Another month down in the endless march towards release! We have spent the last 2 months fixing bugs and immersion breaking things all over. Here are some examples.
Loading Screens will now show you images of the level you are currently in or be relevant to the Quest Stage you're playing. They will no longer show New Vegas loading screens either! :)
-By a suggestion from the Solid Project lead dev Rick fixed an engine bug that prevented us from forcing the player to arm and raise a specific weapon during our cool new opening animation for the player on the Vault Ball field. That would have required NVSE to work around, and since we wanted as few dependencies for our mod as possible that was a major issue.
-We fixed several game breaking bugs where faction allegiance wasn't being handled correctly during the assassination between two previously allied characters. Because of the way the GECK handles hostility and factions that required juggling around all kinds of non-linear problems to get the two groups to not kill each other too soon, or turn on you for doing their job. That in turn made it impossible to complete the quest, and you got stuck there. Forever. (If you kill everyone you'll absolutely get stuck. A problem we solve by having the hand of the game god [the Enclave] call you on your pip-boy and tell you where to meet them for the final showdown. Which isn't implemented yet, unless Rick already tackled that. It's implemented as the Wild Card path if you are hostile to both Raiders and the NCR if you are a Raider, but I don't think the same is true if you are NCR.)
-We fixed a ton of issues where entering trigger field volumes failed to register after a quick save. Another engine bug that not even Bethesda or Obsidian knew about (and still fucks up in Fallout 4 and Skyrim!) Using cheat codes like TMM 1 will cause you to fail quests that jump past our trigger volumes if you are cheating ahead in the progress of walking across the map. Thankfully we did account for that non-linear decision and it has clear consequences, but does not break the game. Just, your companions go off without you and die (you aren't their leader at that point) and they get themselves killed by Raiders and/or by each other while you wander off alone.
-Currently on our plate is figuring out why exactly the Enclave quest drops the ball and fails to fire. I intended to have the trigger immediately start after the blast. But it wasn't. Needed to use triggers to engulf the player's position. I also need to hack in Ben's Enclave dialogue, which is in the GECK but not firing. I also need to fix the Overseer's audio during the shouting scene confronting Col. Bragg. Then finally Rick will have to adjust the Enclave ending scenario so the Patriots don't just stand around as the Vault is blowing up, they run to the exit. This last one is a legacy problem from 2013.
- I have dialogue for Generic Vault Dwellers other than "Hello" and "Bye." WHILE THE VAULT IS BLOWING UP UNDER THEIR FEET. :p But, they are not implemented. Nor are they voiced for that matter. Lame. I do not want to do that 2 weeks of non-stop work casting, recording, editing, and implementing. You wanna do it? I would rather not. I spent 3 years of my life doing that, I'm kinda sick of it for this game. :p Give me a new game, I'll do it there!
-Rick is adding a lot of bad guy spawns to Daggerpoint after the Run Away script fires. It uses trigger fields and spawns a minimum of mutants to follow you at any given time, resulting in a terrifying chase to escape their gigantic untenable flood of bad guys which you are prompted to run away from. Without cheating it is lethal to stay in fight, as you are repeatedly warned. I wanted originally to have a storyline branch there if you stood your ground like an idiot and got chewed up, starting a Super Mutant FEV side quest (and the option to escape if your Endurance, Intelligence, and/or Luck was high enough, but that turned out to not work at all as planned, and had to be cut (no budget volunteer only and the GECK's limitations would have made playing as a Super Mutant impossible.) So there is a chokepoint quest conversation there that might make no sense and need to be adjusted and re-record the voice acting real quick. That character had a much bigger role, but is now just that one conversation, which is lame. If you can talk to him as a mini-boss later on that'd be awesome. As he is right now he makes no sense in that particular choice branch as his conversation dead ends and then you get swarmed by mutants & run away -- which you do to save your companions and other NPCs, not just yourself So it's not cowardice, it's practical. :p
-Currently you can walk through one of the inner atrium walls. Because fuck NIFs.
If you're a fan of our visual updates, this next few updates may get kinda repetitive because we are done with the visual aspects of our mod! The last little areas I am making and upgrading are super superfluous. Just like a little gap zone between two Arenas and a tunnel to connect a back door to the broader wasteland.
But, we are choosing our loading screens! And right now integrating some solutions to our missing lip files, fixing some more frustrating bugs while also doing vital revisions to the Main Quest's events.
Last month we recorded the 7 hour retake session with Eddie Bolero. I spent about two weeks nights and weekends editing, cleaning, cutting, and implementing those, and then assigning Elsdragon his final lip files and animations.
We were worried we'd have to re-cast him and actually held auditions for this character, but Eddie was finally able to get some free time to come record with us again, which we are very grateful for.
Back in 2015 we got a very noisy and garbled recording because I was using an inadequate NTG-2 microphone that just wasn't meant to do voice work, in a less than desirable setup. It wasn't BAD, but as a 3D Visual Artist and Camera Op, I am no Audio Technician. So when I hit problems at the time, I didn't know how to fix them until it was too late and the recording was done -- the only one that came out unsalvagable out of 42 actors. There was too much contrast between low and high, it sounded like we recorded on a tin can, and it was like... awful. Performance was stellar, but the technical side sucked, and we missed a lot of audio we should have recorded that by then was not scripted and playable. We just had the planned for audio in the game not in its final position. I kicked myself over it for 2 years.
I had planned on releasing with that in 2016, but it would have been gross. Since we went all the way to 2018, figured I might as well make the effort of replacing it!
And it came out phenomenally well. We used a Bluebird Condenser mic and the performance Eddie gave us was even better 2 years later. We recorded to our old H4N Handy, but I'd have loved to use a newer H6N which would have given me front panel access to my mixing levels, an invaluable tool when you have various level of shouting involved -- and Elsdragon loves to yell. He has this epic speech that lasts about 60 seconds to a giant Uranium Mine Pit to a crowd of Raiders, so that got pretty peaky on the first take before I dialed it way way down. Would have been much easier with a real mixer board, which on a budget of nothing is a lot to ask! :p
And Finally, Mark and I wrote some nice Terminal Entries outlining Lore between Fallout 2 and New Vegas regarding the NCR Enclave War and the NCR Brotherhood war, and the War with the Raiders.
If you have any lore entries you'd like to write, keep them under 500 words and just submit them to me here. I'll bury them in our Wasteland somewhere. We have some from Shoddy Cast, The Frontier, and other mods as well. Some in jokes about Al Chest Breach and other Youtubers who played Part 1 too. :p
Senator DuVille's office has a lot of cool Intelligence Reports in it from The HUB and New Reno after Fallout 2. Non-canon yes, but Lore Friendly. If it makes sense between New Vegas & Fallout 3, I wrote it to make sense and feel like official content.
I'm excited to finish FNC and start MY OWN Lore for an IP that we control! That way my hands aren't tied behind my back writing this stuff. :p We have out own universe in JINN and Shadow Star. If we ever get money and a crew we'll make those games and flesh them out the same way Fallout, Skyrim, and Mass Effect or the Witcher have been.
I feel a little better this week than last week. Finally came out the other side of my ruthless depression after getting some time off to just work a day job, recover my costs for September-January, and step away from the shadow of this mod running my life and still being late to release.
This mod not being done and out of my life haunts me, man. But we're getting done, and soon we will be free!
Next month I'll have some additional video snapshots to post of finished content. And maaaybe the Release Trailer will be done? I dunno. That's a possibility. Depends on how many critical tasks Rick and I can get done around day jobs, and if our testers report back that we are ready.
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, (which I took offline for now) or Facebook. We've got a thriving online community centered around each one.
You can also throw dollars at me on Pay-Pal so I don't starve to death at my desk: Nexusmods.com