Dec 012016
 

That’s right folks! Today we’ve got an extra-special update.

The Manehattan Project will be hosting our first-ever convention panel at Pacific PonyCon 2017 on the weekend of January 6-8, 2017 in San Diego, California!

At the GoE Panel, you’ll get a world-exclusive first look at the Prologue of Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm including our brand-new cover artwork by Blue Nova, featuring music by Corvus Productions and custom voicework!

But that’s not all.

During the panel, you’ll actually get a chance to speak with four members of The Manehattan Project itself!

Our line-up includes:

  • Ebon Quill – Quest Designer & Worldbuilding Writer!
  • Silver Chord Worldbuilding Writer & FimFiction Author!
  • Polyphonic – Former Vocal Director and the Voice Actress for Velvet Remedy, Candi and more!
  • Novel Idea – Project Lead & Creative Director as well as author of the Wavelengths Timeline series.

Not only will you get a live demo of the Prologue including the epic opening slideshow for Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm, but you’ll also get to hear about the challenges of writing for a game project of such an enormous scope, the design challenges of managing a team that spans half the planet as well as the immense task of organizing a team of over twenty voice actors while performing a variety of voice acting roles!

In addition, our panel will be moderated by the one and only LiamNeighson, author and veteran of countless pony conventions across the United States as a moderator, volunteer and general pony enthusiast!

There’s still plenty of time to register as well! Head on over to Pacific PonyCon’s website today and get registered to experience this first-ever reveal! Plus, you’ll get to see MLP legends as Nicole Oliver (Celestia & Cheerilee), Tabitha St. Germain (Rarity & Luna), Kelly Sheridan (Starlight Glimmer), comic artists Sarah Richards, Tony Fleecs and illustrator Mary Bellamy, plus amazing cosplayers and more community guests!

We look forward to seeing you in January in San Diego!

-The Manehattan Project

Jun 092016
 

Happy Thursday everypony!

Novel here with something cool for you today. As I mentioned in our announcement for the Security Redoubt, there are actually two available player homes. Well, today, you get a peek at the second.

Now, I’m not going to show you everything. The Living Quarters for Stable 207 is huge and a bunch of screenshots just doesn’t do it justice. But I just can’t wait to show this off anymore! So let’s sit down, sit back and enjoy the ride!

As you know, Stable 207 was designed to be the Stable-Tec communications hub in the post-apocalyptic world. Hardline network connections spanned the country from the nexus point of Stable 207. It was supposed to be the origin for new civilization after the end. The catch was that it wasn’t finished in time. In fact, most of the living quarters weren’t complete. Only the Overmare’s quarters was ever completed, designed for the Overmare and her direct family members.

And since DJ-PON3 has made her living quarters far closer to the communication hub on the Stable’s main level, he’s graciously decided to grant you this as a base of operations for your heroics after saving Stable 207 from an invading army!

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The Overmare’s personal quarters are massive, including a small library, dining area, bedchamber, sitting area and private bathroom. Lavishly decorated with custom imported rugs, a series of posters from some of Equestria’s greatest entertainers and a spectacular view of the immense cavern system Stable 207 was built into.

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From your secluded reading spot, you can enjoy the latest copy of the Wasteland Survival Guide by Ditzy Doo in total privacy and comfort, looking out into the darkness at the dozens of varieties of glowing fungi in the caves beyond. A view unlike any other, it’s as if you’re staring into the star-scattered void of space from your own private library!

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Entertainment galore awaits you in the lower level of the Living Quarters atrium. Filled with networked terminals, games and support systems, all tastefully decorated with native living plants and well-preserved post-war artwork. The atrium is the heart of the living quarters, being the gateway to every section of this amazing complex!

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But what of your companions? After all, your aren’t alone in your quest to unravel the mysteries in the strange reality shifts. Don’t worry, there’s room enough for all in the Living Quarters. As fate* would have it, there are five smaller living quarters, one for each companion plus one extra, all with tailored decor, a private bath and fully furnished!

