Monthly Archives: May 2016

Changed

It’s been a year since I’d last taught in the classroom, and already I’ve noticed a difference in my way of thinking (about work issues) – recently I was in a workshop for language skills and was aghast to hear participants fixated on relevance to exam preparation. It took me awhile to remember that, rather recently, that would have been one of my main concerns, too!

While I appreciate having the space to get away from the paper mill rat race, I do wonder if that will immediately evaporate away should I decide to return to work in a school…

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The Final Solution [Tales from Vault 103]

In the previous instalment of the Tales from Vault 103 series, I shared about how adorably cute the Fallout Shelter kids could be, spouting statements that hint at a seemingly universal human desire for freedom in the vast, open world.

Once they grow up, though, they lose their adorability and the mediocre offspring end up consuming scarce resources better kept for future gifted offspring. The game allows you to simply eject unwanted dwellers from your vault, but I suspect that after a few weeks focusing on training dwellers I was itching for something more dramatic.

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As it turns out, the solution to this problem came in the form of the exploration function.

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The game allows you to send dwellers out into the Wasteland on exploration missions to look for resources and to level up the dwellers. They tend to do better if properly equipped and/or trained with higher stats.

As it turns out, you can also send an unequipped Level 1 dweller out into the Wasteland to fend for themselves, which is what I proceeded to do with my newest mediocre dwellers.

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The game allows you to track the progress of each explorer, and here we see the grown-up Harry Young living his dream of sneaking out into the open and checking for signs of rain.

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Starting out practically naked (for gaming purposes), Harry manages to find a Junior Officer Uniform and give himself a slight boost to his stats during his expedition.

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As it turns out, though, that isn’t enough to survive for long in the harsh and cruel Wasteland.

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I’d decided that if any of them did find rare or legendary loot, which would have necessitated me recalling them to claim the goods, they would have earned them the right to reside in the vault despite their genetic inferiority. I’m not a monster! To date, though, none of the mediocre offspring have been able to find any such spoils in the Wasteland.

Since I’ve stopped playing the game, I guess they never will… and thus ends the grim, dystopian series of Tales from Vault 103.

Those darned kids [Tales from Vault 103]

In the previous instalment of the Tales from Vault 103 series, I discussed how the desire to set up an efficient system for repopulating the vault had resulted in a community of elites and commoners, a world where only the elites are deemed worthy of procreation – funnily enough, a gamer bent on min-maxing ends up making decisions rather similarly to a ruthless efficiency-driven dictator.

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Now, kids say the darnedest things, and regardless of their stats these children can usually be spotted mouthing off the funniest quotes. Take for instance Diana Wilson here, ruminating on the existence of mutant hamsters in the post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland.

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Or little Donna King, wondering if there are any kids out in the Wasteland.

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This particular batch of kids included a precocious little Harry Young, who would ponder the meteorological conditions of the world above…

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…and even consider breaking the rules in order to find out.

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How adorable. How cute. I wonder what the future holds for them? We’ll find out in the next (and final) instalment of Tales from Vault 103.

Eugenics [Tales from Vault 103]

I’ve kinda stopped playing the game now, but towards the end I found that I’d (unintentionally) created a dystopian society in my little Fallout Shelter vault. I’ve already explained the basic premise of the game in my earlier post, but in order to to understand how this came to pass, some further explanation is probably required.

Essentially, one of the ways to populate your post-apocalyptic underground dwelling is by… breeding your existing dwellers. The quality of the offspring is loosely based on the stats of the parents (though chance still plays a big part), which is why I’d spent a large part of my playthrough training up and maximising the stats of some of my dwellers…

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…and then essentially using them as elite breeders.

So what happens to the other non-elite dwellers? Simply put, they don’t get to breed – they do their part producing food and water for the rest of the vault (though the elites do it better), but since the fully-trained elites have a better chance of producing superior offspring, I decided not to bother letting the unskilled repopulate.

And that is when I realised I had recreated the eugenics policies of 80s Singapore in my fictional post-apocalyptic environment.

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It’s not a perfect system. As you can see, even fully elite parents produce mediocre children – a waste of limited spots within the vault, if you ask me (meanwhile, the most gifted of this particular batch of kids comes in the form of a balding child by the name of Gregory King).

Still, it’s efficient. And kids aren’t all that bad – they consume half the resources and can be pretty fun to have around. The next instalment of Tales from Vault 103 explores the lighter side of kids in Fallout Shelter (whether gifted or not).