Saturday, October 1, 2011

And At Last, the Mod's Storyline....


When I started making this Fallout: New Vegas "Aftermath mod", there was a few reasons why I chose to do it.  One was to give back something to the TTAM community for all the years they listened to our podcast.  Another reason was because it gave us a chance to continue to be part of the Fallout world and even group up with you, even if it was in a virtual sense.  The third was that it was a bit of closure (those of you who have podcasted will likely agree that you never really feel closure all the way) and also a way to bring the whole TTAM story full-circle.  The mod in itself accomplished the first 2 goals for the most part, provided I made sure I gave the mod everything it deserved.  The last one was a bit tricky.  So how do I bring the whole "broadcasting in the wasteland" story all the way around and make it great fun for those who listened to the show, and not just another questing mod?  You're about to find out.

  Ever since Shawn and I started the podcast, we've always role-played it as having an underground bunker where we broadcast our radio signal.  As the show went on, our episodes found us attacked by raiders who wanted our dish, having power issues with the antennae array, getting lost out in the wasteland and having to hide in wooden crates, finding bio-weapons we thought were apple-flavored air fresheners -- and of course -- the running joke that someone was always trying to take out our forums.
  Ah those forums!  I don't know what happened back there, but someone really liked hacking the crap out of our forums. Shawn and I were constantly banging our heads against the wall about it.  In the end if you recall, the hacking got so bad, Shawn took the forums down and now our good friend Megaton helped integrate it into his own great forums at postapocalypticforum[dot]com.  But wow, did our jokes fly before that.  "Skynet's after us!" or "Whose computer did we piss off??" was a constant joke for months after all was said and done.  The last teaser screenshot last week even has Shawn's angered words on the bunker chalkboard (you DID notice that, didn't you??).  Even the beginning of several of our shows talked about "those hacked forums".

  Well, my friends... THAT where the story-hook for the mod begins.  When you first run the mod, you're going to get word from a friend of ours that something bad has happened at our Radio Bunker.  Shawn and I are missing and you have to find out what happened and where we went.  And let's just say, you'll finally get to see who is the one responsible for attacking our forums all those times.  And along the way, you'll come across the raiders who wanted our radio dish, quite a few more friends, an apple-flavored bio-grenade, and a ton of jokes.  And in the end, you'll help us put the Bunker back into working order, which will make the "Through the Aftermath Radio Station" a permanent signal on your Pipboy radio.  You'll get episode replays, new commercials, and a chance for Shawn and I to help you on your own Fallout NV journey as a companion.

  Does all that sound like a worthy closure to the Aftermath legacy?  I'm crossing my fingers you'll think so.  I've put a crazy amount of time in the last few months into making this the crown jewel.  Many Bothans died to bring you this thing. And maybe, just maybe, all those times I said the word "Fallout" on the show will finally be redeemed.

...okay, maybe not, but at least you can hear me yell "SOOO GOOOD!" as I help you shoot Benny.

Stay tuned, my friends.  We're nearly there.  Watch for more teasers as we go. :)

Aftermath Mod Teaser Screenshot #3

 Our third teaser screenshot is an example of one of things that I thought would be cool to "go the extra mile" and add to the mod.  After all, you can't have a New Vegas game and not have a "Through The Aftermath"-themed slot machine that you can actually play, right?  ;)

(click on the pic to see it full-sized)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Aftermath Mod Teaser Screenshot #2

  The work continues non-stop on the Aftermath mod as we get closer to when I can finally let it loose in the wasteland.  And with that, I give you yet another sneak peek at the Radio Bunker.  It's a great example of the amount of detail (and Aftermath podcast inside-jokes) I have in the Bunker.  Believe me when I say I've tweaked nearly every texture I've used so that this thing can be everything that made the podcast great.  Even the magazines on the tables have meaning.  And there's even a little "mini-game" where an object from just about every skit from the show is somewhere in the bunker (some obvious, some not-so-obvious) and you get to see if you can remember them.  Can't wait to show you. You're gonna love this. :)

(click the pic to see it full-sized)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bethesda Releases "Lonesome Road" Trailer. Jonathan Weeps.

