Mar 172016
 

Happy Thursday everypony!

Novel here with something really cool.

Appleloosa Valley Worldspace Map

We’ve been cooking this up for a while now. Blue Nova has been slaving away at this for weeks and from what he told me, it was a bloody nightmare. Who knew that setting up a Fallout-style map would be so blasted hard? Well, it was, but Blue pulled it off with flying colors.

So I am thrilled to present to you the in-game map of Appleloosa Valley!

appleoosavalleymapnoroads

Now, I know that it looks like a fair amount of empty space on there, but there’s still a few adjustments we need to make to get it fully ready to use in-game. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, you’ll be able to see it on the PipBuck itself!

And in case you’re curious, this was done by taking screenshots from within the GECK and then stitching them together by hand. Nightmare fuel. Seriously.

Here’s another version of it that’s much more like the classic New Vegas PipBuck Map, complete with roads and railways!

AppleoosaValleyMapWithRoads

To mark a few highlights here, the large white mountain contains the massive structure of the Rock Farm South Complex. To the far northeast is the sheltered town of New Appleloosa, while the short road sticking out in the middle of the curve to the southwest of New Appleloosa is the Overlook. Finally, on the far west of the map is the Visionary stronghold of Topaz Lake and the Rock Farm Western Complex, which will be featured prominently in the first act of Gardens of Equestria: Dances of Light and Shadow.

But that’s not all I have for you today! No indeed! I am very proud to announce that we’ve had some promotions on the team!

Team Promotions

Blue Nova, the one behind that awesome map up there and so much of the cool custom artwork such as the Ministry of Peace and Steel Ranger poster, has generously agreed to become our new Creative Asset Director. He will now be leading the charge in making sure that our artwork and models are top-notch. His commitment to quality and drive will help tremendously and take an enormous load off of me.

In addition, EgoJonathon has agreed to take on the position of Technical Director and will be taking the lead of our scripting and technical aspects. With his extensive programming experience, Trench and I agreed he was a natural choice for the position.

Finally, everyone’s favorite Scripting Consultant, Red Kat, has taken up the mantle of QA Lead for still-forming QA Team. While she will not be doing any of the actual testing, she has a tremendous amount of experience in both active QA and managing QA tasks. This is in addition to her position as a consultant with the Manehattan Project.

In fact, it was her expertise that allowed me to finally break through the roadblocks that were preventing me from creating a unique vendor in GoE called the “Exchange Terminal.” The Exchange Terminal is based on the Lonesome Road Commissary, which allows players to repair gear and sell/buy items without having to leave the worldspace to find a NPC vendor. Makes a lot of sense because just about everything in the Divide is psychotically hostile. You aren’t going to find any shopkeepers in there. Just like that, the automated systems of the seemly deserted Rock Farm are still in effect…allowing you places to buy, sell and repair your gear (though you’ll always be able to ask Calamity for help repairing your gear. 😉 ). There may even be a way to hack the system to allow the terminals to store goodies that you don’t want to carry at the moment! (But I’m still working on that little trick). Oh, and don’t worry, you don’t need ED-E to unlock the terminals. 😉

But don’t worry, all this was done using scripting techniques, none of which were exclusive to Lonesome Road. So for now, the only DLC required remains Old World Blues (and that is not going to change. We’re simply using too many assets to make a non-DLC version).

QA Team

Thank you to everyone who’s applied for our newly forming QA Team. Red Kat will be with in the next several days and help you go through the “test experience.” If you’re interested in helping us out and getting to see the ever-evolving form of GoE, head on over to our new QA Team Recruitment Center!

YouTube Audiobook

Finally, I am so very happy to announce that we completed unlocking the last chapters of the Fallout: Equestria (The Manehattan Edition) audiobook on YouTube on Monday! You can now listen to the entire novel on YouTube!

That’s it for this week folks. Until next time, stay safe out there!

-Novel Idea

Nov 252015
 

NaNo-2015-Winner-Banner
NaNoWriMo/NaPoWriMo Victory

That’s right folks, I’m happy to report that as of Monday night, I’ve officially won National Novel Writing Month with “Gardens of Equestria: Dances of Light and Shadow!”

