Hintbook for Machine at the Heart of the World

These are hints to the game Machine at the Heart of the World. It's full of spoilers, so beware!

These are hints for Machine at the Heart of the World. It outright spoils and explains all of the mechanics in the game, so read it carefully. The mechanics are explained in the order they are introduced, so if you are just struggling with a single thing it should be safe to read only that part.


I’ve scrambled a piece of paper and a pen and I’ve decided to start making notes after gazing at the first tablet for hours. Perhaps I’ll be the only one to ever use it, perhaps it’ll become needed in the future.

Numbers:

  1. After the first two tablets I know that part of solving them is to copy the symbols using floor pressure plates to make the glasses appear.
  2. The way to copy is left-to-right, row by row, just like when reading an English sentence. Perhaps it is some kind of language.
  3. The symbol that resembles lowercase q is number one from gujarati. It appears to mean the number of times a given action glyph (I will refer to the shapes that appear on the glasses that way from now on) has to appear.
  4. Also, previously there were no numbers so going by that logic it means that zero means one in terms of how many times a symbol must appear.
  5. Whenever there are multiple numbers next to each other I have to sum them, not turn them into a single number by joining. For example, qqq means 3, not 111.
  6. Also spaces seem to be meaningless and numbers are summed across rows. I think at this point it is safe to assume that rows are only there for readability and convey no special meaning or rules. I’ll go with that assumption and see how it works for me.
  7. The one that almost looks like two is in actuality number 2. The zig-zag or “E” as I call it, is number 4, and the rotated “h” is number 8

Mathematical symbols

  1. I wasn’t sure at first, because the numbers given were inconclusive, but the symbol shaped like X that consists of five circles is, in reality, multiplication.
  2. Moreover, summing numbers together seems to take precendence over multiplication. When there are many numbers on either side, regardless of spaces or line breaks, I first have to sum those numbers before multiplying them.
  3. Also spaces continue to be meaningless.
  4. The symbol that resembles horizontal line that consists of circles going smaller and smaller is clearly subtraction. Other than that it seems to have the same number summing rules and precende like multiplication.
  5. A weird thing. Normally, in mathematics, multiplication takes precendence of subtraction. But in this case the operations have to be done linearly, whatever is first is used first. 3 – 1 x 3 – 2 = 2 x 3 – 2 = 6 – 2 = 4.

Modifiers

  1. A new symbol that resemebles yin and yang or both negative or positive space seems to invert the meaning of the next symbol that appears after it (spaces are, again, ignored).
  2. Action glyphs have their direction reversed, with the exception of the central one that stays the same.
  3. Positive numbers become negative.
  4. Subtraction turns into addition.
  5. Multiplication becomes division. And, it seems, the fractional part is always discarded.
  6. Two negations act as if nothing had happened with them.
  7. The next symbol is ignore. As simple as that, whatever glyph occurs after it (and, once more, spaces make no difference) is discarded.
  8. Interestingly enough, negating ignore gives the same result as ignoring ignore, or ignoring negation, or negating negation. Which is, both symbols are just discarded.

Chameleon

  1. This one I decided to name chameleon because its shape reminded me somehow of chameleon’s head. The way this symbol works is it takes the form of whatever it looks at.
  2. There seems to be one very important rule that was never before covered – the state of the tablet never changes. What I mean by that is that if a chameleon A is looking at chameleon B, instead of taking whatever B looks at, A turns into the direction B was facing. So if A looks down and B looks right, then suddenly A starts looking right and takes form of whatever is in its path. I’ll remember that.
  3. Chameleon looking at nothing is simply ignored.
  4. Chameleons stuck in an endless loop of looking at each other also seem to be ignored.

Brackets

  1. The next symbol are brackets. It seems that whatever is inside a pair of them is doubled.
  2. Also, a closing bracket only ever “works” once.
  3. And it seems my initial observation was wrong, these are less brackets and more like a pair of signs saying “stop here” and “go back”. The “closing” brackets signifies that you should go back as far as you can and continue from the start. The “opening” brackets stops you when you are moving back and says “actually, continue from here, not from the start”. In other words, I should only duplicate whatever has happened since the last opening bracket.
  4. And another callback to the “single state” rule or, as I am calling it now, “what you see is what you get”. When an opening bracket is inverted it works for that one time like a closing bracket (that is, it makes you move back). But when going back from a closing bracket that happens later you actually want to stop there, because the inverter only works when reading from the left to the right, not when going back.

That seems to be all there is to it. I will now attempt the final tablet and see if the world will become the way it was, or if things are changed forever.