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You know what the Mojave desert was missing? My Little Pony, of course. My Little Pony buddies, to be precise. Here's a mod by Kuroitsune and Riven1978 on New Vegas Nexus that allows you to have the MLP protagonists as your companions. Not all ponies are included—for now, there's only Luna, Celestia, Twilight, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Ditzy/Derpy and a few others. Perhaps the best part about this is that the ponies come with specific perks.
Littlepip - Stable 2 - Whenever Littlepip is your Pony Companion, you will receive +10 points to Science, Medicine, and Repair and 1 point to Charisma, at a cost of 1 point of Agility and Strength, and -5 to Guns, Melee Weapons, and Unarmed Weapons.
Luna - Mare of the Moon - During the night as long as Luna is your Pony Companion, you will slowly regenerate health. Luna will also gain a 20% combat effectiveness.
Celestia - Mare of the Sun - During the day as long as Celestia is your Pony Companion, you will receive 30 points to Energy Weapons, at a cost of 10 to all of your other offensive skills. Celestia also gains a 20% damage potential.
BonBon - Friendship Is Magic - When Bon Bon's health gets below 30%, Lyra will appear to help out in the battle.
Lyra - Friendship Is Magic - When Lyra's health gets below 30%, Bon Bon will appear to help out in the battle.
Twilight - Studious - Twilight's intelligence is par none. While she is your Pony Companion, your accuracy, spread, and critical chance improve by 20%.
Fluttershy - All Creatures Great and Small - While Fluttershy is your Pony Companion, every creature in the Mojave is your friend, at the cost of your human relationships.
AppleJack - Apple Cider - While Applejack is your Pony Companion, she will give you Apple Cider every time you give her 2 Apples.
Rarity - Rarity & Charity - While Rarity is your Pony Companion, you will find more caps or hard to find weapons on fallen foes only she kills.
Rainbow Dash - Speedy Arrival - While Rainbow Dash is your Pony Companion, you will be 10% faster at everything you do, at the cost of 30lbs of your total carry weight.
Pinkie Pie - Party Time! - While Pinkie Pie is your Pony Companion, you will find more chems on your fallen enemies. But you will be 20% more likely to become addicted to chems.
Derpy - Muffins! - While Derpy is your Pony Companion, she will give you 3 Muffins every time you use a campfire once a day.
Trixie - Trixie's Greatness - While Trixie is your Pony Companion, you gain +10 to all of your skills that are under 50 skill points.
Vinyl Scratch - Bass Cannon - Whenever Vinyl Scratch is your Pony Companion, any explosive based weapon you use will have three times the power, at a cost of -20 of your sneak skill.
You can download it here, though I'm a little sad that they walk upright. I mean, that kind of makes it more hilarious, but still!
My Little Pony Follower [New Vegas]
Over the past couple of weeks, I've been returning to Fallout: New Vegas, using the game to patch up downtime between the big releases of the fall. I've got a bunch of mods installed, but nothing particularly crazy.
But if you DO want crazy, you could always follow Youpi's lead and make the game well and truly bananas. In a crazy "let's play" series of videos and images, we are taken through the wild, wooly, modded world of New Vegas, weirder than I've ever seen it.
Some images from the LP:
And of course, one that's probably most common:
Heh. Check out the whole thing at Selectbutton, though be warned: there are a lot of images and videos in the post, and they can slow your machine down. You can see a full list of the mods Youpi has installed here:
Anyone out there play with Wild Wasteland turned on? Would you ever download this many mods and hope to have the game actually run in a reasonable way? Is it only a matter of time before this same kind of thing is possible with Skyrim?
Man. I like modding, but I feel like if I installed all of these, my PC would actually throw up on the carpet. Doesn't mean it's not fun to watch them, though. We'll be back with more random stuff from the Mojave Wastes as my (and maybe some other writers'!) return to New Vegas continues.
Let's Play Wild Wasteland [SelectButton.net]
Over the past couple of weeks, I've been getting my open-world RPG fix with Fallout: New Vegas. Yesterday I talked about how to mod the game to look nice and pretty, and from here on in I'm going to share some things I've noticed while playing the game.
So here's a thing: The Silver Rush. I tend to play Fallout games as an energy weapon specialist. And energy weapons are scarce, especially in Fallout 3. I remember when I finally figured out that the Enclave had plasma weapons, I'd farm their locations just to have enough plasma rifles to keep mine repaired.
