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).
So, I generally despise writing companion romances (I think unrequited and/or doomed ones are ultimately more dramatic), but there are some techniques I've accumulated over the years that I try to incorporate into writing and designing romances in RPGs.
A lot of these things came out while writing Gannayev-of-Dreams in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, and I suppose it could hold true for other inter-party romances in games. What follows is a summary of some points we kicke
So a designer's job is to make jumping through hoops fun, and calibrating the challenge/frustration ratio of jumping through said hoops.
This blog post stems from a question from the AMA Brian Fargo and I did on Reddit (long ago) concerning the issues with this in regards to one infamous piece of game design: time limits, and how two different games dealt with the challenge.
From a gamemaster/game designer perspective, the idea of time limits is appealing. It creates pres
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
I started playing Wasteland 1 near the end of Kickstarter to get back into the Wasteland mindset. I'm still loving it just as much as I did back in high school.
One thing I wanted to vent about concerning old-school RPGs like Eternal Dagger, Wizard
I have to confess, I was pretty happy to hear the Writers Guild of America, West was giving awards for video game writing.
Award Criteria and Submissions
Then the fine print came out, which basically invalidates all the writing work we did at Black Isle and Obsidian for the past ten years, including:
"Submitted games MUST have separate credit for writing (i.e. Written By, Story By, Writer, Story Designer, etc.). Writing credits must be verified by their inclus
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).
Because Twitter would make this too fragmented:
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,
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
Another question from Rafal Adamek:
Can people who are not a programmers can be a part of a game industry? I read on your blog about good schools to start with and everything. But what about different people? Let
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
Obsidian gets applicants for internships all the time from schools across the States, and it may be that if you're forming a Kickstarter, you may need a lot of technical, production, and development help for tasks that students and juniors would love to do to contribute to their careers and education.
If you're running a Kickstarter and would like to consider a pool of applicants to help you hit your game's mark, let us know - there may be interns/juniors in your area or could assist
It's been a while - aside from Obsidian work, I've been doing quite a bit of talks here at Dragon*Con and across the sea in Spain at Gamelab on a variety of subjects, from advice to getting into the industry, to Kickstarter, and even our approach to designing characters for video games. Even better, I'll be doing the same coming up here in October at Austin GDC's narrative track concerning Obsidian's narrative approach - and going through our design process at the end of the month overseas conce
As part of the discussion involving Aliens interface design, our Systems Lead, Paul Boyle, showed us this supercool lighttable interface.
Here's a glimpse of what future keyboards may be like.
There's also pretty lights and a cartoon in there as well, for your viewing pleasure.
There were some concerns floating around about Aliens being an action RPG, so I thought it would best to clarify. While there will be action elements to it, it is still an RPG in every sense of the word.
An analysis of the elements, along with diagrams as to what constitutes an action RPG in the aliens universe, is presented for your viewing enjoyment here. Hypothetically, the diagrams may resemble cartoons. And it may not be a serious analysis. All other standard caveats apply.
Got back from Comic-con, and here are some pix from the show, in case anyone is interested.
Just a heads up that we'll be at Gen Con and PAX in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for Mask of the Betrayer.
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
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