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More interesting items/ideas for a Bioshock Rapture MMORPG
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Hypnotize Orb - Start of Bioshock 2 :
We have used the Plasmid which makes the Big Daddy want to protect us in the game from hostiles ( http://bioshock.wikia.com/wiki/Hypnotize_Big_Daddy ). That Plasmid is simply triggering an existing conditioning.
But Sofia Lamp is shown using something more complex which allows her to give Delta specific orders for specific actions. She orders you to fire a gun into your own head, which BTW is contrary to very powerful self-preservation instincts and not part of any 'Protector' conditioning. Unfortunately yet another (too frequent) case of "The Plot calls for It". The whole story might be quite different if Delta, following the huge amount of conditioning to protect his Little Sister, hesitated momentarily and then emptied the gun into Sofia Lamb.
Since this bit of apparent illogic is 'Canon', then there must be more to the situation which can be played out in MMORPG Flashbacks. Did Sofia use that Plasmid to help set up her little Regime ? (had she used it to gain control of Persephone previously ?) Where did that Plasmid come from and where did it go -- as we did not see it used later when Delta came back from the dead ? If a minion (who was the one actually employing it) of Sofia's had a Hypnotize Plasmid with such power, was her next action to instantly kill that minion before it got ideas and turned it on her ??? If not, we might have had Franky X, King of Southern Rapture to later save Eleanor from, and instead of that First Utopian stuff something a bit more Al Capone-ish to play thru against in BS2. (Hmm, save that idea for one of the other Factions...)
Thinking about it, if you can recreate Flashbacks for illustrating New Lore for the Rapture Universe, using the games tools, then you can also create "Might Have Beens" and dreams (with amusing twisted events and a psychotic as any deranged Splicer might imagine). A whole Weird-Alternate-Rapture could exist to amuse players with and to allow creators even more freedom for their imaginations. (tell me againt how Ken Levine allegedly "pushes the envelope" ...)
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Protector Programs roots :
A Brainstorm : What to do with a growing number of criminally-insane and self-destructive Splicers whose ADAM addiction had damaged their brains beyond repair. Even with tonic therapies which stabilized the patients and more conventional (non-ADAM) techniquess, left large numbers in various damaged/impaired states, with most of their humanity gone. They started to fill up all the mental facilities in Rapture, to the point of them being chained in the hallways. Instead of simply killing them, it was thought that some usefulness might remain for these permanent inmates (with future hope of technical developments to 'fix'/reconstitute them). Research showed that they were capable of being trained/conditioned to do basic work tasks for the City (to earn their keep and be productive in the interim).
Many were hideously deformed and were found to need mechanical reinforcement/moderation of their bodily functions, which lead to the support suits being employed. Many tonics/plasmids were available that would let them adapt to the suits and accommodate varying severe environments (including pressure differentials of the ocean depths).
Ryan gave the go-ahead as long as there was hope that individuals might eventually be restored, and instituted additional research to that end, as well as for a general cure to the 'ADAM disease' afflicting an ever larger number of his City's citizens (which did result in at least better stabalization of existing ADAM users).
This was the origin of the Cyborgs (machine enhanced humans) which came to inhabit the City and become a living component of Rapture, particularly as time went on and more significant repairs were needed to maintain it. A whole infrastructure was developed to faciltate/maintain their existance (largely out of sight of the public), including extensive repair and supply systems. Most operated largely out of sight of the Citizenry.
Many 'Cyborg' skills were actually accumulative for individuals, the same as ordinary humans, and rankings and skill achievements were systemized. A wide range of capabilities/uses were developed for them, extending their usefulness as more were deployed . (The MMORPG has a 'BE a Big Daddy' roleplaying mode with achievement ramps, etc...). Some operated with more than a little coordination by the AI system known as 'The Thinker' to solve City maintenance problems.
The Protector program was an extension of this Cyborg system (which converted these ADAM-wrecked humans into something useful) and and utilizing of the various degrees of their sentience (required for more complex city maintenance tasks and activities) and was used to solve the 'Vulnurable Little Sister's' problem.
