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News for Saturday, May 31, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 16:13

The Russian project FOnline has been progressing well, and is holding an open test today. While most communications are in Russian (English FAQ here), the test client will have an interface in English, though dialogues will be in Russian. Despite the language barrier being a bit of a stickler, the people of FOnline would really like some non-Russians to participate in the open test. I should probably note here they could also use a hand in translating the project from Russian to English.

If you're interested, they're launching it this evening (estimated around 8 o'clock Moscow time (4 o'clock GMT), but could be earlier or later) on IRC, channel, room fonline. Instructions on downloading the client will be given then and there, and there will (hopefully) be a few English-speakers to help translate (if anyone from NMA can help out with that, that'd also be great).

You're invited to give it a go.

Addendum: the FOnline guys have opened a forum with an English language thread about the test including a download link, as well as more threads to help install the client and ask questions.

This should facilitate trying out the game, which will run for a week.

Posted by Brother None - at 12:25

TGR finally got around to their Fallout 3 preview. There's some bizarre stuff in there, such as noting "the demo that we saw was in fact the Xbox 360 version, but both versions should look and play the same" (apparently TGR thinks Fallout 3 is an Xbox 360/PS3 title), it's large and informative.

When we went up to a female scientist, dialog options appeared on screen as to what we could say. We were told as you progress through the game and gain more skills to put towards charisma and speech, more dialog options will open; there are in fact up to 500,000 lines of dialog in the game. An example of speech skills mixing with other skill sets is the ability to talk with scientists. If you have more skill points in science and speech, one is able to speak to the scientist more, as more dialog options appear because one knows more about science. When speaking to characters, the game does show the difference in the effects of the dialog options. This will all go towards how the character is seen later on in life.
Pete started up a new game save, and though he wouldn’t say where or when this next encounter occurs, he did say it was close to the beginning. This next encounter is where Dog Meat is introduced: Dog Meat’s owner is killed by a group of monsters, which you have to fight off. Pete explains that you can “have him join you as your own little canine companion.” He demonstrated that by the press of a button, the dog can search the surrounding area for weapons. As the attackers did drop weapons, Dog Meat will pick it up and bring it back to you. The dog actually brings back a pipe that the attackers used to kill its owner. Pete explained that he can ask him to go find him food, tell him to stay put, or send him to the Vault 101 entrance and say, “Go wait for me there until I come and get you.” Basically, Bethesda has designed the dog to be your faithful companion, no matter how good or evil your character becomes.

One thing we were told by Pete about the Fallout world is that they don’t warn you when you’re going into an area where you will get your ass handed to you. You need to be careful and choose your options and areas carefully. Of course, you can always go back when you’re beefed up, but if you don’t want to get humiliated, you need to choose wisely. Another thing we were told was that there will be no vehicles in the game. The only means of transport is walking. Of course there will be a fast travel system similar to Oblivion, but in order to use that, you must have been to the location first. We did ask whether or not this was a good idea and Pete responded, “We can press the space so that you are not talking about walking for 30 minutes to get from one interesting place to another. We can press it so that there is always cool stuff to find and things to do.” That eased our thoughts.
What’s great about Fallout 3 is that you don’t always have to fight. Pete loaded up yet another save and this time, we saw a group of humans that are part of Talon Company, which is a group of mercenaries fighting against the super mutants. We were told we would see this a lot in the game, where you will come across groups of characters or creatures that are fighting amongst themselves. You have the choice to join in, just watch and see what the outcome is, or completely ignore it altogether. The choice is entirely up to the player.
Also, TGR is openly competing with the Bethesda forum interview.
Now it may be the end of our Fallout 3 coverage this week, but that doesn’t mean it’s the last you will have heard of this game before launch. is giving our members the chance to ask a question regarding Fallout 3 directly to Bethesda Softworks. All you have to do is leave your questions in the TGR Forums, and we will take them to Bethesda and get your questions answered!
Link: Fallout 3 preview on TGR.

Posted by Brother None - at 12:22

After, takes a swing at interview Pete Hines. Some facts (thanks Dark Legacy).

Leveling scaling is in.

"If the player finds the game too difficult or too easy, they can adjust it using the difficulty slider."

Character level cap is 20.

Major Skills:
Link: video interview on

Thanks Briosafreak.

Posted by Sander - at 0:46

Kotaku reports that SITE, the anti-terrorist watchdog who reported that terrorists used Fallout 3 concept art, is not embarrassed by the incident:

SITE reported to its subscribers that extremists posted the image to a password-protected forum affiliated with al-Qaeda. This is entirely accurate. Moreover, this information was part of a report describing the general atmosphere in this forum with regard to extremists' discussions on weapons of mass destruction, making its context all the more important. This report in its entirety is also completely accurate.
One is left to wonder whether Bethesda will use the excellent exposure they've gotten here.

Thanks, Ausir

News for Friday, May 30, 2008

Posted by Sander - at 18:33

The Polish website, owned by CD Projekt, has a video interview with Pete Hines up on their website. While the questions are in Polish, Pete Hines answers in English.

Pete Hines speaks mainly about the fact that your character skills should determine success
He briefly mentions that talking yourself out of situations is a very viable option.

He does claim that ghouls will work as they did in the original Fallout, you can find them, talk to them and trade with them as you can with regular humans.
Super Mutants are still mainly bad guy, "their role in the game is largely adversarial. They don't like humans, they want to kill them and get rid of them, and you as a human are a problem."

Some factions are going to hate you no matter what you do, and with some factions you'll have some options. There aren't many groups that you'd call factions or guilds that you can join, though.

Outside of Dogmeat (who is optional) you can have exactly 1 other human companion, and there are no other animal companions than Dogmeat.

Pete Hines also briefly speaks about the fanbase that dislikes the changes they made to the franchise. He isn't worried about those fans not liking the game, since he knows they'll dislike the game. However, they felt they couldn't keep making the same game as was made 10 years ago and that they should move the series forward. He hopes that the people that remember Fallout for the story and the setting will still find those things in Fallout 3.

Thanks Ausir, again.

Posted by Sander - at 16:24

Gry-Online, a major Polish gaming site, has put up a Fallout 3 preview, based on a London presentation by Pete Hines.

Lots of new information:

The intro, narrated of course by Ron Perlman, consists of static images put in motion only by a dynamic color filter. A standard dose of ruined cities, apocalyptic landscapes, broken swings. And a nuclear blast rendered in 3D.

Your mother dies early on.

While you're using full sentences for a change, the conversation mechanism is a lot like the one in Oblivion. Lots of possibilities - e.g. when Butch, the vault bully wants you to give him your sweets, you can propose dividing it into two halves, spitting on it, or even insulting his mother. "We show the character's childhood so that the player feels a connection to the Vault and its inhabitants" says Pete.

A completely different savegame is loaded - a pseudo-random encounter with mercenaries attacking Dogmeat. If we kill them, he joins us. They show the CNPC interaction system that also works with the human CNPCs. To give the dog an order, you need to approach him and "talk to him". No possibility of issuing commands from a distance nor assigning keyboard shortcuts. Some standard RPG commands (stay here, follow me), Fallout standards (e.g. healing with stimpaks), as well as telling him to go to Vault 101 entrance, which works as a default "HQ", where we can retreive him later. We can also order him to search for valuable items. Whether a given character joins us, depends on our Karma.

Another scene. A loading screen with a 50s-style billboard. A demolished fast food booth decorated with human intestines. They explain VATS (pretty accurately for a Fallout 3 preview). They're worried whether the VATS slo-mo is practical with the multitude of fights in FO3. 10 seconds of non-interactive cutscene during every shot? Hmmm. Bloody Mess trait confirmed.

Another scene - radio tower. We can switch it on and then receive a call for help with our Pip-Boy. The only clue as to where the signal is coming from is its quality. We find a shelter and a few skeletons inside. Looks like we're too late.

The last part of the presentation are two combat scenes - in the Underworld taken over by feral ghouls and in the ruins of Washington, DC, overrun by super mutants. Fat Man. Rock-It Launcher. They like the appearance of the ghouls and super mutants and how they vary from one another. The Third Person Perspective view sucks.

Bottlecaps are the currency again.

There's no "police" as such in FO3 and breaking the "law" will have no arbitrary, universal consequences - the inhabitants of this world take justice into their own hands.

The PC will be able to get addicted to chems, which will lead to stat penalties. Getting rid of an addiction will require visiting a specialist.

The Pip-Boy has a radar on which the opponents are visible. Its range depends on the player's perception. It also has a built-in flashlight.

The main Capital Wasteland area will be one, seamless location. The loading screens will appear only while entering buildings or dungeons. There are no vehicles, but there will be fast travel between previously visited locations.

Pete mentions Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" as one of the main inspirations.

The developers hype combat all the time, but avoid discussing non-combat skills

And the final conclusion:

"It all looks like it's getting pretty commercial. While it's nothing new, let's say it again: there's no point in counting on Bethesda fulfilling the expectations of hardcore fans and making a game as deep as previous Fallouts. On the other hand, it would be a bit unfair to dismiss their work at this stage. So far, we've seen lots of good and some worrying things. We're waiting for new information - we'll certainly see Pete and Todd at E3."

Thanks Ausir for reporting and translating.

News for Thursday, May 29, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 22:11

The streak of irrelevants on Inside the Vault continues with interface programmer Dan Teitel. Not a mention of Fallout 1/2, neither in questions nor in answers. This dude made the hacking minigame, tho'.

What’s your job at Bethesda?
I am a programmer. I am largely responsible for portions of the interface but have also worked on the weather system for Oblivion and other aspects of the game, as well. My prize claim in Fallout 3 is the Hacking minigame which I was primarily responsible for implementing and also helped design along with Erik Deitrick, Emil Pagliarulo, and Todd Howard.
Link: Inside the Vault - Dan Teitel.

Posted by Brother None - at 22:01

In spectacularly redundant news, Joystiq for some reason felt it necessary to recheck the mandatory install news.

"The answer to that is no, there isn't," Bethesda marketing guru Pete Hines recently told Joystiq concerning Fallout 3 on the PS3. "That doesn't mean we don't use the hard drive, just that it does it in the background as opposed to a large, upfront install." As far as how much hard drive space the game will require, the exec wouldn't say exactly. Hines did mention that the RPG will require "a similar amount" of HD space as Oblivion, making us expect to fill up the PS3's juicy interior with about 4-5 gigs of atom-splitting data when the game ships this fall.
Link: Fallout 3 just says no to mandatory install on PS3.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:59

TGR is continuing its fragmentary coverage.

“You cannot get them all on one play through. That we are doing some things with Karma and different levels of Karma that you can get along the way and so you cannot get, you know there are titles basically for different levels of Karma, how bad you are, how good you are or even for being neutral.”

He went on to explain: “And so you cannot actually play the game all the way through and get all of those in one play through. You have to play the game through once as one kind of character and then if you want you know, you know if you played through as the good guy and you want to get those other achievements you have to play through again and kind of be the evil guy and scoot people over and be mean to people. So it does encourage you, you know when you are playing the game trying some different stuff.”

What we didn’t expect to here was that the PC version will also be getting achievements: “We are doing achievements on the PC, we are planning to do games for Windows Live. It is not definitively in, but we are looking into doing that right now. We would very much like to offer that.”
Older followers of Bethesda will remember they also said you can't join all the guilds in one playthrough in Oblivion. Bethesda has some weird ideas about what "can't do all" means, exactly. Also, Fallout 3 is big.
“It’s a Content thing. It was one of those things like the world map is about the size that we expected but the amount of stuff that we ended up filling it with ended up being a lot more than we had originally planned.” He continued, “We are always big believers in play the game and see how it feels. And we play the game and like there does not feel like there is enough to do here, we need to put some more.”

“We are in this part of the world and like we should do something here with this and there needs to be two more quests in this town because I only have three things to do on my quest list. You know so we want you to always have you know three, four, five, six different quests that you are picking from. Like what is it I want to do now? Or multiple things you might be trying to do at the same time.”
Link: Fallout 3: Home Plans, 360 Achievements and PC Windows Live.
Fallout 3: Bethesda “Bigger than we Expected” .

Posted by Sander - at 16:02

Fallout 3: A Post-Nuclear Blog reports that terrorists are using Fallout 3 art in their plans to launch WMD.

According to the Australian, a computer-generated picture of a destroyed Washington DC accompanied a video instructing terrorists to use WMD:

The FBI warning came as the US-based monitoring group SITE said the video encouraging terrorists to develop and detonate weapons of mass destruction in the US and Europe was posted on an Islamist militant forum.

SITE also released a computer-generated image, showing Washington DC in the aftermath of a nuclear attack, which reportedly appeared on an Islamist forum.

As it turns out, the image posted to the Islamist site is the well-known Fallout 3 concept art released over a year ago by Bethesda:

Thanks Ausir

Posted by Brother None - at 1:37 is at it again, putting up screenshots released for magazine use. As such, I think all of these have been through the magazine cycle before, but there's a chance you haven't seen 'em yet, so here goes.

Link: Fallout 3 screenshot gallery on

Thanks Briosafreak.

News for Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 21:36

TGR is continuing their fractured coverage of Fallout 3. New Gameplay Footage and Playable Demos at E3 .

“We have not really showed anybody anything new since E3,” explained Pete as he was showing us the game. “We are still working on it. It is still coming along.” He then went on to add, “once we get to E3 you know that will be like we will release game play, footage, we will let people do hands on stuff.”

“E3 will probably be us and a bunch of kiosks and like come on up, here you go. Oh yes, we are going to do hands on.” He later went on to say that the new gameplay footage could be part of the Microsoft, Sony or even both of their main stage presentations at this year’s E3.

For those of you that are dying to see more footage of this highly anticipated RPG from the creators of Oblivion, you will have to wait that little bit longer; however, we can assure you that it will be definitely be worth the wait, as from what we have seen, this could be game of the year.
Also, mature audience for sure.
“It is definitely mature. I mean we have been very clear from the beginning to anybody that would listen that this is a mature game for mature audiences for sure.”

While playing through the game, noticed that when in combat and shooting at certain limps, they cut off. Arms get cut off, legs get cut off, heads get cut off.

“So the arm comes off and spouts blood here and it spouts blood from the arm. I mean it is kind of gross and yucky but you know you can go into Gears War and chainsaw a guy and body parts go everywhere and blood spouts everywhere. So it is you know it is not any more or less than other games,” Pete Hines explained.

But much like Oblivion, combat is not everything. “So you know in the context of all the other stuff that you are going to be doing during this game, it is not the only thing you spend all of your time doing. You could spend lots of time buying and selling stuff and you know it is much like Oblivion, you can avoid combat as a means of getting through the game.”
TGR is coming out soon with the first and exclusive hands-on preview of "what could be the best game of the year".

Posted by Brother None - at 1:50

TGR is doing some coverage on Fallout 3's PS3 version. First, no mandatory install.

As part of our Fallout 3 blowout, was able to spend some time with the latest build of Fallout 3 and have two Bethesda Software employees walk us through and answer our questions regarding Fallout 3.

While being shown the Fallout 3 universe, asked whether or not Fallout 3 would require a Mandatory Install for the Playstation 3. Bethesda responded:

“We do not do that, no. We do the put you know, put the stuff down there that we need to be there, we can stream it on in and out of there but we do not do the ‘we need ten minutes of your time.’” They went on to explain, “We will cache the same way on both (Xbox 360 and PS3) we basically just like everybody you know if you have a hard drive, it does this.” Much like how they did Oblivion.
Second, Xbox360 and PS3 versions to be identical.
When we asked if the Playstation 3 is on par with the Xbox 360, Bethesda responded “Pretty much. There is a good way to phrase it.” When asked if they are going to be bringing in or had already brought in any people from Sony to assist they responded:

“We actually have talked to them and worked with them quite a bit. It is more just for us a case of you know we had a year head start on the 360 versus the PS3 because the Oblivion 360 version was done a year ahead of the PS3 so you know.”

He went on to explain: “It is not that the PS3 is behind it is just that we had a year longer to work on the 360 version, so that is our lead platform. So all of that stuff that we did on Oblivion is all stuff that translated nicely into what we are doing on Fallout. So at this point they are pretty much on par.”

He went further to confirm: “You know and simultaneous launch for all three platforms and you know it will be all three versions will be on par, we are not looking to have a ‘this is the best version’. If you want the best version of Fallout 3 you should buy this on X platform. We want it to be like three screens you could not tell which one is which kind of thing.”
Spotted on F3:APNB.

News for Monday, May 26, 2008

Posted by Morbus - at 18:53

It started off a few weeks ago, but I thought it would be better to wait for it to grow and develop: Iron Tower, Oscar, to be more precise, is running a topic dedicated to one of Age of Decadence's location: Teron.

While Vince and Nick are busy with other stuff, I decided to take Titus for a stroll and decorate Teron a little more. I want to show you some screenshots of the place, and you can tell me what you think about them and how they can be improved. Before you ask, I removed the NPCs so they wouldn't distract, and to allow you to get a better feeling of the area itself.
Lots of stuff and lots of arguing as usual, and quite a few screenshots too. Here are some of them:

Link: A Tour Around Teron @ Iron Tower Studio Forums

News for Sunday, May 25, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 21:13

The second part of this piece - dealing primarily with GTA - is up. Here's Todd Howard on the problems of openworld design.

Ed del Castillo believes that improving AI is one of the most important areas for enhancing open-world gaming.

"The industry is talent-starved - we really need great coders and multi-dimensional people, as in order to have great AI, you need a person who can create systems that simulate life.

"That person needs to be someone introspective, philosophical, and a viewer of people - working out how to fake salient features in people."

Bethesda's Howard agrees: "I think it's become common for developers to be able to put lush scenery together, but creating other characters that can react to what you do in a believable and compelling way, is still very difficult. We have a long way to go."
Link: The complete history of open-world games (part 2).

Posted by Brother None - at 21:11

The S.T.A.L.K.E.R./Fallout fanfilm (more S.T.A.L.K.E.R. than Fallout) - you might recall the teaser - running at about 15 minutes in a two-parter on Youtube.

