VATS at work


In the last post I’ve talked about the Gamernode Fallout 3 preview, and how Brendon Lindsey, editor-in-chief of Gamernode, is replying to a few question at NMA, this one deserves to be highlighted:



Based on several previews that I’ve read I’ve come to a basic understanding of how VATS works, I was hoping you would be able to confirm or deny this understanding.

-you pause
-you que targetted shots / reloads and possibly access inventory (?)
-you activate your actions by exiting VATS
-your queued actions are played out in slow motion outside of your control while the camera follows the action cinematically
-the game reverts back to player control / real time and the enemy attacks you while your action points recharge
-you pause again


That’s pretty much how it works. You enter the VATS interface, it shows a grid with the possible targets/their hit percentage, you pick which parts to shoot until you run out of AP, execute the actions, it goes through the shots in a cinematic/slow-mo way, and if the enemy is still alive you gain control again while the AP recharge.

I’m not sure if you can access the inventory or anything when in the VATS interface, just because they didn’t try to do it.

This brings some clarity to how the system works,I think.

Update by DocConrad:

Q: Do enemy attacks play out in the cinematic sequence?
A: In the real time I know the enemy attacked. I don’t think the enemy can attack you in the VATS system, but then again, he only used it from a distance against three things; only the mutant was firing back, but he knocked its block off the first time. Hard for a giant ant to fight back when it’s 30 feet away.I’m fairly certain from what they showed that when you attack in VATS and the animations go through it doesn’t follow up with an attack, though.

Not quite confirmation that enemies cannot attack you during the VATS sequence but it is heavily suggested.

Q: Is there a cinematic with slow motion after every queue is activated?
A: They were always in a cinematic style. (Not like Matrix where it’s all flashy, but it follows the bullet, shows it hit the arm/leg/whatever, shows the reaction to the shot, etc. then zooms back out to the normal view)

Anyways, to clarify:

1. pause
2. queue targeted shots
3. activate queue
4. queued actions play out in a slow motion cinematic
5. player controlled realtime mode resumes/enemy attacks/action points recharge gradually
6. (repeat)

Thanks DocConrad 


Gamernode very detailed article and follow-up


Now a extensive Fallout 3 write up by Gamernode (thanks NMA), with a follow up:

“War…” began Ron Perlman. “War never changes. Since the dawn of humankind, when our ancestors first discovered the killing power of rock and bone, blood has been spilled in the name of everything…” The intro speech goes on for quite a bit longer, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, because it kicks ass. Suffice to say, Ron Perlman does a great job at making the beginning of the game draw you in.[…]

The main character’s father is the main vault scientist, and is also voiced by Liam Neeson. He’s trying to get the main character to take the G.O.A.T. to find out what he has to do for the betterment of the Vault. “I had to take it, you’ll have to take it, and so will everyone else,” his father tells him.[…]

It was about that time that we got our first mention of Oblivion. “Think of Oblivion as our freshman effort on next-gen,” he tells us, “and Fallout is our revision and upgrade.”We were then treated to a demonstration of how the Pipboy works in Fallout 3. According to Todd, one of their main goals in upgrading it for Fallout 3 was to make it entertaining for gamers, since they’ll spend a lot of time in its menus. Part of how they did that is the humorous animations; skills and stats have their own picture and description, and most of them are pretty damn funny. One of them, science, features a bespeckled toon sitting in front of a giant retro computer. “This is our actually our lead developer, this is what he looks like,” Todd jokes. “And this is a very early PS3 devkit.”[…]

It was at that point we ran into Mr. Handy. “Good day new sir!” the cheerful robot chimes. “If I may be so bold the blue in the bolt suit contrasts BEAUTIFULLY with your eyes!” As Mr. Handy moves away, he mutters, “you stupid git.” Oh, Mr. Handy!

The exit of the vault is a fairly epic area, and as Todd explains, given its seriousness it really has to be. You need to hack into a computer (or use a password) to open the vault, which involves a lot of whirling gears and shifting metal. After a few moments, Todd is out into the beautiful post apocalyptic sunlight![…]

Once inside, the sheriff greets us, and we’re shown how you can choose two radically different paths. In this instance, Todd can either be peaceful and friendly with the sheriff, or enter the town mocking his hat (“Nice hat, Calamity Jane”); guess which he picked?
After mocking the hat, the sheriff is peeved, and Todd has the choice to try and make things okay again, or keep pushing the sheriff which will end in a fight. Todd ended up switching his mind, so we entered the city proper.[…]

In the center of the town, Todd faced the bomb and was still given the choice to change his mind, but nah, he went for it. Whoops, his skills aren’t high enough. “Luckily I have these drugs I found in the mailbox, and as we all know, drugs make you smarter,” Todd joked. They did the trick, and allowed him to place the charge. With the bomb armed, Todd took off through the metro to arrive at the meet-up spot Mr. Burke decided upon, which happened to be on top of the Galaxy News radio station building (ironically, he was listening to a song at this moment which was talking about a “Happy, happy life!”).

