OXM Top 100

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In the September issue of OXM, the magazine’s editors revealed The Top 100 Xbox Games of All-Time (that’s both Xbox and Xbox 360 titles). Three titles from Bethesda Games Studios made the list — Fallout at #7, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion at #17, and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind at #89.

To check out the whole list, look for the September issue on newsstands now.

QuakeCon Details revealed

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Today a press release went out announcing the scheduled events for QuakeCon 2009 — set to begin on Thursday, August 13th (that’s next week!).

Those able to get to the Gaylord Texan Hotel on Thursday will have a chance to see id Software’s John Carmack deliver QuakeCon’s keynote address. Meanwhile, Bethesda Game Studios’ fans will be excited to know that on Friday, Todd Howard will talk about our process for making games like Oblivion and Fallout 3. Following the presentation, there will even be a Q&A. Also on Friday, Splash Damage’s CEO and game director, Paul Wedgwood, will deliver the first public demo of Brink. Meanwhile, folks will be able to see id Software’s Rage in action for the first time on Saturday.

For more on all the events taking place, hit the jump below…

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Inside the Vault: Nathan Purkeypile

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Today’s Inside the Vault explores the exploding mind (see what we did there?) of Artist Nathan Purkeypile. This pic is from Purkey’s desk, where he’s got a huge poster of a bomb test.

What’s your job at Bethesda?
I am a world artist. On Fallout 3, I was tasked with doing passes on most of the major locations in the game to make sure that they were all as polished as possible. I also created some of the cities, such as Little Lamplight and Tenpenny Tower. Besides that, I also created some of the kits for dungeons, such as the cave kit and the neoclassical kit. I also lit about half of the interior cells in the game. After we shipped Fallout 3, I was heavily involved in a lot of the DLC, especially Point Lookout. I was the Lead Artist and Co-Designer on that project, it was a ton of fun to work on and you can blame all of the crazy ideas on Joel Burgess and me.

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Inside the Vault: Jon Paul Duvall

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This week we chat with Designer Jon Paul Duvall.

What’s your job at Bethesda?
I’m privileged to be on the design team.  I create characters and quests, write dialog, script objects, enter data on a bagillion forms (NPCs, creatures, items, etc.), help balance game systems, run around poking programmers and artists in the eyes, etc. No day is the same. And I love it.

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Inside the Vault: Fred Zeleny

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Today’s Inside the Vault = Fred Zeleny, designer.

What’s your job at Bethesda?
I’m a Quest Designer, which means I spend most of my time writing quests, dialogue for characters, and occasionally get to have a hand in systems and mechanics designs. “Designer” is a very vague term, and every company defines it differently. The only part of the job description that every company seems to agree on is that designers have two vital tasks:

  1. Making sure the player has an enjoyable experience while playing the game.
  2. Disagreeing with other designers about how to do #1.

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Inside the Vault: Matt Killmon

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After a long hiatus, we’re back. We’re here to talk with Matt Killmon, video producer. His most recent work, the trailer for The Pitt, can be found here.

What’s your job at Bethesda?
I’m the video producer at ZeniMax Media, which means I do all the video work for Bethesda’s internal and external projects, as well as other games published by ZeniMax’s mobile gaming division, Vir2L. Trailers, promo footage, b-roll for news organizations, even in-game video… anything that’s video is my responsibility.

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Zenimax Online Studios Hiring Annoucement

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Today our sister studio in Hunt Valley, Zenimax Online Studios, put out a press release announcing that they’ve begun their second wave of hiring. Among recent hires, they’ve brought on Steve Escalante as their new Marketing Director and Rich Barham as Customer Service Director. We welcome both to the Zenimax family and wish them the best of luck.

To read the full release, head here. Meanwhile, you can check out the open positions at Zenimax Online (for that matter, check out the openings here at Bethesda).

About Game Development: On Creativity

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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 creativity.

Here’s a useless party trick: what’s the fastest way to clear a room of single women? Say you make video games for a living. Because at every party, there is that guy. The one with the killer idea, the sure thing. He’s done all the work already, he’s practically giving it away. Once that guy latches onto you, forget about talking to anybody else.

If only making a game could be reduced to a singular, perfect idea — a romanticized act, full of mystery, that one performs alone like Michelangelo, dimly lit by candlelight, on his back painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

It’s a lie, of course. The painting of the Sistine Chapel was the work of an army of assistants, carpenters building scaffolding, laborers mining limestone, Craft food services, one Pope, and lots of other people who I couldn’t even begin to imagine.

With projects as complex as our games, creativity involves a large number of people working together. A game like Oblivion or Fallout 3 consists of literally tens of thousands of ideas. Everyone here at the studio contributes to this vast matrix of features, code, sound, art and words. It is both beautiful and frightening. I don’t think we would be doing our projects justice if we weren’t, at least, a little terrified.

We are at our most creative — that is, we create our best work — when we are working together. Some of the best parts of our games can be traced to groups of individuals iterating — a programmer and an artist pushing to improve our particle system to get the right visual effect; a designer, level designer and world artist creating a city full of buildings, dungeons, characters and quests; a hit squad of programmers, level designers, artists and animators cranking away until a giant anti-communist propaganda spouting robot is able to walk and blow **** up.

-Ashley Cheng, Production Director

Fallout 3 Game Guide: Training Chapter Overview

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Over at the Prima Games Author Blog, David Hodgson, author of the Fallout 3 Game Guide, has a new blog post about the guide’s 40-page training chapter. Find out more below…

Fallout, then Fall Over: Guide Creation Blog

Part 03: Training Chapter Overview

Delving a little deeper into the guide, and moving chronologically through the pages, we begin with the Training chapter. Over 40 pages are dedicated to preparation for surviving and thriving in the Capital Wasteland, and there’s an incredible amount of useful detail for both character generation, and general overall tactics. It all begins with the Primary Statistics; the seven S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attributes that form the basis of your avatar. As these statistics influence other skills, we reveal exactly how everything is inter-related, and the precise modifications a higher or lower statistic brings into play. Want to know what skills your Charisma influences, and by what amount? Then consult this section. Next up is a section on Derived Statistics; a set of values automatically determined when you choose your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. values. These include how much weight you can carry, your chance to inflict a critical hit, how your health is influenced, your resistance to damage, Action Points in V.A.T.S. combat, and more. Say you want the most Action Points for your takedowns; you’ll find out the statistic you need to raise, by how much, and what modifiers and Perks you can use and choose to help augment this statistic.

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