Link: Stalker Fan movie part 1.
Link: Stalker Fan movie part 2.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:25

It's a slow newstime, so I thought I'd give a node to Todd Howard PCZone's history of open-world games.

Todd howard, game director at Bethesda reckons gamers love freedom. "They feel more like the character they're playing." he explains.

"They're doing what they want to do and not what you, the designer, wants them to do. The more open, the more reactive you can make it, the better the player experience."

Rather than preenting us with a thrilling, scripted rollercoaster ride, titles such as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and the forthcoming Fallout 3 present us with vast worlds that we can inhabit, and decide what kind of character we want to be - whether it's a Redguard bard with penchant for alchemy or a lone Jet addict and his dog battling mutants in a post-nuclear wasteland.
Link: The complete history of open-world games (part 1) on PCZone.

News for Saturday, May 24, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 5:50

Iron Tower Studio's Depository offers a massive 3-parter roundtable interview, with Chris Avellone, Josh Sawyer, Kevin Saunders, George Ziets, David Gaider, Alan Miranda, Luke Scull, Mat Jobe, Russ Davis, Jeff Vogel, Thomas Riegsecker, Jay Barnson, Jason Compton and Gareth Fouche share their thoughts on setting, story and characters in cRPGs. Of interest to us are - 'course - former Fallout devs JE Sawyer and MCA.

Chris Avellone, a Black Isle's veteran and a co-founder of Obsidian Entertainment; designer on Fallout 2, the Icewind Dale series, lead creative designer on Descent to Undermountain, creative director on Neverwinter Nights 2, lead designer on Planescape: Torment, Knights of the Old Republic 2, and upcoming Alpha Protocol.

This is going to be a little bit of rambling seeded with examples, but bear with me.

When approaching world design (and with more recent IPs I’ve been working on at Obsidian), I usually begin with “what do I want the player to do that’s the coolest thing ever?” Whether that’s allowing the player to convince a mutated dominant lifeform out to enslave the future that his master plan is wrong and talk him into committing suicide, great. If that’s allowing the player to stand in a fortress built out of a thousand lifetimes of regrets on a plane of negative energy and argue with the possibilities my life about why it’s important I be allowed to die, great. If I want to stand in an ancient elven citadel shattered by magics and provoke two half-demons and their army into battle to prevent the destruction of the Ten Towns, so be it.

Asking “what would be cool to do as a player” is then followed by, “okay, what sort of framework could I build around the world to build up to that cool moment(s)?” World building is similar to story building in some respects… if I want to make a game where I can voyage inside an android’s brain, help a pregnant alley give birth, or a world where I can weave death sounds of the beasts I kill into audio-inspired spellcraft, that cool sample moment of player experience is the starting point, and I start constructing a framework around the world to support and give more power to those moments.

For raw material, I take a lot of notes from books, games, and movies, good and bad, and use those as tiny mementos for things I’d like to seed a world with. It can be anything from a profession name (“anathemathician” – which almost became the profession of a character in Planescape who could use chaos math to alter reality like spells), or the idea of an effect in the world called “consensus” (where if enough people within a certain radius believe in a course of action, all actions taken along those lines - defending, attacking, even menial labor - gain a pseudo hive-mind bonus), or even watching the movie Unknown and seeing the game puzzle possibilities in a character armed with an electronic car key trying to find the right place to stand in a sealed-off warehouse to trigger the car alarm outside as an SOS signal. All these mementos add up to flesh out a world unconsciously.

But practically speaking... if you’re starting with your own original IP, you want the setting and the world to complement your theme and your game mechanics. That may sound like a simplistic answer, but you want the world itself to be intertwined with the game system – one of the best examples of this is the Warhammer universe, which makes no pretensions what’s it’s there to do – it’s a world that leaks conflict, chaos, and everything about it complements the fantasy tabletop battle aspect. The world allows you a multitude of factions, a diversity of units, and a spell system that is focused mostly for large-scale conflicts (if you’ve ever played Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play, some of those 4th level spells could wipe a continent clean of life)… and the world even allows you to mutate new units if you want. Also, the theme of the world makes it clear that it’s always one step away from destruction unless you take violent steps to prevent Chaos from taking hold.

At Obsidian, we approached Alpha Protocol in the same way – we started with, "we want to make a cool espionage RPG,” then started dissected the genre into game mechanics that would help the player feel like they were part of an espionage drama. We’re pretty happy with how they’re turning out (details to come soon, I hope).

Next in world building, is another “practical” parameter – the scope of the game. System Shock 2 and Bioshock, for example, started with a good sense of how many levels and how much free-roaming the player was going to be allowed – and furthermore, how many actual conversations they were going to let the player have, so this factored into the design of their world. Bioshock’s Rapture and System Shock 2’s Von Braun are two isolated environments (in all dimensions), and it’s easy for the player to understand why these environments are isolated and why the player’s movements are naturally restricted. Next, both have suffered catastrophic disasters that have wiped out many of who would be considered “friendly conversationlists” in both environments, and in making these two choices in tandem with the scope of the game, the world has come to complement the design.

Also in world design, there’s the matter of accessibility. At some point, as irritating as it may seem, you need to decide how accessible this world is to the public. Do you want to shake them up a little? Do you want to present traditional fantasy escapism? Do you want to present a cliché world, then give it a twist one hour into it? Fallout and Planescape, for example, were arguably never as accessible in their presentation as the Forgotten Realms games, nor World of Warcraft, for example, both of which built on more mainstream fantasy and Tolkein-esque settings that players were more comfortable with.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:54

PCGZine has a feature on Fallout 3 in its latest issue...

...that's it, really.

Link: PCGZine #18.

Spotted on Fallout 3: APNB.

News for Friday, May 23, 2008

Posted by Morbus - at 0:17

It's little, but it's there. Fallout 1.5: Resurrection project has some new things to tell us about:

Time passed like water and before we knew it came the time for another update from our small world of Fallout modding. Since last time we came yet another step closer to our much sought goal. Though there is still some hard finishing work awaiting us, which is why I’m glad to introduce two new team members, who will hopefully help us with this uneasy task. Both are graphic artists and they’ll aid with unfortunately still unfinished ending screens. They are Míráč (sample of his work: first, second) and Bretan. The graphics chapter still remains unclosed and so if there is someone who’s handy with 3D graphics and feels like they can help, we’ll be glad if you contact us.

Thanks to those who keep their fingers crossed for us. Keep them that way, so that they bring us luck.
Link: Fallout 1.5: Resurrection

Thanks Ratman for the heads up.

News for Thursday, May 22, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:34

IGN Insider has an interview with Inon Zur. BethBlog provides a sample.

IGN: When you started in gaming what was the most dramatic difference between what you had been doing at the time, and then jumping into the world of gaming?

Inon Zur: The big difference between the way music for games is being handled is there’s a little bit less pressure for time. When you’re composing for TV it needs to be really fast and you just throw in the kitchen sink or basically whatever you have because you have three days to finish the episode. There are not many places to explore, and to get something that is really good in such a short time. Also, in games producers and developers are involved very heavily with the whole creative process. Basically, it makes you part of a team rather than an outsider that is being contracted to do some work. You really feel you belong, and you are visiting the company. Your input in many cases as a composer could have a major impact on the actual game which is not usually the case with TV.
If anyone here has an IGN account, let us know if the interview contains any worthwhile questions.

Link: Viva La France on BethBlog.
Link: Inon Zur interview on IGN Insider.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:06

For the BethWatchers amongst you. Press release.

Bethesda Softworks Announces Development Partnership with Splash Damage

May 22, 2008 (Rockville, MD) – Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, announced today a long-term development partnership with the award-winning U.K. studio, Splash Damage™.

Splash Damage has been recognized by the industry for the quality of its titles and particularly for its skill in creating cutting-edge multiplayer games. The studio has received numerous accolades and awards for Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory™, including Game of the Year nods from GameSpy, IGN, and PC Format. Their latest game, Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars™, won over 80 Editors’ Choice, E3, Most Wanted, and Game of the Year awards and nominations.

Bethesda Softworks continues to expand its development and publishing reach, with investments in a library of AAA titles and the opening of new offices in Europe and Japan in the past year. Best known for its 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion®, Bethesda has in development a number of compelling titles, including the highly-anticipated Fallout® 3 due in Fall 2008.

“Bethesda Softworks has repeatedly been responsible for outstanding games as both publisher and developer.” said Paul Wedgwood, Owner and Creative Director of Splash Damage. “Both of our studios share a passion for creating great games, and we’re confident that this partnership will result in even greater experiences for gamers. We’re really looking forward to working with Bethesda.”

“This could not be a more perfect fit,” said Vlatko Andonov, President of Bethesda Softworks. “We are extremely impressed with Splash Damage and the quality titles they produce. They are highly creative and innovative, and have demonstrated a high level of dedication to their projects. We are confident that gamers everywhere will be thrilled with the offerings from this collaboration.”

