Fallout: New Vegas: i am not a liar

Fallout: New Vegas is scheduled for release on October 19th, less than a week from this writing.

i’ve said i was going to take at least one day off. i’ve also said i’m making no effort to conceal just why i’m taking time off.

why would i lie?

fonv-pto

New Vegas trip list:

  • pre-order Fallout: New Vegas Collector’s Edition
  • test screen-recorders
  • confirm midnight release
  • arrange vacation time
  • de-frag gaming PC hard drives
  • dust out gaming PC
  • stock up on necessary caffeinated and medicinal supplies
  • take nap before midnight release
  • read Collector’s Edition “All Roads” graphic novel during installation
  • fall out


update: thanks for the comments, guys! especially to Obsidian dev Justin Reynard, who kindly answered the following question:

how is item and money acquisition and balance achieved in a big RPG like NV? how do you decide when and where the player gets more items, or better items? how is the global economy considered, if at all? is there someone tasked with tracking how much stuff is in the world, such as which areas have too much loot or not enough?

9 comments

  1. To answer your question (not specifically about any one game):

    In a single player game, the economy isn’t considered as much as it would be in an MMO, since the only person it’s going to affect either way is one person. Ideally, the engine will have loot templates for every mob in the game, likely with a “maximum gold drop” value. Killing the mob would have a random number generator run and drop between 0 and “maximum” when the mob is killed.

    With a game like fallout, the “gold” is an actual inventory item (caps) so the caps would be placed in the “loot table” like a normal item drop, and given a random percentage to drop when the mob is killed.

    As to the balancing, we usually have one or two designers tasked with the task of “loot balancing”. They’ll play through the game as a whole, and then individual levels, making sure the overall level of loot/gold you have at that point in the game fits with the original plan.

    Hope that helps :)

    • aha! yes, that does help, thank you!

      i figured loot management would be a super critical thing in an MMO (i don’t play ‘em), but i wasn’t sure how seriously it’s taken in SP RPGs. i imagine it depends on how development is structured. it sounds like level designers can wing it for placing non-NPC loot (lockers, etc) at first, based on what they expect the PC’s rough level and progression to be, then the “loot balancing” pass you mentioned is done.

      this is something i’ve often mulled more and more with the popularity of sandbox-play games. you don’t want the player becoming insanely powerful early on, nor do you want them to flounder with too few supplies. for example, one of the first things i do with a FO3 char is cut to the alien crash site and pick up the Alien Blaster. it’s a swell ace-in-the-hole for a low-level character facing a deathclaw, but there isn’t nearly enough ammo to go swaggering in to every situation with it. if there were more ammo immediately available i’d say it would make the game too easy. conversely, i feel some of the Grand Theft Auto >=3 games take a bit too long to get some decent weapons and cash in-hand, dragging on the notion that you’re just a low-level thug at the start.

      thanks again, and congratulations on wrapping up the game!

  2. If you check out uesp or fallout.wikia.com you can check many of the possible item drops for specific npcs/monsters for fallout 3 and its predecessor oblivion, for a little insight into what actually drops in specific areas at specific levels.

    In oblivion at least, this was a major concern to some as many mods adjusted the various items gained from quests and monsters, but it’s more of a personal concern than a wide-ranging general gamer one because of the single player aspect (as well as the choices that go into how you play the game, as opposed to a linear game). Just my opinions anyway

  3. That is f*cking hilarious man..
    I was wondering.. What system are you going to playthrough first on?
    I have pre-ordered it at GameStop for 360 and bought it on Steam.. i think i’m going for the 360 version first..

    • i’ll play on my Win 7 PC – nothing fancy, Pentium E5200 + HD5770. (i don’t really like ATi’s drivers – who does? – but it’s a decent card and i’m just killing time until NVidia figures out their damn lineup.) i played through the last half of an FO3 L30 char with that, about 2 chars with an 8800GT, and most of my first L20 char (pre-DLCs) with a 6600GT or something, right when the game first came out.

      i have a 360 (and Dreamcast!) but the consoles are really for when friends come over. my serious gaming is all done on my PC – plus i have a surround system for it, but not the living room. aside from all the performance and ergonomics advantages, i love taking screen shots and the ability to try mods.

      • I think i’m going to play it on Steam first since i’ll be able to pre-load it..
        i just got the new HP dv7us
        the specs are up to date and it is kinda fancy..
        but it’s my first real gaming pc.. i usually stick to console but i heard about some of the mods made for FO3 and i had to get in on it….
        What are you going to be using to run F:NV?
        GFW?
        if not, add me on Steam.. i’m new..

        EllisDeeRules

        • OK, so they changed… my system specs now include an EVGA NVidia GTX465 1GB “SC”. a fine card, it seems to be a good bit better than the HD5770 – plus returning to the (relative) glory of NVidia’s drivers. hooray for slamming 60FPS on ultra!

          from what i understand, there is no choice but to use Steam. “Games for Windows” is more or less just a certification/compatibility program. “Games for Windows LIVE!” is the online component with achievements, updates, etc. GFW LIVE! is not included in FO:NV, that is all up to Steam, now.

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