So in New Vegas, I was happy to find that energy weapons were easier to come across in the early goings than they had been in Fallout 3. But then… the Silver Rush happens. And it almost breaks the game.
This store, run by a shady organized crime family, is on a corner in Freeside. The minute I walked in, I thought the same thing that I bet every single other person who played this game thought: I am going to steal every mother-lovin thing in this store.
The inside of the Silver Rush is an orgy of energy weaponry. Laser rifles lie next to beautiful rows of microfusion cells and energy cells, plasma pistols lie next to a plasma defender (!) a tri-beam laser rifle (!!) and a massive, all-destroying plasma caster (!!!). There are enough plasma grenades, pulse mines, and other weaponry to equip an army. And thanks to Bethesda's notoriously weird sneaking system, you can steal it all.
It's so easy. You just walk up to the table and crouch. At some point, you'll become "hidden," and then you can just… grab every single thing on the table. This happened the first time I played New Vegas, and this time around, I was waiting for it. I walked out of Silver Rush with enough plasma weaponry to last me the entire rest of the game. I even sold back some of the stuff I sold to get some mods for my weapons.
Was this on purpose? Did Obsidian intend for energy weapon players to find a ridiculous explosion of armaments to use? We may never know. All I know is that there's no way I'm the only one who robbed the Silver Rush blind. So come on, fess up. It's okay, you're in good company.
There are so many good games out this fall. So, so many. There's a type of video game for just about every type of video game player. But there is one thing missing: There's no vast, open-world role-playing game.
Bethesda, scions of the vast open-world RPG, have dedicated this year to the fantastic but decidedly not-open-world Dishonored. I had to go somewhere to get my fix of wandering, leveling, and exploring. And so I decided to return to Fallout: New Vegas.
Over the past couple of years, I've heard a lot of people rave about the underratedness and overlookedness of Obsidian's take on Bethesda's first-person reinvention of the Fallout universe. I actually played a big chunk of New Vegas when it first came out, but I never finished it. I just sort of ran out of steam not too long after I'd arrived on the strip.
Two years later, with a healthy gaming PC and a new appreciation for how much modding can improve these types of games, I thought I'd dig back in. After so, so many hours in Skyrim, I'm increasingly hungry to return to the darker and, frankly, more interesting Fallout universe. (That's a mouthful! But you get it, right? Obsidian made New Vegas, Bethesda just published it.) I've also heard nothing but good things about the New Vegas DLC, which is now so cheap that I couldn't help but download all of it.
I'll be writing a few articles about my time in New Vegas—it's a crazy time of year, and I can't guarantee that I'll be able to play the game all the way through or anything, but I've already put in a big chunk of time and have noticed a lot of interesting stuff while doing so.
For the first post, I thought I'd write about how I've modded the game to get it looking as good as possible. I haven't gone nearly as overboard with mods as I did with Skyrim; lots of New Vegas mods make the game unstable, and seeing as how it's already pretty crash-y, I wanted to stick with the biggest cosmetic upgrades and not much else.
So, here's what I've got installed. These mods, coupled with my solid gaming PC (I'm running an i5 2.8GHz with 8GB of RAM and a GeForce 660Ti) certainly make New Vegas a better-looking, more tweakable, and more interesting game than it was when I played it on Xbox in 2010.
I've downloaded all of these mods from The Nexusmods Site for New Vegas, and most have been installed using the Nexus Mod Manager. I've made a note of the mods that require manual installation. Here goes:
Project Nevada is the only overhaul-ish mod I'm using, but it's a heck of an overhaul. It adds all kinds of crap to the game—hotkeys for grenades, a sprint button, bullet-time, stealth modes, cybernetic implants… honestly, it makes New Vegas feel like a much different—and much better—game. I particularly like the cybernetic implants—my sneaky fast-talker now has a stealth mod installed in her chest, and with a press of the "X" button, I can activate a stealth field akin to a Stealth Boy. This is great, since I always hoarded stealth boys in the original game and never used them.
To get Project Nevada to work, you'll have to install the latest version of the New Vegas Script Extender, which is very easy to do. Just follow the directions at the site. You'll also have to check the boxes for the four .esm files in the "Plugins" tab in the Nexus Mod Manager.
