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News for Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 20:45

Another interview on crowdfunding and Wasteland 2's success with inXile's Brian Fargo, this time in article style from gamesindustry international.

Should Wasteland 2 be a great success, though, it will raise a very different question. Crowd-funding has proved to be a convincing platform for getting ostensibly non-commercial ideas into production and into the public eye, but once that has been confirmed and rewarded with commercial success, is it appropriate to go back to the crowd for more?

"Yeah, because it goes beyond just getting money to do it," says Fargo. "Even if [Wasteland 2] sells a bunch and it could finance [another game], I'd like to keep that same relationship."

"Let's assume that I'm gonna deliver the game, so my backers are going to get whatever they were gonna buy anyway. If I pitch a new idea to my Kickstarter fans and nobody wants to fund it, I'm glad I didn't make it. It builds on itself... Ultimately, it helps me that I'm spending time and effort on something that people actually want. I can't see any harm in that because I'm giving people what they want at the end of the day."
Interesting! Could be a little tricky in how people would respond to that, crowdfunding without strictly needing crowdfunding, but if it's presented more as an early-opportunity pre-order type deal, I think we can get on board.

Posted by Brother None - at 5:17

The latest and last piece by Andrée Wallin is a concept art of a synth, the runner-up for the community poll.


Thanks AtomBomb.

News for Monday, October 29, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 20:39

The PA Report offers an interview with Obsidian concept art Brian Menze. Brian worked on Fallout 2 and New Vegas, and while the interview mostly covers other titles, he does have a bit from New Vegas:

I can’t remember which came first, but this is basically the pistol version of the L.A.E.R. from Fallout New Vegas. Josh Sawyer provided me with a couple of photos (shown in the image) of the type of pistol he was looking for, so I basically “frankensteined” all of those elements together. I don’t normally conceptualize weapons, so I felt a bit uncomfortable doing them on FNV, partly because Fallout fans are very particular, but mostly because I don’t draw weapons much. I was the only concept artist on the team though, so I had to do the best I could.

In addition to weapons I was doing posters, characters, props and Vault Boys. It was my job to get stuff out fast enough for all the artists on the team to have things to work on. A side effect from working so fast however, is that I don’t remember much about this concept at all beyond that. This does illustrate that whenever I get into a pinch, because of time (and in this case out of my comfort zone) I’ll take the easy road and piecemeal a concept. During production and being part of a small team, that is sometimes all you have time for. I’m not necessarily proud of this one, but it did the trick and Josh was happy with it.
In related news, with thanks to Alphadrop, New Vegas is part of the Steam Halloween sale. 50% off. 15 bucks or 18 euros (Europeans getting ripped off again), which is not a bad price for the content but it's seen and probably will soon see better sales.

EDIT: Fallout 3 is 50% off too

News for Sunday, October 28, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 14:31

After musing on mods (see our previous tidbits news post) Kotaku has published a couple of new articles on Fallout: New Vegas, part of an ongoing retrospective effort.

On that one place they just had to rob (yes, it's the Silver Rush):

It's so easy. You just walk up to the table and crouch. At some point, you'll become "hidden," and then you can just… grab every single thing on the table. This happened the first time I played New Vegas, and this time around, I was waiting for it. I walked out of Silver Rush with enough plasma weaponry to last me the entire rest of the game. I even sold back some of the stuff I sold to get some mods for my weapons.

Was this on purpose? Did Obsidian intend for energy weapon players to find a ridiculous explosion of armaments to use? We may never know. All I know is that there's no way I'm the only one who robbed the Silver Rush blind. So come on, fess up. It's okay, you're in good company.
And on VATS:
It's amazing, really, just how well V.A.T.S. works. The action and shooting in New Vegas is remarkably bad; ancient feeling, crusty to a "free demo of off-brand 1994 FPS that came with PC Gamer" degree. Enemies float across the terrain, hovering left and right and shooting you. Your character slowly meanders backwards as your gun's huge iron sights pop up and obscure everything in your path, making it impossible to aim. A couple of melee enemies make a beeline towards you, swinging and yelling, and in about three seconds, you're dogmeat. Non-V.A.T.S. firefights in New Vegas feel jagged, shouty, disconnected, and altogether strange.

And yet with V.A.T.S., battles become distinctive, satisfying, tactical, and even humorous. If only more first-person games had some sort of option that let you freeze time with a button and ponder your options! (Okay I guess they do... the pause button. But that's not what I mean. And bullet-time, while similar, doesn't count—I'm talking freeze time here.) "Okay, this guy charging me needs to be dealt with, so I'll shoot him a couple of times, then I'll have to unfreeze time and reposition over behind that dumpster..."

Posted by Brother None - at 4:08

Venture Beat offers an interview with Thwacke co-founder Sebastian Alvarado, talking about their method of game consultancy as they're going to play this role for Wasteland 2. Among the items stressed is that the company does not set the goal of "realism" in games, but rather of verisimilitude, an internal logic that titles like Fallout 3 lacked.

GamesBeat: How does Thwacke’s consulting process work?

Alvarado: We offer ideas that add depth to narrative and design. For narrative, it can be anything from speculating the science behind a flight to Mars to the epidemiology behind a zombie apocalypse — we back this up with established facts and scientific literature. For design, we bring in specialists in psychology and neuroscience to present research that may be applicable to the vision and focus of a project.

For example, since moral choices are particularly important for Wasteland 2, we have been introducing the writers to studies that explore how morality is programmed and manipulated in humans. It is ultimately up to the writers and designers to incorporate these ideas into their game.

(...)

GamesBeat: How do you strike that balance between realism and fantasy and being scientifically accurate or plausible without inundating the player with minute details?

Alvarado: While some may think we are out to achieve “realism” in gaming fiction, we are actually out to help shape plausibility and logic of a fictional world.

Also, I believe that in order to communicate good science, you don’t need to bother a player with details. Our consultants are expected to be able to communicate their theses to an eight-year-old within five minutes — should an eight-year-old be interested. In that capacity, they offer insight that helps render a game more logical through science. We talk about the details if asked to elaborate on a concept or if we are specifically being asked to throw in technical jargon for creative effect.

News for Friday, October 26, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 17:22

As a site that regularly posts review roundups on Fallout and other titles, we occasionally cover just how bad the journalism in this industry is, for example with this article and link round-up from 5 years ago. Things have not gotten better in those five years.

A couple of days ago Eurogamer published this critical editorial from Robert "Rab" Florence on the problems game journalists have with keeping a professional distance from PR people and dealing with freebies and other attempts to influence their impartiality.

Just today, as I sat down to write this piece, I saw that there were games journalists winning PS3s on Twitter. There was a competition at those GMAs - tweet about our game and win a PS3. One of those stupid, crass things. And some games journos took part. All piling in, opening a sharing bag of Doritos, tweeting the hashtag as instructed. And today the winners were announced. Then a whole big argument happened, and other people who claim to be journalists claimed to see nothing wrong with what those so-called journalists had done. I think the winners are now giving away their PS3s, but it's too late. It's too late.

I want to make a confession. I stalk games journalists. It's something I've always done. I keep an eye on people. I have a mental list of games journos who are the very worst of the bunch. The ones who are at every PR launch event, the ones who tweet about all the freebies they get. I am fascinated by them. I won't name them here, because it's a horrible thing to do, but I'm sure some of you will know who they are. I'm fascinated by these creatures because they are living one of the most strange existences - they are playing at being a thing that they don't understand. And if they don't understand it, how can they love it? And if they don't love it, why are they playing at being it?
It's a good piece, but should be nothing new. John Walker wrote on the same issue more expansively, also worth a read. Of course, revealing the openly corrupt nature of videogame journalism is not appreciated, and both Walker and Florence were lambasted for it by their colleagues, who do not comprehend the issue with game journalists winning free PS3s at an even set up by videogame PR people.

Even better, Eurogamer received a complaint or possibly legal threat (differing claims exist on this) to redact their article. They did so, and Robert Florence quit the website, as any good journalist would.

