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News for Friday, July 31, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 23:29

Bethesda's official site has been updated with a new Mothership Zeta trailer:


And a developer diary, penned by the person responsible for the idea, Istvan Pely. It is mostly him praising the DLC's team for their awesomeness.
You will, of course, have some help along the way. Brian Chapin, Lead Designer on Zeta, has provided a colorful cast of characters to meet, some more helpful than others. And you're probably going to need some assistance, as the alien crew isn't entirely happy with your presence and they're not about to make your escape easy. The Mothership is essentially one very large and treacherous gauntlet, and you can thank Phil Nelson, Zeta's Lead Level Designer, and his team for that. My recommendation is to take your time and explore every dark corner and every innocuous-looking telepad of this vessel, there's some things you wouldn't want to miss.

So, after five new adventures for the intrepid explorer from Vault 101, what stories are left to tell? Well, all of this content is produced by a talented team of creative individuals who each have their own personal story to tell with the work they do. You've already had some pretty detailed insight into the DLC development process in past dev diaries, with Jeff Gardiner's perspective from a production standpoint, Jeff Browne and Alan Nanes talking about the intricacies of design, and Joel Burgess and Nate Purkeypile going into fascinating detail on creating a living world. Now let's look at how a bunch of diverse individuals each contribute something unique and valuable to the final product.

Take Zeta's art team, the department that's nearest and dearest to my heart. When you play Mothership Zeta, know that the intricately designed Alien weaponry, every chrome-plated screw in that shiny new Atomizer, has been painfully labored over by Dane Olds, our weapons guru. That massive death-ray gun mounted to the Zeta's outside hull? Let's just say Clara Struthers was giddy with excitement with the opportunity to build, well, a freaking death-ray cannon. And that one crazy room with hundreds of those... well, you'll know it when you see it. You can thank Clara's initiative for that one as well. When Liz Beetem was tasked with making a space suit, she asked if she could instead work on the Samurai armor instead. I can see why, I don't think it could be any more authentic-looking than it is.
Authentic-looking Samurai Armor. It's so Fallout.

Spotted on GameBanshee.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:34

Another DLC, another patch, adding the achievements for Mothership Zeta and "[f]ixes the hang-on-exit bug introduced by Broken Steel." US version here, or select your localized version here.

Posted by The Vault Dweller - at 19:21 has an article written by Sal Cangeloso that reviews and compares all the previously released DLC for Fallout 3. Although numerous other reviews have been written and posted here at NMA this article is an exception in that by covering all the DLC together the author makes comparisons about the different levels of fun and types of play that are offered in each.

If you played Fallout 3 but haven’t explored the DLC, then this article is for you. Fallout’s development team has followed the game up with some very solid downloadable content (DLC) releases that may have you investing more than the original costs of the game, but that greatly enrich the experience. These extra don’t only add a lot of cool gear, but they throw in scenarios that didn’t fit perfectly in the original storyline, letting players explore the world of Fallout 3 past the Capital Wasteland and far outside the purview of the main quest. If nothing else, these downloadables extended the life of the game for about a year after the original release date, making them a big deal to any who can’t get enough of the game.
You can read the whole article here.

Posted by Per - at 16:13

Polygamia interviewed Brian Chapin, or Brianem Chapinem as he's known in that part of the world. You'll have to scroll down to mid-page to read the English version. There's actually some new information and a slightly different style of questions from the usual.

Aliens in previous Fallout games, as well as in vanilla Fallout 3, were mostly small easter eggs, with hard to find alien spaceships or weapons. What made you decide to make a full-fledged add-on focusing on them and how does it fit with the rest of the Fallout setting?

In the base Fallout 3 game, we have the crashed alien spaceship, Recon Craft Theta, so we had already lain the groundwork. And that's an actual location, not really an Easter Egg, so it does imply some kind of extraterrestrial presence in the game world.

Beyond that, using the Alien theme just felt really natural for us. UFOs and aliens are a big part of 1950s pulp fiction (who can forget the UFO crashing into the Capitol Building in "Earth versus the Flying Saucers"?), so featuring that in a DLC seemed like a great way for us to explore that element of the fiction.

We know that there will be other abductees on the spaceship, somehow preserved despite coming from various time periods. Will any of them be historical figures like Elvis or characters known from previous Fallout games?

The folks you'll run into are all fictional, with their own stories. They may have some connections to other experiences you've had while playing Fallout 3...

How varied will the aliens themselves be? Will we see any other alien creatures aside from ones looking like the one found in the Fallout 3 crashed UFO, e.g. the wanamingos seen in Fallout 2?

There are a few different variations on the aliens, with some more prepared for combat than others. Some of the aliens are simply workers on the ship, and aren't looking to cross paths with escaped prisoners.

And then there's the matter of what the aliens are doing, why they're here on Earth in the first place. They're abducting people and experimenting on them for a reason, and you'll run into the results of some of those experiments.
Thanks to Ausir I think.

Posted by Dracon M'Alkir - at 0:38

This announcement may be a little late, but ever since GSC has first announced a third title in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R series, the Call of Pripyat, more details have been released.

The game is set to be released in the Autumn of 2009 and carries some pretty hefty system requirements, which should tell you about some of the massive graphical updates / engine work that GSC has been doing with their game.

