IRC notes 2009-02-16

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Norwegian Seed Vault

This would make a cool quest.... but it's way north of the proposed map, in the arctic sea. It also started construction 2006, so outside the scope of cold war scenario. I like the idea of a "seed bank" quest though.... maybe we can find a few examples more south.

Predefined vs. Random encounters

Well, obviously we should have predefined encounters! Since we are leading towards a "survival skill game" - I think avoiding them is good too. I did like how in fallout they would track where you were near - and also the bounty hunter/revenge stuff was cool. I would expect some encounters with animals. Mutant Swedish Mosquitos! I think _in general_ encounters should enhance the story. They are not totally useless as "channelers" however. I think in the original FO, there was a square between V13 and Shady Sands that had some HUGE radscorp chance. When you were fresh out of the vault - this guys slaughtered you. You had to find the merchant and hitch a ride to town. I guess that's not exactly random... I think if we have organized "towns" - they should be out patrolling, especially if they are at war. I think a good way around tedium of random encounter is a) make it easy to run (i.e, in FO you got ambushed, like every 50 miles) b) make it so tougher ones might take you captive instead of leaving your bones to be picked by vultures. (especially if caught by a patrol - or slavers!) How come you can't get enslaved! (Obviously, quest is to escape!)

  • whatever they are, they should have some sort of personality. Regular people trade with and talk to you, they might have some stuff to say. (-Lamoot)

Restricted inventory

I am strongly in favor of this. Max two big guns (rifles). If you want to use it in a hurry, put it where you can get it (slung on back, holster, belt loop). You get a back pack. Odin help you if you have to dig around in it for some bullets in combat! Now, why everyone hates this is that you can't slay 8 guys who have shotguns and assault rifles and haul their stuff back to civilization for easy cash. Tough luck. If you need to carry stuff - it should be in a vehicle (atv, snowcat, snowmobile - hell, even a little sled you drag behind you). If you make a "find" of ph4t loot - you should have some issue to deal with it. Maybe you could go back to town and sell the location to someone with cargo capacity. Also, I think if you leave stuff around, "scavengers" would look (this could be explicit -- like you could catch them in the act) - or stuff is just not there 3 days later when you come back. As a sop to playability - quest items should be zero weight/bulk, or come with their own transport.

  • I am for restricted inventory as well. In addition, the inventory could be divided into stuffs like a pocket (for small objects), backpack (generic container for stuff (except bigger guns), shoulder/around the body (for big guns), ammo belt (for extra ammo). Then the interface should leave some blank space, in case you extend your inventory by storing stuff in your vehicle/sled/on your mutant mammoth. (-Lamoot)
  • Restricted inventory (size and weight-wise) is fine with me as well. Having a backpack and maybe some kind of ammo belt would be good but I would avoid overdoing it by having a lot of small containers that lead to a lot of inventory micro management, trying to juggle items from one container to another. --MvBarracuda
    • Rather than having small containers "just because" each would have a special function: arm/around the body - for rifles. Bag/pouch for small items, Backpack for regular items. Around the belt: quick slots. (-lamoot)

Day/Night cycle

Me likey. First off - stealth actually might make sense if the shop is closed. It's barely passible in FO. As for "the shop being closed" - hey, why the hell do you never sleep, you freak! If you are going to need rest - what better time than when "Sven's ammo depot" is closed. Ha, waking people up to demand they sell you stuff is funny! I actually think this might work. You will eat a penalty for him being pissed at you... unless he's cowed into submission. Actually - the think about NPC wake/sleep cycles that bugged me is that they you had to actually kill them to get them off schedule. I'm not sure they had many night vision goggles in 1988. Or 1962. Night vision is one human mutation I would support in the game.

  • Agreed, Sven should definitely be rudely awakened to sell you guns (or post-apoc booze) (-Lamoot)
  • Stealth at night worked pretty well in Arcanum. You should check it out sooner or later, great game. --MvBarracuda

Locks and traps

I have mixed feelings. Lockpicking seems like a no brainer - but realistically, who picks locks in the real world? In fact, if you lock yourself out of the house - does the locksmith pick your lock? It's pretty damn uncommon, and plenty of modern locks are unpickable. In reality, you just bust the door down, or drill right through. I don't need the game to be realistic on this front - but I would like a good explanation why lock picking is so prevalent. If you lock even a modest number of critical doors/containers in your game - it becomes a MANDATORY skill, and MANDATORY item (picks). What if lock picking was allowed, but really, really hard - and only highly specialized stealth characters could pull it off. Now, regular thugs (even diplomats) - can get through most doors with a crowbar. But it makes noise, wakes the neighbors. Now, we can make "hardened" doors that require C4 or a rocket launcher to blow up too. And quest writers will have to consider how locking a door plays. Another annoying thing in FO - why is the ratio of locked doors to keys so high? Maybe a decent solution to "lockpicking" is that all locks that belong to someone have keys - you just have to find the guy with the key, and beat it/steal it/sweet talk him out of it.

Traps - they seem reasonable on the surface, but are they deadly? In FO2 I never bothered with the traps skill, just blew myself up (took like 15 damage) and healed right back. Human mine sweeper! I would be fine with traps as specific quest items, setting traps too. But you have to be able to get past the trap without the skill. And no, just eating the damage does not count. If something is trapped, I want you totally screwed if you set it off. Otherwise, why bother??

  • Would modern locks be available in a PA low tech setting? Just asking as lock picking is often fun to me and as long as we offer alternatives (e.g. destroying the lock in a noisy way) it should be fine. I just love to play a thief character lockpicking and stealing through the game. --MvBarracuda
    • I think there would be 1988 locks - some which are incredibly hard to pick. probably no electronic locks without a very good reason. There shouldn't be much electricity - and that which does exist is going to be fragile and easy to cut. Also, EMP from airbursts nukes are a good way to take out electronic circuity and computers (unless they are hardened military versions)


Yeah, we need one - although we are a long way from writing. What we really need is a "head of the writing department" - someone who can recruit writers, weed out bad ideas - hold the story together. But there are also two parts here - "big story" and "little story". We only need a little story (and back story) for Milestone map. I would like to get someone from a local area of the map to start little story. But we can probably muddle on for 6 months or so without one. We can start with stupid stuff like "hey, quest ideas".

  • I've posted at and I'm currently waiting for a reply there. More adverts are planned to get posted over the course of the the week and lets see if we can find a dedicated writer for the story. --MvBarracuda

Free roam vs. "Acts"

Lamoot makes some surprisingly good points in favor of more railroading arc. Surprising because I think free roam is obviously better.... HOWEVER. I found it quite silly in fallout that you could "run toward the green circle". It was actually cool in FO2 that Vault 13 was hard to find. Maybe what we should go for a system that is more railroaded than fallout but with the illusion of free roaming. But this is also something that can be added as the world is actually developed with more than 1-2 locations. I guess practically we should just assume free roam and add restrictions in with a good reason. I think he's on to something with using f/w to restrict areas of the map. If we assume we start out foraging/hunting - can't afford large amounts of rations - then we can't get past certain worldmap tiles because of food supply issues. Some quest or cookie (snowmobile - reduces travel time by 1/2 or 3/4)

  • Free-roam, but smartly guided with various obastacles, be they geography, food/water, weather, enemies (-Lamoot)
  • Sounds good to me. Acts just feel as such a kind of unrealistic artificial concept that I would like to avoid them; furthermore it destroys the feeling of non-linearity. --MvBarracuda
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