THE BITTER END / Fallout 3
ROLE: Personal Project
ENGINE: Fallout 3 / Garden of Eden Creation Kit (G.E.C.K.)
GAME TYPE: Third-Person, single-player shooter
BUILD TIME: Four weeks
The Bitter End is a Fallout 3 quest line set in the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia. The player helps a family investigate strange circumstances of feral ghoul attacks. The player experiences a fully fleshed out story, with multiple interactable non-player characters around an exterior and three architecturally distinct interiors. The level includes a subquest that affects the outcome of the story, providing three different endings for the player.
- + GOAL 1: Create a central quest with branching dialogue, several non-player characters, a sub quest and multiple objectives
- + GOAL 2: Craft three different endings for the main quest line, with different rewards and consequences
- + GOAL 3: Enrich the main story with peripheral information and details
DESIGN PROCESS & GAMEPLAY CONSIDERATIONS:
The Bitter End originally took place amongst a marginally larger storyline and landscape, with references to genetic experimentation and other horros within the valley. Due to time constraints, the experience was slightly streamlined to include the main questline dealing with the family. Although the geographical area in the level abstract is almost twice are large as the final level, the map benefits from NPC reuse. Care was taken to ensure that dialogue choices felt similar to NPC interaction in the rest of Fallout 3. Flavor text and quest-related information is easily accessed by the player to avoid confusion.
GOAL 1: Create a central quest with branching dialogue, several non-player characters, a sub quest and multiple objectives
The main quest line places players along a storyline that traverses with dialogues involving five different NPCs. Dialogue was handled so that players can access non-player character's opinions and thoughts without affecting the status of quests. Most importantly, dialogue options and responses change based upon the story progression.
GOAL 2: Script three different endings for the main quest line, with different rewards and consequences
The quest can conclude with one of three different endings based upon the player's choices. Two of the endings are accessed through the final dialogue choice in the game (pictured above is the "very bad ending"). To access the one good ending, the player must complete a sub-quest given by a side NPC character. Players can conclude the quest in any manner they wish. Additionally, each ending is sufficiently open-ended enough to imply further exploration of the story.
GOAL 3: Enrich the main story with peripheral information and details
The areas that the non-player characters inhabit feature a large number of side items and arranged set pieces. Little details clue the player into how the inhabitants live their everyday lives. The screenshot above consists of gathered personal effects of one of the NPCs, a young child. The simple inclusion of a detonating slave collar on a table full of toys conveys a considerable amount of information about the character's back story. Other locations include small details--a stash of drugs that implies addiction, a barricaded front entrance to a vault showing a family's preparations for a last ditch defensive effort--that may be unimportant, but boost the overall atmosphere and player involvement.