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One pinkie toe dipped into the RPG pond - I'm still alive
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Spike
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December 2, 2009 - 1:43 pm
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In early September I got Fallout 3 and the Prima Guide, both new and sealed.  I opened neither until early October when I cracked the guide open to see if I could learn anything.  Being brand new to this RPG world, the guide did more to obscure than to illuminate.  I decided that the best way to begin what will be a HUGE learning curve is just to dive into the game and figure it out as I go along, consulting the guide if I get truly confused - or consistently DEAD.

I finally installed the game in early November, but still, my feet were very cold.  I did everything to avoid starting this game.

Last night my son and I were talking about games.  He is currently playing one of the F.E.A.R. games, and asked if I had started Fallout 3 yet.  When I said no, he started in with the prodding, cajoling, poking, etc.  So, armed with this "encouragement", I fired up the game last night.  What follows is part of the email I sent him this morning.

Emboldened by your encouragement (I'll thank you later!), I decided to fire up Fallout 3 last night. Since it was already installed it only took a click on the shortcut to...get an error message that said "xlive.dll file not found".  What the hell is "xlive.dll"????  Internet search ensued.  Ended up at the Bethesda/Fallout site to find out that xlive.dll is a file on the game disc that should have been installed with the other game files.  If it wasn't, here's what to do....blah, blah, blah.  Ok.  Got that file installed.  Click that game shortcut again..."Ordinal 5360 in xlive.dll not found".  Back to the Fallout site.  So that ordinal file should be in the "G4WL"  folder.  G4WL is "Games for Windows Live".   The site tells me that my version of that file might be out of date or corrupted.  Head over to the Microsoft website.  Will do!  Downloaded and installed a new G4WL.  Hoo-boy!  Now...now after an hour of messing, I get the game running.

Thankfully, the game starts out slowly.  First an intro to the "world" with a bit of "how it got this way".  Then I was able to start creating a general version of my character.  Then my character is born (scenes of baby-me in the delivery room with my parents).

Next scene has me at 1 year old.  I have 2 required tasks at this point, one of which helps set additional characteristics for me.  The other task is to open a baby gate.  Piece-o-cake.  I was also given the option of learning how to jump up onto a chair to reach into a toy box.  That didn't go so well.  I kept jumping over the chair.  Gave up.

Fade to 9 years later, and it is my 10th birthday party.  My father gives me an old BB gun that he and a friend restored for me.  Now I have to learn to shoot at targets, and after hitting 3 of them (not so easy eventhough the crosshairs were squarely on target) I have to shoot and kill a gigantic cockroach.  Took a while, but I killed that sucker.

Next scene has me at 16 years old.  I am about to go take a test required of all "residents"  of Vault 101 (where we all live out our lives from birth to death).  This test will determine what careers/roles each resident is best suited for.  At this point my character will be given additional attributes based on the results of the test.

I quit for the night just before heading in to take the test.

Apparently the next scene will have me, at 19 years old, finding that my father has disappeared, and leaving the safety of Vault 101 to search for him in the Wasteland of post-apocalyptic Washington DC.  That, I believe, will be where the rubber hits the road and I will find out just how hard an RPG can be.  Then people and "things" will begin coming after me big-time.

I'm glad that the game started out so slowly, with no danger for me to cope with.  If I play tonight all that will change.  I've attached a JPEG of the keyboard controls for this game.  I don't know if this is similar to other RPGs or not, but for someone who is used to "left click/right click" and possibly the keyboard arrows, this will take some getting used to to be quick and accurate.

The graphics are pretty good so far, and from the screenshots I've seen, the "outside" stuff looks even better.  Graphics are usually what draws me to a game, so life-like graphics are good.  The people are quite well done, with the exception of mouth movements, but they are better than in most games.

The voice-sounds are a problem.  If I am looking straight at a character the voice is almost inaudible.  I have to face either their left or right side to hear clearly - even with headphones on.  Good thing there are subtitles.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Spike
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December 2, 2009 - 1:48 pm
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By the way, was it Toger, or maybe Yapette, who has said that jumping is hard?  I found that out, and it was supposed to be only a baby-jump.  What have I gotten myself into?

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Helmut
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December 2, 2009 - 2:23 pm
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Hey Spike, good start! The hard part of jumping is only (always) the lack of knowing where you are in relation to the thing you're trying to jump over and that you generally have to be moving forward before jumping so your momentum will carry you over the brink without starting the whole process too close to the object. The only way to know that is to try it in each game. It is sometime the same way with ladders where some games have auto-cllimb mechanisms and others have great ankle crunching sounds when you fall down.

