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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Dev Game Club


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Now displaying: September, 2016
Sep 28, 2016

Welcome to our second episode examining 1997's classic RPG Fallout. We talk about the lack of the hand-holding in the game, discuss our character builds a bit and talk about the choices we've made so far. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Note: Brett keeps mixing up Junktown with Hub. He blames illness. Our apologies.

Sections played:
Up until you resolve the Water Chip

Podcast breakdown:
0:40    Intro/Segment 1
43:42  Break 1
44:22  What next and Feedback

Issues covered: following different threads, Brotherhood of Steel, power armor, Death Claws, having less fun when there are fewer barriers, making your follower into your donkey, open world structure and directionlessness, paying to extend the life of the Vault, playing against type, having Dogmeat as a follower, living with consequences, playing morally ambiguous characters, the meaningfulness of followers, narrative depth of followers, JRPGs, how we dealt with Gizmo, Brett's hotel encounter, Brett gets political, Tenpenny Tower/Megaton, town restrictions on weapon use, Thieves' Guild, stealthing around Necropolis, Tim's torture session, Tim stealths past mutants while Brett talks circles around them, more "pixel-hunty" game, simulated skills and mechanical depth.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Ultima series, Bard's Tale, Baldur's Gate, Halo 6, Bioware, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Neverwinter Nights, Final Fantasy IX, Bethesda Game Studios, Metal Gear Solid, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, Pat Holleman, Stefan Schmidt, Kevin Watters, Super Metroid, Castlevania, Dark Souls, Guacamelee, Ori and the Blind Forest, Axiom Verge, MaasNeotekProto.

Next time:
Everything but the Military Base and the Cathedral

Beating Fallout in 5 minutes

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub

Sep 21, 2016

Welcome to our first episode in our series examining 1997's Fallout. We talk a bit about the RPG renaissance it seemed to kick off and then delve into the first few hours. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up until you reach Junktown

Podcast breakdown:
0:37      Segment 1: Relevance
32:11    Break
32:36    Segment 2: Towards Junktown
1:08:46 Break
1:09:17 Segment 3: Listener feedback, next time

Issues covered: Brett's workshopping and quotes collection, RPG resurgence in the late '90s, Interplay and other RPG-maker troubles, a new direction for Western RPGs, getting away from the high fantasy setting, accessible turn-based combat, supporting text, return to apocalypse, enabling a variety of settings, tabletop RPGs, hexagonal and rectilinear grids, maturity, relatability, gruesome deaths, archetypes, humor, RPGs vs RPG elements, numerical traits and skill systems, player agency over character destiny, filling out the trees, flexible specialization, progression vs role-playing, character creation anxieties, watercooler talk, grim humor in the introduction, bravery and commitment in world-building, licensed titles, 1950s optimism taken forward, the pleasantly clicky UI, encountering Shady Sands en route to Vault 15, two-headed cows, the emergence of voice, the little pocket DM, finding ropes, feedforward loops, barter is broken, Tim's uphill battle, speedrunning Super Metroid, secrets.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Star Wars, Mortimer and the Riddle of the Medallion, Ultima series, JRPGs, Gold Box series, Interplay, Wasteland, Tim Cain, Stonekeep, Eye of the Beholder, Troika Interactive, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magic Obscura, Atari, Sierra, Gathering of Developers, Leonard Boyarsky, Jason Anderson, Mad Max, Diablo series, Bard's Tale, Dungeonmaster, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Brian Fargo, The Walking Dead, Fury Road, Baldur's Gate series, Fallout 2, Icewind Dale series, Planescape: Torment, Lionheart, Temple of Elemental Evil, Vampire: Bloodlines, Dungeons and Dragons, GURPS, J. R. R. Tolkien, Call of Duty series, Bethesda Game Studios, DOOM, Skyrim, Assassin's Creed series, Far Cry 3/4, World of Warcraft, Batman: Arkham series, Prototype 2, LucasArts, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, Ken Rolston, Elder Scrolls series, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Super Metroid, Jeremy Fischer, Phil Rosehill, Doug Thorpe, BattleTankBob, Daniel Johansson, Chase Chamberlain.

Next time:
Play until you have resolved the water chip quest

Tim Cain in the GDC Vault (how appropriate!) 

