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News for Sunday, August 31, 2008

Posted by Tannhauser - at 21:43

Pete Hines talked to videogaming247 on the subject of negative comments from their previous E3 demo

“Everybody has their reasons why they do or don’t like something, so it’s not really for me to say, ‘That’s a good reason not to like it,’ or, ‘That’s not a good reason not to like it,’” said Hines when asked if some negativity surrounding the game after the show surprised him.

“You play the game and you see what you think. At E3 we let people play the game for a half hour, and if in a half hour you can make up your mind one way or the other, OK. I don’t really get into judging the rightness or wrongness of it. I just give people a chance to play it and they draw their own conclusions.”
Link: Fallout 3’s Hines shrugs off post-E3 preview negativity

From Fallout 3: APNB

Posted by Tannhauser - at 21:29

Voodoo Extreme has a short article about their impressions from the hands-on demo at PAX, using it mostly to explain VATS:

Moving on, I tried a few different quests this time around. I wasn't able to play everything, as some were extremely spoiler-riffic, but I managed to meet a few new non-player characters and get my mass destructification on. The highlight (there wasn't even a close second) was finding a fully functional flame-thrower. After messing around with weenie pistols and rustic, barely functional rifles, it felt gratifying being able to flat out disintegrate people. Maybe it was surround sound, bass-tastic speakers they had in the trailer, but you could really tell the difference when using higher-end weaponry.
Kotaku also has a short article about Bethesda's Fallout 3 exhibit at PAX
The central booth features kiosks of playable Fallout 3, singed mannequins, and an honest to god Airstream motor home on a patch of faux grass surrounded by white picket fences.

The Bethesda folks tell me that the Airstream is an authentic, not a replica, that the company purchased and then paid someone to clean-up and retro fit. Inside the refrigerated air of the mobile home is a wealth of retro goodies touched-up with a Fallout ambiance.

There are, for instance, old Life magazines, a refrigerator packed with ice cold Nuka Colas, a wood panel framed flat screen television and a waffle iron of the future. You can tell it's from the future by the mini radar dish protruding from the top griddle
Voodoo also has a better photo of the display:


Links:
Fallout 3 Hands-on (Updated)
Inside the Fallout 3 Airstream

Posted by Brother None - at 16:13

Of more interest is the preview from CrunchGear, who decided to ignore Bethesda's instructions, film their play-through and publish it.




Doesn't show much new stuff, other than that you can VATS the eye-bot and hit its zapper. But still, new footage, plus Pete Hines saying "we're not allowing filming" at the end there (surprised he didn't ask them to delete this under his eyes if this is digital footage).

Posted by Brother None - at 16:11

TeamXbox.

We found the food and took it back to Moira who sent us on another quest to infect ourselves with deadly radiation so she could study it. What? B*tch, you crazy. We did it anyway, submerging ourselves in some irradiated water until we were at 200 rads, though if we would have gotten 600, there was some kind of bonus in it for us. Again, we returned to Moira and she thanked us and fixed us up. At this point, Pete Hines of Bethesda walked over and said, “you know, if your speech skill was high enough, you could have bullsh**ted her into thinking you had done it when you actually hadn’t.” Lie in a video game, Pete? I would never.
Aeropause.
If you liked Oblivion, you will like Fallout 3. If you liked Fallout 1 and 2, you will like Fallout 3.

Because, they have done an AMAZING job of melding RPG elements from the originals into Fallout 3. The old stats like Action Points and Perks are, of course, adapted for the new 3D platform, but far from feeling tacked on, I felt very much the same as I did when I played Fallout for the first time.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 1:56

Another interview from the busy Pete Hines, this time joined by lead artist Istvan Pely. There are some interesting questions and responses, worth a read.

Shack: Are you guys getting sick of the comparisons to Oblivion? Like, "It's Oblivion, but with guns"?

Istvan Pely: It's two-sided, you know. It's a compliment, and at the same time we set out to make a very different game. We did not start with the design of Oblivion and decide how we were going to change it to make Fallout. We started with, "How is this going to be Fallout?" But we built on experiences we learned with Oblivion. So obviously it's a similar kind of open world--there's experiences with how to make that work, how to keep it exciting, so we applied our lessons learned. It works both ways for us.

Pete Hines: I think the thing that makes it most annoying is that it's said in a tone that's sort of like, that's the best that we could do. For guys like Istvan who have spent literally four years making this game, it really sells short how much time and effort they've put into making this a Fallout game that is true to Fallout. As opposed to just the bare minimum we could do, let's just re-skin all of our creatures to look sort of post-nuclear and just be done with it.

So much more time and effort went into it by the designers and the artists. That's really the only thing that gets me. We love Oblivion, we made it, of course we're proud of it. But just to say that that's all we did, the least amount of effort, really sells short the four years we've put into making this game.

Shack: And it's not like you can't tell a different story with the same engine. But the phrase does imply a minimum amount of work.

Pete Hines: It's just not what we do. And mostly, you look in our genre, and all the franchises we played growing up, and how many of them are dead and gone, because that's all they did. They just iterated, "We're gonna do the same thing as last time, tell you a different story, a little bit of new art." And they're not in existence anymore. We feel like we've gotta keep reinventing every time, or we're gonna die and get stale like everybody else.
Shacknews also has a photo of Bethesda's Fallout 3 display at PAX:
Link: Fallout 3 Interview: Bethesda Addresses DLC, World Design, and 'Oblivion with Guns' Comments

Thanks once again Anani Masu.

News for Saturday, August 30, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 21:13

GameSpy brings us a preview from the play-through at PAX:

I figured it had to lead somewhere, but I was shocked (shocked!) to find that there were quite a few creepy and incredibly hostile people hanging out on the remains of the overpass.

So attacked, I had to defend myself. Making superb use of a combination of the V.A.T.S. system and straight-up shooter skills (when I was all out of AP, the currency of V.A.T.S.), I dropped something like twelve half-naked humanoids. They offered no explanation for their brutal assault, but I don't really ask questions when somebody is running at me with a machete. For my troubles I got to the middle of the overpass with a beat-up sniper rifle and an awesome but fuel-hungry flamethrower.
(...)
Spying what looked like a ghost town on the horizon, I made my way in its direction to see if there was anything worth salvaging. As I stepped into what would have been the city's limits if there had been any residents left, I noticed that I'd gotten a couple of experience points for discovering "Minefield." Certainly that was just the name of this ghost town, right?

Beep. Beep. Beepbeepbeep.

BOOM!

Ouch... no, that's not just a name. Some damned fool had mined the town, and I soon met the damned fool himself. Or rather, fire from his sniper rifle met my delicate, Vault-fresh flesh. He was a very old man perched atop what was left of a three-story building, taking pot shots at me as I hit the healing stimpacks hard, juicing myself back into wellness.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 20:30

Pete Hines continues the interview circuit, this time hosted by GameRadio.de.

GameRadio.de: My next question is about the graphics. I saw some screenshots where exactly the same car-model was placed three times side by side. Were these bugs you’ve fixed by now?

Pete Hines: Even when travelling around here we sometimes find buildings where they built a set of apartments and they’re all built in a similar style and are part of a group of buildings. In Fallout it’s obviously a destroyed world. We try to vary the destruction in terms of “What would actually be here? How would this city have been built up first before it got destroyed?” We do spent a lot of time thinking about the variation of the architecture and what would it all look like once it was destroyed.

GameRadio.de: Did you get some inspiration of the russian shooter S.T.A.L.K.E.R. for the setting?

Pete Hines: No, not really. All we really need for inspiration is the original “Fallout”-games. We started in 2004 with asking “What do we want this world to look like? How do we bring the world that we saw in Fallout 1 and 2 to a firstperson- and thirdperson-game in a really high level of detail?”. That was really our approach the whole time and thats what we focused on. I’m pretty pleased with how the game has come together and how it looks and feels and how it plays.
Links:
Video of the interview
Transcript of the interview

Thanks to Denise Bergert.

Posted by Brother None - at 16:13

GamersGlobal interviews Pete Hines. There's some interesting questions in there, definitely worth a read.

GamersGlobal: Is it right that some locations are the equivalent of the “random dungeons” of Oblivion?

Pete Hines: Sure. First, there’s just random encounters that you find in the world. You’re walking along and there’s an elementary school that’s been taken over by raiders and that’s kind of a “random dungeon” type thing, although of course it’s not a dungeon. There’s a building and it’s occupied by someone, some creatures or NPCs or whatever it is, you discover what’s it about, and sometimes there’s a little sidestory to it, like in the Elementary School. In that instance, you find out that there’s more behind it than just some raiders. And it is stuff like that you can find in the world, that adds to the overall flavor. It’s off the beaten path and you might never find it, but when you’ve done it you have done something unique and cool.

GamersGlobal: So if I empty that Elementary School of raiders, and if I come back later: Will they have respawned?

Pete Hines: I’m not sure about that particular location. But there are some places in the world where creatures will respawn, and some where they don’t. It’s a matter of balance. We definitely do not want you go through an area and when you come back, it’s completely devoid of life. But we don’t want to have the opposite either, so the respawning is definitely not a 10-minute-cycle. If a place respawns, you would not find it repopulated before some time has passed.

Posted by 13pm - at 8:57

Shacknews has put up their impressions of Fallout 3 walkthrough after PAX:

The hulking armor-clad humanoids were accompanied by a blubbering beast called a Centaur, which slowly slimed its way toward me. After using the slow-motion VATS system to blow off its slimey head, I was momentarily victorious--until I noticed a Super Mutant holding a minigun in the background, lumbering out of a ruined church.

Later on, heading way out into the wasteland, I encountered a slaver town called Paradise Falls. I got a little angry with the town guard after being denied entry. He said I didn't seem enough like a slaver. I called him an asshole, and then called him out to fight. He said that sounded more like a slaver, and gave me a quest to enslave a few notable people from other towns to earn my entrance.

Heading far into civilization, I ran into a National Guard Depot, a giant "Enlist Today" sign above it. Outside, numerous robots guarded the doors, all very reminiscent of Fallout 1 and 2 machines. The "Robobrain" was like an irate version of the Lost in Space robot, all tube-like arms and powered by a human brain encased in liquid. Shooting the brain was the quickest way to kill it.

And, what's more interesting, they put up the scans of the Vault Dweller's Survival guide, Bethesda have been giving out. There is some interesting information. For example, there is a height comparison table for different creatures and objects. There are some relatively new creatures, as well as the already known ones. Also, there are the pictures of guns and many other stuff.












Now we have all the pictures mirrored in our gallery (thanks Tannhauser). They are also available at Shacknews.

Many thanks to Jiggly McNerdington and Anani Masu.

Posted by The Vault Dweller - at 7:12

Some information has come in on proposed mod tools for Fallout 3. Unfortunately it's not good news...

In an interview with Bethesda executive producer Todd Howard we discussed Fallout 3's lack of a MOD support and this generation of consoles. While Howard admits the team wants to add support for user generated content he confesses adding the feature -- which was included in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion -- is a daunting task for a team eager to complete the epic adventure.

"We don't [have MOD support at launch], we want to but we have our hands so full with getting the game out and getting tools out there that work well for people and with the game is a pretty big undertaking," Howard told Joystiq.
You can hear the whole interview at Joystiq.

Hopefully this just means that mod support will be offered after launch to download, but that will remain to be seen.

I thank Anani Masu of the forums here for bringing us this news.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:13

GI's Nick Ahrens, Jeff Cork and Bryan Vore all had an hour with Fallout 3 at GC Leipzig and discuss their impressions in Game Informer's Fallout 3 preview.

Nick: I decided to cross the river and get off the beaten path, and I found something interesting—a protectron droid was fighting a super mutant, and it just destroyed it with lasers. It cut the mutant to pieces. I found another super mutant, and after I killed him and took his minigun I found his encampment. He had a bunch of gore bags, which were essentially mesh bags filled with body parts. They were right next to a pit fire, which is where he must have been barbequing.

Jeff: I got addicted to Med-X, which is a pretty cool item. It basically increases your resistance to damage, but after I took a bunch of it and the effects wore off, the screen got blurry for a little while and I got a warning saying that I could get hooked to the stuff if I wasn’t careful. I wasn’t careful, and the last time I took it the screen turned red once I sobered up and I got the message saying that I was now addicted, so unless I kept taking it I would suffer some consequences.

Nick: I fought a mire lurk, which was essentially a humanoid shellfish. He was quite difficult to take down, because I didn’t know where his head was at first.
And here's a fresh one:
Nick: People said, “Oh, it’s just going to be Oblivion and Fallout,” but a lot of the stuff was already in Fallout. The looting, the bartering and all that crazy stuff. The thing is, Bethesda basically transitioned it into an Oblivion-style view, which is really just a first-person view. It’s not so much that they blended the two, it’s just that the Elder Scroll games matched the Fallout games so well to begin with. It wasn’t anything that they needed to force, really.
Thanks Humpsalot.

News for Friday, August 29, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:57

Here is a mass of screenshots taken from the 5 gameplay videos by Tannhauser.









Link: Fallout 3 Screenshots Gallery
.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:43

Bethesda has put 5 new demo videos on their video gallery. Youtube:

Gameplay Demo Video 1 - Escape


Gameplay Demo Video 2 - Megaton


Gameplay Demo Video 3 - The Wasteland


Gameplay Demo Video 4 - Super-Duper Mart


Gameplay Demo Video 5 - Tenpenny Tower


Thanks Gstaff.

EDIT: videos now also mirrored (amongst other places) on GameTrailers and Gamersyde. Thanks Dr. Oblivious.

News for Thursday, August 28, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 3:00

GameTrailers interviews brand manager Pete Hines.

Coming out into that wasteland and not knowing anybody or where to go, it's very much a case of well you can...we lead you where to go for the main quest but you can really head in any direction and do whatever you want. You can play the game for 40 hours and never once do anything related to the main quest.
Non-linear game, linear main quest?

Thanks Dr. Oblivious.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:56

Fallout 3 will be playable by the public for the first time at the Penny Arcade Expo.

