Spoiler Warning Fallout 3 #12:
Memorial Memorandum

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jun 10, 2010

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 224 comments

I want to stress again how silly it is to have such flagrant and absurd plot holes in the game. It’s one thing for a player to gloss over a plot hole or two during fifteen minutes of exposition spread out over forty hours of gameplay. It’s another thing to spend months writing and recording dialog and building up a world around those plot holes. Dad is supposed to be kind, wise, and brilliant, and yet his actions indicate he’s careless, selfish, short-sighted, and stupid.

I’d be so ashamed if I was ever fortunate enough to get Liam Neeson to enact my dialog, and then I handed him something that wasn’t even consistent enough to support his character.

And as somone pointed out earlier in the series, Bethesda didn’t always behave this way. Morrowind had its flaws, but the plot was stable enough. Oblivion fell short of Morrowind, and the character motivations were a bit questionable, but the thing still managed to make some kind of sense. Now we have Fallout 3 where the premise is absurd, where the characters either have no motivations or their actions make no sense, and where you can’t say and do perfectly reasonable things because the nonsense plot says so.

These three games do seem to indicate a sort of trend. Our only hope to reverse this malignant development is for all of us to band together as gamers and complain about it. On the internet. On a blog. To each other. Long after the game has faded from the public interest.


If their games don’t improve, it means you haven’t been complaining hard enough. Do your part!


From The Archives:

224 thoughts on “Spoiler Warning Fallout 3 #12:
Memorial Memorandum

  1. acronix says:

    I´m quite sure Bethesda´s increasing stupidity is based on the belief that gamers don´t want nice, well written stories, but just want to punch things and feel powerful.

    Or maybe their monkeys with type-writters are going mad.

    1. Danath says:

      Well naturally with the leveling system in each game we get to feel more powerful over the static enemies of the game world.

      Right?! RIGHT?! Well at least in Fallout 3.

    2. How long do monkeys live? Maybe they had a million monkeys to start with, and they’ve been slowly dying off, so they’re down to, like, a couple thousand?

      1. Jarenth says:

        Given that the intelligent monkeys, the ones that are actualy good at writing, would die of boredom the first, this seems like a likely explanation.

  2. Danath says:

    This seems to be a growing trend in dialogue heavy games in general, they want to give players choices… but aren’t sure how to write a plot that seems to incorporate those choices. Maybe it’s the voice acting, which restricts games in terms of freedom and direction, and limits exactly what they can do. Although I’m partial to the belief that it’s just sloppy writing in general, and has to do with poor review process for the scripts themselves due to the huge investment required in the VA/graphics side of the game.

    On the other hand, maybe the focus is TOO much on the player character, they want the player character to make all the meaningful decisions, but can’t think of a good way to let the player know these decisions. Thus they come up with flat expositionary characters who seem to have little motivation or background? That’s the best guess I can come up with unfortunately, since I am not within the industry myself.

    I dunno!

    1. ps238principal says:

      Part of it is trying to figure out what an NPC would say in any given set of situations (who’s dead, who’s alive, what is the player wearing, what has the player accomplished, what haven’t they done yet, etc.) without it sounding overly generic. Even with just text this can be a challenge.

    2. acronix says:

      I disagree that the focus is too much on the PC, but I agree they may be taking little attention to other characters.Fallout 3 is the perfect example: stupid lines for NPCs and stupid lines for the PC. Stupid motivations. Stupid justifications. Etc.

  3. Jonathan says:

    The last CRPG I bought was Baldur’s Gate II. Until another *good* one comes along, I’ll vote with my $$. KOTOR was pretty good, but linear and small.

    1. Nick Bell says:

      Have you tried Dragon Age? No BG2, but lets be honest. There will probably NEVER be another game like that. But Dragon Age is neither linear nor small, and I think hits a lot of Baldur’s Gate.

      1. acronix says:

        It´s not small, granted, but I think “not linear” is a misunderstanding. Most dialogue choices consist of three, four at max, options. Educated guy, common guy, and evil guy/denial (they are interchangeable). Not to mention that when you are asked to justify/make important statements you get a mere three choices that consist of one line, whereas in BGII you got no less than four that consisted of some sort of “this is how I think” (granted that they may be simple, but not as simple and one-sided as DA:O ones).
        It has also the problem that the henchmen have a lot more personality than the PC. Of course, in BGII your character was also a “Generic Hero Type 4”, but the longer lines made you more character development than the three same lines you get over and over in DA:O.
        Still, it´s entertaining if you can ignore the fact that NPCs will always have better lines than you, the hero. Except some second-class villains, that is.

        1. Roll-a-die says:

          Bah, the only good infinity engine game for story and dialogue was Planescape Torment. For good reason too, it was a western take on the story first style JRPG. Play it now, it’s probably one of the best RPGs of the past 12 years. Along with Arcanum, VtM;B, and Fallout. It’s debatable whether Deus Ex falls into the RPG classification, but it goes in the list as well if it fits your meaning of the word RPG, along with system shock 2.

          1. Blanko2 says:

            planescape torment = the awesome.
            combat is a bit weak, though, the camera is too close to you to make large scale magicks easy to use.
            but that is my only complaint about it.
            and it is literally smothered underneath the awesome of the story

        2. Dev Null says:

          I hate that parsity of my dialogue choices, and it always gets blamed – with some merit – on the expense of voice acting, but I wonder if it necessarily has to be that way? I mean, they’re not generally getting a voice actor in to do _my_ lines, so _I_ could have 3 dozen choices of what to say, they just have to feed into 3-4 possible responses from the NPC. The writing would be complicated, sure, but do you know how cheap writers are? Throw a rock in a Starbucks in LA and you’ll hit 3 who will do it for free if their name ends up in the credits. Couldn’t take more than 40 or 50 rocks to find someone who can actually write, and the rest of those rocks are going to a good cause…

          1. Squash says:

            Dev Null, you’ll do. Can I save a rock and hire you to write my game right now? Love your comments here always. DO you have your own corner of the web?

        3. Vipermagi says:

          I’ve seen approx. 15 minutes of Dragon Age, with one fairly small conversation and a little combat (just watching). Some paladin was trapped or something (in a tower with bloodmages and demon type things), and begged the PC to kill him. I told my mate to just slay him, throw a fireball or something. His response? “You can’t kill him.”
          The only choices you got were “Well, I can’t just kill you”, “I won’t kill you”, “Not gonna happen” and a fourth that said pretty much the same thing. Totally non-linear, right.
          (question to those who played DA: Is he important at all?)

          Sidenote: I am crucifying a large RPG on one small conversation. My apologies :)

          1. KremlinLaptop says:

            He’s sort of a minor character. Important enough that he got mentioned in the epilogue for my game. I think the decision you make there or the lack of a decision affects how you deal with the mages and templars.

            It’s a pretty binary choice, you either side with the Templars — the paladin dudes who guard the mages, essentially — or you side with the mages and keep them from all getting slaughtered or something. Anyway, while it’s seemingly very this or that decision it does have a rippling effect because depending on what you choose it changes what you can do in another quest involving a boy and some demons — that’s actually the quest that brought you to the tower.

            DA: O isn’t perfect, granted, but it’s still a bloody good RPG considering the norm these days… hopefully the success and critical acclaim of it will inspire more like it and better than it was.

          2. acronix says:

            He isn´t. He is just there to complain if you aren´t doing “evil” way of that quest. Then he dissapears.
            Also, if your character is a female mage, you see him in the Origin and he has a crush on you. Then he Gets Better.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Neverwinter nights hordes of the underdark expansion was pretty good.Not as big as baldurs gate,planescape torment or fallout,but still with a very nice story and meaningful choices.Its sad that the original game was so bland.Luckily,it has great modding tool.

      1. KremlinLaptop says:

        The Aurora Toolset is just… using it gives me happiest goofiest smile on the planet. Look people! A toolset that works! I can do complicated quest/dialogue connections, with flags and modifiers and triggers and everything and it’s EASY but it doesn’t limit what I can do!

        Seriously. Best god damn toolset — it’s no wonder the original NWN has such an absolutely AMAZING crop of modules for it. Also yeah, it’s a pity the original games story is so bleh, SoTU and Hordes were far better though; especially Hordes. The Premimum Modules are even better imo.

  4. Blanko2 says:

    yeah, i think for fallout 3 bethesda actually stated outright that it wasnt about the dialogue and they werent gonna give it much attention.
    oblivion had some pretty good dialogue, i think. and morrowind had excellent dialogue (not voice acted, so it could be longer and all that you said in your article before)
    i do miss the vast dialogue options from morrowind. sure lots of them were the same, but it still gave an illusion, i guess.
    oman, im getting off track. so im done then.

    1. acronix says:

      Paraphrasing Pete Hines when asked about the story elements of Fallout 3 (before it was released): “Everything in a game is important. Except the story, of course. We can put some monkeys with type-writers and get a top-notch plot!”

      1. Roll-a-die says:

        I always liked Pete’s “EVERYTHING WILL BE IMPORTANT, NOTHING WILL BE NEGLECTED, WE PINKY PROMISE!” style hype, as opposed to Todd’s “Yeah it’s gonna have cool shit.” style. I wonder if they butt heads at all at work because of it.

      2. Blanko2 says:

        well, to be fair, i am someone who DOES care about story, yes, but i find gameplay very important too.
        i never finished bioshock because while i love the setting, the story, the atmosphere, the way it plays just kills it for me after a while.
        and since i like teh FO3 gameplay so much, the story doesnt really bother me a lot

        1. Avilan says:

          Agreed; The story would give me a headache if I spent too much time thinking about it, but the setting, the atmosphere and the gameplay makes me love this game anyway.

  5. Nick Bell says:

    If the internet is to be believed, I think most people do not get that invested in stories. This is not to say a good story doesn’t get praised, but most gamers seem not to remember stories later. Even professional journalist often have to really stretch to recall past games, even games played only a month ago. It is a “consume, spit out, move on” mentality. So a bad story never sits in anyone’s conscious long enough to be analyzed. If most people do not care, the industry simply won’t care either.

    1. ps238principal says:

      It’s two-fold: Complicated stories require even more complicated game structure. As we’ve noticed, it sucks when NPCs don’t seem to be aware of all the possible permutations of the world around them. Well, if you have a really complicated world, you either live with clueless NPCs or you have to code for nearly every possibility (which increase the chance of things going wrong).

      On the flip side, the MMO mentality is that flavor text/story is ancillary to going out, killing something, and taking XP/loot. All you need is a blip on your radar and a list of simple goals (kill x, get y, kill z and q, talk to a). Making details important means you have to read and that’s worrrrk for some.

    2. Peter H. Coffin says:

      But do the players (even the journalist) not remember the story because they don’t care, or do they not remember it because it wasn’t very compelling?

  6. Zak McKracken says:

    I was sort of under the impression that giving more freedom of action to players was one of the development goals of RPG games (at least the ones where you’re supposed to interact with the environment other than by use of force).

    I think Morrowind was one of the best attempts at doing that, and I was kind of expecting that with computers getting more powerful, this type of game could be developed into a kind of simulation, where you interact with the rest of the worldd, and all that happens then is emergent — but something about Morrowind’s perception must have led Bethesda to think otherwise, otherwise they’d have continued on that path, wouldn’t they?
    Either there’s a technical problem or they think this kind of open gameplay isn’t appreciated enough.

    Surely if we all complain about it on some story nerd’s web site, they will completely change their course! But we must do it louder, like, with more cursing and comparisons to Hitler. Ohh, and a conspiracy theory! Then Bethesda will have to do what we want just to disprove the conspiracy theory! Quickly, who knows one?

    1. Roll-a-die says:

      Achievement Unlocked; You’ve just described RPGCodex almost completely by chance.

      1. Jarenth says:

        That’s just what they want you to believe.