Now, here's a few things that we know about the game, and a few promises from the developers:

  • Call to Pripyat is a sequel to Shadow of Chernobyl, unlike Clear Sky which was a prequel. According to the game canon, Strelok did in fact destroy the C-Consciousness.
  • A-Life is said to have been vastly improved. Monsters and STALKERs alike will now have their own 'schedules' and do things according to the time of day, such as hunting for prey/artifacts during the day, resting in safehouses and patrolling in shifts at night.
  • A-Life is also supposed to have a 'natural enemy' system with certain groups tending to be 'enemies' with each other. Bandits attacking neutral stalkers more than anyone else, Duty attacking mutants, and so forth. Attacking a certain faction long (being in one yourself) may trigger the AI set to flag your faction as a permanent 'enemy'.
  • The AI is also much better in combat (supposedly).
  • There is supposedly more freedom involved in the gameplay in terms of the story-mode. The developers have stated that there may not actually be an 'ending' to the game, and gameplay may continue on forever far past the natural 'ending' of the game. This is to allow players to go back and to do any side-quests they might've missed on the way.
  • Less bugs, and more stability. GSC has promised thorough playtesting of the game this time, and so we hopefully won't have to wait through six patches just to keep the game from crashing to desktop every 30 minutes.
  • Improved graphics, naturally. I assume they'll be doing something DirectX10, soft shadowing, self-shadowing, HDR, and the-like.
  • Completely new areas yet unseen (or at least in the depth in CoP) from SoC and CS. The entire area of Pripyat will be available and playable/explorable in a full 1:1 realistic scale. A list of some of the promised areas: Pripyat, Kopachi Village, Juipter Factory, Railway Station Yanov.
  • The requirement of sleep (as well as hunger) has been added to the game with severe gameplay consequences. Apparently, stamina will regenerate much more slowly and other actions will be much more difficult if you are exhausted and/or starving.
  • The Burer and Chimera monsters have been re-added to the game.
  • One developer mentioned the possibility of the protagonist (A Ukranian investigator) having 'some kind of powers' that regenerate after you sleep.
  • There will be underground horror locations like in the original SoC.
  • There may be an option of included dual languages on all discs, allowing you to switch the game from English to Russian and vice versa whilst playing. (Voice or text only.)

Rec. System Requirements: Intel Core 2 Duo E7400/AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+, 2GB RAM, nVidia GeForce 9800 GTX/ATI Radeon HD 4850/512 MB DirectX 9c compatible video card

That's all for today. Enjoy and have a wonderful time in the Pre-Apocalyptic Capitalistic Wasteland.

Link: Call of Pripyat homepage
Link: Screenshots from Call of Pripyat on the game's homepage

News for Thursday, July 30, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 5:06

MIB88 has released version 2.35.2 of his megamod project. The mod now contains:

New locations

* A Letter From The Past random encounter
* Abbey Location - Enhanced. Requires a quest to find and there are now quests to do for the monks.
* Bunker 21 and Truck Locations- Slightly enhanced i.e. requires a quest to find.
* Carson City and many smaller locations from Alternative Life mod.
* Cold Hearts and Modoc Revisited- Chris Parks and Dude101
* Colly - A new town
* EPA- Chris Parks
* New Vision Final
* Primitive Tribe- Chris Parks
* Vault 14
* Vault 23


* B-team mod
* Cult of Personality Fix
* Dominion mod world map I.E. expands down into FO1 territory.
* Enhanced Skynet - Body upgrades. Works Correctly now!
* Enhanced Davin Script (For Females Only!)
* Freelance slavery - Male and female slaves can sometimes be taken of some of the critters in the wasteland
* Friendly Klint 2
* FO2 Graphics Upgrade Patch (FO2GUP)Alpha
* Gila Lizard and Cockroach critters from FOXP mod (WIP)
* Gecko enclave encounter
* Kaga
* Killap's Fallout 2 patch
* Lootable Armor
* Marcus armour from Vault 14 mod
* Miria mod
* Mr Fixit
* mysterious stranger mod
* NPC Armor mod
* Seraph's Fallout 2 Mod
* Vertibird mod
* Wasteland Taxi
* Added a number of new load screens from various mods and Fallout 1
* components of the Alternative Life mod, translated by Team MIB.
Link: MIB88 MegaMod 2.35.2 on NMA.

News for Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Posted by Per - at 3:06

Go! Gaming Giant goes where no giant has ever gamed before.

How many quests are in Mothership Zeta?

It includes one large, branching quest.

Can you give us a bit of information about the quests? What will our tasks be in the quests?

Mothership Zeta begins with the player being abducted and held captive aboard a huge Alien craft hovering high above the Earth. The player will have to escape the craft; along the way they’ll meet other captives, have to solve difficult puzzles and secure new high-tech weaponry to employ against their captors.

Will you be able to return to the space ship once you beat the main quest?

Yes, you can use the ship as a home-base of sorts. It sure has a great view!
Talking about Games does their darnedest to earn their name.
What was the motivation behind taking players onto an alien spacecraft for Mothership Zeta? Did someone on the team have an encounter?

JG: We thought it would be a very unique environment to explore, a far cry from the dust ravaged wastes of DC. The lead designer, Emil Pagliarulo, and I are interested in Alien conspiracy theory... There's a lot of information to sift through on the internet, while neither of us is quite sure what to believe it makes for interesting coffee conversation.

So far you've taken several opportunities to branch out into areas considered less "Fallout-like" than others and had a good amount of success. Can you give us any examples of how you'll retain that Fallout feeling when players are creeping around space ships?

JG: The high-level technology employed by the Alien invaders still has the 'retro' feel of Fallout. Mothership Zeta is also laced with dark humor - it was penned by the same quest designer responsible for the Fallout 3 'main' questline, Brian Chapin.
Spotted on RPGWatch.

News for Monday, July 27, 2009

Posted by Dragula - at 22:03

DLC, cheap expansions that keep the game alive, or overpriced patches that should be given for free? This is a topic that is very close to Fallout 3 and all these "amazing" expansions bethesda keeps giving out. Dogmeat armour!