We will have a booth at the show, and we’re planning to allow the public their first opportunity to play Fallout 3. That’s right, hands-on. Now, there’s gonna be 50,000 people or more at this show so they don’t get to sit down and play it for an hour, but we’ll have six kiosks setup in our booth for folks to come by and have a chance to take it for a spin.

We’ll also be handing out handy Vault Dweller Survival Guides to everyone that stops by the booth. These things are a must have, I love them. Really well done. Plus you have to come by and checkout the Airstream.

We’ll also be giving a new Fallout 3 demo in the Main Theatre on Saturday at 2:30pm. This is right after the Main Theatre session where Gabe and Tycho draw a strip, so I’m sure lots of people will already be over that way. It’s a pretty lengthy demo and I’ll be there along with Todd, Emil, and Istvan. We may have a chance to do a short Q&A with folks, I don’t know. Between the demo and what we have planned after the demo, we may be pretty short on time. If you like schwag, I wouldn’t leave early…that’s all I’m sayin’.

And speaking of demos there may be a new gameplay video coming out on Friday that will be a very condensed version of the PAX demo for everyone that doesn’t get to come see it, and to whet the appetite for everyone that will be coming.

Then on Saturday night we are sponsoring a Post-Apocalyptic Movie Night. It’s at 9 PM in Raven Theatre. The movies to be shown are voted on by you guys, and right now it looks like 12 Monkeys and The Road Warrior are in the lead.
Link: Fallout 3 at PAX (1st Hands-On for the Public!).

News for Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:53

The Dutch InsideGamer has tried out Fallout 3 twice more, at the showing in Amsterdam and at the Leipzig Game Convention. They're very impressed overall, noting the game looks slightly better, especially in lighting effects, "but despite that the visual site remains a bit of a problem, as everything looks gloomy and gray due to the grand, apocalyptic world."

In Megaton there are a lot of characters that need your help. For example, a bartender asked me to reclaim 100 caps (caps are the currency in this world) from a female thief. I accepted that quest back at E3, but back then I chose to just shoot the thief without a second thought to claim the 100 caps. This time I discussed the matter with her and agreed to let her escape and to tell the bartender that she had run away. In doing so I hoped to have fulfilled the quest satisfactorily and to continue on to the next quest. Sadly my word wasn't good enough to the bartender and I had to get the 100 caps another way.

Another cool incident happened at a former villa. Here I met some kind of Hugh-Hefner-type dude, who was chilling with two women of easy virtue. The house was full of empty whiskey bottles and everything pointed to a rough life style. I asked the ladies what they were doing here exactly and it was clear they were only there for the money. They also let me know I'd be better off not picking a fight with the landlord, as he's extremely proficient with weapons. Cool, reason enough for me to take out my shotgun and blow his head off. A wise move, as because of his death I now had a nice machine gun, as the ladies ran off in a panic. This annoyed me and by shooting off their legs I assured neither lady could go anywhere anymore.

In all likely I could no longer do a certain quest due to this action. It turned out both ladies had a knife under their nightgown. It might very well be they had a double agenda, but now I would never find out. Actions in Fallout have real consequences and I love it.
Yeah, 'coz shooting someone meaning you can no longer interact with them is the pinnacle of choice & consequence.

Thanks The Dutch Ghost.

Posted by Per - at 21:43

Australian AusGamers checks in with a slightly late report from Leipzig.

I didn't get enough combat time to determine if this is definitely the case, but I certainly found it harder to finish fights without using V.A.T.S. - even with all my leet FPS skills I struggled to take out some of the opponents. Using V.A.T.S. made it pretty simple, although there's some initial weirdness because of the disconnect flipping between the free-flowing FPS mode and the cinematic V.A.T.S. mode.

The V.A.T.S. thing looks cool - some of the deaths are particularly spectacular and satisfying - but I'm not sure about the long term appeal. I found I couldn't skip some of the death animations, which I wanted to, after some casual engagements.

I also would have liked the ability to move the camera around during these engagements - at least once in close-quarters fighting the automatically selected camera angles were up way too close against the character and very awkward.

[..]

There're some freaky random things that happen to keep you on your toes - I had a woman run up to me in the middle of nowhere begging for help because she was strapped with explosives. She ran off, not really giving me any opportunity to help her (bug?) and then exploded. Weird.

When I first saw video footage of Fallout 3, I was a bit disappointed with the movement. It really looked like you were just gliding across the landscape, with no sense of true movement at all. Playing it though felt nothing like that and even though there's the normal bobbing gun animation (indicating movement), overall it felt pretty cool.
Spotted on A Post Nuclear Blog.

Posted by Per - at 21:19

Inside the Vault updates again and this time with someone who actually did something in the game, interface programmer Ricardo Gonzalez.

What is the best part about working as a programmer? The worst part?
Being the “viewfinder” of the game world, almost every part of the engine passes through the interface in some small way so it’s always interesting work. You never know what parts of the code you’ll have to dig through on a daily basis, so you learn to develop a high-level working view of the game and its sundry interlocking parts, which can be terribly fascinating on a good day and dangerously labyrinthine and overwhelming on a bad one.

Also, the interface is always on-screen, the first thing the player sees, and that has its own pride. Then again, if the game breaks, it’s the first thing that messes up, usually in a very obvious and distracting way.

Lastly, every component of the engine has some fussy part that’s deceptively simple to work with, something insignificant that for some reason turns into a tangled mess whenever you touch it. For the interface, these things are always the most mundane, “who-actually-thinks-about-these-things” things, like proper scrollbar etiquette or the amount of time between a click and double-click. It’s difficult to convince people to take you seriously when you tell them you’ve spent two days tracking down an elusive mouse wheel bug.
As pointed out on APNB, we know from before that Ricardo has in fact played and enjoyed Fallout, although the new article doesn't go near the subject.

Also the next Penny Arcade Comics is up.

News for Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Posted by Per - at 20:26

The Prepare For The Future promotion site has been updated with a new video. This one is more clear and less disconnected than the first, although it doesn't really tell us anything about the game. Among other things you get to see the Protectron and a stylized map of D.C. Ausir adds:

BTW, there is an M-rating image on the site, so looks like the game has finally been rated by the ESRB.
Spotted on the BSGF.

News for Monday, August 25, 2008

Posted by Per - at 1:07

Minor news time: IMDb's Fallout 3 page has been updated with a fourth voice actor, namely Heather Marie Marsden in the role of Sarah Lyons. Since July the game has also been listed as "completed" (but not "released") rather than in "post-production", but who knows what kind of crazy definitions they use.

Thanks to Ausir.

News for Sunday, August 24, 2008

Posted by Per - at 17:41

Eurogamer.de reports that PR man Sam Brace (representing Bethesda for PR agency Lunch) stated at the LGC that the level of violence in Fallout 3 will have to be lowered in the German release. Says German person Lexx:

It still isn't clear how much will be cut out, but shooting heads and body parts off will definitely NOT be possible. The explanation for this was to make the age classification easier for the USK and to not risk indexing of the game (which would mean that it is not allowed to advertise the game in the media).
More information is said to be coming shortly.

Posted by Brother None - at 14:13

Mash has kept on tweaking his Fallout resolution patches. Fallout 1 High Resolution patch hits 1.1, Fallout 2 High Resolution patch hits 1.5 and the modding tool Mapper2 High Resolution Patch hits 1.1. The list of updates for both Fallout 1 HR Patch and Fallout 2 HR Patch:

* Includes a fix for the Dialog NPC Screen, found by "weak-ling"
* Includes improved map loading, improved Ending Slide show and full screen credits.
* Includes a new fix for map scrolling boarders.
* Fixes the scroll jamming problem which occured on some maps.
* Fixed - NPC should now appear in the dialog view window unless they are off the screen.
* The Fallout 1 HR Patch now runs on US 1.1, TeamX 1.2 and Polish 1.2/TeamX versions. The Fallout 2 HR patch now supports US 1.02d, UK 1.02e, French 1.02d, German 1.02d, and Chinese versions of the fallout2.exe, as well as working with MIB88's MegaMod and killap's Restoration Project.
Sorrow returned to his old Fatal Damage Mod and overhauled it into Fallout Revisited for Fallout 1, which changes a lot of the combat mechanics and fictionalizes some of Fallout 1's real-life guns.

TeamX also returns to the fray in updating their patch for Fallout 1 to 1.3.4 for both the English version and the Russian version. They have also updated the NPC mod to 3.4, also available in Russian or English. Patch notes for 1.3.4:
Generic bugs:
- Fixed duplicated string numbers in obj_dude.msg, combatai.msg, pipboy.msg (tell-me-about, combat taunts, holodiscs data).
- Fixed broken NPC's comments in 1.3.3 patch.
- "Mr. Handy" robots now correctly use their guns (fixed wrong "Body Type" parameter).

Random encounters:
- Killing a child in the random encounter will affect your karma and Childkiller status now.
- Enemies in random encounters now don't carry weapons, they can't use.

Vault-13:
- Fixed infinite loop in Overseer's dialogue after "stupid" Dude became an enemy of the Vault.

Shady Sands:
- Katrina's reply to "stupid" Dude is now displayed in dialogue window instead of message window.
- Fixed "bad" colors in "good" floating messages for guards.

Raiders:
- Diana won't show sequentially two branches of her dialog during the conversation. If you are a Garl's freind already you'll see "friend's" part only. "Stranger's" part will be hidden.
- Removed "smart" option for "stupid" Dude in Gwen's dialogue.

Junktown:
- Killian:
* fixed infinite money bug;
* it is possible now for "stupid" Dude to take a "Stop Gizmo" quest (there are options for "stupid" ones allover the dialogue, but only one time in one neutral option "[More]" IQ requirements were too high).
- Dr. Morbid:
* his dialogue with the "stupid" Dude no longer ends unexpectedly when Morbid asks about examination payment (added "stupid" options);
* he no longer starts examination after choosing an option "Nothing, just making small talk."
- Now you can't steal armor from Killian's guard (left from shop's door).
- Ring guard's ammo are now consistent with his weapon (10mm JHP).
- Marcelle no longer falls asleep during "Save Sinthia" quest.

Hub:
- Fixed rare "error" message in Cleo's dialogue.
- Kane now sends Dude off immediately, if he became an enemy of Underground, not after his dialogue with Decker (which should never be possible in this case).

Boneyard:
- Zimmerman's guard now attacks Dude if he tries to use something on him (like he does if Dude tries to steal something from him).
- Fixed infinite money bug with Smitty and Nicole.

The Cathedral:
- Morpheuses ammo are now consistent with his weapon (5mm).
- Zark, Cathedral Thug, and Slummer, Brainwashed member of the Children, no longer mixed up.

BOS:
- Now you can't enter BOS bunker by picking up it's door with the electronic lockpick.
- Returned bad reaction check in Kyle's dialogue which was lost in 1.3.3 patch.

Military Base:
- Sarah no longer says "Can you excuse us, we're talking here!", if Flip is not near her holding cell.
- Sarah no longer says "No thanks, I already have a boyfriend." to female player.

Removed incorrect fixes:

Random encounters:
- Lance the scout for Shady Shads can be encountered as an alive character. Not as a dead body only.
Jotisz' Vault Doors are also worth mentioning because - well - they're cute.




Just look at them buggers go. Jotisz is currently helping several of the Fallout 2 conversion projects like Mutants Rising and Between Good and Evil to get appropriate Vault doors into the game.

In other news, the Vault of the Mad Brahmin-hosted Custom Art Repository is back on its feet and steadily filling up with FRMs to be used in Fallout mods.

Posted by Morbus - at 13:51

It's been a while since we said something about the upcoming indie classical cRPG by Iron Tower Studio, but fear not, we haven't forgotten it. Anyway, Vince D. Weller was interviewed by Alley of Infinite Angles.

3. You have previously described your team as “picking up Troika’s ball because somebody had to”. What is it about games like Troika’s that today’s RPGs aren’t providing, and why is it important to keep that flame alive?

I don't think that in the last 10-15 years anyone did as much to truly push the RPG genre forward as Troika did. Fallout and Arcanum are two of the best RPGs ever created. ToEE had the best and most faithful DnD turn-based combat and one of the best turn-based combat implementations in general. Bloodlines was probably one of the first successful attempts to fuse action with role-playing. Robust dialogue trees with skillchecks, focus on characters and dialogues, non-linearity, multiple options and paths, choices & consequences - that's Troika. We are influenced by Troika's games, by Troika's design philosophy, by Troika's ideas.

Troika's games were different. Troika's RPGs were actually ROLE-PLAYING games, not games with adjustable stats. Sure, they were buggy and often unpolished, but I'd rather play a brilliant, but unpolished game, than a well-polished, generic and uninspiring game.

Needless to say, we'll do our best to deliver well-tested and polished games for our audience.

4. What made you go for turn-based combat in Age of Decadence, and what do you have to say to those who believe that it is a relic of the past?

Real time and first-person view are as old as turn-based and isometric. Probably even older. See Diablo 3 "OMG! Why is it isometric?!" drama for more info:

“Camera is not technology,” says Wilson [Diablo 3 lead designer], clearly somewhat frustrated. “People associate the camera with isometric and say: ‘Oh, why didn’t you update the tech?’ Well, we did update the tech. The camera has nothing to do with tech, the camera is all about gameplay. Isometric gameplay is very different from FPS or over-the-shoulder third person – which is pretty much what the entire industry is moving towards. But then some of the biggest hits of the last year were Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and those were not high-tech games. Gameplay is what matters; it’s what’s always mattered to us.”

Similarly, turn-based isn't about tech, it's about gameplay. It can't be a relic because games like Civilization and Heroes of Might and Magic still exist and aint going nowhere. To understand what TB offers, let's imagine RT Civ. Imagined? Well, there you go.

Turn-based gameplay is about thinking, considering your options, and using tactical advantages. Real-time gameplay is about clicking really, really fast (hence the twitch gameplay name). The fact that when developers want to offer you a bit more depth in your RT cereal they pause it, should tell you everything you need to know.