This one does just what it sounds like—it centers the third-person camera. Very nice, as the up-close third person camera is weird and claustrophobic. It's especially good for those early hours when you need to run/jump away from radscorpions to get where you're going. It's much easier to see when one of the little biters is right on your heels.
Fellout is a mod that, just like the previous version for Fallout 3, removes the orange tint that the game previously had. It, in combination with a couple of other mods, makes the game a much more welcoming-looking thing, and makes daytime in the desert a more arid, clear affair. I dig it.
NMC's texture overhaul for New Vegas is definitely the biggest graphical boost you can give the game, though it can also be a bit persnickety. You can't use the mod manager, and have to extract the archives straight into your New Vegas directory. That's no sweat, but after installing the large version of the pack, my game became hugely unstable. You'll also want to install the 4GB New Vegas Mod, which allows the game to use 4GB of virtual memory. Unfortunately, even with that mod installed, the texture pack caused constant crashes.
I downgraded to the medium texture pack, and things are much, much more stable now. The game still looks great, and while it does crash every hour or two, I'm A) not certain the crashes are due to the textures and B) can live with it.
Nevada Skies adds a bunch of new weather effects and sky textures to the game, and makes everything that much prettier.
This is another big one—I've actually installed the lite version of this mod, since the most recent one forces me to turn off AA and also slows my framerate down. The lite version still looks nice though, and adds a lot of good lighting effects. I generally turn it off when I'm in dungeons, however, as it just makes things too dark. Fortunately, you can turn it off with a simple keystroke at any time.
And that's that. There are, of course, a ton of other mods I could install, but I don't want to change the core experience too much—I'm interested in looking back at how the game feels a few years after it came out, and Project Nevada brings enough changes to keep me happy.
I've been playing the game sort of casually between other big fall releases, but I've already noticed a lot of things that are interesting, particularly after spending so much time playing Skyrim (and so much more time theorizing about Bethesda's presumed Fallout follow-up). I'll have some more articles throughout the week about New Vegas, and hey, if you've got any free time between the alien-blasting and stealth-stabbing, download some mods and join in.
ED-E and I were inseparable, when I first played Fallout: New Vegas. Well, except for all those times that the demands of the plot separated us. But no matter: his perks, cheerfully sarcastic beeping, and killer laser were great company on an endless trek through the Mojave Wasteland.
This real-life ED-E, sent to Geekologie by their reader Will Brown, would look perfect hovering along behind my shoulder. He'd be perfect for zapping people that cut in line, or letting me know if there were enemies in the road ahead. Alas, despite the beautiful workmanship, the ability to fly is not included.
Scroll down for a few more photos showcasing the making-of process, as well as a couple of close-ups.
Geekologie Reader Makes ED-E Replica From New Vegas [Geekologie]
Earlier that day they'd all been laid off from their jobs at Obsidian Entertainment, where they helped work on games like Fallout: New Vegas and an unannounced project called North Carolina. When North Carolina was axed, Obsidian had no choice but to let the team go. It was grim. Job opportunities were limited. Some of the team—particularly artists and designers—were worried they'd have trouble finding gigs.
Five months later, they've all got gigs—and an ambitious plan that promises to give us a new way to play video games.
"I wasn't planning on starting up a studio again," Fader told me. He's a longtime veteran of the industry. He's worked on games like World of Warcraft and helmed production on the DLC for New Vegas, Obsidian's excellent post-apocalyptic role-playing game.
"I was just going to call it quits at Obsidian, maybe go back to Blizzard or something," he said. "[But] everybody's kinda turning to me... they all looked to me, asked if I was gonna start up a studio."
So he did. He re-launched Iocaine Studios, the indie company he had started before Obsidian, and brought the majority of his team aboard. (Fader says he can't pay them yet, but he takes them out for pancakes every weekend.)
Now they've got big plans. They're simultaneously developing three games. One is a SimCity or Civilization-like town builder called Steam Bandits: Outpost. The second is sort of an action-RPG inspired by games like Privateer and League of Legends. The third is a flight simulator not unlike Crimson Skies.
Here's the catch: all three of these games will take place in the same persistent universe. You'll be able to interact with people who are playing the other two games. And you'll be able to team up to make your characters better.
