I’m old, I forget things. Thankfully, there’s the Apocalypse.on November 14, 2008 at 10:06 am
Typically, I set the comic to publish the night before on a delay, so that it pops up nice and early at 4 am on the west coast, just in time for sleepy eyed office workers on the east coast to read it. As my hair line is constantly reminding me though, I am getting older. With age comes dementia, and wouldn’t you know it, I totally forgot to post the comic last night, and then again this morning.
In other news, Fallout 3 continues to be an extraordinary gaming experience. Like all things, it has faults, but they’re relatively minor in comparison to travelling the wasteland, scavenging to survive and decapitating super mutants from hundreds of yards away.
One of my primary problems with the game so far is the compression of the geography. In the first two games, the sense of geographical scale was immense. It took days for you to reach the nearest town when you first emerged from the vault, or your remote village in Fallout 2. Each of those days was fraught with every increasing danger as you sweated the possibility of a random encounter with a dozen rad scorpions armed only with a spear and clothed only in a tattered blue coverall.
Being presented in the first player view and not having any vehicles has changed the geographic mechanics of the Fallout world. When I first emerged from Vault 101, I was terrified, crouching in the dark, and expecting ambush at any minute. I spent at least five minutes crouching and skittering back and forth between cover and always spinning in an attempt to see from which compass point I would be disemboweled by a mole rat.
Nothing happened though. Eventually I stood up, and kind of sauntered in the direction of a water tower. I found some Nuke Cola, took a sip and in found the first town, Megaton. It seemed to be a scant two to three hundred yards away from the vault entrance.
Given the change in game mechanics between Fallout 3 and it’s predecessors, it’s really not feasible to have the player spend hours jogging around in real time, beset at every turn by mutated wild beasts. Part of the proximity can be chalked up to the change in setting from the west coast to the east coast, but in reality, the game world has been tightly compressed.
Does that make a difference? Yes. Is it an important difference? No. Players of First Person Games, have grown accustomed to this geographical compression. In fact, I’d bet good money that most prefer it to the alternative. Which game would you rather play? The one that compresses geography and allows you to walk between locations in a few minutes? Or the one where you spend all night playing, just to cross a valley, and you encounter no combatants? No one wants to play a game with an epic Andy Warhol scale of boring minutiae.
It does take some of the edge off though.