Blackfoot Tribe design document/5

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Gametitle-VBThe following is based on Van Buren and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

This is part 5 of the Blackfoot Tribe design document for Van Buren, the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios.


1 Main page of document
6 Part 5
Document start icon The following is the original document or a transcript thereof.


Scripting covers a number of elements:

Note that there may be some scripting-specific information for NPCs, audio, art requirements and so on that may be listed there.

In addition to the points listed below, this is more like an "Area script" scripting section than anything. Use the GENERAL section for checks that must occur throughout the area, and the TOWN-SPECIFIC and DUNGEON-SPECIFIC for checks for a particular map.


There are some general scripting issues...

  • The Town and Leadership:
    • The PC can become the leader of the Hangdogs, but if he leaves for a long time, the Hangdogs don't like it and leadership reverts to the previous leader. This routine takes care of that.
    • Every time the PC leaves the town map (when it's unloaded), it should set a timestamp (04_Hangdog_Leader_Timestamp). When he enters the town (when the map is loaded), it should check this timestamp to see if 10 weeks? (unsure on this, will have to check how long it takes you to go to the nearby areas on the world map) have passed. If so, and if GetPersonalGlobal(PCSpeaker(), "04P_Become_Hangdog_Leader")==4 for any character, then SetPersonalGlobal(PCSpeaker(), "04P_Become_Hangdog_Leader",5) for that character. ==4 means the PC is leader, ==5 means the PC was leader but lost the job.
  • The Smelter:
    • This is going to need a "hot" version (where the fires are lit) and a "cold" version (where the fire has been put out), probably differing just in a flame animation.
    • If the PC examines the smelter and has at least an average Mechanics skill, he should get a text message (string #XXX) and the script needs to SetGlobal("04_Improve_Smelter",1)
    • OpenTask( 2168, 04 )
    • AddEntry( 2168, 2176) if IsDumbPC() or AddEntry( 2168, 2175 ) if ISSmartPC()
    • When it's hot, the PC can't do anything with it, and the workers (generic townsfolk and the NPC called Scars For Hands) will come by at regular intervals to Use it.
    • When it's cold, the workers do not visit it at all.
    • Scars For Hands will need a "turn it off" script where she spends several minutes doing Use on the smelter before the flames die out. She'll also need a "turn it on" script where she spends several minutes doing Use on it before the flames start up again. I need a script for these because you can have her do this in dialogue.
    • When it is cold, a PC with the Mechanics skill can do two sets of "repairs" on it (one requires good skill, one requires a really good skill).
      • If GetGlobal("04_Improve_Smelter")==2 or ==4 then the fade to black, advance the time two days, fade in, SetGlobal("04_Improve_Smelter",6), AddEntry( 2168, 2173) if IsDumbPC(), AddEntry( 2168, 2170) if IsSmartPC().
      • If GetGlobal("04_Improve_Smelter")==6 or ==8 then the fade to black, advance the time two days, fade in, and SetGlobal("04_Improve_Smelter",9). AddEntry( 2168, 2174) if IsDumbPC(), AddEntry( 2168, 2171) if IsSmartPC(), CloseTask( 2168, 04)
      • [NICHOLAS] – Update new values/globals.
    • We'll need to set Examine results for this item based on the state of 04_Improve_Smelter (generic text, can-repair text, some-repairs text, improved burning text, all repairs text, best burning text). [NICHOLAS] – Note to Chad - request script function
    • Will need to pass several XP entries for the Improve The Smelting Furnace quest.
  • The Furnace cave needs to have a smoggish smoky haze (fog effect) in the cave with the actual smelter. This haze causes 1d6 fatigue for every ten minutes you spend in it. The PC's actions can make this haze go away (see below). The first time you take this damage it has to SetGlobal("04_Air_Pump",3) , OpenTask( 2177, 04 ) , AddEntry( 2177, 2179) if IsDumbPC(), AddEntry( 2177, 2178) if IsSmartPC(),