For those interested, here are the stats:

The Stats:
Novel Name: Gardens of Equestria: Dances of Light and Shadow
Word Count to Date: 50,048
Average Words Per Day: 2,176
Final Day Word Count: 3,638
Total Characters: 282,278
Total Paragraphs: 1,714
Total Lines: 1,819
Pages as Paperback: 135

This is my seventh consecutive win for National Novel Writing Month on a personal level and it has been well worth it. Why?

Because I now know the opening of Gardens of Equestria II: Racing Apotheosis for Fallout 4. 

It came to me while I was writing a short little commentary on the story. I now have a much better idea of what we’re going to do in GoE II (yes, I’m “rebranding it.”). And it’s going to be awesome. Seriously awesome.

Here’s something else awesome: The Manehattan Project has decided to offer up three beta keys for the 50K Winners of National Pony Writing Month, hosted by Equestria Daily. I’ve also decided on behalf of the Manehattan Project to toss in a Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void Collector’s Edition Digital Key for anyone who passes the 50K mark. (I’ve decided to decline any potential rewards myself).

Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm Beta Details

Now before you start clamoring for beta keys of your own, please note that these beta keys will only become active when “This Coming Storm” is ready for its beta. That’s likely not going to be for at least a few weeks minimum. We may be doing limited distribution of a few more later, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. The beta includes a full NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) similar to what Overmare does with their work. After all, we don’t want to spoil the surprise, do we?

Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm Development Update

As for development, this week will likely be slow for us for obvious reasons. That being said, I’m happy to say that both Trench and Wolf are back up and running after a nasty issue that was causing the GECK program to crash every time our central mod was loaded. (Took six hours to nail down that one. I had to copy my own Data folder to finally get that resolved). As for me, I’m thrilled that the full level decor is now complete for the Rock Farm Sector 2: Administration, an immense sprawling office complex where you’ll be hunting for your friends after separated by the Rock Farm’s erratic security systems.

I’ve also started lighting and decor on the biggest level I’ve ever designed: Sector 3, the heart of the Rock Farm’s R&D. It’s here where players will discover some of the most powerful weaponry ever conceived by the MAS and MWT along with unique armor and race to stop the brutal death of every living soul in Appleloosa Valley. It’ll be awesome.

Finally, on a personal note, to my utter shock, Gamestop has Fallout 4 PipBoys (Sorry folks, they sold out before this went live) in stock on Tuesday. I snagged one immediately, which means now I don’t have to worry about the French one coming (that ironically just arrived in San Francisco within a half hour of me making the new order). So I’ll finally get to play the game soon. Can’t say how thrilled I am.

After all, I need to play so I can come up with more cool ideas for GoE II!

Fallout: Equestria (The Manehattan Edition) Audiobook

We’re also going to be pausing our Fallout: Equestria (The Manehattan Edition) audiobook updates for a short time. We’re in the process of preparing the fourth and final version of the audiobook, with a completely re-recorded introduction and finale (with a very Audible-like style!) along with getting rid of the last series of flubs, repeated lines and glitches. Stay tuned for details!

That’s it for this week folks! For those applicable, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

-Novel Idea

(P.S. As someone who worked for ten years in retail, I’m personally boycotting all retail stores this weekend. If you must shop, please do not shop on Thursday. Don’t support those greedy companies who demand their employees come in on Thanksgiving while their Execs are at home with their families. And be extra kind to anyone this weekend at any store. Trust me. They need every iota of kindness they can get.)

 

Nov 192015
 

So I decided to get out a quick update to you folks this week, despite my claims last week. But I’ll try to make this short…er. Come on, it’s me. I’m not known for being incredibly concise, after all.

Gardens of Equestria: Dances of Light and Shadow

While I have plenty of experience working with other characters from other worlds, I usually pick a character who isn’t very well defined or fleshed out. While we’ve seen some of their thought processes and reactions, we don’t really know the person. I have to say, as I’m attempting to parallel the original Fallout: Equestria as much as possible (despite the fact that this Littlepip and company are not the same as the ones we know in Equestria), it’s a very difficult task.

For example, let’s take Littlepip. Littlepip goes through an enormous amount of changes in Fallout: Equestria (obviously) and I’m not talking about physical. I’m talking about psychological, emotional, relational and more. The filly two stepped out of Stable 2 is a far cry removed from the one who assaulted Old Appleloosa. That one is very different from the one who ventured into the Manehattan Ministry of Morale hub. Or the one who entered Fillydelphia. You get the idea. Character development is a challenging thing, especially with already created characters.

