Kotaku articles on Fallout 1 and 3

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by WorstUsernameEver, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. WorstUsernameEver

    WorstUsernameEver But best title ever!

    May 28, 2010
    Recently we've spotted a couple of interesting articles on the first and third titles in the Fallout series published on Kotaku.

    The first is an article from Peter Teriyas with contributions from Tim Cain, one of the series' godfathers. The article touches on the impact the game had on Teriyas and its development history and is an all-around good read:

    The end of the world was both darker and more humorous than anyone could have imagined, and in the original Fallout, released for the PC in 1997, gamers got to experience the apocalyptic future firsthand. The iconic, "War, war never changes," introduction set the somber mood, which came about, strangely enough, during an episode of The Simpsons. Tim Cain, lead programmer and producer of Fallout, explained over an email interview, "My assistant producer, Fred Hatch, brought me the opening narration lines for the next day's VO session with Ron Perlman. They had just been finalized that day, and Fred thought they weren't very good. I read them and had similar concerns, so," during commercial breaks, "I wrote an alternative opening narration. I thought about how war was a constant in human history and how the weapons of war changed, but the reasons for war and the goals of war did not." He asked Hatch to "record both sets of lines the next day, and we would decide later which one we liked more."


    Character creation was one of the most integral elements in the gameplay. The engine was originally based on a GURPS model, but the violence in the game caused Steve Jackson games to withdraw the license. SPECIAL (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck) took its place. "There was not a lot of time to make SPECIAL," Cain explained. "Chris Taylor and I talked about the systems it would have to support (code I had already written), which helped define what skills would be necessary to include in the game. He came up with the initial pass of attributes and skills, but I asked him to include the Luck attribute, so I could include its effect in many different systems. Also, after seeing the system, Brian Fargo suggested we have something else for the player to acquire when they leveled up, and Chris came up with the perk idea from that suggestion. That was most of SPECIAL right there, made in two weeks under intense pressure."

    I wondered if the game would be very different if GURPS hadn't been there in the first place as a template. "It's hard to say how Fallout would have turned out without GURPS. I think the area design would have been identical, but the combat systems were already in place, so SPECIAL had to tie into those. This meant we had to have a skill for unarmed combat, and we have to have one or more skills to heal damage. Interestingly, most of tech skills were collapsed into a single skill called Science, since there were not a lot of opportunities to use all of the different skills. But by collapsing them, we made a well-used mega skill. The stats and skills all tie into specific parts of the game, either combat, dialog, or exploration, which Chris Taylor and I were in very close agreement about what needed to be covered. The skilldex, with its text and artwork, conveyed the dark humor of the game well, and showed the wonderful collaboration between design and art. In fact, the "vault boy" has become an iconic emblem for the series. That character creation screen let the player know exactly what kind of game they were going to get."​

    The second is penned by Patricia Hernandez, who seems to have specialized in writing Fallout-related things lately, and it argues that Fallout 3's tutorial is near-perfect. I respectfully disagree:

    The first time I'm granted control in the game is during my birth—the game's intro wasn't joking about all that new beginnings stuff, eh? My father, taking a page straight out of Professor Oak's handbook, asks me if I'm a boy or a girl. Then, he pulls up a machine called a Gene Projector, which can display what a baby will look like when it's all grown up. Mechanically, it lets me determine what my character will look like as an adult. Thematically, it's some GATTACA-level stuff—the type of invention a society with the values of the 50's might genuinely come up with. Little boxes made of ticky tacky need their white picket fences and picture-perfect families, after all.

    The game defaults your character to "Caucasian," which I suppose could be vaguely problematic, in that standard video-game kind of way, save for the fact that everyone in the game sort of looks like trash anyway. Look, as great as Fallout 3 is, the engine has absolutely not aged well. The game looked kind of horrible back in 2008, when it was originally released, and it only looks worse now. There are mods, but...they can only do so much.

    I digress. A few moments after I finalize my looks, my mother dies—and then the game fast-forwards to a year later. My dad tricks me into crawling into my playpen, and so I occupy my time with a book on the floor.

    I'm a big fan of the SPECIAL book, which breaks down every character stat in the game with short, nursery-school like rhymes. I can easily imagine it as a real book back in the 50s, and I definitely appreciate its significance now, in 2014. As a millennial, I was constantly promised I was so fuckin' special. I just needed to take the right classes, pass the right tests, and do the right extracurricular activities to mold myself into that special person, right? Like building an RPG character or something...

    I break out of the pen, I look around and think, wow, a vault is a sort of grim place to grow up, huh? Harsh, sterile metal everywhere.​
  2. Izual

    Izual Pipe rifle & chopsticks

    Sep 18, 2009
    I wonder what's worst: temple of trials or FO3's tutorial, regardless of its skippable nature.
  3. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    I guess FO1's cave rats were the best tutorial based on how many people failed to get past them before consulting the manual. ;)
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  4. Emperor

    Emperor Simplesmente Rajuma

    Aug 4, 2013
    Nothing beats FO1's cave rats
  5. TheGM

    TheGM The voice of reason

    Aug 19, 2008
    What the hell is the nonsense? why is it even here?

