Wrought From Atomic Fire

Bathed in the undying glow of a new civilisation.

Fallout 4 has always been an interesting web of contradictions. Having enjoyed both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, my initial impression was that Fallout 4 would provide a broader story and more engaging mechanics. Which it does. Kind of. Having started a new character recently I’ve noticed that almost every improvement is immediately countered with a drawback. Such as the expanded crafting mechanics, which, while they do function as intended, also have arbitrary level requirements that make it difficult to effectively utilise them.

I’ve never really understood the reasoning behind level requirements for perks.

It feels as if they’re artificially lengthening character development by forcing you to invest elsewhere for no discernible reason. This is most noticeable when you want to craft workbenches in any settlement, as that requires a fairly heavy investment into Charisma and two perks to unlock. Even though most settlements only feature one or two workbenches by default.

Criticisms aside, I do enjoy Fallout 4 and I’ve yet to experience the majority of the DLC which is the sole motivation for creating this character. I feel as though I could enjoy Fallout 4 as much I’ve enjoyed Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas, but I need to experience it from a different perspective to do so. A perspective that I hope this character will provide. I’ve not really settled on a character build, either. I was thinking about using pistols but settled on automatic weapons. I’ve been thinking about using power armour but I’m also interested in armour sets. I’d usually be frustrated by such a lack of clarity, but it’s actually advantageous for a character that could change my opinion of Fallout 4. I’m able to utilise many more mechanics with no build in mind.

If I’d been tethered to a corpse for years I think I’d hate camping, too.

Following the rather spontaneous return to The Commonwealth I also decided to purchase Fallout 76. I’d been somewhat disinterested with the development of Fallout 76 due to having little information about how viable it is to experience the content alone, and (knowing me) that’s probably how I’d experience the majority of the content. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that it’s entirely viable to explore Appalachia on your own. The C.A.M.P. mechanics still allow you to passively interact with the community, too. Should you want to.

Even if the C.A.M.P. mechanics sometimes fight you due to the inhospitable terrain.

I feel as though Fallout 76 has an incredible amount of potential, and it really depends on how that potential is realised as to whether it will be a truly great experience. At present, many of the mechanics function as intended but they rapidly become less important after the first few hours. Like collecting scrap. I’ve now collected so much I’m bundling and selling it.

I’ve enjoyed the (ironic) feeling of isolation and loneliness in Appalachia. Due to a lack of NPCs (besides robots) and mostly being surrounded by the rotting, irradiated, post-war corpses of the characters whose stories you’re following you’re presented with a unique storytelling approach. It’s also a very depressing approach. If the previous adjectives hadn’t given you the hint. As many of the stories have themes of regret, loss, desperation, and hopelessness as the characters adjust to their new post-apocalyptic hell. But it fondly reminds me of the same feeling of isolation and loneliness present in Fallout 3. I’m looking forward to (and remaining optimistic in) exploring more of what Fallout 76 has to offer.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

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Brahmin – 2015 – Watercolour – click for full view on site!

I’ve always wondered if having two heads (and therefore two brains) ever confused the poor ol’ Brahmin.

In a lot of fictional universes they depict creatures with multiple heads having a singular (often unintelligent) brain- but I like to think Brahmin have two. I also like to think it’s similar to those times you walk into a room, instantly forget why you went into that room, and then walk out again. One brain says one thing and the other says another. Maybe that’s why they’re so docile. They couldn’t be angry even if they wanted to!

But, yes, we’re not here to discuss the intellectual properties of the post apocalyptic pack animal.

It does pose a few questions as to why milk is so scarce in the Wastelands, too. Given they have readily accessible milk factories just wandering around. That said, I do believe their udders are horribly malformed (and likely filled with pus) so that’s probably why. Back to the piece! I haven’t had too much experience with watercolour in a (literal) couple of years. It’s something I really enjoy working with but has fallen a little to the wayside (as did most things not done with a pencil) for a spell.

