Bethesda on Fallout 3 DRM, Censorship, and More

The Fallout 3 Interview on Shacknews talks with Pete Hines of Bethesda Softworks about their coming RPG sequel, covering a variety of topics specifically about the PC edition. Along the way Pete offers his take on the censorship story, saying, "It is seriously the biggest non-issue in the history of video games. It got way more attention than it merits." He also promised the game will have mild DRM: "Pretty similar to what we did for Oblivion, which was--we basically don't do any--we do the mildest form possible. I actually don't know if I even want to get into what it is that we exactly do, but we try to be really noninvasive when it comes to that stuff." He says they aren't quite done with development, but, "We're right to the end of it."
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46.
 
No subject
Oct 3, 2008, 11:27
Dev
46.
No subject Oct 3, 2008, 11:27
Oct 3, 2008, 11:27
Dev
 
Thanks for the links.

Yeah, I would have expected the reporters, if they were worth anything (which is a whole nother issue lol), to have detailed the character creation by now, since thats an important part to the game. I havne't seen much on it though lol. Unless Beth is telling them thats off limits like the main story line is told to them to be off limits.

Anyway, IMHO, this is something we will have to wait to see. Hopefully the game will be fine out of the box, but even if too many crits/headshots is something that has to be fixed with a mod (beth you'd better have mod support), I'm ok with that. Not happy, but ok. If thats the worst attribute of the game I'll live with it.

I have the game pre-ordered (finally get to use my gift certificate from my purchase of UT2004 lol! ).

I doubt the game will live up entirely to its fallout roots, but I'm pretty sure it will be fun regardless.

This comment was edited on Oct 3, 11:27.
45.
 
Re: No subject
Oct 2, 2008, 23:24
45.
Re: No subject Oct 2, 2008, 23:24
Oct 2, 2008, 23:24
 
Hmm, it's not very clear whether or not they actually made their own characters. The following previews seem to suggest it, but it's not explicitly clear. On the other hand, some of the other previews I've read with the 4 hour playtime state that Bethesda created the characters.

http://www.giantbomb.com/news/traipsing-through-fallout-3s-wasteland/314/

http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/fallout3/news.html?sid=6196546&mode=previews&tag=text-related-content;1

http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/fallout3/news.html?sid=6198382&mode=previews&tag=text-related-content;2

In any case, if the characters were indeed pregenerated, that makes it all the less balanced that the player could so easily get headshots in VATS. I think Bethesda would have generated a well-rounded character (as opposed to a Small Guns master) so previewers could sample a wider variety of gameplay.

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44.
 
No subject
Oct 2, 2008, 21:37
Dev
44.
No subject Oct 2, 2008, 21:37
Oct 2, 2008, 21:37
Dev
 
Jerykk:
I haven't read all the FO3 previews, but I dont remember reading any where they created thier own characters and started from inside the vault (beth was always starting them outside with a savegame on all the ones I read).

If you have any links offhand, I wouldn't turn them down

43.
 
Re: WTH?
Oct 2, 2008, 15:53
Kxmode
 
43.
Re: WTH? Oct 2, 2008, 15:53
Oct 2, 2008, 15:53
 Kxmode
 
It's sad when the only thing we want is a game with no DRM. Is that too much to ask for?

-----
http://www.gamemusicjukebox.com/
Game p/reviewer for http://www.gameindustry.com/
DRM needs to die... now
"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." - Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf
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42.
 
Re: ...
Oct 2, 2008, 12:27
42.
Re: ... Oct 2, 2008, 12:27
Oct 2, 2008, 12:27
 
In Fallout 2, I can create a character with uber stats from lvl 1. That means 90% or higher on most headshots, or better yet in the eye, if I pick my perks and balance my skills and stats right. Perception 10 could be done no problem with the right combination, and small-arms could be at 100% or higher by lvl 2-3.

Except in FO2, your max percentage for any skill was like 300%. In addition, though my memory may be incorrect, wasn't there a limit to how much you could increase any one skill when leveling?

NOWHERE do I see anything about them creating a character. Unless I'm blind.

You're right, they don't explicitly state that they created characters. I just assumed that they did, given that all the other 4 hour previews have had the previewers create players.

This comment was edited on Oct 2, 12:28.
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41.
 
Re: ...
Oct 2, 2008, 10:14
41.
Re: ... Oct 2, 2008, 10:14
Oct 2, 2008, 10:14
 
Jerykk you unbeliever.

In Fallout 2, I can create a character with uber stats from lvl 1. That means 90% or higher on most headshots, or better yet in the eye, if I pick my perks and balance my skills and stats right. Perception 10 could be done no problem with the right combination, and small-arms could be at 100% or higher by lvl 2-3.

In fact the combat of Fallout2 was incredibly easy if you powergamed. It never detracted from my experience with the game, on the contrary it made me feel powerfull.

From what I hear and see Fallout3 is very similar. And to tell you the truth, I dont mind. Not one bit...:)

From the latest previews the game is shaping up to be much more than meets the eye, I think they are downplaying the RPG elements to the general public to get the console crowd retards interested in the game....

My 2 cents, and the 49,99$ for the game once it ships on Steam

I have a nifty blue line!
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40.
 
...
Oct 2, 2008, 09:56
40.
... Oct 2, 2008, 09:56
Oct 2, 2008, 09:56
 
I know it may be in keeping with the original games but the way VATS and blowing off limbs has been implemented strikes me comical without the comedy. They've clear put a lot of effort into the engine, plot, atmosphere and levelling but then slapped in limb-lopping that makes Solider Of Fortune look tame; they also basically made it required that you use VATS. It doesn't look as fun as the bullet time from FEAR and that was overpowered as well.

So I love the look of the game but the combat is a complete turn off. I much preferred Oblivion with it's close combat and magic, even if it wasn't perfect.

I'll wait for the reviews and user responses. I won't be getting this at launch, or at all if it's not on Steam.


This comment was edited on Oct 2, 09:58.
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
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39.
 
Thanks Bethesda
Oct 2, 2008, 06:22
39.
Thanks Bethesda Oct 2, 2008, 06:22
Oct 2, 2008, 06:22
 
I'm glad someone is listening to the community, and I do hope they get the sales that are much deserving of this stance.
Unfortunately, I'm sure that, because of the lack of DRM there will be rampant piracy of this game...
- No demo
- Costs too much
- Wanted to try it first
- I hate Bethesda
...etc...wankers.

/pre-ordered the collectors edition
//wants my lunchbox
///Enjoy my money, I like the hat idea.

38.
 
No subject
Oct 2, 2008, 05:01
Dev
38.
No subject Oct 2, 2008, 05:01
Oct 2, 2008, 05:01
Dev
 
Jerykk:
Where exactly does it say in the gamespot thing that they started thier own chars?
You are talking about this link that was in this thread right?
http://xbox360.gamespy.com/xbox-360/fallout-3/915010p1.html

These are the quotes I see
"Two editors spend four hours in the Wasteland"
"Pete Hines of Bethesda encourages us to go nuts in the four hours we've been allotted with Fallout 3"
"I wandered around the Wasteland"

I see nothing about them being allowed to create thier chars from scratch.
I do see this though:
"I suspected that dumping points into the "small arms" skill would yield big dividends."
He could be talking about the points he's earning from leveling during the 4 hours though.
Even this quote:
"I pumped less into my small arms skills and chose to disperse my attributes more evenly."
Could be from leveling, OR even spare points that beth left in thier savegames.

NOWHERE do I see anything about them creating a character. Unless I'm blind.


I'm not disputing that it COULD be the case that the game is too easy, I'm just disputing evidence about it that I've seen and that you have put forward
This comment was edited on Oct 2, 05:05.
37.
 
Re: No subject
Oct 2, 2008, 04:12
37.
Re: No subject Oct 2, 2008, 04:12
Oct 2, 2008, 04:12
 
I don't know if you are intentionally misquoting the preview or not, but for the benefit of others, one of the two gamespy editors mentioned min/maxing his combat skill and dumping all the advancement points into firearms. He might have been playing on the easier difficulty level as well.

If that's the case, Bethesda must have changed the skill leveling system. In FO1/2, you couldn't max out any skill within four hours, regardless of difficulty.

