31 July, 2009

Game Journal: Fallout 3

written by Blain Newport on Thursday, July 30, 2009


Welcome to Lamplight Caverns.

Okay, so it wasn't a warm welcome. But I was scary gas mask fireman guy with an assault rifle, so I couldn't blame him. The language seemed uncalled for, though.

(Yes, I censored a screen shot.)

Lamplight Caverns was a tourist attraction. When the bombs dropped a class full of kids was trapped inside. The adults with them proved to be pretty useless. One was a molester. So the kids got rid of them and started their own settlement.

Here I am getting the history lesson. Like the Nuka-Cola tour, there was no test. They also didn't bother to mention how they replenish their population. My guess is doorstep babies from everywhere since there are very few children anywhere else. The children had done an impressive job teaching themselves how to survive.

But if this wasn't a video game, I would be highly suspicious of walking on anything they built.

They also had a rule that only people below a certain age could stay there. (I was only allowed to visit because I had taken a perk called Child at Heart.) One of the kids was having his last Lamplight birthday. He bugged me to help him get to Big Town, a settlement where the kids who are too old go. There wasn't really much to do in Lamplight, so I agreed.

He was supposed to be highly annoying. But the way he was annoying was so transparently scripted that I couldn't hold it against him.

There was a lot of saving during this journey. Despite the fact that this guy sneaks when I sneaks, he still attracted too much attention / opened fire too often. I think he died three or four times. In many cases, I just let people die. It feels like a truer story. But in this case there was no more story if dumb kid gets himself killed. And I don't like being held responsible for faults in the AI.

And the story was depressing enough as it is. When we got to Big Town, it was less than ten people. They'd been under constant assault from super mutants and slavers. They were freaked out and fatalistic. Most recently the super mutants had dragged away the town doctor. I volunteered to go on a rescue mission.

It was cool. I fought more super mutants than I had before. I got to clear out a police station. And I got to rescue the doctor and her dumb friend. All while looking like the fire safety lecturer from hell.

Watch your step. Safety first. Only you can prevent forest fires.

When we got back to Big Town, I told everyone to hide while I took care of the next super mutant patrol. They only sent two guys, so it was a quick mop up. It felt good. I decided I should quit the wasteland while I was ahead and get back to exploring downtown D.C.

Next Time: No Head is Safe

30 July, 2009

Game Journal: Fallout 3

written by Blain Newport on Thursday, July 30, 2009


After saying goodbye to dad I continued exploring the western wasteland. I came across some Talon Company jerks guarding the ruins of a fort (Fort Bannister). I'd gotten used to seeing groups of three mercs trying to ambush me. But this was a larger group then I was used to. And when I found a manhole that said "Sewer Entrance to Commanding Officer's Quarters", I was cautiously optimistic. Could this be Talon Company's headquarters? Despite the fact that they kept me in nice armor and combat shotguns, I objected to the way they were doing it. So the chance to kill a lot of them appealed to me.

Hopefully the fact that the facility is strewn with garbage means this is a non-functioning silo. I'd hate to think Talon Company might have nuclear capabilities.

Is there anybody in Fallout 3 who doesn't do creepy experiments on people?

I know this picture is supposed to be full of gore, but looking all smooth and slo-motiony, it always strikes me more as a chocolate commercial. You know, the ones where they pour liquid chocolate into a spinning tub of liquid chocolate while saying words like "velvety smooth"?

I'm a sick, sick man.

After much killing, way too many trips back to my stash to store all the free body armor, and some trap disarming, I finally found the commander of Talon Company, some guy named Jabsco. In the picture he's fighting one of his own defensive turrets I turned against him. It got him down to about half health, which was good for me because when I started attacking him, five guys and robot I hadn't seen all jumped me at once. Many stimpacks and a few pulse grenades later, he was dead. It didn't stop Talon Company from hunting me. It didn't even give me the name of whoever had taken out the 1000 cap contract on me that predated Burke's. From a story perspective, Talon Company HQ was nothing more than a loot hole.

To console myself, I decided to try on a new helmet. The psycho killer hockey mask look was getting a little old.

