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News for Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Posted by ivpiter - at 8:27

Gwynne Dixon previewed Fallout 3:

"The quest system is actually very different [from Oblivion]. Rather than having lots and lots of quests where you can do any of them that you want without being locked out, Fallout has a much smaller number of quests and how you do one may lock you out of doing other stuff," Pete told us.
(...)
In the demo we saw, we also caught a glimpse of the Brotherhood of Steel who, for those who haven't played the originals, are the AT-AT pilot looking soldier guys. They'll help kill off those pesky mutants and are generally your mates, plus they look really cool.
(...)
Oblivion fans can also expect a similar experience points system for Fallout 3, with points coming from completed quests and doing away with ravenous enemies.
Actually, there are no experience points in Oblivion's use a skill to improve it system, this is one aspect of the game that's closer to the original Fallout.

Find more gems from Gwynne Dixon's Fallout 3 Preview on TVG.

News for Monday, October 29, 2007

Posted by 13pm - at 17:56

Shacknews has put up a nostalgic article about old games and manuals for them. It features a pic from Fallout in the header and has a bit on it too.

Mixing humor with a dark, post-apocalyptic setting, Interplay's masterpiece RPG Fallout stands the test of time--and its manual is no different. Titled "Vault Dweller's Survival Guide," the book begins with extraneous statistics of the underground vault your character has inhabited since the nuclear holocaust, listing everything from budgetary sums to typical power requirements. This is followed by a detailed, multi-page synopsis of the effects of a nuclear blast. These cold facts effectively introduce the heavy, lead-laden atmosphere that pervades Fallout.
Go take a look if you miss the game manuals too.

Link: Warning: No Instructions Included

News for Saturday, October 27, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 3:25

As you may or may not know, Fallout 3 was eligible for the Golden Joystick for "The One to Watch 2007". The winner of that award was Assassin’s Creed. The runner ups were Grand Theft Auto IV, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Mario Galaxy, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Fallout 3 did not make it into the consolation list.

Link: Golden Joystick awards 2007 (Gears of War is the big winner, by the way)

News for Friday, October 26, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 19:17

Game Scoop! Podcast: Episode 55 features a chat with Pete Hines (who sounds like he has a bit of a cold) at 33:10. Some bits:

IGN dude: one thing we didn't see [in the demo] was the overworld map, how you actually get around in the world. In Fallout people told you about a city and you could travel there in an overworld map, but then you could encounter random enemies on the way. Whereas in Oblivion you would just fasttravel there.

Pete Hines:
In Fallout they used this method of traveling across the world that was dissociated with actually having to walk across it. You were a little x moving across the map and you could actually explore unexplored parts of the world. In Oblivion, the difference was that you could never fasttravel until you have been there, so even when you know where a place is you can't actually fasttravel to it or back from it until you've discovered it. I imagine that whatever we end up doing in Fallout 3 will be similar to that. We don't want you to skip the step of going out into the world and finding new things to do and to just be able to jump in. We like the fact that you have to get there first and have made your way to it, and then, if you're going back and forth between two places you've already discovered, there's no reason you can't just jump back and forth. But how exactly fasttravel will work in Fallout is still TBD.
After this, he explains that creatures sometimes respawn (ant lair), sometimes don't (super-mutants), picking whichever makes sense. He notes that they're far enough that they can show the game and have it so that the demo is actually pretty representative of the finished game, bar some polish.

Pete also explains that Megaton is probably the most simplistic branching-quest, having just two basic options (blow up or don't). And as known before, it is repeated that skills influence dialogue. Furthermore, reactions to actions like murdering some guy in his house can be delayed because people will only discover it later, or potentially not discover it at all if you murder the dude in a hidden spot:
If you take somebody out in a location where nobody else is aware of it, then your actions should be unknown to everybody else and therefor not affective in terms of how you deal with other people
And karma reactiveness should make sense. And:
We want each karma type to be specific unto itself. The example Todd named is that if you have evil karma, at some point in the game the good guys will actually send guys out to get you. If you have good karma the evil guys will send people out to get you. But if you're neutral, they both basically ignore you, neither side really cares about you one way or the other. (...) we want there to be three really distinct types in terms of your roleplaying character.
They discuss weapons (100% repaired = maximum DPS for that weapon, duh) and the fact that the world is a struggle to survive so you'll likely have to drink water to heal. Pete Hines explains only a small chunk of the gameworld will be recognizably D.C. IGN asks what the 300 million cash injection to ZeniMax is for, and Pete answers that it's basically for expansion (for instance, expanding Bethesda's publishing role).

And on the end they tag on the standard "how's the fanbase been?"-question, which Pete Hines answers with "their role is to provide criticism, and we absorb that and figure out how to factor it in", but "you can't make someone else's game."

(Gee, maybe you shouldn't have bought someone else's game, then?)

The examples Pete Hines names of the fanbase interaction is the community question (from Bethesda's blog and forum) and perk contest (from Bethesda's official site).

Posted by Brother None - at 18:42

According to Moviehole.net, Mad Max 4 is in pre-production...again.

After several false starts, one major budget blowout and a thrillion chuckles, George Miller’s “Mad Max 4 : Fury Road” is finally juiced and ready to go. Its production quarters re-opened at Fox Studios in Sydney this week.

One of Moviehole’s longest - not as in length (well not that we know of) but in terms of how good he has been to us over the years (setting up set visits.. basically giving us access to things we normally couldn’t have gotten) – friends called today from the lot to let us know that “Fury Road” has finally got a greenlight, with pre-production commencing immediately.

It sounds as if Miller will be working on this film, and “Justice League” concurrently – the latter is also set up at Fox Studios – as well as…. “Happy Feet 2”.
Link: Mad Max 4 is back on

Thanks Bewaltz.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:18

In conjunction with the release of the latest dev diary, the Fallout 3 official site is now available under 7 flags: Australian, British, USA, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The first three are all the same, so let's summarize in saying it's available in 5 languages now, which you can pick as you enter the site.

Kinda weird that they would skip on the fact that the biggest Fallout fanbases after the English one are the Polish, Czech, Russian and other east-European ones.

News for Thursday, October 25, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 21:45

Always interesting to see what happens to the owner of the "independent" developing house Bethesda. ZeniMax, having recently opened ZeniMax Online, has got a cash injection x1000.

ZeniMax Media Receives $300 Million Investment from Providence Equity Partners

Rockville, MD, October 25, 2007 – ZeniMax Media Inc. today announced the closing of a $300 million investment by Providence Equity Partners Inc. for convertible preferred stock of the Company. The proceeds of the investment will be used to fund future growth, increase game development and publishing, facilitate acquisitions, and finance massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs).

ZeniMax Media was founded in 1999 by Robert A. Altman, its Chairman and CEO, and through wholly owned subsidiaries creates and publishes original interactive entertainment content for gaming consoles (including the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and the Nintendo DS and Wii), the PC, handheld/wireless devices, and online gaming. Last year its wholly owned subsidiary, Bethesda Softworks, released The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® which was voted Best Game of 2006. Bethesda’s upcoming title, Fallout® 3, has already been featured on the cover of more than 20 magazines worldwide and has won accolades as one of most anticipated games for 2008.

"We believe that Providence will be an ideal partner for us as we build our businesses worldwide in the years ahead. Providence shares our strategic vision for the Company and is excited by the opportunity to help us move into a position of leadership in this industry,” said Mr. Altman.

“We are pleased to partner with one of the best managed companies in the videogame industry,” said Michael Dominguez, a Managing Director of Providence. “ZeniMax Media has an outstanding series of proven interactive entertainment content and a burgeoning position in the rapidly growing global video game market. We look forward to working with Robert to build value at ZeniMax Media over the long-term.”

Mr. Dominguez will join the Company’s Board of Directors, which is currently led by Mr. Altman and includes ZeniMax Media President Ernest Del, Leslie Moonves (President and CEO of CBS), Harry E. Sloan (Chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.), Robert S. Trump (President of Trump Management), noted film and television producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.

Banc of America Securities, LLC acted as exclusive placement agent for ZeniMax Media Inc. The Company was advised by DLA Piper.

Goldman Sachs and Weil Gotshal Manges advised Providence Equity Partners.

About ZeniMax Media Inc.
ZeniMax Media is a unique media organization which has brought together a team of world-class game developers, artists and designers, programmers, producers, and leading executives and talent from traditional media. ZeniMax Media creates and publishes original interactive entertainment content for consoles, the PC, and handheld/wireless devices. ZeniMax Media divisions include Bethesda Softworks, Vir2l Studios, ZeniMax Europe Ltd., and ZeniMax Online Studios. For more information on ZeniMax Media, visit www.zenimax.com.

About Providence Equity Partners
Providence is the leading global private equity firm specializing in equity investments in media, entertainment, communications and information companies around the world. The principals of Providence manage funds with approximately $21 billion in equity commitments and have invested in more than 100 companies operating in over 20 countries since the firm’s inception in 1989. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI (USA) and has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong and New Delhi. Please visit www.provequity.com for more information.
You'd think they don't need a cash injection, with the money flow generation by hundreds of thousands of people buying horse armor online, or the constant issues and re-issues of Oblivion and its expansions and GotY editions and the PS3 expansion.

More importantly: "acquisitions"? Now who could ZeniMax be looking to acquisition? Interplay?

Posted by Brother None - at 20:55

Bethesda has added the second in the line of dev diaries to the official site, this time Istvan Pely discusses the design of the PIPBoy 3000.

Inspiration came from both commercial product design and military industrial design of the 1950’s to early 1960’s. Elements from items such as old portable television sets and army field radios were studied and incorporated in some fashion along the way. As with all of Fallout 3’s industrial design, a careful balance of realism, future-retro-style and practicality was sought in the final product. In terms of realism, it’s not an essential factor, but a sense of believability within the rules as defined in the Fallout universe is important.

Technology in the world of Fallout 3 is somewhat paradoxical in that it’s incredibly advanced in some ways, and downright primitive in others. Certain technological advancements that we take for granted in our own history either did not occur, or developed along a very different path. Miniaturization is one example; yes, the fact that a device with the capabilities of the Pip-Boy could be made at all is amazing, but it’s still a rather bulky and heavy lump of hardware. It uses a monochrome cathode ray tube, there are no flat LCD/Plasma/OLED screens. Its housing is cast out of a metal alloy, not plastic. And it’s an ergonomic nightmare. But all these qualities give it character, and this was an important aspect of the design, as the Pip-Boy is almost a character itself.

Link: Design and Development of the Pip-Boy Model 3000.

Posted by Morbus - at 17:30

Matt “Gstaff” Grandstaff cleared the subject regarding an eventual playable demo of Bethesda's Fallout 3. From his post on the official forums:

One thing to consider about demos though. For certain kinds of games, I’d say its not as easy to just break off a piece, and say, here’s the demo. Sure you can take a game of Madden, let someone choose between two teams, and then make it one quarter. Or as of yesterday, just release a few songs for Guitar Hero III.

For a game like Fallout (or Oblivion), there’s a lot of details that have to go into it since the game plays as a sandbox…where do you cut the user off. You might bring up that we have a playable demo that we’ve shown at events, but from the previews you read, you’ll notice that the G.O.A.T exam is never taken, we never decided to save Megaton instead of blowing it up, and so on. Part of the reason for this is that for the purpose of showing the game, they didn’t need to flesh out those details.

If we were doing a demo, there’d be a lot of time spent on deciding where a user could go, what quests to include, etc. For Fallout 3, we’d rather commit the time that can be used for delivering a demo into spending more time working on the final product.

Of course, it’s always nice when you can get a demo. I enjoyed the Bioshock one, and I played Guitar Hero III’s last night, but as a gamer myself, I don’t always expect one.
Spotted at: Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog

News for Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Posted by Per - at 15:57

Gamebanshee has published a Fallout 3 preview. Written by Thomas "Brother None" Beekers, it's based on the same notes and impressions that made up the basis for NMA's own preview by Brother None and SuAside, but there are also musings on fan reactions, so check it out.

