Fallout: New Vegas developers posts round-up

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by WorstUsernameEver, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. Ausir

    Ausir Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 20, 2003
    Well, from game mechanics point of view, whether one was supposed to replace one weapon skill with the other or not, the fact that one works best in the short term while the other works in the long term comes down to the same thing.
  2. Ilosar

    Ilosar Vault Fossil

    Apr 20, 2010
    Thanks Jesse for the explanation. It certainly makes a lot of sense from this point of view.

    Still, myself, as a player, find this approach flawed because a novice player has no idea he will not find energy weapons or big guns for quite a while (pretty much the endgame, in fact). He may just make a new game, but he still has to know beforehand to make the 'right' choices; tagging Big Guns is a gambit because they are not that great even when you actually get them. This is limiting options more than anything.

    It may not be a design decision, but it was the result from my point of view. The New Vegas way is much better imo, showing you a beginning area where the utilities of pretty much all skills are shown and making all of the weapon skills useful from the start. Not that the game has no problem on it's own with weapon progression (explosives, mostly, after the patch).
  3. Jesse Heinig

    Jesse Heinig First time out of the vault

    Dec 12, 2008
    Yep! Although I might ask, how many times did you start playing any CRPG, then shuck the character and start over shortly after the tutorial because you discovered that your willy-nilly set of skills and powers didn't work all that well? I know I do that most of the time. :)
    Also, like I said before, it was '96-'97. Other CRPGs from that era included Wizardry Gold (pretty much no skill checks outside of combat or lockpicking, but it's a remaster of Wizardry 7 from '92); Ultima 8 ('94, no skills at all!), Might and Magic: World of Xeen (compilation of 4 & 5, from '92 and '93 respectively); Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall; Realms of Arkania: Star Trail ('94); Ravenloft: Stone Prophet ('95), etc. CRPGs were in a position where a lot of games were moving from iso to first-person perspective, where designers were questioning whether to have parties or stand-alone heroes, and where the idea of having consistent challenges for a wide range of skills over the course of the entire game was still a pretty new one -- remember, a lot of the genre stemmed from D&D roots, where there weren't even any skills outside of the "secondary skill" system in the DMG in the 1st edition, and proficiency checks never really made it into any of the CRPG adaptations anyway. (Baldur's Gate hadn't come out yet, either!)
    I would argue that experience has shown us that the player needs to feel like their skill choices present viable options for game progression, and that sometimes your choices should give you a special "bonus" or unique way to solve a problem. Back in the day though, just having problems that were solved without combat was still a pretty novel approach! (It was not common outside of the Ultima series.) Obviously, if Fallout 1 were made today, we'd either offer the player ways to start with low-powered versions of specific weapons (Vault-Tec cutting laser tool, perhaps, or a SAW for Big Guns types) or else make it clear at the outset that you will not have access to those kinds of weapons until later in the game, so that the player can make informed choices. To some degree, those kinds of development experiences have informed changes to the SPECIAL system for subsequent Fallouts; after all, Gambling is really not a skill that will win the game for you in Fo1 (although it has that hidden use in the military base!), First Aid and Doctor really did create an unnecessary overload, etc.
    Remember as well that the mid-'90s was an era in which tabletop RPGs had a lot of "skill bloat." GURPS and the World of Darkness both had wildly expanding skill lists in the attempt to create more "realism" by being very specific about what characters knew how to do. We know now, of course, that this creates more problems; players don't know which skills to take, and wind up with weird edge cases where they are missing a specific skill and thus fail to have an archetype covered ("I need Lockpicking as a separate skill? But I put four dots in Security for that!"), plus you get questions about when certain skills are appropriate vs. other skills, making lists of skills is tedious and space-consuming, character creation takes forever, etc. Similarly, in Fo1's SPECIAL system one of the design priorities was that skills roughly had different groupings and there was sometimes a distinction drawn where one was unnecessary, or a skill was shifted to create parity for what attributes were important with the notion that there was no "super-stat" that had to be high to be a successful character. Nowadays, of course, we would just make sure that skills have lots of different places for use and that the utility of various high abilities is spread around, so even if one ability has a strong influence on your skills (say, IN) other abilities still give you benefits (high ST, for instance, which is usually a low priority in games with high tech). This is modified by the factor that skill use is generally active and thus feels like the player is driving the interaction, versus passive benefits like DR or rad resistance which are not "sexy" because you aren't activating them . . .

