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Tycho / on Wed, Jul 5 2006 at 12:01 am

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Third Grade Gold, Wild Styles

The next two strips are from our adopted third grade class, in whom we endeavored to invest our most potent comic creation skills.  Today’s comic was made as a gift for us by one of the students after we left, and we found the contest it presents hilarious.

Today’s post comes to us by way of Chris Avellone, whose piece is studded with tips on presenting yourself for an industry job as well as, near the end, a job offer itself.  Huzzah!  If you have played Planescape: Torment, you are familiar with his writing.  I actually cried a little bit when I met him at San Diego Comic Con, he signed a business card for me that I still keep in my wallet.  It’s not a joke; my dream in this life is to one day write a videogame that would impress him.

Chris Avellone, Obsidian Entertainment

It’s a little daunting to get a request from Penny Arcade to do an article because it makes you think of the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar, arguably one of the best character actors in the Star Wars series. (If I have to say his quote, then I will, but if you really don’t know, what it is, send your question to So I had to tread lightly. Is it a genuine offer? Or is it a huge bullseye shaped solely of words? 

I also viewed this invitation with some skepticism, since I don’t like comics like Penny Arcade. I think drawn people are dumb. Why? Because they don’t look real. I even hate Pixar movies because they aren’t real like other movies. And I certainly don’t read Order of the Stick, or Dumbrella, or PVP, or any other webcomic, like, oh, say, I’m Blue, who is written and drawn by one of the Obsidian designers who has a shrine to Penny Arcade constructed inside her desk drawer and a special prayer mat with the Fruit Fucker scrawled on it in orange crayon with "Annie, I wish you were fruit - Tycho," signed along the bottom, the origins of which I try never to ask her about. 

Which brought me to what subject I should write about, and if I actually had anything of substance to say, which is two huge questions right there. 

First - since I have no manners and commonly forget introductions - I’m Chris Avellone, I’m a creative director at Obsidian Entertainment, and we do role-playing games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Neverwinter Nights 2, and the upcoming I Wish the RPG Market Was Like It Was When Fallout 1 Came Out 2. 

I was going to spit out some words of wisdom about getting into the game industry, or what it’s like doing role-playing games, or cuss a lot, but basically, I really only have the following words of wisdom to impart if you want to get into games. 

(BTW, I used some of this amazing selection of facts at A-Kon, so if you want to see some of the folks I said it to and what costumes they were wearing and why I may have said it like I have, go on to: Our Target Audience.)

- We don’t care what classes you took in school, we care what you can DO with regards to games. Someone who did 3 mods for Quake 2 and invented the splintering frag grenade and made a TRON Deadly Disks mod or did an award-winning NWN1 module series means a hell of a lot more than someone who aced Creative Writing. Trust me, Interplay only cared about the books and modules I wrote for Champions and Hero Games. 

- Don’t stop bugging people for a job. Only 10% of those folks are actually considered stalkers by us. (This doesn’t mean bug me for one, because I don’t give jobs to my friends, and after all that time spent watching you through the window while you shower, I consider you my very special friend.) Invite yourself over for a tour. Find someone, anyone at the target company, and keep hassling them, offer to take them to lunch, visit them late at night, call them up, drop them emails… do whatever it takes to make yourself known to them. And at the least, if they have to reject you later on, the response you get is more personal and does not usually include the words "jackass."

- Don’t use dumb email handles for your submission. I don’t want a fucking submission from or I don’t. Not because I don’t think you’re a genius, but it makes tracking down your name in a huge outlook bar of applicants frustrating, annoying, and eventually can be such a chore that you get lost in the shuffle. Make up a new hotmail account or something that uses your actual name. 

- Proofread your submission - because guess what? Designers have to write a lot and use email a lot, and if we can’t count on you to spell "peanuts" correctly when trying to tell the President of Publishing Company Z what you think of his idea and it comes across like you’re talking about his anatomy, that doesn’t go over as well as it does with your teammates, who usually enjoy emails about that sort of thing. 

- Your guidance/career counselor was right. Include a cover letter. Format it correctly. Don’t inflate your resume like you’re blowing up your kid’s swimming pool for the Sunday BBQ because while we’re reading it, it hisses while it deflates. When in doubt, be professional. Not in the Chris Avellone sense, but in the real world sense. 

- If you ever are asked by a game developer what you think of a game, never say you "like it." Say why, and be detailed, because that’s all game developers think about all day - and it’s what they list out when they start down the long road of making a game, vision doc, etc. 

- Oh, and Obsidian’s hiring designers, so it’s been on my mind a lot lately, since we started with one designer (me), now have like, 3000, and apparently need 3000 more since we just love designers. So if you think you can do design and meet these requirements, please drop us a line at the link above.

Ether way, I am honored to have been given the chance to write this. Thanks, guys.

Oh no, Chris.  Thank you.


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