  With less than a week until Fallout: New Vegas' final DLC releases (Sept 20), Bethesda at last gives us the official trailer.
  And there was much rejoicing.
  For those of you unaware of the story of "Lonesome Road", you'll finally get a chance to meet Ulysses, the courier who decided not to deliver Mr.Houses's platinum chip when he realized you were next on the courier list.  If you recall, after Benny tried to kill you in the beginning of NV, you never really get alot of closure on who you really were.
   Why did Ulysses bail out like that?  Why was he so concerned when he saw your name?  And why do people make Fallout mods that turn the character into anime models from Final Fantasy?!  That doesn't even make any SENSE!!   I WANT ANSWERS!!

(*ahem*)

Whatever Ulysses knows, it's the final part of the story for you to cross paths and find out.  It'll also bring the DLC's full circle as well.  And after that?  Well, I'll probably be so sad it's over, I'll cry alot and listen to "The Cure".  Actually, promise me you won't tell anyone I just said that.

In the meantime, watch the trailer.  And remember "The Cure" thing never got mentioned.  Please.
 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Aftermath Mod Teaser Screenshot #1

  Your patience has finally paid off!  Here's the first teaser screenshot of the "Through the Aftermath" mod for Fallout NV.  Now that we are getting close to the mod's release, you'll see a few more teaser screenshots between now and then.

  Today's screenshot is an example of one of the ads you'll see as you're out and about in the wasteland. There are inside-jokes galore in this mod.  If you listened to the podcast, you're gonna get a kick out of all of them. ;)

Click the picture to see it full-size...and stay tuned for more soon!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Me, Myself, and the "Aftermath Mod"

  What a summer its been!  Busy busy busy!  And finally, I'm very close to being able to show you some of what I've been busy with, and why I've been off-the-radar so much lately (and this time, thankfully, it wasn't health related).

  First things first!  Work on the "Through the Aftermath" mod is moving at a breakneck pace, and I'm juuuuuuust about where I can throw a teaser or two to you.  There were a few technical details we had to work out, seeing as there are some pretty screwy things Fallout NV's engine limits as far as modding is concerned.  The TTAM episodes are really huge in size, and I had to find a way to make them play nice. :)

  Now some goodies... the Aftermath mod is going to feature some new material, and some new skits. You didn't actually think you were just going to have to listen to straight replays of all the shows, right?  We had to make it something you WANT to hear while running around the wasteland. We had to make it sound like Shawn and I are actually there. There are commercials, some hilarious news clips, and some things I don't dare spoil for you yet.
  This extra material is why the mod took quite a bit longer than you likely predicted.  Believe me, it's worth it. :)

And now, my wasteland friends, I need YOUR help as well.  This is your chance to add a piece to the mod and the TTAM Radio station.  I'm looking for some great user-created content for the mod... something to help keep the variety going.  I'm talking skits, retro parody-commercials, or even something you think fits the bill as far as what you'd like hear on a RL "Through the Aftermath" radio station in the wasteland.  This is your chance to be part of the radio station and the mod.  At this point, the only stipulations we have are these:

  - Try to keep it clean.  We want everyone to be able to enjoy this.  No tags at religious, racial or political things.  People in Fallout NV are angry enough without us adding more.

  - Try to avoid anything that is going to break the immersion of the mod.  Remember, in the mod-world, it's a retro-50's post apocalyptic nuclear wasteland.  Shawn and I are broadcasting from a literal underground bunker.  If your material can be believable under those circumstances, you should be fine.

If you want to contribute, throw me an email at "aftermathjonathan[at]gmail[dot]com" and let me know what you have in mind.  The best part is that in the end, it'll help make this Fallout mod more of what made the TTAM podcast great... the community.  It'll be something we all added a piece to.  And then we can all listen to it while we head-shot Benny from the top of  the Lucky 38.

  So stay tuned.  You'll be playing this mod very soon. ;)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vintage Pic of the Day - 7/22/11

Today's VPotD asks us that all-consuming question we all now have had to face...



