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News for Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 21:39

G4 did a top 10 games for adult eyes only list, and Fallout 2 comes in at 8. Fallout 2 is not on the list for violence or swearing, but because it "possesses a rare intelligence and wit that would fly over the heads of younger gamers"

Thanks Ivpiter.

News for Saturday, September 27, 2008

Posted by The Vault Dweller - at 7:48

This latest (and last for the week) article by IGN covers the writers six hour foray out into the world to explore. It goes on to describe many small details about traveling around the world map. A new video preview is tagged on.

Some things of note are invisible walls, Rivet City, and ghouls:

(Interesting side note: If you make it to the edge of the map, an invisible wall exists and text pops up telling you to turn back. )

Rivet City is an entire living complex built into the heart of a grounded aircraft carrier. It's got everything from a marketplace (where I found the Fat Boy nuke launcher for the first time) to a chapel and more. I only explored the city for about 30 minutes, but I was still able to find a good number of side quests. None were cooler than the one I found that involved the retrieval of the Declaration of Independence. America may have crumbled in the nuclear war, but that doesn't mean your patriotism had to.

Once inside Tenpenny Tower, I found out that the local law enforcement not only hates Roy Phillips, they want the whole cadre of ghouls dealt with. I, of course, accepted the quest and went in search of the entrance to the tunnels the ghouls live in. At the heart of the tunnel, after fighting numerous feral ghouls, you'll find Roy and his friends. You don't have to kill them, of course. If you decide to talk to them and befriend the troupe, you can go on a series of quests with some very cool rewards, according to Bethesda, that I won't spoil here.



A salute goes out to Ausir.

News for Friday, September 26, 2008

Posted by Paul_cz - at 21:28

Posting on the Bethesda forums, community manager Matt Grandstaff clarifies the recent comment from IGN that if you wait 24 hours the townsfolk "will have forgiven (or forgotten) your deeds". First he clarifies that it's actually 72 hours.

Here's a clarification I got from Emil. It's actual a 72 hours, not 24 -- so in gameplay time, it's a significantly longer period of time. Personally, I like it, because it doesnt mean I'm going to be shot at every place I go if I decide to mess around a little bit.
Secondly he explains it doesn't apply to all towns.
First, not EVERY place you visit will reset after the 72 hour period. Some places never will. Second, in places where things calm down, they will reference the fact that you caused trouble. It will come up in dialogue, etc.

Posted by zioburosky13 - at 9:28

Good old Desslock has done a good old editorial on that good old game, Fallout.

Visions of Deathclaws dance in the heads of RPG fans as they anxiously snooze in anticipation of the October 28 release of Fallout 3. Will series devotees consider it too different from the classic RPGs that spawned it? The original Fallout RPGs were modest commercial successes compared to their swords and sorcery contemporaries such as Baldur’s Gate; will developer/publisher Bethesda be able to replicate the blockbuster success it enjoyed with Oblivion with a game in a non-fantasy setting? Will Fallout 3 successfully meld the best attributes of the Fallout franchise and the Elder Scrolls games, or will it prove to be a Frankenstein-like hodgepodge that disappoints rather than enthralls?
(...)
Fallout is about making real role-playing choices. It’s about creating a highly customized alter-ego and making distinct decisions that meaningfully affect your character’s journey. It’s choosing either to aid post-apocalyptic NPCs or to punch them in head [Or groin! –Ed] until you hear the lamentations of their children. It’s embracing the seemingly insufferable task of keeping your Mad Max–inspired hapless canine pet alive against chain-gun-wielding super-mutants, and eschewing potentially more beneficial character traits in favor of reducing foes to a “bloody mess.” The game constantly delivers a range of nuanced choices, and considerably fewer subtle alternatives, that collectively ensure players have a highly personalized experience, which is the essence of roleplaying. In terms of offering role-playing depth, Fallout has a paucity of peers, and it’s still worthwhile to track it down if you never journeyed into its apocalyptic wasteland.

Posted by Brother None - at 5:15

IGN Fallout 3 week continues with Bad to the Bone, a tale of bad karma, with another video interview.

The trouble is that it's sometimes tough to differentiate between good and evil in Fallout 3. Killing bad people like raiders or bounty hunters isn't considered evil, per se. You're ridding the world of evil, so you're doing good. Apparently all human life is not sacred in this world. All that meant to me is that I'd have to step up my shenanigans to match the twisted world I was running around in. If I was going to be evil, I wanted my karma to reflect it.
(...)
Speaking of profit, there's an ongoing quest in Megaton to help a girl gather info for an encyclopedia. It involved a lot of work, I think. I wasn't really paying attention to her pleas. I just told her I'd help, walked outside and waited 24 hours, and then came back and lied to her. Being skilled with words is a great asset indeed.

But no matter how much I stole and lied to gain some caps, the form of currency in Fallout 3, it never seemed to be enough. I bumped into a mercenary who at first wouldn't talk to me because I was too good. A few murders later and we were talking business. The jerk wanted 1,000 caps for his services as a sidekick. I told him to bug off and left him to die in the mushroom cloud that was soon to come.

While causing chaos in Megaton, I came across several aspects of the game that make it easier to be nasty. Though you can get in a pinch if you don't save often, I found that there's always a way out of the mess you create in cities. Cause as much havoc as you like, get the sheriff and every citizen chasing you with guns ablaze, and you can pop outside of the town of Megaton and they won't follow you. Wait 24 hours and go back in and the townsfolk will have forgiven (or forgotten) your deeds. This may not be realistic, but if you go on a little killing spree for fun, you can still salvage your game in the long run.


Thanks Ausir.

News for Thursday, September 25, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 20:15

Gaming magazine 360 Gamer had some hands-on time with Fallout 3. Stubs provides us with some tidbits from the preview.

Much of the scenery is pretty grim. Destroyed petrol stations are one thing, but the half-remains of children's swings and play parks are a nasty reminder of the post-nuclear setting. It's all so... depressing;depressing and brown. At one point we saw the remains of fellow human beings, strung up by chains in an abandoned house. After shamefully discovering there were seemingly no physics applied to our surroundings and the hanging human remains would not swing when pushed.
(...)
First things first; the FPS combat in Fallout 3 isn't its strong point. Our character felt rigid in his movement, and aiming accurately on the fly proved incredibly difficult in first- and third-person. This isn't Halo 3 after all, and it's not trying to be. VATS is the future here, and if you're going to get anywhere in combat you're going to have to get used to it's time-freezing, menu-producing ways. Luckily it's quick and simple enough to get the hang of. A quick press of the right shoulder button and we'd frozen time. [they sum the bit about VATS up with - Stubs] Satisfying? Yes. Repetivive ? Absolutely.
(...)
Gazing round room, spying the twenty-odd 360's all running the same game, for the same amount of time, from the same point, it was clear none of us were having the same experience. One guy was underground, battling through a hospital or school of some sort, armed only with a knife and taking down rabid survivors one-by-one like some sort of urban Rambo. Another had wandered straight through the city gates of Megaton, greeted the sheriff with a swift shotgun shell to the face, and made off with his hat and badge - just because he liked the look of them. We even saw one dude drinking from a toilet, to replenish his vitals. All of a sudden we were never even going to get close. We'd walked fore literally miles and miles - we'd even swum a lake!. We'd battled countless fire ants [shooting off their antenna to disorientate the buggers] and helped a small child find his way home - all the time spying our main pointy attraction [the Washington Monument - Stubs] comfortably off in the distance. A smaller world it may be, but a smaller game it is not. We even cheated. We ducked around the patrolling PR reps and spent more time with the game than anyone else on the day, desperately trying to reach our goal. And yet we 'still' failed.
Saying Fallout 3 is massive is a cop-out, it's all encompassing.Character customization, weapon choice, special skills, routes and destinations all feel endless and that's before you even think about any missions, side-quests or the overall narrative. We didn't have enough time this issue, and we won't have enough time next issue.
(...)
Fallout 3 continues to blow us away with its sheer scale and opportunity. Sure it's a little brown and depressing to look at, and perhaps less 'console-y' than we've become accustomed to , but there's more to see and do here than we ever imagined... and we always imagined there would be loads.
The good, the bad and the ugly.
We liked: Incredible draw distance, Variety in play, Extreme dismemberment.
We disliked: Fiddly aiming in first-person, Depressing to look at, no world physics.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:11

One of those rare "not Pete or Todd" interviews, NotesOnGameDev.net interviews character artist Dane Olds.

That sounds like a lot to look forward to though. What was the inspiration for character art in Fallout 3?

A lot of the inspiration for the character art in Fallout 3 came from the original games. We drew heavily from those Retro-Future roots and you’ll see that throughout the character art in the game. With the weapons we always referenced the old art from Fallout. Sometimes the weapons are very close to the originals, other times they’ve been overhauled to fit specifically to the game we’ve created. A good example of this would be the Flamer. It’s functional, and is inspired by the real flame throwers used in World-War II. We take the real military designs, and then see where we can make them more interesting, what we can embellish on, and what we might need to remove. When the modeling and texturing is done we have to have something that is visually interesting and functional. Another great example is the ever-popular Power Fist. The original Power Fist was kind of an electric gauntlet. The new one has a pneumatic piston mounted on a thick steel framework that looks like an engine block. This weapon visually feels like it packs a punch, and it certainly does in the game.

Aww yeah I bet. Speaking of which, what are you most proud of on Fallout 3 so far?

I’m really proud of the game as a whole. I’ve put countless hours into it already and there’s always something fun to do and a new place to explore. It’s the combined effort of the whole team that has gelled to form a game that is a blast to experience.

Personally I have a couple of favorite individual weapons I created which I probably like the most. The Power Fist really was a challenge to create. It had to act like a piece of armor that could be worn like a glove. The fingers had to articulate and the pneumatic piston had to function the way the player would expect. Creating a model that could actually animate believably and would still look cool was a pretty daunting task. I think the results speak for themselves though, a lot of people think it looks really cool and in game it really is a blast to use.

The other weapon I really like is the Flamer. I’m just happy with the way it turned out in the game. It looks great, fits right in the world and is a lot of fun to take to the battle field.
Spotted on Blue's News.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:09

As announced a while back, Fallout 1/2 are hitting GameTap. Fallout 2 is available right now, while Fallout will be in the free service in a week.

Our new games for September 25 are Fallout 2 and Stand O'Food. And for you free users, we're making the original Fallout available starting this week, in anticipation of next month's release of Fallout 3.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:42

The newest article in IGN's Fallout 3 week deals with Gathering Good Karma. It doesn't tell us much news, but fleshes out the Megaton-related stuff, and has a special "good karma" video feature.

I chose a style that likened me to a deranged Ronald McDonald. It went nicely with my safety goggles and army helmet I had picked up while roaming the wastelands. The house also contains a Bobblehead Collection Stand where you can store the hidden collectibles of Fallout 3. Players can also play house with their drab surroundings by purchasing a collection of themes for sale at the local store. These include Raider, Wasteland Explorer, Science, Pre-War, and Love Machine. The change of scenery is nice but the real advantage to this property is the ability to outfit a house with an infirmary, jukebox, laboratory, cola machine, and workbench.

My good deeds transformed Megaton from a backwater dump to a strategically placed home where I could build weapons, fully recover my wounds, stock up on goods, and cook up some performance enhancing drugs. That's not to say that evil characters won't get their own residence at some other location, but not as quickly and not in this town.
After outfitting my new crib I decided to make friendly with my new neighbors. Some characters won't even recognize your existence without the right Karma. I learned this when a reformed raider wouldn't give me the time of day because he just wouldn't speak to a goody-two-shoes. His loss. Other characters who are attracted to decency will open up quests and dialogue options for people who've accumulated enough good karma.