Nevertheless, I am doing my best and it’s going quite well. I’m quite a bit ahead of the curve. I’m currently at 37,873 words. Here’s the full stats:

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 12.36.45 PM

I should mention that I’m not done with my work today. I’ve been aiming for 2,200 words per day.

And as usual, with almost all of my stories, I have a general goal to make a novella or short story and it always gets a hell of a lot larger. Hell, right now, we’re finally facing the mysterious and sinister Induction Array beneath Appleloosa Valley, which plays a major part in Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 of “This Coming Storm.”

Updates On The Way

And what about “This Coming Storm” you ask? Well, I’m happy to say that after some struggles, we’re back in the full swing of production on the scripting side of things. My work on level design continues unabated (okay, somewhat abated due to finishing Legacy of the Void), but it’s going well. I’m looking forward to actually getting to get into this myself.

Things are happening! Yay!

In addition, we’ll be soon re-releasing all of our GoE music in a newer form. Got some fun plans there too, but I don’t want to give too much away.

Finally, one last update: I have personally done the last pass on “Fallout: Equestria (The Manehattan Edition).” I know there were still some flubs and errors in Version 3 and we want to make sure that you have the best possible reading experience. As someone who’s listened to hundreds (probably thousands) of hours of audiobooks, mainly through Audible, I want us to get as close to that level of quality as possible. We should have this out in the next couple of weeks. We’ll be updating the YouTube ones automatically and we’ll be also revising our Audiobook page. I know that most of you have likely already finished, but if you’re looking for another round, we’ll have it for you.

That’s it for today. We’ll be posting our usual three chapters of Version 3 up on YouTube right now, so feel free to check them out!


-Novel Idea

Nov 122015
 

Good afternoon everyone!

First, let’s get to the exciting stuff! I’m happy to report that I’m still ahead of the game when it comes to NaNoWriMo with Gardens of Equestria: Dances of Light and Shadow. I cracked the 20,000 word mark yesterday finishing Chapter 4, Wild Magic. And no, I’m not telling you what the chapter’s about. Theorize all you want though. 🙂

 

Littlepip being Adorable by Commander Sparkle

Littlepip being Adorable by Commander Sparkle

I hope you all are thoroughly enjoying Fallout 4. I’ve seen the headlines of various reviews and they look to be utterly spectacular. I’m really looking forward to getting into it, though as I said before, I get to wait a month to do it. It’s probably for the best. Between the work still remaining on This Coming Storm & NaNoWriMo, plus the insanely busy month this will be for me, adding Fallout 4 to the mix would just make things so very much harder.

Still, I’m totally jealous of all of you playing right now.


In case you missed it, in celebration of Fallout 4’s launch, we released a work-in-progress version of the ambient score for Topaz Lake. I think Corvus once again nailed it perfectly. I’ve never had someone get my “creative vision” and run with it so well before. Then again, since I’m usually a novelist, I rarely need to work with others. Believe it or not, it’s kinda hard sometimes to get everyone on the same wavelength. But it’s something I don’t need to worry about with Corvus. He definitely gets the levels I’ve designed and pumps out music that fits not only the area, but the story as well. It’s a rare gift and one for which I am incredibly grateful.

I’m also happy to report that final level design has started again on GoE. With the utter chaos of the last few weeks, I’ve had to focus my attention elsewhere, but last night I nearly finished the lighting for the Rock Farm’s Sector 2: Administration, a unique level where players will get to discover just what happened at the Rock Farm when the megaspells began to rain from the sky.

Here’s a little secret too: much more of the history and legacy of the Rock Farm is revealed within Dances of Light and Shadow. As you know, the Rock Farm is central to GoE: This Coming Storm and Appleloosa Valley in particular. I’m very glad that I get to expand on the lore of the facility within this story as Littlepip and her companions delve into the depths of the secret Steelstone Security Facility and beyond. In fact, you’ll actually get to see some of the areas featured in Dances of Light and Shadow within This Coming Storm.

But what I’m most looking forward to is the next level. Sector 3 is the central hub of the Rock Farm’s research and development facilities. While satellite facilities existed in the Western Complex beyond Topaz Lake (and below Topaz Lake as well), all military research was conducted in this massive lab. Dominated by an immense MAS-designed power core, this vertically-designed level will feature many of the weapons and armor unique to GoE including those we’ve featured in Smuggler’s Run. Trust me, this place will blow your mind as to the sheer scale. It’s one of the areas that we’ve kept the screenshots under wraps for the most part, having only small tight-view pictures so you can walk into this place and get the full power of the combined efforts of the MAS and MWT.

As for Smuggler’s Run, we’re planning on a massive update to Smuggler’s Run at the launch of GoE (and a minor update with several bugfixes in early December). Smuggler’s Run will actually be an integral part of GoE: This Coming Storm and we plan to set up an installer to make sure you have the current version. I should note that the This Coming Storm version of Smuggler’s Run will likely remove most or all weapons available in the preview mod and place them in their appropriate locations within the Rock Farm. We haven’t decided for sure yet, but we want these weapons to be completely unique.

That’s all for us today, save for the mandatory and promised update to the YouTube version of the Fallout: Equestria (The Manehattan Edition) audiobook.


Please note that we probably won’t have updates for the next two weeks. I personally have a special training I’m attending and of course the week after is Thanksgiving Weekend (I think). But we’ll update for the last week of November. I’ll also be redoing some of the music slides. For some reason, YouTube has made all the preview images super-grainy and I don’t know why. I’ll figure it out though. And I need to keep you appraised as to what’s going on with NaNoWriMo!

Have a great day and stay safe out there!

 

-Novel Idea

Nov 052015
 

We edit this post with the very freaking epic Fallout 4 Launch Trailer!


 

 

Good afternoon!

NaNoWriMo!

So the first question on your mind is probably “Did Novel actually start NaNoWriMo? Is he really that crazy?” Well, I’m 9,592 words in as of this morning. Which means I’m actually nearly 3,000 words ahead of the target.

So yes, I am just that crazy. I have to say that this is probably the most challenging story I’ve ever attempted. Having to figure out how much to inform our heroes about what happened in Equestria is difficult. I feel like I’m waking several tightropes at once. However, this is not my first foray into a pre-existing universe. I’m happy to say that I’ve won some serious awards for previous engagements in other people’s worlds.

It also helps that I am a devout fan of J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of the beloved science fiction epic, Babylon 5. And as many know, Kkat is as well. So interestingly enough, the stories seem to make sense to me.

Cool news for those participating in Equestria Daily’s NaPoWriMo (National Pony Writing Month): We are offering up three “beta keys” to people who pass the 50,000 word mark! So if you want to see GoE: This Coming Storm early, get crackin’!

(BTW, the picture for the cover is a temp version. I plan on totally redoing it).

Anyway, enough of the story (though expect update throughout the month!). Let’s talk GoE: This Coming Storm!

Staff Updates

First of all, I’m happy to announce that our former Technical Director, Red Kat, has decided to return to the Manehattan Project as a technical consultant. Thankfully, some of the real life assaults have lessened somewhat, giving her a bit more time. In addition, Wolfie will continue as one of our primary scripters, having moved over from modeling to help us make this game possible.

In addition, I’m also very happy to announce that we have yet another new member. This one is a personal friend of mine who’s decided to go under the name of Trench Broom (Trench Broom, in case you were wondering, is one of the nicknames for the famous “Thompson Machine Gun” better known as the Tommy Gun.). He’ll be joining us on the scripting side to help make this game happen, working directly with Wolf and myself.

Here you can find out a bit more about Trench Broom:

Trench Broom is a master of desenrascanço, his abilities honed over years spent in the trenches, cleaning up other people’s messes.

After being fed up with the war, he retreated to a stable (which one, he refuses to say) and spent his time in silent contemplation until he heard the call of the Gardens of Equestria crew.

He has been able to do a surprising amount of things, considering he has no hands or fingers, and the only magic he knows is “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.

In his spare time, he likes to:

– Build things out of spare parts he has laying around. Widgets, gadgets, any kind of –dgets, really.

– Play games where choices matter; half playing and half reminiscing, but always thinking, “What could I have done better” either way.

– Read self-help books due to stress from his choices always mattering.

I have yet to update the Staff page as things have been a bit busy, but I’ll be doing it soon. We’ve decided to merge the technical team in with the design team, making things a bit easier. At the moment, we have two teams: Design and Audio. Art, modeling, scripting and level design all fall under design, while sound effects, music and voicework fall under audio.

