Animated Blood & Gore, Strong Language

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Black Isle Studios

Fallout

Interplay Productions

Nuclear


Fallout 2 Development Log, Continued...

  1-8-99

Black Isle Studios will not be undertaking the creation of a character transfer utility for Fallout 2.

This decision is largely due to unexpected personnel changes, the complexity of the original Fallout 2 code, and issues with the way the engine stores character and game state data. Because of these factors, I do not feel we could provide you with a reliable utility.

Another factor in this decision is the limited scope and usefulness of such a utility. Since a save game converter would not be possible, we were only planning a character converter. It would have transferred character data from one savegame to a new game. This utility was expected to bring over most of your stats, levels, and perks - but no inventory and no game state information. You would have been starting the game over with a higher-level character only. This utility was only for those who are not playing the patched version and wanted to continue playing there current character on the patched version.

I realize that many of you will be disappointed or upset with this decision. However I feel it is better than releasing a possibly flawed character converter of limited use.

For those of you still interested in converting your higher-level character into a new game, there is a utility that can basically do the same thing. Instead of transferring your character, you can start a new game and edit your character's skills, perks, and stats up to their previous levels so that you can quickly catch up to where you left off. This is a third party utility and is not supported by Black Isle Studios.

Fallout 2 Character Editor

The foreign patch versions are still being tested in QA. When they are done we will post another update and link them to the Files page.

Eric DeMilt
Producer

  12-18-98

Well the new patch is out. If you are having any technical problems, contact our tech support. See your readme.txt for details.

So everyone knows, this is the Final Patch. We are not planning on doing another patch unless we figure out the Humongous Install problem, which the previous patch already addressed for most people. At this point the Humongous Install problem seems to be system specific, so we don't have many leads.

I've also decided to take all of the Feedback boards down. The team and many users find it very difficult to get any information out of the boards anymore. This is also compounded by the fact that pretty much everyone will be taking the next week to ten days off, so we won't be there to monitor and answer questions.

We might put a single message board up later in January, but we're not sure yet.

I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday,

-Feargus

  12/17/98

Hi everybody. It's been a little while since I posted, and I finally have some good news to report. :) No this is not about Baldur's Gate - but actually about Fallout 2. :) Oh, and everybody on the Fallout 2 team has been working on the patch - not Baldur's Gate. There seems to have been a few misconceptions about that.

The 1.02D patch is now out!This is the Final version of the Patch. This works with the US version of the game, and the one shipped in Australia. We still need to get one done for UK and Europe.

The Character Transfer utility is almost done, we are trying to get the user interface to be a little more intuitive. The UI was put together by one of the programmers as if he was the only one who would ever use it. :)

That's it for now,

-Feargus

  12/14/98

We're sorry the patch wasn't available last weekend. We're not going to release the Final patch until it's ready. We were hoping to release the Final Patch Friday, but there was a problem that we found and fixed. It was tested through the weekend and things are looking really solid.

We should have another update for you around the middle of the week.

-Eric Demilt

Fallout 2 Producer
Black Isle Studios

  12/09/98

I haven't done an update for a little while - my only excuse is late nights on Baldur's Gate. :)

Well we are almost there with the patch. What we hope is the final version of the patch is being built today, and then tested by QA. Our plans are to have it by Friday night at the latest.

The character converter should be up around the same time, the programmer is working on the interface for it right now.

As to Save Game compatibility with the BETA patches. It will work with the BETA patches, however if your game is acting wacky, save games are not loading, or the game is crashing a lot then your Save Game file is probably corrupted. At that point you will need to start a new game with the Final Patch.

Thanks for everybody's patience on this,

-Feargus

Contact Support for any technical questions, or the
Web Master at: webmaster@interplay.com if you have any problems with the site.

  12/02/98

We continue to work on the patch - we're having a hard time fixing the Lo Pan/Dragon fight bug where people Save in the middle of the fight. The engine really doesn't handle Saving the game in staged fights like that. But we are working on a fix.

I've gotten a lot of people thinking that I wrote Myst in my last update as to what Fallout 3 would look like. The example I was using for what Fallout 3 might be is MYTH - The Fallen Lords by Bungie, not Myst - the five year old adventure game. Also, I was not saying that it would look exactly like Myth, but it was just an example of an engine that was 3D and isometric.

Now for the UK version of the game, we will be releasing a patch for that version at or around the same time as the US version. There might be a slight delay because we have to send the version to the UK to have it hooked up with the copy protection that was only put on the European and UK builds. French and German patch versions will also be coming out close to the US version, same reason for the delay with them.

We are still working on the character import utility. Just wanted to mention that, because when I don't I get 20 E-mails from people thinking we're not doing it. :)

Lastly thanks again for everybody's support, good wishes, and help with sending in Save Games,

-Feargus

Contact Support for any technical questions, or the
Web Master at: webmaster@interplay.com if you have any problems with the site.

PS. And as a last last note. Black Isle just wants to say "Big Ups to Monolith for Shogo". We know where the love is. :)

  11/30/98

Well I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving - a bunch of us actually took a whole day off. I haven't whined in an update for a while, so I need to give Desslock something to edit out. :)

Anyway we continue to fix things for the patch like disappearing Power Armor that is being worn by Party Members when they go up levels, and what seems to be the last problems with the Car that shows up on the Raiders Map. There are other things that I have gotten from people that we are fixing as well.

Our QA department continues to test the game, and we are fixing things as they find them. They are all a little gun shy right now about missing things, so they are being very very careful.

