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Posted by Brother None

To Meet the Devs - A-Carn
To Meet the Devs - Cart-Ga
To Meet the Devs - Go
To Meet the Devs - N-Y
To Meet the Devs - Z

Matt “Gstaff” Grandstaff
Pete "Pete" Hines
Todd "todd@bethesda" Howard
Mark "Wolfric Tugmutton" Lampert
Jonah "KamikazeKangaroo" Lobe
Christiane H. K. “Maverique” Meister
Steve "MrSmileyFaceDude" Meister

Matt “Gstaff” Grandstaff

What's your favorite color?
Blue (for my alma mater). When I was a kid, I changed back and forth between blue and green because of the color changes in Luke's lightsaber.

Do you have pets?
I have a cat named Chauncey Billups

Are you married?
No

Which of those two links would you rather use to describe how you earn your living? Link 1 / Link 2
Sometimes I feel like the guy getting thrashed by the flamethrower.

What do you guys think about the Geico caveman getting his own TV series this fall on ABC?
This will become the definitive television drama of our time. I expect catch phrases superior to "Not the MAMA!" in each episode. Speaking of which, that would be a great crossover.



Pete "Pete" Hines

I noticed that everytime someone mentions a 'table top game', it turns out to be a minis game like Confrontation, W40k, Necromunda... don't you guys play any other type of games? Lke Puerto Rico, Power Grid, Caylus or Settlers Of Catan?
Catan has been popular around the office lately. A lot of us playing it online on the 360 and I believe it was part of last week's gaming night. We used to have daily games of Carcassone during lunch, although those sometimes got a little heated...though not as heated as the LotR Risk games. Oof.

We talked about playing A Game of Thrones because a lot of us are making our way through the book series. Hasn't happened yet, though.
(...)
Like I said, we played some LotR Risk for a while (we did team-based play, 2 v 2, tons of fun), did a couple games of War of the Ring with Maturin and another designer (have to pull that out again, if only the setup wasn't so darn big)...stuff like that. Most of my gaming at lunch of the last few months has been co-op or (lately) head-to-head Company of Heroes with Maturin.


Todd "todd@bethesda" Howard

First, I just want to say that I think this thread is amazing, really one of the best we’ve ever had on our forums. And, in general, I’m pretty amazed at the sheer amount of discussion going on in these forums. We’ve only had the Fallout stuff open for a little while and it’s almost at what, 60k posts?

So, I figured, that level of activity certainly warranted a post from me. I thought to myself, yeh , I post on the forums, but then I checked and realized my last post was in…2004. Jesus. That’s pretty crappy on my part. I guess there’s two reasons for that, one, I’m pretty frickin busy all the time, and two, I get quoted and heard from enough that I don’t know that hearing more from me is really helpful. I think it’s more important that you hear from other people on the team who don’t get microphones shoved in their faces by the press. The bad news is, when it’s the press regurgitating what you say, it often comes out wrong, so I guess it’s better if I just post and say it myself.

Ok, so here goes the rapid typing and rambling from me, I bet this ends up too long, but what the hell, it’s been 3 years:

Who am I and what do I do?
Todd Howard, “person-in-charge” of Fallout 3’s development. I’ve worked on most of our stuff, but the one’s that I “created/was in-charge-of” would be Future Shock, SkyNET, Redguard, Morrowind, and Oblivion.

What are your inspirations…
Oh, whatever. You guys just ask these questions because you’re subversively trying to get a better understanding of who we are and what makes us tick, because that will give you insight into what Fallout 3 is and what’s going to make it tick, so I’m not going to answer the questions, since I think you guys have proven you deserve something more, straight from “the horse’s mouth”.

Obviously I can’t talk about the game itself yet, but I can give you a look into how I/we approached it. When we first got the license in 2004, I was pretty ecstatic, I pushed pretty hard for us to get it, because I really liked the first game and thought Fallout would be a great fit for us, it has all the big things I love about RPGs – player freedom, big world, go do what you want type of stuff. But once you have it – you obviously get to work on how to approach an icon like Fallout. And it’s much harder then you think, because it’s certainly a game that has grown in its legacy as time goes on, it’s hard to sift through what its “essence” or “soul” is, because it’s aged, and people often discuss it in nostalgic tones.

I obviously replayed the games, and Fallout 1 remains the truest inspiration for what we’re doing, but again, it can be hard to get at the “soul” of it, because of its aging. So I look to things like the first game’s manual. The fiction and tone of it. There is also a great, great section in the Fallout 1 hintbook, “One Woman’s Path through the Desert”, which is a journal of going through the game, as if it was real. In some ways, that section is a better look into the game then the game itself. I also read old-reviews, because they gave me a better understanding of how those games felt then. Again, removing the aging.

