Game Design Notes: Fountellion (Progression One) Walkthrough
Original design notes to the first ‘Green Garden’ metaverse game
‘Fountellion in The Spiral’: the first ‘green garden metaverse’ game-world
‘In the future, I foresee an ‘ultimate game’; a powerful reflection of, and also about, the nature of our world — and… a thrilling, revelatory one.
Energy… change… survival… cooperation… adaptation: these will all feature, blurring the lines between entertainment and experience. And the game will use potent symbols and invest its players with ‘real’ insight, along with the reality-shifting emphases this — itself — brings…
Yes, it will be a game that will prove a valuable experience for people, as it shows them an experience of ‘Life’…. from a perspective of Life itself… at last.
At present, this may be just our concept… but.. somehow… we’ll do it!… For in order to combat the seemingly unstoppable ignorance — and arrogance — of mankind… we’ll need to.’
- Professor Benjamin Fielding, founder
Welcome, players… to both the early story and experience of a survival-adventure ‘game’ that has today help to build so many extra realities, for so many.
I want you to understand how proud we were of its initial impact on some of our ‘pioneers’, some of whom would later become a part of our development community, vital supporters; even its brave protectors. For, as we would come to realise, nothing is without its negative effects…
Indeed, it was always a fine line we were walking — into an exciting, dangerous creation, if technological progress wasn’t always going to — perhaps inevitably — lead us there. Or, at least, somewhere just like it…
A natural fabric; a living world, that could be conjured and then introduced quietly into otherwise self-obsessed lives, our over-controlling preoccupations. It’s no wonder it was to capture and divert those attentions, for better, and for worse. However… overall… many of us believe for the better. Perhaps, even as we’d hoped; it could still help in stimulating the rise of a more respectful civilisation; one more acutely aware of its origins and connections.
So here, with these writings, we wanted to preserve a player’s personal account of the game, and let it stand beside some of the original development outlines and ideas, so as to reveal some of our original intentions, lest they be lost in the continual evolution of the game-world, as it persists today… less they become twisted, or lost in the stories of those who became lost, rather than those — less sensational maybe — of those who were found.
And, even if you’re never to play this game (due to perhaps, a very wise suspicion of all things virtual), we hope we’ve captured something of this ‘finding’, within these lines, that can be experienced through this older, (and more potent?) medium: the imagination.
We believe it’s worth this telling, since it’s as much your story as those involved in its creation, including the many scientists and naturists — yes, those true pioneers — who still work to unlock even more of nature’s secrets, in the worlds beyond — yet ever within — our Source world.
Play a good game.
- John Leaven, lead designer, Fountellion/Green Garden metaverse 1
PROGRESSION ONE: Acclimatisation (PvE) / The Parting of the Corn
‘In which the player encounters a new world, acclimatises to the game fabric, the interface, the sensation of movement and a new dimension of reality.’
They will encounter ‘Greenwise’, the guardian and guide to the island world.
They will learn about its nature: its powers, creatures, the hidden quest-path.
They will master basic movement, jumping and descent.
They may encounter the Stokermen for the first time, the construct of mankind as a predator to itself.
They may hunt and be hunted.
They may follow the river and enter the forest of the High Trees.
They may climb a Great Cedar to reach ‘new heights’ and ‘old depths’..
They may find the first Insight, and see beyond their own nature…
This is just one possible experience, as Progressions may be encountered in any order.
LOAD SCREEN: Blackness. Sounds of wind gusting, birds, distant waves dimly breaking…
LOAD SCREEN MESSAGE:[Random Hint] The 1st Power is ‘Super-Jump Focus Mode’: a combination of slow breathing, hand gesture and mind concentration to enable super movement or jumping.
SPAWN LOCATION: Estuary. Description: on a high hillside next to a coastal estuary. Standing inside some woodland but walking towards an old gate that leads… beyond…
Spiral doorway / portal closes behind the player.
Then… fade out…
LOAD SCREEN (2): Blackness again. Sounds of wind, birds, distant waves continue…
How much shall I be changed, before I am changed?
(whispered from within the corn upon ‘first waking’…)
You appear like a ghost in a field, gradually fading in; ‘waking up in the world’. You are now lying in a ripening field of golden barley corn and the detail everywhere is astonishing. You spend many moments looking at grass stems, insects, your hands fingering the softness of the soil and feeling the feedback sensation through the interface. The stems of the corn move perfectly in the breeze. You examine the ends of the corn, the ears; the detail. You pull at one of the brownish leaves and feel the slight resistance. You roll over onto your back and stare at blue sky, a lone cloud drifting across it. There is wind here. Then you stand up. It’s brilliant. You’re in the middle of a field; on a sloping hillside. The wind is softly reproduced out of a very rich, blue sea-line and, a fair distance below, sea water is shining into a wide estuary where the tide is out.
APPEARANCE: Each player brings their Spiral-crafted representation or avatar into the world. This means you ‘come as you are’ to Fountellion as in most other Spiral worlds since there is no purpose in creating a fantasy alter-ego.
Each avatar is vetted/verified as being ‘closely representative’ of their Source appearance upon start-up into The Spiral. This does not apply to Game Mages who may be ‘playing’ a character in the game or a part-time NPC (non-player character) in the game.
YOUR ATTIRE: Randomly-generated old world or fantasy RPG attire relative to sex and experience. New players wear rough shirt, boots, cloak etc. Later on: various leather enhancements for protection and stamina are possible. There are near-limitless variations of attire generated due to the random algorithm. Cloaks however, are standard issue.
You feel only like walking and exploring this world for what it is, and yet you remind yourself that this is game-scape, and that control over it will be vital for survival; that you must learn its powers and its nature.
