As I stuck it on dropbox you actually always see the latest version of what I’ve written the second I save it which makes a mockery of trying to offer any meaningful updates on what is new, but I’ll try and sign post any interesting things I’ve found now and again.
New stuff you can find in it currently:
Info on the “Void” creatures and the interesting spawning system for enemies that was abandoned.
A greater number of Rezzed map locations identified mostly due to the eagle eye and google skillz of Bobby in the previous post’s comments section.
Some info on legionary Alexus mainly due to the official strategy guide quietly being packed with innocous bits of small cut stuff that you don’t even notice until you read it twice and go “hang on, that’s not in the final game!”
Some info on Monte Carlo Suites and the cut Scorpion Gang quest.
Probably more things I forget.
To be honest I can’t see much more stuff coming to light now, I’ve exhausted a lot sources of info now, but you never know.
Let’s call this version 1.1
One thing you should always do whilst venturing into unknown territory is keep a journal of your findings. So it was with Fallout: New Vegas and my forays into the depths of the Geck. I’ve not uploaded my findings publically for a while, so here’s the latest edition, in its full scarily obsessive sperg-tastic glory!
Latest updates include a lot more DLC info, especially some juicy Dead Money stuff, new cut locations from Chris Avellone’s Rezzed presentation, as well as loads of small updates for the main game.
For clarity’s sake, let’s call this edition version 1.
Oh, and if you like Alpha Protocol…. Good news coming soon!
At the risk of being entirely premature, I’ve made some basic steps towards the goal of being able to fiddle around inside that other maligned Obsidian game Alpha Protocol.
There are two basic roads to take on this, but unfortunately I’m not smart enough to personally pull off either of them, so I’ve got in contact with people who can. Will something good come of this, or will I end up looking like a big fat idiot? Who knows! I think at least one route is likely to bare fruit.
One thing that annoyed the hell out of me once I got into heavy G.E.C.K usage was the multibound bug. Basically one of the many historical bugs in the G.E.C.K means you can’t see inside interiors (and some other features don’t work right either) if you have multibounds enabled in the .ini file, yet turning them off results in the game crashing if you go to one of the rare maps that use them. To work with multibounds you have to constantly switch the multibounds setting in your geckcustom.ini file on and off which means quitting the program, loading up a text editor, changing it, and then saving and loading it up again.
To try and mitigate this annoyance somewhat, I came up with the following little helper tool. It’s just a little batch file I kept on my desktop that manipulates two copies of the geckcustom.ini file so I could easily toggle back and forth between having multibounds enabled or not. To use it, just stick it and the two included .ini files in your My Documents\My Games\FalloutNV directory and double click on it (you can make a shortcut to it and put it somewhere handy such as the start menu, or edit the file to change the paths to be absolutes and stick the batch file where you want). It’s pretty self explanatory after this point, you’ll get a prompt asking what state you want multibounds to be in, at which you can enter 1 or 2 and it will do its magic. Load up the G.E.C.K and mod away! Keep in mind this WILL delete your Geckcustom.ini file, so if you have any weird setting in there, you’ll need to replicate it in both the included ini files.
If there’s one game that captured my imagination in the last few years it’s Fallout: New Vegas. In what will likely be the last official game ever made by members of the original Fallout development team(s), Obsidian created a hugely underrated cult classic that rightly should have redefined what RPGs were all about. Instead people played it for about two hours, complained about the mediocre graphics and dismissed it as “more of the same”. I’ll probably write a more in-depth article on how important and interesting F:NV is as a piece of modern game design, but that can wait for now because you see, this post is about mods.
You might like F:NV too, so here are some mod leftovers I worked on that have never been previously released:
A personal favourite, this mod replaces the music played in and immediately outside the King’s School with real Elvis Presley songs as was blatantly obviously originally intended in the game before Elvis’ estate requested more money for a single song than likely the rest of the soundtrack cost to licence in its entirety. This clashes with the games’ lore (The King explicitly says that all recordings have been lost), but try it and tell me if it don’t just feel right! As a bonus this mod ALSO restores the oddly missing Hank Thompson song ‘Hangover Heart’ from Black Mountain radio (it’s quite rarely played but DOES work with this mod, I think there are actually two random counters and I only replaced one). This might cause problems with radio station expanders if they mess with Black Mountain radio. Oh also, if you’re using this on a game in progress and the speakers outside don’t play, use tcl in the console to fly up and then use the ‘use’ key (usually E) to turn them on. Works perfectly with my Freeside Open mod.