I obviously looked at all the PA movies – Boy and his Dog, Mad Max, Strangelove, etc. Though I find the actual PA movies end up fairly generic, and don’t capture what is special about the Fallout world, and that’s not the world that you end up with, but the world of 2077 that gets destroyed, and then built upon. I became far more interested in the “pre-war” world, then the “post-war” world.

I also looked a lot at my own reactions to other franchises that have had long gaps and were reborn/updated again in another era. Mostly movies, and such, The Lord of the Rings, Superman, Batman, etc, etc. Now, I’m a recovering comic book junkie, so I’ll probably be throwing around a lot of superhero references, and I hope they make sense. Speaking of which, I’d really like to sell a bunch of long-boxes from my basement if anyone wants them, you just can’t have my signed Frank Miller Dark Knight. Speaking of Dark Knight, Batman remains my favorite (one day I’m gonna rock the house with an open-ended gotham city Batman game, mark my words). The recent Batman and Superman movies, or even their earlier counterparts are pretty good examples of classic iconic franchises that were reborn again. I love…love…Batman Begins. Chris Nolan is a @#$*!^& genius. See the Prestige if you haven’t. Now, I have problems as a huge Batman fan with it, but the pure “soul” of Batman beats in the heart of that movie, and Nolan’s current “I believe in Harvey Dent” tease from The Dark Knight is further proof of his genius.

I also love the first Superman movie, and I think I draw many parallels from Bryan Singer doing Superman Returns, which tries to follow Superman 1 and 2 and ignore 3 and 4, to our own situation. Reg Richard Donner’s Superman, one of my mantras, and it’s a word he used for making that movie, is “verisimilitude”. Look it up if you don’t know what it means. Donner made a sign of it and put it up (maybe I’ll do the same). I want to bring that to Fallout, I want to make it real again, and come alive like it’s the first time you’ve ever seen it. Treat it with respect, and don’t cheese it up.

I wish I could give you real, true, insight into what we put into our games, and this is not me just trying to sell you, or smooth you over, because I’m Ok, really, if you don’t love what we do. We’re fans, we’re passionate about what we do. We go on a crusade to make the best game we can. We make the game we would run to the store and buy, we argue, we debate, we scream, we stay up all night, we clap and cheer the highs and curse the lows. One day we’ll find a way to make you a fly on the wall in one of our design meetings – they’re pretty damn inspiring. And I wish you knew all the faces of the 80 people busting ass to make this game great. The secret superstars you don’t know of like Istvan Pely, Mike Lipari, and Scott Franke. I could go on and on.

I’m often asked about the fans and our forums, and I think you all want to know if your opinions are heard or it you’re shouting into a black hole. And I can assure you that we have these forums so we can hear from you. And yes, we read most of it. It’s like a car crash you just have to watch sometimes, lots of violence and parts exploding, but there is something awesome in its power. Your opinions do matter, and we want them. We are influenced by what gets said about us on these forums, in the press, the letters we get and so forth. Speaking of letters, we do get a lot, and the letters are different then the forum posts. One of the popular letters we get is from someone who’s had a life-changing experience, or gone through a bad time, and had to write us to tell us how much Morrowind/Oblivion meant to them. That it became a real world to them, that they got to escape and play a stronger/different person then they are in real life, and it helped them. You have to pretty jaded to not have that affect you. And that’s why you come to these forums and that’s why people outside of RPGs and/or Fallout may think you are crazy. Because they are not just games, they are worlds, and for the time you play them they are as real as anything you have experienced in life, they become part of you and you care. That’s why you and I are both here.

To say we care about Fallout would be an epic understatement. We are excited/humbled to be the ones to bring it back. I know we don’t have all the right answers, or the one’s you would make when it comes to how it should be or look. We can only do what we think is right and what makes us the most excited, and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve left no stone unturned in trying to find Fallout’s “soul”, but those decisions are ours, not yours. I just hope you give the game a look and decide if that soul is there for you.

I think I know what it feels like to adopt kids now, because we adopted Fallout and for the last 3 years we have been doing our best to care for it, and now I love it like it had been our child forever; and soon, very soon, we can show him to the world again. I think he’s got something to say, and I think it’s important.

