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News for Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 23:33

RPG Codex member Jedi_Learner has posted an Age of Decadence Unofficial FAQ on the RPG Codex forums. He has collected the statements of Vince D. Weller, head of Iron Tower Studios, on various aspects of the game. A brief selection of questions and answers:

Q: What is Age of Decadence?
A: "...Age of Decadence is an isometric, turn-based, single-player 3D role-playing game set in a low magic, post-apocalyptic fantasy world, inspired by the fall of the Roman Empire. The game features a detailed skill-based character system, non-linear gameplay, multiple skill-based ways to handle quests, choices & consequences, and extensive dialogue trees." (Ref)

Q: Will there be a demo?
A: "Of course. It's an indie game. You download the demo, play a bit (one town, 20+ quests), and if you like what you see, then and only then you purchase the game." - (June 23, 2007) (Ref)

Q: How much will Age of Decadence cost? Will there be a collector's edition?
A: "$25 direct download, $50 for a box (proper full color box, full color manual with concept art , jewel case CD) plus shipping." - (June 24, 2007) (Ref)

Q: How long will Age of Decadence take to complete?
A: "I'd say it's similar to the length of Fallout 1. The rest depends on how you'd play the game." - ( June 1, 2006) (Ref)

Q: What classes/professions are available?
A: There are seven different characters to choose from when you begin. You can find a detailed description of each class here.

Q: How many quests are there? How many locations are there and what will they be?
A: "Over 100 quests, taking you to 22 locations: towns, outposts, archeological digs, sealed places of Power, underground facilities, and temples." (Ref)

Q: At the end of the game, will there be a summary of my actions?
A: "Yes, there will be a very detailed (locations, factions, NPCs) summary of your actions." - (February 6, 2007) (Ref)
It is a valuable resource for anyone who hasn't been following Age of Decadence closely and wants to learn more.

Link: Age of Decadence Unofficial FAQ (Version 1.1).

Posted by Brother None - at 22:23

Gamespot has a blogpost up on the frontpage, under user soapbox, fulminating against internet tough guys that bully those that don´t agree with them. Fallout 3 makes a good example:

Its been a pretty nasty time of late for anyone who has dared to speak out in support of Bethseda having the Fallout license. The rabid Fallout fans are coming out from their dank warrens and clogging the tubes with their proselytising. Something Awful recently featured No Mutants Allowed, showcasing great examples of humanity such as the guy who slapped his (now ex-) girlfriend for asking what was so special about Fallout and the multiple cases of people threatening suicide if the game is released and threating others who dare to speak out about the game in a manner other than: "It's going to totally suck! It's not turn based, isometric or sprite based! THIS ISN'T REALLY FALLOUT!" [interestingly, the editorial fails to mention the poster was told off by two other posters and given a warning for his behaviour - NMA]. Game journalists have apparently been receiving mountains of abuse any time they dare to preview the game or say something positive about it.
(...)
Is it wrong of me to say that the East Coast could make a great setting for a game that has previously inhabited the area West of Chicago? Or how about to say that the V.A.T.S. combat concept has great potential not just for Fallout, but as a potential system for returning that level of detail to the RPG genre when it is travelling down the first-person path? How about getting those lynch mobs ready - because I think that the First Person perspective offers us a great opportunity to see the world of Fallout as we never have before? Now - this is where you guys at NMA can threaten to slit my throat, because damnit, its a Fallout game, and if it just so happens to reinvigorate interest in that IP, then that's good, even though it might mean that you guys have to suddenly cope with a new group of people experiencing the source of a decade's worth of your wet dreams.
Wait? So it's just "you guys at NMA" who've been upset? DaC, the Codex, international Fallout sites, forums with negative reactions like GameFAQS/Bethesda Forums...are all NMA? Wow, I had no idea we were that big...

As for the article, I do not recall weemadando ever posting here. If his research is limited to a joke article by Something Awful, no matter how funny it is, I'm having a hard time taking him seriously.

Wait, I forgot, I'm an internet tough guy..."Braaah, different opinion bad, NMA smash!" There, I've reinforced your stereotype for ya, hope that satisfies. Interesting, tho', it seems to me like weemadando is vilifying a group of people for not agreeing with him. He's calling us all internet tough guys, based only on a difference of opinion. Isn't that the behaviour he's advocating against?

Link: Internets, the land of stupid. on Gamespot.

Thanks Black and Starwars.

Posted by Brother None - at 3:51

Briosafreak reports of a pretty fascinating nonfiction book:

In The World Without Us, author Alan Weisman takes an irresistible concept: How our planet would respond without the relentless pressure of the human pressure. Breathtaking in scope and filled with fascinating detail, this is narrative nonfiction at its finest that will change the way you view our world - and your place within it.
Link: The World Without Us website
Link: The World Without Us art and videos

Posted by Brother None - at 0:50

Briosafreak made the effort to gather all of Ron Burke's answers given to questions concerning Fallout 3 here and on the Bethesda forums:

Link: Gamingtrend Q&A part I
Link: Gamingtrend Q&A part II
Link: Gamingtrend Q&A part III
Link: Gamingtrend Q&A part IV
Link: Gamingtrend Q&A part V

News for Monday, July 30, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 20:19

RPGVault has put up its second sneak peek of indie post-apoc turn-based RPG Age of Decadence. After an always much-loved ribbing and mocking of Vince D. Weller of the gaming industry and all it stands for, we move on to the game's features:

Speaking of armor, in The Age of Decadence, it doesn't increase your chance to avoid attacks. That's what the Dodge and Block skills are for. Armor absorbs the incoming damage when you failed to dodge or block successfully. Light armor absorbs only a few points, but doesn't limit your mobility, manifested in Action Points and Dodge. Heavy armor absorbs quite a lot, but it does limit your mobility, and can even make you easier to hit, so you must consider carefully what your fighting style is, and choose your equipment accordingly. Going for the heaviest armor and the biggest weapon may not be such a good idea.

Here is a brief overview of the combat system:

- It's based on action points. If you have nine AP per turn, for example, you can either attack once with a seven-AP attack, three times with a three-AP attack, or twice with a five-AP plus a four-AP attack. That gives you a huge degree of versatility and control, and adds a tactical element.

- Eight weapon types. Each has its own unique passive trait. Daggers can bypass armor, hammers can knock your opponent down, spears could be used to interrupt your opponents' attacks, and so on. Your success depends on your weapon skills. Getting within striking distance to a spearmaster would be very, very hard.

- Different attack options. Fast, regular, power, four aimed attacks with different properties, and special attacks like whirlwind. Fast attacks cause less damage, cost one AP less, and give you a to-hit bonus. They work great against fast, lightly armored opponents. Power attacks cause a lot more damage, but cost one AP more, and are easier to avoid. They are very effective against slow, heavy armored opponents.
The sneak peek also includes 7 never-before-seen screenshots and an exclusive video of AoD's combat in action. Also, NMA has kept its gallery of AoD screenshots up to date, be sure to take a look at the new UI and combat screenshots.

Link: The Age of Decadence Sneak Peek #2 on RPGVault.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:10

Now that Glutton Creeper's Fallout d20 is canceled, Jason Mical re-released his old Fallout PnP. His post contains a long post about how we should all be nicer about Fallout 3, ending with this:

So, fellow Fallout fans, I contacted my friend Ausir who runs the Vault. Although I've toyed with the idea of working on a new version of the Fallout PnP, unless it was a paying gig I couldn't justify the time. Mercenary I know, but them's the shakes these days. So I turned over all my PnP materials to Ausir to convert to a Wiki, and the result is this: the Fallout PnP game Wiki, completely open-source and available to the fans to edit, take apart, restructure, correct, and change as they see fit. It's not complete yet, and Ausir has some materials I don't have, but I encourage everyone to check it out.

Additionally, as I have been asked for these on several occasions, I zipped up the last version of the document I worked on along with all other Fallout PnP-related items I could find and uploaded them to my website. Get that file here. Ausir promises me that a larger, updated .zip with more materials will be available on the Wiki soon, at which point I'll either mirror that file or simply take mine down (but I'll update when I do.)

The resources in this .zip:

* Fallout PnP "Unlimited" (a never-released, partially completed revision) .doc format
* Psionics rules, .doc format
* Great Wastes sourcebook, .doc format
* The Enclave 2.0 sourcebook, .PDF format
* Tribes sourcebook, .PDF format
* Waterworld total conversion, .txt format
Link: post on Jason Mical blog.
Link: Jason Mical's PnP (NMA mirror).

Thanks Ausir.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 17:12

Jörg Langer has posted a full English translation of the E3 interview he conducted for golem.de with Bethesda's Pete Hines.

Jörg: Why did you choose to do the game in 3D? Was is just inevitable considering you’ve did Oblivion before that?

Pete Hines: Certainly the technology we had and could build on was a factor. But ultimately, as fans of the series, we were very intrigued to immerse you in this world. And what is a better way of immersing you in this universe than first person, where you don’t see things in an abstract way, where you can walk up to stuff and touch it? There’s this chair which was like 4 pixels in the original Fallout, and now it’s there, it’s got a surface, you can sit in there!

Jörg: But what if the old Fallout fans do not like it? Won’t they look for the isometric top-down-view instead of Gears of War?

Pete Hines: There are lots of Fallout fans. I’m a Fallout fan! I am personally interested in another game set in that universe, that is true to the kind of game experience that the first two titles provided! I’m not married to the perspective, I’m not married to whether combat is turn based or real time or a sort of hybrid. If you’re someone that believes it has to be isometric and turn based, then you’ll probably be unhappy. But if you’re interested in another game in that great, rich universe, that has great texture and tone and characters, then hopefully Fallout 3 will be something which will resonate with you. At the end of the day, we can’t make a game that’s all things to all people.

Jörg: And of course you want to sell some numbers which would hardly be possible with an old school tactical game.

Pete Hines: Probably not. But we really felt 3D was the best thing to go for, was the best for the Fallout experience. Because I’m really in this world, I’m really doing this, instead of just looking at those characters down there.
Interestingly, this interview asks much tougher, and more in-depth, questions than is usual; it is well worth reading.

Link: Pete Hines: Fallout 3 at Jörg Spielt.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:20

Lisac2k strikes again, with a spiritual sequel to Beth the old hag, the Vault Rats mod:

This is a small mod cosisting of one map, 9 NPCs, 3 main quests and bunch of references to... Well, to many issues (check out the List of Features for
more info). The idea came from the numerous previews of Fallout 3, which is currently in production, that struck the Fallout Fans who were eagerly waiting for the worthy sequel of their favourite game franchise for more than 10 years.

On the other hand, the mod has been made as a "from modders for modders" project, which should provide better overview in what way the Fallout 2 game can be modded and how a new, small mod can be released in just a few weeks (it took me less than two weeks to make this one). The script sources have been included, though I hadn't enough time to optimise them, so there's probably parts which are hard to understand. Nonetheless, I hope some of this mod's features will find their way into other mods, or at least sparkle a few of new ideas.

Link: Fallout 2 mod: Vault Rats.

News for Friday, July 27, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 23:32

Silver Rose Studios, an Oblivion modding community, has interviewed Joel Burgess, lead level designer of Fallout 3. While much of the interview is naturally focused on Oblivion, for which Joel was level designer, there are some general questions about him personally and one question on the editor for Fallout 3.

Does fallout 3 use a similar editor to tescs? (abe)
Yes, we're using a new version of the CS that is similar to the one for Oblivion. There are a lot of new systems and tools like pathing, scripting, and optimization. We may or may not release mod tools for Fallout 3. We’d like to, but it’s a lot of work to get an editor ready for release and right now we have our full resources focused on making the game.

What other jobs have you had in the past? (abe)
I was a level designer at Terminal Reality, where I worked on Bloodrayne 2, Aeon Flux, and briefly on the unreleased Demonik. Before that I worked for an online game startup that ultimately fizzled, and on a location-based educational game for the University of Central Florida that was exhibited at the Orlando Science Center.

do you put in a lot of overtime to get the bethesda productions done? (abe)
Yeah, I put in the hours when they're needed. Luckily, through good management and planning, there's not the dreaded death-march-crunch that's the subject of so many game industry horror stories. I once worked three days straight, sleeping under my desk to get a game done on time. Here I'm producing better work, for better games, and my life's quality doesn't suffer.
Link: Interview With Joel Burgess: Results, Dragonfire Castle confirmed?

Spotted on the Bethesda blog.

Posted by Brother None - at 9:51

The German magazine Gamestar previewed Fallout 3. Our German users were kind enough to supply some choice quotes:

That's tradition:
-The character system called S.P.E.C.I.A.L. is taken in without changes.
-The 50s style including the music.
-The talent and dialog system.
-The Pip Boy is back, with new additional functions.
-A lot of enemies (for example the Rad-Scorpions), known fractions (like Enclave, Brotherhood of Steel), weapons (for example laser and plasma guns).
-Player can be good or evil. This decision will influence the end of the game.

That's new:
-Fallout 3 will be played in first person or third person view.
-The fight system is action oriented. As alternative there is the tactical V.A.T.S variant.
-The whole world is continuous. The map of the predecessors is gone.
-There are no controllable vehicles like in Fallout2.
(...)
Fallout 3 works on two clear examples, on which this new episode will orientate in content and atmosphe, the original Fallout-series and Beth's previous game Oblivion, which is the base for most of the innovations. On the positive sides, this means that strengths of Oblivion, like a huge coherent environment will be transferred onto Fallout. Also the 'Radiant AI' interaction system between the city inhabitants will be used again, though improved, so that the dialogue of pedestrians will correlate more with what is happening in the world. The visual presentation of the faces has already been drastically improved; instead of puffy visages of Oblivion the Fallout-people will now have clearly drawn, realistically appearing visages. However the Oblivion engine is still suffering from it's old weaknesses. Buildings are still not seamlessly integrated into the world; when moving from a exterior into an interior, there's still a reloading [of data]. The greatness of it's long visibility is still paid by the textures quickly becoming muddy, at least on the version shown at E3. Bethesda is planing on alleviating the autoscaling of the enemies, which made all enemies in Oblivion equally strong. According to plans each region in Fallout 3 will have a certain degree of difficulty. If someone goes into certain regions too early, which are not destined for him, he will stand no chance.

Avoid the Radiation!
By all appearances Bethesda is managing fine building up the atmosphere of the game. The darkly humorous 50s style can be found, transferred into Fallout 3 with love for the detail. Onto dilapidated streets are wrecked nuclear-powered classic cars standing, which will explode into mini mushroom clouds when coming under fire and then radiate the it surroundings. Attached on your left arm is the PipBoy3000, the legendary computer of the series, of which Todd Howard, lead designer of the game claimed it has "more graphic shaders, than in the whole Oblivion". The assistant will show information about your surroundings and information about your character.
The dialogue system matches the original one; your talents still affect which dialogue options you can choose. For every quest there will be a good and a bad solution. Matching the tradition the new Fallout will be very brutal. Enemies can be mutilated, at headshots, heads will explode into a shower of blood. It's more then questionable if this will make into the German version. - CS
(...)
>Viewed >Genre: RPG >Date: 3 quarter 2008
>Developer Bethesda >Status: 50% done
Christian Schmidt: I came out of the E3 presentation with mixed feelings. Will Fallout 3 be a good game? Yes, it seems it will be, at least if you liked Oblivion. Will it become a good game for fallout fans? I don't know. I don't care about the FPP, the loss of turn-based combat and companions however hurts a lot. But still I'm full of hope, because the atmosphere is fantastic.
Christian@gamestar.de
Thanks deckard and Bad_Karma.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 2:22

PC Zone has a posted a short preview of Fallout 3:

The game is causing the expected grumbling in the Fallout community, but for my part, I certainly didn't expect so many of the hallmarks of Fallout's gameplay to be returning. The SPECIAL system remains with its perks and traits.

The gore remains. A robust 'karma' morality system remains. The PipBoy remains, now in its 3000 model, with familiar quest and record-management duties.

Most interestingly, though, the action points formerly found in Fallout's turn-based combat remain - now twisted and used in combat that's halfway between stop-start shootage and real-time. You can blast away from your FPS or over-the-shoulder viewpoint, but also freeze the skirmish and spend your action points by choosing different body parts to fire at - each with a certain percentage chance of success. It's still Fallout, but a Fallout adapted to better suit our tastes and times.
Somewhat interestingly, the purpose of this preview apparently isn't to inform, but to simply praise the game.

Link: Fallout 3 PC Zone preview on the CVG network.

Spotted at RPGCodex.

News for Thursday, July 26, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 19:52

Tim Cain comments on Fallout 3...or doesn't he?

Hey Brendon, I'm not commenting on the Fallout 3 game. Since it's been almost ten years since I worked on the original games, I am not sure I am even in a position to accurately review it. Besides, the end of Troika marked the end of my public career. I will still make games, but I will let other people market, demo and otherwise shout their goodness into the airwaves.

Rest assured that I plan to play Fallout 3 when it comes out. I am as expectant as any fan, but I am going to reserve comment and judgment until I can play the finished game.
Link: Tim Cain speaks on Fallout 3.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:47

SeanMike, author of this preview on Fallout 3, shared some thoughts on sequels in his personal blog. After discussing true and rote sequels, he moves on to re-imagining sequels:

These are the ones that when they get called a sequel they, in my opinion, often hurt the industry. The reason is that it confuses the fans and increases the disconnect between the developers and players unless it’s done in a very clear, dramatic fashion.

Fallout can make a good example of this. Fallout Tactics was quite a different game than Fallout 2. This was clear from the get-go, and while there may have been complaints about the gameplay in Fallout Tactics, it typically wasn’t that “it’s so different than Fallout 2!”

(At least, generally. The more fanatical of fans will find something to complain about in any kind of sequel of this manner, but most development companies can count on them to complain no matter what, and typically to buy the game no matter what.)

On the other hand, Fallout 3 is being called a sequel to Fallouts 1 and 2, and I think that’s a disservice to the games. While, technically, it is a sequel to the Fallout RPGs, it’s not a direct sequel. It’s set in a different area, with different characters, a different time, a different engine and a different style of RPG gameplay.

That’s what I feel like is causing a lot of the issues amongst the Fallout community right now. When you change something as minor as the type of engine some kind of car had in a game that you’re calling a direct sequel, you’re forcing either a ret-con (a retroactive change to continuity) in the original, usually beloved, game, or you’re doing something wrong.

On the other hand, if the game had come out as just “Fallout”, and Bethesda had said “Hey, we’re starting from the beginning and re-imagining the game in a number of ways” – well, the more die-hard fanatical fans will still complain, because they want the game they’ve always dreamed of (and aren’t going to get unless they can program themselves, because everyone wants something slightly differently and the company is looking for something that will sell the most among the population in general, not just the fans of the previous games). However, changing the engine of the cars, or the location of the Vault, or what have you, won’t matter so much, because it’s a similar, yet subtly different world.
"Fallout" might not be a good choice, much like the new Superman and Batman were called Returns and Begins. Fallout: nuclear style or the like would've worked to identify it as not a direct sequel, tho'. Thoughts?

Link: SeanMike's blog: Sequels and You.

Thanks, Briosafreak.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:08

And it's a big one:

SPOnG: What’s the whole deal with rabid Fallout fanboys desperately worried that Fallout 3 is not going to be a proper RPG?

Pete Hines: Well, at its core Fallout 3 is definitely a role-playing game. If you are of the opinion that any Fallout RPG has to be exactly like the games that came out in 1997 and 1998 down to every feature and detail, that’s definitely not the game we are making. We are trying to make a true successor in the Fallout franchise, something that is a true role-playing game that immerses you in this world, and hopefully brings out the best of what that series is about – which is great tone and setting and themes and characters and player choice… You know, it’s a really interesting, special role-playing system.

If folks are interested in a new Fallout game (as opposed to being slavishly interested in a specific list of demands relating to Fallout or Fallout2); or [they] are just interested in role-playing in general but may not have played the original games; or they are just looking for the next big RPG or the next big RPG coming from Bethesda… we certainly hope all of those folks are interested in what we are up to with Fallout 3.

SPOnG: I suppose the mere fact that there are still ardent Fallout fans out there speaks volumes for the enduring quality of the first games.

Pete Hines: Yeah, not just the quality, but how different the original games were for their time, you know? They really broke the mould of all of the classical fantasy stuff being done around that time.

Bethesda had just put out Daggerfall around that time (1996) for example. Fallout really cut against the fantasy grain and did some pretty unique things: with full facial animations, lip-syncing and that kind of thing. It definitely resonated and has stuck with folks – both rabid and non-rabid; both those who have talked about it every day of their lives since it first came out, and those who just really liked it and can’t wait to play another one.

(...)

SPOnG: One of the features in Fallout 3 that really stands out is V.A.T.S. (Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System) – can you explain how this works?

