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More interesting items/ideas for Bioshock Rapture MMORPG
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. Part 11
Our 5-cent Tour of Rapture was only worth 3 cents :
Player in BS2 went thru the old sections of the Atlantic Express Depot - the facilities used for 'The Short Line' (Mk1 system) when the other 3/4 of the complex was the larger Mk2 repair facilities and station - which managed the majority of Raptures train equipment.
The facilities shown in Pauper's Drop (Maintenance Junction 17) were for the Mk1 system which had been more extensive before the conversions to the higher-capacity Mk2 system. Reasons for the changeover of most of the AE was : Structural weaknesses in the initial design, the heavier freight loads the city required, and the long distances out to Rapture's outside communities/industrial sites, which the Mk1 equipment did not handle well.
Most of the track was rebuilt leaving only a few small sections of Mk1 operational and some stretches of abandoned track, that had continued to run while parallel Mk2 track was being built. The 'Metro' passenger service buyout also caused other tracks and branchlines to be abandoned. Some of the old track infratructure and equipment was used by industrial sites outside of Rapture (out in the 'boonies').
New Rapture may make use of some of the abandoned tracks if they are in sufficiently good shape and run in the interim while a number of the Mk2 track routes are repaired. Some tracks may be salvaged to repair other sections. The Quarry Line up as far as Welcome Center was another operational section used in several building projects underway upto the time of the Kashmir Incident in 1958/59.
Reason why the AE Mk2 track/facilities wasnt seen in BS2 (?) : Those tracks extend into territory Sofia Lamb did not control and had been either blocked or damaged. So the Mk2 segments within Lamb's area didnt really go much of anywhere and later lack of maintenance left them useless anyway. Meanwhile, the Mk1 segments connected some of Lamb's territory (map) and were useful (especially with the Bathysphere either locked down, disabled or damaged. The Metro trolley system down in the old southern industrial area was fairly sparse -- and again often extended out of Lamb's controlled area towards the residential districts (and thus could only be used a little). Add lack of proper maintenance which doomed more of it.
Sloping floors :
Game engine should be able to handle non-flat floors (ie- ramps and such as well as out of kilter floors due to building damage -- floors that are not structural components of the building, but are fastened to the structural walls/floors) Floors fallen in. Debris forms piles, etc... Structures like catwalks can be ramps. Building blocks of this kind should be adjustable as to their dimensions and slope allowing much more diversity in the 3rd dimension.
Splicer Mish-mosh :
You might notice that I havent really proposed much in the way of new Splicers or Big Daddy variants. Ive seen blogs and forum posting trying to define all kinds of new ones (mostly turn out to be variations/combinations of existing types).
Why have more new ones that pretty much will do the same thing (that goes for weapons also). Better to have the existing Splicers do better behaviors and more varied tactics and coordinate as groups.
No tentacles please -- alot of work to animate and then when done looks poor anyway (and we are talking about full range of movement animations all other Splicers do). Theres a very good reason that BS1/BS2 had the Splicers remain mostly human shaped.
I would like to see more variation in their clothing (which would be available as variants if NPC non-Splicers will have clothing also and Player creations to multiply those available). Likewise the weapons/tools they carry (and actually know how to use).
Freightyard on map:
Near the Atlantic Express Depot (on my maps and is that loop you see on the AE maps in BS2) is the 'Freightyard' which is a long series of parallel tunnels and tracks that feed into the AE Depot (they are pressurized all the way from the far end to facilitate working there). There would be hundreds of freightcars in Rapture - boxcars, tankcars, refrigerated cars, 'flatcars' to move large structural parts and equipment. Like any railroad, unused cars need to be stored, and track provided to sort freight cars into trains for different destinations. As most of Raptures bulk freight is moved via the AE, 'Freightyard' is the place that is done. Trains from various parts of the city (and outside Rapture) go out and come back taking freightcars to/from destinations. The location was also convenient for central redistribution of freight, so warehouses and freight transfer facilities (yes, we can have forklifts!!) are also located there. For the remaining long distance passenger traffic (outside of Rapture), passenger trains were made up to run the lines to those other population centers.
