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Here is a selection of news over the week.
Chris Avellone was interviewed by Vince D Weller.
CA: Obsidian has a rule in quest design that any non-violent path has to have a reward that's comparable to killing and looting everyone in the scenario, and has similar repercussions. Whether this is XP bonus greater than killing the opponent, alignment shifts, barter rewards, or whatever, speech-defeating someone can't yield you less in the long run than it would if you killed everyone. Often, it can yield more if you're patient... or if you decide to shoot the person in the face after you verbally crushed them. In some ways, it could be considered a speech bribe. I'll be honest, KOTOR2 was a huge speech bribe as well - once people figured out that's how you could make Jedi or Sith from characters by interacting with them, suddenly there's a lot more incentive in getting to know your allies and playing the influence game. I will say this doesn't always work (I've seen YouTube footage where people simply rapidfire through the FNV DLC1 Dead Money conversations just looking to mine the XP awards, which makes me die a little inside - but hey, it's more than they would otherwise).In any event - using Speech or other dialogue skill is also a mechanic you need to showcase early in the game to play fair with the player so that they know what kind of world they've stepped into. I've always felt Mass Effect 1 did an excellent job on the first level with showcasing how every skill is valuable in the context of that mission and what sort of results you can expect to get from using it... and Goodsprings in Fallout New Vegas was also a good example of it as well, especially with dialogue-based skills (it was a design mandate that every skill be highlighted in Goodsprings, including low-level weapon tier selection from guns, melee, explosives, etc.). The player needed to see in the first area how their skills could shine and how they could be used to solve quests before they "settled" into their character.
SE: I’m a worldbuilder on both Fallout New Vegas and the DLC’s we are currently developing. My official title is Technical Designer which is kind of a generic title since I’ve done many different jobs over the years. I’ve spent the past 5 years or so focusing on worldbuilding and prop making. I did maps & props for Neverwinter Nights II and the two expansions. Before that I designed the interface screens for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II on PC & Xbox.