I’ve been enjoying the Everquest Next Roundtables.
They reminded me of a series of roundtables, which included five or more game developers discussing certain topics. Each person would give their thoughts and I always found them fascinating. Looking for them again recently, I can’t find all of them, no matter how cannily I search. I know some included developers I really admire and I liked getting a glimpse of their thought processes.
They were conducted by the ever awesome Richard “Jonric” Aihoshi. Look him up some time and see what excellent, well prepared, knowledgeable questions he asked about games and their systems. Brilliant.
You can find some of the old IGN Roundtables by searching:
Online World Roundtables
Jonric RPG Roundtable
Here is the intro for one:
RPG Roundtable #2, Part 2
The chance to discuss character development with their peers draws another handful of developers to join our panel.
There can be no doubt whatsoever that the CRPG genre occupies a place of significant importance in the history of the game development industry. Whenever any publication produces an all-time best list, it’s readily apparent that during the past two and a half decades or so, the category has spawned a substantial number of excellent individual titles as well as a disproportionate share of exceptional and long-running series. It has also nurtured the creativity and talent of countless game makers, including a goodly number whose names are frequently seen associated with laudatory appellations such as legend and visionary. And if that weren’t enough, it’s abundantly clear that the impact of the CRPGs has reached into other genres. Indeed, the continuing profusion of titles touting the incorporation of RPG elements suggests that the degree of such influence is still growing.
Some time ago, we started up a terrific series of features that we call Online World Roundtables. The format we came up with brings together a panel of developers, who are then asked to provide their thoughts on a particular subject that affects or at least interests them. There are two stages, the first for initial statements, then one for open discussion. The composition of the participating group changes from one session to the next, as does the specific topic, making for a rich, diverse array of expert opinions. It was evident from the beginning that this type of feature was equally suited to addressing the wide, diverse assortment of issues and questions related to standalone CRPGs. As a result, we initiated a parallel series of RPG Roundtables. In this one, we’re looking at character development, continuing with these five statements.
Topic: Character Development Character development often seems to be regarded as not only a defining characteristic of the CRPG genre, but also the most important feature that differentiates it from other categories. We invited our panel to comment on this subject in general, including but not limited to the importance of advancement systems; whether a game can be called an RPG with a limited character development system or even none at all (e.g. Richard Garriott has called Thief an RPG), the benefits and drawbacks of detailed systems, the pros and cons of discrete choices, what differentiates an excellent system; high vs. low granularity, visible vs. hidden stats, skill-based vs. level-based systems; designing or choosing a system; benefits and drawbacks of an existing system vs. creating your own; and personal preferences.
Josh Sawyer, Black Isle Studios
Mike Gallo LucasArts
Swen Vincke Larian Studios
Steve Wartofsky Gas Powered Games
Alexander Mishulin Nival Interactive