*Fate may be acting upon the design instructions of others. 

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The Wasteland is a dangerous place and Stable-Tec had the foresight to know that. DJ-PON3 has done his part as well, making sure that Stable 207 has a fully stocked and prepared armory. From here, you’ll be able to arm yourself for the greatest battle of your life as you fight to stop dark forces from taking control of the source of the reality distortions.

That’s it for this week folks. But I am going to tease one more thing.

There is something massive happening right now in the MLP fandom gaming community. Something that has the potential to unite all gamers, modders, game devs and everyone else. Manehattan will be there and we’ve already led the charge, but all the pieces are not in place.

But it’s huge. You’ll love it. ^^

-Novel Idea

May 122016
 

Good afternoon folks.

Novel Idea here. I’ve got something a little different in store for you today. As you all know, last week was our One Year Anniversary Celebration. There are actually a couple things we still have in the works for that but weren’t quite ready and still aren’t as of yet, but when they are, you’ll know. Oh boy, you’ll know.

Originally, this post was going to be about some art stuff, but I’ve decided to change things up. You see, last night, I happened to have just finished Fallout: Equestria Pinkeyes. Yes, yes, I know all of you read that like years ago. But I’m just now getting into the FiMFiction world in the last couple of months. I hadn’t.

So, this post is going to be some reflections about the concept of Fallout: Equestria including complete and total spoilers for Pinkeyes. So if you haven’t read Pinkeyes, stop reading this instant. Seriously. Bugger off and read the damn story. Then come back.

However, if this isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry, we’ll have more GoE-focused stuff for you next week.


It’s no secret that Kkat, the original author of Fallout: Equestria, is quite the fan of Babylon 5, a science fiction series by J. Michael Straczynski (Or JMS). It’s also no secret that I am as well. Babylon 5 is my favorite science fiction series of all time. Kkat has spoken at length about the influence of Babylon 5 on Fallout: Equestria in blogs, so I won’t go into depth.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because of one of the very last lines of Babylon 5’s penultimate finale, “Sleeping in Light.” Narrated by Susan Ivanova (played by Claudia Christian), it is a wonderful summary of the enormous story arc of Babylon 5 without spoiling anything.

Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations.
There would never be another.
It changed the future, and it changed us.
It taught us that we have to create the future or others will do it for us.
It showed us that we have to care for one another because if we don’t, who will? And that true strength sometimes comes from the most unlikely places.
Mostly, though, I think it gave us hope that there can always be new beginnings.
Even for people like us.

When one reads Fallout: Equestria, its clear that these thoughts and ideals echo strongly throughout the arc of Littlepip’s life. But more than anything I’ve always believed that the true message of Fallout: Equestria is summed up in those last two lines:

Mostly, though, I think it gave us hope that there can always be new beginnings.
Even for people like us.

Fallout: Equestria is about hope. Hope in a better tomorrow. That tomorrow will be a better day. That tomorrow will be a new beginning. There’s a reason Nicholas Dominique’s fantastic music number inspired by Littlepip is named Hope (and a reason we used it for the GoE Teaser Trailer). There’s a reason that the final lines of the Epilogue are Applejack and Steelhooves’s song and that song ends like this:

“For I know tomorrow will be a better day.
Yes, I believe tomorrow can be a better day…”

If you’ve read Fallout: Equestria, I’m sure you can see the same thing. I don’t need to prove this to you.

I’ve read a few stories set in the Fallout: Equestria universe now. Some didn’t end with this message. Some I think were poisoned by the Wasteland. Some…just wanted to go in another direction. And you walk away with the story feeling wronged somewhat.

And then? Some managed to hit that note of hope with such perfection that the experience becomes a masterpiece.

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Fallout Equestria: Pinkeyes is one such tale.

