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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: August, 2017
Aug 30, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are beginning a series of episodes about 1994's X-COM: UFO Defense. This week, we set the game in its historical context and discuss the beginning of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through first ground mission

Podcast breakdown:
0:38       X-Com Segment
1:06:28  Break
1:06:51  Feedback segment

Issues covered: business model of early Wizardry, DOS Box, perils of the back catalog, 1994 in games, turn-based games history, war gaming, X-Com as shorthand and a genre definer, tutorial in the manual, pure sim, "Suit up son, you're going to Mars," tracking your first UFO, placing your first base, destroying your base and losing the money, simulation depth, usability issues, getting outrun by UFOs, don't shoot it down over water, placing your base in Australia, air combat, time units as primary resource, line of sight, random number generation and probability, managing player expectations, switching from math to psychology, how we've used probability over time in design, nailbiting moments when the RNG goes your way, end of month ratings, Tim loses, high skill and exploration.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Wizardry, The Witcher (series), Mass Effect, Ultima, Bard's Tale, Night Dive Studios, Meridian 59, No One Loves Forever, Julian Gollop, Super Metroid, TIE Fighter, Warcraft, Final Fantasy VI, Doom ][, Earthbound, Earthworm Jim, System Shock, Heretic, Megaman X2, Jazz Jackrabbit, Master of Magic, Beneath a Steel Sky, Burn Cycle, Richard LeMarchand, Fallout, D&D, Avalon Hill, Axis & Allies, Chris Crawford, Eastern Front, TankTics, Koei, SSI, Panzer Strike, Laser Squad, Mario vs Rabbids, Firaxis Games, Jake Solomon, Klei, Invisible Inc, Oxygen Not Required, LucasArts, Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, Chess, Nintendo, Famicom Wars, Gameboy Wars, Advance Wars, Jagged Alliance, Panzer Generals, Final Fantasy Tactics, Castlevania, Chainmail, Gary Gygax, Star Trek, Morgan Gray, Ron Gilbert, Ken Shoemake, Civ II, Dunkirk, Sid Meier, Oblivion, Skyrim, Ross Hadden, Super Mario (series: World/Sunshine/64/Galaxy), Ben Zaugg, Jason Schreier, SNES Classic, Redwunder, Idle Thumbs, Important If True, ChrisLaBs, scootermm, Micus_Ficus, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Ausy19, Kotaku Splitscreen, Spirit Tracks, Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds.

BrettYK: 5
TimYK: 60

Next time:
A few hours more

Correction: I believe the "Suit up, son, you're going to Mars" quote actually came from a Mark LeBlanc talk. DGC regrets the error.

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

Aug 23, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we currently playing 1991's Super Mario World. This week, we finish Super Mario World and talk about our takeaways, including some deep dives into modern design sensibilities and constraints. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
To End of Super Mario World!

Podcast breakdown:
0:37    SMW Discussion
44:19  Break
44:57  Feedback/Next time


Issues covered: Bowser's Castle, introducing mechanics in a critical path way, picking up the mecha-Koopas and tossing them onto Bowser's head, relentless pace of new stuff, player-motivated triggering of boss state, boss patterns, using Yoshi (or not), timer platforms, setting your own goals then and now, speedrunning origins, milking more out of levels by choices, keeping people interested via new level design tricks, expense limiting new gimmicks and reinforcing reuse, abandoning the lessons of the past, production realities, combinatorial depth, great base rule set where adding single elements extend in surprising ways, virtuous cycle of exploration and mechanical depth, RPG-ification of games, achievements, intrinsic vs extrinsic rewards, turning off notifications, notification and FOMO, achievements and the platform ecosystem, trading cards, Switch voip weirdness, focusing on the games, collecting every category in Breath of the Wild, tension-based enemy design, finding the rhythm in jumps, playing off up vs down, Eastern design sensibilities, yin/yang, opposition in Eastern design, subtractive vs additive design, punishing mechanics, save states against learning/mastery, apocalypse in Hyrule, lock/key vs player expression in Breath of the Wild, Mario as theater, variance among early Mario games, Luigi through the years, theater and games, comics, VHS of Legend of Zelda, cyclical nature of games, web of games, text adventures and scores.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Justin Timberlake, Sonic Mania, SEGA, Legend of Zelda (series), Shadow of the Colossus, Starcraft II, Half-Life, Warcraft, Mario (3D games), Giant Bomb, Breath of the Wild, Chris Hecker, Sony, Microsoft, Steam, Origin, UbiSoft, GOG, Switch, Ratchet and Clank, Pikmin, Shigeru Miyamoto, Jonathan DeLuca, Game Informer, Tacoma, Halo, Bjorn Johansson, Star Wars (obliquely), Inception, Mario RPGs, Mike Vogt, Super Mario All-Stars, Cameron Daxon, Sleep No More, True West, Sam Shepard, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Real Thing, Tom Stoppard, Gone Home, The Scottish Play, Punch Drunk, The Antenna Theater, Kublai Khan, The Dark Knight Returns, Vertigo Comics, Wonder Woman, Nick Tapalansky, Skyrim, Ultima, Wizardry, Bard's Tale, Final Fantasy IX.

