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Dev Diary - Piecemeal's Workshop of Horrors


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Hello everyone!

 

I am so incredibly pleased to be here in an ‘official’ capacity, to introduce myself to you fine, devoted gaming specimens. I am Piecemeal, and since nobody asked and I didn’t bother to mention it to my colleagues, I am installing myself as the official Villain liaison. Doing so, impulsively and without consultation or consideration, perfectly justifies this official title, and plays perfectly to the spirit of villainy. So, with that out of the way, let’s talk about who I am and what I do.

 

I’ve been a devoted fan of this game since 2005, when I showed up halfway through Issue 3 with a feather in my cap, bounce in my step, and a wide-eyed wonderment of the world in front of me. I knew nothing of the Rularuu invasions that would fly-by murder people in Steel Canyon months prior, or that the Fifth Column even existed. Truly, it was an innocent and ignorant time. I endured the Enhancement Diversification, which destroyed my playstyle, since I was raised under the mantra of “Invuln is all you need”. It was a tough transition, but one I grew to love. I really didn’t need 5Dmg/1Acc in all my claws attacks with 6 slots in Stamina. It was fun, but I understood the logic of the new system. I adopted, adapted, and improved, like an arbiter with a bad haircut.

 

When this game came back, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had made peace with the 6-years-old hole in my heart, and then suddenly it was back again. I decided that if I was going to invest again, I had to contribute, somehow.

 

I snuck in with a bunch of other well-intentioned folk when an open call went out early, and saw a call for people who wanted to take on a story arc task: “Who wants to write a story that connects the Freakshow and Vahzilok?” I practically leaped down someone’s throat for the opportunity, only to find that Mekkanos had scooped me and gotten the reins. Undeterred, we formed a small co-op to begin making sense of what we were trying to do. What would we need? What should it entail? Can these things even be done? Eventually Mekk came up with his narrative document, and my first task was to develop the descriptions of the enemies featured in our first new enemy group, the Freaklok - an unholy marriage of man, machine, and groaning meat.

 

As part of his story, Mekkanos centered the idea around there being a lab of Dr. Vahzilok that falls into Freakshow hands. As I began developing Freakified Vahz and Eidolified Freaks in my design document for the enemies, I also began to assist in molding the story documents for lore and logic. Pretty soon we realized that the Freaks weren’t organized enough to accomplish the story as written, and went to the lore bible to read up on the Vahz. It was there that we realized that most of the Vahzilok were partly cybernetic, so we proposed that the Freaks would engage in a hostile takeover of the Vahz, bridging the level gap from when the Vahz disappear and the Freaks begin showing up in content. They were after the tech that was miniaturized, hidden, and keeping the zombies together. And anarchy could still prevail.

 

What we needed next was the catalyst, and decided Cortex was more-or-less the “lost asset” of the Vahzilok, having shown up as a big-bad in the original Posi TF, and then fading into obscurity as a side fight in Posi Part 2. We wanted this to run redside, so we needed a reason for him to be there…

 

...He’s dying. But why? Because Posi 2 put the Doctor in jail FOR REALSIES, and nobody can maintain the army like Doc V could. We had our hook. Your actions heroside had consequences, and created a proactive adventure for a villain. Instead of the opposite, which tickled me pink. Off we went. Your character finds out about the lab, and pursues it in hopes of building their own army. Of course, it never quite plays out the way you think.

 

dev_face2.jpg.f0003105c8ea1d4b74e696bddb58ecdd.jpg dev_face3.jpg.13bf7835030ef8dc7b868339726d5341.jpg dev_face1.jpg.9940df74c4d81eca29412ace93ce6748.jpg
Note: They are falling apart super fast.

 

Along the way, we decided we needed another NPC to drive the research, and I pitched Dr. Pierce, dooming her to her fate. I now could say I had left my mark on the work, and I was happy. The story got worked on, and I went down the rabbit hole of spaghetti code learning to make costumes from NPC parts like a deranged Mr. Potato Head surgeon.

 

That’s where things got crazy. We were a small team, and I didn’t really know anyone, and everyone was always SUPER busy. We got me set up, and started with some basic costumes and tools to get textures ready.

 

And then, as volunteer operations do, those who felt their part were done, were done. The person concepting costumes was finished, and I was making them; the writer was done with his narrative; the map editor was communicative but busy, and couldn’t give the time.

Suddenly, it was just me. And a villain was born!

