Project Van Buren

Hello there fellow devs!

I am currently undergoing the RPG course for growing my programming skills in Unity. I have a decent base on C# from the university, but nothing can be compared to a real practical programming, am I right?

I am a remorseless RPG fun, though I have to admit that fantasy genre, which is actually a majority of good RPG games, has never been my cup of tea. My passion has always been a post-apocalyptia - Mad Max series, A boy and his dog, I am Legend (both novel and film), Metro (both novel and games) and - for me - the most iconic video game of this genre - Fallout.

It has been many years since I discovered this (now legendary) RPG experience, though I have never really “swallowed” the changes Bethesda did to the franchise since the original creators from Interplay went to bankruptcy. I know we will never see a new Fallout from the original creators, and that really hurts, but there is nothing to be done about it.

Me and my good friend Samuel - we had a lots of discussions and ideas about what might a new, classic styled Fallout game look like. It became a “shrapnel in a head” for both of us. When we spoked to other Fallout fans about our ideas, they were like “oh boy that sounds good, if only this could have been done”. It turned out that Samuel has a pretty decent mind for designing and writing (and now he actually works in a game industry). And me? Well, in those times, I wasn’t much a of use for game development, really :smiley: But that changed when I discovered Unity engine. I started to learn the basics, all on my own, just for being able to create scenes and enviroments. And then I started to design my own leves, all Fallout themed. I showed it to some folks and they liked it, so I sticked with Unity and continued to learn. I am currently studying programming at university so I have some “mediocore” knowledge-base on how to code, and so I programmed some basic things for my Unity project, like camera and so on. In that time, I wasnt really sure about what I am creating, though I was certain that it should be similar to Wasteland 2 (created by Brian Fargo, producer of the original Fallout) as for some game aspects, mechanics and some gameplay elements.
And then, after months of no decent ideas, I dived deeper into design documents of the cancelled Fallout game from 2003, which was meant to be a Fallout 3 before Black Isle Studio was closed and Interplay bankrupted in years following. I knew this “Project Van Buren” for a long time, it was leaked by Josh Sawyer, its lead designer, in 2007 on fan forum, though it has never actracted me so much. When I started to read it deeper, visualising the concepts and designs in my head, I discovered all those opportunities and aspects it was offering, all things I liked about older Fallout games - gray-morality, ethic challenges, remarkable narrative and writing, kind of Mad Max tone/theme, dark humor and mainly - proper RPG elements. Right then a there I was certain that this needs to be done. Of course, such a huge project is far more than one or two “devs” can do. But you know what? I don’t care. I do what I can, building it piece-by-piece, learning many thing in the process, and even if it would take 10 years or more (well, I am a steel foundry worker, believe it or not, so I cant work on it fulltime), I will work on it - just for a passion. Because letting all this potencial die in a time would be a crime. Now I know, there were many self-proclaimed “heroes” like me in a past, and they abandoned their projects after a few month if they were lucky. Well, my work on designing has started about half of year ago, and even I cant believe it myself, my enthusiasm hasnt fade out, it actually has grew - the reason will be explained down below :smiley:

So, to cut this long and boring story, let’s see some screens, shall we?

These screens are in-engine views of my first (and still far from finished) map - Burham Springs. I use it as a test map for a RPG course. Most of the assets comes from bought packeges, both Unity and Unreal ones (which one was cheaper that is). Some particular assets (road and ruined houses) have been ripped from Fallout New Vegas and handly converted and retextured. The rest is work of my fiction. I read the document on Burham Springs, created my vision and started to work. It’s maybe a half done, the idustrial part only has some placeholder meshes there, though no details yet. I halted the work on level for I have bought the RPG course on Udemy and now I am coding some basic mechanics along with the course.

Now to the reason for my enthusiasm I mentioned above :smile: One day I felt like I need to share my creation with someone… how to put it… “competent to judge”. So I posted two screens on Twitter and tagged Josh Saywer, former lead designer of this project. Since he liked and retweeted it, I assume (really, just assuming, don’t know for sure :smiley: ) he liked it. Now I feel kind of responsibility for this - when I was this privileged, how can I just abandon it?

