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June 2002

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Saturday, June 29

New version of Red!Viewer: by Rosh - 20:39 - Comment Me (0) - News Source:
Red! sent word of a new version of his grea-...err, Modest Graphic Viewer. ;)

Here's the latest release updates:
- Optimized loading of vb standard types
- Fixed bug that would crash if you don't select a frame in FRMs
- Fixed crash when encountering negative integer offsets in FRMs (and opt)
- Fixed FR0 to FR5 loading
- Optimized ZAR/SPR/TIL palette loading with buffer
- Fixed & optimized Big Endian long read (even though it didn't cause bugs)
d Fixed typos and added some info to the readme
- Fixed centering of FRM animations
- Moved the Fallout palette selection in the Rendering menu, added hotkey
- Changed layout of menu a bit
- Added "New -> Tile" in File menu
- Rearranged a bunch of tools and added some ToolTips
- Added feature to enable/disable sprite layers
- Added the possibility to copy sprite layers onto the clipboard
- Fixed bug when trying to move down a frame but already at bottom
- Added Fallout palette loader
- Made it so that the sequence buttons are only enabled for tiles
- Made it so that "Up" and "Down" and "Add" follow the selected items
- Added ZAR clipboard ability to copy from Tiles
- Fixed bug which made only the last clipboard entry a valid one
- Fixed crash when selecting "Remove" and nothing was selected on the
- Fixed it so that the clipboard window always appears on the screen
- Added VERY BASIC FRM support: only items work for now

From a programming viewpoint, it's rather nicely laid out, and it's quite functional already for other games besides Fallout Tactics, Arcanum included. Good work, Red!

There's two versions, an .ace archive and an .msi installer. You can download it from the local mirror here.

For the MSI version, I would recommend the latest MSI installer, located here

Friday, June 28

Almost time for Jefferson by Odin - 21:21 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: Bis Forums
In a thread about IWD2, JE Saywer stated that he hasn't been working on IWD2 for about a week now and he's working on Jefferson to show to the public:
Huh? I'm not even working on the game anymore. I haven't been for about a week.
I'm not a programmer, I'm a designer. Designers fix design bugs, of which I have none. Programmers fix programming bugs, of which there are an indeterminate amount. I'm working on getting Jefferson ready to show people.
So that would hopefully mean that we soon will discover what Jefferson is... (no it's not FO3!)

More Interplay stuff by Odin - 17:10 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: Voodoo Extreme
I noticed that Frictionless Insight had posted an article about Interplay and what's happened with their company over the years, here's a snibblet:
Interplay was founded in 1983 by Brian Fargo, who resigned as Chairman of the Board of Directors on January 7th, 2002. His resignation came in the wake of attempts to sell the company; a conflict with BioWare Corp. over Neverwinter Nights; and a power struggle with Titus Interactive. Interplay’s problems can be divided into money problems and control problems. Amidst the turmoil, Interplay only released ten titles in 2001, compared with 32 titles in 2000. Like many companies, Interplay kept little cash on hand, and relied on credit agreements and revenue from game sales to operate. With fewer titles shipping, and problems with their credit agreements, Interplay had to find sources of cash and ways to cut costs.
There's more, read it all here.

Thursday, June 27

More on SPECIAL in Lionheart by Odin - 21:15 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: Lionheart: The Inquisition
The guys from the Lionheart: The Inquisition got to interview Eric Dallaire (designer at Reflexive Entertainment and lead writer on Lionheart) about Lionheart and here he explains how Lionheart differs from Fallout regarding SPECIAL:
Eric Dallaire: First, guns and science have been replaced by magic. We had to expand the skill set to allow players to put skill points directly into specific magic spells. As you put points into spells, it allows you to access more powerful magic within one of the three main classes of magic: thought, tribal, and divine. You could spread your skill points among many spells to master a class of magic, or even place many points into one specific spell so that it reaches its maximum potential. We're making an effort to keep each spell as unique as possible, so that when you access higher level spells, they aren't merely higher level versions of the lower spells, which would make the points you spent on the lower level spells obsolete.

