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Thread: "Inside the Vault" Daryl Brigner: Level Designer

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    "Inside the Vault" Daryl Brigner: Level Designer

    A new "Inside the Vault" article has been posted at Bethesda Blog this time interviewing Daryl Brigner the level designer for Fallout 3.
    What is the best part about working as a level designer? The worst part?

    Well, I never get tired of creating worlds for people to explore. So, I’d have to say the best part is the freedom to do what I want. When you’re designing your own world/dungeon, the only limitation is your imagination. And, that brings me to the worst part.

    Not having any idea what you are going to do with a certain dungeon/space, but still having to get it done. This can be very stressful. When I’m faced with this dilemma like this I go to my fellow Level Designers for ideas. We always come up with something, but it’s still aggravating to have your mind go blank when you are searching for ideas.
    Let's all hope he does a good job for the upcoming game.
    I wouldn't drink the water if I were you...

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    I should set a custom title First time out of the vault

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    Oh, come on. It may sound like it, but not all level designers are the monkeys trying to write Shakespeare.

    However it does concern me that this particular chap fails to realize he has half the work done for him. Because there is this great game to draw inspiration from...

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    I should set a custom title Mildly Dipped

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    I just hope the environments are more varied than those used in Oblivion.

    50+ gates... 3 variations.. Okay, time to just run by all the enemies, loot ONLY the containers in the gate stone room, and then grab the stone.

    The caves and other places were pretty repetitious in their designs as well.

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    I should set a custom title First time out of the vault

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinHeart
    I just hope the environments are more varied than those used in Oblivion.
    The 3rd or 4th gameplay video recently revealed, to my disappointment, that the Super Duper Mart was not so very Super Duper.

    And judging by the video demonstrations, it probably wasn't very super in it's hay-day either. Where the hell are the details? Aisle after empty aisle does not tell a visual story about this location. It just shouts "bland!" to me.

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    I should set a custom title A Smooth-Skin

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    It's like shooting fish in a barrel at this point.
    I'd rather make a smaller dedicated fan base ecstatic than worry too much about the larger audience. --Brian Fargo, one of the good guys.

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    I should set a custom title Still Mildly Glowing

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noneoftheabove
    However it does concern me that this particular chap fails to realize he has half the work done for him. Because there is this great game to draw inspiration from...
    Yeah, what's up with that? (Assuming he's not talking about designing levels in general rather than Fallout 3 in particular.) Just go play the original games and draw inspiration from those, why don't you?

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    Cool, it's the guy with the Portal maps. They're great.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukus
    Dude, we don't tolerate racist behaviour around here, show Hitler your respect.

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    I've been around First time out of the vault

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noneoftheabove
    And judging by the video demonstrations, it probably wasn't very super in it's hay-day either. Where the hell are the details? Aisle after empty aisle does not tell a visual story about this location. It just shouts "bland!" to me.
    What I was expecting was a much smaller supermarket. Something mom-and-pop style. The kind you see in 50's advertising. Instead it looked like an empty hangar where someone had set up a few shelves. This hangar looked a lot like the subway sections we've seen screenshots of. For me this does not bode well.

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    I should set a custom title Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

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    I liked that supermarket, what's wrong with it now?

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    I should set a custom title First time out of the vault

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    What's there to like? It seems to be a bunch of empty corridors and a room with a lone Robco. security robot. Gee whiz, great design! I really do hope there is more to this area than what was shown in the preview. (Channeling my cynical old fart.)

    Surprisingly, Mad Mantis and I shared a similar expectation of what the Mart might look like... Jeeze, that sentence looks weird!

    The preview shows a warehouse, and I'm fine with that. After 200 years I'm amazed it's still standing however. But let me avoid straying from the point of the matter. I would have liked to have seen more details within the aisles; E.g. Points of interest, like posters or boxes of junk nobody buys! So I imagine level design is more than just a map layout for player progression! I expect story building scenery too.

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    Yeah, the Super mart was not that hot, but the music was decent. The signs outside the vault were a nice little piece of atmosphere, reminded me of a reverse Bioshock.
    Read The Road.

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    Well I have been inside giant cavinous Super Markets before so thye got that part right. thats where you go if you are looking for a 23 gallon drum of Mayonase.