A better engineered solution might have been having Big Daddies serve as 'The Ferryman' and drag ADAM laden corpses to well-protected/fortified Little Sisters, but apparently nobody thought of that. ((Actually, even just regularly cleaning up corpses instead of leaving them lying about might have helped the City's ambiance a bit)).
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Business opportunity in New Rapture - making mirrors to replace all the smashed ones we found in the Solo games :
Splicers didnt loke looking at their deformities caused by the ADAM disease, so destroyed most. Was an adaquate excuse for NOT having them in the game for technical reasons
MMORPG's graphics quality might not make for great "look at my character's wonderously lifelike face" but even Duke Nukem had amusing mirror shots and views in security camera feeds.
With Players being human again, appearances will matter and a mirror is indespensible for that purpose. Will have to think what Player interactions could be appropriate. Cosmetic influences may have some importance in the game (why not ?) That would mean there would be Avatar cosmetic options, hairstyles, face shape variations, etc..
How to look at my Revised Maps for best effect :
Use a program like IrfanView (Freeware) which allows you to quickly flip (button click) sequentially (back and forth) between picture files in a directory. The floor/level maps are superimposed, aligned, and have the same pixel size allowing you to get a 'sort-of' 3D visualization -- to see how the levels connect with stairways and elevator, how open spaces continue thru levels, how the building structures work, etc...
You can use that program to save the .bmp pictures downloaded/captured from the file repository (imageshack) into a directory to be easily flipped thru.
Cuz the Plot Says So :
The artistry and achievement of this MMORPG would be to NOT have to resort to "Cuz the Plot Says So", but instead to have actual reasons and cohesion of explanations for the bigger Rapture story. The original material would preferably be adhered to as 'facts' (for the most part), but there is much left unexplained, undefined and unspecified. This allows additions to fill-in and MAKE the MMORPGs overall storytelling cohesive and explainable. That would be the goal and challenge.
Of course, there are some original game elements which are contradictory, which cannot be explained away and need to be revised/corrected. Some details seen in the original story materials could be taken as 'partial or incorrect because it was presented as from some characters 'point of view' or a faulty interpretation (ie- many of the audio-diaries). For much of it, there are gaps, which if filled-in, could drasticly improve the games situational consistancy and provide more realistic explanations of what should have happened.
Civil Control Administration, All able-bodied un-modified citizens of Rapture, Notice to Report (seen in various places) :
Offers No real details (finer print is unreadable) - so is open to interpretation about what would happen with the people who 'reported'.
Did Ryan actually need to have yet more ADAM crazed people in his City? Fewer people to 'cure' later the better.
Had not the 'Pheromone control' (or its penduing use) effectively nullify Atlas's Splicer army, as well as give Ryan some control over his own troops (the ones who had already 'spliced') -- like calm them ALL down so he could keep the city running).
Would be better that all the critical people who sustained Raptures existence NOT be made crazy/impaired, if possible.
For much of the game, Ryan is shown to be hesitant to impair citizens Free Will, even to his own detrement and advantage of Rapture's enemies. So why would he suddenly change so drasticly? Those already Splice-crazed had surrendered much of their Free Will to ADAM (and were imposing their destructiveness on other Ciizens) and the pheromone control (so much bemoaned in the game to paint Ryan as 'the villain') was a method to control the destructiveness of people in that condition as well as those being used by Rapture's enemies.
That Exaggerated 'out of work' Construction Worker Issue :
Only a fraction of the workers who worked to build Rapture ever got to live there. Only a small fraction of Raptures citizens were construction workers, and most of those moved on to other jobs (as they we told to plan to do as large-scale construction was not going to last for long in Rapture).
- Massive prefabrications made elsewhere and transported to Rapture's location, where the components were assembled.
- Entire small buildings (which when filled with air can actually float) could be built far away and towed to the site.
- Automation technology that greatly increased the work which individual workers could do (also meaning many were not grunt laborers but machine operating specialists who handled/repaired/maintained construction machines - skills transferable to many other jobs in Rapture's industries).
