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News for Saturday, June 30, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 20:39

Game Revolution has previewed Fallout 3, using the same standard screenshots as GI did, but noting a few bits of information GI didn't provide:

In all that time, there was one vault in particular, vault number 101, which after bolting its door, kept it shut. No one from the outside ever entered. And no one within the vault ever left. Including you, a child born to Vault 101's head scientist, voiced by Liam Neeson.
(...)
At about 20 years old, you discover that your father has either been taken from or escaped Vault 101.
(...)
The frequency of combat is tuned down far below a typical First Person Shooter's fragfest to let the game's pacing introduce a unique sense of desolation set right into the pit of your psyche as you roam through the rubble
(...)
During any encounter you can toggle to this Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System with the push of a button, which will freeze time and let you switch between multiple enemies and their body parts, helping you plan out your attack. Any piece of anatomy, such as a mutant's arms, legs, torso, head, or weapon can be targeted, each displaying a hit percentage dependent upon the enemy's distance, position, and stats. If you target his leg and get a critical hit, it'll blow off in gory Fallout glory, and the mutant will fall to the ground, painfully crawling in pursuit if it's still alive. If you didn't blow his weapon out of his hand, you can pick it up and use it yourself. Or if you already have a weapon of the same type, you can bust out some engineering skills, break it down into parts, and use them to beef up the strength, precision, and firing rate of your own weapon. As weapons get worn with use, this is smart option if you're skilled at it.

The same combat engine (minus the stopping time) is available to enemies too, for they can also target your body parts to hinder your aim or movement. It is both eye and brain-catching, for while being treated to the graphically impressive Robocop-ian target scan, you'll have to decide which is the way to eliminate the biggest threats fast, because the V.A.T.S. runs out of action points. Once they're gone, you'll be fighting in real time and without assistance while your action points regenerate.
Still unclear on how VATS works, but "plan out your attacks" sounds like it cues actions, like traditional RTwP.
You'll also be struggling with moral dilemmas through voiced NPC dialogue choices. The number of NPCs in Fallout 3 is about 300 (as opposed to Oblivion's 1000), so Bethesda has put alot more alcohol and devtime into making their individual A.I. more realistic and natural. Instead of NPCs walking around doing very simple tasks talking basic gibberish, they will roam with more personalized agendas and socialize with other people about topics that interest them.
(...)
As your choices change and quests are knocked out, news of your fame (or infamy) will spread to. NPC reactions to you will also change as your title shifts from "Noob Vault Dweller" to "HaXXor - Nuker of Cities".

With these lasting consequences, Fallout 3 is still designed to have a definite ending -- anywhere from nine to a dozen different ones are planned to net all your possible decision paths and personal insecurities. Although it is running off a shiny Oblivion engine with a few more notches on its armor, Fallout 3 is definitely its own game, so don't be confused by some of the screenshots. The camera defaults as first person view so you can be swallowed by all the little details of the blasted world, but it can be toggled with a flick of a switch to a Resident Evil 4 over-the-shoulder cam. Then you can zoom out even further to get to the franchise-beloved 3rd person perspective.

After the hour long gameplay presentation, we were all equally surprised how far in development Fallout 3 was, even with more than a year left to finish it. It has all the makings of being the first solid bridge between the rapidly growing RPG genre and the immensely pop FPS category, with play options, paths, and ironic wit galore.
Again, blowing up Megaton meaning there are no more quests in it stand as the only solid example of choice and consequence in the article. The "pulling back camera far enough for 3rd person perspective" is new.

Link: Game Revolution Fallout 3 preview.

Thanks sjvan0.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:57

The Escapist published Brother None's reply to some inquiries surrounding their Fringe Cults article, under Letters to the Editor:

As for "the industry has moved on," it has and it hasn't. It's not that much different. For instance, Cain once said about Fallout's combat: "It also showed how popular and fun turn-based combat could be, when everyone else was going with real-time or pause-based combat." That's no different now, everyone else is going with real-time or pause-based, only this time so is Fallout.

So if anything has changed it's that the unique situation behind Fallout can't be reproduced. Not because the people aren't there, but because the companies have closed ranks, and even a proclaimed independent like Bethesda joins those ranks. Only Blizzard remains, I guess, with their hearty sod off to the, as CVG put it, "'big new feature' kind of showmanship." ... I'm sure Bethesda's Fallout 3 has the potential to outsell the Fallout 3 BIS was working on, but BIS didn't need to sell a million copies just to break even.

The base investment cost of the license and ludicrous expenses like their PR department (including a community manager who doesn't really do anything, from what I can tell) or hiring Liam Neeson are choices Bethesda made, and only because of those choices do they have to compete in three markets to so much as break even. That's not inherent of today's gaming market, but I'll admit it's predominant, and it will have to collapse in on itself someday. These high-risk high-profit ventures are a way [too] instable base for an industry. Heck, you don't see any other industry doing it.
Link: Letters to the Editor.

Thanks Briosafreak.

Posted by Brother None - at 3:54

Ant-i informs us that PCGamer UK has announced they're covering Fallout 3 in the next issue, coming out this Thursday:

Bethesda have finally broken their silence over their follow-up to the world-beating RPG Oblivion. And we were the first European mag to go over and have a look at Fallout 3, so it's splashed all over our new issue, which is out on Thursday.

So yeah, we got all the artwork, screenshots, info and details on how this post-apocalyptic, first-person RPG will play. We saw it in action. It is awesome. But far more importantly, we came back with some highly prized swag.
Briosafreak notes that the Official Playstation Magazine, out this Monday, even beats them to it:
This is the first proper gameplay info we've heard from the next-gen update to one of last millenium's most loved franchises. Given Bethesda's class and the intriguing sounding target-system, we're sure Fallout 3 will be just as successful as the developer's last smash hit, Oblivion - with both fans and newcomers.
Information also has it that it'll spread to other magazines once the exclusives clear, such as the German Gamestar next month.

News for Friday, June 29, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 23:10

Bethesda has opened a blog, with a few messages on it, the most interesting being Emil Pagliarulo answering a few meet the devs questions:

What have you drawn on for inspiration in developing Fallout 3? Books, movies, music, etc would be fine, if you don’t want to name any games.

When we first started working on Fallout 3, I completely overloaded my system with post-apocalyptic films. I’m not just talking “Mad Max” and “A Boy and His Dog” here - I’m referring to some of the most depressing movies I’ve even seen in my life. “The Day After,” “Testament,” “When the Wind Blows.” Stuff like that. Fun! I was pulled back from the brink of suicide with a lot of great 50’s sci-fi flicks, like “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers,” “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” and “Forbidden Planet.”

I tend to draw inspiration from a variety of sources, though. The amazing characters from a TV show like “Deadwood,” the strong themes of great classic literature like “A Tale of Two Cities,” maybe the subtle irony in an old Billie Holiday song. It goes beyond just playing the old Fallout games - it’s whatever moves me on a personal level.

How long have you been playing Fallout, and how would you describe your feelings towards the franchise?

My love for Fallout goes back to Wasteland, which was one of the first computer games I ever played, back on my Commodore 64. That’s kind of ironic, considering I didn’t play Fallout when it first came out. It took a friend and colleague of mine (Jordan Thomas, now a designer, whom I worked with at the Adrenaline Vault website back in the day) actually mailing me his copy for me to realize what I had been missing.

As much as I loved the characters and open-ended gameplay, it was really the richness of the fictional world I found so compelling. It would have been so easy for Fallout’s creators to simply make a post-apocalyptic game, set in contemporary America. Instead, they split the timeline after World War II and created an alternate America, a Walt Disney Tomorrow-Land of robots and nuclear-powered cars. It was the ultimate American future - and they blew it all to hell. Brilliant doesn’t even begin to describe that premise.

Have you played the VanBuren Alpha? If so, what were your feelings on it?

Actually, I haven’t played the Van Buren Alpha. Yet. Part of me is, of course, incredibly curious about the game. But another part of me feels like I need to keep my distance. I want to respect Van Buren for what it was, and continue with “our” Fallout 3. But ah, who am I kidding. I know I’ll play it sooner or later.
Link: Unofficial Bethesda Blog.
Link: Emil Pagliarulo Q&A.

Spotted on Duck and Cover

Posted by Tannhauser - at 22:58

Our old friend Sethergal let us know of a minor update to the New Dawn website.

Although we are working hard we don't forget about you, our visitors. Starting today you can subscribe to our newsletter. Newsletter will guarantee you don't miss any important information about the game.

As you may have noticed, we reorganized the board. Along with fresh looks there come ranges and permission to start new threads. There's also a new feature, we call pin board, where you can find the New Dawn related media coverage links. The best ones will be presented on our main homepage, too.

Now, we have something more to show you from the game itself. Check out two new portraits of NPC's.
Presumably this and this are the new portraits.

Posted by Per - at 18:50

As reported on a certain blog we never ever get any news from, one of the promotional bobble head Vault Boys seen in the news recently is up for sale on eBay. And so one of Bethesda's freebies becomes a nice little earner for... someone. Anyway, if you figure you can't live without one of those, I guess here's your chance.