Why AoD is turn-based? Because we like TB games and we spit on your RT crap. What? The mike is still on. Oh, shit! Now we'd have to issue a press-release stating that RT games are as good as TB games and that we are all huge RT fans. Thanks a lot!
I'd also recommend you visiting A Few Characters and A conversation with Marcus Cornelius Arvina for the latest updates about the game, in the official forums.

Link: Vince D. Weller @ Alley of Infinite Angles

News for Saturday, August 23, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 7:43

MTV Multiplayer had 90 minutes with Fallout 3 at GC. I know because they mentioned they had quite some time with it half a dozen time, apparently unaware that before E3 others had much more time. Anyway, on to the preview.

I chose a different path, a path that left me securing my very own house in Megaton with my very own robot butler. I could get a haircut from this butler. Or I could get amusement. That’s what I selected, and he/she/it told me a joke. It was about two electrons walking into a bar. One saying it lost an electron. The other asking: “Are you sure?” Response: “I’m positive.”

I asked my robot butler to tell me another joke. The robot butler replied: “My humor emitter ray needs recharging.”

And then I — accidentally — shot my robot butler, who chased me out of my own house, shooing me with his/her/its small flamethrower.

Theoretically, when you accidentally misfire into their torso or their two-headed cow, you can calm the people who shoot back at you if you holster your weapon. This didn’t work against my robot butler. He ran me out of town.
(...)
On the other side of the river I found myself in a gun battle between two factions, armored humans and some scrappy, muscular Super Mutants. The fight took place near a radio station — a station whose frequency I had tuned into and was listening to the whole time I was playing the game. If I ran ahead of the human forces, I got shot a lot. When I waited for the humans to advance, they picked off most of the mutants. They used rifles and machine guns. I just had a pistol.

When the battle seemed to be over, I proceeded to the radio station’s doors. That’s when a Super Mutant Behemoth showed up. This double-tall enemy easily killed me as he rampaged to the front of the building. After I revived from a checkpoint I tried fighting him again. I found a Fat Man mini-nuclear-weapon launcher. I used VATS and aimed for the torso. He survived the awesome shot, barely. And he killed me again. I reluctantly tore myself from the game.
Checkpoint?

Posted by Per - at 3:31

Years and years ago, when most of you people probably weren't even born, we were covering a post-apocalyptic MMORPG called Fallen Earth. Well, it still exists and since Aug 14 they've been doing some alphatesting. From GameSpot:

It’s been one hundred years since the Shiva Virus all but wiped humanity off the face of the planet. The ashes of the old world have given rise to the new, and it is a world of scavengers, mutants, and death. In the Grand Canyon, one of the last habitable places on Earth, the battle has begun for the future of humanity. Will the old world be rebuilt? Will a new one be forged in chaos?

Choose your side, strap on your armor, holster your gun, and get your dune buggy started.

The wastelands await.

This is a test of an Alpha Build of Fallen Earth, so there will be technical issues that crop up from time to time. Finding these issues is the point of the test, so please have patience and report these bugs when they do occur. Your assistance is invaluable in getting Fallen Earth ready for release. Because of the limited number of keys available, not all those who sign up will receive a key.
Note that it's too late to get in now. Apparently the people who have been active on the FE forum are miffed that the keys were being handed out randomly on GameSpot after there had been hints that people would be able to sign up on the forum. Fans, eh?

Link: Fallen Earth website

News for Friday, August 22, 2008

Posted by Per - at 17:36

Finnish eDome has posted the third part of their Fallout preview prompted by the London showing (second part was reported on here). A brief summary courtesy of informant Vasara:

The previewer got some small quests, and he only had the directions given by the NPCs to go on – there were no markers on the map or the compass. Some of the NPCs gave good, descriptive directions, while others were very vague.

The world is filled with very varied NPCs and locations. All the NPCs he encountered had interesting personalities and dialogue, every location he found had an interesting backstory behind it.

He feels the humor is well-executed; the amount of it is just right and the style very dark.
They also put on YouTube a three-part Pete Hines video interview that's nearly 30 minutes long. It looks like he's addressing several people and if you've read a few London interviews almost all of what's said will sound familiar, so likely several of those interviews have been derived from this Q&A session. Nothing new, but here's a snippet:
We're very clear about what Fallout is and isn't. It's almost the opposite, which is that we try and be pretty careful about anything new that we're introducing to the world, that it fits with what Fallout is about and what would and would not be there. Sometimes, even in and of itself, Fallout is a bit mixed in that respect, the original game is very gritty and hardcore and there's all these realistic guns, and then there's a UFO and there's an Alien Blaster, like, wait, what? There's nothing like, "Oh, I wish we could do this but it's not right for Fallout," it's too cool and too rich a series and franchise, there's so much stuff that you can do that you don't really have time to worry about the stuff that you can't do.
Also, "I would consider humour that is prompted by a body part being blown off, I would consider that to be dark."

Link: Interview part 1
Link: Interview part 2
Link: Interview part 3

Posted by Per - at 2:35

Not much new over at GameSpot, except maybe for this part:

After making it through the Meresti Trainyard and its abandoned train wrecks, we came across the outskirts of a small settlement. The problem was that it was protected, and we were immediately shot at by a sniper upon entering. We spun around and tried to use the VATS system to hone in on the sniper, but we couldn't see them, and they'd soon incapacitated us via our arms and legs.
It seems V.A.T.S. cannot be used indiscriminately to locate enemies, and snipers can be deadly for the unprepared.

News for Thursday, August 21, 2008

Posted by Per - at 18:57

The UGO Gamesblog reporter, who already attended one hands-on demonstration, decided that this time he'd head for Megaton and get some quest or other.

In no time I had my task: deliver a letter from a Megaton denizen to her relatives in Arefu, a nearby settlement built in the middle of a raised section of the DC highway. And so I was off, setting my waypoint on my pipboy and heading straight for it. A few giant moles and rabid dogs pestered me along the way, but for the most part, things were going smooth, until…

Until I got distracted. You’re a man with purpose, and suddenly something pings on your map, and you just have to check it out. The phenomenon happened all the time in Morrowind and Oblivion (and even in Fallout 1 and 2), so it’s not a big shock that it happened. I was just more surprised as to how easy it was for the game to take me off course.

What drew my attention was a sign pointing to a nearby fallout shelter. Not Vault 101, mind you...I was quite a ways from my old home. No, this was Vault 106. I made my way into a cave dug into a large cliff and quickly discovered the telltale massive vault door. A switch in front of it blinked expectantly and, much to my surprise, the vault door clanged open the moment I touched it, gears and levers sliding out of place like the day it was built.
And that's how much I'm putting on the front page, since the rest is one big spoiler. It sounds pretty cool, but if you plan to play the game, you're better off not reading it. Seriously.

Link: Fallout 3 Vault 106 Walkthrough *SPOILER WARNING*

Thanks to Ausir.

Posted by Brother None - at 6:56

GameSpy went to Leipzig to answer that question: Will Bethesda's post-nuclear adventure do the Fallout series justice?

There's far more to do in Fallout 3 than just shooting people to itsy-bitsy pieces. If you're playing a character with plenty of speech skill, you can sway the natives with the power of conversation, plying them for free stuff, favors, and access to stuff that you'd otherwise only achieve through combat or thievery. Then there are the hacking and lock-picking games that will get you into places where you weren't meant to be. The lock-picking mini-game is a test of finesse, as you work a screwdriver and bobby pin simultaneously in order to turn locks, hoping to apply the right amount of pressure before your pin snaps. The hacking mini-game is a word puzzle, where through the process of elimination and lucky guesswork you arrive at the necessary password to break into the system.

Fallout 3 is a very different game from its predecessors on a surface level, but the feeling we get while playing it, even in this unfinished state, tells us that it's also very much the same. Bethesda clearly has a solid understanding of the appeal behind the franchise, and has taken great steps towards recreating and even improving upon the most important aspects of the classic PC role-playing games. Even the most die-hard Fallout fan couldn't ask for anything more.
Spiffy Captures the intangibles of the Fallout franchise without sacrificing graphics or playability.
Iffy We're hoping for a strong main storyline to accompany the free-roaming exploration aspects.

Link: Fallout 3 Preview on GameSpy.

News for Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Posted by Per - at 23:40

Some people wrote a preview that doesn't mention penguins in the slightest.

After cleansing the school I wandered off towards the struggling community of Big Town. The struggling community consisted of dilapidated houses that were fortified with barbed wire and sandbags to form a sort of wall. The remaining citizens could be found milling about inside, with one sorry looking guard standing at the only entrance, a makeshift suspension bridge.

I visited the medic station and upon inspecting an ailing patient I was given the option to heal or kill him. Seeing as my medic skills were too low to be of any use I chose to "put him out of his misery" by opening an artery. My karma was penalized and the game called me a bastard. Oh, well. Moving on.

Outside the doctor's quarters I ran into a man named Flash who was eager to brag about the amazing gun he was carrying. He also informed me that Big Town is constantly raided by Slavers and Super Mutants and that the former had just taken a few people hostage in German Town. I picked up the quest Big Trouble in Big Town when I offered to help out with the hostage crisis and had German Town added to my map.
The Gun Nut perk is mentioned to add 5% to your Small Guns and Repair skills. There are also lots of "burnt books, bottles, and other trash" for pack rats to carry around.

Spotted on the BGSF.

Posted by Per - at 22:21

The official site just put up a launch statement which reads in its entirety:

Fallout 3 Available October 28

Major Launch Planned for the Winner of E3 2008’s “Best of Show”

August 20, 2008 (Rockville, MD) – Bethesda Softworks®, a ZeniMax Media company, announced today that its highly anticipated title, Fallout® 3, will be available on store shelves and online in North America on October 28, 2008 and in Europe on October 31, 2008. Developed at Bethesda Game Studios – creators of the 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® – Fallout 3 is slated for release on the Xbox 360®video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and Games for Windows.

“We are very excited to let gamers get their hands on Fallout 3, the latest chapter in this beloved and highly acclaimed franchise,” said Vlatko Andonov, president of Bethesda Softworks. “To meet the huge demand for this title by our fans worldwide, we are planning one of the biggest launches of any game released this year.”

Fallout 3 features one of the most realized game worlds ever created. Set more than 200 years following a nuclear war, you can create any kind of character you want and explore the open wastes of Washington, D.C. however you choose. Every minute is a fight for survival as you encounter Super Mutants, Ghouls, Raiders, and other dangers of the Wasteland.

Hailed as one of the most anticipated games for 2008, Fallout 3 has already won numerous awards including Best of Show from the official Game Critics Awards at E3 2008, a selection voted on by an independent group of journalists from 36 leading North American media outlets that cover the videogame industry.

Fallout® 3 has not yet been rated by the ESRB.
Update: The European version of the press release has one significant difference at the end:
Fallout® 3 is rated PEGI 18+.

Posted by Per - at 21:07

GamersGlobal played Fallout 3 at the Leipzig Games Convention and updated some of their impressions from E3:

V.A.T.S. no longer felt too mighty, and in fact, we were able to cripple the limbs of a super mutant without killing him, as it should be. Still, a successful V.A.T.S. shot can instantly kill an opponent if the damage to the limb brings his overall hitpoints to zero. For example, we shot 2 times at the left arm of a raider; the first shot hit and made him lose his weapon, the second shot crippled his arm, at the same time killing him. We are STILL not quite convinced about V.A.T.S., because our standard tactic was to try to get very near the opponents, who didn't seem to hit us much better than over a greater distance, and than entering V.A.T.S.: With this tactic, the relative low range of our pistol or hunting rifle didn't count, and we could hit our target with a to-hit probability of 80 to 95 % percent. The opponents, on the other hand, do not have V.A.T.S. Also, the Action Points still filled up pretty quickly, so running away from a Super Mutant for half a minute would replenish them to the maximum, allowing us to fight him effectively again. But to make this clear: the fighting no longer felt far too easy or flawed. As in Oblivion, opponents will run or swim towards you in order to reach you, or fight from afar when they have appropiate weapons. Some will throw grenades at you, others will fight you with poles or clubs.

Overall, we liked the PC interface better than the Xbox interface, for obvious reasons: You don't need to scroll to get to a specific weapon in your PIPboy (which you acticvate by pressing TAB), you simply click on it. Most actions like V.A.T.S. are confirmed with "E", which is also used for "use something". There are specific graphical settings (sliders) for the distance actors (npcs), items, objects (whatever the difference is), grass, shadows, light, specularities fade. You can also chose the level-of-detail distance for objcts and trees. Of course, most buttons Fallout 3 uses on the console gamepads are mapped to the keyboard. For example, you can apply Stimpacks by pressing "2" or switch to the world map by pressing "F3".
Spotted on the BGSF.

Posted by Per - at 20:20

The BethBlog gives us a glimpse of the preparations for the Fallout 3 presence at the Leipzig Games Convention that starts today (thanks to Ausir).


PC Games posted a photo of two Fallout 3 booth babes (spotted on the BGSF):


Additionally, three of the screenshots seen recently have been released in high resolution, so if you want to take a closer look, here they are:

Posted by Per - at 2:11

A Post Nuclear Blog tells us about CrossOver Games, which is apparently a project to create applications with which to run PC games smoothly on Linux and Mac systems. The people responsible, CodeWeavers, have a system in which you must first register, and can then either vote (for free) or "pledge" (for money) to get them to tackle the games of your choice. When and if they do create the application, you can buy it from them. So I suppose this means you can pay to increase the potential audience of Fallout 3?

Link: Fallout 3 @ CodeWeavers

Thanks to Ausir.

Posted by The Vault Dweller - at 0:38

Stalker's much anticipated sequel Clear Sky now has a release date of September 5th 2008.

GSC Game World, computer games developer, its publishing subdivision GSC World Publishing and Deep Silver, the games label of Koch Media, a leading producer and distributor of digital entertainment products, today announce a new release date for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky. The international release date of the game has been set to the 5th September of 2008.
Without any setbacks or delays that's not at all long to wait. Let's hope it's delivered as promised.