My Dark Souls single player sensibilities are protected by a +10 GfWL Firewall of Ineptitude

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Yapette
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December 2, 2009 - 2:31 pm
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Congrats to You! For starting, that is. [Image Can Not Be Found]

There are many rpgs with less info to worry about & fewer choices to make (stats/perks/etc) but not many. Morrowind & Oblivion provide the same degree of overload - my first struggle up the rpg ladder was Morrowind. [Image Can Not Be Found]

As you admit, you're accustomed to RM, LM & maybe arrows + puzzles. I have taken more than my share of a) boring, b) tedious & c) brain-taxing grad courses. When a game is A or B or A+B, I stop playing. It's the C aspect that stole my heart & keeps me playing rpgs. You'll find out - if you can accept that you're clueless, lost & confused (like with any new, less than simple learning). But with time, perseverance & practice you too will master the task. Llike you have in many other areas....only this time you seek no redeeming qualities other than fun.

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Spike
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December 2, 2009 - 2:37 pm
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great ankle crunching sounds

Yes, I'm sure I will also hear many other body-damage noises that I'd prefer not to hear.  But an RPG wouldn't be an RPG without them, I guess.

I agree with you Yapette.  Of the choices on your list, C will always be better than A or B.

Thanks for the encouragement, both of you.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Yapette
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December 2, 2009 - 2:40 pm
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About jumping, yep that was I. Hate jumping, cuz I can't do it. Don't recall jumping in Fallout 3 unless you mean jump down…that I can do, sort of a controlled pitch-over-the-edge fall.

My favorite feature in the game I'm now playing has to do with falling. We can run up anything: walls, hills, waterfalls. Even mounted. Conversely, we can jump off anything with no damage penalty. Doesn't get much better than that (which I hope they don't “fix” in a future patch).

Scout
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December 2, 2009 - 2:42 pm
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Spike, you could split gamers into two groups (why...I have no idea). Those who can and like to jump and the rest of us who don't like it so much. Jumping is usually poorly executed into a game if it's not a platformer where jumping is the whole deal. I don't remember jumping being a big deal in Fallout 3 particularly.

You can sort of skirt around the hotspots in Fallout 3 for quite a while once you get into the wild depending on which way to you go. I would suggest you find out where that first small town is and head for it pronto. It's a good place to get your bearings unlike me who went straight into the city and got my butt handed to me.

Enjoy. It's a great game.

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Toger
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December 2, 2009 - 3:02 pm
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Yap hates jumping. I'm a platformer from way back, so I don't have a problem with 3D jumping as long as the game lets me adjust the camera prior to the jump. If I have to blind jump, I get cranky.

You'll like RPGs. Trust us.

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xtal
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December 2, 2009 - 3:19 pm
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I wish I could play Fallout 3 for the first time again. It was so much fun, and so surprisingly good after 99% of the world expected it to bomb (tee hee) when compared to the likes of the 1990s Fallouts. Not the case!

Enjoy the game, Spike. It is a blast (whoops, there I go again).

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

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Spike
Memphis
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December 2, 2009 - 4:15 pm
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Damn, Scout!  I hate small towns.  I'm a big-city woman.  I'd have thought that it would be easier to hide from threats in DC, as opposed to the 'burbs.  But I'll take your advice because I'll need all the help I can get.  And I have the maps in the guide, so maybe I'll cheat just a bit right out of the box - er, the vault.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Spike
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December 2, 2009 - 6:46 pm
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My son found this and thought it might be helpful.  It's meant to be humorous (rpgcentric.com - filed under humor), but to me it just seems like good advice.

[Image Can Not Be Found]

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Yapette
Tangentistan
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December 2, 2009 - 6:59 pm
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Spike, you do not want to visit downtown DC before leveling.  DC guys tend to be BIG with MIGHTY WEAPONS. Especially for a R&L clicking adventure-game player. Right now, you belong waaay out in the suburbs. In a small town. Trust us on this one. [Image Can Not Be Found]

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Spike
Memphis
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December 2, 2009 - 9:43 pm
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Ok.  The suburbs it shall be. 

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Steerpike
Subtropical Southeastern Michigan
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December 3, 2009 - 1:16 am
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Well done, Spike! As Obi Wan Kenobi might say, "you've taken your first step into a larger world." [Image Can Not Be Found]

Now, Fallout 3 is a good choice in that its combat allows for lots of pausing and consideration, and your successes in combat are based not on your reflexes or skill with the mouse, but on your character's stats. Often people complain about this in RPGs, but for a newcomer to the genre, I think it will help a lot. And Fallout 3 has setting, characters, humor, and puzzles that should appeal to everyone.

