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Minor Lore Questions

All topics and discussion about the first Consortium game. No bug reports please.
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Historian
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Minor Lore Questions

Post by Historian »

Hey guys - great game. Leaves me with a bunch of nitpicks' about Zenlil's actual design.

1) So... about the Mission Pods. There's no way you can fit all of Zenlil in one of those things. There's over 20 people aboard and those things can fit -maybe- 4 people knee to knee plus a pilot. Clown car, much?

2) So are the Zero-G navigators strategic handholds or more like magnetic clamps that they snap to the wall to maintain momentum?

3) What's up with the energy shield that covers the airlocks? If it's part of an energy shielding system on Zenlil, why isn't it active all the time? More importantly - shouldn't the airlock doors be resistant to F-35 cannon level firepower, not just to 5 well-placed non-lethal grenades?

4) Kind of a corollary to #3 with space ops - is there an actual 'airlock' designed for evacuating someone to space without depressurizing a section of the ship? Engineering is kinda important to be putting in vacuo. I know that you can probably explain it away with pressure forcefields like in the Medbay or blown-open airlocks, but it seems like an afterthought.

5) There are 4 Cabins on Zenlil - two dedicated to Bishops, one to Knight 15, and one for general use. There are 3 Rooks aboard - where the hell are they sleeping? Also - Zenlil is understaffed according to Pawn 32. Shouldn't there be empty bunks? Or do they hot-bunk? Even then, there's not enough lockers.

6) There's a dumbwaiter in the mid-aft of the ship that's sized for like... a milk jug. What's the utility of that other than feeding X-03 crew? Sending anonymous love letters?

7) Another one about Mission Pods - how do they launch, exactly? More importantly - what's up with the truss system they're attached to? With the way the gantries are set on the upper level, it looks like you can't maneuver the pods any deeper in the hangar bay. I ask because there's not like a crane that lowers them past the ramp, so you'd either have to somehow turn the pod around and put it on the hangar bay floor, then... shove it out, I guess? Half-lower the ramp and use it as a runway? But there's no landing gear and the wingspan when extended probably won't take to the hangar's size.

8) Why is there a curtain over the Holographic Situation Room? Or rather, if there needs to be a curtain to block sunlight or whatever, why not just get rid of the window and make the whole room the 'curtain' and close the doors?

9) Global ops is... really big. Is that giant view out the windows going to improve efficiency? Also going with the above - why do the holopads work fine but the situation room needs a curtain? Tertiarially - how come the Queen and Wheats just get projected on some sort of pad while Six and K15 just do whatever to speak with them?

10) Last but not least - is there no manual release... on anything? "OH GOD THIS IS LOCKED DOWN!" "OH NO, THAT'S LOCKED DOWN!" "OH GOD, THE SYSTEM ISN'T RESPONDING!" It seems like certain situations could've been resolved fairly simply with a shutoff switch. It's especially strange since more complex things like Zenlil's weapons and airlocks have manual controls and computer chips that can be modified manually, but you can't just pull a hydraulic override lever to escape a locked door or shut off power to haywire systems.

There. My minimal peeves about Zenlil after ~20 trips through the rift are splayed out. Clearly this is evidence that the King's infrastructure is corrupted and that the Motor Control chips don't provide a lick of sense to the brainwashed Consortium engineering teams.

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Thriesteve
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Re: Minor Lore Questions

Post by Thriesteve »

Good stuff! Thanks for asking - we love answering these kinds of thoughtful questions about the overall design. As with every little detail in the game, we have answers for everything. Here goes:

1) So... about the Mission Pods. There's no way you can fit all of Zenlil in one of those things. There's over 20 people aboard and those things can fit -maybe- 4 people knee to knee plus a pilot. Clown car, much?

Nope, they absolutely cannot all fit into one. There is not quite 20 people aboard, but you could probably fit about 5 or 6 somewhat comfortably. The ploy used by K15 to trick Angelov was a risky one, for sure. She was hoping that Angelov was A> unaware exactly how many people were on board Zenlil considering they were not running with a full contingent... and/or B> too stupid to notice one way or another. Considering K15 speaks of a belief that Angelov is far more intelligent than he seems, the latter is unlikely. In the end, perhaps Angelov was well aware that they couldn’t fit the whole crew on that thing, and perhaps it didn’t matter? ;)

In general those are not escape pods, and so are mostly only used for at most two or three people to go off-ship when a freefall suit won’t suffice. If there really WAS a major emergency and the crew had to evacuate, then some would load onto the mission pods while others would don Freefall Suits. Many of the Pawns have undergone Bishop training within the V.T. (as discussed in one of the early-game conversations with a certain Pawn) and are capable of using the suit.

