What's New

Apr 30, 2012

In a Story forum post,  PerseusSpartacus <perseusspartacus@gmail.com> asks "What does '1993 rsmail' mean?"

Confused? Well '1993 rsnail' is written on the final level, namely Ok, Who Else Wants Some (see map below).

You can't see this writing during game play as the numbers and letters can't be mapped unlike the word CARNAGE on Demo v2.0 level of Ground Floor. The only way you can view this is by using a map editor or map reader. It would be some six years after the release of Pathways before such an editor would be created. Back in June 17, 1999 Loren Petrich wrote:

...here is something interesting I worked out just recently -- the types of all the PID map sectors. I've created an image that contains false-color maps of all the levels.

The individual maps go top to bottom, in a rightward sequence of columns.

And so '1993 rsnail' was finally revealed. But what did it mean? Is it a name? Is it an acronym? Is it an anagram? It took time to create so it must have had some significance to Jason Jones. Jason would also have known that it would never been seen until fans created the technology to view PID maps. Was this a message to would-be game coders like himself?

PerseusSpartacus writes:

Now, me being a member of Club Penguin (an MMORPG for kids), I know that Rsnail is an abbreviation of RocketSnail, the game company that I think originally made Club Penguin. Oddly, RocketSnail was created in 1999, long after PiD was made.

Created in 1999, the same year as 'rsnail' was uncovered. Coincidence?

Apr 26, 2012

More PID fan art. Check out this thread on the Story forum.

Apr 22, 2012

It's rare to see PID fan art these says. Indeed there wasn't very much back in the day.

Thanks to Nathaniel Mills <firsttakenate@gmail.com> for sending in this piece of fan art. He writes:

I've got a fan image of my own here that you might get a kick out of, with the hero standing on a rune, wearing the infrared goggles, and armed with both the AK-47 and blue crystal (almost transparent in color, like its description). I based his clothing on that of the dead American soldiers and his appearance on my own. I was able to do this with an online software program called HeroMachine 2.5.

Apr 3, 2012

A rare copy of PID v1.1 in currently available on eBay. With this version you can go all out maximizing your points total by collecting all those extra Alien Gemstone. :)

Apr 1, 2012

President People <presidentpeople@verizon.net> has extracted all the sounds from the game and made them available for download. He writes:

All the sounds are .aif format within a .sit archive. Most of their names should be accurate, but I'm not sure where the first two are from. I have faith that you or someone else around here knows better than I do. :)

You can get them here (.sit format).

Mar 25, 2012

On the Story forum Hopper <hopper@whpress.com> lets us know that his Pathways Save Inspector now has a "custom map" feature. He writes:

The "custom map" feature I mentioned before is now live. When inspecting a save file, the level name is a hyperlink to the level map with up-to-date item and monster lists. From there, you can navigate to the other levels and see what's been cleared out.

Upload a Saved Game and check it out.

Mar 20, 2012

If it bleeds, we can kill it... or at least turn it into stone. President People <presidentpeople@verizon.net> shows that it is possible to kill the Blue Meanie on Need A Light? with a (cheated) Black Crystal. See the Crystals section for details.

Mar 19, 2012

On the Story forum Hopper announces his Pathways Save Inspector v2.0 website. Upload you PID saved game to find out the tru7h... or something like that. ;-)

Mar 11, 2012

Added a new section to collect all the information we know about Crystals.

Doc Hopper's Pathways Save Inspector. Check out your saved game stats, warts and all.

Mar 5, 2012

Ron Hunsinger <listreply1@erstesoft.com> makes an interesting observation about The Labyrinth and offers an important tip. He writes:

Every time you enter the Labyrinth, the game completely erases and rebuilds the level. It always starts with an empty cell right in the center, at (16,16), and grows the maze randomly from there. It then puts a Violet Crystal in that center cell, but only if you've never picked one up. It doesn't want you returning here to get more Violet Crystals.

Tip: if you want to dispose of garbage, like Nazi propaganda or overproduced ammo, Labyrinth is a good dumping ground. When you leave, anything you've left behind on the ground is gone forever.

The reason you may want to get rid of junk is to make more room for corpses. There's a hard limit of 500 items per level, including corpses, mushrooms, dropped items, living critters, bullets, et al. The +1 bonus per 250 kills means you want plenty of room for corpses.

What's in a string? A lot if you look closely. Hopper posts the Pathways string resources in XML format. See what you can find hidden away in these: Demo vA1   -   Demo v2.0   -   PID v2.0

The mysterious seventh crystal is the Blue/Yellow Crystal Blue/Yellow Crystal which can be found in the Shapes file of the Pathways Demo vA1. It's not present in the release version of the game. We know very little about its function.

