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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: May, 2017
May 24, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing 1999 Black Isle classic Planescape: Torment. We talk about the end of the game and some of its pillars. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.


Sections played:
Finishing the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:37        Segment 1: End of the game
1:00:58   Break
1:01:23   Segment 2: Quick pillars, next time

Issues covered: trapped Trias, the Pillar of Skulls, how XP is dispersed, splitting between characters as a natural difficulty modifier, Tim sacrifices Morte... like some kind of monster, gibbering mouthers, returning to Curst, the Fallout vibe, fighting Trias by kiting, under-leveling for combat, possibility of being unable to finish your game, why doesn't Trias have a dialog option when his ideas are wrong-headed, Brett and Tim describe how they go through the battles, the excitement of finding the right dialog option, coming full circle, getting into the Siege Tower and creating the Entropy Blade, being overwhelmed anew, quests in the Foundry, murder mystery tour, mazes and disorientation, why Ignus if he's not in your party?, waking up with three incarnations, alignment changing, quieting the madness of the paranoid, the practical incarnation, the game as exploration of fundamental D&D tropes, how to build up your ultimate villain, return to the Blood War, all stories of the Nameless One returning to one place, branching storylines, how many endings are enough?, commitment to themes, diluting themes, attaching to particular themes vs making an argument, challenge RPG tropes, puzzles and dialog, using voice acting to establish character, voice as instrument, editing down lines, discussing the choice of next game.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: No Exit, Sartre, Encounter at Farpoint, Star Trek: TNG, Cthulhu, Fallout, The Seventh Seal (obliquely), Reed Knight, Jason Schreier, Iain M. Banks, Culture novels, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, BioShock, Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Witcher, deathsausage q, Tony Jay, Rob Paulson, Animaniacs, Mitch Pileggi, The X-Files, Sheena Easton, Jennifer Hale, Keith David, John DeLancie, Dan Castanelleta, Charles Adler, Escape from Monkey Island, Chris Avellone, Half-Life, Starcraft, Metal Gear Solid, Jeff Morris, Doom (series), Dark Forces, Valve.

Next time:
Interview with Chris Avellone

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

May 17, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing 1999 Black Isle classic Planescape: Torment. We talk about broad story beats, themes of identity and mazes, and the role of side quests, among other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Until you return to Sigil

Podcast breakdown:
0:39      PST Discussion
1:03:18 Break
1:03:51 Feedback and giveaway

Issues covered: character customization, a little chat about the big beats of the story, the weird conversation with Ravel, Brett is revealed to be a Night Hag, party configuration, character creation throughout play, the modron dungeon, the role of side quests, Deionnarra and her father, commitment to dialog and puzzles, side quests in JRPGs, wading into the lore, what strings multiple games together, the usability challenge of lore, playing rogue classes, the hybrid combat style, getting mazed by the Lady of Pain, a random encounter with a shade, how we pick games for the podcast, what we play vs what we develop, using strategy guides, shelf-level events, how you apply lessons from what you play, drawing.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Metal Gear Solid (series), Mega 64, Soul Reaver, Tony Jay, Darksiders 2, Dungeons & Dragons, Marvel, The Witcher 3, Final Fantasy (series), Baldur's Gate, World of Warcraft, LucasArts, Fallout, Tim Denton, Deus Ex, Kotaku Splitscreen, Hitman 2, Resident Evil, Fumito Ueda, The Last Guardian, TIE Fighter, Rogue One, System Shock, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Wasteland 2, Warcraft, BioWare, Secret World, Lord of the Rings Online, Daron Stinnett, Joint Strike Fighter, F-22, Tomb Raider, Jason Schreier, Kirk Hamilton, Jamie Fristrom, Link's Awakening, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, Reed Knight, SOMA, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Frictional Games, Chris Suellentrop, Tacoma, Spider-Man 2, Huizinga, Andrew-- if that is their real name, Aiemain, Bethesda Game Studios, Artorius01, Anthony Gallegos, RebelFM, Gazillion, The San Francisco Kid, Mr. Eric Anderson, Dark Horse Comics, Haden Blackman, The Force Unleashed, Mafia III, Hangar 13, 2K Games, Batwoman, Charlie Rocket.

Next time:
Finish the game

Links:
Tell everyone you're Adahn

Jason Schreier's book

Drawing:
If you are "Andrew-- if that is their name," "The San Francisco Kid," or "Mr. Eric Anderson" shoot us an email.

