I’ll talk about this whole Memory Den business when we get into it next week. Since we spent so much of this episode on inventory scrolling, let’s talk about that…
Rutskarn continues to theorize that inventory management is the next feature to get “streamlined” out of this genre / franchise. Given how important gathering & hoarding is to my enjoyment of this game, I find that really hard to imagine. Then again, when I heard about the 4-options-but-no-choices approach they’re using for dialog I thought that sounded pretty absurd as well. So I suppose they’re capable of anything. Here is how I imagine that conversation will go:
Bethesda Bob: So player feedback indicates people really hate how much time they spend scrolling through inventory lists, sorting items, and navigating nested menus to perform simple tasks. So you know what I think we should do for Fallout 5?
Bethesda Barney: Fix the well-documented and longstanding interface problems that have been frustrating our fans for literally decades? Maybe adjust our interface to be less of a gimmick and more of a system to facilitate play on modern HD displays?
Bob: I was thinking we could just get rid of it.
Why aren’t currently worn / favorited items listed together, at the top? Instead they are scattered around in alphabetical(?) order, which increases the odds you’ll accidentally sell, drop, or store something you’re currently using.
Even in the crafting screen, worn items are scattered around so you have to scroll up and down multiple times just to see what you’re wearing.
You can re-name stuff, which helps. You can name your armor “aaaLeft Arm” and “aaa Left Leg” to force it to appear at the top of the list. Well, some stuff. Other things can’t be re-named for some reason. Also, there’s a bug that’s been around since Skyrim that the name you enter is in ALL CAPS, but then it changes back to normal case after you’re done entering it.
Why are so few items visible on-screen? Why is this game STILL designed for 720p displays? Even consoles are HD now, and have been for years.
Related: Why is the crafting window so SHORT?! It doesn’t need to fit into the Pip-Boy area, so it can take up as much screen space as it needs. But instead it can show exactly SIX items out of the dozens you might be carrying.
Why is so much screen space wasted when looking at the pip-boy? Fine, I get you’re enamored of this stupid gimmick. But can’t you move the camera a little closer to the screen? There is NO REASON to waste HALF of the available screen space showing my character’s fingers working the controls.
Weight is such an important property of inventory. Often the player needs to drop some things to get under the encumbrance limit. Yet there’s no easy way for the player to answer the question, “What are the heaviest things I’m carrying right now?” They have to scroll through multiple lists of inventory: Clothing, Weapons, Junk, etc. You can’t sort any of these lists by weight. The only way to figure out what to drop is to scroll through all items in all lists. Otherwise you run the risk that you’ll drop a valuable weapon and then discover that you were carrying around a worthless bowling ball that was listed in the “junk” tab.
Adding to the list of crap you have to sort through is the fact that there are quest items you can’t drop, even after the related quest has been completed.
You don’t need to do what Josh does in this episode, which is grab ALL junk in order to do crafting. Any crafting table will draw resources from the shared inventory of the settlement. That’s actually a really nice feature, but the game could do a better job of explaining it.
There are tooltips that appear when you’re learning about inventory / crafting. But they appear at the same moment as the new screen being explained. These tooltips vanish on their own after an seemingly random interval. Sometimes they linger on-screen long after you walked away from THING, and sometimes they vanish just as you notice them. If you miss one, there’s no way to get it back. Other times you get a pop-up that must be dismissed. And the game seems to get confused if you’re moving fast and do more than one thing that prompts a tooltip. Whether information is presented in a can’t-miss popup or an ephemeral tooltip seems to be random, and I swear there have been times when I had both on-screen at once.
If you’re using (say) the 9mm pistol and you collect several more, the game gets confused if you sell the extras or mod the “one” you’re using. You can end up with your hotbar bindings being cleared, or linked to the old (pre-mod) versions of the weapon.
Anyway, that’s as many inventory problems as I could remember in five minutes. Let’s see how many you can come up with.
Secret of Good Secrets
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Final Fantasy X
A game about the ghost of an underwater football player who travels through time to save the world from a tick that controls kaiju satan. Really.
The Plot-Driven Door
You know how videogames sometimes do that thing where it's preposterously hard to go through a simple door? This one is really bad.
The Opportunity Crunch
No, brutal, soul-sucking, marriage-destroying crunch mode in game development isn't a privilege or an opportunity. It's idiocy.
Let's ruin everyone's fun by listing all the ways in which zombies can't work, couldn't happen, and don't make sense.