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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: Category: games
May 16, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing the newly released return to God of War. We talk about the way the game has been modernized for current tastes, and how it maintains the feel of the series. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
First few hours

Issues covered: modern design elements, combat feel, level linearity with bits of side secrets, combat/explore, chests, pushing technology, ways you can cheat for performance, pixel density, which GoW games we've played, elaborate progression system, camera commitment, camera in combat, thinner combos, epic feel of original from camera, older and more sympathetic anti-hero, more deliberate pace of combat, more psychologically dense mythology, making a character relatable again, more vulnerable heroes, the character of the mother, small story, enriching a character after her death, developing the relationship with the boy through animation and writing, animation-forwardness, craftsmanship, Tim digresses into television, geographic and cultural origins of mythology, toxic masculinity, the jock and the theater kid, high stakes and having to survive, the dad games and the dad feelings, having another character to relate to, having colors and level information on enemies, loot systems and not knowing what sort of player you're going to be, the axe and its economy of design, giving clear direction, more grounded violence, intimate violence, digging into the design problem with the one room, camera having to work with level design, fork in the road level design choices, not doing enough usability testing, wanting more information based on what you're given in a story game, non-verbal communication, difficulty balancing at the end of God of War for explorers vs combo kings, how to deal with balancing, rubber-banding.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Skyrim, Devil May Cry, DOOM (2016), Tomb Raider (2013), Resident Evil 4, PS3, Xbox 360, Cory Barlog, The Vikings, The Road, The Last of Us, Starfighter series, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Gilmore Girls, Diablo, Borderlands, Assassin's Creed, Republic Commando, They Live, Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven, Fight Club, Rocky, Dolph Lundgren, Metal Gear Solid (series), Gothic Chocobo, Zimmy Finger, Ico, Silent Hill, Ratchet and Clank, Mark Garcia, Sony Santa Monica, Spider-Man 2, Jamie Fristrom, Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, Nintendo, Metroid (series), Mario Kart.

Next time:
TBA!

Links:
Ratchet and Clank Level Design

The Muse Keys

 

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

May 2, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are on to the second of our series on 2005's God of War. We talk about what a fully scripted camera allows you to do, where it breaks down in implementation, as well as touching on the over-the-top nature of the game and its light RPG elements. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the Challenges

Podcast breakdown:
0:43 Segment 1: God of War
51:40 Break
52:20 Segment 2: Feedback

Issues covered: Birthdays, Sierra interview, the academic/theoretic side of making games, the early days, the Yosemite photograph, cameras and third-person action-adventure, level design and the camera, scripting the camera throughout the game, conceptually 2D in some ways, freeing up the right thumb, flicking to roll, managing the space well for the camera in combat, sewer camera problem, "God of War Camera," altitude in combat, telegraphing the camera through player control vs designer control, exploring a space from multiple directions, being clear about what space you're in and whether you've been there before, not knowing where you can go, were levels and camera being designed at the same time?, lack of telegraphing of direction to follow, not having supporting mechanics to know you've missed things, possibility of thinking you have to do something local to solve a puzzle, sense of scale, having to trust the game, using the camera to hide secrets, gigantic sense of scale, capturing sense of scale with a closer third person, over-the-top violence, combining scale and animation and camera cohesively, pairing button mashes to animation speed, herky-jerky and stop-motion animation, sacrificing a soldier, pushing Kratos's inhumanity, toxic masculinity, toxic masculinity/anti-heroes and pop culture, wanting to play as a hero, lack of choice, light RPG elements, stringing combos together, leveling the Artemis sword, balancing weapons with XP, liking to power up the base weapon, just using the cutting laser in Dead Space, the ranged blades of chaos, compelling weapon design due to flexibility, combo-based games, watching skilled players, playing for stream, power escalation and enemy introductions, adding multiple enemies of a newly introduced type, foreshadowing the moment of Kratos's jump, whiskey-fueled voices, looking at your user experience to support tutorialization, taking the easy way out at the end of production, implicit tutorials and learning, real-time and turn-based tutorials, implicit tutorials and iteration, not hand-holding for experienced players, players don't read, also: podcast listeners don't read show notes, prove me wrong, send us an email :)

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Sierra, King's Quest/Space Quest, Mark Crowe, John Romero, Larry Holland, Julian Gollop, Tim Schafer, Dave Grossman, Soul Reaver, Super Mario 64, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Prince of Persia (2008), Devil May Cry, Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider (series), Republic Commando, Super Metroid, Ray Harryhausen, Jason and the Argonauts, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, DOOM, Cory Barlog, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Dead Space, Bioshock, Rygar, Bayonetta, Resident Evil, Plasticman, Mr. Fantastic, Ninja Gaiden Black, Boy.Pockets, Tom Waits, Gilmore Girls, Zachary Crownover, Chevy Chase, SpaceChem, FTL, Detention, Red Candle Games, The Last Door, Nintendo, Civilization, Fallout.

Next time:
Finish God of War (2005)!

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

Apr 25, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are lucky this week to be able to interview Mark Crowe, one of the original "Guys from Andromeda" who were the creative force behind Space Quest, as well as working on many other Sierra titles. We talk about those old days, the flexibility of working with a parser, and all the constraints on game development in the early days. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: Mark's history, having a dream job, walking in the door, the hippie environment, local inspiration, first exposure to computers, size of company, meeting Scott and teaming up, developing a core idea and prototyping it, having the split-up environments in the first screens made, getting a picture on the box, taking a pseudonym in fear, dabbling in prosthetics, vacationing from Mars, learning on the job, doing everything at once, adding some humor, a cinematic approach, cinematic inspirations, cramming in references, pushing technology further, side-scrolling environments, not knowing what's possible vs "staying in your lane," the origin of Roger Wilco, stand-in for the player and trying to be in the player's head, the point-and-click innovation, parser as another layer of interaction, additional entertainment value, death and missing things and frustration, signature negative, making the games more player friendly, the needs of your existing audience vs the needs of a growing audience, playing the game pre-release, layoffs and the "cart debacle," throwing pencils at the ceiling, quick prototyping, primitive tools, time lapse rendering, Space Venture development.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Sierra, Scott Murphy, Space Quest 1, Ken and Roberta Williams, Leisure Suit Larry, Police Quest, Dynamix, Star Siege, The Black Cauldron, Chris Pope, Greg Steffen, Wizard and the Princess, Softporn, Mission: Asteroid, Frogger, Sega, Ultima, Two Guys from Andromeda, King's Quest, Two Guys from Italy, Star Wars, Star Trek, Bernard Kliban, Lifeline, Space Venture.

