Part 72: Escape: Garden
Welcome to the Botanical Garden. Sigma (1BP, Yellow Pair) and Luna (5BP, Yellow Pair) are with Alice (6BP, Yellow Solo) today.
VLR OST: [Biotope]
This is a nice track. It manages to work VLR's general musical style into something a little more relaxing. It's a little oasis in grim surroundings. Much like the garden!
The entrance, exit and safe are all tucked away together in the corner behind us. Along with... uh... some other thing.
And there are two fan-shaped holes inside it...
Look carefully. Those fans are connected.
It looks like a butterfly.
Alright, let's look properly now.
The garden is big. Like, quite large. Also, our view of most of it is blocked right now due to this rather large tree.
There's some good dialogue in this room, but also a remarkable amount of flat stuff.
Anyway, the Garden is so large that the developers have seen fit to signpost all the transition points between the nodes we can visit - even though they've already got a nice convenient environmental device (the wooden path) that accomplishes the same purpose.
We're going to have to cross the water to get over there.
Please be careful. If you slip, you could fall into the stream.
OK, so here's a more useful shot of the general area. As you can probably infer from the tree, the doors are off to the right. And there's some stuff behind us, too.
We've got a shed...
...and this is just Myst as all hell, isn't it?
Anyway, there's clearly an object on that bench, so...
It kind of looks like a wrench.
The water from the waterfall splashes all over it, though.
If we sit here, won't... um... our butts get wet?
Damnit... I've been made.
Hold on... Doesn't it look like there's something built into the rock wall behind the waterfall?
Yeah, the walkway goes under it, doesn't it? I wonder what's back there?
Whatever it is, we clearly have to control it with that panel...
I pushed them, but nothing happened.
Do you think they're broken?
Maybe you just need to press them in a specific order...
Next, the shed.
Is that true, Sigma? Is this shed your house? You must be going through a rough time...
Sigma has a few useful possessions for us.
This had to be for digging stuff up. I can't think of any other use for it.
You can just make it out behind the textbox, at the end of the sentence!
Is it copper, or bronze? Who knows?
Anyway, time to head on over to the central area.
Someone dabbles in vegetable keeping, I see.
We can examine each row of plants here; from left to right, they're tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers.
There's also a thing to the far left...
No, that's a pepper. Probably a bell pepper. Paprika is what you call the space you make from them.
Oh... huh. Why's it split in half?
I'm not sure...
Wait... is there something in there?
Oh yeah... Lemme take a look...
You can get lots of different colored coins by using different alloys. I saw a five cent coin made from brass once, and a ten cent coin made from bronze.
I've seen people using a metal detector to search for coins on those shows where they hunt for treasure.
Yeah, I guess if coins are metal that would make sense...
Maybe, but there are an awful lot of them, and they all look the same...
If only we had a way to tell which tomato had a coin in it...
We can have similar conversations about the other plants too, so let's just not do that.
Instead, let's look slightly to the right.
There's nothing special about it at all...
Don't people usually hide their house keys under a flower pot or in the mailbox?
Just trust me. I'm sure there's something under there.
We turn our attention now... behind us.
What's that on the right? It looks like a box...
I think... it's a treasure chest.
It's connected to the drawing above it. See?
Is it time for a treasure hunt? Signs point to yes.
First, we finish exploring.
This little area is actually pretty crowded. First there's this bench.
Wh-Why are you looking at me?
Oh, no reason...
There's more... of course.
They say sitting on a park bench with your boyfriend is pretty romantic... You ever done that, Luna?
O-Of course not! Stop making fun of me.
You wanna sit down with me?
Um... well... um...
L-Let me think about it!
Swivelling around counterclockwise, we find... a whole bunch of stuff.
It's a skunk cabbage. The white "flower" part is actually a leaf.
And now you know!
Yeah... Looks like a lion all right.
Then there's... this.
It looks like a tombstone.