Thanks to that guy we never ever get any news from.

Posted by Brother None - at 15:49

Matt Miller of GameInformer talked to the guys of KFAN. There's not much news in it, here's what they discussed summed up:

The graphics will be better than Oblivion, but it's got it's own flavour, "kind of a combation of" Oblivion and Fallout. Interviewer calls VATS turn-based, Miller immediately notes it's not so much turn-based as paused with aiming, "there's a little bit of strategy to it."
"There's two companies you can pick between, BioWare or Bethesda, and Todd Howard, the producer on the title, has been dying to do this game and their passion over there, the same passion they poured into Oblivion is getting poured into this game."
Choices will close up or open new quests, "not really a genuine choice" in Oblivion, compared to Fallout/Fallout 3 (same blowing up Megaton equals no more quests in Megaton example of choice and consequence). Gray moral grounds are present. When you play it, you can ask friends "what did you do with this guy." It's keeping SPECIAL, though the wrong reason ("too violent") is again given for the GURPS split. It's a big production: Liam Neeson, Ron Perlman. "If they have Liam Neeson in this, I hope it's not the same way they had [Patrick Steward]."
Link: KFAN 6/27. They discuss Fallout 3 in the last 3/4th.

Posted by Brother None - at 14:56

This little beauty just popped up (thanks Dupa):

Finnish magazines get all the love. Well, at least when it comes to recent press on Fallout 3. Finnish magazine Pelaaja grabbed a few scans of the game in progress and we must say, it seems to be coming in line nicely, following details already laid out by Bethesda. These scans look great, even if they are a little blurry (likely due to the fact they are scans and not pure screen shots of the game in progress)
The scans? EDIT: As Galvan points out, Pelaaja must have acquired those images independently, though we are mystified why are they being referred to as "scans" and why Pelaaja is allowed to publish pictures while GI's exclusivity deal is still in effect.

Also, the scans are still available on most sites linked to by NMA user cookiemonster after NMA removed them, 10 days ago. Sites such as Kotaku, N4G, G4, Czech Tiscali and French Playlipse. Confusion sets in as our staff is hard at work figuring out why copyright infringement laws apply only to the non-profit NMA, rather than to commercial outlets.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:47

Here's an idea:

With the procurement of the Fallout intellectual property along with all assets of the franchise, including design documents for Fallout, Fallout 2, Van Buren, Fallout: Tactics, Fallout: Tactics 2, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2, Bethesda Softworks possesses a large number of unique materials about the game.

(...)

No, it would be an excellent move on their part, as it wouldn't require much effort, as they hold the assets in their possession, and would be a gesture of good faith to the fanbase, both hardcore and regular fans.
Link: Petition: Release of Fallout design documents by Bethesda Softworks.

Thanks King of Creation and Mikael Grizzly.

News for Thursday, June 28, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 22:56

Ausir informed us that the Vault wiki has opened up a Fallout 3 FAQ and would appreciate any submissions.

Simultaneously, we've updated our Fallout 3 FAQ with information from the Game Informer article and FAQ. We have also updated our timeline.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:51

We can probably expect a Fallout 3 bit in the next PCZone, from the looks of it:

Well, the picture pretty much speaks for itself to be honest. I doubt I'll remove my t-shirt until it starts to smell like hamsters, or worse.

Link: OMGF! on PCZone website.

Thanks requiem_for_a_starfury.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:40

Destructoid has an article up about video game endings that don't suck...Fallout is in:

This ending is great in a few ways. It creates an emphatic exclamation point to the main point of the game - that the world humans live in after the fallout is a very harsh and unforgiving place. You have risked your life to save everyone else, a perfect example of a good role model, yet for this act of altruism you are sentenced to live in the way that you were so fervently trying to prevent your fellow vault members from being sucked into. This is also further expanding the hardships that a truly heroic person must experience. Its not a cheap "try real hard then you'll have a happy ending" type of atmosphere. This shows the excruciatingly severe consequences that can come from a realistic world, rather than a world of hugs and kisses.

And, of course, it is good for the developer as well, as even though it is a "sad" ending, it is not merely done by killing off the main character. Because of the ending leaving the main character alive it allows for sequels that still have to do with the main character.

And, although it has multiple endings, it’s pretty rough on the hero when the best ending is that the protagonist is sent into exile in a radioactive land. Each of the endings reinforces the main "point" of the game, that the nuclear fallout has created an unforgiving world that no human being would want to be part of.
Link: video game endings that don't suck pt. 2 on Destructoid.

Thanks copernicustheory.

News for Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 18:41

The Meet the Devs threads, though we have stopped updating our feature on the topic as the inane banter about flowers and favourite colours got out of hand, there are still some interesting tidbits. Soundguy Mark "Wolfric Tugmutton" Lampert talks about limitations of dialogue caused by having all dialogue voice acted:

What he said is true, but it's still not anything to back away from as there are ways to create a fully-voiced project where everything is good. The main thing is to organize early and always plan ahead, because recording time is a sort of point of no return in regard to the work it takes to re-do dialogue that doesn't work or we don't like, not to mention potentially costly. So you save it until the latest point that you can to avoid re-writes and re-recording. I like to cast very early, and we typically end up doing some early recording anyway (making it necessary), so it's a good time to get a feel for where we are, how the cast works together in the game, and how everything will be on a much larger scale when we do the big recording push somewhere down the line.

Fully-recorded voice does end up causing issues with disc capacity, but everybody in game development has certain limits that they need to fit into, just like the sound effects I produce for the game. I get this much space, art gets this much, animation this much, etc, so you do whatever is necessary to make it work in the end. Could be that a more efficient compression algorithm is the solution, or perhaps there are redundant lines here and there which could stand to go. There also has to be a little bit of extra space built into the whole estimate to allow for localization since translations might come out about 15% longer across the board, or maybe the files themselves are actually a little longer because the dialogue was spoken more slowly. Who knows. Plan and estimate, plan and estimate. It's just one of many challenges along the way, and I think the work required to pull it off is absolutely worth it.

I also don't think that every game out there requires it. I loved the non-verbal, modular languages that were put together for some of the non-human races and robots in KOTOR, or the purely non-verbal but still emotive deliveries in Wind Waker. It's not always going to make sense to do full voice in every game, but for the kind of work we do, I believe it does and it's worth the trouble.
Dialogue writer Fred "Fizzbang" Zeleny adds:
As Wolfric said, we've got quite a bag of tricks to work around various problems. But I think our biggest advantage here, as Todd said in the GI article, is that our number of NPCs are reduced, in the hundreds instead of the thousands. That gives us a whole lot of dialogue to play with, and I know I've been taking advantage of it in my quests.

As you may have noticed with my posts, I'm a wordy little son of a [gun].
And finally, UI coder Ricardo "socrates200X" Gonzalez comments on the controversial "Fatman" nuclear launcher:
Hmm...I'm afraid I wasn't present for the "nuclear catapult" meeting, per se...

(...)

Ah, that's better. I have the same concerns most do about it being an uber-weapon, but I'm fairly sure the designers won't be decorating the wastes with nuke ammo or keeping the rad count dialed down to debug levels. I definitely want my character to turn to ash within a certain distance, and catch a baaad case of radiation poisoning at anything farther. Concerning its lack of "realism", I play the fiction card. Concerning its lack of "verisimilitude", I think it fits just fine, although that opinion comes from the personal benefit of seeing it in context as opposed to in a screenshot.
Link: Meet the Devs thread #17

Posted by Brother None - at 18:26

Afterfall is rolling into advanced stages of development:

The tech-demo is nigh. It is time to summarise a few things. Today, we give you a short list of the most important features of Afterfall.

Afterfall (AF) is an innovative cRPG game, set in a post-apocalyptic scenario. Here is what you can expect:

* Create and develop a character, using possibilities not available in gaming up to now.
* An involving non-linear and plot-turn-rich story, where each choice will bear consequences.
* Hundreds of tasks to complete and a dozen of factions to join.
* A dynamic turn-based combat system (including the use of vehicles).
* Optional tactical and stealth action game elements.
* A system of random mutations, cybernetic implants and prosthetics.
* Graphics of superior quality and realistic physics, possible thanks to the Unigine® Engine.
* About 200 models of weapons and more than a thousand items, with an option to create and modify some of them.
* A large part of post-nuclear Europe to visit, inhabited by over 50 species of creatures and hundreds of NPCs leading their own lives.
Link: Afterfall

News for Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 17:12

After the legendary introduction movie to Fallout failed to appear on the GameSpy's staff list of Top 25 Video Game Cinematics; it has taken seventh place on the Reader's Choice follow-up.

It may be old, but its presentation is still unforgettable. Its opening line -- "War. War never changes." -- was picked as our number-one most memorable video game quote and from the way you voted it looks like it's made an impression on all of you as well.
So unforgettable that it failed to appear on the GameSpy staff list, unlike the 2006 E3 Super Smash Brothers Brawl trailer.

Link: Readers' Choice Top 10 Most Cinematic Moments in Gaming at GameSpy.

Thanks to Anonymous for the tip.

News for Monday, June 25, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 21:37

Evil Avatar is offering us a weird bit, an editorial by someone who is playing Fallout 2 for the first time.

Whenever a discussion about Fallout would arise, I never had anything to contribute. And for the most part, it never bothered me. As the years have progressed, however, this simple "Game" has become less so, and more an item in gaming pop culture. It began to irk me that there was a beautiful, immutable experience - shared by many of my brethren - that I could not be a part of.

The upcoming advent of The third installment of the series has only made things worse. Existing fans in the series were whipped into a fervor about it. I saw the trailer - and it inspired no excitement from me. All it was was a broken radio playing a classic song. I was unaware of the series' penchant for using such scenes in the opening. Everyone seemed so excited about the game, and as more details were uncovered, comparison with past iterations of the series inevitably came up. It was by casually observing one of these that I discovered that Fallout 2 was turn-based.

This immediately caught my attention, as I hold a special place in my heart for turn-based games. Over the past few weeks, my interest with the game became increasingly apparent - even bordering on obsession.
Link: Fallout - from the perspective of an outsider (ongoing).

Spotted on Gamebanshee.

News for Saturday, June 23, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 19:11

Dhruin of RPGWatch has done an excellent round-up of news from the post-apocalyptic Roman-style indie cRPG Age of Decadence. Dhruin reports Elhoim has been recruited for interfaces, on which you can read here. You can also read something about character creation and options here and about the annoyances of combat systems here. Now something about the status:

So, from one, purely technical point of view, you can say that it's 100% done and playable. From a more demanding point of view, it's about 60% done, meaning that I would like to replace about 40% given an opportunity (just like we replaced the interface, for example). I can post a list of things I want to fix, if someone's interested and, perhaps, would like to help.

(...)

Well, one thing that always bugged me was the complete and utter lack of anything resembling art direction. I underestimated this aspect, which is probably the biggest mistake I've made developing AoD. We have visually interesting locations like the towers, the Petra-inspired location, the temple, some tombs and underground places, but the towns look... I don't even know what word I'm looking for. Generic? Uninspiring? Boring?

Somehow they don't look like towns, but like a loose collection of buildings. At least in the Spiderweb games the towns are way too abstract for someone to say "wait-a-minute! That doesn't look like a proper town at all" (I'm too lazy to take screenshots right now, but I think we have a town shot on the website, so take a look). Anyway, we decided to throw away the town maps and start basically from scratch, splitting each town map into districts and spending more attention/time on each district, doing it right this time.
Link: Age of Decadence news catchup on RPGWatch

News for Thursday, June 21, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 23:08

Brian Fargo, producer of Wasteland, founder of Interplay and InXile, told Duck and Cover:

I am indeed looking into bringing back the game that spawned the Fallout series. Stay tuned....
Spotted on Duck and Cover.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:58

The recent bout of Fallout 3 news has elicited many varied responses. While it's quite a bit too early to make definite conclusions about anything, the outline of Bethesda's Fallout 3 is becoming more and more clear. And as this outline becomes more clear, the pertinent question offers itself; who are they making this game for, exactly?

NMA's Brother None dives into the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is PR-double speak to get to the bottom of what Matt Miller was talking about when he said that if "you are a fan who is adamantly against some significant changes to the way gameplay occurs in the Fallout series" you'll hate it, while if you're "a fan of the Fallout universe, of the unique look of the world, of the moral ambiguity, of the dark and often violent humor, and the invigorating branching story paths" you should be well pleased. Enjoy the read:

Link: Fallout 3, who is this for?

By coincidence, RPGCodex' Section8 covered the same subject, but much shorter; read Calling Fallout 3 into question(s) on the Codex.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 0:10

BioShock has continued its current press blitz, releasing a constant stream of interviews, videos, and previews. GameSpot has a video of gameplay, with Ken Levine, Creative Director; Nate Wells, Technical Art Director; and Melissa Miller, Content Producer, explaining about the game overlaying the audio. The video also seems to show several in-game scenes, such as a Big Daddy attacking another character.

There have also been two recent BioShock podcasts released. The first is a refreshingly open, not to mention lengthy, interview with Gamers With Jobs; and the second is part of the Cult of Rapture's podcast series, focusing on BioShock's physics.

Links:
BioShock Official Movie 3 at GameSpot.
GWJ Conference Call Episode 36, featuring the Ken Levine interview at 57:45.
Episode Eight: The Physics Behind BioShock at the Cult of Rapture.

Spotted at The Cult of Rapture and an anonymous tip.

News for Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 13:14

There is mysterious hint from a 1Up Yours podcast nearly two weeks ago. Garnett Lee, Managing Editor of 1Up, said the following in a conversation about Bethesda's Fallout 3, at the 80:50 mark:

I think we are going to see a spiritual successor to Fallout One and Two from the guy who originally did Wasteland, and I'm just going to leave it at that.
It seems likely that Garnett is referring to Brian Fargo, founder of Interplay and current CEO of InXile. In an interesting wrinkle, Fargo also owns the rights to Wasteland, which Fallout was partially a spiritual successor to.

Thank to CStalin for this news.

Posted by Brother None - at 3:56

You may remember Game Informer had offered readers to ask Matt Miller questions about Fallout 3. Well, the answers were released in this month's Unlimited. For obvious reasons, we're not revealing all of them, but here's some choice quotes:

Q: Is this another Oblivion but with a Fallout theme?
A: In short: no. Sure, Fallout 3 plays primarily from a first-person perspective like Oblivion, and conversations with NPCs use a similar style of dialogue tree, but combat, questing, character creation and most importantly the tone and style of the gameplay shares more in common with Fallout 1 and 2 than Oblivion.

Q: Is the game turn based or real time?
AND
How’s the V.A.T.S. combat system work again?
A: I talk about this a good bit in the July magazine article, but to be clear, Fallout 3 plays in both real time and a paused tactical combat mode. It’s not really turn based, however. Instead, you can pause the real-time action in order to make aimed ranged or melee attacks on your opponents, smashing their legs to slow them down, or perhaps shooting an arm to hurt their weapon aim. Like in the original Fallout games, doing these aimed shots take action points, but since there are no turns, those AP recharge over time after unpausing the game. You can shoot in real time, but that will then slow your recharge rate. In practice, this means players have the option to play the game very much like an RPG, but with a good bit more action than traditional RPGs. Are there other details to the way this system works? Almost definitely, yes. Do we know all the answers to how V.A.T.S. works after seeing it in one demo? No. We’re waiting just like you to find out more.

Q: Will porting the game to consoles hurt the PC version?
A: Hmm... Well, the game’s not really being ported anywhere. It’s being built from the ground up for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. [...]

Q: Is the game first or third person? Isometric?
A: It’s both first and third–a point I mention in the article. It does not use the isometric view of the original games. It is possible to pan the third person camera pretty far back, but it definitely isn’t meant to be played in a view that is anything like the original. However, almost half of the questions we received were about the camera view, so I thought I should address it here. To clarify, unlike in Oblivion, with its wonky third-person camera, a big focus has been placed on making Fallout 3 fun and playable in both first and third person. [...]

Q: Can you play the game without doing any combat?
A: I never got a hard and fast answer on this point, though I did ask the development team about it. On a general level, they did say that they’re trying to build multiple solutions into almost any quest or situation you encounter, and that using stealth and diplomacy were very useable routes to overcome different obstacles. Whether you’ll be able to play through the whole game without committing any violence is a point they’re still hammering out, to my memory.

Q: What is your overall impression of the game?
A: To be clear, I was and continue to be a big fan of the original Fallout games. Believe it or not, so are the guys over at Bethesda. From my perspective as someone who loved the originals, I have to say that my feeling of the direction that Bethesda is taking the franchise is very strongly positive. If you are a fan who is adamantly against some significant changes to the way gameplay occurs in the Fallout series, I’m going to tell you right now and save you the disappointment: I don’t think you’ll like Fallout 3. However, if you’re a fan of the Fallout universe, of the unique look of the world, of the moral ambiguity, of the dark and often violent humor, and the invigorating branching story paths, then everything about what I’ve seen of Fallout 3 should please you.
He further notes that it looks like there are no vehicles, that it'll be M-Rated, that it'll be open-ended but with consequences, that it'll be full of dark humor, that he doesn't know the map system (if any), that you can play only humans, that there's lots of drugs, that there'll be more voice actors than in Oblivion, that it won't have level-scaling "like in Oblivion" and that the area covers more than just Washington D.C.

Also, here's the cliff notes of the video interview with Fallout 3 executive producer Todd Howard and lead artist Istvan Pely:
Todd Howard:
- Videogames 10 years ago and videogames today are different canvases that we paint on.

- He wants to keep this: the shades of gray, the different choices a player will make, texture of the world, making tough decisions, going out and doing things that affects the world.

- He wants you to be emotionally involved in the game, especially now that we have the technological advances in videogames.

