on Dec 7, 2012
This entire walk to the farm is wonderfully tense, and all we’re doing is walking in the woods. I never felt this much tension in Mass Effect, not even when the whole universe was blowing up in the background. I realize it might be tough to get the emotional impact of this when the four of us were talking over it, but the framing of this entire scene creates a sense of unease.
Imagine how much less successful the walk in the woods would be if the whole “getting to know you” dialog took place at the motel, with everyone standing in place and talking. Doing things this way gives us a sense of distance and time passing. We’re taken out of our safe(ish) home and put on the road, where we know there’s danger. It gives us a change of scenery so we don’t get too fatigued with a lot of repeating motel shots. The action (walking) gives the characters something to do so we don’t get that feeling that everyone is rooted in place.
This is how a TV show would handle this scene. This is how a movie would handle it. I’ve been down on the videogames-as-movies mindset for years, but I’ve got to say: It works a lot better if you at least make use of what we’ve learned in the last 75 years of cinematography.
So the electric fence seems like it’s a horrible idea. You’ll run out of gas sooner or later, and that fence must burn through a lot of juice. (Keeping in mind this fence is set to fry people, not just scare livestock away. Big difference.) Eventually you’ll have to replace it with a non-electrical solution. Whatever that solution is going to be, it would be better to roll it out now and save the gas for lighting and refrigeration. Because life is going to be a lot harder once those are gone. Speaking of which, do any of you guys know how to make candles? Anyone? That might become important very soon.
According to the game, the fence works and keeps out both the walkers and bandits. I’m skeptical of both possibilities, but there it is.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.