Fallout 4 EP8: Chekov’s Engine

By Shamus
on Jun 16, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

232 comments


Link (YouTube)

200 years of mowing down feral Ghouls and there are still feral Ghouls left. 200 years of scavenging and there’s stuff valuable stuff in every box. 200 years of scavving for food and there’s still prewar food left. 200 years of living in ruins and nobody’s swept the floor or cleaned out this obviously N-Day skeleton. 200 years of constant raiding, warring, and territory dispute-ing, and there are still parked cars that can go nuclear from a single stray bullet. 200 years and people are still using bottlecaps as currency. 200 years and there are still unopened bottles of Nuka-Cola, even though they’re delicious, full of sugar, and their lid is made of literally money. 200 years of constant gunfire and there are still millions of bullets left. 200 years and none of these village-sized communities has grown large enough to form governments or tried to form some kind of coherent society. 200 years and nobody looted any of these sets of power armor or fusion cores. 200 years and there is still a bin of unspoiled, un-eaten melons in the Super Duper Mart, which is somehow both thoroughly looted yet still ripe with valuables and filled with feral ghouls. 200 years and there are still intact prewar comic books, clothing, radios, couches, light bulbs, life-saving medicine, cigarettes, produce, magnetic tapes, working terminals, un-hacked terminals, un-scavenged robots, un-cracked safes, un-detonated mines, and un-picked locks. 200 years of Gamebryo Engine games and nobody’s fixed the bug where the game stalls forever at a loading screen. 200 years of me bitching about these same ridiculous problems and yet somehow people still read my blog.

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A Hundred!A Hundred!2012232 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?

From the Archives:

  1. wswordsmen says:

    Didn’t you establish that the 200 years thing made no sense in FO3?

  2. Ledel says:

    Shamus, and the rest of the cast, what’re your thoughts on this game making pre-war money practically worthless.

    I know in FO3 and New Vegas they were good because they were high value with 0 weight, but now I think they have almost no value other than use as “cloth” materials.

    • TmanEd says:

      I think it at least solves the problem of thinking “hey, if this stuff is so valuable, why the hell is it still sitting around everywhere?” It’s a bit more immersive to come across a looted store with cash still in the registers if the cash isn’t currently worth much.

      • Couscous says:

        But the player comes across stuff worth a lot more caps just lying around as well.

        • TmanEd says:

          That’s true, but at least it solves that one thing. The other reason I can think of why they did it might be that they looked at New Vegas’s system with NCR, legion, and old world money and decided that it was way too lame because world building is for schmucks.

        • Ledel says:

          That’s true, but it still takes away the “I know there will be X pre-war money in almost every cash register, and it’s worth a lot of caps.” thought process.

        • Tsi says:

          Yes !
          Although caps are used as some form of currency, I’ve always felt that bartering was the main way of moving stuff from hands to hands in F1 and F2.
          In F3 and NV, they made merchants hold onto more currency than they’d ever need just so that the players could sell all the crap they could hoard. Yet, most stuff was useless junk until crafting was made useful (I barrely used it anyway).

          Then in F4, the game literally asks the player to grab any prop that comes into view and either sell it or break it down.
          It’s a big contrast with the earlier games.The slack given to players to let them divert from the main goals of the game in order to comb the wasteland for wealth is a rather capitalistic gameplay approach.

          In the earlier games (F1 and F2), there wasn’t a lot of ways to make money. Inventory space was minimal and gear, including healing items, expensive. Not to mention that the passing days caused some events to occur that could give you alternate endings you might not want. So time management was a thing as well. All this combined made the player’s adventure quite focused and optimised. You didn’t need money but in case wanted some, you could always sell stuff stashed away at the expense of loosing time travelling from town to town.

    • CosmoAC says:

      Nope pre-war money still very valuable. it sells for around 8-10caps and weighs 0. What makes it less usefull is that when you hit “store all junk” at a settlement it gets stored along with everything else. And then used to make beds probably.
      This is also the case for cigarettes.

      • ulrichomega says:

        I can confirm that every bed in my settlement is composed of tin cans and sewn-together dollar bills.

      • Jeff says:

        A bigger problem for that mechanic are the gold, silver, and even copper bars.

        They’re worth hundreds of caps if you sell them, but if you stash them and they’re broken down, the total components are worth barely worth a few dozen caps.

        So on the one hand they’re really valuable for their weight:value ratio, but if you don’t pay attention they’re one of the least valuable for their weight:value ratio.

    • MrGuy says:

      I think this is just an extension of the dilemma they created when they made “pre-war money” a thing.

      What’s money, anyways? Back when I took economics, the main definition was a medium of exchange that was consistently valued by individuals, and a long-term store of value. Ideally, a portable one, though there are exceptions.

      In TOF and FO2, bottlecaps were a handy solution – a pure “barter” economy is hard to run without some underlying unit of value, and “hey, maybe they use bottlecaps!” was as handy a “what would people use as money?” solution as any. Bottlecaps are durable (being metal), relatively easy to carry, hard (in a post-war world) to fabricate easily, and both plentiful enough to be useful and likely scarce enough to be valuable.

      What doesn’t make sense is that being the long-term answer. In FO3, a LOT of time had passed, and quasi-governments were springing up (the Enclave, the BoS). Why did no one try to print up some other form of money? And why were bottlecaps specifically the SAME solution to the barter economy problem that were used thousands of miles away? FO:NV was a lot smarter in thinking the NCR and the Legion would both have their own money (though I take points off from making everything equate to caps as the underlying unit).

      But here’s the thing with Pre-War Money in FO3. It’s a durable store of value (you can keep a stack of it and trade it whenever you want). It’s easy to carry. And it’s a consistently valued medium of exchange (it’s worth the same amount to every vendor you encounter). You know what we call something that meets that definition? We call it money. Lowercase m money.

      You could pay for a purchase in pre-war money the same way you’d pay with caps if you had enough, and you could purchase back pre-war money as your change in a trade if you wanted. There was a lot of it around.

      Why, if pre-war money was around, and works just like money, would you have had an economy spring up around caps in the first place? Sure, FO3 is set a fair amount of time after the war. But when after the war did they decide to use caps? Why switch to a cap-based system, but still all agree that pre-war money had value?

      • Collin Pearce says:

        Actually, the prewar money is an even more efficient medium of exchange than caps are. Caps act like pennies, and they should be heavier, less neat and larger than those bills.

        Although I can’t understand why the money survived that long when brick buildings decayed.

        We’re not supposed to ask though, because it gets in the way of the loot-and-murder-hobo simulator.

      • krellen says:

        Fallout 2 actually didn’t use caps as currency – the NCR was minting its own coinage by then, so that was the new currency. One of the side quests even lampshades it, as an old ghoul offers you his “treasure” of thousands of (now worthless) bottlecaps as a reward.

        Caps, while arbitrarily chosen as currency, weren’t an arbitrary game abstraction, but an arbitrary in-world decision. The Water Merchants, the most powerful merchant group in The Hub, accepted and used bottlecaps as a currency in exchange for their goods (water). Caps were relatively rare and their manufacturing methods had been lost, so they were a valid choice, and they were also called “Hub-bucks” by a few people in the game.

        The original two games (drink!) put a lot of care into world building – and Bethesda never does. It makes me really doubt their claims to be “real fans” of the series.

  3. Deadpool says:

    Vault Suits had no stats as I recall it…

    All this talk of dogs reminded me of how many dogs were in Fallout 2 (5? Pariah, Lassie and the two robo ones?) and made me think:

    Fallout 2 had the best companions.