Ryan's Surface Construction Businesses did alot of the work. Ryan would very well know that many of his employees would NOT be suitable to live in Rapture, and he would take measures to make sure they never needed to be there (and not even get close to it --- to meet his secrecy needs).
All workers who went to Rapture were vetted like everyone else (and they were TOLD up-front what kind of place it would be and what the rules were - the game makers seemed to like portraying Ryan as stupid - The Plot called for It...).
Many workers who were slated to stay (those already committed and were allowed to work at Rapture) were partially paid with the rights/ownership of a Residence in Rapture (making them NOT 'homeless' when the construction jobs dried up).
Some number of prudent construction workers would have saved up money and avoided potentially risky speculation (was not that long after the Depression that taught at least a few people what to avoid). Likewise 'Banks Failing' would be only some fraction as recent history had shown the shortcomings of unsecured loans.
Simplistic strawmen are not an element found in 'great' games. Developers need to pay more attention, especially when such things take just a little more consideration and actually require very little extra work to implement. Lazy/ignorant developers dont care and set no priority for such things.
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MMORPG Programmable Macros :
For those repetitive tasks which take some repeated input (useful when there are multi-tiered menus of Options).
Example - point at EVE vat -click , point at bottle -double click, 'E' select action 'Fill'. Once you watch your Avatar get done doing that action, you activate the 'Repeat' command (a key combination) and IF there are more empty bottles nearby and more EVE in that vat, your Avatar will auto-magically repeat that basic sequence until it cannot do any more or you interrupt it (or you get interrupted). You could resume by finding the Macro in your Macro List ( maybe a recently used list) and activating it again. It would act upon the same type objects in your near vicinity. While the Macro runs, you can do other non-avatar-actions things in the interface (like look at a map, talk to an NPC to issue orders, etc...).
Made to be an easy-to-use (intuitive) interface to create/edit/run Macro actions. Best if there is easy ad hoc creation to create a new Macro 'on-the-moment' to do something specific - where you point at what you are intending to use (its often easier/simpler to create a new temp Macro than trying to find an applicable one on some list of Macros youve previously composed).
Parameterized - Macros scripted to have a fill-in 'parameter' (using a drag-into-box) when you run the Macro. Allow doing a similar operation/process/action against some different object and can be quickly activated. (You select and activate Macro and point to the thing you want it applied to -- like a different vat of EVE for the example bottle filling Macro). You might even be able to drag the Macro to a Team NPC as an order and let IT do the work.
Tagged things like Tasks, other Macros (to do sequential compound Macros), Locations(custom map markers), NPC identities - a general mechanism for caching of oft reused things, to facilitate Macro use (and also the issuing commands to 'Team'/other NPCs, or imbedding in communication message, or numerous NPC interactions (ie- at a 'store' drag and drop a 'part' name you've cached for the machine you want to repair (the 'Mk87A-doohickey-with-leftthreaded-gromits'). Selection via pulldown list or other visual selection mechanisms - like drag-drop from a token workspace/memo area on-screen).
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What other Genius came to Rapture and what did they produce ? :
Resulting in advances in consumer items, monumental devices that serve the City or were just impressive...
Why couldn't they do it in the real world ? (likely why they came to Rapture)
- Ethics (beyond the allegedly looser ones in the real world 40s/50s)
- Short-sightedness ('cant be done', 'who would want that', 'sounds crazy', 'impractical'...)
- Politics (Rapture probably got some Nazis and collaborators who would be otherwise 'on-the-run')
- Vested interests in it not being developed (it competes with existing products and thus is quashed/sabotaged)
- Some missing part (technology/material) that was solved in Rapture and opened the greater development.
- Money (funding) is still a problem, just as it is in the real world (more open minds or idle Cash in Rapture??).
- You would think something truely promising/demonstrated would not usually be turn down up on the surface.
- Is the population big enough for some things to work (enuf customers to justify the trouble) -- that might forestall many achievements - because they dont pay (do your abstract science, but dont quit your day job....).
- Many ideas players might have wont be logical as they actually (in real life) require dozens of advancement that have to happen first (Raptures technology dynamics are not the same as Real World ones).
