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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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Oct 9, 2019

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

Sections played:
The first three levels

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

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

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

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

Oct 2, 2019

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

Sections played:
First few levels

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 25, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we turn to the start of our bonus content about DOOM. We look at 1995's added fourth episode "Thy Flesh Consumed" as well as John Romero's 25th anniversary megawad SIGIL. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Thy Flesh Consumed & SIGIL

Podcast breakdown:
0:40 TFC & SIGIL
47:26 Break
47:59 Feedback

Issues covered: shooting a lot of eyes, who worked on what with Thy Flesh Consumed, difficulty level, level design propelling you forward, having to jump gaps by moving fast, open sight lines and being fired upon, more death surfaces, seeing the evolution of level design and discovery of emergent mechanics, having moments of surprise, Brett's rendering issues, the experiments in this game space, playing with expectations and making you feel like you know the level, circling back to the same place, seeing John Romero's style, being able to convey a level from memory in a single sentence, masterful manipulation of geometry, increasing detail and nuance, teaching you about the eye triggers, Baron backstabbing, Tim talks about the level with the three paths with the colored keys, being fully immersed in a level, squeezing every drop of blood from a design stone, being a master of your techniques, feeling a little too agitated, playing with a controller vs a mouse and keyboard, aim assist and magnetism, playing with highest resolutions and hardware, speed of controller games vs mouse & keyboard games, better tools and using DOOM as a learning tool, a lesson from the Pokemon series, the huge reach of the biggest franchise, Nintendo games as exemplars of good design, games we've been inspired by despite not having played much, the granularity of game bits, mental mapping in Will Wright's games, mea culpa mea maxima culpa, playing with a controller vs a mouse with the most recent game.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Tim Willits, id Software, Kevin Cloud, John Romero, American McGee, GZDoom, Shawn Green, Hexen, 3D Realms, Daikatana, Nintendo, Switch, XBLA, nickmcco, Pokemon, Pokemon Go, GameCube, N64, JC Porcel, Super Crate Box, Final Fantasy (series), The Sims, Richard Evans, Will Wright, Mark Brown, The Game Maker's Toolkit, GTA III, Matt Ackeret, Apple ][, Atari 2600, The Witcher III, DOOM (2016).

Next time:
DOOM (2016)

Links:
MiniDOOM 2 Trailer

Download link for Mini DOOM2

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

Sep 18, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we complete the main game in our series on 1993's seminal FPS DOOM. We talk about the level design some more as well as the use of maps and other topics before turning to our takeaways. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Episode Three: Inferno!

Podcast breakdown:
0:39 Segment 1: Inferno
57:32 Break
58:04 Segment 2: Takeaways

Issues covered: the feel of the new levels as the descent into Hell continues, use of terrain and more Gothic elements, the arc in DOOM II, BSP-ing symbols into the walls, being unclear about landmarks vs puzzles, the Unholy Cathedral and puzzle teleporters, personal pacing then and now, Slough of Despair and the spare room, where we got our BFGs, Brett makes his first Cyberdemon/Baron of Hell mixup and keeps doing it all episode (sorry), contrasting arenas with corridors, comparing Gromesh Mines, BSP improvements, 2D topology and mapping vs fully 3D maps these days, feeling like you can lean on the map, what companies do with maps, underestimating the needs and use of the map, the map as crutch, avoiding blood-locking through good level design, blood-locking and speed, speed as score attack, death animations and audio, the exploding Pinky in alpha, mechanical information conveyed through death feedback, persistent bodies and landmarking, the memory and performance expense of dead bodies in modern 3D shooters, favorite moments, using the chainsaw, punching Barons, the rabbit ending, heads on pikes, lap claps, big steps in first-person level design, story and level design, video games growing up, bringing Hell to Earth, unapologetically being what you are, going over the top, propulsive play, the importance of technology, Tim speaks to the younger generation by bringing up Howard Hughes, being on the bleeding edge, emergent enemy behavior/orthogonal design, simple rules for enemies, simple tools for generating game play, high numbers of enemies, being able to drop an enemy anywhere.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Roald Dahl, Paradise Lost, Sandy Petersen, Dark Forces, Thief, Ultima Underworld, Legend of Zelda (series), Nintendo, Metroid (series), Wolfenstein 3D, id Software, Dungeons & Dragons, Quentin Tarantino, GTA III, The Ramones, Once Upon A Time... in Hollywood, Masters of DOOM, James and Dave Franco, John Carmack, Howard Hughes, Epic/Unreal, Star Wars Republic Commando, Halo, Randy Smith, Bungie, Bethesda Game Studios.