    • JackDaDipper says:

      One of which was literally just K-9, albeit lacking in laser eyes. I think, been a bit since I played 2.

    • ehlijen says:

      Fallout 2 had Marcus and his minigun. And a lot of giblets where my character and the party used to be. Curse you, Marcus!

      (Protip: Take away all his ammo and give him something accurate, like a plasma rifle!)

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Still not as bad as ian.

        • Tintenseher says:

          I haven’t played a whole lot of FO1, but in my few hours of traveling around the wasteland, Ian never shot me once. The guy gets a bad rep.

          • Syal says:

            In Vault 15 there is a room you can walk into that you cannot walk back out of if Ian follows you. You have to fight your way out, which means you have to let Ian kill you because you’re level 3 with no equipment.

          • lurkey says:

            I’m still certain Ian was the sole reason Fallout 2 had the “push the berk out of your bloody way” interaction. He blocked me into reload as soon as I recruited him, and in our later adventures he hadn’t met a doorway he wouldn’t love to stand in. Forever.

            • Syal says:

              Although any game with roaming NPCs needs that “seriously move” feature.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                A much better feature is to be able to pass through any non hostile npc.Or at least your own companions,if you really want to use npcs to block certain paths(why would you want that?).

                • ehlijen says:

                  I can see the use of NPCs blocking paths (other than your companions). It allows for stuff like bouncers blocking you from entering an exclusive club without invitation or good bluffing skills, for example.
                  Sure, you could just use a locked door, but plotlocking is an ugly anti-rogue hack and sometimes a bouncer just makes more sense than a locked door.

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    Or,you can just disable that entrance until the bouncer either gives you permission or is dead.Id rather hit that invisible wall than have npcs coop me in an empty room.

                    • ehlijen says:

                      Disable the entrance? You mean add code to place an invisible wall inside it? That’s just another ugly hack, if you can walk through some random NPCs but not the ones you actually went to get through.

                      As I said, companions shouldn’t block your movement (or be very good at getting out of your way), and no one else should be following you to raise to issue. But everyone else blocking movement seems realistic and not too problematic to me.

        • ehlijen says:

          What was so bad about Ian? I know the SMG was a terrible choice for him, but I still have more nightmares about Marcus’ minigun.

          Wannamingo mines: last alien on single digit HP facing me in melee. Sulic, Vic and K9 are crowded around me trying to smack it with melee weapons of their own. Marcus stands a bit back with a plasma rifle. He analyses the situation. He puts away the plasma rifle he could have easily used to dispatch the alien with, whips out the minigun, misses the alien and wipes out the entire party with crits (through power armour!).

          My most recent save was before I climbed down into the mines. So angry!

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            You guys,it was a joke.I never had much trouble with friendly fire in either fallout 1 or 2 myself,but that does not mean I cant use a meme for fun.

          • Deadpool says:

            Burst weapons in general were a bad idea for the AI. Ian and Sulik get bad reps because they’re the first party members you meet and they can use SMGs. So they do it more often than most.

            • ehlijen says:

              The big issue is that FO1, 2 and tactics have the same quirk when it comes to burst weapons that ensures excessive amount of spray damage compared to very little impact on the intended target:
              You only roll to hit against the primary target (which is then allocated a random number of hits out of the volley); anything else in the invisible cone is automatically hit for a random number of remaining shots out of the volley (until all shots are accounted for).
              I believe this was meant as a feature in FO1 and 2 to ensure that firing a burst weapon when friendlies are around is always a bad idea, but in Tactics it was pretty much an outright exploit (as there were almost never any friendlies around).

              • Kylroy says:

                Tactics was a remarkably ill-conceived game. Fallout 1& 2 had really fun and engaging combat (IMHO, anyway), but in any fight with more than a half-dozen participants it really bogged down – so making a game of nothing *but* fights with a dozen or more people duking it out seems ill-advised.

              • MrGuy says:

                I kind of miss this from the early fallouts. The fact is, you’re a civilian who hasn’t ever really trained with firearms. There’s no reason you (or anyone else who doesn’t fight regularly) would be expected to be a good shot. The fact that you miss a lot of the time, or can’t hit an enemy with a pistol at 100 yards, is SENSIBLE, and in some ways adds to the sense that you’ve been thrust into this world you’re not prepared to handle. It’s frustrating but not unfair, and it makes the decision whether to try to improve your firearms-related skills vs. your other skills an interesting choice.

                Then we get to the first-person views in FO3 and later, and whether you hit depends not on your character’s skill, but on how many shooters you’ve played before (and possibly your hardware). In TOF, you walk out of the vault, find a gun, get attacked by a rat, and frequently MISS when you try to shoot it. You know, like most people who’ve never held a handgun would do. That would never happen in FO3. Sure, the circular error around the targeting reticule is a little larger with less skill, and the damage might be slightly less, but it’s a minor annoyance – if you’ve played a shooter you can pick up a 10mm handgun and go to town.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  At least in new vegas you have a reason to be good with firearms.And half the time you do in fallout 4 as well.So its not that dissonant.

                  • krellen says:

                    Most soldiers would probably take their lawyer wife to the shooting range now and then, so more than half the time.

                  • ehlijen says:

                    I’m not sure I agree with the ‘half the time’. Both genders of PC grew up in the prewar US, a place where firearms training is common in the real world, let alone a dialed up parody rife with anti-communist paranoia.

                    There is no reason to assume that a female PC didn’t spend enough time at the gun range to know how to shoot well.

                    • Ninety-Three says:

                      The obvious reason to assume that is that Fallout is stuck in the 50s, and not a whole lot of women used guns back then.

                      Man, that brings up some weird implications. Did the civil rights movement never happen in Fallout?

                    • ehlijen says:

                      Men still tend to learn to shoot more than women these days, that doesn’t mean it’s not a valid explanation as to why both of the two character choices know how to shoot.

                      But it still would have made more sense if they’d just written so whichever one you pick turns out to have been the soldier and the other the lawyer…

    • Decius says:

      Vault suits were what you would wear when you weren’t wearing any armor.

      FO2 companions best companions, worst AI. Give Sulik a SMG and ammo, and he’ll shoot everyone dead at once. Which is bad because you are a member of the group “everyone”.

      And for some reason I think that Dogmeat was in FO2, but I can’t recall where. Random encounter maybe?

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        You could get dogmeat to follow you in 2 if you get off your armor,so he thinks you are the vault dweller.

      • Aitch says:

        Dogmeat showed up in FO2 at the Cafe of Broken Dreams luck encounter. He’d join as soon as he saw you wearing the vault suit.

        And I don’t get anyone complaining about Burst Fire in 2, cause they (thankfully) gave you the option to set their threshold for using full auto depending on the likelihood they’d hit you in the spray.

        I always equipped Sulik with a .223 pistol anyway, he could wreck house with that thing.

        • ehlijen says:

          The only threshold setting with an acceptable risk level of friendly fire was ‘be absolutely sure you won’t hit me’, though, which for one thing wasn’t available to all companions and for the other didn’t preclude hitting friendly npcs turning more factions hostile to you.

          Not ever giving companions both auto capable weapons and ammo for them at the same time was quite important.

          • Nathan says:

            Actually, I found I got good results by giving Sulik a SMG, setting him to always burst, but giving him orders to charge. This made it so he was using cheap ammunition like candy, but as he was also always the party member closest to the enemy, it avoided the problem of friendly fire.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      New vegas has Felicia Day,so it has objectively better companions.

    • Michael says:

      In Fallout and Fallout 2, Vault Suits weren’t even items. They were simply the nude state for the character. They started having stats, and actually being items, in Fallout 3.