John Walker covered this, as did WorthPlaying and no doubt others. Both point out the journalist Robert mentioned pre-redaction, Lauren Wainwright, publicly listed Square Enix as her employer (now edited to hide this fact) and quite clearly shills for the company and Tomb Raider on her twitter page. She works as a journalist and for a video game publisher. This is common and ignored, and for his efforts in pointing out this is a huge problem, Florence lost part of his regular income.

Now, there are several issues at here which are somewhat separate. First is the structural problem of the game industry Walker and Florence described, a culture of pressure, shilling and being buddy-buddy with people who should not by rights be your friends. Second is UK libel laws, which put the burden of evidence on the accused, made Eurogamer nervous enough to pull the plug (and I can't blame em, nor does Florence). Third is the fact that Lauren Wainwright should be fired from her game journalism job and never be allowed to sniff any form of journalism again until she takes expansive ethics classes. But she is only a symptom of a wider problem, which should not be forgotten.

Geoff Keighley and his bag of doritos should stand for the lowest point game journalism has ever gotten to. Not that I'm particularly hopeful but you never know, they might take the opportunity to finally shape up.

Lost Humanity 18: A Table of Doritos mirrored on NMA, with the redacted segment put back in.

On topic, in my five years now as a freelance, paid "game journalist" I've had the good fortune to work for a site in GameBanshee that uses press review copies where available, but cares about review integrity a lot more than about losing said access, and has been blacklisted by some publishers simply for being too honest about their mediocre or bad games.

Bethesda is not such a publisher, and has remained courteous and professional despite GB's critical attitude towards many of their games. Not that they're inviting any of us to big press events, but we're pretty small fry and don't really do press events. Bethesda does happen to be the source of the only free gaming goodie I ever got, a Fallout 3 T-Shirt I picked up when previewing the game for NMA, but if that was meant to color my perspective, then I don't think it worked. Bethesda is very effective at PR but they do not - from my own experience - resort to pressuring journalists in any way. Which - on the scale of awful that is the PR/game journalism - makes them relatively good guys. I thought that worth noting.

News for Thursday, October 25, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 22:21

While some of you might have caught the news when Fargo tweeted it a while ago, only now science consultancy firm Thwacke has sent out a press release announcing that they're collaborating with inXile on Wasteland 2's setting.

Here's the full PR:

Reinventing science fiction in a post-apocalyptic future

While a post-apocalyptic future is a bleak one to imagine, with the right minds, it is a feasible one to speculate. In order to bring a novel sense of believability to narrative, inXile will be working with the Montreal-based science consultancy, Thwacke. Thwacke will bring in experts in the realms of evolutionary biology, nuclear physics, and medicine to add depth and believability to the wasteland, its people, its creatures and its afflictions.

As part of their collaboration with inXile, Thwacke, will be working closely with the writers and producers behind Wasteland 2 to enrich their fiction with interesting science. Thwacke CEO and molecular biologist, Sebastian Alvarado, has ensured that his entire team will align good science from their respective expertise to build rich stories. “We’re interested in creating moments where the player feels the line blur between reality and fiction, ultimately impacting gameplay and narrative”.

What to expect…
Role playing games bring some of the most personalized gaming experiences to the player. At the core of their gameplay, immersion is required to sell the believability of this experience. While writers can craft this experience with artistic merit, Thwacke offers to enhance it with interdisciplinary science. But what does this mean to the player? Expect creatures that are a natural byproduct of their environment, biological and chemical warfare that makes sense and the medical know-how to survive with the scarcest of resources.

While the full details of Thwacke’s involvement cannot be fully disclosed, they have already brought in unique perspectives from entomologists, nuclear engineers, surgeons and geologists. We plan on using these insights to shape a world capable of capturing the imagination of players and offer relevant, creative and immersive experience for the player.

"The more smart guys we have in room looking at the writing and design is always a good thing and in this case we have a group of very bright people checking our work." –Brian Fargo

Thwacke: A science consultancy for the gaming industry
Thwacke’s extensive network has been built around two pillars; a passion for scientific research and a love for video games. Maral Tajerian, co-founder at Thwacke and neuroscientist has assured that “Thwacke isn’t interested in fact checking or burdening a player with details. We’re only interested in working within the realms of a player’s interest to discuss next generation research“. With a team that represents fields from rocket science to brain surgery (and everything in between) they bring in the brightest of minds to build a team unique to a specific project’s vision.

