Jörg: Why did you choose to do the game in 3D? Was is just inevitable considering you’ve done Oblivion before that?
Pete Hines: Certainly the technology we had and could build on was a factor. But ultimately, as fans of the series, we were very intrigued to immerse you in this world. And what is a better way of immersing you in this universe than first person, where you don’t see things in an abstract way, where you can walk up to stuff and touch it? There’s this chair which was like 4 pixels in the original Fallout, and now it’s there, it’s got a surface, you can sit in there!
Jörg: But what if the old Fallout fans do not like it? Won’t they look for the isometric top-down-view instead of Gears of War?
Pete Hines: There are lots of Fallout fans. I’m a Fallout fan! I am personally interested in another game set in that universe, that is true to the kind of game experience that the first two titles provided! I’m not married to the perspective, I’m not married to whether combat is turn based or real time or a sort of hybrid. If you’re someone that believes it has to be isometric and turn based, then you’ll probably be unhappy. But if you’re interested in another game in that great, rich universe, that has great texture and tone and characters, then hopefully Fallout 3 will be something which will resonate with you. At the end of the day, we can’t make a game that’s all things to all people.
Jörg: And of course you want to sell some numbers which would hardly be possible with an old school tactical game.
Pete Hines: Probably not. But we really felt 3D was the best thing to go for, was the best for the Fallout experience. Because I’m really in this world, I’m really doing this, instead of just looking at those characters down there.
Thanks to Killzig for pointing me in the direction of The world without us, a good summer book if you are into post-apoc scenarios:
In The World Without Us, Alan Weisman offers an utterly original approach to questions of humanity’s impact on the planet: he asks us to envision our Earth, without us.
In this far-reaching narrative, Weisman explains how our massive infrastructure would collapse and finally vanish without human presence; what of our everyday stuff may become immortalized as fossils; how copper pipes and wiring would be crushed into mere seams of reddish rock; why some of our earliest buildings might be the last architecture left; and how plastic, bronze sculpture, radio waves, and some man-made molecules may be our most lasting gifts to the universe.
Click in the pic for some post-apoc art
I already talked about the Retro Futuristic work of Bradley W. Schenck’s , which is a great inspiration for everyone that likes the style. So click on this pic to see his latest piece, great as always:
By the way if your name happens to be Emil Pagliarulo remember to check his Celtic inspired work.
Only a few enlightened ones are asking about the Fallout 3 manual, out of nostalgic feelings towards the fabulous Fallout manuals. So let’s ear what Chris “anarchy” Taylor, the man that did the original Fallout manual has to say on the generic theme of Game Manuals:
I have a lot of empathy for manual writers, having been one myself. I’ve written over 10 different game manuals and hint books. They are not as easy as it looks. First off, the fact that you usually have a very limited page count actually makes it more difficult to write than not. Secondly, you have to write a combination tutorial and reference manual — and those two concepts are often at odds. Finally, you usually have a very limited amount of time to write the manual, and usually the product is still in flux until the very last moment. Games, both digital and analog, have production lead times that require printed materials to be finished ahead of digital media.
As a gamer, I like a well-written informative manual. I appreciate the art of a good manual and I am fascinated with different approaches to manual writing.
Digital games have one advantage: they can incorporate the tutorial into the game a lot easier than an analog boardgame.
Some guidelines for what I think makes a good manual:
- Clearly written and well organized rules
- Well defined chapters
- Images and examples
- Brevity is the rule but verbosity when required
- Whitespace (as compared to Whitesnake)
- A dash of humor
Theme can make a good manual great. But too much theme can destroy a manual.
Oh, and it has to be comfortably sized enough to read on the can. Very important!
More of Chris writings on the Zero Radius Games blog.
Including Liam Neeson’s father character, where there any that intrigued you? Made you laugh? Creeped you out?
Mr. Burke (shocking, I know) was pretty well done. He seemed incognito yet very obviously out of place at the same time. Sorta faded into the background, but demanded attention should you happen upon him. His voice work was well done as well. I think he’ll be a standout character if he gets enough face time.
What about the system of initiative in Fallout 3 ?
Didn’t seen any indication of an initiative system. We happened upon some creatures, they attacked us. We initiated V.A.T.S. at will.
I live in DC, any idea if they’ve tried to make its layout anywhere similar to its real life layout? At least realistic distances in between monuments, big streets, etc. I understand its post apocalyptic but just wondering if you could tell.
We didn’t get to see DC. They have the tech to make a massive world, but in the interest of time they may need to shorten those distances. Just guessing here.
This may seem a bit nit-picking, but I was wondering what your opinion of the blatant disregard for the laws of physics is Mr Burke? I’ve noticed an awful lot of previews where the writer wet himself at the thought of miniature “nuclear” explosions (meaning the mushroom clouds that are caused by sufficiently large explosions/heat and not automatically by nuclear explosions) everywhere, but I don’t recall you mentioning much about them in your preview.
Nope. Not much to mention. They looked neat and showed off the great particle system pretty nicely, but I don’t feel like they should be fawned over. If pretty made a game great, we’d have all liked The Bouncer.
So what’s your opinion on this? Is it acceptable to do something like this if it looks “cool”? Or does it really not matter and I’m being far too fussy and nerdy Wink ? Or do you agree that they should put much more thought into such things, as these explosions are neither realistic or “Fallouty”?
I give a little latitude on these things as long as they are well explained. If they just show up without an explanation then I might have some questions. I pose a counter question – did we ever see an energy cell that powered the car in F2 explode? What would that look like? Would it look like what was described as a mini-nuke? Hmmmm
See RadiantAI – for Oblivion again
If I ever hear about another mudcrab it’ll be too soon. I want it to improve, but I’ll be waiting with the rest of you guys to see if it does. J
What do you personally think about the PipBoy3000? We just saw some pic of it, and I think it can’t capture how it might really look.
