On Thursday, May 2, The Vault will be migrated to Curse's new Gamepedia platform.
On Thursday, May 2, The Vault will be migrated to Curse's new Gamepedia platform.
You may have noted that Joel Burgess (lead level designer) and Nathan Purkeypile (world artist) have held a presentation at this year's Game Developer Conference, entitled Skyrim's Modular Level Design. Recently, Joel Burgess has posted a complete transcript of the presentation together with the slides he used throughout. Although focused mostly on Skyrim, it provides insight into Bethesda Game Studios' level design philosophy, including how Fallout 3 changed the way the studio approaches it.
To minimize needless repetition, we abolished the use of warehouse cells as they existed in Oblivion. Beginning with Fallout 3, we staffed up a group of level designers and got tool support to make sure we were able to build spaces more quickly, and with the most granular art available, reducing the amount of repetition as much as we possibly could.
You can also fight art fatigue at a more fundamental level. It’s common at the start of a project to strongly associate a particular setting with specific types of inhabitants or gameplay. You may want to only see soldiers in military bases, and zombies in crypts, for example. Resist this. Think of your kits as the architectural identity of the space, and allow other elements to establish the specific identity of any given space in which it’s used. The more you’re able to divorce these things, the more you’ll be able to mix elements up and keep the settings fresh.”
Source: Joel Burgess' Blog
Following recent rumors regarding Fallout 4 production Craig Pearson from PC Gamer has written some thoughts on how Bethesda Softworks could improve the atmosphere of the next installment of Fallout series.
“Make it about survival.
In Bethesda’s hands, the Wasteland is fun. By the middle of a run through you’re clobbering Deathclaws with concrete capped rebars and sipping irradiated water without a care in the world. Possibly with a pinkie out. The point being is that the notion of survival becomes obsolete in a world dripped in caps to find, traders to sell to, and junk to collect. New Vegas has hardcore mode, forcing you to think about food, water, and rest, as well as altering the way meds and stimpaks work, but it’s still a world that can easily and comfortably be lived in. It needn’t be the main difficulty level, but the option to make the world a harsh place to live, to make the players think about every move, not just their weapon and perk choices, would give the ashy flavour of survival.
Bethesda’s Design, Obsidian’s Characters.
There I was, wandering beneath a line-up of broken satellite dishes, looking for things to do when I spied a door. What could be behind it? A gang of gangers? A terrified NPC? A few steps towards it, a glance around to make sure there was nothing sneaking up. I popped the door. Behind it was a wall with “Fuck You” written on it. Bethesda’s worlds tend to be packed with detail, big and small. They’re places to live in and enjoy, and just brilliant places to explore. Their characters, however, are a lot less engaging. Obsidian’s take on New Vegas was packed with morally dubious Wastelanders with dark stories. Acquiring Boone as a follower, for example, meant leading a person out into a field for the deranged sniper to shoot. That’s dark enough, but as a player you could happily lead an innocent into Boone’s sights. Somewhere in the middle of Fallout 3 and New Vegas is the sweet spot they should be aiming for: dark, compelling characters in a curated world.
A use for everything.
Speaking of that, Fallout New Vegas allowed you to mod your guns a little, augmenting them with scopes and such. That’s a good start. This is a world where invention is a necessary part of survival, and where scavenging should be part of a crafting system that allows you build everything and anything, and to mod things on top of that. I’d even lobby for individual components to be brought in from the Steam Workshop. Oh yeah...
Use The Steam Workshop.
This is kind of a lock: the Skyrim Workshop is the third busiest of the modder’s distribution platforms. But what I would urge is for Bethesda to make the tools available on launch day. It will help with content, and if none of the above in the list makes it, it’ll give the modders a jump on fiddling with and fixing everything on the list above.
Aggrogamer: After Interplay was acquired by Titus, Fargo leaving and Black Isle was shuttered due to financial troubles, what inspired you and your team to start a new studio rather than joining an existing already successful studio like BioWare? Also how did your team respond to this, did it take some convincing? Did any disagree and go to competitors?