  7. Zak McKracken says:

    I was sort of under the impression that giving more freedom of action to players was one of the development goals of RPG games (at least the ones where you’re supposed to interact with the environment other than by use of force).

    I think Morrowind was one of the best attempts at doing that, and I was kind of expecting that with computers getting more powerful, this type of game could be developed into a kind of simulation, where you interact with the rest of the world, and all that happens then is emergent — but something about Morrowind’s perception must have led Bethesda to think otherwise, otherwise they’d have continued on that path, wouldn’t they?
    Either there’s a technical problem or they think this kind of open gameplay isn’t appreciated enough.

    Surely if we all complain about it on some story nerd’s web site, they will completely change their course! But we must do it louder, like, with more cursing and comparisons to Hitler. Ohh, and a conspiracy theory! Then Bethesda will have to do what we want just to disprove the conspiracy theory! Quickly, who knows one?

    1. Someone says:

      Heres a good one: Bethesda originally made the ending of vanilla FO3 godawful logic-defying abomination that it is, so that Broken Steel would be considered the best DLC despite it containing like 3 levels and 3 new enemy skins.

      Ironically the improving technology actually made gameplay more linear and limited the possibilities. Back in the day of isometric view, sprites and hadn-drawn backgrounds making content was a lot easier and required way less resources than now. Now your game has to be on par with visual standards to sell. And visual standards require a lot of effort.

      To make one level you need to spend thousands of dollars, get level designers to design an interesting 3d environment, get 3d animators, voiceactors, mocap, script cutscenes and test all of the above. Lots of money and manhours just for one level. Its one of the main reasons games are so linear these days, the developers are afraid that people will miss some of the content.

      As an example of the opposite approach look at Dwarf Fortress. The game has ONE simple tune in a way of sound and virtually no graphics and yet its possibilities surpass those of 95% of all games ever made.

      1. WCG says:

        Yes. I know that Dwarf Fortress will only get a tiny fraction of the players a mainstream game expects – indeed, must have to survive. But why can’t mainstream game developers at least learn from the game?

        Or is it true, as you suggest, that advancing technology necessarily limits our gameplay possibilities? No destructible terrain with high-end graphics (and a linear plot)? Limited choices with spoken-voice dialogue?

        As far as I’m concerned, no mainstream game even comes close to the appeal of Dwarf Fortress. It’s not even close. (And I’ve freely donated more money to Tarn Adams, the DF developer who gives away the game, than I’ve ever spent on a commercial game.)

        1. Someone says:

          Well, thats the status quo right now. Mainstream games dont sell unless they have a couple million bucks sunk into antialiasing, bump-mapping, goosebumping and all that other shiny hoodoo. You cant get publishers and investors if you dont have the sparklies. I remember reading an interview with one of the lead developers in Firaxis back when Civ IV was being released. The guy openly admitted that 3d engine will give the game absolutely no benefit but publishers wont take a 2d game.

          You can blame it on the publishers who dont want to take any risks and dont understand anything about games, you can blame it on consoles dumbing down games and shifting the perspective from depth to spectacle, you can blame it on journalists, young gamers, technological progress, commercialisation of game development…
          But thats not going to change and thats where we are right now.

          The Indie scene is the place to go for depth and innovation right now, as indeed Tarn Adams demonstrates. Thats where all the visionaries of gamedesign go, and with internet and platforms like steam they can actually spread their games. Also, the technology arms race appears to have halted right now, possibly reaching its pique in terms of graphic technologies. Some people, like Shamus, predict that when the big companies wouldnt be able to get a competitive edge by better graphics, they will turn to things like gameplay and story instead.

          Only time will tell.

          P.S. Dwarf Fortress could attract quite a lot more people if Toady bothered to write a manual and make interface less godawful

          1. Abnaxis says:

            Mechanics first, then polish. Toady’s on record saying (and rightfully so) that he won’t go through all the trouble to make things pretty and documented when he might be adding or removing features three months from now that make all the graphics and manuals obsolete. It’ll be done eventually though…

            1. Simulated Knave says:

              And what are his end goals for mechanics, exactly?

              1. Someone says:

                To simulate the entire (fantasy) world, more or less.

                So yeah, manual isnt going to show up any time soon, but I suppose you could use wiki instead. The interface is still awful.

        2. evileeyore says:

          “And I've freely donated more money to Tarn Adams, the DF developer who gives away the game, than I've ever spent on a commercial game.”

          Same here. And given a few more years and no really good games to spend more of my money on, I’m likely to end up spending more on Tarn than I ever have on all other games I own.

          (Not including arcades. I spent more than I can conceptualize on arcades over the years.)

  8. Someone says:

    And so we abandon the endless white madness of Anchorage and go back to the endless brown madness of DC.

    I think you can get rid of talon/regulators if you go neutral. Burke wont send hitmen if you never talk to him or if you rat him out to Simms and kill him. If you let him go away he will place a bounty on your head, even if you kill him in Tenpenny Tower.

    I dont know why Josh says GECK isnt “genesis device”. I never opened it and frankly dont think its actually possible. The description says “it generates greenland, just add water and stir” and it seems to have worked well enough for Vault City.

    Also I hate Talon company. I get that they are supposed to be EEEEVIIIIILLLL and ruthless and do any contract for money but why are they all hostile? They shoot anybody and anything on sight. What is the point? They are just wasting valuable ammunition. How do they even get contracts if they kill anybody who approaches their HQ?

    There. I complained about Talon company.
    What have YOU complained about today?

    1. Valaqil says:

      According to Fallout Bible 6 (found this on fallout.wikia.com) :

      The GECK isn’t really a replicator. It contains a fertilizer system, with a variety of food seeds, soil supplements, and chemicals that could fertilize arid wasteland (and possibly selected sections of the moon’s surface pre-conditioned to accept the GECK) into supporting farming. The GECK is intended to be “disassembled” over the course of its use to help build communities (for example, the cold fusion power source is intended to be used for main city power production), and so on. Anything else people needed, they could simply consult the How-To Books/Library of Congress/Encyclopedias in the GECK holodisk library for more knowledge. The pen flashlight was just a bonus. …

      The GECK also contained some basic force field schematics as well as info on how to make adobe-type buildings from the landscape (or contain chemicals that can create “sand-crete” walls).”

      1. Someone says:

        Oh. Still, its more than just a bunch of seed packages.

    2. acronix says:

      Edit This was suppoused to be a reply to Someone.
      EdIT 2: same answer as above. How futile of me!

      The key part is the cold fusion power source. We could induct that what Daddy Sue wanted from the GECK was really this power source. However, he never says so, indicating “We need a GECK!” without saying why. Also, it´s another shout out of “You see? A GECK! What Do You Mean This Is Not Fallout?”

      Dr. Li: “This will never work James.”
      Daddy: “Of course it will. We just need a McGuffin!”
      Dr. Li: “Oh, OK. That will do!”

      1. Someone says:

        To ba fair James wasnt specifically looking for GECK, he wanted dr. Braun’s research information. GECK only shows up in the story once Dad kicked the bucket. Still its a waste of a good GECK.

        1. acronix says:

          After finding that information, Daddy Sue decided/found out he needed a GECK, but wanted to make Project Inutility functional again. And then he dies. How nice of him!

      2. FFJosh says:

        I’m pretty sure you actually can activate it if you go and pick it up in Vault 87, instead of letting Fawkes do it. When you do, a blue flash of light engulfs you and kills you, which would seem to suggest that it is now a genesis device. Also, the G.E.C.K. item description while you’re carrying it in your inventory mentions something about “restructuring matter,” doesn’t it?

        1. acronix says:

          So they retconned it. This reinforces the assumption some had about Bethesda looking in wikipedia what the Fallout franchise was about and building the game around that.

        2. Shamus says:

          I can confirm the blue flash insta-kill. Like everything else they borrowed from the first games, it’s there for two reasons:

          1) To show that this is really, REALLY Fallout
          2) To show that they didn’t actually read anything about the lore.

          See? It’s the GECK / a Super Mutant / the BoS / a Ghoul / a Vault! Just like in those other games! Except this one works totally different and makes less sense!!

          1. Valaqil says:

            In fact, I think that I remember the game _explicitly warning_ you that, if you activate the GECK, it will transform all matter in the area, killing you.

            1. Someone says:

              How vault dwellers are supposed to activate this thing anyway? Drop it from a cliff and run like hell? Strap it to a dog? Set a timer?

              1. KremlinLaptop says:

                If it had a timer, I wish there was some path by which you could totally screw the pooch for Project Purity and start your own town — maybe connected with Trouble on the Homefront if you complete it so the vault opens — using the GECK to give a place to farm and build shit.

                Although I suppose what with you getting flashbanged before you can leave vault 87 that makes it impossible, but I’d enjoy that more than a big water machine…

                Why exactly did it need to be built into the Jefferson memorial anyway?

                1. Someone says:

                  Ironically it would be more like actual Fallout if they let you do that. Or convince Vault 101 to open and trade water with the local settlements, rendering the main quest utterly and completely pointless.

              2. acronix says:

                Remember the main theme about Fallout 3: sacrifice! I present you, evidence:

                1) Daddy Sue becomes hara kiri because it was the only way he…could be a jerk to the Enclave…or something(???)
                2) You must become hara kiri too because. Yes, that´s the reason. Because.
                3) At Tranquility Line, you have to either be a jerk and let everyone suffer for eternity (for the evilz) or kill everyone (for the goodz).
                4) In Point Lookout, a local person will make a lobotomy and take away a part of your brain. And put it in a jar.. This is also a symbol on how the player is sacrificing his brain in order to play this crap.
                5) At the beggining, the PC´s mother dies. She sacrifices herself so you can be on an awesome adventure about sacrifice and stuff. We should be thankful.

          2. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Well,like with everything else,this is probably the east coast geck,so a completely different one than the west coast one.

            1. acronix says:

              Under that light we can justify anything. Surely, this is too why people in Fallout 3 is dumber than those of Fallout 1 & 2: east coasters are just dumber!

            2. Zaghadka says:

              Great, I just lost about five sanity points and picked up a new neurosis thanks to this thread. Excuse me, I have to go sort my tissues now.

        3. Someone says:

          Description of the GECK in Fallout 2 is quote “The Garden of Eden Creation Kit. This unit is standard equipment for all Vault-Tec vaults. A GECK is the resource for rebuilding civilization after the bomb. Just add water and stir.” . I dont think any items in FO3 even have description, unless you get an added note when you pick it up.

        4. Sekundaari says:

          I think there’s another part of that GECK segment in Fallout Bible 6 that’s important to this retcon discussion: The first line tells us that

          “I’ll start by saying that the GECK is a plot device. A McGuffin.”

          and then

          “all of the material in this section is subject to change based on the whims of whoever wants to play with the GECK. If you want it to be a magic box of 1950s science, that’s cool – we might do it, too.”

          In other words, the GECK had a quite loose canon.

          1. Valaqil says:

            I didn’t see that. Good point.

          2. PurePareidolia says:

            It’s got a loose canon but it’s a damn good cop!

    3. Nidokoenig says:

      Regarding the bounty hunters, they’ll keep showing up even if you go right to the opposite end of the spectrum. I had a mod called Butcher Pete’s Meat on my game, which lets you butcher anything you kill and sell human flesh to a special NPC. This quickly bottoms out your karma, but will also give you enough money to buy sainthood from the church in Rivet City. The Regulators would still show up.

      Also, Shamus mentions the bounty hunters being infinite in the video, but aside from the mercs topside at the Talon fort, they don’t respawn as standard, so you can actually exhaust all of their spawn points. These are the sort of things you find out when you have a 300 hour save game.

      1. Avilan says:

        What people seems to miss is that there are two groups of Talons after you (if you are good), and one even if you are neutral or evil:

        1. You have the ones that keep coming after you, paid by “someone” to kill you because you are “too good”. The opposite of the Regulators.