  4. Ledel says:

    Mumbles, if you could only choose one, Garrus or Hancock, who would you keep?

  5. There’s nothing I can find on the Wiki, so maybe someone here can confirm or debunk this impression I got for Fallout 4’s mechanics regarding bobby pins:

    I assert that whatever “hit point” stat your bobby pin has from being used up on a lock carries over to your next lockpicking session. There were times I know (or “know”) I just barely used the last bit of structural integrity on a bobby pin to open a lock, and then the very next lock would make the pin snap the instant I turned it, regardless of difficulty.

    Anyone else experience this, or am I just having a personal delusion?

    • Warclam says:

      It was definitely like that in Skyrim, and I believe it is in F4 too.

      • It was? I never noticed there, for some reason. Maybe the lockpick stat was more forgiving so I just didn’t see it? I suppose there were far fewer things to lockpick in Skyrim as well.

        • Ilseroth says:

          Well far fewer *legal* things. Spend a couple hours robbing a town and you’ll recant that statement.

          • That must’ve been it. I never liked the thieves’ guild or the fact I could only sell to their fence, so I didn’t do much thief-ing apart from whatever it was to make my wizard the head of the thieves’ guild’s version of Batman, Inc.

            • There’s a couple of perks in Speech that let you invest in a merchant, then once you’ve done that you can sell them stolen items as if they were a fence.

              • Wide And Nerdy ™ says:

                And once you’ve finished the Thieves Guild quest (or gotten into the latter part of it), there are four additional merchants in the base making it a really convenient place to sell stolen goods.

                You’ll get ridiculously wealthy running the ridiculous number of radiant thieving jobs you need to run in order to qualify for guildmaster. It the only guild in the game where you need to demonstrate any consistent skill at the thing the guild is dedicated to (though as Shamus points out in his excellent review of the quest line, the story itself doesn’t do enough with thieving.)

        • Jokerman says:

          Certainly was… i thought it might be a glitch with the amount of time my lockpicks would break the second i started turning it.

  6. Warclam says:

    You can jump that bridge in Corvega? Holy crap, that’s amazing! I didn’t know you could just leap across it without extending the bridge!

    Oh. Well, only once, apparently. Oh well, it was cool while it lasted.

  7. Regarding Campster’s capsule review of the difficulty of Fallout 1/2 and the later versions. I have a theory that Shamus might want to “research” for a blog entry.

    I think one of the biggest hurdles for modern gamers to enjoy F1/2 is the game manual. We complain about the tutorial popups and everything, but if you played the first two Fallout games, think about how much was in the manual that you’d probably never figure out on your own regarding how combat works, how you could ask NPCs things, etc. I’m not saying it’s impossible or modern gamers have shorter attention spans, I’m saying that having gotten used to reading next to no instructions for most (if not all) games, how big a barrier to getting a person who has only played modern games to try an old RPG is not having vital info presented to them at the start?

    • Ledel says:

      Man, I really miss having game manuals with my games. They added just a bit more to every game I bought. It also helped whenever you picked up a game you haven’t played in a while and wanted to remember the controls. Nowadays you have to play through the tutorial to get a reminder of everything, which can eat up an hour or more of your time.

      Every game case I’ve seen still has those little latches for the game manual, but I haven’t seen a manual in almost a decade.

      • Decus says:

        Really? Most of the games I play come with manuals only now they’re digital. I don’t own any modern consoles, but for PC you can access the manuals on steam or in-game for some and on 3DS every game has a digital manual if you tap the right button while highlighting the game.

        If you are talking console games maybe try hitting triangle or something while highlighting the game? I seem to recall that being a thing with PS3 games.

    • galacticplumber says:

      The problem wasn’t the lack of tutorials. The problem was that you had to MANUALLY drop grenades. Vastly superior worldbuilding and story to fallouts that aren’t new vegas, but even worse UI.

      • MelTorefas says:

        Yeah, my problem with Fallout 1 was definitely the inventory system (or lack thereof). Also that bug that made it impossible for me to complete the game the one time I made it that far, but yes. Inventory system was bad.

      • Decius says:

        What’s the alternative? You could do lots of things with dynamite, including complete a quest (for the second time if you timed it right), open doors, plant it on people, or make them angry by dropping it at their feet.

        Fallout was open world sandbox before those concepts were named.

        • McNutcase says:

          You could even use it to kill children without getting the negative consequences for that. Remember that town with the kids that would pickpocket you whenever you went into or out of a building? You could deal with them by dropping everything except your dynamite or plastique, setting the timer, and letting them steal a live explosive. Shortly thereafter, they would explode, and you wouldn’t be blamed for it!

          Those kids were the cause of serious frustration in non-US local versions, such as the British or German editions. See, the original Fallouts had no immortality. Everything could die. The British authorities lost their breakfast at the prospect of players killing children, and demanded that the kids be removed. Which was done by making their sprites invisible. The entities remained, though, which meant bug reports of “my stuff randomly disappears in this town” and at least one broken quest…

    • IFS says:

      I didn’t find Fallout 1 to be that difficult, but Fallout 2 can be a nightmare early on. Early random encounters can be things like a pack of dogs (which takes forever because they have so many turns, and will probably kill you through sheer numbers), bandits (who outnumber you and have better armor and guns than you), or people attacking a caravan (which if you hang back long enough for the fight to end can let you loot good weapons early on provided the raiders lose, be careful not to catch a stray bullet though).

      I like FO2 but holy shit traveling anywhere in that game for me involved a lot of savescumming to avoid random encounters. Even once I was to the point where they weren’t too dangerous the number of enemies (plus my allies) made things take far too long even with the game speed turned all the way up.

      • krellen says:

        You can run away from random encounters.

        • ehlijen says:

          Most of them, yes. If you end up in the middle of a fight, though, that can be difficult, as can running from bandits with rifles (they will get a few shots off before you make it to the exit grid).

          If you mean the ‘do you chose to encounter X? Y/N’ button, then you don’t always get that, unless your survival skill is high.

          Either way, high agility (for speed) and survival skill are both good if you have problems with random encounters.

        • IFS says:

          With how many dogs it throws at you it is faster to reload from the last save, particularly since it will take your character two or three turns to move far enough to escape the encounter. It is more immersive to run away to be sure, but its much less frustrating (for me at least) to savescum your way across the wastes.

    • Decius says:

      Oh gods the Vault-Tec Survival Guides. Weathered, ring bound, paper manuals that were as much a part of the game as the software was.

      When I got Fallout 3 and saw the glossy, staple bound manual with a front cover picture of the old guide, with the “Game for Windows LIVE!” logo tacked on, the part of me that the new Fallouts killed started to die.

      • Gnoll Queen says:

        I love old customized game manuals and i wish that more games had them. Like i only know of two games that had those lately and they where both JRPGs for the Nintendo 3DS. And i don’t play many not Pokemon JRPGs.

    • Gnoll Queen says:

      I have been playing so many old 90’s (and a few 80’s) CRPGs lately mostly because well i liked Pool of Radiance, Fallout, and Might And Magic 4-5 so i wanted to play more old CRPGs. And what i got out of it is that old CRPGs loved the invention called the Manual. It was a HUGE barrier for me. mostly because the games not only don’t have tutorials the actual controls are sometimes very… Non Obvious? Like i finished most of fallout one with out looking at a manual but the first thing that happened after i built my party in ultima 3 was i accidentally punched a guard while trying to speak to the guard.

      Also apparently early CRPG Makers felt like if they did not use every single key on the keyboard they would feel left out. I guess most probably because drawing pop up menus on the screen would take to much memory up or something.