News for Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 21:37

We have rounded up a few Fallout-related tidbits. Not much in truth, as there hasn't been much in the way of news lately.

- First, Tech & Gaming News has a brief Q&A with Obsidian Entertainment CEO Feargus Urquheart, who gave the full story behind the Lone Wolf Radio location in Fallout: New Vegas. Nothing terribly exciting, but some people might enjoy reading it.

- Second, Kotaku has a fairly basic mod guide for Fallout: New Vegas. All of the mods listed are more or less among the most voted/most well-known for the title, but if you have never played the game modded before it's a decent starting point.

- Third, for people who want to actively mod Fallout: New Vegas or simply check how some of the architecture of the older Fallouts looks in the 3d engine of the more recent titles, modder TrickyVein has uploaded a resource mod which adds concrete/adobe buildings in the vein of Shady Sands. He also has been actively remaking (and sometimes slightly touching up) some locations of the old games in the engine, you can see his work in his Nexus gallery. I have to admit I personally like his slightly more rundown version of NCR.

News for Thursday, October 18, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 21:30

GOG.com is having a 4-year anniversary Interplay catalog sale for the next two weeks. Pay what you want for 8 games, or beat the average (currently $12.39) for 20 games, or pay $35 for the Interplay catalog, including Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout: Tactics.

News for Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 16:43

The Escapist reports on a scientific study testing personalities by way of decisions made when playing Fallout 3, after earlier doing a study with a custom-made NWN module.

As with the Neverwinter Nights study, participants who had never before played Fallout 3 were given a period of time to complete the chosen scenario. After the time was up, players completed the NEO-FFI personality test, which ranks individuals in terms of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. "From our results," the study reads, "we may conclude that personality effects on game behavior exist for all five traits of the Five Factor Model."

While correlations between player personality and character behavior weren't as prominent as those in the Neverwinter Nights study, the authors still found the results to be statistically significant. For example, players with high openness rankings generally explored their environments at a fast rate while conscientious players avoided confrontational dialogue options. Players with high rankings in neuroticism, meanwhile, tended to avoid conversations altogether and usually took much longer to complete the scenario.
Read the full report here.

Thanks Kilus.

Posted by Brother None - at 5:57

Brian Fargo talks moral dilemmas on inXile's Wasteland 2 development blog.

I recently gave an example of a very small cause and effect scenario involving a drowning boy and it created some confusion on whether that was an example of a moral dilemma. The tough morality decisions are ones in which the outcome is not a black and white scenario. So in our drowning boy example, unless you are playing like a sociopath (which we’re ok with) a person is likely to save the boy unless there was personal risk involved. This is more about the ripples of cause and effect the events in the game can cause then a real example of a true moral dilemma. To that end, I thought it appropriate to share one of the many scenarios which does comprise of a set of choices that are not black and white and also highlights the multiple choices the players will have:

The Kidnapped Wife:

The rangers come across a man whose wife has been kidnapped by raiders. He asks them to help him get her back, but these raiders bear the Mark of Titan, marking them protected by the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud. If the rangers attack the raiders, they will anger the Servants of the Mushroom Cloud and possibly jeopardize their main mission on the map, but if they don’t rescue the woman, she will be enslaved and endure a fate worse than death. Adding to the dilemma is that without the rangers’ help; her husband is going to get himself killed trying to save her on his own.

The easiest and most loathsome way to deal with the dilemma is to ignore the man and leave the woman to her fate. It’s also easy to go in guns blasting, but that will piss off the Servants and turn the map hostile, putting the Rangers overall mission in jeopardy. It is much more difficult and time consuming to find a middle path, trying to steal her away without the raiders knowing, trying to buy her from them, or stealth killing them all without the servants catching on.

