Your Name is Marîd Audran...
Source: Jean-François Podevin
...although sometimes you wake up in such bad shape that you forget that. Sometimes you stay too long in the bars, sometimes people beat you up before you get home—morning is always an adventure, isn't it?
You live in a great city somewhere in the Islamic world, between romantic Casablanca on the Atlantic coast of Morocco and the ancient capitals of Persia far to the east. You probably couldn't find the city on a map, because that's never been important to you. You're a very practical kind of guy, and what's important to you is scoring enough cash to keep a roof over your head and eat for another day. If there's a few kiam left over, well, the part of town where you live is called the Budayeen—the one quarter of this Muslim city where crime and vice are tolerated. You like crime and vice. You're very good at that kind of thing.
The year is 1629 A.H. in the Muslim calendar (that's roughly 2202 A.D. in the Christian era). It's a time that seems specially designed for a guy like you—a fun-loving, smart Algerian refugee with his brain wired to accept "moddies" (modules that let you be someone else entirely, real or fictional) and "daddies" (add-ons that give you temporary knowledge of any subject under the sun). You, Marîd, may have an added advantage. You have a special brain implant that lets you control certain of your body's functions—for all the good that might do you.
You've got a lot of friends in the Budayeen, but most of them are petty hustlers, thieves, burnt-out cases of various kinds—you know, scum. Your kind of folks. And watching everything you do is Friedlander Bey—"Papa"—who owns just about everything and everyone...
Now let's see if you can get out of bed and scramble for today's meals. And stay out of the clinic—or the morgue—for one more day.
That's not too much to ask, is it?
In CIRCUIT'S EDGE, you assume the role of Marîd Audran, a private investigator living in a future ghetto called the Budayeen. You will be called upon to use your deductive powers—and your moddies and daddies— to solve the various mysteries within the game.
The action in CIRCUIT'S EDGE takes place after When Gravity Fails and before A Fire in the Sun, two novels by George Alec Effinger featuring Marîd Audran and the Budayeen. The characters and the places are drawn directly from the novels, but the story of the game is new. See the Guide to the Budayeen for more details about Effinger's world.
Author's Note About CIRCUIT'S EDGE
This game is based directly on my series of books about the Budayeen, a rough, dangerous neighborhood set in some unnamed 23rd-century city in North Africa or the Middle East. I chose an Islamic background for these books because I wanted to learn more about the Muslim culture and way of life, which I found immensely fascinating.
I was flattered when I was asked by the people at Infocom to write a game set in my futuristic world and based on the main character in my novels, Marîd Audran. Since I first bought a computer three years ago, I've been a big fan of Infocom games.
I shared with my collaborators at Infocom a concern that the world of the Budayeen as depicted in my fiction is in some respects too gritty and decadent for a computer game that will be played and enjoyed by people of various ages and beliefs. Most importantly, we agreed that, in my fiction, Marîd Audran often acts in very self-destructive ways, and that surely one of his worst failing is his dependency on drugs.
Neither in my novels nor in CIRCUIT'S EDGE am I attempting to glorify the taking of drugs, excessive use of alcohol, promiscuous sexual conduct, or the use of violence as a solution to everyday problems. As a realistic author, I depict such behavior in my books because people do act in such ways in the real world—and indeed I foresee that many kinds of vice and decadence will be more prevalent in the far-future world of the Budayeen than they are in most cultures today. However, in creating CIRCUIT'S EDGE, I agreed with my collaborators at Infocom that Marîd Audran's use of drugs should be both downplayed and indeed punished. We agreed further that excessive violence, abusive sexuality, and other forms of vice and decadence which appear often in my books, but which might be offensive to some game players and critics, should be treated in the game with tact and respect for a broad range of tastes.
I hope that you enjoy playing CIRCUIT'S EDGE as much as I've enjoyed helping to create it.
George Alec Effinger
New Orleans, Louisiana
Getting Right Into the Game
When you load the game, an introductory sequence describing some of the characters and the setting plays repeatedly until you exit. Press Enter to advance screen by screen through the introduction; press the spacebar to escape the sequence and start the game. (Make sure that NumLock is OFF.)
You start the game inside Marîd's apartment.
Using the Menus
To use any of the menus along the top of the screen, type the first letter of the menu entry (for example, type G to call up the Game menu). To select an option from a menu, type the appropriate number (for example, typing 2 when the game options are listed toggles the sound on and off). Type the first letter of each menu and watch what happens. Do not type E (Exit) yet.
You can also call up menus and move through them using the numeric keypad or a mouse. Press Enter or the mouse button to select an option.
Exploring the Budayeen
Once you're in Marîd's apartment, you'll soon receive a phone call (notice that the Talk menu blinks and you hear a ringing sound, if the sound is on). Type T to listen to the phone call. When the word More appears at the bottom of the text screen, press any key to continue the conversation.
