Ankh: Goals

Not a lot of progress to report. I have some clear goals, and even some speculative ideas about how to accomplish them, but I think I’m at a point where everything is contingent on finding some useable object that I haven’t found yet. So all I can do is wander through all the rooms again, waving my cursor around and hoping.

So let’s talk about those goals. The main one is delivered in the opening cinematic, in which Assil, a young man in a white shendyt, receives a death curse from a mummy as a result of a minor accident. Assil is the player character. The only person who can lift the curse is the Pharaoh, so you have to gain access to his palace. The palace guards won’t let you through, but they’re terrified of crocodiles due to the recent incident with the pirates, so your obvious recourse is to either instigate or fake a new crocodile attack. And I’ve managed to obtain a few things that seem like they could be used as components of an ersatz crocodile, but Assil refuses to put them together. So I suppose I’m just left expanding where I can explore until I have the rest of the necessary resources, possibly including a taxidermist.

One of Assil’s friends tells him about a treasure map, which seems like a useful thing to pursue, but in order to buy it, he’ll need “a lot of gold”. I have a piece of old statuary that Assil thinks is probably gold underneath all the dirt, but I’ll need to clean it to find out. The waters of the Nile itself are inadequate for this purpose — that’s where I found the thing in the first place. I figure I probably have to use the camel wash station over in Giza, a mechanical device similar to a car wash, but it’s missing a crank. So, I need to find or make a crank. This is the kind of thing I’m talking about. Very clear goals, but after a few steps, they depend on things that I don’t know how to do.

One thing that’s been a great help: Pressing the tab key brings up a list of your current tasks, which can clarify things enormously. For example, at one point I tricked a tailor into giving me a pair of scissors by telling him it was my job to sharpen them. When I did this, my only thought was “Alright! I have a pair of scissors now! That’s bound to come in handy.” But when I later checked my task list, I saw that I was actually expected to sharpen the scissors and bring them back to the tailor. Once I knew that, I knew exactly what to do — sharpening the scissors is a minor puzzle in itself, but I had seen the place to do it, and only hadn’t done it yet because it hadn’t occurred to me that the whole business was anything more than a ruse.

Perhaps the task list was specifically a result of playtesting. Perhaps the reason that “sharpen the scissors for the tailor” is on the list is because other people, testing the game, had the same reaction as me. If so, it’s a good reaction for the developers to have, at the stage of development when reworking the puzzle will be too costly due to all the animation and voice acting being locked-in. The task list is just text. Text is cheap.

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