The Narrative Of “A Starless Sky”

This is a walkthrough of the Game Narrative. Since it is an open world experience, certain things about the Player in this particular walkthrough will be assumed.

The player awakens to find themselves in a burning wreck. They have no idea where they are, who they are, or what is going on. They open a nearby container to find a torch and a bucket. Then then run through the ship and escape to the outside.

 

The Beginning

forest_night-wallpaper-2560x1440

(http://wallpaperswide.com/forest_night-wallpapers.html)

The player finds themselves in a clearing, with a dark, dense forest up ahead. They can barely see into the forest before the darkness blocks their view. The trees are huge; several hundred metres high. They are also thick, and have large branches that intertwine with other trees to form dense floor-like areas that look like they could support the player. The wind is loud, and the player can hear the trees swaying in it. Currently, they see no movement or indication of life other than the trees and plants. They turn around and see that the burning wreck is a spaceship that seems heavily based on the zeppelins from the 1940s. Despite the fire, the outside of the ship seems fairly intact. The player can at this point choose to put the fire out, or they can do this at a later point.

As they begin to explore some of the environment around the crash site they notice interacting with certain objects do things, i.e. they touch a Green Plant and a massive vine/trunk emerges from the ground that the player can climb. Using this they reach the lower branches of the trees, and begin navigating this higher level they now have access to. At some point during this exploration they come across a small pool of water, and nearby is a tree branch that overlooks the spaceship. Using the bucket they fill it with water and dump it down onto the spaceship, eventually putting the fire out.

The player then navigates back to the ship, and goes inside. They find a small screen that tells them the ships name (The Aeoniflyer) and that it is critically damaged. The ship is also very low on power, so it is dimly lit inside the ship. The screen also points out that during the ship’s descent into the atmosphere several pieces fell off, and are now in various places nearby. Three of them are salvageable, and contain components that can be used in fixing the ship. The screen activates the beacon of the salvageable equipment, which can be heard and gets louder the closer the player gets to it.
The player can now use the damaged Aeoniflyer as a base of operations.

aeoniflyer2

(Brief concept art of what the Aeoniflyer could look like when landed and when in flight, as well as an indication of the ship’s scale)

At this point in the game the player can do whatever they want. They can choose to explore the planet and see what it has to offer, or head towards the beacons and retrieve the parts to fix the ship with. The narrative will be continued when the player heads to the beacons, but they can explore and find items in the environment around them that will aid them in completing the narrative. Both scenarios will be showcased here.

 

Going Exploring

The player can choose to explore the open world around them. Should they do this, they will need to use the environment to navigate through the dark forest and their torch to see their surroundings. They can happen across several places, such as ruins or crashed starships.

jungle

(https://www.triip.me/mexico/puerto-vallarta/hiking-snorkeling-6564/)

(Mayan Temple ruins in Central America – an example of what ruins in the game could look like as well as another example of what the forest could be like)

On their travels this player comes across some ruins. They are old; centuries old by the looks of it. They are covered in vines and moss, and this particular one looks like a temple of some kind. It is massive, and there is only one way inside; a huge doorway right in front of the player.

The player goes inside, and is confronted by a large room, the walls of which are covered in symbols and words. Moving closer, they can see that the symbols depict a creature of some sort, surrounded by other small ones. It is difficult to make out given how old and worn the walls of the temple are, but the other creatures seem afraid of the bigger one; they are a small distance from the big creature, and appear to be running away from it.

The player’s attention is drawn to several large blocks in the centre of the large temple room. Each has symbols written on it, and by pushing them a trapdoor is revealed underneath. Being curious, the player drops through the trapdoor and into a room below.

indianajones

(http://film.org.pl/a/ludzie/steven-spielberg-oceniamy-wszystkie-filmy-82021/2/)

(From the film Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom – showcasing what the ruins looting could be like)

This room is largely empty, except for an item laying on the floor in the centre, and several books scattered around it (Lore Logs). The item can be any one of three special items that the player is able to find:

  • The Light Sword
  • The Unseen Shield
  • The Visible Ring

(For the purposes of the narrative, it will be assumed that the player explores the planet and finds all five of these items. Some are necessary to complete the story. Others are simply useful for evading the Unseen or navigating the environment. There are ruins and crashed ships dotted all around the open world, and each one contains one of the five items).

Having claimed their prize, the player adds the item to their inventory. Upon doing so, a loud rumbling can be heard, and the temple begins to shake. Whispers are suddenly audible, and the player heads up through the trapdoor and runs towards the temple exit. They escape, but look back and see shadows around the temple begin to move. They keep running until they are sure nothing is following them.