Here is a quick video of whole map. As I said, half of it is nearly empty, only with placeholders. My priority now is to follow the course, so it will take some time before I can start working on it again.

Don’t mind that naked girl, she serves as an enemy for me to test (she is good at shooting small tennis balls at me a doing some damage :smiley: ). Console display is my latest work outside of the course, even a health bar is working, though it is not visible in video as I dont want you to see that girl chasing me and throwing tennis balls at me :smiley:

So… what do you say? Please, I need to read some more opinions, and mainly critics, critics and more critics. Thank you for your time, and wish you all the best.

I want to specially thank @ben and @Rick_Davidson for this amazing course, none on this would be possible without you guys. In last few week I have learned more of coding that during my recent 2 years in university. Thank you so much.

Hello. Your game seems to be nice, unfortunately the video doesn’t play anymore.
Maybe a link problem?

Oh, I haven’t noticed that, I’ll fix it right away

Hey, nice screenshots. Before i even read you nicked the meshes from Fallout i just got the sense of it and also a hint of the game(s) Metro in there. What’s the intention? New Vegas’esque RPG?

Would be nice to see the clip.

Keep the spirit.


Thank you for your post. As for a videoclip, I’m afraid I can’t show you any right now. The one that does not work here (and I have no idea why as the link posted there works fine) is actually outdated, map was greatly improved and the visual atmosphere is much different now, so this old videoclip is not relevant. Now, of course I would like to shoot and post a new one, however, my work notebook is currently being on a warranty repair (2 weeks before the warranty ends, some keys on a keyboard just refused to work anymore… my pure luck it wasn’t 2 weeks after the warranty ends anyways). So when it’s back, I’ll be back with a new clip.

To answer your question - It isn’t quite easy to directly say yes or no. It is supposed to be a New Vegas-styled game as for RPG elements, that being said, proper old-school RPG (not like Bethesda’s Fallouts), but it has a little bit different feeling. World of Mojave Wasteland is far more civilized than our world (parts of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona). Both Arizona and Utah are filled with rather backward (or primitive if you like) tribals and raiders. If I was to compare it with something, it would be New Vegas’ DLC Honest Hearts.
Until now, we have 21 factions total, 4 major (NCR, New Canaanites, Caesar’s Legion and the Brotherhood of Steel), and 17 minor, mostly tribals and raider gangs, though each of them is unique, I can guarantee that. Most of them comes from the original concept of Project Van Buren, plus we created and/or edited some of them.
It’s all really big, far bigger than we are capable to acomplish. But it deserves a try.

Cool, and yikes 21 factions??? That sounds like a hefty amount of work.

Would be cool to see a presentation of that wasteland… i just loved New Vegas and played it through at least 2 times on my XB360 before the PS4 came out.

Good luck with the project.

Without any spoiling, you can have a look at full list of the factions. And thank you for your words of support :smiley:

Lol… sh*t… Madmax goes Fallout. I can visualize it…
Sure builds up a huge expectation by using those names, but i’m sure your’e aware of that :slightly_smiling_face:


Hey there. I just wanted to update on our current progress. Unity has released a preview of its brand new HDRP rendering few months ago, so I told myself that our project deserves the best graphics available. Combined with scanned assets, even the isometric game may look like an AAA project. And Fallout surely deserves that.

Your maps look very cool! Did you write to the Fallout developers and are they interested in your maps? I’m interested in how you programming studying at university was, because my brother is about to graduate and he’s thinking about what to do next. He is interested in programming, but now he has a difficult period in college, that he does not have free time and does not develop in programming. I recommended him to use to reduce the workload and have more time for interesting things and self-development. Now he does not listen to me much, but I am looking for opportunities to convince him, because theoretical knowledge gives little in this life. I also recommend this resource to anyone who has learning problems but can’t solve them on their own.