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News for Monday, April 30, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 22:46

For those of you anxiously waiting for what Kharn hinted at earlier, we present a short video of Van Buren. Get your hankies out to welcome footage of Black Isle's Fallout 3, and once again see what might have been.

No Mutants Allowed presents both a YouTube version and a high quality version (11MB) hosted on our account at 3D Downloads.

If you are curious about the music, it is "Dream a Little Dream of Me" performed by The Beautiful South.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 19:18

IGN AU has interviewed Jon Chey, project lead of Bioshock, on the game. The interview goes over the developer's priorities, genres, sandbox environments, development evolution, and a comparison to System Shock 2.

IGN AU: What does BioShock do that the System Shock games didn't?

Jon Chey:
Oh God. Well, start by go taking a look at a BioShock screenshot. And put a Shock screenshot next to it. I love Shock 2 but it's kind of hard to claim it was pushing the visual boundaries of game development. I think that is a claim we can make with BioShock.

And then there's physics and environmental simulation. BioShock lets you set people on fire. And then if they bump into something flammable that catches on fire too. Or you can light pools of oil and watch the fire spreading down the hallway. And AIs that are on fire can jump into a pool of water and extinguish themselves.

And what about AI? Big Daddies pick up Little Sisters and carry them around on their backs to keep them safe. Splicers run to health stations to heal themselves when they get damaged. I don't remember that stuff happening in Shock 2.

But perhaps more than anything else, these just aren't the same games. System Shock 2 was an FPS/RPG hybrid and it felt that way when you played it. BioShock is a deep shooter. It just feels different. We have designers and programmers just focusing on movement and aiming, getting the feel right. It's the same thing that every great shooter has to do but we didn't have time for in Shock 2. It's probably not clear from screenshots or movies but it's pretty obvious when you pick up your mouse or controller and start playing.
The unasked question being if they can manage to replicate the intense atmosphere of System Shock 2.

Link: Bioshock interview at IGN AU.

Spotted at Blue's News.

Posted by Brother None - at 15:04

In a blatant attempt to take all your money, Kimmo has released Gone with the Blastwave, Vol. 1, which contains the first 32 Gone with the Blastwave comics...actually, he's not charging that much, but shipping & handling does make it a bit expensive; 8.99 USD in Yankville and 11.95 EUR in elsewhereland.

There's also a new comic up

Posted by Brother None - at 13:59

While we're all excited about the future and wondering what Bethesda will have for us at the upcoming E3 in July, here's a blast from the past; 10 new Van Buren screenshots:



I know what you're thinking, "we've seen Van Buren screenshots before! Oldhat!" I know, but if you're all good boys and girls, we might have something extra for you tonight.

Link: Van Buren screenshot gallery

Posted by Brother None - at 13:36

In a thread on the BethSoft forum discussing devs communicating with fans, Bethesda world artist Grant "TheGragster" Struthers chipped in for his .02:

First off I would like to quickly say that I am an artist at Bethesda. I worked on environmental art for Oblivion and I have now moved on more to effects and such for Fallout. For this reason, I will not be able to answer any questions about the gameplay mechanics or story of Fallout 3. This is simply because my view/opinion of the current state of these things would be incomplete, inaccurate and/or irrelevant.

Now that that is out of the way, I would like to say something about working here. We are not in the business of making games solely for other people. We do not make our decisions based of market research, trends, polls or other such nonsense; and our business folks, while very good at their jobs, stay almost completely out of the development process. (Hey, they sign the checks, so we have to at least tell them what we’re doing.)

We simply try to make games that we think will be fun to play. We want to play these games and enjoy them, and we want other people to like playing these games as well. If we were only in the business of making money we would be selling WWII football games for the DS. (And I wouldn’t really want to work here anymore.)

There are a lot of people here who are very passionate about Fallout and want to stay true to what made the first games great. Personally, I have only played a few hours of the first Fallout and very recently at that, so it would be wrong for me to claim any great fandom. (Before your head explodes please refer to the disclaimer about me not being in charge of story or gameplay design!) However, I have enjoyed what I have played for the most part. I like the setting and dialogue and I like how your skills affect you ability to communicate with people a lot. I don’t, however, agree with you on the combat system. To me, it feels like an excruciatingly slow Diablo. I don’t see it as being particularly more involving, just much, much slower. To each there own I suppose.

I’m sorry if you hated Oblivion. I will not preach that every facet of the game was perfect. I could, along with the 60 or so others immediately around me, offer a laundry list of things I wish were different about the game, but I know we are proud of it as a whole. And I also know that by any impartial measure (i.e., not my Mom and not the people on these forums) the game is enjoyed by the vast majority of people who play it. It is ok to have on opinion on the game and no one here is going to attack anyone who does not like it, but don’t assume that because you know five, ten, or even a hundred people who hate everything about Oblivion, you should get an apology from us.

Fallout will be very different from Oblivion and it will be a game that I guarantee we will not release until we are happy with it. Will you like everything about it? No, of course not. Will you like anything about it? I have no way to guarantee that for you, but that’s ok, because as stated earlier, we are not in the business of making games solely for other people.
Link: thread on BethSoft forum

News for Sunday, April 29, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 3:13

Remember the Doom III mod Ground Zero?

This is a demonstration of technology behind Ground Zero, a post-apocalyptic role-playing game being developed as a modification for Doom 3. Although we launched this project last year, most of the content and engineering shown here was developed in ~4 months.
Link: Ground Zero Tech Demo on VideoGoogle

Thanks Kowalski.

News for Saturday, April 28, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 23:37

1Up has just concluded a solid week of coverage on the action-RPG Hellgate: London. The coverage combines previews, in-game footage, interviews, developer profiles, and Diablo retrospectives into a massive look into the game and the people behind it.

1UP: What's up with people trying to shoehorn the game into different categories, and seeming to miss the idea that it's just an action-RPG? [. . .] Except everybody wants to say, oh, it's a first-person shooter, or it's an adventure game...what's going on there? Why do you think that's happening?

BR: People like to have easy ways to describe things. They want that five-second marketing bullet. And I think when you start breaking outside of those boundaries and designing something that is outside of the box, they still want to have a label for it. And it gets harder and harder to put a label on it. I remember we used to have religious arguments that would be occurring in the press and the fanbase over Diablo II about "is this really an RPG or not." And there'd be all this discussion why it was and why it wasn't.

And we think we're going to have a lot of those same types of arguments occur. What is Hellgate? Is it an RPG? Is it an FPS with RPG elements? Is it an RPG with FPS elements? And then there's the whole online scope of it as well. What is it online? Is it this, is it that? And it's the kind of thing where we just want to make a fun game. [. . .] It is what it is is maybe the easiest way to describe it, but that looks really crappy on the back of a box or in a marketing call-out. Hellgate: London: It is what it is...

We always pitch it as it's an action-RPG. That's what it is at its core. But then it has a lot of other layers and elements that we really do think are going to be attractive to other gamers.
The coverage also extends to the most important element of all: loot.

Link: A week of Hellgate: London at 1Up.

Spotted at RPG Watch.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 8:43

You might remember Glutton Creeper Games, who purchased the rights for a Fallout d20 pen & paper game nearly a year ago. Originally slated for a 2006 Christmas release, the game has been held back for months, without a good indication of when it will finally be published. Glutton Creeper has recently updated their Fallout d20 news section, revealing the estimated release date.

April 27, 2006 (they appear to mean 2007 - ed): Final revisions have been turned in the editor, and final print layout is underway. We plan on seeing print by the end of May.
Link: Glutton Creeper Games, Fallout d20 PnP page.

News for Friday, April 27, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 20:44

Let's hope we'll see something new:

Pete Hines, V.P. of Public Relations and Marketing at Bethesda Softworks (makers of the blockbuster RPG Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion) contacted GameDaily BIZ to let us know that ESA accidentally omitted Bethesda from the exhibitor list, but that Bethesda will indeed be at the Summit.
Link: E3 Exhibitor List at GameDaily BIZ

Spotted on DaC.

