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News for Saturday, July 30, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 18:38

Old World Blues continues to impress reviewers and garners some more very positive scores.

Thunderbolt Games, 10/10.

If it’s not been made clear already, Old World Blues is essential, easily worth both the time and monetary investment not only to your own gameplay experience but also to that of your character. Besides the raised level cap, new traits, arsenal and items, once completed, the Big MT can be revisited at will. And unlike other DLC, this is one you’ll actually want to revisit again and again.
Game Revolution, B-.
Obsidian's writing makes a clear tie to this DLC with the previous Dead Money and Honest Hearts content packs, leading you into the apparent final piece of content. Sadly, everything's bogged down by long, drawn-out conversation strings that albeit funny, just slow the pacing to a crawl. At times it feels like the writers wanted to convey a bit too much info, especially in the very beginning of this download pack, when you get about ten minutes of dialogue and no action in between.

That said, Old World Blues is one of the best written DLCs for a Fallout game ever. It plays a strong part in the post-New Vegas story that the DLC packs are building, With that said, it's also one of the worst paced, with some of the most boring fetch quests you're likely to find in any Fallout game. It feels like an excuse to deliver excellent dialogue and humor, but with very few instances of quality content to actually play through.
411mania, 8.0/10.
I found the commentary and the banter in the game to be great and entertaining to listen to. However, if glitches and freezing have bugged you in the past about the game, don’t bother expecting anything new here. For owners of New Vegas, this is definitely the best content so far to check out, if only for the new items, areas and commentary to hear.
ShopToNews, 5/6.
A no brainer (sorry) for Fallout New Vegas fans, this DLC keeps the essence of the main game with plenty of action and humour. Old World Blues will certainly keep you hooked all the way through the new area it provides, making it easily the best of the current DLC available for the game.
GameOn, 9/10.
This is easily the best expansion for Fallout: New Vegas and one of the most enjoyable in the whole series to date. It is great value for money, has a clever and entertaining plot and plenty to occupy you. The new content is satisfying, powerful and the locations fun to explore and well designed. Old World Blues is exactly what a Fallout expansion should be: immersive, post-apocalyptic and full of laser-firing robotic scorpions. There’s no higher recommendation than that.
OXCGN, 9/10.
Fallout: New Vegas: Old World Blues has honestly surprised me. I expected yet another iteration of sub-par DLC that lasted around thirty minutes.

Instead, presented is a full-blown AAA piece of content that stirred my imagination, enveloped me into its strange storyline, and lasted me upwards of six hours (and that wasn’t even scratching the surface of exploration and participating in all of the sidequests).

Old World Blues is a piece of content you shouldn’t miss, and the $10USD price tag is an absolute steal.

What are you waiting for? Return to the Mojave and get sucked into the Wasteland yet again.
Shifted2U, 5/5.
The story keeps the game moving right along with your ultimate goal of stealing your brain and stopping the evil scientist in the process. Just remember, nothing is as it seems and you will have to make some decisions by the end that might keep you thinking about the end results before deciding and you might just get a glimpse as to how things will end in the last dlc for this game, Lonesome Road.

Overall, if you own Fallout: New Vegas, this add-on is a must have. Not only will it breathe life into the game, you get tons of enjoyment from the comedic undertone laid throughout it.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 13:59

It would appear that Screenjabber really enjoyed Old World Blues, as they not only award the add-on a perfect score in their review but also dedicate one of their "Game Critique Corners" to its handling of environmental storytelling.

Each of the Think Tank members has become dysfunctional in different ways with one of them becoming obsessed with the human body, one has lost their voicebox, another talks in a trashy 50s sci-fi trailer announcer guy like this: putting EMPHASIS on CERTAIN WORDS such as TERROR and the HORROR! There are three Think Tank members who have particular dysfunctional traits that are exploited heavily. Dr Klein is the leader of the group and has anger issues, Dr Dala is the body obsessed one and Dr Mobius (the main antagonist) has a drug problem.

These are just spouts of dialogue which give depth and texture to the character, which lead to why they are so different in their language. What is perhaps more interesting however is when the environmental storytelling comes knocking, when the player just so happens to visit the place that the Scientists spent when they were human called Higgs Village. Suddenly, little items like Mentats and teddy bears take on whole new meanings and it is haunting and heartbreaking to explore their homes. The juxtaposition between how hilarious the writing is and how emotional this exploration is makes Old World Blues a highlight of my New Vegas career.

Dr Klein’s home is filled with empty bottles and alcohol everywhere. Every room is stuffed with it, and as you explore his home, you only uncover more little bites of story. His clothes are about the place, his items are about everywhere and the house is packed with party gear. It seems a world away from Klein’s anger and perhaps his work took over his life and lead him away from his friends, developing his anger management issues. Dr Dala’s house is full of teddy bears, constantly referenced in her dialogue, and this reveals her obsession with the human body. The innocence of the teddy bears and way she could play with them is quite… creepy.
Thanks, GameBanshee.

Posted by Dude101 - at 1:44

Matt Wells AKA "Mash" brought us the high resolution patches for FO1, FO2, Tactics and Mapper2.exe.

Who are you?
My name's Matt Wells. I currently reside somewhere on the Queensland coast in Australia but will soon be relocating to Tasmania.

What do you do outside of modding?
This and that. The usual eat, drink and sleep. I'm pretty boring.

How did you get into Fallout modding?
It all started when I upgraded my computer a few years back and found that my favorite game looked terrible on my new wide screen LCD. It occurred to me that what fallout needed was a patch to increase the resolution. After searching the NMA forum modding section it seemed I wasn't the only one with this notion but it also seemed unlikely a real playable patch would ever be created. I'd always been intrigued how those marvelous game modding people do their thing so I decided to give it a go myself.

Where do you find inspiration for this?
It's kind of fun sifting though assembly code figuring out which function does what. It’s kind of like a giant puzzle.

What god did you pray to make Fallout so pretty? is this some kind of magic? How did you do this?
In a word 'Time', lots and lots of time. It's probably been over four year now since I first started work on the fallout 2 hi-res patch. Back then modifying games was just as mysterious to me. My first attempts to change the resolution were pretty lame and involved using a hex editor on the EXE to change references to 640 and 480. I manage to change the window resolution this way but not much else. But this was enough to inspire me to start using a debugger and learn to read assembly. Trolling the internet for info, a lot of trial and error and many hours later here we are. It's been a lot of fun and I've learnt some new skills along the way as well as making something other people can enjoy. You can’t ask for much more from a hobby.

Any advice for newcomers to the modding scene?
Enjoying the process of modding and learning new skills is probably as or more important than achieving your goals as that’s what keeps you going in the long term.

You just appeared out of nowhere and released these awesome patches. Were you lurking NMA for a while?
Yep, I've been visiting NMA for a many years. I'm not much into the whole communication thing. The need to chat, Facebook etc is kind of lost on me, guess I'm weird that way. I only got around to registering on the forums to upload the first version of the hi-res patch.

The High resolution patch for Fallout 2 has had 428942 downloads and the Fallout 1 variant has had 140531. These numbers do not include all the downloaded content it is bundled with or off site third party sites. Did you expect it too be so popular?
To be fair I don't think the counter is reset when I release a new version. But then that also means there are a lot of people who come back again and again to grab the latest version which is also amazing. It really goes to show how popular the fallouts still are after so many years.

What do you think the optimal resolution is for Fallout? Do you feel like I do, that the art loses it's charm when it is bigger than 800 by 600?
My reason for creating the hi-res patch was to play fallout on my 22" 1680x1050 LCD. I personally think it looks great at that size as images on an LCD look their best when using your monitor’s native resolution. However Fallout was designed with a lower resolution in mind and I can see how in some cases having a greater field of view might inhibit suspense somewhat by reveling stuff that would usually not be seen straight away. I still prefer my monitor’s native res but I can see why some would choose a res closer to the original. In the end it comes down to personal taste I suppose.

Do you have any future plans for the project?
Increasing the size of fallouts GUI is probably the last major thing I want to do for the hi-res patch. I have also been looking into ways to improve the mapper as well as a couple of other Fallout related projects I have in mind.

Who is your most influential modder?
Timeslip has to be at the top, he/she has done some truly amazing stuff while at the same time making it seem so effortless.
I'd also like to mention 'jdoe407' who's Fallout 2 Patcher program proved a hi-res patch was indeed possible with a lot of work.
And finally this quote by 'red', taken from a thread on higher resolutions back in 2003 which I took as a challenge:
"No it's not possible and it would entail a heck of a lot of problems even if you did put it in another resolution. The game was made for 640x480, and everything was designed to work that way."

Where do Fallout 1,2,3,NV rank in your all-time favorite titles?
Apart from fallout my other favorite series which also has an enduring community is Wing Commander. It's hard to mix the two to together in a list as they're in a completely different genre so I'll just list the fallouts.

Who is your favorite Fallout character and why?
Butch from Fallout 1. I like his dialog, he's rude and grumpy but pretty impressed when you take out the deathclaw "done and done".

What do you think about FNV?
I haven't finished it yet but I'm quite impressed so far. It’s above and beyond a better game than Fallout 3 which I didn't much like. Does anyone else get motion sickness playing 3D games?

