Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas – why I love them

I read a review yesterday for the new DLC pack for Fallout: New Vegas called Honest Hearts.  To be fair, I didn’t read the whole review, I read a summary which basically suggested Honest Hearts wasn’t that great and that the quests were mostly fetch and collect stuff.  Compared to Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, that seemed out of place since the developers do a good job of disguising the quests so they don’t feel like ‘go here, fetch that’.

It got me thinking though.  What was it that I enjoyed most in the two Fallout games I’ve played (I never really played 1 and 2)?  After thinking about it, I believe the reviewer of Honest Hearts missed the point.  The quests aren’t what make Fallout 3 and New Vegas the games they are, it’s the side stories.

When I first played Fallout 3 on the PS3 I was blown away by the depth and richness of the world.  I came from an MMO background really, in terms of computer RPG’s, so I was expecting lots of little quests tied together, but the main one in Fallout 3 is actually quite simple.  Essentially it’s, ‘go to a small number of locations, find evidence of your father, piece together the story, and then make a decision at the end which finishes the game’.  But doing that took ages, because I was constantly dragged into the side quests.  The side quests are great, but even they aren’t what make the game essentially unforgettable, it’s the non-quest driven side stories.

Finding a vault, searching it, and finding journal entries, or computer logs, or snippets of information and putting together what happened in the war, or just after, or what happened in that vault to one or two people, or the entire population.  Finding a house in the middle of nowhere with some tiny piece of information about the owner, often sad, poignant, a reflection on what the Fallout world had become before the war, or the struggle that followed.  That was what made the game great.  Learning about the world, learning about the history.  Not having it given to you on a plate or purely in voice overs, but honest discovery.  If you just did the main quest, you’d miss it.  You had to go looking, had to go digging, open every box, check every terminal.  Find out of the way locations, en route to nowhere, and delve into their history.

Slowly, the sinister truth about the vaults became clear, and the heartache of a world destroyed came into focus.

I was initially disappointed with Fallout: New Vegas, it felt a little too civilised for me, I wanted more of the blasted world of Fallout 3.  Despite myself, I found it growing on me though, and eventually I bought into the story.  Sadly, constant crashes on the PS3 version meant I stuck to the main quest, did as little as necessary to complete the story and got through it more as a chore than a game.  But I recently re-bought it on the 360 (still in pocket after purchase, re-sale, and cheap re-purchase), and thanks to fewer crashes (3 in 80 hours, plus 2 almost-game-breaking bugs) I’m taking the time to go everywhere, search everything, do every quest, explore every vault.

The stories are still there.  The vault where people were basically driven insane so they could be researched, the vault in which people had to sacrifice one person every year to stay alive, the vault with too many people and an unlocked armoury.  In those locations you learn the back story by piecing it together, yourself, from journals and terminals.  You don’t need to, nothing in the main quests requires it.  You may need to go to the vault, but you can find what you need by just following the arrow – if you’re interested, if you want to find out, it’s there for you to find.

The writing is superb – I feel like I was there during the last moments of the lives of those vault dwellers, because the game authors take so much time to craft the words.

I picked up Honest Hearts and played through it in a weekend.  It’s a new location, rocky and hard to navigate, there aren’t many different enemies, and the story feels a tiny bit contrived.  But there’s an underlying story of loss, heartache, suffering and then optimism if you want to go looking for it.  Not only that, but there are little teasers of connection to the Mojave wasteland and vaults you’ve already been to.  While I was running around doing the collection quests, I was also searching every inch of caves for some sign of an old hunter who lived in the region and who documented his story on his computer terminals.  That story takes us from the war through his survival, and the slow regeneration of the land, including the first signs of new creatures that Fallout 3 players will know well.

It was fascinating, sad and heart wrenching, and as well written as anything else in the Fallout universe, but if you didn’t go looking for it, you might never find it.

None of this needs to be there.  The developers could just stick the same vault design in the ground, fill it with ghouls and leave it at that.  They don’t have to write these stories, they don’t have to populate the vaults or the buildings or the caves with history and sadness.  Quite a few gamers wouldn’t even notice, certainly not the people who brag about completing Fallout: New Vegas in 7 hours.  I’ve been playing it for 80 hours and I’ve only scratched the surface of the main quest.  I’m pleased they take the time to include this content, I’m grateful the development team get the time from their management and the people funding the game, it’s what makes them worth buying.

