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Top Ten with Chris Avellone


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#1
Fionavar

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Since the Top Ten is now underway and I know that Feargus is continuing to prepare more answers, I thought we could move on to the brainstorm for the following Top Ten ... and this time it will be with Chris Avellone!!! Chris has kindly offered the following as a way of intro for those who may not know him as well as Feargus:

I'm Chris Avellone, I used to be a junior/int./senior/lead designer at Black Isle before I came over to Obsidian, where I became a combination Creative Director, Lead Designer, and Senior Designer. I was lead on Knights of the Old Republic II, and then transferred over to Neverwinter Nights 2 when K2 was finished to work mostly on the creative and scripting aspects of the companions and their interactions with the player. We're porting over some of the elements of the influence system from Knights of the Old Republic II, but trying to polish it more in this iteration - we couldn't take it in exactly the same direction as KotorII because of story and genre considerations.

Whatever folks want to ask is fine, fire away.


So here again is the format that we will follow (note there have been some adjustments owing to the learning from the first Top Ten):

1) A thread will be stuck in the Developers' Corner that will encourage the community to post questions/items that you would like Chris to address. As a suggestion, I would offer that the question should be as succinct and pithy as possible - a suggested format would be:

Question: How do you balance the needs of a new designn house and the energy that comes with such a fresh venture with the tension/reality of having to rely on the financial/resources of such influential companies as Lucas & Atari?


2) This thread will remain open for 4-7 days. As this process proceeds, it should be understood that this particular feature will be keenly watched for SPAM and trolling. Though we moderate these fora with a high level of tolerance – to the chagrin of some – this will not occur in this instance. As I am sure you can appreciate, it is important to give this a real chance for the community to interact with the developers/owners. If you do not have something constructive to add, then choose not to post,

3) The thread will then be closed and the ideas will be collated and ranked by the mod squad. Two of the factors that will detemrine longevity of the input phase are the volume of ideas and the constructive nature of them,

4) Once a top ten list has been finalised, the other ideas will not be discarded, but may be kept for possible future use. As well, the chosen items will acknowledge the member with a link to their profile, and;

5) The Top Ten will be stuck and posted again in Developers' Corner in order that the developer/owner will have time to interact with the questions and the community. Again, for the sake of not sounding repetitive, this discussion will be monitored closely for spam/flaming/and general trolling mayhem. It is hoped that each thread will follow a duration of no more than 3 weeks. At a time when the discussions seems to have run its course, the thread will be locked and the process will be begun anew.

So I would invite the community to consider items of interest and to post them here. I would also add that I would rather this thread be only the ideas themselves.

Respectfully,

Fionavar

#2
Fenghuang

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Question: Do you still have a passion for blonde European women?

#3
Hassat Hunter

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[Query:]

With the influence system (in Kotor2) alot of people instead of just roleplaying the system started to meta-game the system in order to get the most background/XP/bonusses from them and to "jedify" them as fast as possible. Is there any alteration done to the NWN2 Influence system to have people more focus on the roleplaying aspect of the influence system or is meta-gaming the system not seen as flaw and still included to do?

#4
Llyranor

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How much writing would you say NWN2 has compared to previous titles you've done (eg. PST, KOTOR2)?

Also, may I marry you?

#5
Volourn

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Question: We know there are romances in NWN2. We know there are dwarve(s) as npc companions in NWN2. Will NWN2 be the first D&D game (that I know of) that allows one to romance (female) dwarf npc companions?

Edited by Volourn, 15 May 2006 - 07:28 PM.


#6
Hassat Hunter

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Another question;

Reading up an old review I noted how there was mention how due to the use of the Infinity engine (painted backgrounds) PS:T could be made how it could never be made with an engine that actually uses 3D backgrounds. Also in the earlier days of PS:T one could get away with a "she kneels down, close her eyes and starts to pray" line; while in these days you have to actually show it...taking it far longer to create an actual scene. So here is the actual question:

Do the modern graphical engines and graphical expectations disallow you from putting as much creativity as you wanted into a game?
(both in term of actual scenes as the using of creative maps/chars/weaponry etc.)

#7
Atreides

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Q: You seem to be concentrating on writing/handling companions in Obsidian's RPGs - KOTOR2 and NWN2. Why's that, what do you think and will you be continuing this trend?

#8
mkreku

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Question: Of all the games credited to your name so far, which one are you most proud of, and why?

It is Descent to Undermountain, isn't it? Admit it! ADMIT IT!

Edit: Also,

Question: As a designer/writer of game stories, do you ever contemplate over the responsibility you have towards the gaming public in general? Do you ever feel like rebelling against the ESRB and its policy that basically boils down to "violence is ok, natural human relations is not", or are you in total agreement with the current attitude toward computer games?

Edited by mkreku, 15 May 2006 - 11:09 PM.


#9
Azarkon

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Question: From your experience, what makes a NPC character compelling to players?

#10
Walsingham

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What do you think are the elements that make a great villain/foil for the PCs?

#11
Atreides

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Q: What type of character, or character exploration do you feel is impeded by aiming to avoid M ratings. How would the exact same game with a M rating compare to a T rating from a writing/playing perspective?

#12
Nartwak

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Soft questions:

What influences you today? In what ways are your skills as a designer still evolving?

What would you say is the most important element of a game story? Least important? Feel free to define the elements of a game story as you please.

What's your favorite curse word?

How are you?

#13
Pidesco

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How do you think you could improve as a writer and game designer?

#14
Pidesco

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Would you like to do the writing for a game that is of a genre other than RPG?

#15
Dagon

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What are your favourite books, and how would you continue the story of Nameless after the end of Torment?

#16
Baley

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Did you in any emotional, physical or intellectual way enjoy Jean-Pierre Jeunet's movie Amelie?

#17
Darque

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Question: Is game developing fun, or all work? :)

#18
Kaftan Barlast

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Question:

Do you believe computer games as a medium, will ever enter into the world of art like film has done- or will it always have to remain a form of more or less commercial entertainment? Do you think that perhaps in 10 or 20 years from now, people will be ready for the game equivalents of Bergman or Truffaut?


And would you consider yourself as an artist or a craftsman?

Edited by Kaftan Barlast, 16 May 2006 - 04:56 PM.


#19
nushmutt

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While some people have praised the detailed text-centric adventures like Planescape: Torment, others find the hack-and-slash of Diablo to be more satisfying. Which kind of RPG do you prefer: one with emphasis on story or one with emphasis on gameplay/action?

#20
Jack_Wellington

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Q: What is the weirdest situation you have ever gotten yourself into?

Q: What are the challenges for a mature and well positioned game designer?




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