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Smolg is a planet in the Bogon Galaxy featured in Going Commando. It is a planet heavily shrouded in thick clouds or fog, with no visible surface. The planet is home to Megacorp's distribution facility, located high above in the clouds.

Ratchet and Clank traveled to Smolg in order to investigate the large shipment in the facility, after Angela Cross stole the Thug Leader's log entry in which he suspected the facility was shipping Protopets.

History

During Qwark's time impersonating Abercrombie Fizzwidget as the CEO of Megacorp, Smolg was used to ship millions of Protopets to other planets,[1][2] though they claimed that it was instead a large shipment of paperweights. The Thug Leader grew suspicious of this claim, and in his log entry 47-92 after visiting the distribution center himself, speculated that there would be 100 Protopets per crate in a shipment of ten million crates. He then contemplated confronting Megacorp to demand a larger role in their plot.[3] Angela Cross pickpocketed this log entry from the Thug Leader,[4] and later showed it to Ratchet and Clank after they rescued her on Snivelak. Ratchet and Clank decided to check out the distribution facility for more.

In "Search the Distribution Facility", Ratchet and Clank initially searched through a large warehouse containing crates full of Protopets. As there were too many to destroy them all, they decided to explore it to find anything of value.[5] Eventually, they reached a balcony on the side of the warehouse vessel, where they received a balloon-a-gram from Angela on her home planet Grelbin, telling them she had found her old ID badge and urging them to meet with her to infiltrate the Megacorp Headquarters on Yeedil.[6] They then explored the facility further, and found a piece for the Hypnomatic gadget.

Mutant Crab with Ratchet and Clank

The Mutant Crab speaking with Ratchet and Clank.

In "Explore the docked ships", Ratchet and Clank explored the ships around the facility, fighting through the ravenous grulch and two-headed Smolgian snappers guarding it, and using the Levitator to travel between the large freighter vessels and the facilities placed on high altitude platforms. Eventually, they encountered the Mutant Crab, a sentient Smolgian snapper with one head, who had become demotivated after realizing the violent nature of his species. After reconciling with Clank, he sold them a telescreen containing a Darla Gratch news report of the Protopet crisis on Damosel for 40,000 bolts.

At some point, Ephemeris raided Smolg for creatures, later seen in All 4 One. These critters included klartopods and sharnapods.

Geography

Distribution facility map

Map layout of the Distribution Facility.

Overview

Much as from space and in the area Ratchet visits, there appears to be no evidence of a surface, with the entire planet being covered in thick fog or clouds. Only extremely tall support pillars holding up some of the largest structures, and several smaller ones holding up separate platforms, such as the landing pad, hint at the existence of a bottom. Aside from these, the distribution facility consists only of freighter vessels and floating platforms. Despite the atmosphere, the air remains breathable. The planet is also home to creatures, in the form of the two-headed Smolgian snappers and grulches seen in Going Commando, and the klartopods and sharnapods seen in All 4 One, it is unknown if they are native to Smolg, as the Monsterpedia does not clarify.

The distribution facility is primarily made up of several immense structures with fans on the exterior, held up by tall support beams, with a surface made of connected hexagonal tiles, on which large crates are stacked. These structures also contain large magnetic cranes, tall and hollow towers, and cream-colored dome roofs with the Megacorp logo etched on. Various smaller structures and platforms are visible nearby and in the distance, located on-top of a single pillar.

Around the main structures, the facility is made up largely of freighter ships and a few floating platforms. The biggest freighter ship is the warehouse ship, with a huge number of crates stacked inside. Other freighter ships are small docked ships, which serve as a platform, and long train-like ships carrying cargo. Though the crates in the structure contain Protopets,[5][2] Megacorp are secretive as to their contents; the crates have a logo resembling the two-headed snapper, and Megacorp claimed to the Thug Leader that they contained paperweights.[3]

Warehouse

Distribution facility 1

The warehouse docked at the distribution facility.

The warehouse, visited in "Traverse the Warehouse", in the first part of the "Search the Distribution Facility" mission is the largest freighter vessel in the facility. It is a massive ship which can be entered through the opening at the back using a jump pad. The ship is filled with large crates, most of which contain Protopets,[1] while many others contain two-headed Smolgian snappers. These crates are stacked around the facility and moved by small cranes and conveyor belts, which can be activated using the Dynamo. Navigating the warehouse involves moving through paths alongside these crates.

