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Report article RSS Feed Official Fallout 3 Interview

Part One of The Official Fallout 3 Interview! Featured*

Posted by The.Gundog on Mar 24th, 2008
Interview

---### Estimated Release Date 2009 / Early 2009 ###---

COMBAT

1. Is unarmed combat in? If so, is it lethal or does it knockout your opponent? [Waterchip]

Yes,
it’s in, and yes, it’s lethal. It’s a big part of the game, and as far
as game balance, it’s our goal to make melee as viable as using guns in
killing off enemies. It’s something we’re obviously still balancing,
but I expect melee to be more “lethal”, as getting near an opponent can
be more difficult, especially if they have a gun, but at the same time,
you don’t have to worry about your ammo counts, so that’s an immediate
benefit to melee.

2. Is combat playable in the zoomed out
third person ("almost iso") perspective and how will VATS work from it,
meaning - will it zoom into FP or something else? [kaos]

I’d have to say “no”. Combat’s not really playable when you zoom the camera
all the way back and point it down. You can try, but it’s not meant to
be played that way, because you still have to aim at the center of the
screen, and at that point, the center is the ground. It’s playable from
1st and 3rd person, but closer-in over-the-shoulder 3rd person.
Regarding VATS., it does zoom in on your target, from your eyes, so I
guess you’d say it is a “1st person” view. So if you’re playing in 3rd
person and enter VATS, you zoom in on the target, and when you’re done,
it flips back to your 3rd person view. It happens pretty fast and it’s
smooth. I kind of see VATS as its own view.

3. For what else
can we use AP`s while in VATS and what is the "cost" of such things in
real time? Some time consuming animation perhaps? Example: if taking
stimpacks or using inventory in VATS will cost AP`s - then what will it
cost in RT? Besides that what else besides shooting can you pull off in
VATS, and how do you balance those things with their real time
counterparts? [MrHappy1991]

The only thing you can do in
VATS. is shoot, and it’s designed as just that. It’s kind of an “aimed
shot” mode, so no taking stimpacks, etc. When dealing with the AP
regeneration, that’s one of the big questions, even for us, as to what
we set it to, and that’s going to get serious tweaking the more we play
the game. It’s definitely tied to your agility, but we haven’t pinned
down the range, so I don’t know if an agility of 10 gives you twice the
regen rate over an agility of 1, or if it will be in the 5-10x multiple
range. I’d wager closer to 2x on that one. When you’re not in VATS.,
attacks use up AP as well. At this stage, we’re playing the game so
that the AP usage in real-time is less then the regen rate, so the end
effect is that attacking in real-time slows down the regen. I imagine
it will end up being close to that feel.

4. Because so many of us still don't understand, could you describe VATS in painstaking detail? No really, please! [Waterchip]

I’ll
try, but I worry it will raise more questions then it answers. I assume
you know the basics: press a button and it stops time, you queue up
shots on body parts using AP, and then press the “go” button and it
executes the moves. The playback is done cinematically, sometimes it’s
fast, sometimes it’s slower – depending on if something cool happens.

Probably
better if I give you a closer look at how we approach it and view VATS.
First, I don’t see it as an either-or thing. VATS is meant to be used
with real-time, it’s not one or the other – they should feel like they
go together. I don’t want the fans confused that this is turn-based,
because it’s not. It’s a glorified aimed-shot mode, and a pretty
glorious one at that. You’ll be able to use it a lot, but not
constantly, because it is the most effective way to kill things. And
that’s how we define it usually, it’s the most effective and
entertaining way of killing something, and we break up those two parts
while developing it, “effect” versus “entertainment”, or the “gameplay”
versus the “playback”.

Let’s start with the gameplay. One, you
can enter VATS, whenever you want, you just may not have enough AP do
take any shots yet, or enough AP to do as many shots as you’d like. The
AP needed to do a shot is based on the weapon’s rate of fire; pistols
can get more shots off in VATS than a hunting rifle. The camera zooms
in on the target from your eyes, as VATS does a scan of the target, and
you get a percentage chance to hit each body part. This accomplishes
two things: 1) it just looks really cool, we even use the “combat-turn”
sound from Fallout 1 here, and 2) the scan actually is detecting how
much of the body part you can see to get us a good hit percentage. That
hit-chance is based on how much of the body part you can see, the
distance, your skill, the weapon itself, and a base body part chance we
set per body part. That last thing, the base chance, is needed for us
to jack up or down the hit-chance for game balance, so even if the head
is X size compared to the chest, we can adjust it.

A good
example would be the antennae on the ants, they are way too small to
realistically ever want to use your AP on, but we up the hit-chance on
them and it just plays better. So in real-time, you almost never hit
their antennae, but you can do it more in VATS. And that’s the key
“behind the scenes” difference between VATS and real-time, in real-time
the bullets just go-where-they-go, based on your skill, the gun, and
some randomness. We don’t calculate a hit-chance and roll dice against
it. In VATS, we calculate a hit-chance and roll dice. If you succeed,
we send the bullet right for what you were aiming at, and if you fail,
we send it off slightly, meaning it should miss, but we still let it
hit whatever it hits, so you can still miss a guy’s head and end up
shooting his chest.

