Fallout's 10th anniversary: Vault 13 Timeline

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Morbus, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. Roshambo

    Roshambo Antediluvian as Feck

    Apr 3, 2003
    I've always been partial to the idea of bombers, since that's is typically how nukes were envisioned to be dropped until the missile threats of the 60s when FAR more accurate missiles were developed. Plus I believe one of the intro slides of Fallout 1 showed a bomber, IIRC.

    Rockets/missiles of the fiction period Fallout borrows from were often unpredictable and kinda useless except as an intimidation tool, notably the German V2 launches.

    So...I think we could consider the installation of The Microchip (which never existed in Fallout) into the Minuteman as the defining moment when ICBMs were a real threat. As for Fallout canon, it's kind of a mixed thing, given parts of Fallout 2 and elsewhere.

    Most missiles of that time were from the Nazi's buzz bombs to other experiments and went onto the modern joke of the Scud (horrible guidance system for it's comparatively small range), the Matador wasn't that much better, but it wasn't until the Minuteman would a missile really be accurate enough to pinpoint targets with the precision they would want of a nuke.

    The topic of ICBMs really didn't hit public imagination wildly until the 60's, naturally, with the Cuban Missile Crisis and the events leading up to it.
     
  2. Thorgrimm

    Thorgrimm A Smooth-Skin

    617
    Dec 16, 2003
    Actually Missiles were more prevelant in this time than most folks know. The Thor, while not an ICBM, was an IRBM with a range of 1,500 miles (2400km) and carried a W49 Warhead with a yield of 1.44 MT. The first flight of the Thor was on 25 January 1957 and the first active unit to use it was No. 77 Squadron at RAF Feltwell in 1958. 19 other RAF and US Squadrons with Thors were deployed to the UK by 1959. The Thor had a CEP (Circular Error Probable) of 1 km.

    Then we have the The SM-65 Atlas built by the Convair Division of General Dynamics. The Atlas, first tested in 1957, was the United States' first successful ICBM. The first Atlas D's were deployed on 1 July, 1958, with the 564th Strategic Missile Squadron at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The Atlas D had a range of 10,360 miles (16,670 km) and carried an W-38 Warhead with a yield of 3.75 MT. The Atlas had a CEP of 4,600 ft (1,400 m). Not bad for 1958.

    Then for the Soviets you had the The R-7 Semyorka, or known to the west as the SS-6 Sapwood, and it had a range of 8,800 km and carried a payload of 3MT.

    I know we have had this discussion before and I still maintain that even without the transistor and based on tech available to the US and USSR in the 50's I think they would have still had some sort of missiles in Fallout's Future War.

    After all, didn't Ron say " In two brief hours most of the planet was reduced to cinders." To me that indicates some form of ICBM had to have been used since no bomber could reduce most of the planet to cinders in two hours. :D
     
  3. Roshambo

    Roshambo Antediluvian as Feck

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fair enough, and I enjoy playing devil's advocate against someone who does their research. It brings more illuminating points to the discussion. :)

    There is a bit of evidence to suggest both.

    Some areas seemed to me a bit too wholly devastated to suggest pinpoint attacks, instead going for a large clustered effect over areas, or bombing of cities. Whether this could have been a large amount of missiles or even nuclear carpet bombing of future nuclear-powered bombers (so I am guessing at the speed...), I really don't think it could be pinned down on either alone.

    Vertibird design rather implies that a fast strike bomber could be similarly plausible, but then there's targets like The Glow. This would be a pinpoint target to silence as quietly and quickly as possible, and one you did NOT want the people inside to know it was coming. On the other hand, flier technology could have been advanced enough by then to even have, perhaps...a bomber on the Chinese side with a device much like a Stealth Boy?

    The exact detonation and device, even depth, still seems up in the air, although for some reason I'm wanting to think "something similar to a British Tallboy." Which to me explains why it could breach into a military vault. Damn my memory and the lack of a good archive of the official forums, because that is where I think it was answered. I can't even recall who said it, but I'm thinking it was Campbell himself, maybe Taylor or Cain, and most references I've been able to find have been "bomb".