There're few things as ugly as the reaction this game has garnered from the traditionalist Fallout fans. And considering that most of their worst fears came true, it's not so much a question of whether or not Bethesda's Fallout 3 so far lives up their standards of a sequel, but more what one can really ask from a sequel like Fallout 3.

Is it really fair to directly compare a sequel to its 10-year old predecessor? That's not really a question I can answer here except in saying that in calling it Fallout 3, Bethesda is calling forth these expectations themselves.
Link: Fallout 3 @ GameBanshee.

News for Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 6:27

shihonage has been posting on our forums to discuss his project, Shelter, which has been in the works since 1999 and was once announced on NMA in 2001. It's back in the works now, while shihonage is developing his engine and temporarily using graphical assets from Fallout and Fallout: Tactics. What's interesting is that he now tossed together a short demo video to show his engine really is operational, on top of a bunch of screenshots he released earlier.


Link: Shelter teaser video on Youtube.
Link: Shelter thread on NMA.

News for Friday, October 19, 2007

Posted by Morbus - at 19:13

“The Mutant Chronicles” is an upcoming movie based on the role-playing game with the same name. From the official site:

Mutant Chronicles is a futuristic war film set in a dark time when the Earth’s natural resources have been exhausted by mankind and battle rages between the soldiers of four leading Corporations: the Capitol, Bauhaus, Mishima and Imperial.

Mitch Hunter and Nathan Rooker, a pair of battle-hardened Capitol soldiers, are leading an attack on a Bauhaus outfit when an explosion rips a hole in an ancient seal awakening a horrifying machine that recycles human corpses creating powerful and relentless mutants. Mitch manages to escape but he has to witness the savage death of his friend Nathan who is torn apart by mutants armed with heavy bladed arms.

As the mutants multiply by their millions destroying all before them, the last humans attempt to evacuate the planet. The Corporations’ leader, a high priest figure called Constantine, is about to abandon the planet and leave the remaining humans to their desperate fate when he is approached by one of the Elders, a monk named Samuel. Brother Samuel is keeper of the Chronicles, an old tome, which foretold the rise of the Mutants and that a ‘Deliverer’ will appear to destroy the Machine and save mankind. Samuel believes he is the Deliverer and he manages to recruit Mitch Hunter to help him in his quest to destroy the Machine. Mitch reluctantly signs up, along with a handful of like-minded soldiers including Steiner, a Bauhaus leader and sworn enemy of Mitch; sword-wielding Severian and Latino street fighter El Jesus; fearless beauty Duval and her brother Juba.

The “Mutant Chronicles” follows Mitch and Samuel’s mission to venture into the very heart of the machine in an attempt save the planet from the marauding hordes of undead.
Here are some pics too:



Link: The Mutant Chronicles Official Site
Spotted at: Omelete

Thanks Wasteland Stories.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:15

After NMA's Fallout 3 preview, I cast about for comments from some of the media people I've know as Fallout fans for year (the type Desslock or Will Porter) to get some feedback on our opinions and assumptions.

Desslock eventually replied, and we got into a debate about some of the key issues surrounding our difference of opinion of this game. With Desslock's permission, I've merged these e-mails into one A Tale of Two Cities article. If you're interested in hearing some different views on the topic of Fallout 3 be sure to read it. For instance, on V.A.T.S.:

Brother None: It's not "the only thing" they have in common, it's exactly the same mechanic. Ignoring the fact that BioWare's system is just an example (I think you got bogged down on that), the point is that this is just another predictable, uninnovative RTwP system.

Desslock: I disagree - that's like saying Fallout 1's combat is identical to the combat in the Final Fantasy series because they both feature turn-based combat. You're culling out details that make the systems distinct, and in Fallout 3's case, original. Again, there's never been an RPG that featured combat similar to Fallout 3's, so by definition, it's innovative.

Brother None: I think we're asking the wrong question, tho'. Try to make a list of how two combat systems are identical and you'll always end up with a big wad of differences, does that mean every combat system is innovative? I think the key question is (considering the above) what exactly is so innovative about this combat system? A different angle; not what are they doing that's exactly the same, but what are they doing that's significantly different?

Desslock: The combination of features: real-time/stats-based (as opposed to twitch-based) combat which can be stopped in order to initiate targeted shots using action points. Sure, at some level you can point to aspects that you feel are derived from other games, but the overall package is not just "different", it feels original.

Anyway, I think this argument is distracting from the more substantive issues of (a) whether this combat system actually works well in practice, and I think we both agree that we have reservations/questions that need to be addressed as more details are revealed by Bethesda; and (b) whether it feels like Fallout 1/2, and I think we both agree that it's definitely different, so fans hoping for something closer to the turn-based combat of the original games are likely disappointed, while gamers who thought it would be just like Oblivion's combat are probably pleased that it's something different - it's an original, hybrid combat system, which I think looks promising, although I have reservations.

Hell, Bethesda could unveil the melee combat and it'll have "super-smash; spinning lightning attacks", in which case I'll agree with your "supermoves" description, and be disappointed by Bethesda's design decision. But for now, I'm cautiously optimistic about the combat system.

Brother None: Is my description 100% accurate? Probably not, but I made a clear judgment call, and I feel it's at least as fair as calling it "innovative".

Again, there was never a game that featured exactly the same combat as its predecessors. Every combat system is different in some way, and it's odd to put down arbitrary lines at which something is "innovative" or not.

However, when I remember what I saw play out, and when I then look at this Mass Effect combat video, they're functionally the same. You can argue that the details are different, but the difference between the two is the interface and the replacement of biotic attacks with aimed shots. The biotics are stat-based, not twitch-based, and depend on the amount of energy you have for it, i.e. action points. That's functionally identical, right there.

I'll gladly accept the fact that you can differentiate Mass Effect and Fallout 3's RTwP from Infinity Engine's RTwP because the underlying mechanics are different, but that doesn't go for differentiating Mass Effect from Fallout 3.