You can make me collect as many broken radios as you want, as long as when I get to the building they’re in, I can spend time learning about the world, the people who are or used to be in it, and hearing their stories.

(Oh, it would be nice if it didn’t crash too)

Simple eggdrop script – random quotes

Simple eggdrop tcl script to return random movie quotes from a file. I haven’t fully tested this, it’s partially copied from a working script with some stuff removed that isn’t necessary.  Posted because someone was asking how it worked in the IRC channel.

[sourcecode language=”shell”]
#create the bind to allow the !movie (and aliases) to get a quote
bind pub – "!movie" myscript::quotes::movie
bind pub – "!film" myscript::quotes::movie
bind pub – "!quote" myscript::quotes::movie

namespace eval myscript {

variable version "0.4"

# file with the quotes, must be in the same directory as the script
variable quotefile "quotes.txt"

proc randline {file} {
if {[catch {open scripts/$file r} fs]} {
putlog "Failed to open scripts/$file"
return ""
} else {
variable data [read -nonewline $fs]
close $fs
variable data [split $data \n]
return [lindex $data [rand [llength $data]]]

namespace eval quotes {
proc movie {nick uhost hand chan text} {
variable aquote [myscript::randline $myscript::quotefile]
puthelp "privmsg $chan :$myscript::quotes::aquote"
return 0

putlog "Loaded: MyScript v$myscript::version"

Confessions of a Raid Leader – Foul!

Previous Confessions [Part 1] [Part 2]

Being an EverQuest raid leader is a position of responsibility. Sure, it’s not on the same scale as school teacher, police officer or children’s TV presenter, but it should not be taken lightly. As a raid leader your actions and language should be an example to those you lead. Raiders are of all ages and backgrounds, ethnically and religiously diverse and you should always take care to be courteous.

Choice of words therefore is critical. I would strongly advocate never swearing.

Unless absolutely necessary.

Such as in the following situations.

Readers of a nervous disposition or delicate nature should stop reading now (also, if you’re under 18 you should seek your parent or guardian’s permission before reading, or check with your local wizard).

Polite Instructions

[Sat Jul 30 23:38:48 2005] You tell your raid, 'I remind you ALL to read the fucking charter before raiding with us'
[Sat Oct 01 23:32:56 2005] You tell your raid, 'when people then leave afterwards it really fucks us over'
[Sat Sep 09 23:15:27 2006] You tell your raid, 'patience folks please - keep an eye out for trash - welcome to why people don't fucking farm ikkinz 3'
[Sat Feb 09 21:07:03 2008] You tell your raid, 'but whle they are clicking you can't click otherwise it fucks the order up'

Gentle Planning

[Sat Jun 25 23:37:59 2005] You tell your raid, 'we never know if we should do this tower first or last, it's always a fucking pain'
[Sat Nov 05 21:36:26 2005] You tell your raid, 'then we give it 5 seconds and then i'll call assist and you come over push him onto us and burn the fucker'
[Sat Jan 07 23:27:46 2006] You tell your raid, 'ok mob has a nasty AE, hits for 3-4k, single target rampages, and memblurs all the fucking time'
[Sat Mar 18 21:37:10 2006] You tell your raid, 'if we stay near where we zone in, it's 2, if we stray it's 4, if we stray badly it's 6, if we fuck up it's 6 + Sol Ro'
[Sat Feb 25 21:55:43 2006] You tell your raid, 'the trash is fucking annoying and snares, roots, etc.'
[Sat Apr 22 22:12:00 2006] You tell your raid, 'but let's not forget, he probably hits like a fucking truck'
[Sat May 20 21:13:23 2006] You tell your raid, 'it's fucking chaotic, we just need to try and survive'
[Sat May 27 20:42:15 2006] You tell your raid, 'this is a revenge match - i hate this little fucker'
[Thu Sep 07 20:16:48 2006] You tell your raid, 'so let's not fuck about with it once we're inside'
[Thu Sep 07 22:38:09 2006] You tell your raid, 'we kill the mob to 90% while he's beating the fuck out of us'
[Sun Sep 10 00:26:06 2006] You tell your raid, 'we will 1. kill him once with extreme fucking prejudice'
[Sun Sep 10 01:08:30 2006] You tell your raid, 'top game from everyone folks, we give Derg 5 seconds and then we rush the fucker'
[Sat Feb 03 23:04:28 2007] You tell your raid, 'they both have fucking horrible AE's'
[Sat May 21 20:38:49 2005] You tell your raid, 'and from 90% you go full burn and nuke the fucker into the ground without mercy'

