The Bethesda Game Studios Interviews: Brett Douville

Today, we talk with Brett Douville, who leads our systems group in the programming department.

What’s your job at Bethesda?

I’m the lead programmer of the systems group, which writes and maintains a lot of code that underlies the games we make. Some of the subsystems for which we’re responsible are resource loading and management, audio, animation, physics, scripting, and pathing, although there are tons of bits that fall under our purview. We’re also responsible for a fair amount of team infrastructure work, such as our exporters, platform-specific resource converters, nightly and continuous build systems, automated crash reporting, and no doubt other things that don’t leap immediately to mind. We cover a lot of ground, and it’s hard to remember it all.

If the team as a whole is a body, I guess we’re like the circulatory system. We keep everything moving around, hopefully bringing oxygen and caffeine everywhere we go, and we’re almost certainly the first to know if there’s blood and guts everywhere.

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Shout out your Skyrim questions

Like fire in a dragon’s belly, we realize many of you have burning questions you want to ask about Skyrim. Now’s your chance, as today we’re kicking off our first fan interview for the game.

If there’s something you’re dying to know about the game, give us a shout on the forums, at The Elder Council, or here on the blog. Game Director Todd Howard and other members of Bethesda Game Studios will be answering your questions in a few weeks.

The Bethesda Game Studios Interviews: Jeff Lundin

With a new project coming out this year, we’d like to kick off another round of Q&A’s with Bethesda Game Studios developers. Today, meet Jeff Lundin, one of our systems programmers.

What is your job at BGS?

I am responsible for creating and maintaining Skyrim’s brand new scripting language. This usually involves not only creating new language features and functions, but also writing up a metric ton of wiki documentation, various external tools (which includes a full-blown compiler), editor additions, and on-the-spot support for other coders, designers and artists working with the new system.

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The Bethesda Game Studios Interviews: Rick Vicens

Did you like the official Skyrim Trailer? Give today’s interview subject, Rick Vicens, a holla if you did.

What is your job at BGS?

I’m a character animator. Specifically, my focus has been on creature animation for Skyrim.

How did you break into the industry?

This is a two part answer for me. I broke into the animation industry with an internship at Nickelodeon while attending the School of Visual Arts. That internship then led me to working in Film and TV. After a few years of working as an animator in that industry, my friend Dennis Mejillones (character artist here at Bethesda), convinced me to make the jump to games. I put together a demo reel and just applied. Best decision I have made in my career so far.

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Happy 5th Anniversary, Oblivion!

While many of you (and us) are looking ahead to Skyrim’s release (t-minus 236 days), today marks an opportunity to look back at its predecessor, Oblivion, which released five years ago today.

Have a favorite Oblivion memory? Whether it’s from pre-launch, launch day, or the countless hours you played and modded the game, share them with us in the comments section.

Another round of March Mayhem

It’s time to bust out the brackets again. No, not the hoops ones (Go Blue!) — we’re talking about The Escapists’ March Mayhem Developer Showdown. The annual affair pits popular game developers against each other — with registered members voting on which developer advances to the next round.

In addition to getting into the spirit of March Madness, they’re giving you a number of ways to win an awesome gaming laptop from Alienware. Find out the details by reading the contest rules.

In our first round matchup, BGS is paired up against Eve Online creators,CCP Games. To vote for us, register at The Escapist and head here.

Bethesda developers to lecture at USC

Education is paramount. So are video games. In recognition of these two great things, we’ve today announced that Bethesda developers will soon be lending their wisdom to the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.

Developers from studios like Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, and Arkane Studios are set to lecture students in the school’s Interactive Media Division, giving them a taste of what it’s like to work full-time in the gaming field. These sessions will include both guest lectures and smaller seminars.

Said ZeniMax CEO Robert Altman: “As the video game industry experiences continuing worldwide growth, there is an increasing need to support the education of the brightest minds who are interested in a career in our industry. We are pleased to be a part of that effort.”

Hit the jump for the full story.

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Exploring the new Elder Scrolls website

In case you’ve been staring at the trailer for the last 24 hours (we’ve been doing that too), wanted to remind you to explore our new Elder Scrolls website. Front and center on the site is Skyrim, for which you can find the latest media, news coverage, wallpapers, and more.

The site also has plenty of cool stuff from previous games in the series. You can watch game introductions and trailers, read archived team diaries for Morrowind and Oblivion, and yes, you can once again download Arena and Daggerfall for FREE.

In the community section, be sure to check out the first team diary for Skyrim, Welcome Back Elder Scrolls, written by Todd Howard. Todd discusses the excitement of returning to Tamriel after creating Fallout 3, and how both the series and team have evolved. Here’s an excerpt…

“To do that this time, we knew, like before, we had to start over. We needed to reinvent large parts of the game and its technology. We started with the graphics renderer, and how we would bring the scale of snow covered mountains, dynamic weather systems, and massive dragons to life along with the small details of how people lived; from the forks they used, to the fish they caught, and the meat they cooked. We then rewrote all the major graphics and gameplay systems including lighting, shadows, level of detail, animation, interface, scripting, dialogue, quest systems, melee, magic, and more. All of those changes made it into our internal editor as well. So much had changed that we decided to call the engine and editor by a new name, the Creation Engine and the Creation Kit. We can’t wait to see what all the brilliant mod makers do with these tools.”

Read the rest here. The diary is accomodated by our newest team photo, which I had the privilege to snap last week. If you’re wondering why they’re smiling, there’s plenty of good reasons: 1) It was Friday, 2) our happy hour was about to begin, and 3) Like you, they’re fans of the series and can’t wait for you guys to have a chance to play it.

Between now and 11.11.11, stay tuned for new updates on the site.

That belongs in a museum!

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This… this IS history!

And by this, I’m referring to The Art of Video Games — a new exhibit coming to the American Art Museum in 2012. To prepare for it, Smithsonian is letting you vote for the games that will be on display.

It might take a second to load, but Fallout 3 can be found in Era 5′s Modern Windows category, while Oblivion is categorized under Xbox 360. Meanwhile, id’s DOOM II is listed in Era 4 under DOS/Windows.

Voting runs between now and April 7th. To get started, register here.