Chris Avellone interview at A Post Nuclear Blog

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Per, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    On Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog you will find this interview with game designer Chris Avellone, transcribed from an issue of the Portuguese magazine BGamer. The man talks a little about getting into the industry, making games, and looking back on his achievements. Of course, Fallout 2 gets mentioned a number of times.<blockquote>If you could go back in time and change anything in one of your games, what would it be?

    I’d probably drop a planet out of Knights of the Old Republic 2 to make the game shorter and more polished. In Fallout 2, I’d probably have dropped one of the crime families in New Reno for the same reason - the raider cave in Fallout 2 didn’t get as much love as New Reno did just because New Reno was so big.

    What, for you, makes a good story?

    Providing the player with interesting companions and characters who react to the player’s actions I think is more important than a linear storyline. In most cases, I feel the best way is to allow the player the pieces to build a story in their own mind as opposed to forcing a storyline on the player. If you give the player a great villain and some companions that serve as good sounding boards for the player’s actions, that can present a far more effective gaming story in the long run - players would prefer to explain to others how their character dealt with a certain situation or dealt with a certain NPC rather than have the exact same experience that was imposed on them as someone else who played the same title.

    Also, one aspect to a good story (in games), is that the game needs to end and achieve some sort of resolution. Obviously, single-player RPGs hold the monopoly in this, but this is something I think MMOs have the potential to solve depending on how they structure their quest and story mechanics.

    You have worked in some of the best RPG ever made. What, in your opinion, are the crucial elements for a good game of this genre?

    Aside from the ability to advance your character, player choice (whether in character development or quest resolution) and world and character reactivity to these player’s choices is key.

    Players want to build the character they envision, and then they want to push buttons in the world and see the world give them positive (or negative) feedback that is unique to their character - it makes them feel that they are having a direct impact on their environment based on their specific choices. In addition, the more specific you can make the reactivity to the player’s character creation choices (Fallout 1 and 2 did a fantastic job of this, in my opinion), the better. The more a stealth character is given consistent rewards and feedback on their chosen skills and using those skills to solve quests, for example, the more they feel their character choices and their character’s skills truly matter.</blockquote>There's more, so head over to read the whole thing.

    Link: Fallout 3: A Post Nuclear Blog
  2. Pope Viper

    Pope Viper This ghoul has seen it all

    Dec 9, 2003
    Good stuff, thanks Brios.
  3. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    I assume that these are the original questions and answers which were sent and received from CA, and then translated into evil Portuguese for the magazine.
  4. Myryad

    Myryad First time out of the vault

    Jun 16, 2008
    It was a really interesting article, and there was alot of info about the game in the magazine too. There was also an exclusive screenshot but I don't have a scanner to get it on the pc :|
  5. Briosafreak

    Briosafreak Lived Through the Heat Death

    Dec 18, 2003
    Yep. You can find the scans on the net Myriad.
  6. Ranne

    Ranne Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    May 15, 2008
    No awesome beds or Harry Potter references? Not a single use of the words "stuff" and "cool"? No "the players may go f*#$ themselves and buy a different game" innuendos? What kind of a game designer is it?

    The only thing I disagree with is the idea of cutting out one game component to make a lesser constituent look better. Not even the general idea - software designers have to make tough decisions like that practically all the time, - but the examples provided. I don't believe that decreasing the size of New Reno would affect the appealingness of the raider's base by any noticeable degree.
  7. ZiggyMeister

    ZiggyMeister It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 7, 2008

    Thanks for accepting my suggestion and publishing this at your Blog :D

    That was a great interview, that really deserves more readers than the Portuguese gamers that bought that BGamer issue (Max of 21 500 monthly prints, according to the info on the mag).
  8. whirlingdervish

    whirlingdervish Brahmin Cavalry Commander

    Jul 3, 2007
    adding an extra cave or two to the raiders base, would definitely up it's importance to me.

    I almost always ended up taking that place over as a base of operations and convenient spot to leave my extra party members.

    All those lockers were useful for storage too.

    I guess I'm of the opinion that more locations is almost always better in a game like Fallout.
    (as long as they are there for a reason, even if that reason doesn't tie into the main storyline)

    I really liked the way that new reno was laid out similarly to the hub with plenty of districts to check out. The outlying locations on the map like golgotha, the stables and the sierra army base, were a nice touch that I think almost all of the different town locations could have profitted from having.
  9. Polynikes

    Polynikes It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jun 19, 2007
    Sigh, if only more RPG developers understood this concept.
  10. junkevil

    junkevil It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jun 20, 2007
    i love these articles, but after i read them it always feels like a kick in the balls. i always end up thinking that same old thought - "wouldn't it be nice if the right people were doing fallout 3?"

    ever see that star trek episode "mirror, mirror"? i'll bet in the opposite of our universe they actually finished van buren. also, everyone has a cool looking beard.
  11. shihonage

    shihonage Made in USSR

    May 8, 2007
    I agree with most of what he usually says, especially this:

    The game should provide micro-stories with variable outcome, letting the player build his own macro-story.

    But I also think that a general arc should be there, one that provides a sense of accomplishing something truly significant and CONTINUOUS in the game world.

    And yeah, companions need to be made more alive and reactive.
  12. Corith

    Corith Still Mildly Glowing

    Apr 28, 2004
    Chris is really good. He has some of the most innovative ideas out of all the designers I've met. And, unless things are have changed in the past few years, he doesn't suffer from the horrible affliction of Developer Arrogance.
  13. Per

    Per Vault Consort Staff Member Admin

    Apr 1, 2004
    For a second I read that as "Chris is really God." But it seems his secret identity is safe for another day.
  14. ZiggyMeister

    ZiggyMeister It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 7, 2008
    He had to approve the publication of the interview at briosafreak's Blog, and he did that in less than one day.
    Between my first e-mail asking permission to the magazine (BGAMER), and the last e-mail giving the "yes" together with all needed material, it passed less than 24 hours!
    And we live in a different time zone, 5 or 6 hours ahead of the US Eastern Time.

    So if he isn't a good guy he really seems to be one :lol:

    He even approved my MySpace friend request in a few minutes, and I'm sure he has no idea who I am! I only had to tell him that I'm a Fallout fan, and pufft: I allow you to be a MySpace friend.

    As for the Developer Arrogance, that you explain in your Blog, I also agree with you, he doesn't seem to have any symptom of that :lol:
  15. Kyuu

    Kyuu Insert Awesome Title Here

    Jul 19, 2007
    He meant that if New Reno hadn't been so big, they could've spent more time working on the raider cave (i.e. putting more content there), not that making New Reno smaller would've made the raider cave more appealing as it was.
  16. Ranne

    Ranne Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    May 15, 2008
    Yeah, you're probably right. It doesn't make much sense otherwise.
  17. Slaughter Manslaught

    Slaughter Manslaught Vault Senior Citizen

    Dec 11, 2006
    I agree with you, man. I think Interplay cashed so much money from Van Buren in that universe that they brought Bethesda, who flopped after the sale failure of Obvilion. They're going to release The Elder Scrolls 5 this fall. And It's going to be awesome.