The horror.  The horror.  ;)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Zombies in Colorado Springs!


 If you haven't heard this already, you're gonna love this one.  According to the Denver Post the other day, some "hacker pranksters" (lol)  evidently broke into the digital road signs along some of the roads in Colorado Springs and reprogrammed them to inform incoming motorists "BEWARE! ZOMBIES AHEAD!".

 No, I swear I'm not making this up.

Apparently, there's been an increase of these types of pranks over the last few years all over the United States.  All of them warn of anything from "Zombies" to "Strippers" to "Zombie Strippers"  (no, I'm not kidding).

I gotta tell ya, leave it to the generations of today to think of hilarious (and somewhat insane) ways to prank.  Our parents kidnapped the mascots from their rival college... us?   We warn the interstate of an impending Zombie Apocalypse.  The one who puts "Raiders Attacking Oil Refinery, Next Left" gets 10 points.

By the way, "The Walking Dead" starts season 2 on October 17th.

There. See how I did that? ;)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Vintage Pic of the Day - 7/2/11

You likely already know I'm a freak for vintage 1940's/50's stuff.  I also love humorous Photoshop picture editing.

You can see where this is going.

One of the new segments you'll see on my blog is our occasional "Vintage Pic of the Day" where you'll see some of my own blend of vintage humor peek through.  Some if it may also be unedited pics or ads that I come across as well.

Hope you get a kick out of it as we do these.  Starting with this one:


Whoah!!! Where Did I Go?! What Happened Back There?!


 Wow, I believe I pulled the proverbial short-straw in the game of Life back there.  Correction... the straw was also connected to a grenade.
  In the past two weeks, I not only had a near-bout of diverticulitis again, I also had a blood clot in my arm as a result of a RedCross blood drive.

Seriously, WHO SAYS THAT?!

  Apologies for my disappearance off the grid.  Though I still feel like a was given an overdose of Rad-Sickness and look like the Bikini Islands after the nuke testing, I'm still alive.  So far, anyway.

I think we can now continue our broadcast as originally intended...

Friday, June 10, 2011

10 Cool Things You (Might) Not Know About "Fallout" - Part 1


The Fallout games are full of great story, characters, and gameplay moments.  Some of them hilarious, some of them tragic, and yet all of them give you another piece of just how deep the story is.  And, unless you're really paying extremely close attention to every detail or have played the other Fallout games, it can be pretty easy to miss pretty big pieces of how it all comes together.  So for those out there who want to learn more about the Fallout Universe (or even if you may already know and want to refresh your trivia knowledge), I have compiled a list of 10 things that I think are some of the important -- and also very cool -- parts of the Fallout storyline.  This is the first half of that list.  Hope you enjoy! :)


1) THE WORLD OF FALLOUT:

"This is Junktown. Nice place to live, as long as you stay on our good side."
        - Kalnor, Fallout 1

 This one you may already know, but you'd be surprised how many don't realize this subtlety: that the Fallout world exists in an alternate timeline that split away from our own real history sometime after World War II.  In the Fallout timeline, their entire world continued to be based on the American culture of the 1950's, although they were even more technologically advanced in many ways.  They have atomic-powered cars or even artificial intelligent robots, but everything has that "clunky" look to it the way that 1950's and 1960's appliances and vehicles had.   In describing the world, the Fallout developers quote it as "what would have happened if the 1950's sci-fi vision of The Worlds of Tomorrow had fully played out".  In their universe the cold war never really ended, and that "bomb-shelter-in-your-backyard" fear of a nuclear threat led right up to World War III when it really did happen.  And in the end you have this mishmash of a brutal post-apocalyptic wasteland alongside America's golden age.  And that's the beauty of it... it's all the charm of the 1950's combined with the dark humored spin off of 1950's Cold War paranoia.
  That, my friends, is why Fallout is one of my favorites.



2) WHY THE WAR:

"War. War never changes."

