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Icon disambig
For terminal entries, see Terminal entry.
 
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Terminals are hardware devices used for interfacing with computer systems across the Fallout series. Unlike real-world computers, desktop or portable, a terminal typically has no computing power or storage of its own, merely relaying data from the computer it's connected to (although some have been fitted with integrated storage drives and data processing).

In game terms, they are the means for controlling turrets, opening safes and doors, storing information, and activating robots and other special equipment. Some terminals have been rigged as traps. The operating system of a terminal is the Unified Operating System, published by RobCo Industries. Some terminals function autonomously, like bulky laptops (e.g.: Doctor Lesko's portable terminal); while others are dumb, i.e. they use the computer mainframe which they are connected to for processing and data storage. The typical terminal has a keyboard for typing commands and a monochromatic monitor for displaying data.

BackgroundEdit

FO4 Desktopterminal weathered

A typical pre-War terminal.

Terminals found across the United States vary greatly in appearance, but are generally similar in terms of functionality. Each computer runs on RobCo Industries' Unified Operating System and communicate with another machine (or its internal components, if it was upgraded with some) via RobCo's Termlink Interface 3.0.[1] All terminal commands are text based. Booting the computer is handled by another RobCo program, the MF Boot Agent v2.3.0, which in turn initialized the RBIOS (the latest pre-War version is 4.02.08.00 52EE5.E7.E8).[1]

There is one, persistent problem with the operating system: anyone with a basic understanding of information technology can use the RobCo Industries Termlink protocol to run the command SET FILE/PROTECTION=OWNER:RWED ACCOUNTS.F, reboot the terminal (with SET HALT RESTART/MAINT) and (with the RUN DEBUG/ACCOUNTS.F command) debug accounts, forcing a memory dump. The user password is always included in the dump, giving the hacker the ability to access protected items.[1]

The only fix introduced by RobCo was a lockout feature, which prevented access to the computer until an administrator unlocked it. However, certain hackers learned how to bypass the lock-out, nullifying even that security measure.

CharacteristicsEdit

Fallout and Fallout 2Edit

Terminals are predominantly scenery objects, both ruined and functional, used in high-tech locations such as Vaults, military bases, research facilities, and so on and so forth. However, they may also have scripts attached, giving them functionality.

For example, Vault 13 library terminals can be used to gain experience through research, while terminals in the Mariposa Military Base can be used to manipulate forcefields, robots, and set the base to self destruct. The terminals in Fallout and Fallout 2 can be used with the Science skill if it's high enough, providing one of the only practical applications for the skill. In a particularly complex example, in Fallout it is also possible to exploit back doors in computers to gain access, such as playing a game of 21.

Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4 and Fallout 76Edit

From Fallout 3 onwards, the role of terminals has been greatly expanded, making the Science skill and scientific perks more valuable. Terminals control doors, turrets, and safes, contain holotapes and recordings, and are frequently used in quests. Their role has been further expanded in Fallout 4, where terminals are extensively used in settlements to control defenses, manufacturing machines, lights, manage settlers, and so on and so forth.

Like before, terminals can also offer additional scripted interactions. These include launching an ICBM in Fort Constantine, initiating a tactical nuclear strike at SatCom Array NW-05a, modifying hologram defense settings at the Sierra Madre, and so on and so forth. Other unique functions include riddles (e.g. Jiggs' Loot), text adventures (e.g. Reign of Grelok), quizzes (e.g. National Archives historical quizzes), using US Government Supply Requisitions into them to spawn a Government Aid Drop from a Cargobot, and more.

AccessingEdit

Most terminals are secured. To access them, a user either needs:

  • A password. Computer security was always second to convenience and many users noted their passwords down on pieces of paper, recorded on holotapes, or stored on other terminals. One simply needs to locate them.
  • A high enough Science skill (Fallout 3/New Vegas) or Hacker perk rank to hack them.
  • An encryption key. Sometimes terminals have options that cannot be used until the correct encryption key is present. Terminals used by Chinese remnants in the Capital Wasteland are an example. The terminal encryption key is usually nearby.

Usually only one or two of these options are available.

PasswordsEdit
Terminal Password

Terminal password, in the Notes section of the Pip-Boy

There are various ways of getting a password to a terminal. The two most common ways to get a password are by someone telling the player character the password, or by finding an item describing the password, such as a holotape.

Hacking terminalsEdit
Main article: Hacking
Hacking in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas
Terminal level Science skill
requirement
Password length XP reward
Very Easy 15 4-5 20
Easy 25 6-8 30
Average 50 9-10 40
Hard 75 11-12 50
Very Hard 100 13-15 60
Hacking in Fallout 4
Terminal level Hacker perk
requirement
Password length XP reward
Novice 0 4-5
Advanced 1 6-8
Expert 2 9-10
Master 3 11-12

One way to deal with secured terminals is to hack them. This works only under the following conditions:

  • The terminal is hackable.
  • In Fallout 3/New Vegas: the player character's Science skill is high enough to hack the terminal. Science 100 (base or adjusted; see below) is required to even attempt to hack a "very hard" terminal.
  • In Fallout 4: whether the player character has enough ranks in the Hacker perk to hack the terminal. Novice terminals can be hacked by anyone. If the player character's skill isn't high enough, companion Nick Valentine can be ordered to hack the terminal instead.
  • In Fallout 76: whether the player character's hacking skill is high enough to hack the terminal. The hacking skill is increased by one for each unique hacking perk card equipped: Hacker, Expert Hacker, and Master Hacker, or are automatically unlocked when using the Master Infiltrator legendary perk. To unlock terminals requiring a hacking skill of 3, all three perk cards must be equipped at the same time or having a rank 3 Master Infiltrator legendary perk. Equipping duplicates of a perk card does not increase one's hacking skill.

