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Dev Game Club

Join hosts and game industry veterans Brett Douville and Tim Longo as they explore older titles to talk about the influences those games had and what we can learn from them even today.
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Now displaying: April, 2016
Apr 27, 2016

In this fourth episode of discussing Hitman 2: Silent Assassin on Dev Game Club, we wrap up our play-through, and then turn to a discussion of what we feel are the game's pillars, discuss iterating on a series, and announce both a guest and our next game! Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Temple City Ambush
Death Of Hannelore
Terminal Hospitality
St. Petersburg Revisited
Redemption At Gontranno

Podcast breakdown:
0:24        Intro
4:38        Segment 1: Discussion of final five levels
1:00:45   Break
1:01:26   Segment 2: Pillars, series iteration, guest, next game


Issues covered: professional vs silent assassin rating, level clockwork vs more open plans, limitations on character models, padding for length and content, voice acting and the strength of the LucasArts voice department, voice talent in European vs Japanese games, evolution of localization, Brett's personal story arc with Hitman 2, cinematic set-up and production scheduling, when timing looks like scripting, reading designer intent, when the series really shines, competence wish fulfillment, heist planning, planning out how to pace missions over the course of a game, story arc construction and story influences, "Hitmen don't take the bus," artistic moments vs the "bro" aesthetic, wishing for an opposite and equivalent enemy, making last level something different from the rest of the game, MDA framework, iteration on smaller scale and behind closed doors vs in public, supporting a feature fully, full support of player intent, the limitations of direct combat as a basis for games, sanding away rough edges, usability testing.

Specific links:
Philippa Warr, Rock Paper Shotgun: The Great Outdoors: The Witness

Stephen Totilo, Kotaku: What A Fan Learned About Game Development By Making His Own Star Wars Games

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Philippa Warr, The Witness, Jedi Starfighter, Charlie Rocket, Sterling James, David Cage, Ellen Page, Willem Dafoe, Beyond: Two Souls, Life Is Strange, Quantum Break, Fallout 4, FX, Bryan Brown, Brian Dennehy, Hitman: Blood Money, Clue, House of Cards, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino, Starfighter, TIE Fighter, Aliens, Blade Runner, Star Wars, In the Line of Fire, Clint Eastwood, Assassin's Creed, Doom, Quake, Half-Life 2, Timothy Olyphant, Hitman (2007 film), Lara Croft, Hitman (2016), Hitman: Absolution, Project: Spark, Half-Life, Uncharted 4, Ratchet & Clank series, Republic Commando, Tomb Raider, Square Enix, Eidos, IO Interactive, Ken Levine, Final Fantasy (VII, XV, Tactics, and of course, IX), Baldur's Gate, The Witcher III, Metal Gear Solid.

Next time:
Interview with Janos Flosser
Next game: Final Fantasy IX! Play up through Beatrix and ensuing cutscene.

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Apr 20, 2016

In this third episode of discussing Hitman 2: Silent Assassin on Dev Game Club, we talk about the next six missions in the game in-depth, spending some time talking about stereotypes and controversy surrounding the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Basement Killing
Graveyard Shift
The Jacuzzi Job
Murder At The Bazaar
Motorcade Interception
Tunnel Rat

Podcast breakdown:
0:33      Intro
1:40      Segment 1: First three levels this episode
54:28    Break 1
54:37    Segment 2: Other three levels this episode
1:31:58 Break 2
1:32:21 Final Segment: Next time, Brett's meta-story

Issues covered: stereotyping (target and gender), controversy, mission briefing videos, the uses of laundry chutes, playing the map and visualizing scripting vs emergent behaviors, map symbology, imagining the perfect playthrough, the silly potato chip maze -- the uncanny valley of the world itself, a difference between movie and game environments, games are Hawaiian shirts, realism and abstraction, VR, stylization, sneaking around a mundane environment, designer-forced experiences, audio occlusion, generic "Arab" setting, stealth interaction and action buttons, Brett's second Silent Assassin rating, controversy around Motorcade Interception, sexualized nuns with guns, othering and abstraction, Silent Assassin rewards, jump height and death, the torture victim, night vision goggles, weird story stuff at the end of the levels we played, Father Maguffin, teaser: iteration, applying a meta-narrative and visualization, the Hitman niche and evolving verb sets.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: La Femme Nikita, Superman and Lex Luthor, John Cusack/Better Off Dead, Beyond: Two Souls, David Cage, Hal Barwood, Hitman: Go, Jedi Starfighter, Tim Schafer, Emil Pagliarulo, Fallout 3/4, Oblivion, Kill Bill vol 1, Silence of the Lambs, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Thief, Alfred Hitchcock, North by Northwest, Marnie, Tippi Hedren, Orphan Black, Hitman (2016), Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Dishonoured, Jedi Knight, System Shock 2, Hitman: Absolution.