Perks and traits are also in the game. Several of the perks and traits from Fallout are in Lionheart, although some needed to be cut or changed to fit the gameworld, and we also created new ones to reflect the addition of the four player races: feralkins, sylvants, demokins, and humans. I would like to stress that, like Fallout, Lionheart is a classless system, so choosing a race, joining a faction, or focusing on a select few skills does not force you into a class. You are still free to determine the path you want the character to take.

Also, another large change from Fallout is that Lionheart plays in real-time, so the concept of Action Points had to be modified. While Action Points are still derived from Agility, APs now govern how fast your character does certain actions, like movement, melee and missile combat, and magic casting. We just implemented animation changes that allow characters with higher APs to run faster than characters with lower APs.
Well, there's more were that came from...

Wednesday, June 26

Jefferson speculations by Odin - 19:10 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: Bis Forums
No I haven't died and gone to heaven just yet (sorry for the lack of updates, still waiting for my DSL line). There's an ongoing debate on the BIS forums about the "Jefferson" project and what it is, here's what JE Sawyer had to say:
"No, it's not Fallout 3. As Chris Avellone truthfully wrote, Fallout 3 is not in development. We'd like it to be, but it isn't yet."
Wait there's more, he also explained why FU said IWD2 wasn't in production, when it was in development..
"Incorrect, Junior Crime Hound. The only time I remember Feargus answering, "No, IWD2 is not in production" was when IWD2 was, in fact, not in production.

Fallout 3 is also not in production. If it begins production in a week, ten months, or two years, I'm still not lying when I say it's not in production right now."
Now, doesn't that leave us with the answer ?

And on the question as to why they are not announcing Jefferson just yet:
Because when we launch it, we want to knock your asses off of your bodies with such red-hot force that the place where your buttocks used to be is actually cauterized.

Fallout in a Descent 4 poll: by Rosh - 16:51 - Comment Me (2) - News Source:

Should Interplay make a Descent 4?
  • Hell yes! Descent kicks ass! (27%)
  • No, it's been too long. (3%)
  • FALLOUT 3, nuff said. (59%)
  • Who cares. (11%)

  • Here's what I could derive from it:

    1. It's obvious that Fallout is big enough to warrant putting it into a poll topic of a game in a completely different genre and development team. OR
    2. Is this yet another tease? OR
    3. Interplay's financial crisis is so severe, they can only afford to fund one of these games, despite that they would be created by entirely different divisions. Does this mean more culling of divisions in the future? OR
    4. I'm reading too far into a poll.

    Thanks to P B for the heads-up.

    Tuesday, June 25

    Top Ten Maps by Rosh - 23:03 - Comment Me (0) - News Source:
    Okay boys and ghouls, stop polishing your laser pistols for a moment.

    Just went through and found the top ten maps with the following criteria:

  • Rating
  • Number of votes
  • Times downloaded
  • Entry number

    So the maps in the Top Ten List are graded by the highest rating, if tied with others, the most number of votes, if tied there then the times downloaded, and then the final decider if the download count is tied with another along with everything else, if a map has a lower entry number than another it will be higher on the listing.

    So, vote for your favorite FOT maps, but please do not stuff repeat votes.

    New Large Fallout 2 Walkthrough: by Rosh - 0:51 - Comment Me (0) - News Source:
    This one is a work in progress, and it's quie large already (about 500k), chock full of hints, help, and some interesting tidbits about the engine. Not going to spoil them, but to point you to the walktrhough page, where we have both a link to the original and also a local mirror of it as well.

    Many thanks to Per for sharing this with us, and you can add your thanks here. While you're at it, Per's got some interesting Fallout-inspired music here.

    Monday, June 24

    Map Rating Graphics: by Rosh - 23:27 - Comment Me (0) - News Source:
    I waited a bit longer to see how the poll runs, as I think Odin wanted #6, but it appears most like the Pip-Boy comic look for "full" with a scanline Pip-Boy for "empty". #5 happens to be my personal favorite, too, and I'm glad I thought of the scanline look.