  8. Fists says:

    My suspension of disbelief in FO4 requires me to add the head cannon that this is in the Idiocracy universe, between Joe’s suspension and reanimation the world goes nuclear and rebuilds itself with half the brains. Doubly so when I’m travelling with a companion
    “Surely that is useless, no?”
    “Did you not just watch me build a skyscraper and double the damage output of my rifle with a couple of toasters and some duct tape?”
    “Surely that is useless, no?”
    “Eat fiery death!”

    …and the enemies, I just murdered all six of the guys you were stationed with, they’re in a pile in front of you “Huh, must of been nothing”

    This is why there’s still so much good loot around, everyone’s too busy listening to the radio serial Ow My Balls.

    • Michael says:

      At least I can say, Curie’s slightly oblivious comments fit rather nicely. Until I got sick to death of the same six barks.

      • krellen says:

        Curie being naive at first is cute, but she’s supposedly this super-smart sentient AI, so she should learn and stop being so naive after a while.

        • Michael says:

          It made more sense when she was a robot. In general, robots in Fallout have a hard time dealing with the state of the world, unless they’ve been specifically programed post-war.

          But… once you advance her quest and turn her into a synth that logic goes out the window.

          Once she’s a synth, her new brain should let her gradually come to terms with the state the world is in. Which would have been really neat to see playing out.

          Of course, it doesn’t actually do that. Her vocal filter gets removed, but what she says doesn’t change, and aside from flirting with her, there isn’t really much indication that her understanding of the world has fundamentally changed.

          I love the character concept with Curie, the execution is underwhelming, though.

    • Sunshine says:

      “Surely that is useless, no?”

      This is why Ada from the Automatron DLC was popular on r/fallout; she’s more likely to say something like “We should pick up everything, it might be useful.”

  9. Tuskin says:

    Not going to lie, I always thought you had to jump that bridge, I missed the button in my first couple play throughs

    • krellen says:

      I did not know that button existed until I watched this video.

      Of course, I’ve only got one playthrough that I haven’t touched for months because I got to the Institute and got no answers. I FEEL YOUR PAIN, SHAMUS.

  10. I don’t mind the feral ghouls still being around, especially with how they’re handled in the current game. They obviously conserve their energy by just lying in wait or roaming only occasionally. Radioactivity would preserve them from decay, and even that doesn’t keep them from “dying,” apparently, since a lot of them are ghoul-corpses (which I’m sure is a video game red herring).

    They’re more like animated corpses now, which I think makes them creepier and gives you a reason to be stealthy and pick skills to one-hit kill the “dormant” ones. Also, unlike the zombie-ish things in other games, you can target them before they start getting up.

    • Ledel says:

      Well, if you buy the fact that there are still so many mini-nukes around, not to mention the Church of Atom, it could still make sense that the population of Ghouls hasn’t been dropping significantly. Yet, that’s just another suspension of disbelief aspect.

    • James Porter says:

      Also, I like caps as a currency a lot more than Fallout 2’s gold. I get that it is a step in the game to show an attempt at creating a currency that is more believable, but gold is such a standard rpg money thing, and collecting bottle caps is really a cute little novelty that adds to the personality of these games.
      Really New Vegas handled it the best, where the NCR and Legion were trying to make their own currency, and the uses and applications of it really makes the world feel bigger, like how the NCR dollars are pretty inflated, and a $100 bucks is like 25 caps. And a lot like anyone who pronounces Kai-sar, people who use or respect are usually sympathizers or impartial.
      Both of these are basically useless clutter items in New Vegas, but they can squeeze a ton of story out of it.

      • Decius says:

        I feel like the multiple currencies of FO:NV were most of a feature that ended up being cut, because everyone accepts all of them at the same rate, even people that shouldn’t.

        • galacticplumber says:

          The thing is that everyone has at least some reason to see value in them because traveling traders will accept them at the very least. As for why rates don’t differ do you really wanna open the can of worms that is attempting to realistically simulate supply and demand by person and good? Think carefully now. Yeah that’s what I thought.

          • Thomas says:

            I do think it would have been a nice piece of world building that NCR paid jack for Legion notes and vice versa, with the neutrals paying normal prices for both. You don’t need to be any more sophisticated in the simulation than that.

            And then if the developers had time they could get cute and have the one NCR game who accepts Legion currency – and turns out to be a traitor. Something like that.

      • ehlijen says:

        I really don’t know why, but assuming I’m remembering this right, the german version of FO2 had the money being referred to as ‘bierdeckel’, ie coasters. So they continued the makeshift money tradition there, but not in the english original?

        Or am I misremembering?

        • I want to believe that the German version used beer coasters for money. It almost sounds like trivia from Q.I. that would get you the penalty klaxon, but I want it to be true.

          • Sebastian says:

            It is true. Though I believe they meant caps when they named the currency bierdeckel. The word bierdeckel is used for coasters, but in a literal sense it can mean cap (like… deckel is the EXACT translation of cap).
            The weirdest thing in the german version thought wasn’t that they deleted the children for violence reasons. But that they DIDN’T. They were just invisible, so you got stolen from them in The Den and couldn’t do anything about it.

            • ehlijen says:

              Yup, that part of the localisation was bad. As was the poor translation (and in a few cases no translation at all).

              “Want some pointers?” became the german equivalent of “Would you like some persons who score points?”
              Parts of the dialogue in the NCR were simply still in english.
              And of course some of the dialogue referring to the children made no sense anymore.

              Though I guess it didn’t help that Fallout was my first exposure to pulp grime stories and the associated vocabulary either.

              Still not as bad as ‘The emperor’s personal shuttle has a cloaking device’ becoming ‘The emperor’s personal shuttle has a toilet device’ in the german version of X-wing vs Tie Fighter…

      • Sunshine says:

        New Vegas even has sidequests for the Crimson Caravan Company where you disable a bottling press to prevent someone making counterfeit Nuka-Cola caps, and explains the weathering and age of old caps distinguishes them from ones that someone’s repainting in a shed, thus keeping them from damaging the economy.

  11. el-b says:

    thank god the article isnt part of the drinking game lol.

  12. Ninety-Three says:

    “Miss eight times on one lock’s tumblers” should be added to the drinking game. My god, Josh is terrible at lockpicking. Halfway through that novice lock I was shouting at my screen “40 degrees right! How is this not obvious!?”

  13. Bloodsquirrel says:

    You forgot about the bags of human blood that are still lying around in hospitals. Because human blood totally lasts for 200 years unrefrigerated.

    • The rads killed off the bacteria, and perhaps you’re thinking they’re being portrayed as still viable as blood transfusion material.

      I think they’re more like protein shakes. :)

    • IFS says:

      I’m convinced that the only reason blood packs exist in Fallout is because some idiot at Bethesda thought their ‘vampire’ quest was a great idea in FO3. I don’t remember them being in any of the previous Fallouts and unless you get a very specific perk for completing that quest in a specific way they’re basically useless as without said perk they heal 1hp.

  14. Hector says:

    Shamus!

    They totally answered why the ghouls and snack are always around. All the stuff inside buildings just respawns every month or so (clearly implied as a side effect of radiation). We should thank Bethesda for really listening and taking the time and care to ensure their world embraces realism!

    • Tever says:

      …I’m sorry, I honestly can’t tell if you’re joking or not.

      • The respawn rate is about every day outside of Survival, while in Survival it’s about a week.

