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Tibbets Prison design document/3

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Tibbets Prison design document/3
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 3 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.

Location Checklist

Each area document will also have a Location Checklist.

In Fallout 3, we need to make sure that each character type has an equally enjoyable role-playing experience in each location (evil characters and stupid characters are usually given the short end of the stick; the rewards for these types of characters are usually unbalanced when compared to the goody-two-shoes characters). No more!

In addition, there were a few skills and statistics in Fallout 1 and 2 that didn't see enough use by the designers. As an example, Charisma wasn’t nearly as useful as most of the other statistics in Fallout 1, and the Doctor Skill was as useless as a third thumb in both Fallout 1 and Fallout 2. If we take care to see that each stat and skill can be used effectively design-wise in each location in the game, then I think these stats can gain back some of the ground they've lost over the past few games. That's what the location checklist is for.

The location checklist is a glorified grocery list, covering a number of the role-playing possibilities for each “kind” of character the player may have chosen (Stealth Boy, Science Boy, Combat Boy, Charisma Boy). This checklist is intended to insure each kind of character has something cool to do in each location, and that the rewards and role-playing experiences for each location are balanced whether the player is good or evil, stupid or smart, a combat monster or a science guy.

Designers don’t have to make sure that each entry is checked off for each location – as long as they make up for it in another of their locations in the game. The exception to this rule is for early areas of the game, since those are the first areas the players will encounter, and I want their character to have a rich role-playing experience all-around right from the start. (If the player went through three early areas, and his Doctor skill isn't used once, then he's going to be sorry he took it.)

My prototype checklist consists of the following entries:

Attribute Challenge Reward
Evil Karma Character
Good Karma Character
Stupid Character
Low Reputation Character
High Reputation Character
Ghoul Character
Super Mutant Character
Human Character
Male Character
Female Character
Big Guns
Energy Weapons
Small Guns
Computer Programming
First Aid
Easter Egg, Easy 1
Easter Egg, Easy 2
Easter Egg, Easy 3
Easter Egg, Medium 1
Easter Egg, Medium 2
Easter Egg, Hard 1
Tie to Another Area 1
Tie to Another Area 2
Tie to Another Area 3
Multiplayer Elements?
Ending 1
Ending 2
Ending 3

I’d like these categories to be balanced out among random encounters as well, when possible (obviously, not all categories will apply).

Post-Game Adventuring: The Fallout game will continue after you “finish” the game, and the player can keep adventuring if he wants. I want the locations to react to the player having won the game, either with small scraps of dialogue, minor art changes (banners hanging from windows congratulating the “hero”), and so on – anything to give the player a pat on the back.

Ending: A brief, one-sentence explanation of the possible endings for this location. These are described in more detail in End Movies, below.

Economics: This is just an entry to make sure that you have given some information in the location that gives clues on how it manages to stay afloat financially in the wasteland; you don’t have to beat the player over the head with it, but just make sure it’s communicated in some fashion in the location.

Tie to Another Area 1: I’d like to see the areas tied together more – either with inter-dependent quests, or family members spread out across locations, or something that gives the player the feeling that each location in the game is not an isolated location all into itself.

Anyway, that’s the bare bones checklist, and it’s subject to revisions. Here’s an example of how the list could be filled out:

