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 It's Finally Over! 
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Unread post Re: It's Finally Over!
mneo wrote:
I just wish I had participated more actively in this, but I got scared of screwing up after someone asked about Dr Halsey, and decided to leave it to someone who actually knew what they were doing.


True. I've significantly increased my watching of words after that.

On our defense, we were still trying to get our bearings on if this was canon or not.


Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:33 am
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Unread post Re: It's Finally Over!
Urm.... Sorry?

I've written a bit, I've even managed to finish some of it. The epilog seemed to fit (Well done on the addition :D )

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I just wish I had participated more actively in this, but I got scared of screwing up after someone asked about Dr Halsey,


Guilty.


Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:35 am
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Unread post Re: It's Finally Over!
Oh yeah, a few plot questions:
1) Can you give us a general outline of how the mutiny plan would have gone?

2) I know that Myung was with F484 at the end, but while I assumed that the anomaly was F484, I can't offhand recall a firm conclusion ever being brought about regarding what happened to Myung.

3) Where exactly did the Captain fit into the whole thing? What was his history? At one point, it seemed like you were telling us that he was strongly against the insurrectionists. At another, it seemed like he originally was an insurrectionist.

4) Did you have any plans for the Flood or Covenant? Both were mentioned in passing, but we never dealt much with them, and interacted with neither.

5) What were the major contributing factors that got Raschad out alive in the end? Alternately, where could we have gone wrong and sent him to his grave?

6) What were your favorite five Raschad-dies sequences?

7) Just to confirm, what were the pictures of? Was the first one intentionally a Christmas tree? And the second one was obviously an Engineer drawing from ODST, but other than what F484 did to them, what were you trying to tell us there?


Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:45 am
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Unread post Re: It's Finally Over!
Also, did you ever have the full story of the Lebanon incident planned out?
Was it really what Chair said or was it the Flood?


Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:49 am
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Unread post Re: It's Finally Over!
Just wanted to chime in with my few cents...

You really did an outstanding job putting all this together! The story was interesting and had numerous little twists and turns, and I really got the sense that we all had some control as to where things were going (your comments here seem to indicate that we had more control than I thought). The dual focus on F484's past and the current events on the Theseus were handled really well and you kept new information coming at a steady pace; I don't recall finding myself bored or feeling that I should have been given more, you hit a good middle ground. I never really got the sense that anything was there for filler, everything served a purpose be it important plot details or seemingly "irrelevant" conversations; all the little details, especially the different comments from Hive about crew activities made the entire story feel more real and made our decisions feel like they had more weight. The different characters were wonderful and you did a great job at staying in character (there were a few hiccups, but it's to be expected in a project like this, and learning that you wrote this by yourself makes it even more impressive). I really loved Muldoon's lists, and the bit where the other Orions and officers see the cruiser explode towards the end ("Where's 484?" "Uhh... He's 404, sir") just made me smile. Overall, you did a good job of staying serious when you needed to be while putting in plenty of humor when appropriate. I'd also like to agree with Vandle that I really liked McAllister, it was a bit of a shame to see her role diminish as the story went on. Honestly the only point that my interest waned was when I realized that this was without a doubt AU, but by that point I was interested and invested, I loved the characters and really wanted to know how things turned out.

Reading through your responses here makes it even better; I love having insight into other writer's creative process (I'm not a terribly creative writer, most of my abilities are geared more towards academic and journalistic writing). It was surprising to learn that you intended for this to be more multimedia than it ended up being. Honestly, after completing the story, I can't see it working as well as it did any other way. Being restricted to text-only with the occasional picture let you sharpen your focus on that one aspect; I've always loved the phrase "Art from adversity," and it seems like you ended up with your fair share on this project. You've earned some major respect in my eyes for continuing on despite all of the setbacks, I would have given up well before you did. And the amount of research that you did is phenomenal and really shows in the final product. Your characters were believable in part because you have the talent to write them believably and because you did the necessary research to make them sound knowledgeable.

All in all, you did great work.

