Chatlog mit Jesse Heinig

22.05.2009 – Chatlog mit Jesse Heinig

Jesse Heinig war als Programmierer und zusätzlicher Game Designer an der Entwicklung von Fallout 1 beteiligt. Leider ist der Chatlog bis dato nur in englischer Sprache verfügbar. Eine deutsche Übersetzung ist vorerst nicht geplant. Uninteressante bzw. nicht auf Fallout bezogene Einträge wurden der Übersichtlichkeit wegen herausgelöscht.


[00:17] <Mikael_Grizzly> As a representative of talking animals, I’d like to state that we resent being treated as inherently goofy.

[00:17] <Mikael_Grizzly> Also, hello there :]

[00:18] <Jesse_Heinig> hiya

[00:18] <Jesse_Heinig> * shrugs * May be because the talking animal is typically associated with children’s shows/movies in the US culture, so it’s automatically cast as something childish and inherently goofy.

[00:18] <Jesse_Heinig> Obviously „Maus“ is full of talking animals and is anything but goofy.

[00:18] <Jesse_Heinig> „Watership Down“ ain’t exactly kid stuff either.

[00:19] <Ausir> well, but these don’t have animals talking with people, do they?

[00:19] <Mikael_Grizzly> Indeed. Overall I find that Europe has a less of a „it’s kid stuff“ approach.

[00:19] <Mikael_Grizzly> It might be our proximity to France.

[00:20] <Jesse_Heinig> Nope. Outside of „A Boy and His Dog“ there is not a lot that would inform the Fallout world with talking animals as serious business, I suppose.


[00:20] <Mikael_Grizzly> Outside cybernetic Enclave canines.


[00:21] <Jesse_Heinig> Cyber-dogs . . . I like the one in Snow Crash myself 🙂


[00:22] <Ausir> Jesse_Heinig: just wondering, although you probably won’t remember. a FEV research holodisk mentions flatworms being experimented on with FEV. were these meant to be the ancestors of floaters? they look rather flatwormy to me

[00:23] <Jesse_Heinig> Couldn’t tell ya. I am not really privy to the backstory of floaters. Chris Taylor might know. It’s *possible* that centaurs and floaters had a specific backstory made up and written down somewhere, but it’s also *possible* that they were just weird monsters that artists made up and which were then installed into the game. I don’t know which.

[00:24] <Mikael_Grizzly> I was curious about the European Commonwealth, was anything concrete written on it, besides the introductory narration and Vatican getting the nuke?

[00:24] <Ausir> Chris doesn’t remember either 🙂

[00:24] <Ausir> centaurs are supposed to be a mix of various people and animals thrown into the FEV vats together

[00:24] <Jesse_Heinig> I’ll ask Avellone next time I see him

[00:24] <Jesse_Heinig> Yeah, I know about that aspect of centaur history

[00:24] <Jesse_Heinig> Just I don’t know if the art was made first and the story later, or the story first and the art made to fit the concept

[00:25] <Ausir> I doubt there was much backstory written about the world outside the US

[00:25] <Ausir> aside from the timeline

[00:25] <Cthulhugoat> Did you like Fallout 3?

[00:26] <Mikael_Grizzly> That’s why I’m asking, was there anything more concrete, like a list of countries that existed or a rough sketch.

[00:26] <Cerebral_Plague> Lets mark down countries that wouldn’t exist.

[00:27] <Mikael_Grizzly> I know I’d do that, to be able to lay out at least some basic relations between the countries pre-War.

[00:27] <Cerebral_Plague> Lets start off right after the time line switches, would isreal exist?

[00:27] <Ausir> I think one of the devs said that they didn’t write any detailed backstory so that they wouldn’t be too constricted in any future games

[00:27] <Jesse_Heinig> Europe . . . we kinda had our hands full with just the LA basin and valley areas 🙂 Seriously, a lot of the design docs focused primarily on stuff that would have an immediate impact in the game, and the EU was far enough away that in a world with no long-range communication I don’t think it had much to add to the SoCal area.

[00:28] <Mikael_Grizzly> Hehe, I see. I was just curious if anything else was written, beyond the fact that my continent was already a wasteland by 2077.


