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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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Nov 30, 2016

Welcome to our first episode examining 1994's Star Wars classic TIE Fighter. We talk a lot about the Star Wars presentation, simulation depth and choices, and touch a bit on the story. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Battles 1-3

Podcast breakdown:
0:29      Segment 1, Felis Interruptus
20:35    Quick Break
20:40    Segment 2

Issues covered: six degrees of Bill Bixby, Holland's WWII series, alternate histories, showing the perspective of the bad guys, multiplayer and technical feasibility, Star Wars presentation, cockpits in the films, cookie-cutter bureaucracy of the Empire, linear narratives driving things forward in other games, simulating a military career, voice work, Star Wars melodrama and narrative glue, leaning on the films' fiction, secret society of the Emperor, bonus objectives, naming your pilot, save structure, opening cinematic, propaganda, paralleling the films, the Thrawn trilogy, color choices in the HUD, key confusion, level of difficulty, playing like a puzzle game, flight simulation dead ends, genre lulls, flight sims as technical showcases, grognard capture, flying the F-22, moving to flight action, Warthog sims, simulators everywhere, bridging to more accessible games, configuring the complex flight stick, roll and pull configs, guiding the mouse, pulling you back to Star Wars, flying a variety of craft, basis of the Assault Gunboat and the Tydirium Shuttle, introducing the TIE Advanced, vulnerability in the popcorn ship, managing difficulty, energy management, "where's my lasers?", flight model, player skill payoff of deep simulation, roguelikes and punishment, mission length, finishing the primary objectives and moving on, player agency with extra content.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: That Darn Cat, Disney, Bill Bixby, Incredible Hulk, Marvel, Star Wars, Larry Holland, LucasArts, Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer, Day of the Tentacle, Chuck Yeager, Falcon series, Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, Battlezone, Indiana Jones series, Battlehawks 1942, Their Finest Hour, Wing Commander, X-Wing, Totally Games, X-Wing vs TIE Fighter, Rogue One, Dark Forces, Starfighter, James Taylor, Yoda, Deus Ex, Bob Page, Republic Commando, Timothy Zahn, Heir to the Empire, Reed Knight, Star Citizen, Descent, ARMA, F-16, Daron Stinnett, Spectrum Holobyte, Shadows of the Empire, Rogue Squadron, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Call of Duty, Starcraft, Return of the Jedi, Battlestar Galactica, Souls series, Bioshock, System Shock 2.

Next time:
Battles 4 through 7

Errata:
"That Darn Cat" featured Dean Jones, not Bill Bixby. DevGameClub regrets the error.

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

Nov 23, 2016

Welcome to Dev Game Club Bonus Content. We've both played a little bit of The Evil Within and here we lovingly render our verdict in stunning HD. Usually, Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary, but here in Bonus Content we just chat about something descended from one of our main games and talk about the directions it's gone.


Podcast breakdown:
0:35    Bonus Content: Evil Within and Feedback
58:27  Bonus Bonus Content from Brett

Issues covered: action horror vs slower-paced, text description, gore overload, stealth elements, using fire to your advantage, putting carts before horses, the agony crossbow, Mikami's tropes, story scale/scope, the Japanese factor in melodramatic amp-up, the hospital hub, empathy work in horror games and slasher films, keys to the lockers, fictionalizing all the game mechanics, expensive progression system, getting all the progress, brief encounters with chainsaws, tight level design, look of specific technology (idTech 5, Unreal), character design, NPC companions, PS1 controls, film and Resident Evil, New Years Resolutions.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Resident Evil 4, Silent Hill series, Tomb Raider, Rage, DOOM (2016), Uncharted series, Far Cry series, Assassin's Creed series, Hitman, Alien Isolation, Bethesda Game Studios, Shinji Mikami, Capcom, Bioshock, Quentin Tarantino, Halloween I and II, Destiny, Republic Commando, Chris Williams, Wolfenstein: The New Order, BattleTankBob, Final Fantasy VII & IX, Robin Sakai, Metal Gear Solid, Hideo Kojima, Greg Naughton, Fallout, UnderTale, Underrail, Troika Games, Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, Kill Screen, TIE Fighter, Mortimer and the Riddle of the Medallion, XvT, X-Wing, Chris Suellentrop, JJ Sutherland, Shall We Play A Game podcast, Chris Metzen, Blizzard Entertainment, The Instance podcast.

Next time:
TIE Fighter, the first three battles

Notes:
The early "ARG" Brett refers to from the 1980s was called "Treasure: In Search of the Golden Horse."

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

Nov 16, 2016

Welcome to our fourth and final episode examining 1996's survival horror classic Resident Evil. We discuss the major story beats of the section, the nonsensical mess of the ending, the tyrant, and talk about some pillars and takeaways from the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finishing the game! In the labs.

Podcast breakdown:
0:29 Segment 1: The end and takeaways
52:03 Segment 2: Reviews and what's next

Issues covered: current events, RE story beats, the thin hand-waving at a conspiracy involving Wesker, multiple endings, filling out the map and finding the three computers, faking urgency, new game+ stuff, credits sequence, commitment to melodrama, Wesker and Revolver Ocelot, famous villains, asymmetry and symmetry in monsters, foreshadowing and suspense, lack of feedback fighting the tyrant, poor telegraphing, teaching is important, custom coding vs systemic work, frustrated filmmakers, disempowerment/anti-wish fulfillment, genre reinforcing well with mechanics, self-contained/holistic spaces, better puzzles at the end, resource management, cinematic cameras and techniques.


Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: John Oliver, Last Week Tonight, Metal Gear Solid series, LOST, Chrono Cross, Silent Hill 2, Siri, Starfighter, 343 Industries, Hideo Kojima, Shinji Mikami, Capcom, Warren Spector, Firewatch, Sean Vanaman, Jake Rodkin, The Evil Within, DOOM (1993), Quake, Tomb Raider (2013), The Descent, Soma, Amnesia, Frictional Games, Penumbra, Alien: Isolation, Dead Space, Event Horizon, Rage, DOOM (2016), Yarkie, ChadBarth, TIE Fighter, Rogue One.


Next time:
Join us next week for a little bonus content for Thanksgiving week!