After a while, the player comes across a crashed spacecraft. Like the ruins, the ship appears very old, and without power entirely. It is fairly small, and the player assumes it must be a short-range shuttle or something similar as it doesn’t appear to have very powerful thrusters on it. After clearing some of the debris surrounding the ship, the player finds an airlock and heads inside.

aliencrashed

(http://tonidelgadojustme.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/de-dioses-y-aliens.html)

(From the film Alien – what the crashed spacecraft could be like)

The ship is badly damaged, and covered with moss and other plants inside. Using the power from their torch, the player can choose to power up the ship. It will disable their torch for a short time (1 minute) before it begins to glow brighter and brighter (regaining full brightness after 5 minutes).

When powered up, the ships control panel lights up and log entries are displayed (Lore Logs).The player can choose to download these if they wish. They can then enter the ship’s hold, and discover an item. It is one of two special items:

  • The Gravity Booster
  • The Signal Searcher

When they pick it up, alarms sound in the ship and something outside it begins to stir as a result of the noise. The player escapes quickly before the shadows from before can take them.

Exploring is a viable option in the game, as it can yield items that can help the player a lot on their travels and especially when completing the story. The player can also discover lore e.g. why certain ships were there, or finding symbols on ruin walls that detail some kind of old civilisation.

 

Going To The Beacons

The screen in the ship shows the player the general direction of the first beacon (West) and upon looking that way the player can see dense forest, which seems even darker than their current location. They then begin to venture towards it.

As they get deeper into the forest, the player finds they must rely on their torch heavily in order to see. The sound of the beacon seems to be indicating upwards, so the player must interact with certain environmental objects (Green Plants etc.) in order to navigate skyward. On their travels they begin to hear things; whispers, footsteps, branches snapping, things like that. Occasionally they think they see something moving behind them, so they shine their torch but nothing is there.

Screenshot (19)

(A prototype screenshot – interacting with the environment + using the torch)

At this point, the faraway Sun is beginning to set. The dark forest starts to get even darker until pitch blackness surrounds the player. They can only see a few metres in front of them because of the torchlight, and so begin to navigate more slowly and carefully. They can now choose to return to the Aeoniflyer and sleep through the night, or keep going in the pitch darkness.

The next day, the player continues to head upwards towards the beacon, using the environment around them to navigate tree branches and thicker floor-like structures grown from the huge trees the planet has. The forest is lighter now but still fairly dark (they can only see silhouetted objects outside of the torchlight), so they must continue to use their torch. The whispering and noises heard the night before are completely gone, aside from the ambient wind and tree sounds.

Eventually, the player reaches the top of the treeline. From here the camera zooms out so they can see for miles. All of what they can see is covered in dense forest, with hills stretching on in the distance. The sky is a dark blue, and they can just make out a Sun far off into space (The planet gets light, but not enough to make daytime any lighter than around sunset on Earth). Looking behind them, they can just about see the small clearing in which the crashed Aeoniflyer currently resides. Turning back around, the player spots the beacon a few hundred metres away and heads towards it.

The player reaches the beacon and sees that the piece they require to fix the Aeoniflyer is buried in debris. They clear it and successfully extract the piece, but see that underneath it is a glowing White Plant. Curious, they touch it.

The world is thrown upside down. Everything starts spinning faster and faster until the player can no longer make anything out. Then darkness covers their screen.
This event occurs no matter which beacon they head towards.

After a little while, the player’s screen slowly fades in. They are no longer where they were. Everything is pitch black, aside from their torch that lies a few metres in front of them, shining into the darkness. The player picks up their torch, and sees that they are deep in the forest, right down on the ground level. They have no idea where they are in relation to the Aeoniflyer, or to where they were before.

In the distance, whispering begins. It gets louder and louder, and is soon accompanied by twigs snapping and sounds of movement. Whatever it is is large, and heading straight for the player.

At this point the player can either run from it or stay put. If they stay put however they will die once it reaches them. This player chooses to run.

New Piskel2

(Very rough concept art for the Unseen – the whispering monster)

The player moves fast, using the torch to rapidly light the way in front of them. They can hear the whispering behind them intensely, as well as movement sounds that clearly indicate the monster is right behind them. The player shines their torch behind them to get a look at it, but sees only a dark shadow-like thing moving fast, and closing on them.
Up ahead, the player sees a glowing Purple Plant. In desperation to get away from the monster that is only metres away now they touch it as they run past. The plant rapidly expands in response, and blocks the monster’s path so it can no longer chase the player.

Moving further forward, the player comes across a small cave. Upon entering it, they are encouraged by a small onscreen prompt to make camp and settle in for the night. This player chooses to do so.

In the morning they emerge from the cave, and survey their surroundings. This new area is very different to where the Aeoniflyer is. It is denser and darker, and there is a lot of movement. Small creatures roam the ground, and the plants and trees move in an unnatural way that suggests they are sentient.

 

At this point, the player can once again choose what they would like to do. They can return to the ship (and continue the story), find the other two beacons, or go exploring.

 

Returning To the Ship

Suddenly, the player hears a beeping noise. A small prompt appears onscreen, notifying them that the Aeoniflyer’s navigation system has located them, and has also activated the ship’s beacon, which seems to be due East. Using a similar noise-based mechanic as the previous beacon, the player begins eastward. On the way they use the environment around them to navigate difficult areas. After some distance has been covered, the game introduces a new mechanic to the player; hiding. This can be done by standing near small bushes, certain trees, caves or bodies of water. At this point they are encouraged to press the hide key as something is coming.

Screenshot (18)

(The Hiding mechanic from the prototypes – using bushes)

The player hides in a bush, and in the distance, whispering begins. It gets louder until movement noises can be heard, and a large shadow-like monster appears. It walks right up to the player, and then right past them as it has not seen them. The player is then encouraged to exit the bush and continue their journey towards the Aeoniflyer. Along the way now there are various amounts of Unseen, which the player can either hide or run from. They cannot fight or kill them.

(Click for the whispering sound effect used for the Unseen in the prototypes)

Upon arriving at the Aeoniflyer, the player immediately notices that something is wrong. Something’s changed. The ship is now in complete darkness (having been lit up before) and the player can hear whispering. As they approach the ship the whispering gets louder and louder. Shadows start to creep up around the player, and what little light there was is fading fast. The player moves fast towards the ship, up the ramp and inside.

The ship is in total darkness. Using the torch, the player navigates to the airlock. It has been forced open; pieces of the door lie on the floor around the player, and the control panel is smashed. The whispering is getting more intense, and it is clear that there are an unknown number of Unseen now inside the ship. At this point, a small prompt appears on the player’s screen. It suggests that they should head inside and try to find the main control area, so that the ships AI can tell them what is going on.

The player chooses to navigate through the ship, and must avoid the Unseen. Given that there are few hiding places aboard it is best that they have explored the planet previously and gained one or more of the hidden items (for example, The Light Sword would be useful in this scenario). This part of the narrative is completable without said items, but is much more difficult.

Eventually, the player reaches the main control panel of the Aeoniflyer. The ship is low on power, and the player must use power from their torch to activate the control panel (like with the crashed spaceship logs, this disables their torch for a minute before slowly coming back). After activation, it flickers into life and displays the log from the last few hours. Just after it had activated the location beacon for the player to home in on, several unidentified creatures approached the ship. Still being rather low on power, the ship was unable to mount any defenses and the creatures broke through the airlock easily. They then somehow drained what little power was left, and the log then ends.

The player stands still for a moment, absorbing what has occurred. As they do this, the control panel suddenly lights up. It glows red, and an alarm squeaks into life momentarily and is then silenced by low power. On the panel, two words are displayed:
PROXIMITY ALERT.
The ship then attempts to scan the approaching life form.
SCAN FAILED. OBJECT’S SIZE EXCEEDS LOW POWER SCAN ABILITY.
The player can hear it now. It was quiet at first, but the sound of approaching footsteps is now unmistakable. The footsteps are so large, that they start to shake the ship. With each step the ship shakes more and more, and the player struggles to maintain their position. The life form outside roars. It is terrifying; far louder and far scarier than anything the player has encountered before. The roar shakes the ship even more, and sparks begin to fly as the ship’s components are damaged by the unnatural quake.

(Click for an example of what the footsteps could sound like)

Suddenly, the ship makes a loud crunching noise, and the player is slammed to the ground, and then hurled around the room, taking a small amount of health. Alarms begin sounding, and sparks fly around furiously. For the player the room is upside down, then not, then upside down again as all hell seems to break loose inside the ship. The door to the control room is then ripped off, and after a brief struggle the player falls out onto the forest floor below. Everything goes black.

The screen slowly fades in. The player is lying on the forest floor, and appears to have been unconscious for some time. It is now early morning, and the faraway Sun is creeping over the horizon, making the environment dimly lit rather than the pitch-darkness it had been moments ago. The player sighs with relief as they spot their torch lying only a few metres away. They grab it, and survey their surroundings.

Chaos. Trees are smashed or knocked over, and brambles and bushes are trampled. There is a large crater where the Aeoniflyer used to be, as well as several small pieces of it. Looking into the distance, the player can just about make out several more pieces of the ship’s hull, as well as a trail of destruction and tree branches that seems to be leading out to the West. There is no sign of any Unseen, or indeed of the seemingly massive creature that has the ship.

treesover

(http://www.dglobe.com/news/4300793-fire-danger-grew-duluth-areas-storms-wake)

(An example of what the destruction could look like)

At this point, the player can choose what they want to do. They can follow the trail (continuing the story), go back to the beacon salvaging, or go exploring the planet for items.

 

Following The Trail

This player chooses to follow the trail of debris leading to the West. The forest around them is badly damaged, and they use certain environmental changes to navigate through the debris (e.g. using a fallen tree as a bridge, putting out fires with the bucket etc.). There are also various Unseen along the way, so the player must safely navigate past them too. It would be again useful to have explored the environment previously, as they could use the Light Sword or Visible Ring to aid them in this part of the story.

Eventually, the player reaches a clearing. The debris is cluttered most around here. In the centre of the clearing is a massive sinkhole, in which the debris trail continues, so the player assumes that is where they must go. They peer down into it, and from what little they can see given the darkness, it will require significant jumping and navigational ability.

forestinkhole

(https://theforest.gamepedia.com/Sinkhole)

(From the videogame The Forest, showcasing what the Sinkhole could be like)

This part of the story does require the Gravity Booster (giving the player a double jump ability) as they are required to transverse the walls of the sinkhole and make it to the bottom safely. If the player does not have the Booster, a small prompt will appear onscreen that will say the player needs a device to navigate safely down, and that they should try checking Crashed Starships for it. The player must abandon the story for now and go exploring to retrieve the item from one of the crashed starships in the world.

This player does have the Gravity Booster, and so begins to navigate down the sinkhole. Along the walls of it are various sticking out pieces of rock, vines and branches which they can use to head down. There are also various traps along the way that can harm the player (Spike Traps, Alert Traps etc.) that suggest that something wanted to keep others from coming down the sinkhole.

After a while, the player reaches the bottom. They survey their surroundings, and discover that they are in a part of a huge cave. To their left is a massive opening in the wall of the sinkhole, and is the only way they can go as the right hand side is blocked by some kind of rockfall.

The player navigates to the cave opening and peers inside. It is almost pitch black, and they can hear almost nothing other than the ambient noise of the planet (which is now slightly faded given how far down they are). They head inside.

Using their torch, they carefully navigate through the cave. It starts to get brighter and brighter, until they come across the source of the light; fire. The Aeoniflyer is lying in front of them, with flames licking at where the airlock used to be. Surprisingly given how much it was knocked about, it is still largely intact. Using their bucket, the player puts out the fire and heads into the ship.

They head to the main control room, and consult the control panel. The little amount of power they gave the ship before it was taken is still powering the panel, so it was able to scan the creature. A small prompt appears on the screen of the panel:
NEW ECOLOGICAL INFORMATION AVAILABLE. VIEW NOW?
The player chooses to view it.

The ship shows the player a distorted image of the creature. It is massive; measuring over 100M in height. It is dark, and not unlike the Unseen in terms of looks. The ship has compared the scan of the creature to the scans of the environment on the planet, and has concluded that they are not alike. The creature is not native to the planet, and neither are the Unseen. They have however been here for a very long time, and are the reason why the environment appears almost sentient in its behaviour.
The ship theorizes that the environment (the trees, plants, small animals etc.) is terrified of the Unseen. This is the reason why plants behave strangely (for example, the White Plant teleports as it wants to get away from the Unseen, the Green Plant attempts to grow away from them, the Purple Plant expands to try and scare away the Unseen in a similar fashion to pufferfish on Earth). The plants are not massively intelligent however, as they see all alien life as a threat (hence reacting to the player in the same way they do to the Unseen).
The ship finally concludes that it is highly likely this huge monster is the Queen of the Unseen, and is likely the reason for all the smaller Unseen being on the planet as well.

strangerthings

(http://bobatv.net/phimbo/stranger-things-season-2/bm.aaaaa7i7.html)

(From the TV show Stranger Things – an example of what the giant creature could look like)

As they read this, the player starts to hear footsteps. They do not react to them at first, as they are concentrating so much on the key information displayed on the control panel. The footsteps however get louder and louder, and the ship begins to shake.

