Plots and Satellite Dishes [Split Topic]

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Plots and Satellite Dishes [Split Topic]

Post by Rex Claussen » Sun Jul 26, 2020 21:56

[Incidentally, this discussion has veered away from models towards plot devices. As such, would you please move the posts starting with mine on July 27th (where I state: "on a side note .....) through to my current post into a new thread in the main Parallax forum? You can title the thread as you see fit (perhaps about a plot device based on activating satellite dishes). Thanks.]

On a side note, the activation of the radar dish and the swiveling is actually much more impressive to watch (and more realistic) than the de-activation. Perhaps Lt. Col. "Johnny" Alvarez's mission needs to be reversed? Let me ponder this.

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Re: Request: A Few New Models

Post by Enjay » Sun Jul 26, 2020 23:34

No problem. Glad you like it.

If the mission was reversed, it would eliminate the "jump to the middle" issue with the deactivation. The dish would just rise up and then go into its panning motion smoothly. If the story could be revised so that activation makes sense, then it would certainly be a better way to use this particular model.

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Re: Request: A Few New Models

Post by Rex Claussen » Thu Jul 30, 2020 15:36

Enjay wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 23:34
If the story could be revised so that activation makes sense, then it would certainly be a better way to use this particular model.
So far, the deactivation of the satellite dishes serves a purpose no different than obtaining a key card. [In other words, completing that particular mission does not affect other parts of the game and/or other episodes/missions.] I will think of a suitable reason for the satellite dishes to be reactivated, and consider the spatial configuration of the sat dish control room with respect to the dishes themselves to figure out what to do.

Another thought I had was to keep the mission to deactivate the sat dishes, but also to have a sub-mission elsewhere in the episode to activate some other sat dishes. But, upon reflection, this would seem too duplicative (even cheesy).

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Re: Request: A Few New Models

Post by Enjay » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:45

If it is currently just at the level of collecting a keycard, then activating (rather than deactivating) the dish should be easy enough to write a plot for. Just spitballing:

Getting a message out
re-establishing communications
re-aligning an information stream to allow something else in the base to work
re-connecting some technical MacGuffin or other
provide information for the player to go on and do something else because they now know more
allow eavesdropping on something or other
letting outside agents know of your own position/the nature of what is going on
providing "noise" to prevent certain bad actors getting their information out
preventing some event (such as enemy reinforcements)
and many more

Many of those wouldn't even need to have a bigger follow up; they needn't have any overt visible impact in the game other than an acknowledgement that a goal has been completed and the player knows they did a good job. i.e. it's just an end in itself (and allows progression on to whatever happens next).

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Re: Request: A Few New Models

Post by Rex Claussen » Sun Aug 02, 2020 22:28

Enjay wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:45
Getting a message out
re-establishing communications
re-aligning an information stream to allow something else in the base to work
re-connecting some technical MacGuffin or other
preventing some event (such as enemy reinforcements)
The next episode (4 maps) is set in space: a space station + Xen asteroid 1 + Xen asteroid 2 + Xen temple. [Much of the work for the space station is done, and all work for the 2 asteroids is complete.] I was thinking of creating a plot that involves getting a signal/transmission from the base to the space station. The message would be something to the effect that the personnel on the space station need to shut down all the portals to prevent a large-scale invasion by the Xen aliens.

[Of course, things on the space station go sideways, and the hero has to take care of things him/herself in the space episode.]

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Re: Request: A Few New Models

Post by Enjay » Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:50

That certainly works as a plot. What I would say, however, is that I feel it's very important that such plot devices have a visible outcome and that the player doesn't end up being robbed of all of the impact of their actions.

What I mean by that is, when the player arrives in the next episode, there should be some acknowledgement that his actions made a difference (some shut down portals, an NPC or a note found to say that the portals got closed or whatever).

As for "not being robbed" what I mean is that when things "go sideways" I feel that it shouldn't completely undo whatever the player managed to achieve via earlier goals. Yes, it's fine (of course) to have things go wrong and for the next phase of the fight to take place (otherwise the game would be boring and pointless) but the player should not be left with a sour-taste that all of their work was undone and have a "what was the point of me doing [insert goal] then" frustration.

It could just be something as simple as the player knowing that the shutting of the portals is merely going to delay the alien onslaught until reinforcements are sent (and so the first few encounters in the new episode are maybe easier as a result). Perhaps, the player could meet an NPC or encounter something that makes it clear that the personnel in space expected a well armed task-force to arrive but all that actually turns up is the player who then has to rush around consolidating his position and doing as much as possible before the inevitable alien breakthrough. Or, you know, whatever better idea you had planned instead. ;)

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Re: Request: A Few New Models

Post by Rex Claussen » Mon Aug 03, 2020 15:51

Enjay wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:50
... I feel it's very important that such plot devices have a visible outcome and that the player doesn't end up being robbed of all of the impact of their actions.
Agreed.
Perhaps, the player could meet an NPC or encounter something that makes it clear that the personnel in space expected a well armed task-force to arrive but all that actually turns up is the player who then has to rush around consolidating his position and doing as much as possible before the inevitable alien breakthrough. Or, you know, whatever better idea you had planned instead. ;)
The space station has its own objectives, and I had intended to tie them to the asteroid and temple levels. In light of the new objective (restore communication, get a message out) I might have to rethink the space station objectives.

But using an NPC is always an excellent device to advance a plot. [There are at least 2 NPCs in the Parallax/Earth episode, and using one in the Parallax/Space episode would work very well.]

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