"If my girlfriend loves town-building games, she can play Steam Bandits: Outpost on her iPad, build up a town and stuff," Fader said. "I'm playing the other game... one island I visit and trade with could be her island. I can link up with her and she's on my friends list. I can visit her island at will. I can link my captain up to her island as my port of call. Any time I go on a quest, she gets a reward as well since she's sponsoring me. And any time she produces stuff, that gives me a little boost."
There will also be quests that span multiple games, Fader says. "Let's say in my captain game I'm on a quest. I pick up a really weird item, a crafting recipe. Now there's no crafting in the captain game; it's RPG and combat focused. I can take this [recipe], hand it off to my girlfriend who's playing the town-building game. She can build it up. I can equip it on my airship... We're taking quests a layer above an individual game and spanning it across an actual game world."
Sounds neat, right? It also sounds ambitious. And like most ambitious game makers nowadays, Fader has started a Kickstarter for his project, asking gamers for $30,000 to help him release the first game of this three-pronged series by November. Right now they've raised around $10,000. They have 11 days to go.
(I asked Fader what he'll do if he can't meet his Kickstarter goal. He says he's been approached by publishers and angel investors, and that he'll figure out a way to fund this project either way. He's passionate about this. "No matter what, I will find a way to make this game," he said. "This game has to happen.")
They're avoiding Facebook. The first game will be released on Steam, iOS, and Android. The second game, just Steam. The third is slated for digital release on the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. All three games will cost nothing to play.
Fader describes Steam Bandits: Outpost as "kind of like a diet version of Civilization." It's got shades of SimCity and Tropico too.
Here's the premise: You're working for a major company that controls all of the steam in the world. (In this lore, steam is a rare and precious resource.) They're investing in you to settle on an island, build it up, populate it, and turn a profit. To do this, you can construct different types of buildings: inns to hold people, for example, or taverns to get them drunk. Power generators to keep everything running.
You're also in charge of an army of captains that you can send out on various quests. Fader says they're inspired by companions in BioWare's online game Star Wars: The Old Republic. You can level up these captains, give them equipment, and boost up their stats and skills as they go from mission to mission doing things for you.
(Fader, laying out some not-so-subtle Firefly references, gives me an example named Captain Melvin (or Mel) Reynolds of the ship Tranquility. Who eventually gets himself a brown coat.)
As you keep playing, you'll be able to train captains, collect resources, and grind out large amounts of money. And you can eventually amass an entire empire of floating islands. All without paying a thing.
Steam Bandits: Outpost is a casual game, but it's not a Facebook game. It will be free-to-play, but not exploitative. It will have microtransactions, but it won't keep you jailed until you spend money on them. And it definitely won't ask you to spam your friends with notifications.
"That is not playing together with a friend," Fader said. "That is just bugging the shit out of them... I'm calling us the anti-Facebook game company. That model just needs to die a horrible death."
So when Fader calls Steam Bandits: Outpost casual, what he means is that it can be played in short doses. He compares it to Puzzle Quest or even Torchlight, games you can enjoy during both quick and lengthy sessions. He has the lofty goal of making Outpost appeal to just about everyone. Especially those of us with long work hours and not as much time to play games as we used to have.
"I'm making this game for the hardcore player that does not have time to be hardcore anymore," Fader said. "The part-time hardcore player. I grew up playing games like Civilization and SimCity and Tropico and it pains me that I don't have time to put so many hours into them. I can't sit in front of my computer and just play."
The key to keeping it appealing, Fader says, is not limiting the amount of time that we can spend playing it. Steam Bandits: Outpost is free-to-play, a term that has been stigmatized by companies like Zynga that use "energy" systems to restrict your playtime. Fader can't stand it. He calls it "gaming paralysis."
"It's dumb. It's business-driven design," Fader said. "When these guys were designing their games, the first question was 'How can we get players addicted and then take away their addiction so we can get money from them?'"
Not that Fader and his team don't want to make money. But their microtransactions are more like League of Legends or Team Fortress 2. You'll be able to spend real money on outfits and accessories, not playtime.
"[Steam Bandits] is pay-to-style," Fader said. "Not pay-to-win or pay-to-continue-playing."
And if Fader has his way, Steam Bandits won't just be a set of good casual games. This will be a set of good casual games that changes what casual games bring to the table for people who like video games. These will be the type of games that wash out "the bad taste Facebook games are making on the gaming industry," Fader says.
