The errors of Christminster


1. Introduction

Christminster [GDR 1995-08-08a] is a text adventure game. This article lists all the defects discovered in the game during play-testing before the first public release, and in each of the four public releases to date. My purpose in writing this article is threefold:

  1. To provide authors of adventure games with a good idea of the scale of the testing and debugging task ahead of them, and of the kinds of errors they will find.

  2. To provide data that can be used by game developers to improve the quality of their games, and by library developers to reduce the opportunities to introduce defects.

  3. To encourage other authors of adventure games to record their experience of testing and debugging games.

2. Christminster development history

Christminster went through these stages of development:

  1. Initial development lasted from about 1994-05 to 1995-05. The code has 13,000 lines of Inform source code and about 40,000 words of text.

  2. In 1995-05 I asked Graham Nelson, Michael Kinyon and Robert Dickau to test the game. Over the next two months they made about 280 bug reports and suggestions, almost all of which I acted on.

    Graham was best at improving the style and suggesting improvements to the atmosphere and the language; Michael was best at finding nonsensical responses and bugs; and Robert was best at finding gaps in the world model. They made an excellent team.

  3. By 1995-07 my testers had worked over the whole game and I had made many changes, some quite extensive. The biggest changes were the confrontation with Jarboe on the stairs at the end (279), the cat Turmeric (217), and evensong in the Chapel (75). I needed some fresh eyes to have another look over the whole game, so I appealed on the newsgroup Simon Brind, Chris Goedde, Brendon Wyber, Bernard Hsuing and Steve Salter responded, and made a further 40 bug reports and suggestions.

  4. By the end of 1995-07 I was happy and released the game. Bug reports immediately came in by e-mail. I had made one major change as a result of the second round of testing: Edward could walk about on his own initiative (296). Not surprisingly, several major bugs were found in the hasty implementation, for example 344. I made a second release very soon after the first [GDR 1995-08-08b].

  5. Bug reports and suggestions flooded in from generous players of the game (thank you to everyone who e-mailed me with a bug; see section 5). Nothing was so severe as to need an immediate bug-fix release, so I waited and accumulated fixes. Eventually it became clear that the first puzzle was much too hard for many players, and this was preventing them getting on to the more interesting parts of the game. So I added thorough hints for the first puzzle, and made release 3 in 1995-11.

  6. By the end of 1996, the volume of bug reports had tailed off dramatically. Probably this meant that players had moved on to other games. I made release 4, with 85 changes, in 1996-11 [GDR 1996-11-22].

  7. There has been very little feedback since then (that’s partly because the e-mail address in the game ceased to forward mail to me in 1999, as Graham Nelson predicted in bug 110). Also, a new release will be tricky because to be confident that the new release will work in the same way as the old, and that no defects have been introduced by changes to the compiler and library, I’ll need to use the same versions that I used to make release 4.

I have some advice for authors of games based on my experience with Christminster.

Put off testing until you think the game is finished. There’s a diminishing returns effect as testing continues, as the testers get tired or come to the conclusion. So if you add features during testing then they won’t be tested effectively.

However, I suggest an early look at the shape of the whole game with one experienced reader, to look for plot holes and areas which are under-implemented. If like me you started at the beginning and worked forward through the plot then later sections will be weaker than the earlier ones, simply through having had less time spent on them. So it’s important to get someone to look at the end of the game as early as you can.

Spend plenty of time on testing. Testing of Christminster took three months and perhaps should have taken longer. Release when the rate of bug reports is falling off, not according to schedule.

Listen to your testers, especially if they ask you to change things you like. Playtesters are representatives of your intended audience. Even if you decide not to do what they say (and that’s your prerogative as the author) then there’s no point in arguing or justifying yourself: your game will have to justify itself. A good tester can make a great difference to the quality of a game if you’ll let them.

3. Categories of defect

This categorization of defects is inspired by Knuth’s in “The errors of TeX” [Knuth 1989]. Knuth’s categories aren’t a useful way of analyzing defects in adventure games: in the development of TeX, most of the defects were programming errors, but adventure games are literature, not tools, and so the majority of defects are requests for enhancement of usability, clarity, style, and enjoyment.

So I’ve analyzed the errors of Christminster using the categories in the following table:

A Algorithm is awry (100, 102, 246).
B Botch or blunder. An essential piece of data is missing, such as the “static” attribute on pieces of furniture (11), or map directions not lining up (225).
D Data defect. Some data structure or flag was not kept consistent with the state of the world (15, 35, 47).
E Entertainment enhancement. A request for new objects, places or complex behaviours to be added to the game (75, 279, 296).
G Grammar. An action is hard to express because the grammar needed to do so is missing (85, 447, 472).
I Interactive improvement. A new (141) or improved (392) response is needed for some input. Distinct from T in that programming is needed rather than just editing text, distinct from W in that no interesting interaction with the world model is required.
M Module mismatch. Incorrect use of the interface to a component (92). Typical example is failing to return the right value from a “before” routine in Inform (449).
P Promotion of portability. A feature isn’t portable to some intepreters (346, 446) or platforms (424).
S Surprising scenario. Two pieces of the world model, each correct in themselves, interacted in an unexpected way when put together (339, 348, 387).
T Text transgression. Something is wrong with the text produced by the game, running the gamut from typographical errors (234), punctuation errors (122), poor grammar, awkward phrasing (135) to lack of detail (185), factual errors (170), anachronisms in speech (144) and weak characterization (239). Essentially, anything a copy-editor could tell you to do from reading a transcript, and which requires no programming to fix.
V Vocabulary variation. A word should refer to an object but doesn’t (38, 62), or two objects with similar vocabulary are hard to distinguish (139, 399, 412).
W World model is weak. Some response doesn’t take account of some existing aspect of the world model (455), or some aspect of the world is not modelled (99). Distinct from I in that the code needed to fix the defect must interact with the world model.

4. Defects

Number of defects discovered by category and release
Category Defects A B D E G I M P S T V W Total
Pre-release 1328 10 2 22 21 19 93 4 1 3 54 20 44 293
Release 1 329353 1 0 2 0 1 5 0 1 6 6 0 3 25
Release 2 354445 8 0 4 3 2 26 1 3 8 14 4 12 85
Release 3 446475 0 2 2 1 6 6 1 1 1 4 0 6 30
Release 4 476551 6 1 2 4 10 20 0 0 1 7 11 14 76
Total 25 5 32 29 38 150 6 6 19 85 35 79 509

The table below lists defects found in Christminster, from the start of play-testing to the present day. The columns of the table are: defect number; reporter’s initials (see section 5); description of the defect (with my analysis, if any, in italics); category (see section 3); date fixed.