You may not agree, you may be too cynical to look at it objectively anymore, but I’m going to guess that you’re reading this forum because Fallout really does matter, and it does mean something far more to you then just “a game.” So for my final superhero reference, I leave you with this quote from Christopher Reeve; insert Fallout:

"I've seen first hand how Superman actually transforms people's lives. I have seen children dying of brain tumors who wanted as their last request to be able to talk to me, and have gone to their graves with a peace brought on by knowing that their belief in this kind of character is intact. I've seen that Superman really matters. They're connecting with something very basic: the ability to overcome obstacles, the ability to persevere, the ability to understand difficulty and to turn your back on it.”


Mark "Wolfric Tugmutton" Lampert

What's your job at Bethesda?
I handle all sound design and voice work for the studio (casting, recording, editing, etc.), as well as interacting a bit with anyone we hire to compose the music.

What prior projects have you worked on?
Prior to Fallout 3, I did sound design and voice for Oblivion (I came aboard here in early 2005), and before this I worked for Ion Storm in Austin, Texas where I took care of all the voice needs for Deus Ex: Invisible War, as well as an assortment of voice, sound design and a little bit of music for Thief: Deadly Shadows. There have also been a small assortment of 3rd party projects here at Bethesda to which I've contributed a bit of voice and sound design when I have the time to do so.

What have you drawn on for inspiration in developing Fallout 3? Books, movies, music, etc would be fine, if you don't want to name any games.
Fallout 1 and 2 are obvious sources though you probably already assumed this, and not surprisingly the inspiration for those games as well ... films like Mad Max and The Road Warrior.

How is the work-environment? Is it competitive or co-op? Do the different teams talk together?
Being the sole member of the audio department, I certainly can't say I have any competition. In terms of other disciplines here, I end up working with just about everyone to some degree, and it's one of the aspects of audio that I really enjoy. There's already a lot of good communication here during the development process, and I notice that most of the time people only seem to do more of it as time goes on -- they can see that the end result is improved.

For me, the best way to work with people is face to face. A lot of times if I've been working on a single sound or aspect of the sound design for a long period of time, my ears start to really need a break. I often use that time to leave my office and stroll by the desks of some of the artists/animators to see what they're up to, and it's very common for me to find something I wasn't previously aware of -- something that gives me an idea, or perhaps just gives me a short heads up on a piece of art or animation that will require some kind of special audio attention. I could always just work away in my cave and wait for that asset to make its way to me, but I always get far better information by simply talking to the person that created it. It might be that I'll say, "That's great; I've already got the perfect sound cooked up for that," or they'll say, "Let me just adjust this one thing here and then we can make this work better with the sound as whole." It saves time down the line and the end product is a lot better.

The same goes for spending time with other people in other areas of the team to get a quick idea of what they're working on or what's on their schedule, because the chances are always good that it'll involve my work in some way. Most of us each lunch here at the studio each day, and I like to float between different tables from one day to the next, because aside from getting to know people a little bit better, I get to hear about what their work involves. Even though I may not do any coding myself, it still benefits me to learn a little bit about what the different coders are doing. I honestly feel like a lot of bugs are avoided this way when we can both clear up our understanding of how some game system works ahead of time.

Anyway, what was the question? Ah, yes ... it's very cooperative here, from my perspective.

What is your favorite type of game to play (RTS,FPS,RPG etc)
RPGs and FTPs probably top my list, but with a caveat regarding the FPSs -- I love the 'tactical shooters' that were borne out of Tom Clancy's 'Rainbow Six' series. I enjoy really looking at the area map, planning out a strategy and then having to commit to it ... moving slowly along walls, careful room clearing techniques, and of course the constant tension that it can all be over in an instant. I also get to really absorb the environment as a result -- all the sights and sounds, or sometimes the lack of sound where you're really just straining to listen for an enemy (something I always enjoyed in the Thief series).

As far as other game 'genres', I'm also a proud member of that tiny sliver of the gamer pie chart that enjoys flight simulators. I got into them around age nine or ten (SoloFlight, anyone?) and continued to play them through college and into my professional working days. The only problem with these is that I really enjoy the super-technical ones, and particularly if it's a combat simulator that focuses around a single aircraft. I want a heavy, ring-bound manual that I can pore over, long flights between waypoints where I can noodle with the plane's buttons and switches while I enjoy the landscape, and then a very short but tense experience at the target. All this equates to a lot of time that I don't have so much of at this point, so that's why I've gravitated to things like tactical FPSs ... I can jump in, plan out and execute a mission and have a great time, then turn off everything and head back out the door again.

Still, you've gotta find time to really enjoy a long game that requires a lot of attention, so if I play a good RPG, it's probably the only one I'll focus on that year because I don't want to miss anything or not get to experience the whole game.