"My anger comes from this, I have enjoyed quality content from top developers for years through the PC format and now I see people forking out for content that by all rights should be given for free. Capcom even had the audacity to charge people for the multiplayer mode on Resident Evil 5, something that was already on the disc at purchase! Unfortunately this is not going to go away in a hurry with people wanting the content offered and having the classic gamer lack of patience, only if we stopped buying the content that is being over priced will we get reasonable responses from the industry."
Link: DLC – What Is It Good For?

Posted by Per - at 18:11

Briosafreak from Planet Fallout tipped us off that issue 133 of Portuguese magazine BGamer comes with free copies of Fallout and Fallout 2. A new generation of that particular corner of Europe will now get to marvel and rage over 4-pixel chairs.

There have also been whisperings from Ausir of The Vault that the 1.7 "patch" to Fallout 3, adding in the Zeta achievements, has been released on GfWL, although there's been no official word yet. Those of you who need it surely know how to get it.

News for Saturday, July 25, 2009

Posted by Per - at 19:18

The Mothership Zeta achievements were posted today along with the names of the quests you complete to get them. Don't follow the link unless you want to know the amazing names of these quests.

Thanks to Jaymo.

Posted by Per - at 16:32

Voodoo Extreme 3D has posted a trailer for Book of Eli, a post-apocalyptic film written by former PC Gamer editor-in-chief and Fallout player Gary Whitta and directed by Albert Hughes.

Good stuff: Denzel Washington, wrecked highways, that sort of stuff.

Less good stuff: scenes where the hero is encircled by enemies and proceeds to defeat them easily were cool like one or two times, ten years ago.

Posted by The Vault Dweller - at 6:52

Overthinking It a website that examines popular culture recently created an article that examines Fallout 3 with an emphasis on the music and its intended effect on the atmosphere of the game.

Fallout 3, the most critically acclaimed video game of 2008, continues the series tradition of incorporating big band music from the 40s and 50s. However, while the first two games only used these classics for one-offs (Fallout 2’s instructional video being a classic example), Fallout 3 is the first game to incorporate them into the soundtrack.

It's quite long and well-written going as far as to relate the eras the music is taken from to existential philosophy and the post-apocalyptic environment. Fans will be surprised to see such a deep and introspective article.

By pairing cheery big band hits of the 40s and 50s with post-apocalyptic despair, Fallout 3 does more to advance the case for existentialism than five decades of French philosophy. It projects the player into a world where hope is impossible: the human race has reached the end of its technological arc, and the die-off has begun. But instead of descending into savagery, the game reminds you of the sentimental world from which this one emerged. Their sentiment and your despair have equal weight. Some people – raiders, slavers and the tyrants of the Enclave – will take that as an excuse for brutality. Others realize that it means you’re free to do good.

The battle between right and wrong comes not from God or from society, but from the war in every human’s private soul. And that war never changes.

The Impossible Will Take A Little While

News for Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Posted by Tagaziel - at 23:18

The Escapist magazine has published a feature on arguably the most loveable companion in Fallout, Dogmeat. The author delves deep into the ancient, technologically limited 2D times of 1997 to find out how the canine came about.

Link: Junktown Dog on the Escapist

Thanks, Silverburst.

News for Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Posted by Per - at 23:00

Three more snazzy Mothership Zeta screenshots were released to the press.

Thanks to Jaymo.

Posted by Per - at 15:49

The first FOnline video was reasonably popular, so the second one is sure to raise the roof with its riveting account of blowing up lizards with explosions... adding together two small lizards to make a bigger lizard... adding together some fibre to make a rope?


Thanks Ezekial.

Posted by Per - at 1:27

MTV Multiplayer interviewed Jeff Gardiner on DLC, as you do, and either it was a very short one, or they're keeping most of it to themselves, but the beans were spull on a new perk:

"Mothership Zeta is full of the most high tech weaponry in the game. It includes a Shock Baton for melee fighters, multiple new firearms including an Alien Atomizer, a pistol, and the Alien Disintegrator, a new rifle. There's also a new grenade type, a Cryo Grenade, which freezes enemies for a short period of time. On top of that there are new unique weapons, and a new heavy weapon."

Gardiner continued, saying that there will also be a new perk to unlock, called "Xenotech Expert."

"It increases the damage you do with alien weapons, including the Alien Blaster if the player had found that in the wasteland."
Also, there is "Alien Epoxy" tech. It heals items. Who can wait?

News for Monday, July 20, 2009

Posted by Per - at 22:23

Over at ClanBase they posted a page of Fallout 3 armour mod links. New wasteland wear includes the Colossus Heavy Armour, the BoS DX Armour, the Monster Costumes (with which "you can even befriend monsters", naturally), and Real Latex Armour. What's so real about it? Follow the link and you may find out.

News for Sunday, July 19, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 16:34

Our hosts at UGO have written an incredibly asinine editorial "buyer's guide" for Fallout 3's DLCs, which essentially reads like "if it has cool guns and perks, it's worth the money". No idea how that works...

Broken Steel

The Skinny: Broken Steel is worth the 800 Microsoft Point asking price alone for letting players continue their journey through the wastes after the events in the Jefferson Memorial. But like a Billy Mays offer, there’s more! Broken Steel also raises the level cap from 20 to 30, meaning all the XP you keep earning once you hit level 20 go towards something useful, like ya know, leveling up.

Oh, and you get to play through a new set of missions and nab some sweet weapons like the Tri-Beam Laser Rifle and square off against behemoth Super Mutant Overlords.

