Aug 252016
 

Howdy everypony!

Novel Idea here! I know it’s been a little while since we last had a post, but remember we’ve decided to shift to a monthly update schedule. Heck, a few of you have asked if we’re still in business!

Well, I’m happy to report we are indeed still in business and have made some serious strides with some really cool internal tools including stuff like Version Control. What that means is we’ll be able to have multiple people working on the project at the exact same time! (If it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, you’ll need to take my word for it).

But wait! There’s more!

I’m happy to report the polishing touches upon Appleloosa Valley, our enormous worldspace you’ll be exploring in the events of This Coming Storm are almost complete. There’s still a bit left to do, but once that’s done, I hope to have some cool new Environment Trailers for you to enjoy.

Introducing Little Tinker!

Before we get to Blue Nova’s latest artistic masterpieces, I want to introduce a new member of the team. I’m very excited to welcome none other that Little Tinker to our team!

I first met Little Tinker in the Equestria Daily Contributor Skype Chat (that’s a really long name). As we were both technically-minded folks we hit it off fairly well and he has been kind enough to be a beta reader for my latest short story endeavours (which I’ll be chatting about at the end of the post).

But why should you care? Only because Little Tinker is the Sysadmin and a developer for none other than the Poniverse series of websites. The guy’s got more scripting and coding knowledge in his fetlock than I do in my entire body.

So please welcome him! I’m totally thrilled to have him on board. Now that I’ve prepped you, he’s his own introduction in his own words!

Little Tinker – Script Engineer

Charitably described as “happy-go-lucky” (but more accurately as incorrigible), Tinker failed the saving throw against Novel’s persuasion attempt and found himself added to the GoE Technical Team. While he has been known to write a line of code or two, this is his first foray into game scripting and is wondering what horrific crime he did in a past life for GECK to be his first game engine. He currently occupies his days with his duties here, and at Poniverse and Ponified Cards. Tink has no free time.

New Artwork!

Now, let’s talk art!

It’s been a while since we’ve had new material to show you. So today, you’ve got three completely original pieces!

We’ll start with something plain ol’ fun!

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Seriously, how real does this look? You’ll be seeing this all over, most notably before the secret Steelstone Security Complex! (Nova threw this together one night during our Director’s Meeting in just a few minutes. It’s epic)

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A twist on the magazine first revealed by Fallout: Equestria – Project Horizons, Martial Mayhem is the Unarmed Magazine replacement for “This Coming Storm.” While Kkat did an excellent job with all the Skill Books, Somber tackled the magazines and we need to give credit where it’s due! (That being said, I wanted something a bit tamer than the original description!)

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Finally, we have my favorite of the bunch. Blue Nova outdid himself with this gorgeous Ministry of Peace poster “We Must Do Better.” While it’s a bit different from the original descriptions, we wanted to reflect that classic 1930s/World War II poster style. Seriously, I just look at this and wonder what in the world I did to get such amazing artistic talent on the Manehattan Project!

A Note From Novel

So now is my little bit. I’d like to let you all know I’ve released the next story in my ongoing series which I have decided to finally dub the Wavelengths Timeline. Reasons why this name was chosen will be revealed on my FimFiction blog next week (but you guys get to know first).

Grading on a Bell Curve

Synopsis:

Sunset hates dealing with chaos surges, no matter how amusing Moon Dancer finds them. After a particularly annoying surge while tutoring Moon Dancer in her advanced telekinetic studies, Sunset takes refuge in the teacher’s lounge. Though she was only looking for a cup of scalding hot tea, Sunset finds a pony walking down the same path she once walked, giving her an opportunity she’s never had before…

To help somepony not out of guilt, but just because it’s the right thing to do.

I’ve also written up a few more followups, if you enjoyed my previous offerings. To check them out, head over to Novel’s Nook.

That’s all for now folks!

We’ll see you next time!

-Novel Idea

Jul 282016
 

Howdy folks!

