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News for Thursday, December 31, 2009

Posted by Per - at 19:49

The Mutants Rising mod for Fallout 2 is so completish that the team is already working on an expansion, but no release date is yet set. Says project lead Chris Parks:

Mutants Rising has been alpha testing for the past month or so, and we are working to release a stable build. We would rather not release a piece of software with disappearing car trunks and random CTDs. Testing has already chewed up and spit out a couple of people.

Our sole scriptor and leader has not been well, and has had a few other RL issues, which has unfortunately lead to some delays, as well as other issues i.e. diminished team. We where hoping for a Christmas release, but did not want to set a public release date luckily enough. Hang in there though, as we have all the groundwork for a final release now, apart from a few maps which are being worked on right now. We still do not want to set an official release date as RL is an unpredictable thing, but MR should be in your hands in the first half of 2010.
There's some music and pictures up for grabs and also if you consider yourself a writer they can use you in sinister ways.

Link: MR progress report @ NMA

Posted by Per - at 16:55

Duck and Cover again sticks its nose into the court proceedings between Interplay and Bethesda, now to find that Bethesda is changing law firms from giant DLA Piper to not-so-giant Steptoe & Johnson LLC. Whether this hints at desperation, displeasure, despondency or anything else that begins with D we can only speculate. And here at Planet Legal Battle we never do that.

News for Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Posted by Per - at 16:09

The 11th and final part of Mad Nation is up. But death is not the end, for an "upcoming web-series that picks up where the movie leaves off will be starting next month". In case someone is beginning to suspect we'll rename the site to Planet Mad Nation, I can almost guarantee by that time we'll also have newsposted on Fallout or something.

News for Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 19:08

Interplay has filed to regain about 10,000 USD from Bethesda on legal fees following the denial of the preliminary injunction, Duck and Cover reports.

Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 54 and Rule 109.2 of the Local Rules of the United States Disctrict Court for the District of Maryland, Defendant/Counter-Claimant Interplay Entertainment Corp. ("Interplay"), hereby moves the Court for an award of the attorney fees and expenses that it incurred in successfully defending against the Motion for Preliminary Injunctions (the "Motion") filed against it by Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant Bethesda Softworks, LLC, ("Bethesda").
Spotted on GameBanshee.

News for Monday, December 28, 2009

Posted by Per - at 13:19

Part 10 of post-apocalyptic drama Mad Nation has a girl holding a feather and that is really all I know.

News for Saturday, December 26, 2009

Posted by Morbus - at 17:42

Post apocaliptic fantasy independent RPG "Age of Decadence" has finally materialized itself into a playable demo. It's meant to showcase the combat system above all, so don't let the eventual lack of non-combat situations let you down. I haven't played it myself, but early reports suggest instability. Still, here are the links:

Link: AoD_demo.exe @ File Front
AoD_demo.exe @ RapidShare
AoD_demo.exe @ Deposit Files

There's no announcement at their official site reportedly because they didn't find the time to update it, but you can head over to their forums and post on the Combat Demo Discussions section. Don't forget to read the survival guide.

If you want to know more about the game itself, here's the unofficial FAQ and here's the unofficial gallery.

Posted by Per - at 0:19

Part 9 of post-apocalyptic drama Mad Nation sees an abrupt shift in pace from shootouts and beatings to carrot farming and windmill construction. A lot of love and CGI went into those killer bunnies.

News for Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Posted by Morbus - at 22:12

And another part of Mad Nation appears in PerniciousParadise's YouTube channel. A few offbeat gunfights... and more.

Posted by Per - at 13:47

Polish Fallout site Trzynasty Schron celebrates its 10th anniversary by squeezing some information from Obsidian personages Chris Avellone and Josh Saywer, concerning not the future but the past.

Jim Cojones: Despite the short development time of Fallout 2, the game was huge, much bigger than the predecessor, but amount of cut-content was also quite big. Which one of elements that didn't appear in the game did You miss most?

Chris Avellone: The EPA. I posted the level specs in a Fallout Bible a while back, but I was looking forward to building out that location.

Oddly enough, the second thing I miss was the original cover that was planned for Fallout 2's box (not sure if Jason Anderson or Leonard Boyarsky did the art, but it looked great, and it mirrored the Fallout 1 cover and put a tribal twist on it that I thought was a nice connection).

