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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: October, 2017
Oct 25, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are just beginning a new and shorter series on Silent Hill 2. We set the game in its time period, and dive in quickly to the madness that brings us to that quaint little town, Silent Hill. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through the end of the apartments

Podcast breakdown:
0:37   Silent Hill 2
51:15 Break
51:45 Feedback

Issues covered: revisiting our interview with Julian Gollop, Julian's mum, PlayStation 2 year one, dividing the critical audience with The Room, Konami firing Kojima and turning to other industry, Tim not knowing what the game was, campiness of Resident Evil, walking through the apartments in the dark, the fog and short draw distance, how the game starts, elegant narrative, putting you in the mind of the protagonist, grief, "early walking simulator," immediate tension and danger, psychological thriller and horror elements, the camera -- fixed vs semi-fixed, build-up of tension, no cognitive dissonance between player and character, id/ego/superego, economy of design, bold choices in controls, intention through controls, audio terror and musical stingers, PlayStation technology, fog particles and fill rate, interior darkness, Tim's television environment, complicity, bloody footprints, jump scares in RE vs knowing something's coming (via the radio), learning through failure with a jump scare, Riddle Difficulty, lock and key puzzles, Harry Mildred Scott, case of canned juice, examining objects, save game representation, red handkerchiefs, Pyramid Head's blood and gore, psychosexuality, the enemies with the legs top and bottom, Pyramid Head as Id, Ego in James hiding from the Id, fear of confronting the primal, contra Nemesis or other RE enemies, the other characters, hallway reuse, description of PT, difficulty and usability, building a game for yourselves, wider demographics, more conservative finances, maintaining the young perspective, finding the right difficulty for your goals, size of the space in Souls games, Silent Hill remaster, some technical concerns, horror is about what you can't see, emulating the original experience, streaming stuff over the web, playing on a CRT, having a lot to respond to, layering in unexpected variables in X-COM, picking classics, the stuff that sticks with you, the complexity of the Oblivion leveling system, Skyrim as aspirational leveling system.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Julian Gollop and the Gollop family, Fallout, Konami, Ico, GTA III, Metal Gear Solid 2, Jak & Daxter, Twisted Metal Black, Max Payne, Black & White, Halo, Silent Hill series, Team Silent, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Sam Barlow, Her Story, Silent Hills, Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro, PT, Resident Evil, Pink Gorilla, Twin Peaks, Stephen King, Alan Wake, Jacob's Ladder, Freud, God of War, Amnesia, Sega, Nintendo, Microsoft, Star Wars: Starfighter, Koei, Square, Capcom, Alone in the Dark, Gollum, Ingmar Bergman, Halloween, Michael Keane, Ashley Riot, Vagrant Story, Super Mario World, Oblivion, Skyrim, Dark Souls, Demons's Souls, X-COM, Wayne Cline, Dmitry Pirag, Organ Quarter, Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics, PlayStation Now, Cameron Hass, Final Fantasy IX, Planescape: Torment, Shadow of the Colossus, TIE Fighter, Phantasmagoria, Civilization, Final Fantasy VII, Icewind Dale, Baldur's Gate.

BrettYK: 4 1/2
TimYK: 46

Links:
Brett on difficulty 

Next time:
Up to the Labyrinth

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

Oct 18, 2017

Welcome to this special bonus interview episode of Dev Game Club, where we welcome Julian Gollop into X-COM Base Provolone for a chat. We delve into the genesis of the game, how a publisher saved the game and itself, and many other topics surrounding the development of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:41       Gollop Interview
1:05:20  Break
1:05:50  Next time

Issues covered: Julian's ludography, genesis of X-COM, adding isometric rendering, Microprose's demands of the Gollops, interceptions, bolting on a strategic layer atop the tactical model, having more intelligent aliens and reverse engineering, men in black not making it in, intrapublisher competition, tabletop boardgaming and influence, miniature wargaming, simultaneous movement games, division of labor, geoscape rendering, going to the pub with the producer, getting canceled and not knowing about it, being developed under the radar, QA standing up for the game, working in-house, seeing through the cruft, advancing the alien agenda (mission counts), scaling difficulty, game not being played through before ship, small QA team, adding a difficulty scaling system last-minute, the save game bug, enjoying a simulation of intelligence (of an alien nature), how the alien tech tree works, deployment tables for mission types, save-scumming, theorizing about the difficulty curve, difficulty as draw and happy accidents, "When gamers were gamers," QA as a critical team element, explicit research goals, research as storytelling, procedural generation of level tile placement, descriptions of Phoenix Point, 4X with a declining population, explicit story, the Phoenix Project.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: 2010, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Mythos Games, X-COM (series), Laser Squad, Lords of Chaos, RebelStar (series), Codo Technologies, Laser Squad Nemesis, UbiSoft, Snapshot Games, Microprose UK, Stephen Hand, Civilization, Gerry Anderson, UFO (TV series), Thunderbirds, Space: 1999, Alien Liaison, Timothy Good, Bob Lazar, Squad Leader, Sniper, SPI, RoboRally, John Reitze, Martin Smiley, Spectrum Holobyte, Chris Blohm, Final Fantasy IX, X-COM: Apocalypse, Phoenix Point, Dark Souls, John Broomhall, HP Lovecraft, Cthulhu, FIG, Fallout, Tim Cain, EA, Sid Meier, John Carpenter, The Thing, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Link Between Worlds, Wasteland II, The Evil Within.

BrettYK: 0
TimYK: 43

Links:
Phoenix Point

UFO television series


Next time:
Silent Hill 2 - check Twitter for how far we'll go

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

Oct 11, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are quickly going over the beginning of X-COM: Enemy Unknown. Surprisingly, although we both liked it, we preferred the original. Stockholm Syndrome? Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
The first couple hours

Podcast breakdown:
0:39    Discussion of Enemy Unknown
35:53  Break
36:24  Feedback and reviews

Issues covered: Firaxis's recent history, preferring the original, investment bias, hitting a stride in the original, usability improvements, holding your hand a bit, flowchart for learning stuff, complete hand-holding, constant camera cutting, a lot of loss of drama, dynamic cameras, camera cutting and immersion, base management, playing the original right next to the remake, playing chess, the rules you make up for yourself, reducing squad size, increasing depth, subclassing characters, ability trees, how do you determine what class a guy should be, tactical improvements due to classing, reducing the time unit complexity, more intuitive opportunity fire and movement, streamlining and removing the jazz improvisation, how far do you streamline?, discrete time units, making a game more shallow to broaden the audience, being explicit about the geopolitical game, board game nature of panic monitor, you can see interesting decisions coming from the geopolitical game, interesting and hard choices, having to pick one or the other, puzzle aspect of balancing choices and rewards and panic, panic and DEFCON, abstracting time management, hitting a stride with the original, Metal Gear naming, Big Boss on the Memorial Wall, getting into game development, a bit of horror discussion, games not existing in a vacuum, loss of context for the creation of art.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Star Wars (obliquely), Julian Gollop, Nick Gollop, Firaxis Games, Silent Hill 2, X-Com 2, Mario + Rabbids, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy XII, Dragon Magazine, Republic Commando, Civilization, Drake Gens, Reed Knight, TIE Fighter, Unity, Unreal, Brendan Keough, J K/Justin, RebelFM, Anthony Gallegos, Eternal Darkness, WeyounNumber6, LucasArts, Fallout, Kwakerjak, Jak & Daxter, Mozart, Lpkid641, Jason Schreier, Kotaku, Jordan Staley, Nier Automata.

BrettYK: 0
TimYK: 51

Links:
X-COM Art Direction Postmortem 

Next time:
Interview, or start Silent Hill 2? Keep an eye on the Twitter feed.

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

Oct 4, 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 wrap up our discussion of the game, covering save-scumming and difficulty, and talk about some pillars and takeaways. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Just as much as we could fit in

Podcast breakdown:
0:39     Segment 1: X-Com finale
41:51   Break
42:24   Segment 2: Pillars and feedback

Issues covered: the terror mission that kicked Tim's butt, getting under your skin, "super-gratifying," difficulty curve a bit too steep, quitting the game early, interceptor trouble, plasma clips, the United States pulling out, powered armor, aliens I have seen, experimentation and determining enemy behavior rules, negative connotation of save-scumming, fairness, save-scumming to survive, aggressive play, discovery and save-scumming, setting up the second playthrough, smoke inhalation, planning around the 88% shot, forcing improvisation, figuring out elevations and other rules for line of sight, pacing and rhythm and controls, waiting on research and manufacture, endless learning curve, sending out the rookies to die, how medkits work, motion scanner use, the first two turns, flanking more, chain reactions, multilayered interdependent systems at the tactical level, having to deliver on the tactical combat, alien autopsies, player-driven stories, escalation of the game, invasion story to counter-invasion story, wish fulfillment of being a government bureaucrat, "they said yes to a lot of things," generosity in game design, scaling generosity because it's a sim, why games didn't incorporate time in calculations, Bad Designer No Twinkie, modding in games, unique ability of games to mod, why Vagrant Story is so good, restoring Brett's blog, horror games,

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Alien, Metal Gear, Casablanca, Blade Runner*, Laser Squad, Temple of Elemental Evil**, Troika, Arcanum, Final Fantasy Tactics, Mario + Rabbids, Far Cry 2, Rogue Spear, Rainbox Six, Zelda: Link Between Worlds, Ghostbusters, Rube Goldberg, Republic Commando, V: The Miniseries, Morgan Gray, Super Mario World, Nick Faulhaber, Dungeon Keeper, Ernest Adams, GamaSutra, Joao Vitor Bispo Galvao, Planescape: Torment, OpenXCOM, System Shock 2, Firaxis, Just Cause 2, Skyrim, Thomas the Tank Engine, Patrick Holleman, Losstarot, Kotaku: Splitscreen, Final Fantasy XII, Vagrant Story, Yasumi Matsuno, Dark Souls, Devil May Cry, JQ (yes, that's my real name), Resident Evil, Don Delillo, Zero K, Emily Ruskovich, Idaho, Hideo Kojima, Drop 7, X-COM: Enemy Unknown, Silent Hill 2, Clock Tower, Fatal Frame, Crimson Butterfly, Amnesia, Condemned: Criminal Origins, SOMA, Cthulhu.

*Yes, I flubbed the quote, it has been quite some time.
**It was 2003 (not 2004) and I was close: it was D&D 3.5.

BrettYK: 4
TimYK: 79

Links:
OpenXCOM: https://openxcom.org/

Kickstarter for Reverse Design, Volume II: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/144457690/reverse-design-volume-two

Next time:

Guest?

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

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