Mysterious Dark Vessel
Exploring the Mysterious Dark Vessel that appears at the end of the Exterior Mining Operation is the final third of Lone Echo where players finally get the answers they have been searching for the whole game. This section of the game contains some of the most challenging navigational gameplay and contains several narrative twists.
For the Dark Vessel I was responsible for implementing simple gameplay and iterating upon navigational challenges in the first third of this section.
From the moment a player arrives at the damaged hull of the mysterious dark vessel they encounter simple gameplay challenges that forces them to use unfamiliar interacts to activate mysterious technology. Most of my responsibility for gameplay in the dark vessel was to polish already implemented game sequences or add minor gameplay to some empty areas.
In the Artillery Room I was responsible for adding irradiated warheads to create a new style of navigation challenge for players as they explored the room to find an exit. Players either had the option of moving these large irradiated warheads or avoid them entirely on their way to the room's exit.
Each irradiated warhead was placed in such a way to appear like it randomly floated to its current resting position. But I placed each warhead purposefully to deny certain navigation paths and encourage other paths.
If players used their data scanner tool they could easily map out a course around the irradiated warheads while suffering only minor radiation damage. I was also tasked with adding a low level of creep to the room in order to make the artillery gun appear inoperable.
The majority of my time working in the dark vessel was spent refining navigational creep challenges in the first third of this section. My biggest responsibility was to make sure players got a gradual increase in difficulty while navigating creep in the large triangular shaped ventilation shafts. Players were required to refine their navigational movements to be more accurate and precise if they wanted to avoid touching the infectious creep.
Upon entering the first ventilation shaft filled with creep, players would quickly notice empty spaces among the encroaching creep.
A player could easily use their thrusters and booster to navigate around the creep, assuming players have already mastered the refine movements of these advance systems. But a player could also use open areas in the environment to grab and push off while still avoiding creep.
Once players enter the second ventilation shaft they are introduced to a new biological threat called "cyst" which explode when the player or a power source gets too close. An exploding cyst spread radiation and spores that could damage the player's radiation shielding. But by far the most dangerous part of an exploding cyst was that it could throw players into areas of creep around the environment.
The placement combination of creep and cysts in an environment, especially one as tight as the ventilation shafts, could make for some challenging navigational gameplay. There are several area where players are forced to navigate between two or three cysts simultaneously managing their distance from each one hoping they do not explode.