Pete Hines: V.A.T.S. was really born out of a desire to make the game work best as a first-person game – remember that the original games were third-person with turn-based combat. We feel that first-person is the most immersive way to put a player in a world. However, at the same time we wanted something that stayed as true as possible to role-playing. We don’t want something that rewards the ‘quick-twitch’ FPS player. We’re not trying to reward players who are good at Call of Duty or Halo or whatever.

We want the skills and abilities of your character to determine success or failure. So, one of the things we’ve included is this V.A.T.S. mode allows you to stop time and queue up moves for your character to implement, in almost a compressed time mode. And then we play it out in a cinematic fashion.
Link: Pete Hines interview on SPOnG.

Thanks Briosafreak.

News for Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 19:31

On our forums, Slicerdicer let us know about another Fallout 3 swag auction, this time featuring one of the promotional Vault 101 t-shirts Bethesda was giving away at E3. You can see various Bethesda developers wearing this design in our Fallout 3 gallery.

Link: Fallout 3 t-shirt on eBay.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:29

Bethesda Blog features Fallout 3 developer Alan Nanes:

What have you drawn on for inspiration in developing Fallout 3?

It would be easy for me to say I immediately ran to my DVD collection and threw Road Warrior or Six-String Samurai in, but this isn’t the case. I decided to draw my inspiration from the original source: the old Fallout games themselves (specifically Fallout 1 & 2). I wanted to make sure I replayed them and understood what the original developers were trying to bring to the table. I hadn’t actually fired the games up in years, so it was great to rediscover them all over again.

This doesn’t mean that visuals from other movies or games never entered my mind. Films like Children of Men, Delicatessen, Escape from New York, 12 Monkeys and Soylent Green and games such as Bad Blood, Autoduel and Wasteland all provided interesting backdrops from which ideas began springing forth. Honestly though, Emil Pagliarulo himself was a great inspiration. His genuine love of the source material is evident in every write-up and synopsis he gives us.

What is your favorite type of game to play?

My favorite games to play are RPGs. I like experiencing the entire spectrum and playing whatever I’m in the mood for. I’ve spent quite a bit of time playing all sorts of them… from serious PC RPGs like Baldur’s Gate to action RPGs like Champions of Norrath. I’ve been playing these games for a very long time. I still fondly remember playing the SSI Gold Box AD&D games on my trusty Amiga 500. Ok, I also admit I’m a devoted World of Warcraft player. There, you happy now?

How long have you been playing Fallout?

I’ve been experiencing Fallout ever since the games were released. As I had mentioned before, there was definitely a gap of time where they were packed in boxes and sat idle, but were never forgotten. The day I heard we were going to be actually developing a Fallout title was the day I cracked those boxes open again.

One of the things I always admired about Fallout, especially the first one, was that choices really meant something. It wasn’t just disguised dialog that funneled you to the same plot point. They made a concerted effort to make the game change depending on how YOU wanted to play. Your actions shaped the world and yet you still remained in sight of your final goal (well all the while you had a blast doing it). I hope to bring this same feeling to Fallout 3.
Link: Inside the Vault - Alan Nanes

Posted by Brother None - at 9:11

Getting that itch in his fingers again, NMA's Brother None wrote an article entitled The Rybicki Maneuver: When to praise and when to criticize: a how-to guide:

Morrowind just laid the groundworks for Oblivion or Oblivion loses out to Morrowind on the basis of being more action-orientated? It can't be both, so what causes the difference in opinion between these two pieces?

And there we arrive at the central point of this article; the Rybicki Maneuver. In short the maneuver means that as long as your opinion on the product actually matters towards the game's sales, don't be too critical. The moment criticism doesn't matter anymore or, even better, criticism can be used to say "they won't do this again", do a 180 and suddenly claim the flaws you didn't mention in your review should be obvious to anyone.
Read and discuss.

Link: The Rybicki Maneuver: When to praise and when to criticize: a how-to guide.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:28

Major online comic Ctrl-Alt-Del is running by his $.02 on Fallout 3 in this comic, to the extent of "I can't wait for it." Tim Buckley doesn't share any further thoughts on the topic in CAD's news section, though he noted this in reaction to the teaser:

Fallout has been my favorite game series for the past 10 years. It was the first game I bought myself when I saved up all my tips from waiting tables in high school and bought myself my first computer. I've given countless hours of my life over to the Vault, through Fallout 1, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics (yes, I loved Fallout Tactics).

I have intently followed the up and down roller coaster production of Fallout 3 for years, from it's near-death at Interplay due to bankruptcy, to it's revival a couple of years back when Bethesda bought the rights. If the game manages to maintain the style and sense of humor from the previous games by Black Isle, then that's all I need. I really don't care which camera perspective they use.
Thanks Stag.

Posted by Brother None - at 3:06

Xbox Evolved put up a video interview with Emil Pagiarulo, which is basically an amalgamation of interviews we've seen before (it contains all of the SC interview, for instance).

Link: Xbox Evolved Emil Pagiarulo video interview. Note: the encoding is currently broken so the video cuts of after 10 minutes. We'll leave a note when they fix it.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:54

Firing Squad:

The game is supposed to have your father disappear and you are supposed to go find him. For E3 demo reasons we skipped this event and proceeded over to the vault entrance, encountering a funny robot who sounded a bit like Monty Python's Graham Chapman (right down to the "stupid git" farewell we got from him). It's clear from this standpoint and other aspects of the demo that Fallout 3 will indeed have a lot of humor like the first two games had which is certainly encouraging for long time Fallout fans. Anyway, we got the code to open the vault and in a rather long sequence we saw the massive door open and we walked through to the outside.
(...)
Yes, some Fallout fans will likely be upset that the game is designed as a first person title and is set on the East Coast but that's nitpicking in our eyes. The real test of Fallout 3 will be if the game keeps the humorous spirit of the top down first two Fallout games with the high end graphics and immersive gameplay that the new developer plans to bring to the table. The E3 demo was way too brief to put a definite answer to that question but we certainly will be keeping an eye on the game in the many months before its scheduled shipment to stores.
We must've really missed the memo that Fallout was only about its humor, and that it's humor was Pythonesque. Grrlgamer:
A bit like in Oblivion, NPCs react to you according to your conversation choices. But there are speech challenges. At certain times you have to influence NPCs to tell you things you need to know. The higher your speech skill, the better the percentage of success, which is shown.
Link: E3 2007: Fallout 3 Impressions at Firing Squad.
Link: E3 2007: Fallout 3 at Grrlgamer.

Spotted on Gamebanshee.

News for Monday, July 23, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 3:47

Sam Redfern, of the multiplayer turn-based vehicular game Darkwind, let us know that in-game yearly league has turned over.

Just a quick note that might be of interest to your readers:

The leagues for the year 2041 have been completed in Darkwind, and the 2042 leagues (race, deathrace, combat) have started. This is a good time to get into the action and have a fighting chance of achieving league honours.

Each game year runs for 12 weeks.
If you are interested in learning more about Darkwind, the frontpage of the official website has been updated with a thorough description of the game, and boasts additional screenshots.


Link: Darkwind.

News for Sunday, July 22, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 22:08

Glutton Creeper announces:

Greeting NMA, we would like you give you the lowdown on the converted Fallout PnP: d20 project. Since Bethesda is stonewalling our license to Fallout PnP products (4 total), and Interplay has assured us that they have done everything in their power to oblige our contract, but Bethesda is preventing them from honoring the license with the same cease and desist order. We have agreed with Bethesda to cease the production of the Fallout PnP series and are seeking restitution from Interplay for our losses, but this chapter of the battle is not finished.

After 4 months of addition work, we have converted the first of the four Fallout PnP products to our new line of Post Apocalypse Role-Playing titled “Exodus”. This title was stumbled upon when we researching apocalyptic prophecies. Thus out of the ruins of Fallout, Exodus was born, a new era of man returning to a world he left destroyed in the December of 2012.

The Exodus Survivor’s Guide is the first of two books that will see the printer in this line. The other will combine two of the other cancelled and convert Fallout PnP products titled Exodus Overseer’s and Campaign Guide. This will take a lot longer to replace the Fallout IP with the Exodus IP, as it contains more than the Survivor’s Guide, but will be worth the wait.

The Exodus Survivors’ Guide contains the information that is necessary to create an Exodus character in the wasteland of new humanity set in the mid 2030’s. This guide details character creation to include humans and the two Trans-Gen Mutant races, wasteland backgrounds, character traits, and the d20 Modern staples of talents, skills, and feats (with a host of new skills and feats). Our custom class is a new feature that allows a character to build a d20 modern character without the class limitations presented in d20 modern. This guide also contains the d20 modern SRD for easy reference, new equipment (to include wasteland tech and chemicals), additional combat rules (such as advanced grappling and targeted hit locations) and wasteland advanced classes. Finally a brief overlay of southwest states and the organizations and factions within are included to enhance the character creation process, as well as a pre-reference appendix to classify the history of companies that created items that are found in this guide.
Link: Glutton Creeper's vastly improved website: Exodus.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 5:58

Ron Burke, who wrote one of the better previews of the E3 Fallout 3 demo, has been answering Fallout 3 questions on the Bethesda Game Studios Forums.

The behemoth creature - how huge and did he 'break' that house as he came into view or was that coincidence?
I was furiously typing and didn't see if he busted the building. Given some of the new tech in the engine though, I wouldn't doubt it. If I recall correctly I'd estimate he was 30+ feet tall.

We know that we can tune in to old songs with the PIPboy, but how was the soundtrack outside of that? Was it ambient electronic like the older games, or perhaps orchestral?
We only heard a few songs. If I recall correctly, there was an orchestral track when we went into town, but I'm not 100% sure. The combat music was upbeat but not electronic. I talked about the licensed tracks above.

Was the encounter with the brotherhood soldiers realistic? How did the soldiers move and act etc?
They took cover, displaced, and popped over the walls to fire at the enemies. It was likely scripted, but it looked good. Certainly better than the "Rush forward and be slain!" AI moments in Oblivion.

Do you know if there is any Oblivion style "quest compass" in place?
Ooooh...Good question! I'll have to follow up. I seem to recall their being a HUD of sorts in the bottom right that had several arrows on a compass. I'll have to consult my hastily scribbled notes and/or ask the developers for the answer on that one.
If you have any lingering questions about Fallout 3 that might have been answered in the demo, here is a chance to have them answered.

Link: "I was at the demo - questions?" thread at the BSGF.

News for Saturday, July 21, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 23:17

The last bit of relevant plaudits, methinks, is the ever-important IGN awards, where Fallout 3 won Best RPG, Best Console Game and Game of the Show and BioShock won Best Artistic Design and Best PC Game.

Link: IGN Fallout 3 Best of the Show.

Thanks Briosafreak.

Posted by Brother None - at 23:06

The New York Times has a general article up concerning E3 and focusing on Fallout 3, entitled Even Games That Have Everything Are Still Missing Something:

Much the same could be said of Fallout 3, another of my favorite games from E3. Like its esteemed predecessors, the third installment of the franchise is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where you, the player, decide how to carve out your place in a horrible new version of America. Put simply, you can be a good guy or a bad guy and there will be plenty of heart-rending, suffering people to either assist or exploit.

That is, of course, what makes games distinctive among media: within the confines of the system it is the user who decides what happens next, whether that means turning left or right in Pac-Man or deciding whether to blow up a town for pay or save it in Fallout 3.

But merely providing choice is not the same as generating a deep emotional response.
The author's contention is games aren't art (yet). What's your opinion? Were the original Fallouts? Will Fallout 3 be?

Link: Even Games That Have Everything Are Still Missing Something.

Spotted on Gamebanshee.

Posted by Brother None - at 22:59

Brian Fargo talks a bit on Fallout 3 and Wasteland 2 in the latest issue of GFW:

GFW: While not many games are straight-up comedy, some do have it in degrees. Take your work on Fallout [Brian Fargo did not do any work on Fallout - NMA] --it bridged that gap, but in a very dark way.
BF: Oh, yeah--we love the dark humor. [Laughs] And the older we get, the darker we get. When you mix the absurd with the hyperviolent--like what Tarantino does in films--you can get some great results.

GFW: Bethesda [the developer making Fallout 3] hasn't really done dark humor in their games. Do you think this will matter?
BF: Yeah, their stuff is a little more serious, a little drier. Humor is tough to do, but you know what? They're clever guys, and I can't wait to see what they do. I know that they'll do well. In fact, I'd trust maybe three developers with Fallout---and Bethesda's definitely [one of them]. One thing I can tell you, though, is that our Wasteland would be much darker than their Fallout.

GFW: That's right--you've aquired the rights to Wasteland.
BF: It started it all. If the right design idea comes along, we would love to make another Wasteland game. I think Bethesda is gonna do gangbusters with Fallout--just great--and if they make a huge hit, maybe people will be curious to get another look at what inspired Fallout in the first place.

GFW: Why didn't you just make a Wasteland sequel back then? Did it not sell well?
BF: It was strange. You see, EA released Wasteland on the exact same day as The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight. They were trying to meet financials for their quarter end. We were like the Bioware of that time, known for our RPGs. Imagine if Bioware released two games on the same day. That'd never happen--it makes no sense. So, end of story, the game did well, but it fell under many people's radar because of when it released. We actually did try to get the rights Wasteland to make a sequel, but EA considered us competitors at that point. We had to create Fallout as a result.
Thanks EThugg.

Posted by Brother None - at 22:32

Golem.de has an interview up with Pete Hines, asking questions more directly than many American journalists have. Punck_D provides this translation:

Golem.de: Why on earth do you guys make Fallout in 3D [first person view - ed]? Was there no other way since the Oblivion-engine had to be used?

Pete Hines: Our given technology was a factor for sure. But in the end we are fans of the series and we want the player to immerse into this world. And what could work better than first person for this purpose? You don't see things abstract, you can actually walk to them and touch them. Right in the beginning you see a chair which was four pixels high in the previous games. And now it is standing there, it has a surface, you can sit on it.

Golem.de: But what about Fallout-veterans not liking it? Wouldn't they wish to have the iso-view back than walking through some Gears of War-graphics?

Pete Hines: There are a lot of Fallout-fans. I am a Fallout-fan! I have a very personal interest in further games in the Fallout universe. It has to be in tradition of the first two games regarding how it feels to play! But: I am not enslaved to the old iso-view, and i am also not dogmatic if the combat system is turn-based, real time or a hybrid. People thinking Fallout has to be isometric and turn-based probably won't be happy with Fallout 3. But to those who want some other adventures in this great universe full of nuances, details and characters, Fallout 3 will be a hit. In the end we can not please everyone.

Golem.de: And on the other hand you want to sell more games, something that could hardly be achieved with some old-school-tactic-game.

Pete Hines: Probably not. Believe me, we really think 3D (first person) was the best choice for the Fallout feeling. Because you are in the world. You actually do these things - instead of just looking on some pixel characters top down.
And a summary of further points:
- Fallout 3's quests will be deeper than Oblivion's, you can not please every fraction like in Oblivion
- when you destroy Megaton, your way will be free to go to Ten Penny Tower, Mr Burke's home. It's full of people who don't mind about a bad karma which you achieve by destroying Megaton.
- scripted events like the "Brotherhood sequence" are dependent on when a player comes to a certain location in the game. Those events may happen, and they may not.
- successful hits during combat will depend on crosshair position, character skills and if your weapon is kept in good repair.
- with high perception values you can look through locked doors and walls in V.A.T.S. mode for enemies (seriously)
- they will work the entire interface over for the pc version.

Link: interview with Pete Hines at Golem.de.

NOTE: translation fixed from "won't like Fallout 3" to "probably won't like Fallout 3."

Posted by Tannhauser - at 20:04

Gaming Trend has a five-page write-up of the E3 Fallout 3 demo, with a staggering amount of detail.

Greeted by a robot named Deputy Weld that resembled the Robot from 1960s show Lost In Space. Assuring us that the bomb was perfectly safe, the robot cleared us to enter the city of Megaton. Todd took the brief loading sequence to point out that, although the game is a year away, the load sequences are already faster than Oblivion and that each load screen would be packed with data to help keep the immersion level high.

Entering the town you are greeted by the town Sherriff / Mayor Lucas Simms. Given that this was the last day of E3, Todd was quite tired of playing the nice guy and remarked to the sheriff “Nice hat Calamity Jane”. Our sheriff turned surly rather quickly and warned “This is my town – you so much as breathe wrong and I’m gonna fucking end you.” Similar to the challenge of the Sheriff in Fallout 2, you can keep pressing the sheriff and force him to draw on you. We kept our cool and moved into the town.
Thanks to the author, Ron Burke, for letting us know about this preview.

Link: 50 minutes with Fallout 3 at GamingTrend.

Posted by Brother None - at 9:39

Sweden's biggest gaming mag Superplay previewed Fallout 3. Starwars provided us with some choice translated quotes:

You're walking around the wasteland, and spot a gigantic scorpion (yes, a radscorpion for those of you wondering if they make a comeback). If you want, you can just aim and shoot like in any FPS out there - almost. The difference in Fallout 3 is that you don't necessarily hit just because your crosshair is lined up with the enemy when you pull the trigger. That only means that you're asking the RPG Fallout 3 to decide whether your character hits or not. Then the rules are checked up with how long the distance is to your target, how light it is versus your characters perception, your characters skill with whatever you're firing and the state of the weapon. If those checks succeed, then you will hit. It's logical, but it will feel strange for the generation that are raised on FPS games like Quake.
(...)
Taking care of your weapons is an important factor for how fast your weapon can fire, and how precise they will be.
You can also build new weapons from scratch. All you gave to do is find a schematic, and all the necessary components - and of course you need the skills build them.
(...)
The encounter with the sheriff can end in many different ways. Pleasant and friendly, unpleasant but friendly - or in a total bloodbath (the latter if you choose the dialogue option "There's a new sheriff in town"). Fallout 3 keeps tabs on how you behave, and weighs your actions on a scale that goes from evil to good, but with neutrality in the middle. It's now up to Bethesda to make sure that there is an equally big reason to stay neutral versus playing evil or good. An issue that is high up on the developers agenda right now, is what type of quests to create for a neutral character.
(...)
In many ways Fallout 3 is a further improved Oblivion. Everything Bethesda did in Oblivion they have polished and modified for Fallout 3.
Like their Radiant AI, which made the characters of Oblivion live their own lives - or at least walk from point A to point B a few times a day. In Fallout 3 the developers are trying to get the AI and the characters behaviours to become more appareant to the player.
(...)
The demo is over, and Megaton is gone - together with all the skepticism I brought with me as luggage to Washington DC
And from their FAQ:
Q: Can you buy a house?
A: Yes.

Q: Is there any contact with the people who made Fallout 1 or 2?
A: No.
Thanks again, Starwars.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:57

Silicon Era:

Now I know a lot of people out there are huge Fallout fans, as the series has something of a rabid following. Sadly I can't speak to how this game does in the canon of those that came before, because honestly I never played the first few Fallout games. I know that loses me some geek cred but it's something I'm working to fix, trust me. But the creators of Fallout 3 took great pains to mention numerous times what big fans they are of the original games, and that this game will satisfy the old fans while opening it up to new fans as well.
(...)
We come upon the town of Megaton, named after the unexploded bomb in the center of town. We met the "sherrif" pictured above. This gave us good look at how the conversation system has improved since Oblivion. The back-and-forth flow seemed a lot more fluid this time and while not as advanced as something like Mass Effect, seemed to build upon the Oblivion style. To those that played Elder Scrolls, you'll be at home here.
Link: Fallout 3 preview at Silicon Era.

News for Friday, July 20, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 22:00

The Codex has a really short bit up in which they gather an amusingly large number of "warning sign" quotes from Fallout 3 preview.

Link: What is Fallout 3? on RPGCodex

Posted by Per - at 21:39

Gametactics.com has posted an E3 video interview with Fallout 3 lead designer Emil Pagliarulo. The interview is about four minutes long and is then followed by the trailer. A few quotes from Emil:

Imagine a city built around a bomb crater that was formed from an unexploded atomic warhead. So this town built up around this warhead because of its proximity to Vault 101 and because people worshipped the bomb.

Our biggest city is called Rivet City, it's a scientific community/city built from the remains of an aircraft carrier. Those are our two largest cities.
In other words, nuking Megaton at the start of the game removes one of the two largest settlements in the game from the game?
You don't have to use combat if you don't want to, you can talk your way through some situations and use stealth.

The demo is a condensed version of your first few hours of gameplay.

[The release date is] Fall 2008, so we've got quite a bit of time to finish it up.
Thanks to anonymous.