More details about Splash Damage’s brand-new project will be provided in the coming months. For more information on Bethesda Softworks, visit For more information on Splash Damage, visit

About Bethesda Softworks
Bethesda Softworks, a subsidiary of the ZeniMax Media Inc. family of companies, is a premier developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software and has produced numerous award-winning titles, most recently with 2006 PC and Xbox 360™ Game of the Year and RPG of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion®, and the 2002 PC and Xbox® Game of the Year and RPG of the Year, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrrowind®. Among Bethesda’s more popular franchises are The Elder Scrolls® series and Fallout®, as well as its licensed properties, such as Star Trek®. Its product line spans the sports, racing, RPG, strategy, and action genres. For more information on Bethesda Softworks’ products, visit

About Splash Damage
Based in London, England, Splash Damage Ltd is an independently-owned game developer which created the critically acclaimed Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory™ for id Software and most recently developed Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars™, winning over 80 awards and nominations. Founded by Paul 'Locki' Wedgwood in 2001 with key members of the mod-making community, Splash Damage also contributed multiplayer maps to DOOM 3™ and Return to Castle Wolfenstein™: Game of the Year Edition. For more information, visit

Posted by Brother None - at 1:34

Open the floodgates for the inevitable stream of revenue! After a departure late last year, Interplay is back on GameTap, with these games.

* American Deer Hunting 2000 (Windows)
* Battle Chess (DOS)
* Clayfighter (Genesis)
* Descent II (Windows)
* Descent III (Windows)
* Descent: Freespace (Windows)
* Descent: Freespace Silent Threat Battle Pack (Windows)
* Die By the Sword (Windows)
* Earthworm Jim 3D (Windows)
* Earthworm Jim (Genesis)
* Earthworm Jim 2 (Genesis)
* Freespace 2 (Windows)
* MDK (Windows)
* Offroad Redneck Racing (Windows)
Link: GameTap welcomes back Interplay, adding more Take-Two on Joystiq.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:29

The enviably named Liz Beetem is up to bat. She's no asked, but it seems this intern-turned-full-time-artist is familiar with Fallout.

How did you get into the industry? Do you have any tips for breaking in?

Before I went to college I’d never particularly wanted to be a visual artist, I was planning on living a rather uneventful life teaching little children how to punch each other in a local Tae Kwon Do studio. Cue traumatic elbow injury. Well, I liked drawing silly little gothy anime comics, so I decided to go to art school. While I was there I fell hardcore in love with art and got a new stable of influences (Phil Hale, Marko Djurdevic, Wesley Burt), and I realized that the stuff I was drawing was absolute garbage. So there I was two years into school and I realized there was no way I’d be able to improve my drawing skills to a level I’d want to be employed at in the time I had left at college. I was brimming with self-loathing and cursing myself for not spending my high school years getting my draftmanship on.

While I was floundering around deciding what to do with my life my best droogie was a game design major, and I started looking over his shoulder and saying, “Hey, maybe i could do that.” (Previously, I’d been looking over his shoulder and saying, “Ha ha, you have to UV unwrap things, sucker!” Ironic!) I’d always really loved videogames more than comic books, but my desire to actually make them faded out when they went from 2D to 3D. Too boxy, too many jagged lines. Fortunately, just then Half-Life 2 was coming out. Videogames suddenly looked a whole lot better and I swapped majors. Turns out even if you have no experience, 3D is a good place for an artist with some decent foundation skills, a good eye, and a dog-like tenacity. My best droogie became my boyfriend and got out of school slightly before me and got hired at Bethesda as a character artist thanks to his awesome skills at modeling monsters with bizarre pelvises. I followed him up to Maryland and submitted my portfolio to Bethesda, which got me completely ignored. So I was unemployed a bit and continued working on 3D stuff at home. I also wanted to throttle my boyfriend because he was very good about his NDA. We were both Fallout fans, and he wouldn’t tell me anything except obvious lies about how you could recruit an idiot man-child and ride him around like Master-Blaster, and maybe also you could get a talking radscorpion buddy named Citizen Snips.

When a character art internship came up I jumped at it. Once I had that internship, I worked my ass off, not with any thoughts about winning permanent employment, but just because it was Fallout, and I was going to do the best I could on any task no matter how small or obnoxious it was. I guess someone noticed how much I cared, which can’t have been very difficult because I was really more vocal than an intern should be . Eventually, I got hired as a more permanent addition to the team. Then I did a little dance.

As for getting into the industry, consider dating someone already in the industry! I’ll give you all a moment to post an ad on Craigslist. Seriously though, it’s really hard to get a job in the industry fresh out of school with zero experience. The company has no idea what kind of person you are and unless your portfolio is absolutely stunning, it doesn’t say a hell of a lot about what work you’ll be putting out on a regular basis. Having someone vouch for you being a hard worker makes a big difference, too. I highly recommend getting an internship if you don’t have much experience in the industry, and if you’re having a hard time getting noticed, I’d recommend making a presence for yourself on some of the 3D forums out there and maybe making some friends that way.
Link: Inside the Vault - Liz Beetem.

News for Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 21:15

It's been hardly 3 months since the last fan art roundup, but the tides of fanart have been steady, so it's a good date for a new roundup. Also, to keep track from now on, since this feature has been running since 2006, we've opened a fan art roundup page.

xulm brought us these two interpretations from Wasteland:

Szu linked us to a bunch of great renders, including his own great Vertibird model (plus the drawing of a gas distributor)

dopefish posted a render of the Master.

octotron brought us the Bob's Bits model. And we hope you enjoyed yours.

You'll no doubt remember when we presented Glowing Grounds, with the great art of Señor Deluxo. Just to be safe, I'll post it all again.

IDV saw some kind of connection between Iron Maiden and Fallout 3 we've so far missed.

And this...I don't know what this is, but it's horrifying...

Moving on, brut dropped by again to show some Bulgarian Fallout art, and once again I'm glad he did, as this render by Kubrat Tomov is pretty damned good.

Another return character, RadioactiveRockNRoll dropped by again (you might remember his previous submissions) to submit two background art pieces.

And finally, Public has been spamming our forums like crazy with his reinterpretation of You're S.P.E.C.I.A.L., so might as well posted it here.

Link: Fan Art Roundup Overview.

Posted by Morbus - at 1:44

Amidst the whole Russian chaos of the webpage and all the fonts my computer doesn't understand, we still get an idea of what this new MMO will be about. Krai Mira is the name, and it promises interesting features like real winnings. Take a look.

The World:
The world consists of numerous islands – pieces of land remaining after a global disaster. The year is 2061. The Player lives and grows in a virtual world, interacting with other online players, non-player characters (NPCs) and other objects in the game world.

Krai Mira has no predetermined storyline, and the player has a great number of the ways of development. (...)

Player's abilities:
# Exploration of the World;
# Searching for resources and items;
# Barter and trade;
# Fulfillment of quests;
# Communication and barter with other online players;
# Fights with NPÑ – animals, people, mutants;
# Fights with other players;
# Raising the level of player’s skills;
# Getting new knowledge of the game world and teaching new skills and abilities;
# Crafting new items from ingredients;
# Stealing items;
# Players co-operation (collective and group fights, united exploration of new lands, collective quests etc.);
# Options to play for bad character;
# Fulfillment of Super-Quest with real winnings.

One of the developers dropped by to ask for help with the English, so if you're able, give 'em a hand.

Link: Krai Mira game features

News for Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 20:48

As we reported earlier, Gamestop has some goodies to add for preorders of Fallout 3. Matt Grandstaff gives some details.

I’ve received several emails from fans inquiring whether or not GameStop is providing a Fallout 3 CD with pre-orders for the game. The answer? Yes, yes we are. With a pre-order of the game, fans are given a 5-track disc with “featured selections” from the soundtrack, along with a Brotherhood of Steel poster.

GameStop should have started receiving their stock of this pre-order giveaway late last week, so if your local GameStop doesn’t have them yet, they’ll probably have them in a few days. I’d venture to guess that GameStop’s website will show the offer sometime soon.

We included the front and back sleeve designs for the soundtrack — to get a better look, click on the images to enlarge them. Below is the back sleeve design for the disc. You can see it includes three songs licensed from the 1940’s, as well as two tracks from the game’s composer, Inon Zur.

Link: Fallout 3 soundtrack/poster for GameStop pre-orders on BethBlog.

Posted by Sander - at 15:51

And yet another preview hits the web. This time CVG's Will Porter takes a look at the game.

This much is incontrovertible, the open-world structure of Oblivion was sometimes seamless to play through and the AI-driven daily routines of Cyrodiil's denizens a delight to play around with. The same will be true of Fallout 3, when you're out in the wastes.

"You could be walking along and there'll be a diner off to the side, you'll wonder what's over there - and it'll turn out to be a Raider base and there's mutated bodies hanging from the ceiling," explains Hines.

"Suddenly the Raiders could show up - and that's just due to the time of day. If you want to play the game hardcore, you can sit and wait and watch these guys over a period of time and figure out what their schedule is - go in while they're out, or when they're sleeping."

So - they've got scheduling...
In the new scenes on show in Pete Hines' presentation, the improvement was marked - when bickering with a childhood bully there are at least six or seven different retorts to your foe, for example.

