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Posted by Tannhauser

To Meet the Devs - A-Carn
To Meet the Devs - Cart-Ga
To Meet the Devs - Go
To Meet the Devs - Gr-M
To Meet the Devs - Z

Gary "VXSS" Noonan
Dan "Dan Ross" Ross
Megan "ghostgirl" Sawyer
Grant "TheGragster" Struthers
Orin "lancekt" Tresnjak
Jay "RadHamster" Woodward

Gary "VXSS" Noonan

What's your job at Bethesda?
Character animator. Less modeling and texturing *vomit* these days, which makes me a keyframing fiend.

What prior projects have you worked on?
Uuuuh, where to start....

Here at Bethesda:
Battlespire
Redguard
PBA Bowling 2 (weeeeeeee!)
Morrowind
Tribunal
Bloodmoon
Oblivion
Knights of the Nine
Shivering Isles

I have previous tv and movie credits but being an old timer at Beth, that's all in the past.

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, 2, and Tactics mostly. As for movies, I find some fair inspiration with Mad Max, Road Warrior, Waterworld (sorry, hate to say that, but the structures, costumes, and vehicles are great in that), and believe it or not just about any WWII film since it has that visual wartime atmosphere with mass destruction of cities, etc.

How is the work-environment? Is it competitive or co-op? Do the different teams talk together?
I can only speak for the animation team, but we work extremely well together. Many of us have been together for many years and we range from veteran to greenhorn, but there is no lack of talent. We all have our strong points. As for how our animation team works with other teams, well, butting heads with designers and programmers on an hourly basis is nothing new with any game developer.

What is your favorite type of game to play (RTS,FPS,RPG etc)
Hard to say, I play just about everything. In the top running, I would have to go with racing sims, horror, RTS, and RPG. Put the last 3 together into one title and then we are talking about bliss.

How long have you been playing Fallout, and how would you describe your feelings towards the franchise?
I played each title within the week they hit the shelves. FO, FO2, FO:T, and FO:BoS. Back in the day, FO and FO2 where simply awesome. I could never get into Tactics because the pace felt so drawn out. And BoS was simply a guilty pleasure action bore. I went back and played through ALL of them (yes, I own all of them and even keep the whole franchise together in a shoebox) recently and strangely enough, found Tactics to be the better of them all. Now before you beat me with my own severed limbs, let me just say that actually playing Tactics with Turn-Based OFF made it a whole new experience. One I welcomed since it added a new feel and moved the game along well. Like I said previously though, I do have a knack for liking RTS titles.

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?
Oddly enough, I go camping quite a bit. That is, when development allows me to. I used to run MX so I would get a group of folks together and we would strap th egear onto the bikes and head into the mountains. Ride as far as we could, make camp, and relax. My last few trips were limited to camping on the beach though. Nothing like the rumble of waves at night. Our camp was even raided by wild horses late one night. The damned things snuck in like assassins and then rampaged. I guess they didnt care for us on their turf.

What's the last game you bought? Did you like it?
I recently bought STALKER, Company of Heroes, Empire at War, and the new C&C *note the RTS infatuation*. Ah, also picked up Silent Hill 4: The Room used. Sadly, I beat it too fast. STALKER isnt too bad really. I want to play more but my machine is a runt so it runs horrible. I will have to wait to play it if and when I get a beefier system. For now though, It's Empire at War, which is not so bad and adds a little sumptin sumptin to RTS's that is fresh.

What games are you looking forward to on the horizon?
Forza 2, hands down. I gotta get my oversteer on with the '06 Subaru S204. But after that, I have my eye on Bioshock and Mass Effect.

Other than videogames, what are your interests? (Board games, reading, music, etc)
Cars. I cant say much more and anyone that knows me will know that all I ever talk about it CARS. If I am not at home sleeping or at work, I am probably piloting or tinkering on the turbocharged rocket or the supercharged tank.

Have you played the VanBuren Alpha? If so, what were your feelings on it?
Nah, I couldnt bring myself to do it. If it were more completed, I would jump right on it but I dont want it's unfinished state to taint my feelings on it. I DID watch the running video of it though. I wasn't as impressed as I hoped to be, but with it's incompleteness in mind, I still saw potential for it.

How do you feel about the negative comments and predictions taken by some of the Fallout community? Has it affected your opinions in anyway? What do you feel towards such pointless and nonconstructive comments?
Is there a such thing as a forum without trolling and other brands of negativity? Could such a thing even be called a forum qua forums? Doubtful. Razz What I'll say about the FO forums is that most complaints here are paired with concrete and even reasonable solutions, with which I agree and disagree on my own terms. There are certain forum communities that'll remain nameless ( *cough* WoW General *cough* ) that make a e-career out of flaming for flaming's sake, which makes me greatly appreciate the constructive, albeit sometimes harsh, criticisms I find here.



Dan "Dan Ross" Ross"

What's your job at Bethesda?
I'm a QA Tester. I play broken games so you don't have to... Very Happy

How much are you getting paid?
Industry standard, or so they tell me: All the cookies I can eat, but only on Wednesdays.

What previous projects have you worked on at Bethesda and elsewhere?
I worked on Oblivion for PS3 and Shivering Isles. Before that I was sitting where you guys are; this is my first job in the industry.

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.
Not my department. Razz

How much do you love the fallout franchise (GOBS, CRAPLOADS, etc)
I'm going to admit that I have never played Tactics beyond the very first fight. I'm still working through Fallout 2, because the first time I played it I thought the starting dungeon was lame and stopped playing. I only recently decided to give it another chance and I am a few hours into it at this point and it's grown on me a lot. I've played through Fallout 1 more than a few times, and I loved it every time. That being said, I'm a huge fan of the 50's style and dark setting so let's go with "GOBS" for now.

How is the work-environment? Is it competitive or co-op? Do the different teams talk together?
I can only speak for QA but we work together a lot, although there is some friendly competition to see who can find the "best" bugs.