Suddenly, a prompt appears on the player’s screen. It says only one word:
ESCAPE!

At this point, the player faces another choice. They can either run out of the ship and attempt to scale the sinkhole wall, or they can try and fly the ship out of the cave. If they run, they will need to find the other beacon pieces and then return to the sinkhole at some point in order to continue the story by flying the ship out of the cave. If the player has collected all three beacons, then they have the option to fix the ship quickly (if they have not already done so) and attempt to fly it out.

 

Flying The Ship

This player has the three pieces, and is quickly prompted on where to insert them. The control panel of the ship lights up after they have done so, and a rumble can be heard as the engines stutter into life. However, the footsteps are almost deafening now. The player must hurry.
The player jumps into the pilot seat at the end of the control room, and hits the power button. The ship rises up, and the player quickly spins it around so that it is facing the cave opening. A deafening roar sounds behind them. The creature is almost there.
The player quickly slams the thruster lever forward, and the Aeoniflyer surges towards the cave opening. The player is now in full control of the ship, so must be careful to avoid any obstacles in the way and successfully navigate through the cave opening.
The player successfully flies through the opening, and leans the ship upwards out of the sinkhole. They can hear the creature roaring behind them, and daren’t look back.

The Aeoniflyer shoots out of the sinkhole, and up into the lower atmosphere of the planet. The creature’s roars become quieter until they can be heard no more. The player starts to relax, as the ship flight starts to smooth out.
The control panel next to the player suddenly starts to flash. Something is wrong. The engines can be heard powering down, and the ship starts to lean towards the surface of the planet. Down below, thankfully the player can see a clearing ahead. The Aeoniflyer is quite light, and even without power it can glide slightly. Using this, the player successfully glides the ship down into the clearing, where it bumps down with only a few scratches and bumps.
The control panel flashes red, indicating that it has new information for the player. One of the components that the player found at the beacons was a power source, so the ship is now at full power. The player can now read the full ship logs from the time of the crash, and can also find information about the ship itself.


The player can now read the full ship information, or can continue the story by reading the logs from the time of the crash.

starbound1

(https://www.reddit.com/r/starbound/comments/1t1x3l/my_spaceship_feng_shui/)

(From the videogame Starbound – an example of what piloting the Aeoniflyer could be like)

 

The Logs

The player selects the Aeoniflyer’s control panel, and clicks on the ships logs. They then select the full ship information. Words then appear on the screen;

The Aeoniflyer is a Zeppelin Class starship that specialises in exploration.
The ships design is heavily based on the airships of 1940s Earth, with several significant modifications. Because of its large size, it is able to carry a significant amount of fuel and resources which are used for long distance exploration. The ships outer hull is made of a thick metal alloy that is very difficult to penetrate, making the ship extremely useful for hostile encounters or going through atmospheres of planets.
The ship has been active for approximately 235 Earth years, and currently belongs to Captain Eli Torres of the Sixth Terran Fleet.
The current mission of the vessel is to explore the Unknown Territories in the Fifth Sector.
Reports are due once every week.
SIXTEEN REPORTS ARE CURRENTLY OVERDUE.

The player reels from this information. A lot has now been told to them, and they have so many questions that need answering. For now though, the most important question is why did the ship crash? The player selects another log, this one detailing the time of the crash.

10:31 – All systems functioning as normal.
10:33 – Vessel entering atmosphere of UT5-352.
10:34 – Beginning descent through upper atmosphere.
10:37 – Beginning descent through lower atmosphere.
10:38 – ALERT. UNEXPECTED ENGINE FAILURE. BEGINNING FAILURE PROTOCOLS.
10:38 – ALERT. VELOCITY INCREASING RAPIDLY.
10:39 – ALERT. COLLISION IMMINENT.
10:40 -MULTIPLE HULL BREACHES DETECTED. POWER FAILURE.

The log ends.
Curious, the player begins to sift through the other logs from that time. One in particular catches their eye (it starts flashing): the Communications Log.

10:38 – UNIDENTIFIED SIGNAL DETECTED. UNABLE TO VERIFY. UNABLE TO TRANSLATE.

The player is then encouraged (by an on screen prompt) to open the log from the current day, and compare the two. There might be some correlation between the first crash and the sudden engine failure earlier today.

