There are many things in life that I’d like 200 pounds of. Gold, rubies, diamonds and VT220s all top my list. What I didn’t want, but did little to prevent, is arriving at 200 pounds of body mass again. This year has brought stress from a number of quarters which have all convinced me to hide in a corner and eat. Well, fie to that I say.

With the major eating holiday over and the leftovers nearly gone, I can begin to work off some of my unwanted girth. If Boston gets a relative dry winter, I will able able to walk off a good deal of weight. If the city gets snowbound for long stretches of time, I’ll need a plan B, which, God help me, may involve spending money on a gym membership.

Still, I hate reading blogs about people bitching about their weight, so I’ll give you a glimpse into one of my secret desires. In the late 90’s, Interplay released a computer role playing game (CRPG) called Fallout, in which you, as the survivor of WWIII, had to journey out of your bomb shelter vault to fetch a much needed tech thingie for your vault’s continued well being. Along the way, you get into wacky hyjinx with dogs, raiders, ghouls and super mutants. Did I mention the large irradiated bugs? There’s plenty of them too. A good time is guaranteed for all.

A few years later, Interplay released a sequel sagaciously called Fallout 2. Set a couple of decades after the first game, the new adventure casts you as a descendent of the original “Vault Dweller,” who became too much of a barbarian to live in the Vault he saved and so he founded a village. As an uncouth “tribal,” you must find a pre-war tech thingie that will dispel a withering disease that afflicts the village. The adventure is much bigger, taking place on the shattered Pacific coast of the US. This is the game I fell in love with (although I must say, I didn’t care for the ending very much). Fallout 2 captured a lot of the magic of paper and pencil RPGs that I loved as a kid. Unfortunately, Interplay went tits up a few years ago, so the Fallout line is pretty much dead. Let’s not speak of Fallout: Tactics, shall we?

It turns out that I’m not the only fan of Fallout. That honor must go to a group of Russians, who spent a great deal of time reverse engineering and tampering with Fallout to make modifications. The good news is that there are a number of tools to make new adventures in worlds of Fallout and Fallout 2. The bad news is that the game engines (by Bioware) are complicated. I guess that part of the fun of hacking.

Now for my secret desire: I’d like to implement out D&D modules using the Fallout 2 engine. It’s a simple thing to recast the medieval fantasy setting into the retro future world of Fallout. I’d like to start with B2 The Keep on the Borderlands, as that is both simple and very much in line with the rest of Fallout.

I’m keeping notes on my hacking quest. I’m trying to learn the scripting language, which isn’t bad but has a number of unfortunated C language idioms. I think I get how simple dialogs and quests work (and how to make those appear in the PIPboy PDA). Somethings I can’t do are new graphics, because I have no graphic talent. That’s a blessing, though. I can focus on scripting the adventure and simple reuse what’s there.

If I succeed even a little at this, I’ll write up my hacking adventure. I’m certain people will continue to hack on Fallout for several years.