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

Mysterious Vessel: Rescue, Part 2

Section 1 |  2  | 3 | 4


Conduit (Offline)

The shortest path to the reactor isn't an entirely safe one.  Almost immediately, Jack encounters the Bio Threat, drawn towards the largest source of power on the ship (the reactor).

However, now that the reactor is offline, the growth has stopped.  Though the corridors have a greater coverage of Bio Mass than any that Jack has so far seen, for the moment, it's all dormant.



It's a spooky trip, though, between the emergency lighting and the dead crew members Jack finds periodically stuck in the Bio Mass.




 
COMMENTARY

It's great seeing someone's reactions when first entering this space:  there's an immediate recognition that "this is going to suck for me on the way back, isn't it?"

Yes.  Yes, it will.


GAMEPLAY VIDEO





Igniting the Reactor

Jack arrives in the reactor control room and takes stock of his surroundings to understand the mechanisms which he'll need to operate to bring the core back online.  Straight ahead are two controls:  on the left, one which adjusts the angle of the high-intensity plasma stream emitters (which Apollo tells him need to be aligned with the collar on the core to activate the antimatter containment field;  the other, the control which will inject the antimatter into the field once primed.

The room also features two Induction Panels and is shielded from the radiation the generators create when active, so it functions as a safe base for Jack to return to if his shields get low.




One of the generators is already on and powering its plasma stream emitter.  Jack ventures into the main chamber—already hot with radiation and overrun by the Bio Mass—to look for the power cells needed to bring the room's other two generators online.  Fortunately, with only a single generator active, only a portion of the room's Bio Threat is active... but each subsequent generator brought online will both liven up the Bio Mass and add to the radiation.




Once all the generators are online, each of the plasma streams is active and ready to align with receptors on the central collar.  Doing so spins up the rings inside the core, generating a magnetic field which holds the antimatter reaction stable once it begins.

Bringing the reactor online has consequences as well, however.  Just after Jack triggers the sequence to begin, a pulse occurs like those which damaged the station and dig sites earlier in the game.  These had stopped once the ship had appeared out of the anomaly, but clearly they were tied to some malfunction in the reaction driving the ship's power systems.

Unable to do anything about the pulses without powering the reactor back down, Jack heads back toward the life support area and Liv.


 
ANALYSIS

This was a difficult section to get right because we had to find a balance between over-explaining each step (since fixing an "alien" device based around a matter-antimatter reaction isn't something players tend to have much context for) and leaving the player to figure too many things out for themselves.

In the end, some smart subtractions were made—we removed some (pretty cool) elements which weren't directly tied to knowledge the player already had, and the sequence is much better for it.

One element I fought for:  there was a desire on the team to start all three Generators offline so the player wouldn't feel like part of the sequence was already done for him.  However, we'd tried similar things in previous iterations of the sequence, and I'd observed that players were confused on their first arrival at a control room where neither of the controls seemed to have any immediate function.  Having the first generator already on (and, therefore, the first laser already active) means that the player can immediately play with the control that changes the laser angle and see its result.  They can even discover and complete the step that requires them to align the lasers before entering the main chamber, feeling like they've already accomplished something even if they're not clear on what yet.


GAMEPLAY VIDEO





Section 1 |  2  | 3 | 4