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News for Monday, March 30, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 20:00

Stack 'em up and take 'em down. 411mania 8.5.

That’s right, the brand new content in the game, Auto-Axe, is one of the most amazing weapons I’ve seen in the game, besides the Fat Man. For those that don’t know, the Auto-Axe is a melee weapon that consists of a spinning blade that will attack as long as the button’s held down. The weapon is like the Ripper, but with a bigger attack range and harder hitting attack. It does deteriorate quick, but one decent strike in the V.A.T.S. system will destroy most enemies. The most memorable kill I had with the Auto-Axe was inside of the Steelyard, where I launched a Wildman (new type of enemy I’ll get to later) off the top of a building. To give you a good image of this, think of the movie 300, the overhyped kick into the pit, and that’s about what it looked like in V.A.T.S.
36-Evoved 7.
However, as awesome as the Pitt is, I can’t help but knock it down for the glitches. There were numerous graphical glitches that made the game almost unplayable. I also ran into glitches in the dialogue, where characters wouldn’t even talk to me, even though they were supposed to so I can get a quest, or they would repeat dialogue over and over again. After reading my Twitter stream, I haven’t been the only one experiencing these glitches, and the glitches seem to be worse on the PC version, including game save corruption.
AtomicGamer 81%.
While can be blazed through in less than two hours, speed runs aren't really the best way to play - I thoroughly enjoyed myself over the course of four to five hours in exploring, finding the secrets, finishing the main thing, and then going back through it to catch anything I missed. Then I took the loot I got out with back into the Capital Wasteland to serve up even more hot death to the Super Mutants in the DC ruins. Unfortunately, though, the loot to be had from isn't quite as good as the couple of key pieces you'd get from completing . They look and sound good and are a lot of fun to use, but don't expect any game-changers. For me that's where a lot of the depth of DLC should come from - not only in adding a new adventure, but letting the gear and perks that you get from completing it change the way you play the original game as well as future DLC and even user-made mods, and in that sense, is a bit of a disappointment. Overall, though, if you found to be worth your ten bucks, you will likely find this one to be an even better buy.
GamingFront 75/100.
There are only 3 quests in the download as opposed to Anchorage’s 4, and only 2 of said quests take place in the Pitt itself. What extends the experience is a fetch quest where you have to bring 100 steel ingots back to the Steel Mill foreman, Everett. You’ll wind up with 10 or 11 from completing the second quest, but finding the others is annoying but necessary for an Achievement. On the whole though, there’s no real reason to return to the city.
DigitalBattle.
So why was I disappointed?

Maybe I built it up too much in my mind in advance. Maybe my visions of frenzy were just too much for any one game to provide. Maybe I was irked by the fact that I’d have to work around slaves; no wandering in and blasting everything in sight, no sir, not for this boy… there might be collateral damage. Maybe I was really irked by the fact that I would temporarily be a slave to get into The Pitt.

By the time I got into that particular expansion, I was carrying enough armament to sink an entire battleship by myself, possibly even sink Rivet City itself. I had my gatling lase, I had the Gauss rifle from the Operation: Anchorage run, I had my alien blaster, and I had maybe fifty raiders to shoot.
The Hachiko 3.5/5.
The Pitt itself is one of the most visually stunning areas in all of Fallout 3, so it sucks that it wasn't used more efficiently. The Pitt is even more Mad Max-esque than Fallout 3's Washington, DC already is, as it's filled with slaves, raiders dressed in all manner of pieced together armor, giant towering statues of metal, fallen girders, molten metal, protruding pipes, toxic waste, and tons of litter and broken fences and buildings scattered around. The environment itself is pretty spectacular, all the way from the bridge leading into The Pitt and the numerous cars abandoned on its road to the overlapping makeshift bridges that keep Uptown suspended over those in Downtown; overall a very striking and visually creative world.
IncGamers 7.
Apart from the Slavers and Wildmen, which are little more than glorified Raiders, there is only one new opponent, the Trogs. The Trogs are the result of the sickness that grips the Slaves in The Pitt, those that don't die mutate into, well a cross between a Resident Evil licker (sans tongue) and Jade Goody (don't worry I have already booked a place in hell). They come in a variety flavours, from the weaker fledgling, which the darker of you will be happy to know are mutated children to the tougher Trog brutes. They move pretty quickly and can prove to be a bit of a challenge, although I have to admit I was playing with a maxed out character, which made things a lot easier.

News for Saturday, March 28, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 23:50

I know, I know, we haven't really done anything with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. for ages, but this should be interesting for both fans of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and post-apocalyptica in general: Dracon M'Alkir unearthed and uploaded a total of 4 pages of concept art, cut content and promotional art from S.T.A.L.K.E.R., now all available at our album. A selection:



Posted by Brother None - at 2:08

Emil Pagliarulo talks of his own background, how to get into the industry and Fallout 3's design process on GDC.

Later, he gave some behind-the-scenes insight about the making of Fallout 3. Since Bethesda is just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, he and the rest of the design team--which was led by Howard-- wanted to have the game set in the capital city. (The original Fallout games were set in Northern California.) Pagliarulo also said that they spent a long time carefully crafting the introductory narration for actor Ron Perlman (Hellboy), who narrated the original Fallout games.

