Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pay Attention to Your Dialogue

It's often the case in games that there is a total lack of communication between the animation departments and the scriptwriters. Most of the time it's possible to ignore things that you notice, but one particularly egregious example I thought of recently made me want to post.

In Mass Effect 2, the following scene plays out:

This is one of the examples of well-done background dialogue in the Mass Effect series that reminds me how incredible it was to play. Paying attention to the dialogue, the sergeant cites the energy of the projectile as roughly 3 times that of Fat Man, the Hiroshima nuclear bomb. Crunching the numbers, one can see that this is not quite right:
For reference, Fat Man was 21 kilotons of TNT yield, and the total yield of the projectile he described is 36 kilotons of TNT and not 38, giving a ratio of 1.7 times the power of that bomb. Either way, this is an impressive amount of energy. However, what was most incongruous to me playing the later game Mass Effect 3 was the following scene:
Besides the fact that ME3 had some inconsistency between ship types in the various games (that one is a cruiser from ME1, not a dreadnought), the big thing that stands out to me is the projectiles. Take that lecture from the sergeant again and think about it: why is the city not destroyed given that several dozen near-nuclear explosions have just impacted? Oops.

Also, rail gun projectiles wouldn't really be visible to the naked eye, but the stuff surrounding them ought to be. Rail guns tested by the US Navy fire unpropelled, kinetic projectiles that look like this:

Yep, epic fail.

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