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Chris Avellone

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Everything posted by Chris Avellone

  1. 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) once an idea and game direction has already been determined and then it becomes the game writer's job t
  2. BTW, that's it for the questions for now. I wanted to thank Fionavar for setting this up, and thanks to all of you guys for the great questions... especially the T vs. M rating for character arcs one, which made me give a lot of thought to whether M is really necessary, or whether I just can't stand parameters and am a big fussy pants. Thanks to everyone who contributed, and thanks for participating on the forums - we should be releasing more and more NWN2 news as the September ship date approaches as well as other annoucements. - Chris
  3. 10) I guess it depends what you define as the old skool RPGer, but I'll take a guess - isometric, turn-based, long dialogue trees, make your own journals and maps of areas, PC-centric control scheme, and a slower paced game in general. I'd say the answer is "yes, it is possible" though unless it's an established franchise (Neverwinter Nights 2), it can be a tough sell to publishers, but that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone at this point. To address each point above: - Camera Angle: I think people should be given freedom with this no matter what, so I would never rule out an i
  4. 9) I will say that, higher social profiles aside, the larger budgets will make landing projects with publishers more difficult, and make them prone to wanting to bank on the safe project as opposed to the risky ones, since the cost of making a mistake and bringing a potentially low-selling title to market is now HUGE. I think social profiles for developers are expanding right now, actually - the future is now and has been for a few years. When I hear Fatal1ty being interviewed on NPR and promoting his own line of video cards, or see Cliffy B getting his picture snapped with Paris H
  5. Computer Games as a medium - I think it will absolutely enter into the world of art, and I think it already has, whether people realize it or not. I think the primary role of comic books, for example, were to be solely commercial entertainment, but I think a number of them have easily transcended into an art form. Artist or craftsman - it depends on the stage of the product cycle. At the beginning, definitely more an artist, then when the hardcore implementation begins, it's time to craft away (although there's also an argument for artistically crafting something, but that gets more compl
  6. I guess it's much the same question you would put on characters and character exploration in a PG-13 movie vs. an R-rated movie. Sometimes to explore some characters in a certain genre ("true crime," survival horror, or otherwise) requires you have access to a toolbox of taboo subjects to reinforce the ambiance you're trying to create. Game mechanics are generally more impeded than most character development (mostly combat mechanics, for obvious reasons), but numerous topics in today's culture with character development also get the hamstring with the ESRB. This includes mature sexual con
  7. I'll do companion NPC characters because I understand them the best: They need understandable motivations (or hidden, but understandable motivations), unpredictability, some element of mystery, effective in the game, and a good voice actor. (Note that I have generated this list in five minutes, so it's possibly I have forgotten something. Anyway.) Motivations: People like characters they can understand or sympathize with. Part of my love of Hellboy and Robot Man in Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol is that when they are confronted with a weird situation, they go "hunh?" and then they punch
  8. Rebelling against the ESRB - Yeah, I feel that way much of the time, and the rest of the time I am sleeping. It's hard to make a game that's meaningful when there's certain modern-day subjects (and age-old dawn-of-time subjects) that you can't bring up without getting the ratings slash. I do want freedom to create with as few restrictions as possible, and sometimes having to fight for a mature-rated game (and not for the sake of simply being immature and painting blood and sex everywhere, but for other topics) is a pain in the ****ing ass. Not to be totally one-sided about it, though - I d
  9. No, but it's not the team's fault, since they were in an unusual situation all around. That was actually the second project I was drafted on to, and then I asked Ferg if I could leave and work full time on Planescape (I think this was a year before DTU finally shipped). He agreed, since at the time, I didn't ask for much. Not long before that, I actually was asked to leave DTU to work on Fallout by Tim Cain, but I felt bad, so I didn't. Huge mistake. Torment's the game I'm most proud of. I feel like it said a lot of what I wanted to say about how role-playing games could be - and the setti
  10. Modern engines do provide some limitations - I would disagree that modern engines couldn't pull off the Planescape universe, though (and I think they could do it better with a 3D engine), a claim of which was basically the fault of my seven year old designer brain back in '99 being incapable of wrapping itself where modern technology would go. In terms of character interaction, that's a little of a thornier issue, since getting that facial and animation complexity in some of our current games has been tough, resource wise (it can require a lot of animators and modelers to get it right) - i
  11. Probably about half of PST, and roughly the same as K2. That's more of a gut instinct answer, since I don't have the word counts in front of me. I will say it's much harder in today's development cycle to write a lot for games whether dialogue or otherwise, just because of the localization and audio costs of having to do voice acting. Bonus Answer from Original Thread: (Fenghuang) Do I still have a passion for blonde European women? Sure, if they're cool and won't steal my car or cyberstalk me. I'm cool with physical stalkers, though.
