Leonard Boyarsky: A life in videogames

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by PlanHex, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. PlanHex

    PlanHex Useless layabout oTO Moderator Orderite

    Nov 4, 2007
    Leonard Boyarsky recently held a talk at a tech conference in Portugal called SINFO.
    The talk itself is simply Leonard going through his career step-by-step, placing extra emphasis on Fallout as it was his favourite project.
    There's not a lot of new information to be found here, except he says the project he's currently working with Tim Cain on over at Obsidian (called Project Indiana for now) is an entirely new IP that they unfortunately can't talk about yet.
    Regardless, it's a great talk full of great stories that you may have never heard or forgotten about:
    edit (old link was broken):
    Finally up again here:

    There are almost no slides in the video now, but a nice fellow has put together an imgur album of them: https://imgur.com/a/HfqDw

    Stand-alone video with slides available here:

    (found via LESS T_T over @ RPGCodex)
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
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  2. PlanHex

    PlanHex Useless layabout oTO Moderator Orderite

    Nov 4, 2007
    Been sitting on this for a few days, but finally got around to watching it.
    Took some chronological notes while I watched, figured I'd share but reading this is not really a substitute to watching it:

    Starts off with a cool Fallout character he made for himself, then goes into his very early work before Fallout, making album covers and commercial art. Also talks a short bit about Unnatural Selection, Stonekeep and such, his first real video game projects.
    - He's "thankful" they didn't get the Wasteland license so they could "make [their] own game", lel
    - They initially hated the name Fallout that Fargo came up with, liking Vault 13 better
    - He tells that story of crippling the installer due to Windows NT again, i.e. the thing that means you often have to do a manual install on machines that don't run Win95.
    - Talks about coming up with the retro-50s aesthetic and initial idea for the Vault Boy
    - Makes a special note of making the entire interface, loading screens etc. feel like something that was a part of the world or something you could find in the world. Good job Leo. :ok:
    - Bunch of technical stuff about pixels and cavalier oblique
    - Talks about the talking heads, mostly sculpted by Scott Rodenhizer but Leonard sculpted the Overseer one himself, but textured and lighted the others.
    - Apparently a lot of stuff was rewritten after voice was recorded, so he mentions that there was usually someone standing next to talking heads with the actual information you needed. Also, getting the Master to kill himself was always planned from day 1, but apparently made no sense at one point so they had to rewrite it all via player dialogue.
    - Radiation King tv in the intro is a Simpsons reference apparently, I didn't know that. Or at least had forgotten it.
    - Eugh, he pulls up the part of the intro where the PA guys shoot the dude keep the peace and asks "are you guys familiar with this scene at all...? ...I guess not." Feels bad man.
    - "No one would ever do this, so we definitely should." More games should be developed this way. Well, in the good way at least.
    - Talks about the ending and how he couldn't see how a celebration would make sense, so ended up with banishment.
    - Tells this story. He was really happy when he played Old World Blues and saw they had put his lobotomites in the game finally. :lol:
    - Great story about how marketing department wanted to fuck the game over by including unskippable ads every time you started the game, so Tim messed with compression to make it look like the game would hardly fit on the disc, so they could go "sorry, don't have room!", then switch the compression back when they were done. Also mentions temple of trials unskippable content and how that pissed him off.
    - Ends Fallout talk by leading this into how they were being messed with too much and went to start Troika to keep the culture of "don't mess with shit" alive, though also says that it's impossible to do that when you're CEO, but his employees were apparently happy.

    Then moves into his later career with Troika stuff and Diablo and such. Small tidbits:
    - Troika was pitching a LotR RPG at one point. "Who'd want a hardcore isometric RPG based on LotR"? I WOULD! Also I think many others would too at the time, since this was around the time the movies came out.
    - Only thing he did for ToEE was negotiate the contract for it. Says he "drew the short straw" there.
    - Apparently he voiced someone in VtMB, but won't say which because "it's extremely embarrassing" :lol: plus he was the conspiracy guy on the radio, I love that guy.
    - Lel, there's a codex screenshot of "The Tragedy of Leonard Boyarsky", he calls someone writing about the tragedy of his life the "height of his career". Has to do with branching storylines and sidequests for Diablo 3, which he feels he finally got to do right in the expansion. (maybe I should play that someday...)
    - Says the thing he's working on with Tim at Obsidian now is a brand new IP and they can't talk about it yet at all, but I think it's at least confirmed that they're not partnered with Paradox on it, since he said later in the Q&A that he never worked with them while at Obsidian.

    Oh, also if anyone of you don't know about the Tim Cain GDC talk he mentions, you should all go watch that right now because it rules:
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017
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  3. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Hazel Hegemon oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010

    I didn't know this. Woah. Shame on me.

    Vault 13 is a better name, to be honest, though I guess it would be kinda weird to name a franchise after it...unless every subsequent title was called Vault #, but that brings its own problems.
  4. PlanHex

    PlanHex Useless layabout oTO Moderator Orderite

    Nov 4, 2007
    I dunno, I like Fallout better, but maybe just because I'm used to it.
    Was probably the same for them, they were used to Vault 13.
    Also, should clarify that they only disliked it initially of course.
  5. Atomkilla

    Atomkilla Hazel Hegemon oTO Orderite

    Dec 26, 2010
    I like Fallout as a name too, a lot, but the name always rang me a bit weird...I mean, I always wondered - why, of all things nuclear, did they pick fallout as the name of the game? Because of the multiple meanings behind the word? Because it was just catchy and original? Something else?

    I guess Vault 13 just seems more logical, in a way. Not complaining about the current name, though, just saying.

    Edit: Come to think of it, a hypothetical Fargo interview could include the question about the name's origin.
  6. NovaRain

    NovaRain Casual Modder Modder

    Mar 10, 2007
    Damn, after I reload the youtube page, the video becomes private. D:
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  7. PlanHex

    PlanHex Useless layabout oTO Moderator Orderite

    Nov 4, 2007
    Yeah, looks like they've been taken down now...
    Hopefully it's because they're gonna cut them up so I can post the Leonard Boyarsky part by itself, with no mucking about with timestamps. Looks like that's the way they did it last year on their video page anyway https://www.youtube.com/user/sinfoist/videos
  8. PlanHex

    PlanHex Useless layabout oTO Moderator Orderite

    Nov 4, 2007

    Finally up again, for @NovaRain and others who might care.

    Somehow worse than the original livestream, since you can't see the slides for the most part.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  9. Lexx

    Lexx Background Radiant

    Apr 24, 2005
    Would be better if it came with the slides included. Had to open some imgur tab and scroll down whenever I felt like he went on.

    Yeah, this part got me. Guess he should have talked about some kid in a fridge instead. :lalala:
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  10. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim Still Mildly Glowing

    Sep 29, 2015
    Thanks for those!

    full video with slides at 35:30
    Last edited: May 4, 2017