But if it winds up not doing it for you, don't give up on the genre. There's so much there... if one thing doesn't work for you, something else surely will. The crowd here will doubtless be able to offer many recommendations. 🙂

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Spike
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December 3, 2009 - 12:49 pm
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I only had a couple of hours for playing last night, and used more than half of it rereading the manual that came with the game, and some more in the Prima Guide.  A tiny bit of it makes more sense than it did after the first reading, but I think that I will learn more, and better understand what the Guide is talking about, if I play first, read second.

In the 45 minutes or so that I actually played, I took the placement test, and earned some karma points by saving a friend from the gang/bullies in a tunnel.

I kept finding things that I could take (many coffee cups and clipboards, but also scrap metal and some other stuff).  I did take them, but couldn't figure out why I'd want multiple cups or boards, and scrap metal.  After I finished for the night it occurred to me that these might be items good for bartering once I get outside.   Alrighty then.  I've been reading Bollocks threads here for years.  Now I finally understand why it is a good idea to find some kind of container(s) to store stuff in.  But not containers that appear to be owned by someone else.  Geez.  Will I end up with multiple containers in every sector?  How will I ever keep track of them?  Just musing.  

I've just found out that my father is suspected of murder, and has left the vault.  I will leave it, myself, tonight.

My weapons are that old BB gun and a baseball bat.  Now, in real life a baseball bat, in addition to its real purpose, is my weapon of first choice.  I've got 2 next to my front door.  But I also have (in game) a baseball and glove, so if I can't use these items as weapons, and can't or don't want to trade them, I can always make friends by teaching some group or another how to play baseball!

I won't be posting my progress every day - that would bore even me.  Only another newbie like me would be interested.  I'm liking the learning process though.  And I appreciate the tips/support.  ("Thank ya for your support.")  This thread is more about my first RPG experience, and less about gameplay.  That will best be done in Bollocks.  I only wish there had been more posts in the F3 thread.

Time...I need more time.

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Helmut
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December 3, 2009 - 1:28 pm
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You better jump on over to the bollocks thread. This one could get pretty long 🙂 And enough of this not too often stuff. We need, we deserve tweets every 10 minutes.

There are bits and pieces of things you pick up that you can build into weapons once you find/trade for/earn the blueprints. My favourite was the bottlecap grenade made out of the kids lunchboxes. It was very powerful against the mutants which are kinda hard to kill early on. I think we decided in the F3 thread that things could simply be dropped on the ground and they would stay in place. I myself never accumulated anything. I spent a fortune on healing and wasn't really grubbing for lewt.

My Dark Souls single player sensibilities are protected by a +10 GfWL Firewall of Ineptitude

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Toger
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December 3, 2009 - 2:25 pm
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Spike said:

I won't be posting my progress every day – that would bore even me.  Only another newbie like me would be interested.  I'm liking the learning process though.  And I appreciate the tips/support.  (”Thank ya for your support.”)  This thread is more about my first RPG experience, and less about gameplay.  That will best be done in Bollocks.  I only wish there had been more posts in the F3 thread.

Time…I need more time.


But we all live vicariously though each other! Plus, it's good for those who come after us… or that's what I'm telling myself as I daily update the DA bollocks thread. And Helmut needs the constant tweets[Image Can Not Be Found]

Powered by PMS ™

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Yapette
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December 3, 2009 - 6:00 pm
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If you're nice to the people in that first small town (you expect me to remember the name??!!), you'll eventually get your very own little shack.* With storage. Unlike scout, who was not very nice [Image Can Not Be Found], so he had to make do with...something else. 

*(figure this isn't spoiling her game as she's got the strategy guide right in front of her)

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Steerpike
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December 3, 2009 - 6:46 pm
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And Spike, remember that you can "fast travel" to nearly any location, so there's no need to maintain multiple stashes in every area. It's easy to zip home, pick up or drop off something, and return to your adventures. But as Yap implies, having your own place is very helpful. Slow and steady wins the race in RPGs!

When it comes to collecting objects like coffee mugs and orange rinds, you'll soon learn to differentiate between items of value and mere crap. Many things in Fallout 3 can be used to manufacture new and wonderful tools if you have the appropriate blueprints, but if you take your character in a non-manufacturing direction it's easier to just trade certain items of real value (scrap metal is one of them, if I recall) and leave the detritus behind.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Yapette
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December 3, 2009 - 9:40 pm
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Oh, oh.....hand raised in air!

Save early. Save often.  Not over top of each other.

Never know when you might make a decision you regret. If your moral compass allows (mine sure does), you can reload & choose another path.

Or death, there is that. Which in some games is perma~ and other games not so (final).

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