Posted by Silencer - at 12:56

We've had a couple of files that might make Fallout more prevalent in your everyday life uploaded recently.

Dr V posted a PIPBoy-like skin that you can use to makeover your Mozilla Firefox browser.

mirdza has a Fallout theme for Sony Ericsson T628/630 mobile phones.

A couple of Windows XP loading screens have been uploaded by Diarmada (by various authors) : Please Stand By, Power Armor & Flag, Fallout Loading.

Link: NMA Downloads section

Posted by Silencer - at 0:00

The Polish Fallout modding site - FMC - now comes with an English version, which means that you will be able to get the latest mods from there directly. (remark: you've got to enable cookies in the browser, if you've disabled them by default.)

Already Wounded Ronin released his Vintage Weapon Mod (which replaces weapons with real guns from 40s, 50s and 60s) on this page, you can get it from there, and also from NMA downloads section here.

News for Thursday, April 26, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 17:41

Croga, one of the developers of MMOG Darkwind, has stopped by the NMA forums once again to bring us some news on the status of the game.

As you may know, Darkwind: War on Wheels has been in a period of closed testing for the past few months as we have been integrating and balancing substantial new game features. In addition to our racetrack and arena based racing and combat leagues and ladders, we now also have out-of town travel, multi-player squads, and wilderness battles with NPCs and other player squads.

Three of our towns are now live, with more coming soon. With travel times running to tens of hours, on-the-road piracy and a detailed systems-dynamics based economic simulation, trade is a viable gameplay approach that we have put great effort into making possible. Resource locations, distances, and fluctuating piracy levels (which are tied to actual player activity) all contribute to the supply-and-demand calculations underpinning the economy.

We plan to re-open the game next Friday – May 4th. From now until then, we are offering substantially reduced pre-release subscriptions. The game will remain free to play, but many of the more advanced gameplay features will only be available to subscribers.

Thank you for all your support over the past 2 years.. Smile

Sam and Stephan
Core Developers, Darkwind.
He also brought over three new screenshots of Darkwind in action.

Link: Darkwind.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 0:38

There is a new Fallout 3 blog, Fallout 3 Survival Kit. As yet there it has little information, here is what the author has to say:

Well, not so grand, but the site is no longer under construction. There's not much material to work with at the moment - Bethesda has been incredibly tight-lipped about what Fallout 3 will look and feel like. Pete Hines, who does a lot of the publicity for Bethesda's titles, says it's because the developers prefer to show rather than tell. Until we reach the point where Bethesda has something to show, this site will function as a hub for confirmed facts, rumors, any images which slip through the cracks, and a source of up-to-the-minute news collated from around the web.

Now, a little about me. On the net I'm known as Le Driver, and I run my fan-sites under that handle. I'm also webmaster of The Elder Scrolls Traveler, a weekly eZine dedicated to The Elder Scrolls series of games, which Bethesda is most famous for. I have a number of years experience maintaining websites, a love of RPGs, and a general fondness for the games created by Bethesda Game Studios. I'm hoping all this makes me relatively qualified to run the Survival Kit.

If you have your own site I would be more than happy to swap buttons or links with you. A new site always struggles to find its feet and link exchanges do help. Drop me a line if you're interested.

In the mean time, see you on the forums!
It should provide an interesting counterpoint to Briosafreak's Fallout 3 Blog, as each blog is maintained by someone from a different fanbase.

Link: Fallout 3 Survival Kit.

News for Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 17:23

In response to the frequent misinformation spread about the basic design of Fallout or the process in which it was made, NMA admin Sander decided to search through old Usenet discussions with Tim Cain as well as other more modern interviews with the core designers of Fallout 1 to see what was the philosophy behind Fallout 1, the how and the why.

This article is fairly short, mostly because it doesn't contain any statement not directly derived from a developer quote. It covers the GURPS/P&P mechanics behind Fallout, the decision to go turn-based, details about the setting and what inspired it, how the designers viewed RPGs, how the game's release went and what was up with the lack of children in the European Fallout 1.

Link: The History of Fallout

Posted by Tannhauser - at 2:40

After a downtime of several days, caused by troubles with the domain, the Fallout wiki The Vault is back. Once again you can research from and contribute to this depository of Fallout-related knowledge.

Link: The Vault.

Thanks Ausir, for letting us know.

News for Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 13:56

From Cult of Rapture:

We have tallied up the votes, read your comments, and are happy to announce the details of the BioShock Limited Edition. Available on August 21st (the same day as the regular BioShock edition), the LE will include a Big Daddy figurine, a “Making Of” DVD, and a soundtrack CD. The LE packaging will also be an embossed graphic designed by the winner of the Cover Art Contest going on now at www.cultofrapture.com.

The BioShock Limited Edition will be available to US and Canada exclusively at GameStop and EB for US$59.99 (PC LE) and US$69.99 (Xbox 360™ LE). The Limited Edition will also be available in Europe and details about ordering a copy will be coming soon.
Spotted on RPGWatch.

Posted by Brother None - at 13:44

Staying in the realm of how the talking heads came to be, this week's developer that we profiled is Chris Borders:

When I was first introduced to the original "Fallout", it was being called GURPS (based on the original game), and we had some meetings to discuss the audio, script, and concept. We had a really good budget, and Tim Cain wanted some high profile actors to voice these characters. At that point in time in videogame history, not many videogame companies were casting celebrity actors unless it was based on a film license. We decided to cast Fallout just like an original movie, so I started contacting all of my Hollywood contacts that I had at the time. We ended up with an amazing cast that fit each character to a tee (Ron Perlman, Keith David, Tony Shalhoub, David Warner, Brad Garrett, Richard Moll, CCH Pounder, Richard Dean Anderson, Clancy Brown, Cree Summer, just to name a few). All of the actors were really great, and most at the time had never worked on a videogame before, so it was kind of like Television was to actors in the late 1940's.

When we started work on "Fallout II", we approached it very much the same way we did the original Fallout. We again cast really good actors for it, and added some new names to match what we were after (Jeffrey Jones, Michael Dorn, Peter Jason, Kevin Michael Richardson, Dwight Schultz, just to name a few). Again, all of the actors were great to work with!

When we did "Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel", the game had changed somewhat. More actors were needed; however, there were less cut-scene, and more in-game dialogue, so I had to cast a good deal of top-notch union voice actors that I work with a lot. I did cast celebrity Kurtwood Smith, R. Lee Ermey, and of course Ron Perlman again for the "Narrator". R. Lee Ermey was really cool, and had great stories about his work on "Full Metal Jacket" (playing the drill sergeant). He is about as "Semper Fi" as any actor can get!

"Fallout Brotherhood of Steel" was at a point when Interplay was on its last pinky nail, so all I did was cast the characters, and then left to start my company.
Note that we gave Chris Borders a slightly different list of questions, questions number 12-14 are unique to him.

Link: Fallout Developers Profile - Chris Borders

Posted by Tannhauser - at 9:39

You might remember nearly a year ago, when NMA reported on the imminent release of the post-apocalyptic comic Wasteland. After most of a year, the ongoing comic series has made substantial progress, having reached its eighth issue and issuing a trade paperback of issues one through six.

Wasteland is a new comic book by Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten, published by Oni Press.

Wasteland takes place in a devastated, post-apocalyptic future America. Set one hundred years after a catastrophe known as the ‘Big Wet’, it's the story of Michael and Abi, two characters with unique and unnatural powers, as they search for the fabled land of A-Ree-Yass-I; which legend says is where the Big Wet began . . .

But Michael has been walking this land longer than he can remember. If anyone can beat the odds and survive the journey, Abi believes it's him. With his survival skills and her quick thinking, can they find A-Ree-Yass-I together?

Perhaps. But along the way they'll face betrayal, prejudice, war, revolution and more...
The comic's website also has a notable collection of free extras, such as the entire first issue, an ongoing official soundtrack, an "official unofficial" soundtrack, and a sketchbook section.

