Veteran RPG designer Chris Avellone took a moment out of his busy day to answer quite a few fan-submitted design questions on the company's blog system. Part one includes nine questions, the second of which I'll quote below:
2. Do you have some/a favorites people that are in the industry?
I have a lot of respect and admiration for Richard Dansky, I think he's done a lot to help aspiring game writers and has also been a strong advocate for writers and assisting with promoting game writing in the IGDA. He actually makes me feel guilty, since he makes me wonder if I could do more than answer random inquiries from students and designers. So now that I think about it, Dansky makes me feel like crap, so I guess I actually hate him.
I have a lot of respect for Tim Cain for the role-playing mechanics in Fallout (he's also a great guy, even with his obsession with pomegranates), Tim Donley and Kevin Saunders for teaching me aspects of management that a book can't teach you, David Gaider (who I hadn't met until recently) for the amount of investment he has in his writing and the way he's able to quickly and efficiently critique what's wrong with a character or story (he nails it pretty well in a lot less words than I do), Josh Sawyer and Dave Maldonado for the passion with which they express their design ideas, and Dan Spitzley and Eric Campanella for their work on Torment, which showed me what a strong work ethic combined with the "labor of love" perk can accomplish - Eric was one of the first artists I've encountered who not only read design documentation, but expounded on it in his concepts and character modeling. There are plenty of others whose work I respect, but this list is getting pretty long. Maybe I'll expound on it in another interview.