The Problems Compound is a Glulx interactive fiction game written with Inform 7 and is © 2015 by Andrew Schultz. It was entered in IF Comp 2015 where it took 24th place.
In this wordplay game of changing what's-thats to that's-whats, you play as Alec Smart, the sort of dork who likes useless games that are more like IQ tests than something fun or social. But in the Problems Compound, you'll meet lots of people more social than you who'll pose real-life problems, especially the Baiter Master, also known as the Complex Messiah.
This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 1 of the game.
Locations not shown:
(before the game begins)
Is minor profanity/innuendo okay? y
Are you using a screen reader? n
Guy Sweet calls you over; he wants to TALK.
> x me. i. (Carrying nothing.)
> x shell. x flat. x Guy. x games.
> talk. 1. 2. 1. 2. 1. 1.
You only need to play one of these games to get a gesture token, but we'll play all of them:
> x necklace. play necklace. g.
> x boat. play boat. g.
> x cube. play cube. g.
> x chess. play chess. g.
> x jugs. play jugs. g. g.
> x hanoi. play hanoi. g. g. g. g.
> x nim. play nim. g.
> x sticks. play sticks. g.
> x peg. play peg. g.
We're done here.
> x gesture token.
> enter flat.
A Round Lounge
The way back is locked behind you.
> x hatch. x chair. x stick. x screw.
> screw a round. x off tee.
> stand on chair. open hatch. (You proceed to...)
> x mush. x arch. (It talks and wants documentation.)
> talk to arch. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1.
> x leaves. x dirt. x rails. x weasel.
> talk to weasel.
Note that an italicized choice is something you'd like to say, but don't have the guts for. If you do try such an option, use RECAP to redisplay your current conversation options.
> 1. 1. recap. 2. 2. 2. 2. 2. yes. 2. 2.
> e. e.
> x wall. x hole. (You see your story, including future bits.)
> x earth. w. w.
> give token to weasel. (He gives you a pick.)
> x pick. dig dirt. e. e.
> dig earth. (You take a proof of burden, then bury the broken pick.)
> x proof. (It needs to be signed.)
> w. w.
> give proof to weasel. (He signs it.)
> give proof to mush. enter arch.
Howdy Boy welcomes you.
> x boy. talk to boy. 1. 3. 1. recap. 3.
> w. (Not yet.)
> s. (No way back.)
> x bench. sit on bench. (Sleep to...)
Tense Past / Tense Present / Tense Future
While sleeping, you can only LOOK, WAIT, or THINK.
> think. think. think.
You're woken up by the toad, who gives you a boo-tickety with a quarter of a seal on it.
> x boo.
> x Fritz. talk to Fritz. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1.
> x bear. take bear. x toad. x stool.
> talk to toad. 1. 1. 1. 3. 3.
> x Sucker. talk to Sucker. 3. 3.
> x Lily. x dress.
> talk to Lily. 1. 1. 1. 2. 2. 1. 1.
> talk to Sucker. 1. 2. 2. 3.
> x brew. drink brew. (You take a sip.)
> give brew to Lily. (Outraged, she leaves; Sucker gives you a second boo tickety.)
> talk to Sucker. 2. 2.
> x wine. drink wine. (You take a sip.)
> n. (Toad gives you a 3rd boo, and tosses your wine away.)
> drop boo. (You get a 4th boo for littering. You fold them into a trail paper.)
> x paper.
You have nothing further to say to bartender, toad, or Fritz.
> n. w.
> give bear to Fritz. (He tries to give you a boo, but you decline it.)
> give paper to boy. (You can now go west or north.)
CAUTION: If you take the cookie, you'll go on a sharp tongue rampage and end the game prematurely.
Note: I never found someone to give the mint to, but it doesn't hurt to take it.
> x peanut. x picture.
> x cookie. x mint. x waffle. x lolly.
> take mint. eat it. (No, for someone else.)
> take waffle. (No. Too heavy.)
> take lolly. (No. You're too old.)
> e. n.
You find the jerks too intimidating for now.
> x jerks. w.
Playing the Assassination Character's games is entirely optional, but the prize is access to premium game hints, so if you wants those hints, it's best to play his games sooner rather than later.
> x AC. x paper. get on paper.
Chase Paper (NUMBER NUMBER)
A 5-by-5 grid is displayed using ASCII graphics; The A is AC; the U is you:
You're trying to catch AC, and you'll use compass directions to move around. Go southeast three times:
> se. se. se.
In mathematical terms, you've changed your parity to be the same as AC's, getting to an intersection in three turns that would normally take four turns if you just used cardinal directions the way AC is doing.
Now head towards AC, alternating between north and west and box him into the upper-left corner.
