«

»

Feb 06

Martian Princess

Xiap’s job was, literally, to look for trouble. However, as a recon pilot stationed in Hogye, he never expected to actually find it. Nothing ever happens in Hogye. That changed a few days ago when he learned that the accident that killed his parents may not have been accidental, and was nearly done in by an assassination attempt himself.

Now he was on the road looking for answers. Technically, this was also part of his job description, but it didn’t seem to help much. After crossing the Sunrise Bridge on the way to Namok his sensors picked up combat ahead; a distress call came through.

“”My name is Yjin of the Free Mars Republic. I was sent to Earth for safety, but the enemies of my people have followed me here. Help me to defeat them and you will be greatly rewarded.”

“Uh, okay?”, replied Xiap, not quite knowing what else to say. This section of road was frequented by bandits, and he assumed they’d be facing nothing more dangerous than a BuruBuru. Xiap activated the jets on his own BuruBuru and raced towards the coordinates.

The next few moments came as a blur. A queztal gunship crested the mountain, its gatling laser effortlessly severing Xiap’s mecha’s left arm in a single shot. Artillery fire from beyond the ridge reduced the forest to a smoking wasteland in an instant. Yjin’s neko burst forth from the pond she had been hiding in, blasting the queztal out of the sky, then just as quickly diving again.

Xiap raced for one of the few remaining patches of cover. He briefly considered running away; there was no doubt that these attackers were far beyond his fighting ability. But then, fighting had never been his strong point. He contacted Yjin

“If I locate their artillery units, do you think you can take them out?”, he asked.

“Just show me the way”, she replied. “You know this planet better than I do.”

Celebrity portrait by Ladene Kosaka.

Celebrity portrait by Ladene Kosaka.

So this is what happened to my current GearHead character shortly after starting out. The plan worked- Xiap’s stealth and awareness skills were good enough to locate and hide from these severely overpowered opponents, and once they became visible Yjin flew in and picked them off one by one.

I think this illustrates a number of things that GearHead1 does really well. The procedurally generated plotlines result in all kinds of emergent goodness, making the world seem dynamic and alive. A short time after the above events Yjin betrayed Xiap in Mauna. I should have listened when people told me she was villainous, but she was also a damn good lancemate. These days she shows up every once in a while on the enemy team when Xiap is doing a mission.

GH1_Xiap

My history so far

Another thing that I like is that the game does not in any way try to keep the player safe. It’s very easy to wander into a situation that you’re not ready for. Fortunately, there are often ways to deal with problems other than trying to fight your way out… for instance, having someone else fight for you. And when in doubt, you can always run away. Usually.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>