2) So are the Zero-G navigators strategic handholds or more like magnetic clamps that they snap to the wall to maintain momentum?

They are strategically placed (while not in zero-g), but can also be removed at will and used however necessary. And so yes, they are magnetic clamps designed to attach to various surfaces around Zenlil.

3) What's up with the energy shield that covers the airlocks? If it's part of an energy shielding system on Zenlil, why isn't it active all the time? More importantly - shouldn't the airlock doors be resistant to F-35 cannon level firepower, not just to 5 well-placed non-lethal grenades?

It isn’t active all of the time simply due to power consumption – that stuff is expensive and so only pops when necessary. You’ll notice that when Zenlil gets shot up, the energy shielding (technically called Atmospheric Shielding) is used to cover the bullet-holes as well. It is generally designed to maintain atmospheric pressure in the case of bad physical damage to the fuselage. The question then comes: why don’t the shields immediately fire when a door is blown out? Well... virus ;)

As for the doors themselves– you’re talking external fire versus internal. It’s utterly and profoundly CRAZY TALK to think that a firefight would breakout within Zenlil. It’s so far from a possibility that internal protection for the airlock doors wasn’t considered necessary. So, yes, they are more vulnerable to being blown out if damaged from the inside.

4) Kind of a corollary to #3 with space ops - is there an actual 'airlock' designed for evacuating someone to space without depressurizing a section of the ship? Engineering is kinda important to be putting in vacuo. I know that you can probably explain it away with pressure forcefields like in the Medbay or blown-open airlocks, but it seems like an afterthought.

Proper airlocks are added on by the T.O.O.L. system. It’s basically an outer shell that attaches to the hull of the ship, and is the only way for C-3800s to actually reach orbit on their own. See attached for an article about the T.O.O.L. pulled from the Info Console.

5) There are 4 Cabins on Zenlil - two dedicated to Bishops, one to Knight 15, and one for general use. There are 3 Rooks aboard - where the hell are they sleeping? Also - Zenlil is understaffed according to Pawn 32. Shouldn't there be empty bunks? Or do they hot-bunk? Even then, there's not enough lockers.

Only one of them is dedicated to the Bishop. Bishop Eight, Bishop Six’s predecessor, was within a different bunk that is awaiting removal of the B.U.S. chamber. Once the chamber is removed, it will be turned into a “general use” cabin. You can learn from Wade the strange/suspicious series of events that led to them being forced to turn a different cabin into Bishop Six’s until they could have Bishop Eight’s B.U.S. taken off the ship (not an easy process).

The rooks don’t all sleep at the same time during a multi-day mission, and so the three rooks can easily share two rooms. The Bishop has a dedicated bunk simply because he’s the least useful on board the ship, and Knight 15’s doubles as an office space. Bishop Eight, for example, spent most of his time in his bunk and/or in the V.T.

Zenlil is also a 24 hour ship, and so the bunks within the Barracks are easily interchangeable. They take turns sleeping IF a situation arises for that to occur – though it’s more common for them to land at the end of a day. If they are in the middle of a multi-day mission, and Zenlil has to stay in the air all of that time, then the bunks serve to allow this. The lockers are also interchangeable depending on who is on board, who actually needs one, etc. They are not permanent for anyone, and more like gym lockers. And yes, the names/labels attached to the bunks and lockers are very easily changed via the Pawn’s comm. devices.

6) There's a dumbwaiter in the mid-aft of the ship that's sized for like... a milk jug. What's the utility of that other than feeding X-03 crew? Sending anonymous love letters?

Well, it makes things a little bit easier if you can make food in the galley, and then send it down to the Barracks or the Lounge (where most of the crew spend their off-time) instead of having to carry it around. It also doubles as a clean-up tool. Throw your used utensils and plates and whatever else back into the dumbwaiter, and it’ll automatically zap back into the cargo containment unit.

