Deus Ex Pitch Part 6: The Man Behind the Curtain (Post-Mortem post)

By Heather Posted Wednesday Oct 12, 2022

Filed under: Projects 29 comments

There aren’t a lot of really tall office towers In London, except for a peninsula that’s surrounded on three sides by the Thames river. According to Google maps, this spot is called the Isle of Dogs. London is one of the major financial centers centres in Europe, and a lot of that power is focused on this small patch of the city.

This is a really good spot for a cool view, and so this is where we find the Olympus Financial building, which is where Everett wants us to meet. 

Interlude: The Man Behind the Curtain

So our protagonist arrives in London to meet with the Head Conspiracy Guy. The rooftop landing pad should be really fancy. Fancy how? I dunno. Maybe a reflecting pool with some lights? A garden? Some statues of literally ANYTHING that isn’t Icarus? Whatever. It’s posh. You get the idea.

On top of the building is a glass enclosure that houses a really swank executive office where the hologram of a silver-haired man is waiting for him. Yes, Morgan Everett attends this “in person” meeting via hologram. Everett is perhaps sixty.I figure he’s a millennial, probably born in the early-to-mid 80s. Remember that the current year is 2044. He’s got a friendly smile and a tasteful gray suit with an orange pocket square. He’s healthy and handsome for a man his age. He looks like the kind of guy that could have played James Bond in his prime.

I’ve always been bothered by hologram tech where the projected person fits seamlessly into the environment. I’d love it if we had a version where Everett paces around like he’s giving a TED talk. But he’s sort of oblivious or indifferent to the layout of the room he’s being projected into. So he ends up walking through bits of furniture, making parts of his hologram glitch out. 

Look, I’m just saying this would be a cool effect. Please don’t pull a Ragtag and blow weeks of development time on this, okay? 

There’s a chess board and a single chair on one side of the room. Morgan is standing beside a massive oak desk. The far wall is made of windows, looking out over the city lights.

I have to confess that the game is going to get very monologue-y from here on. This second half of the game isn’t as developed as the first, and I’m going to be dumping a lot of raw exposition on you. Obviously in a finished game you’d take the exposition and space it out, working it into multiple conversations broken up by large chunks of gameplay. But this blog post doesn’t have any gameplay, so I’m going to bombard you with walls of text.

This conversation should offer the player a choice of what posture to adopt with Everett. Do they want to be friendly, hostile, or do they want to play things close to the vest? It won’t impact the trajectory of the conversation, but this is a moment where players are going to have strong feelings on how they want to respond. We need to accommodate that or they will begin to resent their protagonist. For the purpose of this write-up, I’ll assume the player is mildly belligerent towards Everett.

After a cordial introduction, we get a dialog wheel or whatever we’re using to choose topics in this game.I was always partial to the list view of the original, but I guess it’s just somehow impossible to select things from a list with a controller. I don’t want to map out full dialog trees here on a blog or this will become unreadable, but here are some of the major topics. You can probably figure out how they would fit together in a conversation…


>Nice office. So this is where you pretend to run the world?

Morgan takes no offense, “I like to think I do more than pretend. For the last thirty years I’ve guided financial markets, held dangerous leaders in check, and guided global discussions on public policy. I’m not perfect, but I think I’ve lived up to my predecessors.

>So you’re, what? The Illuminati?

Mogan Everett is visibly pained by the suggestion. “Please. It’s a cute name, but we would never adopt something so flashy. We simply call ourselves ‘Upper Management’. Our leadership… perhaps you’ve run into a few of them already? They’re called The Board.”


>So what gives you the right to spy on Americans? Or meddle in our elections?

“Please don’t think we’ve singled out your country. We keep an eye on everyone. As for having the ‘right’? That’s beside the point. The world needs our guidance, whether we have the right to give it or not. If not for us, the world would have collapsed into chaos a hundred years ago.”

>I don’t know if you’ve watched any news in the last few decades, but the world isn’t doing all that great. If you do run the world, you’re doing a lousy job of it.

