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News for Thursday, May 24, 2012

Posted by Tagaziel - at 9:45

It seems that even after several years, something new can be found Robert Nesler, former art director of Interplay Productions, has made available three pieces of concept art directly linked to Fallout 3 (Van Buren).

Spotted by veryblackraven, who also obtained the following explanation about the concept art from Robert Nesler himself:
I developed these concepts with Chris Avellone sometime in 2001 or 2002--very early in F3 development. So the ideas may not fit the later design and story. But if I remember correctly:
The Fallout Female was simply a concept for a generic female vault dweller with some science/tech skills that you may have encountered or played. I made her more shapely because I felt that the female body of the previous Fallout games was unattractive.

The Hoover Dam concept existed before Chris had written much about it, so I was allowed to come up with a town that had been built on top of and down the face of the dam. I don't believe this idea found it's way into the final documents. I think my scale was a little off, as well.

The Shuttle was idea that Chris had that was intended to support the notion of an orbital space station that survived and had recent inhabitants (I suspect this became the "Ballistic Orbital Missile Base") I used design cues from a B29 blended with a more current space shuttle, as well as some excessive rocket engine placements to develop the notion of a 50's era space shuttle. This is a very rough and unfinished concept.
We thank you, dark man-bird man.

News for Saturday, May 19, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 14:20

EA Origin is offering a special deal to crowdfunded games from Kickstarter, where it waives distribution fees for 90 days. Wasteland 2 is the first one on board. From the press release:

Electronic Arts Inc. announced today a program to waive distribution fees on Origin™ for any developer that has a successfully crowd-funded, ready-to-publish downloadable PC game. Origin will provide distribution services free of charge for 90 days after the game’s launch, giving new crowd-funded games a chance to reach the growing Origin audience of more than 12 million registered users worldwide.

“I have had a long relationship with EA and it is great to see them recognize and support the crowd-funded games model”
“The public support for crowd-funding creative game ideas coming from small developers today is nothing short of phenomenal,” said David DeMartini, Senior Vice President of Origin at EA. “It’s also incredibly healthy for the gaming industry. Gamers around the world deserve a chance to play every great new game, and by waiving distribution fees on Origin we can help make that a reality for successfully crowd-funded developers.”

Via websites like Kickstarter, crowd-funding has emerged as an exciting new method for entrepreneurs with creative game ideas to gather financial support to start their development ventures. Origin can help ready-to-publish games quickly reach a global audience of millions of PC and online gamers, ready for purchase, download and play.

“Crowd-funded projects are like the 'people's choice awards' -- a way for gaming fans to express what they want to buy and play,” said Jane Jensen, President, Pinkerton Road. “It's great to see a big publisher like EA acknowledging that and opening up distribution opportunities for these games.”

“I have had a long relationship with EA and it is great to see them recognize and support the crowd-funded games model,” said Brian Fargo, CEO, inXile Entertainment. “Having Origin waive their distribution fees for 90 days for fan funded games is a major economic bonus for small developers. We look forward to bringing Wasteland 2 to the Origin audience.”

The Origin offer will be available to fully-funded, complete and ready-to-publish games designed for digital download to PC platforms. Developers will provide ongoing support for their games. Developers can visit to contact Origin for more information about the program.
This means Origin will be one of the digital distribution platforms for Wasteland 2, as well as Steam and its own site. inXile will bring as many distribution platforms in as it can, and this does not change anything about it being offered DRM-free. Chris Keenan explains.
Just to confirm what most are saying, this is not an exclusive deal. One of our core tenants has been to make our fans happy. That is why we spend so much time learning about what you want and don't want in Wasteland 2. This also spreads to distribution of the game. Some people like Steam, others Desura, Origin or GOG. If we only listened to the people who didn't like a specific distribution platform, we would have nowhere to deliver the game. For that reason, we want to include ALL distribution methods we can so that YOU can choose which one you support and download it from there. We just want people to have easy access to play the game we're going to put the next 18 months of our life into.