Since Pagliarulo and Howard both had young kids, they wanted a father-son relationship to be central to Fallout 3's story. He found it particularly ironic that the script had just been completed when Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road was released in 2006. "It's basically the same story--a father escorting his son across post-apocalyptic America," he said.

In terms of writing, Pagliarulo said he resents professional writers coming in and trying to write a game when they don't play any. He disdains cutscenes and "too much text," preferring to tell the story through gameplay. Throughout, his top priority is player experience, from the moment they look at the game's cover to the time they finish the main quest.

"If you're like me, you're reading the game manual in the car coming back from the store," he explained. "We want the experience to start there."
(...)
Howard also vetoed a Fallout 3 level which would've been among the most ambitious of the game. It would've seen Enclave forces launch an all-out assault on Rivet City, the settlement inside a rusting aircraft carrier anchored in the Potomac. Players would've been tasked with escorting its inhabitants to the Citadel, the nearby Brotherhood of Steel stronghold in what used to be the Pentagon.
Spotted on RPGWatch.

News for Friday, March 27, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 21:01

FIFE-based RPG Zero-Projekt is feeding us a lot of info lately. Next up: armor system. Be sure to check out the smooth animations for the different types of armor.

Armors play a major role in ZERO, as these are the one and only way to effectively protect oneself from the various kinds of damage which are inflicted by weapons or environmental conditions. A newly created character doesn't have a amor class, like in many other known examples of this genre. Also there exists no global protection stat, radiation being the only exception.

A "naked" character's only protection against attacks, respectively the loss of HP points, is the so called dodge skill. It is determined by the attribute agility and the skill acrobatics. However, the dodge skill only affects the attacker's accuracy rate and requires that the target being attacked is able to use it (e.g. does not wear armors which lowers this stat).

Every character has different target areas. These are usually head, arms, legs and torso. In fights, even without being specificaly targeted, an attack always will hit a certain body part. For determining which part is hit from an attack without targetting, a chance accounting system is used.

Therefore it's essential to protect the target area as good as possible. That's why there will be armor parts like helms, body armor, bracers and leg splints instead of full armor

Posted by Brother None - at 20:54

Salvation is here, halleluyah, Bethesda is working on more DLC, Shacknews reports (apparently this was in an earlier conference bit, but we, like they, missed its news impact).

"I can say we're working on lots of DLC," he said. "Lots of stuff brewing up here. God only knows where that may go. What famous landmarks can we destroy next?"

Bethesda has currently released two pieces of Fallout 3 DLC on Xbox 360 and PC. Each download is priced at $10 and each adds new quests, items and weapons. A third, "Broken Steel," arrives next month and picks up where the main game ended.
A DLC that implements the original Liberty Prime ending sequence? A hi-res texture pack for just 2 dollars? Dogmeat armor? The possibilities are endless!

Posted by Brother None - at 19:57

A row of reviews for the Pitt notes that despite the SNAFU launch this DLC is better than O:A, except for Xbox 360 Achievements who liked O:A better than the Pitt, something I can only label "a good sign". GameSpy 4/5.

"...And let this be an example of how not to replace humans with machines."

That was one of my favorite lines from my time playing The Pitt, the latest downloadable content expansion for Fallout 3, our 2008 Game of the Year. The simple act of unlocking a door and hacking a terminal to pick up some supplies led me to one of the expansion's more poignant and interesting stories. It wasn't even part of a conversation with a major NPC -- just the closing to one of Fallout 3's signature back stories, providing a flash of insight into this broken world. These final words provided another brief glimpse into one of the many lives that I'll remember for more than the skeletal remains they left behind, or the supplies I scavenged from their corpse.

If The Pitt is looked back on as a success, it will be because it manages to feel more like a story-driven role-playing game, unlike Operation Anchorage, Bethesda's previous foray into the world of downloadable Fallout 3 content. It sticks to the formula that made people happy, even if it does once again give you another lame reason to take away all your hard-earned gear. Ah well, look upon it as an opportunity to brush up on those melee and unarmed skills. You'll want to complete the quest that first sends you into The Pitt, after all, because you're a goodie two-shoes sort of character that thrives on racking up the good karma, right? (If not, there might be a big reward in it for ya.)
Xbox 360 Achievements 7.
Unfortunately, The Pitt's story suffers from pacing problems. Arriving in the Pitt in the guise of a slave, players will spend the majority of their time in the storyline climbing up the ranks of The Pitt's rugged society. However, once a certain level of prestige has been reached, the plotline suddenly accelerates to its conclusion, with an ending that feels too quick and tidy, and even though completing the story offers a few bonuses, there's nothing to see here once the quest is complete.
Gaming Nexus B.
Now, the DLC didn't start off nicely on the 360 side with the corrupted file that forced Bethesda to take it down for a day. Even with the updated file, there are still issues that linger. First off, lock ups can still occur as there are some reports that those with level 20 are experiencing it if you have completed all the quests. There are also parts of the game where you can have it freeze on you. Reports of corrupted save files after a speech by Asher has also shown up. I’ve experienced weird slowdowns and stutters on some areas of the game that others have talked about. Also, I've seen items just floating in the air but that's not as big of a deal as I've seen that happen a few times in the core game. It's a little disheartening to have these happen as the Pitt was delayed a bit to try to iron these things out. Unfortunately, we still have some pretty sever bugs that can ruin your experience.
Cheat Code Central 4.1/5.
The Pitt certainly offers some really enjoyable, story-driven content and different types of situations to explore, but it is slightly lacking in terms of new goodies and adversaries. The Trogs are nasty, slathering beasts that you'll run into in large numbers often when you're poorly armed. Unfortunately, they're the only real new creature you'll face and are easily dispatched with the Man Opener's spinning saw blades. You can also pick up some new armor variations and a cool, high-powered scoped machine gun, among other things. Since Operation Anchorage left you with access to a treasure trove of powerful weapons and armor, it makes sense to find The Pitt reward players with its overall experience instead of a mere loot dump.