 

screenshot_200919-20-21-01_crop.thumb.png.97c8982c0eab4d97755588dc75a1eb83.png

 

Spoiler

 

I absconded with the project and started to learn. I mean really, really, really learn. It was part detective work, part deductive reasoning, and all the mental hell I could enjoy for months.

 

I didn’t want to bother anyone, so I kept referencing things that already worked and determining how they did what they did. Sometimes I got it, sometimes I hilariously missed the mark.

 

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Getting a leg up on my knowledge, or: Individual bone scales don’t mind not having limits. Sorry not sorry to Operative Renault, my personal surgery dummy.

 

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Don’t use a chest as a head. Or maybe you should. Don’t look to me as your moral compass.


And in the span of a few months, somewhat quietly, my knowledge tree had grown from just costumes to include costumes, textures, villain groups, individual villains, new power assignments for mobs, spawndefs, map editing, FX, tricks, GEOs, story arc writing, branching dialog, conditionally triggered events, scripting, captions, powers, PFX, and… really, I don’t know how my life has held together with all that in my head alone. I had grown from a knucklehead into a semi-competent if not devious reverse engineer and detective. It was a game within a game. I was in it to win it.

 

226808520_unnamed(1).png.2a7b5d1286710c79e3d5ea938a56e3d0.png 846241139_unnamed(2).png.5f8b498cc929f019b0f039597cc6680e.png

Left: A Freaklok Ripper smiles in appreciation of her tormented existence. Right: A Freakbomination tests out its cyber-sight.

Not shown: A small donation has been made to surviving members of Operative Renault’s family, out of pity.

 

When you play these arcs, please do not ride the hype-apotamus to the stratosphere. These arcs, while I consider them to meet my standard for quality, are also my first foray into anything like this. At all. I’ve never coded in my life. And the quality steadily increases in these arcs as I set more and more goals for myself. So you’ll see that redside mission 1… is fairly standard. Redside mission 2, a little bit more involved, with a few more tricks. Mission 3, full ham on mobs, scripting, dialog. I went nuts. Lost maybe 6 weeks troubleshooting that mission until I got it working right. 

 

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We're coming to a chophouse near you!

 

Missions 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 - just learning compound tasks, with some surprises. And then mission 5. Mission 5 took a WHILE to make. I hope you find it worth it. Especially since I coded in an easter egg. If your character has all the badges and souvenirs needed, an additional fight will spawn for another badge. You’ll know it when someone says ‘For reals tho', let's gank this crybaby.’

 

My favorite happy accident was that I wrote out the redside arc first, and then wrote the companion arc, blueside from Agent Watkins, that chronologically precedes it next. Do you have any idea how rewarding it is to write dialog that foreshadows events when you do it that way? I didn’t know, until I began dropping hints via dialog in blueside mission 3, and I chuckled. I had arrived.

 

screen0blue.thumb.jpg.dac10497d16359d6b82cd2304c29a017.jpg.5ca3d2da591c3d156d6c15937f8a66f9.jpg

 

These arcs are a love letter to the game, and a moment captured in the timeline of my life where I can say I truly created something that other people could experience and enjoy. It’s all I’ve ever wanted and all I ever hoped it could be so far. The creativity, the struggle, the frustration, the enjoyment of overcoming the obstacles. The HEAPS of pop culture references. It’s a dream come true.

 

I want to give you all the best experience possible in telling stories in this world. I’m really shooting for the moon with this opportunity. I will patiently read your feedback on how the story sits with you. Some of it can’t change, but the things that can, I will consider. And I promise the next thing I work on won’t stay locked in a vault for this long. This arc has been a long time in development, but soon, I hope to deliver quality content faster, with a battalion of trainees underfoot. Of course, I will make them seek knowledge out before just giving it to them. I might make them walk my path to understand how to figure it out.

 

Because I’m a villain, and that’s what villains do.

 

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"Science. Science, my friend, requires radical gambles and adventures in malpractice sometimes. Take solace in the fact that I tested the majority of these things on the dead, the re-dead, and the nearly departed before I went to live trials.

 

Honestly, most of my "specimens" were several iterations past being considered a human being with their original fingerprints, teeth, or IDs. So it was rather a lot like experimenting on moaning clay putty."

 


Got time to spare? Want to see Homecoming thrive? Consider volunteering as a Game Master! For science and community!

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I LOVE DOC BUZZSAW!!!  I thought the combination of Vaz and Freakshow was an aweome idea.  

 

 

what are you going to do with all those body parts just laying around?

