The audio and visual resources of the game occupy nearly the same amount of space. Those are the images on the right, the ambience on the left, the music in the middle. 36MB, 21MB and 20MB.

What you can barely see in the bottom middle are the sound effects— only 109 KB in total— and on the far right, the data file and executable file, 17 KB and 66 KB respectively. Somewhere in that unseen sliver are also the interface files, SVG formatted and rarely over 1KB each.

It's cool that the characters are represented by icons; it's cool that the story is about a bunch of, well, not programs per se, but entities, trying to repair their home, without veering into Tron/Reboot territory. It's cool that the characters have personalities that embody their function in their world and story.

But the coolest part is the framing.

Rather than just romanticizing computers— again, a domain extensively mapped by Tron— System's Twilight romanticizes folklore and decadence.

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System's Twilight is a plot-driven puzzle anthology for the classic Mac (somewhat in the style of Cliff Johnson's Fool's Errand), old enough to have had a black-and-white version and a colorized version.

Its premise is basically Tron folklore.

The setting is literally the inside of a computer system that's seen better days, hence "System's Twilight". The player character and the NPCs are icons that inhabit and maintain its components. Different components present different puzzles.

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So I'm relaxing after a relatively tedious evening of cooking something before its expiration date, and I see @helveticablanc 's latest art piece, and a puzzle piece clicks in my slightly buzzed brain. 🧠

Has anyone here in Merveilles heard of or played System's Twilight by Andrew Plotkin?

Probably a handful, but I'm going to take a deep dive into this game, because I think its core concept intersects a lot of our foci and creative endeavors in this community.

I hope I can do it justice.

I should've mentioned, this was from 1920s Berlin, and was embossed on all their shit. Pocket one of these bad boys and you'll be able to add and subtract your way through any power outage, Luddite meetup or phone cleanse

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Behold the logo of the original Addiators— flat, pocket-sized, mechanical devices made from sheet metal that let you add and subtract numbers, by sliding digits up and down with a stylus.

There, that's what I'm talkin' about.

You better believe I'm keeping the indicator lights on the sides. How else would I play Geo?

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I think I've stumbled on my ideal desktop computer setup.

One of the most labor-intensive parts of the Flash project a decade ago is accomplished in the web stack with a few hours of HTML+CSS, MDN and stack overflow: an accessible, resolution-independent GUI.

But ironically, assigning a solid color to the SVG icons was easier in Flash back then than it is in HTML+CSS now.

To the uninitiated, Wireworld is a 2D cellular automaton, sort of a straight-laced adaptation to Conway's Game of Life.

It's like... Life on Rails. Most of the cells never change, and the ones that do never increase in population.

"Dead" cells stay dead.
All "tail" cells become "wire" cells.
All "head" cells become "tail" cells.
And all "wire" cells with one or two head neighbors get "excited" and become head cells.

So it all resembles circuitry to some extent.


...Igor, take some screenshots please, we'll be throwing this in the trash as soon as possible

The dependencies between the code modules. Not super cool, but kinda cool.

Okay, big-ish news: the game is fully playable! 🎉

Granted, there's still code to write, and this port should really be tested, but the biggest pre-release milestone has been reached.

Second, take a look at this: if you're playing, and you're stuck, and you want to start over, just hold down "R" and the game reddens. Wait long enough and it resets. Hold down "A", and it resets into auto-pilot till you let go.

One of the most complex parts of Hiversaires is Entente, the self-aware labyrinth, where we use spatial tricks to basically drop the floor from beneath the player's sense of location. Goodbye, bearings. The first time I really understood Entente was when I last ported the game in 2018. That's the threshold where I stand now.

You know the drill.

There are doors that lock,
And doors that don't,
There are doors that let you in
And out
But never open.

But there are trapdoors
That you can't come back from.

Sure helps to have those debug commands to grant me whatever I want!

You might be able to tell, but the music/ambience loading as the player walks between doors is causing the entire app to freeze briefly. Maybe I can load those on another thread somehow.

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Merveilles is a community project aimed at the establishment of new ways of speaking, seeing and organizing information — A culture that seeks augmentation through the arts of engineering and design. A warm welcome to any like-minded people who feel these ideals resonate with them.