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From: sharvey@enteract.com (sharvey)
Date: 20 Jan 1997 03:20:03 GMT

Obsidian 
Hints and Tips

 The Bureau 
 Spider Realm 

 Fire Balcony 
 Air Balcony 
 Metal Balcony 
 Oil Balcony 

 Bismuth 

 The Plane 
 The Statue 
 The Piazza 
 The Church of the Machine 
 The Frame in the Sky 

 Conductor Realm 

 Max's Prison 
 Control Room 


I've broken this section into two separate areas: one for gentle and semi-gentle 
hints; the second is spoilers and walkthroughs. I've placed the spoilers in a 
separate page to prevent any accidental glimpsing of the solutions. Consider it 
instant-gratification prevention. 

The Bureau 

The majority of The Bureau can be figured out with the help of the upside-down 
section of the manual. If, for some reason, you're one of those types that 
derives some perverse pleasure from torturing yourself by not reading the 
instructions, do so. 

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Spider Realm

A general hint for this realm is to make sure you find all the places you can 
travel to. Specifically, several of the large scaffolds in the center of the 
factory can be climbed. This is not always immediately obvious and bears 
mentioning to save your sanity and keep frustrations levels low. 

Once you have harnessed each of the elements, returning through the portal will 
take you to a sort of control room. You will be shown a large star field through 
a window, and a small snapshot of whatever balcony you just returned from. Note 
that you can look down from the view of the stars, where you'll find the photo, 
a strange central symbol, and four slots with matching icons. 

Hints:

 One photograph, four slots. That's a 25% chance. 
 Ancient civilizations created constellations in the stars, usually of symbols 
that held some import or power to them. The symbol on the center of the console 
seems pretty important to someone... 

Fire Balcony 

The Fire Balcony is only one scene: a starkly evocative image of a strange tree 
waving its limbs up and down against a fiery sky. 

Gentle hints: 

 Beneath each limb, a rod is set into the rock. Click them and watch what 
happens. 
 Did you notice the sun peeking through the clouds? 

Less gentle: 

 Clicking and holding on the rods causes the appropriate limb to stop waving. By 
doing so, you can change the order in which the limbs touch the rods. 
 Lightning never strikes the same place twice - it strikes different places all 
in sequence. 
 What would happen if lightning were to strike a rod when a limb was touching 
it? 

Air Balcony 

The Air Balcony is a landscape of gray-purple spheres, a strange cannon, and a 
tornado. Note than you can look down from the screen with the cannon. 

Gentle hints: 

 Ready, aim, fire: the cannon fires a sphere, which strikes the ground and 
causes a column to raise up. Tornadoes don't like cylinders. 
 Maybe that break in the pipe has something to do with something... 

Less gentle: 

 Hmm, some sponge balls and some air squeezers. Try arranging the balls in 
various ways on the grid. 

Metal Balcony 

A parade of nanobots, leaping off a rock formation and depositing green 
somethings into a funnel. Then, they stop. 

Gentle hints: 

 There's a conveyor belt with a strange symbol. Press the button. 
 Look inside the access panel at the other end of the conveyor belt. We've got 
an empty space that seems to hold a container - maybe some kind of catalyst? 
 Make a note of the "formula" on the back wall of the access panel. 
 How did you fare in chemistry class? Not so good? To the right of the chemistry 
set are some instructional videos. Watch them, and take good notes, student! 
 Also, students are advised to study the Periodic Table overhead. 

Less gentle: 

 You need to prepare a formula that changes "green" into "orange". 
 You've got a vial of "green" to test your theories. 
 Compare the diagram overhead with the arrangement of test tubes on the left. 
Pouring a test tube into a beaker will show you the "number" of that element. 
 Watch the videos again, paying close attention to what happens when two 
"double" elements are combined. There's a rule that obeys when they mix and when 
they don't. Count your "pips". 

Oil Balcony 

The Oil Balcony is a sandy dune-covered place with an elaborate sand castle. 
Those sound like seagulls in the distance... 

Gentle hints: 

 There's a number written in the sand at your feet. Find something else that 
will use these numbers. 
 Something's wrong with the ocean - it's out of sync. 

Less gentle: 

 Can't find any more oil? The ocean is a great source of oil, but the choppy 
waves make any kind of drilling impossible. Smoother seas would probably make a 
big difference. 
 Did you cross the suspension bridge that leads into the and castle? Not the way 
to the oil collector, but around the front. Up the long, long spiral staircase 
is a survey map that might help you look for oil. Scroll the map to a spot that 
produced oil, but is now dry. The map still looks the same, however. Pay 
attention to those topographic lines and see if you can find a similar 
arrangement somewhere else. 

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Bismuth 

Junkyard 

Not much to do here, except to scale the mountains of junk. 

The Plane 

Fly, fly away. At least that's the general plan. Might take some pre-flight 
work, however. 

Gentle hints: 

 Have a seat, pilot. Make sure you look to the right to check out your copilot. 
 Turn her on and let's fly. Hmmm. No power. Maybe you should go aft and check on 
the engine. 

Less gentle: 

 Watch the nanobots go round and round. Did you look at what they're turning? 
It's called a zoetrope. 
 First waves, now wings. Perhaps something is out of order. 