    I'll get to work on those and update as necessary, shouldn't take that long at all. I'll append to this when they are finished and updated.

    Well, that didn't take long at all. All images have been crafted, and add a nice look to the maps section.

    So, for all you Fallout Tactics players, let your neighborhood mappers know what you think of their maps. Remember, cartoon Pip is good, scanline bad. Each map (or most) has an info popup window (?) giving you a brief description of the map.

    Have a map to submit? Either e-mail Odin or myself at our news e-mail addys listed in the news articles. Give the name of the map, a brief description of the map, author name to post it under, e-mail if you want it posted or not, and which of our map categories it would go under, and any other download locations it might be at.

    Judging by the download counts, some maps are being eaten alive!

    Is Hakunin in the house? by Rosh - 23:22 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: DAC
    Reported over at Duck and Cover, Saint Proverbious relays from Aptyp that a modding team is looking for someone to fill a vital role. More details quoted as follows:

    A mod team working on Arroyo and Klamath mod is looking for a man who can do a good Hakunin impersonation, as they need someone to voice the new dialogues for him.

  • must be proficient with sound recording software
  • be good with his voice

  • If you think you can do the drug-induced shaman-type or know someone who can do that and is good with the voice, drop an e-mail off to

    <tongue in cheek>
    It's either that, or we go find Dwight Shultz and kidnap him. He played Lt. Reginald 'Reg' Barclay III on Star Trek: TNG, so you might know of him a bit better that way. It's desperate, but we just might have to do that...
    </tongue in cheek>

    Red!Viewer, New Version: by Rosh - 23:07 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: DAC
    I am a bit late to post this in light of being busy working on a few other odds and ends, plus a MUD code-base, but here goes.

    Red has posted up a new version of his viewer, which can be obtained from Duck and Cover here.

    Pictures of it's layout and function may be seen here.

    More info on it's release, including features and questions about the viewer can be addressed here.

    I hope this helps you Fallout Tactics modders in lieu of the MicroFort��� sprite editor.

    Thursday, June 20

    Duck And Cover up and running by Odin - 10:34 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: DAC
    Duck And Cover have finally opened up again after some time down, go check out the new DAC on this adress:

    The New Special System by Odin - 10:07 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: RPGVault
    RPGVault interviewed Producer Chris Parker of Black Isle and Lead Designer Ion Hardie of Reflexive Entertainment on the Lionheart game, what's interesting to read about is the new SPECIAL system they are cranking out:
    Jonric: Given that the system was created for a turn-based game in a non-fantasy environment, what significant adaptations have you made it to for Lionheart? For example, how complex was adding magic?

    Chris Parker: There are really only two major changes to the SPECIAL system for this game, the addition of magic and the move to real time. Going from turn-based to real time has actually been fairly smooth - after those many hours of debate, of course. We retain Action Points - these were used in Fallout to determine how many things you could do during your turn in combat - and use them to determine how quickly your character acts. Finally, every action has been given a cost in time so that you will be able to use a small fast weapon more often than a large powerful one. These changes allowed the system to get ported to real-time in what we feel is an accurate and balanced fashion.

    Adding magic to the system required only minor adjustments. We decided that we'd like to have three different magic types in the game and that each of these should be represented in a skill tree. The underlying equations for magic had to be written, but they are all essentially the same as those for other weapons and abilities, so it really wasn't difficult.

    A few other minor changes to note, although these should be common sense; we removed a number of skills that weren't worthwhile in a medieval setting, the weapon skills were modified to melee and ranged types of skills, and we are considering allowing attributes to go above 10, at least effectively at very high levels.
    Well, what can I'll be interesting to try out Lionheart when it's done..

    Radiation or FEV discussion by Odin - 9:08 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: Bis Forums
    Mr Carrot, Saint, Chris A and alot of other people are having a discussion about FEV and Radiation, and here's what Chris Taylor and Tim Cain had to say:
    Chris Taylor: "Ghouls are a type of mutant. Super Mutants are humans with no or minimal radiation damage who have been exposed to FEV. Ghouls are humans with significant radiation damage exposed to FEV."