15:22 – Engines online. Hull breaches repaired.
15:22 – Firing thrusters at 20% power capacity.
15:23 – Lift off achieved.
15:27 – ALERT. UNEXPECTED ENGINE FAILURE. BEGINNING FAILURE PROTOCOLS.
15:28 – ALERT. VELOCITY INCREASING RAPIDLY.
15:28 – ALERT. COLLISION IMMINENT.
15:29 – MINOR DAMAGE DETECTED. POWER LEVELS AT 15%.

The log ends. The player then notices the communication log is flashing. They open it.

15:27 – UNIDENTIFIED SIGNAL DETECTED. UNABLE TO VERIFY. UNABLE TO TRANSLATE.

alienisolation2

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEYjSwKFIew)

(From the videogame Alien Isolation – what reading the logs could aesthetically be like)

The player puts the pieces together. Right before both crashes, the ship detected a mysterious signal. Even though the ship did not deduce this, the player starts to think that perhaps that signal is responsible for the crashes. They are then encouraged (by an on screen prompt) to try and triangulate the signals origin.
At this point, the player will need the Signal Searcher special item in order to proceed. If they do not have this, they can find it by exploring the open world and finding crashed spacecraft, and then entering the holds.
This particular player has explored previously and does have the Signal Searcher. They are encouraged to place it next to the control panel and then activate the Searcher. By using that and the power of the ships scanners combined, the player now has a powerful enough scanning system to locate the origin point of the mysterious signal.

After a while, the Searcher successfully triangulates the origin point. It is to the East, towards the darker parts of the planets forest. The player can now head towards the signal to continue the narrative, or go exploring if they wish to.

 

Tracking The Signal

The player begins tracking the mysterious signal. The tracking works in a similar way to the beacons; the closer the player gets to the signal the louder it sounds. They venture into the darker parts of the forest, and need to rely more and more on their flashlight to see where they are going. They use the environment around them to navigate through difficult-to-transverse parts of the forest, and eventually emerge into a clearing.

The area in front of the player is a haze, covered in thick fog and in near pitch black darkness. They can just make out a bit of the structure in front of them: it is a huge maze-like area, and the player can hear a great deal of whispering coming from within it. The signal however points to across the maze, so the player has no choice but to navigate through it.

The maze is dark, and incredibly misty. Whispers can be heard all around the player, as the Unseen are present in great numbers. Along the way the player can come across several traps, including –

  • Spike Trap – These kill the player if they touch them.
  • Fall Trap – These cause the player to fall down deeper into the maze. Depending on where they are this can be a good or bad thing.
  • Alert Trap – These alert the Unseen nearby to the player’s location.

The player must be careful to navigate around these. It would be useful if they had the Visible Ring or Light Sword as there is a large amount of the Unseen in the maze, so it would be easier for the player to get through the maze with certain items.

pacman

(http://retrowiki.es/viewtopic.php?style=1&t=390)

(From the videogame Pac-Man – an example of what the maze in 2D could be like)

Eventually, the player makes it through the maze. It was difficult, and they can still hear the Unseen behind them. They must move quickly.
The camera suddenly pans ahead of the player. Through the mist, they can now see a crashed spacecraft, lying on its belly. However it is much larger than the others the player has encountered while exploring, and is also different in design. It is almost completely black, and unlike a traditional spacecraft, it is smooth (aside from several hull breaches).

Using the interactive environment, the player navigates upwards to one of the hull breaches, as the signal appears to be coming from inside the spacecraft. They reach one, and enter the ship.

 

The Vessel

The inside of the vessel is dark and damp. There are vines and other plants growing around the player so it occurs to them that the ship must have crashed years ago.
Unlike the outside, the ship is completely silent. The Unseen have not found their way into it.
The player moves through the ship until they reach a large room. There is a window towards the front of the room, as well as several seats. This is the main control room. On the wall next to the seats is a control panel. The player walks up to it and attempts to interact. There is no response.

Screenshot (20)

(A screenshot I took from the movie Aliens – showcasing what the inside of the Vessel could be like style-wise)

Similarly to previous crashed spacecraft, the player can use the power pack of their torch to activate the control panel. They do so, and several logs and pieces of information appear on the screen. They are in an alien language that is difficult to understand, so the player is encouraged to contact the Aeoniflyer, and allow the AI on the ship to translate it. After a few moments, the language is translated. The player then selects the ship information:

This is the 22-45B Containment Vessel, the sixth craft in the IDN Network.
The Vessel is currently on a transportation mission to deliver Organism 32-B to Sector 12.
THE VESSEL IS CURRENTLY 235253.4 DAYS OVERDUE.