        2. You have the One-Time-Only group that comes after you and are paid by Mr. Burke personally for not blowing up the bomb. These wear Talon Gear, but are labeled something else (Mercenary? Bounty Hunter? Something) if you VATS them. I guess they had to create two separate groups from a technical standpoint or ALL Talons would be hostile to you even if you are evil.

        1. Someone says:

          They are all hostile to you.

          1. Avilan says:

            No they are not; If I am Evil, and stumble over a random Talon patrol in the wilderness, they do not attack me. This group will.

            1. Someone says:

              That is strange. I have an evil character and im always attacked by Talon, both in their camp in DC and by random patrols. And I was never above neutral.

              UPD: The wiki also says “even if they are not (hunting you for bounty) they will be hostile towards the player if encountered”

              1. Avilan says:

                Huh. Well I am not above being corrected.

            2. Gort42 says:

              I ran into a bug where the Talon mercenaries would show up, threaten me and then not go hostile. They’d then just stand around wherever they spawned forever. (Or at least until I got bored, ringed them with frag mines and tossed a grenade into the mix to see how high I could launch them.)

              You could initiate conversations with them, and they’d gleefully tell you how they were going to kill you, etc. and then just stand around like idiots after the conversation ended.

    4. evileeyore says:

      “I think you can get rid of talon/regulators if you go neutral.”

      False. Once Talon company is on your trail, they will continue to show up regardless of your current Karma. Same with the Regulators if you go evil.

      In fact in my current game I went from “Very Good” to “Very Evil” in the course of one very small robbing spree (the entirety of Rivet City).

      Upon leaving Rivet city I got jumped by both Talon Company and the Regulators at the same time.

      1. Avilan says:

        Actually no, it is correct, but it takes a while.
        When I went from Very Evil (Letting the ghouls rip through Tenpenny) to “quite nice” (Mainly due to the Karma Distpensers / Water Beggars) it went like this:
        Regulators started hunting me. They kept hunting me into the “Good” zone, but then, for a while, I got hunted by Talons too. This was quite amusing because at every spawning point where they just “appear”, they started killing each other and not bother with me.

        Personally I suspect it has to do with Respawning. When you have killed all Talons/Regulators that are Spawned in the game world (and not part of the HQs) then the game will check against your Karma before spawning new ones. There ARE groups of Talons / Regulators that do spawn out in the wilderness, and just “randomly” patrol and stumble over you. The area where you find Prime’s body (the mercenary, not the robot) for example has a group of them spawning way out to the west, so you can spot them slowly walking towards you for several minutes if you have a scope. Same thing just south of the Vault 101 entrance (on the road, up the hill and on the other side of the collapsed bridge is a spawning point for a random patrol of them)

        1. evileeyore says:

          “Actually no, it is correct, but it takes a while.

          Huh. Must be because I tend to flux rapidly between Evil and Good, what with all the “Stealing From Everybody” and “Giving Water to the Poor”.

          1. Sumanai says:

            What do we learn from this?
            Never feed the poor.

            Unless you’re ready to give up your kleptomania, but why not stop breathing while you’re at it?

          2. Someone says:

            So, by the local moral standards Robin Hood is True Neutral? Huh…

            1. Sumanai says:

              No, no. Chaotic Neutral. After all, evileeyore described a rapid change between Evil and Good, not getting stuck in the middle.
              Interestingly, Robin Hood would probably be Good if he didn’t steal from the rich, but instead killed them for not sharing.
              Interestingly, my character has spent most of the time as Good, while stealing from everyone by doing good deeds in quests. Games really should add “unpredictable nutjob” into the karma/morality systems.
              Oh, and I did the “speak softly, and fuck everyone over”. Works better than the “…carry a big gun” since I focused on small guns.

    5. Someone says:

      Also the traders didnt bug out, it was their regular route. When they leave Rivet City, they always go through that catwalk and fight 3-5 mutants that are guarding it.

  9. rofltehcat says:

    I think the GECK is more like a laptop loaded with instructions, technical schematics etc. and the ‘food, seed & fertiliser replicator’ part is more of a sidepart. The ‘replicator’ (more like a small facility to process soyfood and chemicals… and to purify water) is imo just the first thing it teaches you to build so you can sustain yourself and get the raw materials while rebuilding.

    Now, using the GECK to make your water purification unit work instead of just building water purification units and much more cool stuff from the schematics contained in the GECK is completely rational of course!

    Same counts for wanting to build a giant water purification unit with a freaking statue inside. Compared to making many smaller, probably mobile, water purification units it is also completely rational!
    After all this giant water purification unit won’t be in the hands of a single faction (BoS) after that and it is not like everyone else will try to capture it, right? It is not like anyone would want to abuse this water purification unit, right? After all it produces enough water for everyone!

    But that is also true for all the abandoned or barely used vaults. They are stuffed with technology including power plant, water purification unit and hydroponic gardens. You could use them for founding a city and continue using their infrastructure for supplies… or would that be too much like Vault City?

    1. Jarenth says:

      It would also make entirely too much sense.

  10. Sekundaari says:

    The schematics encounter is probably the best one of the lot, even if it’s a blessing in disguise. I mean, even just the schematics are great, but it also supplies the Deathclaw hand, which can be harder to find than the schematics on a low level.

    The Talon Company ambushes are a blessing in disguise too. They’re a little harder to kill than regulators, but I still treat them as free repairs for the Ranger Battle Armor, and ammo.

    I don’t suppose Reginald here took the holotape called “Better Days” from the memorial? It has James coming on to Catherine while they were working on the project. It was a nice addition, but I’m not sure whether, in character, it should be “Aww, it’s my mother” or “Eww, too much information”.

    1. Valaqil says:

      As a player? I thought “Awww.” Then I realized it was my character’s mother. Stopped that recording quickly.

      1. KremlinLaptop says:

        For extra ick; it’s probably supposed to be the lead up to your conception. I just… would not want that tape, even if it’s audio only. I wouldn’t even want a transcript or a cliffnotes version of it.

    2. krellen says:

      I viewed it as another example of how irresponsible James was. Catherine was trying to get some work done – work she said was important to the project – and he’s too busy thinking about nookie to let her.

  11. Valaqil says:

    The image of you in the stealth armor, wearing a bonnet, was brief but hilarious.

    I took Mysterious Stranger only once, and then later in the game, but it gives bizarre and funny situations when a random guy appears and guns someone down.

    Good points about the GECK, all.

    1. Roll-a-die says:

      Don’t forget the due rag underneath the bonnet, and the sunglasses.

    2. Sekundaari says:

      I wonder if you can wear the CSA and the AntAgonizer’s helmet at the same time…

    3. Smirker says:

      The Mysterious stranger really is mysterious! When I did Op:A he appeared and helped me gun down some Chinese Commie scum. I was very impressed that he came all the way into my simulation to help me! ;)

  12. CmdrMarkos says:

    I’ll say as someone who works with radiation and water, that part of the plot never bothered me. To pump that much water would be a huge engineering challenge (or apparently science challenge in 1950s fiction), so that seemed like a good excuse for the Project. Now as to where to get food…

    I found the whole “1950s future” aesthetic was much more disconcerting, along with the rather ineffectiveness of nuclear weapons (e.g. mini nukes, Megaton crater & nuke, nuclear car reactors?), power and plumbing still working after 200 years (really, 200 years? 40 would have been more than enough), copy/paste computer interfaces everywhere, and rubble strewn passages/rooms with no structural damage. Yes it’s a game, but it wove in and out of believability more than other RPGs I’ve played.

    Also, the fact there are about 100 people left in the wasteland. Even the vaults seemed to hold at most a dozen families. I understand it’s a limitation of the engine and level development, but they could have given the illusion of more people living in those places, just make them inaccessible.

    1. KremlinLaptop says:

      Make places inaccessible, you say? But this is Bethesda! Not being able go somewhere, that’s the real immersion breaker! I’m not sure if it’s officially been said, but I’ve sure enough heard the argument parroted by Fallout 3 and Beth fans that the reason why things are so small and they wouldn’t do that is because it breaks the ‘immersion’ in the game world.

      Thinking of a settlement with only two people existing breaks it far… far more for me, though.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Indeed.Plus in morrowind you could also go everywhere,but it had much,much more people.

    2. Someone says:

      The power still running can be explained by fission batteries. These things run on nuclear energy and aparently can go on for several hundred years. Lack of structural damage and working plumbing can sort of be explained by relative weakness of 50s era “dirty” bombs and architects building with possible thermonuclear war in mind.

      Offcource the generators should have failed regardless of their maximum service time due to neglect and disrepair and consumer batteries shouldnt even serve that long but whatever.

      About the smallness of the population and towns, I agree. California is doing much better and it was just lifeless desert.
      It highlights the differences in world design and difficulties of transition between oldskool top down isometric CRPG’s and new-age action oriented 3d sandbox RPG’s. In old Fallouts cities could be any size and could hold any population the writers and world designers wanted them to hold because you only ever got to see the important bits and everything else was behind the scenes. If Interplay wanted a city to have 3000 population they could just have one character mention it. With the transition to first-person view and new approach letting people examine everything upclose Bethesda couldnt do that anymore.

      As I see it there are two ways around that.
      First, is to explain the population scarcity through backstory. Rebuilding DC should have been a lot easier than California cause there is a ton of infrastructure and technology left. But after two hundred years the Capital Wasteland has a tiny population wich doesnt move beyond hunting-gathering to sustain itself. They could have explained it, by overabundance of supermutants for example, but they didnt.
      Second option is to just bite the bullet and make some doors painted on the walls and some inaccesible locations where presumably the rest of the population/ other stuff thats not interesting or important enough to show the player is. Note that its not some principle stance Bethesda is taking on that sort of thing, Vault 101 had plenty of inacessible doors.

      1. KremlinLaptop says:

        I want lightbulbs rated to withstand the nuclear apocalypse AND two hundred years of use.

        On a lot of I guess I can suspend my disbelief with the ‘It’s the future they imagined in the 50’s’ idea. Still, though, the lights bother me.

        1. Someone says:

          Yeah, its either SCIENCE!!! or Raiders/Supermutants/Molerats currently inhabiting the place found some 200 year old lightbulbs to replace the ones lost to war. They also could have hooked up the power generators (assuming they had at least one person with engineering knowledge).

          1. Jarenth says:

            Q: How many Super Mutants does it take to change a light bulb?

            A: None. Light bulbs last forever.

        2. Sekundaari says:

          Shoot one with the Experimental MIRV. If it can withstand 8 direct mini-nuke hits… Of course, this trial by fire is also passed by a comic book or a coffee cup.

          1. ps238principal says:

            Well, this is a video game. If we’re all just waiting until now to start complaining about indestructible lights, windows, trash cans, posters, etc. then you might want to go have a word with every FPS ever.

            And go talk to the Silent Hill series about not being able to jump over knee-height chain link ropes, while you’re at it. :)

            1. Sekundaari says:

              Hey, I’m not the one complaining about the indestructible lights here. ;)

      2. acronix says:

        The unpopulation bit didn´t bother me, understanding “unpopulation” as the small ammount of NPCs. When I play an RPG and get to a town, I always consider I´m getting the “lite” version, since showing a full sized town whould be madness. But, as you point out, this worked better with isometric RPGs.
        What did bother me, however, was the uncivilization, understaing it as the lack of settlements and economics that took into account other towns besides the caravan merchants (that seem to transport junk for adventurers).

        1. Someone says:

          Thats what happens when you just plunk cool shit and hidden references down everywhere and call it world design. Im really eager to see Obsidian’s take on both issues.

        2. CmdrMarkos says:

          And those few caravans should have been way better defended. The merchants are getting gunned down by the equivalent of heavily armed mole rats when they should be paying for a small mercenary army to protect them and their goods.

        3. Avilan says:

          As you say you get the “lite” version, just like you did in BG, and BGII for example, so I am used to that.