We're also promised that there are at least 60 voice actors and that the more recognisable ones from Oblivion ('You have my ear, citizen!') haven't made the cut. Hines reckons they've nixed the old chestnut of conversation between NPCs being stilted and dull to boot.
"When they talk to each other they can do it by name," he explains. "They understand that this person is someone they have a certain sort of relationship with, and so they can talk about a certain set of things.

...and conversation is more realistic.
Link: CVG Fallout 3 preview

News for Monday, May 19, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 22:52

The Bethesda Game Studios Forum Q&A is nearly finished, a pre-selection of 40 questions done by Gizmo, Alexander and Briosafreak is prepared in a forum thread ready for voting by registered users.

Alexander, Briosafreak, and myself have, over the last nine days, gone through the threads collecting suggestions and have compiled the list, sorted it and then condensed it. There are 40 uniques left. These represent the most popular and/or most informative questions that we recorded, and that were submitted before May 18th.

There are only 20 slots [officially], and an extra 5 set aside as alternates or bonus questions.

We have decided to post a multiple choice poll, to let the forum members choose for themselves what questions they value most from our list. After three days we will assemble the final draft from the top ranked questions in this poll. These will then be the questions submitted to Bethesda for the second Official Fan Interview.

We ask that you pick only 25 so that you do not dilute your vote, and so that the ones you select have a better chance at a higher ranking.
Link: BGSF interview thread.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:58 provides the Germans with a look at Fallout 3. No real new info, though iii tells us that the glowing ones aren't only capable of healing other ghouls but also of shooting shockwaves of radioactivity, which I'm fairly sure is new. Bad_Karma translates a short bit.

I'm still not quite sure, what I should think of Fallout 3. The atmosphere reminds me of Bioshock, the beginning in the Vault101 is great and very atmospheric. However, what I saw of the outside world until now didn't: monotonous landscapes, dull rooms, lots of mindless shoot-ups. Bethesda stays still tight-lipped about the RPG-elements, the Quests and the dialogs.
Link: Fallout 3 Preview on

Posted by Brother None - at 20:55

This got shoved into our news submit form; Gamestop is (might be) carrying a pre-order version of Fallout 3, with added schwag being a poster and a CD soundtrack.

1. I Dont Want To Set The World On Fire - The Ink Spots
2. Way Back Home - Bob Crosby
3. Butcher Pete (part 1) - Roy Brown
4. Main Title - Inon Zur
5. Megaton - Inon Zur

I can't find it on the gamestop site, for sure, so I can't really confirm if this is real or not.

News for Saturday, May 17, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:14


The next encounter, which saw Hines beset by two staggering radiation-zombies, known as ghouls, was dealt with using the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (or VATS) – Bethesda’s solution to the lack of pure turn-based combat. Freezing time, Hines was able to flick through the various enemies, queuing up shots on multiple ghouls. Having selected your targets, the view switches to an external camera, swooping in on the bullet-riddled bodies as they fly back in slow motion. A later encounter against some super-mutants, fought in a warren of dugouts lying between the shattered remnants of the Washington Monument and the Capitol building, illustrated how useful VATS can be, tipping off Hines to the presence of an enemy sneaking up behind,

While its combat credentials are fairly secure, previous demonstrations have done little to assure us that the writing is also up to the standard of previous Fallout games. Although this viewing focused largely on combat, we were shown developments to the opening section of the game, which sees the player growing up in a nuclear shelter, this time witnessing the protagonist’s surprise tenth birthday party. It’s a section designed to introduce the player to the kind of social interactions, depth of conversation, dialogue and consequences that Hines tells us persist throughout the later game.

Talking to a girl of the same age, the player has the opportunity to lie about just how surprising the surprise party was, along with a number of other options ranging from complimentary to ungraciously hostile.
Also, the usual.
"War never changes,” grumbles ubiquitous voiceover favorite Ron Perlman in Fallout 3’s opening cinematic. Of course, the one major bugbear among diehard fans of previous turn-based Fallout games is that war has actually changed rather substantially with the coming sequel. Thankfully, as we see more and more of the game, it seems like these detractors are misguided.
Good thing Bethesda never has to defend itself. The protractors are legion.

Link: Edge Fallout 3 preview on Next Generation.

Spotted on GameBanshee.

News for Friday, May 16, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 8:16

Interplay has filed its quarterly for Q1 2008. As of March 31st, Interplay's total assets amount to 460 thousand USD, with 320 thousand USD in cash (down from 1.201 million and 1.138 million, respectively). Its working capital deficit amounts to 2.7 million USD, with total liabilities of 3.085 million USD.

Its debt to Atari of 1.045 million USD has not been settled and is past its due date of March 31st 2008. Interplay is still in dispute, believing "it may have various claims that may offset some or all of the balance owed to Atari".

Amongst Interplay's expenses for the quarter are 343 thousand USD in general and administrative and 67 thousand in product development. Its revenue for Q1 2008 was 57 thousand USD (100% from Europe, 52 thousand on PC, 5 thousand on console). Their operating expenses for the full quarter amounted to 818 thousand USD.

Still no new site up, no reason to expect it any time soon.

Link: Interplay 10-Q on SEC.

News for Thursday, May 15, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 22:19

The newest dev diary is called Conceptual Design, in which the main concept artist Adam Adamowicz explains his work and shows of 11 of his pieces. Amongst the creatures seen in the artworks are radscorpions, molerats and deathclaws. Here's his words on super mutants.

Designing The Super Mutant

“Don’t shoot him, you’ll just make him mad.” The famous line from Blazing Saddles describing Mongo, was my guiding inspiration for these guys. I wanted them to look like they would step into a tree shredder, for relaxation. Their musculature was to be straining at the bone structure underneath, creating a hyper jacked up caricature of a person in the throes of radioactive testosterone poisoning, and liking it.

This led to a lot of visual gags costume wise too. Not only did they wield parking meters like police batons, but they carried their victims caged in shopping carts strapped to their backs. You know, just in case they got peckish after a fight, and wanted a snack.

Their armor is total salvage yard, car hoods and fenders resourcefully but crudely pounded into chest plates and pauldrons. Lawn mower blades welded onto helmets. I wanted recognizable elements twisted to a more violent purpose to reflect a sinister resourcefulness to surviving in a highly dangerous world. This “junkyard wars” approach to their armor and weapons generated whole categories of unique and often hilarious Homemade Weapons that I’ll speak about next.

Link: Conceptual Design on official Fallout 3 site.

Thanks Gstaff.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:40

The BethBlog offers some tidbits from magazines covering Fallout 3. A few bits we missed. Gavin Carter talking to Hype about Ron Perlman:

“Ron Perlman’s involvement in Fallout games should definitely be made into a law! War never changes, after all. He reprises his role as the intro and outro narrator in Fallout 3 — it wouldn’t be the same without him.”
And Pete Hines on dialogue choices in Edge.
“‘This is the Vault bully, Butch, and his little cronies,’ says Hines pointing at a table of youths. ‘They’ll start talking about how they’re forming a gang and what they want to call their gang. He wants a sweet roll that Mrs. Palmer gave me, and there are a variety of different options here. I can wuss out and give it to him, I can ask him if we can share, I can spit on it and give it to him, I can tell him to go suck his head, I can insult his mom — so we give the player a lot of choices and how Butch will react depends upon these different choices, so if I choose one of these last two options he basically gets up to fight me.’”
Link: Around the Web catchup on BethBlog.

News for Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 7:31

Man, we're getting close to hitting modding heaven at this rate.

So we survived the winter...

...without any bigger problems. However, considering college semesters fights and all that jazz, we are heading forward a bit unpredictably. Anyway, this does not stop us from putting up some concept arts / models / sketches to the gallery. No English dialogue shots today, we apologize. Lack of sufficient (or rather non-busy) manpower... So, here is the eye-candy:

- Town loading screen sketch #1 (author Martin Dolejs)
- Town loading screen sketch #2 (Martin Dolejs)
- Town loading screen sketch #3 (Martin Dolejs)
- Boulder City - series of sketches (HunteR)

- Warning siren render (Marcus Mills)
- Hibernator set (Continuum)

NOTE: 2 new Czech dialogue screens might be found under the Czech version, if somebody's strange interest occurs.

We have also hired a new 3D modeler, good old returnee Mousek (sample of work 1, sample of work 2), and handy artworker / town art artist Yarpen (1, 2). We have also got slightly in touch with HunteR, who has actually fallen in love with the fast sketches (1, 2, 3). For now, he found some time for series of twelve sketches catching the Boulder City area that may be (surprirsingly) found in the gallery. I guess it is more than obvious that we have a lot of stuff to do in the oncoming months / years. Smile
Link: News on Tower of Creation website.

Spotted on F3:APNB.

Posted by Brother None - at 7:19

The low resolution on the Fallout games has long been a bother and an oft-requested thing for our modders to look at. We've long since had a highly bugged Fallout 2 resolution patcher, but now Mash comes in swinging with a relatively bugfree (not fully tested yet) patch to increase Fallout 2's resolution. From the readme.