Are all the employees from the US?
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm from the US. Shrug

What's your favorite color?
I'm gonna go with blue.

Do you have pets?
None at present. I had a Beta fish named Sir Reginald Fancyfins III but he got sick a while back. Sad

Are you married?
Not yet.

Also, do you play any other TT games?
I play Warhammer 40k. I've got a decent Necron (I actually proxy a Cryx model for my Necron Lord Razz) army and I'm working on a Witchhunter army right now. I've also got a Chaos Beastmen army in the works for Fantasy, although I haven't touched them for about a year. Other than the one model I haven't gotten into Warmachine yet, although it looks awesome.

Did any of the devs play any of the palladium games? We spent many of nights playing rifts. I remember when fallout first came out, I bought it because it reminded me of rifts.
Ahhh Rifts.

*Eyes his bookshelf covered in dusty Rifts books*

Let's just go with yes. Very Happy

What are you 're favorite webcomics?
I used to read Elf Only Inn all the time until it stopped updating like a year or two ago. I'll have to check it out again, it was pretty funny. I also read Least I could Do, Penny Arcade, 8-bit Theater and Red Meat. CAD gets me sometimes too.

What do you think about Valves distributing service Steam? Do you see it as a good step forward in game distributing?
I personally like the idea and convenience of digital distribution, but I haven't used Steam much except when I was playing CS:S a lot a few years ago; but I never used it to buy anything. I tried Direct2Drive when I picked up Civ4 a couple months ago and I was quite happy with it. I also tried the EA download service last year to get the expansion for Black & White 2, which also worked pretty well. The intrusiveness can be annoying on some of them, but you can always remove them I guess. Shrug

Which of the TES games have you played, and how much do you enjoy the ones you had nothing to do with in the making?
I played 2 and 3 a lot before I started here. Daggerfall sucked a lot of my life away back in the day... I don't think I ever completed the main quest, but I loved the game. I haven't tried Battlespire or Reguard yet, but they are on my list and I'll get to them when I have time to play games for fun. Embarassed I did manage to play through Arena back around Christmas.

Did you need a lot of cheating, walkthroughs or hints to finish any of them?
I could have used some help for Daggerfall. Like I said I never really beat it, I just made new characters a lot then and ran through chargen before proceeding to rob shops blind. I don't think I even figured out how to level up until a few days into it. I didn't get the whole "use skills to raise them" thing, having come from a heavy D&D background. In my defense, I wasn't very old when I was playing it... I'm sure I'd do better now.

Do you think the games these days should be a bit harder, even if it would affect the sales negatively?
Did you mean any particular games? Wink

In general I think we need a broad selection of games, some easy, some hard... preferably all fun. There are a lot of varying tastes out there.

Have you read the first "TES5, a veteran's view" threads?
Yup, there are a lot of ideas in there. Smile

Do you have a dresscode?
I believe at one point I was instructed to "wear shoes." I don't think the "suits" even wear suits here.

What is your favorite anime? If you're into anime, do you have a favorite manga? Have you watched any post apoc. anime recently?
My favorite anime right now would actually be Ergo Proxy. Deep, dark, PA... I guess that satisfies both 1& 2 there? Very Happy

I don't read any manga in particular. I have a couple Initial D books that I picked up for like 3 dollars a while back. Shrug

Got any good recommendations for someone who hasn't watched really any anime before Dan?
I tend to rent a lot off of Netflix. I think my starters (Not counting Voltron or Robotech as a kid) were Trigun, Kenshin/Samurai X, Outlaw Star, and Hellsing. Ranma 1/2, is a decent "starter" anime too I guess; kinda old and silly, it's still pretty funny. It would depend on what kind of stuff the person was into though. I recommend watching them in Japanese with the subtitles on or else it feels like you miss a lot of the original intent.

I swear I'm not actually a huge anime dork, I just like it. Maybe we should go back to something else... Razz

Are you guys required to come in here and post from time to time for your job, or do you just care about us fans?
Not required at all, I do it because I care. Not so sure about these other mercenaries. Laughing

Do devs think this could maybe be achieved through technological advancement (and if so, thru which one ?) or through totally new gaming concepts (again - which ones ?) ?
I think literature has a pretty big head start on video games as a story-telling medium as a whole. I think eventually games will catch up though. I know I have had my moments in games and movies that were very similar to that feeling I get from a good book; going into the Deathclaw cave for the very first time in Fallout and then finding that super mutant corpse being a good example.


Megan "ghostgirl" Sawyer

What's your job at Bethesda?
Hi, I'm Megan. I'm an associate artist, working on Environment stuff.

What prior projects have you worked on?
I started out in QA working on Call of Cthulhu and Morrowind: GOTY. I then moved up to environment art, working on Oblivion & Shivering Isles. Before that I was a freelance artist in NYC. Smile

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.
For me personally? The abandoned Steel mills of pittsburgh, the ruined buildings I've found while hiking over Maryland, the Silent Hill games, my time in NYC in late 2001, David Halbersham's research on the 1950's, Six String Samurai, Jericho, The Hills Have Eyes (both versions) & other horror films, steampunk, opacity.us, Tank Girl, various industrial bands, and probably a bajillion other things. Smile

How is the work-environment? Is it competitive or co-op? Do the different teams talk together?
Work is awesome. Smile Definitely co-op, and everyone is really cool. Smile

What is your favorite type of game to play (RTS,FPS,RPG etc)
RPGs followed by random quirky games that don't quite fit into genres. Elebits, Guitar Hero, etc.

How long have you been playing Fallout, and how would you describe your feelings towards the franchise?
I'm amused that regardless of who develops Fallout, a Sawyer is still working on it. Not that I'm related to J.E. Sawyer (that I know of). Still, it amuses me. Smile

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?
Yep, I love exploring. Smile We go all over the parks in Maryland & Virginia, and I've spent a fair amount of time crawling around spooky places in pittsburgh and NYC.

What's the last game you bought? Did you like it?
I'm sorry I didn't catch that, I was leveling up my Pikachu. I'm trying to make more time for Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Guitar Hero, but Pokemon Diamond brought that endeavor to a standstill.

What games are you looking forward to on the horizon?
Animal Crossing for the Wii. Any Soul Calibur or Silent Hill game.

Other than videogames, what are your interests? (Board games, reading, music, etc)
What are these "interests" you speak of? I suspect they're for people with free time.
When I do get a second, I'm really into goth & industrial music. I spend a lot of my time going to shows and stuff (just saw Lisa Gerrard). My favorite bands are old stuff like Sisters of Mercy, Switchblade Symphony, Depeche Mode and the like. I read X-Men comics, and need to pick up the new Buffy comic (I love Joss Whedon). I also watch an extraordinary amount of television, and am currently quite addicted to Heroes. In summary: I am boring, and asia is a land of many contrasts.

Have you listened to/liked Einsturzende Neubauten? their early stuff is truly industrial.

Yep, they're pretty cool. I've never been really hardcore into their stuff, but I have a few tracks of theirs on mix CD's that I really like. I'm not so much into the Throbbing Gristle era of music; I'm definitely more familiar with stuff like Ministry and KMFDM. Smile

Have you played the VanBuren Alpha? If so, what were your feelings on it?
Nope, not yet. I'm currently enjoying the wealth of Fallout videos on YouTube. Smile

I thought I recognized your nickname, you posted once in a while on the Call of Cthulhu boards, am I right? Shame the game didnt do well...
Hey, good memory! Very Happy I liked the way it turned out, though my kingdom for a brightness slider on some parts of it.

What do you have on your desk? Do you have any figurines or maskots? Books?
Let's see, I have a small iron edged mirror, a spiderweb lamp, with a Hidamari No Tami sitting underneath it, and a black & purple spiderweb curtain at the entrance of my cube. My desk is mostly populated with Bleeding Edge Goth figurines (I've got series 1-3 basically), odd stuffed animals, and various sketchbooks, notebooks and papers. I also have an obscene amount of calendars, and pictures from Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride.
Oh, I also have a Mario tissue box cover that my mom made me, and a postcard advertisement for the Nine Inch Nails/Bauhaus show I went to last year.

Also, copious amounts of Advil. Smile

Tell me what wallpaper do you have?
My wallpaper is a screenshot from Space Quest ]|[ where Roger Wilco is collecting trash. Very Happy

What kind of education do you devs have and has it in anyway helped you as a game developer?
I went to Carnegie Mellon up in pittsburgh. I got my degree in Electronic Time Based Art (fancy way of saying video performance art & 3D animation) with two minor equivalents - playwriting and art history. Equivalents, since with my program they weren't technically offered as minors. Strange system, academics. Smile

Pretty much every single class I took in college has come in handy in game development, with the possible exception of large metal sculpture. Welding doesn't really come in to play much around here. ;D I was lucky enough to have a really awesome virtual reality program at CMU (actually, Fizzbang was in those classes with me! heh) that taught me a lot about human-computer interaction and gameplay. Plus, I was constantly surrounded by awesome people who would play Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi and Jet Grind Radio with me. Very Happy All in all, CMU was a spectacular school, and gave me an amazing foundation for what I do now.

Fizzbang: "The education from college was a good eye-opener, but all it really served to do was to show me how much more there was to learn on my own. That took dedication and hard work - which didn't come from going to college, but it did help me get through it. Ultimately, the biggest benefit I got from my time at college was the people I met - friends who provided me with experiences, inspirations, and perspectives that have helped me in every step of my life."
Agreed. The friends I made during college were as important as the education I received. I spent a fair time after college (2 years or so) teaching myself new stuff like other 3D software programs and new techniques, which I wouldn't have been able to do without my friends and the foundation I got from my college classes. Smile

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?
I grew up in a pretty rural area in Maryland. The people down the street had buffalo! Smile Since then I've lived in pittsburgh and NYC and realized I love being able to walk everywhere and wander around as I please with public transportation. I wouldn't say living near Rockville is city life per se, more like suburb life. Wink I've never been to Alaska, but I'd love to go one day.

And last but not least, do you drink coffee and what kind?
Also, I don't drink coffee. I do love Starbucks chai tea, though. I'm quite addicted to chai tea. Smile

What do you think is the most important thing for a man of your profession, game developers - education, natural talent, desire? Or something else?
Man? Pssh, I see how it is.

Well, if I were a guy, I'd go with all of the above. It takes a combination of the three to be successful.

I noticed that you spent some time in Pittsburgh... so I'm guessing it's safe to assume that you went to AiP?
Nope, Carnegie Mellon. We have an unusually high number of folk who came from the various Pittsburgh schools. We've got numerous people from Carnegie Mellon, AIP, Duquesne, and I think Pitt and/or Point Park.

Should we call you ghostgirl or Megan?
Either name suits me. Just so long as no one calls me anything else. Wink

Are there any more of you gals in the FO3 team?
Bethsoft has a lot of women devs, producers and administrators - more than a lot of other game companies, it seems.

What is your favorite flower, flower?
Gotta go with Snapdragons. Snapdragons are awesome.

Since it is through this thread that I discovered the Gem of a show: Jericho, how do you guys feel about its cancellation?
Argh, so mad. I loved that show and really wanted to see how it turned out, especially the plot line with Hawkins. I agree with Scypior, it's not fallouty, but it was a cool post-apocalyptic type show, and tv definitely needs more good sci fi dramas. The reasoning was silly as well - they said it's mature sci-fi themes didn't go over well. Which is odd considering they then announced a show about a vampire who runs a detective agency. O_o

I'm cautiously (very, very cautiously) anticipating the Terminator show on Fox in January, The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I rolled my eyes instantly at hearing it, but looking at the folks behind it and in it (Summer Glau, awww yeah) it might be good.

I watch too much TV. Smile

What song best sums up your attitude toward life?
Everyday is Halloween by Ministry. ahhahaa.

The first runner up for this spot was the Fallout Boy song, Champagne for my Real Friends, Real Pain for my Sham Friends.

What was your favorite moment of any game?
The first time I fought a zombie thing in Silent Hill 2 and it dropped to the ground and started slithering around. I think I actually started screaming. heh. I really loved the use of the radio static in that game, too. So creepy and awesome.

What is the most exotic firearm that you've held/fired?
Star Trek:TNG era phaser.

If Herve Caen and his army of rats suddenly snatched back the Fallout license and you "only" had these three alternatives for a back-up plan:

1. Deus Ex 3
2. Jagged Alliance 3
3. Lionheart 2

Which one would you choose (chasing down Herve with an army of cats is not an option)?

Of course an army of cats wouldn't be an option. You would need dogs with bees in their mouths, so when they bark, they shoot bees at you.

What is your favorite giant robot ?
Hrm, don't have a favorite *giant* robot. My favorite robot is probably Mr. Lynn Butlertron. Wesssley.

What is your favorite horrible monster?
I'll go with Oogie Boogie, because he's made of bugs, and because I can't think of a good answer.

How would you describe, using ten (most likely abstract(yes, abstract words, like xylophone(you're not allowed to include xylophone(or another similar musical instrument)))) words, the perfect gaming experience that Fallout 3 will bring?
That's difficult to tell right now since we're not finished.
(wait, do contractions count for the ten word limit?)

Did you ever eat (part of) a reptile?
If you answered yes to that, was the reptile still alive?
If you answered no to that, would you have prefered it if the reptile had been alive?

No, no, no, and another no for good measure:D

Have you tried the New Bouncy Bubble Beverage?
If yes, is it an improvement over the original? If no, why would such an exemplary citizen like you not drink the New beverage of exemplary citizens?

In a blind taste test, New Bouncy Bubble was preferred over Classic Bouncy Bubble two to one!

If you were a Super Hero, what would be your SuperPower?
If?

Plasma Rifle, Minigun, Combat Shotgun, Flamethrower or Gauss Rifle?
I prefer the classic "board with a nail in it" approach, but I'll go with flamethrower.

What did you read most when growing up?
X-Men comics, random magazines like Juxtapoz (I am a fan of the low, low brow) and a small mag called Axcess that introduced me to a lot of the stuff I'm into now - bands like Medicine & KMFDM, artists like Roman Dirge (who was a writer for that magazine) and other not so well known artists.

Best setting: Age of Apocalypse, or Dark Knight Returns?
Aw man, that's not fair, they're both so amazingly awesome. I'm gonna flip a coin and say....Age of Apocalypse. No wait. Dark Knight. . Ok, the Poison Ivy figure on my desk dictates I have to go with Dark Knight Returns.

How would you try to beat Batman?
Anti-depressants and therapy.
Though, I would never want to beat batman; he's the quintessential romantic hero. I'd rather have an "almost got 'im" story.

Techno: What kind?
The closest I get to techno is Lords of Acid, Praga Khan, and stuff like VNV Nation, (older) Apoptygma Beserk, & Covenant.

Do you visit raves ( that is the term in the US, is it not?) or do you just like to listen to it and dance maniacaly in private?
DDR FTW. I do dance at clubs though, whenever I go.

What is the situation with electronic of that type music in the States?
I live in a cave, so I'm gonna say it's going wonderfully!

Is anyone else in the Dev team electronic maniac?
Possibly. refer to cave mentioned in #3.

Which DJ`s do you like and have you listened to anyone from Europe or just US?

The only DJ I've ever seen was DJ Hellraver, and that's because he just seems to show up wherever I am. It's strange.

Is there anything in the development process that you guys have been disappointed with so far?
Needs more cowbell.

There have been a lot of advancements in game technologies and production values since Fallout 2, given these changes, where would you like to spend your next vacation?
Outside of the vault!

A large source of Oblivion's huge success and the increasing popularity of the IP was it's release on consoles; consequently, which type of pizza crust do you prefer?
Thin NYC deli style pizza crust.

One of the common criticisms of Fallout 1&2 was that NPCs were not often as helpful as players might like and they did not grow and change to the degree that NPCs did in Baldur's Gate or Arcanum; so, if you were able to add in a real-life celebrity (a clone or a head in a jar, etc.) to Fallout 3, who would you choose and would they be more or less effective than Fallout 2 NPCs?
Anyone eh? Kiefer Sutherland. I suspect he would be equally effective, what with screaming THERE'S NO TIME!!!! every two seconds while pointing guns at everyone.

If the combat system in Fallout 3 was a hamburger, what toppings would it have?
Ooh, pickles. And lots, and lots, and lots of ketchup. So much ketchup. O_o

Nny or Squee?
Anne Gwish. biggrin.gif

Devs, will you play Fallout 3 after it is shipped?
Indeed. I'm also betting we'll have played a fair bit of it before it's shipped as well. wink.gif

Pie or cake?
Cake. Though I'm shocked no one has asked the age old question of waffles vs. pancakes.

none of the devs seem to have answered whether they're polyglots...
I took high school french. The only useful phrase I remember is how to say "I speak french like a spanish cow" in case anyone presumes that I remember any of it.


Grant "TheGragster" Struthers

To Megan, I noticed that you spent some time in Pittsburgh... so I'm guessing it's safe to assume that you went to AiP?
Yeah, Megan is a Carnegie Mellon alumna. (The Latin singular feminine noun is alumna? Spiffy!)

I know there are two AIP grads here, myself included. There may be more, but I havenít heard any rumors of the like.

As far as my opinion of the school, I think the key to AIP is you get what you are willing to put in. The class work will give you a good start, but the extra workshops (both at AIP and CMU) are where the real learning happens. Itís a good idea to hook up with other dedicated students and try to work together on projects. (At least in CAM, or MAA, or whatever they call it now.)

Oh, and for the love of all that is good, get as far away from Allegheny Center as you can.