So the people buried here are Mr. Tu Fui and Mrs. Ego Eris?
Well, that's what it says...
Tu fui, ego eris.
That's an epitaph.
Something that they feel represents them, or just... a phrase they liked.
What does it mean?
Any ideas, Luna?
It looks like it's Latin, but I don't know what it means either...
Nope, no luck.
I don't think this key is for this keyhole.
The grave isn't the only interesting thing here, though...
What sort of range do you think it has?
It depends on the amount of metal. Large objects can be detected even if they're several meters underground...
But what about small things, like a ring or a screw?
Yeah... unfortunately, sometimes you can't find that sort of thing even if it's only a few centimeters underground...
Oh. So you need to be pretty close to it for the metal detector to work, then.
Metal detectors work by emitting an alternating magnetic field which will induce a current (and therefore another magnetic field) in any electrically conductive objects in the vicinity. This, of course, makes detection relative to both proximity and surface area of the object - and, of course, the whole process is susceptible to noise, because "ground" can be a lot of substances. Another, newer method is to send a high-voltage pulse into the ground and measure the time taken for that voltage to dissipate - which will be uniform anywhere metal isn't - allowing for pretty good range and cutting down on noise. Sadly, I think our detector's a classic model.
Does that mean it'll break through the ceiling eventually?
Then maybe we can use it to escape!
Hey, that's a great idea! Why didn't I think of that?
Oh, I know. Because it's idiotic!
In the furthest corner of the room from the doors is the last set of interesting objects...
You know that feeling where you're sure you're inside but then you look up and see the sky?
I think the ceiling dome is made up of a bunch of hexagonal screens. They're playing a video that looks like the sky.
Then that means it won't even rain or get stormy or anything, huh?
Probably not, although I imagine they have some kind of system in place to water the plants.
Sounds pretty boring...
Anyway, we're actually here for the scale.
On the right plate...
And on the left plate...
It's a knife you use for small, delicate work, like deveining shrimp, but you can use it to cut pretty much anything.
You know all about cooking and stuff. I bet Alice just cuts things with her bare hands.
I guess it's time I showed you just how good I am at cooking things!
I think I'll start by cooking you!
But there's more...
Yeah, I can see that... Like the wings.
The other side is a sort of octagon shape.
Let's not pretend it's not obvious.
This looks like somebody just tore the handle off a door.
If you but the butterfly end into something, you could probably use it just like a handle.
We still don't know what the scales are for, but we've got a whole bunch of leads now!
Let's hunt for treasure!
...But where? We need a sign...
This is the treasure chest, right?
And this is... an island?
There aren't any islands in here, though.
There's something green growing on the top...
Yeah, but there's grass everywhere in here. Maybe it's something else.
Well, let's look for something with green on the top!
Did you spot it?
This one is almost difficult - this little mound of moss-covered earth here blends in quite well with everything else in the room.
There's green moss growing on the top too.
Do you think the mound here is higher than the others because someone dug up a bunch of dirt and piled it here?
Once again, let's not pretend we didn't see this coming since we saw the sign.
Oh, you mean the mushroom.
So I need to look for a red, spotted mushroom.
It was, after all, the second thing we examined in this room.
Some obligatory combination later...
This looks like a flower... It's white, with green leaves around it.
Okay, let's go find a white flower.
Actually, it's not a flower, it's a leaf! I wonder if the writers deliberately told us something sort of legitimately interesting about it to make it more memorable? If they did, they needn't have, since this is by far the easiest hint and the right spot is visible from almost everywhere in the room.
Not that there's anything wrong with filling a game with interesting information anyway.
Poor thing, it's never done anything to you...
Don't worry, I'll replant it when we're done.
And that's three. Let's not waste any time...
But it looks like there's still a piece missing.
Our next lead; scanning vegetables.
All right, grab it.
Did it react to any of the others?
No, just this one. Here you go.
There must be some metal in there, then.
I swear some of these lines are actually funnier for their mundanity.
