Quicky

The Fallout 3 Forum and Official Site are online again.

Nuclear Frappr

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Server down, discussion up

I’ve been up since really early (courtesy of my beautiful and too energetic toddler) and everything Zenimax seems to be down, including the Fallout 3 Forum and Official Site for quite some time. So while we wait for everything to get back online let me show you this interview with Susan O’Connor, a writer that worked on Bioshock and had this to say about Fallout storytelling:

I’ve always adored the writing in the original Fallout 1 & 2 games from years ago: so many bits and pieces that there was no way to find every piece of the story in a single play through. The Lesbian Library especially stood out as a hallmark of absurdist comedic brilliance. Massive multiplayer games afford the opportunity to expand what Fallout poked its nose into. The trick is to have the means; WoW is a PC application only right now. Though massively popular, it’s still not as far-reaching as could be on a console, once consoles can handle those sorts of server loads.

Speaking of WoW Fergus Urquhart, the man with less sleep hours on the northern hemisphere and Fallout veteran turned CEO of Obsidian Entertainment has this warning on an interview at CVG:

Think those of us that make non-MMO RPGs need to look at what a single-player/small multiplayer RPG can do that MMOs can’t and spend our time and effort on those things”, Urquhart said.

“For example, in Mask of the Betrayer, we can make the world react more to your personal decisions than any MMO could hope to. We can let you impact your companions and the game’s NPCs – and the entire story outcome – in ways that MMOs cannot.”

Looking at the future of the RPG genre, he added that he’d “like to see RPG focus more on the world that they take place in with particular focus on making the player a real part of that world.”

“Many RPGs, including some that I’ve made, allow the player to just stomp around and not really have to worry about the world that they are playing in. I think that really limits the feeling of you being in that world, which is what I certainly want when I’m playing a great RPG.”

Interesting advice… I found these bits at RPGBlog.

Atomic Smile

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I like to wake up and read a feel-good post from Bethsoft Executive Producer Ashley Cheng:

Crazy how fast time flies. Only one week left until the Fallout 3 teaser. I’m really excited about being able to show folks what we’ve been working on for the past few years. We’ve been running with the stealth drives on long enough, I think :)

I definitely agree with that, and not even the crappy news post Michael Fahey wrote at Kotaku will put me on a bad mood today.

Misrepresentations

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In the 24th of may I posted a few comments made by Steve “MrSmileyFaceDude” Meister about the way fallout fans were analyzing the Fallout 3 concept art released by Bethsoft:

<MSFD> didn’t take the Fallout fans long to find the source photo Craig Mullins used for that concept art

<MSFD> yeah
<MSFD> they even identified which carrier it was
<MSFD> it’s funny because people are extrapolating all sorts of stuff from that identification, as though it has anything to do with the actual game…

<MSFD> nah, it was in Florida for a while but they sunk it in the Gulf to make an artificial reef

<MSFD> anyway all we did was ask “Hey Craig Mullins, make a painting of a carrier that’s run aground on a river bank in a ruined city” (or something to that effect)

<MSFD> nah, he’s freelance

<MSFD> he’s done stuff for a ton of games
<MSFD> incl. Halo

<MSFD> he did some stuff for Star Trek for us, too
<MSFD> once the teaser countown is finished you will have seen the entirety of the work he did for Fallout

<MSFD> anyway we have an in-house concept artist who’s done hundreds & hundreds of drawings & sketches & such for all the Fallout stuff

<MSFD> haven’t shown any of that

At the time I took those words as a sign that the concept art didn’t have much to do with the game, and we were chasing some wild gooses. Seems there is another interpretation to these words, as expressed by an anonimous on this blog Meebo private messenger:

meeboguest957191: You guys are deliberately misinterpreting what MSFD said — it’s pretty obvious to me that he was talking about the ship being the USS Orinasky, not about concept art in general. No wonder the mods are deleting posts about it.

You’d have to not be able to read English properly to misinterpret that. I mean he said “from that idetification, as if it” where “it” means “that identification”, not “all of the concept art. Like I said it seems pretty clear to me what he was talking about. Especially if you take the rest of the transcript into account when he talks about the specific ship.

And that idea was reinforced by summer, a moderator on the Bethsoft Forum:

I believe what he said was that the real ship that may have been used for prop in painting the concept art had nothing to do with Fallout. That is what was being talked about. At least that’s how I took it. Seems someone is taking it out of context to me. I mean concept art is called that because it assists set the representation of an idea or mood from which to work.