          The “Undercivilization” has more to do with the actual area. DC, apparently, is worse off than other areas. Not as bad as the Pitt, but far worse than say New Vegas or NCR. And definitely worse than the Commonwealth. If it has to do with more bombs, or higher pollution, or simply the lack of someone to pick up the torch and actually try to rebuild civilization (Rivet City is a good attempt, but it is too small and still too focused on it’s own security, to really make a difference in the Wasteland as a whole) I don’t know, but it is pretty much stated in the game that DC is one step better than the Pitt but far worse than most other places.

      3. Roll-a-die says:

        Two word contraction, Daggerfall. They’ve done actual cities the size of cities before. Daggerfall was 250k km total, the world still remained interesting, it had probably 100,000 NPCs and it was in an actual size that seemed real. That’s the 5 story elephant in the room whenever you talk about Bethesda games and scale.

        1. Someone says:

          I didnt play Daggerfall long enough to get out of the first dungeon so I cant say much. But tell me how many of those cities were truly unique? Inhabited by unique characters with unique motivations? What were the relations between them? What was the political and economic situation in the region?

          1. Roll-a-die says:

            To the first, I would say all of them are somewhat unique, but they all follow the same general layout(town center right in the middle, guilds and houses spread out around it. Like the town had grown from it, in a random fashion,) for convenience. To the second, certainly more so than Oblivion or Fallout 3, you had a genuine 5 sided conflict, between the kings(Daggerfall and Wayrest), the orcs, the empire, and the necromancer. To the third it varied as much as a country of that size would, as to politics I said it’s a 5 sided conflict about to break into open war. You certainly had more interrelationship at least in the background than you do in the foreground of Oblivion.

            Also RAEGEH! Play it through, you’ll be surprised at how much you like it. It’s one of the only games where fast travel is well and truly required.

            1. Someone says:

              None of your arguements are saying much to be fair. Anyway, it all ultimately boils down to “proceduraly generated vs. hand created content” which is a debate for another time. I will just say that I cant imagine the quests, main part of fallout’s charm, to be anything more than 4 or 5 generic goals (fetch quest, kill this guy quest, clear out this cavern quest, whathaveyou) dressed up in flavor text, which is all well and good but unipressive compared to fallout. Also bugs.

              As for RAEGEH, its kinda like FO1, i hope to get around to playing it at some point but I cant be arsed to get it work on XP. I did once but there was no sound. And the control scheme is kinda screwy.

              1. Roll-a-die says:

                Yet with fallout 3, you get, guess what, fetch quest, clear out a den of evil, hunt some monsters, escort some people, dressed up in flavor text. Only the dungeons are laughably small, the world doesn’t constitute more than 10sq kilometers, a completely kudzu plot, and “Cool shit!” :P

                1. acronix says:

                  You are missing that the flavor text in this is like baking a cake with crap from a farm of pigs.

        2. CmdrMarkos says:

          Haven’t played Daggerfall, but looking it up its size sounds quite impressive. But until we get the 3D building / town construction equivalent of SpeedTree, it would be hard to create such a quantity of believable space & inhabitants with today’s expected quality.

          But locked doors is exactly what I was thinking: NPCs milling about their tasks during the day (farming, hunting, trading, drinking), disappearing into their locked doors later. They just need to have a way to highlight useful NPCs by tag, clothing, etc. Surely the vaults could have tiers or neighborhoods, and would have a good excuse for copy/paste areas. Surely the Fallout universe would also support lots of clusters of people living in locked bunkers, sewer & subway tunnels, basements; they’re obviously in there but they’re not going to let you in.

          And I think the capitol wasteland would be depopulated (in favor of suburban / rural areas not heavily nuked), but there’s got to be a few more people to allow basically four towns (Megaton, Tenpenny, Rivet, Canterbury) to survive.

          1. Someone says:

            Canterbury is hardly a town. And again, explaination of low population is easy to make, but bethesda didnt even try.

            1. KremlinLaptop says:

              Cantenbury? Pft. What about settlements like a Girdershade? Two people! One brahmin.

              1. Roll-a-die says:

                Megaton, 20 people total, counting the extras.

              2. acronix says:

                “Two people. One brahmin” sounds like a good tagline for some cheap movie.

                Also, Andale. Two families living on eating adventurers.

                1. Avilan says:

                  Yes, they should be dead a long time ago. On the other hand I have always handwaved it as “These polite and nice people are so damn creepy and scary that the raiders stay out of their town because they are scared shitless by them”.

              3. Sekundaari says:

                I wonder if a single brahmin body is actually one or two brahmin. Do their heads have separate personalities?

                1. ps238principal says:

                  I would be impressed if a single cow had even one-quarter of a personality.

                2. Sekundaari says:

                  “Moo, I say.”

                  I’m not sure if were talking about cows here. Anyway, have they got separate memories and senses? Do they communicate with each other?

                  Despite these questions, brahmin-tipping is still as fun in Fallout 2 or Fallout 3.

    3. krellen says:

      Irradiated water is possible, yes. Fallout talked about it (the ranger you can pick up in Junktown specifically mentions looking for murky, mossy water, because clear clean water is likely irradiated), but this is talking about standing pools of water (the US Southwest has basically one river, and it’s not in California,) not running water, and it never mentions a drastic problem for people getting their hands on unirradiated water in civilised places.

      The Water Merchants had a lock on water not because they were raiding a Vault somewhere to get magically clean water, but because the game took place in what in the real world is actually a desert and thus sources of water would be hard to come by and thus easier to secure exclusively.

      The magic project to purify water bothered me too, almost as much as the magically brown and wasted DC area with its freaking river right there.

    4. pneuma08 says:

      I always imagined a lot of the robots doing routine maintenance.

      And I really like the idea of preprogrammed bots just going about their business after the bombs dropped. Fixing things up, restocking Nuka-cola machines, etc. It doesn’t explain everything and for all I know isn’t canonical at all, but I like the idea.

      1. KremlinLaptop says:

        To be honest I like that idea too and it would work really well to explain basically all of that away if it was in the game. I actually hadn’t even thought of the robots, I always just tried to think, “Well maybe some wastelanders/raiders/etc did it.” Bringing generators online and changing lightbulbs.

        The idea of coming across a Mr Handy in a building going about its day like the world never ended, changing every broken lightbulb? That’s good.

      2. CmdrMarkos says:

        Heh, that’s actually a really good call. I think I have my new internal justification for odd things in Fallout 3:

        A Robot Did It

        1. 8th_Pacifist says:

          Does it oil itself? Maintain itself? Get rid of rust? Fix its arms when the joints jam up? When the arm falls off? Where does it get replacement parts? What happens when they run out?

          Now I’m imagining a robot lying on the floor with one working arm helplessly trying to drag itself to the workshop.

          1. acronix says:

            The answer to that is: Other Robot Did It.

            1. 8th_Pacifist says:

              And who fixes that one? Do they just have an endless supply of these things in the cellar? An infinite row of robots, each fixing the next in line…

              That’s silly.

              1. Ross Bearman says:

                Clearly you only need two robots, the only have to fix eachother. Perhaps three for redundancy.

      3. anaraug says:

        You’re describing “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury… which (according to wikipedia) gets a reference in game! So maybe it’s more canon than you think.



        1. evileeyore says:

          Yah. There’s actaully a robot you can reactivate in a Townhouse in DC. One of the things it can be reactivated to do is read poetry to the children… it’s kinda sad.

          One of those really great things Bethesda did in the midst of all the suck.

  13. Matthew Allen says:

    Ok, What is the plot hole? I don’t have the ability to listen to a video like this at work and while I remember there being lots of stupidity in the plot… Which issue are we talking about this time?

    1. Someone says:

      Purifying the Potomac is a goddamn stupid idea.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        You are answering to the question,or saying it as a real life fact?

      2. Matthew Allen says:

        Hehehe… Yes and no. Compared to the usefulness of small mobile purifiers… sure… But, on a grand scrubbing the world point of view… Very useful. Eventually, read as a real long damn time, then you’d scrub most of the water in the area into clean water.

        And since the water is constantly cycling you’d be pulling contaminants out of the world as well.

        Of course, they never explain what happens to the contaminants… Where do they go? Are they just dumping them back in again on the opposite side?

  14. Vipermagi says:

    A little correction on the Talons/Regulators: The Power of the Atom quest isn’t the only trigger. The Karma meter is one as well. Go below -499 or over +499 (i.e. turn Evil or Good respectively), the hitmen start coming to your place at night (as a figure of speech. They mostly wait outside trainstations).

    I always ignore Burke (don’t have a reason to go to the Saloon anyways), but I still get Regulators.

  15. Dodds says:

    The First Encounter with Regulators was bugged for me. I was in Rivet City, and I’d used the Speech check to get one of the kids to run away. After leaving, I found a group of Regulators attacking the two kids. They wouldn’t stop firing to talk, only giving typical combat phrases. I had no option but to kill them. My evil character never saw them again.

    IIRC the goal of Project Purity was to purify only the water in the Potomac Basin, so moving the project to Rivet City is a moot point. This still doesn’t stop the fact that it’s a problem that shoudn’t exist, but that’s an essay length rant for another time.

    Oh, and combining the Stealth Armour with the Bonnet is probably the only way to make it look more Awesome.

  16. eri says:

    To Josh: get the Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch here -> http://www.fallout3nexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=3808

    It fixes hundreds of issues with the game and causes no problems with stability… unless your goal is to show the game completely mod-free, to give players an idea of what they can expect right out of the box.

    To fix the Gauss Rifle, you can try this -> http://www.fallout3nexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=3463 although I’m not sure if it works to fix the bullets going through enemies problem.

    1. Ross Bearman says:

      I couldn’t dream of playing Fallout 3 without the unofficial patch, the same goes for Oblivion really. They fix a fantastic array of small issues. I’d be surprised if they didn’t at least the the unofficial patch on their own games, considering that they talk about the Nexus.

  17. Dev Null says:

    No wait! Even better than complaining on a blog; we could sign a petition! Yeah! Those things totally don’t get used for toilet paper…

  18. KremlinLaptop says:


    That’s it. That is honestly ALL I would have needed and I wouldn’t have complained about the magic suitcase ever. I’d be going ‘Ooooh, it’s a prototype device,’ and all of it would be fairly good sense in my head that it wasn’t like other G.E.C.K units and that’s why it could do the whole energy pulse that transforms stuff around it into lush fertile land.

    I wouldn’t have minded it then. All it needed was a few words tacked on, maybe a note or two about how it’s an experimental device. Etc, etc.

  19. swimon says:

    I posit a hypothesis: 3d games become dumber if there are guns in them. That is why Morrowind and oblivion is only sometimes stupid (Morrowind is even pretty clever at some places) while Fallout 3 is pretty retarded. The effect doesn’t take hold directly but wears down the talent of the writers. This explains why the main plot in ME2 was as dumb as it was and why the quality of Deus Ex 2 was so much lower than the first one. This also explains why most FPS games are so dumb.

    Now I specifically said 3d game because I don’t know all that many 2d games with guns in which the intelligence can be gauged. It is for example hard to tell whether Jazz Jackrabbit is a stupid game or not since it doesn’t really have a plot.

    1. Jarenth says:

      Counter-evidence: What about Mass Effect 1 and Deux Ex 1, two games which a) had guns and b) were far from dumb?

      1. Someone says:

        Team Fortress 2 has guns.
        Half Life 2 had guns.
        Portal had…a gun. A portal gun but a gun nonetheless.
        System Shock 2 had guns, heck even Civ IV had guns.

        1. evileeyore says:

          System Shock 2 is all the evidence needed. That game right there could justify still making gun games even if every other “Has gun” game is complete crap.

  20. Factoid says:

    The water thing always seemed wrong to me. If indeed the problem with the water is “fallout”…meaning radioactive bits of material suspended in the water, then yeah, it should be very easy to purify. Just boil it and condense the steam.