        Otherwise, yeah, that’s a joke.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          How was that I joke?Thats totally how real life works.Once,I bought the last bottle of ketchup in a store,no other bottles were left,yet tomorrow when I came to that same store again,there were dozens of bottles of ketchup.They clearly respawned over night.

      • I hated the respawning. I know Rutz complained that the subway tunnels in F3 would repopulate after a while (I never experienced this myself, and the consensus seems to be it doesn’t work like that, so maybe he missed a few ghouls and encountered them later?), but Fallout 4 should have the alternate title “The Respawnening.”

        Until an area is “cleared,” which means until you exhaust all quests for an area, it’ll repopulate in very short order, even if you massacre everything in sight. This seems to include if not named NPCs, then the same NPCs. It’s so much like Borderlands I wanted to scream.

        I’m not against repopulation per se, as that’s been a staple of tabletop RPGs when you clear out a castle or a dungeon (though it usually takes weeks or months). What I’m against is wholesale resurrection of the things I just killed because it’s respawn o’clock and some questgiver somewhere hasn’t given me my fetch quest that’ll lay these clones to rest once and for all.

        • Humanoid says:

          Yeah, some of the Might and Magic games specified that some regions were “dangerous”, which meant they had a faster respawn cycle than normal zones. That meant things respawned in ….6 months. Rest of the world? Two years.

        • Axe Armor says:

          I’d love it if the respawns were randomized though. Clear out Red Tourette’s raiders from the federal rationing bunker, and a week later it’s full of molerats. Next week, it’s a band of super mutants. The week after that, a party of non-hostile scavengers.

          Well, that still wouldn’t address the issue of all those cans of pork and beans regenerating. Maybe like the original inhabitants, the original item spawns should stay gone once you’ve taken them, and the new inhabitants bring crap with them that can be the new loot? Like each site has a few spots where a fresh band of raiders will build shacks, and a few spots where super mutants will leave their gorebags, and so on.

        • Philadelphus says:

          and some questgiver somewhere hasn’t given me my fetch quest that’ll lay these clones to rest once and for all.

          That sounds like a fabulously self-aware fantasy curse: “Help us, brave adventurer! Our town has been laid under a hideous curse—until someone retrieves the fabled MacGuffin, no matter how many monsters we slay they simply respawn in a few days!”

  15. Gruhunchously says:

    The whole 200 years thing makes a lot more sense if you see the wasteland less as an actual place where people live, eat, drink, and die, and more like a game world full of inert, ageless NPCs who have been standing around doing nothing until the PC arrived to make a playground out of their lives. Many RPG developers would try to sell you an illusion of the former, but only Bethesda is brave enough to embrace the latter and run with it. Or maybe they just don’t care. Who knows.

    Seriously, there’s a quest where a little boy ghoul has been trapped in a fridge since the bombs fell while his ghoul parents, who lived less than a mile away, never bothered to look for him. Nobody ever found him until the PC came along because nobody else had the agency or capability.

    • evileeyore says:

      That quest is worse than just “no one but the PC has agency”. it flies in the face of established canon: In Fallout 3 you meet a trapped ghoul in a quest and ask him how he’s survived up on the platform he’s on for the last several days (maybe a week) and he answers, “There’s some water dripping down over there and I’ve killed a few radroaches. Ghouls don’t need much in the way of food or water, but we do still need it…”

      So this child Ghoul has survived for 200 years without food or water? SHENANIGANS!

    • silver Harloe says:

      It wasn’t just the PC that was frozen for 200 by which I mean 140 years when he went into the vault the first time, it was the whole world. And then except for Shaun, the world was frozen again for a couple by which I mean 60 more years. Which also explains why the bandit you saw 60 years ago hasn’t aged a day

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      I just want to add that there is mention in several places that there had been an attempt at a government or coalition or something spanning the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Provisional Government.

      I don’t exactly feel like the current Commonwealth presents any real evidence of that though especially with all the stuff you mentioned about all the unscavenged ruins and such.

      Nick Valentine mentions it and the Institute mentions it. Accounts vary. The Institute insists the government was their project and they couldn’t hold it together so they gave up. Surface dwellers seem to think they formed the govt and that it was undermined by the Institute.

      Other than that, you don’t see any evidence of the attempt.

      • acronix says:

        Don’t they tell you that a Synth sneaked in and shot the representatives of the settlements when they gathered together? Which, if true, means this happened in the previous 60ish years, since that’s the time when the Institute made the first human synths (or had the capability to do so, anyway).

        • Jeff says:

          The Institute’s version of the story is that there was a very loud disagreement among all the reps, and their synth happened to be the sole survivor.

    • Coming_Second says:

      Then there’s ol’ Eddie Winters, who having ghoulified himself could have left his own tin can at any time in the last 200 years but didn’t, because… he really liked his own company? There was enough food in that tiny kitchenette of his to do exactly that?

      As was said about F3, if you pretend it’s 20 years that have passed rather than the x10 figure presented, just about everything makes far more sense.

      • Wide And Nerdy ™ says:

        Well except one specific plot twist in Fallout 4 but even if we allow enough time for that thing to happen, it would be fairly believable.

        But if Fallout 3 was 30 years in and Fallout 4 was the extra amount of time in, that would work pretty well.

      • Couscous says:

        I am like 99% sure the only reason the time period isn’t a relatively few decades after the war is because they really wanted the Brotherhood of Steel, Enclave, and some other stuff like the mutant with a tree in his head in Fallout 3.

        • Deadpool says:

          Nope.

          This was revealed in an interview before New Vegas. Obsidian wanted to make New Vegas happen shortly after Fallout 2 (i.e. Before 3) and Bethesda said no. They don’t believe in prequels. Their games have to be constantly moving forward in the timeline.

          Fallout 3 happens 200 years after the war because Fallout 2 is around 180 years after the war.

          • ehlijen says:

            Which is a dumb decision since they decided to create a loot simulator, which FO1/2 never were. The Fallout 3/4 gameplay was simply much better suited for the games to be set before FO1. I can count on one hand the number of locations in FO1/2 you can loot because they’ve been left untouched since prewar times:
            The glow
            Vault 15 (FO1)
            Sierra Army base
            Bunker underneath the toxic caves
            E.P.A. (FO2 restoration mod)

            That’s it. Everywhere else has had people living there and what you loot being determined by what those people left lying around.

            And what does this decision ever offer in return? What advantage do they get Al out of not making prequels? All I see is downsides because their chosen gameplay style does not fit their chosen writing restrictions.

            • Thomas says:

              I’m guessing that they aim to make their lore somewhat guessable for super casual fans (the kind of fan who wouldn’t even know how many years after each game is set). “This happened after this, which was the last game I played” might be more grokkable than “This happened after this game, but before that one, because this game was a prequel”.

              If that’s there reason, I don’t really have a problem with it. From other people’s conversations at work I know that lots of people who play these games do dig the lore, but they get things wrong about it all the time because the games are never a very serious part of their lives.

              But then, I guess I’m not the kind of person who notices the 200 year thing. I can feel fatigue that the Wasteland is not evolving, and desire some changes and progression, but I won’t think to combine the knowledge that the bombs were 200 years ago with the fact I’m eating a packet of crisps right now.

    • King Marth says:

      Which would you rather do, call nextYear() two hundred times, or just set year += 200 ? The latter is clearly more efficient. Sure, you’re not supposed to mess directly with member variables, but what’s the harm? Not like there’s any important side effects.

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Chris,the fallout wiki has all the fallouts in there,from 1 to 4,including van buren and tactics.However,you will not find vault jumpsuits for 1 and 2 there because they werent items you get to wear,but rather just your defaults skin(you couldnt run around in your underwear),thus they had no stats.

