Fallout 3 “Live”

I decided to play a bit of Fallout 3 this weekend. It still doesn’t grab me, somehow, but it passes the time, and I saw on Steam (where I got mine) that there had been a patch release.

As I was wrapping things up for the weekend, I noticed the “LIVE” button and decided to register my game so I could turn off the CD Key pop-up for good. As expected, “LIVE” is “Games for Windows LIVE”.

Immediately, I ran into problems which I’ll cover below for anyone bored enough to want to hear about it. But mostly, having jumped thru the hoops, I was rather dissapointed to find I can’t play my saved games from my live profile.

fallout3

I guess I won’t mind starting over – more on why below.

I have two Live IDs because I had some networking issues early on with my 360 and I had to create a profile in order to configure the box, but the profile I wanted to connect to already had a name. Ugh.

Out-of-the-box, the Windows Live dialogs in Fallout just felt wrong – laggy, akward. When I typed in the wrong live ID (my ‘kfsone’ ID) and tried to go back to select the other (‘KFS1’) I could not convince it to let me change the password and it wouldn’t let me select the username. I gave up and logged in with the wrong ID, thinking it just fitting that I’m probably going to have this problem every time I have to do anything with

As soon as it got done “Downloading Profile” (why?) there was a Windows Live Update, of course. “May restart your computer”. UGH. It didn’t – but it did cause Vista to create a restore point, which on my machine results in about 10 minutes of intense disk activity with no obvious cause in Task Manager.

The Windows Live stuff looks kinda neat, very 360ish complete with swooshing sounds etc. But it still feelt wrong somehow: then the penny dropped. Nothing happens when I click on stuff. I have to point “at” it.

windowslive

The reason I couldn’t change my password? Somehow it had automatically checked “Remember my password”. The hit box is off by so much that I just have to click on the checkbox underneath to disable “Remember my password” and then I can change my password.

Ok. With that figured out, I can use Windows Live. It’s late, I’m not going to play with Windows Live right now, so I minimize it out of the way and back to my Fallout 3 screen. No “continnue”. No option to imort your saved games. Thanks for your pre-order.

I guess I don’t mind starting over. I can’t quite decide. Fallout 3 encapsulates character creation as gameplay which makes starting over tedious. But it also makes it too abstract for my taste. I have no idea what skills or attributes to put points in and even having gotten a ways into the game, I still don’t know.

One of the problems I have with the F3 model is that it wasn’t obvious to me at first that I was customizing my character – I thought I was playing the game. I had no clue as to the purpose or value of the options it was presenting me. And although I despise skill trees, F3 gives me the appreciation for them I was lacking. Like our game, it presents you with selections to make before providing you with the insight that would make a selection easier.

All the skills seem simultaneously interesting and yet lacking value: As an FPS, F3 is mundane. Perhaps if I focused on my combat skills the combat might be interesting, but then the world is full of locks to pick, terminals to hack, etc. If I invest in those skills, my combat skills are reduced. If I don’t spend points in skills like “Speech” I don’t get access to the novel dialog options and get to play “vanilla”, yet if I do invest in them the opportunities to use them seem to be few and far between.

F3 is a sandbox game but the skills system is fundamentally a level based RPG. These two things do not go well together. Instead of developing skills thru use/practice, you have an experience/progress bar and with each character level increase you can assign points as you see fit – no correlation between what your character does and what your character is.

I think I would have preferred an exp-credit system like SWG used: you select your skills in advance and then you have to pay them off giving you an opportunity to decide which skills you value, use and intend to persue. IMHO the F3 system is most likely to appeal to hardcore pen and paper grognards but it’s just too blind for the casual player.

7 Comments

The get-better-at-what-you-use system was in Oblivion. And it led to the leaping, flower-picking assassin problem.

Some skills should never improve through use, but through training and research. That is effectively what you do when you choose to spend your points.

Not that I favor either of those “solutions” over no levels, classes, skill improvement.

I think the exp-credit thing is midway between Oblivion and Fallout: choose upfront, use to level up.

I should probably have re-iterated that I never played any of the previous Fallout games.

WW2OL would be great if we had the VATS system. Target the gun barrel of that Tiger with ease, and it would look cool to see the top of the tank pop off in slow motion.

One player in VATS, one in realtime = dead VATs player.

Your saves were stored (may still be) in a different folder to where Live was looking. So you didn’t have to start all over again. Find them in My Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves and copy them into the Live user named folder right there next to the saves… My Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves\”YOUR LIVE ACCOUNT NAME”

What Fractal said.
I didn’t have that problem with Gears of War for the PC and Windows Live.

Well i put in my live details and now when i click live my account doesnt come up. Is this normal?

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