Info

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.
RSS Feed
Dev Game Club
2018
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: November, 2017
Nov 29, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are in the midst of our series on 1996 3D platforming sensation Super Mario 64. Tim intros the 'cast for the first time and we discuss both macro and micro design. SM64 Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to 50 stars!

Podcast breakdown:
0:44     SM64 Segment
42:02   Break
42:33   Feedback segment

Issues covered: likening Brett to a car, increasing difficulty of stars within a hub, Brett getting all the stars for a bunch of worlds and figures out how he got there, red coin challenges, rising frustration but increasing skill, getting access to the second Bowser battle, hub and spoke structure, choices and exploration, building a sense of place by allowing players a bit of choice of which path to follow next, linearity as a review trope, sacrificing narrative for non-linearity, player choice reducing narrative urgency, abstraction of narrative helping with non-linear stories, avoiding stress and soft gating, finding stars out of order, dynamic difficulty built into design, maintaining order for consistency and communication's sake, courses as missions, wanting the clues to the other stars earlier, telling stories via stars, tagging the current star, move set with many possibilities from few inputs, triple jumping in place, gaining height, 100 coin stars, profound impact of the game, finding every way to die in Shifting Sand, adding new stuff that doesn't work as well, swimming in 3D character games, variant gameplay should be easier, the difficulty inherent in the flying controls and not making the transition well from 2D, experimentation, mods and getting in, the paintings and the world of 2D, maintaining some jankiness, leaving bugs in, giants killing you in Skyrim, adventure games and intentional blind alleys, motion sickness, being software driven vs hardware driven, gambling and children, not all characters created equal, matching loot box mechanics to the property.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Cadillac, Super Mario Odyssey, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces, Nintendo, Skyrim, Super Mario World, Super Mario Sunshine, Game Developer Magazine, Uncharted 4, Mike Reddy, Half-Life 2, Adam Griffiths, Dan Pinchbeck, The Chinese Room, Dear Esther, Logan Brown, From Software, Paper Mario, Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Super Mario 3D Land, Halo, Day of the Tentacle, Wolverine, Aaron Evers, PSVR, Vive, Oculus, The Witness, Shadow of the Colossus, Alien: Isolation, TIME Magazine, Ben Zaugg, EA, Madden, FIFA, Aaron Rodgers, Lionel Messi, Star Wars, Battlefront, Piotr/jatyoni.

Next time:
Beat Bowser (finally)!

Links:
I could not find the issue of Game Developer I wanted, but here's the magazine archive

Adam Griffiths's mod 

That One Time It's Different 

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

Nov 22, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are in the midst of our series on 1996 3D platforming sensation Super Mario 64. We talk about level design, what permits its density, and then fall into a long chat about Nintendo's innovations in controls. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
To the second Key!

Podcast breakdown:
0:33   Segment 1: SM64 Talk
43:46 Break
44:14 Segment 2: Feedback

Issues covered: whether or not Mario is a plumber, how many stars to get, "not every star is created equal," the different blocks and where you need them, roomier spaces and how level design is overlaid to have multiple goals in a single space, clarity of options but less clarity of use, gating stars based on preceding actions, underestimating the balance and tuning of the designers, progression of difficulty of the stars, best of both worlds, getting later stars by luck and the sense of discovery, quest-like nature of the stars (and did the names come first), camera setting up where you are, layering exploration in 3D and space and time to play and figure things out, analog nature of space, pulling your attention, getting through a challenge the first time (when you come back), neuroscience digressions avoided, integrating skills with time away, getting over the skills threshold, Whomp's Fortress and level design density, lessons for 3D level design, abstraction vs realism and context, basing design on mechanics and metrics, little digression of Super Mario Odyssey, the 7th star, values of each coin, finding the 7th star, mechanical depth with stealth sections, teaching the player fine motor control, designing to the controller, Wii Sports as a tech demo for the controller, teaching people to use the controller, a list of Nintendo's firsts, game makers vs toy makers, tangibility and holism and aesthetics of the total experience, taking risks with hardware, camera controls making more sense as buttons, camera attempts to work with your intentions based on Mario's facing, 8 red coin elevator and facing, discovering intentionality, partnership between player-camera-level design, mismatching level to camera, camera designers, using camera as cinematography to convey emotion but be playable, claustrophobic camera work in Tomb Raider 2013, centering the camera on a point you're circumnavigating, the first 3D platformer, the horror of children, whether AAA games are sustainable on $60 per unit cost, microtransactions in mobile, the Star Wars tax, IP secondary product monopolies, team size and content scale, boxed product cost, design against used games, closures, generation shifts, hit-driven business, pro controller, Nintendo solves my carpal tunnel problems.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Super Mario 64, Dr. Mario, Nintendo, Super Metroid, Super Mario Sunshine and Galaxy, Super Mario World, Zelda, Tetris, Super Mario Odyssey, Wii Sports, Nintendo GameCube, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo DS, GameBoy, Virtual Boy, Game & Watch, GameBoy camera and printer, WaveBird, Eternal Darkness, Remi Lacoste, Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider (2013), Ubisoft, Prince of Persia, Rise of the Tomb Raider, LonelyBob, Jumping Flash, PlayStation, Tomb Raider (1996), Johnson 'Blue' Siau, Silent Hill, Anatomy, Kitty Horrorshow, Jeremy Fischer, James Roberts, Battlefront 2, EA, Super Mario RPG, Destiny, Bungie, Activision/Blizzard, Star Wars, NFL, Halo 5: Guardians, Battlefield, LucasArts, George Lucas, Bethesda Game Studios, tj_mackey432, Game Junk podcast, Joet74, Smahimus87, X-COM, Inner Space, Fantastic Voyage.

BrettYK: 0
TimYK: 48

Next time:
To 50 Stars!

Links:
GameFAQs about Jumping Flash

Retro-style horror games from Johnson Siau

Back of envelope costs of developing a game


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

Nov 15, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are just beginning a new series on 1996 3D platforming sensation Super Mario 64. We set the game in its time and then discuss the big up-front issues, particularly the camera and how new elements and mechanics sometimes require fictional underpinnings before turning to other issues, including listener feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through the first key!

Podcast breakdown:
0:33   Segment 1: SM64 in time and initial thoughts
47:59 Break
48:28 Segment 2: Feedback

Issues covered: situating the game in 1996, cover shooters, fully integrating new mechanics, carrying forward 2D mechanics to 3D mechanics, the physics implementation, momentum and friction, 3rd person camera and control, animation control vs player control in 3D vs 2D, dust effects, shadow circle for depth perception (not realism), the hedge maze and following a rabbit to develop the camera, putting control on the player and punting on difficulty, Brett's history with 3D Mario and other 3D platformers, waiting for the camera to catch up, micromanaging the camera, centering the camera behind Mario, splitting attention with the camera and easing up on difficulty as a result, simpler levels, fictionalization of mechanics, introduction of the camera, controlling a second person, Hong Kong cinema, other examples of fictionalizing mechanics, the uses of the Force, holograms in RepComm, big transitions in games history, commitment to solving the camera, various framing with the camera, level design of camera control, Tim's OCD approach, hats, snow physics, having difficulty with the pulled out 3D, analog level design, tighter difficulty in more 2D levels, macro loop of setting you back to the hub level, knowing how much the player has played via door gating, masters of onboarding, reinforcing 3D-ness via boss battles, forgiving damage wheel, Tim's theory of red squares, red mirrors mythology, achievements from a developer perspective, optionality of achievements, console ecosystems, not usually driving development, a trend we were forced to implement, trend towards game length, pricing models, Brett's music-deafness, horror music not calling attention to itself, ambient soundtrack vs score, suspending disbelief and buying into horror combat difficulty, repetition in combat, the possibility of threat, Final Fantasy XV block mechanic, P. T. as playable trailer, Maria ending, history of the 120 stars run, speedrunning record breaking.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Silent Hill 2, Gears of War, Kill Switch, Super Mario (series), Fred Markus, Nintendo 64, Tomb Raider, Shadows of the Empire, Mark Haigh-Hutchinson, Retro Studios, Metroid Prime, Resident Evil, Quake, Crash Bandicoot, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Crystal Dynamics, Soul Reaver, UbiSoft, Shigeru Miyamoto, Daron Stinnett, Star Wars: Starfighter, Wipe Out, Rayman 3, Sly Cooper (series), Ratchet and Clank (series), GameCube, Margot Kidder, Mike Myers, Max Payne, John Woo, Tacoma, Jedi Starfighter, Republic Commando, Prince of Persia (2008), Tomb Raider (2013), Banjo-Kazooie, Yu-Gi-Oh, Blind Guardian, Mike Vogt, X-COM: UFO Defense, Julian Gollop, Firewatch, Uncharted (series), Steam, Good Old Games, Kotaku, Rare Replay, Halo 5, Dan Doyen, Xbox Live, Nathan Martz, Painkiller, God of War: Ascension, Ninja Theory, Visceral, EA, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, The Order: 1886, Eric Kozlowsky, P. T., Akira Yamaoka, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Final Fantasy XV, Hideo Kojima, Mads Mikkelsen, Eric Shields, Kevin Kauffman, Patricia Hernandez, Phil Rosehill.

BrettYK: 1
TimYK: 72

Errata:

Note, the article (in links below) about a small game developer leaning into Steam features appeared on Rock Paper Shotgun, not Kotaku. Dev Game Club regrets the error.

Links:

Real-Time Cameras by Mark Haigh-Hutchinson 

Developer making little games on Steam

Could Visceral have found another way? 

Making of Silent Hill 2 

History of the 120 Stars run

Beating the world record three times in 36 hours 

Next time:
Up through the second key!

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

Nov 8, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we have made our way to that hotel in Silent Hill 2 and then wended our way homeward. We discuss the climactic events of the game, our theories on who represents what, the multiple endings, and a host of other issues including takeaways and listener feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
To the end of the game

Podcast breakdown:
0:43       Segment 1: Discussion of final third
1:07:20  Break
1:07:53  Segment 2: Takeaways and Listener Feedback

Issues covered: the chainsaw and why I didn't use it, Tim's last bit of the prison (getting stuck in the Purgatory room), the dumb keypad puzzle, Tim admits again that Brett is smarter, puzzle opacity, actually moving the room around, puzzles with thematic elements, the gallows area and the scary audio, Brett's play time and Tim's, finding Maria again, attract mode and Maria scene, Tim wanting more from the Maria moment, Brett's theory of Silent Hill and guilt, distinctions in Western vs Eastern horror, Eddie and Angela failing to escape their inner guilt, James maybe getting out, Silent Hill as private hell, Laura as potentially a desired child, psychology of a victim, evidence supporting Angela as molestation victim, the lack of rationality of the space, developers intentions toward surrealism/abstraction, is this room pumping out fog?, Eddie's psychotic break, the weird design choice to have long hallways and empty rowboat sections, James's water plane, similarity of hotel structure to apartments, the shelf and the elevator, the disappearing letter, "They Metroided you," the stealth mechanic, the tin can of light bulbs (and phoning it in), choice of environments across the game, watching the video tape and how Mary died, the use of the radio in the room, overly subtle choices, hotel degrading further, supporting multiple endings, what James needs vs whether Mary is in some sense real, the various endings and how to trigger them, commitment to symbolism and themes, Pyramid Head as most iconic horror figure, economical design, fog and lighting technology vs longer draw distances, flashlights, focusing on a few things rather than longer draw distances, indie games drawing from Silent Hill 2 rather than Resident Evil, Tim doing the intro, difficulty settings and mechanics, surfacing mechanics poorly, resource management, lack of threat, vulnerability.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Winona Ryder, Beetlejuice, Batman, Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Stranger Things, Ron Gilbert, Tommy W/IamtheworsT88, Ju-On: The Grudge, The Ring, Jean-Paul Sartre, Stephen King, The Mist, God of War, Metroid, The Shining, The Naked Lunch, Resident Evil, Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro, Metal Gear (series), Unreal, Doom 3, GTA III, Final Fantasy (series), Penumbra, Amnesia, Jonathan DeLuca, Caleb Smith, GamaSutra, Star Wars: Starfighter, Shadow of the Colossus, Half-Life, Silent Hill: Homecoming, Alan Wake, Dead Space, Outlast, Eternal Darkness, Frictional Games, Mikael Danielsson, The Last Door (Seasons 1 and 2), Prisoner of Ice, Sierra Games, Dark Corners of the Earth, Shadow of the Comet, Infogrammes, Alone in the Dark, Bob Dylan, LucasArts, Super Mario 64, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, Nintendo 3DS.

BrettYK: 2
TimYK: 49

Links:
Off Camera Secrets https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=-K_oM9waKIM

Next time:
Super Mario 64! Check the Twitter feed for info as to how far.

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

Nov 1, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are in the middle of our three-episode series on Silent Hill 2. We spend a lot of time talking about the section in the hospital and the potential meaning or personification of Pyramid Head. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up until the Labyrinth

Podcast breakdown:
0:34 Single segment this week!

Issues covered: Tim's Halloween costume, picking favorite moments, Pyramid Head first interactive encounter, his reputation, character design, ninja/tabi boots, wading right off into the water, following Pyramid Head, water as a theme, the drowned people under the lake, possible subtext, anthology rather than series, New England horror vibe, "something's up with that kid," differences between Maria and Mary, madonna/whore complex, James's reactions, the uncanny valley of character motivations, an "adult game," having different versions of Laura Palmer, influence of David Lynch's films, companion AI, game over if you kill Maria accidentally, running into Eddie in the bowling alley, seductively posing Maria in various locations, turning companion AI into strengths, a place more terrifying than the apartments, "ugh, the nurses," discomfort with sexuality, being uncomfortable in a hospital with his dead wife, is it all in your mind?, the doctor's note and the "other side," Pyramid Head as a personification of an idea rather than a character, map mechanics though they could be better, lack of distinction between rooms you must have to visit and those you don't, what's the use of an empty chest or a mimic in RPGs, Maria lying down and the breathing in the other side, the rooftop weirdness, does Pyramid Head trigger the radio, silly keys, best key in a video game: hair and bent needle, James turns his head at items of interest, green goop, RE training you to follow the science, Laura knows Mary from the hospital, maintaining the pieces that fits and dropping the clues that don't, the creature design of the Flesh Lips, tilting camera, how Brett measures space, map reset, production value foul, question of when Maria comes to the other side, Tim kills Maria, losing Maria to Pyramid Head, unnecessary combat working against horror, descending down down down, do you want to jump down the hole?, the weird hotel game show, humor in Asian horror, fidelity in horror games, lethality and vulnerability, embracing style, a handful of scary lo-fi games, less is more.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Winona Ryder, Stranger Things, Final Fantasy (series), Silent Hill: Homecoming, The Collective, Cloverfield (anthology series), Resident Evil (series), Richard Bachman, Stephen King, The Secret World, Hitman, Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Halloween (film), David Lynch, John Carpenter, Halo 6, Uncharted (series), Day of the Tentacle, Ron Gilbert, Lord of the Rings (obliquely), Bjorn Johansson, Inception, George Romero, John Romero, Dungeons & Dragons, Lost, Freddy Krueger, Amnesia, Alien: Isolation, Metal Gear Solid, The Host, Shakespeare, Michael Ficus, Cthulhu, The Shrouded Isle, Tanya Short, KitFox Games, Alone in the Dark, Splatterhouse, Friday the 13th, Minecraft, Infocom, The Lurking Horror, Cameron Kunzelman, Epanalepsis, Kitty Horrorshow, David Pittman, Minor Key Games, Eldritch, Slayer Shock, Frictional Games, Soma, Penumbra, Dark Corners of the Earth, H. P. Lovecraft.

BrettYK: 1
TimYK: 50

Next time:
Finish Silent Hill 2!

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

1