Take the Todd Tour

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Game Informer continues their month long coverage on Skyrim with a video tour led by Todd Howard. See where the developers work, eat, play… and even battle. Keen observers will  notice Skyrim concept art and much more. And if you’re really paying attention, you’ll even get a glimpse at where Nick and I record the Bethesda Podcast — woohoo!!

Start your tour by heading to Game Informer. But remember, there’s no basement in the Alamo.

Decrypting The Elder Scrolls at Game Informer

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Happy Boxing Day!

A day after Christmas, GameInformer.com has a special treat for Elder Scrolls’ fans — a feature looking back at the series so far. From its lore to advancements in its tech, the article features commentary from Todd Howard and other team members at Bethesda Game Studios. Below is an excerpt from the feature in which Todd discusses the game engine for Morrowind.

“Morrowind was a major rewrite of the whole system, using world building techniques we had used in Redguard, but on a massive scale. The whole engine was redone again. Everything was built by hand, and now with the advances in 3D, we could build everything from forks to pillows to giant castles. This game also marked our first foray into the console world with Xbox, whereas before we were just a PC developer.”

– Todd Howard

Read the rest here. And don’t miss Game Informer’s exclusive cover story on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim — hitting shelves in January!

Welcome to the Family

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With the news of Shinji Mikami and Tango Gameworks joining our company, Todd sent over this image of the two hanging out at our office. Hypothetically, if Todd and Shinji’s teams worked together on a project (they’re not BTW), what type of game would they make?  The burning question for me is whether or not inventory would be weighted or using a grid system (a la Resident Evil 4).

Share your ideas in the comments section.

Join the Team!

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Today we’re pleased to announce a new website dedicated to finding jobs within the ZeniMax family. Visit jobs.bethsoft.com to find openings at ZeniMax (Rockville, MD), ZeniMax Online Studios (Hunt Valley, MD), id Software (Dallas, TX), Bethesda Game Studios (Rockville, MD), and newly-aquired Arkane Studios (with offices in both Lyon, France and Austin, TX). For each studio, we’ve got information on the latest job openings — including details on the responsibilities and requirements for each position.

For more details on applying, head here.

IGN Top 25 Lists Honor Fallout 3 and Oblivion

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With the Xbox 360 nearly five years old, the editorial staff at IGN put together a new list of the Top 25 Xbox 360 Games. Bethesda Game Studios’ Oblivion and Fallout 3 both made the list — ranking #10 and #2, respectively.

Thanks to all of you for playing the games, and congrats to the devs that worked on these titles.

QuakeCon: Panel Coverage at Gamespot

Didn’t have a chance to see the panels and presentations at QuakeCon 2010? No worries — the fine folks at Gamespot have recaps (and some video) for you to catch up on.

One of my personal highlights of the show was attending Rocket Talk — featuring legends Richard “Lord British” Garriott and John Carmack talking about their passion for space exploration. For a summary of the talk, head here. Be sure to watch Garriott’s presentation on his journey to the International Space Station (embedded above) — it’s really amazing stuff.

Gamespot also has a sample of John Carmack’s presentation on Armadillo Aerospace. Check the highlights below….

Hit the jump for links to Gamespot’s coverage of QuakeCon’s panels…

Continue reading full article ›

Todd Howard gives an Irrational Interview

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Irrational Games’ new interview series “Irrational Interviews” launched this morning, and seeing as Irrational’s Ken Levine and Bethesda’s Todd Howard have known each other for years, it’s fitting that the pilot episode features the two chatting for a good 45 minutes.

Levine and Howard were joined by podcast host/associate producer Shawn Elliott, the trio touching on in-depth topics that ranged from in-game flashback sequences to slot machine design. Give the episode a listen over on the Irrational Games site.

About Game Development: Broken Windows

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About Game Development are short essays exploring the world of game development at Bethesda Game Studios. Today’s post is about broken windows.

Our games here at Bethesda Game Studios are complex, sprawling epics with layers of systems, reams of data, stunning art and audio and hours upon hours of fun made by our talented creators of all stripes. Underlying all of that is thousands upon thousands of lines of source code to make it all go, from editing gameplay data to exporting and placing art to actually running the game itself on one of several platforms.

Continue reading full article ›

About Game Development: On Family

We spend so much time at work, a development team becomes like a family. We fight. We annoy. We eat. We have kids (well, the married couples working on the team do).
We hire slowly here at Bethesda Game Studios. It’s no surprise that we strive find people who fit our culture and team. People who aren’t a good fit can often bring everyone else down; they become a massive negative buff. Flip side to this, losing folks hurts. It takes time to make up the lost knowledge and talent that people take with them, and when someone leaves, it usually means we’re losing a friend, too. That makes us sad pandas.
Institutional knowledge or corporate memory — depending on what business self help book you are reading — is how a team learns to make games, learns to work together, and most importantly, learns to get better at makes games. Malcolm Gladwell writes in his great book, The Tipping Point, the following:
…the benefit of unity, of having everyone in a complex enterprise share a common relationship…in a family this process of memory sharing is even more pronounced. Most of us remember, at one time, only a fraction of the day to day details and histories of our family life. But we know, implicitly, where to go to find the answers to our questions – whether it is up to our spouse to remember where we put our keys or our thirteen year old to find out how to work the computer, or our mother to find out details of our childhood…when new information arises, we know who should have responsibility for storing it. This is how, in a family, expertise emerges… mental energy is limited, we concentrate on what we do best.
A team that has worked together for many years and shipped multiple projects benefits from “transitive memory: it’s knowing someone well enough to know what they know, and knowing them well enough so that you can trust them to know things in their specialty…recreating, on an organization wide level, of the kind of intimacy and trust that exists in a family.”

This is the kind of culture every game developer hopes for. Making a truly successful game is hard enough, and there are so many factors outside your control that decide the success of your game. There is no replacement for having a team you trust to get you there.

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About Game Development are short essays exploring the world of game development at Bethesda Game Studios. Today’s post is about how a team is like a family.

We spend so much time at work, a development team becomes like a family. We fight. We annoy. We eat. We have kids (well, the married couples working on the team do).

Continue reading full article ›

Round 2…VOTE!

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The second round of The Escapist’s 2010 March Mayhem: Developer’s Showdown has commenced. After beating out Twisted Pixel, Bethesda now faces PopCap, makers of some of the office’s favorite casual titles like Zuma, Bejeweled, Peggle, and Plants vs. Zombies.

Elsewhere in the tournament, Obsidian Entertainment — the guys working on Fallout: New Vegas — are currently battling it out with Capcom. In the event they can pull it out, they’d face Bethesda in the Sweet 16.

Head to The Escapist forums to check out all the matchups and vote for your favorite developers.