You can see waves and the breeze moving everything around you and all you can do is look around, gazing at the sun upon the detailed imagery; the scale of it. It is very real, and yet more so, somehow. It’s the super-real. The wild fields and pine trees are perfectly simulated, obeying the extensive laws of a unique fabric filled with growing, interacting variables. You might guess that this particular area had been modelled on the coastal areas of England or any forest area further north of this.
Arriving into this scene you are drawn just to gaze at the corn and pass a hand through it, seeing the individual grains. It feels nearly possible to inhale the freshness of the air. The cornfield is sloping on a hill, so looking down again at the water you can see the tiny waves ushering the sea incessantly into the estuary, and sand from a wide open beach that lines and welcomes the sea into the land.
It’s both hypnotic and beguiling, and to think inwardly that’s it’s all just a virtual simulation somehow adds to this amazement.
At this time, the world will keep newborn players alone to explore intuitively…
CONNECTION / INTUITIVE MOVEMENT
At any point a player will likely start experimenting with movement and gesture. Gravity in Fountellion is lighter than in reality, in terms of physics of avatar movement. You will quickly discover the intense sensation of ‘super-jumping’ or ‘focus’ across the game-scape or game-map, because this is a fairly easy-to-attain basic mode of motion that can be intuitively achieved. However, it still takes practice, and more so without some necessary tuition…
‘SUPER-JUMP FOCUS MODE’ Summary: Focus is a combination of slow breathing, hand gesture and mind concentration to enable super movement or jumping.
This effect is similar in ways to Zen-style meditation and not only provides in-world exhilaration but is also healthy for oxygenation of blood.
Later, increased power-up and more practice produces more advanced, successful jumping (and later, with increased energy and progression) becomes akin to near-flying.
Inhalation / breath intake empowers initial lift, the ascent of a player into the air, and gesture (position of hands and fingers controls direction and balance).
Raising arms quickly also contributes to the beginning of the jump.
Another variable is involved: that of EEG / brainwave harnessing. If a player concentrates correctly this will also empower the move.
Running can provide extra speed for faster lift.
Gliding: once ascent has reached its pinnacle point, descent will begin to occur slowly and can be controlled to produce gliding sensation (arms outstretched).
Fast-falling: dropping arms and/or concentrating on falling will produce rapid, direct downward descent.
Prevailing island weather: this will affect (hinder or boost) the power of the mode.
The mode uses up energy on the upward, covering ground and then slow-gliding allows for more peaceful descent and terrain scanning. However, slow-gliding is slower and, in times of challenge or attack, speed is usually of the essence.
ATTEMPT AT ‘FOCUS’:
So this is early Super-Jump with Focus. It’s exhilarating, liberating in the way that mastered swimming, diving or fast driving can be. Many players will fall initially, into the landscape, finding it a very loose and fast sensation that they do not expect. Falling will deplete energy so that take-off again gets more and more sluggish. The majority of players — not just those scared of heights in reality — will find it a vertiginous experience before they begin to master the art.
Prevailing weather conditions will also affect Focus. At the highest point of a successful jump the effect of wind is greater and can knock a player off-balance causing them to fall unless correct arm movement and gesture can re-stabilise.
After leaping and bounding awkwardly across fields and down into the Estuary, the new player’s energy and power will begin to deplete, and jumping will get heavier and harder to sustain, after the initial ease and exhilaration.
These appear on the back of both player’s hands after the first depletion in energy or focus has occurred.
Left-hand fork rune = Red Energy/Life Meter
Right-hand fork rune = Blue Power Meter
AT THE END OF ACCLIMATISATION:
Then, after a period of time [or if a player has moved beyond the cornfield]:
Suddenly you are moved like a puppet on an invisible elastic string; pulled like a magnet. You feel your suit tighten around your waist and stomach with a gentle but firm force — across fields and wherever you have strayed and back to the corn where you began.
You lie in the field, watching the moving stems. You watch insects and butterflies, or a grasshopper, before it leaps away…
You have not seen any other players in the landscape yet, and because of the intensity and detail of the scenery around you, you’re beginning to feel a little lonesome, with a desire to share something of it with someone. Just then, a voice comes to you, like a whisper out of the rustling corn:
Female Voice of Fountellion: “Speak the word ‘Greenwise’ and the Guardian will appear…”
GREENWISE: THE FIRST APPEARANCE
You speak this word of summons but see only the shimmering hillside, the sunshine moving across the scene of gold and across the fields on the other side of the estuary. You continue looking about, expectantly. In the next few moments however you hear a sound of — wings? — and then a rustling; someone approaching. A figure has appeared in the one location your avatar is not facing, so that when you turn around indeed, an elderly looking man is there, one arm holding a thick, wooden staff that is a little higher than the top of his head. He appears quite calm but there’s an expectancy there too; a keen awareness. A vague scattering of very bright but tiny green magic dust has accompanied his arrival — it’s still falling down, some of it landing on the barley, before disappearing as though extinguished in the moving stems. He is in a worn, brown cloak, and he waits now, with legs planted wide in a relaxed mode while holding your gaze. The long stems stay parted around him; programmed possibly, to bend for his presence. He is Greenwise, the Estuary Guardian. He has sandy-coloured hair and beard greying around the edges but the face is warm and kind, and mildly amused.
He is a character with mystery. He is part NPC/AI ‘world assistant’, and part inhabited avatar (times unknown). He is known to be modeled partly on the real-life game project leader, professor Benjamin Fielding, who to begin with, at times, is to be ‘overseen’ by him. [Some people say he still enjoys playing the role]. In this sense he is an avatar ‘ghost’. But nowadays it is believed to be often the former Gatekeeper who inhabits the character.
“Welcome seeker-friend… to Fountellion… the island… the green garden… as it exists at this moment.” (first time greeting…)
He offers you a firm handshake on haptic feedback.
“Greetings player…” (this is his greeting in all future meetings).
[and if player has been pulled back in the corn:]
(With a broad smile) “I see you’ve learnt how to fall down already!”
ADDITIONAL POSSIBLE DIALOGUE:
“There is much to teach you. But not all at once, no! For the game is afoot! Indeed, as it always is — though it may not always be easy to feel that it is…”
“I am only a light to help you find your way. For the insights are uniquely hidden… and if you put that light out, you’ll learn just how deep is the darkness…”
His eyes squint and it makes him seem a little more animated and excited than before — a touch eccentric, yes — before he regains control of himself and talks more softly again.
“Yes, even as we speak… you are part of a great balance here; a system of energy. A reflection of life — it is always changing… You may find it a beautiful place, yes? Well, it’s a hungry one too… and you’ll be getting hungry soon also… for that precious energy. You will need to hunt…”
“Do you see the marks on the back of both your hands?”
POSSIBLE PLAYER QUESTIONS:
Despite the wonder and detail of the moving, rendering world and fabric variables, the player is beginning to question how they will fit into it all.
Player: "What do we do here?"
Many players will wish to continue experimenting with control over movement and interaction with the landscape. They will want more. They will want to roam and test more, for learning the secrets of the land. Others will be more patient. Greenwise faces a struggle to impart sufficient wisdom – to hold attention – to ensure your survival.
Greenwise: "You must listen. While we have time."
Greenwise: "You want to explore don't you? You want to roam and test yourself to find the limits of the world and what is possible. You will. But first, let me explain just a few things..."
Player: "Why do I have to wait? Why does it matter? What is there to worry about?"
Greenwise: "Well, it matters if you want to play the game, eh? For how long – how much – do you want to experience?"
If a player starts to acclimatise via practice, without Greenwise's instruction, he will frequently fall, diminishing energy. Greenwise will enter a default 'waiting cycle', leaning on his staff and looking a little bored and restless. If attacked he will swiftly defend and be able to knock the player down with a few strokes of his staff, but without harming the player, unless the player exhibits significant behavioral abuse.
If the latter occurs, Greenwise can become serious and intimidating.
He will unbalance the player with words such as:
"This land demands respect if you are to survive it! And you will not last much longer here without starting to listen to my every word! For when the sun goes down I shall be gone. And you cannot summon me at night. And that is when you will die... if, that is, the Stokermen don't spear you first..."
If the player remains calm:
"Now, that's better. Through me you will learn to acclimatise quickly. But then, later, you will ultimately learn more of the following, if you heed what I say. Otherwise you'll learn much slower, and much harder...
Basic Gestures, Energy and Control
Injury, Life and death
The Quests and Insights
Powers and Possibilities in Fountellion, including:
Focus, Listening, Voice and Transformation."
If the player continues in a non-cooperative manner:
Greenwise may either abandon the player to the world without further instruction, or banish them forcefully.
FIRST KNOWLEDGE FROM GREENWISE / NATURE OF THE GAME
If players have already tried to experiment for themselves, Greenwise will say: “I can see you’ve already tried to jump. But are you ready to… find your feet?”
“I will show you the first power: To jump with focus… So… firstly, breathe… Can you feel the connection? Your avatar here is connected to this land. Go on: hold your breath.”
Very slightly, the player will feel themselves floating upwards…
“In order to jump you move your arms as you leap… and you breathe, and you concentrate… where your mind is getting used to the fabric…”
Super-jumping and slow-gliding alongside Greenwise is a demonstration of actual gesture which is easier than learning intuitively. It’s also faster and more exhilarating as he shows the best poise to adopt for strong balance at launch and whilst in mid-air.
The player will have to follow and imitate. Later, Greenwise will jump second so that he can assist the player in mid-glide if necessary.
Greenwise will jump in specific areas:
Down into the estuary and across the wide beach, splashing down into shallows, across rocks and pools and up onto the opposite hillside.
He will demonstrate jumping up into the branches of tall Scots Pine trees and back into the fields.
He will not stray far from the corn field, as this area — unique to Fountellion — restores energy quicker.
Air and weather effects will affect the performance of any power.
You arrive back in the corn (after a run) with Greenwise when he has demonstrated some of the art and energy needs of power use in action.
When he has the player’s attention:
“The following information will be needed to ‘become one’ with all that you are: your mind, your body and your control over the environments of Fountellion. The guidance is not unique, it is tutorial. This means it is re-playable by summoning me again and asking me again. With time and practice it all gets… even better. Ok…”
The Guardian’s eyes will appear to glaze over slightly, as though looking beyond the player as he passes on the following Need to Know:
ON LIFE AND DEATH AND INJURY (see also Further Gameplay Details)
“The constant of Death is here… Death, you could say, has honed everything around you. It keeps things… interesting… growing… changing…
Energy is of course vital to the game fabric. You are in an energy system such as the Source.
But you will learn quickly how to survive, to conserve and to gain in energy.
And if you do not you will die, fading out to become a spirit of the island. You must then wait for respawn (and may spectate using any of the numerous elaborate viewing options). As soon as is possible, the fabric will place you randomly anywhere on the island, washed up somewhere on these shores.
But your powers and mastery will be lost and it will take time again to regain former levels of control.”