The Level 12 Containment Field must not be deactivated for any reason.
All crew must go through mandatory Decontamination at 12 hour intervals.
Flight must be maintained at a standard velocity of 1200 FP/M.

Failure to adhere will result in the immediate activation of the Containment Protocols.

The player’s concern grows. The ship they are in is some kind of containment vessel, and since the ship is silent and the power is off, whatever it was containing must have escaped. The ship crashed almost 650 years ago, so hopefully whatever it was is long dead.
The player moves on to the logs, and selects one that details the time of the crash.

Vessel Log – 23.46.4827
– ALERT. CONTAINMENT FIELD FAILURE.
– ALERT. VESSEL INCREASING PROXIMITY TO PLANET AT A RAPID RATE.
– ALERT. CONTAINMENT FIELD FAILURE.
– ALERT. MAJOR COLLISION DETECTED. MULTIPLE HULL BREACHES DETECTED.
– ALERT. CONTAINMENT FIELD FAILURE.
– ALERT. ORGANISM MOVEMENT DETECTED.
– EMERGENCY. ACTIVATING CONTAINMENT PROTOCOLS.

The log doesn’t go into a lot of detail, but from what it does say the player gathers that the ship crashed, and because of this and a Containment Field Failure the Containment Protocols of the ship were activated. Perhaps the signal was a part of this?
The player is then prompted to go back into the ship information. They scroll until they come across the Containment Protocols.

Containment Protocols.
– Upon a breach of the Containment Field or failure to adhere to Standard Conditions, the Containment Protocols will be activated.
– Upon activation, the Disablement Signal will begin. This will deactivate vessel engines in the lower atmosphere to prevent escaped organisms from fleeing the celestial body upon which the Containment Vessel currently resides. Until the organism is either destroyed or recaptured, the Disablement Signal cannot be deactivated.
– The Vessel provides the means necessary to do so.

The mysterious signal that the player has been following is indeed from this ship. It also seems to be the reason that the engines of the Aeoniflyer persistently fail whenever the ship reaches a certain height. In order to deactivate the signal, the player needs to destroy whatever escaped the Vessel 650 years ago. Because the signal is still active, this unfortunately means whatever the organism is, is still alive.
A prompt appears onscreen, encouraging the player to look into more recent logs. Perhaps they can tell the player where the organism is or even what it looks like. The player selects the most recent log before the ship’s power failed.

Vessel Log – 143.47.4827
– ALERT. POWER LEVELS AT 0.12%. POWER FAILURE IMMINENT.
– Information. Beginning tracking sequence. Subject 32-B located.
– Information. Subject continues to grow at an exponential rate, due to the high level of  fauna and plant life on the current celestial body that it can consume.
– Information. Subjects offspring continue to spread throughout the environment. Some native organisms are reacting to the alien intrusion. Some are not.
-Information. Subjects are more active during the night. This and other previous factors confirm the theory that the subjects have an aversion to bright light.

– Information. Estimated time before all consumable life on the celestial body is consumed:
– 322.4 days.
– Information. Planetary consumption will not enable organism(s) to escape orbit. No further actions required.
– Information. For Containment Protocols to maintain power, all other functions aboard the Vessel will now cease due to low power levels.
– ALERT. ALL LIFE SUPPORT FUNCTIONS ARE NOW INACTIVE.

An image from the time of the log is shown onscreen. It is of Organism 32-B, and even though it is much smaller and younger looking, it is unmistakably the same giant organism that the Aeoniflyer scanned and analysed. The offspring that the log mentioned therefore must be the smaller Unseen that roam the planet’s environment. Over the years the creatures have combed the planet and consumed most of the lifeforms, with the exception of the ones that were able to either hide or defend themselves. Unable to escape, they simply took over the planet.

Insanity

(http://cs.dontstarvegame.wikia.com/wiki/Du%C5%A1evn%C3%AD_zdrav%C3%AD)

(From the videogame Don’t Starve – another example of what the Unseen could be like)

Suddenly, a hatch opens next to the player. Curious, they head down it and emerge into a long corridor. Using their newly recharged torch, they navigate through it and several other dark corridors until they come across a door. Next to said door is a plaque:

STORAGE FACILITY

Using their torch’s power pack again, the player manages to activate the door which slides open. The player walks through and emerges into the ships massive storage area. There are boxes and containers stacked high, and racks of shelves stretching far into the distance. The player walks along the path in the centre of the facility, and tries to make out what is written on some of the boxes in the near-pitch darkness. They seem to be arranged in a combination of letters and numbers, and as the player moves along the numbers and letters on the boxes increase.

