Saturday, January 21, 2012

Deus Ex Training, Part 3: Books and Coworkers

[This is part of a series of posts about the game Deus Ex.]
[The series began with this post.  The first post in this section is here.]

When we last left off we were in the room with the multitools getting distracted by unequal representation of men and women. Lets talk about the multitools.

Multitools, like lockpicks, are disposable items. Use them once then throw them out. Sometimes you'll have to use more than one of them to bypass a single thingy.

So what qualifies as a thingy?

There is a helpful book to answer that question:


Section 3C: Multitools

A "multitool" is not really a tool at all -- not in the usual sense of the word -- but a disposable electronic device that utilizes electromagnetic resonance detection and frequency modulation to dynamically alter the flow of current through almost any non-hardened circuitry. Skilled agents can use the multitool to manipulate code locks, cameras, autogun turrets, alarms, or other security elements.

Note that multitools CANNOT be used for computer information extraction (see Section 5A: Hacking).

As you can see, several things qualify as a thingy you can bypass. In addition to the keypads, cameras, turrets and alarms mentioned, you can also bypass laser triggered alarms if you find the control box thing that governs them. Possibly other things.

This is also a useful example of what I mean about giving the impression of a world beyond the one you see. You can only read Section 3C.  Section 3C is in fact the only part of the UNATCO Training Manual that exists, but the mere fact that it is Section 3C implies that there's more to it and the reference to Section 5A makes that explicit.

When Deus Ex quotes any book the quotation is a short thing like this, but if it happens to be Lionel Giles' 1910 translation of Sun Tzu's The Art of War without translator's commentary (Gutenberg Link), Chapter 3, Sections One and Two, you know that there's more of it than what you're seeing in the game and, I think, that makes it so that when you read a small section of a fictional book you're ready to accept it as a small section of a larger work rather than a pamphlet of game design.

The fact that it is possible to buy that version of The Art of War (Amazon Link) so that you might hold a paper version in your hands and read it like the actual book it is gives people the impression that the same might be true of Jacob's Shadow, a fictional book excerpts of which appear in Deus Ex.

This is hardly the only thing the game does to give an impression of a world beyond the walls of a given level, but does seem to be worth noting.

Next to the book is a datacube:

Almost done, but one quick note:

I'm not exactly the expert on this sort of thing -- for that you'll have to check in with Sam Carter when you get to Liberty Island -- but remember that there's any number of other ways to open a door, including using explosives or finding a security computer.


I've played this game before, Jamie, I know that I'm not almost done. There are three training maps and I'm not yet finished with the first section of the first one. Though if you mean almost done with that first section, ok, I can believe that.

By an extraordinary coincidence, while writing this part I ran into someone quoting me on the internet:

"There is a door, you will be required to get through it. If you cannot think of at least three ways to do that, perhaps Deus Ex is not the game for you." - chris the cynic

That's somewhat glib and not entirely true, you only need to get through any given door in a single way, and it was written as part of something humorous, but it does give you an idea of how serious they were about there being multiple solutions.

Use a multitool on the keypad and in the hall you meet your first trooper. If you're playing without any modifications to graphics, as I am at the moment, you might notice that his eyes are all screwy looking. Some people have created complex and detailed theories about why that is involving all sorts of interesting things. It's a bug. As I've said before, sometimes you can read too much into the wrong things. It's an easily correctable bug I'm told, but those who know how these things work assure me that having looked at it it is definitely a bug.  (Also it was corrected when the game was ported to another platform.)

Anyway, the trooper is in some sort of a storeroom and he takes all of your equipment while saying one of three things to you:

I'm here to pick up all munitions and equipment. Thanks for the cooperation, Agent.

Hand in your equipment. That's right: no cheating.

You've got to start the next section without arms or tools. Rules are rules.

If you were stuck in there all day you'd probably start making up rhymes too. If you linger he'll say one of five things:

You aren't done yet...

Got you running the course, huh? Don't sweat it; everybody has to do it once, even the special agents.

Carry on with the training, Agent. I'm just here to take care of your gear.

So far, so good...

This thing's a bitch, isn't it? Last time I did it... Man, I sprained my ankle on the jumping part. They should get rid of crazy stuff like that. Someone'll break their neck.

From which I guess we learn that people still use sexist abilist language in the future, and you're a special agent. Note that these things are said with very different tones. And that they are not meant to be played all at the same time. I doubt we're even meant to think of them as coming from the same people, there are multiple troopers who share these lines and none of them have names.


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