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Tlon (Windows)

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Description

Tlön: The Misty Story is a third-person point-and-click adventure game with action elements. It is based on the general ideas of the short story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (published in 1940) by the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. The original story was written as an encyclopaedia article about a mysterious country called Uqbar. It is revealed to be a conspiracy among intellectuals to imagine a new world and it deals with the theme of how ideas can manifest themselves to alter the physical world.

This game takes a similar approach, but from an entirely different setting. Biatec, a simple villager, lives in a poor and dull town in the countryside. When he goes frog hunting in the swamp one day, he ventures too deep and finds a horse skeleton and parts of rusty armour. Suddenly, he is reminded of his whole life leading up to the present, as he had forgotten, but never contemplated, how he came to live in the village. It is revealed he is in fact a knight who set out to find out more about a Symbol of Creation that is tied to an ancient realm called Tlön. During the journey, he fell off his horse in the swamp, cracked his head on a large rock and forgot about his past life. The player now needs to guide him to continue the quest and discover the hidden realm.

The game has all traits of traditional adventure design. Biatec is moved around using the mouse and can explore various locations, examine objects, talk to characters, collect items in an inventory and use them in the environment. The action elements come through the form of fighting scenes. Some characters and creatures are potentially dangerous and need to be fought. This is done by switching to a combat mode, and both attacking and dodging in real-time. Consequently, it is possible to die in the game. There are seven different weapons and three types of armour, of which the strength is shown as a number in the inventory.

Another different element is that Biatec needs to eat and drink during his journey. This is not based on the actual game time, but the player cannot neglect it when an opportunity arises. Even though the game is in 2D, the characters are pre-rendered in 3D. Next to the main storyline, there are different branching paths that delve deeper into the story, and many optional items to acquire.

Screenshots

Tlon Windows Biatec wakes up in his humble house.
Tlon Windows The goblins are impressed with your fighting skills.
Tlon Windows The environment has a desolate and depressing feel.
Tlon Windows Main menu

Alternate Titles

  • "TLÖN: A Misty Story" -- Title from the documentation

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Trivia

Critical bug

The original game contains a critical bug that prevents the player from progressing and completing the game. Although that ironically ties in with the main idea behind the story about the quest itself, it cannot have been intended (the game story is also told in full in the manual). It was rumoured for a long time that no one was ever able to complete the game, but since no patch was released, someone managed to modify a savegame file to continue past the bug, and since then users have confirmed to have completed the game. The game does not show a needed exit after finding the third part of the symbol. Through the savegame, the story picks up just before finding the battleaxe.

One location to acquire the savegame file is through the message board at Mr. Bill's Adventureland.

Technical details

Some technical details about the game from the manual:
  • The main core of the program was written in C++ interpreter. Quick assembler sub-routines were used at most critical spots, where immediate access to the data is needed. The output is a fully 32-bit machine code running under Windows 95.

  • The game includes built-in support for the special set of instructions within Pentium MMX Processor, which are used mainly for real time decompression of the animated video sequences.

  • The program uses the hardware acceleration of graphic cards with support of DirectX 6. Communication with other peripherals (keyboard, mouse, sound board) is mediated also through DirectX 6 technology

  • Digitized sound effects were sampled in 22050Hz, 16bit, Stereo with the possibility to swap left and right channel.

  • The program uses an advanced file-storage system (many small files are merged together into one big block of data) which quicken access to the files on CD-ROM.

  • The graphic part of the program uses a sophisticated anti-aliasing system, which is applied in real-time to all animated characters and objects.

  • Several special visual atmospheric effects such as a smoke, burning torches and rain with variable intensity were based on quick, in-house developed software sub-routines.

  • Other important visual enhancements are: real time darkening and lightening of the main character when he goes into or out of the shade or fog; real time transparency with changeable intensity of several special characters (ghost), and changing of the size of main character with regards to the perspective of background.

Related Web Sites

  • Tlon (official game website)
Duduqaz (7151) added Tlon (Windows) on Mar 13, 2009