Next time:
Episode 4: Thy Flesh Consumed & SIGIL!

Tracks:
Unholy Cathedral (intro)
Slough of Despair (break)

Links:
Bunny ending

Maybe... Randy Smith talking about emergence

Note:
Dis, in Dante's Inferno, is a City and not a "plains." We regret the error.

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

Sep 11, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we continue our series on 1993's seminal FPS DOOM. We spend some time especially on level design and the environments and specifically how they feel different from the first, as well as other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Episode two!

Issues covered: figuring out where we actually are, Hell bleeding through, chaotic and asymmetric geometry, non-critical path key use, additional exploration, pace of play then and now, Tim uses the "I-word" on a non-explicit podcast, immersion then and now, speed of play in the 2016 sequel, cover and higher lethality in modern shooters, reasons shooters slowed down, getting use out of smaller amounts of play-time, the authoring of levels then and now, expectations of differing business models, wanting to live in the space for longer, using the keys to get weapons rather than just to get to the exit, communicating change to the player, setting and rules surprises, cosmic horror influence, specialization of level design, holistic differences, teleporter and stair and platform use, where you got your shareware in 1993, Steam collecting data on cards and such vs Quake_Test, simple puzzle, dungeon master influence, using lighting for effect, AI rules, emergent behavior, escalation of clutter from human body parts to demon body parts, knockback, having additional sprites/frames, communicating AI state visually, closing the Pokemon Pandora's Box, diving deep on EVs and IVs and fans finding a way, high degrees of systems plus social equals success?, slimness of Nintendo UI, Nintendo patching glitches out, Marathon on modern systems, pitch-counting your Pokemon battles, areas to run through in games that are okay.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: John Romero, Sandy Petersen, Wolfenstein 3D, Call of Cthulhu, Quake, Half-Life, Tomb of Horrors, Tom Hall, Anachronox, Predator, Splinter Cell, Nintendo, fulltilted, Bard's Tale Remastered, Prey, System Shock 2, Deus Ex, Eye of the Beholder, King's Quest, Wizard and the Princess, Pokemon, Gothic Chocobo, Mario Maker 2, Patrick Klepek, Waypoint, Smash Bros, Marathon, Alelph One, Ultima Underworld, System Shock, Daggerfall, Chris Mead, Ben Zaugg, minatorrent, Tomb Raider, Metroid: Samus Returns.

Next time:
The final episode!

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

Aug 28, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we begin a new series on 1993's seminal FPS DOOM. We talk briefly about the year in games before digging into the game proper. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
First Episode!

Issues covered: where the game takes place, adventure games at a good spot, hard drives and CD-ROMs, designing for efficiency, polar opposite of rendering presentation from MYST, first-person perspectives, tone and subject matter, how each host met up with the game, Brett's hoarding problem, "things have changed," shareware model, how you could write from/to a disk, "free to play," levels becoming more organic, pushing technology, avoiding drawing pixels multiple times, simplicity of rooms and limited enemies, having a better sense of place, adding a map (which ten years before would have been the game), moving in the map, comparing goals of different FPSes, abstract levels vs grounded ones, trying to find the first-person formula and simplifying down, limited enemy types in the first episode, dealing with enemies in a mix, hearing before you see, high school aesthetic, the whole aesthetic in the cover, gore, leaning into what your technology can do, contrasting themes in first-person games, falling into the game, getting your skills back, developing your vocabulary, we totally get the dates wrong on a couple games, playing with a mouse and keyboard vs sticks, speed speed speed, weird choices for sprites, the pacing of the intro, having a horror intro the overshadows, organic bits of design, being able to see across spaces, feeling exploratory, having a sense of place through vistas, addressing an elephant in the room, professionalism in development, Blast Processing, a faster memory pipeline, design beating technology, Riven and Metroidvania, looking across spaces to an exit and being spit out near it later, stat experience and Pokemon (as well as other stat stuff), players figuring stuff out, the game making an argument to you, how does a player reason about a thing and letting a player intend to do a thing, non-exposed systems, Tim guesses who is who.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Day of the Tentacle, MYST, Link's Awakening, Syndicate, Mortal Kombat II, X-Wing, TIE Fighter, Masters of Orion, The 7th Guest, Eye of the Beholder, Ultima VII, Wizardry (series), Dark Forces, LucasArts, Chris Corry, Commander Keen, Castle Wolfenstein, Space Quest, Daron Stinnett, Andrew Kirmse, George Lucas, Star Wars, Matt Tateishi, Quake, Dune 2000, Marathon, System Shock, Ultima Underworld, Diablo, Beavis & Butthead, Frank Frazetta, Mysterious Island, Marvel, DC, Spider-Man, Batman, Mario (series), Thief, Nick Foster, Outlaws, Skyrim, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, DOOM (2016), Halo Infinite, 343 Industries, Fallout 4, Sam Thomas, SNES, SEGA, Super Mario Kart, Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy, Dreamcast, Saturn, PlayStation, Steve Race, Walker Ferrell, Castlevania, GoldenEye 007, Nier: Automata, Riven, FF6, EarthBound, Chrono Trigger, Pokemon, Gothic Chocobo, Shigeru Ohmori, SimCity, Nintendo Power, World of Warcraft, Rich Davis, Derek Achoy/Speakyclean, Jackbox.

Next time:
Second Episode!

Links:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlulSyBI2aY

Formulae:
Change in Stat = floor{ min{ ceiling[ sqrt(Stat Exp.) ], 255} * Level / 400 }

Correction:
Steve Race was the director of development for Sony America, not its President. He left three months or so after his announcement at E3 1995. The Sega Saturn was $399, and the PlayStation debuted at $299.


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

Aug 21, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week the podcast does something a little bit different and takes a quick side-turn into the SNES Classic. After playing two games off-cam and two games on, the hosts talk about each game in turn. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A bit of a number of SNES Classic Games

Issues covered: the difficulty of Contra games, old school punishing difficulty, power-ups, memorization, eating quarters, shooters and brawlers, reflex-based games, playing on d-pads, putt-putt golf, unlocking where the hole is, more interactions than golf, politics and interfering with other players, screen-watching and Kirby's Dream Course, bards and paladins, physics and ricochet prediction, playing defensively, having a number of shots before being tired, forward feedback loop, the other Kirby game on the Classic, discussion of various other consoles of the time, down the rabbit hole of other consoles of the time, seeing the depth of fighting games right there on the screen, more quarter plugging, move discovery, the beauty of Street Fighter IV, fighting game sticks and cheating, dabbling in fighting games, knowing you could systematically improve, labor practices, story modes in fighting games, covering e-sports and fighting games, raising your game to a higher level of play through muscle memory, obsession, EVO, Nintendo being tentative about their fighting games, lack of player support, racing games and digital control time, casual racing games that you can get good at, solo joy-con play, getting demolished, getting better at racing games over time, rubber-banding and other balancing, getting better power-ups in the back, balancing difficulty dynamically, trying to incorporate both a child and a parent, clearing up Brett's confusion about the time that has elapsed between Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night, Castlevania in the future, the rug that looks like the Himalayas, getting tons of upgrades to change the feel of a Metroidvania, the pure moment-to-moment enjoyment in Castlevania, first-person retreading spaces, completion and percentages, having a parry in Return of Samus, learning by failure, being constantly focused, appreciating just moving your character around, solving various additional problems, twin-stick control, more inviting combat, a bug in TR Anniversary revealed, collecting souls and shards, being able to grind for what you like, having the ability to customize Pokemon abilities, using crafting to better ends, unavailability of Castlevania DS games, chipset emulation, what we're playing next.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Street Fighter II, Super Mario Kart, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Contra III: The Alien Wars, PS2, Andrew Kirmse, Streets of Rage, Double Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, Xbox 360 controller, Bloodstained, Nintendo Switch, Kirby's Dream Course, Marble Madness, Super Mario World, Link to the Past, Final Fantasy VI/III, Sega Genesis, Atari 2600, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, Metal Gear (series), Intellivision, Dungeons & Dragons, Shamus, Adventure, Street Fighter movie, Mortal Kombat (series), Crystal Dynamics, Tekken Tag Tournament, Battle Area Toshinden, Virtua Fighter, Soulcalibur, NetherRealm Studios, Injustice (series), Maddy Myers, Kotaku Splitscreen, Compete, Smash (series), Mario Party (series), Mario Maker, Nintendo DS, Steve Ash, Chris Klie, Daron Stinnett, Forza, Mario Kart Double Dash, Mario Kart 8, Nintendo Wii, Donkey Kong Country, Secret of Mana, Super Mario Galaxy, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Aria of Sorrow, Dawn of Sorrow, Pokemon: Red/Blue, Gothic Chocobo, Dave Wisecarver, Metroid Prime, Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, Return of Samus, Dark Souls, Dead Cells, Platinum, Bayonetta, Halo, Skyrim, Twilight Princess, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Nolan Filter/irreventQ, Castlevania 64, Portrait of Ruin, Order of Ecclesia, Giant Bomb, Konami, Virtual Console, Koji Igarashi, Shenmue, Seaman, DOOM, Bethesda, John Romero, Sigil, DOOM Eternal, Half-Life, System Shock 2, Deus Ex, Thief, Dark Forces, Ultima Underworld.