Carnival (a city plaza) :
Location of several 'themed' recreational/entertainment establishments.
Grand Carnival - was created by an entrepreneur who thought that a classic carnival attraction would pay. He learned that there is a reason such establishments are run on a shoestring and have many shady characters working in them.
General 'fairgrounds' where various yearly events were held (including the agricultural fair).
A small Circus shared the same area and likewise was limited by the venue (a struggling circus from the surface purchased 'cheap' -- that the buyer 'got what he paid for').
Adjacent 'ethnic' themed restaraunts/shops/attractions were also located near this laza center.
Chinatown (authentic opium den if you knew where to look...)
Germantown (beer garden, schnitzel, town defensive walls and narrow streets, lederhosen and oompapa band, etc...)
Little Venice (with canals)
The Jungle (tropical rainforest/tarzan movie theme)
Rio (south american theme)
Atomic-ville (a Ryan sponsored attraction showing the result of an atomic blast on a typical town)
Open Source for more than the game data (programming the MMORPG)??? :
Reasons not to (many of the 'advantages' of Open Source dont apply to a project like this) :
- Programming for a specific application has no controllability as to schedule or quality (it really needs a more cohesive effort). Libraries with well defined functional specifications are much easier for Open Source (once the standards are decided on), but irregular and monolithic programs like game server and client applications are much more complex.
- A great deal of inside knowledge is required to produce pieces of code that are highly integrated with other parts of the product (versus game data that is largely indepedant of other game data - and can be discarded if defective without disrupting the entire project). For a program, one broken/defective part and the entirety is broken, if one part of the program is not finished, all of it is not.
- Code standards are sometimes difficult to maintain and proper documentation takes much more work to make available to a general audience (versus inside a company where you can walk down a hall or make a call to clarify an issue).
- Game company wants to protect its product, and much of the data for the MMORPG is only of specialized use (limited to THEIR game program that THEY have exclusive control over).
- The company controls the programming code for the servers and client (and the tools). If it was 'open source' a competitor could grab the code and make it much easier to reuse(steal) the game object data (benefit without having done the work - 'parasites' as Andrew Ryan would call them).
- Plugin support for tools will still be allowed (which are limited within the scope of the game tools).
- The game mechanics do allow scripting which effectively turns 'logic' into data. The engine would allow flexible use of such (when most other MMORPG systems are much more static - 'logic' having to be compiled into the game engine itself.
- External Tool programs can still be created as long as they create Assets in standard formats. Besides the usual textures or 3D meshes, more specialized data can be XML (with schemas provided as definition/validation/compatibiity templates for the created data). The company tools are largely 'one-way' (import only), so the IDE would be designed to preserve the external input data for any subsequent modification.
Out in the Water :
All those seabed airlocks and pathways, stairs, railings pipes, valves, conduits, signs, wreckage and machinery out there...
BS2 we were greatly restricted to little patches of 'in the sea' to walk thru and prevented from straying off the narrow path to the next bit of the plot (BS1 we didnt even see Bathysphere transits past the initial Lighthouse to Welcome Center scene).
In the MMORPG it would be completely open (with all the external details created to allow you to go anywhere on the world map).
There will still be translucent, obscured windows, where you really cant see details/activities inside (at least for buildings that havent had the auto-generation fill in all the details - yet).
There would be similar templates and prop building blocks to construct all the ranges of possible undersea terrain (again with the auto-generation mechaism doing alot of 'heavy lifting') to create that big sandbox world (much uninteresting/unremarkable terrain you simply pass thru to get to the 'interesting' bits).
'100 year Stockpile' - Storage area near Port Rapture - long term secure warehousing of various stuff :
Other companies brought their own initial supplies of critical materials (before all the 'self-sufficiency' supply chains were operational). Ryan Probably advised them to stockpile a sufficiently large supplys, if it did not look like Rapture was going to be 'self-sufficient' in many materials (especially when he was thinking of his 'cutoff' from the surface in 1952.)
