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Tibbets Prison design document/1

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Tibbets Prison design document/1
VB design document.png
AuthorChris Avellone
PublisherInterplay (leaked internal document)
Release DateSeptember 9, 2005
Downloadsee main page of document
Tibbets Prison design document
Part 2
Gametitle-VB.pngThe following is based on Van Buren and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

This is part 1 of the Tibbets Prison design document for Van Buren, the cancelled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios.


1 Main page of document
2 Part 1
3 Part 2
4 Part 3
Document start icon.png The following is the original document or a transcript thereof.


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Version 1.0

11/14/2003 11:25:00 AM

04: Tibbets is meeting something coming from the West 04: Story: Tibbets, Zax, and Zax's shortened lifespan: Maybe when the players first bust out of prison, Zax sends them a distress call saying he's going to die in 28 days (or maybe he lists himself as a prisoner who needs help). Maybe that's the reason Zax busted the players out of prison in the first place - he needed someone to come save him.


Tibbets is a cold, sterile, steel-walled automated prison facility, run by technology so ancient it dates back to the years before the Great War - nearly two hundred years ago. It is a facility designed to hold and protect some of the world's most dangerous criminals (military and otherwise) before the war, and now the players are trapped deep inside its cell blocks, desperate to get out. They'll have to fight damaged and crazed robots inside and out, as well as deal with the split-personality machine intelligence within the prison, ULYSSES.

Not only is Tibbets where the players start Fallout 3, they will find themselves returning here over the course of the game, slowly unlocking more and more sections of the prison. As a result, the experience point totals and the strength of the opponents the players face will vary depending on when and where they leave or enter the prison.

Tibbets consists of the following maps (note that because the cell blocks are very much the same, it is quite easy to duplicate maps - once you've done one, you can do 15+ others):

Note: Should we do 01000 maps and give them five digits?

01000SmallCell Block 13, 14, 15 and 13.15 Elevator

01010SmallSecurity Hub 13.31

01020SmallCell Block 16, 17, 18 and 16.18 Elevator

01030SmallCell Block 19, 20, 21 and 19.21 Elevator

01040SmallCell Block 22, 23, 24 and 22.24 Elevator

01050SmallCell Block 25, 26, 27 and 25.27 Elevator

01060SmallCell Block 28, 29, 30 and 28.30 Elevator

01100LargeService Level: Cafeteria, Kitchen, Loading Area, Contaminated Zones

01200MedWaste Disposal and Chemical Treatment Areas

01210MedMedical Treatment Area, Labs, and Genetic Sampling

01300LargeService and Vehicle Depot Areas

01310MedMechanics Bay

01320MedRobot Maintenance Bay

01330 MedArsenal

01400MedCryogenic Cell Block 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12

01500SmallCryogenic Cell Block 1, 2, 3

01510MedCryogenic Cell Block 0: ULYSSES Computer Core and Defense Tunnels

01600MedTrain: JOHN HENRY

01610MedTrain: THE GENERAL

01620Med Train: EL LOCO

The goal of this area is initially to escape.

The secondary goal of this area, once you've escaped, is to fight your way back in.

The third goal of this area, once you've fought your way back in, is to make your way to the computer core and confront or destroy ULYSSES. When this occurs, the players will have finished two thirds of the game, and be ready to travel to the next third of the game.

The monsters to be fought in this area are robots in various stages of disrepair (during the initial escape, the players will fight damaged robots - when they return, many of the robots will be repaired and much tougher). Also, the player will find himself interacting with (and no doubt fighting) some of the escaped prisoners as well, who are either hardcore criminals or simply driven mad by confinement.

The playtime in the prison is an estimated 4 to 5 hours, total. It is intended the player spend no more than an hour escaping (for demo purposes), then when they return, they can explore more and more of the prison, slowly unlocking Tibbets's secrets.

Example: Map Flowchart for Raider Caves

VB DD01 map Raider Caves flowchart.gif

Area Background

Tibbets is a maximum security automated prison run by a "divided" computer core, ULYSSES, which itself is a prisoner in the facility, attempting to escape East and return home - just like the players. The irony!

