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
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
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 (
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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.
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.
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).
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