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Thread: ULTRASPOILERS: How was TCP to have unfolded?

  1. #1

    ULTRASPOILERS: How was TCP to have unfolded?

    Hi there,

    I was very impressed by the refreshing feel of TCP and thought it had the promise to be the best single player mod I would ever play, and probably top many retail games I'd played as well.
    I was therefore disappointed to read that TCP will not be continued but would like to express my appreciation for what was done. I would be interested to know how TCP was to be developed in the unreleased episodes. I suspected that "The first history of the world not written by the winners" while an intriguing concept worthy of exploration would not be TCPs true purpose. Anyone want to indulge my interest?


    Spoilers pls.
    Last edited by Brem_X_Jones; 1st Nov 2004 at 07:07.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Aug 1999
    Location: Bath, England.
    Heh, fuck it: Why not.

    I'll answer questions in this thread to the best of my ability.

    KG

  3. #3
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    Tell us about the planned missions - locations, plot, the conspiracies etc.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Lost in transit.
    How would the subplot with sexist Gary have concluded? And would we have gotten any wiser as to who was backing the project?

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: Cowering in Cryo Recovery B
    Was Bobby Chaos ever going to Crack himself an alpha of DNF?

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Aug 1999
    Location: Bath, England.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morte
    How would the subplot with sexist Gary have concluded? And would we have gotten any wiser as to who was backing the project?
    1) That resolved at the end of the first mission, when you returned the base. No matter what action you took, it would be resolved in a similar way to this.

    (All dialogue here is rough draft, natch)

    [Owner: Anna]
    [Name: AnnaDisciplineGuards]

    [COMMENT]
    The distance on this conversation should be set so the first two exchanges are not seen - i.e You're around the corner. When you turn the corner, Gary's already lying on the floor as an unconcious model.

    [SPEECH: Anna]
    Hai! *SFX: A blow*

    [SPEECH: Gary]
    Arrgggh (SFX: THUD)

    [SPEECH: Steve]
    Jesus, Anna he...

    [SPEECH: Anna]
    Shut up, you idiot. I don't care. It's like this. If something pisses Charlotte off, the mission may fail. If the mission fails, I get *really* pissed off. And When I get pissed off, you pair of idiots wake up and find yourselves shitting your own livers.

    [SPEECH: Steve]
    I just...

    [SPEECH: Anna]
    Which part of "Shut it" didn't you understand? Speak to me out of turn again and the best thing you could do is to kill yourself to spare me the inconvenience of peeling your eyeballs.

    [SPEECH: Anna]
    Right - from now on, you treat Miss Williams with the respect she deserves. When fuck-nuts here wakes up, translate this order into whatever simple system of grunts he uses to communicate. Understand?

    [SPEECH: Steve]
    Yes ma'am!

    [SPEECH: Anna]
    Oh yes - when you get off watch, take him to see James. His wrist has a hairline fracture and his fourth rib is broken.

    [SPEECH: Steve]
    Yes ma'am!

    [SPEECH: Anna]
    Now get back to work. You make me sick.

    ****

    If you never complained to the Boss, it's changed so Steve actually mentions it to the Boss, so Anna's harsh in a different way to Steve. Your exact route to complaining (Outrage or quiter complaint) doesn't matter - it's treated in the same way. That is, Anna giving a brutal beating.

    If you chat to Anna later, conversations are twisted depending on whether the player gets on with Anna or not. (Or, more likely, whether Anna likes the player or not - Anna is incredibly judgemental). No matter what, she still acts in the same way towards the guards. Her point is that *this is her job, and she will do it, no matter what her personal feelings*.

    From this point on, Gary and Steve are infinitely more respectful. I had a few plans for some minor sub-plots involving them later in the game, and a heroic death vaguely planned for both (A redemptive one in the case of Gary). Oh - and probably the option to have a brief fling with both, despite what happened. Steve, especially when away from Gary, wasn't going to be an unattractive figure.

    2) Cassandra's funding:
    Short answer: Yes, you do. That's what the second half of the projected six-mission game (See - we were NEVER going to do it all) was going to be all about.

    The funders of the project were the Secret Masters themselves, as an act of Narcissism - Cassandra being the mirror they viewed themselves in, a game played for their greater majesty. If Cassandra got involved in something, it's always because what they're investigating is OLD and no longer relevant.

    The Secret Masters' motivation for this extreme Narcissim was a major plot point later along.

    The only Cassandra member aware of this was Nicholas.

    I mean - who else could fund a secret organisation like Cassandra except the rulers of the world?