    I'll take the Temple over Baby Steps any day of the week.
  6. Diospyros

    Diospyros First time out of the vault

    Jul 15, 2008
    FO3's tutorial is the kind of thing that actually sounds interesting in theory. The problem occurs in the implementation.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  7. Gsonderling

    Gsonderling First time out of the vault

    Nov 13, 2014

    Kotaku and P. Hernandez especially play the race card very, very often. Ms. Hernandez kind of has a bone to pick with USA so it`s no wonder she likes games where it is devasted opposed to those where it`s rebuilding.
  8. naossano

    naossano So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 19, 2006
    I thought the Fo3 vault tutorial was great... Once.
  9. Gnarles Bronson

    Gnarles Bronson regular mutant

    Oct 30, 2011
    Sooo......... what's wrong with the fallout 3 tutorial? (as someone not fond of f3)
  10. sigma1932

    sigma1932 Banned

    May 25, 2013
    So... to state the obvious... did anyone else notice that the article talking about FO1 was written by a dude, and the one praising FO3 was written by a chick?

    And people wonder why women are often portrayed as eye-candy instead of something of actual substance in the gaming industry...
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  11. Akratus

    Akratus Bleep bloop.

    May 14, 2011
    Such a fucking conundrum why the standard option would be caucasian in the predominantly caucasian part of the world, gee.

    And well gee, Patricia even going so far as to call the tutorial perfect makes me realize that yes, it IS possible for me to dislike her articles more than I already did. Good job on her.
  12. Brasidas

    Brasidas First time out of the vault

    Nov 14, 2014
    Of the racial problems in video games, I feel like defaulting to Caucasian in Fallout 3 is not one of them. For me personally, I feel invisible in the Fallout games. The issues and concerns of non-white people simply don't exist. I suppose that's better than the token and mildly to moderate racist representation of minority groups in the media of the 90's. But I wonder: despite my feeling of invisibility, is it worth pressing the makers of RPGs to include the experiences of non-white people? Or is it better to leave them the creative freedom to pursue whatever narratives interest them most, especially if they don't feel comfortable writing outside of their own racial experience? 'Cause let's be real: I played the shit out of Fallout 1 and 2, regardless of my misgivings.

    (Sorry if this is a hijack of the topic. I'm a forum newb.)
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  13. Sander

    Sander This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Jul 5, 2003
    And people wonder why they think there's a problem with casual sexism in gaming culture when you get comments like this. What the fuck?

    I'd say it's absolutely worth pushing makers of games to be more inclusive, to pay more attention to concerns and experiences of non-white people. Both through a diversification of game designers and writers, and through pushing existing writers and designers to explore situations beyond their comfort zone. Expand! Talk to people! Empathize! Research! Test with audiences! Accepting the excuse that the writers just aren't comfortable is how the status quo continually perpetuates itself.

    That doesn't mean that every single game has to be super-diverse and all-inclusive. But it's pretty messed up that huge portions of societies that consume video games feel like they rarely see their perspectives represented.
  14. UniversalWolf

    UniversalWolf eaten by a grue.

    Aug 28, 2005
    Constant nagging by self-appointed inclusiveness monitors is worse than a game defaulting to caucasian at character creation.
  15. Gnarles Bronson

    Gnarles Bronson regular mutant

    Oct 30, 2011
    I hate to be that guy, but I feel similarly to this as I do when women complain about there not being female-centric plot lines; i.e. the solution is for women and minorities to become more involved in video game development. I don't think it's a good idea for white guys to be thinking up problems a person of color might have in Narnia or whatever.

    That being said, it might be harder from a purely marketing perspective to have a minority centered game than a female one, because everyone knows females make up 50% of all gamers and there is a potentially smaller market for one featuring a problems white people don't have.
  16. Walpknut

    Walpknut This ghoul has seen it all

    Dec 30, 2010
    I am not against inclusiveness and race and gender variety (I am all for it and appreciate it), but I find this dispostion to call anything with a defined race and gender for a character "problematic" or even outright calling them bigots and racist to be pretty fucking stupid. Talk about dilluting the discussion, like, do white men complain when a game stars a black dude or a girl as protagonists? No, they don't, unless they are racist and those are a minority. Not every game needs to have a paper doll of a main character, then it just becomes a problem of every character becoming a bland blank slate on genres it doesn't even need to be just to appeal to people that probably won't even play the game.
  17. naossano

    naossano So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 19, 2006
    I would say it is long, you don't have much choices, you are surrounded by "essential" characters which aren't all great. As an introduction to the Fallout (3) universe, it might be nice, as something you do everything time you launch a new playthrough, it might get old petty quick...
  18. Walpknut

    Walpknut This ghoul has seen it all

    Dec 30, 2010
    Not to mention the writting is shitty all around.
  19. Stanislao Moulinsky

    Stanislao Moulinsky Vault Fossil

    Jul 16, 2009
    Yeah, this. Getting a glimpse of living in a Vault is actually a very interesting idea, but they botched it and now I doubt it will ever be used again (so no chance of getting it right the next time).
  20. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    I don't even have a reaction image for this and sincerely hope you're trolling...

    It's only worth to add minorities and references to certain issues to the game if it adds value and if it's in line with the given setting.
    It makes no sense to waste writing and development time to it, if it doesn't actually makes the game better and is only there to prevent people from whining about their special little minority not being represented.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1