Since joining Obsidian in November 09, I’ve worked on Fallout: New Vegas as an Area Designer.
Area Design involves all sorts of responsibilities, but you can boil it all down to the act of creating a game space, giving it form (geometry, ambiance, lighting, etc), adding its interactive elements (NPCs/Creatures, loot, doors, traps, furniture, etc.), designing its expected gameplay (quests, combat, stealth, dialogue, etc), and then implementing it all in a way that emphasizes consistency, and coherency – areas must belong within the entire game world.
Each of those aspects contains many elements, which are also made from smaller ones. For example, creating NPCs involves giving them their AI characteristics, their equipment, their appearance, and their behaviors — to name a few.
Other responsibilities I’ve tackled had to do with game-wide feature implementation. I was really fortunate in implementing much of the Mojave Wasteland’s NPC/ Creature population, behaviors, balance, and scripted encounters. This took place, mostly, in the game space between what we can call Primary Game Locations – which also have lots of encounters, and NPCs, created by the Area Designers responsible for them.Whenever possible, I’d help with the scripting of AI behaviors, in-game scripted-scenes, performance-optimization, ambiance lighting, and any other task onto which I could get my hands. A project like New Vegas allowed individual expression to flourish, provided it had what it takes to achieve great results — one’s tasks suited one’s skills.”