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Fallout: Shelter

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    Let’s talk about Tiny Fallout off the main E3 thread.

    If you missed the E3 announcement, it is basically a Tiny Tower clone skinned like Fallout. You are a Vault Overseer managing all your Vault dwellers. You build rooms off of your vault in a way very reminiscent of XCom. Multiple rooms (up to 3) can be linked horizontally to increase efficiency, and rooms can be upgraded. Your dwellers can be equipped with an outfit and a weapon, and sent out into the wasteland in a Progress Quest type experience to find loot. There are challenges that result in bottle caps, the currency you use to build and revive your people when they are killed by various disasters, and also Lunchboxes that contain cards with various caps, equipment, and special dwellers much like getting more cards in Hearthstone. In point of fact, it is exactly like getting more cards in Hearthstone, in that you get a Lunchbox (pack of cards), drag it onto the Open Lunchbox area (drag it onto the open card pack area), and then are given a stack of cards you click on one at a time to reveal your loot.

    I am enjoying it, but there are some things that make it not super great in my opinion. It isn’t a true Idle Game that rewards you for leaving it alone. You have to check in and collect the resources produced by your rooms, or they just sit there doing nothing. So you won’t come back in the morning to a bunch of bottle caps. But it takes minutes at a time for each room to produce resources, so you can’t just sit there and “play” it rewardingly for long either. Sending dwellers out to the wasteland gives you a running text log of everything they do. That is where the “idle game” seems to be happening, in that they will stay out and have adventures without you watching them. You send them out for however long in realtime, then it takes them half that time again to return with whatever they have. They get attacked by things and succeed or fail while they are out, and can die. They seem invulnerable on the return trip, so that’s good. It is very easy for some of the disasters to just wipe out your entire population.

    You can “rush” production on a room, which has a percentage of failing spectacularly. The two most common modes of failure seem to be a radroach infestation that can spread to other rooms and a fire. Both of them can kill dwellers in the room. I’ve had one missed rush attempt wipe out almost my whole vault. Luckily children seem to be immune to attack by roaches, so my crop of younglings eventually grew up to replace their slain parents and earn caps that let me revive them. I still don’t have everyone back to life, but we’re on the mend.

    I have some issues with the UI as well. The main menu, while thematically appropriate, has a terrible button language that makes it difficult to tell what you should press. Once you figure it out, it’s fine, but it’s a poor landing page for a new player. In-game, it took me awhile to figure out how to determine what SPECIAL stat goes with each room. It is also difficult to tell at a glance which of your dwellers is equipped with a weapon, though their outfits visibly change on their sprites if you give them one. There doesn’t seem to be a way to un-equip everyone, or take weapons off a dead dweller you haven’t revived. It’s a free game, so some of these things are to be expected. Overall it has a high degree of polish, and I’d like to see Bethesda doing more things like this. Anybody else playing?


    Here is an example of why the main menu UI is not good.
    The loading screen is the typical Fallout tv test pattern stuff starting with this:
    test patter
    then going to this:
    test pattern 2
    and ending on this:
    splash screen

    The button language is there, but the treatment of the main Fallout/Shelter logo isn’t so different that the “Enter Vault ###” button is particularly obvious on a phone. You can figure it out, but there is still a moment of confusion that first time you see it. Maybe it isn’t so bad on a tablet.


    I’ve found that treating it more like Tiny Tower than Xcom has given me better results as far as having enough room to build. You have way more space vertically than you do horizontally, and you can’t quite fit 3 maximized width rooms on a given level. So unlike XCom where you don’t really want to build vertically until you have to, I think you are better off in this game just going vertical from the get-go. You can’t move rooms around, but you can destroy them for a meaningless number of caps and build them elsewhere.
    fallout vault 0


    I may have come up with a workaround to being able to see if your dweller is armed at the list level: you can rename your people anytime you want. I’m thinking that when I equip somebody with a weapon, I’ll change their name to Gun or something like that so that when I see my full jump-list of names it will be obvious.


    It is interesting to note that pregnant female dwellers will run from disasters instead of fighting, and seem not to be assignable to guard duty at the vault entrance until they have delivered.


    Once this is on Android, I’ll check it out. It’ll have to hold me over until I get enough free time to play Fallout 4. Which at this rate is sometime in 2019.

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    The radroach infestations are infuriating. I’ve been through 3 almost total Vault kill events that started with a failed Rush resulting in radroach infestations. Even now that almost my entire population is armed, every so often a radroach infestation will inexplicably rampage through my whole vault, forcing me to painfully re-harvest caps and bring people to life one by one. It’s almost like a built in mechanism for artificially extending game length. It seems the raider attacks only really happen if you station people at your vault entrance, which is very considerate of them. Fires don’t seem nearly as likely to spread to other rooms for some reason, and are fairly easy to contain.

    Shaded Spriter

    As a person who has put more hours into Tiny Tower, Tiny Death Star and Tiny Tower Vegas than I can remember I am also looking forward to the Android release. (TDS I got all the scenes before Disney pulled their support for it.) It just looks like a great improvement of the idea of the game…especially since it is 2 dimensional so you don’t have the problem of scrolling through 50 floors to find the one you want.

    I also love the mention in the presentation of Progress Quest – I am currently running another game inspired by it – Clicker Heroes.

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    So update on the Radroach situation: apparently they scale with the room upgrade level, so you are better off not upgrading your rooms for awhile. Also, you won’t get random incidents like fires or raider attacks if you aren’t actually watching the game, so you are better served to turn on notifications and only check in when things are ready to be collected. I find that the XCom-like room synergy makes you think you’re better off going horizontal, but you get a bigger bonus for just building a second room in the early stages of the game. So avoid early room upgrades in favor of digging down and having multiples. Don’t build rooms until your population is close to filling them up, and have high-luck explorers go out in the wasteland because their chances of finding good loot are higher.


    Does anyone else feel like this?

    I’ve been feeling this way from the first post, and then the prompt information learned of my failures in life. An iPhone isn’t really a failure, but a frustration. Who would ever think that a game would come to Apple first that was worth having? (Halo doesn’t count cause they were bought out before the release, and while Myst is awesome, I believe it was cross platform compatible from the get go. Marathon?)


    These guys are amateurs, my vault has 133 dwellers. I’ve unlocked all the building types, and am now in the part of the game where there is nothing to look forward to. So I’m kind of over it.

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