This example illustrates two things that are of major importance to us in the development of Wasteland 2. First, having moral dilemmas that are more than just good versus evil, and second, having multiple solution options to any scenario. Setting up scenarios that tug on your emotions of right and wrong is what makes for the experience we are trying to deliver. We also want to allow people to play the game the way they want. If they choose the evil path, then we need to let that happen. You might feel a little guilty when you hear about the havoc you are causing to innocent people but we don’t make the game impossible due to your play style. It is all about the player having a choice of and having multiple ways to solve any problem.

News for Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 18:00

After several tidbits, the full interview with inXile's Brian Fargo is now up on VG247.

I have to say that I really loved your combat screenshot – the one that shows four Rangers fighting a massive mutated scorpion. You really seem to be getting the most out of the Unity engine.

We are loving Unity. For this style of game, I can’t imagine us using any other engine. There are so many positives that are allowing us to focus on gameplay and not technology. We’ve been very outspoken in our love of the Unity Asset Store.

We’ve currently purchased over 100 assets that range from engineering scripts to environment models. I can safely say that had we picked a different game engine, there is no way we’d be at the point in development that we are now.

As for the process, once we’ve set our core tenants and main systems in stone, we immediately kick off the level designs. Right now, we have over 10 writers and designers finishing up all of the maps.

During this period, engineering will be working on pipeline tests and creating tools that we need to have each discipline work effectively. Our team is pretty experienced and we all have ways that we enjoy working in our specific disciplines.

After that, it’s about getting a single level up and running so that we can start scripting it to get a feel the scale of the world and get some initial cameras set up. We believe strongly that nothing can make up for iteration on a game, no matter how good the initial design.

Once we have a system implemented, we will evaluate it and shift priorities as needed to make sure it’s supporting the overall game mechanics we want to put forward.

(...)

You’re aiming to launch the game in October 2013. Would you say you’re still on track to hit that window?

I think we are. Design will be complete at the end of October then we focus on full production and iteration. We’ll also have an early closed beta and will get feedback before the actual launch of the game.

News for Monday, October 15, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 3:41

More tidbits from VG247's to-be-fully-published interview with inXile's Brian Fargo, this time on perma-death, combat and the squad.

Fargo explained, “When you start the game, you will create four rangers that you spec with the attributes and skills you want. Along the journey, you’ll also run into many other companion NPCs that can join your party.”

“Each of these NPC’s has a different personality and will have their advantages and disadvantages. Some might be incredibly annoying but have an useful skill that you might not want to live without. It’s all about choices and trade-offs in Wasteland.”

“We will indeed have perma-death in the game. If you make a bad decision and get a party member killed, they won’t come back. We committed to creating an old-school RPG experience and we are definitely looking to make this a hard core experience.”

“Once you’ve recruited a companion NPC into your party, you now control them in combat along with your other rangers. We have over 30 skills that can be acquired in the game and no one ranger will be able to be effective in all of them.”

News for Friday, October 12, 2012

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 18:47

Clearly Brian Fargo is pleased with the choice to move forward with Unity as the engine for Wasteland 2, as evidenced by this snippet from a larger interview with VG247 on the subject. Snip:

“We’ve currently purchased over 100 assets that range from engineering scripts to environment models. I can safely say that had we picked a different game engine, there is no way we’d be at the point in development that we are now.”

Regarding Wasteland 2 development, Fargo confirmed that the project is blazing forward, “As for the process, once we’ve set our core tenants and main systems in stone, we immediately kick off the level designs. Right now, we have over 10 writers and designers finishing up all of the maps.”

“During this period, engineering will be working on pipeline tests and creating tools that we need to have each discipline work effectively. Our team is pretty experienced and we all have ways that we enjoy working in our specific disciplines.”

Posted by Brother None - at 8:34

While no definitive, final details were shared, Wasteland 2 producer Chris Keenan posted some comments on both the inventory UI and character system. Replying to a fanmade inventory UI mockup.

We have been spending some time working on the inventory system recently. It's such a cornerstone to the game that we did an early concept and are actually hooking it up into the main game code right now. There are many similarities between the one you did and what we are playing around with right now.
And on the character system.
That's a fair point. We are staying true to the original in many areas but also improving others. The core attributes from WL1 will be modified a bit. Perception played such an important role in the game that we feel it deserves to be its own main attribute.