From where the warehouse is entered with the jump pad, a large wall of crates blocks the way inside with the exception of a small path on the right, initially blocked by a force field until deactivated using a switch. Past this, the path leads left over an elevated crate to a small area with two snapper crates on the right and one Protopet crate on the left which can be reached with the Heli-Pack to lead to an elevated path right across more Protopet crates. Several snapper cages are found along this path, which leads to an open area, with several force fields in between stacked crates, with grulches and snappers situated behind each. All of these lead to a dead-end, except one that leads to a path further into the warehouse into an open area.

Distribution facility 4

The interior of the warehouse.

The next area is a large open space, with a stack of crates in the center, and many more lining the walls and both the back and front of the area. On the left side is a conveyor belt, and on the right side a hollow container held up by a crane. On the north side is another crane, that connects to a single platform. Both the belt and cranes are moved by the Dynamo. Another similar set-up is encountered later on, past an area in which several snappers and grulches will break free from their crates. Said set-up consists of another conveyor belt and crane, the latter of which can be used to reach an elevator that leads up to a balcony on the right of the warehouse. The balcony has a long grind rail leading down to an adjacent structure.

Adjacent structure

Distribution facility 5

Adjacent structure.

The structure adjacent to the warehouse vessel is visited in the latter portion of "Search the Distribution Facility". It is largely made up of a thick platform held up by several pillars. The path across this structure starts from a grind rail connected to the warehouse, with a Megacorp vendor and a small platform that returns to the ship landing pad. Past this area is a series of floating platforms that lead down to a smaller freighter, with more floating platforms leading up to a different section of the same structure, though the path is blocked by a force field disabled using the Infiltrator.

The path then leads right to another set of platforms across to another small freighter carrying one of the crates, with a set of platforms on it leading left back up to an area on the structure. Lower crates on the left can be jumped on to reach another path across the crates that leads to an open area with a room inside behind a force field, deactivated by standing on a switch. The room has another path to the right outside to an open area, where Ratchet found the Hypnomatic part, with a small floating platform on the edge on the right that returns to the ship's landing pad.

Docked ships area

Distribution facility 2

The docked ships.

The docked ships are visited in "Explore the docked ships", and consist of docked freighter ships near a set of structures. The path starts on the right path from where the ship lands, across two platforms and two versa-targets traversed with the Swingshot, to reach a small freighter. Behind this freighter, a series of platforms bends left to reach the right edge of one of the structures, with a room containing an elevator down to a corridor that leads out to a lower area with a Levitator pad.

Distribution facility 3

The narrow stretch at the end of the docked ships segment.

A series of Levitator pads must be used from here on to traverse a group of platforms, which are held up by pillars, and freighter ships. Eventually a larger platform, held up by several pillars, and containing many stacked crates and a single conveyor belt, is reached. Another Levitator pad must be used to fly to the top of a large wall of crates, behind which another pad is used to reach a smaller structure in the distance.

Said structure is held up by four pillars, with a domed roof, and has both an open front and back. A small staircase divides it into a lower and smaller floor, with the higher being where Ratchet and Clank met the Mutant Crab. A teleporter on this floor returns to the ship's landing pad.

Behind the scenes

Mike Stout designed Smolg, and was assigned the level when geometry and art was already complete for it, at which point he could not make changes to it.[7] It was the only level he worked on thinking it was bad at the time, and states he was stuck between working on Smolg and Todano,[8] as while Todano was on borrowed time to meet a deadline, Smolg was on borrowed time even more so.[9] Mark Cerny designed the Levitator segment, and one of Stout's first junior designer jobs was to put Cerny's paper design into Illustrator.[10] One of the crab fights ended up making focus testers cry.[11] Stout also said that the flying train freighters were his favorite flying cars.[12]

To reach the warehouse, Stout had to reuse the fling pad from Snivelak as he had no other ideas for how to get there.[11] Many of the boxes inside the warehouse were created from objects that were normally supposed to not break, a rule that Stout broke.[11]

References

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