I made this page in March 2009. Now it's
2010 ... 2011 and it seems we're getting a MML3 for the 3DS! ... NOPE. Below is some MML3 related art.
2011: I missed the DevRoom activities. I did start a few roughs, but my concepts weren't very strong so I decided not to iterate and polish.
Boss design idea: Wet environment -> Squid. First thing which came to mind (for many it seems). The Bonnes already have the Feldynaut and I didn't want to do something which was too close to that. Maybe it doesn't matter though, it's plausible that Tron would just modify her Feldynaut design. I decided to change the head, segment the arms, and color it light purple. Each arm could have some kind of weapon, and the head could pop off like a Wily Saucer.
The Servbots ski around on these... water surface robot bugs, and... bug Megaman.
To avoid backtracking, and add a little Tron-Roll antagonism, I was thinking that the Boss door is found immediately inside the ruin, but Roll tells Megaman that she can't hack it (it has some puzzle lock). So Megaman has to find a way around, fighting reaverbots. When he finally enters the boss room using a secret backdoor, he finds it eerily empty, creating suspense. Suddenly, the main door squeeks and opens a few inches. Voices can be heard outside of the main door. It's Tiesel telling Tron to hurry up with the door. When Tron gets the door open (maybe she cheated), there's some gloating from Tron and jealousy/excuses from Roll. And then there's the boss fight of course, because Tron brought her squid thing.
Reaverbot design idea - I think a good design should have... a thing about it. Vague, I know. It could be a fun and unusual shape. The design should be to the point and not distract with unnecessary greeble and protrusions. It's good if a part of the design fills many functions, creating visual coherence, adding combat functionality, morhpability, etc. It should be consistent with the established style, and fill a necessary function in relation to other designs. When doing enemy design, you also have to think a bit about how the design will communicate with the player. Unfortunately, I had no time to explore and find these qualities. My unusual 'thing' in this case was the revolver shape. The reaverbot would use colors to communicate its attack to the player. I quite liked the concept which won the reaverbot contest. It was efficient.
And a sudden Hair helmet. Not really an attempt at doing something for this project. It just happened.
Other developments: I've written a little (comic) story for my characters above, but it's pretty rough so I'll withhold it. Also, I think I know how to end the game. It's fairly obvious, given the flood/giant ocean thing going on.
White text spoiler: The ocean (flood) subsides. Megaman standing on what was once an island and now is a hill, looking out over surfaced temples. This gives the player an impression of a new era of exploration starting, and that there's more to do. Gotta love de-sunked Atlantises.
April. Zakobon bomber. I don't like enemies who mimic various sports (it breaks fourth wall for me), but I suppose this attack pattern could be more interactive for the player.
June. Bright Bats mascot entries: The Elder Cube, Stubbles, Darchron, RoperBot, Gunk, Omega, Metina. Gunk is my favorite out of the bunch, but the Elder bube gets points for being Lovecraftian. In case the links are dead, here's a local page.
Next to Megaman 1, Megaman Legends (aka Rockman Dash) is my favourite Megaman game. However, the atmosphere of the MML series is quite different from that of the other Megaman games. To me, Megaman is more of an archetype which can arise in different universes because of convergent evolution.
If MML is a part of the Megaman timeline (as suggested by a book called 'Rockman Perfect Memories'), the game is supposed to take place long after the X series in the 'Halcyon days'. I'm not sure if there's anything particularly calm and nice about the MML setting though. The Zero and ZX series also has some of the decorative elements which are later seen on the Reaverbots and in the ruins. Still, I'm not comfortable at all with the Reaverbots just being a bunch of robots from the earlier Megaman games.
So, I was a bit disappointed with how the Reaverbots were partly explained in MML2. It lessened their enigma. It's always a great feeling to visit the first dungeon (for the first time) in games. Everything is still a mystery and you can't tell what lies ahead. I think MML1 did a great job at making every dungeon feel mysterious.
So, I need to 'unexplain' the Reaverbots. Unfortunately, to do that, I need to explain them, but this explanation simply have to make sense, and does not have to be presented clearly to the player. Anyways, here follows the setup which I would use.
tl;dr; The Ancients simply found the Reaverbots and didn't make them.