The idea that this blog or someone else are deliberately misrepresenting MSFD’s words is silly and ridiculous. But in order to prevent the erasing of forum posts and the spread of involuntary misrepresentations there’s no better way than to the developer in question to move forward and simply say “what you wrote it’s not true, I’ll explain later when I can talk more openly about the game”.

This had solved things right from the beginning, I don’t understand why he talks about events surrounding the game in #elderscrolls , a place that has nothing to do with Fallout, and not to us.

In conclusion if there was a misrepresentation of MSFD’ s words I’m sorry, and that has been now corrected, but a bit more openness and less drama on the forum would be dandy too.

Final Concept Art

Here it is, click the thumbnail :

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Bethsoft Community Manager Gstaff had this to say about the pic:

The main image as you can see is of the Jefferson Memorial (you can see other notable landmarks of DC off to the left as well).

New Roundup

Well every weekend is slow on the news side, even more when it’s a holiday weekend in the States. Still there are a few things left from last week, so let’s start with two new blogs, one from Le Driver, that shelved the Fallout3 Survival Kitt to start a more generalist blog about all sorts of RPGs, called RPGBlog. Good luck to her!

Also for the Portuguese speaking readers there’s a new blog, Ludonauta, from my good friend Role-Player, directed to those that like to delve into the theories surrounding gaming. Very well written blog.

There’s also some good fanart appearing in DeviantArt, like this from Guardian of Art/Starglider and a few pieces from Elvis57. Really cool.

One reader called 13PM called my attention to the fact that finally there’s an image from Fallout3 with a link on the Bethsoft site. About time, thanks 13PM.

No Mutants Allowed now has news subsites in Polish, German and French. Soon they will conquer the Commonwealth of Europe!

And finally i asked the devs a few questions, and got some replies from socrates200x (SO) and fizzbang (FZ):

-When is someone going to watch Brazil, by Terry Gilliam? It’s the one game (er, with Them and a Boy and his Dog and a bunch of others…) the old time Fallout devs talk about when they want to show where their inspiration came from.

SO: I sat through Time Bandits; does that count?

FZ:Oh, I’ve definitely seen it. In fact, I’m a big fan of all of Gilliam’s work – I’d say Baron von Munchausen is my favorite film. And, yes, I’ve also seen Them and A Boy and His Dog.

What would you change in my blog? Go to the jugular here, I don’t mind, I don’t have much time to change things anyway…

SO: Other than the low contrast between your background and your text ( although that may just be my monitor ), it looks dandy to me!

FZ: I’d get rid of the pic of that weirdo with a crazy hair-dye job on the front. Seriously, what sort of freak would go around in public looking like a cheesy Batman villain? biggrin.gif

What’s the real name of RadHamster? He’s the only one missing from my list, so far…

SO: I believe Jay’s already come out of the name closet with this one. [yep, it's Jay "RadHamster " Thomas Woodward]

Have you seen any of these mags for inspiration?

SO: I have now!

FZ: My uncle used to collect Amazing Tales magazines, and I studied a lot of those back in school – my writing degree included a “Science Fiction and Culture” class. So I’m familiar with the styles, if not those particular comics and covers.

What is it like working with so many new people around? Bethsoft has a lot of new blood now, so what’s it like?

SO: Being part of the “new blood”, it’s great! I get a paycheck, they get a me. It’s a win-win-win situation!

FZ: As far as I’m concerned, new folks are important for any creative company, if only because they can bring in a new sense of energy and new perspectives to keep a company fresh and creatively active.
But then again, I am some of that new blood, so I may be overstating my own importance a bit. As it is, I’m excited work with some of the “more experienced blood” here, so it goes both ways.

Todd Fallout

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In the fallout following Todd Howards post at the Bethesda games Fallout 3 forum we had this comment of Matt “Gstaff” Grandstaff, community manager at Bethsoft:

the way Todd was talking was like he was trying make sure i have a Bethesda open mind instead of my open mind!!Got a feeling we not going to like what you see!!

Gstaff:

As Todd noted, he doesn’t make it into the boards that often (he is quite busy). Having read the thread myself, my big takeaway was that he cares what you guys think. That’s probably why it was such a long post.

As someone else stated, his post was in the “meet the Devs” thread, not a “State of the Union About Fallout” thread. It doesn’t touch much on Fallout 3, because as you know, we’re still keeping quiet around. That said, we all know that the teaser trailer is just around the corner. We’re excited about sharing it with you guys and hope you enjoy it.