Here's what he said, "Which isn't to say that it was necessarily the best move to dump all my points into the best combat skill, pound-for-pound. It was fine for the purpose of a four-hour play session, but when I really sit down to play Fallout 3 I'm going to branch out. I encountered lots of locked doors and secure computer terminals that my single-mindedness prevented me from opening. It all may just amount to hoards of bottlecaps forbidden to those lacking the prudence to invest in ancillary skills. But given how much money in strewn around the world (in the form of toilet plungers, fuses, lawn mower blades, and cockroach meat), I'm hoping that Fallout 3's designers saw fit to hide more interesting stuff in those."

He also said this: "And I was right -- whenever I wanted an encounter to end quickly, I would activate V.A.T.S., click on maximum headshots, and watch things die."

As far as screenshot is concerned, here's another one
http://ve3dmedia.ign.com/ve3d/image/article/800/800884/fallout-3-facts-that-could-save-your-life-20070701023902318.jpg

That screenshot is extremely old, whereas the one I linked to is one of the latest. I think it's very likely that Bethesda greatly increased hit chances so as to appease the Halo demographic. We won't know for sure until we play the game, though.


This comment was edited on Oct 2, 04:16.
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36.
 
Re: No subject
Oct 2, 2008, 02:56
36.
Re: No subject Oct 2, 2008, 02:56
Oct 2, 2008, 02:56
 
I don't know if you are intentionally misquoting the preview or not, but for the benefit of others, one of the two gamespy editors mentioned min/maxing his combat skill and dumping all the advancement points into firearms. He might have been playing on the easier difficulty level as well.

Here's what he said,
"Which isn't to say that it was necessarily the best move to dump all my points into the best combat skill, pound-for-pound. It was fine for the purpose of a four-hour play session, but when I really sit down to play Fallout 3 I'm going to branch out. I encountered lots of locked doors and secure computer terminals that my single-mindedness prevented me from opening. It all may just amount to hoards of bottlecaps forbidden to those lacking the prudence to invest in ancillary skills. But given how much money in strewn around the world (in the form of toilet plungers, fuses, lawn mower blades, and cockroach meat), I'm hoping that Fallout 3's designers saw fit to hide more interesting stuff in those. "

And the other editor agreed. He played a different way. And as far as VATS combat is concerned, this second guy was mostly maiming enemies by blowing out their legs.

The original Fallout had similar design. You could create a character with high perception and agility, make him gifted and give him firearms skills, a few sniper perks, the quick-draw perk and you could hit anyone at the edge of the screen 95% of the time in the eye. Of course you missed on other parts of the games because of the focus.

As far as screenshot is concerned, here's another one
http://ve3dmedia.ign.com/ve3d/image/article/800/800884/fallout-3-facts-that-could-save-your-life-20070701023902318.jpg

35.
 
Re: No subject
Oct 2, 2008, 02:06
35.
Re: No subject Oct 2, 2008, 02:06
Oct 2, 2008, 02:06
 
They basically wanted to show off VATS, but since they have not mentioned this more than 1 or 2 times, everyone misses it and assumes VATS is a garunteed headshot generator.

The problem is that in the Gamespy preview that was linked in this thread, the previewers weren't using souped up characters. They started from the beginning of the game, created new characters and played for four hours. This means that their characters would be low-level and wouldn't excel in any given skill. However, one of the previewers clearly states that he was getting constant headshots using VATS. Therefore, based on the information presented by the preview, one can only conclude that VATS is indeed overpowered and that Bethesda can't balance worth crap.

Making a head shot is considerably more difficult than aiming at hand, torso or leg and unlike in real time, you can completely miss the target in VATS.

Not according to this screenshot: http://www.shacknews.com/images/image-o-matic.x?/images/sshots/Screenshot/10781/10781_48e302288d959.jpg

75% chance of a headshot. That's not that much lower than the other percentages.


This comment was edited on Oct 2, 02:13.
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34.
 
Re: No subject
Oct 2, 2008, 01:55
Prez
 
34.
Re: No subject Oct 2, 2008, 01:55
Oct 2, 2008, 01:55
 Prez
 
I'm sure EA actually comes in here and reads this forum too. Or maybe not...

Actually I bet they do. Whether they base their decisions on what we say here is another matter...
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
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33.
 
