Game Development Reference
The player can leave and return to the quest at any time. He might
do half of it, walk away, and come back 20 hours of play later to finish it
up. This creates a vast number of possible paths through the game, as the
player juggles many different quests.
The pacing of this story is irregularly spiky. Tense moments of combat fall
between longer periods of dialogue, exploration, healing, and scavenging.
This mixture keeps players engaged without exhausting them.
We could argue that the pacing of this story would benefit from a
greater sense of progression—more intense fighting as the quest goes on,
ending with a climax. To create this, however, we would have to reconcile
such a pacing curve with the fact that players can suspend and reactivate
quests at any time. Our carefully crafted pacing is likely to be sliced and
diced by easily distracted players. In such an unpredictable environment,
the game's steady-with-spikes pacing might be the best solution because it
is robust against being chopped up and reassembled.
Fallout 3 is set in a postapocalyptic world. This setting supports the game
well by justifying good and flexible game mechanics.
For example, it makes sense that starving, desperate people would
often become violent. This omnipresent violence supports the game in
several ways. It justifies repeated use of the game's combat systems. And
it allows the game to tell emergent stories by having characters run and
shoot instead of having them stand and talk, largely avoiding the human
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