In Fallout 3/New Vegas, there are items to help boost the player character's Science skill; e.g. the Vault 101 lab jumpsuit, the vault lab uniform, the Surgeon's lab coat, and most types of scientist outfit that can be found later in the game (with the exception of Doctor Li's outfit) will add +5 to one's Science skill. Lesko's lab coat adds +10.

Hacking a terminal yields XP, depending on the difficulty level of the terminal.

Terminal

A typical hacking session on a terminal

The hacking interface displays a list of words, all of the same character lengths, interposed with random characters. The length of the words is determined by the difficulty of the lock. The number of words displayed is determined by how high the player character's Science skill is (for Fallout 3 or New Vegas) or how high the player character's Intelligence is (for Fallout 4). One of the words is the correct password, and the goal is to guess it.

Choose a word by clicking on it. If the guess is not correct, the terminal will display "x/y correct" where x is the number of correct letters, and y is the word length. A letter is correct only if it is in the right spot. For example, if the password is "RELEASED" and "DETECTOR" is chosen, then the interface will say "2/8 correct," because there are 'E's in the 2nd and 4th place for both. The words have other letters in common, like 'R', but it is in the first spot in one word, and the last in the other. The player character has four attempts to select the correct password: if one fails, in Fallout 3/New Vegas, they will be permanently locked out; however, with the Computer Whiz perk, another try is granted. In Fallout 4, the player character will only temporarily be locked out, for ten seconds; the maximum rank of Hacker will remove even this lockout.

Controlling defense systemsEdit

Once the player character has access, they can perform a variety of actions. Each game lets the player character access and alter the settings of security systems and attached turrets. Fallout 3 and New Vegas also feature terminals that control turret targeting: if targeting is disabled, the turret will shoot at everyone within range, not just the player character.

In each game, there are more specialized versions of this. For example, in Fallout 3 in the Robot Repair Center there is a terminal that can set off a pulse explosion disabling every robot in the area. There is also one in Fort Constantine that launches the fort's ICBM if the player character has the Fort Constantine launch codes (the launch appears to be abortive). There is also one in SatCom Array NW-05a that allows the player character to launch a nuclear strike from the Highwater Trousers orbital weapons platform, though the nukes are relatively small and there is no way to aim them (they explode harmlessly some distance from the player character).

In addition, all games but in particular Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 feature terminals that can be used to open a protectron holding container, gaining a potential ally for upcoming firefights (though the protectron can still turn on the player character for various reasons, depending on the game). Fallout 4 also lets the player character install different personalities into the protectron, which changes its dialogue and behavior.

In Fallout 4, terminals can be built at settlements in Workshop mode, as long as the player character has at least one rank in the Hacker perk. These terminals can then be connected to other electrical objects such as lights and speakers to provide additional control options.

Opening doors and safesEdit

Terminals are commonly used to open safes, giving an alternative to lockpicking the safe. To get maximum XP, one can pick a lock first, then hack the terminal which would have unlocked it. One could also hack the terminal but not unlock the safe/door etc. before exiting and then lockpicking it.

Terminals are also sometimes used to unlock or open doors; an example is a terminal used in the Fallout 3 Tenpenny Tower quest to let ghouls in from the Metro.

Terminal typesEdit

StationaryEdit

Fo1 Mariposabasebackground

Stationary terminals in a military setting.

These large, unwieldy machines boast three monitors mounted on top of a large console and a hardware box wired to the local power grid and network. Despite their size and immobility, they were a popular choice for military installations and Vaults, as the terminal bulk allowed for integrating a variety of hardware that desktops and other terminal models couldn't. Chief among these were water purification computers with water chips that controlled the purification process for Vault-Tec Vaults,[2] although these platforms were used for a great many purposes. Their size and modularity allowed these machines to be customized for virtually any purpose. For example, high-frequency radio emitters could be used to create control stations for robot WLAN control matrices,[3] while a transmitter for field signaling, a receiver for remote commands, and a standard radio data communications port would create a versatile machine for controlling force fields.[4]

Over time, the use of these computers declined, in favor of terminals slaved to central mainframes. The constant refinement of personal computing and miniaturization also allowed for breakthroughs, resulting in desktop-sized computers that could do the work of a stationary computer without consuming excess amounts of space.