And I guess here's a few questions that I have, definitely not all of them, just what comes to mind right now. Hopefully I didn't miss anything that answered one of these already:
1. What was the point of the Y and circle symbols on some of the crew member's helmets? Was that simply to reference the engineers?
2. Was the planet/star artificial? Did they have any major significance to the story (i.e. if we had approached things differently could they have become more or less important)?
3a. There were obviously moments where some of the users here said something unexpected that made you have to change things in some way (Carver's speech was already brought up and is probably the best example). What other "oh shit" moments did anyone here cause you to have?
3b. About how many different endings did you come up with? How early on did our actions as captain start to really effect the outcome?
4. Did you intend for the Flood to play a larger role in the story? As things stand they only really got a slight mention here or there.
5. What exactly was F484 trying to keep humanity away from in the different forbidden areas of the galaxy? Was it the Flood, more halos, or something else? And what was the source/cause of the explosion in the forbidden regions?

Phew! That ended up being much longer than I intended! =P Well, to wrap up I'd like to say thanks again for the wonderful story. You did great and it's been a welcome addition to my daily routine for the last few weeks. It's a bit of a shame to see it go.

/I'd also like to echo others here that I would love to see pretty much any additional information you're willing to give whether it's background info, recordings, pictures, timelines, whatever.


Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:40 am
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Unread post Re: It's Finally Over!
Well done indeed, good sir.

I stayed on the sidelines as well, letting the regulars post and continue the story while I enjoyed watching the story unfold in front of me. Even when it was realized as AU, it made me think about how a reboot would look of the Halo franchise. I even thought about that rumored Halo: CE remake that they're talking about.

Still, watching it unfold was pure joy. The writing was great, and the development and variations of all the characters made it extremely to be immersed in the story. It was a pleasure to follow.

Also, I too am interested in the Lebanon and what happened all those years ago...


Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:13 am
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Unread post Re: It's Finally Over!
Speaking of plot points, any points where we made you continued the story from another direction? Minor nitpicks that we chose to chase instead changing your planned flow of the universe, or were they mainly from major game changers like Carver's speech?

Also, at which point did you originally planned for Helen to join in, other than from the inquiry regarding Halsey?


Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:35 am
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Unread post Re: It's Finally Over!
Hey, sorry about my sudden disappearance. Getting back to answering questions now!


Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:46 am
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Unread post Re: It's Finally Over!
To those who kept to the background because of the Halsey thing: I'm sorry about that. The moment I hit send I knew I hamfisted it. That's one of the downsides to this project -- so much of it was in real time that I developed a "Post now, think later" attitude. That's one of the fourteen moments I wish I could take back and redo.

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1) Can you give us a general outline of how the mutiny plan would have gone?


Sure! I was hinting that there was a general sense of unease amongst the crew. But honestly, from the very start there were decisions that could have been made that would have made it infinitely worse. Stuff like Hive offering a Captain's mast, decisions made when the star went BRAAP, general reactions to certain moments... To steal from Mass Effect, you all went Paragon. When you cracked the whip, you did it fairly. You didn't lock everything down, you didn't try to micromanage. Almost every trigger I threw at you was handled expertly, and the few that weren't... Thank Carver and that INFERNAL SPEECH that I love so much.

It would have built up until a fight broke out in the mess. How that was handled would have determined if people suddenly lashed out against the officers, built into a conspiracy against the Captain, or calmed back down. The lashing out would have resulted in a strange situation where there would still be people working on the station and going about their normal routines, while Security was regularly engaged in battle. The conspiracy would have been just that -- a few people caught plotting and refusing to talk, while sometimes people would behave oddly until they tried to stage a coup on the bridge.

It's hard to give specific details because I had so many variations drawn up, just in case. All in all, before the fight, there were 35 possible triggers that I crafted for BEFORE the fight. I think I actively used only about 20-something of them.

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2) I know that Myung was with F484 at the end, but while I assumed that the anomaly was F484, I can't offhand recall a firm conclusion ever being brought about regarding what happened to Myung.


There wasn't. I'll answer this, but I left it open to player interpretation on purpose. There was one version where the players were able to talk to Myung directly, but I'm rather glad it didn't come to that.

Myung appeared on twice in the modern events. Once with Raschad and Wolfe vs Ives, once with the device. She currently serves as Foxtrot's guardian, friend, and healer. Unfortunately, it's been a very slow process, and he's not in his right mind currently which only makes it worse. (Though he is infinitely better -- shortly after his last transmission he became a vegetable pretty much.) He treats her as a human (when he recognizes her as Myung), something that she doubts that she'll get elsewhere. Meanwhile, he's her Reclaimer. (Yes, she's lost some of her humanity from all this, but she's still more human in mind than AI.)

