JE Sawyer on guns & gender

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Sam Ecorners, May 24, 2010.

  1. Sam Ecorners

    Sam Ecorners Vault Senior Citizen

    Jan 23, 2007
    There's some posts on the Bethesda forums from project lead J.E. Sawyer, striving to clear the air on some recent controversies. First off, he talks about the merging of the small guns and big guns skills.<blockquote>Gun chat.

    In 1997, I played the original Fallout. Like the games that followed it, Fallout had Small Guns, Big Guns, and Energy Weapons. In F1, the gun skills were designed for phased obsolescence. If you tagged Big Guns or Energy Weapons early on, you would not be able to gain much, if any, benefit from it for a long time. Even back then, I thought this was problematic. Before playing the game, players could not know how content would limit the applicability of weapons. Ultimately, it came down to three weapons: the minigun, rocket launcher, and flamer. Large, with heavy ammo, and either burst or AoE only. In Fallout 3, the list of Big Guns was expanded to include the fat man, rock-it launcher, and gatling laser. In most situations, these weapons were all still at least mid-power at their weakest. In talking to people in person and online, and in reading online commentary, I found that people were also still unclear on what marked the clear division between Small Guns and Big Guns (and even Energy Weapons, in the case of the Gatling Laser). Certainly the UI could be improved to help with this (something we have already done for F:NV), but it conceptually was a sticking point.

    When I was looking at Big Guns for F:NV, I considered that the list of weapons was small compared to any other weapon category and several of the weapons arguably belonged (or at least could be easily categorized) elsewhere. Moving the Big Guns to different weapon skills and dissolving the Big Guns skill would allow weapons like the minigun to remain as a powerful top tier weapon without needing to invent low-tier "Big Guns" that might further confuse the dividing line. Coming up with a wide power spectrum of Guns, Energy Weapons, and Explosives would not be hard at all. Since our skill point economy is more frugal (I'll delve into this another time) and since we do have Strength requirements on weapons (resulting in increased sway for firearms and a decreased rate of fire for melee/unarmed), where you invest your skill points and SPECIAL points is still pretty important. A fully upgraded minigun wielded by a character with high Guns and high Strength cuts down rooms of people like a scythe, even at relatively long range. In the hands of an unskilled, low Strength character, it sprays a lot of bullets all over the place.

    The exact categorization of weapons in F:NV isn't rooted in the logic of transferable skills from real life, but it's arguable they never were previously, either (missile launcher/flamer/minigun, for example). The categorizations have more to do with being clear and consistent with definitions. It follows this basic pattern:

    * Does it explode? It's an Explosive.
    * Does it use Small Energy Cells, Microfusion Cells, or other energy ammo? It's an Energy Weapon.
    * Does it use conventional bullets of some flavor as ammo? It's a Gun.

    So while it's accurate to say that Big Guns no longer exists as a category, it's not accurate to say that Big Guns and Small Guns were combined. The weapons in Big Guns were divided among the other weapon skills.

    I know not everyone will be happy with this re-organization, but those are the reasons for the change. I hope the reasons are clear, even if you disagree with the decision. Thanks.</blockquote>Another pair of posts addresses in this thread the transphobia question.<blockquote>Before being dipped in the vats, Tabitha was a female human. She continues to self-identify as female. Descriptions of her as being "in drag" are not accurate; FEV transforms female humans in the same way as male humans, leaving their appearance very similar.
    Tabitha certainly has personality problems, but they don't have anything to do with gender identity. </blockquote>EDIT: another comment from Sawyer on Something Awful reveals flamers count as energy weapons.<blockquote>Also, weapons using flamer fuel as ammo are classified as Energy Weapons, mostly for overall balance in the lineup. </blockquote>
  2. Lexx

    Lexx Testament to the ghoul lifespan
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    I personally found it always good that you are not able to find big guns early in the game. If the big weapons are strong enough, I see it as a kind of balance as well... You can tagg big guns, then you have a harder beginning, but as soon as you find some big gun, you can deal a big amount of damage with it.

    About Tabitha actually beeing a female: Like I've said since the very beginning. :>
  3. Mistrz

    Mistrz Still Mildly Glowing

    Apr 28, 2009
    I`m ok. with changes among guns.

    About Tabitha: Am I missing something or West Coast SM`s were male and female, only musculature removed or reduced female features. The are still male and female, only differences are less distinguishable.
  4. Ravager69

    Ravager69 Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Dec 21, 2007
    Oh well, nobody said the original skills were perfect. I, for one, never tagged neither Big or Energy weapons, since I always found them rather underpowered. Even with high skill in Big Guns, they were rather useless against late enemies such as the Enclave.

    Also, looks like that transphobia guy made an idiot out of himself by not asking the devs about clarification first, but instead writed a silly whine on the internet about some imaginary attack on trans-sexual folks.
  5. Dionysus

    Dionysus Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Oct 13, 2008
    It would be a sort of balance if small arms didn't scale up as well as they did. The sniper rifle was pretty badass in the hands of a skilled character. I always thought of big guns as a luxury reserved for combat-oriented characters. It wasn't well balanced, but it was good for RPing.

