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

Mysterious Vessel: Rescue, Part 2

Section 1 | 2 |  3  | 4


Conduit (Active)

Jack's return to the previously-dormant conduit is an intense one.  Some unseen mechanism is driving energy waves through the tunnel in a continuous loop.  Each wave crackles with energy, waking both Bio Mass and Cysts, then dissipating several seconds later.




As expected, between each wave, the Bio Mass is dormant and safe to touch.  However, Jack notices another tool which can help him navigate the tunnel safely.  Dotting the walls in a few places are pylons with I/O ports around their caps.  Apollo explains that if Jack uses his scanner on one of these, he can activate it and cause it to either extend or retract—in essence, providing a safe, reliable platform unaffected by the Bio Mass which can protrude out into the center of the tunnel when necessary.


GAMEPLAY VIDEO



 
INTENT

This space represents one of the first ideas I had when starting to prototype Bio Threat gameplay.  Since Bio Mass is given life by power fields, I was inspired to create something like a "sychrotron," a type of particle accelerator, where the player would be confronted by periodic waves of energy to really see that active / dormant transition happening frequently and consistently.

That idea continued to grow as we took stock of how long of a tunnel it would take to make that interaction feel worthwhile and added the pylons as movable safe points.  That last addition helped me achieve what I was looking for in terms of making this sequence feel versatile and creative...  if the conduit was just a series of variations on "Bio Mass gets in my way," I think it would grow stale quickly.  The pylons let the player feel that he has a tool for outsmarting the threat, so each one encourages the player to ask "is there some way I can use that to take the Bio Threat's power to harm me away?"

Once the player is thinking in these terms, I can then use the fact that my placement of pylons is guiding the player's options to create additional layers on the challenges, such as putting a Cyst just past a pylon (so it seems as if the Bio Threat "knew" and was countering the player's plans) or creating the "there are no safe handholds left... what do I do now?" reversal which happens at the end of the section.

Cautious players will explore and recognize that I still gave them a "safe" option.

Thrillseeking players have another option which is a bit scarier to try.



Hallways (Active)

Using his wits and his thrusters, Jack soon escapes the conduit and returns to the main corridors... which are also densely infested with Bio Mass.  Initially, there are a few clear spots on the walls, floor, and ceiling for him to grab, but as he reaches a cross-tunnel...




...the opposite corridor appears to be entirely covered, with no safe points at all.  If Jack were human, he might panic!  However, being a creature of logic and exploration, he continues forward in the first corridor...




...and reaches a spot where the angle through the opening allows him to look "back" (from the direction he had been going) to see that there is at least one clear spot available to him, it was just hidden by the angles at which he was able to look into the next hallway as he came in.

With his path foward now clear, he pushes off in a "leap of faith" and jets across to the safe handholds ahead.




One final challenge confronts Jack in the next hallway:  a gallery of dense Bio Mass shapes dotted with the highest density of Cysts he's seen so far.  Jack can navigate through these slowly with careful planning, boost through with the expectation of taking some shield damage, or attempt to "lance" the Cysts with his Cutter which pops them in a slightly-safer (but still not "safe") way.




Once beyond this deadly passage, he is able to return to Liv with no further obstacle.


 
GAMEPLAY VIDEO




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