News for Friday, May 18, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 19:58

EDGE has an interview with Brian Fargo on the upcoming Wasteland 2, the Kickstarter model, and the problems he encountered with publishers (Bethesda included) in the past. Snippets:

Those early '90s PC RPGs - Fallout, UFO, System Shock and so on - had so much promise, it felt like technology was the only thing holding them back. Now that side of things has caught up, do you think games have lived up to that promise?

I would argue to some degree no, because it became such a console world, and there was an oversimplification of things at points. I think part of the frustration we've tapped into by doing an old-school RPG is that a lot of people feel like games have been dumbed down, that the audience has been treated like they're not intelligent. Those games had a million words, there was a literary vibe to them.

They've become a little more shooter-oriented, and tutorials treat you are as if you've never played a game before. On console there's no keyboard, which removes a lot - being able to type in something as simple as a noun can really open up dialogue and choice. So I think they've become different, but by getting off the PC, things changed quite a bit.


Will you delay Wasteland 2 if you need to?

We've committed to try to get this thing done by next October, but if push comes to shove I'm not going to put something out that isn't right. I've come too far, and accomplished too much, to put out a product that isn't right. But you always want to have a stick in the sand that everybody's shooting for, and we'll continue to do that. I've tried to build a lot of iteration time into the schedule and our approach, so it's still quite possible.

Some people forget that Baldur's Gate was originally supposed to make Christmas 1998 - there was a lot of pressure to have that thing make Christmas. I had retailer penalties into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, but I sucked it up and we didn't ship until January. People talk about quality - it's easy to talk about, but when you've got a gun to your head it's much harder to make that call. I'm glad that no publisher wanted Wasteland 2 because this is the best way it could have been made.

News for Thursday, May 17, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 12:31

Per his personal blog, Fallout: New Vegas' project director J.E. Sawyer has updated his personal mod to v4. Here's the (short) changelog:

v4 Changes:
* Added regular Hatchet to I Never Axed For This challenge + perk.
* Fixed critical hit chance on Certified Tech perk.
* Tin Cans and Bent Tin Cans weight from 1.0 to 0.1.

* Tribal Pack items moved to a *~ Secret Location ~* (see End of Document)
* Caravan Pack items moved to a *~ Secret Location ~*
* Old CS scripts adding items to Chet's invetory have had those lines commented out.
* New (single) message indicates items are placed around the Mojave Wasteland.
* I Never Axed For This challenge and perk added.

* Classic Pack items moved to a *~ Secret Location ~*
* Mercenary Pack items moved to a *~ Secret Location ~*

* Level cap properly set to 15, adjusts up to 35 with all DLC. This was stealth fixed for v3 a day after launch, but there you go.
* Auto-Inject Stimpaks and Super Stimpaks set to match Stimpak / Super Stim healing rates.
* Expired Stimpak set to 50 VAL from 75.
* Set the Roughin' It! Bedroll Kit ingestible to 10 lbs. from 15.
Thanks Briosafreak.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 12:26

RPG Codex is offering an interview with GURPS' line editor Sean Punch, which among other things touches upon the issues that ultimately led to the original Fallout losing the license for the ruleset.

He doesn't seem to think violence could have anything to do with it, although he also specifies that the matter is not strictly in his area of competence:

Fallout 1 was initially supposed to utilize GURPS for its rule system, but in the end it did not. The only information we have been able to find on the subject is that SJ Games were concerned about the amount of blood and gore in the game. Can you tell us more about why a GURPS Fallout failed to happen?

SP: Ultimately, the issue was that the license didn't word the approval process in a way that was good for either party, and it was simply easier to design a new RPG engine than to redo the licensing agreement and all of the approvals. That might sound extreme, but the RPG elements of a CRPG are minor next to the storyboards, level designs, visuals, audio, and all that other good stuff. Whether the specific concern that led to the discovery of the approval issue was somebody at SJ Games disliking blood and gore, I cannot say -- I did not then and do not now handle licensing, and I never saw so much as a screenshot at the time. I can say that geeky guys at my own pay grade on both sides regretted seeing the plug pulled, but apparently my bosses and their bosses viewed that as the right move for financial reasons. To this day, I remain skeptical of claims that a single cut scene, loading screen, dialog line, etc. caused the parting of ways.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 10:57

In case you're willing to fund Wayside Creation's fan webseries Fallout: Nuka Break through Kickstarter, or you already have and you're considering raising your pledge, it's worth noting that the guys have sent up a new update with their first stretch goal detailed: should they be able to double their funding goal, Chris Avellone and Tim Cain will join both to help with the writing and as actors. On top of that, they're also promising a Fallout creature:

Tim and Chris are fans and supporters of our series, and needless to say, we're huge fans of their work. Having them attached would make the series even sweeter. Reaching our new $120k goal will allow us to expand the overall production of the project, which makes it worth bringing on these two talented gentlemen.

How exactly will Chris and Tim be involved? First, they'll be involved in the writing process. This includes input into the storyline, character development, creature interactions and scenery. Second, and probably our favorite part, they're both going to APPEAR in the series. Yes, bring out the acting shoes for these guys, because we're going to feature them on the screen. Hopefully, most of it doesn't end up on the cutting room floor.... (We're just kidding.)

A larger budget is also going to include more creatures, right? OF COURSE! You've been asking for Fallout creatures and we agree, but these critters aren't cheap! Even though our funding has been phenomenal, it still doesn't quite cover the cost of making creatures for film. Whether it's a suit worn by an actor, a puppet, visual effects, or a combination of all three, it's expensive and time consuming to have it done correctly. We'll take a good chunk of the new budget and put it toward feature creatures. We're even thinking of starting a poll to see which ones you'd like to see!
They also have a video update:

Posted by Brother None - at 0:44

We're still not following Naughty Dog's PS3-exclusive action adventure game The Last of Us very closely, but this latest "Truck ambush" trailer is pretty neat. Give it a look...

Also in post-apocalyptic notes we don't talk about much, JJ Abrams (Star Trek) and John Favreau (Iron Man) have a new show coming to NBC soon, Revolution, set in a post-apocalyptic world where all electricity blacked out worldwide and never came back. The premise is a bit ludicrous and some questions do crop up immediately (how the hell did the buildings get that overgrown in 15 years?), but might be worth keeping an eye on.

News for Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 20:17

The 16th Wasteland 2 kickstarter update is penned by director of technology John Alvarado and goes into detail on why the company chose Unity, out of all engine candidates.

Unity Technologies, with their Unity 3 game engine, was among the vendors that came to us with congratulations, goodwill and offers of support. Their engine stood out as an early front-runner on point 1 of our requirements. The artists loved its support for the native formats of the art tools we already use (3DS Max and Photoshop). I also like its built-in version control for assets and code.

At first it seemed to be missing a leg on point 2 (support for Linux platform), but I knew that we could get source code and therefore could provide the Linux port ourselves. Given that the engine is designed and structured to support multiple platforms, I felt it would not be insurmountable to port it to Linux (or actually hire some outstanding external contractors we’ve used before to do the job). After talking to Unity about this, we found they’ve already been working on a Linux port, so Unity is supplying inXile the Linux port alpha source code. InXile will work with Unity in order to port Wasteland 2 to Linux.

Where Unity really bowled us over was on point 3. Besides generous support available from Unity staff, the Unity Asset Store is a treasure trove of assets (3D models and code) provided by the large and growing community of Unity users. A recent Unity newsletter announced that the Asset Store customer base has topped 100,000, and the catalog has reached over 3,000 packages! We’ve been able to find all kinds of useful 3D assets and code in the Asset Store ranging in price from cheap to free! Having an organized marketplace like the Asset Store for finding assets and expertise fits right in with our desire to leverage and give back to the community. While we cannot share engine source code changes, we can share script code and components, as well as graphical assets as part of our modding support.