Now type E to exit your apartment. In the lower right corner of the screen is a small overhead view of the Budayeen, with an arrow showing your current location. Use the arrow keys or the 2, 4, 6, and 8 keys on the numeric keypad to move around. (Again, make sure that NumLock is OFF.)
Explore the Budayeen until you know your way around and feel comfortable with the menus. Then restart the game (from the Game menu) and start your investigations.
Screens and Maps
There are two main screen layouts in CIRCUIT'S EDGE: The first is used when you're inside establishments and when you're moving around the Budayeen, and the second is used during fights. The fight screen is explained under "Fighting."
- Menu Bar: You can make a menu appear by typing its first letter, by highlighting your choice with the arrow keys or numeric key pad keys or by clicking on it with the mouse. Options under each menu are chosen by typing the number and/or letter, by highlighting it and pressing Enter, or by clicking on it with the mouse.
- Chip Sockets: There's one moddy (personality module) socket, which is larger than the three daddy (add-on chip) sockets. You can have a maximum of one moddy and three daddies plugged in at one time.
- Time: If the "Chronos 2000" daddy is chipped in, the current time is displayed.
- Bio-Scanner Monitor: If the "Bio-Scanner" daddy is chipped in, the function monitors indicate Marîd's general state of health (see Health for more details).
- Character Window: Marîd's face normally appears in this window, unless he's interacting with another character, whose face then appears.
- Location Window: Inside an establishment, the window shows the interior and the name of the place. The scene may be scanned by using Look or the arrow keys (2, 4, 6, 8 on the numeric keypad; make sure that NumLock is OFF). Outside, in the Budayeen, the window shows a three-dimensional view of the area ahead of you.
- Text Window: Conversations, descriptions of people and places, and other information appear in this window. If the word More appears at the bottom of the window, it means there is additional text to come; press any key to continue the text. Note that you'll sometimes have to make a "yes/no" decision based on your actions.
- Map Window: When you're on the streets of the Budayeen, you'll see a small overhead map of the area around you. The arrow indicates your position and the direction in which you're heading. You can access a full-screen display of the Budayeen map by selecting the Map menu.
You perform most actions during the game (except walking) by using the menu bars along the top of the screen. To open a menu, type the first letter of the menu (for example, A for the Action menu) or select the menu with the numeric keypad or the mouse.
Most menus have sub-menus, which have numbered options. To choose an option from a sub-menu, either type the number, or select it with the mouse or with the arrow keys, then press Enter or the spacebar. Occasionally, there will be a third sub-menu that offers additional choices.
You can close a menu by typing 0 or selecting Cancel, by pressing Esc, or by opening another menu from the main menu bar.
The seven menus include:
- Game: This menu contains play controls and game options (see Game Options).
- Look: Lets you look around your current location.
- Talk: The names of the characters you can talk to, inside establishments and out, appear when you open this menu. You engage in a conversation with a character by selecting his or her name.
- Inventory: Objects you carry can be manipulated with this menu.
- Action: Lets you perform such actions as fighting, sleeping, and getting objects with the menu.
- Map: Shows a full-screen display of the Budayeen map.
- Exit: You leave an establishment by selecting this.
You move around the streets of the Budayeen using the arrow keys (or the 2, 4, 6, and 8 keys on the numeric keypad). You have your choice of using relative or absolute arrows when moving (see Game Options for more details). You can also move around with a mouse by clicking on either the Location or Map Window.
When you move into a space adjacent to the entrance of an establishment and are facing the entrance, the location's name will appear in the text window. When you move one more space in the same direction, you'll be prompted to enter the establishment. To exit an establishment, type E (Exit) or select the Exit menu. Note that the Map Window is blank when you're inside an establishment
You can exit the Budayeen by moving through the East Gates, where Bill the taxi driver will be waiting to take you to your destination. Use the Talk menu to tell Bill where you want to go. Exiting the Budayeen through the West Gates takes you into the cemetery.
Note: Menus change to reflect your situation—be sure to check them when you're unsure what to do.
When you enter an establishment or talk with a character, you'll be given a description of that place or character. You can set these descriptions up to be brief or more detailed—see Game Options for more details.
Inside an establishment, you can select the Look menu to examine a location more thoroughly. You'll discover important clues and objects by looking around. Note: You may want to look around a place more than once to make sure you didn't miss something important.
You can look at objects in your inventory by opening the Inventory menu, selecting an object, and then choosing Look at it.
Talking with Characters
You can engage in conversation with characters both in establishments and on the street. When you select the Talk menu, a list of available characters appears. When you select a character to talk to, his or her description will appear (if the Brief descriptions mode is on, the description will appear only the first time you talk to the person—see Game Options). Then you're given options of things to say to the character.