Note:
Brett indeed also played Earthbound on the SNES Classic but forgot in the heat of podcasting

Next time:
DOOM (Whole first episode)

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

Aug 14, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week take a little time to talk about Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, in our bonus episode for the series. We talk about how much of a Castlevania game it is as well as a number of other topics in a free-flowing discussion. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
The first few hours

Issues covered: being pierced by shards, feeling the beat, blood pools, the many similarities with Castlevania: SOTN, introducing characters and having a ton of little conversations with them, having quests and such, crafting and other additions, Kickstarter history of the project, the simple mechanics of the quest system, upsides to the shards and powers and farming, permanent buffs from eating food the first, the prime factorization of Todd's hair cut curse, mastery bars for button sequenced techniques, having to replay bosses and learn their patterns, powering lots of things up, adding different layouts of equipment, whether the bosses measure up, using the first boss to teach you to read the attacks, the transition to 3D, dynamic camera, 3D vs pixel-perfect collision, getting stuck on collision simplifications, not being as clear with collision, splitting attention in projectile-based Metroidvanias, touching on the show, bringing in characters and setting a new tone, consistency of voice work, David Hayter's performance, adding the compendium, switching to 3D for the main series and maybe keeping with the pixel art, we noodle around the Zangetsu talk and are wrong about many things, Brett's Book Recommendation, some comparisons between Dark Souls and Castlevania, styles of RPG influence, enemy scale, getting more out of Symphony of the Night than your friends, cultural issues and localization and a more global audience, requiring a good writer for translation, providing for fan translation in the indie space, the difference between trying different abilities in Pokemon vs Diablo, acquisition costs for spells in Diablo vs Pokemon, combos vs motions with respect to button... sequences, gamer use of combo vs dev use.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Koji Igarashi, DeBarge, Rhythm of the Night, Unreal Engine, Gothic Chocobo, Sony, Shenmue, World of Warcraft, Dark Souls, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Fez, David Hayter, Shadow Complex, Samus Returns, MGS V (or V), Devil May Cry, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Stuart Turton, Infocom, Deadline, Witness, josh (if that is his real name), Hidetaka Miyazaki, Alex Neuse, Halo 5 / Infinite, Rômulo Santos, Pokemon, Monster Hunter (series), Le Ton Beau de Marot, Gone Home, Tacoma, Shawn, Diablo, clorf, Street Fighter, Kirby Dream Course.

Next time:
Catching up on the mail bag at last

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

Aug 7, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week complete our Castlevania discussion with the beloved PlayStation classic. We talk about actually finishing the game, the size and scope of the thing, character movement, enemy variety, and a host of other topics including our 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:
0:38 Castlevania SOTN discussion
52:30 Break
53:07 Takeaways and Feedback

