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News for Monday, June 30, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 13:30

David Wilgoose from the Official XBox Magazine has updated his blog with some thoughts after playing a bit of Fallout 3 in Bethesda's office (and yes, we are to expect a wave of hands-on previews soon from preferred magazines & sites invited by Bethesda, followed by hands-on previews done at E3).

Bethesda has to combat all these factors. They have to bring a new Fallout into a world where multi-platform development is vital; where RPGs flounder without production values as high as the next big budget FPS; where many of the play mechanics of the original games now seem anachronistic; and where Bethesda has charted out their own successful course of what a role-playing game can be.

Other games and developers have survived such battles though, and perhaps more often than you think. Ion Storm took over development duties from Looking Glass for the third Thief game, although there was certainly some cross-pollination between the companies. Still, Thief: Deadly Shadows turned out to be quite a different experience to what the Looking Glass folks had envisaged. It kept some of the open world structure of the original design, but reined it back and applied a more discrete mission progression. Ion Storm were faced with the additional challenge of developing for a console as well as PC which no doubt had an impact, especially from a technology point of view. But ultimately, Deadly Shadows was a genuine Thief game, just served with superior lighting and some minor tweaks to the mechanics.

In a similar vein, Obsidian assumed responsibility from Bioware for both Neverwinter Nights and Knight of the Old Republic. Those guys had worked closely together at Interplay’s Black Isle RPG division and the development of both series continued fairly seamlessly. Fundamentally, the sequels really aren’t that different and, for the most part, merely benefit from newer technology.
He continues listing a lot of examples of franchises successfully changing hands and style, but for some reason completely fails to discuss the many times such things have failed painfully, such as for example X-Com: Enforcer or Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude.

Link: Keeping Faith in Fallout: What happens when our favourite games change hands on Unified Ammo.

Spotted on F3:APNB.

Posted by Brother None - at 11:22

The Greek magazine PC Master has a preview/interview of Fallout 3. A few tidbits and some questions from the interview:

-Vault 101 is called "Jewel of the Desert"
-Programmers of Bethesda ditched the Van Buren code and all material that has been created by Black Isle for it "cause it was obviously very dated and completely useless"(Interviewer speaking)
-1st person perspective is an "innovation"
-The test you pass to define the attributes of your character is called G.O.A.T.(Generalized Occupational Aptitude Tests)
-Player can control a team of up to three members
-There is no car for the player
-Level cap is 20

Some Interview Questions:

Q: Can you estimate total playing time including sub-quests?
Hines: At this point to fully complete the game you'd need to spend over 100 hours.

Q: Do you intend to create a Fallout 3 that will be...mod-friendly? In other words provide people with the toolset to experiment on?
Hines: We have not yet decided on this. Right now, we have not announced any plans for the tools issue. It takes time to perfect a toolset in order for it to be usable by players and so far we didn't have time, working on the game itself.

Q: There is a sensitive issue attracting the attention of many; the presence(or absence)of children as NPC's. The impact on game's rating is a given(especially if the player will be able to chop kiddies in half through critical hits). How are you handling that?
Hines: There are, in fact, children in the game. How we'll handle them on game is a matter we haven't concluded on yet.

Q: Can you name the various guilds and factions of the game? Will they work like the ones in Oblivion?
Hines: There are many groups and factions that you shall meet in your way...Super Mutants, Slavers, Brotherhood of Steel, enclave and others. These are groups you shall meet and will have to make choices on how you will interact with - but htey're not factions that you can join and increase your rank.

Q: We're curious regarding how stats work during a first person battle. For instance if the player is, say, half a meter away of the target and shoots, will it be possible to miss for some mysterious reason, just for having low stats?

Hines: Your stats and weapon you use, will definitely affect your efficiency during battles.
How often you hit your target, damage done, all that stuff has to be affected up to a point by the character you made.The factor of that influence is something we're very concerned about at this phase. We're playing the game ourselves and watch what seems to have the best, most "normal" feeling.

In a possible scenario you're referring to, well, you'd hit the target most times, but you wouldn't damage them so much. The goal is the numbers to have a meaning in a way that seems logical to the player.
Thanks Flamescreen.

Posted by Brother None - at 10:54

After reproducing 3 articles that were originally printed in 360 magazine a few months back for their "week of Fallout" (no explanation forthcoming why they reproduced articles from a magazine and presented them as brand new*), Gameplayer bucks the trend by presenting their own impressions of Fallout 3, quite expansively I might add.

Fallout veterans will have plenty to smile about inside The Vault, with a lot of props taking their queues from those in the original. Chatting with Pete Hines after the demo he informed us that Bethesda own Fallout completely: so not just the brand name but everything, which has surely facilitated their ability to get these elements just right.

This includes the design of Pip-boy. Its hazy green colour scheme – reminiscent of those old NEC computers from classrooms of the eighties – is spot on perfect, although you can change its colour scheme if you’re an idiot. The Pip-boy is stacked with information, to the point of almost being overwhelming when you first turn it on, but that is what you get with a deep RPG and we’re sure fans of the genre will greedily feast on its innards.

Various characters roam the halls of the Vault, each with their own agendas and distinct character quirks. One of the first things we saw as a 19yr old (which is where the game starts proper) was a gang of thugs loitering in the halls. We had previously been bullied by them as a 10yr old and they, like us, had now grown up. Little more was seen of the Vault, other than the ability to get a host of primary and secondary quests and the solving of puzzles which involved flicking leavers and hacking computers.
(...)
Oblivion with guns
One of the worries with the Fallout faithful is that Bethesda’s take on the series will just become “Oblivion with guns”. While that undersells the game incredibly, it is also a decent description. Operating off a far advanced version of Bethesda’s own Oblivion engine, Fallout 3’s game design shares obvious traits with its medieval cousin. This is mostly apparent in the rather static way characters move (read ice skate) around, and the way conversation occurs. It’s not shit per se, but it isn’t exactly Mass Effect. Much like Oblivion when you engage in conversation the screen zooms in on the character’s face, dialogue options appear and you select. And the voices sound awfully familiar… same cast perhaps?

That all said, judgements on these elements are wafty at best this far out from release and you should not take the above as religion. Visuals and SFX improve dramatically in the final few builds. But expect character interaction and thus plot progression to follow a very similar method to Oblivion.
There's an enormous factlist in pages 6-8 which contains some new facts, including the fact that the map "(visualised in a similar fashion to the land of Tamriel)", is "stacked with things to do" and includes "other vaults". Also, you can kill someone with a teddy bear.

Link: (At least) 101 facts about Fallout 3 on Gameplayer Australia.

* EDIT: so here's the explanation from Chris Stead (thanks Vasara).
We have an agreement with a few magazines to get access to content (and vice versa) when either of us do something special/cool. While some of the Fallout stuff over the course of this week is based on the 3hr Fallout presentation we had on Monday, we have also used some of the content we already had access to in order to ensure we covered every corner of the game completely.

News for Sunday, June 29, 2008

Posted by Per - at 1:47

Solivagant on his Destructoid blog gives us his view on the Diablo 3 news and how it relates to another favourite franchise of his, Fallout.

