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Bethesda Speaks On Gamebryo Engine, Final Fallout 3 DLC 101

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-and-better dept.
PsxMeUP writes "Game Observer conducted an interview with Ashley Cheng, Production Director at Bethesda. He answered questions about the Gamebryo engine, why they prefer it over other engines and the advantages it presented while making Fallout 3. Cheng also talks a bit about what inspired their designers while making Fallout 3 and what is in store for the PS3. Apparently, much of the team has read Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which inspired the look and story of Fallout 3. Bethesda, according to Cheng, will never create a game like Final Fantasy because the Gamebryo engine is better at handling 'open ended worlds ripe for exploration.'" Meanwhile, Bethesda's Jeff Gardiner spoke recently about the game's fifth and final DLC release, Mothership Zeta, which finds players aboard an alien spaceship in orbit. He said, "The player will have a handful of tasty alien technologies to play with. There are new fire arms and melee weapons, which will comprise the most powerful weaponry in the game."
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Bethesda Speaks On Gamebryo Engine, Final Fallout 3 DLC

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  • Alien spaceship? Seems like a bit of a deviation from the Fallout universe, unless I've missed something....well, I'll still get it, damn them and their amazingly competent game design!
    • by fyrie (604735)

      SPOILER!!!

      It's probably related to the crashed alien spacecraft in the original FO3 content.

    • by oneirophrenos (1500619) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:39PM (#28639167)

      Alien spaceship? Seems like a bit of a deviation from the Fallout universe, unless I've missed something....

      You have. There was a discoverable crashed alien ship in the original game as well as the third installment. The DLC is just extrapolation on the concept.

      • by kalirion (728907)

        I also remember finding that solar powered alien raygun in Fallout 2 (or was that Fallout 1?) which was extremely powerful in the early game.

        • The alien gun was the most powerful weapon in Fallout 2, I think.

          • It was powerful in terms of damage, but the limited range made it in effect "not as good" in the late game, where more super mutants and Enclave patrols are encountered, and getting close to those sorts of enemies was disadvantageous. The best general purpose weapon in Fallout 2 was probably the Red Ryder Limited Edition BB Gun [wikia.com] (another joke since the regular BB gun was arguably the worst rifle in the game), which also had a very high critical hit chance, although the M72 Gauss Rifle [wikia.com] was also quite good.
      • by scribblej (195445)

        Also, in Fallout II, in the lowest deck of the giant ship (aircraft carrier? Can't remember) there were actual alien bad guys. Not greys, but they were labeled as aliens.

    • Not really. There were all kinds of aliens in Fallout 2...Once you got to a high level, they'd attack you reasonably often in random encounters.

      If anything, they're less common in Fallout 3. As it stands right now, I think there are a couple of "set piece" random encounters with alien stuff. This will just build on that.

    • In addition to the other examples given, the "Wanamingos" that inhabited the mine in one of the towns in Fallout 2.. I think it was Redding.. were identified as "Alien" when you targetted them. I think the 6-legged centaurs that hung around with Super Mutants were also identified the same.

    • by GweeDo (127172)

      Not really. There have been space aliens in each Fallout (in Fallout 3 it is a crashed one where you get the Alien Blaster). On top of that the original intent of the Enclave was to simply leave this planet in a space ship. So...not that far gone.

  • Apparently, much of the team has read Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which inspired the look and story of Fallout 3.

    I read The Road right before Fallout 3 came out, and the whole time i was playing it, I was sure someone was going to use the G.E.C.K. to re-create the story from the Road in F3. I was even tempted to do it myself, but with the movie release impending (2 versions of the same story is saturation for me) and my lack of time, I decided against it. Interesting that the Book influenced the game.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      I kept thinking of The Road Warrior (aka "Mad Max 2"). They even had the dog.
  • I'm glad to hear that the new DLC will introduce some of the most powerful stuff in the game. Point Lookout didn't give me anything new to carry around as part of my arsenal.
    • Re:New stuffs (Score:4, Informative)

      by PrescriptionWarning (932687) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:49PM (#28639311)
      If you have the PC version, FOOK is a terrific mod that adds tons of weapons to the game (though a couple are a bit unbalanced, such as a shotgun that does 300 damage)

    • What they need is more powerful enemies. As soon as I learned the run-up-close-engage-vats-pump-burst-from-chinese-assualt-rifle-to-head-of-enemy trick, the game got _incredibly_ easy.
      • If you are going to do that then why not use the Combat Shotgun [wikia.com] instead? About the only weapon that does more damage from a point blank range headshot is the plasma rifle [wikia.com]. A single point-blank blast from a well-repaired combat shotgun is usually enough to blow the head off most Super Mutants.
    • Gauss Cannon and T-51B Winterized armour didn't count?