The Statue 

A gigantic Bismuth, towering over everything in sight. Upstairs, don't miss the 
fabulous museum exhibits. Take a painting class from Bismuth. 

Gentle hints: 

 Try the yellow button. Watch the shapes change. Submit with the green button. 
Watch him paint. 
 Did you try moving any of those pieces? Weird... 
 Did you notice what happens when you try to combine two of the shapes on the 
tray? Nothing happens. Exactly. 

Less gentle: 

 Didn't that empty frame say something about the artist combining what came 
before into a work of his own? 
 Bismuth doesn't like any of your designs? Maybe he's a minimalist. Remember the 
old art adage: Less is more. 

The Piazza 

Don't worry, it's not a chess problem. 

Gentle hints: 

 Quite a collection of strange objects, isn't it? Have you noticed you can click 
on any of them that you can see, even if they're not directly adjacent to you? 
Keep moving and selecting objects until something unusual happens - it always 
does. Interesting "music", isn't it? 
 On the "north" side of the piazza is a place from which you can ascend to the 
balcony overlooking the piazza. Stand either on the square with the chess queen 
or the large urn and face the wall. 

Less gentle: 

 "To find success, you must first trap inspiration." A trap is a device or plan 
that prevents someone or something from moving. Where was the last place you saw 
Bismuth in the video clip? 
 Listen to the music when you step off a square. Count the notes. There seems to 
be a correlation between the number of notes played and where you find Bismuth 
hiding behind the playing pieces. 
 Practice playing on the miniature game in the balcony. It's much easier when 
you can see everything at once. Also, one piece has been taken away kind of like 
you can do by clicking on one of the full-size objects. 

The Church of the Machine 

Worshipping machines is not a devotion limited to the citizens of the Internet; 
Re-visit your old friend The Spider and see what he can do for you, not to you. 

Gentle hints: 

 Don't overlook Bismuth, who's sitting quietly reading a book. Maybe it's a book 
of spiritual rituals. 
 In the catherdral below sits Abraxas, quietly waiting for you to give him some 
orders. 
 What about the blank circuit chip? Three spaces, three designs. Hmmm 
 Welcome to the world of robot programming. Program a sequence of steps and 
enjoy the ride. 

Less gentle: 

 Your goal is to have the spider hold the chip up to each of the three stained-
glass windows. Each one will imprint one of the three mystical symbols on the 
chip. 
 Note that the sequence of maneuvers will loop back to the beginning once the 
sequence is complete. 
 Also, it's helpful to note that any of the three "turn" moves include making 
the turn and also moving one space forward simultaneously. 
 You have to do it all in one process or the chip's memory gets erased and you 
have to start over. Don't overlook the advantages of the square loop in the 
"south" part of the cathedral. Those mystic symbols sure look similar to the 
programming buttons on the Spiders's control console 
 Remember Bismuth and his book? Check back with him periodically - he 
occasionally reads further, shedding more light onto the mysterious rituals. 
(Thanks to Pete Hill for this.) 

The Frame in the Sky 

It's not really a place, but a passageway. If you haven't been to the Statue and 
the Church of the Machine, you'll have to complete those areas first. Also, 
while probably not strictly necessary, playing the game in the Piazza will come 
in quite helpful. 

Gentle hints: 

 Let Bismuth fly the Plane. He knows where to go. 
 Listen carefully when Bismuth gives you directions during the pre-flight check. 
One of his commands is a bit hard to understand, and confusion is natural, 
sometimes even beneficial. 

Less gentle: 

 Was that B2 or D2 as the second command? Hmmm 
 "Kill sequence and begin again." You don't always have to do what you're told. 
 Interesting, isn't it, that the pre-flight switch panel has the same number of 
switches as the Piazza has squares? 
 Did you just flip those switches blindly, neglecting to check the indicator 
lights underneath? Interesting. 

Conductor Realm 

I take no responsibility for any nightmares this relatively small realm may lead 
to. I know it freaked me out. 

Max's Prison 

Hints: 

 I don't know how to hint toward the obvious goal, all I can say is pay 
attention to the fact that the sections move until they run into another 
section. If anyone has a specific moves list for this puzzle, please e-mail it 
and I'll add it in. 
 Once you reach Max, you'll need to disrupt the flow of energy that's keeping 
him prisoner. Look down and yank out that vial of icky orange stuff and he'll be 
freed. I'd really hate to learn that this is the orange stuff we worked so hard 
to make in the Steel Balcony chemistry lab 

The Chip 

All I know is that it's the crossover chip from the Plane. 

Control Room 

Ah, the Conductor. Isn't she a sweetheart? Max wants you to flip the switches on 
the panel to crash the entire system. Easier than it sounds. 

Hints: 

 Again, I don't have a specific moves list, but I do know how it works. Max told 
you to flip "the 8 switches" to defeat the protection. When the switches "move", 
half of them do not get covered again. By "covered", I mean they don't have the 
camouflage moving onto them. It's the other 8 you need to flip. Sit far back 
from your monitor and try-not to go blind by crossing your eyes and trying to 
watch a large area. 

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