Jim Cojones: There are also two MMO mods for Fallout 2 - FOnline: The Life After and slightly different FOnline: 2238 that are in open beta phase. Have You been following any news on them or seen them in action?

Josh Sawyer: The only one I have seen much of is FOnline: 2238. In a way, its Ultima Online-like griefer brutality seems to be pretty appropriate for the Fallout setting. At its core, Fallout is about humanity's limitless passion for snuffing the life out of people for any and every reason. Gangs of assholes stomping another player's brahmin for profit and amusement seems to be a lot more fitting than farming mobs of geckos.
CA refers to Van Buren as "Fallout 3" and feels a tap on the shoulder.

News for Monday, December 21, 2009

Posted by verevoof - at 18:52

From New Vegas lead J.E. Sawyer's twitter.

Did i just corrupt the .esm three days before going on a two week vacation? maybe. no big deal. wanna fight about it?
Things not going too well?
*deletes 200 forms from GECK*
Thanks DaC.

btw everyone i didn't actually corrupt our .esm, just my local .esp. it requires a lot more effort to mess up the .esm.
Oh Josh, how you kid us.

Thanks Ausir.

News for Saturday, December 19, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 17:01

Interplay has re-released a piece of concept art that was amongst Interplay's court filings to their forums, namely the Frozen Shipyard piece (which was available at DaC with ugly watermarks and The Vault without said watermarks earlier).

The concept artist, Serg Souleiman explains that none of these pieces are really telling us anything about the game.

I just wanted to clarify the purpose of these exploratory concept art pieces that I been posting.
They were really early pre-production images that we were exploring with Jason Anderson at the beginning of the project.

The purpose of images is to "explore" ideas, settings, color, mood, environments and to see how far we can push them visually. Some may be way out of the realm of possibilities, others have elements that will be used and/or expanded on.

These images also help the designers like Chris Taylor to fuel design ideas and stories.

These images are not the actually in game art, or anything in that nature. They were randomly selected to show the fans and see what the reaction would be.
I feel it’s a good way of keeping in touch with the fans. It's great to read your “constructive reasoning" and input on these images.

There are many more images that we have that you will one day get to see.

On a final note;
Think of the concepts as notes, or drafts before one was to write a book. Not all of these note or ideas end up in the final book but they do serve a purpose.

Thank you all for all the feedback..
Thanks King of Creation.

News for Thursday, December 17, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 16:56

J.E. Sawyer has said a bunch of things with no real relation to or information about Fallout: New Vegas. Ausir sums up. On G.E.C.K., character creation and damage thresholds.

The retail GECK is almost identical to the dev GECK. Version control is the one very notable difference. Obviously having access to the source code allows Bethesda to build-in/retrofit for things that designers can't do through the GECK itself, which endusers can't do.
Believe me -- we had the same sort of problem when NWN2 was released. People insisted that we could not possibly have made NWN2 with the retail toolset. To an extent, that's true; for most of development, the NWN2 toolset was actually much, much worse.
And Sawyer watched a teaser trailer.
Fallout: New Vegas lead designer J.E. Sawyer has posted on his twitter that he has "just watched a pretty sweet teaser trailer. owns." Could it mean that New Vegas trailer is coming soon?

Posted by Brother None - at 1:57

Interplay does an "I won!" in an 8-K filing.

On December 10, 2009, the Hon. Deborah K. Chasanow, Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland denied a Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed by Bethesda Softworks LLC ("Bethesda") against Interplay seeking to stop Interplay from selling FALLOUT(R), FALLOUT(R) 2, FALLOUT(R) Tactics, and FALLOUT(R) Brotherhood of Steel and to prevent Interplay from creating a FALLOUT(R)-branded massively-multiplayer online game prior to a trial and final determination on the merits. Interplay will continue to defend its rights and pursue its Counter-Claims against Bethesda, including its claims for Breach of Contract, Tortious Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage, Rescission, Accounting and Declaratory Relief seeking an award of damages and other relief.
Meanwhile, Gamasutra asked Bethesda their thoughts.
"The court has declined to decide the issues at a preliminary hearing, and determined that the parties should maintain the current status quo pending a trial of the case in 2010," said Bethesda Softworks PR and marketing VP Pete Hines in an email to Gamasutra.