Link: Official Stalker website
Link: Clear Sky website

Posted by Brother None - at 0:17

The Bethesda Blog offers a really short Inside the Vault with QA project lead Brian Bloomfield. Questions about Fallout? Nevah!

What other games have you worked on?
I’ve worked on Oblivion, Fallout 3, Star Trek: Tactical Assault, Start Trek: Legacy, Star Trek: Conquest, Pirates of the Carribean: Legend of Jack Sparrow, AMF Pinbusters Wii, AMF Pinbusters DS, and Ducati DS.
Link: Inside the Vault - Brian Bloomfield.

EDIT: Notification: since Bethesda really doesn't take this Inside the Vault thing very seriously, with both questions and answers showing an embarrassing tendency to be painfully uninteresting, NMA will stop posting these every time they come up. We will post them whenever an interesting answer is given.

News for Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Posted by Per - at 19:20

Game Crazy offers Vault Boy keychains with pre-orders while supplies last.

Pre-order Fallout 3 and receive a free Vault Boy Keychain. Offer good while supplies last.
This is however not what "free" means. Also no pic so it didn't happen?

British Gamestation offers the keyring as well as the partial soundtrack CD with pre-orders. It's free as long as you give them money.

Australian Game wants to outdo everyone at swag:
Pre-order to receive bonus 5’’ Brotherhood of Steel figurine, Mini Strategy Guide, Pip Boy Key ring & Fallout 3 Trading cards.
But "Conditions Apply" and those conditions probably involve giving up your pancreas.

Thanks to Ausir and KarlG and also Ausir.

Posted by Per - at 16:10

Prima Games, who made the Official Game Guide for Fallout 3, are offering a slightly more expensive Collector's Edition version of the guide. Aside from the "rugged hardcover for extra survivability", this edition sports 48 more pages than the regular one, and if it's anything like a music CD coming with or without a couple of bonus tracks, those are the best pages in the universe. I could be wrong though.


Link: Collector's Edition @ Prima
Link: Collector's Edition @ Amazon

News for Monday, August 18, 2008

Posted by Per - at 23:28

Eurogamer interviewed Pete Hines and the result is, well, stuff like this:

Eurogamer: How much of the design for Fallout 3 is a reaction to your work on Oblivion as much as your ambitions for the Fallout series?

Pete Hines: The reaction to Oblivion is very much a case of, "How do we do this better when we do it in Fallout?" opposed to, "Oh we always wanted to do this in the Elder Scrolls, but now we're doing Fallout we'll just put it in Fallout." There's none of that. Fallout's already such a rich series, such a great playground to work in, with the vibe and the tone and the moral choices.

What we really brought from Oblivion is just stuff like feedback on levelling. People didn't like the way the world levelled with the player, so we're going to do this differently. It's things like working out how to sculpt the experience for the player in terms of quests and giving you choices. We want to give you more choices in how to finish a quest rather than fewer choices and a lot more quests.
What they "really" brought from Oblivion is not to do stuff that had nothing to do with Fallout in the first place?
Eurogamer: You've gone for a very traditional dialogue system. Did you consider trying something new?

Pete Hines: It's old school. After a certain point, when you're taking on a project of this magnitude, you've got to pick your battles, and you can't pick them all because you just end up trying to be everything and not being anything. Dialogue wasn't a battle we wanted to pick. It is a bit old-school, but it works well for what we're trying to do, and there were other things that were more important for us to spend time and energy on, like trying to incorporate VATS into a real world combat system and still incorporate the stats and not unbalance the game. That's a big undertaking, and spending time from a development standpoint on the actual dialogue and the camera angle it's being presented on - we just don't have unlimited monkeys and typewriters.
Departing from Fallout-style dialogue wasn't a battle they wanted to pick?
Eurogamer: Talking of balance, with a game as wide as this, how do you balance the main narrative and the side-quests?

Pete Hines: It's just always been our approach to make big, open, go-where-you-want games. This is just another version of that. We like to try to do big epic scope, big world stuff. But I think with Fallout it's adjusted differently to how it was with Oblivion, because Oblivion had so much extra content.

Fallout doesn't have quite the same amount - it's not eight cities filled with guilds and all that stuff. It's more sparse, there's fewer locations, fewer people. You have a smaller scope of stuff, with more ways to do it, and as part of the overall, the main quest is much more or a presence than it was in Oblivion, because you don't have two hundred hours of stuff - you have seventy or eighty hours, which is still a stupid amount, but it's not in the same proportion.

I think the main story's going to be a lot stronger, and a lot more people are going to want to play it this time around.
Thanks to Ausir.

News for Saturday, August 16, 2008

Posted by Per - at 20:42

It appears that Bethesda held a press demonstration of Fallout 3 in Taiwan, following which a number of Chinese and/or Taiwanese gaming sites have posted a report. This in itself is not remarkable from what can be gleaned (and I hesitate to quote from a Google translation), but the assortment of accompanying screenshots is. Among many other things you can see dialogue with Mr Burke, a talkative ghoul called Roy Phillips, and a balcony scene following the Megaton explosion. If you don't want spoilers, you should probably steer clear of these. It's been suggested that they violate the NDA a tad, so if you want to, look at them while they're there.

Here's a handful. There's a total of 145 screenshots available at the links below.


Link: UnderOne (Google translation)
Link: CatchPlay (Google translation)

Thanks to Sergei.

News for Friday, August 15, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 0:38

Dan Ross, a QA guy on Fallout 3, talks about why the world of Fallout 3 looks like it does, with wooden houses still standing 200 years after the war and with society having progressed very little.

This is something I've thought about personally as well. One thing you have to keep in mind is that you are looking at an alternate future with an emphasis on Science! rather than the normal sciences we are accustomed to. AI supercomputers use vacuum tubes, radiation doesn't have a half-life, Gamma rays create The Hulk instead of cancer and things are just built differently; made to last. "They don't make 'em like they used to" came about because things built back when resources were cheap were really well-made. Now imagine that being carried out into the future where everything was well-made.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while 200 years is a long time, but it's not so long when you compare it to the "age" they are in. 200 years ago from our time things were a lot different, but there was an economic and social support structure in place that allowed things to advance as quickly as they did. Imagine if all the industries that existed were simply not there and the population numbered merely in the tens of thousands rather than the hundreds of millions?

People don't have time to develop new technology or clear rubble when finding uncontaminated food and water takes up 75% of their waking day. There are no supermarkets, independent farms get raided (so why grow anything?) and any settlements that sprout up are just as likely to be torn apart by the inhabitants as outside forces. It's very similar to the "Dark Ages" where things remained the same for a very long time and people lived by tradition simply because it was the only guaranteed way to make a living in a harsh world.

Now add in all the nasty Wasteland creatures, ghouls and mutants... factions all fighting amongst themselves for resources (War never changes, I hear.) and you have an especially harsh world. 200 years of that? I wouldn't expect much change in so short a time when just living is enough to keep anyone occupied full-time.
Sensible enough. Though one should note progression of time is a problem for Fallout, and you can't keep setting sequels decades after the previous game. It's a mystery why Fallout 3 isn't set around the time of Fallout 1, anyway.

Thanks Ausir.

News for Thursday, August 14, 2008

Posted by Per - at 21:06

The oddly named Penny Arcade Comics soldiers on, and meanwhile Kotaku reports that some puppetry may be afoot.

Trumpcard's Two Cents says they've found a promotional company that appears to be gearing up to start producing Vault Boy puppets. Perhaps these cute Fallout 3 guys are an offshoot of Penny Arcade's Vault 77 comic. Either way, I just want me a Vault Boy to yell at.
However, the blog entry with the original information seems to have been removed, so it's all a bit up in the air. Mushrooms?

EDIT: in other swag news, Kotaku points to this Nuka Cola can-opener you can get with a Best Buy preorder.


Spotted on F3:APNB.

Posted by Per - at 20:50

Russian Igromania has a Fallout 3 preview in their latest issue.


Some new stuff:
  • Once they got into the river and saw some kind of shell there. They swam up closer and it appeared to be alive and attacked the PC.
  • You can give your companions orders like "Stay here" or "Attack".
  • Megaton's crime boss Moriarty has a computer which contains some important information on the main quest. There are different ways to get access to that information:
    • You can pay Moriarty for it.
    • You can make friends with the ghoul bartender, who will tell you how to access the computer.
    • You can also talk to the prostitute, who's working for Moriarty, and get the info from her.
  • You receive some sort of "holographic message" from your father when he leaves the Vault.
  • The article is mostly praising Fallout 3 for being a very interesting game.
  • It also mentions the lack of good animation.
Update: A Post Nuclear Blog posted some additional points supplied by Incognito:
  • If you blow up Megaton, Burke gives you an apartment in his tower, which is basically another building. Burke himself hates ghouls, poor and other "weak". There's a ghoul trying to get into the building, he goes as far as showing his bag of money to prove that he's rich, but nonetheless he doesn’t get in.
  • You can lie to Maria about the wasteland and as a result her book will have whatever you tell her.
  • In the dungeons you can come across locked doors that open later, when you take quests.
  • A random encounter with an empty house had a trap, a shotgun that was connected to the door, so when you open the door you get shot with it.
  • If you shoot an eyebot, it calls the Enclave.
  • They said there are too many "car islands" in the wasteland, just sitting there, waiting to be exploded.
  • Moriarty can tell you where to find the ghoul city in the Metro tunnels.
  • Maria can sell you the Rock-It launcher schematics. She also has a bench that you can use to build things.

News for Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 12:58

This is kind of halfway between rumor and confirmed, as EB Games confirms the Fallout 3 Australian release date as October 17th. The rule of thumb is "never trust release dates given out by stores", but EB Games claims to have got this straight from the publisher.

Today is a great day for Australian Fallout fans! After recent news that Fallout 3 had been refused classification by the OFLC, many of us were worried that we wouldn't see one of the biggest game of the year. But fear no more - the OFLC has just awarded Fallout 3 an MA15+ rating for Strong violence, drug references and coarse language.

Not only that, but the new release date of October 17th has now been confirmed by RedAnt, as well as the EB Games exclusive Collector's Edition!
Source of this news is Gamerchip, who note this news isn't confirmed on the Red Ant website but express trust in EB Games. We have contacted Red Ant for confirmation.

EDIT: Briosafreak points to VG247 repeating the oft-repeated 7th of October as a date Bethesda announced as the shipping date at E3.

Posted by Brother None - at 12:35

IGN has a scan of the Australian OFLC report on Fallout 3.

"The drugs depicted are fictional; drugs are depicted as stylised icons on a menu with the drug use itself not depicted. Whilst navigating a post-apocalyptic futuristic landscape, players can invoke the use of a variety of "chems" listed by fictitious names which include "Buff", "Rad-X", "Psycho" and "Ultrajet". Within the context of the game's narrative, the player may choose to make use of these "chems" to alter the physiological characteristics of their character in the game."
(...)
In the minority view of the Board the drug use in the game is in excess of the general rule applied under the Guidelines. The drugs are unambiguous in their visual representations, which include pills and hypodermic needles, and are related to incentives and rewards in that the incentive to take the drug is that progress through the game is achieved more easily and the reward is an increase in the character's abilities. The game therefore warrants and 'RC' classification.
It seems drugs haven't even been removed, just the "offensive" ones, which were too close to their real-life counterparts for comfort (morphine, crack pipe). The report is vaguely worded so one can't be sure, but it seems the censorship of Fallout 3 in Australia is really light.

Link: Fallout 3 Censorship Report on IGN.

Posted by Per - at 0:26

It's been a little while, but ItV returns at the BethBlog with world artist Rafael Vargas, who boasts a degree in architecture.

What is the best part about working as a artist? The worst part?
The best part for me is the creative freedom. In Bloodmoon, I pretty much had an open canvas to do what I wanted; I was told to do a Nord city on an icy landscape. I created it from early concept work all the way to the final product. It was quite a challenge, since at the time I had recently moved from the sister division of ZeniMax to Bethesda. The creative freedom continued in the development of Oblivion and much into Fallout 3. In Oblivion, besides making the interior and exteriors buildings, I played “master planner” in some cities. I got the chance to create a few cities: a destroyed one, a very poor one, and a nice, well-kept city. In the making, I would place myself in each city to try to get the right feeling and contrast. We have quite the amazing team of leads who not only allow us to grow in what we do best, but also make the entire development process transparent. Also, from the growth of new hires, we have some amazing new artists that make the team even more competitive. I think the challenge ahead is how to integrate the team better to keep pushing the quality bar even higher.
Fallout playage is undisclosed.

News for Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Posted by Per - at 22:00

The Mark Morgan has a flashy website with a bio, musical pieces, a list of credits and more. The news section contains a link to the Game OST interview we covered earlier this year as well as this message:

There are now some music examples of a few projects on the site. There will be more examples soon....... Please check our Music section.

I'm happy to report that there are a couple of game projects in the works and hopefully be able to talk about them soon......

Also, I'm going thru music from the FALLOUT games and getting them ready for mastering and hopefully in the not to distant future make them available. After all it's only been ten years.......
I hope I got the number of periods right.

Thanks to tattz.

Posted by Brother None - at 13:58

Gamers Universe TV has a lengthy video interview with Pete Hines, in which we learn Fallout 3 will not feature such things as Dogmeat armor or Brahmin armor as DLCs.

When asked about user-created content, he says the lack of modding tools, apart from the work involved in releasing them, is because console manufacturers are very jittery about what kind of content finds its way onto their consoles. "That decision rests outside of us."

Also, "Every Fallout project has pretty much had a completely different team working on it."

Thanks Paul_cz.

Posted by Brother None - at 13:36

Another hands-on preview from Eurogamer, and they're sticking by their earlier assertions.

As Oli's preview mentioned, Fallout 3 is not the most technically impressive game you'll see this year - the load screens that interrupt proceedings when you move between locations can kick in at jarring moments, the story's post-apocalyptic wilderness is often flat and low-res, and in third-person view, your character moves with an unlikely bounce in his step, which, at times, suggests he's trying to keep his spirits up while navigating this ruined wasteland by indulging in a spot of power-walking.