Link: Video interview at Gametactics.com

Posted by Brother None - at 21:15

Australia's Atomic Magazine provides us with the intro text to Bethesda's Fallout 3, as voiced by Ron Perlman:

War. War never changes. Since the dawn of human kind, when our ancestors first discovered the killing power of rock and bone, blood has been spilled in the name of everything, from God to justice to simple, psychotic rage.

In the year 2077, after millennia of armed conflict, the destructive nature of man could sustain itself no longer. The world was plunged into an abyss of nuclear fire and radiation. But it was not, as some had predicted, the end of the world. Instead, the apocalypse was simply the prologue to another bloody chapter of human history. For man had succeeded in destroying the world - but war, war never changes.

In the early days, thousands were spared the horrors of the holocaust by taking refuge in enormous underground shelters, known as vaults. But when they emerged, they had only the hell of the wasted to greet them - all except those in Vault 101. For on the fateful day, when fire rained from the sky, the giant steel door of Vault 101 slid closed... and never reopened. It was here you were born. It is here you will die because, in Vault 101, no one ever enters and no one ever leaves
Thanks Specialist.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:10

Strategycore.co.uk was invited for a group interview with Fallout 3 lead designer Emil Pagiarulo at E3. They asked quite a few new questions:

"What it comes down to is that we're all Fallout fans. We love the original games. (But) not every Fallout fan wants a turn-based isometric game." Emil Pagliarulo, Lead Designer, Fallout 3
(...)
SC: So what happens when your character levels? You choose the skills you want to boost?
EP: Yeah, when you level you get skill points, and the number of skill points you get are based on your intelligence. So you can put those toward your skills and the primary tag skills get more points added when you level up.
(...)
Other interviewer: Do you run into instances where NPCs are fighting?
SC: Or random encounters?
EP: We love to do that and we have good tools to do it. We didn't do this in Oblivion, but for the first time we actually have a designer completely dedicated to free-form encounters out in the wasteland. You'll definitely encounter people fighting rad scorpions and other creatures out in the wasteland. It's definitely a single character game, but there are companions that you take. Your companions are based on your karma, so there's a sunset of companions that are good guys, evil guys or neutral. But you need to find those guys, take them with you, and watch the interaction between those characters.
(...)
SC: Are there going to be a lot of new weapons? The FatMan (essentially a nuclear hand grenade launcher) in the presentation is new, but what other new weapons will there be?
EP: There are a lot of weapons. I was surprised looking at our weapon list and seeing how many we had. There are the Fallout weapon skills: big guns, small guns, energy weapons, melee, unarmed which are all fully exploited, so we have weapons for them all. We also have a series of custom made weapons that you can construct if you find a schematic and the right junk in the wasteland. So yes, there are quite a few weapons.
(...)
SC: No shots to the eyes?
EP: No, and I'll tell you why. We talked about that, we prototyped it, and when you play the game and see it in such high def, when you shoot someone in the eyes you expect the head to blow up anyway. Shooting someone in the head has the same effect. If you get a critical on them they get dazed and stuff.

SC: It doesn't look like you could finish the game without killing a lot of people.
EP: Not entirely true. It depends on the quest. You saw all the speech options and dialog in the demo. As far as dialog options go, that's just the tip of the iceberg. The amount of interaction through dialog is three times what we had in Oblivion. There's a really strong stealth component. There are a lot of paths through the quests and some are non-violent. That said, you can't wander off into the wasteland and expect to live.

SC: Can a character dodge?
EP: That is part of the real time engine. You can definitely move to take cover behind stuff and duck down.
(...)
SC: Are there any new mutant animals?
EP: New mutant animals. Let's see. We're still going through our creature list. I don't want to say what they are, but yes.

Other interviewer: What kind of creatures are in the game?
EP: All of the Fallout classics are back. There's a full line of robots: you saw the Protectron in the presentation (a Robby-the-Robot-type robot that was in the Metro Subway), Mr. Handy, Robobrain and Sentrybot. Right before E3 the rad scorpion just went in fully animated. There's also the classic deathclaw. There are lots of creatures are in the game.

SC: So is the DC Brotherhood of Steel the same Brotherhood of Steel that was on the West Coast? Is it nationwide?
EP: You’re the only person that asked me that question. I'm surprised that no one else has. Let me just say that its come up a lot that "How did the Super Mutants and the Brotherhood of Steel get on the East Coast?". We answer those questions in the game and there's a reason why they're there. They are somehow connected to the other Brotherhood of Steel but we cover those bases within the game.
(...)
Other interviewer: Is there a centralized storyline or is it completely free branching?
EP: There is definitely a storyline. We use the character's dad as a device: Dad leaves the Vault, you follow him. But why did he leave? What was he up to? And all that ties into the players’ relationship with the Capitol wasteland and are those people worth saving.
Link: Full StrategyCore interview and preview.

Posted by Silencer - at 20:07

The Polish site Gry-Online.pl posted their preview and Q&A on Fallout 3, the most interesting bits deal with the level of "mature stuff" in F3 and whether Bethesda is going to release modding tools.

Shuck: Allegedly there are supposed to be children in-game. Are you going to be able to kill them, like in previous titles?

Emil: That we do not know yet. It is one of the most important topics to think out. The thing is, we're dealing with a next-gen game and we're not only talking about killing, but exploding heads and eye balls rolling down the street. As a designer, you need to ask yourself if you want such elements in the game.

Shuck: We're also dealing with an RPG game, which should leave as many choices as it can to the player.

Emil: Indded, but there are a lot of problems that need to be taken into account.

Shuck: So tbe children are not neccessarily going to appear in Fallout 3?

Emil: They will positively be there, but we don't know if they can be killed.
So, we now know "next-gen" is newspeak for "graphic violence". Also, aren't children NOT DYING from a metal bar to the head a bit of a Tom&Jerry syndrome?

Furhter uncomfortable questions deal with modding tools:
Shuck: Do you plan to support the modding community by providing them with tools?

Emil: We don't know yet - we're discussing it. It is something we've done for Oblivion, but this doesn't automatically mean we'll do the same for Fallout. The truth is, preparing such tools takes a lot of time, and this is time lost to production of the actual game. We shall see.

Shuck: Is this caution caused by the trouble caused to you by the infamous Oblivion mod?

Emil: No. But it is a fact that when you release modding tools, you loose a great deal of control over your game.
The author also mentions the Tactics Brotherhood of Steel, but this can be a misinterpretation, since it is known that Tactics stroyline is not taken into account.

Link: Fallout 3 First Impressions at Gry-Online.pl

Spotted at Necropolis

News for Thursday, July 19, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 6:25

Another one:

Of course, the old Fallout games weren’t fully 3D worlds explorable in a first-person view (there is a fully-realized 3rd Person view as well), which is likely why fans of the series were initially so taken aback by the new perspective.

Fallout 3 is not a first-person shooter, though there is plenty of shooting. During the demo it would be easy to come away with the impression that Fallout 3 is shooter because it was so laden with action. Traversing a subterranean connection (i.e. shortcut) between areas there were a few waves of Super Mutants that needed to be put down. Rather than just firing blindly, hoping that the equipped weapon makes a hit, the action can be somewhat paused to zoom in on specific body parts, like an arm or a leg or the head, and orders “stacked” to shoot methodically if that headshot doesn’t come through with a hit.

(...)

As much as the demo impressed me, both on the technical side and the sheer number of possibilities the world represents – the demo showed the destruction of town by way of a nuclear explosion after it was armed at the request of an in-game character, but what if it was disarmed instead? – the aspect that most impressed me was the music taken from the 1940’s. With all the technology so necessary for today’s music it’s a reminder of a time when singing actually meant something. It wasn’t processed a thousand times for perfect sound; it came out flawed but somehow with a deeper, more meaningful sound.

This writer wouldn’t be surprised if Fallout 3’s release date was pushed back (again), but right now it’s set for release Fall 2008.
Link: Fallout 3 on Armchair Empire

Posted by Brother None - at 6:22

Matt Grandstaff reports Fallout 3 got a stack of runner-up titles on E3 (we discussed a few before), generally Fallout is following Bioshock and Mass Effect in most categories it competed in on sites like Gamespy and Kotaku. It won "the best" awards on UGO, RPGFan and Gamelyfe.

Link: Where's Our Trophy on BethBlog.

Posted by Brother None - at 5:40

Gamezone's added its two bits:

Bethesda took everything it learned in creating Oblivion and is applying it to Fallout to create a true role-playing epic. In some cases, the rendering is new to the games that Bethesda is creating – like the true water system that employs true reflections and refractions.

“We’re trying to overwhelm the player with visual density,” Howard said.

While the game could be categorized as a first-person shooter, Bethesda has taken that a bit further and is letting players select the vantage point they wish to have during the game. There is the first-person look, but third person and (“old school”) top down is also available. But the game is skill based. Weapons that can be equipped and used are governed by the abilities and skills a player has. You can get a boost to your player stats in order to use certain weapons, and the game does have the action point system – whereby can stop time and use action points to select the areas where they wish to deliver a precision shot. In addition to the shooting elements, the game will also incorporate melee skills, thus giving players a broader experience in the world.
Link: Fallout 3 preview on Gamezone.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:52

Reaching the end of E3 previews, perhaps, Bit-Tech and BBPS join in and add absolutely nothing new. From Bit-Tech:

Fallout 3 is one of the games we're keeping a very close eye on, which is hardly surprising given that some of us are still replaying Fallout 2 regularly, and we too have been worrying about how the new game may hold up to the classics.

A sequel to the original, turn-based and isometric RPG series from Interplay, Fallout 3 has been picked up by the makers of The Elder Scrolls series, Bethesda, after Interplay suffered financial difficulties. Despite being very vocal fans of the series and excellent RPG makers in their own right, many are worried that Bethesda will not be able to create the sequel Fallout 2 deserves and many are worried that the game will end up as nothing more than 'Oblivion with guns'.

Well, if the new screenshots are anything to go by then it looks like the game may end up being just as gory as previous titles.
It is unclear how the game being gory is even remotely related to anything said in the first two paragraphs. On the topic of gory, Joystiq joins in:
[A] pretty gruesome headshot care of one unfortunate super zombie. Gears of War also had some gruesome cranial explosions, but from what we saw at E3, Fallout 3 will up the ante in comical violence.
Link: Fallout E3 BBPS.
Link: Fallout 3 E3 Bit-Tech.
Link: Fallout 3 is gory on Joystiq.

Spotted on Fallout 3: APNB.

Posted by Silencer - at 3:02

On a lighter note, the Irish edition of the newspaper Metro has a short passage about Liam Neeson's appearance in Fallout 3.

While I do feel like a gossip queen for posting this, there are a few things of note:
- The role getting attention in mainstream press
- The honorarium is being quoted as "several thousand hundred euros"
- The game is, unsurprisingly, already categorized as "popular" and "top".

Thanks MACtic!

Posted by Brother None - at 2:44

Jeff Green, whose recently posted on Fallout 3 in his own blog warned us that he and the GFW crew would discuss us in their newest podcast. Briosafreak sums it up for us thusly:

Jeff feels sad for us, all we want is an expansion for Fallout 2, there's not enough info for us to criticize anyway, rose colored glasses, but Bethesda made a great demo, the guys that say new MGS is a great game are the same, Bethesda has a lot to prove...

...while what he saw makes the game the game he wants to play the most of E3, for that there was enough info. Pretty contradictory stuff, but every guy on the podcast were coherent enough in laughing at us and criticizing us, while we seem not to be allowed to do the same about other people.
Bit disappointing after Jeff Green's excellent posts here to hear the tired old "expansion of Fallout 2" fallacy pop up. You can read all of Jeff Green's blogposts, comments and posts here on this handy page on Fallout 3: APNB.

Link: GFW podcast.

News for Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 23:41

Evil Avatar has a 10 list of things you have to know about Fallout 3. One new tidbits:

The presentation of the quests, and other textual information on screen uses this really slick fading effect. That alone adds a ton of atmosphere to the game.
Link: Fallout 3 [E3 2007] - 10 Things About Fallout 3

Posted by Brother None - at 21:03

BethBlog continues Inside the Vault with modder turned programmer Brian Robb.

Link: Inside the Vault - Brian Robb.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:36

If you're not convinced about Irrational's promise that they're making sure the PC version isn't just a console port, this is for you:

And while both PC and 360 look alike, Irrational has spent a ton of time (and used most of their Australia office staff) creating an amazing and unique experience for the PC gamer. Rethinking the HUD from the ground up and retooling the controls to work perfectly with a keyboard and mouse, the PC version of BioShock deserves its own moment to shine. Which I am now giving you.

This update includes a podcast talking about the PC version of BioShock, brought to you by the Aussie gurus who made this version a reality, a first look at PC screenshots including the HUD and other PC-specific features, and a rundown on the PC specifications you'll need to run this game, as well as some insight into how well different configurations will churn out the graphics and gameplay of Rapture.
Link: PC Blowout on Cult of Rapture.
Link: Interview with BioShock composer Garry Schyman .
Link: E3 2007: BioShock on Crave
Link: E3 2007: BioShock on WarCry

Spotted on PGWatch.

Posted by Silencer - at 2:30

You might remember a month ago, when we were asked to remove a newspost with certain scans of an article with first ever concrete information on Fallout 3. After a third party provided us with the images of Game Informer article, we would be loathe to conceal it from half our readership - our non-American visitors, who had positively no chance of getting their hands on this U.S. exclusive.

Following the publication, on June 18, we have been contacted via my private mail by Bethesda, and after that Game Informer, with a just and civil enough demand that we delete those images.

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.

Thank you.
Being the nice guys we are, we apologized and promptly complied - we did accept the possibility that it's hurting the marketability of the issue, and pulled the images from the site.

Now, here's the funny part: Try searching for "fallout 3 game infomer scans" on Google or whatnot. Some of the sites, although, replaced Game Informer scans with those from the Finnish magazine Pelaaja, since it is more troublesome for a foreign editor to contact them, BUT - you could also end up here, or here, or maybe here... Jackpot!

When we contacted Game Informer Magazine on July 3 about that, they had this to say:
We are doing our best to take down all scans. No one should have them up.
And yet *someone* here is getting *special* attention? In the quiet words of Mutant Harry ... How come?

Or is "our best" good enough only for cooperative, non-profit fan sites?

Posted by Brother None - at 2:08

Kotaku takes a second look at Fallout 3:

Graphically, i found the settings, the attention to detail, more captivating then the characters. The characters were pure Oblivion with the occasional slightly off-kilter lip-syncing. But the game does so much to make you forget about that, that I hardly think it will be an issue.

(...)

Instead of letting you run up to any computer and use your hacking skills to do stuff, like sic evil Robby the Robot guards on mutants (which sound a lot like the guy who played the giant cockroach in the original Men in Black), Fallout 3 makes you prove your hacker skills each and every time. To hack a computer you need to log on and then find the password in the computer's files. The higher your skills the easier this is to do. So, for instance, in one example the computer brought up a bunch of garble. Mixed into the garble were ten or so words. You had three attempts to guess which was the password. If you got it wrong it told you how many of the letters in the word you guessed were the correct letters in the correct position. It didn't take much to figure out the early ones, but as the game progresses the passwords become mammoth I'm told.

While I loved the aesthetic and feel of the game, it was the VAT, or VaultTech Assisted Targeting, that really did it for me. You can play through the game's combat as if it was a shooter or you can take a more tactical and probably practical approach and use the VAT. VAT freezes time and lets you expend action points to aim at specific points, from a body part to a weapon. The VAT shows your percent chance of hitting a target and can even show much much damage a weapon can take. Land a shot or two to a leg and your opponent starts limping, land a shot to an arm and they may drop their weapon. The neatest thing is, it does all this and still makes you feel as if you're playing a shooter. There's no moment where you really feel like you've dropped out of the intensity of the moment.

Fallout 3 feels like Oblivion for the rest of us, a game for people who are getting a bit tired of the same old fantasy fare. But it's not just Oblivion apocalypse either, there seemed to be enough different about the game, least of which is the pacing, to separate it from its predecessor.
Link: Fallout 3 E3 at Kotaku.

Thanks Briosafreak.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:32

Jeff Green of 1up:

As others have reported, Bethesda seems to have done something kinda miraculous in terms of recapturing the original games' look and feel while simultaneously transforming it into a modern, 1st-person world. It reminds me, kind of, of the way Blizzard transformed the 2D, tabletop strategy look of the early WarCraft games into the 3D, you're-soaking-in-it World of WarCraft. Bethesda has taken Interplay's late 90s isometric RPG and swooped the camera down to the ground (though you can still angle it upwards)to put us right in that burned-out post-apocalyptic universe--and, at least as far as the demo goes, it's freakin' revelatory. I had no idea going into it how Bethesda was going to pull off the SPECIAL system, the PiPBoy "PDA" device, and, most importantly, the turn-based combat that was at the heart of the original games, but dang if Bethesda isn't making a smart, thoughtful, and faithful go of it. It actually looks like, if you wanted to, you could play through parts of the game in a more real-time "shooter" way, but clearly players are going to get huge advantages by going into the "V.A.T.S" system (Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System), in which you pause the action, and, as in the original games, target specific enemy body parts, the success of which operates on percentages, and the damage of which can be extraordinary.

Most important, right now, is what others have said about this work-in-progress: that Bethesda has captured the essence of what made the originals so unique: the odd juxtaposition of apocalpytic future nightmare with retro-50s kitsch, folksy humor mixed with mutant monsters, --a creative challenge that in the wrong hands could be utterly cheeseball, but that Bethesda is so far recreating beautifully.
Link: 1up blog Fallout 3.

Thanks Briosafreak.

News for Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 23:38

Russ Pitts, the Escapist editor who got a lot of flak on the inaccuracies in his Fallout 3 preview, interestingly headline this week's issue of Escapist, which is a whole fascinating take on game journalism. If you're puzzled by the varying quality of the recent bevy of previews, take a look.

Posted by Brother None - at 23:32

Gameshark covered Fallout 3 for E3. They add little new info:

The Fallout 3 E3 presentation was very much like the one Bethesda laid out for Oblivion a couple of years ago. Press members sat in a dark room while Howard played the game on two giant flat screen monitors for an hour, showing us the key points to the game, and just like Oblivion, it’s hard to see the presentation and not come away impressed. It looks great, sounds great, and it at least appears that great care is being put into making it a game that both newcomers and die-hards will appreciate. The only downside is that it’s still at least a year away. Talk about a tease.
Link: Fallout 3 preview on Gameshark.

Spotted on Bluesnews.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:44

We got this press release, courtesy of Vic Davis:

Press Release

Armageddon Empires Game Release (July 17, 2007) – Indie game developer Cryptic Comet announced today that their turn based strategy game Armageddon Empires was available for purchase at their website www.crypticcomet.com via digital download. Set in a grim post-apocalyptic future, Armageddon Empires challenges you to rule the wasteland by building a pocket empire on the bones and burning metallic hulks of your enemies. Gather resources, deploy armies, and crush your foes without mercy.

Armageddon Empires takes the best elements of collectable card games (don’t worry there are no cards to chase you get them all), board games, and computer games and brings them all together to provide a unique strategy war game experience. Choose a normal size map and battle in a death match with a single AI opponent finishing within an hour or select a huge map and slug it out with the other 3 factions in a game of epic proportions.

Game Features
- Turn based strategy game in a post-apocalyptic setting versus 1 to 3 AI opponents.
- Hexagonal maps depicting the ravaged wastes of earth circa 2345 featuring 3 map sizes ranging from normal to huge.
- 4 playable factions each with unique units, art and playing styles.
- Over 75 faction heroes lead your armies into battle. Heroes allow for larger, more effective armies and have their own special abilities that can change the tide of battle or even create new weapons and technology cards.
- Over 200 unique units wage battle across the savage landscape; command infantry, cyborgs, robots, powered battle armor, armor, artillery, mecha, biomecha and many more.
- Over 80 unique special abilities for heroes and units; abilities like multi-targeting, shock attack, double attack, fanatic, military genius and valor allow you to find exciting combos of play just like you would in a collectible card or miniatures game.
- Collectible card game flavor without the expense. Each hero, unit or facility is a card that can be added to your play deck.
- Board game mechanics. Roll a unit’s attack die versus another unit’s defense die and play special abilities and cards to alter the results.
- Assassinate enemy heroes, sabotage enemy facilities, gather intelligence through espionage and stealth, hunt down enemy heroes and hold them prisoner.
- Drop thermonuclear weapons on your enemies or load out your units with tactical nuke cards created by your leading technologists.
- Challenging goal based AI agents see the same game you do and must gather intelligence, build armies and formulate plans just like you: “No cheating.”

Armageddon Empires is available for the PC and will soon be available for the Mac OSX as well. A 20 turn demo is available at the Cryptic Comet website as well.
Be sure to give the demo a whirl.