Re: DRM
Oct 2, 2008, 01:52
Prez
 
33.
Re: DRM Oct 2, 2008, 01:52
Oct 2, 2008, 01:52
 Prez
 
Congrats to Bethesda for a logical choice. Now if they would just commit to making the game moddable, I'd be a happy man.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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32.
 
DRM
Oct 2, 2008, 01:44
32.
DRM Oct 2, 2008, 01:44
Oct 2, 2008, 01:44
 
It will be interesting to see if the "I only pirate games because of the DRM!" people will now buy Fallout 3.

Oh wait, no they won't, because it's not the same as Fallout 2. They will, ofcourse, still download it.

I applaud Bethesda for its stance on DRM. Oblivion's DRM was about as friendly as you could get and still call it DRM. I'm glad they've chosen to please their customers rather than their fucking stockholders.

Creston

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31.
 
Re: No subject
Oct 2, 2008, 00:46
31.
Re: No subject Oct 2, 2008, 00:46
Oct 2, 2008, 00:46
 
The mod tools will come out at some time. You can buy the game then.

In the meantime don't base your opinions on someone's comment who doesn't know how certain gameplay mechanism works. I have copied a big portion of a QA session in the previous post that gives a lot of detail about VATS.

It is a very effective way of combat. As the level scaling isn't done like Oblivion, your character early on can meet very tough enemies and while there are ways around them, one of the combat solutions is to have a high perception and agility, high gun skill character (like original Fallout) and then shoot the weapon out of the opponents hand or blow the leg out. Making a head shot is considerably more difficult than aiming at hand, torso or leg and unlike in real time, you can completely miss the target in VATS. So using AP effectively requires tactical thinking.

30.
 
No subject
Oct 2, 2008, 00:40
Dev
30.
No subject Oct 2, 2008, 00:40
Oct 2, 2008, 00:40
Dev
 
Blue:
Oblivion had ZERO copy protection. It had a cd check that only checked that the files were there, so you could just make a copy of the DVD, or just make a disk image. Again, it did NOT distinguish between a copy and the real thing.
And they sold a crap load of copies.
If they keep that same idea with fallout 3 I'll be very happy. No copy protection, no DRM, no hidden drivers, etc.
Incidentally Blue, this means it has NO DRM, not "mild" as you state. I know you are just quoting Hines, but as long as he's telling the truth about having same form as Oblivion, he's not technically correct either.

re VATS: If I recall right, ALL the demos and videos they've been showing and the machines they let the press play on, etc, the characters are souped up in stats, and thats why they are constantly getting headshots. BTW, thats probably why they have made the press start with a savegame at the start instead of going through the character generation process.

They basically wanted to show off VATS, but since they have not mentioned this more than 1 or 2 times, everyone misses it and assumes VATS is a garunteed headshot generator.
This comment was edited on Oct 2, 00:43.
29.
 
Re: No subject
Oct 2, 2008, 00:36
29.
Re: No subject Oct 2, 2008, 00:36
Oct 2, 2008, 00:36
 
Interesting. So VATS is basically overpowered bullet-time. It's essentially a guaranteed headshot machine, from what I read, as there's no real reason to shoot anything else. In addition, it appears that your AP regenerate really quickly. They should limit your max AP and regeneration rate to an attribute like Perception (seems more appropriate than Agility given that VATS is entirely about aiming).

Yeah, and if they'd commit to releasing some damn modding tools, shit like this could get fixed and things might turn out ok. No mod tools = no money from me.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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28.
 
Re: No subject
Oct 2, 2008, 00:31
28.
Re: No subject Oct 2, 2008, 00:31
Oct 2, 2008, 00:31
 
>Interesting. So VATS is basically overpowered bullet-time.
>It's essentially a guaranteed headshot machine, from what I read,

There is no guaranteed head-shot in VATS. The biggest difference is that stats (perception, weapons skill) matter in VATS and the hit chance depends on it, whereas in real-time it's up to your skill as a player to hit the target.

Here's what the Project Lead said about it a few months ago

On VATS

"Probably better if I give you a closer look at how we approach it and view VATS. First, I don’t see it as an either-or thing. VATS is meant to be used with real-time, it’s not one or the other – they should feel like they go together. I don’t want the fans confused that this is turn-based, because it’s not. It’s a glorified aimed-shot mode, and a pretty glorious one at that. You’ll be able to use it a lot, but not constantly, because it is the most effective way to kill things. And that’s how we define it usually, it’s the most effective and entertaining way of killing something, and we break up those two parts while developing it, “effect” versus “entertainment”, or the “gameplay” versus the “playback”.

