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#1
Old 02-05-2010, 11:51 AM
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D.C. Residents: How accurate is the Capital Wasteland in Fallout 3?

I haven't been to D.C. since I was five. I plan to go this year or the next, but I don't remember it at all.

I play Fallout 3 a lot, love the game, and love wandering around the Mall and D.C. Metro. I tried looking on Google Maps to see how accurate it is, and I got some idea that it's not bad, but honestly, you couldn't tell unless you were actually there.

So I figured I'd ask here. As a comparison, mostly when NYC is depicted in movies, things are changed around. Major landscapes are moved right next to each other or much closer than they are normally, so we can easily walk/drive/run to the next one. I was wondering if something similar was done in Fallout 3.

Any similarities/differences mentioned will be appreciated. Thanks!
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#2
Old 02-05-2010, 11:56 AM
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I've been wondering this. I actually used google maps to help me out in the game once. Things didn't seem to be where they were on google maps.

But it did help me find the national archives.

Last edited by Lobsang; 02-05-2010 at 11:57 AM.
#3
Old 02-05-2010, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
So I figured I'd ask here. As a comparison, mostly when NYC is depicted in movies, things are changed around. Major landscapes are moved right next to each other or much closer than they are normally, so we can easily walk/drive/run to the next one.
One of the nice things about a city planned and designed from the ground up, is that all the important stuff is built so you can easily walk between them.
#4
Old 02-05-2010, 04:17 PM
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The names of many of the Metro stations are wrong, or at least, not the same as actual Metro station names, the fake Metro goes to a lot of places the real Metro doesn't (like Georgetown) and there's no White Line on the real metro, just Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, and Orange lines.

Last edited by Captain Amazing; 02-05-2010 at 04:18 PM.
#5
Old 02-05-2010, 08:50 PM
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Not sure how different everything is, but I know the justification is that A) It's an alternate universe and B) The ground actually shifted during the bombing.
#6
Old 02-05-2010, 09:10 PM
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The major neighborhoods are roughly accurate - this much, I know.
#7
Old 02-05-2010, 09:29 PM
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The lines in the game are simplified. They just have two lines, red and white, that cross each other. The real metro is more complicated than that.

The monuments and museums are all in the correct locations.

The Metro stations in the games are bigger than the ones in real life, but a lot of it is accurate. The tile is identical to real life, as is the lighting, benches and signage. The trains are correct, though you'd think they'd have updated the design in the interceding 400 years, no? There aren't vending machines in the real world, nor are there bathrooms.

Arefu is on the Key Bridge or perhaps further upriver. It seems too far from downtown in the game to me. Megaton is, I think, is actually Ballston or Fall's Church. Fall's Church and Bailey's Crossroads are real places in northern VA. Rivet City is actually Navy Yard.

It's worth noting, too, that the game was made by Bethesda Games. That's all the interesting things I can think of for now. What else did you want to know.

Last edited by Chessic Sense; 02-05-2010 at 09:33 PM.
#8
Old 02-06-2010, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chessic Sense View Post
The lines in the game are simplified. They just have two lines
Three.
Quote:
There aren't vending machines in the real world, nor are there bathrooms.
I'm aware of one bathroom open to the public, it's tucked away behind a maintenance door in Pentagon City. The Shirlington Transit Center also has public facilities but that's a bus depot.

Last edited by Skywatcher; 02-06-2010 at 07:28 PM.
#9
Old 02-06-2010, 07:31 PM
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I think Arlington Library in the game is in Shirlington or thereabouts.

Last edited by Skywatcher; 02-06-2010 at 07:33 PM.
#10
Old 02-06-2010, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Lute Skywatcher View Post
I'm aware of one bathroom open to the public, it's tucked away behind a maintenance door in Pentagon City. The Shirlington Transit Center also has public facilities but that's a bus depot.
There's one at the north entrance of Huntington too.
#11
Old 02-06-2010, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
the fake Metro goes to a lot of places the real Metro doesn't (like Georgetown)
Huh, I thought I remembered taking the Metro to Georgetown, last time I was there (admittedly, well over a decade). Maybe we just took it to the closest stop and walked the rest of the way? I'm almost certain that we left our car parked at Balston, and rode or walked everywhere else we went.
#12
Old 02-07-2010, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chessic Sense View Post
The lines in the game are simplified. They just have two lines, red and white, that cross each other. The real metro is more complicated than that.
I swear I'd gotten an exact date for the timeline split for the Fallout universe, more specific than just "the 1950s," but really, that's exact enough to understand the different metro stops. The real DC metro began construction in December 1969, after the split. Aside from a few common-sense metro stops like Dupont or the Mall that would be consistent across any universe (and do appear as reasonably realistic analogs in the game), everything else can be imagined to be in flux based on what communities can make a fair claim for why they should be mapped into the metro system. So Bethesda's designers could pay homage where they wanted, slot in new stations where it makes sense for the game, and simplify the overall system considerably.