Everett shrugs. He evidently expected this answer. “Originally we were just bankers. We kept an eye on financial markets, and we stayed out of politics. Then there were two world wars in three decades and a pair of nukes went off. We realized we couldn’t afford to leave the world to run itself. The stakes were too high. I know the world isn’t perfect, but it also hasn’t been turned to ash by an angry lunatic. Next year is the centennial anniversary of the end of World War II, and not a single nuke has been fired in anger since then. Our interventions have done far more good than harm.”


>You’re trying to convince me you’re the good guy. But your organization killed a good man, and then framed me for it.

“I understand you’re angry. You have every right to be. And you have my condolences. President Ellis was indeed a good man. I actually met him ’33, when he was still a senator. He was a bit too idealistic to be a world leader in this day and age. But he was a charming fellow, and unusually smart for a politician. Anyway, I had nothing to do with his assassination. The blame for that belongs to Maggie Chow.”

If the player got intel X in Switzerland, then this option will be available:

>You can’t blame all of this on Maggie Chow. I read some of your reports in Switzerland. You would have taken him out yourself if your friends on the Board hadn’t beaten you to it. 

“I would have taken him out of power with a scandal. Assassinations just make problems worse. My predecessors learned that the hard way during the cold war.”


“Scandal is less barbaric than assassination, but you’re still meddling with an election and overthrowing the will of millions of voters.”

Everett gives a good-natured laugh. “I need to get out more. I’ve spent so many years behind the curtain that sometimes I forget what the world looks like from the other side. While I admire your youthful idealism, I’m sorry to tell you that President Ellis was not elected by the American people.”

“Are you saying he rigged the election? Ridiculous.”

“He didn’t rig it, but it was rigged. They all are, in one way or another. Once you control the narrative, box out third parties, and gerrymander all of the voting districts, you don’t need to resort to something as clumsy and obvious as direct voter fraud.”

“If it wasn’t voter fraud, then what was it?”

“A computer error. I created an AI to help me monitor voting patterns. It was designed to be an analyst, a passive observer. I was hopeful that it would someday project future voting patterns. For reasons I’ve never been able to work out, at some point it began tampering with the results instead of simply reporting them.”

“So your AI supposedly stole the election for Ellis? Even though he was the most beloved president in a generation?”

“Beloved and electible aren’t the same thing. We engineered the US system to make third-party wins basically impossible. Without my AI helping, Ellis wouldn’t even have broken into double digits.”


There’s also an optional conversation here if Troy decides to ask about the Chess board. 

Everett will launch into this extended chess metaphor where he explains that the American President is like the queen in chess: It’s the most powerful piece, so some people mistake it for the most important one. They get so obsessed with capturing the queen that they lose sight of winning the game. Troy shrugs and sarcastically says something about all of this being too much for “a pawn like me”. 

“Don’t sell yourself so short. I see you more as the knight. It’s an unassuming piece. Often overlooked by novices. But with their unconventional movements, in the hands of a master they can change the game.”


The previous games had their tortured Icarus metaphor for Adam Jensen, and so my game is going for a horse / knight motif for Troy. You can think of him as being a “white knight”, in the sense of filling a heroic role. But he also works as a “Trojan horse”, given how he was used for assassination. In fact, the Trojan Horse metaphor cuts both ways: He was betrayed by his own augmentations, and thus betrayed his boss. He’s both the perpetrator of, and a victim of, Trojan Horse-ery. Elsewhere we might use horse symbols to represent Troy. 

If he has a computer login / password in the game, it should feed into this metaphor. Maybe we can find an excuse to put a horse head logo on one of his weapons, or on the heli. Maybe we want to be really comically blunt about it and make his last name “Colt”, or “Steed”.Eh. “Troy Steed” sounds sort of clumsy to my ears, and “Troy Colt” is even worse. If we want to make our protagonist of Arabic descent, the last name “Faris” means “knight”. Roswell is another surname that could work. It’s derived from an Old English place name meaning “horse spring”

Whatever. I’m not changing his name, mid-story. I’m just saying if you actually wanted to produce this game, we’d have to come up with something better than reusing “Denton”.