Issues covered: the end dialog of a game this gothic and melodramatic, the Japanese lens, localization in the 90s, various early memes, ideogram languages and translating into small amounts of space, translation as an art, the reward for getting a greater percentage of the game, finding your way to the inverted castle, having a 3D bias, following industry trends, Tim's mea culpa, the fully inverted castle and how big it is, whole new enemies and placements, wondering how they came to invert the castle and make the changes they did, the nightmare of mirroring or copying geometry, having the transformation buttons easily accessible, mapping where the bosses show up and whether there are more, Alucard and being both a hero and a vampire, not being familiar with these games, familiars and their various identities, challenging yourself to play different ways, the various sub-weapons, comparisons to Metroid, fitting together sprites for larger characters, managing pixel density, the availability of Redbook audio on a PlayStation, making changes in the CD hallways, getting the most out of memory, precise character animation, avoiding stun lock and when you are committed to a move, the huge space of the RPG elements, giving a look at Richter, gothic theming, video games are Hawaiian shirts, in Transylvania it's always the 15th century, how much of it is there is and player choice, wanting the player to miss stuff, exploration in space and systems, the ability to miss the big change, loving the bosses, seeing bosses again and in number, big bosses, committing to movements, grounding the character to match the groundedness of the space, motion blur on the character, full-screen effects, a first meetup for the podcast, emulation QoL improvements and auto-attacks, changing the feel of a game with QoL improvements, playing the unimproved Dragon's Dogma, leaning on fast travel, licensed titles, living in the worlds others have created, managing fan expectations, lack of consistent voices, reaching niche markets, using the Star Wars IP and bringing it to genres, Brett identifies his perfect license.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Zero Wing, Resident Evil, Starfighter (series), Douglas Hofstadter, Le Ton Beau de Marot, Siskel & Ebert, Metroid (series), Stranger Things (obliquely), Alex Neuse, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy Tactics, Tomb Raider, LucasArts, Bob Dylan, Grim Fandango, Aliens, Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Ray Harryhausen, God of War (series), PlayStation/Xbox, Dead Cells, Super Mario World, Dark Souls, Legend of Zelda (series), Diablo, Metal Gear (series), Hal Barwood, Universal Monsters, Edgar Allan Poe, Metal Gear Solid, Thief, Shadow of the Colossus, Fumito Ueda, Ico, Hideteka Miyazaki, Contra, SNES Classic, Devil May Cry, Bloodstained, Koji Igarashi, Warren Linam-Church, Chrono Trigger, MYST, Breath of the Wild, Final Fantasy XII, Dragon's Dogma, The Witcher III, Elder Scrolls (series), Morrowind, Ashton Herrmann, Xbox 360/Arcade, Shadow Complex, Chair Entertainment, Epic Games, Gothic Chocobo, Hollow Knight, Star Wars, Daron Stinnett, Justin Chin, Matt Tateishi, Dark Forces, EA, Lord of the Rings, James Bond, The Godfather, Goodfellas, Fallout, No Mutants Allowed, Wasteland 2, TIE Fighter, X-Wing, Ingrid Bergman, Konami.

Next time:
Some of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

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

Jul 31, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are continuing our Castlevania discussion with the beloved PlayStation classic. We talk about "finishing the game," various bosses, and how the whole game provides exploration in all its systems, among other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
To the castle inversion

Issues covered: finishing the game without finding all of it, feeling like you had gotten enough, Richter living more than 100 years, being told you are passing the point of no return, finding what you'll find and playing how you'll play, being locked in a boss battle, an anticlimax that makes you think there's more to a game, it's always Dracula, knowing that there's more to the game, Olrox the reptiloid, level design flowing towards the boss rooms, fighting Scylla versions 1 and 2, elaborate boss designs, using buffs and potions in boss battles, reaching in desperation, lacking information about when you need to use a potion, the cumbersomeness of using a potion, familiars using your resources, familiars in other games, familiars finding stuff for you, having AIs that fail you, items that are only used by familiars, leveling familiars, the enormous play space of the game, combo vs sequences of keys, being able to replenish at the Librarian, the Librarian gaining more stuff, spells and rolling the buttons, the additional abilities to the forms, the game-changing nature of the bat, wolf underutilization, using the toggle for the familiar relics, nice custom moments and behaviors, where the Easter Eggs might be, reinforcing the sense of place, addressing feedback, thinking about games the other has worked on, the amount of effort that goes into the 'cast, lack of planning, discovering a game like the audience might have, the history of the singing review, overpowering the Elite Four, games that made good transitions from 2D to 3D, having max abilities and then losing them.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Steve Gaynor (obliquely), Tacoma, Metroid (series), Persona 3, Nintendo, Kingdom Hearts, Rise of the Kasai/Mark of Kri, PlayStation, PC-Engine/Turbo-Grafx 16, Alex Neuse, Netflix, Logisverð, Pokemon, GameBoy, Ben Zaugg, Gothic Chocobo, Boris of Alzey, Star Wars: Starfighter, Indiana Jones, Chris Williams, Eric Koz, Nickname_Placeholder/Makendi, Stealer Wheels, Stuck in the Middle with You, Purple Rain, Reservoir Dogs, Tom Waits, Radiohead, Prince, Elvis, Jamie Zucek, Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon Go, Zelda, Mario, Super Mario Odyssey/Galaxy, Contra, Fallout (series), Chrono Trigger, Diablo (series).