The front runner right now is an attribute and skill system where the skill points are initially derived from the attributes as opposed to being independent systems. You can then increase your skills through a few methods...first is leveling up, second is on a "by use" basis, third through a few slots you have available for "trinket" type items (many of these from backer rewards in the Kickstarter) and finally there are a few points in the game where you can discover things (can't reveal them yet though) that will give you permanent skill increases.

I tend to agree with the people saying that some points in the article are a fail safe for picking an incorrect build. Brian wants this game to be an old school kickback so we aren't worried about a casual friendly design. There won't be a situation where by end game, most of your guys are fully loaded with skills. It's still going to be a trade off. I'm not sure there will be a "properly specialized team" where if you pick some "perfect build", you'll be able to solve every situation the way you want. The way the level design is going, this game is made for replayability and the skill system will follow that lead. The way we've been working with our level designers, they don't need to know the full details of exactly how the skills work. They're using some key descriptive words to talk about skill usage and enemies, then as we balance it, we'll make sure to tweak it to match the theme they were looking for but aren't bogging them down with details that will change as we iterate.

Posted by Brother None - at 6:55

The Verge and Joystiq both offer reports from a talk Obsidian CCO Chris Avellone held at GDC Online on the New Vegas DLC. From the Verge:

The creation of narrative probably seems like a process that requires the freedom and openness for the author to do whatever they want with the story they're crafting - but when the writing team at Obsidian Entertainment was charged with penning the four downloadable expansions to Fallout: New Vegas, they were given a hard limit for the amount they were allowed to write.

For all four DLC packs, there could be no more than 10,000 lines of dialogue total.

(...)

"All of these things are important because they're going to save you time when you're recording at the studio," Avellone said, "because studio time is incredibly expensive, and the last thing you want is some actor spending five minutes debating this line with you trying to get it fixed, when you have 300 more lines left to read and you have no idea how you're going to get it done."

Bethesda requires a process called "text lock" for each of their titles, during which the script is essentially frozen for two weeks and checked for problems. Every line of dialogue is combed for errors, quest text is examined for logic flaws, voice sets are lined up against dialogue to make sure that voice overs and subtitles match. Everything is examined, from major NPC conversations to "barks," the reactive dialogue that characters shout during gameplay. Each character has 35 to 50 barks, Avellone said, which further ate into the team's 10,000 line total.

News for Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 20:47

Update #19 for Wasteland 2 is a hefty one, including an all-new 5-minute track from Mark Morgan to typify the feel of the southwest, and a long writeup from technical director John Alvarado on the dialog system.

Brian has emphasized that Wasteland 2 will put the player in the position of making tough choices that have deep affect on the unfolding story. Every decision comes with some tradeoff—some known, some only to be revealed later. There are so many paths through the adventure that it is likely no two players will have the same experience. This is an apt metaphor for the process of game development. In this update you’ll learn about some of the game systems the engineering team has been developing, and I’ll delve into detail on important decisions we’ve made around our story-scripting and localization systems.

Every game system we build involves making decisions about how to solve a challenge. Thankfully, Unity gives us a big head-start by providing many built-in solutions, saving us the work and reducing the decisions we have to make (in a good way). Using Unity was one big decision we made early on that has paid dividends. But there are still challenges particular to Wasteland 2 that we must overcome, and that means making tough choices that will have consequences for the rest of development and the final product.

As we weigh different approaches to a challenge, we attempt to gaze into the future and discern how the consequences of different decisions will play out with respect to design requirements (known and potential), content pipeline, run-time performance, and development time/cost. Fortunately, our engineering team has decades of experience over dozens of successful projects that help us make most of these decisions with confidence. So far we have made engineering strides on the following systems:

· World Map System
· Movement and Turn-Based Combat System
· Saved Game System
· Character Animation System
· Inventory system
· World State Tracking system
· Story Scripting System
· Localization System

We now have a player-controlled Ranger character moving with animation in a game-level and interacting with NPCs, triggering conversations and changing world states that affect future interactions. This is where we wanted to be at this time and we are right on schedule. Brian stressed to the engineering team the importance of having this ready by the time the writers are finishing up their level designs and story so we can begin implementing, testing and iterating. That priority and the desired iteration process informed some important engineering decisions.