Orin "lancekt" Tresnjak

Who are you?
I'm Orin, I'm a graphics programmer here and an honest-to-god Fallout fan (1 and 2, anyway).

I really wish we could tell you all about what we're doing with Fallout 3. It's very cool and we're all excited about it. All in good time. Smile

Instead, my favorite color is blue, I'm not married (unless you count my new car <3), I don't have any pets (unless you count my roommate--hi, Ian!), and I feel like the ogre who's totally about to bash that glass-armor-wearing wimp's head in. Rraraggghhgh.

What's your job at Bethesda?
I'm one of the graphics programmers.

What previous projects have you worked on at Bethesda and elsewhere?
I got hired here just out of college about 2/3 into the development of Oblivion. So that's the only other commercial game I've worked on so far.

How is the work environment?
Excellent. Lots of fun and eccentric people.

Were you completely happy with Oblivion?
I've certainly spent a lot of time playing it outside of work. It's a really fun game-- I think certain hardcore RPGers tend to lose sight of the overall achievement that it represents because it violates some tenet or other of what they consider RPGs must be. Personally, I'm tired of hearing people squabble about that kind of nonsense--over all these silly, limiting acronyms we've come up with to pigeonhole our games. A game's a game, and some are different from others, and we should enjoy them for what they successfully accomplish, not for what they don't attempt.

By that metric, there are certainly some things about Oblivion that could use improvement, but overall I'm incredibly happy to have my name on it. And I have spent quite a lot of time playing it outside work, trying out different characters.

Do you like turn based combat
Depends on the game. One of my favorite games of all time was the old D&D CRPG Dark Sun: Shattered Lands, which had a very nice turn-based combat system. And of course I highly enjoyed both original Fallouts. (I've never been a fan of top-down games with realtime combat, personally--Baldur's Gate, Fallout: Tactics, and the like never really grabbed me.)

I'm hearing a lot of horror-stories about US-based companies. Is it true that a "normal" working day is 12 hours? o.O
Well, I can't speak for other companies, but here a "normal" working day is 8 hours. There was a bit of a crunch for Oblivion, but it wasn't 12-hour-days bad.

Do you ever get an urge to tar and feather the PR-department?
Are you kidding? Pete and Co. work some freakin' magic up there.

Do any of you play PnP RPGs? As a players or as a DM?
I run an occasional D&D Dark Sun game. (Grant plays a pterran and MSFD plays a Thri-Kreen. Wink) I also highly, highly enjoy the old Avalon Hill RPG Tales from the Floating Vagabond, if anyone's heard of that.

What would you guys think of an actual computer implementation of a turn based table top game?
I think that could be interesting if done well, but I'm not sure if it would have the same appeal as the real thing. After all, a huge amount of the satisfaction of a game like Warhammer is the physicality of it; the first time I went into battle with a fully painted army arrayed before me was quite a nice feeling (even though jg93 kicked my ass Smile). Having 3D rendered versions of the figures just isn't the same as holding them in your hands.

Dawn of War replaces that satisfaction with the frantic urgency of a real-time game, but it keeps the mood and style of 40K alive. Honestly, I think I prefer that to a straight port of the tabletop game. You'd just lose so much.

What was the first video game you've played? If you could, would you make a sequel for it?
Probably the first Super Mario Bros. And hell yeah, who wouldn't want to make a Mario game? Smile

And another one, more personal: what do you think of Russia? FO had many cold-war influences, you know
That's a weird question. Well, I have lots of Russian friends, and I studied Russian for three years in high school. So, uh, I guess Russian people are pretty cool? Smile

favorite brand of instant Thai noodles?
I don't know what it's called, but there's this kind that you can get at Grand Mart that's really good. It comes in a plastic bowl, with packets of oil, chili, vegetables, and seasoning. Even includes a fork. Excellent stuff.

Have you played any Troika game, for instance, Arcanum or Bloodlines, did you enjoy them?
Arcanum has been on my to-play list forever. I love steampunk settings. Bloodlines...meh. Not a fan at all of White Wolf stuff.

Are you guys Spaceballs fans?
Oh, my God. It's Mega Maid.

Favorite cartoon character?
Bender! A close second is Butters.

What would you consider to be the most exotic food (or species: e.g. roast iguana) that you have tried?
Chicken hearts, when I lived in Brazil as a kid. Delicious.

Will you come out of the sandbox to post in other threads, when you are finally allowed to talk about Fallout 3?
If we have time, sure.

What are your favorite webcomic?
Questionable Content, Dinosaur Comics, Diesel Sweeties, Perry Bible Fellowship, Penny Arcade, xkcd. I also have a soft spot for Dilbert, although it hasn't been really funny in a long time.

Tell us about the most funniest moment in your life (wierd, i know but really revelant IMO)
No one thing really stands out as especially funny. A lot of the best ones have been moments in pen-and-paper RPGs I was running or playing in, though.

What is your favorite video game ever made?
Out of this World (also known as Another World). A quirky, highly stylized little platformer from the early 90s, where you play a scientist trapped on an alien world. It was wonderful because there was no dialogue whatever; it just told its story through images and forced you to figure out what to do as you went along.

What is your favorite genre for video games?
I could never choose just one. Smile I've never cared much for sports games, but beyond that I've dipped my toe pretty much everywhere.

Can I have a dollar?
No.

What do you guys think of Mark Morgan's music in Fallout 1 and 2? Do you believe the soundtracks were important in capturing the feel of Fallout?
Honestly, I don't even remember the music from either Fallout game (aside from the classic songs), and I played the first two games a lot. It made no impression on me at all. (Before anyone says anything about that, allow me to reiterate that I am a programmer, not someone who has any influence on music decisions. Smile)

Which compiler do you prefer? Why?
Meh. Any reasonably compliant compiler is fine with me.

C or C++?
Personally, I prefer C++. Or C#, when I'm in the mood for something a little more civilized.

Your take on XNA?
Haven't had a chance to mess with it myself, but it seems extremely promising for hobby and low-budget game production. Not expecting it to take over the standard C++/DirectX for commercial game development in the near future though.