Mar 4, 2012


According to the Pathways manual crystals are objects with special powers. Once used they automatically recharge but after each use "they recharge more slowly until they finally shatter." The manual reiterates this point by stating:

Be warned: after each successive use, crystals (except the Yellow Crystal) recharge more slowly until they finally shatter and become useless.

So how many times will each crystal (other than the Yellow Crystal) recharge before shattering? Hopper in a Story forum post writes:

The value stored with each crystal is the charge time. On each use of a crystal, an amount is added to this time, so it takes longer to recharge. If the new recharge time exceeds a set amount, the crystal shatters. Each crystal has a different increment and maximum:

Yellow: initial 300, up by 0 (infinite uses)
Blue: initial 60, up by 2, max 180 (60 uses)
Orange: initial 60, up by 7, max 410 (50 uses)
Violet: initial 60, up by 15, max 660 (40 uses)
Green: initial 360, up by 15, max 810 (30 uses)
Black: initial 10, up by 1, max 20 (10 uses)

These figures match MrM12LRV's in-game experiments with crystals. He wrote at the time:

I've tried moving levels, using crystals before others after they shatter or before they shatter, killing enemies with crystals, using rings, and using a new saved game.

Great to have this mystery finally put to rest. :)

But what about the mysterious seventh crystal?

Mar 2, 2012

Hopper has added the Demo vA1 and Demo v2.0 maps to his Annotated Maps page. One of the first things you might notice is this room on the 1st level of the Demo vA1. Is it accessible?

According to the Pathways manual doors "will open when you walk up to them. Some doors require you to do something special before they will open ("Open Saskatchewan?, Open Sasparilla?, Open Sarasota?"). Be careful, some doors will close behind you." But once closed will they open again? Nexcraft <Nexcraft@gmail.com> writes pointing out that the Alien Gemstone will open the exit door on Ground Floor but will it open the locked door on Warning: Earthquake Zone and let you descend to the final level again? Given that there is no trigger sector in front of this door (see Hopper's Annotated Maps) probably not. Yet doors in Pathways don't always need player or item triggers to open. The exit door in the Suffocation Room on I'd Rather Be Surfing being one example. So is it possible that there is some external trigger in the game that will open this door?

Andrew Malcovsky (Earthtopus) points out that while the Walther P4 will fit in the Cedar Box the Rusted Walther P4 doesn't. In his Read Me file for the PIDmaster Challenge he writes:

explain to us why the P4 fits in the Cedar Box but the Rusted P4 doesn't

Apparently you can still get the ammo clip out of the rusted gun but the gun itself won't fit into the box. Obviously a fussy box. ;)

Mar 1, 2012

Hunsinger's treasure is real... but only in Pathways v1.1.

Andrew Malcovsky contacted Ron Hunsinger about the additional $162.0K in treasure he collected back in Feb '94. Ron replied as follows:

As you guessed, I got the extra treasure points by getting 4 Alien Gemstones.

The first time I reached the end of OWEWS, I was pretty beat up and needed to rest. The room was empty (except for me) so I tried to rest right there. Unluckily, I got attacked in my sleep, and after dispatching the new foe saw another gemstone lying on the ground. Now I *really* needed to rest, and tried again. Same thing. Another monster attacked me in my sleep, I dispatched it, and there was a third gemstone. I suspected this was more than mere bad luck, and tested that by trying yet again to rest. After that experiment, I had four Alien Gemstones, but not enough health left to try again. I stepped through the teleporter hoping that I would have a chance to rest in whatever horrible place it took me. Even so, it was a hassle to get all four gemstones out, since the Lead Box will only hold one.

I've since gone back and tried it again. Apparently, it was a bug that was squashed in a later update. The trick doesn't work any more. The game used to give you an Alien Gemstone when you killed the last critter on the 12th round of OWEWS. They were assuming the last critter would always be the Alien God, since he's invulnerable till then. But sleeping on OWEW *always* generates a new monster. I've looked at the disassembled code, and see that they now check that the critter you just killed was, in fact, the Alien God (which is really of species "Stalker") before giving you a gemstone.

So there you have it. Mystery solved, which probably helps to explain this post also from Feb '94. Alien Gemstones... They're Everywhere! :)

On the subject of glitches, ukimalefu game across this interesting pic in an article entitled "Mayan Light Beam Photo: Message from Gods, or iPhone Glitch?" on the Life Little Mysteries website.

Blast from the past, Ron Hunsinger <listreply1@erstesoft.com> makes a visit to the Story forum and offers this tip to avoid taking any damage from the Greater Nightmare waiting for you at the start of Please Excuse Our Dust. No Crystals needed. I've added this to the Please Excuse Our Dust section.