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: January, 2017
Jan 25, 2017

Welcome to the second episode in our series examining the first two works of Fumito Ueda: Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. We discuss bits of Ico's narrative, the holistic and economic aspects of the design, the build-up of tension and mutual support between the characters, the combat, and a host of other issues. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Second half of Ico!

Podcast breakdown:
0:33     Ico

Issues covered: the source of all future quotes, camera/yorda/scale holism and reinforcement, taking copious notes, the "b" word, spots where the camera doesn't work, setting down the controller, pushing through player skill games, visual language in encounter design, maintaining the connection with Yorda in combat, story act structure, the arc of combat encounters, castle cohesion, castle as a character, being able to see from title screen where you'll go, points of interest, story bits with the Queen at the gate, the castle as a real place, Yorda's leaps, building relationship and trust and tension, establishing reciprocal feeling, Yorda's powers, opening the other door, cutting ropes around the reflectors, puzzles where the platforming is pushed a bit too far, camera control, depleting Yorda to open the gates, the expanding dark circle with the sickly green rim, clever environmental object design, a touching moment, fighting the shadows from the sarcophagi, character art of the Queen, Queen Himiko and art/textiles of ancient Japan, the boss battle, losing Ico's horns, Yorda freeing Ico from the castle, recovery of humanity and rebirth, credits nostalgia, the beach scene and reunion, HDR/bloom effects, watermelon alternate ending, a little bit about how Yorda's AI might work, Brett's new Emo band, potentially scripted, Yorda's personality vs Trico's, favorite bits, "Are they really going to let me do this?," common emotional tones in Ueda's games.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Metal Gear Solid 4, Resident Evil, Day of the Tentacle, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian, Super Mario Galaxy, Tomb Raider, Uncharted, Prince of Persia, Brothers, The Last of Us, Stranger Things/Eleven, Shodan, Okami, Indiana Jones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (obliquely), The Sims, Republic Commando, Cameron Hass, Myst, Riven.

Next time:
First 8 Colossi in Shadow of the Colossus

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub

Jan 18, 2017

Welcome to the first episode in our series examining the first two works of Fumito Ueda: Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. We situate it in time a bit, and then turn to the opening few rooms and the design, technical, and narrative departures already visible. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the windmill

TTAJ: ??!

Podcast breakdown:
0:38     Segment 1: Ico
59:33   Break 1
59:58   Segment 2: Themes for next time, feedback

Issues covered: situating Ico's release in 2001, other games focusing on character control and repetition, passion for or against, focusing on different elements, feeling like a young boy, introduction to the game, the spice shop of little boys, economical storytelling, recognizability, space occupied by the character, environment as character, lack of player agency in the camera, showing the player the environment, what does the camera want me to know, camera as drama/emotion rather than mechanic, spiraling up and down, dream sequence, greasy oily shadows, language barrier between them and to the user, usability issues, lack of instruction on the controls, contextual R1, press and hold, tenderness and humaneness, mechanical connection, assuming responsibility, inverse kinematics, animating the character to IK to solve problems, balancing fidelity and responsiveness, impact of the game on game developers, giving permission to try different things, game dev economics, separating Yorda from the inanimate, press R1 to feel emotion, set dressing plausibility and mystery, non-interactable stuff, passive interactions, consistency in interactability, overtelling and lore, moral questions, trophy hunting, soaking it in, robot testing, various automated tests in AAA dev, that one time* we blew it, why we blew it, breakout success of Myst.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Mafia III, The Last Guardian, Fumito Ueda, Shadow of the Colossus, Devil May Cry, Halo, Silent Hill 2, Metal Gear Solid 2, MGS 4, Pikmin, Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance, Luigi's Mansion, Hideki Kamiya, Platinum Games, Capcom, Konami, Max Payne, Hitman 2, System Shock 2, King Kong, Jessica Lange, The Arrival, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy IX, Legend of Zelda, Tomb Raider series, Journey, Velvet Underground, Prince of Persia, Sony, Jesse Harlin, Don DeLillo, Zero K, @TheHanna, TIE Fighter, Reed Knight, Darren Johnson, Bethesda Game Studios, Starfighter, Microsoft, Noel Llopis, Cameron Hass, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, Myst series, Riven, Uru, Obduction, LucasArts, Sierra, The 7th Guest, Curse of Monkey Island**, The Room, The Witness, Cthulhu.

Noel Llopis, Monkey Testing

Next time:
Finish Ico!

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub

* not one time
** I said Monkey 4, but this is the game I actually meant.

Jan 11, 2017

Welcome to a special interview episode examining 1994's Star Wars classic TIE Fighter. We welcome Larry Holland and discuss the overall arc of his career building games for LucasArts and specifically TIE Fighter. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.


Podcast breakdown:
0:31       Interview with Larry Holland
1:05:53  Break
1:06:21  Outro/Next time

Issues covered: early career, educational background and focus in anthropology, love of history, military simulation, World War II trilogy, shift to IBM PC, CGA->EGA graphics, reliving history from both sides and controversy, life and death struggles, manuals to support games, combat focus vs flight/avionics focus, switching to a fictional history, quiet around the Star Wars property, moving to 3D from rotating and scaling sprites, adding a 2D cinematic engine, film "history," reflecting the environment as an attempt to be immersive, WWII air combat speeds and gun camera footage vs BVR fighting, life-and-death and pilot knowledge, craft systems management, challenging players with choices, situational awareness, adding mission complexity driving specialized targeting commands, managing franchise complexity, site targeting, multi-level goals and showing players what they were, completion fanatics, origin of the level editor, "beware of the designer's second game," sleeping at Kerner, turning QA into mission designers, learning how to build games while building games, building behaviors, orders and choreography, the agent of the Emperor, a secret society, moral grayness vs the stark black and white, partisan politics and points of view, discussion of what's next and focus.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Totally Games, Reed Knight, Darren Johnson, Super Zaxxon, HESWare, Noah Falstein, Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken, PHM Pegasus, Strike Fleet, Battlehawks 1942, Their Finest Hour ("BoB"), Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe ("SWotL"), Falcon series, Spectrum Holobyte, F-16, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Timothy Zahn, Peter Lincroft, Ed Kilham, John Glenn, Halo, David Wessman, David Maxwell, Rogue One, The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt, SW Republic Commando, Phil Rosehill, Super Metroid at AGDQ, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Fumito Uedo, The Last Guardian, Team Ico/genDesign, Japan Studio, Loco Roco, Patapon, From Software, Demons's Souls, Echochrome, Gravity Rush, Tokyo Jungle, Puppeteer, Knack.

Next time:
We begin Ico! Play up until you have passed the Windmill.

Awesome Games Done Quick

Shall We Play A Game? GOTY episode

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub

Jan 4, 2017

Welcome to a bonus episode examining 1994's Star Wars classic TIE Fighter. We welcome two guests, Reed Knight and Darren Johnson, who worked in QA on the original titles and co-led the QA team on the Collector's Edition. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

TTAJ: 14:24

Podcast breakdown:
0:29        Interview segment
1:10:00   Break
1:10:22   Outro, Next time

Issues covered: Tim introduces QA as a discipline, Reed self-introduction, QA being in start credits of Full Throttle, Tim's interviews, Darren self-introduction, early history of Reed and Darren in QA, games that are fun to test months in, score competition, day in the life of a tester, bug entry process, having only one computer for entering bugs, "anti-speed runs," thinking in terms of triggers or events, gluing events together, getting the editor and looking for bugs, finding voice lines that had never fired in original TIE Fighter, finding bugs that weren't literally visible in-game, non-crash "A" bugs, Reed disputes Brett's account of an "A" bug, Darren defeating Darth Vader, best gaming moments, the lengths you go to to break a game, "SUM PIN TO DO," missing a bug because you haven't gone far enough, fighting for bugs on behalf of the player, suggesting technical solutions from QA, healthy tension between departments, "upstairs," Kerner Blvd, adversarial advocacy vs. regulatory capture, maintaining objectivity, balancing games from test, lead tester importance as ship date looms, maintaining loyalty to the QA team, turning to the Dark Side, getting QA consensus, "once a tester always a tester," humility vs arrogance, direct discussion with testers, every 1000th bug, golden age, free range testing, working on a platform title (due to license holder requirements), compatibility, quantity of bugs in modern day, playing console manufacturers off against one another, day one patches, usability issues, playing XvT co-op as former QA, TuneIn and Amazon Echo.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Rogue One, Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear, Emperor Zurg, Dark Forces, Full Throttle, Tim Schafer, Metal Warriors, Big Sky Trooper, Jedi Knight, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Stormfront Studios, Eragon, Don Daglow, Smithsonian, Leap Frog, Duke Grabowski, Bill Tiller, Gene Mocsy, Hal Barwood, Zelda, Indiana Jones Desktop Adventures, Yoda Stories, Afterlife, Day of the Tentacle, Dave Grossman, Mad Otter Games, Disney, Brian Kemp, Larry Holland, Totally Games, Dan Connors, Mark Cartwright, The Last Starfighter, Fallout 3, Todd Howard, Daron Stinnett, Starfighter, Brett Tosti, Galactic Battlegrounds, Battle for Naboo, Obi-Wan, Bill Roper, Tim Cain, Bethesda Game Studios, Nintendo 64, Shadows of the Empire, Livia Knight, Telltale Games, Sean Clark, Tabitha Tosti, Battlehawks 1942, Their Finest Hour, Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, Ico, Fumito Ueda, BlueTieCasual.

Next time: Interview with Larry Holland!

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub