SPOILERS M1R Story Development Thread

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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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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


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