Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Development Info Putting the science back in Wasteland 2's science fiction

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff Patron

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Tags: InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 2

    A lot of people wondered why hiring a consultant firm to help with the science(!) in Wasteland 2 was even necessary. The good news is that ArsTechnica caught up with Thwacke Consulting's Sebastian Alvarado to shed some light on how they intend to put the science back into Wasteland 2's science-fiction.
    I'm feeling so immersed right now.
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  2. Infinitron RPG Codex Staff Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    Giant hermit crabs using buses as shells and shiny green radioactive glass. What say you, Vault Dweller?
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  3. kaizoku Arcane

    kaizoku
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    This whole deal seems like a waste of money.
    On all(?) post-apoc games radiation is a deus ex machina to explain "super powers". And that shit just doesn't happen in real life (tm).

    Did Wasteland or any other PA game ever aimed at realism?

    I suspect designers won't use that info for realism purposes, but more like as sources of inspiration.
    For example, considering the sand liquidification effect into glass, maybe they could up with a "crystal castle" area, or a follow the "green bricks" to Oz.
    Or use some hermit crabs as source power for cars.

    But these are the type of things that you can do on your own by prospering imagining.
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  4. Carrion Arcane Patron

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    Well, Fallout did use FEV to explain most of the mutations, including stuff like radscorpions. Of course, most people missed that and just assumed that things grew big because of radiation.
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  5. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer

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    This interview and the example given only reinforce my opinion that the scientists involvement wasn't necessary and doesn't bring anything useful to the proverbial table.

    So, they were asked what creatures could be found near the water areas [that can appear in-game]. The scientists told them what Bethesda figured out 3 games ago - crabs. Who knew, right? Now, in-game creatures should be "off the wall", i.e. wacky. Again, who knew? So, we're gonna make crabs huge - giant crabs! - blame it on radiation and give them cool shells. This is what a creature concept artist does, btw, in case you're wondering. They would design a giant (in this case) creature and give it some discarded pre-war items, like Bethesda did with the behemoth - make it big and give him a shopping cart and a fire hydrant on a metal pole as a makeshift mace.
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  6. LeStryfe79 Drunk Patron

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    Codex 2012 Divinity: Original Sin Wasteland 2
    Sounds cool to me.
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  7. Infinitron RPG Codex Staff Patron

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    I don't think an amateur would have thought about hermit crabs specifically. The whole bit about them swapping shells to discharge radiation. That could even be part of a quest or a special way to defeat them or something.
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  8. almondblight Arcane

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    Yeah, it's good that we have the scientists for that. Hermit crabs can absorb less radiation, and since the radiation makes things huge if they didn't they couldn't discard their irradiated shells they would be...wait a second...
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  9. Volrath Arcane Patron

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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera
    ²
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  10. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

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    That's exactly the problem, creature concept artists have been extremely amateur & unnimaginative in recent years. All we get is 8-years old kid level of mythological references (dogs names fenrir or cerberus, hur dur) or endless reuse of done-to-death cliches like giant mutated animals, Lord of the Rings/D&D bestiary varaints and the likes. You know that a scorpion-shaped robot woudn't pop up as an idea today, is too "silly" and these guys take thenselves too seriously.

    FFS, there are countless places a PROFESSIONAL concept artists could draw influences from, but it seems that is simpy asking to much nowadays for them to know more than really basic greek & nordic mythos and own a D&D bestiary book one. No, let's hire a scientist to inspire us to create giant crabs... what a breakthrought!
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  11. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer

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    If you want to make a distinctive crab, that's your only choice. Hermit crabs aren't something obscure that only a scientist would know. You may forget what it's called and have to look it up, but I'm pretty sure that most people know that there is a crab that uses empty shells.

    In the end though, is there a difference for the player? Other than the cool factor?

    I doubt it. First, it would require an extra model and animations. Second, they swap shells not to discharge radiation but to get a bigger one. Third, the shell, especially made out of a pre-war, rusty car isn't armor impervious to bullets and grenades.
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  12. TwinkieGorilla does a good job. Patron

    TwinkieGorilla
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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    :hmmm:
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  13. crafthack Educated

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    hopefully it's not too silly though i would really like to see some "scary" maps in WL2 with some creatures like the floaters or centaurs from Fallout, especially with morgan's music it could be cool
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  14. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

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    Here, I just did a quick gathering of some of Wasteland's creatures, apart from rats & humans:

    [​IMG]

    I think the science department woudn't be able to come up with any of those, much less approve their in-game existance...
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  15. Morkar illiterate

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    Not a bad idea to have some "real" science in it to make it more believable.

    But mudcrabs again? Sigh, science is really boring sometimes...

    The "cool factor" is enough. Details are important.
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  16. Phantasmal Arcane

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    "I saw a hermit crab the other day in General Discussion. Horrible creatures, I avoid them whenever I can."
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  17. laclongquan Arcane

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    IF huge dog-sized, progressive bigger until elephant-sized, tarantula doesnt freak you out I am sure plenty others will. I mean, realism can freak you out pretty hard without even trying.
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  18. Gord Arcane

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    Small anecdote I just remembered:
    I saw this documentary about the influence of Chernobyl on the fauna living in the vicinity of the power plant a while ago.
    It recounted the findings of scientists researching the long-term effects on different species.
    Short summary: While some species deal with it better than others, most animals looked surprisingly healthy and normal. There was a higher rate of mutations esp. amongst birds, but just the boring kind, i.e. small deformations. Especially rodents coped pretty well, though
    So, just going by hard science, the game might turn out somewhat... boring.
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  19. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer

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    You're right. Who's ever heard of hermit crabs? Every fucking child, apparently (the scientists of tomorrow!).

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
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  20. FeelTheRads Arcane Patron

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    And what exactly is special about any of those? Some people really try to make Wasteland's setting a lot more than it is. It's just stuff thrown together for the "cool factor". A bunch of robots, 2 humanoid mutants and one giant worm. WOW, who could come up with this, man? For fuck's sake, just grab the notebook of some random high-school kid and you'll have enough robot and mutant drawings for two Wastelands. Well, OK, today you might find it full of tentacle rape and mechas instead.

    But anyway, I'm not saying that this "style" is bad and it certainly set the tone for Wasteland. But to claim that it's something so original it's fucking hilarious. It's not, and there was no more thought put in it than "let's make it what's cool today and also LETS HAVE TOASTER REPAIR CUZ ITZ FUNNY LOL ALSO KILLER CLOWN GANGS ARE FUNNY".


    No, they're not. VD decided so for every gamer out there. Didn't you hear? People don't care. They just want to teleport.
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  21. catfood AGAIN

    catfood
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    Yeah, seriously what the fuck was wrong with the original creatures? I mean who (short of terminal assburger cases) the fuck cares if some shit in a game isn't scientifically accurate? Wasteland 1 was like a Monty Python sketch on crack and you know what? it still made sense because it had internal consistency which is vital when making settings. The game had a lighthearted tone for the most part and the critters populating it were in tone with this.

    Now I'm not saying that a more scientific aproach to world building is a bad thing but only if the setting of a game calls for it. Wasteland 1 was full of lulz. Fallout 1 tried to explain some things but I doubt centaurs and super mutants can be scientifically explained even with alll that FEV jazz. By the looks of it WL2 is distancing away from the original and moving towards F1 when it comes to tone, and I'm perfectly fine with that, but it's obvous that this SCEINS!!11 schtick is just a marketing gimmick since they don't have anything more concrete to show at this moment. "Hey guys so uh about dem updates we uh we uh brought in SCIENMAJIFICS to help us make the game more SCIENMAGIFICAL FOR YOU so uh yeah guys tune in next time."
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  22. PorkaMorka Arcane

    PorkaMorka
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    The Hermit crab example sounds fun to me. I don't see any possibility that the game will be too realistic. It will just be a little bit less dumb than other games.

    Fargo seems like a relatively savvy businessman, so I'm guessing that he is not spending a lot of money to hire these guys. There probably isn't a lot of call for these consulting services, especially in this economy.They are probably happy to work for cheap and get some publicity.

    If it turns out that this is eating up a lot of the budget, then it is bad. If it turns out these guys are working for cheap, it's a fun idea that will probably enhance my enjoyment of the game.

    EDIT: I've never heard of any of the other companies that they are consulting with, so I'm guessing they jumped at the opportunity to work on a semi-well known project like W2.

    http://www.thwacke.com/clients.html
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  23. Infinitron RPG Codex Staff Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2012 Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    The funny thing is that even the stereotypical, "wacky" and unscientific idea of a post apocalyptic wasteland is based on science.

    The idea that radiation causes mutations comes from science. It's not fantasy, it's not magic. This discussion is about differences of degree, not of kind.
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  24. FeelTheRads Arcane Patron

    FeelTheRads
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    Yeah... no.

    Well, you've seen from this article how scientific it is. But hey, according with VD everybody could come up with that anyway because LOL LOOK KIDZ BOOKZ HAHAHA GET IT EVEN KIDS COULD COME UP WITH IT ITZ SO OBVIOUS.
    Also scientists are hacks who can't really tell how a creature would evolve, because human evolution has missing links so who needs those losers anyway?
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  25. Gord Arcane

    Gord
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    Yes. Although I'd go a bit further and demand plausibility, as well.
    I'm perfectly fine with SCIENCE! in a game instead of real science and therefore don't bother much about giant hermit crabs.
    But somehow I thought they hired/consulted some scientists mostly for stuff like "What are the immediate and long term effects of a global thermonuclear war on climate?" or "What will be the typical destruction pattern of a nuclear attack" or even "How will (distribution of) fauna/flora be affected?", i.e. some background stuff one can use to flesh out the game. Stuff where being scientifically accurate is a nice touch, without it being too restricting.

    I have to agree with VD on one thing there, which is that they could have come up with that hermit-crab idea on their own, without needing scientific counsel.
    You don't need to ask scientists to know that you might find hermit crabs close to the water. Just open a book. The idea that they use the shells to cope with radiation is nice, but ultimately of no consequence.
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