You can also ask characters about specific things using the Talk about... option. A message will appear in the text window, requesting that you enter what you want to ask about. Type in the name of whatever it is you want information on. If you make a mistake, use the Backspace key to back up and erase it.
When you wish to end a conversation, select the End this conversation option. You can then start a conversation with another person.
Interacting with Characters
Some characters will have objects you can buy. If the I'd like to buy something option appears on the Talk menu, that character has something to sell. Selecting this option shows a list of goods and their costs in kiam (the monetary unit of the Budayeen). Select the object you want to buy; the cost is automatically subtracted from the cash you carry. You can also buy something using the Buy item option on the Action menu.
You can also give objects to character. From the Inventory menu, select the object you want to give. A sub-menu will appear. Select Give it to transfer the object to the character. You'll be asked if you really want to give the object away. Note that you can use this option to give money to characters; select kiam and then type in the amount when prompted. When using this option, be very careful not to give a character the wrong object.
Some characters will be willing to buy objects from you. Select the object from the Inventory menu and then Sell it from the sub-menu, if this option appears. If the character is willing to buy the object, it disappears from your inventory and your kiam are increased.
Note: You can sell an item only when conversing with a character.
You'll sometimes be forced to fight another character, whether you want to or not. You can also decide to attack someone by selecting the Fight option from the Action menu; choose the person you want to fight when the list of characters appears.
The fight screen differs from the normal display screen:
- Menu Bar: The menu bar is inactive until the combat is resolved.
- Chip Sockets: You cannot chip moddies and daddies in or out during a fight.
- Time: If the "Chronos 2000" daddy is chipped in, the current time continues to be displayed.
- Bio-Scanner Monitors: If the "Bio-Scanner" daddy is chipped in, the function monitors will be reduced as Marîd takes damage during the fight. The screen will turn red for a moment when Marîd is hit by his opponent and damage is then recorded on the monitors.
- Character Window: The character who is fighting Marîd appears in this window.
- Opponent's Health Bar: The vertical bar next to the Character Window shows the opponent's health level. It will continue to drop as Marîd does damage to the person. When the bar reaches the bottom, the character falls dead and the fight is over.
- Attack Selection Window: This window shows the weapon you're using in the fight and the attack options for the weapon.
- Text Window: The course of the fight is described here.
- Map Window: This windows does not change during a fight.
To make an attack on your opponent, select one of the options in the Attack Selection Window. If you wish to use a weapon other than your hands, select the weapon's box or type the letter appearing under the box. The weapon will appear in Marîd's hand and the options for attacking with that weapon will be shown. If discretion seems the better part of valor, you can try to end the fight (if you started it) or run away (if you were jumped).
A moddy or daddy may enhance your combat ability, if it is chipped in and you're holding an appropriate weapon. For example, an "Outlaw" daddy increases your skill with a firearm, but does nothing if you're wielding a knife.
Damage you take is shown on the Bio-Scanner Monitors (see "Health"). Damage to an opponent is shown on the vertical health bar next to his or her picture. You'll be warned if your life functions begin to fall too low.
The Inventory menu lists the objects you're carrying. You can carry a maximum of 10 objects plus your kiam at any time. For safekeeping, you can drop off objects at your apartment.
Selecting Chip Rack from the Inventory menu brings up a sub-menu of things you can do with your chips. Selecting one of these options brings up a list of your chips. Moddies are noted by M and daddies by D. The list also indicates which chips are currently plugged in. When a chip is in, it appears in one of the chip sockets. You can have one moddy (personality module) and up to three daddies (information add-ons) chipped in at one time. To pop a chip in or out, select Chip Rack and then the Chip In/Out option. If you're using a mouse, you can click on a chip in its socket to remove it, or you can click on an empty socket to bring up your chip inventory and then select a chip to pop in.
The Chip Rack sub-menu also allows you to Use Chip Skill, Drop Chip, and Look at Chip.
Moddies change your personality, and daddies give you temporary knowledge. When a chip is removed, the personality or knowledge disappears.
Chips will prove extremely useful throughout the game. Some improve your combat ability and your health. Some give you special talents you'll need in ferreting out clues. Others may prove useless.
You can buy objects from characters by using the I'd like to buy something option from the Talk menu or the Buy item option from the Action menu. Sometimes, if you look around establishments or examine dead bodies, you'll find other objects to take. Use the Get item option from the Action menu to take objects you find.
To use an object in your possession, open the Inventory menu and select the object. A sub-menu will appear. Select the Use it option to employ the object.
To examine an object, use the Look at it option from the inventory sub-menu. You can also give an object to another character, drop it, or try to sell it.