What's your take on modern RPGs?
To be honest apart from the latest fallout additions I haven't played any in the last several years. But that’s probably an answer in itself.

What would you prioritise if you survived a nuclear war? (water, procreation, Saviour of knowledge or finding shelter)
I don't know. I'm a bit of a loner so I'd stay away from populated areas, scrounge around for life’s necessities and try to avoid getting murdered by what’s left of the human race.

News for Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 19:38

"Third time's a charm" perfectly encapsulates what happened with Obsidian's latest add-on to Fallout: New Vegas, Old World Blues, which has garnered a very positive reception from the press, compared to the rather lukewarm one Dead Money and Honest Hearts both received.

GameSpot, 8.5/10.

Fallout: New Vegas - Old World Blues' primary flaws are those that carry over from the main game. Entering VATS (the Vault-Assisted Targeting System) could result in a minute's worth of slow motion in which you never take a single shot or swipe at your target. Voice-overs might interrupt each other--a shame, when you want to savor the funny dialogue and fantastic acting. And the poor lighting and indistinct textures can make it difficult to spot mines or even quest items. But there's a good amount of content in here for enthusiasts--along with some new perks, a five-level increase to the level cap, and various weapons and clothing to take back with you into the Nevada wastes. You even earn a device called the transportalponder, which allows you to freely teleport between the crater and the desert. But the best reason Old World Blues gives you to return to Fallout: New Vegas is its nonstop humor, which is so outlandish as to make you laugh out loud, yet restrained enough to never be tasteless. At one point, you are told, "I have very good raisins for everything I do." And there is no better raisin to return to Fallout: New Vegas than this hilarious add-on.
BeefJack, 8.2/10.
Old World Blues, outside of the main quest, feels directionless. In an open world that can be both good and bad, depending on the kind of person you are. And while the main quest takes you all over, it doesn’t really encourage much exploration outside of that. If you love wandering around and finding new places, this is a must buy. If you just want more story content, weigh your options – but either way, the additional content works wonderfully with the core game.
GamePlay Today, 8.5/10.
In all, you’ll get about seven to eleven hours of gameplay out of this cheaply priced content. Considering how you’ll spend you’ll time, it’s more than worth it. Things aren’t perfect. The glitches that are present in New Vegas do occasionally make annoying appearances here and there, but the experience isn’t ruined for it. If you like a good laugh and prefer your humor on the dark side, you’ll be able to overlook the minor flaws and take Old World Blues for what it is; an engaging and deep addition to an already solid game. The quirkiness of the characters you encounter along the way is awkwardly funny and filled with the best writing seen in Fallout in a very long time. I honestly can’t remember the last time I laughed at a toaster and that’s one of the lesser strange moments. If you’re looking for the best DLC available for New Vegas, you’ll find it in Old World Blues.
Elder-Geek, "Worth Buying".
While Old World Blues is the best of the DLC so far, it still has some minor issues. Fighting the same enemies at such a high frequency can bog down the experience, and there is only so much you can do with a post apocalyptic testing facility, so exploring all of them one after the other gets a little old. As far as bugs go, my game froze twice, enemies popped up out of nowhere a couple times and sometimes none of my bullets would hit a particular enemy while I had a 95% chance in V.A.T.S. That could be my bad luck, but it happened about half the time so I think it’s a little more than that. There are other bugs out there, but I never experienced them personally.

Despite the minor hiccups, Old World Blues is the first great addition to New Vegas. The new, free roaming atmosphere combined with the funny dialogue and the cool new equipment make it a must buy for any fan of Fallout. While Honest Hearts and Dead Money are still fun to play, if you can only get one, get Old World Blues.
Primary Ignition, 9/10.
The only complaint I have, besides the standard Fallout glitches and bugs, is that the dialog sequences can be rather long. As funny as they are, I really want to move on and go explore and play the game. This is mainly just at the beginning and very end of the DLC, so I can’t really be too harsh. They do have a whole new world to introduce, after all. Originally, this DLC was suppose to be released sometime in June with the next pack, Lonesome Road, to come out this month. I am not sure what caused the delay in this DLC, but I would like to believe that after Honest Hearts, they took a good long look at how they could improve Old World Blues. Kudos to the delay which resulted in an outstanding product. Now, I am going to go back to playing Old World Blues, because after 12 hours, I still have areas left unexplored. I did all of the quests but some of the characters in my ending seem to indicate that I missed some hidden stuff in some unexplored areas that may trigger a new quest or two.
And finally, GameTrailers has a video review, 8.6/10.

News for Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 10:56

Here's another batch of reviews for Old World Blues, which is receiving a considerably more favorable reception compared to its predecessors.

Our gracious host, AtomicGamer, awards it a 9/10 and hopes Obsidian can work on the franchise again.

For someone like me who plays these RPGs as a pretty serious completionist, eight or more hours can be squeezed out of Old World Blues in exploring, looting, completing quests, and killing. And while the previous add-on, Honest Hearts, couldn't have been more different in its look and atmosphere, many of the best parts of that DLC are also represented here - the history, the interesting characters, and fun choices make this at least as good as Obsidian's previous DLC pack. You might even prefer the more traditional Fallout-like setting here over the more nature-oriented Honest Hearts. Admittedly, you'll also still be stuck with that sort of wonky-feeling combat that we've all gotten used to in the Gamebryo engine, but Obsidian can't do much about that at this point. Despite the limitations, this is probably the best DLC addon for Fallout period.

Bethesda has announced one final DLC add-on for New Vegas that will complete the Courier's story, and that'll be it. Let's hope that the success of the game overall - even if it was never a big runaway hit - prompts Bethesda to bring Obsidian back to work on future installment of Fallout in a few years, hopefully on a new game engine. id Tech 5 seems like a pretty good fit, don't you think?
GameSpy, 4.5/5.
A handful of bugs chew their way into this immersive experience, including an all-too-frequent fast-travel crash that makes you completely reload the game... but it's still not enough to derail the DLC juggernaut that is Old World Blues. With more than 13 hours' worth of fun, hilarious, and classic Fallout content, Fallout: new Vegas -- Old World Blues is a must for any New Vegas owner.
Metro, 8/10.
That said, the best laughs come from the personality-filled appliances you find in an unusually intact apartment. From talking light switches to a surprisingly useful toaster, the Douglas Adams -esque humour is good enough that it actually makes the previous Fallout games and downloads seem considerably less interesting by comparison.

We're not sure that was necessarily the intention but if the next download (called Lonesome Road) can keep this up then Bethesda should finally have made up for all that terrible business with the horse armour…
Capsule Computers, 9/10.
Old World Blues may be the third piece of downloadable content for Fallout: New Vegas but it is by far the strongest of the bunch. There isn’t a whole lot changed from your standard gameplay formula but the amount of content added is certainly worth the price of admission. Simply running through the story alone will take the average player around six hours, but with many areas to explore it would be a waste to simply blow through the quirky and enjoyable world that has been hidden away in Big MT.
The Game Effect, 9.5/10.
Old World Blues is undoubtedly New Vegas' best and most ambitious DLC yet. Along with the update that made noticeable changes to the games performance, the unique and entertaining story that lies within Big Mountain sets the bar high for future Fallout installments.
MTV Multiplayer, scoreless.
It's remarkable how much additional work was put into "Old World Blues." Every facet of the DLC bleeds quality and cleverness, from the voice acting to the quests to the exploration. If you're a fan of "Fallout" and have $10 to spend, there's no reason you shouldn't be spending it on "Old World Blues."

News for Sunday, July 24, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 20:23

We have rounded up another batch of reviews for Fallout: New Vegas' latest DLC, Old World Blues, which keep in line with the positive reception the wacky add-on has received so far.

IGN, 8.0/10.

The brightest spot of Old World Blues is the dialogue. Character interactions are fantastic and I laughed out loud on numerous occasions. The five brains that reside in the Think Tank are an extremely entertaining bunch – Dr. O reminds me of Norm MacDonald, Dr. Klein's voice module was altered to constantly yell, Dr. 8 only speaks in radio static, Dr. Borous talks like a sports announcer and Dr. Dala is a sultry-voiced female who's turned-on by your human form and climaxes in a shower of energy cells. Yeah, they went there.
Just Push Start, 4.5/5.
Old World Blues is the best DLC for Fallout New Vegas so far. It has set the bar for the upcoming Lonesome Road add-on. It’s cast of varied and unique character are at the heart of the experience. Each one helps liven up the already enticing story a little bit more. As for content, well this is Fallout; there’s plenty of it. However, players may feel fatigue part-way through from the similarly designed missions as they work through the story. Overall, Old World Blues is one of the greatest entries to Fallout DLC and should not be missed by any fan of the game.
Piki Geek, 5/5.
Old World Blues is everything that the previous New Vegas DLCs were not – funny, content-heavy and fun to play rather than being ponderous and slow. My only real complaint is that the five extra experience levels are used up quickly thanks to the abundance of combat encounters, so giving us an extra 10 levels instead might have been preferable. Still, it’s far and away the best piece of DLC available for Fallout: New Vegas (hell, it beats a few of Fallout 3’s DLC packs as well) and should not be missed.
Australian Gamer, scoreless.
In all honesty I don't believe there is any part of Old World Blues that I really disliked, aside from the already present modicum of jankiness provided by Fallout: New Vegas itself. As a DLC package, its brilliant fun and adds cool new content to the Mojave. I guess the only complaint I can think of is that outside of a desire for more Fallout: New Vegas content, there is no real reason to purchase the DLC. If you're looking for some fun new quests and characters and locations, it's brilliant and well worth the purchase. But unlike things like the Shadow Broker pack for Mass Effect 2, or the Broken Steel pack for Fallout 3, there's nothing game changing within. It's the classic example of a four-out-of-five star piece of content – it is fun and adds a bunch of content for players who are already invested, but it's not the sort of thing that will convince new players to jump in on the Fallout bandwagon.
And finally, Duck and Cover, scoreless, really enjoyed the humor.
I loved this dlc, personally, I find the jokes funny, the area engaging to explore, and the new toys fun to play with. The story itself is thin on the ground in this one, but the point of this one isn't the story. Think of it as one big, long, Fallout 2 style special encounter, ala the City at the Edge of Forever event. And that's sorta what will probably influence if you like this or not the most. It really does sorta play as a post apocalyptic episode of the Venture Brothers, and if you enjoy that show, you are likely to be deeply amused. If not...well there's still alot here along the lines of useful content, weapons, armor, and The Sink.The Sink alone is a helpful boon for hardcore players. If you're interested, I'd say this is the first dlc worth the price of admission right now. Again, this is my opinion, yours may vary, yadda yadda yadda.