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

Nov 9, 2016

Welcome to our third episode examining 1996's survival horror classic 3. We discuss the major story beats of the section, delve into the puzzles, discuss how spaces like these are made, enemies, a whole cornucopia of topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through the Tunnels

Podcast breakdown:
0:32      Segment 1: Story beats, Puzzles
54:30    Break
54:54    Segment 2: Feedback

Issues covered: C.O.L.D., story beats and "wacky Japanese stuff," meeting Lisa more than once, military industrial complex, Barry's story and splitting up, puzzle battle with Lisa, knowing what to do and be unable to do it, weaknesses of the camera and controls, bending the verbs to do a different thing, thinking things won't work as a game developer, examination puzzles, sham object puzzles, spider reveal, Lisa creature design, Brett's former fear of spiders and how it differs from Tim's, bringing your own history to a game, using simplest collision detection, carrying the Zippo, walk boxes to restrain character movement, abstracting the space, enemy choices and design, shark fears, monsters out of place, diving in and trusting the game's save system, not every game is for every person, audio and its unique way to cut into us because it has no frame, use of silence to accentuate environmental sounds and build tension, use of windows in the game.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Starfighter, Metal Gear Solid, Back to the Future, rest of Resident Evil series, Ken Levine, System Shock 2, Skyrim, Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later, The Evil Within, SOMA, Amnesia, Neverwinter Nights, Lord of the Rings (obliquely), Day of the Tentacle, Dave Grossman, Grim Fandango, Thimbleweed Park, Ron Gilbert, Killzone 2, Final Fantasy IX, Assassin's Creed, The Shallows, The Muppet Movie, Jaws, Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Nathan Martz, Dark Souls, Blair Witch Project, The Exorcist, Robin Sakai, Michael Lewis, Republic Commando, Dave Collins, Jesse Harlin, TimmyMcCoy, Fastpaced350, Cameron Potter.

Next time:
Finish the game!

Links:
Walk boxes in Thimbleweed Park

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

Nov 2, 2016

Welcome to our second episode examining 1996's survival horror classic Resident Evil. We discuss the tight resource management of the game and the spatial logic of the place, amongst other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to the tunnels (in theory)

Podcast breakdown:
0:33    Segment 1: Resources (saves) and Spaces
50:27  Break
51:00  Segment 2: Feedback, next time, links

Issues covered: save system, Tim and min-maxing OCD, clearing the map, differences between easy and normal, difficulty settings in games then and now, difficulty for developers and QA, punishing the player, controller difficulty, memorizing spaces, frustration and fighting the controls, fear response on lower difficulty, popping heads, running into other characters and having the space stop making sense, story choices, lack of story logic, "gaminess" of the design, crate teleportation, inventory systems in RE, realism fighting sensibility, localization, house structure as a real place not holding up, finding the balance of game needs and realism in level design, deliberately breaking spatial sense, surreal spatial design, Aetherium design, negative-space editing, exploiting engines, piecing together bits of story in journals, the wrong Moonlight Sonata, referring to the lighter, passive storytelling, VATS and more tactical options for added depth.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Batman, Justice League, Alone in the Dark, Apple ][, Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, SNES, Metroid series, Fear Effect series, Dead Rising series, Hideo Kojima, Resident Evil 4, GameCube, Biohazard, Shinji Mikami, The Evil Within, Psycho Break, Silent Hill 2, Winchester Mystery House, Robert Venturi, This American Life, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Starfighter, Hal Barwood, N64, Reed Knight, Bethesda Game Studios, Skyrim, GamaSutra, Troy Mashburn, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Beric Holt, Fallout series, Soldier of Fortune, Oblivion.

Next time:
Really play up and into the tunnels. No, really this time.

Links:
Brett on GamaSutra playing and talking Skyrim

Brett on recognizing a designer's work

Old post in which I mention The Aetherium from Infernal Machine

Old post about difficulty settings

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

Oct 26, 2016

Welcome to our first episode examining 1996's survival horror classic Resident Evil. We discuss many of the features that are evident from the beginning of the game that set it apart from other sorts of 3rd person games of the time. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up until the Residence (in theory)

Podcast breakdown:
0:24 Segment 1: History and themes
58:07 Break 1
58:35 Segment 2: Reader mail and next time

Issues covered: last episode's interview, removing player empowerment, bold decisions in design, can this game be made in the US in 1996, other cultures borrowing genres and reinventing them, frustrating the player and the impossibility of getting this game made today, impatience vs methodical play, subverting player expectation, map coverage and "safety", a systemically light game, jump scares, vulnerability, accumulation of small details, resource management, feeling every shot, inventory management, inability to drop, will this character actually survive, playing the tank controls version and panicking, modern control setup, having a separate character control the camera in Super Mario 64, interesting camera angles, showing less can be more, short cinematics to reinforce emotional focus, giving back control after a moment of zombie first-person, indie space, the inversion of having a bad-ass who is having trouble surviving, discussion of trophies and achievements, having a todo list.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Gilmore Girls, Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, Wasteland 2, Fallout, Alone in the Dark, Night of the Living Dead, The Thing, Solaris, Stalker, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Quake, Marathon, Time Crisis, Tomb Raider, Star Wars Republic Commando, Nathan Martz, Dead Rising, Grand Theft Auto III, System Shock 2, Resident Evil 4, Dressed to Kill, Fear Effect series, Devil May Cry, Super Mario 64, Friday the 13th, Alien: Isolation, Scream, Mr Futile, Jan Braunsberg, Assassin's Creed series, Arkham series, Firewatch, Gone Home, Walking Dead, Prototype 2, Guacamelee, Double Fine, Head Lander, Costume Quest, Grim Fandango, DotT, Drew_Homan, RebelFM.

Next time:

Play until you get to the tunnels

Notes:
Alone in the Dark came out in 1994. Dev Game Club regrets the error.