Many of those companies brought in stockpiles and they are distributed across Rapture in many locations. Ryan would have done the same for his companies and several large supply depots are located near Port Rapture.
Of course there were many hiding places in Rapture an dsmall businesses would likewise have hidden stockpiles of materials and critical parts that might be made cheaper on the surface, rather than attempt to make or wait for others to make down in Rapture.
Creativity made possible :
It takes little effort to make a model render larger (simple scaling factor) and in a few places they would have a giant something (here it could be a Big Little Sister -- being something like 15 feet tall that you would see doing its normal actions -- walking along with a now not so big daddy...)
Maybe only something seen in Splicers Nightmares or after an injection of EVE that is long past its expiration date.
Choreographed dream sequence of a Godzilla sized Big Daddy (or a giant parasite) rampaging thru the Skyscrapers of Rapture -- late night TV program or nightmare sequence.
Seen Big Daddys welding, but none carry welders... :
New Big Daddy flavor with welding torch that cranks up like short range flamethrower... (gas tanks on its back - nice vulnurable spot). Welding torch doubles as a cutting torch used to cut debris up into manageable chunks.
Rivets?? Rivets went out when ?? Gas wending, arc welding was largely in use by WW2. Rivets for airplanes (aluminum welding wasnt developed/widely used til later).
Except rivets can connect dissimilar materials (and some materials may not be weldable - ie- Ryanium). Look at the viaducts and bolts with nuts are used in those structures (maybe that was just to cfacilitate the double paned glass -- inner is normal glass that breaks as we can do in the game, and the outer is the unbreakable 'clear' Ryanium (that you dont seem to be able to break no matter how much you try).
Strolling thru Rapture with a half ton bodyguard... :
When you think of it, wouldnt it have been a bit more controllable to have all 'corpses' collected (for public sanitation reasons -- even have people PAY to have them collected) and have them 'processed' by Little Sisters in safe/thoroughly guarded locations ??? Instead of letting Little Sisters wander with a lone Big Daddy that all to often couldnt protect her??
"Bring out your dead" scene from Monty Python Holy Grail movie.... (except systematically done with a gang of well armed collectors-- too many for most Splicers to dare interfere with). That Utility Tram system I have running under Raptures 'streets' would be perfect for hauling corpses (like it already did garbage) - convenient 'dump' chutes already throughout Rapture..
Big Daddies could then concentrate on their maintenance work (and be subject to many fewer attacks).
Scene of a conveyor belt of bodies running past Little Sisters assembly line fashion. When few bodies are available then the Little Sisters are all safe and generating ADAM anyway.
Its called Risk Management - something that people in business/engineering deal with every day.
New Rapture City Ordinance #34 -- all bodies in areas controlled by the City shall be immediately brought to the public morgue (and any outside the city be preferred to be collected to prevent the spread of disease and pestilence).
The city still had need of some ADAM as part of 'the Cure' research and preparations, and Little Sisters could still be made use of before their being 'saved' using Tenenbaum's process. (Research ws also being made for a way to feed SeaSlugs with ADAM from corpses and bypassing the ghoulish need for Little Sisters - you were given a ADAM extractor at the end of BS1..).
Of course during the Lamb regime, when Splicers were controlled/emasculated by having their ADAM withheld/depleted, the Daddy/Sister pairs may have been alot less likely to be attacked, and Lamb may not have liked having well armed 'collector gangs' that might decide SHE was extraneous or would make a convenient 'martyr'.
"the Independent Reasoning Processor" (in Minerva's Den, Central Computing) :
ADAM based technology to create it (the mainframe to 'process data at the speed of thought') could only happen AFTER ADAM was discovered and researched (after 1952). Before that, switching speed of electron tubes and the cost of yet undeveloped transisters greatly limited speed and reliability of the hardware.
"After reactivating the Thinker, Sigma then prints out its codes and heads to the surface with Tenenbaum where they rebuild it." --- ??? Not sure how they were supposed to rebuild it. Not sure where millions of dollars worth of electronics would suddenly appear from (mainframes cost that much back then for 'run of the mill' ones and a custom one would cost 10X as much to build). That is, if their sudden reappearance didnt find them both in water filled tubes in AREA 51 or in a KGB 'secrets extraction' facility.