7) Another one about Mission Pods - how do they launch, exactly? More importantly - what's up with the truss system they're attached to? With the way the gantries are set on the upper level, it looks like you can't maneuver the pods any deeper in the hangar bay. I ask because there's not like a crane that lowers them past the ramp, so you'd either have to somehow turn the pod around and put it on the hangar bay floor, then... shove it out, I guess? Half-lower the ramp and use it as a runway? But there's no landing gear and the wingspan when extended probably won't take to the hangar's size.

It’s tight, but actually it is setup to be perfectly functional. We even did animations for getting one loaded and dropped out of Zenlil, but in the end never had use for it. It’s not something players can ever actually see (even though it happens when one of the mission pods is jettisoned via remote during that particular thread). Basically the crane in the center grabs a pod, hoists it into the center. Meanwhile, the interior cargo bay doors open (i.e the doors within the doors – you can see the mechanisms for that). The crane then lowers the pod and it swings down – pointing straight down. It then releases and the pod thrusts hard, shooting it out of Zenlil. If any of this is confusing, we could illustrate further at some point. :)

8) Why is there a curtain over the Holographic Situation Room? Or rather, if there needs to be a curtain to block sunlight or whatever, why not just get rid of the window and make the whole room the 'curtain' and close the doors?

The “curtain” is more for mission specific projections. What we see (basic images of Bin Laden and the Tower) is extremely rudimentary (thanks, satellite!), but what they actually see is far more advanced and detailed. It has nothing to do with light reduction, and everything to do with immersing the officers into the mission briefing.

9) Global ops is... really big. Is that giant view out the windows going to improve efficiency? Also going with the above - why do the holopads work fine but the situation room needs a curtain? Tertiarially - how come the Queen and Wheats just get projected on some sort of pad while Six and K15 just do whatever to speak with them?

The “windows” are all actually view screens. Global Ops Pawns often have briefings and information sessions with Knight 15, and they use the windows as projectors in this case (as you can see them do if you go into Global Ops near the beginning of the game). Otherwise, the windows are mostly aesthetic. Light and panoramic views are good for the soul, didn’t you know? :)

10) Last but not least - is there no manual release... on anything? "OH GOD THIS IS LOCKED DOWN!" "OH NO, THAT'S LOCKED DOWN!" "OH GOD, THE SYSTEM ISN'T RESPONDING!" It seems like certain situations could've been resolved fairly simply with a shutoff switch. It's especially strange since more complex things like Zenlil's weapons and airlocks have manual controls and computer chips that can be modified manually, but you can't just pull a hydraulic override lever to escape a locked door or shut off power to haywire systems.

These are all things they attempted to do, and it’s partly why they appear so flabbergasted by everything. In particular when/if Pawn 64 gets locked into the cabin with you – Rook 25 is outside the cabin attempting to use said manual release, and she claims she can’t do it. Did someone manually jam it, or perhaps Rook 25 did not actually want that door to open? Very little “appears” to be working properly and there’s an underlying reason for that outside of the so-called “virus” Wade fixes. Perhaps Wade was unable to use the shut off switch, as he claims was broken thanks to the virus, or perhaps there’s something else going on?

There. My minimal peeves about Zenlil after ~20 trips through the rift are splayed out. Clearly this is evidence that the King's infrastructure is corrupted and that the Motor Control chips don't provide a lick of sense to the brainwashed Consortium engineering teams.


LOL – clearly this is the case! ;) Damn you, Motor Chips!
---------------------------
-- Steve MacMartin
- head writer @ iDGi

"The creak of bed springs suffering under the weight of a restless man is as lonely a sound as I know" - Patrick DeWitt (Sisters Brothers)

Historian
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Re: Minor Lore Questions

Post by Historian »

Sweet, Thrie - you guys put alot into it, and I imagined most stuff was already thought out. Does the satellite's simplicity mean we might be seeing a more advanced version of the briefing in the Tower - explained away as 'upgrades' both literally and in the metanarrative?

The Dumbwaiter makes -way- more sense if the CCU's capable of cleaning things up from it. Explains where they dump their trash from all those waste receptacles.