Things get significantly better at night, however, as the starry sky adds a monochrome sense of menace to the location, and even during the day, there are still plenty of nice touches to the design, such as a broken-backed flyover rising into the distant sky, or the discovery of a picket-fence-and-clapboard community, presumably once picture postcard idyllic, and long since shredded by a nuclear blast. Fallout 3 doesn't look terrible by any means, it simply seems disconcertingly inconsistent: the game offers up vast draw distances but has little to fill them with, and presents brilliantly menacing mutated enemies that often clip through the ground when you've killed them.
Other than that, this Eurogamer article takes the rather curious viewpoint that Fallout 3 is too retro.
Bad news first: when it comes to dialogue, Fallout 3 remains something of a stubborn throwback, unwilling to step away from traditional one-on-one interrogation mechanics and explore the new possibilities of a post-Mass Effect world. With no hint of radial selection or keyword attitude choices which seemed likely to become the RPG's version on Halo's rechargeable shield - a genre standard by virtue of near-unanimous theft - instead, a quick introductory conversation with the mayor of Megaton reveals that Fallout 3 is sticking with a system largely unchanged from the days of Monkey Island.
(...)
Dialogue is not the only sign that Fallout 3 is slightly old-fashioned. A trip to the local saloon in search of side quests reveals that the game's world can be slow to react to your presence, or often even acknowledge it. The saloon door is locked, meaning we have to tease it open with picks (instigating a simple but entertaining mini-game). This is all a little strange, as, once inside, we find that the place is actually open for business after all, and the saloon owner, who boasts a lovely silver mullet and a voice like Terry Wogan, doesn't seem to mind - or notice - that we've just forced our way in. More worrying is that, moments later, when we accidentally fire a round into the wall when trying to talk to the barman, nobody in the room so much as flinches.
(...)
But a single side quest or a half hour of chatting and shooting is no indicator of overall quality with a game like Fallout 3 that needs days, rather than hours, to get a true sense of. Our ninety minutes of exploration certainly raised a few concerns, with gunplay that we were often happier to run away from than engage with, and characters who would repeat the same handful of lines and were quick to forget the fact that we'd been shooting at them two minutes previously, but it also suggested a rich and engaging wealth of storytelling waiting to be explored. Whether the quality of the content allows it to rise above the sometimes glitchy delivery remains to be seen.

It's this clash of unpolished presentation and strong storytelling that may ultimately define what you make of Fallout 3. From what we've seen, however, it's tempting to suggest that Bethesda has unwittingly taken the game's theme of retro-futurism too much to heart. Confusing as it seems, Fallout 3 may represent the future of yesterday's RPGs, going back to when they were cruel, stubborn, and yet filled with memorable stories, rather than an evolution of the flashy, friendly, and often anaemic titles of today.
That's certainly a new attitude. I like how he openly suggests all RPGs need to adapt to Mass Effect's model, tho'. Because nothing helps gaming as much as a total lack of diversity, right?

Posted by Brother None - at 13:36

A special Parody Art edition of the normal Fan Art roundups. There haven't been a lot of serious fan-art submissions lately. Just this excellent render by MikeMS:


This great pixel art piece by Hartigan.


And the excellent Fallout 3-inspired desolate railways by Jaaz.


Otherwise, this has been a period of parody art. To wit, we present Fallout Fantasy and Bloodier Mess by Seymour the spore plant, mershunz by Scabble, THE INNOVASHUN by radnan and Failout 3 by Herbert West.


Sigoya had the bright idea to upload a famous piece by Duck and Cover's St. Toxic, which I don't think has been available on NMA before.


Also worth a highlight is Happy Music by the returned lost prodigal son alec, in response to the debate concerning radios and sneaking.


Public brought us this quite funny Fallout:BoS-reminiscent Fallout 3 trailer.







Link


And to see how this new sequel is affecting our modders, one need only look here.

Link: Fan Art Roundup Overview.

Posted by Pope Viper - at 1:33

Gametrailers offers up a video featuring new gameplay footage, including the exit from the Vault, as well as from Springvale Elementary. It also shows combat taunts as floating text.

Check it out, some interesting new stuff in there.







Link


Thanks Black.

EDIT: this is apparently from Bravo TV show Playr in the UK (thanks VG247).

News for Monday, August 11, 2008

Posted by Per - at 18:34

Last week when Guardian posted an interview with Pete Hines, they promised they'd try to get answers to more of the fan-submitted questions. Now they have.

Is the Intense Training Perk (permanently raise one SPECIAL) a one time use Perk for one attribute, or one time use PER attribute, meaning you could spend 7 Perks/Levels upping each of your SPECIALs?

You can use it more than once, so yes you could keep upping each of your SPECIALs, but that's going to come at the sacrifice of being able to do quite a bit of other stuff with available Perks, skill boosts, etc.

In Fallout 1, there were only three key locations that you needed to visit to complete the game - The Cathedral, Military Base and Necropolis (the last one being optional, actually) . These places could be done in any order, creating Fallout's exceptional nonlinearity. Is Fallout 3's main quest structured in similar fashion?

Hmm, parts of it are, parts of it aren't. There are several large sections of the main quest that you can actually skip if you do things right.

Specific body parts cannot be targeted when fighting with melee weapons or in hand to hand combat. What is the reason behind this decision? Does melee/HtH fighting offer something else to compensate?

We tried many ways of doing melee with VATS, and having messed a lot with "missing" in melee, it just felt really bad. So once we changed VATS melee to "always hit", assuming you are in range, the body part selection became a bit unbalancing, so now it's a "whole body attack", but you still do end up hitting a specific body part when you swing, but it's based on what you actually contact with, as opposed to what you aim at. This avoids the "always punch in the head" problem, whereas with guns, we can balance out certain body parts with hit percentages, like the head.

Can you tag Medicine, Repair and Barter, and focusing on those skills, still be able to complete the game?

Sure. We recently had someone play through the game and finish it while only killing one thing very early in the game...a Radroach. I'm not saying I recommend everyone run out and try to play the game as a pacifist, but if you want to give it a try, it has been done.
Thanks to The Idiot.

Posted by Per - at 16:59

Internode reports that Fallout 3 has now achieved a rating in Australia after being resubmitted last week.

While the Classifications Board can take anywhere from a few days and a few weeks to hand down their decision - it seems that the edits made to the Bethesda Softworks title have been successful, with the second edition of the game granted a new MA15+ rating this afternoon.
It's not yet known what was changed in the new version - the consumer advice reads "Strong violence, drug references and coarse language" - but Australian Gamer wagers it will be "identical to the original, just with a few drug names or overtly controversial items removed -- undoubtedly replaced with something else that does the exact same thing."

Posted by Brother None - at 0:41

A few smaller and bigger mod updates. First of, Mutants Rising and Dude101 bring us the Van Buren Dreams FRM Pack, containing Van Buren inventory art converted to Fallout 2 FRMs (see here).

Bewitched dropped us a note to point out a project on Fallout Archives called Nuclear Winter, made by CLERIC. This WIP replaces ground textures with snows (for some reason) and is being expanded upon to include "other cool stuff in this vein".



Finally, Shadowbeast dropped by with Babelfish'd English to point us to his project, Day of Blood, and offer a demo.
What is Day of Blood?

It is HUGE ADD-ON for Fallout 2. You will take part in alternative history of the Second World War, will do some shooting on толстопузым to Germans, will see a mix of urbanistic ruins with frying desert, will participate in a quest, do a bit of travelling on the Armored troop-carrier and Prototype Frenka Forrigona. And then will do some shooting in it from a gun!
Sounds...uh...weird I guess.

News for Saturday, August 9, 2008

Posted by Per - at 20:45

Bit-tech.net posted a preview a few days ago and follows it up with an interview. Imagine how busy we'd have been if every E3 preview had been accompanied by one of these.

BT: What about the differences in how people play? Do you see differences there between seasoned gamers and newcomers?

Pete: Uh, yeah actually. The people who are more hardcore, they tend to pick up the core elements a bit quicker and then they usually start delving right into the stats a lot more. They start with the numbers and powergaming.

The casual guys though, they just play. They grab a gun and shoot stuff. It becomes a story driven shooter for them and they find big guns, put points in big guns and just do the whole big-gun, energy-weapon thing. It’s about roleplaying though, so there’s nothing that says some aren’t supposed to play like that.

If you’re into the stealth and the dialogue and so on though then you totally can, but we see that the people who do that tend to be the hardcore gamers. They tend to look for which perks line up perfectly with their play style.

BT: Is that why you’ve moved the game to a first person perspective? To make it more accessible to players?

Pete: Uh, no, I think we moved it because we thought that would make the best game. Like, what we’re able to do from a first and third person point of view that we can’t do from an isometric view is put the player in the world so that you aren’t always looking down and detached from the world. You’re really experiencing all this destruction around you.

First person just gives you a much bigger sense of space. When you leave the vault for the first time and you have that really cool effect where you come outside for the first time and you’re blinded by the light. The whole world is slowly revealed to you. It’s hard to give the player that same level of ‘this is all free for you to play in’ from the isometric point of view.

It’s about immersion, so honestly it’s about keeping true to the franchise. Just look at the first Fallout – that was pushing the graphics for its day. It did full lip syncing and animated faces. It did everything! It didn’t just do one thing. If it was just great dialogue then it’d be Zork. It had violence, graphics, dialogue and everything else on top.

[..]

BT: What do you think is the most important thing Bethesda has bought to the franchise then?

Pete: Other than that it exists? Um, that’s a good question. At the end of the day, I’m not sure. I hope what we’ve done it bring forward the game so old fans can enjoy it all over again and the new gamers can discover it. I don’t know if there’s any one feature though – we’re just trying to balance between having the old tone and reinventing the franchise.

We’ve seen it so many times before, that if you just keep reiterating on what was done before then your franchise will die. We have hundreds of examples of games that we used to play and which are no longer around because all they did was copy the last game. We want to shake things up a little bit more.
Also, PS3s are "big machines" and taking them on a press tour is "a nightmare". Now you know.

Posted by Brother None - at 6:32

Another one from the London showing. This one takes the prize for combining the lowest possible amount of information with the highest density of superlatives.

It's rare that a game can provoke such a physical reaction in us, and even rarer for it to do so just minutes after we've got the controller in our hands. But every detail we've witnessed to date of Fallout 3 promises something special, and it's a game that threatens to consume our every waking thought once it finally sees the light of day this October. We've previously been captive to a guided and therefore strictly controlled tour of the game's Vault-bound opening, with Bethesda's own Peter Hines at the controls, and we left impressed but with more questions than answers. While today goes some way to answering some of these, it's also an infuriating tease for a game that will only prove itself over weeks, nay months of play.

Our first steps outside the Vault reinforce the fact that Fallout 3 is gorgeous, its landscape a considerable improvement over Oblivion's rendering of Cyrodiil, and despite the bleak nature necessitated by the post-apocalyptic setting it inspires awe on a regular basis. While we'll stop some way short of saying it's one of the best looking games of the current generation -- textures can prove a little flat and it sometimes lacks the high-def sheen that marks out the frontline of other AAA titles -- it's certainly one of the most atmospheric this side of BioShock. Small details all add up to create a pervasive environment that draws you in, and in just half an hour its dystopian vision has already seared itself in our heads.
(...)
Fallout 3's combat is something that could easily prove divisive, positioned in a potentially uncomfortable middle ground between action role-playing mechanisms, but after our brief time we'd already tailored our approach to gunplay in a way that proved satisfying. Those going to the game expecting anything resembling a first-person shooter are going to be disappointed, and may well be dismissive as they come to terms with some far from robust mechanics. Switch to the VATS system, however, and there's a far superior system to get to grips with. Maybe it's our impending middle-age, but we've recently found ourselves becoming increasingly drawn to turn-based combat, and the VATS system looks to be an excellent compromise, giving a tactical option that still proves spectacular.

Game critics are fast running out of superlatives following the likes of Metal Gear Solid 4 and Grand Theft Auto 4, but we'll back up our US colleagues assertion that this could well be the game of the year. While it maybe lacks the far-reaching appeal of Rockstar's opus, or the camp bombast of Solid Snake's swansong, it's a game that looks to have a grip that could potentially far outweigh either of those games. We're adverse to making promises that Fallout 3 will live up to its billing, as the very nature of the game mean that we wouldn't want to deliver an opinion without giving over more of our time to the wastelands of Washington D.C, and that's something we cannot wait to do.
Link: Fallout 3 preview on IGN UK.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:54

Interplay has filed its 10-Q for Q2 2008. Nothing of too much interest in the financials beyond the deal Interplay struck with Atari, otherwise it does not paint a rosy picture.

NOTE 4. ADVANCES FROM DISTRIBUTORS AND LICENSEES WHICH ARE CONSIDERED DEFERRED
INCOME

Non refundable advances received for future distribution and license rights
as of June 30, 2008 amounted to $808,000.

During the quarter ended June 30, 2008 the Company entered into a licensing
agreement which resulted in a non-refundable advance of $200,000 being allocated
to deferred income.
(...)
Product development expenses increased 100% to $86,000, an increase of 100%
in the three months ended June 30, 2008 compared to the same period in 2007.
This increase was mainly due to the hiring of a software development team in the
first quarter of 2008.
(...)
As of June 30, 2008, we had a working capital deficit of approximately $3.0
million, and our cash balance was approximately $22,000. We cannot continue to
fund our current operations without obtaining additional financing or income.
Some of you may remember when Glutton Creeper Games was forced to stop their production of a Fallout pen and paper game by Bethesda, and eventually switched to a new license. Well, GCG filed a complaint against Interplay on the topic, and Interplay is trying to pass the buck.
On or about April 8, 2008 Glutton Creeper Games (GCG) filed a complaint
against the Company in the Los Angeles Superior Court seeking damages in excess
of $400,000 in connection with a non exclusive license agreement granting rights
to GCG to develop a Pen and Paper game based on the pre-existing Fallout games.
Such complaint arose as a result of Bethesda and Zenimax sending cease and
desist notices to GCG and the Company following their acquisition of the Fallout
property from the Company in 2007. On or about June 12, 2008, the Company filed
a cross-complaint against Bethesda and Zenimax alleging causes of action for
Tortious Interference with an Existing Contract and Implied Indemnity. The
Company claims that Bethesda and Zenimax improperly interfered with the
Company's license agreement with GCG and are therefore liable for any and all
damages that might be awarded to GCG.

