Knights of the Old Republic EP25: Lore Drop

By Shamus
on Oct 29, 2015
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

I praised the conversation with the broken hologram guy, but that’s because I have the hindsight of multiple playthroughs. He was actually really irritating on my first trip through the game, which is arguably the most important trip.

The idea of “these details seem dumb at first and only make sense after a later reveal” is a really dangerous game to play. It’s bad enough in a movie, since the audience can lose their trust in the storyteller long before the reveal. But in a game? Players will likely have many hours of gameplay between the seemingly dumb stuff and the payoff. They will very likely have breaks between game sessions to think about what the story is telling them, and thus lots of time to dwell on the apparent problems.

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From the Archives:

  1. Alexander The 1st says:

    “How many words are they in the Wookie language?”

    Clearly Wookie language is just a longer form of binary or ternary.

    Edited to add: The VI here is less to me Vigil and more the Sovereign display, honestly.

    • MrGuy says:

      Wookies are natural telepaths. Nobody “speaks” wookie, there are just some who have better natural attunement to understand them than others. The sounds they make are just vocalizations they make as they concentrate their mental energy on sending telepathic messages, like a tennis player grunting when making a serve.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      var smallTalk = WellBeing.toLowerCase() == String(“fine”).toLowerCase() ? “Good” : “Oh I’m sorry to hear that.”;

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    They will very likely have breaks between game sessions

    Wait,you mean people dont actually binge an rpg for a couple of days until they finish it?What kind of madmen play games that way?

    • 4th Dimension says:

      The kind of Madman that plays Witcher 3 and is a completionist. Unless you are unemployed it’s highly unlikely you can binge on it until completion.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You havent commented on this before,but it seems the lag for you guys is much shorter this time.Or is it just my imagination?

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    If bethesda made that hologram,you would say something like this(only the writers would have written that as a serious statement):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NKNNz3XiYs

  5. FuzzyWasHe? says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I accept Rutskarn’s challenge to a duel in a children’s card game! First I just need to personally handle his extremely rare cards near the edge of this boat…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Rare card?That sounds vague enough to be the blue eyes white dragon!

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        *Gasps and Murmurs from audience*
        (Aside):”What a daring move! I didn’t even think he had one of those. But why would he play it now?”
        (Smug Aside from across the arena):”Fools! They can’t see what he’s doing. Only I know and I’ll jealously withhold that knowledge even from my own inner monologue.”

        Anime can wring dramatic tension from anything.

        *Gasps and murmurs from crowd*
        (Aside): He has the legendary Jade Tungsten Tiger Potato Peeler. It is said that such a peeler in the hands of a master of the Golden Sun Ape school of peeling would shower the earth in bald skinless potatoes. But how could he have gotten one?
        (Smug Aside): They have yet to suspect that it was I who gave him the peeler of legend, for my own sinister purposes.

        • Syal says:

          I think that potato peeler one was a Stephen Chow movie.

        • Some animator in Japan needs to set up the usual Anime card-game-show trope of a “duel” deciding the fate of the universe or allowing the villain to summon a huge monster that’ll destroy the city if they win. Unlike the usual anime plots, just as the game is getting underway, the government realizes hitting the arena with a few cruise missiles will solve the whole affair and eliminate any future risks of apocalypse by playing card.

          • Wide And Nerdy says:

            You could the plot to pretty much any movie with a silly out of left field missile strike except superhero, military, space opera and disaster movies. And I only exclude those genres because it wouldn’t be so silly and out of left field. You could still do a missile strike.

            “I can’t figure out how to balance my relationship with my career.”

            “Son, you have to learn to stand up to bullies.”

            “I just want one shot to prove I was a contender.”

            “How are we going to get into the casino vault?”

            “How can I get this class of underperforming kids to believe in themselves?”

            “How can I get her to notice me?”

            All can be solved with well placed missile strikes.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          The line should have been.

          ”What? No way! How could he have that card? Its impossible its a child’s tale there should have only been one of that card in all of existence but if its true what does that mean? I feel unbridled shame for no reason.”

