Welcome to the Nukapedia News Digest, brought to you by Mick and Ralph's, We're on sale every day.
In your digest this week.
Attention Nukapedia Shoppers
Well, those price increases at Gog.com have hit. Fallout 1, 2 and tactics are now $US9.99 each. Try not to blame them for the high prices... They did warn us all a few weeks ago that their new contract with Interplay would bring both new games, and higher prices.
Over on Green Man Gaming however, you can now get Fallout New Vegas (without DLCs) for £4.99 (if those of you in other areas can update us with prices in local currency, that would be awesome).
Meanwhile on Steam, for those of you willing to commit to the DLCs the complete editions of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas are now 40% off (thats £8.99 and £17.99 respectively - again if people can update us on local pricing, thank you for doing so.
If you spot a good deal elsewhere, please let us know.
Nukapedian of the year
If you havent already nominated someone for Nukapedian of the year, do so here. We're also looking for suggestions for the name of the award....
Time to spruce this place up
We're taking submissions for a new background here. We're looking for a great vault-style image, and in exchange you'll receive fame and riches, well maybe just fame and the satisfaction of seeing your work in action.
Architecture of Fallout
Thunderbolt Games has been talking about, of all things, the Architecture present in the Fallout games...
Here's an idea of what to expect.
- In the 1940s and thereafter, the Atomic and Space ages had a large influence on contemporary US culture and this surging period of technological optimism was reflected in architectural styles such as Googie, Art Deco and Streamline Moderne (all three can be grouped into the ‘Raygun Gothic’ catchall). It was during the post WWII period that the series’ timeline deviated from our own and followed a course which led to The Resource Wars and nuclear Armageddon. Up until that point the architecture of the pre-war Fallout universe had remained true to the aforementioned styles and it is their presence, combined with keenly-designed posters, infomercials and other propaganda which produce the series’ retro-futuristic aesthetic. This is all deftly melded with the inevitable post-war remains, debris and plenty of innovative new buildings to create the many locations found in the Fallout games.
The usual Q+A
From the Formspring of J E Sawyer.
- Do you think there will be any more Fallout comics like Fallout: All Roads that we got in the Collector's Edition of F:NV? I think it'd be an interesting and great way to expand the universe without making another game. Maybe a good way for Pre War events</nowiki>
- I'm not sure if there will be any more, but I agree that it's a great way to expand the universe. I was on a panel with James Waugh from Blizzard a few months ago and he made a good point about "transmedia" products like books or graphic novels that take place outside of the main medium for an IP. If they're required reading to understand the core of the world, it's frustrating for the audience. They should be supplemental and stand on their own.
- What was your role in "Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader"'s development? What did you think about that game/project in retrospect?
- My involvement was minimal. I proposed some ideas for conflicts, factions, and a few other things. I don't think much (if any) of what I proposed was used other than minor Cathar involvement. I think the end result was a confused game because it didn't ever seem to fully embrace being in a historical setting.
- I'd love to work on a historical RPG some day, but I'm not confident I'll ever have that opportunity unless I make it myself.
Something less than Awful
Over on Something Awful, Josh has had more to say...
- If you had had more time to spend on HH, what else do you think you would have included?
- I think it's less about what else I would have included and what more we would have tried to do, overall. Before HH even started development, I looked at the larger team's overall schedule. The core game had an announced release date and we knew the first DLC was supposed to be out before Christmas, so that was an informal (but very important release date). However, that was only the Xbox version, and there would likely be additional work required for the PS3 and PC versions. Also, we knew there would be patching for the core game.
- With the expectation that work on core F:NV (patching) and DM (PS3/PC) would extend beyond the Christmas window and the understanding that many folks on the DM team would then roll on to OWB, it was clear to me that HH was not going to get a luxurious amount of time. Everything on HH (with the exception of the opening fight, which took a little longer than expected and generally was my bad idea) was designed to be extremely straightforward and simple in execution. It's not that the team didn't have interesting ideas, I just summarily relegated anything with complexity to the back end of development. The idea was that a solid core, if plain, was still solid. If we had time to experiment around that core later, we could do so.
- Surprise! More time didn't come. That might seem strange since there was a large delay between DM and HH, but HH stopped development well ahead of OWB. In the meantime, we were developing a code fix that was necessary for both HH and OWB -- but the content in HH was locked fairly early. HH has, effectively, fetch quests because as soon as we started implementing new and zany things, a mental hourglass was draining in my imagination with a laughing skeletal figure looming over it.
Of the four story-based DLCs, OWB did have the most time/resources spent on it, HH the least.
An occasional series highlighting the best of Fallout Fan work - Please let me know if you know of any special projects you think deserve to be featured.
Lanius is a go!