The Verdict: Even if you’re usually DLC aversive, Broken Steel is a no-brainer must-have if only for the higher level cap and the ability to venture into the wastes once Project Purity is activated. The addition of more achievements and quests is just icing on the Fancy Lads Snack Cake.
Seriously? It's worth 10 dollars to raise the level cap and venture into the wastes without it adding anything else? I think we've found our target audience, guys, gullible as hell and with deep pockets.
Operation Anchorage

The Skinny: Taking players back in the Fallout universe’s timeline, Operation Anchorage is a computer simulation mission that charges you to take Alaska back from the hands of its Commie squatters. What’s cool about Operation Anchorage is just how different the pack feels compared to the main game. Mission objectives are doled out sequentially, so it ends up feeling a lot like Goldeneye or Call of Duty compared to other DLC packs. Hell, if your speech skill is high enough you can even talk the Chinese general into committing hara-kiri!

The Verdict: Operation Anchorage contains some of the best weapons and armor in the Fallout universe. The Frostbite Brotherhood Armor has higher damage resistance than the “official” suit you get at the end of the main quest. And don’t forget about the Gauss Rifle, either. 100 damage per shot? Yes please!
Spotted on GameBanshee.

News for Saturday, July 18, 2009

Posted by Dragula - at 1:54

Because it is not already unbalanced with the God perks from Broken steel:

"In an email interview with Jeff Gardiner regarding August 3rd's release of the next "Fallout 3" DLC, "Mothership Zeta," I asked if it would even be possible to increase the level cap from its current 30 (as set by "Broken Steel.") Specifically, if the stat caps were boosted beyond 10 and skill caps were boosted beyond 100, would the game system simply break?"
Link: Bethesda: Further Level Cap Increases Could Unbalance 'Fallout 3'

News for Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Posted by Per - at 1:29

GamePro interviewed Jeff Gardiner who is the person you interview where Fallout 3 DLC is concerned.

Travis Moses, GamePro: How does Mothership Zeta DLC tie in to the Fallout 3 story and world?

Jeff Gardiner: The alien menace--err, presence--has been hinted at throughout the history of Fallout. In Fallout 3, there is a crashed alien space vessel hidden deep in the Capital Wasteland. With the Mothership Zeta DLC, the player will pick up a radio beacon broadcasting a signal with a very foreign language, which will lead the player to this site and start their new adventure.

Travis: Tell more about the aliens themselves. What are they like, what are they called, why are they "pissed"?

Jeff Gardiner: The aliens are the same type that people claim are currently abducting people around the globe, small grayish-green with long appendages and big heads with huge eyes. They are studying humanity to see if we're a threat, they have no proper name.
"Hinted at throughout the history of Fallout"? It was an Easter egg, you ninny.

News for Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Posted by Per - at 19:43

The official site has a page with MZ info and some screenshots.

Defy hostile alien abductors and fight your way off of the massive Mothership Zeta, orbiting Earth miles above the Capital Wasteland. Mothership Zeta takes Fallout 3 in an entirely new direction – outer space. Meet new characters and join with them in a desperate bid to escape the Aliens’ clutches. To do so, you’ll wield powerful new weapons, like the Alien Atomizer, Alien Disintegrator, and Drone Cannon, and deck yourself out in brand new outfits, like the Gemini-Era Spacesuit and even Samurai Armor.
* Find and exploit new and destructive alien technology, like the Alien Atomizer and Drone Cannon.
* Explore the vast Mothership and learn the secrets of the Aliens’ master plan.
* Thwart the Aliens’ attempt to stop your escape, and take over the Alien ship before it wreaks havoc on the unsuspecting Earth below.
* Fight against the Alien Invaders, their robot drones, and turn their own horrible experiments against them.
* Ally yourself with an unexpected array of characters, both from the Capital Wasteland and from Earth ’s past.
It's like Fallout all over again! Or something! Thanks Briosafreak.

News for Monday, July 13, 2009

Posted by Per - at 23:20

Ashley Cheng posted on the blog to say that although Fallout 3 DLC is coming to the PS3, it will take a while longer.

So when can you expect Fallout 3 DLC? We are knee deep in testing at the moment, and we’re hoping to have the first DLC out by the end of September. That long? Keep in mind that not only do we need to test each DLC on PS3, we also need to test each DLC when used in conjunction with each of the other DLC, as well as all of them together, along with the entire original game.

After Broken Steel, we’ll be releasing Operation: Anchorage and The Pitt shortly thereafter, probably at the same time – just to get them out to you as soon as we can. After that we’ll have Point Lookout and Mothership Zeta available as soon as we can, so that the wait between DLC is as short as possible. Once we release Broken Steel, we’ll have a better idea when the other DLC will be coming and will let you know specifics.
Hm, why would a simultaneous release be faster than a sequential one? It just is.

News for Friday, July 10, 2009

Posted by Per - at 21:05

lisac2k of the FOnline: 2238 crew made some kind of video to show how San Francisco came to be populated by fishmongers.


Let's make Developers Videos #2, #3 and #4 much more exciting, though, guys. Let's see some lizards and explosions.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:28

The excitement, it's so hard to contain. As hard as it is to make out details on this pic.

Thanks Phiera.

Posted by Brother None - at 16:07

We'll have another fan art roundup for you soon enough, but in the mean time, patriot_41 has allowed use to upload his body of work to our gallery, and that warrants a separate post.

Link: patriot_41 thread on NMA fan art forum.
Link: patriot_41 (hangemhigh13) on Deviant Art.

Posted by Brother None - at 15:44

Get some. Xbox Evolved 8.

