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Discussion in 'Fallout 4 modding' started by Black-pilled, Dec 17, 2018.
If anyone here is interested, we've moved discussion off-site to discord. Here if you want to help create NPCs or minor factions there is a section where you can get a lore-briefing and a section where you can submit npc ideas. Please drop by to make filling out the world a bit easier:
Fallout 4’s Commonwealth had been mentioned in both Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas. The impression one got from these encounters, especially in Fallout 3’s DLC The Pitt, was that the Commonwealth (of New England) was dominated by a technologically advanced power called “The Institute”. The idea I had from these types of descriptions was that at the very least the Greater Boston area is quite openly held and run by the Institute, otherwise it would not have such notoriety. In vanilla Fallout 4 however the Institute was made to be a type of shadow-faction like the Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout New Vegas with very little known about its whereabouts. For the rewrite, CIT will have survived as it did in vanilla, but it will have lead the rebuilding of Boston as well as driving out the last real raider gangs from the metro area. For the purposes of the mod Boston as well as Cambridge will be a walled-in city-state inhabited near exclusively by friendly NPCs. Every building is given an interior, debris and trash will be removed and functioning quests, vendors, factions and characters will be added to the entirety of the metro.
With the synths acting as a slave class (60% of Boston’s population), most humans in Boston will work in artisan, entrepreneurial or, in regards to CIT, advanced fields. Ghouls and Super Mutants reside in South Boston harbour, but are allowed to travel elsewhere in the city without much trouble. The western portion of Boston, where the main entrance will be located, will be inhabited by temporary residents and travellers, eager to visit Boston or making a quick stop on the way to some other place. This area has most of the general vendors and bars. Boston, however, will be under the constant watchful eye of security, making sure no synths escape or humans are smuggling institute tech out or other forms of questionable items in. The security forces are made up of synths with human officers. The Financial district, Eastern Boston, is where most of the permanent residents would reside as well as civic amenities such as churches, libraries, public schools, courtrooms and hospitals. Cambridge is reserved for students and Institute officials. (Students from outside Boston often come from wealthy families from all across the wasteland). Synths are employed in services such as lab assistants all the way down to prostitutes. They are generally treated as a worker (slave) class. Some synths are owned by businesses, individuals or the Institute itself in regards to public services. One example of the latter would be Nick Valentine who does not have a direct owner but works for the institute as a branch of their police force with regards to detective work. This also means in some cases synths can in fact outrank humans or have human subordinates in terms of authority, but a synth always has a human superior. Synths are also extremely important for Boston’s food supply as they are used in a mass greenhouse project west of Boston along the Charles River. Without it, Boston would not be able to maintain its large population.
Most synths see Boston as a benevolent dictatorship as very few see much point in “escaping” to the wasteland where there are close to zero amenities, quality of life is abysmal in comparison to Boston and synths are known to be hunted and stripped for parts. Even if some are 3rd generation human-like synths, there are groups that specialise in identifying escaped synths and enslaving them. Slavery outside of the wasteland is regarded as much worse than servitude within Boston’s walls. However, there are still many synths that seek freedom from Boston despite these facts, and even some that resent humans all together and who would like nothing more than to ‘flip the tables.’ The commonwealth is a hostile and irradiated region. The glowing sea may be where radiation levels have lingered over the centuries, but the constant rad storms have caused a bit of an eerie orange hue to exist across the commonwealth. There are humans that live in small slums outside Boston that could not compete with synths in regards to work, but most humans outside the walls exist as hardy pastoral farmers of Brahmin and Ragstags. Those who do not practice husbandry and instead resort to a more typical waster hunter-gathering lifestyle are essentially tribals. The vast majority of wooden structures outside of the metro will be deleted as they would have decayed. However, stories of odd monolithic structures have been spreading in the countryside with no apparent explanation besides tribal folklore, mistaking pre-war structures for something else or dedicated pranksters. There are rumours of cults surrounding these structures, as well as paranormal occurrences.(edited)
Boston will have a heavy Bladerunner-Deus Ex hard sci fi feel to it while the outside will revert to an atmosphere similar to Judge Dredd’s cursed earth or Stalker. Cambridge will be the only area with extremely clean chrome interiors. As a city-state, Boston and Cambridge, with its leaders, the Institute, is officially known as the Commonwealth Provincial Government, or CPG. Its currency is made up of coins called CID, Commonwealth Institute Dollars, backed by microfusion cells, which the Institute has managed to mass produce. It trades microfusion cells and technical know-how with outside factions, especially the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel, who uses the cells to power their vertibirds. Much of the Eastern BOS trade in return consists of water caravans. The Eastern BOS and the CPG have a cordial relationship and one can often spot some paladins in Boston observing the Institute’s activity, overseeing and advising training of its synth security forces or hanging around the BOS embassy. The Eastern Brotherhood of Steel has no physical presence within the commonwealth wasteland besides some minor outposts with the blessing of the CPG. However, they are few and far between and they rely mostly on the institute for assistance.
The Minutemen also exist, but their history has been altered. For a long time the minutemen acted as the militia force of the commonwealth to protect from raiders and bring order. With help from the institute they were able to receive equipment and material in order to do their jobs extremely efficiently to the point that they eventually drove out the raiders, although the CPG takes most of the credit due to supplying them logistically. When the CPG managed to produce combat-able synths there was no longer a need to pay and maintain the minutemen as a security force, thus they were honourably discharged and allowed to operate outside Boston, mostly around Quincy. While still being well equipped with institute technology and having continued to train new recruits the minutemen have adapted to a more mercenary-like existence in the commonwealth and also often demand wastelanders pay a tax for their protection. Although this tax is seen as unfair by some, it is needed to maintain the minutemen’s combat-readiness who in return keep their word and keep most of the scavengers in the ruins searching for scrap instead of resorting to raiding wastelanders.
The CPG, while acting more like a city-state, has attempted to explore and establish bases across coastal New England over the years, reaching as far North as Far Harbour and as far South as New Bedford. A very small trickle of traders and wastelanders from across the Atlantic have managed to make contact with the CPG as well. As a result of exploration westwards it has had small skirmishes with Ronto, a highly militaristic and expansionist faction stemming from former Toronto, Canada which sees the CPG as a potential threat if allowed to establish itself outside of the Greater Boston area. Overall, there exists an extremely high quality of life within Boston and Cambridge in comparison to the rest of the wasteland. Although there are many powers of similar wealth or vastly greater prestige and size, The CPG is able to concentrate the enforcement of its laws within its walls and provide public services, which creates an environment very close to pre-war levels of public order. Non-conventional services such as an entertainment industry in the form of film-making and music recording exists within Boston as well as organised sports such as the Commonwealth Fighting League, with its headquarters in the Combat Zone or the Robotic Sports Federation.
In order to control immigration and the formation of slums, the CPG has relatively strict residence and citizenship requirements. Allowing travellers only a limited amount of time to reside in Boston and requiring potential citizens to establish a profitable business, apply to CIT or find work under someone else who’s already a citizen. Once citizenship is achieved, one of the benefits is a license which allows one to purchase synths. No citizen, however, is allowed to leave with synths without special permissions and usually only for a limited amount of time. Failing to comply leads to permanent loss of citizenship. Tips, notes and examples: When writing npcs, try to imagine their attitudes towards male human, female human, ghoul, mutant, robot, or low intelligence characters. It often helps to walk around and scout areas within vanilla Fallout 4 for ample inspiration for a character, minor faction or quest.
Follow the tenants whereby the original Fallout was made:
1. Multiple Decisions. We will always allow for multiple solutions to any obstacle.
2. No Useless Skills. The skills we allow you to take will have meaning in the game.
3. Dark humor is good. Slap-stick is not.
4. Let the player play how he wants to play.
5. Your actions have repercussions.
For those that want to focus on environmental storytelling, take note that while Boston is a city full of life, technology and activity, the outside is still a barren and dangerous wasteland. One must FEEL how being a citizen of Boston, under the rule of the Institute, is a privilege, and how being rejected from the safety of the walls means a very difficult life. Example of the outside atmosphere:
Most feral ghouls have also been removed and replaced with « Institute Failed Test », or « Failed Synth ». They are synths turned insane ; half human, half robots, turned completely mad by pain and despair they want to replace their failing parts by ripping apart the flesh of humans, and gluing it to their mechanical parts.
The music will also be changed. We will use the classic fallout soundtrack, coupled with a few tracks from other modders. Also, radio stations within Boston will be retro futuristic with synth wave and electric swing songs from most independent radio stations. CPG radio will also include some propaganda, news and repeating of laws. Something more creepy will exist for Classical or normal 50s Radio coming from who knows where. Instead of classic songs, it will play creepy short wave radio emissions like the ones here:
***DISCLAIMER*** Not all ideas and gameplay additions the developers have decided upon are included here for the sake of avoiding spoilers and not stifling creativity.
Good luck bro. Only warning is that you need to remember to preserve the spirit of fallout. There are definitely some dystopian elements in the post apocalyptic theme and its okay to play them up, but just don't forget the experience is at its core a post nuclear RPG
The idea for this mod had already entered my thoughts when I first witnessed Fallout 4’s trailer back in 2015. Funnily enough not because I intended to mod the game as soon as it was released, but because I actually fooled myself into believing that Fallout 4 was everything I thought it was. I thought that Boston was a giant living and breathing settlement with hundreds of interesting characters to meet, and I believed the Institute was in charge as a type of government, like the New Californian Republic in previous Fallouts.
As gameplay was released and I eventually got the game myself, my expectations turned out to be false. The game wasn’t ‘bad’ but it left a lot to be desired. It turned out to be what Bethesda set out to create; a post-apocalyptic sandbox shooter with RPG elements. Most people were more irked by the overall gameplay design but what had really made me ponder the idea for a mod was just the logic of the story and the lore of the Fallout universe overall, as well as the greater messages and concepts the series had previously tried to explore.
“My idea is to explore more of the world and more of the ethics of a post-nuclear world, not to make a better plasma gun.” – Tim Cain
There’s a certain structure to post-apocalyptic settings, that being that the world is destroyed and characters attempt to navigate the anarchy following this destruction. In more expanded settings characters or factions maybe even attempt to rebuild or re-establish order and stability to the best of their abilities, with their ideologies and world views clashing with other factions for the right to be the dominant force within the newly created power vacuum left by the apocalypse. This overarching concept is then peppered with smaller problems unique to the setting or complimented with an existential threat that might be a detriment to what remains of the world.
Most post-apocalyptic-settings follow this traditional structure with some variations. The Fallout series has a unique way of making this concept more vibrant or more clear, that being its use of a 1950s style Americana culture existing well into the 21s century until the nuclear war broke out. Not only that, but technology and weapons have a retro-futuristic style to them, partly due to the transistor not being invented when it should have in our timeline.
This may seem like a simple cosmetic paintjob, but it serves as a critical element to the story and themes of Fallout. These range from the juxtaposition of pre-war America with the dreary and dark post war wasteland - to commentary of the evils that can be committed by human civilization despite propaganda and media projecting a rosier image. One can also never forget the classic theme of how “war never changes.”
With all this in mind, Fallout has managed to stand out among post-apocalyptic RPG games. This is not just for being one of the innovators of the genre in the late 90s, but also for continuing to provide an interesting world with lore that can be toyed with in many intriguing ways.
The lore of Fallout however, even back in the late 90s, had started to come to terms with the natural evolution of an expansive post-apocalyptic setting. This evolution is that, logically, the world doesn’t stay destroyed forever. Of course, this depends on the nature of the apocalypse and how harsh the conditions are and for how many years. In Fallout’s case when the bombs had finished dropping many people had indeed been set back to the literal Stone Age, but a multitude of factions had maintained some form of civilization or were even technologically advanced. In the original Fallout, which takes place 84 years after the apocalypse, the most advanced faction were isolationist technology hoarders while the rest of the wasteland was essentially a scarcely populated warzone peppered with hold outs of humans scraping a living in the violent dog-eat-dog world; the classic post-apocalyptic setting.
However, with the release of Fallout 2, a game where the story takes place 164 years after the apocalypse, the writers had to deal with the fact that although civilizations fall, new ones tend to rise. One needed only to take a stroll through new locations such as New Reno or revisit old ones like Shady Sands to see that the world was rebuilding. However, the constant threat of various predatory creatures and the lack of resources made power projection still a serious issue for any new governments and thus the wasteland still maintained a ‘wild west’ level of anarchy that still felt fitting of a game like Fallout.
The developers were not afraid to allow their setting to evolve and succeeded in showcasing it in a believable manner. The game might not be as desolate as the original, but the story and themes explored in the main and side quests were just as enticing. Fallout is not just about the post-apocalyptic landscape, it’s about the factions and characters that arose after the fact. The Fallout world and how it progresses is what keeps fans so attached to the series and so excited to see what else can be made of the lore.
More recent entries into the franchise by Bethesda have stuck more to the old formula of the original Fallout, and thus that of a traditional post-apocalyptic game. Both Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 feel similar and both their settings are near entirely anarchic. The problem that comes with this is the fact that the games both take place 200 years after the bombs had fallen and no progress had been made in the areas where they are set. Both Boston and D.C seem to be permanent warzones.
On the other hand, Fallout New Vegas, in the spirit of Fallout 2, attempted to present both a progressed Fallout city in the form of the New Vegas, while allowing the surrounding area to be only loosely governed. By this time the New Californian Republic of Fallout 2 had a population in the millions and while still mostly rural, was semi-industrialised and boasted large cities. However, many players have been interested in revisiting California in future games despite these facts.
One can then conclude that Fallout does indeed continue to have relevance as a setting past its original presentation. If the setting is closer to the earlier game or set even closer to doomsday, one seeks to explore the ruins of the old world and see its colossal skeletons and broken dreams. If the setting is made to take place later, then one seeks to explore and be intrigued by the factions rising up to create the New World on top of the old. The conflict between the Old World and the New World was clear in Fallout 2 with the Enclave; essentially the descendants of the former U.S government. They battled it out with the NCR which had grown out of the small town of Shady Sands into a full-fledged republic. Even the Brotherhood of Steel, which was formally the most advanced faction in Fallout 1, had become a shadow of its former self.
This evolving world and the conflicts between the new and old were further explored in Fallout New Vegas. The NCR was now a representative of the idea of rebuilding the old USA, but according to the slave army of Caesar’s Legion, the NCR was destined to repeat the Old World’s mistakes. The Legion on the other hand saw itself as a new way for the wasteland to survive, consisting mostly of tribes that had rejected close to everything formally attached to pre-war America.
Themes do not have to be limited to conflicts between the new and old, but the main point here is that evolving worlds are much more interesting and immersive than static ones. This is not meant to suggest that the alternate timeline alone is an enticing setting; it is simply an argument that one should not be afraid to rationally advance and rebuild the apocalyptic world as the story progresses. While it may be easy to disregard what gave Fallout its original aesthetics and appeal if one is not careful, the pay-off can end up making the story and world seem much more alive and unique in comparison to other post-apocalyptic settings.
At the end of the day Fallout is indeed a post nuclear RPG, the question just becomes how this post nuclear world evolves if one insists on advancing the world a few hundred more years into the future. Unless one intends to only write subsequent sequels close to the occurrence of the Great War, having a static anarchic setting despite the advancement of time will just seem ludicrous and will make the world seem less alive or believable.
This is where Fallout 4 dropped the ball for me. I can give Fallout 3 a pass since it was essentially a reboot of the franchise by Bethesda (who originally planned to have the game take place only 50 years after the Great War, not 200, but wanted to be able to include the Enclave). The fact that D.C was still an absolutely terrible place to live in could also be explained by the Super Mutant presence stifling stability to an extent. However , Fallout 4 was Bethesda’s 2nd shot at making a Fallout game and they had extensive knowledge of the praise that New Vegas had received for its story, characters and writing quality overall. This is despite Obsidian having been given little more than a year to make New Vegas, echoing how Fallout 2 was also made in a similarly constrained period of time by Black Isles Studios.
Fallout 4 improved a lot of the general mechanics, gunplay etc and the graphics were substantially upgraded, but major mistakes were made in design philosophy which I partly blame on the Skyrim model and its success. The gameplay was centred on shooting and looting, and Bethesda attempted to write a personal story with a voice acted player-character. Skyrim followed a similar pattern, albeit with a fantasy RPG paintjob, numerous dungeons dotted on the map, as well as a storyline centred on the player-character essentially becoming a demi-god. While there isn’t anything wrong in of itself with this type of gameplay and story writing, the obvious drawback was that it digressed from what made specifically all the Fallout games, including Bethesda’s own Fallout 3, enjoyable despite their myriad of mechanical flaws. Indeed, the meme that Fallout under Bethesda was simply “the Elder Scrolls with guns” had actually turned out very close to the truth with the release of Fallout 4.
Many people legitimately don’t mind the change; the game was actually quite fun for me the first few playthroughs. Though, I could not help but question why dialogue was so limited in a series known for some of the most charming writing and characters of any RPG. I could not help but question why my character is seemingly a worried father/mother looking for their baby but can be side-tracked by the most mundane of things due to player agency. I could not help but question why over the past 200 years Boston was still technically a warzone with raiders and super mutants blocks across from each other, but building a safe settlement is as easy as one man deciding to put up some crooked wooden scrap walls and planting some tato patches.
Fallout 4’s greatest sin was its poor writing and world design. Yes, some characters deserve praise in their writing and voice acting, and some areas in the game were beautifully enchanting like the Glowing Sea. However, the threads holding these aspects together and everything in-between either seemed campy, uninspiring, predictable or even lore-breaking. Boston had clearly been meticulously designed and some quests stretched the limits of what I thought could be done with the Creation Engine, but many areas dotted the map that were closed off with boarded doors and hardly any quests were fleshed out beyond fetching items. Even the ability to role-play a pacifist or a dim-witted hero was scrapped in favour of a combat heavy post-nuclear themepark.
Nonetheless, the concepts that Fallout 4 attempted to explore were very alluring. The Institute, the Synths and several other parts of the story showed a lot of potential. I myself have several headcanons for most of the unexplained parts of Fallout 4. This is indeed how much the setting captivated me despite all the flaws I previously mentioned.
It is with all this in mind I kept wondering what could be improved, what could be changed to enhance a character, faction or even the story. This is not a malicious smear on Bethesda, there’s enough of that everywhere and at this point it isn’t much of a positive exercise. All we on the mod team wish to do now is see what can be done to rewrite Fallout 4 to make it the game it should have been in our humble view. We do not see ourselves as an authority on what is and isn’t Fallout, despite what has been said so far. Many might rightfully disagree with what’s been said and perhaps feel it is ludicrous that we propose changing anything. However, in the early stages of this project we on the team have been absolutely enthralled by all the things that could be added or changed in the game. To make Fallout 4 a sequel the Fallout franchise and its fan base can enjoy even if they do not see any of the problems that we do is the reason this mod is being made by us. Being simply a fan of this series myself, I hope that this mod only succeeds to satisfy those who enjoy Fallout.
Now with all that said I'm disappointed at the vitriol we're receiving on reddit for just being a project that started on these forums. I mean, I know it has a reputation, but for God's sake we're doing something constructive here.
Well, I wish you the best of luck, and I’ll definitely be trying your mod when it’s released.
As for Reddit, it can go fuck itself. You do what you do man. Don’t let our bad reputation get in the way of that.
A bold move if you manage to pull it off, man.
Also Reddit can go fuck itself.
I just read the comment section on reddit and they have no sense of humor.
I know right? Getting upset over the teasing welcome message on the server or the fact that I use the word "retard".
Good though, last thing I want is people joining that take themselves way too seriously.
Gotta love the "you can't keep doing the same things over and over" excuse to change franchises, forgetting that what Bethesda did with the franchise was not change: it was do way less. Less good writing, less good characters, less RPG elements, less everything.
The "Fallout 4 won a Bafta award" thing. Like, who gives a shit about a Bafta Award? What even is a Bafta award? As i recall, The Witcher 3 won Game of the Year, which is what the casuals tend to care about.
And modders have been upstaging and making better mods than what Bethesda has done in their games. Modders have been doing the job of Bethesda of adding actual RPG elements and things that actually matter.
It's Fallout Redditt anway, a bunch of braindead dipshits who eat everything Bethesda makes. Bet there's still a circle of people there defending Fallout 76, even though it's a giant pile of shit.
Oh yeah and just another note, I'm trying to have some rigorous quality control on what we eventually decide upon. Everything I might have said before I deleted my posts has changed quite a bit. With that in mind I do in fact want to reveal to some here eventually what our final ideas are on this forum cause at the end of the day if both reddit and NMA doesn't like what we're doing then there's something wrong.
@mithrap and I as well as another modder have an angle we're going for that we're trying to focus on and we generally agree on the direction we're taking the story, but I'll change or add anything someone here argues is absolutely necessary. Just shoot me a dm on discord if you want to be one of the people reviewing anything before we start wasting hours on implementing it. It's really needed if we want to make sure this is as good as we intend.
To add to that we might as well upon the eventual release of the mod be very open about the fact that its development started on this evil dark corner of the Fallout community ay? ^^
Holy shit these redditors are drones