And now we got D3. It looks the same as D2 and D1. Two orbs. Mouse clicking. Iconic classes. It looks gorgeous as well. Using the same isometric (sic) perspective. And from what I can see, people are lapping it up. People are loving it, me included. Why? Well I guess it's reassuring to see a team that is made up of several different members from D2's team (even though it's still Blizzard) behind the steering wheel of this game, and how they managed to make the game be like what Diablo III SHOULD be like, in the hearts of fans and gamers in general.

All of this disturbs me. Why? Because I'm a fan of another franchise. One where action takes a sidestep into turn-based chaos, and dialog, options, different routes, take the center stage. A game whose setting was, and still is, unique.

...

[Bethesda] decided to scrap turn based, scrap the isometric perspective of Fallout, and are basically modding their Oblivion game with new textures, models and weapons, turning it into, you know it, Oblivion with Guns. And everybody is lauding them for it. No one is recognizing their lack of creativity and courage to bring out Fallout 3 as a turn based isometric rpg. Instead, most people are accepting their excuse that Fallout was only originally like that because of "technological impairments at the time".

...

It would take Blizzard to show them how to do a proper sequel.

But now it's too late.
Is he right? Is he wrong? Read, reflect and comment.

Link: Solivagant's Blog :: Diablo 3 vs Fallout 3: How to make a proper Sequel.

Spotted by Seymour the spore plant

News for Friday, June 27, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 5:29

It's been a while since there's been a status update from Mutants Rising, so we were glad to get word from project leader Chris Parks.

MR UPDATE JUNE 2008

First things first as they say, the MR team is sorry that we haven't kept you all up to date recently. This is due to two things: we've been very preoccupied with the mod and CP (Team Leader) has finished University for the year. Whilst that may make no sense to you, it means CP no longer has broadband net access, just dial-up. CP is the only one who has access to update the website, so no net means no updates.

Anyway, that's irrelevant. The mod progress has been superb over the last month or so. CP's (Scripter) time left with the project is fast running out so we're pulling together to get things completed. Several large new maps have been finished, two or three loading screens and town maps have been completed, Wild_Qwerty is working on some new critters and Continuum has finished many new pieces of art and is currently working on what we believe is the biggest piece of scenery fallout has ever seen! A couple of old members have also returned and we have about four talking heads in progress. The whole thing is being pulled together script-wise and all things considered, we are about 60% of the way through the game.

If all things go as planned we hope to have a workable version of the game to test and subsequently improve by October. Judging by the number of people we have on the mod and the enthusiasm they are showing, this probably won't be a problem.

In the meantime, here's a couple of screenshots just to keep the appetite up!

Posted by Brother None - at 4:35

Cory Edwards. World artist. No mention of Fallout.

What’s your job at Bethesda?
I’m a world artist working on texturing and modeling for our environments. My primary focus is on making kits for the level designers to use and abuse. I’ve spent the last two years making a large number of the dungeons kits used in Fallout 3 and the kit pieces for Megaton.

What other games have you worked on?
My first title was BloodRayne 2 and then I worked on Aeon Flux, both while at Terminal Reality. I moved on to Paradigm and worked briefly on Stuntman 2 before I discovered that racing games kill my soul.
Link: Inside the Vault - Cory Edwards

News for Thursday, June 26, 2008

Posted by Per - at 17:19

For real this time, though it seems off by a day. Episode 3 brings us some location art we've already seen, and "bite sized Fallout factoids" strewn across seven pages. We are told about Marcus, The Road, factions from the first two games (like "New California Republicans"), Ron Perlman, pimping your spouse being one of "the very best bits of the Fallout games". Nothing new for us, but may spark the interest of some curious soul somewhere.

Link: Episode 3

News for Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 20:41

Another preview from down under.

Just an aside - your father at one point shows you a bible passage set in a picture frame that your mother claimed as her favourite. It's from revelations, and it's worth repeating here: "And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is a thirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." Prophetic indeed, and a glimpse at Bethesda's attempt to link casual first-time gamers with the lore of the Fallout series.
Bible = Fallout lore? Otherwise, the preview is very informative.
A point about the statistics here - although you may be able to choose a certain dialogue option or end result, thus shaping your character, the outcome is also driven by your attributes and skill level. For example, conversing with someone may prompt three possible dialogue options. Next to these may appear a percentage chance to succeed, so perhaps you'd like to convince someone to give you an object - your level of persuasion might only grant you a 25% chance of success, so you may find it better to choose a different option with a higher percentage. This allows your progression to be shaped on the fly through chance as well as choice.
(...)
We've seen terminal hacking as a mini game in BioShock, and just like that title, hacking in Fallout 3 seemed a little basic. Essentially if you've played the old classic Mastermind you'll understand - you are presented with a table of words interspersed with random characters, and you need to type in whichever word on the list you think the password is. You have five attempts, and each failed attempt will tell you how many of the letters are in the right place. After the fifth failed attempt, you are locked out of the console and can only bypass it with a key, which must be found somewhere within the vault. This forms the basis of another mission, but it is necessary as without the ability to leave Vault 101 it'd be a short game.
(...)
From here, we're shown a few saved games from later on in the story. First up is the introduction to Dogmeat, your faithful canine companion who has returned to assist you in your trek through the game. You meet Dogmeat by accident at a random stage early in the game (when and where is based on choices you have made up to this point) when his original master is set upon, and killed by Raiders. After defeating them, Dogmeat becomes loyal to you, and he can be tasked with various jobs such as fetching food or attacking enemies at range.
And also an interview with Pete Hines on pages 3/4.
Press: What do you say to all the fans out there that are concerned about the direction the franchise has taken?

Hines: Well two things really, firstly this is the next game we're doing after Oblivion, which obviously did very well for us, so we have our own expectations around stepping up our game, so to speak, and doing another game of hopefully better calibre than Oblivion. And secondly, we're huge fans of Fallout, we really took to that game, what it meant for gaming in general, and for people who played it. So we're very aware that this is a beloved franchise and a really important thing, and we have a lot of expectations in ourselves. We don't want to screw it up. This is what we think would make the best Fallout game.

Press: You didn't really look at a map in the game - how do you know where to go?

Hines: (Hines brings up Pip Boy 3000) There we go - this is what the world map looks like. This is every location in the game you can discover, it's enormous. What will happen is when you explore around the world you'll get map markers, given to you by NPCs. If you're familiar with Oblivion it works in very much the same way.
Also included are scans of brochures the press gets from Bethesda.


Link: Fallout 3 preview on Gameplanet.co.nz.

Spotted on F3:APNB.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:42

RM Milner's follow-up piece on his earlier musings on Fallout fandom are up on Online Fandom:

So there’s another counter-intuitive truth of the era. The interaction I found on the Fallout 3 forum was not too drastically different than the interaction I find in my fantasy football league — communities built on information and interpretation. These two categories of knowledge were first proposed by Nancy Baym in 2000. They fit in snug with Lévy’s propositions about knowledge communities and were all over the Fallout 3 forum. Most of the intense debates over the quality of Fallout 3 centered on the offer of information (such as a link to a screenshot or a quote from a producer) and the interpretation of that information. And in cases where there was no credible information to be proposed, speculation was a sufficient replacement. Even in the most heated moments of confrontation, information was a cardinal value. With very few exceptions, all the debates on the Fallout 3 forum were about knowledge.

