Fallout essence distilled...soundbites to shut people up

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by laggerific, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. laggerific

    laggerific First time out of the vault

    Jan 15, 2004
    As much as I love reading Roshambo's rants on what is the pure RPG essence captured within Fallout 1/2, I was wondering if there was a distillation of his thoughts on the topic...

    I love fallout, and I haven't been able to play an RPG since its release that hasn't made me think I would rather be playing Fallout.

    what is it about fallout, in a nutshell, that makes fallout and other RPGs of a similar ilk so enduring? Also, can anyone list CRPGs that they feel are on the same level or at least aspire to achieve the level of awesomeness found in fallout?

    I would like to hear about the latter, as I have recently been playing Oblivion (in the hopes of seeing that the new owners of Fallout might have taken the steps necessary to prove they are up for the task...so far, not.) and it made me reinstall Ultima 7 (through exult), Fallout and Fallout 2, which I will prolly all finish again before I come close to completing Oblivion. Oblivion does combat well (and as a huge fan of UW that's great to see) but it is missing pretty much all of the depth that I look for in a quality CRPG.

    So first point, my distillation:
    -NPC interaction feels meaningful. Conversation trees truly based on user stats. Truly interactive conversations.
    -a living gameworld. prostitutes and drug dealers, lowlifes and the occassional hero.
    -multiple paths per quest
    -that smiling avatar that illustrates everything (okay, this is fallout specific, but there is something about that guy that makes me want to play fallout forever).
    -well written and dynamic story, a world that feels lived in and shaped to events that transpire as the game goes on. (what is with the obsession to have megasuperphysics that deforms the world in realtime and not have a CRPG in which one really affects their surroundings as they go).
    -unique ways to use your various skills (science is awesome). I feel like TES just gives you skills for the sake of having skills and alot of that "game" comes from making use of them in fairly banal way. In fact, it really just feels like a single player MMORPG.
    -interactions with the world. I want to be able to pick up a bucket of blood and dump it on a party member. Or a bucket of water, if that is your thing. I want a world that allows those sort of, what if...interactions with the world.

    CRPGs that aspire to Fallout greatness (regardless of whether it was before or after):
    -Ultima 6/7 (maybe serpent Isle, but the conclusion to that trilogy left me feeling empty and it seems to have started with SI, but maybe I'll try it out again once I beat 7 again).
    -Planescape: Torment (I hate the infinity engine, but this is the finest use of it ever).
    -I would love anyones additions to this list.

    I apologize if this feels like it is focused on Oblivion...its just riled me up...while it is an improvement over Morrowind, it still feels as lifeless as petri dish full of penicilin. I hope that the distilled list can be used when people try to whip out how their latest CrapRPG is the best thing since sliced bread (well...can you do this, that or the other?)
  2. Duckman

    Duckman Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 18, 2005
    I think that Fallout is fairly enduring as, apart from the game structure, is the fact that this is the world a not too far away. We all see a part of the game that brings us closer to the world that we live in now.

    Although the scheme and sheer complexity of a vault system, for example, seems unreasonable at first. But further thought into the fact is that this game uses present and 50's humour/world conflicts. The Great War started over the diminishing resources, as we see today.

    As for othe RPGs/CRPGs, they are often fake and unoriginal. Not to rant on about these games as they can have their fun, but they just seem unrealistic. I haven't yet played Oblivion and do not plan to, but let's take Morrowind for example. The first actual creature you see is some elf thing (correct me if I'm wrong). I like to see at least realistic creatures and objects, that do not appear in games like Morrowind.

    All-in-all, I appreciate 'more' realistic games like Fallout as they take a recent era in this century, and turn it into a believable interactive environment.
  3. laggerific

    laggerific First time out of the vault

    Jan 15, 2004
    It's been awhile since I played Morrowind, but yes, it wouldn't surprise me if one of the first things you see is an elf...as it is a fantasy land.

    But, that turned you off from the beginning. I suppose if you did get passed that first hurdle then you would prolly find the similar faults there as most Fallout fans. It feels like a weak Truman show...there are all these creatures there, and they all have their purpose, but they all feel like they are acting and have their scripts in front of them. And they are bad actors, at that.