    But I think it's fine to do away with the big guns skill and beef up the explosives skill. FO1-3 had more killing skills than they needed anyway.
  6. Brother None

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

    Apr 3, 2003
    What? He did ask for comments, and got 'em. The comments were more wordy and slightly more ambiguous than this short bit, but essentially the same thing: Supermutants are all "monogender even if they retain some vestigial biological sex characteristics since said characteristics no longer have any social or biological meaning in Super Mutant society", hence saying "Tabitha was a female human" is more useful than saying "Tabitha is a female". It doesn't change that she wears a wig and makeup. And looks ridiculous.
  7. Beelzebud

    Beelzebud A Smooth-Skin

    Mar 6, 2008
    I don't see a problem with splitting big guns up and putting them in categories by ammo type.

    I think it's a good change.
  8. warsaw

    warsaw Still Mildly Glowing

    Dec 1, 2008
    I never found much use for putting points into Big Guns. The minigun/flamethrower would destroy anything at close range, and the rocket launcher would always hit something with its splash damage. I mean, I handled them rather haphazardly, but they got the job done even at 25-50% skill level.
  9. Relentless666

    Relentless666 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Dec 23, 2008
    I can see why they decided to do this change and to be honest I support it. It makes sense to me.
  10. Black

    Black Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 21, 2007
    I think there are 2 ways to fix it
    1st is Sawyer's way
    2nd is not going into this "okay, you start the game with tiny weapons, then you get better weapons, and lastly you get super duper weapons" bullshit. Meaning all kinds of weapons should be obtainable in some way from the start, I really dislike this thing that lets you judge how far you're into the game just from seeing how good/bad equipment shopkeepers have.
  11. kyle

    kyle It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Nov 2, 2007
    Ranged weapons are for whimps anyways.
  12. Blackened

    Blackened I should set a cutom tite

    Jun 29, 2008
    I love how they deal with the issue. And I admit that Big Guns' and Energy Weapons' availability in Fallout and Fallout 2 was really broken.

    Though I hope they add throwing of melee weapons into the "melee weapons" cathegory.

    Also, will there be melee/unarmed weapons that use energy ammunition?
  13. aenemic

    aenemic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Jun 4, 2008
    well, that's how it's always been and that's what's made Big Guns and Energy Weapons a lot less useful in previous games. hence the merging. plus, in FO3 we found energy weapons pretty early on and I imagine it'll be the same in F:NV.

    but I agree, I wish most weapons were available at pretty much the same point in the progress of the game. you can still balance it out with prices and ammo availability. but then again, looking at FO 1+2, it would be pretty weird if they sold miniguns and gatling lasers in the first village you visit.

    I think it's a great change. finally my stealthy sniper-type character can pack some heavy firepower for certain situations without wasting skill points and inventory space.
  14. Lexx

    Lexx Testament to the ghoul lifespan
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    But only because it is very unlikely (from a logic point of view), that Klamath will have big guns and energy weapons.
  15. aenemic

    aenemic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Jun 4, 2008
    yes, exactly. so the issue isn't entirely based on game balance, it's based a lot more on story progression. FO3 didn't have the same simple beginnings and there you could find heavier weapons early on. you just didn't find a lot of ammo and had a hard time keeping them in good quality. and I don't mind that one bit.
  16. bhlaab

    bhlaab Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Oct 30, 2008
    Yeah, but he denied my perfeclty polite comments on his article simply because they disagreed so fuck him.
    Also he posted a new article about how Bayonetta is teaching people how to molest, so fuck him. Turns out he is just another reactionary disinterested in actual debate.
  17. Blackened

    Blackened I should set a cutom tite

    Jun 29, 2008
    @ aenemic: Not really. In the original games, it was intentional that the first locations you go to are low-tech, and you slowly progress to places where better guns are available.

    Anyway, if you got Plasma pistol/rifle in the first/second location, this would ruin the balance. What they needed was weak big guns and energy weapons. Fallout 3 managed to do this by "weapon condition" (I HATE this system anyway), plus miniguns that are about as damaging as a rifle, plus silly skill system, where if you have higher skill with guns, your bullets are more damaging.
  18. Stereotypical Villain

    Stereotypical Villain First time out of the vault

    May 24, 2010
    I always picked energy weapons myself since I adore the old laster pistol. Hopefully the first mod which'll be "converted" to function with New Vegas will be the one that changes the sound and model of the laser weaponry to properly match the ones found in Fallout 1 & 2.

    Anyway, I endorse this change since I find that the big gun skill was quite a good way of screwing yourself over in the long run. Friendly fire was high, and the use of the weapons which used the skill was situational at best (as some people have already stated).

    Go Obsidian, I say. And chances are that I'll actually tag small weapons this time instead of going for energy weapons from the get-go.
  19. OakTable

    OakTable Vault Senior Citizen

    Nov 26, 2009
    Well guys, I have been thoroughly confused. J.E. Sawyer went on the Something Awful forums (posts under the name rope kid) and he said Flamers are going in Energy Weapons. Granted, he said it was for balance, but still, I am baffled by this.
  20. Lexx

    Lexx Testament to the ghoul lifespan
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    In theory, it's heat energy. I don't like it as well, but ... uh ...