In addition to the main quest, which is about a six-hour endeavor, you also have a handful of side quests throughout Point Lookout along with a vast terrain to explore. Most DLC's don't deliver on this kind of vast material (Burnout's recent DLC comes to mind), but Bethesda is working on a different spectrum here. They are giving us a world that continues to grow and grow and become more fascinating. The beautiful artwork and design present in Lookout is astonishing. The character and world designs continue to impress. There are some pop-up issues here and there, but they are minor compared to the world canvas that Bethesda continues to add on to.
Game Vortex.
Before jumping on the ferry to Point Lookout, make sure you stock up on Stims and ammo. Point Lookout isn't scavenger friendly, so you'll likely lose some of your equipment if you're not careful. Character builds play a large role in just how big an impact the lack of items has on difficulty. Melee and characters adept with rifles will have few problems, but more high-tech focused (like my energy weapons-based character), might need to snag a double-barreled shotgun off a dead hick for backup. On a positive note, the area's lone store is well-stocked, but pricey.
DarkZero 8.
Speaking of which, Point Lookout’s ‘story’ is brilliantly presented, consisting of several threads that seemingly intertwine over the course of a variety of missions. There are numerous points on the map that will lead to another branch of the story, whether it be fleshing out Point Lookout’s history, or something far more immediate, and it can be surprising just how much one gives way to the other. Though on arrival it can seem a bit vague as to what it is exactly that you’re supposed to be doing, it soon becomes apparent that Point Lookout as a whole, rewards exploration over simply following the blip on the radar. There are missions that seem to be tucked away behind closed doors and in unassuming locations that bring a flash of excitement when their hiding place is discovered. The methodical habit of moving from objective to objective that can be all too easy to develop over the course of Fallout 3’s main game, although not done away with completely, is highly discouraged. The story itself is something of a bizarre journey, beginning with an all-out gun fight through an ageing Victorian mansion, and building steadily over numerous sub-missions to its ludicrous yet brilliant finale. It would be unfair to describe these in any real detail, after all; the best part of Fallout 3 is the vast quantity of surprises. Point Lookout is full to bursting with neat little ideas, things that couldn’t work outside of the video game medium – it toys with your mind, and plays on your preconceptions of how Fallout’s missions work.
Boomtown 7.
All previous pieces of content released for Fallout 3 have had brilliant script writing, with a story and main quest that grips you and makes you want to keep playing. The same can be said about Point Lookout. It does however have one disappointing part to it, and that’s the ending.

Again, I won’t spoil it for you, but you have choices to make at the end. Do you go for option A, or option B? There is even an option C depending on how you play the game. One of these endings is disappointing in the way it is written, as it finishes quite quickly and abruptly. You finish off the main quest and part of you expects something else to happen, someone to speak to you maybe, a room to unlock, but it never happens. You just don’t get the feeling that it’s finished.
Cheat Code Central 4.3/5.
In fact, almost all of the enemies you’ll run into in Point Lookout are far tougher than the past few DLC installments, and their primitive weapons do a lot more damage than you’d expect. We went in armed with a full arsenal and an experience level ranging in the mid-20s and still wound up taking frequent dirt naps. Even with the heaviest weaponry you may have accrued from past adventures, including the über-powerful Telsa Cannon from Broken Steel, you’re going to find yourself sucking down all the stomachs you can get your hands on and running like hell more often than you’d care to admit. Perhaps to balance out the challenge, the expansion also introduces a new Punta fruit that litters the area. These can be chomped on to decrease your radiation level and heal a few health points, and you’ll want to collect all that you can find. The challenge is certainly a welcome one, yet it’s a little unexpected given the kinds of adversaries you’ll tussle with. These thick-skinned rednecks make Super Mutants look like wimps.
GameDaily 9.
The town of Point Lookout lacks the bombed out look of the Wasteland, replaced with an aged seaside boardwalk with a Ferris wheel and a bland backdrop -- irradiated swamplands, stuffed animals attached to the limbs of trees, decrepit country homes, a mansion, a military base (if you look hard enough) and a staple in any coastal town, a lighthouse. The overall vibe feels like the Blair Witch Project movie, without the shaky puke cam.
Gamervision 8.5.
The main missions all revolve around the Calvert Mansion and its primary inhabitant, a ghoul named Desmond. After helping him fend off an invasion by a strange tribe, you’ll find yourself traveling all over Point Lookout in order to find out just what’s going on. One particular chapter of this expansion’s story will have you enjoying a very reflective acid trip. It could have been handled poorly and been a disaster of a mission, but Bethesda really nails the experience, and instead of being a joke, the whole turn of events is rather creepy and real. I won’t say how it all concludes, but the main story you’ll be trying to complete is full of twists, action, and is well worth the price of admission. The side missions in the expansion are all pretty unique, and one group in particular will add more depth to the history of the Fallout universe. All told you’ll probably spend upwards of four hours trying to get all 100 achievement points, which is par for the course so far on Bethesda’s add-ons.
Gaming Nexus B.
I did run into a few bugs it seems here and there as I was playing the game. Various times when I was walking in the open areas I would encounter a stutter in the game where it would just not stay smooth when walking. One time the PipBoy screen was so bright I couldn't read anything on it. Another time the position of the PipBoy was up too high and the screen cut off the top quarter of the screen. I've also had the game lock up on me so there are some issues that need to be resolved. The only one that I couldn't get to go away of course was the lockup but any other issue I had to toggle a few things here and there in some screens and it seemed to fix it.

What Point Lookout has going for it is a unique location and a different setting. The enemies are tougher and the swamp areas are done well. While the items aren't going to be that interesting for folks in the higher levels, those around 17 and up should get some nice useful items out of the deal as well as finding some great challenges to deal with in fighting tribal folks, inbred monsters, and swamplurks. There's a good solid 3 hours of the main quest and another few hours for the side quests as well. You're also welcome to travel back and forth from Point Lookout to the Capital Wasteland during and after the end of the main quest so there's that benefit of revisitation. It's not as good as Broken Steel in my opinion but it is about the same as the Pitt for me in terms of how much I liked it. A solid DLC, I'm eagerly awaiting the next one titled Mothership Zeta. But for now, Point Lookout's a good departure into an area not inhabited by mutants and Raiders while offering up some good challenges even for seasoned characters.

Posted by Per - at 1:36

Bethesda's Jeff Gardiner was interviewed by OXM UK. Among other things he said that the alien romp is primarily an action deal with "the most powerful weaponry in the game".

With the Mothership responding to the distress beacon of Recon Craft Theta, will we find out the back-story of Theta?
Yes of course! Let's just say that the aliens don't have the best intentions for mankind. Players will be able to see the aliens interacting with their environment and themselves - eventually they'll uncover their nefarious plot, but not without the help of the other abductees. Let's just say, the aliens have been watching the planet evolve for quite some time...

Will the bulk of DLC take place on the mothership?
Yes, nearly all of it.

What was the design process for both Mothership and the aliens?
We already had a number of concepts to work with, including an alien corpse. The fit for DLC was natural, we're able to explore and experiment with things we weren't able or willing to on the main game. Going to an alien mothership is perfect for this type of content.

What's the focus - are we talking more action, like Operation: Anchorage, or an exploration-ridden affair?
There will be elements of exploration, and the ship is not linear - however it is an action-focused DLC. As mentioned, the player will also have to elicit the help of others whom have also been captured.
He also said they're going for something different with the last DLC on account of having already covered all the expected Fallouty bases or something.

Thanks to Glovz.

Posted by Per - at 1:23

Bethesda's Ashley Cheng was interviewed by GameObserver. Among other things he said that Bethesda are heavily invested in their modified Gamebryo engine and thus unlikely to ditch it anytime soon.

GameObserver: How does the Gamebryo engine differ from other engines, like Unreal, given the types of games you tend to make?

Ashley Cheng: We’ve been building on top of Gamebryo for the past 8 years. There is no replacement for the learning and iteration that goes into building technology for that long. An engine is simply a tool. Anybody can use a paint brush and paper – it’s how you use it to create your art. It is the same with game engines.

We are very particular with our needs and they are mostly related to our editor. Our editor is powerful, allowing our content folks to quickly create quests, conversations, cities, dungeons, landscape, etc... you name it -- we do it faster than anybody else in the industry. No one can match us when it comes to vast, open-ended beautiful worlds full of NPCs, quests and dialogue.

GameObserver: Are you planning on changing or updating the engine in future projects, and if so, what changes are we to see in future games from a technical point of view.

Ashley Cheng: Absolutely. While we would never start from scratch completely, we often redesign and upgrade systems between projects. The important thing is to properly scope your time, resources and priorities before you start the work. We also spend a lot of time in preproduction, trying new things out -- this is one of the most important phases of our development.

GameObserver: One of the biggest complaints about Fallout 3 was that it resembles Oblivion too much. What made your team decide to make it play like The Elder Scrolls game? Was it a marketing decision (to attract Oblivion fans) or a technical decision (easier to use the same tools and programming techniques)?

Ashley Cheng: Well, we mostly made a Fallout game that we ourselves want to play. We also wanted to leverage our strengths as a studio, and one of our biggest strengths is making big, open ended worlds ripe for exploration. So whether we’re making an Elder Scrolls or Fallout title (or any other title for that matter), you can be assured there will be a huge open ended world for you to explore. You aren’t going to get a Final Fantasy style RPG from us because we’re not interested in making RPGs that way (though we do LOVE playing Final Fantasy).
He also assured PS3 owners that the GotY version of Fallout 3 for the PS3 will include all the DLC.

Thanks to Glovz.

News for Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 21:25

Rex Exitium editorializes on how Fallout 3 rehashes a lot of plot points from Fallout 1, 2, Tactics and BoS. Spoiler warnings apply.

The Brotherhood Of Steel

In both Fallout Tactics and Fallout 3, the player is forced to join a splinter faction within the Brotherhood of Steel in order to continue the storyline. In the first Fallout, joining the Brotherhood was simply optional. They barely played a role in Fallout 2, having declined in power due to an on-going war with the New California Republic. It should be noted that Fallout 3 takes place many years after the events of Fallout 2, so their presence in Washington D.C. is confusing.

Similarities to FOBOS

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, or FOBOS as it is known is an immensely unpopular action game that took apart the Fallout setting for the purpose of making Interplay a quick buck by being released as a generic console title.

That being said, the game shares similarities with Fallout 3's plot, in that both games feature a Vault full of FEV, which by all accounts in the original RPGs are a rare, classified substance, and both games feature a Brotherhood of Steel elder forming a splinter faction in a location remote from the organization's headquarters, against council orders, in order to deal with a Super Mutant threat.
Spotted on GameBanshee.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:18

I'll try to do another roundup for Point Lookout reviews later. If you're looking for general info, screens, achievement overviews and the like (and for some reason don't use The Vault), then GameBanshee will service you. Their review is a bit incongruous with the others; while most reviewers seem to consider Point Lookout one of the best DLCs, GameBanshee rates it below Broken Steel and the Pitt. Quest design seems to be a major negative factor.

Point Lookout has dozens of places to visit, including decaying manor houses, a bank, and some cave systems, but they’re all on the small side, and they don’t take long to explore. There are also ten quests available, but they’re on the small side as well, and the whole DLC only takes about five hours to complete. That was a problem for me because nothing in the DLC gave me any sense of accomplishment. The encounters and quests were over before I could get into them.