Am I explaining this very well?

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3) Where exactly did the Captain fit into the whole thing? What was his history? At one point, it seemed like you were telling us that he was strongly against the insurrectionists. At another, it seemed like he originally was an insurrectionist.


HA! Here's the thing -- I was poking players for responses. Save for a few details, I left the personality, political leanings, and history entirely up to group creation. I would have run with almost anything being said. Stuff like "I'm an Orion!" would have been nixed, natch. But other than that, it was all you.

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4) Did you have any plans for the Flood or Covenant? Both were mentioned in passing, but we never dealt much with them, and interacted with neither.


No, I didn't. The Flood, thankfully, are still contained on the rings. The Covenant are still out there, figuring out how to become a force to be reckoned with again. Next time? Foxtrot might not be able to quell their numbers.

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5) What were the major contributing factors that got Raschad out alive in the end? Alternately, where could we have gone wrong and sent him to his grave?


Mostly how much stress you put him under, and your actions with the rest of the crew. For example, I kept a close watch on exactly how many people were defrosted. I was waiting for the phrase "defrost any EVA-trained personnel." That would have altered the timetable significantly, and put Raschad on the path to certain doom. Alternately, constantly putting Raschad into situations that would have reminded him of violence, put him in harm's way, reminded him of his pre-recruitment years, or could be related back to the Lebanon in general would have pushed him towards greater mental instability, and thus closer to dying.

If violence broke out, then he was dead. Pure and simple. If you would have pissed off Myung or Foxtrot, he was dead. There was even an early draft where Helen killed him.

He was too Gary Stu. He had to die.

He's also based loosely off of Meesha Raschad from Mistwalker. I try and steal that character whenever possible.

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6) What were your favorite five Raschad-dies sequences?


Any that resulted in him giving a last great violent act of defiance against the universe! I mentioned my personal favorite earlier. There was also one that I was fond of where the slipspace drive started to spin up on its own and gave out huge amounts of radiation. (The original line about glowing underwear, in fact.) He drags the crewmembers in there out, then fixes it himself. He had a nice rambling speech about how the UNSC sucks and how great things were before, a few words for Wolfe, and how he was going to "finally join everybody." Yes, Raschad has a slight death wish.

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7) Just to confirm, what were the pictures of? Was the first one intentionally a Christmas tree? And the second one was obviously an Engineer drawing from ODST, but other than what F484 did to them, what were you trying to tell us there?


Yes, the first was a christmas tree. Every day is Christmas to F484. EVERY. DAY. Myung makes sure of it; he's happiest on Christmas. It's a small bit of peace that she can offer him. The second was his attempt to recreate those symbols, his way of marking people that he enjoyed watching. As to why... I'm actually going to hold off on that for a while still. Just in case I do make a sequel.

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Also, did you ever have the full story of the Lebanon incident planned out?


Planned out? Yes. Written out? Just the bit that I shared with you. I never really had a chance to write out a whole lot of it. I never saw an easy way to go into detail. If Raschad talked about it, that would be ad-lib on my part to fit the situation. Yes, it was nasty. Yes, it was ugly. No, no Flood were involved. Just human error, with a healthy dose of Rampancy.


Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:37 am
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Unread post Re: It's Finally Over!
Quote:
all the little details, especially the different comments from Hive about crew activities made the entire story feel more real and made our decisions feel like they had more weight.


THANK YOU! That's exactly what I was going for. I wanted to have a sense that people lived and died by your decisions, that what you did would affect your crew. I tried to do a lot of research into the military so I could present a world that felt as real as possible. I have a document named DailyReportsKillMeYouJerks filled with, you guessed it, daily reports. That was for the original plan, though -- on the forums, it would have gotten annoying fast. I streamlined it quite a bit.

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I really loved Muldoon's lists, and the bit where the other Orions and officers see the cruiser explode towards the end ("Where's 484?" "Uhh... He's 404, sir") just made me smile. Overall, you did a good job of staying serious when you needed to be while putting in plenty of humor when appropriate.


Humor happens. Especially under stress. I direct you to Raschad's quote about him not even being able to find something funny to say. (His VA, upon reading that line which wasn't in the original script, recorded it simply because he loved it so much; he enjoyed Raschad a liiiiittle too much.) I wanted the humor to come from the characters, not just to have it there. A lot of Raschad's jokes while the device was active were him trying to keep Peters from having a full-blown combat stress reaction; talking with a person and forcing their mind to spin up goes a long way with that.