[00:29] <Jesse_Heinig> I didn’t write anything for Europe and I don’t recall reading any Europe design docs. Someone else may have done some material, but I didn’t read it.


[00:30] <Jesse_Heinig> Fallout 3 – I mentioned in the interview with Ausir that I had a fun time playing it. It’s certainly different from its predecessors in many ways but it’s still a fun game. You just have to go in expecting it to be different. If you expect a remake of Fo1 & Fo2, obviously, you will not get it. 😉


[00:30] <Ausir> J.E. Sawyer did make up some stuff about Europe around the time he was woring on Van Buren

[00:30] <Cthulhugoat> =)

[00:31] <Cthulhugoat> I enjoyed its first 12 hours

[00:31] <Mikael_Grizzly> Jesse_Heinig: Is there more backstory to Ian than what we see in game?

[00:32] <Jesse_Heinig> A little – Ian was kind of an experiment; the earliest design docs called for it to be a party-based RPG, and later that got cut because it was deemed unnecessary, so a lot of stuff wasn’t implemented in the code for it. I thought that, using some tricks in the scripting engine, I could make persistent party members doable, so I made Ian as a test case.

[00:32] <Jesse_Heinig> It sorta worked – there was that bug with the multiplying Ians, and some other problems – but Tim Cain, Jesse Reynolds and the other guys sorted out the code issues and we decided to keep ‚em in the game.

[00:33] <Ausir> as for the flatworms thing, I just asked Jason Anderson 🙂

[00:33] <Mikael_Grizzly> I just got the image of you, as Dr Frankenstein, bringing our loveable long haired backstabber to life.

[00:33] <Mikael_Grizzly> Ausir: Share the knowledge.

[00:33] <Ausir> „sounds good but no… I made the floaters, and I don’t rember any refrence to flatworms.“

[00:34] <Jesse_Heinig> Ian was a no-nonsense guy who worked as a caravan guard. In a sense, you know how you can work for any of the companies in the Hub? Ian does the same thing. He picks up whichever caravan is paying well, travels from town to town, shoots radscorpions.

[00:35] <Jesse_Heinig> The real-life Ian is a fun guy and pretty chaotic, he likes taking chances and seeing new things, he’s handy with a gun and has some interesting quirks in his family history. I didn’t get to model all of that in a few lines of dialog but I wanted to give the impression that he was very self-reliant, tough, annoyed at getting wounded, and maybe a little overconfident. 😉

[00:36] <Ausir> „we all knew it as the „Sphincter Monster“ after I hade used a porn image for its mouth… just pixels.. but just knowing disturbed everyone. :)“

[00:36] <Ausir> ^also about floaters

[00:36] <Mikael_Grizzly> Jesse_Heinig: Hehe, he sure is overconfident about his burst fire control ability. :]

[00:39] <Jesse_Heinig> Heh, I don’t remember the „Sphincter Monster“ comment, cute!

[00:39] <Mikael_Grizzly> And that was before

[00:40] <Ausir> deathclaws being genetically engineered by the army probably wasn’t the original backstory and was made up later by FO2 devs, I assume?

[00:41] <Jesse_Heinig> Yeah.

[00:41] <Jesse_Heinig> Originally it was just a leftover monster. As I recall it was going to be a unique thing that menaced the caravans of the Hub, before it got all over the place in the Boneyard.

[00:41] <Jesse_Heinig> I *think* it was made from a model of the Tarrasque that was made for . . . Descent to Undermountain? Not sure off the top of my head.

[00:42] <Ausir> it was for some canceled D&D game

[00:42] <Mikael_Grizzly> Oh yeah, since apparently you are the one to thank for VAX’s fat brother, ZAX, do you remember what were the functions of the first three levels of the Glow? ZAX mentions only the ones for levels four, five and six (Physics Research Labs, Secure Testing Labs, Barracks and Central Operations) and I was always curious what the fiurst three were.

[00:42] <Mikael_Grizzly> Here’s a refresher:

[00:43] <Ausir> probably hard to remember such details after 12 years 🙂

[00:43] <Mikael_Grizzly> You never know.

[00:44] <Mikael_Grizzly> Hell, I can recall what happened the day I got hit with that 20 kg metal swing in the face, down to all the details.

[00:44] <Mikael_Grizzly> And that was… thirteen to fourteen years ago.

[00:45] <Ausir> well, getting hit with a 20 kg metal swing is more memorable than functions of the first 3 levels of the Glow, I think 🙂

[00:46] <Jesse_Heinig> * thinks * You know, I may be totally mistaken, but I think maybe some of the experimental animals from the warren were originally supposed to be descendants of research subjects that escaped from the Glow. Can’t recall what the top three levels were now. Didn’t have to populate them so it was not a big deal!

[00:48] <Mikael_Grizzly> So that narrows the range of possible questions to pick your brains with… >:]

[00:48] <Jesse_Heinig> Yeah sorry, it HAS been 13 years and a lot of it is fuzzy now. Plus I didn’t get a lot of sleep while working on Fallout. 😉

[00:49] <Mikael_Grizzly> Which locations were you responsible for populating?

[00:50] <Jesse_Heinig> I scripted ZAX of course, lots of Junktown, parts of Shady Sands (that really awkward dialog about crop rotation? the one that is overly long and unconvincing? my fault), some random encounters

[00:50] <Mikael_Grizzly> When they invent time travel, I’m going back in time to copy Fo’s design docs, right after I terrorize Interplay into submission and releasing Van Buren. So, if suddenly a crazy Polish guy pops up in your memories, that’s me. :]

[00:50] <Mikael_Grizzly> Random encounters? Tell me you are responsible for the coast encounters between raiders and farmers :O

[00:51] <Jesse_Heinig> I may have scripted it, I probably didn’t design it. Most of the random encounters were already documented when I started scripting. There was actually a mean bug that came up while I was working on them . . .

[00:52] <Mikael_Grizzly> Mean bug?

[00:52] <Jesse_Heinig> There was legacy code that made it so that critters would not spawn on the map; the idea is that nothing would ever „appear“ in front of you, it had to come in from offscreen. Nobody ever teleported in or out.

[00:52] <Jesse_Heinig> Obviously later this was removed because we had fade-ins and fade-outs so we could fade out, move characters, fade in.

[00:52] <Jesse_Heinig> But when I was doing some of the first random encounters we’d load the test map and the creatures that were supposed to ambush the character were nowhere to be seen – just off the edge of the map.

[00:53] <Jesse_Heinig> The engine kept placing them out of the map boundary because of the old code that didn’t allow stuff to spawn in on-screen.

[00:53] <Mikael_Grizzly> The engine really sounds as if it hated you guys.

[00:54] <Jesse_Heinig> Jesse Reynolds eventually tracked down the bug, but I was sure getting some hate for about a week for that.

[00:54] <[C4]> XD

[00:54] <Jargner> 😛

[00:55] <Ausir> Jesse Reynolds is now at Obsidian, isn’t he?

[00:55] <Jesse_Heinig> Last time I heard, yes.

[00:55] <Jesse_Heinig> Solid programmer, really nice guy.

[00:55] <Ausir> I’m certainly looking forward to New Vegas 🙂

[00:55] <Mikael_Grizzly> Man, I’d propably resort to firebombing my workmates if they kept doing that to me.

[00:55] * Jargner is too.

[00:55] <[C4]> Eh, I’m skeptical.

[00:55] <Jesse_Heinig> Me too!

[00:56] * Mikael_Grizzly was dancing in joy and humping furniture.

[00:56] <Jesse_Heinig> („Me too“ as in I’m enthusiastic about it)

[00:56] <[C4]> Although beth isn’t working on the story for vegas, they have left me with a bad taste in my mouth with FO3.

[00:56] <Mikael_Grizzly> Bethesda.

[00:56] <Mikael_Grizzly> Is.

[00:56] <Mikael_Grizzly> Not.

[00:56] <Mikael_Grizzly> Developing.

[00:56] <Mikael_Grizzly> Fo:NV

[00:56] <pundit> thank god

[00:56] <[C4]> Don’t think I said that, did I?

[00:57] <Mikael_Grizzly> Jesse_Heinig: Just for the record, I might be an awkwardly inquisitive bastard, but that’s just because I literally grew up with Fallout, being Polish, 1988 and all. Exposure to digital radiation at the age of eight does that :]

[00:57] <Jesse_Heinig> lol

[00:58] <Jargner> What do you do now, Jesse?

[00:58] <Jesse_Heinig> Freelancin‘. After Fallout I started working in the tabletop RPG industry and I write a lot of stuff there.

[00:58] <Jesse_Heinig> I also keep the occasional hand in with code.

[00:59] <Jargner> Ah.

[00:59] <pundit> Jesse_Heinig, what computer science degree do you have?

[00:59] <pundit> since i read something about that in your interview

[00:59] <Jesse_Heinig> BS in Comp Sci from Cal State Univ Northridge. Not as respectable as some, but it’s a degree 😉

[00:59] <pundit> cool

[00:59] <Mikael_Grizzly> Jesse_Heinig: So, one last thing before I jump ship: do you recall what purpose the ‚Dead Brotherhood‘ ( ) map served? Was it supposed to replace the regular BoS after some time passed and the mutants invaded?

[00:59] <Ausir> a respectable PnP RPG publisher was in talks with Bethesda about publishing a Fallout PnP RPG, but they weren’t interested


[01:01] <Jesse_Heinig> That seems like a reasonable supposition Mikael, but I didn’t work on the Brotherhood. I think the original concept for the Brotherhood was done by Chris Taylor and they were further developed by . . . Dave Hendee? I think?

[01:03] <Mikael_Grizzly> I shall issue the abduction order immediately.

[01:03] <Ausir> I actually would have probably worked on the Fallout PnP RPG if Bethesda agreed to license it out, but they weren’t interested for now


[01:06] <pundit> Jesse_Heinig, so you’re a freelance scripter then?

[01:06] <Jesse_Heinig> pundit> Freelance writer. Haven’t done coding for money in a long time now. Have done a ton of tabletop RPG books.

[01:06] <Ausir> I’m a freelance translator, I worked on the translation of Fallout 2 and Fallout 3 into Polish

[01:07] <Ausir> Jesse_Heinig: which tabletop RPGs?

[01:07] <Mikael_Grizzly> I’m a professional slacker.

[01:07] <Mikael_Grizzly> ;>


[01:07] <Jesse_Heinig> Mostly did White Wolf stuff – you may have heard about how I ruined the Mage game if you follow that sort of thing online – also did some work on the Star Trek RPG, and recently picked up some freelance for Alderac (the guys who do Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Sea) and Houses of the Blooded.

[01:08] <Ausir> ah, right

[01:08] <nastidon> i’m going to play fallout 1 for the first time tonight,, i can’t wait to shake my fist in the air and mutter ‚curse you Jesse_Heinig‘!

[01:08] <Ausir> Jesse_Heinig: did you like the new Star Trek, then? 🙂

[01:08] <Mikael_Grizzly> Okay, time to jump into the bed and forget the sorrows of this dreary existence. Or something like that.

[01:08] <Jesse_Heinig> Well, seems that companies do not often hire full-time writers from out of house. Many game companies have a lot of their material come from their programming and art teams, and maybe one or two guys who handle writing/IP management full time.

[01:08] <Jesse_Heinig> Easier to break in to programming 🙂

[01:09] <Mikael_Grizzly> So, goodnight and good luck to y’all.

[01:09] <Jesse_Heinig> The new Trek movie – haven’t seen it yet. Waiting for DVD. Wish that science fiction wasn’t a dying genre, but there we are.

[01:09] <Jargner> Good night, Mikael.

[01:09] <Jesse_Heinig> G’night Mikael!

[01:09] =-= Mode #wikia-fallout +o Mikael_Grizzly by ChanServ

Der Austausch mit Jesse ging noch etwa eine Stunde weiter, aber nachdem Mikael_Grizzly den Chat verlassen hat, endete die allgemeine Fragerunde und alles kehre sprichwörtlich wieder zur Normalität zurück.