“But now we come to our mutual problem. Maggie Chow has wrested control from me. I don’t know how she got the Board to follow her, but she is very eager to use her new power. She’s not qualified to lead Upper Management. In fact, she’s exactly the kind of leader that Upper Management was designed to prevent.”


“This is a lot to take in.”

“There’s more you need to know, but I feel like we should get started. Maggie Chow’s coup needs to be put down before she does any more damage. Whether or not you believe me  – or agree with my methods – I think we both know that she needs to go. Once we’ve removed the traitors, I’ll be free to grant you a new life with a new identity, so you don’t have to spend the rest of your days as a fugitive.”

Everett doesn’t know where Chow is right now, but the rest of her followers need to be dealt with as well. His first task is for you to head to Russia and track down Russian intelligence leader Leonid Sidorov.

Back outside, Alex asksOn behalf of the player, really if we should work with Everett at all. Troy replies that we need Evett’s help to track down the rest of the conspirators. The message to the player is: You can try to kill Everett later if you want, but you have to work for him now to undo the conspiracy.

The conspiracy might call themselves “Upper Management”, but Alex is having none of it. She refers to all of them as “Those Illuminati dipshits” going forward. Including Everett.

The New Status Quo

I’d like to use Olympus Financial as our “home base” going forward. Maybe Denton can even have a small office here where he can check email or whatever. The important thing is that the player will come back to speak with holo-Everett and get a briefing for the next mission.

However, if this game is going to be cursed with long load times then I’d rather forgo the idea of Olympus being a home base. Imagine how this would feel for a gameplay-focused player: They sit through a long load, then sprint inside and click through the briefing in 10 seconds, then run back out and sit through another long load. Yuck.

Olympus should be a modest location in terms of space. There’s Everett’s office, where you talk to his hologram and poke through his belongings to learn who he is. Beyond that, there are a few other small rooms that the player might open up using keys and passwords they find on their missions. I’ll talk about these rooms later.

The elevator doesn’t work,Er. I’m sure it’s operational. I just mean the player can’t use it. so the player is of course trapped on the top floor. 

If it looks like load times are going to be a burden, then I’d just as soon skip these visits and move their exposition and loot into the missions themselves. If load times are going to exceed 45 seconds then I’ll just tell the team to switch to the 1999 build of the Unreal Engine like the original Deus Ex and we can make a giant game with no loading screens and then we can all go out for ice cream and free pony rides.

For the purposes of this series, I’m going to assume that load times are reasonable. I’m hoping that I can make these pitstop visits quick and painless by keeping our home base small. Olympus is just a few rooms and a skybox. It’s not a huge sprawling building like Sarif Industries or an open city like Detroit. And it’s not behind an extra loading screen and an elevator ride like Jensen’s apartment in Human Revolution

So to sum up this location, a visit to Olympus will have the following content available:

  1. Discuss a specific topic with Everett 

This is optional, of course. This will give us a chance to ask him some questions or argue with him a bit, or squeeze extra exposition out of him. The topic will probably tie in to the previous mission in some way.

Like your discussions with Mr. House in Fallout New Vegas, you can bicker with him the whole way, or you can just shrug and do what you’re told. 

  1. Check out a side room.

There are a few smaller rooms adjacent to Everett’s office. These rooms belonged to the other members of the conspiracy, or to past members. The player will have a chance to find keys or passwords to these rooms during missions, and then they can come back here and open them for loot and lore. 

  1. Check Email.

Everett gives Denton a small office here, and we can use that office as a place for the player to check emails. I think a parting email from Edward Webb would be cool, and maybe one from Sam Carter if you managed to end things peacefully with him.