That is pretty much it. It looks like a crummy green monochrome monitor. I think it captures the crappy Vaul-Tec and modern tech combo pretty nicely.
Did you discuss with other journalists about the Fallout 3 Demo? If you get into some discussion: Did you get into some discussion about Fallout1/2? Did you get the feeling that the other journalists were big Fallout 1/2 fans? – A lot of journalists claimed that in the last weeks and some of them seemed to became fans just after they saw the demo. (No need to answer the second part, as it might not to cool about being critical about colleagues).
I talked to a lot of developers and press about F3. They all seemed pretty impressed with what was built thus far but were also adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude. Wasteland defined this genre, Fallout locked in the formula. This is a pretty wide departure, and fans of the aforementioned games are well aware of that. I didn’t see anyone ‘rabidly excited’ about the game, most were in ‘wait and see’ mode.
As mentioned here earlier, what do you think about Beth not being to fond to being in contact with NMA?
Not with a 10 foot pole.
What kind of retarded leader who tries to keep everyone *inside* the vault is going to kick someone out?
I said in my preview that the Overseer thinks you are ‘in on it’ so you bail rather than face his wrath.
At the moment after the end of the 50 min presentation, did you have the sensation that, what you saw has the Knack for being the next Fallout title?
The moment after the demo ended, E3 ended. I had the sensation that I needed to get something to drink and fast. Seriously, I think the game still has a ways to go to really ‘nail’ the Fallout world, but I think they have the right mindset to do it. What they are doing is a good start and that is encouraging.
Ron Burke, the director of GamingTrend, has been answering questions at the Bethsoft Fallout 3 forum and also at NoMutantsAllowed. You can read Part 1 here, part 2 here and part 3 here. Some more quotes now:
Did you see any kids in the demo? If so did they die?
No, we didn’t get to see any kids. Todd said they’d be in the game, but I read in an interview that they are unsure of how they’ll handle them. I think if you have kids and can kill them it is an automatic AO rating, so that probably won’t happen.
One more from me: what’s the weather like? In the screenshots it’s all kinda cloudy and grim – have you seen any blinding and burning sun with these yellowish colors a’la Fallout 1?
It was certainly bright and blinding coming out of the cave. I believe they are using the light technique where your eyes ‘adjust’ to varying levels of brighness (the name escapes me right now) but most of what we saw was the dreary scorched sky.
Did you see any weatherchanges, like rain for example, some heavier winds or darker clouding that made the countryside look darker?
Nope, we weren’t in any one place for any great length of time. No real time to see weather effects change.
Could you describe in detail the events that happen during character creation?
I stated earlier that we didn’t get to see this part in the demo.
How cool was the explosion at Megaton?How cool was the Sherif’s voice?
The explosion was fantastic. The Sheriff sounded a lot like a Redguard to be honest. They should just cast Sam Elliott and get it over with.
In your opinion,do you think that the character that Todd was playing during the demonstration would have stood a chance against the Behemoth if it hadn’t been for the Fatman and the BoS soldiers?
Godmode prevented any real speculation on this.
Was there anything in the demo that suggested prostitutes would be making a return?
Did one of the radio stations ever play ‘I don’t want to set the world on fire’? ——- No (but I hope so) and no (but I’m sure it’ll be in the rotation).
If there was a human opponent in the demo,did Todd take the armor and weapons off of the corpse similer to what you could do in Oblivion?
Nuthin but mutants and ants in this demo for opponents.
Is the save system the same? Like can you quick save and quick load just as easily as you could in F1 and F2?
They didn’t show this.
Was there anything in the demo that suggested people doped or junkys ?Was there anything in the demo that suggested ” bottle caps ”
We didn’t see any dopers or junkies – I suppose the homeless-looking guy who was worshiping the bomb in Megaton might have been one. *shrug* The only bottle caps I saw were in the initial trailer that we all saw.
When running around, can you kneel? and crawl? I believe this would make it so much better when in a firefight
We didn’t see any kneeling, crawling, or jumping.
Is the story line somehow connected to the stories from the previous games? Mentioning places like NCR, Vault City, other vaults in the game perhaps? etc.
Well, there are questions such as how the BoS ended up on the East Coast and the like. That will likely tie in.
Do you know how controls work? WASD+mouse aim or mouse movement or something else?
The demo was handled with a 360 controller.
Did you saw any ‘notification window’ like in past fallout games, ie
Nope, nothing of that sort. No place in the HUD for it either at this point.
How do you think the game would have been received by you and the press in general if, all else being equal, the game had been limited to 3rd person and iso views (no FP) and TB combat
Tough question – I think some of the bigger sites with some of the younger journalists might have cried like a kid with a skinned knee. I personally would have been ok with it. I think that perspective, in 3D, with a camera that you could rotate could have easily worked.
Did you see the demo a fight from 3rth person view?
Yes – it seems to work for the most part, but most of the fights were from 1st person perspective. Consoles have had 3rd person perspective shooters for a long time, so it can be done.
If Todd wasn’t moving too fast did get glimpse of the results of the combat: did the bodies (or the widely spread remains of them) stay on the ground, or slowly vanish almost instantly?
The bits stayed when he moved away but we didn’t linger long enough to find out what that means long term. No reliable answer for this one yet.
Is the violence overall that excessive that previews are letting us understand?
Define ‘excessive’. I though it fit pretty well with the bloody mess perk.
Do you think the art style looks generic? For example Fable 2´s artstyle looks very good.
Hmm. Yes and no. I think the faces still ring of Oblivion, but with some new goodies like the previously mentioned lighting and facial hair, but the rest was certainly unique.
Were these professionally voiced, or were they just fillers, like perhaps done by devs?
On par with the ‘filler’ from Oblivion. In fact, the Sheriff sounds familiar, but I can’t place where I heard him in Oblivion. No pros announced quite yet other than Liam and Pearlman for the intro.
3. The “Re-imagined” Sequel
These are the ones that when they get called a sequel they, in my opinion, often hurt the industry. The reason is that it confuses the fans and increases the disconnect between the developers and players unless it’s done in a very clear, dramatic fashion.
Fallout can make a good example of this. Fallout Tactics was quite a different game than Fallout 2. This was clear from the get-go, and while there may have been complaints about the gameplay in Fallout Tactics, it typically wasn’t that “it’s so different than Fallout 2!”
(At least, generally. The more fanatical of fans will find something to complain about in any kind of sequel of this manner, but most development companies can count on them to complain no matter what, and typically to buy the game no matter what.)
On the other hand, Fallout 3 is being called a sequel to Fallouts 1 and 2, and I think that’s a disservice to the games. While, technically, it is a sequel to the Fallout RPGs, it’s not a direct sequel. It’s set in a different area, with different characters, a different time, a different engine and a different style of RPG gameplay.
That’s what I feel like is causing a lot of the issues amongst the Fallout community right now. When you change something as minor as the type of engine some kind of car had in a game that you’re calling a direct sequel, you’re forcing either a ret-con (a retroactive change to continuity) in the original, usually beloved, game, or you’re doing something wrong.
On the other hand, if the game had come out as just “Fallout”, and Bethesda had said “Hey, we’re starting from the beginning and re-imagining the game in a number of ways” – well, the more die-hard fanatical fans will still complain, because they want the game they’ve always dreamed of (and aren’t going to get unless they can program themselves, because everyone wants something slightly differently and the company is looking for something that will sell the most among the population in general, not just the fans of the previous games). However, changing the engine of the cars, or the location of the Vault, or what have you, won’t matter so much, because it’s a similar, yet subtly different world.
And now for Ripten that asks which do you think does a better job of getting you hyped up to play the game, Gears of War Mad World commercial or the Fallout 3 teaser trailer?
I would like to get a idea of how we will interact with the environment during combat. Would you say the combat resembles that in HL2 where we crouch behind the environment and run behind walls. Or was it more like Gears of War where we will be able to press a button to hug the environment for cover.
More like the former than the latter. You want cover? Go find it.
Did the AI use tactics and cover in the demo? Did the AI respond to their own soldiers dying, such as backing up or picking up a fallen allies gun?
I saw people taking cover, but I didn’t see the AI pick up a weapon.
Do you feel that the character animation in F3 is much better than in Oblivion?
I kinda talked about this above, but I’d say that it is ‘getting closer’. Some of the havok ragdolls were still sorta floppy but I’ve been told by many a dev that havok is pure havok to tune. There is time…
Do you think that F3 has improved in this regard over Oblivion as much as, say, Oblivion improved over Morrowind?
I know that the folks at Bethsoft read the reviews that are out there – they hear all of our concerns. Big empty worlds don’t make for compelling gameplay. From what I saw, they intend to keep us busy with things to do and places to go. Realize though that they are taking something where you had a series of small areaa that loaded in (Fallout 1) and was connected by an overland map that you didn’t interact with, and putting it into a giant overland map that you DO interact with and can traverse yourself. Daunting task? You betcha. We’ll have the same ‘Go anywhere, do anything” gameplay that Oblivion and Morrowind was famous for, but it sounds like they will be tightening it up a bit.
Could you mention any “little touches” that stood out to you as particularly clever?
Looking at the burned out billboards for the Vaults and such were pretty amusing. The ‘aging’ on all of the metal including rust and overall wear and tear looked pretty great. The PiPBoy looked absolutely fantastic. There were a lot of little touches that really stood out for me. They’ve been working on the game since 6 months prior to the launch of Oblivion so they’ve had some time.
Is the action of the game particularly fast?
Well, real time had a twitch element to it, but I’d say it was a lot closer to Call of Duty than Unreal Tournament, by far. (Especially the new UT) The best way to describe it (from a distance – I didn’t get to play) was that there was a real tension to real time in getting yourself into a better position and being mindful of your enemies position, punctuated by the V.A.T.S. moments where you could really stop and make more tactical decisions. It’d be hard to explain more than that without actually experiencing it for myself.
Were there any weird voice-overs like in Oblivion? Any “changing” voices (like how in Oblivion you could get two or more different voices for the same character)? How was the quality of the acting? Did the character animation correspond to the dialogue, or was it kind of just canned lip-flapping like in Oblivion?
Didn’t hear any odd voice-overs. The mutants talked to eachother about ripping the Protectron’s arms off, just before said robot lasered their arms off and blew them into small chunks. I’d say it was pretty good. They haven’t really announced any other voice actors other than Ron Pearlman and Liam Neeson at this point, so we don’t know
Any particular weapon (besides the Fatman) that you liked in particular? Anything that got your action?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not enamored with the idea of nuking everything that moves – I just liked the fantastic particle effects that the Fatman gave off. They were pretty sweet. I liked the rifle we were using initially – it felt old and pretty slow to fire, like a real bolt action rifle in untrained hands. It had that high pitched pop sound that you’d expect from a lower caliber rifle.
Where there any enemies besides ants, scorpions and Super Mutants around? Any human robbers or something new?
Well, the behemoth was something new. Other than that, no. I thought I heard that they had over 200 creatures in the game somewhere though. Can’t recall where…
What WERE the sentient enemies doing? Were the Super Mutants just walking around the wasteland waiting for the player to come by? Were they positioned waiting for you to come, like guard sentries, or did it feel like they were going about their businesses and you just chanced upon them?
The ants were sorta ‘happened upon’, but the mutants walking through the sewers were likely placed there. Same with the firefight at the end. I can understand that though as you don’t want to have to wander forever to find a fight during your own demo. Who knows if it’ll be that way in the final product.
You mentioned you were cautiously optimistic. Why cautious and why optimistic? I.e. what about the demo really got to you in terms of “this is great” and what got to you in terms of “this could still bomb”?