Ok, now the “playback,” or the entertainment
part of it. Based on what is going to happen with what you chose, we
select a number of camera angles and various playback shots to show
you, the playback is only a few seconds. They are always pretty quick,
the longer playbacks are rare, and we’re the first ones to get annoyed
if something repeats itself too much as we’re playing the game. We have
a VATS camera section of the editor where we make cameras and can setup
almost anything we want, such as a special camera that tracks a bullet
in slow motion that shoots a gun out of someone’s hand, but only if
they are using a specific pistol and only on a certain enemy. Pretty
much anything we want to do; we can setup quick, so expect lots of
various camera shots. One of things to know about the playback is it’s
not a “replay”, it’s the actual game time moving forward, so what you
see is really what is happening right now. The selected cameras control
how fast various things move, so most of the time, you, the player, are
animating in real-time, the enemy you are shooting at is moving at
one-tenth speed, and the rest of the world is paused, or updating
slowly. We found just playing everything at the same speed doesn’t feel
or look good at all, we had to separate the three out; you, the enemy,
and the rest of the world. Another thing we stumbled into, because time
is moving forward, is that while you are watching an enemy react to
getting shot in this great camera angle, your character can be getting
mauled by another enemy. Really frustrating early on as we played it,
so we do two things now: 1) depending on the camera chosen we
essentially pause the rest of the world, and 2) we have a setting that
dramatically reduces the damage the player takes during such an
occurrence. You probably wouldn’t notice any of these things, the
playbacks just look “right”, but you’d be surprised how much tweaking
goes into making a two second snippet work well.

Hope that
addresses the question, hard to answer that one. At some point in the
future we’ll probably release even more info on body part damage and
how that affects the gameplay, as that’s the key decision you are
making in VATS - what body parts to shoot.

Post comment Comments
Josef-Nastra
Josef-Nastra Mar 24 2008, 6:07pm says:

This sounds kind of suspicious. I don't know if i like the sound of this or not. It could be good but it could end up being complete crap. I loved the old Fallout games and i had such high hopes about this new one when i first heard that they were really making it. But if this is gonna be a more console-type game then i will be very disappointed.

Why couldn't you just make a Fallout game with the same style but better graphics? Pure and simple. It was so good then and it would be just as good now.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Sebbeman
Sebbeman Mar 25 2008, 12:14am replied:

One word: immersion.

Anyway, the interview was extremely meh, as these questions have all been answered before. Someone failed their Google-Fu.

+1 vote     reply to comment
The_6th_Monkey
The_6th_Monkey Mar 24 2008, 7:39pm says:

It sounds good to me so far.
One thing I always wanted with the fallout universe was to actually walk around there.

The only potential problems I can see are things being toned down so they are actually allowed to release the game e.g. no more sleazy new reno style places and no more selling your freinds to the local slavery :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Otreum
Otreum Mar 25 2008, 5:59am says:

All I can say is HOORAY FOR FALLOUT 3!!!

All I have doubts about though is....turn based first person combat = a nuclear bomb on this game.
I certainly hope that modders manage to fiddle around and get rid of this crappy turn based combat, it just isn't right.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Lexx2k
Lexx2k Mar 25 2008, 6:15am replied:

In Fallout 3 isn't any turn based combat....

+1 vote     reply to comment
Sebbeman
Sebbeman Mar 25 2008, 12:36pm replied:

VATS is not turn-based.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Henley
Henley Mar 25 2008, 12:38pm replied:

i hate to say it but it will sell well to todays crowd but i dont think fanboys will be to pleased about the new direction its taking.

0 votes     reply to comment
The.Gundog
The.Gundog Mar 25 2008, 6:02pm says:

Fallout 3 is being made by Bethesda, I great game maker, I loved there Oblivion game, I'm not 100% sure on the release, but somewhere I read it wont be out till 2010 .. :/ .. This Article / Feature is also from Bethesda Software Game Forums - Bethsoft.com
Future Features will be more Details and made by me.

0 votes     reply to comment
Lexx2k
Lexx2k Mar 26 2008, 4:52am replied:

Bethsoft says Fall 2008. So the release should be late 2008 or early 2009.

+1 vote     reply to comment
The.Gundog
The.Gundog Mar 26 2008, 3:59pm says:

Alright, thanks.. I didn't feel like looking.. thanks for letting us / me know. I will update the feature ! :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
BobbyB420
BobbyB420 Jul 20 2008, 12:08pm says:

From what it sounds like, this is going to be like playing oblivion.
So with that being said I'm definitely buying it. :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Fallout 3
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Bethesda Softworks
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Released Oct 27, 2008
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