Posted by Brother None - at 6:16

IGN AU offers an interview with Fallout: Lanius fanfilm creator Wade K Savage. The fanproject is halfway to its funding goals, so consider chipping in.

“I've loved the Fallout games since the first one, and I just knew that I could do the material justice. Fallout: New Vegas offered up some interesting characters to work with and it also helps that I just loved the game.

“Fallout: Lanius serves as a monumental change in style for me, as I've just directed a really heavy drama. I really like the idea of doing something that challenges my skills as a director and storyteller. That, and Lanius as a character is really interesting.”

Shooting out of Perth in Western Australia Fallout: Lanius is an origin story of Legate Lanius, the primary antagonist from 2010's Fallout: New Vegas, so Savage’s first step was to strike up a relationship with Obsidian.

“At the beginning of the process I contacted Chris Avellone and John Gonzalez for story notes,” says Savage. “Both of them gave me a really great insight into what kind of man Lanius was; this in turn helped me flesh him out as a character.”

“Obsidian has been really supportive of the project thus far, so much so that a few designers have pledged to our film. I guess the key is being really upfront about what kind of project we are trying to create and why we are doing it. The key been making it clear that we want to produce the best fallout film there is, within the frame work we have.”

Posted by Brother None - at 6:02

GameCritics offers an interview with the ever-awesome but relatively unknown Travis Stout, who worked on - among other things - Fallout: New Vegas and its DLC.

@ecavalli asked: Was there a firm directive to make the script more like the first two Fallouts than Fallout 3, or was that just a happy accident?

Travis: It was just a natural growth process based on the people who were there. It was a fun company to work for and many of them had worked on the older games, so it just happened that way. There was never any direct order from management, or anything like that. Also, at some points the humor was meant as an acknowledgement to fans who were familiar with the older titles.

@GreatCharleston asked: What did you enjoy writing the most in New Vegas?

Travis: EDI’s dialogue in Lonesome Road, or Muggy the mini Securitron in Old World Blues – Muggy’s voice actor totally nailed the dialogue and fit the writing perfectly.

Posted by Brother None - at 5:59

We had some questions about posting on Obsidian's Project Eternity earlier, but it's really not in our scope. Still, if somehow you never heard of it: Obsidian is doing a Kickstarter for an Infinity Engine-inspired RPG under the lead of New Vegas frontman J.E. Sawyer. There's 7 more days to go, so leap in if it sounds good.

Reason I'm posting on it now is that in the latest update they revealed they're joining Kicking It Forward, and also got a deal in place with inXile to have a high-tier digital package at $165 which, among many other things, gets you a free copy of Wasteland 2, and to add the Wasteland 2 copy as a bonus to all tiers above $165.

With only seven days left on the Project Eternity Kickstarter, we want to start the last week off with some pretty incredible things to announce. You might not know that Brian Fargo is the guy who gave many of us our start in the games industry at Interplay – myself (Feargus), Josh Sawyer, Chris Avellone, Scott Everts, Brian Menze, Chris Jones, Chris Parker, Darren Monahan – and the list keeps on going from there. He also gave the guys who started a little company called Silicon & Synapse their first few projects – pretty crazy to think that little company is now Blizzard Entertainment.

Personally, we are incredibly thankful to him and for the second wave of Kickstarter attention he brought with Wasteland 2. But, Brian hasn’t stopped being the great guy that he is, and so, he’s helping us out by letting us add Wasteland 2 as a reward at our higher tiers. So, what tiers will that be? A lot of you have asked for a digital tier after $110, so we are adding a $165 Digital Only Tier. That means Wasteland 2 will get added to this new $165 tier and all the tiers above.

