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  • Aarik D

    Update 1.2.9 Rise of the Goblins Deck 2 and Pathfinder Adventures News.

    By Aarik D

    Hail and well met!   A few months ago we set up a few options for additional content for Pathfinder Adventures that would leverage more of the Rise of the Runelords campaign.   We had a few choices available. It could have been another "Tale" to follow up what we were doing with Valeros (I believe the unofficial poll had Ezren in the lead to be the next adventure), a side quest hub (really popular idea internally especially since I suggested it), and a follow up Goblin Deck t
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Torment and Character Agency

Torment and Character Agency

Some Planescape: Torment questions from Joe Hogle, an undergrad at the University of Pittsburgh, posting the reasons for some design choices.   (BTW, if you guys ever have questions you want to answer for research papers or just because you want to know, feel free to email me at CAvellone@obsidian.net, let me know when you need them by, and if it's okay to blog the answers.)   In many RPGs, including the Fallout games you

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Old World Questions

Old World Questions

Some Old World Questions from Rocky Justice (thanks, Rocky):   1. What is your official title? I know in the credits it says you're a writer, but I was wondering if there was a more specific title for your job. Also, how'd you get in to your line of work? Did you study writing in college, or was it something you discovered later on?   I'm Creative Director here at the studio - I'm involved with the design department, giving advice on best practices, design methodology, and he

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Why did NCR ask the player/Courier to bring the package to the Divide?

Why did NCR ask the player/Courier to bring the package to the Divide?

Because Twitter would make this too fragmented:   (Spoiler alert)   NCR sacks Navarro in the West, recovers a bunch of tech they don't understand, as history has proven.   They do, however, recognize the symbols (American flag, silo stencils, etc.) and recognize it might be tied to the same symbols and markings the NCR found at the Divide.   NCR hires a Courier to take the item there. They don't for a second think that anything bad will happen as a result,

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Old World Blues Contest Winners.

Old World Blues Contest Winners.

Fallout New Vegas DLC contest this time was to suggest research projects for DLC3: Old World Blues, taking you to the technological graveyard of the Big Empty, one winner:   I chose the one from Blinzler below, because like Old World Blues, it draws upon the history of Fallout and in this case, Blinzler's entry reminded me of the Burrows (even though the Burrows never existed, one of the goals of Old World Blues was to dig into the history of how certain inventions and critters in the

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Honest Hearts FNV shirt winners + honorable mentions.

Honest Hearts FNV shirt winners + honorable mentions.

Here are my ruthlessly subjective winners for the most honest act in Fallout: New Vegas that made your heart hurt.   Of the 200+ entries, here are the winners followed by a lot of honorable mentions.   Next contest for Old World Blues should be up on Twitter soon. It'll probably involve experiments. Or captions. Or something blue-sy.   Warning: Spoilers below.   Winner ==============   KnotworkOrange Created my account just to answer. Though

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Results of Fallout New Vegas Movie Script contest.

Results of Fallout New Vegas Movie Script contest.

We had a few winners with the Fallout T-shirt contest - the contest: do a one sentence Fallout movie pitch (in honor of the Fallout movie script being leaked).   Lot of submissions (and too much to do in a Twitter post). I finally decided to break it into 3 categories: Best Trailer Speak, One That Made Me Laugh, and the Most Honest. So without further ado...   (And forgive the formatting, this'll be the last time I experiment with size, color, or fonts).   First the

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

FNV Perk Contest Winners.

FNV Perk Contest Winners.

Couldn't fit all the entries on Twitter, so here's a selection of winners for the Fallout New Vegas perk contest.   Broke them into Most Useful/Interesting, Most Ennio Morricone-Inspired and Most Humorous. #FNV   Most Useful/Interesting: @ericsiry Six Million Cap Man, @Spartan3995 The New You!, @Spartan3995 Burden to Bare, @Soultaker696 Sole Survivor.   Most Thematic and Ennio Morricone-Inspired: @ericsiry Trick Shot, @gogukaizer Evil Eye, @amoebasoid A Few Caps Mor

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Dead Money, Design Breakdowns.

Dead Money, Design Breakdowns.

With Dead Money coming out for the PC and PS3 this week, I got into a discussion about how I feel about its reception and some of the design decisions. In short, my feelings concern the context of the specific design elements. Some folks understand the "why" of the challenge elements even if they don't agree with them, which is fine, as long as they get why we did it the way we did - and that may not be apparent. So: If you play the adventure and want to dig deeper into the reasons behind the co

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Concentrated Casting

Concentrated Casting

Quick question from Rafał Adamek:   I have a question: what types of characters do you prefer? Do you like to create a mass of different episodic persons who can gave you quest, have some background story but are not related to the main hero and don

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Writing --> Studio

Writing --> Studio

Minor addition to the writing question list.   Also how is it like to write without having any idea how the character will sound?   When writing, most designers envision how the character sounds as they're writing - when the time comes for auditions, they provide a series of sample lines, a picture of the character in-game, breakdowns of the age, brief history, etc., and then the casting agency will run through auditions looking for someone who can deliver the lines as envisi

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Writing, Cont.

Writing, Cont.

2 More:   How do you choose who writes each (major) character in a game, also who's allowed to do any writing?   Depends, sometimes it's just necessity (you have the most bandwidth, so you do X person, or you're already doing the main city where the character resides, so it's best if you write Y antagonist), other times we're able to purposely assign folks with skill sets to characters (which Josh did on Fallout New Vegas). For Fallout New Vegas, Josh broke down the companio

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

 

Realism vs. What Designers Care About, Verisimilitude, and the Responsibility of Expectations

Something that seems to frequently come up when discussing the design of a game system is whether or not some aspect of that system adheres to reality. Or, more precisely, whether the outcomes of that system accurately simulate the results that the person making the argument expects, based on their particular interpretation of reality.   Generally, these arguments come from players, or from non-designers, or less experienced designers, and will take the form of, "But XXXX isn't realistic!" o

Nathaniel Chapman

Nathaniel Chapman

On Project Directors and Lead Designers

On Project Directors and Lead Designers

From a multi-part question on Twitter.   How do Project Directors and/or Lead Designers get selected?   To clarify the hierarchy at our studio, a Project Director isn't necessarily a designer, and at Obsidian, a Project Director is above all other disciplines except Feargus, who is all-powerful, even if he might debate that.   At the moment, we have four project directors - one from design (Josh Sawyer), another from design (me), one from programming (Rich Taylor),

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

School Stuff, FNV, Austin, Contact.

School Stuff, FNV, Austin, Contact.

Some questions from forum goers/emailers: TheJokester   Do you have any recommendations on what schools would be good to go to for game development?   The Guildhall's pretty solid (a few of our designers on Fallout New Vegas were hired from there). They usually have strong portfolios based on classwork they've done, which they can usually use for quick submission in designer tests, too.   If you end up going to any gaming school, just make sure they put you in group

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Emergent Narrative

Emergent Narrative

Questions from Davide Scalzo:   1) What do you think about the concept of emergent narrative?   1. I think the concept of emergent narrative is stronger than any enforced narrative. I think a blend can work well (and it's what I prefer whenever possible), but I think the stories players create on their own from interesting system mechanics and AI behavior has more weight and meaning than anything a designer tries to do. My favorite example is that no enforced narrative can r

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

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