News for Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 17:39

GamesTM has a small interview with Brian Fargo, mostly the usual stuff, but also an update on the Vision Doc:

Fargo goes on to say that a full vision document for the sequel will be posted online soon but does enlighten us on the similarities between Wasteland 2 and the classic Fallout games that he produced. “Cause and effect are the most important hallmarks of this style of game”, he says. “People want to have their actions cause real effects which builds an immersive world and creates replay.”

“I have brought the composer for Fallout 1/2 in for the musical score and he has some wonderful ideas about taking the tone to the next level”, he continues. “The game is top down/isometric and that means we can spend more time on the gameplay and less with all of the modeling. Chris Avellone [Fallout 2, Fallout: New Vegas] is helping with the design along with Mike Stackpoke, Liz Danforth and Ken. St. Andre. The concept art from Andree Wallin is fantastic and I have never been more determined to make a better game in my life.”

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 17:23

In case you own either Fallout 3 or New Vegas on PlayStation 3 but you don't own their DLC packs, the Bethblog is pointing out that they are 50% off on European PSN until May 30th, with an additional 20% discount for those that are also Plus members.

It's worth pointing out that in both titles, DLC have been known to aggravate problems with framerate, so keep that in mind if you already have some in your current playthrough.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:35

Brian Fargo has been tweeting some on the Unity Engine choice for Wasteland 2:

I can officially announce that we've chosen the Unity engine for Wasteland 2. It meets all the criteria we need. First screens looking good. Although we are using Unity this is not an in browser game but an executable file. We have been supplied the source code to Unity for the express purpose of making the Linux version. It's hard to beat the crowd sourced community of Unity.
Unity was always a strong, obvious candidate for Wasteland 2 because of its multi-platform nature, easy asset pipeline to use outsourced/crowdsourced work. It's cheap price and scaleable nature make it pretty obvious for this type of project, as Cinema Blend editorializes here.

Readers of No Mutants Allowed may remember Postworld, initially a Crysis mod, later turned into a Unity engine game. We reported on it two years ago, and it'll give Fallout fans some idea of what a Fallout-like game can look like on Unity (with less of a budget than Wasteland has). Watch videos here or here.

News for Monday, May 14, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 5:41

Andrius "Crying Horn" Balciunas has posted more of his work with his Advanced Power Armor mk II 3D models. Here's the new ones:

And the old ones:

News for Sunday, May 13, 2012

Posted by Dude101 - at 15:25

Olympus 2207 is a project by Rain man we have been following for a while. The Russian demo was released some time ago, but egalor has been hard at work behind the scenes to bring us the English version and this announcement:

Olympus 2007, while being more than just a yet another Fallout total conversion mod, is a post-nuclear game set somewhere in the US Silicone Valley. You take the role of one of the survivors of the global atomic war, taking shelter under an immense skyscraper that mysteriously survived the bombardment. Death or glory awaits... or is there no glory to claim?

The game uses Fallout 2 engine, however tons of visuals (including video, animations and static images) were done from scratch. The game also uses a lot of ambient music, which, in our view, nicely fits into the game theme. In this English demo you will be able to experience all of the above, as well as try out different paths to success.

Grab it here
Questions, comments, critique, bug reports thread on NMA.

News for Saturday, May 12, 2012

Posted by Tagaziel - at 21:23

J.E. Sawyer finally caved in and provided some expanded background on the Legion and what New Vegas would've included, if given a few more months of development time:

The additional Legion locations would have had more traveling non-Legion residents of Legion territories. The Fort and Cottonwood Cove made sense as heavy military outposts where the vast majority of the population consisted of soldiers and slaves. The other locations would have had more "civilians". It's not accurate to think of them as citizens of the Legion (the Legion is purely military), but as non-tribal people who live in areas under Legion control.