In the underground, Todd was quickly attacked by a super mutant. These guys were big, greenish looking, and very mean. Here he once again displayed VAT attack mode, shooting it in the head, causing it to explode, showering brain bits, jaw bone, and eyes everywhere. “E FOR EVERYBODY!” he jokingly shouted as he shot the corpse to display the effects.[…]

All and all, I was very impressed with what we saw of Fallout 3. The game is very similar to Oblivion in ways, but also vastly different. The Fallout theme is very strong throughout, and the ability to play in a top-down zoomed out mode should please fans of the franchise (whether or not it will work in fights we didn’t see). Will fans of the game like it? I can’t say, because everyone will like and hate some of the things Bethesda has done. What is obvious, though, is that Bethesda is treating this game very seriously, and is trying their hardest to please old fans, as well as bring in the new.

There’s much more in it, do take a look, and remember to check the writer of this article and Gamernode editor Brendon Lindsey’s impressions at NMA, here’s an example:

Just thought I’d answer some of the stuff in here since I didn’t explain some things for starters.

As for how the sheriff/Mr. Burke connection worked, the way they explained it was that if you were nice to the sheriff upon entering town, he would have you go to the bomb to disarm it, rather than arm it. Doing so would obviously not let you do Mr. Burke’s quest. At the same time, while doing either of them you can do the opposite (you can arm it when the sheriff sends you; you can disarm it when Burke sends you) so it’s still open.
I also didn’t do Todd much credit about the chair. I think his intention was to show the way the chair looked in first person (like a full chair) rather than the small one in Fallout. Of course, with images or video, I didn’t really get that down very well. (He was actually a really nice guy, and obviously loved the Fallout games; he gets a lot of flak from a lot of fans for no reason other than making the third one.)

lisac, I don’t think you’re meant to spend nearly 20 hours in the Pipboy Wink. But they do want to make it feel more like an RPG than an FPS, which means a lot of looking at stats, examining equipment, watching skills, etc. Most of the menus/descriptions/items were written with entertainment in mind rather than just telling you X Strength, X charisma, X skill in guns, etc.[…]

Brother None, I don’t know how much VATS will help percentage wise when it comes to hits. I do know that they fixed the percentages extremely high (as high as 99% for headshots) just to show off the position-based damage. I have a quote somewhere about what he was saying…let me look for it.
Here it is. “For this demo, we’ve changed the percentages. Obviously, you won’t always have a huge chance to make a shot, especially a headshot. We wanted to have things like headshots be a last ditch effort. The whole ‘I’m screwed, time to take a shot and pray it works!’ feeling, basically. You’ll be able to hit extremities fairly regularly, but the critical points won’t be smart to go after frequently.”[…]

I’m not really sure if the VATS is supposed to provide an advantage or not. The way I saw it, it looked more like a way to make the game play in a non-FPS mode. They were really trying to showcase the variety of ways the game could be played by showing off FPS, third person, top-down, live FPS fighting, the VATS action point system, etc.

I’ll get back to this on a new post.

GWN E3 Impressions


Gameworld Network brings us another round of Fallout 3 impressions, now with plenty of detail and four pages:

Fallout 3 takes place 30 years after the events of Fallout 2, but this time the action is centralized in the shattered remains of Washington DC, or as it is now called, the Capital Wasteland. While the vast majority of humans in the area have been long dead, a handful managed to find refuge in the underground shelter known as Vault 101. However, for some reason, the doors that lead in and out of Vault 101 have been shut ever since the world ending disaster that took place 200 years ago. It’s here in Vault 101 where our demo begins.[…]

The life bar obviously shows how much health that particular body part has, while the percentage shows the chance you have to hit it. What’s cool is that using this system, you can keep on queuing up consecutive attacks as long as you have enough Ability Points which recharge automatically when you’re not attacking. Once you’ve inputted your commands, just sit back and watch as the battle plays out in slow motion with the camera following the speeding bullet as it pierces through its target in all of its gory glory.[…]

After inputting our commands, the action started in dramatic slow mo as we saw the first bullet find its target and cause the Super Mutant’s head to explode causing all kinds of bloody chunks to go flying around the room. Todd even made the character walking around and looking on the floor saying, “There’s one of his eyes. There are pieces of brain. More brain. And there’s the other eye.” Fallout 3 is definitely not one for the kiddies.[…]

In case it hasn’t been clear, I was blown away by the Fallout 3 presentation. Fans of the original Fallout may be understandably disappointed by the fact that the game has deviated so far from the original, but have them sit down and watch the same presentation that I saw and I’m confident that even the most hardcore of Fallout fans will be converted. Unfortunately the release date for Fallout 3 is planned for Fall 2008, so PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 owners still have a long and painful road of waiting ahead of them.

If only we would have seen the footage we would feel better in general? Listen to that Bethsoft…