I’d also like to officially introduce Clanky4’s bio, who I mentioned a bit ago as being the epic modeler and animator behind the FO:NV Pony Mod recently released.

I have enjoyed the Fallout franchise since I was first introduced to Fallout 3. I can honestly say after meeting Trouble Man of The Pitt, my life was never really the same. At least until encountering Mr. House. He is truly the single greatest character in the entire Fallout franchise. I have modded a few other games such as Fallout 3, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and Civilization 4 (clearly the best one). Generally converting and rigging meshes onto various skeletons. Even if they obviously weren’t meant to be there.

Remember folks, we’re always looking for new talent. If you’re interested in helping out making GoE a reality, be it in scripting, voice acting, level design, artwork or PR, drop us a line at our Recruitment Page.

New Audiobook Chapter

Only one chapter this week folks. I’ve had a lot of trouble lately with iMovie not uploading correctly to YouTube (and making sure to take about an hour before actually erroring out). This week, Xenith enters the fray. I also apologize for the different pronunciations that I use instead of Crazed Rambling’s. You can find the latest chapter here.

Fallout 4 and GoE 2 Story

As many of you know this is going to be an eventful week. Many of us here at the Manehattan Project are huge Blizzard fans and several of us will be going to BlizzCon. (I for one cannot wait to see the full trailer for Warcraft. This movie is going to be freaking amazing). And you all know what happens next Tuesday: Fallout 4 is released!

Sadly, I had to get my PipBoy edition from France, so I’ll have to wait two weeks to play the dang thing. So I’ll be hiding in a “write-only” bubble to avoid spoilers. 😉

Speaking of spoilers, I recently discovered something about Fallout 4. It’s the only bit of information I actively sought out. However, I’ve decided to put it at the end of this post so (because at the moment, I can’t get the spoiler scripts to work right to hide it properly and the color trick isn’t working either). You’ll also get a little preview of some of the story planning for the end of GoE 1 and the beginning of GoE 2, plus Dances of Light and Shadow!

Tiny Fallout 4 Spoiler Alert: all it concerns is when the events of Fallout 4 occur in relation to New Vegas and Fallout 3. For those who are avoiding all spoilers, you should skip the next section.

—— Continue reading »

Oct 292015
 

What? What by Celestia does National Novel Writing Month have to do with Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm, Fallout: Equestria or the Manehattan Project? Well, I’m here to tell you the answer to exactly that question.

For the last five years, I have successfully won National Novel Writing Month, nailing 50,000 words in the month of November. I have done this through convention, the birth of two daughters, Black Fridays (though thankfully no more of those) and the general chaos of November.

This year, I have most of that with the addition of Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm and the release of Fallout 4 (Though I need to wait two weeks for my French Pip-Boy edition to get here).

So why in Celestia’s name would I attempt something as insane as NaNoWriMo now of all times?

Well, as many of you know, I sustained an injury back in January. I’m still feeling the effects of it, but one of the major ones has been pain while reading or writing. I normally wrote most days (or at least tried to) and haven’t in a long time. I want to change that…and no better way than jumping in the deep end. In addition, it helps keep my mind in the world of GoE.

So today, I’m announcing the upcoming novella “Gardens of Equestria: Dances of Light and Shadow.” (Name is subject to change). This story will bridge the gap between the events of Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm for Fallout: New Vegas and Gardens of Equestria: Racing Apotheosis for Fallout 4.

This story will also explain how they traveled all the was from New Pegasus to Boston (anyone got a good Pony name for Boston yet?). You’ll actually get hints of this in Chapter 3 of “This Coming Storm” when you face Topaz Lake among other places.

Now I hear you asking, “Really? Aren’t you just copying what Kkat did and doing it on Earth? And isn’t that essentially the story of Fallout 3 anyway?” Not quite, my friends, not quite. I could tell you why it’s different, but I don’t want to spoil “This Coming Storm” for you.

Another thing…this story will not be released until after GoE: This Coming Storm comes out. (Which also gives me enough time to give it the proper polish).

For more details, you’ll have to just stay tuned. ^^

Don’t worry, that’s not all we have for you today! We’ve got the next three chapters of FO:E (The Manehattan Edition) up for your listening pleasure on YouTube! Check out the link to the main playlist below.

 

Until next week folks, stay safe out there!

-Novel Idea