How long have you been playing Fallout, and how would you describe your feelings towards the franchise?
I played Fallout 1 and 2 in college over a long period of time, and I recently re-played a big chunk of the second to properly refresh my memory on the basic feel and function of things. Like most of you, it's still one of my all-time favorite games, and I'd have loved to see the franchise continue. I certainly didn't imagine at the time that I'd be part of that effort, so it's very exciting. There are lots of moments where I kind of pause to enjoy the surprise that I feel when I realize that I'm actually working on this game. I'd hate to feel jaded about it.

Considering that much of the game will probably be in a wild wasteland, do any of you spend much time hiking, camping, etc, and if so where?
I've only lived here for just over two years now, so I'm still digging around and finding places to go hiking, but there's a large national park not too far from where I live that I frequent. Mostly I've gone there to do a little bit of field recording, but I definitely like to be outside for just about any reason at all. My favorite hiking and camping spots are in the hill country of central and west Texas, though. It's just my favorite climate and landscape of anywhere I've lived, and my family made a lot of camping trips around there when I was younger. One of the very best was in Big Bend national park in the far western part of Texas. The part I remember the most was how utterly quiet it was when I stepped out of the family van. We lived in NE Houston at the time, and after a while you sort of take the low din of city noise for granted, and when it disappears it's almost like you're in a vacuum. Really amazing. About the only thing you could hear was the wind, and it made you suddenly very self conscious of your own voice because it carried so far and so easily.

But if I can't get out to a more remote area like that, I'm fine with any good patch of grass where I can lay out in the sun and completely zone out for a good while, logging some good daydreaming time.

What's the last game you bought? Did you like it?
The last game I bought was either Civilization IV or GTA: San Andreas, but I can't remember which. They're obviously wildly different games, but I've milked a great deal of time and enjoyment out of both. I still play GTA:SA quite a bit as it's one of those games like I mentioned above where I can jump in, have a blast for twenty minutes and then shut it down because there are other things I need to go do. I end up sort of making my own games up within the game because the world is so big and full of possibilities.

I also played Crackdown on the 360 a hell of a lot not long after it came out. It sort of loses its appeal after you've finished cleaning things up, but getting to that point provided many hours of absolute fun, so it didn't matter. A real blast.

What games are you looking forward to on the horizon?
I've got my eye on Bioshock and GTA: IV at the moment, though both are still a good ways off. I'm very curious to see how Bioshock is as a game and also if it's commercially successful, in the sense of attracting the attention of the community at large. It seems like it could either have the enormous positive critical response that System Shock 1 & 2 had in terms of atmosphere, story and RPG elements, but it also might be seen as "too out there" to reel in enough mass appeal to do well. Hard to say. But I'm eagerly awaiting it in the meantime. As for GTA:IV, well, anyone who's a fan of the previous installments is anxious for this one. There are probably a handful of others that I'm forgetting, but again, I'd rather play just a few games all the way through than a bunch where I only have time to experience the first 25% of the game. That's just me.

Other than videogames, what are your interests? (Board games, reading, music, etc)
I definitely read a lot, mostly non-fiction sprinkled with the occasional fictional work when I'm ready for one, and I'm an avid music consumer. My musical tastes are all over the map at this point, but live shows are at the top of my list. I could spend hours in a good record store. I do have a small group of folks that I get together with to play tabletop games with, and since one of them has the colossal assortment of games at his place, I just roll with whatever he and his wife are up for since there's no need to buy them myself. Other regular 'events' outside of work are playing classical guitar, doodling around with music on my computer at home, and field recording. I also picked up my amateur radio license (callsign: KB3OKS) in the early months of this year and have been really enjoying it so far, even though operating from an apartment is less than optimal and requires some creativity.

Have you played the VanBuren Alpha? If so, what were your feelings on it?
I saw a little bit of it at the desk of one of the other devs, but I haven't experimented with it myself. For one thing it was completely unfinished, and working in this industry I realize how unreasonable it is to try and form some sort of final opinion about an unfinished project. I think it was cool to see where they were going with it, though I can only imagine what the real end result would have been. Games go through enormous changes, sometimes even toward the end of a development cycle. In particular, I'd have liked to hear what new audio aspects would have been involved in the game compared to the previous releases, and it certainly wasn't at that point, yet, so there's nothing to really evaluate.

Do you find it more difficult to design games for certain types of games?
My experience so far is that a traditional fantasy game probably poses more challenges in terms of keeping the magic components of the game sounding fresh and not all like a synthesizer with all the keys pressed down (though if that works, great!). I tend to enjoy doing sound design for games which involve some degree of machinery or other mechanical, noisy items. There are a lot of things in our own world which serve a good raw material for those sorts of things -- recording assorted gizmos around your home or on the street, then taking them into a mutlitrack editor and having fun with all the possibilities of editing and manipulating those sounds in order to produce something unique. There's a lot of fun to be had.

