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Meet the Fallout 3 devs - Jay Woodward

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Jay "RadHamster" Woodward, I'm calling you out for a post. Don't worry, we don't bite (much). Well then! Guess I can't just roll around in my protective sphere forever. You know what they say: nobody likes a blond in a hamster ball...

What's your job at Bethesda?
Lieutenant Junior Grade in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.

What prior projects have you worked on?
Red Dead Revolver -- Rockstar's tale of bloody revenge in the lawless Old West. (I anticipate minimal crossover with the Fallout fandom there, but feel free to surprise me. ) After that, about a year and half on another Rockstar project that's still under wraps.

Oh, and a text adventure in BASIC when I was in fourth grade. Susan Lipscomb, Margaret Zuanich, if you're out there, I owe it all to you... and Roberta Williams and Shigeru Miyamoto... and Will Crowther and Don Woods... and Warren Robinett...

But enough talk! Have at you!!!

What have you drawn on for inspiration in developing Fallout 3? Books, movies, music, etc would be fine, if you don't want to name any games.
Since I'm one o' them coding-type nerds, there are really two distinct categories of inspiration: the technical stuff (which impacts my work directly) and the creative stuff (which made me want to work on Fallout in the first place, and which informs my conversations with the designers).

On the tech side: the AI work of Tom Leonard, Damian Isla, John Abercrombie, Jeff Orkin, Fredrik Farnstrom, and my fellow Bethsoft AI devs; the AI Game Programming Wisdom book series; and the meditations of programming gurus Scott Meyers, Steve McConnell, and of course, Bjarne Stroustrup.

Still awake? Well, I tried.

On the creative side, Cormac McCarthy's The Road is the only work I've sought out specifically for being post-apocalyptic -- but as it happens, over the years I've seen/read/played quite a few other excellent sources of inspiration. Some of them deal literally with nuclear war or weapons, while others approach the apocalypse metaphorically, by depicting the looming threat or tragic aftermath of an analogous catastrophe.

Dealing with literal nukes, we have: Fallout [but of course], Metal Gear, Defcon, Trinity (Infocom's text adventure classic), WarGames, Doctor Strangelove (which I'd say has about a 70% overlap with "the Fallout feel"), The Road Warrior (which picks up the remaining 30%), and Grave of the Fireflies.

Approaching global doom from the metaphoric side, there's Deus Ex, Half-Life 2, Halo, Chrono Trigger, The Terminator, Twelve Monkeys, Children of Men, Y: The Last Man, and of course, Watchmen (a strong contender for the greatest story ever told in comic-book form).

It's fascinating to me how many excellent works of modern fiction involve nuclear annihilation (or the end of the world in some similar form). Here's my theory: throughout history, the richest, most captivating storytelling has resulted from humanity's brightest minds exploring the shape of our darkest fears -- and in the years after World War II, those fears coalesced into the shape of a mushroom cloud.

(Okay, sorry, I was starting to sound like Tom Brokaw there... )

Finally, I have to recognize two of the greatest wellsprings of inspiration: our extensive and detailed design documents, and the game itself.

How is the work-environment? Is it competitive or co-op? Do the different teams talk together?
Beautifully collaborative. We save the competition for Game Night.

What is your favorite type of game to play (RTS,FPS,RPG etc)
Hybrids. There's just something I find appealing about games that choose to be awesome any which way they want. I'm primarily thinking FPRPGS, like System Shock, Deus Ex, and Oblivion, but there's also good stuff like Puzzle Quest (an RPG in which combat is an adversarial jewel-matching game) and Planescape: Torment (which isn't normally considered a hybrid, but as I see it, conversation is so pivotal in Torment that it can be considered as a hybrid of the conventional RPG and the "dialogue-based game" -- an almost entirely unexplored genre, inhabited primarily by Emily Short's Galatea and Andrew Stern and Michael Mateas's Facade).

How long have you been playing Fallout, and how would you describe your feelings towards the franchise?
Not as long as you have.

But long enough to be in love.

Besides the fanboyishness, I also feel that Fallout deserves my admiration, devotion, respect, and veneration. But moreover, it deserves my admiration, devotion, respect, and veneration. If you catch my meaning.

Considering that much of the game will probably be in a wild wasteland, do any of you spend much time hiking, camping, etc, and if so where?
And subject myself to all that radiation?

What's the last game you bought? Did you like it?
Catan, via Xbox Live. And yes: it's a first-rate translation of a beloved classic, and it's fantastic to be able to play with the old friends I used to play Settlers with in person.

What games are you looking forward to on the horizon?
Bioshock, Spore, Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, Halo 3, and Carcassonne.

I'm also looking forward to someday returning to The Ur-Quan Masters (a.k.a. Star Control 2), and of course, playing more Fallout.

Other than videogames, what are your interests? (Board games, reading, music, etc)
Board games FTW. 1n j00r h3x3z, t3h1f1ng j00r 0r3z. My wallet's the one that says "Bad Meeple Farmer."

The tricky part about having interests "other than games" is that, other than THESE games over here, there's always still THOSE games over there. Once upon a glorious golden age long ago, I finished every game I bought. Nowadays, the stack is always growing higher.

Reading's good. There's a book stack, too. Actually it's more a book case at this point.

Traveling is good too, though I don't do it often enough. When I drove here from San Diego, I made several stops in New Mexico along the way, at places that I think some of you might appreciate. If you've never read Lucky Wander Boy, you should; that's what inspired my itinerary.

Have you played the VanBuren Alpha? If so, what were your feelings on it?
You bet! Unfortunately my computer froze up right at the part where all those mutants were flooding out of that giant wooden Brahmin. But man, pure genius!

Then IT came by my desk -- before I even contacted them, oddly. They were saying something about a huge spike in network traffic...

I want all my answers with exclamation marks.
Noted!

What is your favorite giant robot ?
Stephen Hawking?

Okay, no , seriously...it's a toss-up between Pintsize and the ol' Double F. Small, you say? True...but they're giants in their own boot sectors!

What is your favorite horrible monster?
The Gnome Utensil Hound!

How would you describe, using ten (most likely abstract(yes, abstract words, like xylophone(you're not allowed to include xylophone(or another similar musical instrument)))) words, the perfect gaming experience that Fallout 3 will bring?
Sorrow chaos Bart; Bloodshot embrace overdrive. Chaos box caffeine. -- THE!

Did you ever eat (part of) a reptile?
If you answered yes to that, was the reptile still alive?
If you answered no to that, would you have prefered it if the reptile had been alive? No. No. And I think I will amend an extraneous third "no." Maybe if it was an amphibiSTILL NO!

Have you tried the New Bouncy Bubble Beverage?
If yes, is it an improvement over the original? If no, why would such an exemplary citizen like you not drink the New beverage of exemplary citizens? Tried it??? Nearly drank it! [badoompboom].

If you were a Super Hero, what would be your SuperPower?
Coprokinesis. [exclamation point...]

Plasma Rifle, Minigun, Combat Shotgun, Flamethrower or Gauss Rifle?
Wow. People, have we learned nothing of the perils of inexclusive "or"?!?

Whats the deal with airplane peanuts? They replace some of the salt and protein you just lost in the matter-transference beam.

You're in a street. The sun shines overhead. You see a fastfood restaurant to the west, a pizza joint to the north and a salad bar to the south. To the east you see endless wasteland. You have five dollars. You are starving.

See alsoEdit

SourceEdit

Meet the Fallout 3 devs - Jay Woodward @ No Mutants Allowed

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