News for Saturday, July 23, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 22:38

GameBanshee offers a meaty two-page review on the New Vegas Old World Blues DLC. No score but the reviewer is impressed even though he also warns against the tone not working for everyone.

There is a unique wrinkle in Old World Blues, however, and it's something I absolutely need to bring up, something which goes beyond the focus of this review, and concerns the Fallout franchise as a whole. Going back to Fallout 2, there's been a division in the series' fanbase over what tone is best suited to the games. Many maintain that the original Fallout's self-seriousness, commitment to canon, and consistent atmosphere marks it as the better game, while plenty others enjoy Fallout 2's tendency towards absurdity, humour, pop-culture tie-ins, and generally more upbeat attitude. Personally, I'm a little bit on the fence - Fallout 2's humour and inconsistency got on my nerves, but I do prefer its more diverse and significantly larger world, not to mention plenty of other gameplay improvements. I fully understand both perspectives on the matter, and why it has to some degree split the fanbase in two.

Why do I bring this up? Well, one of New Vegas' most-praised points by the original fanbase was the return to the franchise's roots, casting off much of the absurdity that crept into Fallout 2 and more so into Fallout 3. With that in mind, it's worth saying it straight out: Old World Blues is just plain ridiculous. It's silly, it's hilarious, and often winks at the fourth wall. It grabs hold of those 1950s underpinnings the original series had, and inflates them to the point where Old World Blues feels about as tongue-in-cheek as a game can be. And this, really, is the deciding point on whether you should pick up Old World Blues, because right from the moment you start it, it doesn't let up. As good as it is, I have no problem telling some players that they simply might not like it, because of how close to heart they hold Fallout and how strongly-conceived a vision they may have of it.

Posted by Eternal - at 5:57

Ctrl+Alt+Defeat discusses Fallout's iconic catchphrase in their latest issue, a one-page treatise that concludes no constant is to be found in the games making it an empty phrase.

Destructoid responds.

All of this is contextualized with history itself. “The Romans waged war to gather slaves and wealth. Spain built an empire from its lust for gold and territory. Hitler shaped a battered Germany into an economic superpower. "But war never changes. ”

Which is to say, the war in the game is in the same vein as war waged for avarice and lust, both of which cannot be said to be reasons for "just" war. That’s what I believe the phrase refers to: never changes because it is never justified. An unjustified war is an absurd war. The absurdity of this all is further implied when we take into consideration that the “Spoils of war were also its weapons.” War is being that more war can be waged. How stupid is that?

The same can be said of the "war" we find in the game itself. In the first Fallout specifically, the war between the super mutant army and humanity is the central conflict. Super mutants are a direct consequence of pre-war actions. West-Tek developed a series of technologies for the American government in the game, one of which included a drug that was meant to help defend against possible biological warfare from China. While the drug was successful in combating biological weapons, the side effects caused extreme growth in muscle and brain function. Naturally, these effects enamored the government, who then wanted to use the Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV) to create super-soldiers.

The experiment was never fully finished, but facility in which this all took place was later rediscovered by Richard Grey. Richard Grey is exposed to FEV and ends up becoming "The Master," who then decides on using the virus to create a master race of super mutants. While his intent was "noble" in that he wanted to evolve humanity into something that would be beyond misery, conflict and war, it is still misguided, and the parallels to Nazis is obvious. Thus the war between humans and super mutants can be said to be a result of absurdity on two counts: a deranged, insane villain, and the ridiculous result of previous war-mongering.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:18

New Vegas's 3rd DLC Old World Blues continues to garner very positive reviews.

GamePro, 4.5/5.

The main quest sees you scampering between zany pseudo-science labs in search of crucial technologies for use in the war against Mobius. Or, in five-year-old's terms, "Hooray! New toys!" As is typically the case with these things, a couple of said toys are clunkers, but, for the most part, there's some excellent loot to be had. For instance, there's the attention-starved stealth suit that won't ever shut up. In the wrong hands, she'd be annoying, but here, the gag's hilariously endearing. Other items, meanwhile, tend to be more practical, but still well worth using.

Really, though, Old World Blues will leave you with a case of the "Whoops, I'm $10 poorer" blues if you rush through the main quest without seeing the sights. The Big Empty's a mini-wasteland, after all, so it's littered with sidequests and secrets. Fortunately, another central (though optional) quest -- which involves breathing life into sentient kitchen appliances -- points you toward most of the major landmarks.
Hardware Heaven.
This time round we get a sci-fi twist as we receive a signal telling us to head to a drive-in where we find a crashed satellite, at midnight the satellite begins projecting onto the screen and upon investigating it we launch into the DLC quests which are intended for level 15 players and above.

The basic storyline, which contains influences from many sci-fi based books, movies and TV including Futurama, Mars Attacks and Eureka is that a group of scientists created a haven in a crater on Big Mountain. The idea was to create a think tank which would advance science to create better medical treatments, technology and more. Unfortunately as war broke out the efforts of the Think Tank moved away from this and towards other, less productive research. Now, many years later we find ourselves waking in "The Sink", the main building housing the Think Tank, dressed in an ill-fitting patient gown and covered in scars. As we explore the area we find that we have been operated on and our brain, heart and spine replaced by technology... not a good place to be but by the sounds of things we should be thankful we still have our skinvelope...

Empty Lifebar, 4/5.
Old World Blues adds several new characters and enemies alike, and provides you with the means to deal with anything and everything trying to do you harm. You’re given a sonic emitter pistol which can be upgraded in order to access certain areas that you would believe to be inaccessible. Once I got the upgrade installed I went exploring the entire research facility looking for areas that I could unlock with my new weapon. I wound up never using any of the new armor provided in the DLC as I didn’t want it to get broken in battle, the armor that I brought with me got completely broken twice, I’ve repaired it three times now since starting the pack. With the exception of the Dead Money DLC, this is probably the hardest in terms of survival, I found myself constantly checking my health as the numerous enemies of Big MT whittled it down towards zero. I’m told that if you play the DLC with a level 40 character you’ll breeze right through it, I might try that later on.
Gamer Limit, 9/10.
Old World Blues is one of the best Fallout DLCs yet. It's funny, it's packed with content, and it offers solid rewards for players who are looking to add to their Courier's arsenal. If you skipped on the previous two content packs, make sure to pick this one up.

Digital Chumps, 8.2/10.
And then there's The Sink. Ostensibly, the The Sink is your general base of operations, but it's really an excuse for exhibiting a collection of characters even crazier than the deranged doctors. By combing through the facilities of the The Big Empty the player can find holotapes with personalities for The Sink's various facilities. Practically this means activating certain bonuses for the player. The auto-doc, for example, can alter the player's appearance, heal wounds, and install cybernetic implants while the Jukebox can tune your Sonic Emitter (a new weapon) to induce particular afflictions upon the mechanized menaces outside the facility. That stuff is neat, but the actual personalities within the facilities steal the show. The toaster is a violent maniac hell bent on engaging oblivion while remaining completely ignorant to its lack of actual power. The Book Chute hates communism and is driven to transform any pre-war book into a collection of blank pages. There is also a set of rival light switches and, of course, a sink in The Sink that functions as a sink. Marrying endearing personalities to practical applications was a genius move, as doubly reinforces interaction with every character.

News for Thursday, July 21, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 19:43

After an impressive 9/10 from Eurogamer, Old World Blues keeps scoring very positive impressions from the press.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun likes it:

This is the kind of DLC I like to see – not just more of the same, but an interesting spin on Fallout: New Vegas that both fits the universe (unlike, for instance, Mothership Zeta back in original Fallout 3) and tries some new ideas. The main one? Cranking up the crazy technology we’re used to seeing to full on MAD SCIENCE! levels, to the point that having your brain replaced with a Tesla coil by a Think Tank of disembodied scientists locked in a war against an army of roboscorpions is barely the seventh or so weirdest thing that happens to you.

