Damaged Satellite
Rescue, Part 1
Rescue, Part 2
Oxygen Garden
EVA Prep

Mysterious Vessel: Rescue, Part 1

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On Liv's Trail

After pinpointing Liv's transport with the help of the sensor satellite, HERA pilots Jack's transport into the passageways inside the mysterious ship.  The player is dropped off in the vicinity of Liv's Transport with no instruction other than "investigate the area."

Above her transport, Liv has left another emergency beacon with a recorded message explaining that she intends to get inside the ship.




   
CHALLENGE

Despite it being fairly important in narrative terms to make it explicit that Liv went inside the ship, we couldn't think of a reasonable way to make scanning the Cubesat (to download her message about trying to get inside) a requirement for progression, so it ended up being an optional objective.  A player knows that the airlock door wouldn't be here and restoring power to it wouldn't be an objective if that wasn't where to go next, but it's a theoretical problem if Jack isn't delivered that information.


Unpowered Airlock

However, the obvious means in, an airlock, appears to be lacking the power needed to open.




Exploring further, Jack realizes that many of the hull panels can be cut around and removed, providing access to the areas surrounding the airlock.

Here, Jack discovers the source of the problem—two of the airlock's power cells are drained.  Fortunately, a second airlock nearby (whose mechanisms are covered in Bio Mass) has spare fuel cells to use.




GAMEPLAY VIDEO



 
CHALLENGE

Over the course of development, we at Ready at Dawn learned that many things which can be taken for granted in games on other hardware have to be re-thought or considered more carefully in the VR medium.

An unexpected challenge of VR that we discovered while making Lone Echo is that players tend to interact with things with their face "too close" to see anything but the interaction itself.  Even a basic switch handle (like one imagines controlling the systems at a large power plant) which is simple and predictable to operate (and doesn't require the player to look at the switch to know how it works) takes up a lot of the player's attention, making it difficult for the game developer to use the standard "pull this lever, see that thing over there light up" trick from our toolkit.  The way we'd usually band-aid this lack of clarity—a cinematic camera which forces the player to look at the lever, then at its result) is also not available in VR due to breaking the continuity of the player experience and causing discomfort.

One solution we figured out is to angle the interact down / away so that the player is more likely to see the result over / past the interact.  (You can see examples of this in the Junction interacts on the next page or in the Oxygen Garden on the station.)

However, because of the unfamiliar nature of the ship's interacts, we were able to use a more direct solution—the power cell socket has a window in the middle of it, through which the player can see the airlock interior powering up as he inserts the final power cell.  (Toggle between the two images to simulate putting the battery in and taking it out again.)







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