Next time:
Finish the game...??

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

Jul 24, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are continuing our Castlevania discussion with the beloved PlayStation classic. We talk about how the structure encourages a natural and player-led exploration as well as some deep diving into weapon mechanics, among other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to Olrox (in theory)

Issues covered: bosses that feel optional, getting health or heart-ups, the tightness of the Metroid structure vs the more explorative Castlevania, feeling like your order is the natural and correct one, picking your rabbit holes, looking at the map and combing over spaces you weren't able to get, being unable to figure out a room, warp points and mysteries of the game, fighting area fatigue by warping other places, avoiding wall levels/missions, hitting a rough area and returning to it, the shared lineage with the Dark Souls games, difficulty differences, the depth of gearing up your character, the depth of some weapons and surprises, analysis/paralysis, picking the obvious dumb thing, respec-ing, flexibility of approach, streamlining combat in Diablo vs this, getting so pulled in, seeing why the Metroidvania term exists, little enemy surprises, comparing play time and level, rock-paper-scissors combat in Metroid vs Castlevania, leveling/grinding for health and heart-ups, having specific constraints you know will be true of the player or not, comparing Metroid to a Rubik's Cube and Castlevania to a jigsaw puzzle, the Librarian and the training videos, grinding resources or not, not looking at the numbers, caring about your goals and not caring about XP, always hitting the candles, the inherent fun of the play, blowing your time constraints for this game, software emulation and memory mappers, cartridges and emulation, cut-away buildings, adding three-dimensional depth to a two-dimensional game, nuance in level design, an easier entry in the series due to character controllability, grounding a character's animation, reading the effing manual, callbacks in the TV show, Easter eggs, the confessional, the grave keeper, feeling a connection with a real place vs a fantasy place.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Metroid (series), Day of the Tentacle, Dark Souls (series), X-COM, Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Diablo III, PlayStation, Steam, Nintendo Switch, Rubik's Cube, The 2nd Quest, Pokemon, Castle (book by David Macaulay), Scott Schneider, Tomb Raider, Alex Neuse, Choice Provisions, Bit.Trip (series), Gaijin Games, Warren Ellis, Bloodstained, Dragon's Dogma.

Next time:
Up until the flip

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

Jul 17, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we continue our Castlevania discussion with the game that renamed a genre. We talk about the year it came out, the structure of the game, and then delve into its many surprising RPG elements. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A few hours in

Issues covered: games of 1997, the PlayStation cycle, where this game fits on the Castlevania history, sticking with 2D, pushing the transition to polygons, similarities with Super Metroid, the large number of relics, lacking map markers of any kind, needing to have made a map, spending a lot of time covering the map again, reasons why QoL doesn't get in, being primarily melee, adding action feel through melee, using the ranged subweapons, new subweapon mechanics for switching, changing into a wolf or bat (vespertilionize: a real word), being able to turn off relics, giving the player more options to customize the experience, offering too many options for player attention, the opening battle against Dracula, switching up characters, connecting the games, having slots for armor, leaning into the gothic with character design, being able to cast spells with combos, customization options that feel like classes, effects of leveling up, the history of adding RPG elements to games, RPG elements vs progression mechanics, making interesting choices about character, why the structure of Metroidvanias works for Tim, unification and motivation of mechanics and exploration, contrasting with open world games with lots of exploring, acquiring more verbs and designing to the addition of verbs, the resilience of the genre, mixing in these mechanics can work, the game you imagine vs the game you get, the reality of budgets, finding new features that weren't in the first game of a series, business forces, not living up to expectations, the expenses of development, wanting the developers to be excited about what they're doing, FPGAs vs software emulators and clone consoles, ultra-hobby options, having a wealth of options to play, preserving history, companies being poor at preservation.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Fallout, Goldeneye, Gran Turismo, Ultima Online, Jedi Knight, Mario Kart 64, Tekken 3, Harvest Moon, Myth: The Forgotten Lords, Final Fantasy VII, Riven: The Sequel to MYST, Dungeon Keeper, Final Fantasy Tactics, Curse of Monkey Island, Total Annihilation, Colony Wars, Age of Empires, Blade Runner, Westwood Studios, X-Wing vs TIE Fighter, PlayStation, Tomb Raider, Soul Reaver, PSP, SNES, TurboGrafx-16, Virtual Console, Wii, Koji Igarashi, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Super Metroid, Metroid Prime (series), The Return of Samus, Nintendo 3DS, Metal Gear Solid 2, Arkham Asylum (series), Assassin's Creed, Dead Cells, Guacamelee, Axiom Verge (obliquely), Darksiders, Gothic Chocobo, Yooka-Laylee, Banjo-Kazooie, Mighty Number 9, Mega Man, Pokemon, Game Freak, Capcom, Jeff Gerstmann, Giant Bomb, Pink Gorilla, Starfighter, Star Wars: Racer, Eric Johnston, Jedi Starfighter, Republic Commando, Steve Dykes, Game Makers Toolkit, Mark Brown.

