Florana is a planet in the Solana Galaxy featured in Up Your Arsenal. It is a jungle-covered planet, home to cyclophic monkeys, vicious native tribesmen, and other wildlife. The Nabla Forest, also known as the Jamboo Forest, is the sole visited area, and is also the site of old temples.
Ratchet and Clank visited the planet after receiving a directive from President Phyronix. The president believed that a mysterious man, who had been mentioned in a report on Nature's Mysteries, was the only man to have ever faced Dr. Nefarious and beat him. The two discovered quickly that this man was Captain Qwark, who had somehow escaped to Florana and lost his memory. After defeating him, the two returned with him and his monkey ally Skrunch to the Starship Phoenix.
After fleeing from Qwark's job as a tester for Megacorp in the Bogon Galaxy, Qwark moved to Florana, and lost his memory. He befriended the local cyclophic monkey wildlife and lived among them. One of his close friends was Skrunch, though during mating season, he accidentally mated with Skrunch's sister.
Later, in a report on the show Nature's Mysteries, several local residents claimed to have seen a mysterious man that fit Qwark's description. One of the residents claimed to have seen Qwark running through his camping site naked and holding a banana. After seeing the report, Galactic President Phyronix believed the man to be Qwark, and instructed Ratchet and Clank to find him after they eliminated the enemy forces on Veldin.
In "Find the Mysterious Man", Ratchet and Clank fought through the nabla native tribesmen, Floranian blood flies, and swamp monsters before finding Qwark, wearing a mask that his identity. Qwark then demanded that they walk the path of death for their crime of walking on sacred grounds. After the two survived, he was surprised, and then removed his mask, revealing himself. The two defeated him in battle, at which point he was domesticated and believed Ratchet to be his new leader. Ratchet then returned to his ship with Qwark, and was contacted by Sasha Phyronix, who allowed Qwark to stay on the Starship Phoenix.
Florana, as viewed from space is covered in ocean, with small continents and archipelagos. The continents and islands that are visible are green, suggesting that most of them are covered with jungles and forests.
The Nabla Forest, alternatively known as the Jamboo Forest, is a vast forest filled with immense redwood trees and vast lakes. Among the forests are large stone temple structures with a pyramid-like shape, green windows, and green dome-like tops with a spire at the tip. These structures have inscriptions of native writing, and are well-engineered. One of the structures, referred to by the monkeys as the "Path of Death", contains flamethrowers, large pistons, and other feats of engineering, as well as a being partially constructed over a river of lava.
Around the lakes, stone walkways connecting round platforms with an unknown green material embedded in the floor are used to travel between the various temple structures. The forest is also home to wooden villages built by the native nabla tribesmen among the trees. The tribesmen use both vines as zip wires, and retractable bridges, to traverse the forest and temples, and populate both their own village as well as the temples.
Florana is notable for its wildlife. It is notably home to cyclophic monkeys that reside in the trees, Floranian blood flies seen hovering around the forest floor, and both swamp monsters and sharkigators that reside in the water. Skreeducks can also be seen flying way above the forest floor. Skrunch also once made reference to another species, the Florana dung beaver.
Aside from the native tribesmen, a green-skinned man was seen as a local resident who camped in Florana in Nature's Mysteries, suggesting he was either a local resident or that Florana is simply frequented by tourists as a campsite.
Nabla Forest area
The Star Explorer lands on a stone walkway near one of the small structures, leading to a longer walkway connecting a small building filled with crates to a large temple structure, with damaged steps and a ladder to reach the top. The top of the temple structure has a Gadgetron vendor, and an open view to a broken walkway in front of another temple structure, which contains wooden drawbridges used by the natives, and a jump slot and ladder to reach the highest floor. A room to the left has a stash of crates, and the balcony can be crossed to reach an otherwise inaccessible room where the Ratchet trophy is obtained, while the room to the right has a zip wire down to a native encampment.
The native village consists of a range of treehouses connected by vines, and various small windmills. Between them are circular, wooden platforms on the lake, at the end of which is a drawbridge leading to a ladder up to a final platform, with a zip wire leading to the Path of Death. These wooden platforms are the only part of the native village that Ratchet can access.
Path of Death
The Path of Death is a long obstacle course located inside a temple, with viewing podiums used by nabla natives. The obstacle course is a built over a river of lava, and failing to jump across the platforms will cause a contestant to fall to their deaths. The obstacle course is made of well-engineered machinery, and includes platforms held up by cogs that will drop if stood on, flamethrowers that activate periodically, boulders that will be released, and pistons with spikes.