    Tim Cain: "I do know that radiation and FEV do not mix. Mutants are immune to radiation effects, but an irradiate human is killed by exposure to FEV. So one thing is sure: Harold is not a mix of radiation and FEV. He's got to be one or the other, and I think he's a ghoul."
    And there's more, drop in on this link and join the discussion..

    Update: Here's Chris A's version:
    1. Some critters wandering the wastes have been affected by FEV (Centaurs, Floaters, radscorpions), but most of them outside of California have been twisted by war radiation. The radscorpions outside of Shady Sands, based on what Razlo says, definitely have, although there may be some that were mutated solely by war radiation. Considering (technically) the military base isn't far from Shady Sands and the base has been spawning mutants for some time before Grey's expedition, this isn't too surprising.

    2. The origin of ghouls is unknown. If it was due solely to radiation, the reason why they suddenly crawled back to life when the rest of humanity's dead and dying didn't, however, poses some questions. It's possible the interior of the Vault shielded them "enough" so that only the right concentration of radiation reached them to spark their change, or there was something else taking place in Vault 12 that caused their... condition. Or maybe it was a plot device. Who knows?

    3. The FEV has changed since ZAX's analysis. How it could have spread through the wasteland is unknown. How it was modified by the Enclave to become airborne is unknown. How many FEV-infected creatures escaped from Mariposa before and after Grey's transformation is unknown.

    FO3 in the plans ? by Odin - 8:59 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: Bis Forums
    JE Saywer answered a question about "why BIS don't create it's own module design game" (ala NWN) and read what the man said:
    That's not a bad idea, but it's a very large undertaking. It took BioWare five years to make NWN from pre-production to ship. At its height, it had somewhere in the realm of 70 people working on it. That's massive. As much as people gnash their teeth when we say it, Black Isle still has to be cautious with what it develops for the next "while".

    That said, people seem to be very interested in a sci-fi game -- so why not a modular sci-fi game? However, we still have to tackle Fallout 3 before something brand-brand new.

    P.S.: Back in the good-ol' days, when BioWare and Black Isle had picnics together, I thought it would be awesome for artists with down-time to create a NWN asset-pack. No modules, no dialogues, not an adventure in itself... just a big honkin' pack of building tiles, props, and creatures. OH WELL. BOO-HOO.
    Well, well...looks like JE and I are on the same page..

    Friday, June 14

    The Lost FOT missions by Odin - 21:43 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: Duck And Cover Forums
    Ever looked inside the core files and found out that there are some missions missing? Well Gareth Davies answered the question for us:
    The lost missions:

    Mis13: Begin the clean up the remaining Super Mutants in the region. During the course of the mission, the player spots a wide path of destruction caused by a single behemoth bot. Help the town evacuate, and destroy the robot if possible.

    Mis14: Ambush a mutant invasion force in it's last bid for a besieged settlement. Among ruined city blocks, the player would have to ambush waves of super mutants, for long enough to buy time for evacuation of threatened town.

    Mis17: Escort a BOS scribe to the site of a fallen robot to gather information. The robot is seen as a deity to the reavers who inhabit the town, and become hostile if the player is not stealthy in their approach.

    Mis20: Capture a reaver controlled oil facility.

    These levels were all cut before any scripting had begun. It was obvious that we weren't going to have time to do them all, so these ones were cut, mostly because they weren't important to the main plot line, but also because they bore a few similarities to other levels.
    Well, now we know that...

    Chris Avellones Wishlist by Odin - 16:48 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: Icebound A Journey North
    In a IWD2 interview Chris Avellone answered this to the question "What game would you like to do next?":
    16) If you had free reign to work on any type/style/genre of game, what kind of game would you do?