Oh my. I think I look even scarier with the fireman gas mask. Naturally my next mission involved extensive dealings with children. :P

Next Time: Extensive Dealings with Children


29 July, 2009

Game Journal: Fallout 3

written by Blain Newport on Tuesday, July 28, 2009


This episode is super photo heavy. You have been warned.

First a quick aside. On a quick stopover in Megaton a weird thing happened.

Apparently having a good alignment at a high level means people run up to you and give you caps and ammo for being such a good guy. Neat.

Okay, back to work. I was still exploring the western area of the map when I came upon a pitched battle.

Two Brotherhood Outcasts in power armor were taking on a sentry bot. Sentry bots suck. The bot took down both of the Outcasts and still had enough fight left over to kill three attack cows. (Don't ask.) Then I shot it in the head and it broke. Yay free loot.

The building they were fighting next to was the Smith Caseys Garage.

In the process of looting it, I found a switch. I pressed it.

Huh. Secret stairs.

Oh crap. A vault. No good can come of this.

Hmm. Friendly robots. How long until they turn on me? I wish I'd taken the perk that let me deactivate robots.

Hmm. Humans in tubes. This can't be good. But there's nothing else I can do here but climb into one. I made sure to save my game beforehand. This is a bad idea.

Huh. This is pretty weird.

Oh. And I'm a twelve year old boy. And the gal watering the slide wants me to do evil things. And only the old woman realizes the place isn't real. And for some reason the game has me asking everyone where my dad is. This makes no sense.

It's kind of creepy to see these environments without scorch marks all over them.

And my pip boy wrist computer seems to have lost some functionality. Great.

So the old lady tells me about the failsafe console. I check it out. It looks like my only option is to help the sadistic little girl (who's actually a crazy German scientist) torture everybody, or release them from this prison by activating the failsafe, which will kill them. When mass murder is your best option, it's hard not to feel like a failure.

So I kill them all. The German is ticked. I leave him to his eternal solitude. (I tried to kill him. It wouldn't let me.) It's nice to breathe air again.

Wait. WHAT!? What the crap is my dad doing here? I had it on good authority that you were in the Jefferson Memorial! I specifically did not go there to avoid the main story!

So that's why I always had the option to ask people about my dad!

On one hand, it's not what I wanted. But it's so much more impossible and unlikely than what I did want, that I was mostly happy about it. Dad went off to Rivet City to use some of the German's research to work on his own project to make a clean water generating machine.

I went off to keep exploring the wasteland. Dad was well intended, but there were lots of people and monsters that needed killing.

Next Time: Trouble for Talon Company

28 July, 2009

Keepalive: Hunter the Reckoning: Wayward, Blood, 2009 -> 2010: WTF?

written by Blain Newport on Monday, July 27, 2009

I tried to play through Hunter the Reckoning: Wayward a long time ago. It was a pain. But I realized it might work for co-op Tuesday, so I gave it another shot. Turning the difficulty down to easy helped a lot. The later levels were still a pain, though. I think they screwed up and tuned the difficulty levels for the testers instead of normal humans.

I still don't know how or if I'm going to record it, but in case my laziness means I never get around to it, I want you to know that Blood is a wonderful game. Running at 320x200 with a big black bar at the bottom of the screen because my monitor can only output 320x240, I love it as much as I ever did. The minimalist sound design is good and creepy. The deaths are gory and silly. The weapons aren't as beefy as some, but they have a feel that works. Plus the shell casings stay around, which makes the scenes of battles look pretty cool.

I've also been really impressed by the level design. The spooky mansion sections of the second episode are my favorites. There are ambushes and traps and mazes and secret passageways. Most shooters today just funnel you forward, which is fine, but I very much enjoyed hunting for keys and trying to remember where a particular locked door was when I found them.

I am a sick, sick man.

What follows is a lot of uninformed speculation about the industry. Ignore it at no risk.

Ubisoft just pushed Splinter Cell: Conviction and Red Steel 2 into 2010. I remember thinking that Microsoft was talking too much about 2010 and not enough about 2009 in their press conference. Apparently that's because nothing's coming out this year.

I can understand shooters wanting to run in fear from Modern Warfare 2. But so many non-FPS games are delaying that it seems like the industry thinks it can delay its way out of the depression.

The following is not an exhaustive list. These are just some games I've been paying attention to.

