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

Mysterious Vessel: Rescue, Part 1

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Unpowered Pod Room

Jack and Apollo reach the pod room to discover that although the pods themselves are still online, the room's connection to the ship's power grid has failed.



The pod's occupants may still be alive, but without connecting the pod mechanisms to a power source, there's no way to release them.



Apollo points out a backup generator, which can be seen through the glass in the floor.  If they can manage to bring that online, it should provide enough juice for their needs.



Jack finds a maintenance hatch and heads below.


 
COMMENTARY

This area is one of my favorites.  It's an example of how different departments can each have their own take on something and end up with a pretty compelling and cohesive-feeling experience.  I provided the basic layout and puzzle sequence, which the Environment Art team then interpreted with the components they had available, and it continued to grow more interesting with iterations and polish added by Lighting, Narrative, FX, and others.  Sometimes compromise is the soul of a team effort, but other times each group gets to put their stamp on a piece before it's done and can clearly highlight which additions are theirs in the end product.

I also enjoy that it still has a unique feeling even among the wide variety of different spaces in the game.  The triangular layout of the pod chamber, seeing the Generator through the glass floor and navigating down to it, and the puzzle that was (for me) a challenge to construct something using the mechanics we'd already taught the player that is a little complex, but simple enough when considered one piece at a time... it came together really well.


GAMEPLAY VIDEO





Batteries for the Generator

The generator is centrally-located in the lower floor.  Apollo immediately spots the problem—the power cells used to fuel it are missing from the 3-slot socket built into it (just visible on its left side in the image).




Around the generator are a set of 3 capacitors intended to act as reserve batteries in case of power failure, but two of them have been drained by the ravenous Bio Mass.  The third is keeping an Induction Panel online, and a power line indicator runs along the floor, showing that the capacitor is still connected to something just around the corner.




Jack follows the power line to find a Junction set into the floor.  He switches its output setting from forward (where it was feeding a mass of Bio Threat, which now goes dormant) to the right.  A socket of a different sort powers up, this one capable of charging a dead power cell.  The power line for the left output travels along a long corridor, and at its end is another Junction which can be fed by this first one.




The left output of the second Junction provides power to the activation controls for a hatch door, through which can be seen a power cell.  Jack provides power to the door and opens it, needing to charge this battery and insert it into the generator.




However, the power used to activate the door controls awakens the room full of Bio Mass as well, making the power cell a challenge to retrieve.  If the player is clever, he will return to the Junction before entering and switch the power feed away from this room, reverting all of its Bio Mass to a dormant state.

If this step is taken, the room is entirely safe and the power cell is trivial to reach.  Jack has benefitted from knowing that power feeds the Bio Mass to outsmart the threat!




Once three power cells are retrieved and powered, Jack inserts them into the slots in the generator and activates it, bringing power (and a little radiation) to the area.


 
GAMEPLAY VIDEO




COMMENTARY

I don't mention it in the description on the left side, but my favorite part of coming up with this sequence had to do with something that's a little "lost in translation" in the final form.

At one point, the already-charged battery that the player finds in this area was located in a square gap in a wall, surrounded on all sides by Bio Mass that even spilled out onto the area surrounding the gap a bit.  The player had to carefully reach in and pull the battery out of the gap without letting his hand touch any of the sides—in essence, it was the board game Operation but with the threat of death hanging over it.

Great fun, and no one had as difficult a time with it as they thought they would.  In many cases, the power of the Bio Threat is in the tension it creates in the player's mind rather than actual danger (if this weren't the case, it would be much harder to create challenging sequences that didn't have wildly differing success rates for players of different skill levels... hopefully something we've avoided!).



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