Cautious? Like most of you, I want to get my hands on the game before I really render judgement on the 1st / 3rd person perspective change. (Some folks have already written it off. *shrug* Can’t do much for them) Optimistic? I looked at the developers and how excited they were to be working on this world. They seemed genuine in their desire to make this the best Fallout product they could make. Oblivion had its fair share of issues, but it was no slouch by any means. I’m optimistic. smile.gif For the “This is great” I’d have to say the dialog (cussing notwitstanding – I’m hoping this is tempered a bit) and the PiPBoy struck me as good. For the ‘this could still bomb’ I’d have to say the ragdoll (but adding procedural animation helps a lot with this) and the 3rd person perspective. Time will tell on those.
Can you still shoot in Real Time when the AP meter depletes completely? Did you see any example of melee combat? If so, how does VATS works in it? Does the PC have to be near the enemy to use it, or you can use it anywhere and the PC goes to the opponent to deliver the selected hits automatically?
Yes, after the AP meter is depleted you move back to real time firing until you recharge. It is fairly quick so you’ll probably be looking at V.A.T.S. more than you think.
The only example of Melee combat was being hit in the braincase with a club. I didn’t get to see how we as players will get to use it so I can’t comment on how it’ll work in V.A.T.S..
How deep is your love/respect for FO1&2? Does FO3 “feel” right?
Well, on my secondary ‘trash’ box here at work I have Fallout 1 and 2 installed and I’ve completed both again before I went to this event, just to make sure that nostalgia didn’t blind me to the changes. I’m a huge fan, and coming away from this event I can say that the guys working on this project seem to be as well.
What’s the background music like, or is there any? In previous games, it was a bit eerie ambient, that really created the atmosphere. And furthermore: The sounds overall, what are they like?
I’ll quote my own article:
Entering a place called Moriarty’s Saloon, we get our first taste of the music of Fallout 3. A local station called Enclave Station played one of the 20+ licensed tracks from the 40s ranging from Bob Crosby’s “Happy Times” to the already known Ink Spots “World on Fire” track from the trailer. Your PiPBoy 3000 can pick up these radio stations at any time, as well as the Galaxy News Radio station which chronicles things that happen in the wasteland.
Put simply, the music is ironic and depressing as hell. It talks about how great the world is, but it does it in that 40s dreary style that makes you just want to put a gun to your head. You can turn it off at will though.
The sounds overall were solid. The V.A.T.S. sound is straight out of Fallout 1 or 2 for entering combat and may be culled directly from those products – if I can’t tell the difference, it has to be pretty damned close. The surround sound in the room rattled as Megaton went up in a mushroom cloud, so sound shouldn’t be an issue.
Did you get the impression that radiation was dangerous? Did it seem like just another curse debuff effect or a thing that could be life threatening?Also, did the Fatman give off a lot of rads when it was fired at close range?
Todd stated directly (and showed with the meter on the PiPBoy 3000) that radiation is dangerous, and in larger amounts, lethal.The Fatman wasn’t fired at close range, but I could hear the geiger counter ticking in the background when he fired it at a distance. This isn’t a shotgun folks.
Could you describe what the “wasteland” portion of Fallout 3 looks like, from what little you saw of it? Are we talking long expanses of dirt like the previous games, or more along the lines of a dump-site scattered endlessly into the horizon? Were their many standing/ruined buildings in the horizon? Are there large monuments on the horizon to assist with self-navigation (such as the Washington monument).
I suspect the guys are holding back those ruined monuments for a ‘wow’ moment for when players play the game. From what we saw when we exited the Vault there are large areas that are full of rolling sand and debris. Roads dot the landscape busted up by decay and lack of maintenance. In the distance we could see another city and the bulidings looked completely hollowed out and destroyed. Like Todd said, “Destruction is the new trees”. I’m sure there will be areas that look like an extended dumpsite, but we mostly saw populated areas as they are more exciting. (The press is easily bored – we need the shineys)
How would you rate the animations compared to, say, Oblivion’s? I hear they’re motion-captured now, but still being fine-tuned. Just curious what we can expect on this front, as I’ve heard some good things (like your character properly angling his feet on inclines). Anything that stood out?
Well, if I’m remembering correctly, the animation is a blend of procedural and motion capture. It looked very smooth overall. They heard our concerns with the Oblivion odd walking / head twisting animations. I did see one instance of an overly-excited Havok effect, but with the game being a year off it is a non-issue.
Did you get a chance to see the inventory screen? If so, any indication that armor might be separated into smaller parts like Oblivion, or is it still ‘Body Suit’ + ‘Weapon’?
It’s in the PiPBoy 3000, but I don’t recall seeing it. Fairly sure we didn’t in fact…
How involved is character/environment interaction? Do you get any descriptions from environment items like “This computer does not appear to be working.”
I didn’t see any visual queues like you mentioned for the computer. I think they expect you to go poke it for yourself.
We know that we can tune in to old songs with the PIPboy, but how was the soundtrack outside of that? Was it ambient electronic like the older games, or perhaps orchestral?
We only heard a few songs. If I recall correctly, there was an orchestral track when we went into town, but I’m not 100% sure. The combat music was upbeat but not electronic. I talked about the licensed tracks above.
Was any info given on as to why the Brotherhood of Steel or Super Mutants are on the East Coast?
Ain’t no way they are revealing that now. That’ll be a ‘you gotta play’ to find out kinda think I think.
Many people complained about the look of the Super Mutant in the screenshot (the one that shows off VATS targeting). How much did the Super Mutants differ from each other in terms of appearance?
The one in the screenshot seemed to be a ‘grunt’ unit. If I recall correctly I believe I saw some armor variety, but I was more focused on the mechanics of the combat.
How does repairing rifles and so on works. I assume it makes use of the Repair skill, do you just use it on the weapon or do you need extra parts/tools to repair something?
From my writeup -
Taking a look at a shoddy Chinese assault rifle that we picked up off a dead mutant, we noticed that it had a small status bar on it in our PiPBoy 3000. Spraying bullets at a nearby tram we noted that the gun was firing somewhat slowly, and the bullet pattern was all over the place. Thankfully we had a second gun of the same type to use for parts to repair our shoddier one. Using the repair skill we were able to create one superior weapon with a tight fire cone and high rate of fire.
While the combat isn’t determined by the quality of the weapon (as somebody pointed out in another thread), it is certainly affected. It only makes sense that a brand new weapon would be better than one that has been dropped plenty of times and sat in the mud and dust.
A lot of people feel that the voiceacting in Oblivion is wooden, and repetitive. How was the voiceacting in the demo? Also, can you remember if Liam Neeson spoke with an American accent, or perhaps a “neutral” one?
It seemed to be fairly neutral if I recall correctly. As for being repetitive, we’ll have to see more of the world to know that.
This year Games Convention in Leipzig with probably more than 200,000 visitors, will be bigger than ever before. Also the number of companies and presentations will be more than last year.
“The GC is experiencing another growth spurt this year. Both the number of exhibiting companies and the individual presentation areas have clearly expanded over the last year.”
The Games Convention will be holding in Leipzig from August 23th to August 26th on a floor of more than 115,000 square meters.
I hope Bethesda Softworks gives some time to some of the many Fallout fansites gamers that will attend the convention, it could be an excellent PR stunt. Well, one can only wish, I guess.
As I’ve talked about earlier the Ron Burke, the director of GamingTrend, has been answering questions at the Bethsoft Fallout 3 forum and also at NoMutantsAllowed. Ron is going to make a special with the questions and answers on his site soon, but for now I’ll do a six parts series of blogposts with highlights of his questions. So let’s get started:
Say it with me -
When you combine these two words you may find that
a.) They purposely tuned it down so we could see
the awesome nuke effect multiple times
b.) You haven’t seen the size of this particular mutant -
it was like a walking building
c.) hard to hate something you’ve not seen/played. Telling people
you don’t know to go F themselves smacks of being
so overboard that it defys all logic. Calm down and
see the reality that it hasn’t shipped yet -
nothing is set in stone.
Now, that out of the way – I’ll answer any questions that I can if you have them.
What is the dialogue like? Is it to the same standard that fallout’s was? Do you get to choose what you actually say, like in the original Fallout? Are there more than one neutral, good and evil option? Also how many options on average did you get to choose from?
The dialog tree (the one I referenced in the writeup) had multiple options, showing the full text of what you say (although you have no voiceover of course). In the demo there were a few instances where there were more than one option for those ‘shades of gray’ dialog choices, as well as a few that required a roll in the background (they had a <29%> or the like next to them to give you an idea of your chances).As for the how many on average, this was a 50 minute demo for a 50 hour+ game (I’m guessing on that number btw) so its really hard to say how the average for this canned ‘first look’ at the game would compare with the final product. That said, usually 4-5.
-How big was the explosion from the exploding car? Was it more an exploding barrel type explosion or a mushroom cloud type thing?
Like an exploding barrel full of gasoline (large fireball, quick dissipation – let’s not talk about why I know that. ehhehe) Again, I suspect that this was to demonstrate the new particle effects (and damn they are pretty) more than anything – I don’t think the world of Fallout 3 is going to look like a used car lot with cars just waiting to explode.
-What’s you impression on the Fatman? Rare weapon for the a special encounter with a rare behemoth or something we will come across a lot?
I sincerely doubt you’ll see a Fatman unless you really go out of your way to get it. Bethesda knows better than to make these common. As for the Behemoth, given the music change I suspect that this was a ‘boss’ character and likely unique.
About humor in FO3 any more examples then ‘eyeballs rolling around after a headshot’ and the little scene with the skeletons behind the door to vault101?
Well, some of it is subtle like the sign that I mentioned that said “Local Cult ->” on it, while others were more direct. I don’t have any concrete examples off the top of my head though. Sorry.
The giant ants – what did they look like?
Roughly the size of a 3-drawer filing cabinet on legs. These things were huge. They looked like very large ants. They had all the usual goodies for post-effects which made them look pretty great.
The supermutants – all running around with some glorified improvised melee weapons or do they use ranged weapon as well? (and how common is each one – more ranged or more melee)
I mentioned that there was a high-ground mutant with a rifle at one point in the demo. From what we saw, there is a blend of both.
How does VATS ‘feel’? Something enjoyable? For who – an rpg player? Someone enjoying tactical games? someone enjoying twitchplay?
I didn’t get hands-on with it, but from the look of it it provides a more tactical thing. E.G. popping one guy in the leg so you can slow him down while you deal with his friends.
Are NPC’s generic in bodyshape or did you see fat/skinny/famished/amputees/cripples? Same goes for faces – scars/modifications (tattoo, piercing)/missing eyes/missing teeth?
Well, I saw fat and skinny to be sure. Mr. Burke was a skinny and smarmy looking guy. The Sheriff looked grizzled (you’ve all seen that screen though). Didn’t spot any scars or amputees though. *shrug*
How much of an issue is getting water to survive in fo3? Constant worry? Or something that is important, but doesn’t get too annoying?
The impression that I got is that you could heal slightly from a water source but that you’d have to keep an eye on your radiation to not over do it. For a stealth player this probably won’t be a big issue, for a run-and-gun player it may play a bigger role. It wasn’t like there was a ‘drink-o-meter going where you had to find a nearby “porcelin fountain” from which to drink if that’s what you mean.
The behemoth creature – how huge and did he ‘break’ that house as he came into view or was that coincidence?
I was furiously typing and didn’t see if he busted the building. Given some of the new tech in the engine though, I wouldn’t doubt it. If I recall correctly I’d estimate he was 30+ feet tall.
The subways – a means for fast-travel? random dungeon crawl? set dungeon-crawl? something else alltogether?
Hard to answer. There were quests that we saw occurring in the subway, but we also used it to get to radio station from Megaton. *shrug*
How atmospheric did the game seem to you? How alive was it?
Atmospheric? Very. The vault feels like a blend of old and new tech with a clinical yet grimy feel to it. Stepping onto the wastelands felt completely different – vast and brutal. My fellow press members were all smiling and jaw-slack (including a few devs from other companies who stopped in to see the game) so don’t let them fool you into thinking otherwise. I’m drinking the coolaid – this looks pretty awesome.
Pete Hines answered a great number of questions for SPOnG, let’s see the result:
SPOnG: For those that don’t really know about the history of Fallout – can you give us a quick potted history?
Pete Hines: The original Fallout was released in 1997, developed by Black Isle Studios for Interplay. The team changed a little, some of the principals from that team left, and Fallout 2 was made by a slightly different team. F2 was put out in 1998 and then, after that, there were a couple of what you might call ‘derivative’ games: there was a Brotherhood of Steel game that was kind of like a hack‘n’slash – it was supposed to be kind of like Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance but in the Fallout universe. There was a Fallout Tactics game, which captured the turn-based strategy part – but there’s been no true Fallout game, no true role-playing game in the Fallout series since 1998. So, it’s been sitting around for a long time with nothing happening.
A lot of us here were – are – big fans of Fallout, and we finally said, “Well if nobody else is going to do another one, why don’t we do it?”. So, we went out and acquired the rights to do it and we’ve been working on it since 2004, in some way, shape or form – and now we’re finally at a point where we can start showing you guys where we’re up to.
SPOnG: Do you have any of the guys from the original Fallout or Fallout 2 teams involved?
Pete Hines: No, it’s our team. Mainly the Oblivion team.
SPOnG: What’s the whole deal with rabid Fallout fanboys desperately worried that Fallout 3 is not going to be a proper RPG?
Pete Hines: Well, at its core Fallout 3 is definitely a role-playing game. If you are of the opinion that any Fallout RPG has to be exactly like the games that came out in 1997 and 1998 down to every feature and detail, that’s definitely not the game we are making. We are trying to make a true successor in the Fallout franchise, something that is a true role-playing game that immerses you in this world, and hopefully brings out the best of what that series is about – which is great tone and setting and themes and characters and player choice… You know, it’s a really interesting, special role-playing system.
If folks are interested in a new Fallout game (as opposed to being slavishly interested in a specific list of demands relating to Fallout or Fallout2); or [they] are just interested in role-playing in general but may not have played the original games; or they are just looking for the next big RPG or the next big RPG coming from Bethesda… we certainly hope all of those folks are interested in what we are up to with Fallout 3.
Actually there was no BIS division at Interplay when the first Fallout was made. But the idea that the game is directed more to people that never played the previous games, Bethesda RPGs fans and people that don’t care about anything but the name in the box makes sense, I think.
SPOnG: Have you considered bundling versions of those earlier Fallout games with Fallout 3?
Pete Hines: No. They are still out there. Interplay still has the ability to sell and distribute those. They are also based on a completely different generation of hardware and operating systems. It can be difficult to get that stuff to run. We’re basically moving forward with where we want to take it and not re-treading stuff that came out nearly ten years ago.
Actually Fallout 2 works fine in both my Vista computers.
SPOnG: One of the features in Fallout 3 that really stands out is V.A.T.S. (Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System) – can you explain how this works?
Pete Hines: V.A.T.S. was really born out of a desire to make the game work best as a first-person game – remember that the original games were third-person with turn-based combat. We feel that first-person is the most immersive way to put a player in a world. However, at the same time we wanted something that stayed as true as possible to role-playing. We don’t want something that rewards the ‘quick-twitch’ FPS player. We’re not trying to reward players who are good at Call of Duty or Halo or whatever.
We want the skills and abilities of your character to determine success or failure. So, one of the things we’ve included is this V.A.T.S. mode allows you to stop time and queue up moves for your character to implement, in almost a compressed time mode. And then we play it out in a cinematic fashion.
We already saw that Emil Pagliarulo and Todd Howard went to Halo and CoD for inspiration regarding the combat, so this statement was odd.
SPOnG: There has been a lot of speculation about this ‘Corpses Eaten’ statistic that we can see in the game from the current demo you are showing – does this mean that you can play as a zombie in the game?
Pete Hines: We’re not talking about ‘Corpses Eaten’ right now [smiles]. There is an awful lot of stuff that we still have to tell folks about Fallout 3. Don’t forget that we are not coming out till Fall 2008 – we have a long way to go still!
SPOnG: Great stuff. Thanks for your time Pete!
Pete Hines: No worries. Now let me show you this new demo. You’ll like this.
I would probably enjoy watching it too
There’s much more in there, go and read the entire piece, it’s worth it.
This is off-topic yet again, sorry for that, but it’s always nice to talk about the projects of three Fallout veterans that are some of my favorite people in the business:
zero radius games™ was formed in 2004 to create high-quality board and card games for the hobbyist gamer. We’re long time gamers and we like to play board and card games with depth, interesting mechanics and neat themes. Our background is in computer and console electronic game development. Our passion is gaming, regardless of it’s form.
Ultimately, gaming is about people. We think that you can tell a lot about a person by the games he or she plays, and who they game with. We’d like to think that if you invited us over to your house for a game, we’d be fun to play with.
Meet the people of ZRG:
Chris is a 15 year veteran of the computer games industry. He has designed several award-winning titles, including Star Trek: Starfleet Command, Fallout and Stonekeep. Most recently, he was the publisher’s producer for The Lord of the Rings: Middle-Earth Online.