 

 

 

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Contact Small Doc Buzzsaw.jpg"She who lives by the cybernetic monstrosity powered by living coral, all too often dies by the cybernetic monstrosity powered by living coral."  -Doc Buzzsaw


 

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Glad you're keeping up the tradition of giving redside WAY more interesting content (in my opinion). These Freaks are beautifully revolting.

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Everlasting | Hullbreak - Tanker / Amarillo Starlight - Defender / Luna Spector - Controller / Captain Perplex - Corruptor / Brixton Jack - Blaster

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Sooooo . . . Neuron's Ghoul programme doesn't even enter in to it?

Well!  Next step, I suppose.  After all, transhumanism is an on-going effort.

 

(I do like the looks of merging the Vahzilok and the Freakshow, given both of them have similar beliefs.  I wonder how the Orb-Weavers view these upstarts, though.)

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20 to 30 blue, 30 to 40 red. 

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"Science. Science, my friend, requires radical gambles and adventures in malpractice sometimes. Take solace in the fact that I tested the majority of these things on the dead, the re-dead, and the nearly departed before I went to live trials.

 

Honestly, most of my "specimens" were several iterations past being considered a human being with their original fingerprints, teeth, or IDs. So it was rather a lot like experimenting on moaning clay putty."

 


Got time to spare? Want to see Homecoming thrive? Consider volunteering as a Game Master! For science and community!

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10 hours ago, Piecemeal said:

unnamed.png.48c232def27bb2af67420df2ceee9111.png

This is the ideal male body. You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like.

 

10 hours ago, Piecemeal said:

chopshop.thumb.jpg.201c3425bf0bb13d48904c6fef6b0ec7.jpg

Oh shi-, is that an X-COM Floater :O

Also please tell me we can somehow get those Nightstar/IVy blade arms as weapons D:

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If you set a man a flame, you keep him warm for a day. If you set a man aflame, you keep him warm for the rest of his life.

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8 minutes ago, FoulVileTerror said:

Will any of the content that unlocks the special Badge require the use of Ouroboros, or is it all pre-30 content?

 I believe the forumites have already found out all the information necessary to answer that question 🙂

"Science. Science, my friend, requires radical gambles and adventures in malpractice sometimes. Take solace in the fact that I tested the majority of these things on the dead, the re-dead, and the nearly departed before I went to live trials.

 

Honestly, most of my "specimens" were several iterations past being considered a human being with their original fingerprints, teeth, or IDs. So it was rather a lot like experimenting on moaning clay putty."

 


Got time to spare? Want to see Homecoming thrive? Consider volunteering as a Game Master! For science and community!

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19 minutes ago, LQT said:

Oh shi-, is that an X-COM Floater 😮

 That, my dear friend, is my favorite new creation. It is the top half of an abomination strapped to a manhole cover and floating on top of a reclaimed force field generator.

 

He is of course called the disc jockey.

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"Science. Science, my friend, requires radical gambles and adventures in malpractice sometimes. Take solace in the fact that I tested the majority of these things on the dead, the re-dead, and the nearly departed before I went to live trials.

 

Honestly, most of my "specimens" were several iterations past being considered a human being with their original fingerprints, teeth, or IDs. So it was rather a lot like experimenting on moaning clay putty."

 


Got time to spare? Want to see Homecoming thrive? Consider volunteering as a Game Master! For science and community!

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37 minutes ago, Piecemeal said:

the forumites

Oh god that term takes me back.

 

17 minutes ago, Piecemeal said:

He is of course called the disc jockey

Boooooo.

 

...

 

I love it >.>

If you set a man a flame, you keep him warm for a day. If you set a man aflame, you keep him warm for the rest of his life.

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I have been saying for a while now that Red Side needs some love and a major overhaul, and I mean visually as well. The Rogue Isles is too bleak and covered in trash and rubble at the moment to be somewhere people would want to hang out like they do at Atlas Park. Make The Rogue Isles somewhere people would want to hang out. I hope that this is the start of such an initiative.

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11 hours ago, Piecemeal said:

 I believe the forumites have already found out all the information necessary to answer that question 🙂

What a fun search indeed! Link to the search (Page 11 we have the reveal):

 

Spoiler

 

TLDR: the Defeats/Badges needed for the Easter Egg are below for convenience.

