Fallout 3,  Kimberly Playthrough

In Which Kimberly Escapes Vault 101

Short session of Fallout 3 tonight, to try to finish the character creation sequence and get out into the main game.

Game action

So, picked up where I left off in the character generation sequence. As I noted in the last session post, this was right at the point where Amata had come to tell me OHNOEZ! My father had left the Vault! And her father, the Overseer, was super pissed and his men were coming after me!

I’d gotten as far as the point where I was approached by Butch to try to rescue his mother from the swarming radroaches. My first attempt at this was not successful, and I wasn’t happy with that. Mind you, Butch is clearly a dick, and I wasn’t feeling exactly charitable to him.

On the other hand, I was coming into this thinking of playing this character as Lawful Good as possible. Which meant that even if Butch is a dick, she’s going to give it her best college try.

So this time through, picking up from the previous save point where I was still in my family quarters, I took a little time to nab stuff out of the dresser. Including a baseball bat.

And I had to fight with the guard that tried to intercept me. Walloped the hell out of him with the bat, and then proceeded to wallop a few radroaches as well on the way to Butch’s mom.

Re-did the encounter with Butch, and this time I actually killed the roaches attacking his mom fast enough that she survived the encounter. Butch was so grateful for this that he gave me his gang jacket. Uh… yay? XD

I asked Paul if I was going to see any of this characters again once I got out of the Vault. He thought he remembered Amata showing up again, but so far at this point it doesn’t seem likely I’ll see Butch again. And I can’t imagine that Kimberly is going to be terribly sorry to never see him again. I’ll just have to see how fast I can sell that jacket, snerk.

It took me a while to figure out how the hell to get to the Overseer’s office. Once I made it there, I failed the hack attempt to guess the password. Damned good thing the password was stored on a note in a nearby cabinet! I suppose that’s slightly better opsec than having it on a Post-It by the monitor. 😀

And I had to fight a second guard, which I don’t think Kimberly was very happy about. But this didn’t stop her from stealing the guy’s helmet and armor! Well, okay, mostly Lawful Good, but maybe leaning a little Chaotic.

It also took me a bit to figure out how to actually get to the Vault exit, until I finally found the relevant switch to use. And while I was doing that, I did hear somebody yell, so clearly I got spotted. But nobody actually came running to intercept me.

Then I made it to the exit, and got the final warning that I had one more chance to rearrange things about my character before going out into the main game. So since I wasn’t terribly happy with my appearance, I did actually take the time to rearrange it. I finally settled on a modified version of one of the presets, since I wanted a look that was cute and perky, yet kind of practical as well. So I wound up with one of the short, mussed hairstyles. I was a little sad I couldn’t do a cute ponytail, though.

Then it was out into the Wastelands. OH GOODY. Very much not an auspicious sight to meet the eyes of a young woman seeing the surface world for the first time, that’s for sure.

I wandered a little bit, just to explore and try to get used to the flow of the controls. I didn’t go far, just far enough to see an Enclave Eyebot go by, and to eventually find Springvale for the map. And a small ranch house that turned out to contain Silver, an NPC I’d seen Paul interact with in his new playthrough.

Silver confronted me, fortunately just verbally instead of shooting me on sight. And I learned from her that she was on the run from Colin Moriarty. My response options to her did raise some questions, though. All of them were variations on asking her for or outright intimidating her into giving me her bottlecaps. And I’m all, a) how the hell do I know this woman has bottlecaps to begin with, and b) do I even know what bottlecaps are, and that surface dwellers are using them for money?

I settled on the option of offering to get Moriarty off her back if she’d just give me some of her caps, which got me 300. This seemed like a decent start. And heh, yeah, that’s less Lawful Good and more Chaotic Good, but I figure this character has a strong enough streak of practicality that she knows she’s going to need resources ASAP if she wants to find out where her father went.

I left off after that conversation, and saved until next time.

Learning how to take screenshots

After coming out of the Vault, I took the time to try to figure out what all the critical controls are. And for my purposes, that includes “how do I do third person with my character’s face in front, so I can screenshot her?” This is a problem I’ve had to figure out in every game I’ve played so far, and it took me a bit of searching online to find the right answer for Fallout 3.

Fallout 3’s way to do this, I found, was holding down the Left Bumper and using my right stick to turn the camera. This is almost, but not quite, how it works in Skyrim. Skyrim toggles the view when I click on the right thumbstick. I can turn the camera with the same stick, and if I hold down on it and turn the left stick, then the camera turns. This feels easy and intuitive to me at this point, so this makes Fallout 3’s way of doing it seem weird and awkward.

It doesn’t help either that the camera doesn’t seem to move around the character in quite the same way, either. Its behavior seems closer to Oblivion or Morrowind, which makes it harder for me to get a really good closeup of my character for screenshots.

I’ll have to experiment with this, and see if I need to do some modifications to my Steam Deck controller settings to get a better layout for this. Because character screenshots are important!


Overall I do like the Pip-Boy, and I like the conceit that my character’s got this super-duper handy wrist computer she can use to do all sorts of nifty things.

I am not, however, a fan of its map so far. It suffers in comparison to maps I’m used to in Skyrim and ESO. It’s more like the unsatisfying map experiences I’ve had in Morrowind and Oblivion, which is not terribly surprising–as I noted with the camera behaviors above, this game’s UI is striking me so far as a mix between Skyrim-style and Oblivion-style and Morrowind-style behaviors. Given when Fallout 3 came out, this makes sense.

And since Skyrim was my first Bethesda game, boy howdy am I missing the lack of quest markers. Yes, I know, it’s more immersive to not have them. But it also kinda goes the other way for me, wrecking my immersion a little if I have to check the map every five seconds just to figure out how the hell to get to whatever room in a complex I have to reach.

The info I can get off that map on the Pip-Boy is very basic, too, which doesn’t help. But we’ll see if I get better at it with practice.

Just moving around in general

I am not entirely happy with the flow of movement in the game. The controls are more or less the same as in Skyrim, but something about the way I’m moving around feels a little off. I need to experiment with the settings some more and see if I can improve this.

So far I’ve messed a bit with the sensitivity settings, but this hasn’t really helped as much as I’d like. I will need to experiment more with this before I go much further, I think.

Next time

I had a bunch of objectives fire off when leaving the Vault–which reminded me a lot of Oblivion. All of the various add-ons kicking in and firing off their quests at once, basically. But what I will probably actually do next is to try to get to Megaton, since I’m trying to follow Paul’s lead from what he’s doing in his playthrough. So we’ll see how that works out.


And here’s the first batch of official Kimberly screenshots!

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.