Hines did not comment on further details of the case, as it's an ongoing legal matter, although he added, "We are confident that we will prevail on our claims against Interplay."
Notice that many sites misreported the denial of temporary injunction as a denial of a permanent injunction. Ignore said reports.

frymuchan quotes Eric Caen's twitter (Eric being the brother of Herve and recently engaged in the T-Rex Rumble game.
I love justice!
Speaking of Trex Rumble, Interplay's website now has footage of Prehistorik Man and T-Rex Rumble (both available for DSi) on its frontpage. It also recently added another career listing, for a content designer, once again for a post-apocalyptic MMO.

Thanks Ausir and King of Creation.

News for Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 23:23

We have reported of the Zenimax purchase of id Software before. Originally, the rights to publish the post-apocalyptic shooter Rage remained with EA, but Bethesda's publishing arm has now bought out said rights, GameSpot reports.

After Zenimax announced the acquisition, EA said that it had retained the rights to publish Rage, which has not yet been dated for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, and Mac. However, that changed today, as Zenimax announced that Rage will now be published by its subsidiary Bethesda Softworks.

Zenimax explicitly noted that EA will no longer be involved in any way with the game's sale or marketing. Bethesda's parent company further stated that Rage's development will not be affected by the change in publisher.
This means Bethesda has an outside shot at publishing a decent outhouse game for the first time in its publishing career.

Thanks ][avok.

News for Saturday, December 12, 2009

Posted by Nark - at 13:02

We seem to have skipped straight over concept art #8 to head to #9, ominously entitled Powerup.

News for Friday, December 11, 2009

Posted by Sander - at 4:03

While earlier we reported wrongfully that Interplay had won its preliminary injunction hearing, it appears it was merely premature. Ausir is reporting that Interplay has now won its preliminary injunction:

Motion Hearing held on 12/10/2009 re [3] MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Bethesda Softworks LLC - Argued - "DENIED" as stated on the record by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow. (Court Reporter - Sharon O'Neill) (td, Deputy Clerk)
This means that Interplay will be allowed to continue to sell the Fallout Trilogy pack and continue work on Project V13 until the case is decided.

Thanks, Ausir.

News for Thursday, December 10, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 22:02

Interplay seems to be on a roll when it comes to hiring people ever since the lawsuit started, and now they're looking for a producer, with the usual "Previous MMORPG experience" and "Familiarity with the post-apocalyptic genre".

Posted by Brother None - at 18:06

The 7th part of Mad Nation contains that scene we've all been waiting for, director Ethan-Taranto Kent getting beaten up!

Posted by Brother None - at 18:05

Simple logic: Bethesda brought the case in as a trademark infringement case, but the dispute is obviously about contract breach. From The Vault.

BSW has now sued Interplay alleging that Interplay violated the terms of one or more of the contracts between the parties by, for example, failing to obtain BSW's approval of marketing materials and failing to secure financing with respect to the development of the online game. While BSW has sued Interplay for breach of contract and for a declaratory judgment to the effect that Interplay violated certain terms of the contracts, it has brought this entire action in this federal court based on the trademark infringement provisions of the Lanham Act. In doing so, BSW has put the cart before the horse; this is not principally a trademark infringement case that happens to involve allegations of breach of contract. Instead, the heart and soul of this case are allegations of breach of contract that happen to involve trademark rights, among other things. Under these circumstances this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear this action.
A solid way to buy time, I suppose.

Addendum: Duck and Cover has a bit more, including this claim from Bethesda that is kind of painful to read:
As a result of the inherent distinctivness of the FALLOUT Mark, and the efforts of Bethesda to finance, develop, advertise and promote "Fallout 3" over several years, Bethesda's customers and the public in general have come to know and recognize the FALLOUT Mark and to associate the Mark with Bethesda.
Addendum: You can read more about the Leder affidavit in this blog post, and read Bethesda's response to Interplay's filing here.

News for Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 23:12

Via Ausir, Fallout voice acting stalwart Ron Perlman mentions he was given the impression Fallout's being made into a film.

Apparently, in the DVD commentary for the Mutant Chronicles movie, Ron Perlman stated that he was the narrator in a action heavy videogame that he thought was being made into a movie, and where the tagline was "War never changes". Is it an actual confirmation of the Fallout movie rumors, or maybe he's just mistaken?

We cannot be certain for now, but keep in mind that earlier this year Bethesda Softworks applied for the Fallout trademark for "Entertainment services in the nature of an on-going television program" and for "motion picture films about a post-nuclear apocalyptic world". So there might be some truth to the rumors, especially given that if a Fallout movie was being made, Ron Perlman would definitely be one of the first actors approached by the studio.
Thanks anonymous and Ausir.