Super Metroid Speed Runs:
Super Metroid - 100% run in under 80 minutes

Super Metroid - any% race (4 runners - ~44 minutes)

Super Metroid - any% - 2 players, 1 controller

Super Metroid - any% - Reverse Boss Order

Another 100% run

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub

Sep 14, 2016

Welcome to our final episode in our series examining Super Metroid. We delve specifically into the last couple of boss battles and the concomitant storytelling, and spend some time thinking about our favorite areas. We also talk about the pillars and takeaways of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
End of the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:47    Section 1: Final bosses, storytelling, and Zebes's areas
42:12  Break 1
42:55  Section 2: Takeaways, listener feedback, next game

Issues covered: Tim wants to be a pill bug, Samus's backstory and narrative wrappers, feedback/feed-forward loop, player skill, being stuck near Ridley, difficulty curves, developer blindness to difficulty, earning the end vs other Nintendo titles, Space Pirates, map problems and telling the player what they can find, controls difficulty, storytelling in the endgame, Christian the lion, getting to know the world, difficulty adjustment, creature design in Maridia, scale and creature design of Wrecked Ship, broken glass in Maridia, quicksand physics, genre creation through exploration structure, moments of discovery, "quarters aesthetic," attract mode, digital vs analog gating, feedback to the player, teaching NPCs, content that only some people see, knowing what you get with other media, progression in mechanics vs in numbers, time investment, iTunes review, miniature play in tabletop RPGs, character builds (broken and otherwise).

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Daniel Johansson, Nintendo Power, Jungle Book, Metroid Prime series, Final Fantasy IX, Starfighter series, Legend of Zelda series, Mario series, Assassin's Creed III, Shadows of Mordor, Siegfried and Roy, Deus Ex, Warren Spector, Halo, System Shock 2, Shigeru Miyamoto, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, The Witness, Idle Thumbs, Chris Remo, Ori and the Blind Forest, Stephen King, Elana Ferrante, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Rydrum2112, Fallout, Ultima series, Might and Magic series, Wizardry Series, Gold Box series, Baldur's Gate, Infinity Engine, Black Isle, Interplay, Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment, Fallout 4, Bethesda Game Studios.

Christian the lion!

Next time:
Fallout, up until but not including Junktown

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub

Sep 7, 2016

Welcome to the third episode in our series examining Super Metroid. We delve specifically into the boss battles we've played thus far and spend some time talking about player skill and both positive and negative feedback loops in its play. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the boss "Draygon"

Podcast breakdown:
0:29      Segment 1: Intro and boss battles
36:57    Break 1
37:22    Segment 2: Player empowerment, feedback
1:05:54 Break 2

Issues covered: choosing the Chozo suit, boss design, back history, negative reinforcement, not reading the manual, telegraphing, reappearance of Crocomire (and others), Kraid two-step shooting, skill-based bosses, experimentation and nearby save points, using lesser monsters as foreshadowing, robots that activate, 1950s robots, art directing towards technical limitations, wanting more meaning from the holes Botwoon disappears into, working within constraints, chasing fidelity, choosing constraints, player skill for boss battles, teaching you (or not) to use the grapple beam as a weapon, helpless states in boss battles, "three great scenes and no bad ones," outsmarting a bigger foe, player empowerment, getting a weapon just as you start to feel a need for it, creating artificial wishes to fulfill, multi-use grapple beam, discovering play as a game developer, missiles vs super missiles and bombs vs super bombs, blowing the glass to get to Maridia, super dash power fantasy, wall jump, positive feedback loop in player skill, negative feedback loop in scouring the map, the other half of the empowerment equation, circular level design, learning jump heights and distances, staying in the moment, watercooler talk -- different playthroughs, playground chatter, discussing levels next time, statue room, reader feedback.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: The 39 Steps, Andy Mindler, Boba Fett, Lara Croft, other games in the Metroid series, Jedi Starfighter, Godzilla, The Terminator, Alien series, R2-D2, Forbidden Planet, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian, WoW: Legion, Bionic Commando, Capcom, Bastion, FF VI, Bethesda Game Studios, Oblivion, Fallout 3, Dishonored, AL_Roman.

Next time:
Finish the game!

Rolling Stone article on Super Metroid

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub