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BlockMaster

Blue frogs in the Time Pod NEW : Now (maybe) solved!

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Ok, I opened Space Quest IV with SCI studio and this is all the text and messages that are related to the Time Pod :

"ENT"? Must be a secret code. Perhaps it means "SELF DESTRUCT" or maybe "CHANGE RETURN"?,
That's your head, Roger. Now use it for something.,
You talk to yourself.,
Scratching your head doesn't make it work any better. It only loosens unsightly dandruff.,
It's some sort of monitor. Probably used to monitor something or other.,
This appears to be the display for the keypad below it.,
This is a small panel which provides access to the innards of the time pod. IF you have a 3P-223/4QR access panel wrench, that is. ,
The small access panel is inaccessible.,
It's a large compartment that's probably full of instruction manuals, code books, time maps, and the like. Too bad it's also locked.,
The large compartment doesn't actually open.,
A standard time-pod headrest. Not very comfortable, but the regular operators have metal heads, so it's not a concern... for them.,
The powerful quad-quark drives rev to life!,
The time pod's headrest is non-adjustable. Evidently, Sequel Police are all the same height.,
Those are unshielded quark power cables. No telling what they're doing to your DNA's genetic structures right now.,
You don't want to touch those. You might mutate your fingers.,
This is the Time/Space Coordinate Entry Unit. ,
It's part of the Time/Space Coordinate Entry Unit. ,
That button opens the canopy.,
Placing your proboscus closer to the switch would result in severe quark burns from the unshielded cables. But it might also rid you of those unsightly nose hairs. ,
Licking switches is never a good idea unless your into the kind of buzz that causes you to loose all control of your muscle system. This could results in the lose of control of all bodily functions.,
You're sitting inside a time machine, remember?,
The time pod's interior feels smooth and cool to the touch.,
Time and space bend under the fibrilations of the time rip trans-fluxers. Your adrenalin (and stomach) reel with the hyperbolic hyperbole...!,
Not only does the time pod look like a used tennis shoe, from the inside, it SMELLS like one, too!,
Peering through the port you see an unusual land. It's wind-carved pinnacles and buttes bring back memories of the planet Kerona where this whole adventure mess started. ,
This looks like some type of arcade where people mindlessly go adrenal via the latest and not-so-late mind-boggling shoot-m-ups and maze games. ,
You look out at the city you were born in decades ago. You're sure glad you weren't here when this devastion happened. You might have gotten hurt. On the bright side, you won't have to pay those delinquent traffic tickets. ,
Memories race through your mind. You know you've seen this place in your distant past. The low-resolution features look exactly like a place you once visited called Ulence Flats. ,
This view provides a flashback to a recent adventure. It looks real hot out there. Hot enough for ThermoWeave underware. ,
You look out at the city you were born in decades ago. The capital building stands (just barely) with a huge hole in it. You're sure glad you weren't here when it happened. You might have gotten hurt. On the bright side, you won't have to pay those delinquent traffic tickets. ,
Blue frogs on my shoulder makes me hap-py...,
Where To?,
It was the "I Love Lunacy" show! You must have briefly tuned into the electronic entrails of some long-lost civilization. ,
And, finally... FINALLY...,
... nothing happens. You're already there, Roger!,
Nothing much happens. That must not have been a valid code. Try again! ,
It's a button with a strange symbol on it. You vaguely remember these symbols from your fifth grade Time Theory class with crazy Mrs. Drimple. ,
This is a manual keypad. The voice-activated model won't be out until SQ XIV or so.,
The read-out displays some interesting symbols similiar to those on the keypad. You wonder if these might bear some significance.,

After looking at that, I realized that there is a bunch of messages that are related to the Nose or Tongue icons. However, you can't use these icons in the Time Pod. Tell me if you find something else about this.

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I found a copy of that clip on a little SQ website that some of you might have heard of...