He is an avid game player of a variety of games. He enjoys cards, consims, and boardgames, but also paints and play miniatures. He also likes RPGs, but bemoans the fact that he doesn’t have time for a regular role-playing group.
Chris is a game designer and developer.
Tom has been in the computer game industry for 17 years as a tester, programmer, designer, producer, and international product manager, most recently working on Greyhawk: The Temple of Elemental Evil and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines.
He became hooked on Avalon Hill games at the age of 10 when his father brought home Dr. Livingston, I Presume? and moved on to Diplomacy, Alexander, Caesar’s Legions, and SPI’s War of the Ring. He started making his own board games soon after with his first effort, Escape from School, and has enjoyed playing and making board and card games ever since.
Tom is a game designer and developer.
Scott has been in the computer game industry for over 13 years. He started as a lead tester on Star Trek: 25th Anniversary. Since then he as been a designer, associate producer, graphic artist, and technical designer. Some of the more than 20 titles he has worked on are Star Trek: Judgment Rites, Stonekeep, Fallout 1 & 2, The Icewind Dale series, Planescape Torment, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II, & Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II.
He became interested in gaming at an early age with Dungeons & Dragons and Traveller. WWII Miniature wargaming was a big part of high school gaming. The first computer game that became an obsession was the Eamon RPG series on the Apple II. He now enjoys board and card games since they can easily be played in an evening. With today’s busy life, it’s hard to find the time to dedicate to tabletop RPG’s and long wargames.
Scott does art things with art programs.
At NoMutantsAllowed there’s a new editorial, written by Brother None, entitled The Rybicki Maneuver: When to praise and when to criticize: a how-to guide:
Morrowind just laid the groundworks for Oblivion or Oblivion loses out to Morrowind on the basis of being more action-orientated? It can’t be both, so what causes the difference in opinion between these two pieces?
And there we arrive at the central point of this article; the Rybicki Maneuver. In short the maneuver means that as long as your opinion on the product actually matters towards the game’s sales, don’t be too critical. The moment criticism doesn’t matter anymore or, even better, criticism can be used to say “they won’t do this again”, do a 180 and suddenly claim the flaws you didn’t mention in your review should be obvious to anyone.
Coincidentally a discussion about the role of gaming reporters started on the Bethesda Games Forum, and in there you can see an interesting discussion featuring Matt “Gstaff” Grandstaff and Brother None:
Consumers should definitely take previews with a grain of salt. Ultimately, more educated decisions about purchasing games can be made once reviews are out or if you have a chance to rent the game or download a demo before purchasing.
At the same time, if there weren’t previews for the game for you guys to read about, then there would be complaints that you’re not getting adequate information about the game. I know that a lot of journalists aren’t so keen on writing previews, but everyone wants a “first look” at games. For that reason, I don’t blame journalists for not going out of there way to bash a title. These guys have played a lot of games, and they know that they’re “works in progress.” If they don’t like what they see when the final product, they definitely want consumers to know. At least this is my experience of reading reviews over the years.
And typically, from coverage I’ve read over the years, magazines will weigh in on what they thought about the game. For years I’ve been reading EGM and when they do E3 previews, there’s usually some sort of label next to each preview that says something like “terrible,” “so-so” or “excellent,” so I don’t really buy that preview coverage is always fluff.
In the case E3 Best of Show previews, my journalists usually consider handing out such awards to be a big deal and take it very seriously. Of course, since these still qualify as previews, they realize that the game isn’t complete either – they can only judge game on the material they saw. Take Jeff Green for instance – from his 1up blog post, he seems anxious to play Fallout 3 after seeing it, but he still acknowledges that he wants to know more about the game.
Good post, Gstaff. Dead on the money. I just wish it didn’t need to take 50 previews saying *exactly the same thing* with *exactly the same screenshots* to get the info out there. Bethcha NMA could’ve found out that and more in one preview/interview, zing!
At some point, I’d love to get fans a chance to see more, but I don’t think we’ve gone against the norm by starting with gaming press. That’s just my experience, if you allow me to take my Bethesda hat off (BTW, I hate that expressions, sorry for using it).
Gstaff; no worries. We got some of our more pressing questions in there, and in gathering tidbits from the 50-odd interview/previews, we could gather almost a full page of actual information. Heh. Glad our international colleagues participated, always more interesting than the Americans in the RPG business. One question I’ve been meaning to ask you, Matt: were no Russkies invited or did we all just miss it? One of the biggest and most dedicated fanbases of the world, Russia (though the market is kind if impenetrable/nonlucrative, with the loose copyright laws)
Suddenly it hit me…
Matt, I hate to break it to you. But the Fallout franchise and its fanbase, like, don’t fit the norm. So going against the norm here would be fitting the aberrant norm, or something
Oh don’t worry, I realize that. When I’m given the opportunity to share stuff with you guys, that’s what I want to do.
As for the norm part, I do think that Fallout fans share much in common with Transformers fans. Though experience from another job, I realize you both have: a devoted fans, long waits, a project in new hands, online outroar upon release of new assets, etc. My personal opinions aside about the movie, you could also say that many fans were happy, and then there are fans that will always have a problem with change (which is fine by me, and from what I’m seeing in the forums here, will likely be the case with Fallout 3.) Still, like any movie, if you’re fan, I’d suggest giving it a chance.
It’s my pleasure to present to you guys and girls Alan “Slateman” Nanes, as you can read on Bethesda’s blog Inside the Vault:
What’s your job at Bethesda?
I’m a game designer. For the uninitiated, if you think of a game as a movie, a game designer would be a scriptwriter. We do the dialog, develop plotlines, perform game balance, and generally give all the other departments lots of headaches.
What projects have you worked on?
As a game designer I’ve worked on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, a few of the downloads for Oblivion, and Shivering Isles.[...]
What do you like best about working as a designer? What is the worse part?
