A review of the RP game progression experience and small tweak suggestions

Discussion in 'Fallout General Modding' started by lujo, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. Dravean

    Dravean Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Mar 6, 2005
    Oh, no. One does not simply tinker with the Brain's dialogue and hope to maintain one's sanity.

    But seriously, I'm very curious to check out all your dialogue changes once this is finished. Good luck.
  2. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013
    I actually tried to do this, and...

    I could either make it make more in game sense, not break immersion, not allow a crafty player to skip lynette and harrold and pick up both the best ending for Gecko and the vault city citizenship without even trying, fix randomly dropping the whole vault village quest chain if you ever talk to stark about the village after you get a chance to investigate the talismans...

    Or I could leave it as is.

    Reason I'm hesitant is that whoever wrote that thing is probably rather proud of himself and put in a lot of effort, and what I would do would be more than I wanted to change anything (regargless of how much sense something makes or not).

    What I'd do is:

    1) Make the brain way less omniscient and less of a cartoon reference because he's less of an easter egg now.
    2) Make giving the vault village grenades only solve their part of the quest, but not the "resolve tensions", so you can continue that investigation without a time limit (and by completing it find the best ending for Gecko and Vault City) (it doesn't solve "resolve tensions" as now there are rats outside the city backed up with grenades which means VC is even more upset but can't do anything about it)
    3) Not make talking to McClure a prerequisite for confronting the Brain about the rats.
    4) Have the Brains explanation be: that he's only doing it because he wants VC attention away from Gecko, as it has recently intensified and he doesn't know why (it's because the plant is leaking radiation)
    5) Have him agree to give it up if you can find out what it is that VC council want and do something about it (which then means talking to either Harold or Lynette instead of getting an exposition dump from the Brain)
    6) You can then kill the brain and report to Stark, talk to the leaders and either blow up or fix the plant and report to the Brain, who THEN gets the ideas about basically allying with VC as he does now and asks you to optimize the plant first and then deliver the economy report.

    And then the whole thing works and involves everything it should and nothing pushes anything else out too much.

    But I have to mess the brain dialogue up. :( And that's not what I was asking for and not what I had in mind when I started out. It's not that the whole thing wouldn't kinda sorta work as is, it's just that it would work better if you couldn't end up with citizenship without even knowing it's a big deal.

    And I'd hate it if after all the work I've done allready I hurt anyone's feelings enough to veto the changes if I fiddle with the brain. I've got his .ssl and .msg open in front of me right now, it would take me hours but I know exactly what to do, and then it would take me more time to apply more changes to connor and stark to make the investigation of the rats go past arming villagers and talking to stark afterwards, and I can't say i'd like to do that in vain.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
  3. teukros

    teukros It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Sep 5, 2010
    Oh no, please, don't make him less of a "Pinky and the Brain" reference. He only works because he is a "Pinky and the Brain" reference. Without that, he's just an inexplicably intelligent mouse who is even more inexplicable talking.

    I like all of your other suggestions, though.


    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
  4. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013
    ^ Well, I actually LIKE all the very in depth wall street and how self-interest can work for the common good rethoric stuff. It's very well written!

    I just have to make him less damned smart and "have it all planned out" because he's so smart and has it all so planned out that if you follow the quest to save a bunch of villagers you end up solving the entire hub by running errands for him, kinda. You can completely miss 2 talking heads and a bunch of interesting dillemas and stuff, and well, core content.

    It is kinda cool to have an alternate way to clean the whole main-ish quests in the hub out for variety, but it's REALLY interfearing. I'll go for a compromise, see what happens. He'll still be Brain.
  5. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013

    They were backed up by guns before I changed it to grenades, it's the same situation. I'm just speaking metaphoricaly, before you deliver the weapons, the rats are in the way of getting servants. Once you deliver the weapons, the "servants" are in the way of getting rid of the rats! Which are still closer to VC than Gecko is!

