Chapter 5 - The Spinner
Section 1 - Physical Description
[ The function of the spinner is to reverse a word and produce the result, assuming that anything does result: YAM / MAY, DOG / GOD, EEL / LEE, LEER / REEL, PANS / SNAP, PIT / TIP, SAP / PAS are all creatable using the spinner. Accordingly, the items it produces are a strict subset of the items that can be created using the anagramming gun; besides that, it's not portable and doesn't fire at a distance, so it has some other restrictions as well. This makes it more of a toy than most of the other letter devices to be found in the game.
The spinner belongs to a very early stage of the game's development. Originally the plan was to have the spinner as a decoration in the Fleur d'Or, and the player would need to distract the staff there in order to gain access to it and use it. (There was also a turntable that would move one letter from the front to the back or back to front, as in APE > PEA or ARC > CAR.)
In practice, however, the small number of possibilities associated with these tools didn't yield very many interesting puzzles, so the spinner was commented out for most of the game's development period.
It owes its reappearance in the game to the LEER/REEL easter egg. While it would have been possible to arrange this easter egg in the Bureau, using the anagramming gun to complete the change (and indeed it was initially implemented that way), it felt odd to have a projector in the Bureau but not one in the cinema. In particular, I was concerned that creating an achievement such as Projectionist would feel misleading and annoying to many players if the projector in question were concealed inside the Bureau rather than being in the obvious place for a projector to be.
So the projection booth was added to the cinema and the spinner reintroduced to make it possible to create the reel before the anagramming gun was rediscovered. (By the time the player gets the anagramming gun, it is impossible to reach the cinema again.)
That in turn necessitated other changes as follow:
-- placing another object in the projection booth to make it seem other than wholly pointless when the player first finds it; so the jotter is moved there from the crate in the crawlspace and the notes on the jotter are changed;
-- creating an initial object to sit on the spinner to demonstrate its functionality, which was going to be a figurine of a god/dog; this was a very oblique reference to Apollo Agyieus, a guardian of doorways traditionally worshipped in aniconic form as a conical pillar garlanded with flowers. Both the god and the dog are guardian figures.
-- removing some other distracting text from Roget Close so that the spinner is allowed to stand out more;
-- coming up with more immediate functionality for the spinner so that it won't seem such a red herring
...and at this point I decided to convert the spinner into a proper puzzle of its own, one in which the gate unlocks only if you give the spinner something that it can convert. So at that point the god/dog had to be removed to let the player solve this herself; so I buried the dog in Monument Green and associated a different achievement with finding it.
This is all a lot of bother just for the sake of adding an achievement/easter egg that most players probably won't notice. In each case, though, I felt as though the result of the design fix was a richer, more interesting setting with more playful manipulation available. Adding the yam to the game also provided another purpose for the farmer, who had been relatively useless (other than as the provider of the totally optional lime) ever since he stopped selling chard. ]
The spinner is part of the spinner-gate. It is a supporter. Understand "sculpture" or "mirror" or "statue" or "pedestal" or "cone" as the spinner.
The description of the spinner is "The base of the sculpture is a cone about four feet tall. On top of that is a flat circular pedestal, and there is a mirror that rotates around the outer circumference. The mirrored surface faces inward, so that it is sometimes reflecting [if something is on the spinner][the random thing on the spinner] on the pedestal[otherwise]whatever might be on the pedestal (currently nothing)[end if] and sometimes concealing [if something is on the spinner][it-them][otherwise]it[end if] from view.".
The printed name of the spinner is "pedestal".
The carrying capacity is 1.
Sanity-check switching on the spinner:
say "The sculpture appears to be permanently on." instead.
Sanity-check switching off the spinner:
say "If there is an off-switch, it's nowhere we can see it." instead.