Example: Podunk, Colorado: Inbred Mining Camp

Attribute Challenge Reward
Evil Karma Character (Male) Provide new generic material for town. Accept cash payment and one female slave as beast of labor.
Can shut down Podunk on behalf of the Salt Lake Mining Consortium by flooding the mine. Receive cash payment from Consortium.
Good Karma Character (Male) Provide new genetic material for town. +15 Karma, earn good graces of one of fathers of town, gives player a power jackhammer.
Low Reputation Character If the player goes to sleep in the boarding house in Podunk, he will get a special encounter of some of the locals coming to attack him while he's asleep. You can use this information to blackmail the mayor if you are evil, or you can discover when you speak to the mayor that he's glad you took care of the "unsavory elements" in the town.
If the player is really awful, he may be asked to become a "mule" in ferrying drugs between Podunk and Salt Lake City. Some extra quests, some extra drugs, and some cash.
High Reputation Character An elderly woman gives the player a deed to some land on the outskirts of town, asking him to use it to make the world a better place. Free land. You can either sell it if evil, or give it to some refugees or Good Samaritans in Salt Lake City. There may even be a gold mine on the land, or oil. Who knows?
The player can make a bid to become mayor of the town, or sheriff. All the perks the position gives you... or you can blackmail the mayor or current sheriff into withdrawing your candidacy in exchange for some extra cash or weapons.
Stupid Character (Male) Provide new generic material for town. Free food and board at the inn to keep tricking the player into coming back to the town to re-seed the populace.
Can speak to one of the dumb ore haulers and figure out the rudiments of machine language; can take the black box out of the hauler and bring it along with him to put into a robot and make a new ally. Gain Perk: Visual Standard to allow him to communicate with Class-A hauler machines, gain potential “black box companion.”
Ghoul Ghouls are hated in Podunk because of the tribes of ghoul cannibals on the wastes that hunt the merchant caravans to and from the city. If a ghoul kills five of his cannibalistic brothers, then the prejudice level will go down. There may also be a section of the mine filled with uranium that only a ghoul can get close to.
Super Mutant Super Mutants are not liked or trusted in Podunk. One of the older miners comes from Broken Hills, and he will be somewhat friendly with a super mutant, offering to modify a suit of leather armor and make it super mutant size if a super mutant brings him three normal (human-sized) leather armors.
Human Humans experience no prejudice in Podunk. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Male Males (human) are more likely to be offered jobs in the mine than female characters. Furthermore, they may be asked to serve as sperm donors if the player reveals the dangers of inbreeding to the Podunk residents. Mine Quests, convenience. Sperm donations will carry an experience award.
Female Females (human) will find it more difficult to get mine-based quests due to gender prejudice. They will also get some standard sexist comments from some of the men, but on the other hand, many women in town will befriend them and share rumors with them. Mine Quests become an inconvenience, but get more rumors and information (and more easily) than male characters.
Strength Can lift rocks from collapsed entrance to rescue trapped child. +300 XP, Reward from child’s mother.
The Miner’s Locker Room (and the abandoned one in the depths of the mines) has 30-60 locked footlockers that can be pried open if the player has over 8 STR. Various rewards, totaling about 600 caps plus miscellaneous equipment, at a loss of about 15 to 30 Karma (for the Miner’s Locker Room), but no Karma Loss for the abandoned miner’s locker room in the depths of the mine.
Perception Notice that the Mayor is nervous in dialogue; when exposed, the Mayor will confess he is afraid the Salt Lake Mining Consortium sent the player. Be able to act on this information and work out some sort of agreement between Podunk and Salt Lake City.
Endurance Helps resist the poison gas flooding the bottom of the mine, allows him to stay down there longer without taking damage.
Charisma Charisma gives the player greater rewards whenever he accepts a cash payment for any of his services in town. Bonus to cash rewards in town.
If player has Charisma over 6, he can convince Jack, the miner with the prosthetic arm, to join his party. Gain new ally: Jack Hammer.
Intelligence If the player’s Intelligence is greater than 6, the player can realize that he doesn’t have to sabotage or betray Podunk to Salt Lake City or vice versa – he might be able to work out some other arrangement. Leads to “third and best possible solution” for Salt Lake City and Podunk puzzle.
Agility There are no special checks for this statistic in this location. (Note that the Grand Canyon Location has 6 Agility checks, so the fact there are none here balances out.)
Luck An old safe in the depths of the mine has a lock that no one has the combination to. A lucky player character can try to break the code randomly. +356 Caps, A miner’s helmet
An old terminal in the depths of the mine has an access code that no one knows. A lucky player character can try to break the code randomly. Gain new schematics for robotic ore haulers.
Big Guns Player can train the three guardsmen at the gate how to man the old flamethrower installed over the front of the gate. Guardsmen show the player a bunch of weapons they’d stashed away that they didn’t know how to use – they give the player an old bazooka and three shells.
Bows Player can impress locals with archery skill. Earn trust of children, who tell him about secret entrance to mine shafts.
Player can hit a switch across one of the mine shafts with an arrow, re-activating an elevator that leads to another section of the mine. Access to small new area of mine.
Player can speak to one of the demolition-crazed miners about his preference for using bows as weapons. Miner teaches the player how to make dynamite arrows.
Energy Weapons Player can show the locals how to use the Power Burner to burrow out new mineshafts. Player is given a power energy cell.
Small Guns Nothing in this location. There is, however, a good amount of small guns ammo and shotgun shells in this location, which allows characters to fall back on their small guns for a while without having to waste the ammo for their big guns. The geckos in the mines have been weakened by the poison gas and are not only vulnerable to standard gun wounds, but they also don’t like the loud noises firearms, rifles, and shotguns make (it scatters them and makes them easier to kill).
Throwing Player can impress locals with throwing skill. Or play catch with some of the local kids. Or teach one of the local kids to play catch. Earn trust of children, who tell him about secret entrance to mine shafts. They may also show him a new "ball" they found in the desert (a special EMP grenade).
Player can hit a switch across one of the mine shafts (with a knife or rock), re-activating an elevator that leads to another section of the mine. Access to small new area of mine.
Melee These weapons are useful when you don’t want to trigger a gas explosion in the depths of the mine. Furthermore, there are a great many hammers and super sledges available in Podunk, which gives a bonus to characters with a skill in these weapons. Convenience Reward
Unarmed These weapons are useful when you don’t want to trigger a gas explosion in the depths of the mine. Convenience Reward
Barter There are plenty of shops in town for the Barter skill to become useful. General Store’s Prices.
Speech The player can convince the mayor to enter into a trade alliance with Salt Lake City, benefiting both locations. +1000 XP, Podunk Town Rep +2, Salt Lake City Town Rep +1
The player can convince three disgruntled miners to return to work, even after the difficulties encountered in the mines. +300 XP, Human Production: +1, Podunk Town Rep +1
The player can convince three disgruntled miners to work for him, and use them to take over the town. +300 XP, Podunk Town Rep +1
Biology The player can take the corpse of one of the poisoned Geckoes in the mines and discover its weaknesses to conventional firearms. (Note that the Nursery has 5 Biology checks, so the fact there is only one minor one here balances out)
Chemistry Create a more efficient blasting compound for the inhabitants using their old holodisk records and their chemistry lab. +500 XP, Access to their chemistry lab, ability to create bombs at chemistry bunch.
Can mix new chemicals for the flamethrower at the front gate... and new canisters for the PC's own use. +300 XP, Access to their chemistry lab, ability to create flamethrower ammo.
Learn how to capture the poison gas in the mines, analyze it, then make a counter-agent (see Doctor below). +1000 XP, Access to their chemistry lab, ability to create poison gas bombs, gain 970 caps from town as reward.
Computer Programming Re-program the robotic ore haulers to start mining the poisoned sections of the mine. +1000 XP, Shops in Town start gaining more items as trade increases, Robotic Production Level +1, Human and Robotic Production Level: 3+ results in best end movie.
Hack into the terminal in the bottom of the mine that no one knows the access code to. Gain new schematics for robotic ore haulers.
Doctor Lecture the inhabitants on the dangers of in breeding and start counseling them on how to avoid degenerative mutations. +1000 XP
Discover what is causing the sickness plaguing the miners. +300 XP
Treat poison gas victims recovered from the mine. (Not cure them, but prevent their symptoms from getting worse.) +300 XP per victim successfully treated, Human Production Level +1
Treat old miner with lame leg and put him on a program to help him walk fully again. +300 XP, Opens up Secret Location in Rockies where he stored 350 Caps and an old holodisk showing the locations of two other mines in the area.
(Tied to Chemistry) Once poison gas is analyzed, develop a counter-agent to cure poisoned miners. +600 XP, one of the recovered miners gives the player a broken suit of EVA armor, Human Production Level +2
Electronics Re-wire the robotic ore haulers so that three of them can function from one brain-box, tripling the mine’s output. +300 XP, Shops in Town start gaining more items as trade increases, Robotic Production Level +1, Robotic and Human Production Level: 3+ results in best end movie.
Fix the remote cameras and metallurgical scanners in the mine so the miners can pick and choose which veins are worth mining. +300 XP, Shops in Town start gaining more items as trade increases, Human Production Level +1, Production Level: 3+ results in best end movie.
First Aid Perform minor healing feats on wounded miners. This is not as effective as using the Doctor skill, however. +50 XP per victim successfully treated, Human Production Level +1
Mechanics Repair the treads on an ore-hauler to make it run again. Robotic Production Level +1, Robotic and Human Production Level: 3+ results in best end movie.
Repair the ore crusher in town and the smelter so the metals can be extracted easier. Robotic Production Level +1, Robotic and Human Production Level: 3+ results in best end movie.
Teach the inhabitants to repair the ore haulers and the ore crushers themselves. Robotic and Human Production Level +1, Robotic and Human Production Level: 3+ results in best end movie.
Study the ore loaders, gain an insight into robot weaknesses that can be used against them in combat. +5% Damage vs. Heavy Robots.