News for Saturday, October 6, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 6:07

IndieRPGs has a pretty read-worthy interview with Fallout 2/Wasteland 2 designer Chris Avellone on RPGs and the industry in general.

Back in March, Brian Fargo mentioned a pretty depressing example of Obsidian’s treatment by Bethesda, the publisher of Fallout: New Vegas. In your experience working with publishers, do you find that sort of behavior unusual?

No comment.

That whole model concerns me, the idea that a publisher can pay the costs of developing a game, then leave the developer with no additional source of revenue the second the game comes out. Are royalties ever on the table in your negotiations with publishers?

They are, although it’s difficult to negotiate. We always try to fight for royalties, we just aren’t always successful.

Given that you’re now working on Wasteland 2, do you see any differences so far between working independently versus working with a publisher?

There’s more sharing (design docs, vision docs, early area creation, more fan feedback and idea exchanges). Also, the willingness of other companies doing Kickstarters to help each other has been a nice change of pace – there’s a feeling like “we’re all in this together.” Brian Fargo and inXile, for example, gave us a lot of budget and backing feedback, shared the post-mortems and takes on their process, and all of that really helped with our campaign and getting things rolling.

News for Monday, October 1, 2012

Posted by Brother None - at 23:35

Fallout's birthday is a bit hard to peg. Wikipedia says 30 September but this doesn't seem to be based on anything. According to the original website, the "silver" date is 1 October, and it was in stores in North America by 7 October, so take either one as the anniversary date.

Nothing new for its 15th, just a good waypoint to commemorate. Go back to check out the 10th anniversary releases if you never have before.

Posted by WorstUsernameEver - at 9:31

The California Literary Review's videogame blog editorializes again on Fallout 4's setting, this time offering some alternative suggestions to Boston. Among the locations included we find New York, New Orleans, Texas, Colorado and Los Alamos. Here's on New Orleans:

Picking a particular point in The South to use is tricky. While Fallout 3 was set in Washington, D.C., meaning it was on the southern side of the Mason-Dixon line, Columbia isn’t really representative of what most conceive of as “The South”. To differentiate it further, you have to make like Inception and go deeper. So, like in Live and Let Die, we go from one “New” to another, from the York to the Orleans!

Unlike other parts of “The South”, the outsider’s (read: Northerner’s) image of Louisiana isn’t all racism and hillbillies in a bog filled with as much Southern animosity as moonshine. Thanks to N’awlins, it’s also wild parties, delicious spicy food, Dixieland Jazz, and outrageously revealing costumes on loose women enjoying the aforementioned. There’s plenty of potential for diverse locations – deep marshes filled irradiated swamp water juxtaposed against the flaring laser-lights of a neo french quarter – new monsters – giant, exploding, mutant craw fish, (and Gators again) – and even a new currency – Mardi Gras beads of course!

Cajun and Creole culture would make fine replacements for that “unique personality” of the Southwest I mentioned last time, while the Voodoo traditions supply the requisite “kooky mysticism”. Voodoo in Fallout would be especially interesting, thanks to all the “zombies” walking around in the form of Ghouls. Of course, there’s the touchy issue of post-Katrina New Orleans being used as virtual site of total devastation, but A) it was done already in Infamous 2, and B) Fallout 3 showed a completely destroyed Washington D.C. – once you do that, what more you could do to offend people, I mean seriously.

The major problem is Point Lookout, which already covered much of this ground (er, marsh), right down to the steamboats and inbred antagonists. While setting a complete game here and embracing the entirety of the region’s diversity would offset this, it still seems like more time should pass before people would regard a Fallout: Swamp Thing as anything other than a greatly expanded side story. However, that seems to be the popular opinion of New Vegas, so I guess it really comes down to how it’s handled. It would just have to have one hell of a plot to convince Bethesda, methinks.

So with the chances of a swampland mystery dashed against the hard reality of marketable differentiation, it’s time to Go West My Boy! Go west!

Driving along in the Highwayman, we continue out of the deltas and the marshes along the I-10, dodging gunfire from drunken ghouls after skipping out on a bar tab.

It isn’t long before we head right in to where the stars at night, are big and bright . . .