SPECIAL Fallout 3 Rumblings

A bit of controversy on the Bethesda Games Fallout 3 forum, this time about SPECIAL, with Matt “Gstaff” Grandstaff stating that:

I think you might be jumping to conclusions, as SPECIAL in Fallout 3 is an integral part to customizing the character you’ll be taking through the game. The use of of SPECIAL in the game is actually very close to how it was used in previous Fallouts.

Forum member Ares Draxus retorted with this:

Really, you must have missed the fact that Fallout 3 is real time. SPECIAL is a complete rules system, Gstaff. It is character creation, combat rules system, the whole kit and kaboodle. Very close you say? Last I saw Fallout 3 is still real time.

Gstaff again:

Yes, it is very close. Whether it’s in real-time or not, it stays true to the way it was implemented in the original games in terms of what your character is good at, and how it affects your gameplay experience.

I can’t get into much more than that. You might want to keep your questions about SPECIAL in mind for the next time we do a fan interview (when that time comes, I’ll let you guys know).

My personal take on this is that if Gstaff is saying that in general SPECIAL is being kept in the game, with the attributes showing up, with skills and perks and traits and all of that and yeah, I understand that.

But even at this stage, with little info, if one tries to see the specifics of the system and the way they seem to be changed and adapted, then there’s no doubt that the system is quite different from the old games.

So this is definitely material for a new fan interview, in my opinion.

Fallout 3 Talk of the Town

Mr. Handy

Mr. Handy, found by Lexx

A few quotes about Fallout 3, let’s start with Matt “Gstaff” Grandstaff:

Anyhow, I just chatted with Emil on the matter and he had this to say:

Emil: We don’t have full dialogue options for characters with low intelligence. That is to say, you cannot simply “Ughhh” and “Agghh” your way through dialogue. That said, there are some Intelligence-specific dialogue options in the game.

Emil Pagliarulo came back to this issue:

Yeah, what Matt said.

I know you guys haven’t seen a lot of dialogue, but I really don’t think you’ll be wanting for options in that regard. The dialogue trees are pretty detailed, and there are plenty of response options, including those that check for skills, perks, S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes, etc.

The one screenshot with dialogue that we did release — shows a guy with a couple of “do you want to come with me” type of responses — is actually an example of the smallest set of responses. The majority of NPCs have several more.

In general, what you can say depends on who the NPC is, all your combinations of stats and skills, events that have transpired, how you want to respond (different “attitudes” or “voices”), and more.

Now moving on to Pete Hines chat with Videogaming247, a few tidbits, starting on Dogmeat:

“So obviously you have to be careful about where you send him foraging for stuff,” said Hines. “If you’re attacking a Raider camp, or something, and you’re running low on ammo and you say, ‘Go find me ammo,’ and he goes running through a bunch of Raiders, they can shoot and kill him while he tries to do what you told him. So you’ve got to be smart about where you send him off.”

Luckily, our canine friend isn’t necessary to the plot.

“It’s an homage to the original game to have a memorable dog that you can have with you, and it’s a way to give you a companion.”

About downloadable content:

“Given how successful it was for us on Oblivion, certainly it’s a given that we’ll look into it and what we’d like to do,” he said, talking of extra content for the anticipated post-apocalyptic RPG.

“But I can’t tell you when, I can’t tell you what it would be, or what it would look like. Will it be bigger stuff like Knights of the Nine or smaller stuff? We’ve no idea. We’ll let folks know once we get down the road.”

Hines added: “Obviously we’ve done very well with [DLC] on Oblivion, but the big thing for us is that we’re still working on content for the game itself, and so all our designers and artists are pretty much totally engaged with that. So, until we’re done with that part of the process, we don’t ever think about whatever they’re going to be creating or whatever they’re going to be doing.

PC specs:

“The goal is that it’s similar to what Oblivion was for its time,” he said. “So, it’s not Crysis but it’s not solitary, and hopefully it’s as scalable as possible. So if you’ve got a shit-hot machine and you’ve got all the latest video cards, and whatnot, then it’ll look amazing, but if you’ve got a standard gaming rig then it still runs good.”

In terms of a final PC spec for the game, Hines said it was still too early in the development cycle to be able to give a definite list.

“I can’t tell you what that is yet,” he said. “We don’t really hone in on what that’s going to be until we get into optimisation. Right now we’re still messing with a lot of stuff.”

Game’s frames per second:

“Thirty frames a second is our goal, so it’s running at 30 frames a second and it’s nice and smooth,” he said, talking of the PC version.

“Yeah, that’s the goal,” he added, when asked if the 30FPS target was the same for Xbox 360 and PS3.

“Right now we’re doing all the optimisation stuff. We’re still in the mode where we’re adding and changing content… Once we’re done changing content, then we can go back through and say, ‘OK, this is what the game’s going to look like,’ and [look at] where we can optimise the loading, and stuff like that.’”

XBox360 as leading platform on Fallout 3:

“The 360 is our lead development platform, so we got it working on that one first,” he said. I mean, we develop them all simultaneously, but one of them’s got to be the lead, so it was 360.”

Spotted at NMA and the Bethblog.

Fallout 3: You Never Know

What’s the current state of the game, and any changes or suggestions from the fans still matter? Matt “Gstaff” Grandstaff takes the stand:

A lot of the developers spend their free time reading the forums. Some, like Emil, have accounts and post when they have time. There are other members of the team that don’t necessarily have accounts, but I know many of them still read up on what you have to say.

As Todd mentioned in a recent podcast interview with OXM, the game is finished. Most of the work now is testing and polishing. Still, if I see an interesting trend (or just a great idea), I continue to let the developers know what you guys are thinking. I guess you never know what could happen.

My guess is that it’s too late for that, we’ll see.

Interview With Todd and Istvan on Xbox Live

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From the BethBlog:

When the folks from Official Xbox Magazine (OXM) came to our office to cover Fallout 3 for their April cover story, they also shot some footage with Executive Producer Todd Howard, as well as Lead Artist, Istvan Pely. Originally, these interviews were planned to be included on the disc that comes with OXM. Instead, they were able to work something out with the guys over at Microsoft to put it up on Xbox Live.

Ok that was annoying.

So today, if you’re logged into Live, head to the Xbox Live blade, then select Inside Xbox to watch the footage. There’s some interesting stuff — plus it gives you a chance to see some of the OXM screenshots in HD.

Or you can follow this idea from Gstaff and wait a bit if you don’t have an account:

From talking with some folks over at OXM, it sounds like it’ll probably go up here sometime soon.

Gaming Papercraft at PCGamer

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Image from Vladimir Fedin’s blog

From the Bethesda Blog:

Starting on the print side, there’s a special issue of PC Gamer out now called “How To: The Ultimate Guide to DIY Gaming” that provides some cool stuff for Oblivion and Fallout 3. [...] As for Fallout 3, there’s a section at the back of the magazine called “Gaming Papercraft!” that includes a cut out version of our Vault Boy bobblehead. I’m not the best with arts and crafts, so I haven’t yet assembled one, but the final product as it’s shown on the cover of the magazine looks like it’s worth the effort.

Paint-An-Egg-Contest At Kotaku=Vault Boy Fallout 3 shirt

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From Kotaku:

Now, we have something to sweeten the deal. Bethesda will also be giving the winner of our Paint-An-Egg-Contest a Vault Boy Fallout 3 shirt. There’s more! The back of this shirt is signed by Fallout 3 team. So big kudos for Bethesda for pitching this in and for the devs for writing their names!

Let’s paint some eggs then. More info about the contest here.

Fallout 3 Endings – An Update

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Image Destructoid

There’s a feeling some people aren’t getting what over 200 endings in Fallout 3 really means. When the NMA forum gets back online I’ll try to copy/paste how this compares to the other games, you’ll see it isn’t very different. Still it’s better to listen to what exactly Todd Howard said on the OXM podcast, so you’ll have a better idea.

And in the meantime here’s a partial transcript of those words, courtesy of Bethesda’s Community Manager Matt “Gstaff” Grandstaff:

OXM: Have the number of endings been finalized…..how’s that coming along?

Todd Howard: Being that we are Bethesda…everything gets a bit big. So as of last week we’re over 200 endings. That is not an exaggeration, but it deserves some description. 200 endings…that’s a lot. So originally when we started, we had various iterations of the ending. The ending is kind of cinematic, that’s dynamic based on the things you’ve done.

When we started, it was kind of fuzzy, it was like “well there’s like 9 maybe 12″ and we started adding things to it. So if you had done this or not this, you’d get this other tweak to the ending. And we kept doing that. And you know even just two weeks ago someone had this idea, “Oh we should add this idea to the ending” (sorry I’m not going to spoil what that is). And I said, “oh that’s a genius idea, we have to do that.” But then it became, “oh, but there’s four versions of that.” So i was like, “okay there’s like four different versions of that part,” and that multiplies by, at the time we were at about 60 endings…so now there’s four versions of that, so now there are around 240 versions.”

The games on paper when we get started…they’re alot smaller, and then as we go they get bigger…we can’t stop ourselves. We’re have tons of people with good ideas here, and if they’re good and fit the tone, we’re going to try to jam as much into the game as possible. Fallout is probably twice the size of what we originally had on paper…it’s pretty big, so that’s what’s happened with the endings.

So some of that stuff is the big things of what you do very late in the game, some of those are things like your karma — how you’ve lived your life from the beginning of the game — you get certain scenes based on your karma. But we kind of like the ending as much as like the game itself at the beginning is you tailoring your character and then you play throughout this game, and unlike Elder Scrolls, where it’s a game where you can keep playing, Fallout 3 has a definite ending. So we wanted to go to efforts to make sure that the actual ending you get when you finish and get the ending, and make that ending reflect and make it individual to the user’s experience. We’ve definitely gone a little overboard.

Updated with new edited version by Gstaff.

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