Fallout 76 on trajectory to be free to play by Christmas?

$34.99 on Amazon

Well I’ve been able to put a few hours into the game, and I can already say that finding people is super scarce, and when you do basically they are too busy doing quests and stuff at such a higher level they basically avoid someone like me at level 5.  With no NPC’s or real ‘vibe’ to the world other than isolation and loneliness people then tend to be, well isolated.

I never really played WoW that much, I found it was drowning in too many people that you couldn’t get 5 minutes alone without people bugging you.  And oddly enough the absolute isolation is unreal.

Looking that we are going to start the second week of retail release now, and the game is discounted from $60 to $35 at the moment doesn’t bode well at all.  The reviews came in over the weekend, and it was universally panned as an ‘avoid’ which means death for something that relies on the multiplayer part.

Really?

And then people are pointing out that not only does 76 re-use all the assets from Fallout 4 (which really doesn’t bug me that much) but that Fallout really is a twist on Oblivion

I found this tidbit on ‘It’s a Gundam

Although I did try to do this with NV onto Oblivion and really had no luck, but re-purposing engines to do different things isn’t all that un heard of.  There is that DooM mod where you can mow the lawn, or even add in the QuakeWorld multiplayer after all.

One thing is for sure, Fallout 76 is in major trouble.  I’ve read all too many times that after 40-60 hours that there is basically nothing left to do, and people that are enjoying it are leaving as they are ‘done’ which again does not bode well for an online game.

If Bethesda isn’t in crisis mode trying to make ’76 more WoW like, then they will have burnt through a lot of community good will, as they slide into Oblivion.  While so many people are decrying the engine, I think the real faults lie in the lack of engagement, which then lets people stare at the assets and then the whole dated look of Fallout 4 really becomes apparent.

Looking back, Fallout 3 was a break out game, and I thought it was an excellent transformation of the isometric world to an engaging 3d game.  The story was… well, not the best, I accidentally stumbled onto ‘dad’ pretty quickly and ended it far too early which initially made it feel cheap and boring, not until I saw the strategy guide, and was amazed that there was so much in there, so I set about exploring and finding more enjoyment in the environment, lore and interactions.

New Vegas had so much in common, both development team wise, and atmosphere from the original Fallout it was an incredible follow up to Fallout 3, however too many people were too critical of the tech & timeline that they had been given and focused on defects that were frankly out of Obsidian’s hands.  It’s a shame that the best one had the worst reviews, and destroyed the people making it.

Fallout 4 returned to the 3 story, expect it was the parent seeking their child, and the twist that their child was now elderly really wasn’t all that surprising at all.  Cutting down NPC interaction was a major problem, as it felt so much on rails.  There was nothing to really do to step outside of yes/no trees with groups, you couldn’t ‘sort of side’ with someone, or disagree.. And then there was the minutemen and their constant nagging that was the worst.  Even cheating and putting 100 turrets into a settlement did nothing to save it, I saw the super mutants fall from the sky in the middle and proceed to attack.  What good is perimeter defenses when your opponents are apparently airborne?

I was so bored by Fallout 4, I can’t even remember if I finished the story.  It really wasn’t all that engaging.

And now we enter ’76 which again I knew was going to be strange with no NPC’s which meant no connection with the world at all.  But as I’d mentioned that the number of people playing this online is going to sharply crash that if you wanted to experience this aspect you better be quick.  And after more game play, I can safely say it doesn’t matter.

It’s now $35, and this won’t save it.  I expect more $5 discounts per week, if not steeper, then before the holidays some kind of rebalance to encourage micro transactions, and ’76 becoming a Freemium game, with it eventually being shuttered some time mid ’19 unless something amazing happens content wise between here & there.

They never should have launched @ $60 that’s for sure, and looking at the assets this really ought to have been a DLC / addon for Fallout 4 for perhaps $10-20 and I doubt itd have had anywhere near the massive backlash.

The real shame is that once the servers go dark that this will be the end.  I don’t think Bethesda ‘gets’ that the ability to self host is why Minecraft/Quake etc were so incredibly popular in their heyday.  And more importantly why that they will be continued to be played for years (decades) to come.

Fallout 76

Downloading…

I’m torn on this one.  Unless you have been living in a cave, you’d have heard that the launch of Fallout 76 has been…. well a spectacular disaster.

Launching at a full AAA price of $60 to what is apparently an empty world didn’t help things at all.

That said, I’ve liked Fallout for a long while, and yes I really did like the Bethesda treatment for Fallout 3.  And then we got New Vegas which was nothing short of amazing.  Sadly Obsidian, the team behind New Vegas that comprised many of the original Fallout team were punished in reviews with faults based on the aging gamebryo engine that Bethesda loves so much.  Which is sad as their bonus payment & future were tied to the metacritic score, which Bethesda tied a rock around their neck.

Fallout 4 was disappointing as it removed so much of the RPG elements, making the game boring, as it just lacked depth.  Which really is an unfortunate direction.  And the overall story/twist was so utterly predictable it was disappointing that you as the player were not expected to ‘get it’ right away.

And now here we are, Fallout 76, where they decided to remove all the NPC’s all together.  Which leads me to the following problem.

Fallout 76 is going to crash and burn, and as soon as the ‘next big thing’ launches nobody is going to play it.  So this is basically my only opportunity to play it with other people online.  The full price was certainly too much, and with the incredibly poor reception its had over the last week, it is already reduced in price by 33%.

Fallout 76 on the Bethesda store

Obviously this doesn’t bode well for the future of the game, but out of morbid curiosity I’m going to give it a try.

I’m pretty sure it’s going to be full of disappointment and failure.  I wouldn’t recommend anyone to really try it.

I wouldn’t be surprised if in another week the price was further reduced to $30 USD, with some time before Christmas for a further reduction to $20.  But by then will there be anyone left to play the game with?

The size of the game is overwhelming, I’m currently living in a small village in Hong Kong (yes it’s not all big city) the only internet options were 6MB DSL, or a 4G cellphone connection.  The 4G is much faster, however the WiFi bridge adapter I have is only 802.11a compatible so that is why I’m getting such a poor download speed.  It’s been downloading all night, and I’m too impatient to not at least write down my thoughts at the moment.

I should probably just break down, get a capture card, some tripods and lights and just make crappy YouTube videos.  I’ve been looking at numbers and I’m almost thinking that videos get further reach.  Not that I care too much, otherwise Id have done it ages ago, although it’s probably just me being lazy as video work is a lot of work, while quickly banging this out on a keyboard only takes a few minutes.  And I’ll have to get graphics, license music and use something to make snazy effects and stuff. Ugh sounds suspiciously like a lot of hard work.

After about 12 hours to download my junky machine would just launch Fallout 76 to a blank screen and then exit with no error code, or hint of a message.  Apparently going onto the forums it turns out that the ancient video card with 512MB of graphics RAM is just not enough, and Fallout 76 requires 2GB of video memory.  Unlike prior versions of Fallout, there is no pre-game tuning, instead you are thrown into the game with whatever settings are pre-defined.

I for one am not too amused with the black screen, and sudden close with not even a hint to the user. But the whole thing is apparently a rush job, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

I copied the downloaded game to a better machine via USB drive, and for most of the day I had this fun error:

NoRegionPing

The “No Region Ping” which either means that there are no servers up, or perhaps a firewall issue.  I later found out that UPnP was disabled on the Huawei E5785 which may have also been the source of issues (although turning it on, and immediately rebooting didn’t change a thing so I don’t know for certain).

After a bit of fighting and I finally got the game to launch using my ‘pro’ laptop that has a GPU.

I have to say that the engine does look a lot better than the Fallout 4 one, especially going outside into the forest.  Maybe it’s the vibrant colours, a nice change from the bleak/dreary games of old.

The texture pop is quite noticeable, it feels like borderlands type flat shading style until it pops the correct texture.  I’m playing from SSD which I had thought would help alleviate such issues, but seeing it made no difference, I just moved it to the disk instead.

Combat is atrocious.  Stepping outside of the vault you encounter these small robots, the “liberator MK 0” that are almost impossible to hit.  When combat isn’t happening I can swing my fists of rage around like no tomorrow.  Once I encounter the robots I’m lucky to get a single swing for every 50+ mouse clicks.  The enemies move so fast that running away isn’t an option either.  I had better luck on herding one group of robots to fight another group of ticks, once I had tried to venture out a little further.

And speaking of opponents it seems that they just spawn on top of you.  I made it to some lighthouse to have 3 feral ghouls spawn in front of me, mauling me in seconds.  Not that clicking the mouse button to attack frantically would have done anything.

The game world does feel incredibly vast, and also seemingly incredibly lonely as well.  After going through the online menu there was only 3 other people on the server I’m on.  It’s probably all ready far too late to run into users, as I think the downfall of Fallout 76 is pretty much complete.

So yeah after an hour playing the game feels incredibly lonely and isolated.  But I have to admit, that after a nuclear war I’d imagine things would be lonely and isolated.  I think the part where Bethesda has really made a critical error is that the NPC’s that they put so much love into the past gave people an emotional attachment to the game, and that the prior fallouts, and all the endless elder scrolls are teeming with life.  And ’76 instead presents a vast wasteland.  Maybe it’s just too true to the source material.

Soon

Microsoft Game Studio

I’m on an extended work trip, so I’ve been unable to do much of anything blog like the last few weeks. But as a bonus I have about 6 months worth of random crap from Ebay packed up to take back to Hong Kong to review.

And yes, It’s nearly been a year in the making for this one, but rest assured unless the disks are un-readable this will happen!

Otherwise, the Diablo thing with the release to mobile only went over like a proverbial lead balloon.  Kind of gutsy to host a convention to die hard PC fans and try to keynote on a re-skinned rip off phone app, that’s just been accepted as now ‘official’.  Talk about outsourcing gone wrong.

UPDATE: sad news I have a piece of luggage MIA.  This may not be happening now. 

UPDATE2: Bag showed up, loaded the disks, and after 7% of disk one, my 5 1/4″ drive just died.

:'(

So yeah, my crappy blog host doesn’t like Let’s Encrypt

So I thought it’d be easier to just front it with cloudflare.  So yeah things are screwed up. again.


If everything goes right, what you’ll see

I know, you get what you pay for… And honestly considering all the bandwidth this thing eats (300GB+ a month) I guess I can’t complain too much.

Go back to classic Gmail

going .. back!

So yeah I”m not a fan of the new layout, it somehow manages to only render properly at a high resolution, and display farless.  “Suprpsingly” the top option on the far right is to “Go back to classic Gmail”.

Out in Hong Kong people are a buzz that Google has a secret deal with Beijing where they are not only going to build a search engine with CCP’s blessing, but they will also be moving people’s data out here into Chinese datacentres.

Then I got this email:

Due to a new agreement between WhatsApp and Google, WhatsApp backups will no longer count against Google Drive storage quota. However, any WhatsApp backups that have not been updated in more than a year will automatically be removed from storage.

This policy will come into effect for all users on 12 November 2018, although some users may see the quota benefits earlier. To avoid the loss of any backups, we recommend that people manually back up WhatsApp before 12 November 2018.

So WhatsApp is the #1 chat app out in Hong Kong.  So now presumably all our chats are going directly to the CCP. Yay.

I can’t say I’m all that surprised, when I logon from Europe or the USA all my data of course goes through the CIA via Canada, or FBI/Interpol.. So there is no escaping any of this, but the reql question is what changed to get these kinds of deals in place.

I donno what to make of any of it.

And yes, it turns out that even if you opt out of the Google tracking, they still track.  Does this mean it’s time to actually go back to an abandonded / pay platform like Windows Phone/Office 365?

Speculate wildly!

20 years of iMacs

Wow the time sure flies!

 

(Video in MPEG-1/Audio MPEG-2 care of JSMpeg).

I know it's terrible quality but finding video from these old Apple events seems to have been recorded on VHS, and then re-recorded using the 'best' video capture technology for under $100 of the era leading to some really poor quality.  Such is the internet I guess.

I didn't buy a first generation but I did have a 2nd generation 333Mhz green iMac to run OS X Server 1.0 ... Who wasn't excited for the prospects of the next millenium?

So Google is starting to ‘shame’ sites for not using HTTPS

Really?

So I guess we are at that point where I’m going to have to turn on https for all the other ‘shared’ services I have.  Old links should still work, just expect to be redirected.

Old machines, however… yeah I guess you guys just got cut out.

I just modified the crazy regex hell I have to patch up AltaVista / UTZOO so at least that ought to be working.  The source archive seems operational as well.  When everything is working, HAPROXY is freaking awesome.

 

Delivering WordPress in 7KB

I saw this over on Hacker News, and thought that trying out the susty theme from sustywp.com might be worth trying.

So, besides looking very different let me know how you think about the feel?

I’m just a little bummed out that this removes the Ultima banners.  On the other hand it sure does render PDQ.  But I don’t like how the colours clash, and I don’t see any user place to set the font colour or even what the highlights & link colours will be.

So in all likelyhood I’ll be reverting this, but in the meantime, here we are.

BBC releases its computer history archive

I thought it was somewhat worth mentioning that the BBC was releasing their old Computer Literacy Project Archive.  Although they for some reason never released any of their materials to the colonies and or territories, so although I’ve never seen any of this stuff, I’m sure others know far more about it.

I’m kind of surprised they didn’t keep this kind of thing up, although I guess after David Braben made it a priority again, and the Raspberry Pi was born, completing the cycle of the birth of Elite!