2017 has been a great start to a New Year!
2016 was kinda a downer.
Yes, even for you, that one guy for whom it wasn't. :p
2017 so far is going MUCH better. Take a look.
First off, the most obvious is a brand new Vault 18, the area where you start Project Brazil.
Vault 18 is now comprised mainly of original 3D art assets and all new 2048x2048 texture sheets. New Vegas is an ancient game with terrible memory problems, so all these 200+ hires textures that went into the game are going to be part of an optional download. I use the HD textures with no issues, but my PC (donated to me by Tom Rogers from Green Valley) is a beast, so I might be in the minority here. I'm trying to look out for our lower end PC users, because I was one of them until last May myself.
The biggest changes are to the Vault Atrium, Upper Apartment, and Hydroponics Lab.
Let's take a look at the old Vault Atrium top down layout:
Pretty much boxes on boxes. Not too exciting. When I finished this Vault in 2012, I didn't like it very much. In 2013 when we released it, I didn't like it, and neither did players. I've got grief from it for the last 3 1/2 years.
The Old Vault Atrium was a maze. All those 90 degree angles turned it into a nightmare to navigate. Perfect for a game like Fallout 1 and 2 - not so much for a fully 3D FPS.
Players had problems with lag, so we reduced the number of lights (which was fine, since the story takes place in Vault 18's simulated night time) but it made it a dark maze full of lens flares. That left us with a dark, barely navigable labyrinth that would put the Minotaur in a bad mood.
So here is the top down of the new one.
Much better. A few areas of the original remain, but overall it is easier to navigate, far more open, and all the points of interest are basically in line of sight of each other.
There are 2 story paths in Project Brazil - Scientist and Warrior. The first as a Warrior takes you from the Stadium to the Atrium, entering from the Right (which is actually North.) The Scientist path has you start in the Infirmary, and walk to the Computer Lab as Dr.Rossman talk about Vault life.
Lets look at the Science path.
In the old Vault, you had to start at the Blue Star and walk all the way through this maze following a talking NPC. There were large gaps of silence, you didn't see the Vault - there was no "wow" moment where you reveal this massive complex that says, "holy shit, this place is huge!"
Which means that the scope was wasted effort. Nothing sucks more than a giant 5 year project falling flat on its face on arrival, so that's why it HAD to be updated. It's the start of a 20+ hour experience (that can be played twice, so >40 hours.) It should be inspiring.
As you can see above, the new path from point A to point B has been made much more interesting. Lots of immersive details along the way, and straight to the point.
"It's O'niell, with two LLs!"
It only contained radioactive brain eating spiders that one time, we swear. We killed them all. We think.
The new tour takes you from the brand new Infirmary with hi-res assets, better dialogue from Dr. Rossman, and through a wikid cool tunnel that you'll see a lot of in the next couple hours doing various quests. Then from that tunnel you enter this huge space:
You walk out here the first time and it's like, "damn. Now I get it, this place is gigantic."
It also uses 2/3rds the assets and 1/2 the number of lights. Runs WAY faster, even on a toaster.
The old Vault's Main Quest as a Nerd (Now a more neutral Scientist) Path was a bit of a drag.
The old computer lab was a let down. So you walk through a drab Vault just to get lost, find your way, and then... it's a glorified closet? My main purpose in life... is to work in a closet...
No! The entire point of Vault 18 is that Vault-Tec built this place as an experiment. The heart of the experiment should be at the heart of the Vault!
So now, above the Main Dinging Area, literally the centre of Vault life, is this big mechanical monstrosity, Maria.
Maria, the Vault Mainframe, is now fully voiced and interactive. She has a story of her own to tell that ties the terminal text together, and makes the process more entertaining. Fixing her cables is now a quest that takes advantage of the Vault's scale to our advantage, placing them around the Vault so you get a chance to see the place, interact with the companions, and fight some mutant bugs and interrupt a couple of indoctrinated Patriot thugs.
Here is a comparison of the two paths players have to take to visit all the key quest sites on the Science Path, to greet all the companions, form relationships, go explore a bit, complete the main quest, and go home to go to bed & start the next chapter.
On the old vault you spend a lot of time backtracking in a drab ass hallway at the bottom. You're never exposed to the big picture, rarely see the sights, and mostly spend your time walking past the same shit 9 times in a row.
Now the player paths are much more loose and have a lot of variety. It's not just hard 90 degree turns in tight hallways, and there is always something cool to look at and reward you for checking it out.
You can still fall in love with the place... before I blow it up in your face. :p You know. Heartbreaks is always sweeter when there is emotional investment in the characters you watch die.
The New Vault needs some finishing touches which I hope to polish up this week. I'm unemployed right now, so I have a lot of free time. (You're more than welcome to send me money so I don't die.)
We also have new hires body meshes and textures so we're nice to look at with our clothes off.
We also got some new Player Presets to go with our custom races. Only Vault Dwellers wear the new underwear (I did make a high res dirty grey version for everyone else.) All your custom races should work just fine. Ours are optional and work alongside FCO and other character overhauls.
Not everyone in the sun drenched wasteland is a Norwegian ice princess!
I also made some diverse player presets, so your Star Player doesn't automatically default to White Guy #2 Who Isn't Jack. We're calling Caucasian Preset Male 2 Andy Dick. Okay, that's what I'm calling him. You can name him Bragg's Ball Gargler, I don't care.
I also did a lot of work on the Wasteland and to our Tribes this week. They got new world meshes and textures I'll just let you discover in game.
We're making all these improvements in an effort to refine things for an eventual release date sooner rather than later. Hopefully in the next coming months baring any life tragidies. (Like starving to death cold and alone, Please Save a Brandan. "In the arms of an Angel....")
There are a lot of things that need major work left to do before we're release ready. A Major character needs to get his voice ripped out, re-recorded, and shoved back in. The Raider Main Quest has bugs and game breaks in the scripts pretty much from the start. We're aware of exactly what they are and where they are, and how to address them, we just haven't got to it yet. We're finishing the NCR Main Quest and ending the last boss battles, scripting the endings, and then swinging back to address the bugs from start to finish. We also need to implement some venders, doctors, environmental NPCs, and immersive NPC dialogue for reactions from standard NPCs.
Anyone who wants to join our currently 4 man team, please sign up.
After that we can start talking about calling FPB officially in ALPHA 190, the big playable from start to finish mod that took 5 years to make.
It's been a long road through the desert.
But damn. Post Apocalyptic Southern California turned out nice to look at.
Our own Mark Hickman has also been helping out on The Frontier mod, which is still a WIP but coming along remarkably well. He's doing some writing for them while we finish FPB.
You can read more about our progress on the Design Documents Found Here. In the mean time, you can keep track of us on ModDB, Fallout Nexus, or Facebook. We've got a thriving online community centered around each one.