Tibbets prison has its roots in the Tibbets of today. It was always a military prison, holding some of the United States' most dangerous criminals - including the players. Over time, the prison became more advanced, utilizing robotic wardens and utility robots to maintain the structure, especially as the war with China in the 2070s and the annexation of Canada began to drain personnel from the United States. It was designed to hold 636 prisoners at full capacity. At the beginning of Fallout 3, it holds much more than that - but when the dust and ash settles after the catastrophic attack at the prison, there will be enough prisoners running from the shattered prison walls to pose a threat to the wasteland.

It was actually used as primitive isolation studies before the Vaults were established, except the subjects were prisoners, especially CODE'd to see if they could withstand the rigors of isolation for protracted periods of time. This was the time when the recycling systems and water purification systems were tested before using them in the Safehouse Project - any prisoners harmed during the procedure were tended to - not dystopian style.

In 2040, it was commandeered by the United States government in association with Vault-Tec and Poseidon Oil to tie into their Safehouse Project.

Here is a segment taken from the web and modified for Fallout 3:

VB DD01 fac 705th Military Police Batallion 1.png 705th

Military Police Battalion
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USP Background Information

  • Rated Capacity......... 414
  • Current Population... 456 (9-10-57) 636?
  • Security Level..........HIGH
  • Custody Level..........IN and MAXIMUM
  • Judicial District.........District of Kansas

The United States Penitentiary (USP), Tibbets is located on 1,583 square acres with 22.8 inside the penitentiary walls. It is an all-male high security level facility committed to carrying out the judgments of the Federal Courts. It provides a safe, secure and humane environment for those offenders committed to its custody. Like all Bureau facilities, Tibbets adheres to a balanced philosophy that recognizes that punishment, deterrence, and incapacitation are all valid purposes of confinement. Opportunities for positive change are provided through work, education, training, and counseling for inmates motivated toward self-improvement.

The USP Tibbets came into existence through an act of Congress in 1895. Inmates from the military prison at Fort Tibbets were used in the early construction and were marched 3 ½ miles to the site daily, returning to the prison at the Fort at night. This continued until February 1903 when the first 418 inmates to occupy the prison site were moved into what now serves as a laundry building. Prisoners and supplies for the prison were handled via a rail line that passed through the prison to unload and load cargo.

In 1906, all federal prisoners from Fort Tibbets were housed in the new institution and the prison at Fort Tibbets was returned to the War Department. A milestone in the new penitentiaries' construction was reached in 1926 with the final placement of the dome overhead the rotunda - from which the penitentiary derives its famous nickname - "The Big Top."

On 5 April 2040, the Secretary of the Army made the decision to build a new Disciplinary Barracks, with a capacity for 456 inmates. A cost ceiling of $363 million in allocated construction dollars was set. The target budget year for funding this project was fiscal year 2041. Construction began in the Fall of 2042, with completion projected for the Fall of the year 2045.

In July 2042, discussions with Vault-Tec to determine space and functional requirements for the new facility. On 6 September 2042, the Combined Arms Center Commander was given a decision brief of the USDB project, and selected one of three design options for further development. He also requested the Corps of Engineers to research an alternate location for the placement of this facility, since the geological evaluation of the site adjacent to the Trustee Unit revealed unsuitable subsurface conditions. Discussions involving the possible movement of the prison and relocation projects were also discussed, leading to the three-rail system that exists today.

The planning process reached the 10 percent stage on 4 Oct 2042; the 35 percent stage on 27 March 2043; 65 percent stage on 19 January 2044; 90 percent stage on 3 May 2045; and 100 percent stage on 15 August 2046. The 100 percent Design Meeting was conducted on 16 October 2046.

In designing this facility we are applying state of the art design and equipment, as it exists today, borrowing heavily from the experiences that the Federal Bureau of Prisons and several state prison systems encountered when designing and building prisons.

Tibbets Programs

Tibbets provides academic, work and occupational education opportunities to all inmates who wish or who are required to participate in them. It also provides a full range of recreation and leisure time activities.

Education: Tibbets offers a wide range of education programs from basic literacy to high school equivalency (GED) to parenting programs through the Personal Information Processor issued to each inmate. The Bureau utilizes the high school equivalency as its literacy standard and inmates failing to meet this standard are required to participate in education programs. In addition, the Education Department offers English as a Second Language and bi-lingual Adult Basic and Secondary Education opportunities.

We offer a number of ACE courses to include: Spanish I and II, Keyboarding, Creative Writing, History, Career Development, and Pre-Release. We also have VT Programs, Graphic Arts and Barber College certified by the State of Kansas. We are attempting to get a Culinary Arts VT class operational, as well as, a distance learning college program.