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

Oct 19, 2016

Welcome to our fifth and final episode examining 1997's classic RPG Fallout. We are lucky enough to interview Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, Producer/Lead Programmer and Art Director respectively on Fallout as well as two of the three founding members of Troika Games. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:38        Interview with Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky!
1:01:10   Break
1:01:35   Geek-outro

Issues covered: the Wild West of early studio game development, the meta-installer, making engines in your spare time, tabletop after-hours, abstracting the operating system, GURPS character generator, working you way up, pizza and game dev, RPG renaissance, bold theme choices, filtering passionate ideas, making your dream game, career paths into game development, clubhouse Interplay and a creative atmosphere, business incursion, from the garage to the office park, right place right time, QA preferring your game over being paid, By Gamers For Gamers, making your colleagues laugh, companions in scripting, wearing multiple hats, making a Tarrasque into a Death Claw, making heads from clay and digitizing, cavalier oblique and making the tools work, bringing various sensibilities to the game, throwing a party for your return, a family of talking raccoons, finding your creative partners, system and story *should* work together, what makes good level design, digging yourself a big hole, exposing variables and state to designers, managing teams of small size, ambient music, art influences, Vault Boy instead of icons, voice talent, everything coming together, consequences, "games should be fun," freedom, setting the world on fire, Tim Cain's grandfather and mother, constraints and necessity, Fallout DNA.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Interplay, Maxis, Stonekeep, Troika Games, Arcanum, Vampire: The Masquerade, Blizzard, Diablo III, Obsidian Entertainment, Grand Slam Bridge, EA, Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, Jason Anderson, Carbine Studios, Wildstar, Rags to Riches, Lord of the Rings, D&D, GURPS, Earthdawn, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Black Isle, Wasteland, Tolkien, Mad Max, Doom, Nintendo, David Byrne, How Music Works, CGBG, LucasArts, Super Metroid, Star Wars, The Simpsons, Chris Taylor, BioShock, Ken Levine, Ambient Isolationism, Aphex Twin, Brian Eno, Depeche Mode, Monopoly, Richard Dean Anderson, Richard Moll, Tony Shalhoub, Ron Perlman, David Warner, CCH Pounder, Night Court, Monk, Wings, Fallout 2, The Inkspots, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Dr. Strangelove, Fallout 3, Jonah Lobe, Temple of Elemental Evil.

Next time:
Resident Evil! Play up until the Residence (past the shed).

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

Oct 14, 2016

This is a companion bonus episode to Dev Game Club, a weekly podcast in which Brett Douville and Tim Longo examine classic games and discuss their relevance and impact today. 

We tie together our episodes about Fallout with a preceding title and a successor in Wasteland 1&2. 

 

Oct 12, 2016

Welcome to our fourth episode examining 1997's classic RPG Fallout. We finish off the game, discussing our various choices, and then turn to the various pillars we draw from it. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
The base and the Cathedral

Podcast breakdown:
0:35    Segment 1: Finishing Fallout
45:12  Break 1
45:50  Segment 2: Pillars and Feedback

Issues covered: going back to the Glow, voice acting, sharing assets between various animated characters, criminal underworld quests, the liberation of playing and letting the chips fall where they may, missing out on content, growing an audience by offering multiple play styles, murderous Tim Longo, blowing up the base, satisfying cinematic resolution, getting stuck on the force fields, obscure solutions to big problems, the many uses of the radio, close quarters rocketry, stealthy super mutants, inventory loophole and managing weight limits, hardened power armor, carrying useless items until the end of the game, stopping in empty tiles (including the ocean), UFO, multiple ways to resolve the Master, holodisks and the Pipboy, accounting for followers and not, tying off storylines with little snippets, character consistency and leaving the Vault for good, melancholy, fascist Vaults, selfishness and survival, unintended consequences that matter and hard decisions, the RPG renaissance, permitting risk in RPG settings, mature themes and elements, Senate hearings on violence in videogames, filling a story-telling vacuum, avoiding the good/evil binary, giving characters meaningful motivations, getting XP for non-violent actions, reader feedback, Bonus Content: Wasteland 1 & 2,

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Keith David, Dishonored, Bioshock, Fallout 2, Citizen Kane (obliquely), Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta, Final Fantasy X, Super Metroid, Star Wars (obliquely), Mad Max, JRR Tolkien, Bioware, Icewind Dale, Black Isle, D&D, Arcanum, Troika Games, Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, Jason Anderson, Temple of Elemental Evil, Vampire: Bloodlines, Mass Effect, Ultima series, Ultima VIII/IX, Lionheart, Planescape: Torment, Baldur's Gate, Bard's Tale series, Wayne Cline, LucasArts, ESA, Mortal Kombat, War and Peace, Brian Luzietti, sixty second shooter prime, Jamie Fristrom, Day of the Tentacle, Telltale Games, Double Fine Productions, Fallout: New Vegas, System Shock 2, The Witcher series, GURPS, Stefan Schmidt, Neo_Ouija, Cat-charlie, Mikael Danielsson, MrFutile, Swinlo44, Resident Evil, Kitty Horrorshow, Chyrza.

Next time:
For our next series, we will be playing Resident Evil! Looking for an interview for next week.

Links:
Brett's Twitch channel
Brett's YouTube channel
Brett's Streaming Horror from a couple years back


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

Oct 5, 2016

Welcome to our third episode examining 1997's classic RPG Fallout. We examine tactical combat, leveling strategies, encumbrance as a specific mechanic, and also a lot of what we saw and did. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Everything before the base and Cathedral

Podcast breakdown:
0:42 Segment 1 -- all of the above
58:07 Break
58:38 Segment 2: Feedback, next time, and teasers

Issues covered: weapon offerings, Power Fist empowerment, late leveling, Ian meets his maker, knowing when the kills are coming, feeding memory from the CD, Tim's last followers, tactical combat numbers, twitch tension, fantasy fulfillment, thoughtful decisions, sound design supporting mechanics, narrative moments in combat, stimpack use, encumbrance and survival, mechanics that force you to reload when you get lost, return to town loop, forcing choices through encumbrance, building tension through limits, making tactical decisions for a large party, combat occurring over two dozen entities, fine line of authorial direction, Easter eggs in "tell me about," broken quest lines, addiction and radiation mechanics, apparently random damage, fixing barter and making interesting choices, how we got the power armor.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Hamlet, FF 9, Lawrence Olivier, Kenneth Branagh, Mel Gibson, Ralph Fiennes, X-Com modern reboots, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Ultima series, Waking Mars, Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams, Resident Evil, Temple of Elemental Evil, King's Quest series, Wasteland 1, System Shock 2, Necrogeist, Split Screen, Idle Thumbs, Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin, Nick Breckon, Sean Vanaman, Jason Schreier, Kirk Hamilton, World of Warcraft.

Next time:
Finish the game!

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

Sep 28, 2016

Welcome to our second episode examining 1997's classic RPG Fallout. We talk about the lack of the hand-holding in the game, discuss our character builds a bit and talk about the choices we've made so far. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Note: Brett keeps mixing up Junktown with Hub. He blames illness. Our apologies.