BASIC GESTURES and CONTROL
Example Greenwise: “Now then… questions… you probably have many… so — ask what you can… But I wouldn’t ask too many, for how would you know what to ask, when you have so little experience yet? And besides, there is… urgency. You are now the hunted, even as we speak. So let me tell you the basics of what you need to know. Pick up what you can. We don’t have all the time in the world, for the day is falling, your energy is falling, and when you’re out alone you will get used to staying on the move, and listening…”
You also notice his crow-feet eyes scanning the sky a whole lot as he speaks, as though wary of danger from there.
Player (Sample Question): “Ok… How do I get out ? If I want to leave, besides T.D. (Total Disconnect)?”
How To Leave the Game Easily:
“Make a T shape like this, pressing the top hand into your bottom for a few seconds, and you will dissolve — fade out — and be back in the Source.”
The Guardian demonstrates this and you see his avatar begin to weaken with a fine haze of green dust as his hands retain the T-shaped gesture. He gains strength swiftly when his big hands break off the gesture, steadying himself again in the same spot.
If your hands are disabled then you can think of a spiral shape and utter the phrase:
‘Take me back to the Spiral’ — for the same outcome.
The game of course, will continue as your avatar remains here, and if another player finds the last insight, it will be reset, and you’ll be placed into a new queue for a new instance of the island.
Thus… you do not completely leave. Your presence here remains as a shadow and will be vulnerable or awoken if events occur to you while you are absent. So you will need to position — or hide — your avatar safely if you wish to return safely. When you re-enter you will re-’inhabit’ at this previous location.
In turn you may encounter shadows of other absent or sleeping players, and may try to waken them by shaking.
Greenwise: “Go on, ask any further questions. But if you do not ask, I may tell in time….”
Player: “Are there others? / Other players?”
Greenwise: “Most other players will not be visible to you until a little later, and you will not know what form they may take.”
Player: “What is my purpose here? / What do we do? / What are these… insights?”
Greenwise: “Much of this you must discover for yourself. But I can tell you this for sure…”
ON THE QUEST FOR THE INSIGHTS OF FOUNTELLION
“Everyone has a place in Fountellion, you are needed here. Life needs you. The natives and fellow players will need you.
Much of your time here will be spent on energy and survival. Movement is life.
The Powers and your acclimatisation to the fabric are about control over the world and your environment, just as animals in nature have distinct powers.
If you encounter the powers of other animals you may also experience injury from other animals.
Your presence on the island — along with the other players present — impacts the nature of the island, the life that exists in this instance, and the life of the tribe that depends on it. You are a part of a virtual ecosystem that causes many species to thrive for a time, or to die out. This has applied to humanity and shaped how it has lived for the majority of its presence on planet earth, until it became so numerous lately and more abstracted. But all players here will be made aware of this buried struggle sooner or later. The sooner, the better.
Collaboration / cooperation / communication — these are potent powers also and are keys to solving more complex problems.
What is your purpose in nature and on the island? Well, you will find — and earn — belonging here, and fulfillment, and experience to take away.”
TWO MAIN QUEST THEMES:
“The nature quest: allows you to see and feel a part of nature again. To appreciate a connection with life. To be part of all things. Everyone’s existence ultimately enters the fabric of the specific instance of Fountellion that is generated. In other words, your avatar will one day feed the forest floor — its decomposers — with nutrients for the continuation of future artificial life here.
You have a human quest also: and this I shall now mention, but do not question me on this, for the questions and answers are what you will uncover, the longer you survive here… Your quest is to find yourself — your balance — in context with this nature, via the six insights.
For some players, both such quests may be easy, for others not so, or not at all, but that is how a culture is shaped… or born…
However, your first quest should be to fully acclimatise to the fabric, and this is linked to both quests, and to the demands of the present moment. For now, seek the cover of the forest. That is all I can say.”
“The insights are old. They are symbols as to your own nature and they are manifest here in Fountellion.
There are six to be found, if you wish to look. They glow green and are like closed eyes that must be broken with a phrase.
Unlocking them will increase your power and awareness of life. The life that you are very much a part of, and have always been so… but so too can they give you new strength to reach further into the island, towards… darker powers.”
Player: “Where do I start looking?”
Greenwise: “Where your nature takes you. You might be wise to seek in the village and learn more as to their nature there…”
Player: “Is there a map?”
Greenwise: “No, but you can make your own in the Source, from super-memory. Or wait until you find the Village where elders have parchment, feathered quills and dyes.”
[see ‘Pioneer (Spoiler) Map’ by D.H.]
Player: “What will I face?”
“Perhaps the worst danger you will face lies in yourself: in coming to terms with your nature, alive and fearful in an island crawling with creatures. There are times when you will not want to play, but to run.
But with danger comes the value of learning cooperation with a tribe, with respect for cultural values that have relevance to an immediate environment… And it is to confront the mind, and its creations.
The next danger you will face is from the Stokermen. They… are a ceaseless threat. They are your hunters, although… you may die many times before they get to you; or banish you…
You may fall from heights and find no way to restore any energy. You may be killed by the wildest animals: the wolf pack, the lynx, or — when changed — by many countless predators.
This is why you are vulnerable when you are alone, especially when you know nothing of yourself, nor of the powers. For to survive here is to learn your connection with life, with your position in nature; not as a carnivore, or as an apex. But as a group ape who has learnt complex, collaborative sound-making… and where nothing is fixed…
Many things will teach you this.”
Player: “What/why/how does a player get… banished?”
Greenwise: “Mostly by being captured by the Stokermen, where, to be banished is like being banished from life; from living. On this island, it is to be taken to the tower. Or… you may be banished for ‘griefing’; going against the grain of the fabric — which will lead you over time to this outcome.
