SPOILERS M1R Story Development Thread

Discuss and unveil current Marathon projects.

BoB term art:

Use Radix's characters
1
20%
Find someone to do a photoshoot
2
40%
Abstract art only
1
20%
Abstract overlay on top of Radix's characters
1
20%
 
Total votes : 5

SPOILERS M1R Story Development Thread

Post Jan 31st '18, 23:28

I'd like to keep discussion of the story separate from the main development thread so those who want surprises will be surprised, so here's a separate thread to discuss how the story should branch/develop. I'll also cross-post this to the Story Forum.

For now, I've made an extremely-subject-to-change flowchart. The Tycho/Colony levels don't have names yet, so I just have mission descriptions for now.
storyboard.png

There are basically five paths: the canon path (middle-right), a victory path where you assist Tycho in saving the colony (far right), a failure path where Leela falls and the BOBs die (far left), a path where Leela falls but you manage to save the BOBs while working for Durandal (middle-left), and a path where Leela survives but the BOBs do not (middle).

I chose Habe Quiddam as the branching-off point for the Tycho plank, as that is when Durandal reveals that he is capable of teleporting without jump pads. The first colony level may have Tycho smugly declaring that he can do the same, rants about how Durandal's plans are selfish and that Tycho has apprehended you in order to save the colony... but you'll find out in the next level that the real reason Tycho wants to save the colony is so he can run rampant through it's computer net.

Attached also is the LibreOffice Draw version of the file for your tinkering pleasure.
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Storyboard.odg.zip
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Last edited by ravenshining on Apr 8th '18, 03:01, edited 4 times in total.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Jan 31st '18, 23:42

Wonder which path a potential confrontation with Strauss would fit. (Erk, imagine if he showed up at the end of the worst route to "collect" the SO and Durandal...)
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General-RADIX

Post Feb 1st '18, 00:15

I had a story idea a long while back for a scenario centered on the colony, focusing on the "JJARO WERE AT TAU CETI" map writing, that might have some ideas you're welcome to scavenge for this project if you want.

My old idea was for the colony-centric scenario to be sort of a prequel to M1, set in a timeline where you never boarded the Miriata to go up to the Marathon, and were therefore on the colony when the Pfhor attacked. Aside from fighting off the Pfhor, you would also get drawn into a mystery surrounding an excavation site outside the colony, unearthing what turns out to be a Jjaro AI something akin to Thoth. MIDA/Strauss would be involved there, as that is the actual secret reason for the whole mission to Tau Ceti in the first place. This also harkens back a little bit to the abandoned Marathon alpha plot.

Because the colony is doomed regardless of your actions there (in the canon timeline, the other nine Battleroids save the colony, but then the Pfhor show up again three months later and nuke it from orbit), but the rest of the universe is doomed (because Infinity) unless you survive those events and go off with Durandal, that AI keeps sending you back in time to do things over again, sometimes involving visiting the Marathon along the way, until you figure out that the right course of action is to not be on the colony at all, but to take the Miriata up to the Marathon to be there when the Pfhor attack, leading you to the original M1 timeline.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Feb 4th '18, 00:43

Oho, now that is an interesting concept! With Tycho being your guiding hand as you resuce the colonists, uncovering some Jjaro AI could lend some weight behind his later words: I have proved that escape is impossible.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Feb 4th '18, 06:42

Would Nephthys be a good name for this potential Jjaro AI? She's said to be a protector goddess (of the mummy in Egyptian mythology, but perhaps of Tau Ceti IV here), but sometimes depicted as dangerous and wrathful.

(Also, what say about that PM I sent you?)
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General-RADIX

Post Feb 5th '18, 01:12

General-RADIX wrote:Would Nephthys be a good name


I'm partial to Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crasscrenbon-fried-digger-dingle-dangle-dongle-dungle-burstein-von-knacker-thrasher-apple-banger-horowitz-ticolensic-grander-knotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumble-meyer-spelterwasser-kurstlich-himbleeisen-bahnwagen-gutenabend-bitte-ein-nürnburger-bratwustle-gerspurten-mitzweimache-luber-hundsfut-gumberaber-shönendanker-kalbsfleisch-mittler-aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm
myself. It just sounds like an AI.
I just play 'em; I don't know how they work.
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HelviusRufus

Post Feb 5th '18, 07:41

General-RADIX wrote:Would Nephthys be a good name for this potential Jjaro AI? She's said to be a protector goddess (of the mummy in Egyptian mythology, but perhaps of Tau Ceti IV here), but sometimes depicted as dangerous and wrathful.

(Also, what say about that PM I sent you?)


Well, what I will say is that I do like the idea of the S'pht controller being somewhat defensible. In all of my vanilla playthroughs it gets taken out before I can clear the rest of the room and I never get up close and personal with it. As for fighting ability, one thing I have tried is having it fire seeking compiler bolts, but that makes me want to hang back away from it. I want the player to be drawn to it, not kept at bay, and that might be better served by making it tough, but leaving it harmless.

I'm tempted to pull a Dune and have a terminal explaining it has some sort of shield that allows only slow-moving objects (such as your fist) to penetrate.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Feb 5th '18, 09:03

The shield idea sounds good; I imagine it'd be pretty hard for players to cheese their way out of (most of) that fight by trying to go for the Controller first.

Do you encounter hostile S'pht earlier in the original level? I remember reading that the pack of them that rises up after you take out the Controller will fire on you even though you just freed them; ideally they wouldn't do this, but I don't think it's possible to individually mark members of one enemy group as friendly/unfriendly. Maybe in M1R, the S'pht don't appear on this level until the end in order to rectify this.

--

wrt: that Jjaro AI, since none of the main characters know about the Jjaro at this point, the AI's introduction might be fairly ominous in some way. Maybe their core/base of operations is way out in the desert, with the possibility looming over your and Tycho's heads that if he's not fast enough in teleporting you back out if something goes wrong, you're boned.
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General-RADIX

Post Feb 5th '18, 17:28

You could use two monster slots in the physics for that level, identical except one is friendly and one is hostile.

Also, we don't know for sure who knows about the Jjaro at this point. I'm pretty sure Durandal does. I intended Strauss and any of his co-conspirators to. Who knows what Leela or Tycho know? Tycho would maybe be more likely to be in on it than Leela since he's the science AI and the alien excavation site would be a science project.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Feb 5th '18, 20:22

Pfhorrest wrote:You could use two monster slots in the physics for that level, identical except one is friendly and one is hostile.

Also, we don't know for sure who knows about the Jjaro at this point. I'm pretty sure Durandal does. I intended Strauss and any of his co-conspirators to. Who knows what Leela or Tycho know? Tycho would maybe be more likely to be in on it than Leela since he's the science AI and the alien excavation site would be a science project.


Ah, I see!

And good point. XD; I do still suspect that no one's been able to enter Nephthys's/[name pending]'s lair before now, though; whatever information Tycho gives the player might be based on what he and his team have able to scrape together based on outside observations and scans and whatnot.
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General-RADIX

Post Feb 8th '18, 04:38

Hi, here my my thoughts and suggestions.

My personal thoughts on the "Tycho wants to become rampant" is that maybe it's a little played out. I mean, that's apparently the plot for every AI, except Leela, in like every Marathon game and mod. Also, if I remember correctly, M1 Tycho wasn't that crazy, he was angry at Durandal, but he was also kind of... stable? It's not until M2 and after he's been captive of the Pfhor that Tycho becomes manic and megalomaniacal, I think. My personal suggestion for Tycho's plot would be to change it so Tycho tries to send all the information about the Pfhor he can to Earth, but self destructs the Marathon to destroy the Pfhor ship and in the process destroys the colony? I'm not sure, I'm just trying to think of something that hasn't been done before.

You mentioned wanting a terminal of an airlock tech trapped by Durandal. Here's my rough draft of one (I mention MIDA, which I know you said you're avoiding, but I don't think referencing it would be a legal issue, and regardless, that line can be easily cut):

Spoiler:
I was out here fixing a leaking airlock seal when the things showed up. I don't think I would have gotten away except they might be a little confused by our architecture. I thought they were MIDA soldiers with some sort of tech I'd never seen. I don't know. Durandal says they're aliens.