Don't fuck with me, I'm armed with SCIENCE!

What really makes Old World Blues a joy though is its sense of humour. It knows how silly it is, and it utterly embraces it. Obsidian’s obviously been playing a lot of Portal recently, but it comes through in all the right ways – the crazy characters, the hilarious back-and-forths between the squabbling scientists, the snide messages on terminals, and even a few bits where you outright enter test chambers to solve problems and retrieve fancy guns. Unlike Portal though, you get full RPG interaction with everyone and everything, letting you fire a few shots back at the arrogant machines – literally or figuratively – and twist them around your little finger – figuratively. Hell, at one point, as long as you’re packing the right Traits, you can seduce a lightswitch.
Gaming Irresponsibly, 5/5.
This is the funniest Fallout DLC I have ever played. There’s humor coming from all angles: with robots that think you have penises for fingers and toes, a mad drug addicted robot and the egomaniac toaster. Old World Blues is definitely the most fun and entertaining add-on to any of the Fallout series. There are hours of gameplay in this DLC: Bethesda has added 5 more levels to your level cap making it 40, 5 new perks, an extra 4 unlock-able perks and 5 new achievements/trophies. The only bad point I can think of with this DLC is that some of the side quests are rather tedious. At certain points they have you going to four certain destinations then to four more, then to the same four you previously went to, and so on. There is also a tad too much dialogue at the beginning of the game when you meet Dr. Klein, but apart from that it is totally worth purchasing!
Examiner, A-.
It's almost shocking, the disparity between Old World Blues and the other two DLC's Bethesda's released for New Vegas thus far. I'd almost begun to believe that none of the New Vegas DLC's would match the awesomeness of Point Lookout, but in Old World Blues, they finally got it right. Here's hoping that the next installment's just as funny, frenetic, and worth-my-$10.
GameFront, 95/100.
All that said, Old World Blues is exactly what you want out of Fallout DLC. It’s got tons of things to explore, several new weapons to find, a stealth suit that says hilarious things and no end of oh so precious reading material. This is one DLC pack you aren’t going to want to miss.
Trendkiller Online, officially scoreless but if they still had review scores it would be 9.5/10.
The Voice cast is amazing and easily one of the biggest draws here. Keep in mind that you will not once come across another flesh and blood "lobotomite" in the DLC... it's all robots and brains in Jars and toasters with mountains of personality that far exceed the main game's human population in wit and charisma!

So whether you're itching to get back into New Vegas or looking for a reason to pick up the franchise for the first time, you would do well to buy Old World Blues. Don't let the title throw you off as this is easily the best DLC released for Fallout since Bethesda took the reins for part 3. If we still used a point rating system here at TKO, I would easily give this a 9.5/10, so pack up your purified water, get your radiation suits on and prepare to enter The FORBIDDEN ZONE! Where no brain has EVER entered!
The Controller Online, 9/10.
Old World Blues does what any good DLC adventure should do; take you to someplace unfamiliar. The setting, atmosphere and tone are like nothing in the rest of the game. At 4-7 hours in length it more than justifies it’s 800 MS Point price tag. A must have.
Thanks, GameBanshee.

Posted by Tagaziel - at 0:10

And like a cherry on top, here's a nifty lil' thing submitted to NMA by the dashing rogue Barnz of fame, an ancient, but amazing Fallout promotional artwork:

Thanks Barnz!

News for Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Posted by Paul_cz - at 17:51

Fast as per usual, Eurogamer has reviewed Old World Blues, giving it a 9/10.

This opening scene is incredibly funny, featuring such wonderful dialogue as "Fully erect hand penises!" and "The FORBIDDEN ZONE! Where no brain has EVER entered!", but it does drag on. Comparisons to Portal are inherent in the concept, but where Valve laced its brilliant chatter through those games so you were always doing something while being amused, Obsidian sticks with the old "locked in place, waiting to move" approach.

That blast of entertaining exposition out of the way, you're free to explore the ruined crater in which the facility sits. The plot is minimal at first, unfolding naturally as you poke around and fetch bits and pieces for Klein. Basically, one of the science brains - inevitably named Dr Mobius - has gone rogue and now fills the area with robot scorpions and beams, rambling threats at the rest of his former team. Mobius has also stolen your brain, and the radar fence surrounding the crater will kill you if you attempt to leave without retrieving it.

From there, it becomes the most open DLC yet for New Vegas. The game doesn't nudge you towards attempting the quests in any particular order, and the Big Empty crater is anything but. It's small in terms of square footage but dense in features, with 35 specific locations sprinkled across (and below) its surface. So if you'd rather poke around, discover the enticingly titled Mysterious Cave and tackle the monstrous Legendary Bloatfly, that's entirely up to you. In any other game, this would be a story-punctuating boss battle. Here it's just one of several surprises tempting you off the beaten track.

The laissez-faire approach pays dividends as the story unfolds at its own pace, filling in not only the backstory of the warring science-brains and their mountain retreat, but also other elements of the wider Mojave wasteland. There's a lot of information on Elijah, antagonist of Dead Money, and even explanations for some of the unique flora and fauna of New Vegas. If you want to know who to blame for f***ing Cazadores, this is the download for you.

News for Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 23:41

The Bethesda Blog has a short dev diary from Chris Avellone and two pieces of concept art for New Vegas' third DLC, Old World Blues.

Old World Blues is built around the history of Fallout games we’ve worked on. It’s history-that’s-created-history, with a dash of what might have been from past games, media, and design documents from Fallout 1, 2, and past Fallout projects given new life. From Lobotomites, DNA splicing, Cazadores, Night Stalkers, where-the-hell-did-those-plants-in-the-Mojave-come-from, the scientific enclave of Big MT itself, Proton weapons, and giant robotic scorpions, all of these things formed the nucleus of taking a trip into the past-is-present Fallout universe to see a slice of the Old World that’s been fenced in and feeding on itself for far too long. We wanted you to see the context and homages to the Fallout universe in a scientific preserve, both from the distant Fallout past to more recent adventures in New Vegas and the DLCs. As you’ll discover, Big MT (or the Big “Empty”) is filled with what-might-have-been… and all that was lost that potentially could have made a better world for all. There’s an undercurrent of the blues all around Big MT… but if you’re strong enough, you can change it, and the whole meaning of Old World Blues forever.

Designing Old World Blues was an adventure in itself. It involved taking a trip down memory lane, both in terms of past games and also in terms of 1950s sci-fi cinema to get the exaggerated “Science!” feel, where a great many inventions were atomic and anything nuclear promised amazing things for the future. Usually with an exclamation mark. Over the course of Old World Blues, we watched and paid respect to some of the 50s science fiction films from Brain from the Planet Arous, Things to Come!, Forbidden Planet, When Worlds Collide, the Deadly Mantis, Tarantula, the Mole People (although we pushed some of that out for the next DLC), the Monolith Monsters, and more. There’s also a little Wizard of Oz thrown in for good measure… although it’s in the Fallout context.

Posted by Brother None - at 15:10

Jason Bergman lets us know Old World Blues is now available on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. European and other non-NA users of PS3 and Steam will have to wait until the update cycles in for their region.

Update: Bergman added the PC and PS3 versions outside NA will have to wait until tomorrow. North American PSN hasn't updated yet either.

Update 2: it is live on PSN now, PC in Europe in an hour.

Update 3: available worldwide

Posted by Brother None - at 9:01

As MCA pointed out, New Vegas' third DLC, Old World Blues, has now hit Steam.

Region restrictions still apply. It's available for North Americans but should give a "this item is currently unavailable in your region" for Europeans and later timezones, for a few hours more.

News for Saturday, July 16, 2011

Posted by Dude101 - at 21:14

Who are you?
I think I'm a human, though my wife says I'm a mutant (especially after late night scripting sessions). My superpowers include typing moderately fast on the keyboard and opening automatic doors in shopping malls if I'm close enough. My name is Paweł Kroenke. I'm 27. I come from Warsaw, Poland. I am the author of Ardent's Mod and a scripter/designer/occasional writer in Mutants Rising.

What do you do outside of modding?
Professionally, I'm a translator/interpreter. In my free time, I play drums in two bands. I can also play the guitar, the banjo, the mandolin and some bass. I listen to a lot of music. I also like to play computer games, cook, read books, watch movies, sail and travel, but I don't have time to do that as often as I would like to. I used to play a lot of PnP RPGs, but I can't seem to get my geeky buddies together anymore.

How did you get into Fallout modding?
That's a very uninspiring story actually. I was making a Star Wars themed economic/strategy game with a friend. However, we've gone too far in our grandiose design ideas and the game failed in late alpha. I wanted to make an RPG, but I knew better than to try to write my own game (I don't have any programming skills in C++ or C#, or any other language that is not Fallout's scripting actually). Since I have always been a big fan of Fallout, I decided to make my old dreams come true and create a Total Conversion mod for this game. I re-downloaded the Mapper, went to NMA/The Vault, read all possible tutorials, dug out my old modding notes from around the time when the Mapper was first published and started writing small scripts to see if I was able to do that. Turned out I was.