    Tex: I�ve always been a big fan of strategy RPGs. Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre were games which I�d turn on the Playstation at around noon time and before I knew it, it was noon time the next day! The battles themselves are something that I could spend hours upon hours just playing around with, and having a chance to make a title that used a turn-based system combined with a great story and plot, would make a project that I would love to work on.

    Chris: Fallout 3.
    Good to hear we agree Chris, even though I already knew this..

    Thursday, June 13

    New FOT Map and Mod by Odin - 20:37 - Comment Me (0) - News Source:
    I've finally posted the second part of Max-Violence's "Rebellion" Mini Campaign, and I've also posted the FOT World War 2 mod for those of you who haven't downloaded that yet.

    Wasteland Revival by Odin - 8:57 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: Bis Forums
    It seems there are some guys who are working on a revival on "Wasteland", they are working on a new code and everything. There's also a tech demo you could try out, go here for more info.
    Status on the game:
    current size: about 1500 lines of code
    game engine: 30 % done (I guess)
    storyline: 5 % done
    graphics (tiles, pictures, ...): 0 % done
    sound: 0 % done
    music: won't include any

    Link: Wasteland Revival (Singple Player and Multiplayer remake.

    Wednesday, June 12

    Static demo nr 3? by Odin - 7:56 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: Static Forums
    If you're following the game called Static, you're probably wondering if there's going to be a third demo. Well look no further, here's the answer:
    Good GOOD question. Though i cant give out any specific dates, as the last thing i want todo is keep pushing that off and frustrating the fans- i will say that we are contemplating and taking steps to rewrite some of the more buggy parts of the game. A good portion will be scrapped and redesigned for our full scope.

    The version everyone is playing now will be rewritten (in terms of characters and missions) as well. However, story elements like Doctor Von Tuttle and the suggestions and such will continue to drive the story forward. We are exploring a few different ways of conveying the storyline without explicit cutscenes, long dialogue trees/text, or other common and sometimes weak methods.

    But back to your question, all I can elude to is that we will be spending the next two months recreating some of the engine and code that has already been finished so that more than the top 20% can run the game. Nows the time to focus on those issues before we get too deep.
    Well sorta the answer atleast....

    Tuesday, June 11

    Fallout 3 gets mentioned by Odin - 8:52 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: The Electronic Playground
    After reading about Lionheart, and the various previews out there I stumbled onto this preview of Lionheart which mentioned Fallout 3:
    At the Interplay booth, I bumped into Feargus Urquhart, the President of the Isle. I quizzed him about a potential Fallout 3. I thought I was taking a chance at him ordering the Black Isle/Reflexive crew to force me to eat a pile of free t-shirts, because that's got to be the thing he's always asked and I was worried he'd be sick of it. On the contrary, he discussed the possibility quite pleasantly. Nothing official has been announced (as I am sure you Fallout fans well know), but Urquhart does seem very interested in a third game, and in fact he still makes notes when he comes up with an idea for FO3, particularly if it's an old-time song that can be used in the opening movie...
    Well, nothing new there...

    Monday, June 10

    New Wastes screenies by Odin - 7:46 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: The Wastes
    Josh 'Gage' Coyne of The Wastes posted quite a few new screenshots of 4 of the new maps for the new build of The Wastes, so get on over and have a looksie.
    Link: The Wastes

    Friday, June 7

    JE Speaks on #Blackisle by Odin - 12:18 - Comment Me (3) - News Source: Bis Forums
    JE Saywer took some time to chat with the people in #Blackisle and here's what he said about Fallout 3:
    Tank: what're the rules on making Fallout 3-mods using the engine from FO2?
    Tank: Would w, as fans, be allowed to mod the FO2 engine to create an unofficial FO3?
    BIS_JESawyer: Dunno. I'm not too keen on legal issues.
    BIS_JESawyer: I actually have talked to Feargus a few times about releasing editors and source code for FO2.

    Tank: what'd they say?
    Tank: they won't or they can't?
    BIS_JESawyer: There are issues with the source code, though. It uses a licensed third party sound engine that needs to be yanked and re-written -- if we were to do such a thing.
    BIS_JESawyer: Releasing the code and editors is a possibility, but we'll have to look into it more after IWD2 ships.