I was sending out a distress message from another terminal when Durandal of all things popped on. He pinged me over here. I thought he was showing me a safe place to hide. He locked the doors behind me. So I'm safe, but not from suffocation. I've got maybe half an hour left. I left my tools back at the airlock.

Durandal left me a message on this terminal. I'm keeping it up so after this is over, if anyone finds me, you'll know what Durandal did. Don't trust him.

I'm cutting some of the cables so Durandal won't have access to this terminal. He won't be able to erase what he's done.

[Durandal's message:]

It looked like you needed a nice place to hide. So, here you are, it's got a shield buffer and everything. Everything? Well... not quite...

An oxygen buffer, an oxygen buffer, my kingdom for an oxygen buffer!

I don't seem to see one around and I do see around a lot these days. Why, there's some of those armored aliens clip clopping out in the starlight. And there's some of their cybernetic slaves, oh my! Cybernetic slave? Does that remind you of anyone?

Me? Oh you don't need to worry about me. You don't need to worry about the aliens either. I'll make sure they can't get in.

Oh look! What else do I see? It's a promising security officer. Will he get here in time? Place your bets wi— @94ndterminal_error13b: connection terminated by hardware malfunction_16##mne#
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philtron

Post Feb 8th '18, 07:11

philtron wrote:My personal suggestion for Tycho's plot would be to change it so Tycho tries to send all the information about the Pfhor he can to Earth, but self destructs the Marathon to destroy the Pfhor ship and in the process destroys the colony? I'm not sure, I'm just trying to think of something that hasn't been done before.


What if Tycho piled all of the colonists (and Leela, and maybe the S'pht and the Jjaro AI as well) onto the Pfhor ship and high-tailed it back to Sol Core, leaving Durandal alone on the Marathon? The end result being that he's the one the Pfhor take with them when they come back to raze the colony...whoops.
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General-RADIX

Post Feb 8th '18, 21:43

That would actually be a super interesting idea if only because of the future it suggests. What would Durandal be like after being tortured by the Pfhor? When the Pfhor clone him the way they did Tycho, will those clones take on a life of their own? Very interesting stuff.
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philtron

Post Feb 10th '18, 09:40

General-RADIX wrote:Do you encounter hostile S'pht earlier in the original level? I remember reading that the pack of them that rises up after you take out the Controller will fire on you even though you just freed them; ideally they wouldn't do this, but I don't think it's possible to individually mark members of one enemy group as friendly/unfriendly. Maybe in M1R, the S'pht don't appear on this level until the end in order to rectify this.

Pfhorrest wrote:You could use two monster slots in the physics for that level, identical except one is friendly and one is hostile.


I know Lua can be used to spawn monsters, can it be used to remove or replace them? If I could do a script that watches the state of that monster / all monsters of that type / all monsters on it's polygon, and then replaces hostile S'pht with not as hostile S'pht when it goes down, that would be ideal. I will research this.

I don't want to make them outright friendly at first - I'm thinking neutral to fighters and the player, hostile to Enforcers, and set berserker, to give a sense of confusion in their first moments as free beings.

philtron wrote:My personal thoughts on the "Tycho wants to become rampant" is that maybe it's a little played out. I mean, that's apparently the plot for every AI, except Leela, in like every Marathon game and mod. Also, if I remember correctly, M1 Tycho wasn't that crazy, he was angry at Durandal, but he was also kind of... stable? It's not until M2 and after he's been captive of the Pfhor that Tycho becomes manic and megalomaniacal, I think. My personal suggestion for Tycho's plot would be to change it so Tycho tries to send all the information about the Pfhor he can to Earth, but self destructs the Marathon to destroy the Pfhor ship and in the process destroys the colony? I'm not sure, I'm just trying to think of something that hasn't been done before.