    KG

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Aug 1999
    Location: Bath, England.
    Quote Originally Posted by AxTng1
    Was Bobby Chaos ever going to Crack himself an alpha of DNF?
    There are some things that even Cassandra couldn't get their hands on.

    Hanger 17? Sure. DNF? Madness.

    KG

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Aug 1999
    Location: Bath, England.
    Quote Originally Posted by Subjective Effect
    Tell us about the planned missions - locations, plot, the conspiracies etc.
    Heh. Er... probably too big for me to write in one go, but here's the rough structure.

    6 missions planned. First mission would have been the first four parts, and the only part tightly planned. We wanted room to improvise.

    Missions 1-3 were about investigating specific conspiracies.
    Mission 4 was about investigating the Project itself, ending with the discovery about its background.
    Mission 5 was about escaping from the Project and going Rogue (alternatively, staying with the Project anyway, which brings the game to a close)
    Mission 6 is the end of the world special, based upon your discovery of what keeps the Secret Masters going and you deciding what world you want to make.

    (Er... you can see, we modelled the structure relatively closely on DX's real one. We were always partly commentary on DX)

    On top of the "Main" plot there was also a Meta-plot based around the Narcissus Entity itself, briefly cameoed at the end of the first part. If played in a certain way, Charlotte becomes increasingly aware she's in a videogame, and wants to start rebelling against your control. The way to TRULY complete the game and get the "best" ending would have been a special uninstall program Dr Spake points the user to, which would run, simultaneously deleting all your Save game files.

    (This was also planned to send a message to a server (We figured if we ever did reach the end of the project, we'd have amassed enough tech knowledge to try something special), which logs the player's decision. From then on it would mail out messages from the "Freed" Cassandra members to you about how their lives are like now, altering depending on certain decisions you made in the game.*)

    The first conspiracy was the classic Moon Landings one, based on the theory that Kubrick (whom the letter was from) himself filmed the landings in the 60s. There were enough spins on the idea, I hope, to make it more interesting.

    For example, while the American Moon Landings were faked, there were a series of fatal "real" russian moon landings. Since the Secret Masters were in control of both Empires, they divided the labour so the Americans took the glory and the Russians did the dying. It was a fairly obvious metaphor for the Russian/US relations in WW2.

    This was all set in an underground bunker during part 3, which was our vague tribute to System Shock in terms of tone and mood (Everyone inside was killed after filming). Highlight was - if we could have got it working - was the main filming shaft, which featured a huge platform which dropped down to simulate zero-gravity for filming.

    Part 2 was set in the village commune above the base, created vaguely to guard the silo, and our Tribute to Thief, with a few bits of the Prisoner and the Manchurian Candidate thrown in around the side (For a sly Thief reference, we were considering including the Looking Glass wind-chime noise when you activate the giant wind chime to call all the cultists to prayer as a distraction). The village was mainly talking about sixties hippy hypocracy - in comparison to governmental hypocracy in the bunker. I was fairly harsh on both the culture and counter-culture of the period.

    The centrepiece of the village was the mansion of the village-lead - Thomas Aquarius - who had twisted what was originally an open-hearted love commune into a messiah-worshipping ritualised-child-abusing situation. The scene which people would most likely remember would be finally opening Aquarius' bunker - where you know he has all the village's girls, who have been pleading with you to help for most of your time in Aquarius Mansion - only to have Aquarius to flip all their Manchurian Candidate programming.

    At which point, all the girls flip out and attack you with knives (A similar set up can happen in the main village itself), presenting the immediate moral dilemma of how to act. They're vicious, but - being incredibly powerful - you're not in huge danger. Just mowing them all down is an option, which most (exception: Anna) of the Project would shudder at you for. Taking them down with pacifist weapons would be the "ideal" option, though there's lots of stuff inbetween.

    And then you get to Aquarius after all of this, and have the choice whether to just kill him now or take him prisoner for questioning. The entire Project back at base give you contradictory urges at this point - Anna and Stuart very much on the "Off the shit" side, with Nicholas saying that It's Important They Get Information.

    (No matter what, in Part 4 it's revealed to be a bit of a fake dilemma anyway. Even if you can escape from the area with Aquarius when the Leviathan commandos come in to raze the place, Anna will shoot Aquarius in the face the second she sees him. She simply can't risk him staying alive any longer and possibly escaping justice. This was one of Cass' "things" - while the player makes decisions, the NPCs are going to make and act on their own anyway. Otherwise, they're not *really* characters.)

    Heh. I'm aware that these posts lead to a half-dozen more questions than they answer.