An understanding of the Fallout universe was a paramount value on the forum. An understanding of digital-game culture in general wasn’t too far behind. And no matter how one felt about Fallout 3, being able to articulately and rationally discuss nuanced points was the only way to seriously enter into the conversation.
(...)
I think there’s something Bethesda, and producers of media texts in general, can learn from these observations. The Fallout fanbase (at least the majority of the vocal fanbase) has been wary of Bethesda’s handling of Fallout 3 for a while now. And time and exposure has only resulted in a stalemate, if not worsened relations. Part of me thinks that so many fans made up their mind so long ago that the only thing that would satisfy them was a Fallout 3 that looked just like Fallout 1 & 2, with no updates or changes. But another part of me wonders if the problem isn’t one of information and interpretation. Bethesda to date has released only a small number screenshots and one teaser trailer for a game that comes out in a few months. No beta test. No demo. No real glimpse into the process of creating the game. No invitations for input other than forum space and a character attribute contest where Bethesda picked the winner. All other information has been disseminated through third-party sources such as industry magazines. I think maybe Bethesda is ignoring the cardinal values of the Fallout community.
(...)
Right now, it seems like Bethesda and many other media companies are operating under a traditional model of audience relations. Strictly controlling what information they put out and what information they receive. This model might be behind the times. I think it’s telling that the Fallout 3 forum has contained forty-some full threads called “Meet the Devs” where fans can ask producers about anything not related to Fallout 3. Compare that with the precious few controlled situations where fans have been allowed to directly interact with developers about the game on their terms. While fans and producers conversing about their favorite era in history or their favorite movie is relationally important, a little more open discussion about the game-development process might just speak to fan values and mitigate some of the tension.

It’s really just a matter of dealing in the currency of the era.
Link: Guest Post: Knowledge communities: Information, interpretation, and the currency of the era on Online Fandom.

Spotted on F3:APNB.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:13

Gameplayer.com.au presents three new Fallout 3 screenshots. As per usual for new Fallout 3 screens, these are actually old. Only one of them is new. This one (edit: hang on, make that "new to the internet", it's been in a magazine before):


Link: Fallout 3 screens on Gameplayer.com.au.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:31

Pete Hines' tour of Australia is bringing some extra previews out of the woodwork. In this case, a fairly short one from GameArena.

Voice acting is a huge part of Bethesda’s plan in Fallout 3 as well. Hines told us,

We try and build everything to the idea that the player just loses themselves in this world and every step you take away from this, you know, having people talk to you and no sound coming out is just you know we just didn’t feel like it worked so you know we definitely wanted to do it and you know do it better than we did in Oblivion so order of magnitude more voices in the game so you don’t feel like you’re talking to the same 3 people in the game.
Link: Fallout 3 preview on GameArena.

Thanks Rahungry.

News for Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 18:37

Gameplayer is continuing their Fallout 3 week. For those who missed it, day 1 was a republication of an article originally printed in this 360 Magazine. To continue this tradition, they now reproduced the Fallout Timeline from the Fallout Bible 0, which was also done in that magazine.

We’re betting a rather large chunk of you haven’t played Fallout before. It did come out over a decade ago… and two generations of home consoles ago… and even then, only on the PC. Those of you who have played it are no doubt avid fans, as it was hard not to be impressed with this influential series. Either way, in the lead up to the long awaited third release in the series we thought a recap of Fallout’s hypothetical future would be in order.
No explanation appears to be forthcoming from the editors why they're publishing old magazine material without nothing the magazine or noting that it's old.

Link: Fallout 3 Day 2.

News for Monday, June 23, 2008

Posted by Per - at 14:10

Australian Gameplayer starts up a week of Fallout 3 "exclusives", previews and stuff. The first feature is a general presentation and retrospective going back to 2004, with about three out of nine pages devoted to the aggressive reaction of "rabid fans" in spite of Bethesda's loving approach to Fallout. Bethesda is a "house of geniuses" possessing admirable "honesty and openness", Emil's quest credentials and talent "cannot be questioned", and so on. They are simply doing everything right. V.A.T.S. is something that builds closely on the original game and represents a creative departure from Bethesda's usual techniques.

In the end, Bethesda has embraced this franchise as only it knows how, with flair, creativity, respect and ingenuity.
As usual if you've read one or two previews you'll have read this already, but there may be something interesting to come in the following week.

Posted by Per - at 1:19

P3Zine covers Fallout 3 in issue 16 of their freely downloadable mag thing, calling it "the future of RPG" on the cover. It's much the same as other previews as far as I can tell: we learn that "ever since purchasing the rights to develop a Fallout game ... Bethesda have gone to work to make a game Fallout fans - and non-fans - can be proud of"; the game "currently sounds like the perfect blend of Fallout and Oblivion"; the screenshots are old; "the ending alone currently has more than 500 versions" (this is repeated in a floating quote for good measure); and blowing up Megaton is still used as an example of moral choices and gaining karma depending on your actions.

In addition to the preview there's a 4-page interview with an unnamed personage, and again this will be very, very familiar to anyone who's read a Todd Howard or Pete Hines interview in the last year or so. According to the zine the game is 70% complete and 90% good, but we can assume at least the first number isn't entirely accurate, what with the release date drawing nearer and everything.

Spotted on Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog

News for Friday, June 20, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 22:20

I don't know if this has been available for a long time and we just missed it, but I think it went up around the same time the Survival Edition was announced. Prima Games - publisher of many official game guides - is doing the Fallout 3 official guide, which will be available October 7.


Link: Fallout 3: Prima Official Game Guide on Amazon.

News for Thursday, June 19, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 20:42

Todd Howard is popular these days, now on IGN's Hot Seat.

IGN: What are the last five songs you listened to?

Todd Howard: "Maybe", "I Don't Want to Set the World of Fire", both from the Ink Spots, "Anything Goes" – Cole Porter, "Butcher Pete" – Roy Brown. All from Fallout 3. The 5th, I don't know the name of, it's from my 5-year-old's summer camp CD, but the refrain is "Wam! Bam! Jesus Loves me - Shazam!" I couldn't make that up if I tried.
Link: IGN Hot Seat: Todd Howard.

Spotted on BethBlog.

Posted by Brother None - at 3:54

The Guardian has an interview with Todd Howard.

Can you tell us how your vision of an apocalyptic environment has changed since previous Fallout titles?
I think it's changed only in terms of, this one is on the east coast. We wanted to have a large, expansive wasteland, but also a dense, destroyed urban jungle of rebar and concrete, complete with all the major DC landmarks. I might say Fallout 3 has more survivalhorror elements in it then the previous ones. I think it needs to be scary sometimes.