- Hobby originated technical breakthroughs - a climate of technical/scientific openness/available tools/advice - eccentrics dabbling in odd things (Brain Boost later to leaven the process much further).
- One would hope that Rapture wasnt cutoff from the Surface's technological information - many developments were the result of the right person hearing the right idea.
- Some jokes in the game would be alluding to surface technological developments having actually been a breakthrough in Rapture and being smuggled out to the World (or sold via Ryan's organization to continue to buy useful materials that Rapture just couldnt be self-sufficient in (the Hundred-Year-Stockpiles)). Velcro, Poprocks, and the IC chip were all original Rapture technologies.... (possibly).
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Splicers, did they always kill Little Sisters or ? :
A Little Sister is a valuable piece of merchandise. They can produce alot of ADAM if managed properly and some Splicers would be sane enough still to realize that. The bigger Splicer Factions (post-civil-war) would likely have the needed knowledge to keep them alive and manipulate them to produce ADAM. And they would probably trade alot of useful goodies for another live one. By the time of the MMORPG, the more insane Splicers have largely culled themselves out of the ecosystem.
You may (in your adventures) come upon a Splicer holding a Little Sister upsidedown by the legs and shaking to try to extract some ADAM, instead of doing whatever ugly method they alluded to in BS1/BS2 to get ADAM. OR trying to feed one alot of Capt Salties chips and Sodapop (or what passes for...) to try to get the LS to throw up (seems logical....). You might also see Splicers dragging corpses away to some undisclosed location where their own little ADAM producer stays safe and secure and gets 'angels' delivered.
An interesting side-idea is that Sofia Lamb had to start kidnapping children from the surface not so much that there werent any Little Sisters left in Rapture, rather the other Factions were more than strong enough to keep theirs from her clutches.
"My name is Atlas, and I aim to keep you alive" (entering 'Welcome Center') :
He sends Johnny (not that other one) to get you out of the Bathysphere who is promptly slaughtered by a Splicer. Shouldnt that be a clue to you about Atlas (couldnt he have had 'Johnny' go help his family out of that sub?? Instead he throws him away like a spent tissue paper.). At that point Rapture is all very strange and you are too busy playing with all the game widgets to notice this (or if you did, you are given no options to do anything about it in any case...).
And so the farce picks up steam and you have little choice - you are a puppet, a pawn in a story that grows ever more absurd. Ryan is 'so Evil!!', Atlas says "Boy-oh", Boom boom bang bang, "Mr Bubbles!"(awwwww), "A man chooses"(splat), Silversurfer:"You mook"(arrrgh!!), Back to the Surface("yaaay"), The End.
Efficient Airlock use for AE trains (low effort, rapid cycle) :
The process requires minimum pumping against pressure (energy use) and minimal loss of interior atmospheric gases.
Cycle time is minimized for practicality (to keep the trains moving on along their route with minimal delay).
System mechanics should be simple and robust with minimal maintenance(cost) and maximum safety.
- Departure starts with airlock doors open on inside (at normal pressure) and closed on outside (all doors are double sets for safety) and drained.
- Outbound traincars descend into airlock (inclined track) which is already more than half filled with water (minimizing/speeding water pumping operations).
- Inner Door closes/sealed and water from a Holding tank is pumped in (at low pressure differential - little effort) to completely fill interior (air is collected thru vents in top of airlock).
- Valve is opened to outside to equalize pressure - very little air in airlock to be compressed/lost.
- Outer door opens, vehicle exits (and/or another enters).
- Entry starts with airlock doors open on outside and ocean water filling airlock completely at outside pressure
- Vehicle enters. Outer door closes/sealed (airlock is still completely filled with water)
- Pressure is released (but water does not expand though with some frothing/bubbling as disolved gases comes out of liquid)
- Once pressure equalized with inside, sufficient water is pumped out back to a holding tank (and Rapture air in) sufficient to lower water level to clear the station deck.
- Inner Door is opened and vehicle leaves water (rises along inclined track) and comes into station
One thing to fix - crude collision boxes (game programming):
Collision box is a area around an object the computer uses to see if you hit it while moving or a projectile strike.