Beyond those, I don’t actually know if we’ll have a use for emails in this game. This high-level overview is pretty short on characters, and it’s hard to know what we’ll need without actually doing all the detail work. Deus Ex Human Revolution had emails, and they seem like a good tool for “Thanks for doing that sidequest, here’s how I’m doing as a result” type messages. I guess it depends on what kinds of sidequests we come up with. 

  1. Chat with Alex.

Let’s get Alex out of the drone cockpit during these visits, because we’ve already established that the thing is small. Maybe she leans on the heli like Malak in Human Revolution, or maybe she just hangs out the side and types on her laptop. Ideally she might be doing something slightly different for each visit.Coding on one visit, playing hacky sack, playing a handheld game, eating. Whatever.  We just want to make her feel alive and not like the voice inside your helicopter.

Alex can offer her perspective on things, often providing a counterpoint to the discussion you may have with Everett. Thematically, Everett and Alex are opposites. Everett represents the cynicism of “This isn’t nice, but we’re doing what’s necessary to keep order in a messy world”. At the other extreme, Alex represents idealism and faith in people. “The world can be better if we choose to do better.”

  1. Mission briefing.

Everett will explain the next mission. These are all going to involve tracking down the other members of the conspiracy and dealing with them. This might mean killing them, or it might mean stripping them of their power. In at least one instance it will involve simply getting them to switch back to Everett’s team again. 

This isn’t a Hitman game and we don’t want these missions to be a simple kill list, but all of the conspiracy members will need to be dealt with in one way or another.



[1] I figure he’s a millennial, probably born in the early-to-mid 80s. Remember that the current year is 2044.

[2] I was always partial to the list view of the original, but I guess it’s just somehow impossible to select things from a list with a controller.

[3] Eh. “Troy Steed” sounds sort of clumsy to my ears, and “Troy Colt” is even worse.

[4] On behalf of the player, really

[5] Er. I’m sure it’s operational. I just mean the player can’t use it.

[6] Coding on one visit, playing hacky sack, playing a handheld game, eating. Whatever.

From The Archives:

29 thoughts on “Deus Ex Pitch Part 6: The Man Behind the Curtain (Post-Mortem post)

  1. Bell says:

    Horse theme, eh?

    Maybe instead of a Smith & Wesson, the Trojan horse revolver should be a Colt .45.

    1. Syal says:

      Troy Roan might work as a name, as well. Alternately, there are the four colors of the Four Horsemen, so he could be, like, Troy Rojo. Troy Schwarz. Troy Negro? …maybe I should stop.

      (That Chess metaphor is backward, by the way; novices love knights, masters prefer bishops.)

      1. May says:

        You could maybe parlay the chess metaphor into something about a “smothered mate” in the endgame, which I think makes it worth it. (But I’m a total chess novice, so I might be proving your point. :P)

      2. Retsam says:

        Yup, a knight can change the game in the hands of a novice – as a kid basically all my wins came from clever forks – but once you get past the stage where your opponents fall for easy forks, a lot of games are lost by just moving the knight around while the opponent actually develops pieces.

        … but bad chess metaphors are pretty much a fiction staple, anyway, so this is pretty par for the course.

      3. MrGuy says:

        If you want to be generous/foreshadowy, that could be part of the setup. Everett see himself as a brilliant chessmaster but will eventually prove himself to be less brilliant than he
        Imagines himself to be.

        1. Chris says:

          Or he knows that, but wants to sweettalk troy. Then later when you betray him troy can say: “haha, your knight has caught you in his forking attack” and everett says something like “trading you for a bishop, my dearest knight, (slaps character you turned back to him on the shoulder) is something any chess master would take”

          1. Syal says:

            I’m always a fan of completely nonsensical chess metaphors. “Looks like that knight’s been promoted.” “Even so, Troy; you’re still just a piece in the jump chain.” “Except for one thing: you forgot about the TERRAIN BONUS!”

            1. Chad Miller says:

              “You and I, Dacabe, are pawns in a game too complex for either of us to understand. But a pawn that crosses the board becomes a king

            2. pseudonym says:

              Chess, Knights and terrain bonus. Flashback to “high ground” scene beteen Jedi Knight Obi-Wan vs. Drama Queen Anakin.

  2. Syal says:

    I don’t know if there’s a natural accent that mixes a’s with o’s, but if there isn’t we should invent one for Everett. I’m getting a huge kick out of Denton saying he’s doing a lousy job running the world, and Everett shrugging and responding “Originally we were just bonkers.”

    1. AllWalker says:

      I was thinking maybe Irish, but not so much. Here you can hear “bankers are bonkers” in an Irish accent:

      I like the idea of him being Irish, though. Most folks perceive the accent as generally friendly – as an Aussie, I know I do – so it makes his whole “we do what we must because we can” speech even more charming and sinister.

      1. Lachlan the Sane says:

        This is rapidly approaching the level of “fanfiction that I am writing about a fantasy game pitch to tie the world together a bit more”, but heck it, I’m going to do it anyway: My theory is that Everett should have a slight Swiss German accent (which would maybe have a bit of ambiguity between “bankers” and “bonkers”, although I’m not sure about that).

        See, my idea is that the castle in Switzerland from mission 2 was built by Everett’s great-grandfather, and the castle still belongs to his family (which is why it’s the Illuminati meeting spot, and also why he’s building a saferoom buried in the mountain underneath the castle). The castle was a bit of a folly, and it dropped the Everett family down into the lower ranks of the upper classes until Morgan pulled them back up to Illuminati levels of wealth. Everett’s headquarters might be in London but the banks he operates run off the (in)famous Swiss Banking model.

  3. Olivier FAURE says:

    Wait, so after being framed for murdering the employer you were supposed to bodyguard, you spend the game visiting levels for one-off assassination missions (with a convoluted nonlethal option for each) on behalf of a shady benefactor who will inevitably betray you and take the place of the people you’re murdering?

    Where have I seen this before?

    (But seriously, I’m curious how much Shamus was inspired by Dishonored vs convergent design. I guess we’ll never know.)

    I do really like the idea of the mission base being the former headquarters of the bad guys, and especially the part where you can unlock their rooms after missions.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      I have a bit more faith in Shamus than that. I bet Everett wants you to just go and kill his former co-conspirators, but each mission has numerous different options, like faking someone’s death and letting them get away, dealing with them non-lethally, finding proof that Denton was set up and so on.
      All alongside piecing together information that allows you to track down Everett’s physical location, naturally.
      (I bet the different members of the Board are all plotting against each other)

      Dishonored railroaded you into being betrayed at the end, but a Deus Ex game worth its name will give you a way to see it coming and engineer a way to counter it before that happens – and I bet Shamus took that into account.

  4. BlueHorus says:

    I love this setup.
    Denton is a wanted fugitive, being hosted by someone he doesn’t trust, in order to do that person’s dirty work in a behind-the-scenes power struggle. Alex is on hand to really hammer home how dangerous the player’s position really is and how Everett has all the power, so the player is actively incentivised to question what they’re being told and find outher solutions.
    The potential for dubious moral quandries here is perfect.

    Maybe one of the conspirators you’re sent after is (according to Everett) a really nasty guy who makes money via black-market organ ‘donations’. But…this guy says he know a crucial piece of information about where Everett lives – which he’ll totally tell you, after he’s safely on a helicopter out of your reach.
    You’ve got no solid proof for ANY of what you’ve been told.
    Do you let the guy go, in the hope that he actually DOES have some information you can use? (Potentially useful information, a cash reward, but the guy gets away)
    Do you decide he’s lying and just kill him? (Everett approves and gives you a reward of bonus XP/Upgrade points)
    Do you (the unmarked, hardest-to-acheive option) plant a bomb on his helicopter so that you can decide whether or not to kill him after he’s given you what information he knows? (You still have no proof whether he’s actually as bad as Everett says, you don’t get any extra cash, you DO get the information).

    Each mission from here can have a similar choice.

