Vault 585 (fallout 3 mod) review…

Vault 585 (Fallout 3 mod) review after the break…

Vault 585 (Fallout 3 mod) review…

Three updates in one day. Now I know I really don’t want to do any “real” work…

Vault 585 (sub-version “11” from it’s 1.0 version, if that makes sense) is your typical vault underneath the rocket statue in Springvale (If you don’t know where that is… Well, just look out from the door when you leave Vault 101) that also has an opening near Tenpenny Tower.

Whenever I review a player home (which this mod attempts to accomplish), I ask myself these kinds of questions…

  • “Would I actually want to live here?”
  • “If I lived here for three weeks straight, what would be the most annoying thing about the layout?”
  • “Why is there an empty vault here? Why isn’t someone else living here?”

Vault 585 was made by “ProToType” (author’s preference of upper- and lower-case letters, not mine) and uploaded to Fallout3Nexus by “combine585” (same guy? Who knows…).

Vault585, the mod, does not come with it’s own “readme” file. Did you forget where this mod was located in the world? You can either wait for the GECK level editor to load up so you can peer into the world and find out or you have to go back onto Fallout3Nexus to find out.

Please, for the love of Project Purity, place a README file with your mod so that we, the mod players, do not have to go hunting for where your mod is located in the world. Thank you.

Vault 585, I am discouraged to report, has it’s heart in the right place but lacks the ability to achieve what it’s heart sets out to perform. I decided to enter from the more convenient location of Springvale. At Springvale, you’re met with walls of sandbags surrounding the base of the rocket statue where you must go down into a manhole cover.

You enter the vault through the normal “cog-shaped” door. According to the GECK world editor, there should be a security guard standing next to the back door but I never found anyone occupying the room nor the vault itself. This absence is not good, considering the door to enter the vault from this direction requires a key that the security guard possesses. I had to console hack my way through the door. Never a positive sign.

The vault, once you arrive, has another nasty trick – An oddly-named refrigerator in the “diner” that froze my computer whenever I tried to open it. Besides these two glitches (the door and the refrigerator), there were no further technical errors that I could spot besides some mapping problems (A corridor that is slightly crooked, some questionable room parts placed together that weren’t quite compatible, etc.).

The vault, technical aspects aside, is sparse and some of the aesthetic choices for the vault are questionable. Why is there only one bed but a “classroom” with several desks? Where were the rest of the occupants of the desk going to sleep? Also, while I admire the inclusion of a sink, a toilet and a bathtub, why is there a switch inside the bathtub… An electrical switch… In a bathtub…? Couldn’t this switch be located elsewhere then besides a bathtub? Isn’t the point of a bathtub is to be filled with water and to bathe in it? That made little sense at all. Finally, the “diner” is inexcusably sparse. Just how would you prepare a meal in a room with only a refrigerator (Let’s ignore that you can’t open it) and… Nothing else? There’s no stove that I could see. Apparently, Vault 585 relies upon the elusive Chinese take-out restaurant located nearby at Megaton. And everyone eats their meal at the bar, sitting on a barstool.

Please, mod designers, ask yourself when you design a house mod – Would I actually want to live here? Is it convenient to go from the bed to the toilet? From the stove to the refrigerator? From the bed to the drawers? Think like an architect – “Live” in your vault before you design it.

There was one thing that I liked about this “house mod” and that was the transition between pristine vault pieces and rustic vault pieces. There is a section of the vault that is rusted out and I thought that it was a nice touch. I could definitely see a part of the vault deteriorating from lack of repair or even if the door couldn’t be opened in a while. However, nothing is ever done with this section except for an odd cylindrical door that opens to… Something? I wasn’t sure what.

I understand that, when I review house mods, I have to suspend some disbelief. Vaults are, quite honestly, highly impractical by their very nature and more then just a little silly in this particular fictional implementation. Yet, this particular house mod is in desperate need of modification.

All mod creators must start “somewhere,” just as all creators in any medium must start with very modest projects. We all experience the growing pains of failed projects or projects that, upon more experienced hindsight, were woefully insufficient for what we had envisioned.