DesktopEdit

Desktopterminal

The most popular type of terminal is the RIT-V300, a standalone machine with a large cathode ray tube display (in green) and all the necessary components built into a single, full metal case with an integrated alphanumeric keyboard, four function keys and two knobs for regulating the monitor display. Internally, they are powered by a whooping 64 kilobytes of RAM.[1] The RIT-V300 was spun off into many variants, with some dumb by design, simply providing an interface for a bigger machine, and others designed to incorporate an internal drive, memory, processor, and other hardware, turning them into personal desktop computers. RobCo Industries was at the forefront of personal computing, retaining the external appearance of the terminal, but varying greatly in terms of performance and ability.[5]

Naturally, terminals required regular maintenance, especially in domestic environments. Fans cooling the full metal case tended to suck in hair and other debris, increasing heat retention and potential damage through overheating.[6]

Known models include:

RobCo Model NX-12

An old terminal model dating back at least to 2070. By the Great War, it lacked memory or expansion capacity, relegating it to the role of a glorified typewriter or rudimentary game console capable of running text-games only.[7]

RobCo Model E-330

Billed as the "most reliable client terminal ever developed", the E-330 was designed for interacting directly with RobCo-brand mainframes.[8]

Robco Model E-601

A streamlined terminal outfitted with RobCo's business suite, marketed at executives. Each came loaded with a calendar software, contacts manager, and a messaging system. All three were hooked into a Daily Itinerary program, which generated itineraries based on the calendar contents and messages received. The messages system was particularly sophisticated, as it automatically timestamped, branded, and added read receipt requests to each message sent out.[9] Additional functions could be installed by RobCo technicians, such as notifications systems.[10]

Robco Model RX-6550

A personalized home computer for the entire family, allowing each member to keep track of activities and tasks. Privacy was ensured through multiple password-protected user accounts.[11]

RobCo Model RX-9000

The most advanced gaming terminal on the market, featuring an upgraded processor and cutting-edge graphics for the latest holotape games.[12]

Suspicious terminalsEdit

Several suspicious terminals can be found at H&H Tools Factory on the top floor. They are equipped with "Hidden Network Drives" that can be accessed through the player character's Pip-Boy.

Trapped terminalEdit

Trapped terminal

This desktop terminal has been rigged with a grenade to explode when keys are pressed. Activating this terminal will cause it to first electrify and then explode after a brief delay. These are identical in appearance to other desktops, with the sole difference being a rotating antenna protruding from the back of the case and a damaged rear cover.

An Explosives skill of at least 45 (60 if playing Fallout: New Vegas) is required to disarm this trap in return for a single frag grenade and an experience reward. To disarm, the rear panel of the terminal needs to be activated. It can be later rearmed with any grenade, although this is pointless: Non-player characters do not use these terminals and cannot detonate the bomb.

Institute terminalEdit

FO4 Institute Terminal
FO4 Institute Wall Terminal

Manufactured using Institute technology, the terminal is sleeker, offers a higher resolution display, an optional drop-down magnification peripheral, and is available in both desktop and wall-mounted variants. These appear inside the Institute and select other areas such as Fort Hagen.

Wall-mountedEdit

Wallterminal

A terminal variant built with ruggedness in mind. The monitor is housed in a reinforced metal case attached to a wall mount, with a retractable alphanumeric keyboard below. Two side-mounted knobs allowed the user to regulate display intensity. This type of terminal was commonly used for controlling security doors and turrets in high security environments.

ConsoleEdit

Wall mounted console

A bank of monitors connected to a single, powerful terminal. used to monitor and control large facilities, such as Hoover Dam or Vaults. Robert House and Benny planned to hack the Hoover Dam central control console to seize the Dam for New Vegas.

Improvised terminalEdit

FO4 Handmadeterminal

An improvised terminal built on the basis of a Holo Scope, mixing in parts from typewriters and a dozen other sources to create a terminal that is surprisingly versatile and functional. These aree rarely found in the world, and can be crafted at any settlements the player character has ownership over.

Alien terminalEdit

Alienterminal
There are terminals scattered around the alien ship Zeta, in the Mothership Zeta add-on. They are used by the aliens for security purposes. Can be rigged to explode with a delayed time fuze or as a proximity charge with a Science check (difficulty varies from terminal to terminal, in the 25 to 75 range), or destroyed with regular firearms.

Behind the scenesEdit

  • Some terminal areas would suggest that the terminal has not been tampered with since pre-War times. Despite this, some password options will be "deathclaw" or some other select creatures in the Wastelands that only came about post-War (or, like deathclaws, were kept secret from the general public).
  • Misspelled words occur multiple times across Fallout 3, New Vegas and 4. Average-difficulty Consoles in New Vegas contain at least two of the few misspellings, that being "LEUTENANT," instead of the correct "Lieutenant" and "CONQUORER" instead of the correct "Conqueror". The word Lieutenant is also misspelled again in Fallout 4, once more appearing as "LEUTENANT" upon Expert-difficulty terminals. Deliberately misspelling words is one method of creating a stronger but easy-to-remember password.
  • If blood is splattered on a terminal when it is activated, there will be a dark red box around the text that initially comes down.
  • In Fallout 4, "GURPS" can appear as a possible password. This is a reference to the Generic Universal Role Playing System, which was planned to be used in the original Fallout but was replaced by the SPECIAL system.

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

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