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Opus Magnum is a puzzle-based programming game developed by Zachtronics. It was released for Microsoft Windows, Linux and macOS in December 2017, following about two months of early access. In the game, the player must assemble a machine using various tools and program those tools to complete alchemy-related tasks. The player can produce any working solution to each problem, but is challenged through leaderboards to produce a machine that does the task in the shortest time, with the lowest cost of materials, and/or the smallest occupied area. It was based on The Codex of Alchemical Engineering, one of the earliest Flash games made by Zach Barth prior to establishing Zachtronics.
Opus Magnum has the player take the role of an alchemist to create required products by manipulating atoms of base alchemy elements (the classic elements as well as base metals) through a device they construct within a transmutation engine. The engine is represented as a hex grid which the player arranges various manipulation tools and transmutation spaces on. Manipulators are mechanical arms that rotate around a pivot point, pick up and drop atoms, and rotate structures it currently has picked up, with optional variants that can extend and retract the arm, and/or travel along a track path. Transmutation spaces can create a bond, destroy a bond, transform a basic element into "salt", or upgrade base metals into higher ones using quicksilver. Manipulation parts have a cost to them, though the player is not limited to a total number of manipulation elements, cost, or space the device takes up in crafting their solution.
After placing manipulators, the player must then provide each manipulator a set of commands that take atoms from input spaces and drop the proper completed material into the target output space; an early puzzle demonstrates how one turns lead into gold. Manipulators can have individual programs, and each run simultaneously once the machine is started. The goal for most puzzles is to deliver a fixed number of target output products, thus testing the machine's operation over several cycles. Should the device encounter a physical collision between atoms, the device will stop and require the player to readjust the machine.
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Opus Magnum System Requirements
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP / 7 / 8 / 10
- Processor: 2.0 GHz
- RAM: 4 GB
- Video Card: Intel HD Graphics
- Hard disk space: 400 MB