Where does your inspiration come from? Are there specific books or films you've looked to for inspiration?
Well, obviously most of it comes from Fallout 1 and 2, but we also took a look at more recent works that do some great visual things, like Children of Men. The book The Road is excellent too. Lots of stuff that looked at survival, sacrifice, and general loneliness. But we also looked at other things that were reborn, like Batman Begins, or Battlestar Galactica. I was very interested in how something like Galactica did such a great job of making itself new again, and I think Fallout needed that. [I'd say the screenshot above also shows the influence of I Am Legend, Mad Max II and even early Don Johnson movie and Harlan Ellison novella, A Boy and His Dog]

Have you looked into the science of post-nuclear survival/destruction at all? How?
We actually did a great deal of research on how older nuclear bombs worked and acted. The level of destruction is very interesting, from what the actual blast causes, and then the giant fireball, and finally the sonic destruction, which is actually larger. The initial blast isn't what destroys most things; it's the fireball and wind. Looking at Hiroshima was enlightening and sobering. There's a movie called White Light, Black Rain that is excellent. Terrifying, but excellent.
Link: Interview: Fallout 3 and the problem with Armageddon on the Guardian.

Spotted on F3:APNB.

News for Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 19:40

Fallout alumnus Leonard Boyarsky has added his $.02 to the Iron Towers RPG Roundtable. His answer on setting:

The three times I've been involved in creating and/or realizing world settings have been three very different experiences, each with a different process. Regardless of the process, however, my goal is always to make the most compelling and intriguing world I can in order to entice the player to delve deeper into it.

My first experience in world creation, Fallout, started from an art standpoint. I was heavily immersed in retro 40's and 50's art with a twisted edge at the time (including but not limited to things like the original Batman movie, the City of Lost Children, Brazil, the Hard Boiled comic book) and I became intrigued with the thought of basing our look on the aesthetics of the world of the future as envisioned by the culture of the 1940's and 50's. Once that initial vision was agreed upon, we knew it needed to bleed through the entire feel of the world.

On Arcanum, it definitely started from a more intellectual level. We became enthralled with the idea of an industrial revolution upending a Tolkien style world. That initial inspiration immediately started us thinking about how the politics of a world like that would play out, and how that would inform our quests, NPCs, storylines, etc. While the early heavy industrial machinery look was very inspirational to us from an artistic standpoint, it also became a fitting thematic element as it was literally crushing the magic out of the world.

The challenge on Vampire:Bloodlines was different – we were working with an already established world, so our approach was to drill down to what we felt was the essence of that world, what intrigued people about it, and those elements were the ones we then focused on building the world around.

I agree with the other designers that your setting needs to reinforce the gameplay and the themes of your story, but I always come to those issues after I have the elements of a setting that feel intriguing from a visceral standpoint. If I don't feel excited about a setting from a gut level, neither will the people playing it.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:07

Our Brotherhood of Steel contest winner Tucker had his A1-size (not format) poster print of Cafe of Broken Dreams framed, and has it hanging in his living room.

This is what it's like to have real art on your wall here, people.


And - thanks to a little generosity on the part of defonten, the runner-ups Kirby Go and Aaron Moyer have received their A2-size prints of defonten art of their choice.

This is as good a time as any to remind everyone that prints of defonten's work are available on his website.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:48

Todd Howard's appearance on X-Play is available on the G4 website - clocking in at about 5 minutes, talking to the producer about the "Action RPG", which features "open-world gameplay, numerous endings and - most importantly - gruesome apocalyptic violence".

They discuss flaws from Oblivion and taking that knowledge into Fallout 3, to which Todd answers that it's mostly about learning to use the hardware. They (again) discuss combining RPG gameplay with first-person shooting.

Over the last year we've really nerfed back how bad your character aims, as it was frustrating for people, it is more how much damage you do. But then your arms can get crippled so you aim worse.
They continue to discuss VATS, how SPECIAL doesn't have classes, fixing the level scaling (apparently you "visually see the barriers, particularly down-town with the super mutants"), violence done well.

Link: Face Time: Fallout 3's Todd Howard.

Spotted on BethBlog.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:10

X-Play will have Todd Howard on X-Play tonight, and also presents us with a video interview with the "the mastermind behind The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series" (I really should note he created neither series).

Todd Howard, the mastermind behind The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, will be talking one-on-one with Adam Sessler on tonight's X-Play! He'll be spilling the beans on one of the most anticipated games of the year, the post-apocalyptic adventure Fallout 3. Don't miss tonight's episode of X-Play, Tonight at 8PM ET, only on G4!

Also, check out our Web Exclusive Interview with Todd Howard, talking about moving from Fantasy with The Elder Scrolls and into the post-apocalyptic future of the Fallout series.
Amusingly, Fallout fans come up again, and the paper RM Milner wrote on Fallout fans is mentioned.

Link: Todd Howard On Tonight's X-Play!.

Thanks TehPwntif.

News for Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 0:10

After their dribble of Fallout 3 tidbits and their preview, TGR put up an interview with Pete Hines. The interview is pretty much just about Bethesda's PR.

THE GAME REVIEWS: I think it is really high quality. Can you tell us a little bit about what you and your department do?

PETE: I oversee the worldwide efforts for Bethesda as it relates to all the public relations and marketing for all of our games. I work on coming up with the plans, and how to execute them. I also work on what the packaging and ads will look like. We approach things a little differently. I like to have people who do both sides. A lot of companies will have people who do PR and those who do marketing, exclusively. I started off doing both and I like people that do both, because I think it just ties it all together better.

I have talked to other companies where the marketing people are trying to put certain things in ads, while the PR is doing something else for the press release. I prefer to be consistent, with one voice, one message. We have product managers that I also work with for some of our internal titles for the Elder Scrolls titles and Fallout. That allows me to get you more involved in the day to day development to keep abreast of what is going on. I do the press and demo tours, as well.

THE GAME REVIEWS: So you are the public face of the company.

PETE: Yes, as a producer in that respect. I also work with other developers to get them through interviews, for the strategy guide. I have edited and done some writing for all the strategy guides. One example was for the Elder Scrolls material. I also get involved in a lot of little ways, such as the manual for Oblivion. My work varies, according to what is happening.

THE GAME REVIEWS: So it sounds like you have a lot of different hats.

PETE: Yes.
Link: Pete Hines interview on TGR.

Spotted on RPGWatch.

News for Monday, June 16, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 21:06

Gamereactor TV interviewed Pete Hines at Ubidays. They talk about the character creation/birth, the humour. Pete explains how the perception and compass works:

Every SPECIAL that you have, all your attributes...your strength determines how much stuff you can carry amongst other things, your agility is how many action points you get to spend in VATS mode, your perception determines when you're walking around you have a little compass - it's pretty subtle in the corner - that gives you a general idea in which direction you're heading, you also get little indicators that let you know if there're other people nearby or enemies nearby and how far away your compass picks those people up is dependent on your perception. So if you give yourself a really high perception you're going to be able to detect people and things much further away, whereas if it's very low or lower you won't be able to detect them until you're much closer up. So it does give the player and advantage based on what the character is doing, and that's the whole idea, we want every thing in the game to be impacted by your character and his/her stats and attributes and not just you as the player, what it is you can do while you're playing the game.
Then they discuss bringing such a system into a FPS game, into a "different game from the original Fallout" [interviewer quote].

Link: Pete Hines Ubidays interview on Youtube.

Thanks stefix.

