The Rise of the Best Journalist

Oliver Trace
Oliver Trace

Oliver Trace gets injured
Oliver Trace gets injured

Immigration Office
Immigration Office

Oliver Trace
Oliver Trace


Level Summary

A series of standalone quests for Fallout 4. The quest starts in Diamond City when the player meets Oliver Trace, a novice journalist, who asks the player’s help to complete a special interview.  

Most time, the player follows Oliver, a vivid non-combat companion, and meets several believable NPCs whose fates are decided by the player’s choice.

Development Info

  • Game: Fallout 4

  • Genre: RPG, FPS

  • Mode: Single Player

  • Team Size: 1 Developer

  • Engine: Creation Kit

  • Development Time: 2 months

Walkthrough Video


  • Concept and Documentation

  • Quest Design & Implementation

  • Gameplay Flow

  • AI Control and Narrative Design

  • Environment Design

  • World Building


Quest Flow & Maps


The Journey in the Commonwealth


Events & Combat Design in 4 Spots


3 Interior Cells

Design Goal

Create a Good Escorting Quest

Many escorting quests make the player feel annoyed and hate the companion. I would like to avoid this feeling like what Bethesda has done in the main quest “Reunions”.

  • The player doesn’t know the destination

In the journey, the companion is the only person who knows the right way and he moves quite fast which avoids the frustrating waiting time in common escorting quests.

  • Provide good pacing during the escort journey

The quest requires the player to stop at 4 spots and the pacing in each spot is changed by offering different challenges and the variation of the companion's leading speed.

A Vivid and Useful Non-combat Character

The companion character, Oliver Trace, is a novice journalist. I tried to create a favorable and memorable figure in both narrative and functional ways.

  • Personalities & Features

Frequent comments show his enthusiastic personality.

The fear of blood makes him like a real person and creates fun moments.

  • Usefulness

Provide non-combat helps including leading the way, warning the coming threats, and sometimes giving the player ammo as a gift. He also provides extra information when the player is required to make the final decision.


Player's Choices Matter

The player needs to help a pair of mother and son to make their moving decision at the end of the main quest “The Exclusive Report”. Four options lead to four endings.

The player’s choice does affect the characters in the world and the player can find them later in the city he suggested.


Ending 1: Diamond City


Ending 3: Sanctuary


Ending 2: Goodneighbor


Ending 4: Death


What Went Well

  • Project was scoped well given the time constraints.

  • Followed documentation and the level delivered on its initial goals.

  • The AI control works pretty well and lots of experiments have been tried in this MOD.

What Went Wrong

  • The navmesh and random encounters in the Commonwealth sometimes cause problems.

  • There’s few true AI system since all the AI performance is pre-scripted. 

What I Learned

  • Various ways of controlling AI and how to solve the unpredictable problems.

  • The importance of adding “condiment” moments in the quest. All the testers like Oliver’s dizzy animation and his vulnerable moment.

  • The ability to build immersive environments with mod-kits and kit-bashing