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"Radiation Storm"
They required me to go on a quest before they would let me in. Thinking it would be a short and easy quest, I agreed and set off for the place they called the Glow. The horror of atomic war was never so obvious to me until then.Fallout 2 manual

The Glow, Great Glow, or the Hot Spot[1] is the former West Tek research facility, destroyed by a direct nuclear strike. Referred to as the Ancient Order by some members of the Brotherhood of Steel,[2] the facility was established in 2055 as the primary biological research installation for West Tek to research cures for the New Plague, and eventually became the birthplace of the Forced Evolutionary Virus.[3]


The Glow can be found eight squares east and twenty-four squares south of Vault 13.


West-Tek was divided into two distinct divisions, "Advanced Weapons" and "Biomedical Sciences Research."[4] By 2069 it was the single biggest private contractor of the American government, with its biggest project being the T-51b power armor for use by infantry soldiers on the frontlines. Its second-largest was the Pan-Immunity Virion Project (PVP), later known as the Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV).

The West Tek Research Facility was constructed in 2055 for biological research, but in 2071, the research facility was secured by the military. Research would continue until late-2076 when the fear of international espionage uncovering the PVP research required a complete relocation to the Mariposa Military Base[5] where experimentation on human subjects would continue. Several other projects were also being pursued, including energy weapons and upgrading existing armor.[3]

The Glow

The West Tek research facility was destroyed in the nuclear holocaust of 2077. During the Great War the surface of the installation took a direct hit from a nuclear warhead which left a gaping hole exposing the subterranean installation, shattering the FEV containment tanks and releasing the irradiated virus into the atmosphere.

Mutated by radiation, the airborne FEV strain did not have the same mutagenic abilities as its counterpart at Mariposa, but still complicated things for the Master later on. Due to its high radiation, the facility came to be known as the Glow, surrounded by legends among the people of New California.

In 2077, a faction within the soon to be Brotherhood of Steel led by Sergeant Allen gained strength, and they urged Captain Maxson to let them explore the ruins of the West Tek Research Facility, now called the Glow, for artifacts. Captain Maxson refused, so Allen and his group split away from the Exodus, taking some technology and weapons with them. Other members of the team included Soto, Jensen and Camarillo. They were subsequently killed by security robots and radiation within the Glow.[6]

The Brotherhood of Steel used to send unwanted applicants to the Glow on a "fool's quest," referring to it by the moniker the "Ancient Order," just to laugh about it later when they ended up dead because of the high amount of radiation in the area. They were quite surprised when one known as the Vault Dweller actually made it back, bringing with them a holodisk that recorded the fate of Allen's expedition, and earning them a place in the Brotherhood.[7]

The Glow, true to its name, is highly irradiated. A few moments' exposure is enough to give a lethal dose of rads, and Rad-X is required to traverse through the area.


Some time after 2162, some ghoul survivors from Necropolis settled northwest of the Glow, and founded the town of Dayglow, whose inhabitants formed partnerships with scavenging companies from New Adytum and the Hub and have built quite a profitable corporation from their salvage efforts.


(Yellow pass key)
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
(Red pass key)
Level 4 (Biology-Physics Research Labs)
Level 5 (Secure Testing Labs)
(Blue pass key)
Level 6 (Barracks and Operations Center)


Rad-X is essential to survive

Little remains on the surface of the Glow, just a gaping crater where once the heart of the American research effort laid. Three charred corpses lie around the crater. The location is extremely irradiated; radiation levels shoot up when one is able to see the giant crater, and it only gets worse afterwards. A rope can be attached to the steel beam in order to enter the facility.

Level 1

Where Paladins dare

This was where the offices and other administrative sections of the facility were, before the destruction of the building. The atomic bombing obliterated much of the level and scorched what survived. The body of Sergeant Allen lays in the conference room, encased in a defunct suit of T-51b power armor. On his person was a holodisk which the Vault Dweller used to become an initiate of the Brotherhood of Steel.

Loot in West Tek Level 1

Level 2

Into the maelstrom of radiation

The second level of the facility has been affected by the nuclear blast also, yet more survived, such as the security bots of the facility. On a burned corpse in the northeast corner, a red pass key can be found, granting access to other levels.

