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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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PCAction.de Interview Translation

PCAction.de Interview Translation

Translation from PCAction.de, although I'd argue Google does a more amusing job than my original text.   Please introduce yourself (full name, age, company, position):   I'm Christopher Frederic Avellone (you want the full name, you got it, even the embarassing middle name that my Mom picked from some French emperor which I've never understood). My job? Creative Director at Obsidian Entertainment, which means I review and do a lot of design. I'm almost at the 4 decade mark (

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Polygamer Interview: Translation

Polygamer Interview: Translation

Polygamer went live with an interview I did for them a while ago (Polygamer Interview), and here's the English translation for those who don't know much beyond their high school French... like me.   1] At Polygamer we ask ourselves many things about videogames, for example why it

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

 

Difficulty Settings

In advance, I want to mention that I am using GTA as a theoretical example in this case. I actually don't remember what it did for difficulty levels - it was just a clear example to explain the terms I'm using.   Something that I've done a lot of thinking about is difficulty modes. Not just because it's something you have to consider on every project, but also because it ties directly into the core meat of system design - what causes your game to be challenging? What level of challenge is fun

Nathaniel Chapman

Nathaniel Chapman

Game Pitches + Design Thoughts

Game Pitches + Design Thoughts

Game design...   One game design question from Nicole Swimley:   How do you go about getting ideas into a cohesive format? And what methods do you use to start narrowing down what makes for a better design?   - Write one sentence about your game, tell it to someone you trust, then study their expressions to see if they get the hook. Repeat this to various people until you have a good sampling. Ideally, any game you do should be cool enough to explain why it's cool a

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Classes to Take and Games to Run

Classes to Take and Games to Run

A question from Chris Norris:   Greetings, Mr. Avellone   I saw your lecture at Framework 09 and was deeply inspired. I am currently studying to be an animator, but writing and design speak to me more than art or animation does. I was hoping I could ask you a few short questions?   1) I've looked at transferring to a games design degree and they teach classes such as physics, programming (LUA, C++) -and- manage to pack one or two art classes in there as well. I am w

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Interview Advice.

Interview Advice.

Some minor tips for interviewing... or deciding where to interview.   First off, know what you want to do. If you're not sure if you want to be a programmer or a designer, choose one and focus on that until you (1) realize you hate it, or (2) discover you love it. More than that, if you decide to be a certain discipline - art, programming, design, or production, research the field enough to know what sub-set of that discipline you want to pursue. For example, for design, knowing whethe

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

high-level writing principles

high-level writing principles

At work, we have a lot of rules for how to write. These range from punctuation (single-spacing after terminal punctuation) to spelling ("all right" vs. "alright") to structural (where a "goodbye" response should be relative to a "start combat" response and where that should be relative to a "friendly" response). Every project has a document (or documents) on the specific guidelines for that project. In spite of all the details, there are certain high-level principles that tend to be common. Okay

J.E. Sawyer

J.E. Sawyer

Fallout Fan Question

Fallout Fan Question

Alex Nistor:   Concerning Fallout 3 , I really was curious to hear your more in-depth opinion about it.   So you said you had a similiar opinion on it to Sawyer, but what was missing from that, in my opinion, was a breakdown of your pro's and Con's for Fallout 3.   Considering Bethesda made it in a similiar style to Oblivion, I just wanted to know specifically, how was the transition?   And like I said in the above comment, what did you like and not like.

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

How much character backstory is enough?

How much character backstory is enough?

Next question about game writing is from Jonas...   WARNING: This blog is a spoiler, so if you haven't played Knights of the Old Republic II you may want to stop reading here.   Hey Chris,   I'll try to keep this short out of respect for your time. I just found myself with a deep desire to know how much background material you tend to write for an average companion NPC in the party-based games you've worked on. I'm trying to get a feel for how much background mater

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Video Game Writing vs. Writing

Video Game Writing vs. Writing

I get a lot of questions from folks regarding narrative design and getting into the industry (especially after the Trzynasty Schron interview).   When possible, I'll be posting the answers here as well in case anyone else has the same questions (or wants to comment or add to any of these answers).   To start it off, here's the 1st of 3 questions from Joey 😄   Do you feel that video game writing, and video game story creation differ from other forms of creative writin

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Christmas Present to Self

Christmas Present to Self

Found this in the backroom, although the disk was probably still lodged inside the C64. Love the credits page. And even found my old school handmade Wasteland Vegas map. The Scorpitron is clearly indicated in... uh... faded pencil. Along with everything else. Happy holidays, all!

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

tunin' tips and tricks

tunin' tips and tricks

At work, I am often directly involved in an aspect of game design that not all designers really deal with: system and content tuning. This is the process by which system rules and content are adjusted to produce a specific effect for the player. E.g. you want the player to feel like he/she really gains a great advantage when he/she gets the raccoon tail in Super Mario Brothers 3, so you space out the frequency of raccoon tail powerups and you make sure that the raccoon tail's flight powers allow

J.E. Sawyer

J.E. Sawyer

Kotor II Questions

Kotor II Questions

Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords questions from Joakim... some spoilers follow.   1. K2 pretty much changed on how the force, the galaxy, the Jedi are portrayed. How did that work in terms that you were making a sequel to a very typical Star Wars game? (KotOR1, we have this evil dude who wants to blow up the galaxy just for the hell of it).   A lot of it came from deep-rooted feelings and opinions about the Star Wars franchise, both positive and negative, and especi

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

General Design Questions, Part 1.

General Design Questions, Part 1.

Got some general questions from Joakim, and wanted to post them in 2 parts in case folks were interested. If not, that's fine, too. Joakim had some Knights of the Old Republic 2 questions as well, and I'll post those in a few days.   1. If you couldn't be a game designer what would you be, and why? (in the game industry of course)   I would either be cartooning (I still do one-shots for the comic "Knights of the Dinner Table" from Kenzer & Co), writing game supplements (C

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

 

NWN2 News August 8, 2008

Neverwinter Nights 2 Community Update August 8, 2008   Well, it's been a long time since I have done an update. I have been so busy lately that I haven't had much time to research anything for the community works section, but I wanted to come here and fill you in on some of the progress we have been making.   If you haven't heard already, we have an expansion in the works. Yes, it's true! The expansion (which we refer to as NX2) is titled Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir. With th

Rob McGinnis

Rob McGinnis

Morality in Games, Part 1.

Morality in Games, Part 1.

I recently did an interview regarding morality and games for a student's Master's Thesis, and I wanted to share in case anyone was interested. Or wanted to quote me in or out of context for fun.     What is your name and professional title? My name is Chris Avellone, and I'm Creative Director (and Lead Designer on our Alpha Protocol CIA RPG) here at Obsidian Entertainment.   For how long have you been working in the computer games industry? Over ten years

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

 

Interim Community Update

Neverwinter Nights 2 Community Update May 2, 2008   It's been a while since the last community update. As such, I thought I would give you a little teaser for some of the 1.13 patch notes, while I write the real Community Update. Please remember that this list is very much incomplete.   Bug Fixes   General The toolset and game now load hak files in the same order. Skills such as Search will no longer broadcast multiple messages to the chat window while in use. A single mes

Rob McGinnis

Rob McGinnis

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