DX10 look easier? Doesn't let you at the hardware as much as you'd like?
Easier? Not particularly. More powerful? HELL yes. Geometry shaders alone are a revolutionary feature.

Mountain Dew, Pepsi, or Coke?
Diet Pepsi, in absolutely enormous quantities.

Code comments- Absolutely necessary, good for comic relief, or "Only the weak need comments!"?
Necessary, but only for things that actually need explanation. I don't really need to see a line "k++" commented with // increment k.

Multi-core development, next greatest thing or sure-fire way to a migrane?
I wouldn't call it the next greatest thing (that's DX10, silly). Migraine-inducing, yes.

What did you like the most about the Fallout series?
The freeform exploration, the dark but humorous atmosphere, the retro-futuristic style. The entertaining death animations are also of course a favorite, and I did enjoy the combat system.

What did you dislike alot about Fallout?
The UI. Man, and people complain about the Oblivion interface. Fallout 1 and 2 had the worst interface ever. Seriously, who had the bright idea that the inventory screen would only display three things at once?

Wait, what? I just opened my inventory ingame, and I get six plus weapons and armour, plus stats and resistances. Oh wait, maybe you mean the Barter screen?
My bad. Maybe it was the looting screen? Anyway, I found the UI really clunky. Smile

Anyway, you'll get no argument from me about the Oblivion UI needing some improvement.

One of the things I liked about the fallout GUI was that the look extended the world. Actual HP counter? Check. Odd bits of blue pressure tape? Check. Buttons? Check. Somehow, despite taking up a lot of the screen, the Fallout interface seems so much more at home in the world.
Oh, agreed absolutely. The art aspect of the UI was fantastic, really looked like it belonged in that world. I just found myself wishing more often than not that some actual usability testing had gone into it.

What is your opinion on Online Multiplayer?
Fun but not the only fun thing. Sometimes I like to play games alone, and of course single-player games let you do things that you can't really do in persistent online worlds (like have the player have some measurable, permanent effect on the environment).

Do you play any online MMO ?
World of Warcraft sometimes. I played LOTR online briefly but got bored of it pretty fast.

Which was your favorite movie in 2007?
Children of Men. Powerful, moving film (and has a bit of a post-apocalyptic theme to it too, although very different from Fallout).

And about which movie whose havent been released yet are you excited about?
The Simpsons Movie! Aside from that, I try not to get too excited about upcoming films, since I'm usually disappointed. Rather, I tend to make my moviegoing decisions on what's getting good buzz after people have actually seen it. Smile

What do you think of giving gamers choices in the way they see and interact with the game? Is it too much work to be worth the hassle?
I think it's usually more work that worth it. If you're giving the player two ways to play the game, then you practically have two different games you have to develop, test, polish, support. And you better make sure they're both equally functional--how many people use the third-person mode in Oblivion much, after all?

If its too hard to polish two systems, then do you think its a good idea to polish one, and implement the other in the editor so that the fans can polish it if they choose?
We're getting a bit out of my area of expertise here, but I will say that exposing something in the editor in a useful way requires development time too, so it's not necessarily the solution to all ills that some people seem to think.

How important do you think a game's modding community is, is it so important that it means extra development time might be taken t make the game more easily changed by end users?
Well, it depends a lot on the game, but obviously, looking at the mod community for Elder Scrolls games, it's pretty clear that good mod capability can really extend the life of a game. Some of my early experiences messing with game creation involved Bard's Tale Construction Set and Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures. (I really do miss those, FRUA especially; game content creation has become so complex that you don't really see tools that simple and easy-to-use anymore.)

What is you opinion about modding in general do you like that people are messing with your lovely game or does your heart sink when you see someone ruining what you have helped create?
I love seeing new mods, although I only actually play with them myself unless they're really, really good. Thankfully, there's an abundance of really, really good mod content to be found. Smile

Oh, also if they're really funny. We frequently pass around funny youtube videos of crazy Oblivion mods in the office. (The spell someone made that drops a rock on the enemy's head was my favorite.)

How important is it for programmers to understand the needs of the artists when creating a game or tools to make the game with?
Vital, obviously! They drive the look of the game and we need to give them the tools to do that. I'd say about 1/3 to 1/2 of my work as a graphics programmer comes directly from requests from art-land. (Sometimes as simple as, "hey, make a shader that looks like this concept art!")

Do you have any brand loyalties when it comes to hardware or do you just buy what is the best for your budget at the time?
I buy whatever has the best combination of performance and capabilities for my needs. Usually, since I'm a graphics geek, that means the most powerful new video card and whatever reasonably decent CPU I can get for the price. I've fluctuated between ATI and NVIDIA over the years--right now I'm on my third NVIDIA card in a row, though.

What do you have on your desk? Do you have any figurines or maskots? Books?
Let's see. A computer, two monitors, TV, xbox kit with two controllers, Warhammer Fantasy rulebook, bottle of water, book on 3D math, two Love Hina figurines (shush), two nerf guns, some Magic cards, two lego technic sets (the enzo ferrari and a generic motorcycle), legal pad filled with graphics scribblings, telephone, DVD of "Enter the Dragon," Japanese textbook. And about 12 more programming books and a copy of World of Warcraft on the shelf above.

Do you have a dresscode?
HELL no.

What kind of education do you devs have and has it in anyway helped you as a game developer?
B.A. in English and B.S. in Computer Science from UM. The computer science degree is obviously useful (and UM College Park has an excellent department!). The English degree, well, it was fun and makes me a more well-rounded person. Wink

Favorite quotes?
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Do you own/drive a car? Or do you prefer public transportation? If you do own a car then what kind of car?
An arctic blue Acura TSX. That said, if I'm going downtown, I'll usually just take the metro. DC is hellish to drive around in.