The course begins with spaced platforms leading to stable ground, with a stone ramp to the right with boulders coming down. Past this is a short walkway before the path bends right. This leads to a stretch of platforms and some flame platforms that periodically activate. On the right along this stretch is a small round room with a titanium bolt, and at the end of the stretch, the path bends right to a corridor with pistons and flame traps. Past this, the path bends right, to a long stretch with flame traps, before ending with a final hallway with boulders that fall. After this is a wide, circular arena room, with a few spectators and vines near the ceiling.
Behind the scenes
The name "Florana" is a portmanteau of the words "Flora", which is Latin for "plants", and "fauna", which is Latina is for "animals.
The Florana level was programmed by Tony Garcia, while its art was done by Craig Goodman. The level design of the main path was done by Colin Munson, while Jerrod Putman designed the Path of Death. Florana was notably the first level designed by Insomniac Games using their internal tool, known as Phoenix, as previously all levels in the series had been designed using Maya. Though reducing Maya dependence would pay off as an investment by reducing reliance on a third party, the tool caused issues as it was not feature-complete and was still in development while being used for Florana. At one point, Colin Munson while designing the level lost an entire days' work on the level as he was unaware that closing the Phoenix tool by pressing "X" did not yet save any of the work that was done. Munson did not realize this until another designer, Mike Stout, proclaimed this after entering Florana to briefly edit the level, and learning this led to despair.
Florana was originally going to feature turboslider racing, a feature which was cut due to time constraints. Though a track was made for Florana with art assets completed, which appears in the Insomniac Museum, no gameplay on racing was ever done. The small temple on the left, which is filled with crates in the final version, was originally a garage for turboslider races, and the Refractor would have been won here. Two unused, in-progress cutscenes are present in early builds. In the first, Skidd McMarx almost runs over Ratchet with his turboslider before the two reunite, at which point Skidd offered an offroad race in which the prize was a Refractor; Clank declines due to the importance of their mission against Nefarious, but Ratchet is interested. In the second cutscene, Skidd makes excuses for losing, including a flat tire, an exploded engine, and hair in his eyes, before giving them the Refractor.
As seen in early prototypes for the game, including an August 11 prototype, Captain Qwark was going to taunt Ratchet throughout the boss fight with voice lines, referring to himself as "Steve". Qwark would refer to Ratchet as a "dung beaver", and remark that Ratchet was "strangely familiar" and would "make good dinner" for his monkey.
The nabla native enemies caused problems for Garcia when programming them, particularly with regards to their giant feet. The developers wanted both a melee and a ranged enemy for Florana, but ended up using the same model for both, which presented a problem as it was not obvious to the player which was which. Another limitation when programming the level came with the Path of Death, as the fire effect was expensive, meaning that only four at a total could appear on-screen at once.
During focus-testing for Florana, inside the first temple, the lighting was broken, meaning that a ladder was not visible. This meant players would be confused as to where to go.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Up Your Arsenal, map
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Up Your Arsenal script § "Nature's Mysteries"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Up Your Arsenal script § "Rendezvous with Qwark (gameplay)"
- ↑ Up Your Arsenal script § "Find the Mysterious Man (gameplay)"
- ↑ Up Your Arsenal script § "Who's Butt is This?"
- ↑ Stout, Garcia March 2012 0:29
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Stout, Garcia March 2012 10:51
- ↑ Stout, Garcia March 2012 13:25
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Stout, Garcia March 2012 8:05
- ↑ Stout, Garcia May 2012 0:27
- ↑ Up Your Arsenal, May 26, 2004 build on The Cutting Room
- ↑ Up Your Arsenal unused dialogue § "Up Your Arsenal May alpha"
- ↑ Up Your Arsenal, May 26, 2004 build on The Cutting Room
- ↑ Up Your Arsenal, August 11, 2004 build on The Cutting Room
- ↑ Up Your Arsenal unused dialogue § "Up Your Arsenal August beta"
- ↑ Stout, Garcia March 2012 14:35
- ↑ Stout, Garcia March 2012 7:31
- Video games
- Mike Stout, Tony Garcia (March 19, 2012). Ratchet and Clank 3 - Developer Commentary - Episode 2. uselesspodcasts. YouTube.
- Mike Stout, Tony Garcia (May 24, 2012). Ratchet and Clank 3 - Developer Commentary - Episode 12. uselesspodcasts. YouTube.