Fallout fan film Lanius is a go, passing the 10k and first stretch 11k goal. For those of you tuning in late, Lanius' voice actor will be appearing in the film, and apparently the Obsidian guys have offered some consulting support.
They released this pic of a "Mysterious character"....
Devistation on a small scale
Mlucci, a self confessed Fallout addict on Flickr has been working on some lego characters and scenes based on Fallout: New Vegas. I've got a couple of pics here...
This is only scratching the surface of his amazing work - you can find more on his Flickr Account including a work in progress on Camp Forlorn Hope.
News from the wastes
An Animated blog about Wasteland 2 Animation
Animation in Wasteland 2 was an unknown for me, never having worked with the Unity engine before. I did know one thing in my mind though when we started: I wanted to hand-key the animations. It’s an ambitious goal of mine and one I hope fans appreciate in the end. It’s my feeling that I can bring more personality and flexibility to the animation, as opposed to using motion capture. Plus, let’s face it; as an Animator I will be more artistically invested in my hand-keyed animations. Even with the best motion capture actors you are many times stuck using what you have recorded. The unique aspects and camera of this game do present some good opportunity and challenge for me as an Animator.
One of the struggles as an animator in games is the animation system. A good system can make or break the look of the animations. The animation is broken into so many different pieces that if you don’t have some decent way of controlling that, the entire flow of the animation can feel off. Animation systems have evolved a LOT in the past few years. Wasteland 2 is not a controller driven game and many of these systems are designed for analogue input. I needed a simpler solution and I think I’ve found one.
Browsing the Unity store for animation solutions I found exactly what I needed. I am familiar with the use of an animation tree to drive in game animation states. Sage: Anim Graph Editor is a tool that allows me to intuitively build animation trees that drive the different states of the characters. This is all accomplished without me writing a single line of script. I have no talent for that, but Sage helps me overcome my inability to write script in Unity. I have built up one heck of an animation tree for our rangers so far, and I love the level of control I have over the flow of the animation. The Rangers have a lot of “states” they can be in, so being able to manage and build those states myself is liberating.
Going forward I want to dig deeper and highlight more of this tool and my process. Hopefully this can be a starting point for deeper conversations as development progresses. This project and the opportunity given to us by our backers is unique and refreshing. Reaching out to the fans during production is not something I’ve done in the past, so this is new to me. If anyone wants to ask questions or discuss Animation and game development, I am hoping this will be the place. The more discussion I have with fans that take an interest in the animation, the better it will be. At least that’s my hope. Let’s see what happens. Thanks again for all of your support.
Fargo talks to Gamestar.Ru
Brian has spoke again to the stars at GameStar Russia. Here's some choice cuts.
- What are some major differences between development process of Wasteland 2 and your work on the original game with Alan Pavlish, Michael Stackpole and Ken Andre? And what are the similarities? Maybe atmosphere or your approach?
- The tools are so much better and more varied today that it is hard to know where to start. In many ways the first game had to be hand built from scratch. It was like inventing a camera and making a movie at the same time. We made more progress in 90 days on Wasteland 2 than what took well over a year on the first one. The writing is much more difficult on the sequel as our audience is older and demands more nuance and content. Things have progressed quite a bit from back in the day. One medium size map for Wasteland 2 has more writing than the entirety of Wasteland including the paragraph book. I also have a far bigger writing staff on this version to have yet more content and pick up the slack for anyone who is slipping in delivery.
- What is the role of Obsidian and Chris Avellone himself in the project? With no particular info on that matter it seems pretty much a marketing move.
- Not at all… Chris is in our office almost every week discussing the systems of the game, the psychology of players and designing maps himself. The first two maps the players see in the game are both by Chris. In addition we discussed the different production techniques that Obsidian were doing as they have shipped several big RPGs recently. I would work with them again in a second.
- It was really pleasant news for us that the designer and writer of Planescape: Torment and Fallout 2 Colin McComb is joining the team. This month you were planning to comlete the scenario on 90%. Is everything going according to plan? How do you evaluate Colin's work on your project? Do they get along well with Michael Stackpole? And how important is a good story for a tactical game?
- Everything is pretty much on plan. we are going to all have an offsite in the 2nd week of November to review all of the scenarios which is within a week of when I wanted. The best part of having a diverse group of writers is that each one approaches their work differently. We then sit together and borrow the best ideas from each other and get a fresh set of eyes on each other's map. It is collaboration at its finest and everyone's ego is in check. A good story is paramount for an RPG is the most important point. The players do spend most of their time in combat so it better be interesting and make the player use their brain.
- Chris Keenan said something about introducing hardcore difficulty level in Wasteland 2, similar to Diablo 2 and that the idea was well-recieved among developers. Can you tell us about this particular game mode? And why do you like the idea of making the game difficult? Isn't it a bit reactionary?