Link: Wasteland.

Thanks for reminding us, Will.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 9:14

About a month ago we mentioned a new Fallout webcomic, Falloup Online. Originally focused on poking fun at online gaming conventions in a fictional Fallout MMORPG, it has undergone a drastic change of late. Yesterday, after a two week hiatus, four new pages were uploaded, revealing a much darker comic. In the words of the author, Ten:

It’ll be more mature, less funny and I hope more vivid with a Noir movie feeling.
And of course, it’ll be more Fallouty.
It certainly is a different direction for the webcomic.

Link: The beginning of Falloup Online v1.0.

News for Monday, April 23, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 2:15

mvBarracuda has informed us of the 2007.1 version release of FIFE (Flexible Isometric Fallout-like Engine), which includes a demo map.

It's done Smile After over three months of hard work, we've fixed the last issues today and released the 2007.1 milestone of FIFE. The most important improvement is the new custom map format that can be considered as stable. We created a demo map for this release for a number of reasons:
*Show the modders how the FIFE map format and specific concepts like the tilesets, archetypes and prototypes work.
*Set up a starting point for modders so they can get into the world of FIFE more easily.
*Create something that looks totally unFallouty to get away from the "FIFE-is-just-a-Fallout-emulator"-image. Welcome to the Isle of FIFE Smile

Here is a screenshot of our new demo map, using graphics from Reiner's Tilesets:


New features since the 2007.0 release:
*Stable custom XML map format for FIFE including our demo map to show the new features and syntax of it Smile
*FPS limiter (can be set in fife.config) to save important CPU time for future tasks (AI, pathfinding, etc.)
*Tile and object coordinates can be displayed (press "c")
*Color key overriding for Fallout transparency effects (see content/gfx/fallout_overrides.xml)
*Fixed DAT1 decoding code (bug was introduced with the DAT1 rewrite)
*Major map model classes have been exported to Lua and are now accessable via the console
*Map size dependant, configurable geometries
*Colorkeying for the SDL renderer
*Add custom VFS sources via vfs.addSource (see content/etc/vfs_sources.txt)
*Increased startup speed with FO2 DAT files
*Enhanced camera with support for multiple viewports (see content/scripts/demos/map_control.lua)
*Built against SDL_image 1.2.5 and guichan 0.61 now (Win32 binaries)

Get the win32 package here:
http://downloads.sourceforge.net/fife/FIFE_2007.1_win32.exe

Get the src package for linux, mac and kind of other POSIX systems here:
http://downloads.sourceforge.net/fife/FIFE_2007.1_src.tar.bz2

Install guide:
1. Unpack
2. Read README.txt
A great job from the FIFE team, who have put a large amount of work into this project.

Link: The FIFE project website.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 1:15

A developer from the turn-based, vehicular MMOG Darkwind recently stopped by our forums to inform us of this indie game.

We've been in development for ~2 years, and spent most of 2006 in open alpha. We're currently in closed beta but will be opening 'officially' within the next few weeks (late April/ early May 2007).

The major themes are: race/deathrace/combat leagues; real-world time-based travel/trade with detailed economic simulation. The reason the game is turn based is to allow a level of detail that's not really possible real-time: it's an MMO wargame rather than an MMORPG.

There is also a trailer of the game available.

Link: Darkwind website.

News for Saturday, April 21, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 21:02

News of the opening of Bethesda's official Fallout 3 forums has been spreading like wildfire throughout the gaming community, and there have been a few notable comments along the way. From the point of view of a Bethesda insider, Ashley Cheng had this to say on his blog:

We've opened the Fallout 3 forums. Everyone here has on their peril sensitive sunglasses ...
Tycho from Penny Arcade also had his thorough opinions on the proceedings:
The forums for the new Bethesda interpretation of Fallout are now open, and the sound is like a hundred thousand bats shrieking as they swirl around a jutting spire of obsidian. When I speak with fervor on topics that interest me, do I sound like them? It makes a strong case for a monastic existence.

Acting as their own publisher, Bethesda has the power to do what Denis Dyack has (perhaps correctly) suggested is the optimal scenario: withhold materials from a game until a developer can show it on their terms. In practice, it has been like shaking a soda bottle continuously for more than a year, so that when an opportunity to relieve the pressure was presented the result is volatile.

The history of Fallout as a franchise has all the trappings of a spiritual epic, replete with false messiahs and long persecution. Those who still hew to this strange religion are quick to call out Bethesda's many crimes, but they have no idea what Bethesda intends to do with Fallout. No-one does. The forums must have gone up for a reason, let us hope we will soon have genuine facts to discuss.
From the forum itself, there have been numerous polls about what elements are preferred for Fallout 3, the results have been interesting.
How do you think the plot should be ?
Mature, Morally Ambiguous, Where Right and Wrong are just a matter of POV and morals with decisions that are personal and have consequences. [120] - 96%
Epic, Save the Wasteland ! The Big Struggle of good against evil, raiders against towns, mutants against humans... [5] - 4%

Black humour in F3?
No! [6] - 4%
Yes! [147] - 96%

Should Fallout 3 use enemy and item auto scaling?
No, absolutely no auto-scaling! I want my character to actually feel like he/she is improving! [384] -95%
Yes, bring back Oblivion's auto-scaling so that my character never truly improves! [21] - 5%

What perspective do you want Fallout 3 to be?
Old Perspective (Classic) [65] - 75%
First Person [9] - 10%
Close Third Person [13]- 15%

Turn Based, What do you want?
Turn based! Keep it classic, keep it Fallout. [250] - 70%
Real time! [36] - 10%
Real time with option to pause, ala KotOR. [45] - 12.5%
Don't care. [27] - 7.5%

Minigames in Fallout 3?
Yes/it'll be great!/not like Oblivion at all/you stooge! [27] - 16%
No. Absolutely not. [141] - 84%
Considering that the polls represent the largely silent majority, who don't become involved in the raging discussions on the forum, there is a clear preference towards the elements of the origial Fallout games.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 2:37

In a thread inquiring about the developers of Fallout 3 on Bethesda's Fallout 3 forum, Gavin “Kathode” Carter has taken the time to explain some of it. He has outlined some of the members of the Fallout 3 team, including what they do for the project.

Hayt is a designer who works under Emil. As for me, the various production titles here can get confusing, so let me explain. Todd Howard is the Executive Producer. For all intents and purposes, he is the studio and project director, and has ultimate say over everything we do. We have a very open and collaborative atmosphere here, and Todd is always open to debate and revision, but at the end of the day, to borrow a phrase from Bush, he is the “decider” Smile

Ashley is our studio Production Director. His job is to coordinate all the production efforts of our internal development across all the various projects we’re working on. This includes everything from the big ticket games, to smaller stuff like Oblivion downloadable content, localization issues, and making sure other cross-project people (QA for instance) know and respond to our needs. He manages how we distribute people’s time across the projects, and also makes sure all projects conform to good standard methods of scheduling and tracking.

I’m the Lead Producer on Fallout, meaning I’m the main production guy who is 100% focused solely on this project. I’m responsible for maintaining our overall schedule, setting up and communicating milestones, making sure everyone has the tools, equipment, and info they need to do their jobs, and hounding people to get stuff done on time. I’ve been on the project since the day we started working on it, and pretty much the day we went gold on Oblivion, I switched over to focusing completely on Fallout. I’m aided by an awesome team of four department producers who focus on either programmers, artists, or designers. Hope this helps clear it up! Smile
It seems like information is now easier to come by, with the recent opening of Bethesda's Fallout 3 forum.

Thanks to Briosafreak.

News for Friday, April 20, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 21:31

Briosafreak's Fallout 3 Blog has some more information about the new community manager for Bethesda, Matt “Gstaff” Grandstaff.