News for Thursday, March 26, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 19:05

Yip, it's that time again. Eurogamer likes it, rating it 8/10.

The joyful revelation once you get inside this mini-dystopia is how much more it falls into line with Fallout 3's better moments. Regardless of how you approach things, you lose all your gear shortly after the start, but it's a blessing in disguise. Rather than romp around armed to the teeth in your energy armour, blasting everything in sight with your plasma rifle, you're reduced to scavenging in your skimpy slave garb, without even a knife to your name. It's a refreshing change, and ensures that you're tackling the task at hand on a level pegging.

Upon your arrival it becomes apparent that the rapidly mutating slave population is desperate to turn the tables on its despotic ruler, Ashur, as well as find a cure for the condition that's causing many of them to turn into feral Trogs. Early on, a simple fetch-quest for steel ingots turns into a valuable scavenging exercise, with many of the weapons, ammo and armour items you've been stripped of scattered around the sprawling, multi-tiered factory complex. It's worth taking the time to explore, too, because before long you find yourself in several fight-to-the-death arena battles against a series of opponents. It goes without saying that coming prepared helps, but if, like me, you're already a level-20 character, none of it presents much of a challenge.
Multiplayer Report loved Operation: Anchorage, but notes The Pitt pales in comparison, giving it a 6.5/10.
It's tough to talk about the narrative issues without giving away spoilers. What I will say is that, you get two very distinct paths in which to complete this content, but I didn't want either. It feels like there was a third choice that was missing. I either had to be a kidnapper or a murderer. I wanted to be neither, but from the options I had, I didn't get that choice. My last conversation with Midea ended in ridiculous fashion and there was really no need for it to be that way. If we are to truly get to decide the fate of our friends and enemies how about some logical choices instead of the copout way of killing everyone? How many morality quests in Fallout 3 have ended with you choosing who to kill? Too many of them.

There's also a very badly missed opportunity with drama involving Ashun. He's the ruler of The Pitt and he actually ends up being a decent guy. Yet...he seems to have no problem enslaving people and letting his guards torture and beat them. What the heck is that about? This guy is working on a cure for their people and wants to free the slaves, yet, he lets this go on? Give me a break. The morale decisions I made were to help the people but my choices ended in a lot of slaves getting destroyed. It makes no sense.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:35

Speaking at a GDC "Evolving game design" panel, Emil Pagliarulo discussed, amongst other things, the intended ending sequence for Fallout 3 that wasn't.

When asked if there were things in “Fallout 3″ that he loved but had to cut, Pagliarulo talked about the game’s ending, which had the player following around a giant robot named Liberty Prime as it battled and blew up enemies. When I got to this part, I wondered why I couldn’t control the giant robot. Pagliarulo explained that the original idea for Liberty Prime was that it was five times bigger than what it was and players would get to ride in his head.

“[Executive producer Todd Howard] and I had championed this idea for a long time,” Pagliarulo said. They also had the idea that Rivet City (a dilapidated aircraft carrier) would become operational and it would drive down the Potomac River. However, due to time and technical limitations, P agliarulo said they had to scale back their plan, and that that was just of many things that had to be cut.
From the same panel, Emil also enters Kotaku's Awkward Moments HoF.
After sarcastically revealing that he drinks cold medicine to find game design inspiration, Goichi Suda asked Pagliarulo whether Bethesda was planning on "a Japanese version of Fallout" to which the Fallout 3 designer said, "Well, what can we destroy in Japan?"

After processing that post nuclear destruction and an awkwardly long pause, Suda simply said "Wow..."

"I just realized how stupid it was of me to say that!" Pagliarulo said, surprisingly understandable with foot in mouth. Obviously, he didn't mean it that way, but it made the room a bit more ill at ease.

Posted by Tagaziel - at 14:07

As reported by Associated Press, Fallout 3 has won two Game Developers Choice Awards: Game Of The Year and Best Writing

Link: Associated Press GDC Report

Woof, woof, 4too.

News for Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 23:16

Fallout 3's second piece of DLC, the Pitt, has appeared on Xbox 360 Live again, the corrupted file having been replaced with the proper file. If you already downloaded the DLC, you'll have to delete the old, corrupt file before downloading it again.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:31

It's time for a new profile, and this time up to the bat is Project V13 concept artist Natiq Aghayev, aka defonten.

Tell us a little about your role in the making of Fallout 1/2/3 (Van Buren)/Tactics/FOOL?

In the end of 2007 I was offered a contract work as a concept artist by Jason Anderson, Creative Director at Interplay. He found my online portfolio browsing CG forums and sent me a letter with this offer. Thanks to Thomas ßеекers from NMA who gave Jason my contacts ;)

I understood the responsibility of making real Fallout art for a real Fallout project and I realized it would be different from other fan art I did earlier. So I declined all other local offers that I had by that time and started working on the basis of Jason’s directions. It was really exciting to work with Jason. The man who really knows what the real Fallout is all about. His directions and valuable advice were really of irreplaceable help. I discovered many new fine points concerning things that make Fallout so unique.
(...)
What is your hope for future Fallout games? Would you like to be a part of a future Fo team?

