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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: September, 2017
Sep 27, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are in our third in a series of episodes about 1994's X-COM: UFO Defense. We talk about our plans of attack for the game, whether the game is reacting to our plans, and how sim games make an argument. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Who even knows anymore?

Podcast breakdown:
0:31 Game discussion
39:19 Break
39:45 Feedback/email

Issues covered: Tim's death of dysentery, Tim's approach and Brett's approach, reserving time for opportunity fire, how time units scale, ranking soldiers and hierarchy, mastery of sims, taking down a much larger UFO, is it dynamically scaling?, algorithms and tables, board game systems, complexity from simplicity, how a simulation makes an argument, visibility of rules and systems, how X-COM promotes anxiety, lack of telegraphing, wasting a player's time, the RNG and drama, strategy and planning and percentages, entertainment vs anxiety, do aliens panic?, flocking/herding/schooling behaviors, learning the AI's rules, looking forward to a modern version, exploits vs learning behaviors, empowerment of setting a trap, naming your troops and telling stories about them, streaming's impacts on games development, increasing player customization as a means of authoring, MOBAs as streaming games, shooters having difficulty crossing over, randomness in games, rewarding success because of the possibility of failure, RNG and the level layout, accessibility vs complexity and depth, transparency and mystery, over-indexing on accessibility working against aesthetics, diving deeper into games, thinking ahead to making a sim game of my own.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Oregon Trail, Ken Levine, Pandemic, Sim City, Mario vs Rabbids, Sid Meier, Randy Quaid, Johan Huizinga, Pac-Man, Clint Hocking, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Ubisoft, Super Mario World, Final Fantasy IX, Dan Hunter, The X-Files, Julian Gollop, RebelStar Raiders, Laser Squad, Dark Souls, Guernsey College (of Further Education), No One Lives Forever, Warcraft, Edge of Tomorrow, Player Unknown's BattleGrounds, Minecraft, Nuclear Throne, Vlambeer, Forza, Overwatch, Lucas Rizoli, D&D, Invisible Inc, World of Warcraft, Spelunky, Bjorn Johannson, Firaxis, GTA III, Recettar, Receiver, Surgeon Simulator, Reed Knight, Trespasser, Jurassic Park, Far Cry, Civilization, Michael Sew, Hitman 2, Hitman 2016.

BrettYK: 1
TimYK: 45

Next time:
Finish the game? (Narrator: They will not finish the game.)

Links:
https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2017/07/05/no-one-will-sell-no-one-lives-forever-so-lets-download-it/

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

Sep 20, 2017

That week, the Dev Game Club podcast welcomes special guest Ken Levine, founder of Irrational Games and designer/writer of System Shock 2! Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:33     Intro
1:50      Early days of SS2 and Irrational
31:33    Break 1
31:57    SS2 World-building, design, future
1:17:16   Break 2
1:17:29  Quick note about next episode

Issues covered: "Shock" prototype, Looking Glass relationship and Ken's early career there, Irrational Games beginning, business structure, imagining your audience and what you'd like to make, fingering .plan files, emergence and immersion, simulation, persistent world, personal ownership of experience, engine strengths and weaknesses, making fish stew, the benefits of constraints and happy accidents, polish, sense of place, naturalism in a science fiction setting, making the most of minimalism, turning a weakness into a strength, economical design, race track design/nooks and crannies, lack of time for level review, "spreading the butter thinner over the bread," elevator as storage chest, balancing, player skill vs. character skill, the "genius of the novice," story influences and groundedness, leaning on the audio space, writing towards the voices you have, bringing everything you have to the party, single-player squad shooters, letting people figure things out, crunchier design, the pendulum of accessibility, dealing with player frustration as a resource, what next

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Paul Neurath, Looking Glass, Jon Chey, Rob Fermier, Apocalypse Now, Dark Engine, Thief, EA, Origin, Se7en, Doug Church, The Magnificent Seven, Star Trek: Voyager, Hideo Kojima, Eric Brosius, Dorian Hart, Insomniac Games, Naughty Dog, Star Wars, System Shock 1, John Carmack, Ultima Underworld, Choplifter, Defender, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Might and Magic series, Doom, Warren Spector, Bethesda Game Studios, Quake, Todd Howard, Fallout 3, Skyrim, The Division, Republic Commando, GTA series, Starfighter, Terra Nova, Roberta Williams, Alien/Aliens, Kemal Amarasingham, Stephen Russell, Terry Brosius, Courtnee Draper, Sean Vanaman/Jake Rodkin, Firewatch/Campo Santo, Bioshock, Freedom Force, SWAT 4, Tribes Ascend, The Lost, Firaxis Games, Minecraft, Dark Souls, Don't Starve, Fallout 4, Left 4 Dead, Battlezone, Austin Grossman.