    But, again, there's much evidence to suggest both. After all, in the RKO Pictures style of the Fallout Interplay logo, a cigarette rocket was flying around. :D
     
  4. Thorgrimm

    Thorgrimm A Smooth-Skin

    617
    Dec 16, 2003
    Rosh, I certainly agree, the evidence for both is there. And I also think it would have been both, since you are correct in your statement of ICBM's not coming to the fore till the transistor was invented. So I would imagine them launching ICBM's at the far off targets and letting the bombers hammer the closer targets.

    One thing I found interesting is the guidance system for the Minuteman One that entered service in 1962.

    I think this Guidance example is a way to highlight how Fallout could possibly avoid the conundrum of advanced tech without transistors. :D



    Cheers, Thorgrimm
     
  5. Ausir

    Ausir Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 20, 2003
    I doubt it was Campbell, since he left Interplay back when Fallout was still a GURPS game.
     
  6. Roshambo

    Roshambo Antediluvian as Feck

    Apr 3, 2003
    Of course relying upon an operator behind a viewscreen monitor, following and actively piloting each missile in true early fiction fashion...I could see that.

    On an amusing side-note of WWII "guided missile" research...

    If I had written that much about a game's backstory, I would be inclined to follow it. I don't know what happened to Scott, really. I have just been able to follow his trail of games. Mobygames doesn't even seem to follow that completely, either.

    There have frequently been a number of Mysterious Strangers that would appear on the official forums and even here at NMA that would come up with what would seem like total bullshit. Not culled by the Interplay board cops, some were never explained. This also seemed to include artwork, easter eggs, and other tidbits. I often thought it was the developers themselves, or held them under suspicion that they were, and with writing this complex I doubt you would have left it alone. Not many Ultima developers I know who have put a lot of effort into the series have just casually walked away from the title.

    So...I can't pin it down on who and exactly what was described. I say we invade the French and have Herve surrender all of the old Interplay files and web data for archival purposes.

    :revolution:
     
  7. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Oh yeah, Campbell's script was followed for quite a large part. No wonder, because he really did a great job. I doubt he was still posting on the Interplay forums, though I, like you, don't really know what happened to him either.

    I wish I could track him down. Him and Jason Taylor. I would love to have developer profiles from both of 'em.
     
  8. cazsim83

    cazsim83 First time out of the vault

    58
    Sep 18, 2007
    What about the water chip? How did they classify that? Wouldn't it be assumed it was some form of microchip??
     
  9. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    But there are no transistors on the waterchip (I think). It's all, counter-intuitively, vacuum tubes and wires.

    Which means the water chip is probably bigger than you imagine.
     
  10. WraithUV

    WraithUV It Wandered In From the Wastes

    140
    Feb 22, 2005
    Yes, yes he did. Interestingly enough however, in the same video (opening video for FO1), no missile of any kind is ever shown anywhere, but there are many bombers pictured.

    While I can't lock down a suitable image at the moment, it very much reminded me of the vast squadrons of seemingly endless planes seen in the animation sequences of Pink Floyd's The Wall, if you've seen that. Of course, you could just watch the FO opening too, since the still frames there is what I'm actually referring to. ;)

    Anyway, in my mind, the question of whether or not most of the world could be reduced to cinders by mainly air-dropped bombs depends on a combination of just what size air force you've got, coupled with your exact definition of "most of the planet".

    If we assume that ICBMs were in fact never developed into a serious threat or mainstream weapon of war, I think it's fairly safe to assume that the air power race which really exploded during the WW II era would only have intensified and continued. Until the very last days of the war, one thing the world learned during those years was just how important air superiority and controlling the skies really is.

    To this day, that's why the entire concept of a given nation owning "air space" and things like no-fly zones exist. Even one large squadron of conventional bombers is capable of a significant amount of devastation, to say nothing of what kind of damage could be done with massive wave upon wave of some manner of stealth bombers.

    Add to this the fact that everywhere you go in the FO 1 & 2 world, many buildings survived, or at least partially survived. This too, to me, lends credence to the carpet-bomb theory over high-yield missiles.

