It consists of a complex in the middle of an ocean that operates like something between a pinball game and an amusement park. Its purpose was to teach Sirrus and Achenar the tenet that "Dynamic Forces Spur Change" but apparently, Atrus wanted them to have fun during the process.
Amateria is the source of many crystals with special properties. Each crystal in its natural state generates a harmonic that excites the water molecules causing them to bond and form a shield of ice. A rotating Water Lathe can mold an ice sphere which however is quite fragile and susceptible to harmonic vibrations. Atrus had imported some crystals to Narayan, which, combined to the special properties of the native water, created large impenetrable ice shields out of the mist. There are also stones with magnetic properties that attracts or repel other stones and can float.
The complex contains three main puzzles, revolving around the central pagoda where the ice spheres are created in and dropped from its top. Once launched, the sphere rolls along the circuit around the structures, triggering mechanisms, but also breaking upon a hazard or an incomplete track. The purpose is to correct and connect all tracks, so that the sphere completes its course.
When one puzzle has been complete, The control panels for the three main puzzles will close revealing a hexagonal code; the codes are for the three similar looking panels along the length of the main bridge to the central pagoda. When the correct code is entered in to the panel and its related puzzle solved, the three lowered sections of the bridge will raise and the player may gain entrance to the central pagoda.
The circuit contains the following courses...
- the ball's track is first through the "blue" structure, the Resonance Rings to the east
- return to the tower; a segment of track to the offshore structure raises
- the "yellow" structure, the Balance Bridge to the north
- back to the tower; the second segment of track rises
- out to the "green" structure, Turntable Tracks to the south
- back through the tower; raising the third segment of track
- finally, as all the segments have been raised, the ball goes to the "red" offshore structure to the west.
GeographyEditThe Age seems to be an artificial island consisting of mineral formations supplemented by oriental-looking man-made structures. Much of the minerals seem to be basaltic (as evidenced by the hexagonal formations) and an odd blue-glowing crystal. The natural hexagonal pattern is repeated in other artifacts such as the pagodas.
Towering basalt columns to the north form a tunnel with hexagonal steps and glowing crystal fragments; Atrus had put a chain-link guardrail there, as well as Fire Marble lanterns carved into the columns complementing the natural light. A left fork leads to a wooden walkway and to the Balance Bridge standing above mineral deposits and a honeycomb of glowing, geyser-formed paint pots; the right fork passes by an elevator shaft carved into the basalt, and a tunnel lit by glowing blue crystals ending up to Saavedro's Cave and a series of crumbling basalt columns.
To the south is a field of hexagonal pools and moss-covered columns; a wooden path traverses aong a series of columns veined by glowing crystaline formations, and a wooden ladder leading back to the link-in point pagoda.
4 structures dominate each compass point of the complex, around a huge pagoda that occupies the center of the island. All are traversed by elevated twisting and turning tracks that come from and end back to the towering pagoda.
Points of InterestEdit
- Central Tower
A big pagoda in the center of the Age with 7 doorways and tracks; one set beginning under its top, another running into its doorways. The cupola-like top levitates into the air and spawns an ice sphere out of thin air with a Water Lathe.
Its base contains an immense, track-covered switchyard with initially disarrayed tracks curving across nine circular platforms. An automatic suspended stairway leads to a chair in the middle of the tower with an Imager where Saavedro has recorded a message for Atrus.
A handle raises the chair above the tower to a view that spans the entire island. Above the chair, 4 colored buttons launch ice spheres toward the different structures. A wooden console controls the tracks in the switchyard below so that an ice sphere can roll unhidered inside and out all tracks ending to the offshore structure.
- Pagoda Walkway
The wooden walkway west of the Central Tower. The link-in point to the Age is a small wooden pagoda just beyond the Offshore Structure. A wooden path leads to the Central Tower but with gaps. 3 podiums with hexagonal code boxes stand out with stone hexagonal buttons to enter the special pattern that is revealed each time one of the 3 puzzles is solved, so that the gaps are closed with a trap door. (For safety reasons, the mechanism works only if the puzzles have been solved)
Another small pagoda beyond a slatted wooden bridge has a bench with a linking book back to the Dynamic Forces Tusk of J'nanin for an early return. The bridge continues into a basaltic tunnel to the north.
