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Feb 13

Bad Plot Behavior in GearHead1

NPC saying "I think Cahewroi needs a mecha pilot to protect some trucks."

Does she really?

One thing that’s very clear about GearHead1 is that I was making everything up as I went along. Several features that would go on to become very important (such as email, memos, and factions) were not introduced until well into development, meaning that many of the plots and missions that were created earlier either lack them or use them poorly. On a related note, it took me a long time to figure out standards for plots, so many missions are just plain weird. Here are some of the bad plot behaviors I’m going to try to fix:

  • Not giving a memo when a mission is granted, or losing the memo before the player collects the reward.
  • Plots setting wrong or inappropriate memos. Several core story episodes are guilty of this.
  • If a rumor tells me that a certain NPC is offering a job, speaking to that NPC should never lead to random chatter. If the PC has no chance to get the job this should be communicated through dialogue.
  • Missions should be described, and the PC given a chance to accept or decline, before the NPC launches into the “Are you ready to go?” spiel.
  • Most of the try-to-get-a-mission sequences allow two tactics: sound tough with Intimidation skill or sound concerned with Conversation skill. This should probably be made more explicit, and the weirder mission checks reworked.

Please let me know in the comments if you encounter any of these problems in the wild; an exact quote taken from the plot involved should allow me to identify it. Also, let me know if you have any other mission problems or pet peeves.

3 comments

  1. Alex

    I’ve got two pet peeves I can recall by now – it was a long time when I’ve last played Gearhead. They both involve storyline missions though, not random ones.
    1st – can’t remember the exact quotes, it involves a journalist who ought to tell you something about your parents. He tells you to come later when you first meet him and later tells that you aren’t ready yet. I just don’t know what he needs from me.
    2nd – the lost niece memo. The mission is completed already, but the memo that the niece was seen last in *cityname* stays forever.
    Both – GH 1.100

  2. Joseph Hewitt

    1st- The journalist is waiting until your renown score is high enough. It was one of those ideas I though was really clever, but as they say there’s a fine line between stupid and clever.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtXkD1BC564

    2nd- I’ll look into that.

  3. Tung

    Based on the master from 2.19.2016, I am not even sure if I compiled it right since I received multiple warnings and issues when compiling, but I just want to let you know that I enjoy your game very much and appreciate the efforts to fix bad plot behaviors.

    Losing memo before it was collected: Plot_GuardFight1 and 2.

    Plots setting wrong Memos:
    Pump Pusher case: After finding evidence from file cabin map in Wujung that “the pump pushers have been getting their wares from Hogeye,” Memo still says “The clues in the Pump Pusher case have led to Wujung”, but Email says “the “Pump Pushers” are selling their dirty garbage in Ipshil. Gather evidence, then report to me.”
    Personal peeve about the quest: Then it turns out that their base is in Hogeye. The first time I left the map, not knowing that there are hidden enemies left. The second time the map ends immediately after I killed the enemies, not giving me time to stripe the Sentinel of its FCS. After finishing the mission, the immediate quest giver turns to random chatter as if nothing happened. But the relay person emailed me about the conclusion of the story correctly. Suggestion: some lab equipment you can confiscate from the base, which can only be interacted with after dealing with the enemies, like the kidnapped niece, (but it looks like the quest use the same stronghold scene as the end of murder club) and a pat on the shoulder from the quest giver (which murder club has) would give more sense of conclusion.

    wrong memo: Murder club case, multiple source with different destination as above.

    rumor of job-random chatter: suicide mission

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