Please help tell others what Wasteland was

For all non-gameplay/tech Wasteland 1 talk; sharing memories, discussing the setting, and general banter

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Joby
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Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by Joby » March 14th, 2012, 11:00 am

Let's help out those who may not be familiar with Wasteland. We've seen an incredible surge of interest in Wasteland from the Kickstarter project, but many of the supporters are not familiar or ever played Wasteland. Many supporters only played Fallout and may think of Wasteland as Fallout.

Please help add in topics to this section that aid the Wasteland newbie to better understand and see what the Wasteland world was like.

If YOU are someone who never played Wasteland, please post questions you might have about the game! You've come to the right place to find out about Wasteland and what Wasteland 2 might become!
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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by Vryheid » March 14th, 2012, 3:42 pm

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Wasteland is a post-apocalyptic RPG which was significant due to its unique plot, open-ended environment, and for being generally considered the spiritual predecessor to the Fallout series. It developed by Interplay Production, produced by EA Games, and released for the Apple II in 1988. The game was later ported to Commodore 64, the IBM platform and at least two other later RPG collections. The basic plot is that America is struggling to rebuild in the 21st century after an apocalyptic nuclear war with the Soviet Union. You're command a group of Desert Rangers assigned to restore order and investigate the local Nevada deserts. Along the way you'll help groups of struggling civilians, fight crime and unearth a plot that could threaten the future of humanity as we know it.

The combat in Wasteland featured a turn-based battle system not unlike the early Final Fantasy games, but with several unique quirks. Ranged weapons were generally ammo based, meaning conserving ammunition and balancing their use with melee weapons was a major concern. There were no instantaneous healing items like potions you would expect in most RPGs. Getting seriously wounded was very dangerous, and required expensive doctor treatment or the use of a party medic to even begin to recover from. To counteract this, you could replace incapacitated Rangers with brand new recruits at any point in the game by visiting your Ranger base. Characters were by no means expendable, but attempting to battle your way in Wasteland without a fully equipped party with a variety of skills was a surefire path to the classic game over screen.

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Wasteland was also one of the first RPGs where your allied companions were not all mindless drones- while you always maintained to control of your four core Rangers, other NPCs could join your party and would often act out on their own initiative in combat.They might refuse to equip or give up certain items and would leave or join your party as it pleased them. There were a great deal of recruitable companions in this game, giving you a lot of varied personalities to work with. This trend towards NPC independence continued in many future RPGs.

And then there were the enemies. Mutated lizards, zombie dogs, sand worms, cyborg motorcycle hybrids, robotic scorpions, and all sorts of heavily armed thugs were waiting around every corner, determined to end your existence. Wasteland was infamous for the over the top descriptions of attacks and in-game deaths, such as brutally pummeling a disgruntled dog owner to death with a book or blasting someone apart with a machine gun. It set an attitude for the game which was gritty and rather unique for that era RPGs.

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The skill system was a major factor in Wasteland. There were over 30 skills in the game, varying from the practical (Picklock, Assault Rifle, Brawling) to the bizarre (Bureaucracy, Clone Tech, Toaster Repair). Needless to say, some skills were very situational. Aside from having rather obvious implications in combat, skills were also used to solve quests and progress through obstacles in the environment. A jammed gate, for example, might be lockpicked, wedged open with a crowbar, climbed over, or simply blown open with explosives. All of the potential responses to obstacles depended on individual skills of each party member, which could lead to unique strategies being implemented in every playthrough depending on how you built your team.

Amazingly enough, despite having a fleshed out story, a great deal of graphics, and and over a dozen major towns and bases to explore, the entire game could be fit in under 675 kb- less than a single floppy disk. Part of how the developers managed this was by putting all the long dialogue and description strings in the game inside of a physical booklet included with the manual. The game would refer players to specific pages during the game, at which point they would read the appropriate dialogue. To prevent people from cheating by reading through these dialogue quotes without actually playing through the game, several "decoy" quotes were added including an entirely fake (and hilarious) storyline involving the Rangers heading to Mars and dramatically fighting off alien invaders. Because these quotes are so integral to understanding the storyline, copies of the books can easily be found online.

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This rather fascinating interview with Brian Fargo gives a fairly good idea of the inspirations behind the game and what role it played in the development of later Interplay titles. Licensing issues appears to be the main reason that a Wasteland 2 was never produced (until now at least) and the Fallout series was created instead. There are many references to Wasteland which can be found in the Fallout series, even the modern titles like New Vegas.

For those of you simply interested in experiencing the game without playing through it, an extremely well-made Let's Play of the game was posted on Youtube, complete with added ambient music and all of the manual dialogue read out loud. You can find it here if you're interested.