Sorry about last week. Believe it or not, last Thursday I actually thought it was still Wednesday. Ever completely lose a day in a week? Seriously, I was really thrown off. Kinda scary.

So today I’ve got a little something extra for you.

Additions & Promotions!

But first, it’s time to unveil the newest member of the Manehattan Project!

BlurredTheLines – Quality Assurance Technician 

Hey there, I’m BlurredTheLines, I’ve been on this ride since October 2012. When I first joined this fandom, I was so in awe of all this fan-created content that I wanted to give something back. I threw myself into a number of pursuits, determined to find something I was good at. You name it, I tried it; drawing, writing, voice acting, vector art, animation, and so on. Though I didn’t really find anything I was good at until I tried vector art, but I did acquire some skills in the process. Since then, I’m always looking for ways I can contribute to the fandom.

But wait, there’s more! We’ve also got a consultant who’s joined the team in full! None other than the one behind the original remaster of the Fallout: Equestria audiobook by Crazed Rambling!

Sonic Radboom – Audio Post-Production Engineer

I started watching MLP: FIM during S1 hiatus but at the time was simply a fan of the show. I was, at the time, still working on releasing anime for people to download and watch. it wasn’t until S2 started and I found EQD and all the amazing things the brony fandom was creating that I would finally consider myself a brony. With my newfound passion, I couldn’t just sit back and take in the epic content being generated, I needed to give something back!

I started by tweaking and adjusting my own personal collection of MLP Audiobooks, but then I started the original remaster of Fallout: Equestria by Crazed Rambling. Eventually, this was picked up by the Manehattan Project as a base for their “Manehattan Edition” of the audiobook. This led to me joining Manehattan, first as a consultant and now on staff in charge of audio post-production.

And finally, I am happy to announce a promotion on the team!

Ebon Quill Quest Designer & Worldbuilding Writer

Ebon’s been hard at work going through the entire script of “This Coming Storm,” including every line of the 80,000 words of dialogue I wrote. With a long background of D&D Game Master experience and his own formidable writing chops, he’s offered to lend his considerable talents to making “This Coming Storm” the story-driven experience you deserve. The best part about Ebon is that his writing style is radically different from mine, so he’ll be able to see things I would have totally missed. In fact, I’ve already spoken to him about helping me to write the story for GoE 2!

Change in Blogging Frequency

A bit of housekeeping. Originally, I had intended to make this a weekly update and that’s slowly drifted to a bi-weekly update. However, since we’re at the point where we don’t have a great deal to show you that’s new, we’re going to be shifting to a monthly update. Less frequency, but hopefully with more content! However, I reserve the right to throw out special posts, so keep a weather eye out.

A Bit From Novel

The Application of Unified Harmony Magics V3

My turn! I’m happy to announce my first MLP short story is now available for your reading enjoyment! You can find it here on FiMFiction. Not only that, but I’ve created a custom .EPUB for you to enjoy as well. You’ll find that below.

But as usual, there’s more. I decided to take a little corner of GoE.com for myself. Why? Because I built this site from the ground up, that’s why! And because I can. Mostly that. So now, you can head over to Novel’s Nook (it’s clever, shut up) any time you want.

There you’ll find all manner of things, including my own latest short stories and my upcoming MLP novel, as well as my various rambling follow-ups on some of the best of FiMFiction in the world, stuff that any fan of MLP should enjoy.

Anyone who’s read Fallout: Equestria should love the Hard Reset trilogy. You’ll find my follow-up on the Nook, as well as my massive gallery of cover designs (24 authors are now using them!) and a few more random things.

I also have a new short story coming out soon as well. Don’t worry, I’m still working plenty on GoE (my refinements to Appleloosa Valley are simply massive. I’m literally created entire new mountain ranges and redone entire zones.) but writing will always remain my greatest passion.