I'm not going to accept that anything that isn't done before is innovative per definition. Innovation should be more meaningful than that (even if it is currently as useless as meaningless terms like "next-gen"), it shouldn't just be taking RTwP and including Fallout's aiming system.
Link: A Tale of Two Cities.

Posted by Per - at 1:48

It's Inside the Vault time again, this time focusing on producer Craig Lafferty. Some stuff gets said I guess?

What’s your job at Bethesda?

I’m a Producer, which means different things depending on the project. Right now I’m the producer responsible for the art department, who are all working on Fallout 3. Before that I was lead producer on the PS3 version of Oblivion.
So anyway Fallout doesn't get mentioned a lot this time. But he claims to have worked on Tyrian, a shoot-'em-up where you could enter a cheat code that made your ship shoot billions and billions of lethal bananas in all directions. That was awesome.

Link: Inside the Vault: Craig Lafferty

News for Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 0:11

Killap has released the final version ("or at least I hope so") of his unofficial Fallout 2 patch.

This patch has been in production for several years now and it fixes well over 800+ bugs left in the game since the official 1.02 patch. I suggest using this installer version as opposed to the manual one since the installer will do everything automatically for you. If you want to do things manually though, go ahead and grab the manual rar version. I hope you enjoy the best Fallout 2 experience yet!
Link: download Killap's Unofficial Fallout 2 Patch (US/UK - installer).
Link: download Killap's Unofficial Fallout 2 Patch (US/UK - manual install) .
Link: Killap's patch thread on NMA.

News for Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 19:11

10 years ago:

Project Update: We are working on a patch for some of the various bugs, and we are building and testing the localized versions for Australia and the UK. The translated language versions are waiting on translations back from the translators (German, French and Spanish). The FAQ page has been updated, please let us know any comments. -- 16 Oct 1997 @ 1545 PST
That's...not really a meaningful day at all, but still it looks to be the day we're closing our anniversary celebrations with a second gift from Desslock. This time, it's a post-release interview he did for his site with Fallout 2 lead designer and producer Feargus Urquhart. A bit:
Desslock: What's next for the Fallout series, assuming the game is at least as successful as the original game? Don't worry, we won't hold you to anything <grin>

Feargus Urquhart:
We are kicking around ideas for Fallout 3. Nothing official yet, but we are thinking of making it using a 3D engine. I don't want people to panic here, because it is not going to be a 1st person shooter. We are just going to use the 3D engine to display an isometric world in 3D. So people will still play the game much the same way as they are doing now in Fallout 1 and 2.
Link: Desslock interviews Feargus Urquhart.
Link: NMA presents: Fallout's 10th anniversary.

Posted by Morbus - at 0:45

Here’s a brightened version with more visible details of this screenshot from Fallout 3, so we can take a clearer look at the Behemoth’s outfit (thanks Frank Online)...


In other news, the newest issues of Hype! magazine included this wallpaper on the bundled DVD. It is a higher resolution version of the promo pic we've seen used by magazines before.


Spotted at: Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog.

News for Saturday, October 13, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 23:54

Well isn't this funny? Unexpectedly, the material keeps on coming. Desslock, the well-known RPG guru who used to run his own RPG news site on GameSpot and now has his RPG columns on PC Gamer, once interviewed Tim Cain in 1997, prior to the release of Fallout. And today Desslock was kind enough to provide this interview to NMA. A random highlight:

Desslock: Fallout's detailed tactical combat, complete with critical hits, the ability to aim at specific locations on your target, etc. has been enthusiastically received by role-playing gamers who have previewed the Fallout demo. Do you anticipate that the combat system will be substantially similar to the one previewed in the Fallout demo?

Tim Cain:
Yes, we've primarily just been tinkering with combat balance and AI. We have added the ability to speed up NPC turns, so you don't have to wait as long for them to take their turns. The biggest change from the demo is the addition of critical hits and misses. These are specific to the critter you are attacking and the weapon you are using, and combat becomes even more strategic when you are trying to decide whether or not to shoot with a 20% to-hit number, since the chance of critical failure is proportional to the chance of missing. On the plus side, called shots have a better chance of scoring a critical hit (making groin shots even better), but since they are tougher shots, you may critically miss more too. It's all a balance thing.
(...)
Desslock: The graphics in Fallout look fantastic so far, and have a lot of gamers excited about playing a real, live role-playing game which looks so gooood. Great work, by the way. What resolutions and color depths do you intend to support in Fallout? Do you anticipate including any special graphical features, such as dynamic lighting, etc.?

Tim Cain:
Fallout is a 640x480 256-color product. We do make use of dynamic lighting and special effects such as translucency (we have a Stealth Boy device that can turn you nearly invisible) and some gorgeous color-cycled animations (one of our artists managed to make the ocean waves lap at the shore when you go to the beach).
(...)
Desslock: What are two features (perhaps among many) which you believe set Fallout apart from other role-playing games?

Tim Cain:
First, different characters really are different. If you make a stupid character, he will have different responses to NPCs dialog, and therefore the game will take a different spin as certain adventure seeds are denied you. Similarly, starting with low combat skills could easily get you killed in the first adventure seed that is offered, since it involves big, dangerous monsters. Likewise, take a high Luck and you may find things in the wasteland that others cannot...

Second, how you behave in the game really matters. Be a jerk, and people won't barter with you. Save a town and become a hero in their eyes. Join the bad guys and see a different endgame (not necessarily a lose game sequence either). In other words, this is a true role-playing game, and you are responsible for your own actions.
(...)
Desslock: As a game "from the makers of Wasteland", as your web site indicates, are there any features or other touches in Fallout which veterans of Wasteland will particularly appreciate (other than the obvious similarities in setting)?

Tim Cain:
You'll finally be able to see what "exploding like a blood sausage" really looks like. We are violent like Wasteland, and I think we share the same "feel" in the adventure seeds. Remember the boy's dog that you went looking for and found, but it was rabid and you had to shoot it, and the boy hated you? We have seeds like that, seeds that make it tough if you try to be a good guy, seeds that are just plain dark in tone.