- Resonance Rings
The console of the puzzle is reached by climbing a set of rungs in the eastern end of the northern basaltic tunnel. The control panel is actually a timing mechanism; once activated, 5 rotating years bear a marble around 5 buttons in sequence, deactivating any crystals set to a particular frequency. The shape of the gears, and the button framed by each shape, correspond to the shape of the dial setting under each crystal. When a button deactivates a crystal, it also deactivates its resonance ring, allowing the ice sphere to pass through. When the puzzle is solved, a hexagonal combinationis revealed, inside a blue border.
- Saavedro's Cave
A circular atreum at the eastern end of the basalt tunnel. Saavedro has painted a mural with monstrous, laughing images of Sirrus and Achenar above the Narayan civil war, with Saavedro in the middle of the conflict. On the way to the Resonance Ring there is a series of crumbling basalt columns resembling the skeleton of a whale.
- Turntable Tracks
The puzzle consists of 2 large wheels, each having 6 rings, half of which hold spring mechanisms (the other are open to the sea below). Between them, and above some of these rings are 4 track arches. When the ice sphere sits on the left wheel, it turns counterclockwise, whereas on the right wheel, it turns clockwise. The goal is to program the rotation so that an ice sphere jumps back and forth between the wheels and end up to the right wheel, in its ring at the 10 o'clock position. to make a successful jump, the sphere must be aligned with one of the 4 arched tracks, or it shatters; additionally, if the sphere lands in an open ring it falls into the sea.
The console is found behind a slatted door, among the southern field of hexagonal pools. It has 2 dials representing the wheels and rotating accordingly, and a tray with 3 pegs. Each has 5 holes to receive one of 3 pegs; when a peg rotates to the bottom position of a dial, the ice sphere on the correspondng wheel is launched (and the peg slides through a hole and drops back into the tray). When the puzzle is solved, the console reveals a hexagonal pattern combination within a green border.
- Balance Bridge
Looping tracks that curve around a basalt column run through the pipe, while a "catch-basket" for some weight hangs from one end of the bridge; from the other end a rope hangs and drop down through a hut's roof reaching a counterweight inside the Weight Room.
When the puzzle operates, the ice sphere that rolls out, clips the weight-ball (a ball consisting of 1 crystal wedge and 7 wooden wedges) sending it into the catch-basket to balance the bridge, before the ice sphere attempts to cross the bridge. The goal is to balance the bridge properly so that the sphere safely crosses it.
- A lookout ledge atop the basalt caverns, reachable from a wooden elevator below. It gives a close-up view of the massive Balance Bridge mechanism and the weight ball.
- Control panel
- Sitting on a cross-shaped wooden platform above the mineral formations, it operates the fulcrum mechanism to 3 different points, changing the distribution of weight. When the puzzle is solved, a hexagonal code is revealed on the casing inside a yellow border.
- Weight Room
- A hut underneath the massive fulcrum bridge, from which a wooden balance hangs by a rope above. Wedges of crystal, metal, and wood lie on a bench along the back of the room in order to assemble the counterweight to the ball in the basket at the other end.
- Offshore Platform
- Saavedro has left a part of his journal next to the elevetor at the Balance Bridge Lookout (p. 12)
- He smashed many of the wedges in the Weight Room making it impossible to achieve a one-to-one weight ratio.
- He has left p. 3 of his journal near the Control Panel of the Resonance Rings.
- He has left p. 12 near the Control Panel of the Turntable Tracks
- He has jammed one of the holes in said Control Panel; originally, there was a simpler way to solve the puzzle.
- Using floating stones, he erased with sap the Narayan symbol on the surface of the western columns (he left the letters for "change" and "force")
Notes & TriviaEdit
- The symbol of Amateria is an oval that probably represents the doors that lead into the pagoda. The same symbol appears in the loading screen of the game.