- He wants you to see the game in first person and in third person because he wants the players to feel the world but he doesn't want to reward player with twitch play because stats really matters.

- It's going to be violent. they spent time making the kills gorier and gorier so when you blow a bad guy's head, you'll say "yes!"

Istvan Pely:
- It will have 50s vibe in it.

- He is saying how the old fallouts had sprites so they had to re-work things again for fallout 3.

- He just wants to make you feel the world.
Thanks tree_frog.

Addendum: the interview with Todd and Istvan is now available on Youtube (thanks KreideBein); part 1 part 2 part 3

Posted by Silencer - at 2:54

Glutton Creeper Games are busy reworking their ill-fated Fallout d20 game into something more generic, and have updated their page with current status:

June 19th, 2007: We have finished the conversion of the Fallout d20 project to another Post-Apocalyptic PnP setting that encompasses the South-West of the United States (to include New Mexico, Arizona, California, Northern Mexico, Utah, Nevada. We have let this generic enough to use in any setting, but have added a new storyline that is based off events that started in 1939, altering the history of the world ever so slightly until 2012, when the mother of all wars begin, and man is forced to retreat from his own destruction...

We have commissioned new art to replace the Vaultboy images and screenshots from the Fallout games and the cover is being altered to remove the Fallout IP. With some luck, we should have everything in place and ready for print by August.
A rather optimistic deadline, since they not only need to rework background history, but also wait for a new cover and illustrations. They are putting up a new website and unveing the new name for the game (taking on bets!) in a few weeks.

Thanks Jubal Quintus and Grifka!

Link: http://www.gluttoncreeper.com

Posted by Silencer - at 2:44

Flamescreen sent us four graphics for a Civ3 mod he is making, comments are encouraged.





Honestly, I like what the starting screen looks like, some hazy and rusty Fallout colours there, for a change.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:48

Gary “VXSS” Noonan and Matt “GStaff” Grandstaff decided the remark from Ashley Cheng that nobody's talking on anything needed a bit more clarification. A step-by-step:

When will you all be allowed, if at all, to comment on this months feature in GI.
Noonan: Most likely never. We give magazines the information to give to you all so that we don’t have to. Allows us to keep working.

Grandstaff: As mentioned by VXSS, we’re not commenting on the information reported in the magazine…sorry guys

If you, the developers, want the fans’ input on how to improve the game, why is no information released until things are already set in stone? I can assume the answer is, “My boss tells me not to,” but can you prove my assumption to be wrong?
Noonan: Because as you put it, we, the developers, arent PR. As much as many of us may want to, it is not our task to relay snippet of info after info to the general public. So, in a sense, yes, it is a case of “My boss tells me not to”, but we also understand why, being on the inside. As for things being released before the stone chiseling, we all know just how much more gas would be thrown on the flames if info was released then pulled back because of changes. Happens with all games…. simple knowledge there.
Spotted on Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:43

"[I]nspired with the recent staggering blast which was generated by the Fallout 3 promotional materials", Lisac2k threw together a quick, small one-patch mod, which he promises is "controversial" and is entitled "Beth, the old hag". Lisac2k also notes "Mod has three different endings. Choose your path wisely."

Link: download Beth, the old hag.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 0:12

The development team behind S.T.A.L.K.E.R. continues to work on various patches for the game, which has seen three minor patches to date. Currently they are developing a small patch, 1.0004, to address remaining bugs and optimize the frame rate; and a larger patch, 1.1, that will introduce a new "Freeplay" mode along with other updates. Project Manager Anton Bolshakov, who has started a weekly update about S.T.A.L.K.E.R. on Oblivion Lost, comments a little on this new gameplay mode:

Usually, we start at the dealer's, but... no. We are no longer Strelok, and we are not going into the heart of the Zone. The player is now a newbie stalker and gets to live a regular stalker's life, without the past heroics.

[. . .]
  • The world of the game is completely under control of life simulation.
  • All levels up to and including Pripjat will be available.
  • All smart terrain has been unblocked! The simulation is no longer bound by any storyline scenes.
  • New types of quests are given by various factions - Stalkers, Freedom, Duty, Military, and characters - Dealer, Barman, Saharov.
  • New unique items and weapons have been added.
[. . .]

In other words, Freeplay mode is for those who wanted to walk around the Zone after passing the game once or twice. Not to run around, completing mission quests, but to just live inside the Zone. To get the rank of the rich man of the Zone from the dealer, to collect all artifacts for the scientists, or do some of many other possible things. Simulation will be different, more life-like, now that all limitations have been removed. It will be rebalanced specifically for Freeplay, and a number of shortcomings we learned about after the release will be fixed.
Besides this news, Anton has also participated in a two-part interview with CVG, a post-release look at the development of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
Imagine you were just starting work on the game now - how would your approach differ from the one you originally took?

Anton Bolshakov:
I think we would plan more realistic targets to achieve, would avoid many error experiments which we had to spend loads of time on. And, most likely, we would use someone else's ready-made technology, without having to waste time on creating our proprietary one, whilst having the game developed concomitantly.
Not only is it nice to see developers admit and learn from their mistakes, but it seems possible that Freeplay could give new life to S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Links:
Weekly Update #2 with Anton Bolshakov on Oblivion Lost.
The Making of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., part one on CVG.
The Making of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., part two on CVG.

Spotted at Oblivion Lost.

News for Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 18:55

Joe Blancato has done an article for the Escapist in which he takes a look at Gaming's Fringe Cults. He interviewed NMA admins Sander, Silencer and Brother None for the purpose (note: interviews conducted before the GI article was out, obviously). And under the nomer of "Internet Curmudgeons with Hearts of Radioactive Gold: No Mutants Allowed" he takes a look at our community and site:

Started on Geocities nearly a decade ago by a Serbian named "Miroslav" (who only left the site due to the Bosnian War), NMA has built a reputation as the definitive, and most vocal (read: kinda mean), Fallout community on the web. And to Thomas "Brother None" ßеекers, Sebastian "Silencer" Lenartowicz and Sander Philipse - NMA's administrators - tell it, they're not going away any time soon. "With the times, our goals have changed," ßеекers says. "Originally, we were formed to be as supportive as we could be of Fallout, and this was great between Fallout 1 and 2, before Tactics' release dashed our hopes of a good spin-off and no new release was forthcoming (there were two Fallout 3 start-ups that were cancelled before Van Buren [Black Isle's Fallout 3 tech demo, hosted on NMA]).

"Now, we're mostly evangelists of recreating the original Fallout experience. We try to convince the media and publishers that there is a viable niche market for Fallout-like games that has been under-serviced for years."

Acting as a non-profit, grass-roots PR and marketing campaign for the better part of a decade speaks to a zeal not often observed outside of holy crusades and message board flame wars. What is it about Fallout that inspires people to continually sing its praises?

(...)

In terms of the future, all three share reservations about Bethesda picking up Interplay's ball. "Part of me is happy that the franchise didn't die with Black Isle Studios," says ßеекers, "but for the most part I realize Fallout is only a name, and the fact that Bethesda's Fallout 3 is called Fallout 3 doesn't mean anything unless they make it a Fallout game. If they don't, I'm guessing I and other fans will be about as upset as we were with the release of Fallout: BoS [Brotherhood of Steel]."

However, regardless of what the future holds, ßеекers remains optimistic for NMA: "Considering we're still that active on a set of decade-old games that were never enormous hits, I don't think we're going anywhere, anytime soon."
Link: Gaming's Fringe Cults on the Escapist (page 2)

Posted by Brother None - at 2:06

Today (after several notices over the weekend from Bethesda asking us to remove the scans) we were contacted by Game Informer with the following request:

Please remove all scans of Game Informer Magazine from your website. This is copyrighted material, and legal action will be taken if these scans are not promptly removed from your website.
Both the scans and the transcript of the article have now been removed from No Mutants Allowed. We refer non-American users with nowhere to turn for copies of the article to Google.

News for Sunday, June 17, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 17:32

Bethesda producer Ashley Cheng had this to say in a reply to a query on his blog:

Sorry, but no one should be commenting on the article or any specifics about the game. Don’t worry - by the time the game comes out, you’ll have all the information you need to decide if you want to play it or not;)
Bethesda is still treating the PR surrounding the game as if this were TES V. A shame, because one of the biggest points of confusion on the GI article is "what the hell is V.A.T.S."? From the description given, it sounds like a nerfed RealTime with Pause system (please don't confuse it with a turn-based system, the term "turn-based" is not mentioned anywhere in the GI article) and since nobody is going to clarify it further, we can only assume for now that that's exactly what it is.

Link: VATS summary on Briosafreak's blog

Posted by Tannhauser - at 4:41

The gaming community has been a turmoil of opinion with the substantial information about Fallout 3 offered by the Game Informer article. There has been a number of different reactions, ranging from praise of Bethesda's abilities to tirades against Bethesda's incompetence. In most communities, opinion has been mixed, though certain websites have a majority of commentators that way in on one side or another.