It's passionate. It's ambitious. And maybe it won't work. But it'll be a fun experiment to watch.
Last night, Obsidian's Chris Avellone tweeted an interesting detail about his roleplaying game Fallout: New Vegas.
"[Fallout: New Vegas] was a straight payment, no royalties," he said in response to a fan question about the game's financial success. "Only a bonus if we got an 85+ on Metacritic, which we didn't."
Metacritic, an aggregation website that collects scores from selected review sites and compiles them as a weighted average, currently lists the Xbox 360 version of Fallout: New Vegas at 84 (out of 100). The PC version is also listed at 84. The PlayStation 3 version of the game is listed at 82.
In other words, Obsidian may have missed its bonus and lost out on a significant amount of money because of a single point.
We've reached out to New Vegas publisher Bethesda, the company that financed the game, to try to confirm Avellone's statement, but they would not comment. If the New Vegas designer's tweet is accurate, then Bethesda put a portion of Obsidian's financial fate in the hands of a select group of game reviewers.
Finances have been an issue for Obsidian—earlier this week, the independent studio had to let go of 30 staff because a game it had been developing for the next Xbox was cancelled. So a potential Metacritic bonus may have been no small matter.
I understand the logic used by publishers like Bethesda when they dole out bonuses based on Metacritic numbers. As an aggregation of critic review scores, a Metacritic average can be an important benchmark for the perceived quality of a game. And it certainly makes sense that a boss would want to reward its employees based on the quality of their work.
Except Metacritic scores are not objective measures of quality. The Xbox 360 Metacritic page for Fallout: New Vegas consists of 81 reviews. If Obsidian's bonuses were determined by this aggregator, they were not based on the game's quality—they were based on 81 peoples' opinions of the game's quality.
Look through Metacritic's list of critic reviews. The list of selected websites is comprised of both professional and volunteer reviewers. Some write for the web. Others write for print. Some scores are weighted more heavily than others (Metacritic does not publicly discuss the formula it uses to create its averages). Some scores are even treated differently than others—a 7 at Game Informer does not mean the same thing as a 7 at Edge, for example.
Many of the reviews attacked the game for its bugs and glitches, many of which were fixed in subsequent patches and downloadable content packs. While reviewers may have been justified in marking down scores for the buggy product, those scores may not have been relevant after a month, or even after a week. Most review outlets don't change their scores once patches have been released. Is that something Bethesda took into consideration?
There is no such thing as an objectively good game. Nor is there such thing as an objectively bad game. We all secretly hate some games that are beloved by the rest of the world, and everyone has their favorite black sheep. I've strongly disliked some highly-rated games, like Dragon Age 2, and fallen deeply in love with some poorly-rated games, like Suikoden V. Should my personal opinion really be condensed into a mathematical formula and used to decide somebody else's bonus?
At Kotaku, we don't use review scores. Metacritic doesn't count our reviews. What if that made the difference? What if an outlet's choice of reviewer changed everything? What if a developer's bonus was determined by a single person's arbitrary distinction between a 7.8 and a 7.9? What if a game studio faced financial trouble after it missed its bonus by a single point?
This isn't healthy for anybody involved. It's not healthy for a reviewer to have to worry whether his criticism will directly affect peoples' jobs. It's not healthy for developers to focus on pleasing reviewers, rather than pleasing consumers. It's not healthy for individual opinions to impact bonuses and salaries.
Publishers need a better tool for measuring a game's quality. I don't know what that tool is. I don't know that it exists. But using Metacritic to hand out bonuses is dangerous—for developers, reviewers, and, quite frankly, you.
(Disclosure: While working at Wired.com, I gave Fallout: New Vegas a 9/10. My review appears on the game's Metacritic page.)
Did you forego picking up Fallout: New Vegas and its downloadable content in the hopes that Bethesda would release some sort of Ultimate Edition featuring everything rolled into one? Then February 7 (10 in Europe) is your day to reap your patience's reward.
As someone that only played about an hour of Fallout: New Vegas, I am looking forward to being able to run to the store and snag a DLC-complete copy for $49.99 ($39.99 PC) on February 7. No fuss, no muss; just one disc packed with post-apocalyptic goodness waiting for me to happen to it.
Did you wait?