    • I prefer my children’s card games on motorcycles!

    • StashAugustine says:

      This is why you play living card games. Nothing is rare!*

      *except Jackson Howard

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So if dark side is red,why is the light side blue?Shouldnt it be purple,as the opposite of red?

    Also,seeing how the force of a light wave depends on the inverse of wavelength,meaning its proportional to the frequency,this means that the light side is more forceful than the dark side.So how come yoda was equal with dooku in their ability to use the force?

    • ehlijen says:

      Midichlorians.

    • Lachlan the Mad says:

      If you’re using a circular colour wheel, then the opposite of red is either green (for subtractive colour) or cyan (for additive colour). Actually, the top of the light/dark scale is pretty close to cyan.

    • MrGuy says:

      The opposite of blue should be black. The scale should obviously be defined by lightness, not hue.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Isnt black opposite of white on the lightness scale?And its definitely hue if your character picture,light sabers and powers are to be believed.

        • MrGuy says:

          Lightness (sometimes called value) is a different and orthogonal dimension Of color than hue (red, yellow,blue,etc.)

          You can have a color with maximum lightness that isn’t white. Color theory and terminology is weird like that.

    • MrGuy says:

      How could the dark side use a light wave in the first place?

    • Ledel says:

      Wouldn’t this also mean that the Light side is closer to the more dangerous waves: UV, X-Rays, Gamma; while the Dark side is closer to the less dangerous: IR, and Radio?

      This means the true Light side path of dealing with adversaries would be to give them horrible cancer while providing them with an excellent tan.

    • droid says:

      In the original theatrical release they used violet for the good guy blades. They even used special dyes in the film to only let wavelengths near 390 nm through. But since RGB displays such as computer screens and televisions don’t have such high frequencies purples are shown as a mix of red and blue, which would mean good is a mix of evil and blue, so they adapted the blades to be green.

    • Syal says:

      Yoda is too short to know that kind of math.

    • drlemaster says:

      They were equal because conflicts between force users are decided by awesomeness. So when the writers hashed it out, it was determined that Grover and Saruman were equal in awesomeness. The same reason it took Annakin working with Palpatine to defeat Nick Fury, neither one had enough awesomeness on his own. (If Annakin had already had James Earl Jones voice by that point, he might have been able to alone.)

    • The light sabers in your world appear to run on printer toner. Using the color wavelengths of light (as in “light saber”) Red’s opposite would be Cyan.

      Keeping in mind that the only reason there’s a spectrum associated with good vs. evil in this universe is because of what appeared in Episode IV. It’s got about as much meaning as the color of roses in a bouquet.

  7. Wide And Nerdy says:

    With regards to the long sound files, I’m a slow reader and I’m grateful for that. You fast readers can click through I believe (yes, even I ultimately end up clicking through some dialog but I’m grateful for not being rushed.)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      But would you rather read through the dialogue in silence(maybe with a mellow background music),or while your ears are blasted with “RWOOAH!GRRR!RUUGH!ROOR!!”?

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        Is that how it works? They wait for you to click? I forget. If thats the case, then I agree. A lot of the voice files were annoying after a while.

        Would be neat if they did auto continue for human dialog and waiting on the reader for alien dialog.

        • Henson says:

          No, they don’t wait for a click to continue. There is an end to the sound file, and when it finishes, the next line begins.

          Your suggestion on alien dialogue is a nice one for this game. Though really, I’d prefer more variation instead.

    • What’s even more grating to me is that I recognize each and every Wookie-noise as a clip from one of the movies. It’s like having Luke Skywalker’s long lost brother, Duke, speaking at length using only sound files generated from Mark Hamill’s performances in Episodes IV-VI.

  8. Wide And Nerdy says:

    This is more an Episode 24 note but I never get tired of Rutskarn’s Udina impression.

  9. John says:

    Well, here’s hoping that the spoiler tags work.