Gstaff went to school at the University of Michigan where he majored in Communications. He spent the last few years working with a variety of companies in the online space and their communities. In his words:

Since I can remember, I’ve been an avid gamer. I started with the 2600 when I was very young and have moved through just about every platform since. . . .

As you know, I was hired as Community Manager for Bethesda (my first day was Monday). Pete brought me aboard because with more Bethesda games coming out (and more fan communities to keep up with), he was looking for someone who could help improve and manage communication between our company and the fans of our games.


Matt is playing the Fallout games and getting to know more about them and our community. He started on some frantic days, that’s for sure, and I wish him good luck.

Just don’t forget us PCGamers Matt, and you’ll be fine.
Given his position, we will likely be seeing more of Matt, so lets give him a warm welcome.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 20:54

The lead designer of the MMORPG Fallen Earth, Lee Hammock, has recently answered some questions posed to him by WarCry and Stratics Central. While the greater part of the interviews focus on the game's MMO mechanics, there are interesting bits of new information to those following the games. Mutations, the faction system, the crafting system, and PvP gameplay are covered among other topics..

WarCry: Icarus Studios have been working on Fallen Earth for the almost 6 years as their premier debut in the MMO scene. Can you tell us about the inspiration and driving force for a post-apocalyptic MMO?

Lee Hammock: The post-apocalyptic genre has largely been left out of the MMO market, with the exception of some non-standard MMOs like Auto Assault. The idea of surviving in the world after the collapse of civilization is a powerful one that has gripped people for centuries. It's such a fertile ground for storytelling and conflict that we thought it would make an excellent genre for an MMO. We tap into the same fascination with a ruined world that keeps movies like The Road Warrior so strongly in the cultural zeitgeist even though it's over twenty years old. . . .

WarCry: Now the big Q! The Fans are crying out loud: When is estimated Beta/Release coming up? (Q3, Q4 of 07?)

Lee Hammock: We'll be having closed Beta this year, and ideally open Beta as well. We can't be more specific than that.
The Stratics Central interview is longer, and goes more in-depth about certain aspects of Fallen Earth, including the combat system:
Stratics: Most first-person shooter games are considered a twitch style, where it requires hand-eye coordination and actual player skill. How much player skill will be required in Fallen Earth?

Lee: Players will have to aim actively in combat, keeping their reticle on the target to hit. The damage of these hits is calculated based on weapon damage, skills of both the attacker and the defender, and other factors. So the actual hit resolution is twitch-based, but your damage is largely determined by a more role-playing game style system. You'll never hit someone and have their skills determine you actually missed, though you may hit someone wearing so much armor you don't hurt them. If you can get them in your crosshairs, you'll hit them.
The faction system mentioned in the Stratics Central interview is rather intriguing.

Links:
WarCry interview with Lee Hammock.
Stratics Central interview with Lee Hammock.

Spotted on Blue's News.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 20:40

The team behind Polish post-apocalyptic game New Dawn have released their first render of a NPC, joining their previous gallery of animal and scenery renderings.

So far we've shown you some creatures and beasts that represent wildlife but We haven't presented too many human characters yet. To change that we decided to uncover a gardener. Although he isn't a very important NPC, he's a good example of the approach our team has towards such characters - even less significant ones are detailed and well-documented. You can take a look at the gardener in the Gallery. There's still more to come!
Link: Gardener NPC render.

News for Thursday, April 19, 2007

Posted by Silencer - at 15:38

Mr. Teatime has us publish an article by him, which, 35 years after the Watergate (not watershed), should cast some luminence on the intricate dependencies that are the stuff of Fallout 3's success or ignomious failure.

Also, a nice read.

A few weeks ago, Kieron Gillen predicted that Fallout 3 “will disappoint Fallout fans and delight everyone else”. He questioned why Bethesda bought the license if they could have an easier time of it just developing their own post-apocalyptic RPG from scratch. Why bother with a sequel if the fans of the series will be disappointed? His conclusion: “Bethesda are just dirty big Fallout fans and would love to play in the Sandbox.”

I think there’s more to it than that; ultimately, Bethesda needs Fallout. What’s more, they need Fallout 3 to please the fans. They didn’t need Fallout before announcing they had started work on the game, but they do now. It’s quite a journey getting to that conclusion, but take a seat next to this burning oil drum, help yourself to some rotgut… well, it’s mostly rotgut; don’t worry about the lumps… and let me explain.

There’s a fundamental key that any developer or publisher bravely striding into the Fallout universe should know, and if they don’t, they’ll learn it by the time their game is released: Fallout is all about the fans. The decent games stopped coming almost ten years ago; what’s left is a fanbase that’s notorious amongst geek and gaming culture for being rabid, mutated, angry, discordant, for infighting and for being argumentative and perverse.
Read the full article here: Why Bethesda needs Fallout like Vault 13 needs a Waterchip?

Thanks Mr. Teatime!

Posted by Silencer - at 3:46

The website fallout.bethsoft.com, which is only second to fallout3.bethsoft.com as far as OFFICIAL falloutthreeness is considered, is now up and open, complete with the teaser poster.

Now, let us observe it as something more might emerge.

That is all.

Link: http://fallout.bethsoft.com/

Spotted at AshleyCheng.com

News for Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 23:40

Bethesda Softworks has opened a new Fallout section on their forums, with Fallout 3 General and Past Fallout Games categories. In addition, Bethesda has a new community manager in Matt “Gstaff” Grandstaff.

Register and be heard on Bethesda's official Fallout 3 forum.

Link: Bethesda forums.

Thanks to StarWars and Briosafreak for bringing this to light.

News for Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 22:51

The Czech Fallout 2 mod Fallout: Between Good & Evil has released a few screenshots and renderings on the project's website, displaying some of the custom graphics created by this team.


Fallout: BG&E is also looking for a people to join, if you want to help on their project.
Now the usual recruiting – we look for:
  • Any programmers, with at least C or Pascal (Fallout scripting engine knowledge would be great), who are willing to work at a tedious task of scripting dialogues, or who can debug and test scripts.
  • Any artists, especially those who can do 3D models or loadingscreens.
  • One high-quality dialogue writer (or more). Only condition – must work a lot. Somehow, high quality and high amount of work don't go together.
  • An English native speaker with perfect grammar and spelling, who will (later) check texts and dialogues for any mistakes or „strange sentences“.
Link: Fallout: Beyond Good & Evil gallery.
Thanks to Karel for informing us.

Posted by Brother None - at 15:09

I couldn't skip over this one; marketing guru Seth Godin has been put on TED talking about what he calls "The Century of Idea Diffusion". He argues that the old marketing model of "making average products for average users" is no longer a valid model as the "average user" has become hard and risky to reach through advertising in a world of mass choices and little time to make choices. Rather, he argues that you should target the fringes, and that through word-of-mouth your product can become a success.

As he puts it, "the riskiest thing you can do now, is be safe (...) The safe thing to do now is to be at the fringes, be remarkable." But, most importantly: "So, what you need to do, is figure out who does care. Who's going to raise a hand and say "I want to hear what you're doing next," and sell something to them." I won't agree with everything he said, but, especially if you're a Bethesda dev/PR guy, it's worth a look.

Link: Seth Godin: Sliced bread and other marketing delights

Thanks radnan.

Posted by Brother None - at 14:06

For this week's instalment of the Fallout Developers Profile we're going outside of the realm of the designer, artist and programmers we regularly target to high-light one of Fallout's most talked-about features; the Talking Heads.

Thanks to our good friend Davaris, we managed to get in touch with Scott Rodenhizer, who sculpted most of the models for the talking heads and, together with Eddie Rainwater, was responsible for the 3D animations:

The heads came about because I was hired to provide sculptures of the cast of Star Trek for the Vulcan’s Fury title (god awful game) and Leonard Boyarski came by to the sculpture studio to try his hand at doing a little sculpture. He actually sculpted the first Fallout head--the overseer. He got me on Fallout to do the rest of the heads and really encouraged me to do get into 3D which later positioned me to become art lead of fallout 3. (I quit weeks later to move up to San Francisco)

(...)