    • Entrance to the Furnace Caves has a metal panel on the ground that's clearly visible. If the PC has successfully built an air pump, they'll have it in their inventory. If the PC uses that inventory item on that metal panel, destroy the pump in the inventory and unhide the hidden air pump dynamic object (which is conveniently in the same location as the metal base). Then SetGlobal("04_Air_Pump",3). Reduce the amount of haze near the furnace (see above) over the course of a minute until the haze is entirely gone. Will need to pass XP entries for the Build An Air Pump System quest. AddEntry( 2177, 2181) if IsDumbPC(), AddEntry( 2177, 2180) if IsSmartPC(), CloseTask( 2177, 04)
    • Handle furnace damage via area script
  • The Hangdog bitches: Since you can breed Devil Dog to the Hangdog bitches as a favor to Teacher, we need a way to see if any of the bitches are in heat. The bitches are in heat the first 20 days of February and August; have the area check the date and the timestamp global 04_Bitches_Timestamp ... if the date is right and the timestamp is at least 30 days old, set 04_Hangdog_Bitches ==1. At the end of the heat period (Feb 21 and Aug 21), set 04_Hangdog_Bitches to 0. The NPC Teacher can also set up a breeding with Devil Dog and the bitches; if so he sets 04_Hangdog_Bitches ==0 so they're no longer in heat and sets a timestamp (04_Bitches_Timestamp) with the current date/time so the area script doesn't reset it too soon.
  • The very first time the Blackfoot village map is loaded we need to set a timestamp (04_Spore_Plant_Timestamp) to the present timestamp. Later visits don't need to reset the timestamp, I just need to know the origin time for this area.
  • There are three Hangdog dogs that are irradiated, do not attack, and only walk with the limping animation. The PC can diagnose and treat them, and if successful (either by using RadAway or Average() Medic skill) and...
    • If SmartPC() then AddEntry( 3073, 3073 )
    • If DumbPC() then AddEntry( 3073, 3074 )
  • There is a dead ghoul on a remote part of one of the hillsides.
    • There is a trigger around the ghoul, and if the PC walks into the trigger, it activates float: #3065 and SetGlobal 04_Dogs_Ghoul == 1
      • If SmartPC() then AddEntry( 3066, 3069 )
      • If DumbPC() then AddEntry( 3066, 3070 )
    • Every day its script needs to check the status of 04_Ghoul_Bury_Timestamp, and if one day has passed since that timestamp, it should hide itself.
    • [NICHOLAS] – What's the starting condition? Can't just check a timestamp by itself.
    • If SetGlobal( "04_Ghoul_Bury_Timestamp", GetTimeStamp() )
  • Are there any wacky scripting things you'll need the programmers to be aware of? (For example, can you go to Hoover Dam, aim an artillery cannon at the town of Podunk five miles distant, fire a poison gas shell into the town, then go back to Podunk and all the inhabitants are dead except for the ghouls? Or, if the town is suffering from a disease, does the population die off over time? "Little" things like that.)
  • Are there any cut-scenes in the location? If so, include specific details of how the cut scene plays out, including characters you may need added or subtracted from a map on the fly, camera angles, and so on. Note: Be sure to include animations and Ids to the art for scriptors contained within the cut-scene description.
  • Do any creatures in town spawn or respawn? If so, is this respawning tied to any other parameters, such as difficulty level, the player's level, skill use, reputation level, and so on?
  • Are there any changes that occur on the map in terms of spawning, creature difficulty, or otherwise, that vary according to the difficulty level of the game, the level of the player and/or the party, or the fact it's a single-player or a multiplayer game? Do any boss battles become harder? Do any spawned creatures change (behemoth robots instead of rad rats suddenly start popping out of the word work)? Let your programmers know. They like knowing this stuff.
  • Events: Any event stuff? These are things that (usually) happen outside of the player making them happen – for example, the robots may attack Denver, the caravans may arrive only on the 3rd and the 15th, slavers may raid the town (possibly after the PC tells them where they are), or Dogbody may ambush the Denver camp, and so on. Some of these events can be player-driven (because you fixed the radio, a wandering robot can beam a coded message through it), and so on. These are more like floating challenges and threats the player has to deal with.