    There’s one thing that I’ve never quite understood about the hologram on Kashyyyk. I mean, did Revan expect to get mind-wiped, or what? Why wouldn’t the installation use a simpler form of, say, biometric identification? I realize that the answer is “because that isn’t dramatic enough.” And I acknowledge that a personality test allows for more foreshadowing than something like a retinal scanner would . . . Still.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well the jedi are known for their mind manipulation.One should be careful about that if one is to fight them.

    • Maybe its visual recognition tools are broken and with droids an enemy could have a droid use his voice? Though solving those questions isn’t very specific, adding that if he’s preparing to fight the sith, making sith answers wouldn’t be the smartest idea. Then is it really sith answers? Remember jedis are all against emotion and all for cold reasoning like that.

    • tremor3258 says:

      The second game starts with a protocol droid who can get around voiceprints without problems – biometric is probably reasonably easy to bypass with cloning. But personality appears to be truly unique in the Galaxy Far Far Away..

    • Ledel says:

      With how often hands get chopped off in this universe, biometrics has become an easily bypassed system that has been out of use for millennia. Using neural recognition is the best way to keep your valuables safe.

    • John says:

      Okay, fine points one and all. While we’re in a rationalizing mood, can someone tell me why aren’t there any security measures on any of the other Star Maps?

      • Syal says:

        There’s a Sith base, a dragon, and a giant whale with an annoying underwater level at the other three.

        • John says:

          Ask a silly question, get a silly answer.

          • Alexander The 1st says:

            Another way to put this though – you need all of them to get the map data you want.

            Taking down the other maps would give clear notice to the person who wants to protect them that they’re being used, and since this one has the least protections in the way, it might as well have the best security to prevent others from using it.

    • SlothfulCobra says:

      The answer is, it’s a weak excuse to set up what is probably the most interesting of the Starmap puzzles. Instead of the towers of Hanoi or the ol’ measure out water in differently sized buckets, you have to try to get inside Revan’s head and answer based on what you know of him.

    • Keeshhound says:

      General paranoia.

    • Xeorm says:

      Canonically, shape shifters do exist, and I’d guess that growing flesh in such a way to bypass easier biometric identification would be easy enough that anything of import wouldn’t be safe that way. But faking how your mind works would be much, much harder, if at all possible.

      Plus, these specific aliens built their power through use of the dark side of the force, not technology. Seems only fitting they’d use options that care about the force, rather than technological solutions.

  10. Neil W says:

    Can a Wookie say Chewbacca, or Kashyyyk or indeed Wookie? Clearly George Lucas was putting in some subtle commentary on colonialism and imperialism; Wookies can’t even pronounce the name of their planet or species. That’s about as subaltern as it gets.

    Or maybe k sounds are fun to say and he just based Chewbacca on his dog without thinking it through.

    • Henson says:

      It sure puts a new spin on Wookiee names like ‘Lumpy’ and ‘Itchy’.

    • Nidokoenig says:

      Most Europeans would struggle to recognise a Chinese name for their country, and we even have different names for German cities that are easier to fit into English phonology when they belong to the same language family. For languages that are based on completely different vocal equipment, it would make sense to just match the general rhythm and vowel lengths and just make up whatever you need to fill the gaps. Or just make something up entirely. After all, they’re going to have to do the same for our names.

      • Neil W says:

        You’re not wrong; I only recognise Zhonghua* as the pinyin for China because I’m a big nerd. Yet in the game it’s clear that the Wookies are being exploited and enslaved by Czerka corporation. Wookies aren’t flying out into space, meeting other species and establishing some kind of trade-language translation. This isn’t the French (or Spanish) calling London Londres because that’s easier for them (and all kinds of historical reasons). It’s closer to the Wade-Giles system for Chinese (China = Chung-Kuo) designed to make it easy for English speakers, except here there’s lots of shortcuts and sounds that don’t seem to be in the original language.

        But mostly, not really thought through.

        * Often translated into English as Middle Kingdom, although Central State might better reflect it.