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

May 10, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing 1999 Black Isle classic Planescape: Torment. We talk about the usefulness of tropes (which this game mostly overturns), keeping your bearings when so much is available to you, and the uses of story and narrative to prop up underwhelming mechanics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Ravel's Maze

Podcast breakdown:
0:39 Segment 1
57:45 Break
58:17 Segment 2: Feedback/Questions

Issues covered: permutations and open maps at the Clerk's Ward, open world games, quest UIs, tuning out the journal entries, Tim second-guessing himself, Lothar stealing Morte, alphabet soup names, Brett messes up Soego's name five different ways, how tropes give you a handhold, how The Witcher uses tropes and lore, culture: you're soaking in it!, anything can open a portal, evolution of usability, the game as maze, leaning on the journal, buying up all the items in the Curiosity Shop, tedium of fetch quests, lack of mechanical interest, being enthralled to the material, designing a puzzle platformer, marrying elements together to make something stronger, object-oriented ontology, diving deep into a thing and its mechanics and limits, the audience will decide, mainly an adventure game, thin mechanics, DA:I companion quests, Fallout as a better marriage of mechanics and story, playing as a character vs playing as a player avatar, "it's barely an RPG," combat difficulty, missing hack-and-slash, PST diverging from other Infinity Engine games, more combat and more combat difficulty in IE games, Heart of Winter mode, development divergence, finding a balance of narrative people can hang on to or not, the Brothel of Intellectual Lusts, discussing high points, whose head did you get?, Soego the wererat spy, multiple needles vs multiple haystacks, getting mazed, the zombie in the Coffinmaker's shop, the Alley of Lingering Sighs, metaphorical meaning, passion in game development, programming challenges in videogame development, moving to games from applications programming, waterfall vs iterative development, opportunities in 3D art, crossover with film, designers and passion, communicating through code, seeing branching vs taking branches, story vs systems in reader feedback.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dragon Age: Inquisition, Infinity Engine, The Witcher 3, Star Trek, Memento, Baldur's Gate (series), Andrzej Sapkowski, Beauty and the Beast, Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber, Anthony Halderman, Ian Bogost, Georgia Tech, The Atlantic, soccer, Tetris, Chess, Go, What Remains of Edith Finch, Giant Sparrow, The Unfinished Swan, Naughty Dog, Nate Wells (obliquely), Portal, Thomas Was Alone, Play Anything, Icewind Dale (series), Bioware, Interplay, Fallout, Dungeons & Dragons, Darksiders, Zelda (series), Diablo, Halo (obliquely), João Vitor Bispo Galvão, Aaron Evers, John Carmack, Fargo, Starfighter, Chris Corry, Andrew Kirmse, Unreal, idTech, Timothy Homan, Final Fantasy IX, Dragon Age: Origins, Bethesda Game Studios, Kurt Strock, Chris Mead, Deus Ex, System Shock 2.

Point of Information:
Nate Wells was the Naughty Dog Lead Artist (of The Last of Us) who went to Giant Sparrow that Tim and I were trying to remember.

Next time:
Until we return to Sigil

Links:
Video Games Are Better Without Stories, Ian Bogost 

The Exceptional Beauty of Doom 3's Source Code

 

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

May 3, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing 1999 Black Isle classic Planescape: Torment. We talk about how the overwhelming nature of the beginning acts might have come about (again), Brett hits a game-breaking bug, and needles are sought in haystacks. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Ravel's Maze

Podcast breakdown:
0:43 Segment 1: PST
(2:21 Aw Jeez)
1:08:00 Break
1:08:28 Segment 2: Feedback
(1:10:10 Aw Jeez)

Issues covered: May Day, how the breadth of quests of Hive might have come about, setting a bar for development, vertical slices, tutorial levels, taking a Starfighter level to alpha, trickle-down videogame economics, proving things to the money men, playing the high intelligence character, wererats and Brett's crash bug, Brett starts over with the Enhanced Edition, the Dead Nations and the Silent King, people of interest vs points of interest, needles in haystacks, intrinsic reward vs the extrinsic reward, quest items and characters, items being forced out of inventory, "what's in the box," how much do you let players explore, usability problems, missable trophies, making a developer's life easier vs a player's life easier, dangling quests, living with consequences, wanting a grey area vs clearly telegraphing to the player, watercooler talk, Nameless as a cipher for a player, being immortal, four factions in Fallout 4 and the end game, pen and paper vs computer RPG, "it's just text," systemic and forgettable vs specific and memorable, focusing on the macro at the expense of the micro, gif/jif, specificity of character, art direction, music composition.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin, nambulous, Chris Avellone, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Beamdog Entertainment, Interplay, Obsidian, Fallout: New Vegas, Bethesda Game Studios, Skyrim, Republic Commando, Troy Mashburn, Starfighter, Harley Baldwin/White-Wiedow, Tomb Raider, Factor 5, Totally Games, Dungeons & Dragons, World of Warcraft, Fallout, It Follows, Soul Reaver, Breath of the Wild, Darksiders, Fallout 3, Mass Effect (series), Dragon Age (series), The Witcher (series), Reed Knight, Star Trek: The Next Generation (obliquely), Fallout 4, Far Cry 2, Final Fantasy (series), Jade Empire, marcus, Jesse - if that is my real name, Rorytheperson, James Taylor, Henry and June, Jen and Lia Longo, Dave Collins, Jesse Harlin, Arrrrrrjay, Fargo, Kotaku Splitscreen, Jason Schreier, Kirk Hamilton, LucasArts, Eric Johnston, Mark Blattel.

Next time:
Through Ravel's Maze

Links:
Brett appears on Kotaku/Splitscreen

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

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