Again I really didn’t have much say in the game design, but in doing the heads I suppose we were inspired by frank frezetta and frank miller not pop culture mind you but we all lived in a comic book vacuum at the time.
In addition to doing the interview, Scott sent us 10 images from his developing days on Fallout 1 and 2, the gross of which are shots of the half or fully-developed heads with our without backgrounds, but he also sent us over the very rimply texture of Tandi's skin, a promo pic of Fallout 2 featuring Sulik, and a PA MkII concept sketch. The images can be found in the profile.

Link: Fallout Developers Profile - Scott Rodenhizer

Posted by Brother None - at 13:28

Next-gen.biz has a report up in which Todd Howard speaks on Fallout 3 in early April (before the full purchase). He notes they're big fans, but more importantly that they're completely done with Oblivion and fully focusing on Fallout 3. Pay attention to the last quoted paragraph:

He says it’s that fan mentality that lead the company to take the unusual step of buying in external IP, in the form of Fallout, back in the summer of 2004. The developer spent a reported $1.14 million (in guarantees) on the property, taking it from defunct publisher Interplay.

Characteristically, Bethesda isn’t saying much about the game itself but Howard is happy to talk about the company’s approach to the problem of bringing a classic franchise into a development environment where original IP has generally held sway.

“We had known that Fallout had been left behind (when Interplay went bust). The developers were saying ‘we’re really interested in doing something with this IP’ so the business people came back six months later and handed it over saying ‘have fun’. We liked the previous games, but we really loved the world. It’s so unique we were really excited about the idea of working on it.”

(...)

Interplay had already produced a lot of work on Fallout 3, but Bethesda has decided to go it alone. The firm has made it known that it will take the IP in its own direction. Having won major plaudits and awards for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it can afford to exercise some creative risks.

He says, “When something is as successful as Oblivion, it affords you a certain amount of freedom. You can take some more chances. We’ve always tried to do big crazy things but you can do it even more.”

(...)

While Fallout 3 has been in pre-production, Bethesda has been finishing up its commitments to Oblivion, with the release of The Shivering Isles expansion pack. He says, “Right now that’s the only expansion we have planned. We do all the stuff in-house so it’s all about bandwidth. We have pretty much everybody on Fallout 3 right now. It started off kind of small and then we add people to it and now the expansion’s done, all those people have come on to Fallout 3. That’s the thing we want to focus on right now, so I think I’d be surprised if we do another expansion.”

(...)

Bethesda isn’t just about development. The company publishes and produces external work. So why not farm out some expansions – or some core projects to trusted development partners?

He says, “The expansion is successful. Financially, the obvious question to ask is, ‘why don’t we do more of this?’ But we have always viewed ourselves, over the last 20 years, as a boutique. We have some crazy ideas and we get it in there and we get a lot of them right and we get some of them wrong. That process has worked for us. We’re really getting into the stuff we’re doing with Elder Scrolls and Fallout and I guess we’re shy about having someone else start making content. It’s very personal to me and the guys I work with so it needs to be nurtured and well fed.”
So there's the answer to the people vaguely hoping that they'll pull a BioWare one day and let Obsidian handle development of a Fallout sequel: not a chance.

Link: Facing Fallout on Next-Gen.biz

Thanks Talamos for pointing out the CvG coverage.

News for Monday, April 16, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 20:10

Online technology tabloid The Inquirer is reporting that the contested art assets in S.T.A.L.K.E.R., claimed to be stolen from other games, are in fact from generic texture packs.

Thanks to reader Rob S. for pointing out that the water textures used by both Valve and GSC GameWorld, the makers of STALKER, come from a texture pack sold by Marlin Studios. The chaps at Marlin make all kinds of exciting textures, including 'Home & Office Furniture - High Detail, Low Price!' and 'Traffic - Low Poly Pretextured Vehicles, SUVs and trucks you can even animate!'. . .

Valve has confirmed that it picked up some textures from Marlin for HL2, and separate sources have discovered that the IMP_Light texture that it was thought could have been pilfered from Doom 3 was, in fact, just a standard Impact Light texture, rather than referring to the Doom 3 monster.
This was a widely predicted scenario when the news of stolen assets first broke.

Link: 'STALKER not nicking art after all' at The Inquirer

Spotted on the Oblivion Lost forums.

News for Thursday, April 12, 2007

Posted by Per - at 23:12

As of April 9th, 2007, the Fallout IP is no longer in the hands of Interplay, but has been sold to Bethesda Softworks for the sum of $5,750,000 as can be read in this 8-K report filed today. The meat of the statement is as follows:

As of April 4, 2007, the Company entered into, an Asset Purchase Agreement (the "APA") and a Trademark License Agreement (the "License Back") with Bethesda Softworks LLC, a video game developer and publisher ("Bethesda"), regarding "FALLOUT", an intellectual property which was owned by the Company (the "IP"). Although such agreements were signed on April 4, 2007 they were agreed not to be binding until closing which occurred on April 9, 2007.

Under the APA, the Company sold all of its rights to the IP to Bethesda for a total amount of $5,750,000.00 payable to the Company, subject to various conditions, in three cash installments. The first installment of $2,000,000.00 was paid following closing when $200,000.00 was paid to the Company and $1,800,000.00 was deposited into an escrow account to satisfy various liabilities. The Company expects to have fulfilled its obligations under the APA and to receive full payment during the third quarter of 2007. The Company had previously, on June 29, 2004, entered into, an exclusive licensing agreement with Bethesda, regarding the IP which was superseded by the APA.

Under the License Back the Company obtained an exclusive license, under certain conditions, to use the IP for the purpose of developing an Interplay branded Fallout Massively Multiplayer Online Game ("MMOG").
Interplay pledges to obtain funding for and start the development of the MMOG within two years and to successfully launch it within six (which entails securing the continual patronage of a minimum of 10,000 paying subscribers), or else forfeit this license. Some additional excerpts:
2.6 RESERVATION OF RIGHTS. Any and all rights not explicitly granted to Interplay hereunder are reserved by Bethesda.

5.3.2 Interplay shall not offer or provide any products or services whose nature or quality does not comply with the quality standards of Bethesda.

7.0 PAYMENT OF ROYALTIES. Interplay agrees to pay Bethesda a Royalty of twelve percent (12%) of the Net Cash Receipts derived from the sale and distribution of the FALLOUT MMOG, including sales of subscription fees or access fees to the FALLOUT MMOG or any other revenues generated by the FALLOUT MMOG, in the Territory during each calendar quarter following the commercial launch of the FALLOUT MMOG.
Thus Fallout takes another step in its desert walk away from the vault doors of Interplay, but for now, the separation remains incomplete.

Link: The Trademark License Agreement

Thanks to troybilt and Briosafreak.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:47

Interplay has filed its quarterly report at SEC. It contains little new info, but still:

The Company is planning to exploit its Intellectual Property "Fallout" on Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming (MMOG) and is reviewing the financial avenues for funding MMOG.
Confirming our earlier report on the forced bankruptcy petition hearing, Interplay notes:
The Labor Board has fined the Company approximately $10,000 for failure to meet its payroll obligations and obtained in August 2005 judgments totaling $118,000 in favor of former employees of the Company , since this time $44,000 of the claims have been settled leaving, a balance of $74,000. On or about November 1, 2006, two employees joined Arden and Reflexive in the filing of an involuntary bankruptcy petition against the Company. The petition is pending before the bankruptcy court and the Company is opposing it.
Interplay owes Arden Realty ($588,000), Reflexice Entertainment ($110,000) and its former employees (up to $74,000) a combined $772,000.

Interplay had a net revenue of $967,000 over 2006. It accounted $4,380,000 income:
Other income consists primarily of settlement in the amount of approximately $310,000, reversal of reserves in the amount of approximately $2.2 million, reduction of accrued royalties in the amount of $810,000, reversals of accounts payable in the amount of $1.2 million, interest expense in the amount of $135,000.and additional miscellaneous income.
"Net income" over 2006: $3,079,000. Capital deficiency at the end of 2006: $8,098,000.