We should have the Final Patch through QA sometime between 12/4 and 12/11. That final date is in case something horrible happens, but at this point I don't think it will have to get that long. We are still working on the utility to bring your character over from a Save Game. That will be ready the same time as the Final Patch.

I have gotten a lot of E-mail from people worried that Fallout 3 will be a First Person Shooter (FPS) because of the statement that it is going to use a 3D engine. So everyone knows, it will not be a FPS, but it is possible that it will use a 3D engine- think Myth. Having said that, Fallout 3 has not been launched as an official project yet - we are just throwing ideas around.

Finally, thanks for all the E-mail from people and for the guys up on IRC on Saturday that helped with a few bugs.

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  11/25/98

Located in the Files section and at this link, is a new version of the Fallout 2 BETA 1.02 Patch. It is still a BETA patch though, so it has not finished going through our QA department.

It should be a lot more stable than the last one, and fix a bunch of little things.

We are a little concerned about Save Games between this and the previous BETA patch, only if the Save Game you are trying to load is corrupted. We aren't 100% able to determine if a Save Game is corrupted when it is being loaded. So don't try to open a Saved Game that was previously corrupted. I know that sounds a little lame, but I wanted everyone to have that information.

Thanks again for the awesome E-mails you have all been sending,

Have a Happy Thanksgiving,

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

PS - The patch version is listed as 1.02, which is the same as the first patch. This is correct. The patch version listed on this web site previously was wrong. Rest assured that this -is- the latest patch for the game.

  11/23/98

We released the BETA version of the patch over the weekend, and have been fixing things that we have gotten back from everyone since then.

Both Matt Norton and David Hendee will be up on the Glitch Board for the next while making sure to answer everyone's questions and make sure that we are fixing the bugs that need to be fixed.

I do not have a time estimate for the release of the Final Patch - the holiday's make estimating even harder to do.

Thanks to everyone for their kind words about the product, and that they are having a blast playing it even without the patch. Someone surprised even me, when he told me that he's finished the game 5 times already, playing it for like 200 hours. :)

I'll be doing as many updates as I can over the next while, however if you don't stop back - have a Happy Thanksgiving.

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  11/19/98

We found two more problems with the car late yesterday afternoon that needed to be fixed. So we had to build another version of the patch.

QA is testing the patch right now. Some people here at Interplay/BIS want it released as soon as possible, others want to check it as thoroughly as possible. I am leaning towards the latter, as I don't want to release a buggy patch.

We are really, really trying to get it out by tomorrow night, so everyone can play over the weekend. However, if we find some serious bugs tomorrow then it might not happen. We are working on it, and I am as frustrated as everyone else that things keep on coming up that need to be fixed.

Also, in order for me to help get it done I am not going to be able to be at my desk that much. This means that I will not be responding to e-mail that quickly over the next couple of days.

Thanks,
-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  11/18/98

Well it is Wednesday morning, and we found a bug with the fixed car last night that is now fixed. So we will be testing the patch all day today to make sure that things really are fixed. I hope to have it put up on the website tonight, but I want to see how far the testers get today. If it is not tonight then it should be by tomorrow night.

I am not trying to string this thing along, I just want to make sure that what we fixed is fixed, and more importantly that it does not break anything else.

For everyone that sent me the Unpack utility - thanks.

Also, we are still wondering what is the problem with Humoungous Installs and are still trying to figure it out. It most likely will not be fixed in the first patch. When we do fix it, it will be fixed in the second patch. A second patch will not invalidate Save Games that were made with games played with the first patch.

Any bugs please put up on the Glitch Board.

Thanks,
-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  11/16/98

We are still working on the patch. It's taking a little longer because we don't want to miss anything. However, I am thinking of releasing a BETA version of the patch - although I'm not sure yetabout doing it.

Oh, if someone could E-mail me the unpack routine that exists for unpacking the Fallout 2 database that would be cool.

Next, if you are running a pirated version of the game - please don't report bugs. We don't have any idea what version you might actually have, and it really complicates things.

As to the long Load times between areas with the Humoungous install weare working on it right now. This may sound bad, but we are totally confused as to why it is happening - but we have reproduced theproblem.

Lastly, we are still trying to get the patch out in the next few days.

Post all your bug reports to The Fallout 2 Glitch Report Message Board.

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  11/13/98

Well, I can see that the fact that Save Games are incompatible in the patch, has not made BIS anymore friends, so I am looking for a compromise. A user E-mailed me with an idea last night that we are currently looking into. We are seeing if we can create a utility that will take your character from an old Save Game and start him at the beginning of the patched game. He wouldn't have his items or reputations (these can potentially screw up scripts), but would have all his other stats. We are also thinking of giving the character an Extra $500 or $1000 in cash per level he has to make buying stuff easy.

We'll try to get that done this weekend as well, so it can release with the patch early next week.

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  11/12/98
First off... It is IMPORTANT for you all of you to know that you -can- finish the game without applying the patch.

We are still working on the patch, and have our QA team testing it.

So everyone knows - the patch will NOT allow you to load your old save games. I really wish we could have made it work with old save games, but because of how complicated Fallout 2 is, and because of how big of game it is - it just isn't something we can do.

It looks like about Monday or Tuesday for the patch.

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  11/10/98

Well I've gotten about 1250 e-mails over the past week, and I want to thank all of you for your kind words and for the bug reports. I wanted to list out what we will be fixing for the patch and what are not bugs. Also, the patch should be out within the next week. I was hoping for Friday, but it might be a little after that.

Loading Times
=============

1) We have a problem with the Humongous Install that we have not figured out. If you are using that and experiencing slow Load times then re-install with the Large Install. Many people have found that the game is faster after playing for a while with that install.

2) The patch will address the slow Loading and Saving of Save games.

Not Bugs
========

1) If you have stuff disappearing out of your Inventory and the last time you had it was in the Den - then the kids in the Den probably stole it. They then go sell it to one of the shopkeepers.

2) One of the kids in the Den does have a Frag Grenade.

3) You need to get a Special Perk to be able to Skin Geckos, you can not just do it. You'll find the quest in the first few areas of the game.

4) Jet is currently a permanent addiction that you can get rid of by solving a certain quest - we might be changing this though.

5) The way ammo weight is determined is a little weird, so it will look like (in certain circumstances) that when you load your weapon you will gain weight. It should only be about 1kg, and the error does not accumulate.

6) To refuel the car you need to use a Small Energy Cell or Micro Fusion Pack from your inventory (not your hands) on the car.

Bugs that will be Fixed in the Patch
====================================

This is not a complete list, but the more important ones. Stuff that is not listed are probably more tweaks then bugs, or really small stuff like spelling fixes.

1) Boxing in New Reno will no longer lock up the computer.

2) The Dice Game will give you winnings.

3) The Lloyd quest in New Reno will not lock the computer.

4) Talking to Tandi about the Vault 15 quest will not lock the computer.

5) Loading and Saving of Save Games will be faster.

6) Party members will not turn hostile (under most circumstances) any longer, so you will be able to talk to them all the time.

7) Ghouls in Gecko will not randomly shoot at you.

8) Harold will give you the right information when you are trying to optimize the power plant.

9) Shopkeepers will get money more often - this is more of a tweak then a bug fix.

10) Endless stopwatch in combat should be fixed.

11) The car and the trunk will no longer become separated.

12) Francis has been fixed.

13) Hakunin movies will not appear after the GECK has been returned.

14) Dragon and LoPan challenges should no longer cause Endless Stop Watch.

15) Goris will no longer join if you are over your Party Member limit.

16) Slave Overseer in NCR will no longer lock the computer up.

17) PIP boy will no longer crash when you get too many Maps in your Automap.

18) Here and Now perk will work correctly.

That should cover about 95% of the E-mails that I have gotten from everybody. I wish we would have caught those things when we were testing the game here. So you all know we did fix over 4000 bugs - probably more because many were fixed before they made it to the bug list.

If we can figure out the Humongous install thing, we will probably do a second patch. If we do, I will try to include a new area in the patch so its worthwhile for you all to download it.

Lastly, if you could post all your bug questions to The Fallout 2 Glitch Report Message Board.

Thanks for your patience,
-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  11/5/98
I have heard from a lot of people that they can't get people out of their way when they are stuck in a Room. We put a new command in the game called Push. Just select the character then get the drop down menu to come up and choose that Icon that looks like a hand pushing something. Look in the manual if you are having a hard time finding it.

That's it for now,
-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  11/3/98

I have gotten over 400 E-mails since Friday, and I am trying to get through them all. I will hopefully be through them by the end of Wednesday. So if you sent me E-mail, I will be getting back to you.

Also, we are working on the Load/Save game times.

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  Fallout 2 Party a GREAT TIME!

A quick note to all of the loyal fans who were able to make it out for the Fallout 2 party on Friday. We enjoyed meeting you, and wished we had more time to spend with each of you. From our count (based on goody bags, etc) around 700 folks turned out.

We have video coverage of the party, and will be posting some video and stills shortly.

One quick thing... there was close to a riot over the cardboard PIP-Boys that we had at the party. To be frank, those were unique items that we produced just for the party. We made the art, printed it out, and hand-glued them to cardboard. I don't want to disappoint those of you who didn't get one (or couldn't come to the party) so we are going to post the art files on the site (that way you can download them, get them to a printer, and create your own). Hopefully people will think this is cool.

Oh, and we're going to scan in the label from the "geckos in a can". The "geckos in a can" were unique - there are no others except the ones at the party, but we thought people would enjoy seeing the label, regardless.

Thanks again!

- Greg

  10/30/98

The party is tonight, and we are all looking forward to see everyone that is coming out.

I have some worldwide release information and that is that the game should be out in Australia within the next 7-8 days. It is shipping today over there, so it should be on the shelves within that time frame.

We are still working on the French and German Language version - we should be getting our last update from the translators next week. Our intrepid Line Producer is working hard to get them all done.

We have also built versions for other areas of the world - like Asia and Africa - but I don't have release dates yet.

My last note is actually somewhat of a sad story, and somewhat of a rant. Last week when we went Gold we shipped out CD's to all of the press that wanted to do reviews of the game. Since then, one of these has ended up on the Internet. In our haste to get the game done, and also in misplaced trust, we did not serialize the versions. So, we are unable to trace who released it. So, I have heard that people are already playing the game, and since they have the full version they will probably not buy the game.

This really sucks in a lot of ways. As game developers we would like to continue doing what we do. We can't if people do not buy our games. The fact that someone from the press released it, is even more deplorable. I think the adage "Biting the hand that feeds you" is pretty appropriate.

Anyway that is my sad story, and rant for the day. I am not sure what we will do in future. We will definitely serialize all of the versions that we send out - as we do for Baldur's Gate. And I might not release versions to the press until we have shipped the game. It sucks, but I am not sure what else to do.

Lastly, if anyone has any idea who released it, I would appreciate an E-mail. Thanks for reading,

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  10/26/98

I have been getting a lot of E-mail from people who have "gotten" the "BETA" off of the net. Just to answer a bunch of people's questions all at once:

1) This was a preview version that we sent to the press about four months ago. They were not supposed to release it to the net.

2) The game is VERY different then it is in that version. In fact the whole first part of the game is totally different. In the final version you do not start out in a cave as you do in the preview version from the net.

3) Thanks for the E-mails from people who want to report bugs in it, but since it's four months old a lot of the code has changed.

Hope that clears some things up,

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  10/22/98

So you all have been hearing me say Fall for the past four or five months. Well guess what?

Fallout 2 has gone GOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!Fallout 2 Goes Gold!

We are pretty sure that it will be shipping on 10/30, in the stores a day or so after that.

We will most likely have copies at the party to sell.

Thanks to the Fallout 2 team for putting in the long hours, and for all our wives, girlfriends and significant others for putting up with those long hours.

Oh, and if you haven't pre-ordered your version from your local retailer you might want to - just to make sure you get a copy on the day it releases. From the number of people that E-mail me on a daily basis, there are a lot of you wanting to get your hands on a copy the very first minute it is out.

Thanks for reading my updates, and we hope you love the game,

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  10/18/98

Sorry about not having an update for the past few days. I've been sick and we've been trying to get the game done. Also, our internet provider got their pipe to the internet cut in half by a Back-Ho (however that is spelled) yesterday morning.

Anyway, a quick update is that all of the quests are in and working. We are going through all the end game stuff to make sure that is working and doing some last minute tweaking.

We just got the audio for the new intro movie ending that we decided to do about Thursday night. The Intro movie was cool, but we just felt that the last part of it wasn't in line with the rest of it - so it was changed. One of the Stonekeep 2 artists jumped in and helped fix it Thursday night. It went off to the audio guy for sound effects on Friday, the sound effects came back (through a different internet provider) on Saturday and our Audio Director worked on the movie and got the soundtrack done at 2:49pm today.

Other than that we are balancing and making sure the car shows up where it is supposed to. There is a big problem with the car because it has to keep inventory and change maps - something the engine doesn't like to do except for the player and partymembers. So in a moment of genius we made the trunk a partymember - but that caused a crapload of problems.

We've fixed some crash problems with some of the party members, and the game is VERY stable right now.

We also modified some of the to-hit stuff in the past week, so you'll all have to improve your Small Guns a little more than the 120 to get all the Eye and Head criticals you got in Fallout 1.

And the programming team in a fit of hyper-programming fixed about 30 medium/major bugs in the past few days. They are pretty much working on little stuff right now.

All and all the team is really kicking ass, and getting a lot of stuff done. The game is looking really good and we've polished off most of the bugs. We don't have the bug count of Baldur's Gate, but of the over 3700 bugs on the bug list we should have less than 50 still active - which means in the game.

That's about it, any questions just ask,

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  10/9/98

4 Stars, we are down to 4 stars. Which means that almost everything is in and working. One of those stars is the End Game Slide Sequence which is still waiting on some art, the entrance to the Military Base - also waiting on art, something else near the end game, and some damn Repair Robots that are getting stuck by locked doors.

Those are the big problems up on our White Board of Doom, however we still have tons of small bugs that are getting fixed quickly but still need to be fixed. We are also implementing some other things as art comes in - like the Special Random Encounters. So, this sounds like everything is being held up by the artists - but that's not really the case. Everybody has plenty to do, and is working umpteen hours a day on the game.

We just had an emergency with one of the early movies in the game, where the voice file did not synch up right with the frames of the movie. So one of the artists is going to be spending the next 36 hours straight (I'm guessing) getting it re-rendered by Sunday morning. The movie will then get laid to tape, and the frames compressed into the movie format that we use. Our Audio Director will then do the soundtrack including the voice on Monday. A little later than I had hoped, but shit happens. :)

All the death touchups for the critters are done, so everybody has their bloody death right now. And the artists are now pretty much working on touchups and just making things look better. I want some new trees and bushes, but we'll see if we can get them done and in the game.

People have been able to play the game pretty much flawlessly up until about the middle of the game, but there are still some design screw-ups (many of them my fault - ooops) towards the later part of the game that we are working on. Nothing serious we just are trying to make sure that people will be able to know where to go next if they are looking for the main plot.

Party Members are being kind of a pain in the ass and crashing the game right now. But all in all they are coming along pretty well, and they definitely add flavor to the game. Some of the partymembers have a lot to say, and they'll even give you their opinion of your other partymembers.

Oh yeah, a clarification on the language comment in my last update. We are not taking out language, like four letter words or things like that. What we toned down were things that were just really bad references and situational stuff that was really, really, really raw. I know you all still want to see this, but you gotta believe me when I say that we all have high tolerances and some of this stuff leaped way over those lines. So don't worry you will get plenty of raw language in the game.

That's about it, any questions - just ask,

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  10/2/98

Another week (well maybe a little more than that), and we've gotten a whole lot of stuff done. We are down to 10 Quests that need to be fixed for everything to be working. This may sound like we haven't gotten tons done, but some of those will be coming off in the build tomorrow, and we added a few things that really needed to take as high priority as a Quest.

We had a big meeting with QA on Monday and went over a bunch of the problems that they were having with the game. There seemed to be two main problems: Random Encounters were too tough, and a group of Golden Geckos could take out a 40th level character. There were about 40 other things that we talked about as well. Some of the things we have already dealt with, others we should figure out by next Monday, and others are a part of the ongoing balance testing that we are doing.

One of the big problems was that partymember chem use can be set to "Any Drug, Any time" and the partymembers are really taking this seriously. Once you go into combat, your partymember that is set to this will use all their AP's every round to take any chem they have in their inventory. So one tester had Sulik (a tribal guy) boost himself with three shots of Buffout and one shot of Jet in the first round of combat. And Sulik was just getting started - by the third round of combat he had take every chem in his inventory. Needless to say this is getting changed.

We still have the random encounter bug hanging around that when Bounty Hunters get killed they turn into Shelving Units or Fruit Tables.

We are also working on toning down some of the language in the game. I'm not talking about four letter words, but rather exchanges between NPC's that make a group of 4 or 5 25 year old guys from California wince. We are all pretty jaded and if it gets a reaction like that out of us, then we know it is too much. But don't worry we are still using that Mature rating as much as we can handle it.

Other stuff on the game is going well. The artists are working on "fluff" art that is being put in just to make the areas look even better, and they are working over certain pieces of art that look good, but could look even better.

We are getting pretty close, but we are going to work on the game until we feel it is balanced well and that it lives up to the first one.

It's midnight, I'm going home (had to get at least one whine in here so that Desslock can make fun of me about) :)

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)
 

 

  10/1/98 Silence is not ALWAYS a good thing...

Just a quick update to let folks know that everything is still coming along well. We will be releasing more party details shortly, but I just want to confirm, for those that are making travel plans, that it will DEFINITELY be on Friday, October 30th, and the location will be in Orange County (or very close nearby). For those flying in, I would recommend flying into John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

Just for people's information... full-scale production of the boxes started today...

- Greg

  Fallout2 Party: Dogmeat's Revenge!

Well folks, party planning is moving along at a frenzied pace... I will have additional details on location (somewhere here in Orange County) but mark your calendars!

The date is Friday, October 30!!

We are planning a band, the entire development team will be there, and of course, for the day before Halloween, costumes will HAVE to play some sort of role... the guest of honor will be Dogmeat, who we expect to be present in some shape or form... (ugh!)

To help us with planning, I am asking people to fill out some information for us to figure out how BIG this party is going to be... I have already heard from over 300 people who said they will come, but even if you wrote me before, please fill out this form so we can get an "official" headcount. We will keep these names handy so that we can do something special for the "pre-registrees" that show up!! Expect more news soon....!

Here is the Registration Form:

Yes!! Count me in for the biggest nuclear bash this side of the Cold War!

 Name:        
 Home State:   (California, for example)
 Age:         
 Email:       
 (Email is optional - only put it in if you want to receive party or Fallout2 info - we won't use it for anything else)
 How many will be in your group?:  (not including you)
  

- Greg

If you live in another place, check the links page for links to Satellite Dogmeat Parties, like the one in Ottawa, Canada!

  9/24/98

Little late this week on the update, my body decided that I needed sleep and I took a few early days.

So onto the top three answers for the E-mail that I get:

1) FALL! :) Like I said in the last update, it really is Fall, and I really really really can't be anymore specific about it then that.

2) Mac Version - No I'm sorry we are not doing a Mac version, and since my last update I have not heard from any publisher about wanting to do it.

3) Price - I am pretty sure it is going to cost as much as the first game.

Oh, and a number of people have e-mailed me over the past week and when I have responded I've had my E-mail bounced. So, if you are e-mailing me, please make sure to say that I should respond to a different account then the one you are sending me from.

As to what is going on in development. We had a pretty good week and we are down to around 15 quests needing to be fixed for us to have all quests in. We are actually adding a few more into areas that are finished at this point to round those areas out. We are also working on some in-game sequences - sort of like movies using the game engine.

We should have all the original quests, a lot of the new quests, and those in-game sequences all in by Monday. So we will then just be focusing on bug fixing, balancing the game, and making the game make sense. Making it make sense is sometimes the hardest.

Art is going great, and all of the artists are off movies and back on making game art. We have a list of about 75 items that need to be done to really give each area the character that it needs - and almost all of those have been assigned to artists. One of the areas where we are a little tight on time is Death-Touch Ups. This is where an artist goes through and touches up each death for a certain character type frame, by frame, by frame. I think I calculated that it meant that per character about 1000 frames had to be touched up to finish it off. So there are two artists numbing their brains on this right now, since it's pretty much a mindless job that just needs to get done.

All the new music is in the game, and for those of you who haven't asked, we used the same composer as we did last time, so the music should still feel the same. Oh, and we have added ambient sound effects into each of the areas so you'll get more of an environmental feeling from them.

As to the movies, they should all be off to our Audio department today. All but two of them are already in the game - and they should go in, in the next couple of days. They are compressed, but obviously don't have the audio tracks attached to them yet.

QA is going well, and we just moved another QA guy over to our building to help our Lead Designer out with Overall game balancing. So that makes 8 testers just in our building testing the game every day.

That's about it, any questions just ask (as usual),

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  9/18/98 - Letter of the Month

If you thought YOU really wanted to come to the Fallout2 party, read this! I think this guy has melted my crusty heart. Party feed back has been overwhelmingly positive and planning is moving forward at full steam! Thanks toall who took the time to write!
- Greg

Gentlemen:

I read on your website you were thinking of having some sort of interesting celebration upon completion of Fallout 2, and were interested in reader feedback. I would be glad to do so, although you may soon discover why the saying "be careful what you ask for" exists.

Let's see: late night bash, goodies ( Meghan would obviously be in attendance ), meet the oppressed proletariat finally unchained from the galley oars...oh, I mean the programming staff, sounds like a fine idea. Having it at night is a genius stroke - the staff will likely need some time after project completion to reacquaint themselves with direct sunlight.

But wait. Southern California? SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?!

I live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada! How can you be so utterly cruel as to hold such a bash at such a distance? Tormenting me with wild merriment and even worse, quick access to Fallout 2! This is geographic oppression at it's worst. You'll be out having a blast whilst I very likely will have seen our first snowfall of the season - frost at the very least.

How could you do this to me? I can't go to this party. My copy of Fallout 2 will arrive much later since I live in Canada, I'm never allowed to enter all the really good contests since I don't live in the U.S.A., and let us not even go into how much more it will cost thanks to the problems with separatists and socialism my country has. Here, have another kilo of salt to rub in my wounds. Oh yeah, you guys don't use metric - make that 2.2 pounds.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to live in a frozen wasteland of a country like Canada day in, day out, without being further tormented by knowing I am being deprived of Fallout 2 parties? Augh!

You people think you're so tough, looking for supermutants in deserts. Hah! I'd like to see you last one winter up here, especially in some frozen Hell like Yellowknife, or even better, Iqualuit! Yet do you have any respect or consideration for those of us up here, suffering out the quirk of fate for being born north of the 49th parallel? Oh no, you probably never even thought of us. Californian Cartographical Elitists, I bet.

So I'm left to suffer, while others have a wonderful time with goodies and the game. Sniff. Excuse me a moment, I having trouble seeing the keyboard right now...

Okay, that's better. Thank God for Kleenex. Where was I?

Oh yes, left out in the cold, literally and figuratively. Makes for a bitter man, let me tell you. Oh wait, I suppose I have told you.

You could help though! Yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I don't mean the sun coming back up in the spring. Have mercy on a oppressed Canadian who is overtaxed, bedeviled by bad weather at every turn, and will be just plain out of luck for your party. Earn some good Karma, and send me a copy of Fallout 2! Yes, that would definitely get me through the winter, if I didn't have to wait who knows how long for it to finally show up by dogsled in my city. Goodies would be nice too - with such things I could sit in my office with a heat lamp and a few potted cacti or palm trees, sing Beach Boys tunes and pretend I am at the party too. Ah, makes me warm just thinking about it, or is that a short in my electric thermal underwear?

Yours truly,
Douglas Hubbard
(Address Removed)
Ontario, Canada
(Postal Code Removed)

(Yes, even our postal code looks funny versus a Zip Code. At least we haven't had to add any digits yet - what were you people thinking, 300 million population and less than one hundred thousand combinations? I guess the Postmaster General was too busy with an intern too think it through.)

  9/15/98 - Attention Fans

Wed like to do something cool for fans of Fallout2 for the official launch, and wanted to hear back from folks about whether they thought it was cool or not...

We are thinking about having an official Fallout2 "premiere" on the day the title ships -- perhaps something like a street or block party here in Southern California. We'd have the entire group from Black Isle Studios there, including the entire Fallout2 development team, and probably a large number of people from the other Interplay divisions. For fun, we'd be giving away product, t-shirts, Fallout2 POP, life-size PIP Boy cardboard standees, etc. Perhaps at midnight we'd start selling product (the night before it shows up in any stores), and the development team would be there to autograph manuals, etc. People who come in costume might get a free drink on me. We might have a band there, radio D.J.'s, etc. The day after, we'd post on our website photos taken at the party.

Do people like the idea? Given our location in Orange County, we'd be a pretty easy drive for anyone from San Diego through L.A. We wanted to put something together as a sign of fan appreciation that the greatest number of people could attend.

Send a response to my email and let me know what you think!

- Greg (gpeterson@interplay.com)

  9/15/98

It's been over a week since the last one, so I'd take another stab at updating everyone - before I start getting the death threats in my E-mail again.

First of all, I am going to answer the Top 3 questions that I get everyday:

1) Fall, FALL, FaLL, FALl, fALL - I bet you all guessed it but the game is coming out this Fall, and I promise - cross my heart - that when I can say something besides that I will post it here. Also, if you get any dates from magazines, reviewers, other Interplay/BIS websites/people, stores, etc... they are all guessing at this point.

2) No Mac Version - I am sorry, but I could not justify launching a Mac version when Fallout 1 Mac did not really make any money. At some level I have to look at this like a business, and at the time it did not make sense to start Fallout 2 for the Mac. However, I am working on licensing the game to another publisher for them to publish and develop.

3) Old Friend - No hints, other than it's not Harold. From the E-mails I have been getting, I bet you all opened your Christmas presents early. :) And no threat or bribe is going to get anything out of me.

Well as for development we are doing pretty well. The last week so more progress on the seeds(quests) and I think by next Monday we should have every seed in and working. I am working on San Francisco right now with the scripter who is going it, and we are trying to iron out all of the weird problems. Things are working, but you can screw them up easily. Today we had to go back in and completely rewrite one character and change all the flags (variables which check the state of a quest) in about seven characters to make one of the quests work right. I still have a list of like 30 smaller things that we need to get working before I am happy with the area.

The movies in the game should be done by Wednesday at which point we will be sending them off to Audio to get sound and music put to them. That should take about two weeks or so - and our Audio department is good at getting things done when they are supposed to.

Lip Synching the Digitized Heads continues. Oh and I'm sorry but I haven't had a chance to check which actors/actresses I can post about and which I can't. I'll try to come up with a list in the next week, but I can't promise it 100%. Anyway, about 4 of the heads are being lip synched right now by different people and we should be getting more dialog from Audio in the next couple of days.

Design is for all intensive purposes done. Although a few things are being written here and there to help balance the game, and fill in gaps that we missed.

Programming is going well, however our Lead Programmer suffered a serious Family Emergency late last week and has been in and out of the office. We all hope for the best for him and his family.

Not to end the update on that note, but it just brings things to light that we all actually have lives. However, my new wife has seen me less than my computer lately - which is probably a good indicator that I should go home. :)

If anything didn't make sense, just ask,

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  9/7/98

Well, it's Labor Day (I hear) and there are about 17 of us here working on Fallout 2 right now. I wanted to get through with the whining right up front. :)

Things keep on moving forward and we have almost half of the game debugged from a plot standpoint. That means that half of the quests/sub-quests are working bug free and are giving the Karma, Experience, and Town Reputation. Now that doesn't mean everything is working in those areas, but it means that the player can do all the puzzles/quests. The areas still need balancing and some more bug testing/bug fixing, but it makes us all feel better to know at least the quests are working.

There is a scripter working on each of the areas that still remain to be fixed up, so that should start going pretty well. I am not totally sure but I think by the 14th we will have all of the plots working and the game finishable. That is one of our big problems right now, you can't finish the game. All the maps are there, almost all of the scripts, and almost all of the art, but it hasn't all been put together to make it all work. I am hoping to crack the whip a little bit and get the guys to put that in by Tuesday or Wednesday. We'll have to see on that one.

The art interns have BURNED through the remaining inventory art and we are down to about 10 items at the most - which have probably already been done, but just not put in the game's database yet. They are starting on the remaining scenery art (map art) and we should start seeing the areas get more and more polished. Most of the Real (real means paid in this instance) artists should be done with their movies this week, which means that they will be going onto doing the remaining scenery art as well.

We have started lip synching the heads now, and there are about three being done right now. A bunch of people "volunteered" to help us out on this. :) There are another 10 or so to do, but we are waiting on our audio department to get us the cut up audio. We only have one more actor to record, and our audio department has been doing a great job getting the dialog digitized and cutup quickly for us.

The partymember advancement system is in and working, I QA'd it a bunch on Saturday and our Lead Programmer fixed all the problems in about 30 minutes. It probably still needs more banging on, but most of the major problems are cut out of it. Oh and we decided to add one of everybody's dearest friends from the first game back in. I'm not going to tell you guys who it is, because I want it to be a surprise for the people who find him.

All and all things are going well, and we're working hard to get the game done, and done right.

Any questions, just ask - except about the release date - which is Fall and I really can't be anymore specific. Sorry.

-Feargus(fallout2@interplay.com)

  8/31/98

Well, you all get a real long one this time, since it has been a while since I have written. And to answer you all, it is because we've been REALLY busy, not because nothing has happened. :)

Anyway, it looks like we have gotten almost all of the design into the game and all of the areas will be done from a scripting perspective this week. This is a little later than I hoped, but this was because we re-wrote a couple of areas to have them make more sense. So, some people would call this implementation and others would call it tweaking. You decide.

The movies are due from all the artists next Monday and things are looking pretty good for that to happen. One of the movies might be a little late, but it shouldn't hurt us too bad.

Art continues to go into the game and the artists working on Critters really have kicked some ass. We've been able to populate a lot of the areas with a lot more new people, and one of the party members even got his own special character.

Now having said all of that, we still have a lot to do. We need to balance the game and come up with some new systems to get everything we promised in the game. One of the latest things we were working on was the ability for your Party Members to develop over the course of the game. We came up with a pretty good system over the past few days (Yes a bunch of us are doing the 7 day work week right now) that was implemented yesterday. We just have to put a bunch of data in for it over the next couple of days and we should know if it is working out.

Programming wise I had our Lead Programmer put a little tweak in that has critters run in combat if they use more than 50% of their AP's for movement during a turn. It turned out to both speed up combat (not it's main purpose) but also to make things a lot more active.

So I know you are all going to ask me what areas had to be redesigned and if we are just going to cheese them. :) Well the two main areas that had to be redesigned were the Den and Navarro. I won't go into details about Navarro because that would give a lot of the game away, but the Den just didn't really move the player towards where he needed to go next and people weren't sure what actually was supposed to happen in the area. This was because about three designers had touched it, and it needed one solid redesign which was done by Dave Hendee - and we didn't have to beat him too much to get him to do it on time either. However, as of today, the "new" Den is already in and being tested.

To sum up, a lot of things have been going on for the past couple of weeks and our Quality Assurance Department is feeling a lot better about the game. They tend to be a little more pessimistic about things then us - which we often need. But I have seen the occasional smile on their faces lately.

And lastly, the date is still Fall. I get a lot of E-mail from everyone asking what the EXACT date is, and I wish I could give it to you guys. Two things stop me from doing it. (1) Since we just went public we have to be careful about the dates we release because of the investors (2) Pinning a final date on big projects like this is REALLY tough and I don't want to get everybody's expectations up about a certain date and then missing it.

As always if you have any questions just ask,

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  8/13/98

We are all back from Gencon and it seemed everybody loved the game. Some people were staying around the booth for hours to play Fallout 2, so the game must be pretty good. :) If you haven't checked out the clips off of the Black Isle Studios Web Site you should.

I just got back to my office from looking at some of the movies that the guys are working on. A lot of the cuts are not in their final version but they are looking good. We should be giving ones that have been rendered out for timing to the Audio department by the end of the month.

The interns have all decided to stay until the end of the project to help out which is awesome. They've done a great job with everything we have thrown at them. One of our other interns, Benc, just left to go back to Germany. He also did great work for us on scenery objects and some of the town maps.

One of our programmers has knocked a bunch of things off of the little feature and bug list over the past week. Things are a little slower going right now because he has hit the harder things, but stuff is still getting taken off the list.

Scripting is going well, and we are hooking up individual testers and designers with scripters to make small groups that can attack each of the areas in turn.

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  8/3/98

Just to let you all know, I will be out at Gencon in Milwaukee all next week. So I will probably not be answering E-mail that quickly, if at all, until I get back. You can still send stuff, but I probably won't get back to you until around the middle of the following week.

And I'll make sure to post another update as soon as I get back. :)

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  7/31/98

Two in one week. Can you all believe it? :)

Anyway the first thing I wanted to say was that we just got some of the BIG boxes in and Dave is going to be running a contest to give them out. The BIG boxes are 1.5 foot by 2.5 foot and are basically blow ups of the what the final game will come in.

As to the game, things are going great on adding new critter types. A couple of the artists are burning through them and we might have a few more in the game than I was expecting.

We also have four interns from Yucca Valley High School doing art, and they are doing a great job. They have been doing a lot of scenery art for the last area.

Oh, and I just got an update from Fred Hatch that we might be going in the Studio as early as next Tuesday which would be awesome. It will really help us not have to rush getting the head dialog in the game. However, I still don't know what actors we might be casting yet. As soon as I know, and we are not bound to not publicize who they are, I'll let you all know some of their names.

That's it for now,
-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  7/27/98

So I guess you all were expecting another one. :)

Well we have completely redone the first part of the game, and it is looking really good. The art for the area will be done in the next few days. So we should be done (even with a lot of the bug fixing) on this area this week.

Overall programming is going well and the AI continues to get worked on. I've left one of our other programmers on the project to clean up some things and implement smaller features like the "Take All" button on the loot screen and inventory management.

The artists are continuing to work on the intro movie, but a lot of the scenes are getting close to being done.

Design wise we should be done within the next week, and we added a few more perks last week. Oh, and we also plugged a GIANT hole in the plot last week that you all would have yelled at us about if we had missed it.

Fred Hatch (the line producer on the project) is meeting with our Audio Director this week to get studio time arranged. We're not sure which actors we will be using this time, but it is the same Audio Director as last time, so I am sure some of the names will be recognizable.

If you have any questions just ask,

-Feargus (fallout2@interplay.com)

  7/14/98

Well, I guess I didn't live up to my promise. Sorry about not posting an update since last month. Things got crazier before they got saner. I went on vacation for two weeks on 6/24, and the week before the 24th I was on a press tour with the preview of the game. That's the version that all the web sites got. A bunch of the sites already have articles up, like Avault, Gamespot, etc... The editors have been pretty positive which is great to hear.

Oh, and my vacation was for my honeymoon, since I got married on 6/27/98.

Anyway, I'm back, and here is some info on what the hell has been going on since then.

A lot of the artists are working on the Intro movie right now trying to get that done in the next month or so. The scripters plan to have all of the areas except for the last two (SF and the final area) by Wednesday (7/15). And all of the design should be finished up by then as well. We should also be going into the studio to start recording the head dialog within the next few weeks.

Let's see we also have about 6 interns working on art for the game, this is on top of the 5 full-time artists who are also working on it. So we should be getting more and more art into the game up until the second it ships. We also contracted one of the artists who did a lot of the inventory items from the first game to do some of the inventory art this time around as well.

All in all things are going well, and I'll have an even better update early next week after we see what everybody was able to get done for 7/15.

-Feargus (mailto:fallout2@interplay.com?Fallout_2_Fanmail)

  6/3/98

Just got back from E3, and everybody seemed to love the game. I talked to Desslock, the guys from Avault, Vault Network, Cindy from Strat +, Mike Wolf from PCGamer, and a whole bunch of other people. And I, nor any of the Black Isle producers, threw up. A real achievement with the parties that were going on.

The game has been going pretty well over the past month, since my last real update. The Lead Programmer has been working on Combat AI, and a lot of the new Party member AI is in the game already. A lot of the AI is now dependent on the NPC, Party member, or Monster's Perception and IQ - and we are probably going to be putting more of that in. One of the guys on the team got his character killed this morning because he thought the Combat AI was going to act like it did in the first game.

The art continues, and work has started on the intro movie. The last couple of areas still need art done for them, and a couple of the artists are going to take about a month to go over each of the areas to make sure they all look original.

There are only about three areas that are left to design, about six or seven to script. So QA is going to be moving over by the team on 6/15 and we start fixing bugs. Most of the designers have already been testing their areas.

Updates will be coming more frequently now that the month of the CGDC and E3 is over.

Feargus

  4/29/98

Well we hit Alpha last Monday, and are planning to put the game into QA around the middle of next month. Things are looking pretty good and we are reasonably on schedule. We have about 6 designers and 4 scripters working on implementing the areas and they have gotten through about 25% of them so far.

The Lead Programmer is going to start working on the new Combat AI pretty soon. We talked last week for a couple hours about different things that we could add to the AI to make things act more realistically.

New thing we are adding is to have weapons that you can set to Full Auto.

Feargus
Black Isle Division Director

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