(And Sunset Shimmer ties with Twilight for best pony. Sorry kids. It’s a fact. Accept it.)

That’s all for this week folks! Have a great day and we’ll see you soon!

Sunset Nothing Productive

-Novel

Jul 072016
 

I’ve got some big news for you today everypony. Seriously major news. Epic news.

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I’m beyond ecstatic to announce that principal level design production is complete for Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm.

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So I hear you asking, “What the heck does that mean?!”

Well, settle down. I’m about to tell you.

It means that the Appleloosa Valley and 70+ levels of GoE: This Coming Storm have all been structurally completed, decorated with the proper aesthetic, refined for gameplay and more. Containers have been added for weapons. Shields and forcefields are up. Massive complex machinery has been installed.

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The closest analogy is when principal filming is complete for a movie. While there’s a ton of work that goes into any movie after filming is complete (audio, special effects, music, etc, etc), it’s still a major milestone. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve still got a long way to go, but this is a big deal. In celebration, we’ll be releasing a new environmental preview trailer in the coming weeks. You might even get a glimpse of some of the secret areas I haven’t revealed yet!

The command center of Security Redoubt 43-A

So get hyped people.

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In fact, here are a few things to help you with your hype! Check out what’s been done already with our first two Environmental Preview Trailers!

And that leads us to part two of today’s post: recruitment!

We have immediate openings on our Technical Team for scripters. Scripters are what make the game really happen. They’re the ones who control the dialogue, the quests and the encounters. They work hand and hand in making the world of GoE real.

If you have any experience with game design (specifically Skyrim, Fallout 4, New Vegas or Fallout 3), especially with quest design, scripting, encounters or anything similar, please let us know by heading to our Recruitment Center.

We need your help folks. If you want to see GoE sooner rather than later, it’s time to pitch in and make this game!

That’s all for this week folks. See you in two weeks!

-NI

P.S. I’m also looking for beta readers (otherwise known as pre-readers) for a couple stories that don’t involve GoE or FO:E at all. If you’re interested, hit me up in the comments! Time for you folks to see that I can write. 😉

Jun 232016
 

Happy Thursday everypony!

You know the annoying thing about working on the Gateway Research Facility? I've got all this totally awesome stuff I can't show you! While you may think this is me just teasing you, it's honestly frustrating! I'm really proud of the design of this place, but since it's the grand finale of This Coming Storm...I just can't reveal it until launch. It would be like revealing the end of any big video game. After all...

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Gah. Extremely frustrating. The consequence, of course, is that I don't have a lot to show you at present, at least in the way of new stuff. Other surprises are in the works, but I want a day-one reveal of it, meaning you can experience those surprises the moment we announce them.

We do way too much behind the scenes. Grrrrr...

So instead, I'm unlocking a part of Stable 207 you haven't seen before!

Stable 207 is (currently) divided into several different sections. There's Auxiliary Support A, Auxiliary Support B, Main Level, the Living Quarters, the Com Tower and the Com Tower Exterior. You've all seen the Main Level (it's very close to what we first revealed in our Teaser Trailer and two weeks ago we gave you a little sneak peak at the Living Quarters.

Today, you get to see something different.

The Com Tower.

The Communications Tower of Stable 207 is built directly into the mountainside with an enormous platform jutting from the rock under the shadow of Stable 207's powerful satellite arrays. A massive column of arcano-tech conduits and spark generators dominates the center space of this advanced section of the facility. Ringed by numerous catwalks, utility access corridors and storerooms, the communications tower of Stable 207 rivals the complexity and capability of the MAS Emergency Broadcast System hub in Tenpony Tower. It is from here that DJ-PON3 tweaks and adjusts the signals from his sources across the Wasteland, giving tips and saving lives as far as his voice can reach.

For those of you who remember, there's a unique level within the Fallout 3 DLC Broken Steel. It's your first mission--where you see the fate of Liberty Prime--and you take out an Enclave bunker. This chaotic encounter was one of the few places in Fallout where you had vertical-based combat in a tower structure (and you also did it with a team of Knights) However, even that was only four stories high.

