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June 2000

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Friday, June 30

IRC Chat by Miroslav - 10:53 -
Chris Taylor posted an announcement about chat, scheduled Monday, July 3.
We have an IRC chat on Monday, 3 July 2000 at 5:00 PM pacific.

Excellent! Hope to see you there!
Indeed, see you there!

Thursday, June 29

Tactics Screenshots @ Gamespy by Miroslav - 14:04 -
Gamespy released a set of Fallout: Tactics screen shots. Two shots are new, while other two could be seen earlier on some other web sites.
Link: Gamespy - Fallout Tactics Screenshots
Thanks to Zack and Justin Carter for link.

Wednesday, June 28

Tactics Preview@Computer Games Online by Miroslav - 8:57 -
Series of Fallout: Tactics mini previews continues. Computer Games Online Web site published small article, in which you cannot find out anything useful if you've been reading the official message boards or following my tidbit posts. That's the way stuff works, and speaking of new things, I've noticed that a new official message boards is less active than before.
Link: Computer Games Online Preview of Fallout: Tactics.
And again, cheers to Zack for sending me this notice.

Saturday, June 24

A Call for Help by Miroslav - 13:09 -
Admiral Duck Sauce and his Wasteland-HalfLife team are in a need of help. They're in a need of a C programmer.
This is the Wasteland Half-Life Mod's final plea for help.

We are in need of a programmer experienced with C++ and the Half-Life
engine, preferably who likes Wasteland and would like to see it crawl
back from the brink of oblivion to become the great game it deserves to be. The coders who have previously worked on WHL have left little to no material to continue from. We're not looking for a quick fix or simple debug. We need a dedicated team member. We've got everything but the code done for our next beta and then some, please don't let our efforts be wasted. If you've got what it takes, get in touch with me (Admiral Duck Sauce) at or UIN 49503311.

Thank you.
Admiral Duck Sauce
WHL Coordinator
I really hope there are people out there who'd like to help in this great project. Let me say this once again, WHL (short for Wasteland Half-Life) is a mod for Half-Life based on Fallout and Wasteland worlds. Currently, one beta version is available for download, and this mod received good marks from HalfLife community. Think about it...

Friday, June 23

Tactics Interview by Miroslav - 0:45 -
Strategy Gaming Online web site has a long one page interview with Chris Taylor. And a quote as usually:
Combat isn't the entire basis of Fallout Tactics. It is a strategy game that emphasizes combat more than previous Fallout titles (mostly because previous Fallout titles were _sooo_ good at making sure that there were multiple solutions to the various problems presented to the player).

Fan feedback specifically asked for more control over your party members and the ability to play multiplayer. Both of those features are key components to Fallout Tactics, but I think they would detract a little from the Fallout RPG experience. Fallout Tactics is a better place for them.
I cannot agree on this one. As some people asked for complete control over character's party, most of the community would appreciate return to the old system. I agree that NPC AI was crap, but hey, it's much better when you have unpredictable friends, right? ;) Makes life more fun!
Link: Strategy Gaming interview
Tahnks to Tom from Strategy Gaming for sending me a notice

New Official Screenshots by Miroslav - 0:36 -
There are 7 new screenshots available at the official Fallout: Tactics web site. Link : Official Screenshots
Again thanks to Zack for this head up.

Thursday, June 22

Tactics Screenshots by Miroslav - 15:38 -
GA-Strategy has a mini article on Fallout: Tactics, plus two new screenshots. Link: GA-Strategy: Tactics Screenshots
Thanks to Zack for this link

Wednesday, June 21

New Software for IPlay's Forums by Miroslav - 11:02 -
Interplay recently changed it's forum software. Now it supports user registration. I'm just testing it now, and you're free to join. Note: Currently, these boards are in beta (according to Interplay).
Link: Official Message Boards

Monday, June 19

ICQ List by Miroslav - 22:00 -
Finally, after months of inactivity, I've managed to install a new ICQ list. Thanks to Angel Zen from Heaven's Gaming Sites for helping me with this script.
Link: ICQ List.

Thursday, June 15

Official Update by Miroslav - 11:46 -
This update reveals no game information unknown to us. It's basically a link to E3 awards, which has a small look-up at Fallout: Tactics.
E3 2000 coverage& Awards!

Our E3 2000 coverage, including a summary of your game and the annotation as Best of Show winner can be found at:

FALLOUT TACTICS: BROTHERHOOD OF STEEL has been selected by The Wargamer as a winner of our E3 2000 Best of Show award in the category of BEST REAL TIME TACTICAL.
Link: Wargamer E3 Tactics report

Chris on Mac version by Miroslav - 11:32 -
After of short period of inactivity, Fallout: Tactics message board are once again operational.
Chris Taylor posted again about Mac version...
We don't do Mac games because they are not profitable or profitable enough to justify the development expense. The major problem is the market share.

Fallout Mac sold like 7% the numbers of the PC version. I'm guesstimating. When the PC version had sold around 100,000 copies, the Mac version had sold around 10,000. Since then, the PC version has continued to sell (mostly due to the reviews and the low price point), while the Mac version became very hard to find. YMMV (and mine often does...)

Hmmm... anyone still have a Mac? :)

Monday, June 12

Tactics First Look at GA-RPG by Miroslav - 15:45 -
GA-RPG published a Fallout: Tactics First Look article. It features two new screenshots, so it's probably a good idea to head over there. Here's a quote from that article on F:T storyline.
Fallout Tactics will deal with a group of Brotherhood of Steel soldiers that travels east to track the mutant army, after Fallout 1. It is known that your character "crashes" near Chicago at the start of the game, but not much more.

Since Chris Taylor is a senior designer on the project, it's safe to say that the game will stay true to the Fallout setting and the storyline of the Fallout games. Chris Avellone, one of the designers on Fallout 2 (and lead designer of Torment) has also been going over the design documents. While not exactly a roleplaying game, this game is about as Fallout as it gets.
Link: GA-RPG - Fallout:Tactics First Look.
Thanks to Chris Johnson, Editor-in-Chief of GA-RPG for letting me know about this article.

Sunday, June 11

Last Week Tidbits by Miroslav - 12:09 -
Last week was a hell for me. And it's not gonna end. I had... err, have some misunderstandings with local tyrants over here, but no one can separate me from NMA :) So, let's get down to last weeks tidbits from the Fallout: Tactics Message Board. Let's start with Ed Orman.
on aborting skill use in combat - Yep, you can abort, at the cost of all of the action points that have been built up.

Plus, there will be no "partial" results for an interrupted skill check [ie, you won't get a little HP back if the Doctor character only gets thru 30% of using the Doctor skill before aborting].

on armor types - There's a variety of armor types for the BOS [some of which can be seen in the screen shots]. Additionally, there's the armor that you can pick up off other denizens of the wasteland.

Different armors have different attributes, advantages and disadvantages.

Your access to BOS armour is controlled through Rank and several other variables, so you won't see power armor in the early stages of the game.

Forgive me for using words like "variety" and "several" but we just don't want to give away the specifics yet ;).

on co-op multiplay - We're aiming to have both cooperative and deathmatch modes of play.

The cooperative mode will certainly allow you to ally yourself with other teams, but that does not necessarily restrict you to having only 3 characters. I'm sure some people would like to play with 3 teams of 6 vs 3 teams of 6.

on prone mode - Previously, we were going to make it a game restriction that prone players couldn't move, so Chris was right when he said No.

Since then, we've put crawling in [after feedback from E3], so now the answer is Yes.

Yes! You can crawl to your hearts content. But you'll be SLOW, and while you present a smaller target profile to someone on the same level as you, to people higher up you'll be a sitting duck.

on chainsaws - Unfortunately, you'll have to settle for the Ripper, a nasty little melee weapon that resembles a knife-sized chainsaw. Otherwise, we'd have to include a special chainsaw anim. for every character that could pick up the chainsaw.

Fortunately, the Ripper is a kick-ass weapon in close combat.

on long range weapons - We will be having some of the weapons from the previous installments of Fallout, as well as a slew of new ones. Currently, our weapons list includes long-range sniper weapons [equivalents of the Bozar and others].

sniping from buildings? - Hell yes! You'll be able to climb to the top of a six story building, and as long as you can see a target [perception, LOS], you'll be able to fire at them. Don't expect to see too many six story buildings, tho.

on weapon add-ons - There will be a [limited] weapons upgrade system, on a per weapon basis, that will improve various attributes of each weapon. You'll carry those weapons and their improvements with you from mission to mission.

ladders/stairs? - Our engine supports real stairs - meaning that the character can move one world unit up/down at a time.