Link: Armageddon Empires website.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:06

GWN has done a preview of Fallout 3 that's another good step-by-step of the demo. Here's the bit on combat:

After activating the bomb, we headed out of what would soon become “Boomtown” and started traveling towards the designated meeting spot that our new friend set for us. This path unfortunately led us through the Super Mutant infested sewers. Our first Super Mutant was met with several shots that entered into its right arm. This didn’t slow it down any though so our demonstrator decided to let the V.A.T.S do all the work.

By clicking the left bumper again, the camera zoomed in on the enemy and highlighted all of the available targets, including the Super Mutant’s weapon itself. On closer inspection we saw that the shots that we put into Super Mutant actually did have an effect as you could see the agony on his face as he clutched his right arm with his left hand. While we could have put him down with a couple of more shots aimed at his already weakened right arm, headshots are always more fun to watch, so we queued up three shots to the head.

After inputting our commands, the action started in dramatic slow mo as we saw the first bullet find its target and cause the Super Mutant’s head to explode causing all kinds of bloody chunks to go flying around the room. Todd even made the character walking around and looking on the floor saying, “There’s one of his eyes. There are pieces of brain. More brain. And there’s the other eye.” Fallout 3 is definitely not one for the kiddies.
Link: Fallout 3 game preview on GWN.

Thanks Stephen Miletello.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:36

We haven't reported in indie Retro-Sci Fi title Omega Syndrome in a while, but now that it hit 3.29 we have a perfect opportunity. Because in addition to the optional "hard RPG" rule which means your saves get deleted if your character dies, it now has an optional "No Hit Point Gain On Level Up Rule," which does exactly what it says it does. Download the demo and give the game, which plays almost exactly like Fallout did mechanic-wise, a spin.

Link: Omega Syndrome website.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:44

"Волт" теперь на русском языке!

Continuing the internationalization drive that recently turned it to German, the Vault is now also available in Russian.

In Soviet Russia, Vault writes you. Хехехе молодец!

Posted by Brother None - at 0:40

In the list of large previews, add Twitch Guru:

After showing off the environments, Howard then demonstrated Fallout 3’s new combat gameplay system. If there was one flaw with the original Fallout, it was the somewhat clunky combat system, which could slow down gameplay. The new combat system blends a first-person shooter style with elements of the original attack mode. For example, Howard encountered some very large mutant ants and began taking aim at them with a rifle in FPS mode. Later, Howard engaged some Super Mutants lurking in the tunnels of the city’s Metro subway (yet another amazing and disturbingly realistic map) and switched to a targeting HUD mode called V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System). The V.A.T.S. mode freezes game time and displays the various body parts of the enemy - head, torso, arms and legs - with percentages of “attack success.”

Howard took aim at a Super Mutant’s head, which had an artificially high percentage of 66 percent for the purposes of the demo. He press a button on the Xbox 360 controller, and exited the HUD mode, which returned the game to a slow motion mode that follow the bullet as it ripped through the Super Mutant’s head, which caused it to explode.
(...)
There was a quite a big of action in the demo, but it's not as if Bethesda has dumbed down Fallout for FPS fans. In fact, much of the gameplay involves player choices. Howard said the central them for Fallout 3 is "sacrifice and survive," and that players will be forced to make ethical decisions that will affect the course of the game as well as the development of your character. What will you do in order to find adequate food and water supplies, for example? During the demo Howard took us the nearby location of Megaton, which looks like a cross between an Old West camp and Bartertown from "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome." Megaton was actually built in a crater with an un-detonated nuke buried in the middle, and the town represents another amazing-looking map for Fallout 3.
(...)
In summary, Fallout 3 looks like it has the makings of both an RPG hit and a worthy addition to the Fallout series. The snappy dialogue, black humor, juicy RPG capabilities and unique vision of the future are all back for the new sequel. And Bethesda has added a keen new combat system, first-person shooter quality action, stunning graphics and advanced character/environment interaction features to the mix. While some of the new additions may turn off fans of the original game, I for one am glad to see Bethesda is trying something different and updating the franchise for next-generation platforms. We already have Fallout and Fallout 2, so why not go in a different direction? And that's exactly what Bethesda is doing, and I can't wait for more.
Link: Fallout 3 at E3 on Twitch Guru.

Spotted on Fallout 3: APNB.

News for Monday, July 16, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 23:59

Gamernode has a very extensive Fallout 3 writeup, with a lot of direct quotes from Bethesda devs. Definitely word a read-through as an accurate step-by-step description of the demo:

"The game does start in the underground vault," Todd tells us. He also made it known that what we're seeing isn't the official beginning portion of the game; just the right area. When the screen loads up in first person, Todd continues. "People always ask us: ‘Why are you doing this, why are you ruining Fallout by making it first person!'" He went on to explain that for them, first-person is the only way to truly make the game come alive.

"This chair is in Fallout 1, for example, 4 pixels high," he tells us. "But here it is. Same with this vent you can click on to make it go rattle-rattle-rattle-rattle." The crowd chuckled slightly when he mentioned that first-person also helps them as developers, because they get very anal about making their world right.

(...)

We were then treated to a demonstration of how the Pipboy works in Fallout 3. According to Todd, one of their main goals in upgrading it for Fallout 3 was to make it entertaining for gamers, since they'll spend a lot of time in its menus. Part of how they did that is the humorous animations; skills and stats have their own picture and description, and most of them are pretty damn funny. One of them, science, features a bespeckled toon sitting in front of a giant retro computer. "This is our actually our lead developer, this is what he looks like," Todd jokes. "And this is a very early PS3 devkit."

(...)

It was at that point we ran into Mr. Handy. "Good day new sir!" the cheerful robot chimes. "If I may be so bold the blue in the bolt suit contrasts BEAUTIFULLY with your eyes!" As Mr. Handy moves away, he mutters, "you stupid git." Oh, Mr. Handy!

(...)

Once inside, the sheriff greets us, and we're shown how you can choose two radically different paths. In this instance, Todd can either be peaceful and friendly with the sheriff, or enter the town mocking his hat ("Nice hat, Calamity Jane"); guess which he picked?

After mocking the hat, the sheriff is peeved, and Todd has the choice to try and make things okay again, or keep pushing the sheriff which will end in a fight. Todd ended up switching his mind, so we entered the city proper.

(...)

The robots are scattered throughout, and most of them will be a benefit to you (notice that Todd said MOST will be good).

Exiting the metro, Todd was met by a group of human soldiers who helped him fight off a squad of mutants, and escorted him to his meet-up. There he was attacked by a giant mutant, but before it could kill him, he stole a nuclear catapult and laid waste to it (and a few friendly troops, most likely). He then went to the roof of the building (how Mr. Burke made it no one will ever know, and even Todd couldn't offer an explanation), and blew up Megaton. The city erupted in light as a giant mushroom cloud rose, and several seconds after the initial blast the shockwave hit, knocking Mr. Burke backwards and sending debris flying past the main character as the demo ended.
Providing extra comments on our forum, Brendon notes:
Brother None, I don't know how much VATS will help percentage wise when it comes to hits. I do know that they fixed the percentages extremely high (as high as 99% for headshots) just to show off the position-based damage. I have a quote somewhere about what he was saying...let me look for it.

Here it is. "For this demo, we've changed the percentages. Obviously, you won't always have a huge chance to make a shot, especially a headshot. We wanted to have things like headshots be a last ditch effort. The whole 'I'm screwed, time to take a shot and pray it works!' feeling, basically. You'll be able to hit extremities fairly regularly, but the critical points won't be smart to go after frequently."
Link: E3 '07: Extensive Fallout 3 write-up on Gamernode.

Posted by Brother None - at 23:46

GameSpy takes a second look:

Once our hero leaves the vault and finds a hunting rifle he starts capping giant bugs, which made Fallout 3 look a lot like a first-person shooter. However, Bethesda has pointed out that stats play a big role in combat. This becomes more apparent when you use the Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System (or V.A.T.S.) built into your Pip-Boy Model 3000. This system pauses the game and, like in previous Fallout games, lets you target specific areas of an enemy's body as well as queue up attacks.

The amoral openness of the series appears to have made it through Bethesda's update. Even in the vault you can opt to help out a female friend who's being picked on by bullies, join in with the bullies, or just ignore the situation entirely. You'll even be presented with the opportunity of wiping out an entire town with a thermonuclear bomb left over from the war. The level of freedom is amazing so far and we can't wait to see what other devious decisions you'll have to make in the full game.
Link: Fallout 3 E3 preview on GameSpy.

Spotted on BethBlog.

Posted by Brother None - at 22:53

Here are some thoughts of the gaming press on Fallout 3's showing. As the gaming world turns decided it is the game of the show, for highly amusing reasons:

The Bethesda team had only one game to show but its been THE best game of E3 - "Fallout 3". I'm talking far and away the best, no one else is even close. Todd Howard, executive producer of "F3" and of the "Elder Scrolls" franchise was on hand to give us a personal walkthrough of the game. He spent an hour playing the most brilliant First/Third Person Shooter (gamers choose the camera angle or can switch on the fly) I've seen in a long time.
Fallout 3 reaches number 10 in Next-Gen's top 20 next gen titles of E3:
What is it? The highly-anticipated RPG from Oblivion house Bethesda.

Why you should care: Aside from E3, we were able to get an eyes-on look at the game back in June and came away thoroughly impressed. Executive producer Todd Howard says that he and the Fallout 3 team have been huge fans of the franchise, which Bethesda now completely owns, and so far that fandom shows through in what we've seen. Simply put, Bethesda makes excellent games, and as most recently proven with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, these games can also sell. With the brand power behind Fallout 3, Bethesda could have an even bigger hit on its hands.
ActionTrip decides another game did a better showing of RPGhood:
Best RPG of E3 2007 - Mass Effect

This one's easy (although it may not have been if Fable 2 was a little further into the development, or if Peter showed a bit more of the game). Sure, Fallout 3 was another contender, but at this stage of its development, we weren't convinced.
Award goes to Mass Effect (Xbox 360) by BioWare and Microsoft
USA today thinks it is a very attractive looking game:
The game is still at least a year away from retail, but the early version rolled out by Bethesda was by far the most attractive-looking game of the show.
Spotted on Fallout 3: APNB.

Posted by Brother None - at 22:08

As they get closer to a demo, the New Dawn rate of updates has increased. Currently, they're filling their gallery with renders and descriptions of monsters and NPCs.

Link: New Dawn

Posted by Brother None - at 22:05

The MMO Gamer has an interview up with Lee Hammock, Lead Game Designer of Fallen Earth:

The MMO Gamer: Finally, is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Fallen Earth which hasn’t been addressed in this interview?

Lee Hammock: This is really an astounding game from a technical standpoint. I can say that objectively because I had nothing to do with it. As a content creator, my job is to create a world that really emulates where I can see our world heading (on a bad day, anyway). From a content standpoint, I think people will go nuts over the social and political system we’ve created. The amount of choices players will have when they’re deciding how to develop their characters is immense. RPGers will be in heaven with the interplay between the factions. FPS fans will love the skill-based advancement and twitch combat. Crafters will love that they’re not limited to a small handful of trade-skills, and that they gain experience for crafting. And what would a post-apoc world be without exploration? 7,000 square kilometers of space is a huge playground to explore!
Link: Interview with Fallen Earth Lead Game Designer, Lee Hammock on MMO Gamer.
Link: Fallen Earth screenshot gallery.

Thanks Wasteland Stories.

Posted by Brother None - at 22:01

Fallout: Between Good & Evil has had an update:

After almost three months we have several new additions to our project gallery, from which is the most notable our new car, wreck quite similar to Lincoln Continental 56 by Bumpkin, Blender master – we are very thankful and hope he is going to continue to work for BGE.

We have also released a song from the soundtrack, one of the darker, called Desert Rush by nitramko, you can download it here.
Certain parts of the website were updated too, see Intro and FAQ.

Also, we have fresh new blood, programmers Max and Crow joined our team. Right now we have enough programmers, which is good because lack of them is usually the biggest issue. We would like to thank all the web pages that mentioned BGE too, because publicity helps us find new “workers”, including two English proofreaders.

Link: Fallout: Between Good & Evil website
Link: Fallout: Between Good & Evil gallery

Posted by Brother None - at 18:59

Filefront has a tiny look at Fallout 3:

Control and gameplay was very similar to Oblivion, and the game uses an updated and enhanced version of the title. Howard expalined how players could choose their gender and appearance and that it would then alter the appearance of their father in the game. Father is voiced by screen actor Liam Neeson and serves as the catalyst for the character leaving the safety of Vault 101 for the irradiated world surrounding Washington D.C.

A few things stood out - fans of the series will enjoy the design and integration of many of the elements of the earlier game - including the robot helper Mr. Handy. Overall the combat system and design of the missions had as very Fallout vibe to it - including the stop time targeting system that allows players to halt the game and make called shots using the players skills to calculate probability.
While we missed this remark by GAF:
Fallout 3 is easily this year's Game of the Show, and if you follow the link below, you can find out exactly why.
We'd like to remind everyone we've kept our Fallout 3 article page up to date, including non-English previews. Be sure to use it.

Link: E3 2007: Fallout 3 Demonstration at FileFront.

Spotted on BethBlog.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:55

RPGamer conducted a Q&A with Emil Pagiarulo at E3:

When asked about whether or not it'd be possible to kill any and all NPCs, Emil expressed their concern over letting their players get backed into a corner that they can't get themselves out of, or not experiencing content the designers want to be sure they see. So it's currently still being worked out whether or not they'll be able to design the game such that they can let you kill whoever, or if they'll have to make some people untouchable. He did express a strong desire to have as few unkillable NPCs as possible, as they know the negative aspects of putting walls like that in front of players.

The player's gender does affect the reactions of NPCs, opening up different conversations and quests and whatnot. However, at this time they could not confirm whether there would be any romantic affairs available.

Once again, a question about who the target audience is resulted in the response that the target audience is Bethesda. He reiterated that their design strategy is to make the game that they want to play.
Link: Fallout 3 Q&A with Emil Pagliarulo at RPGamer.

Spotted on BethBlog.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:26

The Awaken Fallout Tactics mod, previously available in English and Polish, has now also been patched for Russian.

Link: Awaken Russian patch.

Thanks Eagle, Belkien and Wasteland Stories.

News for Sunday, July 15, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 21:04

This is what the attendees of Fallout 3's E3 showing got as a feature list of the game:

KEY FEATURES:
• Limitless Freedom! – Take in the sights and sounds of the vast Capital Wasteland! See the great monuments of the United States lying in post-apocalyptic ruin! You make the choices that define you and change the world. Just keep an eye on your Rad Meter!

• Experience S.P.E.C.I.A.L.! – Vault-Tec® engineers bring you the latest in human ability simulation – the SPECIAL Character System! Utilizing new breakthroughs in points-based ability representation, SPECIAL affords unlimited customization of your character. Also included are dozens of unique skills and perks to choose from, each with a dazzling variety of effects!

• Fantastic New Views! – The wizards at Vault-Tec® have done it again! No longer constrained to just one view, experience the world from 1st or 3rd person perspective. Customize your view with the touch of a button!

• The Power of Choice! – Feeling like a dastardly villain today, or a Good Samaritan? Pick a side or walk the line, as every situation can be dealt with in many different ways. Talk out your problems in a civilized fashion, or just flash your Plasma Rifle.

• Blast ‘Em Away With V.A.T.S.! –Even the odds in combat with the Vault-Tec® Assisted Targeting System for your Pip-Boy Model 3000! V.A.T.S. allows you to pause time in combat, target specific body parts on your target, queue up attacks, and let Vault-Tec take out your aggression for you. Rain death and destruction in an all-new cinematic presentation featuring gory dismemberments and spectacular explosions.

• Mind-Blowing Artificial Intelligence! – At Vault-Tec®, we realize that the key to reviving civilization after a global nuclear war is people. Our best minds pooled their efforts to produce an advanced version of Radiant AI, America’s First Choice in Human Interaction Simulation™. Facial expressions, gestures, unique dialog, and lifelike behavior are brought together with stunning results by the latest in Vault-Tec® technology.

• Eye-Popping Prettiness!* – Witness the harsh realities of nuclear fallout rendered like never before in modern super-deluxe HD graphics. From the barren Wasteland, to the danger-filled offices and metro tunnels of DC, to the hideous rotten flesh of a mutant’s face.

*Protective Eyewear Encouraged
Link: Fallout 3 Press release on Fallout 3:APNB

Thanks to Slaughter for the submission.

Posted by Per - at 18:25

Did someone say "you can get too many previews on one news page"? If so I didn't hear it! These guys have way less traffic than NMA but they went to E3 so they're worthy I guess. And they reveal stuff:

Fallout 3, the latest entry in the venerable RPG series, finds the story and gameplay going truly next-gen. Much work has been done on the storyline to nod at and recall the previous entries, but not remain so bogged down in the past that newcomers will feel lost.

A typical RPG conversation tree is employed for conversations, and the choices you make -- both in conversations and in the actions and sub-missions you undertake -- completely customize your game experience and its eventual outcome.

The game engine allows the whole environment to be completely "chewed up" by the developers -- and by you and your weapons -- to show the destruction and decay of the post-disaster world.
Ah, but if I shoot three bullet holes in a brick somewhere then romp off to the other side of town for three months and return, will the holes be there? We shall see.
Combat comes into play most often in the downtown area of Capitol Waste, which has been overtaken by Super-Mutants. The Super-Mutants are fought against a military resistance known as the Brotherhood of Steel, which you'll likely join forces with along the way (depending on how you choose to play the game).

Overall, Fallout 3 looks like a great, gritty character-driven game that should more than satisfy longtime fans and likely bring tons of newbies along for the ride. And just wait till you see the Fat Man -- that would be your personal nuke catapult gun...
Wooo!

Thanks again to ivpiter.

Posted by Per - at 15:11

Because you can never get too many Fo3 previews on one news page, here's PlayFeed, another gaming news site with traffic comparable to NMA's. Jaded preview readers will find somewhat more acerbic comments in here than the usual crop:

If it was in Oblivion, it’s in Fallout. In fact, you could say that Fallout is “Oblivion: The Geiger Scrolls.”

-Did I say carnage? I meant over-the-top, severed-head-spewing-blood, eyeballs-rolling-down-the-street carnage.

-Right now, one of the most foul-mouthed games I can remember in a while. Think of a swear word even you wouldn’t use. It’s probably in there.

-Approximately 20 quest thread lines. You will not be able to do them all on one character as some will disappear as you complete others.

[Ed. Note: While unconfirmed, this game may potentially contain similarities to “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.”]
The previewer especially enjoyed the Fatman and the "Let us in" sign outside the vault door.

Thanks to ivpiter.

News for Saturday, July 14, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 20:30

Gamehelper has a big bit of 6-page coverage on Fallout 3:

“So why the f— are we doing Fallout?”, posits Todd Howard to an audience of game journalists gathered at Bethesda’s HQ to hear the answer to just that question. Most gamers familiar with the Fallout series won’t care so much for the ‘why’s’ but rather the ‘how’s’. One glance at the community forums hints at the fervor and froth foaming on the turbulent sea made up of the series’ ardent fans. With almost no information forthcoming on Bethesda’s part the only remaining tools at these fans disposal has been assumption and speculation…until now.

“We had just made Daggerfall (1996) – so we were very into our elves and swords and such”, explains Todd Howard, “and then along comes Fallout. We all start playing and we’re like – have you seen this thing? They’ve got dip switches for violence – all this crazy sh—t. And then Fallout 2 came out the next year. It kinda became this ‘when are they gonna make another Fallout? We loved the series! And then the crack began – ah, we should do it! I was like – yeah, that’d be cool…[…]

Fallout I in particular would become the model – or the ‘tone setting’ – for the team’s approach to Fallout 3, paying particular attention to the key iconic elements of the original game; The interface bar along the bottom, the PIPBoy 2000, (your personal ‘Dick Tracy style’ PDA) the violence – would all be key elements the team wanted to retain.

“Violence – people forget but Fallout was one of those first games where [people said], ‘Hey, look at the violence’….(the journalists chuckle) Hey, Violence is funny – lets all just own up to it! Violence done well is f—ing hilarious. It’s like Itchy and Scratchy or Jackass –now that’s funny! “
Fallout 3 is Jackass funny?
Out is the conversation wheel that made up that hellish little dialogue mini-game in Oblivion and in is an upgraded dialogue system more akin to your Mass Effect. Instead of random luck, your play-style will affect the game’s outcome. Todd sums it up, “With each character I can be a d–k, I can be a good guy – the whole game is how do you want to role-play – what kind of character do you want to be?”

