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Meet the Fallout 3 devs - Megan Sawyer

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Megan Sawyer

Megan "ghostgirl" Sawyer

What's your job at Bethesda?
Hi, I'm Megan. I'm an associate artist, working on Environment stuff.

What prior projects have you worked on?
I started out in QA working on Call of Cthulhu and Morrowind: GOTY. I then moved up to environment art, working on Oblivion & Shivering Isles. Before that I was a freelance artist in NYC.

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. For me personally? The abandoned Steel mills of pittsburgh, the ruined buildings I've found while hiking over Maryland, the Silent Hill games, my time in NYC in late 2001, David Halbersham's research on the 1950's, Six String Samurai, Jericho, The Hills Have Eyes (both versions) & other horror films, steampunk, opacity.us, Tank Girl, various industrial bands, and probably a bajillion other things.

How is the work-environment? Is it competitive or co-op? Do the different teams talk together?
Work is awesome. Definitely co-op, and everyone is really cool.

What is your favorite type of game to play (RTS,FPS,RPG etc)
RPGs followed by random quirky games that don't quite fit into genres. Elebits, Guitar Hero, etc.

How long have you been playing Fallout, and how would you describe your feelings towards the franchise?
I'm amused that regardless of who develops Fallout, a Sawyer is still working on it. Not that I'm related to J.E. Sawyer (that I know of). Still, it amuses me.

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?
Yep, I love exploring. We go all over the parks in Maryland & Virginia, and I've spent a fair amount of time crawling around spooky places in pittsburgh and NYC.

What's the last game you bought? Did you like it?
I'm sorry I didn't catch that, I was leveling up my Pikachu. I'm trying to make more time for Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Guitar Hero, but Pokemon Diamond brought that endeavor to a standstill.

What games are you looking forward to on the horizon?
Animal Crossing for the Wii. Any Soul Calibur or Silent Hill game.

Other than videogames, what are your interests?
(Board games, reading, music, etc) What are these "interests" you speak of? I suspect they're for people with free time. When I do get a second, I'm really into goth & industrial music. I spend a lot of my time going to shows and stuff (just saw Lisa Gerrard). My favorite bands are old stuff like Sisters of Mercy, Switchblade Symphony, Depeche Mode and the like. I read X-Men comics, and need to pick up the new Buffy comic (I love Joss Whedon). I also watch an extraordinary amount of television, and am currently quite addicted to Heroes. In summary: I am boring, and asia is a land of many contrasts.

Have you listened to/liked Einsturzende Neubauten? Their early stuff is truly industrial?
Yep, they're pretty cool. I've never been really hardcore into their stuff, but I have a few tracks of theirs on mix CD's that I really like. I'm not so much into the Throbbing Gristle era of music; I'm definitely more familiar with stuff like Ministry and KMFDM.

Have you played the VanBuren Alpha? If so, what were your feelings on it?
Nope, not yet. I'm currently enjoying the wealth of Fallout videos on YouTube. I thought I recognized your nickname, you posted once in a while on the Call of Cthulhu boards, am I right? Shame the game didnt do well...
Hey, good memory! I liked the way it turned out, though my kingdom for a brightness slider on some parts of it.

What do you have on your desk? Do you have any figurines or maskots? Books?
Let's see, I have a small iron edged mirror, a spiderweb lamp, with a Hidamari No Tami sitting underneath it, and a black & purple spiderweb curtain at the entrance of my cube. My desk is mostly populated with Bleeding Edge Goth figurines (I've got series 1-3 basically), odd stuffed animals, and various sketchbooks, notebooks and papers. I also have an obscene amount of calendars, and pictures from Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride. Oh, I also have a Mario tissue box cover that my mom made me, and a postcard advertisement for the Nine Inch Nails/Bauhaus show I went to last year.

Also, copious amounts of Advil.

Tell me what wallpaper do you have?
My wallpaper is a screenshot from Space Quest ]|[ where Roger Wilco is collecting trash.

What kind of education do you devs have and has it in anyway helped you as a game developer?
I went to Carnegie Mellon up in pittsburgh. I got my degree in Electronic Time Based Art (fancy way of saying video performance art & 3D animation) with two minor equivalents - playwriting and art history. Equivalents, since with my program they weren't technically offered as minors. Strange system, academics.

