GSoC Week 7: What does Quetzalcoatl need with a starship?

This week, in addition to finishing up the Harry Mudd mission, I’ve done the first half of mission 5, “Feathered Serpent”. This is the only mission to be divided into two “away mission” segments, with another ship segment between the two.

In classic Star Trek style, we encounter the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl (Quetzecoatl?) attempting to bring enlightenment to the Klingons. Lt. Buchert must have jinxed us when he mentioned the absence of any angry gods last mission.

The first half of the mission consists of eight rooms, which is technically a record so far, but some rooms are little more than scenic pathways. It’s also very linear compared to other missions. There’s only one case where you might have a reason to backtrack at all, and often you’re prevented from going back to previous rooms entirely.

This mission has some rather pretty screens.
This mission has some rather pretty screens.

Mission oddities

There is a case where you can scan Lt. Stragey (the redshirt) while he’s dead, and someone who is… clearly not McCoy, say “He’s dead, Jim”. Was DeForest Kelley sick that day? Well, he says the same line in other places, so I substituted one of those in.

There are at least two ways to get an infinitely high score in this mission. The first way is to repeatedly try to grab a snake in the second room. Whether you succeed or not, you get a point each time. (Normally the snake retreats into a hole before you can grab it.)

The second way is to repeatedly solve one of the puzzles. I don’t really want to give away any solutions, but there’s a particular action you can do repeatedly on the lake screen. The first time, it wards off a monster, but after that it serves no purpose, despite continuing to give you points.

Unfortunately, based on my limited testing, it looks like your score does cap at 100% in the final report.

Unused stuff & version differences

The devs seemed to have a good sense of humor; in particular, the original floppy version was snarkier in places. If you use a knife on yourself, it says “You won’t break your contract to the network that easily!”

That line was changed later; this particular piece of text changed between the original floppy release, the mac release, and the voiced release. Supporting all 3 will surely be a nightmare.

Also, it turns out that the redshirts are named after the devs, which somehow makes the redshirt deaths seem even funnier.

A personal favourite of mine.
A personal favourite of mine.

I’ve also encountered the string “***Game Over, Man!***” in the game files multiple times, at least back in the first mission; perhaps it was used before they implemented the “game over” menu properly. Today, I even found a voiced version which seems to be unused, done with all the professionalism of any other line. I wasn’t a fan at first, but this narrator voice is growing on me.

Anyway, there are just two and a half missions to go now. I think I could manage to finish this within GSoC, starship sections and all. I doubt I’ll have enough time to finish Judgment Rites, but perhaps I can get a decent chunk done if space combat doesn’t turn out to be too insane to implement.

Written on July 6, 2018