There are some important things to consider for towns...

  • What happens when the player attacks someone in the area? The adults of the town will turn against you, those nearby moving in right away and others less near taking sniping positions just in case the melee defenders fall.
  • What happens when the player breaks into one of the houses in the town? The people of that house will attack (adults and pets, and possibly house-slaves), and 1 or 2 nearby people might join in, but the rest in the area will stand nearby and watch to see the outcome.
  • Are any of the town inhabitants listed in the Monster Roster below organized into teams? Do they call for help? Will any of them fight each other if they spot an rival group of townsfolk?


There are some important things to consider for dungeon locations...

  • Are any of the monsters listed in the Monster Roster below organized into teams? Do they call for help? Will any of them fight each other if they spot an enemy critter? The radscorpions and bats are not team-based (if you can pull them individually, that's how they fight). Coyotes, dogs, rats, Brahmin, and spore plants recognize common threats. Coyotes will fight rats, radscorpions, or spore plants if the opportunity presents itself; radscorpions will stay out of the way of the coyotes so as to not get caught.

Cool Shit

There are a lot of resources in this area and a lot of things to kill (bats, coyotes, radscorpions, spore plants) if you're looking to get on the good side of the locals). You have the opportunity to become a tribal leader, and to advance their technology by quite a bit, making their success directly related to your coolness.

Weapon/Armor Progression: Starting with leather armor, tribal weapons (including "sharpened" versions of spears), zip guns, pipe rifles, and the rare/expensive standard pistol or rifle. You get a boost when you find/open the military cache. They improve their own weapons if you teach them how, giving you a steady supply of ammo and cheap simple gunpowder weapons which you can use to sell in other areas. For skill-related stuff, there's an Outdoorsman Lab that you can upgrade to a Science Lab. For StealthBoy you can get some cool soft boots that are good for sneaking, and some dogskin clothing that makes you look more impressive and intimidating.

Useful Skills: Persuasion, Deception, Mechanics, Outdoorsman, Science, Sneak, Traps

Merit Badges: Lift Operator (If you get the ski lift working again), Grand Master of Guano (if you do the "Mine Guano" quest), Puppy Orphanmaker (if you kill the adult dogs or coyotes in a lair but leave the puppies)

New Items: The player can learn how to sharpen spears.

What keeps you coming back? Lotsa resources. Many quests to do. The military cache in the tunnel. Checking status on the uplift progress (and getting your money/equipment rewards for it).

Is there an interesting gaming technique, quest, or RPG element about the location? This is a place where you can start with primitive conditions and build them up to at least an 1800s level of technology. You'll see the town become more wealthy and see upgrades to their equipment over time.

Handouts: You'll be able to find old holodisks in themilitary cache, a journal hidden in one of the homes by Bloch, the leader of the original squad.

Quest Items: yyyyy

Vehicles: none, other than the nonfunctional Greathound bus/gate

Task List

The Tasks section is a list of all the work that needs to be done for the area. It is a good summary for the producer, other designers, artists, and programmers as to what has been done in the area, who to check with if you have questions about certain tasks, and so on.

This section is only useful if it is used. If we're several months into the project and no one has been using it, then it will no longer be used or updated. There's no sense in wasting time doing additional bookkeeping if it's serving no purpose.

Sound Requirements

The Sound Requirements section is intended to cover every conceivable audio question you've had to answer for an RPG in the past. You know the drill. Some aspects to consider:

The basic chart for SFX would be as follows:

Area Sound requirements
Blackfoot Village,
West Hillside,
North Hillside
Blackfoot Village has a faintly western sort of feel (like the slow guitar stuff in FO2), sometimes alternating with a patient but ominous deeper guitar and drum that sounds sort of like the main background music for the movie They Live.
Wood chopping (day only)

Ringing of metal on metal/sharpening weapons (day only)

Loose doors banging open and shut in the wind

The occasional clatter of pots (day only)

The crackling of burning wood from campfires (night only)

Dogs barking, growling, and whining (Hangdog areas only)

People whistling for dogs on occasion (Hangdog areas)

Children's laughter

Brief snatches of conversation (energetic, but not angry)

Sounds of people working (lifting heavy weights, etc.)

As Blackfoot Village, but the furnace cave can have a faster-paced metallic element to it, representing the metal being melted down and reforged into spear tips, knives, etc.
As Blackfoot Village, plus:

Burning fire

Drip of water

Metal on metal (day only)

Shoveling of wood into a furnace (day only)

As Blackfoot Village
Storage Cave,
Spelunking Cave (1&2),
Mining Caves (1 & 2)
As Blackfoot Village, but at a more muted level, showing that the Blackfoots control this area but they don't necessarily live in the caves.
Generally pretty quiet

Animal noises appropriate to the area (mainly coyote noises in the coyote cave)

Drip of water

Map and Map Key

The Map and Map Key section has a JPG of the area, with each important location numbered. Again, this is useful for QA, other designers, game editors, and strategy guide authors. Here's an example of what I mean (see next page...):

Note: When laying out maps, make sure you leave enough space for a vehicle to be parked if there ends up being vehicles in the game.

Blackfoot Maps

Green is flatland. Brown is hills. Gray lines are streets/paved roads from the old world. Brown lines are walkable paths.