While Caesar intentionally enslaves NCR and Mojave residents in the war zone, most of the enslavement that happens in the east happens to tribals. As Raul indicates, there are non-tribal communities that came under Legion control a long time ago. The additional locations would have shown what life is like for those people.

The general tone would have been what you would expect from life under a stable military dictatorship facing no internal resistance: the majority of people enjoy safe and productive lives (more than they had prior to the Legion's arrival) but have no freedoms, rights, or say in what happens in their communities. Water and power flow consistently, food is adequate, travel is safe, and occasionally someone steps afoul of a legionary and gets his or her head cut off. If the Legion tells someone to do something, they only ask once -- even if that means an entire community has to pick up and move fifty miles away. Corruption within the Legion is rare and Caesar deals with it harshly (even by Legion standards).

In short, residents of Legion territories aren't really citizens and they aren't slaves, but they're also not free. People who keep their mouths shut, go about their business, and nod at the rare requests the Legion makes of them -- they can live very well. Many of them don't care at all that they don't have a say in what happens around them (mostly because they felt they never had a say in it before the Legion came, anyway).
He also clarifies why there is no post-endgame play in the game:
We always wanted to support post-Hoover play. A few milestones prior to being content complete, it was obvious that we weren't going to be able to support it to the extent that it deserved (robust reactivity to the choices the player made). Because we didn't have time to do it correctly, I made the decision to cut it.
Link: J.E. Sawyer's Interrogation Website

Posted by Brother None - at 2:11

This post on the inXile forum offers an early call to apply for a programming job at inXile, fans of Wasteland 2 getting priority. The post also reveals the engine Wasteland 2 will be using is the highly popular Unity Engine.

If you have a passion for post-apocalytic goodness, experience working with Unity and amazing programming skills, please send your resume to jobs[at] We thought we’d put this out on our blog and forums first, before opening up the search further. Feel free to spread the word if you know of the perfect person.

We are looking for experienced engineers and engineering interns.
EDIT: Brian Fargo has now confirmed this, also nothing they're working with the Unity guys for Linux support, and that it won't be a browser game.

News for Thursday, May 10, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 2:32

Andrius "Crying Horn" Balciunas has posted some fantastic fan-made Advanced Power Armor mk II 3D models, with more coming.

News for Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 23:58

Endocore has released version 1.0 of his Fallout: Tactics Redux patch and mod, which fixes a lot of bugs, and also tweaks and expands a lot of the game's content.

Fallout Tactics Redux fixes numerous bugs and inadequacies of the standard Fallout Tactics game released by Microforte at the dawn of the twenty-first century. The mod also adds novel content to the game, and thus expands rather far beyond the scope of an "unofficial patch."

Fallout Tactics Redux works to revise the standard game in numerous ways, including:

--Fixing script bugs. The original missions and special encounters of the core campaign contain both numerous blatant errors as well as many poor design implementations. I reviewed every single map in the game and fixed every flaw I met. In some cases, merely fixing broken triggers has unlocked previously unavailable but otherwise fully-fashioned original content.

--Fixing broken entities. Nearly every original map contains entities erroneously malformed in this or that respect, such as keys whose tag names don't match doors and switches that don't correctly affect linked objects. I fixed every problem I could find, in some cases unlocking previously unavailable but otherwise fully-fashioned original content.

--Fixing disgracefully inept writing. Epileptic wild monkeys chained to rusty typewriters could have done a better job than the "professionals" at Microforte-- most of whom apparently never graduated from elementary school. The text files of the standard game contain legion grammar and spelling errors. In some files I edited every... single... line of text, and often found individual sentences crowded with three, four, or even five spelling and grammar errors. Players need no longer be constantly insulted by the notion of having paid for such drivel. Though I won't claim I fixed each and every English syntax problem in the game (particularly in taunts.txt-- I've reviewed that enormous file nearly line by line several times, but still find some new deficiency whenever I examine it), the situation is now much improved. Since the game is set in the USA, all game text is now also standardized to use American English rather than goofy Australian lingo.

