One of the greatest gaming experiences of my life was playing through a Tale of Two Wastelands, and when I read about Fallout 4: New Vegas and Fallout 4: The Capital Wasteland my heart skipped a beat.
The idea that I might be able to replay those classic stories with the original voice acting and assets but with a more modern engine really excites me.
The first thing I noticed was that these new projects differ significantly from TTW in that they use the skill and perk systems from those two games. This is fine. If you want to play Fallout 3 with the Fallout 4 engine as a discrete experience I get it. The same goes with New Vegas, but there was something special about TTW, making your way through Fallout 3 and then beginning New Vegas as the same character, implying that the Lone Wanderer left Washington DC and made their way to Nevada, just in time to get a job as a courier, travel the Divide, accidentally trigger the detonation of the dormant bombs and create the Lonesome Road, only to finally reach Navada and then get shot in the head by Benny, starting the New Vegas story-line.
In the unified experience of TTW, the Fallout 3 assets were bridged to New Vegas, allowing the seamless transition from DC to Nevada. This meant that Fallout 3’s perks and skills had to be married up with NV’s perks and skills in TTW. Many scripts needed changing to make sure that skill tests worked, quests worked and that it was a seamless experience.
Again, each of these experiences is valid, compelling and interesting for different reasons. Eventually I would love to see a Tale of Three Wastelands, a narrative where you traverse the three games with a single character. If you want to hear my theories about how to bridge those three games I would happily discuss them in another post (Dima in Acadia actually provides a vehicle to make this bridge), but in this post I want to address something specific, and stay on topic as best I can.
My main concern is the duplication of effort. What I see here is a situation where three separate projects (each providing a legitimate and discrete goal) are possibly re-inventing a lot of the same wheels.
I do want to say that I am not an expert modder. I can start up FO4Edit and make minor changes, but my skill level is very low, so I might be making some assumptions here that invalidate what I am saying. What I am trying to do is provoke some thought and discussion, just to make sure there isn’t some way to collaborate between the projects.
My first question to the community at large is: does it make sense to develop a Fallout 3 to Fallout 4 abstraction layer project, and a corresponding F:NV to F4 abstraction layer?
These layers would allow the respective porting projects to pool their common work, meaning that more time could be focused on porting assets and fixing scripts rather than duplicating work that projects could share. These layers would provide the surface/API at which the Fallout 4 engine would meet with the old assets. They could allow either feeding forward (using the Skills/Perks of the original asset) or feeding back (using the Fallout 4 skills/perks instead of those in the original asset) of mechanics, programmatically. These would provide a way to introduce the faction system across the F:NV to F4 boundary, and once in Fallout 4 could even find a way back from Fallout 4 into Fallout 3 through the abstraction layer.
And this then raises my second question: how much of the work already done by the Tale of Two Wastelands team could be used to produce these layers? They have already identified every script in NV and F3 that needed to be updated/expanded to marry those two games. Is there room for collaboration between the three teams to share work and minimise duplication, while at the same time making Mod conversion/porting easier/safer/more reliable? In this model there would be a Fallout3to4AL project (collaborated on by the TTW and Fallout 4:The Capital Wasteland teams), FalloutNVto4AL project (collaborated on by the TTW and Fallout 4: New Vegas teams), and then the discrete conversion mods. This model lets teams collaborate when it makes sense to do so, and work independently when appropriate, always being sure that their discrete work can meet with other projects as the abstraction layer.
It may be the case that someone has asked all these questions and that there are good reasons why this can’t work, but I would hate to see this opportunity lost. We have what seems to be three distinct pools of labor, and if there is some opportunity for cross-over isn’t it worth investigating? Someone might even have some cool ways to make these abstraction layers allow for more seamless Mod porting, allowing Fallout 3 and/or Fallout: New Vegas mods to be used in either their respective total conversion or a potential Tale of Three Wastelands.
Additionally, once these abstraction layers are completed, they would provide a resource going forwards. Each of these projects could allow a rapid adaptation to as yet unreleased Fallout titles, making the porting of the old assets a case of updating the adaption layer to the new game version, as opposed to starting from scratch on Fallout 5: New Vegas. They would also provide modders a common resource, allowing modders beyond the TTW, F4:NV and F4:TCW teams to make their own contributions and suggestions. They would also allow different bridging projects. How about an east coast only experience with just F4:TCW and Fallout 4 merged?
Want to build a mod where the Courier is captured by the institute and frozen in Boston? The abstraction layers would let you focus on the glue story, as the porting work has already been done for you in a way that makes further adaptation much easier (and inter-operable with other mods). Beyond that, third party modders could create new bridging content. Wouldn’t it be great to play as the Courier making their way down the Divide before they trigger the disaster that creates the Lonesome Road?
What if someone wants to make a mod that retcons the Lone Wanderer to be a synth, with their early life being a memory implant, and Vault 101 being a secret Institute research base? What if James was actually a runaway Institute scientist, rendered sterile who then uses Third Gen Synth technology to ‘make’ a child? This could form the basis of an alternate start for the Tale of Three Wastelands, with the final realisation being made when the Lonesome Wanderer (who becomes the Courier) is captured by the Institute in a ‘glue’ story, their memory wiped and replaced with a new origin and frozen in Vault 111? Suddenly Dima’s question about your Synth origins has a whole new context. It could even come with an optional Level/Perk reset.
This is just spitballing. As I said before, I am no modding expert, I am just a Fallout fan that wants to see the best out of the game that we can get. I also want each of these projects to succeed, and a way to help foster that success is to share the workload around as effectively as possible.
Anyway, these are just some of my thoughts. I am posting this on the Fallout 4 Nexus as this seems the most logical, centralised place to put it. I could be crazy. This could all be beyond the capability of the engine. Or it could just be "too hard". I don't know. But I'd feel like a chump for not at least posing the question to the community.
If you want links to the projects I mentioned:
Tale of Two Wastelands https://taleoftwowastelands.com/
Fallout 4: The Capital Wasteland https://imgur.com/gallery/6eSmw
Fallout 4: New Vegas https://www.facebook.com/TeamF4NV/
EDIT 1:it ate my formatting. Fixed.
Edited by outsidefactor, 11 January 2018 - 05:42 AM.