It's Finally Over!
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Author:  Dagoonite [ Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: It's Finally Over!

Again, sorry about making you feel like that! It wasn't the game ender, it's just that I needed to end it. The ability to sleep (except for the fact that my body has apparently forgotten what that is) and the ability to disengage enough to handle some of my own life was as much a factor as anything. Again, next time? Staff. Somebody that I can pass it off to and say "watch it, respond as necessary, take notes" to, even if only one person, would save me big time.

A good learning experience for me, if nothing else!

You guys did almost everything right. Next time, I have plans in mind so that even if it's just me, I can avoid some of the same problems. (And, yes, refusing to freeze Raschad was actually a good thing -- that would have raised F484's ire towards both you and Chair.)

There were a lot of things that I looked to for mood. I actually had a lot of music, movies, and books on hand. Immediate Music, ES Posthumous, Two Steps From Hell... All of their "darker" stuff worked well. Alien, The Hunt for Red October, both the movies and the soundtracks. Also the Silent Hill soundtracks. For most of the Raschad Dies scenes, I had Old Snake from MGS4 playing. I have a friend who sends me a lot of Asian stuff, and I found the Swiri soundtrack to have good tracks to work on this with. I kept a copy of All You Need Is Kill, Usurper of the Sun, (Both Japanese and surprisingly good -- one fast-paced military sci-fi, one vanilla sci-fi that reminded me a lot of early Asimov), Mistwalker, several of the books on the US Navy, and naturally Halsey's journal. (Oddly, I only opened it twice -- the bubblewrap packaging was usually enough to give me ideas.)

I'm not sure if I displayed properly just how thought-out this mission was on the part of ONI. Managing Chair the way they did, setting up a crew of combat-capable people who were still mostly just engineers, inserting ONI operatives within that crew... For example, the whole thing with Ives? I first mentioned him way back when during the SUN GO BRAAAP thing, Raschad was going to confess to him his past. Even before then, however, they'd planned to have a confrontation between Ives and Raschad to try and push F484. They used a lot of Orion-IV augmentation on Raschad for the ideal purpose of poking Foxtrot.

They got a lot of good data, even before the device. Yes, the planet was effectively a listening post/transmission post/teleportation relay/resource base, but it was an honest to goodness rogue planet. Myung was the one who put the facilities there, just in case the UNSC came a knocking. ONI had suspicions, but after some of the oddities, they had "soft" confirmation. The device gave them hard confirmation. The star, though, was natural.

One funny story about all of this: I work third shift at a hotel. So long as I get all my duties done and help customers, my boss doesn't care what I do. Naturally, this was my prime writing time. However, I'm not allowed to fix anything for insurance reasons, not even changing lightbulbs. I'm also the only employee here at night.

Imagine the poor customer leaving their room to get a soda. A breaker's blown so the lights in the hallway are out. You can faintly hear one of the creepy songs from Silent Hill 3 playing. You creep down the hall, only to have a tall, skinny, pale as a ghost guy round the corner right in front of your face.

While you're understandably startled, the guy falls on the floor clutching his chest, begging you not to scare him like that again.

Welcome to my strange little world. ;)

Author:  thereIwasn't [ Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: It's Finally Over!

I can see Alien and Red October in there pretty well, looking back on it. It's weird how much space-navy stuff is like submarines--I personally was thinking of and drawing tone from Crimson Tide, U-571, and The Enemy Below, the first of these I think you'd especially enjoy, as the plot reminds me most of where you seemed to want to go before Carver threw you off.

We did almost everything right? What did we do wrong? (To clarify: this question is from a plot sense, you've made it clear enough that the places we went you weren't exactly expecting us to go.)

Author:  Dagoonite [ Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: It's Finally Over!

I've actually been meaning to watch Crimson Tide. My father has it, but he has it right next to Kelly's Heroes, so I never quite make it to the former because I love hearing "Stop with the negative thinking!" There needs to be more movies like Kelly's Heroes in my opinion.

Wrong would be the wrong word for it. There really wasn't a wrong path, per se, save for the one where Chair's ship was destroyed and you were let back only to let the rest of the UNSC know that F484 was pissed. Many of the things were subtle plot points that didn't get picked up on, but that was actually by design.

For example, Chair and a few other characters mentioned the UEG existing in name only, and I made sure to voice everything as if the UNSC was in charge of all aspects of life. Yes, humanity (save for the few independent worlds) now lives under a military state. This tied into the character development bit -- me trying to get you to tell me a bit about the Captain. Had the Captain voiced that he didn't mind the current government system, it would have been a "point" in the Captain's favor from Foxtrot. (Not that I was running this under a point system.) Had the Captain been in favor of independent rule, but shown a serious tone towards doing his job ("I agree with independent rule, but that's not how things are. I'm a Captain of the UNSC Navy, I have to follow their lead.") it might have lead to a personal appearance from Foxtrot.