What work are you most proud of?
If you mean modding work, that'd be quite obviously my mod. All the praise I got for the first demo makes me very proud of it. As for specific parts/moments of the mod, I was very satisfied with the Factory: with the triple questline, with all the little details and choices that are there, with how much you have to watch out for what you're doing, etc. Long story short, it came out exactly like I wanted it to. I hope I can maintain this quality for the remaining locations. I am also happy with my food system and other player-related systems that will appear in either Ardent's Mod or Mutants Rising (or both).
Secondly, I am rather satisfied with some of my work for MR, both design-wise and script-wise. I won't give more details before the game is out (it will be, really), sorry. However, to cheer you guys up a bit, I stole Lexx's idea to include some screenshots in the interview, so have a look at some stuff that was made after I released the demo for Ardent's mod. I have to warn you though, everything you'll see here is still work in progress. There are imperfections and things may still change for the final release. The screens also contain some spoilers (nothing too bad, but still, you've been warned):

Creating your character. Note that the Speech skill has been divided into Persuasion and Deception, Van Buren style, the latter replacing the more or less obsolete Gambling skill. The mod is also fully compatible with the Hero Appearance mod.

The town of Duston has been completely rebuilt. The map is now prettier, more logical and better in several other respects compared to the original. The quests and dialogues also got a tune-up.

This is the entrance to Crater City, an underground town built around a Vault. In the message window, you can see an example of the food system at work. After each travel, the game tests your Outdoorsman skill to see if you were able to find any food during your travel. Even the most successful test does not enable you not to carry any supplies. The game is much more challenging with the food system.

The new world map for Ardent's Mod, made thanks to Ghouly89 and his dad. I decided to give the world map travel experience a little more love. You will now have to plan your routes more carefully - travelling in the mountains is very long and exhausting, but you can travel faster if you stick to the coast or to highways (they are marked on the actual map). However, you are more likely to be ambushed by raiders when you stick to the beaten path. The red lines mark areas of high background radiation, where the risk of being exposed is very high. I also expanded the idea of quests being solved or advanced by travelling the world map.

Ardent's mod was really good. It has had a couple of hundreds downloads so far which is a great achievement, but when you see triple-X or generic gun mods for FO3 getting so much kudos and many thousands of downloads, do you feel marginalized? or that you are performing a niche activity?
Thanks. I must admit, I don't follow the F3/NV modding scene at all, so I didn't even know XXX mods were getting a lot of praise. Now I'm pissed! No, I'm not. Laughing When I started modding Fallout 2, I realised it was a niche activity. I'm not in this for money, fame or hookers (is anyone really?) and the F3 fanbase was never my target audience, so I can't really see a problem here. In fact, I was quite surprised when my demo got so much attention and praise, it was extremely pleasing to see that the people whom I wanted to interest with my work were interested. Besides, this interview and a preview of my mod on Fallout Generation site are the contrary of what I would call marginalising.

Shortly after you released Ardent's mod, you joined MR. Has it been a bit of a culture shock having to rely on the notoriously unreliable modders of the interweb?
Working in a team has been a very different experience, to answer diplomatically. Indeed, it is sometimes frustrating when you have to wait for others to finish their work (you often do). On the other hand, the progress of your team mates motivates you to try harder. And the social aspect of making a game together is unbeatable.

How do you generate immersion in a mod?
I don't. How do you expect me to generate immersion in a game with 4-pixel chairs? Seriously though, I'm afraid I won't be very original here. Immersion or in other words - awesomeness (I think they're the same in Fallout) - is generated by telling stories that keep the ambiance of the Fallout universe. Stories about survival, about retaining your humanity in a savage world, stories of exploring the vestiges of the past, trying to understand the madness that destroyed the world and finding an answer to the question: have we learned anything at all? And all that jazz. Setting-wise, Fallout 1 is obviously the ultimate model. However, quest design is as important as the story told. Varied and challenging missions with multiple solutions, that take into account your stats and previous actions/karma, and with overarching consequences play a very important role in bringing you an entertaining experience. Fallout 2 had much better quests than Fallout 1 and the impact of your actions was bigger. I think Van Buren would have been a combination of the two. New Vegas has a great reputation system and a very cool feature that your performance in individual quests influences the end game (this concept was actually developed already in Van Buren, wasn't it?).

Where do you find inspiration for this?
Well, principally and unsurprisingly, Fallout games. Reading books and watching movies helps too. They don't have to be post-apo movies/books, themes of human relations, survival etc. can be found in other genres as well. A great source for interesting twists and building believable characters is history. Reading up on the cold war, on world politics and the atom era and even on medieval or tribal wars helps a lot. Finally, visiting a desolate place or a ruined industrial installation helps you feel what Fallout characters could feel.

Who is your most influential modder?
First of all, Timeslip - Sfall enabled me to do things that wouldn't have been possible with standard scripting and some of the features have been introduced on my request specifically! Many thanks, Timeslip!
Second of all, Brother_Soifran - He helped me greatly during the development of my mod, he had plenty of interesting ideas and made me some awesome artwork, some of which is yet to be revealed.
Last, but not least, the Mutants Rising team has had a big influence on me too. First, when I wasn't in the team yet, I browsed their website and dreamt I could produce something at least as good. Chris Parks was my modding god (now he's my boss too Wink). Then, when I joined the team, its members' ideas and approaches certainly shaped me as a modder. Special mention goes to two of them:
1) Jinx - This guy's dialogues made me realise my mod is seriously lacking some really good writing. Jinx also has the perfect Fallout groove that inspires me immensely.
2) .Pixote. - First of all, for his approach to Fallout artwork. I understood that Fallout art had a certain style and that awe-inspiring 3D modelling was not enough to produce cool, Fallouty art. He is also the one who made me see that detailed, well-designed and perfectly executed maps are crucial in a high-quality, modern Fallout experience (I still don't have enough mapping skills to pull it off though).

Any advice for newcomers to the modding scene?
Three pieces of advice actually. I got them all from other people:
1) Jesterka/Lexx: Less talk, more work.
2) Jesse Heinig: Detailed design is key. Start small and expand.
3) Continuum: Bugs can be patched. Shitty design stays forever.

Where do Fallout 1,2,3,NV rank in your all-time favorite titles?
1. Fallout / Fallout 2 (equal)
2. Grim Fandango
3. The Dig
4. TIE Fighter / X-Wing Alliance (equal)
5. Starcraft + Brood War
6. Grand Theft Auto
7. The Incredible Machine
8. Need for Speed
9. Baldur's Gate
10. Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight (for the atmosphere and civilians) / Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (for lightsaber fights)
11. Fallout: New Vegas
12. Call of Duty: Black Ops
13. Starcraft II
14. Star Wars Rebellion (aka Supremacy in the UK)
15. Settlers II
16. Sokoban
25. Pipe Mania
297. Fallout 3

Who is your favorite Fallout character and why?
Tough question. I could list many for various reasons and in no specific order: The Master, because I almost peed my pants when I first saw him. Myron, because of the superb dialogue. Loxley, because of the accent. Bishop, because of his being a plotting bastard. Cass (F:NV), because she retains Cassidy's badassness but is prettier than him. I also like her because she drinks a lot (like me). Aradesh, because he set the Fallout ambiance for me, on my first playthrough. Gizmo, for being a petty gangster who didn't actually do anything so so bad, but nevertheless takes the fall for the sake of stereotypes (I wish they had preserved the original F1 ending for Junktown).
My favourite character that I've written for my mod is Locke, because he swears a lot but is kind at heart. My favourite character from MR that I've written is a ghoul from Dayglow, because he is coherent and original throughout his 157 nodes of dialogue. He also has an awesome talking head and a great voice.

What do you think about FNV?
I hate Obsidian for coming up with the same/very similar ideas I've invented for my mod when nobody even knew New Vegas would be made. But they got to publish them first and now it makes me a copy cat. Seriously though, I wish they had more time to polish it. Some dialogue and quests are rather sparse/simplistic (I'm looking at you, Ceasar's Legion!). I also found it funny that virtually every NPC is willing to tell you the story of their life and to explain everything to you. Apart from that, I really enjoyed the game. 7.5/10.

What's your take on modern RPGs?
Can't say much, I didn't play any. I tried playing The Witcher, but horrendous voice work (when I saw a demo of an English version I thought English voice over was better than the Polish original!) and poor writing (at least in the first part of the game) put me off it, not to mention scandalous loading times and generally clunky interface (or was it just my old computer?). I got a copy of Witcher II for my name day and have played a little bit. It starts out nice, but I have a lot to discover yet. Another game that I'm itching to try out is Mass Effect. But so far, I've been too busy with Mutants Rising and I don't want anything to detract me from finishing off scripting on that monster.

What would you prioritise if you survived a nuclear war? (water, procreation, Saviour of knowledge or finding shelter)
Creating a bad-ass paramilitary organisation with Power Armor and Plasma guns Wink Procreation sounds like fun too.

News for Thursday, July 14, 2011

Posted by Lexx - at 10:16

After the interview with Fallout 2 and New Vegas designer Chris Avellone, which was published a few weeks ago, Will Ooi has done an interview with our very own Tagaziel too! Some snippets:

WillOoi: Could you tell us how you got started with NMA (arguably the online home of the most dedicated Fallout fans on the planet) and how you became and administrator there?