    In reality any radioactive elements like uranium would settle to the bottom very quickly. In a river it’s possible that such material could get dredged up with current, but eventually that stuff will all settle to the bottom and not go anywhere, or get flushed out to sea.

    Soviet nuclear subs used to use a system in their reactors where they used tubes with molten lead circulating inside them. It was great for heat transfer, because the lead has a low melting point and retains a ton of heat, so you could then boil water in the steam plant very efficiently. The problem, of course, was that if it ever got below melting point it hardened and blocked the pipes completely…and since this stuff circulated around a nuclear reactor it soaked up radiation and held onto it…so you ended up having to scram the reactor, shut it down and go cold, hoping that whatever backup systems you have for emergency cooldown worked, otherwise it would go critical.

    US subs, in comparison, use water as a heat transfer mechanism. It’s less thermally efficient, but water doesn’t hold onto radiation like metal does, and it will never freeze in those pipes and clog them up like lead can. This is the system that pretty much everyone uses now. I think the main difference is whether you use “light water” or “heavy water”…neither one can become radioactive, though…or at least not for long enough to be an environmental hazard.

    1. guy says:

      Light and Heavy water are equally good at cooling, but if the reactor is filled with heavy water it can have a lower percentage of U-235 and makes plutonium more easily.

    2. CmdrMarkos says:

      Pretty close. Irradiating regular (light) water with neutrons will make it very radioactive for only a few seconds (from O-16 absorbing a neutron). Heavy water irradiated with neutrons for a long time will produce a lot of tritium from H-2, which is radioactive for a few decades. But then again, heavy water is toxic so drinking it would kill you without any radioactivity.

      The problem is anything else in the water – dirt, metals, salts, debris, leftover parts of the bomb like uranium – might be radioactive for very long periods of time. Not in enough quantity to give the sorts of doses seen in the game but hey, it’s only a game. But you’re right, a lot will settle out after 200 years, and a charcoal filter would probably get 99.9% of the rest.

    3. cassander says:

      Just to nitpick, the USSR only used a lead cooled reactor in one class of submarines, the super fast Alpha class, and one experimental sub. Every other nuclear powered sub built by any country has used a pressurized water reactor of some sort. The PWR design has a lot of advantages for nuclear subs, not the least of which is that water is inherently hard to irradiate.

      I’d expect that the biggest dirty water problem post nuclear Armagedon would be the old fashion sort that plagues all non-industrial societies, nothing as fancy as radiation.

  21. Raygereio says:

    I don’t know, the whole irradiated water thing never bothered me much. I accept the fact that fallout doesn’t have real-world physics, but instead takes in the world that 50’s popular media imagined.
    That’s why we also have nuclear powered cars that produce mini-mushroom clouds after you shoot them a couple of times.

    You got to give Bethesda points for consistency though. Dad managed to create a radroach infestation by just leaving the vault door open for a second or two and look: what do we have crawling around inside the Smith Casey’s Garage?

    1. Someone says:

      So…Dad is the king of radroaches? Ofcource! Everything makes sense now!

      1. Sekundaari says:

        No, this guy (EDIT: Or gal, apparently) is. They might be good buddies though.

        1. Someone says:

          Oh…nevermind then, back to status quo.

        2. acronix says:

          That´s an usurpator. Daddy Sue was the king, but went he hide in the vault after a massive neurotic attack, the radroached had to get a new king. And this dude was around.
          The radroaches that attacked the vault are the loyal radroaches to the True King, and waited patiently in the vault door for 18 years. Because Daddy was a Good King, obviously.

        3. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Or dad is the roach pope.

  22. Vegedus says:

    Vault City was based around a GECK, so it is *somewhat* magical either way.

    1. acronix says:

      We know vault city used their GECK, but they never mention how it worked. It could be a magical PUFF! or maybe it was a briefcase with schematics, instructions, chemicals and seeds.

      1. krellen says:

        Actually, if you make nice with Vault City and ask the First Citizen and that other official the right questions, you pretty much get told that the GECK wasn’t a magic poof, just the right tools to make a good start.

  23. Avilan says:

    About the purifier:

    1. Fallout runs on Science! not science.
    2. This means that all scientists are Mad Scientists!, even the ones on the good side. (This means they are unable to fathom things like “staying in the small scale”, all mad scientists wants to build BIG!)

    1. Someone says:

      Now that I think about it, trying to stop Dad from wasting a GECK and his own life on a mad project would have made for a much better story.

      1. acronix says:

        If done by Bethesda, the final speech check against him would be something like:

        “You suck, dad. And this project sucks too. Don´t you see?”
        “You are right my son. I will blow everything up. WOHHOOO! .”

        And then Karma Dog would say how stupid you were for not shooting him. And if you DO shoot him, he would complain about how you are a fraticide and that you should have solved your differences by taking time to talk.

  24. Nick Pitino says:

    I don't remember where I read this so I can't give proper credit, but the best (Read: funniest) reason I've seen for project purity to be in the Jefferson Memorial is that it'll allow the statue of Jefferson to magically enforce the constitutionally mandated separation of water and radiation.

  25. evileeyore says:

    About that Caravan.

    There is always a Caravan that goes to the Jefferson Memorial, the Memorial lies between Rivet City and… uh, the really twisty route they trace to get there.


  26. illiterate says:

    You’re forcing me to finish my first playthrough faster, you know. I have trouble finding time to play, but I don’t want it spoiled.

    Here’s hoping episode #13 will have some sort of massive callback to Fallout1.

    1. Miral says:

      I’m having a hard time deciding if I want to continue watching or not — they’ve just caught up to where I am in the main quest. So either I’m going to get spoilered, or I’m going to miss the funny. Tough call.

  27. far_wanderer says:

    It’s actually kind of important to note that the assassination contracts are from Burke. Tenpenny is actually written as a pretty decent guy, he’s just senile and doesn’t realize he’s not a British colonial governor from the 1800s. Burke on the other hand is the physical manifestation of everything evil in the entire world. Right down to stealing from you, which I think no other NPC actually does.

    I’m no science person either, but it seems to me that in order to purify water by running it through a bunch of dirt, you first need to have a bunch of dirt that isn’t irradiated.

    The fences at the Memorial are not impenetrable, the missed shots are a result trying to snipe with an Energy Weapons of only 20. Had the shots collided with the fence, you would have seen the little burst of energy.

    At about 16:40, your first actual Gauss Rifle glitch-shot.

    28:30 – You missed a Tumblers Today in the safe. Moused right over it and everything.

    1. PurePareidolia says:

      You can take Tenpenny’s finger for the Lawbringer perk, so he isn’t all that good.

      1. modus0 says:

        And killing him for the “You gotta shoot ’em in the head” quest actually nets you Positive karma.

        To me Tenpenny seemed more self-righteous and convinced he’s doing the right thing, as opposed to maliciously evil. He’s also not exactly one who thinks about the consequences of things, as evidenced by his lack of concern about the deaths of Megaton’s residents.

        Mr. Burke, OTOH, is evil, pure and simple and intentionally malicious.

  28. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Does burke put a bounty on your head if you black widow him into forgetting the whole thing?

    1. evileeyore says:


      If you Black Widow him he … gets all mushy and tries to talk Tenpenny out of removing Megaton. He’ll send you love letters and in the end disappears from game because the two of you can’t be together.

  29. PurePareidolia says:

    OK, I just want to throw this out here, I didn’t play the first ones very far in, but I seem to remember the entire point of the first game was a WATER CHIP. Like a chip that makes a purifier work or something, some vital component of a purifier that allows you to produce enough water for an entire vault of people. Did I imagine that or would that totally invalidate the point of this? – take the chip from either Vault 101 or any number of myraid abandoned vaults, profit. There is no step 2. you win, pure water for all.

    Speaking of which, are you guys going to do Oasis? the quest that would turn the entire wasteland into a lush grassland invalidating the point of the main quest totally?

    Oh, or the Canterbury commons one which involves a robotics expert with his own factory who could theoretically produce Mr handy robots en masse and by extension free water for everyone?

    Ooh! or the one where you fix Megaton’s pipes for the guy who runs the WATER PURIFIER. I just want it noted that an entire town is given this purified water, from a self sustaining facility, but James can’t get his purifier to work on a large scale. A city’s worth of purified water is SMALL SCALE. Why can’t you recruit the guy who runs this plant to just fix the purifier again? he’s clearly the only man alive who can run one. Even if you have a maxed out repair skill.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The water chip was the reason you leave the vault,yes.After that,you discover the rest of the story.

      Also,see thats how things work in the vaults on the west side.East side vaults dont use water chips.

      1. PurePareidolia says:

        Yeah, no – I looked up the “Trouble on the Homefront” quest. You can sabotage the Vault’s water chip to force everyone to leave.

        1. acronix says:

          Another “You see? A Water Chip! What Do You Mean This Is Not Fallout?”

          1. krellen says:

            I started a trope. Awesome.

    2. Aha! But that’s only for the tiny population of Megaton! Presumably… Washington D.C. has to have more than… a few… hundred… people… in it.

      Ah, screw it.

      1. PurePareidolia says:

        It’s not hard to just make more purifiers using the same tech – it doesn’t exactly look brand new. I’m sure the brotherhood would be glad to help.

    3. Someone says:

      Actually, the plant in megaton is a water PROCESSING plant. Nobody ever explains what it does, my bet would be that it pumps water through the makeshift plumbing system and maybe filters out dirt. Water in megaton is not pure, you can see it if you drink from any sink there.

      Vault 101 on the other hand, really renders the main quest moot. If James took the time to convince the vault populace to open up, or just examined the water chip instead of chasing his pipe dream, the main quest would be a whole lot shorter.

  30. I also always assumed that fallout and radioactivity was not the only concern when it came to the whole Project Purity thing. I imagine all sorts of other pollutants, dead crap, new bacteria, etc. emerged over the last few hundred years. Contrary to popular belief, getting clean water is actually not that easy, and in our very real world we may be having some problems with it soon.

    Oh goodie! You guys are getting to the NEXT obnoxious griefer! The Lamplight kids didn’t actually bother me that much; they’re kids, they’re spoiled. I can see how others viewed them as griefers, though. But with Burke… it doesn’t matter who I am playing, I want him dead. My good character is galled that he will get away with this monstrosity, and my evil character doesn’t like being ordered around by some pompous jackass. Either way, I’m going to slit his throat. But no, you can’t do that. At least with the kids, there’s the excuse that you can’t kill them for rating and content issues (though FO 1 and 2 let you do it, and if you make them unkillable, then make them nice). But ? There is NO REASON not to be able to kill him aside from them griefing you.

    A common reply that I hear is, “Well, if you do the Chinese army invasion thing, then you punish him for eternity”. Okay, first of all, that is an obnoxious, non-intuitive music puzzle. Second, WHO CARES? I wanted him dead. “A fate worse than death” is not good enough. He needed to be physically destroyed.

    The whole concept is great except for that egregious griefing. What, my 100 Science and Repair doesn’t let me override his control? I can’t unplug him, blow him up, do ANYTHING to deal with the OBVIOUS TRAP?

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I’ve actually replayed FO3 just to stay on top of this series so I’ve recently re-experienced all the joys of it and the kids in Lamplight are abysmal. They are mouthy, bossy and, probably just to make the game seem more “hardcore” in the “Lord of the Flies” way, I think they cuss more than all the mercenaries, raiders and scum of the earth combined. Aaaand of course this is exactly THE place you can’t really work around, the kids are immortal and apparently all-powerful. I do not consider the “for the ratings” a valid reason, the game contains murder, random acts of cruelty, blowing up an entire community, drugs, prostitution, genocide and cannibalism… and I’m only talking about stuff available to the player. So in short they made the most annoying NPCs in game immortal and made it necessary to interact with them, this should be quoted on Wiki under the definition of griefing.

      1. acronix says:

        Bethesda are the best trolls (in terms of skill) in the whole world, as someone said in the last SW comments. Get any of their games, and you´ll find plenty of griefings. From the quasi-immortal wood elf beggar in Morrowind that came with super armor if you didn´t gave him lots of money, to the quests in Oblivion in which a couple of lazy guards send you to a criminal´s trap, to Karma Entity who hits you with a stick if you kill “misunderstood” homicides, to the Lil´lamplighters who somehow can survive a nuke to the head.
        Bethesda is formed by trolls and griefers. And they are making money out of it.

        1. Roll-a-die says:

          In morrowind, you can give him shitloads of money but you get to 1 billion gold and he basically goes, “YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS WHO CARRIES 1 BILLION GOLD AROUND, I’LL GET YOU FOR LYING TO ME.” The only solution is not to talk to him.

  31. Shamus, you guys missed some interesting Fallout 3 lore, no idea if this is part of the “Fallout” lore, but it seems to be in Fallout 3.

    If you visit all the vaults and read logs about them there is something odd.

    It seems like all the vaults was set with different power sources and different backup power sources on purpose, the populations of the vaults seemed also to be selected, and the amount of time the vaults would stay closed was also selected.

    And it seems like the (original) overseers where tasked to run experiments in the vaults, and each vault had a different experiment.

    It almost seems to me like the nuclear war was unexpected and kinda messed up the vault plans, as the vault plans was to get people into the faults due to the fear of the chinese, but then it happened for real.

    The super mutants etc. was not created by the nuclear war but the scientists in a particular vault.
    The ghouls on the other hand might have been the result of the nuclear war.

    In another vault they tested audio brainwashing, and other creepy stuff in other vaults.

    It almost makes you wonder if the war was created on purpose by certain people that was behind those vault experiments.

    It also seems like at least some of the creatures you meet may have been created by the Vault Tech schemers as well.

    And the GECK seems to be like a nano tech container of sorts, which could explain why it’s needed for large scale environment alterations. (like changing that much water so quickly).

    Sadly, the details on all this Vault Tech orchestrated experiments conspiracies seem to stop at some point, maybe a sequel might reveal more but I don’t know, it might just be a background plot that some of the writers did that never got a chance to really grow.

    Which is a shame as it’s really cool in a creepy way.

    1. ehlijen says:

      That’s not new to fallout 3. Fallout 2 had already introduced all those ideas (for little more reason then confront the player with more ‘irony’ (ie the first vault he finds doesn’t have what he wants even though it should, but hundreds of what he wanted in the first game, which shouldn’t be here…).

    2. Roll-a-die says:

      Fallout 2 and even 1 established that the vaults were all experiments with pieces designed to fail at certain times often with wildly varying conditions. There were only 17 vaults made to code, these were controls. There were 122 public vaults, and any number of private vaults. The Vaults themselves were made by the Enclave, or at least a portion of them. They were primarily testing beds and data to test genetic variance and drift, along with general competence of survival skills.

      1. Avilan says:

        It’s more complicated than that even. The reason for the experiments was as testing grounds for the Generation Spaceship the Enclave was planning to build for themselves and elite members of society. The was came earlier than they expected and that’s why had to hide on the oil rig instead.

  32. GoodApprentice says:

    So the water was the big plot hole? Really? If the Fallout universe says that the water was ruined by radiation, why not just believe it? I don’t see the point in applying real-life science principles to a place that has giant radscorpions, ghouls, supermutants, deathclaws, aliens, atomic cars, giant commie bashing robots, fire-breathing ants, etc. etc. Insisting again and again that the water would be okay in this campy, fictional world seems kind of impulsively insane.

    As far as the amount of water that dad wants to produce, I thought it said somewhere that the goal of project purity was to create so much fresh water that there would be no profit in trying to control the distribution. Infinite water leads to universal access. It strikes me as a fairly noble goal to destroy the shackles of a highly limited water supply.

    And although I agree that dad is a dink, I never expected him to be wise and cautious by default. Did I miss the memo? Sure he’s flawed and messed-up, but so is the rest of the wasteland. If there is anything that the Fallout games have taught me, it’s that there are no white knights in post-apocalyptica.

    1. acronix says:

      Water problem and real science:
      The real problem is not aplying real science, but that you don´t see anyone barking around about “our water is irradiated, we need to do something!” except the karma dispenssers, who are basically nitpickers (if you are dying from thirst you are probably going to drink any water). The whole “irradiated water is a great problem, my son!” doesn´t work, becasue they failed to show it affecting the gameworld. You NEVER meet anyone who died from radiation poisoning via drinking too much water. What´s more, neither you can die of radiation poisoning for drinking too much water (unless you ignore the geiger and are incredibly stupid to do so).

      Highly limited water supply:
      It isn´t. Robot buttlers can make 5 bottles of purified water. You can get (dirty) water from any sink and toilet in the wasteland. And again, as I said above, there is no “seeable” effect of this radiation. Everyone seems to be fine and dandy. If there´s people dying off-stage, then we are never told. Not even by daddy.

      Daddy Sue and his virtues:
      Here, the question is that the game sells daddy as perfect, and good, and smart, and good again. Evidence:
      The only criticism he receives is from doc Li about “Project McGuffiny will never work!” and then he is able to change her mind by just insisting too much. Moriarty, (remember, daddy only met four people in his journey), doesn´t say much about him and is just there to remind you that the overseer is eeeeeevil.
      Karma Dog, the second person he meets, tells you how a good, awesome, smart guy he is. And Karma Dog is the Metatron of Karma Entity: whatever he says, is like he says. If he said that chocolate ice-cream is horrible, then it is, and everyone (who is good) in the wasteland will follow his Holy Word.
      So, there´s nothink that could make us think that he is not flawed, following the game (lack of) logic. Once we start using our brain, however, we can see how he and the rest of the gameworld are a pile of concentrated stupidity.

      1. Someone says:

        That reminds me a lot of Oblivion. One of my major immersion breakers was the fact that the only people who aknowledged the importance of the main quest were people IN the main quest. I mean seriously, there are GATES TO HELL opening everywhere and noone seems to mind. Fighters guild sit around on their asses and occasionaly indulge in a goblin killing contract, Mages guild is too focused on clearing up the mess the new leader left to be interested in researching some boring plane of existence and commoners are too disgusted by mudcrabs and Summerset to give a damn. Its like if a gate to realm of eternal damnation opened up in the middle of New York and started sprouting demons, only to be ignored by everyone in favor of street muggings and traffic congestion.

        To OP: Even if you accept the game’s terms and agree that cleansing water is hard, there are massive logical fallacies preventing the main goal, the magical Project Purity, from making a slightest bit of sense. Dad’s team already managed to create a small scale purification technology. Even if it was too small to be relevant, there is still plenty of water in Vault 101 and just one Mr. Handy robot can produce buckets of clean water.

        1. evileeyore says:

          “Its like if a gate to realm of eternal damnation opened up in the middle of New York and started sprouting demons, only to be ignored by everyone in favor of street muggings and traffic congestion.”

          To be fair, your talking about New York here…

          A handful of demons and a dimensional rift might not even make it on the Top Ten list of problems face an everyday New Yorker. ;)

          1. Someone says:

            Okay, switch New York to… I dunno, Washington? Princeton? Wich city you americans consider “calm”?

            1. Roll-a-die says:


    2. krellen says:

      Irradiated water being a giant problem requiring a massive solution is new to Fallout 3. The plot hole isn’t as much real-world science interfering with the game as with previous iterations of the series (this is Fallout 3, after all) having said absolutely nothing about this problem and thus it came out of nowhere.

      So in addition to making no sense at all from a real world standard, it makes no sense in the game world either, because there were previous titles to establish a world before this one.

  33. ehlijen says:

    What I found harder to swallow than the idea of purifying water is the importance placed on it. People seem to be quite capable of surviving without that thing, so why do you have to give your life to save a glorified filter pump instead of just high tailing to a safe distance? (Because the door locks unpickably behind you, that’s why…)

    A giant nuke tossing robot is resurected and sent to fight the biggest mass of enclace soldiers anywhere on the continent just so you can have a slightly bigger filter pump?

    And why does that thing have radiation inside it? Whose idea was it to clean radiated water with a radiated filter pump assembly?

  34. Blanko2 says:

    fallout 1 and 2:
    water chip, anyone?

    1. acronix says:

      Only Fallout 1 used it as a McGuffin. And it made more sense. Sealed underground facility without any other mean of getting water, and the overseer was a control freak that didn´t want anyone to leave the vault. (Do you see what Bethesda did there?)

  35. Sleeping Dragon says:

    Ohhh, don’t even get me started on Dad. See, from the beginning you’re addressing the issue of “why am I going after dad”. On my first playthrough I sort of skipped over it, I worked with “the protagonist is a person who was close to their father and cares about this kind of stuff”, much in the same way that I accepted the “the protagonist is a person who wants to know about his past rather than just settle for life” in Planescape Torment or a myriad of other justifications for a myriad of other games (though of course the whole whiny “please, please tell me where my dad is” thing makes much less sense when you’re playing with a character who goes on murdering sprees with a smile).

    However, there is a different thing I’d like to point out. our Dad is apparently a self-centred, self-obsessed maniac. Consider what we know about his actions:
    1) He decided to have a kid with our mother in the middle of a super-important, super-sensitive project (let’s work with what the game gives us and skip the whole “not necessary” thing). I am willing to give them the benefit of doubt here and assume they used some contraception which failed.
    2) Once Mom died Dad just left things there, he was one of the key scientists (so we’re told) but he just goes “bah, not important, I have to take my kid and hide him in the vault rather than keep working on this thing that would actually let him live around here”. In this he basically abandoned his fellow scientists, gave a finger to the brotherhood (who, by the way, could probably provide you with a much better background, education and protection than the vaultdwellers).
    3) So after a few (20) years he felt somewhat guilty and so he left you, let in the radroaches into the vault (I’m still working under the assumption it was him), despite the fact previous expeditions managed to avoid it with ease when leaving the vault, effectively endangering (and in a few instances killing) the people who should have become his friends and mates over the two decades he spent with them.
    4) He then proceeded to go travel round the Wasteland finding people and demanding that they drop whatever they’re doing because NOW he wants to get to work on the project that he himself abandoned and made go under two decades back.
    5) In fact, once he gets the project to work and the Enclave arrives he blows stuff up because if he doesn’t get to do his water purifying miracle than he’s going to make damn sure nobody else is going to do it. It’ll be a while before the series gets to this but let me point out that Eden tells us Autumn DISAGREES with the president’s genocidal policy… so it would seem that Autumn wants to, gasp, purify a basinload of water… I can actually justify the murderous hostility that Autumn directs at you simply because he expects you to be your father’s son. There should seriously be an option to tell (or at least speechcheck) him “hey, it’s not my fault I’m related to that madman, I’d seriously like to help you”.
    All in all, Dad seems somewhat on the “unstable” side…

    1. acronix says:


      I agree with everything. Though, I think you can get Autumn to tell you that he wants the purifier to make a “water monopoly” or whatever. Apparently, the Enclave also thought that cleaning water was a serious issue. And the Brotherhood. But the people drinking water from 200 hundred year old toilets? They are fine and alive .

      1. Krakow Sam says:

        For a given value of fine and alive. There are those beggars outside a couple of the settlements that apparently can’t drink any more irradiated water. Funny there’s no option to give him one of the countless radaways you find littered EVERYWHERE.

        Something that really pissed me off on my first play-through was that you get quite a lot of good Karma for giving these guys water, but it has no way of taking into account motivations. In this case i was straight out of the vault, so both as a character and as a player, pure water has essentially no value to me. I didn’t consider it such a great deed to give away something worthless.
        Just a small example of the totally flawed karma system they have in this game.

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Yeah, I do seem to recall that indeed they were thinking about some kind of monopoly and effectively controlling the populace in this manner. But consider this, dear America. Is not the area that was once the proud seat of your government split into various warring factions, each community caring only about itself, refusing to cooperate and land a hand to the greater good of rebuilding what was once the greatest nation… (sound of gunfire and some white noise before a dying radio broadcast).

        On a more serious note, since we know they can already purify water “on small scale”, and there are several other occasions in game where the “small scale” technology works (the vaults, Rivet City) I assume that the purifier has generally one setting and that is “purify the entire basin”. So once they actually turn it on they have to set up guard posts and those fancy energy fences all around it… what’s more, water isn’t like some kind of rock that you can post a guard next to and be done with it. The thing tends to flow, mix, evaporate and fall down as rain in a completely different area. This has certain consequences depending on how the purifier works exactly:
        1) If it’s an ongoing process it constantly filters new water and (I assume) stores or emits the radiation somewhere safe, they probably can put it into barrels and control it, to an extent. But people will drink this stuff, pee this stuff, water their crops (I can imagine if the enclave had access to that much water they’d want to have some sort of farming with it). Consequently the stuff will circle around ultimately “washing out” the radiation of the area slowly.
        2) If this is a “one big shot” deal than they’d have to periodically re-initiate it as the pure water would ultimately mix with irradiated water and we’re effectively back to square one.

        Finally, so yeah, the Autumn-Enclave want to take control of the area, neat, I suppose with their tech and army they could clean out the raiders, randomly wandering SMutants and the mutated fauna. Then they’d go and… umm… I suppose they would control the area… they could actually tell people to gather into larger groups and cooperate rather than shoot at outsiders and live in shacks built out of random junk.

    2. Someone says:

      You know, I actually made a similar point like…3 SW’s ago I think. The brick wall preventing it from being a reasonable guess is that he kills himself when Autumn arrives. As I understand it, the Enclave didnt want to shut down the purifier, Autumn didnt want to put FEV in it, he just proposed Dad to work on it with the Enclave. James didnt agree because the Enclave is EEEEEVIIIILLLL and blown himself up instead of letting his son/daughter kill the bad people threatening daddy. That is the precise moment all logic flies out the window to be replaced by dodgy guesses (he was blind!) and standard heroic sacrifice tropes. Also, some people suggested that dad isnt evil because certain exposition characters say he isnt. And indeed, the whole idea is obviously giving the mon…writers too much credit.

      Come to think of it, why did the Brotherhood oppose the Enclave? They couldnt know about the FEV business, the whole justification was something along the lines of “the evil enclaves are up to no good in the purifier, we have to stop them, time to call superfriends!”. And there you go, once again the whole main quest flies apart, like a house made out of cardboard boxes during a hurricane.

      1. acronix says:

        They are also Generic Evil Army Type 3 (supermutants and raiders are the other Genericl Evil Armies) and are just there for another “This is Fallout! Look, the Enclave!”. Pretty much as everything else in this game, really.

        Also, as one of those that say that Daddy isn´t evil, I´ll point out that he does what he does out of stupidity. The stupidity of the writers, because I don´t think they even thought about him as stupid, but as honorable, good, perfect, smart, handsome and kind-hearthed. They didn´t know how to make him good, so they made what bad book writers show the characteristic of their characters: they make other characters tell the reader/player. Think of it like Harry Potter: numerous characters and the text itself tells us of how good and kind he is, going to the extreme of making all his actions good, even when two seconds ago those actions were evil. This is the same: the writers wanted to make sure Daddy Sue was seen as a good guy, so what better option than making the whole world praise him? Karma Dog doesn´t do anything more than praise him. Doc Li follows him blindly without opposing much. The player goes after him without any other reason than “I miss my Daddy Sue sooooo much!” (because He Was Awesome, of course). The Brotherhood helps him in Project Fatality without any reason (don´t you see a trend here?). His suicide is seen as the pinacle of goodness (see the ending credits after you kill/don´t kill yourself). Even he opening the vault and getting the radroach horde and causing lots of collateral damage is seen as another show of his great kindness, because he wanted to save the Wasteland. And this is a game about sacrifice, you see. The people that died in the vault were a necessary sacrifice to save the wasteland. So it is totally justified that they died, because Daddy Sue had to Do His Thing outside.

        Now, if you excuse me, I´m gonna bang my head all over the wall to forget I thought so much.

        1. Someone says:

          On Enclave: I feel like Bethesda just saw that your ultimate goal in FO2 is to bring down the Enclave and decided that Enclave were basically orcs, just like they did with Super Mutants (and Raiders if you think about it) in relation to FO1. Always Chaotic evil, killing everyone and everything that stands in their way for no other reason than their total wickedness. And that was not the case.

          The end goal of the Enclave was indeed sinister (and kinda ham-handedly written in itself), but the organisation itself was not percieved as such. In fact, most of the wasteland inhabitants didnt even know or care about their existence and goals. Likewise, the Enclave mostly kept to itself. I would not go so far as to say it WAS NOT evil, though many of their villainous actions could be attributed to their demented leadership, self induced cold war paranoia of wich ultimately manifested itself and lead to the apocalypse, long before the events in the wastes of California took place, back in the days when that very same group of politicians was at the core of the US government and military command. You could go through the entire game without killing a single Enclave citizen, save for Frank Horrigan (character sole purpose of wich frankly was to give the player a huge final boss to fight). From your conversations with Enclave rank-and-file, you could deduce they were regular people trying to get by after the bomb, no better or worse than regular wastelanders. Brotherhood of Steel mainteined neutrality in relation to them and merely observed their actions, not reducing them to outright genocidal villains. Wich makes it all the more baffling when the Lyons Brotherhood plainly states “We know about the Enclave, those guys are EEEVILL!”. Everybody, except that old guy from Megaton, says they are EEEVILL, despite never coming into contact with them, Karma Dog says they are evil, despite never coming into contact with them (perhaps trying to jeopardize his only competitor on DC airwaves). The game gives a little evidence to their evil nature, all of their soldiers shoot everybody on sight (for no bloody reason), sometimes they kill civilians (for no bloody reason) but that all is for no bloody reason. Actually, come to think of it, even if the Enclave released the FEV and killed everyone who was not them, it would only benefit the wasteland. Unless they were going to nuke china again and kill all the worlds puppies, they would likely proceed to rebuild the world, and with their technology and manpower, they would likely be a lot better off than the locals. And what of locals? There are literally 50 non-raider settlers in the entire capital wasteland (and they are all cretins), 50 guys is a small price to pay for future. Offcource one might argue that any human life is sacred, even in a setting as cynical as fallout, but then we can discount the FEV plans of Eden and go with Autumn instead. So what if the Enclave controls the water supply? So you only get water if you join the Enclave? Oh no, nobody should endure the horrors of living in a civilized society with healthcare and education! Down with the government!

          The whole approach to good and evil Bethesda is taking is, sadly, that of a saturday morning cartoon. Characters dont have coherent motivations and personalities, they just have a set of superficial characteristics, tropes if you will, that define their “alignment” and actions.

          Here we have “Bethesda Good”: constant talking about saving others, supposed selflesness, readiness to sacrifice oneself at a drop of a hat and all that.

          And “Bethesda Evil”: of Chaotic Evil variety, constant desire to dominate and rule everything through one and only one percieved method – forced submission, faceless sadistic goons populating the entierity of any evil organisation and whatever it is i forgot to mention.

          In fact, similar approach to creating good and evil is not exclusive to Bethesda, or even videogames as a medium.

          Real evil is not of the upfront variety, true evil will mask itself with good intentions and wholesomeness and quitely manipulate people and events around it for its ambitions and personal gain. But what are the roots of those ambitions? And can we even say that Good and Evil exist? Both of those definitions are subjective, and I dont expect a fundamental philosophical debate and a treatise on human condition and nature from a videogame (not a modern one at least), but could we at least have some motivations for our characters?

          Oh my god, I wrote another massive wall of text. Will somebody stop me?!

          1. acronix says:

            I´ll stop you! Since the Great Walls of Text ussually reproduce into other Great Walls of Text trying to stop them via clashing, I will throw a rock to your Wall, that will make it crumble and stop this terrible circle of Wall Texting:

            You are right!

            1. evileeyore says:


          2. Sleeping Dragon says:

            Yeah, what annoys me is that it would be so easy to make the Enclave actually look evil by simply developing their motivations a little bit. Describe their ultimate goals. As it is they want to be the major force controlling the wasteland and that’s bad because… umm… I guess that’s bad because they want to be in control, and clearly only the people who don’t want to impose some order should be allowed to.

            It would be so easy to just give us a few notes, or a couple holotapes (why are they even called holotapes if they’re sound only?) with some background. Here are some ideas that would only require a few lines of text and would give the Enclave a much more sinister vibe:
            -they could’ve been brainwashing their soldiers (below the officer level I assume) but we see them as normal folk
            -they could be promoting slavery (or effective slavery) of the “locals”
            -enforced breeding program of “pure” populace
            -billion of other generic evil ideas

            Inserting any/all of these would require minimum effort and would make them at the very least give them the “good idea by evil means that we cannot tolerate” background. As it is we can ASSUME they’d impose some sort of military regime but considering that pretty much any community is only as strong as its ability to defend from the raiders the people with guns are effectively always going to be in charge (remember the guys in Rivet City saying they don’t get why the council won’t simply hand matters over to the security guy?). Which of course doesn’t explain why the player which doesn’t explain why the player wouldn’t be able to take the Enclave’s side… seriously, you have lots of skill, aren’t those guys hiring? This is one of the problems of the “evil with a human face” solution while at the same time allowing the player to go the evil path.

            1. Someone says:

              Well, you can put the FEV can into the water, I guess thats “join the Enclave” option, help a crazy, malfunctioning president 95 achieve his goal which makes no sense and has lost all relevance to the situation at hand, for no other reason than “for the Chaotic Stupidz”.

              Thats Bethesda Choice for you.

              1. Sleeping Dragon says:

                Even if we put aside the fact that we might prefer to join the non-genocidal Enclave, by the time you introduce the modified FEV you might have simultaneously blown said president up, and you had to kill the enclave high command (Autumn), and in fact if you do it and have Broken Steel the remaining Enclave won’t thank you for it. Also, if you don’t have BS and do it you die.

                (There is an option to SORT OF support the Enclave by not destroying their final base but TBH it has the Enclave troops will still shoot on sight far as I know)

                1. Someone says:

                  Yeah, its all crap. You cant join Autumn and you cant even ask him about the Enclave. You can only spread the FEV but this makes no sense, even if you are evil, you also suffer from FEV induced water!

                  In Broken Steel the option to support the Enclave is to blow up Pentagon instead of that crawler base thing at the end. Again for absolutely no other reason than being chaotic stupid.
                  The whole storyline in BS is bs (pardon the pun), what is the point of fighting the holdouts? Cant they just give up? Who the hell leads them and what is he trying to accomplish after his side effectively lost the war? A reasonable power in a reasonable game would have tried to negotiate. But hey, if they didnt try it then, why start now right?
                  These guys are bad, go get em!

                  This makes me sick.

  36. Integer Man says:

    I view Tranquility Lane as one of the two worst instances of Fallout 3’s plot railroading. I hope you beat that dead horse to a pulp in your next video.

    Let’s see, my choices are make Timmy Cry and subsequently murder everyone or unleash a bunch of Chinese soldiers into a simulation world and kill a bunch of people trapped in a Star Trek Voyager episode.

    Why can’t I confront “Betty” about the world or threaten her with the failsafe computer? This is a scenario that forces me to be chaotic evil or chaotic stupid.

    My other beef is with the sacrifice at the end of the game. If I’m bringing a mutant with me who has previously demonstrated how radiation does not affect him and he’s incredibly loyal to me, why can’t I ask him to go put in a 3 digit code and come out afterward? There’s some dialog even to the effect of him not being willing to do it, but it makes no sense.