One thing I really like about a fantasy game, though, is that a lot of the sounds are often very natural -- walking through the grass, sounds of the forest with wind in the trees, rain, crickets at night (assuming we're talking about an Earth-like world, I guess) and things like that. If there's a good example in our world that you can get access to, it might be something as simple as going an recording it.

Also, do you have a favourite sound/piece of music/anything from the previous Fallouts?
Some of the sounds that I like best from the first two Fallout games are simply those that you hear often which instantly remind me of the game again if I hear them now -- entering and exiting combat (the little mechanical sound of the thingy at the bottom right of the screen), the player scratching his head (for some reason that happened a lot). The music was great overall, but one of my favorite pieces was in Fallout 2 in the town of Redding. I thought that snippet of player piano that would fade in and out from time to time really set the mood, as well as made it feel ghostly.

I know there are many funny 'audio' stories, for example slicing melons to get some sword-hitting-flesh sound and all that sort of stuff, so go ahead, post some!
I'll refrain from discussing any work thus far on Fallout 3, but as for Oblivion, there were certainly a few Foley'd sounds that worked out nicely. One was the sound of movement in heavy armor. This was assorted pieces of metal and air conditioner duct work, all thrown together in a canvas bag and then shaken. I also like to add some element of voice components to certain sounds to make them a little more 'organic' sometimes. When you take the sigil stone from the tower in the Oblivion realms in order to send the whole thing crashing down, you can hear my voice in the background during all the chaos. It's just a long, low roar that I pitched down a bit further, soaked with reverb and then mixed in at a low level so it wouldn't stand out too much.

You should definetely visit Prague. The centre of the city is really beautiful to behold, and the beer is cheap and tasty!
I'd very much like to. I've been teaching myself German for a few years now and have had the chance to visit Germany and Austria on two occasions, and the next time I make it to Europe I'd like to venture further east. A number of people have mentioned Prague in particular to me and recommended visiting.

The best sound in Fallout is when you critical hit on a pigrat's skull. I have no idea how Mr Deenen made that sound, but it actually sounds like he took a paper bag, put a raw steak in it and hit it with a sledge hammer.
Heh, I remember that. A lot of the critical hits were pretty visceral, and they somehow didn't get old. It always felt very satisfying, and you immediately knew that you'd really dealt your enemy a powerful blow. There was one time in Fallout 2 where I was having trouble with one of the slavers, and I strolled up behind him (we weren't in combat at the time) and gave him a double-barrel shotgun blast to the back of the head. I was at point blank range and scored the critical hit, wiping him out in one shot. His buddies came after me and killed me the first time through, but it was still very satisfying ... if not just for having the option at my disposal.

As far as Foley sound using meat, I've tried to avoid that so far in my career. It always seemed like really expensive way to make a sound. I do, however, want to record the sound of macaroni and cheese being stirred in a pot. Talk about ghastly. Maybe keep your ears peeled for that one.

What software do you use? (DAW, Samplers, etc)
What equipment? (favourite voice recording mik? synths, other stuff)

My main workhorse is Steinberg Nuendo. Any recording is done in this program, and I use it for just about everything -- sound design, voice editing, mixing to video, etc. I use a lot of the WAVES plugins as well as assorted other 3rd party and individual plugins, and for softsynths and other gizmos I've got a bundle from Native Instruments (controlled with a MIDI keyboard controller). Quick and simple edits, batch processing and things like that are usually done in SoundForge.

Hardware setup is fairly simple. Voice is usually done with our AKG C414B-XLII, (in the past we've recorded at another studio where an AKG C414-ULS and Neumann TLM-103 were used) and I run this mic into a TC Electronic Gold Channel mic pre-amp. The rest of the processing that I do 'to tape' is achieved with plugins inside Nuendo. My A/D interface is an RME Fireface 800. For field recording I've got the excellent Sound Devices 702T recorder, and a small assortment of good mics (AT-822 stereo, AT-835b shotgun, Crown PZM-30D).

How much contact do you have with the voice actors? Do they ever improv some lines that you like and have to go back and edit the animation/text?
Only a couple slices of glass separate us when we're recording, so anything can be changed on-the-fly when appropriate. It's usually myself and the lead designer reading along in the script and directing as we go, and if the actor ad libs a line or has their own take on it that they want to try, we can decide right there whether to hang on to it or not. I always record everything, so on certain lines we may even keep an alternate take as a backup and decide to sub it back in later on, though that doesn't usually happen too often because of the sheer volume of work that needs to get done. The lipsync animations are generally created as part of an automated process that analyzes the audio file, so it's just a matter of re-generating that data if a line is changed. Piece of cake.