If you happened to have come across any of my commentaries I’ve been putting up on FiMFiction, you should know that I tend to get deeply into stories. Events within stories that I’m emotionally invested in can be like a buck to the face (with radishes). Mass Effect was like this for me. Frankly, the end of Mass Effect 3 had me reeling for weeks, a complete emotional wreck.

Well, as I finished Pinkeyes last night, I’m still dealing with that. That’s one of the reasons for this post, because it’s a way to help me work it out.

The ending of Pinkeyes is simply beautiful. It is a rare thing for a ending to hit such a perfect chord with me. Yes, bawled my eyes out, but they weren’t ones of sadness. They were tears of joy.

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We’ve all seen the “feels” meme. Personally, I think the reason it’s a meme is because people are trying to “hide” from the idea of showing their emotions. This is especially big in the male aspect of the community, because though we’re bucking the social norms by accepting MLP as part of our lives, we still often struggle with the concepts of how a male should act, one of which is being stoic and ‘strong.’ (The opposite idea that females are overly emotional is just as flawed, by the way).

I don’t like that meme. I am deeply and profoundly impacted emotionally by the stories I experience in fiction, be it in movies, television shows, video games or books. I cry at the end of ‘Sleeping in Light,’ so much so that I have to mentally prepare myself for the series finale. “Crusaders of the Lost Mark,” where the CMC finally get their marks after five years…yeah, I tend to cry for half the damn episode.

But back to Pinkeyes. Pinkeyes ends with the classic “gathering of heroes,” something I’ve always enjoyed. Where the allies and friends of the hero come together for the grand finale. We see this in Spike’s Cave near the end of Fallout: Equestria. Project Horizons had two of these events, I think. But because of Pinkeyes’s much smaller scope, this felt so much intimate. We only had a handful of ponies ready to face the darkness that stood at the end of the road, following a tiny spot of color and joy.

I didn’t know what to expect when I got to the ending. Who would live and who would die? I’ve seen endings where it felt like the author just decided to whack off characters at random. I kinda feel like the end of Harry Potter was a bit like that and I would almost accuse Sanderson of the same thing in the second Mistborn novel. But every fall meant something. Each was addressed and the best part was that in the end…it actually didn’t matter. Because we found out where they were all going.

Believe it or not, I had managed to avoid all spoilers for the story. Henri’s act of “saving” Puppy was fantastic and surprising…but even more so because shortly afterwards we learn the truth of why she did it. More importantly, she learned why she did it. Because she cared way more than she even thought she did. And it took a ghost to get that through her skull.

When Henri found that box, seriously, the tears wouldn’t stop. And when she finally got through to Puppy…yeah. It was a thing of beauty. The emotional sucker punch was the “sister” bit at the very end of the scene there. That just opened the floodgates. Hell, I can’t even think of that scene without tearing up. Even the last line at the end of Chapter 20 before the Afterword…every time I read it, I still tear up.

But the most gorgeous part of the story was the Afterword. Watcher’s short little story telling the tale of Puppy, what he thought she meant to the people of the 52 (something I wholeheartedly agree with)…and then the airship scene. I remember being rather confused as to what was going on until it finally sunk in.

It’s rare for stories to end with a perfect “happily ever after.” Even though Pinkeyes never used that trite cliché, that’s exactly what we got. We got Shower and Gauss together again (I’m a romantic. Sush.)…but those who have read it know how it ends.

It ends with a better day. It ends with a perfect day. It ends with a perfect day that will never end.

I’ve only seen one other author handle the death of the main character in such an expert way and that was Brandon Sanderson, where I can walk away from the story sad but still overflowing with joy.

(And can I just take an aside and say I did a total SQUEE SQUEE SQUEE moment at Trigger Happy’s line: “Am I still in time to say that I love you too?” That whole arc was awesome! Shut up. I’m said I was a romantic!)

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So enough about tears. What does this have to do with hope?

