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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, 2019
Oct 30, 2019

Just a quick announcement to let people to know we're on what we hope is a brief hiatus.

Oct 23, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we continue our play and discussion of 2002's GameCube horror adventure Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. We talk up the magic system as well as the level design writing checks that the camera and perhaps the tech can't quite cash, as well as other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
6-9 (Brett, nice), 6-8 (the other guy)

Issues covered: Tim gets a reference, the Spanish Inquisition, levels getting more complicated, returning to locations you've been to before, having additional things bolted on, reconfiguring a space, visiting cities that have built upon themselves, every location having something beneath it, uncovering the past, small differences between color playthroughs, the predator/prey color wheel and a mnemonic for it, where Tim got blocked by the camera, putting too many items in a camera frame, missing the lectern/podium, Nintendo lessons of learning and acting, teaching spells earlier, things getting away from you, where Brett gets stuck, the characters looking at objects, missing a critical object, putting too many things in a room, level design and camera design must work together, being constrained by your tools, scripted spline cameras, the difficulty of good camera tools, being worried about breaking your scripts, runes with meaning you can explore in the magic, sentences in older and younger languages, the god speaking the spell, the timing mechanic, the elegance of putting time into the spell-casting, the ways it can be interrupted, insanity effects, returning back to Alex, Pious Augustus using the same spell language, tying voice work between related characters, voice acting coming into its own, large number of characters, models being unable to emote and thus relying on voice acting, using tricks to make the lack of emotion work, is a handheld good for horror, requiring time to build tension, how baring mechanics works against horror, having space to move preventing horror vs claustrophobia, feeling capable and having power mechanics, insanity effects as titillation, the camp bathroom system in Dead Rising, frustration working against horror, seeing extra content, achievements, how the Internet changes game designs, streamable and giffable moments, finding the pearls of the game that are shareable.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Monty Python, Far Cry 2, Nintendo, Grim Fandango, Breath of the Wild, Dungeons and Dragons, Crystal Dynamics, DOOM (1993), Jennifer Hale, Mass Effect, Soul Reaver, The2ndQuest, Resident Evil, Stargate SG-1, Fatal Frame, Resident Evil 4, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii, Luigi's Mansion, PT, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro, Demon's Souls, Zachary Crownover, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill 2, HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Dead Rising, Alan Wake, Gothic Chocobo, Arkane Studios, The Outer Worlds, PUBG, Minecraft.

Next time:
Finish the game!

Links:
IGN pushing ED sales

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Oct 16, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we continue our play and discussion of 2002's GameCube horror adventure Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. We talk a lot about the structure of the game, how it differentiates the choice we made last time, and also discuss the variety of player characters and how cleverly they get mileage out of some decisions. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Levels 3-5

Issues covered: achieving the pulp aesthetic, the structure of using Alex to find pages to enter more stories, linear storytelling hidden by apparently useful skills, running into well-placed insanity effects, having more insanity effects than you realize, having the work you put into a game pay off for someone, lack of efficiency in an open world game, efficiency of mechanics in Eternal Darkness, efficiency in design vs development, embracing a system team-wide, changing audio with low insanity, changing play when you don't care about your insanity, Tim's trouble with enemies, being under-resourced, feeling painted into a corner, save strategies, game play derived from that early choice, expectations of the player, being punished by a powerful enemy, how enemies differ across color, playing different characters due to the structure, a variety of endings for characters, the conspiracy to kill Charlemagne, having a fatal flaw that comes around to get you, good puzzles and showing you the states, hiding the locks and keys, the death of Charlemagne, revisiting the shrine where Pious Augustous became a lich, Karim's ending with a ghost, joining up eternally to protect some artifacts, having a freeze frame on the twist death, seeing Maximilian's ghost, going back to a different stage of the mansion, the weakening penmanship of A. Roivas, the secret entrance to the library, the pattern of the pulps, a long discussion of controllers and fighting games, we talk about our use of combo again, thinking differently about a game for the podcast.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: HP Lovecraft, Alan Moore, Providence, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier, Hamlet, Shakespeare, Warren Spector, Deus Ex, Breath of the Wild, Shadow of the Colossus, Starfighter, Resident Evil, Dark Souls, Thief, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Creepshow, EC Comics, Amazing Stories, Stephen King, George Romero, The Nameless City, Alone in the Dark, Dark Corners of the Earth, Charles Dickens, Robert Howard, Conan, HKris7, Warcraft, Derek from Spokane, DOOM, Chex Quest, Street Fighter, Sega Genesis, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Call of Duty, Chrono Trigger, Republic Commando, The Matrix, Alan Wake.

Next time:
Levels 6-9, nice.