Jonah "KamikazeKangaroo" Lobe

Who are you?
Hey, my name is Jonah Lobe and I am a character artist working here at Bethesda. I'll be working on creatures... I'll try not to mangle any old favorites you might have. I don't have too much say about the actual concept artwork, since I'm pretty much a grunt here, but I like giving my own personal twists.
To the questions...

What’s your job at Bethesda?
Guess I answered this.

What previous projects have you worked on at Bethesda and elsewhere?
Previous projects... none, really. I came straight from an art major at a college in upstate NY, came back down to DC (where I'm from), worked at home to brush up on my computer animation skills (before that I was a pen-and-ink artist), and eventually - after applying to Bethesda three times over two years - managed to land an interview and bum-rush my way in.

What have you drawn on for inspiration in developing Fallout 3? Books, movies, music, etc would be fine, if you don’t want to name any games.
As for inspiration... why, the original fallouts, of course! Well, actually, since I'm not any kind of dev and I'm just a lowly artist... I'd have to say other artists are my personal, constant inspiration. I recognize that I might not be answering this question quite the way you'd like, but I'm a creature-creator, so I figured I'd answer your question from that angle. CGtalk, ZBrushCentral, 3DTotal, Conceptart.org... these computer art websites constantly supply me with ideas. I guess when I create a creature, I try to concentrate most on personality. Is the creature constantly angry, silently predatory, mindlessly rabid, cold and calculating... or is it just an animal, like any other animal? I try to have its character traits reflected in its appearance, and not just it's face... I concentrate on proportions, coloring, equipment (claws etc). I also constantly divorce myself from the idea that this creature exists just to eviscerate the player... I want to be able to picture this thing doing it's thing on a daily basis... Since we're talking Fallout, I remember playing the game a long time ago and wondering what Deathclaws did in the wild, away from humans? Did radscorpions stay motionless in their cooler caves, their massive claws tucked in tight while their soft, pale brood squirmed on their backs? What was it like being a supermutant living with other supermutants? I mean, those [censored]ers weren't evil, even if they always wanted me dead. Yeah, I think of this kind of thing a lot. I should probably stop talking now.

What do you have on your desk? Do you have any figurines or maskots? Books?
Well, I'm an artist here, so I got lots of strange things in my cube... let's see...
I've got a glass-faced box with various large insects mounted (HUGEEE horned beetle, scorpion, other cool things), a dog skull, a few random pewter figurines, a Star Wars Walker AT-ST, A book on bugts, 2 "Spectrum" fantasy art books, a bubble-blowing bottle, a cool tri-faced golden mask my friend just got me from Italy, a sword from Toledo, a crab encased on clear plastic, a Far Side calendar, personal artwork on the walls, an Albrecht Durer etching, a Utagawa Hirshige painting, various pieces of art, an alligator skull and a Skidmore mug.

What games are you looking forward to on the horizon?
Oh, and even though I'm busy, I wanted to answer just one question from the original list from this thread... what game I'm looking forward to.
Bioshock man, Bioshock. Gonna be hot. System Shock 2 was one of the best games ever, in my humble opinion. Sound design, immersion, story, everything... one of the few games that truly stuck with me.

What kind of education do you devs have and has it in anyway helped you as a game developer?
I graduated from Skidmore College in upstate NY, with an art degree. As an artist, it definitely helped in refining certain techniques... but in terms of computer animation, after I graduated I lived at my mom's house for 6 months trying to teach myself more advanced modeling/texturing/rendering techniques that would get me a job. Lo and behold, it worked! As cheesy as it sounds, this has definitely shown me that whatever your goal is, achieving it is just a matter of sweat. And I can get very sweaty... Ok, yeah, next question.

What's your favorite alcoholic drink?
Lately, when I've gone to bars with my girlfriend, we've taken to ordering one drink in particular. For her it's ok, but for me... it's like teetering on a knife-edge between 007 Pimp and flamboyant crossdresser: dirty martini. Oh, and in terms of beers, I've gotta stick with either Dos Equis or Moosehead (Canadian, fantastic beer).

How do you survive sitting your ass on your chair for about 8 hours and in front of the screen?
It's not the sitting on my ass that bothers me, since most computer-game junkies can do that... it's the fact that there are no windows in sight. It's like sitting in the bat-cave. And I either go lift after work or play soccer. Ohhh and GChat and Facebook are lifeee savers.