BrettYK: 3
TimYK: 67

Interstitial Music from OCRemix.org, artist N4L4

Links:
Peach-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen!

Next time:
Ultima III, Wizardry III, Bard's Tale "Introductions"

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

Aug 16, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we currently playing 1991's Super Mario World. This week, we talk about how the difficulty of the game more and how it interacts with the exploration of the space. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.


Sections played:
Through the Forest of Illusion

Podcast breakdown:
0:33 Segment 1 (SMW Discussion)
34:35 Break
35:11 Feedback

Issues covered: finding a key, picking things up mechanic, directing the player, repeating use of mechanics, picking up and placing objects, difficulty controlling the cape, progression of mechanical complexity, building on fundamentals, doing new things with hardware, similarity of modern consoles and PCs, meta infrastructure, controller changes over time, what do you add and remove with sequels, serving old fans vs serving new fans, helping you to be a completist, incentive to explore, discouraging exploration, exploration and requirement for high skill, lag in the Wii and switching to emulation, mastery as a design choice, user experience of difficulty, joy of playing as an incentive, "every level you find is a gift," precision of Mario play, lack of collectibles as proof of mastery, seeing other games in Nintendo games, the picture of Brett in Nintendo World HQ, taking Yoshi or the cape through every level, getting corrected on lore, retconning the lore, trying to make sense of long series, films and world-building, disconnected ("title-related") series, paying down the Wii points, alternate reality games, adventure games being dead, archiving server-based games, appreciating the fleeting experience, Jen's Majestic experience, reflecting on the podcast through a review, eavesdropping mission in Thief II, user experience in literature/theater/film/comics/etc, different every time, role-playing vs boss battles.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Star Wars Starfighter, Prey, Dark Souls, Breath of the Wild, Assassin's Creed, Shadow of the Colossus, Metroid (series), Tomb Raider, Halo, Super Meat Boy, Wolfenstein 3D, Skyrim, New Super Mario Bros 2, Link Between Worlds, Ben Zaugg, Mighty Joe Young, King Kong, The Giant BeastCast, Skyward Sword, Marvel Cinematic Universe, John Wick 2, James Bond, Casino Royale, Final Fantasy (series), Wizardry (series), Ultima (series), The Witcher (series), Metal Gear (series), C. J. Zimmerman, Super Princess Peach, Chrono Trigger, In Memorium, mym1nd, Blade Runner, Eternal Darkness, Discworld (series), Reed Knight, Majestic, The Black Watchmen, The Secret World, Antioch Scarlet Bay, Republic Commando, Computer Gaming World, Andrew Kirmse, Meridian 59, Chris Kirmse, 3D0, Star Wars Galaxy, The Matrix Online, Giant Bomb, KaiN - if that's my real name, Half-Life, mjwaz, AddictArts, DocBrutals, Soul Reaver, DreamCast, Thief II: The Metal Age, Looking Glass, System Shock 2, Ken Levine, Ultima Underworld, Origin Systems, Deus Ex, Warren Spector, Dishonored, Raph - some artist guy, Diablo II, Final Fantasy IX, True West, Daron Stinnett, Hitman 2, Tacoma, @giant_rat/Ficus.

BrettYK: 6
TimYK: 52

Side note: What the heck is a "pedi-stool"?

Correction: Super Princess Peach was a Nintendo DS title.

Links:
Bananas and Gigantism

Next time:
Finish the game!

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

Aug 9, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are taking a quick break from our Super Mario World series. This week, we talk in person about the first couple of hours of Breath of the Wild. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
First couple of hours of Breath of the Wild

