Chris Avellone - Talking Shop
GamesIndustry.biz has a new interview with Obsidian Entertainment's Creative Director Chris Avellone.
Avellone did not have any formal training when he joined the industry long ago. Though he did go to college, his degree is in English, with a minor in Fine Arts. His RPG experience kicked off early as a game master for a pen-and-paper games like Dungeons & Dragons, Champions, and Superworld. Avellone admits that led into his later work and said aspiring designers need to "do the job before you get the job."
"I didn't have any formal training beyond GM-ing for a ruthless, lazy bunch of players who would rarely ever run their own games and couldn't be bothered to even fully give their own characters disadvantages when balancing them. When you do that for a random bunch of personalities over a 10 year period across a number of game systems, you make a lot of mistakes, and that helps guide you as an entertainer," he said.
"Get familiar with all the tools out there - play games, not just ones you like, but as many as you can, and do post-mortems for each one. Get to know people at the companies where you want to work, ask them advice, ask them to help critique your design or art portfolio, or simply be friendly. If they ignore you or are jerks, then you wouldn't want to work with them anyway. Do mods. Put them up on the net. Let the internet savage them, then revise them, patch them, and put them back up there for another round of critiques. The best designers I've ever known are the ones that are or would still be designers even if they didn't have a career in the industry; I sure would, and many of the developers at Obsidian are the same way."