There are other, less distinct choices as well. The shop owner in Megaton has a side project compiling a field guide to the wasteland and she asks players to contribute by exploring the world. I took her task seriously and sought out the information she requested by investigating a local supermarket. Upon return I shared my findings and offered her some of the grub I picked up. She let me keep the loot and also rewarded me with a food sanitizer as a reward – a helpful item for removing the radiation from ruined edible items scattered throughout the world. At any point I could've lied to the woman about my quest and asked for a reward without putting in the work, but I know for a fact that this nefarious behavior would not have gotten me the useful food sanitizer.


Thanks Ausir.

News for Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 20:03

They did a timeline earlier, now it's time for a favorite character list.

The Master

Every Yin needs a Yang in the same way that every Vault Dweller hero needs a Master. The being formerly known as Richard Grey was a post-Great War doctor who last lived as a human in the merchant town known as The Hub. After being plunged into a vat filled with Forced Evolutionary Virus and left there for a month, Grey emerged as an amorphous, blob-like entity capable of absorbing other organics into its form. Dubbing himself "Master," Grey eventually learned how to twist the F.E.V. to his own ends, using it to create a race of super mutants.

While our memories of the Master aren't exactly fond, he is one of the most deliciously evil yet incomprehensible villains in video games. You see, all of those creatures he's absorbed have left him a bit touched in the head. The Vault Dweller can kill him directly or indirectly at the end of Fallout, but it's much more fun to match wits with the Master and show him the flaw in his own plans, after which he blows himself up with a nuclear bomb. Good times.

Harold the Ghoul

In the pantheon of video gaming's lovable undead, Harold remains a bit of an unknown. Maybe it's because he's not actually the walking dead but rather a ghoulish mutant. Or maybe people are just put off by the tree growing out the side of his head.

Harold is a critically important character within Fallout's history. Before even the events of the first game, Harold accompanied Richard Grey on the fateful expedition which gave birth to the Master. Harold was the only other survivor of that incident, though it left him scarred as a mutant. He later meets the Vault Dweller in The Hub, serving as a useful source of information on Grey and the incident at Mariposa.

But wait, there's more! Harold appears yet again in Fallout 2, now the mayor of the ghoul town known as Gecko. He enlists the Chosen One's aid in getting the town's reactor running right again. That's not why we love Harold though. He's neither a mutant survivor of the Great War nor is he a true super mutant; he's just Harold. And that's plenty.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:58

Fallout 3 week continues in IGN with a look at skills and perks.

Solar Powered
Ranks Available: 1, Requirements: Level 20, Endurance 7
With the Solar Powered perk, you gain an additional 2 points to Strength when in direct sunlight, and slowly regenerate lost Health.

Lawbringer
Ranks Available: 1, Requirements: Level 14
Once you have the Lawbringer perk, any evil character you kill will have a finger on their corpse. This finger can then be sold to a certain person (whose identity is disclosed when you take the perk) for caps and positive Karma.

Concentrated Fire
Ranks Available: 1, Requirements: Level 18, Small Guns 60%, Energy Weapons 60%
With Concentrated Fire, your accuracy to hit any body part in V.A.T.S. increases slightly with each subsequent hit on that body part.

Child at Heart
Ranks Available: 1, Requirements: Level 4, Charisma 4
The Child at Heart perk greatly improves your interactions with children, usually in the form of unique dialogue choices.
As previously, the best list of Fallout 3 Perks is still on the Vault.

News for Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 22:46

Kieron Gillen has interviewed Pete Hines on modding and Fallout 3.

RPS: Getting more technical – care to talk about the mod situation?

Folk probably took for granted that every time we make a game, there’s a mod tool. We explained to folk that it takes a lot of time and effort to get that tool ready for release, and it’s not on our schedule right now. We need to get the game done and out. It’s not to say we won’t do it. It’s that right now we have an enormous amount of work to do, for three platforms and all these different languages to get it out around the wall. Right now, we can’t say definitively “there will be mod tools, and here is when they’ll be out”. That work remains to be done.

RPS: There’s a Conspiracy Theory that would suggest that you’re removing the mod tools to make downloadable content more attractive. As in, if you get extra value for free, why buy the official stuff?

Hines: That’s a good theory, by the way. And probably on some level it would work… but from our standpoint, whenever we do an Elder Scrolls game and release those mod tools, it takes a ton of work and effort. This is a bigger undertaking for us, and one we’ve not yet scheduled for. Is that to say it’ll never come out? No, I’ll never say that. If we have the time, we’d absolutely like to put them out. As we’ve seen with Oblivion and Morrowind those things definitely create a sense of community and there’s tonnes of people out there modding. We have our own little blog we run from Bethesda, and every week we’re out there interviewing people from our mod community – so it’s clearly something we support, something we take interest in and something we place value in and spend a lot of time highlighting good mods. It’s just the tools take time. They don’t magically appear. Someone’s got to write help files for what all the scripts do, and get it released as a consumer product. Because it’s not in that state otherwise. Developers will make do with anything.

Another Journalist Interjecting: Also, it’s part of a PC world, which is not part of the console world which is a bigger part of the business than it might have been previously.

Hines: That’s the other thing. Yes, the PC mod community does help extend the life of a product by the number of people who are still playing it, but as we’ve seen in Oblivion, there’s still people who are playing it on the 360 in the tens of thousands two and a half years later. In insane numbers. For two years in a row we were still in the top 10 most played Xbox games in the year, with zero user-mods. So yes, I definitely think it helps extend the community – but it’s not the only thing out there. The games themselves also do lend themselves to be continuously played and replayed. So yes, it’s a good conspiracy theory, but has nothing to do with the facts. It’s just a case of “Who the hell is going to do this?” as everyone is working on getting the game done right now.

RPS: At RPS we tend to joke about certain subjects which we can post almost anything about and end up with 100 post comment threads. Bioshock, Piracy and… Fallout 3. It’s already the most controversial game of the year, and it hasn’t been released. What’s it like in the middle of it? It must be fascinating to watch. I know you ignore it, but…

Hines: I don’t think “Ignore it” is the right word. We’re aware of it and we certainly listen to it, but it’s also What Should We do about it? What do you do about the guy who says that your company is a travesty and you suck and you should not be making Fallout? Should I quit and go home? Okay… everyone is entitled to an opinion, but all we can really do is keep our heads down and work on the game, and make it the best game possible. We can’t go on an individual by individual basis and try and convince people of anything. The average gamer sees through that stuff in a minute. They have their own opinions. They’re very strongly held. The best we can do is present our game, and what it is which we think we do well and why it is – you, Joe Consumer – whether you play one game a year or fifty games a year might want to play Fallout 3. And hopefully convince them to go look for more information and decide for themselves that it’s something they want to play.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:49

Interplay has launched its website, also announcing an OMFGWTFBBQ new hire:

Interplay launches new web site; adds Chris Taylor to growing development team.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, September 22, 2008 – Interplay Entertainment Corp. (OTC BB:IPLY) announced today the launch of an all-new web site at www.interplay.com.

The site, developed over the last several months, is designed to improve the company’s communication with customers, investors, and partners. The new site includes forums based on past and future Interplay games, a customer support section, detailed information on the company and its products, and much more.

The company also announced that Chris Taylor, a game designer who was a part of the original Fallout game development team at Interplay in 1994, has rejoined the company. Taylor will serve as Lead System Designer for “Project V13,” the working title of Interplay’s next generation Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMO) currently in development. Taylor joins other original Fallout team members on staff at Interplay’s internal game studio, which recently opened an office in Irvine, Calif. Additional development staff members continue to be hired as the project ramps-up.
Oh man Project V13 I really wonder what that is.

Thanks Chris Taylor.

Posted by Brother None - at 21:40

BethBlog brings word Gamestop has some bonus pre-order schwag for a limited time only namely the Vault Dweller's Survival Guide that was handed out at PAX and is available online.

Wanted to let you know that Gamestop.com has added a new incentive for pre-ordering Fallout 3 on their website. Along with your copy of the Game, you’ll not only receive the free Fallout 3 poster and CD, but now you’ll also receive a copy of the Vault Dweller’s Survival Guide — previously available only at PAX.

Regarding this offer, here are a few things you should know:

* The Vault Dweller’s Guide is limited in quantity. When they run out of guides, that’s it.
* The offer is for online pre-orders only and cannot be received with an in-store pickup.
* If you’ve already pre-ordered online, you’re set to receive your Vault Dweller’s Survival Guide along with your Game, poster and CD. You don’t need to do anything else.
Why do they need to give people this much stuff anyway? Too few pre-orders?

Posted by Brother None - at 21:37

You might remember this bit from ABC, a short "discussion" on censorship and Fallout 3 that was widely mocked for...er...not being very sensible. ABC has apologizes, Kotaku reports.

With regard to the background information on the game Fallout 3 provided by presenter Tony Jones, we acknowledge your point that the game was refused classification by the Classification Board because of the intravenous drug use, rather than the violence in the game. While Tony Jones mentioned the issue of drug use and violence in his précis of the game, he offered no specifics on why the game was actually refused classification. From our own understanding of the game of Fallout 3, the ABC believes that it is legitimate to mention the violence in the game. Mr Jones did not state that the main purpose of the game was to kill everyone. For your information Fallout 3 was used as it was a topical example of a game that had been refused classification by the Classification Board.

The ABC apologises for the information provided by presenter Tony Jones in the middle of the discussion on gaming and agrees that it may have been confusing and misleading. Mr Jones was aware that a rating system exists for games. He had been briefed on concerns that the current system is inadequate because it does not provide an R rating. But regrettably in the pressure of the program and in attempting to summarise and point to the lack of a comprehensive rating system, Mr Jones erred by stating that there was no ratings system for video games.

As the program is still available online, the program team have put a note on the website at: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s2318124.htm. This note acknowledges that some of the discussion was confusing, admits Tony Jones's error, explains that a classification system exists and directs readers to the Classification (Publication, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995. In addition, the program team have been reminded of the ABC's commitment to factual accuracy as elucidated in the ABC's Code of Practice. For your reference this may be accessed at: http://abc.net.au/corp/pubs/documents/200806_codeofpractice-revised_2008.pdf.
Good stuff.

Thanks Serifan.

Posted by Morbus - at 19:21

Yahoo! Games has compiled a small guide with 20 games to be released this fall, talking about their "hots" and "nots". Fallout 3's one of them.

Explore the apocalypse in Bethesda's long-awaited Fallout 3. The sequel to two of the most cherished role-playing games ever, the game infuses the great non-linear gameplay of role-playing epic Oblivion with dark, gut-busting humor, deep character customization, and a new combat system so smart it makes nuclear fission look dumb.

Why It's Hot:
It's Fallout plus Oblivion -- two great tastes that taste great together. Action can be handled in real-time or through the turn-based VATS system, letting both wannabe Rambos and strategy buffs enjoy it equally. The writing is brilliant, the post-apocalyptic world is riveting, and the depth is unparalleled. Need we go on?

Why It's Not:
Good question. We'll get back to you on that when the radiation wears off in a few months.
Nice...

Link: Fallout 3 - Fall games Guide @ Yahoo! Games

Posted by Brother None - at 2:43

IGN has a new Fallout 3 preview which focuses on the weapons available in the game, showing new artwork and screenshots as well as a weapons video and talking about combat and weapons for quite a bit. This seems to be the kick-off for a Fallout 3 week.