(credits to MobyGames for the pics)

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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by Balls Out 3 » March 20th, 2012, 2:27 pm

I myself am fairly new to Wasteland, so I've been brushing up on it. Here are some useful links I've found:

The Wasteland Wiki
http://wasteland.wikia.com/wiki/Wasteland_Wiki

And two Youtube playthroughs of Wasteland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvYcu5qa ... 6E726A508F
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vDExZXB ... sults_main

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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by wren » April 4th, 2012, 5:54 am

That was a pretty good intro. Reminded me of one of my peeves with Fallout--can't pick the lock, okay, why can't I beat the door down or blow it open!? And the paragraph book was cool. I still have it, lol.

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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by clansittingducks » April 8th, 2012, 12:17 pm

Enjoyed this game and Fallout 1 and 2. Cant wait to see it finished

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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by brokentool » April 15th, 2012, 11:34 pm

thanks so much for this thread! and all the useful links. just what i need, to expand my knowledge of the game. i am a huge fan of the old fallout series and i knew of wasteland, but not much about it.

things in the wastes are about to change =)

i was SO happy when i learned about this project and immediately backed it when i could. go inX!
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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by Gilgameš » June 12th, 2012, 1:27 pm

This has explained much, and I have decided I will pick up Wasteland once more. This time it is going to stay. If I feel creative, I might write something of a newbie's introduction to the game, that might be interesting.
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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by Tabakhi » December 22nd, 2012, 1:36 pm

Balls Out 3 wrote:I myself am fairly new to Wasteland, so I've been brushing up on it. Here are some useful links I've found:

The Wasteland Wiki
http://wasteland.wikia.com/wiki/Wasteland_Wiki

And two Youtube playthroughs of Wasteland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvYcu5qa ... 6E726A508F
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vDExZXB ... sults_main
Thanks for the links, glad I wont be completely clueless going into W2. Not as good as playing the game myself but still enjoyable. :D
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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by Drool » December 22nd, 2012, 9:24 pm

Tabakhi wrote:Thanks for the links, glad I wont be completely clueless going into W2. Not as good as playing the game myself but still enjoyable. :D
There's also a screen shot LP on http://archive.vg/ of a guy going through it for the first time. He's not done with it yet, but he's mostly done.

Also, since the original will be included in WL2, you'll be able to play it for yourself.
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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by johneddy » December 26th, 2012, 3:34 pm

Thanks for the tips and game info guys!...this would gonna be interesting to play...im looking forward i playing with my friends soon... :D
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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by allen05 » January 28th, 2013, 10:26 pm

Simple:
1. No first person shooter plz, just stick with Camera Angle Lock to Isometric or hexagon like F1 and 2, up to you. (easy develop for you, less headache for us)
2. No cheap 3D look, goes with the Dark theme style, painted look, (tactics is too bright, too cartoonish and characters few like a robot), the demo in unity feel like a dirt cheap 3D game with sharp edges (but it's not a production version, so i'm not really complaining :D )
3. Turn based plz, stick with the original (again easy develop for you, less headache for us)
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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by Drool » January 28th, 2013, 10:42 pm

allen05 wrote:Simple:
1. No first person shooter plz, just stick with Camera Angle Lock to Isometric or hexagon like F1 and 2, up to you. (easy develop for you, less headache for us)
3. Turn based plz, stick with the original (again easy develop for you, less headache for us)
Um. Did you read the vision document, or even the Kickstarter page?
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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by GreggD » April 6th, 2013, 1:41 pm

So yeah, based on what I've seen in screens from the original, and the cover art from both (the single character looking at a group down a wide road), is it safe to assume that there will be judicious amounts of overgrowth in some areas of the game? I would love that to be the case, after playing all four fallout RPGs, and very, very rarely seeing any kind of greenery. Regardless, I'm looking forward to it, and I know enough about the old game from watching videos and reading wiki entries and the like to understand what the game was all about. :)
Last edited by GreggD on April 8th, 2013, 3:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by Drool » April 6th, 2013, 10:08 pm

GreggD wrote:is it safe to assume that their will be judicious amounts of overgrowth in some areas of the game?
From what we've been told, it will depend on the area we're in. Obviously, there won't be evergreens in the middle of the desert, but they aren't going in the "blasted heath" style of Fallout. I expect there to be quite a bit of greenery, especially when the game moves to California. Most of the additional concept art also features greenery. There's another concept piece somewhere showing an overgrown city from above, too.
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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by GreggD » April 8th, 2013, 3:45 am

Drool wrote:
GreggD wrote:is it safe to assume that their will be judicious amounts of overgrowth in some areas of the game?
From what we've been told, it will depend on the area we're in. Obviously, there won't be evergreens in the middle of the desert, but they aren't going in the "blasted heath" style of Fallout. I expect there to be quite a bit of greenery, especially when the game moves to California. Most of the additional concept art also features greenery. There's another concept piece somewhere showing an overgrown city from above, too.
I figured as much, based on the reasons you gave. Thank you for backing up my reasoning. :)
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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by Grohal » April 27th, 2013, 10:31 pm

Shortly said:

It was a best of mix (in playstyle) of Ulitima & The Bard's Tale

with an awesome amount of skills

in an rarely used setting

and it was (and still is) awesome.