Sections played:
Up until you resolve the Water Chip

Podcast breakdown:
0:40    Intro/Segment 1
43:42  Break 1
44:22  What next and Feedback

Issues covered: following different threads, Brotherhood of Steel, power armor, Death Claws, having less fun when there are fewer barriers, making your follower into your donkey, open world structure and directionlessness, paying to extend the life of the Vault, playing against type, having Dogmeat as a follower, living with consequences, playing morally ambiguous characters, the meaningfulness of followers, narrative depth of followers, JRPGs, how we dealt with Gizmo, Brett's hotel encounter, Brett gets political, Tenpenny Tower/Megaton, town restrictions on weapon use, Thieves' Guild, stealthing around Necropolis, Tim's torture session, Tim stealths past mutants while Brett talks circles around them, more "pixel-hunty" game, simulated skills and mechanical depth.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Ultima series, Bard's Tale, Baldur's Gate, Halo 6, Bioware, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Neverwinter Nights, Final Fantasy IX, Bethesda Game Studios, Metal Gear Solid, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, Pat Holleman, Stefan Schmidt, Kevin Watters, Super Metroid, Castlevania, Dark Souls, Guacamelee, Ori and the Blind Forest, Axiom Verge, MaasNeotekProto.

Next time:
Everything but the Military Base and the Cathedral

Links:
Beating Fallout in 5 minutes

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

Sep 21, 2016

Welcome to our first episode in our series examining 1997's Fallout. We talk a bit about the RPG renaissance it seemed to kick off and then delve into the first few hours. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up until you reach Junktown

Podcast breakdown:
0:37      Segment 1: Relevance
32:11    Break
32:36    Segment 2: Towards Junktown
1:08:46 Break
1:09:17 Segment 3: Listener feedback, next time

Issues covered: Brett's workshopping and quotes collection, RPG resurgence in the late '90s, Interplay and other RPG-maker troubles, a new direction for Western RPGs, getting away from the high fantasy setting, accessible turn-based combat, supporting text, return to apocalypse, enabling a variety of settings, tabletop RPGs, hexagonal and rectilinear grids, maturity, relatability, gruesome deaths, archetypes, humor, RPGs vs RPG elements, numerical traits and skill systems, player agency over character destiny, filling out the trees, flexible specialization, progression vs role-playing, character creation anxieties, watercooler talk, grim humor in the introduction, bravery and commitment in world-building, licensed titles, 1950s optimism taken forward, the pleasantly clicky UI, encountering Shady Sands en route to Vault 15, two-headed cows, the emergence of voice, the little pocket DM, finding ropes, feedforward loops, barter is broken, Tim's uphill battle, speedrunning Super Metroid, secrets.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Star Wars, Mortimer and the Riddle of the Medallion, Ultima series, JRPGs, Gold Box series, Interplay, Wasteland, Tim Cain, Stonekeep, Eye of the Beholder, Troika Interactive, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magic Obscura, Atari, Sierra, Gathering of Developers, Leonard Boyarsky, Jason Anderson, Mad Max, Diablo series, Bard's Tale, Dungeonmaster, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Brian Fargo, The Walking Dead, Fury Road, Baldur's Gate series, Fallout 2, Icewind Dale series, Planescape: Torment, Lionheart, Temple of Elemental Evil, Vampire: Bloodlines, Dungeons and Dragons, GURPS, J. R. R. Tolkien, Call of Duty series, Bethesda Game Studios, DOOM, Skyrim, Assassin's Creed series, Far Cry 3/4, World of Warcraft, Batman: Arkham series, Prototype 2, LucasArts, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, Ken Rolston, Elder Scrolls series, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Super Metroid, Jeremy Fischer, Phil Rosehill, Doug Thorpe, BattleTankBob, Daniel Johansson, Chase Chamberlain.

Next time:
Play until you have resolved the water chip quest

Links:
Tim Cain in the GDC Vault (how appropriate!) 

Super Metroid Speed Runs:
Super Metroid - 100% run in under 80 minutes

Super Metroid - any% race (4 runners - ~44 minutes)

Super Metroid - any% - 2 players, 1 controller

Super Metroid - any% - Reverse Boss Order

Another 100% run

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

Sep 14, 2016

Welcome to our final episode in our series examining Super Metroid. We delve specifically into the last couple of boss battles and the concomitant storytelling, and spend some time thinking about our favorite areas. We also talk about the pillars and takeaways of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
End of the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:47    Section 1: Final bosses, storytelling, and Zebes's areas
42:12  Break 1
42:55  Section 2: Takeaways, listener feedback, next game

Issues covered: Tim wants to be a pill bug, Samus's backstory and narrative wrappers, feedback/feed-forward loop, player skill, being stuck near Ridley, difficulty curves, developer blindness to difficulty, earning the end vs other Nintendo titles, Space Pirates, map problems and telling the player what they can find, controls difficulty, storytelling in the endgame, Christian the lion, getting to know the world, difficulty adjustment, creature design in Maridia, scale and creature design of Wrecked Ship, broken glass in Maridia, quicksand physics, genre creation through exploration structure, moments of discovery, "quarters aesthetic," attract mode, digital vs analog gating, feedback to the player, teaching NPCs, content that only some people see, knowing what you get with other media, progression in mechanics vs in numbers, time investment, iTunes review, miniature play in tabletop RPGs, character builds (broken and otherwise).

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Daniel Johansson, Nintendo Power, Jungle Book, Metroid Prime series, Final Fantasy IX, Starfighter series, Legend of Zelda series, Mario series, Assassin's Creed III, Shadows of Mordor, Siegfried and Roy, Deus Ex, Warren Spector, Halo, System Shock 2, Shigeru Miyamoto, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, The Witness, Idle Thumbs, Chris Remo, Ori and the Blind Forest, Stephen King, Elana Ferrante, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Rydrum2112, Fallout, Ultima series, Might and Magic series, Wizardry Series, Gold Box series, Baldur's Gate, Infinity Engine, Black Isle, Interplay, Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment, Fallout 4, Bethesda Game Studios.

Links:
Christian the lion!