There are gaming communities that are mostly positive about the information, such as Forumopolis, Octopus Overlords, Penny Arcade, and Something Awful. A quote from the Octopus Overlords thread:

It seems very promising. I welcome all the changes done to the core FO1 and FO2 gameplay that I see here...
Lot of innovative things can be done here with use of a pure CRPG mechanism (agility based AP) in a fast-paced quickly resolving gameplay. They can put weapon switching and inventory handling restrictions (allowing that only in AP phase, or may be allow it in real-time but have a very strict penalty, where in AP mode, it can be done quickly) This way, character with more agility can still make a difference. Targeted shots in AP mode sound good...

Anyway, the best news is that SPECIAL and Karma system are there, and that Bethesda is trying to make changes to the real-time gameplay so as to effectively use SPECIAL system.

No level-scaling is also an awesome news. The art and atmosphere are right on the mark. This is, now, my most anticipated PC game.
Likewise there are places with a more negative general reaction, such as GameSpot, Kotaku, or the Official Fallout 3 forums; the following is a quote from Kotaku.
First Person? Am I the only one surprised about this? I love Fallout and I know I haven't been following closesly, but I expected Bestheda to not just retrofit elderscrolls into fallout.

Officially uninterested until I see different.
Finally we have the majority of websites, which contain an predominately mixed opinions, such as Digg, Opa Ages, Quarter to Three, and Through the Looking Glass. A post from the Quarter to Three forums:
Mixed opinions reading the article. With a lack of substantial details to go on the easiest thing to critique is the art. The vault looks quite good, less stylized and more functional than Fallout 1. More modern seems to be trend in the art, compare the vault uniforms for example. The shot of the Super Mutant is off putting though, it breaks the rules I've set for what Fallout looks like. I think that will be one of lingering issues, not the greatest, but one that will bother me. Preconceived notions will be difficult to match.
An interesting mix of opinions, which will doubtlessly evolve as Fallout 3 approaches release.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:50

VDweller of RPGCodex is offering us a clear-cut look at Fallout 3 as presented by GI:

Three years later we are presented with a first person, real-time, survival horror-esque Resident Evil-version of the Fallout world.
(...)
To show that Bethesda understands and, like, totally digs the setting, the game features exploding nuclear reactors in cars and mind-blowing "tell me it's a joke" handheld nuclear catapults. In the example described in the Game Informer article, the main character, undoubtedly inspired by the famous Baron Munchausen, kills two giant ants by shooting at a NEARBY car's nuclear reactor. A small nuclear blast destroys the car and the ants, but ignores the resourceful main character, standing a few meters away. The nuclear catapult is an even more retarded concept and, hopefully, needs no explanation. Using nuclear explosions in close combat in a survival game that watches your rad count is kinda stupid. Even for Bethesda.
(...)
Anyway, did you notice that the article does not mention any option to do something differently? One would think that Todd would have illustrated or at least mentioned all the options while playing through this quest. Something like "of course, you can blow a hole in Mister Burke's head instead" or "you can talk to the sheriff", etc. So, either these options are not present and the game railroads you or Todd doesn't think that these options are interesting / have consequences / worth mentioning. Either scenario is alarming.
Link: Fallout: Take Four on RPGCodex

News for Saturday, June 16, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 3:34

Ladies and gentlemen...we got 'im:

Scans and transcript removed at the request of Game Informer, check here for details.
Thanks ZootSuitDaddy.

We also present a transcript of the article, created with help from Kan-Kerai and Yellow.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:56

Desslock, Fallout 3 rumour spreader extraordinaire and one of the few to have seen the games a long time ago, had this to note when a lot of people on the QTT forum were jubilant about there being no level scaling in Fallout 3:

You're reading too much into the Gaming Informer statement. The actual situation is more "complicated". Sorry, but I'm obliged to be cryptic right now.
Complicated? It's there or it's not. Also, from the guy that originally posted the GI magazine rumours:
The game takes place in D.C. in the year 2277. The map as a whole is slightly smaller than the Oblivion one.
We're still waiting for a closer look. Meanwhile, Joystiq and Computer and Video Games got their closer looks. Joystiq reports:
Turn-based combat is possible using Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System (V.A.T.S.), although once your action points are used up, you will revert to real-time combat until they charge up again.
Link: QTT post by Desslock.
Link: rumors on NeoGaf.
Link: Fallout 3 gameplay uncovered on Joystiq.
Link: Fallout 3 gameplay uncovered on CVG.

Thanks Rangi_Ram, Bunkermensch, lithal and Jecrell.

News for Friday, June 15, 2007

Posted by Silencer - at 18:00

Sethergal let us know there are two new music tracks at the project New Dawn website for us to hear. Those will be used in the Fall 2007 demo of the game.

Some time ago we started cooperation with a group Audio Orange, which calls itself a music studio. Today we are presenting you their works. As you may have noticed we changed the background music. On the new page, Music, you will find two brand new tracks which will be used for the demo. So, head on to the Music section, download them and tell us what you think about them on the board.
Sounds a bit like walking through the wheat fields again in the beginning, but I'll let you make up your own judgement.

Link: New Dawn Website, New Dawn Theme - music track #1, First Battle - music track #2

Posted by Tannhauser - at 2:09

The July issue of Game Informer, which has Fallout 3 as the cover story, hits shelves on June 18th; subscribers receive their issues a few days earlier. Sallokin on the NeoGAF forums claims to be in possession of this issue, and has been relaying information he says is from the magazine.

The article is based on an hour long demo GI was given. I'll list the high points

- Game runs on an evolved version of the Oblivion engine. Third person view has been reworked since the verdict was that the Oblivion version sucked balls.

- Game starts with your birth and your mother's death in a vault hospital. This is essentially the character customization part of the game. Your father hands you up to have your DNA analyzed and you get to pick out all your character traits. Your dad takes off his mask to reveal similar traits to the ones you picked.

- You grow up in the vault and as you grow you get your first book titled "You're Special" which allows you to choose you baseline stats for each of your 7 primary aptitudes. You'll also get your first weapons and wrist computer (menu) as you get older and take tests to determine the initial layout of your skills and traits.

- Every aspect of character creation is based on S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system. Of your 14 skills you can tag 3 to grow at a faster rate than the rest as you level up.

- Battle system is called the Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System (V.A.T.S.). The article states. "While you'll certainly be able to tackle enemies in real time using first person shooting, V.A.T.S. lets players pause time and select a target at their leisure". Battle system still uses action points, but once you've used them up you'll still be able to fight targets in real time while they charge back up.

- Game is still violent and gory. One of the featured screens is of a guy's head exploding in super gory detail. Apparently all gory deaths in the game will be in slow motion.

- More than one way to play the game. Go balls out and kill people, or sneak past situations, or perhaps talk your way out of situations.

- Enemies can target you just like you can target them, so you can get injured in very specific points on you body. This in addition to an all new health/radiation system. This new system has you measuring how radiated certain things (like water) are and how they affect you when you consume them.

- Karma system returns

[. . .]

It doesn't say anything specifically about party members, but there's a section that talks about how integral NPC's are to the game, and that a lot of the progress in the game will be made via quests.

EDIT. A little caption under a screen shot says you'll be able to hire henchmen to help you out but this is definitely not a party based game. Also Bethesda confirms that there'll be a dog in the game.

[. . .]

As a matter of fact they do. The game does not scale like oblivion, so if you enter a high level area expect to be promptly murdered.

Also, I just read a little caption.

Level cap is 20.

Definite ending to the game, but there are 9 - 12 possible endings.

[. . .]

It is XP based. Most of your XP comes from quests.
Keep in mind that there is no confirmation on this information, it may be entirely false.

Links:
Where's my Fallout 3 teaser Bethesda?! thread at the NeoGAF forums.
New Fallout 3 Info from GI thread at the NeoGAF forums.

Thanks to Autoduel76 for bringing this up in our forums.

News for Thursday, June 14, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 3:39

ActionTrip has boldly put together a list of the "Ten Most Influential RPGs of Our Time." Making no distinctions between console RPGs, PC RPGs, or MMORPGs, the list is broad in scope. While World of Warcraft takes first place, Fallout ranks in sixth:

As another co-project of Black Isle Studios and Interplay, Fallout marks a rather bold step in the world of RPGs. To this day, it is honored throughout the gaming community as a truly unique role-playing experience. With an engaging sci-fi backdrop and straightforward character creation system, it didn't take too long for Fallout to claim its rightful place in the industry. One of its main traits was using the so-called SPECIAL character creation system - as most of you probably know, the "SPECIAL" stands for Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck, all of which represent attributes that are essential to the whole experience. Fallout 2 was released one year after the original, receiving rave reviews - even though the game's mechanics remained the same.
Inexplicably, Fable has tenth place while Knights of the Old Republic holds fourth.

Link: Ten Most Influential RPGs of Our Time.

Spotted on Game Banshee.

News for Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 18:27

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has a big and fairly odd update coming up:

"We're preparing a big update with a new game mode - Freeplay, with no story tasks, including only the A-life driven ones, where the goal is to gain ranks, climb up in rankings, so as to become the best S.T.A.L.K.E.R. in the Zone."
Link: News on CVG.