Moon Over the Tower
An extended riff on the existing quest ‘The Moon Comes Over the Tower’, this mod extends the quest to include what was left of the original elements that would have made it substantially more challenging and interesting. To whit: you were supposed to try and install the hack module for Emily Ortal, only to find that somehow this did not work, and a series of “override consoles” would have to be switched on. These are all present in the final game in locations such as Camp Golf and House Tools but don’t do anything – now they do! This mod was largely made as a request for someone, and due to the rather clumsy new material I had to make to paper over the cracks (we don’t know WHY you originally couldn’t hack the terminal, so I made up some new messages to explain it) I never released it to the wider world. Now you can decide for yourself if it’s worth having.
Rex’s Rat Radar
As the King hints at in the game, Rex was originally supposed to hate Rats and would have the foible of rushing off to attack them every time one of them was on the same map as the player. This was abandoned in the final game as it’s surprisingly tough to actually implement – Obsidian certainly couldn’t get it going. Here’s my eventual solution. It’s not perfect but works good enough to have the intended effect. This is a potentially quite dangerous new quirk for Rex as he can actually get killed quite easily early on by the larger Wild Wasteland rats, but it’s something to add spice to repeat playthroughs. Pedants might point out that Rex won’t attack the rat in Freeside, but this was deliberate on my part as it causes a few headaches for various reasons. One drawback of this mod is that you will see the shield icon showing you are taking damage every couple of seconds – this is actually Rex’s “radar” hitting you. It does no damage, but is how it was originally coded to know whether a rat was in range on the map (it causes a huge invisible explosion that does no damage, and interrogates everything it hits to tell if it is a rat or not. ingenious, eh?). I’m not sure there’s a way around this problem.
Dead Money Original Collar Death
Ever accidentally/deliberately shot one of the companions in Dead Money before you hired them and nearly soiled yourself when you immediately and unceremoniously exploded? Well the reason why this slightly incongruous situation (Elijah tells you the collars have a time limit before they go off) happens is because it’s not what was meant to happen. In fact there is code for Elijah to immediately contact you and cheerfully inform you that you’re yet another useless bunch of squabbling idiots and he’s going to blow you up and wait for the next hapless travellers to wander in, before your collar starts bleeping and the inevitable occurs. Unfortunately script notes point out that this leaves room open for situations where the player triggers an autosave point (e.g. changing maps) which would leave them with unusable autosaves where they would be stuck in an inescapable death loop. This mod restores the original death code, but beware that you can indeed screw up your autosave slot as outlined above. One oddity: due to the line being played ONLY on his radio station, I had to put in a work around for the player to hear it. In this case I had to literally make the player a radio! This doesn’t work very well as the volume is very quiet, but this was the only way I could get it working without touching more of the original game files, which just causes more potential compatibility problems with other mods. To hear it properly, turn on your pipboy to any other radio station before and it will change automatically to elijah’s station.
Vault 21 Chase
When Benny invites you up to the complementary suite and then tries to bump you off via his henchmen, you can actually follow him and escape. He runs along a set path that leads past Yes Man’s room, down a long corridor to a locked elevator. Only, if you beat him to the elevator it is NOT locked and you can in fact gain access to an unfinished cut map that leads from the Tops to an abandoned part of Vault 21. This area doesn’t actually lead anywhere – in fact in the vanilla game it quite literally leads to nowhere – it’s surrounded by open void that the player can fall into. It’s also not navmeshed, meaning NPCs cannot walk around in here (including Benny himself). This mod finishes the area off, closes the doors that lead to the void, and also navmeshes the area as well as extends Benny’s path to run away down here as was clearly the original intent (there’s also some low level loot up for grabs). When you get to the end though, the exit door is locked. Where does Benny’s bolt hole go? It is a mystery…
In the archive you will find two files, one an esp, one an esm. Do NOT use both, they are exactly the same, use one OR the other. I’ve been lazy here; a new navmesh in the game in an esp file will weirdly deteriorate over time due to a bug in the game. This means that on first visit the area will work fine, but on repeated visits NPCs will likely get stuck (not really a problem as it will just be your companions who will rejoin you as soon as you leave the area). Making a file an ESM fixes that problem. “So why don’t you just do that”, you ask? Well because if you make it an ESM it goes at the start of the load order. This means that any mod after that (read: ALL esp files) will override it and break all my lovely hard work. As such you have two choices: use the esp, knowing that by putting it at the end of the load order no other mods should (hopefully) be able to wreck it, but in the knowledge that the navmesh will likely fall apart over time. Or you can use the ESM, which will in theory be rock solid, but in practice probably be wrecked by Johnny’s first furry mod that you have installed (dirty boy!) and all its dirty edits that restore vanilla game code and breaks my mod. Of coures the real solution is to split the code into both kinds of files so the navmesh is in the ESM and the script changes are in the esp, but that would take effort.
None of these are released with any kind of warranty; expect them to delete all your saved games, ruin your computer, and kill your pets. Also: enjoy.
Is there more than this you ask? Oh yes. Much more.
