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Codex Interview RPG Codex Interview: Chris Avellone on Pillars Cut Content, Game Development Hierarchies and More

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. Prime Junta Arcane

    Prime Junta
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    I didn't even say Scrum. I said scrum. I have a distaste for Capitalised Buzzwords, because when somebody breaks them out they're almost invariably oversimplifying a problem in order to sell you a solution that won't actually work. Anyway most of the good things about agile development have just become regular best practices; most software development houses do scrums and sprints in one form or another for example. Traditional documentation-driven waterfallish stuff is getting rare these days, and good riddance to that. I do feel very strongly -- from experience -- that informal communication is more important to a team's health and productivity than formal communication, and horizontal communication is more important than vertical communication. Overemphasising vertical lines of communication and "chain of command" will really quickly slip into a pattern where people sitting next to each other aren't talking to each other, but instead pass messages through their hierarchical superior, and that's a recipe for instant sclerosis. (But that's a tangent, although one I'd be happy to explore any time.)

    It's often easy to see in retrospect that things could have been prevented. A lot of the time they're not because people don't like conflicts and try to avoid them. Getting into a huge shouting match at the slightest provocation is obviously destructive (been there, done that, have the scars), but if that gets into a dynamic where the problems causing the shouting are never addressed, that's worse. Conflict-avoidance slides into resolution-avoidance. These are the kind of situations that really test a corporate culture's mettle -- and ultimately the CEO's. Clearly both failed badly. I do still think that as a founder you were in a position to do more to shape that culture. When you died a little in those incidents you're relating, did you actually do anything about it at the time? Like, comment on it immediately, or talk about it with Feargus later, or discuss it with everybody involved? Culture is shaped by little interventions like that, and when they come from someone in a position of authority, they carry a lot of weight. Perhaps even Feargus could have been nudged into becoming a better boss.

    Thing is, you strike me as a non-confrontational person. I get the impression that you ended up sidelined at Obsidian years before things blew up. Do you think this could have anything to do with conflict/resolution avoidance? If so, how much of that conflict avoidance was from your side, and how much from everyone else? I also know what it's like when you're trying to bring up a really unpleasant problem but everybody else just kind of fades away instead of dealing with it, and how forcing the issue involves spending some of your social capital as well as likely causing collateral damage; I've done all of that, both when it's justified and sometimes and to my great regret when it's not.

    Perhaps I'm projecting from my own experiences, but something about the social dynamics of this whole thing just feels really, really familiar: relatively mundane interpersonal conflicts, chemistry mismatches, and minor fuckups related to organisation and work escalating into something much worse because the people involved and their bosses just don't want to tackle the difficulties before they turn into real problems. The main difference appears to be that I'm lucky enough to have a CEO who tries his best to be fundamentally fair -- and corrects course when he fails.
     
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  2. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    It's like asking you to report the news, what's wrong with that?
     
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  3. skacky Prestigious Gentleman 3D Realms Developer

    skacky
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    Location:
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    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Artyoan Educated

    Artyoan
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    You strike me as being intensely optimistic, Chris. Perhaps too much so. You notice the dysfunction. You see the sources. You see the wreckage. You become agitated. And over time you become detached.

    And a detached mindset has a way of overestimating how great things might be if everyone was performing as one believes they ought to be.

    I'm not going to say that things wouldn't be better if your ideas of management/expectations had been followed. But its unlikely that its a paradise lost.
     
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  5. I ASK INANE QUESTIONS Augur Patron

    I ASK INANE QUESTIONS
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    If you like a corporation, it's a charming little worker's trust, filled to the brim with enthusiasts.
    If you don't like it, it a soulless profit-driven man-breaking megaconglomerate(of bourgeois bigots)

    :shredder:
     
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  6. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    I would play this RPG you envision.
     
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  7. ColonelTeacup Liturgist

    ColonelTeacup
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    When I was scrounging through his comments, he did have one post complaining about the capitalist system requiring you to work for money.
     
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  8. Durandal Arcane

    Durandal
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    Are you going to turn away from the fire you helped start?
    We're all about to embark on a beautiful journey.
     
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  9. I ASK INANE QUESTIONS Augur Patron

    I ASK INANE QUESTIONS
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    [​IMG]

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  10. Iskramor Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Iskramor
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    Gibe free stuff socialist state indie company
     
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  11. TT1 Cipher Patron

    TT1
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    Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Chris Avellone you were one of founders of Obsidian. I always tought that you had power, as a founder, to rule the staff, show the cards on the table and prevent this kind of situations. As a founder, you had no power at all?
     
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  12. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I...don't get the joke. But I guess at 3 AM maybe I'm not supposed to.

    My interlocutors are right however, please continue.
     
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  13. ColonelTeacup Liturgist

    ColonelTeacup
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    Wouldn't surprise me if they had a patreon, and rarely made any updates.
     
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  14. Bocian Arcane

    Bocian
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    He's spilling the beans and going all out, so doesn't need to be asked about NV specifically. Same as you don't need to be asked to shill post news.
     
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  15. whydoibother Learned

    whydoibother
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    A thousand year lurker here, finally registered to post in this epic thread. Best of luck to our lovable arrogant rogue in his fight against da man.
     
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  16. Iskramor Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Iskramor
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    More like race traitor.
     
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  17. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    Oh, Infinitron, the joke is simple: That you report the news, as your unfortunate profile tag claims, which always make me wince when I see your claim. C'mon, don't be ridiculous. You are so biased, we can't even see you through the glare, but embrace it: It's part of your charm.

    EDIT: I really mean this. I love Infinitron's comments, but it's not news, it's just... Infinitron. Change your profile tag, bud.
     
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  18. ColonelTeacup Liturgist

    ColonelTeacup
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    Oh damn, Avellone throwing some shade. :hero:
     
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  19. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    It really is charming. I refuse to back away from my stance. If you take anything, don't take my Infinitron.
     
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  20. meanwhileInPoland Arcane

    meanwhileInPoland
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    BEST THREAD EVER :drink: this shitstorm is better than anything obsidian created since dead money:salute:
     
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  21. Prime Junta Arcane

    Prime Junta
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    Ask him why he's not reporting on Disco Elysium. :M
     
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  22. ColonelTeacup Liturgist

    ColonelTeacup
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    Indeed, who would then post the news
     
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  23. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Well, this is a first.

    I'm not a hater, Avellone. I've said several times that you are an order of magnitude more talented than other writers, including the other writers at Obsidian typically considered "good". I do feel compelled to push back against groupthink - sorry if that ruins something for you.

    Monty Markland did something similar to this to inXile not long ago. He seemed unwell (and disappeared shortly thereafter). I hope you aren't.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
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  24. Prime Junta Arcane

    Prime Junta
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    This is working. I can tell he's feeling better already. :mca:
     
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  25. TT1 Cipher Patron

    TT1
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    Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    What the hell is happening here?

    And, most important, why MCA is not working on Black Geyser?
     
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