Spotted on Gamestart.de.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:09

The Gamespot poll on the Fallout 3 trailer has come and gone. Here's the results as we copied them, a day ago:

Not really a lot there. Looks like I get to wait 'til '08. (27%)
8,718
That's Oblivion with power armor and guns, all right. (17%)
5,454
Boo! I want an isometric turn-based RPG from the 1990s, not this newfangled graphics stuff! (10%)
3,348
Uh, what's Fallout? (44%)
14,008
Compare that to this statistic from the Bethesda Game Studios forums:
Most users ever online was 5,035 on Jun 5 2007, 04:21 PM
Doesn't look like that "most users ever online" record was set by Gamespot users. Perhaps a hint about the size of the pre-existing Fallout fanbase? Perhaps a hint where *not* to look for support of the Fallout 3 product?

News for Monday, June 11, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 22:21

Killap informed us that the most recent version of his unofficial Fallout 2 patch was found to have a rather nasty crash bug. NMA's versions of the patches have been updated, if you have been using the old version you are advised to upgrade, and if you own a site that hosts the patch, please update from NMA's versions.

Links: Killap's Patch release Final A (UK), Killap's Patch release Final B (UK), Killap's Patch release Final A (US), Killap's Patch release Final B (US), Patch thread at NMA Forum

Posted by Tannhauser - at 21:01

Since the moment the Fallout 3 subforum opened on the Bethesda Studios Game Forums, discussions about Fallout 3's gameplay have flourished. Constituting a significant part of the forum discourse, these topics touched a large number of smaller aspects, such as possibilities for a hybrid system, market viability, or the intentions of the original developers, among many other subjects. However, earlier today the Bethesda forum staff decided to strictly limit all such discussions to a single thread.

We have decided to have one thread to discuss several game play options that are frequently discussed here and have resulted in many threads for debate and discussion. We are in hopes that by limiting these discussions to one thread that will serve several purposes. First it will allow us to keep the discussion together and thus more orderly and easier to follow. Next, it should cut down on the number of threads being opened to discuss these game play options thus keeping more varied topics on the first page. And last but certianly not least it will allow moderators more ease in moderating said threads.

We will be limiting discussion of RT/TB and isometric, top-down, first vs. third person debate to one thread. Please keep all discussion of this here

[. . .]

All other threads for this debate will be closed.
It seems unlikely that a single thread could reasonably discuss a fraction of the multitude of subtopics associated with this subject. Along with the BGSF policy of locking threads at 200 posts, it appears inevitable that much of the rich prior dialogue will be lost.

Link: Official Game Play Options Thread, RT/TB and Iso, top down, FP vs TP at the Bethesda Studio Game Forums.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:31

You Are Empty, the alternative-timeline Soviet FPS shooter from 1C that we covered earlier has been released through digital distribution:

1C Company, Mandel ArtPlains and Digital Spray Studios are happy to announce that You Are Empty is now available through digital distribution.

You Are Empty is a first-person shooter which offers players an alternative approach to the history of the late fifties of the XX century. Scene of action is the Soviet Union. Leading Soviet scientists start a big experiment that alter human physiology and mentality in order to create super humans capable of building bright future and communism all over the world. But something goes wrong. As a result the whole city, where that experiment took place, goes on a rampage. The majority of citizens died, and those who survived turned into hideous mutants - the only inhabitants of deserted streets. You Are Empty immerses you in an exaggerated dark and obscure atmosphere of Soviet totalitarianism. Fighting against mutants, that obtained super power after the experiment was carried out, the main hero tries to gain an understanding of what's happening around and save the day.

You Are Empty is available for download on the game digital distribution portal GAMERSGATE (www.gamersgate.com).
Be sure to look at the gallery to get an idea of the style of game this is.

Thanks DirtyDreamDesigner.

Posted by Brother None - at 3:19

After some significant downtime through server-troubles, the large Fallout wiki project the Vault is now back, hosted by Wiki-specialist server Wikia.

Link: The Vault

News for Sunday, June 10, 2007

Posted by Silencer - at 23:37

killap has bolstered his ultimate Fallout 2 patch, this time also preparing a variation highly compatible with the UK version of the game. Also, the US version was updated accordingly.

Download immediately for a superior Fallout 2 experience.

Links: Killap's Patch release Final A (UK), Killap's Patch release Final B (UK), Killap's Patch release Final A (US), Killap's Patch release Final B (US), Patch thread at NMA Forum

Posted by Silencer - at 23:27

Thanks to Chris Parks finally being able to contact Trolle, the Mutants Rising Forums are now usable once more. Feel free to come over and ask us stuff about Mutants Rising (or just spam it up).

Link: Mutants Rising Forums

Thanks Mikey!

Posted by Brother None - at 21:13

There's a market for anything in Second Life, it seems, as a clever Second Life merchant is selling goods for those of us who always wanted to wander around the world looking like a vault dweller or brotherhood paladin:




Link: Fallout items on SL Exchange Marketplace.

Thanks Simazzarome.

Posted by Brother None - at 16:29

E-Zine/magazine The Gamer's Quarter has an article up about the original Fallout games. About half of it is the author enjoying the sound of his own voice and going off on random tangents about how much stuff he knows and how experienced he is at using a thesaurus, but surprisingly there's also some stuff about Fallout in there. After discussing realism and the frequency of death, the author wanders into analysing the storylines of the two games:

To some extent all RPG player characters are saviors of some world orders and destroyers of others, otherwise people wouldn't bother putting up with cumbersome play mechanics and turn-based mania. And both villains are, despite their bloodlust, not entirely unreasonable. The Master lacks some important data, but is driven by compassion of a kind. The Enclave has plenty of information and utterly no remorse, but is compelled by something that can be construed as a greater good.
(...)
In some ways it is disappointing that no apparent strands of any of the major world religions survive into the Fallout era (...) Perhaps the religion as we know it would die out simply from being trapped in a self-contained marvel of science with a small group of jump-suit attired busybodies, and some other means of providing meaning - and controlling population growth through rituals and rules concerning sexual relations - would be implemented.
(...)
Despite the carnage, suffering and despotism (despite even the lively slave trade), some still have a yearning for messiahs to save and destroy the world.
Link: Gamer's Quarter #8.

Thanks Travesty.

News for Saturday, June 9, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 0:40

Game Informer, who recently unveiled Fallout 3 on the cover of their next issue, has released that they are open to questions concerning the game:

When we announced that Fallout 3 was on the cover of Game Informer Magazine's July Issue, the internets went wild. There's only one person outside of Bethesda that's actually seen the game, and that's Game Informer Magazine's Associate Editor Matt Miller. There's probably a billion things you want to know about the game, and Miller has the answers. Well, some of them, anyway.

So let him have it.

Starting today and ending on Monday, June 11th at 12 Noon CST, we're allowing you, the reader, to ask Miller anything you want about Fallout 3. We're not promising he'll answer all of your questions, but if you bribe him with Cheddar Bay Biscuits, you never know.

Send all of your questions to askmiller@gameinformer.com and we'll be posting the answers in this month's Unlimited which launches on June 18th.
Not quite true, there have been other people outside Bethesda who have seen the game, but so far they have been unable to report anything because of NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements).

Link: Ask Miller About Fallout 3! at Game Informer.

Thanks to Anonymous for bringing this to us.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:25

Tycho of Penny Arcade had some comments on the Fallout 3 combat/viewpoint controversy:

I have seen opinions running the rage on the Fallout 3 Teaser, but I brave those forums daily - I'm well over the DRI for franchise-related anguish. The clip is not designed to shock or startle people, it has only one purpose - to deliver a high-pressure jet of fan service. Of course, many of the hardcore fans are actually irritated by such brazen attempts to placate them. And thus we see the heavy stone, and also the steep hill, and look! There's Sisyphus, waving madly. Is he greeting us, or warning us?

I consider myself a fan of Fallout, at any rate I did before, and I was grieved to see it ransacked at the hands of an increasingly desperate Interplay. But it's become clear that what makes it Fallout to me is very different than it is for other fans. We ran into the same issue with Tribal War over Tribes 2, culminating in a brutal conflict that pitted gamer against gamer. As it relates to Fallout, I am distinguished from what you might call the Orthodox fan of the series. One is that I simply believe that elements like Turn-Based and Isometric were artifacts of their time. There is nothing wrong with them mechanically, they do not want for elegance, and the genre is still going strong in Japanese titles that I play and enjoy. But I'm not going to create a religion out of it because tiled environments happened to be expedient a million fucking years ago.

Fallout is not - for me - defined by its perspective. It's defined by the unique setting, and the meaningful, satisfying choices I can make to affect that setting. I don't care where the camera is. If those things are intact, they can put the camera in geosynchronous Goddamn orbit.