Tagaziel: My NMA life began in December 2003, when I registered an account and made a single post. I registered as a gymnasium pupil, after finding NMA on the Internet during one of the computer science (just computer in practice) classes. It was just one of many Fallout communities I participated in then, the other being Shamo and the late, but eventually only NMA stuck.

I returned to NMA in 2005, when I became an active forumgoer and, by pure chance, a newsposter for the polish section of the website. This was due to my status as a newsposter on the polish Vault Dweller’s Homepage website; after it merged with NMA, I got the honour of becoming a part of NMA staff.

Gradually, as the years passed, I was promoted to a moderator in the news comments section (experience in moderating that section comes in handy when moderating comments in the Vault’s newsposts, I can tell you that) and, as Fallout 3 news surfaced, I was promoted to a super moderator (allowing me to enforce rules across the forums). In time, I was offered the position of administrator. A big asset was my relatively young age when compared to most NMA old timers and staffers, I had more time to devote to policing the forum and was interested in a position that includes responsibility.

It’s a very interesting adventure so far. And no, I’m not saying that just because I devoted nearly eight years of my life to NMA Wink

WO: How did you get into Fallout in the very beginning, and what was that experience like for you?

TAG: It all started in 1996, with the Fallout demo, published on Gambler’s cover CD (a now defunct Polish games magazine). Back then my english skills were still fairly rudimentary, but I understood it well enough to finish it on Baka’s side, after stealing her minigun. The memories are cloudy, but I remember the impression it made on me, the stunning graphics (the aesthetics, not the overrated realism), the gameplay, the entire mix. It was like a sledgehammer. I started reading all about Fallout, to the point of spoiling it for myself, reading everything I could find, replaying the demo over and over again. I recall I managed to procure a full copy of Fallout 1 two or three years later, from a relative. I installed it and… It delivered. Fallout was an experience unlike any other and to this day only a few other games managed to come close to repeating it. I was hooked.

Read the whole interview at the Will Ooi blog.

News for Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Posted by Tagaziel - at 11:44

Chris Avellone's avatar on Twitter has changed again, this time featuring a mysterious devastated locale with an angled "Solitare" sign. Occam's Razor says: Lonesome Road!

Link: Chris Avellone's Twitter

News for Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 18:27

Not only did the last New Vegas patch fix bugs and improve performance, but it apparently also updated the credits of the game with the full cast of all the DLCs, the upcoming Old World Blues and Lonesome Road included. So without further ado here is the - previously unreleased - cast for Honest Hearts, Old World Blues and Lonesome Road:

Honest Hearts:

Joshua Graham - Keith Szarabajka
Daniel - Rick Pasqualone
Jed Masterson - Dave Fennoy
Walking Cloud - Misi Lecube
Salt-Upon-Wounds - Adam G
Follows-Chalk - Christian Lanz
Sorrows male - Alejandro Furth
Sorrows female - Eliza Schneider
Dead Horse male - Eduardo Idunate
Dead Horse female - Elisa Gabrieli
White Legs male - Marcelo Tubert
White Legs female - Michelle Bonilla

Old World Blues:

Dr. Mobius - Cam Clarke
Dr. Klein / Main Computer / Prototype Auto-Doc - Jim Ward
Dr. Borous / Book Chute - Beau Weaver
Dr. Dala - Jocelyn Blue
Dr. O - James Urbaniak
Player's Brain / X8 Robobrain / Muggy - Sunil Malhotra
Christine Royce / Stealth Suit / Light Switch - Veronica Belmont
Toaster - Jace Hall
Jukebox - Rashawn Underdue
Ulysses - Roger Cross

Lonesome Road:

Ulysses - Roger Cross
Dr. Whitely / The Dad / Narrator - Jesse Burch
Dr. Howard / The Kid / Trooper Gleason - Cindy Robinson
Thanks, The Vault.

News for Monday, July 11, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 20:19

Bethesda has released a new trailer for Old World Blues. It's very 50s. Check it out.

News for Thursday, July 7, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 19:10

Jason Bergman lets us know by way of tweet that the 1.4 version of the New Vegas modkit is now available for the patches version of Fallout: New Vegas.

Additionally, the PS3 patch is live in Europe. Xbox 360 patch should hit some time today.

If you wanna keep up with the latest news via twitter, follow NMA.

News for Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 20:52

The latest update for Fallout: New Vegas is now available for North American PS3 users and has hit Steam as well. If you have New Vegas installed on PC, the patch will install automatically when you (re-)start your Steam client.

News for Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 19:47

There's a new post on Bethesda's blog which, aside from showcasing the screenshots we've already posted about earlier, also contains the new upcoming patch changelog. Massive optimization, idiot-proof autosave before the ending sequence and a host of other fixes are promised for the patch which is said to be coming out "between now and Thursday" on all platforms:

New feature: system save is automatically created prior to endgame sequence. After credits, user is prompted to load save game. This will allow single save players to play DLC without creating a new game.
• Fixed issue where Minigun audio could get stuck/keep playing indefinitely when fired out of VATS.
• Script fix to restore destroyed ED-E. This should address issues players have with attempting to use certain companions (e.g. Rex) or when the player needs to clear his or her companions before entering an area (e.g. Zion / Honest Hearts).
• New “Companion Dismissal Terminals” added to Gun Runners and Lucky 38. These will allow players with lost companions from earlier patches to force-fire if they are experiencing problems attempting to get into DLC or areas that prevent companions from entering.
• Arms no longer lifted above head when sneaking with certain weapons.
• Fixed sound cutting out after extended playthroughs.
• Massive world optimizations in major areas for better stability/performance with multiple DLCs installed.
• Players can now have six or more DLCs installed without encountering an infinite “loading DLC” message on startup.
• Navmesh fixes/NPCs no longer getting stuck.
• Scripts added to keep certain NPCs who were marked as dead from respawning.
• Extensive world optimizations for Hoover Dam.
• Fixed lockup with Ranger Grant’s forcegreet at HD/NCR path.
• Fixed NPC AI packages so they don’t get stuck at HD.
• Fixed bug where upgraded ED-E could be killed in non-hardcore mode.
• Post-assassination Kimball now gets removed prior to Hoover Dam battle.
• Fixed navmesh around Camp Searchlight to improve performance over long soaks.
• Searchlight Troopers don’t bump into each other as often.
• Fixed navmesh on HD Observation Deck.
• New teleport locations for Legion path through Hoover Dam. Improves performance.
• Radio stations will work properly now if DLC is uninstalled.
• Fixed instances where it was possible to fast travel during Hoover Dam battle.
• Fixed case where recruited Remnants were hostile to player during HD battle on Independent and House paths. They will still turn hostile if you shoot them too much though.
• Two vending machines in Hoover Dam were facing the wrong way.
• Made it so Big Sal/Nero no longer accepts yield if the other is already dead.
• Removed Brotherhood objectives when ED-E is given to the Followers.
• Fixed rare instance where Cachino turned hostile on the player if player attacks Big Sal/Nero prior to Cachino entering the room.
• Fixed crashes in Ultra-Luxe.
• Fixed Alpha Squad snipers getting stuck when told to support player.
• Fix for Lily’s weapon being displayed oddly on her back..
• Improvements to navmesh and pathing in Great Khan Longhouse. Fixes crashes.
• Plasma Spaz now gives 20% AP reduction (was 10%).
• Fixed crash after hearing certain ED-E dialog triggers.
• Fixed instance where Boone would constantly holster his rifle in combat if player had lost rep with the NCR.
• Veronica no longer waits for player to speak to her before leaving after Hidden Valley is destroyed.
• Extensive optimizations in McCarran.
• Optimized NPC packages at Camp Golf to improve performance. Misfits now stay in a normal radius.
• Arcade now properly rants against Caesar (once).
• Motor-Runner Helmet now properly 0 weight. Also removed after quest completes.
• NCR Heavy Troopers will now attack player if you attack Hsu.
• Vulpes (and Alerio) now properly forcegreet if you somehow fast travel before their initial forcegreet fires.
• Killing hostages while helping Khans no longer fails quest.
• Gilbert/Ackerman now properly stay dead if murdered.
• Mr. New Vegas will only mention failed NCR attack on Powder Gangers if Troopers are dead and Eddie is alive.
• Fixed case where player could break quest with Orris if they fast traveled after he shoots thugs, but before forcegreet.
• Generic Powder Gangers now set as Aggressive (previously Very Aggressive).
• Fixed rare case of black screen during dialog at REPCONN facility.
• Fixed phantom quest marker remaining on Major Knight after he’s killed.
• Fix for incorrect dialog if player meets Bryce Anders after killing Motor Runner.
• Player can no longer isolate the BoS virus by hitting “isolate virus” three times on a single console.
• Fixed crash related to Arcade leaving the Remnants bunker.
• Fixed Nightkin encounter at Tumbleweed Ranch to occur after user reloads a save.
• Arcade will no longer attempt to initiate his quest during Hoover Dam.
• Hoover Dam Boomer Bombing Run now works properly after save/reload.
• Cass now only barks once per gameday and not every two gamehours.
• Fixed XP exploits with MantisForeleg.
• Massive optimizations in Westside, North Vegas and The Thorn. Improves AI pathing and performance with high uptimes.
• Optimizations in Vault 19.
• Fixed issue where Oliver Swanick would respawn after three days if killed.
• Pathing improvements to The Strip and North Sewers.
• Moved teleport doors on The Strip so NPCs don’t collide with players or other actors that stand in front of doors.
• Ethel, Walter, and the Station Merchant no longer wander or patrol to avoid collisions with other NPCs.
• Separated NPCs in the North Sewers.
• Fixed issue where window in Vault 19 let player see through the world.
• Greasers from Crandon’s quest now become disabled when the player leaves the area.
• Fixed a Legion melee NPC near Nelson that was under the terrain.
• Modified Legion and NCR hit-squad NPCs to use new level lists. They now have a smoother leveling curve that takes into account new level caps. Legion and NCR hit squad spawning was also revised to make their appearance more consistent and less memory-intensive.
• Fixed issue where Omerta thugs wouldn’t leave Freeside if you killed Joana and Carlitos.
• Cazador Poison Effect sound no longer plays globally if someone, somewhere gets stung. Only plays if the player is hit.
• Player can no longer repair the Grenade Launcher with the minigun.
• Fix for companions going into unconscious/conscious cycle over and over again when stung with Cazador poison. In normal mode (or against companions), Cazador poison now lasts 8 seconds, doing 18 points of damage per second. It is, in fact, even deadlier than the normal version, but lasts 1/4 as long. In hardcore mode or against the player, poison remains 30 seconds/5 damage per second.
• Casino slot scripts altered so their max bets do not produce game economy-ruining levels of cap overflow
• Hit the Deck and Stonewall now properly work with player’s weapon condition. Hit the Deck is now +25 DT vs. Explosives instead of +50% vs. Explosives.
• Adjusted Deathclaw fatigue to make them less exploitable with certain attacks. Inconsistent health values for Deathclaws were also corrected (in favor of stronger Deathclaws).
• Cazadores are now properly flagged as fliers, so they won’t set off mines.
• Increased radii for plasma and pulse grenades.
• Fixed bug where rescued Powder Gangers would return to the legion camp.
• Added Followers of the Apocalypse supplies to three areas of Hoover Dam if you gain their support and fight on independent or NCR paths. This also enables the FoA + NCR “good” ending through Julie Farkas.
• Optimizations for Westside.
• Fixed issues with Recharger Pistol animation.
• Fixed issue where Aba Daba Honeymoon wouldn’t update if the player was running O My Papa simultaneously.
• Typo: “Night Stalker Blood” changed to “Nightstalker Blood”
• Yes-Man now checks both Loyal and Pearl’s status before the player can tell him the Boomer leaders are dead.
• Removed “Intelligence” flag from Int<=2 check at REPCONN HQ, as engine doesn’t support checks that low.
• Fixed scripting on Lonesome Drifter barter check so player doesn’t get next objective with Tommy Torini if they fail.
• Legion Assassins moveto script no longer occurs every frame (frees up memory).
• Added recipe so player can now break down 12.7mm ammo.
• Four Eyes now works with ball cap with glasses.
• There is now always an option to give ED-E to Lorenzo, even if player has said no the first time.
• Mister Sandman no longer works on The Forecaster (XP exploit).
• Ultra-Luxe doors no longer disable player controls if player is an enemy of the White Gloves.
• Fix scripting conflict between “Cold, Cold Heart” and Mojave Ghost with Vulpes/Benny.
• Fixed issue where player could become control locked in Gommorah if they had installed Yes-Man.
• Player can now re-hire Arcade if ED-E is in the party.
• Ultra-Luxe now properly pays out in Legion and NCR money.
• Veronica’s companion perks (as in the ones Veronica gets, not the player) now properly assigned.
• Waiting companions will no longer get teleported by the Vault 22 elevator.
• Changed objectives for How Little We Know to better reflect branching paths.
• “Return to Yes-Man” objective no longer reopens if player tells him to go to Lucky 38 in Wild Card: Change in Management.
• Player can no longer pickpocket Button Man to break the scene where he shoots Cachino.
• Player can no longer ask Cachino about plans if Bosses are already dead.
• Fix for ED-E combat dialog.
• Ranger Helmet now has weight/value.
• Fixed Gomorrah holdout scripting to properly affect companions.
• Lily now properly uses Stealth Boy when player is sneaking if told to keep it during her quest.
• Fixed exploit where player could get infinite XP for punching Big Sal’s corpse.
• Fixed scripting for For the Republic II where exposing Karl would prematurely complete the objective to destroy the Khans.
• Fixed instance where fast travel was disabled when creating new game post-credits.
• Inventory will now show cumulative weight of item stacks instead of weight of a single item.
• Missile projectiles will no longer show in player’s target HUD.
• Player will now unequip a weapon if consuming it in the crafting menu (fixes crash).
• Weapons with recharging ammo now display ammo properly.
• Fixed rare instance where player could be control-locked if loading an autosave created while lockpicking a transition door.
• Beamsplitter mod fixed to proper DAM/DPS.
• Crafting can no longer create weapons/armor at 100% condition.
• Repair kits can no longer repair to 100% condition.
• Throwing weapons can no longer take damage, and are dropped when shot at 100% condition.
• DT Perks that increase DT based on enemy weapon should function properly.
• Weapons using multiple rounds of ammunition per shot fired now show proper VATS damage estimate.
• Fixed rare case where broken stick of dynamite could crash game if thrown.
• NPCs will now play face cards on player’s stack in Caravan.
• Various tweaks to audio system to improve memory performance.
• Fixed issue where looping reload weapons would get stuck, causing VATS camera to point to the ground.
• Fixed clock/calendar so that it doesn’t reset on a fresh load.
• Fixed .45 auto pistol displaying incorrect condition/value on modding screen.
• Both DAM and DPS now display on workbenches when creating explosives.
• For ammo that reduce spread (like 12ga) effect is now properly applied to spread, not wobble.
• Fixed crash when attempting to enter DLC1 with equipped quest items.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 18:38

Four new screenshots for New Vegas' DLC Old World Blues have popped up, showing some more glimpses of the Big Empty:

News for Monday, July 4, 2011

Posted by Brother None - at 20:15

Steam's daily sale of today features Fallout: New Vegas and its DLC, at 70% it's not quite as good a deal as the earlier D2D sale, the main game clocking in at €/$14.99 and the DLC at €/$2.99. The official Prima guide is also available at €/$5.99.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:42

We've seen the subject of New Vegas' approach to sexuality discussed many times before. Some hate it, some love it. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Border House's guest writer likes it, considering the approach of New Vegas that asexuality rather than heterosexuality is the standard to be a positive.

The title of this post is probably my favourite coming-out speech ever, and is a quote from Arcade Gannon, a joinable NPC. It’s smoothly integrated into his background, it’s funny, and it’s normal, just like we are – and just like we are so rarely presented in computer games.

Veronica Santangelo’s coming-out is a little less smooth, bound-up as it is in a random question from the PC about whether she has been in love, but she and Cass are both excellent examples of non-straight characters presented without fuss. They are as well-rounded, if not more, than the straight characters and their sexualities are not the only interesting thing about them. The characters are not straight, but not “other”.

The wider world reflects this sense of ordinariness. Characters respond to your comments as a part of everyday life – which, of course, they are – and it is refreshing to see a positive or neutral response to non-straight sexuality rather than a threatening one.

We also see homophobia presented thoughtfully. My male PC flirts with an NCR soldier who says, ruefully, that he would have professional trouble if he had a public relationship with a man, but that if they ever meet out West where they’re less bigoted, something could happen. What impressed me was the feeling that the writers had considered how this minor character’s personal life could affect his professional life. Details and moments like this enhance the inclusivity of the game – and the worldbuilding as a whole.

News for Sunday, July 3, 2011

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 17:13

1UP's Steve Watts has put together an article that analyzes how accurate the portrayal of Fallout's wasteland is when it comes to the aftermaths of a nuclear war and the sociological aspect. Luckily for us, the article was written with help of two experts: Dr. Curtis Miyamoto, chairperson of the radiation oncology department at Temple University School of Medicine, and Dr. Karen Cerulo, chair of the sociology department at Rutgers University. Excerpt from the article ahead:

In very general terms, Dr. Miyamoto says the world would be livable. "Most of the isotopes would be gone and the half-life would have expired, so they would be safe," Miyamoto told 1UP. Most major fallout products have relatively a short half-life as compared to the dozens of years before vault-dwellers explore the wastes.

On the other hand, it's hard to predict how a body might react if sealed away in a vault, as the plot of Fallout games often requires. "People are exposed to radiation every day, normally, going outside," he said. "You're exposed to more radiation living in Denver [Colorado] than living in New Jersey. So to compare to someone who has never been exposed to radiation, we don't know. What we do know is that the body has innate repair mechanisms. Would those mechanisms be impaired by not having them stimulated at a young age? That scenario doesn't actually exist, so just as conjecture: probably not. Our own body's defense system would be intact and passed on genetically from our parents."

And while irradiated water is a serious threat in Fallout, and even a major plot point in Fallout 3. Miyamoto suggests that wouldn't actually be much of a threat. "I don't think any of the contaminants would still be residual, so I would think the water supply would be relatively safe unless you're near a highly radioactive area."