“Be a d—k”, and you might just miss out on some quests – turn a town against you – or end up in hell – hey, all the cool people are there! Leave a town and they will remember you when you return – there’s no karma reset here – and yep – Karma is back too. Oh, did I mention – there are some 12-13 different endings? So you may want to try playing as Mr. Nice Guy too just to ensure you get the whole story.
(...)
“War never changes” – but Fallout sure has. We tend to look back through nostalgic rose-colored glasses at the games of ‘yesteryear’ until those rare occasions arise in which we load them up again and discover just how terrible they look alongside the Gears of Wars and Oblivion’s lining our shelves today. And in time even these games will show their age. But time is something Bethesda has on their side - at the moment.
Colourful.

The Original Fallout Boy on Gamehelper.
Fallout 3: Visualizing DC as a Wasteland on Gamehelper.

Thanks Briosafreak.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:55

Games are Fun joins the ranks:

Guns will be one of the major weapons in Fallout 3, and for the most part, the game will play much like a first-person shooter. There will also be laser rifles, melee weapons, and my favorite, a portable nuclear bomb launcher. A neat feature of the weapons is their condition: you'll find different guns, and sometime they won't be in the best shape. You can repair them, however, by finding a duplicate of that weapon and cannibalizing it for parts. This will increase your original gun's accuracy and firing rate, and provides incentive for exploring to find new equipment.

In battle, the game will play like an FPS, as I mentioned, but it can also play like a semi-turn-based shooter, using what Bethesda is calling V.A.T.S. (an acronym for the targeting system in the game). When you scan an enemy, time freezes and you can see the status of its different body parts. Each body part has its own HP bar, as well as a percentage indicating you how likely you are to hit it. You can then choose to target a specific body part and how many times to attack (each attack uses up AP, or Action Points). When you finish with the scan, the game returns to real-time, and your main character loads up his shots. You don't have to control him here, only watch; each bullet is fired according to the instructions you gave (which body part, how many times, etc.) and the camera follows the bullet from muzzle to impact across the battlefield. A successful hit, and you're treated to a Gears of War-like explosion of gore.
Link: Fallout 3 preview on GAF.

Thanks NukaColaClassic.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:01

PC Gamer magazine has a featured preview of Fallout 3. The format is a bit different than the other previews, namely a conversation between Desslock and Dan, and rather than rehashing already known information, they discuss their views on the way Fallout 3 is shaping up.

Images removed per PC Gamer's request - Silencer

Thanks Stag.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:28

GayGamer put up their bit on Fallout 3:

The developers told us they looked at Oblivion as a learning experience for Bethesda’s next-gen ideas, and the fruits of that process were immediately evident. While the presentation wasn’t much more than a narrated demo, essentially an extended trailer of live gameplay, it proved (to me, at least) that not only is Fallout 3 worth the years of waiting, but that Bethesda’s focus on enormous worlds with exacting details makes an amazingly well-realized fit with the Fallout legacy. And most importantly of all, the token traits of Fallout are still intact: retro-future design, radiation, stims, super mutants and the lot.

(...)

In other atomic news, the miniature nuclear bomb launcher looked just awesome in action, and Oblivion’s rather massive inventory system has been repaired with some help from traditional Fallout skills: rather than accumulating 15 identical items, you can salvage parts from a weapon to upgrade any weapon of the same type. If your repair skill is high enough, of course.
Link: GayGamer: E3 07: Fallout 3.

Spotted on Fallout 3: APNB.

News for Friday, July 13, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 20:26

IGN had an E3 interview with Fallout 3 lead designer on IGN Insider. New things they talked about:

-the different people that can be recruited for your "party" will be limited based on your karma (no recruiting good guys if you're a bad guy, or vice versa)
-"might" have some characters coming back, but they aren't talking about it yet
-load times faster than Oblivion right now.
-blowing up Megaton will make your karma "plummet"
-There will be an invisible wall at the end of the world.
-Brotherhood of Steel is a "neo-knightly organization that is waging war in DC" (direct quote)
-Game is running on DX 9 right now and they would "never release just on Vista"
-He thinks it is very important about the original Fallout and Fallout 3 that all the factions, like Raiders, slavers and Super Mutants weren't all completely evil and that you never knew where you'd find friends.
-"Absolutely not" to multiplayer
Thanks Zenmaster Omega.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:24

After 6 screenshots have already been released in hi-res (see our gallery), Voodoo Extreme and others have been sent 3 more of the screenshots we've seen in GameInformer, but in high resolution.

Link: hi-res screenshots on Voodoo Extreme.

Thanks AndyB.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:52

RPGamer covers Fallout 3 at E3:

We walked around the Vault a bit and took in the sights. As we moved through the underground community, we again came across a few points where the hero had different choices for how he'd act in a situation. It emphasized the extent to which the player will have the ability to shape the sort of man (or woman!) the character becomes. There was also a nice bit of humor at certain points. When we encountered a robot named Mr. Handy, a muttered comment had most of the audience laughing out loud.
(...)
This was the first opportunity we got to see how combat played out. There were two modes available. The first seemed pretty reminiscent of first-person shooters. The game's cursor was moved overtop the enemies and the hero fired his gun. In the second mode, Todd brought up a targeting HUD that displayed different sections of the enemy's body (like arms, legs, torso, head). Each section had a health gauge and an attack success percentage. Attacking through this method seemed much more like a typical RPG setup and should be more comfortable with those leery of FPS games. However, it definitely seemed like a lot of work was put into both styles of attack, and later battles in the demo showed that there was a lot more to both of them. For instance, our hero got into a pretty intense shooting firefight later on in the midst of DC's ruins, and this involved lots of rapid running and gunning. Meanwhile, a battle in some old abandoned metro tunnels showed us how the targetting system could be used to strategically queue up successive attacks against multiple enemies, and another battle against some giant ants demonstrated how hitting their antennae could cause them to become frenzied and attack their own allies.
(...)
Part of creating a realistic world is being able to interact with it, and a lot of that was demonstrated. Back in your father's lab, you could pick up a bobble head from his desk and drop it. The precise movements of the object are guided by the Havok physics engine. Out in the Wasteland, Todd showed us how he could shoot the road and create bullet holes. He also took aim at one of the nuclear-powered cars. A few hits were all it took to cause it to explode, leaving a ring of radiation in its wake. Moving in too close caused the rad counter to start creeping up. Though the first examples were just for show, and the latter seems like something downright dangerous, the ability to heavily interact with the environment can also be used to the player's advantage. Luring enemies into the radiation zone, or igniting such an explosion near them, would certainly make for strategic maneuvers.
(...)
We met the sherrif of Megaton, and again got a nice look at the player's ability to choose different courses of action. Want to be nice to the guy, become his friend? That's doable. You can also be rude, turn violent... it's all a matter of choice. It was interesting how the townspeople engaged in conversations with each other as we walked by them. There was just a natural sense of interaction and vocalization within the town. The highlight here, however, was definitely a mysterious individual named Mr. Burke who was sitting by himself at the bar. He had quite a proposition for our hero. Megaton, he said, was a blight, and he wanted to offer the hero a whole lot of money to place a device inside the bomb that would allow Burke to detonate it. In talking to Burke, we saw how the hero's talking skill count have an impact on the game. The hero could try to persuade Burke to offer up more money, or persuade him to drop his ambitions to destroy Megaton. Again, choice was paramount.

For the sake of seeing an interesting conclusion to the demo, Todd accepted Burke's offer. Down to the bomb we went, where a device was inserted into Megaton's nuke.
Link: RPGamer E3 - Fallout 3 - Guided Tour Impressions.

Thanks JohanNYC.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:40

Another E3 Fallout 3 preview pops up:

The game has you starting out being born and lets you experience key events in your life until adulthood. We were shown the main character leaving Vault 101 for the first time and entered the city of Megaton. The city is built around an undetonated nuclear bomb and it's here where you can have a few options for missions. You could help the mayor and defuse the bomb but the path we saw was an NPC asking you to detonate Megaton and wipe out the town from the face of the Earth. Even when you get the item to set the bomb to explode you have the choice of turning the guy in that hired you. Fallout 3 is about choices and Bethesda offers plenty to choose from.
Link: Gaming Nexus Fallout 3 E3 preview.

Spotted on Gamebanshee.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:20

Desslock of PC Gamer has dedicated a column to explaining how level scaling in Fallout 3 will work:

Gaining power to kick some serious butt is a hallmark of RPGs. Typically, you're initially relegated to exterminating rats and similarly mundane vermin, but after questing for a few dozen hours, you're capable of dragon slaying. One of the great perks of becoming more powerful is the ability to strut through previously ominous territory and beat the crap out of enemies that used to terrify you. But Oblivion scales in difficulty and denies you that sense of accomplishment. If you return to a crypt after gaining some experience levels, hoping to stomp the zombies that previously manhandled you, you discover that those blasted undead have upgraded to deadly Wraiths. Oblivion's enemies reorganize into groups, and as you advance in level, enemies are supplanted by more powerful creatures within those groups. So, the Goblins you once encountered are replaced by Goblin Skirmishers and finally by Goblin Warlords. There isn't even a reprieve once you've encountered a group's most powerful creatures, as those enemies constantly scale up in attributes and equipment to match your level. Oblivion's scaling makes level advancement less rewarding, makes its world unrealistic-eventually, bandits demanding pennies end up decked out in glass armor and magical equipment worth more than lavish estates. You're actually regarded for not advancing in level-quests such as the Kvatch Siege are easier you undertake them as a pleb, since you'll only encounter Stunted Daedra instead of their more formidable counterparts. A demonic invasion isn't so terrifying when its bridgehead forces could have been routed by a lone wild bear.
Fortunately, Fallout 3 will not use Oblivion's level-scaling, but contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, scaling isn't completely discarded. The first important change is that creatures never scale up in abilities to match your level, so each Deathclaw in F3 will always have the same attributes, regardless of your character's level when you have the misfortune of encountering it. Second, each territory in the game is now assigned an encounter level that determines the level and equipment of critters when you discover that area, so a first-level character that wanders into an area designated as "encounter level 5" will be badly outmatched by the inhabitants. Loot is also generally scaled to the area's encounter level, but some item items will be hand-placed, which is similar to how Morrowind handled loot.
An area's level doesn't remain static, but it gets locked as soon as you enter it. If you enter a city block designated as a level 5 area, it will remain a level 5 area and never scale up in difficulty. Areas you haven't yet encountered do "tether up" in difficulty level, but the tethering level doesn't linearly scale with your level, so there's still an advantage to gaining experience levels. The city block that's initially designated as a level 5 area will tether up and be designated as a level8 area if you don't wander into it until you're a level 15 character. But since an area's level is locked once you enter it, you'll still get the satisfaction of returning to a previously difficult area and annihilating its residents once you have a more powerful character.
Bethesda's still tweaking these systems, but they should make exploration more interesting and not diminish the regard for advancement by making you feel like you can never really get ahead. I'd still prefer a static world like Gothic's, where encounters are always consistent regardless of your character level, but this toned-down scaling system sounds like a huge improvement over Oblivions.


Thanks Stag.

Posted by Per - at 15:13

IGN subdivision TeamXbox present their own E3 impressions, praising the original but assuring that they are very much impressed with the coming instalment. Some excerpts:

When in the vault, you’ll obtain the wrist-mounted PipBoy computer that you’ll use throughout the game to do everything from checking your attributes to changing your gear.
One can assume that first "you" refers to the character and the second to the player, and not some other combination.
You’ll also have to answer plenty of questions on the General Occupation Aptitude Test (or G.O.A.T.), which will determine your ratings in 21 core skills, including Big Guns, Repair, Speak, Science, Medicine, and Throwing,
Medicine presumably being a merging of First Aid and Doctor. 21 does seem like a few more than we've been told before, so one might wonder if the reporter got that right.
The combat in the game is best described as first-person shooting, but it’s much, much deeper than your standard shooter. Since bullets are at a premium in most post-apocalyptic wastelands, trying to run and gun your way through the game is a pretty bad idea. Instead, you can use V.A.T.S. (VaulTec Assissted Targeting System) to pause the action and queue up your targets. You can target individual body parts, and you’ll be told how likely you are to hit them. It’s a great system, offering a much deeper experience than your standard shooter.
This may mean combat in Fo3 will be a deeper than your standard shooter! Stay tuned.
One of the things that most impressed us about Fallout 3 is the writing and overall tone of the game, which puts the player in what someone from the 1950’s might imagine is the future. The design is excellent, featuring a retro-futuristic aesthetic that could best be described as the bastard child of The Jetsons and Mad Max. I mean, the fact that shooting the fusion reactor in a car that looks like a Studebaker will cause a miniature nuclear explosion speaks volumes about the artists.
Yes.
Although some people wonder if it’s just going to be Oblivion with guns, we’re happy to report that the game also features plenty of over-the-top gore, profanity, and laugh-out-loud funny dialogue.
Well, that's a relief, isn't it?

Thanks to Nology5890.

Posted by Brother None - at 5:30

The Escapist has its E3 bit on Fallout 3 up:

It's been a decade since the original Fallout was released, and so much has changed about gaming, and games, that a new Fallout made like the originals would be largely unplayable, and deeply disappointing. And before you start saying "Van Buren" remember that that game, too, was made almost ten years ago. It would not be the same game today.
...Van Buren was ten years ago?
"At this point, I've worked on this game as long as anyone who's made any Fallout game," he replied. Admitting that, while it might be desirable to receive a "blessing" of sorts from the creators of the series (as opposed to simply buying the license and running with it), at the end of the day, as creators, they felt they needed to own their own creation, even if it is based entirely in someone else's world.

(...)

Then look (the vault is surprisingly familiar), feel (guns, ammunition and violence all have the same "grit" as before) and humor (Mr. Handy calls you a stupid git behind your back) of the Fallout world has survived, been updated and made new. Although the new game is in 3D, and features a first-person perspective, it's still Fallout. It's the same world. It is new, but the same. I can't say this enough. Change, in this case is good.

Still, to the chagrin of some, it is, in fact, much like Oblivion meets Fallout. It is first person, NPCs do feel more like Bethesda NPCs than Black Isle NPCs (although the dialogue options are still hilarious and wonderful) and the world feels much more malleable.
One other must-quote bit:
Set in 2072, two hundred years after a nuclear war devastated the Earth (...) [this mistakes seems to have been corrected now - ed]
The nuclear war was in 1872?

Link: The Escapist: E3 2007: Fallout 3.

Thanks VDweller.

News for Thursday, July 12, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 23:42

Two more gaming websites have joined in with their own impressions of the Fallout 3 demo Bethesda was showing at this years E3, RPGFan and GamersInfo. While the RPGFan article doesn't cover new ground, the GameInfo article does have some interesting information. Some enthusiasm from the RPGFan article:

Fallout is a series that remains dear to many, many PC RPG fans worldwide. Despite the fact that the last two titles, Fallout Tactics and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel were not quite as well received, Fallout and Fallout 2 remain perennial favorites. Many were wary when Bethesda Softworks took the reins on the newest Fallout title. After all, how could some guys who had worked mainly on a fantasy-oriented series capture not only Fallout’s wonderful gameplay, but its post-apocalyptic flair? With Bethesda’s early demo at E3 2007, one thing is clear: while it is far from a carbon copy of the first two titles, the franchise is in safe hands. Todd Howard, one of the brains behind Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series and executive producer of Fallout 3, took us through an hour of their Fall 2008 release, and we couldn’t have been more impressed.
And from the GamersInfo article:
So, we walked around. For the demo, we tried to lie to our father, but with only a 29 percent chance of succeeding, it was a failure, and he ordered us to go take the G.O.A.T. As we walked to the classroom, people would say hello or go about their business - we got to see some Vault greasers (stereotypical 1950s gang members) harassing a young woman, and we could’ve gotten involved with that if we wanted, interacting with the Radiant artificial intelligence. Instead, acting like we were 19 - when you leave the Vault - we headed out of the Vault.
[. . .]
Why use VATS if you’re good at shooting?

Well, for one, Bethesda doesn’t want this to be a shooter - they want it to be a role-playing game. They’re still ironing out the combat system, but your chances of doing something good - a critical hit, a hit to a body part - will be better using VATS. Also, even in “twitch” mode, your skill still affects your accuracy and damage with a weapon.

Plus, when using VATS, you get cinematic! Instead of being completely focused in the first person’s must shoot it out with mutant, you get a brief dramatic movie of your actions as you fight it out!
Pre-choice feedback on chance of success for dialogue options?

Links:
E3: Fallout 3 Demo at RPGFan.
Fallout 3 at GamersInfo

Spotted on the Bethesda Blog.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:44

G4TV has a video interview up with Todd Howard. A bit of transcription:

[describing Fallout] Imagine Leave it to Beaver, with laser guns, that world was nuked, the whole world is destroyed and it is a hundred years after that. It's a role-playing game set in this very unique post-apocalyptic world. (...)

How faithful is it going to be to the other games?

In terms of the world, and the texture of it, the tone and the lore, it's very very faithful. In as far as how the game is presented, it's very very different. Those other games are ten years old, so now, with the presentation we can do now, and because it's role-playing, we want you to feel that you are this person in the world. (...)
He states it is an RPG, in real-time things are governed by your stats, so it looks like playing a FPS, but underneath it's very complex.

Link: G4TV interview with Todd Howard.

Thanks BlockStacker.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 20:47

Coverage on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. prequel Clear Sky has started with a bang. In the few days since the game was announced, there have been three sets of screenshots released, a first impression of the game in German, and a gameplay video also in German.

Perhaps most interesting is the video of the E3 demo of the game at GameStar.de, which is narrated in German. Forum member lisac2k has kindly provided us with a partial translation:

[... It is the entrance to a former hospital [level]...]

[... Our fellows gotta problem here, a sniper on the other end of the building...]

[... Improved graphics, textures and the models. Also particles look awesome...]

[... Now we have to go over this bridge, which is of course, hardly defended. In this E3 DEMO version the action play has been emphasized, as you can see it on the screen. The elements like inventory and similar are not there. We're fighting our way through the building step-by-step, clearing the way for the team, making it possible to advance further. The sniper is only a small pest, there's more problems in the building which can be solved only by playing within the team. They [the team] are the only one, who can make a hole in the wall and drop down the grenade, thus creating us the new path to continue.]

[...(Closing comment) How the story continues, how your equipment and weapons can be improved, what's the purpose of the vehicles in the game and what multi-player modes can be expected - you can find more about it at Gamestar and, eventually, the next year, when the game is about to be published.]
In addition to this video, Oblivion-Lost also has an additional four new screenshots of the game.

Links:
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear SKy demo footage at GameStar.de.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky - Brandnew screenshots - Part II at Oblivion-Lost.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 20:04

Golem, a member of the NeoGAF forums, claims to have participated in a question and answer session at E3 with Bethesda developers Emil Pagliarulo, Todd Howard, and Pete Hines. Using questions from the community, Golem has posted the resulting answers in a thread on those forums. Selected excerpts:

Separate PC / Console UI?
Yes, they learned their lesson from Oblivion and are making sure that the PC GUI will be suitable for keyboard+mouse users

How dialogue works? [sic]
Branching dialogue tree, different choices/chances of success based on charisma and speaking skill.
Poor INT will NOT affect your dialogue choices.

Groin/Eye shots?
They figure that a crit on the eye will gib the head anwyays so probably leaving that out. Groin shot is a maybe.

OTHER TIDBITS:
  • Weapons have decay. They are repaired using the repair skill which requires weapons of the same type to get parts from. Weapons decay has many effects such as Rate of Fire, Cone, Damage
  • Towns and Buildings are zoned like in Oblivion (load times between each, etc).
  • Other factions: one of the radio stations mentioned by in game dialogue is apparently run by The Enclave.
This simplification of available speech options is disturbing news.

Link: Fallout 3 Q&A and impressions at the NeoGAF forums.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 18:24

ActionTrip has their own impressions of the E3 Fallout 3 demo up.

As you exit the Vault, you are faced with a world of moral ambiguity and a rather uncompromising style of humor; again trademarks of the Fallout series. In that sense, the designers are staying true to the core concept of characterization and storytelling, something that a lot of fans will regard as music to their ears. Expect a lot of "fucks" as well as crass humor, but wrapped in an intelligent and ironic take on life.
This articles gives a somewhat more balanced look at the game, based on Bethesda's previous presentations during the development of Oblivion.
Final scenes included combat with multiple soldiers and mutants with you right smack in the middle of it all. Granted, this is something that has been the big wow factor of Oblivion, but the gameplay was sort of diluted as you progressed through the campaign.

I am very much hoping Fallout 3 won't have that detached feeling to it. It didn't in the presentation, but then neither did Oblivion under similar circumstances.
Link: Fallout 3 Hands-On Hands-On Preview by which they really mean "Watching Todd Howard play a demo."

