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Avadon: What the Spider Spun

Avadon: The Black Fortress just came out last week on Steam, and today we bring you a scoop about this exciting old-school RPG, including an interview with Jeff Vogel – the brains behind Avadon's development studio Spiderweb Software!  Avadon: The  Black Fortress has been favorably reviewed so far on Steam, and is available for both PC and Mac platforms. You have been recruited as a Hand of Avadon. What does a Hand of Avadon do? Basically, the dirty work of Avadon, a military and diplomatic force that was created by the banding together of five great nations – and this force answers to no one but itself. This set up alone might not be too intriguing, but the Hands of Avadon are being picked off one by one, and it is up to you to figure out why – and who wants them gone.

If you are tired of flashy cinematic RPGs and want to go back to something story-based and solid, Avadon is the way to go. As for me, I'm intrigued by the promised dialogue options and the skill trees: I love truly having the opportunity to change the world of the story.

Jeff Vogel was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about Avadon and Spiderweb Software. 

Q. - What, if anything, inspired you to create the game of Avadon?

A. - Heh ... I don't get Capital-I Inspired much anymore. Though the need to feed and clothe my children provides very strong motivation. I've been doing this for 16 years, and now it's very much a job. A really good job, but still a job.  Though, if you were asking where the idea for Avadon came from, it was a Hungarian opera called Bluebeard's Castle. Really.

Q. - A Hungarian opera? Does music help you in your work?

A. - I listen to music constantly while I work, but it's not generally a source of inspiration. However, inspiration does come where you find it. In the case of this opera, it was the storyline that had such a strong appeal to me.

Q. - How did you get into computer/video games originally - especially RPGs?

A. - I've been pretty much obsessed with computer games since I put my first quarter in one around 1978 or so. When, in 1983, I started playing Wizardry on my Apple II+, well, a true addiction was born. There is something about the genre, the combination of storytelling and stat-building, that simply appeals to my brain.

Q. - What elements are important to you in a game? What stands out the most to you as a player? As a developer?

A. - That is a very difficult question to answer. It's like asking what makes a painting beautiful, or a story interesting. I have been compelled by all sorts of games, from all genres.

Q. - Could you name a few examples for me of what games have compelled you?

A. - Most recently, Portal 2. There is something about the portals that lend themselves to a very rich and varied puzzle experience, and of course, the humor of the plot helps a lot.  Before that, I really got a kick out of the interrogation sections of L.A. Noire. When you interrogated people and had to really think about their verbal and visual cues and match them with the evidence to decide when to confront them, I found myself immersed in a way that I rarely do in games.

When I design a game, I sometimes know that I've come up with a good idea, but I can't really describe how I know. It's like a feeling in my gut, literally, like it just feels right. Like it's mentally or emotionally satisfying in a visceral way. I respond to brilliant elements in games I play in a similar way. Like using the portal gun in Portal. It is just ... Neat. Really neat. That's all I ever do, really. Try to chase that "Neat" feeling.

And there you have it, words from the friendly Jeff Vogel himself. Here's hoping you find Avadon: The Black Fortress neat and full of brilliant elements, like the RPGs of days long past.  
Avadon: The Black Fortress is currently on Steam for USD $9.99.  More information about Spiderweb Software can be found on the studio's website:http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com


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