    I don’t mind an odd plot with holes in it that much, but restricting blatantly obvious and logical choices without addressing them is bad.

    1. acronix says:

      Well, confronting Betty would result in death. You can try to punch her, and you instantly die. So, making him/her aware of your knowledge is not an option.

      However, there are other options the game could have used. A science genious should be able to hack into the system, and maybe transfer the “administration” to the old lady or automatize it someway. A player with explosives knowledge should be able to sabotage his pod, as should one with a rocket launcher, effectively killing him. Maybe a very charismatic character with barter skills could bargain dad in exchange of “new subjects” (and then the player could decide to bring some terrible, terrible people to this B-grade hell), or he could bluff him about having wired his pod with explosives. And maybe one with science, explosives AND speech could obligate him to behave via putting explosives in his pod and, with science!(TM), making them go off if any of the residents “die” in the simulation.
      They could have done so many things, but that would have been to difficult (new voice lines, new text, new quests, etc), and they wanted to keep it “dumb” and to obligate the player to play within their moral compass.
      After all, Bethesda think players are dumb.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I have to say I like some of your ideas SO much, particularly the bargaining stuff. I imagine the guy would be horribly bored by now with the same people all over again.

  37. Grex says:

    Another thing about Project Stupidity, I don’t know if someone already mentioned this: Why the hell would you build a huge water purification station downriver? The whole thing would have made more sense at the spring or in the vicinity of Raven Rock (which the designers could have put elsewhere, just make a huge door in some other mountain), giving way more people convenient access to clean water.
    Or is it actually much more important all the dirty, dirty water is swilled around Jefferson’s massive stony package to be purified, that the GECK is only second to that? (I know you Americans love your Founding Fathers, but this seems a little too much like overkill for me.) Some engineer help me with this one, please.
    Actually, since Daddy is best buds with the Brotherhood, a few guys in Power Armor could just pick up the statue, drag it further up the river and let Jeff’s Holy Balls and the GECK do their magic there.
    The way it is in the game, Dad only manages to lower the radiation level in the ocean ever so slightly and actually helps hardly anyone, since all the purified water has to be transported via caravans anyway.
    Plus, building this important structure in an easily conqueraqble landmark right next to the burnt-out, irradiated, mutant-infested hellhole that is DC seems questionable at the least, if not outright braindead. Daddy’s not the best tactician, apparently.

    1. acronix says:

      I bet the reason is that the writers at Bethesda think rivers initiate in the ocean and then make their way into the land and up the mountains. And there´s where clouds originate.

      1. evileeyore says:


        Was I the only one who noticed Fallout 3 was one big hude “let’s show off all the monuments in DC” wank?

        So where better to stuff the Jefferson memorial which is right on the river than intot eh lame irradiated water portion of the quest.

        And the magic radiation eraser probably wasn’t meant to be a filter. I’m betting it was an ICE-9 style radiation eraser. It would magically, err I mean SCIENCELLY! remove all the radiation from all watersources in the DC basin.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          By the Goddess, someone finally said it. I had the exact same “let’s show off how the monuments are magical” feeling through large portions of the game, from the moment I entered the Mall I was in fact exceedingly surprised that the Capitol wasn’t featured prominently in any of the quests. Though I suppose for those going for achievements you DO have to go in for the Behemoth, right? (I am so not going to ponder how that thing even got inside).

          I can understand that we’re in Washington and it is an area that is somewhat important to the US but I would much prefer if it was the sort of “Planet of the Apes” Statue of Liberty thing rather than a guided tour. I don’t know how many people did that but myself I rolled my eyes at least a few times when the game insisted on pointing out “this, this here is a historical monument”.

          1. evileeyore says:

            Oh yeah. It wasn’t lost on me.

            I was left (after the first play through) seriously wondering if the headguys at Bethesda went “Hey man this is a really cool idea, let’s put it in DC so we can totally show off how all the memorials look after the bombs dropped” and totally overlooked the fact that DC would be nothing more than a glowing pit.

            If we’re talking total thermo-nuclear annihlation, who wouldn’t lob a few extra at the capital of your enemy nation just to make sure any survivors got the message?

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Maybe thats how rivers work on the east coast.

  38. There chances of survival go upf you’re not with them because the monster will be auto levelled to you but allies are not, so the allies auto-flee…
    also if you fast travel then wait 24-hrs they will most probably end up standing right next to you un harmed. (as time and space to no apply to anyone except the hero during wait for some strange reason known only to bethesda???)

  39. Jep jep says:

    Just some random thoughts:

    Well.. be it building or cave, there’s still the possibility of a cave-in/fatal building collapse/whatever, thus risk of being sealed in forever. If you think about it, the entrances to the other vaults in the game are much closer to the surface, and thus digging out (assuming they’d have the proper equipment stored away somewhere, just in case) would probably be much easier compared to Vault 112.

    And as for the Dad having a baby, the holotapes tell about how it came to as a surprise to the whole research team when they found out that the Mom was pregnant, so that at least gives the illusion they didn’t really plan on it. Of course, if you wanna nitpick, you could go on another tangent how the genious doctor Dad failed to provide protection prooving yet again how he’s an irresponsible douche, but oh well… (There were condoms in Fallout 2, so they should exist here too amirite?)

    But that’s beside the point though, it just seems that at least some of your plotholes are just there because of lack of imagination or just you not bothering to dig up the information. (That is what they basicly make you do all the time, and that’s what you should probably expect anyway when you play far enough: to look for the answers)

    I mean, most of the time, even if the info doesn’t really help to give conclusion, it gives you a framework. The whole point with telling stories with the enviroment etc. as you mentioned in the Museum episode, at least for me works a lot in this part. Whatever is not explicitly told to my face, I can dig up the info myself or come up with explanations why something is the way it is. That’s what I really liked about the game anyway, when it actually worked. It at least for me worked to create this illusion that there are things going on out there that I might not know about and help accept the fact that I’m not going to get a conclusive explanation to everything.


    Benefit of the doubt -> Ignore several plotholes -> More enjoyable gaming experience.

    I was just content playing with the mindset that I don’t need to know everything. I just wonder if I’m the only one here who did.

    1. acronix says:

      “it just seems that at least some of your plotholes are just there because of lack of imagination or just you not bothering to dig up the information. ”

      Are you saying we should do the writers work? It´s ok to “not know everything” but “knowing nothing” isn´t. And in Fallout 3, we are given a bunch of directions without any rational conection and we are suppoused to follow them. And fill the gaps with our imagination? That´s lazy writing.
      Also, if you look slightly carefully, you´ll notice that our complains are about stuff that are crucial to the gameworld story. Those things can´t be “hidden” or lampshaded. Those are the things that shape the world and make it have sense. If you are going to hide them, then the plot has to be about uncovering them, otherwise the player is left with this nonsensical stupidity because he missed the holotape of the “Why This World Is Like This”.

      “Whatever is not explicitly told to my face, I can dig up the info myself or come up with explanations why something is the way it is. ”

      You can only dig out what the writers buried. And made up explanations only work for so long. To be specific, they work better when the holes aren´t big (as the ones in this game). Making a gamewold full of holes is, again, lazy writting. The player isn´t a worldbuilder. He is there to play the world and affect it, not to make it make sense.

      1. Jep jep says:

        Yeaahh look I’m not too fond of their writing either. I have my own share of headaches with this game, I just haven’t seen the point of repeating what’s been already said (by many others) when it comes to them.

        The point is, that there is a difference is whether you want to regard certain plotholes as an inherent flaw in the story or as an intentional effect inside the story. I’d agree that in it’s bare form, the world is broken as hell and there’s just generally too much stuff going on that doesn’t make any sense. It’s just that the criticism tends to get a bit overboard here and there, just in my humble opinion. It could be just of course my own need to make some sense out of the broken world, but funnily enough, I actually felt a sense of accomplishment, if I could come to somesort of compromise with any glaring plotholes through reasoning and observing the situation..and by finding the reasons. And my argument is, that this can be done quite often, if you’re willing to go there. Not say that it’s the best solution to shitty writing, but it can help, if you’re not too picky.

        So well, yes, in a sense I’m telling you to “do the writers work”. It helped me to enjoy this game better anyway. The main plot is admittedly perhaps the worst part of this game, there just hardly is any excuse :P, but for the rest of the game, there are times when it works, for me at least, and it definetly made overall experience much better and helped to immerse myself into the game.

        1. Sleeping Dragon says:

          I actually agree, to an extent at least. I am willing to hang some of the logic and disbelief away for purpose of gaming, I am also generally willing to give the writers the benefit of doubt and work with them in assuming “this isn’t pointed out but the reasons for this can be logically deduced by making a few assumptions” (I am fairly accepting of the Church of Atom in this manner, as people who have suffered a tragedy often turn to religion on the grounds that “it’s impossible for the world to be this way without some sort of plan or reason behind this” and there is little that beats this kind of trauma when compared to the nuclear apocalypse). There are also places where Bethesda does a great job by leaving stuff to be deduced by the player from background or incomplete information. As I pointed out earlier, I am also willing to accept certain assumptions regarding my character mentality.

          When I saw how many people were raging about the fact that in FO3 the vault door opened inwards instead of outwards I actually thought “well, that is actually a fairly logical construction. Vaults are underground and even aside from nature doing its work there are going to be bombs falling, it’s possible they’d have to mine they way out through tons of rock, which is certainly easier without having to cut through the huge metal slab of a door that’s supposed to withstand explosions first”.

          However, my willingness to participate in this kind of thing ends when it’s my character that’s supposed to operate on total assumptions (such as “the Enclave is evil, I assume this without any actual evidence and with barely any knowledge what Enclave is at all”). Or when this forces my character into a completely illogical course of action (such as: the final sacrifice when a rad-immune mutant is present, entering into intimate contact with technology I know virtually nothing about [either Tranquility Lane or OA]), or giving me the freedom to develop my character’s morality and then forcing me to act contrary to that development (like: not cutting my way through people who stand in my path just for the sheer sake of being assholes). I suppose that pen-&-paper RPGs spoiled me that way.

          1. Jep jep says:

            I’m pretty much on the same page there. It only works so far, and then the headaches kick in. The original ending was definetly the most disappointing part of the game.

      2. Avilan says:

        If the writers have provided the story, but you have to actually read the logs / look in drawer / just actually pay attention to the layout and items in a room to get it, it is NOT lazy writing.

        1. acronix says:

          Granted, I can´t disagree. They are also a way to reward the player that explores/pays attention. However, the mere fact of providing a story and putting logs/whatever around the world so that it makes sense doesn´t mean the actual content of those logs/whatevers will make sense. In Fallout 3, they don´t. They are there as a cheap justification. As a lazy one.

          1. Avilan says:

            Oh I agree; the problem with Bethesda in general and in FO3 in particular is the mix and match, where parts are pure brilliance (like the Plumber Room, or the shelter with the HAM radio signal and all the ghouls) and others are crap (like the main plot). If they only could have put as much detail in the important parts of the story as they did in the unimportant parts…!

            1. evileeyore says:

              Yup, this.

              The stories told in the Wasteland by the artful set up of set pieces are fantastic: The Plunger Bunker, Minefield, Ghoul Shelter, any number of Pulowski Shelters, etc… and many of the sidequests are good, Moira and the Survivalist Book, The Keller Family Refuge, Mothership Zeta, Little Big Town, etc.

              But it smacks right into all the “WTF?” stuff. Main Quest, Daddy Sue and His Insanity, Three Dog and Karma, Rivet City, Megaton itself, the lack of visible economy, the lack of visible farming, etc…

    2. Sekundaari says:

      Just a thought about the cave-in thing: This was actually the reason that the Vault doors opening inwards made more sense to me. If a cave-in occurs, and there’s tons of rubble outside your enormous blast door, it’s much easier to just open the door inwards normally and start clearing the passage, than try to open the door outwards or breach it.

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