Well if Matt is referring to the title I gave the post in this blog article section he has to understand that I got the “State of the Union” idea from Ashley Cheng, that has more powerful kung fu than Matt :) .

Next Ricardo “Socrates200x” Gonzalez went a bit further and gave a more substantial account of his feelings:

I love Todd’s great speach “Fallout its ours,not yours”..translating to “We creating fallout 3 the way we wanted to,we don’t care if its different”

Socrates200x:

Like all good sound bites, this “yours-ours” bit is taken a little out of context. Firstly, I’ll go out on a rhetorical limb and say the comment was directed to the game-playing populace at-large. That is, “not yours” applies to the twitchy FPS crowd and console fan-persons as much as to the die-hard CRPG fans. Since it was voiced here in the forums, the sentiment seems directed at the Fallout fan base, but re-reading it, I think it was directed more broadly.

Which brings me to the next point. No one could make a game to please everyone, or even “to please all Fallout fans”. The existence of the forums as a sounding board is proof of this; life-long fans of Fallout have differing opinions of the mutually-exclusive variety of what Fallout should be or even what it already is. You could time-warp the original FO devs, circa 1997, to the present day, have them write a game, and you’d still have your vehement nay-sayers. So, you can’t please everyone, and if you try, you get a watered-down product. I think what Todd was getting at was that we recognize this law of nature and, in turn, realize that we have to make one game out of the many that people want and are willing to incur the wrath of opposing crowd in order to make something great. It’s the artist’s burden. I’d be more worried if he said, “Fallout is yours; we’re open to implementing any and all of your ideas.” The result would be a Fallout devoid of internal cohesion and creative integrity.

So, suturing the “ours-yours” phrase back into context, I think the point made was that we are making a game that we think is a worthy successor to Fallout, concordant with its “soul” if you will, and we think you, the game-playing populace up to and including the Fallout fan-base, will very much approve and applaud it and buy millions and millions of copies but, more importantly, bring Fallout the continuance and recognition it deserves. Buuuuut, if some don’t like it, be it FPS-junkies who feel it’s too slow or old-school CRPGers who think it’s off-base, that won’t sway us in making the game for which we’re aiming. I think this is the kind of uncompromising-ness(?) that drove the original FO crew to make Fallout, and as such is admirable.

But, then again, I’m just a programmer. What do I know? Nothing, that’s what! Back to work for me!

After reading Joystick, No Mutants Allowed and the Bethsoft Fallout 3 Forum I think the post sent everyone back in time at least a few weeks, to a moment where distrust and outright hostility between Fallout and TeS fans and hardcore RPG gamers and the console crowd was rampant. Not the result he had in mind, for sure, and nothing that a good trailer can’t solve.

The sound guy

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This time let me present Mark “Wolfric Tugmutton” Lampert:

Howdy,

This is Mark Lampert, Bethesda’s audio guy. I’ve been browsing the forums here for a little bit and figured it’s time to throw my hat into the ring on this thread. Since I haven’t posted here, yet, I’ll go with the original batch of questions.

1) What’s your job at Bethesda?

I handle all sound design and voice work for the studio (casting, recording, editing, etc.), as well as interacting a bit with anyone we hire to compose the music.

What prior projects have you worked on?

Prior to Fallout 3, I did sound design and voice for Oblivion (I came aboard here in early 2005), and before this I worked for Ion Storm in Austin, Texas where I took care of all the voice needs for Deus Ex: Invisible War, as well as an assortment of voice, sound design and a little bit of music for Thief: Deadly Shadows. There have also been a small assortment of 3rd party projects here at Bethesda to which I’ve contributed a bit of voice and sound design when I have the time to do so.

What have you drawn on for inspiration in developing Fallout 3? Books, movies, music, etc would be fine, if you don’t want to name any games.

Fallout 1 and 2 are obvious sources though you probably already assumed this, and not surprisingly the inspiration for those games as well … films like Mad Max and The Road Warrior.[...]

How long have you been playing Fallout, and how would you describe your feelings towards the franchise?

I played Fallout 1 and 2 in college over a long period of time, and I recently re-played a big chunk of the second to properly refresh my memory on the basic feel and function of things. Like most of you, it’s still one of my all-time favorite games, and I’d have loved to see the franchise continue. I certainly didn’t imagine at the time that I’d be part of that effort, so it’s very exciting. There are lots of moments where I kind of pause to enjoy the surprise that I feel when I realize that I’m actually working on this game. I’d hate to feel jaded about it.[...]

