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About this blog

Musings and uh, Stuff.

Entries in this blog

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

 

Writing in Computer Games.

Someone wrote me a letter this weekend, asking if I had any suggestions for breaking into computer game writing, and it occured to me I didn't. I had suggestions for breaking into computer game design, but...   Anyway, here's the gist of the response in case anyone else has a similar question about how it all works.   Writing for video games is something of a different beast compared to game design. My experience is that someone will contract a writer (and usually late in the process) onc

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

World, Story, Character creation interview.

World, Story, Character creation interview.

I got to join some distinguished colleagues in giving some comments on world, story, and character design - many thanks to Vince for giving us the opportunity.   You can find the interviews and the collected thoughts at:   Story, Character, World Interview at Iron Tower Forums.    

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

 

Why we love the fans who hate us.

Technically, this is "Unofficial GDC Report, Part 3." Technically. This is because this topic goes faaaaaar beyond GDC.   Regardless, I wanted to take a moment to show you why we love the fans who hate us.

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

What working on Alpha Protocol is like.

What working on Alpha Protocol is like.

Working on Alpha Protocol is great, although it has caused some... changes around the office.   Alpha Protocol work environment.   Hope you all are having a more fun and less paranoid week than I'm having.

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

 

Unofficial GDC Report, Part 1

Finally made it back from the Game Developer's Conference, and I'll be blogging the experiences through this coming week and the next.   I will say, that parties at GDC can get awkward, depending on the celebrity turnout.

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Un-Ravel-ling Torment.

Un-Ravel-ling Torment.

Some fan-based questions I answered recently, posting them to share - it's about Ravel Puzzlewell from Planescape: Torment and some of the thoughts behind her creation.   What was the origin of Ravel?   We had a number of physically powerful enemies in Torment, and I thought a night hag would be a good adversary, especially if she was a cryptic, deadly puzzle maker. As the game went on, the idea that Ravel was a branching creature whose life resembled a great tree (or bramble

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

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

Star Wars EU Interview up!

Star Wars EU Interview up!

Thanks to Andrew (Son of Skywalker) and EUCantina.net, part 1 of writing/designing Star Wars comics/games is up at:   Star Wars Expanded Universe Interview Part 1   Clone Wars Adventures (Issues 7-10) is also nominated for Best Children's Comic in the 2008 Eisner Awards! I feel incredibly stoked (I contributed stories for issues 7, 8, and 10).

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Some additional narrative designer advice.

Some additional narrative designer advice.

In the last profile, I ended up giving general advice on seeking out development jobs, here are additional suggestions for narrative designers:   - If you have the time or resources, I'd recommend attending the Game Narrative/Writer's Track in Austin GDC, TX in October (I

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

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

Questions about Work

Questions about Work

I occasionally get interview questions from students aspiring to be designers. I try to warn them, but...   ...anyway, if you're curious, here's some answers. And some questions to go along with them.   1. What is a typical day for you as far as working on a project or projects?   I get into work at 9:30, and try to work for an hour without checking email. This work can be writing design documentation, designing a system, doing mock-ups for an editor or toolset, or

Chris Avellone

Chris Avellone

Project: Eternity and Characterization

Project: Eternity and Characterization

Character building for games isn’t easy, and it requires a lot of effort, especially when it comes to companions. I’ve had the good fortune to work on a variety of titles with strong support characters over the years, and I enjoy writing them a great deal. I still can’t believe I get paid to do this (don’t cut me off, Feargus).   There are a few guidelines I try to follow when designing companions (some of these are dependent on the engine and franchise).   - Combat/Challenge

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

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

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

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

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