    Yadda yadda, I'm getting kinda carried away here.
  4. Makagulfazel

    Makagulfazel Adept Bungler of Things Orderite

    Jun 14, 2007
    To echo some of the other members here, thanks! It's very cool to have developers of a game you cherish stop by and drop their 2 cents on different aspects of the gameplay.
    I'm kind of indifferent on the issue of whether the different weapon classes should have all been viable throughout the game. But I think you guys did a stellar job at creating a sense that skills and stats were very important to the settings and situations you encountered in Fallout. BIS's S.P.E.C.I.A.L. was great and while the importance of choices have been watered down since Tactics, I still think it's one of the best character development systems out there.
    Ian's still an asshole.
  5. Jesse Heinig

    Jesse Heinig First time out of the vault

    Dec 12, 2008
    Ian's just very blunt. He's actually a great guy in real life. :)
  6. Surf Solar

    Surf Solar So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 20, 2009
    I personally find the way Fallout 1 did it the best. At no point in the character creation I had thought that I will find advanced technology like Energy or Big guns right from the start, a thing which should be common sense imo. Oft times I put some spare points at the start into unarmed/melee aswell to compensate the lack of better guns (if I chose the energy/bigguns career). The weapons were all balanced out nicely (ok, the Turbo Plasma Rifle is not :D ) - on the contrary to Fallout 2 were one could find too good weaponry too early and too easy in the game. ( VS encounters etc).

    In New Vegas it felt odd to me that I could find energy and big weapons so early, it just doesnt feel right for me that they are so widely available.

    And yes, agreed with Maka, it's nice that some of the Black Isle folks posts here. Enjoying your posts, Jesse. ;)
  7. Lexx

    Lexx Background Radiant

    Apr 24, 2005
    It is only common sense in the given setting- doesn't have to be common sense in the setting of the next game. (Fallout and not-Fallout game)

    In Fallout it kind of makes sense to not have big laser guns right in the beginning. It makes sense to have access to weak ones, because you come out of a vault. But it wouldn't make much sense if you would come from some backwater tribe that doesn't even use any guns at all.

    You would need a kind of deeper knowledge of the game's setting already while the character creation... on your first character creation. I think it's pretty unlikely that many players will be that deep into it already at this point.
  8. Surf Solar

    Surf Solar So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 20, 2009
    True, but I never awaited to find lots of high tech stuff right from the get go. If it would be in a total different gameworld then its something different.

    But when I think of a barren wasteland of people trying to come by I dont think of über-tech stuff right at the beginning. :)
  9. Ilosar

    Ilosar Vault Fossil

    Apr 20, 2010
    That's you, Surf Solar. Most people I talked to (admittedly FO3 initiates for the most part, so maybe unfamiliar with CRPG's of that time) assumed that, since the skill is here at the beginning, it will have an immediate use. Maybe mentalities have changed, but it remains that I prefer the 'modern' way of making sure everything accessible is usable by the player. Offering an option that is useless for 3/4 of the game, no matter the setting, is something that rubs me the wrong way, although I would not call it bad design per se; it just doesn't fit my view of how a system like SPECIAL should work.

    Like our kind Mr. Heinig said, having low-tech weapon in each category available relatively early on (The Hub and Redding, for example) would have set a more sensible goal of surviving until you get the good stuff, rather than make those skills only useful when you get the Tag! perk because you get bored with your guns and want teh pew pew (again, my experience only).
  10. Surf Solar

    Surf Solar So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 20, 2009
    But isn't it already the case that one can find/buy laserpistols in Hub for FO1 and in Vault City for FO2? Don't hammer me on this, but I think I remember that such weaponry can be found there.
  11. Little Robot

    Little Robot sup Orderite

    Sep 29, 2010
    Well, you could be right although I think that I usually first got the laser pistols in New Reno in FO2, and in the BoS in FO1. I didn't visit many traders for things other than ammo, though.

    Ok, I'll be honest. I mostly just wanted to use the "hammer" emoticon.

    Tee hee.
  12. Lexx

    Lexx Background Radiant

    Apr 24, 2005
    Keep in mind, that the Hub isn't "early in game" even if you can buy energy weapons (which you cannot, if I remember correct. First place for this is the Boneyard) - If you play the game for the very first time and move from town to town how the worldmap shows you the location, you go to Vault 15 first, then Shady, then Junktown and then to the Hub. It's not yet mid-game, but you can't call it the beginning anymore at this point.
  13. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    I like the way how you think :3

    I wish more games would take that kind of approach ... RPGs really need a return of skill checks which MATTER (!)
  14. lisac2k

    lisac2k Vault Senior Citizen

    Oct 26, 2004
    Well, to be honest, I was feeling the same way while playing Fo2 for the first time. But during the next few playthroughs, I felt these payoffs [Jesse was talking about] were causing 'issues' with the weapons choice and their respective skills through the game. Those were not some real game-breaking issues, the game was still quite enjoyable, but the question remained - why some [weapon] skills are there, yet almost useless (i.e. Throwing and partially Unarmed/Melee skills], be it in certain game areas or in almost all of the adventure?

    Although I personally managed to cope with the so-called 'issue', I was thinking back then that it may be interesting to include some innovations, in order to keep each weapon skill (class) sufficient on its own, from the start till the very end of the game. This was the main idea behind the Survivor Mod for Fo2, where the player was supposed to choose one weapon skill and stick to that class until defeating Horrigan. This included introduction of some new weapons, balancing the availability of the existing models and even interfering with the quests awards and such. Of course, Throwing skill was in the end still somewhat less useful than the wholy trinity of 'Small-Big-Energy', but it was an interesting take on the issue.

    I never received enough feedback to make a conclusion if this was a successful approach in 'making Fo2 a bit different, but not ruining the core of the experience'. Both 'weapons-skills-classes' systems (payoff and balanced-one) were OK in my book, though. However, while creating the design doc for the Survivors Mod (aka Survivor 2), which was supposed to be a Fo2 total conversion mod, I was planning to stick more to the 'balanced-weapons-skills' approach, rather than 'pay-offs', due to certain gameplay reasons.
  15. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    The what?

    Also those were some good reads, thanks.
  16. Stanislao Moulinsky

    Stanislao Moulinsky Vault Fossil

    Jul 16, 2009
    I'm sure Ausir knows what he's talking about. :) Ausir?
  17. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    [spoiler:049d8d3680]You can use the skill to hack into a computer through a security vulnerability in a Blackjack game. There's a massive bug preventing you from taking advantage of this, but you do get some xp.[/spoiler:049d8d3680]
  18. Little Robot

    Little Robot sup Orderite

    Sep 29, 2010
    Oh, so that's what it was for. I was curious why that "program" was installed. Are there any patches that fix the bug?
  19. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    Wasteland Ghost possibly is doing something with it in the Fo1 fan patch, but it's not necessarily 100% clear how it should be fixed. The problem with the MB forcefields is that there are two separate and incompatible code systems for deciding when and why they go up and down (not entirely dissimilar to the SAD alarm system in Fo2, actually).
  20. Jesse Heinig

    Jesse Heinig First time out of the vault

    Dec 12, 2008
    I don't have the original design document for the military base, but Chris had set it up so that it would have multiple ways through. You could use a radio jumpered to the computer to cause some of the force fields to turn off and on. You could use Repair skill to temporarily disable some fields, or explosives to disable some of them a bit more permanently. You could use your Gambling to cause a memory overflow in a blackjack program and then enter a security backdoor. Unfortunately while some elements of the code worked, others were "a bit hinky" and never got really tightened up.