News for Saturday, June 14, 2008

Posted by Tagaziel - at 23:26

Easy to miss, one of Bethesda's advertisements promoting Fallout 3 on sites such as Gamespot contains an interesting bit of art, showing an US soldier clad in Bethesdian Powered Armour helping a downtrodden Uncle Sam.



Now resuming regular scheduled programming.

News for Friday, June 13, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 18:37

The FOnline open test was a success, with quite a few English-speaking Fallout fans participating in this primarily Russian prioject. They're currently looking for translators, too.

Meanwhile, Grayswandir penned a travellog with screenshots, so we can all get an impression of FOnline gameplay.

Yesterday was a day of relative success and of great misery for the Unity.
It began in the Den. The Den appeared to be under attack from 3 raiders, maybe more, one of them was equipped with power armor. I saw them slaughtering the whole population of the Den, killing guard, trader, bluesuits indiscriminately…
I don’t mind the thief who has to kill to escape, but this was too much of a butchery for me. Without any others of the Unity around me, I had to let them be. It seems the Brotherhood have some problem to take care of their outpost… It is really high time the Enclave or the Unity take over.
In the first part of our Journey, We won 4 recruits, Fresh, Shadow, Slaughter, Mr.TD. Praise the holy FLAME.
We went to Unity Village and made a ceremony to welcome them.



Link: Fonline travellog.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:12

411mania presents a list of "Forgotten PC Games". The odd thing? They list Baldur's Gate II, Fallout 2 and Morrowind. Honestly, those are forgotten gems? Who forgot them?

Pure RPG excellence is the name of the game for Fallout 2 and its predecessor. Developed by Black Isle Studios and released in 1999, Fallout 2 is probably one of the greatest RPGs out there. While the sequel didn't receive as many awards as its predecessor, Fallout 2 is typically selected by the community as being the better of the two because there is no mission time limit, but more importantly there is more to do and see. Dripping with an excellent plot, setting and superb character creation/interaction, Fallout 2 can easily be recommended to any fan of the RPG genre.
Link: The Forgotten PC Games 06.05.08: Role-Playing Gems on 411Mania.

Spotted on BethBlog.

Posted by Brother None - at 16:45

Gameplayer.com.au has done a piece looking back at Oblivion and noting flaws that should not be repeated in Fallout 3. Still odd how it takes so long to notice such obvious flaws, like this:

Radiant A.I: This was touted as the best artificial intelligence program ever, and it turned out to be a little bit, well, arse. Demos of the game let us see people live their own virtual lives, retiring at night and reacting to the player’s presence in different ways. Upon the game’s release, the reality of Radiant A.I was that it was woefully underdeveloped.

NPCs stood around all day, or walked aimlessly between points. They stuck religiously to A.I paths and let you rummage through their sock drawers without repercussion. It also seemed to give town guards a special ESP ability that let them sense that you’ve stolen something (or murdered someone) and run from the other side of town to arrest you. Unacceptable… this needs a complete revamp for Fallout 3.
Anyway, on to the bread and butter:
Artificial Intelligence: All reports are that Fallout 3’s list of NPCs is much smaller than Oblivion’s, so there will be less people to interact with. What we hope this means is that your relationships with these characters will be much more believable. With around 40 different voices being used for Fallout 3, those embarrassing vocal mess ups we witnessed in Oblivion should be a thing of the past.

And while Bethesda is still going for the open world approach with Fallout 3, it looks like they are going about it the right way. For example, you will be able to hire NPCs to follow you and, presumably, fight for you. Will these characters be fully fleshed side-kicks with realistic situational dialogue? We hope so.

Enemy levels: Again, it seems like Bethesda has listened to the gaming community, with Fallout 3 having enemies that stay at their level. This is awesome news as it means that you will be able to revisit previous areas and feel like a complete superhero. It will also, we’re hoping, allow you to covet those unreachable areas of the game, where the monsters are just too darn tough. Bring on the ‘leave that for when I’ve levelled-up’ mentality.

Just Another Mod?
In order to distance itself from Oblivion, Fallout 3 needs to move away from the swords and sorcery combat engine; it needs to be more than just a well designed Oblivion mod – and it may just be doing this via V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System), a combat system that will allow the player to choose moments in the game where they can pause the fighting, make targeted conflict decisions and queue up attacks.

It sounds like a hybrid between the real time hack-and-slash combat of Oblivion and Mass Effect’s paused action approach. Using V.A.T.S. will cost points for both the player and enemies, so it’s going to be quite tactical; do you use those last few points for that fairly low level enemy or save it up for Mr. Nasty Mutant?

V.A.T.S. will actually let you target specific body areas for attacks, and to rather gory effect if one screenshot doing the rounds is any indication – it shows a mutant’s head exploding in a shower of gibs. What V.A.T.S. will hopefully bring to Fallout 3 is a streamlined, turn-based feel to combat.

Also rumoured is a new health and radiation system, which immediately brings S.T.A.L.K.E.R. to mind. Actually, something similar to that game could work brilliantly. Imagine finding radioactive material that can affect certain stats, perhaps increase your attack strength or give you more resistance to radioactivity. We can visualise the ‘gotta get ‘em all’ collect-a-thon already.
Link: Fallout 3 vs. Oblivion on Gameplayer.com.au.

Spotted on GameBanshee.

Posted by Brother None - at 16:31

Norwegian gaming site Gamer.no previewed Fallout 3 and didn't like it much at all. Iconoclast provides these tidbits:

- Hines' enthusiasm equals that of a wooden log
- The different dialogue options have no effect whatsoever on character development (it's purely for show)
- Overall the visuals are great, but in-game menus and interface (VATS, presumably) looks awful and irritating
- Describes the experience as "consolified"
Since that's a bit succinct, ericjones translated in more detail.
It's hard to believe that the guy who showed us the game, Pete Hines, was from Bethesda's PR department. Firstly, he didn't seem particularly enthusiastic. Secondly, he had chosen to put emphasis on, in my opinion, irrelevant details.

Ok, it might be a bit funny that you as a newborn can cry at the touch of a button. It's also somewhat charming that you say "dadda" by pressing the same button when you reach three years of age, but what the hell does that have to do with good role-playing design? If this is the way the designers think, then we've come off on the wrong foot from the very beginning, and I can swear that the developer of Fallout 1 and 2, Interplay, will be turning in their grave (or "in their Linux partition", as the preview says).
(...)
At this point, the game is introducing us to dialogue. Like many other RPGs, Fallout 3 uses a dialogue-tree that lets you choose how to respond to other characters in the game. You can always choose between several alternatives, and it's usually fairly easy to see which alternative will evoke what response. If we are to believe Hines, the dialogue-trees are of no significance for the development of the character during the game. The different possibilities for dialogue are there solely to let the gamer play the way he wants and provoke reactions from other characters.
(...)
The graphic user interface also seems like it's been subject to prolonged radiocative exposure. When it comes to the design, there is a huge gap in the level of artistry between the beautiful, detailed areas and the way the game gives you information on-screen.
Ugly shades of green, boring menues and counters(? - I believe this means the HUD) were some of the most annoying aspects of the game. This is 2008. I expect that a game that is supposed to transmit a lot of information by text and counters, will do its best to make this part of the game look as good as possible. If you're making the player passive, it's necessary to make his time as interesting and functional as possible.
(...)
Who is this game for? That was the question that occured to me after Hines' presentation. It doesn't seem to be a game for those who traditionally have played Fallout. By that I mean hardcore PC-gamers. Fallout 3 is significantly "consolified". It's very well possible that this makes Bethesda able to reach a larger audience, but they should be careful not to marginilize (or overlook) those who loved the first two games.
(...)
Fallout 3 seems to be a nice RPG from the developer who gave us Oblivion, but I get the feeling that the game has very little in common with its predecessors except for the name. It seems to be an RPG that's typical for its time. Its getting closer to being a shooter, and it seems to want to help the player out a little too often.
Link: Fallout 3 preview on Gamer.no.

