Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Fate: Moonwandering

To this party, calling something the "Forbidden Zone" is like making a triple-dog dare.
    
My journey through Fate has turned somewhat aimless, as I wander around collecting hints as to the locations of the seven Moonwand pieces (a quest, I feel compelled to add, that would take up the entire game in a more sensibly-sized title). I got bored just hanging around cities, trying to find the right NPCs, so I basically decided to hit up wandering outdoor NPCs for hints as I filled in more of my ridiculous, never-to-be-completed map. Since there are fewer dialogue-friendly NPCs in the wilderness, my collection of hints is small, even after an additional 11 hours.
   
Winwood somehow knows how the days in Fate translate to the calendar back home.
    
From what I can gather, each piece of the Moonwand has its own name and its own magical properties. The summary of my knowledge about them is:

1."The Dreamstone." By the end of the last session, I knew I needed to find Rinoges in Laronnes. Wandering around Laronnes, I heard that Rinoges is a "strange mage" who only comes out for one hour between midnight and 01:00 (clued as "the witching hour"), and I'd find him at the "southern cross" (a fairly obvious geographic area in the city).

Rinoges was where he was supposed to be, and he freely admitted to having the Dreamstone. He said that it gives him the power to "travel around in [his] dreams to any place that [he] wants!" Unfortunately, he wasn't interested in giving it to me.
   
    
I tried a bunch of dialogue options to no avail. I even tried killing him--just to see if it would work--but all I found was money. I figured I'd try him later or, failing that, get a hint from readers.

2. "Marbeye." This one is supposed to be "part of the legendary treasure of Captain Bloodhawk," so I'm guessing I need to do more digging around the seas and islands.
    
     
3. "Crimcross." No idea where it is, but it's "invisible most of the time," and I'll only find it "in the darkest night." To learn more about it, I need to find the Oracle of Demon Tower, but I'll have to "make a special offering to make the Oracle speak."
    
The most useless hint in the game so far.
    
4. "Spiralgem." In the possession of fairies on "Fawn Island." I don't know where that is yet.

No word yet on the last three pieces, but I know that when I have them all, I need to seek the "Chamber of Lhanis."
     
My latest map. I know I'll never finish it, and yet I can't seem to stop making it.
    
In assembling these things, I mapped several new areas, including all (or almost all) of the northern border and the area of a large northern lake. More important, I wandered into the "Forbidden Zone" just to see what would happen. I had this idea that I would die immediately, but nothing special happened except I was attacked by wave after wave of undead. Eventually, it got to be too much and I left, but otherwise the area didn't live up to its reputation.
   
When this started happening every step, it got old fast.
   
The Forbidden Zone had a couple of geographic oddities, including a long road that ended at a 3 x 3 square with nothing in it, and another road through the mountains that ended in a 7 x7 square of pavement, surrounded by water, with a small lake in the middle, and a one-square island in the lake. I couldn't find anything to do in either location; perhaps they'll be important later.
   
Something must be important about those two trees.
    
It's been a long time since any monsters in the outdoors were actually dangerous. Now that my characters have weapons that affect all enemies in all groups, and they usually go first, I rarely have much to fear even from huge packs of undead, wolves (they tend to attack at night), or mages. Thus, I started using the experience to try to buff some of my non-combat statistics. The game keeps track of how many hits you've made, spells you've cast, and special actions you've successfully made like thefts, tricks, enchants, and hides. From experience and your comments, I have a sense that the altar beneath Larvin rewards you based on these statistics. Thus, I generated a random number table to guide what each character does in each combat round, to produce more variety in combat actions and spells.
   
Some of Winwood's statistics before embarking on my new plan.
    
That's a relatively short recounting of almost a dozen hours of gameplay. Unfortunately, we have a problem. A few sessions ago, I started experiencing a crash and error message every time I tried to enter a city after adventuring for a while:
    
   
I was generally able to solve this by saving and quitting the game, then reloading. However, at the end of this session, I found myself unable to save and quit without getting this error message:
   
    
At this point, the emulator didn't register my final save, so when I restarted, the saved game was the last one I'd saved before quitting the previous session--maybe 6 hours earlier. I can reload a save state from the end of that session, but I can't successfully save in-game, nor can I enter any city.

