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Daxx is a planet in the Solana Galaxy featured in Up Your Arsenal. It is a tropical, oceanic planet that is the location of the research facility, where various superweapons are created. Dr. Nefarious used the research facility for the creation of the Biobliterator.

Ratchet and Clank went to Daxx after seeing Dr. Nefarious and Lawrence make an appearance in Supervillain Weekly, in which they interviewed about the creation of the Biobliterator on Daxx. While they were there, they learned more about the Biobliterator, and also found a room where one of Courtney Gears' propaganda music videos was edited.

History

Daxx had been home to some of the galaxy's most dangerous superweapons, including a weapon known as the Rainbow Afrolizer.[1]

Supervillain Weekly

Nefarious and Lawrence on Supervillain Weekly.

Dr. Nefarious built the Biobliterator on Daxx. In the docks, the music video for Courtney Gears' single "Robots of the Galaxy", a propaganda song for Nefarious, was produced. Dr. Nefarious and Lawrence also filmed an episode of Supervillain Weekly on Daxx, while working on the Biobliterator. The episode took a tour of Nefarious' secret facility, and included a short interview.[1]

Nefarious and Lawrence hologram on the Starship Phoenix

Nefarious and Lawrence hologram.

While still on Daxx, Nefarious transmitted a hologram onto the Starship Phoenix to the Q-Force from Daxx, in which he expressed frustration that Supervillain Weekly wouldn't mention his superiority over them. Ratchet then contacted Al, asking if he could backtrack the signal. As Nefarious was only using six-pass alpha-key encryption that he could bypass, he retraced the transmission back to Daxx, and picked up the episode of Supervillain Weekly that aired.[2] Sasha Phyronix concluded that Daxx was worth investigating to find what Nefarious was planning.

Ratchet and Clank find the plans for the Biobliterator

Discovering the Biobliterator plans.

While on Daxx, Ratchet and Clank explored two areas, as Al noted that Daxx had two high-security computers, of which one was in the main facility and the other was in the islands.[3] In "Explore the Docks", Ratchet and Clank searched the islands using the Hypershot to ensure they did not miss any secrets,[4] and fought the Warship that attempted to kill them. After destroying it, the two came across the room where Gears' music video was edited, and concluded they needed to meet her in Annihilation Nation to find out more. In "Infiltrate the Weapons Facility", the two fought through several of Nefarious' forces before finding the Biobliterator plans, and learning that it had been moved to the Obani moon system.[3] After this, they were contacted by Skidd McMarx, who decided to come with them to Obani Gemini.

Ratchet also obtained the Charge Boots, found hidden on the island where he had landed.

Geography

Overview

Research facility map

Research facility map layout.

Daxx is an oceanic planet, with tropical islands and small continents as seen from space. The oceans are dotted with rocky, tropical islands, and starfish can be seen on the rocks close to the sea level. They are home to a variety of flora such as branch-less trees with large purple leaves, small plants with spikes, and large carnivorous plants. Sharkigators reside in the waters, and eat those that enter.

Research facility 1

The Daxx research facility.

The research facility is an immense building where superweapons are developed, built on top of rock islands. Various structures are built on top of the facility, as well as moving satellite dishes and gun turrets. Surrounding it is an archipelago of islands, including a few clustered around the island where the Star Explorer lands, and other islands found out in the docks. Most of the islands surrounding the facility have towers built on top, while others have tanks built onto the side of them.

Landing pad archipelago

Research facility 2

Landing pad.

The Star Explorer lands on a small landing pad just connected to one large island, with two tower structures. The bulk of the island are large rocks, with a cluster of smaller islands used to pass around it, where Floranian blood flies reside. This path eventually leads to a bridge connecting to a smaller island, and then back to the inside of one of the towers, which contains the Charge Boots inside, and the Al trophy on a balcony. At the back of the island, and on the path, is a small stationary yacht, containing green computer terminals, refueling at a tank connected to the other tower.

From this island is a series of versa-targets that can be traversed with the Hypershot to a small, artificial island with a Gadgetron vendor. This marks a fork, where the path left leads to an elevator up to a balcony outside the weapons facility, and the path right leads directly to the docks.

Weapons facility

Research facility 3

Weapon facility exterior.

The main facility itself is visited during "Infiltrate the Weapons Facility". It is made out of specific sectors, with the overhead speaker referencing them as you progress through the facility. It is entered through a series of long balconies around the outside before a security-encrypted door blocks the way inside. In between these balconies is a long open path in-between various structures on the top of the building, before the balcony just outside is reached. Both on these balconies and in the facility itself, large destructible boxes are seen throughout, used by the patrolling soldier bots as cover.

Research facility 4

Facility interior.

Inside the facility, four rooms are visited. The first is a circular room with various computer terminals and computer-like devices build into the walls, this room is known as sector five. A corridor leads to the next room, known as sector three, an emptier room with four sets of computer terminals linked by a large cable to a power socket. The third is a long corridor with pillars throughout it, and fans at the ceiling at the top, and is also labeled as sector nine. The final room has a circular terminal around a pillar in the center, where the Biobliterator plans were kept.

The facility is also connected to three towers, connected by bridges, reached by a door in the first room activated from a switch in the second. The third of these towers contains a titanium bolt. There also is an unseen eight sector where all organic lifeforms were expected to report for their execution. There also was mention of a job fair in "the exciting fields of: building security, execution, or VCR repair" on level two.[3]

Docks

Research facility 5

The docks.

The docks are visited in "Explore the Docks", identified by Al as the location of one of two high-security computers. It is comprised of a cluster of islands east of the main facility, all connected with versa-targets and platforms allowing it to be traversed using the Hypershot. In between the islands are small structures, as well as large blue towers with target reticles at the top. Stretches of small, hexagonal platforms, some of which contain fans, are used to connect some of the structures.

The docks lead out to a set of smaller towers serving as platforms, with versa-targets in between them and a large tower. This tower contains the high-security computer in which Courtney Gears' music video for "Robots of the Galaxy" was edited. It also contains film tape, as well as several posters of Gears. A taxi is parked here to the ship, and behind it is a small tower and a set of versa-targets leading to an artificial balcony on a remote island, where a titanium bolt is located.

Behind the scenes

Planet Daxx is named after Daxter, the titular deuteragonist of sister series, Jak and Daxter, developed by Naughty Dog, close friends of Insomniac Games.[5]

The level was designed by Colin Munson, and worked on jointly by programmers Anthony Yu and Tony Garcia.[6] When Munson designed Daxx, he was designing it in conjunction with three levels at once, and had five weeks to design levels on paper and provide a block layout. To achieve this milestone in time, on Daxx and in another level, he created what he considered to be a "parody of Ratchet gameplay", which meant he took quintessential Ratchet & Clank gameplay setups from levels such as Dobbo and threw them in. Munson assumed that everyone would mock his design for being so typical, but it accidentally led to success. Mark Cerny when reviewing the levels, assumed that Munson had spent all his time on Daxx and the other level and "screwed off" on the other one, when the opposite was true.[7]

Originally, in the optional segment near where the ship lands to obtain the Charge Boots, there were plans for entirely different enemies, which featured in the Insomniac Museum.[8] These enemies were "crate-throwing apes" as the main enemies, and swarmers that would crawl up into a ball and roll to attack Ratchet. The idea was that the ape enemies could pick up and throw either crates or the rolling enemies at Ratchet as an attack. However, this proved extremely difficult to implement. Due to the lack of inverse kinematic, which was very difficult to achieve on the PlayStation 2, it was hard to sync up the movements between the two, meaning it was extremely tough to do considering how few of them would be included in the game at all. Instead, the enemies were replaced with the guard bots, known internally as simply "giant flying robot torsos", and the reused Floranian blood flies. The result of this led to the guard bots being included later throughout the game.[9] In early builds of the game, unused text for a mission on Daxx referencing the enemies as "Ape-like creatures" is still present;[10] no mission for the optional segment features in the final game.

Daxx was also a very difficult level for framerate, as it is a large open area with lots of switchbacks with thin walls, making it hard to get far enough from enemies where they would turn off and stop using the CPU.[11] Additional, the level was a source of disappointment for Insomniac Games due to the inclusion of the sharkigator. For each game, Insomniac wished to not have to include the sharkigator in the waters and favored a different way to prevent players swimming out of bounds. However, they were forced to settle on reusing it.[12]

Citations

References

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