  11. Grudgeal says:

    These wookies are making me Space Racist. They all look the same, and they all sound the same, and I find that I don’t really care a whit about their culture and language as long as I can nab Jolee, find the MacGuffin, and just kill the right flea carpet I need to kill in order to get the heck out of here and never return.

    • John says:

      You are a Space Racist. I mean, c’mon! They’re not all the same. Some wookies have two-tone fur, and–get this–some don’t. Geez. And don’t you dare assume that the skinny wookies loitering about the village are the females, because then you would also be a Space Sexist.

  12. Freyyr has said Bacca, let’s write it as Wuaaahaang. So Chewbacca would be Nomnomnomnomnomnomnomwuaaahaang.

    As I’ve said above, the puzzle is actually asking answers by a jedi, but the game gives you dark points. For answering without emotions, which are banned by jedi and allowed by sith. All right, sith end up too hung on hate and fear and forget any other, but still.

    What I don’t like too much of this puzzle is the giving side points. Yes, it may tell you to ask sincerely, but it doesn’t have anything to ensure you’re sincere or ICly force you to be sincere. Given the situation it would be logical and reasonable for the protagonist to answer what he thinks the machine wants instead of what he’d actually do. Moreso because it wouldn’t act on it. That would work if it posed questions about thinks that you’d do and it’d do for real, though how to do that wouldn’t be easy to think out. Then again, if he asks sincerity and you answer falsely, then you’re failing to comply to the cold and strict wording of your current mission and that’s dark side. But then the dark side options would have to give light side if you’re being honest. I don’t know, the giving side points here has always irked me, because it’s potentially punishing you for solving the puzzle. Though then the answers are meant to be evil/good and it doesn’t lack sense but meh.

    • Ringwraith says:

      The multiple problems of having a binary system.
      Pillars is great in that it allows you have to supposedly conflicting ‘reputations’. As they often depend on context. Rarely I’ve been Deceptive for the greater good, been mostly Honest about doing nice things (which amusingly sometimes makes them easier to deceive). You can also get high levels in more directly opposed ideals like Cruel and Benevolent, and the game has situations which account for you having both. The bandits might think you’ll just cut them down if you’ll cruel, but will believe you if you say you’ll spare them if you’re known for being benevolent as well.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      It can apparently scan your brain patterns so I doubt you could really fool it. In fact it repeatedly asks you to change the opinion so your thoughts match more to those of the previous user.

  13. Grudgeal says:

    One thing that’s interesting about this game’s use of the Prisoner’s Dilemma is that it assumes a human or human-like psychology towards Game Theory, in-group morality and ‘rationality’ in both the 30,000 year old computer (which kind of makes sense if you assume that tidbit was programmed in by Revan) and in Zaalbar/Wookies.

    Very anthropocentric, given that species that evolved under different conditions might have a very different, equally instinctual, foundation towards always assuming in-group loyalty rational or just finding the whole scenario inconceivable and fundamentally preposterous. I made some notes on the subject for a sci-fi setting I designed some time ago, where one of the differences in xeno-psychology was that certain races simply couldn’t conceive of ‘Game Theory’ at all and would react to the Prisoner’s Dilemma in the same way as a human would to an attempt to apply Groupdir-Steelthink to itself.

    • John says:

      The Prisoner’s Dilemma is not a serious model of actual human behavior. It’s a teaching tool designed to illustrate the idea of a dominant strategy. I don’t understand why you would call either it or game theory in general anthropocentric.

      Is it because in the description of most games players care only about what happens to themselves–e.g., that the prisoner cares only about his own sentence and not the sentence of his accomplice? Because that’s not a fundamental property of game theory, that’s a property of a specific game. It isn’t always that way. You can specify players’ preferences over outcomes any way you like. I’ve seen game theory used in models of divorce, for example, wherein a player cares about both his own happiness and the perceived or expected happiness of his spouse when choosing between divorce and non-divorce. The reason that you don’t see games like that more often is that it tends to make analyzing or solving the game much harder.