    I'm not suggesting there's no evidence that ICBMs or a similar technology could have been developed in the FO world, but I will say that any direct references I ever remember from the old team have said 'bomb', and the entire look, feel, and any bits of game media we have available also heavily suggest some manner of conventional bombing, while making absolutely no mention (other than an extrapolation to the exact meaning of Pearlman's quote) of any sort of missile technology.

    So while I'll concede that there is evidence that a suitable missile technology *could* have been involved, the game universe simply doesn't "feel" like it was, and frankly, I think you know quite a bit more about the factual history of missile use in and slightly after the WW II era than *any* of the designers. It reminds me of the entire segment (and subsequent follow-up bits) in the FOB where Chris pretty much admits that the team didn't know squat about things like nuclear winter or the actual, fact-based results of a nuclear war of any significant scale. Mostly they just took 50's era science and science fiction, drew out a picture from that, and ran with it.

    That's what I remember as well, and I really want to say it was Taylor, but I won't swear to it. That's going back through a LOT of thick cobwebs. :P

    As for the bombs themselves, going back again to the FO opening video, there's one directly pictured. Now obviously even in our own world model we know that what one bomb looks like isn't necessarily indicative of all of them, but the image in the film looks almost identical (so much that it could even be the exact same device) to this image:


    Again, heavily suggestive in my mind to massive bombing, rather than missile strikes as the ultimate main source of devastation.


    The bloody things weigh 2 pounds (roughly .9 kg) a piece in-game. I seriously doubt my entire motherboard weighs quite that much, and certainly, no single "chip" I've ever owned for anything that made use of microchip technologies. The closest that comes to mind would be back in the days of the 8088, and what passed for a "memory expansion module". It was an entire expansion card, absolutely massive by today's standards, for a pittance of added memory.

    Clearly, the water chip of the FO universe is vacuum technology, which is actually somewhat curious, considering the relatively compact and modern-looking bus they've got it designed for.


    If anyone's actually interested, The UVa Computer Museum has some great stuff on anything from old vacuum systems, various tape storage devices, early microchip stuff, etc and so on. Lots of interesting history there, if that's your bag.

    Also, just for fun, a film I tripped over in my travels, produced back in 1955 and intended to educate the masses on the (relatively negligible with proper precaution) dangers of radioactive fallout.
    About Fallout (1955) (ca. 1955)

    -Wraith
     
  11. Ausir

    Ausir Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 20, 2003
    As I've quoted earlier in this thread, there are in-game references to nuclear missiles and warheads in both FO1 and FO2.
     
  12. WraithUV

    WraithUV It Wandered In From the Wastes

    140
    Feb 22, 2005
    Yes, there are. Many of them are very ambiguous however, and there are several factors to consider.

    Foremost among them, the simple fact that like many of the "nitty-gritty details", it's a good bet that most (if not all) of the dev team really didn't know or care *how* the world got nuked, so much as just they knew that it did. A lot of the concept and design for the FO universe was handled this way, which was why if you asked any 3 guy on the team back then, you were just as likely to get three different answers as you were to get three that matched.

    Also:

    Meaning that the term "warhead" itself is somewhat less than a concrete indication of the actual delivery system, since its very definition is ambiguous, or at the very least, subject to deviation depending who exactly you ask. Remembering that none of these guys were nuclear physicists nor rocket scientists, I'd expect many of them had a fairly loose working definition for the term. This further compounds with the fact that much of the in-game evidence one way or the other is descriptive writing, which is often chosen more for flow and ease of use than perfect accuracy. It's a lot easier to say "hit by a warhead" than "hit by the explosive portion of a really big bomb, dropped from a plane, or possibly delivered by a big missile capable of crossing continental distances in a matter of minutes."

    Yeah, that's a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea. ;)


    In any case, as I said above, I'm not arguing that there's no evidence to support the idea of missiles, nor am I suggesting that anyone isn't free to see them as a more likely, or even integral part of the storyline. All I'm saying is that to me, most evidence suggests the original vision seems to favor bombs, and that's how it's wound up set in my mind.