Games Delayed Until 2010
Splinter Cell: Conviction
Red Steel 2 (I guess I will be looking for this one at PAX)
Bioshock 2
Heavy Rain (to avoid a "crowded" xmas season, hurr durr)
StarCraft 2 (but that's just how Blizzard works)
Mafia 2
Max Payne 3
Red Dead Redemption

Games Not Delayed Until 2010
Modern Warfare 2
Halo: ODST
BrĂ¼tal Legend
God of War 3
Uncharted 2
Ratchet & Clank 6

Out of all the delayed games I think only Singularity, being an FPS and a new IP without an easily sold hook, needed the delay to avoid being crushed by Modern Warfare and Halo. Maybe Bayonetta and Red Steel 2 thought they were competing with God of War 3? I don't know.

But nothing's like Heavy Rain. And nothing's like BioShock (aesthetically, anyway). And the only western themed game that might be stealing market share from Red Dead Redemption released weeks ago.

Perhaps I don't know enough about the financial realities. Maybe trying to wait out the depression is a good strategy (even if everybody else is doing it). We've certainly hit diminishing returns with graphics this console generation, so it's not like these games will look horribly outdated when they release.

Anyway, if gamers are lucky, the extra time will be used to polish these games and make 2010 an outstanding year. We'll see. People got stressed about holiday 2008 having too many good games for the average gamer to play everything they wanted to. I think 2010 may also have that feeling but starting in March instead of October.

27 July, 2009

Game Journal: Fallout 3

written by Blain Newport on Sunday, July 26, 2009


I'd explored the southwest and the northwest, so now it was time to explore the west west. The first stop was Girdershade. It turned out to be two shacks under the remnants of a collapsed freeway. In one shack was Sierra.

She was a bit of a Nuka-Cola fanatic. This is her giving me the tour. I don't remember any of it now, but I tried to pay attention to names and dates in case there was a test at the end. :P She wanted me to get her enough Nuka-Cola Quantum to fill her soda machine, which was a lot. She also told me drinking it makes your pee glow in the dark. I was glad I hadn't been drinking it and would soon have enough to fill her request.

In the other shack was a guy named Ronald. Sierra said he'd protected her from bandits, Lug-Nut in particular, if I recall. Ronald offered to pay me more money for the Quantum so he could give it to Sierra and be her hero. But I was confused. Grady had The Naughty Nighty at some point and was trying to get it to Girdershade. Lug-Nut and associates had killed him and would have killed me to get their hands on the nighty. And Ronald seemed to have some connection to Lug-Nut as well. It seemed like there were a lot of men interested in Sierra.

I wasn't one of them. When Sierra and Ronald warned me about a raider camp in a nearby train yard, that seemed more my speed. I dismantled the raider's booby traps and the raiders. But when I freed the slaves they'd been keeping, the slaves just stood around doing nothing. They didn't have anywhere to go. So it was time to go back to the National Mall. Hannibal (leader of The Temple of the Union) had asked me to go clear out the super mutants who had taken over the Lincoln Memorial. But they were already dead, and the place was full of slavers.

I killed all the slavers, then fast traveled to The Temple of the Union to tell Hannibal. He told all his people and they got started. I fast traveled back to the memorial and went about disarming all the booby traps the slavers had installed. It took a long time, but when the sun came up and I looked across the reflecting pool it felt like I had made a better day for some people who needed it.

I waited around for a while, but Hannibal didn't show. So I fast traveled back to the raider camp. The slaves still wouldn't budge.

I decided I'd done my part and would pick up the slave quest stuff after some more exploring.

Next Time: A Needle in the Wasteland

26 July, 2009

Game Journal: Fallout 3

written by Blain Newport on Saturday, July 25, 2009


I left Rivet City and went underground. Because of all the rubble in the streets, the only way to get around downtown D.C. is in the semi-collapsed subway tunnels. I killed a lot of feral ghouls and raiders and eventually made it it to the National Mall. It was a big open area that the super mutants had fortified with trenches. So I just ducked into the museum of history. The ghouls I'd met wandering the wasteland said there was a ghoul settlement there.

It's not most people's idea of hospitable, but if you look like a ghoul, maybe it's more comforting. There was a section of the museum the ferals had taken over that I spent some time clearing out. There was some Lincoln paraphernalia there. I figured the Temple of the Union folks might want it, so I gathered up what I could find.