The Com Tower is twelve stories high. And it's all visible and accessible from the start.

What's worse...your enemy has the high ground. That's right, you'll be fighting up the massive superstructure of the Com Tower.

You'll be racing against time to stop the nefarious invader's plan for Stable 207 that would silence DJ-PON3 forever...and cost you and your friends your lives. You'll fight through hijacked security systems, hardened shock troopers, lethal tech analysts and much, much more. And at the top of Stable 207, you'll be dealing with the deadly Lieutenant Colonel Windfury. And he's not alone.

Because he called in air support to help take you down.

Without further ado, I give you the Stable 207 Com Tower!

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On a side note, the following gif sums up my level of sanity today.

Junkrat Puppet

 

Now, as for a personal note, as I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, I'm also doing Cover Art for various FiMFiction stories. I've sent them off to the authors and most of them have decided they liked them! So go check out the stories.

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Long Road to Friendship by the Albinocorn

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Summer Island by Bachiavellian

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The Jet Powered Pegasus by billymorph

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Rise of the Solar Wind by Impossible Numbers

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Morning Light by RadiantBeam

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Reclaimed by RadiantBeam

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Rule of Three by RadiantBeam

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 262016
 

Happy Thursday everypony!

Novel Idea here, as usual, with your weekly Manehattan Update!

Things are going pretty well over here. We’re finally starting to fill some of these positions we needed, though we’re still looking for a few more artists. If you’re interested in helping out, head over to our Recruitment Page!

I’m happy to announce that we’ve also submitted “This Coming Storm” and “GoE: This Coming Storm Main Theme” to the Ponyville Live radio network. So if you listen to that great selection of stations, you might just be hearing us in the near future! We’ve also updated our Soundcloud page with the Main Theme and new Album Art for both songs, both of which can be downloaded there.

But today is about art of another kind. Namely, the vocal kind!

During GoE’s conception, I came across a companion mod for Fallout: New Vegas that featured the Wasteland Five and Homage. It was great to see these characters, but I realized quickly they just weren’t working for me. First of all, they didn’t have any custom dialogue and that just bugged me (I found out that there was a very good reason for it as the framework the mod used to build the companions made it nearly impossible to have custom dialogue). And then there was the voice thing. While Skyrim had the mod that allowed original characters to act as if they’re speaking even without a voice actor, New Vegas (to the best of my knowledge) never got that ability.

So when it came time to do GoE, I was absolutely determined to have every single character fully voiced by good voice actors that could do these characters we’ve come to know and love justice.

Thankfully, through the magic of friendship (and networking), that’s actually happened. We’re still deep into recording the 80,000 lines of dialogue contained with “This Coming Storm,” but we’re doing very well.

However, I’ve made a grave error. You see, I haven’t handled any of the Voice Actor stuff! In fact, I hadn’t even met some of them (virtually, of course). Everything went through our Vocal Director!

This, of course, was completely unacceptable. These people are working tirelessly to create the characters you’ll fight alongside and against in your quest to save two worlds.

You’ll be hearing Calamity’s twang as you ask him to help you with repairs, Littlepip’s anger when you find you’ve been played, Velvet’s impatience when she finds that you’ve been using Wasteland drugs and Homage’s teasing when she speaks about Littlepip. Watcher will be there, trying desperately to explain what’s going on. DJ-PON3 will be belting out that iconic voice over the radio. Silver Bell will be eager to sell you stuff in Absolutely Everything and the Enclave officers are more than happy to tell you exactly what’s going to happen to you if you oppose them.

So, without further ado, it’s time to reveal the full cast list of Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm! We’ve actually opened a brand-new page where you can find out all about these amazingly talented people. But let’s just dive right in!

Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm Voice Cast

Yuni – Littlepip & Eagle Eye

I found out about this project from Corvus, he thought that I would be a good fit for LilPip. Him and I actually met on my only other voice acting experience. That was a small role where I played a kitty in an animation.

Tyro – Calamity & Cloud Hunt

I found the project from a Reddit post after the previous Calamity had to suddenly vacate the position. I sent in some test files from previous things I had recorded and the voice director at the time sent me back a picture of Rarity gasping. Which I think was a good thing.

I have no real prior VO experience save for little things I have recorded for fun, but I have a nice microphone and I’m eager to try more. I wasn’t expecting the ‘more’ to be one of the main voices players will be hearing throughout the course of the mod! I’m nervous, but excited to see where things go.

I’m mainly a roleplayer and fic-writer, though I haven’t written anything in a while. I came to the MLP fandom just before season 2 of the current generation aired, though only discovered FoE once a friend of mine started writing his own things based on the story.

Polyphonic – Velvet Remedy, Candi & Rain Check

Polyphonic has voice acted since 2001, became a fan of Fallout with the release of Fallout 3 in 2008, and has been with the My Little Pony fandom through thick and thin since the first time she saw Rescue at Midnight Castle in 1987. She’s an avid modder, having worked on mods for Fallout 3, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and World of Warcraft. She’s also one of the few MLP fans she knows who DOESN’T hate Equestria Girls, and has been enjoying Fallout 4 quite a bit.

Strange Fiction – Steelhooves, Professor Fairweather & Render

Strange Fiction has been acting in theater for over eight years, his more notable parts including Sir Toby Belch in William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Luther Billis in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific. He’s also done some background work in the film industry, including the TV show Manhattan and the movie Independence Day: Resurgence. Gardens of Equestria is his first voice work, and he hopes he did the amazing characters justice.

Mirage – Homage & Doctor Flagbearer

My name is Georgiana, I’m 19. I’m studying forensics and criminology, which takes up a lot of time. 

I first found the project when the demo was released on the nexus, and thought I’d have a closer look. 

When I saw that voice actresses were wanted I thought it couldn’t hurt to apply, as I’d actually always wanted to be an actress, before realising that, sadly, science is a more viable career. 

This is actually my first voice acting role, and I was very excited when I got the parts of Homage and Dr. Flagbearer. 

Blue Nova (Creative Asset Director) – Watcher & Gemstone

Nova, also known as on sites such as DeviantArt by the handle “Droakir”, is a professional freelance illustrator and independent comic artist.

An avid fan of both the MLP and Fallout franchises, it was only natural that eventually he would discover the perfect blend of the two known as Fallout: Equestria. Now he is joining the team and lending his talents to make the rich history of the world come to life in the form of faded billboards, worn out old posters and musty book covers.

Nova spends his free time reading, drawing, writing music, tinkering with electronics, and building artificial superintelligences. 

Corvus (Music & Audio Director) – DJ-PON3 & Blackhoof

Howdy! I’m Corvus, music lover and devoted fan of the Equestrian wasteland. I’m the type of fella who takes a bit of comfort in knowing that no matter how hard I try, I’ll never make anything that sounds as perfect as a thunderstorm. But that certainly won’t keep me from tryin’! Anyway, I feel honored to have the opportunity with my many projects to get to have a say in what the Equestrian wasteland sounds like. That’s about all I have for now, expect to hear a lot more from me soon!

Red Kat (QA Lead) – Silver Bell

Formerly an Executive Producer and the Technical Director of the Manehattan Project, the demands of real life forced Red Kat to take a step back from the project. We are delighted to have her back as a consultant, which generally means bothering her whenever we can’t figure something out. She has also recently taken charge of our newly formed QA Team.

Red Starr – Railright & Colonel Vanquish

I’m 24 year old college student working on my masters degree. I heard about the project through a friend who saw the opening for Calamity, and I sent in an audition. I’ve provided voice work for a few short videos during college, but I haven’t really voiced anything for the fandom outside of info videos on the animation channel I’m part of.