The ADAM modified SeaSlug brain based 'logic disks' -- it might be hard to arrange for a supply (thousands) of those on the Surface (at least they didnt need those ADAM producing seaslugs).
"If the programming for a thinking computer were to escape Rapture and be reconstructed on the surface in 1968... what might that lead to in the future?" --- Fail and Abort. The 'Programming' doesnt exactly work without that ADAM based hardware.
The functioning 'circuitry' requires ADAM (yeah ... just what Tenenbaum would want - to let ADAM out into the Surface World and cause some REAL mass death). So Tenenbaum takes ADAM with her to the surface. Should be some interesting 'story' of how she managed to avoid government agents getting their hands on that (probably one reason she had to return to Rapture after pouring all that ADAM down a toilet in a panic when agents were closing in on her).
"Printing out the code" ?? --- - Punch cards? Would there be enough of those in Rapture (and could one person even carry the piles needed??) Magnetic tape might be a little more reasonable.
"Mark Meltzer enters Rapture. " (via Lighthouse Bathysphere...)
I would have thought that this (Lighthouse Entrance) would have been locked down to avoid unwanted visitors (the Big Sisters/Lamb's minions having a sub would have no need for the Lighthouse Bathysphere). And any maintenence parties to the Lighthouse would lock it (down there) when they went back home. The Splicers attacking the boat Meltzer came on?? ... In their own mini-subs over near the boat. Splicer(s) came up in the Lighthouse's Bathysphere to watch the fun?? .. Sitting right where they could disembowel Meltzer, if that was so.
You just get to Rapture and it already starts heading downhill :
That whiney guy Johnny, who 'Atlas' sends to go get you in BS1 at the very beginning (before you get out of the Bathysphere) -
1) has no working gun (didnt bring one? doesnt know how to use one )
2) thinks that he can reason with a Splicer - offers to give it to the Splicer to be 'left alone',
3) and then gets disemboweled in about 2 seconds.
Where has this guy been for the last year or more ???
How did he survive even to get to that Metro station ? (Hmm, why didnt Atlas come himself???)
What does it say about some of the people that Atlas has left working for him ?
Atlas apparently is watching you at that location somehow and sends the Security Bot after the Splicer.
He wastes one of his incompetant lackeys (who was supposed to somehow guard Jack??) as part of the charade to fool Jack into willingly going after Ryan.
Fontaine, a minute one way or the other, could have lost Jack so easily (pretty sloppy actions for deploying Fontaine's 'Ace-card' that he is currently betting on). Not a great start if unarmed Jack got killed right there and then -- Game Over.
The Walls have Eyes - Cameras in Rapture :
Must be lots more cameras around for Fontaine/Ryan/Lamb (and even Tenenbaum) to tap into to watch Jacks/Deltas movements and make appropriate comments and advice (and WYK orders...).
Means lots of wires running around thru those walls (and subject to Splicers chewing on them)
Where are they when they are watching?
- Ryan owned the system and had it maintained (and probably expanded before/during the Civil War). There would be human operators doing the surveillance monitoring and something of interest would be routed to Ryan (way back 40s/50s they did rounte TV pictures thru phone lines).
- Fontaine/Tenenbaum would have to tap into the system (not quite so easy).
- Lamb would have stuff under her control routed to the center of her web in Persephone.
New Rapture is restoring many such systems in the areas it controls (and there are MANY more yet to fix -- a nice subject for Player Missions). The Player might use similar systems for local security. Camera equipment would be in-demand and a valued salvage item for Players to look for.
Metro Tokens :
I think I found a coin slot (token slot?) for paying for entrance to use the Metro (located in 'Transit Hub' edge of upper level just before you do the transfer to Medical) that reminds me a little of the token gates on the New York City Subways (and its a bit weird since the path to 'Medical' (after your little chat with Ryan) is via an airlock/bulkhead and not a Bathysphere).
Whale of a tale :
Whale shaped spy sub (100 foot long?? 200 tons displacement) was used for extended patrols in the Sea around Rapture ??
Hmm, with that 150+ foot Lighthouse sitting up there (did they at least turn that beacon light off??).... and secrecy was the watchword???? Plot-uninhibited Ryan probably would have had the thing dynamited in 1952 as part of his 'cutting off from the Surface' measures.
On the other hand, smugglers or covert 'trading' mission could make use of such a thing. Would be much more steampunky to have the tail action actually propel the craft (watch the 'real' one in the Lighthouse to Rapture cutscene)
By the MMORPG time, it is probably sitting decommissioned/decrpid in the Oceanus Submarine Yard.
Securis - warrantees mustve expired :
Those Securis Doors in Welcome Center are a bit too failure prone the way they buckle (when they are 6 inch thick doors - when 1 inch steel plate of that size will hold up to that kind of pressure), The viaduct the plane tail-section crashed and broke into likewise was kinda weak for the pressure that the structure normally puts up with (planes are built like tin-foil to be light enough to fly). The large hole stove-in would have water pour in so fast and compressed the air in that viaduct to 1/19th of its previous volume virtually instantaneously. But remember - never let physics or reality get in the way of the plot.....
Sorry, Rapture was NOT controled all by The Thinker :
The Thinker may have regulated all the systems in Minerva's Den (Not though as alleged for all of Rapture) :
Implied by radio message from Tenenbaum to Sigma :
"Herr Sigma! It is Dr. Tenenbaum! With the computer disabled, Minerva's Den is falling to pieces! No pressure regulation, no air supply! You must defeat Wahl and bring the Thinker back up to full power. "
The Minerva's Den Automatic Control System (MDACS - tech geeks love acronyms) was done as a test project to try to prove to Ryan that the same could be done for the City. This remote site was set up to be controlled/run/maintained using the proposed 'Auto-magic' system. The initial conversion expenses, overhead costs of endless maintenance, failing electical components, and resulting deadly hazards meant that the proposed citywide project never got past this stage.
Ryan's Surface organizations ran extensive disinformation campaigns (a long term project that continued long after Ryan's 'death') to discredit/obscure any real information about Rapture. It frequently created linkages to UFO events and pointing off to "Project Blue Book" and other less public/more obscure UFO/paranormal investigations/projects. All to send threatening Rapture investigations off into the conspiracy theory quagmire ( usually never to be seen again.)
Unusual 'sightings' were fabricated in numerous World locations to be witnessed by various well known 'flakes' (adherants to a wide range of paranormal theories and public pronunciations). Fake psychics and monster photos and 'lights in the sky' were contrived.
"Anal probe" hysteria was one of the more successful elements foisted upon the ever receptive 'flake' community.
'The Vanishing' was largely an easy dodge with the Cold War in progress (handy Russian kidnappers) an easy excuse for non-CIA investigators. The same excuse worked for KGB investigators who had rival 'secret' agencies they never trusted especially after Ryan's fake CIA contacts proposed an undersea city as the destination for the vanished people. Ryan's agents spun more 'wheels within wheels' than you'd find in a Steampunk/Infinite automatons brain clockworks.
- The North Atlantic Project *
An infamous late 40's flying saucer movie "The North Atlantic Project" was distributed widely as part of the Organizations 'running interference' for Rapture.
A better FPS experience :
The new 'Ruins' and 'Wild' (the unsafe areas outside the boundries of New Rapture) -- how to make the environments in those areas as creepy/creepier than what we saw in BS1/BS2 (now with Player imagination to call upon to make more).
- More overgrown views blocking stuff, more varied debris and obstacles (for things to 'jump out at you' or 'down onto you', or even climb out of holes in the ground/floors etc..)
- More dark areas, mists/smoke/vapors that obscure view ranges.
- Eerie sounds heard, but not being easily able to identify where they are coming from (or what is causing them).
- More doors open now, Im sure Players can come up with more strangeness for whats behind them.
- More territory so that you are not going thru the same places (yet again and again) and already know where everything is (after replaying it 5 times).
