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Another dev post roundup

Ausir December 9, 2010 User blog:Ausir

Here's another roundup of developer posts from Bethesda forum, Something Awful forum and J.E. Sawyer's Formspring. Most are by Sawyer himself, but there's also a couple from Matt Grandstaff about patch status:

The patch and list of fixes:

As soon as the update is released (I don't have an exact ETA), we'll have details ready that cover what it fixes. When I have more to share, I'll let you guys know.

Matt Grandstaff

When will the patch be out?

To update, the patch/game update for PlayStation 3 could be going up as early as Midnight GMT tonight for Europe. When we have more details on North America, we'll let you know.

PC update could be up on Steam as early as tomorrow.

For players on Xbox 360, we should have more details soon. Right now, it's looking like next week. If we get updated details, we'll let you know.

Matt Grandstaff

And here are the ones by Josh himself:

Van Buren:

If you had the opportunity to actually make Van Buren, disregarding the public purely how you'd like to play it , would you opt for the original top down gameplay, something along the lines of New Vegas or another to best suit the game you wanted to make?

Van Buren was conceived as a top-down 3D game and that's how I would personally like to play it.

Return to Sender:

Who had the brilliant idea of making 'Return to Sender' a quest with oh-so-many endings and incredibly brilliant writing an incredibly tedious and incredibly long FETCH QUEST? And what was his/her reasoning?

I did. The ranger stations are located around interesting areas, so the primary gameplay enjoyment was intended to be derived from the exploration required to reach them. If you've already discovered all ranger stations and done everything around them (not likely), that's a problem. But then again, if you've already discovered the stations, you can fast travel to them.

Unstoppable characters vs. going by the book:

Do you agree with the sentiment that giving players the ability to create incredibly powerful, nigh unstoppable characters (MoTB) is less important than staying true to rulesets and rulebooks? (DnD)

I don't think either is especially virtuous. Rules exist to give the player a framework for playing the game. The goal is for the game to be fun. For most people, being unstoppable gets boring pretty quickly. RPGs often allow people to eventually reach that point, especially if min-maxing, but if it's near the end of the game, that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

If a min-maxed character is capable of taking out end game opponents and challenges with ease, it's probably still a challenge for the non-min-maxer. As long as people are enjoying the game and feel rewarded for the character choices, I think it's fine.

Also, a lot of licensed rulesets are flawed or even outright terrible in their original forms. Staying slavishly devoted to an already bad ruleset when it gets translated into a completely different medium is a bad idea.

Min-maxing:

What are your thoughts on players "min-maxing" and using all kinds of tricks and maybe even exploits to create more or less game-breaking characters in RPG's?

That's part of the game. It's the system designers' job to make that rewarding without resulting in severe imbalances between the min-maxers and more casual players. Completely removing the ability to min-max (or the power of min-maxing, which amounts to the same thing) can lead to the player's choices feeling unimportant, which I think is bad in games in general and especially in RPGs.

Gameplay vs. C&C:

What is more important in an RPG: real choices with real consequences, or engaging, fun gameplay?

Engaging, fun game play should be the bare minimum expected in any game. If you're making an RPG, it should have that AND the ability to define/express a character's personality in a way that significantly changes the development of the story.

Explosives vs Lockpick:

You said that it would be hard to balance Explosives with Lockpick if you could blow up locks with Exlposives. Wouldn't explosives breaking stealth and having a high chance of destroying the contents of containers be enough for Lockpick to stay viable?

This assumes you care about being detected. If this is the case, you probably wouldn't have specialized in a weapon group that, by its very nature, is extremely noisy. Also, "chance" for a stand-alone randomized check effectively leads to save-scumming and isn't a viable solution in my opinion.

Homosexuality:

whos the homo that insisted on being so heavy handed with the gay dialogue and references in the game?

Alarm at the presence of homosexual dialogue topics is pretty interesting considering the majority of them only appear if you voluntarily take a perk that identifies your character as homosexual.

Confirmed Bachelor:

Confirmed Bachelor is considered a homosexual perk? Neither the name, the art nor the description gave any indication of that.

Confirmed Bachelor is a euphemism for a gay man. The icon art shows Vault Boy giving a massage to a naked Vault Boy with a heart floating over his head. I'm amazed that people look at that and sincerely come away thinking, "Hey, looks like a couple of bros just having a good time and giving a friendly massage."

Who wrote Caesar and the Legate?

Caesar's divinity:

Do you think it's plausible that, even if his people are tribals, Caesar would have been able to keep them oblivious of the fact that he's just copying ancient Rome and not divinely inspired?

Plenty of leaders have convinced thousands, if not millions, of people over history that they are, if not living gods, divinely chosen or appointed. There's nothing special about the people of the future.

Who wrote Boone and his quest?

Eric Fenstermaker wrote Boone's dialogue and implemented his companion quest.

Energy weapons:

Are you prepared to admit that you and the rest of the team behind New Vegas made a massive mistake in terms of the damage that energy weapons do?

No, because some Energy Weapons do great damage. A lot of them don't do enough -- most importantly, the ones at the low end of the spectrum -- and that is fixed in the upcoming patch.

Companion leveling fixes:

The fix is to make everyone use leveled skills properly, so while Boone can eventually max out Guns, he won't start out with a 117 (for real) at fifth level. This also means that characters like Arcade can hit something larger than the broad side of a barn with appropriate weapons.

Veronica had a different problem, which is that she was set to not level with the player, but was always at 10th level. This means she started out very strong compared to most players (typically) but would eventually suffer in the late game when she had 10th level hit points compared to the player.

Missing DLC message:

The REPCONN Test Site "missing DLC" problem was caused by pre-placed ghouls falling out of the world (physics-wise) and having their invalid locations saved. When you try to load the save game, Havok doesn't know what to do with the invalid locations so it rejects them.

What repairs what with Jury Rigging?

It is by weapon skill (Guns, Energy Weapons, etc.) and animation stance within skill (2h automatic, 2h rifle, 1h pistol, etc.). That's it.

Retexture mods:

Arenovalis' retextures are awesome but the way some of you dudes are talking it's like F:NV's default weapons were modeled and textured by insane morons. I think our primary weapon artist, Mitch Ahlswede, did a great job, especially considering some of the crazy UV mapping he had to do in order to fit everything into our standardized texture sizes.

Yeah, console memory does dictate some of the standardized sizes. Especially when you have a ton of dudes running around with different weapons, having huge diffuse/normal maps on every one of them is really bad news.

That said, having more texture space/memory to work with isn't going to make a bad artist good, so Arenovalis deserves all the credit he's getting.

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