Next time:
Fallout, up until but not including Junktown

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

Sep 7, 2016

Welcome to the third episode in our series examining Super Metroid. We delve specifically into the boss battles we've played thus far and spend some time talking about player skill and both positive and negative feedback loops in its play. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the boss "Draygon"

Podcast breakdown:
0:29      Segment 1: Intro and boss battles
36:57    Break 1
37:22    Segment 2: Player empowerment, feedback
1:05:54 Break 2

Issues covered: choosing the Chozo suit, boss design, back history, negative reinforcement, not reading the manual, telegraphing, reappearance of Crocomire (and others), Kraid two-step shooting, skill-based bosses, experimentation and nearby save points, using lesser monsters as foreshadowing, robots that activate, 1950s robots, art directing towards technical limitations, wanting more meaning from the holes Botwoon disappears into, working within constraints, chasing fidelity, choosing constraints, player skill for boss battles, teaching you (or not) to use the grapple beam as a weapon, helpless states in boss battles, "three great scenes and no bad ones," outsmarting a bigger foe, player empowerment, getting a weapon just as you start to feel a need for it, creating artificial wishes to fulfill, multi-use grapple beam, discovering play as a game developer, missiles vs super missiles and bombs vs super bombs, blowing the glass to get to Maridia, super dash power fantasy, wall jump, positive feedback loop in player skill, negative feedback loop in scouring the map, the other half of the empowerment equation, circular level design, learning jump heights and distances, staying in the moment, watercooler talk -- different playthroughs, playground chatter, discussing levels next time, statue room, reader feedback.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: The 39 Steps, Andy Mindler, Boba Fett, Lara Croft, other games in the Metroid series, Jedi Starfighter, Godzilla, The Terminator, Alien series, R2-D2, Forbidden Planet, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian, WoW: Legion, Bionic Commando, Capcom, Bastion, FF VI, Bethesda Game Studios, Oblivion, Fallout 3, Dishonored, AL_Roman.

Next time:
Finish the game!

Links:
Rolling Stone article on Super Metroid

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

Aug 31, 2016

Welcome to our second episode in our series examining Super Metroid. We talk a bit about what we might do with the series if it were handed to us, and delve deeply into the way Samus fits into the world completely. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up until the Ice Beam

Podcast breakdown:
0:33    Segment 1: innovating Metroid and character context
48:13  Break 1
48:45  Segment 2: Skill-based play, bits and bobs, and reader mail!

Issues covered: what do you do with this franchise if they hand it to you, destructability, history of Samus Aran as a potential exploration angle, the game hitting its stride, are most of the weapons missable?, getting stuck (or are you), not reading the f'ing manual again (running), a nearly perfect game design, abilities you can disable, the big gold statue and Ridley, scanning and lore and collection, what the manual reveals, players skip everything, economy of character design, building to human scale, player focus, when the stars align and you are the hero, the demise of poor Chester Copperpot, building a hero, biodiversity in Star Trek vs Star Wars, "it's a video game *first*," overdoing context, wanting to make all the puzzle pieces fit, nerd desire for in-references and coherence, Brett hasn't seen the Lord of the Rings movies, shortcutting back in loops vs weaker backtracking, punishing Norfair, skill-based games and pushing through to being good at it, the pleasure of physical stuff, what turns one off from a thing, player ownership of mistakes, games getting in the way, opening doors for good, enemy mix and variance, enemy ecology, map issues and future work in that area, reader mail about speedrunning, wall jump, speedrunning against programming, reprogramming console games with a controller.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Halo, Metroid Prime series, Tomb Raider, Metroid: Other M, This American Life, Fez, Paper Mario series, Shadow Complex, Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Star Trek, Super Mario series, Legend of Zelda, The Goonies, Star Wars, Daron Stinnett, Indiana Jones, Starfighter series, Suicide Squad, Shadows of Mordor, The Silmarillion, Lord of the Rings movies, Harry Potter movies, Super Mario Galaxy, Superman, Guacamelee, Bethesda Game Studios, Fallout 3, Skyrim, WarCraft.

Next time:
Up through boss Draygon

Links:
Zora, the superhero featured on This American Life


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

Aug 24, 2016

Welcome to our first episode in our series examining Super Metroid, our first foray into playing something that is exclusively on console. We first situate the game and the series in importance and discuss the influence of Japanese design before turning to the first couple of hours of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up until the Charge Beam

Podcast breakdown:
0:31      Segment 1: Relevance/Impact
26:47    Break 1
27:23    Segment 2: First part
1:10:30 Break 2
1:10:54 Segment 3: Outro/Next time


Issues covered: how one pronounces "Douville," synchronization bugs, impact of Japanese, mix of skill-based play and environmental puzzles and exploration and tactical decisions, concurrent original development of multiple storied franchises, the time constraints on adult players, open world games and growing the space, narrative and the environment, foreshadowing in the main menu, narrative tone, stylized minimalistic music, opening cutscene, pixel art, character design, weapon and damage types, weapons and macro/micro design, less economical design at AAA, depth vs breadth, constraining the player to drive creativity, testing what you've learned, "mode 7" rendering, parallax and storytelling, reverse blood-locking, RTFM, tiny lessons and reinforcements, forcing you to learn, map limitations, giving you the things that you need, the need for elevators, conveying information in tile art, playing with player expectations.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: DLC podcast, Jeff Cannata, Christian Spicer, Bill Roper, Blizzard, WarCraft, Patrick Wyatt, Nathan Martz, Brütal Lëgënd, Nintendo R&D, Yoshi Sakamoto, Castlevania, Mario series, Legend of Zelda series, No Man's Sky, Metroid Prime series, Starfighter, Tomb Raider (2013), Firewatch, Alien, Aliens, Boba Fett, Star Wars, Metroid Fusion, Metroid Prime Federation Force, Shovel Knight, Axiom Verge, Halo, Mode7 Games, Paul Kilduff-Taylor, Warren Spector, Harvey Smith, Randy Smith, Dishonored, Doom (2016), Metal Gear Solid series, Final Fantasy VII/IX, Outlaws, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Headlander.

Next time:
Up until the Ice Beam

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

Aug 18, 2016

Welcome to our final episode in our series examining Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, where we welcome guest Bill Roper! Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Quick show note: We had some technical difficulties with Bill's mic, so he's a little quiet. Apologies. It is worth boosting your headphones to hear him.