- How can backer requests become reactionary? That is the whole basis for our communication. We are not going to jump through hoops for any random idea but if our gamers would like a feature that is easy to implement then why not? This feature was in consideration long before we announced it. This mode will add permadeath and does not allow you to save when you want. You won’t be able to reload battles because you didn’t like the outcome.
- As far as we know, the game is getting at least a «Mature» rating. How is it reflected in the aesthetics of Wasteland 2? Are you letting player to shoot little kids in the game?
- Certainly all of the writing in mature in that it deals with violence, drugs, prostitution, cannibals etc since that is how we envision a dark future. It isn't like we are trying to get a Mature rating but we are not pulling punches for the harshness of the universe. We are letting the players behave the way they want without putting rules around behavior so I'm sure there will be many dark scenarios.
- What about the characters? Will players be able to customize them or are we going to choose from several pre-made characters with their own dispositions and preferrences? Are the conflicts within the team possible? Are NPCs going to react on different characters in different ways? Or are all those promised kilobytes of text going to be simple «you got the job, now go fight»?
- Players will be able to create a character from scratch or choose a military occupational specialty (like corps of engineers) which will set the base stats and skills. But even then the player can continue to tweak the skills and attributes the way they want. There will be over 30 different skills that the player uses to customize themselves with. The ranger squad that the players creates are wholly under the control of the player. This is more classic role playing however the NPCs that join the party will not be under full control which means they waste ammo, steal from the party, open fire on people and potentially cause havoc for the rangers. Players won't always quite know what they are getting when someone joins up.
A letter from the editor"Emergency Broadcast System" edition I started with, you'll see just how far it's come - I hadn't even figured out headings at that point. It was a minor miracle it when up at all.
I know some choose to see this place as a seperate entity to the Vault, heck with a few of my forum posts it may even seem like I feel that way - and perhaps sometimes I do. But I still remember the Vault, and more and what the people who came before did for us.
Its easy to forget I think the link that is there, the shared core and shared history. Their history is our history, and it is a history that goes on longer than even the vault. So I wanted to just say a piece that I hope will give due recognition to everyone who has been a part of the history of this place - Nukapedia, Vault and otherwise.
Many of you know I'm older than the average Nukapedian, and I'm fortunate enough to have had two lives in the Fallout community.
A long time ago, long before this place, when the word Millennium was still being thrown about like it actually meant something), I was an active member of "Jason Michals Fallout PnP Yahoo Group". This mail group worked on and encouraged people to play a PnP version of Fallout.
This little project still lives on at one of our sister wikis. Jason would much later be employed by Glutton Creeper Games to write the official Fallout D20 RPG - until the license obtained from Interplay was pulled by Bethesda.
But keeping us true to the facts of the games of course was Ausir. My meagre contribution was the terrible Vault City handbook I kinda disown...But the fans had questions, and one man had the answers. A man we call Mr Chris Avellone. In 2002, Responding to a suggestion from Dan Wood - then big on [http://nma-fallout.com No Mutants Allowed (they started back in 1998!) Chris Avelone began to release the Fallout Bibles - although rather than a definitive guide to Fallout it became more of a Fan Q+A. In the bibles, we would learn from the developers directly more about the Vault Project, and other cut bits of content... Although Chris did manage the show, bits and pieces from other devs can be seen through them as well. And yes, Ausir again was there, if you read through them you can see some questions, and a theory or two from him.
Lionheart), and The Burned Game (DarkUnderlord wrote about the time and disapointment amongst fans at those projects here - well worth a trip down memory lane for, the demise of what we would come to know as Van Buren, and eventually the seeming death of the company that once promised games by gamers for gamers - Interplay were locked out of their headquarters by their unpaid landlord, and fined by the state of California for not paying wages. Few of us held much hope of ever being able to hear Ron Perlman speak those words again.
Bethesda's purchase of the Fallout license, and what remain of Interplay's stated intention to bring Fallout Online. We all know how both of those turned out.
With that, some of us that remembered that war never changes woke up. I began to participate on the Bethesda Forums, jumping into lore debates, and happy to see a familiar face in Ausir (although we hadn't talked too much at that point, and still haven't I suppose) and was in awe at the work that had gone into this place even then. I could occasionally be spotted here, making a minor correction here and there, and commenting on newsposts by the likes of Ausir and Tezzla, and suppressing a guilty smile after reading a Tagaziel smackdown...
We are the sum of our experiences, and the sum of our community.
The Relic of the War that Wasn't
We're back to the future with our Relic this week. That very first news piece I did included the start of what would become the Relic of the War that Wasn't. On Feburary 20 1971, the Emergency broadcast system was activated in the area of Fort Wayne Indiana...
Lucky it was an accident.
- Next Week - Think the creepy vault experiments are completely unrealistic? Think again.