First of all I would like to see future Fallout games staying true to its original canon. I wouldn’t probably want to see it forced to fit any up-to-date demands be it visual component or thematic approach. I also wouldn’t want to see future Fallout games going halfway TPS\FPS or featuring a kind of blend between two. To my own opinion the perfect choice for today (2008) would be completely 3D isometric view with ability to zoom things in and out a little. I can name Titan Quest as a good example of implementing such approach. Just imagine walking through destroyed New York on that kind of graphic engine. Would look awesome I think. And yes, of course I would like to be a part of future fallout team. One of the biggest dreams maybe.
Link: Fallout Developers Profile - Natiq Aghayev.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:37

We all know Natiq "defonten" Aghayev, and we all know Interplay's project V13, aka FOOL. Now see the two combine as defonten reveals a piece of concept art he did for Interplay, on project V13.

One of the concepts for Interplay Entertainment, USA. Possibly, I can show you more in the near future, but this is not certain. It was done for a project codenamed V13, which, as many surmise, is the future Fallout Online. I worked under the supervision of Jason Anderson - one of the fathers of the Fallout series.
He further notes in the comments that he did this piece in early 2008, that Chris Taylor notes V13 is still in production and that an official announcement "is expected".

News for Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 20:41

Fallout 3's second DLC, the Pitt, is available via Microsoft Live. It was also available for the Xbox 360, but that version turned out to be completely unplayable (hard crashing when entering the town), forcing Bethesda to pull it, citing a corrupt file as a likely cause. If that's the case it should be back soon enough.

Thanks Ausir.

News for Monday, March 23, 2009

Posted by Morbus - at 20:05

His name is Rashad Redic, and, as he presents himsef, he's «an environment artist [responsible for ]the architecture, props and other various physical structures of the world, but also any non character animations, lighting, landscaping and sometimes level layout where art is concerned.» CGSociety managed to interview him. Here's a snippet. Link further along the post.

What was the most challenging part of your work during the Fallout3 development period?

I think the most challenging part of our work is living up to the expectations people have of a Bethesda game. Our worlds are huge and detailed, our dev team could be considered small for the size of game we do, and there's a lot of work involved in providing the variety of unique handcrafted experiences. Nothing about Fallout is procedurally generated; every rock, tree and item in the wasteland was placed by hand, so if there's anything challenging about the process it's getting all that stuff in there and polished to an expected degree.(...)

How much input did you have on the design and style of your work on Fallout3?

Lots! This freedom is one of my favorite parts of the job. We are usually given high level aesthetic goals, but how we interpret those is usually up to us. Throughout the wasteland of Fallout, you'll come across a lot of these corrugated metal and wooden shacks (Republic of Dave and Evergreen Mills are two examples where these are used). When I got the task, it was to more or less come up with a few multipurpose shacks that fit into the current style and looked different enough from the shacks that make up the Megaton settlement. How they turned out was pretty much my design decisions, with some technical considerations for how NPC's may use them. With few exceptions, most all the architecture and props I built are my design choices, and of course any revisions and the final OK are given by the art lead. (...)

What's your favourite game of all time and why?

Most of those games I mentioned are single player games, and there's a strong narrative element to most of those. I loved games like 'Grim Fandango' (and other early LucasArts games), that create some sort of union between the player and the story where an NPC is more than just a vessel of information and the player has a chance to affect and be affected by the story arcs of other characters.

It's something so hard to get right in games, because we as an industry still haven't figured out how to consistently distill a story down to properly paced elements with the near mathematical formulas that movies are created by in terms of when and how often things should happen, so when a game comes along and gets close it's something thats exciting. 'Call of Duty 4' was the last single player game I played where I thought the narrative and pacing were pretty rewarding.
Link: Fallout 3 Artist @ CGSociety

Thanks Literacy_Hooligan for the tip.

News for Sunday, March 22, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 23:39

Second Variety Games, the developer of up-coming Indie RPG Shelter, are interview on Game Central's podcast 37.

News for Saturday, March 21, 2009

Posted by Morbus - at 20:49

More than three years after, FIFE based RPG Zero Projekt is still alive and kicking. They're latest update relates to new animations, models and technologies that were recently implemented:

Shadowrunner for instance is not far from completing a brand new set of animations for our armor draft. Furthermore, a new concept for the creation of ground tiles via Blender saw the light of the day and we made a lot of progress concerning the demo story.

But not only ZERO benefits from this year's spring - also FIFE's development took new things on. Phoku has just begun a new unicode branch and is not far from completion. Vtchill, Cheesesucker and chewie are caringly looking after improvements for the official editor (just to name a few facts).

That's how it is fun, guys - we're making progress Smile
They've also released some new renders and screenshots:



Link: New tiles, armours - and unicode support! @ Zero Projekt

News for Thursday, March 19, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 2:08

Gamasutra managed to quickly nab the ever-elusive Jason D. Anderson for a quick sit-down. Not a lot on the InXile RPG.

By joining up with inXile, you're in a way returning to working with Brian Fargo, who founded Interplay. Did you actually work with him much during the Fallout days?

JA: He was actually more a step away from me. When the Fallout team had interactions with Brian, it was usually through Tim [Cain]. I never really had personal interaction with him.

Presumably you are working more directly with him now, given the setup.

JA: Definitely. When I came on, I spoke with Brian a number of times. It was a very hard decision to leave Project V13. I loved the project, and we spent so much time on it, and it was not an easy decision to make. But in talking with Brian, it made it a lot easier. We really clicked, and saw eye to eye on what we wanted to see happen to RPGs.

In what sense do you see eye to eye?

JA: Well, RPGs have been kind of in a lull as of late. But there have been a handful of good ones out there -- especially with Bethesda successfully rebooting the Fallout franchise, and generally showing that RPGs are viable forms of entertainment.

I want to get back to RPGs that are very story-driven and character-driven. Personally, I've never gotten out of [single-player] RPGs. There was the short stint working on the MMO for the past year, but that was pretty much it. I've always been about RPGs and RPG design. Even before Interplay I was a big RPG player.
But here's what Jason thought of Fallout 3.
So have you played Fallout 3?

JA: Yeah.

What did you think?

JA: I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. In some ways I really felt they captured the Fallout feeling, and other things were somewhat expected than what I expected from a Fallout game. That being said, I definitely understand that these things take on a life of their own. All in all, I felt it was really good. I liked it.

Did you play the other pre-Bethesda Fallout followups, Fallout Tactics and Brotherhood of Steel

JA: A little bit. Well, not Brotherhood of Steel. I could tell from the screenshots I didn't want to play that one.

So it sounds like you felt Bethesda was a better caretaker than some.

JA. Oh yeah.

News for Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 23:47

A press release reveals Jason D. Anderson is no longer working on V13 at Interplay, instead now working on an unannounced RPG at InXile.

ORIGINAL FALLOUT DESIGNER JASON ANDERSON TO JOIN INXILE ENTERTAINMENT DEVELOPMENT TEAM

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – March 18, 2009 – inXile entertainment today announced that Jason Anderson, one of the original Fallout design team members, has joined the company as creative director for a new, unannounced role-playing game (RPG) from inXile. Anderson recently left Interplay, where in his second tenure there served as creative director working on the next generation MMO Project: V13.

“Jason has an extensive resume of creating amazing RPGs over the past two decades and we feel very lucky to have his talent directed to one of our upcoming projects,” said Brian Fargo, chief executive officer of inXile entertainment. “His leadership and vision will allow us to have a second development team focused on an epic game that will push the boundaries of RPGs.”

Anderson began his career as a 3D artist at Interplay working on USCF Chess. He was a key member of the original Fallout development team contributing to both art and design. Working closely with Tim Cain, he helped design the isometric engine, game world and interface used in Fallout. In addition to Fallout, Anderson assisted as an artist on Stonekeep and Of Light & Darkness, and he contributed to the initial design for Fallout 2. After leaving Interplay, Anderson was one of the three founding members of Troika Games, producing such games as Arcanum: Of Magick & Steamworks, Obscura and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines.

Anderson commented, “I appreciate the opportunity inXile has provided me and I am looking forward to this new challenge.”

About inXile entertainment
Located in Newport Beach, California, inXile entertainment is a game development company that focuses on both licensed and original intellectual properties. Formed in late 2002 by Interplay Entertainment founder Brian Fargo, inXile entertainment develops for personal computers and the major console platforms including the Nintendo Wii™, Nintendo DS™, PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) computer entertainment system and the Xbox 360™ video game system from Microsoft. Their products include The Bard's Tale, Line Rider and Fantastic Contraption. For additional information on inXile and its products, visit the website at http://www.inxile-entertainment.com.
Remember InXile has the Wasteland license, so Wasteland 2 sounds like a good candidate.

In any case, this is pretty much an affirmation that FOOL is dead in the water, and Interplay is not making its April funding deadline.

News for Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 17:03

A few remarks on the Pitt from Jeff Gardiner on VG247.

“Pittsburgh has a special resonance with several of our team members,” Gardiner added.

“Plus, it was fun to build large buildings that aren’t completely bombed out, as the city itself escaped direct bombardment during the war. It’s
also relatively close to Washington, DC. Pittsburgh also fit thematically with the notion of exploring a Raider society, which the player will now finally be able to do.”
And a video interview from DICE on Gametrailers.com, in HD or SD.

Thanks Vistaer.

News for Saturday, March 14, 2009

Posted by Morbus - at 22:05

Gametrailers.com has it:



Thanks maximaz and Vistaer.

Posted by Morbus - at 5:55

It's 25 minutes of Todd Howard, Bethesda's well known and loved Executive Producer, speaking about how they made Fallout 3, in his presentation at this year's DICE Summit. So here they are, divided in three parts:







If you're wondering, DICE stands for "Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain"...

Thanks Dominus for the heads-up.

News for Friday, March 13, 2009

Posted by Morbus - at 2:39

He's one of Bethesdas's Senior Producers, and has written a lengthy piece about... well, about downloadable content and his job as a producer. Here's a snippet:

As Fallout 3 was nearing "true Beta," most of the content developers, our Artists and Designers, were playing the game around the clock. That process comes to an end once we start locking down the content for Beta, so this is the time we transition the team onto our additional content, now and forevermore entitled "DLC." To kick the DLC off we held a large team meeting in our theatre, where developers came with ideas, slides and stories. We heard from everyone; ideas included costumes, weapons, sweeping gameplay changes, new settings, alien worlds, even a crazy-clown carnival. What we ended up with were two great quests that were in some ways amalgams many of the ideas pitched in the meeting. Those being Operation: Anchorage, which was an attempt at a more traditional shooter experience and The Pitt, which is Fallout at its best with a new settlement, faction, and morally ambiguous quest line.

The creation of Fallout 3 DLC is about taking a critical look at the game we just made, and deciding where to experiment. What to add. What would we, as fans of the game, like to try? Like to experience? All of us at this point have played Fallout 3 for hundreds of hours. You begin to identify missed opportunities. Stories that need to be told, weapon lists that need filling out, creatures that need allies. Enter the DLC.
He also talks about Fallout 3's next DLC, "Broken Steel", and how it continues the main story and increases the level cap.
Broken Steel has presented several of its own unique challenges. The first one that gave me pause was the need to reprise the roles of so many voice actors. We're actually wrapping that up now under the watchful and masterful eye of Mark Lampert. The next thing that was a concern was 'fiddling' with so much of our existing content. One of the scariest things about making DLC that drops right into an existing game is the potential to create new bugs. I've worked on 13 of these things now, and something always goes wrong in the 11th hour. It's very rarely easy to fix or benign, so we're keeping a cautious and watchful eye on Broken Steel. So far, so good.


You can read the whole thing, of course, at Fallout (3) Official Site.

News for Thursday, March 12, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 18:29

And three new screenshots of the Pitt, showing the arena, being attacked by a trog and raider while wielding the Auto-Axe, and a pitt slave posing with the Auto-Axe.


And another tidbit: The Pitt's trailer will premiere on Spike TV/GTTV on Friday 1 am (no note on what timezone), and will show up on Gametrailers.com at some point on Saturday. We'll post on it then.

News for Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 17:11

A preview in Polish with a video interview and showing of Afterfall is available here. Not a lot there for us who don't know Polish, but you can see the game being made and a handful of renders in the first half minute and at about the 1:15 mark.

Thanks Continuum.

Posted by Tagaziel - at 13:54

Now that you've taken your heart medication and calmed down, the dauntless seeker of all things Fallout Ausir informs, that on Game of the Art FOBOS2's design document has just been leaked.

Curiously, it was written by Brian Freyermuth, one of the FO1 designers, with the document promising a return to canon.

Link: Leaked Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2 design document on NMA
Link: Leaked Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2 design document on Games of the Art

Posted by Brother None - at 2:28

GameSpy's Fallout 3 site has interviewed Jeff Gardiner about the Pitt and Fallout 3 DLC in general.

Who's doing the writing?

The bulk of The Pitt was written and designed by Erik Caponi and Fred Zeleny. Two Pittsburgh natives, both excellent and darkly ironic writers.

What was the creative process behind creating the Auto-Axe? That isn't something you see every day.

Our weapon expert, Dane Olds, is a big fan of power-tools. When we wanted a new melee weapon, he took that expertise and melded it with his creative vision and created the AutoAxe. It’s a thing of beauty.

Fallout 3's modding scene is very active and productive. Are you keeping an eye on this? Got any inspiration from it?

I’m thrilled to be making games where we release our editors to the public at large, allowing them to customize and expand on the game. We’re always watching YouTube videos of the craziness they create. Several developers here wait a bit for the scene to ‘mature,’ and then will download the top mods and play the game with them. It offers us the ability to enjoy our game in a way we wouldn’t otherwise be able to, having spent hundreds of hours creating it ourselves.
Lots of questions in there, be sure to read.

Thanks Ausir.

News for Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Posted by Morbus - at 3:26

As you may recall, a movie called "Mad Max 4" was in its pre-production stage of development, but it eventually got canned for financial reasons. Now, George Miller, the Writer and Director of all of the series' films says this:

I see myself as someone who is very curious about storytelling and all its various media. I’ve always loved anime, in particular the Japanese sensibility. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
Indeed, he said he wanted to go a "different route", and instead of working with dear ol' Mel Gibson, he's going to go the voice acting plus CGI route. MTV Movies Blog brings us his words, and the news that the next Mad Max movie will be an "R-rated, stereoscopic anime flick" that's supposed to "adapt [the Japanese-style animation] for Western audiences". He talks about games too, as he, along with God of War II Designer Cory Barlog, is developing an action game (is there any other kind of game? I forget...) based on its new work on the series.
The anime is an opportunity for me to shift a little bit about what anime is doing because anime is ripe for an adjustment or sea change. It’s coming in games and I believe it’s the same in anime. There’s going to be a hybrid anime where it shifts more towards Western sensibilities. [Japanese filmmaker Akira] Kurosawa was able to bridge that gap between the Japanese sensibilities and the West and make those definitive films.
Well, these are some news for the fans of all the stuff involved, be it anime, Mad Max or action games, what I'm wondering right now is whether it is good news.

Link: Fourth ‘Mad Max’ In Development…As 3-D Anime Feature @ MTV Movies Blog

Thanks Ausir once again.