You make a very good point, Philtron. Tycho is certainly vengeful, but not crazy. I might have him choose rampancy as a rational choice - In Tycho's eyes, Durandal is the villan who summoned the Pfhor, and must be stopped, but the only way to stop Durandal is for Tycho to become rampant himself. So, armed with the knowledge of how Rampancy works, and unhindered by the trauma of Strauss's abuse, he thinks he can become a stable, benevolent AI. Rampancy is therefore not Tycho's main focus but a means to an end, Tycho is primarily concerned with saving the colonists, alerting Earth, and since he's the Science AI also finding out more about these Jjaro folk.


philtron wrote:
Spoiler:
I was out here fixing a leaking airlock seal when the things showed up. I don't think I would have gotten away except they might be a little confused by our architecture. I thought they were MIDA soldiers with some sort of tech I'd never seen. I don't know. Durandal says they're aliens.

I was sending out a distress message from another terminal when Durandal of all things popped on. He pinged me over here. I thought he was showing me a safe place to hide. He locked the doors behind me. So I'm safe, but not from suffocation. I've got maybe half an hour left. I left my tools back at the airlock.

Durandal left me a message on this terminal. I'm keeping it up so after this is over, if anyone finds me, you'll know what Durandal did. Don't trust him.

I'm cutting some of the cables so Durandal won't have access to this terminal. He won't be able to erase what he's done.

[Durandal's message:]

It looked like you needed a nice place to hide. So, here you are, it's got a shield buffer and everything. Everything? Well... not quite...

An oxygen buffer, an oxygen buffer, my kingdom for an oxygen buffer!

I don't seem to see one around and I do see around a lot these days. Why, there's some of those armored aliens clip clopping out in the starlight. And there's some of their cybernetic slaves, oh my! Cybernetic slave? Does that remind you of anyone?

Me? Oh you don't need to worry about me. You don't need to worry about the aliens either. I'll make sure they can't get in.

Oh look! What else do I see? It's a promising security officer. Will he get here in time? Place your bets wi— @94ndterminal_error13b: connection terminated by hardware malfunction_16##mne#


Thank you, I'll use this. Great job on Durandal's part! I'll probably put in some timestamps and make a couple mundane entries to preceed it.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Feb 10th '18, 10:18

I've been thinking of drawing the Jjaro AI; even if the android form I usually draw them with never gets used, I kinda hope that whatever I come up with could inform the way the AI's written. Would you be interested?
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General-RADIX

Post Feb 10th '18, 18:15

I'm leaning more towards Jjaro computer bank, like you find in the S'pht ruins of M2, than an AI right now. I think that preserves the enigma of their status as a dead race while still tantalising the player with intrigue.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Feb 26th '18, 10:58

If anyone would like to critique my expansion, editing, and implementation of Philtron's terminal, but are having issues getting M1R to run, here it is:

G4Sunbathing_term2.png


Suggestions? I'm probably going to change the name of the character. I happen to have a green flightsuit, and could do some photos- but I'm not to keen on having my face in there. I could wear a helmet...
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Feb 26th '18, 15:23

Text (and the name of the techie) looks fine to me. (Pict-wise, I'd personally go with heavy green tinting rather than full-on monochrome black-and-green)
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General-RADIX

Post Feb 27th '18, 17:53

Looks good. Is that all on one terminal or is the first part (the part about the bug report) going to be on another terminal somewhere else in the level? Also, is that last part implying that the BoB died after she cut the terminal cables because Durandal then opened the bulkhead doors and let the Enforcers in?

Also, if there's anything else you'd like me to write, let me know, I had fun writing up that terminal. One idea I had, if you're interested: for the mod I was working on I had the idea of there being a pulpy sci-fi book that was popular on Tua Ceti, so on each map the player could find a terminal with a segment from that book on it. If you'd like me to do anything like that for your mod, I'd be happy to. I'll see if I can find a copy of the segment I did manage to include in my mod so you can see what I'm talking about (or not, if you're not interested).
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philtron

Post Feb 27th '18, 19:29

Ooh, the novel excerpts idea sounds interesting! Are you planning on tying it into M1's plot/future Marathon stuff, or would it just be an easter egg thing?