The rough sketch of the landscape is reasonably accurate, and downtown DC (at least the bits that were established prior to the 1950s) is quite solid, but the scale is definitely played with a bit, and of course, the most notable distinction is the vast underpopulation of every area that's not downtown DC. Seriously, how does a pocket of 3-10 houses survive in pristine condition a dozen or two times pocked throughout the map, where everything else is absolutely leveled? And aside from Tenpenny Tower, almost no other apartments survive, just single-family-homes?
#13
Old 02-07-2010, 10:26 PM
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Well, I guess that makes sense. But then you could use that reasoning to excuse any differences in the worlds. Fiction being what it is, however, I suppose I have to accept that.

In case anyone's confused, the atomic Great War happened in 2077, not the 1950s. The universe of the games is basically "what 1950s Americans would guess the future is like", thus all the robots serving beer and whatnot.

But what I meant about the train is that I would think that a 1950s American would have guessed we'd have levitating trains or something. They didn't "futurize" them at all, and in fact copied today's style pretty closely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Huh, I thought I remembered taking the Metro to Georgetown, last time I was there (admittedly, well over a decade). Maybe we just took it to the closest stop and walked the rest of the way? I'm almost certain that we left our car parked at Balston, and rode or walked everywhere else we went.
You probably did. You can get off the metro at Rosslyn, walk across the bridge, and be in Georgetown in 10 minutes. But I wouldn't say that the metro "goes to Georgetown".

Last edited by Chessic Sense; 02-07-2010 at 10:27 PM.
#14
Old 02-08-2010, 12:07 AM
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In case anyone's interested, here is the Fallout timeline. The branching began right after WWII and had diverged pretty significantly by the end of the 1960s.
#15
Old 02-08-2010, 10:43 AM
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Chessic Sense especially, but others, too, thank you so much. The Metro lines being cut down to just three could be explained by a lot of them being caved in, I suppose. As it is, you can't access some of them anyway.
I clicked on all of your links. Very cool.

Lute, thank you for that lovely Metro map, it helps when I am wandering around trying to figure out which Metro to take where. I haven't taken Metro/subways very often in my life at all.

I love Fallout 3, and the fact that it is in D.C. I love wandering around and just figuring out how to get from place to place. I did go to the Bethesda offices, a bit north of the D.C. Downtown itself.

I tried Fallout 2, and just couldn't get into it as much...but I did try it very late (only last year) so maybe I just couldn't get that retro.

Thanks again!
#16
Old 02-08-2010, 04:07 PM
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Thanks to Fallout 3, I can now recognize many of the establishing stock footage shots on Bones.
#17
Old 02-08-2010, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Amazing View Post
The names of many of the Metro stations are wrong, or at least, not the same as actual Metro station names, the fake Metro goes to a lot of places the real Metro doesn't (like Georgetown)....
The Metro is shown as going to Georgetown in the Kevin Costner spy flick No Way Out, as it happens.
#18
Old 02-09-2010, 10:51 PM
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One more accuracy note: In the game, when you walk into the Museum of History, there's a Woolly Mammoth in the main rotunda. If you walk into the real life National Museum of Natural History, there's a Mammoth directly in the main rotunda. Where "Underworld" is is actually the ocean room, where there's a big whale skeleton and a ton of other fossils, FWIW.
#19
Old 02-10-2010, 03:55 AM
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DC is not very similar to real life. There's no fucking snow.
#20
Old 02-10-2010, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chessic Sense View Post
But what I meant about the train is that I would think that a 1950s American would have guessed we'd have levitating trains or something. They didn't "futurize" them at all, and in fact copied today's style pretty closely.
I put in a good 4-5 hours to the game yesterday (Snowpocalypse!), and I paid extra attention to the metro trains as I was tromping around the metro tunnels.

The trains only look like our real-world Metro cars in that they are metal cylinders with windows. Stylistically, they look very much like classic Greyhound buses, so that design is just as stuck in the 1950s aesthetic as everything else.
#21
Old 02-10-2010, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Captain Amazing View Post
There's one at the north entrance of Huntington too.
There are public bathrooms in a lot of stations, but they're not publicly accessible. You have to ask a station manager.

--Cliffy
#22
Old 02-10-2010, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Only Mostly Dead View Post
The trains only look like our real-world Metro cars in that they are metal cylinders with windows. Stylistically, they look very much like classic Greyhound buses, so that design is just as stuck in the 1950s aesthetic as everything else.
And the Metro buses resemble the GMC rattletraps from the '60s, with the ends switched.
#23
Old 02-10-2010, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post
There are public bathrooms in a lot of stations, but they're not publicly accessible. You have to ask a station manager.

--Cliffy
I know...but the Huntington North entrance toilet is publicly accessible. It was put in as a pilot project, and then they never expanded the project to any other stations.
#24
Old 02-10-2010, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Only Mostly Dead View Post
I put in a good 4-5 hours to the game yesterday (Snowpocalypse!), and I paid extra attention to the metro trains as I was tromping around the metro tunnels.

The trains only look like our real-world Metro cars in that they are metal cylinders with windows. Stylistically, they look very much like classic Greyhound buses, so that design is just as stuck in the 1950s aesthetic as everything else.
Also, it seems like this alternate/future universe version of Metro has finally managed to retire the 1000-series metro cars.
#25
Old 02-11-2010, 01:36 PM
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The most frustrating part of FO3 is you can't freely walk around DC, you have to keep going underground to avoid the big piles of rubble. Can't your character climb? I know, I know, it was done for performance reasons. Still a teriffic game, one of the handful that I've finished.
#26
Old 02-11-2010, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by control-z View Post
The most frustrating part of FO3 is you can't freely walk around DC, you have to keep going underground to avoid the big piles of rubble. Can't your character climb? I know, I know, it was done for performance reasons. Still a teriffic game, one of the handful that I've finished.
Oh, yes, especially when you can SEE where you need to go, but there's a big pile of rubble in front of you.
#27
Old 02-11-2010, 04:05 PM
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I always found it strange, too, how over 100s of years, NO ONE has taken it upon themselves to say "You know, if we all got together, we could clear a few of these piles away by 3:00. Then we wouldn't have to wade through the sewers!"
#28
Old 02-12-2010, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Chessic Sense View Post
I always found it strange, too, how over 100s of years, NO ONE has taken it upon themselves to say "You know, if we all got together, we could clear a few of these piles away by 3:00. Then we wouldn't have to wade through the sewers!"
Dude. Muties with gatling guns. Besides, it's not like there's much of interest (to the average survivor, at least) in DC proper - lots of office buildings, government buildings, museums, factories... but nothing to eat, nothing really worth plundering, tech that doesn't run anymore... and muties with gatling guns.
#29
Old 02-12-2010, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Chessic Sense View Post
One more accuracy note: In the game, when you walk into the Museum of History, there's a Woolly Mammoth in the main rotunda. If you walk into the real life National Museum of Natural History, there's a Mammoth directly in the main rotunda. Where "Underworld" is is actually the ocean room, where there's a big whale skeleton and a ton of other fossils, FWIW.
I found the landscape something of a sad, personal letdown. My apartment on East Capitol? Not accessible. My exhibit space in the Smithsonian? Not accessible. I couldn't wait to hack my way to the Mall area to check things out, and it just... well, it just wasn't.


(Oh, and the exhibit was right off the rotunda, directly behind the Mammoth. It's not like it was in an obscure corner of the museum. I know it's long gone, but still, it would have been nice to stand there.)
#30
Old 02-12-2010, 11:51 AM
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Are there any games that have had a more accurate representation of a real area? I'm guessing there's nothing else quite as immersive, but it would be interesting to find out.
#31
Old 02-12-2010, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Grumman View Post
Are there any games that have had a more accurate representation of a real area? I'm guessing there's nothing else quite as immersive, but it would be interesting to find out.
Sure. Flight simulators routinely model airports, and the city skylines near them, with very high degrees of verisimilitude.
#32
Old 02-12-2010, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Rhythmdvl View Post
I found the landscape something of a sad, personal letdown. My apartment on East Capitol? Not accessible. My exhibit space in the Smithsonian? Not accessible. I couldn't wait to hack my way to the Mall area to check things out, and it just... well, it just wasn't.


(Oh, and the exhibit was right off the rotunda, directly behind the Mammoth. It's not like it was in an obscure corner of the museum. I know it's long gone, but still, it would have been nice to stand there.)
At least your stuff is present! My apartment building? A dusty patch of dirt. The mall? Dusty patch of dirt. Fav restaurants? Cacti. If the people of the wasteland cleared away all the rubble of NoVA, how come they're scared of a few muties with gatling guns? Seriously, ONE clear street would have been nice.
#33
Old 02-12-2010, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Grumman View Post
Are there any games that have had a more accurate representation of a real area? I'm guessing there's nothing else quite as immersive, but it would be interesting to find out.
The recent Assassin's Creed clone Saboteur is reputedly modelled on a scaled-down WW2 Paris. Being a Parisian myself, I was really looking out for it, but the reviews have been less than positive so far, so I'm going to wait until it's available for a few bucks used on eBay or something like that to check out how accurate it is.

For that matter, the original Assassin's Creed was supposedly close to historical geography of the various cities (actual distance between them excepted ), but I guess there's no real way to tell, since none of us lived in twelfth century Acre.
#34
Old 02-12-2010, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Chessic Sense View Post
At least your stuff is present! My apartment building? A dusty patch of dirt. The mall? Dusty patch of dirt. Fav restaurants? Cacti. If the people of the wasteland cleared away all the rubble of NoVA, how come they're scared of a few muties with gatling guns? Seriously, ONE clear street would have been nice.
For that matter, why haven't the muties bothered? I mean, if you can operate a gattling gun, you can use a shovel.

Damned lazy muties.
#35
Old 02-12-2010, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Excellent View Post
For that matter, why haven't the muties bothered? I mean, if you can operate a gattling gun, you can use a shovel.

Damned lazy muties.
Hey, they're busy people ! They have places to be, people to dismember and stuff in bags. They don't have the time, nor the inclination, to start public renovation projects !
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