As an example, at one point a guy asks you to find a book. Well, to claim the book you only have to kill about five enemies in one small basement, which takes about five minutes. If you then return the book to the guy, that’s it, quest over. But in one of exactly two places in the DLC where you actually get to make a decision, you can also choose to destroy the book. For that case you have to visit the Dunwich Building in the capital wasteland, and, in amazingly great contrast, the Dunwich Building is about five times larger and five times more interesting than anything in the DLC, and it puts all of the new content to shame. If I’m working for Bethesda, I don’t make that sort of contrast so easy to notice.

News for Monday, July 6, 2009

Posted by Per - at 20:11

Ausir describes the situation like so:

Between June 19 and 21, in a deserted Soviet military base near Leningrad, a LARP (live-action roleplay) game Fallout 2009: Ничто человеческое (Fallout 2009: Nothing Personal) based on the Fallout series took place. It was organized by the "Albion" group and ca. 300 fans took part in it, after months of preparations.
The LARP was set in 2257, 180 years after the Great War, between Fallout 2 and Fallout 3. The players dressed up as Brotherhood of Steel paladins and scribes, raiders, ghouls, super mutants and New California Rangers, while the game masters reconstructed Sierra Army Depot, Mariposa and New Reno, with bars, casinos and other institutions.
Never mind the casinos, look at the lupins! You could choke a cat to death on those lupins.

Link: Fallout 2009: Nothing Personal LARP @ The Vault
Link: Many photographs from the event @ LiveJournal

News for Saturday, July 4, 2009

Posted by Per - at 0:57

This press release reveals some details about FOnline: 2238, one of the games slated to make use of the FOnline engine.

The small indie development group, "Rotators", supported by the main developer of FOnline, A. Tsvetinsky "Cvet", are proud to present FOnline: 2238, the new massively multiplayer game, free of charge, based on the famous award-winning CRPG titles Fallout and Fallout 2.


The game adds several unique features regarding the players and their interactions, be it with other players, their respective groups or NPCs. First of all, there are groups: factions, gangs - call them whatever you like, which determine the fate of the world. Some of them are more powerful than others, some are cunning and treacherous, some even hideous. But they are there, conflicting with each other, or aligning with the policies of the greater powers - those who have technological advances, political power, are just plain bigger, or any other advantages over them. Choose your way: join your favorite group and spread their agenda throughout the wasteland. Decide for yourself how to handle the resistance - with good will or stubbornness. Respect the authorities or lead a revolution to throw them off the throne - it is your world, you decide.


From the technical point of view, the game will bring back the good old 2D isometric perspective. The engine supports several new features like object opacity and support for the PNG graphics format. The scripting language being used is the AngelCode Scripting Library (or simply AngelScript) created by Andreas Jonsson. The system requirements for the game can be considered minimal for today's mainstream computing: MS Windows 2000/XP/Vista, 56K or better internet connection and Fallout 2 CD. There are reports the game will run under Linux too (using WINE emulation), but generally we do not support it. English being the only supported language.
Not in direct competition with FOOL, it seems. Which could be a good thing, or is it etc. Note that the site seems to be a bit slow, so don't panic if the link doesn't work the first five or ten times.

News for Thursday, July 2, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 19:38

I've seen horrors... horrors that you've seen. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies. And I remember... I... I... I cried. I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget.

Posted by Brother None - at 19:36

We don't usually post on all the Fallout 3-related sales, but considering the popularity of Steam it'll probably interest quite a few people that Fallout 3 is now 50% off in an early-started weekend deal.

Weekend Deal - Save 50%
What better way to enjoy your weekend than to fight for survival against the terrors of a post-nuclear Washington D.C.? Fallout 3 is 50% off, this weekend only.
44,99€ 22,49€

Posted by Brother None - at 16:27

Plenty of reviews for Point Lookout have popped up, and the consensus seems to be this is one of the better DLCs. G4.