Many thousands of years ago a group of human colonists found (or rediscovered) the planet Terra. They had orders to terraform the rather hostile planet, so they brought 'carbon re-initialization' devices. These would basically purge the life on the planet and replace it with friendly life forms brought with the colony ship (similar to an ark).
However, as it turns out, the planet was inhabited by something else - the Reaverbots. Since they weren't organic they were left unaffected by the purge. The colonists (later known as the Ancients) discovered that the Reaverbots were rather sophisticated creations with a life of their own. The colonists also discovered a underground ruins and an advanced communication Network. It almost seemed like something was sporadically controlling the Reaverbots through the use of the Network.
Some archeologists had seen ghost like creatures move about in the deeper ruins. These were nicknamed the Elders, and a theory was proposed that these were technologically advanced aliens who had built the Reaverbots. Other clues pointed towards a single powerful and sinister entity being in control (refered to as The Entity or The Dark Singularity). There was even a theory that no one was in control but the Reaverbot had a collective id which used the Network.
(By offering several theories, I hope that the Reaverbots can remain undefined and enigmatic. The player can choose his own theory.)
At any rate, the Reaverbots were not friendly to the colonists. They were an obstacle to the colonization plans, and had to be either destroyed or neutralized. To destroy them seemed impossible, because the Reaverbot ruins are vast and only a fraction had been explored. The solution came when the Central Node was discovered. The Reaverbots used it to gain coherence and possibly to receive orders. The colonists simply appended a lock out device at this point. This made the Reaverbots incoherent or dormant.
The Reaverbots were never fully understood, but the colonists constructed several research facilities (known as Sub-Cities). Here they reverse engineered the Reaverbot technology, and constructed the androids (aka Prototype Anthro Units).
The colonists enjoyed a high quality of life for many years. Eventually they became so advanced that they could fully digitize themselves and live inside the network which they had constructed on the moon (Elysium). The colonists had put their genetic code in The Library before transcending, perhaps because they were sentimental. If the whole transcendence thing went awry, they (as a race) could at least go back a step and recolonize the planet (after making space, i.e. purging it).
To make sure that their System wasn't threatened by Reaverbots or other forms of physical life, they devised a number of automatic processes which would deal with these contingencies. One of these process was the control of organic life on Terra. A colonist known as the Master and a group of android servants remained in physical form as a fail safe.
The Master was an immortal human who watched over the System for thousands of years. Eventually he realizes that he's not having much fun at all. Since he was not fully digitized, he was outside of the technological singularity (heaven) and could not fully comprehend it. He pondered about happiness much, and eventually started to experiment. First he made the carbons (organic, but artificial life forms) and put them on the planet surface. Apparently they did not meet his approval, so he purged them.
Then he released a modified version based on the idea that happiness requires fluctuations or it will normalize. He spends much time monitoring these carbons. However, he was responsible for managing Elysium, and the safety of the System always took precedence. He was restricted by the protocols of the System and was eventually sad to see the carbons being continuously being wiped for population control reasons.
In the end the Master gambles that the carbons are actually more meaningful than than the transcended [former colonists] in the singularity (whose existence may very well be meaningless in it's pure simplicity). Having developed sympathy for the carbons, he does not wish to see them purged anymore. An android, Sera, was more strict about enforcing the rules of the System and opposed the Master. Trigger (Purifier android favored by the Master) is told to destroy the System so the carbons can have a chance. The Master, knowing that Sera still respects him, entrusts Trigger with his genetic code (hoping that Sera would not dare to touch Trigger).
The Master dies while living with the carbons. Perhaps he modified his own genetic code so he could finally die, or he was just vulnerable outside of the System. Sera and Trigger end up duking out on the planet surface, knocking each other out. Another android, Yuna, is really undecided regarding the fate of the System and the carbons. She decides to put the damaged Trigger and Sera in stasis on the Forbidden Island. To prevent interference from carbons, she creates a vortex around the island and patrols it to ward trespassers away. She knows that if Sera is released, she will purge the carbons. At least 30 years go by, probably hundreds, perhaps thousands. Not understanding Trigger's behaviour, she may have wiped his memory (but did not know that Trigger had created Data to store his memories in). This way both the System and the carbons could exist. The carbons would still have to live under the constant threat of annihilation though, as the System is still up and running.
Eventually Barrel and Blücher visits the island and sees Yuna. Then Matilda visits the island, is hurt, and Yuna accidentally if forced to take over Matilda's body in an attempt to save her.
However, with the System running unmonitored (Sera not monitoring Elysium, and Yuna not being in the ideal body to monitor Terra), more and more Reaverbots become aberrant due to the lack of Purgers. The Master did not foresee that the Reaverbots would so effectively be able to bypass whatever safeties the colonists had put in place.
In the end, Trigger and Sera are defrosted. Sera, hoping to destroy the carbons who threaten the System with their mere existence, indirectly acquires the keys needed for a planet-wide purge (she tricks the diggers to go an look for them). Destroying the carbons would negate Trigger's reason to obey the Master's last wish; to destroy the System. However, Sera is hesitant since she partly respects the Masters wish. In the end, Trigger defeats her and destroys the System.
Unexpectedly, the Central Node also stops to function, and the rest of the Reaverbots wake up. Trigger is stranded on the moon along with Sera and Yuna. On the planet surface, the carbons are facing a Reaverbot invasion.
While I feel that the Reaverbots should remain unexplained, it's good to have a structure of logic to support the mystery. I think the most appealing theory is that the Reaverbots are actually somewhat in control of themselves. Enough to make a doll (found in MML1), anyways.
The Elders were a species who perished some 14 000 years ago. They built or found the Reaverbots on their journeys. The Elders built a Network which the Reaverbots were connected to. Eventually a Reaverbot id developed and the Reaverbots ended up enslaving their masters (Terminator plot swipe). In a way, the Reaverbots also are enslaved by their own terrible id (Forbidden Planet plot swipe).
On top of that, perhaps the Reaverbots caused a flood and mass extinction 14 000 years ago, but I'm not sure why they'd flood their own stuff. Massive floods don't make much sense, but if the planet came out of an ice age, the water level could have risen some 100 meters over a thousand years, perhaps.
A lot of the art below is still just pencil thumbnails. Designs can change around quite a bit when they receive more definition. Sometimes what works as a thumbnail is difficult to make work when you have to make proper shapes (like cylinders and other Reaverbot components). It's a good idea to keep things rough when trying out things. Polishing too much can 'lock' a design so you don't dare to experiment on new solutions.
One thing which I want to do eventually is to create some structure with Reaverbots being fit for certain roles, and also make several light/heavy version of some Reaverbot types. I want to stay away from human looking bodies and keep them more alien and odd (except for the very human looking 'anthro' units). So, no Balrog demon shapes for the monster Reaverbots.
I'm not a fan of scaled and re-colored versions of the same design. It's understandable why they did it in older games, but nowadays we don't have the same restrictions on hardware. I think Light-Medium-Heavy versions makes the setting more coherent with the designs reinforcing each other. Another thing which can liven up things is to make some characters able to perform different tasks, like operate vehicles, read panels, stand and ponder, etc. The Servebots do this, but also the Zakobon in the first ruin of MML1 (pop out of walls, zoom past, etc). I made the Zakobon Dispenser based on that idea.
The Ruins could use some furniture too. Instead of crates, various mysterious thingamajibs could be spice things up.
Although MML1 was a smaller game than MML2, it had a higher content density. All the missions and errands were on the same island and you really got to know the people in the city. The community was more alive with bank robberies, sieges, a destructible town, hospitals, museums, etc. The Ruins were also connected, giving a coherent feel. MML2 had similar, and perhaps more content, but it was scattered around on different islands. The missions felt more like... well, just missions, perhaps because you knew you wouldn't be coming back. Because of this, none of the locations really came alive.
So, for this project I choose a setting consisting of a single island. I like the idea of a walled city as a center hub. Both MML games had some interesting siege missions, and a walled city (and turrets, don't forget the turrets) works well for that. The city could be under siege both by Pirates and Reaverbots.
I wouldn't mind if many of the less plot critical dungeons were random generated. The MML concept lends itself well to the idea of going on digs, returning with the loot. I remember many of the characters in MML1 talking about going on digs, but not daring to, or messing up.
On the moon, Elysium, Trigger is reviewing his memory files (thus explaining the story to the player). Then Yuna or Sera gives Trigger a combat tutorial. Perhaps something has invaded Elysium's Network and the Reaverbots up there has gone mad. This is an early indicator that the same thing is happening on Terra.
