Inside The Vault: Ricky “socrates200x” Gonzalez

On today’s Inside the Vault at the Bethblog we have one of the most quoted devs in this blog, UI programmer Ricardo Gonzalez:

What’s your job at Bethesda?
I’m almost positive that what they pay me for here is “interface programming”. That is, I create, maintain, and polish that thin, delicate membrane that resides between the game world and the real one. There’s a glut of information and goings-on in our games that I’m told is very important and it’s my job to see that it gets presented to the player in some semblance of order. I also get bonus points if it looks pretty and if it doesn’t crash the game. To date, I think I have 3 bonus points.
What other games have you worked on?
This would be the first professional game I’ve worked on. As a kid, I invented a whole bunch of the single-player variety to keep myself, how did my parents put it?  “Occupied far, far away from the house”.  Old favorites like “Run There and Back Again” or “Spin in a Circle Really Fast”. I also had a lot of fun burying things in the sand and trying to find them again. I only lost that one once, and afterwards my mom made me promise to stay out of her medicine cabinet.[…]

What games are you looking forward to?
Fallout 3 for one. It’s one thing to constantly debug and playtest it; I really want to take it home and have my way with it for a hundred hours or so. Also Mass Effect for PC, although that’s more because I’d need to upgrade my rig to be able to run it comfortably and I want to have a reason to spend cash money upgrading my rig.

And this is his opinion on what is the best thing about the classic Fallout RPGs:

That I could dynamite the entrance to the Shady Sands Radscorpion cave instead having to kill anything. That I could hack my way into the depths of the Glow without firing a shot. That I could join the Skulz gang, double-cross them in the middle of a gun fight, and still get credit for it. In essence, Fallout is one of the best games I’ve played in allowing you to play the character you want, as you want, and still have a meaningful game experience.

In too many other RPGs, I just can’t play the lazy, self-centered intellectual that I so enjoy playing. Because I have to save my village. Or avenge my village. Or gather happy, glowing stones for my village. You don’t want to? Tough. Take this sword. Or twin daggers. Or talking hauberk. Or whatever. Fallout gives you the exact same opportunity to be the hero, go slay the bad guys, finish that main quest line, but then lets you say, “Screw this. I’m going to go get laid and play chess with my super-computer friend.”

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