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Default Fallout 3 - Game Informer Unlimited Summary @ NMA

June 20th, 2007, 04:32
Game Informer has released some exclusive Fallout 3 content through their subscriber-only Unlimited system but, fortunately, NMA has a handful of key quotes and a summary of a video interview with Todd Howard and lead artist Istvan Pely.
The first part is reader questions answered by Game Informer's Matt Miller:
Q: Is the game turn based or real time?
AND
How’s the V.A.T.S. combat system work again?

A: I talk about this a good bit in the July magazine article, but to be clear, Fallout 3 plays in both real time and a paused tactical combat mode. It’s not really turn based, however. Instead, you can pause the real-time action in order to make aimed ranged or melee attacks on your opponents, smashing their legs to slow them down, or perhaps shooting an arm to hurt their weapon aim. Like in the original Fallout games, doing these aimed shots take action points, but since there are no turns, those AP recharge over time after unpausing the game. You can shoot in real time, but that will then slow your recharge rate. In practice, this means players have the option to play the game very much like an RPG, but with a good bit more action than traditional RPGs. Are there other details to the way this system works? Almost definitely, yes. Do we know all the answers to how V.A.T.S. works after seeing it in one demo? No. We’re waiting just like you to find out more.
…and one more:
Q: Can you play the game without doing any combat?
A: I never got a hard and fast answer on this point, though I did ask the development team about it. On a general level, they did say that they’re trying to build multiple solutions into almost any quest or situation you encounter, and that using stealth and diplomacy were very useable routes to overcome different obstacles. Whether you’ll be able to play through the whole game without committing any violence is a point they’re still hammering out, to my memory.
Head over for a couple more including some details on the camera and the video interview summary.
More information.

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June 20th, 2007, 04:32
I thought the more important quote was this one;
Q: Is this another Oblivion but with a Fallout theme?
A: In short: no. Sure, Fallout 3 plays primarily from a first-person perspective like Oblivion, and conversations with NPCs use a similar style of dialogue tree, but combat, questing, character creation and most importantly the tone and style of the gameplay shares more in common with Fallout 1 and 2 than Oblivion.
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June 20th, 2007, 05:31
Eh, I'm stuck on the VATS thing and I didn't want to steal all your stuff.

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June 20th, 2007, 05:37
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Eh, I'm stuck on the VATS thing and I didn't want to steal all your stuff.
Do you understand how VATS works now?

Straight-up RTwP, baby!
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June 20th, 2007, 05:37
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
but combat, questing, character creation and most importantly the tone and style of the gameplay shares more in common with Fallout 1 and 2 than Oblivion.
Given what we already know, I also don't see how they can claim the two things that I've bolded.

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June 20th, 2007, 06:42
The VATS seems a bit strange but to be fair it will have to be experienced before one can pass judgment.

conversations with NPCs use a similar style of dialogue tree
Oh God, I hope they don't include any asinine minigames.
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June 20th, 2007, 07:35
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
Do you understand how VATS works now?

Straight-up RTwP, baby!
Errrrr, no it's not. In the VATS system action can actually occur while the game is paused, you do not have to unpause the game to see the result.

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June 20th, 2007, 08:19
I don't get the bit about the "style of dialog tree." A dialog tree is a dialog tree, right? You pick a line from a list, you get a reply. What's special about the dialog trees in Oblivion or Fallout? (Other than the dumb-ass minigame in Oblivion, of course, but I doubt that's what he meant.)
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June 20th, 2007, 09:06
Most of Fallout's NPCs couldn't be engaged in conversation. You'd click on them and a few words of dialog would appear over their heads. Most of the rest - anyone with a name, I think - had a unique dialog tree. You'd choose from fully-written lines of dialog, and you'd get unique responses to your choices. Those trees could be several levels deep.

All of Oblivion's thousand-odd NPCs behaved the same way. You'd open conversation, hear their preamble, and be presented with a short list of keywords. You'd hear the same line, often in the same voice, from everyone in a town except the quest giver. You were almost never presented with a second level of choices, and you could probably count the number of meaningful choices in the entire game on the fingers of one hand.

They've (repeatedly) promised more choices in FO3. So… keywords? Generic dialog from filler characters? "Rumors"?

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June 20th, 2007, 09:12
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
I don't get the bit about the "style of dialog tree." A dialog tree is a dialog tree, right? You pick a line from a list, you get a reply. What's special about the dialog trees in Oblivion or Fallout? (Other than the dumb-ass minigame in Oblivion, of course, but I doubt that's what he meant.)
Both Oblivion and Morrowind (unlike the Fallout dialog trees) contain almost no actual dialog, since you just choose a one word topic, and then the NPC:s launch a monologue on the subject.
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June 20th, 2007, 10:56
Ultima had single word or small phrase dialogue choices. The presentation doesn't matter so much as long as the actual writing is good and there are, as they claim choices and consequences.