News for Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 15:50

At popular request, Mash adapted the Fallout 2 Resolution Patch to work on Fallout 1.

This program modifies "falloutw.exe" in memory for the purposes of increasing the visual resolution.
This Mod supports both the US 1.1 and TeamX's 1.2 versions of the "falloutw.exe". The TeamX version is the same EXE used in their fallout 1.3.3 patch.
Link: Fallout 1 Resolution Patch v1.0.

Posted by Brother None - at 15:48

The yearly update for Gone with the Blastwave is in. And there was much rejoicing.

We may hope for another update this summer.

However, to pass the time, Kimmo Lemetti also added a gallery of sketches, to pass the time.

News for Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Posted by Sander - at 23:42

Apparently, the Polish gaming magazine has released another new preview. Not much news, but some small tidbits:


"It looks like Fallout 3 will actually hit the stores in autumn, and... it won't be a bad game. The question is whether it will be Fallout as I would like to see and remember it."

Some bits:
* The game was quite complete and stable
* It won't be "Oblivion with lasers" - Pete's knowledge of Black Isle games and respect towards them was astounding
* The aim of Vault 101 was to house the best and brightest of the pre-war world. But now, 200 years after the holocaust, no one remembers it...
* It's disappointing that you can only have one companion at a time
* One new perk is mentioned - Exploding Pants, which allows you to plant grenades on your opponents (note - this was clarified by Gstaff as not a perk, but just one of the things the game keeps track of, like "Corpses Eaten")
* Most of the weapons and armors (even power armor and turbo plasma) can be found by in early parts of the game, but they have their disadvantages
* It will be possible to finish the game with a character focused on hand to hand combat or stealth (they call Emil the "maker of the Thief series")
* Every action - discovery, dialogue, combat - rewards us with experience point, which is accompanied by the sound of an old cash register. The Karma system works in a similar way.
* Fallout 3's world is smaller than the one in Oblivion, but less empty
* Fast travel between known locations, no vehicles
* Full day and night system

There will be more tales from the Vault in the next issue of the magazine.

Thanks, Ausir

Posted by Brother None - at 22:22

A number of updates all roll out at about the same time. To start with, killap's unofficial Fallout 2 patch hit 1.02.25.

Fixes to bugs introduced in the unofficial patch
• In Redding, killing all the wanamingos marks clear out the mine as completed. Buying the deed from the mayor sets it to active. So if you kill them before talking to the mayor, the quest gets reactivated and can never be crossed off.
• Restored quick load

New fixes since the May 22 release:
Gecko:
• There's a bug in the Gecko reactor control computer script that lets you bypass the access code sequence.

NCR:
• Fixed a problem where the cell door to Oswald wouldn't open after saving/reloading the game.

San Fran:
• Moved a check in Ken Lee's script which would cause him no longer offer quests if you transfer fuel away from the Shi.

Misc:
• Fixed skilldex button from turning black after reading too many entries in the pipboy. Thanks to Timeslip and his tweaks!
killap's Fallout 2 Restoration Project has hit 1.2, which Josan12 informs us includes the NPC party member appearence pack (sprites below).
It's release time everyone! The long awaited 1.2 update to the Restoration Project is finally here. This release boasts numerous bug fixes, some new content additions, as well as the newly created and highly anticipated party member appearance mod. Everyone is highly suggested to update. Save games from 1.1 will work just fine with this update, but starting over is recommended if you are able to - it is not required though! This update makes the RP quite stable and what it was meant to be from the start.

The installer is now multilingual. In addition to English, the RP now offers French and Polish options. More translations will hopefully follow in the future.

Note: The file size of the RP has increased significantly. The installer is now almost 60MB in size and the manual version is around 33MB. Just a heads up here.

Also, Mash's resolution patch hit 1.2.
Version 1.2 is now out Very Happy
This version includes a fix for the Dialog NPC Screen, found by "weak-ling"
So now you can see who your talking too.
(...)
Although I'm yet to test this personally, this patch is said to work fine with the Fallout 2 Restoration Project.
Also, Magnus keeps updating his weapons mod at a rate that's hard to keep track of, it has now hit 1.3b.

Link: killap's unofficial Fallout 2 patch 1.02.25 (installer).
Link: killap's unofficial Fallout 2 patch 1.02.25 (manual).
Link: killap's unofficial Fallout 2 patch 1.02.25 (Mac).
Link: killap's Fallout 2 Restoration Pack 1.2 (installer).
Link: killap's Fallout 2 Restoration Pack 1.2 (manual).
Link: Mash's Fallout 2 Resolution Patch 1.2.
Link: Magnus' Fallout 2 Weapons Redone 1.3b.

Posted by Morbus - at 13:28

With the death of the Let's Play thread, Vince decided to give us something else:

We've decided not to continue the "let's play" thread. Frankly, I thought that we stopped at the right moment and showed enough, but a lot of people wanted to see more stuff, so here is our compromise.

We'll explore the "ruins" satellite location with a loremaster. Why a loremaster? Two reasons. First, to show a different skillset in action. Second, to tell you a bit more about this loremaster dude and what he actually does.

Coincidentally, you'll also see improved graphics and camera control. Anyway, without further ado...

Now, I'm sure you remember the conversation with Dellar, so I won't post the entire thing. Here is an overview to refresh your memory (or to start somewhere in case you've just joined us).

Link: Loremaster @ Iron Tower Studio Forums

News for Monday, June 9, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 19:29

Daesch has provided the Fallout wiki the Vault with a cool stack of Fallout logo art and a full map of the USA - split into West and East - highlighting locations from Fallout 1, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics, Fallout BoS, Van Buren and (provisionally) Bethesda's Fallout 3, as well as current major locations not (yet) used in Fallout.


Neat!

Link: User:Daesch on The Vault.

Thanks Ausir.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:19

Joystick magazine has taken a look at Fallout 3. Not much to tell, here's SuAside's take/extraction:

They end with lauding Beth for not taking the 'easy' way of keeping FO the same as it always was... (though you have to read some stuff between the lines, not quite always as positive)

But a few snippets of general interesting stuff:
- They mention that sneaking around will grant you no XP, only fighting will. I hope they don't mean that for missions as well.
- Apparently the pooch is nigh unkillable... minigun, flamethrower, didn't take a scratch. hopefully only for demo purposes...
- They very heavily stress the "drink radiated water to heal" crap. looks like stimpacks wont be around much? And the pipboy has a geigercounter (without needing an additional module like in the originals)
- Stressing once again: no demo for the general public

Bonus snippet: looks like Emil voiced some supermutants.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:04

Apparently we - or from what I can see more the BGSF folks - are the subject of academic scrutiny, trying to solve the question of how producer-fan interaction acts in the age of increased interactivity.