The best sound in Fallout is when you critical hit on a pigrat’s skull. I have no idea how Mr Deenen made that sound, but it actually sounds like he took a paper bag, but a raw steak in it and hit it with a sledge hammer.

Heh, I remember that. A lot of the critical hits were pretty visceral, and they somehow didn’t get old. It always felt very satisfying, and you immediately knew that you’d really dealt your enemy a powerful blow. There was one time in Fallout 2 where I was having trouble with one of the slavers, and I strolled up behind him (we weren’t in combat at the time) and gave him a double-barrel shotgun blast to the back of the head. I was at point blank range and scored the critical hit, wiping him out in one shot. His buddies came after me and killed me the first time through, but it was still very satisfying … if not just for having the option at my disposal.

As far as Foley sound using meat, I’ve tried to avoid that so far in my career. It always seemed like really expensive way to make a sound. I do, however, want to record the sound of macaroni and cheese being stirred in a pot. Talk about ghastly. Maybe keep your ears peeled for that one.[...]

Since I imagine the voiceacting comes somewhat late in the production (since the material has to be written first obviously), what do you do in terms of the sound design prior to that? Is it all creating sounds for the game? Does your workload increase a lot once the voiceactors get involved?

Before voice recording starts, I need to have almost all of the sound design finished up. Hopefully by that point I’m just playing the game and making changes to the mix, occasionally revising a sound or set of sounds that don’t work well in the game, and if there is anything missing then I need to make sure there’s some suitable placeholder hooked up in its stead. The workload definitely increases once voice recording and editing comes into the picture. Basically sound design has to ‘take a back seat’ at that point, because I simply can’t do both at the same time. When voice recording for Oblivion was underway, I spent most of my time at the local recording studio, and then a few nights a week I would come back to work and fix audio bugs or make adjustments like I mentioned above. There’s no way around it, so I just have to plan well and work hard to stay on top of things so I don’t fall behind.

There’s an enormous amount of work to do in terms of just the sound design itself, so until it’s time to start voice recording then that’s what I’ll be focusing on almost all the time. Think of any existing game or even one that’s purely in your head … the kind of game you’d like to make. Imagine all of the things you can do in that game and whether each action has an associated sound (walking around, pushing a button, opening a door, being outside in the changing weather, adjusting options in the game’s menus, fighting, speaking, equipping items, using items, using weapons, knocking over a stack of crates, casting a spell, having a spell cast on you, drinking a potion, dying, sleeping, climbing, etc.). Chances are that almost ever single thing you do, regardless of what kind of game, will have some sort of audio feedback. So the list of sounds to make very quickly blooms.[...]

Also, do you have a favourite sound/piece of music/anything from the previous Fallouts?

Some of the sounds that I like best from the first two Fallout games are simply those that you hear often which instantly remind me of the game again if I hear them now — entering and exiting combat (the little mechanical sound of the thingy at the bottom right of the screen), the player scratching his head (for some reason that happened a lot). The music was great overall, but one of my favorite pieces was in Fallout 2 in the town of Redding. I thought that snippet of player piano that would fade in and out from time to time really set the mood, as well as made it feel ghostly.

I know there are many funny ‘audio’ stories, for example slicing melons to get some sword-hitting-flesh sound and all that sort of stuff, so go ahead, post some!

I’ll refrain from discussing any work thus far on Fallout 3, but as for Oblivion, there were certainly a few Foley’d sounds that worked out nicely. One was the sound of movement in heavy armor. This was assorted pieces of metal and air conditioner duct work, all thrown together in a canvas bag and then shaken. I also like to add some element of voice components to certain sounds to make them a little more ‘organic’ sometimes. When you take the sigil stone from the tower in the Oblivion realms in order to send the whole thing crashing down, you can hear my voice in the background during all the chaos. It’s just a long, low roar that I pitched down a bit further, soaked with reverb and then mixed in at a low level so it wouldn’t stand out too much.[...]

My main workhorse is Steinberg Nuendo. Any recording is done in this program, and I use it for just about everything — sound design, voice editing, mixing to video, etc. I use a lot of the WAVES plugins as well as assorted other 3rd party and individual plugins, and for softsynths and other gizmos I’ve got a bundle from Native Instruments (controlled with a MIDI keyboard controller). Quick and simple edits, batch processing and things like that are usually done in SoundForge.