> n. w. n. w. n. w.
Defeated, AC leaves with the chase paper, and a hole downwards is revealed.
The Belt Below
> x terminal. (8 questions with multiple choice answers.)
I don't really enjoy solving this sort of puzzle, and I don't remember how I figured it out the first time, so I'm just going to tell you answer, okay?
> abadface. (The Terminal cracks, revealing a tunnel below.)
> x crib. (These are hints.)
The hints are context-sensitive and divided into three sections. The red hints relate to Brother Blood's puzzle track, the blue hints relate to Brother Soul's puzzle track; and the big hints relate to Brother Big's puzzle track.
I'll assume you don't need any hints because you're looking at a walkthrough, but feel free to go off-script and look at them if you want to.
> u. u. w.
> x well. enter home.
> x Psycho. x Fool. jump.
> talk to Psycho —or— talk to Fool.
You can't cut into Psycho's bluster and win an argument. Come back here when you have something that can help with that.
> out. w.
> listen. x bowl. (Needs another flower.)
> x Faith. x Grace. (Mirror images of each other.)
> talk to Faith. 1. 1. 2. 2. 2.
Come back here when you have a flower.
> e. n.
> x child. x hedge. yes.
> x contract. (Unsigned.)
> x seed. (Dollar sign shape.)
> n. (You need a signed contract first.)
> sign contract. (You're unwilling to.)
> s. e. e. e.
Petty says there's no good reason for you to go to Idiot Village.
> x counter. x Petty.
> talk to Petty. 1. 1. 1. 1.
Come back here when you can show Petty something he wants to see.
> w. n.
> x Uncle. x Turk. z. z. z. z.
You eventually decide that none of their advice can help you. Ignore them.
> x vent. x Sal. open vent. (Not with Sal anxious.)
> talk to Sal. (He doesn't want to smell you.)
Come back here when you have something for Sal to smell.
> e. e.
> x string. take string.
> x Art. x Phil.
> x crack. (Art describes a random book.)
> x swan. (Phil describes a random song.)
> x wax. (It fluctuates through many shades of grey.)
> take wax. (Denied. It's both music and art.)
> talk to Art. 1. 2. 2. 2. 3.
> talk to Phil. 1. 2. 2. 2.
Come back here when you have things they can't tolerate.
> w. n.
> x machine. talk to it.
> put contract in machine. (Hm, maybe something else.)
> s. in.
> x Penn. talk to Penn. 1. 2. 2. yes. 2.
He gives you some wacker weed to deliver.
> x weed.
> out. w. n.
> x Big. x Blood. x Soul.
> talk to Big. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1.
> talk to Blood. 1. 1. 1. 1. 2. 2.
> talk to Soul. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1.
Come back here when you can help solve their issues with the right gifts.
Court of Contempt
> x Buddy. talk to Buddy. 1. 1. 1.
He gives you a long tag and shoves you back to Questions Field.
> x tag. (Bearer allowed to visit Enough Fair.)
Time to do a lot of running around. Deliver that weed to Fritz in Down Ground:
> s. s. s. e.
> give weed to Fritz. (He gives you a dreadful penny.)
> x penny.
Head back to the Pot Chamber:
> w. n. n. e. in.
> give penny to Penn. (He gives you some poory pot.)
> x pot. smell pot. (Sickly sweet.)
> out. w. w.
> put pot in vent. (Sal passes out.)
> open vent. (You take the relief light.)
> x light.
Hold onto that light for awhile and revisit Officer Petty:
> e. s. e.
> give tag to Petty. (He accepts it and leaves.)
> listen. x monkey. x suit. x magician.
> talk to monkey. (Mimes planting and growing a plant.)
> give seed to monkey. (He gives you a fourth-blossom.)
> give contract to monkey. (He signs it.)
> x blossom. x contract.
> talk to magician. (He's Sly Moore.)
> 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1.
Come back here when you can help Sly with his magic act.
> w. w. w. w.
> put string in well. (You get a fish.)
The fish talks to you, but since you're not appreciating it, it wants you to show it someone who does, then TALK to it.
> x fish.
> put blossom in bowl. (You now have a mind of peace.)
> x mind.
> e. n.
> give contract to child. (You may now go IN to the back room.)
> x safe. take safe. (paper underneath.)
> x paper. (It's a Finger Index.)
> take index. (You can't.)
The Index's pairings between initials and secrets is randomized; you should make a note of which initial has which secret. THINK will also remind you what the Index said at the proper time.
> s. s. e. e.
You realize that the seven mentioned in the Finger Index are these jerks.
> talk to jerks.
You learn they're Cain Reyes, Paul Kast, Warm Luke, Warner Dyer, Wash White, Silly Boris, and Dandy Jim.
> x Cain. x Paul. x Luke. x Dyer.
> x White. x Boris. x Jim.
> think. (redisplays the Finger Index.)
First figure out which jerks are associated wtih which letter as listed on the Finger Index. Look for the letters in their names.
Now that you know who's who, you can make accurate accusations.
As you make correct accusations, that option is removed from the list.
> talk to Cain. NUMBER-FOR-ASTERISK'S-SECRET. 8.
> talk to Paul. NUMBER-FOR-K'S-SECRET. 7.
> talk to Luke. NUMBER-FOR-M'S-SECRET. 6.
> talk to Dyer. NUMBER-FOR-D'S-SECRET. 5.
> talk to White. NUMBER-FOR-T'S-SECRET. 4.
> talk to Boris. NUMBER-FOR-L'S-SECRET. 3.
> talk to Jim. NUMBER-FOR-J'S-SECRET.
After making all correct accusations, they go to confront the Labor Child, and return to give you a bottle of Quiz Pop. Then they all leave.
By the way, you can't return to the Labor Child now; the Pyramid's boarded up.
> x pop.
> n. e. e.
> talk to fish. (Art leaves.)
> open safe. (Phil leaves.)
> take wax.
> out. n.
> put wax in machine. (You find a trick hat.)
> x hat.
> s. w. s. e. e.
> give hat to Sly.
It helps him; he gives the hat back and gives you a trap-rattle too. He leaves. Thought is hard with the rattle.
> x rattle.
> w. w. w. w. in.
> give rattle to fool.
He counters the Psycho with it, driving him out. Then he wants the hat. You give it to him. He writes up a book for you: The Trade of Tricks. Then he leaves. (You keep the hat and rattle, too.)
> x Trade.
> out. e. e. n. n.
> give mind to Blood. (Brother Blood leaves.)
> give light to Soul. (Brother Soul leaves.)
> give Trade to Big. (Brother Big leaves, but warns you.)
> n. (You need a minor stimulant to get past the ambush.)
> drink pop. (You keep the bottle.)
I note that once you begin the converstaion with Baiter Master, you can't end it. You must keep picking menu-options until the game ends.
> x Master. talk to Master.
> 1. 2. 2. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1.
BM storms out. You take charge until Admiral Vice leads a coup against you.
*** Defeat of agony? ***
There are two post-game commands. The response to AMUSING is:
Have you tried:
- an empty command?
- XYZZY? Four times?
- attacking anyone? Or the swan?
- cussing in front of certain people?
- giving Pusher Penn's "merchandise" to the Stool Toad or Officer Petty?
- giving Minimum Bear to anyone except Fritz the On?
- listening to all the songs from the song swan (there are 11)?
- reading all the books from the book crack (there are 14)?
And the response to SWEARS is:
- The Baiter Master is the Complex Messiah.
- The Jerk Circle is the Groan Collective.
- The Business Monkey's efforts are half-brained or assed.
- If you actually swear, obscenely or mildly (BOTHER)
Well, that's not much. I planned to have a lot more, but I just got sidetracked with silly stuff like bug fixing and adding to the story. Sorry about that.
And in the rejected rooms:
From the response to CREDITS:
I was able to bounce technical and non-technical ideas off several other people. Wade Clarke, Marco Innocenti, Hugo Labrande, Juhana Leinonen, Brian Rushton and Matt Weiner offered testing and general encouragement and insight on what was a VERY short deadline given the game's size. An anonymous tester provided other direction.
Robert DeFord, Harry Giles and Steven Watson had ideas for the white paper and direction, as did the Interactive Fiction Faction, a private Google group. They include Hanon Ondricek, Robert Patten, Miguel Garza, Matt Goh and Joseph Geipel.
Jason Lautzenheiser's work on Genstein's Trizbort app (www.trizbort.com) was invaluable for big-picture planning and for adding in ideas I wasn't ready to code. If you are writing a parser game, I recommend it. (Disclaimer: I am a contributor, too.)
Many websites and resources helped me discover silly phrases. The Director's Cut has details on specific names, but www.thefreedictionary.com was a big help with its idioms search/subdomain idioms.thefreedictionary.com. Various compound word lists gave me ideas, too.
There may be more endings that I didn't discover.
If you finished the game, you learned about the magic command ANNO that turns on the author's annotations while playing the game. To reach these rejected rooms, enter annotation mode then JUMP. To return to the game proper, type JUMP again.
Note that while in Window Bay, you can see fourteen more locations by switching the View of Points there.
This walkthrough was funded via Patreon with
Ko-Fi is a way to send me small one-time donations. Every little bit helps, and thank you!