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Chris Avellone

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Everything posted by Chris Avellone

  1. 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
  2. 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 content and challenges, read on (although play first and form your own opinions). Slight s
  3. Quick question from RafaƂ Adamek: I have a question: what types of characters do you prefer? Do you like to create a mass of different episodic persons who can gave you quest, have some background story but are not related to the main hero and don
  4. 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 envisioned. I was happy with the auditions Blindlight delivered for New Vegas, and I thought the companion
  5. 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 companion personalities and assigned them to designer he felt showed strengths in those character background
  6. 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), and one from art (Zane Lyon). In the past, Project Directors have been from production (Feargus on D
  7. An application would not automatically get rejected, since we don't have any open positions, it would be placed in the queue for when a position does open up and it would be evaluated then. It can't hurt to ask again every 6 months to check the current status of design positions, and to submit a resume and a portfolio, follow the steps in How to Apply: Obsidian - How to Apply Designers only need to send a resume and a cover letter, not a portfolio - if we like the resume, we'll ask you to take a test focused on the design needs of the project you're applying for. Hope this he
  8. Anyone who's curious about Fallout: New Vegas and Dungeon Siege III, we have three events lined up at Comic-Con if you want to check them out. Thursday 7.22.10 1:00-2:00 Video Game Comics: The Next Big Thing
  9. There cannot be two skies.

    And if there were, it would be confusing. Poor Dak'kon.

  10. I have no idea if this works.

  11. I am indeed, yet I have nothing to say, so I remain silent.

  12. 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 projects, as no game developer works alone, so the team experience is important. I've m
  13. 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 really trump the story of planting dynamite on victims in Fallout, superstimming people to death, or
  14. 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 (minus 2 years), I still feel young at heart. Please share some interesting moments of yo
  15. 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
  16. 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 and fun in one sentence. If not, you may need to rethink the game... or the sentence. - E
  17. 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 wondering if these classes are actually necessary. As a designer, do you find yourself needing to kno
  18. 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 whether you want to pursue technical design, systems design, narrative design, etc. is important when seek
  19. 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. :: Floodgates open :: It's a testament to the game that for every thing tha
  20. 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 material I should aim to write in my own work. I realise the proper answer is "as much as your game calls
  21. 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 writing? If so, how? Yes, especially for RPGs, because reactivity usually requires you to tell
  22. IGN Alpha Protocol Motivation Blog Enjoy. Or not. Depending on your motivation.
  23. 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!
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