Puppysmiles was a living avatar of hope. Like Watcher said, she was a picture into what Equestria had been and what we know Equestria would eventually be again. In her, we saw the hope for the future even while shining a light on everything that had been lost. Littlepip became a beacon of hope that ponies could get past the poison of the Wasteland and actually bind together to make a difference.

Littlepip screwed up a lot. She made a ton of mistakes. That’s one of the things that made her relatable. Puppysmiles approached everything with pure innocence and a wonderful childlike ability to ignore the harsh realities of life and find every single bright spot out there. That’s what made her lovable.

They were both inspirations. They both gave those around them hope for a better tomorrow.

In our world, we’re constantly bombarded by horrors and atrocities. Terrorist attacks, natural disasters, wars, fear, death and suffering. If you watch the news, it can be easy to start to believe we live in a world of hatred, not too dissimilar from the attitudes of those living in the Equestrian Wasteland. Yes, I know there are plenty of differences. But there are some striking similarities.

But here’s the thing: stories like this show us that we can be better. We can do better than what we’re doing now. It won’t be easy. In fact, it’ll be damn hard. And this side of heaven, there will always be a darkness around us. There will always be a “Creepy Voice” in our heads, offering the lie of rest while they take over and force you to give into the darkness. While we may not try to rule the world, there’s a piece of us that wants return hatred with hatred or even worse, to stop caring entirely.

It’s natural, but it’s also wrong.

Call me foolishly optimistic if you’d like, but one of the things that attracts me to MLP is the idea that love and friendship are actual forces, as powerful as gravity. They are in this world as well, if people choose to believe in them.

If they find hope that tomorrow can be a better day.

In the end, hope is the most powerful of motivators. Hope for love, hope for friendship, hope for kindness, hope for peace and even hope for eternity.

We all need hope. Without it, the darkness will overwhelm us. But with it, we can get to the end of the road. We can fight the good fight. We can finish the race.

After all, “…these three remain: faith, hope and love.” (1 Cor 13:13) And while the greatest of these may be love, hope is still there.

To be honest, I’m not quite sure how to end this. More than anything, if you have read Fallout: Equestria, Fallout: Equestria – Pinkeyes is simply a must read. And I do intend to find some way to weave at least pieces of Pinkeyes into the storyline of GoE 2. Maybe Trigger Happy and Jammed Gun might make an appearance. 😉

So here are a few links.

First of all, Zemming & Djazz did an excellent job with the .EPUB version of Pinkeyes. You can check it out here.

If you’re looking for the original article, head on over to FiMFiction’s page.

So, I think I’ll end this simply, with a round of applause for another epic masterpiece created by this amazing fandom, penned by mimezinga.

Well done. Well done, indeed.

May 052016
 

Good day everypony!

Don’t worry, I won’t talk your ear off here. I already did that in the other posts. I just wanted to make sure you all had a single place to find all of our One Year Anniversary material!

First of all, let’s get things fired up with the new Gardens of Equestria Main Theme. I am SO VERY THRILLED with this. This is partially inspired by the introduction themes to Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, while spanning the entire music range of GoE itself. Corvus completely outdid himself. I totally freaked out when I heard the thunder bit in there and was going SQUEE SQUEE SQUEE for like ten minutes. But he also did something utterly amazing. At the very end, you might notice a familiar little tune. That is indeed the Fallout theme! While we’ll likely be tweaking it a bit here and there, this is what you’ll be hearing when you fire up GoE: This Coming Storm for the first time…or any time you fire up FO:NV with GoE loaded!

Next up, we have our debut of our amazing new Cinematics Lead, Scarlet Moon. With a ton of After Effects experience (and a ton of other experience that I can’t even begin to list), I am very happy to have someone with her talent on the team. It means I don’t have to do all the cinematics anymore! Yay! Someone who knows what they’re doing!