Loot in West Tek Level 2

Level 3

For a bagful of weapons

This level connects two different lifts providing transportation between the levels of the facility. Apart from that, it housed the facility's weapons research and development laboratories, indicated by the twin robot security checkpoints, secure labs and a stash of lockers with weapons and ammunition.

Loot in West Tek Level 3

Level 4 (Biology-Physics Research Labs)

The future of humanity gone horribly wrong

Every base needs a brain, and this level houses the mind of The Glow: ZAX. This supercomputer oversaw all research and development that took place in the base, in addition to performing the routine checks etc. Ever since the nuclear holocaust, he idled, biding his time, frustrated at his inability to perform even the most basic of routines.

In addition, the most advanced research labs in the country were located here, such as physics and biology laboratories, allowing for breakthroughs to happen in science.

The body of Charles Ringhold lies in one of the laser labs, carrying a blue pass key.

Loot in West Tek Level 4

Level 5 (Secure Testing Labs)

The dragon's treasure

The core of the facility, by far the most secure and least accessible, are the testing labs. Sealed, protected by three robot checkpoints, these laboratories witnessed the development of FEV and advanced weaponry, including the Winchester P94 plasma rifle. Here, surviving records of the FEV development can also be gleaned.

Loot in West Tek Level 5

Level 6 (Barracks and Operations Center)

Awakening the dragon

The deepest level housed the living quarters of the essential research personnel, along with the primary power generator for the base and the operations center. After the Great War, the power generator's fuses got stuck in the locked position, powering down the entire base.

The body of one of Allen's comrades lies, horribly burned, in one of the rooms.

Loot in West Tek Level 6


Related quests


  • When one first gets to the crater from the world map, they will receive the message "you receive a large dose of radiation" twice. With a radiation resistance stat of 12%, this will give the player character 28 rads. Resting for a day with the same resistance stat will net over 16,000 rads.
  • The name of the facility is spelled West Tech a few times in-game, but West Tek is the more common usage of the name and is the name of the company itself.
  • Some doors need a Strength of 8 or higher to be opened.
  • A rope is needed to enter the crater.
  • Suze mentions the Glow after being rescued from the lower levels of PMV Valdez.[8]
  • Major
    • GLWALIEN.MSG - "This body might be some kind of genetic experiment."
    • GLOWCAGE.MSG - "It appears as though this cage contained lab animals for testing. Somehow, the bars have been torn off."
  • Minor


The West Tek Research Facility appears in Fallout, and is mentioned in Fallout 2, Fallout 3,[9] its add-on Operation: Anchorage, and in The Armageddon Rag, Vol. 3.

Behind the scenes

  • Its name in the original Scott Campbell design documentation was FSEF.
  • The pass keys are a clear reference to id Software's Doom, even down to the corresponding colors of the pass keys shown above their doors.


See also


  1. The Vault Dweller: "{162}{}{Why the two names?}"
    Darrel: "{171}{}{Most topsiders think that it is just a big Radioactive hole. Thus the name became the Glow or some even call it the Hot Spot. We in the Brotherhood know the truth. According to the ancient writings this place was the source of all our technology. And who knows what may still be there.}"
    (Darrel's dialogue)
  2. The Vault Dweller: "{155}{}{No... I'm going to the Ancient Order.}"
    Darrel: "{159}{}{Glow, Ancient Order it's the same thing. It's still not a good place to visit.}"
    (Darrel's dialogue)
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Vault Dweller: "{112}{}{Tell me about this installation.}"
    ZAX 1.2: "{117}{}{This installation was established in 2055 as a biological research facility for experimental cures of the New Plague. However, in 2071, this facility was placed under United States military command.}"
    ZAX 1.2: "{118}{}{Research into possible cures for the New Plague created the Forced Evolution Virus, which was further developed in an attempt to create a transmittable genetic-engineering virus -- in effect, infectious evolution.}"
    (ZAX 1.2's information)
  4. West Tek records
  5. FEV experiment disk; Log Date January 7, 2077
  6. Ancient Brotherhood disk
  7. Events of Become an initiate
  8. The Chosen One: "{119}{}{Where are you from?}"
    Suze: "{121}{}{I'm from a place south of the Boneyard and south of the Glow. We're not too far from the sea. I used to be a nanny, but then the kids mutated into monsters.}"
    (Suze's dialogue)
  9. Citadel terminal entries; Citadel A ring terminals, Maxson Archive terminal, Maxson Family Dossiers, Roger Maxson