Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Interview Tony Oakden Dev Profile @ NMA Fallout

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Sol Invictus, Jun 25, 2004.

  1. Sol Invictus Erudite

    Sol Invictus
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    Tags: Fallout Tactics; Micro Forte; Tony Oakden

    Tony Oakden, the producer of Fallout Tactics has graced the pages of <a href="http://www.nma-fallout.com">No Mutants Allowed</a> in their Fallout Developer Profiles feature. There's some pretty interesting stuff in there. Here's a taste:
    <br>
    <blockquote><b>Where do you see computer RPGs going?</b>
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    <br>
    The main stream titles will be smaller and more linear with higher production values. I hope there will still be independent studios producing more traditional RPG but they’ll have lower production values and so won’t sell to the main stream audience unfortunately.</blockquote>
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    Sigh. I can't wait for the RPG industry to get back up where Arcanum (arguably the last mainstream real CRPG) left it.
    <br>
    <br>
    You can read the rest <a href="http://www.nma-fallout.com/article.php?id=7344">here</a>.
     
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  2. Ausir Arcane

    Ausir
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  3. StraitLacedDeviant Erudite

    StraitLacedDeviant
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    Sounds like he is bitter with the way the fallout fanbase treated him.
     
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  4. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    He's the guy that killed the soul of Fallout!

    That's actually a quote from him for some interview he did somewhere. Can't remember where, but I thought it was funny.

    As for covering Fallout Tactics, I'd call it a party based dungeon crawler.
     
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  5. Voss Erudite

    Voss
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    So like Temple of Elemental Evil then?
     
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  6. Jed Cipher

    Jed
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    Yes, but with shitty combat and soul-killing deviations from cannon.
     
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  7. Voss Erudite

    Voss
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    Soul killing cannons? I don't remember that shit.
    (perhaps you were reaching for the word canon?)

    I do remember the combat being better than fallouts- in turn based at least.
     
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  8. Transcendent One Liturgist

    Transcendent One
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    If only the random encounter combat didn't initiate when there was half the map between you and your opponents. Why even make the random encounter maps so huge.
     
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  9. Jed Cipher

    Jed
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    You're quite the shit today, aren't you?
     
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  10. Voss Erudite

    Voss
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    No offense. But the cannon/canon thing seems to happening more and more these days. It's the new lose/loose, for the spelling impaired.
     
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  11. triCritical Erudite

    triCritical
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    LOOSER!
     
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  12. taks Liturgist

    taks
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    there's a thread somewhere (not on these boards... i don't think) with the rouge/rogue thing, too... hehehe.

    taks
     
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  13. Sol Invictus Erudite

    Sol Invictus
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    Fuckers and their speech impediments deserve to be shot.
     
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  14. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Actually, Fallout Tactics is a lot more like Dungeon Siege when you put your guys on Agressive in real time mode. You pretty much have to put them on Agressive the way the game is designed also, otherwise you're always getting shot up before anything happens to kick off what is considered combat by the engine. Even if you're playing turn based, that setting needs to be toggled because it doesn't kick in to combat mode until after something takes damage.

    You remember wrong then. Unlike the Fallout series of CRPGs, Fallout Tactics was designed for real time mode, not the turn based play. This screwed up things like scripting timers, as seen in Preoria. It also screwed up the AI's reactions to things. For example, in Fallout, if you shot someone in town, everyone on the map reacted to that. In Fallout Tactics, if you shoot someone, only a few things local to you reacted. Very few. That made turn based more of a turkey shoot, where you could kill two or three things at a time and never got overwhelmed or even moderately whelmed. That's primarily because if that situation occured in real time, you'd end up dead fast, having all those critters around you come out from their patrol routes to see what you're doing.

    There's also the problems with the hacked in overwatch mode. It just didn't work versus the AI. Very rarely would the AI come out from hiding, no matter what. Overwatch also always worked if you put APs in to it, so there was never a reason for the AI to get up. This often resulted in the situation where you had to walk up to the place where the AI was crouching and use a grenade to kill them, because they'd just sit there forever otherwise. This overwatch mode also screwed melee devoted characters, which had to devote skill points in to sneaking just to make them moderately effective, and sneaking was pretty piss poor too. No interrupting is better than such a poorly implimented interrupting.
     
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  15. Voss Erudite

    Voss
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    Because everyone on the map reacting to something they can't see is good AI. Great comparison.
    I never had any problems with overwatch either. Sometimes it was useful, sometimes not. Enemies staying in cover rather than walking up to you? How horrid.
    Nor did I have a problem with melee characters having to use skill and thought to be effective. You charge people guns, you get shot.

    To sum up- just because you didn't like it, doesn't mean I'm remembering it wrong. I just didn't have a problem with the combat.

    The game had problems, but it was more than escalation of weaponry factor (and escalation of enemies. bandits! mutants! robots!) than the combat itself, at least for me.
     
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  16. Sol Invictus Erudite

    Sol Invictus
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    The few early maps (5-6 of them) were probably the best, but it all went downhill from the Supermutant mission where you had to rescue Talon Squad.
     
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  17. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Gun fire tends to be a little on the audible side.
     
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  18. JanC Liturgist

    JanC
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    The other day I heard very distant gunfire while in bed. I did not turn hostile, nor did I even go to investigate the happening, whatever it was.
    "Omniscient NPCs" is just plain stupid. It's just a heavy handed way of getting the player to play 'good'. If you want to play an assassin, but can't because when you cut someon's throat silently with a knife in the dead of night, the whole town is in uproar, it is just frustrating. I like to be able to play the character I want to, not the character the designer wanted me to play.
     
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  19. Rat Keeng Liturgist

    Rat Keeng
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    Now there's a great comparison, especially if you live in a post-apocalyptic wasteland :)

    Eh, i've no frame of reference, i never could pull myself together and concentrate long enough to sit through FOT.
     
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  20. ctaylor Novice

    ctaylor
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    Keep in mind that the amount of testing on Fallout Tactics was tragically short. IIRC, Interplay recieved the first full beta/fully playable to the end on a saturday. The following wednesday, after one - maybe two - revs, it was sent off for mastering. That's an amazingly short amount of time (most projects have at least a month between fully playable and gold mastering, RPGs usually have longer). Myself and a few others asked for more time to do more testing and we were denied. There was a strong desire to get the game out as fast as possible by someone at Interplay. I don't think it helped that I had walked out of a marketing meeting a month or so earlier, so my opinion towards the end wasn't well received.

    Additional testing time would have allowed: more bug fixes, better balancing (especially in Turn-Based, since the limited amount of testing time, most of QA was testing in real-time) and more tweaks to the game system. It would not have allowed for any major changes to the story, characters, plot and game system.

    In hindsight, we should have not implemented both TB and RT. It did end up costing us a substantial amount of QA time and resources. Or, we should have kept RT only for multiplayer. That would have given us a little more time for balancing the single-player campaign.

    MicroForte wasn't responsible for nearly as many problems on FOT as Interplay was. And I would be surprised at the amount of problems Interplay's QA department was able to find, except I know how hard they worked and the problems they were working against. They did as good as job as anyone could have done under the circumstances.

    Of all things, I'm still bummed we never got a song in for the intro movie. I had wanted "Jesus Just Left Chicago" by ZZ Top.

    pax,
    -Chris
     
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  21. Human Shield Augur

    Human Shield
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    Who wrote those?
     
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  22. Rosh Erudite

    Rosh
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    Apparently, both you and Voss ate a bowl of Stupidâ„¢ this morning.

    It's a far cry from being omniscient and using cheats in AI routines (ahem, BioWare) and being able to hear a gun a few meters away and come investigate. We have experience with the real world and real guns, too, in case you'd like to join us. Preferably with a high caliber and pointed up under your chin. It's funny that you mention the knife instance. Maybe because that was a SILENT death, which is possible in games that have better AI controls.

    Ones like JA2, Arcanum, and even X-COM. There's still no excuse for nobody coming to investigate when they hear gunshots. A sentry does what...hmmm...lets others know about gunshots and anything out of the normal. Or it puts them on alert, much like in JA2. They wouldn't exactly be pacing back and forth out in the open if they recently heard shots, now would they? No, which is why we didn't like the turkey shoot.

    Hopefully, by now, you have removed your head from your ass and have wiped the shit from your eyes to allow you to read the thread next time.

    First, it's good to hear from you again. Have you been stalking the parking lots again after work? Wait, no...that was Dennis Loubet. Sorry, nevermind.

    Back on the topic, I think I recall pointing out the exact same thing to someone at BIS. Ah, yes, the memory works right this time. Assistant Janitor Danien, whom I would only trust to take out the trash when I rang the bell in a simple Pavlovian response. That stupid twit tried to tell us that BIS could come up with something of that sort, have it perfectly done so they didn't have to wait through a bunch of turns with small rats in turn-based combat, and have it not take longer than it should. Maybe if they had learned from some other people, they wouldn't have bothered at all with RT at all. ;)

    But learning from other's mistakes is never en vogue with the gaming industry, it seems.
     
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  23. ctaylor Novice

    ctaylor
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    We spent a week or so at the beginning of the project co-designing the game, setting the story, deciding how to implement SPECIAL in a squad based game. Then MF took the notes and developed them in detail, with myself and the producers at Interplay looking over their shoulder and offering comments. One of the IP designers did a majority of the dialogue, to get an american style speech pattern down.

    So, it was a cooperative venture, with MF providing most of the work.

    pax,
    -Chris
     
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  24. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Dan Levin's poo and booger jokes, right?

    That explains a lot. It's really no wonder the game had that many bugs in it, and it was a rather poor decision considering the interest in the game prior to release. I'm not sure why they'd want to dump it on the market so fast like that unless they thought they could get by on the pre-sale interest alone and just move on. Then again, that's something that really hurt the Interplay brand, pumping and dumping PC titles when PC titles were the bread winner of the company.

    MEH. NOT ON THEME!

    Frank Sinatra's "Chicago is my Kind of Town" would have been a much better choice if you wanted the Chicago thing.
     
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  25. ctaylor Novice

    ctaylor
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    Something else that I remembered: when we (IP and MF) sat down for that original week of pre-production design, the game was strictly turn-based. We had discussed how we wanted to implement TB/RT or some sort of hybrid, and the decision was made to do TB combat only (RT until combat, just like FO1/2).

    The TB combat wasn't ready in time for the 2000 E3, so we showed a quickie RT combat (as is common for those demos, much was faked under the hood). That particular demo was one of the main reasons RT combat went in.

    pax,
    -Chris
     
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