Link: Interplay 10-K filing

Posted by Brother None - at 18:03

After the excellent Early Years and Golden Age, Matt Barton is continuing his History of cRPGs with the massive The Platinum and Modern Ages (1994-2004):

Let's cut right to it. Fallout and its sequel, Fallout 2, are two of the finest CRPGs ever made, and if the era that produced them isn't worthy of the name "Platinum," I need a new dictionary. Like Interplay's previous masterpieces The Bard's Tale and Wasteland, Fallout is one of those preciously rare games that represents more than just the sum of its parts.

I'll offer the standard disclaimer--Fallout is one of my favorite games, and my love for it has no doubt blinded me to at least some of its flaws. My advice is that if you suspect that my praise is overblown, seek out the game and try it yourself. These are tremendously creative games that continue to win over new players nearly a decade after they first appeared on the shelf.

(...)

If I had to sum up Fallout's appeal in one word, it'd be "style." The governing aesthetic is a surreal mix of cheerfully morbid 1950s Cold War imagery and movies like Mad Max, Planet of the Apes, and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. There are even hints of The Evil Dead tossed in for good measure.

This juxtaposition makes for some of the most compelling moments in gaming history, and I doubt there is anyone who doesn't get goosebumps the first time he witnesses the introductory cut-scenes. Furthermore, the aesthetics run all the way through the game, including the interface.

(...)

Fallout 2 was developed by Black Isle Studios, Interplay's new division that specialized in CRPGs. The second game is set 80 years after the conclusion of the first game, and has echoes of the movie Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome running through it. Your avatar's tribe is on the verge of extinction, and has been assigned the task of hunting down the G.E.C.K. (Garden of Eden Creation Kit).

Once again you quickly find yourself immersed in a moving and captivating story, and it's hard not to get personally invested in its outcome. The game culminates in one of the most heart-pounding (and difficult) climaxes of any game I've ever played. Fallout 2 also offered better dialog options and plenty of new items and characters. However, the bulk of the game's engine was left intact.

Although both Fallout games were critically acclaimed and beloved by fans, Interplay did not produce a third game. Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel (2001) is a strategy game based on Fallout's combat mode, though it does have some CRPG elements. A Diablo clone called Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel appeared for the PS2 and Xbox in 2004, but most fans of the first two games don't care to acknowledge it.

According to an official 2004 press release, Bethesda is currently developing Fallout 3, though it may sadly turn out to be only radioactive dust in the wind. In any case, it would be nothing short of a miracle for another team to match, much less surpass, Black Isle's post-apocalyptic masterpiece.

(...)

My guess is that the next big revolution in CRPGs is just around the corner, though it’s impossible to tell from which company it might arise, or what form it might take. However, I can’t emphasize enough that the best CRPGs of all time have been far more a matter of craft than revolution, of paradigms coming together rather than breaking apart. Like Pool of Radiance, Baldur’s Gate, or Fallout, the next big CRPG won’t be so much about doing something new, but doing something right.
Link: The History of Computer Role-Playing Games Part III: The Platinum and Modern Ages (1994-2004)
Link: idem, page 8 (Fallout)

Spotted on RPGCodex.

News for Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 14:20

This week's developer is Dan Spitzley (mentioned last week in Colin McComb's profile as the guy responsible for "Short Round"), who worked as a scripter/programmer on Fallout 1, 2 and Van Buren and is currently working at Obsidian:

What were you favourite places in fallout and why?

I was always partial to the Vaults in their various incarnations. They really embodied the sort of 1950's view of future technology that helped make Fallout's setting so unique. I'm also pretty partial to Vault City since it was probably the most complicated area I scripted.

What is your hope for future Fallout games? Would you like to be a part of a future Fo team?

My hope is they won't suck and they will be respectful of the previous games. I'm a big fan of Bethesda's work, so I expect Fallout 3 is in good hands. I'd love to work on a Fallout game again, but I'm not sure that's going to be in the cards.

Who would you bring with you in a future Fallout team and why?

Any Fallout project needs to have at least one person at the helm that really understands the game world. Tim Cain and Chris Avellone would be on the team without a doubt. Those guys are Fallout as far as I'm concerned. I also think Josh Sawyer really gets it too, so I'd want him there as well. And no Fallout game is complete without Scott Everts!
Also note that we made the Fallout Developers Profile easier to find; simply click on "community" and "dev profile" will be in the dropdown list.

Link: Fallout Developers Profile: Dan Spitzley

News for Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 23:35

The Cult of Rapture BioShock community website has released their fifth podcast; featured Ken Levine speaking about a number of issues in BioShock. Notably brought up are the evolution, moral choices, characters, focus, and horror elements of the game.

Specifically, Ken mentions the heavy changes to the story/setting of the game throughout development, and the higher importance given to working out the core gameplay. About the final choice of environment, he brings up his personal interest in dystopian settings, influenced by fiction such as Logan's Run from his youth. Levine also comments that in the end, BioShock is a FPS focused on exciting gameplay; and that an interesting story is something more optional for players. By including an interesting story and setting, Ken Levine is allowed to "have cake and eat it too."

In one of the more interesting segments of the interview, Ken remarks on the horror styling of BioShock. He brings up the importance of the unknown in horror, of mysterious sounds and unseen things in the shadows. Also important to him are contrasts, between intentions and reality; something that permeates the setting and characters of the game.

Link: The collected podcasts from the Cult of Rapture.

News for Monday, April 9, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 2:45

Bethesda producer Ashley Cheng has written up a bit about Pete Hines' recent interview in PC Zone UK, entitled "A Post about Nothing":

This is kinda old news -- Pete gave this interview about Fallout 3 and said, "Some people will like it, some people will hate it." Fine line between love and hate, certainly. Not just for our games -- visit any developer's boards -- they are just as noisy with hate as ours. Often times, when I read boards or blogs, I feel that people think they need to be critical to sound smart. I think its sometimes harder to write copiously about why you liked something than than it is to criticize. Then again, isn't that the point? To register your disgust on the Internet? I would hope that if you were enjoying a game, that you would keep playing it:)

Anyways, early interviews about projects that we're not talking about are fairly tortuous for everybody all around. Though can't be any worse than waiting for a sequel since 1998 (when Fallout 2 released) or reading useless weblog entries about nothing...
We always enjoy your weblog entries, Ashley. Then again, it's all we got to go on...

...Speaking of "all we got to go on", Briosafreak notes in this post that at some point during working hours Ashley Cheng's twitter read "playing the latest build".

Link: Ashley Cheng: A post about Nothing
Link: Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog

News for Sunday, April 8, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 4:13

There have been recent worries about the direction of the post-apocalyptic MMOG Twilight War, after screenshots of the new version were released by General Computers; the development studio which took over creation of the game after the original studio ran out of funding. Yesterday, one of the original developers posted on the Twilight War forums about the new direction of the game.

Further information from the folks at GC...

- Gameworld and setting: The world of TW is no longer set in our possible future. To use their terms, it's "an imaginary world with realistic style" that they feel gives them the flexibility to implement more game features. The Background has been updated to reflect this. The general theme is the same, but it's much more generic than before. There are also separate "continents" including one resembling the Middle East in the new and expanded world concept.

- "Mana": This player aspect is used to perform certain skills, such as sprinting, etc. Think of it as consumable and rechargeable skill points. They chose "mana" because it's a widely recognizable term, but this isn't set in stone. The leveling structure was also chosen because it's familiar and recognizable, even though it does use skill more than standard MMORPGs.
You can read the dramatically shorted background and compare it with the original version to get a sense of some of the changes the game has undergone. It is doubtful that NMA will cover Twilight War in the future, as the game seems to have lost any sense of a post-apocalyptic setting.

Link: Developer post on the Twilight War forums.

