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

Mysterious Vessel: Rescue, Part 2

Section 1 | 2 | 3 |  4 


Activating Life Support

Once back with Liv, Jack and Apollo are able to reactivate the life support systems.

Their efforts seem to have been successful at first, but as air starts pouring into the room, it becomes clear that something is still very wrong.  The chamber won't pressurize fully, and as Apollo ramps up the outflow to compensate, it becomes clear that there's an unseen leak somewhere in the otherwise-sealed area... it won't be able to support atmosphere well enough to keep Liv breathing.

Ever the problem-solvers, Jack and Liv inquire of Apollo what their next step should be.  He suggests that the ship's bridge—being the most heavily-reinforced area of the ship—is probably structurally-sound enough still to be fully pressurized.  He calls their transport to a nearby location and directs them to the landing.


 
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Concern for Liv

With Jack and Liv safely aboard, Apollo pilots the transport toward the bridge.  On the way, Liv makes a joke and is impressed that Jack gets it.

Her oxygen levels getting dangerously low, Liv falls silent partway through the trip, saving her breath.




When the transport arrives, Jack hurries forward, eager to reach their destination, when he realizes that Liv isn't following.  He heads back to the transport to find that she appears to have passed out.

Panicking, he grabs her shoulder, and she responds.  Liv shakes herself awake and is ready to continue forward.


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INSPIRATION

The moments where Liv nods off were inspired by motorcyle trips with my father when I was a kid.

Something about the bike's vibrations caused me to nod off once or twice on rides, and since I'd be riding on the back, I wasn't in his view when it would start to happen.  He'd feel my grip get a little looser and reach back to touch me on the hand or arm to remind me to stay awake...  it never became a safety issue, but I'm sure each time was a tense moment for him, and as the Narrative Team and I were talking about ways to create tension and concern for Liv as her air supply began to get low, I remembered my childhood and suggested this approach.

I could see clearly in my head how the sequence would be most effective, too, and argued for a couple of details that I'm sure seemed unimportant until they were eventually proven out by implementing the sequence.

  • Liv is talking early on in the ride from Life Support to the Bridge.  It's important to not have her be silent at first, so we get the sense initally that she's okay.

  • She quiets down (at Jack's suggestion) mid-way through the flight... so that when the transport pulls to a stop, enough time has passed that it isn't unusual that she's not saying anything

  • When the transport stops, Apollo doesn't know anything's wrong yet, and subtlely encourages the Jack forward

  • An observant player can notice that Liv isn't proceeding and wake her up immediately with a touch or voice contact

  • For the player who moves on without her, Apollo quickly realizes that she isn't following, but leaves it to the player to process why and return to revive her

  • In order to keep the player from getting too far ahead and having to backtrack a lot if they left her behind, we provide a "gate" which won't open until she's there as well

Once implemented, it was decided that the moment worked well enough (and gets the player in the mindset of checking on Liv frequently, which plays out nicely when she passes out for the last time, on the bridge) it made sense to have it happen again just after, when the player is eager for an airlock door to open (and might "jump the gun" going through, not realizing that Liv once again needs their help).


Last Chance

They progress through an airlock, and so far have seen few signs of Bio Threat contamination, which they take to be a good sign.

They enter the bridge.  Apollo instructs Jack to insert him into the AI interface at the front of the room, which they then prepare to pressurize with atmosphere to save Liv before she runs out of air.







Liv takes the captain's chair at the center of the room.  Before the bridge can be pressurized, Apollo discovers that Bio Spores have infiltrated the vents and must be cleared before the air will be safe to breathe.

Jack begins clearing out the Spores with his Cutter.  Before he can finish, however, Liv's oxygen supply finally runs out and she goes into cardiac arrest.

Jack clears the Spores so Apollo can activate the life support systems.  With clean air flowing in, Jack opens Liv's helmet, but she does not respond.

Apollo instructs Jack to grab a defibrillation unit from the wall and hook it up to the captain's chair.  Jack pumps the handle to prime the system and delivers a jolt to Liv, but she remains unresponsive.

He tries again.  And again.  And again, refusing to give up when he and Liv have made it so close to the finish line.

Finally, Liv begins to breathe again and wakes up.

Almost immediately, a new problem arises.  The reactor malfunction which has been causing ongoing pulses is reaching critical levels, and the only way Apollo can see to deal with the built-up energy before it goes critical is to engage the ship's faster-than-light engines.  This is exactly what caused the ship to be displaced in time originally, however, and the AI suspects that might happen again.

Given no real alternative, Jack sets about the task of triggering an FTL jump.

After the jump, Jack and Liv are momentarily unsure of where they've ended up.  However, they soon spot Saturn amid the debris and wreckage from a massive battle and realize that their position is unchanged—they've just traveled back to the time period where the ship and Apollo originally came from... a dangerous future where the Atlas corporation makes immense warships armed with radioactive warheads for combatting its enemies...


 
DEVELOPMENT

I won't say too much about the sequence aboard the bridge, since that was largely handled by another designer, but I did several variations on the layout, going back and forth with an Environment Artist to try things that felt new and appropriately "alien" (to match the feel of the rest of the ship's spaces).

A decision was eventually made to push the bridge layout in more of a "traditional" direction (adding chairs, control panels which are operated while sitting down, and the "1701-D"-style slope down to the front area), but some of my initial details remain, like the location of Apollo (where a captain can have discourse with his AI without taking his eyes off the main window), the supports-with-grab bars both in the central area and around the outside as a standalone element, and the lighting "hoop" overhead (because it's often more comfortable in our game to hold onto a stationary point which is above you than below).


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