Physics Learn how to shield the ore hauler’s more sensitive circuitry from radioactive emissions from the minerals in the mine. +300 XP, Robotic Production Level +1, Production Level: 3+ results in best end movie. Can also be used on robotic companions, giving them +15% Radiation and EMP Resistance.
Lockpick The Miner’s Locker Room has 30 locked footlockers that can be picked. Various rewards, totaling about 600 caps plus miscellaneous equipment, at a loss of about 15 to 30 Karma
An abandoned Locker Room in the depths of the mine has 15-20 damaged lockers. Various rewards, totaling about 600 caps plus miscellaneous equipment, with no loss of Karma
Sneak The player must Sneak in order to enter the Miner’s Locker Room without being detected (see Lockpick, above). See Lockpick above.
Steal All of the miners and inhabitants in town have something that can be pick pocketed from them. Various rewards, totaling about 150 caps plus miscellaneous equipment, at a loss of about 15 to 30 Karma
The player can plant a fake note on the mayor, “proving” that he is secretly collaborating with the Salt Lake City mining companies in exchange for bribes. Mayor is hanged, loss of 30 Karma, player is now free to take over town.
Traps There are numerous deadfalls and mining bombs in the mines that need to be avoided and disarmed. Convenience Reward, plus the fact the player can disarm the mines and gain explosives he can carry around with him.
Outdoorsman The player can scout out a new trail for the ore haulers across the mountains, shaving a day or two off the caravan route. Reward from local caravan runners.
Gambling The player can play a low-stakes poker game with some of the locals. As long as he doesn’t win more than 55 caps, he can return to the table every night and keep fleecing the players. 55 caps per night per 5 hours.
Easter Egg, Easy 1 Beneath a floorboard in one of the houses is a small cache. 10mm Pistol with 3 clips.
Easter Egg, Easy 2 Make a makeshift crank for well, then turn crank. Pull up bucket with a dead rat skeleton inside; the corpse contains a gold tooth the rat swallowed.
Easter Egg, Easy 3 Hidden in a small crack in one of the canyon walls is a small cache; you have to turn the camera to the side in just the right place to spot it. Body of a dead miner with a leather jacket, 13 caps, and a sledgehammer.
Easter Egg, Medium 1 Beneath the rusted hulk of one of the ore haulers outside of town is a crushed footlocker that can still be pried open. The player has to jumpstart the hauler's batteries for a few seconds and hit it into reverse to roll it off the footlocker and access its contents. Inside the footlocker is an energy cell charger.
Easter Egg, Medium 2 Attach a plow to one of the ore haulers, then plot a course across the sand flats east of town, and it will dredge up a suit of combat armor buried in the sand. Combat Armor
Easter Egg, Hard 1 There are no hard easter eggs in Podunk. The fact that there are two hard Easter Eggs in Denver balances out the fact that Podunk has no hard easter eggs.
Economics Podunk keeps itself afloat by mining various minerals in the area and shipping them out to nearby communities. Salt Lake City is worried about the potential economic threat they represent, and wants them shut down.
Tie to Another Area 1 If the robotic production level is greater than the human production level in Podunk when the Interrogator’s robots invade Colorado, the town will be overwhelmed and the robotic army will gain +20% more robotic ore haulers in random encounters. If the human production level is higher, then the humans will be able to hold the robots off... for a while. Podunk remains in the hands of the humans, or else is absorbed by the robots. The bonus of having the ore haulers absorbed by the robotic army is that the player gets a bonus to sabotage/override their programming and turn them against the robotic army when he enters the Vault-Tec HQ.
Tie to Another Area 2 If the player returns to Salt Lake City and tells the Woman’s Suffrage movement there of Podunk’s need for refugees to help with the mines and to prevent further inbreeding, they will begin shipping caravans of female refugees to Podunk, which will be to everyone’s benefit. Human Production Level +2, Podunk Town Rep +2, Salt Lake City Town Rep +1
Tie to Another Area 3 The player can either sabotage Podunk for the Salt Lake Mining Consortium and gain a nice chunk of change for it, or protect Podunk from the Salt Lake merchants. -5 Karma, Podunk Town Rep -3, Salt Lake City Town Rep +1/Podunk Town Rep +1/Salt Lake City Town Rep -1
Tie to Another Area 4 (Bonus) One of the women in Boulder, Colorado hasn’t seen her husband who went off to do mining in the West with the eldest son... the player can bring word of them back to her, and when the family is reunited, they will thank the player. Podunk Town Rep +1/Boulder Town Rep –1, Free Lodging at Merrilee Household, +5 Karma
Multiplayer 1 If a multiplayer party comes to Podunk, they get a special map where they have to split up and kill as many Geckos as they can within an area in a certain time. Depending on the time the players take to do this, they get a rep bonus or X amount of cash. They will, of course, be tempted to keep reloading this quest and trying to do it better.
POST-GAME ADVENTURING When the player returns to Podunk, the inhabitants will float 1 to 3 lines of floater text congratulating the player on his accomplishments. All of his stays at the inn and drinks at the tavern will be free.
Ending 1 Player betrays Podunk to SLC Consortium, Robotic Production Level is below 4. Podunk is absorbed into SLC, an “okay” ending, since it prevents Podunk from slowly dying off.
Ending 2 Robotic and Human Production is greater than 3, player did not betray Podunk. Podunk becomes an industrial powerhouse, “good” ending.
Ending 3 Either Robotic and Human Production is less than 3, player did not betray Podunk. Podunk slowly dies off, becomes a ghost town as the occupants move away.