      (Went Deathclaw hunting with the Gauss cannon. Pop'em in the leg to slow them down, then start pumping rounds into the torso.)

    • The double-barrel shotgun is nice. And you can reverse pickpocket the Workman's Coveralls onto NPCs to increase their Repair skill.
    • by Aphoxema (1088507) *

      I don't know, I love the Chinese Stealth Armor but it kind of made the game too easy after that. The only thing I had any trouble with at that point were Albino Radscorpions when on Very Hard

  • the game's fifth and final DLC release

    Why can't I get a single fucking one of them for my PS3 then?
    I loved Fallout 3 but thought it was a bit too short. If I had been able to buy the DLCs I would had done so but the more time that passes I get less and less likely to buy them when/if they get released because my interest has moved on to other games.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Linegod (9952)

      RTFA.

      Turns out weâ(TM)ve announced that weâ(TM)re doing downloadable content for PS3 so itâ(TM)s coming. Weâ(TM)re also including them with Fallout 3 Game of the Year for PS3, coming out for this holiday season.

      • The most recent news I've heard on PS3 content was that it would be available at the end of June, following a game update required to use it.

        I don't know about you, but where I come from, it's now July.

        No DLC, no update, no news.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday July 09, 2009 @02:20PM (#28639825)

      Nonsense! Bethesda has posted a helpful pdf right on their website entitled "Three simple steps to getting DLC on the PS3." I'll summarize it here:

      1) Go to your local electronics retailer
      2) Buy a Xbox 360
      3) Download content

      Problem solved!

      • You forgot:
        Buy another copy of our game!

        Yeah, I already have the 360, but I bought the game for the PS3, because at the time the 360 had the little problem with utilizing the world's loudest DVD drive, only solved by the amazing option of installing the game to the hard drive and only checking the DVD to play the game.

      • by morari (1080535)

        And here I thought that the correct course of action was to purchase it on the PC. Not only do you have access to said DLC, but tons and tons of user created content as well. Let's not forget the superior mouse/keyboard control scheme as well. Poor, poor console kiddies.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Fallout 3 is too short?

      I had 450+ hours into the game playing different characters *before* the DLCs came out . Now I have over 600 hours and each character brought new adventures not only because of a different skill set, but because of places in the game that I missed before or scenarios that played out differently.

      If you think F3 is too short then your only skimming the surface.

      • by Per Wigren (5315)

        Fallout 3 is too short?

        I had 450+ hours into the game playing different characters *before* the DLCs came out . Now I have over 600 hours and each character brought new adventures not only because of a different skill set, but because of places in the game that I missed before or scenarios that played out differently.

        If you think F3 is too short then your only skimming the surface.

        I played the missions one after the other and can't say I did much aimless exploration. It took me about 20 hours of active gameplay before I reached the ending scene.

        So yeah, I'm sure I just skimmed the surface. However, I don't get much out of aimless exploration, I want missions spread out all over the map.

        BTW, when buying the DLCs, do you get to keep using the character you spent hours leveling up in the base game?

    • There's no such thing as "exclusives" in the game world now... only "timed exclusives". Fallout 3 DLC for PS3 [bethsoft.com].
  • For those that missed it the Gamebryo engine is a middleware piece (platform if you will) for game design. It was the front end for several MMOs, Civ4, and several other titles.

    While we often think of the Unreal and Quake engines for FPS games Gamebryo is the more well rounded, less insaine sister of those two and actually puts out without being on drugs or booze!

  • by masmullin (1479239) <masmullin@gmail.com> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @02:21PM (#28639831)
    The problem with fallout 3 is that it was so close to being a FPS, but wasn't. I want to play it like a FPS but its just too inferior. I keep thinking to myself how awesome the game would have been if it was built on an FPS engine like the one used in Call of Duty 5

    I also miss the Magic from Oblivion :(
    • I liked it, myself. I'm comfortable with the controls of an FPS, so it made the game easy to control. Just doing point and shoot was useful to throw some bullets up when I needed to quickly, but the VATS thing let me be more precise a lot of the time. I tended to fire manually with a scoped weapon over long distance (since I could do better than the 2 or 3% that VATS was offering), and use the auto-shoot thing for closer shots. I just liked the balance and the range of choice.
    • by mqduck (232646)

      I much preferred VATS, but to each their own. What was wrong with just ignoring it and playing the game like an FPS? All the guides I read talk about what builds are good for VATS and what are good for FPS-style playing.

      • by Whorhay (1319089)
        I noticed when I first started playing that free aim mode was rather ineffective. Bullets hit nowhere near where I was aiming and where the crosshairs were. I haven't really experimented with it since, I pretty much only use the sniper rifle in free aim, for everything else I use VATS. So raising the appropriate skill for the weapon you are using might tighten up the shot pattern but I haven't played in such a way that I would notice.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by plague3106 (71849)

          Well, a few things. Your skill level for certain kinds of weapons matters; small arms vs big arms, etc. Also, the condition of the weapon mattered... the better the condition, the more accurate.

          Finally, all weapons naturally have a scatter pattern; no bullet will exactly follow the course of the previous one. Not sure why this was done, maybe to make it a bit more real (as I'm sure you're not holding a gun totally still as you shoot).

          When you first start playing you have low skill and badly damaged weapo

          • by Elshar (232380)

            One thing I wish I could do is turn OFF the bullet time slow-mo stuff in VATS. I get so tired of watching my bullets blow up yet another NPC's head. It was cool watching the first one pop off, and the second.. And by the 50th time, I was about ready to just stop playing the game. In fact, I haven't beaten it and I haven't really touched it in over a month because I know when I start playing it again I'll have to sit through bullet time for every kill just about and to me it's frustrating.

        • by dumael (1172411)
          Starting out most of you skills are crap and your weapons are in bad condition. Later on when you get your skills up and have good condition weaponry you're able to pick off targets from a longer distance with free aim. A second note is that nearly all weapons have a spread, so even with maxed small arms/energy weapons some weapons will still seem inaccurate. It's a nice touch of realism. Laser weapons, Lincoln's Reapter don't have spread, so you hit exactly where you're aiming with maxed skill/weapon cond
      • Whats wrong is that, as an FPS it sucks compared to the previous game I played (COD5).

        Im sure that if the game I played previous to Fallout3 was say, Original Doom, or some oldskool FPS it would be perfectly acceptable, but im used to really good FPSs now, and fallout3 just doesn't compare (as an FPS).

        P.S. I used VATS too, but I wanted to <b>try</b> and play it like an FPS.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Fallingcow (213461)

      The problem with fallout 3 is that it was so close to being a FPS, but wasn't. I want to play it like a FPS but its just too inferior. I keep thinking to myself how awesome the game would have been if it was built on an FPS engine like the one used in Call of Duty 5

      You really, really need to play S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl.

      Really.

      A better overall game than Fallout 3, and definitely a better FPS (since F3 wasn't really trying to be one, that's not saying much)

    • by CodeBuster (516420) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @05:41PM (#28642795)

      I keep thinking to myself how awesome the game would have been if it was built on an FPS engine like the one used in Call of Duty 5

      So why not just play Call of Duty 5 and leave us Fallout fans our Fallout experience? Seriously, there are any number of "me too" FPS games out there to satisfy the mouse-twitchers and "gaming keyboard" masses; Fallout, on the other hand, is something unique and special in the history of computer gaming. The point of Fallout is to become immersed in the rich game world of post-apocalyptic alternate earth and enjoy the ironic gallows humor of the optimistic retro-future (epitomized in the sci-fi serials of the 1950s), in ruins by the time of the Fallout games, contrasted with the bitter realities of survival in a bombed out wasteland. If the game were to depend too heavily on FPS type skills then it would detract from the immersive RPG experience whereby the player "becomes" the character in the game world. Fallout is an RPG; if that is not what you are looking for then play something else and leave us RPG gamers our own niche. I almost wish that Fallout 3 had NOT been released on console so that the true Fallout fans would be spared the indignity of hearing the complaints of the unwashed console FPS masses who play War Game 200X and Madden Football 200X and then complain when they don't "get" Fallout and ask why it couldn't be more like any of the other forgettable console games which come and go each year.

      • I almost wish that Fallout 3 had NOT been released on console so that the true Fallout fans would be spared the indignity of hearing the complaints of the unwashed console FPS masses who play War Game 200X and Madden Football 200X and then complain when they don't "get" Fallout and ask why it couldn't be more like any of the other forgettable console games which come and go each year.

        I play games on consoles, I've never owned a Madden game, never owned a WCW/WWE game, don't play NBA, don't play ESPNfoo. Pl

      • we got off track here to clear things up:
        I am an RPG fan way more than an FPS fan, however I do play games other than F3. if you go an play COD5 and compare it against F3 you'll notice 2 things

        1) controls are FAR superior in COD5
        2) graphics are much better in COD5

        Now stop being a snob and realize that if Bethesda used a different engine they would have had the perfect game, rather than something which is close, but agonizingly not there.

        When I play a game like COD5 (or Halo 1 for that matter) the ability t
        • Magic, superior graphics, superior controls

          No, no, and no. Magic cannot be worked into the Fallout universe without seriously destroying the Fallout legacy. I don't want psi a la system shock, I don't want telekinetic mutation, I don't want Mass Effect remote hacking, I don't want Bioshock bio-mods. I want Fallout. Are those features cool? Yes. But if I want them then I'll pull out my copy of SS2 or ME or Bioshock.

          Not every game needs the latest and greatest knock-your-socks-off graphics engine. I

      • by Blimey85 (609949)
        I agree with you on most points but keep in mind that not everyone can afford PC gaming. I own an Xbox 360 and I have FO3 and all 4 expansions. I'll be buying the 5th as soon as it hits. I love the game. One of my all time favorites. Had it only been released on PC I would have never played it as I don't do PC gaming. I don't have the graphics for it, nor the budget to upgrade my PC to keep up with gaming.

        Beyond just cost, I find console gaming to be far simpler than pc gaming. When I need an update or an
        • by ZosX (517789)

          If you can afford an xbox you can afford a pc that will play fallout 3. last time I priced one I came in at around the $400 mark. Pretty cheap these days if you ask me.

  • I wonder what Bethesda have to say about the new kids on the block. Surely Bethesda will wecome in their new company bunkmates, but in-house tech genious to tech genious, I wonder what kinds of conversations they are looking forward to with Carmack. Or are they taking more of wait and see approach with regards to direction from Zenimax.
    • by kv9 (697238)

      but in-house tech genious to tech genious, I wonder what kinds of conversations they are looking forward to with Carmack.

      I imagine Carmack would laugh at them for using third party engines while flexing his awesome nerd muscles.

  • I find it odd that they bought Id Software for their engine technology only to sing the praises of the Gamebryo engine instead. If the Gamebryo engine is so great, why do they need Id Tech 5?

    • by Xin Jing (1587107)
      As far as I understand it, id was purchased by Zenimax, which also owns Bethesda Softworks. Bethesda is a seperate studio as id will be under the Zenimax umbrella. Each studio's respective proprietary technologies will remain their own, for the near future anyway, until Zenimax determines what to do. I'm sure there will be cross-studio sharing off tech, but I'm sure Zenimax isn't interested in merging all 3d tech into a single engine just yet. There's a lot to be said about product branding and a timely
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jonwil (467024)

      Gamebryo and Id Tech 5 are different engines for different purposes. Id Tech 5 is good for some games that Gamebryo would not be suitable for and vice versa.

  • Yo fuck the slashdot writer for mentioning alien spacecraft. Or fuck bethesda. Either way I had no idea there was ANY alien shit going on until now. Thanks. NOT EVERYONE HAS BEATEN THE GAME YET.
    • by plague3106 (71849)

      WTF? I haven't either, but haven't started the last quest (wanted to do other quests). But I've uncovered a good number of references to aliens already.

    • The crashed alien ship is a "hidden" encounter, you won't see it on your map, even after discovery. The only way you would find it is by a very unlikely accident or by knowing where to look for it. Your game experience has not been spoiled.
    • WTF?! The princess is in another castle?!

      Why did people have to spoil that? I didn't freaking get to stage 1-4 yet!
  • by TheJodster (212554) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @06:09PM (#28643177) Homepage

    I'm not sure if the engine referenced is responsible for rendering graphics. I am a HUGE Bethesda fanboy... I'll admit it. I LOVE Oblivion and all of it's DLC as well as Morrowind and Fallout 3. However, those plastic looking expressionless faces are sub par for such fantastic games. I realize that this is a difficult thing to accomplish with current technology and that most games suffer from this to some extent. The other thing that bugs me about the engine is that the women are very manly looking. If I were Bethesda, my big focus for my next engine iteration would be on having the character models show at least a little bit of emotion and make the women look like women.

    The game mechanics portions of their engines are wonderful and their talent at creating atmosphere in a game is spot on. That has got to be quite an achievement in games where people play for sixty to over a hundred hours. Their games never feel terribly repetitive to me. I stay engaged pretty much the whole time.

    • I'm not sure if the engine referenced is responsible for rendering graphics. I am a HUGE Bethesda fanboy... I'll admit it. I LOVE Oblivion and all of it's DLC as well as Morrowind and Fallout 3. However, those plastic looking expressionless faces are sub par for such fantastic games. I realize that this is a difficult thing to accomplish with current technology and that most games suffer from this to some extent. The other thing that bugs me about the engine is that the women are very manly looking. If I were Bethesda, my big focus for my next engine iteration would be on having the character models show at least a little bit of emotion and make the women look like women.

      It's not a limitation of the engine, just the meshes and textures used with it. There are plug-ins for Oblivion to make pretty characters. The results are extraordinary. There's also nudie plugins so you can have your character running around naked and bursting with nipply health.

      If anything, Bethesda's next big game should find it even easier to make pretty characters, assuming they put forth the effort.

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