So you say you like wandering through a post apocalyptic wasteland, but you’re craving some realism?
Well first you’d have to have an actual apocalypse, wouldn’t you? Not into that? Okay then, time for the next best thing.
You’ve heard us talk about Fallout 4 already. Great open world roleplaying game, fun to wander about in, strong contender for game of the year…yes, that one. But if your Fallout 4 isn’t quite bleak enough, right on the heels of their first DLC, Automaton, which we covered a couple weeks ago, we have the beta version of Fallout 4 Survival Mode.
Right now it’s for the PC only, but it will most certainly make it to all platforms before long. So what fun things does survival mode bring to this happy-yet-bleak wanderfest? The detailed list of things Bethesda plans to inflict on you is quite long. Here’s a link to the page on Bethesda’s website.
For now, I can tell you that they have established what they call the “Four Pillars” of survival mode. First is Strategy. You have to make some decisions about when, where, and with whom to engage in combat. Fights are intense, where you deal more damage but so do the bad guys. You need to be far more concerned about avoiding damage, or you will wind up dead…a lot.
The second pillar is Exploration. Fast travel is gone. If you want to go from one side of the map to the other, you’d best make some coffee and pack a sandwich. You’ll also want to explore every nook and cranny of wherever you happen to be, because the best resources and items will occur far less frequently now. But don’t pick up too much because your ability to carry items has been dramatically reduced.
Our next pillar is Resource Management. Because you aren’t going to be easily finding as much stuff, and because you can’t carry as much stuff with you, deciding your loadouts becomes vitally important. Carrying extra weapons, or too much ammo, can weigh you down. Not carrying enough food or water can get you dead.
That’s all because of the fourth pillar, Role Playing. You have to manage things like hunger, thirst, and rest. There is no save game mode here. To save your progress, you must find a safe place to sleep. The better the place you find, the more rested you will become by sleeping. Sleeping on the ground is the worst, a sleeping bag is better, a mattress is better still, and a full bed is heavenly. Bethesda’s advice to players is ominous, “Everything matters. Better build some beds.”
What this does for Fallout 4 is make the game fiendishly hard. But the sense of accomplishment you get when you make it through the day in survival mode is hard to put into words. You get a real adrenaline rush from surviving a fight (and I don’t mean the adrenaline you can hit yourself up with in game, either). It’s hard to live, easy to die, and difficult to figure out what you should do next.
Survival mode in Fallout 4 isn’t for everyone. But for the people who love this kind of thing, it’s a great addition to the game. You can download the beta of Survival Mode right now from Steam. Have a look at all the other stuff Bethesda is beating you over the head with, before you decide whether or not to try it.
From the LOL department, we have this chuckler. A 16 year old named Ruby Nealon, in order to demonstrate a security vulnerability in the Steam service, managed to get his 45 second long video game “Watch Paint Dry” into the Steam Marketplace, available for download, fully greenlighted, and even in the Featured Games list, all without anyone from Steam laying an eye on it. (In case you’re not clear on this, you’re not supposed to be able to do that.)
The game itself is just 45 seconds of watching paint dry, taunted by a sign that reads “Don’t use this.” The point isn’t the game, of course, but rather that a single individual, with a few simple steps, could hack a game into the Steam service, which in turn means you can’t assume something is safe to download and play just because it’s on Steam.
Nealon has been uncovering security flaws and bugs in software and websites since he was 11. Although he doesn’t make any money off telling companies what he finds, there are people who make a full time living with what are called “bug bounties.” Google will pay for bugs and security flaws if you find them, Microsoft will also pay sometimes, but a lot of companies apparently don’t like to be embarrassed. YouTube, for example, shut down Nealon’s channel when he exposed a flaw in their service.
Frankly, we need smart guys like this breaking things so we can make the world a safer place. I consider him and the white hat hackers like him to be something of a cyber hero. So what about Valve? Well, Nealon tried to tell them about the flaw in February of this year but they never responded to him. After he stuffed Watch Paint Dry down their throats, they changed their minds and listened. Although he didn’t get paid, Valve did acknowledge his help and they let him keep his Steam developer account so he could help them find additional bugs.
I, for one, am pleased to hear it. That’s Into Gaming, I’m Mark Lautenschlager.