    KG

    *These mails would be in the form of a program of some kind, that would check your hard-drive before showing you the message. If it found copied versions of your Cassandra save games - so cheating the uninstall - it would respond angrily and delete you from the list of contacts forever.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Aug 1999
    Location: Bath, England.
    Cadvaet: Half this stuff wouldn't have happened, and another quarter (at least) would have been done radically different. We were always ones to leave us room to improvise*.

    KG

    *aka Fuck up.**
    **Aka Work out something else entirely when you discover that despite six months tweaking, Emily refuses to walk around the Cassandra offices without getting stuck.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Cumbria, England
    What a shame it never got made.

    Who exactly are the Secret Masters? How/Why do they rule the world?

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Aug 1999
    Location: Bath, England.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Was Already Taken
    Who exactly are the Secret Masters? How/Why do they rule the world?
    Some of this may sound fairly coarse, but I think we could have pulled it off better in the game. Honestly. As you get further, you can see where we're going with this...

    The Secret Masters are your quinisential illuminanti-style conspiracy who have been behind every major world-action since year zip. A group of men (and it is mostly men) who manipulate the world through blackmail, conspiracy, extortion, influence, etc, etc. As I said, your classic illumanti.

    (Which all conspiracy theory rests on, to be honest).

    They rule the world because they want to and they can. The reason they can... well, we hit the major thing hanging behind the plot.

    Greed is a disease.

    Literally. Humanity became infected by a parasitical disease "Narcissus" about 10,000 years ago. Previous to that they lived as animals. This extreme-self interest overpowering any natural altruisum was one of the driving forces leading to the birth of civilisation. A major part of what we call "Human Nature" really isn't.

    The Secret Masters concentrate Narcissus and inject it. This makes them impossibly driven and simultaneously impossible shits. It lets them have the capabilities to rule the world, while simultaneously giving them a desire that will satisfied by nothing else.

    The "in context" (i.e. Non Metagame) ending is based around Charlotte having located a counter-disease* that will wipe out the Narcissus disease, which she's used to reduce the Secret Masters to ineffectiveness. The Conspiracy collapses. This leads to our version of the three choices at the end of DX.

    Do you release the vacine?
    Do you not release the vacine and let people try and continue to live?
    Do you take Narcissus yourself and become the new Masters?

    The first is fundamental. Human drive will be extinguished. There will be no more wars but, simultaneously, no more genius. Is Peace On Earth worth the price?

    The implications of the second and third are more obvious.

    (This was my solution to the DX ending, which people noted that even a Dark Age ending would lead to human nature fucking it up again. This clearly pointed to me giving an ending which CHANGED human nature entirely.)

    Clearly, by the close, the different surviving member of the project (i.e. Those who rebel when they find out the truth) push you in different directions. Anna favours option 1, wishing only annihilation of people like herself. James Spake - whose very identity and view of life is based on genius - holds the third. The main advocate of the third, I think, would have been the second Agent, who you haven't met yet. Or possibly Jo.

    KG

    *Which is isolated from the Leviathan, the Secret Masters cybernetic commandos who have had their sense of identity (i.e. Narcissus) nullified and operate in a hive-brain state.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Cumbria, England
    Quote Originally Posted by Brem_X_Jones

    Greed is a disease.

    Literally. Humanity became infected by a parasitical disease "Narcissus" about 10,000 years ago. Previous to that they lived as animals. This extreme-self interest overpowering any natural altruisum was one of the driving forces leading to the birth of civilisation. A major part of what we call "Human Nature" really isn't.
    The more I think about it, the more I like it. Humans are fundementally co-operative, communal animals but it's only greed (+ intelligance) that gives us our propensity for building civilisations. It follows from that that greed is something different from the self-interest that drives all animals, and something that can only occur in a creature that is self aware (hence, "Narcissus"), so it fits together nicely.

    Three stars out of five!

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Aug 1999
    Location: Bath, England.
    Yeah, That was the thinking, anyway. Like most of my writing, it's all meant to be a metaphor for something or another.

    KG

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Manchester
    There's some echoes there with Stephenson's ideas about the origin of language in Snow Crash.

    How were you planning to 'do' the investigation into Cassandra? The way Deus Ex handled the break from UNATCO seemed pretty clunky - the Lebedev episode, and knowledge of the kill switches are pretty big "WE ARE EVIL" signs. This would be even less satisfactory in Cassandra, as you've already set a tone of moral ambiguity.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Aug 1999
    Location: Bath, England.
    Quote Originally Posted by Unheard Of
    There's some echoes there with Stephenson's ideas about the origin of language in Snow Crash.
    Probably deliberate. I forget now if it was a direct influence, but Snow Crash was on the official list of Cassandra Inspiration material.

    How were you planning to 'do' the investigation into Cassandra? The way Deus Ex handled the break from UNATCO seemed pretty clunky - the Lebedev episode, and knowledge of the kill switches are pretty big "WE ARE EVIL" signs. This would be even less satisfactory in Cassandra, as you've already set a tone of moral ambiguity.
    I was hoping to set up enough information and weirdness in the first half to lead to a logical actual "Investigation" mission. That is, it would have played out exactly as all the other missions did, but with Cassandra as the actual thing you're looking at. Some of the actual "Project" may be on side with you at this point, acting support. Most of the mission would have been at places out in the field, but the final run would actually be an infiltration of the Cassandra base itself.

    Stuff you'd discover was the origins of the link, what happened to the previous two agents* and the funders.

    The second you discovered all this, the mission would have ended. The whole "Escape from the project" would have been mission 5.

    KG

    *Agent 2 was to turn up at least once in the first half - probably on mission 3, and a primary thing in terms of you wanting to turn your attention against the Project itself.

  16. #16
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    Well Brem, that sounds fantastic. In truth the best idea was the uninstallation and email sending. Reminds me (slightly) of the name bank Black and White had (IIRC) that spooked people by having the game say their name.

    Remind us again why you never finished it?

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Aug 1999
    Location: Bath, England.
    We were too drunk.

    KG

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Cumbria, England
    Quote Originally Posted by Unheard Of
    ...
    Excuse me for going massively off topic, but are you the same Unheard Of that posts in Community Chat on the Atari forums?

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Manchester
    Sadly, yes. I drifted into it from the I-War boards. Do you post there?

    EDIT: You are Steely Glint, AND I CLAIM MY PRIZE
    Last edited by Unheard Of; 5th Nov 2004 at 06:27.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Cumbria, England
    Well spotted.

  21. #21

    what a bummer that Cassandra Project died. I had been waiting patiently

    Could you issue a simple - not necessarily adhereing to the story - follow on so that we can have some more fun with the weapons and the characters?

    Speaking of the weapons I want to be able to summon them in all Single Player and possibly multiplayer. Could you please release classname lists of Cassandras weapons, characters, objects and so on?

    Also would you consider continuing the mod and releasing it commercially? I'd pay.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2004
    Location: Crystal House
    Originally posted by TCPfan:
    Speaking of the weapons I want to be able to summon them in all Single Player and possibly multiplayer. Could you please release classname lists of Cassandras weapons, characters, objects and so on?
    Cassandra guns and ammo:

    When using the Summon command on these when using TCPPlayerCharlotte, the package name TCPCore.TCP* can be dropped. However, when summoning objects from DX, the package name DeusEx.* has to be added to the front, and spawnmass doesn't work for DX objects at all.
    Note: Some of the weapons do take DX weapon modifications, so experiment.

    Weapons:

    Low tech:
    TCPWeaponBaton
    TCPWeaponKnife
    TCPWeaponPepperGun
    TCPWeaponThrowingKnives
    TCPWeaponProd

    Pistols:
    TCPWeaponSigAnna - Anna's weapon (not used)
    TCPWeaponSigP228 - standard Sig P228
    TCPWeaponSigP2282 - additional Sig (not used)
    TCPWeaponSigP228A - automatic (not used)
    TCPWeaponSigP228E - extended clip (not used)
    TCPWeaponSigP228L - laser sight (not used)
    TCPWeaponSigP228SD1 - silenced
    TCPWeaponSigP228X - scope (not used)

    TCPWeaponDartGun
    TCPWeaponNeedlePistol

    Rifles:
    TCPWeaponG36CCombo
    TCPWeaponG36Sniper
    TCPWeaponSPAS12

    Heavy:
    TCPWeaponClockworkLauncher
    TCPWeaponUberKanon
    TCPWeaponPimpGun

    Demolitions:
    TCPWeaponCigsExplode
    TCPWeaponHAM
    TCPWeaponLAM
    TCPWeaponKOGasGrenade
    TCPWeaponNanoGasGrenade
    TCPWeaponNapalmGrenade
    TCPWeaponNerveGasGrenade
    TCPWeaponSonicGrenade
    TCPWeaponTearGasGrenade

    Ammunition:

    TCPWeaponClockworkLauncher:
    TCPAmmo35mmFrag
    TCPAmmo35mmHE
    TCPAmmo35mmKOGas - Doesn't appear to have made it past the final cut
    TCPAmmo35mmTearGas

    TCPWeaponG36*:
    TCPAmmo556mm
    TCPAmmo556mmFlechette
    TCPAmmo40mm (*CCombo only)
    TCPAmmo556mmDU (*Sniper only)

    TCPWeaponSig*:
    TCPAmmo9mm
    TCPAmmo9mmHoming

    TCPWeaponDartGun:
    TCPAmmoDart
    TCPAmmoDartFlare - Doesn't appear to have made it past the final cut
    TCPAmmoDartTaser
    TCPAmmoDartTranq

    TCPWeaponSPAS12:
    TCPAmmoHotShot
    TCPAmmoRubberBullets
    TCPAmmoShells

    TCPWeaponProd:
    TCPAmmoProdCharger

    TCPWeaponNeedlePistol:
    TCPAmmoNanites

    TCPWeaponPimpGun:
    TCPAmmoPimp1
    TCPAmmoPimp2

    TCPWeaponUberKanon:
    TCPAmmoRokkit


    Augmentations:

    TCPAugDatalink*
    TCPAugHyper*
    TCPAugPhysio*

    TCPAugLight*
    TCPAugSpeed*
    TCPAugStrength*
    TCPAugArmour
    TCPAugProtection
    TCPAugVision

    Augmentations marked with an asterix are default, while those in italics are purely decorative. They are included out of completeness.

    Miscellaneous:

    TCPKeyCards
    TCPLockpick
    TCPMultitool

    The Cassandra Project Members & Test Dummies:

    TCPMemberAnna
    TCPMemberCasino
    TCPMemberCharlotte - Her Non-Stunt Double
    TCPMemberDebbie
    TCPMemberEmily
    TCPMemberGuard
    TCPMemberJames
    TCPMemberJo
    TCPMemberNicholas
    TCPMemberNurse
    TCPMemberStuart

    TCPEnemyDummy

    That ought to do it. If you really want some fun, edit out this from TCPPlayerCharlotte:

    shotTheFoodDamage = -700;
    bShotTheFood = true;

    If you actually want the killswitch to work, set -700 to 700 (the point you actually die in mine is the point that it gets so high DX laps it round to a negative number, gibbing you. Hehe.)


    Anyway, what was planned for Emily's tour of the HQ?

    And while I'm here, some of the classes start with TD* rather than TCP*, like TDVendingMachine. What proto-TCP name did this stand for, if it did?

    And would there have been badgers?
    Last edited by O'Shuva; 7th Nov 2004 at 11:21.

  23. #23
    Ah, its too bad that TCP was never fully realised. If I was an eccentric millionaire able to pay for you guys to finish I might have done so. How come no "industry" games of this calibre are released? I would like to think there is an invisible market ready to receive this style of game.

    The ending with Charlotte realising she is a character in a game and the email followups is sheer genius.

    But who was Emily? I always had her figured for a mechanical substitute of a real emily who had died.

    There were many strange things about the project (invisible barking dogs on anna's firing range, doors painted on walls) but one silly little thing that kept drawing my eye were the pawns that were only visible to the X-ray vision. Was this ever going to be explained or was it just a pleasing little mystery?

  24. #24

    How about TCPMP

    How about hosting a "Cassandra" server? Take some "in progress" mission maps (if any exist) and convert them to DXMP standard with all these weapons.

    You could call the server TCPMP.

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Aug 1999
    Location: Bath, England.
    Quote Originally Posted by O'Shuva
    Anyway, what was planned for Emily's tour of the HQ?
    Heh.

    Well, it was very basic. She stood up and showed you to your room, stopping to make a couple of comments along the way. (Relevantly and melodramatically: This is Jo Parkes' room. [beat followed by closeup] You can trust her). Since we couldn't get it working, despite ludicrous efforts, we just had her stay seated and say "Oh, it's at the end of the corridor" or whatever.

    Importantly, when she was out of the office, you were able to use her computer without drawing attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by O'Shuva
    And while I'm here, some of the classes start with TD* rather than TCP*, like TDVendingMachine. What proto-TCP name did this stand for, if it did?
    Hmmm. Good question. I'll see if I can attract Tim's attention to ask it, considering he was coder.

    (Though it may have been Eperdu back at that point, who's harder to locate)

    Quote Originally Posted by O'Shuva
    And would there have been badgers?
    Yes. In the underground base, there was a bit where Badgers had tunneled in , purely included because Eperdu kept on making gags about Badgers, so 58 made a badger model. And then stuck a bomb on its back, making a sinister Badger Bomb.

    Its unlikely we'd have used the Badger bomb. Except - y'know - as a secret gag ala The Pimp Gun.

    KG

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