  12. Just wanted to warn you guys that my answers may trickle in slowly, since there's been a marketing flood this week in addition to the Neverwinter Nights 2 standard work load. Influence System - I realize that happened in K2. Still, if at least one of those people stopped for a moment to consider the role-playing opportunity as well (so that's why Kreia's such a cranky witch), then perhaps it was a good thing in the end. I don't know if there's anything wrong with it either - if that's how folks want to play, that's totally fine with me, we just provide the option to roleplay if they
  13. If we gave our prizes, you would get one. Ran across that in one of the Jedi Quest children's books, and for some reason, it stuck. Chris
  14. Please examine the K1 Republic battle fleet and see if what you say truly violates K1 and Kotor-era continuity, or whether it is a convention.
  15. Uh... huh? All right, it's a poor fighter - where did that come from? But are we talking about the (now-christened) stealth basilisk in K2 or the Viraga/Virago? What? Oh, are we still talking about this? So you support this particular stealth revision mentioned in the article - excellent. Then it all comes down to aesthetics, and again, this thread has been a colossal waste of time. To re-iterate, if you are seeking psychological security in sci fi continuinity, then you are bound to be sorely disappointed. We proposed it, they agreed on the first pass, it's done, nothing will ever change
  16. Wait, so you (and the article) are admitting that the one in K2 isn't the same as TOJ? That there ARE multiple versions? Then why are we even talking about this? You're right, "enough of Basilisk." What a colossal waste of time. Also, if the insider article came out in 2005, then any changes they placed there will most likely overwrite anything that was already established in K1 or K2 (which was finished in 2004) - which I guess was your problem with K1 and K2 in the first place and means it may happen again in the future. But if you support that revision this time, hey, more power to you
  17. Really? Well, okay, if you say so. I really wouldn't feel comfortable making that kind of assumption myself. Yeah, I think the Basilisk (10+ years before K2, if I recall correctly, I may be wrong) didn't look very good, along with certain other elements and design elements that were presented during that time period (mystical power amulets, the pace and reasons for Ulic's fall, huge insect ships, etc, etc). Warb Null, in particular, was a huge favorite around the office, and I can show you the cartoons at some point if you'd like. In any event, there's probably hundreds of variations
  18. The patch is on the way, but still being tested. We won't have a list of all the fixes until it's ready to be downloaded. I don't have an ETA on it yet, but it shouldn't be too much longer.
  19. LA's agrees to everything when it comes to continuity. Proven because they in the Mandalorian Article in issue 80 of insider, sets in stone that the Basilisk is a beast. The Mandalorians Basilisk in TOTJ might look stupid, but regardless it is a Basilisk War Droid. That Virago,which I think looks stupid, isn't a Basilisk. That thing would be destroyed in seconds by the stupid kind. Even from Canderous discription in KOTOR he speaks of the Beast. I don't like that just because YOU THINK something looks stupid, you feel the right to change it. Of course in the end you didnt' change anything,
  20. LA's agrees to everything when it comes to continuity. Proven because they in the Mandalorian Article in issue 80 of insider, sets in stone that the Basilisk is a beast. The Mandalorians Basilisk in TOTJ might look stupid, but regardless it is a Basilisk War Droid. That Virago,which I think looks stupid, isn't a Basilisk. That thing would be destroyed in seconds by the stupid kind. Even from Canderous discription in KOTOR he speaks of the Beast. I don't like that just because YOU THINK something looks stupid, you feel the right to change it. Of course in the end you didnt' change anything,
  21. Vima was supposed to be Bastila in K1 (seriously), but there are legal issues with using the name "sunrider" so we were not allowed to use it in K2. You'll notice Jolee mentions it in K1, however, but that was an oversight.
  22. We kept the valley the way it was in K1. Considering memory constraints, I completely understand why it was modeled the way it was. The purpose of the ritual and Freedon Nadd was already explained by another poster (thanks, Ulicis). As to whether he was "wiped off the Force map," I have no idea, and no argument you could present to me from Tales of the Jedi would ever make me think that the evil that took place in that location couldn't still be harnessed for further acts of destruction. The basilisk war droid version presented in K2 was an intentional departure from the ones present
  23. Not only was the Sith War was already taken by the Expanded Universe (Exar Kun, Ulic Qel-Droma), the Jedi Civil War made sense to us and in our opinion, the Republic as a whole. Many Jedi defected to Malak and Revan's side during the war (text crawl), and it doesn't feel like much of a stretch to see why the galaxy would call it that - Atton pretty much sums up the everyman view, despite his bias, but people in K2 aren't really happy about Jedi as a whole. Plus, when you hear "Jedi Civil War," it makes you stop and think about WHY people would call it that, and I think that's equally important
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