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Someone Wants to Pick Warren Spector's Brain

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Someone Wants to Pick Warren Spector's Brain

Interview - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Fri 8 October 2010, 10:47:41

Tags: Fallout: New Vegas; Obsidian Entertainment

... and with "someone" I mean Eric Beaumont from Obsidian Entertainment. The Fallout: New Vegas release date is drawing near and another Bethesda Obsidian developer gets an introduction at the Bethblog.

As a game gets closer to release, do you have any tips for breaking in? Did modding games help you get started?

I got into the industry the hard way…or the dumb-luck way maybe, so I might not be the best source for tips on this. I do have one bit of advice I might be able to pass along that came from one of my old leads (that I’ve since adopted into my own approach when interviewing potential designers): Only hire people whose work you won’t have to go back and fix later. The actual quote is a little more colorful (and a little less printable), but that’s the essence. What that should mean to anyone who’s trying to break into the industry is that you should be able to talk about the finer points of design and you should be able to demonstrate that you can design. Don’t just talk about games that you like, but be able to say exactly why you like them. Don’t just say you hate a game – say why you hate it and what you would do to fix it. (You also might want to do your homework and make sure that you aren’t tearing apart a game that your interviewer(s) worked on!) Bring a working level you made, preferably built with a popular, modern game engine/editor (bonus points if it’s from the same genre as the game you’re applying for). Degrees in relevant fields and/or from a game design college don’t hurt either, but they’re also no guarantee if you can’t survive the interview.

If you could pick someone’s brain in the game industry, who would it be?

Warren Spector. I love the games he’s done and I’ve always been inspired by his design philosophy. I read an article he wrote about how dialogue-trees in role-playing games haven’t really changed or evolved since the beginning of the industry. At the end of the article he issued a challenge to everyone working in the industry to find a new way to convey dialogue in games. I’ve spent the last few years struggling with that issue in the games that I’ve designed. I don’t have the magical answer yet, but it’s led me to question the basic principles of design that I always took for granted before and for that I’m grateful.

Spotted at: RPGWatch

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