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Old 06-19-2009, 08:29 PM   #1
Pavlos
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Chris Avellone waxes lyrical on game design

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In April, Chris Avellone went to Australia as one of the speakers at Framework, a kind of games industry get-together that is a bit less hype-y than E3 by the look of things. There is now video evidence on YouTube of the man probably talking about Alpha Protocol mostly, but also mentioning Fallout, KotOR and Torment-related stuff. CA appears around 7 minutes into the first clip, and then holds forth in the remaining ten clips. If you make some popcorn it's like a gripping feature film about video game design presentation.
Clicky

I've been watching this in five minute bursts as I grapple with unifying the (literal) mound of paper on my desk into a coherent essay on, oddly enough, unity but it's served as more than a refreshing break from using phrases such as "uniform critical assent" and "a view ab intra". It's a very, very engaging lecture on video game design. I thought it should be shared given it's view ab intra of the creative process that goes on inside both a development studio and Chris Avellone's head.


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Old 06-19-2009, 11:30 PM   #2
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Something else that made me wish that LA gave them more time. And from fact that LA didn't give them much feedback on the work they were doing, makes me thing that they were more concerned with RoTS work then anything else. Since they were done with the major AoTC by 02, they didn't mind giving BioWare the schedule they had, whereas Obsidian develops K2, and all because RoTS is their major concern, the rest, matters not.

Makes me wonder even more about they ideas they had that didn't even make it into the cut-content.

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Old 06-20-2009, 12:19 AM   #3
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I have to tell you that I'm a little shocked at Chris' use of language during this presentation. Perhaps the video game industry is a different animal and this kinda thing is okay amongst professionals, however if not, it saddens me that he's representing Obsidian this way.
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rtas Vadum View Post
Something else that made me wish that LA gave them more time. And from fact that LA didn't give them much feedback on the work they were doing, makes me thing that they were more concerned with RoTS work then anything else.
I have it in my head that this was actually a $$$ grab in order to fund ROTS. Could just be a theory. But no matter. It is what it is regardless.

Actually, funny you should mention it that RotS was seemingly their head concern and threw all else by the wayside. A couple professor pals of mine actually said the same thing, basically. Being uber SW fans, one an anthropologist and the other a film instructor, the three of us were chatting at a joint club day. They both seemed to make a case that the production quality of KOTOR2 seemed to be like it had not received adequate attention to be the best it possibly could have been. Even backed it up with a little deductive reasoning given the period of time and ways K2 fell behind K1.

Contractor with knit-picky client sort of deal IMO. Shame too.

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Since they were done with the major AoTC by 02, they didn't mind giving BioWare the schedule they had, whereas Obsidian develops K2, and all because RoTS is their major concern, the rest, matters not.

Makes me wonder even more about they ideas they had that didn't even make it into the cut-content.
Now *that* is some real food for thought. Tragic in the sense when you think of it like this: LA gets the money, and shoves it in the dark and tells us to forget it and STFU. (Silently b/c they actually were the ones who ultimately screwed it up in the first place. ) Yet it will be Obsidian who gets the blame for making a faulty game and insulting the series. That's hell of messed up. We will forever wonder what hit the cutting bin that could have been great. I think Obsidian is a great company and that people who diss it and blame it for the failure of K2 are ignorant and need a good smack upside the head.

Reminds me of a certain "suck you dry from the top" leech of a guy who always had to be in charge. Abusive and would push people to near breaking or beyond if he could get away with it. Relation: He got all the credit, everyone else got dirt for whatever went wrong.

Man, there is no justice.


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Old 06-20-2009, 04:36 AM   #5
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I have to tell you that I'm a little shocked at Chris' use of language during this presentation. Perhaps the video game industry is a different animal and this kinda thing is okay amongst professionals, however if not, it saddens me that he's representing Obsidian this way.
There's a pdf out there (I have it saved) for the original vision statement for Torment. I won't repeat any of it here, but Chris' language is extraordinarily strong; much more so than this presentation. If anything he's toned it down, because that document was actually officially pitching an early version of the game to the publisher, where as this was more of an informal presentation.

I think basically, the industry is full of big kids... and the "suits" in the industry probably turn a blind eye to it because there's an understanding that they need people like Avellone, who understand regular people, particularly teenagers, better than they do.


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Old 06-20-2009, 04:53 AM   #6
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There's a pdf out there (I have it saved) for the original vision statement for Torment. I won't repeat any of it here, but Chris' language is extraordinarily strong; much more so than this presentation. If anything he's toned it down, because that document was actually officially pitching an early version of the game to the publisher, where as this was more of an informal presentation.

I think basically, the industry is full of big kids... and the "suits" in the industry probably turn a blind eye to it because there's an understanding that they need people like Avellone, who understand regular people, particularly teenagers, better than they do.
Fair enough.

After spending years in the business world, there's a certain decorum I've grown accustomed too. I kinda jumped a little when I thought I heard a four-letter word. After I heard it again, I silently shook my head and wondered what the hell he was thinking. Then he dropped an f-bomb and had to seriously question whether or not there was some bizarre alternative-business-universe that contained only pr0n and the video game industries.
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Old 06-20-2009, 06:35 AM   #7
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I've just finished the videos this morning and it occurs to me that Chris Avellone, in effect, just gave out his e-mail address to the whole of YouTube; perhaps not such a great idea if the lecture begins to get a larger audience...


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Old 06-20-2009, 11:31 AM   #8
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Incredibly interesting. I was already aware of Avellone's idea of hating certain conventions, and creating something out of that hate, but it's great to see how that process works.


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Old 06-20-2009, 03:09 PM   #9
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Watching it now. Love to hear anything Avellone and so far it's been very interesting. Still on the parts about TSL.


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Old 06-21-2009, 03:51 AM   #10
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I have to agree with one of the comments on YouTube. I find it pretty funny Avellone makes a big deal about hating genre clichés and conventions, yet Black Isle and Obsidian games (including every one he worked on) are full of them.

As far as K2 goes, Obsidian dropped the ball, plain and simple. Avellone himself has said as much - they tried to do too much within the allotted time and budget and ran out of both. Added to that is the fact that the collective Black Isle/Obsidian/Troika group seem to be clueless when it comes to quality control and bug testing (again, something Avellone has alluded to).
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