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    I should set a custom title Mildly Dipped

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noneoftheabove
    I would have liked to have seen more details within the aisles; E.g. Points of interest, like posters or boxes of junk nobody buys!
    People here would go over that like.. well it's easier to just quote what you might see someone say: "What the? Why are those boxes still there? The raiders or someone else would have found that stuff and done something with it years ago, or it would have rotted away. And the posters.. those definitely wouldn't still be there!!!"

    See the problem is they risk either making it too dull and boring looking or they risk being unrealistic. Although having raider junk laying about would solve their problems.

    ... Although, what exactly IS raider junk? Chairs fashioned out of a bloatfly carapace?

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    SuperDuper mart may seem somewhat repetitive, but have you ever been in a grocery store? That's pretty much what it is, and in an apocalypse that place would have been looted very quickly.

    And as much as I love Fallout 1 and 2, calling the environments anything but repetitive is ridiculous. The game uses tilesets, EVERYTHING looks the same. There's nothing wrong with it all looking the same, it's all a bunch of cities built from sheet metal, caves, wasteland, and whatnot, so you can't expect much variation, but expecting Fallout 3 to "Draw Inspiration from the Varied Environments of Fallout 1 and 2" is just silly.

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    I should set a custom title Mildly Dipped

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    I just don't want to go from one super duper mart to the next and realize.. HEY! It looks exactly the same! Everything is in the SAME PLACE!!!

    You know, like how the Oblivion gates in Oblivion were sometimes exactly the same. I realize the fortresses could be the same, but the areas outside... no, those would NOT be the same. That's just lazy game design.

    The worst problem being when you see the same broken bridge the 15th time with the same dead scamp hanging just barely on said bridge.. and you give him a helping push.. into the red oblivion waters.. for the 15th time. (purely optional, but it gives me some degree of satisfaction)

  16. #16
    I should set a custom title Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noneoftheabove
    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinHeart
    I just hope the environments are more varied than those used in Oblivion.
    The 3rd or 4th gameplay video recently revealed, to my disappointment, that the Super Duper Mart was not so very Super Duper.

    And judging by the video demonstrations, it probably wasn't very super in it's hay-day either. Where the hell are the details? Aisle after empty aisle does not tell a visual story about this location. It just shouts "bland!" to me.
    Well empty supermarkets are extremely bland and we didn't see much of the Super Duper Mart. Still there should be signs that used to hang from the ceiling on the ground and props that illustrate what the store was like in it's heyday. My main concern was that the shelves were too low, I've never been in a super market with shelves that are only six feet tall.

    What I found interesting was that he gave the impression that his job was more about making levels look good rather than play well...

    "Pessimism is, in brief, playing the sure game. You cannot lose at it; you may gain. It is the only view of life in which you can never be disappointed. Having reckoned what to do in the worst possible circumstances, when better arise, as they may, life becomes child's play."
    ~Thomas Hardy

    "Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows."
    ~David T. Wolf

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    What I found interesting was that he gave the impression that his job was more about making levels look good rather than play well...
    Did he really?

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    I should set a custom title Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bodybag
    What I found interesting was that he gave the impression that his job was more about making levels look good rather than play well...
    Did he really?
    He did.
    What other games have you worked on?
    My first game was Call of Duty 2: Big Red One on the PS2, and Xbox. I joined halfway through the project, when they were just starting the multiplayer, so I designed three of the multiplayer maps. It was a lot of fun, and some really long hours.

    My second game was Call of Duty 3. I was in charge of doing most of the design, and building, of one of the single-player levels — the one called “The Corridor of Death.” If the level was too hard for you, blame my scripter, not me But, if you thought it was ugly… yeah, that was my fault.

    "Pessimism is, in brief, playing the sure game. You cannot lose at it; you may gain. It is the only view of life in which you can never be disappointed. Having reckoned what to do in the worst possible circumstances, when better arise, as they may, life becomes child's play."
    ~Thomas Hardy

    "Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows."
    ~David T. Wolf

  19. #19
    I should set a custom title It Wandered In From the Wastes

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    Where's the cynical 'we don't know whether Daryl uses Fallout as inspiration and it looks like we never will' in the newspost?

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    Administrator Brother None's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lingwei
    Where's the cynical 'we don't know whether Daryl uses Fallout as inspiration and it looks like we never will' in the newspost?
    TVD is not a very regular newsposter, he must've missed the Tuck rule.

    That said, I probably wouldn't have posted this one at all. As explained before, I'm pretty fed up with these meaningless "meet the team" things and suspect most of NMA feels the same way.

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