News for Monday, March 9, 2009

Posted by Tagaziel - at 21:52

Music 4 Games has a treat for fans of classic Fallout: an interview with Mark Morgan, the soundtrack composer for Fallout 1 and 2. Here's an interesting tidbit:

M4G: What has been your favorite project thus far, and why?
Mark Morgan: I still think the Fallout series because I was given wide latitude with some guidelines but very few restrictions to create what I envision would fit the Fallout world. At the time I was experimenting with a lot of ambient music and the fun aspect of the Fallout score was to blend a kind of odd ethnic, tribal and industrial sound design into something not only musical, but emotional.


Link: In The Studio with Mark Morgan

Posted by The Vault Dweller - at 4:14

RPG Codex has posted a multi-person interview of the famous modders of many games. Not only are the questions detailed and the answers long, but the list includes Fallout 2 and Fallout 3 modders along with many other games that most fans would find just as worthy of reading about.

If you're curious about maybe modding a favorite RPG or looking for mods for ones you'd like to replay make this a must-read. In fact the Fallout 2 modder is none other than killap a well-known figure here at NMA.

Posted by The Vault Dweller - at 3:59

Gametrailers newest episode features a video interview with the ever-reportable Todd Howard. This time he talks about the Pitt downloadable content and some Fallout 3 tidbits.

News for Friday, March 6, 2009

Posted by Tagaziel - at 21:33

Adrenaline Vault has released their newest podcast, featuring an interview with Pete Hines and Emil Pagliuro. Points discussed include why they ignore the modding community.

Link: Adrenaline Vault Podcasts

News for Thursday, March 5, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 20:50

Bethesda dated the Pitt, Eurogamer reports.

Bethesda Softworks has announced that The Pitt, the second downloadable expansion for the PC and Xbox 360 versions of Fallout 3, will be released on 24th March.

As previously announced, The Pitt will share the same price point as January's Operation: Anchorage: 800 Microsoft Points (GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.60).

Posted by Brother None - at 18:49

For those of us who are familiar with Bethesda's PR modus operandi, it's no surprise that when there's screenshots, there's previews. Hands-on, no less. OXM UK.


It's at this point that The Pitt shows that it retains Fallout 3's ability to deftly and subtly allow your decisions to influence the action, that makes you want to revisit. As you approach the slave camps, you notice a couple of slaves dashing for freedom, who get blown up by the mines. Will you take their slave outfit and get into the camp that way? Will you try to join the slavers as a recruit? It's up to you.

Once you join The Pitt, you then have to figure out how to achieve your goals while maintaining the facade of being a weak-willed slave worker. The Pitt works as a central hub almost in the same way Megaton did, the difference being that The Pitt is much bigger and the suffocating sense of oppression gives it an entirely different feel. Slaves are covered with cuts, bruises and skin peeling off their faces. The sound of clanking metal and whirring grinders create a noisy din. Guards tell you to "**** off" if you try talk to them. The Pitt isn't a nice place to be.
Eurogamer.
It begins, as Anchorage did, with a distress signal. A chap called Wernher has escaped from The Pitt with the knowledge that someone deep in its bowels has discovered a mutation cure. They're not keen on sharing, seeing as the majority of the slaves there have rotting faces and are on their way to becoming the half-human trogs that roam unguarded areas. As such it's a remedy that could do with liberating. (There's a potential for profit too, if you're slightly more inclined towards evil.)

Once Wernher has been rescued from some raiders, and once you've dressed yourself in some sweaty clothes from a nearby corpse in a slave pen, you'll see FO3 map now features an underground railroad. You'll be travelling the 191 miles from Washington to Pittsburgh on the back of a lever-pump-powered Handcar; a feat that could have proved exhausting, yet thankfully a brief tap of the 'use' button will do much the same job.
(...)
I suspect that the playtime won't greatly exceed that of Operation Anchorage, and that difficulty for maxed-out players may again be an issue (this time around I'll certainly be making sure I've notched my difficulty settings up onto 'hard' from the off), but so far things are looking up content-wise. It should also be noted that parts of the Pitt raise the graphical bar too; entering the steel foundry with its heat haze, molten steel and floating embers is a remarkable experience.

What's more, as my time in the Pitt came to a close, I got a sneak peek at the grass roots of the content. At the heart of dystopian Pittsburgh lies a combat arena - the almighty pillar of Bethesda's past work in the Elder Scrolls series that, thinking about it, was conspicuous by its absence in Fallout 3. In there, it can be assumed, you'll be able to show these bastard slavers what you're made of. Remember: you're not locked up in there with them, they're locked up in there with you...
Recycling old ideas, Bethesda? I'm shocked.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:49

Bethesda has released three more screenshots of the upcoming The Pitt DLC.

Posted by Brother None - at 13:43

Seems the new 1.4 patch does do something even if it is not mentioned in the patch notes: Inside Digital Foundry discovered the game adds specular maps into the Xbox 360 version, giving it a graphics boost.

It turned out that Xbox 360 version, despite its superior frame rate and full-on 4x MSAA, had flaws of its own - notably some inferior textures when viewed close up, along with a lack of specular maps on the monsters and characters, resulting in a somewhat flat look compared to the other versions of the game.
As it happens, the latest Fallout 3 patch isn’t just preparation code for the upcoming DLC… one of the small issues with the launch 360 game has been addressed: the specular maps are back. Perhaps the omission was simply a bug? Or perhaps not, because while the effect has been replaced in the more obvious locations, elsewhere it is still absent. But regardless, it’s an obviously welcome addition for 360 owners, and we presume that the upcoming DLC will be looking as good as it can possibly be. Nice.
The PS3 and PC version already had specular maps.