Vault-Tec: The Vault-Tec operation at Tibbets is the largest in the Bureau and includes three factories. These factories employ over 320 inmates and last year recorded sales of over 26 million dollars with profits exceeding 6 million dollars. The profits from all Vault-Tec operations are used to fund salaries, re-invest in new factories, and other expenses of Vault-Tec.

Health Services: Health Services provides a full range of outpatient and infirmary care to all inmates. There are 26 full-time medical staff members, including 2 Physicians, 2 Dentists, 2 Pharmacists, 9 physician assistants, 2 health information personnel, an administrator, and an assistant administrator. Automated medical staff include six Auto-Doc systems and a number of on-call medical robots. This staff provides 24 hour coverage and specialty services are provided by consultants from the community. Four hospitals in the local area offer inpatient and outpatient care on a contractual basis.

CODE: USP Tibbets provides a residential treatment program to those inmates interested in making pro-social life decisions and uses the latest in psychological methods and technology. The Challenge, Opportunity, Discipline, and Ethics (CODE) program is a year-long residential treatment program offered in the prison. The mission of the program is to foster a sense of trust, responsibility, integrity, and tolerance. Inmates enrolled in the program spend the first three months exploring the change process, followed by six months of daily treatment methods to promote positive life skills, and during the final three months of the program inmates develop skills to discourage relapse into prior negative forms of thinking, feeling, and behaving.

Each area template should include an Area Background section. This section should have the following:

  • Describes how the area ties into the overall game. This includes any story or plot foreshadowing that occurs in this area as well as any other story elements that are part of the area.
  • Gives any historical information about the area that audio, other designers, or magazine editors may need or want to build upon.

Critical Path: In keeping with the Fallout genre (and hinting at the structure of the end-game), the players have four ways to escape the prison during the opening sequence. This makes the "critical path" actually four different paths, but they are all confined to the following four locations:





How do you predict the players will travel through here four different ways?

Economy: Tibbets is self-sufficient. It has a recycling water supply, a waste recycling system that extracts moisture from human waste, and it has several stockpiles of oil, petrol, fusion cells, and electrical batteries to keep it going for at least fifty more years. It has exploited its massive stockpile in ties with Robot City to "beef up" in preparation for its escape.

Relationship with Other Communities: Tibbets has no relationship with any other communities in the wasteland west of its location - most of them don't know it's even there. The only "communities" that know of its existence are the machine intelligences governing Robot City to the East, which are attempting to find ULYSSES and correct the "divide" that has occurred within its system - and return it to its imprisoned, intended place as their slave.

Art requirements

Each area template should include an Art Requirements section. This section should have the following:

  • Provides a rough map of the location in a JPG file (see RadScoprion Nest, below). No one cares how clean it is, but it should include enough information so an artist/level designer can look at it, understand what you mean, and build the level with all the design parameters you have specified. The map may be contained in a separate file, but each location in the game should be mapped out, just as it was done for Torment and Icewind Dale.
  • Tells the artists what tile set will be used (if appropriate).
  • Tells the artists any special scenery objects that will be used for the area (i.e., cots, freestanding floor safe with an open and close animation, a turkey roasting on a spit, a special flashing neon sign, and so on).

Design Note: Whenever possible, try to include one brand-new visual or scenery object in each location to give the players a visual jolt, or just go, "cooooool."

  • Any ideas you have for the Town Map picture for the PIPBoy (i.e., do you want it to look like a Luray Caverns pamphlet, a travel guide, a picture of the chain link fence of an army compound, and so on).
  • Any movies or scripted cut scenes in these locations? Cut Scenes are elaborated on further in the Scripting section, below.

Example: Radscorpion Nest Map

VB DD01 map Radscorpion Nest.gif

RadScorpion Caves: A dark, claustrophobic cavern complex filled with vicious “Black Radscorpions” (“Black Radscorpions” that use the same model, but different stats) and baby black Radscorpions. The Raiders feed them captives every once in a while to keep them around. They also think the scorpions are kind of cute.

T: Pitfall Destination. Put a few bones and skeletons around these areas.

1: Ladder up to Entrence Cavez. Put lots of bones and skeletons around this area. (The Raiders dump victims down here occasionally.)

2: Spud’s Lair: Lair of Spud, the biggest, baddest Radscorpion in the land.

3: Victim: Another body of a victim here.

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