I'll go ahead and spoil it: Myung was the only one who physically appeared on the Theseus. Foxtrot's only appearances were as something akin to a hologram. The first incident was him trying to access the ship's systems... not remembering that Myung could do it more effectively and less explosively.

Mostly, they were small things like that. Little decisions that could have been made but weren't. Part of that was me not establishing more direct communication with McAllister, as she was involved with several of them. That's my bad. I kind of thought, halfway through, that the players probably were communicating with McAllister, but on a personal level and not through a console or Hive. (No, she wasn't an ONI operative; she found the idea of obeying their rules a little too stifling for her unorthodox fast and loose command style, which ended up complimenting the Captain's relaxed by the book style perfectly. She could do something crazy, the Captain could roll his eyes and say don't do that. She could voice things that other members of the crew wouldn't dare to the Captain, and not get yelled at for it.)

Honestly, the "perfect" path would have ended like this: Pretty much the exact same, only F484 would have met Raschad, calmed his nerves a bit, and healed the last of the remaining damage to David's body. Before leaving, he would have had a message for the Captain to give the UNSC. That, however, will have to wait until the sequel.

Author:  PsycoJoe [ Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: It's Finally Over!

For a split moment, when Muldoon pulled his stunt, I was tempted to have Hive disconnected, only to take his core to the prowler and jump the hell out of there. (Possibly taking Raschad with me.) Discarded that as impractical and decided to just shoot the bugger when he stepped in the ready room.

Overall, the feeling of "Not on MY ship!" was coloring my decisions. When Helen stepped in to slap him down, outrage changed to satisfaction. Thumbs up for that. Some of my favorite works of fiction are those which evoke a strong emotional response. Yes, it's great that a good ending give me the 'warm fuzzies'. It's also great when I have the distinct urge to reach into the Medium and strangle the irritating little *bleep*. I've tried to do that in some of my writing. You make it look easy.

Author:  Dagoonite [ Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: It's Finally Over!

First I had to set up Muldoon as somebody A) trustworthy (the bits about doctor/patient confidentiality worked with that; it suggests a strong moral standing that we like to have in our shrinks), and B) antagonistic (though he might have been trustworthy, you didn't want to invite him... pretty much anywhere). He was a jerk who took his job seriously, and I like to think that in everything before that final moment.

The final moment itself was rewritten several times, honestly. Twice because I took it too far. It took a lot of work for me to find the right balance of him smacking down the Captain and him being professional. I had versions that were maximum snide, and they just didn't work. They seemed more an attack on the Captain than anything. I needed something official, proper, something that it would take mutiny on the part of the Captain to overcome, but still intensely antagonistic.

I like to think that I succeeded. When I wrote the version that I posted, Helen was in the back of my head going "What did the Captain do to deserve this? I can understand why you might want to take control of the ship, but this is a little excessive, even by my point of view!" That was the perfect mix, for me at least. When Helen, who would redact things without hesitation and originally wouldn't even offer an apology, when she felt that it was one or two steps a little too far... Yeah, that meant that I was on the right page.

When I first conceptualized that ending, Helen was never supposed to be on the side of the players. You weren't supposed to build a strong rapport with her. That rapport came about partially because of the research the players did (I reward players for going above and beyond the call of duty), though your willingness to accept her apologies played a huge role in that too.

When I realized she was going to defend you, it kind of wrote itself. I let her ramble. It was fun.

Usually, when I write fiction, my primary focus is creating characters that can speak for themselves, then toss them into a situation with a final endpoint in mind. When I try and detail how every single thing goes, it comes out like crap. When I let the characters decide how it goes, it comes out more natural. That's part of why I wanted to do this project, to help me learn how to make both the character and the overall plot work together while being thrown off my game by the players. I hamfisted it in a few places, but overall I think I learned quite a bit about what to do and what not to do.

Author:  Mariachi [ Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: It's Finally Over!

Mad props to you! I was majorly impressed by the scope of this work and by how much time and effort was put into it. I would have never guessed that only one person did it all.

I enjoyed reading the posts, I only wished I could have participated. But since I was reading 5 to 6 posts behind where everybody else was, I decided not to try to communicate myself, but to just leave it up to the people who were already doing it and doing a good job of it.

As an admin on this board, I wanted to personally give you a big thanks as well. When people started getting uptight about this on HBO and complaining about whether or not it was official, You could have lost your cool over it and stopped doing it entirely. But you didnt. You were gracious enough to move over here and continue it without even a pause or a complaint. Thanks for that. And honestly, I think it worked out better over here. Your posts were clear and easy to find, and no distractions were in the way. Plus, it helped to get rid of the complainers. So thank you for your willingness to be flexible.

Again, Well done!!

Author:  Dagoonite [ Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: It's Finally Over!