    Ultimately, I think Brother None said it best really, particularly the last paragraph below:
    So until someone with the authority and knowledge to quote a canon answer steps forward, I'm going to go with my view, and leave others to have theirs, which is actually what Chris A. suggests when questions have arisen on many aspects not already specifically addressed, since he wanted to leave the 'expanded universe' as open as possible so as not to limit the imagination of what the fans may create.

    About as direct an answer as Chris A ever gave (that I know of), which was in reply to a question as to whether there was a nuclear winter:
    So like I said, likely most of them don't really even know, because the details simply weren't that important and they were never really nailed down.

    It's entirely plausible that half the team envisioned a more retro-50s era "tons of bombs with (comparably) small payloads dropped by planes" while the other half had a more contemporary "lots of big missiles guided by some manner of vacuum tube, auto-gyro guidance systems with multi-megaton warheads".

    Who knows. :)

    -Wraith
     
  13. Ausir

    Ausir Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 20, 2003
    Which "original vision" are you referring to? Because the oldest design document we have (i.e. the Scott Campbell timeline) says:

    Tim Cain seems to favor bombs, while Scott Campbell and Chris Taylor seem to favor missiles, just like Cain favors radiation as the source of animal and ghoul mutation, while Campbell and Taylor favor FEV.
     
  14. Roshambo

    Roshambo Antediluvian as Feck

    Apr 3, 2003
    Well...a bit more info. Wiki, yeah, but it does have a very interesting history subsection to consider given Fallout's alternate timeline.


    http://shamo.gry-online.pl/pamietniki/images/s_water_chip.jpg

    The background schematic in the water chip suggest an overall machine, as I see a speaker and a few switches at least. None of that should be present upon an insert card.

    Tube circuits are bulky, yet tend to be simple compared to the logic around microchips. They do the job with a lot of power potential.

    To handle this power, the circuit boards are going to be big and CHUNKY.

    Look at the thickness of the wiring. The braided or wound copper cords on the board could have been an EMP-proof overlap - much of the Vault-Tec technology suggests a HUGE amount of redundancy towards this.

    The "outside" wires on the bottom edge of the board look rubber-coated. Another form of EMP shielding. It makes them substantially thicker than the average wire.

    You know what makes me consider this board have a bit of chunk to it? Given the thickness of the wires, look at the thickness of the board and the contact wafer - the part of the water "chip" that would slot into a receiving slot in a mainframe basket, likely alongside other such modules.

    Heh, there I remember where people might be mistaken about this. This isn't some 2" chip like they could find on their modern motherboard.

    This "chip" is about a centimeter thick! Roughly a third of an inch. The main portion of this board would make an NES cartridge look small. The tubes look sturdy enough to take a substantial amount of voltage and current, too. This isn't some hardware you could touch while it is running. 20KV implies a bit of current. At least enough to send you across the room, with a possible 60Hz Shuffle across the heart.

    When plugged in and powered, all three of those tubes would hum nicely together.
     
  15. WraithUV

    WraithUV It Wandered In From the Wastes

    140
    Feb 22, 2005
    Out of all that, you nitpick "original"? Ok, possibly a poor choice of words on my part, but hardly worthy of a point of contention when the entire point was that, while there *is* evidence on both sides of the proverbial coin, I don't see anything that actually locked it down, specified it, and made it canon.

    As I said, I'm not saying anyone is wrong, nor telling you that you're not welcome to your opinion. My mind's eye of the Fallout universe doesn't include massive missile strikes, and favors a more 50's-styled conventional carpet bombing by huge squadrons of some manner of aircraft.

    When *I* play the games, watch the movies, see the effects of whatever caused the varying degrees of devastation and left remnants of burned-out citys and the tone it all generates, that's the image *I* get. Your mileage may vary. :)

    To answer your question though, I guess when I said "original vision", I was speaking of once the game had actually taken shape, and the history and universe was actually being fleshed out and made relatively cohesive, rather than early design notes that may or may not have become absolute canon or been completely scrapped individually. Again, probably a poor choice of words, but I thought that other portions of my post would have made clear that my intention was not to nit pick and debate either side of this as if it should be considered scripture.

    -Wraith
     
  16. Ausir

    Ausir Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 20, 2003
    This "final original vision" varies depending on which dev you ask, too :).
     
  17. WraithUV

    WraithUV It Wandered In From the Wastes

    140
    Feb 22, 2005
    :lol: Indeed!

    As I said earlier, there's a whole lot of things that usually, if you'd ask any 3 of the dev team the same question, you'd end up with 3 different answers. Gotta love consistency. ;)

    Oddly enough though, in many ways I think that's part of why Fallout worked so damn well. Instead of letting themselves be mired down in the "well yes, but how? WHY?" crap, they just said, "Eh, who knows. Probably radiation or some virus or something. Make it work."

    Whatever exactly they did, I'm damn sure glad they did it. :)

    -Wraith
     
  18. Thorgrimm

    Thorgrimm A Smooth-Skin

    617
    Dec 16, 2003
    What I was thinking was since they used magnetized disks as the active memory for the rockets and without transistors they concentrated on increasing the strength of the magnetic fields on the disks to reduce the CEP for future rockets.

    Now continuing that train of thought they could have began to use stronger magnetic fields in their computers for greater data storage. So over time these two branches could have produced a magnetic field strong enough to contain a fusion reaction.

    And bam, we have fusion power and vacuum tube computers without transistors. :D Not the best solution I admit, but it allows for the modeling of fusion and vacuum tubes mingling.

    @WraithUV, take a gander at the specs on the W-38 warhead used on the Atlas-D;

    So by the 50's your image of World War 2 bombs is incorrect. :wink:




    Cheers, Thorgrimm
     
  19. WraithUV

    WraithUV It Wandered In From the Wastes

    140
    Feb 22, 2005
    Er, wha?

    That's not *my* image. That's right out of the Fallout opening movie sequence. Go re-watch it if you doubt me. It's in there, and if it's not absolutely precisely that very bomb, it's damn sure about its twin brother.

    Anyway, I really don't recall saying anything about my image of what a 50's era bomb actually looked like, nor do I remember saying that the bombs I'd envision that were ultimately dropped in the FO universe were completely unchanged from their effectiveness and appearance since the 50s.

    I did say my view had a more 50s feel to it, but that was in reference to the idea of large scale carpet bombing as opposed to a lot of push-button missile warfare. If I did shove my leg down my throat someplace though, please point me to it so I can try to figure out what the hell I was babbling about. ;)

    -Wraith
     
  20. Thorgrimm

    Thorgrimm A Smooth-Skin

    617
    Dec 16, 2003
    @WraithUV, sorry about that dude, I misunderstood your position and thought you were trying to say no missiles because the bombs were too big. :oops:

    But those images you are talking about are of WW2 bombers, not post war bombers. So that is not a truly valid argument for what a Fallout timeline would be like in the future. :D

    If you maintain the premise that Fallout is based on the 50's, then you have to consider the technology that was available in the 50's. And since both the Soviets and the US were already fielding ICBM's in the 50's, you cannot just handwave that tech away to fit a flawed model. :wink:

    Now if, for example, they had never fielded ICBM's till the 60's, I would say yup, bombers all the way. But if you maintain the 50's era tech you have to use in your model what was available in that time period.

    A lot of sci fi I have read from the 50's has rockets as one of the main features in a good percentage of the stories. Here is a quick list of some of the TV shows aired in the 50's, Buck Rodgers, Captain Video, Commando Cody: Sky Marshall of the Universe, Flash Gordon, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers. All of these TV shows had rockets and aired in the 50's and this is only TV. :wink:

    So rockets, and their military version, ICBM's, were already in place and the public was aware of them.

    Now saying all of this, I don't think Fallout would have been an ICBM only type of war. As Rosh pointed out they were not very accurate till the transistor was invented, but still they were there so they cannot be discounted. That was one of the reasons why I came up with my superbomber idea I posted when I first joined NMA. Since I believe it would have been BOTH an ICBM strike on distant targets while the superbombers hit the closer ones. :D




    Cheers, Thorgrimm