Alchemy is the process of combining the codes of two items to produce a unique code, which corresponds to an item that shares properties of both component items. In short, item A + item B = item AB. Each pair of codes can be combined in two ways: AND (&&) and OR (||).
Every item in the game of SBURB has a unique captchalogue code consisting of 8 different 6-bit characters. Each character corresponds to a different combination of those 6 bits, and when punched into a captchalogue card using the Punch Designix, it punches one hole for each bit.
Codes and bitsEdit
The following is a list of characters and the bits they correspond to. It is helpful to take note of which characters have fewer bits and which have more so you can decide which is the best operation to use if you plan on using your combinations in future alchemizations.
AND will produce a code with all of the bits in common between the two components. The resulting code will have a bit only if BOTH codes share that bit. This can be easily visualized by overlaying one card above the other as if they were the same card; if one of the cards does not have a hole in a particular spot, the double card will not have a hole in that spot. Canonically, it usually produces an item with the combined function of both items. For example, Claw Hammer && Pogo Ride ==> Pogo Hammer, which functions as both a hammer and a pogo.
OR will produce a code with all of the bits of the two components. If either code has a bit, the resulting code will also have a bit in the same place. This is the result of punching a card once with one code, then punching the same card again with a different code; this double-punched card will have all of the bits that either card had. Canonically, it usually produces an item with the form of one component, and the function of the other. For example, Claw Hammer || Pogo Ride ==> Hammerhead Pogo Ride, which is a pogo ride that is shaped like a hammer (but cannot be used as an actual hammer).
Combining Three ItemsEdit
Some items are created by combining three items, not just two. Because the same bits are involved, this is the equivalent of combining two items (A + B = AB) and combining the resulting code with the third item (AB + C = ABC). It is usually best to use one operation on the first combination, and the other on the second. Recipes of this nature are usually written as A && B || C.
The order of these combinations DOES matter due to the second operation being applied to both codes. In the example above, the only other way to get the same code is to || C with both A and B separately, then && the two codes so that the recipe looks like this: (A||C) && (B||C)
Be careful when combining two codes that share a component; if opposite operations were used, you may experience the anamoly known as code incest. See below for more on the subject.
Unstable codes are what happens when the code resulting from two items is too close to the original - usually, this is caused by one of the component items being unstable itself. In short, not enough “bits” are different. For example, there are two “completely” unstable items - 00000000, the Perfectly Generic Object, and !!!!!!!!, the Perfectly Unique Object. The bits for these objects are all 0, and all 1 respectively. Now we have the Claw Hammer - nZ7Un6BI.
Let’s try combining them:
nZ7Un6BI && 00000000 = 00000000 nZ7Un6BI || 0000000 = nZ7Un6BI nZ7Un6BI && 11111111 = 11101010 nZ7Un6BI || 11111111 = nZ7Un6BI
We can see that the end result is either the Claw Hammer code, the PGO, or something in between them. THIS is what code instability is - the resulting code is too close to the originals, making the new item effectively useless for alchemy.
Given enough cycles using unstable codes, every item would become unable to alchemise further down the chain. Now let’s try Claw Hammer with… A Picture of Hella Jeff, WN6?TpMT.
nZ7Un6BI || WN6?TpMT = nt7?ztVV nZ7Un6BI && WN6?TpMT = W36UH22G
That’s MUCH better. We can see there’s still a couple shared letters, but these codes are much more stable, and can probably be used for quite some time.
As a general rule of thumb: Our “alphabet” Goes 0-9, a-z, A-Z, then punctuation. The further you are from the “middle”, start, and ends of the alphabet you are, the safer the code will be. (Though you can of course use characters from there - just not all of them).
If a user-submitted code is too unstable, the operation used to make it will often be switched by the developer creating the item, in order to keep the codes fresh and allow them to combine with as many other objects as possible. If the code is submitted via Quick Item Creator, the user will be prompted to choose a more stable operation.
Occasionally, one might find two items that do not interact, even though they have different codes and seemingly different bits. This usually occurs as a result of what some call "code incest". The two components themselves had the same item as one of their components, or one of the items is made from the other, and so they have many common bits. They are essentially "code siblings" and they haven't enough differences between them to produce something new.
This usually tends to happen when both items were created with opposite operations. Like Code Instability in general, this problem can sometimes be avoided by switching operations.
Other Common MistakesEdit
A novice alchemist may run across an error or two due to not fully grasping the nature of the alchemy system just yet, such as finding two codes that do not interact (when combined, the produced code matches the code of one of the components, thus making the pair unable to be combined). There's no need to worry, these mistakes are common and easily forgiveable.
An item cannot be combined with itself using either method. The two codes are exactly the same, and so overlaying them or double-punching them will not change the resulting code at all.
The Perfectly ___ ObjectsEdit
There are two objects in the game which have codes that do not interact with any other code in the game. These are the Perfectly Generic Object (00000000, no bits whatsoever) and the Perfectly Unique Object (!!!!!!!!, every bit possible). Overlaying the Perfectly Generic Object card over another card will result in a card that also has no bits, and attempting to punch a second code onto the Perfectly Unique Object's card will be futile as all of the holes have been punched already.