Oh and since I'm posting anyway, happy belated 10th anniversary to our Polish brethren at Trzynasty Schron. May many more years follow.

News for Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Posted by Brother None - at 22:20

Pretty useless since all the "survey" is is 6 random people talking on their experience, but still, a nice glitchy read if that's your thing.

Late in the game, a player can take on a quest to defend Big Town (Big Trouble in Big Town). One of the dialogue options lets the player choose to repair some robots in the junkyard. Since I was heavily invested in the science skill, I took the option. Little did I know that the game's physics engine had a glitch which caused the robots to rocket out of the junkyard to some random location outside of Big Town. The reason behind this, if I'm remembering correctly, was due to the placement of the robots in the junkyard: The 3D models for the robots were positioned in a way that put them in collision with the ground.

When the player selected the science solution, the robot models went from inactive to active, which then caused the game engine to register that collision with the ground. The physics engine was set to ridiculous in Fallout 3, so the robots went flying. Searching for them in the surrounding wasteland (which I heard was possible) was just too much of a chore. So the townsfolk would just sit around, telling me to fix the robots that were no longer in the junkyard. And the quest was non-completable.
Spotted on RPGWatch.

Posted by Brother None - at 22:16

In part one of an editorial on morality in video games, GameSpot discusses the need for morality in games and the oft black-and-white nature of them. Part two highlights the Witcher, Fallout 3, Fable and BioWare titles from KotOR onwards, the author blissfully unaware of games that did it better but are, y'know, old.

When Bethesda first looked to acquire the Fallout licence, one of the things that stood out for the publishers was the way the series handled morality. While the game's Karma system tracked players’ good, evil and neutral deeds, there was also a strong sense of moral ambiguity, meaning choices and actions went beyond the simple 'good' or 'evil'. Bethesda found this complexity convincing, and sought to implement a similar morality system in Fallout 3 that, while mechanically different, had the same spirit.

Emil Pagliarulo, lead designer for Fallout 3, says this has less to do with a well-designed morality system, and more to do with the players becoming invested in the game world.

“I’ve always felt that Bethesda’s style of games --typically first-person, with high-detail environments-- lends itself very well to this, simply because the environments are so believable so it’s much easier to get immersed and feel like you’re closer to the world and its characters,” Pagliarulo said.
Graphics are the answer to everything.
In Fallout 3, Pagliarulo and his team tried to ensure the morality meter was neither fleeting nor predictable. For example, while players know that stealing from someone’s house when they’re not around will be registered as a morally bad action by the game’s Karma system, there are a lot of situations that are left morally grey on purpose. Pagliarulo says the reason for this is because he didn’t want players to feel like the developers were the ones deciding what was right and what was wrong.

“We wanted players to make their own determinations. It was a real challenge for us to try and balance all this stuff out and to provide players with gameplay that was completely morally grey in some instances while having a Karma system that tracked specific good and bad actions in other instances.”

Posted by Brother None - at 16:42

Both Interplay (Technical Director, IT/Web Manager) And Masthead (designer, programmer) are expanding its teams (thanks anonymous and Ausir). Masthead's listings are fairly non-specific but Interplay's certainly point to working on FOOL, including this tidbit:

Interplay's development team is located in Irvine, Orange County, CA with an important sub-contractor in Bulgaria. Applicant must be available to travel to Europe as necessary.
Meanwhile, Duck and Cover has more court filings (thanks PlanHex), but there's little of interest there, other than that Interplay claims to have vetted its licensing of the Fallout PnP to Glutton Creeper with Bethesda, errr, implicitly.
The APA contains a scedule of pre-existing outbound licenses of the Fallout intellectual property entered into by Interplay. Bethesda received and reviewed the schedule as part of its due diligence before executing the APA. The APA provides that if Bethesda did not approve of the outbound licenses associated with the Fallout intellectual property, Bethesda could refuse to execute the APA without consequence.

One of the outbound licenses was to Glutton Creeper Games for the creation of a Fallout pen-and-paper role playing game based on the Pre-Existing Fallout titles. Bethesda did not object to the Glutton Creeper Games license and proceeded to execute the APA even with actual knowledge of its existence. Thus, Bethesda accepted the Glutton Creeper Games license at the time it execute the APA.