Matt Grandstaff stopped by to inform us that the second entry in the Fallout Diary has been uploaded today. The piece is entitled "Design and Development of the Pip-Boy Model 3000" and it was penned by Istvan Pely, Fallout 3 Lead Artist.
The entry includes two pieces of concept art, as well as what appears to be a pre-rendered image of the Pip-Boy 3000:
The text details some of the artistic design decisions taken by the team in the creation of the Pip-Boy, and includes some new information as well, such as this little snippet, found under the heading "Miscellaneous":
If the player’s in a dark room, only the green glow from the screen illuminates the Pip-Boy. The model is lit realistically within the current environment. In fact, the Pip-Boy can serve as a source of light when none is available. Its screen can be switched to a special over-bright mode, illuminating the immediate surroundings in a greenish glow. This can be quite handy at times.
Late in the design we added a physical radiation meter to the top left of the Pip-Boy’s faceplate. The needle vibrates upwards as the player character absorbs rads. Given the reality that radiation is a major factor in survival in the wasteland, we wanted to make sure the rad-level was always visible at-a-glance, regardless which screen the player’s in.
Once the Pip-Boy was working in-game, there was something missing. The animation of it coming into view was dynamic, the screen effects were great, but the whole thing felt too static, as if time had frozen. Indeed, time does freeze, but that’s for practical gameplay issues, it’s not desirable visually. The solution was to add a very slight constant idle motion to the Pip-Boy, the sense that the player character is breathing, his arm not perfectly steady. Josh Jones, our animation lead, spent a good deal of time tweaking the motion so that it was subtle and apparent, but not annoying in the least. We didn’t want the player chasing buttons around with their cursor.
Sick of all that green? The player can choose to change the color of the Pip-Boy 3000’s display. Perhaps amber, like an old Dynalogic Hyperion PC. But then it wouldn’t be Fallout, would it?
Read: Design and Development of the Pip-Boy Model 3000