Next time:
Hitman 2: Beginning through level 4

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

Sep 13, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are in our third in a series of episodes about 1994's X-COM: UFO Defense. We talk about the ways in which procedural generation and written generation interact a bit, as well as detailing our playthrought a bit. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
In theory, 6 months

Podcast breakdown:
0:38 X-COM segment
35:05 Break
35:35 Feedback segment

Issues covered: opportunity fire cost, reserve time units, how much things cost, how we did on our goals, Brett starting over and why, researching yourself into a whole, games are a a series of interesting decisions, what are we willing to live with, difficulty knowing how you're doing, failure conditions, Tim's rocket launcher opener, alien mental effects, tile generation algorithm for terror attacks vs downed UFOs, procedural generation at its best, an engine for wonderful moments, tuning procedural generation, multiple states for tiles, persisted state of tiles, telling a story via your swath of destruction, screaming deaths of civilians, center of the UFOs, determining when to reload a save, procedural vs written content (e.g. tech trees), Brett's base management, how does science and research work, Monty Haul problem, providing two ways of thinking about/explaining a problem, psychology in game design, tricks in game design, board game popularity.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Sid Meier, Civilization (series), X-COM: Enemy Unknown, Darius Kazemi, Superman (obliquely), Ryan, Giant BeastCast, Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahnemann, Bobby Oster, PlaneScape Torment, Final Fantasy Tactics, Super Mario World, Bloodborne, Warcraft, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Amy Hennig, Half-Life, Uncharted, Ogre Battle 64, Advance Wars, Tomb Raider, Eric Shields, Kotaku, X-COM: The Bureau, 2K Marin, Republic Commando, Jennifer Scheurle, Starfighter, Nathan Martz, Halo (obliquely), Andrew, Mario + Rabbids, Hearthstone, Pit People, Transistor, Armello, Antihero, Hare & Tortoise, Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Qwirkle, Susan McKinley Ross, Chris Ross, Dungeons & Dragons, World of Warcraft, Blade Runner, Star Wars, Pandemic: Legacy, JackBox Party Pack, Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, Apples to Apples, You Don't Know Jack.

BrettYK: 0
TimYK: 44

Links:
Kotaku article: http://kotaku.com/game-developers-explain-some-of-their-favorite-ways-to-1798749279
Board game stuff:
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/25/board-games-internet-playstation-xbox
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/crowdfunding-is-driving-a-196-million-board-game-renaissance/
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9bkj7z/rise-of-board-games
https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/38121/tabletop-games-driving-2017-kickstarter-growth

Next time:
In theory, a year?

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

Sep 6, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are beginning a series of episodes about 1994's X-COM: UFO Defense. This week, we talk about terror attacks, game tension, gratification, and a bit of base management. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A few hours past the first ground mission

Podcast breakdown:
0:38 Segment 1
41:18 Break
41:47 Feedback

Issues covered: managing the clock speed, difficulty of the game and having to get better, failure screens, terror attacks, meeting different alien types, starting over again and getting more ground missions, learning the dynamics of covering one another, being unable to understand line of sight, infiltrating an UFO, contributions to tension, researching tech tracks, being unable to capture an alien alive, the use of radar dishes, recruiting scientists and soldiers, base building, the research loop and discovering what's out there, weapon lists, no storage of time units, energy costs, soldier stats, deep management, saving mid-ground mission, AI difficulty balance towards fairness, developing difficulty more towards numbers changes than behavioral ones, real-time flight combat, finance game, QAing a game like this, QA and developer skill and having trouble identifying how difficult to make your game, gratification of mastery or partial mastery, pin and fork moves in chess, fire propagation, learning how to use grenades, losing bodies and artifacts to grenades, alien deployment curve, tutorials, incorporating lessons without folks knowing they're being taught, underestimating tutorial building time, taking your time to build skills over multiple small levels, layering in simulation.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Twilight Zone: To Serve Man, The Naked Gun, TIE Fighter, Fallout, Cryptosporidium-137, Destroy All Humans!, Nintendo, Ultima, Super Mario World, Julian and Nick Gollop, Reed Knight, Darren Johnson, John Yorke, Half-Life, Halo, Republic Commando, Starfighter, System Shock 2, charles F. george, minatorrent, Final Fantasy IX, Nickname_Placeholder, Aaron Evers, Ducky Shirt.

BrettYK: 1
TimYK: 73

Next time:
Play six months

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

1