I don’t think the time away from that particular set of methods/techniques has hurt, though. In fact, looking at the piece, and how clean/crisp the lines are, I’m starting to think it was a good semi-hiatus to have had. I suppose that’s also an indicator that my technique has improved in general, too.
Still leaning heavily on the ink and watercolour style I developed early in 2011 and I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon. I like the combination, and, given how my technique has improved overall, I feel it can only get better. More attention to smaller details and all that. This is also the first time I’ve used the heavier, more expensive, and better quality watercolour paper I bought a while back. I’ve also accrued a little more experience with my newer, better quality, and (once again) more expensive brushes. To be honest, I put a lot of money into watercolour (and painting as a whole) a while back.

While I wouldn’t say this piece breaks significantly new ground- it’s nice to see how it turned out.

It’s nice to see that there’s a small level of improvement in technique, approach, and control. I’m still not sure if I want to follow along a heavy wet on wet technique (as I used to) or whether I want to approach it more as you would approach illustrator ink. In either case, I count this a success and it does make me a little more optimistic for the future of watercolour.

As a sort of side effect to the new piece, reviewing the sites, and generally working towards better quality content I might be cleaning up the previously uploaded pieces on the site. Nothing major like completely new scans, crops, or what have you- just cleaning up the images to make them look as good as they possibly can. It’s a fairly long campaign to embark on and one that definitely will happen over the course of months (and depends on whether every piece needs it). So that’s something to look forward to!

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Brahmin, Gary, Vault-Tec, PipBoys, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Interplay/Bethesda.

Forward to the Future

If I start to repeat “It’s here!” and wag my tail excitedly just know I’m happy.

Just a quick note before we start, it’s not my intention nor wish to spoil anything for anyone regarding Fallout 4 and so this is mostly talking about the mechanical changes you’ll experience.

Fallout 4 has arrived! The much anticipated sequel (both personally and commercially) reinvents certain aspects of the core mechanics which many of the modern Fallout players will have come to know and (possibly) love. The biggest change surrounds the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system and how perks are handled. You’ve got less S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points to spend at creation (28 down from 40) and these are more closely tied to how your character uses perks and develops over the course of the game.

The perk system also replaces the skill system (which is now removed) in determining what your character can do for the most part.

It also features some fairly broad changes with regards to how you build, maintain, and use weapons. It would seem that for the most part the classifications of Small Guns, Big Guns, Energy Weapons, and so on are mostly removed. Instead focusing on whether a weapon is non-automatic, automatic, a rifle, a pistol, or what they classify as a heavy gun. I can only imagine that heavy guns will for the most part replace what used to fall under Big Guns. They also seem to have removed weapon and armour maintenance with neither of those items having durability now.

Just a sunny post-apocalyptic afternoon.

The lack of durability could be a sore point for some. Personally, while I tend to like traditional mechanics, I can’t say that durability ever really affected me in either of the previous two modern Fallout titles. I had enough money, resources, or whatever it was that I needed to repair all of my equipment constantly.

Power armour has had a significant redesign and now actually feels like the pre-war technology it is supposed to be. It now features insanely good resistances to various damage types and is a suit you have to climb into, as opposed to wear like any other armour, and features a whole new HUD while you’re in there. The downside to it is that it’s quite heavy/bulky and has to be powered via Fusion Cores. So it doesn’t last forever unless you have a few spare cores. You do have to repair it, too. With many of the sections of the armour being removable/replaceable over the course of the game. It’s a pretty awesome mechanic but one I’m not sure I’ll be taking too much advantage of.

Weapon and armour (and settlement) crafting seems pretty fun so far. The amount of flexibility given to various guns and how you can modify, improve, or adapt them to fit other situations is pretty great. However, it is a bit of a guessing game (at first) as to how you classify what would be considered a rifle or a heavy weapon.

Which is where I would say Fallout 4 lacks a little- explanations. The updates to the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system are quite extensive but at creation (and even after) you’re given little information as to what all of these statistics do. Same with weapon and armour crafting where you won’t always know what your modifications will produce or if it’s suitable for you. Finally, I am a little sad to see the recently reintroduced traits being removed again. That said, one could say that the way magazines work is a trait system in itself.

Just a case of seeing whether it can live up to the replayability of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas now.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Memories of the Vault

You’re really lucky you missed my Fallout 3 adventures, WordPress.

Those were the days. Almost six years ago I received the copy of Fallout 3 which would later be replaced by the Game of the Year Edition, had a GPU that wasn’t even supported and so needed replacing, and had a recurring power supply issue that rendered playing it a bit of a hit and miss experience. But I persevered. I replaced the GPU, I threw that old power supply out, and I spent the next four months falling in love with a game that to this day is still my most played.

I played it through the release of Fallout: New Vegas, I played it after the release, I played it over Christmas, I made a character based on my actual talents and proficiencies, and I’m pretty sure I’d still be playing it as much if I didn’t have a broader library these days. I’m not entirely sure as to why I enjoyed it as much as I did- but I did.

Exercise caution (and your legs) when engaging.

Exercise caution (and your legs) when engaging.

I also really enjoyed the release of Fallout: New Vegas. My machine was getting a bit older at that point and was starting to drop in performance, but that was a game I would slog through all of the issues to play as I dearly love the series. I even have the classic games which I do intend to finish at some point. I still prefer the feel of Fallout 3 to the more bustling, less sparse, more intact feeling they introduced with the Mojave Wasteland. It’s a nice change but Fallout 3 seemed to have a really solid atmosphere throughout. I also enjoyed the varied locales of Point Lookout and The Pitt from the DLC post-Fallout 3 completion.

I kind of wish I’d linked it to Steam then, too. All those achievements.

I’m pretty sure I’d have almost all of them now as I pretty much done everything there was to do in that game. Especially on the last character I had as he was the final one I had planned and so I wanted to cover as much of the game as I could. While, yes, I could probably get something ridiculous like twenty Steam achievements in one day if I linked it now it just wouldn’t be the same to me. Still, there’s always Fallout 4! I also have all of my Fallout: New Vegas achievements. Which are actually quite hard to increase as I don’t like the Legion as a rule.

Size Matters! +15 Big Guns per perk level.

Size Matters! +15 Big Guns per perk level.

So why am I telling you all this? No particular reason. I’ve never really spoken much about Fallout 3/Fallout: New Vegas on Moggie’s Proclamations as it wasn’t originally about gaming, which, at the time I started the blog, it would have been ripe for the last character I played. So, I figured I’d just talk about it at least once before Fallout 4 comes out and I look towards that.

Fallout 3 is one of those games, like Diablo II, and the first Borderlands, which stands out as being an experience I’m only going to get once. I can play Diablo II until my mouse dies of click-induced malfunction, I can roll every one of the four original Vault Hunters in Borderlands until there’s no more space left on my HDD, and I can embark on another journey across the Capital Wasteland for several hundred hours… but it will never be the same. Not the same as the first time. Which, for me, was the best time.

It’s not as gloomy as it seems. At least, if nothing else, even if I can’t recreate that, I know the experiences exist. Somewhere.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Deathclaw v2 – 2012 – Pencil – click for full view on site!

It just wants to hug you.

See how it has its arms slightly open towards you? That’s how you know. I’m not going to guarantee you’ll survive if you go anywhere near it, though. That’s something you’ll have to figure out for yourself. But, if you do, I suggest you take a suit of combat armour and perhaps a minigun with you. Deathclaws have been a common feature in my creative efforts for a while. I’m not sure why I’m so hooked on their concept art nor that of the yao guai- but it’s not entirely a bad thing.

It allows me to bring you posts such as these!

I was hoping to emphasise the slender frame and general uniqueness of this creature with this piece. I find the endless possibilities resulting from the unique biological reactions from exposure to extreme radiation quite fascinating! If not a little harder to reference than I’d like them to be.
Why the slender frame? Well, physically imposing creatures usually have significantly developed musculature and are bulky. Deathclaws are not bulky- they’re terrifying. They’re slender dodge reliant demons who can evade bullets, like you evade the gym on your way home from work. Don’t worry- I do it, too. I won’t tell if you don’t. It’s just an interesting comparison to, say, their super mutant brothers, who are actually the classic physically imposing bulky behemoth. No pun intended.

Then again, if it’s a behemoth it can’t not be bulky. It’s huge!

The inspiration for this piece came quite simply from yet another Fallout: New Vegas character. This time under the flag of the NCR and currently regretting ever stepping inside the Sierra Madre. It’s not that the place is literal hell (which it is)- but they took my guns! I needed those! This spear is useless to me!

Have a nice Sunday, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Fallout, Deathclaws, Super Mutants, Pip-Boys, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Interplay/Bethesda.