  17. CliveHowlitzer says:

    I’ve heard fans say the game would be boring if the world had already begun to re-stablish itself as something new. I don’t know if that is the case. I think it’d be pretty sweet to play a game set when the world is beginning to once again come back together but in a new way.

    Probably too much work to do anything but just copy everything from Fallout 1.

    • ehlijen says:

      But FO1, 2 and NV had the world coming together to form something new!
      No, it wasn’t an industrialised society as we know it, but it clearly had nation states forming/expanding.

      The irony is that FO3/4 failed to copy that part from the first game along with all the superficial stuff they did copy.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Fans?What “fan” said that?Because in the original fallout,the world already has begun establishing itself.The towns you get to visit are new,they arent built on top of old towns.And in fallout 2,the establishing is even furthered.And those two games were <100 years after the war.Also,in new vegas there are two powers trying to establish new empires.So yeah,in all the good fallouts,status quo is thoroughly being shaken.Its just these bethesda games where they want to keep things static,because they know not how to make a dynamic world for you to inhabit.

      EDIT:Damn ninja

    • Jace911 says:

      I would love a game where you could travel between, say, the “boring” civilized core of the NCR and its political intrigue and economic warfare and the untamed frontier where rangers get into gunfights with raiders and wasteland critters.

      Hang on, what’s this CD on the corner of my desk? “Fallout 2”? Meh, sounds like a nerd game for nerds.

    • Grudgeal says:

      Didn’t either Chris Avellone or J.E. Sawyer say that the Fallout-verse was becoming boring by things becoming too much nations and too little Mad Max? I seem to recall something about Lonesome Road’s Ulysses being a mouthpiece for one of them wanting to just nuke the West Coast back to square one.

      • GloatingSwine says:

        Ulysses feels more like a coda to Fallout as a series.

        Your backstory in the Divide is all about how small actions can have big consequences for an area, even if all you ever do is pass through it once and never return. Which is the relationship that Fallout characters have always had with locations in the world, they pass through and make some change and the epilogue demonstrates the way they changed the history of that location, save one girl from raiders, cause the birth of the NCR, etc.

        Ulysses’ story exists to reinforce the message of what Fallout had been and probably never will be again, because Bethesda aren’t interested in telling stories about the world as it is, they are only interested in telling stories about the world before the bombs fell in a setting that never changes.

        • ehlijen says:

          Is that what that DLC was supposed to be? I must admit I didn’t get it. I mostly spent the time trying to figure out why this insane guy was telling me what horrors I’d supposedly committed when the game never ever brought that up before, going so far as to blame me for something I was, as far as I could tell, objectively innocent in.
          Yes, I’d found the hints that some other courier had it in for me in the main game. But I didn’t make the connection that that guy was Ulysses until several of the ‘can you guess what I’m obliquely referring to’ conversations had passed and none of those hints’d had told me much about the great divide either.
          I was actually convinced for parts of it that Ulysses was insane and blaming me for something he’d done.

          I really didn’t like it. Dead Money and Big MT were great (in story, if not in gameplay). Honest Hearts was ok. But Lonesome Road left me nothing but confused and annoyed.

      • Coming_Second says:

        They said that if they were going to do any more Fallout they’d nuke it back to square one, because the advancement of civilisation was taking it too far from its roots. I think they were being slightly tongue in cheek about a problem they have with the universe in its current state (that Bethesda overcome by flat out ignoring it exists). Whether you think Lonesome Road was a “mouthpiece” for that sentiment is debatable. Certainly the expansion was a way for them to capture a genuine sense of apocalypse that the Mojave doesn’t really have.

      • Couscous says:

        Even Beyond Thunderdome had people building something new out of the ashes of the old to the point where a place like Bartertown could exist. Fury Road, admittedly released years after New Vegas, involved the protagonist initially fleeing from the military of three powerful allied city states.

        However, I think the more interesting part of most post-apocalyptic settings for me is the stage between nothing but roving bands of raiders and more established nation states like the NCR. The part where there are nascent city states, real trading, and things are re-establishing themselves as far as the most basic parts of civilization go but everything is still extremely in flux and could easily slip back.

        • Bloodsquirrel says:

          It’d be nice if they skipped the silly “the whole world is roving bands of raiders” thing and had humans develop a full-out tribal society, something which was an important stage on the very long road that’s needed before nation states can exist.

          You wouldn’t even need to give up having raiding- tribal societies were often big into raiding- but it would be a raid by one tribe against another, not the sane people trying to rebuild society being murdered by suicidally aggressive fetish-gear clad lunatics.

        • Philadelphus says:

          This. I’d love to see a game where the dominant political entity is the city-state, like in ancient Mesopotamia. Or hey, maybe an empire exists and threaten them; a game that’s basically the Greek city-states vs. the Persian Empire could be really cool, what with the whole uniting-against-outsider-but-dissolving-into-infighting-immediately-afterwards thing. There are so many fascinating periods of history that could provide us with cool and different settings beyond “vaguely Medieval” and “modern-day nation state” that are being unexplored. I could write a whole post about historical settings and periods that could provide fascinating inspiration for a game setting.

      • Wide And Nerdy ™ says:

        I’ve heard similar accounts. For all the credit people give Avellone, he does have his weaknesses. And he was a little too dedicated to the “War Never Changes” theme himself in the sense that he wanted the setting to keep bombing itself back to wasteland status.

        • acronix says:

          If you think about it, that could be solved if new Fallout games were chronological paralels rather than direct continuations. Then they could explore what is happening in Canada (or some place) in Fallout 5(tm) while it’s chronologically happening at the same time as New Vegas or whatever.

          • Wide And Nerdy ™ says:

            I think it needs to stay in America. Mainly because I think the elements at play have such a specific meaning to America that moving Fallout would either just be paving over the culture of another territory or changing the flavor to the point where its no longer Fallout.

            Now, Wasteland, that could probably handle the shift better.

        • Disc says:

          Avellone said in an interview some years ago something along the lines of that he’d just prefer telling stories in a more “Mad Max” world and that he wanted to have the option to be there for the nukes, hence the Lonesome Road DLC.

          As far as I understood it at the time, it was just his preference, but he didn’t want to set anything to stone for the benefit of whoever might be writing the possible next (West Coast) Fallout game.

      • Axe Armor says:

        I feel like this isn’t really necessary. Just have the setting move deeper into the midwest. There’s this giant, literally 1000 mile wide band of land in the middle of the country that is already nearly unpopulated and also kind of a little bit radioactive (thanks to real-life nuclear testing in the 50s). Combined with the assumption that the sphere of influence enjoyed by the post-war states extends basically as far as a pack Brahmin can walk in the good season (I’m not quite sure what “seasons” are in the Fallout setting, but I assume there are good months and bad months), and there should be plenty of room for sprawling, dusty badlands beyond the reach of the NCR et al, where people are still struggling to farm enough weeds to eat, where radioactive predators still roam unchecked, and where there are still dozens of buried pre-war military bunkers and silos (that the Enclave and the Brotherhood might love to get their hands on) that wastelanders have never looted just because the land is too shitty to support that many wastelanders.

        • acronix says:

          And then there’s the rest of the world, but I guess Bethesda can only fathom the Fallout universe as a wasteland of North America and nowhere else.

          • Jace911 says:

            As shallow as Fallout 3 & 4 are despite being set in Bethesda’s backyard do you really want to know how they would mangle another country in presentation?

      • ehlijen says:

        This just makes it all the dumber for Bethesda to insist on moving the timeline forwards.

