Wasteland Minigames - Fixing Fallout 4I've been playing a lot of "Fallout 4". While it's held my attention for a long time, it's also got glaring limitations involving its AI and quest design. Twice now I've been thinking there are big missed opportunities that reduce FO4 to a game about murdering most of the wasteland. (You can't even win the main quest without slaughtering several whole factions.) Rather than just complain, I thought of two specific demonstrations that could work as mini-games using FO4's themes to show what might have been. I'm phrasing these in terms of Bethesda's intellectual property, but they don't need to be written like that. I envision each of these as a Unity code project, with minimalist text and buttons, demonstrating gameplay.
1: Surrender Or Die: The Wasteland Trader
In FO4, a typical encounter with one of the many armed camps consists of a bunch of clearly labeled "RAIDER SCUM" (or cannibal mutants, or radiation zombies) charging into battle and fighting to the death to the last man.
2040 - A Matter of Taste (1/5)(Having uploaded her mind to the alleged VR paradise of Talespace in 2040, Alma continues to explore its connected worlds...)
The next day, Alma woke up refreshed after strange dreams of flying through ruins. She clutched a warm, fluffy blanket and only slowly recalled that it was her tail. A contented chitter escaped her. She sat up, giggling at the noise. "Best way to wake up."
The hotel room really was getting tiresome though. There was only so much she could take of the hotel buffet even now that Kai had fixed Talespace's smell/taste system and finally made food satisfying. The question was where to move to. The centaur chef would probably offer her a place in his "sanctum" of tents, but she wasn't mentally prepared for having a steady relationship. Maybe someday. Moving to Poppy's world and hanging around with the squirrelfolk might give Poppy the idea Alma was pursuing her as more than a friend, which wasn't the case. Third, she needed to keep commuting to her school job for now,
2038 - The Ludic Order (Preview)"Oh, dear," said Ludo, turning away from a board game to stare at a hovering screen.
Lumina said, "Yes?" The doe-centaur sat on cushions in an Arabian-style walled garden.
Ludo shifted from the form of a veiled harem girl to a blue griffin with feathers shimmering like water. It was the shape she most often wore when dealing with difficult players. Her wings knocked over a few dice and plastic space marines. "I've been fooled."
Lumina stood up on four hooves, worrying. "Can I help?"
The griffin said, "Ever hear of the Ludic Order?"
"A cult, or a joke. I'm not sure which."
"In the last few months some of them started taking it seriously. In AFS Mexico, the group built a monastery of sorts, devoted to frugal, communal living and worship." She dipped her beak. "Of me."
Lumina winced. "I thought you ended this 'pray to Ludo' idea."
"If I may?" said a portly human in a priest's black shirt and white collar. He was stepping through a shimmering portal into the garden, followed by a raven/pan
2039 - Trickster (Part 2)Pete woke up with darkness still outside. How long had he been in Talespace, anyway? He was making progress toward being different, but he still had obligations. "Ludo?" he murmured. "I've gone exploring, but I should really talk to Senator Graz. I owe him that."
A ghostly blue griffin materialized, hovering near a bookshelf. "You're supposed to contact Earth through scrying pools around here."
"Hooflands and some of the other rules-heavy zones. If it's urgent I can yank you out and open a plain old video call, but this isn't."
Pete pictured having to leap through hoops every time he wanted to use the Internets, and having to call them the 'magical scrying dimension' or something. "Could we skip that? I thought I was buying backstage access, since you haven't held me to normal rules."
"Backstage." The griffin's eyes narrowed. "Sure, why not skip all the pesky storytelling."
Pete crashed onto a pile of mops and cardboard. He was in a white concrete hall lined with ste
2039 - Trickster (Part 1)1.
At the Shaharazade Club, music boomed and rich, important people partied. Pete sat alone in a corner. Every so often he looked up from his dinner (baked potato, sandwich, soda) at the VR booths around the dance floor. The senator had gotten him into the club and vanished with his girlfriend, leaving him to enjoy the place at taxpayer expense. That was all right; he had someone to talk to.
He loosened his tie and leaned over his computer screen, pushing aside the financial figures there. "Ludo?"
The AI who ruled Shaharazade's and the rest of a corporate empire appeared to him as a woman with a business suit and shimmering blue hair, tied demurely back. "Good evening, Pete. You aren't having fun."
Pete held the screen at arm's length, not meeting her eyes. "I got my boss to visit, like you suggested. I guess he's enjoying it."
"Thanks. It's helpful to have his ear. What about you?"
He'd only played Ludo's video game, Thousand Tales, as a casual gamer exploring its shallows. For the ri
2040 - Trickster (Preview)Plain old Pete, dull as moss, had a proposition for the AI. He sat in Shahrazad's, the VR-themed nightclub where people more glamorous and important than him were dancing with robots. His little booth had only a baked potato, a glass of water, and a screen showing him Ludo, master of a better world.
"You're not having fun," said Ludo. Her chosen appearance at the club was a vaguely Arab woman wearing gauzy veils and little else. "How can I help?"
"It's time I uploaded." He raised one finger to forestall Ludo's joyous response. "On one condition."
Ludo's smile faded. "In return for your property, I offer a life in a virtual paradise. That's not good enough?"
"It won't be paradise if it's me there. I want to be different." Again he hurried along. "I don't care that I can turn into a dragon or something in your world. I mean, different than this." He waved toward his bland meal and the empty seats around him.
"More adventurous? I can help with that for free. See the redhead at the
2040 - Reconnection (Part 1B)"You're going by 'Alma' now?" asked Principal Hernandez, peering skeptically through a screen. "Why can't I see you?"
Alma reluctantly opened her end of the hotel room's video channel. For this call she'd asked to get an imitation of her old human body, in a shirt and tie. It felt weird, illusory, differently sized and balanced than the squirrel form she'd only started getting used to. She couldn't quite _see_ herself though. Everything but the view of Hernandez' sunlit office was blurry. Alma's digitized mind used a simplified visual system that needed adapter software to make sense of Earth's messy reality.
The principal said, "There you are. Wow. I still have trouble grasping that an uploader is the same person as before. I half expected you to look like an elf or something."
"Ha! I'm right, aren't I? Show me."
Alma blushed and muttered the command she'd been told to use to change back to "normal".
Hernandez doubled over, laughing. "The name change! No wonder."
2040 - ReconnectionAlma woke slowly in a hotel bed, clutching a pamphlet titled, "Now What?" She looked it over with one eye still shut: "You may be technically dead on Earth, but this virtual world is your home now, and there's plenty of help available so you can adjust. You'll be able to contact people Earthside by e-mail, video and robotics, so don't feel like you're trapped."
Alma puzzled over the words, then gasped. She'd made it to Talespace!
She'd signed over her modest estate to Ludo in return for having her cancer-infected brain gradually diced and anayzed and recreated. It had felt like blinded, paralyzed, deafened, losing track of the surgical room but gradually becoming aware of another world, with a brain that was in the process of being replaced with software. After that was only a blur, a sense of comfort and safety, then sleep. Much better than being an old man dying in pain. Which meant...
A fluffy grey cloud rested warmly along her legs. Alma reached out to feel the warm fur and sensed