Wasteland Ventures (Fallout) #3 – Level Designing For Skills

December 2nd, 2010

In the previous post I wrote up a basic outline for Fallout‘s quests and modelled an example. This time I want to build on some of the additional comments made about the skill system and level design. I want to see how the level design supports player freedom and facilitates interplay for the myriad of potential outcomes the player may take respective of their skillset.

Unfortunately I could only find these teensy weensy map images to work with. Under each image is a link to a larger, blown-up version which may be a bit clearer.

Gizmo’s Casino

Key – Red dots: Guards, Green dot: locked door, 4 – location of Gizmo

Lock Picking (Optional)

Prior to tackling this mission the player can talk to an NPC (I think it was Marcelles from the hotel) who informs the player that a hidden swag of goodies can be found in the room next to Gizmo. Sure enough they’re right. The room is positioned right next to Gizmo which places it off limits while Gizmo is present (otherwise he’ll bust you if you try to open it). Therefore, this piece of intel in conjunction with the position of the room adjacent to Gizmo persuade the player to overthrow Gizmo so that they can gain the supposedly worthwhile loot.

On the other hand, if the player isn’t aware of this fact then the opportunity that arises for the player to lock pick the door upon removing Gizmo can be considered a form of interplay.

Stealing and Dialogue (Folded Level Design)

The player can record Gizmo’s remarks by planting him with a bug using the steal function. If the player is caught trying to bug Gizmo, Izo (Gizmo’s private body guard) and the 2 goons will attack the player (interplay), folding the level design as the player attempts to escape the casino alive. The folding also constitutes the risk/reward factor.

Combat (Customisable Difficulty)

The player can reduce the risk for failing to plant a bug or choosing the wrong dialogue option (both which turn the guards onto the player), attacking the guards in the first area and then luring out the Izo by Gizmo’s door. This strategy breaks down the combat into smaller chunks and can all be done without alerting Gizmo.

Combat #2 (Pockets of Freedom)

The player can attack other customers in the casino without the guards caring (so long as they’re not involved). This can net the player some extra experience.

Raider’s Camp

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The goal of this area is to extract Tandi from the Raiders. The players can enter the premise freely so long as they don’t have a weapon holstered. The peaceful option would be to talk to the leader Garl and then complete one of his requests (trading items, cage match). This option doesn’t utilise much of the level design, so my points here will be looking at the more hostile examples of shooting your way in and/or out.

Key: Red: Guards, Blue: Tandi’s cell

Sneaking, Lock picking and Optional Combat (Customisable Difficulty/Skills Usage)

The front of the house is filled with guards. There are henchmen at the door, in the room just behind it and in each of the 4 tents littered outside. If the player has a decent lock picking skill, they can avoid confrontation by entering the house from the front, sneaking into the cell area, lock picking the door to Tandi’s cell, and the sneaking/fleeing out the backdoor. The 4 gang members in the tents can be avoided if the player lock picks the door and dashes past/takes out the two guards by the back exit.

Combat and Lock picking (Customisable Difficulty)

Alternatively, the player can enter from the back, taking out the 2 guards by the locked door, lock picking the cell door and escaping out the back. Since the guards in the central room will be alerted when you take out the two doormen at the back and walk into the cell area to investigate, there is much more combat involved in this option than the former, but still much less than if you barge in through the front.

Combat (Customisable Difficulty)

Another way to scale the difficulty is to kill the henchmen at the back door, flee and then return and re-enter from the back door.