Podcast breakdown:
0:38      Bill Roper Interview
1:12:41 Break 1
1:13:06 Outro, next game

Issues covered: Blizzard pre-Warcraft, how Bill got in, voice over, joining up to do anything, having empathy for orcs, manual symmetry, making investments in quality, notepads add heft, guerrilla marketing, "Growing up Blizzard," inclusivity and the "Mom test," getting into the RTS market, raising the bar back and forth with Westwood, SVGA resolution, LAN multiplayer, desynchronization bugs, pushing the capabilities of the engine, stringing missions together into a story, constant iteration of game writing, ebb and flow of mission types, longer development time for 1993, everything going right for Warcraft 2, emergence of the multiple click voice lines, letting the team find a new feature, AAA production focus vs indie innovation ability, planning for innovation and leadership buy-in, great ideas come from everywhere, Blizzard culture and design credited to the team, flip-side: killing your babies, everybody playing the game, the quote board, the world's most expensive QA team, meritocracy, Blizzard's influence on the industry and its inclusivity, simple to learn/difficult to master, supporting approachability with humor and aesthetics, grognard capture, free multiplayer clients with the single-player game, genesis of Battle.Net, pay-to-play multiplayer services, the influences that led to the orcs, the origins of Medivh's name, exiling the wolf riders, characterizing units through voice and portraiture, embedding character into the gameplay, telling side stories because you don't know what the player looks like, audio cues as feedback system, economical design, micro-management, building on roads, mini-map choices: essentially just an alert, no playing the game off the mini-map, trolling pro players, avoiding mini-map distraction, design discipline.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Warcraft series, Starcraft series, Diablo series, Champions, Star Trek Online, Blizzard, Silicon & Synapse, Justice League Task Force, Lost Vikings, Rock n' Roll Racing, Dune 2, Herzog Zwei, Blackthorne, Mars: Bringer of War (Hölst), Glenn Stafford, Allen Adham, Mike Morhaime, Magic: The Gathering, Jeopardy, MAD magazine, Davidson & Associates, Bethesda Game Studios, Oblivion, Command & Conquer, Westwood Studios, Ron Millar, id Software, Epic Megagames, Starfighter games, Bob Fitch, Republic Commando, Daron Stinnett, Dave Brevik, Erich and Max Schaefer, Farmville, Mafia Wars, Mario Kart, Hearthstone, Chris Metzen, Wing Commander, Skyrim, Myth series, Stu Venable, GURPS, Happy Jacks, Poxy Boggards.

Links:
You should follow @BillRoper on Twitter!

Check out his podcast, Happy Jacks RPG Podcast! Or their website!

Bliss out to the RennFaire strains of the Poxy Boggards!

Next time:
Super Metroid! Play until you get the charge beam (save around that)


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

Aug 17, 2016

A sudden emergency made recording our guest interview with Bill Roper impossible, so we postponed. Brett hops on the mic to quickly brief you on that, and to announce our next game!

Next time:

Still Bill Roper!

 

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, @devgameclub

www.devgameclub.com

devgameclub@gmail.com

Aug 10, 2016

Welcome to our fourth episode in our series examining Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. We finish off our discussion of the game, discussing the last few missions and turning to our takeways and pillars. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Humans 10-12 and Orcs 10-12

Podcast breakdown:
0:36     Segment 1: Last four missions
32:35   Break 1
33:12   Segment 2: Takeaways, pillars, and next time

Issues covered: big army missions, Brett's final strategy: wizards and warlocks FTW!, demons and elementals as hero units, level design as scheduling, cheating AI, Brett the programmer nerd: using a unit as a counter variable, constraints inspire creativity, finding the fun, player-centric design, mission customization in later RTSes, unique locations at the end of the game (Stormwind Castle and Blackrock Spire), limiting need for upgrades at end of game, "more" instead of "different," turning drama into tedium, Warcraft nerd-out time, Warcraft radio drama, embracing micromanagement, focusing a challenge due to street-to-street fighting, stationed units, variety in mission types, light narrative elements as motivating force, DOS technical limitations, ending cinematics, whole team as design credit, scoring ranks, rhythm and timing and time as a currency, tension in real-time vs turn-based, RNG vs determinism.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Cary Grant, The Bachelor and the Bobby-soxer, Labyrinth, Chess, Dawn of War II, Company of Heroes, Starcraft II, Dark Forces, Sid Meier, Civilization, Doom, ARMA, Starfighter, Star Wars, Daron Stinnett, Rogue Squadron, Rogue Leader, Warcraft III, Starcraft: Brood War, DotA, Relic Entertainment, Reed Knight, World of Warcraft: Legion, Cataclysm, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, The Trouble with Tribbles, Chris Metzen, Samwise Didier, Dune 2, Diablo, Bungie, Myth series, Command & Conquer, Tetris, Drop 7, Conan, Warcraft II, XCOM, Gold Box series, Bill Roper, Disney, Hellgate: London, Flagship Studios.

Next time:
Special guest BILL ROPER!

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

Aug 3, 2016

Welcome to our third episode in our series examining Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. We specifically discuss micro management, real-time strategy as a genre, and a bit of the Warcraft lore, though not to excess. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Humans 7-9 and Orcs 7-9, interleaved

Podcast breakdown:
0:37 One long take this time!

Issues covered: dealing with spellcasters, MOBAs, target-focused management of time and resources vs spatial, conjurers as generators of free units, balancing against Rain of Fire, spellcasters turning into hero units, automating unit production in later games, reducing clicks to manage greater complexity (but further abstract the game), defeating micromanagement, micromanagement pros and cons, street by street combat, catapults, "My Garona," mission variety and RPG influences, tactical turn-based combat, fewer decisions which mean more vs lots of decisions which mean less, evolving back towards wargames, real-time unshackling the player, management of capital investment, managing composition of your army, battles turning on a dime, the quickly evolving space around games, procedurality, pushing individual features to find new gaming territory, Tim's cheating heart, different approaches to killing Medivh, Garona's impact on the stories, dealing with lore, Boba/Jango Fett and dealing with fan reaction, deleting your expanded universe, Elder Scrolls and the Dragon Break, trying to fit all the pieces together, zooming in and focusing on one area of lore, overthinking your lore, Suparna Galaxy, how much lore do you need, building lore second, the role of story in games in the early 90s, deep dive on Medivh, the absurdity of Fett family history.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: World of Warcraft, Starcraft series, Diablo, Command & Conquer, Baldur's Gate, Fallout, Ultima series, Gold Box series of RPGs, chess, Eye of the Beholder series, Dominion, Nethack, Rogue, No Man's Sky, Republic Commando, Starfighter, Elder Scrolls series, Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Haden Blackman, Ryan Kaufman, Insider's Guide, Tomb Raider (2013), John Carmack, Hearthstone.

Next time:
Finish the game!