Vehicle would be parked outside the main wall, except if you're friendly to them in which case you can park it inside the wall.

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, DiploBoy). 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 Kill everyone
Good Karma Character Free the slaves
Stupid Character Chase off/kill the coyotes or rats
Low Reputation Character Trade in slaves
High Reputation Character Convince them to stop slaving
Human Character
Male Character Become Kurisu's house-husband
Female Character Drive out daughter of Hecate
Strength Mining tasks
Perception Finding the Bloch journal, silver nuggets, rubble that leads to military cache
Endurance Do some silver mining
Charisma Lead the tribe
Intelligence Improve the forge/smelter
Luck Find the military cache
Science Concentrate the dog allergens to piss of the daughter of Hecate
Outdoorsman Get parts from destroyed military robots
Medic Heal Fast-Hands and the sick dogs
Mechanics Upgrade the furnace, fix the ski lift, teach Garun how to repair guns, pick the door on the military cache
Sneak Sneak into feral dog lair and steal puppies for Hangdogs
Steal Better at silver mining
Traps Avoid rockfalls near dog lairs, teach Chagas tricks for leadership contest
Carrot 1 (Bonus Perk, Medal, Epithet, whatever) Lift Operator (fix the lift)
Carrot 2 Grand Master of Guano (harvest X amount of guano)
Carrot 3 Blackfoot Hunter You help in 3 raids
Hangdog Hunter You help in 3 of their raids
Hangdog Packleader You take over the Hangdogs
Walks With the Devil If you tame the Devil Dog
Devil Slayer If you killed the Devil Dog
House-Mate You agree to mate with the tribe leader
Easter Egg, Easy 1
Easter Egg, Easy 2
Easter Egg, Easy 3
Easter Egg, Medium 1
Easter Egg, Medium 2
Easter Egg, Hard 1
Perks (Any cool Perk mileage?) Animal Friend Can enter feral dog lair to get a pup without being attacked, Devil Dog has slightly greater chance of liking you
Traits (Any cool Trait mileage?)
Economics Slaves, dogs, dogmeat. Possibly water, bullets, guns, Brahmin in the future with your help.
Power/Infrastructure No power needed, unless the lift becomes operational.
Food Dogs, Brahmin, gardening
Tie to Another Area 1 Slaves stolen from other settlements
Tie to Another Area 2 Daughter of Hecate is shaman
Tie to Another Area 3 Chagas the prisoner
BOS would like to know about the military cache.
Multiplayer Elements?
Ending 1 You teach them how to make guns, and they become badass.
Ending 2 You don't do much for them either way.
Ending 3 You convince them to trade water instead of slaves.
You wipe out their ability to trade slaves but don't give them anything else to do.

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: (This is likely to get scrapped, since the end game will be pretty final) 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.

Room for Improvement

If you upgrade their furnace, more of them will start wearing cheap metal armor. They'll also put more metal on their defensive wall. Even the dogs might get limited armor.

If you refit the ski lift to do something else, then.... Yyyyyy HERE XXX

If you teach them to make guns, more sniper points will appear on the wall and all warriors will carry some sort of pistol or rifle. This means the number of random encounters with Blackfoots will increase in the area (but you're probably friendly to them, so that's OK), and other sorts of random encounters in the area will decrease. Guns will become cheaper here. Technology level for guns only will increase. ­Morale will be higher.

If they start trading water and Brahmin, the place will become a little more repaired. Rough sections of streets will be paved with flat stones. People will start to dress in more modern clothing to better mix with their trade partners. They'll establish trade relations with nearby settlements. They'll have other sorts of trade goods in town, and at better prices. Perhaps a telegraph line could be strung, or even a new kind of lab available. Overall hp will increase with greater access to medicine and other kinds of food. Technology level will go up to average in all levels.

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.
Note: Over the course of the project, you may wish to collect art that may be appropriate for an end movie slideshow and just keep it stored in a folder on the server or locally.

A quick example is provided below:

Blackfoot End Movies


The player never entered Blackfoot Village Skip Cinematic
You gave them guns Goto X
Stopped them from slaving & left them to die without another economy Goto X
You made them Brahmin and water traders. Goto X
You killed everyone in the village Goto X


With the ability to create and repair firearms, the Blackfoots became more aggressive, expanding their territory and swelling their ranks with slaves. The tribal village became the center of a small but dangerous state, avoided by all but the most desperate traders. Show the village, with simple gun towers behind the main wall. Tribals with guns stand in the foreground, watching a column of slaves head into the village.


