Tutorial Walkthrough

Table of Contents

Starting the Game and Examining the Status Bar

After you select "Journey Onward" from the main menu, Ultima: The Dark Core loads in its own, separate window. If you are playing off the web, this may take several minutes since the game must first download its graphics and Javascript code. To check the progress of the game, examine the status bar in the bottom, left-hand corner of the window. When the status bar reads "Document: Done" or no longer displays information about loading status, then the Javascript has been successfully loaded and you may continue with the game.

Dark Core Tip: Whenever you act in The Dark Core, double-check the status bar to ensure that your action has been registered by your browser before attempting a second action. Though this is not always necessary, I have found that patience reduces the chance of a browser crash. Waiting will not be that much of a delay once the images and sounds have been loaded into your browser's cache.

When The Dark Core finishes loading, the game window should look something like this:


If you selected to play with sound and music, then you should hear the sound of the moongate should be pulsing in the background. If you are using Netscape and you do not hear this effect (and you selected to play with music), make certain that Netscape's LiveAudio Plug-in activated (see Optimizing your System for details). Note that you can toggle music and sound by clicking on the mandolin icon in the control panel, then selecting the appropriate option when the window appears.

If you are using Internet Explorer 4.0, you should also notice that the status bar now reads "Exit Moongate" and the cursor should be a hand. In Internet Explorer 4.0, whenever the mouse cursor passes over an object that can be used or a direction in which you can travel, the cursor turns into the hand and the status bar describes the action you can take. (This option is currently unavailable in Netscape due to Netscape's implementation of event handlers).

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The Control Panel

Read the description in the text window, then exit the moongate by clicking on the view window. What's this? The Guardian appears and laughs as the scene changes! Again, pay attention to the status bar as it notes the game's progress while it loads the new view. Wait until the status bar indicates "Document: Done" before proceeding.

Once the new view is loaded, read what the Guardian has to say in the text window, then click on him to make him disappear. Next, examine the control panel with the eye, book, mandolin, and disk. If you are using Netscape, the frame below the panel should display a Crescendo icon. If you wish to turn off the music, pause the music, or control the volume, position your cursor over the Crescendo icon, then hold down the mouse button (Macintosh) or right mouse button (Windows95) for Crescendo's pop-up menu. Alternatively, click on the mandolin to toggle the music on or off. If you are using Internet Explorer, then the Crescendo options are normally not available.

Dark Core Tip: I have noticed that when running Navigator for Windows95, the Crescendo icon will appear as the page loads, then mysteriously disappear. The plug-in is still there. Just hold down the right mouse button while the mouse cursor is positioned over the blank space.

Next, click on the eye. Notice that this refreshes the text window. Click on the book. This brings up a separate window with the instructions of the game. Close the help window. Now click on the disk.

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Saving and Loading Games

Alas, like all software these days, Netscape and Internet Explorer are unpredictable beasts, thus I recommend saving your game to prevent future frustration when the inevitable happens. After you click on the disk, a separate window will appear. Select "Save Game" and your game will be saved to a cookie file. Only one game can be saved at a time (and multiple save games are really unnecessary--trust me). If you wish to reload the game, select "Load Game."

Author's Warning: Welcome to the most infuriating aspect with browser implementation of cookie saving. When you save the cookie, it WILL NOT be written immediately to disk. Cookie data is written to disk ONLY when the browser is closed, so if you experience a system crash after saving the game, your data is toast. If you are using Netscape, there are ways around this. See Dark Cookies for more information. If you are using Internet Explorer, this may not be a problem since Cookie data appears to be saved persistently.

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You are at last ready to begin exploring The Dark Core. If you have not done so, read the description in the text window carefully. Notice that it says a moongate glows silently on a promontory. The moongate is not currently in your view because it is behind you. To turn around, click near the bottom of the view (clicking by that little puddle of seawater will do). Your perspective will change so that you are now looking at the moongate. Notice, however, the text does not change since this is merely a different view of the same "room." Ignore the moongate for now and turn around again by clicking near the bottom of the view.

Dark Core Tip: The bottom of each view is usually, but not always, reserved for turning around or for you to "Stand Back!" from an object.

After turning around, you should once again be facing the forest. As you might have guessed, movement is generally accomplished by clicking on the destination or object you would like to approach. Thus, click the center of the forest (near the two trees) to enter it. The view will change, along with the sound and text, to display a path twisting through a forest of dead trees. Click on the distant part of the path to move forward. You will find yourself north of a crossroad. Click on the crossroads to move forward again. You are now standing at the crossroads. Continue south until you reach a tree with an entrance in it. Enter the tree and head down the staircase until you come to a library.

Dark Core Tip: Hopefully, you have been reading the text to help you determine which way "south" and "north" are. And by reading the text, you should notice that there is something very odd about this place, something that will prove useful in understanding why you are here and what you need to accomplish in order to finish the game.

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Interacting with Objects

When you enter the library, you will be facing a table, a set of shelves, and two paintings. Ignore these for now and turn around (click near the bottom of the view). You will see the entrance to the stairwell, a table with an hourglass on it, and a sword hanging from the wall. Try clicking on the sword. Now try dragging it while holding the mouse button down. Nothing happens. That is a good sign that the sword is probably not important for completing the game. Now click on the hourglass, hold the mouse button down, and drag it. Apparently, this object is more important than the sword. Drag it to your backpack and release the mouse button. The hourglass will settle neatly into your pack.

Dark Core Tip: Once you have picked up an item, there's no dropping it. Perhaps the items are so interesting you just can't put them down. . . Or perhaps the author did not feel like taking the time to implement the code :)

In general, you can interact with any object in The Dark Core by clicking on it. Some objects interact with each other if you drag one over the other. For instance, if you think putting the hourglass back on the table might be important, try dragging and dropping the hourglass over the table. If the object returns to your backpack, chances are you are barking up the wrong tree (Pun definitely intended at this stage in the game).

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Continuing the Game

You have learned most of what you need to know in order to successfully complete The Dark Core. Feel free to return to the moongate or start exploring the library in more detail (I recommend the latter). Pay close attention to what you see, hear, and read. You never know what you will find.

Dark Core Tip:And yes, there are Easter Eggs in the game.

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