Courteous Announcement of Adds

[Sat Sep 08 22:56:13 2007] You tell your raid, 'GHOSTS IN THE FUCKING RAID'
[Sat Jan 07 22:08:43 2006] You tell your raid, 'Adds in the clerics fucking kite them '
[Sat Aug 09 22:01:04 2008] You tell your raid, 'Kill that fucking orc PLEASE'

Calm Apology

[Sat Jul 30 23:43:30 2005] You tell your raid, 'ok we will need to re-clear and then redo this - sorry for the fuckup'

Relaxed Information Gathering

[Sat Aug 26 22:19:13 2006] You tell your raid, 'who's not in the fucking zone?'

Clear and Concise Orders

[Sat Sep 17 20:58:06 2005] You tell your raid, 'GET THE FUCK OFF THAT TREE'
[Sat Oct 15 22:19:00 2005] You tell your raid, 'get the fuck off this mob until i call assist NOW'
[Sat Jan 07 22:07:27 2006] You tell your raid, 'FUCKING NAIL HIM'
[Sat Dec 03 20:32:12 2005] You tell your raid, 'Ok, I won't ask again - you will all move back behind me NOW and you still NOT fight the mobs in that fucking doorway'
[Sun Feb 05 00:43:24 2006] You tell your raid, 'Get off that Guardian of Dresolik and fucking assist Cheichn'
[Sat Feb 25 21:16:32 2006] You tell your raid, 'we are not engaging get the fuck off him'
[Sun Mar 26 02:46:07 2006] You tell your raid, 'BURN THE FUCKER'
[Sat Jun 24 21:38:51 2006] You tell your raid, 'FUCKING INVIS'
[Sat Aug 26 23:28:15 2006] You tell your raid, 'MOVE BACK FROM THE FUCKING EDGE NOW'
[Sat Oct 28 20:47:59 2006] You tell your raid, 'those folk not in the corner, get in the fucking corner NOW'
[Sat Nov 25 20:47:57 2006] You tell your raid, 'BACK THE FUCK OFF'
[Sat May 21 22:51:11 2005] You tell your raid, 'get off thos emobs, get them out of that fucking corridor'
[Sat Feb 23 21:27:45 2008] You tell your raid, 'and don't fucking train us'
[Sat Nov 20 21:28:56 2004] You tell your raid, 'fucking surround it - not all on the same side as me'


[Sat Feb 18 21:56:49 2006] You tell your raid, 'It's a fucking Egg Jihad'
[Sat Feb 26 23:23:39 2005] You tell your raid, 'fucking perfect'
[Sat Apr 16 23:40:08 2005] You tell your raid, 'YES YOU DRESS WEARING FUCK'
[Sat May 07 21:05:26 2005] You tell your raid, 'and our shield will be RIGHTEOUS FUCKING ANGER'
[Sat Jan 15 20:18:14 2005] You tell your raid, 'before we go anywhere - thanks for a fucking awesome turnout'

Gallant Admission of Defeat

[Sat Oct 01 23:31:55 2005] You tell your raid, 'ahh fuck it'
[Sat Sep 17 22:05:16 2005] You tell your raid, 'fuck'
[Sat Jul 15 23:03:41 2006] You tell your raid, 'ah fuck'
[Sat Jul 28 23:23:49 2007] You tell your raid, 'fuck it'

Historical Commentary

[Sat Jan 26 23:10:50 2008] You tell your raid, 'we killed Tunat and he was fucking ugly'

Other than those situations, you should try and avoid swearing.