life" bit). Nice work @sfernald.

sfernald says ...
Aug 30, 2012 @ 7:14pm

Ah, but did you survive? That can only be done through evolution, lol, or at least DNA merger.

rxi says ...
Aug 30, 2012 @ 7:38pm


In that case, I think I'll be playing it through a third time.. I'll probably leave it a few days though, and give some other games a chance ;)

Raptor85 says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 12:08pm

if anything the only problem is with the engine used, its VERY picky about wording, even more so than most old adventure games, and refuses to accept simple noun/verb have to be super specific what you want.

sfernald says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 6:48pm

Raptor85, yeah I agree, I put in the basics to solve the adventure, but there's an endless about of details and actions I could add with the proper amount of time. 20+ rooms is really ambitious for a 48 hour contest. What I'm doing is capturing the transcript of everyone's play and I'm going to go through them when the contest is over and use that information to fill out the game. The transcripts provide great information on what people are actually trying to do in the game.

For example someone typed 'cook' in the kitchen, and I should have a response for that, but the game currently doesn't even understand the verb cook.

Sep 1, 2012 @ 7:44pm

Really nice game! I played through it for a bit and closed it. It would have been nice if I knew about the save feature though.

However, as innovative and fun as your game is, you are in clear violation of rule 6 in the compo.

sfernald says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 8:05pm


As I mentioned just before the end of voting, i intended to put it up just before voting ended. The natural language source reads like a cheat guide. I wanted to give people a chance to solve it without having the option to cheat.

That said, it looks like some people have already solved it, so I'll put it up shortly.

sfernald says ...
Sep 1, 2012 @ 9:31pm

Source added.

SusanTheCat says ...
Sep 2, 2012 @ 12:28pm

Lots of detail and well thought out scenario. It does suffer from the standard IF problem of "what am I supposed to be doing?"

N0W33t0rs says ...
Sep 2, 2012 @ 3:35pm

Great writing! This game really kills my time to vote. Excellent Job.

sfernald says ...
Sep 14, 2012 @ 6:52am

Oh man, looking at these transcripts is amazing help.

I found a bug with the popcorn, and i realize right away where I need to give more hints.

Worse of all someone made it right to the end and then got stuck in the Kat-a-Klone machine because of a bug.

I think I'll be able to improve it greatly. Thanks for all the feedback and playthroughs guys.

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