--Addressing the "Game crashes after finding all Special Encounters" bug. This is an engine issue that strictly speaking I cannot properly fix. However, I've included a workaround that will allow players to continue their games without suffering from the issue once the bug initially appears (and the bug will indeed appear in every single game of Fallout Tactics if the player plays long enough).

--Reimagining the recruit pool of potential teammates for the player-character. Many of the npcs in the standard game are silly and frankly insulting to a player's intelligence. I rewrote most of the recruit biographies, gave the soldiers different skill sets, changed some of the more questionable sprite color choices to traditional military-appropriate hues, and replaced some portraits of the dowdiest MF employees who had faces even a mother would be hard-pressed to love.

--Reimagining the game's weaponry. In the standard game, the player has meagre practical options when equipping his troops since a few weapons are utterly superior to all others. I redesigned the AP costs, damage values, and range of nearly every weapon from the ground up so players may now more fully enjoy all the tactical possibilities of the game. I also fictionalized all the "real-world" weapons found in the original game, which are frankly quite inappropriate to the setting and highly disruptive to any player's attempt to immerse himself in the game-world of his characters.

--A new approach to random combat encounters. As implemented in the standard game, most players including myself have concluded random encounters are supremely annoying. Most of these encounters simply aren't fun or "tactical," and they occur with such shocking frequency that attempting traverse even a few squares of the world map results in a cramped index finger as the player clicks "No, I don't want to encounter rats and dogs. Again. *Sigh*" dozens of times. I very significantly reduced the occurrence of random encounters, and in most cases eliminated all but the "hardest" encounters. Hopefully those who enjoy playing random encounters will now have more fun with the remaining larger battles (which were previously quite rare), while those who don't care for them will be relieved to speed off to the next "real" mission.

--A completely redesigned Quartermaster list. Some players don't care much for the Quartermaster system, and are of course free to continue using the Editor to give themselves whatever equipment they desire. For the rest of us, hopefully the Quartermaster system will now work better than ever.

--Expanded gameplay. What sort of military game doesn't have a canteen? I added a number of new items to the game, as well as other new content in several maps. I also incorporated, revised, and embellished a fine older mod I found in the NMA Files section called "Bunker and Xtra Characters Mod" by dark_ark, which adds a fairly significant amount of new and interesting npc interaction to the game.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 21:06

GameSpot is offering a video Let's Play marathon of the Fallout franchise, starting from the original Fallout, for those who are interested. If I've heard well they're going to tackle Brotherhood of Steel. Yes.

News for Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 1:24

RPG Codex offers a retrospective interview with Fallout and Troika designer and artist Leonard Boyarsky, about his career in the industry.

You are famously associated with the original Fallout mood and look. Was it hard to convince everyone else at Interplay that the "future 1950s" art style was the way to go? What rival ideas were there for the game's look?

When I told people about my ideas for the look of the game, they looked at me like I was crazy. Why would we make a post-apocalyptic game look like a cheesy fifties B-movie? Much to Interplay’s credit however, even though they thought I was insane, no one said we couldn’t do it. So we did. I started pitching the fifties vibe so early that there were really never any other competing art styles considered.

Aside from Fallout's overall art style, can you give us a rundown of what exactly you designed and wrote for Fallout 1 and Fallout 2? Apart from the look, which is the obvious high point, what contributions to the Fallout games are you most proud of?