Then I went into Underworld. There really wasn't much to do there. There's a guy in Megaton who was paying money for scrap metal. There's someone in Underworld who will trade stimpacks for scrap metal at a slightly better ratio. Meh.

Between Rivet City and the subways and the museum, I'd spent enough time indoors. It was time to get away.

I'd spent enough time in the southwest, so I headed to the northwest. It's... gray. There were a fair amount of robots around. I'm not big on fighting robots. Maybe if I was big into energy weapons they'd be less trouble. But it takes a lot of conventional fire to down a robot.

I checked out the satcom installation. I don't remember it containing anything of interest. More interesting, from a historical perspective, was a truck on the freeway with a pile of skeletons in the back. A note nearby gave a list of Chinese names. The US had started up internment camps again. Sigh.

Talon Company had forgotten about me. They were staking out some random power station in the middle of nowhere. This was when I discovered that they were psychic. They were alerted to my presence through solid stone when I wasn't moving. I also discovered something much more interesting.

Tenpenny had sent them. I wasn't ready to leave the northwest just yet. I was enjoying climbing around to places I wasn't supposed to go too much. I spent a couple hours climbing around, eventually getting to the furthest northwest point on the entire map. And as I stood there, looking back over the giant grey expanse, I felt ready. I hit my map and fast traveled across the world to Tenpenny Towers.

He and I would have words.

It was surprisingly easy to get to the penthouse and fast talk the guard into letting me see the boss. His entryway was suitably opulent. The man had an indoor garden with flowers. By Fallout 3 standards, that's opulence.

I was a jumble of thoughts. Part of me was working out how I would get out of the tower after murdering Tenpenny. Part of me was resenting how much wealth and standing his corruption had bought him. And part of me was wondering what he would say to the man who's murder he'd ordered.

This was not what I was expecting. He was disarmingly cordial. I guess guys with assault rifles and hockey masks are pretty common in the wastes. He didn't seem the least bit afraid, despite having no soldiers close enough to assist him. And none of my conversation options were hostile at all, rude maybe, but not hostile. Tenpenny even said he'd be willing to let Roy and his friends move in if I could convince the other tenants to agree to it.

A sudden twinge of memory and conscience sent me back to my Pip Boy notes. If you read that Talon Company order again, you'll realize that Tenpenny's name is simply invoked. The order is signed "-B".


Tenpenny might be an evil man. But he didn't seem to be. And Fallout 3 was generally pretty good about giving me clues when people weren't to be trusted.

No. This was Burke. He'd killed Lucas Simms (the sheriff of Megaton), and he had sent Talon Company after me. I would make a concerted effort to get my lock picking skill up to 100 so I could break into his Megaton home. There would be a reckoning.

Next Time: an odd side trip and back to the Mall

25 July, 2009

Game Journal: Fallout 3

written by Blain Newport on Friday, July 24, 2009


In case you didn't get the reference (fetus), the last "Next Time" was a lyric from an old song. Here's the full lyric.

When you're alone
And life is making you lonely
You can always go

I'd wandered the wasteland for a while. I'd been picking around in the outskirts for a while. It turned out Super Mutants weren't quite as threatening as I'd heard. It was time to start a concerted effort to get to historic downtown Washington D.C.

The main problem was that there weren't so many ways to get there. Well, I could swim the Potomac, but why go bathing in radiation if you don't have to? So I found a bridge. Well, I found two bridges, but the first was covered in landmines and took me to an island covered in Mirelurks. Nevermind!

The second went to part of D.C. proper, but so many roads were full of collapsed building that it was very difficult to get around. I was basically still wandering the banks of the river, looking for a way in. And while I was looking, I found this place.

I believe the word is "Hoobawah?" The guy's name is Dukov. There are signs all around his place saying to holster your weapon or be shot. Talking to him and his harem, apparently he's got his one building kingdom of debauchery. (Just look at all the empty whisky bottles on the pool table.) One of the women likes him. One thinks he's a pig but doesn't have any other options. They were all more or less consenting adults in no danger, so I left them alone.