Point Lookout has taken development lessons and fan criticism from Operation Anchorage, The Pitt and Broken Steel into account, successfully eliminating almost all of their problems, resulting in the Fallout 3 expansion we've all been waiting for. Point Lookout takes place away from the wastelands, but rather than dumping players into a small, contained new environment, Point Lookout is its own new zone. There's plenty to explore, with many new adventure triangles tugging at you in the corner of the screen. I'd tried to keep myself on the main quest path in order to finish Point Lookout as soon as possible, but failed more than a few times -- I just had to see what was hidden away.
MTV Multiplayer.
There’s a level of cleverness in the writing of the quests in “Point Lookout” that reminds of The Dark Brotherhood quests from “Oblivion.” A dark twinge with a definite sense of humor is present in all of them. For example, one has you taking soil samples from around the landscape to determine if the leftover bodies from the Civil War have made “Point Lookout” a viable oil drilling location.
Big Download Blog.
There's little reason to return to Point Lookout once all the quests are completed. With the exception of Operation Anchorage, previous expansions included collection trade-ins, like super mutant blood samples for the Brotherhood of Steel to study or parts toward building a new Liberty Prime in Broken Steel. In The Pitt, players won access to the steel refineries to convert scrap metal into ammunition. The most Point Lookout has to offer is a chance to distill moonshine for booze and profit. The problem with this system is that punga fruit is one of the main ingredients of moonshine, and you need a lot of it. Although they grow naturally in the wild, they don't seem to grow back - at least not in any amount of time we were willing to sit for. Plus, despite infiltrating the cult, we were never privy to the secrets of refined punga fruit harvesting, so there went our dreams of cornering the market. Over time, players will eventually exhaust all the fruit in the area, leaving little reason to return. Installing the add-on stocks punga fruit in the inventory of many of the traders across the Capitol Wasteland, but that simply underscores the point.
VGChartz 8.3.
Unlike in Broken Steel, the new weapons you can find in Point Lookout aren't very flashy. The Double-Barrel Shotgun is widely available at shops, hidden in containers, and dropped from enemies. It's got more power than the unique Terrible Shotgun, but fires two shells with each shot and has to be reloaded after every shot. It's pretty effective at taking out multiple weaker enemies in VATS, though you have to be careful - there's a bug where if you only have one shell remaining and try to fire the two-shell shot in VATS, the game will lock up on you. There's also a Lever-Action Rifle, which holds 10 rounds and is pretty accurate over long distance in VATS, but isn't particularly powerful. One quest reward will give you a unique version of this - the Backwater Rifle - with a bit more kick. There are also some new melee weapons - an axe, a shovel, and a couple knives, with unique versions of each that do even more damage. The unique axe, The Dismemberer, has a pretty quick attack rate and does about as much damage as the Lever-Action Rifle. The final new weapon is the Microwave Emitter, a damage-dealing version of the Mesmetron that does about as much damage as a shotgun but is pretty difficult to aim and use outside of VATS.
Xbox 360 Achievements 9.
Each expansion to Fallout 3 has been more expansive than the last. Operation Anchorage was pretty confined, The Pitt added a small-scale new city, Broken Steel offered reasonably open areas and a new level cap, and now Point Lookout trumps all three with an enormous, open area to traverse, adding about as much real estate to the game as the other three expansions combined. The swampy region of Point Lookout has a unique look that sets it apart from the DC wastelands, with forested marshes, deserted plains, and rugged cliffs being battered by ocean waves. With dozens of locations to discover, explorers could easily be traversing the wetlands for hours hunting everything down. Mutated wastelanders and feral ghouls roam this region, and players will have to stay sharp to survive, as Point Lookout is the most challenging of Fallout 3's additional quest lines. If you've ever complained about Fallout 3's expansions not being "big enough," Point Lookout surely won't disappoint.
WorthPlaying 9.2.
My personal favorite quest, "The Velvet Curtain," involved completing the mission of a long-dead Chinese spy. Even though my character showed up about a hundred years too late, I still felt like James Bond when I was tracking down a person whose molar contained submarine self-destruct codes or when I was using special glasses to discover a hidden bunker and uncover hidden equipment caches with items vital to my success. All of the side-quests are incredibly solid, and they give you incentive to stick around Point Lookout long after you've finished the work you came here to do. I'm still combing the map to look for new locations and rewards, as this place really is stuffed to the gills with adventure.
Point Lookout also contains some nasty new adversaries in the form of inbred swampfolk, insane cult members and amphibious mire-lurks and swamplurkers. Admittedly, they are all re-skinned versions of other creatures in the Fallout 3 universe, but they suit the rustic swamp environment better than say, a team of super mutants would.

Some of the new creatures are also far tougher than enemies that players may have faced up until now; the Feral Ghoul Reavers, in particular, are diabolically hard opponents. Players may have encountered them before in the Capital Wasteland, but in Point Lookout they seem more dangerous than ever. Not only can they reduce your health by half with three well-placed blows, they also hurl radioactive goop with uncanny accuracy which can cripple limbs at around 300 yards. They also have the ability to absorb damage as though they're made out of Teflon; most weapons may as well be peashooters for all the harm they do to these creatures (notable exceptions being the Gatling Laser, the Tesla Cannon and the Gauss Rifle). To top it all off, most Feral Ghoul Reavers hunt in packs, so you can be assured of doing a lot of running (and when that fails, dying) in most encounters with them. The swampfolk, also hunt in groups and in large numbers they can be quite deadly – they can also end up fighting among themselves on occasion which is useful if your health is running low.
GameZone 8.5.
However, even though the focus has shifted towards exploring, there are still some hardcore firefights to be had. There are some new low-tech weapons to be found in the mix are shovels, axes, and double-barreled shotguns. The battles are action-packed and implemented very well within the base game’s combat system.
Unlike the other DLC, there are a couple features that really stick out besides the different type of environment to explore. First, this is one area that you are not going to want to explore unless you have purchased the Broken Steel DLC. If you are anything less than level 20, I highly suggest staying in Washington DC. Fighting insane inbreed hicks is a lot more difficult than it sounds as they are some of the game’s toughest enemies. I never thought I would get so much use out of my Tesla Cannon, the killer weapons to find during Broken Steel. Without this powerful gun, my time in the swamp would have been a lot harder.
There's also a video review available from GameTrailers (thanks Alphadrop).

Posted by Brother None - at 16:22

Glutton Creeper, erstwhile of an attempted Fallout PnP but now turned into post-apocalyptic Fallout-clone PnP Exodus, has released a few more books for post-apocalyptic pen and paper players.

Exodus Wasteland Bestiary
Format: Softbound (96 pages b/w) The Wasteland Bestiary is a stand-alone OGL product to be used in conjunction with the Exodus d20 Survivor's Guide or Exodus OGL Survivor's Guide. The Bestiary details common animals and other wasteland terrors that survived the Exodus through adaptation, evolution, and mutation. A fully customizable creature build system (similar to the Custom Class) is built into the Bestiary along with a alternative EXPERIENCE combat system.

The Exodus Wasteland Bestiary is fully compatible with any Modern or 3.5 books.
Exodus Southwest Wasteland Guide
Format: Softbound (166 pages b/w)
The Southwest Wasteland Guide is a stand-alone OGL product to be used in conjunction with the Exodus d20 Survivor's Guide or Exodus OGL Survivor's Guide. The Southwest Wasteland Guide expands the character build details presented in the Survivor's Guide, offering a new class template, feats, occupations, talents, and traits, as well as organizational-based Advanced Classes and new equipment. Additionally the organizations and settlements of the southwest United States briefly detailed in the Survivor's Guide are expanded greatly detailing the goals and leadership of each one.

The Exodus Southwest Wasteland Guide is fully compatible with any Modern or 3.5 books.