News for Friday, August 8, 2008

Posted by Per - at 22:27

Finnish gaming site Plaza.fi posted a Fallout 3 preview. According to our anonymous tipper and translator, it's the second part of three (where the first one dealt with the game's tutorial stage):

About Action points:
-It takes about 20 seconds for action points to charge full.

About Fatman:
- With nuclear grenade launcher you could calm even the suburbs of Paris. But bigsized nuclear nades are so sturdy widgets, that their after-radiation stands up even in the well-bombed Washington. It is not recommended to walk over radiation field that nukes produce. Although nuclear nades are quite effective weapons, at the same time they limit the player - the gun weights a lot and projectiles are rare. If player has too much stuff with him, it's harder to move.

- A funny detail: Enemy was shot in a VATS-mode, but the nuke missed him just slightly. But instead it hit a column behind the enemies, exploded and the pressure wave hurled mutant in to air.

About missions:
- There doesn't seem to be any "kill 50 rats and bring their tails"-style missions in the game.

About AI:
-There is still a question that has not been answered, regarding the A.I of enemies. How will enemies act and move? From what we have seen, we are hopeful. The smarter human opponents could move and take cover during firefight. Occasionally they started firing from their cover, then they hide or changed location. They are not the smartest guys around, but they're not the most senseless idiots either. Some enemies tried to escape when starting to lose, some accepted to stand still and get their ass kicked.

-Even though the AI didn't yet shine, the situation is promising. Game is still unfinished, the tested version was over a month old and there still time before release date. That means that Bethesda has time to work on AI. Lets keep our thumbs up.
Speaking of Finland, the Bethblog reminds us Fallout 3 is featured on the cover of the latest Pelaaja magazine.

Meanwhile, German Krawall Gaming Network posted their own preview in German (thanks to Gothardt). Edmond Dantès provides some translations:
Handling the menus and inventory is a bit more of a hassle than we had hoped. As in Oblivion, the menus are tailored to the possibilities of the console-controller. Especially the inventory could've been made easier to use by adapting it better to mouse-control. At the start, with few objects, it doesn't really matter much. Later on it can be somewhat annoying.

[..]

The original Fallout-fan can be content with what Bethesda created. But the combat-system doesn't reach the strategical depth of the originals. The dialogue also isn't as great as we remember with for example from Black Isle [translator's note: It reads like he thinks the originals were made by Black Isle, I've 'fixed' the emphasis]. But apart from all the compromises in the interest of the masses and console-friendliness, Fallout 3 clearly offers more than Oblivion did. Creating a character and character-development are more complex, player decisions seem to have heavier consequences. We were especially pleasantly surprised by the variation the game offered.
Also there's OnlineWelten (thanks Briosafreak). Edmond again:
While in real-time you might easily miss, in V.A.T.S. it seems almost impossible. Even a 33% shot will mostly hit, especially if you just fire three times. Secondly, the AP points fill up very quickly. [..] And thirdly, we seemed to almost always get a ‘critical hit’. If we hit the head, it exploded, if we hit a leg, it got torn off, and always did it lead to the death of the opponent. But that simply hasn’t got a damn thing to do with the old Fallout system and made the game too easy. When we asked Pete Hines about this he dodged our question, and to our renewed questioning Bethesda has yet to answer. We just can’t imagine that this will be the way V.A.T.S. works in the finished game, it would be too powerful.

[..]

In our [half-hour] demo-game we killed a Supermutant with a simple pistol – that would’ve never happened in Fallout 2. Pete Hines tells us that they didn’t want to tell the player how or what he’s supposed to do, you could just go anywhere you want. So far so good, but then he goes on: “But we neither wanted that the player would die in a minute if he’d enter a region that’s too hard for him.” Ack. That sounds a bit like when in Oblivion you’d be able to follow just the main quest which would be, thanks to leveling opponents , possible for even low-level hero’s, so that you’d be able to finish it in record-time. Instead of leveling your character for a while, exploring the world, and then with a feeling of accomplishment to ‘solve’ the game.
On the English front, GamersGlobal posted a very short Q&A thing with Pete Hines.
1. Was the E3 version "simplified", e.g. by making the hero's character more powerful than he would be in the finished game at that early stage? Or was every V.A.T.S. hit in the E3 version a critical hit?

Pete Hines: It was simplified in terms of giving you the highest stats for the weapons you start off with. Every VATS hit in the E3 version was not a critical hit. Far from it. It's random, so some folks may see more or less of it when they play for any period of time.

2. Will V.A.T.S. head shots be always fatal, if they hit?

Pete Hines: No. there is an amount of damage it will do to the limb, and an amount it does to the enemy's overall health. In the easier creatures you would have faced early on, they don't have much health so they die easier. As you explore out and fight tougher creatures, you find that you can cripple one or more body parts before you can kill the enemy.

News for Thursday, August 7, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 18:36

AtomicGamer is offering an interview with Pete Hines. If nothing else, they should get a cookie for an accurate intro.

Hype levels for RPG veterans Bethesda Softworks' latest game, Fallout 3, are reaching peak levels. After an excellent showing at E3 this year and a promise of a significantly different game than anything Bethsoft has ever made before, both new players and the dedicated fans of their past games, the Elder Scrolls series, are really looking forward to this one.
Notice who is conspicuously missing from the looking forward group? Anyway, on to the interview, which is of that special rambling topic-hopping quality we always enjoy. but doesn't offer much new material.
Jeff: After playing Fallout 3 at E3, it seems to me like the V.A.T.S. "turn-based" system is really meant as a way to augment the real-time combat with extra attacks, as opposed to replacing it, since you can keep moving and shooting while your turn-based Action Points regenerate. Is that a fair assessment?

Pete: It's really designed to work however you want to use it. You can play the game entirely with VATS, use it in combination with real-time combat, or fight in real-time only. It's balanced so that when you use it in combination with real-time fighting, it doesn't become overly powerful.
IncGamers offers an interview as well.
Story telling in games has become a priority these days. How influential is the story line to the game itself?

It's very important. It's a very compelling and interesting story that takes you to a lot of different Fallout 3locations and introduces you to a lot of different creatures and there are some great plot moments. It plays a lot larger role in the game than the previous games where the main quest is only a small fraction of the story, whereas with Fallout 3 it plays a much more central role, it's a much bigger part of there is to do in the world and a lot of people will feel compelled to follow the story through. But again, it's up to the player. You could walk out of the vault and spend 50 hours playing the game never touching the main quest, so really, it's a player driven experience.
(...)
Is there any real-time time ratio. So what's the timescale, what's 24 hours?

I don't know exactly how long it is, but the 24 hour cycle is around the 40 minutes mark, if I had to guess, because I am! There is a dynamic day-night cycle and there is a dynamic weather conditions. And people do move around in this schedule. So if you go to a town at 3am, there won't be anyone at the shops, you'll have to wait till morning.
IncGamers also offers a standard-format preview.

News for Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 12:18

Crispy Gamer tried out Fallout 3 and left with some mixed feelings.

I was also free to wander the countryside, tuning into a couple of available radio stations while (hopefully) evading a few roving bandits and getting into the occasional scrap with an animal, which would be a great opportunity to learn how the semi-turn-based VATS combat system works. Fallout 3 is all about freedom, and the demo certainly got that across.

So why am I so unsatisfied?

Maybe it's that this demo did little to show how Fallout 3 is truly different from Oblivion. Ok, the lock-picking mini-game is slightly different (and better) but the dialogue trees, skill breakdowns and overall feel seem so much like Oblivion, at least in this early stage of the game, that the untrained eye could mistake it for a mod.

Combat is one place where the two games really diverge, but how can I really see that playing as a level-two noob with a couple of weak machine pistols? I had a difficult time fending off dogs and even a couple humans weakened from exposure and hunger. Not terribly appealing. Why not start the demo deeper into the story, where better weapons and skills could make the combat differences between Oblivion and Fallout 3 glaringly apparent? Or are they really as different as we've been told?
(...)
At E3, Fallout 3 made a lot of "best of show" lists. I'm sure Bethesda is thrilled with that. Even in an E3 that felt positively anemic on the game front, being called out as one of the five or 10 most crucial is significant. But I don't see it. I've been told for months that this is a dramatic step forward from Oblivion, but very little of the open-ended demo I had supported that claim.
Of course, for everyone of "these" there's always one of "those". VideoGamer.com has no mixed feelings whatsoever. In fact, they leave little doubt about their feelings.
We know we've played something great, perhaps even something special, when we find ourselves thinking about it when we're not playing it. When we find ourselves wishing we were playing it while we're sat on the underground, or browsing the internet, or listening to our editor prattle on about Geometry Wars 2. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does it reminds us of the power video games hold over us, how entrancing the spell they cast really can be. It happened again recently, and the game was Fallout 3.

It seems ridiculous to have to form some kind of informed opinion based on a two hour toe-dip into Bethesda's stunning post-apocalyptic world, given the gargantuan nature of this sci-fi RPG, but that's what we're paid to do, so here goes. Haters be quiet - Fallout 3 is shaping up to one of the best games of 2008, and, fingers crossed, could be one of the best RPGs ever.
In a footnote, Big Download Blog offers 5 reasons to love Fallout 3.

Posted by Brother None - at 12:15

Crispy Gamer offers a 5-page long interview with Pete Hines. A lot of it covers well-trodden ground, but there are quite a few pretty damned interesting questions in there.

Crispy Gamer: In a way, the game seems like it's going to be a first- or third-person shooter but with deep RPG elements. Am I wrong?

Hines: It is a deep RPG with shooter elements. How to handle combat doesn't define the game. Just because you're holding a gun and shooting at things doesn't make it a shooter, although some people are going to see it that way, which is okay. If you decide to play the game because it looks like a fun shooter, we don't mind. Whatever reasons you have for giving it a try, we hope there is enough compelling gameplay to make you want to keep playing. You may not buy it because of the quests or dialogue, but if you play the game and end up really enjoying the game for those things, where's the harm in that?

Ultimately, what makes Fallout 3 somewhat unique is that the game is all about what your character can do, which is decided by you. What you want to be good at, what kinds of things you want to do. Those choices will affect your overall experience and how you decide to play the game, but there's nothing wrong with getting in a big fight with some Super Mutants and having a great time running around blowing things up. Many really good RPGs have quite a bit of combat to them, so we might as well make that as fun as it can be.
(...)
Crispy Gamer: So have you figured out how many possible weapons there are in the game?

Hines: Over 50 at last count.
(...)
Crispy Gamer: You guys have talked before about how people can play as good guys, bad guys, or some combination. How exactly does this work? Do you run into situations where you can pull the left trigger to help someone or pull the right trigger to hurt them, or is it less obvious than that?

Hines: It's handled on a situation-by-situation basis. How you choose to solve problems and quests, whether you help people or hurt them or take advantage of them. We make it so the player knows what kind of choices they're making and the consequences/results of those choices are appropriate and satisfying to them.

Crispy Gamer: Do these choices have any real consequences, though? Like if you play as a dick the whole time, will certain areas be closed off to you, but if you're nice, then you get to sleep with the blue alien lady?

Hines: To some extent that may happen, but it's mostly about what happens in each specific instance.
(...)
Crispy Gamer: Finally, in a 2006 interview with TheEscapistMagazine.com, Leonard Boyarsky, who worked on the original Fallout games, said that Interplay's decision to sell the rights to Fallout "...felt as if our ex-wife had sold our children that she had legal custody of," though he did qualify this statement by admitting to be "possessive" of the franchise. How do you think he, and other people who worked on the original games, will feel about Fallout 3?

Hines: You'll have to ask them. I can certainly understand that the people who created Fallout would feel strongly about it. But we saw a franchise we loved sitting there not being used, not being worked on, and it was something we really wanted to work on, so we did. We hope the folks that worked on the first two will play Fallout 3 and like it and find a lot in there that stays true to what they created, just like we hope people who played and liked the first two games will like this one as well.
Anyone else think it looks like CG has been corrupted by NMA spies?

Before going onto the next interview, let me quote a final tidbit from CG.
Crispy Gamer: So what do you think Fallout 3 does better than Oblivion?

Hines: Guns. Much better in Fallout 3.

Crispy Gamer: And what, if anything, do you think Oblivion does better than Fallout 3?

Hines: They're really very different games. We'll let folks like you guys debate the merits of those things. We're just trying to make the best game we can every time out.
And then we move to a tidbit from a roundtable with VideoGamer.com.
"I don't have any doubts that on the whole, and I think this is a belief universally shared on the team that Fallout is a better game," said Hines. "But we're also not oblivious to the fact that we have a lot of extra baggage that we're carrying, being the guys picking up this franchise, that are re-imagining this series from 10 years ago, and there's something that comes along with that. We're very well aware of what we're up against."

He added: "I have no doubts in my mind that, at its core and for everything that it provides that Fallout is a better game than Oblivion was. For sure."
Uh...what? Pick one and stick to it, please. Good thing Pete Hines is not a presidential candidate, 'coz this is some major flip-flopping.

TotalVideoGames also has an interview with Pete Hines.
Is there any truth to the rumours of an MMO?

We licensed rights to Interplay to do a Fallout MMO, but I don't have any knowledge of where that is or what they're doing with it. I don't know anything about it.
Yeah...

Posted by Brother None - at 4:17

Greg Howson of the Guardian has interviewed Pete Hines. He asked for questions to be submitted earlier and did not have the chance to ask them all at this roundtable interview, but notes he is "chasing some answers for those now". Currently it contains not a single new question nor any informative answers.

How do you attract new players while keeping fans of the original games happy?

