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Designing the apocalypse: behind the scenes of Fallen Earth

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

We know that the development teams at our favorite MMOs work hard at game creation, but we're equally aware of how much they love their jobs. It's a dream job, and while development of a new game can be tough and stressful, more often than not it's lots of fun.

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the studio? What mishaps do the developers run across during the process, and what great ideas never make it to launch day? We talked to the team at Fallen Earth, and they generously shared some of their greatest bloopers and favorite ideas. Read along after the cut, and enjoy!

Game Designer, Wes Platt:

Bugs on the ceiling

A perpetual favorite idea of mine. Basically, I wanted to have things like creepers capable of scrambling upside down on the ceiling-Aliens-style-during defend missions. How awesome would that be?!

Colorado River rapids tour

We wanted to be able to take whitewater rafting trips in the game, but unfortunately that didn't make it in as a wasteland necessity.


...Too awesome, it turns out, for Fallen Earth. Captain Pouches wouldn't let us put them in.

Lead Animator, Gabriel Smith:


We had an emote that positioned characters in the superman flying pose while he/she was running! An awesome emote that sadly didn't make it in.

We also wanted to add faction gang signs that characters could throw up at other players, unfortunately, those weren't on the list the scripters gave us. We thought about adding them in on our own, "Easter eggs," if you will, but couldn't find a way to hide them in such a short time!

Lead Game Designer, Lee Hammock

Night Wolves

In the northern part of the Plateau there is a raider gang called the Night Wolves. This was just a made-up name initially, but some back-story began to form about the Night Wolves being founded by a guy who loved 80's hair metal bands, particularly one called the Night Wolves. Hence the Night Wolves became something of an 80's-hair-metal-tribute-raider group. Their original missions, in New Toro, were all references to 80's heavy metal bands and songs. You can see some of the remains of this with the Magnificent Leather Skirt and Pants items. We even had two incredibly cheesy Night Wolves songs recorded (sans words) that we wanted to use in New Toro! Eventually, though, we realized this whole idea was pretty silly and dropped it, though some bits and pieces do remain.

Fallen Earth Blooper Series:

Events during the Course of Development

Ever wonder what sort of funny events and scenarios developers come across during the course of development? Well, we've compiled some funny stories from our team to share with you!

Game Designer, Wes Platt :

Hostile Dune Buggy

During early alpha testing, we were in the midst of prototyping the vehicles for the game. One concept we wanted to try was a hostile attack vehicle. So, I set up a dune buggy with a machine gun near the Sector 2 town of Haven. I went into the game and, yes, it attacked me. But the car didn't move. It just spun on the horizontal axis, following me that way. It would only shoot if I came into range. We eventually decided that the hostile attack vehicle really wouldn't work.

Unfortunately, I forgot to remove the vehicle before it made it onto the test version of the game. So, players would be heading out toward Haven, scavenging or harvesting, and suddenly this demon-possessed dune buggy was gunning them down!


Game Designer, James Lowe:

Goat Massacre

I was playing at one point in alpha, watching the chat fly by on global chat. Someone asked where to get Ragged Leather.

Another person responded that there was an area north of Embry Crossroads, filled with Goats that were easy to kill. They farmed over 200 leather in less than an hour there! Little did they know that I was watching and did not think it was wise to let that stand.

I found the location that they were talking about and it was filled with really weak goats that could be easily farmed, placed there eons ago for some mission that no longer exists.

What we ended up doing was removing all the goats from the area, and littering the area with dead goat part objects. We then created an NPC standing in the area with a conversation where he laments his lost goats. He asks you if you were the clone that killed them...if you say yes, he attacks you. Poor Billy Cheever...

Lead Game Designer, Lee Hammock:

House Gun

One day back in 2006 while testing some stuff we noticed something odd: all of our guns were firing houses! Each time you fired a gun a house model would shoot out from the barrel, giving you the appearance of spraying rough-made shanties across the wasteland. This was caused by a fairly simple change (the model number used by our bullets/tracers got switched for a shanty model) but it created no end of hilarity while we had fun mowing down raiders and mutants with our bursts of houses. This change led to several hours of silliness as we made other changes to items to see what we could do, making ourselves sixty feet tall, becoming giant monkeys, and making a gun that fired bouncing, exploding bear heads!

Massive Wolf Packs of Zanesville

Back in 2006 we started getting some odd server performance around Zanesville. For some reason it was running super slow, but there was nothing out of the ordinary on the server, thus we were at a loss as to why. We went in game to check out the area to see if we could find out what was happening and found a literal sea of wolves outside of Zanesville. There were hundreds if not thousands of wolves standing around the town horribly abusing the town guards! After some investigation, we found out that one of the basic wolf generators had been changed from generating 10 wolves at max to generating 100 wolves, thus the wolf population of Zanesville multiplied by an order of 10...bad news!

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