Next time:
Finish the game!
Temple City Ambush
Death Of Hannelore
Terminal Hospitality
St. Petersburg Revisited
Redemption At Gontranno

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Apr 13, 2016

In this second episode of discussing Hitman 2: Silent Assassin on Dev Game Club, we talk about the next six missions in the game in-depth, touching mostly on different approaches to the same material but also discussing the ups and downs in our opinion. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Tubeway Torpedo
Invitation to a Party
Tracking Hayamoto
Hidden Valley
At the Gates
Shogun Showdown

Podcast breakdown:
0:30 Intro
1:55 Tubeway Torpedo and Invitation to a Party
42:34 Break 1
42:50 Tracking Hayamoto through Shogun Showdown
1:16:32 Break 2
1:17:05 Next time, design thoughts about procedural generation

Issues covered: The value of planted caches in the game and of definitive statements, the limits of scripting (whether or not intentional), intentional use of lighting as a mechanic, tension and inflection of musical score, the balance and appeal of the game's systems vs its scripting, the thin hotspot, presence or absence of cutscenes, systemic AI, achieving the Silent Assassin rank, HUD support and systems feedback, map as declaration of intent: pattern recognition and puzzle solving, vs. moment to moment stealth, level randomization, improvisation, the enemy agent, narrative nuggets, patience simulation, melancholy cutscene with good characterization, palate cleansing levels, line of sight and awareness, level design constraints and guiding the player, linearity and level contrast, possibility of procedural generation, user-generated content.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Jesper Kyd, Thief, Metal Gear Solid, Mark of the Ninja, Noah Hughes, No More Heroes, Jedi Starfighter, Tetris, Octopussy, Spy vs Spy, Monaco, The Swindle.

Next time:
Basement Killing
Graveyard Shift
The Jacuzzi Job
Murder At The Bazaar
Motorcade Interception
Tunnel Rat

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Apr 6, 2016

In this second series of the Dev Game Club, we talk about the relevance and place in history of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, talk a bit about its stealth contemporaries and its descendants, before diving into the first few missions of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:

Gontranno Sanctuary

Anathema

St. Petersburg Stakeout

Kirov Park Meeting

 

Podcast breakdown:

0:33       Intro

2:11       Hitman 2: Silent Assassin relevance, history, context

32:11     Break 1

32:35     The first four missions

1:21:10  Break 2

1:21:32  Story expectations, what we’re playing, next time

 

Issues covered: Hitman episodic reboot, play style and discovery, stealth genre, handling of action and sandboxes in other stealth games, punishment for failure in genre, lethality and non-lethality, available rankings of playstyle, disguises, the game landscape in 2002, story stage-setting (Hitman: Codename 47 recap), technical stuff, character design (solid colors, no muddy textures), visual language for characters, character categories, torturing Brett, “patience simulators” vs. wish fulfillment, European espionage mood and tone, tutorial shallowness, Brett’s bashing up against the mailman, game pacing, aggression vs stealth, competence fantasy, lack of feedback or planning support, boiling frogs, possibility space exploration, save limitations, “murder puzzles,” clarity (or lack thereof), Tim’s pro tips, running through sewers, free guard’s uniform!, map utility, mechanics discovery, persistent AI state and information propagation, Hitman community division over usability, Brett’s story prediction.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Hitman: GO, Hitman (2016), System Shock 2, BioShock, Thief, Metal Gear Solid, Hitman: Codename 47, Leon: The Professional, IO Interactive, Eidos, Square Enix, Freedom Fighters, Republic Commando, Kane & Lynch, Mini Ninjas, Warcraft 3, Battlefield: 1942, Animal Crossing, Sly Cooper, Spyro 2, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, Jedi Starfighter, Metroid Prime, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Peter Hirschmann, Deus Ex, Morrowind, Max Payne, Rambo, Elder Scrolls series, The Darkness, Dead Space 2, Frankenstein, Hitman: Blood Money, Hitman: Contracts, NOLF 2, Final Fantasy, John Le Carré, Crystal Dynamics, Mission: Impossible, Bridge of Spies, Assassin’s Creed, Jean Reno, The Three Stooges, Far Cry series, Guacamelee, Noah Hughes, Spy Party, Idle Thumbs, Twin Peaks.

What we’ve been playing:

Brett: work, movies, and books :)

Tim: The Witcher 3, WoW

Next time:

Levels 5-10: Tubeway Torpedo through Shogun Showdown

 

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub

DevGameClub@gmail.com

 

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