Fans of the digital-game series Fallout were active in voicing concern for the upcoming title Fallout 3 (set to release this fall), and did so on the forums of the game’s production studio, Bethesda Softworks. The heart of the tension was that Bethesda wasn’t the developer of Fallout 1 & 2, and was making drastic gameplay and narrative changes to Fallout 3. Analyzing forum interactions made for great study, since I had never seen research document regular producer/fan interaction so deeply, never mind the bombastic beauty of the forum’s confrontations. I’ve never seen such eloquent flames.

A few things impressed me. One of the first things I noticed was that even in a marketplace where geek is in, the producers still seemed to hold all the cards. It was Bethesda’s game. It was Bethesda’s site. It was their vision of Fallout that, whether valid or invalid, would hit the shelves. Fans, recognizing a lack of official ownership or control, acted as lobbyists and watchdogs, attempting to indirectly influence the integrity of Fallout 3 through pleas and petitions spread across thousands of forum posts. Bethesda employees, fittingly, treated fans like outsiders in their responses. Whether cordial or hostile (and different producers interacted in different ways at different times), the undertone was clear: we are the organization, you are the public. We’ll let you suggest, but we will decide. The text is ours.

Even more impressive, fans seemed to happily accept their role in the process. Despite many scholarly concerns over the exploitative side of fan labor, when fans on the official Fallout 3 forum lobbied, suggested, and expanded they did so recognizing that this was their most effective way to influence the integrity of Fallout 3. Exploitation was trivial in the face of such purpose. One poster summed up the general fan perspective on their role in the game development process:

Fallout 3 MUST be like Fallout…the best answer for every question on this forum besides “I have the holy sacred duty to watch over my beloved game”
Not a bad perspective. Somehow this topic reminds me of this bit from the Q&A GFW conducted with me that they left out.
JM: How do you think bethesda should/shouldn't be interacting with the existing fan base?

BN: "At all" would be a great start.
And that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Link: Guest Post: Industry groks geeks? Producers, fans, and an era of sudden interactivity.

Spotted on Fallout 3: APNB.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:00

Pete Hines addressed a few questions about the SE PipBoy over on the BethBlog.

Pete: It’s battery powered. I need to get some pics up of the production piece because I think folks think it’s a clock.

It’s not a clock. It’s a Pip-Boy. It looks like it would go on a wrist/arm. It has a hinge and opens up. It’s built to mirror the one in the game, exactly.

However, the box will say on it “Do not wear this.” And you should never do that. It would be terrible to walk around with one on your arm.

killzig: also doesn’t help that amazon calls it a “Pip-boy 3000 digital clock”

Pete: It’s a Pip-Boy first and foremost. We just wanted it to do something, so we built it some functionality so while it’s sitting in your desk, or your room, it does something.
I'm still confused.

In related news, Eurogamer gets really excited about the usage of the word "yet".
Bethesda has said the Survival Edition of Fallout 3 recently unveiled on Amazon will only be offered to US shoppers.

However, speaking to Eurogamer, a representative for the developer did say there was no European announcement to make "yet" - suggesting perhaps there are plans in the pipeline.
Link: BethBlog comments.
Link: Fallout 3 special edition only for US on Eurogamer.

News for Friday, June 6, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 17:41

The newest Fallout 3 dev diary is not about the game at all, but by the hand of Pete Hines comes a diary on making a good CE. Here's the bit on the now-announced Amazon-exclusive survival edition, which adds a PipBoy replica clock to the CE.

Probably a year or so ago, I was sitting in my office working on some things, and had an idea to build an actual Pip-Boy 3000. Well, a replica of one anyway. A big thing that looked just like the one in the game. I went downstairs and talked to Todd about it and he liked it and we started talking about how we might do it. We talked to some different companies about how we might pull it off. We looked at a lot of different approaches.

At one point we seriously looked into the idea of building one that would actually work and interface with the game on some level. That turned out to be a huge problem technically - getting it to work on three different platforms, and 10,000 issues here and there. So we bagged that and just went back to the original idea of “something that looks just like the one in the game, and it sits on my desk.” We liked the idea of having it function as a watch so it did something as well…not just an inanimate object that sat there.

We spent a tremendous amount of time going back and forth designing this thing. Mike Wagner worked on helping them figure out the scale of it, Istvan – well, Istvan pretty much did everything to make it look exactly like it was supposed to. Eventually we settled on a look for the thing in general. We’re still finalizing the screen, but it’ll have a pretty basic watch/clock interface. As I’m typing this I have the only one currently in existence sitting on my desk. Just a form test to make sure the proportions are right and knobs and buttons are in the right place. But even though it’s just black with nothing on the screen, it’s still really cool. So I can’t wait to see what one looks like when it’s finished.
Cute idea.


Link: Creating Collectibles dev diary.
Link: Exclusive Survival Edition on Amazon.

Thanks Gstaff.

News for Thursday, June 5, 2008

Posted by Morbus - at 20:17

It's been up for some time now but I thought maybe I'd wait for it to expand a bit before I newsposted it: Jedi_Learner (also responsible for The Age of Decadence Unofficial FAQ) is giving us a whole new piece: The Age of Decadence Unofficial Gallery. It's an enormous thread full of screenshots, renderings and concept arts, all from Age of Decadence, separated by year too. Here are some examples, but there are many of them (not safe for dial-up users):



Link: The Age of Decadence Unofficial Gallery

Posted by Brother None - at 14:30

Since we did an obscure blog for anti-Fallout 3 yesterday, let's do obscure pro-Fallout 3 today.

As a franchise much beloved by those who have played it, the news that Bethesda was taking over the development of Fallout 3 was greeted with great wariness on the web. Having never played any of the Fallout games myself I can’t really speak for those who were less than enthusiastic at this announcement.

What I can tell you is that my anticipation for this game was second only to GTA IV at the beginning of the year. Now I’m all about the Fallout.

The initial grab for me was the teaser trailer. There’s no game play, no action, I doubt it’s even a real cut scene from the game. But… wow. The music is a perfect contrast to the video and even for the game itself. The posters are reminiscent of the 50’s in their style, which makes sense due to that era really focusing the Cold War and, subsequently, nuclear holocaust on the American mind. At the end we are treated to a voice-over by none other than Ron Perlman, the man who did the voice-overs for all the Fallout games (and who is also responsible for a wicked cool portrayal of Hellboy on the silver screen).
Link: Most Anticipated Games 2008" Fallout 3.

Spotted on F3:APNB.

