Final Selection

From IFWiki

Final Selection
Author(s) Sam Gordon
Publisher(s) n/a
Release date(s) 14-May-2006
Authoring system Inform
Platform(s) Z-code
Language(s) English
Color effects none
Graphics none
Sound/Music none
Cruelty scale Cruelty to be determined

How It Begins

You are applying for the job of Director of the Museum and Institute for Puzzles and Problem Solving. You are wearing your best interview clothes and carrying a closed manilla envelope that the current director's assistant just gave you.

Instead of a standard interview, the director, Henry Jackson, has chosen to test your puzzle-solving skills. You stand alone in his cluttered Victorian office which features an old mahogany desk with leather chair, a book case, a table by the window, the door, a hatstand, an antique globe, a wooden corner shelf and a low cupboard.

According to the letter in the envelope, you must find the one word answer to the puzzle from the clues in the room. When you know that word, ring the bell on the desk to summon the director. He'll ask you a question, and if you answer correctly, his job is yours.

Notable Features

  • This is a "puzzle box" game, similar in its basic concept to games like Trapped in a One-Room Dilly (Laura A. Knauth; 1998; Z-code) and Out of the Study (Anssi Raisanen; 2002; Alan).
  • The player can move about within the room, and will do so automatically when examining objects in a different part of the room. All visible objects in the room remain in scope; this is similar to the technique used in Shade (Andrew Plotkin; 2000; Z-code).
  • The game automatically records your discoveries, which you can review with either the NOTE or REVIEW commands.
  • There is no "sack object", and the game will automatically drop some objects back where you found them as you move about within the room. The player can refind an object with the WHERE IS <object> command.

Author's notes

Sam Gordon says of the game:

I wrote the original version of the game in 2005 after reading about the One Room Game Competition and wondering how I might tackle that genre. At the time, I was working on a massive game that kept exceeding the limits of the Z-machine (a game, incidentally, that has never been completed to my satisfaction) and I thought that writing a quick one-room game would be a bit of light relief. I was interested in the idea of trying to create some sense of space in the single room, by having different areas within it, both to give the player a sense of movement and to ease the technical problems of disambiguating objects. Andrew Plotkin's Shade was certainly an influence on these ideas.
I completed the game but then left it untouched for almost a year, only returning to it when prompted by the announcement of the 2006 Competition. Replaying the game after a long delay was an interesting experience: some of the features that I had been really pleased with when I implemented them, now seemed to detract from the game; I could also look more dispassionately at the puzzles, which were not meant to be fiendishly hard...but I have to confess to checking the source code, at one point, to remember the solution to one of them!
With this fresh view of the game, I made some changes, including the dumping of some of the features that no longer seemed useful and the addition of a few new features, such as the ability to ask "where is the ....?" if the player has mislaid an object somewhere in the room. I also fixed some bugs! I decided to enter it for the competition and I ended up working quite intensely to get it finished. One regret is that I then did not have time get any significant input from other people (such as independent beta-testers!) despite that fact that there had been plenty of opportunity to do so, had I used the elapsed year more fruitfully.
I was delighted that the game was successful in the competition.


Competition Release

The zip file contains the following files:

  1. selection.z5 : The main game file.
  2. selection.rec : A complete command sequence for completing the game.
  3. selection.scr : A complete transcript of a game created by replaying selection.rec.
  4. info.txt : Background information about the game.
  5. solution.txt : A complete explanation of all the puzzles (includes spoilers).
  6. readme.txt : Contains this file list.

Release 3

  • selection.z5 uploaded to IF Archive, 9 October 2006
    • Release 3 / Serial number 061009 / Inform v6.30 Library 6/11 S
    • This version fixes a few minor bugs that were reported during and after the One Room Game Competition


General info