As the title suggests this program modifies "fallout2.exe" in memory for the purposes of increasing the visual resolution. It also allows for movement of the taskbar and most, if not all menus and panels by way of variables listed in the included "f2_res.ini" file.

This Mod was made for Version 1.02d of the "fallout2.exe".
It was compiled with "Visual C++ 6.0 -sp6" and should work on most versions of Windows.
Some screenshots thanks to killap.

Link: Fallout 2 resolution patch v1.0.

Posted by Brother None - at 7:15

The latest issue of Game Informer includes a one page interview with Todd Howard about Fallout 3, with a load of screenshots we've already seen on the other page, plus one new screenshot of the main character shooting a ghoul in the crotch with what appears to be an uzi. I'm not being facetious, that's what the screenshot looks like.

Anyway, the questions cover some old ground, including once again trying to clear up the multiple endings thing, a lot of comparisons to Oblivion (will it be an open world? Yes. Will there be non-quest location-based encounters? Yes). Anyway.

Has it been difficult to find a balance between open aiming and the tactical V.A.T.S. system? Will it be possible to play the game without tapping into V.A.T.S.?

We've been tweaking it, but it's been going pretty smoothly. You can play the game without ever using V.A.T.S., but you'll miss some of the more fun moments. We have people who play the game here and some use V.A.T.S. exclusively and some never use it. My hope is that the average player will use it about 50 percent of the time. The two modes are meant to complement each other.

Outside of Megaton, what's an example of how the game might be different upon replay

Without spoiling anything, I can say that the game changes pretty dramatically based on two main things: whether you are good or evil, and the skills you choose. It makes for very different experiences. also offers some coverage on game informer (Thanks Serifan), though the "now at 500 different endings" (read: permutations) thing isn't actually new, that was true a few previews ago. QJ basically summarizes the answers Todd Howard gives in the interview.

News for Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 20:59

The Fallout 3 previews are kind of petering out, but fortunately we have our fr.NMA staff-member extraordinaire MrBumble to provide to translate a few bits from the very European Fallout 3 preview from

Rather strange that despite the gory path taken by the game, Bethesda did not choose to keep the immoral possibilities of the previous episode. Indeed, and it's rather deceiving, you will not be able anymore to pimp your wife, to sell drugs, to star in porn movies or to be a slaver. Being immoral is over. Our new hero will behave respectably in this post-apocalyptics world.
Despite its respect of the background and its partly turn based combat system, we were not really impressed by Fallout 3. Visually a bit flat, too undaring as far as ethics are concerned, Bethesda's game will only be a great RPG if it manages to prove that the fundamentals are still here. In order to do that, Fallout 3 needs a great storyline, original quests aswell as a deep stat system and a great choice as far as equipment is concerned.
Link: Fallout 3 preview on

Posted by Brother None - at 18:43

The monthly update.

Our scripters have begun to complile the scripts for our demo area and are now working on writing the needed scripts and attaching them one by one to the appropriate in game content. It's a slow process, as there's still a lot to do, but our scripting team is doing a great gob. They work very well together and they are making good, steady process.

Our art department has completed all the demo art we need, including items, NPCs and maps. We're working on making some splash screens and a new menu graphic as well as the intro to the game. They've also made some excellent progress in that area.

Writing is pretty much done too, though we'll probably need to write up some dialog to patch some holes we've made, or to tie off some of the loose ends that attach to the rest of the full game. It sounds like we're far along, but it's a painstaking process that takes time to complete. We're doing our best to maintain a steady pace and get it done. I'm personally very proud of the progress we've made over the past month.
Link: Fan Made Fallout website.

Thanks Jacen.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:42

Anandtech included Fallout 3 in their list of Eight Months of PC Gaming. It's not really noteworthy for anything other than repeating the 200-endings misconception, but it's a slow newsday, so.

While Fallout 3 might be referred to as a first person shooter, its cult followers know better. The game is very much an RPG with deep statistical character progression that will result in a different experience for each gamer who plays it. In this role-playing experience of epic proportions, the story unfolds thirty years after the events in Fallout 2. The year is 2050 and Vault 101 where your character's lineage took refuge during a nuclear holocaust is now open. In an attempt to investigate the disappearance your father, you emerge into the mutant-ridden wasteland that is Washington D.C. While there are countless ways to play Fallout 3, Bethesda has made sure that the outcome is also varied. In fact, there will apparently be 200 ending scenarios. So, if you're the type of gamer whose goal will be experiencing each ending, this may well be the last game you buy! Look for Fallout 3 on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 later this year sometime between Halloween and Christmas.
Link: Eight Months of Gaming on Anandtech (page 4).

Thanks tfp.

News for Friday, May 9, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 19:08

The Bethesda blog has a special-format inside the vault with lead designer Emil Pagliarulo.

The NPD data for March reported that the video game industry in North America sold $1.7 billion in hardware and software, that’s a 51% increase from a year ago. Do you think it would be fair to say the industry is “recession” proof? Or is it more that we’re heading into an upswing and it’s just part of the cycles our industry goes through?

Because of the growing popularity of video games, I do indeed think the industry as a whole is recession proof, but that’s more of a high level financial statement. It doesn’t mean a hell of a lot for the people who work for companies that suddenly go under. That seems to have been happening a lot lately, and my heart really goes out to those guys.

I think we sometimes forget how young this industry really is. We’re experiencing the kind of exponential growth the film industry experienced in its early days, and with that comes a lot of growing pains — cancelled projects, studio closures, what have you.

So for the end user, it’s great. All video games, all the time. Steady releases at Christmas, sequels to your favorite games pretty regularly, even revivals of old licenses like what we’re doing with Fallout 3. I don’t see that ever ending. But I think for the people working in the industry, there will continue to be trials and tribulations for quite some time.
Seriously? Honestly, you don't think it could be kind of exactly the same thing as this, maybe? This "recession proof" thing is wearing me the hell out, since this is all old-hat news for entertainment industries. Anyway...
Lately, you’ve been a bit more active on our forums, relatively speaking. How do you filter through the signal to noise?

Right now, everyone is hungry for information. Whether it’s an Oblivion fan, or a fan of the old Fallout games, or just someone who’s new to the forums and wants to know what Fallout 3 is all about — everyone has a million questions, and wants a lot of detail.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of detail I’m at liberty to give right now. So what I generally look for are discussions about issues we have addressed publicly in some capacity. I like to make sure that information - the information we’ve already released - is getting disseminated accurately. Because, you know, with all the previews and forum posts, and can be like a big game of “telephone” — information gets modified in its retelling, until you occasionally (and unfortunately) arrive at a bit of complete misinformation.

That’s the kind of stuff I look for, and like to clear up. But I also like to generally check out all the cool conversations taking place, all the debates people are having. So even when I don’t respond, I’m always lurking. Always waaatttccchhiinngggg…
Link: Inside the Vault - Emil Pagliarulo.

Posted by Morbus - at 0:53 published a three part interview (links at the end of the newspost) with Vince D. Weller, who you all probably know as Age of Decadence's Lead Designer and developer. There are a few insightful questions about the process of making the game, but there's also lots of stuff a hardcore role-player will probably find exciting. Here's a snip:

What are your thoughts on "Jack Bauer in space" syndrome (i.e. the growing trend to remove the choice between good and evil from RPGs)?

I haven't played Mass Effect, so I can't comment on the qualities of the game or the "Bauer in space" syndrome, but here is what I think about good and evil choices:

Good and evil are subjective concepts and I think that developers should never present the player with clearly marked "good" and "evil" options. Since [this is] a Star Wars site, let's use the Anakin's fall in Ep. 3. From his perspective the mistrustful and arrogant Jedi Council plotted against and tried to assassinate the chancellor chosen by everyone, the chancellor who supported and trusted him. Was siding with the chancellor and turning against the Jedi an evil act? Not at all. Anakin was given reasons to act the way he did, and that's how RPGs should be designed.

Sides in conflicts and choices should never be black and white, good and evil. There should be reasons for acting this way or that way, for supporting the Jedi or sticking with the Sith, for saving a village or letting them die. Then and only then someone will judge your actions and slap labels like "good" or "evil" on them. People who are with us are "good", people who are against us are "evil". Isn't how it usually works?

In AoD there are no default enemies and no good and evil choices. You make decisions that make sense to your character, you side with people and factions that you agree with the most, and then some factions will see you as a great guy and some factions will see you as an evil bastard who should be killed with extreme prejudice.
Sounds like the Vince we know. There's a lot more of it too.

Link: Vince D. Weller interview (part 1)
Link: Having tea and playing tennis with Vince D. Weller (part 2)
Link: Asking manly and entirely non-Freudian questions of Vince D. Weller (part 3)
Spotted at Iron Tower Studio Forums

Posted by Morbus - at 0:36

Pete Hines interviewed Inon Zur, Fallout 3's composer, and published the result at the BethBlog.