News for Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 20:18

Casting about for bits from all (read: two) corners of the world. First, InsideGamer - who you might remember from their anti-Fallout 3 tangent a year ago - has been converted and now absolutely loves the game (thanks Dutch Ghost). Their conclusion:

Fallout might well be the new Oblivion, both in quality as in sales numbers. It is a game with a fantastic setting, it has a good amount of freedom, fascinating tasks and an expansive combat system. So I am a bit surprised that this game is lagging behind other big games of this year in terms of wishlist. Be quick to fix that, because if we're ever going to use that wishlist to give away games or goodies to real fans, you'll want to be there.
I guess the last bit is a promo for their wishlist system, but regardless they like Fallout 3. Liking Fallout 3 less, word from Duck and Cover is that gaming blog s0rethumbs dot com (never heard of 'em before, but important not to confuse them with the (excellent) webcomic Sore Thumbs) is not happy, as permitted by their short editorial entitled "How Bethesda Butchered Fallout 3".
I'm sure it'll still be an amazing game, I won't argue a good game, but the game is truly not part of the Fallout series but the mutated love-child of Oblivion's gameplay and Fallout's storyline. So who can complain about such an awesome combination? No one...unless it teases us with the title “Fallout 3.”

Carrying the title “Fallout 3” makes it an offensive grotesque of the original series. The choice of changing the game to a jumbled up FP/TP-RPG/Shooter without changing the name was a marketing move with no concern for the originality of the series. When Interplay was forced to sell the game because of Black Isle's bankruptcy , Bethesda bought the chance to capitalize on the name with no regards for the actual game.

Foremost is the issue of Bethesda's choice to remove of the isometric view which is pivotal to the originality of the narrative and gameplay. The isometric narrative has the player guiding the PC through the uncharted wastelands. This allowed the player to take a more objective view which was the root its dark comedic undertones (so prevelent they're probably overtones). Bethesda's decision to toss aside the isometric view reduced the title to an almost unrecognizable shred of its former self, sharing more in common with BioShock and Half-Life. Bethesda also said they were going to take out the self-referential jokes to make the world seem more “real.” Here's a tip – we know its not real. I didn't expect them to do as good of a job with the jokes anyhow, but don't justify altering key parts of the game for misguided reasons.

In a weak attempt to connect the game to the series Bethesda kept features like the PIPboy, reoccurring NPCs and the SPECIAL stat-system , but it doesn't make the world right again. They're just remnants of the former games, mere foot notes referencing to the creativity of Black Isle's Fallout series. Does every RPG have to sellout to some hybrid form including FPS?
Link: Fallout 3 Impressie on InsideGamer.
Link: How Bethesda Butchered Fallout 3 on s0rethumbs dot com.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:08

Another addition from Bethesda's endless pool of producers comes with associate producer Angela Browder. Please don't discuss Fallout 1/2 near any Bethesda staff.

What other games have you worked on?

Before I started at Bethesda, I spent a number of years working as a GameMaster for an online text-based RPG while I was going to school. Here at Bethesda, I worked in QA on Oblivion and its many manifestations before moving to production on Fallout 3.
Link: Inside the Vault - Angela Browder.

News for Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Posted by MrBumble - at 21:50

Bethesda just posted an article on their blog with a picture of and details about their collector's edition.


Also found the following clue on Briosafreak's blog :
Well in other news if you go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office and search for “War. War never changes” you’ll find this:

SERIAL NUMBER: 77/238147
MARK: WAR. WAR NEVER CHANGES. (STANDARD CHARACTER MARK)
OWNER: BETHESDA SOFTWORKS LLC

016 - Computer and video game user instruction manuals; magazines, books, and pamphlets concerning video games; computer and video game
strategy guide books and magazines — FIRST USE DATE: NONE; — USE IN COMMERCE DATE: NONE
025 - Clothing, namely shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters, jackets; headwear — FIRST USE DATE: NONE; — USE IN COMMERCE DATE:NONE
A "War never changes" t-shirt apparently coming soon ? Maybe...

Posted by Brother None - at 17:15

Interplay has expanded its game portfolio on GameTap with the original Fallout. Press release.

ATLANTA – June 2, 2008 – GameTap, the first-of-its-kind broadband entertainment network from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), announced today an expanded partnership with Interplay Entertainment Corp. (OTC BB: IPLY) that now includes multi-year worldwide rights for the company’s titles to be available for digital download in its online store and for subscription play. Under the new agreement, Interplay titles will also be made available for free play on GameTap’s ad-supported website www.gametap.com.

“Interplay has been and continues to be a great partner of GameTap,” said Ricardo Sanchez, vice president of content and creative director for GameTap. “By expanding on our previous deal, GameTap will now feature more of Interplay’s top titles including their widely successful Fallout titles.”

As part of this expansive agreement, GameTap will now feature additional Interplay titles, including the critically acclaimed Fallout, Descent and MDK. New and previously featured titles, such as the Earthworm Jim series, will be added to the subscription service, GameTap’s ad-supported website, and also sold in GameTap’s online digital retail storefront.
Link: press release (GameBanshee).

News for Monday, June 2, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 20:36

Tom Chick argues on Fidgit that Fallout 3 is worth waiting for because it is (or could be) Oblivion with Guns.

For ten years, the vault has been closed on this grim and funny post-apocalyptic saga, which presented moral choices that would make GTA blanch. Soon you can open the doors again and plunge into your own personal post-apocalypse, with the faithful Dogmeat by your side. Think S.T.A.L.K.E.R., but more polished and less Russian.

As anyone who played one of the earliest Elder Scrolls games can tell you, Bethesda has been doing open worlds before they were even possible. Now the developer is marrying the beautiful expanse of Oblivion with the refreshingly unique setting of Fallout. Detractors – and there are entire websites teeming with them – dismiss Fallout 3 as Oblivion with guns. But the joke's on them. Who in his right mind wouldn't think that Oblivion with guns would be frickin' awesome?
Link: 2008: The best of the rest of the year on Fidgit.

Spotted on F3:APNB.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:58

Bethesda put up 3 "new" screenshots on their website, 2 of which are old but the PipBoy health screen I'm pretty sure is new (to the internet).


Thanks Rahungry and Wasteland stories.

Posted by Brother None - at 14:06

Magnus has been working on a mod rebalancing weapons in Fallout 2 for some time now, and v1.0 has just become available.

F2WR makes the Throwing skill more useful, makes AP ammo better than JHP against high level armors, rebalances laser resistance of all armors, retools the Bozar into a very powerful sniper rather than a deadly machinegun, rebalances the melee weapons, makes the grenades powerful and much more! The specific changes are listed further down. These changes certainly make the game more realistic, fast-paced and dangerous, though not so much that they take away the fun.

You can expect to be shred apart by someone wielding an Assault Rifle when all you're wearing is Leather Armor. But if you're wearing Combat Armor, the Assault Rifle will barely itch... unless your opponent reloads it with AP ammo, in which case you still take heavy damage. And if your opponent wields a 14mm Pistol, not even Power Armor will protect you from taking 2-12 damage.

Don't expect to successfully wipe out Metzger's gangs until you've got some Metal Armor and perhaps a Combat Shotgun. Don't even think about taking on the Raiders until you and your friends are toting some serious hardware, perhaps even Power Armor. And when you're outnumbered in the wastes, don't count on winning unless you're many levels above your opponents in weaponry or armor.
Link: Magnus' Weapons Redone mod (edit: now already 1.1).