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Chris Avellone

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Everything posted by Chris Avellone

  1. I think it's fair and a good point - companions shouldn't be (1) more powerful than the player, to the point where they can handle the combats by themselves, (2) upstage the player, and (3) seem to have used the ruleset in ways the player cannot to their advantage (ex: they're allowed to have stat allocations that no normal player could have made). All these things can breed resentment. A lot of the CNPC-initiated companion stuff makes them feel more alive, as long as the execution is handled correctly and it makes sense in the context of the situation. I probably should have mentioned
  2. 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-viable. Any companion that can’t hold their weight and help support the home team in some fashion i
  3. 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 concerning design as well (more on this as it happens). Still, it's nice to be home and back
  4. 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 pressure, and it creates an urgency for the player that's hard to beat. In Fallout 1, the sk
  5. 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
  6. 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 remotely with your tasks and help your game shine. If this is something you're interested in explor
  7. Recently, I was asked about Wasteland, and the answer became complicated enough that I decided to respond to here. In short, I
  8. Thanks for all the responses, folks - it may take me a while to sort the ones here, Twitter, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun among others, but I want to be thorough. Any more feedback or ideas, keep 'em coming! It's encouraging to see such a strong response.
  9. 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
  10. Was going to blog this week - then a fellow Thomas Jefferson high school alum, Danny Kim, beat me to it and ended up posting an interview I
  11. 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
  12. 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 helping to test and select new design candidates. I also set up designer expectations for each tier of
  13. Giantevilhead: To answer the Enclave question, that's unknown. In the 1st iteration of Van Buren, history was the Enclave nuked the hell out of San Francisco, assuming that the destruction of the oil rig was caused by attackers from that city (and also a way to clean the slate there). Heartbreak_Courier: To continuing the franchise and work on it again, we'd love to if the opportunity presented itself - thanks for the kind words, we enjoyed being able to take another shot at the license (and dig up the old Van Buren material as well).
  14. 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, and neither does the player. Player delivers package, leaves. The package i
  15. 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 Fallout universe came to be). As long as the experiments don't involve Power Armor. Or Vaults. Becau
  16. 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 it has been said before it must be the Hanlon affair, truly morally ambiguous. Realised
  17. Interview on Choices and Consequences at Iron Tower.
  18. 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 "ONE THAT MADE ME LAUGH," the most important of all categories. (@RowanKaiser) PipBoy g
  19. 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 More. Most Humorous: @amoebasoid Hot Temper, @ericsiry Human Goat, @amoebasoid Nudist.
  20. There is a script function to check Hardcore mode, that's not a bad idea. I'm not sure how it affects item spawns, although I don't think that would be hard to do.
  21. It varies, some publishers/developers are hiring (Blizzard, Turtle Rock), some studios like us are doing hiring at a slower pace (programmers and production mostly), some studios are shutting down. The recession did eventually hit the game industry, just more slowly than other sectors.
  22. Thanks - Dead Money was actually initially a lot harder than its final release. A lot. First off, all the hardcore mechanics in DLC1 were par-for-the-course in normal mode, it had a lot more traps, the toxic cloud was even more lethal (rather than reduce you to low hit points in normal mode, it would kill you and kill you faster than it did now). I did want the player to feel apprehensive while playing and create a sense of tension, but the end conclusion was that it was too punishing overall: not challenging, punishing. One joke was that Dead Money was going to become the Tomb of Horror
  23. Yes, the Elijah ending is obtainable, although you have to really hate NCR and have talked to Veronica about Elijah thoroughly (perhaps again) after DLC1 is installed. Having the "join the bad guy" ending has been important to me since Fallout 1, so if we can do that in our titles, even in DLC, we try for it. Also, writing the Elijah joining end movie was a lot of fun in an evil way. And on the headless enemies - we did joke about that, although I suppose in the end, Ultima cornered the market on those creatures.
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