In the time of release, the younger of you can't remember this of course, the cold war was still a "fresh" memory - so the possibility of nuclear war happening was not so far removed from the mind as it is today.
This gave the setting an light, uneasy undertone - like when watching a horrormovie, an you expect the worst to happen in the next 30 seconds - but far more subtle, because you explored something that could have happened - not some unlikely fantasystuff like undead or an orc-invasion.

You could experiment with situations and things (like that lone mortar for which you found some shells), and the game didn't give you (not always at least) rewards for doing so, but giving you innocents killed accident or even worse people that didn't know what hit them (and surely not that it was you), who just were dying in your arms and giving you that feeling of guilt and deep regret that no Ultima could ever give you, because in some cases you couldn't simple reload with an "Ups" on your lips - the game saved for you, right after your murder on the only savegame existing. This were consequences!

Gods, I really loved (and still love) Wasteland for this.

The other things were already written (and probadly some of the things I wrote too). This is just how I'd describe the things that made Wasteland unique in short. :D
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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by Thamin_88 » July 10th, 2013, 10:23 pm

We navigated our way through the original Wasteland without any "internet" to look to for directions. Many folks and items were a part of the puzzle that you had to discover. Humor and horror were equal parts thrown at us.

At the time, you had a book of paragraphs to add info and quest clues. The book was loaded with false entries in order to keep you from cheating....and yet also put a laugh on your face if you kept reading paragraphs you weren't supposed to.

The world was an open sandbox, and you could quite easily find yourself in a jam if you rounded the wrong corner.

Everything had its own style, and it entertained us.

There could be more than one way around a problem, and unpleasant consequences for some actions. I miss it!

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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by Militant » September 28th, 2013, 10:47 am

Wasteland was an amazing game, that was a brain child well before it's time... Few games have even matched the high quality gameplay, emersion and story to this day.. Now justice can finally be done and I hope this game explodes with popularity to show the horrible corporate world of today's game makers what a real game is and not just cash grabs.

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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by OldManGamer » November 3rd, 2013, 1:57 am

In 1988, there was no graphics cards, most games were text based or at best like wasteland or TSR's D&D roleplaying games. Wasteland was the game that allowed you to tweak your band of rangers into a fighting force best serving for your game style. . .and later you found out that there was multiple ways of completing an objective. This game also made me cautious of my actions, perception was always needed to find that trap before I had to dispose of my poor dead rangers that didn't quit make it (or couldn't be saved due to low 1st aid and doctor scores, hmmm good to keep in mind for WL2)
There was no saves in wasteland, what you see was what you got. If you killed an NPC you might lose a potential ally and party member ( and extra loot space). But these NPC's were not your typical cannon fodder. . .they disobeyed you if it didn't fit in to their mores or objectives
To sum it up Wasteland was the first game I found that had wit and story and appeal even to this very day, yes I keep a copy on an older computer so I can, as others do, replay and enjoy!

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Re: Please help tell others what Wasteland was

Post by paultakeda » November 6th, 2013, 12:48 pm

A bit of clarification.
OldManGamer wrote:In 1988, there was no graphics cards
There were graphics cards. Wasteland is a visual game with tactical combat on a tiled map. It even supported the mouse (although that was pretty much thrown in there and is near useless). You could have 16 colors, though I could only afford a CGA card and settled for four: white, black, cyan and magenta. The C64, Apple IIgs and Amiga versions even had some sound (PC had beeps and this terrifying whirring sound), so it wasn't as dire as all that.
OldManGamer wrote:There was no saves in wasteland
You have one save slot. You can save any time but it also auto-saved when you entered a new location. Hence, the rather hilarious advice in the manual:
Wasteland Manual wrote:What can you do if a character dies? DO NOT ENTER A NEW LOCATION OR SAVE THE GAME! Turn off your computer and reboot, and your character will live again, but without anything they acquired since you last saved.
Of course, rebooting the computer takes all of 30 seconds and back then you tended to do that as part of using apps. No, seriously, CTRL-ALT-DEL was far more than it is today. How MS appropriated it for Windows is an impressive forced culture shift in and of itself.

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