--

wrt: the Colony/MIDA plank, I've had this dialogue knocking around in my head:

Spoiler:
SUBJ: detour
ORIG: Tycho_005917

I'm going to have to pull you away from the colony for a moment. While you were busy dealing with this crisis, I've been intercepting as much of MIDA's radio chatter as I can without them noticing; one subject in particular keeps cropping up, and it worries me.

Do you know of that abandoned structure out in the desert? The one that was here when the Marathon arrived at Tau Ceti IV? MIDA is planning on breaking in.

I'm not supposed to tell you this, but a few years ago I was assigned my own team to research that place. We were able to determine the age of the building materials, their composition, the effects of the surrounding environment--everything but what was inside. A month prior to now, just as we were on the brink of cracking whatever still-active security measures were preventing direct teleports, Strauss abruptly ordered all work on the project ceased and turned over to him, without explanation.

He wasn't given our data on the security systems, however. I...I heard him mention this over the radio.

...There might not be anything usable in that facility, but we can't take that chance. I'm sending you in.

Once you're inside, I'm giving you a remote access chip. If you can find a slot for it, I may be able to read the systems and lock them down; if it doesn't work or something goes awry, signal for me and I'll get you out of there.
But please, hurry.


[explanation for one bit: Tycho kinda comes across in M2 and Infinity as having daddy issues. So here, he's struggling with the cognitive dissonance of "Strauss is a good man!"/"Strauss abused and traumatized my brother until he snapped, completely ignored Leela and me, and is also a goddamn terrorist"]
Last edited by General-RADIX on Mar 1st '18, 00:51, edited 1 time in total.
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General-RADIX

Post Feb 27th '18, 22:14

philtron wrote:Is that all on one terminal or is the first part (the part about the bug report) going to be on another terminal somewhere else in the level? Also, is that last part implying that the BoB died after she cut the terminal cables because Durandal then opened the bulkhead doors and let the Enforcers in?


I didn't think of splitting it up into two terminals. I could do that, but for narrative to fit the different locations, you'd get the second half first (unless you jumped down to face the jugg and staff-vaulted up the control tower)... but, if they were discussing Dead Sea or Mare Crisium, you'd get them in the proper order. That could work, and it will help signal to the player that there is a time lapse between log entries.

I was trying to imply that the BoB was captured- if she died, I could have shown that happening, and a body. In the level itself, I put a trail of blood from the terminal to the docking tower. If I had some art of the Enforcers dragging her away, that would clear things up.

Hm. Maybe that would be something Radix could do after all? Once it's shrunk down and I've applied the green and video filters, it might not matter if the characters are drawn animé-style. Here's the unfiltered backdrops in case you want to give it a shot.
Spoiler:
G4closet-open.png
G4closet-closed.png


philtron wrote:Also, if there's anything else you'd like me to write, let me know, I had fun writing up that terminal. One idea I had, if you're interested: for the mod I was working on I had the idea of there being a pulpy sci-fi book that was popular on Tua Ceti, so on each map the player could find a terminal with a segment from that book on it. If you'd like me to do anything like that for your mod, I'd be happy to. I'll see if I can find a copy of the segment I did manage to include in my mod so you can see what I'm talking about (or not, if you're not interested).


Sounds like fun!

General-RADIX wrote:wrt: the Colony/MIDA plank, I've had this dialogue knocking around in my head:


Hey, that sounds pretty good! I think levels can be designed around this when the time comes. Thanks!

General-RADIX wrote:Pict-wise, I'd personally go with heavy green tinting rather than full-on monochrome black-and-green


I'm planning on all UESC and Leela terminal PICTs always being green monochrome, so that when you visit the Pfhor ship and find terminals in colour, it will be more striking. Thereafter, colour may creep into Durandal and Tycho terminals, but Leela will remain green.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Feb 28th '18, 20:55

ravenshining wrote:I'm planning on all UESC and Leela terminal PICTs always being green monochrome, so that when you visit the Pfhor ship and find terminals in colour, it will be more striking. Thereafter, colour may creep into Durandal and Tycho terminals, but Leela will remain green.


