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.