- Things keep moving around/change-on-you since the last time you visited (most MMORPGs have the same Mannekin Dummy opponents standing in the same place forever and reset like ducks in the feeble shooting galleries those games merely are).
- Enough different objects which you dont exactly know what they will do, till you interact with them (suprises are good).
- the MMORPG Splicers will do much better job setting traps and using the terrain against you.
- More combinations of situations, more hazzards to watch out for, sneaky Splicers ...
City Population Distortions :
"Ryan filled it with several thousand of the world's best and brightest"
Rapture could not exist with only 'elites' and 'discarded' construction workers. The remaining population would reflect this.
- Most of the original population (20000-40000) would have had to exist to make the city work and be 'self-sufficient' (the goal declared by Ryan). Many more people would have to be skilled in all kinds of manufacture/industry/services. Only a small percentage would have been rich enough for a life of leisure and many of those would still own businesses.
- The 'downtrodden' Construction Workers (a thousand ?) would have to adjust/retrain and take new jobs -- with a wide spectrum of jobs being available to them.
- Some Construction would actually have been planned to be continuous to make space for long term City growth and to help alleviate the 'cramped' situation (many of the 'suburbs' were built after the 'City' was largely completed. This would also continue active jobs for more than a few construction workers.
- The original game's plot machinations left many possible options like this non-existant -- instead it needed to fabricate the required elite vs poor class conflict and force failure on Ryan's 'utopia'. Most construction workers would likely find jobs doing City Maintenance (which was alluded to being needed more than has been expected) or be retrained for other jobs over a period of many years.
- The market/bank crash caused by Fontaine/Atlas violence and murder was actually responsible for putting large numbers of people out of work (not just construction workers) and the mayhem caused by the Splicers made sure recovery was largely impossible in that situation. One of the Audio Diaries (in Hesphaestus) has Ryan saying that Rapture would recover, which would actually have been likely once he eliminated Atlas's poisonous violence and the Splicers were under control and sufficient order was restored (Lamb hiding under her rock somewhere at that time would have been easily dealt with). Ryan would have fixed his City if given the chance.
An earlier economic downturn (around 1954 ??) was recovered from, but with criminal opportunists like Fontaine and Lamb using the unfortunates as cannon fodder for their own greed for power, the 'poor' got little real help and instead propaganda of why they should be given handouts instead of simply working for their own livelihood. If Lamb and Fontaine had created/fostered constructive work (farms, manufacturing, rebuilding housing) for all those 'poor' people, then they might have had a chance to climb out of their circumstances. Instead they got 'make work' in Dionysus Park and lessons in how to hold 'strikes' and protests and threaten violence and rantings at how unfair everything was.
Localization - alternate language support (if the Player Created Asset System is ever implemented) :
Mechanism of Pointing at Text-based art Assets - posters/sign/graffiti (which would be too much work to provide alternates in multiple localized translations) could show a simple 'subtitle' translation text like done in BS2 (simple translations text would be included/added into Assets data - but thats easy to do after the primary Asset is operational).
Translating ordinary text to another language Asset substitution - Quest spiels/dialogs/NPC text talk/names of objects, etc... (which can add upto ALOT of translations being required AND then revetting of those translations - as extra work making sure it matches original meanings/idea and not just being valid/appropriate).
Audio clips of speaking would have to be localized (not sure how many Player Created voice Assets there would be) - again a text translation being shown in parallel might suffice. NPCs also would do alot of talking via text (since so many different audio clips is hard to provide) and these could have similar text translations (thought ASSEMBLED text with script assembled sentences (situational substitutions) might play havock with grammar and more work than static phrases and sentences).
Player in-game input talking/speaking bubbles (Over-the-head text) would NOT get auto-translated (localized servers with Players speaking same language would be likely ...).
Text/audio media created in-game (by Players - like bulletin boards/newspapers/tv/radio ads/mail ) would NOT get translated from the native language -- again localized servers.
The PCA (Player Created Asset) commmunity itself might face similar problems (since its based on massive Player involvement)
with communications of intent/design/comments/documentation likewise facing a different language issue.