Other than Fallout and TES, what kind of game would you like to work on sometime in the future? What genre etc.
Most of my dream game ideas are either for big, open-ended games, or for little platform action games. I'm loving working on the first type; hopefully sometime in my career I'll get to dabble in the second too. Smile

Do you take a great deal of pride in working on this project? since some of you were fans of the original series, do you take a lot of pride & care in working on something that you've enjoyed.
Well, yeah, I mean it's every gamer's dream, isn't it? Making the sequel to one of your favorite games, how awesome is that?

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?
I've always lived in big urban centers or their nearby suburban areas. Both the city and the suburbs have advantages, but I generally prefer living in a city--it's nice to feel near everything and to be able to walk everywhere. Right now I live in Bethesda, which is a pretty decent compromise--very urbanized DC suburb. Lovely place. (The company is actually in Rockville, oddly enough--a bit further north.)

Have any of you been to my great state of Alaska and if not would you like to visit.
Nope, but I'd love to, at some point.

Any veterans? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Nope, and what a tough choice! There are so many interesting cities in the world, I'd like to live in lots of them for a few years each. It's what I get for growing up as a diplomat brat.

And last but not least, do you drink coffee and what kind?
Nope, I stick to vast quantities of diet soda for my caffeine fix.

How about my hardware question? What are you guys working on generaly? Are they normal beeffed PC-s or wat? Do you use generic graphic cards or maybe those for rendering movie special effects...sort of thing... Vista? XP?
Just normal PCs.

Anyway, in light of my rant about traffic, how much commute do you guys/gals have to do everyday for work? Do you guys/gals enjoy the traffic?
10-15 minutes. Against traffic, so usually I get to drive fast. No complaints.

If you could be driving whatever you liked - provided that it travels on land and could be licensed for road use - what would it be?
I'm pretty happy with my TSX. If I had to move up a little, I'd probably go for an Infiniti G35 coupe. They're so beautiful, with an engine that sounds like a lion roaring. Moving outside of the realm of cars I can more or less afford...maybe an Aston Martin Vanquish. Very Happy

My speed record is only 100. I'm too much of a wimp to try to see how close to the 160mph maximum on my speedometer I can get.

What do you wear at work?
I always wear pants--and that's a guarantee!

where do you buy most of your clothes?
Banana Republic, or sometimes Old Navy when I'm broke. I have really drab tastes in clothing.

What is your ambition or greatest goal in life?
Well it used to be "make video games"...still working on figuring out a new one.

That surname sounds just like a Croat... or something similar... origins?
Good guess!

Were you born in the States or you moved there?
Born in Washington DC. My dad's actually American so I am a bit of a mongrel. But I lived with my mother and grandmother most of my life, so I understand the language perfectly and can speak it decently (if a little brokenly).

And yeah, I go by my mother's surname instead of my father's. Weird, eh?

Are any of you developers not a TV-watcher? Or nearly so?
Me, absolutely. Between my roommates and I we have 3 TVs, but we don't even have any kind of cable or other television service. We just use them to watch movies and play video games.



Jay "RadHamster" Woodward

RadHamster, I'm calling you out for a post. Don't worry, we don't bite (much).
Well then! Guess I can't just roll around in my protective sphere forever. You know what they say: nobody likes a blond in a hamster ball...

What's your job at Bethesda?
Lieutenant Junior Grade in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.

What prior projects have you worked on?
Red Dead Revolver -- Rockstar's tale of bloody revenge in the lawless Old West. (I anticipate minimal crossover with the Fallout fandom there, but feel free to surprise me. Wink ) After that, about a year and half on another Rockstar project that's still under wraps.

Oh, and a text adventure in BASIC when I was in fourth grade. Susan Lipscomb, Margaret Zuanich, if you're out there, I owe it all to you... and Roberta Williams and Shigeru Miyamoto... and Will Crowther and Don Woods... and Warren Robinett...

But enough talk! Have at you!!!

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.
Since I'm one o' them coding-type nerds, there are really two distinct categories of inspiration: the technical stuff (which impacts my work directly) and the creative stuff (which made me want to work on Fallout in the first place, and which informs my conversations with the designers).

On the tech side: the AI work of Tom Leonard, Damian Isla, John Abercrombie, Jeff Orkin, Fredrik Farnstrom, and my fellow Bethsoft AI devs; the AI Game Programming Wisdom book series; and the meditations of programming gurus Scott Meyers, Steve McConnell, and of course, Bjarne Stroustrup.

Still awake? Well, I tried. Wink

On the creative side, Cormac McCarthy's The Road is the only work I've sought out specifically for being post-apocalyptic -- but as it happens, over the years I've seen/read/played quite a few other excellent sources of inspiration. Some of them deal literally with nuclear war or weapons, while others approach the apocalypse metaphorically, by depicting the looming threat or tragic aftermath of an analogous catastrophe.

Dealing with literal nukes, we have: Fallout [but of course], Metal Gear, Defcon, Trinity (Infocom's text adventure classic), WarGames, Doctor Strangelove (which I'd say has about a 70% overlap with "the Fallout feel"), The Road Warrior (which picks up the remaining 30%), and Grave of the Fireflies.

Approaching global doom from the metaphoric side, there's Deus Ex, Half-Life 2, Halo, Chrono Trigger, The Terminator, Twelve Monkeys, Children of Men, Y: The Last Man, and of course, Watchmen (a strong contender for the greatest story ever told in comic-book form).

It's fascinating to me how many excellent works of modern fiction involve nuclear annihilation (or the end of the world in some similar form). Here's my theory: throughout history, the richest, most captivating storytelling has resulted from humanity's brightest minds exploring the shape of our darkest fears -- and in the years after World War II, those fears coalesced into the shape of a mushroom cloud.