    In Oblivion it isn't much better...they have this supposed radiant AI, but it just feels contrived. Like, why when I enter a room does everyone look at me? I know I'm a darkelf, but if they were all humans and I were a human it would play the same way...it all seems so artificial.

    And that's one thing that Fallout did well...every main NPC (one that you could have some sort of conversations with) seemed to fit into the world, like they lived there, not like they were paid to sit there and wait for somebody to ask them about where some recluse was located or something.

    There should be a Bethesda sticky where we can all vent at them...I mean, I don't think it could do that much harm...we don't have much hope for the future of the series as it is.

    This is the type of thing that makes me want to get into a fanmade project so that I can contribute to a genre that desperately needs it. Even if my only title were to be chief game philosophy officer...
  4. Duckman

    Duckman Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 18, 2005
    That was mearly the start of the crap that we put up with in the game. I came close to finishing it, but got angry and just hacked away at any old person. I think I killed some guy that was a necessary character.

    But that brings me to my other point. If you manage to kill a necessary character who gives you information and whatnot, the game is pretty much screwed from there on in, if you try to complete the main quest. I learnt this from one incident, maybe there is another way around this, but I'm never playing the game again.

    No matter how bad the acting may be, the game was extensive in the amount of acting done. It was a massive game, and there were so many characters. But I'm assuming that they got in a few actors to do, say, 100's of characters. And if characters were so in depth, and acted as true people, walking around doing specific jobs at certain times of the day, imagine the size of the game. It would be monstrous. The world map would have been as large as say a tennis court, but at least the characters did individual things.

    Very true. Each character, with a few exceptions, fit in very well.

    About Morrowind/Oblivion, or the upcoming Fallout 3, which we have little to no information on? Either way, I see no point, as they would just make a shitty CRPG to piss off the true fans (some of us here) and capture a new generation of munchkins looking for a new game to hack.

    Mate, we have all thought of doing it, and many people have started and so many fail just due to lack of interest/support.
    I would enjoy to make my own fanmade game, but I don't have the technical expertise of so many others out there. I have many ideas and have written post-apoc stories, based on the Vault Dweller and the V13 systems, but these are just concepts, not a game that we need.

    Don't think I'm having a go at you in this rant :wink: but people are annoyed as much as you about the way Fallout is a decaying game, as much as I want to kick my own arse by saying so.

    But just leave Oblivion/Morrowind out of the Fallout discussion, people don't like to hear those words in the same sentence... :lol:
  5. DirtyDreamDesigner

    DirtyDreamDesigner Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 15, 2005

  6. laggerific

    laggerific First time out of the vault

    Jan 15, 2004
    No worries...I just feel like this site is the only one that gets us...so many people get offended by criticisms of games they are enjoying...all the time closing their eyes to what they could have.

    Regarding my Truman show comment, I wasn't speaking literally about the acting, but how the people and events FEEL staged, which in a game they are staged, but it shouldn't feel that way all the time.

    Another addition to the CRPG essence that Fallout created was the unique areas one goes to...one can't just head out to SF right at the beginning because they would get mowed down...there is something to achieve, to reach. And the same goes for items...you may see something you want, but it will take some work to get there...
  7. Duckman

    Duckman Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 18, 2005
    By any old person, I meant any person that happened to be around me at the time.

    But for some reason, I think you know what I originally meant... :)
  8. ADV

    ADV First time out of the vault

    Jan 14, 2006
    Distilling fallout into its parts is a good way to define what it is that makes fallout so enduring. But for me I think you really need to look at the developers motivation/overall idea/target audience first to really get at what makes fallout enduring.

    One of the developers mentioned that fallout was a experiment in social interaction between groups in a post apocalyptic setting. Im inclined to agree with this statement because unlike other post apocalyptic media, fallout doesn't try to alienate you from groups. It was mad max against the world, there was no grey area. Also Fallout demonstrated social/personal/global entropy. You are part of this slow decay. The environment really affects you.

    Now you can have any old story (based on modern society) involving two (or more) groups at odds with each other but to make it interesting you change the environment (drastically in the case of fallout).

    You have the Vault heritage, the brotherhood of steel, the several towns and the ever present evil that endangers them all. You have an emotional attachment to each of these groups, resulting in choices that are not always black and white. These ideas are what make an rpg a good rpg. And to emphasise 'Emotional Attachment' and 'based on reality' is at the core of any good writing - fact or fiction.

    So from the change of environment comes other interesting ideas. How did the world suddenly burn?; Who survived and who did not?; What feature (1950s artwork of the time) of real history reminds us (the protoganist) of war?. These are the kind's of questions the developers ask themselves and the result is fallouts many layers of emotional attachment and all its wonder.

    If you were to say that fallout was based on pen and paper roleplaying I would also agree, but I would not say It would be central to a well designed story.

    You could say that the guns, strategy, greed-inventory and 50s style atmosphere is needed and I would also agree, but I would still say it would not be central to a well designed story.

    Maybe after all that what im trying to say is that playing fallout makes me question more things about life in general than merely playing out my 'protaganist', and that is something bethesda will never realise. They just don't think with that kind of mindset, they would appeal to the wider group at any cost.

    your thoughts?
  9. laggerific

    laggerific First time out of the vault

    Jan 15, 2004
    Thanks for your thoughts...it's something that has been creeping up on me as well, and is tied to my feelings aboutthe NPCs in Fallout...I felt emotionally tied to the story and those suffering. I forget the guy in FO2 that one can help get out of servitude at the local bar in the first city, but that was a great character, in my opinion...and plenty more are out there.

    It's something I've always felt that Bethesda lacked...it's why I could never get into Daggerfall, but why I always loved Ultima Underworld...great characters with interesting stories.

    I've spelunked into a few caverns in Oblivion and have yet to discover any really neat little things that would make a certain dungeon memorable.

    So, what is critical along with a good story are people that one wants to help and foes one wants to battle.

    Again, I really miss some of the details seen in other games like UW...I can grab a fishing pole and fish...a little detail, but useful and even though the graphics were not in the least realstic, I felt more connected to that world than I do with Oblivion.
  10. Morry

    Morry First time out of the vault

    Feb 26, 2006
    I feel a certain need to defend Bethesda in this situation as there are many misconceptions and false assumptions.
    If you are playing Oblivion to see what Fallout 3 will be like, then that is the first mistake. The two are different games with different approaches. Elder Scrolls has always been about exploration and a living gameworld that you can venture around in at your own free will. Looking at the Fallout series, the games gave the player some freedom, but was also constrained enough to make sure that the storyline progressed. Because it is made that way, things like individual NPCs are placed at a higher level of importance than something like freedom of play.
    If you look at Oblivion, complex npc interactions are really not difficult things to do. Any able modder could script a few conversations together and set the Radiant goals to give the NPC a sense of being a living person. In this sense, Bethesda is perfectly capable of producing the same quality of NPC interaction that we have seen in Fallout 1 and 2.
    You could say that the main problem with the Elder Scrolls games is that the scope of the games is too large and thus to make unique NPCs would be an extremely large task. Hopefully Bethesda realises this and makes the Fallout gameworld more concentrated on the people rather than the places.
  11. Kahgan

    Kahgan Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 25, 2003
    Why do they even bother trying? :roll:
  12. Xavierblazer

    Xavierblazer Vault Senior Citizen

    Jan 30, 2005
    This should be all the FMF team needs for motivation.
  13. Duckman

    Duckman Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 18, 2005
    Whiskey Bob? With the still that needed refuelling?

    I agree, even a basic, not real deep side plot like that, it gives you an insight into what society in a post apoc world may be like.
  14. J.J.

    J.J. First time out of the vault

    Apr 14, 2006
    I fully agree with laggerific ... Fallout I+II have very unique and memorable NPCs and Quests ... and even though MW had tons of readable books , maps , flowers ,etc... it failed to create that certain kind of "spirit" that made the 2 Fallout Games so unique...

    Needless to say , that this "Fed-Ex"-Quests sucked...