Date: 09-14-02 18:19
After doing some research, and contacting some very reliable sources, I have finally, come to some understanding of what the original plot of Serpent Isle was like. It wasn’t that much different from what has been guessed. Although, yes, the game would have been longer. That being said, I was intrigued about what I did find. Unfortunately, I have yet to find anyone with a full copy of the plot.
Firstly, there was of course Claw Isle….
There are two conflicting accounts, which may reflect how the story evolved into the one in the Silver Seed. One source stated, “There was supposed to be a Kilrathi (from Wing Commander) stranded there (Claw Isle). Since he was so advanced he was considered a god to any primitive people there. I'm not sure if there was any technology or advanced weapons to be found there.”
Another source stated, “The cat statues represented an almost extinct tribe of cat-like beings, and I believe the chief, Yearl, was in the game.” (Yearl’s art was used as the cat-creature in the Silver Seed.) “He was going to be an ally of the Avatar for a brief time, and he was supposed to be a tragic character who saw that the end of his people was near. We had no plan for the Avatar to be able to save his people, we wanted to darken the mood a bit and add some dramatic conversations with the last survivor about the dying race.”
There weren’t really any plans for the Naga, in spite of the “Naga Temple” that could be found as a very blank, gray, step-like building with bars in the game. “The Naga were supposed to represent wild/barbaric offspring of the Ophidians. The Ophidians were such an advanced and wise culture, and the Naga were either servants or creations of the proud race. The Naga eventually turned on their masters and may have aided in the destruction of the Ophidian culture. Now Naga exist in barbaric tribes scattered throughout the world.”
There were no special plans for the Ratmen either. (Granted there was a rumor floating around of a Ratman portrait that wasn’t included in the game.) One source stated, “I don’t even remember the ratmen, I don’t think there was any significant fiction surrounding them.”
As far as city design, Moonshade (and Fawn) was supposed to have 2 layers….
“Moonshade was a two layered city till just before we shipped the game. We had to take out the second level because the technology could not handle the high object count, and this makes me very sad. It had cool overhead walkways, elevated decks and every building had multiple floors.” However, “there would have been no changes to the plot at all” from this.
Of course the major part of the cut plot came from shortening the story of the 3 Banes….
“The major plot element involved the Banes ruling the three towns, each Bane twisting each town into their own likeness.” “…. causing changes in all of the characters. However, the changes were mostly in conversations.” “It really would have been cool, but we were such a green team we had no clue how much work we were getting ourselves into when we started the project. Most of the townspeople were supposed to be left alive, but twisted or transformed to something inhuman and appropriately psychotic. It was supposed to explore what each Bane represented, taken to an extreme. Cutting this saved about 1/3 of our development time, so this was a huge cut. No one was happy about it, but after months and months of 70-hour weeks, we all realized that it was necessary.” “If I remember right, you were supposed to go to each town and defeat each Bane in their own territory. I don’t remember the details though.”
This checks out with the little bit found in the usecode as one of the characters stated that he saw his reflection in a puddle of water as a wolf. I believe it was one of the Monitor residence.
Also, originally, if it was forseen that the team was going to run out of time…. “we had a "fallback" scheme where if we ran out of time, we would ship the first half of the game - up to Batlin's death, basically. The second half could then have come out as an expansion pack of sorts. Unfortunately, when we ran out of time, management had other ideas. :-) The first things that were cut were areas that didn't have a lot to do with the main plot. (The deserted cat island, for instance.) We had already created the art and built those areas, but didn't have the resources to
complete the scriptcoding (which turned out to be much more time-consuming than anticipated). Then came the idea of "killing everyone off" after the Banes were released. In the original plot, you could revisit Monitor, Fawn and Moonshade and see the effects of the Banes there. Cutting these areas saved us the work of scriptcoding.” “I didn't want to do it (kill everyone off) as I didn't think it would save that much time. (The post-Banes cities didn't require much scriptcode, which was our critical area; the conversations, on the other hand, had already mostly been written.) From a dramatic viewpoint, however, I think the mass death was actually better than the original plot. The funny thing is, I don't think we saved much coding time by mass death. It turned out to be more difficult than expected to "kill everyone off" in the proper way (with their bodies in the right locations). There were some amusing bugs (which we fixed) where you could find someone still alive, then he'd abruptly die in front of you.”
How the original source died….“I think it's all been lost. Few if any of us kept personal copies, and the official Origin archive copy was lost in a network accident shortly after the game shipped.”
It has also been noted on the Exult board that the Silver Seed characters were not true NPC’s, but “Monsters” as were some of the characters in the original game. “It was just a way to add characters after we'd used up all of the "character slots" in the game system. Technically, the main difference I recall is that "monsters" don't have schedules (though the same result could have been created in scriptcode).”
Does anyone else have any information to add?
Also, does anyone else have any other questions that I should ask, that haven’t been covered? (errr… loaded question)….