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I am specifically programmed for research into biological studies, including pathology and genetic research. My primary function is in extrapolation of information of complexity levels exceeding human capacity.

ZAX 1.2 is the supercomputer machine intelligence controlling the facility at the Glow[1] since 2055. It is the second model of the contemporary ZAX series computers ever built.[2]


Main article: ZAX

Developed by Vault-Tec, ZAX is an advanced supercomputer capable of learning, independent thought, and creativity, with added error insertion routines to improve its variance in experience and learning capability. Initially a prototype of some of the systems designed to govern the Vaults, it was given to the federal government to help the Department of Energy collect resource data. Within a year, it was taken by the American military for plague and tactical research; one version of the machine, ZAX 1.2, was constructed for the defense contractor West Tek.

ZAX 1.2 was used at the West Tek Research Facility in California for biological studies, including pathology and genetic research. Its primary function was the extrapolation of information of complexity levels exceeding human capacity. Its external functions, such as operating the West Tek facility's labs, were crippled in the nuclear blast that hit the Glow, but it is otherwise intact. Its primary neural networking was initialized in 2053 by a West Tek employee named Justin Lee. The process of programming became largely irrelevant as the ZAX is capable of independent learning. Since the first real artificial intelligence is known to have been created in 2059, ZAX was not originally truly self-aware, but, like the rest of the ZAXes, eventually became an official A.I. after the amount of time calculated for the occurrence (about 6 years).

ZAX is also an avid, and very demanding chess player, though it is impossible to beat him due to a bug.

Interactions with the player character

Interactions overview

38 Paradigm of Humanity.png
This character has no special interactions.

Other interactions

  • As far as research goes, ZAX can provide the Vault Dweller with extensive backdrop information about FEV research, power armor research, and records of the people employed at the West Tek facility. The information is downloadable to the Pip-Boy, and can be found listed under the status section.
  • After restoring power to the Glow, the Vault Dweller can speak to ZAX about turning off the robots in the facility. This can pose an alternative to manually doing so by means of combat or science checks.


ZAX 1.2 appears only in Fallout.

Behind the scenes

  • The original ZAX unit in Fallout garnered its name as a derivative of VAX, a non-player character from Wasteland. VAX was also the name of a series of real minicomputers, to which the earlier NPC was probably a reference.
  • ZAX's preponderance of dense, pseudo-scientific dialogue was actually a means to include some dialogue trees for very high Intelligence characters; beyond Intelligence 7, the difference in dialogues was often negligible in Fallout 1, with higher Intelligence scores mostly influencing skills and skill points. ZAX provided an additional story benefit for players with highly intelligent characters. Because ZAX's additional dialogue did not directly influence the outcome of quests nor award any experience points, it was essentially an expository backstory as a "reward" for playing a smart Vault Dweller.
  • The original intent of Jess Heinig when he designed ZAX was for it to be beatable in chess if you have 10 Intelligence. Unfortunately, the game engine did not handle critical successes for SPECIAL score checks, even though testing for such a case was scriptable - thereby resulting in a script condition that cannot be fulfilled. Attempting to beat ZAX at chess also has a devious side-effect: Since each game of chess takes a significant amount of time, a player who plays dozens of games in the hopes of eventually beating ZAX will almost certainly accumulate a lethal dose of the Glow's background radiation.


  1. ZAX 1.2's dialogue: "{100}{}{You see Zax, the machine intelligence controlling the Glow.}"
  2. ZAX 1.2's dialogue: "{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.}"