Spotted on GameBanshee.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:09

Ausir kindly translated a few excerpts of the Fallout 3 preview of the Polish magazine CD Action:

It's clearly visible that Fallout 3 is in good hands. It's all because every element that made Fallout an extraordinary work was kept or rather recreated.
(...)
If you think "Fallout 3 is not Fallout anymore", remember the conversation with NPCs in the previous games, which were always presented face-to-face. I dare say that only because of technical limitations Fallout didn't use FPP from the beginning. There is no better way of quickly identifying with the character you roleplay than looking through their eyes, from their perspective...
(...)
Dogmeat or - more likely - one of his descendants is going to appear.
(...)
It's worth noting that you'll be able to spectacularly destroy most - if not all - elements of the environment.
(...)
As Pete Hines said: "We have no intention of removing elements that made Fallout well... Fallout". Let's take, for example, the system of radiation and using drugs - one of the screenshots shows effects of an overdose, maybe a side effect of taking a superstimpack. The sphere of sexuality will most likely be similarly treated.

Posted by Per - at 15:20

Next one out in the expected wave of E3 preview reports is IGN. Most of the piece consists of another look (but not touch) at the demo from a couple of weeks back. There is also this little snippet:

We had the chance to revisit some of the content in the Vault and discover some of the new story elements there that we hadn't heard about the first time. To begin with, we learned a bit more about the Tunnel Snakes, the gang of bullies who inhabit the Vault, and the object of their attention, the young girl with whom you've had a lifelong friendship. We won't spoil the details of the story, but the connections definitely add some weight to the story.
Wooo, love interest?

Like pretty much everyone else, IGN is satisfied with where the thing is headed:
The demo hadn't changed and neither has our high impressions of the work that Bethesda was putting into reviving the Fallout franchise. While some opinions have been divided with regard to the game's new perspective and some of the game mechanics, we're still convinced that Bethesda is on the right track to bring Fallout to a new generation of gamers while also staying true to the spirit of the franchise.

In all, Fallout 3 looks to be a great if somewhat modernized take on the franchise that's sure to please those who are new to the franchise as well as those old timers who don't mind the shift in perspective.
Spotted at one of those Fallout 3 blogs.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 5:46

Joystiq has posted their impressions of the Fallout 3 demo Bethesda showed at this years E3. The article does cover a few new facts, and covers a lot of ground, albeit not to any great depths.

The violence and humor are still very much a part of the Fallout universe. The game's atmosphere is best described as gritty, and we admit that it was surprising at first to hear a character curse and later see a sign outside of the vault that read "Let us in motherf**kers" (asterisks added by us). The headshots and limb shots are very gruesome, and with a laser gun you actually cut their head off instead of causing it to explode. Though the Fallout universe may precede it by a while, we can't help but be reminded by Gears of War.
Highlight of the event: a friendly Vault robot, who turns bitter and obnoxious once you turn your back on it.
The impression concluded on the following note:
As a fan of the original franchise, we're impressed by Bethesda's ability to retain the core elements of the franchise and improve upon mechanics. They still have over a year to develop it, but the outlook is so far great. War never changes, but the way you play it can certainly be improved.
The article covers a slight comparison to Oblivion, facial animations, voice-acting, the quest log, and draw distance amoung other things.

Link: Joystiq impressions: Fallout 3.

News for Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 21:54

The official S.T.A.L.K.E.R. website has been updated with a new section for the upcoming S.T.A.L.K.E.R. prequel, Clear Sky, and with additional information about this title.

The story of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky brings the players one year prior to the events of the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game in 2011.

A group of stalkers has for the first time reached the very heart of the Zone – Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, and brings about a cataclysm on the brink of a catastrophe. An immense blowout of anomalous energy changes the Zone. There are no more reliable and relatively safe roads. The entire levels vanish in the outbursts of anomalies. Stalkers and even expeditions die or end up sealed on the lost territories. New areas, which remained unknown since the time of the Zone emergence, appear on the Zone map. The Zone continues to shake with blowouts. The Zone is unstable. The anomalous activity is at its maximum.
[. . .]
The protagonist is a mercenary who appeared at the edge of the opposition between stalker factions, Strelok and even the Zone itself. The main character will have to play the key role in the events, which led to creation of the Zone up to the point from which the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game begins.

What’s waiting for stalkers in the opened depths of the Zone? Which new challenges bear in the new territories? Why blowouts continue shaking the Zone? Why did the Zone change? How to remove its instability? Which faction will take the upper hand in the clan opposition? Why did Strelok end up in the death truck? What happened to Strelok prior to that? Was there any other choice to make? These and many other questions will get answered in the official prequel S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky.


There is also a list of features for Clear Sky, part of which follows.
Game features:
  • A-Life-driven War of the Factions
  • Possibility to play and lead any faction to victory
  • Improved AI of computer-controlled characters
  • Improved concept of detectors, artifacts and anomalies
  • New system of upgrades for weapons and armor
  • Weapons and armor repair
  • Reworked HUD and PDA
  • New version of the game engine - X-Ray 1.5.
  • DirectX 10 renderer
  • Improved DirectX 9 renderer - parallax bump, soft particles, depth of field, motion blur, eye adaptation effect.
  • Cutting-edge and detailed game graphics (normal map)
  • New animation engine
Update: Oblivion-Lost has four exclusive screenshots from Clear Sky,

Links:
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky official website.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky information at the official S.T.A.L.K.E.R. website.
Oblivion-Lost exclusive screenshots.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 21:31

The Bethesda Blog continues their "Inside the Vault" series by taking a look at Nathan McDyer, associate producer on Fallout 3.

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.

Obviously Fallout 1 and 2 are the main sources of inspiration. Since I’m more involved in the visual look of the game, I look at movies and comics like The Iron Giant, Mad Max, Children of Men, The Hills Have Eyes, Sky Captain, Metropolis, and Tank Girl (the Jamie Hewlett comic not the terrible movie).

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

Unfortunately I got in to Fallout late. I was unemployed and in high school with Fallout 1 and when 2 came out Starcraft had consumed my free time. So my first foray into Fallout wasn’t until about 3 years ago, I picked up the first one had a blast with it. Who knew that MacGuyver could be such an evil ****?

Pitch me your dream game in a sentence or less. Go.

Take 28 Days Later, put it on an island city, give it fully destructable environments (Zombies breaking through sheet rock), whatever I can hold can be a weapon, and make me try to survive and escape. My love of Zombies outweighs my love of RTS games.
Link: Inside the Vault: Nathan McDyer at the Bethesda Blog.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 19:40

CVG has reported that the latest edition of PC Zone revealed that GSC Game World is developing a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. prequel, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky. Set to be released during the first half of 2008, the game takes place a year before the events of the original game.

Without giving away too many plot for fear of spouting spoilers, it fleshes out the origins of one of the main characters in the first game who, stepping into the boots of a stalker from a rival faction this time around, you're out to kill.
[. . .]
PC Zone explains that Clear Sky's game world consists for 50 percent new territory and 50 percent twisted renditions of what you've played before.

Sitting comfortably with the main storyline is an AI-driven stalker war. Players will be able to ally themselves with any of eight factions and work with them to seize control of important locations and ultimately assault enemy faction bases.
The article also reports that the developers are working on improving the AI, new monsters, creating a more hostile and dark game environment, improving the interface, new "spatial bubble" anomalies, and possibly creating a DirectX 10 version of the game.

Link: New S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game revealed - first details at CVG.

Spotted at Blue's News.

News for Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 16:55

Our BioShock coverage has fallen off a bit because of the dramatic increase in Fallout 3 news. However, the system requirements of BioShock have been released, if you are interested in the PC version of the game:

Operating Systems:
Windows XP (with Service Pack 2) or Windows Vista

Minimum System Requirements:
CPU: Pentium 4 2.4GHz Single Core processor
System RAM: 1GB
Video Card: Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 128MB RAM (NVIDIA 6600 or better/ATI X1300 or better, excluding ATI X1550).
Sound Card: 100% direct X 9.0c compatible sound card
Hard disc space: 8GB free space

Recommended System Requirements:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo processor
System RAM: 2GB
Video card: DX9: Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 512MB RAM (NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT or better). DX10: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 or better
Sound Card: Sound Blaster X-Fi™ series (Optimized for use with Creative Labs EAX ADVANCED HD 4.0 or EAX ADVANCED HD 5.0 compatible sound cards)

Important Note: Game requires Internet connection for activation.
In addition, since our last BioShock update, there has been a new informative podcast and a Q&A. "Sounds of Rapture" has audio designer Emily Ridgway answering questions about her field, and has example audio clips from the game. "The Story of Andrew Ryan" podcast features Ken Levine speaking about this character and the creative process behind his creation.

Links:
Sounds of Rapture at Cult of Rapture.
Podcast Episode Nine: The Story of Andrew Ryan at Cult of Rapture.

Spotted on Game Banshee and Cult of Rapture.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 16:17

Community manager Matt Grandstaff notes in the Bethesda Blog that several senior Bethesda employees are off to the West Coast to attend E3:

Well not me, but Pete, Todd and a few others from our office are off to Santa Monica for this year’s smaller, more intimate version of E3. If I get any cool news from them, I’ll be sure to put it up. Hopefully, they’ll deliver some fun swag from the event as well…
Stay tuned for any Fallout 3 information that may arise from E3.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 16:06

Interplay, which under Hervé Caen's management has been involved in a years long back-pay dispute, has finally been forced to settle. Corith, a former Interplay employee who visits our forums, explains:

[Hervé Caen] changed salary employee to wage several months after the fact with out notifying them because he felt he didn’t have too. He refused to pay back wages nor any penalties when he lost lawsuits, or would even show up.
[. . .]
Herve did not want to pay the penalties assigned by the court case, so 4 of us, including Alden and Bioware, got together and claimed in 3 years, IPLY had made no progress on paying the various legal judgments, and that it was insolvent since being evicted. After numerous stalling attempts, the noose tightened as the judge began to see Herve for the slime ball he was/is. Herve went begging to Bethesda to pull his pink, plump, rump out of the ringer. As many of you know, they bought all of Fallout for 6 million, in 2 million installments on the prevision (among numerous others) he has pay EVERYBODY, EVERYTHING, even those that didn’t file. Every lawsuit, every back wage, every dime. No more tricks or Bethesda yanks his chain.
So Interplay, under pressure, finally settles the accounts with its former employees.
After 3 years, to the month, that the Herve tried to pull his “I don’t pay the little people” stunt, the mighty hand of Bethesda, and the threat of bankruptcy, finally forced Herve to pay me, to pay EVERYBODY.

Thank you Herve for the new 07 jeep, and my wife loves her new pt cruiser convertible.
Congratulations to Corith and all the other employees who won out in the end.

News for Monday, July 9, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 23:43

French Fallout fansite Fallout 3 Nucléar has uploaded a full set of scans from the recent PC Gamer UK article, which we quoted from earlier. Catch the article while the scans remain up.

Link: Fallout 3 Nucléar.

Thanks to King of Creation.

News for Sunday, July 8, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 22:08

Fallout 3: Post Nuclear Blog put up two articles, a write-up by Morbus of megascore.biz on the Fallout franchise and game industry, and an article featuring Bartoneus of Critical Hits, which is a combination of the questions NMA asked and new questions asked by Briosafreak:

Did anyone get specifics on the conditions? (broken legs, dehydration, radiation) More specifically, how the nuke catapult/launcher will impact your rad count?

No idea about broken legs/limbs with regards to the player, as to the enemies when a successful or critical shot hit the mutant’s leg it looked like it was injured/blown off and the mutant fell to the ground. With Radiation and Dehydration it was stated that the player will need to find sources of water, but no idea of time intervals or what necessitates your need for water. It was shown that when drinking water on the open ground a small amount of Radiation was gained, and that when water in an underground Metro toilet was used it had less radiation because it’s further underground/safer (but it’s also gross and brown). The mini-nuke weapon’s rounds left a small amount of lingering radiation and if fired at a target too close (as Todd did) you would gain Rad immediately.
Link: Fallout 3 APNB - Bartoneus on Fallout 3
Link: Fallout 3 APNB - Morbus Gameplay rant

Posted by Brother None - at 22:03

Like Kotaku, Ars Technica joins the discussion on the Washington Post article. Unlike Kotaku, Ars Technica isn't trying to shift the blame, but goes "honestly, guys, who do we have to blame for the bad rep this gives us other than ourselves?"

I had a knot in my stomach after reading this; while I knew this went on, it's still not fun to hear about it laid out like this.

Of course, I'm jealous of things like trips to Vegas and Russia to promote a game, who wouldn't be? But editorial policy at Ars Technica restricts us from accepting free airfare or accommodations though; it makes everyone involved look bad. Even if readers agree with what you say, it's hard to argue how you say it isn't affected by a nice flight, a good hotel, drinks, and food...none of which you paid for. There are lines of course. Everyone accepts review code for games, and I'm not going to turn down the occasional free drink at E3, but what's described in the Washington Post article is excessive.

Here is what I would like to see from my fellow game journalists: if you feel like it's ethical to accept these junkets, or if you think they honestly help your readers, great; but in order to make sure your readers have all the information, if your airfare or room was provided to you, simply say so in the article. That way it's all above board, and everyone has the information about how the coverage was attained.
Link: Ars Technica Free plane tickets and lavish parties: how the gaming industry wines and dines the press.

Thanks Briosafreak.

News for Saturday, July 7, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 20:52

Dutch gaming media site InsideGamer has put up a rather unusual impression article for Fallout 3, written by a guest writer. After going off on a good Fallout fan tangent, he writes:

Why then am I not ecstatic to now, finally, after all those years of messing around with the franchise, hear that a sequel is really in production? Well, call me mean or cynical, call me a hardcore Fallout fan, but I'm skeptical. Bethesda does not strike me as suited to do the job and so far they've only been reinforcing that opinion.
He goes on to note the differences between Fallout and Oblivion and then talks about how the teaser was really good and promising. As he moves on to the Game Informer article, he notes his disgruntlement at the perspective, the "Resident Evil" look of the supermutants, the toilet-drinking, Fatman and the probable lack of a worldmap. After noting the positive sides (dialogue, moral ambiguity), the author concludes:
The majority of Fallout fans are not happy so far. The annoyance has gone so far that a large group of Fallout fans has started to make their own game which they dub the "true sequel." With their extraordinary weapons and slowmotion deathscenes, Bethesda is putting the emphasis heavily on action, which certainly was not the defining element of Fallout. With the teaser they showed that they can bring the atmosphere to life, and with that I hope they will listen more to the fans so that they can realize this quality in their game. Fall 2008 is long way away...
Link: InsideGamer Fallout 3 impressions

Posted by Brother None - at 19:05

Russian firm 1c has stated in a press release that it has been handed the localization of Fallout 3 for the area of Russia, the CIS countries and the Baltic countries. The localization will be released simultaneously with the American version.

Polish firm Cenega is handling the localization for Poland (thanks trustno1). Here is the press snippet both use (translation curtesy of 13pm):

Fallout 3 is a post-nuclear role-playing game in best traditions of the series providing a huge world to explore, unique combat system, stunning visuals, great possibilities for role-playing, living and developing NPCs. Your main goal like in previous games is to stay alive in the wasteland (for that you'll need various items such as water, meds and currency - bottle caps), at the same time dealing with classic Fallout dangers: radiation, supermutants, and hostile mutated creatures.
For some reason, the Russian press release adds "Enclave" to classic Fallout dangers you'll see. Probably an error.

Link: 1c press release (Russian)
Link: Cenega press release (Polish)

Posted by Brother None - at 1:48

Jonric of RPGVault has done a preview of Fallout 3.

Based on an admittedly initial glimpse, there is every reason for optimism. Although there can be no doubt about the team's ability to craft an outstanding RPG, some observers have wondered how well it could capture the aforementioned distinctive personality. To some extent, this is a valid question since none of the current developers worked on either previous title. The complete answer can't be known yet, but the goal stated by Executive Producer Todd Howard back in 2004 - "a visually stunning and original game... with all the hallmarks of a great RPG: player choice, engaging story, and non-linearity" - certainly seems within reach.
(...)
Indeed, unfounded mumblings to the effect that Fallout 3 would be a post-apocalyptic The Elder Scrolls have arisen within some corners of the RPG player community. Thankfully, this has been confined to fairly infrequent occurrences. The vast majority of us are happy to evaluate the game on its own merits.
(...)
As you might expect, Bethsoft isn't skimping on the eye candy. The locations and characters show exceptional attention to detail, with eye-catching reflections, refractions and lighting effects. As well, a new system for damage textures enables some cool visuals, although the actual destructibility of the environments is limited. It was pointed out that the PC version won't require Vista, although DirectX10 may be necessary. The primary point of view is first-person, which Todd Howard considers more personal. However, the team is also accommodating those who prefer third-person by enabling an over the shoulder angle with rotatable camera.
(...)
Purists may argue that Fallout 3 should retain its turn-based heritage. While we weren't afforded any opportunity for hands-on play, my initial impression is that the new system is fun. If so, it won't be an issue, at least not a major one.
(...)
The critical path, which involves finding your father, will have a fairly linear sequence of key events. The team is aiming for it to take about 20 hours to complete, with optional quests approximately doubling that time. There will be multiple endings, although I don't recall a specific number being mentioned.
(...)
Assuming Fallout 3 ships next autumn, fans of the property will have endured a decade-long wait since the release of its predecessor. It's truly unfortunate that circumstances played out this way, but there's finally light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, and it's looking pretty bright. There's still a lot of work to be done - the team doesn't make small games - but after the three years spent on it so far, the project gives every indication of meeting and perhaps even exceeding the lofty expectations that have arisen among the grognards, And newcomers to the franchise have ample reason to anticipate a different type of RPG experience from The Elder Scrolls, but still a Bethsoft one, and potentially just as rewarding.
Link: RPGVault Fallout 3 preview.

Spotted on RPGWatch.

News for Friday, July 6, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 22:21

Having seen the Washington Post article, Kotaku replies to assure us of their innocence:

Firstly, many of the sites represented at the affair, including Kotaku, refuse to accept free air fare and hotel accommodations from gaming companies. We pay our own way to these events to help make sure our readers always have the best information we can provide on our dime.

And while yes, I believe that no legitimate press outlet should accept travel and hotel rooms, I also recognize that for some smaller outlets it is the only way they can afford to cover major events. Does this mean they end up being swayed by the money lavished upon them? Game Revolution's Mike Reilly, whom you should never mention World of Warcraft around, said it best.

"The reason I got invited is I have readership," he said. "The only way I keep readership is by staying honest, by calling it how I see it."
Link: Kotaku Beat the Press.

Thanks NukaColaClassic.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:26

Talking about the PC Gamer preview, Pete Hines notes that it's coming to other countries as well:

And if you’re not able to get your hands on the Game Informer story, nor the PC Gamer UK issue, fear not, for there are plenty of other features coming out in the weeks in countries around the world. A short list of mags we’re allowed to talk about includes:

* Level – Czech Republic
* Pelaaja – Finland
* PC Jeux – France
* PC Action – Germany
* PC Guru – Hungary
* Giochi per il mio computer- Italy
* 360 Gamer – UK
Spotted on Bethblog.

Posted by Silencer - at 18:15

...for his Fallout 2: Shattered Destiny mod:

Aye.. yesterday I finished the last of the maps. Now I just need to finish the last scripts and dialogs and there can come the next step: Bug hunting. I hope, I can finish the most until the end of this month, then I have a month for bug fixing and then, on 30.09.2007 I will release the mod... so I hope... after three years of working (nearly) alone on it, with some ups and downs.. urg.
Link: Fallout 2: Shattered Destiny thread at the forum

Posted by Brother None - at 7:27

PC gamer's podcast covers Fallout 3 (and the death of Auto Assault) in #90, at 16:40. They talk about Interplay's MMO a bit (calling Interplay's website a "1995 webpage"), then move on to Fallout 3:

British Dude: My first reaction when I saw it was "This is Oblivion, but with a post-apocaltyptic wrapper on it."

Less British Dude: It's not though, which is one of the things I was happiest to see. I was expecting an Oblivion mod, but it was really more than that. They've really taken all the Fallout elements and roleplaying style, the SPECIAL system, the perks and traits and the experience-based thing (...). It's really all the Fallout roleplaying experience, but in the Oblivion graphic engine. That's pretty much the only thing that's the same as Oblivion.

British Dude: How's the fanbase reacted (...) because they obviously don't like the idea of Fallout being screwed up by someone else, not even a developer with the prowess of [Bethesda].