  5. Zaxares says:

    Speaking of Hitman games, it may or may not be thematically appropriate for a Deus Ex game, but I’ve always LOVED the armories in the Hitman game that you can fill up with various guns you’ve collected from your various missions. Maybe we could consider putting in a similar armory/gun locker for Troy to fill out and choose his loadout for the next mission. (If the game allows customization of weapons with mods, different ammos etc. this could also be the place where you modify your weapons to suit your playstyle.)

  6. Xbolt says:

    The conspiracy might call themselves “Upper Management”, but Alex is having none of it. She refers to all of them as “Those Illuminati dipshits” going forward. Including Everett.

    Man, I still love Shamus’ sense of humor.

  7. AllWalker says:

    I’m loving this series – thanks to Team Young for keeping this going. I find myself wishing that I could play this game. Then I keep thinking that Shamus’s fanbase is large, enthusiastic and talented, so it’s not impossible that it could happen.

    If the community did pull together and somehow made this, we couldn’t call the game Deus Ex for obvious reasons.

    My humble idea for a name? Ominari.


    (1) To my ears at least, it sounds a bit like “ominous” + “Illuminati”

    (2) It’s Latin, as a nice homage to Deus Ex

    (3) It means “to create omens”. Not a bad name for a story set in the future, but it takes on a weird, twisted meaning after this article. An AI that was supposed to predict elections ended up changing them? Depending on if/how that AI shows up later, this could fit.


    (1) It doesn’t sound cyberpunk enough.

    1. Chris says:

      I think it would be easier as a mod. And a free mod could get away with using deus ex.

  8. Lino says:

    Typolice (kinda):
    Footnote No. 5 has bled into the H2.

    I really love this premise! But the one thing I don’t understand is the AI. How did it help the president win the election? Yes, they’re all rigged, but what mechanisms does the AI have to affect them? I think that would definitely need to be addressed, even in passing, because it’s such an important part of the story.

    Also, in a real game, you’d need to have Morgan’s argument be a bit stronger. Because everything we’ve seen so far has shown that Alex’s arguments are what’s correct and what the author intends to be the “right answer”.

    But other than that, I really like this approach to game and narrative design (especially the horse symbolism). If only more studios made the effort to actually do things this way…

    1. beleester says:

      I’m guessing the answer boils down to “something something media manipulation” – the AI controls what stories get attention in the media and how far they spread, and is using that to bring an otherwise-unknown politician to national attention while also making it difficult for the establishment parties to co-opt his position like they normally would.

      Even with magic media manipulation, getting a third party to take off is a really tall order – a party basically has to be on the brink of collapse for a large number of people to think that voting for a third party is a better option – so my story would be something along the lines of “By a strange coincidence, both major parties are imploding from separate internal scandals, and major interest groups X and Y have threatened to walk out of their respective conventions. However, X and Y have found common ground in [insert wedge issue], which Senator Ellis has chosen to make the centerpiece of his campaign, leading to a sudden realignment in the parties. Also, major news organizations have suddenly become very interested in [wedge issue], which has provided free advertising to Ellis as he prepares his presidential run.”

      You wouldn’t spell this all out in-game, since really spelling all that out only demonstrates just how unlikely it is, but you could probably sketch it out with some news headlines that hint at this backstory and let the player fill in the gaps. Maybe an article asking “where did President Ellis’s new coalition come from?” – in the vibe of all those “Why did so many rural Americans vote for Trump?” articles that popped up in 2017.

      1. Lino says:

        Yes, but I still don’t understand how the AI can manipulate the media in a practical sense. Does it mind control the news editors or something?

        Maybe in the future all the news are written by AI (something that’s actually being done today in some cases, especially by big publications like Bloomberg and WSJ; although they mainly do it for easy-to-write stuff like earnings reports and election result articles; but that tech is progressing quickly). And Morgan’s AI managed to hack them and steer the conversation so that Ellis got way more publicity than he should have.