If you're using your belt phone, you'll be asked to enter the eight digit commcode of the person or establishment you wish to contact. Commcodes for establishments are found in the Business Directory of the Budayeen. Other numbers will appear during your investigations.
Using Automatic Bank Machines
To use an automatic bank machine, move to it as though you were entering a building. The location window will change into the bank machine. You must have your bank card with you to use the machine, and you'll be asked to type in your code: 4D424C. You can withdraw kiam, deposit kiam, and look at your balance. Select End Transaction to continue play.
Life in the Budayeen is harsh, so you should try to stay in good health. If you chip in the Bio-Scanner daddy, you'll see six function monitors appear on the right side of your screen: Life, Strength (STRN), Stamina (STAM), Agility (AGIL), Rest, and Food. You start the game with all monitors at 100%. As you suffer damage in fights or otherwise overexert yourself, your monitors go below 100%. You can improve your health by eating and sleeping and by getting treatments at the medical center. Some moddies and daddies may improve your health functions, while you have them chipped in.
Since all the real excitement in the Budayeen takes place late at night, you'll be accustomed to operating in the wee hours. Still, you will need sleep. Otherwise, you may overlook some important clues. Selecting the Sleep option from the Action menu allows you to get some rest—the more you sleep, the better you'll feel the next time you wake. You'll be asked how many hours you wish to sleep. You have to be in Marîd's apartment to use this option.
You will also get hungry. There are a number of restaurants in the Budayeen where you can buy food.
There are two forms of gambling allowed in the Budayeen; roulette and baccarat. You can ask the owner to play one of these games at a gambling den.
You select a 1, 5, or 10 kiam chip to place directly on the board or on one of the side boxes. You can place up to five chips as one bet. Select a chip by typing the letter under the value (W, R, or Y) or by clicking on it with a mouse. Move the chip to the board or side box, by using the numeric keypad or dragging it with the mouse. Select Play Round or type P to play. You can cancel the last chip you played by selecting Cancel Bet or typing C; you can cancel as many bets as you have on the board this way. To leave the game, select Quit/Exit or type Q.
When you play a round, the flashing box indicates where the ball is on the "wheel." The winning number flashes on the wheel and is shown in the upper right-hand box.
This game is similar to "Black Jack" and "Twenty-One," except that you're trying to get as close to 9 as possible. You make bets of 25 kiam increments either to win or to tie. Select Win or type W to win or Tie or T to tie. Select Cancel Bet or type C to withdraw your last bet.
Select Play Round or type P to play. You'll be dealt two cards (the bottom row); the top row is the house's hand. Ten-spots and face cards count for 0. The values of the two cards are added together; if the sum is 10 or more, 10 is subtracted from it; and the result is shown in the boxes next to the cards. You can draw another card by selecting Draw 'Carte' or typing D, or you can stand pat by selecting Stand 'Non' or typing S. An 8 or a 9 is a natural winner. If you and the house tie, neither side wins or loses money (unless you selected Tie, in which case you win).
Select Game or type G to bring up the Game menu. The selections on the menu have the following effects:
- Game Options: Selecting this option brings up a sub-menu. When you select an option from the sub-menu, you'll usually be asked to confirm your selection. The sub-menu options are:
- Save Game: You can save your current position in the game with this option. However, you must be in Marîd's apartment to save the game. You can have only one game position saved at a time.
- Pause Game: This option puts the game on hold. To resume the game, press any key.
- Load Game: Use this option to return to a saved game. You must be somewhere inside the Budayeen to load a saved game.
- Restart Game: Use this option to go back to the beginning of the game. Do not use this option to restore a saved game. You must be somewhere inside the Budayeen to restart the game.
- Quit the Game: Use this option to exit play. Make sure you select Save Game if you want to keep your current position before you quit (you must be in Marîd's apartment to save a game).
- Sound: Use this option to toggle the sound on and off. All sound in this game is based on the IBM PC speaker.
- Arrows: The game begins with the arrow keys (on the numeric keypad) set relative. Make sure you have NumLock OFF. You can change the arrow keys to absolute by selecting this option. The relative and absolute settings for the keypad operate as follows:
Turn right 90°
Face east, move east
Turn left 90°
Face west, move west
Face north, move north
Face south, move south
- Brief Mode: This mode is set to "off" when you begin play, which means that whenever you encounter a character or enter an establishment, you'll get the full description of that person or place. Turn Brief mode "on" if you wish to have the description appear only the first time you enter a place or meet a person.
- Recall Events: Use this option when you want to recall important conversations and observations. You can continue back through events by pressing the spacebar. You may recall up to 50 events. Pressing Enter or any other key after an event is fully described cancels this option.
- Music: Use this option to toggle the music on and off. It appears only if you have a Roland MT-32 or alternatively an Ad-Lib compatible sound card.