Monthly Archive: May 2016

Reconstructing Fallout 3 Part 3: Settling for Traders

Craptastic Crater.

Craptastic Crater.

Let’s kick off by having a good ol’ moan about Megaton. I’ll also be adding a section on Canterbury Commons for reasons that will become clear as we go along. So… good old Megaton. I actually like this place as a general concept—leaving aside the silly unexploded bomb aspect.

It’s an interesting setting with potential, and pretty unusual in that it’s a new town built from scratch rather than based out of an existing structure or location. A crater with defensible walls is good… but you’re likely to have issues with flooding if you’ve thought at all about the level of precipitation in the DC region. That could be turned to your advantage by piping it to your water purifier, though, making a problematic situation beneficial.

However, this settlement’s success is also contingent on having some means of producing food, which Megaton doesn’t beyond scavenging. They’d starve within a week, tops. With a large enough crater this could be mitigated by either planting crops or having planters and things up on wooden gantries.

If you’re going to go to the trouble of pulling apart several old pre-war planes, building them into a settlement in a crater, going that little bit further to add infrastructure for food production makes sense… assuming you don’t want to die in the first week. (more…)

Reconstructing Fallout 3 Part 2: Wasted Land Potential

Mother Nature laughs at your pitiful human structures.

Mother Nature laughs at your pitiful human structures.

I suppose the best way to kick this next part off will be to raise my eyebrows in some surprise at the utter desolation of the DC Wasteland. Two hundred years is an insanely long time, and nature tends to do a pretty god job of cleaning up after our mess. Add to this DC’s high precipitation levels and… yeah, what the hell?

Both the desolation and the high levels of radiation all over the place seem a little silly. Radiation drops off precipitously over time – not to mention that the bomb casing and components block a lot of radiation release in the wider area – and this long after the bombs fell, regardless of the global nature of the exchange, the radiation levels should be pretty well non-existent bar certain hotspots.

Not to mention that filtering water through the earth actually removes radiation pretty damn effectively. Certainly, there would’ve been black rain, dust storms, and all manner of other nastiness right after the war, but we’re looking at two-hundred years here. That’s just not reasonable, no matter how you slice it.

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Reconstructing Fallout 3 Part 1: Back into the Wasteland

Time’s a’wastin’.

Time’s a’wastin’.

Ah, Fallout 3, a game with one of the most utterly broken worlds ever conceived, in every thematic and narrative sense possible. Add to that Bethesda’s usual gameplay mechanics (‘make the player a god’), which are equally broken, and you have a recipe for many scathing remarks of a pithy nature.

But I don’t really do pithy when it comes to critique. I do long-form complaining, oh yes. So that’s what this series will be about; deconstructing Fallout 3’s world, setting, characters, and story, along with additional reconstruction into something less ridiculous. Effectively turning the broken aspects into something thematically coherent and consistent.

Before I start, I should point something out: it’s easy to be an armchair critic. It’s a lot harder to actually implement something if you’re the one who has to do it. On the other hand, I’m an experienced writer and most of what I’ll be talking about is really basic stuff any decent writer should be thinking about before they even write a single word.

World building, tone, logic, internal consistency, pacing; all of these are important to crafting a believable world and story, and Bethesda utterly failed on nearly every count, with the single exception being tone, which I have to admit they nailed, especially around the DC area itself.

Still, while I acknowledge that being an armchair critic is easier than actually being the one to fix the problems, it’s also true that improvements can only be made when you analyse what went wrong and propose solutions, so that’s what I’ll be doing here. Plus, most of what I’ll be suggesting wouldn’t even take that much additional effort over what was already implemented, it’s more about tweaking the existing world to make more sense.

Naturally this whole series will involve spoilers – major and minor – not only for Fallout 3 itself, but probably New Vegas and Fallout 4, as I’ll be using those for occasional comparison. Chances are this’ll end up being several dozen posts or more, so… strap in and a grab some snacks and a Nuka-Cola. Or Sunset Sarsaparilla, if you prefer.

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