Mariachi wrote:
Mad props to you! I was majorly impressed by the scope of this work and by how much time and effort was put into it. I would have never guessed that only one person did it all.

I guess I should say, I had a lot of help. One of my good buddies (and my clone) read all of the Chair stuff and added a ton of feedback. Particularly the training and the suit log near the end -- he and I both were on the same page with that, how I wanted it to be a horrific thing handled in this separated, sterile way that only became horrible if you stopped and thought about it. The training more than the suit logs, admittedly.

And he isn't even into Halo. Which helped, ironically enough. He just went on a mindset of brutality in a believable way. He was even the one who suggested the portion on F484 and three others suffering "equilibrium issues." It took me a while to understand what he meant by that. The three of them standing there as they get asked how they got all bloody and all responding the equivalent of "I slipped." I don't think anybody got it, but I absolutely loved it.

He was also my go-to man whenever I got stuck during the actual production. He didn't write anything, but there was more than once when I turned to him and asked for ideas on various things. I don't list him as being part of it as he doesn't consider himself part of it; in a strange way, he was enjoying just watching it all unfold in front of him.

There were others that helped, too. A few fans, a few non-fans, all read through the original raw Chair stuff and provided feedback. Valuable feedback that let me refine it. I actually rewrote all of it fourteen times in preparation of the full project. When bringing it to HBO, I went all the way back to the first revision. I'd formatted everything differently in the later ones in ways that wouldn't mesh well with the forums on HBO. This is why I'm paranoid about backups on interactive projects.

Mariachi wrote:
As an admin on this board, I wanted to personally give you a big thanks as well. When people started getting uptight about this on HBO and complaining about whether or not it was official, You could have lost your cool over it and stopped doing it entirely. But you didnt. You were gracious enough to move over here and continue it without even a pause or a complaint. Thanks for that. And honestly, I think it worked out better over here. Your posts were clear and easy to find, and no distractions were in the way. Plus, it helped to get rid of the complainers. So thank you for your willingness to be flexible.

Only one moment made me consider quitting, and that was long before it. It's odd that a common internet meme honestly hurt me so much when I was able to shrug most everything else off with a sigh or a chuckle, but it left me rattled for at least an hour, pacing back and forth and debating with myself if I should continue or not.

When people started complaining about the likelihood of it being unofficial, I actually popped off an email to Wu asking if I should move here. He informed me that the forums were, at that point, closed. It not being a problem, I started to do some writing and winding down before bed. Right before falling asleep (I was literally fighting to keep my eyes open) I checked my email one last time... only to discover that they were being reopened and the choice was mine. I'd already formatted stuff for my severely limited knowledge of html, and it would mean a lot of editing. On the other hand, it would solve many of the issues on the board. I believe my exact response was to yawn, sniff, blink eight times, and finally say "I'll deal with this when I wake up."

Four hours later I was awake, had a cup of coffee in my hand, and had my netbook screaming in pain as I either nuked the html or modified it for the board. (That's also why it took so very long for me to post images -- I was originally going to have somebody else do them, or hire somebody, because with three Open Office documents running, Firefox, Opera, and IE, just opening an image in GIMP took close to fourteen minutes. This little darling gets a proper viking funeral when she dies, yes she does! ...Vikings recycled, right?)

Thank you, to all the moderators, for being so awesome. I remember the first day I realized "Hey, what's the storyteller thing I'm a part of? I... Wait... Chair, Hive and Helen are all in it? So... I'M SPECIAL!" You all did more for me than you probably realize. That was a huge boost to my morale right there when I kind of needed it. The fact that you all reopened everything for me (SHH! I'M ALLOWED AN EGO MOMENT!) also helped. And not once did I detect any of the mods frowning over this, something that I'm always paranoid about.

I've been through all the various levels of being a mod save for "dude who makes junk work." (Simply put, I don't have the time to fulfill my lifelong dream of learning to speak Russian, I don't have the time to learn to make stuff work on le internet.) I know what kind of work goes into being a mod, and I don't like to make people's lives more difficult than necessary. The fact that people were so supportive and helpful (sometimes without realizing it) means a lot to me, and is a debt that I can never repay you all.

Again, anybody makes it to SE Iowa? Drop me a line. Dinner's on me. Players or mods. I owe you all that much for seeing my little creation to the end.

Author:  DHalo [ Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: It's Finally Over!

It was no problem making the Storyteller group. Really. :) I thought it would be good to differentiate the cast from the players, ya know? ;)

You did a GREAT job, man, looking forward to any future work you might share with us.

Author:  thereIwasn't [ Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: It's Finally Over!

An interview with more fun facts.

Still feels a bit odd looking at this again from a third-person viewpoint. Getting involved in a RP or sort-of becomes your world for as long as it lasts. Nice to see the extra content though!

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