Slateman shows up

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It’s my pleasure to present to you guys and girls Alan “Slateman” Nanes, as you can read on Bethesda’s blog Inside the Vault:

What’s your job at Bethesda?

I’m a game designer. For the uninitiated, if you think of a game as a movie, a game designer would be a scriptwriter. We do the dialog, develop plotlines, perform game balance, and generally give all the other departments lots of headaches.

What projects have you worked on?

As a game designer I’ve worked on The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, a few of the downloads for Oblivion, and Shivering Isles.[…]

What do you like best about working as a designer? What is the worse part?

The best part about being a designer is that your ideas drive the game world. Even though we do have a Lead Designer (Emil in the case of Fallout 3) to guide us, they are always very open to fresh ideas. I’ve seen quests change 100% from their original design based on a great idea someone suddenly had in a meeting. Being able to have your ideas translate to something you can play in the game is the greatest feeling for a designer.

The worst part about being a designer is the opposite. Sometimes an idea you’ve come up with can feel great, but when it’s examined by your peers or by the Lead, they make you realize it doesn’t belong in the game or it’s too complex. When writing dialog and quest materials, it’s surprisingly easy to forget you’re writing for a game, not for a book. You need to be clear and concise, yet detailed enough so that the flavor of the game world isn’t compromised. Maintaining this balance is the most challenging aspect of my job.[…]

What have you drawn on for inspiration in developing Fallout 3?

It would be easy for me to say I immediately ran to my DVD collection and threw Road Warrior or Six-String Samurai in, but this isn’t the case. I decided to draw my inspiration from the original source: the old Fallout games themselves (specifically Fallout 1 & 2). I wanted to make sure I replayed them and understood what the original developers were trying to bring to the table. I hadn’t actually fired the games up in years, so it was great to rediscover them all over again.

This doesn’t mean that visuals from other movies or games never entered my mind. Films like Children of Men, Delicatessen, Escape from New York, 12 Monkeys and Soylent Green and games such as Bad Blood, Autoduel and Wasteland all provided interesting backdrops from which ideas began springing forth. Honestly though, Emil Pagliarulo himself was a great inspiration. His genuine love of the source material is evident in every write-up and synopsis he gives us.

What is your favorite type of game to play?

My favorite games to play are RPGs. I like experiencing the entire spectrum and playing whatever I’m in the mood for. I’ve spent quite a bit of time playing all sorts of them… from serious PC RPGs like Baldur’s Gate to action RPGs like Champions of Norrath. I’ve been playing these games for a very long time. I still fondly remember playing the SSI Gold Box AD&D games on my trusty Amiga 500. Ok, I also admit I’m a devoted World of Warcraft player. There, you happy now? )

How long have you been playing Fallout?

I’ve been experiencing Fallout ever since the games were released. As I had mentioned before, there was definitely a gap of time where they were packed in boxes and sat idle, but were never forgotten. The day I heard we were going to be actually developing a Fallout title was the day I cracked those boxes open again.

One of the things I always admired about Fallout, especially the first one, was that choices really meant something. It wasn’t just disguised dialog that funneled you to the same plot point. They made a concerted effort to make the game change depending on how YOU wanted to play. Your actions shaped the world and yet you still remained in sight of your final goal (well all the while you had a blast doing it). I hope to bring this same feeling to Fallout 3.

I like this guy, good taste in movies.

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