Unfortunately for odd shaped object the 'box' can stick way out from the actual surface (box refers to a simple boxy shape used to simplify the constant calculations in the game) and cause collision when they shouldn't happen. I saw a number of occasions in the Solo games where this was so. With better programming you can still use the simple box method, but then only if you get a collision with 'the box', you can further test a much finer quality collision map of the object to get a truer collision calculation and truer simulation.
Easy-to-use game tools, whenever possible (for everything in the MMORPG) :
- Fundamental need to maximize productivity of larger number of players to create things. The more people can successfully use the tools, the more and better stuff there will be created for use in the game world.
- Intuitive interface - visual real views when manipulating objects, logical actions for the user, drag-n-drop/cut-n-paste operations where possible (commonly used widgetry to flatten the learning curve).
- Assistive operation, with context specific options to shortcut finding the actions player wants to do. Built in self-checkers/validator to point out incompleteness/invalid things in the creation.
- Fast testing path -- if you have to wait minutes each test-n-fix cycle for the asset to 'bake' it is disruptive to attention span. There can be alot of 'tweaking' activity in many editing operations and quick turn-around is desired.
- Need to eliminate tedium - have batching and repeat operations facilitated.
- Alot of the 'creation' is recombining existing objects into a new larger combination object. Need to be able to search/find all appropriately useable 'existing objects' quickly to expedite assembling the pieces and preventing the creator from losing their vision.
Vita Chambers - Ryan's plan :
The plan was to establish the Vita-Chambers as a commonly used service to large numbers of Rapturites. When the time came it would be a means to correct the problems which ADAM had created. Initially The Vita Chambers provided a minor vitalization and was becoming accepted and was deployed throughout Rapture. Even during the civil war the machines were frequently being used. Next feature being developed was a genetic stabilization which helped overcome and repair the genetic disruption caused by frequent use of Fontaine's crude Plasmids and Tonics. The metabolic boost assisted the body in reasserting its original genetic patterning which helped clean up damage from old conflicting ADAM modifications. Further Vita Chamber development would bring increased resistance to damage and and would combine with the new ADAM development for improved Plasmid/Tonic stability (which Ryan had ordered after taking over Fontaine Futuristics). In future, it was possible that Plasmids/Tonics might be used without side-effects (The 'better product' Ryan had spoken of once).
New Rapture is interested in finding any research dealing with the Vita-Chambers either to help additional improvements to their 'Cure' process or an alternative.
Beloved Leader is still with us :
After Sofia Lamb's disappearance, one of her minions (she never allowed any real lieutenant's who might be tempted to slit her throat one night) pretended to be her, trying to maintain the fiction that Sofia was still in-power and in-charge. There had been a collection of technicians and experts (many who had been in Sinclair's think tank in Persephone) working for Sofia, who tried to stay organized -- running the remaining Little Sisters and controlling the Big Sisters (how? and to what extent?). The charade lasted for a while, handling the lack of Father Wales's influence and other disorders caused by Delta It lasted until at one point the pretender was exposed (the wig fell off) resulting in the pretender's demise and general disappointment and feelings of betrayal when the truth came out. New Rapture was then forming and many of the now disorganized/abandoned 'Family' Splicers soon were being caught and 'Cured' (often being simply bribed with food). Many of the locations Sofia had controlled were captured, while a few of Sofia's old thug minions still held out in small pockets.
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Ryans alleged Tyranny :
Smugglers, who effectively steal from those who would produce goods IN Rapture - initially they were just common criminals. The smuggling of Religious items emphasized by the game makers had little to do with Ryan not caring for organized religion, but was simply smuggled contraband like all the rest of the things smuggled -- largely repeated (for want of more game assets) newspapers, films, and booze(which I would have though they had more than enough of being produced in Rapture). If you wanted organized religion, Rapture was a stupid place to go to.
Smugglers, after the City was closed off from the Surface, became a liability endangering the City (it was the middle of the Cold War and the Russian or Americans WOULD have come and tried to takeover/destroy Rapture). Except for people who tried to assassinate Ryan, smugglers were the only criminals that got the death penalty (and often it was just the organizers).