News for Saturday, July 2, 2011

Posted by Dude101 - at 14:27

This week we interviewed Lexx creator of Shattered Destiny and one of FOnline 2228 Developers.

1. Who are you?
I am a Kraut from some place close to Berlin with a rather generic office job. Had a small internet music magazine about industrial (and similar) music many years ago, but it transformed into far too much work beside the normal job and studies, so we closed it after around two years. I was one of the head honchos of the former biggest german Resident Evil fan site even more years ago (later closed as well) and now I am one of the folks behind the german Fallout fan site “FalloutNow!” which is not yet closed and hopefully never will be.

2. What do you do outside of modding?
Currently? Eating, sleeping, working, while working occupies most of my time now. But there also have been days where I could go out with my bike or do some reading. Reading now only occurs during the time I drive to and from my workplace by bus. Biking has been postponed until I buy myself a new bike, because my old one got stolen a few years ago…

3. How did you get into Fallout modding?
I think it was when I've discovered the BIS mapper and the manual in early 2005. I've actually printed the 28 page manual and was reading it in bed. The next day I started to create some maps, which sucked. But I've made more maps, which also sucked. Then there came the idea to create a big new Fallout game, which (surprisingly) sucked, and was far too much work anyway, so it died. I moved everything into the trash bin and then “Shattered Destiny” was born, which - for the first time - didn't suck that much. And here I am now... with three new screens of my current work (sorry, only in German, no translation is done yet). :>

4. What work are you most proud of?
This is a very hard question, because most of the time if I release something, I find a million things on it right after that I don't like anymore and wish to change... but I lack the mood to do so. But I guess that kicking out “Shattered Destiny” for release was a good thing, despite everything that was going wrong with it while I've worked on it.

Ah, another one comes into my mind now: kicking out FOnline: 2238 in around 7 months of work was great. Sure, the game had lots of huge flaws and still has, but in the few months we worked on it pre-beta-release, with only five to six active people (in crunch-mode most of the time), we actually managed to pull off more stuff than many other mod-teams in years! So actually this doesn't seem to be such a hard question anymore, its pretty much what I am most proud of so far.

5. The characters most people roleplay in FOnline: 2238 are mostly PKers or organised gangsters, looking to kill the weak. You don't find many utopian visionaries in the wastes. Do you think this validates the concept of social-Darwinism, or are they just a bunch of FO fans blowing off steam?
Not everyone in the game is a bloodthirsty player killer who regenerates from tears of fallen victims. Most players only do what the game allows them, which is whatever they want, wherever they want, unlike in other MMOs, with real safe-zones and no-PvP zones, where everyone can and will hide all the time in fear of losing everything etc. Additionally, it’s always harder to try to build up something “good” in an open MMO, because there are always people who love to ruin it for everyone… So yeah, call it “blowing off steam,” as I think it’s as close as you can get. If at all, I’d say it proves that anarchism is very instable and will never work. :>

6. You are one of a few well known "one man modding teams." Why did you decide to work on FOnline: 2238, with all the complications that go with dealing with other people egos, while having to placate the famously fussy FO fans at the same time?
In all honesty, I didn't really care about anyone. There was this idea of an online Fallout game and it was fancy and cool and other people’s opinions didn’t matter to me at that time. The only thought I had was too create a living Fallout online world. Really, the idea existed already long before FOnline was in a playable condition, but has never been possible until its first beta release.

I’ve been sliding into the development more by accident, though. I had done one small thing for the game, followed by another small thing, followed by some bigger thing and over the following days, there I was in the team.

But I am still working on Fallout singleplayer stuff every once in a while too. After all, I still have to finish my current Fallout 2 mod, which I don’t want to talk too much about yet, and so on and so on. There are so many dreams and only so little time…

7. You're making Shattered Destiny 2 on your own. Considering your experience in the field, do you have any useful advice for other solo modders out there?
Yes. If you want to create a new mod / a total conversion, create design documents *before* starting anything. If you want to make a new game, start writing down *everything* you can think about. If you feel that there are parts that you have no ideas about, try to fill these holes *before* starting to work on the actual game. Because if you don't work with good design documents, you will soon forget what you wanted to do here and there and hey—wait! What happens if story chapter X and Z is finished, but you have no idea about Y yet? Ah well, let's fill up that hole with something random..!

Sooner or later, working on the game will become a mess (if you continue to work on it anyway- most mods without concept are dead born) and the chances are actually pretty high that you have plot holes and elements that don't make any sense at all. Additionally, creating design documents first will speed up the development later, because you know exactly what you want to do. That’s really important, because working alone means you have to motivate yourself alone as well.

This actually is also a good advice for non-solo modders, if not even more so, because working in a team requires that everyone knows what’s going on.

8. Shattered Destiny was a small mod with a lot of replay value. How do you find the balance between game length and re-playability? Given the feedback, do you feel that replay value is a concept worth championing or that bigger more linear games should be the goal of modders?
This question is killing me. I’ve rewritten my answer already like a million times and I’ll guess I will do it again soon.

I really think that re-playability is worth the time to take care of, but most people do not replay a game or a mod anyway, especially if it feels very long. In the case of Shattered Destiny, despite the mods flaws and its short playtime, the overall feedback was quite positive, but I don’t think that many people replayed it (I never got much feedback regarding this nor do I have any statistics, so I can only guess). But then again, I also can’t say that it’s a masterpiece of re-playability. It’s true that you can’t see everything in only one playthrough, but at least three should pretty much cover it (male, female and low intelligence).

In my opinion, modders that create content for RPGs should always try to cover as much possible quest solutions as they can, not because of re-playability, but to offer the player ways between he can chose, which then adds more possible and deeper roleplaying to the RPG. I’ve never really understand RPGs where the only thing that is "RPG" are character stats and dialogues with the rest of the game being a linear pathway. To me, this really is something that everyone should try to avoid, even if not for re-playability, but at least for role-playings-sake.

9. Where do Fallout 1,2,3,NV rank in your all-time favorite titles?
Fallout 1 is and will always be the first in my favorite titles-list, followed by 2. Though, I have to say there was a time, where I really hated Fallout 2, because *everyone* always just yelled how great that game is, while totally forgetting about the first one, which - in my opinion - is in quite a lot areas simply the better game. As example, while it is not very big in terms of content, it is actually much more detailed when it comes to the game world, encounter design and story… New Vegas follows right after Fo2, because for me it's a pretty good game. Fallout 3 died in 2003, so I don't think it would be fair to rank it by the content of the released design documents. :p

Regarding other games on my fav-list, Monkey Island 1 and 2 are pretty high as well, followed by Jagged Alliance and Incubation. I just love that stuff and try to keep replaying them at least once a year.

10. How do you find the creativity to do this?
I don’t, it’s finding me! No, seriously. I play a game and either I see something I would love to add or I don’t. Other than that, I try to brainstorm every once in a while or ideas come up while watching movies or reading a book. That being said, I don’t think I am a very creative human. I just try to think about something and then I see how I could modify and change and improve on it. Luckily, I like reactive roleplaying games, so for me it’s more about creative solutions for various situations in the game than totally new and groundbreaking gameplay ‘n stuff.

11. Who is your most influential modder?
Oh, easy question! I'd say my most influential modder is actually Neil Manke. Years ago, he has been a really great mapper and modder. By now, I think his name is quite forgotten, but some folks might remember the They Hunger trilogy, USS Darkstar or that Underworld Bloodlines mod for Half-Life, which came from him and his small team. I really loved the mapping and all that fuzz around it, also I've been big into Zombies back then, so They Hunger has been *the* thing anyway. It actually brought me into modding games for real and I've played around with doing Half-Life mods for years. Sadly, the last thing I've heard about Neil Manke (already a few years ago) was that he is ill. I don't really know what’s going on. Hope, all is getting alright, though.

12. Who is your favorite fallout character and why?
I am always happy to see Cabbot, with his silly face and way of talking. But I think my most favorite character is Katja from Fallout 1. She is such an underused companion and so worthless if you pick her up too late in the game (which most likely happens, as you normally don’t go early to her place), but she gives a lot background information about the Boneyard and seems to be a nice person, beside her thievery. Additionally, she has cool hair and can wield a 14mm Pistol… BAAM!

13. What would you prioritise if you survived a nuclear war? (water, procreation, Saviour of knowledge or finding shelter)
Clean water would be pretty important, maybe even more than secure shelter. But then again, what worth is clean water if you die of radiation a bit later. I don’t really know, so I’ll guess I would be one of the first dead in any case.

14. Whats your take on modern RPGs?
If you like action-adventures with some roleplaying game elements included and maybe minor choice & consequence as salt in the soup, the future will be great! If not, well, shit happens. When I was younger, I’ve always thought that future RPGs will have lots of things to do in whatever way you want to do it everywhere and every time with everything in the game: The ultimate reactivity. But that’s a pipedream and modern AAA RPGs will never deliver this, because they are more about cinematic experiences than real roleplaying and I doubt it will ever change again. So stick to modern mantra #123: Indie-RPGs are the way to go; because they can deliver what the niche market wants to have (damn, 10 years ago we have been the AAA market and now we are the niche market? The times they a-changin..).