Zedachyia Aturr – Crane & Major Squall

My name is Zedachyia, I’ve been an aspiring voice actor for what feels like ages now. Sadly, I’ve got no practical experience with voice acting. But hopefully the Gardens project changes all that.

I found the Gardens project through Novel Idea’s open casting call on Reddit, and was lucky enough to be selected. When I’m not mucking about in the voice world, I play video games, listen to music, or run or participate in pathfinder games.

Somnus – Midnight Storm

I’m an engineer by trade. I participated in theater back in high school and loved it, but this is my first voice acting gig. I found the project through Orion.

Inkblot – Gail

Inkblot is age 32, a therapist, and found the project via a friend. Her favorite pony is the inimitable Rarity.

Grizwald – Redeye

[Pinkie Pie, you bring that bio right back here! Excuse me folks. I need to chase a pony *Runs off*]

Novel Idea (Executive Producer) – Script Legacy, Doctor Master & Bob the Deathclaw

You all know me and what I do here. For the most part at least. So it seemed only fitting that I voice the mad scientist Doctor Master. I’m also the poor beleaguered Script Legacy, who you heard in our very first teaser trailer. I did the chapter titles, quotes and footnotes, as well as the intro and outro for the Fallout: Equestria (Manehattan Edition) audiobook project. However, these were the first times I’ve ever voiced anything, so this is yet another new skill to work on. Don’t worry, I’m still working plenty hard on all the other stuff.

Finally, if you made it this far (kudos to you), I’ll give you a little treat: I’m working on something potentially very big. I’ve already cleared the first major hurdle and I’m now waiting for a response on the second one. After that, we’ve got a big announcement for you…maybe a chance to get a much more personal look at GoE! 😉

That’s all for this week folks. Have a great day and stay safe out there!

-NI

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.

puppysmiles_by_vector_brony-d7vfipe

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.

Apr 212016
 

Happy Thursday everypony!

Novel Idea here with your usual Manehattan Update. As promised, we have the next two new music trailers. Though the Smuggler’s Run Theme remains firmly ensconced at the top of my favorites list, he definitely knocked it out of the park with both of these pieces. The best part about working with Corvus is that I can give him this really abstract idea of what I’m looking for in level music (or just show him what I have done for the level itself) and he can just whip up music that matches it more perfectly than I imagined.

Stable 16 is inspired by the ill-fated Stable 24 in Fallout: Equestria with one very specific difference: there’s much more than just monsters in the depths of this Stable. I wanted haunting, eerie music where you were sure something was about to jump out at you…because it will…oh it will. I remember when I first walked through the level in-game after my first design pass. Hell, it creeped me out and I designed the damn thing! Corvus nailed it. So if you haven’t heard it, hit the link below to check out the new music trailer for Stable 16!

Next we have the worldspace music for Appleloosa Valley itself. You’ll be hearing this a lot as you wander through the expanse of Appleloosa Valley, journeying to Stable 16, New Appleloosa, Topaz Lake, the Rock Farm and more. I wanted something that gave a feel of fresh wide-open spaces, a place where you still have that frontier feel that New Appleloosa gave you, but a bit wider. I wanted something that felt a bit like Firefly’s frontier worlds. The Wasteland is here, but it isn’t in the soil. Remember, Appleloosa Valley was never hit by a megaspell through the protection of the Rock Farm’s defense grid and the unexpected help from the nearby Lucky 38. We also wanted something a bit more iconic and memorable than the basic New Vegas Wasteland theme, but wouldn’t be too distracting from the gameplay. (It’s a hard balance). But now, sit back and relax and listen to the wonderful strumming of the Appleloosa Valley theme.

That’s all for this week folks, nice and short. Next week, you’ll be getting the last two of the musical score trailers.