Less British Dude: [disjointed sentence fragments] never be satisfied by anything other than the third-person view isometric, exactly the same gameplay, y'know, just with better graphics and more substance. That's not what Bethesda wants to do. And there's part of me that's purest fanboy, I would still love to see that kind of game, that direct continuation, but what they've done with this new one is really impressive in that it really immerses you in to the Fallout universe, in that the interactivity of Oblivion, really brought you in to the world (...)
They note that you can still zoom out into:
Almost, almost isometric view. You couldn't do combat in that, but it looks like Fallout that way.
They note it'll be on the upcoming E3 and that they're looking forward to seeing Fallout there.

PC Gamer podcast #90, at 16:40.

Thanks The Preacher.

News for Thursday, July 5, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 22:08

Desslock, the gaming journalist who let slip that Fallout 3 would be on the East Coast half a year before Bethesda confirmed it, has been answering questions about Fallout 3 on the Quarter to Three forums.

But if you have any additional questions on anything you've read anywhere - shoot - I'll try to answer them now that I'm no longer prohibited from doing so. I've waited a year and a half to be able to talk about Fallout 3, so I'm more than happy to do so, heh.
One thing he elaborates on under prompting is V.A.T.S.
Can you complete the game using VATS exclusively, never aiming in real time?
VATS action points are a limited resource, sort of like fatigue in Oblivion - I think they are still tweaking how fast it regenerates, etc.

Can you pause even if you have no AP, just to stop and think?
Yes, definitely, and doing so will offer tactical advantages, since it allows your character to make a "perception" roll, which will give you additional information.
Desslock mentions that his next two PC Gamer columns will be about Fallout 3, the next one explaining scaling in the game; and the column after a follow-up to his older Memo to Bethesda article. Desslock also posted his impressions of Fallout 3. Robur, another journalist invited to Bethesda's press event, also relays his own impressions on RPGCodex.
We saw one possible solution for one quest. We were told about SPECIAL, skills, perks, but didn't see the full list or how the tests (?) in the Vault will influence those numbers. Ultima style? Oblivion? I prefer a classic sheet with points actually. We saw three, four battles. Ant, mutants, super mutants, behemoth. We saw no sub quest. We saw the world and I have to say that I like its looks. We were told that there would be more voice actors for less NPCs, instead of 1500 (Oblivion) "just" a few 100. We were not able to play the game ourselves. So, where does that leave me and my opinion? I think it *can* be a good game - *inspired* by Fallout. Kinda like a remix version with Bethesdas flavour. But not a direct sucessor that many F1/F2 fans would have liked it to be. You know, it's Bethesda, not Bioware or Obsidian. They are for example not going to change their art pipeline and forget all that they have done before. Now, do I like that? The jury is still out on that. I wish I could've played it myself and would have been able to mess around with VATS and dialogue (the new and improved Radiant AI) and character stuff myself. That's how I so far have ended each of my previews. Cause there is not more I can say at the moment about it. Anything else would be unfactual, wild guesses. Apologies if this wasn't jubilant or spiteful enough - I wish I had more facts and experiences.
Interesting to hear how limited the press event was.

Link: A little bit of Fallout 3 news thread at the QtT forums.

Thanks Lithal.

News for Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 16:50

Eurogamer put up a pretty good interview with Fallout 3's lead designer Emil Pagiarulo and lead producer Gavin Carter.

Eurogamer: What about the moral dimension of Looking Glass games? Does that permeate into the Fallout development?

Emil Pagliarulo: It does. One of the mantras of the Thief games is a big grey area. Garrett is the ultimate anti-hero. That's really important you know. If you want to play like that, we want to support that. As Todd [Howard, executive producer] mentioned, we originally started supporting good, and supporting evil, and we realised how important neutral was, and how viable of a gameplay path it is, and how many great games like the original Thief supported that. That's really important to me.

Eurogamer: With a background developing the Elder Scrolls games, but taking on an Interplay title, which legacy do you think Fallout 3 follows?

Emil Pagliarulo: Me personally, I really feel like we're making a game in the legacy of the Fallout games. It's so different than working with the Elder Scrolls stuff. It's first-person, and that's it. Actually it's interesting for me - it harkens back for me to some of the most enjoyable first-person games I've ever played, the Terminator games Bethesda made. Fallout 3 is Bethesda's triumphant return to gunplay games, after swords and sorcery for so long. For me it's about bringing back /that/ legacy.

Gavin Carter: I feel like when people see it's first-person they're going to say, "Oh, there's Oblivion. It's Oblivion with guns." But honestly there's not a single thing we didn't look at and think, how are we going to do this for Fallout? We stripped out our entire character system. It's all Fallout now, with specials and experience, it's not skill based. The whole questing system is Fallout. There are different paths to all the quests, you can lock yourself out of quests. It's not like Oblivion where you can say, "I've just started in the Fighter's Guild, but I'm the Grey Fox." There's nothing in the game that we haven't looked at as its own thing.

Eurogamer: Do you feel like you owe Interplay anything?

Emil Pagliarulo: You can't. You can't proceed feeling that way. It's like, you also can't proceed feeling like you owe the fans of Fallout anything, you can't feel bad that you're not making a turn-based isometric game. When I first started I think did feel like that, and there was a period of coming to terms with it, and just saying, "I'm going to make the best game I can make, it is what it is, and we have the skills to make an excellent game, so that's what we're going to do."

Gavin Carter: Each of the older games had a different team on it. Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 had many different people working on them. We have a great deal of respect for those guys, but what we don't want to do is open up our entire design to someone outside the company who doesn't really get the culture here. For better or worse it's been ten years since the last game came out. We're very strict on authorial control. We don't want to bring someone in from outside and then only implement their ideas in a half-assed way. We have a vision for the game and we're taking it all the way through.

Eurogamer: How do you go about beginning to create a new story for an established world?

Emil Pagliarulo: It's funny. Setting it in DC - it meant we knew what we needed to do. Originally we had it set on the West coast, but it just didn't work. Eventually I said, "Write what you know." So we have a location that doesn't appear all over the place in videogames. It's such a great place for a game. As for the story, I really like stories that are character-based, so how do those characters change throughout the game? So take the relationship with "my" father. He's my moral compass, a good guy, a noble character, so if I'm an evil bastard how does he react to me? If I blow up a town, what does he think?

Eurogamer: Does that relationship impact on the moral dimensions of the game?

Gavin Carter: To an extent. A large part of the game is spent with him absent, so a lot of stuff happens outside of that relationship. We wanted the relationship as a central point of the plot, so we don't want you to be able to say, piss off your dad and ruin the plot. To have a narrative you have to have some parts that are more strict. We definitely want you to feel like he is a central character in your life. When he leaves it is the biggest climactic moment in your life. No one ever leaves the vault - it is entirely self-contained.

Eurogamer: You've mentioned the good/neutral/evil options. Can you elaborate on that choice?

Gavin Carter: It was something we knew we needed - it was one of the key tenants of Fallout that we needed to do. Right at the top was, "choice and consequence in every quest line", as much as we possibly can. Every aspect of the game should have choice and consequence. Even choices like picking your character's stats. Those /don't change/ throughout the course of the game. You're stuck with your Special stats pretty much for the rest of the game. Every little bit from what equipment you pick up to whether you're going to shoot this guy in the head, is going to have that choice, and there are going to be consequences.
I'd quote more but that'd be rude. It's a really good interview, so go and read it. Also, for some reason it has a concept art of Intoxicate Interactive's Afterfall on page 2.

Link: Fallout 3 interview on Eurogamer.

Thanks moocow.

Posted by Brother None - at 15:24

Killzig noted something added to the XBox Live marketplace:

Fallout 3
Post Nuclear Roleplaying

"Vault Tec engineers have worked around the clock on an interactive reproduction of Wasteland life for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own vault. Fallout 3 includes an expansive world, unique combat, shockingly realistic visuals, tons of player choice, and an incredible cast of dynamic characters. Every minute is a fight for survival against the terrors of the outside world -- radiation, Super Mutants, and hostile mutated creatures. From Vault-Tec(r), America's First Choice in Post-Nuclear Simulation(tm)."
Pete Hines adds the following:
Many of us here have been waiting and wanting Fallout stuff to use for a gamer pics and themes since…forever. Finally today the wait is over as you can now grab a pack of Fallout 3 gamer pics. The pic pack (100 points) features several variations of Vault Boy plus a Brotherhood of Steel image, as well as a theme (150 points) for your Live blades featuring the Craig Mullins concept art you’ve undoubtably seen already.

Finally, a pic to match my motto. And, if you want to see the teaser trailer in full 720p glory, you can download that off of Live as well.

Posted by Brother None - at 14:52

While I know the game is not of direct interest to all our readers, I can never pass up on a good community effort. To copy from Warcry:

The recent events have triggered outrage and many unanswered questions on the official AA boards. There is no official news whether NetDevil will intervene and buy the IP back off NC Soft's hand, or if there is any willing buyer at all.

BIOMEK.ORG, Auto Assault's popular database website, is now converted into a Refugee Bunker for all AA players with a dedicated Refugee Forum.

The reconfigured site also started an online campaign to save Auto Assault, with 2 separate online petitions for both involved companies:
Link: petition to NCSoft.
Link: petition to NetDevil.
Link: BIOMEK website.

Thanks Sigoya.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:59

GGL put up their preview of Fallout 3:

The Fallout series, to me, is part nostalgia and part niche. While this game has always held a special place in the heart of many a hardcore gamer, it's not really something that can be classified as a guaranteed runaway smash hit. And perhaps, this is what Bethesda is thinking as well when they decided to abandon the turn-based style gameplay with a user-friendly real-time FPS/RPG hybrid.

While still having the same style and tone as the first game, this new version looks to break from the indie shell and into a mainstream product that can not only cater to hardcore role-playing fans, but shooter fans who may need a change of pace.

(...)

So what exactly is new in Fallout 3? Well, besides a completely overhauled view of playing -- first-person shooter vs. a top-down classic RPG -- the game also just doesn't completely abandon its RPG roots. One of the most interesting aspects of combat in the game is the V.A.T.S. system. Essentially, it's a targeting system that is initiated with the press of a button and allows the player to target specific parts of an enemy's body. Depending on conditions, each body part has a higher percentage to hit than another -- the computer will make a roll for you as if you were playing a table-top RPG to determine your success.

If you first only had this described to you, it may sound like something that detracts or slows down actual gameplay, but in fact it heightens the experience. Even though it is a bit early in development, had V.A.T.S. not been included, the game may have felt just like your everyday RPG/shooter hybrid. Instead, this new feature adds incredibly to the flow and feeling of playing a well-thought experience.

(...)

At its heart, obviously, Fallout 3 is an RPG. No matter how much it may look like a shooter from the outside, deep down, this is an RPG. Besides the V.A.T.S. system and dialogue branches, the player will get their role-playing fix by earning experience and distributing points to various skills needed as you progress through the world. Of course, how you want to play will determine where you place those skill points (of which, you have 14 different areas ready for distribution).

And besides skills, you'll also get awarded different titles based on your "karma" of playing within the game. Not only can you be evil or good, but also play neutral -- something of which the developers were sure to make a full-featured and working role.
Link: Fallout 3 preview on GGL

Posted by Brother None - at 0:07

We haven't covered post-apocalyptic bash'm-drive'm Auto Assault in a while. And it looks like we won't anymore:

NOTICE: Today NCsoft is announcing that it will be closing down service for Auto Assault at the end of the summer. The service will close at midnight on August 31, 2007. As of today, any player currently in the service with an active billed account will not be billed again. If players have previously purchased time via multi-month billing or time cards that extends their service past July 31, NCsoft will reconcile these accounts appropriately. There will be more announcements coming soon regarding the shut down of Auto Assault and its impact on current accounts.
Link: Auto Assault website.

Thanks yevinorion.

News for Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 23:52

Mike Musgrove of the Washington Post has put up a fascinating tidbit on how the gaming companies try to court game reviewers to friendship and positive reviews of their games. One of his prime examples? Fallout 3.

A little validation from Masson, a writer for the French game magazine PC Jeux, and others like him can help tip the scales in the competitive game industry, where a cutting-edge title takes many years and millions of dollars to develop. That's why game designers, like movie studios, have learned to lavishly court such tastemakers, the guys who write for the major blogs and magazines and play a key role in today's big-bucks video game industry.
(...)
The company flew Masson and about 60 other writers in from as far away as Australia and Japan to give them an early look at the company's Fallout 3, scheduled for release late next year.

In addition to an hour-long demo and chats with the game's designers, the trip included a two-night stay in downtown's swank Helix Hotel, dinner at Logan Tavern and a private party at a nightclub in Adams Morgan. Airfare, hotel, food, drinks and shuttle bus were provided, courtesy of Bethesda Softworks. Although a few attendees paid their own way, most did not.

"What we're trying to accomplish with an event like this is to have the undivided attention of the important people in our industry, that cover the industry," said Pete Hines, vice president of marketing at Bethesda Softworks, whose Fallout 3 will be set in a version of Washington that's been scorched by war. "There are a lot of titles out there competing for attention."

It looks like Bethesda Softworks is getting that attention: Fallout 3 is scheduled to soon grace the covers of 20 gamer magazines, largely as a result of the event.

Bethesda Softworks' parent company, ZeniMax, is privately held and won't disclose the game's budget, but it's not uncommon for the budgets of cutting-edge titles like Fallout 3 to exceed $20 million, including marketing costs.
Something to keep in mind when reading the Fallout 3 previews.

Link: An inside play to sway video gamers on Washington Post.
Link: video on the press event in which Pete Hines talks

Spotted on RPGCodex.

Addendum: additionally, Briosafreak put up a short series of press event pictures taken from the video:

Posted by Brother None - at 7:00

Team Xbox did a preview of Fallout 3 that literally has absolutely nothing new to add. This is the only statement of interest:

Amazingly, a lot of diehard Fallout fans worried about the prospect of Bethesda turning their beloved franchise into “Oblivion with guns” (which, in this editor’s opinion, isn’t exactly a bad thing). After a recent trip to the studio for our first eyes-on of the game, we’re happy to report that it looks like Fallout 3 will have something for everyone. Old school Fallout fans will be impressed by the incredibly immersive world and quasi-turn-based gameplay, while news fans will be blown away by, well, everything.
Link: preview on Team Xbox.

Thanks Nology5890.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:16

There are a lot of questions that've been left unanswered in the Fallout 3 previews that've passed the revue. Searching for answers, NMA was happy to find Critical Hits' Bartoneus (don't forget their high quality Fallout 3 preview) willing to answer a few questions as best he could:

VATS. Ok, so I can pause to aim. Does that mean where I aim in RT doesn't matter, i.e. if I click on the head I'd still hit the torso, in RT? Also, when in VATS, can any actions be taken, or is it just cuing actions to happen?

Correct that VATS is a pause to aim idea, but from what I saw and heard at the event the Realtime play is like any other realtime game with shooting, if you aim and actually hit the head the same effects would apply as a called shot. Again, I'm not certain, and anything about that is conjecture based on the gameplay that was shown. From what I can tell, VATS is purely a system for queuing actions and that is all, we did not get to see if your inventory can be accessed/used while paused or if that would use action points also.

Shooting in RT slows down AP recharging. What about moving or other actions?

Not sure about this one, honestly in the demo Todd was pausing every time he really wanted to fight and only a few times did he have to run'n'gun in realtime and that seemed like just when a Mutant got the jump on him. He had modified the system a bit to help the demo along faster so I don't know how much of this was final mechanics and how much was for demonstration purposes.

Viewpoint. A bit unclear on drawing back the camera. Does it allow the camera to be drawn back far enough to be roughly the same bird's eye isometric as Fallout 1 had?

It looked (roughly) the same as the view from Fallout 1, and the graphics engine looked as if it stood up perfectly to the zooming in/out.

I attempted to stress it in my original commentary, but the entire graphical presentation of this game is stunning. Whether in first person view or over the shoulder you literally FEEL the destruction of the environment, the desolation, the abandoned ruins of small towns and junky shanty towns of the survivors. I seriously doubt many people, even die-hard purists who play the game, will end up using the isometric view very often because it simply looks too damn good in the other views (over the shoulder especially). The roleplaying aspects of the game will be improved incredibly by the immersive environments and feel of the interface. The first time a group of giant Rad Insects jump out at you and start chasing you, you'll begin to feel what I'm talking about (if not before that). If you don't think a franchise can stand a technical transition into first person and retain the qualities of the original, you clearly haven't played Metroid Prime.

Dialogue. Matt Miller caused a stir on this with his remark that "the tree is closer to Oblivion." So how does it look (visually, like Oblivion)? The PC has full lines or keywords? Any sign of long NPC replies? Any hint (probably too short a demo) of expansive branching dialogue?

This really tests my memory on the specifics of the demo shown, but I'll try my best to remember exactly. Looking back at Oblivion your choices in dialogue were things like "rumors, cathedral, Glarthir, etc." The visual look of dialogue is similar to Oblivion in how it zooms in on the NPC's face and where the text is displayed, but from the short bits we viewed it looks like PC respones will be phrases much like from Fallout 1, and typically it looked as if there were serious answers, angry answers, and funny answers all mixed in. The dialogue trees definitely looked like they had longer NPC replies also, and there was definitely a HINT of expansive / branching dialogue but really with the demo not enough was shown to say. From how Emil and Todd talked about it, I imagine the level of depth and detail shown throughout the demo expands to every part of the game.

I got a very good sense of "Fallout" from the dialogue shown, and strongly feel that this is one thing the people at Bethsoft are putting a lot of effort towards getting right.

Guns. Do they use schematics to construct?

One example we were given was the lunchbox explosive: you combine the lunchbox with some explosives (C4? something else?) and fill the rest of the lunchbox with bottle-caps and you'd have yourself a regular claymore shrapnel device. As far as schematics/instructions I don't know, but that makes the most sense.

Bobbleheads. How do they work?

This was not looked at in-depth for the demo, just mentioned in passing. It seems to be more of a side-game / additive element then a primary focus of the gameplay.

BoS. Was any explanation offered for their presence?

When Todd finally entered the city, he encountered a group of super mutants and was quickly saved by a unit of them (i believe that's who they were). I didn't catch if it mentioned exactly why they were there, but they help protect the player through what would otherwise be a tougher part of the city. Short answer: Not that I know of, no explanation yet.

Are bottle caps in as a currency?

As mentioned above, they were discussed as being used in the 'lunchbox explosive' so I figure they will be in the game as currency as well.
Link: Critical Hits

By a bit of coincidence, Critical Hits also has a "Ridiculous Critiques" editorial up about fan response to Fallout 3.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:31

Bethesda PR man Pete Hines was interviewed on Major Nelson's podcast. It's pretty long, but covers the same material as we've seen, some choice quotes:

Tell us about Fallout [3] from where you're sitting, tell us what it's all about
Fallout 3 is a big post-nuclear role-playing game. It's our attempt at bringing back this beloved franchise that hasn't done anything in 10 years and our chance to do a very different type of role-playing game that we will hope folks will like.

As a gamer, what should I expect? Is it a shooter? We talked about it being a role playing game, how do you explain it?
First and foremost it is a roleplaying game. We make no bones about that. Yes it has guns, yes you shoot things rather than running up to them and hitting them with a sword (...)
He talks about working a long time on getting 3rd person view to work properly vs how it worked in Oblivion. He talks about the character system being close to Fallout, and then;
Unlike in Oblivion or any ES game (...) where you can really modify your base attributes a lot as the game goes along, Fallout 3 is much more about making some pretty tough choices early in the game that really don't get changed as you go along. So you're not going to be bumping up your strength skill every time you level up. As you go through, you're going to have to make some pretty tough choices about which attributes are important to you and they're going to affect the rest of the game. It's experience points based, it's not skillbased.
Pete explains how they learned a lot from Oblivion on a technical level, but also in storyline development. He goes on about improved RAI a bit. He notes memorable characters and tough "shades of grey" choices are important to Fallout. The scope helps in this. Plus he notes Oblivion and Fallout are different types of role-playing games, talking a bit about Oblivion being good and bad on a macro level, while in Fallout it's more about specific instances of being good or bad. Pete explains this means high replayability as you can go back making different choices, good, bad or gray area.
Tell me about some of the weapons.