I turned around and went along the coast the other direction, past the Jefferson Memorial, and eventually made it to Rivet City.

Yep. It's a city in an old aircraft carrier.

Pretty sturdy. Pretty defensible. And it was full of a lot of people. And when there are a lot of people around, there are a lot of quests.

I met Bryan Wilks relative. She runs a hotel, so she had plenty of room and was happy to take him in. I fast traveled back and told him, and that was that. I patted myself on the head for being a good guy. :P

Back in Rivet City, some jerk in a suit wanted me to track down an android for him. So apparently that recording I found in Tenpenny Towers wasn't just fluff. I asked around and found out that the android had a mind wipe and facial reconstruction. He didn't even know he was an android anymore. Someone who had helped set him up in his new identity asked me to lie to the jerk and gave me a part of the android to deliver as proof. I did so and felt like I had almost certainly done the right thing. I still had the option to track down the android and tell him the truth, but that seemed unhelpful and potentially dangerous, so I left it alone.

Fallout 3 is one of the few games that doesn't feel purely Pavlovian: do a task; get a treat. I can understand why some people would find that confusing or less compelling than a predictable reward structure, but even though I found out later that there was a reward for finding the android and telling him, I was glad I did it my way.

On a somewhat related subject, it turned out my father had been to Rivet City.

This is Doctor Li. She saw my father recently. She said he went to the Jefferson Memorial. I don't know exactly how much of the main quest I skipped, but my old quest went poof, and I got a new one.

But I don't really care. He left me to die. I'm not really interested in a reunion. Let's go the the (National) Mall.

Next Time: Those who cannot learn from history...

24 July, 2009

Keepalive: Blood, The Specialists,

written by Blain Newport on Friday, July 24, 2009


I took the first step towards starting a video walkthrough of Blood. Unfortunately I can't record, either using Fraps or DosBox's own video output function, without the frame rate going to crap. The idea that I may need to get a video capture device so that I can play on my mothballed WinME machine and record it on my proper machine kind of hurts my head. Plus every time I go to New Egg and look up consumer level capture devices, half of them are DVRs with tuners, which means a lot of functionality and cost I don't need, or they're simple S-video to USB converters that many users seem pretty lukewarm on.

Plus adding voice on top of everything would be a manual process, which means more work and more room for mistakes. I asked a guy on the PA boards who records console games about his setup, and it sounded like many of my worst fears. I don't think there's a good solution.

I played a bit of The Specialists with a guy who likes my YouTube videos. The few people who still play that game are either overly good or using lots of scripts / cheating. But, as long as I didn't mind getting killed a lot, it was fun.

He's huge into Half-Life and Half-Life 2 mods. He's also very young, so his enthusiasm for them is much greater than mine. Ah well. It's good to have someone push you into experiencing new things sometimes.

Tonight is the mini-LAN. 8PM to midnight. I'm guessing Nations @ War since the kids will be playing and that's the main thing they play.

23 July, 2009

Game Journal: Fallout 3

written by Blain Newport on Wednesday, July 22, 2009


The person has spoken. On to Science and Industry.

After concluding The Great Migration and settling down in Grayditch, I figured I should explore the are a bit more. Going south I went by a tricycle factory (yawn) but stopped dead at the following building.

Nuka-Cola is pretty valuable as it's healing to radiation content is very high. And the glow in the dark variety (Nuka-Cola Quantum) is a spiffy energy drink. This would be a good place to loot. Unfortunately it was infested with Mirelurks (crab men). And when a Mirelurk fills up on Quantum, it's bad times.

It's a bit hard to see, but their joints glow in the dark. And they are a pain. At first I thought they breathed fire, too. But I think I just fired my gun too close to a broken gas line. My bad. :P After killing the guard robots and Nukalurks I had a good supply of cola, which I dutifully squirreled away. It would come in handy.

After seeing how much loot the Nuka-Cola plant had turned up, I felt obliged to double back and check out the tricycle plant. Well, it was partly the allure of loot, and partly just to find out why the heck they'd put a tricycle plant in the game.

The main floor was full of feral ghouls, no big deal. Then I killed one and suddenly heard the distinctive chirp of a landmine preparing to detonate. I backpedaled furiously, then stopped. Nothing happened. This happened a couple more times before I caught on.

The ghoul's heads were exploding when they were killed. That made no sense. Feral ghouls can't know anything valuable, and they aren't smart enough to be controlled through fear. Who would bother with such a dangerous procedure?

Super Mutants

Well, normal super mutants wouldn't. They're idiots. But after discovering that super mutants aren't that much harder to kill than Raiders, I found the main lab.

In it was a special super mutant. He wasn't big, just green. And he wore a surgical outfit. He also carried a missile launcher, but luckily I didn't even know that until I was looting his corpse after a stealth kill. His name was The Surgeon. I don't know exactly what he was up to. My hacking skill wasn't good enough. (I should probably go back and find out.) But whatever it was, it was good that it had been stopped. I'd heard some stories that super mutants didn't kill people outright when they could just drag them away. Was The Surgeon turning them into super mutants? If so, I had done a very good thing exploring the tricycle plant and shutting that operation down.

Next time: When you're alone and life is making you lonely...

22 July, 2009

Keepalive: Fallout 3, Devil Kings, Mark of the Kasai, Champions of Norrath

written by Blain Newport on Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Even at the pace I've been going at, there is too much Fallout 3 to cover. I probably played over a hundred and twenty hours. And I still haven't finished the game (although I think I'm at the last mission). How do you feel about it? Are these worth reading? I feel like I'm losing my enthusiasm because it was more fun to play than it is to write up, especially since these were things that happened well over a week ago. It's like writing a book report.

I picked up some used weirdness at the local Game Crazy to check out. Devil Kings was Capcom's answer to Dynasty Warriors, a game where you are a super powerful general in an ancient battle. You run around capturing objectives, killing enemy generals, and mopping up literally hundreds of weak enemy troops. At the end of the day, Dynasty Warriors wasn't really a question that deserved an answer. I'll probably finish the game once on easy and never look at it again.

I also picked up Rise of the Kasai, the prequel to Mark of Kri. Mark of Kri got to be kind of a grind near the end, and the fighting never gave me those special opportunities that make me feel like I'm doing something clever and kicking butt. The art style is nice, as is the storytelling. But the prequel hasn't improved enough that I can see myself finishing it. Meh. It was $5.

Last, but not least, I picked up Champions of Norrath for Co-op Tuesdays. It's technically an Everquest game. But it's basically Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance in a different setting. It's actually a fairly difficult game in the early stages. You can die really fast, and my cleric can't even heal yet. But at least it's worth wearing armor, so Chris doesn't have to put up with my character running around in skivvies like Wayne did. This is doubly good as I'm playing a guy this time. :)

For those who don't get the reference, it's basically a dungeon crawl / hack and slash. You beat up monsters that drop good loot you use to beat up bigger monsters who drop bigger loot. It's a simple treadmill that fills the need to feel progress, even if it's illusory.

21 July, 2009

Game Journal: Fallout 3

written by Blain Newport on Monday, July 20, 2009


First, a quick recap. My dad ran away from Vault 101. The overseer tried to have me killed, so I returned the favor and set off on my own. I went to Megaton, the town built around a bomb. A man in white (Burke) asked me to detonate the bomb and destroy the town, and when I told the Sheriff, murdered him. Unable to pursue vigilante justice, I tried to get to Minefield to conduct research for Moira, but almost got blown up by raider grenades and diverted to Canterbury Commons, where a superhero battle was in progress. I killed the super villain and went to Minefield, where a crazy old sniper tried to kill me. I completed the mission and went exploring in the south where I found bigots, ghouls, a haunted building, and a Vault full of murderous crazies. Oh, and someone hired mercs to kill me.

It's a rich full life.

And despite how jaded this should have made me, this request still got to me.

Bryan lives in Grayditch, which had been taken over by fire breathing giant ants. Yeah. Normal giant ants weren't bad enough. :P It turns out his next door neighbor was a loopy scientist who was trying to reduce the dangerous ants to their previous size and only succeeded in making them more dangerous.

If I was going to go after fire breathing giant ants, it was time to gear up.

I'd have to thank whoever sicced Talon Company on me. I'd killed six mercs so far. And they have much better armor than raiders. They also carry better guns, so I upgraded from my hunting rifle to an assault rifle.