Podcast breakdown:
0:39     Seg1: BotW
34:10   Break
34:42   Seg2: Feedback

Issues covered: setting up mics, how Zelda is it?, influence from other games, Shrine "modules" and puzzle rooms, pinning spots on the map vs being shown on a map as space is uncovered, lack of metagame (cheevos), checklist approach to design, world design problems with line of sight, ordering of challenges/dungeons, running into different Zelda elements, do things relate to the macro quest, tackling Ganon immediately, tilting towards exploration, materiality of the world, climbing perfection, masters of contextual animation, player engagement via many inputs, player skills, designing to the controller, mapping the N64 controller, influences, the difficult of mixing ideas, technology vs magic, Guardians in prior Zelda games, a new generation of Nintendo designers, lighting things on fire, speedrunning report, number of exits in SMW levels, jailbreaking SMW, Cheese Bridge, save state, identity politics in Mario games, damsel in distress trope, video game characters being defined by what they do or can't do, getting into game development, game jam to meet people, make a thing all the way through, difficulty with just the jump button, reaching for higher level mechanics to adapt to difficulty, choosing hardware to support game design, making things too difficult because you could load, save states changing psychology, streaming data changing design, bigger and lazier games with save everywhere.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Twilight Zone, Jennifer Lopez, Tacoma, Link to the Past, A Link Between Worlds, Wind Waker, Minecraft, Portal, Assassin's Creed, Miasmata, Bethesda Game Studios, UbiSoft, PS3/Xbox 360, The Witcher 3, Disneyland, Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, Wayne Cline, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Nick Pavis, Soul Reaver, Tomb Raider, Ultima (series), Patrick Hollemann, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Super Mario 64, Ray Gresko, Firefox, Clint Eastwood, DLC podcast, Jeremy Fisher, SNES Classic, Shadow of the Colossus, Halo (series), Alien, The Last Guardian, DarkSiders, Prey, Desmond Miles, Star Trek, Hayao Miyazaki, Shigeru Miyamoto, Super Mario Odyssey, Phil Rosehill, Andy Laso, Patty/pcull44444, James Roberts, Jason Schreier, Michael Sew, SethBling, Red Dead Redemption, Sleeping Dogs, Rob ot, King Kong, Chris Suellentrop, New York Times, Mario Run, Super Mario Galaxy, Mickey Mouse, Stefan Soc, Unreal Engine, TIGSource, iOS, Steam, Space Invaders, Edwin Crump, Dark Souls, Super Mario Bros 3, Brian Taylor, Myst, Shadows of the Empire, Half-Life 2, NES Classic, God of War, Super Meat Boy, The Game Informer Show, Ben Hanson.

Next time:
Through the Forest of Illusion!

Links:
Swordless Zelda : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSkrK0-EIVY
96 Exit Race : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajPjBaG3p5c
Super Mario World - Credits Warp in 5:59.6 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14wqBA5Q1yc
Jailbreaking Super Mario World: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixu8tn__91E
Sullentrop article: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/22/opinion/super-mario-runs-not-so-super-gender-politics.html?_r=0


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

Aug 2, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we currently playing 1991's Super Mario World. This week, we talk in more depth about the level design and the ways in which its open nature influences difficulty. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Vanilla Dome

Podcast breakdown:
0:29     Game discussion
48:10   Break
48:50   Feedback

Issues covered: In-depth discussion of saxophones, respecting the game as a work of art, potential tech issues, character momentum, ways in which 3D platformers might be different, preparing for a run, mental state for play and muscle memory, player physics, going back and forth in a level, the ghost levels, how Brett preps for a run, Brett learns thing that Tim doesn't, having levels you can't get past and then the next one being easy, frustration with reaction time, Nintendo design pillars, combining elements for complexity and depth, introduction of mechanics in Donut 3, onboarding players/teaching without them knowing, what is the Nintendo practice to tune these levels?, being prepared for a level rather than coming in fresh, learning through failure and accident, imitating Nintendo but not doing it well, visual fidelity, learning through failure as a trope, our decisions should make the players' lives easy (regardless of the cost to us), "fun does not mean challenge," no room for error, "digital failure," high-lethality shooters and skill, blaming yourself and getting frustrated, overworld, making certain things necessary to prepare for because of the overworld, balancing the game around an ability, getting your money's worth, multiple paths and having your mind blown, hint lines, not being a phone person, help line as crunch, ROM hacks, why not a 3D platformer.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Edward Herrmann, The Lost Boys, Koji Kondo, Link to the Past, Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Super Mario Bros, Super Mario World 2, Rayman Legends, Half-Life, Cave Story, New Super Mario Bros, Super Metroid, Breath of the Wild, Shigeru Miyamoto, Valve, Blizzard, Demons's Souls, Tomb Raider, Todd Howard, Bethesda Game Studios, Rogue Spear, LEC-Quake, Patrick Holleman, Anthony Halderman, GTA series, James Roberts, LucasArts, Alexander Graham Bell, Wizard and the Princess, Sierra, Apple ][, Mario Maker, Eric Anderson, Mario 64, Mario Odyssey, System Shock.

BrettYK: 8
TimYK: 37

Interstitial Music by djpretzel, find him at OCRemix.org
Outgoing music by Ficus/@giant_rat

Links:
Patrick Holleman's link 1 and link 2
Super Panga World 

Next time:
Through the Forest of Illusion!

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

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