Each week on Show Us Your Rig, we feature the PC game industry's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play.
When it comes to the rig of Chris Avellone, designer on Wasteland 2 and practically every other RPG ever made, what's on the inside isn't nearly as important as what's on the outside. And seeing as every surface within five feet of his chair is covered in action figures, there is a lot to look at on the outside. Chris was kind enough to take some time to show off his computer, tell us about his desk, and flaunt his bunny slippers for us.
What's in your PC?
There are parts. And magic. Yes, I am THAT technical.
- Intel Core i7-4770 CPU @ 3.40 GHz - It can think faster and smarter than I can.
- 8 gigs of RAM - It has more memory than I do, and probably uses a smaller percent of its brain to superior effect as well.
- The monitors are "generic" (I'm surprised it isn't offended by this) and the other is a Dell 2407WFP. I resist getting larger monitors because I don't need them, and I also worry that once I get a larger monitor, there's no turning back. Kind of like flying first class once, and then having to go back to economy, I guess.
- I don't have pen and touch functionality (yet) because most of my work is done with letters that form words that spell out sentences, questions, and interjections.
- I have Windows 8.1 on it, but honestly, the first thing I do on boot-up is hit the Windows + D combo and revert to the old display.
What's the most interesting/unique part of your setup?
The surroundings. And I can't wait for the Marvel Infinity figures (Hulk, especially.) I set up my workspace because I like character models and character designs. So I collect a lot of action figures. A lot. I don't appreciate them enough, or for the right reasons. Usually, I find I buy an artist's variation on an iconic character and seeing the new spin they've done on the character (like the Arkhamverse figures - those I keep close by because I like the jolt of seeing the "traditional" costumes of these characters from comics bent in new ways - and same with the Ame-Comi figures, where the redesign of Huntress, Robin, Poison Ivy, Batgirl, and Raven really stand out). These figures are a not-so-subtle reminder you can visually change your perspective on a "set and established" character for the better. It's another reason I'm waiting for the Disney Marvel Infinity figures because they break down the look of the Marvel universe into a few essential visual characteristics, and that's always a great exercise for any artist or designer.
I have LEGO partly because I grew up with LEGO, I love dumping them on the floor and building craziness, and also for the reasons above - the variations they can make in personalities and the interpretation of established characters with simple connection principles is pretty amazing. Also, it's kind of fun to make picture comics posing the LEGO figures to tell a snapshot story with my friends, which I sometimes share them on Facebook, and there's so many tiny props with each LEGO figure that you can tell a surprisingly wide range of stories without a word.
What's always within arm's reach on your desk?
A stopwatch for timing myself while I write (I usually can do one hour straight with no interruptions). Also, a glass of water to sip on (I try and have a gallon a day). The gallon of water also helps me take, um, breaks.
What are you playing right now?
inXile's Wasteland 2 build, lots of fun!
What's your favorite game and why?
There's a bunch. If I had to choose one because it's on the brain - Wasteland 1 (yes, 1) because of innovative level design, defied (not defined, defied) a number of RPG conventions at the same time, and the fact it has Toaster Repair. And you could CLONE your party members. Like Orphan Black. Except not as pretty as Tatiana Maslany.