I have earlier save states that I can reload, if I'm willing to give up hours of progress. But without knowing what caused the corruption above, I have no guarantee that those save states won't eventually just devolve into the same problem.

I'll wait and see if anyone can interpret these messages and give me some advice before deciding what to do. In the meantime, it's on to Fer & Flamme and my French dictionary.

Time so far: 162 hours

45 comments:

  1. "I tried a bunch of dialogue options to no avail. I even tried killing him--just to see if it would work--but all I found was money. I figured I'd try him later or, failing that, get a hint from readers."

    Well, he might be old but he's still a man, so he might be more receptive to a gentler, more feminine form of persuasion.

    "This one is supposed to be "part of the legendary treasure of Captain Bloodhawk," so I'm guessing I need to do more digging around the seas and islands."

    Keep asking about him, you probably haven't received every hint if that's your best guess. It's not an easy puzzle, but note which city he spent his downtime in and how. You'll also need the Dreamstone first.

    "I had this idea that I would die immediately, but nothing special happened except I was attacked by wave after wave of undead. Eventually, it got to be too much and I left, but otherwise the area didn't live up to its reputation."

    The hints were somewhat fragmented about this, but the Forbidden Zone has two parts, an Outer and an Inner Death Zone. What you visited was the outer zone, for which Mandrag's powers are enough (you might've noticed if the game wasn't set to no delays that he suddenly cast a spell when you entered the zone), the inner zone requires Bergerac and the Moonwand.

    "The Forbidden Zone had a couple of geographic oddities, including a long road that ended at a 3 x 3 square with nothing in it, and another road through the mountains that ended in a 7 x7 square of pavement, surrounded by water, with a small lake in the middle, and a one-square island in the lake. I couldn't find anything to do in either location; perhaps they'll be important later."

    Nope, they're all empty. There are several such places in the zone, my guess is that they planned content here but it didn't make into the final game.

    "Unfortunately, we have a problem. A few sessions ago, I started experiencing a crash and error message every time I tried to enter a city after adventuring for a while:"

    Never used WHDLoad, so sorry can't help there. But I'm afraid it's not something that can be fixed in a save state, so you'll likely have to revert to your last properly saved game. Hopefully the guy that gave you this version is still around to help out -- if not, I can probably extract the saves if you send me the game and put them into my version which has none of this "press * to actually save" crap.

    Though I've experienced similar bugs on my playthrough right around this part of the story. My version simply froze about half the time when entering a city, and if I didn't fight at least one battle for a minute or so after loading the game for the first time in a session, it suddenly decided that all my characters were dead, game over. Both issues went away after the Moonwand was assembled. A bit annoying, but playable.

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    1. No idea. WHDLoad has a page to report bugs, but since it worked for 160 hours it's far more likely it's just the game code.

      What is more worrying is that "object not found" might indicate that doing these back and forth the actual save file got corrupted or deleted. So even if you reload a save state you'd retrieve only memory, not what's on the disk.

      I'd make a backup of the whole directory, to make sure you don't waste anything else at least.

      You can also try launching the emulator with the winuae (2).exe but I doubt it fixes anything.

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    2. If /b/razz1 is just the save file itself, I wonder what happens if you copy some other razzx and rename it razz1, then simply save over it.

      That might allow you to load the memory save state, then save on the disk. Though I'd suggest trying this AFTER making a whole backup.

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    3. Oh, I see. /b/razz1 is just the external file created to store the internal game save #1. This file LOADS okay if I start the emulator afresh; it just won't save TO it when quitting the game.

      It works okay with a save state from about 4 days ago. The only thing I'll have to re-do is collect a bunch of hints. But I'm worried that the problem is something lurking in that older save state, too, and it will inevitably recur. I guess we'll see. I don't have any states much older than that, so if the corruption recurs, I guess it will be a dealbreaker unless I want to start over.

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    4. And the saving issue happens no matter which number I use.

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    5. "Well, he might be old but he's still a man, so he might be more receptive to a gentler, more feminine form of persuasion." I tried having my highest-CHA female character charm him, but it didn't work. I guess maybe I need to train up her charisma.

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    6. ...or enlist a temporary NPC with really high charisma.

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    7. No need for high charisma, just keep trying, even someone with 20 will succeed. Eventually. You can make him respawn if you walk to the door leading to his area (you should hear a magic effect).

      If your save issues persist, I can offer my saves. I backed up every single save I made in my playthrough (~400), so I can start you up at any point in the story.

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    8. This discussion suggests that receiving Whdload DOS-Error #205 might mean insufficient RAM (or memory in general, as Amiga had different kinds of it). Unfortunately not a clear solution to it.
      http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=43084.

      My interpretation of your description is that after a long wandering throughout the map and visiting couple of cities memory (buffer, stack, whatever) needs to be cleared out.. So perhaps Save/Quit/Load each hour could help?
      Just opinions.. Quido

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    9. On a real Amiga 1200 I am using the Fate slave 1.1 from here:
      http://mantis.whdload.de/view.php?id=2444
      It fixed a specific dialogue bug.

      With CACHE appended to whdload games icon (things get moved to fastram I assume) I noticed a significant increase in game speed. Perhaps this might help you with any ram issues.

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    10. I'll try it, but I don't know what "CACHE appended to whdload games icon" means.

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    11. Quido, that would perhaps make sense. I've been relying a lot on save states, rather than the game's internal save mechanism, to keep track of my progress, and perhaps I overloaded it.

      Unfortunately, it doesn't fix the immediate issue--if I save, I still can't enter a city without a crash, or subsequently quit without a crash--but perhaps it will work in combination with an older save state.

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    12. "CACHE appended to whdload games icon" basically means setting the command line option at the icon. These are called ToolTypes on the Amiga, and you can edit them in the context menu (Right Mouse)->Info.

      Like so:
      http://imgur.com/a/1yGXY

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    13. Just wanted to add that I was wrong. CACHE has nothing to do with moving chipmem to fastram, but instead enables CPU caching. See the whdload documentation for further explanation:
      http://whdload.de/docs/en/opt.html#Cache
      http://whdload.de/docs/en/cache.html#chipmem

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    14. Amiga has a very unique way of using memory in that it allows equal use of graphic (or chip) memory and the so called fast ram.

      Amiga always attempts to use fast memory first (it's faster unlike in todays PC's) and chip memory last to reserve the chip memory for it's primary use as a graphic memory though Amiga can use both types as a graphic memory.

      However unlike in say windows you can also put anything you ever want to "ram disk" and your Amiga then essentially works like a computer with an SSD drive and this was 20 years before SSD was even a dream.

      Naturally any program put to RAM disk takes it's own space from available storage so the use of RAM disk was rather limited unless you beefed up you Amiga to say 16megs of fast ram enough to put all 12 disks of monkey island 2 in there and execute the program.

      naturally the RAM storage reseted on start up so you had to up a command lineto preload stuff there but it was doable and sometimes the only option on older Amigas that had plenty of ram (well more like 2megs max) but no hard drive to temporarily keep storage of files until saving them to a disk.

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    15. It's actually explained quite nice on Wikipedia:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiga_Chip_RAM

      Chip Mem: All custom chips (what you would nowadays call a GPU) have preferred access.
      Fast Mem: Dear CPU, it's all yours.

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    16. Forgot to mention: If your Fate installation somehow starts directly, without the Workbench this is going to be a bit trickier. (i.e.: I have to kick my distant memory/look up how to configure it directly :) )

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    17. With FS-UAE you can set WHDLoad slave options at the gui interface.

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    18. Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, . Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to ...

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    19. The previous comment has been redacted into irrelevance. Please disregard.

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    20. Seeing the "object not found" error message indicating a file not found opened for writing, I have the guess that the b folder is missing.
      Maybe creating it manually (should be somewhere in data subdir of WHDLoad) will help.

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  2. I think this may just be a really good opportunity for you to stop playing this game.

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    1. No way! As a lurker, I break the silence to express my joy and fascination reading this series. I hope you work around the issue.

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    2. I really do want to see how the plot comes together.

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    3. So do I. I'd be disappointed if you quit. (Although that's exactly what you should do if this save problem is insurmountable - I'd fear for your sanity if you had to start from scratch...)

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    4. Having had to restart a couple RPGs from scratch in recent years (corrupt savefile, "dead man walking" unwinnable conditions, etc.), I can say that having maps already in hand makes a huge difference. Without that I don't think I would've been willing to try again, but between the maps and already knowing what to do, I toughed it out. Fate is orders of magnitude larger, but...

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    5. I played some classic adventure games this month like Amazon, Willy Beamish and Rise of the Dargon so I also ran into a lot of dead ends.

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  3. It's times like this that I really need to shake your hand, virtually. I love old games, and can put up with a lot of the less user-friendly gems from the past. But honestly, there is no way I would put up with one tenth of the Fate adventuring you have endured. My hat is off to you, sir!

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  4. Of all the games that have been covered so far, I find this one the most compelling to read about. I'm always really excited to see another Fate post. I think it's because it's just so damned huge -- thanks for continuing to write about it!

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  5. You are a fan of Bioware, so tell me: Why am I finding so many plagiarized images in the trailers for Mass Effect Andromeda? I see tracing from Xenoblade, Halo, the name Tourian stolen from Super Metroid, 2001, Jedi Knight, Wing Commander, Transformers and The Guardian legend?

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    1. Are you using these words in their technical sense? i.e. "plagiarised", being the unattributed and recognisable copying of distinctive intellectual property without any meaningful creative changes? "Tracing" being the act of creating a new image by laying an existing one underneath it and tracing over it so as to precisely replicate lines, poses, landscape or logos?

      Or do you just mean it all looks very much like a lot of other space operas in videogames?

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Both: The spaceship from the logo looks exactly like the one from The Guardian Legend, the bottom of the outside of the Nexus looks exactly like the halos from Halo, and the inside of the Nexus looks exactly like the city in Xenoblade Chronicles; but the shot of a wall of ice crystals with a planet in the background looks like a tracing a of an astronaut's photo of the Earth from the Moon, the logo itself looks like a tracing of the Jedi Knight logo, the four-winged spaceships look like a tracing of a spaceship type from Wing Commander and the front of the outside of the Nexus looks like a tracing of the space station from 2001.

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    4. ohorg, please don't ask me obnoxious questions that have nothing to do with the post topic. I like some of Bioware's dialogue options and approaches to encounters and complex plots. I don't claim to be an authority on the company and I have no knowledge of their business practices.

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    5. ohorg...WTH? This has nothing to do with the game at hand, and not even with the greater progress Chet is going through at the moment. I don't know, but isn't an appropriate subreddit for example a better place to ask questions of this kind?

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  6. After 160 hours, what level are these characters? Are there levels? I've lost track. But it seems like you'd need to be in the hundreds at least.

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    1. There's a bit of a variance. Most of the characters are in their mid-30s, but Winwood is up at 41, and Mandrag is at 45 (he came in very high).

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  7. I come for the commentary but I stay for the gratuitous maps.

    Seriously if this post hadn't had a map udate I would be metaphorically flipping tables right now.

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    1. I find the process very satisfying, particularly when I do it in between completely different games.

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  8. Damnnnn. I loved looking at each of these posts and seeing the map update. I hope you are able to finish the game. Someone put SO much work into this game. Compare that into the game in your last post, for example...

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  9. I recently finished the game (roughly 25 years after starting the game for the first time) and I used WHDLoad to play as well but never had those problems.

    I did play the German version, though. Interestingly enough, the German version uses English names for everything (items, places, inns, taverns ... everything).

    I seriously hope you'll manage to finish the game. I had to consult a walkthrough for two subquests of the Moonwand quest.

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  10. We choose to go to the Moon-wand-pieces in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win ...

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  11. Hope you get thing figured out addict! Really been enjoying these posts and rooting for you to get the win.

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  12. I don't have much experience with WHDLoad but I've had something similar happen when using WinUAE by itself. When I get into the habit of using save states instead of actual disk saves, the program occasionally loses track of the path to the disk image or hard drive directory and panics when the time comes to access the disk.

    What seems to help is loading the game settings from the launcher in WinUAE or FS-UAE as though you are going to begin a new game, then loading the save state. That seems to repair the path information. You should then be able to save normally.

    Hope that helps.

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