Spotted at Twilight War HQ.

Posted by Silencer - at 0:38

Gone with the Blastwave comic has had a few issues released since we last mentioned it, but more important, there are numerous translations available: Polish, Russian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian and Ukrainian.

Link: Gone with the Blastwave

Spotted on Wasteland

Posted by Silencer - at 0:21

Abaddon website has got a few 2D/3D arts from Gerard, which he made for his studies.

As a matter of fact, Abaddon has a kind of unique atmosphere to it.

Link: www.igerard.co.uk

Spotted at Wasteland

News for Saturday, April 7, 2007

Posted by Silencer - at 23:45

After a period of uncertainty and turmoil DargH and the Vault-tec team are back in business:

Welcome after a long break! As some of you know, for some time there's been a shroud pulled over our project, Darkfall, our website vanished, and some have shoved us into the "Didn't Make It" bag. Alas, we are back, as you can see, and have been working hard on our game all that time. We're closer to completing Darkfall, though we can't give you a precise release date, and you'll have to settle for "When it's Done"!

Stay Tuned! Soon we eill have more news on Darkfall.
And here we were, starting to get worried.

Link: www.vaulttec.eu

Spotted at Trzynasty Schron

Posted by Silencer - at 22:27

Ulrik Lerche sent us a theme pack he'd made for Sony Ericsson phones. As luck would have it, I own a K750i, and I already have this one installed. Get it from our downloads, if you please!

Link: Fallout Theme for Sony Ericsson phones

Posted by Brother None - at 14:19

A clue as to how it went from vapourware to release?

(...) evidence that GSC Game World's recently released shooter S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl makes use of a number of graphical assets taken directly from commercially released games such as Valve's Half-Life 2 and id Software's Doom 3. Many forum posters are speculating that the assets were used without authorization.
Link: Half-Life 2, Doom 3 Assets in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.? on ShackNews

Thanks Specialist.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 0:24

CreoTeam, a new development studio from Eastern Europe, is working on their first title, the post-apocalyptic action game Collapse. The description from the official website lends some insight into the game:

2096 A.D. The world we know is destroyed. The new world is full of anomaly, extraterrestrial creatures and mechanisms beyond our comprehension. The remains of humankind live under the constant menace of alien attacks, while the law of the strongest has taken place over the society.

“Collapse” is a remarkable 3D Action game with gripping adventure elements. Striking realism of character, organic combination of cold and fire-arms, colorful impacts and fighting acrobatics, the interactive destroyed world, unique design and deep story line – CreoTeam is making an amazing job! And stunning music by NewTone makes this job even more impressive.
In addition, managing director Victor Blagomir was recently interviewed by Cosmos Gaming, detailing much more of the game, from setting to gameplay.
The screens released so far show some interesting looking indoor and outdoor areas. What other sort of locales will players be able to explore?

The game shows several time periods and kinds of setting. In 2013, right after the catastrophe, you see a realistic looking, devastated eastern European city. And playing in 2096, when the main game action takes place, you discover a post-apocalyptic world with futuristic design and high technologies. In some levels you will deal with the technologies of the alien civilization. Collapse opens a world full of paranormal occurrences, where the elements of the human and extraterrestrial worlds are inseparable. Sometimes it spikes horror into you... the things that happen around you seem incomprehensible, and you have to guess and understand its odd riddles and signs that are in every location. To describe it wouldn't be worth it - you have to play to understand and feel it!

What do you feel will give Collapse an edge over other games in its genre?

Surely it is the gameplay that combines numerous styles, deep storyline and overall high quality.
It is unlikely that NMA will continue to follow this game, as it is outside our focus; but this newspost is to give a heads-up to anyone who might be interested.

Links:
Official Collapse Website.
Interview at Cosmos Gaming.
Concept art and screenshots from the CreoTeam website.

Interview spotted at Blue's News.

News for Friday, April 6, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 19:34

From the beast's mouth:

So far we haven't written a word about the monsters' natural habitat. Time to change it. Each monster from the game will be carefully designed and developed. Today, as a teaser, we are presenting you two species of ratwolf (the name is subjected to change) along with huge piles of bones and excrement which make up their lairs. Ratwolves easily adapt to new conditions and they build their lairs of all kinds of trash. Have a look at them in our gallery.
Link: New Dawn website

Posted by Brother None - at 19:33

"I'm not dead yet!" cried the game. A small group of Czech modders have added 7 new maps to Fallout: Tactics in a series they entitled Deti Apokalypsy (Children of the Apocalypse).

Link: 7 new maps download (12.5 MB)

News for Thursday, April 5, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 17:37

The Obsidian Forums have been running a feature in which forum users ask questions of Obsidian devs for some time now. In yesterday's entry, Feargus Urquhart speaks a bit on a possible post-apocalyptic title from Obisidian and on the wish to make another Fallout:

As for future titles, I would like us to continue making both Fantasy games and games placed in other genres - like Post Apocalyptic and SciFi. A number of us have been toying around with the idea of a Post Apocalyptic Fantasy world. There are a number of campaign worlds out there that explore this idea and I think a really cool video/computer game could be made within a world like that. While we couldn't go with the campy 50's feel of Fallout (campy as in the Pip Boy look, not campy as in culture references), I think the tension created by having all the different fantasy societies trying to scrape by and rebuild would make for an interesting world to explore. As for a straight SciFi game, I don't have an real specific ideas about what we might do just yet. I know a lot of people around here love 40K, so I was thinking of talking to THQ at some point about whether they would like to a 40K game that is more RPG than RTS.

Finally, I should probably talk about the twin gorillas in the closet. I'm sure there's a correct analogy in there somewhere, but that's what came to mind. Anyway, I'm speaking of the the KotOR3 and Fallout gorillas. Both of those are games that I and everyone else here at Obsidian would love to make. I don't know if we will ever get the chance, but I do continue to talk with LucasArts about what might be going on with KotOR3. As for Fallout, like I said, I'm not sure if we'll ever get the chance, but I know that I'd love to make another Fallout - plus, I think Avellone's already designed the next 12 of them.
Link: Top Ten @ Obisidian - Obsidian Forum Community (citation is from what is currently the bottom post)

Posted by Brother None - at 0:07

Cult of Rapture has a new feature up called Advertisements of Rapture, which gives a good look at the stylistic art deco that'll adorn the walls of the game.

Link: Advertisements of Rapture on Cult of Rapture

Spotted on RPGWatch.

News for Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 23:51

After a year of inactivity (mostly caused by the shock that was MCA's interview), NMA has managed to bother enough developers into talking about their work on Fallout to warrant a revival of the Fallout Developers Profile feature.

First in the pipeline, with more to come, is Fallout 2 designer Colin McComb. Colin is mostly known for his work on BIS' Planescape: Torment, but also did a bit of tinkering on Fallout 2:

Anyway, when I showed up, there were three Planescape games in the pipeline. Mine, Zeb Cook's, and Avellone's. Zeb's turned into Stonekeep 2, Avellone's became Torment, and mine got canceled because our managers couldn't justify having three Planescape games. I got shuffled over to be the second designer on Torment, and I was working away happily on that when I got the call to go do dialogues and areas for Fallout 2 (specifically, Broken Hills and San Francisco, so if you hate those areas, you know who to blame now).

I got a fifteen minute introduction to the dialogue editor, and then was shoved forth to spew greatness from my brow. I probably should have asked a few more questions along the way.
Link: Fallout Developers Profile - Colin McComb

Posted by Brother None - at 17:12

In a recent interview of CGSociety with the people of concept art studio Massive Black, the following highly interesting statement pops up:

The company’s experience developing and holding training workshops helped bring Massive Black’s China-based team up to speed quickly. Now, under the direction of Dan Staton and producer Jenny Kim, the Shanghai staff plays a particularly important role in the studio’s 3D work as does a second team in Bangkok. “They did a great job on ‘Battlefield 2142’, ‘Hellgate’ and ‘Auto Assault’ and are now working on ‘Killzone 2’, ‘Fallout 3’ and others,” says Manley.
The president and co-founder Massive Black is Jason Manley, who worked for Black Isle Studios on Baldur's Gate II and the Icewind Dales as a promotional artist and later artist, and did additional art for Troika's Vampire: The Masquerade.