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

Jul 27, 2016

Welcome to our second episode in our series examining Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. We specifically discuss unit introduction and the evolution of the genre and how it does and doesn't parallel tabletop wargaming. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Four more of each campaign -- Human 3-6, Orc 3-6

Podcast breakdown:
0:31       Intro and segment 1
37:11     Break 1
37:31     Segment 2
1:05:08  Break 2
1:05:34  Next time

Issues covered: destroying bases, unit introduction as enemies and as friendlies, unit costs as a bar to trying out new types, usability issues, Tim's difficulties with having to restart, preconceived notions, seeding towns with units for difficulty, ranged strategy and pull radii, abusing pathfinding, similarity to tower defense, playing orcs differently from the humans, Tim's changing style of play, micromanaging formations, tuning difficulty for different speeds of play, archers vs catapults, Brett thinking about how to actually build games like these, scripted pathing in Starfighter, interface challenges vs the AI player, inner workings of the Starfighter AI, dungeon levels, influence of dungeon levels here on later Blizzard games, parallels between RTSes and wargaming and early tabletop role-playing, story in Blizzard games, National Conventions and Lothar 2016, purification of genres, friction between mechanics and dungeon levels, multiplayer and game masters and playing like a machine, WarCraft 2 arriving so soon after, Blizzard development model, Blizzard maintaining corporate identity under Activision, alternating levels, playing campaigns one after the other.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Pokémon Go, Geocaching, Command and Conquer, StarCraft, Final Fantasy IX, System Shock, WarCraft 2, Bungie, Myth, Hitman 2, Hitman (2016), Starfighter, World of WarCraft, WarCraft III, WarCraft (2016 film), Samwise Didier, Chris Metzer, Michael Morhaime, Bill Roper, Disney, EverQuest, Overwatch, Dark Souls, Demon's Souls, Descent: Journeys in the Dark, Falling, Activision, EA, Origin, Bullfrog, Lionhead, Treyarch, Bobby Kotick.

Next time:
Play three more of each campaign (if you'd like): Human 7-9, Orc 7-9

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

Jul 20, 2016

In this first episode of our series discussing Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, we examine the relevance of the original game to the series as a whole and its genre in particular and begin delving into the mechanics on display in the first few levels of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
First two levels of each campaign: H1, O1, H2, O2

Podcast breakdown:
0:32        Intro and segment 1 (relevance, personal and industry wise)
33:55      Break 1
34:23      Dev and mechanics talk
1:07:05   Break 2
1:07:32   Quick additional topic and next time

Issues covered: committing to the division of Orcs and Humans, reading the freaking manual, what went into manuals and not, training the player and avoiding the manual, credits in the PS2 era, what did you need a manual for, the Indie Box, tooltips and in-game instruction, story development inside of Blizzard games vis a vis Westwood, CD-ROM and FMV, mission type variety, mods as aid to development, unit grouping count, small squads vs large armies, moving towards hero focus, MOBAs born from heroes, prioritizing even derivative lore and the potential benefits, reading 8 to 10 Warcraft novels, beneficial aesthetics, humor, self-seriousness and camp, playing with your toys, discovering games on shared computers, multiplayer culture in RTSes and FPSes, using multiplayer for develop, pathfinding and the Dining Philosophers problem, lack of formation, micromanagement for tactical gain, counting frames and managing combat closely, unsignaled progress, energy and efficiency, levels of fog of war and the Eye of Kilrogg, the weight of individual units, build speeds, deliberate pacing (lack of click-to-move), contextualization and automation debates in the mid-90s, "the game playing itself," automating those things which are not the focus, stylization and exaggeration in visual design, minimum spec.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dave Grossman, Tim Schafer, Uncharted 4, Day of the Tentacle, LucasArts, Starfighter, Dark Souls, Gone Home, Dune 2, XCOM, Westwood, Command & Conquer, Starcraft, Wing Commander, The 7th Guest, Rebel Assault, Starcraft 2, Warcraft 3, Sid Meier, Dawn of War II, Company of Heroes, Relic Entertainment, Defense of the Ancients, J. R. R. Tolkien, Gary Gygax, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen, Samwise Didier, Michael Morhaime, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Games Workshop, Dungeons and Dragons, Patrick Stewart, Dark Forces, DOOM (original and 2016), Castle Wolfenstein, Prince of Persia, Myth: The Forgotten Lords, Bungie, Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void, Starship Troopers, Little King's Story, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Wayne Cline, Ultima IX, Tomb Raider, Super Mario 64, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Hal Barwood, Overwatch, Diablo III, Disney, Nintendo, Pokemon Go.

Next time:
Play four more from each campaign, still alternating Humans and Orcs!

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

Jul 13, 2016

In this final interview episode discussing recently remastered LucasArts classic Day of the Tentacle, we welcome two guests, DOTT co-leads Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer! We had a fascinating time talking with the two of them and getting their insights on what they were trying to do and where some of the decisions came from. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Production note:
Some of Brett's voice cut out during recording, and so there are a couple places where that is patched up.

Podcast breakdown:
0:39 Interview with Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer
1:01:55 Segment 2: Next time on DevGameClub!

Issues covered: long introductions of our interviewees, holding your breath for ten minutes, the puzzles you remember when you revisit a game, openness in adventure game design, the lessons of inexperience, three- and four-act structures, puzzle miasma, non-linearity and agency, "Why Adventure Games Suck," backwards puzzles, "how's the player supposed to figure this out?," pizza orgies, playtesting, usability, origin of the time travel motif and mechanic, Kerner buildings and ILM and the paradise of Skywalker Ranch, the turtle sweater puzzle and bitter tears, interface puzzles, low execution barrier, Monkey Island 2 air tube and available interface vocabulary, tiny cutthroat pool, dialogue puzzle, when a puzzle is broken, what's allowed when you use something only once vs ten times, branches and offshoots of adventure games, the adventure game headspace and how things aren't necessarily represented on the screen but in the player's head, having time to play, making systems vs crafting a few minutes at a time, sweet spot for puzzle difficulty, prequels and business realities, "I love this fucking game!," pacing in Telltale Games, "hero rooms," procedural narrative, computer-written Mozart, levels of narrative, macro vs micro, injecting the player into the story, red herrings, the obvious solution never works, guiding the player back, the mummy as helpdesk, what these gentlemen are up to today.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Monkey Island series, LucasArts, Humongous Games, Hulabee, Telltale Games, Earplay, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, Brütal Lëgënd, Broken Age, Tim Delacruz, Jonathan Ackley, Ron Gilbert, Noah Falstein, Gary Winnick, Die Hard 2, Gwen Musengwa, Gone Home, Infocom, Zork, Hitchhiker's Guide, Star Wars, Sierra, Republic Commando, Uncharted 4, Left 4 Dead, Chris Crawford, Clint Hocking, Hal Barwood, Peter Chan, Larry Ahern, Pete McConnell, Clint Bajakian, Jory Prum (RIP), Codename Cygnus, Pokemon, Futurama: Game of Drones.