12-A
12-B
12-C

16-F
16-G
16-H

The player moves along until they come across a container that reads: 32-B. They interact with it, and look inside the container.
Inside is a large cylindrical-shaped object, with several wires emerging from different points. There is a small dashboard on the object, and the player interacts with it. The language is again difficult to understand, so the ships AI must translate again. Several words then appear on the dashboard:

Light Device
Can only be activated in the lower atmosphere.
Must only be activated once all other Protocols have failed.

The player thinks back to the Containment Protocols information:
– The Vessel provides the means necessary to do so.

The player is now prompted to take the device with them. They must carry the device back to the Aeoniflyer and then successfully activate it in the lower atmosphere. If they do so, it could destroy the Unseen creature and then deactivate the Disablement Signal.

 

Ending The Signal

The player hurries towards the Aeoniflyer with the device. Using another hull breach in the Vessel, they manage to get out of the ship at a high point in the forest, so they use the canopies to move over the maze rather than having to head back through it. As they transverse the top of the forest, they start to hear intense whispering followed by heavy footsteps in the distance. Organism 32-B is on its way towards them.

The player begins to run across the canopies towards the Aeoniflyer. Behind them the footsteps get louder and louder, and roars can also be heard. At one point, the camera pans behind the player and they see that the creature is starting to knock down trees, knowing the player is up there. They move quickly as trees behind them begin to fall down and disappear into the darkness below.

Screenshot (21)

(A screenshot I took from the videogame Terraria – an example of what the tree canopies could be like)

As the player approaches the clearing where the Aeoniflyer is currently, the creature behind them catches up. Several trees behind the player fall down before the one they are currently on begins to topple. A giant shadowy claw emerges from the darkness below and tries to grab the player. The tree shakes and cracks several times before it starts to fall, taking the player with it.
Suddenly, a loud rumbling can be heard. Ahead of the player, the Aeoniflyer rises up from the clearing and manoeuvres around until the airlock is directly in front of the player. As the tree falls, the player quickly jumps and just makes it onto the edge of the airlock doorway. The airlock opens and the player runs inside.
They scramble into the control room, and slam on the thrusters. The Aeoniflyer lurches forward just before the darkened claw of the creature emerges from the forest to grab it. The player grabs the controls and points the ship upwards towards the sky. It lurches again and then shoots up out of the clearing, leaving the creature roaring behind it.

The Aeoniflyer settles into the sky, and heads up towards the lower atmosphere of the planet. The player is prompted to grab the Light Device, which during takeoff had fallen onto the floor near the airlock. The player runs up to it and interacts with the dashboard, causing the device information to pop up. This time however, there is a crucial difference. Underneath the information there is now a large red button, along with the word:

ACTIVATE?

The player hits the button, and a countdown begins on the dashboard. They are quickly prompted to grab the Device and then open the airlock. The player does so, and another prompt appears onscreen:

THROW IT!

The player throws the Device out of the airlock, and quickly grabs the controls of the Aeoniflyer to get it away from whatever it about to happen.
Suddenly, the sky lights up, brighter than anything they have ever seen before. For a brief moment, the dark planet is bathed in light, and it is beautiful. The trees and plants glow, and everything is a fantastic green rather than dingy blackness. The ship begins to shudder, and warning lights flash on and off.
The camera pans to outside the ship, and down onto the surface below. The massive Unseen creature is glimpsed in its entirety just for a moment, and is then engulfed the light. The creature roars, louder and more intense than ever before.
Then everything goes quiet.
The light slowly fades, and the creature is gone. The player is then prompted to pilot the Aeoniflyer down to the surface, and investigate.

There is no sign of the giant Unseen creature. In fact, there is no sign of any Unseen at all. All the player can hear is the wind in the trees, and the occassional call from one of the few surviving species of fauna on the planet.

 

ConceptA (3)

At this point, the story is over. If the player attempts to leave the planet in the Aeoniflyer, then they can as the creature dying successfully deactivated the Disablement Signal. They can if they wish continue exploring, as there is plenty to do on the planet (explore, find all the collectables, gather Lore Logs etc.). Upon flying out of the atmosphere however, the credits will roll.

 

 

 

 

 

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