Of course no equipment could have prepared me for The Naughty Nighty. I was exploring the abandoned subway tunnels, killing ants, and I found the recording from some guy named Grady. He said he'd hidden something important because he was being chased and would likely be killed. He gave directions to a stash which contained a safe. Inside the safe was The Naughty Nighty. As soon as I picked it up, some guy named Lug-Nut tried to bum rush me. Unfortunately for him, I was paranoid about giant ants and had mined the entrance to the stash behind me. I can only assume he was one of the people who killed Grady.

According to the note, I was supposed to take the Nighty to some place called Girdershade, but I didn't have time to sort all that out. I had ants to kill.

I killed all the ants except for the queen. The crazy scientist had asked me not to. I'm not sure why I honored his request. In fact, I'm not even sure I should have left the crazy scientist alive. He didn't seem at all remorseful about killing a boy's father, or killing the family across the street. But as dangerous as he was, he was vaguely well intentioned, which made him an angel compared to Burke and Talon Company.

But Bryan Wilks still had no father, and it wasn't time for me to travel to Rivet City, where he said he had relatives waiting. So I did the next best thing and moved in across the street, in what will henceforth be referred to as The Great Migration.

I mentioned I was a pack rat, right?

That's over a ton and a half of gear that needed moving from my safe in Springvale to the Brandice home in Grayditch. I fast traveled a few times, but quickly realized it would take forever.

So what did I do? I conducted an experiment. I used the Take All command to pick up the remaining ton plus of gear and walked. It was incredibly slow going. I almost got spotted by raiders along the way. And when I finally made it back to Grayditch a raider materialized out of nowhere. I immediately jumped into VATS and shot him, but I failed to kill him. Because he was afraid of more shooting or because he was somehow aware that I was carrying a ton of gear, some of it quite lethal, he ran off. Those last ten meters or so, slowly walking towards the door were very stressful. Would he come back? Would he throw grenades I couldn't possibly dodge? Luckily he kept running long enough for me to duck inside. Unlike other games, bad guys can follow you through loading boundaries, but he didn't, and all was well.

The Great Migration

All was better than well. William Brandice (who had been killed by the giant fire ants) had left me a very nice place to call home. There was a fast travel point right out front. There was a bed and three storage containers upstairs. And there were two additional storage containers downstairs. I organized my gear into armor, armaments, and everything else. And even though I knew it likely wouldn't matter to the game logic, I could feel like I was keeping an eye on Bryan Wilks.

Next Week: Science and Industry

20 July, 2009

Game Journal: Fallout 3

written by Blain Newport on Sunday, July 19, 2009


This is the Dunwich Building. Lovecraft readers will recognize the name. Journeying through the building, you find recordings of someone who, while searching for a lost companion, is going slowly insane. It's creepy, as were the feral ghouls that filled the building. But by this point, I was creepier.

No more friendly security guard helmet. Now it's crazy slasher movie hockey mask. There's a lot of different head gear in the game, but the hockey mask never degrades, so I don't have to think about it.

After clearing out Dunwich, I kept exploring and found another Vault (Vault 106). This was exciting. I might meet other people like me!

Ooh. I probably wouldn't have responded too well to some armed guy in a hockey mask knocking on the door.

I only had one change of clothes on me, and they were still kind of unsettling, but I figured they were less likely to get me shot. And as it turned out, my garb was actually too appropriate.

Blood stains. Something's very wrong here. As I moved through 106, I read computer records indicating that Vault Tec had decided to test some sort of airborne chemical on the poor souls down here. Eventually I came into contact with some of them. VATS named them Insane Survivors. They tried to attack me with bats and knives. I shot them. And I felt pretty good about wearing my environment suit. I was protected.

Then everything turned blue.

Yeah. I guess the designers never accounted for anyone wearing an environment suit. So I was going crazy too. In the end, the solution was just to kill everyone, which was a little disappointing. But the part where I hallucinated that the punks that bullied me back in Vault 101 were attacking me and I got to shoot them was entertainingly bizarre.

I always made sure to let enemies attack and damage me before shooting them. I had a horrible premonition that I might snap out of a blue episode and discover I'd killed an innocent. My overthinking made this section of the game much more interesting than it actually was.

Next time: Nesting Instinct