How is the work-environment? Is it competitive or co-op? Do the different teams talk together?
Very cooperative, and yes, they do. You kind of have to when you're all working on one cohesive project. I really dig the people I work with.

What is your favorite type of game to play (RTS,FPS,RPG etc)
I really like FPS's, and I used to be a Counter Strike monster... but after a while I got fed up with the people who play it... all the stereotypes are true. I love RTS's, like Starcraft, which I think visually and stylistically was one of the coolest games to come out in a while. I'll never again play another Diablo clone... that kind of game is the crack of gaming: addictive and fun as hell, but after a while you realize you've lost all your friends, you haven't showered in a week, and no matter how much you offer him sexual favors, for some reason the Arch-Angel Tyrael won't give you anything arch-cool.

How long have you been playing Fallout, and how would you describe your feelings towards the franchise?
It's been a while since I've played Fallout, but God what a game. I rarely think that excessive gore and violence are great things - there's enough of that in the world - man, it really had it's place, and the game probably would have been far lamer if they hadn't executed it the way they did.

What's the last game you bought? Did you like it?

Actually I've been playing Planetside 2 for about a year now, and I've got to say... besides the graphics and various gameplay mechanics, it might be one of the MMO games with the most potential that I've ever played. I've been extremely tempted to purchase other games, namely "Stalker," (although I heard it doesn't end all that well, and that it kind of falls off after a while), but I've decided that I've got too much on my plate outside of work to afford another addiction. So I'm holding out for Bioshock.

Favorite quotes?
Remember: Only by eliminating feelings of jealousy and competition can you become as happy and healthy a person as that smug bitch Rebecca.

Curiously the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias, as it fell, was, "Oh no, not again." Many people have speculated that if we knew *why* the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the Universe than we do now.

When placed in water, the drunken volunteers fared even worse, and the alligator markedly better, Sawyer said.
In addition, the alligators far outperformed their inebriated human counterparts in the following areas: lunging, biting, crushing, dismembering, and swallowing.


Have you tried Titan Quest?
Oh, absolutely not... I got a friend here who was (not sure if he still is?) really into it, and it seems too fun for me to get into. My goal is to NOT get addicted to games right now in my life... I want to put that off for a little while, at least until my current projects are done.

Also, I wanted to answer one more question someone had about what tools the artists use.

We use Max and Photoshop primarily, and at least for me, since I do lots of character artwork, I'm big into ZBrush, so I use a Wacom tablet for that. Which I'm using right this moment, actually, so I should get back to that. It's been a pleasure!


Christiane H. K. “Maverique” Meister

What's your job at Bethesda?
Lead Character Animator on TES projects - currently taking a break with Fallout and doing whatever character stuff needs doing.

What prior projects have you worked on?
Morrowind, Tribunal, Bloodmoon, Oblivion... Horse Armor (snort), Knights of the Nine, Shivering Isles

What have you drawn on for inspiration in developing Fallout 3? Books, movies, music, etc would be fine, if you don't want to name any games.
MSFD makes me watch BAD 50's sci-fi movies - wow everyone's hair was PERFECT back then - except for the crazy old scientists smile.gif I do like the old War of the Worlds flick, though. The literary version is the best.
Mad Max - how could you not look at that for inspiration?

How is the work-environment? Is it competitive or co-op? Do the different teams talk together?
It's very co-op, sometimes you can't hear all of the opinions that are being thrown around in the meetings! There's also a lot of good-natured jibes and ribbing - especially at Jonah (Well he IS blond and so damn cheerful).

What is your favorite type of game to play (RTS,FPS,RPG etc)
I love me some old time UT! I'm looking forward to the new one. Hope it has the beautiful simplicity and gibs - gotta have that. I'm a dork and still play Oblivion from time to time (you'd think I would have had enough of that by now...) Never really got into RTS.

How long have you been playing Fallout, and how would you describe your feelings towards the franchise?
Well I know this will get a lot of tomatoes thrown at me. Good thing I like tomatoes. I haven't played Fallout YET. But as a game, I really like the concept and I like where our team is going with Fallout 3.

Considering that much of the game will probably be in a wild wasteland, do any of you spend much time hiking, camping, etc, and if so where?
Uh, there's no wasteland aound here - unless you consider the urban setting a wasteland... I do spend a lot of time riding my horses before work though.

What's the last game you bought? Did you like it?
I don't have too much time to play games, but I was so jazzed to get KOTOR 2 after the first one - what a let down... just didn't have story I was looking for. Don't get me wrong, I still like the mechanics and the system though.

What games are you looking forward to on the horizon?
Assassin's Creed, UT 3, Fallout 3 Wink

Other than videogames, what are your interests? (Board games, reading, music, etc)
I love to play Scrabble - I even got this puzzle a day calendar - I have it stacked up - I keep promising myself that I'll get through March one day.
I ride my horses (one 5 year old and one 25 year old). We're about to move to a farm so that I can have the horse at home - that will be exciting - and scary.
Last book I read was Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Good read.
Just saw Lisa Gerrard in concert (known from Dead Can Dance). She's an interesting person - not quite on this planet if you take my meaning - awesome voice though!

This is for Mav...Are you a Pisces? You seem to be into the elusive fish thing. I am, so im just curious.
Hehe, no the "quiet like a fish" reference comes from Chicken Run. I love those entrepreneurial rats...

You mentioned to love tomatoes? Ever tried them with olive oil, slightly salted and with a pinch of origano? Is good.
I try to grow my own tomatoes in summer and I make a pretty good tomato salad. Vinegar,oil,salt,pepper,sugar,green onion,dill, and of course the tomatoes


Steve "MrSmileyFaceDude" Meister

What is your favorite mod for Oblivion?
BT and other interface mods.

What's your favorite thing about Oblivion
Alchemy and archery.

What do you most dislike about Oblivion?
Bandits with better armor than I have.

What do you have on your desk? Do you have any figurines or maskots? Books?
I have a TON of stuff on and around my desk & stuck on the walls. It's what happens when you work in the same place for 8 years. I've got Gundam models, a few varied action figures, cars of various sizes, some funky stuffed animals (Tamagotchi, a Peep, Duke (the Java mascot), a plush octopus, for example), a bunch of programming books, some interesting wind-up toys including ATOMIC ROBOT MAN, a bunch of Bethesda games in boxes (including some rare Morrowind stuff), a Morrowind poster of an Argonian, maps from Morrowind and Oblivion, a hollow wooden frog that makes an extremely loud croaking noise, a few lamps, pictures of my wife & family, and of course my monitors & keyboards & such. This year's calendar is Dilbert; last year's was Futurama.

Do you have a dresscode?
We don't have casual Friday. We dress so casually on normal days that I'd be afraid to see what people considered as MORE casual.

I would like to know where you each grew up. Are any of you from a rural area and if so how you like city life that you now are part of. Have any of you been to my great state of Alaska and if not would you like to visit. Any veterans? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
My dad was in the US Air Force, so we moved around a lot. New Hampshire, Maryland, Japan, Texas, Missouri, Massachusetts and finally Virginia, where I've lived for over 28 years. Not a big fan of cities. Haven't been to Alaska but I'd love to go sometime. Not sure where else but Virginia I'd want to live, though the Pacific Northwest is very nice and I love the Florida Keys.

And last but not least, do you drink coffee and what kind?
And I despise coffee Smile

Have any of the devs seen 'Forbidden planet' with Walter Pidgeon and Leslie Nielsen?
I have the collector's edition DVD that came with a miniature Robbie the Robot. "Forbidden Planet" is an awesome movie, one of my all-time favorites. If you haven't seen it, do so, especially if you like Star Trek. It's obvious why Gene Roddenberry calls the movie an inspiration for Star Trek. Also watch for Robbie's appearance in the movie "Gremlins," where he repeats a few of his lines from "Forbidden Planet."

I knew a guy a while back who had the license plate "C-57D" Smile

Any of the DEVs ever been to Europe? If yes, where to and long did you stay and why? Did you enjoy it? Found it to be culturally completely different?
I spent a bit of time in Germany, before & just after reunification. Mostly in Frankfurt, though I also spent some time near Stuttgart and Ingolstadt. Spent several weeks there on various trips between 1988 and 1991. I really enjoyed it. I became pretty familiar with Frankfurt (AM). Loved walking around the city. Loved the transit system and driving on the autobahn. On one trip I had to drive from SW of Stuttgart to Frankfurt to catch a plane, and I got that little Audi rental car to go as fast as it could go, about 220kph (130+mph). Lots of fun. And I loved the food & beer. Got to stay in several gasthauses in different towns too, so I got a bit of the local culture as opposed to staying in "normal" hotels. Learned the important German words and phrases: how to count, how to order a beer, and how to ask where the restroom (WC!) is.

Are any of you in the newest teaser art?
No. All of the concept art you've seen on the teaser website was painted by Craig Mullins, a freelance concept artist who lives & works in Hawaii.

Must be rough.