One other question. How did the experience of writing and creating the music for Fallout 3 change from before you had a chance to see the game and after you had a chance to see the game?
You know, in fact I had lots of reservations and actually I visited Bethesda and it was very close to what I thought. The document that I got was very well written by Todd and Mark Lampert and Gavin. They did a great job of tapping me into the realm of Fallout and what they were doing. Fallout, yes it’s a lot about the visuals, but the story itself is so powerful. So just basically getting inspired by the actual story created a lot of emotional triggers that helped me to compose the music, rather that actually seeing the game and playing the game. The actual story of this twisted reality, there is like a [whole other] reality that happened and it’s really, really powerful. It helped me a lot.
This is only a little bit. Don't miss the whole piece.

Link: BethBlog Interviews Inon Zur @ Bethesda Blog
Spotted at: Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog

News for Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Posted by The Vault Dweller - at 20:41

You can read the press release here. Taken from it:

Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, announced today that Inon Zur has created the original musical score for Bethesda Softworks’ highly anticipated post-apocalyptic video game, Fallout® 3. Zur, an award-winning composer, has created numerous scores for films, television, and new media.

“We’ve wanted to work with Inon for a long time,” said Todd Howard executive producer of Fallout 3. “He brings so much to the table, in terms of his talent, background, and the music that’s influenced him. He’s created a score that has epic sweep; from the lonely ambience of the wasteland to dramatic fights for survival.”
As such, Bethesda has also put up three of the tracks that will be featured in Fallout 3 on their official website, they can be heard here on Bethesda's website.

I would like to point out specifically that Inon Zur considering music in games is responsible for tracks from titles such as Baldur's Gate 2, Everquest 2, most recently Crysis and perhaps most importantly for us, Fallout Tactics. You can visit his website and even hear some of his music there.

I give thanks to the anonymous informant who alerted us to this, and thanks to Autoduel76 for pointing out the music tracks.

The Vault Dweller

Posted by Morbus - at 13:30

Next Generation has put up an interview with Emil Pagliarulo, Fallout 3's Lead Designer, and that's what he asks himself:

”I look at Fallout when I play it every day, and I sometimes think that there's a lot of old-school hardcore PC stuff in there too, and part of me thinks, 'God, is this too inaccessible for console players?'”
Although this is a bit of a certificate of incompetence for console players, I don't think that was his intention:
People like myself and some people that work here actually grew up as hardcore PC guys, and now we're older, we have kids, we don't have that much time, so we've transitioned. We're console players now.
So his certificate of incompetence would actually apply... to himself... Thankfully, that's not the case:
(...) we still have those PC game sensibilities. Those are the games we like. So I think BioShock has a little bit of that too. You can definitely feel the old System Shock roots in that game. So hopefully there's a trend there.

The interview is a partial transcription of a podcast. To fully transcribe a bit the Next Gen only covered partially (this bit is going to be hard to swallow):
It's funny too...I kind of feel the same way because I'm not in the circle of the people that might be close to No Mutants Allowed or very hardcore-into-the-Elder-Scrolls franchise. I played Morrowind, but Oblivion is the one I played most extensively. As a guy that didn't play these PC RPGs, I agree, for the average person it actually was a little overwhelming and good for you guys for selling that many copies of what I would almost consider a hardcore PC RPG on the console.

I think we're starting to find now that there is a market for that on console. People like myself and people who work [here] kind of grew up as hardcore PC guys and now we're older, we have kids, we don't have that much time so we're in transition, we're console players now. But we still have those PC game sensibilities. Y'know, those are the games that we liked, so I think BioShock has a little bit of that too. You can definitely feel the old System Shock roots in that game. So hopefully there's a trend there.
Link: Fallout 3 and the Console Masses @ Next Generation.
Link: Game Theory podcast, where the interview is from.
Spotted at Kotaku and Fallout 3: APNB.

Thanks Mungrul.

Posted by Morbus - at 12:35

With all the Fallout 3 previews and the hype surrounding its release, Game On decided to do something about their knowledge about Fallout. For the first time, chillzilla plays Fallout, and lives to tell the tale:

On Sunday I watched the ending credits. I had beaten the game, but I had played it wrong. Maybe "wrong" is the wrong word. I didn't play it through the way I imagine it was intended on somebody's first play-through. Nope, "wrong" was the correct word.
To explain in detail my actions would be to spoil the game for others. I will do my best to leave details vague. The game is good, so I don't want to ruin the experience for would-be players, even if the game is 11 years old.
While the game is non-linear, there still is an order to things. It is possible to skip over missions, items & even whole towns (never did visit the Boneyard), but the game does nudge you to finish the main quest. I apparently decided to skip half the game.
There is a point where a leader of one group asks you to take out a gang of mutants that have been bothering them. As I approached my assigned targets, one of the mutants started to talk to me. My choices in dialog got me captured and taken to the mutants base. I started to notice that the game had gotten a lot harder then it had been, but yet my escape didn't seem unattainable. Through many save files and reloading I was able to make my escape and in the process I unknowingly finished a major story plot.
Ah... To be young and in love. I mean, playing Fallout for the first time? Good memories, good memories.

Link: Fallout from Fallout 1 @ Game On

News for Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 20:48

According to, Ubisoft sent out a press release announcing they are publishing Fallout 3 in several European countries. This is a bit odd in light of ZeniMax opening a London office, so hopefully we'll hear more about this later. A translation of the 4players newspost:

Ubisoft has gone into agreement with Bethesda Softworks and has become the seller of the post-apocalyptic role-playing game in large parts of Europe, including Germany, Switzerland and Austria. This comes from a press release of the publisher. In this it stays with the indicated release date of Autumn this year. Alain Corre, Executive Directorf with Ubisoft knows that expectations are enormous for the popularly anticipated sequel and is sure, "that Fallout 3 will have the success of the earlier blockbuster, like for example TES IV: Oblivion".
Link: Ubisoft übernimmt Vertrieb.

Thanks Lexx.

EDIT: Note that the post isn't 100% clear if this is "publish" or "distribute". It's possible ZeniMax Europe will be publishing, while Ubisoft distributes.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:07

Interplay sneaked in another filing, denoting how much FPD paid for the controlling stock of 58 million.

Further to the change in control described in the registrant's 8-K filed on March 27, 2008 relating to the acquisition of control of the registrant by Financial Planning and Development S.A. ("FPD"), the registrant has been informed by FPD that FPD paid $159,000 on April 30, 2007 in a private sale by the bankruptcy trustee of Titus Interactive S.A. (at a time when a petition for involuntary bankruptcy had been filed against the registrant, which had not been dismissed). FPD purchased at that time 58,426,293 shares of common stock of the registrant and warrants to purchase 400,000 shares of common stock of the registrant at an exercise price of $3.79 per share. The registrant believes that FPD paid such consideration from FPD's own working capital.
That's 0,0027 USD per share. On April 2007, the shares in Interplay were going for 0.10 USD. Not a bad price, I suppose.

Link: Interplay 8-K/A (amend).

News for Sunday, May 4, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 15:08

GameSpot UK offers a video interview with Bethesda in their Start/Select feature, starting around 8:30, with Pete Hines. They discuss the start, plot, Dogmeat, good characters can't recruit evil NPCs, that kind of stuff. Including mentioning perception influences how well you see other people, but bulky armor/helmet lowers that perception.

Thanks Vault 13.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:42

CanardPC's write-up on Fallout 3 is pretty good, so I figured why not provide some translated quotes from the article, thanks to Seboss on the Codex:

Fade to black and you're now at your tenth birthday, ready to get your Pipboy3000, "the indispensable companion of the modern man". This scene introduces your first social interactions.
You'll go then from a little flirt with a girl your age through the confrontation with a little bully desiring to strip you from your birthday cake, to a surrealist discussion with a schizophrenic Mr Handy.
And there, I feel reassured. The dialogs and the argument with the dumbfuck in the making come right into the series spirit. During your conversation with the little scum, the game offers you ten different dialog options: immediate cowardly capitulation, insult leading to a brawl, lies, [...] spitting on the cake before offering it to him. The list is more than satisfying.
While I was expecting an outright treason of the Fallout setting, more because of ineptitude than vice, I have the feeling the game is spot on. The ambiance, scenery and lighting of the Vault seem perfectly faithful to the series, with just the right dose of rust to enhance claustrophobia.
Now here's the point where things get messy. We're going to get onto the thorny problem of the combat. [...] We'll note that the developers repeated ad nauseam that the efficiency of your shots depend on your statistics and that the FPS skills of the player don't have any importance, and that all shots fired in real-time mode will be automatically aimed to the torso. [Here goes a lengthy description of the VATS system]
The idea seems to stand theoretically, but in facts I'm far from convinced. Firstly, during the presentation, either he was wearing a Power Armor and holding a Gatling gun and fighting hordes of super mutants armed with heavy machine guns, bakookas and supersledges or fighting ghouls with a 9mm and wearing just a leather armor, the demonstrator was just standing there, shooting long bursts without using any kind of tactics.
Besides, aimed shots, possible even with a minigun, looked far less effective to me than just "run right next to the baddy and empty my magazine in one burst".
Regarding monster design, I'm afraid they are completely off the mark. Forget about quirky, clumsy supermutants or weird ghouls with tree branches sticking out their skulls. All you'll get is overmuscular, overarmed orcs and undeads Oblivion style. But that was expected.