        Yes, Fallout is most interesting in the time just as things start coming back together. In the same vein as medieval stories set during the late renaissance don’t really work, or WW2 stories set in the 80s.

        That’s why you don’t stupidly keep moving the time forwards argh :(

    • If ruins are what’s really wanted, how hard is it to come up with an area that rebuilt, but something awful has happened (or is happening) to it? Create a new survivalist faction like the Enclave who was holed up in a massive vault/base somewhere and either have their re-emergence be the threat, or we enter the story after they re-emerged and everything has gone pear-shaped, leaving all the settlements and the aforementioned base in chaos/ruins full of baddies that need to be dispatched.

      The hard part is not making that group and their history more interesting than the actual game.

  18. Rayen says:

    200 years makes even less sense since radiation from nuclear bombs would’ve dissipated after 200 years. It’s 1950s science fiction I guess. would still make more sense if a couple places had been swept.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      That depends on the radioactive material used for the bombs.Weapons grade uranium and plutonium have huge half lifes.Its possible that they used one of the faster degrading plutonium isotopes for the bombs,but not likely.

      • Jace911 says:

        ShoddyCast did a video where they pointed out that because absolutely everything in Pre-War America was atomic powered it’s feasible that all the little leftover gadgets and gizmos are actually the cause of the lingering radiation–200 years later they’re still leaking little by little.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Fun fact:reactor grade plutonium has more isotopes with shorter half life than weapons grade one.Though when I say shorter,I mean 6 thousand years instead of 20 thousand,so that difference wouldnt really matter on this short timescale.

          So no matter the source,that radiation is there to stay.Especially in places with low rainfall.

          • William Newman says:

            “Fun fact:reactor grade plutonium has more isotopes with shorter half life than weapons grade one.Though when I say shorter,I mean 6 thousand years instead of 20 thousand,so that difference wouldnt really matter on this short timescale.”

            The really dangerous isotopes in a nuclear explosion, or for that matter in radioactive waste, are not the (unspent) fuel itself, but fission fragments from spent fuel. (Also, to some extent, isotopes from other previously non-radioactive materials lying around that were transformed by neutrons. Some common materials like water don’t become particularly dangerous catching neutrons, but some materials do, like iron IIRC.)

            Plutonium and uranium aren’t *good* for you, but they are not so lethal that vaporizing a few kilos of them kills people in a large region downwind. And the dominant reason that spent fuel isotopes can be so much more dangerously nasty is that they can have have much shorter half life: they don’t burn nearly as long, but their short life is because they burn so much brighter. (A secondary reason they can be dangerously nasty is that some of them, like iodine, are elements which are absorbed and accumulated by living organisms.)

            Also to be even *more* totally nerdy, the main fuel of nuclear weapons is plutonium and/or uranium, and those fuels indeed don’t decay very much over the lifetime of a realistic post-apocalyptic simulation like the one under discussion … but advanced weapons reportedly use clever systems to maximize the intensity of the initial cascade of neutrons that gets the party started, and apparently tritium has very useful properties as an element of such a system, and it has a half life of only 12 years. I don’t know any back of the envelope way to guess how much of a difference that makes, but even if absolutely nothing else went sour as a weapon got old, it would not surprise me if a century-old modern nuclear weapon lost 90+% of its yield from the near-total disappearance of its tritium.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Well advanced nukes are primarily fusion bombs,which are far more destructive and leave virtually no radioactive fallout.The small fission igniter,even if not completely vaporized,is on a much lower scale than in a pure fission bomb.

            • Philadelphus says:

              Plutonium and uranium aren’t *good* for you

              Interestingly, plutonium and uranium aren’t just bad for your because of their radioactivity; they’re also toxic heavy metals (as are, I’m sure, many of their intermediary decay products). So even more reason you don’t want them in your lungs/bloodstream/bones/etc.

          • Henson says:

            I was under the impression that the long-lasting radioactive isotopes were so weak as to be inconsequential concerning temporary exposure. Is this incorrect?

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Sure,short term you are fine as long as you dont march straight into the dead center of the crater.But the biggest problem with radioactive fallout is that it quickly gets into the food cycle,where it devastates all of the organisms.People wont start falling over dead,thats true,but for centuries afterwards they will be much higher cancer and birth defect rates.Heck,even using depleted uranium shells was enough to noticeably increase cancer rates in my country,and those arent nearly as bad as fallout from actual nukes.

      • ehlijen says:

        Plus, it’s possible to enrich nuclear warheads with material with even longer half lives, if you really want to be a salting the earth kind of meany to the other side.

        In an all out war to see who dies first, it’s entirely possible that one or more sides deliberately used dirty bombs to inhibit their enemies’ rebuilding.

  19. baseless_research says:

    This is a bit irrelevant to the episode but since you were describing your great home bases earlier, perhaps you could share them (screenshots or video)? Especially because my construction attempts always end up looking boring and unimaginative…

  20. General Karthos says:

    Don’t forget 200 years of Bethesda games and the faces still look like rubber masks stuck over a skull.

    (Though less so in this game. Still, get it in the right light/wrong angle….)

  21. Schottlander says:

    You are talking about making a 3D Game with flavortext like in the original 2 Fallout games.
    I am currently playing “Betrayel at Krondor” and i think this is pretty much what you would want to make. check it out, its 2.99$ on GOG.

    • Henson says:

      Damn, I need to get back to this game. Nice open world, but…I got to part IV or V last year, and realized I was horribly underleveled and pretty much needed to start from scratch to have any fun. Don’t hesitate to wander in each act!

      • This would actually be something cool to do with those consoles where the controller has a second screen on it–basically, when you highlight anything in game, the flavor text pops up on your second screen.

        Attach this to an in-game conceit like the pip-boy, and you have a nice little thing.

        You’d want to put actually useful information in there too, like if you highlight something you can pick up, it’d say how many you have in inventory already, the weight, maybe even have an optional display for if you’re filling a recipe that needs it. If it’s ONLY ever flavor text you’re going to train people to ignore it, but if it’s ALSO useful information, they’ll look at it and you can do things like put valuable information in there occasionally like hints to puzzles or similar.

        • I think something like this would work really well for a game kind of like Minecraft where most of your focus is on acquiring stuff and building things. Basically a “survival” and “exploration” type game that’s slower-paced than your typical action game.

          It’d also be cool to go really old-school about it in that you don’t have any “helper” aspects to the game, like, when you open your “brew potions” interface, it doesn’t give you a list of ready-made recipes for you to use, instead you can just combine up to 5 ingredients to make a potion and you have to figure out via trial and error which ingredients work together to make what, and when you make a legitimate thing the recipe gets stored in the flavor text entry for those ingredients.

          This would be even neater with a type of technology where the “controller” screen actually has a camera or similar detection device on it so you could select things to “examine” by pointing the camera at the monitor of the game so that it appears as video on your controller–you know, kind of like when you take a photo of something on your smartphone and have Google run an image search on it.

          That might be pretty freakin ambitious tho.

  22. AJax says:

    “Descriptive, flavor text in a 3D game when you look at something”

    Ummm, Silent Hill and Resident Evil anyone?

    They have a lot of flavor text that describes the environment and situation around the protagonists.

  23. BTW! Calling it Gamebryo Engine engine is not exactly correct, I’m guessing there is very little left of the original licensed engine. Bethesda Softworks have done major rework on it since then. Now Creation Engine does seem to be based on a gamebryo renderer and gamebryo physics. I have no idea Bethesda are continuing development on that themselves or if they “use” the latest gamebryo renderer and modify that with each game.