Since “This Coming Storm” (the song) is a very special song for the Fallout: Equestria universe, we wanted to give it a true and proper music video. (And I confess that I’ve come to hate my original cloud-based designs). So not only was this her “test project,” but it turned out excellent. So go enjoy the new epic sounds of “This Coming Storm.”

Finally, we have one more music trailer that we released early this morning. The Primm Basement sketch!

That wraps up our YouTube material for this week. But wait! There’s more!

If you happened to miss last week, we released the Topaz Lake Score video and more importantly, Smuggler’s Run 2.0! That’s right, new artwork, new file structure (it’s a big deal, really) and a radio station with the Smuggler’s Run Theme!

We’ve also completely updated the “Sounds of the Wasteland” page with all of our new music trailers!

I’ve also written up a One Year Anniversary Retrospective about the Manehattan Project Team, what started this whole thing and some of the wisdom I’ve gathered along the way.

Not only that, but we’ve announced the launch of The Manehattan Network, a new home for all things MLP Modding. Please remember that this is in the very early stages of development and may or may not pan out. It’ll depend entirely on you!

We’ve even got more material on the way in celebration, but it’s not quite ready yet. Don’t worry, soon ™!

We’ve also got three new members of the team!

Scarlet Moon – Cinematics Lead: 

How to even start? Scarlet Moon is an riddle wrapped in an enigma stuffed in a chimicherrychanga. Professionally, she is a special effects and motion designer, but mostly a huge geek and a super nerd. She has been a MLP and video games fanatic since a young child. After losing touch with MLP for several years, through the magic of friendship, she rekindled her love of everypony and met Novel Idea, who encouraged her to use her powers of movie magic for the good of Fallout: Equestria. 

In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, drawing, painting, watching movies, making movies, playing games, and chilling with her cats. Her ideal time is building something with her hands, whether it’s a cake or a replica of Hobbiton. 

Mercer – Script Engineer

I’ve been modding Fallout: New Vegas for 2 years now, and have published two mods on Nexus. I applied for Script Engineer position after stumbling upon one of Novel Idea’s blogs. Finland FTW.

Sunshine – QA Technician

Hi there! I’m Sunshine. I enjoy playing games, though I don’t get new games to play very often. I also write stories about ponies, participate in a pony-themed roleplaying group, and occasionally make pictures of ponies in Source Filmmaker. Funnily enough, I first discovered the Fallout series from Fallout: Equestria. And when I did, it was love at first sight. And now I’m a QA tester for GoE, putting my love of Fallout and Fo:E to a more practical use. I’m looking forward to doing my part for the Manehatten Project.

That’s it for this week folks. I’m totally exhausted. This took a heck of a lot out of me.

So until next week, have fun out there!

-NI

May 052016
 

Good day fillies and gentlecolts!

Well, it’s here. It’s actually here. The one year anniversary of Gardens of Equestria. Now, I know there’s a lot we’re putting out today, so I won’t wax nostalgic or anything here.

No, this post is about something very special. It’s something I mentioned back at the end of last year as a random Crazy Idea (™) that popped into my head. There was some mixed reviews on the idea. Some thought it was brilliant. Some thought it was unnecessary. In the end, only time will tell.

So I’m happy to announce the launch of The Manehattan Network, Phase 1.

First and foremost, let me start by saying that this is an experiment. It might work out, it might not. It might change dramatically from this very basic beginning. It might stay the same. I’m not entirely sure.

But what I am sure about is that those who work in modding for MLP need a home base. We need a spot where we can talk about our various MLP mods, collaborate and just relax. We also need a database to know where these all are! While the Nexus now has the ability to sort by MLP-related mods (a much welcomed feature!), there’s still not a dedicated home for us modders.

In addition, please note that these are not only for Fallout: Equestria-themed modsThis is for any pony-related mod of any kind!