Links:
Tim Schafer mentions a Hamlet text adventure that's web-based
Tim and Dave refer a couple times to them playing the game, and you can watch that on YouTube
Codename Cygnus 
Futurama Game of Drones
Day of the Tentacle iOS

Next time:
Warcraft, the RTS that launched a whole universe!
Play the first four episodes, playing Human 1, Orc 1, then Human 2, Orc 2.

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

Jun 29, 2016

In this third episode discussing recently remastered LucasArts classic Day of the Tentacle, we finally move on to talk about specific puzzles -- this is a spoilery podcast. Plus, Tim has a moment of psychological devastation as Brett unveils the implications of his approach. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Last third of the game! Finish it off.

Podcast breakdown:
0:30 Specific puzzles where we got stuck
38:20 Break 1
38:53 History and its discontents (okay, grab bag)


Issues covered: puzzle games and programming/debugging, Ron Gilbert's Rules of Adventure Game Design, getting to a point where a game is unsolvable (and not knowing), squeaky bed puzzle, when objects are decomposed and not, interface differences between PC and console, spatial relations in adventure games, the right time to cut away from a scene (what to show and what not to -- production solutions), fixating on the bowling ball, Rosebud, "Meanwhile..." cutscenes, the Rule of Three, the rules of the mummy (as a hint or a reminder), giving players options, the risk of doing puzzles out of order, intentional red herrings, narrative trade-off vs getting stuck in linear adventure games (to which DoTT is contrary), procedural adventure games, mowing the lawn while acting as a hint line, comparing LucasArts adventure games to other adventure games, "A" bugs then and now (LucasArts ahead of its time), the producer army, leaving interesting "bugs" in and those becoming a core part of the game, turns as a fuse, early adventure games' mechanics, labors of game love, indie games' freedom, "default" game choices, choices better fitting a setting or idea, "make it bushy," Tim's soft noodle he'd like to be hard, Tim's psychological self-insight into competition, podcast metagaming, Tim compliments Brett (this never happens, so I am remarking on it), fiddling with the mummy, doing just enough for some players to get a gag, returning to the headspace of the adventure game, the origin of narratives and puzzles in the adventure game and hybridization, dialog tree puzzle, Silly Putty, getting stuck (reader mail), week off (week of the 4th of July).

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Tom Mathews, "The Website Is Down," Ron Gilbert, Sierra On-Line Games, System Shock 2, Indiana Jones, Citizen Kane, Sean Clark, Mike Stemmle, Monkey Island series, The Longest Journey, Humongous Games, Pajama Sam, Dave Grossman, Bethesda Game Studios, Halo series (obliquely), Tribes, Dynamix, Starfighter, Witness, Deadline, Infocom, DOOM (2016), Cthulhu, Planescape: Torment, Final Fantasy IX, Baldur's Gate, Noah Falstein, Curse of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, The Last Express, COD: Modern Warfare, Link's Awakening, The Witness, The Stanley Parable, Jonathan Blow, Professor Layton, Myst.

Links:
Ron Gilbert on Why Adventure Games Suck
Puzzle by Puzzle Analysis of DoTT
GDC talk about DoTT Puzzle Design by same author


Next time:
We think an interview! Depends on schedules. We're working on it!

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

Jun 22, 2016

In this second episode discussing recently remastered LucasArts classic Day of the Tentacle, we talk about how to move on when you get stuck and speculate about how these games were constructed. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Hard to say; approximately another third of the game (~3 hours)

Podcast breakdown:

0:24       Segment 1: How you get unstuck
34:03     Break
34:30     Segment 2: puzzle development, reader mail
1:15:19  Outro


Issues covered: Gabe Newell's non-joining of Twitter, what you do when you get stuck, stepping away from the game, re-walking the whole space, training you away from the straightforward solution, moving all the inventory to one person, squirting disappearing ink on everyone, discovering clues via what's allowed to move back and forth in time, holding yourself back from looking it up on the Internet, inventory item combination, getting clues about what to do next, Tim getting stuck on Space Quest 1 for six months, the high cost of adventure gaming, ludo-narrative consonance, the difference between consulting a walkthrough and figuring out a puzzle on your own, interface differences and difficulty, controller vs mouse and keyboard, first use of voice acting, lore bombs and voice acting, casting and directing voiceover, the excellence of the LucasArts voice department, Broken Age documentary, local talent, the rules and boundaries of an adventure game world, writer's room, having a shared history between designer and player, setting up the rules for what's allowed, differences between characters' puzzles, adopting a character worldview, how do the writers split the work, intentional red herrings and crossover meanings, predicting player actions, usability and children, experimenting on the world, the affordances of a space and status effects, when being a game developer gets in the way of puzzle-solving, l'esprit d'escalier, Chron-o-Johns and object time travel transfers, seasonal games.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Half-Life 3, Sierra On-Line, Monkey Island series, Grim Fandango, Double Fine Productions, Broken Age, Telltale Games, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy IX, Dave Grossman, Tim Schafer, Larry Ahern, Space Quest, Starfighter, Secret of Monkey Island, Thurston Howell III, Woody Allen, Final Fantasy XIII, Les Nessman, WKRP, Darragh O'Farrell, Khris Brown, Bethesda Game Studios, *Wes* Johnson (not Stephen), Star Wars, Curse of Monkey Island, Ron Gilbert, Thimbleweed Park, Humongous Entertainment, Firewatch, Full Throttle, Jonathan Ackley, Sam and Max Hit the Road, Dark Souls, Demons' Souls, Super Mario Bros., Ryan Johnson, Gian Ciammariconi, Richard Bussey, World of Warcraft, Persona series, Far Cry 2, Idle Thumbs.

Links:
Thimbleweed Park
Thimbleweed Park Podcast

Next time:
Finish Day of the Tentacle! Final episode will be spoiler-ific.
Send us email about where you got stuck!

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

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