 

In a similar vein, I got this line to play when I tried talking to the big, one-eyed red guy in the Galaxy Galleria. I think he was standing on the moving walkway at the time, but I don't recall any other details (this was several years ago).

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I found a copy of that clip on a little SQ website that some of you might have heard of...

 

Thanks so much, Akril! :D

 

I'm going crazy in the time pod. I'm using every icon on every thing. I still didn't find the Blue Frogs message yet. If I find it, I'll tell you.

 

I've been there, my friend. You'll go click-crazy after a while. And there's a perfectly good chance that the message actually doesn't appear in the game at all.

 

(Oh, that reminds me: have fun with the elevator in SQ6. That seemingly innocuous little screen is actually one of the most click-event-nuts screens in the entire series.)

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Could be a leftover from the days when SQ4 had a text parser. Perhaps you would input "bluefrog" into the parser, trigger that message, and then it would pull up a warp menu (which is also in the Time Pod's internal script file).

 

There's a few messages which have been written (and even voiced by Gary Owens) into the SQ4 code but there's no evident way of triggering them.

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The problem with SCI scripts is that there is no decompiler. You can get some idea of what is going on in a script and see the strings used with the Sierra Viewer, but it is not anything like a script that could be recompiled, even if you had a compiler that can handle SCI1 and higher.

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I see.

 

Strange enough, about the time pod, I found a red button below the time coordinates entry in the debug. You can't interact with it and it's not there in the released version. I wonder what it is.

 

Have you ever searched on google: "Blue frogs on my shoulder makes me happy"? I did, and apart of some spacequest.net results, I found a song titled : sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy, which is sang by John Denver. Also, the melody is the same. Suspiscious, isn't it?

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Maybe it is a play of that song plus a reference to Quest for Glory II's "suck blue frog" cheat. The only thing that will stay as a mystery is how to trigger it, and I don't think it's in-game anymore.

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I think I'm the closest that I could get to solve the mystery of the Blue Frogs line. I looked at all the comments, searched in the game and script of both the CD version and the beta (I can't look in the files of my copy of the original version, since it's a french copy, and it is on my Windows 98 that can't connect to internet, and that doesn't support USBs.), and I came up with this thoughts :

 

First, I looked in the files of Space Quest IV beta, and that line, and the frog::doVerb script are not there, so it is not something from the time that Space Quest IV had a text parser, since the beta is from the time where they already changed to point-and-click, so it was added sometime between the beta and the release.

 

Second : It's probably a reference to Hero's Quest/ Quest For Glory II "suck blue frog" cheat

 

Third : I'm almost sure it's also a parody on the song "Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy", by John Denver.

 

Fourth : I found another line in the text files of the time pod room, just after the Blue Frogs line, that isn't there in the game : Where To? I looked in the frog::doVerb script, and that line is there in the script :

 

frog::doVerb:
link $1
pushi $1a ; 26, back
lofsa string_0883 ; "Where To?"
push
pushi $1b ; 27, mode
push1
pushi $4d ; 77, 'M', title
lofsa string_088d ; "Time-O-Matic"
push
pushi $6d ; 109, 'm', new
pushi $4e ; 78, 'N', button
lofsa string_089a ; "Estros"
push
pushi $6 ; nsTop
pushi $6d ; 109, 'm', new
pushi $4e ; 78, 'N', button
lofsa string_08a1 ; "Mall"
push
pushi $c ; 12, lsBottom
pushi $6d ; 109, 'm', new
pushi $4e ; 78, 'N', button
lofsa string_08a6 ; "Xenon"
push
pushi $12 ; 18, brBottom
pushi $6d ; 109, 'm', new
pushi $4e ; 78, 'N', button
lofsa string_08ac ; "Ulence"
push
pushi $18 ; 24, elements
pushi $6d ; 109, 'm', new
pushi $4e ; 78, 'N', button
lofsa string_08b3 ; "Ortega"
push
push0
pushi $6d ; 109, 'm', new
calle export816_1, $34
sal local[$2]
lsg global[$80]
ldi $2
lt?
bnt code_14f8
lsl local[$2]
ldi $6 ; nsTop
eq?
bnt code_14f8
push2
pushi $213 ; 531, talkWidth
push0
calle export816_1, $4
jmp code_1553
 
That makes me think that it is the script for a time pod warp menu, where you can press a button to go somewhere instead of having to type the code manually. I'm 87.35% sure that it is not accessible in-game, because that script calls two animations for the buttons and text : view 77 and view 78, and these views are not in the files. I think originally, the Blue Frogs line was triggered with either the Smell or Taste icons, and that's how the Two Guys made it inaccessible, since you can't use these icons in the Time Pod. (edit: you can't use those icons in the Time pod in the beta either, so the Smell and Taste icons have nothing to do with the Blue Frog line.)  At a certain point, you could, though; some lines in that room look like they were triggered by smelling or tasting :
 
Placing your proboscus closer to the switch would result in severe quark burns from the unshielded cables. But it might also rid you of those unsightly nose hairs. ,
Licking switches is never a good idea unless your into the kind of buzz that causes you to loose all control of your muscle system. This could results in the lose of control of all bodily functions.,
Not only does the time pod look like a used tennis shoe, from the inside, it SMELLS like one, too!,
 
So that's the result of my research. Thoughts are always appreciated and I would like to know if I'm wrong in any of this.
 
BlockMaster

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Nice job, Blocky!

 

I always thought it was some obscure line triggered by using the smell/taste icon on something, but I must have clicked on every single pixel of that time pod and it never showed up.

 

For the record, I think the tennis shoe line comes up when you're outside the time pod on Estros. I seem to remember the Look message describing the time pod as an overgrown tennis shoe.

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OKAY

So I've been scouring the game's resource files with SCI Viewer. I discovered something a little extra, though not at all helpful to actually get this thing triggered (at least not yet). I looked at the disassembled script, the messages resource, and the heap resource for the Time Pod room. According to the heap file, this is the frog's instance:

instance frog of Sq4Feature
{
    x               = $0
    y               = $0
    z               = $0
    heading         = $0
    noun            = $0
    modNum          = $ffff        ; -1
    nsTop           = $b7        ; 183, setMark
    nsLeft          = $1b        ; 27, mode
    nsBottom        = $bd        ; 189, open
    nsRight         = $3e        ; 62, '>', replay
    sightAngle      = $6789        ; 26505
    actions         = $0
    onMeCheck       = $6789        ; 26505
    approachX       = $0
    approachY       = $0
    approachDist    = $0
    _approachVerbs  = $0
    lookStr         = $25        ; 37, '%', message

    doVerb()
}

Notice the nsTop, nsLeft, nsBottom, and nsRight values. Being familiar with SCI0 code conventions, these are values for a bounding box on the screen. In this case it seems to be for a click event. Here's a picture of the area the bounding box encloses, which happens to be Roger's left shoulder when sitting in the Time Pod, which makes sense given the content of the message itself:

 

roger_shoulder.png

 

So what interaction is it? At first glance it seems to definitely not be use, look, or talk as none of those trigger it. Indeed, looking, using, or talking to Roger's shoulders yields generic responses for the entire pod. No inventory object I've tried works either. Everything else is greyed out (lick, smell, walk). At first I thought that Blocky here was correct and that it was probably an interaction for one of the greyed out icons. Yet, in the heap resource the message is tied to an identifier called "lookStr" (presumably "Look String"), which logically would mean that it is only triggered by looking at it. But it obviously isn't. This leads me to believe that it only triggers under certain circumstances. So what are those circumstances?

 

I thought it might be illuminating to boot up the beta version of SQ4 and see if I can somehow find a way to trigger it. Unfortunately, the Blue Frog line isn't in the beta version. However, it is in the disk versions. Sadly, the debug mode was removed from all SCI1+ final releases. I'm going to continue to dig into the script and heap files, though, and see if I can spot some condition under which it triggers.

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