# Who Description Cat Fixed
1 MK In Biblioll Street, “yes” → “(to the parrot) …”. (The DefaultTalk action selects any animate object in the location.) S
2 MK The Busker shouldn’t show you the cup if you’ve just looked under it. W
3 MK Busker redoes his trick with last trick object (e.g., the telegram) if you wait for him rather than giving him an object. (He’s supposed to use a marble in this case.) D
4 MK If you look under a cup at the earliest possible turn then the busker’s next comment ("Look under a cup") is out of place. W
5 MK You can’t give the map to the busker. D
6 MK “ask constable for helmet” → no reply. I
7 MK When the constable says “Lovely day!” the reply “yes” seems appropriate, but this gets a lame response. I
8 MK “get all from y” doesn’t work. (My library hack was at fault.) A
9 MK Respond to “show cobble to constable”. I
10 MK “give key to porter” → “Who do you mean, the ring of keys or the brass key?” (Bug in the Inform parser; fixed in library release 5/12.) A
11 MK Cabinet is portable. B
12 MK If Edward is asked about things about which he does not know after he has seen the feather, the response “He’s obviously very distressed…” seems inappropriate. Even something like “I don’t know about that” would be better. (This is a misunderstanding on MK’s part, perhaps best addresses by giving Edward more responses so that this message comes up less often.) N -
13 MK “ask master about malcolm” → “That’s all very well,” says the Master, “but anyone could tell me that. Can’t you show me some proof?” W
14 MK If Edward is led into Biblioll Street, he should react to the broken window. W
15 RD When you give the telegram to the busker, it stays in your inventory when it should go under the cup. D
16 RD It isn’t clear how you can see the key that the don is lying on, but not slip it out from underneath. (Attached it to him with some string.) W
17 RD “objects” → “toffee (lost)”. When it’s held by the constable or the busker, “(given away)” would be more appropriate. W
18 RD You end up with two “note”s in your inventory and no obvious way to tell them apart. V
19 RD In “B” staircase, second floor, add scenery word “ladder”. V
20 RD In the response “Edward doesn’t seem to hear you”, “hear” doesn’t seem right. (Substituted “notice”.) T
21 RD In Malcolm’s bedroom, add grammar “look out window”. G
22 RD If you knock on Wilderspin’s door (B2), ask him about Arkwright, then immediately go northwest, you get “Professor Wilderspin says…” even though he’s not present. W
23 RD TelephoneDaemon is confused as to which of states 1,2 is Jarboe and which is Bungay. D
24 RD If Edward is with you, he should react when you knock on his door and when you look in his pigeonhole. W
25 RD You should be able to close the door to Malcolm’s study from the inside. W
26 RD It isn’t obvious from the descriptions when the door to the Second Court is open and when it is closed. I
27 RD In darkness, attaching the power pack to the voltmeter gives you a message about the reading on the latter, even thought you can’t see it. W
28 RD The hatch isn’t consistent - sometimes its open and you can’t go through it, sometimes you can go through it while the cellars are dark, sometimes Edward follows you (into darkness). D
29 RD “put tears on altar” → “An interesting idea. The altar is closed.” W
30 RD “go east” should work in the punt. M
31 GN Add grammer “time” (standard in many games for “what is the time?”). G
33 GN The table is described twice at Bridge Street. D
34 GN “candy” is an Americanism. (Changed to “toffee”.) T
35 GN Having got the policeman to take part in the trick, I let the trick finish because it was fun to watch, and now he’s eaten the candy and is following me again - if I didn’t know how this puzzle worked, I’d be really stuck. (Allow another cobblestone to be found if this happens so that at least you’re not permanently stuck.) D
36 GN Add responses for “give/show map to policeman”. Perhaps he might look at the map, and annoyingly tell you how to get to the front gate of the college (which you already know). I
37 GN “tickle man” should give a better response. (No. The response “What do you want to tickle that with?” is a valuable clue to this rather surprising action.) N -
38 GN Add vocabulary “copper”, “peeler”, “bobby” to constable. V
39 GN When the don arrives, the text “‘You there!’ he shouts at you” is displayed. But the constable’s arrival message may precede him, so that “he shouts at you” is ambiguous. (Changed to “the don shouts at you”.) T
40 MK It’s unclear that you have to give the bag to the busker (he says he wants objects like coins, watches etc). T
41 MK Edward’s default response suggests that he doesn’t want to speak to you at all until you’ve shown him the feather. (This is a result of the same misunderstanding as report 12.) N -
42 RD Make it clearer that the eyes in the fireplace pop back out. I
43 RD Add vocabulary “griffins”. V
44 RD Add responses for “put book in fireplace” and “put book in river”. I
45 RD Edward comments on Bible even when he’s not there. W
46 RD When escaping from Bungay’s study through the window, perhaps a message of relief would be appropriate ("You’ve escaped -- and just barely!"). I
46a RD You should be able to refer to Bungay’s study window when in the garden. V
47 RD Edward doesn’t seem to move about properly after his meeting with Bungay: he seems to remain in Bungay’s hallway even though the description suggests he has gone. D
48 RD “feel gum” → “Don’t be silly!” etc. But it’s a sensible thing to want to do. I
49 RD In the secret room, you see twice: “I wish you’d figure out what you want me to do,” Wilderspin grumbles, “I don’t think I can carry you for ever.” D
50 RD In the Secret room, with the skeleton and bench, the error message “** Error: Wilderspin doing something bizarre **” appears. D
51 MK Add grammar “point to key”. G
52 MK Allow “jump through window” in Malcolm’s bedroom. (No; I don’t think it’s in character for Christabel to kill herself.) N -
53 GN You don’t know your own surname. That’s ludicrous! I
54 GN Add responses to “porter, where is malcolm” or “porter, where is he”. (The Master is just as annoying.) I
55 GN In “A” staircase, ground floor, add directory “north” (same as “up”). I
56 GN Use capitalised location short-names (e.g., “Master’s Lodge” rather than “Master’s lodge”), as uncapitalised ones look too much like incomplete sentences. T
57 GN The Master lives in a “Lodgings”, the porters in a “Lodge” (such is the practice at Magdalen College Oxford, anyway). T
58 GN Allow “in” when the Master’s maid opened the door to the lodge (since in this one case “in” is unambiguous). I
59 GN Allow “kiss master” - this might have been a plausible thing for a young lady to do to a nice helpful respectable old chap in the 50s. (And indeed in his 50s.) I
60 GN More description needed in the staircase rooms: the carbolic scent of cleaning, the view out over the roofs from a small window, the feeling that you don’t quite belong here, must be the very essence of Cambridge, sorry, Christminster. I
61 GN Add response for “look under door” (library door). I
62 GN Add vocabulary “bricks” for “brickwork”. V
63 GN Can you work the phrase “sporting one’s oak” into the game somewhere? This is to do with when one’s outer and inner doors are open or shut, and has certain connotations. T
64 GN Why does the voltmeter have only one terminal, the clip? Surely it measures potential difference? T
65 GN Add response for “put voltmeter clip on power pack”. I
66 GN Add grammar “shake hands with <person>”. G
67 GN When Edward said, “Who could have done such a terrible thing?”, I tried to confess: “edward, me” and “edward, it was me”. W
68 GN Allow Edward to be calld “ed”? V
69 GN Make “smell” on its own smell the appropriate object in some rooms, for example in First Court make “smell” produce the same response as “smell wistaria”. M
70 GN “edward, pull bell” doesn’t work. I
71 GN The porter is unimpressed by being shown a map of the College. Now one thing porters do react to is people who are lost. I
72 GN This being the 1950s, Edward would have been strictly forbidden from having a female visitor in his rooms - perhaps this might make an amusing rejoinder to “edward, east” at the top of the second floor of B. I
73 GN Perhaps you might change the library message of “You hear nothing unexpected” to, oh, “Christminster is so restfully still on a Sunday”? I
74 GN The analogous archway at Magdalen is a war memorial, a rather moving long tablet of names and regiments along both walls. E
75 EKC Evensong should take place in chapel. You should need to to be wearing a hat to get in. E
76 EKC The college needs a coat of arms. E
77 EKC There should be college plate at high table. E
78 GDR The Master doesn’t talk to you when you enter his study. D
79 GDR Respond to “ask master for arkwright” and “ask master for books”. I
80 GDR Add a “History of the Meldrews (vol. III)”. E
81 GDR Add hiccups if you drink too much alcohol (cured by drinking water). E
82 MK Jarboe and Bungay ask me to leave but then won’t let me leave. W
83 MK It is possible to get ahead of Bungay and so arrive at his room before he does. S
84 MK The response “You leave the pole behind in the punt for the next person who comes this way.” is odd if you’re not in the punt. D
85 MK Add grammar “look up 143 in arkwright”, “read page 143 in arkwright”. G
86 MK The response to “ask master about wilderspin” makes no sense if you have not already asked the Master for Arkwright (which I had not done, so I did not know what book was meant). W
87 MK You can knock at Bungay’s door before he arrives. W
88 MK “give/show lab book to bungay” should be more disastrous than it is. (No. This to supposed to indicate that he’s not as observant as Jarboe.) N -
89 MK The initial description of Bungay’s study should mention the window. T
90 MK The sequence of conversation between Bungay and Edward should continue even if you just stand in the hallway and wait. It only seems to proceed if you keep typing “look”. W
91 MK There should be an appropriate response if you knock on Bungay’s door when Edward’s in there. W
92 RD “sit on floor” escapes from the secret room. M
93 RD The Master should perhaps say something other than “You’ve convinced me…” when shown different books. W
94 GDR Trap “go north” in Bungay’s Study. M
95 RD After escaping the secret rooms, Wilderspin’s fireplace still indicates the exit through the fireplace is there, when it’s not. D
96 GDR Shouldn’t be able to walk on the lawn. I
97 EKC The college needs a flag. E
98 GDR Remove connection between the Gardens and West Bank. D
99 MK If you take Edward to his supervision immediately after you meet him, then he still talks about having to go to his supervision. W
100 RD “You observe that two wires (one green, one red and one blue) are plugged into the blue socket.” (This is a bug in the list writer in the Inform library. When “WORKFLAG_BIT” is set in the parameters to “WriteListFrom”, the list writer lists only items with the “workflag” attribute at depth 0 (meaning depth in the object tree), and all items at depth > 0. The list writer has a “depth” parameter which is also used for the level of indentation, so that “inventory tall” lists can be output with the correct indentation. Normally depth in the object tree is the same as the indentation level, so it doesn’t matter that the list writer uses one variable for both. But the “list together” feature means that a set of objects that list together may be at depth 0 in the object tree, where the “WORKFLAG_BIT” rule applies and they are counted (hence the “two wires” in the text), but at indentation level 1, where the “WORKFLAG_BIT” rule is mistakenly not applied. The fix is simple: track object depth and indentation depth separately.) A
101 RD Add response for “get parrot” when it’s on Edward’s shoulder. W
102 RD “fill retort with water” → “** Error: object out of place: water store **” A
103 RD Missing new-line after “examine retort” → “… It contains some cloudy water.” T
104 RD “fill bottle with water” → “But the brown glass bottle already contains a nothing.” A
105 RD “put water in retort” → “You don’t want to go losing things in the river, do you?” A
106 GN Add response for “look up master in men of biblioll”. I
107 GN I tried to thank the Master for the invite, but couldn’t. G
108 GN Could the Master say “Always good to see you” rather than “Nice to have met you” on subsequent departures? W
109 GN The porter is unimpressed by being shown the ticket to the feast. I had hoped he might unlock the door to the second court. (No. That’s not the puzzle I had in mind.) N -
110 GN Consider not putting an e-mail address into the help, since these games will lurk on bulletin boards forever. There are still copies of Curses Release 7 out there that I occasionally hear of. (I believe that the short-term benefits outweighed the long-term problems.) T
111 GN “The cleaning ladies” are mentioned when smelling in B basement. It would be witty to invent a name for these, along the lines of “bedder” or “scout”. Perhaps “dusties” has the right precious, somewhat patronising ring to it? T
112 GN In the 1950s everyone smoked. Perhaps the Master might offer you a cigarette? (Which, being a delicate young thing, etc., etc.) (No. I’d have to supply matches and then players would wander round setting fire to everything!) N -
113 GN “take all from cabinet” unplugs the plugs from the sockets. But that’s surely not what I intended. (Exempt the wires from “take all” using “ChooseObjects”.) W
114 GN The “you can see a cabinet, in which are…” message is unhelpful when trying to discover which wire is in which socket. Also “examine wires” doesn’t tell you this either. I
115 GN When you attach the voltmeter to something, you should discover the reading immediately. You shouldn’t have to “examine voltmeter” separately. I
116 GN Add grammar “hang up phone”. G
117 GN Add response for “put phone on <thing>”. I
118 GN The College was founded in 1275, but you say it is 700 years old. T
119 GN “look through door” might do something interesting at the 2nd court door, through which chinks of light can be seen. I
120 GN I was hopeful of finding something under the name of Spencer (or perhaps of Baskeyfield) in the library card-index: in most colleges, fellows are morally obliged to give copies of all their books to the library. (No. Spencer is a young fellow and all his work so far has appeared in journals. Baskeyfield hasn’t written any books.) N -
121 GN Does the Master not have a lodge pigeonhole? (No. After all, he doesn’t at Christ’s. Anyway, this would require some more tedious special cases in the pigeonhole code.) N -
122 GN The text “‘You must help me to find my parrot,’ pleads Edward, ‘Just tell….’” is wrongly punctuated; the second comma should be a full stop. This slight grammatical misdemeanour recurs in Edward’s dialogue. (In fact this error appears at least 173 times in the game text, but it’s easy to fix.) T
122a GN Surely a history student like Edward should be impressed by seeing “Men of Biblioll”? I
123 GN Wilderspin is unresponsive. “ask wilderspin about edward” might be nice? (No, Wilderspin’s unresponsiveness is a puzzle.) N -
124 GN I am slightly annoyed that “Men of Biblioll” has been not even entertaining yet, since apart from Biblioll himself absolutely no proper nouns have been revealed yet - despite being all over first court. Couldn’t there be a discreet statue somewhere, or something like that? A “Bloggs Room”? (No. This would be misleading: it would look like a clue but be irrelevant.) N -
125 RD “open cabinet” → “You open the cabinet, revealing three pair of sockets…” (should be “pairs”). W
126 RD “look at wires” → “Which do you mean, the pair of green wires, the pair of red wires or the pair of blue wires?” W
127 RD Allow “hang up” for “replace telephone”? G
128 RD In Wilderspin’s study, “take all” includes the griffins and their eyes and so reveals their existence prematurely. W
129 RD When you arrive in the library from the secret room, Edward says “Ah there you are” and also his usual message. Better for him to say just one thing. W
130 RD This message appears just after the parrot has landed on Edward’s shoulder: “Edward stares up at his parrot forlornly. ‘Come here, Polly,’ he calls, though not with any conviction that he is going to be obeyed.” D
131 RD In “Archway Between the Courts”, “Between” shouldn’t be capitalized. T
132 RD You can still hear voices or engaged tones on the telephone after you’ve dropped it by leaving the Master’s Lodgings. D
133 RD “look at red socket” → “The pair of red socketsis empty.” T
134 MK Add response for “look up lilly in men of biblioll”. I
135 MK The response to “look up canynges in men” is awkwardly phrased: “to this day” appears twice. T
136 MK In the secret passage, “feel ceiling” → “There’s nothing within reach to the up.” W
137 MK After “wilderspin, drop me”, he doesn’t go back to following his script. D
138 MK Need response for “jump” while standing on Wilderspin. I
139 GN In Bridge Street, “red” unfortunately refers to both “red cup” and “red brick wall”. V
140 GN Christbel says, “But I don’t have your key”. It would be more in character to say, “But I haven’t got your key”. T
141 GN Add responses for “ask master about baskeyfield/library/second court” I
142 GN Add response for “look in index for maclane”. I
143 GN Add “Maclane” to refer to “Men of Biblioll”? V
144 GN Bungay and Jarboe would not call each other “Dr” and “Professor”, certainly not in the 50s (when, to be strictly chronological, the term “Dr” wasn’t widely used around Oxbridge). It would just be Bungay and Jarboe. T
145 GN In Malcolm’s room, there’s no “bed” object, and so “hide under bed” doesn’t work. E
146 GN The word “floozie” is a bit modern, isn’t it? Can I supply “Always knew he had garlands in his hair”? (I don’t think it’s modern at all. Maybe it’s an Americanism?) N -
147 GN Add “slap” for “attack”. G
148 GN You might mention last night’s rain at the Lady Margaret Green location. T
149 GN Add responses for “examine chapel/hall/cobbles”. I
150 GN I feel a little less happy about the Second Court description than the First Court one; the menu appearance is a bit less pleasing, and the rest is slightly too plain. The Hall and Chapel must be splendid, so tell us about them! I
151 GN Add a “can’t go” message in Second Court. I
152 GN The flagstones in antechapels tend to be engraved tombstones or memorials. Might be a good place to hide a (possibly spurious) Man of Biblioll. T
153 GN The altar is too plain. (I removed it since it didn’t play any role in the game.) E
154 GN Couldn’t we at least have the first few words of the Latin Bible, “fiat lux” and all that, when read? I
155 GN The lectern is a bit plain. Add response for “get lectern”. I
156 GN Allow “look up john in window” to get stories of saints (Not part of the game.) N -
157 GN Add response for “pray” in chapel. I
158 GN Add response for “smell” in chapel and antechapel. I
159 GN Add response to “up” in Chapel and Antechapel saying something about the inaccessibility of the Tower. I
160 GDR Make the Antechapel northwest of Second Court (so the Chapel fits to the north of Second Court). E
161 GN Improve the description of the Great Hall, and add portraits. (I didn’t add the portraits: they would have been yet more irrelevant people to look up in “Men of Biblioll”.) T
162 GN Add a door to the Senior Common Room. E
163 GN Your feelings of terror at being trapped in the cellar are somewhat assuaged by gaining a point in the process: a consolation which is seldom apparent in real life. (I moved this point to when you get out of the cellars, rather than when you enter them.) I
164 GN Allow “bang on door/hatch/…” (same response as “knock on door/hatch/…”). G
165 GN Allow “bin one” and “bin 1” to refer to “first bin”. V
166 GN Canynges’s entry in “Men of Biblioll” is awkwardly expressed, especially around “the practice that”. T
167 GN Could Tausend be Memeber of Parliament for Christminster University, not for the town? An arrangement that in Oxford was only abolished post-war, I believe. T
168 GN “fullscore” ought to list your achievements in chronological order. W
169 GN I was hoping for a cameo appearance by Baskeyfield after knocking on his door. If only to say, “Library hours are such and such, as you well know”. E
170 GN Factual point: the Ahketaten stelae weren’t really excavated, as they were carved into cliff-sides and still visible. T
171 GN Wilderspin should respond to asking about Jarboe and Bungay. (Even if he might “prefer not to comment on his colleagues”?) He doesn’t respond to “honey” either. I
172 GN When you get a book from the card index, make “it” refer to the book fetched. W
173 GN Simon Noble should be in Men of Biblioll (make up a visit if necessary). I
174 GN I don’t believe archaeologists have ever been admitted to the Royal Society. How about making Arkwright an OM (member of the Order of Merit) instead of an FRS (Fellow of the Royal Society)? T
175 GN Add response for “ask wilderspin about vastang”. I
176 GN Allow “in” for “enter hole” I
177 GN Add response for “wilderspin, lift me/raise me”. I
178 GN You can’t get Wilderspin to stand on your shoulders in a similar fashion. (This won’t work since he’s heavier than you but the game should certainly say so.) I
179 GN The way Wilderspin disappears on the ledge is deeply disconcerting, as you then apparently can’t go anywhere. (Added information about which way he goes, also a useful “can’t go” message.) I
180 GN “listen” ought to go something interesting in the dark places. I
181 GN How does Wilderspin know that my name is Christabel? T
182 GN Add response for “search bench”. I
183 GN The word “bottles” is unrecognised, although Wilderspin guesses something from them. V
184 GN The word “fellow” ought to be recognised as referring to numerous characters. V
185 GN C Staircase is a little plain. T
186 GN In Second Court, “edward, go northeast” → “‘Do you really think that my parrot could have got through a locked door?’ Edward asks you.” Yes, I really think your parrot could have got through a locked wrought iron gate, Edward. W
187 GN When the power pack is plugged into the box, this isn’t revealed in “look” descriptions. (Same for the voltmeter.) W
188 GN It is still not entirely clear that when one gets the wires from the cabinet, they are unplugged but not taken. I
189 GN “look inside mouth” (of the wrought iron lion on the garden gate) might provoke a reply, perhaps along the lines of “Anyone can tame an iron lion.”? (Not my style.) N -
190 GDR “it” should be set appropriately throughout the game. W
191 MK Response for “touch south wall” (etc.) in the secret passage. I
192 MK You shouldn’t be able to turn on the light switch in the Cellars while standing in the alcove. (The alcove is next to the switch and anyway this puzzle is hard enough as it is.) N -
193 MK In the Well, “west” should produce the “crawl” message. D
194 MK Peanuts implementation is unsatisfactory (can’t drop them). E
195 RD Allow “put widget in/on/under/over lobster”. I
196 RD At night, when climbing the wistaria, a message gets printed twice. D
197 RD “get a candle” → “You can’t see any such thing.” But “get candles” → “You pick up one of the candles.” V
198 RD “get malcolm” → “I don’t suppose Malcolm’s body would care for that.” I
199 RD “pull malcolm west” → “Is that the best you can think of?” I
200 GN The voltmeter logic is incorrect if the power pack is connected to one box wire and the voltmeter to another. A
201 MK When you “say something” near the phone, disambiguation picks the wrong object to talk to. W
202 MK Obscure bug where “ask master about xxxx” fails miserably. (I’ve no idea what this was about.) N -
203 RD The teasing about the Knights Templars in the blurb and in the ending seemed a bit overblown when compared to their absence in the rest of the game. T
205 RD Edward should respond to being shown some of the history books, even if he only says, “that’s not my field”. I
206 RD Be more consistent about which objects open the shed and scare the bird. (I thought this was fine.) N -
207 GN If you try to put something in the hatch from below, the game says “that would fall through”. I
208 GN At the Well: “climb south wall” should be the same as “climb brick wall”. I
209 GN The well itself, being the thing for which the location is named, ought at least to have an examine message? W
210 GN “descend wistaria” isn’t recognised, despite the “Roof of Master’s Lodge” description. I
211 GN Could the game be suitably scathing in reply to “tickle gargoyle with feather”? I
212 GN “gate” is unrecognised here. V
213 GN By my reckoning, east of the Well is not the Great Hall but the Kitchens, since I’m standing more or less at the south wall of the College. Also, surely the most visible thing from the roof of the Master’s Lodge ought to be the Chapel tower, which isn’t mentioned? T
214 GN If Hawksmoor’s chapel includes the stained glass from the old chapel, why is it described as Renaissance glasswork? It must surely be earlier? T
215 GN Add response for “ask master about chapel”. I
216 GN There are too many locked doors. (This is a real feature of colleges: one locked door after another.) N -
217 GN The game gets gradually less populated. In the Second Court area, for instance, there’s really only the Cook to interact with. A Chaplain (or a Dean of Divinity) might liven things up there. Or, I don’t know, perhaps some undergrads rehearsing for a play, or something like that. (I added a cat.) E
218 GDR Movement checking needs to be more thorough. P
219 RD Is getting the Skery book optional? If so, it should perhaps contain a funnier joke. T
220 MK Allow “hit B4” meaning “knock at b4”. I
221 MK Capitalise “Evensong”? T
222 MK Grammatical error: “which I am must date”. T
223 MK Allow “pour elixir into malcolm’s body” for “give elixir to malcolm”. I
224 GN In Bungay’s Hallway description, “stand around nervously in” would be better grammar. T
225 GN In the C staircase, ground floor, “south” mistakenly goes up. B
226 GN When you jump from Bungay’s window, why not close the handbag en route so that it’s (very long by this point in the game) contents doesn’t spoil the description of the gardens? W
227 GN The crack (in the garden shed door) is too narrow for the corkscrew, is it? (That’s right.) N -
228 GN Allow “push elm” and “shake elm”. I
229 GN The word “fish” isn’t recognised here, as verb or noun. (Added as noun only.) V
230 GN “You get into the punt” is a somewhat plain description of an invariably traumatic process for anyone wearing a dress. T
231 GN In your second attempt at punting “east”: three sentences in a row start with “You”, which is a little heavy. T
232 GN Why can’t you try to punt “north” and “south”? I
233 GN Allow “punt east”. G
234 GN Edward “beings” the punt to rest (presumably “brings”). T
235 GN Small topographic point: how does the river flow out of College? Through a culvert in the wall? This is not mentioned on either side. T
236 GN The honey provides a good opportunity to quote Sylvia Plath’s sequence of four bee-keeping poems (The Bee Meeting, etc.) about a young unprotected girl overcoming her morbid horror to collect honey. E
237 GN “‘Hey!’ says Edward, seeing you enter… he continues, ‘Well, you…’” is doubtful grammar; the comma after “continues” should be omitted, or replaced with a colon. T
238 GN I’d like to be able to read a snatch of Edward’s essay over his shoulder. Though he’s the type to have awful handwriting. I
239 GN “‘Damn,’ says Jarboe. ‘The stupid phones are playing up again.’” This is just a tad weak for 50s don dialect. What about: “‘How singular,’ says Jarboe. ‘These damn-fool phones are playing up.’” T
240 GN Verb “uncork” is unrecognised. G
241 GN Shouldn’t the pale liquid at least bubble to indicate being heated? W
242 GN Edward’s door is labelled Mr Forbes, which he’d only rate if he were an MA. How about “Forbes, E. St C.” or some such? T
243 GN Tearing the veil somewhat reminds me of the veil of the temple being rent in twain, which is John something:something. (It’s Mark 15:38.) E
244 GN From Bungay’s study, “out” or “down” should leave via the open window. I
244a GN The window ought to be callable “windows” (as in “open windows”). V
245 GN “get all” in the gardens includes the clock tower, which is a little surreal. W
246 GN If I: (i) light the ring, (ii) put the retort of pale liquid on it, (iii) add honey from the tamarisk tree’s hive, resulting in a bubbling liquid (iv) pour Edward’s tears into the retort, then I get the message “** Error: impossible mixture of liquids occurred! **”. The same occurs if I add the bubbling mixture to the tears. A
247 GN If I take the retort off the ring, to get a sticky gum, pouring the tears in results in an abruptly ending sentence. A
248 GN “listen” clearly ought to say something unusual during Evensong. “listen to choir” is understood but “listen to chant” isn’t. I
249 GN I still can’t “pray”, nor can I “kneel” or even “sit”, “join” or “enter” the congregation. (Added “pray”.) I
250 GN You might make Edward remark, when the perfume arrives, that at least his window will be open all night. (One more pang of guilt for the poor protagonist.) I
251 GN Allow “put lobster in widget”. I
252 GN When Halfhide and the Master speculate about candidates, perhaps you might have a Provost or President rather than a Master, just for variety? T
253 GN The phrase “perfectly adequate proof against” sounds wrong to me; “perfectly adequately proof against” perhaps (proof against is irregularly an adjective, not a noun, here, so the rest should be an adverb), but it’s not really a happy phrase. T
264 GN The gold plate contains “many other trasures”. T
265 GN At high table, “knock wine” → “Don’t be silly!” and “spill wine” was unrecognised. I
265a GN At high table, “spill wine” is unrecognised. G
266 GN Allow “turn snail upside down” and “turn snail over”? G
267 GN “pour glass of port” or “pour a glass of port” should work. (Too much of a pain to implement.) G not fixed
268 GN Allow “pass the port”. G
269 GN In Senior Common Room, recognize “fellows” and “wax”. V
270 GN It’s never made clear where or how you get your possessions back after the dinner. T
271 GN After dinner, the Master and Housekeeper are back at the Master’s Lodgings just as they were before dinner. Surely the Master stays for drinks? And the housekeeper should go off duty at this point. W
272 GN By the River, on the West Bank, at night, there’s a space missing between “north” and “glittering”. T
273 GN At night, “listen” → “Christminster is restful and quiet on a Sunday.” At this hour, “… on a Sunday night” would be better. W
274 GN Why would nothing be gained by pouring the elixir on the gargoyle? I was hoping to reanimate it, so that it could push through the door. I
275 GN You might recognise “arras” as a synonym for “tapestries”. V
276 GN As Gothic as this is, why can’t I set fire to the tapestries myself? That was my first inclination to get them off Malcolm. I
277 GN I don’t understand the point of pushing Bungay’s desk! But perhaps you could rig it so that if you do, the lacquer box falls off (to draw attention to it slightly). (It’s OK for players to miss the effect of pushing the desk.) N -
278 GN The hanging is a bit too much like the one in “Jude the Obscure”. (I agree, but I don’t see why this is bad.) N -
279 GN Jarboe dies in a slightly over-vague way at the moment. Somehow I expected a further confrontation with him, and for this reason I the end felt a little premature. E
280 GN Edward ought to come back into things at the end, or even Wilderspin. E
281 GN Finally, I’m not totally sure how the fire brigade found their way into the secret courtyard. Did they look up Hawksmoor in the library, or climb the wistaria? Why are they concerned with this obscure annexe at the back of college, when the Great Hall is ablaze? After all, nobody knows you’re there. (I rearranged the geography at the end so that you escape via Bungay’s room.) E
282 GN Could you add a few Templar motifs to Bungay’s rooms, perhaps? Perhaps to round out his hallway. The whole Templar business comes in only for one line near the end. T
283 GN It seems reasonable to try and reanimate Thomas Vaughan with the elixir, too. At one point I thought that was the plan. I
284 GN It would be nice if the Chapel, or the Chapel tower, were to come into the game a little more than they do. (The Bible in Chapel is their only reason for existence.) N -
285 SB “constable, give me the key” goes wrong if constable doesn’t have the key. D
286 SB Respond to “turn don over”. I
287 SB Respond to “ask busker about magic/trick/tricks”. I
288 CG Allow “volunteer” as a verb. (Not clear how this would work.) N -
288a CG Distinguish “take cup” from “look under cup”: that is, say something about putting it back down in the former case, otherwise you may get the wrong impression about what happened. I
289 CG Respond to “sit on man” in Lady Margaret Green. I
290 CG Should be a message about the constable arriving at Bibioll Street. W
291 CG Respond to “ask constable/busker about constable/busker/don”. I
292 RD From the Great Hall, Turmeric goes north, but the actual exit is northeast. W
293 CG “look up thing” should produce a better error message. I
294 CG “pull wires” → “It’s fixed in place.” Should be “They are fixed in place.” W
295 CG The porter lets me rummage through everybody’s mailbox even before he knows who I am. W
296 CG Edward seems a rather weak character to me. He should wander around on his own initiative. E
297 BW Allow “cop” for constable. V
298 BW Respond to “ask busker about cups”. I
299 BW The Busker’s spiel prompts the responses “yes” and “volunteer” which aren’t handled well. Spiel should be rewritten to prompt the response we’re interested in. I
300 BW The adjective “little” for the wicket gate is weak. T
301 BW Allow “turn over x” for “turn x over”. G
302 BW Allow “lift up cup” for “take cup”. G
303 BH Better respone to “examine me”. (The standard library response is fine.) N -
304 BH Respond to “ask constable for toffee”. I
305 BH You shouldn’t be able to “take helmet from constable” and “take cape from busker”. D
306 GDR Put a Robert Skery clue into the phone call. T
307 SB If the constable eats the toffee, you can’t get another one from the busker. D
308 SB The directions are wrong in the Antechapel description. T
309 CG In the cellar, “take all” followed by “third” is responded to with “But it isn’t there now.” (A bug in the Inform parser, corrected in library release 5/11.) A
310 CG The shed door shouldn’t give the “It seems to be locked.” message since there’s no keyhole. I
311 CG “slide door” → “(into the door)(first taking the door)” S
312 CG “remove hinge” → “(first taking the door)” I
313 CG The parrot is startled if I “throw feather at parrot”. This seems unlikely. I
314 CG Something should happen in the couple of turns after you knock at Bungay’s door. Perhaps a distant “I’m coming” would be a good clue. I
315 CG Why can you only go north and south in the punt? I
316 SS the word “stocky” in the player’s description implies “short”. T
317 SS You can’t examine the cobblestone when you’re at Chapel Street. (The word “cobble” ends up referring to the cobblestones on the ground.) I
318 SS Missing space in Second Court description. T
319 SS First comma seems wrong in “It is made of solid brass, and is in the form of an eagle, wings spread and …”. T
320 CG In the punt, “drop peanut” → “It rolls away on the ground out of sight.” (The peanut re-implementation removed the need for the peanuts to behave specially when dropped.) E
321 CG If you ask the Master about dinner after you have the ticket, there is a word missing from his reply. T
322 CG In some of the garden, the directions are very sparse. In particular, the arboretum description doesn’t say which way you can go at all, and by the river on the west, you can go west but this isn’t mentioned in the description. (This is a real feature of college gardens: it’s not always clear which way you can go: lines of hedges and shrubberies block your views.) N -
323 CG Allow “dip retort into river”. G
324 CG It would be nice if “examine sockets” would examine all the sockets in the basement and not give the “which socket, the red…” prompt. (Implementation would be too painful: players would want to “X sockets” for every verb X.) V not fixed
325 CG Is there some way to break the connection on the phone without hanging it up and picking it up again? This made experimenting quite tedious. (Implementation is too painful: I’d have to add a hook and make it respond sensible to all verbs in all states of the phone. Better to keep things simple.) N -
326 CG I think it would be good if there were more evidence of Malcolm along the way. (That would be a different game.) N -
327 CG Respond to “ask edward about ring”. I
328 CG Allow “attach corkscrew to door”. I
329 RD Turmeric purrs while hissing at me (when he sits on the veil). W
330 RD One can fill the bottle with water when it’s still in the bag. (This is OK: presumably you take the bottle out of the bag, fill it and put it back. It would make this operation very tedious if you had to get it each time.) N -
331 RD One can get the wine bottle when hiding in the alcove even though the cook is in the cellar. In particular, this makes it easy to avoid the light switch puzzle by getting the bottle and scarpering. D
332 RD Allow “put veil on me”. I
333 RD In the Great Hall, Bungay says “…anyway everyone present had probably read it anyway.” The two “anyway”s are poor style. T
334 RD After “climb wistaria” there are two blank lines. T
335 AP Allow “throw book out window”. G
336 AP Allow “professor, lift me” and “professor, lift me up” don’t work. (Bug in library scope algorithm in darkness.) S
337 AP “say malcolm” produces an error, as does “shout at index”. S
338 AP The dates for Simon Noble are inconsistent in Maclane and the library index. T
339 TA “forbes, down” → “Edward Forbes goes downstairs. You follow him. The hatch is closed. You can’t go that way.” S
340 TA “ask forbes about porter” (in the Porter’s Lodge) produces an error. (“forbes” is recognized as his pigeonhole as well as him.) S
341 RD There are two full stops in the output of “fill bottle with water”. T
342 RD Missing full stop after “The elegant clock tower above the college chapel dominates the skyline to the north”. T
343 RD Pouring water on the fire in the end game deserves a response. I
344 AP I’ve seen a great deal of the “** Edward is in a place he can’t move **” error. I had just gotten into and out of the garden, passed Edward in the Second Court, but didn’t say anything to him. A few turns later the error started appearing every turn or so. I don’t know where he was stuck. It also happened once when I was searching Bungay’s room (again, the error appeared every turn or so.) S
345 MS Allow “say red cup to busker” to guess a cup. I
346 GDR Added font commands to some of the tables in the help so that they display correctly in interpreters with variable-pitch fonts. P
347 GDR Make “it” refer to the loose cobble when you discover it. W
348 RD The candle stays lit inside the closed handbag, and using this trick I can get to “** Error: you shouldn’t see this **/** Room undescribed! **”. S
349 RD Punctuation mistakes in the help. T
350 AP If you put the retort on the ring without lighting it, the pale liquid starts bubbling. If you then get Edward to light the ring, your alchemy moves fail (it’s not recognizing the heat). D
351 AP Allow “edward, wait/stay/stay here”. I
351a AP Allow “push/pull snail” as well as “turn snail”. I
352 AP “chase snail” produces the wrong response. W
353 MP When the constable is present, “drop <thing>” → “The constable picks up <thing> and returns it to your hand.” even if you’re not carrying <thing>. A
354 TA When I try to use the verb “smell” in the Master’s study, the game crashes with the rather unhelpful message “Fatal error: Illegal operation (PC = c983)”. (Infinite loop.) A
355 WB “take all” gives away too much information about hidden objects. (This was an Inform bug, corrected in library release 5/12.) A
356 WB “enter a5” → “You can’t, since the door to A6 is in the way.” D
357 WB “switch on light” → “You switch the light switch on. You climb quietly down the ladder, anxious not to reveal your presence to the cook.” S
358 WB “tickle cat” → “What do you want to tickle Turmeric with?” I
359 WB Doors should open automatically. It’s tedious to keep typing “open <door>”. I
360 WB Perhaps the Porter should go round closing doors you left open? (No; he mostly stays in his Lodge.) N -
361 WB Allow “unplug all wires”. I
362 WB Allow “edward, it was me” when he asks who could have broken his window. S
363 WB “edward, stay here” should work for a few turns even if he’s not following you, otherwise if you don’t realize that “edward, follow me” is possible then the puzzle of getting him to his supervision is very frustrating. W
364 WB Allow “stand on edward”. (No!) N -
365 WB punt north, south, east, west I
366 WB How does the cat get into the shed? (Through any narrow cranny. Cats are like that.) N -
367 WB “kick constable” doesn’t do anything sensible. A
368 WB You should be able to “follow edward” into the punt. A
369 WB As Edward takes the punt pole, he “prepares to disembark”. “Disembark” is the wrong word. T
370 WB “Maybe if you had your bathing-costume with you, and a towel, and fewer important things to do, then maybe …” has too many maybes. T
371 WB The telephone implementation is not physically realizable. E not fixed
372 JZ You can “knock at B2” and meet Wilderspin even when he’s supposed to be in the secret passage. D
373 JZ Your inventory list can contain “nothing” at some points. (A bug in Inform, fixed in library release 5/12.) S
374 RT Something should happen when Edward first sees the feather. I
375 RT If you “take pole” while holding it you get the message about picking it up. D
376 RT Allow “detach net from hat” to mean “tear veil”. (No; I’d have to make the net a separate object in order for the parser to recognize this and then I’d have to implement all kinds of attempts to use it to do stuff.) N -
377 RT Allow “throw water at cat”. I
378 RT Improve the description of events during evensong so that it matches better what really happens at a choir service. T
379 RT Recognize the word “fellows” in the Senior Common Room? V
380 RT Maybe the candles should be “new-fangled electric candles”. (No, then you wouldn’t be able to carry one around.) N -
381 RT Respond to “look under helmet”. I
382 AC If you light the ring and then pour the ‘wine’ into the retort, it should tell you that it’s bubbling. W
383 AC “give peanuts to edward” → “You can only do that to something animate.” (This is an Inform bug: the real error is that Edward was not present, but the parser produces a misleading error message.) A not fixed
384 JZ Rose-bushes should be mentioned in the description since you can refer to them. T
385 JZ The prologue is much too hard. There should be more clues and hints. E
386 MS If in a room with the voltmeter, with it set up and reading a voltage, in verbose mode, one goes into the help menus, on returning to the game the description of the voltmeter ends something like ‘is reading.’ - the voltage is omitted. S
387 RH If Edward gets to the West Bank before he’s seen the parrot, you get an error message. (I didn’t realize this was possible!) S
388 RH “edward,” → “What do you want to c nstablels?” (A bug in Inform, but possible to work around.) S
389 RH “put feather in river” → “The feather is too flimsy to make a good missile.” (Many similar problems.) W
390 RH “climb ladder” → “I don’t think much is to be achieved by that.” I
391 RH “get off table” → “Which do you mean, the high table or the low table?”. Also “down” should mean the same as “get out”. I
392 RH “search skeleton” → “You find nothing of interest.”; also “search <person>” and “search cat”. I
393 GDR You can stand on the tables during dinner. Surely someone should comment? I not fixed
394 RR You can get somewhat stuck in a parser loop if you try to look up entries in something that isn’t there, for example, “look up <something> in <something not recognized>” → “What do you want to look up that in?” but then reply “south” to the disambiguation question. S
395 RR “pour decanter into glass. pour glass into decanter” → “You pour the port into the decanter, resulting in some sticky gunk.” A
396 JF There are a couple of windows in the game, in the “B” stairwell, and the “C” stairwell that I felt I should be able to open, close, look through and so on. Maybe the game should say, “that window was painted shut years ago, and even the porter can’t open it.” I
397 JF “put elixir on skeleton” → “ the skeleton isn’t interested in that.” I
398 JF I put the burning candle in the bag. I walked around with it like that for a while then took it out, still burning. W
399 MM Intending to get the notice on the wall, “take notice” → “Taken.”. This is misleading because in fact it’s take the other notice out of the handbag where you were carrying it. (I changed the notice on wall the a “placard” so the confusion can’t arise.) V
400 KH When I got into Malcolm’s room and closed and locked the door behind me, found his lab book and was stupid enough to loose it to Bungay, I followed Bungay and Jarboe. I got out of Malcolm’s room and wanted to close and lock it - but it already was locked. (I don’t understand this report.) N -
401 PS You can “knock at B2” and meet Wilderspin even when he’s supposed to be in the secret passage. (Duplicate of 372.) D
402 NQ The description of the river in the moonlight is the same as it was during the daytime. T
403 NQ The bursar John Field is confusable with JF on the gargoyle. I
404 NQ When Jarboe goes down the stairs in the endgame, “follow Jarboe” → “*undefined room*”. M
405 BM It seemed like the first time I pressed the left eye it did something, so I spent many turns running about trying to figure out what the eyes had actually done. (Improved description to give more of a clue.) I
406 BM “kick cat” should give a more dramatic response. Most cats I know (even scarred-up ones with missing ear bits) tend to move real quick when they’re kicked, especially if you kick it three or four times. I
407 RD “look up <name>” → “Bad optional num” followed and then gives the correct response. (Well-known bug in the ITF interpreter, fixed in more recent interpreters.) P not fixed
408 MR The cook doesn’t notice if you turn the lights off while he is looking for a wine. (This was fixed as a side effect of fixing other cellar bugs.) S
409 MR You can read the King James Bible even if it is in the handbag. W
410 MR You can “touch skeleton” but not “search skeleton”. I
411 MR Allow “throw stone at parrot”. I
412 MR Make “wall” default to the brick wall (not ask a disambiguation question about the north wall, south wall, etc.). V
413 MR “smell wilderspin” → “There’s a faint unpleasant smell of decay.” A
414 WI It doesn’t seem realistic for the policeman to ignore the key being given to the busker. (Busker distracts policeman at the crucial moment.) T
415 GDR Allow “pull on corkscrew” for “pull corkscrew”. G
416 EM How come you don’t know the name “Spencer”? It’s your own surname! (Duplicate of 53.) I
417 GDR Automatic opening of doors doesn’t work. I
418 GDR Credit all the informers, update all the dates and copyright stuff, and so on. (The last bug fixed before release 2 was bug 353.) T
419 GDR The wires puzzle is too hard. So Edward should give you a clue by saying something like, “what happens if you put two wires in the same socket?” T
420 DA Why is Arkwright (who was born in 1892) in Maclane, which only goes up to 1900? T
421 DA I assume that one must use Edward to get past the stuck door in the archway (at least, you can’t open it by yourself, but Edward can go through it) but there’s no mention of Edward opening the door when you follow him east. (This is a misunderstanding. In fact Bungay opened it some turns before.) N -
422 GDR The Tamarisk tree is mentioned by name in the Bee-Loud Glade description when you’re supposed to have to read the label to find out that it’s there. T
423 JD The busker should be more helpful if you try to give him an object but at the wrong point in his script. I
424 GDR The help shold still work if the interpreter screen isn’t wide enough, for example on a handheld device? (Solved by having a pretty/plain feature that selects simple or complex help menus.) P
425 JN In several cases in which Walthamstowe’s name appears, the error message “Bad optional num” was prepended. (Well-known bug in the ITF interpreter, fixed in more recent interpreters. But can be worked around in this case.) P
426 JN When I attempted to “stand on manhole” in the Small Courtyard without having unlocked the manhole, the game responded that I couldn’t because the manhole was in the way. W
427 JN In Malcolm’s room, Jarboe and Bungay take turns telling Christabel to leave. If you try to leave when they tell you to, they say, “Don’t walk away on me.” Can’t quite seem to make up their minds. (Very similar to bug 82. Allow Christabel to leave one turn earlier.) W
428 JN I tried hiding in the gap between Bungay’s desk and the wall. I
429 JN When I came back out of the gap, the game said, “You’re on your own two feet again.” Had I ever left my feet? I
430 JN Lying on the desk is apparently the same as hiding in the gap. I
431 JN In the Secret Room, if you ask Wilderspin to examine the skeleton, the game responds that he has better things to do, when in fact all he’s doing is looking at the skeleton. W
432 JN In the Tunnel, if you don’t have light, you can’t go east because the door is in the way. However, you can’t actually see the door or manipulate it in any way. It would be more effective if, before the player has actually seen the door, the game said only that you run into a barrier of some sort. W
433 JN I visited the Master before going up to Malcolm’s room. As the Master had said that Malcolm was in Edinburgh, it was perhaps strange to find upon entering his room that I expected to catch Malcolm hard at work. W
434 JN When I tried to “show telegram to man” in the porter’s lodge, the game responded, “You can only do that to something animate.” (This is the same Inform bug as 383; the problem is that “man” is not recognized, but the parser produces a misleading error message. I added “man” to porter to ameliorate things.) V
435 CO One of the cellarers’ first names is “John” in the wine cellar and “Thomas” in the history book. T
436 MP When you leave the passage and reenter the library you are told that you now close the passage. So if I instead go up the roof and climb down the wall and go back into the library the normal way the passage should then still be open and it should be possible to command Edward to go east into it. (I improved the description of how the passage so that it’s clear why Edward doesn’t go that way.) T
437 GDR Make sure that people know they’re climbing down from the roof to get to the courtyard. T
438 GDR “give it to <thing not understood>” → “You can’t see ‘it’ at the moment”. (This is an Inform bug. The real error is that the recipient wasn’t understood but the parser prefers the apparently more specific message about “it”.) A not fixed
439 NQ When you’re visiting the Master, asking for the newspaper sometimes gets the same response as asking for a book: “Yes I know but which one?” W
440 NQ On the roof, “n” → “It is impossible to get any closer to the clock tower” but “enter clock tower” → “the clock tower is too far away.” I
441 JA You can “throw pole at parrot”! W
442 GDR The licence doesn’t allow commercial distribution. T
443 MR The message you get trying to give the elixir to the skeleton is a bit strange. (Duplicate of 397.) I
444 GDR Code for speaking to people is too complicated. E
445 JM Allow “screw corkscrew in door”. G
446 GDR Menus use “@read_char 1 0 0 x;”, which isn’t portable to some Infocom interpreters. P
447 SG Allow “search X for Y” and “find Y in/on X”. G
448 MG Allow “check X for Y”, “lookup Y on/in X” and “find Y on/in X”. G
449 DA If Maclane is in the handbag and you try looking someone up, it says “you can only read the title” but gives you the entry anyway. M
450 KW “search malcolm” → “Malcolm’s body probably wouldn’t appreciate that.” I
451 GDR Cellar doesn’t work if you hide in the alcove; the cook comes back. D
452 LH I tried to stick Jarboe with the pin (at the endgame) and got a bug: my hands were full, so the dagger was automatically put in my bag, and then “*Error: dagger not found in player*” was printed. S
453 GDR If Edward is forced (via “forbes, <direction>”) into the Senior Common Room, the player will get periodic messages “** Error: Edward in location where he can’t move **”. B
454 KW “search malcolm” → “The Malcolm probably wouldn’t appreciate that.” (I forgot the “proper” attribute.) B
455 DK Books can be consulted in darkness. W
456 NS “open bottle” → “You don’t have the corkscrew.” but the corkscrew is in the handbag. W
457 NS “drop <thing>” → “You don’t have that” but <thing> is in the handbag. W not fixed
458 NS Some suggested syntax for the cellar: “search third bin for stamp”, “compare brown bottle with third bin”, “look for stamp in third bin”. G
459 NS “amusing” reports a point for “moving Bungay’s desk”, but you actually acquire it for getting his chapbook. T
460 RB The Bible can be opened but not closed. I
461 RB The game should should explain why only one verse from the Latin bible is printed. T
462 JW Respond to “edward, put retort on ring”. I
463 JW Allow “rip veil”. G
464 JW Allow swearing in the chapel (and everywhere else too), even if it only tells you not to do something so unladylike. G
465 JW “put china plate on floor” → “Already on the floor.” I
466 JW “get essay” → “That’s hardly portable.” I
467 JW “But there are the merest fraction …” (should say “these”). T
468 KW “knock at hatch” is hard to think of. Add a clue? Or allow shouting? W
469 KF Phones don’t work: It has to go phone-box-wires-sockets-phone company for the solution to make any sense. Therefore, the meter has to register on the wires, not the sockets. In fact, there is another bug. The solution will work even if the green wires are completely unplugged. This cannot work for a p-b-w-s-pc solution as above. Otherwise, when you lift the master’s phone, you should hear nothing. (Duplicate of 371.) E not fixed
470 DT “look up spencer” → “I only understood you as far as wanting to look.” (Solving this would require changing the way the parser handles errors.) I not fixed
471 EC “climb wilderspin. d” → “You get out of Professor Wilderspin.” W
472 GDR Allow “turn to page 100 in/of book” and “turn book to page 100”. G
473 SG2 Add “look up” commands to example command list. T
474 PH Wilderspin’s room is lit by its window even at night. W
475 KW The Edward/punting code goes wrong if you shake the tree before he gets back. D
476 DT2 Missing word “handle” in archway between courts. V not fixed
477 GDR Missing word “notebook” for lab book. V not fixed
478 GDR In the response “Edward doesn’t seem to hear you”, “hear” should be “notice”. T not fixed
479 GK Outside Wilderspin’s door, “in” should work. I not fixed
480 GK Respond to “ask master about halfhide/christminster”. I not fixed
481 GK “press left eye and right eye” → “You can’t use multiple objects with that verb.” I not fixed
482 GK If you’re in the cellar and you never go in the alcove, then when the cook discovers you, the game gets very confused. The cook turns out the light, but he is still sort-of there and the hatch is open. D not fixed
483 GK You can try to hand or show something to the cook and you won’t be detected. W not fixed
484 GK Although examining the gargoyle once you’re on the roof is relevant, on the ground it’s “you don’t need to refer to that”. I not fixed
485 GK In the endgame, the game still gives you a lame warning against setting Jarboe’s robe on fire. W not fixed
486 GK Throwing the knife at Jarboe has no interesting response; presumably he should either catch it and kill you or it should hurt him. I not fixed
487 GK What happened to the stone you threw through the window? It should be there in Edward’s study. E not fixed
488 GK “edward, in/out” ought to work when it works for you. I not fixed
489 GK Even though the game tells you that you visit the cloakroom, it doesn’t know the existence of such a room. E not fixed
490 GK It’s frustrating that there is no way to answer Halfhide’s question during the dinner. You can’t even nod or shake your head. I not fixed
491 GK Allow “open door with corkscrew”. I not fixed
492 GK Allow “shepherd” etc for “De Gloriae Coelestis”. V not fixed
493 GK If you put tears in the retort, and then get another source of tears and try to put them in the retort, it says “you can’t pour that into itself!” A not fixed
494 GK Should be able to refer to “cobbles” in Second Court. V not fixed
495 GK The game has no comment about the effort needed to pull Malcolm’s body up the stairs. T not fixed
496 GK If you hiccup behind the tapestries, you ought to get killed. W not fixed
497 WB Christminster room doors appear to have the owner’s name painted above them on the inside, as well as the outside. W not fixed
498 WB Allow “lean out of window”. G not fixed
499 WB Sometimes the hatch has no description. D not fixed
500 WB “edward, unlock b5” → “(with the feather) …” W not fixed
501 DT2 “search pigeonholes” → “You find nothing of interest.” I not fixed
502 DT2 “shout at porter” needs a good response. I not fixed
503 GDR During Bungay and Jarboe’s first confrontation with Christabel, their responses to player actions can cause their conversation not to make sense. For example:
“Aha! What have we here, then?” Jarboe shouts exultantly, grabbing the lab book. “This looks like Spencer’s lab book! Just what we were looking for! Oh, excellent!”
“No, I rather think she’s his sister,” says Bungay, “Look at the family resemblance. I rather think she’s come up hoping for a nice day out on the river. Well,” and this latter is directed at you, “he’s not here. He’s gone, scarpered, away.”
W not fixed
504 GDR On the memorial, “First World War” should be “Great War”. T not fixed
505 DT2 Need a good response to “look up john in index”. I not fixed
506 GDR Allow “in” and “out” from many more places (for example, any hallway where only one door is open; or from the SCR; or in the tunnel). W not fixed
507 GDR B Staircase, Ground Floor: “You feel incongruous and out of place” is redundant. T not fixed
508 DT2 “ask wilderspin about malcolm/secret passage” I not fixed
509 DT2 “examine exam papers” → “I only understood you as far as wanting to examine the examination scripts.” V not fixed
510 GDR Touching the walls in the secret passage needs to give more precise information. T not fixed
511 DT2 “wilderspin, touch ceiling” I not fixed
512 DT2 In the laboratory: “get everything from the bench” → “There are none at all available!” W not fixed
513 DT2 In the laboratory: “show bottle to wilderspin” → “Professor Wilderspin is unimpressed.” I not fixed
514 DT2 Allow “follow cook” into the cellar. W not fixed
515 DT2 In the cellar: “climb ladder” → “I don’t think much is to be achieved by that.” I not fixed
516 GDR “put tears in brown glass bottle” → “You pour the tears into the brown glass bottle.” ("pour" is inappropriate for tears.) W not fixed
517 GDR In Bunday’s hallway: “listen at white door” → “Christminster is restful and quiet on a Sunday.” Need to allow “listen at <door>” in many places. G not fixed
518 DT2 Edward in the punt, you outside the punt. “follow edward” → “No need!” W not fixed
519 DT2 Turmeric is sitting on the veil, but still finds the time to “roll around in the dust” etc. W not fixed
520 GDR Missing newline before the random evensong text. T
521 GDR When you make the elixir, Edward comments twice about the smell. (Once from the response to the elixir (alchemy.inf, line 365) and once from his each_turn routine (edward.inf, line 667).) S not fixed
522 DT2 “examine second course” → “You can’t see any such thing.” V not fixed
523 DT2 “pour some port into glass” → “You can’t see any such thing.” V not fixed
524 DT2 “follow master” → “You start after ‘De Gloriae Coelestis’ but you can’t find it. As far as you’re concerned, it has vanished into thin air.” B not fixed
525 DT2 In SCR after dinner: “You notice Jarboe and Bungay slipping away quietly from the reception.” “follow Jarboe” → “You’ve no idea where that is.” W not fixed
526 DT2 “look through the keyhole” → “There is nothing on the manhole.” I not fixed
527 DT2 In the tunnel, “pull the door” → “You are unable to.” There should be a clue here. I not fixed
528 DT2 “give a kiss of life” → “You can only do that to something animate.” G not fixed
529 GDR “>give knife to jarboe

No matter how quickly you stamp on each new tongue of flame, the fire is quicker. Soon the whole staircase will be ablaze.
Jarboe grabs the dagger. “Fool!” he shouts exultantly, and stabs you in the chest. The last thing you hear is his insane laughter.”
(Note extra newline after the command, no newline before “Jarboe”.)
A not fixed
530 DT2 “stab jarboe with knife” → “That’s not a verb I recognise.” G not fixed
531 GDR There’s no way to jump to the point of interest when replaying the game. E not fixed
532 GDR The game refers to the parrot as “it” but you can’t (the parrot takes the pronoun “him”). V not fixed
533 GDR The automated hints don’t fully take account of what you’ve achieved. For example, suppose you never tried to throw a stone at the window with the policeman present but have broken the window. In this case the hints mechanism still still suggests throwing the stone at the window. (The hints system includes unnecessary but information actions but neglects to make them as done when the corresponding necessary action has been completed.) A not fixed
534 WB “ask x to y” and “tell x to y” should be the same as “x, y”, or should at least produce a useful response like “To ask someone to do something, type …”. G not fixed
535 WB “push left griffin eye” → “Which do you mean, the left griffin’s eye or the right griffin’s eye?” (The error message comes from the grammar line Verb ‘push’ noun noun → PushDir since “left griffin” matches the left griffin and “eye” matches both of the eyes.) V not fixed
536 WB In the secret passage, “wilderspin, help …” should produce a useful response. I not fixed
537 WB On Wilderspin’s shoulders, “south” → “Trying to climb the stone walls results only a broken fingernail.” Need a better message here. I not fixed
538 WB In the secret passage, it’s frustrating to have to feel all eight walls. Perhaps “feel walls”? I not fixed
539 WB “examine northeast bee-hive” → “I only understood you as far as wanting to examine the northeast wall.” V not fixed
540 WB “Leave alcove” → “You can’t see any such thing.” V not fixed
541 WB “follow southwest wall” → “You start after the southwest wall but you can’t find it. As far as you’re concerned, it has vanished into thin air.” Similarly for other inanimate objects. W not fixed
542 WB “leave punt” → “But you’re already in the punt.” A not fixed
543 WB “exit punt” → “I only understood you as far as wanting to exit.” G not fixed
544 WB “connect voltmeter to power pack” → “That’s not a verb I recognise.” G not fixed
545 WB “test power back with voltmeter” → “That’s not a verb I recognise.” G not fixed
546 WB “touch power pack to voltmeter” → “I only understood you as far as wanting to touch the power pack.” G not fixed
547 WB The game says of the bottles in the cellar, “Maybe if you knew what you were supposed to be looking for you would have more success.” But then “look for red liquid in bin 1” → “I only understood you as far as wanting to look.” G not fixed
548 GDR “get tears” → “You’ll have to say what you want to fill.” A not fixed
549 GDR Many of the default Inform responses are unsuitable for Christminster. Go through all the messages in english.h and check them for suitability. RPTB suggests “There are none at all available!” → “There aren’t any.” T not fixed
550 GDR There are too many ways to get stuck. Reduce this number where possible. E not fixed
551 RW If you reach seven o’clock without getting the dinner ticket, the error message “** Error: entering the endgame having failed consistency check #13 **” appears. (The consistency check is at fault.) A not fixed

5. Informers

JA Jouni Alkio
TA Torbjørn Anderson
DA Douglas Atkinson
RB Richard Barnett
SB Simon Brind
WB Wainwright & Brooksby
EKC Tavia Chalcraft
EC Erskin Cherry
AC Andrew Clover
RD2 Robert A. DeLisle
RD Robert Dickau
JD Jason Dyer
KF Kenneth Fair
JF Joe Frank
MG Michael Gehm
CG Chris Goedde
SG2 Sam Gorton
SG Stephen Granade
LH Laurel Halbany
PH Paul Hankin
KH Kai Hesse
BH Bernard Hsuing
WH William Hurwood
RH Randy Hutson
WI Walter Isaac
DK Darius Katz
MK Michael Kinyon
GK Greg Kuperberg
BM Bob Manson
MM Mathias Maul
JM Jeffry Miller
EM Eva Myers
JN Jeff Nassiff
GN Graham Nelson
CO Carrie O’Grady
MP Morten Pedersen
AP Andrew Plotkin
MP2 Maurizio Paoluzi
MP3 Mike Phillips
NQ Neil Querengesser
RR2 Rob Rachel
GDR Gareth Rees
RR Robert Rendell
MR Matthias Ruhl
NS Nicola Salmoria
SS Steve Salter
MS Marshall Sanderford
MS2 Mike Scott
PS P.D.S. Shrimpton
DT2 Dara Thaitanunde
DT Dylan Thurston
RT Richard Tucker
MV Mikko Vuorinen
RW Ron Watkins
JW Jacob Solomon Weinstein
KW Kies Wiebering
BW Brendon Wyber
JZ Jeff Zahn

A. References

[GDR 1995-08-08a] “Christminster”; Gareth Rees; .
[GDR 1995-08-08b] “Announce: CHRISTMINSTER” (Usenet posting); Gareth Rees; .
[GDR 1996-11-22] “Christminster release 4 (and sources)” (Usenet posting); Gareth Rees; .
[Knuth 1989] “The errors of TeX”; Donald E Knuth; in [Knuth 1992]; 1989; error log available at <>.
[Knuth 1992] “Literate Programming”; Donald E Knuth; Center for the Study of Language and Information; 1992; ISBN 0-937073-80-6.

B. Document History

GDR Created from notes.txt in Christminster distribution. Added 478–500.
GDR Added 501–531.
GDR Added 532, 533.
GDR Added 534–547.
GDR Added 548–550.
GDR Added 551.