We think you can do both. One of the reasons we went out and got the licence was that we were huge fans of the original games. Fans of the originals will see a lot in Fallout 3 that will remind them of the original games. But we have never set out a goal to be better or as good as the original games - they are what they are. We're just trying to make something that is worthy of the series but also open it up to people who maybe would have liked the original games if they had been playing games 10 or 11 years ago. New players can come into a franchise at any point if it is good and fun. We found that with Oblivion.
Thanks The Idiot.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:48

I personally find handing out awards for best showings at game conventions to be one of the most asinine concepts in existence, but in case anyone cares about this vapidity, the Game Critics Awards 2008 Best of Show and Best RPG both went to Fallout 3. BethBlog reminds us that Oblivion also won best RPG in 2005, which will be very telling to most of you in either a positive or negative way.

News for Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 20:24

More previews surface as Bethesda tours Fallout 3. Telegraph.

"Part of what makes Fallout great is the juxtaposition of this very happy, optimistic 1950s-esque view of life, pre-war, and then seeing it after things went horribly wrong." says Bethesda's Vice President of PR and Marketing, Pete Hines, "It's seeing those two things against one another that adds a lot to it. That everything is blown up but you still see this happy optimism and idealistic view of the world beforehand"

As I walked among the debris and the civilization that has risen from it in the 200 years since the disaster, it's easy to see what he means. Signs jovially inform the naïve population what to do in the event of a nuclear disaster and so-called bomb shelters house charred bones, becoming coffins. And while the world may change, humanity, it seems, doesn't. Among the people I encountered, familiar human traits of greed, violence, discrimination and religious fanaticism loomed large.

So while the political message in Fallout 3 is clear and intelligently defined, it's still a videogame that allows the player to have fun and play in their own way. "We don't shy away from being called an RPG." says Hines, referring to the game's stat-based core, "But from a certain standpoint it limits what the game is really about, to define it by saying 'you're just this genre' sort of says you can't ever be more than that. It's a big sandbox and you get to be whoever you want and do whatever you want."

This attitude to play means that Fallout 3 should appeal to a wide audience, its first or third person shooting enhanced by the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System (VATS). VATS allows you to pause the game and aim at a specific body part in exchange for 'action points'. The system works well during play, the limited usage meaning you have to pick your shots carefully. Do you aim for the head of the fast-approaching mutant? Or cripple the arm of a gun-wielding soldier? Of course, there is the nagging doubt that flicking into VATS may lose its appeal by the hundredth skirmish. It's certainly well integrated, but only extensive play will reveal it as a fresh, tactical addition to gunplay or a short-lived gimmick.
SPOnG.
Just like a classic RPG, you can level up in Fallout 3, with a number of points being given to you to assign to different skills when you do. These skills are required for certain side-quests and dialogue options – a good ability in the ‘Speech’ department will allow you to wing your way through tricky situations, and even lets you barter for more cash for a quest if you want to get greedy.

The Pipboy 3000 is a gadget that your character has that controls your level-up options. It also holds important items such as maps, weapon selection and quest directives. When I used it, I was able to select ‘Perks’ – extras that can be selected when you level-up, ranging from additional dialogue options when speaking to children, to my favourite, ‘Bloody Mess’. You can imagine what happens when that is active – a humourous display of giblets and limbs exploding all over the place when you make a kill. It’s most effective in the slow-mo cutscenes during VATS battles.
(...)
I am slightly curious though. Will we see any of the strange pop-culture references that adorned Fallout 2 – and that appeared to be homaged in Bioshock? Pete’s quite adamant that there isn’t a chance.

“No fucking way. Absolutely not. With our experience on RPGs like Elder Scrolls, things like Lore and Canon we hold very dear. We get anal about which buildings should be in Washington DC, with giant piles of books on architecture on DC and we ask what year buildings were made. 1955? It’s out – it wouldn’t have been in this universe. If we’re going to be anal about the landscape in this game, we’re certainly not going to make jokes about stuff that would not have been part of this world at all.”
TVG.
You'll be glad to hear that Bethesda is demonstrating the same visual prowess in Fallout 3's game world that they did in Oblivion's. Cast your mind back to those expansive fantasy vistas of forests rolling across hillsides, a castle sitting on the horizon, and lakes glistening in the sunlight. Now replace the forests with barren hillsides, the castle with the ruins of a city, and the lakes with shallow pools of radioactive water. Keep in mind, though, that Bethesda has not lost any of the vast expanses and epic scope of their game world in this apocalyptic Fallout universe. It may be a lot bleaker in appearance, but it's still as visually appealing to the gamer as Oblivion was, if not more. What's more, Bethesda has incorporated the visual style of a paranoid 1950s/60s America - that was present in the original games - in everything from vehicles to advertising banners. It's just a shame that there are loading screens between some portions of the game world.
TVG will have an interview later in which the multiple endings thing is cleared up yet again.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun (thanks to Ausir):
This is probably an artifact of the shortened time experience, but the moments I loved the most weren’t the post-apocalypse gloom ones. They were the sense of playfulness to it. I was going through the game straight - that is, heading into town, chatting to everyone, taking a quest, going for a nice little explore and then getting torn apart by a thing with claws the size of my entire body.
(...)
But even as I was basically playing it seriously, I was attracted to the slightly goofy stuff. Which is, thankfully, goofy in exactly the right post-apocalyptic way you’d hope. For example, I had far too much fun drinking from the toilet. Sure, it was contaminated to shit - pun unintended, but I can’t actually bring myself to press backspace now - but it quenched the thirst and the juxtaposition of the hungry-slurping sound-effect and a bowl that hasn’t seen a brush since the nuclear war 200 years back is inherently glorious. It was almost as splendid as when I killed a bandit, stole his bondage-gear clothes, and wore them, complete with a pair of Gordon-Freeman specs and a baseball cap I’d found. I looked like Rick Moranis gone apeshit crazy, a glorious Mad Max 2 mess.
(...)
Oh - and there seems to be more conversation options than Oblivion too. There’s a lot of the classic three (Nice Guy/Mercenary Guy/Cunt), but alternates turned up too. Perhaps predictably with my like of slutting my way through RPGs, I picked the Lady’s Man perk which was soon put to work on a working girl. To get extra information. A little extra information I like to call “Sex”.

Actually, just extra information.

Posted by Per - at 16:48

It seems there won't be enough European hands-ons to do proper round-ups (at least not before Leipzig), so here's a four-pager from bit-tech we've been sitting on for a day or so.

Previous Fallout games have always funneled the player into a particular character type based on past actions and responses. Act like a fabulously magnanimous arse for your first few quests in Vault City and certain quests will start dropping out of reach for you – you can’t become Captain of the Guard if you’ve got false citizenship papers and a liberal, peaceful attitude to nearby towns.

Fallout 3 however has a slightly different ethic and has spun this round somewhat because there’s a hidden flaw wrapped in the model of the previous games – that the player doesn’t always know how their options are being trimmed, their choices culled. You might miss out on important quests and information without knowing it, so as well as extending development time by factoring in all this redundant content, you can leave players feeling falsely trapped or locked into a game they don’t want to play.

Fallout 3 avoids this neatly then, giving players a constant string of second chances. You’re reputation is still tracked locally and globally via the karma evil-o-meter that labels you with different titles and insults based on your allegiances and actions, but you have a permanent ability to disobey your own ethic.

[..]

A surprising amount of Fallout 3 is focused on learning how to find your way around the environment and traverse the piled up tumbleweed car wrecks and gutted cement skeletons to get to your destination. If you get tired of it then you can fast-travel, but only to places you’ve already been, so the first journeys are always a strange cross between a parkour assault course and the orienteering course from hell.

Exploration is central to Fallout 3s appeal though and it’s clear that Bethesda has learned lessons from the endless forests of Oblivion and vast expanses of Morrowind. With a ruined cityscape to play in and the constant threat of ambush or reward of salvage, there’s more incentive to look around and you’re no longer limited to identi-kit dungeons, castles and farmsteads. This hammered home quickly in our playtime.

[..]

Fallout 3 though is different [with regard to enemy levelling] and we’re happy to see that the balance has been built back into the game. True, the game still does level with you, kind of, but it works differently now. The game world now has areas that it will always keep as a few levels above you, below you or just at a fixed stage – thus, the game can offer you predictable, easy combat if you stay in the easy areas, but can he-bitch-man-slap your ass if you want more of a challenge.

That sounds a little unfair. It sounds a little stupid. It works brilliantly. Frankly, it restores purpose to the game. When your character gets cooked by a flamethrower-wielding psychopath that you can’t defeat in repeated combat then the game is offering you a challenge you want to accept. You have to get creative with your tactics and find a way to overcome the obstacle.
Thanks to kyle.

News for Monday, August 4, 2008

Posted by JamieSI - at 21:37

Strategy Informer had a chance to interview Pete Hines. It is big and worth a read.

Strategy Informer: Would it be fair to label Fallout 3, “Oblivion with guns”? It seems as if the dialogue seems to be the same, the wide open spaces and there are a lot of similarities.

Pete Hines: Well, from the standpoint of both Fallout and Oblivion are kind of “go wherever you want” kind of games, so certainly from an engine point of standpoint, we designed it to be something where we wanted to give you big vistas and really sort of impress upon you the level of destruction as well all the possibilities. All of these places you can see, you can walk to in real time and go explore.

You know, the dialogue is exactly like the dialogue from Fallout so it may feel similar to Oblivion and I guess in terms of how it’s structured, but it’s sort of exactly the way Fallout presented its dialogue; You know what it is you want to say, how people respond back, trying to do a lot more with the dialogue in terms of choices of how you talk to people, the ability to unlock certain options in dialogue based on having a higher speech skill or having certain attributes that allow you to unlock a certain dialogue option that you usually wouldn’t be able to get, different perks, you know when you levelled up you may have noticed “The Ladykiller” or if you’re playing as a girl, it’s called “Black Widow” where you pick that perk, then talking to certain people you get a dialogue option that you wouldn’t normally have gotten. All of that is very different ad unique to Fallout in terms of giving the player options they wouldn’t normally have gotten because of the type of character they are playing with; you get to say this because of who you are.

To answer your question, I don’t discount that folks are going to call it that, it’s based off the same engine, it’s still doing big epic vistas, but I think Oblivion was a really good game, my only hesitance with that phrase is that it doesn’t take in to account how much effort we put in to making this a very true Fallout experience with characters, dialogue and setting and all that stuff to make it very different and true to what the series is about. I think we’ll certainly get that and I don’t think that’s ever going to go away but I think it probably sells the game a bit short.
(...)
Strategy Informer: Talking about the game world, obviously it’s massive, you can do anything you want, go anywhere you please. Do you think there’s a danger you went too far?

Pete Hines: Did we go too far? (laughs) I don’t know…

Strategy Informer: Well during the play-through, I noticed that there wasn’t much around. Obviously this is a post apocalyptic setting, but the world was pretty barren. Apart from the main story, you’ve got no real direction, no incentive to go one way or the other.

Pete Hines: Well, a couple of things. First of all, we sort of take a risk in having you guys go out into the world without having experienced the first thirty to forty-five minutes where you get everything explained to you. If you pay attention to your compass, and where it’s trying to direct you to unknown locations out in the world. You actually come across a lot of that stuff, it’s just that it’s fairly easy to just walk past it without even trying. In Oblivion it’s a little easier because it’s like, there’s a mountain and then there’s a cave in the side of the mountain.

Whereas in Fallout it’s not always quite as ‘beat-you-over-the-head’ obvious, but I do think it is a combination of using your compass to recognise when you’re walking past lots of things you can see and do. Also, we’re preventing you guys from doing anything in the main quest, which is pretty prohibitive in that we use the main quest to send you out to parts of the world, which intentionally run you past a lot of other things to do. So when we keep you from doing that we keep you from going right past all this stuff that we lead you to in the main quest.

So we might take you out to this part of the map knowing that you’re going to come across all this stuff here. And then we know that you’re probably going to go over here, and then go to this point of the map. So we’re kind of smart about using the map as a setting for different parts of the main quest, and how you’re going to get there and what you’re going to cover along the way. But take Megaton for example, there’s like a good 5,6,7,8 hours worth of quest stuff available too you just like that. One lady’s putting together a survival guide, another lady wants you to go to another town. Next thing you know you’ve been playing the game for a long time.

Posted by Per - at 17:29

Shamus Young, the internet personage who previously declared his love for S.P.E.C.I.A.L., wrote a post-E3 entry calling for some attention to what goes on behind the impressive presentation. Not your usual don't-mess-up-Fallout piece, but rather a reminder of Bethesda's pre- and post-release handling of Oblivion.

The original Fallout wasn’t a sexy tech demo. It was an ass-ugly isometric game with cheap 2D sprites that offered incredible freedom, immersion, atmosphere, story, characters, and dialog. None of those attributes are things which can really be conveyed or measured within the ephemeral context of E3. I remember how things went with Oblivion, which was the last game Bethesda put out, and it’s only because of my great love for Fallout that I’m even entertaining the notion of paying attention to this game.

[..]

If my questions seem a little mean spirited at this point then I apologize for not being nearly mean enough. To wit: In Oblivion you released a buggy game and never fixed it. The mod community ended up fixing the bugs while you guys made new content, which is an inversion of how this is supposed to work. Making us little $5 download packs of content while the game itself is riddled with scripting errors and broken quests was a really sleazy move.

The hype phase of an upcoming title is an excellent time to bring up all the flaws with the previous title, since that’s when the developers and publishers are most PR-conscious. After release these sorts of complaints end up in forums where they won’t reach the undecided buyer. Once the review scores are up the publisher can go back to ignoring the general public and turtle in until they’re ready to trot out the next game for E3. Bethesda has poked their head out of the turtle shell, and while everyone else is gushing over their ZOMG GRAFITHX!! I want to take this opportunity to give them a few whaps on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper and encourage them not to screw this one up.
Thanks to chuvak.

Posted by Per - at 17:02

Three new screenshots have been released and are going up pretty much everywhere right now, showing a blurry bot fight, a ruined neighbourhood, and the rear end of the vertibird as seen in the demonstrations.


Thanks to JamieSI.