                    - Narrator



You hear throughout all of the Fallout games that there was a "Great War" against China in 2077, after a 20 year fight over Earth's last dwindling resources of Oil and Uranium.  While this seems a bit far-fetched to see the story's "resource war" from our own modern standards, it makes much more sense after you understand the whole alternate-history of Fallout.  In their world, the microprocessor was never discovered, and that's the key.  They did continue to move technology forward without our modern digital electronics, but they did so at a larger disadvantage.  See, one of the miracles of microprocessor was that it requires only a very small voltage to do its job.  In comparison, the electronics of the Fallout world are 1950's style vacuum tubes, bulky computer towers, and machines that take up a whole building.  These also demanded an insane amount of power to function.  Long story short, they blew through the natural resources exponentially faster than we would.  That's why oil piplines would later cause China to invade Alaska and the United States to annex Canada.  That's why everything came apart so quickly on a world-wide scale at the end.

No power, no world.



3) GOOD OL' HAROLD:


"Be kind to the Smoothskins.  One saved the world once.  'Course, they broke it to start with."
          - Harold, Fallout 2


Harold is one of the only characters that appears in nearly everyone Fallout game.  He first appeared in Fallout 1 in the town known as "The Hub", would later aid the main character in Fallout 2 near the Poseidon Oil Power Plant, and again in Fallout 3 in the mysterious area known as "Oasis".  Originally part of Vault 29, he later found his way to the "Hub" outside of what was once Los Angeles.  After supermutant attacks began to increase in that area, Harold and a group of Hub adventurers along with a doctor named Richard Grey tracked the mutant population to the remains of an old military base known as Mariposa.  Attacked by groups of supermutants, the group retreated to the lower levels of the base and stumbled on the Army's lost, dark secret: the "Forced Evolutionary Virus" (known as F.E.V.) originally created before the war to create the Army's perfect super-soldier.  Instead the FEV had turned many of the illegal test-subjects in supermutant monsters.  In the process of retreating, Richard Grey and Harold fell into one of the F.E.V. vats.  Later, Harold would awaken in the desert, completely confused and finding himself mutating into a ghoul-like creature. Richard Grey, on the other hand, would be completely mutated into an abomination-like monster and later be known as "The Master", and would terrorize most of Southern California with his Supermutant Army.  Harold continued to retain his humanity, along with the suprise of a tree branch somehow growing out of his head, which he said called itself "Bob".  This would continue into Fallout 3, when the Vault-Dweller find that Harold's "tree branch" was now much more... well, if you haven't played it yet, it's one of the classic moments of Fallout 3.



4) THE VOICES OF FALLOUT:

"You know, people always ask me, "Mr. New Vegas is there a Mrs. New Vegas?" Of Course I'm married... I'm married to YOU."
  - Wayne Newton as Mr. New Vegas

You probably know quite a few famous voices in the newer Fallout games.  Ron Perlman as the Narrator (since Fallout 1, I might add), Mathew Perry as New Vegas' "Benny", and people like Liam Neeson as your father in Fallout 3.  But did you know the other Fallout games featured a lot of big-namers as well?  Did you know that in Fallout 1, Richard Dean Anderson (McGuyver, Stargate SG1) was the voice of Mayor Darkwater in Junktown or that Tony Shaloub (Monk, Galaxy Quest) was the tribal leader "Aridoch" who would later go on to create the New California Republic?   Or how about Fallout 2, where Jeffrey Jones (Principal Rooney in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off") was President of the New United States and part of the Enclave?  Or that the voice of "Hakunin" was Dwight Schultz from "The A-Team" and Star Trek's Lt. Barclay?  And even Fallout Tactics features Kurtwood Smith (the Dad on "That 70's Show") and also an absolutely priceless R. Lee Ermey playing a General of the Brotherhood of Steel, not unlike his yelling drill-sergeant role on "Full Metal Jacket".
  And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  Go IMDB it.  It's a riot.




5) VAULT-TEC'S DIRTY LITTLE SECRET:

  "Sally, in the Vault, you might meet that special someone, just as you would on the surface, and in a few short years, you and your fellow vault dwellers will repopulate our great country!"
        - Vault-Tec Spokesperson to a very uncomfortable-looking Father and his Daughter

You likely already knew that the very story-prominent "vaults" in the Fallout world -- originally looking like government-created safehouses to protect its people from nuclear war -- were actually created as social-experiments to allow the government to ultimate study different scenarios of human isolation and reintegration into the wasteland after a nuclear attack.  But did you know just how deep the twisted experiments went?
  The government-funded VaultTec corporation did numerous, and often brutal and immoral experiments on the vault-dwellers that they led to believe they were saving.  Some of the experiments were less-dramatic... take for example the famous Vault 101 that was simply designed to never open again, or the similar legendary Vault 13 that was designed to stay closed were it not for the controller chip in its water-recycling system failing.  Vault 87 in Washinton D.C. would bombard its unknowing inhabitants with the F.E.V. virus to study their changes.  Vault 112 would keep its victims in a virtual-reality simulator where later one of the professors would develop a twisted God-complex and run simulations whereby he could watch the Vault-Dwellers die over and over.  Particularly brutal were the stories of Vault 12 which was designed to have the vault door not close and cause the dwellers to be bombarded by radiation and later become the ghoul-city known as "Necropolis" in the remains of Barstow, California...or Vault 3 which would see the peaceful inhabitants leave the vault, only to be massacred by a raider group known as "The Fiends" outside of New Vegas.  In most cases, each experiment failed miserably, and the sickest irony?  All of these were designed to be studied by scientists who were well-protected in Cheyenne Mountain's own
"Vault Zero" who were later killed by their own corrupted Vault-controlling A.I.  In other words, the experiments indeed went on as the government had planned... only in the end no one was left to watch it.



6) HUMOR AMONGST THE HORROR:

"It's a chupacabra I tells em, but nooooo, they say. Too many holes, and the holes are full o' bullets. Well, then I says that means we gots a chupacabra with an automatic weapon! And thats when they get reaaal quiet, cuz they knows how serious a predicament we are in."
       - No-Bark, Fallout: New Vegas

One of the great things about Fallout, has always been its dark-humored approach to telling a story.  Inside jokes and real-world cultural references are always sprinkled throughout the stories.  The newer Fallout games feature humor like a New Vegas gang of 70-year-old ladies attacking you wielding rolling pins (a tribute to Monty Python's "Hell's Grannies" sketch), or Fallout 3's city of Megaton which finds a religious group paying homage to an unexploded nuclear bomb (a play off of the movie "Beneath the Planet of the Apes").
  Did you know the "Mentats" drug that makes you smarter in the games is a direct reference to the human-computer Mentats in Frank Herbert's "Dune" series?

Yeah, I was halfway through Fallout 3 before I did the face-palm "oh DUH!" moment.

 How about how the televisions in Fallout feature the name-brand of "Radiation King" which is the same television Homer Simpson watched as a child in "The Simpsons"?

  Your constant canine companion of the Fallout games was "Dogmeat", a tribute to both the classic post-apocalyptic film "A Boy and His Dog" which featured Don Johnson's canine companion of the same name, and also the dog being a blue heeler, a complete parody of Mel Gibson's dog in  "The Road Warrior".  In fact, Mad Max has a ton of references throughout every game...  "Little Lamplight's" front guard in FO3 is a total spoof of the Gyrocaptain's son in "Beyond Thunderdome" (Daahd! Weah dead meat, Daahd!) as is his deliberately misspelled pronunciation of you appearing "humungus" (a play off of the spelling of Lord Humungus, the main baddie from "The Road Warrior"). If you look close, you'll see every leather armor or slave armor being almost a total replica of the outfits in the Mad Max movies.

  Particular favorite easter-egg jokes I loved from the Fallout games:

  • In Fallout 3, you meet Dr.Zimmer's android bodyguard named "Armitage", a total cyberpunk tribute to William Gibson's "Neuromancer" novel.  Similarly, the escaping android trying to be masquerade as a human and evade capture in Rivet City is a brilliantly-played tribute to "Blade Runner" and "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" by Phillip K. Dick.
  • Fallout 2 has a hilarious parody of "Back to the Future" where if you become a slaver, the victims will sometimes shriek "Run for it, Marty!!" when they take off running.  Another great random encounter has you coming across a stone portal called the "Guardian of Forever", which is a direct reference to the Joan Collins/Edith Keeler fan-favorite Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever".
  • Fallout 2 also has you stumbling onto a particularly funny sight: the body of a dead whale laying alongside a broken pot of  flowers... this is of course a hilarious tribute to Douglas Adam's "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", where the ship's improbability drive turns two incoming nuclear missiles into a whale and a pot of flowers which fall to their deaths as they contemplate the meaning of life.
  • In FO1, after Officer Kenny dies in the Hub battle, your character yells the South Park famous line "They killed Kenny! Those bastards!" :)
  • In Fallout Tactics, one of the many silly moments find you coming across a group of wastelanders running around on pretend horses and being followed by servants banging coconuts together, a Monty Python reference that's impossible to miss and we have all come to love.


  And that, my friends, brings us to the end of Part 1 of our list.  Stay tuned for Part 2 just around the corner!  There's lots more to come! ;)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Oh Nostalgia, You Nutty-Nut!

















Okay, this is probably cheating that I'm doing this, but my first real post isn't directly post-apocalytic related.

 I know, right?  

But a piece of news popped in today that I have to mention. And those of you who knew me from "The Online Gamers Anthology" will totally follow why I'm doing this.  You see, I am -- as are many of our P.A. community -- a complete freak for gaming nostalgia.  And today, my friends, EA finally snapped out of their funk they've been in for the last 15 years and said this on Joystiq.com:

"EA and Bioware have announced the launch of a new website (and Twitter account) dedicated to the 'heritage' of the Ultima series. UltimaForever.com is billed as 'a celebration of all things Ultima' and will be expanding over time to look back at the 31 year old series. To celebrate the launch, EA is offering a free download of Ultima 4: Quest of the Avatar.

Also, in addition to Ultima Underworld 1 and 2 now being available on GoG.com, EA advises players to 'stay tuned for more information about additional re-mastered Ultima titles in the future.' In the meantime, you can grab your free download of Ultima 4 from right here on Joystiq. Note that you'll need to download and set up DOSBox in order to run it, unless you're somehow reading this from 1985. "



  Ultima IV was, in my opinion, on the top 5 list of greatest RPG's ever, and would be the definitive game that would later launch the game development careers of most of the big-devs of today.  For them to release this for free is great news.  It's an absolute gem.  And the mention that there will be more remastered Ultima titles (c'mon Ultima 7!!)  makes my whole year.  You have to understand... EA hasn't done much with these titles for YEARS.  So, if there is a silver lining to the economy-slump these last few years, maybe it was that someone at EA finally realized how silly it was that they all but nearly-buried one of the greatest game series of all time.
  Or maybe it was an accident, and one of the execs happened to slip an on old dusty box of "The Bards Tale" and figured the Ultima box behind it was taking up too much shelf space in the vault.  But I digress.

Now will someone please re-release "Wasteland"?!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Welcome Friends and Wastelanders!

    Whether you are visiting this site from the "Through the Aftermath" podcast community or inadvertantly stumbled onto this site while typing the word "pipboy" into Google Search, I welcome you to my new site.  Though it's been truly sad to watch the "Through the Aftermath" podcast close, it's great to see things evolve into new areas.  It's from this site that you'll hear my personal ramblings on anything from Fallout:New Vegas mods, to upcoming post-apocalyptic-themed movies, to even real-life everyday things that may be deemed important by yours-truly (though, I give you my personal guarantee that you will never be forced to see a post involving a neighbor's "funny cat story" or some random post with an incoherent rant entitled "Why F2P MMO's Fail").

   Whether you share a love of all things post-apocalyptic (be it books, movies, or even badly-named iPod apps), we have a place for you here.  So when the world ends, pack up that survival kit, follow those "Brotherhood of Steel" symbols spraypainted in the freeway overpasses, and join me in the wasteland bunker...
'cause, friends... it's time to PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE!

(hmmm... I better modify that ending part... that really does sound like I'm insane...)