And then there's a rumor of a certain weapon...
Link: Desslock interviews Tim Cain.
Link: NMA presents: Fallout's 10th anniversary.

Posted by Morbus - at 23:11

Australian Gameplayer has published a new Fallout 3 preview, with a somewhat silly title: "Fallout 3 - The most Highly Anticipated RPGFPS there is!". Here's our highlight:

The game will be using the same engine as Oblivion, though it’s been substantially altered to reflect the game’s focus on mid-ranged combat rather than beating goblins to death with broken twigs. However, the combat isn’t simple first-person combat, despite appearances. The Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System pauses the game in combat, whilst you target certain parts of your enemies’ bodies and they do the same to you. (...)

The greatest foes in the Fallout series were the mutants, the survivors who had been stuck outside the vaults during the world-obliterating war and who weren’t so friendly to their non-deformed brethren. Worse even than them were the super-mutants - enormous lumps of muscle led by an über-super-mutant called the Master. The best way anyone has worked out of killing them is a bodged-up Nuclear Catapult!
Link: Fallout 3 - The most Highly Anticipated RPGFPS there is!
Spotted at: Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog

Posted by ivpiter - at 11:47

In a recent interview on GamesRadar with Bioshock Senior Artist, Hoagy De La Plante, he cited the inspiration and influence that lead to the undersea collapsed art deco dystopia of Rapture:

GamesRadar: What other games inspired the BioShock art team?
HP: The original plan was to make a spiritual successor to System Shock 2. From a gameplay perspective, we certainly analyzed a lot of other titles. Half-Life 2
(…)
But our actual inspiration came more from films and novels
(…)

GamesRadar: Give us some examples of those films and novels.
HP: Certainly the novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. The Randian theory - idealistic and flawed - was important to the game. Artistically... Blade Runner.
The full article is broken up into 10 mini-pages starting here.

Bioshock creator Ken Levine and his team seem to have overlooked Fallout for more then just art. In a recent Gamespot interview he expressed his dissatification with the multiple endings of Bioshock.
KL to Gamespot: "One of the reasons I was opposed to multiple endings is I never want to do things that have multiple digital outcomes, versus analog outcomes. I want to do it like the weapons system in the combat in BioShock. There are a million different things you can do in every combat; you can play it a million different ways. Looking into the future for the franchise, that's something I want to [figure out], that by the time you get to the ending of that choice path, you have a sense of your impact on the world through lots of little permutations rather than like a giant ending piece, if you follow my meaning."
To which Bit-Tech replies:
Oh, like the Fallout games then? Sorry Ken, but it's already been done. Fallout 2 perfected the idea of branching endings long before BioShock was a twinkle in your eye.
That sums it up pretty well.

News for Friday, October 12, 2007

Posted by Morbus - at 20:24

mvBarracuda let us know a new milestone for FIFE was released: FIFE 2007.2.

Important changes since the 2007.1 release
* Removed the rather difficult to maintain lunar.h bindings in favour of SWIG.
* Replaced the Lua scripting support with Python. Now the main loop runs in the scripting language. For the 2007.1 release the main loop still ran in the engine side and the Lua library was embedded into the engine. By utilizing SWIG game creators can add Lua support back to the engine again if they have the need for it.
* Metamodel refactoring. This resulted in a better engine structure and a decreased number of dependencies between the engine modules. Furthermore bi-directional dependencies were removed completely.
* Improved engine modularity. Our aim is that you can cherry-pick specific engine modules of FIFE and just use the ones you really need for your game.
* Pathfinding integration. Exchangable backends so you can already replace the currently rather simple linear pather with a more sophisticated system.
* New 3d geometry system. Camera supports now tilt, rotation and zoom. Geometries are affected by camera adjustments, but in addition to that, layers can contain separate scale and rotation.
* New event channel module. Scripts have full access to mouse, keyboard & widget input.
* New MVC architecture pattern. The whole engine has been refactored to follow a model - view - controller pattern. This leads to a cleaner engine module hierarchy compared to the engine design that was used before.
* Improved action-based animation system.
* A techdemo to give game creators a starting point. This is a common undertaking of the Zero-Projekt team and FIFE.
This project has shifted away from being an improved Fallout-like engine, but it’s still worthy of our attention and support.

Download: Source Package (Linux, Macintosh)
Download: Win32 binaries
Link: Full Release News Update

Thanks mvBarracuda.

News for Thursday, October 11, 2007

Posted by ivpiter - at 22:53

Another installment of Inside the Vault, this time with Fallout 3 world artist Clara Struthers.

From the interview:

What other games have you worked on?

Oblivion and Shivering Isles are the only published games I’ve worked on.
(...)
How did you get into the industry? Do you have any tips for breaking in?

If you really want get into the industry, and think there’s no chance, I’m sitting here at Bethesda telling you that you can. When I started at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for CAM (now the Media Arts and Animation program) in 2000, I could barely draw, I had scant, if any, useful knowledge of computers (my family never owned one. In fact, I typed all my reports throughout high school on an electric typewriter that would only store 400 words at a time.), and I really didn’t have a clue what 3DS Max was or that Photoshop even existed. (Central Pa. tends to be a bit sheltered from the civilized world.)

So how did I do it? I’m still not sure.
Still absent from the question list is "Have you played a previous Fallout?"

Inside the Vault - Clara Struthers.

News for Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 23:38

PlayStation Universe has interviewed Bethesda's PR man Pete Hines. Not only that, they're also psychic:

From the creators who brought you The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion comes one of the best post-apocalyptic role-playing games ever - Fallout 3.
Apropos. On to the questions.
PSU: The art direction in Fallout 3 definitely succeeds in capturing the visual spirit of its predecessors. How did Bethesda initially capture these visuals and place them into a next-gen 3D world? Were there any compromises made in terms of what to add or how expansive the world could be? In addition, was there anything Bethesda thinks it did differently than any previous titles in terms of the current world's visual layout?

Obviously we spent a lot of time looking at the games themselves, but also the concept art for those games. We have a lot of the original materials from the first two games so we can look at not only how they looked in the original games, but also what the developers were going for when they came up with the idea. We spent a ton of time churning out a lot of concept art and going through multiple iterations to get the look and feel of things right. That includes all of the iconic elements from the series – the PipBoy, Vault Suit, and so on – to little things like the chairs and computers that appeared in the Vault in the first game.
(...)
PSU: How does the melee system in Fallout 3 exactly work? How will the VATS system focus its efforts with the melee system?

The goal is to balance the game so that you never have to fire a gun if that’s not the kind of character you are role-playing. So you can use different types of melee weapons in close range and use VATS to target body parts just like you can with a gun. How “exactly” it works is one of many things we are working on at the moment and it continues to get changed and refined until we feel like we have it “just right.”
(...)
PSU: What platform is lead for development? Are you finding one easier than the other?

We usually use the Xbox 360 as our lead platform because it has some very good tools for providing feedback we need in managing things like memory allocation, load times, framerate, etc. But we develop each platform simultaneously and ultimately the game has to run and be tweaked to run on each platform as well as possible.
Link: Post Nuclear Living in Fallout 3 on PSU.

Spotted on Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog.

EDIT: the article has been revised by its editors. Follow the link to read the up-to-date quotes.

News for Monday, October 8, 2007

Posted by Morbus - at 21:21

There’s a new graphical modification of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. available for download. It’s called “Nuclear Snow” and looks very beautiful and atmospheric. Take a look at some screenshots:


Nuclear Snow is a graphical overhaul of Stalker, where the world mostly is black and white with strong contrasts whilst some objects, effects and blood is highlighted with color, making even more contrast between the edited graphics. The movie Sin City has been used as a reference, which should give you an idea of what to expect.
Download: Nuclear Snow
Download: Nuclear Snow Torrent
Spotted at: RPG Codex

Posted by Morbus - at 11:40

The first season of CBS’s series “Jericho” was released in DVD a few days ago. From the official site:

Oh Man!!!! October 2nd is here... this is the greatest day... well the greatest day since you fans brought us back. The DVD is out there and you guys are leading the charge as we watch it fly off the shelves. Hopefully by the end of the day - every store will be sold out.
You can get it at Amazon, here.

Link: Official site
Link: Jericho on DVD Discussion

Thanks Maphusio.

News for Sunday, October 7, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 16:50

10 years ago was another one of those big dates:

Project Update: Fallout DOS/Win95 should be in stores by the time you read this. The Mac version was sent to the duplicators today, and should be in the stores shortly. European and rest of world releases are unknown at this time, but we are working on the localized versions right now. The Feedback page returns! (just in time for your comments, too.) -- 7 Oct 1997 @ 1600 PST
What a nice date, it's...you know what? We (and some other random guys) have been talking enough. It's time to give the mike to the guys that really have something to say on this date: the leads of the series. So we collected a few; Leonard Boyarsky, the lead artist of Fallout 1 and father of the setting, Chris Taylor, lead designer of Fallout 1 and senior designer of Fallout: Tactics, Feargus Urquhart, lead designer and producer of Fallout 2, Chris Avellone, author of the Fallout Bibles and Van Buren's lead designer, and J.E. Sawyer, who took over the lead designer gig from Chris Avellone and saw it through almost until the end of BIS.

So without further ado, here is Fallout's 10th anniversary: Fallout Retrospective Interview.

Link: NMA presents: Fallout's 10th anniversary.

News for Saturday, October 6, 2007

Posted by Morbus - at 12:37

The Vault has released the original timeline for Fallout, when it was still called “Vault 13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure”:

The timeline is one of the oldest released Fallout design documents, written by Scott Campbell.
Link: Vault 13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure timeline
Link: PDF file

Thanks Ausir.

News for Friday, October 5, 2007

Posted by Morbus - at 23:23

Fallout 2’s recently released mod “Shattered Destiny” has received its first patch. You can download it the English version here and the German version here.

Installation: Just unzip the *.zip file into your Fallout 2 folder and it should work.

Bugs fixed:

- german speaking people are now english
- included Jacen's spell checked english textfiles
- the guhl in the caves shouldn't let the game crash
- after you were kicket out by Father Jorddan, you couldn't finish the Bene-Quest (if you haven't it already finished)
- some debugging messages deactivated
- the doubled question by the brahmin-boy fixed
- fixed the "error" message from some of the shelter dweller
- included Cubik2k solution for Bene (the "Bring me to the caves"-option)

The text changes are mostly for the english version of the mod.
Link: Fallout 2: Shattered Destiny website
Link: Shattered Destiny Discussion

Thanks Lexx for letting us know.

News for Thursday, October 4, 2007

Posted by Morbus - at 23:13

To celebrate Fallout’s 10th anniversary, Bethesda has published a special Q&A for their latest “Inside the Vault”. The special part is that there’s actually only one single question: “What did you like best about the original Fallout games?” There surely are some interesting answers. Here’s some of them:

Todd Howard, Executive Producer
It’s always been the initial opening for me. It’s one of the all-time great intros. From the opening strums of the Ink Spots, Vault Boy watering his plants while being locked in a Vault, Galaxy News, “our boys” in Canada executing someone and waving at the camera, a car that does 0 to 60 in .5 seconds with “no electronics”, the final pull-back to a destroyed world, to the opening line of “War. War never changes.” Within one minute, you’re completely sold.

Emil Pagliarulo, Designer
I loved the true open-endedness of the world, and the fact that I was this lone guy in a completely unknown world, and had the power to shape my own destiny in whatever way I saw fit. In Fallout, the Vault Dweller could be anything I wanted. So in a lot of ways Fallout was the progenitor of the “sandbox” game, and its principles have been replicated in everything from Oblivion to Grand Theft Auto.
Hmm, that’s interesting. Now here’s my personal favourite:
Jeff Browne, Level Designer
Revenge. Trying to kill the Deathclaws in Boneyard with explosives at a low level - not having the skill to do so and blowing myself up half the time. Then coming back later all decked out with my fancy gear and finally taking them down. Yeah, revenge was sweet in Fallout.
Sweet it was. There’s a lot more in there, although it’s a bit strange no one referred to one of the (if not the) most important design points of Fallout. But be sure to check the whole thing.

Link: Bethesda Blog - Inside the Vault, Fallout 10th Anniversary edition

Posted by Morbus - at 22:03

Gamasutra has come up with the following news:

NCsoft Corporation (Lineage, Guild Wars), has announced the formation of Carbine Studios, a new Aliso Viejo, CA-based studio in its online game development family, and adds that Carbine is currently working on an unannounced MMO project.

The studio is comprised of 17 former Blizzard employees including lead and senior developers from the World of Warcraft team. Carbine’s vice president of design, Kevin Beardslee, was a lead developer on WoW, while Tim Cain, Carbine’s programming director, was the producer, lead programmer and designer on Fallout, in addition to co-founding the now-defunct Troika Games (Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines).
It’s good to see old friends back in the frontlines of RPG development, even if MMO. From the official site news section:
Carbine Studios is currently working on an unannounced project that promises to break new ground in massively multiplayer gaming. The studio, comprised of 17 former Blizzard employees including lead and senior developers from the World of Warcraft team, is led by industry veterans Kevin Beardslee, Tim Cain and Jeremy Gaffney. (…) Tim Cain, Carbine’s programming director, was the producer, lead programmer and designer on the award winning Fallout, and co-founder of Troika Games. (…)
It’s surely good to hear from you again Tim. All the luck.

Spotted at: Gamasutra - Former WoW, Fallout Designers Form Carbine
Link: Carbine Studios Official Site

Thanks dschinges.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:22

Nothing big for you guys today, sorry, just something to hold you over until the 7th (which, rumours notwithstanding, will not be the release of the Fallout sourcecode, nor the release of the Van Buren source or last build).

As for today, we bring you a glance into Fallout's marketing, with a flyer sent out to vendors and the odd bit of Swedish marketing (don't ask me why).



Link: NMA presents: Fallout's 10th anniversary.

News for Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Posted by Morbus - at 22:43

Exanimus is a post-apocalyptic MMOG by Thinking Man Studios that has been under development for some time. It’s still on its Alpha stage, but it looks promising in some aspects. From the official site:

Exanimus is an online massively multi player online game created in a world where the dead live and roam the earth attacking the surviving living. While most of the world is dead, there are small pockets of survivors that exist in barricaded cities scattered across the planet. Players of Exanimus will have the option of playing as a living survivor or as one of the dead roaming the earth. Exanimus will allow players to experience a new type of MMO based on the horror genera. Exanimus will feature challenging game play and visually "intense" environments.
And here’s two small highlights from the FAQ:
Why a Horror Genre?
With all the different MMO's on the market, 90% of them fit into either a Fantasy or Sci-Fi genre. While there are a few that are different, we feel that it's time for something new and completely fresh. Exanimus is the first step into a new market that we hope to jumpstart with this title. Besides, everyone loves Zombies!

When will the Beta be available, and can I be a Beta Tester?
A Beta has not yet been set, but when we do have one, we will post it on the Exanimus site. We are looking to allow as many people as we can into the Beta to ensure that the game will be ready for distribution, and as bug free as possible.
Link: Official site

Thanks Maphusio.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:20

This appeared on the front page of Fan Made Fallout a month ago. For some reason we didn't post on it, so here you go belatedly.


Link: Fan Made Fallout site.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:48

MyArcadePlanet has a piece up called "Fallout 3 Previewed". It's kind of an editorial on the reaction to Fallout 3 (and not so much a preview).

For most people, it is the sense of continuity that is most at risk, because the essence of the game is truly derived from those who develop it. This essence is impossible to pass from one company to another, even if all staff involved also move across. On paper the proposition appears good, giving an award winning games franchise to a studio that is award winning in its own right. Unfortunately, situations like that which have occurred recently have shown that the reality often falls grossly short of what is expected (naming no names of course).

The fact that the game is available on multiple platforms merely enlarges the circle of people to whom the game is likely to appeal to, but there are genuine complaints that layers of complexity in the games is likely to be lost in the quest to ensure that it can be played on 360, PS3 and PC. Widespread appeal is essential for any game wanting to be seen as a major success, but those people who played the previous games on PC may find something missing if they play this one on a console, although the improved graphics are likely to counter balance this issue for many people.
'course, we're mentioned.
With a game that has accumulated such a devoted following, the No Mutants Allowed site being a prime example, there are likely to be a large number of complaints about the game, no matter how much work is put into it. While this is only to be expected since a new company is creating the game, gamers should bear in mind that even if Black Isle studio had made the game, it would also have taken a very different path to the original.
Of course, Black Isle Studios was making the game, and they were taking a bit of a different path. Some would say very, yet the massive protest didn't happen. Bit of an apples-and-pears there.
This wouldn’t have been such a problem if the first two games hadn’t set the bar so high originally.
Damn them for setting the bar so high!

Link: Fallout 3 previewed.

Spotted on Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog.

News for Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Posted by The Vault Dweller - at 21:25

A rather unique realm is in the making in the form of "Fallen Earth" a post-apocalyptic MMORPG that's set in a world that seems rather complex and perhaps more interesting than most MMORPG's. It's been in the making for some four years now and appears to be progressing smoothly. What follows are parts of an interview with the Lead Designer Lee Hammock. Some things to note are:

Fallen Earth is set in a post-apocalyptic world, set in the southwestern United States , a hundred years after a nuclear and biological cataclysm. The Grand Canyon is one of the few places that remain habitable after this event.

...Acquiring resources is a little different in Fallen Earth, and consists mainly of scavenging, "Digging through piles of garbage, finding scrap metal, unburied bodies or even graves," grins Lee, You can look at the dead guy and say, 'Huh, this guy doesn't need his pants' ...and then take his pants."