The best part about being a designer is that your ideas drive the game world. Even though we do have a Lead Designer (Emil in the case of Fallout 3) to guide us, they are always very open to fresh ideas. I’ve seen quests change 100% from their original design based on a great idea someone suddenly had in a meeting. Being able to have your ideas translate to something you can play in the game is the greatest feeling for a designer.
The worst part about being a designer is the opposite. Sometimes an idea you’ve come up with can feel great, but when it’s examined by your peers or by the Lead, they make you realize it doesn’t belong in the game or it’s too complex. When writing dialog and quest materials, it’s surprisingly easy to forget you’re writing for a game, not for a book. You need to be clear and concise, yet detailed enough so that the flavor of the game world isn’t compromised. Maintaining this balance is the most challenging aspect of my job.[...]
What have you drawn on for inspiration in developing Fallout 3?
It would be easy for me to say I immediately ran to my DVD collection and threw Road Warrior or Six-String Samurai in, but this isn’t the case. I decided to draw my inspiration from the original source: the old Fallout games themselves (specifically Fallout 1 & 2). I wanted to make sure I replayed them and understood what the original developers were trying to bring to the table. I hadn’t actually fired the games up in years, so it was great to rediscover them all over again.
This doesn’t mean that visuals from other movies or games never entered my mind. Films like Children of Men, Delicatessen, Escape from New York, 12 Monkeys and Soylent Green and games such as Bad Blood, Autoduel and Wasteland all provided interesting backdrops from which ideas began springing forth. Honestly though, Emil Pagliarulo himself was a great inspiration. His genuine love of the source material is evident in every write-up and synopsis he gives us.
What is your favorite type of game to play?
My favorite games to play are RPGs. I like experiencing the entire spectrum and playing whatever I’m in the mood for. I’ve spent quite a bit of time playing all sorts of them… from serious PC RPGs like Baldur’s Gate to action RPGs like Champions of Norrath. I’ve been playing these games for a very long time. I still fondly remember playing the SSI Gold Box AD&D games on my trusty Amiga 500. Ok, I also admit I’m a devoted World of Warcraft player. There, you happy now?
How long have you been playing Fallout?
I’ve been experiencing Fallout ever since the games were released. As I had mentioned before, there was definitely a gap of time where they were packed in boxes and sat idle, but were never forgotten. The day I heard we were going to be actually developing a Fallout title was the day I cracked those boxes open again.
One of the things I always admired about Fallout, especially the first one, was that choices really meant something. It wasn’t just disguised dialog that funneled you to the same plot point. They made a concerted effort to make the game change depending on how YOU wanted to play. Your actions shaped the world and yet you still remained in sight of your final goal (well all the while you had a blast doing it). I hope to bring this same feeling to Fallout 3.
I like this guy, good taste in movies.
This is off the usual range of things I write to this blog, but since it’s about someone that worked on projects with former Fallout devs and it raises a worthy cause, here goes, from the Raven Software site :
It is with deepest sadness that we at Raven announce the passing of our friend and colleague Glen Angus on Thursday, July 19th. Glen was an artist of immense talents and a person of boundless energy. His family includes his wife Carolyn and two children Olivea (5) and Teddy (2). Goodbye, Glen. We’ll miss your creativity, your wit and your laughter – we know you’ll live on through your family and your art.
To find out more about Glen and his work, visit his website: http://gangus.net/
Glen was very passionate about speeding up the time it takes for autistic children to receive treatment once they’re diagnosed. To find out more about this cause visit this site:
If you would like to make a donation to his family, please send the payment to:
Glen Angus Memorial Fund
c/o Park Bank
P.O. Box 8969
Madison, WI 53791
If you have a minute go here and read the instructions on how you can help regarding Glen’s crusade in favor of autistic children, who share their condition with his son Teddy. If you do so thank you very much.
João “Briosafreak” Vieira
Grrrrlgamer has a small piece on Fallout 3:
“So, why first person?” was probably the question on everyone’s mind, and that’s where the explanations started. “The objective is to feel like you are the person in this world. We get really anal about our game worlds, we want you to go out and touch it”. Yes, those exact words. However, the game is fully playable in third person as well.
FiringSquad had a bit more to say, one of the quotes reminded me of Killzig:
Before we begin, we wanted to mention one thing; Fallout 3 will be a first person perspective game like Morrowind and Oblivion but not like the top down aspect of the first two Interplay Fallout games. This may upset some Fallout purists but BethSoft’s dev team feels the first person perspective really puts you more inside the world (there is an optional over-the-shoulder third person viewpoint you can switch to in the game).
We then moved down to handle the task of arming the bomb again and then we left the town, where we encountered some resistance from a pack of mutants and one rather large super mutant that looked like it had taken a wrong turn from Epic Games’ Gears of War.
While we didn’t actually play the game ourselves in our E3 demo it’s clear that Bethesda Softworks is pretty deep in development on Fallout 3 and even though the game won’t be released until the fall of 2008 it’s also clear that their ideas fit right into the Fallout universe. This won’t be a post-apocalypse remake of Oblivion; the VATS combat system, the definite endings of the game and the unique S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system will separate this game from BethSoft’ previous RPGs. Yes, some Fallout fans will likely be upset that the game is designed as a first person title and is set on the East Coast but that’s nitpicking in our eyes. The real test of Fallout 3 will be if the game keeps the humorous spirit of the top down first two Fallout games with the high end graphics and immersive gameplay that the new developer plans to bring to the table.
And check XBox Evolved video interview with Emil Pagliarulo, it has some technical problems they are trying to fix, so keep checking for a longer version soon. This shows the Q&As you’ve been reading, like this one, in full detail, and it’s always much better to listen and watch things as they were. I just hope they fix the problems with the video – that stops before the ten minutes mark – but even then it is the most interesting interview you can watch of all the E3 work.
Spotted at the Bethesda Blog.