Are you saying then that the animation actually -plays- in Consortium 1 while we're locked in Mission Ops? I just assumed that everything sorta remained the same outside and the doors locked to prevent that from being visible. Game development tricks and whatnot - like the Zenlil weapons interface hiding elsewhere in the skybox (I've noclipped around a bit, clearly :P). Does that mean they panic and react when the ship gets shot, too?

By the way - is there more concept art around anywhere besides the Freefall Suit from Discoveries, Zenlil getting shot up, and those pics of the Tower? I'd love to see the TOOL or your design for the Boarding Carrier, if there is one. I'd also love to see the BUS Heavy, since we probably won't get a glimpse of it in the Tower.

Also interesting is that Zenlil and the other C-3800s land regularly. I sort've assumed they were more or less constantly flying in mission tracks, landing only for their 'repairs'. Is Consortium's HQ at Xalapa near K-1? B.C. where the ceremony is? Or does the Queen stay mobile?

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Thriesteve
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Re: Minor Lore Questions

Post by Thriesteve »

Yeeeah, Greg and I are pretty ridiculously anal when it comes to the details of story (my area) and design (his area).

Indeed! At least in some respects the briefing will indeed look and feel "better." A big part of the iDGi-1 narrative is to allow us to in-game'ify the whole sequel mentality of increasing visual quality... we always knew we'd be going past Source after the first game, and so it had to make in-game sense why things from the first game suddenly looked a lot better in the second. If it didn't make sense then it would have bugged the living hell out of us! :)

I had originally written a bit where the dumbwaiter was used by a character while you were talking to them, but it got scrapped along the way... like so many scenes we WANTED to do but couldn't.

Heheh, unfortunately not. We'd gotten a basic, crappy looking version semi-working (the logic/spacing worked) but then we realized the player couldn't be in the Hanger Bay during the one time we launched the pod (we had a different idea at one point where you COULD be in the Hanger Bay during a launch. Thanks to the virus, we wanted to have a pod randomly just launch itself while you're there... perhaps even while a character was standing on the doors. The idea was to make it so that if you helped Wade with his side mission of finding virus issues throughout the ship, then you could save a character from certain death by the auto-launch). But yeah, we stopped working on it once we made the story changes, and instead now just fire off the sound effect you can hear from Mission Ops.

Concept art, not really to be honest. At least not outside of what we have in the Tower campaign, and not until we get going with production on the Tower. We've been extremely frugal with concept art and stuck to things that we actually SEE in the games thus far. But again, we have plans to produce consistant concept art during production which we'll be sharing on here.

Yeah, they definitely do land at bases all over the world (locations have not been given in-game just yet, so I won't say here - although I will say that they do have one such base in B.C., so you got that one right!). Generally speaking there are always 2 or 3 C-3800s constantly in the air, with the others always on-call and ready to rock when necessary. The Queen hitches rides with the various C-3800s, while also taking conventional transportation where necessary. She's the shmoozer of the Consortium, and usually finds herself visiting various countries and meeting with world leaders and press. She goes where the job requires.

Oh and... ahem... although you've probably already read it,I forgot to attach the TOOL doc I mentioned in the last post. For the sake of anyone else reading this: http://interdimensionalgames.com/Xancorp_TOOL.pdf... apparently the forum doesn't like attaching .PDFs. Go figure.
---------------------------
-- Steve MacMartin
- head writer @ iDGi

"The creak of bed springs suffering under the weight of a restless man is as lonely a sound as I know" - Patrick DeWitt (Sisters Brothers)

BishopSix
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Re: Minor Lore Questions

Post by BishopSix »

Great thread guys! Totally nerdy.......... I luv it ; )

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FordGT90Concept
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Re: Minor Lore Questions

Post by FordGT90Concept »

Thriesteve wrote:Oh and... ahem... although you've probably already read it,I forgot to attach the TOOL doc I mentioned in the last post. For the sake of anyone else reading this: http://interdimensionalgames.com/Xancorp_TOOL.pdf... apparently the forum doesn't like attaching .PDFs. Go figure.
Didn't see it until now but that's one of the first documents I dumped into the Wiki:
http://interdimensionalgaming.wikia.com ... s_Continue

TOOL is like JATO (or RATO) for space ships. Video of RATO at work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqW9A6RnjJ0
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