We also have ladders - the player must get a character to use the ladder, and that character will climb up/down.

on drugs - You'll see most of the original chemicals plus some new flavours to try. Since we're in a different region of the continent, some recently developed drugs haven't travelled there yet, and some new drugs have been cooked up by the locals.

Plus there's always the Brotherhood-sanctioned stimulants...

between missions? - Between missions, when you're at one of the Brotherhood Bunkers, you'll be able to wander around, get some rest and healing, chew the fat with the local soldiers, and interact in a variety of other ways.
Tony Oakden said some interesting stuff...
on mission editor - Currently we have 10,000 separate tiles, by the time the game ships it will be nearer 13,000 which can be used in any combination to produce a level. Generally though the smaller the set of tiles used in a particular level the faster the loading time and the faster the world will run on a sensible spec computer. The tiles vary from small wall and floor sections to entire objects like trees, rocks etc. All the tiles will be in the final game and when we release the level editor you will be able to use them to build new worlds. We are currently not committed to releasing the editor with the game and may choose to do it in unsupported fashion through the Fallout Web page.

It would not be impossible for a keen third party to produce their own tile set but it would be a lot of work and I would not recommend it. One problem is that the tile data has quite a lot of additional data in it besides the graphics (stuff for the game physics etc). However I think you will find that the existing tile sets will give designers scope to produce some really interesting and different levels.

on death animations - Worry Not! We have every sort of death you could possibly imagine. From tame falling over deaths all the way up to exploding into lumps of quivering grissle deaths. Along the way we have, riddled with bullets, melt deaths, electrocute deaths, burn to death etc. Not only that but every character (thats every character not just every race) has it's death sequence animated differently so there is an absolute s**t load of ways for a character to meet it's end. It makes for a lot of extra work for the artists but looks brilliant!

On top of all that we add extra particle effects for blood and other bodily fluids, spurting out in a completely gratuitous manner.

I'll try to get some AVI's up on the board demonstrating actual game play (and deaths) by the end of the week.

demo!? - It has become an accepted fact of life that a demo of a game will be released before the game. From a marketing point of view demos have become a useful tool for ramping up interest in a product. From our (the poor programers and artists at the sharp end) point of view I think it does actually do more good than harm; Knowing that you have to have a demo ready two months before the game makes a great milestone objective which everyone can focus on.

Doing a demo is like having a dress rehearsal of the final performance and can help sort out all sort of issues like, QA, Installation, Localisation etc on a smaller scale than the final version, issues which otherwise can trip a project up at the last minute.

It gives us the chance to get feedback from the game playing population before the game releases and so hopefully gives us a chance to sort out game play issues in advance of release.

I hated having to do demos for my last project but I have to admit they did seem to help with all of the above.

on starting gear - You start as a new recruit which restricts your selection of items and characters for use in your squad.

As the game progresses you get to choose from a wider selection of weapons and characters. Also we have some special missions where extra constraints will be placed on what equipment you can take, for example in one mission you have to travel as quickly as possible to a destination and are hence limited, by weight, as to what equipment you can take.

In multiplayer it will be up to the host to decide what level of characters and what equipment they have access to.
Thanks to Matt and Ul Goris for some tidbit links.
Chris Taylor posted like mad (as usually).
on interactive enviroments - A little better than Fallout, not as good as X-com.

on speech skill - They still have a use, however, the emphasis is on the tactical combat. A pure diplomat would not be viable, but a character with speech may find it easier here and there to talk instead of shoot.

on percepting enemies - Brand new system. It's hard to explain. We have a gameplay movie that will be coming out at some point (it's being put on a press CD-ROM that will go to magazines and web-sites soon) that shows how vision works. Pretty nifty.

on avoiding detection by crawling or standing still - If you are behind cover, you can crawl undetected. Standing still? No. Not unless you had some piece of technology helping you -- and even then it would have to be at a distance.
Chris also posted a clarification on development teams involved in this project:
14� East is not designing the game. We're just overseeing the game development on behalf of Interplay. We have our own ideas about what should be in the game, and we have approval rights... (for example, we got to re-script and re-storyboard the intro movie to make it more "Fallout") but...