(CW)TB out.
Turn-based and isometric are outdated? Not exactly original arguments. Since saying Brotherhood of Steel was terrible doesn't exactly give any Fallout street cred anymore, it's a shame that Tim of CAD didn't mention the topic in his post about the teaser, since CAD *does* have Fallout street cred.

Of more interest, Ricardo "socrates200X" Gonzalez commented:
[twocents]
I can see where people are coming from when they say "TB combat is a relic" by looking at where TB combat is coming from. Fallout was TB because GURPS was TB because all the original PnP games were TB because...why?

Well, originally, people wanted to create some sort of interactive story whereby players could affect the outcome with their avatars, or "role-play", in an exciting world filled with adventures and bad guys. But, once you introduce bad guys, you introduce combat, and once you introduce combat, you need some way to represent it in an organized way that still preserves all the tactical decisions the avatars would make were they in said adventures. You couldn't have RPG players feverishly yelling out battle commands in the heat of the moment with sharpened pencils and Mountain Dew within arm's reach; that's a recipe for disaster, but more to the point, very difficult to organize on paper without over-simplifying things.

So, we have the players and baddies take turns, turn-based tactics being well-established from the days of Go. But, looking at it this way, the decision to go TB was a limitation rather than an innovation. It wasn't that TB "just fit" with what the original RPG creators were trying to accomplish. On the contrary, they were trying to capture the essence of real-time combat with the tools of pen-and-paper and they had no better options at the time.

Putting on our "What If?" caps, we can ask what would have happened if the original RPG creators had in their game design toolbox the resources of, say, a modern video game development studio replete with state-of-the-art technology and competent developers, including one very erudite and devilishly handsome programmer? With the ability to implement real-time combat, the desire to ground it in innovative tactical game design, and the computation power to tie everything together, would they have still used turn-based combat? Or real-time combat? Or something altogether different? What do you guys think?

That being said, I don't think Halo comes any closer to capturing the essence of tactical combat just by virtue of being real-time, nor does GURPS or Fallout not capture it by virtue of being turn-based. And the argument that removing TB combat from Fallout could very well destroy it is a valid one and worth asking. But I don't think that makes TB combat any less of a work-around than it originally was designed to be.
[/twocents]

(...)


Like most peeps, I'm not pro-TB or pro-RT, per se; just interested in the interaction between the two concepts and their ramifications. Thanks for the responses, guys; it's given me a veritable feast for thought!

P.S. Given my NDA leash, it follows that anything I discuss probably has nothing to do with FO3. Using this handy fact, one could fairly accurately determine what is FO3 is definitely not and thus, as the number of dev posts approaches infinity, could reconstruct the game via process of elimination, given enough time and caffeine. Get to work!
Link: thread on BGS forum

Thanks Briosafreak.

News for Friday, June 8, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 22:01

1Up's Game Videos has uploaded both a special on BioShock/Irrational, and a series of trailers showing off different plasmids. The special interviews Ken Levine and other Irrational employees, and explores various parts of BioShock's development. The trailers are about various plasmid abilites and employ 'cards' displaying various actions; reminiscent of Vault Boy. The famous Indian Head test pattern also makes an appearance in a gameplay clip in the special.



According to the special, these cards will show up in the game as part of short training videos.

Links:
BioShock Special Interview at Game Videos.
Security Bullseye at Game Videos.
Cyclone Trap at Game Videos.
Winter Blast at Game Videos.
Telekinesis at Game Videos.
Insect Swarm at Game Videos.

Spotted on The Cult of Rapture.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 20:26

The new RPGDot has published an article that may be of interest: "Remakes - The Case for Recreating Older Games." Though the article doesn't explore the concepts extensively, it does cover on the idea of recreating older games while preserving the elements that made them memorable. The article also touches on how sequels can fail by diverging from the original games.

If we’ve learned anything in recent years, it’s that sequels should stick to the original gameplay or simply not exist. As much as we enjoyed Doom 3 here at Jolt for what it was, Doom purists found themselves confronted with a game that simply didn’t resemble the original in any meaningful way – so much so that a mod was made converting the original levels and gameplay to the impressive new engine. If the likes of Deus Ex 3 is to succeed, for instance, then surely Eidos’ best chance is to forget the ill-fated Deus Ex 2 and go back to the formula that made the original so well-loved.
With the state of things, it can be hard enough to even get older games to run, much less play them.

Link: Remakes - The Case for Recreating Older Games at RPGDot.

Spotted on GameBanshee.

News for Thursday, June 7, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 23:58

GameSpot has put up an interesting new poll about the Fallout 3 teaser trailer, it really speaks for itself.



Thanks to Briosafreak and his blog. As he points out, it would be embarrassing if the results from this poll are used in the future as any kind of evidence.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 18:00

Since the beginning of last month, there have been various reports from the mainstream gaming press, from Kotaku to Game Revolution, among others, of an event sponsored by Bethesda. Taking place next week, it is expected that this press event will be when substantial details about Fallout 3 will be revealed. Unfortunately, Bethesda has decided this event will be for official gaming press only, so representatives from the Fallout fansites will not be present.

One interesting invitee is Logan Booker of Atomic. In the Atomic forums, he has posted an open request for questions to bring to Bethesda's press event.

Oh, I've been putting together questions for the past couple of weeks now, anyone with some serious ball-busters, feel free to post them.
If you have a question you hope he will take to Bethesda, you might want to post it on their forums.

Link: Fallout 3 thread at Atomic (Logan's request post is at the bottom of second page).

Thanks to Specialist and Duck and Cover.

Posted by Silencer - at 13:41

While the ESRB rating is still pending, for some reason the Fallout 3 page now requires age verification for access. If you're not at least 16 years old (or at least admit to that), you might end up here

Posted by Tannhauser - at 6:52

The response of fans to Jericho's cancellation has been impressive, and has included sending 50,000 pounds of protest peanuts to the office of CBS. Because of this CBS announced that they will renew the canceled post-apocalyptic television show for seven additional episodes, and begin a drive to increase the viewing audience. They also count on the fans to help them in this area. Obviously this wouldn't have happened if not for the passionate response of the Jericho fanbase. The first season will also be released on DVD this coming September 25th.

A smaller, older note of interest, not only is Fallout well thought of, but Tim Cain is mentioned by name in a Ask the Producers feature.

I'm a huge fan of the post-apocalyptic movies and books, all thanks to a PC game series entitled "Fallout" (and I'm sure there are a lot of fans of these games watching "Jericho"). Has any of you played the game? If so, can we count on some (even subtle) references to these games?

Producer's Response: We love "Fallout." Tim Cain is a genius. Look for our answer to The Hub in episode 13, entitled "Black Jack." You can watch a short preview for that episode on Innertube right now. Also, the rabbit is reduced to a thin red paste.
Links:
A Message from CBS Entertainment at the Jericho Wiki.
Ask the Producers at the Jericho Wiki.

A big thanks to Maphusio, who not only brought this to our attention, but organized the information for us.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 6:11

The release of the Fallout 3 teaser trailer and Game Informer's new cover has sparked some discussion among a few professional gaming websites.

1Up features four editors of the magazine Games for Windows discussing their reaction to the teaser. An interesting read, if for the wrong reasons, keep an eye out for "The Ink Blots."

Sean Molloy: Smart start -- it certainly gave me faith that they're sticking with the original games' tone. You get olde radiola tunes, a quick glimpse at Pip (the original Fallout boy!) in those propaganda posters on the bus. So yup, this is Fallout. I'm also now completely convinced it's gonna be some first-person Oblivion-style thing. When the camera pulls out of the bus, and you see that ruined cityscape--I want to explore that s*** in first-person. Imagine that moment in Oblivion where you leave the first dungeon, only you see apocalypse instead of green acres. I don't think Bethesda could pass up that opportunity.
Game Daily recaps the history of Fallout 3, and goes over what has been officially announced so far.

Gamespot has two different features, both involving Tor Thorsen. In a news article about the released Fallout 3 information, Tor speculates about what Game Informer means with its headline that Bethesda will reinvent Fallout. In addition, Tor Thorsen was featured on The HotSpot, a weekly Gamespot podcast which covered the Fallout 3 teaser trailer in their most recent episode. A transcribed excerpt from Tor's comments:
And the trailer also confirms other stuff, they won't say, but thoughout development they've leaked the location of Washington DC; and in the background you can see a very Washington Monument looking kind of oblisk in the background right in the middle and stuff. So, it's probably going to be in DC, it's basically going to be Oblivion with mutants in DC, which sounds damn good to me.
Links:
What'd We Think of the Fallout 3 Teaser? at 1Up.
Hot or Hype: Fallout 3 at Game Daily.
Fallout 3 confirmed for 360, PS3 at GameSpot.
The HotSpot at GameSpot.

Thanks to Briosafreak and RPG Codex.

Posted by The Vault Dweller - at 5:21

A fan-made flash game is currently available for free on Newgrounds both to play and download. The game is an obvious Fallout inspiration. It's post-apocalyptic, an RPG, and turn-based. Just as importantly it uses all of it's attributes very well. I for one played the game a half-hour and was immediately hooked. Like any great game you'll find it's easy enough to understand that you can play it without much practice yet difficult enough to warrant some hard thinking and planning ahead. You'll even find many options in dialogue!