But perhaps flinging garbage at unsuspecting citizens isn't your cup of tea. That's OK. I won't hold it against you. There are other options. Just out of the Vault, you'll find yourself with simple weapons. There's the 10mm pistol as the standard fallback. It's effective against things like Mole Rats, Blow Flys, and basic Raiders, but doesn't pack much punch or pizzazz. If you like weapons, you'll want to look for something better like a scoped .44 Magnum, a Sawed Off Shotgun, or a Hunting Rifle. Most of the basic guns will use 10mm ammunition which is quite plentiful throughout the game while the guns with a higher caliber of shot will have a limited number of rounds early on.

When you run out of ammo, and you probably will, you can revert back to some melee weapons. This is just as satisfying in VATS as long range combat, believe it or not. Bethesda modeled the slow-motion attack after Zack Snyder's 300 and it looks spectacular. Clubbing foes with baseball bats or police batons is hilarious, but you'll want something sharp in your hands. I grabbed a Ripper, a small one-handed chainsaw, and took a radiation poisoned dog's head straight off. Or there's the Chinese Military Leader's Sword. As Insider Editor-in-Chief Dave Clayman described it, "That was badass. I chopped &(#*$'s up." We weren't able to find it, but many of the game's makers we spoke to called out the Powerfist, a mechanical hand that amplifies your punching strength, as their favorite melee weapon.

I prefer the big guns though. These are their own category of weapon with an associated skill and will make any gamer that loves chaos giddy. The Flamer, a highly effective flame thrower, can be found early on with ample ammunition scattered throughout the world. Light a poor sap on fire and he'll keep burning and taking damage over time while you laugh and point. Within the first 6 hours of playing, I managed to amass an arsenal that included a missile launcher, a personal nuke launcher, and a chaingun. I could only afford one nuke to put in my launcher, but boy-oh-boy was that a lot of fun.




Thanks to Ausir, which incidentally reminds me that if you want info on what weapons are in Fallout 3 there's no place like The Vault.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:15

The designer of the Fallout 3 Prima Games guide shares his experience in a blog post, though his NDA means he has to do it in a...err...creative way.

I started work on the Official Strategy Guide to Fallout 3 in earnest on May 24th, 2008. We’re currently tidying up the final pages, and cramming every last piece of tactical guidance into both the regular and special limited edition tomes in readiness for an October 28th on-sale date. Water-tight, pain-of-death non-disclosure agreements prevent me from speaking specifically about what went on during the last four months, but I can offer some rather vague information on why I halted an already-truncated social life for the chance of exploring a post-apocalyptic wasteland instead of writing, you know, three “regular” guides.

Firstly, this game is spectacularly big. How big? [CENSORED] Yeah, that big. Just in case that doesn’t get through, I will say our limited-edition strategy guide poster is larger than most coffee tables, that I spent at least a month constructing it, and that it has more locations than [SORRY, MUM'S THE WORD]. When you read interviews with other developers, and they say “there’s weeks of gameplay in this title”, they’re usually lying. But if you’re wanting to explore every nook, cranny, and small wasteland [SPECIFIC SETTLEMENT TITLE REMOVED] out in the middle of a blasted heath, you’ll need to free up a seriously large amount of time; more than mere weeks: [NOPE, CAN'T SAY], in fact. Fortunately, these expeditions can be performed in [A DIFFERENT, AND SUITABLY VAGUE MANNER], allowing you to savor the experience, as well as picking and choosing where you’d like to visit, and how savaged you’d like to get at the talons of a [REALLY RATHER COOL CREATURE I CAN'T MENTION].
Thanks Texas Renegade.

News for Monday, September 22, 2008

Posted by Sigoya - at 15:54

Via D-Pad.

As if standard and collector’s editions weren’t enough, UK gamers will also be able to get their hands on a limited edition of the post-apocalyptic RPG Fallout 3 when it goes on sale next month.

The new edition, which is exclusive to GAME, contains a copy of the game and a figurine packaged in a cardboard outer sleeve.

As you can see in the picture below, the figurine looks to be of a soldier wearing power armour, arguably more appealing than the Vault Boy bobblehead included in the more expensive collector’s edition. It’s also bound to sell out quickly, so get your pre-order in ASAP if you want one.

Fallout 3 goes on sale across Europe on October 31st on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

Posted by Brother None - at 4:07

This is the internet so take this with a pinch of salt, but a forum user on Anandtech claims to have got Fallout 3 early - posting a photo of the game menu as proof. If you take his word for it, he's answering questions on the forum.

Have you played the other Fallouts? If so, do you enjoy F3 in a similiar way as F1 or F2?

If you haven't played any of the other Fallouts, have you played a game you would deem similar to F3? Is it all mindless shooting, or does the game seem at least somewhat deep?


Unfortunately I haven't really played the old Fallouts (I know, I know). But I have seen them played a fair amount and I'm aware of the backstory etc.

The game is deep. This probably isn't news, but it's one of those games where every decision you make has a big affect on the rest of the game. It does a really good job at it though - you can make small decisions and have small changes in karma, and make large decisions like diffusing a still live atomic bomb, or detonating it and blowing up an entire city, etc.

I get pretty into games like this, so there is no mindless shooting for me. I have killed random wanderers, or even kind civilians on occasion, if they have something of high value that I want. I honestly feel bad afterwards.

Other people could have JUST as much fun killing everything in sight I'm sure... just not me.

It doesn't feel like a shoot 'em up though. You make choices very carefully, and they DO matter.

1. How much freedom do you really have to explore the world both at first and after you start to complete some of the quest line towards the beginning? Is it like Oblivion in the sense that the world is yours to do as you please or do they limit you some how?

1. Totally open space from what I have seen. It's just this huge world and the quests give you general direction, but you can really do what you want.

2. Talk to me about side quests a little bit. Are there lots and are they available throughout the game so far? Are they fun and how are the rewards?

2. There were a fair amount... not too many, but I think I missed a few. The game doesn't feel as linear as a lot of RPG's. My roommate and I both have been playing and we both have quests that the other didn't for one reason or another.

3. Talk to me about enemy level scaling. How does it work in Fallout 3 as opposed to Oblivion. Do you like it? Why or why not?

3. I honestly haven't played enough to get a good idea yet. I have spent SO much time talking/wandering/learning that I don't know.
Link: I'm 10 hours into Fallout 3 on Anandtech.

Thanks Ausir.

News for Saturday, September 20, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 2:44

Edge had 60 minutes with Fallout 3.

There are other mixed signals. While it’s far too early to make a call on the quality of its writing, the character voice-acting is considerably better than the often disturbingly stiff inhabitants of Oblivion. There’s still a sense that the characters don’t quite act enough, however. Compared to what Vampire: Bloodlines did some years ago in terms of physical performance in a similar straight-headshot game, this is somewhat lacking. While, inevitably, the density of the original Fallouts’ text will be lost, a fully voiced game should make the most of what it’s got. Fallout 3 doesn’t quite do that.

However, as a mechanic, the conversation system appears to be working well. While there are many examples of the traditional RPG triptych of “Yes, I’ll do it”/”Yes, I’ll do it for money”/”I WILL KILL YOU!” there are generally more options, which seem to respond sensitively to your character’s make-up. For example, playing someone with the Lady-Killer perk can exploit more amorous routes to success (or its cousin, embarrassment). Similarly, stealth is firmly integrated as an alternative approach, as well as various technical options. Special mention must be made of the hacking system, whose password guessing is one of the more impressively naturalistic attempts to make a hacking ‘sim’ that is neither trivial (as in System Shock 2) or clearly a transplanted mechanism from another game (as in BioShock).
Link: Fallout 3: The First 60 Minutes.

Spotted on RPGWatch.

Posted by Brother None - at 2:06

Musical magazine Blender has one page dedicated to games (the Game Guide), in which they give short notes and scores. Fallout 3 scores 5/5, despite the fact that it's not even gold yet.



You heard it here first: Fallout 3, so good it doesn't even need to be finished to warrant a 5/5 score.

Thanks Silverslug.

Posted by Morbus - at 2:02

Nicolas Intoxicate has put up a small "DevBlog" to let us know how Afterfall is faring:

Together with the increasing number of the fans’ voices we decided to reveal the mystery of Afterfall production. That’s why we made the decision to write the first post in our Developers Blog.
Currently the work on Afterfall are very intense. And before we gonna share how much energy drinks we need each day, and how much instant noodles we eat, we need to clarify a few things:

- Afterfall was the fans’ project which has been in development for the last three years,
- Phase of pre-production was so plentiful that we could create not one but even three games,
When starting the studio and professional phase of production the world was analyzed and effect of that was putting only a few most characteristic locations into the game,
- The game mechanics has changed slightly, but you will still be able to find most of the features which were announced before. You will be informed about these few changes in our next posts,
- The action takes place few years before we originally planned, and it’s still nonlinear and very interesting,

Many of you worry that we cut out many interesting features – we will be honest with you: the game is smaller than we dreamed three years ago. However, we can assure you that it will be one of the biggest cRPG games ever,
Many of you wonder if game will ever be released, because we have been making it for a few years. It is a wrong way of thinking, as we were only on the phase of designing locations, quests and the whole Afterfall world. The actual phase of production has started in July 2008.

You need to understand that the final product will be the same Afterfall which you were waiting for, but thanks to Nicolas Games and their support, it will be much better and more professional.

In our next post you will be able to read a little about our fantastic Life System which is one of the most important features, and something you haven’t seen in any other cRPG game. We are sure that you will be very excited about life it!
So, it'll be a smaller game, but it'll be more polished. Sounds good, even if a bit of a let down for those who were expecting everything they'd promised.

Link: DevBlog @ Afterfall Community

News for Thursday, September 18, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:22

Prepare for the Future has been updated again, with 9 50s-style promotional videos and a new tv-style interface that allows you to rewind, skip or embed videos. The clips also tie into interactively chosen gameplay videos (short ones) or gameplay info.

Thanks Gstaff.

Posted by Brother None - at 22:36

Uh, ok, I guess. BethBlog interviews the guys who were in Vault Suits at PAX.


You guys really went the extra mile with the details of your costumes. What was your favorite part of your costumes?

Chad: Maybe it’s just all of the effort we poured into them, but I’ll have to go with the PipBoys.

Zac: The PipBoys for sure, but I like all the little stuff, like the Cat’s Paw magazine. We had a graphic artist friend come through for us in the 11th hour to make the Mentats boxes, which I also love.

Jav: Yeah, the PipBoys have to be my favorite as well. It was by far the most involved process in making the costumes, although the plastic knife I bought at the dollar store had some sentimental value.


After getting a chance to play Fallout 3, what can you say you enjoyed most about the game?

Chad: I was surprised how much I liked VATS, which did a lot to soothe my irrational longing for turn-based combat. The few snippets of conversation we saw were also promising, but too brief to pass any real judgment.

Zac: I liked that I could start trouble with anyone I felt and that it didn’t feel like the game was pulling any punches. Also the atmosphere was dead-on.

Jav: Initially, I had concerns I’d spend all my time harvesting nirnroot to power my energy weapons. I really enjoyed the VATS system, it manages to keep the original flavor of gameplay while speeding up combat and making it less of a grind. After I unloaded a clip into a unsuspecting raider skull in slow-mo, I was sold.
Link: Chatting with Vault Dwellers from PAX at BethBlog.

Thanks Ausir.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:35

Blogs be blogs and we're not covering all of them, but a few blog pieces caught my eye for the interesting angle they're taking. First, Christopher J Oatis writes on what Fallout 3 can learn from Wasteland.

Wasteland., much like its children Fallout 1 and 2, was very much about the players’ decision making process. Every situation had several ways to navigate though, and the way the day would end depended on the type of people the player wanted his characters to be. Whose side they should take in the power struggle for Las Vegas? Should they trade the Bloodstaff to the strange cultist or just kill them all and take their key to sewers. Maybe, the gamer even wants to get revenge on those young kids who are laughing at his characters for falling on the slippery rocks in the river. Let’s slaughter their whole settlement, or maybe we’ll just walk away. One of the most infamous sequences involved the party locating an old howitzer and with some exploring you can find shells to fire haphazardly into the downtown shopping strip with cruelly hilarious results. There was a great deal of freedom for a game of that time.

Fallout 3's trailer already has players thinking about whether or not they will be agreeing to detonate a town that lives around a dormant atom bomb. It seems Fallout 3 promises a similar type freedom is in all their media about the game, and the developers seem most intent on the idea that gamers will enjoy spending hours in the wasteland, playing around with the combat system, enjoying the environment in ways that has nothing to do with furthering the storyline. Perhaps, they will.
The Alley of Infinite Angles started doing an article series a while back (not 100% if it's still ongoing but I assume it is). He started by looking at the odd discourse surrounding Fallout 3.
Another interesting point is the myths about old and new that pervades the industry with astonishing effectiveness. Looking back at the development of Bethesda's Fallout 3 over the last few years, it's amazing how many of the reasonings, arguments and mantras regarding design decisions are made on the behalf of a "moving on with the times" logic - by developers, by journalists, and by consumers. Firstly, if it's new, it's going to be, in general, better than older stuff. It'll be stronger, faster, badder. Na na na na na. Individual technologies, techniques or games can crash and burn, misguided steps off the rails of progress: but in general, something is new for a reason. So first-person-view is inherently superior to third-person isometric (never mind that both views are, in fact, 'old'). 3D is inherently superior to 2D (even if it was clumsy and looked much worse for the first few years). So on and so forth. Temporary fads and stylistic decisions are being conflated into this great big discourse of progress, which incestuously justifies everything. Of course the 'Great New Big Thing' syndrome is a problem all over our society, but film, for example, appears to have reasonable niches for film noir and whatnot, without being pelted with tomatoes every time they insist newer is not always better. Isn't it about time the games culture grew up to this as well?

An even more interesting (read: frightening) development is how the history of games becomes obscured as well. The recent debates over first person vs. third person isometric perspectives in Fallout 3 and Diablo III have highlighted how many, many people believe that the isometric viewpoint is a relic of inferior technology in the 1990's, and first person view is the future... when first person view is at least as old as its maligned counterpart. Hell, you've got a column called The 'Forgotten' PC Games introducing games from 2002. The dedicated gamer knows his/her history well, and it's all there in the internet, sure... but there is a massive population out there who plays and buys games, and won't. People who believe, for example, G4TV's unfortunate gaff which credited current Bethesda man Todd Howard with masterminding the Elder Scrolls and the Fallout serieses (he created neither).
Next he looks at that nebulous concept, The Silent Majority.
In fact, although the silent majority is notoriously difficult to quantify and understand properly, its shadow appears everywhere. Developers constantly mention this amorphous spectre to justify their decisions, arguing that not everyone - in fact, a sizable proportion of the world - may disagree with the entire sum of those who do talk about video games. Journalists tend to agree, and even fans themselves acknowledge that this giant godzilla, with its bulging purse, will step on their puny internet arguments and march on, doing more to drive the industry and culture than their advances on the Internet ever will.

Usually, the analysis stops there. I mean, how can you talk about something you never see or hear? It's hard to know what will drive a silent majority to, as they very probably will, buy Fallout 3. Do they know about its predecessors, released in the late 1990's, and the controversies surrounding the new title? Do they realise the game is produced by Bethesda, and make connections to Bethesda's previous games? Will what the industry believes to be 'crowd-pleasers', such as spectacular, gratuitous violence (exploding nuclear cars in chain reactions, YEAH *queue metal riff*) bait this demographic just like that? Their digital footprint is virtually nonexistent. We don't know if a million people who buy the game will be disappointed, and a little more jaded, put the game on the shelf: we don't know what parts of the game they will especially enjoy, and make them keep playing. The strong focus on the Internet as a source of communication and networking in the industry means that even compared to other media industries (where this is hardly perfect either), the silent majority is less understood than ever.
Recommended reading, all three of them.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:27

G4 X-Play has an interview with Todd Howard, at PAX.

Adam Sessler: What are you noticing in people's reactions, in how they're playing the game that is surprising you?

Todd Howard: I guess I'm not surprised at how much they like the violence, y'know, they go right for it. People like to see the dialogues - we haven't showed a lot of it, so they like to go to Megaton, go around and see the different personalities. But once we tell them - y'know, they only have ten minutes - so if they go to Megaton and we tell them "hey, you only got a few minutes left" they start shooting the first person in front of them. Y'know, nice old ladies, and they just go BAM, they start going for it.

Adam Sessler: What happens in that town when that happens?

Todd Howard: Everybody goes crazy on you, starts shooting you, so you have to - it's a tough combat situation, so most people here just die or run out of town with bullets flying.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:16

Fallout 3 has been rated 18+ for NZ, which is getting the same release as the rest of the world according to GamePlanet Store.

Word just through from the local distributor that Fallout 3 has been classified R18: Contains Graphic Violence and Offensive Language.

They also sent through some other info in relation to the classification...

To put some rumours to rest, the version releasing here in New Zealand is the same version that will be released globally. Fallout 3 publisher Bethesda has confirmed that the cuts made to its upcoming post-apocalyptic RPG in order to gain the approval of Australian censors have been incorporated into the international version of the title.
Spotted on PlanetFallout.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:15

Kikizo.

What struck me first about Fallout 3 is how depressingly real the world seems. The crumpled highway that crisscrosses your immediate terrain, the delapidated buildings and the all-too-depressing landscape of rocks and boulders ring true with my own imagined post-apocalyptic world. The feelings of desertion and desperation are amplified by an ambient soundtrack that resonates with the visuals.

My first destination was the ramshackle town of Megaton, a reconstructed burg where desperate people live clustered around an unexploded device that gives the settlement its name. On my way to Megaton I came across an old man on the side of the road. He was begging for water, which I had in my inventory. I offered the old man, Nick, some water and felt a warm feeling course through me as he thanked me and chugged it down. I then shot him in the face, seeing his head explode, earning me bad karma in the process. But that was about it for negative repurcussions. In areas outside of the cities where the law is enforced, it seems that anything goes. The only barriers are those erected by your morality - or the morality you've chosen to live by in the game.
Spotted on PlanetFallout.

News for Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 1:45

From GC, an interview with Pete Hines.

Who are you expecting to play the game? Will it be mainly new players, or will it be players who've had experience of the series previously?

I think it'll probably skew a lot towards newer players, just if you look at how many people bought or played Fallout before, versus what we're looking at sales-wise, the numbers don't add up, there's got to be a lot of new players. Either that or all the original Fallout players need to buy ten copies each!

I think it'll be a mix. Even on 360, or PS3, there are a lot of people who used to be PC players in the 90s - maybe still are - but maybe they now play consoles and they're likely to play Fallout on these platforms. Rather than PC... that's their new platform of choice now.
Weekly Blend offers a video interview.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:32

IGN has expanded its Planet-network with a subsite for Fallout, called Planet Fallout. It is purportedly for the Fallout series but appears to be aimed mostly at Fallout 3, with a wiki, a postcard generator and some widgets. Also, it's Bethesda approved.

Amusingly enough, Duck and Cover's old address (and I do mean really old) of http://www.rpgplanet.com/fallout now redirects to Planet Fallout. Eat your heart out, Kreegle.

News for Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 7:04

After some delays, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky should be in North American stores today, and is available on Direct2Drive as per this press release.

Spotted on Blue's News.

Posted by Brother None - at 6:42

Big fans of airsoft games may get a kick out of this one:

My name is Bob, I am an airsoft player and a hardcore Fallout fan. My airsoft team, the Fallout Rangers (http://www.falloutrangers.gr) is organizing a big airsoft event next month (26 Oct 2008), based on the Fallout universe.

The scenario is called "Wasteland2: Rise of the mutants". There will be four teams: the Enclave, the mutants, the Raiders and of course, the Vault Dwellers. The duration will be 6 hours and there are about 20 quests for the players to complete.

The story takes place just before Fallout 2 starts.

The game is not just a shoot first ask questions later type of game. There will be NPCs that give quests, items to be found, riddles and hidden objectives to be discovered and many more.

Characters from Fallout will appear like Set, Vic, Brotherhood of Steel paladins, the President, Marcus and many more.

The website is currently in greek language but an english language is in the works.

http://www.falloutrangers.gr/wasteland

Here's a sample of the props we are going to use, a real life GECK, and a motivational poster:


Wasteland3 will be international! I hope to see you there!

Posted by Brother None - at 6:32

Karel sent in a small update of Fallout 2 total conversion project Fallout: Between Good & Evil.



"BGE Team" has grown since May:

* LUBOR KASAL (CZ), a tremendous writer. Lubor, has created some magnificent texts and with Prebral formed a duo of writers who produce very interesting dialogues. It should be noted that our new author is Tvar.
* KETLING (SVK), high quality programmer, who practises “less talk, more code”.
* DANIEL NIMOHAJ alias DONALD X (SVK), artist. Despite never playing Fallout, his artworks and loading screens are extraordinary (see the gallery). Feel free to visit his personal blog.
* A very new member is JOTISZ (GRE / HUN), who should be helping us here and there with art, also a not very active programmer INHUMAN.
* The last (but not least) is artist JAN ŽIVOCKÝ aka ZRUUD (CZ), who has shown a very good satirical talent! Also, he has previous experience with PC games – he participated in the “El Matador” project of (now nonexistant) studio "Plastici".

----

As for free positions, there aren't many left. Specifically, there is enough writers and mappers. However, we still seek

* Programmers (C/Pascal knowledge is a must, it didn't change from the last time...)
* Artists, able to create:

a) artworks
b) loading screens and town-arts (mostly 3D with 2D post-processing)
* Animators (we currently unfortunately have only one,)
* Sounds / music creator

You can contact us here.

Posted by Brother None - at 6:22

Blinzler sent in a translation of Gamestar's Fallout 3 preview. Some quotes:

This shows clearly that - despite updates to its core - Bethesdas Gamebryo engine is obsolete technology. At least now the textures in the distance no longer look as foggy as they did in Oblivion. And it is to be expected that the hardware-requirements won't be out of this world - good news for RPGamers with older systems.
That the PC version of Fallout 3 will be tuned to the abilities of modern graphics cards - is not to be expected. The version we saw at the Games Convention was according to Bethesda employees almost finished. We don't expect therefore that the graphics of the PC version will undergo any changes until the release date of October 31, 2008.
Back on our hill, which impressively proved with it's surrounding view that one of the central of the Fallout series is still very much alive - the freedom to act as you please. Though while the overview map clearly depicts our first target we very much have the freedom to go where we want. So of course we turn our back on the suggested target and go the other way into the hostile world.
(...)
This conglomeration of enemies ranging from the pitiful to the pitiless is already well known to fans of the series, as are the tough Super Mutants, Enclave Soldiers and Sentrybots you'll meet later on in the game. Occasionally Fallout 3 adds some new creation into the Mix, e.g. the above mentioned Yao Guai or the pendant to the known "Mr.Handy" bot - called "Mr.Gutsy".
We meet one of these hovering spheres in our exploration - and are greeted with plasma rays and a flamethrower.
(...)
Additionally the quest in Megaton impressively show that Fallout 3 once again offers a wide variety of solutions to a given situation. To get information about your father from the slick Moriarity you can work for him (collect money from people who loaned some), bribe him, sneak into his office and hack into his computer or sweet talk the prostitute Nora to give you the password. Of course you can just off the guy as well - evil actions are just acceptable to the game as good ones and they have consequences - in Megaton Murderers and Thiefs quickly get in trouble. This of course isn't going to matter much to those without scruple, since it's a town that's just waiting to have it's bomb set off.

Final Thought
Christian Schmidt
The game is finished, I was told, now all that remains is polishing. The test play played without glitches.
Even though I saw potential game play issues, the Fallout fan inside me is giddy like a little kid. The only worry I have: Will the motivation hold on? Even now it's visible that this bleak world will have repetitive and long winded moments. My hope is - the quest will make this worthwhile.
Potential: Very Good

Posted by Brother None - at 6:18

No surprise here: after some research GameWare concludes that there will be no German-language uncensored version of Fallout 3, or in other words the version published in all German-speaking countries will be the German censored version.

This tends to be how publishers normally do it.

Thanks Ausir.

Posted by Brother None - at 6:16

Bethesda has held its traditional office speed run competition.

Back at E3, Todd talked some game — claiming that when it came for the speed run, he’d be the one coming out victorious. Umm…not quite. The finals came down to level designer Jeff “Live the Dream” Browne and QA Tester (and the most recent cover boy for Inside the Vault) Sam”I Am” Bernstein.

The final showdown began at 11am with both guys starting from the exact same point. The winner would be determined by who gets to the game ending first.

Early on, Sam coasted through the character generation process — providing him a 1-2 minute cushion that lasted throughout most of the run. You would have thought he was leading by a lot more, as he casually bopped his head to music (more on that later).
Link: Fallout 3 Speed Run: It was that close.

Thanks Ausir.

News for Monday, September 15, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 19:24

This article definitely deserves a prize for most liberal, meaningless usage of the term "innovative".

5. New and Innovative Health System.
Sometime in the middle of last generation, some bimbo said "health bars suck!", and suddenly, they were never seen in a video game again. What was once a staple amongst all releases has become outdated as fast as Michael Jackson jokes, with the entire industry switching to the "magically replenish" system for a more realistic feel (yeah. riiiiiiiight).

I have many problems with the new system, but after years of hating it, it has eventually grown on me (hey, if you were forced to eat dog shit for four years straight, eventually, you would start to tolerate it). Still, now that we're entering a time where new, more interesting health-related ideas have come into fruition, it's about time we open up the jar of hate and replace it for good.

Fallout 3 is going to offer the best answer to the problematic system of today. One thing that has always pissed me off about the current health system is that it can't really differentiate the severity of the locations in which you're affected. For example, if you're shot in the foot, you recover just as fast as if you were shot in the neck. Last time I checked, breathing heavily for ten seconds isn't the cure to a gun wound.

Fallout 3 has introduced a newer, more realistic system: rather than having one, almighty health bar for the entire body, there are different, specially designed bars for your head, torso and legs. While the words "health bars" may be synonymous with "1998" these days, the mixture that Fallout 3 is expecting to put into use can be something more realistic than anything you will ever see in, Call of Duty 4, Crysis or Bioshock (I don't care what excuses Bioshock used to guise it's recovery system, it was still the worst part about the game.)

Here's a blast from the past: health containers will be coming back to Fallout 3 in all shapes and size. Love them or hate them, it just makes plain sense: if you're bleeding, get a fucking first-aid kit! Don't sit on your ass and wait for the magical fairy to come around and sprinkle you with her pixie dust.
I mean seriously.
2. Slooooow-moooootion death animations.
One can look at this much-heralded facet of the game and label it as the title's "Wow" factor, which will invariably wear off after a week of gameplay. While they are probably right (and when I use the pronoun "they", I mean refer to the "Union of Global Crybabies"), it still doesn't take away from the fact that the one week of enjoying it will be more satisfying than one thousand present-day chainsaws animations and Spartan teabags combined together (*facepalm* for another Halo 3 reference again).

The slow-motion kill camera that Fallout 3 boasts is going to be an absolute treat for gamers, and for me to state it as anything else would be lying through my off-white teeth. Whether it be the hundreds of unique animations that play, the various amount of weapons at your disposal (why someone hasn't yet thought of "mini-nukes" in this industry is beyond me), and just to have something different than the standard chainsaw/pistol whip combination is a welcomed change of pace.

And to the haters: rather than moaning about how this feature has the possibility of becoming boring, why not embrace its originality? After all, this is the industry that has so willingly adopted such singular practices like giant laser beams as means to kill; why give an innovative animation feature so much heat? I'm not.
He thinks slow motion death animations are something new?

Link: Fallout 3: Prepare to be blown away on Xbox Focus.

News for Sunday, September 14, 2008

Posted by Morbus - at 22:50

Lots to tell, people, lots to tell. First off, let me introduce you to the Ruins of Zamedi, once the second largest city of Age of Decadence's world:



Now, on to the newly created topic about character generation. There's quite a bit of a discussion around the looks of the screen, and not so much about its actual content, but it's still nice to see a few screenshots:



There's also a new topic about the looks of the terrain. Apparently Oscar has been working on the old blurry textures and made a few improvements. There's the old (to the left) and the new (to the right):



Oh, and by the way, do you remember The Bridge we covered a while back? Vince let us look at the new polished version:



Lastly, there were some concerned citizens worried that they might miss the debut of the game. Here's what Nick had to say about it:
Well, we'll send an email to all registered forumites when the AoD is out, whether they want it or not! MWHAHAHA!

News for Saturday, September 13, 2008

Posted by The Vault Dweller - at 8:14

A new "Inside the Vault" article has been posted at Bethesda Blog this time interviewing Daryl Brigner the level designer for Fallout 3.

What is the best part about working as a level designer? The worst part?

Well, I never get tired of creating worlds for people to explore. So, I’d have to say the best part is the freedom to do what I want. When you’re designing your own world/dungeon, the only limitation is your imagination. And, that brings me to the worst part.

Not having any idea what you are going to do with a certain dungeon/space, but still having to get it done. This can be very stressful. When I’m faced with this dilemma like this I go to my fellow Level Designers for ideas. We always come up with something, but it’s still aggravating to have your mind go blank when you are searching for ideas.
Let's all hope he does a good job for the upcoming game.

News for Thursday, September 11, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 1:19

For its third anniversary, FIFE is being renamed from Flexible Isometric Fallout(-like) Engine to Flexible Isometric Free Engine, and sadly loses part of its team.

Linux OpenGL bug fixed

At the beginning we're proud to announce that one of the OpenAnno programmers - who also recently joined FIFE developent - has finally tracked down a bug that caused issues for us for over a year. The bug caused segfaults on some Linux systems if FIFE was built with OpenGL support whenever an exception was thrown. Yonibear found out that the issue is caused by bad Linux OpenGL drivers that were compiled with a special thread-local-storage flag that collided with libstdc++.

I don't want to bore you with details: the workaround that he found is to explicitly link against libstdc++ before linking against any OpenGL libraries. The fix has been applied to the FIFE trunk and a bug report has been filed. Great work Yonibear!

Rewrite of the rendering pipeline

It looks like Yonibear can't get enough of digging through C++ code so he decided to start looking into cleaning up the rendering pipeline to build a fundament for optimizing it later. We've opened a poll at our forums to find out who's still using the SDL rendering backend - especially now that the !OpenGL Linux bug was finally fixed. We want to find out if it's worth still supporting software rendering or if we should get rid of it; this might give us the chance to optimize the OpenGL renderer further as we don't need to worry about backwards compatibility.

Some first new rendering code can be already found in our Subversion repository in a separate branch. Fell free to check it out!

FIFE becomes Flexible Isometric Free Engine

The poll about the new name for the project has recently ended. We searched for a new name / acronym meaning for the project to underline that we've moved away from our Fallout roots. The proposal "Flexible Isometric Free Engine" clearly won the poll and the key developers I've spoken to were all fine with this new name. So we're proud to announce the new name of the project: long live the Flexible Isometric Free Engine!

3 years of FIFE birthday party


I planned to announce this way earlier but unfortunately university kept me busy :-/ FIFE turns 3, tomorrow, 2008/09/11. Every interested developer, supporter and community member is invited to have a chat with the FIFE developers and party with us a bit. Meet us in the evening hours (GMT) at the official FIFE IRC channel.

My departure

Another reason why you might want to attend the IRC birthday party tomorrow is because it is also my personal departure party. I was working on FIFE for over 3 years (I've been already involved in the project that later was transformed into FIFE) and I really enjoyed working with so many talented and enthusiastic other developers. In this 3 years there was less time for other activities outside of FIFE, e.g. university and my private life. Now it's finally the time that I'll sort out these two things and I've found out that I'm not good at doing so while trying to spend as much time as possible on FIFE. Last but not least I need to admit that my personal motivation sank in the last months. If you've been doing something for such a long timespan, the time might come when you simply want to do something different. This time has come for me now.
Link: Music when the lights go out - FIFE update.

News for Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 21:59

None of our staffers had the time or funds to drop in on either E3, GC or PAX. But since the Fallout fan perspective is still kind of lacking in most previews, we thought we'd ask two of our users who did have a chance to play the game at PAX how they felt about it, from a fan's perspective.

Attention to detail is greater than any Bethesda game and the sheer size and scope is underplayed in the videos which often time lapse. However, animation is still standard Bethesda fare; stiff movement, cartoony blood, and a general lack of weight. Particle effects like smoke and lighting are great but why is it that a character walking down a ramp looks like he’s gliding an inch above the ground?

The sound is also a mixed bag with voice acting ranged from decent to downright laughable (the entire crowd chuckled when Burke went “Excellent… EXCELLENT!”). Some guns sound nice and powerful while others are barely noticeable. The laundry list of licensed music is fantastic and fits the setting but hearing a mole rat or radscorpion charge at you is underwhelming.

This game isn’t Fallout (and that goes without saying). However, it’s NOT Oblivion with guns. Fallout 3 is best described as “An Action RPG Set in a Re-imagined Fallout Universe.” The game is entertaining and I say that proudly. Don’t let the ignorance of executives and press officials who’ve probably never touched Fallout negatively influence your enjoyment of an honestly decent game.
Op-ed: Fallout 3 PAX Impressions.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:51

UGO GamesBlog got in contact with Pete Hines and found the name-change of morphine to Med-X to be the only change Bethesda made in response to censorship questions.

UGO: Just wanted to confirm the annoucement that all versions of Fallout 3 would be indentical, with the changes being made to the names of specific drugs (changing them from real-world names to in-universe names). Can you be more specific? If I recall, all of the drugs in the builds we’ve played were made-up names like Buffout and Mentats.

Pete Hines: The chems in the original Fallout used fictional names...Buffout, Jet, Rad-X, etc. Those all appear in Fallout 3 in exactly the same way as before.

We had added a new chem to Fallout 3 and had given it a real-world name, Morphine. Questions were raised about the use of that real-world drug, not only in Australia, but other territories as well. We decided there was no reason it needed to be named that and it should be a fictional name like the other chems, so we changed it to “Med-X”.

That’s the change we made in response to those concerns, nothing else.
Thanks Kareem.

Posted by Brother None - at 1:28

Bethesda is cutting real world drug references out of Fallout 3 for all releases. That means no morphine.

Calling the idea of an Australia-specific version of the game a “misconception,” Hines told us, “We want to make sure folks understand that the Australian version of Fallout 3 is identical to both the UK and North American versions in every way, on every platform.”

He continued, “An issue was raised concerning references to real world, proscribed drugs in the game, and we subsequently removed those references and replaced them with fictional names. To avoid confusion among people in different territories, we decided to make those substitutions in all versions of the game, in all territories.”
Link: Censors Force Fallout 3 Changes on Edge Online.

Thanks Ausir.

News for Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 1:14

Gone with the Blastwave...hasn't updated. Instead it offers us a look at an alternative Blastwave idea.

This is not a reboot or a change or anything like that. This is actually one of the ideas I came up with when I thought about making an april fools thing.

I'm just putting this here because... I didn't get any other page done.
Meanwhile, Falloup Online has been updating steadily and is just entering a new chapter, the first pages of which look pretty cool already.

News for Sunday, September 7, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 1:19

Another update with some new developments and new screenshots of Zero Projekt.

About entering buildings...
Up to now, the buildings in Zero weren't accessible by design. By creating tiled walls, we changed this now. Btw - our developers agreed to not use a system which introduces loading times if you enter a building. They said this would the worst thing you can do to the players.


Fight, loot, allocate
After hardening the item system, we introduced lootable containers (which happen to be dead npcs, too). This adds a lot more fun to the available gameplay, though.


Welcome on board, Tor
Again, we are able to introduce a new team member of Zero. Tor - a skilled role player who also works as game master for Fallout PnPs - is reinforcing our story and gameplay department.

News for Saturday, September 6, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 22:07

PSU interviews Pete Hines. Nothing interesting in there.

PSU: How do you intend to make Fallout 3 approachable to those who haven't played the earlier games in the series?

Pete Hines: Well, we make sure you don't have to have played the previous Fallout games to understand what's going on in Fallout 3. Obviously the control scheme should be familiar with folks who have played a 1st or 3rd person game. That was one of the nice things I heard at PAX from a number of folks is that they felt like the basic controls were pretty intuitive and seemed to pick up on things like how to use the Pip-Boy or the V.A.T.S. combat system pretty quickly.

Posted by Brother None - at 0:14

We've seen Fallout timelines before, but UGO has done a nicely written timeline, with pictures.

Following decades of increased privatization on a global scale and deterioting relationships between international governments, the Resource Wars erupt in April 2052. Over the next two-plus decades, skirmishes major and minor rage as the world's superpowers confront one another. The feud, which has its roots in the rising prices of the world's oil supply, quickly flares into a multi-national rush for control of every available natural resource. Notable events include the collapse of both the United Nations and the European Commonwealth, the destruction of Tel Aviv beneath a nuclear conflagration, China's invasion of Alaska and the United States' annexation of Canada. This period also sees the more widespread use of biological warfare, which proves to have lasting consequences.

With the world crumbling all around, the United States government commissions the construction of a series of subterranean shelters to be built by the Vault-Tec corporation. These "Vaults," as they are dubbed, are designed to house a maximum of 1,000 individuals; only 122 are ever built. As we now know the Vaults were in fact a series of unique social experiments, each subjecting its residents to a different set of factors. The ultimate goal of these experiments was to develop plans for re-colonizing the planet in the aftermath of whichever cataclysmic event required the use of the Vault in the first place.
Go and pick out the flaws, Ausir.

News for Friday, September 5, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:37

VG247, in its usual fragmented style. Fallout 3’s gameplay is like “organised chaos”.

“It’s sort of like organised chaos,” the Bethesda man told VG247 at Games Convention.

“In order for the player to be able to go wherever they want, they have to know they can get back to whatever it is that they wanted to be doing, or were supposed to be doing, which for most folks is the main quest.
Tradeshow demos can be frustrating.
“To your point, it does make it a bit like, ‘Well, what are you doing at E3?’ versus, ‘What are you doing at Leipzig?’ Go do what you want. If you played it at E3, go in a different direction this time. That’s what we do well.”

Fallout 3 did come under some fire after E3, where journalists were allowed to play the game for 30 minutes.

“You play the game and you see what you think,” Hines said previously on the matter.

Posted by Brother None - at 23:27

The British Board of Film Classification has rated Fallout 3 18, with no edits, GamePolitics reports.

That's the word from the British Board of Film Classification, which yesterday stamped the much-anticipated Bethesda title with an 18 rating, meaning that it can legally be sold to those of that age and older.
Also.
When submitted to the BBFC the linear elements within the work had a running time (eg cut scenes) of 56m 9s.
Fallout 3 rating on BBFC.

Posted by Brother None - at 16:19

Afterfall launched a new website.

Some of you might already be familiar with Afterfall game project from before we had joined Nicolas Games. Now, we are entering a new stage of game's development. Every person who had been working hard on the game for the past three years, has now been given an opportunity to work in a brand new development studio – Nicolas Intoxicated. We have been working intensively for a couple of weeks now, and the results we got, are more than satisfactory.

We are all very excited. In spite of media-silence lately (apologies for the impatient fans, who diligently track progress of our project), we can assure you soon you'll be getting more coverage from us, and not only on the game itself. Almost every person in our team works on things, we definitely want to share with you. Sometimes we are confused, because we would like to show you every stage of the development progress, even the smallest bits – talk about our plans and share our happiness with you. On the other hand, we really want to surprise you by some things, which have never before been part of any other game. And because of that, we also need to introduce a little dose of mystery.

However, in time, you will find out everything about Afterfall. It is not only cRPG game (remember! It’s not a game with RPG-elements only!) takes place in post-apocalyptic world. It is a huge project, in which we put our hearts and power. This is the game which every single one of us wants to play and we are convinced that when you know our project better – you will share our enthusiasm.

We encourage you to visit our website – afterfall.pl and join the ranks of our forum members, where you can talk both with fans and part of the game developer team alike.
And this great concept art:

Posted by Brother None - at 0:39

GayGamer.

On our way to Megaton, we stopped in a few abandoned buildings to test out or enemy blasting abilities. We only had one weapon, but it was quite effective against the nuclear created monstrosities that seemed to be lurking around every corner. Where the game really shine is the V.A.T.S targeting system. A quick press of the right trigger freezes the action and allows you to target certain body parts. Once your targeting points have been spent, a press of the A button will start a slow motion scene as your bullets rip through the enemy's body causing limbs and other body parts (depending on where you targeted) to go flying. It was especially satisfying when the enemy was right on top of you, about to strike and you could send its head exploding in three different directions.
That VideoGame Blog.
I ran down to the bomb, planted the charge, and turned around to see the town sheriff, Lucas Simms, asking me what I was doing. At first I was afraid that I had been caught red-handed, but surprisingly I was easily able to convince him that I was just wandering around and was just about to leave. I left the settlement, and started hoofing it towards the meeting place, a tower out in the distance. It took a while to make it out there, but looking around and seeing the post-apocalyptic ruins around me was enough to stay occupied. When I finally reached the tower, I met Mr. Burke at the top on a balcony, where I was then instructed to throw a switch to detonate the nuke, and along with it the town of Megaton. I did, and the explosion was like nothing I have ever seen in-game before. After watching the innocents die, and being told my demo was over, I decided to end it in style. I pulled out a bat I had in my inventory and beat Burke to death, then jumped off the balcony with a good five seconds of free fall ending with an instant death, which was no surprise after such a high fall.
Spotted on F3: APNB.

Posted by horse - at 0:01

Since it has been tested by several major gaming magazines and online sites, i figured it would be time to give some hints for prospective buyers and all of you, who really liked the first game.

According to Metacritic, the hardcopies are by far more positive about the game, while the online reviews see this game in the 70% area. Since i have no permission from the magazines, i can only quote the online reviews, which, hopefully, will not skewer your view of the game itself.


What is Clear Sky? One year previous to the "Shadows of Chernobyl" events, a group of stalkers reaches the center of the zone (the nuclear power plant) and nearly brings a catastrophe to the surroundings. Gigantic blowouts change the zone and devour whole areas and their inhabitants. In this unstable zone, factions battle for supremacy.

Basic gameplay is that one of a shooter with mild rpg elements, since you do quests, loot enemies, and improve your armor and weapons on the way. You can also equip artifacts sprung from so-called anomalies which boost your stats and resistances.


The Russian Collectors Edition


The Reviews:

Print Reviews are thus far very positive and rate it 88%-90%.

90% from games(TM):
"Clear Sky chiefly succeeds because it transforms grim fantasy into a startlingly real-world experience. [Oct 2008, p.108]"

88% from PC Zone UK:
"Clear Sky is a unique experience, so far unparalleled save for its predecessor. [Oct 2008, p.52]"

88% from Games Master UK:
"Clear Sky delivers a more AI-driven, frightening and altogether more dangerous world than its predecessor ever could. [Oct 2008, p.77]"


Starting with IGN, which gave it a 7.0/10 rating:
"Clear Sky doesn't achieve that. Its take on the Zone, though fundamentally very similar, is seriously overpopulated, cursed with awful writing and saddled with design madness that makes progression a cheerless chore rather than a survivalist joy. 'Atmosphere' is a dangerously vague word to apply to a game, but it's the touchstone description of what the original Stalker did best: spookiness, grimness, weird beauty. Atmosphere is what Clear Sky most critically lacks, and why it could be the most disappointing PC game of 2008."
But:
"Yet, for all its failings, Clear Sky is still built over S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s mighty framework, and even in its lowest moments it can't topple that proud structure. There is horror, there is beauty (though sadly the newly-enhanced lighting model brings even a top-tier graphics card to its knees, so you'll end up back on the older visual settings) and there is often thrilling gunplay. It's not an RPG but it is playing in Deus Ex and System Shock 2's territory to a certain extent -- an FPS where you call your character's shots, in a world you can carve something like your own path through."
PC Gamer UK gives it a whopping 68% and tells us why:
"This review will largely ignore the fact of the game's staggering system specs and occasional instability. These are bugs which can and will be ironed out, or facts of technology that will be moderated by our simply having better PCs in the months to come. What cannot be so easily smoothed away are the bad design decisions."
Uh oh. On the freshly implemented faction wars, in which you can actively participate and lead your chosen faction to victory:
"Worse, perhaps, there's no sense that any real kind of struggle for control of the zone is going on, just a series of contrived, disconnected, arbitrary skirmishes - like those of a multiplayer game."
Eurogamer gives us another 70% review.
"It's a graphically improved prequel that integrates a mass of things that were promised for Stalker with assorted game tweaks that - on paper - sound as if they'd improve the immersion of the game considerably. In practice, it mainly shows that there are no good or bad ideas: only good and bad executions."

"It plays much like any realistic-edged FPS does, but with minor RPG elements (you can improve your equipment or equip ability-improving artifacts) and it's in a living open-world. It's basically Oblivion with gu... oh, we've used that one before."
For reviews from the community, take a look into the gsc forums for stalker-clear sky .

Edit 09/07/08:
Day-One-Patch: 1.5.03 here
Patch 1.01 here

News for Thursday, September 4, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 23:58

Gamasutra (who managed to get on Google's attack site list somehow) interviews Fallout 3 lead designer Emil Pagliarulo. It's a huge, 4-page interview, worth a read, but it's more general chit-chat than Fallout 3-specific.

So that's Oblivion versus Fallout, but what about the separate challenge of writing for a sequel that is being made by none of its original creators, and that has gained something of a mythical status, even among a lot of gamers who never played the original titles?

EP: Being completely honest, you don't. You don't try to. When you try to, you're setting yourself up to fail. You have to be confident in your own abilities and do the best you can do. We looked at Fallout 1 as our model.

It's interesting to me. I will lurk in a lot of forums -- never post, but see -- and one of the things you hear a lot is, when we've released a couple dialogue screenshots, "Oh, those dialogue options are so short!" Well, if you look in a lot of --

Todd Howard, executive producer: (Pokes head into interview) Emil lies!

EP: It's all true! I swear! I created Fallout.

But really, if you look in Fallout, there are a lot of short dialogue options. So you're right, there is a bit of a mythical quality there.

We really looked at Fallout 1 as our model. It's all about giving players a choice and giving the player the voice they want to use. We backed away from the stuff in Fallout 2, the more campy, pop culturey stuff.

We tried to stay away from trying to emulate anyone specifically. You know, [Fallout 2 co-designer] Chris Avellone -- fantastic writer; those are huge shoes to fill. You can't think about that too much. You'll become paralyzed.
(...)
Going back to your comments on the PC industry, where do you think that's going? It seems like the PC industry is trying to figure itself out right now.

EP: It's funny. There are a lot of great PC games still being made, don't get me wrong. Now you're seeing a lot of great Eastern European games that are coming into their own. You look at something like The Witcher, which is a fantastic game. It's going to be made even better with the huge patch they're doing.

At the end of the day, it's a numbers game. It's still the case that a decently-selling PC game sells 300,000 copies or 400,000 copies, while a decently-selling console game sells around a million copies.

For a lot of publishers, they can't help but look at that. It's hard to take a chance on a new, high-scale PC game, unless it's [World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the] Lich King or Half-Life 3.

PC gaming will never die. But I think there's definitely a tendency towards consoles because of that. As more smaller developers get eaten up by the larger publishers, and that's what they want... We're still committed to PC gamers, and we'll never stop doing that, but I think we're a dying breed. We'll see.

I think a lot of that is due to scale -- a big, full-scale project like Bethesda's would be impossible to justify as a PC exclusive, but then you look at what Stardock does. They just teamed up with Gas Powered Games, another PC-oriented dev.

EP: Yeah, it's funny you mentioning Stardock, because it was such a good feeling to look at the PAX exhibit hall map and see that Stardock has such a big booth. Good for them! I've played Stardock games, and I think they're great.

It's a good model. That model works for them. They don't sell millions of copies of their games, and that's okay for them. They've got a little bit of a lower budget. If that's the model that works for the future, then great.

Posted by Brother None - at 23:45

Over on BGSF, lead designer Emil Pagliarulo answered some questions.

can you target cars in VATS to explode?

No, you can't. We actually experimented with that for a while, but found that the "battlefield" got so littered with explodable objects that you ended up having too many targets to cycle through, or the the camera would autozoom onto a car instead of the target you wanted, etc. So, like a lot of things, we started off that way, played the game and realized it didn't work, and changed it.

does stealing cost less -karma then murder?

Yes, definitely. I find that's how I maintain my "Neutral" karma level with my current character (crazy Raider-looking girl named Fahrenheit) -- I'll generally be nice to people (which earns good karma), and then rip them off blind (which earns bad karma). If I were to go around murdering people, I'd jump pretty quickly down to "Evil."

can an evil character make a redeeming decision and become good and vice versa? (and it makes sense)

Yes! That became one of our big goals, actually -- redemption. There are ways a completely good character can turn evil, but that's easy -- just go on a killing spree. But there are also ways for a completely evil character to turn good. You can complete quests in an obviously "good" way, donate money to a church, give purified water to a better, etc. etc. So yeah, we definitely support that.

I had one character who was totally evil. I blew up Megaton, went on a killing spree... and then Dogmeat taught me how to love. Role-playing FTW!
Thanks Incognito.

Posted by Brother None - at 20:03

Talking to PlayStation Universe, Pete Hines reveals that on top of no DLC, the PS3 version will not have trophies at launch.

"Not at launch," said Hines, during an interview with PSU.com to be published later today.

"It remains to be seen what we do down the road. It wasn't something we were able to incorporate into the game for launch."
Harsh. Definitely no love for PS3 gamers there.

Thanks Incognito.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:37

Joystiq tries out Fallout 3 and talks with Emil Pagliarulo.

That said, you don't have to kill anything to beat the game. Almost. Said Pagliarulo, "I don't want to make a blanket statement and say entire game, but a good part of it, several portions." He said one tester beat the game by killing only the rat roach at the beginning. Protip: If you go this route, raise your sneak and science skills -- let other people fight for you and hire mercenaries.
(...)
# The team went back and forth on the concept of karma (i.e. the measure of good vs. evil), ultimately deciding to consider it a universal force, meaning no one has to see you be evil to affect your karma. You can still commit crimes without getting caught, however.
# We were able to try picking locks using a bobby pin and a screwdriver. Unlike Oblivion, you can't pick every lock with a low-skilled character. According to Pagliarulo, a higher skill level is required for some of the necessary tools.
Thanks Incognito.

News for Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 21:50

Edge Online offers a pretty good list of top video gaming moments, with some picks that will make you smile in reminiscence (though they miss some of my personal favs, including Torment, Bloodlines and Pathologic, but heck, lists always do). Of course Fallout is in there:


Fallout
The Glow
1997

The highly radioactive area known as “The Glow” was an exercise in “show don’t tell” storytelling, which Black Isle Studios executed masterfully. Some fans revere The Glow as the best part of the overall series. (Pic courtesy nma-fallout.com forums.)
The Glow is definitely one of the game-defining moments, and the way the BoS carelessly sends you to it (and thus - they think - to your certain doom) without a second thought really highlights the way Fallout approached humanity. But is it the location or moment of the game? For me, it competes with Junktown for best location and both the ending and the Master dialogue for greatest moment. What do you think?

Posted by Brother None - at 18:50

TeamXbox interviews Todd Howard about rounding up the game, with some general questions.

What are you doing right now, just tweaks and bug fixes?

Todd Howard: Yeah, bug fixes. And making sure because we have the three platforms – 360, PS3 and PC – that, you know, it’s going to be consistent quality across the board. Because we might tweak one thing on one of the platforms, and it has to trickle through the other ones. So that’s kind of the stage we’re in; late play bugs, things like that. Because the game is so big, and there are so many ways to play it – at the end of the day, no matter how much time we put into it, you get it out there to millions of people and if somebody is gonna find something they will, and we’ve just got to keep it to something that is not that embarrassing.

At this point you’re sort of content complete, but you guys are pretty creative. Do you find yourself still having ideas and saying, “oh man, we should do this, but it’s sort of too late.”

Todd Howard: Yeah, we put those right now in our downloadable content stack, because you have to stop at some point to be able to handle the bugs that come up from long term play. So now they go in the stack of “what do we want to do with downloadable content?” Because we’re definitely going to be doing a bunch. And we’d like to put them in meatier packages than just doing a one-off. Like, “here’s a weapon and here’s a new enemy”. We want to put them in themed packages that gives the player four or five hours of something that feels tight.
VideoGamer.com interviews Pete Hines and asks a lot of interesting questions.
VideoGamer.com: How much do you feel that the game is a continuation of what existed in the Fallout series before, and to what extent do you think it's evolved into something new?

Peter Hines: Well, my hope is that it's 100 per cent a continuation of what was there before, that even with some new ideas injected into it, or some new ways of doing things, that it's a sequel to the Fallout games or to the Fallout universe. That was every bit our intention. We didn't think, "Ok, we'll keep 60 percent of the old games and the rest can be new stuff. Everything we do, even when it's new, needs to be in the tone and of the original games. Take VATS, for example. The violence is almost like Kill Bill , kind of silly and over-the-top - but that was how it needed to feel for Fallout. We didn't want it to just be violent; Fallout was violent but was also funny, like when you blew a guy away and his body split in half before it toppled over. We wanted cool stuff like that, and we wanted to really immerse you in this world. We wanted to make it more daunting, so that when you are walking through the destroyed streets of DC and the blown-up buildings are looming over you, you get this claustrophobic feeling.
(...)
VideoGamer.com: Interesting moral choices have always been a big part of the Fallout series. The whole Megaton situation has been given lots of coverage, but are there a lot of similar decisions to be made in this game?

PH: There are various parts of that spectrum. It can be as simple as the fact that the first time you show up outside of Megaton, there's a beggar asking for purified water - which is really hard to come by in the wasteland. If you want to, you can give him some and get good karma, and he'll be like, "Wow, I can really have this?". Or you can tell him to got to hell and screw himself. At another moment you'll meet a ghoul bartender. Ghouls are sort of outcasts in the Fallout universe, looked down upon by human NPCs. When you talk to him you can choose to be horrified by his appearance, or you act along the lines of, "Hey, it's alright man - you're cool," and you'll get karma for being a decent guy. It's really about how you're going to treat people in the world. The Megaton thing is sort of the ultimate example, but there are a lot of variations along the lines of moral choice, and how they are reflected in your karma.
And Gamasutra interviews Emil Pagliarulo (thanks Ausir), publishing a bit now with more to come later.
Part of that distinction means that "we needed some level of profanity" (which is certainly confirmed by preview sessions with the game), but Pagliarulo is wary of indiscriminate use of swearing in game writing. "I did a profanity pass, cutting out half the profanity in the game," he says. "Unless it's written well and voice acted well, it comes across so cheesy."

Speaking more broadly, the writer acknowledges that video game writing is "coming from such a low place," and still has a long way to go -- but thinks it's unrealistic that "some people want to go from where we were two years ago to Hollywood level."

Rather, he believes it is more crucial to improve the way stories are told in games, avoiding what Bethesda calls "lore bombs" (when "you talk to an NPC, and they just drop 50 lines of dialogue on you"), and striving for storytelling through gameplay. Pagliarulo points to recent games like Mass Effect, BioShock, Call of Duty 4, and Valve's titles as examples of what he sees as the right direction.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:48

Blend Games.

Some games are hyped up for the sake sales, other games receive the hype because the gamers just can’t get enough of it. Fallout 3 is the kind of game that falls into the second category; where the history of the series speaks for this upcoming game’s current popularity. And just like previous games in the series, the story centers around a player-created character, with the interactive world unfolding around the custom avatar. Players will modify seven aptitudes and choose up to three special skill traits out of a total of 14 selectable traits. Most traits are often helpful in a number ways, while other traits prove to be comically morbid or grotesquely entertaining with the results they produce. For instance, a long-standing skill trait in the Fallout series has been ‘bloody mess’. This skill trait enables the common occurrence of player enemies to die in gory, unsightly ways.
Random Battle.
The bottom line is that I was absolutely thrilled with what I saw. I walked away from the demo wanting to take it home with me right then and there. My expectations for the game were already high, but now they’re through the roof. If the long-term content matches the level of coolness I saw in that brief time span, I’m going to be playing this for a long, long time. Frankly, I only had two disappointments about the game:

1. There doesn’t appear to be a way to play the game with a primarily non-combat character. The random combat encounters in the game world seem a little bit more frequent in the classic games, and combat plays a larger role. I could be wrong here, but it doesn’t look very feasible.
2. The modding tools for Fallout 3 will not be ready on release. I’m actually inclined to buy the Xbox 360 version of the game because it will look great on my TV, but I think that the modding community would do some awesome things with Oblivion-style tools. I really hope they put those out there eventually… it would make the PC version much more attractive.

Long story short, I can’t wait for October 28th.
Gamester.
The best part is that you can also target weapons. For example I shot the gun out of one raider’s hand, which prompted her to run away, grab a tire iron and come charging back…which was like bringing a tire iron to a gunfight but it’s the thought that counts. My favorite moment was when I shot the grenade on a raider’s belt. It was a low percentage target but was totally worth it - there weren’t any pieces of him left that were big enough to loot.

I already gave a glowing preview of the RPG, exploration and story elements, and now I’m pairing it with a glowing preview of the action. If it was just a shooter, if it was Halo 4 rather than Fallout 3, it would still be a hit title. I’m up to 90 total minutes of play time and I’ve yet to find an element of the game that wasn’t deep to an almost obsessive degree.

Posted by Silencer - at 14:19

On December 4th
The Land of the Rising Sun
Shall have Fallout 3

Link: Fallout 3 will be released on Thursday, December 4th 2008 in Japan @ Bethblog

Spotted at Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog

Posted by Brother None - at 5:19

RPGamer previews Fallout 3 from PAX. Let me snip two pieces from the intro and conclusion.