One thing I’ve been meaning to do for ages is to build an arcade machine. When I was a little kid these dream machines were top of the gaming food chain and the idea of owning one in your home was a seemingly impossible fantasy. Since then we’ve had MAME and the death of the entire arcade industry to show the authentic coin-op experience is far from out of reach if you’ve got the cash and the patience. It’s not quite in the same league, but way back when I managed to pick up a huge great Playstation 1 arcade stick cheap (I think it was about £40) from a local Cash Convertors and used it with great success in MAME via a parallel port convertor I built from plans on the net. It was my own poor man’s slice of the arcade dream, and it scratched the itch for a while, but in the end I largely pensioned it off for a vastly superior (not to mention less desk dominating) Xbox 360 Fighting Stick EX 2. As such the lumbering great thing has been banished to a cupboard, a fate that was further enforced by how crappy the thing was.
As you can see here it identifies itself as a Skream (who?) JY-202 controller on its lurid ’90s front panel paintjob. Even trying to find evidence of this thing’s existence on the internet is shakey, with the only real reference being this post on the Shoryuken forums where a likeminded individual decided to mod their stick. As stock this thing is pretty feeble; the plastic is cheap and held together with self tapping screws that quickly lose their purchase, the buttons are a generic sort that aren’t that bad ( they actually have a sort of low rent seaside pier charm), and the sticks are truly atrocious, with a football pitch long travel on them. They’re stamped with a Chinese mark and the letters “LS” whatever that stands for – and no, it’s definitely not Sanwa LS.
As said above I’d always dreamed of souping up some abandoned jamma cab, but seeing as I neither have the room and the fact they’re now increasingly rare and valuable – what with every arcade under the sun long since closing down (RIP in peaces Goodge Street Casino) – that seems a pipe dream. So I thought I’d go to town and pimp out this hunk of junk; if I ever do get a Jamma cab I can just reuse any buttons and stick on it anyway. Against my better judgement I sunk a big chunk of change on a Sanwa button and stick kit from Gremlin Solutions (they even had them in the same shades of XTREME ’90s vomit green and eye gouging pink!) and eagerly waited for the postman.
Once they arrived I found my cheerful lack of any thought or planning quickly came to bite me in the backside. The new buttons were literally about 1mm too big in diameter to fit inside the old holes. Nevermind. A quick trip to Halfords netted me some cheap grinding bits for my trusty Black and Decker, and a bit of elbow grease soon ground down the holes. I started out working with the finish face down to keep it free of scratches, but actually found that had a negative effect – I would accidentally push down too far causing the bit to slip off and my gut reaction would be to pull it back out, causing the base of the grinder to scratch all over the place, so I actually ended up working with the finish facing up. Even though the new buttons were bigger than the old ones, the old ones had a bigger lip on them, meaning I could actually still restore them if I ever wanted to replace them (e.g. to use the Sanwa ones in a cab).
I used the wiring harnesses included in the Sanwa kit, but used joining blocks to avoid soldering, and to ensure I could reuse them later in a real cab.
The joystick posed a new problem I stupidly hadn’t considered: the screw mounts didn’t match up! This put everything into jeopardy, there simply wasn’t any other way to mount the stick. A little bit of calm thinking easily solved this. The screw holes actually DID line up if you mounted the stick slightly at an angle. Thankfully this was only like a couple of degrees off, and makes no difference at all in actual use. The bigger worry was the stick still being sturdy. While only using two rather than four holes was never going to be as good as using all four, I was surprised at not noticing any difference once I had the screws in tight. It’s rock solid in actual use, and the short throw on the Sanwas is lovely.
As a finished whole it’s actually a pretty nice stick now. I didn’t bother replacing the start buttons (they hardly need quick response) and the end buttons are old leftovers as the kit only gave me six a side, but I’m not bothered as hardly any games use more than the Capcom standard anyway (only one I can think of off hand is Narc and some NeoGeo games). The old pink buttons are visibly the wrong colour here, but they actually originally WERE the exact same colour as the new ones as visible underneath. It seems the sun bleached the cheapo plastic on them to make them how they are now. The Capcom layout makes it great for two player games of Street Fighter or Dark Stalkers, and the dual stick means it’s also good for the likes of Robotron. The only downside is I kept the original Playstation connectors, meaning it has to be used with some cheapo PS2 to USB adapters I got off ebay. It also means it won’t work on the Xbox so I can’t use it with Cave’s shmup ports, unfortunately (although in theory I think it can work on the Ps3?).
* (with apologies to Amiga Power)
Welcome to Moburma’s Hacks – a blog about my personal exploits making computer hardware and software do things they probably weren’t meant to do, and information on how you can do the same too, if you’d like.
The main focus is generally videogame related stuff, particularly as a place for my work on the games DCS World and Fallout New Vegas.