Link: CGSociety Massive Black interview
Link: Massive Black website
Link: ConceptArt.org

News for Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Posted by Brother None - at 13:48

From Prediction: Week One:

1) Fallout 3 will disappoint Fallout fans and delight everyone else.

The only thing that confuses me about Bethesda getting the Fallout licence is why they'd even bother. Fallout, while important and brilliant, was never a runaway sales success. At the moment, Bethesda are arguably the most commercially successful western-style Role-playing Game developer on earth. It'd actually be far smarter for them to develop their own post-apocalypse setting from scratch rather than trying to raise Interplay's child from the nuclear ashes.

The idea of Bethesda doing a post-apocalypse game is as big a story as Bethesda doing Fallout 3. Perhaps even a bigger story. Since it'll be presumably be appearing on the consoles, where it'll have no history whatsoever, the "3" is going to make people back away slowly. (Don't expect it to come out under the name "Fallout 3" but "Fallout: Some Extra Subtitle")

So what have they bought with the licence? Just the enmity of the hardcore Fallout fans who'll hate any game Bethesda make with it just on principle.

So why did they do it? Only reason I can work out is Bethesda are just dirty big Fallout fans and would love to play in the Sandbox. Which is a good a reason for the rest of us to be very excited indeed.
Spotted on Duck and Cover.

News for Monday, April 2, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 20:25

Some readers might remember Twilight War, a post-apocalyptic MMOG with a troubled history. After the original developers, Smiling Gator Productions, ran out of funding, the game was licensed to General Computers to continue development of the project. A few days ago, General Computers released the first batch of screenshots, and made the first update, since they took over development of the game over a year ago.

Here's a first look at the visual elements of what the General Computers folks have been working on.

We've added some Screenshots from some of the new areas that have been produced by the GC team. While none of the new functionality they developed is yet visually obvious except the UI (currently in Chinese to be converted in the coming weeks to English), we wanted to give everyone a flavor of what they have been working on. Check them out.


So the self-described "eXtreme Online Roleplaying Game" (XORG) lives on.

Link: Newspost at the Twilight War website.

Thanks to Wasteland Stories for bringing us the news.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 0:21

In this second collection of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. reviews, many of these late reviews come from non-mainstream gaming sites. Again S.T.A.L.K.E.R. generally scores a solid 80%; with nearly every review bringing up atmosphere & gameplay as positive points, though they also point out the game has various unpolished elements.

Pro-G - 8/10
Gaming Heaven - 82/100
Yahoo Games - 4.5/5
1Up - 8.2/10
Xequted multiplayer review - 5/10
ComputerGames.ro - 85/100
UnderGroundOnline - B+

There are also a couple of reviews from the more radiation-soaked parts of the internet. With bizarre statements, inaccurate information, and rating the game on inane points; both of these reviews give S.T.A.L.K.E.R. a lower than average score. An interesting correlation between badly written reviews and negative reactions.

Cheat Code Central - 2.9/5
TotalVideoGames.com - 6/10

Apparently, there is also a Fallout fansite which has written a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. review, for some strange reason of their own. Without a final score, it seems like readers are coerced into reading the review to discover the reviewer's impressions.

NMA S.T.A.L.K.E.R. review.

Reviews found at Blue's News and GameRankings.

News for Sunday, April 1, 2007

Posted by Tannhauser - at 21:47

Several months ago Joel Burgess, lead level designer for Fallout 3, announced that Bethesda is looking for additional level designers for Fallout 3; with a particular interest in recruiting from the modding community. We missed it a couple of weeks ago, when Joel had something to add to the initial thread in the Elder Scrolls forums.

Hey folks, I haven't been as active in the forums just lately - busy, busy! - but I just wanted to let you all know that hiring is still in progress. We take our time with it, as you can tell. Anybody interested can still follow the directions posted at bethsoft.com to apply, and if there's anybody you think we should know about that maybe we don't - still feel free to post a reccomendation.
If you want to work on Fallout 3, and believe you have the qualifications, the opportunity is still open.

Links:
'Bethesda Game Studio Hiring, Level Designers!' thread on the Elder Scrolls forums.
Level Designer job page at Bethesda Softworks.

Thanks to Briosafreak and his Fallout 3 blog.

Posted by April Fool - at 11:00

You might remember when the Trinity, Shell-Pit and Polish Wasteland teams merged to create the Forlorn World project - an post-apoc game in a chilly wasteland, well, the more the merrier and we're in for a surprise! Team lead says this:

Combined resource will let us apply to the project more effectively, that is why we're joining forces with Afterfall, so we can complete our beloved game. Maybe even this year. Soon we will disclose the new project's name

We here at NMA have acquired an exclusive tech-demo screenshot, so you can have a sneak peek first ever at the world of frozen mammoth icing fun:



Good luck teams, I hope you can make it both!

Link: Forlorn World fuses with Afterfall

Posted by April Fool - at 9:44

NMA has been constantly responsive to our ever shifting audience. In recent years, the trend has been towards console browsers, which use televisions of various qualities to browse the internet. In order to be more accommodating, NMA will soon be instituting changes so our website is more functional for this significant fraction of our users. Among the changes will be larger text, using simple words and grammatical structures, to better fit low resolution televisions and reduce eye strain. We will rely less on text, using numerous images to help pass along the information we seek to communicate. Our website will also be redesigned for lower resolution console browsers, which may mean some wasted space for those of you still using computers.

Link: www.nma-fallout.com/simple

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:39:43 GMT
Texas-based fan-made Fallout game: "Fallout: Lonestar" currently in the works
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:58:40 GMT
After Reset reaches and exceeds kickstarter goal in 10 days with 30 days to go
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 07:47:01 GMT
Fallout series on sale on Steam
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 17:21:23 GMT
No Fallout 4 at GamesCom
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:43:33 GMT
Fallout: Distress (A Fallout fan film)
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:38:38 GMT
Fallout: Van Buren being reborn under fan development (includes Q&A interview)
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:18:58 GMT
Post-apocalyptic RPG "After Reset" rebooted on Kickstarter
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:06:45 GMT
Underrail Development Log #52: Blood Sports
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:02:14 GMT
Wasteland 2 Update #53: Progress Report
Sat, 05 Jul 2014 10:08:38 GMT
Bethesda to have a presence at GamesCom
Wed, 25 Jun 2014 20:00:05 GMT
Fallout: Nuka Break - Tales from the Wasteland KS launched
-Opening Analysis: Fallout
-AMA Q&A with Brian Fargo and Chris Avellone
-Wasteland 2 Interview with Chris Avellone and Brian Fargo
-Circle Junction
-Wasteland Kickstarter Project Interview with Brian Fargo
-The Origins of Fallout
-Afterfall: InSanity review
-Afterfall: InSanity preview
-Lonesome Road Review
-Old World Blues review
-Fallout2 Hi-Res Patch v4.1.5
-Fallout1 Hi-Res Patch v4.1.5
-Falloup, a Fallout Comic by 'Ten'
-WayDowntown V1.1
-FO1 bos grenades quest
-FO1_pistol_sound_patch
-Fallout FIXT
-Graphics Viewer v1.36
-RobCo Systems Beta 1.0
-S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Anarchy Cell Design Document
-Koan's Gift: Oblivion Lost Design Document Pack
-S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Oblivion Lost Design Document
-S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Oblivion Lost Story Outline
-Uptown v1.4
-Fallout Script Editor 1.5a
-Mission Mojave Fixpack
-Garden Of Eden Creation Kit
-The Weapon Mod Menu
-The Mod Configuration Menu
-Interior Lighting Overhaul