"At the start of the game, my weapons are a rolling pin and a pipe," says Lee, "As you go through the game, you dig through piles of junk and find something like 'torn cotton', which you can use to make a shirt. Or you can take an existing shirt that you don't like, tear it apart to get some cotton out of it, and make a different shirt. 95% of the items in our game are craftable."

Players will be kept busy building and maintaining player-run towns. "Our PvP is largely based on taking over towns for your faction, governing them and keeping control of them," explained Lee. One of the underlying ideas of the game is rebuilding the world in accordance to the manner you think is best. You will need to align with one of the six factions in Fallen Earth.

"We are shooting for a very grim game," Hammock laughs. It's a post-apocalyptic, dog-eat-dog world, where the factions that have formed each have their own very specific view of how civilization should be rebuilt. Therein lies the political motivation of the game, and the basis of PvP in Fallen Earth.
I'm sure many of you will find the setting interesting and also the idea of crafting a very good addition to such an environment. Let's hope it turns out well.

Spotted at RPGwatch.com.

Sincerely,
The Vault Dweller

Posted by Brother None - at 17:01

The Vault has released two screenshots of Vault 13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure:

Vault 13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure was an early working title for Fallout (later also called Fallout: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure before the GURPS license was finally dropped). The game was initially intended to use Steve Jackson Games's GURPS system, but that deal fell through, supposedly when Steve Jackson realized how violent the game was.


Link: Vault 13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure.
Link: NMA presents: Fallout's 10th anniversary.

Posted by Morbus - at 0:47

Europa is an indie turn-based French RPG for Nintendo DS that uses Fallout's background, but takes place in Europe. This alpha version is still unstable and comprises bugs, so if you have questions or bugs to report, send an email to fallout.europaATgmail.com.

How to play:
- Exploring:
D-Pad: Direction
Hold down B: Move
A: Interact with the environment
L-R: Navigate through menus

- Combat mode:
D-Pad: One touch moves one square
A, B, X, Y: Turn the character towards the corresponding direction (no AP loss)
Start: End turn
Select: Object menu (uses AP)
L-R: Action

Meaning of Stats:
With each level up, the player receives 5 stat points to spend on 4 different stats:
Endurance: determines maximum Hit Points
Perception: determines inflicted damage
Agility: determines Action Points during combat and Armor Bonus
Intelligence: determines what weapons can be used
Download: Fallout Europa demo
Spotted at: Nukacola

News for Monday, October 1, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 23:54

RPGWatch has up a really cool feature showing off some of the excellent AoD environmentals and concept art, as Vince D. Weller guides us along the tour constantly reminding us this is old skool.

That's the ruins of Zamedi. Well, technically, there's nothing left of Zamedi, but this tower. Such towers had machines capable of channeling raw power, drawn from other planes, into protective shields. The tower's generators huffed and puffed, struggling to keep the shields up while the hellfire unleashed by the enemy's magi consumed the town and the army defending it. House Aurelian claimed the tower after the war and being weary of what they couldn't understand and control, sealed it to make sure that the knowledge and the power contained within would die there. The only way to gain access to the tower is through faithful service to House Aurelian. Yes, faithful. No, you can't betray them and say that you're sorry later. *sigh*
Link: The Age of Decadence Scenic Tour

Posted by Brother None - at 23:49

With PC/Xbox and Fallout 3 goodies as the contest prizes, Bethesda is holding a design a perk contest:

10 years ago the original Fallout was released and forever changed role-playing games. Now is your chance to be a part of Fallout history. We're giving you, the fans, a chance to design one of the perks for Fallout 3!

No, we aren’t going to tell you about any of the perks that are already in Fallout 3. First, that would spoil it, and second, we don’t want to color your ideas with anything we are, or aren’t doing. It’s a clean slate for you. Be creative.

Think of something in the spirit of Fallout. What would you really want your character to be able to do in the game? Don’t worry about any stat requirements or the level you would get it at. Just design a cool perk and we'll fit it in where it could go.

Part of what make Perks great are the Vault Boy images that goes with them. You can choose to use one of the generic icons we’ve provided to go along with your Perk if you’re not artistically inclined (that won’t hurt your chances of winning, in case you’re wondering) or you can choose to upload a drawing, sketch, photo, or creation of your own design. Send in a photo of yourself in the appropriate pose, sketch it on a napkin and scan it in...whatever you want.

If you win, you'll get your Perk in the game, your name in the game's credits, AND your choice of the grand prize from the Prize Vault: either the PC or the Console flavor.

All entries must be in by 11:59 pm (Eastern time) on October 31, 2007. We'll announce the winner of the contest, and all the other awardees, in November.
Link: Fallout 10th anniversary contest.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:22

A very commemorative date, October 1st:

Project Update: Well, it's done. We shipped Fallout!

Actually, we silvered today, which means that we should be in major stores by Oct 10. So, it hasn't really shipped yet, but the duplication and manufacturing has begun! Shipped, silver - hey, we're done! -- 1 Oct 1997 @ 1615 PST
In the spirit of the previous commemorative date, we bring you 3 more concept arts, this time from the hand of Tony Postma (and with thanks to Feargus Urquhart and Sharon Shellman).


Link: NMA presents: Fallout's 10th anniversary.

Posted by Tagaziel - at 13:26

With his release of a Fallout 2 mod called Shattered Destiny. Lexx 's modification introduces a completely new story, with the protagonist not having any relations to the Vault Dweller or the Chosen One, twelve maps to explore, new quests, 3.500 lines of text, 80 dialogue files and over 100 new scripts. In the words of the creator:

The Fallout modification "Shattered Destiny" is the first of three chapters, that (I hope) will bring back the old Fallout feelings. In this mod, the player isn't the vault dweller or a chosen one, the player is just a guy like you and me in a post apocalyptic world that has been tortured over the years...
The mod is available for download in german and english.

Link: Fallout 2: Shattered Destiny website
Link: Shattered Destiny Discussion