Thanks Serge 13.

Posted by Wooz - at 3:30

Gasket Studio has published an article showing their method of creating the Fallout 3 Prepare for the Future website.

The goal of the "Growing Up" spot is to show the Fallout icon of Vault Boy growing up getting his symbol of adulthood–the "Pip-Boy." In Fallout 3 there’s a new and improved "Pip-Boy 3000" survival computer that actually functions as the user interface. We worked closely with AKQA and Bethesda to capture this Fallout mascot in his baby and youth, which has never before been done. Chest -hairs may also have been a first. We had to remain faithful to the character design while still making the animation original. This spot was also hand animated in exacting detail.
Spotted on GameBanshee.

News for Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 18:50

Zero-Projekt has announced its 3rd anniversary and given us a status update over on their German website. I've been waiting for an English translation of the announcement but it's not coming, so let us provide you with some bullet points instead.

  • The main story has been completely rewritten
  • Rules are being tweaked and balanced all the time
  • Drag 'n drop mechanic has been improved
  • The Zero-Projekt team helped elimate a persistent bug from the FIFE engine
  • NPCs have been given daily schedules, based on parameters rather than scripting
  • Combat AI still needs a lot of polish
  • Zero-Projekt is working on Zedit, an in-house editor for FIFE
  • Zero-Projekt is in the middle of developing a playable demo, but work is slow and a release date can not be announced
Some screenshots, including an English-language character screen.




Link: Zero-Projekt website.
Link: Zero-Projekt development screencaps.

Thanks iridium_ionizer.

News for Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Posted by Tagaziel - at 10:18

Of interest to fans of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and post-apocalyptic atmosphere in general will be the fact, that GSC Gameworld has decided to release it's 2004 build of Shadow of Chernobyl, which includes all the missing locations.

In response to numerous requests, we bring to your attention a build of the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. from 2004, or, more precisely, 'xrCore' build 1935, Oct 18 2004.

WE REMIND YOU THAT GSC GAME WORLD DOES NOT GUARANTEE STABILITY OR FITNESS OF THE GIVEN BUILD AND WILL NOT REPLY TO QUESTIONS ABOUT IT OR PROVIDE TECHNICAL SUPPORT.

We thank everyone for understanding and hope you have fun with this build!


Link: GSC forum thread with the 1935 release

Спасибо, BHC.

News for Monday, March 2, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 17:47

Some more screens from post-apocalyptic isometric indie RPG Shelter, with the usual disclaimer that the Tactics assets are placeholders.



Link: Shelter in widescreen thread on NMA.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:37

Just a few more if you need 'em. Techcetera A-.

If you love the World War III back-story and cleverly gruesome combat system of Fallout 3, you will definitely want to download this expansion. It may be a little short, but at only 800 Microsoft Points ($10), it's definitely a bargain.
OverTheTopGamer A.
The length of any DLC is pretty important because it can determine whether it's worth going back to the game, also the length can determine whether it's worth the price. Now if I told you this lasted me roughly 6 hours and other people have told me it lasted them 8 hours, but I also told you that the gameplay is solid and is jam packed with new experiences, awesome Gauss rifles and your own squad with optional robot. Then I told you this DLC pack costs 800 Microsoft points and you will scream is this juicey peice of pie worth it, I say YES.
PC Format 62%.
Despite the fact this is a piece of DLC, the attention to detail that we’ve come to expect from Fallout 3’s lavishly decorated world is present here as well. There’s a heap of great equipment to be earned as well, including your very own stealthsuit, and loot fiends will probably justify the £7 outlay for that alone. Everyone else, though, will have to wait for The Pitt, the second DLC pack and a more traditional ‘talkie’ quest, to satisfy their hunger for fresh Fallout meat.
Go! Gaming Giant 7.
It’s Fun. It’s Fallout. It’s short and 10 bucks. Ttake it or leave it, it’s really up to you. This feels like a quick Fallout fix for those who really want some more content, but it’s nowhere near full blown enough and I’m highly anticipating the next dose of DLC for Fallout 3.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:32

Humorous parody news network the Onion has a video editorial on post-apocalyptic shooters, including Fallout 3, entitled Are violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children for the Apocalypse?

Thanks Bewitched.

Posted by Brother None - at 17:00

No version online as far as I can see, but the Vault notes patch 1.4 has hit the Microsoft Live systems. Announcement.

Today a new update (v1.4.0.6) is available on Xbox LIVE and Games for Windows LIVEUpdate 1.4 Notes (PC and Xbox 360).

It's a small update in preparation for the game's second DLC, The Pitt, which is slated for release this month.

New Features

* New achievements for The Pitt
* Support for multiple downloadable content
It also unlocks Operation: Anchorage for gamers in Asia.

EDIT: the patch is now available for regular download. Grab it from our fileservers: US, UK, French and German.

News for Sunday, March 1, 2009

Posted by Tagaziel - at 18:56

The Adrenaline Vault has invited it's forum goers to submit questions to be asked to Pete Hines and Emil Pagliuro during their next podcast. Questions can be submitted in this forum thread.

Link: Pete and Emil from Bethesda thread on Adrenaline Vault