Chris Avellone: "Independence" is the best answer. We were still local, we knew the kinds of games we wanted to do, and we wanted a chance to prove it. I doubt we all could have gotten jobs at BioWare (if any of us could've), and we'd always imagined Black Isle as a separate entity in any event — Feargus worked very hard to shield us from all the troubles taking place there in the last few years with Titus, although he was powerless to prevent what happened with Baldur's Gate 3 and he departed several months before Van Buren (Fallout 3) got canceled as well.
We didn't ask anyone to join us, they simply volunteered — and a lot of them volunteered. Speaking for myself, the moment Feargus walked into my office and said he had resigned, my response was "when do I quit?" That was true for a lot of people — Feargus, much like Fargo, had earned a lot of respect over the years, and the current company climate wasn't such that people were willing to remain without being able to work for those same bosses.
I loved working at Black Isle, I loved the Infinity Engine games (even with the increasing pressure to do them faster and faster), and I had put a lot of years into crafting an experience for Fallout 3. Still, after what happened with Baldur's Gate 3, it no longer seemed reasonable to expect that that project would be allowed to be carried to completion, and sure enough, it wasn't.
AG: As far as Fallout 3 (Van Buren) goes is there any chance the files will ever see the light of day like KOTOR2 or HL2 on Dreamcast; or even a legit release from Bethesda down the line someday?
CA: I don't believe those files will ever see the light of day, but I don't know. And it's not up to me anyway. Fallout belongs to Bethesda, I doubt they'd dig through those archives or if they even have all the files in order to share them with the public, and I doubt they'd even want to (I don't see what benefit it would be for them). I do know that a lot of Van Buren docs have ended up on the internet and from what I've seen; they're accurate from what I remember.
I do not believe that we'd ever see the Van Buren game made, which is fine. After all, a lot of the Van Buren stuff ended up mutating and finding a home in New Vegas in any event, so it did gain new life, even if it wasn't exactly the same as it was portrayed in Van Buren (things that showed up include: Hoover Dam, the brain-damaged Nightkin, which originated in one of our pen and paper campaigns at Interplay, Caesar's Legion, the Big Empty in Old World Blues). Also, there's nothing to say that some of the concepts (rival party, Prisoner's Dilemma) couldn't end up in some other game down the line. KOTOR 2 was different because the legacy info was still in the actual game and could be unearthed (we didn't strip those out, and while it wasn't the feeling of everyone at the studio, I'm glad we didn't strip them out).
AG: You and your team got to revisit Fallout again with New Vegas and it's add-ons, was this a something you and your team had to think about or was it just an instant yes?
Would you guys do another Fallout and do you think BethSoft would ever do an alternating dev cycle a-la Activision with Treyarch and IW doing CoD?
CA: Aside from getting the contract squared away, I believe everyone on at the studio was a "yes" on this. Fallout's one of the best RPG franchises to work on, and it was one we didn't think we'd get a chance to return to, and then… New Vegas came along.
We'd love to work on another Fallout, although that would depend on Bethesda. We certainly enjoyed working with them on New Vegas and we still have a lot of cool ideas and adventures we'd love to do for the Fallout universe.”
“I'm a 31-year-old, fifth-generation Mormon (member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) from Salt Lake City, Utah and I love video games.
I am much more accustomed to seeing my religion portrayed in unflattering and even disrespectful ways in entertainment media (...) than to seeing any positive or deferential representations. Hence, when I came across The Old Mormon Fort outside New Vegas it naturally piqued my curiosity as to how it would be featured. Would the game's developers at Obsidian take the well-worn road of clichéd irony by making The Old Mormon Fort some den of hypocritical debauchery or zealous extremism, or would they do something different?
I was nevertheless surprised and impressed by what I found inside The Old Mormon Fort: a struggling but hopeful sanctuary for the lost and ill-fated souls of the Mojave wasteland. I found a people whose purpose very much in harmony with the aspirations of Mormonism and Christianity generally.
Not without the help of The Vault author then further explores the topic by focusing on several Mormon and ex-Mormon characters. Bert Gunnarsson, Driver Nephi and, by all means, Joshua Graham, The Burned Man.
As a conclusion, Skip tips his hat to Obsidian Entertainment:
“I as a Mormon feel a deep sense of appreciation for the time and energy Obsidian clearly spent researching Mormonism historically, culturally, and spiritually. Rather than taking the safe route in the entertainment industry of making Christianity, and especially Mormon Christianity, a punching bag or the butt of a string of jokes, Obsidian has shown that at least in post-apocalyptia, Mormons can get a fair shake.
You may have opened your Facebook feed and noticed a suspicious lack of updates from The Vault. The reason is simple. An admin account was used to post a malicious link on the fan page, leading to it being almost immediately taken down by Facebook.
Along with the page are gone years of effort into building a presence on Facebook. Shortly before it was taken down, nearly 5,700 people included the Vault in their news feed.
Facebook staff has ignored several requests for assistance, forcing us to restart the page from scratch. The fanpage is available under the old address. Help us rebuild it by liking the page and inviting people to visit it.
During the latest D.I.C.E. Summit Nathan Grayson from Rock, Paper, Shotgun had a chance to speak with Obsidian Entertainment CEO Feargus Urquhart. Among other things they've spoken about some ideas Obsidian have for hypothetical Fallout: New Vegas 2.
Oh, we’d love to do Fallout: New Vegas 2. It would be awesome.
If I think of going from Fallout 1 to Fallout 2, we tried to associate the two areas somewhat closely. It wasn't just ‘Oh, we're gonna do this 2,000 miles from here.’ So I think if we were to do Fallout: New Vegas 2 – or just a new Fallout – we would probably separate it from what the internal team at Bethesda’s doing. We'd keep it on the West Coast, because we’re West Coast people. They’re East Coast, so it makes sense.
And we need an interesting confined area. So I mean, it could be LA. Fallout LA. That could be interesting. It’d probably be The Boneyard, which is from Fallout 1. It could be very different. It could be almost a Walking Dead meets Fallout-like thing because of all the radiation.
We talk to Bethesda all the time. And I think the challenge here doesn’t just apply to Bethesda specifically, but to a lot of publishers in general. But basically, what does all the [current] console crap mean? The challenge in this period of time has been, you have this console transition, and it’s strange that they’re still not announced. But that always creates a disruption in the industry. And now you mix in [the emergence of] mobile and F2P stuff, and it’s left a lot of people reeling.
So that’s a lot of the conversation we’ve had with publishers. ‘OK, how do we get back to normal – whatever normal is going to be.’ That’s just the process right now.”— Feargus Urquhart, Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Nathan was also able to briefly speak with Bethesda’s Todd Howard. As he said: "Nothing’s set in stone, but New Vegas was great, and having another go at it certainly makes an awful lot of sense."
Keep your fingers crossed.
To submit your vote you have to chose three pieces so don't forget to add two more good videogame soudtracks.
As per BethBlog, the official soundtracks for seven of Bethesda's most popular games are now available for purchase on iTunes. Among other there are official soundtracks for Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, both composed by Inon Zur and priced $11.99.
You can purchase those soundtracks by following the links below:
Yesterday Mac OS X version of Fallout 2 was also added to GOG's catalog. The game requires Mac OS X 10.6.8 or newer to run. The game is priced $9.99 for both Windows and Mac versions. If you already have Windows version of the game, you get Mac version for free.
Other recently added games include Legend of Grimrock, Alpha Centauri, Sid Meier's Colonization and Ultima 7.
Thumbs up to GOG's porting team!
On January 8, 2013, Bethesda Softworks has registered a Fallout trademark for "Entertainment services in the nature of an on-going television program set in a post-nuclear apocalyptic world." You can view the United States Patent and Trademark Office entry here.
Correlation does not imply causation, and such trademark had been registered before in 2009, so it might just a trademark registered "just in case", but... let the speculation begin!
Source: Conor Murton and Zach Piddock
Erik has later confirmed that he been given permission to release that tease. NMA has already supposed that this could be the start of a viral campaign.
For almost a month now, Kotaku has been publishing Return To New Vegas, a series of articles on all aspects of Fallout: New Vegas from modding to game mechanics and setting. The latest article, called Social Experiments Bring Out The Worst In People, focuses on Vaults and experiments on their dwellers.
While the war ramped up in Fallout, Vault-Tec became very powerful—practically another branch of the government. As cliche as it might be, that power corrupted them. They'd go on to research how to evolve humans with the FEV virus, along with a slew of other questionable weaponry and tech.
So it should come as no surprise that the vaults themselves weren't meant to help people. Actually, they were large-scale social experiments. Each vault tested certain conditions, often absurd and ridiculous, sometimes completely disturbing. Most of the vault-dwellers would never know this, save for the overseer, who had to make sure that everything in the experiment went according to plan. The purpose of these experiments was to test out how the population would react to certain conditions, and then to judge how the subjects go about repopulating the country.”
Other articles of the series (in chronological order) are also worth your attention:
Source: Kotaku.com: Return To New Vegas
The Penny Arcade Report has posted an interview with Brian Menze, an artist who worked on Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas as well as on Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights 2 and Alpha Protocol.
A true Fallout fan probably knows Brian for having drawn all of the new Vault Boy pictures for both game. The interview features several pieces of Brian's concept art, including this very interesting concept of a Pulse gun:
I can’t remember which came first, but this is basically the pistol version of the L.A.E.R. from Fallout New Vegas. Josh Sawyer provided me with a couple of photos (shown in the image) of the type of pistol he was looking for, so I basically “frankensteined” all of those elements together. I don’t normally conceptualize weapons, so I felt a bit uncomfortable doing them on FNV, partly because Fallout fans are very particular, but mostly because I don’t draw weapons much. I was the only concept artist on the team though, so I had to do the best I could.
In addition to weapons I was doing posters, characters, props and Vault Boys. It was my job to get stuff out fast enough for all the artists on the team to have things to work on. A side effect from working so fast however, is that I don’t remember much about this concept at all beyond that. This does illustrate that whenever I get into a pinch, because of time (and in this case out of my comfort zone) I’ll take the easy road and piecemeal a concept. During production and being part of a small team, that is sometimes all you have time for. I’m not necessarily proud of this one, but it did the trick and Josh was happy with it.”
Good news for all Fallout fans who play on Mac OS. GOG.com has added 12 Interplay titles Interplay games for Mac OS X which include Descent 1 and 2, Earthworm Jim 1 and 2, MDK, Battle Chess, and, of course, the original Fallout.
Fallout is available for $5.99 and will require Mac OS X version 10.6.8 or newer to run. If you already own the Windows version of the game, you can download the OS X version for free.
It is also said that Fallout 2 and other 19 Interplay games will get a free update to OS X once the Mac versions are ready.
If you're eager to get some old Interplay classics, make sure you don't miss the Pay What You Want sale we've reported recently.
As we have announced earlier Chris Avellone held a talk on Fallout: New Vegas DLC at this year's GDC Online conference. There is a number of reports from this talk available on various sites so let's have a peek.
On factions and creative freedom:
[...] The developer stated that, “A big part of the game mechanics in New Vegas was faction politics and faction reputation, and while I thought that was a strong game mechanic, I think internally we realized it's not possible to make those mechanics work if one of those factions isn't as well-developed.”
The team would have appreciated a chance to give Caesar’s Legion, who are portrayed as the enemies in the game, a more nuanced character.
Avellone also revealed that the team had total freedom when it came to creating New Vegas, with Bethesda only asking that they used the Fallout 3 engine and that they kept the action to the West Coast of the United States.”— Softpedia
On dialogues in DLC:
"We had the rare opportunity to know we were actually going to do four of these," unlike most game projects where sequels are not guaranteed, he said.
However, they couldn't carry storylines over. "Each one was a very self-contained short experience" by design; each storyline and setting had to exist in isolation from one another, because the team could not assume that any player would own all four packs. That "short experience" adds up to just 10,000 lines of dialogue across all four, Avellone said – a hard maximum.
"I will admit one bit of trickery I did was, because we had a limited number of voice lines, we started doing things like making some of the main characters mute," Avellone said. "So they'd only do like, hand gestures and symbols and non-spoken text. We were only able to get away with that for so long."
Bethesda requires a process called "text lock" for each of their titles, during which the script is essentially frozen for two weeks and checked for problems. Every line of dialogue is combed for errors, quest text is examined for logic flaws, voice sets are lined up against dialogue to make sure that voice overs and subtitles match. Everything is examined, from major NPC conversations to "barks," the reactive dialogue that characters shout during gameplay. Each character has 35 to 50 barks, Avellone said, which further ate into the team's 10,000 line total.”— The Verge