My advice to “ProToType” is to start really small and think hard about what you want to do. Start with just a room and populate it like you would a bedroom. Place a terminal on a desk with a few entries. Imagine if you had to sleep in that room for a while. Then, expand that vision to a kitchen, a lounge, a bathroom… In the Fallout 3 world, perhaps a storage room. Picture yourself having to walk around in that vault for a year… Would you get tired of climbing stairs? Are the hallways too long for your needs? Too short?

Vault 585 is a lesson for everyone – Think before you mod, playtest before you place it on Fallout3Nexus. Vault 585 isn’t the “version 1.0” it claims to be but I’m ready to take another look at it when it is.

2 Responses to “Vault 585 (fallout 3 mod) review…”

  1. Dor Says:

    Hm…I find it just a bit strange that you complain about the fact that there’s no stove, and yet in your next house mod, you say there’s no point to a stove.

  2. Lutonaut Says:

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

    I can understand where the confusion may arise and I appreciate your comment.

    In the Vault 585 mod that I reviewed, there was a “diner” room that had a refrigerator container that, when you opened it, crashed the game. Furthermore, in the mod, there was no stove container anywhere in the vault.

    In the High Tech Bunker 2010 mod (I am presuming that this is the review that you mention as “the next house mod”), I made the observation that stove objects are only just containers and have no game play applications towards their real world usage.

    Having re-read the two reviews, I don’t find that the two observations conflict with each other.

    It is unfortunate in Fallout 3 that the game designers did not make better use of certain containers. Refrigerators do not keep food (or anything else in them) cold and placing food in any container has no penalty on food items from becoming moldy (the pristine vending machines do convert nuka-colas though, into ice-cold nuka colas, which is an exception). Likewise, stoves in Fallout 3 do not cook food and are, essentially, relegated towards being containers for pilot lights.

    When designing a house mod or any atmospheric mod involving a kitchen area, mod designers are left in a quandry: Do you include a stove which is effectively just another container or do you disregard the stove and sacrifice atmospheric believability in the process?

    In my opinion, when given the above choice, a mod designer ought to include the stove object into their design. The believability factor, in my opinion, far outweighs the reality that it is merely just another container. While the setting of Fallout 3, like all fictional settings, requires some suspension of disbelief, there is a certain baseline of believability that every game must have in order to emotionally involve the player.

    People do not know about mutants since there are few real-world examples of them (mutated creatures near nuclear power plants and other contaminated environments, for instance). Therefore, the suspension of disbelief is high because “anything goes.” So Fallout 3 can let their imaginations run wild with feral ghouls, glowing ones, reavers and swamp ghouls with all of them being fairly believable within that fictional world.

    Yet people do know about kitchens as there are plenty of examples of them in any civilized area. The suspension of disbelief should kitchens and kitchen areas in Fallout 3 be abnormal is much lower, such as walking into a kitchen without a refrigerator, or it has five refrigerators, or a kitchen without a stove. The mod designer would have to use other means to convince the player that the scene is normal. Perhaps there is a note on the kitchen table saying that the stove has been sent back to the factory as part of a recall notice or has yet to be shipped to the house.

    I can understand that, from a game designer’s perspective, creating additional functionality to a stove would only complicate the game play and potentially create more imbalances. For instance, is cooking food as simple as [food + stove = cooked food] or would it be more complicated like [food + water + cooking pan + stove = cooked food]? Would the stove become the new “food workbench”? If you needed pots or pans to cook food, wouldn’t they need to be cleaned? If stoves can provide heat, could they be used in areas with gas or would the simple act of using them in those conditions cause the whole area to ignite? And what about grills in the camping areas? Would there be a penalty for using them since grills are less precise in controlling temperature then a stove? And what about campfires? Finally, why food at all, since food is merely treated like a stimpak? You would need to define “hunger” in your game play… All so you could have a stove that provided more interactivity then being just a container.

    Fallout 3: New Vegas, to my understanding, has a cooking option but I have not examined the particulars of that game play option yet so I can not comment on it.

    Again, thank you for visiting my blog.

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