Matt Chat 63: Chris Avellone talks Planescape Torment

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Matt Barton's picture

Well, here it is, folks: Chris Avellone on Planescape: Torment. This is pretty much a must-view for any serious CRPG fan; it's the senior designer of one of the best games ever made talking about its development. You don't want to miss it.

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I'm wondering what you guys

I'm wondering what you guys think of the editing on this one. I was rather shocked at some of the bitterly hostile remarks it's generated on another site (which I will not endorse by naming it). It could be childish nonsense, but I don't want to be cocky and wish to always be receptive to constructive crititicism. Obviously, I'm not a professional editor, though I do put a tremendous amount of time and energy into making these little episodes.

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Rob Daviau
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Joined: 05/19/2006
It's just fine.

Meh you know my position on Trolls. Constructive criticism or advice is one thing, anything else to hell with them. Your work is far and above about 90% of everything I watch on Youtube and I still enjoy those too. It really burns my ass when people criticize work that has been done by someone on there own time and dime (time IS MONEY) and effort just for the love of the hobby. Such people usually do nothing like it on their own, they are not offering anything or putting themselves out there and as I have said many times before it usually boils down to jealousy combined with the anonymity of the internet. Don't like how something is done? THEN SHOW ME HOW YOU DO IT BETTER that is the way I see it and if you don't then STFU! It really is as simple as that.

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Anonymous (not verified)
Childish nonsense indeed

You do all this hard work on your own time to freely share with the world for our enjoyment, so who has the right to complain? I prefer the original content of Matt Chat over an impeccably edited video of some mainstream subject with nothing unique or interesting. That is why I have been a fan since video #1. It is all too easy for some internet troll to criticize from a computer keyboard, and there is a big difference between being constructive and bitterly hostile. I would like to see samples of this critic's superb editing skills with producing weekly video reviews and all his exclusive interviews with notable developers. Don't let 'em get you down, Matt, and keep up the great work!

Anonymous (not verified)
Oh Matt, if you're referring

Oh Matt, if you're referring to that sad 'FF' individual then you shouldn't even give his/her comments a moment's thought. They're obviously a pitiable, lonely, histrionic soul who was not socialized well as a child. EVERYONE else who has viewed your videos and commented on them has been glowingly positive. When you're in the public eye you're going to get people who want to tear you down for the sake of it. As the previous poster said, don't let it get to you. Frankly, I consider your vids an indispensable part of my weekend viewing :)

Calibrator
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Joined: 10/25/2006
My opinion

Matt, your editing is absolutely fine, the videos are among the most polished things regarding "amateur games journalism" I've seen on the web ("professional" meaning "being paid for"). That's one reason I come here.
If you want to improve your videos there certainly is room for that but it's neither the editing nor the video quality.

However, you seem to be overly sensitive regarding those comments. I've noticed that in several posts and this one falls into the pattern:
- you make a great video (ask around who even thinks about interviewing these people!)
- it gets received quite well here (too well perhaps...) and often on YT
- somewhere you get criticized unfairly
- you try to get confirmation from your "trusted followers" here at AA

My advice: Don't care.

You don't improve things by listening to trolls & idiots (what a great RPG title!) but by carefully going over things, taking moderate comments into account and adding some spark of creativity to it.

take care,
Calibrator

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Yeah, I checked out what you

Yeah, I checked out what you were referring to, and as usual you have the uncanny ability to zone in on the one truly negative comment. I would have thought you would have developed a thicker skin by now, particularly after the books. Everyone's a critic and a lot of those people are jerks. It's human nature. You should only care about the people whose opinion matters to you. By the way, I saw that most of the negative comments were targeted to Chris Avellone himself. I'm sure he really "cares" as he works on his next mainstream-sure-to-be-a-hit project... By the way, you're already up to 800++ views, congrats! Remember when that would take weeks, if not longer?

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
You guys are right of course.

You guys are right of course. I am guilty of it sometimes myself, but it's very easy to slip into the mindset that the people you're insulting (whether intentional or not) won't ever see or won't care about your comments. For instance, I could say something about how I think a certain show, band, or program sucks. One of my favorite musicians, Morrissey, was so hurt by some negative reviews of his albums that he quit making music for years (and I've also heard from other musicians who quit or drastically scaled back for similar reasons, including Phil Collins if you can believe that!). Morrissey even has a lyric in one of his songs about it: "The spoken word can hurt you, but the printed word can kill you." How true!

Of course, my books have also been trashed in print, and one review in a magazine made me very angry. I couldn't help but think I had offended the guy somehow to warrant such treatment, and somehow I doubt he'd act like that to my face. That's how I wish I could treat internet writing--never write anything that I wouldn't say to someone's face.

