A terminal is an electronic device that is used to interface with various computers, such as those programmed 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.
Fallout and Fallout 2
The terminals in Fallout and Fallout 2 can be used with the Science skill if it's high enough. In Fallout it is also possible to exploit back doors in computers to gain access, such as playing a game of 21.
Most terminals are secured. To access them you either need
One way to deal with secured terminals is to hack them—if you can. This works only under the following conditions:
- The terminal is hackable.
- Your Science skill is high enough to hack the terminal. You will need 100 in Science (base or adjusted; see below) to even attempt to hack a "very hard" terminal.
Hacking a terminal yields XP, depending on the difficulty level of the terminal.
A typical hacking session on a terminal.
You will be presented with a list of words, all of the same character length, interposed with random characters. The length of the words is determined by the difficulty of the lock. One of the words is the correct password, and your goal is to guess it. You choose a word by clicking on it. If you didn't guess correctly, 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 you choose "DETECTOR" then you will be told that there are 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. You have four attempts to select the correct password. If you have the Computer Whiz perk, you will get another try. This game is similar to Mastermind. a board game.
There are also things you can do with the characters that are not part of words. Clicking on matching brackets (i.e. ()  <> <>, even with other characters between, but not a whole word between) can remove a dud password or reset the number of remaining guesses to four. The brackets must be of the same type and on the same line. Although you cannot match brackets with a whole word between them, you can match brackets separated by the dots that appear when a dud word is removed ( <. > ). Also, two or more opening brackets can be matched to a single closing bracket ("[ [ ]" on a line gives you two chances), but the opposite is not true ("[ ] ]" only gives you one chance). When you scroll across this type of entry from left-to-right, the entire entry will be highlighted letting you know if you've found one or not.
Previous choices are displayed on the right-hand side of the terminal.
To get to the hacking mini-game quickly, you can click the startup screen on the terminal to skip to the next screen. Click once more to load the hack screen instantly. (Note: in Fallout: New Vegas if you back out after your first hack attempt prior to "locking" computer, you must wait even longer for the initial key in prior to the mini-game)
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's Pip Boy.
Sometimes terminals have options that can't be used until you have the correct encryption key, and will be presented as gibberish.
An example of this are the terminals used by Chinese remnants in the Capital Wasteland - but the terminal encryption key is usually nearby.
A terminal can also be a trap in disguise.
If triggered by activating the keyboard, the terminal will become electrified (not harming the player), and then the rigged frag grenade will detonate.
A trapped terminal has a broken rear, and a small antenna on the back, sending or receiving from an unknown location; see picture to the right. Also, all terminals with traps on them are plainly called "terminal," as with the normal "Click/press 'A'/'X' to Activate terminal."
Disarming a trapped terminal demands an Explosives skill of 45. In New Vegas. it requires a skill of 60. It is disarmed by activating the rear of the terminal rather than the front.
A frag grenade was used to create the trap, and you will get the one used to rig the terminal when you disarm it.
After disarming, these terminals cannot be used for anything except re-arming with any type of grenade, a fruitless gesture since it is not a trap any non-player character could spring. It is not possible to use these terminals for informational purposes.
Purpose of terminals
Terminals are generally used to find information about a particular quest or character. This information may be usable in some practical way, or it may be for background and atmosphere (an example of the latter is the nurse's diary on the terminal outside Germantown Police HQ. detailing how she and her fellow nurses sickened and died of radiation poisoning after the nuclear attack).
Turrets often have a terminal near them that can turn them on or off, or disable the turret's targeting. If targeting is disabled, the turret will shoot at everyone within range, not just the player (including other turrets, two turrets close together can destroy each other this way). This can be very useful to thin out the ranks of your enemies without exposing yourself, turning the turret(s) back off before you move into the area yourself.
A few terminals are more specialized. In the Robot Repair Center there is a terminal that can set off a pulse explosion disabling every robot in the area. There is one in Fort Constantine that launches the fort's ICBM if the player 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 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).
Terminals are quite commonly used to open safes, giving an alternative to lockpicking the safe. To get maximum XP, you can pick a lock first, then hack the terminal which would have unlocked it. You 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 the terminal used in the Tenpenny Tower quest to let ghouls in from the Metro.
- In the Museum of Technology. Prime has reprogrammed a few terminals so that Jiggs can track his whereabouts, if he manages to get the answers right. See Jiggs' Loot .
- In Hubris Comics. one still-working terminal has a beta test of a text adventure game called "Reign of Grelok ."
- In the National Archives. a terminal controls a multiple-choice quiz that dispenses a reward ticket on successful completion. This ticket (and others found elsewhere in the museum) can be cashed in at a nearby terminal for some unique Mentats .