I’m not going to try to write an exhaustive list of what I designed/wrote in Fallout, as that would be, well, exhausting. When I think about all the writing we did on Fallout, the first things that always come to mind were the edits we had to do for the talking head conversations. A lot of times the conversations didn’t make sense or deliver the information they were supposed to, but they had already been recorded and we didn’t have the budget to rerecord them – so we had to go in and edit/rewrite the player responses and rearrange the NPC lines so that the conversations worked. In some instances, like Vree, the information we wanted to impart to the player just wasn’t there so I had to add her assistant (Sophia, I think?) so that there was at least an NPC around who did have the necessary info. And she wasn’t the only one—we had to add several NPCs with vital information that was supposed to be covered with the talking heads but for some reason wasn’t. I did extensive rewrites on Gizmo, Killian and the Master as well as one or two others. One scenario I really enjoyed designing was in Adytum – Zimmerman’s situation with the regulators, his son and the Blades. I wrote a lot of NPCs, too many to list (or remember). I also wrote some of the holodisks.

From a design standpoint, I’m really proud of the tone we hit for the game, the humor style. Even though I was the one who started the fifties ironic horror/comedy vibe, I can’t take full credit for its final form in the game – it really ended up being an extension of a combination of our personalities. Once it was established, however, I was the policeman who made sure that we hit that tone whether it was in the art or the design. Above everything else, though, the two things I am specifically most proud of are the intro and ending to the game. I guess those would be half design and half art, but I’m proud of both aspects of them. I think the intro did a great job setting the mood, and the ending had a nice haunting feel to it. I still can’t believe Tim let us kick the vault dweller out of the vault to end the game.

For Fallout 2, Jason, Tim and I designed the main story arc and a few side quests before leaving Interplay. They kept a lot of what we had designed, but changed some significant parts of it as well.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:20

With 40 days left, the second season of fan-made Fallout film series Fallout: Nuke Break has hit its Kickstarter minimum goal. Congratulations to Zack Finfrock and everyone involved.

News for Monday, May 7, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 13:28

Chris Avellone has penned a blog entry dedicated to the original Wasteland, its skill system, and how that contributes to the role-playing. Snip ahead:

So after the skill allocation phase, it’s clear this character is physically challenged, has esoteric old world knowledge, and is gifted with electronics and machines and codes, so after remembering that Wasteland has a high technology bent, it occurred to me I had the freedom to imagine him as an android if I wanted to. And this could account for his limited mobility, esoteric pre-bomb knowledge, and his crappy CHR and DEX. Having fun and digging about the pre-knowledge of Wasteland and memories of my crappy knowledge of coding in Basic way back in the days of the TSR-80, I thought it’d be cool if I built an android that incorporated some elements of the 80s and came up with a makeshift bio:

G.I.G.0: Stands for “Garbage In, Garbage Out,” and his name reinforces that there’s something flawed in this character’s intrinsic android programming, since the last character is a “zero” not the letter “O.” I saw him as a damaged android the Rangers deem only worthwhile for reconnaissance in hazardous areas, notably because it seems like he’s been damaged already (“past warranty” is what G.I.G.0 occasionally says, although no one’s quite sure what he means when he says this - they assume it’s a location in the game, and who knows, they may be right).

While G.I.G.0 will respond to his name when addressed, he will remind each new speaker once that “G.I.G.0.” is not his original designation, which has left some inhabitants of the Wasteland to wonder what kind of nation this “Desig” may be and if all the residents are like G.I.G.0.

G.I.G.0 wandered in from the wastes, following a radio signal being broadcast from a series of TSR-80 cultists (based on this, I assumed it might also be fun if I imagined him as occasionally stopping to have conversations with radio towers and computers in the game). He walked into the base and started communicating in Basic which the cultists understood and assumed he might be some sort of programming messiah sent by the Tandy gods and lavished praise and goods on him to encourage him to stay and guide them.

As years passed, however, G.I.G.0. became their messiah of disappointment and made them wonder if the pre-war years were more of a mess than it may have seemed from the history books to have made G.I.G.0. in the first place: Initially believing that an android gift from the wastes was a blessing, the cultists discovered the android had some series of programming flaws, and as far as compiling code and helping with repairs and programming around the base, it wasn’t helpful. At all. Every computer G.I.G.0. seemed to interact with on any complex level beyond simple on/off tests created near-catastrophic failures.