But even for the banished, the case remains that: once you have dwelt in Fountellion, you will always dwell here… and can find your way back, into a new instance. There are always incredible things as there are in nature. Such as the powers…”
ON THE POWERS / ABILITIES
Greenwise: “Let me now start by saying something of your powers here. I will teach you enough to get started… but they will grow over time if you stay true to the world.
You will see how all animals have their own strengths to ensure survival and fitness.
So too do you have your own, enhanced in this world.
I will outline them and then — here in this field — teach you the first two world powers:
- 1st POWER — INCREASED HEARING OR LISTENING
Increase your hearing range:
This skill will enable you to listen to the wildlife in your location, which is useful in hunting.
Greenwise: “Raise one finger and keep it there, as if you are requesting quiet.”
Once the player obeys this instruction…
Greenwise: “It’s a simple gesture but can you hear my voice louder?”
Everything is now louder. The world is louder. There are birds beyond the field in trees and insects moving in the grass you wouldn’t have known about. The waves down in the estuary are louder. Noises and… yes, whispers… When performing this gesture you can hear further. Many sounds become apparent. The corn is whispering.
These whispers are the words from current and former game mages who have been able to leave behind favourite quotes, poems or personal messages — their legacy — to linger in the field.
- 2nd POWER — SUPER-JUMP FOCUS MODE
Greenwise: “This is best demonstrated. We will jump together in just a moment…”
- 3rd POWER — HUNTER MODE
Greenwise: “This is a quick way of being able to see and detect nearby animals and players more easily, via a simple gesture.”
The gesture will be demonstrated — two hands using bent fingers like claws. All living things appear more highlighted than their surroundings.
- 4th POWER — TRANSFORMATION FOCUS
Greenwise: “You may transform into other creatures. But we will cover this later.”
Player: “You mean I can change into anything?”
Greenwise: “Yes. Birds, animals, insects. But there are some limits we will cover.”
Player: “How do I change?”
Greenwise: “I will explain this in our next session, when there is more time. First you need to know how to move quickly via focus, so you will be able to escape.”
Player: “Escape from what?”
Greenwise: “Rogue players, wild animals… and the Stokermen…”
Player: “Who are the Stokermen, are they a tribe on the island?”
Whether or not the question is asked, Greenwise will approach the player anyway and, firmly, looking them in the eye, will talk quickly, clearly and seriously, almost as though they or their spies were listening.
“I don’t know what hunts you in the Source, but here you must be ever watchful of the Stokermen, or women. They are a tribe of death, searching and harvesting the land for fresh souls, taking the weak and the unready. They see and reach far, so you can only avoid them by moving and hiding, or changing. They come from above, twisting out of the sky with their long stoking tools or lances, on which to pierce players. They seem frail as ghosts born on the breeze, pushing off or away from objects for momentum, though you will come to fear their strength and to hate them. But you must understand them. For they are you. The restless. The thoughtful. The dreaming. The hungry, searching for a way back…”
Player: “Can we fight them?”
Greenwise: “Fire can buy you time. But you can rarely win against your predators. And there is nothing natural that can beat their lances. So the answer is… no! And they can come at any time.”
Player: “What can they do to us? “
Greenwise: “All they can do is catch you and take you to the top of their tower — the Dreamspire.”
Player: ‘Where is the Tower?’
Greenwise: “That is not a question relative to this moment. It lies somewhere on the island … It is for you to seek, or to avoid.”
BASIC TUITION: CONCLUSION
When the Guardian has covered his basic introduction, including answers to a pre-set allowance of player questions, he will leave the player alone to roam freely.
Before transforming into a Great Horned Owl and departing, he will clasp the player by the arm firmly and issue a farewell which, depending on the developed relationships status with the player, will either include a warning or a helpful hint, either in a friendly, jocular manner or using an insistent, even angry one.
He will also say: “Summon me again when you get to the forest, but if the sun is below the horizon, I cannot come.”
Players remain free to roam the game-scape having received basic instruction or awareness, which attempts to protect the balance of the game fabric.
They may experiment with powers until power level is depleted.
If their energy depletes they will hear a whisper advising them to summon Greenwise for assistance, but if the sun is below the horizon then that summons will fail.
If they do not summon him, then players will tire and pass out, where sleep will replenish energy to maximum by default at this stage of the game.
Only the loss of total energy entails game death.
Suddenly the sunshine is blocked and you realise shadows are beginning to fall across the land… These are the twisting, airborne figures of the Stokermen, seeking for new souls to gather from the game-scape…
Their strange black shapes fill the sky, looking horrifically out of place…
INTO THE HIGH TREE FOREST
Players can follow the river across a muddy plain into a dark forest.
This area involves some use of accurate, focussed jumping, as the mud is so boggy in places that a player can become embedded, especially if they don’t select, with some care, harder areas or stepping stones to land on.
If they become stuck in the wetland, they will have to transform or jump with great strength to break free. They may summon Greenwise to advise them, if it’s not yet dark. If still at an early stage they may even be taken by Stokermen. Staying close to the river, its creatures or hiding in water may also provide some escape.
Staying out in the open will never be recommended by Greenwise.
SECRET AREA: The Lake
This area is located down in the estuary, hidden by thick undergrowth or vegetation growing near to the shoreline, a little away from the beach.
A vision can be ‘found’ here, of the ‘Knife, Burning’, or else it can be shared by another player in, or around, the High Tree Forest.
If a player, heeding a whispered summons, manages to cross the lake (by executing accurate jump combinations), then this will ‘activate’ the vision, temporarily replacing visuals of immediate surroundings.
Fountellion visions can motivate a player from game fatigue with the main quest-path, and can provide some restoration of power, depending.
VISION OF THE KNIFE, BURNING
The following occurs if a fellow player chooses to give you this (positive) vision, or if it is unlocked at the hidden lake along the Estuary:
As the player holds the necklace in their hand they will begin to hear a repeated whisper on how to trigger the vision…
‘Hold fast to me firmly and close your eyes for three seconds to behold or cease what I would show to you…’
Squeezing the carved symbol and closing both eyes for more than 3 seconds will trigger the vision (where repeating this action will interrupt it).
Everything goes dark. Fountellion is gone for the duration of the vision.
And from above you see the dimly-lit scene of muddy marshland, the wind moving grass, as you hang suspended above it. The POV is similar to that of a gliding bird, and you’re looking down, about half the height of the nearby forest trees and drifting out, slowly into the field. It’s an out-of-avatar experience which is a little alarming for your senses and a touch of vertigo may be experienced.
Mysterious — and poignant — music begins. From within the mud a knife rises, eerily, and your vision brings only this into focus, providing some ballast.
You may wonder if this scene is unfolding at this location in Fountellion in real-time. Also, Is this how a buzzard or eagle might be viewing it? All the grass or vegetation falls flat around the knife as though affected by it or to make way for its appearance and power. It is not clasped by anyone but just rises as a spiral-shaped fire begins to form from the earth and make its way up onto the blade. There is no mud on the blade now, just a great burning, shining sun reflecting off it, so it glints perfectly. It is beautiful to behold. A striking symbol, you notice its light reflected off the water in a river nearby. (The river leading into the forest?)
Next, the fire catches the blade and flames appear, enveloping and spiralling up onto and around the handle. It looks like it would burn the hand of any now who tried to touch it, alluring and magical though it now seems. Suddenly it stops rising and shoots or rockets upwards, burning through the gloom of the scene and the vision like a firework (as the background music escalates). The knife is now lost beyond, somewhere in the depths of the forest.
At the same time the player’s POV starts to descend… as the scene now changes to wherever the vision was triggered and the player’s avatar body is located. The POV merges back into your avatar and the vision fades out.
Beholders are left inspired and motivated to continue their quest path in the possibility the mysterious burning knife is a clue guiding them towards their next insight.
Note: Sharing visions — for the energy they provide — is a sign of trust between players. It is wise not to betray such trust for the sake of a vision. For, although there may be some competition between players in the game, they will learn the value of cooperation over time.
INTO THE HIGH TREE FOREST
LOCATION: Further up into the island, in the High Tree Forest, following the river.
TIME: Morning. After first acclimatisation.
It is bright morning and the player wakes up next to the sound of water passing over rocks, and with all the beauty that comes with light mixing with water.
Your avatar moves easily with a restored quantity of energy, and the player is able to spend time jumping across the river, revelling once more in this sensation.
But the mystery of the High Tree Forest depths is calling, with its huge, towering mix of tall pine, cedar and larch trees swaying in the breeze.
Soon Greenwise reappears or is summoned, as the player depletes in energy or is awoken, in order to learn of the second power, and to learn more about survival.
DIALOGUE WITH GREENWISE
If the player has encountered the Stokermen then this can be discussed…
3RD POWER: HUNTER MODE AND ‘TRANSFORMATION FOCUS’ POWER
First, players may want to activate Increase Hearing in order to listen for animals nearby and to draw closer to them for Focus.
Transformation Focus Power is then started via Hunter Mode, where you enter your animal nature or self. This changes your POV to the extent that the green of vegetation is dulled, and valuable objects you require such as food, creatures or meat become enhanced and reddened, wherever you look.
Note: If any creature appears with a blue-ish glow then they are already inhabited by other players, who may wish to help or to attack depending.
You will need sufficient Energy and Power levels to activate.
To enter Hunter Mode you first need to make claw gesture with your fingers.
This will darken the appearance of physical or plant-life subjects so that animal and insect life appear brighter in colour.
A creature must be available first.
Next, you need only to summon and fix the image / outline of that creature in your mind and the EEG will identify the signature brainwave signal for that creature. An info box will appear when this has been correctly achieved.
(Some players will do this even when they do not know for certain that such a creature is near. This is because there is such an abundance of the creature it is highly likely that there is one nearby, without needing to check.)
Final stage is to perform a hand gesture that completes the transformation at the same time as uttering its Latin name.
Energy levels are critical in executing and completing safe transformations:
During transformations, players will ‘adopt’ the energy level of whatever creature they are ‘riding in’. This will last for as long as players retain their creature’s energy level.
Different creatures will last longer depending on their overall energy capability / threshold.
When energy depletes a player will be ‘kicked off’ or ‘out’ of a creature automatically. This can occur a maximum of 4 times before game death. Or maybe they are consumed or attacked by another creature. When these situations occur they will change back to human form and land close by. Energy depletes by 30% every ‘kick out’.
Energy and Power meters will appear at the corners of the player vision for the duration of the transformation.
Power level: remains their own, as they may use power to change again, or change back before energy depletes.
When the ‘ride’ is finishing, a player may activate a new transformation if highly proficient or change back into human form, whereby they will adopt their original energy setting.
Despite its use for evasion, this mode will — eventually — draw the attention of Stokermen, just as with successive Jump Focus. (Players will be made aware of this when Greenwise decides they are ready.)
Auto-Ride / Over-Ride:
You do not really transform, but inhabit or possess a creature temporarily.
‘Auto-Ride’ is the default setting, whereby a player has no control over the creature besides looking or turning of head. Keeping this setting ensures a degree of survival but is not ‘ultimate’ compared to when it has been mastered dynamically by an intelligent human player.
To override and assume manual control: a player says ‘Override’. Mastery of the creature may then begin.