    BIS_JESawyer: I would like our next game to have turn-based combat. Really.
    * Tank wishes they'd get their act together and make a Falliut 3
    BIS_JESawyer: Tank: We do, too.
    BIS_JESawyer: Rhombus: Sure. I've said it before. I would really like it if our next game had TB combat.
    BIS_JESawyer: Believe me, there are many, many people in BIS who would love to make FO3. Any delay we come across causes many groans, but we all know that if we weather it, it will still be there for us.
    BIS_JESawyer: SA: I don't believe in hybrid systems, but I do believe in implementing TB as a base with a RT option. I think at some point you just have to accept the differences between RT and TB and deal with them.
    BIS_JESawyer: We really aren't working on Fallout 3. Really. As Feargus said in an interview a while back, a different team started on FO3 designs before IWD, but that got scrapped.

    BIS_JESawyer: Jefferson will make some people happy, some people sad. It's not Fallout 3, as we've already said.
    Rhombus: So Josh... Is Jefferson an IE game?.. or can't you answer that?
    BIS_JESawyer: I think I can safely say that, whether you like or dislike the rules and setting for Jefferson, it is going to be a ROLEPLAYING GAME. Emphasis on ROLEPLAYING.

    Rhombus: So, Josh.. Can you comment on when you'll announce Jefferson?
    BIS_JESawyer: With Jefferson, I hope that we will make a game that focuses a great deal on character development, mature character interactions, and really engrossing roleplaying environments.

    BIS_JESawyer: Rhombus: No, sorry. It shouldn't be that much longer, though.

    Rhombus: So Josh.. Are there going to be dual-weilding for theives in Jefferson???
    BIS_JESawyer: Rhombus: IT IS A MYSTERY.
    BIS_JESawyer: Plenty of dual-wielding thieves in IWD2.
    BIS_JESawyer: I just hope Jefferson is reasonably well received. We've been working on it for a while now.
    BIS_JESawyer: And BTW, we have no current plans to use the IE in any more games.

    Rhombus: Josh, Any comments on the non-combat routes in Jefferson?
    BIS_JESawyer: Rhombus: Not right now.
    BIS_JESawyer: I can also tell you that I think the AI in Jefferson will be JAWESOME.
    BIS_JESawyer: At least, if I can brow-beat the programmers into doing what I ask.
    BIS_JESawyer: Sargy: Well, I already got my way with what I like to call the "threat map" for pathing.
    BIS_JESawyer: Well, I can't talk much more about Jefferson, as much as I would like to. But... well, basically, think of the threat map as a way for characters to incorporate environmental hazards into A*'s pathfinding algorithm.
    BIS_JESawyer: Sargy: The threatmap takes a lot of things into account. As long as it doesn't slow things down too much, it should be really cool... I hope.

    Rhombus: Hmm.. Any other good ideas you'd like to share Josh??
    BIS_JESawyer: Rhombus: Well, I can say that Jefferson has a design and production master document that is well over a thousand pages long.
    BIS_JESawyer: Rhombus: Well, we are a public company. I can only say so much without the title actually being announced.
    BIS_JESawyer: I'd like to tell you all sorts of things about Jefferson, but I have to keep my mouth shut for now.

    Visceris: When will the estimated amount of time before it is announce?
    BIS_JESawyer: Visceris: Can't say, sorry. But it shouldn't be toooo much longer... I hope. IWD2 put a crimp in our production schedule.
    BIS_JESawyer: I will try to not be as vague as Scott Warner was for TORN.
    Puuuh, long post...

    Wednesday, June 5

    Fallout 2 Mapper updated by Odin - 10:32 - Comment Me (0) - News Source: Bis Forums
    I guess you all remember the Fallout 2 mapper which TeamX is busy working on, well they've updated the version to v0.95a, grab it while it's hot!
    Link: Mapper v0.95a and Mapper configuration