Right. We certainly have a lot of the weapons from the original Fallout games in and we also added in a bunch of new ones. So you have a whole range of stuff from the BB gun in the vault when you're 10 and first learn how to shoot, then there's hunting rifles and Chinese assault rifles and this really cool weapon called the Fatman, which is a portable mini nuclear bomb watcher. It's really insane when you see it go off.
One of the things that we found out with guns (...), which is much more difficult to do than with swords, is that when you don't have bullets or little mini-nukes to shoot then that weapon is essentially useless. So it's much easier to balance how much you're allowed to use a particular weapon or by not only degrading its condition over time but also how much ammo is available over time (...) You can have a great weapon like the Fatman, but if you're only going to have one nuke, you're not going to go running around nuking people.
Pete talks about the ability to make weapons, including the Rock-It Launcher. Then he notes he thinks people will feel excited, then he talks about VATS, which he notes "is rooted in the origins of Fallout," equating turn-based combat to the ability to decide to aim. He notes it is designed to avoid rewarding twitch play. He notes you can damage someone's vision by aiming at the head. Pete also explains your cued actions play out in speeded real-time mode as you unpause. He also notes you can't aim if the enemy is too far away while your PC's skills are too low.
Pete explains the setting a bit more, concerning the vaults. Then he explains the tutorial and plot as we've seen it described in previews, though he adds that you're your father's only son. Afterwards he discusses the juxtaposition of the vault's inside to the post-apocalyptic outside.
The reporter notes he's looking forward to seeing it at E3 and that the demos are on the Xbox. The reporter asks about simultaneous development on Xbox360 and PS3. Pete Hines notes PC, Xbox360 and PS3 were identified as the platforms their game could run on, but
for our desk, the 360 is just a good base platform for us to work off, in terms of ease of design, the architecture and the hardware. We basically find that's a good one to use as a base platform, but we can technically show it on the PC or PS3 if we wanted. But the 360 is, y'know, you have to pick on the show a demo on. (...) We've got pretty good at modeling our system to run well on that (Xbox) and run well on everything.
I have to note one thing: when discussing vaults, the reporter actually states "so this is like your version of the 50s bomb shelter things," as if Bethesda created it. He also refers to Fallout 3 as "Fallout" several times.

Link: Major Nelson live podcast #232 (Pete Hines interview at 39:07 to 59:20).

Spotted on Gamebanshee.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:47

Sorry for interjecting this into busy newstimes, but our last poll asking for thoughts on Bethesda's Fallout 3 concept art and teaser clearly no longer has any relevance, so it was time to cut it. The results were a big hit for "looks ok" (25.35%) and "looks awesome" (23.55%). People also thought the game'd suck (3.39%), that it looks ok but they need to work on it (7.18%), that concepts looked good but not Fallouty enough (4.36%), that the trailer looked good but the power armor was bad (4.35%). Others thought they didn't show us anything (15.94%) or it was just hype (4.74%). Ron Perlman! (10.50%) and "what concept art and teaser" (0.63%) mopped up.

Sadly, we also have to report that there were some distinct oddities with this poll. Not only did "looks ok" and "looks awesome" grow at an odd exponential rate after the poll was already up for a while, the poll had a bizarre rate of 283 votes per day (even 381 votes per day until we turned the IP checking clock up). This opposed to the range of 19-88 votes per day we usually get.

We've always had a pretty insecure poll system in which you could easily vote multiple times, but it looks like this is the first time some people felt the need to take abuse of that. While we review the poll system, we won't be running any polls with serious questions anymore for a while. And our streak of joke-polls begins with "Groin shots, will you miss them?"

News for Monday, July 2, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 18:49

Game Industry News put up a preview of Fallout 3:

Well, I am here to tell you that the game is in 3D, but I don’t think anything will suffer because of it. Bethesda came up with what I consider to be an ingenious way to integrate both real-time and turn-based play into the game. You walk around the game world in first person, or you can switch to third person if you like, just like Oblivion. When combat begins you can either play it out normally like a shooter, or you can enter turn-based mode. In turn-based mode you will pull up a diagram of the enemy, just like in the original Fallout games. You will see the chance to hit each part of the enemy, like their legs, arms, antenna, head or whatever. Each shot takes a different amount of action points, which are assigned to you based on how you make your character. When you take the shot you will see it in slow motion, and the 3D action (the enemy movement) will also move forward in slow motion.

You can always exit turn-based and go back to standard real-time play. Your action points will still regenerate when you are in real-time, but will do so more slowly than when you are in turn-based mode. It’s actually a very beautiful way to make the Fallout universe 3D without leaving turn-based gameplay behind.
Either this guy doesn't know what turn-based is or every other journalist is lying.

Link: GIN Fallout 3 preview.

Spotted on RPGCodex.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:36

The latest issue of PC Gamer UK, now on subscribers' doormats, has a long, 10-page spread on Fallout 3. The basic outline is the same as what GameInformer brought us, and their screenshots are again the same. Still, some choice quotes:

The comparisons between this early scene and that of Oblivion won't be lost on Bethesda, developers of both games, nor their divided fan-base. Rarely can a game announcement have been met with such vitriol. The Fallout name is such a sacred cow that amers decried with spittle-flecked rants Bethesda's acquisition of the rights to develop a third in the series. Fears of trite quests, repetitious dialogue and a bland world ran rife among the online chatterati. But they haven't seen what I've seen.
(...)
"There's an undertone of pulp sci-fi adventure," says Todd of the Fallout world. "It's not Mad Max post-apocalyptic future, it's a 1950s tomorrow land...it's how they imagine the world would be."
(...)
[on character creation/tutorial] "We wanted people to experience something they've never had in a role-playing game before," explains Emil Pagliarulo, Fallout 3's Lead Designer and evidently its creative visionary. "In most games you start out at a certain point; you never get to develop your character through the course of his or her life. We wanted to show you what it's like to grow up in the Vault so we start at the point of your birth. You get to know the people in the Vault, including your dad."
(...)
[on selecting Liam Neeson] "We were daydreaming about who would be good as your father," says Todd. "We just thought Liam Neeson would be perfect... We asked him, and he said yes."
But isn't it a bit of a publicity stunt - especially as this was the first snippet of information released about the game? "We could have had a perfectly good voice actor who isn't famous, and I suppose there is a marketing thing to it," admits Todd. "But regardless, he's a seriously good actor. He understands the role completely and has an incredible professional attitude. (...)"
(...)
Emil again: "it's a shock when you find out your dad is missing, and the Overseer [the chief of the Vault] is pissed off. He thinks you had something to do with it and he sends his thugs after you. The Vault is no longer safe for you. In addition to you wanting to find your dad, you're under pressure to get out..."
(...)
Todd warms to the theme. "In Oblivion, we say, here's the good part of the game and here's the evil part. In Fallout we say, here's the situation. You deal with it in ways that feel natural to your character... Later on, we realised a lot of the quests we were making were morally grey, neither definably good nor evil. We asked, do they need to be clear? And decided, no, definitely not."
"We want people to agonise over things," adds Emil, a glint in his eye. "For things not to be clear."
It all sounds dangerously like actual roleplaying. And it's tied in with Fallout 3's character development system, which fans of the original will find happily familiar. The big difference between it and Oblivion's is that you will never become an all-round everyman in Fallout [3], skilled in most things.
(...)
Ah, the weapons. Drawing heavily from the original, we'll be reunited with a host of old friends; from the super sledgehammer, simple pistol and rifles like AK47-alikes, plasma guns and the monstrous Fat man (...) You'll occasionally find or be able to buy schematics for new and unusual toys which can then be built using parts scavenged from the world. The best example of this is the Rock-It-Launcher: a jerry-built projectile lobber that can fire rocks - or any junk you may have clogging up your inventory.
(...)
[On VATS] The VATS system is a reflection of the old Fallout targeting system, which allowed a very similar level of detail and strategic thought (...) Once your orders are selected [in paused mode], up to a maximum governed by your action points, real time continues, with your actions rewarded with slow-motion close-ups if you score a particularly ugly killing blow.
(...)
[sheriff Lucas Simms of Megaton] He's cautiously friendly, but warns you what'll happen if you misbehave in his town. A good man doing a tough job? Or a self-important egotist living out his cowboy dreams? (...) you'll start to realise there are hidden depths to many of Fallout 3's characters.
(...)
[on NPCs] I certainly didn't see anything repeated, anything out of character, or anything that broke the consistent, convincing atmosphere - all complaints that have been leveled at Bethesda's previous works. Lucas is a good example of what Bethesda are aiming to do with NPCs: make them more subtle, less obvious, more human.
(...)
[options on Megaton's quest] You could ignore him and keep pursuing your dad. You could say you'll do it, then rat him out to the sheriff. You could say you won't, then do it anyway, just to piss off everyone. The upshot is that, a couple of hours into the game, you could be standing on a rooftop watching a town and its inhabitants being atomised... or you could still be there, doing odd jobs and getting pally with the lunatic who worships the bomb as a god.
(...)
[side-bar text] A higher charisma score gives more chat options.
It strikes me how easy it is to imply now that Oblivion wasn't "actual roleplaying", or how the press recognizes issues with Oblivion's NPCs only now.

PC Gamer UK's cover shows what some suspected; the already emblematic BoS soldier is holding a laser rifle:


Thanks to Moribundus for helping us get a look at the article.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 15:08

The recent flurry of previews and articles about Fallout 3 can present an intimidating amount of text to wade through. In the interest of consolidating all the varied sources into a straight-forward collection of facts, we have completely revised our old Fallout 3 FAQ to incorporate the latest information about the game.

No Mutants Allowed presents our Fallout 3 FAQ.

Additionally, the Fallout 3 gallery includes more high-resolution versions of the screenshots and concept arts now, courtesy of Duck and Cover.

Additionally additionally, we have now created a Fallout 3 articles page, to keep things in order.

Posted by Brother None - at 5:06

Games Radar has a preview up for Fallout 3, telling us that we'll like it. Which is nice of them. But does it read like that?

Is Fallout 3 the next Oblivion? That was our impression after leaving developer, Bethesda Softworks' demonstration of its latest project, a follow up to the cult classic post-apocalyptic role-playing series, originally debuted by Interplay Entertainment a decade ago. Since Bethesda secured the rights to produce the next chapter in the series in 2004, rumor, conjecture and fanatical fanboy-ism have been running rampant across the internet.
(...)
Change is often good, but messing with what fans love can be a dangerous business. Purists may scream bloody murder when they find out that the familiar isometric third-person view - and point-and-click control scheme - is gone. But the change from the original third-person view to "Oblivion with guns" is a welcome one. The way combat plays out - actually more of a mix of turn-based RPG combat (like how it was with the original Fallout games) with the freedom of camera movement that FPS' allow - has us convinced. Before fans call foul, take our word for it. Looks can be deceiving.
Other than that, it contains no new information.

Link: Games Radar preview.

Thanks Bushido Samurai.

Posted by Sander - at 2:16

Shacknews has published their preview, along with the rest of the world. Interestingly, this preview reveals yet another tidbit of information:

Sadly, groin targeting has not returned for Fallout 3. The designers decided to keep the targetable areas to body parts that would have tangible effects when targeted--shooting a leg will cause the enemy to stumble, shooting out an arm might cause it to drop its gun. "You will no longer be able to punch a rat in the groin," Howard said.
Aimed shots to the groin are out.

There was also a rather odd gameplay example:
Howard noted that Bethesda developer Ashley Chang can frequently be seen wearing the uniform of the sheriff while perched in a tower, taking shots at the inhabitants of Megaton. A less ruthless player might find that killing the sheriff and donning his clothes, then acting the right way towards the citizens, might actually eventually result in being recognized as the new sheriff.
And again, the mini-game feature is confirmed:
Hacking computers and electronics is a part of Fallout 3, and is represented by a simple code-breaking mini-game similar to the classic Mastermind.
Link:
Shacknews Fallout 3 Preview

Thanks Briosafreak!

News for Sunday, July 1, 2007

Posted by Silencer - at 19:19

Joystiq made a short summary of what has been made known about Fallout 3, of note there are sa few points in particular:

The game takes place 30 years after the events Fallout 2. The events of the much-maligned Fallout: Brotherhood and Fallout: Tactics never happened in the universe of Fallout 3.
This would indicate that the Brotherhood of Steel mentioned are from the original brotherhood from Lost Hills, and might have gotten to D.C. by Vertibirds.
There will be 21 collectible bobbleheads hidden throughout the game for Easter egg lovers.
Yay, gotta catch them all!
* There will be no drivable vehicles in the game, but you can travel between locations through subway tunnels.
* There are children in the game, but the team isn't sure yet if they will be killable as they were in the previous Fallout games.
Which is something along the lines of original games, except it has already been confirmed on Critical Hits Fallout 3 FAQ the children will no tbe killable.
You'll be able to hire mercenaries to aid you as in the first Fallout game. You won't have much direct control over them.
Except in Fallout, those were not mercenaries (though technically, you could "hire" Ian, you could have also otten him to join you free), unfortunately, Diablo 2 pops to my mind quicker.

Link: More Fallout 3 details than you can shake a nuke at @ Joystiq

Thanks Wasteland Stories!

Posted by Sander - at 17:21

And more and more previews come trickling in:
Destructoid has released a Fallout 3 preview. The most notable snippet:

In the meantime, ponder this: between areas, the loading screen will display various character stats and figures, like how many miles walked. One of the stats was simply "Corpses eaten." When asked about that fascinating statistic, Todd Howard smiled and hesitated before refusing to go into more detail. But I'll say this much: any game where you can eat a corpse is worthy of your attention, and Fallout 3 from Bethesda Softworks looks like it's definitely going to be worth the wait.
Critical Hits has also released their preview.
Their most notable snippets:
After a quick pan through of lots of conceptual art and screens from the original game, Howard finally got behind the controls of an X-Box 360 and fired the game itself up for us to bear witness. Immediately he began to explain the most obvious design choices as to why the game is not in an isometric view but is primarily first person. The reasoning is quite simple; they want to make the game feel like it is real. The best part of this, while he seemed to be saying that the game plays in first person, is shortly afterwards he zoomed out to an over-the-shoulder view that really blew us all away.
[..]
Everything that is visual about this game looks stunning in motion, so much so to the point that it looked natural to be playing the game from over-the-shoulder, and at one point Todd zoomed all the way out and up to an isometric view while running and it still looked beautiful. For all of you purists out there, I’m not sure if you can play the entire game from that view. We didn’t get to see how it would act when indoors or in more confined spaces, but outdoors it worked like a dream. Forget calling this game ‘Oblivion with guns’, that’s like saying that Half Life 2 is just ‘Doom< with a story’.
[..]
The combat has been a hot bed of questioning lately, and from what we saw it is a complicated thing to convey properly. The game is in real time, not turn based, and enemies will move and act in real time when you fight them. The key is when you activate the VATS (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) button that it becomes interesting: the game pauses entirely as your view zooms into an enemy and you see the parts of their body highlighted with different percentages. While the game is paused the player assigns actions to be taken using their given number of Action Points. i.e. – shoot them in the head 3 times) Once this has been done, the system is deactivated and the assigned actions play out in a matter of seconds in what is really a seamless mini-cinematic. And if the player has succeeded the mutant’s head explodes in glorious 3D with guts and eyeballs flying all over the place. It is vague at this point about how fast action points refresh and therefore how often this can be done, but in the demo Todd was using this system repeatedly in each combat over and over again. It seems that when used in the game, it really borders on becoming a turn-based game where things simply happen in real time between player turns which really just means the turns are more fluid. We will have to wait and see exactly how this turns out.
They also have a Fallout 3 developer Q&A that seems to confirm that there will be no killable children in the game and a few unkillable NPCs, although they want to have as few unkillable NPCs as possible. The total playing time is estimated at 40 hours, including all sidequests.

And spotted over at the Bethesda Blog is the Joystiq preview and list of major points. The blog also lists a Next-Gen Preview, a German buffed.de preview, a Worthplaying preview and a Eurogamer preview.

Links:
Destructoid Fallout 3 preview
Critical Hits preview
Critical Hit's Fallout 3 developer Q&A
Bethesda Blog
Joystiq preview
Next-Gen Preview
German buffed.de preview
Worthplaying preview
Eurogamer preview
IGN preview
Todd Howard video interview at IGN
VooDoo Extreme preview
Gavin Carter video interview at Game Trailers
1Up preview
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Thanks Briosafreak and Duck and Cover!

Posted by Sander - at 16:48

Gametrailers has published an interview with Fallout 3's lead producer Gavin "kathode" Carter.

Besides some more details about the game that we can also read in several previews, he talks a bit about the Fallout fanbase. he also mentions that the game takes place in 2277, 30 years after Fallout 2 finished up and notes that there is a large wasteland around Washington DC.

And another snippet on V.A.T.S.:

[...]Within any combat situation at any point you want you can pause time, you can examine your combat situation. Then you can use action points to do certain actions such as 'I want to target this guy's leg, and then I want to shoot his head'. So, you spend your action points to queue those up and then you press the V.A.T.S. button and engage V.A.T.S. mode and the computer takes over. Based on your skills, you witness the outcome of that.
Link: Gametrailers' Interview with Gavin Carter

Thanks Starwars!

Posted by Sander - at 16:38

Gamespot has also published a Fallout 3 Preview. One of the more notable snippets talks about character depth:

So not only will the humans all not sound the same (a problem in Oblivion), but they'll also have unique dialogue. That should rectify one of the major issues with Oblivion, which was that most characters had no personality and their only purpose was to serve as an information kiosk of sorts. However, that wouldn't be Fallout because the series is known for its memorable characters.

And another about choices and consequences:
Where you go and who you ally with will be up to you because the game will have multiple endings. And yes, there will be a definitive end to the game, at which point you can start over to explore the many other choices. And Bethesda really wants to make choices count in this game, much more than it did in Oblivion. After all, in Oblivion you could pursue every quest in the game and be all things to all people. In Fallout 3, the choices will be much more binary, and they will have far-reaching consequences.

Link:
Gamespot's Fallout 3 Preview
Thanks Starwars and Morbus!

Posted by Sander - at 15:58

IGN has published a Fallout 3 preview. Besides a detailed description of the demo they received, it also describes the V.A.T.S. system in more detail than we have seen so far:

Players who feel a bit challenged by the more intense real-time battles or players who simply want to take a bit more control over combat can make use of the impressive Vault-Tech Assisted Targeting System (VATS). The feature is essentially a more detailed version of the combat system in Knights of the Old Republic.

On the Xbox 360, you'll enter VATS by pressing the right bumper. The game will pause and the camera will zoom in on the enemy you're currently targeting. Each area of the enemy that isn't behind cover will be outlined in green, showing both your chance to hit that particular area as well as how damaged the area already is. Naturally, trying to hit a smaller target, like a head or a pistol, is going to be more difficult than aiming for a torso or a leg.

Using a pool of action points determined by your Agility, you'll queue up fire actions to the targets you want to hit on your enemy. You can even switch enemies to queue up a series of shots against different members of a large group.

Furthermore, it appears that Bethesda has also put in some more mini-games, including a form of Lingo to crack security systems:
To get the Protectrons up and running, you'll need to hack into one of their control terminals. Once you find one, you'll have to play a short mini-game to gain access to it. The game displays a list of possible passwords and you're given a certain number of tries to guess the correct password before you're locked out of the system. Each time you guess you'll be told how many letters of the password you selected match the letters in the correct password. If you're smart and lucky, you can narrow the field down with each guess until you arrive at the right password.

The preview also confirms that some form of far-away third-person view is in, although details on its workings are lacking.

Link:
IGN's Fallout 3 preview
Audio interview with Todd Howard on IGN

Thanks DirtyDreamDesigner!

Posted by Brother None - at 3:55

Gamespy covers Fallout fans in their #8 Debriefing, together with Fallout Tactics' production manager/Gamespy associate editor Alan "Delsyn" Rausch:

[Rausch] When it comes to Fallout fans, ignorance, stupidity and arrogance is bad combination, because this is a community that has all of those. Since I've already opened the door there, they're loathsome human beings, who I hope really get a horrible disease and die.
(...)
They have some of the finest RPGs ever made. I still break out Fallout once in a while and play it. But if it's a choice between, say, having my eyes poked out with red-hot needles and spending time in the Fallout forums, I'm seriously going with the needles.
(...)
[someone else, talking about discussion on the Fallout 3 forum] You can have Fallout on the east coast because there wasn't a war on the east coast, and you can't have powered armor, and Ron Perlman would be dead by then so how can he do a voice-over.
(...)
[Rausch] Ron Perlman was never a friggin' character in the game. He did the voice over for God's sake. Second of all...
(...)
Y'know, these are people who would love it to be 1998 forever and they want all the ex-Troika guys to come back to it. I mean, the quintessential example of what these people are is when Bethesda got the license and nobody knew anything beyond the fact that hey, Bethesda got the license. A normal person would go "hey, look, an obscure license that really only had critical praise and didn't do all that well in terms of sales has been rescued from the dead by people who love it." And what was their reaction? "Oh, it's going to suck when Bethesda has it. You know what? You know nothing, shut up.
Link: GameSpy Debriefing #8, at At 90:30.
Excerpt on Rapidshare (thanks DarkLegacy).
Link: provide feedback to Gamespy.