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

Mysterious Vessel: Rescue, Part 1

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An New Ally

Exiting the vents, the path takes an unexpected downward turn into an unfamiliar style of shaft.

The shaft widens quickly into a massive, spectacular rooms whose elements center on a central pillar whose purpose or function is unknown.  The exit door is locked, which, along with the size of the room, implies that this is a space of some importance.




Seeing no other options, Jack grabs the holographic interact handle at the central console but is surprised by its reaction as his hand sparks and his onboard display changes from orange to a deep blue!  Some kind of foreign code has forcibly downloaded itself and altered Jack's programming!




A voice booms and the core elements of the room's central pillar rise up, seemingly now inhabited by the digital apparition Jack had encountered earlier!

The projection introduced itself as "Apollo," and reveals to Jack that it is one of the Artificial Intelligences (AI) that operate the ship.  After a discussion, Apollo agrees to help Jack search the ship for Liv, but can only do so once its core systems have been repaired.




The first step involves re-filling the room's heat sinks with coolant from a mechanism at the top of the room.  Once the towers are filled and locked down, Apollo asks Jack to head below to where the real processing is done.


 
GAMEPLAY VIDEO




COMMENTARY

Once we structured the story so that players would meet Apollo here, who would then help locate Liv (because any other way of stumbling across her location on a ship this big felt ridiculously fortuitous), the question of how to introduce a new character like this became a big question.

There were a bunch of different versions discussed.  One very cool one that we might have liked to try further involved accompanying Apollo on his trip through Jack's mind, as he poked around in Jack's memories (analogous to, but with different origin and intent from, similar scenes in the Harry Potter books and movies.)

The repair sequences, too, evolved, from something a bit more like trying to fix the engine of a car with an AI reading you the manual.  This one doesn't encourage the player to use his surroundings quite as much, but it's got more soul, and the individuals who grasped the reins of that problem should be very proud of where it ended up.



Restoring the Cores

In the equally-strange and cavernous space below the room's glass floor, Jack is introduced to dozens of racks containing Apollo's "logic cores."




Several of these logic cores, he explains, are missing or malfunctiong and must be reprogrammed with fresh installations of his operating system.  Fortunately, having downloaded himself into Jack's brain provides a perfect means of delivery.

The devices on the central support are reprogramming slots, Apollo explains, intended for this exact purpose.  Once a malfunctioning core is placed in the socket, Jack can use the input/output functionality of his Scanner tool to interface with the device and download Apollo's essence into the core.





Once the cores are all properly-programmed and re-placed in the logic board arrays, Jack returns to the main console to bring Apollo's systems fully online.  His stuttery, incomplete appearance returns to a stable gradient, and the room's safety lockdown is released.



It's time, Apollo says, to wake up the ship's crew.

Jack is shocked!  Apollo had said that after repairing him, the two artificial consciousnesses would search the vessel for Liv!  Is this new AI not to be trusted?

Apollo asks Jack to be calm and explains: to search the ship effectively, the internal scanners need to be used, and Apollo lacks the access codes to unlock them.  However, the crew members stored in cryogenic pods will be able to do just that!


 
GAMEPLAY VIDEO




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