aunt flora’s mansion is my second puzzlescript game! my first was a remake of doug beeferman’s 1991 puzzle game, cyberbox. flora’s mansion is a riff off of that game: i made it using all of the pieces from my cyberbox port. there are some neat machines you can build out of cyberbox’s pushers, sliders and teleporters: gates with switches, turnstile-like bottlenecks. it seemed perfect for building some sort of intricate, interlocking, interestingly-connected structure, so that’s what i tried to do with flora’s mansion.
using puzzlescript’s “flickscreen” mode (think of the first legend of zelda: walk off one screen, and the camera “flicks” over to the next), i built a puzzle game that comprises one large, continous area, with puzzles as bottlenecks. (sort of like beeferman’s own cyberbox sequel.) the biggest thrill for me in games as a kid was spaces that existed in parallel, where i could look from one area into another one that i didn’t have immediate access to: the feeling of sneaking around secret passages behind the walls, observing but unobserved. i tried to fit lots of spaces like that into flora’s mansion.
puzzlescript isn’t really built super well to accomodate flickscreen stuff. the whole game is essentially one large room, so there’s no way to reset an individual screen without resetting the whole thing. in fact, originally puzzlescript only saved the number of the room the player was up to and not the state of that room, so trying to “continue” the game just reset the game. stephen fixed the bug yesterday, so the player is no longer required to finish the entire game in a single sitting.
saving’s still not ideal: it’s possible to save in an unwinnable position and not get out of it. without a way to reset individual screens or allow multiple save states, i’ve done the best i can to make getting stuck as hard as possible. in an earlier version of the game, saving happened automatically upon entering a new room (when the name of the room pops up – “MAIN HALL,” “KITCHEN” – that’s when it would save). that made the problem way worse, because you could go exploring an accidentally trigger a save.
currently, to save, you step onto a heart (they’re all over the mansion) and press X or the spacebar. it’ll ding. that’s a save – if you press R (for “reset”) at any time, you’ll jump back to the last time you saved. as long as you don’t save in the middle of a puzzle, you shouldn’t get stuck.
click here to play aunt flora’s mansion! thanks to alan hazelden, stephen lavelle, jonah ostroff and jamie perconti for technical assistance, and jen ada, john h., chris harris, and kelsey higham for playtesting and feedback. and thanks as always to my patreon patrons for supporting the development of this game. they got lots of maps and updates on the game’s progress during development and also got to play it during the month that i was unable to release it because of the saving bug. so if getting to see my projects early is a thing that appeals to you, consider supporting me on patreon!
also, if you click the “hack” link on the bottom of the page, you can check out the source code.