(Okay, sorry, I was starting to sound like Tom Brokaw there... Wink )

Finally, I have to recognize two of the greatest wellsprings of inspiration: our extensive and detailed design documents, and the game itself. Smile

How is the work-environment? Is it competitive or co-op? Do the different teams talk together?
Beautifully collaborative. We save the competition for Game Night. Smile

What is your favorite type of game to play (RTS,FPS,RPG etc)
Hybrids. There's just something I find appealing about games that choose to be awesome any which way they want. I'm primarily thinking FPRPGS, like System Shock, Deus Ex, and Oblivion, but there's also good stuff like Puzzle Quest (an RPG in which combat is an adversarial jewel-matching game) and Planescape: Torment (which isn't normally considered a hybrid, but as I see it, conversation is so pivotal in Torment that it can be considered as a hybrid of the conventional RPG and the "dialogue-based game" -- an almost entirely unexplored genre, inhabited primarily by Emily Short's Galatea and Andrew Stern and Michael Mateas's Facade).

How long have you been playing Fallout, and how would you describe your feelings towards the franchise?
Not as long as you have. Laughing

But long enough to be in love.

Besides the fanboyishness, I also feel that Fallout deserves my admiration, devotion, respect, and veneration. But moreover, it deserves my admiration, devotion, respect, and veneration. If you catch my meaning.

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?
And subject myself to all that radiation? Crazy

What's the last game you bought? Did you like it?
Catan, via Xbox Live. And yes: it's a first-rate translation of a beloved classic, and it's fantastic to be able to play with the old friends I used to play Settlers with in person.

What games are you looking forward to on the horizon?
Bioshock, Spore, Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, Halo 3, and Carcassonne.

I'm also looking forward to someday returning to The Ur-Quan Masters (a.k.a. Star Control 2), and of course, playing more Fallout. Wink

Other than videogames, what are your interests? (Board games, reading, music, etc)
Board games FTW. 1n j00r h3x3z, t3h1f1ng j00r 0r3z. My wallet's the one that says "Bad Meeple Farmer."

The tricky part about having interests "other than games" is that, other than THESE games over here, there's always still THOSE games over there. Once upon a glorious golden age long ago, I finished every game I bought. Nowadays, the stack is always growing higher.

Reading's good. There's a book stack, too. Actually it's more a book case at this point.

Traveling is good too, though I don't do it often enough. When I drove here from San Diego, I made several stops in New Mexico along the way, at places that I think some of you might appreciate. If you've never read Lucky Wander Boy, you should; that's what inspired my itinerary.

Have you played the VanBuren Alpha? If so, what were your feelings on it?
You bet! Unfortunately my computer froze up right at the part where all those mutants were flooding out of that giant wooden Brahmin. But man, pure genius!

Then IT came by my desk -- before I even contacted them, oddly. They were saying something about a huge spike in network traffic... Laughing

I want all my answers with exclamation marks.
Noted!

What is your favorite giant robot ?
Stephen Hawking?

Okay, no , seriously...it's a toss-up between Pintsize and the ol' Double F. Small, you say? True...but they're giants in their own boot sectors!

What is your favorite horrible monster?
The Gnome Utensil Hound!

How would you describe, using ten (most likely abstract(yes, abstract words, like xylophone(you're not allowed to include xylophone(or another similar musical instrument)))) words, the perfect gaming experience that Fallout 3 will bring?
Sorrow chaos Bart;
Bloodshot embrace overdrive.
Chaos box caffeine.
-- THE!

Did you ever eat (part of) a reptile?
If you answered yes to that, was the reptile still alive?
If you answered no to that, would you have prefered it if the reptile had been alive?

No. No. And I think I will amend an extraneous third "no." Maybe if it was an amphibiSTILL NO!

Have you tried the New Bouncy Bubble Beverage?
If yes, is it an improvement over the original? If no, why would such an exemplary citizen like you not drink the New beverage of exemplary citizens?

Tried it??? Nearly drank it! [badoompboom].

If you were a Super Hero, what would be your SuperPower?
Coprokinesis. [exclamation point...]

Plasma Rifle, Minigun, Combat Shotgun, Flamethrower or Gauss Rifle?
Wow. People, have we learned nothing of the perils of inexclusive "or"?!?

Whats the deal with airplane peanuts?
They replace some of the salt and protein you just lost in the matter-transference beam.

You're in a street. The sun shines overhead. You see a fastfood restaurant to the west, a pizza joint to the north and a salad bar to the south. To the east you see endless wasteland. You have five dollars. You are starving.
> XYZZZY

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 20:48:45 GMT
Wasteland 2 releases on September 19th
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 20:42:30 GMT
Fallout: Lonestar wants GECK world builders... maybe it could be you?
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 15:54:56 GMT
Underrail Dev Log #33: v0.1.12.0 Released
Fri, 01 Aug 2014 20:00:59 GMT
Wasteland 2 gets last beta update
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:27:50 GMT
Interview with Brian Fargo and our very own Brother None on Wasteland 2
Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:30:39 GMT
Mad Max: Fury Road Comic-con trailer
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:39:43 GMT
Texas-based fan-made Fallout game: "Fallout: Lonestar" currently in the works
-Opening Analysis: Fallout
-AMA Q&A with Brian Fargo and Chris Avellone
-Wasteland 2 Interview with Chris Avellone and Brian Fargo
-Circle Junction
-Wasteland Kickstarter Project Interview with Brian Fargo
-The Origins of Fallout
-Afterfall: InSanity review
-Afterfall: InSanity preview
-Lonesome Road Review
-Old World Blues review
-Fallout2 Hi-Res Patch v4.1.5
-Fallout1 Hi-Res Patch v4.1.5
-Falloup, a Fallout Comic by 'Ten'
-WayDowntown V1.1
-FO1 bos grenades quest
-FO1_pistol_sound_patch
-Fallout FIXT
-Graphics Viewer v1.36
-RobCo Systems Beta 1.0
-S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Anarchy Cell Design Document
-Koan's Gift: Oblivion Lost Design Document Pack
-S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Oblivion Lost Design Document
-S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Oblivion Lost Story Outline
-Uptown v1.4
-Fallout Script Editor 1.5a
-Mission Mojave Fixpack
-Garden Of Eden Creation Kit
-The Weapon Mod Menu
-The Mod Configuration Menu
-Interior Lighting Overhaul