News for Friday, May 2, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 19:11

The Bethesda Blog put up word that yes, Fallout 3 will be at E3, to beat any possibly rumours that they won't be caused by the ESA attendants list.

Yes, Bethesda Softworks will be at this year’s E3 in LA.

Yes, we will have Fallout 3 there.

No, I don’t know why the ESA sent out a list that did not include us, just like they did last year. Maybe it’s because the had to go to print at a certain point and we hadn’t picked our space yet. No idea.

But we’ll be there and so will Fallout 3.
Meanwhile, E3 is creaking heavily at the joints now that giant publisher/developer Activision-Vivendi (also called Activision-Blizzard/Sierra, representing about 15% of the worldwide gaming industry) has declared they're not coming, as well as Atlus, Majesco, NCsoft and WBIE and others (story here).

Posted by Brother None - at 18:02

It's been a year since what has probably been the most successful...uh...thing in NMA history, ever, the release of the Van Buren tech demo, which brought in over 118 thousand visitors to NMA that week.

So how's it done since then?

The Black Isle's Van Buren trailer we put together to tease you guys with days before the release of the demo has had nearly 200 thousand views on Youtube, though someone else also put it up under the moniker Fallout 3, which might not be fully honest but does get in those search views, and it was viewed 175 thousand times there.

While that's just ok-ish, the file has done exceedingly well, having been downloaded 35 thousand times from our fileserver AtomicGamer, as well as 10 thousand times from FilePlanet, 13 thousand times from Gamer's Hell, 18 thousand times from GameSpot, five thousands times from FileFront and two thousand times from FileShack. So not counting quite a few other mirrors available, the tech demo hit well over 83 thousand downloads. Not bad for a 250 MB large elephant that only offered a half-broken technical demo.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:15

360Zine issue 18 is up for download and features a Fallout 3 preview, as well as a Q&A with Pete Hines. It's an enormous and - at least for me - hella annoying to view PDF file, so here's some bits.

Opening with the series’ most iconic catchphrase, it’s clear that Bethesda have gone to some lengths to ensure that Fallout 3, while very different from its predecessors, is still very recognisably Fallout. The two PC games from the late Nineties attracted a substantial, fanatical cult following, and it’s this bunch that have been watching the game’s development as closely as they possibly can. Suffice to say that Bethesda are under pressure to appeal both to franchise veterans and create an inclusive experience for everyone.
Fallout 3's combat is potentially more problematic than Oblivion's - while the first-person shooting seems very solid, it's got a lot of competition from other games in that department. Fortunately, players can take a more strategic approach, with the Vault Assisted Targeting System.
They note the game is 80% finished, and rate their first impressions (?) 90%.

The interview talks about nods to the originals, VATS, the "500 endings" misunderstanding and - of course - the fans. I get a major feeling of deja vu when reading it, but that might be because Pete is giving his standard answers.

Link: Fallout 3 preview on 360Zine.

Spotted on Fallout 3: APNB.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:16

Another few tidbits from a magazine preview, from FalloutDude14.

Choice quotes:
"Bethesda's last title, Oblivion, was a huge slice of freeform joy."

"[The prospect of Bethesda making Fallout 3 is] as close to a dream game as anyone has managed so far."

"[...]and there's a vociferous (and presumably faintly insane) minority that's convinced this game is a slight on the previous two and will simply be 'Oblivion with guns'."

"It seems that rather than be discouraged by the negativity, the team is spurred on by it."

New info (or at least info that I haven't seen before):
The Behemoth is based on some concept art that Adam Adamowicz drew. Originally it was to use a car battery on a chain as a weapon, instead of the hydrant.

Certain perks can only be taken by certain karma levels.
In reply to "and will simply be 'Oblivion with guns'."...

From NMA's Fallout 3 preview.
So rather than Oblivion with Guns, what we have here is a conglomerate of influences from a whole bunch of games. Oblivion in a lot of mechanics and perhaps in some deeper gameplay mechanics I have yet to see. Fallout in superficial style and look, occasionally. Some BioWare mechanics on combat. Add a sprinkling of Deus Ex for elements of combat, dialogue and choices. This is a big mess that can only be shortened to "Oblivion with Guns" unfairly.
Todd Howard in OXM.
The game it's closest to is Oblivion. So now when someone asks, 'Is it Oblivion with guns?' my main answer is, 'in all the best ways.'"
Neither of us are saying it's "just" Oblivion with Guns, but NMA is saying it's Oblivion with Guns is an unfair term, Todd Howard is saying he uses the term. Good job attributing a statement from the executive producer to the fans, PC Format.

Link: Bethesda forum post with extra details from the PC Format article.

News for Thursday, May 1, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:45

French magazine CanardPC number 170 has an eight pages Fallout 3 preview and contains a a few new tidbits of information:

  • Teen age gives you access to a few quests which will have an impact on how you are perceived within the Vault
  • While travelling across the Wasteland, you can come across a few caravans, each heading to precise locations.
  • There are three difficulty levels, as well as an "autolevelling difficulty" mode.
  • A few new weapons : Cryolator allows you to freeze ennemies while you can hypnotize them with your Mesmetron. [these weapons were also mentioned in the NMA preview, though their functions unknown]
  • Also a new perk, Daddy's Little Girl, which gives a Science bonus to female characters.

Additionally, the writer of the preview, O. Boulon, made some comments here. Amongst the comments is, by MrBumble's reading:
It basically means that he's sorry he has forgotten to put it in the article but he really HATED the soundtrack because it is entirely orchestral, Call of duty style, very far from Mark Morgan's ambiant works. He advises players to replace it with Fallout 1 and Fallout 2's soundtrack as soon as they can.
Spotted on NukaCola

Posted by Brother None - at 23:33

Two sites, two interviews. How far are you going with the 'go anywhere' sense in this game?

Pete Hines: Very. If you want to see how many of the hours you can play without seeing an hour of the main quest, give it a shot - it will be lots. You could spend 50 hours, 70 hours, just doing stuff in the world and never once make an effort to figure out what happened to your dad. We want it to be a self-directed world, for players to just see what happens.

And the idea is that the main quest is not the only cool stuff going on - there are tonnes of miscellaneous free-form things out there for you to do that will be a lot of fun, that maybe you've got five or six quests at any time where you can figure out what to do next.
And Gamasutra.
How do you deal with the hardcore fanbase - that is, in development, how do you balance the need to be true to the series to the point where you are satisfying those people, but not to the exclusion of those who don't live and breathe Fallout?

PH: I think, ultimately, it comes from us having been in this space for a while, and kind of - you know, I mean, we hear this a lot with The Elder Scrolls. You know, with the folks that were around in 1994, when Arena came out, versus the folks that showed up in 2005 because they were interested in Oblivion. And it gets back to listening to what people have to say, and understanding not only what it is they want, but also sort of the root of what their concerns are.

I think that we do have a pretty good understanding what all of the different sections of our fan base are interested in, but it comes back to the thing of, you know, gotta make the game that we think is the best. Certainly, try and take those things into consideration, but there are people in the office who spend 14, 16, 18 hours a day making this game, and sometimes, if you're going to break a tie, you go with our instincts.

The people who know everything about it are the folks who know - you know, you can't make a game with a committee of three thousand, or three hundred thousand. Just, nothing would ever get done. Somebody has got to break the tie and say, "This is what's best for the game."

I think we've tried to make that our approach, and we've tried to do the best that we can to listen to all the segments of our fan base, and give them what they want, and I hope that all of them will give the game a shot, and it will be something that they'll enjoy.
Spotted on GameBanshee and F3 APNB.

Posted by Brother None - at 23:30

Another Inside the Vault. No Fallout question.

What’s your job at Bethesda?
I am one of the AI Programmers and I am responsible for Pathfinding, that is, figuring out how NPCs navigate around the world. Considering how organic our environments are and the huge variance in scales of our NPCs, pathfinding has turned out to be quite a challenge. Add to that huge explosions that move/destroy everything around, and you get the idea of how complicated it becomes. As a consequence, my work involves a lot of 2d/3d math, writing search algorithms and dealing with multithreaded optimizations.
Link: Inside the Vault - Jean-Sylvere Simonet.

Posted by 13pm - at 21:17

From the Bethblog:

Last year, once all the dust cleared from our initial unveiling of Fallout 3, we provided you guys with a chance to ask some burning questions about the game. Given we’ve just had another blitz of previews come out, we figured now was as good of a time as any to give you another opportunity.

Starting today in the Fallout 3 Discussion thread of the BGS forums, you can start suggesting questions you’d like to see answered. You can also share your questions in the comments section of this blog post, or simply by emailing us. To help make sure we’re answering the questions you guys want to know, I’ve entrusted three of our community members to help out with the process — Alexander, Briosafreak, Gizmo. If you’ve got suggestions, or think you might be able to help them out, drop them a line.

If you want your question considered, you have between now and Sunday, May 18th to post your questions through the channels listed above. Once we’ve got the final questions, we’ll work on getting answers back to you guys.
That's it. If you still have questions about this game, it might be a good chance to ask.

Link: Bethblog entry

Thanks Briosafreak.