But did you know that the week after that is the one year anniversary of the Manehattan Project? That’s right. On May 7, 2015, we unveiled Gardens of Equestria to the world with a full website, a remastered edition of Fallout: Equestria audiobook (the only complete version of the audiobook available at the time) and the GoE Teaser Trailer.

Wow…it’s hard to believe we’ve come so far since then.

So on May 5, 2016, we’re going to have some really cool and really special for you. A few really cool somethings to celebrate this special anniversary. It’ll blow your mind. Hell, another cool idea just came to me as I was writing this and we’ll be doing that too!

You’ll definitely want to be here on May 5. Because it’s going to be awesome.

Apr 142016
 

Happy Thursday everypony!

Sorry about the last couple weeks. We’ve been hard at work on a multitude of projects, but some of them are secrets and some of them aren’t quite ready enough to show you. After all, we only want to provide the best for you!

It’s in that vein that I am so very proud to present to you the latest in our series of trailers and the beginning of our music relaunch!

Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but in Fallout: New Vegas, the music tends to be on the subtle side. In fact, in many places, it’s barely noticeable at all. Thankfully, Fallout 4 has taken a different approach (My favorite in-game music has to be the one in the Switchboard and the Railroad HQ) and that’s the approach we want. Music is an integral component of any gaming experience. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…some of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had were to epic scores. Such as my all-time favorite, the finale to Mass Effect 2.

But we wanted to give you a better picture of just where you’ll be hearing this music in GoE. So we’ve designed a new series of trailers highlighting some of the awesome areas awaiting you in This Coming Storm. Blue Nova, our Creative Asset Director, took charge and created some cool subtle visualizer effects to the Manehattan Shield along with setting up the slideshow. Exterior shots were done with the help of the wonderful Nevada Skies mod (which we strongly recommend no matter what!).

Music, as always, is by our incomparable and irreplaceable Music & Audio Director, Corvus. Level design and trailer design is by Novel Idea.

Now let’s get to it already!

Don’t worry, we’ve got more on the way! We’ll be releasing two of these a week for the new couple of weeks. After that, you’ll get a special preview of the enormous Overmare’s Quarters of Stable 207, a massive living space for you and all your companions (and the second player home in GoE!)

Not only that, but we may have something even cooler for you either next week or the week after. A special treat. But it’s a surprise, so I can’t tell you more. 😉

That’s it for this week folks! Have an awesome day and we’ll see you next week!

-NI

Mar 242016
 

Good Thursday to you all!

Novel Idea here with your weekly GoE update! Today, we’ve got something special. While we’re keeping a vast majority of the immense Rock Farm under wraps until launch, I’ve decided that you should get to see one particular part of it…the Security Redoubt 43-A, better known as the Rock Farm Security Bunker!

The command center of Security Redoubt 43-A

The command center of Security Redoubt 43-A

Each major MWT installation had some sort of security bunker on or near the premises. These Redoubts were designed as a command and control point for Equestria’s military forces if one of the Princesses or Ministry Mares was caught in one of the facilities during a major crisis. Sadly, none of these individuals were at a MWT facility when the bombs fell. As such, bunkers such as the one in the Rock Farm remained uninhabited. While many of these places fell into disrepair as their associated facilities failed, the Rock Farm was unique. 43-A remained in fully operational status, though the communication lines, which were designed to go through the unfinished Stable 207 nearby, were never connected into Equestria’s military network.

Bunker Primary Access 1

Bunker Primary Access 1

As with all MWT Redoubts, the Security Bunker is outfitted with some of the most advanced technology developed at the Rock Farm, including a small dormitory, CO’s quarters, a dining mess and storage facilities.

Bunker Dorm 2

Bunker Dormitory

CO's Quarters

Bunker CO Quarters

Due to the Rock Farm’s liaison work with the Ministry of Peace, the Bunker was also outfitted with the powerful Autonomous Healing Booth Mark III and a fully stocked medical bay. This healing booth not only can entirely heal a body of radiation and crippling injuries, but even had the full cosmetic subroutines unlocked for reasons that are still not entirely clear.