Pretty much every single class I took in college has come in handy in game development, with the possible exception of large metal sculpture. Welding doesn't really come in to play much around here. ;D I was lucky enough to have a really awesome virtual reality program at CMU (actually, Fizzbang was in those classes with me! heh) that taught me a lot about human-computer interaction and gameplay. Plus, I was constantly surrounded by awesome people who would play Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi and Jet Grind Radio with me. All in all, CMU was a spectacular school, and gave me an amazing foundation for what I do now.

Fizzbang: "The education from college was a good eye-opener, but all it really served to do was to show me how much more there was to learn on my own. That took dedication and hard work - which didn't come from going to college, but it did help me get through it. Ultimately, the biggest benefit I got from my time at college was the people I met - friends who provided me with experiences, inspirations, and perspectives that have helped me in every step of my life." Agreed. The friends I made during college were as important as the education I received. I spent a fair time after college (2 years or so) teaching myself new stuff like other 3D software programs and new techniques, which I wouldn't have been able to do without my friends and the foundation I got from my college classes.

I would like to know where you each grew up. Are any of you from a rural area and if so how you like city life that you now are part of. Have any of you been to my great state of Alaska and if not would you like to visit. Any veterans? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I grew up in a pretty rural area in Maryland. The people down the street had buffalo! Since then I've lived in pittsburgh and NYC and realized I love being able to walk everywhere and wander around as I please with public transportation. I wouldn't say living near Rockville is city life per se, more like suburb life. I've never been to Alaska, but I'd love to go one day.

And last but not least, do you drink coffee and what kind?
Also, I don't drink coffee. I do love Starbucks chai tea, though. I'm quite addicted to chai tea.

What do you think is the most important thing for a man of your profession, game developers - education, natural talent, desire? Or something else?
Man? Pssh, I see how it is.

Well, if I were a guy, I'd go with all of the above. It takes a combination of the three to be successful.

I noticed that you spent some time in Pittsburgh... so I'm guessing it's safe to assume that you went to AiP?
Nope, Carnegie Mellon. We have an unusually high number of folk who came from the various Pittsburgh schools. We've got numerous people from Carnegie Mellon, AIP, Duquesne, and I think Pitt and/or Point Park.

Should we call you ghostgirl or Megan?
Either name suits me. Just so long as no one calls me anything else.

Are there any more of you gals in the FO3 team?
Bethsoft has a lot of women devs, producers and administrators - more than a lot of other game companies, it seems.

What is your favorite flower, flower? Gotta go with Snapdragons. Snapdragons are awesome.

Since it is through this thread that I discovered the Gem of a show: Jericho, how do you guys feel about its cancellation?
Argh, so mad. I loved that show and really wanted to see how it turned out, especially the plot line with Hawkins. I agree with Scypior, it's not fallouty, but it was a cool post-apocalyptic type show, and tv definitely needs more good sci fi dramas. The reasoning was silly as well - they said it's mature sci-fi themes didn't go over well. Which is odd considering they then announced a show about a vampire who runs a detective agency. O_o

I'm cautiously (very, very cautiously) anticipating the Terminator show on Fox in January, The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I rolled my eyes instantly at hearing it, but looking at the folks behind it and in it (Summer Glau, awww yeah) it might be good.

I watch too much TV.

What song best sums up your attitude toward life?
Everyday is Halloween by Ministry. ahhahaa.

The first runner up for this spot was the Fallout Boy song, Champagne for my Real Friends, Real Pain for my Sham Friends.

What was your favorite moment of any game?
The first time I fought a zombie thing in Silent Hill 2 and it dropped to the ground and started slithering around. I think I actually started screaming. heh. I really loved the use of the radio static in that game, too. So creepy and awesome.

What is the most exotic firearm that you've held/fired?
Star Trek:TNG era phaser.

If Herve Caen and his army of rats suddenly snatched back the Fallout license and you "only" had these three alternatives for a back-up plan:

1. Deus Ex 3 2. Jagged Alliance 3 3. Lionheart 2

Which one would you choose (chasing down Herve with an army of cats is not an option)?
Of course an army of cats wouldn't be an option. You would need dogs with bees in their mouths, so when they bark, they shoot bees at you.

What is your favorite giant robot ?
Hrm, don't have a favorite *giant* robot. My favorite robot is probably Mr. Lynn Butlertron. Wesssley.

What is your favorite horrible monster?
I'll go with Oogie Boogie, because he's made of bugs, and because I can't think of a good answer.

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?
That's difficult to tell right now since we're not finished. (wait, do contractions count for the ten word limit?)

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, no, and another no for good measure:D

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? In a blind taste test, New Bouncy Bubble was preferred over Classic Bouncy Bubble two to one!

If you were a Super Hero, what would be your SuperPower?
If? Plasma Rifle, Minigun, Combat Shotgun, Flamethrower or Gauss Rifle? I prefer the classic "board with a nail in it" approach, but I'll go with flamethrower.

What did you read most when growing up? X-Men comics, random magazines like Juxtapoz (I am a fan of the low, low brow) and a small mag called Axcess that introduced me to a lot of the stuff I'm into now - bands like Medicine & KMFDM, artists like Roman Dirge (who was a writer for that magazine) and other not so well known artists.

Best setting: Age of Apocalypse, or Dark Knight Returns?
Aw man, that's not fair, they're both so amazingly awesome. I'm gonna flip a coin and say....Age of Apocalypse. No wait. Dark Knight. . Ok, the Poison Ivy figure on my desk dictates I have to go with Dark Knight Returns.

How would you try to beat Batman?
Anti-depressants and therapy. Though, I would never want to beat batman; he's the quintessential romantic hero. I'd rather have an "almost got 'im" story.

Techno: What kind?
The closest I get to techno is Lords of Acid, Praga Khan, and stuff like VNV Nation, (older) Apoptygma Beserk, & Covenant.

Do you visit raves ( that is the term in the US, is it not?) or do you just like to listen to it and dance maniacaly in private?
DDR FTW. I do dance at clubs though, whenever I go.

What is the situation with electronic of that type music in the States?
I live in a cave, so I'm gonna say it's going wonderfully!

Is anyone else in the Dev team electronic maniac?
Possibly. refer to cave mentioned in #3.

Which DJ`s do you like and have you listened to anyone from Europe or just US?
The only DJ I've ever seen was DJ Hellraver, and that's because he just seems to show up wherever I am. It's strange.

Is there anything in the development process that you guys have been disappointed with so far?
Needs more cowbell.

There have been a lot of advancements in game technologies and production values since Fallout 2, given these changes, where would you like to spend your next vacation?
Outside of the vault!

A large source of Oblivion's huge success and the increasing popularity of the IP was it's release on consoles; consequently, which type of pizza crust do you prefer?
Thin NYC deli style pizza crust.

One of the common criticisms of Fallout 1&2 was that NPCs were not often as helpful as players might like and they did not grow and change to the degree that NPCs did in Baldur's Gate or Arcanum; so, if you were able to add in a real-life celebrity (a clone or a head in a jar, etc.) to Fallout 3, who would you choose and would they be more or less effective than Fallout 2 NPCs?
Anyone eh? Kiefer Sutherland. I suspect he would be equally effective, what with screaming THERE'S NO TIME!!!! every two seconds while pointing guns at everyone.

If the combat system in Fallout 3 was a hamburger, what toppings would it have?
Ooh, pickles. And lots, and lots, and lots of ketchup. So much ketchup. O_o

Nny or Squee?
Anne Gwish. biggrin.gif

Devs, will you play Fallout 3 after it is shipped?
Indeed. I'm also betting we'll have played a fair bit of it before it's shipped as well. wink.gif

Pie or cake?
Cake. Though I'm shocked no one has asked the age old question of waffles vs. pancakes.

none of the devs seem to have answered whether they're polyglots... I took high school french. The only useful phrase I remember is how to say "I speak french like a spanish cow" in case anyone presumes that I remember any of it.

See alsoEdit

SourceEdit

Meet the Fallout 3 devs - Megan Saywer @ No Mutants Allowed

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