Mastering a creature involves learning how it increases its energy and survives. This means a player can occupy this creature for longer periods, avoiding predators etc.
It is also limited by its habitat. If you transform into a creature found near to water, eg. dragonflies, then it will be unable to fly far from its area and a player will find that the energy of that creature depletes faster.
More lives and XP are awarded for time spent surviving and inhabiting any creature for time periods particular to that creature, indicating a degree of mastery.
Player: “Can an animal be tamed?”
Greenwise: “Yes. Only at Mage level.”
Player: “Can the Powers work together?”
Yes, but not Focus Powers. Eg. A player can Increase Hearing with Hunter Mode — activated by adopting claw gesture with one finger raised higher in the direction of listening.
An advanced player can move seamlessly between Focus Modes: Jumping and Transformations.
Each takes time to master to the highest level.
The choice of your mastership is yours, but it’s likely that events and environment will also affect your decision and turn you into a certain kind of player, just as in evolution a creature can acquire a skill that then affects their nature, such as physical form and lifespan.
Eg. A player who is a master at super-jumping will most likely only need to transform into small animals, for his coverage will already be swift without the assistance from birds.
Likewise a player who uses birds may only be able to jump small distances.
A player who masters all will be totally attuned to the fabric, and will likely be a Mage who can fend easily for themselves for many days.
When a player has become ‘master’ of an animal then he may move from one straight into another in a near-seamless leap. This can prove difficult due to the speed with which some creatures move. Otherwise, there will be gap where he becomes human.
There are some other combinations possible and updates still in beta phase, and these can be unlocked the more a player has progressed.
The player may now experiment with Transformations until energy/power depletes.
However, to progress they must find a Great Cedar or similar Insight Location in the forest, and use powers to achieve it, demonstrating basic mastery of powers. Also, to demonstrate an understanding or awareness of the natural world of Fountellion.
BOTTOM OF THE GREAT CEDAR
You may find the Great Cedar tree, within the High Tree Forest.
You look up from its base… and may see a Quest Marker depending on whether a relevant vision has been seen. This only indicates that the location may bear significance.
A player must find a way to climb to the top in order to gain a good view across the forest.
You will need to keep moving, for delay while focussing will attract the Stokermen.
You will need to transform into appropriate animals — and not fall.
Players will need to override at least one animal and perform two or more transformations to reach the high, inaccessible canopy of the tree, where super-jumping would be too inaccurate.
Surviving players will have acclimatised to the physics, energy management and experienced connection to the artificial life.
This is one path to the First Insight and the end of Progression One.
Bonus: If you transform into a bird at the top and circle around the tree, you may be able to catch a piece of the Lost Gamebook in the beak, and transform back into standard avatar to read it atop the tree.
TOP OF THE GREAT CEDAR
You reach into the very top of the crown of a Great Cedar Tree. This is one of the strong indicators that a player has fully acclimatised to the physics of the game-world via the interface.
Players may see a handwritten page in the form of a scroll in green lettering being turned over in the wind around the treetop. It only appears if the player has performed two or more transformations in close succession whilst in the tree.
With sufficient energy available you can change into an eagle that usually nests and perches close to the top. This is one way you can attain the scroll, by flying and catching the page in your beak, and then return to perch in the branches and transform back into human again.
From the heights of the swaying treetop you can see far across the tree-laden island and it’s an awesome, enticing view. The sun is setting so a bloody, orange light brushes the tree-tops and also what are a range of awesome mountain peaks in the furthest distance. It looks like the trees begin to thin at their base and lean, drunkenly.
Over to the right there seems to an amount of fog or smoke emanating from possibly a settlement of some kind.
Off to the left there is a solitary mountain, enshrouded also in a light mist.
Foreground: in the middle there is some kind of glittering light that draws the eye as it rises — closer — over the mass of trees, making it look like one tree in particular is… shining. It’s almost like some kind of magical party is going on in the forest with beautiful fireworks. It’s tempting too, as it is appears not far away — within a day’s reach. The glittering seems to have fire, a blue-ish silver and a lot of green dust moving within it, perpetually.
Furthest distance: you then realise that, beyond the mountains, there seems to be some kind of high tower rising to a thin spire that pierces — and disappears into — the base of a low-lying strand of misty cloud. But it is just too far. Eagle vision allows for more details, including a light at its pinnacle.
The overriding impression for the player to receive: that they have achieved this view above the trees, that this island is theirs, openly to roam. It’s a home. And it’s theirs to explore and to discover.
Greenwise: if he isn’t summoned then he may arrive as his Great Horned Owl. The player can then ask more about these features in the landscape stretched out before them.
THE FIRST INSIGHT: CONNECTION TO ALL LIFE
Greenwise will give the player a green eye inscribed with the activation phrase: ‘I am Interconnected.’
Speaking these words opens the eye and triggers an elaborate ‘insight’ that transports the player temporarily into a sequence of immersive, revelatory visions. They concern their unique role to the living fabric of the game, its energy and powers, and to their quest for acceptance of this role within it.
Visions include ‘recaptures’ of previous gameplay, including as one example, an ascension of the Great Cedar which involved transforming into different creatures.
Players will hear the voice of the fabric.
Living and dying — this inter-relationship….
The interconnected, ever-changing ‘coral of life’, honed by weather and death.
The competition and struggle of life…
Change: everything growing, evolving, influencing one another…
Weather forces and environmental influence or sphere… (cut-scenes)
Energy and creature powers
Importance of dependence on other people and other creatures.
Together these visions convey a sense of the interconnections and competition that enable the fabric to function in the same manner as nature and the energy pyramids of a real ecosystem.
By seeing through the eyes of different animals in order to ascend the tree, you will also have gained the first insight: animal perspective. This is realising the present. The necessity of the present and its dependence on a habitat. The absorption in an opportunistic moment, that adapts to an immediate natural environment and fulfils its role as energy conduit or consumer. For to most animals besides us, there is nothing else. And in this way they could be said to be alive, where we are — beyond childhood — much more ‘static’ and meditative, grown over-powerful in a mass community.
Includes: Previous dialogue with Greenwise…
Eg. ‘Everything is in a balance here… and you are a part of it…’
Concludes with a reminder and awareness of the function of primary emotions in context with the above and reassurance of their relationship with the game. Connection to the Stokermen too — to symbolise the danger we pose to ourselves.
Note: Players may achieve the first insight in a number of ways and locations in the game, but can only be achieved or located uniquely by them. Its location will depend on their gameplay progression.
When the insight ends, the player returns to their previous location with full Power mark. The eye will have disappeared.
Greenwise: His role is to contribute to the motivation or inspiration to continue the quest where ‘inter-connection’ is just one of the six themes relating to the attainment of balance within nature and the game.
Letters rise in the distance and for a moment you wonder if they’re something else, appearing out of the landscape, but they hang in the air, all across the vista:
PROGRESSION ONE: C O M P L E T E
You can wave the letters away with your hands to receive a scroll.
Green, animated ink begins to form in a distinctive, elegant flourish; as though alive and growing quickly onto the parchment…
‘Congratulations… you have progressed. You have successfully and safely acclimatised to the game fabric and to the full power of the interface. You have tasted ‘the Spiral reality’, a further, virtual dimension. You have attuned to the fabric via use of focus modes and choices. You have found the First Insight.’
EXAMPLE WALKTHROUGH SUMMARY:
You have encountered the game world of Fountellion.
You encountered the estuary, you gazed upon the shining waves rolling into the land.
You heard the whispers in the cornfield, of the fabric and the words of your guide, the Guardian.
You flexed your powers and used them to move and to survive.
You used communication and cooperation.
You hunted and fished, and restored lost energy.
You became the hunted and used this experience to escape your predators.
You are beginning to feel the connection via the finding of the First Insight.
NOTE: If you experience any adverse effects it may be because you have exited / ‘surfaced’ too quickly or without using vocal or gesture command. In case of the latter, the fabric will always begin a hidden process of ‘re-acclimatisation’ to your pre-set Source-based settings. However, in any case, be sure to log all such effects with our support team for assessment.
Flip the scroll to see GAME SESSION DATA + STATS [see Table of Contents] for Pioneer Dan Harvester…
Swipe the scroll to roll it up and continue…
Note to Players — It is hoped YOU will be able to ‘write’ a similar walkthrough of your own experience of the Fountellion game world based on, or using, its advanced recording/capture production features. Such accounts — blogs, vlogs, avalogs etc. — can aid the player to realise and reflect on their own experience, their journey, their findings and to share with fellow players their unique experiences — of which this text was but a seed cast into the earth…
For new source-celebrating songs to be sung — or whispered — through the shifting corn…
GAME SESSION DATA + EXTRA
This section provides game data on the previous gaming session just ‘experienced’…..
STATS and PROGRESSION SCORES: Dan Harvester [Pioneer]
NEW ‘KEEPER’ EMAIL:
Congratulations! On being the first E.A. Pioneer to Progress…
You are now: a Keeper of Fountellion Insight. Keep it well!
Let us know any feedback or reviews so we can continue to enhance the fabric for possible planned future updates as the game enters Open Beta…
Reminder: if you’ve noticed any bugs or glitches during your gameplay experience in your previous  sessions, please contact DD support and let us know.
Focus: Super-Jumping (Level 1/5) and Transformation (Level 2/5)
Hunter Mode with Increased Hearing
Damselfly — basic
Butterfly — basic
Red Squirrel — basic
Bald Eagle — basic
TRANSFORMATIONS / LIVES: 0
FABRIC AWARENESS (Greenwise Tuition): Level 1 attained
ENERGY MANAGEMENT: 80 (Acclimatisation Level: beginner)
COMMUNICATION SCORE: 60
COMMUNITY SKILLS: Fishing level 1
CHARACTERS ENCOUNTERED: Greenwise, Casper Gunn, Stokermen
FRIENDSHIPS AGREED: 1
GREENWISE SUMMONED: 1 time (+10 attunement)
includes: Energy Management etc, Insight — ‘Connection’ + Fabric Awareness = 320
Includes: Communication etc., Visions, Insight — ‘Connection’ + NATURE Score = 920
Gamebook Pages Acquired and Read: Preface to Original Gamebook
Transformation Lives Remaining Bonus: 0
Secret Areas discovered: 0
TOTAL FOUNTELLION XP = 1240 (Nature + Human etc.)
TOTAL PROGRESSION SCORE = 15
Avalog RECORDER: YES (capture release: LOCKED)
SESSIONS PLAYED: 2 (Fountellion Days = 2)
GAME ‘FULFILLMENT’ (Beta):
This is a score calculated from stats combining Creature Mastery, Communication, Cooperation, Friendships attained, Insights and Community Skills acquired.
It should present an idea of a player’s involvement with the experience of Fountellion beyond its shores.
Re-play your Game Captures in Capture Editor
Watch video footage of gameplay in Video Editor
PIONEER AWARD: Progression One and the First Insight
GREEN TORCH TROPHIES: ‘Leading Light’
GREENWISE STUDENT AWARD: Worthy
Please also read transcripts from Dan Harvester’s ‘Pioneer Super-Logs’ to get a more personal — early — idea of Fountellion experience.
ade mc, sci-fi, 2017