So at present, I’m opening up a new subforum here at the Gardens of Equestria Forums dedicated to the Manehattan Network. (http://gardensofequestria.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?fid=21)

Let me outline the objectives and expectations:

  1. Mod Authors are responsible for their own mod listings.
  2. Mod Authors only need to provide the game (when applicable), a short synopsis of the mod and a link to where the mod is hosted.
  3. Each Mod gets their own thread.

In other words, all you need to do is register for an account here at the GoE forums, head over to either one of the dedicated Game Subforums (Currently Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Skyrim & Fallout 4, plus an assorted section) and post your mod!

I’ve already posted Smuggler’s Run on the FO:NV Thread.

Now, there is going to be one rule here. No adult-themed mods of any kind. If you want to do that, go over to Lover’s Lab.

This may seem fairly simple, but like I said, this is just Phase 1. I want to see how many people are interested in a thing like this before we devote any serious time to this project.

If you’re interested, head on over to our brand-new subforum for the Manehattan Network and get posting! Or maybe you’re just looking for some new mods to try out!

Feb 272016
 

What is this madness? A Manehattan Project post on a SATURDAY?! Has the world gone nuts?! It’s a sign o’ the apocalypse, I tells ya. Run fer ya life!

Or you could stick around for something fun.

So, as a little side project that I may have mentioned in Thursday’s post, I decided a while back to create a full eBook version of Fallout: Equestria Project Horizons for my own use. I couldn’t read it in Google Docs due to the same injury which ended up resulting in me listening to Fallout: Equestria in the first place (and starting all this madness). Well, back then, the book was only complete to Chapter 73 or 74. I don’t remember quite which one.

Well, I realized that no one had ever done a complete version of the ebook and decided that needed to be rectified.

So I’m happy to present (with Somber’s blessing, I might add), Fallout: Equestria Project Horizons (Immersive Edition).

Yeah, I know, I have a thing for creating special editions of Fallout books. Sush.

But this one’s special. Because a lot of fine tuning went into this (yup, the adage, “Do it right, do it with style” is still in effect).

So here’s a list of the changes:

  1. For better story flow, all author and editor notes have been moved to their own section under Appendices.
  2. Links to YouTube songs have been verified and cleaned and should operate effectively.
  3. Minor edits were also made to the formatting of the chapter quotes, footnotes and content warnings for consistency.
  4. Content warnings are now verified links that will skip the relevant section to the next “safe” point.
  5. Most section, memory orb and other styles of intra-chapter breaks have been cleaned and fixed to allow for a consistent reading experience. Note: This may add additional spacing in places depending on your reading device.
  6. New vertical cover design. Original Cover Art by Sw1tchbl4de, Fallout: Equestria Project Horizons Logo by ArtisticMink. Modified and adapted by Novel Idea.
  7. Combined Chapter 62 Parts 1 & 2. (Left Chapter 75 as two separate parts)
  8. Custom Table of Contents.

Please note that this is not a spelling, grammar or content edit. This is a format edit only. There also may be a few odd intra-chapter breaks that got missed. I literally skimmed the entire book to do this.

It took a lot of work, including actually digging into the XML that eBooks are built from (Scrivener was awesome for the compilation, but it couldn’t do links or the fine-tuning I wanted). Yeah, I had to get that specific, especially to get the consistent intra-chapter breaks.

Okay folks, enough yappin’. You want a giant 1.5 million word monster of a book? You got it!

Fallout: Equestria – Project Horizons (Immersive Edition) by Somber

FOE Project Horizons Vertical eBook Cover - NI

Enjoy folks! Just as a little present to add a bit more Fallout to your life. 😉

Until next Thursday, have fun and stay safe out there!

-Novel Idea

Addition: A few folks have requested a PDF version of the file. Not sure why, because the ePub is a lot smaller and easier to work with. I used a simple online conversion program to do it and I’ve noticed there’s a few errors, but the links for the Table of Contents and the Content Warnings work. If you want that version, you can find it here.