    Would be interesting to learn more about the Creation Engine and the work Bethesda has done on it over the years.

  24. Christopher says:

    At least with the comics you generally find them in a slightly screwed up state sitting in a place one would expect to find a comic. And for all that is preserved, a lot more is destroyed or useless.

  25. Wide And Nerdy says:

    You need to start trolling Josh by suggesting any thing that would make his life easier so that he’ll have a harder and harder time getting through the game just to spite you.

  26. PeteTimesSix says:

    You can make fun of the Keep Out sign all you want, but the fact remains it succeeded in keeping you out of the safe hidden right behind it that you even had a key for and everything :)

  27. Wide And Nerdy ™ says:

    It just occurred to me that they missed a big opportunity to explain some stuff with the Sole Survivor.

    You could have had people asking him/her all sorts of questions about why people did things the way they did.

    Chief among them, I think it would be neat if SS explained that people knew a war was coming so everybody was buying stuff that was built to last in case they needed to hold out. Explaining all the nuclear powered stuff that still works and the super preserved food (could even be that scientists anticipated that a combination of the right preservative and radiation could keep food from spoiling for a long time).

    Would also explain things like why Mr Handy was built the way it was, with powerful melee weapons when it was supposed to be a house bot.

    Also, I was relistening to the first episode today and it occurred to me, what the SS says works fine for a narration over a cinematic. But for a speech from a podium in front of his contemporaries (which is the conceit the game is going with) its mostly terrible in terms of content and delivery.

    Aside from the personal anecdote about his grandfather, its mostly a recount of recent history everybody present would be familiar with, along with commentary about how society has degenerated with a pretty cynical view of war. Too cynical I think for a speech in front of Veterans. When was the last you heard people addressing vets about how stupid and pointless all the fighting is and how its all driven by how wasteful and greedy people are?

    Now, this would be fine if the SS was a specific character. It might tell us something about him. But with the generic personality we get, this is weird and out of place.

    And his delivery is very low, soft and slow. He’d put an audience to sleep. He’s either chosen a terrible speaking style for the speech or made the self sabotaging decision to not practice his delivery as part of his speech practice.

  28. Jace911 says:

    This isn’t related to anything that came up in the episode but I thought I’d share anyway:

    I think it’d be kind of meta-textually brilliant if the Sole Survivor of Fallout 4 was actually a synth.

    You start the game off with the writers trying to shove a snapshot of the idyllic pre-war life down your throat, complete with a loving spouse and baby son you’ve known for five seconds, before frantically rushing you out the door and into the Vault. You’re given little to no time to actually give a shit about either of them yet your character, thanks to the limited dialogue options and voiced lines, is very clearly distraught when Shaun is taken and Nate/Nora are killed. Throughout the game players who aren’t following the very narrow road of character interpretation the writers have paved for you will find themselves increasingly at odds with the emotional railroading–one egregious example is how there’s literally no option to let Kellogg live, you must vehemently swear to kill him to his face even if you’re like me and didn’t bother to hunt him down till somewhere around level 40. In spite of this you can flip the story the bird and fuck off in the wasteland literally playing dress-up and real estate mogul for months and months even though your character’s number one motivation is supposedly to find their son. More specifically, each character (Male and female) is given a defined and fixed backstory which is repeatedly referenced and yet is largely unknown to the players, rather than leaving the details up to them–sorry ladies, you don’t get to be in the army! Sorry guys, you’re a military man!

    In other words, you’re an independent and free-thinking entity struggling underneath an artificial and hollow character identity imposed upon you from a higher power.

    HMMMMMM

    • ehlijen says:

      Maybe that’s what they did? Quick, tell Josh to kills his character and then loot the corpse: if we find synth parts, we might be on to something!

    • I was kind of hoping they’d make it like the Nerevar in Morrowind. It would require a dialog choice to actually have consequences: You’re convinced you’re a synth (you pick the rationale for that) or you reason that you’re not (picking that particular speech chain). It’s a bit like actualizing a quantum waveform, but it’d be interesting if it caused NPCs to react to you differently or gave you a perk for your choice.

  29. Christopher says:

    200 years of me bitching about these same ridiculous problems and yet somehow people still read my blog.

    Some days are better than others, but on the whole it’s much more fun than it’s annoying.

  30. Decus says:

    The newest zelda game sounds like it’ll be the closest to what you’re talking about with a 3D action game having things similar to the 2D games in terms of examining each tile for something special and conveying information on the area.

    During an interview they explained that they found it very hard to do it well with more realistic art styles since everything either blends too well or not enough but with a more cartoony style they were able to make the “suspicious” bombable sections of cliffs and the like blend just enough while still looking just slightly off on careful examination. Similarly, rather than playing set soundtracks for each zone they’re using a dynamic instrumentation system with subtle tones designed to blend in with the environmental noises to give cues for the “feel” of the area, in terms of weather, temperature, etc. It’s not quite narrating the smell and the like but it’s as close as I think you could get without adding in an actual narrator character voicing over everything.

  31. krellen says:

    200 years of constant gunfire and there are still millions of bullets left.

    Just because I have a random bit of knowledge (I did research on this for a forum-based Fallout Play-by-Post game I was in a while ago):

    This isn’t a plot hole. Bullets aren’t super-high tech things. Smokeless powder, as opposed to black powder, has one real limiter on its creation process – nitric acid. Nitric acid is produced by combining three molecule nitrogen dioxide with one of water. That process creates two molecules of nitric acid and one molecule of nitrogen monoxide, which, when exposed to air, oxidizes back into nitrogen dioxide.

    It’s (obviously) not a lossless process, but the production process for nitrogen monoxide itself involves oxidizing ammonia, which can be acquired from urine.

    So basically, you pee, decant it to retrieve the ammonia, let the ammonia sit in the air, and then mix the result with water, and you get the nitric acid that is the limiting ingredient in the smokeless powder (which is itself the limiting ingredient in making modern bullets).

    Any vault probably has the basic chemistry lab required to do this, and in need it could likely also be done with a makeshift chemistry set up. Bullets – being in high demand – would be good business for anyone with the knowledge of the process (which most vaults would likely have).

    Recast the bullets and reuse/recast the casings as needed and you have a supply of bullets for your 200 years of shooting needs.

  32. Nick-B says:

    Wow, can this be? I read this post for the first time, and when I look at the bottom it claims it has EXACTLY 200 COMMENTS!

    On topic, the whole “200 years later” bit has always bugged me. There’s no way all this is still like this 200 years later, let alone 50 (as in fallout 3, I think?)

  33. Tuck says:

    As an archaeologist, almost no post-apocalyptic scenario survives any sort of scrutiny.

  34. stratigo says:

    Actually, for one of your complaints, there’s a reason for it. The Institute sabotages attempts to form a larger level functioning government. They assassinated everyone who tried last, which is referenced at several points in the game, and infiltrate the leadership of several communities.

    I can’t remember if they had the minutemen destroyed too, but I think they did.

    • MrGuy says:

      Which makes sense, because it furthers their agenda of….replacing people with synths….I guess?

      I’m not disputing that the game says this, just pointing out that it makes no sense to further their goals. If there are a lot of small groups, you need to watch and interfere with a lot of groups. If there’s a stronger central government, and you have the means to infiltrate it, you can USE that government to further your own ends by replacing key members of the government with synths.

      When you have the power to take over a government largely at will and without detection, why wouldn’t you want a strong government around?

  35. MichaelGC says:

    It’s a bit over 210 actually, sir. Give or take a little for the Earth’s rotation…

  36. Sunshine says:

    “You killed my turret! I raised him since he was a pistol!”

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