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when trying out Fallout 3; I hadn't played any of the other titles, and the explanations I was given prior to starting out were sketchy at best.
(...)
Those that enjoyed the previous games will undoubtedly enjoy this one, and new fans can flock to the resurrected series.
What.

Seriously, how would she know?

Posted by Brother None - at 2:40

You might not be familiar with TIGSource's bootleg demake competition, but to sum it up it's about remaking original games as if they were made on even older technology, with (even) simpler graphics and "preferably one that adds/changes game mechanics in a significant way or reveals something interesting about the game".

Kinten dropped by to point out his Demake project - Fillauth. You can check out the game's intro here, and here are some The-Chair-Is-4-Pixels-esque screens:


Link: Fillauth thread on TIGForums.

We'll get back to you guys with this when it's done.

Posted by musclepumper - at 0:30

We posted about the teaser of STALKER/Fallout fanfilm KRYM a while back. The whole thing is out now and available here. If you want, you can show the guys your support by registering and voting for their work.

News for Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Posted by Brother None - at 22:14

In an interview with CVG, product manager Pete Hines (he's now been listed as product manager, brand manager and VP of public relations, quite a multi-tasker) talks about the difficulties of dealing with censorship laws.

He went on to explain: "In one place nudity is a big deal but violence is fine, and in another place drugs are a problem but nudity is fine.

"I guess that's the way of the world - not every country is the same. You're not aiming at one target, you're aiming at six different ones, worrying about how each one will feel about different things," he added.

But Hines insists that this doesn't effect initial development decisions. "We just go through and make the game that we want to make," he said. "We have our eyes wide open, mindful of the things that could be flagged up and how we're going to resolve them if that becomes a problem."

Posted by Slymanx - at 21:26

On the Platform Nation special PAX podcast, they managed to get an interview with Todd Howard. One of the new pieces of info is that during Speed Runs of the game, people in the Bethesda Offices have managed to beat the game in only an hour and thirty minutes. Other than that:

(...) We hear a lot of complaining about [switches to nasal, whiny tone] this isn't Fallout, man, you've changed our game, what do you...

[Todd interrupting] I don't think they use that tone of voice.

(laughing, joking)

Did that ever enter your mind: how are we going to not going to alienate the hardcore Fallout fans.

Well, we had a good idea of what we wanted to do with it, so we were pretty sure we were going to get it full bore. 'cause we knew we were going to make some changes that we thought would make a more fun game, but I think you take those risks and with anything - like Fallout - that has such a big following and is such a classic I think you have to be ready to get some of that. I think a lot of those people actually, if you read through some of the language they use, the things they care about are things we care about, making choices, being able to roleplay, talking to people and I think that because of the way the game is presented - it comes across as a big first person gorefest - that it gets lost that that stuff is in the game. You kind of just tell them that hey, look, we're big Fallout fans too, we didn't spend 4 years of our lives and millions and millions of dollars on this game because we want to fuck it up, right, we really like it, we wanted to make this game. The things people like about Fallout - we feel - are in it.
Say what you want about Bethesda, but even when openly baited by journalists they refuse to take cheap shots at the (hardcore) community. Some journalists could really learn a lesson in professional behaviour from that.

Nice going avoiding mention of pen and paper emulation in the list of things people - including the original developers - list as liking in Fallout there, tho'.

Platform Nation @ PAX08: Day Three

Posted by Brother None - at 16:30

Taking a step back to last week to take a look at Gry Online's preview. Notes and translation - as always - courtesy of Ausir.

"No recent game caused as much controversy and emotions as Fallout 3. For 4 years the fans of the series wondered whether the makers of Oblivion will manage to make a game as good as previous parts of the famous series. Will Todd Howard's team manage to compete with Timothy Cain's? The Fallout brand is an enormous force. On one hand, it's a self-driving locomotive, but on the other hand it might end up being a trap. Fallout, thanks to its post-nuclear atmosphere and immersive plot, ended up being a cult title. And every cult leads to fear of "desacration". Therefore Bethesda should be admired at least for their courage."

* She likes the voice acting of Silver and sheriff Simms
* Silver is an ex-prostitute and a junkie, who's trying to forget her past with the help of chemicals. She can tell you about the town and her history. However, all dialogue options, even the ones mean to Silver, seemed to lead to only one solution - helping her in her issues with Moriarty, the saloon owner.
* She thought that if she helped Silver settle the score with Moriarty, eating the squirrel-on-a-stick from her fridge won't be anything bad. But it was - she lost Karma.
* She likes the art style, but is not very impressed by the graphics - in low details they're too blurred, in high details they're too sharp, with no middle ground.
* She doesn't like the Lady Killer perk because it's chauvinistic. Pete says that it's not, because there's also Black Widow.
* They do not plan to release the editor for now
* They will make Fallout 4 and 5, and don't count out making a new title aside from Fallout and TES.
* Pete says that all they did in Fallout 3 was initially based on Oblivion.

Her final word is that even if Fallout 3 does not live up to the expectations of the fans of the series, it might simply end up being a good game, whose biggest flaw will be it having the "Fallout" brand. Furthermore, Fallout 3 and its promotional activities might remind players and non-players about Fallout 1 and Fallout 2.
Fallout was a cult title. It's a mainstream title now.

Posted by Pope Viper - at 15:49

A few new screen shots of the Age of Decadence character generation system have been posted in the Iron Tower Studio forum.

Check them out.

Age Of Decadence Character Gen System

Posted by Brother None - at 1:15

Not a lot of content but quite lot of words in this preview from Only the Games.

Much like your blank slate of a character, this is a game of new beginnings, an untried path. Developer Bethesda has intrepidly stripped the franchise of its primordial isometric view, opting for a first-person camera and real-time action. But at its heart, this is still undoubtedly Fallout.
Oh man totally primordial there is no one in the world who makes isometric games anymore right?
Starting off with a little exploring, it becomes apparent that every inch of Fallout 3’s world tells a story. Ghostly remnants of roads, even neighbourhoods, and the hollow skeletons of old architecture all incite reflections of the past. It’s a pretty grim tale, save for the tongue in cheek remnants of 50’s demeanour that reflect happier, if blissfully ignorant, times.

Into the vast expanse of the wasteland, you’ll encounter plenty of deranged ghoulish enemies; some with firearms and some running at you with rabid radiation induced ferocity. Fallout 3 can be played like a straight shooter and it works surprisingly well as one. But the strategic style with the VATS system will please more traditional Fallout players. An acronym for Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting, or some similar drivel, it can pause the action mid-battle and queue up attacks, picking out individual body parts that each has different odds for a hit. The interface is intuitive and the combat is appropriately brutal, heads exploding and all, no matter the way it’s played. Though with VATS, combat is too forgiving, essentially built for strategy but ultimately used as a gore tool. It’s something that can be tweaked before release, and could already have a more robust function further into the game.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 0:19

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has had one of it's PAX attendees post the notes he took while watching the newly released gameplay footage.

Escape:
Very brown and grey
The faces are so much better than Oblivion’s glowing pie-men
draw distance is great
Does look a lot like post-apoc Oblivion, perhaps inevitably
Level up HUD doesn’t feature stupidly giant text. Thank Christ - Oblivion’s interface outright sucked at times
Much more emphasis on perks? Or am I not remembering the first two Fallouts correctly?
Link: PAX 08: Fallout 3 Does More Than Guns

Spotted at RPGWatch

News for Monday, September 1, 2008

Posted by Tannhauser - at 22:46

The Exploding Barrel has had their own hands-on experience with Fallout 3 at PAX, this is what they have to relate:

There were a couple things about the game that bothered me, however. Hit detection seemed somewhat spotty. For instance, when I swung a bat at the merchant’s face, the bat sort of clipped through the guy’s face. Another thing that irked me was that the game’s combat lacked a sense of realism. In order to cripple the merchant as he ran away from me, I had to shoot him at least ten times in the leg. One other thing that bugged me is that the game’s third person view just does not look very good. Sure it’s pretty cool to be able to see the new armor and clothing you obtain as the game progresses, but the character models look so bland in comparison to the amazing looking environments.

These flaws didn’t really mar the experience at all, but they were still incredibly noticeable. I’m assuming I was playing an early version and that a lot of these issues will get polished before the game’s release in October.
Also according to The Exploding Barrel, the official Fallout 3 presentation at PAX was having to turn away people:
Despite Fallout 3 being more or less the premier showpiece for PAX, hundreds of gamers were turned away from the Bethesda presentation with little more than a half-hearted apology and a Fallout cardboard decoration to console our broken hearts. While I got a chance to play the Fallout 3 demo earlier today, I really wanted to go to the presentation.
Heroine Sheik also attended PAX, but seems to a bit confused about Fallout.
It’s pretty obvious the game is ripping off Bioshock. Send me hate mail if you must, but first let’s look at the comparison. Bioshock was a shooter with RPG elements that took place in a post-apocalyptic dystopia. Fallout 3 is, yeah, just that. Bioshock achieved stunning visuals and environments by juxtaposing desolation and destruction with a campy, retro aesthetic in its posters, radio broadcasts, and items around the city of Rapture. Fallout 3… Well have you seen vault boy? (We’re not even getting into the nit-picky, interesting comparisons, like how Bioshock’s world is defined by having too much water, while the Fallout 3 landscape seems defined by its lack.)
Links:
Live From PAX ‘08 - Fallout 3 Hands-On Impressions
Live From PAX ‘08: Fallout 3 Falls Out of PAX
PAX08: How Fallout 3 rips off Bioshock (and why that’s ok)

Thanks to Fallout 3: APNB.

Posted by Tannhauser - at 22:21

Joystiq has an entire gallery devoted to the Vault Boy.puppet

And even a video of the Vault Boy Puppet Dance Troupe in action at PAX.



Links:
PAX 2008: The Pip-Boy Puppet
PAX 2008: Meet the Fallout 3 Vault-boy puppet dance troupe

Thanks to Fallout 3: APNB.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:43

IGN.

My wandering around the world let me discover the Jury Street Metro Station, so I was actually able to go underground and explore a raider-infested tunnel system that had plenty of goodies to discover. I encountered a Ryan Briggs, some kind of surgeon or medical researcher working on mole rats. He didn't like my presence and opened fire on me with his assault rifle. I shot his head off and claimed his rifle, as well as his blood-splattered scrubs that I donned myself. The scrubs don't offer much armor, but they do look nifty, and they give a +5 bonus with certain medical skills. I also got the key to his safe and raided his office for all sorts of medical supplies, blood packs, vodka, drugs, and ammo. However, I also left with this worrying thought that I might have killed someone might actually be very important later in the game. That's one of the dangers when you go off script!

Dumping all those points into weapons skills also turned out to be problematic, cause Ryan had a nifty computer terminal in his office. But to even access it, you need a terminal skill of at least 25. You pretty much need to decide early on what kind of character you want to play, then build a skill set to improve it. Want to be a ninja? Then work on those stealth and unarmed combat skills. Want to be a ruthless killing machine. Gun skills are always nice. Want to be a techie? Then hone terminal skills, definitely.
The other bit is not a preview, but news from Kotaku that Bethesda is donating the Fallout 3 Airstream to Child's Play, which is pretty cool of them.
Now you should be getting enthused about the Nuclear Airstream too. Turns out that Bethesda plans to donate the amazing piece of schwag to Child's Play following the launch of the game. Can you imagine winning this bad boy and parking it in your front yard for late night gaming sessions. The whole thing, I'm told, even runs on electricity.

Posted by Brother None - at 18:31

Xbox360Achievements.org offers a list of 50 Fallout 3 Xbox Achievements.

Beware of spoilers, the list includes a lot of "finish (...)", revealing quest (names).

Thanks thefalloutfan.