Robert's lists were him cultivating a misanthropic attitude that you could still deal with. I didn't have to say "He's a jerk," the lists showed that in a way that didn't make you actually hate him. Some day, I want to do a document of just his lists. I think that would be fun.

When I changed to F484 from F404, I didn't think I'd get to use it again... until him wandering off on his own became a major plot point. Then it became perfection. "Error 404, Foxtrot not found." It became a good way to show how the Fours developed their own little culture, with its own language and habits. It's like they say, show it, don't say it.

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Honestly, after completing the story, I can't see it working as well as it did any other way.


That's just it, I didn't change all that much. Every time I went to post, I had to alter the dialogue. I had this strange system of (Beat), (BEAT), (Pause), and (Hard pause) to show how long between one line and the next there was supposed to be. I was also giving the voice actors added direction for their scenes. The (Beat) became (PAUSE, 1.2 SECONDS), (BEAT) became a few seconds, etc.

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Your characters were believable in part because you have the talent to write them believably and because you did the necessary research to make them sound knowledgeable


When reading, plots usually bore me, oddly. The world that something is set in and the characters in it are what interest me the most. (Hell, what I LIKED about Cortana the most in the first game is when she said "Sod off!" despite not having a British accent. I know it threw some people off, but for me it was a lot of fun and let me develop her character more in my own mind.)

So when I write, I try not to make characters -- I like to make people. I start with their flaws, where their logic fails, what will they lie for, what will they fight for, and what makes them smile when nobody is looking. By the time that I have all of this, I usually know enough about the character that the details fill themselves in. If they're "real" enough in my mind, then I can thrust them into a situation and let them write themselves.

I partially blame this on internet roleplaying, though. Which is one thing that I wanted to bring up: Somebody found the fact that they were roleplaying on the ship to be funny. I didn't intend to do anything with it until one of the Navy guys I was talking with brought it up as the list of activities that they do on their down time. Not that they have a lot of downtime. But upon hearing it, I realized that I had to include it. That and mentioning the weekly mail call, since the ship didn't have instantaneous communication systems.

Just thought I'd toss that out there.

Thank you for the kind comments!

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Also, I too am interested in the Lebanon and what happened all those years ago.../quote]

I mentioned before that I threw a huge number of subtle references from the community into it. The Lebanon was one of the biggest, since it helped inspire me to do all of this.

Honestly, it started out as a Flying Dutchman and a way to show that even in the future people are superstitious. Songs were written about it, it was an ill omen, books and poems and shows were made about it. Even after the truth was discovered and it was scrapped, it was still a dirty word. Raschad couldn't even admit where he was from because of it.

Some day I may give it a proper treatment. A full writeup. Or I may get others to do it, somebody writing a ballad, somebody else a poem, somebody a Wikipedia-style article (complete with discussion page complaining about how inaccurate it is because people can't survive that kind of punishment), and then write a proper military report about it myself. What I've told you all about it is true -- listen to the version that Hive and Chair said, not Raschad; he's a borderline pathological liar about a few things, the Lebanon being one of them.

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Speaking of plot points, any points where we made you continued the story from another direction? Minor nitpicks that we chose to chase instead changing your planned flow of the universe, or were they mainly from major game changers like Carver's speech?


I wish I could give you a proper answer to that. I really do. The issue is that every day there was something unexpected. Sometimes minor and easily ignored or fixed with an extra sentence. Sometimes enough to make me wand to cry because I just got this one AWESOME SCENE written up that I now have to abandon. Somebody would say something minor, or ignore what I thought to be an obvious plot point in favor of something completely incidental.

But you roll with the punches, roll up your sleeves, and pray your netbook doesn't burst into flames as you open another document. Actually, that last one... A LOT OF IT.

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Also, at which point did you originally planned for Helen to join in, other than from the inquiry regarding Halsey?


Exactly where she appeared. I always considered it extremely fortuitous that you all did something that gave me an added excuse to throw her in. She was included way back when the project consisted of nothing but communicating with Chair, though she usually played a much smaller role. I'm rather happy with how she turned out. I wish I could have done more with her, but she wasn't exactly comfortable being so gosh darned humble.


Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:25 am
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