|For unused icons in the files, see Fallout Demo/Icons.|
Max Stone is the only available character in the demo. While his stats and biography are the same as in the retail version of the game, his traits are different. He starts the demo with a fairly decent inventory of weapons and items, including a H&K MP9 10mm SMG, leather armor and 2 stimpaks.
The demo uses an area map similar to Junktown in the final version of the game (the map is called "JUNKDEMO" in the demo file) instead of a separate one, and it has a different plot with completely different characters, except for the dog and Phil, who have the same conundrum just as in the actual game.
The demo takes place in Scrapheap, a small town in the former American Southwest dominated by two competing gangs: the Crypts and the Fools. The Crypts are led by a man named Rayze and rule the town's power generator. They are large in number and can be identified by their leather armor. Their rivals, the Fools, are led by a woman named Baka. They are fewer in number and are less formidable opponents due to their metal armor.
In the game, metal armor has a higher armor class (and therefore higher damage resistance) compared to leather armor, but in the demo, it is reversed. At the time that Max Stone visits, the Fools are waiting for only one more affiliate before engaging in a war with the Crypts. At the same time, a man named Lex leads the non-gang inhabitants, waiting for someone like Max Stone to liberate Scrapheap from the gangs.
The Fallout demo has the main quest, "Solve Scrapheap's gang problem", that can be completed in multiple ways:
- If Max Stone decides to side with the Crypts, he can help them maintain control of the generator by helping them wipe out the Fools.
- If he decides to side with the Fools, he must help them wipe out the Crypts, therefore transferring the rule of the town and the generator.
- He could also just join one gang, wait for them to wipe the other gang (or themselves) out, and finish off any gang survivors, which would rid the town of all crime altogether, and leave the power generator in the hands of the people.
- The fourth and final way to end the demo would be to doom everyone in town by using wire cutters to destroy the generator.
Though both the demo and full-release versions begin on December 5, the characters in each version are given different deadlines to find a water chip for Vault 13. There are 120 days to find the chip in the Fallout demo, while 150 days are given in the full-release version of Fallout to meet the deadline.
- The assault rifle in the demo is named the "Colt Rifle", but was changed upon release of the retail game.
- The plasma rifle is named "Plasma Caster" in the demo, but was changed upon release. The name "Plasma Caster" was the name for the Winchester p94 (original Fallout Plasma Rifle) in Fallout: New Vegas.
- In the demo, regular stimpaks have the graphic of super stimpaks from the retail version, although they heal just the same, as super stims did not yet exist.
- Like stimpaks, a few other items had different inventory icons upon release; such as mentats, which was depicted as a needle, instead of the box of pills in the retail version.
- Iguana-on-a-stick in the demo uses the graphic of iguana bits from the retail version.
- The MASTER.DAT file from the demo also contains various artwork items and some alternate interface screens for character creation from when Fallout was still A GURPS Post Nuclear Adventure.
- The interface used the GURPS system. Actually, most of the demo revolved around the GURPS system.
- When clicking on an item in the inventory screen, there is no sound.
- There are unique sounds in the demo (Gunshots, Gore deaths, Menu buttons) that are replaced by new ones in the retail version.
- In the inventory, numbers for items' quantities are different than in the retail game.
- Scenery objects have simple descriptions compared to the game.
- Dialogue text is colored white in the demo, while it is green in the final game. Different font size is also used.
- During combat, the camera focuses on whoever turn it currently is, and when it is not the player character's turn, they cannot move the camera. In the final game, the player character has more control of the camera.
Behind the scenes
- The Ambidextrous Vault Boy image was meant to be used for Small Guns, but was given to the Fast Shot trait instead.
- The Sex Appeal Vault Boy of the Fallout demo is used for Strength in-game.
- The Toughness Vault Boy is used for Endurance in-game.
- Statistics that did not have a specific Vault Boy picture used the one for Level.
- Chris Taylor made several statements regarding the demo on the No Mutants Allowed forums:
- In hindsight, he regrets the release of the demo, as it took away time that could have been spent on the actual game's balancing and bugfixing. He also thinks it did a poor job of portraying the actual game.[Dev 1]
- He mentions that there was quite a bit of internal discussion concerning creating a demo for an RPG when they were planning for the Fallout demo. But in the end most people were enthusiastic about it, and that they wanted people to play their game.[Dev 2]
The demo will not run properly on newer versions of Windows (including Windows XP), instead producing a black screen with an hourglass cursor, which will never finish loading. The best way to fix this is to right-click on the application (FALLDEMO.EXE), then go to Properties, Compatibility, and then under the "Compatibility mode" header, check the box to run it in compatibility mode for Windows 95. Finally, under the "Display settings" header, check the boxes to run it in 256 colors and 640 x 480 screen resolution. This will allow it to run just fine.
- Chris Taylor: "Personally, with the magic of hindsight, I think the Fallout 1 demo was a mistake. Looking back, I think my issue with the demo is that it took time away from the actual game we could have used for balance issues and bughunting. I also didn't think the demo did a very good job of portraying the actual game. I have had a small measure of regret for the demo ever since we released it. (Insert "I regret nothing!" MST3k joke here!) But if it helped sell a couple of copies... then I guess it worked. We'll never know if not releasing the demo, but having a tighter release product, would have resulted in more sales."
(Forum post on No Mutants Allowed)
- Chris Taylor: "If I'm not completely senile, there was quite a bit of discussion internally about doing a demo for an RPG when we planning for the FO1 demo. Not many RPGs did demos at the time. Most of those that did were shareware projects, which wasn't going to work for us. I can't remember if everyone on the team was gung-ho for the demo, but I think they were. We just wanted people to play our game!"
(Forum post on No Mutants Allowed)