Bunker Med Bay Interior

Autonomous Healing Booth Mark III

Bunker Med Supplies

Healing Potions and Other Medical Supplies

Bunker Med Bay Supplies 2

Medical Supplies II

Finally, no security bunker would be complete without a fully outfitted armory, complete with an Exchange Terminal tied directly into the Rock Farm’s arcano-tech fabrication grid. Through this device, anyone using the bunker will be able to buy and sell items as they would with any vendor.*

*(Please note that the MWT is aware of the current flaw in the Exchange Terminals that allows for bottlecaps to be used instead of requisition tokens. Exchange Terminal Mark IIs will rectify this design oversight. Any personnel found using bottlecaps instead of the proper currency will be required to pay the full amount in addition to a week’s pay. Repeated offenses may result in further disciplinary action up to and including termination and/or military sanction.)

Rock Farm Exchange Terminal

Bunker Armory Interior

Unique Armor & Weapons Developed at the Rock Farm

Bunker Armory 2

Ammunition Supplies

Now that the tour is complete, let me tell you why I’m showing this to you! As you likely may have guessed, this is indeed one of two player housing locations available to you in GoE: This Coming Storm! Both the Security Redoubt 43-A and Stable 207 will be available as player homes. The Security Redoubt will also include a teleportation matrix talisman, allowing the player to return there at any time. From here, you’ll also be able to explore most of the Rock Farm if you happened to miss something inside. You’ll also find powerful upgrades for all of your companions within, provided as the spoils of war for helping end the threat located deep with the Maneframe Nexus of the Rock Farm, as well as special equipment for you and you alone.

Bunker War Room 2

C&C II

Bunker Inter-Sector Teleporter

Inter-Sector Teleporter into the Rock Farm

Surface Access Bay 1

Surface Access Bay

Two last things. The first you may have missed above…but we now have healing potions in-game! That’s right! The mysterious changes have even swept through the medical supplies of the wasteland, turning all stimpacks into the familiar glowing healing potion we’ve come to know and love! (The Super Stimpacks haven’t yet changed…but rumor is that they will…)

Healing Potions

Now with a special strawberry and carrot taste!

And finally, some of you may notice a couple things. First of all, why does the Bunker look so different from the rest of the Rock Farm? Secondly, doesn’t the War Room look somewhat familiar? Well, all Security Redoubts were built with the same general design schematics, while each of the associated facilities were designed to the needs of the facility. So it’s not unusual for a Security Redoubt to have a different design aesthetic.

But you likely know the real reason.

The original bridge of the EHS Nimbus

The bridge of the EHS Nimbus from the original storyline of Gardens of Equestria

That’s right folks…the reason the War Room looks so familiar is that it is indeed the bridge of the EHS Nimbus, back before GoE became GoE: This Coming Storm. I was very sad when this epic mission and epic ship got cut for time, so I decided that it needed to live on in some way. And considering how this was originally designed as the Enclave command center from Fallout 3, the idea just fell into place! So the Nimbus lives on in GoE, though in an underground, non-Enclave way…though the whole non-Enclave thing will change the moment you step outside of the Bunker!

A few other things to check out: we now have the Ministry of Peace and Steel Ranger Recruitment posters live and in the game, along with a brand-new MWT Master Control Console. We’ve also designed a MoP Master Control Console and are in the process of creating a MAS variant as well. (Bonus points if you can find the little “easter egg” in the MWT Control Console. 😉 )

That’s it for this week folks. I hope you’ve enjoyed your preview at the Security Redoubt 43-A…the Rock Farm Security Bunker, your rewarding for fighting through the harrowing depths of Installation 043 and making it through to the other side. But don’t worry, there’s still much more to come.

So we’ll see you next week!

-Novel Idea