After he nearly flooded the lower levels of their facility with waste after being asked to recompile the sewage treatment management code, they gave him the name “Garbage In, Garbage Out,” blaming whoever built G.I.G.0. for his current programming weaknesses. G.I.G.0. accepted this new designation, although he seems unable to spell it without replaced the “O” at the end with a zero, further proof of some fundamental programming flaw.

Generally considered a pain and a burden, the cultists were tempted to send him back out into the wastes and let him roam until he found another culture to curse with his presence. Then another plan occurred to them - they'd offload him, and kill two birds with one stone. (Or two vultures with one shotgun shell, as it were.)
Thanks GameBanshee.

News for Sunday, May 6, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 17:03 has an interview with Brian Fargo about Wasteland 2, though Fargo does warn of "Some translation issues".

Е3 is coming soon. Are you and your team planning to present anything at Expo?

We will definitely not be showing anything at this E3.. it is way too soon. And frankly I'm not sure if we will spend money at the next show as we want to maximize the monies that go into the game itself.

If it’s not a secret, what is the main expenditure item while developing of the role-playing game?

The biggest costs in making any kind of game are the people costs. Take a simple 15 man team with a fully burdened (rent, hardware, software, insurance) overhead cost of $9,000. That team would be costing almost $150,000 a month. In addition we have a large amount of money spent on outside art, music and design services. We are very excited about the budget we have for this game but it is not on the high side of development. Not having to make the cinematics makes it possible to create a deep game without a much deeper budget.


What biggest failure in RPG genre could you recollect?

I think the biggest failure in the recent past is this assumption that the audience is not smart. Too much effort is being spent making it dummy proof. The situations have become bland and all the clues are being held right in front of their nose. The exploration and journey is the reward.

News for Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 10:10

Indie developer 14Bytes studio is working on a new, browser-based online multiplayer post-apocalyptic RPG named Fraternity Project. There's not a lot of information available so far, but you can find the announcement (in French) on RPGFrance. The website also has some additional concept art and one WIP screenshot on the game's page. The team is also recruiting additional web programmers, and, from what I can decipher with my rudimentary understanding of French, the game will feature a persistent world and offer multiple playable races.

Here's a small bit of concept art:

News for Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 2:12

The 15th Kickstarter update can be found on the Wasteland 2 blog rather than Kickstarter. It doesn't say much, just an update on what's happening.

Now that we’re funded, you’re probably wondering what happens for the next 18 months. We’ve been hard at work preparing our core design principles vision document. This document contains a solid overview of the important elements from which we will be crafting the detailed game design document. Before we started on the vision document, we spent a lot of time on our forums reading what elements you feel are important and what systems and features you’re not too fond of. The vision document will be available on our Wasteland portal in the next few weeks.

We already have an amazing community on our forums, and we know that it’s going to get better and better as we get further along in the game. If you haven’t done so already, head there and let us know what’s important to you. We’ve seen some wonderful suggestions that have already improved the vision of the game!

We are still working with some backers on account reconciliation through Amazon, and we will have a final list of all backers and reward tiers tomorrow. Very soon we will prepare the questionnaires that correspond to your reward tier. Here you will be able to give us all relevant information on your shirt size, NPC characters name, what package you want or any other applicable bits relating to the reward you selected. Any information relating to in-game rewards (i.e. Statues, weapon names, shrines) we will use when setting our production specifications, so please try to send it back relatively soon. We’ll set a deadline on it, but you’ll have a few weeks to reply.

Once we have that information back, we will also set up a backer database on our site. You will be able to login with the user information you presented to Kickstarter or PayPal and can manage your reward tier here. If you move in the future, just stop by and update your address. If you’d prefer to be contacted at a different email, modify that in our database. If you accidentally selected the wrong reward, you will have the opportunity to change it. If you wanted a higher tier, but didn’t have the funds to secure it during the campaign, you will be able to upgrade your tier in a backer-only store. We are not changing any of the tier limits, so sold out tiers are unavailable as upgrades.