Ryans City did not have a large 'police' force (they would be one of the 'tools of oppression' he so disliked), so when Splicers started murdering people wholesale, he did not have alot of resources to combat them. His increase of security measures was in reaction to the mayhem being caused by Splicers (who were being assisted/facilitated by Fontaine). Ryan allowed the Citizenry to arm themselves. War measures of curfews and restricted movement dont constitute tyranny (unless you are willing to call FDR that for those same things).
Ryan did not start the use of Little Sisters, he added the Big Daddies after the ADAM shortage crises (inherited from Fontaine) was a critical problem (the ADAM addiction perpetrated by Fontaine had to be maintained until cures could be developed). Big Daddies increase/maintained ADAM production without having to increase the number of Little Sisters.
Without the ADAM supply, a huge number of people in Rapture were going to go insane, not the best thing to happen if the City and Citizens were to continue to survive.
Prisoners who volunteered for research - This was started under Fontaine (and existed in the US about that same time). Some unfortunates of the experiments were living dead (Novel shows Fontaine seeing the results of the various early 'experiments' - though notice he did not order them to be stopped, and if anything increased that research).
Children being 'kidnapped' to make into Little Sisters - effectively started by Fontaine in his 'Orphanages' which look to have been set up for them to be used as Little Sisters (not mentioned in his advertisements..). Do any of the stories say that it is Ryan's men who actually do kidnapping? (Remember Stanley Poole...) Were the majority of the Little Sisters 'converted' while Fontaine was still in control of his organizations? Did Ryan shut down the Orphanages? (they never bothered to mention this...)
Pheromone Control - used on Splicers to try to control their destructive activities -- which included trying to destroy Ryan's control of the City - murdering people in the streets and wrecking the economy AND incentivising more people to become Splicers to defend themselves.
Pheromones were used in the Civil War by Ryan to nullify Fontaine/Atlas's barely controllable Splicer army (used on Splicers who already lost most of their 'free-will' to ADAM addiction and the resulting insanity) so that his forces could win and restore order (this is the state of things at the start of BS1). Ryan would seek to keep the City running and find and implement a solution. Eliminating Atlas's largescale disruptions was necessary.
Ryan often did not institute stronger (oppressive) security measure until long after they were seen as necessary. He believed that people would figure it out themselevs and tyranny was no solution. He closed off Apollo Square as a center of Atlas followers and dumped people who supported Atlas's side into that containment. Fontaine or Sofia Lamb would have simply murdered their opponents (and had).
Many times, even when Fontaine was known to be a smuggler, Ryan required due process (like real evidence) in order to arrest and remove Fontaine. It is actually a strawman that such a large Smuggling operation (big enough to make Fontaine so much money) could be 'hidden' for so long. Unfortunately, Fontaine had no problem killing informants, bribing constables and causing major disruptions to side-track justice.
Sealing off Rapture from The Surface - was part of the original plan (anyone who went there knew about the attempts at secrecy and self-sufficiency from the start). Cold War- Anyone who understands what that historically entailed had no problem with Ryans justifications. Those who threatened Raptures safety by continuing contact with the Surface were traitors who could doom all of Rapture (that was made clear to all, and those who continued to endanger the city knew that if caught they would pay the price.).
Ryan not caring for 'the poor'. Ryan's philosophy and that of his City was made plain to anyone who was going there. A majority of the 'Construction Workers' (and NOT thousands) were largely machine operators (Rapture was mostly built with machines and automation) who long-term were understood to have to eventually get new jobs, and many did. The major economic strife was actually caused by Fontaine/Atlas's violence which disrupted large parts of the City. Many of the people who called for taking from some citizen's (via taxes) to give to the 'poor' were doing so only for their own gain of power (Fontaine says this himself). Rapture had already ridden out an earlier economic recession years previous and had survived and resurged.
A few people name Ryan a tyrant and that was what WE were mostly presented with in the game. But then 'Ryan is evil' was part of the plot to foist Atlas as our 'ally'. --- --- ---