Posted by Per - at 2:09

Xbox360Achievements posted a London hands-on.

Fallout 3 also boasts a pretty innovative weapon creation system which allows gamers to purchase or pick up blueprints for weapons that once combined with a few other items around the map, can create some pretty destructive and quirky weapons. But seriously, it doesn’t matter what you create, you will never beat (we don’t think) the pure destructiveness of the “fat man”, Fallout 3’s very own mini nuclear catapult. You may have seen it make an appearance at the end of Bethesda’s E3 demonstrations but nothing could prepare me for the joy I had when I used it. I luckily stumbled across one when fighting through a bunch of severely pissed off super mutants at Washington’s Galaxy News Radio station and when their king pin, a Super Mutant Behemoth, came out of nowhere, I had no other choice than to use it. A carefully aimed shot (I actually missed the first shot *shock horror*) at this badboy’s chest and I was in awe of a destructive explosion that ensued followed by the trademark nuclear mushroom cloud. I would go out on a limb and say that this is one of the greatest gaming weapons ever created!

[..]

To call Fallout 3 “Oblivion with guns” is a statement that sells the game short. Sure it has its similarities, but why not install some great features that have proved successful in the past in to a new venture? Bethesda doing this really only really makes sense. Will it appease the hardcore Fallout fans? Who the hell knows, I do know one thing however and that is that Fallout 3 looks to be shaping up to be a serious “Game Of The Year” contender and if I can tell this from a hands on, I can only imagine what the finished product will be like.
If you can tell it'll be good, it must surely be even better? OK then.

Spotted on the BGSF.

News for Saturday, August 2, 2008

Posted by Per - at 4:18

Polish publisher Cenega kicks off their new official site with a voice acting competition. The catch: you have to buy the game from them first. Or at least I am taking Ausir's word for this:

The winner of the contest will voice one of the characters in Fallout 3. To take part in the contest you have to preorder and pay for FO3 by August 20, upload an MP3 file with you playing the role of a selected character from the list of available ones, and convince your friends to vote for you, in order to get the most votes for your recording.

The following characters are available:

A Brotherhood of Steel knight stationed at the GNR tower. He speaks on the radio without his helmet that would distort his voice.

Gary Staley - a trader, not much is known about him. He runs a cheap diner at the Rivet City marketplace. He believes that people like his cuisine, but the truth is that it's just the only thing the citizens of the poorer parts of the town can afford.

Janice Kaplinski - a scientist, Doctor Li's co-worker, she helps with food conditioning experiments.

Anna Holt - - a scientist, Doctor Li's co-worker, she helps with food conditioning experiments.

Maggie from Megaton - a girl whose parents died during a raider attack. She was rescued by Billy Creel, who's been taking care of her ever since. She's a little, friendly girl running round around the town.

Paul Hannon - an African American boy, member of the Tunnel Snakes gang. A nice boy that tries to fit in with his less nice colleaguess and impress them somehow.

Wally Mack - a member of the Tunnel Snakes gang, a few years older than the player character. He is arrogant and very self-confident.

50 runners-up will get Fallout 3 t-shirts.
Since there's nothing on the page in English, I'm assuming the voices are to be done in Polish and will grace the localized version only. Ausir also cites a release date of October 6, which is no more than three days away from Amazon's Oct 3.

Posted by Per - at 2:23

Here's an anaemic piece from TechRadar.

Hines, who was in London to show off the mighty fine looking Fallout 3, told TechRadar that the Xbox 360 was very much Bethesda's lead machine on the title.

"If you have the PC as your lead machine you have the problem of not knowing what configurations people have, how many gigs of RAM or what graphics card they have," explained Hines.

"Obviously we are more familiar with the Xbox because we are familiar and the other thing is that the Xbox is much easier to take to tech shows.

"We can just pop the hard-drive off the Xbox and put it on any machine which is an advantage. Taking the PC or PS3 to these things just isn't convenient."
Pete also "confirms" Fallout 4 in the same way that's been done several times before: they "didn't buy the Fallout franchise to just do Fallout 3 and then stop".

Thanks to Mr Lizard. Go team geckos!

Posted by Per - at 2:07

Another European hands-on, this time Gamespot in London. But they were at E3 as well, so this is their second time through! They didn't get to start from their old save point, but they did manage to steal an extra half hour of playing time.

As we entered the first town that we could find, we came across a small boy named Bryan Wilks who was trying to find his father. Fallout 3 uses a dialogue system that's based around morality, so you can choose to be sympathetic or dismissive when you come across individuals. We're not usually that friendly toward strangers, but in the interest of seeing some of the side missions, we decided to play nice with the kid and help him find the father. As he went and took refuge in a nearby diner, we pushed on through the town to have a look around.

The town was overrun with fire ants: huge, mutated insects that spewed fire at us if we got too close. The sound that these creatures made--a sticky but squeaky noise that sounded like plastic rubbing together--echoed through our headphones for most of our playtime, and they were tough enemies to kill.

[..]

It's worth noting just how adult this game is; even the young boy repeated the "F" word without batting an eyelid. He called the enemies in question the "f***in' ants," something that we've not really ever heard said by a minor in a video game before. Thankfully, the voice acting in Fallout 3 is pretty good, at least with the few characters that we came across.

After searching around, we came across the boy's father, who was unfortunately lying dead on the floor of his house after being attacked by the ants that his son had been so recently been expressing his disapproval of. Sad as it was, the world of Fallout is harshly low on resources, so we had to scavenge what we could from the body and the rest of the house. Although it was obviously of little help to him, he'd stashed plenty of ammunition and a Chinese assault rifle, which was a much better weapon for taking out the remaining fire ants than our standard sidearm. Stocked up, we returned to meet the boy and give him the bad news. We had three responses to choose from: "Bryan, I'm sorry, but your father is dead," "Your father's dead," or "Sorry kid. Your old man is ant food." We decided to switch from good cop to bad cop and go for the last option, which was met with a response of, "You're an a**hole."
Maybe you're the a**hole, Bryan Wilks, did you ever think about that? More previews will be coming after Leipzig if not sooner, and we can't wait to round them up by the dozens.

News for Friday, August 1, 2008

Posted by Per - at 19:48

GamerChip reports that a trimmed version of Fallout 3 will be available in Australia as expected:

Fallout is an apt name for the upcoming game. The Australian media has been whipped into the closest thing to a frenzy we have here for the gaming industry over the ban on the upcoming Bethesda title Fallout 3. But according to EB and Game representatives, Australia will be receiving the game, albeit in a modified format. The new, friendlier version, will have the drug use removed that saw the game banned in the first place. Both EB and Game are currently taking pre-orders for the title. One representative from Game, contacted this Thursday night, (after hammering home the "do you want to pre-order?" spiel) said that he had read on their internal communications only an hour before that Fallout 3 would be released this year.

It looks as though both stores are holding fast. Let's hope that this is a reality rather than their misplaced optimism.
Update: Kotaku Australia pretty much declares this non-news:
The piece mentions that the game is due out later this year, with all drug references removed. Apparently this info came from "EB and Game representatives". That's great, EB Games and GAME can say whatever they want, but until I hear word from the OFLC, Red Ant or Bethesda, Fallout 3 is still refused classification.

There's also mention that the two retailers are taking preorders, yet, as far as I can tell, the title remains in exile from EB's Oz site. Even if they are, why wouldn't they? That's what retailers do - they take your money. If they have to refund it later, they'll cross that bridge when the come to it.

Saying the game is "confirmed" is wishy-washy anyway. It's unlikely Bethesda won't create an edited version of Fallout 3 for our market, and perhaps others like Germany. It's not a matter of if, but when, and the degree of content that's altered.
Spotted on the BGSF.

Posted by Per - at 15:42

The Fallout 3 article in OXM's April issue caused something of a stir back in March. Now a number of questions and answers from the interview with Emil that didn't make it into the article have been posted on a blog. It's a bit of a flashback at this point but there may be something interesting, like sneaking.

But that said, I think there’s a level of tension you get with stealth gameplay that you don’t get with anything else. So we started with Oblivion and the stealth system in Fallout is actually a lot more robust than the stealth system in Oblivion. A lot of that has to do with the enemy AI and the different search states that they have. In Oblivion you’re either detected or hidden, now there are stages in between and you’ll know when to be cautious. In Fallout people can be actively searching for you, they’ll actually do the Thief thing and you’ll hear “Where are you? I hear something” and there’s that level of tension there that you didn’t have in Oblivion. You know I was just playing the [Supermart area] fighting the raiders and it’s like a lot of times in Fallout, the feeling is so desperate and you feel like you’re struggling for survival and when you’re sneaking you really feel like “Oh god, don’t find me, please don’t find me”. You’d get that occasionally in Oblivion I think, but for me it actually works better in a post-apocalyptic setting than I thought it would. In Fallout it’s more like the stealth stuff complements your regular gameplay, but it’s definitely a viable approach.
Thanks to Ausir.

Posted by Per - at 4:38

Fallout 3 is covered in episode 43 of podcast Played, from 12:08 to 19:08. They talk a little about "media fatigue" and preview overlap and their verdict of the game is basically "looks bland but plays well". One guy addresses the "Han Solo problem" in a way I very much agree with: it's only a problem if you expect a game to provide meta-rewards for abstracted playing styles, which goes against the idea of role-playing your character being an end in itself. As podcasts go this one isn't so bad, though at one point someone starts laughing under their breath while someone else is talking, I mean, that's just rude, isn't it.

Thanks to Anani Masu.

Posted by Per - at 4:13

Perhaps this will be the final batch. The Game Reviews:

Fallout’s environment is incredibly impressive, especially considering that the smoldering wreckage that the landscape consists of is an actual replica of Washington, DC. We didn’t have time to get to the White House, but we did take a moment to ask Hines if it was out there. His reply, “Oh yeah, it’s definitely there, you just might not recognize it. It’s a smoking crater now.” This comment came not long after another developer relayed his constant fear that he was going to be arrested during development because he was spending so much time checking out historic monuments and wondering what they would look like if they were irradiated or blown up. All his hard work has definitely paid off though, as the bleak, barren landscape immediately sucks you in and refuses to give you up from the moment you set foot outside the Vault.
Kombo.com (not Zombo.com, honestly):
Post-apocalyptic settings aren't exactly an unexplored setting in the gaming industry, the world of Fallout feels unique among the rest of the barren waste-lands and demolished cityscapes. It actually stirs some of the same feelings as Bioshock's Rapture, as both games built a hopeful, optimistic society and then destroyed it, leaving the player to uncover the previous generation's creativity and hubris through subtle environmental clues.

[..]

The inventory system is far improved from the clumsy mess that was Oblivion, but it still feels pretty clumsy. . The menus are broken down a little more intelligently than in Oblivion, so there's less hammering of the triggers to cycle through stuff. Equipping and using items is kind of a pain in the ass. Up to eight items or weapons can be hot-keyed on the d-pad, but you better have a damn good memory of where you put everything, because there's no way to tell what you assigned to each direction outside of the item menu.
UGO Gamesblog:
Dissatisfied with the crummy loot dropped by the elementary school raiders – little more than sub-standard armor, weak weapons and random supplies – we sought out an exit and returned to the nuclear wasteland. As was the case in Oblivion, and Morrowind before it, it’s tough to know where to turn when you first set foot in Fallout 3’s open world. With time ticking away, we made a snap decision: that red-colored metal structure visible just beyond a nearby hill would be the next destination.

The structure turned out to be… well… we’re not exactly sure what. But it was also situated very close to another cluster of buildings. Pushing forward, we suddenly found ourselves wandering through the broken streets of what’s labeled in the game as Bethesda Ruins. Our sudden desire to hunt down the developer’s former office – surely it must be hidden somewhere as an easter egg – was interrupted by the sharp crack of a hunting rifle.
Adrenaline Gaming Zone:
Thirty minutes, that's all I had. Thirty minutes of Fallout 3. You see, that's not nearly enough time to really get to know this huge, enormous, gigantic, epic game. Yet thirty minutes is about all I needed to know that I was playing something truly amazing. I was playing something that would change my life. I was playing what may just be the single best game of the year … if not one of the most important games of the century. Judging by the 30 minutes I spent with Fallout 3 I'm not afraid to call it a masterpiece.

Then again, it could be that everything after the thirty minute mark is absolute rubbish. I guess we won't know until the game comes out later this year.
Thunderbolt Games:
I wandered around the wrecked cars and destroyed roads, switching between the first and third person. I stumbled across a desolate village that looks like it was one of those prototypical 1950s neighborhoods. The kind where each family had a nice yard, a swimming pool and 2.5 kids. Of course, none of that is around after the nuclear war erupted. Some sort of robot was flying around, minding its business while playing a patriotic tune. I shot it for no particular reason. Nothing was found when I checked the body, so I hit the right bumper to scan the surroundings. The screen zoomed in and showed the vitals on a couple enemies located hundreds of meters away.
And just so you will have to read through all of these, I won't say which preview contains the words "katana sword". Finally, as everyone and their three-eyed cat will know by now Fallout 3 is mentioned in the latest Zero Punctuation on the E3 presentations:
Also it's by Bethesda, developers of Oblivion and patron saints of games that look awesome in screenshots and preview videos but ultimately play like bowls of scummy dishwater. Case in point is the demonstrated combat system where the game cuts to a dramatic angle to watch you execute a successful kill which is groovy pants the first time but since it seems to happen with every kill I'm sure repetition will swiftly boil it down to just plain pants.
Note that the word "pants" has an idiomatic meaning in le British which judging by some comments it doesn't have in le American.

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 20:48:45 GMT
Wasteland 2 releases on September 19th
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 20:42:30 GMT
Fallout: Lonestar wants GECK world builders... maybe it could be you?
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 15:54:56 GMT
Underrail Dev Log #33: v0.1.12.0 Released
Fri, 01 Aug 2014 20:00:59 GMT
Wasteland 2 gets last beta update
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:27:50 GMT
Interview with Brian Fargo and our very own Brother None on Wasteland 2
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:30:39 GMT
Mad Max: Fury Road Comic-con trailer
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
-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