End Movies

Each area document will also have a list of possible End Movies depending on what the character did in the location. This section should contain:

  • The condition for each end movie. Someone has to script this, so make sure it includes all necessary flags or other conditions that need to be checked.
  • The narration text for the end movie. Write it as if Ron Perlman would read it.
  • Some suggested art for the end movie slideshow. Keep it as a simple 2D image.

A quick example is provided below:

Example: New Reno End Movies


Everyone in New Reno is dead at the end of the game. (Population of New Reno is 5 or less by the end of the game.) Goto 1
The player founded his own crime family Goto 2
(Angela_Pregnant and Angela_Dead = False at end of game) or (Mrs_Bishop_Pregnant and Mrs_Bishop_Dead = False at end of game) Goto 3


The inhabitants of New Reno were slaughtered to the last person, and the city itself collapsed into ruin. No lights shine there now, the streets home only to packs of wild dogs and vultures.

The city has become a giant graveyard for what remains of Northern California, and the desert tribes avoid it, claiming the city is haunted by evil spirits. Some say the destruction of New Reno was some judgment from a higher power, but only one knew what had truly happened.

Show New Reno in ruins, wild dogs chewing at a corpse on the street.


In the years following the destruction of the Enclave, a new family arose in New Reno, following the example of a simple tribal that had once visited their city. They were few in number, but were surprisingly resourceful. Driven by religious fervor, they took control of New Reno and put the other families to the spear. After their victory, they sent out many messengers across Northern California, looking for their founder, but without success. Many felt that the founder had been taken by the fortune spirits and now dwelled in a golden casino paradise in the sky. Show a trail of mobsters making a pilgrimage across the wastes. One of them is facing the camera, holding aloft a standard that has "13" on its tattered surface.


Not long after the destruction of the Enclave, the Bishop Family of New Reno were blessed with a child. This child seemed to have little in common with the Bishops, preferring instead to spend his days exploring the wastes. When he turned thirteen, he seized control of the Bishop Family and led them to victory over the remaining New Reno families. He died quietly in his sleep at the age of seventy-three, never having known his real father. Show a heroic young man holding a spear aloft, in a pose similar to the Vault Dweller. Have a bunch of New Reno citizens and tough hombres behind him, all cheering him on, guns and rifles in the air.


Include a summary of changes you've done in a document at the end, and dump it into the Source Safe comments, if you can. Chances are, you'll have to email this information to certain people on the team, so it's worthwhile to record here. 06-25-01 – Fallout Location Template document created.

06-28-01 - Added comments from Steve Bokkes (QA Quest List), Dave Maldonado (Appendix and Item and Character Summaries), and Feargus (Quest Importance and Scope). Added spawning and difficulty level information to the Scripting section as well as an "estimated play time" entry into the Area Summary section.

07-09-01 – Added comments from Dave Maldonado and added "character's sex" (male/female) to the location checklist.

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