On August 2nd things started normally, with NoMutantsAllowed giving their headline to a topic about dialogue in RPGs on the Bethesda games Fallout 3 forum with Fred “fizzbang” Zeleny contributing with his thoughts:
On dialogue being short and concise:
Being clear in the information conveyed is very important, but that doesn’t require that every line be clipped short. Some personalities ramble, some get easily distracted, and so forth – they’ll talk longer than, say, harried workers or soldiers in a fight. And, as always, it’s important to follow the rule of “Show, don’t tell”, and sometimes that requires a little more talking than just saying, “I’m a guard and I don’t trust you.”
Sometimes it can also be a balancing act between a writer trying to convey a lot of information and trying to keep the player from being stuck in a long monologue. We all enjoy reading, but when you’re in a long dialogue and don’t have any options for a long time, even the best of us can get irritated – just like being in a conversation and not being able to get a word in edgeways.
On stating the obvious for dramatic effect:
It’s hard to avoid stating the obvious while also making sure a player knows what’s going on, especially when it isn’t incredibly obvious. Using your example above, if parts of the station are blowing up, people shouldn’t bother telling you about it; they’re better off running for their life! But if it’s just a lot of klaxons going off for some unknown reason, it’s not unreasonable for someone to let the player know (“Why aren’t you running? Don’t you know the place is about to blow?”).
Of course, a bit of wit and style while writing those dialogues can make all the difference. If it’s entertaining and in-character, some otherwise irritating dialogue can be forgiven (“Great. First, I stub my toe on that door, then I lose my data to a power shortage, and now we’re all about to die a horrible death in a ball of fiery doom. I swear, today is not my day.”)
I joined the Bethesda team during Shivering Isles Production. This was a real trip for me as I had just graduated college and just finished playing through Oblivion. You can imagine my excitement getting to work on the expansion for the game I had just played through and loved. I started out as an Intern working as an environment artist. I did some landscaping around the fringe and created several world objects. The majority of my time was spent pathing the world space in the Shivering Isles. All path gridding and no play makes Dane a dull boy.
After working on Shivering Isles I moved on to Fallout 3 and also moved into the character art department. I currently make a lot of the things you will be using to do massive amounts of damge to all manner of people and creatures. So yeah. Weapons guy, and I love it.[…]
I have played Fallout one and two and they some of my favorite games of all time. I’m partial to Fallout one, I felt that two wasn’t quite as tight as the first one.
The inspiration question is a little tougher. I truthfully draw inspiration from everywhere. Obviously music is a huge influence to me and believe it or not some of that does transfer over to the art I do. There’s something about Johnny Cash that always makes me ready to venture into the wastes. When I’m out Hiking in Virginia I revel in nature’s beauty… and then imagine what it would look like two hundred years after a nuclear war. Movies are great, the scenery in The first Hills have Eyes remake was wonderful. When I was working on my art test for Bethesda I was watching the Road Warrior movies a lot. Six string Samurai is just awesome. Even objects that I see. When I was at an army surplus store in Indiana I bought a Vintage Russian gas mask. I don’t know why they had it there but the look of it is great. I love the functional Aesthetic of Military equipment. I also have a dummy RPG round sitting on my desk. These things keep me in the right mind set when I’m making all the stuff you guys will be using to wreak havoc out in the wastes.
Good luck Dane, blow us away!
Socrates 200x had this announcement to make:
I’ll be out and abouts on my honeymoon next week, so no forums for me. ( I’d check in every day of course, but you know how wives are about honeymoons and the like. ) Expect a sharp decline in off-the-wall comments and a sudden resurgance of relevancy in the vacuum.
Nice, all the best Ricardo, enjoy your honeymoon!
And then something big happened, I’ll leave that to part 3.