Savoir-Faire

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Fantasy
Fantasy
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XYZZY Awards 2002
Best Puzzles, Best Individual PC, Best Story, Best Game
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XYZZY Awards 2002
Finalist - Best Use of Medium, Best Individual Puzzle, Best Setting, Best Writing
Savoir-Faire
Savoir-Faire small cover art.png
Author(s) Emily Short
Publisher(s) n/a
Release date(s) 01-Apr-2002
Authoring system Inform
Platform(s) Z-code
Language(s) English
License(s) Freeware
Multimedia
Color effects none
Graphics none
Sound/Music none
Ratings
Cruelty scale Cruel

How It Begins

You are Pierre, the adopted son of a wealthy Count in 18th century France. You are wearing a dashing hat, and carry a sword (inside a swordstick) and a snuffbox. As a member of the nobility, you also have the magical talent known as the Lavori d'Aracne which will let you create magical links between similar objects. Unhappily, you desperately need money. You returned to your childhood home, hoping to ask the Count for help, but no one knows where he's gone. Maybe there's money or something you can sell from the estate. You begin your hunt for treasure from the kitchen garden.

Notable Features

  • Puzzle filled game. As a "Textfire Classic", the game pays homage to several "old school" puzzles, including hunger puzzles, locked door puzzles, a maze, a decryption puzzle and a massive number of inventory items. Many of these puzzles have a new twist. The game's setting - a deserted family home from which one must loot treasure - is overtly old-school.
  • Rich object modelling in general. Every object has a size, shape, and material comparable to the simulationist object modelling in some of Short's earlier works, notably Metamorphoses.
    • Complex liquid modelling, as handled by the Inform library extension WaterElement.h. Liquids can be mixed, puddles evaporate over time, other objects sink or float in liquids, and so on.
    • Complex light modelling, with respect to light source and color.
    • Complex magic system allows the player to magically "link" one item to another if the two items share common properties. Once linked, actions performed on one item will have similar effects on the second. Much of the game revolves around exploration of this magic system.
  • Flashback cutscenes are used to fill in some of the pre-game story.
  • Many puzzles have multiple solutions. One puzzle in particular has a solution suitable for vegetarians.
  • A score system (it comes complete with its own last lousy point).

Trivia and Comments

  • Savoir-Faire was deliberately released on April 1st as an April Fool's joke. As a "Textfire Classic" and an old school puzzle game by Emily Short, it was meant to sound as if the announcement was a hoax. The joke, of course, was that the game did exist after all.
  • The author went to considerable effort to fit the game into version 5 of the Z-machine in order to stay with the old school theme. Eventually bug fixes forced her to upgrade to version 8 for new releases of the game.
  • Radical Al offered $50 U.S. to Emily for the source code for Savoir-Faire as part of the prize rules for his GESCH MiniComp.

Versions

Note 1: Emily has a version history page. Caution: It contains spoilers.

Note 2: Versions 1 through 4 were .z5 files. Versions 5 through 8 were .z8 files.

Version 1

Version 6

  • Savoir-Faire (Emily Short; 20-Apr-2002; Z-code).
    • Release 6 / Serial number 020420 / Inform v6.15 Library 6/10
    • IFID wanted. (Please replace this line with a babel template.)

Version 8

Version 8 reissue

  • Savoir-Faire (Emily Short; 2004; Z-code).
    • Release 8 / Serial Number 040328 / Inform v6.15 library 6/10
    • IFID wanted. (Please replace this line with a babel template.)
    • Play it online at nickm.com.

Release TBD

Links

General Info

Reviews

Spoilers

The lavori d'Aracne games by Emily Short
Savoir-Faire
(2002)
Damnatio Memoriae
(2006)
First Draft of the Revolution
(2012)