Like so many things in life, this too began with a simple idea. Fallout 3 had just come out and although I was happy about it as an avid Fallout 1 and 2 player, there was also disillusionment that some things were quite different than in the classics. This also included that the map travel system with the Highwayman was canceled.
One thing that was really great, though, was the mod-friendliness of Fallout 3. But the first mods and the DLCs all combined a problem: Any Mod that played outside the Capital Wastelands offered a different way of transportation to get there. Be it a paddle boat, a tunnel or just a door in the middle of nowhere. It seemed a bit strange that the hero would choose a different way of transport for each trip. Wouldn’t it be much better if he would use the same vehicle for all trips? Like his own Highwayman? This idea led me to my first experiments in the G.E.C.K.
A short time later there was a Highwayman in Springvale, with whom you could leave the map and came into an empty desert world. From there you could select a destination via the world map. These different locations should be added by new mods. The idea was well received in the community, so much that the Mod GTS – Global Travel System was even temporarily ranked # 1 on the Nexus leaderboard.
However, there was a problem: it turned out to be very time consuming and difficult with the G.E.C.K. to create new worlds and so only very few new worlds were released that could use GTS as basis. Also, due to the difficulties in generating LOD, the few released worlds were islands and of course, they couldn’t be reached by car.
So, I decided to expand GTS to allow to travel by boat. However, since you need access to the sea to get to an island, I started to build my own worlds. This first world was on the east coast. It was an deserted Port.
I was so exited, that I was able to create a entire new worldspace, that I decided to add coast worlds for every continent on earth. With GTS you should finally be able to travel all over the world. And because the world is very diverse, I needed more resources to shape the worlds, and GTS was getting bigger and more complex. As a result, the mod increasingly moved away from the idea of a resource for other mods and became a huge project itself, that was growing more and more over my head. The worlds got bigger and bigger and the scripts got more and more complicated. I added random encounters and even a player house from which you could plan your travels in the future.
The many new worlds and the player house didn’t suit all people and fewer and fewer authors wanted to make their mod dependent on a complex mod like GTS. There were some authors who had used GTS as a basis. These were increasingly asked to create a version without GTS. The ambitious extensions had ultimately led to the failure of the GTS idea.
One of the authors who had used GTS was der Metzger, who had created a vast new world called Claw Peak. However only in German language and only published on the private web space, whereby the mod hardly became known.
Together, we decided to create a stand-alone mod based on Claw Peak and the GTS worlds, that no longer serve as a resource for other mods, but should provide content itself. The port worlds of GTS should become fully designed worlds with quests and everything that goes with them. This was the birth of Lost Roads.
We started developing some worlds and made good progress when suddenly Fallout: New Vegas came out and posed a problem for us: It was a lot better than Fallout 3 and we really didn’t feel the need to continue playing Fallout 3. In order not to lose our work on the worlds, we decided to transfer the worlds into the Fallout: New Vegas Engine. We succeeded in this feat and started to develop our worlds in the FNV engine with renewed exitement.
During this time, we also had the idea to say goodbye to the old concept of the GTS travel system and we developed a new way of traveling that was already very close to the classic Fallout games. It was now possible to travel all over the western US and we added the old Fallout places as trading spots.
Unfortunately, the development of worlds is much more complex and time consuming than you might believe and to meet the travel concept we merged several unfinished worlds from other authors. Thus, the mod grew temporarily to over 30 unfinished worlds.
Due to the file size, the work in the G.E.C.K. became more and more arduous, because of very long saving duration and frequent crashes . We made lesser and lesser progress. Slowly our motivation vanished, seeing a mountain of unfinished worlds piled up in front of us and too many engine and G.E.C.K. issues. Finally we stopped completely to work on the mod for a very long time. This was actually the end of Lost Roads.
Der Metzger stopped altogether with modding, while I had a great success with the Mod Nevada Skies, but then also had different interests. I got married, had children and was fully at work. But somehow there was always the regret not to have completed Lost Roads.
I developed a GTS-oriented smaller mod for Fallout New Vegas called Voyager – Vertibird Explorer, this mod allowed a GTS-like journey to DLC locations. The concept was clean and working well, but no mods were created based on it.
Finally, when I was looking for a creative challenge in early 2017, I picked Lost Roads up again and developed a concept to finish the mod. This meant that I completely scrapped most of the unfinished worlds. I reduced the travel map significantly and limited the mod to a smaller region: the Great Salt Lake of Utah, and began to weave a backstory around the places.
These changes put a release within reach. However, there were other problems to overcome. At that time the mod was completely in German and due to the age of the game there was no target group for it. In order to increase the target audience, I translated the entire mod into English and started to get it voiced. A challenge that I underestimated by far.
It took me almost 6 months to organize the Voice Actors, post-process the sound files and implement them into the game. During this time, I could hardly develop the mod, since I was almost exclusively focused on the voicing. But the effort paid off and the more voice actors worked for me, the higher the responsibility to complete the mod in order to honor their work.
And finally, in 2018, around nine years after the first GTS – Global Travel System version released on Nexus, the Mod Salt Lake Stories is finally finished. The very first port world of GTS is still visitable and also the Highwayman is still there.