With the Reaverbots on Terra becoming increasingly nasty, many of the islanders had to flee via air-ships to Reaverland, a large island with a great walled capital city. Something on the island has killed off a large amount of Reaverbots, which now lay on the grassy fields partially overgrown. It seems like a safe place, or at least safer than the other islands. Many characters from the Legends games have gathered here. The city should be placed at a juncture of different environments, providing the player with many different quick options. I'm partial to green, neutral nature environment as a starting point, because they're usually the richest and the most normal. I don't like starting in snow environments, and underwater stuff is terrible!
Overgrown Reaverbot remains creates a feeling of history and mystery. There's also an emotional aspect to looking at their eyes, not quite knowing whether they're dead or not.
On this island, some Reaverbots are actually friendly, such as King Zakobon. Perhaps there's something odd on the island which has caused a Reaverbot 'civil war' of some sort.
Eventually Roll/Tron manages to send a shuttle to Elysium where Trigger is. Upon reentry, it crashes. Ships always crash in MML. It could be a good way to destroy all of Trigger's equipment, if need be. Roll probably sold off Trigger's stuff to pay for the shuttle too!
The game could revolve around Trigger collecting parts of his super duper Purifier body (something along the lines of what Juno or Sera had). It's the only way to stand a chance against the Elders / Entity / Reaverbot id. Even the regular Reaverbots in the Deep Ruins are really powerful.
Alternatively, you could play as one character out of a group. This would require the NPCs to use the group's name in conversations, and text have to be used rather than voice (since the player character could be anyone (or anything)).
Loose ends: Roll is reunited with her parents, as it's pretty unavoidable. Trigger / Data can't regain all of the memories, or it would explain too much. Von Bleucher must have spent a lot of his fortune on the 'bring Trigger home' project, as well as migrating the people to Reaverland (using the Sulphur bottom, which now makes up a part of the city?). Are the Bonnes still evil? Are Sera, Yuna and Matilda back into their own bodies?
I'll try to sort the Reaverbots into geographical location. Some Reaverbots could be at several locations (like the generic little Zakobons), but I don't like when everyone's everywhere. For example, the Mammoths in MML2 seems out of place in Ruins.
The overworld Reaverbots seemed a bit out of place in MML2, but I think that mostly went for the ones which were normally underground. I don't mind the Zakobon being everywhere, it strikes me as a bit of an all purpose trooper. The Juraid (horse-ish runner) worked too, because it made use of the large open areas in its movements. The Jakko (dragon fly) seemed like something we'd see in forests. The Fingerii didn't work too well, especially not with its corridor blocking bubble being pointless.
On Kattelox there's a bunch of unearthed ruins. I'd like to think that the first floor on some ruins are eroded and in the open. Perhaps some Reaverbots like to hang around in these places.
In my story the Elder's System have become activated again, so the Reaverbot behaviour will be different from that in MML1&2. They become more agressive, coming out of the ruins and attacking the cities. On the other hand there's something special about Reaverland. There are rogue Reaverbots aren't apart of any 'System'. There are large dead Reaverbots are littered overground (like dinosaur bones or WW2 tank wrecks), suggesting that something went down long ago.
I definitely don't want to see too many Reaverbots strolling about overground. Restricting them to plot events and special locations seems more faithful to their character. If I did use them overground in conjunction with the old dead Reaverbots, then I'd ruin the feeling of desolation. I have to be clear in separating the old-dead with the new. This can be done by not using any overground Reaverbots for the early part of the game, then changing their behavior later on with story elements.
The fortified city on Reaveland was found largely uninhabited by the immigrants of the other islands. Now it's a cauldron of different people and cultures. This setup is useful for making the city feel like it's being upgraded and worked on (much thanks to the player's donations). It also allows the ruins on the island to be left somewhat unexplored. Since there are a lot of hovercrafts, perhaps the player-path obstacles should be kept in the ruins. The over-world could have difficult Reaverbots roaming about though, perhaps even flying ones, making it a bad idea to run off into the wilderness early on.
In MML1 the city really came alive because of all the infrastructure. I'm thinking that the police, military and civilians have formed a kind of militia to respond to pirates and Reaverbot sieges. Diggers could roam the more superficial ruins, with their vehicle and spotter waiting at the entrance. It could just be a random selection of vehicles and NPCs. They don't need to do anything sensible aside from roaming the first floor, looking like they're chatting, examining the walls and shooting stuff. The first floor of NPC inhabited ruins could have a very simple AI friendly layout and simple Reaverbots. Just having the element in there will make the game universe seem like it's much more alive. Some of the ruins tied to plot could have special plot NPCs and scripted events.
These designs are based on the barrel bots from the Misadventures of Tron Bonne, and a... what I assume is a junked alternative concept of the bathing boss. Undead theme for the ruins. I'm trying to include human figures for scale.
Given my interpretation of the plot, it would make sense to put some aberrant prototype anthro units here. Perhaps they sneak around among the buildings, sniping the player. I'm not sure about their design yet. the earlier versions were probably more clunky, and the later ones more organic. The final versions looked fully human.
I'm using Sera's ears here (from her first boss form). Sera, Gatz, Trigger and the bunch would all be refined anthro units. This makes them part Reaverbot. They can use the Elysium Network to back up themselves or move into new bodies. Trigger backed up parts of himself in Data though, perhaps because he didn't want to use Elysium's Network when not being on best terms with Sera (in charge of Elysium).
The Deep cities is where the Reaverbots have most of their infrastructure. I'm thinking of using black for most of the stuff here, except for a few administrative units. The tripod scout is inspired by Clarke's Rama. They scurry around and investigate things, but does not seem to have any function beyond that. The mobile factories are like giant walking monoliths stretching into the dark 'starry sky'. They have two arms at the front which they use to... deliver their babies. They're somewhat alike the walking train in MML1 (a large legged boxy factory), but I wanted some Rama and 2001 epic hue.
Just thumbnails, but in color! I've started to categorize Reaverbots from MML and 2 here. I'm giving them one eye where possible. Two eyes is too 'anthro'. I did my usual gorilla take on the Hanmuru doll, but maybe it's too anthro and 'cool' (when it should be strange). Snow bunny got snow shoes.
I just had to do this. I wanted the Yellow Devil to be able to break up into parts while still being a mech, so I added a skeleton inside. Spiky bits would stick out of the blobs (to make them more similar to the original sprite). I tried to stay pretty close to the sprites overall, but had to include the skull emblem of course. Propellers are a problem since nearly everything in the MML universe is hover tech. The propeller at the bottom of the 'platform head' could serve as a chopping blade though.
The Servebots could dress up as Sniper Joe and even some of the bosses. Maybe the Servebots are renegades and not under Tron's control. This explains the departure from the usual Bonne machine style. A little coup by #41 perhaps. Or, the Bonnes are kidnapped and #41 forms a crack squad of Servebots (they convert themselves into 'fighting robots').
Elecbot gave me some trouble. I wanted to avoid Dame Edna glasses, and I made the forehead lightning bolt point forward to avoid asymmetry. I felt it got a bit too tight there with the lightning bolt laying flat against the forehead. Overall, a spiky theme for this fellow, it gives an electrical feel.
Alternative idea: Put the Megaman 1 enemies and bosses on the Reaverbot side (as aberrant units constructed in the Sub-Cities).
Maintenance Reaverbots (such as cleaners) and Reaverbots which are not looking very figurative might be found at multiple sites. Did some redesigning on the Fingerii. Heavy version of the worms, with a spiky flailing end.
Ideas. Yeah, that's some Dalek experiments there. In one case I used two arms and two legs, so I decided to use a setup similar to the Fingerii (a center crystal) for the body-head to weird things up a bit.
I'm not a fan of linear games, but at the same time, MML had a very nice plot. I think the approach used by Star Control with independent story segments and quests is a reasonable compromise. Anyways, This section needs to be elaborated on. In the meantime, here's a list of mission types:
Should Trigger start out with a large assortment of weapons retained from his earlier endeavors? I think it's possible to milk some more fun out of a gradual improvement of performance. If the player has invested effort into an upgrade, it will be more fun to use. For example, if a weapon had ten power levels but was free to upgrade it wouldn't be very fun to feel the power level go up as you upgrade.
However, it feels artificial to just strip Trigger of his weapons, and it's also dull to run around with just a buster going pew pew pew. I think it's a good idea to have several early options, but not enough to overwhelm the player with options. With the weapons being gradually more expensive to upgrade, the player could be given an interesting early 'apples or oranges' choice. With a more linear presentation of new weapons, the player wouldn't have this early choice.