Links:

Bernard Kliban's Original Roger Wilco

Space Quest III Timelapse

Guys from Andromeda

Guys from Andromeda YouTube Channel

Next time:
Next week we return to God of War to discuss everything up through the Challenges

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

Apr 18, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are beginning our series on 2005's God of War. We set the game in its time, an interesting time at the end of a console lifecycle as new machines loomed on the horizon, and then turn to the game itself before hitting feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to the desert / through Athens

Podcast breakdown:
0:44     Segment 1: God of War
50:35   Break
51:06   Segment 2: Feedback

Issues covered: the console lifecycle, PS2 install base, the new console generation, learning the hardware over the lifecycle, exclusives, squeezing the hardware over the series, optimizing instructions, iterating on a franchise, juvenile tone, the influence of the underlying mythology, being edgy or over the top, Greek tragedy and the fatal flaw, opening with a bang, narrative device of setting up how the character got to the big moment, setting up mysteries of character and fate, tension between player and character, pacing and balancing on a beam, perfecting the quick time event, the first level as a microcosm of the whole game, the influences of this game, skimming the top of a bunch of genres, adventure games drawing from every verb, explicit vs implicit tutorialization, great mythological moments, a series of yeses.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Broderbund Software, Red Storm Entertainment, Red Orb Entertainment, Riven, Prince of Persia 3D, The Journeyman Project, Santa Monica Studio, Shadow of the Colossus, Dragon Quest VIII, Resident Evil 4, F.E.A.R., Republic Commando, Metal Gear Solid 2, Sly Cooper 3, Guitar Hero, GTA: San Andreas, Japan Studio, Starfighter/Jedi Starfighter, Devil May Cry 3, Gran Turismo 4, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Lego Star Wars, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, Tomb Raider (2013), Clash of the Titans, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Richard Wagner, Uncharted 2, Shenmue, Crystal Dynamics, Soul Reaver, Castlevania, Maximo: Ghosts and Goblins, MediEvil, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, System Shock 2, Sid Meier, Half-Life, Dario Casali, Sierra Games, Sebastian Pellegrino, Tim Schafer, LucasArts, Telltale Games, Amanita Design, Wadjet Eye, Daedelic, Edna and Harvey, Deponia saga, The Dark Eye, The Whispered World, Hal Barwood, Bill Tiller, Curse of Monkey Island, Duke Grabowski: Mighty Swashbuckler, A Vampyre's Tale, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, The Dig, Kyle Vermaes, Fallout, Planescape: Torment, Link to the Past, Manhunter (series), Rules of Play, Eric Zimmerman, Katie Salen, Raph Koster, A Theory of Fun for Game Design, The Design of Everyday Things, Don Norman, GamaSutra, Brenda Romero, Challenges for Game Designers, Will Wright, The Sims, SimCity, A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander, RadiatorYang, Ryan, Jason Schreier, Kirk Hamilton, Kotaku Splitscreen, Giant Bomb, Giant Beastcast, DLC, Jeff Cannata, Christian Spicer, RebelFM, Waypoint Radio, Patrick Klepek, Danielle Riendeau, Austin Walker, Steve Gaynor, Tone Control, Gone Home, Tacoma, Idle Thumbs, Important If True, Shall We Play A Game, Chris Suellentrop, JJ Sutherland, Slate Culture Gabfest, Filmspotting, Filmspotting: SVU, The Next Picture Show, Maximum Fun, April Wolfe, Switchblade Sisters.

Next time:
Up through the Three Challenges

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

Apr 11, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we complete our discussion of a pair of very early Sierra adventure games with Space Quest 1: The Sarien Encounter. We finally hear Tim's story about getting stuck on a game so long it drove him to drink and also get to our takeaways before hitting feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished SQ1

Podcast breakdown:
0:43   Segment 1: SQ1
35:35 Break
36:08 Segment 2: Takeaways and Feedback

Issues covered: music theft, the Do Not Press button and a return to Daventry, talking to the guards, cross promotion, learning to use your seat belt, the influence of the real world, making jokes out of the topical, Tim's inadvertent hint, inventory objects inside other objects, the importance of looking at things at the right time, getting a hint from the parser, the origin of the pizza orgy, killing Orat with a spider droid, random walk mechanics, hating on the skimmer, Brett gives Tim a pro tip, critical path gambling mini-game, adding in new mechanics, Brett's early skiing game, game play variety, using money in adventure game puzzles, Tim gets stuck, Tim doesn't get a fart joke, being driven to drink, the new verb with the grate, player perspective and the sense of exploration, dramatic/cinematic moments, ignoring the first offer for the skimmer, looking everywhere for a coupon, gadgets and copy protection in the box, story arc and adventure and fantasy fulfillment, aligning the player and the character as far as world knowledge, cognitive dissonance vs ludonarrative dissonance, cinematic presentation, buckazoids in the Longo family, splitting screen spaces as a push for exploration and sense of adventure, where could adventure games go, visual novels and systemic depth, underserved genres, what game would you claim for yourself, games that are hard to get and their influence, buying consoles, has something been lost in change of difficulty, opacity and discovery, finding players who won't look on the Internet, on-demand culture and chasing the next thing, putting the onus back on the game (to keep you enthralled and not searching for answers), creators asking you to not get hints, supporting the right team size.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: ZZ Top/Sharp Dressed Man, Styx, Peter Gunn/The Blues Brothers, Madonna, King's Quest 1, Ken Williams, LucasArts, Secret of Monkey Island, Loom, Grim Fandango, Curse of Monkey Island, Tim Schafer, Dave Grossman, George Lucas, Anachronox, Star Trek, The Corbomite Maneuver, Sierra, Police Quest, Star Wars, Grimm Fairy Tales, Skyrim, StarGate, The City on the Edge of Forever, Joan Collins, Jar-Jar Binks, Derek Achoy, Broken Age, Thimbleweed Park, Machinarium, Ron Gilbert, Telltale Games, Samorost, Amanita Design, Chuchl, X-Files, Wadjet Eye Games, Dave Gilbert, Year Walk, Simogo, Device 6, Sailor's Dream, Aaron Evers, Souls series, Tom Hall, Ultima, Civilization, Zork, Pitfall, Adventure, Atari 2600, Half-Life, Dark Forces, Daron Stinnett, Jeff Buttaccio, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Sega Saturn, Ico, Mario 64, NOLF, Warcraft, Steinar Nedreboe, Jonathan Blow, Braid, The Witness, GDC, Jeff Vogel.

Links:
Sierra Death Generator

Space Quest 3 Promo

Space Quest 1 VGA Remake Commercial

SQ Docucomedy

Panzer Dragoon Saga

Next time:
Keep an eye on our Twitter as we figure it out!

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

Apr 4, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we continue to discuss a pair of very early Sierra adventure games, now turning to Space Quest 1: The Sarien Encounter. We talk a little bit more about adventure games and general and talk about some specific ways this game differs from King's Quest, including its use of space. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to Planet Kerona

Podcast breakdown:
0:45   Segment 1: SQ1
37:19 Break
37:43 Segment 2: Feedback

Issues covered: humor in adventure games, obvious influences, nostalgia for Tim, playing adventure games as a shared experience, getting stuck, linear vs open structure/points of no return, not getting the cartridge, stealth game play, fearing death and rushing through the game, quick beginning to the game, how you measure play time, designing around player death, embracing shorter game length, frustration points, inability to predict puzzle pain points, prodding the edges out of frustration, how you QA or player test a game like this, how to innovate or adjust in light of success, knowing whether you can fail, the market at the time, extending a specific audience rather than trying to grow the whole audience, attention to detail and commitment to a consistency of the world, requiring less knowledge from the player, discovery at the same pace as the character, Guybrush Threepwood, from Space Zero to Space Hero, characters who change or that don't, character development over a series, humor, fish out of water, Tim gives Brett a hint (survival kit), use of screen space, explorable spaces, payoff on finding nothing vs keycard, using splitscreen, economical screen use, text adventure structure, dramatic tension, having fun with death and exploring that, double whammy of enemies you can't kill and a timer, the daily chase of the most recent releases, learning as much if not more from an old game, doing a lot with a small team, legendary games we missed out on, picking between systems, classic strategy wargames, getting a survey vs playing in depth, games history and film history, playing the history at LucasArts, the tip line, ickiness of 1-900 numbers.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Sierra, LucasArts, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Star Wars, Tacoma, The Walking Dead, Telltale, Deadline, Republic Commando, Monkey Island, Leisure Suit Larry, Gabriel Knight, Phantasmagoria, Quest for Glory, Al Lowe, Anachronox, Tom Hall, Outlaws, Daron Stinnett, Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, Super Metroid, Out of this World/Another World, Planescape: Torment, Dan Hunter, Guernsey College, Fallout, Skyrim, Zachary Crownover, Unity, Unreal, Derek Achoy, Aaron Evers, Raphael Cornford, Mikkel Lodahl, Dungeons and Dragons, Temple of Elemental Evil, Keep on the Borderlands, Ultima Underworld, M.U.L.E., Commodore 64, Mario (series), Megaman, Bomberman, NES/SNES, Sega Genesis, Flashback, PS2, Atari, IntelliVision, Vectrex, Chuck E. Cheese, Avalon Hill, Art of War, Panzer (series), Larry Holland, HMS Pegasus, Will Wright, Raid on Bungeling Bay, SimCity, SimEarth, SimAnt, Guy Morgan, XCOM, Soul Reaver, Game Boy Pocket, Link's Awakening, Discworld, Psygnosis, Activision, Infocom, Vivendi.

Next time:
Finish Space Quest!

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

Mar 28, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we continue to discuss a pair of very early Sierra adventure games, beginning with 1984's King's Quest: Quest for the Crown. Having finished the game, we discuss the ways in which different puzzles work and what aspects are frustrating and how it might all have gotten that way. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finish King's Quest 1

Issues covered: getting through without hints, remembering puzzles and forgetting stuff, rule-breaking and rocks, leaning into fairy tales, thinking about the game away from it, the better manual, verbs with rare usages or no usages, the Rumplestiltskin puzzle, good for streaming or not, dying from the rock, timing and waiting, the difficulty of the game Deadline, things not appearing on screens, characters that don't appear all the time, not knowing what you're not seeing, the well and figuring out what to do there through dying, dealing with the dragon, solving puzzles multiple ways, timing your throw at the dragon, using water in the pail all over, supporting lots of weird choices, finding the use of the bucket and not experimenting further, verbs you use only once, looking at objects in your inventory, XYZZY, piecing together a series of steps, the Leprechaun puzzle, multiple solutions as a usability issue, losing the goat, giving treasure to the troll, fallback solutions, being able to ignore various obstacles, encouraging exploration, no RPG-style combat, the Fairy Godmother spell, dealing with the witch, lack of mapping between manual and game, eating the witch's house, the fullness of the world, climbing the beanstalk and being high on the foliage, fighting the parser, thinking the pebbles might be for the wolf, sick fairy tales, a sleeping giant, navigating the beanstalk, differences in world structure between different adventure games, proving out the capabilities of a new engine, showstopping spots in an adventure that's more linear, playing a game together, ARGs and the appeal of playing with a crowd, breaking Tim Sr with Space Quest, giving away carrots, goat eating your carrots, top-down design vs bottom-up design, 500K copies sold, relegislating the sexism, The Boss, aspiring to be Solid Snake, getting interested in real world topics via games, creators who are drawn to real-world issues, not fully embracing a difficult topic, having a hard time getting that stuff funded, various examples, escapism in entertainment, fun MGS bits.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Roberta and Ken Williams, Deadline, Infocom, LucasArts, Ron Gilbert, Edge of Tomorrow, Wizard of Oz, Advent, Grimm Fairy Tales, Space Quest, Day of the Tentacle, Zork, Two Guys from Andromeda, Mark Crowe, Scott Murphy, Reed Knight, Super Metroid, Super Mario World, Metroid, Quest for Glory (series), Manhunter, Betrayal at Krondor, Police Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, Blarg42, Final Fantasy IX, Metal Gear (series), Bioshock, Tom Clancy, Far Cry 2, Hideo Kojima, This War of Mine, Papers Please, Cart Life, Valiant Hearts, UbiSoft, Far Cry 5, Sean Vanaman, Jake Rodkin, Firewatch, Gone Home, Wolfenstein, Star Wars, Yoji Shinkawa.

Next time:
Play until you reach the first planet in Space Quest

Links/Notes:
Note - the XYZZY Awards still exist!

Dialog with Campbell et al about your mono TV

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

Mar 21, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing a pair of very early Sierra adventure games, beginning with 1984's King's Quest: Quest for the Crown. We talk a bit about Sierra and its early contributions to games as a whole and the specific form of the adventure game, setting it in context and discussing taste. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
"About half" of King's Quest

Issues covered: crossing a drawbridge, being top of the game food chain, the rise and fall and rise of adventure games, establishing a formula early on, being unable to get games, hint lines, IBM funding, sweet development deal, four-color video cards, reusable engines, general-purpose machines vs custom machines, leveraging programming work, local-ish company, building a string of franchises, first developers whose names you know, typing in directions, diving into the manual, how to make an adventure game map, the need to restart, lack of direction, number pad, playing with a parser, getting source code for text adventures, verb usability in LucasArts vs Sierra, finding parser edges and the sense of discovery, one-use verbs, having visual feedback in addition to the parser, open world exploration in the parser, different taste in adventures and animation, a brainy game, experimentation, engineers vs pure designers, character mechanics, timing element, hint books, using friends like a hint line, pen and paper similarity, willing suspension of disbelief, blocking off inaccessible areas via art, the wrap-around map, connected world, usability decision?, multi-use puzzles and inventory items, waiting for things, relying on fairy tale lore.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: LucasArts, Day of the Tentacle, Apple ][, Infocom, Wizard and the Princess, Roberta and Ken Williams, Egghead Software, IBM, Out of this World/Another World, Karateka, Dynamix, Vivendi, CUC International, Havas, Andromeda, Zork, ADVENT/Colossal Cave Adventure, Ultima, Tetris, ExciteBike, Marble Madness, Montezuma's Revenge, Commodore 64, Ancient Art of War, Ballblazer, Archon, Lode Runner, Disney, Pixar, Ubisoft, Dark Souls, Felix the Cat, Warner Bros, Ralph Bakshi, Mystery House, Manhole, HyperCard, Cyan, Myst, Enchanter, Lost Treasures of Infocom, Activision, Dungeons and Dragons, Greensleeves, Ultima Underworld, Pac-Man, Lucas Rizoli, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, Police Quest, Daryl Gates.

Note:
It might have been more accurate to say source might have been "assembled" rather than "interpreted"

Links:
Duncan Fyfe on PQ4, writing for Waypoint

Next time:
Finish King's Quest

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

Mar 14, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing 1992's immersive sim classic Ultima Underworld. We talk about how the game comes together at the end and the interconnectedness of it all before we turn to our pillars and takeaways. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:42 Segment 1: finishing the game
44:23 Break
44:59 Segment 2: Takeways and feedback

Issues covered: serviceable weapons, Tim realizes he never beat the game before, reuniting pieces of key, going in between levels, breaking down a door, getting a little help from your friends, cup talisman, the taper being a different piece of art, the writ of Lorne, killing all the trolls, Tim finds nine talismans, the crux ansata, Tom and Judy quest, themes of loss throughout the game, the lost world of Cabirus, thematic storytelling here vs larger open worlds, usability issues and keeping track, missing clues and having to scour levels, having an unbreakable sword, worrying about the final room, anticlimactic final room, the final maze and its length, hallucinatory images while running away, dream sequences in Max Payne, wearing the special crown, the moonstone room, Brett ends with a ton of scrolls, wondering about other skill possibilities, finishing at level 15/16, clip of the ending screen, interconnected quests and dungeon, being nervous about a game being broken, QAing this game and finding workarounds, hinting at how to move around the dungeon space, getting frustrated to the point of exploring the non-obvious, the game that justifies the inclusion of quest journals, the wane that proceeds the RPG renaissance, full commitment to simulation, simulating the staleness of food, leaving bloodspots, pushing forward to any idea you could think of, supporting the core fantasy of being in this place, interconnecting systems, focusing on one dungeon, committing to a motivating idea, balance, interconnected levels, pen and paper games, fallen utopia, old rotten and seasoned, choosing enemy types, borrowing from the main games, using archetypes, picking characters based on their abilities and lore, orthogonal design in enemies, varieties of damage types, top-down vs bottom-up approach, potentially bad tropes to take into here, lack of random monster encounters, balancing for different sorts of characters, separating systems, iterating on numbers, leaning on QA, changing enemy behaviors based on weapons, putting the onus on the player, cheating on behalf of the player, GDC and planned interview, parser games.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Ultima (series), Mark Eldridge, Max Payne, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Origin, Baldur's Gate, Gold Box games, Martian Dreams Ultima Adventure, Wolfenstein, Doom, The Elder Scrolls: Arena, H. P. Lovecraft, Icewind Dale, The Witcher (series), Bard's Tale, Eye of the Beholder, Dungeons & Dragons, Underworld: Ascendant, Mark *Sean* Garcia, Tader Chip, Maas Neotek Proto/Keane, Republic Commando, Halo, Diablo, Brian Taylor, Metal Gear Solid, Skyrim, Deus Ex, Sierra Games, LucasArts, King's Quest, Space Quest, Day of the Tentacle, GOG.com, Wizard and the Princess.

Next time:
King's Quest I, "About half"

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

Mar 7, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing 1992's immersive sim classic Ultima Underworld. We take a deeper dive into the leveling system and the magic system and talk about the intersection of RPGs and immersive sims and the various analog elements of this game in particular. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Levels 4-6

Issues covered: rotworm stew, taking notes and having too much to sort through, keeping track using the map, space for a legend, cartography, how the leveling system works vs other games, strengths and weakness of a leveling system, ceding control of the player experience to the RNG, rewarding the finding of mantras and pushing you to search for them, awarding of XP, pushing you to other skills via randomness, sticking with the Sword of Justice because it doesn't break, the intersection of two very difficult genres in terms of balancing, encouraging you to fully explore the map, finding an angry ghost and a talking door, mixing runes to come up with spells, the consistency of 8 virtues and 8 races and 8 talismans, role-playing your decisions, embracing the pen and paper origins, combat pacing and space with magic and weapon timing, swinging a weapon and hitting a wall, weapon mechanics, the tale of Sir Rodrick, essential objects and the possibility of losing the game, sources of weird rendering artifacts, potential optimizations to avoid clipping, Longo Rooms, low fidelity games, using the silver seed for resurrection -- Tim teaches Brett a trick, tracking ownership of objects, identifying AI state using the look button, analog fidelity of systems, inter-level connections of quests and objects, adventure game elements, finding a moonstone and other favorite moments, Tim confesses his hacker past.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dungeons & Dragons, Warren Spector, Planescape: Torment, Gold Box games, Eye of the Beholder, GURPS/Steve Jackson Games, Wolfenstein 3D, Mark Eldridge.

Next time:
Finish the game! (Levels 7 & 8)

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

Feb 28, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing 1992's immersive sim classic Ultima Underworld. We discuss the specifics of levels two and three a bit, but also tackle inventory, encumbrance, taking notes on paper, and the delightful map and how those have changed over the years. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Levels 2 and 3

Podcast breakdown:
0:43    UU Discussion
48:46  Break
49:12  Feedback

Issues covered: Brett learns some Lizardman, chatting with goblins and the many civilizations, relationships between factions, killing a she-spider, being fully engaged, the mystery of Sir Cabirus, Tim falls down a hole, leveling up quickly, Brett loses some chain mail, taking paper notes as you play, making lists of details like clues and mantras, physical keys vs logical keys and design trade-offs, imagining player stories, keeping track of key rules, attributing influences to this game vs prior games, annotating the map, drawing a dungeon as you went, automapping and writing on the map, writing a legend, player agency on the map, some map games, the shadow of the map pin, handling inventory, bags within bags, putting inventory responsibility on the player, respecting the player's intelligence, anxiety from previous play-throughs of losing objects, having help from viewers, needing encumbrance space and dropping objects to make room, asking a lot from the player, return of older styles of gameplay to support usability, jankiness of erasing, adapting map to a controller, rules that you discover along the way: leeches and spiking doors, using player tools in Bethesda games, game developer view on objects that you have, dwarf section: beginning middle and end, sense of place, the gazer shooting a beam at you, looking for Shak, repair skills, potential for overspecialization, level cap of 16, the eight virtues and corresponding classes, Joy to the Underworld, playing music on stream, being a completionist and hoarding everything in the hoard room, fixing the audio, podcasts/interviews, level design as a discipline, level design for stealth gameplay, onboarding stealth mechanics and their combination, avoiding overwhelming player (and designer), fantasy fulfillment in Thief, a little goes a long way, designing from moments and working backwards, having vignettes to implement towards, client-facing programming, merging geometry and systems and mechanics, tension in Thief II.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dungeons and Dragons, Eye of the Beholder, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, UbiSoft, The Witcher, Far Cry 2, Miasmata, Joe and Bob Johnson, LOST, Etrian Odyssey, Nintendo, Brian Taylor, Mark Eldridge, Dark Souls, Looking Glass Studios, Fallout 3, Skyrim, Ultima Underworld 2, System Shock 2, Ultima series and classes, Final Fantasy (series), JohnCaboose/Bjorn, Makendi, MaasNeotekProto, Tom Francis, Heat Signature, Floating Point, Gunpoint, PCGamer podcast, Crate and Crowbar, Aaron Evers, Thief, Paul Neurath, Mark Allen Garcia, Metal Gear Solid, Chris Mead, GAMBIT/MIT, Irrational Games, Bioshock, Phillip Staffetius, Final Fantasy IX, Kotaku, MSXII, Gamemaker, Game Developers Conference, Metal Gear Solid 4, John LeCarre, Mark of the Ninja, Star Wars: Republic Commando, Nels Anderson, Thief II, Alien: Isolation.

Links:
Tom Francis on emergent narrative

GOG forum link for audio care of Mark Eldridge

Paul Neurath on Thief  c/o Aaron Evers

GAMBIT/MIT on Looking Glass c/o Chris Mead

Next time:
Levels 4, 5, and 6

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

Feb 28, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing 1992's immersive sim classic Ultima Underworld. We discuss the specifics of levels two and three a bit, but also tackle inventory, encumbrance, taking notes on paper, and the delightful map and how those have changed over the years. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Levels 2 and 3

Podcast breakdown:
0:43    UU Discussion
48:46  Break
49:12  Feedback

Issues covered: Brett learns some Lizardman, chatting with goblins and the many civilizations, relationships between factions, killing a she-spider, being fully engaged, the mystery of Sir Cabirus, Tim falls down a hole, leveling up quickly, Brett loses some chain mail, taking paper notes as you play, making lists of details like clues and mantras, physical keys vs logical keys and design trade-offs, imagining player stories, keeping track of key rules, attributing influences to this game vs prior games, annotating the map, drawing a dungeon as you went, automapping and writing on the map, writing a legend, player agency on the map, some map games, the shadow of the map pin, handling inventory, bags within bags, putting inventory responsibility on the player, respecting the player's intelligence, anxiety from previous play-throughs of losing objects, having help from viewers, needing encumbrance space and dropping objects to make room, asking a lot from the player, return of older styles of gameplay to support usability, jankiness of erasing, adapting map to a controller, rules that you discover along the way: leeches and spiking doors, using player tools in Bethesda games, game developer view on objects that you have, dwarf section: beginning middle and end, sense of place, the gazer shooting a beam at you, looking for Shak, repair skills, potential for overspecialization, level cap of 16, the eight virtues and corresponding classes, Joy to the Underworld, playing music on stream, being a completionist and hoarding everything in the hoard room, fixing the audio, podcasts/interviews, level design as a discipline, level design for stealth gameplay, onboarding stealth mechanics and their combination, avoiding overwhelming player (and designer), fantasy fulfillment in Thief, a little goes a long way, designing from moments and working backwards, having vignettes to implement towards, client-facing programming, merging geometry and systems and mechanics, tension in Thief II.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dungeons and Dragons, Eye of the Beholder, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, UbiSoft, The Witcher, Far Cry 2, Miasmata, Joe and Bob Johnson, LOST, Etrian Odyssey, Nintendo, Brian Taylor, Mark Eldridge, Dark Souls, Looking Glass Studios, Fallout 3, Skyrim, Ultima Underworld 2, System Shock 2, Ultima series and classes, Final Fantasy (series), JohnCaboose/Bjorn, Makendi, MaasNeotekProto, Tom Francis, Heat Signature, Floating Point, Gunpoint, PCGamer podcast, Crate and Crowbar, Aaron Evers, Thief, Paul Neurath, Mark Allen Garcia, Metal Gear Solid, Chris Mead, GAMBIT/MIT, Irrational Games, Bioshock, Phillip Staffetius, Final Fantasy IX, Kotaku, MSXII, Gamemaker, Game Developers Conference, Metal Gear Solid 4, John LeCarre, Mark of the Ninja, Star Wars: Republic Commando, Nels Anderson, Thief II, Alien: Isolation.

Links:
Tom Francis on emergent narrative

GOG forum link for audio care of Mark Eldridge

Paul Neurath on Thief  c/o Aaron Evers

GAMBIT/MIT on Looking Glass c/o Chris Mead

Next time:
Levels 4, 5, and 6

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

Feb 21, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are beginning a new series on 1992's immersive sim classic Ultima Underworld. As usual, we situate the game in time a bit and in the Ultima series as a whole, before delving into the first few hours of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Level 1

Podcast breakdown:
0:40    Underworld
54:54  Break
55:22  Feedback

Issues covered: Brett gets hooked, first person game and a lot of clicking, getting over the initial hump, taking a long time to finish a game, 72-hour game benders, epilepsy and flashing, firsts of their kind year, seeing the walls of the design, branching out with the Ultima series, Ultima Worlds of Adventure, adding simulation to the point of view, not being alone in the first-person space, vector wireframe rendering in the first Ultima dungeons, feeling the presence of the developer, exploration of controls, limited verbs in FPSes, free look, overdesigned mouse interface, not reading the manual, coming full circle to analog controls in the modern day, fine-tuning movement, "this will never catch on," clarity in input, instinct was right but implementation was wrong, poll rates, mechanical mice vs optical mice, Trish the Bard, 80s looking character portrait, innovating on taking a thing from world and dragging into the inventory, the Trello of inventory systems, adding too many things to a bag, UX nightmare, convergence game with systems coming together, top-down design vs bottom-up design, RPG differences between player skill and character skill, gesture-based combat, idea to implementation, fewer barriers to implementation, lack of level designers, taking more risks because of lower costs, dark side of games, using a key in a door, verbs and similarity to adventure games, where the three hours went for Brett, fearing dropping something that you'll need later, traipsing all over, jumping difficulty, factions as an underpinning of the underground society, lack of quest log/journal, does dialogue hint at actions you can take, clarity of the rules, fading fortunes of SSI, playing MGS vs remembering MGS, coloring what follows a good moment, CGI cutscenes painting in the player's impressions of fidelity, the legacy of Lara Croft's portrayal, avoiding blind spots through diverse representation in your development team, preferring Twin Snakes.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: The Chronicles of Narnia, Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, Origin Systems, EA, Ultima (series), Richard Garriott/Lord British, Wizardry, Dungeon Master, Gold Box, Eye of the Beholder, The Bard's Tale, Dark Corners of the Earth, Elder Scrolls (series), Looking Glass Studios, Warren Spector, Doug Church, System Shock, Marc MAHK LeBlanc, Tim Stellmach, Deus Ex, Harvey Smith, Randy Smith, Prey, Dishonoured (series), Paul Neurath, Underworld Ascendant, Dune II, Warcraft, Ultima VII, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Hal Barwood, Ecco the Dolphin, Super Mario Kart, Mortal Kombat, Night Trap, Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil, Flashback, Another World/Out of this World, Martian Dreams, Savage Empire, Quake, Wing Commander, Space Rogue, id Software, Stonekeep, Final Fantasy (series), Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest (series), Ogre, Quake, DOOM 2, Terminator, Planescape: Torment, SoundBlaster, Fallout 2, Elder Scrolls: Arena, SSI, Thief, Kupo1256, Christian Schuster, Metal Gear Solid (series), Fallout 3, Todd Howard, Jonah Lobe, Silent Hill 2, Final Fantasy VII/IX, Travis Grasser, Symphony of the Night, Tomb Raider (2013), Rise of the Tomb Raider, Jason Schreier, Kirk Hamilton, Michael, Final Fantasy XV, Christianne Meister, Skyrim, Jeff Buttaccio, GameCube, MGS: Twin Snakes, Shigeru Miyamoto.

Next time:
Levels 2 and 3

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

Jan 31, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are midway through our series on 1998's Japanese stealth classic Metal Gear Solid. We talk about frustration, the various bosses, and a bit about one-offs. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through the torture scene

Podcast breakdown:
0:40      MGS
1:03:10 Break
1:03:45 Feedback

Issues covered: the history of "snake style," sources of frustration, Brett's psychological makeup, frustration in boss battles, the point of no return, finding the mine detector, using the cardboard box, getting through the lasers, using first person, smoking to reveal beams, gadget use in espionage movies, suddenly encountering a tank, stealth mechanics and the tank, tropes and cultural appropriation, 80s movies, elevating a bad B movie into a good B movie, committing to your melodrama, geopolitical themes and the military-industrial complex, subtext about game development, difficulty and frustration with Cyber Ninja, wall boss, human-sized bosses, grounding the game even in its strangeness, bosses can be characters, breaking the fourth wall with Psycho Mantis, reading the memory card, psychological warfare, cutscene leading up to his face reveal, ridiculous backtracking for the sniper rifle, beating Sniper Wolf and getting captured anyway, limited control in the cinematic, Revolver taunting you, focusing on scenes, voice acting video (link in the notes), briefing cutscene, taking joy in our lives despite their problematic elements, assuaging our guilt, carpal tunnel issues, posture issues.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: LucasArts, Star Wars: Starfighter, Chris McGee, Andrew Kirmse, Matty Alan Estock, Portal, Day of the Tentacle, Dave Grossman, Tim Schafer, Samus Returns, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, The Wrong Trousers, Nick Park, Metal Gear (NES), Hideo Kojima, James Bond, Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Batman, Escape from New York, The Great Santini, Brawl in Cell Block 99, S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk, Kurt Russell, Death Stranding, Eternal Darkness, Magneto, Hellboy, Darth Vader, The Incredibles, GoldenEye, Mark Garcia, Ben Hanson, Game Informer, Uncharted, The Last of Us, Drew/Tim Homan, Jeremy Blaustein, Silent Hill 2/3, Anachronox, Björn Johansson, Peacewalker, William Rance, Bleemcast/Dreamcast, Aaron Giles, Revengeance, John Yorke, Pro Evolution Soccer, Phil Yorke, Zone of the Enders, Derek Achoy, Super Mario Odyssey, Nels Anderson, Lyndsey Gallant, Tacoma, Mass Effect 2 & 3, Xbox, COBOL, Thief.

Links:
GI The Inside Story of Recording Metal Gear Solid

MGS Briefing

Call Me Snake

Errata:

Brett was confusing Matt Zoller Seitz with S. Craig Zahler. We regret the error.

Aaron Giles was in fact involved with the Connectix software Virtual Game Station.

Next time:
Finish the game!

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

Jan 10, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are having our fourth and final discussion about 2001's quirky Western-built Japanese-style RPG Anachronox. We talk quite a bit about the specifics of the end of the game, with a diversion into ION Storm, and then talk about our takeaways. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through to the end!

Podcast breakdown:
0:42 Anachronox!

Issues covered: that final battle, splitting up the party, Rho Bowman's adventure on Democratus, Stiletto Anyway's adventure on Democratus, Tim mansplains Star Wars to Brett, we do no work in figuring out the Elementor, Paco's adventure makes a mockery of the military, locks and keys through a million variations, Paco's minigame, party variety, why have unique levels for party members, end of the credits sequence, replayability as an issue in early 2000s games, ION Storm history, splitting off to be a rebel developer, how did this get made, game development rock stardom, Brett's film nerddom, going to Limbus and getting historical and religious context for the whole Chaos/Order thing, character design on Limbus, going to talk to Rowdy, circularity in the story, facial animation system, splitting up the party, heist movie, long car chase scene and Fatima's death, Kuleshov effect, what can and should games notice about player behavior, the final battle, how the Elementor crosses over or whether it does, area effect abilities, post-battle walk out scene, letting your freak flag fly, keeping players guessing, focus on writing and characters, being more playful, humor in games.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Aaron Evers, Legend of Zelda, Tomb Raider, Star Wars, Return of the Jedi, Tom Hall, Quake, Warren Spector, Deus Ex, ION Storm, Daikatana, John Romero, Unreal, Image Comics, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Todd MacFarlane, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Eidos Interactive, EA, Gathering of Developers, Masters of DOOM, New York Times Magazine, id Software, Epic Megagames, Peter Lorre, M., Fritz Lang, Dark Crystal, Time Machine, Die Hard, Sly Cooper (series), Max Payne, Metal Gear Solid (series), Reservoir Dogs, Star Trek, Moby Dick, Christopher Nolan, Batman, Jeff Green, Computer Gaming World, MaasNeotekProto.

Links:
Computer Gaming World issue where Jeff Green talks about the company and game

Next time:
Interview...? (If not, see the Twitter account)

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

Jan 3, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are having our third discussion about 2001's quirky Western-built Japanese-style RPG Anachronox. We talk quite a bit about the specifics of this section of the game, including the combat elements and leveling, before turning to feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
To the surface of Democratus!

Podcast breakdown:
0:43      Anachronox pt III
1:05:15 Break
1:05:47 Feedback

Issues covered: resolutions (or lack thereof) and taking stock, flying towards the Hive and having a railgun shooter, abstracting away from player skill in RPGs, hybridization, lack of loot, finding new offensive stuff in the environment, using the Elementor, colored bugs and finding them all over, the Hive Queen, saving Democratus and having it... join your party?, tonal shifting every couple of hours, movie tone management, no shackles, could you do this today?, indie studios doing widely different games, how would you do a sequel to this game?, drug missions in Far Cry 4, optional nature of diverse gameplay lending them less force, whether a pure episodic model could work, theoretical possibility of continuing the series, choice between Hephaestus vs Red Light District, Pumping Station, broader humor, introduction of Stiletto Anyway, Stiletto's special ability, tricky design problem -- locking off areas, Rho's description of what's going on quantum physics/astrophysics/temporal physics, moving mass between universes, incorporating the game's ideas all the way down into the UI, the Hephaestus mystery, characters moving around in the environment apart from you, useless randomization, getting the elementor, Krapton comics universe and Rictus the villain, storytelling with comic panels, hologram puzzles, the weird hero capture room, committing all the way to a planet as a party member, the electoral college mockery in 2000, hyperdiegetic lore issues, content coordination, the "dragon break", content coordination and licensing, listening out of order, book club.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Aaron Evers, IrreverentQ, Matty Alan Estock, Makendi, MaasNeotekProto, Ryan (Stats_dr), Jackbox Party Pack/Drawful, Rebel Assault, Descent, Final Fantasy, Witcher III, Aliens, Soul Reaver, Star Trek, What Remains of Edith Finch?, The Unfinished Swan, Vlambeer, Year Walk, Beat Sneak Bandit, Device 6, Simogo, Far Cry 4, Far Cry Primal, Square Enix, Eidos, Outlaws, The Terminator, Ron Gilbert, Rob Howard, Grid Snaps, Star Wars Republic Commando, Ben (from Iowa) Zaugg, Al Gore, Logan Brown, Halo, Jason Schreier, Blood Sweat and Pixels, Halo Wars, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, 343 Industries, LucasFilm, Haden Blackman, Hangar 13, Mafia III, Star Wars Encyclopedia, Ryan Kaufman, Star Wars Galaxies, Bethesda Game Studios, tshokunbi, System Shock 2.

Links:
Podcast episode about SWRC

Next time:
Finish the game!

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

Dec 27, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we have a very special, year-end blast where we talk about some top take-aways and interview moments from the past year. And it's been a busy one, with six interviews and ten games discussed. Thanks for joining us this year. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: defeating Darth Vader, the complexity of the world and reflecting that in TIE Fighter, taking a twist on the Chosen One, developing the character of Gordon Freeman and ultimately cutting the cutscenes, having a scene of level designers competing with one another and also with other companies, making single-player content be moment-to-moment excellence, the enemy AI playing against you in X-COM, flying under the radar, adding dynamic difficulty at the last possible moment, Tim loses his X-COM save file, thematic and story integration, holistic design (between control/mechanics/camera/space), less is more, individual effort shining through, homogenization of game development, nailing the 3D camera, shipping your experiments.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Anachronox, Darren Johnson, Reed Knight, TIE Fighter, Dan Connors, Mark Cartwright, Larry Holland, X-Wing vs TIE Fighter, Republic Commando, Planescape: Torment, Chris Avellone, Half-Life, Marc Laidlaw, Chuck Jones, Dario Casali, Fallout, Sin, Daikatana, Quake II, Titanfall 2, Respawn Entertainment, Chris Blohm, Julian Gollop, X-COM: UFO Defense, Microprose, Phoenix Point, Star Wars: Starfighter, Fumito Ueda, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario World, Silent Hill 2, Super Mario 64, Battlefront II, Metal Gear Solid, The Last Guardian, Fred Markus, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
We return to Anachronox and go down to the surface of Democratus!

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

Dec 20, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are in the midst of our discussion about 2001's quirky Western-built Japanese-style RPG Anachronox. We talk about the writing and humor, how those may have developed, and also discuss the characters and their characterization, among other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Votowne

Podcast breakdown:
0:45   Segment 1: Anachronox
50:23 Break
50:52 Segment 2: Feedback

Issues covered: etymology of sly boots and other forms of boots, the writing style, broad and referential humor, the quest for a size five helmet, comedic space opera, particular interests in the humor, dark humor, lack of boundaries to the writing, Grumpos's Yammer ability, going back and forth with your party on Votowne, having to have Sly in your party, drifting in space conversations, walking a thin line of humor and menace, hinting at Detta before you meet him, is PAL's voice getting in the way?, lip-synching and fully-voiced cinematics, recording all actors in the same room, length of space cutscenes, edited together machinima, paying off on team and technical investments over multiple games, use of multiple locations, feeling like a television series, political commentary, gaining confidence in comedy, individualism in Votowne and Rho Bowman, use of space and environment in combat, combat speed, stone sentinel fight and combat design, figuring out the JRPG rock-paper-scissors stuff, combat challenge and depth (or lack thereof), enabling character dialog based on quest state, Sender Station Station, NPC state or location changes based on quest, boss battles, jeep battle section at end of MGS 1, marker system challenge in SWRC, air steering in Tomb Raider.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Nathan Bailey’s 1721 Dictionary of Canting and Thieving Slang, Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, SpaceQuest, Sierra, The Beatles, Tom Hall, Jim Jones, SpongeBob Squarepants, Cartman, Buck Rogers, Kingdom Hearts, Nightmare Before Christmas, Cowboy Bebop, Mass Effect, Planescape: Torment, Chinatown, John Huston, Kingpin, Daredevil, The Godfather, Jeff Morris, Jake Hughes, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Uncharted (series), Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, Star Trek (television series), Avengers/Captain America, Final Fantasy IX, Chrono Trigger, Tomb Raider, Drew Homan, Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, Panther One/Anthony Vaccaro, Asteroids, Pong, Unity, Unreal Engine 4, Hero Engine, GameMaker: Studio, Republic Commando, Nathan Martz, Tomb Raider (2013), Mario (series), TIE Fighter, Half-Life, Julian Gollop, X-COM, Chris Avellone.

Next time:
To the Surface of Democratus!

Links:
Asteroids tutorial, Step 1: https://youtu.be/7XDcSXVUGsE

GameMaker: https://www.yoyogames.com/gamemaker

Brett Making Asteroids in a couple hours: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv7L09FOx8E

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

Dec 6, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are closing our series on 1996 3D platforming sensation Super Mario 64. We start at the end, discuss Koji Kondo's iconic music and finally, our takeaways, before turning to listener feedback. SM64 Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:42   Segment 1: Discussion and Pillars
44:35 Break
45:08 Segment 2: Feedback/next time

Issues covered: the boss battle, getting better at the game, getting those red stars, finding a backflip shortcut, throwing Bowser and figuring out a pattern for yourself, listening for audio cues, desperation, difficulty of the final Bowser fight, having a one-up nearby, building that Bowser battle around the controller, training you for that final battle, ending games, weird final cake, the last few levels, Tiny Huge Island and finding Wiggler, Tim learns you can choose one or the other image to jump into Tiny Huge Island, secret stars, sliding down the ramp, the music, our John Williams, adapting simple melodies across multiple titles, the stickiness of a few Mario musical themes, pulling these melodies forward into modern games, comparing film music to game music, limitations of hardware influencing musical choices, the 3D camera working so well with the level design, accommodating a camera in your level design (vs not), the abstraction that allows exploration of 3D ideas and experimentation, decision paralysis, the hub and spoke structure revisited, not holding up as consistently, green cap, variant gameplay should be easy, endings of games are hard, new combinations of skills, appreciating the game as an adult, more developed critical skills, importing an N64 and renting it out, reconfiguring the levels, speedrunning Mario 64, Brett uses the F word, teleporting out of the world, extending the play of the world, getting to the unreachable coin, swimming in 3D platformers, wish fulfillment in games, octogenarians and nostalgia, physical competence, VR potentially having a role when we are old, targeting wish fulfillment to only one demographic, power fantasy, mobile fantasy fulfillment.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Super Mario Odyssey, Portal, Mario Kart, Daron Stinnett, Koji Kondo, Nobuo Uematsu, Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, John Williams, Halo, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, Final Fantasy XV, Soul Reaver, Dan Houser, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Sasha Visari, Truffles Mochacchino, SEGA Saturn, Tomb Raider, The Hobbit, Starfighter, TIE Fighter, Bobby Oster, Phil Rosehill, Summoning Salt, Awesome Games Done Quick, Audrey Fox, Mikkel Lodahl, Cribbage, Backgammon, Bridge, Ultima, Richard Garriott, Kim Kardashian's Hollywood, Ready Player One, j-dog33, Fallout 3, Silent Hill 2, Anachronox, Republic Commando, Reed Knight, Deus Ex, Tom Hall, id Software, Jeff Green, Computer Gaming World.

Links:
Summoning Salt on the Super Mario 64 120-Star World Record Progression

Summoning Salt on the Super Mario 64 0-Star World Record Progression

Super Mario 64 120 Star Race at GDQ

Super Mario 64 0/1 Star Race at GDQ

Half Button Presses 

The Super Mario 64 coin that took 18 years to collect 

Next time:

Anachronox! Through "Bricks"

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

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

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

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