Links:
Angry Video Game Nerd on Chex Quest

The Hit Box

Mike "BrolyLegs" Begum

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Oct 9, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we turn to the start of our annual spooky game content by looking at 2002's GameCube horror adventure Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. We situate the game in time a bit and talk about its critical and commercial reception, as well as the GameCube, before turning to the game proper. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
The first three levels

Issues covered: how names appear backwards, our horror tradition, this year in games, Nintendo and close third parties, the mythology around a good GameCube game that disappeared, moderate sales but critical success, the Nintendo horror gap, Japanese lens on sales, understanding the mind of Nintendo, finding the comic spookiness rather than true horror, avoiding mature stuff for first party, cosmic horror, not connecting with Lovecraft, Mantorok the Corpse God, paying plenty homage to Lovecraft, Brett's tax on game lore, taking itself seriously, minimal insanity effects, Brett's never-empty bar, Tim describes an insanity effect, describing the initial experience, reading the Tome of Eternal Darkness and as a result playing the game, writers and writing and their madness, ancient history and its influence on modern day, using libraries to find information and history books, seats of American academia, delving into memory, using an Animus vs a book version, the Necronomicon, changes to Alex as to whether she's astrally projected, having multiple interpretations, Pious Augustus's transformation, making an uninformed choice, making better informed choices in Kingdom Hearts, starting to see the structure, being in the same location across multiple time periods, whether or not one required a manual, the forces for and against manuals, slowly adding mechanics in a Nintendo way.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Resident Evil, Silent Hill 2, Thief, Nintendo GameCube, Metroid Prime (series), Resident Evil 0, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Animal Crossing, Super Mario Sunshine, Kingdom Hearts, Hitman 2, Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Jedi Starfighter, Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper and the Thievious Raccoonus, Warcraft III, PlayStation 2, LucasArts, Silicon Knights, Denis Dyack, Tatsuya Hishida, Hiro Yamada, Shigeru Miyamoto, Satoru Iwata, Resident Evil 4, Capcom, Retro Studios, Nintendo Switch, Mother 3, Kirby Dream Course, SNES Classic, Disneyland, Haunted Mansion, Luigi's Mansion, Devil May Cry, Bayonetta (series), Cthulhu, HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, In the Mouth of Madness, Assassin's Creed, Evil Dead 2, Alan Wake, Dungeons & Dragons, Kingdom Hearts, MYST, Super Mario Bros, Bill Roper, Lurking Horror, Infocom.

Next time:
The next three levels (until Lurking Horror)

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Oct 2, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we turn to the start of our bonus content about DOOM. We look at 2016's re...boot? Reimagining? Re...launch? of DOOM and talk about its modernization of mechanics and its resource loop, before turning to catch up on the mail bag. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
First few levels

Podcast breakdown:
0:41 DOOM talk
40:30 Feedback

Issues covered: Tim likes to get into the lore and how this supposedly ties all the DOOMs together, Tim's free time, what it's like rebooting something, how do you deliver a modern version of a classic game, infinite interconnected positive reinforcement resource skill loops, drawing you in with glory kills, combat stats and finite enemies, how DOOM feels visceral, risk/reward in the glory kill mechanic, the limits of long-range combat in other shooters, dealing with the Hell Knights and being forced retreat, orthogonal enemy design, being put off by the demo, leaning into the heavy metal, corridor/arena design and length, having characters to interact with, thinking about the game when you're not playing, difficulty, how the game improves as level design starts to get more abstract, being a little at odds with itself, lack of aim-down-sites, lower maximum ammo, appreciating tight tuning, the NPC similarities, influence of art direction, having a space make sense as a place you've been, not stopping to think, playing as a designer, Tim vs Brett as how they play and disconnect if they can, WASD becoming a thing, what control schemes and controllers might work, VR controls, MOBAs and ability triggering, naturally using your hands, eye-tracking as another improvement in interfaces, finding the one game that encapsulates all sorts of play, player-created narrative vs authored narrative, "welcome to the Nether," teaching game design, using analysis to get at mechanics and their connection to dynamics and aesthetics, source ports, multiplayer being important to a campaign, being in communication with players through knowledge vs social media, the uniqueness of SIGIL, games as products, having multiple player types, figuring out your relationship with players, .plan files, designer/developer interaction through plan files, Usenet, art and games as a gift, being able to give more to your players, Brett's Book Recommendation, expansion and contraction in game design, the natural rhythm of play matching breathing, natural pacing, AI story direction to manage tension, focusing on a single enemy as a contraction.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: id Software, Prey, Dishonored, Call of Duty, Zenimax/Bethesda Game Studios, Republic Commando, Rage, Quake (series), Wolfenstein (series), Machine Games, Raven Software, Half-Life 3, Bioshock, Terminator 2, Total Recall (1990), Viktor Antonov, Unreal Engine, Cry Engine, The Evil Within, Resident Evil, Tacoma, Gone Home, System Shock 2, Austin Powers (series), Logan's Run, Michael York, Gilmore Girls, LucasArts, Daron Stinnett, Tomb Raider, Mike Vogt, Apogee, Dark Forces, GOG, Ingar Shu, Valve Software, Kinect, DoubleFine Studios, StarCraft, WarCraft, Facebook, Oculus, Horizon Zero Dawn, Mass Effect, Mikkel Lodahl, Minecraft, Nintendo, Legend of Zelda (series), Mario (series), Metroid (series), Disney Infinity, Project Spark, Little Big Planet, This War of Mine, Sam Thomas, SIGIL, Unreal Tournament, LEC-Quake, Ryan Troock, John Romero, Mario Maker, Halo (series), Ken Levine, John Carmack, SiN, Levelord, George Broussard, 3DRealms, John Yorke, Masters of DOOM, James Franco, The Disaster Artist, Tom Bissell, Paul Reiser, Mad About You, Oscar Fiasco, Link's Awakening, Day9, Super Mario 64, Starfighter, Left 4 Dead, Silent Hill 2, Thief: The Dark Project, Eternal Darkness, Nathan Martz, Alan Wake, Control.

Next time:
Either a guest... or a bit of Eternal Darkness, check your local listings (i.e. Twitter)

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

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