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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: June, 2018
Jun 27, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are finally turning our attention to 2000's Deus Ex. In our first episode in the series, we set the game in its time but also talk about its many connections to other games we've played here on the 'cast. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to the Airfield

Issues covered: ten hours of driving, convergent point in games, early indie dev mentality, formative early career game, a game that became a verb, commitment to multiple paths, merging RPG and action and other systems, branching skill trees, lack of classes, connecting to a more grokkable understanding, creating a subgenre, listening to E3 recaps, setting the game in time, a bunch of engine discussion, multi-route play and accommodating play styles, narrative beats that you can influence, supporting player choice, going super-lethal and being disincentivized, RPGs not tying choices together/mere mechanics, knucklehead stealth, linear tutorial, putting all the plants in the tutorial rooms, bulletproofing a level, blowing off your legs, supporting all the various possibilities, GDC post-Deus Ex, emergent gameplay, supporting a wide variety of player stories in emergent design, engineering around sources generally instead of specific things.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Ion Storm, Ultima (series), Irrational Games, Looking Glass Studios, Warren Spector, Harvey Smith, Anachronox, System Shock, Arkane Studios, Ricardo Bare, Prey, Dishonored II, Austin Grossman, Reed Knight, System Shock 2, Mass Effect (series), Junction Point, Origin Systems, Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher, CD Project Red, Diablo II, Baldur's Gate II, Infinity Engine, Icewind Dale, The Sims, Hitman: Codename 47, Final Fantasy IX, Rainbow Six, Quake III Arena (DreamCast), Daikatana, PS2, Dark Cloud, SSX, Nintendo 64, Perfect Dark, Majora's Mask, Shenmue, Timesplitters, Soldier of Fortune, Elite Force, Bioshock, Escape from Monkey Island, Thief II, Unreal, Half-Life, id Software, Eidos, other Deus Ex titles, GO series, Planescape: Torment, Chris Avellone, Grand Theft Auto 3, Breath of the Wild, Oblivion, Dabominic, The2ndQuest, Link to the Past, Super Mario 64.

Next time:
Check Twitter for details

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

Jun 20, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club for a second Dark Forces special bonus interview edition. We speak with Matt Tateishi, a level designer on the game, talking about the environment around the building of Dark Forces, process, and leaping into the new. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:39       Interview
1:03:31  Break
1:04:01  Feedback

Issues covered: a brief history of Matt, architecture department at Berkeley, starting as art techs, hourly wages, having your Star Wars bedsheets, Master Chief body pillow, thinking about the use of a space, trying to outdo one another, abstract spaces vs real-feeling one, geeking out over the Dark Trooper intro, simulating screen shake, just getting the thing to run, how big should levels be, figuring out production, difficulty spikes and weapon (mis-)balancing, dreaming of work, skill-based challenges, losing sight of your work, some doubt about doing Dark Forces, "puzzles are how we're going to be different from DOOM," throwing everything at the player, saving state mid-level, the pie tin mine, motivating the space, being brought in to be an artist (rather than the technical specifics), being near ILM at the time, everyone coming together to make cool stuff, Brett sings terribly again, an argument for Jabba's Palace, going from high concept to design, productivity and scheduling, Pomodoro, meeting-driven, Brett walks down memory lane, discussion of Mac vs PC in the 90s.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Shadows of the Empire, Jedi Knight, Lucas Learning, Droid Works, Infinite Machine, Nihilistic Software, The Force Unleashed, Dante's Inferno, EA, Visceral, 1313 (RIP), WETA Digital, Impulse Gear, Farpoint, Daron Stinnett, Ingar Shu, Jim Current, Kilani Striker, Ralph Gerth, Winston Wolff, Ray Gresko, Rob Huebner, Brett Tosti, Republic Commando, Troy Mashburn, Skyrim, X-Wing, DOOM, Peter Tsacle, Full Throttle, Double Fine, George Lucas, Tom Payne, Ben Burtt, Dungeons & Dragons, Colette Michaud, Peter Chan, Day of the Tentacle, Forrest Gump, Steve Dauterman, A Knight of Ren, Dire Straits, Zachary Crownover, Zimmy Finger, Quake, Mysteries of the Sith, Marathon, Philip Kramer, Apple, Myth, Kevin Steven.

Next time:
Deus Ex; up to the airfield

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

Jun 15, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club for a special bonus bonus interview edition. Justin Stinnett turns the microphones on hosts Brett Douville and Tim Longo, in addition to Daron Stinnett, to talk Republic Commando. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: making a squad seem smart, how to deal with the squad AI, keeping the squad in view, how to control the squad on a console, squad positioning, seeing the sniper, Sev's sense of humor, Fixer's uptight nature, Scorch childishness, making the squad feel even smarter and more connected, markers/maneuvers, more freedom and options for maneuver use, regretting cutting co-op, Delta Squad animated, Republic Commandos as canon, obeying or disobeying Order 66, what we're up to now,

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Halo, Rainbow Six, Nathan Martz, Mike Stemmle, Ryan Kaufman, The Clone Wars, Dave Filoni, Star Wars Legends, 343 Industries, Bethesda Game Studios, Skyrim, Fallout 3 & 4.