Let’s start with the gameplay. One, you can enter VATS, whenever you want, you just may not have enough AP do take any shots yet, or enough AP to do as many shots as you’d like. The AP needed to do a shot is based on the weapon’s rate of fire; pistols can get more shots off in VATS than a hunting rifle. The camera zooms in on the target from your
eyes, as VATS does a scan of the target, and you get a percentage chance to hit each body part. This accomplishes two things: 1) it just looks really cool, we even use the “combat-turn” sound from Fallout 1 here, and 2) the scan actually is detecting how much of the body part you can see to get us a good hit percentage. That hit-chance is based
on how much of the body part you can see, the distance, your skill, the weapon itself, and a base body part chance we set per body part. That last thing, the base chance, is needed for us to jack up or down the hit-chance for game balance, so even if the head is X size compared to the chest, we can adjust it.

A good example would be the antennae on the ants, they are way too small to realistically ever want to use your AP on, but we up the hit-chance on them and it just plays better. So in real-time, you almost never hit their antennae, but you can do it more in VATS. And that’s the key “behind the scenes” difference between VATS and real-time, in real-time the bullets just go-where-they-go, based on your skill, the gun, and some randomness. We don’t calculate a hit-chance and roll dice against it. In VATS, we calculate a hit-chance and roll dice. If you succeed, we send the bullet right for what you were aiming at, and if you fail, we send it off slightly, meaning it should miss, but we still let it hit whatever it hits, so you can still miss a guy’s head and end up shooting his chest.

Ok, now the “playback,” or the entertainment part of it. Based on what is going to happen with what you chose, we select a number of camera angles and various playback shots to show you, the playback is only a few seconds. They are always pretty quick, the longer playbacks are rare, and we’re the first ones to get annoyed if something repeats itself too much as we’re playing the game. We have a VATS camera section of the editor where we make cameras and can setup almost anything we want, such as a special camera that tracks a bullet in slow motion that shoots a gun out of someone’s hand, but only if they are using a specific pistol and only on a certain enemy. Pretty much anything we want to do; we can setup quick, so expect lots of various camera shots. One of things to know about the playback is it’s not a “replay”, it’s the actual game time moving forward, so what you see is really what is happening right now. The selected cameras control how fast various things move, so most of the time, you, the player, are animating in real-time, the enemy you are shooting at is moving at one-tenth speed, and the rest of the world is paused, or updating slowly. We found just playing everything at the same speed doesn’t feel or look good at all, we had to separate the three out; you, the enemy, and the rest of the world. Another thing we stumbled into, because time is moving forward, is that while you are watching an enemy react to getting shot in this great camera angle, your character can be getting mauled by another enemy. Really frustrating early on as we played it, so we do two things now: 1) depending on the camera chosen we essentially pause the rest of the world, and 2) we have a setting that dramatically reduces the damage the player takes during
such an occurrence. You probably wouldn’t notice any of these things, the playbacks just look “right”, but you’d be surprised how much tweaking goes into making a two second snippet work well."

" The only thing you can do in VATS. is shoot, and it’s designed as just that. It’s kind of an “aimed shot” mode, so no taking stimpacks, etc. When dealing with the AP regeneration, that’s one of the big questions, even for us, as to what we set it to, and that’s going to get serious tweaking the more we play the game. It’s definitely tied to your agility, but we haven’t pinned down the range, so I don’t know if an agility of 10 gives you twice the regen rate over an agility of 1, or if it will be in the 5-10x multiple range. I’d wager closer to 2x on that one. When you’re not in VATS., attacks use up AP as well. At this stage, we’re playing the game so that the AP usage in real-time is less then the regen rate, so the end effect is that attacking in real-time slows down the regen. I imagine it will end up being close to that feel."

27.
 
No subject
Oct 2, 2008, 00:01
27.
No subject Oct 2, 2008, 00:01
Oct 2, 2008, 00:01
 
They better worry the game itself is good and not about whether DRM they use will cause problems...

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