 

These five are found in the Admiral Sutter Task Force(Badge: Land, Sea, & Air / The Sky is Falling):
1.      Primal Col. Duray (thanks @Grouchybeast) as “Pirate”
2.      Praetorian Col. Duray (thanks @Grouchybeast) as “Commander”
3.      Harbinger (thanks @Piecemeal for the final clue/answer) as “Mute”
4.      Jane Temblor (thanks @Grouchybeast) as “Lovebird 1” 
5.      Fusion (thanks @Grouchybeast) as “Lovebird 2”

The next three are found in Striga Island
6.      Archon Burkholder from Ernesto Hess Task Force as “the bane of caldera” (Badge: Burkholder's Bane)
7.      Heracles (thanks to @Grouchybeast) from Stephanie Peebles story arc "Ring of Peebles" as “humble the son of Alcmene”
8.      Arakhn from Moonfire TF as “the cyst-maker” (Badge: Honorary Peacebringer)

Steel Canyon Story Arc
9.      Sun Xiong (@Lines) from Graham Easton's story arc "Last Rites" as “art thief”

Faultline Story Arc from Jim Temblor "Rumblings of the Past" introduced via Doc Delilah contact:
10.    Night Widow Nocturne (thanks @Ironblade) as “the widow whose sub is a goner”
11.    Kurse (thanks @LQT) as “deranged little psychic”

Kings Row Story Arc from Eagle Eye "Lords of Death"
12.    Chernobog Petrovic (thanks to @Grouchybeast) as “Lord of Death 1” 
13.    Veles Petrovic (thanks to @Grouchybeast) as “Lord of Death 2”

Hollows Story Arc from Talshak the Mystic "Heart of the Hollows"
14.    Atta (@Lines) as “met on your trek to the gate”

Synapse Task Force (Badge: Synapse Cohort/Betrayer)
15.    Clockwork King from Synapse TF as “went to court and toppled the monarchy”

Positron Task Force Part Two (Badge: Dam Hero, with prerequisite of Rule of Three Badge)
16.    Dr. Vahzilok as “de-tenured Ph.D.”

Story Arc from Marvin Weintraub (Talos Island) or Collin Larson (IP) "Freaklympics"

17.    Freaklympics Gold Medal Souvenir (@FoulVileTerror great guess!) as the "honor of gold medal fame"

 

 

Mod edit: moved stuff into a spoiler block

 

Edited by Jimmy
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I may not count as "people," @DoctorProteus, but I'll say it a million times more:   I -do- prefer to hang out Redside, because the zones are alive with vital character!  The trash isn't always random.  Sometimes it tells a story, and I absolutely adore that about Redside.

But, hey.  Maybe some new Redside zones can get built by the amazing talent we have in the Base Building community, and some of those could have less garbage lying around.  Add more content, rather than remove existing content, and all that jazz.

 

As for . . . 

Admiral Sutter Task Force - Levels 20 to 40
Moonfire Task Force - Levels 23 to 28 (wut?)
Graham Easton - Levels 15 to 24
Doc Delilah - Levels 20 to 24
Eagle Eye - Levels 7 to 20
Talshak the Mystic - 12 to 14
Synapse Task Force - 15 to 20
Positron Task Force Part Two - 11 to 16 (I thought this was 12 to 18?)
Marvin Weintraub (Talos Island) or Collin Larson (Independence Port) "Freaklympics" - 25 to 29

 

Making the overall minimum, assuming these are correct, to be level 25.

Acceptable to my greedy personal threshold, but I'll remain adamant about busting down level gates for all content for everyone else's benefit.

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24 minutes ago, DoctorProteus said:

I have been saying for a while now that Red Side needs some love and a major overhaul, and I mean visually as well. The Rogue Isles is too bleak and covered in trash and rubble at the moment to be somewhere people would want to hang out like they do at Atlas Park. Make The Rogue Isles somewhere people would want to hang out. I hope that this is the start of such an initiative.

The Rogue Isles are meant to be unclean and filled with rubble; resources are prioritized for Grandville and building the Web. There are a ton of great spots to hang out at in St. Martial, plus there are open, large areas in Mercy with contacts for leveling/P2W/et cetera. I doubt a visual overhaul would help address the problem. I love hanging out redside because of how the zones look - I don't think they need any changes to the aesthetic.

I'd argue that making the content more desirable would be a good step in promoting redside population. As it is, Praetoria has more breadth in overall content for 1-30. Blueside has more task forces available (redside needs more lower-level taskforce content). Redside just feels... underwhelming. More contacts, more zones, more... everything would help. From 1-50, for PVE zones with contacts, there are only seven zones (in contrast, blueside has double that, when considering hazard zones). Only four GMs (if you really want to count the flier, which is rarely done because it's easier to do in LRSF), seven strike forces (and at least two of those need to be unlocked). I'm looking forward to what Piecemeal will bring to redside. 😄

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