In most Megaman game you can just swap between the special weapons at will, but in Megaman Legends you have to go back and visit Roll for a weapon swap. I don't think this is necessarily bad, because it gives the player the interesting tactical choice of what to bring along. If the player had all weapons at his disposal, the game becomes a bit less plausible. Where is he storing the weapons? If a weapon needs time to reload, why can't he just cycle through all the weapons and fire them in sequence, thus bypassing the reload times? I think I prefer the existing model, maybe even applying it to the buster parts. I didn't really change the buster configuration in the middle of the action anyways.
To compensate, both of his weapons (left and right arm) could have an alternate fire mode. This would give the player four attack to choose from. It would increase the amount of choice the player has during battle, and allow for interesting combos. For example:
This would give the player a lot of adaptability in combat. Here are ideas for a few of the weapons:
Buster Cannon. Similar to the one in MML2, but with even slower reload and more strength to give it a more distinct oomph. To further reinforce the feeling of power, the weapon could require lockdown of the character, pushing it back, and also pushing back whatever gets hit. This weapon has a feeling of power and delay, so a secondary along the line of the Jango Fett's seismic charges (Star Wars ep.2) would be suitable. Perhaps the weapon charges up, there's a pause, the character stabs it into the ground and it causes a radial shock wave along the ground plane.
Booster. This gadget is not a weapon, instead it increases the performance of the other weapon (perhaps just the energy recharge). The drawback is that it occupies an arm and thus makes the character less diverse in terms of firepower.
The Buster should probably be the most diverse weapon, allowing a great deal of customization and having interesting secondary fire modes. Some purely aesthetic choices could make it fun to tinker with as well.
Treasures shouldn't be trivial items, like a flowerpot or a stick. Nor should they be parts of Reaverbots, because then the player will wonder why he can't just get the item off any Reaverbot. Of course, the Reaverbots could actually explode into parts (gibs), but then the player might feel like the Reaverbots would be worth more intact, and wonder why he can't capture them. If the Reaverbots can be captured and are worth more that way, then the shooting element of the game will suffer. I think that Reaverbot parts becoming refractors is an acceptable abstraction. Given the amount of Reaverbots destroyed by the player, lugging parts to the store to sell would become a chore. Another problem with the gibs being Reaverbot parts is that if they are removed (to prevent the map from filling up with them), then immersion suffers because it isn't realistic for mechanical parts to just fade away into nothingness. Refractors are more exotic, so they could 'evaporate' or something.
Treasures found in treasure chests should be something special. Perhaps a mysterious artifact can be reverse engineered by a skilled mechanic or scientist (for a cost). Then a blueprint for a weapon can be made and manufactured in several copies. This would be different from the system in MML1 and 2 where the treasures are seemingly built into the weapon. The treasures needs to be something else than Zenny, something money can't buy. Otherwise the player could just grind at the same spot and get everything from the stores. The stores would of course sell many things not found as treasures, and perhaps they might start selling weapons which the player has helped to discover. This could trigger plot elements with an NPC digger appearing at a new location with the new gear, or the militia getting new gear.
One way to add replayability could be to let the player choose his own character. To make a story work, it would have to be designed around the player's faction with the NPCs addressing the characteristics of the player's faction rather than the characteristics of a particular character.
This could be a way to integrate difficulty levels into the game in a natural way. Some player like to play through games with self imposed restrictions, like not using certain items. I think this is a better way of making a game difficult than increasing the enemy stats and change the world. I find it more immersive if the game world is static. So, certain character types could have weaker stats and would not be able to use certain items.
If the player chooses to play as an Anthro unit, there's a special intro. The Bureaucratic unit of the island, Megaman Lethe, is attacked by a powerful Reaverbot. Lethe, being unable to contact Eden (which was shut down by Trigger) releases a group of Anthro units which were held in a repository. It gives them Purifier status. One of these units is the player, the rest become NPCs. The Reaverbot kills and deletes Lethe (who have no place to back up with Eden being 404). Perhaps it managed to transfer into one of the Anthro units though, but only reveals this in the end.
This setup is necessary to explain what happens to the Bureaucratic unit which was watching over the island, as well as making clear that the Master's System is overpowered by the Elder's System.
So, I have: