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Gregg's first Fallout 3 experience.
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Armand
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June 30, 2011 - 12:54 am
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I received this email from Gregg today. He hasn't started a post on this, so I'm doing it for him.

Gregg: I've started it.

And I'm fucking loving it! Totally lost track of time (it's about 1.10am now) and I've just got outside the vault. Man, oh MAN, do I want to go exploring...

As I walked down that first road, (dark dark) night descended and naturally I shirked into the shadows. Something was moving up ahead. A robot announcing things... I'll stay out of its way until I get my bearings. After about ten minutes scouting about crawling through the nearby ruins, there was a big mushroom explosion in the dark! Something was out there and as I peered into the gloom I saw a figure moving on the road but I couldn't make it out through the ruins. I moved in closer and judging by the silence and the nearby flames from the blast, the robot had been destroyed. I caught a glimpse of the figure again but as soon as I saw it, it was gone again. I'm sure it was moving up the hill in the dark but I wasn't going to stick around because whatever it was, it had explosives and wasn't afraid of using them on a seemingly harmless droid.

Welcome to Fallout 3. YES. [end email]

He's using the darker nights mod, btw.

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xtal
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June 30, 2011 - 10:24 pm
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Fallout 3, when you first experience it, is the best thing ever. It's on par with emerging from the rat caves of Vault 13.

That is until the sexy dulcet tones of Michael Hogan coax you out of comatose slumbers in New Vegas. Then that's the best. Especially if you're lucky enough to see the "exorcist" bug.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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geggis
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July 1, 2011 - 8:24 am
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I can't wait to get stuck back into Fallout 3 again tonight. Not been this excited about a game in a while actually. I was starting to think that maybe I'm not a huge fan of all the stats and stuff that come with RPGs but Fallout 3 seems to be quite conservative with how much it throws at you. It's well streamlined in that regard. The melee also feels quite punchy, something which I honestly didn't expect after Morrowind. I know Morrowind is a much older game but the whole click-miss, click-miss, click-hit!, click-miss thing has always pissed me off.

When I was escaping the vault, sneaking through the corridors with my baseball bat, I so so very nearly whacked Gomez over the head as he walked past me hidden in the shadows. That was really cool. He turned just before I was about to swing the bat and said that he was going to let me pass by.

Character-wise I've gone for a Hispanic looking guy called Ivan (according to Wikipedia that name was popular with Italian, Spanish and Portuguese people during the 20th century -- I found this out afterwards). I also found out that Ivan was one of the codenames for the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated called the Tsar Bomba. The picture of that thing exploding scared the crap out of me but no so much as the scale of the destruction it caused. I thought all this fitted together pretty well.

He's sharp witted and perceptive, a great talker and charismatic and knows his way around locks. Mr Bobby Pin will be his best friend. I've decided to go down the energy weapons route and chosen the Thief perk to keep my detection low and lockpicking skill high. How thin should I spread myself? I'm trying to keep my options open somewhat just in case but with a certain inclination towards a particular 'build' or personality.

By the way, I've got the GOTY edition so my level cap is now apparently 30. Mod-wise, I've got most of what Armand recommended; less meds and ammo, slower weapon degradation, increased damage during VATS, I Will Touch What I Want (mod to stop people moaning at you all the time), Dynamic Weather (which includes darker nights for all DLC), streetlight mods to lift the darker nights a little, Shell Rain (stops empty shells disappearing straight away on the ground), Decent Pip-Boy Light (increased range Pip-Boy light for darker nights) and I'm pretty sure that's it. The official and unofficial patches have been applied as well. Oh and DC Interiors which adds more unique locations to enter in DC, presumably.

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Armand
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July 1, 2011 - 1:00 pm
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As far as your build Gregg, vanilla FO3 is pretty liberal with skill points, even more so if you have a high intelligence. By the higher levels, you'll have most of your skills well above 60. I'd recommend applying evenly between 1-2 weapon types (small guns are most abundant and easy to use), and taking both lock pick and science up to 50 asap. You'll eventually want at least one of those (if not both) at 100 to be able to access some real hard to open doors.

Sneak, speech, and repair are all useful to have at about 75. You don't need them much higher unless there is a perk you want that has a pre-required skill amount. Melee, unarmed, and heavy weapons are all more build specific, and you can more or less ignore those after you get them above 25-35. Explosives you need at about 35 I think for an important early quest (provided you want to play a "good" guy), but otherwise don't call for much more.

Energy weapons can be hard to come by early on, though they really kick ass once you find some of the better weapons out there. I'd recommend investing at least a bit into small guns early on, since those will be the bulk of the early ranged weapons.

In the end though, this is about role-playing, and if any of this doesn't fit your character, then ignore the advice and do what you think is best.

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kaythomas
Somewhere in the frozen tundra
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July 1, 2011 - 5:44 pm
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Welcome to Fallout 3, Gregg.  It's a great game and so many people on Tap Repeatedly have played it that you will have a whole lot of people rooting for you and here to give you help.   What I loved so much about Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas were all the decisions one had to make.   And decisions have consequences.   Enjoy.   Kay

Imagine life with no hypothetical situations. 

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Mat
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July 1, 2011 - 6:22 pm
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I loved Fallout 3. Emerging from the Vault for the first time, being blinded by the sunlight and then being presented with an absolutely huge post apocalypse world to explore is one of my favourite all time game introductions. 

I just loved the atmosphere of the whole thing. They really did nail that feeling of isolated desolation, but there was always plenty to see and people to talk to if you looked hard enough. Some of the missions were fantastic and I'd recommend actively seeking out the side quests. There's some good ones to be had.

My only complaint with Fallout 3 was that I thought the main story arc ends terribly abruptly. It caught me off guard and, being in the days before the first DLC pack added 10 extra levels and the option to continue, left abit of a sour taste, but this isn't something to concern you with as you've got the GOTY fancy package.

I did recently start New Vegas on the PS3, but I must admit I'm not getting the same vibe for that as I did with 3. Maybe I need to play it on PC. I'd be happy to buy and re-play 3 or proceed with NV on PC if they appear in the Steam sale. 

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Scout
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July 1, 2011 - 9:28 pm
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Mat, definitely get New Vegas for PC  if it comes up for sale. For me it edged out Fallout 3 by a whisker. Mostly cause I thought  the characters were a bit more vivid. Both were gold star games though.

Gregg, have fun.

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geggis
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July 5, 2011 - 10:16 am
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Quick update on my Fallout 3 shenanigans.

Seem to have spent a lot of time pinpointing the cause of various problems over the last week. Not all to do with Fallout 3. PS/2 wired keyboard not playing nicely with Windows 7, double power-on at boot up, my old wired Razer mouse doing this infuriating double-click when I single click (twice as much firing, skipping dialogue options, using, taking, buying and selling multiple items instead of one, not to mention making Windows a nightmare to navigate)

I'm still loving Fallout 3, I just wish it didn't freeze/lock up so much so I could just settle in to it. Occasionally there's a sound loop that gets stuck as well when I close the program from the task manager and I end up having to reboot my machine to make it stop. It wouldn't be bad if it was happening every so often but it seems to be doing it at least once an hour which is just unforgiveable. I've found a few things I can try tonight to hopefully sort this problem out.

The other issue I'm having is flickery bands appearing at night across my screen. They disappear and then appear out of the blue and once you've noticed them you can't unnotice them. After some pissing about this morning with EVERY graphics setting in the game I pinpointed it to Object Distance. If I put that at the lowest setting the problem disappears but I'm betting that the effect this will have on object draw distance will be horrifying during the day time. I'm putting it down to some driver issue so I'll be clean reinstalling the same (latest) drivers I currently have later as well.

I just want to fucking play it!! ARGH! [Image Can Not Be Found] It runs beautifully and looks incredible but there are just these two things spoiling the show. The former even more so. This has to be the most trouble I've ever had with a game; I've never experienced so much freezing before! And with a fully (officially and unofficially) patched GOTY edition on a brand new computer! [Image Can Not Be Found]

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xtal
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July 5, 2011 - 12:46 pm
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You can thank Bethesda's shit engine for that, Gregg. Here's hoping Skyrim's isn't a steaming pile of crab meat.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Mat
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July 5, 2011 - 1:31 pm
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Gregg/Max/Anyone,

So I picked up New Vegas in the sale yesterday. Started playing it. The improvement on the console version is notable. This will be an old hat point to people who have been PC gaming for ages, but I was shocked by just how much nicer, smoother and prettier the game ran than the clunk ass PS3 version. The lighting, textures, frame rates.. everything about it looks mint on PC.

One question though; do I proceed with the vanilla experience or do I mod the shit out of this thing? The game looks good enough that I'd be happy to play it as it is now (especially while I'm still riding the crest of this PC version > console version wave) but am I better off installing some mods to make it better?

By the way Max, I don't believe I have your Steam I.D. Let me know who you are and I'll add you (or I'm OneLove1867 if you just want to add me) 

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geggis
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July 5, 2011 - 2:12 pm
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ARMAAAAND! MAT C NEEDS YOU!

Armand told me to disable a couple of suspect mods and that seems to have stopped the annoying flickering bands. Here's hoping that the freezing fix works.

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Armand
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July 5, 2011 - 2:19 pm
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Hey Mat, if you've already played the game in vanilla (on the PS3 or where ever) I'd highly recommend modding it. Fallout: New Vegas' Nexus page has the most options and variety. I'd recommend mods for you, but I don't really know your play style or what you look for in your games. IMO the best thing about Bethesda RPGs is how moddable they make them. Literally thousands of mods for each title that vastly improve the games. Most of the improvements and features added to NV since FO3 I believe are based entirely on the more popular FO3 mods.

If you haven't played it before, then it will depend on if you plan to go through it more than once. If not, then mod. If you plan to try 2-3 play throughs (like me) then you may want to do a vanilla run just to get a feel for what the game is like that way.

http://www.newvegasnexus.com/

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Scout
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July 5, 2011 - 3:09 pm
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My mod advice is to start playing the game straight as is and mod only as needed. This run counter to mod believers but that's my advice. The only mod I remember installing in New Vegas was one to take out the invisible barriers they had placed at ridge tops and such. Mostly it hindered my sniping of Deathclaws at the mine.  Plus mods can bork your game in insidious ways. I'm pretty sure my problems with STALKER stem from the Complete 2009 mod not playing nice with my system. At least thoroughly document your modding so you can get back to a clean game.

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Armand
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July 5, 2011 - 3:33 pm
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Oh yeah! Scouts recommendation for removing invisible barriers is an absolute must I think. Even for a first play. Nothing worse than cresting a massive hill in that game only to have an invisible wall block your way.

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geggis
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July 5, 2011 - 3:33 pm
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After Morrowind and now Fallout 3, I concur with Scout. Play the game vanilla and if anything irks you see if there's a mod to sort it. Armand knows what sort of player I am so he recommended a handful of mods for Fallout 3 and while I'm sure there are mods out there that I'd like that he wouldn't condone using, his experience outweighs my patience so I take his advice where I can!

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Finkbug
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July 5, 2011 - 9:46 pm
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I always play a game clean unless there's a glaring problem like Oblivion's PC UI. Never do a content mod until I've played the game once unless the base game is garbage and the mod(s) make it a good game worth playing.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

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Jakkar
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July 5, 2011 - 11:42 pm
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Regarding Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas there's one mod above all that EVERYONE should be using.

Blast, it seems to have been scraped off the net - there are some larger mods that include it but after much trawling this is the only version I can find for Fallout 3 that does just the good stuff;

http://www.fallout3nexus.com/d.....php?id=136

Compass mod. Removes the Perception-Enhancing red 'ticks' from your compass at the base of the screen. I cannot overstate how different, and how much more compelling this makes the experience. Fallout 3 is, despite itself, partially a horror game. Travelling at night through dangerous places, the ever-present nagging memory in the back of your head asking "Do you think Deathclaws spread this far East?", endless sewers and subways packed with snarling Feral Ghouls or buildings stuffed with soulless security robots. It's tense, and things tend to happen suddenly, loudly. The scariest thing of all might in fact be stepping on an unexpected landmine, but that's neither here nor there.

Point is, Fallout 3 is ruined by the 'psychic ability' of sensing your enemies clear through walls using the compass, a feature wholly unnecessary in a game with a decent directional sound engine and darkness/lighting/shadows. It does not 'represent' sight or sound and I'd hesitate to think that a character with 5 perception can 'smell' a robot through a sealed door.

All tension is lost, all the fear and excitement when exploring a ruined old building and you don't know whether something inhabits it. All challenge in combat against mobile foes like armed humans, too.

Grab this, get rid of the compass markers and enjoy a much more intense, more exciting experience.

Oh, and for the New Vegas players; http://www.newvegasnexus.com/d.....p?id=38777

Hope someone else enjoys these =)

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geggis
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July 6, 2011 - 5:45 am
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I've got to say that that seemed a bit daft to me as well Jakkar but then I thought about the purpose of the perception skill. It felt good knowing that specialising in perception gave me this sort of added awareness; a 'something is watching me', 'I'm not alone' kind of feeling. When I poured my points into perception I didn't know that this compass 'tracking' ability existed.

Having said this, at numerous points wandering the corridors of Springvale School I followed a moving target wandering around on the other side of a wall, waiting for it to come into view. That's when I realised that this skill/perk not only saps some of the surprise and tension out of exploring but it also stops me using me eyes and ears; I'm just fixated by those red lines on the compass, after all, they're the things that are most likely to kill me...

I'll check that mod out, thanks.

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geggis
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July 6, 2011 - 5:55 am
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The biggest problem with using that mod (providing it doesn't explode) is that it undermines the greatest benefit of having a high perception stat (compass tracking). Perception buffs three other skills I'm specialising in ie. Energy Weapons, Explosives and Lockpicking so I suppose it's not all bad. It also opens up a few decent perks by the looks of things.

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geggis
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July 6, 2011 - 11:50 am
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Quick question: what lighting do you prefer? HDR or bloom? Or none?

I find HDR a bit obnoxious and totally over the top at times but it often makes things so much more lucid. I can't actually tell the difference between bloom and none.

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