Hardware setup is fairly simple. Voice is usually done with our AKG C414B-XLII, (in the past we’ve recorded at another studio where an AKG C414-ULS and Neumann TLM-103 were used) and I run this mic into a TC Electronic Gold Channel mic pre-amp. The rest of the processing that I do ‘to tape’ is achieved with plugins inside Nuendo. My A/D interface is an RME Fireface 800. For field recording I’ve got the excellent Sound Devices 702T recorder, and a small assortment of good mics (AT-822 stereo, AT-835b shotgun, Crown PZM-30D).

Good luck to him, give us your best o.k.?

Stop the Press:No Jeremy Soule

Spotted at NMA:

NMA got in touch with Artistry Entertainment, Jeremy Soule’s music company, to get a final word on whether or not Jeremy Soule did the title track of the Fallout webpage and/or will do the Falout 3 soundtrack. The reply:

Mr. Soule has not done and has no current plans to write music for Fallout 3.

Stop the Press: Todd Howard on Fallout 3

From Fallout 3 head honcho’s mouth, on a surprise move:

First, I just want to say that I think this thread is amazing, really one of the best we’ve ever had on our forums. And, in general, I’m pretty amazed at the sheer amount of discussion going on in these forums. We’ve only had the Fallout stuff open for a little while and it’s almost at what, 60k posts?

So, I figured, that level of activity certainly warranted a post from me. I thought to myself, yeh , I post on the forums, but then I checked and realized my last post was in…2004. Jesus. That’s pretty crappy on my part. I guess there’s two reasons for that, one, I’m pretty frickin busy all the time, and two, I get quoted and heard from enough that I don’t know that hearing more from me is really helpful. I think it’s more important that you hear from other people on the team who don’t get microphones shoved in their faces by the press. The bad news is, when it’s the press regurgitating what you say, it often comes out wrong, so I guess it’s better if I just post and say it myself.

Ok, so here goes the rapid typing and rambling from me, I bet this ends up too long, but what the hell, it’s been 3 years:

1) Who am I and what do I do?

Todd Howard, “person-in-charge” of Fallout 3’s development. I’ve worked on most of our stuff, but the one’s that I “created/was in-charge-of” would be Future Shock, SkyNET, Redguard, Morrowind, and Oblivion.

2) What are your inspirations…

Oh, whatever. You guys just ask these questions because you’re subversively trying to get a better understanding of who we are and what makes us tick, because that will give you insight into what Fallout 3 is and what’s going to make it tick, so I’m not going to answer the questions, since I think you guys have proven you deserve something more, straight from “the horse’s mouth”.

Obviously I can’t talk about the game itself yet, but I can give you a look into how I/we approached it. When we first got the license in 2004, I was pretty ecstatic, I pushed pretty hard for us to get it, because I really liked the first game and thought Fallout would be a great fit for us, it has all the big things I love about RPGs – player freedom, big world, go do what you want type of stuff. But once you have it – you obviously get to work on how to approach an icon like Fallout. And it’s much harder then you think, because it’s certainly a game that has grown in its legacy as time goes on, it’s hard to sift through what its “essence” or “soul” is, because it’s aged, and people often discuss it in nostalgic tones.

I obviously replayed the games, and Fallout 1 remains the truest inspiration for what we’re doing, but again, it can be hard to get at the “soul” of it, because of its aging. So I look to things like the first game’s manual. The fiction and tone of it. There is also a great, great section in the Fallout 1 hintbook, “One Woman’s Path through the Desert”, which is a journal of going through the game, as if it was real. In some ways, that section is a better look into the game then the game itself. I also read old-reviews, because they gave me a better understanding of how those games felt then. Again, removing the aging.

I obviously looked at all the PA movies – Boy and his Dog, Mad Max, Strangelove, etc. Though I find the actual PA movies end up fairly generic, and don’t capture what is special about the Fallout world, and that’s not the world that you end up with, but the world of 2077 that gets destroyed, and then built upon. I became far more interested in the “pre-war” world, then the “post-war” world.

I also looked a lot at my own reactions to other franchises that have had long gaps and were reborn/updated again in another era. Mostly movies, and such, The Lord of the Rings, Superman, Batman, etc, etc. Now, I’m a recovering comic book junkie, so I’ll probably be throwing around a lot of superhero references, and I hope they make sense. Speaking of which, I’d really like to sell a bunch of long-boxes from my basement if anyone wants them, you just can’t have my signed Frank Miller Dark Knight. Speaking of Dark Knight, Batman remains my favorite (one day I’m gonna rock the house with an open-ended gotham city Batman game, mark my words). The recent Batman and Superman movies, or even their earlier counterparts are pretty good examples of classic iconic franchises that were reborn again. I love…love…Batman Begins. Chris Nolan is a @#$*!^& genius. See the Prestige if you haven’t. Now, I have problems as a huge Batman fan with it, but the pure “soul” of Batman beats in the heart of that movie, and Nolan’s current “I believe in Harvey Dent” tease from The Dark Knight is further proof of his genius.

I also love the first Superman movie, and I think I draw many parallels from Bryan Singer doing Superman Returns, which tries to follow Superman 1 and 2 and ignore 3 and 4, to our own situation. Reg Richard Donner’s Superman, one of my mantras, and it’s a word he used for making that movie, is “verisimilitude”. Look it up if you don’t know what it means. Donner made a sign of it and put it up (maybe I’ll do the same). I want to bring that to Fallout, I want to make it real again, and come alive like it’s the first time you’ve ever seen it. Treat it with respect, and don’t cheese it up.

I wish I could give you real, true, insight into what we put into our games, and this is not me just trying to sell you, or smooth you over, because I’m Ok, really, if you don’t love what we do. We’re fans, we’re passionate about what we do. We go on a crusade to make the best game we can. We make the game we would run to the store and buy, we argue, we debate, we scream, we stay up all night, we clap and cheer the highs and curse the lows. One day we’ll find a way to make you a fly on the wall in one of our design meetings – they’re pretty damn inspiring. And I wish you knew all the faces of the 80 people busting ass to make this game great. The secret superstars you don’t know of like Istvan Pely, Mike Lipari, and Scott Franke. I could go on and on.

I’m often asked about the fans and our forums, and I think you all want to know if your opinions are heard or it you’re shouting into a black hole. And I can assure you that we have these forums so we can hear from you. And yes, we read most of it. It’s like a car crash you just have to watch sometimes, lots of violence and parts exploding, but there is something awesome in its power. Your opinions do matter, and we want them. We are influenced by what gets said about us on these forums, in the press, the letters we get and so forth. Speaking of letters, we do get a lot, and the letters are different then the forum posts. One of the popular letters we get is from someone who’s had a life-changing experience, or gone through a bad time, and had to write us to tell us how much Morrowind/Oblivion meant to them. That it became a real world to them, that they got to escape and play a stronger/different person then they are in real life, and it helped them. You have to pretty jaded to not have that affect you. And that’s why you come to these forums and that’s why people outside of RPGs and/or Fallout may think you are crazy. Because they are not just games, they are worlds, and for the time you play them they are as real as anything you have experienced in life, they become part of you and you care. That’s why you and I are both here.

To say we care about Fallout would be an epic understatement. We are excited/humbled to be the ones to bring it back. I know we don’t have all the right answers, or the one’s you would make when it comes to how it should be or look. We can only do what we think is right and what makes us the most excited, and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve left no stone unturned in trying to find Fallout’s “soul”, but those decisions are ours, not yours. I just hope you give the game a look and decide if that soul is there for you.

I think I know what it feels like to adopt kids now, because we adopted Fallout and for the last 3 years we have been doing our best to care for it, and now I love it like it had been our child forever; and soon, very soon, we can show him to the world again. I think he’s got something to say, and I think it’s important.

You may not agree, you may be too cynical to look at it objectively anymore, but I’m going to guess that you’re reading this forum because Fallout really does matter, and it does mean something far more to you then just “a game.” So for my final superhero reference, I leave you with this quote from Christopher Reeve; insert Fallout:

“I’ve seen first hand how Superman actually transforms people’s lives. I have seen children dying of brain tumors who wanted as their last request to be able to talk to me, and have gone to their graves with a peace brought on by knowing that their belief in this kind of character is intact. I’ve seen that Superman really matters. They’re connecting with something very basic: the ability to overcome obstacles, the ability to persevere, the ability to understand difficulty and to turn your back on it.”

Till next time,

t

Discuss people, I’ll leave other updates for tomorrow.

New Atomic Roundup

A small roundup now, first with a nod to our friends at 3DNews.ru, you can see here that the Starcraft Nuke Cola posters can indeed be from DeusEx NukeSoda or Fallout’s NukaCola:

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Still with people like Leon Boyarsky, Gary Platner and Eddie Rainwater working at Blizzard, one can’t be too sure ;) (thanks Mani for the NukeSoda pic)

—X—

Next I got a Meebo private message saying “Corpse is human; just painted too big”. This is a reference to the armored dead guy on the latest Fallout 3 concept art. I have to say that I agree with this assessment, the artist seemed to go with something movie and photography people know, that if for instance you take a picture of someone in front of a car then the auto will look smaller, and if you take the picture of the person behind the car the car will look much bigger.

Even then and taking into consideration the idea that the Fallout armors make everyone taller, the image of the dead body is still way too big.

—X—

I’ve added a new banner to the blog, made by FeeltheRads based on the last Fallout 3 concept art, to give the idea that we’re entering a new world, different from the classical Fallout we’ve known so far. Still a warm salute to the artist that made the promotional poster that I’ve used until now as a banner, and that was once kind enough to get me a high res version of the pic. You rule!

—X—

Finally let me say HI! to an old friend (and friend of Killzig and many of us), I hope to see you soon on a new incarnation, no doubt. So hello old friend (pic from Tom’sHardwareGuide.ru):

002_dogmeat.jpg

 

 

 

The Art

So you all have seen the concept art at the official Fallout 3 site by now. And as a few already know some Fallout fans from various places found a lot of the real life locations and buildings on several pics, as you can see in this example taken from No Mutants Allowed:

googie.jpg

This lead Steve “MrSmileyFaceDude” Meister to make some comments about the art at the #elderscrolls IRC:

<MSFD> didn’t take the Fallout fans long to find the source photo Craig Mullins used for that concept art

<MSFD> yeah
<MSFD> they even identified which carrier it was
<MSFD> it’s funny because people are extrapolating all sorts of stuff from that identification, as though it has anything to do with the actual game…

<MSFD> nah, it was in Florida for a while but they sunk it in the Gulf to make an artificial reef

<MSFD> anyway all we did was ask “Hey Craig Mullins, make a painting of a carrier that’s run aground on a river bank in a ruined city” (or something to that effect)

<MSFD> nah, he’s freelance

<MSFD> he’s done stuff for a ton of games
<MSFD> incl. Halo

<MSFD> he did some stuff for Star Trek for us, too
<MSFD> once the teaser countown is finished you will have seen the entirety of the work he did for Fallout

<MSFD> anyway we have an in-house concept artist who’s done hundreds & hundreds of drawings & sketches & such for all the Fallout stuff

<MSFD> haven’t shown any of that

Concept art that doesn’t have a thing to do with the game is a weird concept, but o.k.. By the way there is more than the in house concept art being created, other places like Massive Black, a collective run by BIS veteran Jason Manley, are also working on Fallout 3 concept art.

To add a bit of more light to the subject Craig Mullins showed up at NoMutantsAllowed with these words:

Wow, I am amazed people are looking at these images so closely. At some point Bethesda may release better versions? These seem to be jpeg’d very heavily..

I would have to go back and look through what Bethesda sent me on this job, but as I remember most of the source materials on Stripmall were provided by Bethesda. I was not familiar with the Fallout universe and had trouble “getting it” at first. The capitol was painted on top of a 3-d block model.

This is commercial art, made to illustrate an idea. It is not fine art, nor is it an exposition on my abilities as delineator. Whether or not I could paint some of these objects from scratch is not relevant. What is relevant is it would take more time to do so, and that time could be spent toward the end goal of illustrating an idea or feeling.

The most difficult aspect of repainting from a different angle is the complexity of these objects and scenes. There is a LOT of stuff in there. Constructing them in perspective is very time consuming. The majority of these images are constructed, however.

I prefer not to use photos like this, but I solve the clients problem faster, easier, and cheaper this way. The current method of working in concept/digital mattes is 3-d/photo composites with varying amounts of paint. It has been trending this way for the past few years, and it is very obvious when this technique is used, for better or worse. There is no intent to deceive or misrepresent. If this lessens your respect for work done this way, I completely understand and partially agree. But if I don’t use these powerful tools, I will be at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace. I do ask clients if they would allow a more “painted” look and the answer is almost always no. Maybe if I was a better painter the answer would be different.

Given the purpose of concept art there is little reason to reconstruct things that already exist, other than my (or a minority of others) preference, or an artistic machismo. This makes things more expensive for all involved. The time saved can be put into areas that do have to be constructed, which is the great majority most of the time.

Well in the end do take a look at other non Fallout 3 fabulous art pieces by Mullins, and take a peak on Kxmode Fan Made Fallout 3 teaser site.

New Fallout 3 Concept Art

Here it is:

stripmall_m.jpg

You can discuss it here.

When asked about the idea of releasing higher resolution versions of the concept art Pete Hines had this to say:

We will definitely do that. I promise. Just not right now.

Hair with a Fizzbang

From one of Fred “fizzbang” Zeleny’s blogs:

I’ve been mighty busy working and posting to the Fallout 3 forum, but over the weekend I took a break to visit my family. And while I was there, my ever-talented mother and I had a little fun with hair dye.

Fallout on the Brain

 

Nice!

No Ashley

From Ashley Cheng Twitter comes this:

starcraft 2 looks great, wish blizzard deviated more, try ground control/battlezone first person gameplay. more thoughts on blog later.

I couldn’t disagree more. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. That way we can have the good old Starcraft gameplay in a new suit, with more bells and whistles but with all the things the fans loved about it intact. Instead go get the Battlezone franchise and make a new one, it’s a worthy series that could win with DX10 Shader 4.0 graphics and minimal changes in gameplay…

starcraft.jpg

 

He added more thoughts about this on his blog, I still disagree with him though.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

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Prepare the tomatoes, it’s time for Christiane H. K. “Maverique” Meister, a Character Animator for Fallout 3, to speak:

Ok, it’s Friday – time for this fish to take a break from styling hair…such an alpha picnic.

1) What’s your job at Bethesda?

Lead Character Animator on TES projects – currently taking a break with Fallout and doing whatever character stuff needs doing.

2) What prior projects have you worked on?

Morrowind, Tribunal, Bloodmoon, Oblivion… Horse Armor (snort), Knights of the Nine, Shivering Isles

3) What have you drawn on for inspiration in developing Fallout 3? Books, movies, music, etc would be fine, if you don’t want to name any games.

MSFD makes me watch BAD 50’s sci-fi movies – wow everyone’s hair was PERFECT back then – except for the crazy old scientists smile.gif I do like the old War of the Worlds flick, though. The literary version is the best.
Mad Max – how could you not look at that for inspiration?

4) How is the work-environment? Is it competitive or co-op? Do the different teams talk together?

It’s very co-op, sometimes you can’t hear all of the opinions that are being thrown around in the meetings! There’s also a lot of good-natured jibes and ribbing – especially at Jonah (Well he IS blond and so damn cheerful).

5) What is your favorite type of game to play (RTS,FPS,RPG etc)

I love me some old time UT! I’m looking forward to the new one. Hope it has the beautiful simplicity and gibs – gotta have that. I’m a dork and still play Oblivion from time to time (you’d think I would have had enough of that by now…) Never really got into RTS.

6) How long have you been playing Fallout, and how would you describe your feelings towards the franchise?
Well I know this will get a lot of tomatoes thrown at me. Good thing I like tomatoes. I haven’t played Fallout YET. But as a game, I really like the concept and I like where our team is going with Fallout 3.

7) Considering that much of the game will probably be in a wild wasteland, do any of you spend much time hiking, camping, etc, and if so where?

Uh, there’s no wasteland aound here – unless you consider the urban setting a wasteland… I do spend a lot of time riding my horses before work though.

8) What’s the last game you bought? Did you like it?

I don’t have too much time to play games, but I was so jazzed to get KOTOR 2 after the first one – what a let down… just didn’t have story I was looking for. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the mechanics and the system though.

9) What games are you looking forward to on the horizon?
Assassin’s Creed, UT 3, Fallout 3 wink.gif

9) Other than videogames, what are your interests? (Board games, reading, music, etc)

I love to play Scrabble – I even got this puzzle a day calendar – I have it stacked up – I keep promising myself that I’ll get through March one day.
I ride my horses (one 5 year old and one 25 year old). We’re about to move to a farm so that I can have the horse at home – that will be exciting – and scary.
Last book I read was Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Good read.
Just saw Lisa Gerrard in concert (known from Dead Can Dance). She’s an interesting person – not quite on this planet if you take my meaning – awesome voice though!

Respectfully,
Mav

*slips away quietly into the murky water all fish-like*

The part about KotoR II made me giggle, knowing how Fergus Urquhart and Chris Avellone love Oblivion and support Bethsoft doing Fallout 3 in their own vision. And I honestly could never send a tomato towards Maverique, since Steve “Mr.SmileyFaceDude” Meister would get me with his large sword

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