      • Grudgeal says:

        No, it’s because the very concept of it — of the concept of a “dominant strategy” and the ideas of optimal outcomes and Game Theory — could potentially be tracked back to fundamentals in Earth-based psychology vis a vis human background as hierarchical pack-hunting land-based apex predators.

        I’m not saying that Game Theory is a uniquely human concept and that no other alien species would ever have heard of it, but that that it could be the case that they haven’t, or that their evolutionary fundamentals are so different from ours so as to render our concept of a “dominant strategy” completely alien to them. Imagine, for example, how a species that evolved as herbivores would consider the notion of “in-group” dominance as fundamentally different from that of us.

        I’m saying that this game, and the Star Wars universe in general, assumes that, apart from a few cultural plasticities like the Wookies’ lifedebts, all life in the Galaxy fundamentally think in the same patterns — a human one. I’m saying it would be more interesting in some way if they didn’t, even as I recognize that modelling such a thing from the aliens’ point of view is completely inconceivable to me because I am human.

  14. Gilfareth says:

    “Players will likely have many hours of gameplay between the seemingly dumb stuff and the payoff.”

    Okay, I wanted to talk about this. Undertale has these qualities an absolute ton throughout the game, with lots of allusions or foreshadowing that jumps out at you on a second playthrough. It only really works because the game is short and it trains you to expect them; nearly everything you see comes up again, either sooner or later (or even changing stuff behind you, which you wouldn’t realize unless you frequently backtrack just to check).

    To tie this back to the actual game at hand, I think it works in KotOR just fine as well. Really, the end twist caught me off-guard and I enjoyed my second run revealing all the hints toward it.

  15. 4th Dimension says:

    Star map can be Dark Side artifact just like that visor can reject you if you are not Light Side.

    Seriosly, it’s a dark side artifact simply because it’s a beacon for dominating power and those that walk the road set out by it will be tempted and likely will turn to the Dark Side.

  16. Daniel England says:

    It’s weird having this on in the background and just hearing a really long series of Wookie grunts…

  17. Sleeping Dragon says:

    My favourite solution for what you describe is when the details that will look differently when looking back aren’t just meaningless nonsense but are obfuscated as either part of or relevant for something else. The best example I can think of is Gaiman’s Sandman.

    That said I’m willing to trust the writer for a good while most of the time, especially if the details are intriguing enough, though I will get pretty angry if there is no payoff (I will take this chance to thank Shamoose again for showing me it’s okay to be angry if the game’s story or writing is just plain stupid).

  18. Henson says:

    I’m surprised Shamus cited the Witcher as an example of having multiple options in a voiced game. The Witcher games don’t really have many dialogue options, and especially not in Witcher 3 where there are a LOT of choices, but practically all of them are binary.

    I do miss being able to dictate all sorts of nuance in my responses. It makes me want to try out Pillars soon.

  19. Mersadeon says:

    I feel like this was one of the big problems with KOTOR 2 (don’t get me wrong, I’m a 2>1 guy, but still) – the first trip through the game, especially before the restoration mod was out, was unbearably confusing if you didn’t marathon through it in a few sittings. It’s a masterpiece in my opinion, and works a lot better since the restoration, but damn did I not understand jack the first time through.

  20. James says:

    So the Cathar, not to be confused with the catholic heresy. are basically cat people, hell there name is Cat har. from what i can tell of from SWTOR they do have fur, but its fine enough to appear as skin-like, and then they also have hair.

    Also according to the lore (well bioware’s cannon) there are two species of Cathar one which is annoyingly called The Juhani (so Juhani’s mom and pop decided to call her after here species, that’s like Shamus calling his daughter Human) which appear “less cat like” so i assume there is off screen some Lion-Man people aswell.

  21. silver Harloe says:

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Precursors
    I like the first entry under Literature: “Roughly a third of all the Hugo Award-winning novels involve Precursors or their works.”

    I’m surprised Josh didn’t mention Churchill and the Enigma code and Coventry immediately when the alien VI posed the same problem – though discredited by many sources, it remains architypical in our culture.

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