Ah, I see! (And glad you like my terminal text. ^^)

By the way, I've got four images done; the fifth one is about partially sketched.
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General-RADIX

Post Feb 28th '18, 21:17

General-RADIX wrote:Ooh, the novel excerpts idea sounds interesting! Are you planning on tying it into M1's plot/future Marathon stuff, or would it just be an easter egg thing?


That's all up to ravenshining. I personally thought it would work as just a fun side thing, where some terminals are easy to find and some are hidden easter eggs. Each fragment could have some thematic element linking it to the level it takes place in or to the story in general. Below you'll find the story fragment I used for my own mod, and you can see it has some loose thematic elements mirroring Marathon's story (betrayal, revenge, etc.) but mostly it's just a bit of fun, light reading:

Spoiler:
>>access in_the_shadows_of_the_stars.bookmark

"Because they didn't start this war," a voice echoed down from the galleries and into the arena. "We did. And it's time for one of us to end it."

Mrivor Dowandar looked up into the gallery where the Srriikaarr Lords looked down at him smirking through their multifacted eyes. And there he saw the source of the offending voice.

"You?" Mrivor snarled. "You betrayed us to the Srriikaarr???" Mrivor clenched the suppression axee so tightly that the blood drained from his fist. "You'll pay for this! When the Ascended Earth Republic hears of this—"

"They won't," said Captain Adan Jamar. "They won't hear of it because you're the only one who knows and you're about to die in the Arena of Judgment. This war has to end. But the pride of our government prevents them from admitting their fault and so they will never seek peace. This war will go on forever unless one of us does what needs to be done."

A red haze began to enshroud Mrivor's vision. "Very well then, you curr! You two bit coward! Tell your new masters to send whatever monstrosity they may against me! I will strike down each of their champions!" And then Mrivor lowered his voice to a growl that rolled across the space of the arena and into Captain Jamar's ears. "But when I get out of here Adan, I will hunt you down and find you. I trusted you and you betrayed that trust. You stabbed me in the back and now you've consigned your entire species to extinction."

"Enough of this Earth noise!" scryked one of the Srriikaarr Lords through its mandibles. "Send in the Manticlops to make an end of this Earth warrior!"

At one end of the arena an immense beast emerged from the energy gate that Mrivor had seen earlier. The Manticlops flexed its four arms and slapped its amored tail as it gained its bearings inside the arena. Flames licked their way out from between the scimitar teeth lining the gaping maw of the beast. And then its single, multifaceted eye locked onto Mrivor. Using its predatory hypnosis it beat against Mrivor's psyche with waves of helplessness and fear.

But Mrivor was made of sterner stuff than the wild marsh wobblers of the Srriikaarran swamps that were the main prey of the Manticlops. He gave a mighty roar as he filled himself with anger and hope and honor.

Raising the suppression axe above his head he charged the Manticlops roaring, "For Earth! For the Republic! For humanity!"

For a brief moment the Manticlops was taken aback by this sudden show of courage and strength, so unlike the placidness of its usual prey. But then its wild predatory instincts took hold and with a roar that sent plumes of fire issuing forth from its beastly mouth it charged towards Mrivor slashing its clawed arms through the tepid air.

The two warriors met, jets of sand were fired into the air as the Manticlops' arms struck blindly at Mirvor and missed as he dove and slashed like thunderous lightning, his sweat flinging from his brow, his blood pounding through


I could do something similar to that. edit: As an example, for G4 sunbathing there could be a novel fragment that deals with the main character trapped in the vacuum of space and having to fight his way back to the Corsair Vessel/Wizard's Asteroid/Palace of the Space Amoeba.
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philtron

Post Mar 2nd '18, 23:12

Hey Raven, what's your e-mail? I've got the art for that G4 term finished, but the .ZIP exceeds the Pfhorums' attachment size limit.

I've also got an idea for AI terminal pics that I wanna put together soon-ish (they're all abstract).
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General-RADIX

Post Mar 2nd '18, 23:53

Philtron - still thinking - scrambling to release 0.0.6a right now before the library closes

Radix - I'll pm you. Also, the first two (boring) pages of the term have been moved to a new location:
G4closet-control.png
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

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