Next time:
Another interview OR Deus Ex, up to the Airfield

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

Jun 13, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club for a special bonus interview edition. We speak with Daron Stinnett, lead programmer and project lead on Dark Forces, looking at the beginnings of his career before turning to specifics about the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:40       Interview segment
1:04:45  Break
1:05:17  Feedback segment

Issues covered: Daron intro, the Stinnett origin story, making houses on computers, Radio Shack, buying a first car, transitioning to having a regular development job, porting Thexder, moving to Spectrum Holobyte, existential threat to the company, becoming a project lead, team lead and lead tester, multiplayer and the 600 baud modem, a Las Vegas con FalCon, modeled cockpit, high-fidelity simulations that didn't exist in the real world, "I knew I had to make Star Wars games," eating lunch at Skywalker Ranch, a room full of prop, Kerner complex, looking out at ILM, crashing a plane in a parking lot, "I want to do a Star Wars Wolfenstein game," the challenge of making Dark Forces, getting a leg up from the DOOM alpha, subtracting from the world rather than adding to it, performance challenge, having a vision of walking around a hangar, expecting to work with Luke Skywalker, Luke belonged to George, adding Ray Gresko as a rendering engineer and Justin Chin as lead designer/story guy, mixing level design and architecture, adding to the palette, specific areas of wish fulfillment, not just a game about shooting things, LucasArts as a place to create new stories, showing the game to George the first time, shooting non-humans in the films, putting together teams to make something no one knows how to build, bringing the conversation around to the car, following up on the interview, getting interviewed ourselves, targeting just one hardware, console exclusivity.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Thexder, Republic Commando, Spectrum Holobyte, Falcon 3.0, LucasArts, Outlaws, Starfighter (series), Star Wars Episode III, Perpetual Entertainment, Star Trek Online, Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising, PlayGrid, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Rick Lamont, Synergistic Software, Sierra, Microprose, Chuck Yeager, Nintendo, FalCon, X-Wing, Dean Sharpe, Jon Knoles, Taito, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Toshi Morita, Steve Dauterman, Alive, DOOM, Wolfenstein 3D, Faceball 2000, Ray Gresko, Justin Chin, Doug Smith, Lode Runner, Broderbund, Justin Stinnett, Dan Hunter, Terminator: Future Shock, Bethesda Game Studios, Danny O'Dwyer, Gamespot, noclip, Unity, Sony, Sega.

Next time:
We... think, another interview

Links:
Space Race

Daron's interview on Computer Chronicles

NoClip video about BGS

Making of Fallout 76

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

Jun 6, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are finishing 1995's Star Wars: Dark Forces. We talk a bit about the final levels of the game while punching dragons and then turn to our takeaways. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
We finished the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:44     DF Discussion
59:08   Break
59:38   Takeaways

Issues covered: the Kell dragon, entirely too much discussion of dragon types, being unsure what to do, not matching up with the fantasy, puzzle elements in fighting, having a role-playing moment in an action game that you don't often have in an RPG, starting as a Luke Skywalker game, lacking a hook for why it's Jabba's ship, enemy types, cuts later in games, the iso chamber maze puzzle, making the level itself into an interesting space, bending constraints to your will, not having anyone to tell you you can't do a thing, lowering risk, shifting towards production realities, the cost of a pivot raising aversion to risk, distinctions between studios (tech-driven vs design-driven vs art-driven), having to compete on all three, "you are fighting Boba Fett, so that's pretty cool," player skill puzzles, executing on a plan that's working, minimal story telling, television vs films, build up and implication, filling in a lot yourself, leaning on the films, the only source of Phrik in the galaxy, unmotivated space, the conveyor belt action bits, gaminess of a level, placing obstacle courses at the end of games, denouement and falling action, climax and the lack of remaining action, remaking the game, level design high water mark, being evolutionary rather than revolutionary, elevating through design and Star Wars bits, gadgetry and secondary mechanics, introduction of the Dark Trooper, high quality music, using Jedi in games, what you choose to build into your design, cornering the market in the Auction House, picking a setting that supports the fantasies, the MDA framework.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: The Force Awakens, Return of the Jedi, TIE Fighter, Jon Knoles, Mysteries of the Sith, Final Fantasy IX, The Witcher, Baldur's Gate, Rebel Assault, Republic Commando, Ingar Shu, Kevin Schmitt, Reed Knight, Duke Nukem 3D, Steve Chen, Starfighter (series), John Drake, id Software, Epic MegaGames, Half-Life, Unreal, Quake, Outlaws, Jedi Knight, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Fallout, Leonard Boyarsky, Tim Cain, Obsidian, Chris Avellone, Planescape: Torment, Justin Chin, Mario, Ratchet & Clank, Battlefront II, Clint Bajakian, John Williams, @notmyviews, Star Wars Galaxies, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Everquest, Ultima Online, Raph Koster, Dungeons & Dragons, Gary Gygax, Knights of the Old Republic, Bioware, Tomb Raider, Wolfenstein.

Next time:
Bonus interview!

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

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