As for me, these experiences have taught me how important is to be careful what I write or say about other people's work. It is really better just not to say anything than trash something, and if you have genuine criticism, it is so important to be as tactful as you possibly can to maintain the friendship (as well as get the person to take your advice). Of course, in face to face situations, I always imagine the worst case scenario--what if the person has a gun, or physically attacks me if I am rude or disrespectful? I've seldom had to confront people like that, but even a peaceful man such as myself has occasionally been confronted with just such situations. It probably helps that I had a guy slap me one time because he said I was laughing at his work--which, if I were, I was totally unconscious of doing so and never had any intention of being insulting. Indeed, the thought that I had accidentally hurt his feelings would have done more than the slap to make me feel bad.

I suspect the people calling me an idiot or a moron are probably terrible and very sad people who aren't worth taking seriously. But I won't become so blind to criticism that I think I'm infallible and anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong. I've seen how that mindset has ruined some great artists and other people I admired very much.

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Chris Kennedy
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Joined: 08/31/2008
Nice

Don't worry about the peanut gallery, Matt. Keep right on truckin'. Another great episode in the books.

And Yes - congratulations on the views!

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
I'm a fan, I have seen alot

I'm a fan, I have seen alot of the PRO's do some work I wouldnt be proud of. I think (opinion only) you have only gotten better and better. Useing the net as a medium is always going to see some trolls and (I think, good) some honest, maybe even harsh critiicism. I have been around since the net was new, BBS, text only pages, etc... This is going to sound maybe eleitest, but the ability for ANYBODY basicly to get on the net has made it a better (much more varied) and much worse place. The early days where full of intellegent people as it tooks some to get on it (keep in mind Intelligence and being nice or even being social do not go hand in hand all the time). As it got simpler and simpler to get on, the people got younger, sillier, and ruder. Chat forums have went from defending people who are picked on (justly or not) to lynch mobs that jump at any chance to abuse others.
I know I have went from posting praise "excellent job, loved it" to "maybe if you did this it would be better", but I havent entered the hatefull remarks stage yet. In all honesty I think Praise I a great thing, we all deserve it when something is good, and heck its a nice thing to do. But sometimes pointing out flaws is needed.
I mean look at game companies id could do know wrong, Sony was the console saviour. MS couldnt make a hardware product that was succesfull, 2 where where HUGE and could do no wrong, one no right, now its almost the "in" thing to do to bash um. Sony cant do anything right (and havent much of the time leatly due to EGO i think) and id's "when its done" is no longer Ok, there is some real hate for the RAGE game already and nobody has seen it in action really. Nowdasy MS is loved by the console generation, and they have changed nothing of there draconian ways (just remeber they where the first to start the Pay to Play thing, now everybody is going to follow um).
Look at game NEWS sites, Post a thread about some negative thing somebody says, it will be the #1 story on the site beating any preview for a good game or such. Its almost like people prefer bad news to good, bad comments to good, etc.

As for me (or anyone) giving you crititicism, I for one cant, I dont make video's, dont know the work it takes, and have never even attempted to interview anybody, I dont feel my comments would be very valid. Of course critics dont make the stuff they review, and thats OK i guess. But not for me.

Keep it up, i enjoy um!!!!

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I know exactly what you mean,

I know exactly what you mean, Rob & Clok. The accessibility and anonymity of the internet are good for some reasons and bad for others. And, of course, people will have different opinions--there are plenty of people out there who will hate a game or YouTube channel others love and so on and so forth. I have caught (and corrected) myself for such petty reasons for not liking a channel as the host leaving the camera rolling as he fetches a drink or some such; seems silly now.

I think what I find frustrating is that while I'm reasonable satisfied with my videos, I realize there are many ways they could be better. I just don't know always know what those ways are, or whether it'd be possible for me to get there. I'm not necessarily the most humble person, but there is a limit to what an untrained guy can do without professional equipment or experience. That said, I have tried and continue to try to find ways to make I look more professional and less amateurish. Obviously I don't bother with all the changes in camera angles and pans and such you get with the pros, but I focus my attention on areas which I think matter most to the message--such as getting the clearest gameplay footage possible, or lots of cuts to promotional materials and such that help flesh out the story. Lately I've been doing lots of time consuming work with cutting out parts of images and overlaying them on the screen for comic effect. Probably not professional, but I think it's fun and perhaps charming to some.

At any rate, there was a forum where one guy said the editor was an idiot, and there were others that agreed (or seemed to agree) with that assessment. One even said "clearly" the editor was a moron. They didn't give many details; one seemed to think the music was too loud. Otherwise, I've been unable to tell what this apparently obvious and very serious problem was with the editing.

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