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]
Fortunately for Bethesda, fixing Fallout 3's shooting didn't require a new invention—in fact, it required them to look to the past. When they sat down to make Fallout 3 (the precursor to Fallout: New Vegas), someone at the table must have pointed out the obvious: The current tech that Bethesda was using, a combination of the aging Gamebryo engine, Havok Physics, and other middleware in varying states of decrepitude, was simply not up to supporting an enjoyable first-person shooter. And yet if Fallout 3 was to be a first-person game, it was going to involve guns, and shooting. What to do?
The answer was written right into Fallout's DNA: V.A.T.S., or, the "Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System," wound up being the perfect solution to Bethesda's shooter problem. It's also the system that largely defines both Fallout 3 and Obsidian's Bethesda-published sequel, Fallout: New Vegas.
Over the last couple of weeks, I've been returning to New Vegas and writing about it. I played twelve or fifteen hours of the game back when it first came out in 2010, but never truly got "into" it. Given that there's no vast open-world RPG this fall, I figured New Vegas might provide a good counterpoint to all the shooting, driving, stealthing and tactics-ing I was doing in other games. I was right.
It's amazing, really, just how well V.A.T.S. works. The action and shooting in New Vegas is remarkably bad; ancient feeling, crusty to a "free demo of off-brand 1994 FPS that came with PC Gamer" degree. Enemies float across the terrain, hovering left and right and shooting you. Your character slowly meanders backwards as your gun's huge iron sights pop up and obscure everything in your path, making it impossible to aim. A couple of melee enemies make a beeline towards you, swinging and yelling, and in about three seconds, you're dogmeat. Non-V.A.T.S. firefights in New Vegas feel jagged, shouty, disconnected, and altogether strange.
And yet with V.A.T.S., battles become distinctive, satisfying, tactical, and even humorous. If only more first-person games had some sort of option that let you freeze time with a button and ponder your options! (Okay I guess they do... the pause button. But that's not what I mean. And bullet-time, while similar, doesn't count—I'm talking freeze time here.) "Okay, this guy charging me needs to be dealt with, so I'll shoot him a couple of times, then I'll have to unfreeze time and reposition over behind that dumpster..."
Double-tap into the dude in slow mo, then make your next planned move, dodging fire as your action points recharge. Whoops, you've been flanked by a flamethrower-wielding lady you missed the first time around! Better freeze time again.
I'm not sure I've ever seen a single system so effectively flip a game from bad to good. Imagine if Fallout 3 hadn't had V.A.T.S., if it had featured real-time combat like Oblivion and Morrowind before it. Oh, the overall game probably would have been fine—the vast wastes, the hidden environmental storytelling, the crusty, lonesome wonder of it all; none of that would have gone anywhere. But it wouldn't have been anywhere near as fun.
In fact, V.A.T.S. makes it a bit tough to go back to Skyrim. I've been picking my way through that game's first downloadable content, Dawnguard, and after a weekend with New Vegas, I regularly found myself hitting RB to trigger V.A.T.S., only to accidentally unleash a fireball on the air in front of my character.
It's a shame, really, that there's not yet a V.A.T.S. mod for Skyrim. Despite plenty of expressed interest over at The Skyrim Nexus, no modders, however industrious, have made it a reality. As much as Skyrim's combat improves over Oblivion, I would devour a V.A.T.S. archery system in the game. Those slow-mo kill-cams even feel like V.A.T.S.—why not just go ahead and build in the rest of the system? Hey modders, you're amazing. Can you put this sucker together? The world will thank you.
Truly, for my energy-weapon totin', headshottin' badass wasteland chick, V.A.T.S. is the alpha and the omega. It's the entire reason she's able to own the battlefield, and it lets me keep the initiative instead of constantly just backpedaling and holding down the trigger.
The "Project Nevada" mod I've got installed ostensibly makes the game more like a first-person shooter, but while it does feel a bit smoother, it still has that janky action-figure feel that makes shooting in Fallout so generally unfun. V.A.T.S. singlehandedly makes Fallout: New Vegas fun.
On top of that, V.A.T.S. makes for great stories. These days, I avoid the "Bloody Mess" perk, because I like the randomness of the aftermath of a V.A.T.S. attack. I fight with energy weapons, so critical strikes often vaporize my enemies. I have to admit, I've always been a bit disappointed by this, since I get a sick kick out of the many goofy ways enemies blow apart in Fallout games. All the same, V.A.T.S. opens up all sorts of humorous and tactical options, given that you can actually effectively target an enemy's various parts. (I do wish, however, that the camera weren't so finnicky and selective—there are far too many times where I'll just be unable to get the damned camera to focus on an enemy's head, to the point where I'll have to pop out and back into V.A.T.S. to make it work.)
So now I'll pause for a second and imagine the future: Can you imagine if the next Fallout, let's just call it Fallout 4, had combat that was actually good on its own? Enemies who use the environment intelligently and are animated smoothly, whose A.I. has gradations and whom you can hide from, re-ambush, and confuse? Imagine an aiming and shooting feel that felt closer to, say, Borderlands 2. Okay, now imagine that on top of all that, you also had V.A.T.S. Suddenly, the system would feel less like a band-aid and more like a garnish. Considering how enjoyable V.A.T.S. already is, I'd welcome that with open arms.
How about you? Any games you think would do well with a V.A.T.S.-like system? Also: I never play as a melee character, but how is that with V.A.T.S.? Does it bug you how using explosives with V.A.T.S. almost never works, since enemies run right past your grenade? Share your V.A.T.S. stories here, folks.
I'll be playing a lot of Need For Speed this weekend, but I bet I'll break it up by continuing my treks across the Mojave Wastes. I'll have more Return to New Vegas posts up next week.
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.
If your Science skill was too low, or if you just enjoyed the LSAT problem of trying to figure out how to brute force hack your way into a terminal in Fallout 3 then this flash game is for you. And look, no need to back out of the terminal before making your final attempt!
Complete with authentic keyboard-clacking and power-switch whoomphing, from mitchellthompson.net is this flash timewaster based on the good ol Robco Industries security protocol. I haven't gone to GameFAQs or my strat guide (yes, I bought one) to see if it's using real passwords or not—I don't think it is. I can't even tell if it has a correct answer or just one chosen at random. Anyway, here you go, drive yourself nuts.
And so here we are, observing the fall of innocent, impressionable minds (ha, Mega64) seduced by Fallout's violence and thievery.
Also: awww to the woman who helps him pick up his pants.
Well, not just for you. Fans of Wasteland, RAGE, Borderlands or any other game set in a post-apocalyptic desert are more than catered for at Wasteland Weekend, which will be held in the Mojave Desert at the end of the month.
While originally conceived as a Mad Max-inspired event, it's since taken on wider influences, as you can see by the Fallout-esque trailer the organiser's have released.
Note that by themed party, I mean themed party: people dress, hang out and act as though we're already past the end of the world, with the weekend full of stuff like apocalypse-appropriate live music, modified cars and burlesque performances.
Well, a group of Aussie filmmakers are trying to bring the man to the big screen, roping in a bunch of talent that includes former WETA effects men, professional concept artists and attractive, athletic young people to work on a project called Fallout: Lanius.
It'll be an origin story, telling how the man came to his position of power, and in a nice touch the voice under his mask will be provided by Mitch Lewis, the same man who played the role in the game.
You can read more about the project at the link below.
Fallout: Lanius [Official Site]
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]