Key & Compass presents:
by Nate Cull

Glowgrass is a TADS 2 work of interactive fiction and is © 1997 by Nate Cull. It was entered in IF Comp 1997 where it took 3rd place. At the 1997 XYZZY Awards, it was a finalist in two categories (Best Game and Best Story).

You play as a xenohistorian on an expedition. You've been dropped (more literally than you planned) by a dropship over the ground of the Ancients. Your equipment was scattered and the dropship crashed. Now it's just you, your wits, and the Ancients to help you find a way home.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 1 of the work.


in out ServiceArea LivingArea Skycar HygieneArea VehicleDome SleepArea Court-yard Lawn Pool


> x me. i. (You have nothing.)

> look. x glimmer. x building. x door.

> x vegetation. x wall.

> e.


The "Lawn" becomes "Glowgrass Lawn" after you examine the grass.

> x depression. x grass. (It's glowgrass.)

> x clump. take it.

> x sheeting.

> se.


> x orange object. take frisbee.

> x grate. take cards. x cards.

> nw. w.


> throw frisbee. (Note: "throw frisbee at glimmer" won't work.)

> take frisbee.

> take metallic. x it. (It's a magprobe. A magnetic probe.)

> unlock door with magprobe. open door. ne.

Vehicle Dome

> x skycar. x scars. x hatch.

> open hatch. in.

Skycar, in vehicle dome

> x console. (Green button with sunburst symbol, lever pushed forward, disk slot.)

> take red disk. x it.

> x access panel. open it.

> x power cell. take it. x socket. (Hexagonal, for cable)

> x coil. (Corroded.) take it. drop it.

> x triangular hole. (One-way valve, teardrop symbol.)

> out.

Vehicle Dome

> open western door. w.

Living Area

> x textile. x sculpture.

> x cube. (Blue button with lighting bolt symbol, hex socket, disk slot.)

> take yellow disk. x it.

I'm going to drop everything here, so as not to run afoul of inventory limits; we can only carry up to 10 items.

> drop all. x hands.

> w.

Service Area

> take printout. x it.

> read article. ("Nukes Won't Halt Green Plague - Erlmann")

> x surfaces. x panel. push panel.

> x cupboard.

> x cable. take it.

> x white box. take it. open it.

> x bag. open bag. take shiny coil..

> drop bag, box.

> sw.

Hygiene Area

> x lens. x placard.

> x vat. x label. x liquid. x tap.

> x curtains.

> take vat.

> se.

Sleep Area

> x skeleton. x device. take green disk. x it.

> x bed. x animal. take bear.

> x wall images.

> ne.

Living Area

> drop all.

> push blue button. (No power.)

> take cable. take cell.

Note: The game prefers the syntax "put something in something" when connecting things. The game has much more trouble with "attach" and "connect" as command verbs.

> put cable in cell. put cable in cube socket. (You drop cable and cell after connecting them.)

> push blue button. (Faint light and sound.)

> x sculpture. touch sculpture. sit on sculpture.

Test Pattern, in the sculptured chair

You see a brief animation of a hand inserting a disk into a slot.

> stand.

Living Area

> take yellow disk. put it in slot. sit.

Rainforest, in the sculptured chair

> x forest. x mist. (The scene changes.)

Martian Sunset, in the sculptured chair

> l. x sun. x lidar. (The scene changes again.)

Coral Reef, in the sculptured chair

> l. x fish. z. (The scene changes yet again.)

Antarctic Sunrise, in the sculptured chair

> l. x ice. z. (Another scene change.)

Office Tower, in the sculptured chair

Ah, finally, the advertisement scene.

> l. x skyline. z.

Wheatfield, in the sculptured chair

> l. x airship. x grain.

Beach, in the sculptured chair

> l. x palm. z.

Rainforest, in the sculptured chair

Okay, we're done with the yellow disk.

> stand.

Living Area

> take yellow disk. drop it.

> take red disk. put it in slot. sit.

Stadium, in the sculptured chair

You watch the performance of "Biofeedback" by the band "Fleishman Tokamak". Unfortunately, you can't interact with the band in any way.

> z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z. z.

> z. (end of the track.)

> stand.

Living Area

> take red disk. drop it.

> take green disk. put it in slot. sit.

Twilight Lawn, in the sculptured chair

You see a girl, possibly the same age as the skeleton.

> x girl. ("I think everyone... else must be dead.")

> x stars. ("I'm dead either way, nuke or plaque.")

> z. ("... crosswired neural inputs.")

> z. (Image wavers, clears. The girl freezes, jerks, collapses.)

> x girl.

> z. z. (She gets up and sees you. "Who are you?")

> tell girl about me. (She's Marie Hyde. "The lost." She's replicated her mind!)

> ask marie about marie.

> ask marie about plaque.

> ask marie about erlmann.

> ask marie about nukes.

> touch marie. (She backs away.)

By this time, Marie has asked to see something from home.

> stand.

Living Area

> take cards. take printout. take bear.

> take frisbee. take clump.

> sit.

Twilight Lawn, in the sculptured chair

> show printout to marie. ("old news". She wants to see something else.)

> show cards to marie. ("Yes. That was me.")

She wants to see more. The cards are hints to what she wants to see.

> show bear to marie. ("Miss Kelli.")

> show frisbee to marie. ("I remember this.")

> show clump to marie. ("The grass. You found some.")

After seeing cards, bear, frisbee, and clump of glowgrass, Marie finally believes you.

> ask marie about plague.

> ask marie about house.

> ask marie about skycar. (Marie tells you the skycar's password; remember it. It's random.)

Around this time, Marie will ask you to take her with you.

> ask marie about chair.

> ask marie about bear.

> ask marie about glowglass.

> ask marie about ancients.

> stand.

Living Area

> drop bear, frisbee, printout.

> take green disk.

> unplug cable from cell. take cell.

> take vat. take coil.

> e. in.

Skycar, in vehicle dome

> x panel. put cell in rectangular hole.

> put shiny coil in round hole.

> put tap in triangular hole. open tap.

> drop vat. close panel.

> put green disk in slot.

> close hatch. x console.

> push green button.

> say password. (Use the password that Marie told you when you asked about the skycar.)

Marie appears beside you and explains to pull the lever to increase power and push to decrease. And she'll attempt to do the steering. (!) Just follow her instructions.

(By the way, if you put one of the other disks in the skycar's disk slot, you'll see a rainforest or a band floating above the passenger seat instead.)

> pull lever.

> pull lever.

Skycar, in courtyard

> z.

Skycar, in the air

> pull lever.

> push lever.

> push lever.

> z. ("All this was city ... all gone.")

> z.

> z. (You pass over the crater made by the dropship.)

> z.

*** The end... for now ***

By the way, in case it isn't clear, the PC's green blood indicates that humanity is now a human-plant hybrid. When I first played, I thought the PC was bringing the Green Plague back to the Institute, but that's not what happens.

Losing endings

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