        This could also tie into the cyberpunk setting. Corporations have taken over the world so much, and they control the media so hard that they’re not even pretending that there’s an unbiased media out there…

        1. Syal says:

          Sounds like the AI is its own faction here; I expect we’ll be talking to it soon and can get more details.

          1. Octal says:

            Yeah, that’s the vibe I’m getting. It sounds like an “AI self-modified and escaped the sandbox” scenario.

            You know, the more I think about it, the more I wonder: why did the AI even have the capacity to “tamper”? I can see a few possibilities.

            One, he was just very careless–maybe just gave it unrestricted internet access and didn’t realize it would be able to do more than scrape and read articles.

            Two, he’s just lying: the AI was supposed to directly influence elections itself, as opposed to just informing/advising him. He was supposed to be able to tell it, “get so and so elected”, and it would do it. The black box of machine learning writ large, perhaps. So the problem isn’t that it mysteriously started tampering with elections, it’s that it started doing it in a way he didn’t tell it to.

            Or, three… the AI doesn’t have access to do anything itself, and is just an advisor… but it was able to trick him.

  9. Philadelphus says:

    But he’s sort of oblivious or indifferent to the layout of the room he’s being projected into. So he ends up walking through bits of furniture, making parts of his hologram glitch out.

    The trivial thing would be to make his hologram model clip through the furniture models. For a little extra effort without blowing weeks on it have some sort of shader that goes off as long he’s colliding with another mesh, making the hologram waver and glitch. It would be pretty funny if he’s giving you this smug chess metaphor unaware that he’s got his foot in a waste basket or something.

    1. Storm says:

      That would be fantastic to have. What could be really fun is, if the player has access to his hologram room, to allow them to move physics objects around and place them down before calling him. So his speeches can be as serious or as full of randomly walking into things as the player wants.

      Bonus points if you can keep track of how many objects are in the room/the area he walks in when making hologram calls, and have Everett call out the player for putting too much junk in the room too often – he might be mildly oblivious to objects in the way during a call, but he *does* have a camera in the room to see when you walk in and can tell when you’re putting a fridge right where he stands so you can giggle during his monologues.

      1. Philadelphus says:

        Oh man, that would be hilarious, and a great way to add player agency in a non-game-breaking way. Especially if there’s some obscure way to get increasingly ridiculous things in there over time, so eventually he’s trying to give you an assignment while a bubble generator’s going off through his hologram while he “stands” inside a rocking horse, or something.

        1. The Nick says:

          “We’re trying to influence the direction of human progress for generations to come. Take the litter boxes out of my board room.”

  10. Lachlan the Sane says:

    I had a random thought about this post, especially in regards to Shamus’s constant “here’s how to make this a bit easier on the level designers” notes. See, the Isle of Dogs/Docklands area of London is actually pretty far to the east of most of the big London landmarks. If you were on top of a skyscraper in that area and looked east, north, or south, you really wouldn’t be able to see much that was interesting. If you looked westwards, you would have an excellent view of the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, and you would probably be able to spot the London Eye and Big Ben in the distance, but most of the other really famous landmarks are a bit too close to the ground and a bit far out to get a really good view.

    So if I was designing a level that was supposed to be on top of a skyscraper in the Isle of Dogs, I would have my level designers focus on the westwards vista to the exclusion of all else. The helipad would be enclosed on three sides and Everett’s office would have a huge west-facing window — everything other wall would have much smaller windows high on the walls with no easy way to look out of them. Similarly, I would tell the skybox designers to focus their time and attention on the western side of the skybox where the London landmarks are, and not to fuss too much about getting the rest of the skybox accurate, because (a) it’s going to be hard to see and (b) even if players do see it then they aren’t going to see anything interesting.

    To be honest I’m not really sure if this is an *enormous* time save for level designers — I know it probably would have helped if you were building this game in Source, but I have no idea how more recent engines handle their skybox tech, and it’s probably likely that skyboxing has become utterly trivial since I last read about it back when I was looking into making TF2 maps. But it might help with something.

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