The game is being designed and programmed by Micro-Fort�. You are correct, the vast majority of FT dev team is there.

Both teams spent about one week of nothing but idea sessions and meetings to hash out the game and get a very clear idea of what we want to see.

Interplay will be doing the final Quality Assurance, but even Micro-Fort� has people on that.

It's a very closely entertwined development plan.

In other words:
If it succeeds, Micro-Fort� did a great job.
If it fails, it's my fault... :P

Uhm, I never though about this. I guess I'd have to buy a 10.000 copies then :)

Chris Taylor Interview by Miroslav - 10:04 -
The Daily Telefrag recently posted an interview with Chris Taylor. Here's a couple of interesting notes:
Q: As I understand, the events of BoS will take place between two Fallouts, released before. Why was it decided to place Fallout: Tactics between and, as an example, not after Fallout 2?

Chris Taylor: For several reasons: one of which is that we wanted to finish off some of the plot elements from Fallout 1 (like what happened to the super mutant army that went east after the, er, spoiler stuff ahead, Master was destroyed), we also thought it would be nifty to setup a few things for FO2.

Q: The engine of the game is slightly modified; does that mean that Fallout world will change a little? (certainly, I don’t want to say that it was dull, but everybody wants something new :)

Chris Taylor: The graphic engine is completely new. We are making some changes to the "gameplay" engine, but that was to add some new features (like crouching and prone, elevations and vehicles). In addition to the standard turn-based mode, we also added a simultaneous turn-based mode called "Continuous Turn-Based" or CTB. This makes the multiplayer game play a little faster, while still being very dependent on your characters stats and skills.
Link: The Daily Telefrag Interview.
Thanks to Josh for link.

Tuesday, June 6

Tactics Q&A @ BigKid by Miroslav - 10:14 -
BigKid recently had a small Q&A article with Ed Orman. Here's an interesting part where Ed describes how CTB (continuous turn-based) mode actually work:
The Continuous Turn-Based system allows us to have a faster paced game, appealing to real-time gamers, without losing the ability to make tactical decisions. In Continuous Turn-Based mode, a character's actions still cost that character action points [for example, firing a gun, using an item], but those points regenerate over time. The only exception is that when a character is walking around, it doesn't cost them any action points, nor will action points regenerate. This means that every character can be constantly on the move, and there's a whole range of tactical decisions about when and where to use up your precious action points.
Link: BigKid Q&A with Ed Orman.
Ed Orman is the Lead Game designer at MicroForte.
Thanks goes to Rob for informing me.

Saturday, June 3

Official Tactics site update by Miroslav - 11:32 -
Fallout: Tactics official web site was updated.
31 May 2000 - Fallout Tactics Development Update
Hello! Welcome to the Fallout Tactics developer update. This is sort of a news column, diary and design chalkboard all rolled into one. We hope to keep you updated on our status, and provide some insight into the design and creation of FT.

We had been keeping Fallout Tactics a secret until just before E3, and launched it the day of the show. As such, the most common comment from people at E3 was "Boy, I wasn't expecting this!" as they pointed towards the Tactics area. they will be up ASAP!
I'm sure many of you can guess what the second most common comment was...

So, why isn't it an RPG?
Darn good question. Fallout Tactics is first and foremost is a strategy game. It has strong RPG elements, but it isn't Fallout 3. It doesn't have the extended dialogue, or the go-anywhere-do-anything freedom that the RPGs had. Not that those features aren't present to some extent, just the whole game has a different ratio of features.

Also, 14� East concentrates on strategy games. Black Isle Studios does the RPGs. So 14� East and Micro-Fort� are able to bring you another Fallout title without using BIS resources for an RPG. Extra goodness.

Future Updates
Please tell us what you would like to see covered in these developer updates. The Fallout Tactics forum is a great place to throw down ideas or give us feedback.

-Chris Taylor
We should expect more "useful" updates in the near future.

Downtime by Miroslav - 11:29 -
Gamestats servers went down for a while. I apologize but it's not my fault. It was an act of a mad mage who thrown a lightning strike attack on our ISP :) We're back online and back for updates...