Anyway, we repeat this process twice more with no interesting dialogue.
And now we have some coins!
...Not really sure how that helps us, though.
Let's keep poking around.
I have a suspicion about this control panel.
I suspect there's some poorly scripted contextual dialogue involving it.
Well, whatever, this is still pretty straightforward. We just tap the buttons in the order indicated, and...
I guess that was the waterfall control panel.
Let's check it out.
Do you have anything like that?
Small and circular, huh...
I just might!
There are less-than signs in between all of the indentations. I'd bet that has something to do with which coins go where.
Our coins are all the same shape and size, though. How are we supposed to compare them?
I think I saw a scale around here somewhere. We can use that to compare weights.
Sounds like a plan.
I should weigh the coins with this, huh.
This "puzzle" is a bit weird. Only a bit, though. For the most part, it acts exactly how you'd expect.
You arrange some coins on the scales, and hit the button...
And the heavier side tilts down.
What?! They just... flew everywhere!
Do you think it's broken?
Oh, I get it.
If you use the scale more than five times,it triggers this spring, which makes the whole thing shake.
It'll do the same thing if you stop using it before you've reached five times.
Oh, right, we need to pick up all the coins...
The game actually removes the coins from your inventory and adds them back in here.
Why? Who knows. This whole thing is hella dumb.
It's clear what they're trying to do here; this is a spin on another classic puzzle where you have to sort however many objects and you're given a single binary comparison operation - for which the balance scale is the perfect real-life analogue. This is what's called a decision problem - can you sort them? - but it can also be phrased as an optimization problem; what's the minimum number of comparisons necessary (in the worst case - if you're very lucky you could solve this puzzle in three operations). Common phrasings therefore invariably involve trying to sort them in less than some number of operations.
The problem is, that only really works as a theoretical exercise. When you give someone four coins and a set of scales, there's no reason they can't just trial and error it until it works. So here, the game ostensibly limits us to five comparisons.
Except... it doesn't, because the weights of the coins are always the same, so there's nothing to stop players from taking notes (using the in-game notepad!) and trial-and-erroring it anyway, across multiple "attempts".
Well, actually there is one thing.
I guess we can't just take our time here.
We'll give you two more tries to try and figure out the weight.
If you can't manage it, we're going to have to take over.
She's right. If you keep this up, the scale might break.
And that thing is massive contrivance.
We've already figured out the weights of the coins! You can leave the scale alone now.
Did you finish weighing the coins?
Next time we'll look at it with you.
But I thought you'd already figured it out!
Don't worry, it happens to a lot of men.
We'll back you up.
So yeah, if you do the "puzzle" five times, the game will forcibly change the difficulty level to Easy.
And then you can keep playing anyway. The scale doesn't break.
This thing is hella dumb.
Alice and I noticed that when we put the yellow and white coins on the left, and the red and green coins on the right, they weighed the same.
So then we compared the red and green coins.
We put the red one on the left, and the green coin on the right. The green one turned out to be heavier.
Then we compared the yellow and white coins.
The yellow one went on the left, and the white one went on the right. It turned out the yellow one was heavier.
Finally, we compared the red coin with the white coin.
And we figured out the white coin was heavier.
Does that all make sense? Can you figure it out now?
I hate the both of you.
I don't know exactly what limitations the puzzle design is hinting at (should it always be possible do do this in five operations?) but it sounds like Alice and Luna got super lucky, and also that they were somehow using the scale behind our back, which is weird, since we were watching the whole time and there's only one set of coins.
Fuck it, I'm done with this. It's red < white < yellow < green. I'm sure if we fail again they'll tell us in long and insufferable length how to work that out from the results they got, but not at all how any of this puzzle isn't dumb.
By the way, it's impossible to "complete" this puzzle, really. That's kinda dumb too.