    It basicaly does f**k all to reduce tensions, it just puts the shoe on the other foot, so now you have Stark ASKING you to find a peaceful solution to get the council off his ass for the cirsis which just escalated! XD

    EDIT: Well, not necessarily a peaceful one but any one which ends with either no rat panic or him not having to send the troops he didn't want to risk even against just the rats into a fight with way worse odds.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
  6. naossano

    naossano So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 19, 2006
    Basically, it would add a forced path to an outcome, while the brain provided a totally alternative path.
    By the way, it took me entire Real-life years and many playthrough to even find out there was an albinos rat in Gecko. The probability of ending up solving VC issues through the brain by mistake without going into VC is low. There is far much higher chances to unpurposly piss off Lynette to the point of not being able to solve it all.
  7. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013
    Well, the brain didn't provide an alternate path so much as he's a source of 3 different quests which otherwise each have their own sources, and you can't possibly mess anything up with him.

    The reason you didn't find him is because he was in no way properly linked to the game except being there as an easter egg. It IS however linked to the Vault Village quest. So once that's unlocked if you pursue the diplomatic solution to it, that goes through the brain, and then you end up solving all 3 reactor things through him - because that's the diplomatic solution to the VV quest. I mean, it's not that bad, really, it's just that the VV quest kinda becomes too central and the brain comes to the forefront too much for a silly character. The whole VC hub becomes about him all of a sudden.

    I wasn't even avare of this untill I made the Vault Village unlock earlier, but then it turned out that that quest is solved peacefully by - solving the whole reactor chain for the Brain. Which turns out kinda silly in practice. Especially since you generally do the first one for the citizenship, and now you can just get the citizenship "by accident" not even knowing about it.

    Well, you know what? I'll just do the following, hook up with phobos for final touches and put the whole thing up for a first round of playtesting tommorrow - I'll just have delivering the guns and reporting to stark not complete the "solve tensions" part of the quest, leavig it open indefinietely untill you find a diplomatic solution (and adjust connor and stuff ofc). Least ammount of work, least ammount of fiddling, if somone ends up going through the Brain for the whole shebang so be it. It's deffinitely a very different VC experience.

    Brain dialogue is huge, well written, a mess, but if I ever take a wack at it it won't be this time around.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014
  8. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013
    Thought I give an update on the situation:

    After a few days of bugfixing struggles, I went and did it - I mapped the whole damn Brain script out node by node and now I know what everything does. And yes, he is too omniscient and kind of makes the whole thing look like massive hand holding throughout the VC area if you go through him. This... isn't terrible on it's own, but does create trouble for integrating the Vault Village smoothly. Another bit of a pickle is that you can turn in Happy Harry and rob his store which is a fat load of loot in an otherwise fight-light area of the game.

    The Brain also has a bit of a design problem as unless I add stuff I don't really have anything to give him as a task to give the player other then the reactor bussiness (because Gecko is, when you look at it, quite underdeveloped and small). But I'm not looking to make a mod, I'm looking to integrate stuff into the RP better, so here's what I'm gonna do:


    - Instead of going thorough the entire VC hub quest chain, the Brain will only ask you to deliver the economy report to McClure. This way you don't end up with VC citizenship for completing the VV quest as that is lame. (Not that you can't simply take that quest off him too while you're running around, but what can you do - I'd gladly add proper quests to him involving underused stuff and the Abbey and so on, but that would make this a mod rather than tweaking).
    - The Brain will not push renewal on you like he does now, instead he'll make you do the Geco Econ disk delivery before you can renew, upon which you can also get the Power Plant quest from him. If you do the Econ Disk delivery before you take the village quest, well, it'll just be easier to solve - but since it was auto-solved at the time village used to unlock anyway, no harm done.
    - However, if you do accept renewal, and do work on the plant, the Brain will share his origin story - and that will put an otherwise very obscure location on the map :) If anyone thinks this downplays Myron - think again, this makes that whole direction much more interesting to move towards in the midgame (and in my experience EPA is a much better mid game than late game location)
    - Brains dialogue and personality remains pretty much exactly the same, only his priorities have shifted. So if I'm changing the dialogue it'll just divide the topics a tiny bit (and might make him more easy to fiddle with for people in the future in terms of script).

    Guns for the villagers:

    - Giving the guns to the villagers only solves their part of the quest - you can still solve the other part through the brain (and delivering the guns doesn't prevent you from finding about the talisman) Both things are working allready.
    - Since one quest doesn't exclude the other now, I'll try to take robbing Happy Harry's store out, since that's a damn bonanza. It made some sense when they were exclusive, now the quest is available earlier and the money involved is smaller, so it's a bit too much. Or at least I'll tone down the loot. You can still turn him in if you want to for negative karma.

    Everything else works fine allready - suliks sister/umbra hook, broken hills scouting (is the same as NCR scouting in terms of when it becomes available except you don't run into kaga, crazy loot, and, you know, the GECK, and stuff), village grenades, village and vc quest separation.

    Anyhow I hope to be done with this soon.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  9. J_Fred

    J_Fred Long time lurker

    Dec 22, 2013
    Just going to say that I'm following this thread, and most of these changes sound pretty solid.

    It may be best, however, to allow for a more selective isntal process like much of the other large mods. When you start making too many changes, you alienate large portions of the community. There are many mods I love in part or idea, but very few I love as they are.
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  10. killap

    killap Bear Dude Moderator Modder

    May 16, 2005

    Agreed. The conservative I am in regards to Fallout is making me nervous with all that I'm reading, even though these ideas have good intentions. It's why little to none of the original content was modified in the RP. Fallout fans are a fickle bunch and I like to think that the RP (the 2.x release line) has alienated as few people as possible.

    Once the dust settles, I'll think about what aspects of this thread I will include.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2016
  11. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013
    ^ I don't mind it being an optional install bundled with the RP, except that's just more of a hassle to update, and once bugfixed none of this stuff will be overly intrusive (or even intrusive at all).

    Ok, we'll have the most whittled down version ready after the final bugfix round tonight. How stuff works:

    1) You can find out the location of the Abbey through either Khol (if you get books) or the Bartender through conversation with not much spoilers. Minor characters, easy to miss TBH, but it's there.
    2) You can find the location of the Salver Camp from Vic if you free him. Once you're there, if you have vic, you have a few new lines of dialogue if s**t is about to turn ugly (basicaly an extra save vs. certain death check).
    3) You get to scout Broken Hills between Gecko and NCR. In practice this only really changes one thing - you can go south with an in game purpose, but you don't have a reason to go all the way south on your first go. That's IT.
    4) Vault Village unlocks after the Gecko Scouting. Involves the following:
    - Grenades instead of guns. Lower money you can run off with or that you have to pay.
    - Also no way to easily score assault rifles and run away with them.
    - Arming the villagers can end it if you decide to stop there (Stark gives you the option).
    - If you arm the villagers, you can turn Harry in, except the loot has been reduced. This also ends it.
    - Regular diplomatic way - which also does what it usually does. Either through speech or the brain.
    - Since the "reduce tensions" and "get guns" always WERE 2 separate quests, you can ask for the talisman after you've delivered the guns.
    5) There's an obscure and hard to reach bit of dialogue with the brain which reveals EPA. I only added 1 tiny node (and phobos made a VV conditions macro for ease of editing)

    No other changes. That's it. What it boils down to is being able to find Slaver Camp (and thus Umbra) at an apropriate time (if you pay 500 or a 1000 gold for Vic), being able to hear about the Abbey while in the neighborhood, not having the VC quest progression involve entering a very late game area early and being able to do the Vault Village quest while in the relevant hub. That's basicaly it.

    As for the brain, I'll leave him intact, but 2 things:

    1) His dialogue and quest involvement is murderous to modify because of the silly structure. He doesn't have a proper "main" node and it's always him having "initiative" and the player reacting in the dialogue which makes it difficult to talk to him with a specific purpose in mind. This makes quests involving him a pain to modify. He could be coded in a much more acessible manner.

    2) Which technicaly means that all his dialogue would be the same, it's just the structure that's the problem. He actually has very few things to talk about and most of it links onto itself. The way it's arranged, though, makes it exceedingly difficult to make any sort of non-linear progression when dealing with him. In terms of code, half of his talk_p_proc could simply branch out from a main node and he'd be as grumpey and demanding as he is but much, much more easy to edit and or layer out.

    I'm not going to risk the other, minor and easily checkable stuff not making it into the RP by dumping a heavily reworked Brain code on Killap (even though I'd probably have to make very, very minor changes to his lines, if any) but I will eventually do this. It's easier than it looks, it just takes a bit of time, and i want the other stuff out for playtesting and hopefully integration first.

    ONE IMPORTANT THING: There was a change to the quest.txt for for the BH scouting. This makes it savegame incompatible and probably also incompatible with any mods which fiddle with the quests.txt. Phobos will clue me in on the details what it is and what it isn't compatible with. The BH scouting quest is the single, only reason for anyone to ever apply this patch. If you don't see it, you won't untill you try it. It's one of those things you have to hit people with a stick to try and they thank you afterwards. It's the reason I did (and talked phobos into) doing any of this. So guys, don't use save-game compatibility as an excuse to dodge it. This is basicaly BH scouting + optional stuff mod, unless and hopefully until it gets implemented into RP proper (even as just an installer option).

    Next post - stuff available.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
  12. teukros

    teukros It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Sep 5, 2010
    Sounds good! I hope that this much makes it in.

    (snip snip snip)

    Sounds like the real Brain! :lol: He was a bit single minded - what with needing to Take Over The World, and all...
  13. killap

    killap Bear Dude Moderator Modder

    May 16, 2005
    An optional install would cause me intense pain. Having what's already optional in the installer was already enough grief with how customizable modding works in this game.

    I hate the Brain's script with a passion. Everytime I ever have to modify something in it I curse the sky. I think I even put a comment at the top of the script expressing my pain.

    The only hope is to rewrite that script from scratch. So hats off to you if you go that route.
  14. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013
    ^ Which is also why I wanted any contribution I ever do (and I don't intend to do too much, or even any more than this except possibly settling the score with the brain) to be modest, helpful, unobtrusive and the right thing, so it gets implemented into the core RP.


    WoW. The only thing that was keeping me from doing that was the thought that someone would be mad at me for doing it.

    And, err, I allready kinda, sorta, rewrote, or rather, rearranged, the connar script for this, and that's the reason I'm STILL late with it - now everything SHOULD work, but I can't for the love of god figure out why McClure doesn't want to talk about the Village EVER. So I need to fix that first (or rather find what the *+3++3+2+**"304 did I manage to screw up so completely (it's probably a := instead of a != or something somewhere), AND then I can test everything, then I can put it out.

    And if what I did with connar works, I can 100% certainly clean the brain up while leaving him pretty much intact dialogue wise.

    It's pretty much a matter of moving a ton of stuff out of talk_p_proc into branches coming out of a main dialogue node. He isn't really all that complex, he's just coded in a very... ambitious, manner. The bastard.

    And I appologize for being late, I wanted this post to contain the files and have you all having fun, but McClure sayes - NO!
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
  15. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013

    But since Phobos is in Siberia and I'm in Croatia, whatever I do will have to wait untill tommorrow and now I'm itching to get the brain worked over. So one important question answer to which would make a huge load of difference:

    Can I, please, call the one-shot dead end nodes something which isn't NodeXXX? Would you mind that? Like the cheezy poofs nodes, there's 4, and if I could just call them NodeCheeze1, NodeCheeze2, the stupid node NodeStupid etc, it would make getting him sorted out (and editing him afterwards) soooooo much easier.

    And if I can get it done by tommorrow, maybe I can even make him work with the VV quest as god intended, that would be swell.

    EDIT: I also found why McClure was bugging out, woooot! Tortoise is awesome for version history comparisons, phobos is a genious for introducing me to it (I'm the least talented coder in the universe when it comes to grammar. I know f**k all about even reading code, I just stare it down until it starts making sense or go crying to Phobos ^^). But, since I have to wait for him to wake up to get that final testing done, I think I'll pay the brain script a visit and see if I can beat it into submission.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
  16. Glovz

    Glovz Vault Dweller

    Sep 16, 2005
    @lujo and @Phobos
    This is such a great example of modder team work!!!

    I had the same teamwork going with NovaRain on my mod/fix of the damage formula. NovaRain was instrumental in helping me get it done!

    I salute your efforts and look forward to seeing your great work added to the RP. :salute::salute::salute:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2016
  17. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013
    ^ Wow, thanks for the praise - I'm still all talk and no alpha/beta builds out (it's juuuuust there... every day.)

    I'm ass deep in systematically plowing through the brain code (comments on everything, separate files open for old talk_p_proc, new_talk_p_proc, old node procedure listing, new node procedure listng, old dialogue numbers, new dialogue numbers (with comments) TEH WORKZ. I'm nailing that guy. And I have GREAT news!

    The thing is, if I arrange him the way I'm arranging him now, by tying the VV quest help to something other then the plant bussiness - it cuts down on the code IMMENSLY. Not only does he become fine for an earlier VV quest unlock, and makes the early VV unlock better - he becomes easier to tinker with by miles. And he's still the same old grouch.

    I'm working towards a structure which makes a whole new simple "explore Gecko" task the prerequisite for both "renewal" (so you get it even if you approach him without the VV quest) and the VV quest (so you get renewal bundled in and can easily deliver the econ data FIRST). The task will be to get him the coolant report, or unlock all reactor doors, or get him a few keycards from the plant or somesuch. Then, when he's seen the coolant report and got vault city council considering not blowing gecko (and him and his cult up), THEN he puts together a plan which gets vault city to consider not even conquering GECKO but making them partners (and setting him on the path to world domination). Which is his current quest, and also the plant repair quest (but you don't need 4-5 different Node013 calls in the talk_p_proc and you need waaaay less code - you don't need Node013 for a start).

    And now doing that whole plant bussiness for him has it's own reward, because if you do it, he KNOWS he is destined to rule the world, and will tell you, his most valuable disciple, his origin story (allready in the original dialogue) so you can spread it far and wide. Only 2 new lines added "Errr, what was this lab you escaped from?", and, well, you guessed it. It's got something to do with protecting the environment.

    Whish me luck! (It's mostly copy paste work and adding comments!)
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  18. teukros

    teukros It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Sep 5, 2010
    Focus, Pinky, Focus! :mrgreen:
  19. killap

    killap Bear Dude Moderator Modder

    May 16, 2005
    I only said that because his script was unnecessarily complex. There was no reason for it to be like that but I never had the time to go and rewrite it.

    I'm fine with you doing it, so long as the rewrite is for simplifying the code and not turning the Brain into something different content-wise.

    And to answer your question further down, you're free to name the nodes however you like, so long as it's consistent in the script. The only pattern that should be the same throughout all the scripts is that Node999 is the default end call and Node998 launches combat. But actually adding descriptive names to the rest of them is all good in my book.

    I will say, rewrites always scare me because of unknown issues that may be introduced, so I may or may not include your version of the Brain in the RP. I still need to sit down and go over what of all your work will make it's way into the RP.

    But no matter what happens on my end, keep up the good work and I'm happy to see the modding passion burning bright in others. My candle has been flickering for awhile now.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  20. lujo

    lujo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jun 14, 2013
    ^ Don't worry, it's mostly a copy paste job with existing content to trim unecessary code, branch stuff out so you can easily minimize easily identifiable non-needed nodes while looking through it, . And the BH thing is the most important to me, other things after that, and the Brain after that.

    Also, I know exctly what you mean about rewrites, this is taking so long in part because I had to rewrite Connar quite a bit (in terms of code, the dialogue was nothing to write home about anyway and it's basicaly the same, I wasn't trying to get creative ANYWHERE). So with that and the BH quest we are/were being supremely paranoid about making sure there are no unforseen interactions. And since there's the whole building sequence and stuff - I don't want to risk one mistake fouling your or anyone's mood about this.

    Also - and A4 page worth of bugs and typo's squashed, everything but the brain nearly working as intended. I'm in no hurry about the brain, I wan't no screwups there. Other stuff should be out if the current build checks out on all checkpoints.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014