Whether there should be topics or dialogue lines is a design choice. Dialogue lines imprint character onto the PC which is all well and good but what if it doesn't fit the role you're playing? Topics on the other hand leave it to your imagination.

Of course Beth probably use topics to save them writing more than they have to!
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June 20th, 2007, 10:59
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
Errrrr, no it's not. In the VATS system action can actually occur while the game is paused, you do not have to unpause the game to see the result.
OK, step me through it. A supermutant appears and I hit the VATS button. What happens to my character and the mutant? What happens when the APs run out?

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June 20th, 2007, 11:09
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
OK, step me through it. A supermutant appears and I hit the VATS button. What happens to my character and the mutant? What happens when the APs run out?
If you have 10 action points and a shot takes 5 action points you can take 2 shots while the game is paused, possibly killing one or more opponents. The only thing I am not sure about is does the enemy get attacks as you use action points or not? At this point I am assuming they do not get attacks until the VATS system finishes.

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June 20th, 2007, 11:33
That sounds like RTwP to me - or very close to it.

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June 20th, 2007, 12:04
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
That sounds like RTwP to me - or very close to it.
No, because it real time with pause you can only queue commands that will be acted once the pause finishes. In this you can actually do stuff, i.e. use stimpaks, shoot, move etc etc

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June 20th, 2007, 12:34
Originally Posted by KazikluBey View Post
Both Oblivion and Morrowind (unlike the Fallout dialog trees) contain almost no actual dialog, since you just choose a one word topic, and then the NPC:s launch a monologue on the subject.
Right, there is that — not WYSIWYS(ay). Still, even this can be done well or badly; maybe I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but in Butcher Bay this was done well. For example, you might have:

"For a hundred bucks I'll distract the guards while you're on the rafters."
> Yes
> No

Pick "No" and Riddick says "I work alone."

IOW, I don't see anything inherently wrong with either approach; my problem with Oblivion's dialog was that it was so utterly and completely soulless and boring and awful.
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June 20th, 2007, 12:52
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Right, there is that — not WYSIWYS(ay). Still, even this can be done well or badly; maybe I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but in Butcher Bay this was done well. For example, you might have:

"For a hundred bucks I'll distract the guards while you're on the rafters."
> Yes
> No

Pick "No" and Riddick says "I work alone."

IOW, I don't see anything inherently wrong with either approach; my problem with Oblivion's dialog was that it was so utterly and completely soulless and boring and awful.
It can be done better or worse, but you can never get subtle differences without fully written dialogue. And that was a big part of Fallout dialogue. that would be my #1 worry right now. "In principle" the dialogue mechanics in Oblivion (and Morrowind) allow for reasonably complex dialogue trees (including detailed NPC questions), so it really depends how they use it. But just mentioning it uses the same style as Oblivion is making all alarms go off. Just having topics to pick would be a poor quality of dialogue for a Fallout game.
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June 20th, 2007, 14:31
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
"For a hundred bucks I'll distract the guards while you're on the rafters."
> Yes
> No
Right - the Oblivion equivalents would be either:

"For a hundred bucks I'll distract the guards while you're on the rafters."
> Yes
> Make this my current quest

Or

"The person offers to distract the guards while you're on the rafters for a hundred bucks. While you prefer to work alone you see the wisdom in his offer and accept."

— Mike
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June 20th, 2007, 16:20
Different dialogues could change quest outcomes in Oblivion in a few of the quests. One example is in a quest where a mage has cast a powerful invisibilty spell. The fallout from the spell affected a nearby village. The mage is friendly and will give you a scroll to release the invisibility. However, if you act interested in his experiments and studies, he'll give you a ring that will protect you from a negative backlash of the remove invisibilty spell.
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June 20th, 2007, 18:09
Originally Posted by abbaon View Post
All of Oblivion's thousand-odd NPCs behaved the same way. You'd open conversation, hear their preamble, and be presented with a short list of keywords. You'd hear the same line, often in the same voice, from everyone in a town except the quest giver. You were almost never presented with a second level of choices, and you could probably count the number of meaningful choices in the entire game on the fingers of one hand.

They've (repeatedly) promised more choices in FO3. So… keywords? Generic dialog from filler characters? "Rumors"?
What it means when he refers to a dialog tree is that dialog uses a list of questions for each answer. It has nothing to do with the content of those questions or how they are written. Granted if they made the dialog content like Oblivion it would be a disaster for them. This answer was a very bad choice of words from the guy who wrote the article.
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