Deprived of their trade in human flesh, the Blackfoots began to dwindle away as the tribute to Caesar's Legion took its toll. Eventually the Blackfoots scattered to the wasteland, and the hounds of the hangdogs ran wild in the hills once again. An empty, decrepit village, a few human skeletons, and feral dogs running around everywhere, some still with collars.


Wiped out by the escaped Prisoner, the Blackfoots and Hangdogs vanished as a tribe. Their village was looted by salvagers, and its dogs left to roam free. An empty, decrepit village, a few human skeletons, and feral dogs running around everywhere, some still with collars.


Convinced that water and Brahmin were the key to the tribe's prosperity, the Blackfoots began a tentative trade in water and animals with nearby settlements. Their ready supply of the precious drink and hardy stock were well-received by their neighbors, and all villagers reaped the reward. In time, the Blackfoots abandoned slaving for their new trade, and their village experienced a boom in wealth and trade. Though never fully trusted by other settlements, the Blackfoots gained a reputation for fairness and quality goods. The village, with some tribals dressed in more modern clothing. A series of telegraph wire poles extend from the background and out toward the wasteland.

Random Notes

This section is just for random notes you've made on the location - brainstorming ideas or whatever. It's like a word junkyard for stuff you might use or might not, but you haven't ruled them out yet.

about 300 people in the tribe, only a fraction of them are on-screen

adventure seed: stole an NCR kid from Hoover Dam or one from New Canaan

Kurisu is a hard-core slaver, and and a tough butch bitch with an attitude - she not only has accepted her slaver role, but she's really good at it - I just want it to be a marked contrast to Sulik and a reversal of what one would expect Sulik's sister to be like). My thought with Kurisu was this - at the start of the game, she is a low-Karma character, a hard-core slaver who hates her tribal roots and has always been bitter than her brother never came to rescue her. Depending on the player's actions, he can save her (good Karma) or he can drive her deeper into hate (lower Karma). But I'd like Kurisu to be one of those CNPCs whose fate you can change by your actions. I'd also like the player to become one of Kurisu's "house-husbands" if possible (she should have more than 1).

area needs more combat ties and dungeoncrawling. monster caves?

can hire them to track down or enslave people

Finding the prisoner here seems a little easy to me, but he could be one of the "easy" prisoners in the game. We'll sort it out. I like the existing complication you have for him, but you might want to spice it up with: Chagas was captured by Kurisu, so she owns him, and she's not going to let him go. Kurisu may have sold Chagas to someone else. The player, when asking about escaped prisoners, gets told about another prisoner instead of Chagas, since the Blackfoot don't consider Chagas to be a prisoner - he's one of the tribe. Once the players realize they're chasing the wrong guy, they may come back to find Chagas sold off or missing.

make acquriing Chagas more difficult

If the player kicks the crap out of Kurisu (or some other method of dominance), then the player could take control of the tribe and force them to stop slaving (though this may make them unhappy).

instead of Emancipation, take more slaves!

The players can lure other tribes to this location, and they can fight, killing each other.

The players poison the tribe with their presence, so even the women, children, and brahmin start dying over time. Even if they're slavers, this is bad news.

And what if the player somehow contaminates Chagas with a new strain that does kill him?

If the player defeats Kurisu, maybe the rest of her house husbands show up over time to challenge the PC (kind of like the Morton Bros. In Fallout 2)

Slavery moral issue: If the player has to deal with the Blackfoot, then this becomes a real slippery issue for the player to have to wrestle with - make it in the player's interest (either quest-wise or resource-wise) that makes dealing with the Blackfoot a good thing (like the military weapons cache, the railroad issue, getting them to find prisoners for you, and so on).

Themes/Religion note: It'd be amusing if their slaves were cool with how things were - and they accepted their status, and were angry if the player caused trouble for them)


Rescue a New Canaan missionary being held by tribals

Tell other tribals where they can find the Blackfoot (war!)

Find a way to get the Blackfoot to help you round up prisoners from the Big Empty

Get the Blackfoot to break ties with Caesar, or strengthen them

Get the Blackfoot to stop raiding NCR, or increase the raids

Get the Blackfoot to stop messing with the nearby railroad, perhaps


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.

8/4/2003: Finished quests and AO.

8/1/2003: Finished the maps.

6/24/2003: Compiled my Blackfoot sections and Jeff's Hangdogs

7/7/2003: Finished document and made changes according to other designer comments

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