A more sensible version of this puzzle, still in keeping with the game generally, would be to have the sorting place (this screen here) and the scale both in one place, as part of a single puzzle screen, and give the player the coins and the scales and let them just poke at it until they figure out the answer - like the hourglass puzzle in the Security Room. For hints, you can have Alice suggest combinations of coins to weigh, walking through her solution a step at a time. Or something. It's not hard to do it better than this.
Fun fact: There are only six possible pairs of coins in the first place, so there's all the information you need right there.
It sounded like something unlocking...
And there's a screen inside of it.
What are we supposed to do with them?
Well, why don't you try touching them?
Have you seen any kind of hint for this anywhere?
Not that I can remember...
Then maybe there's something we still haven't found yet.
So you're saying I need to look around some more.
There is one thing we haven't quite figured out yet. Wonder if Luna can make any observations?
The round part is the grip, I think. The butterfly part probably gets inserted into something.
That means there should be a hole around here that looks just like this?
The handle is pretty big... I don't think this is for something small enough to hold.
Yeah. Judging by the size, I'd guess it plugs into a wall or something.
We remember this thing, right?
Good. Now try turning it.
Maybe that light was a sort of surrogate sun.
If that's the case, it didn't just get dark, it became nighttime.
So the garden needs nighttime?
I guess so.
Or maybe there's some hidden meaning in switching from night to day...
Let's go see if anything's changed now that it's dark.
If we want it to be afternoon again, all we have to do is turn the handle, right?
Yep, this is definitely a thing.
Are these... stars?
Maybe the idea was that when night falls, the stars come out?
We can stroll around and examine the other stars, too.
The light is right underneath it. This is a big star.
This is a lie, bought about by more sloppy context programming. It looks like the first one you see triggers the same conversation (followed by the flyover animation) and only thereafter do you get individual dialogues (and Sigma starts counting). I don't know.
It's easy to miss next to the giant red one, but...
That's a pretty small star. I'm impressed you even saw it.
Another sneaky one.
I feel like I could just reach out and grab it.
Well, I am a woman. It looks a little large for me to carry, though.
The size, shape and color are all exactly what I'd expect from a star. I guess you could say this is a typical star.
I would say it's... mid-sized.
It's so small and cute.
Well then... let's go and look at that panel again.
Oh come on... It's an LCD screen for christ's sake!
...Anyway. It should be apparent that this here is The Puzzle That Gives You The Safe Combination, and as such it has two very apparent solutions. The first is to hit the stars in the order they appear in the stream...
Look st the screen...
The safe password!
The second solution is to hit the stars in descending order of size - you can eyeball it, or, if you re-examine stars, Sigma will helpfully label them as "very small", "small", etc.
You did it!
Hey, check out the screen...
Awesome. Let's get out of here.
You did it!
Good job, Sigma.
There's a lot of stuff in here.
Let's have a look at it, then.
On the upper left it says... "FLOOR B".
The map we found in the crew quarters said "FLOOR A".
So A is the top floor, and B is the bottom floor?
I mean, I know we took the elevator down to get here, so...
It has a moon on it. That means...
Yeah, this is the moon card that the announcement was talking about.
There's two of them in here, just like with the sun card.
You should take one, Alice.
Well, you're a solo. Luna and I'll take one, and you take the other one.
It looks like a piece of paper...
Some kind of... diagram...?
It doesn't make any sense.
I wonder what it is...
Oh well. Just forget about it for now. We can always come back to it later.
It says "IG = Immunoglobulin".
It's another word for an antibody.
You mean like the thing in your body that fights off bacteria and viruses and stuff?
So... what is this supposed to tell us?
Honestly, I have no idea.
That must be the key to the exit!
Yes, I think you're right.
We should be able to use it to open the door...
I'll tell you what we're waiting for. This:
Is there something inside?
Okay, now we go..
Here we go...
Three... Two... One!
Our eighth escape!
Who wants hidden files? Only two today, since this is another bunch of files that are ahead of the game or entirely pointless.
Morphogenetic Field Theory: