Teleport Test

by Viridian Development Corporation (Paul Robinson)

Episode 1 of Tales of Zenith
Science Fiction

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Basically successful experiment, January 8, 2012
by strivenword (Utica, New York)

The purpose of this game is to demonstrate how a teleportation system can be implemented in Hugo, a coding topic that has been discussed for years on a thread on the Hugo discussion board. Yet, Teleporter Test does still fully deserve to be called a game in its own right, and not only a programming exercise.

As a game, Teleporter Test presents a moderately challenging puzzle. A large part of the solution involves wandering around a (literally) nondescript grid, which I found to be neither very interesting nor very tedious. There are two more varied regions accessible from the grid; the separation of these two areas is part of the puzzle. The grid serves a similar function to mazes in classic IF, except that this grid is not random and does not require much of a method to solve. Finding the two other regions did produce a slight sense of explorative adventure. Interestingly, there is also an outdoor area with an infinite (self-looping) exit, much like the classic Adventure opening.

Unfortunately, the Adventure-like outdoor area is not where the game begins. In service of the experiment, Teleporter Test starts in a deliberately incongruous demonstration area where three room showcase the capabilities of the teleportation system. These room have nothing to do with the puzzle in the main area in the game, but they can be used to teleport into any of the rooms of the grid and surrounding areas. Doing so seems more like a feature than like cheating, since a mechanism is in in place that kills the player for teleporting into the one room where premature entry could break the puzzle. Studying the teleportation system provides insight into the puzzle, making the two incongruous elements of game vs. experiment seem at least a little unified.

Although Teleporter Test does deserve to be called a game, it is not a story. There is no story at all, not even an implied one behind the setting. The main "game" portion has some atmosphere, but no real development or world-building. Even the mechanic of teleportation, so important to the whole work, has no explanation in terms of the setting, so that the game really can't justify calling itself science fiction.

Still, Teleporter Test is short and basically satisfying. I believe that players who enjoy classic puzzle-based text adventures and dungeon crawls could enjoy this project as a game, apart from its purpose as an experiment and demonstration.

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