To begin the game you inherit enough goods to start a caravan company and then on strive to make money through buying, transporting, and selling goods. However as you do so you often get involved in the issues of the localities you visit and through choices you are given can effect the outcome of events.

Some shots;



I hope you'll try the game. I did and I hope you enjoy it as much.

Caravaneer

I personally thank NMA news reporter Tannhauser for supplying the pictures and more importantly Craig "Malignus" Stern of SinisterDesign.net for dropping the news about this game.

Sincerely,
The Vault Dweller

Posted by Tannhauser - at 1:26

Glutton Creeper Games has been unable to make progress with Bethesda since GCG's permission to use the Fallout setting was revoked. They have posted an update to their status, as well as their plans to convert their work thus far to a generic post-apocalyptic d20 setting.

June 6 ,2007: Our lawyer recieved a nice letter from ZeniMax's law firm, stating we had 2 days to remove any references promoting a Fallout PnP from our website, and they do not have any business with GCG since they own all media right to Fallout in any form and do not wish to do business with GCG in any manner. Also they still calm Interplay never had any rights to license a PNP game to us, refusing to give us prove of their claim, and that Interplay should be the target of our laywer and not them. Interplay has been silent on this matter so far.

So for now, Fallout PnP is being converted into a generic Post-Apocalyptic d20 that is suitable for any Post-Apocalypse setting. Use our storyline we are adding or just the general rules and add your own. We will still include the paranoia of WW2 and the Cold War, along with the 50' science fiction / comic book humor, and world events into our products, as these cannot be claimed as IP.
Link: GCG's 'Post-Apocalyptic d20' page.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 1:13

The developers of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. have launched an official mod portal as a resource for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. modding community.

Here comes some good news to the modders of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: we are happy to announce the launch of official web-site to support the mod-making!

With the just launched MOD portal of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. you can locate all the necessary SDK information, download or upload your MODs, post themed articles, get assistance from the development team etc.

Welcome in everyone to our MOD portal!
A nice idea, hope it proves useful.

Link: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl MOD portal.

News for Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 23:18

A recent flurry of BioShock news is here summed up, put off briefly because of Fallout 3 trailer.

The Cult of Rapture has a new podcast, the seventh in their series, focused on the computer animation of BioShock. It features Shawn Robertson, Lead Animator, and Grant Chang, Animator.
Link: Episode Seven: Inside the Animations.

Gamers With Jobs has an interesting article about Ken Levine and BioShock, declaring it "Levine's magnum opus."
Link: BioShock perspective.

Jörg Langer has a new interview with Ed Orman, lead designer of the PC version of BioShock at Irrational Games Australia. While mostly treading old ground on various aspects of BioShock, Ed does elaberate on the differences between the two versions.

Jörg: Concerning the two versions of the game, for Xbox 360 and PC: With console shooters, you always have the issue of being limited in your aiming, because pointing with a game pad just doesn’t equal pointing with a mouse. So have you (that is: Ken Levine’s team in USA) made the game easier for the Xbox 360, are there less opponents, or are they weaker, slower?

Ed Orman: There are very substantial gameplay differences between the two versions. Look, our heritage is PC. We’ve taken the differences between the two platforms very seriously. We look at history, we look at other PC/console games like Deus Ex 2. We realized that you need to treat them differently. Not only in terms of the balance, but also in the interface. We have a very different interface for the PC version of Bioshock, using much more drag and drop functionality. In terms of the gameplay, we’ve rebalanced all of the enemies to make the PC version harder. We’ve taken Softlock out of the PC version. You need this “locking on” with a console, because it’s so much harder to aim at something with a game pad, but you don’t need it on a PC. But of course, the Xbox 360 version still is the lead version of Bioshock.
Link: Ed Orman interview.

Finally, The Cult of Rapture has released images of the box art of the game.
Link: Box art of BioShock.

Posted by Brother None - at 15:41

I know, the last one ran for only 15 days, but nobody liked it. "Your thoughts after Van Buren tech demo?" were mostly positive, 1028 thought it would have been great, 309 thought Van Buren look like the right kind of 3D Fallout, 685 thought realtime combat in Fallout sucks. 193 thought the game would be terrible, 113 thought the realtime combat rocked. 269 people thought it looked wrong in 3D, which is quite close to how many thought it looked right (309). Also, more people disliked Sawyer's SPECIAL (73) than liked it (64).

On to more interesting topics: thoughts on Bethesda's teaser, concept art. Does it rock? Does it suck? Is it just hype? Let us know.

News for Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Posted by Silencer - at 23:02

With every silver-lined cloud there comes a bit of acid rain, and GameInformer revealed today that Fallout 3 is also going to be a PlayStation 3 product.

With the trailer arriving today, we felt it would be rather fitting to announce our July cover. We're blowing the lid off of one of the most anticipated returns of a franchise - Fallout 3. We bring you inside Bethesda and give you the first details about this post-apocalyptic open-ended RPG that's hitting the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2008.
Stand by for their June issue.

Link: Game Informer's July Cover Revealed!

Thanks to pnutz and our anonymous informers.

Posted by Sander - at 18:46

Bethesda has finally released the first teaser trailer for Fallout 3, revealing that the game will be released come Fall 2008.

Pete Hines commented on the video at Voodoo Extreme:

1) Yes, that's in-engine (in-engine means it's done with game assets in our rendering engine, but isn't done real-time. If it was done in real-time, that'd be gameplay footage. This isn't something, for example, that was sent to some house [e.g. Blue Studios] so they could build assets and render it out, and create something for us to release [e.g. Dawn of War 40K intro cinematic]). 2) Yes, that's The Ink Spots singing "I Don't Want to Set the World On Fire" 3) Yes, that's Ron Perlman [voiceover man extraordinaire of Fallout 1 and 2
He also responded to inquires by Duck and Cover:
Pete Hines has graciously confirmed to DAC that the recording of Ron Perlman in the Fallout 3 Teaser Trailer is, in fact, brand new. He recorded it specifically for Bethesda.

In addition, when asked about the release of more information, Pete had this to say:
Still slow for a while, but not long now. We aren't planning to fill in any more blanks for the time being.
Thanks, King of Creation.

Links:
NMA YouTube link
NMA 3D Downloads Link
Official Fallout 3 Website

Fileshack mirror
Fileplanet HD mirror
Voodoo Extreme mirror
Filefront link
Gamevideos link
Gamershell mirror

Digg!

Posted by Tannhauser - at 9:03

As a teaser to the teaser, the official Fallout 3 website now features the familiar Indian Head test pattern.


The countdown and music have been removed, leaving only this image leading to the immanent release of the trailer.

News for Friday, June 1, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 17:18

Thanks to Ausir, we have another profile lined up for you people. This time it's Tony Postma, Fallout's conceptual artist:

On Fallout 1 (and to a lesser extent, 2) I was strictly involved in the conceptual design of the look and feel, particularly the user interface. The team already had an idea of using retro-atom age imagery and objects, so I kept my concepts in that vein. I really wanted the interface to look and function like a "real" device, so I researched and imagined it to be like some computer or car stereo with a removable face plate but with 1950' vacuum tubes, bakelite plastics and glass CRT's. I also came up with the idea that the maps would be from found objects like postcards and period signage picked up from the sands of the desert
(...)
What specifically inspired Fallout for you? What were the biggest influences?

Urban and Sub-urban America of the 40'-50's....the cars, the signage, the art, the architecture...all of it. I already had a few books with photos and documentation of the period. Also the comic books "Big Guy and Rusty, the Boy Robot" and "Mister X" by Dean Motter help with the machinery and the mood.
Link: Fallout Developers Profile - Tony Postma

Posted by Silencer - at 9:25

alec sent us this cool article, which is a must-read for anyone who refers to that little guy on the character screen as "Pip Boy", as well as all interested in the research behind him.


All self-respecting Fallout fans know and love this character, but it is amazing how few of them actually know its correct name. Most of them wrongfully refer to him as Pip Boy, so let me make it clear to you for once and for all: the above mascot is called Vault Boy. That’s not only the name Leonard Boyarsky gave him, it’s also the only name that makes sense.



When you watch the intro movie of Fallout closely, you will notice that Boyarsky’s mascot is associated with The Vault Of The Future franchise. The Vaults (and some of the Vault equipment like the G.E.C.K.) are Vault Tec "products" - Vault Tec being only one of a number of corporations in the Fallout universe. In the intro movie of Fallout 2, the little fellow in the Vault jumpsuit features yet again in a Vault Tec Production: a promotional movie about leaving the Vault. Seeing that the manuals are Vault Tec publications as well, it should begin to dawn on you that the little blond fella in the Vault jumpsuit is simply the mascot of the whole Vault Tec franchise. Hence the name: Vault Boy. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Boys will be boys, respectively. I invite you to read the entire article.

Link: On the origins of Vault Boy oraz Pip Boy

Thanks alec!