Links:
Super Mario 3D World's 4 Step Level Design
Analysing Mario to Master Super Mario Maker
The World Design in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Next time:
Through Olrox

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

Jul 10, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are in our second discussion of Super Castlevania IV. We discuss the ways the game mixes up its mechanics in the late game as well as its music and a few other topics before we turn to your feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished....? the game?

Issues covered: monsters and bosses, Universal monsters movies, the difficulty of these final levels, imagining someone playing at the time, linearity and difficulty spikes, arcade legacy, the modernization of playtesting, clunkiness of the platforming, level design in comparison with Nintendo, learning through failure, positive vs negative reinforcement in design, having fun even when it's hard, inconsistency of frame rate, emulation and slowdown, the hilarity of the enemy health bar, the terror of the bone bird, consistency of tone, the feeling of immersion in a location, reading the boss, the stages of Dracula, giving you help after you complete the challenge, do you need to complete the challenge, retracing your steps vs seeing everything "once," gaining capabilities over a game vs not, was the game made for fans of the series, mixing mode 7 throughout vs set pieces, bumping your head/feeling less heroic, Brett digresses into French history, having to practice, platforming on the stairs, jumping to blocks that would appear in time, learning what the design rules lead to, a screen scrolling down, the leading camera, interactions with the stair rules, questions of taste, steering the course of the industry, modifying rules when conflicts happen, iterating with the next game, shorter development times, Nintendo shipping its prototypes, investing so heavily in stairs, music in the names of the games, Gothic music, melodrama and space, SNES audio hardware, memorable and iconic music from the era, Tim can't find the melody, emulation and effects on play, display sizes, CRTs, controllers, some technical concerns in emulation, vinyl vs digital, emulating more modern series, remastering from film vs video.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Universal, Pokemon, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, Super Mario World, Maximo: Ghosts to Glory (obliquely), Nintendo, Metroid (series), Dungeons & Dragons, Legend of Zelda (series), GameBoy Advance, Konami (obligatory: FK), Contra (series), Dark Souls, Metal Gear (series), Charles I/VIII, Academie française, SWAT IV, Guacamelee, LoZ: Link Between Worlds, Breath of the Wild, LoZ: Skyward Sword, Masanori Adachi, Taro Kudo, Star Wars, X-COM, Ha-Drew-ken!, DLC podcast, Ken Levine, Jeff Cannata, Christian Spicer, Drew from Scotland, Purple Rain, Prince, Logan Brown, Star Trek, Mario 64, Andrew Kirmse, Chris Kirmse, MAME, Batman '66, The Wire, Dragon's Dogma, MYST IV.

Next time:
Some of Castlevania: SotN

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

Jul 3, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are in our second discussion of Super Castlevania IV. We talk about the difficulty of the game and "fairness," Mode 7 shenanigans, and how the game quickly teaches things and moves on. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
To/through Stage VIII

Issues covered: the Myst-like rabbit-hole, leaning into the affordances of the SNES Classic, difficulty of Stage IV, the question of fairness and difficulty, throwing a lot at you, ramping up difficulty quickly, not a lot of soft landings or player help, play style, how to double jump across two spinning platforms, hard failures vs safe failures, having to put a game in its time, hard games in their time, challenge as fun, having release valves for difficulty, lacking time to explore with a timer game, getting into the designer's head, the world disappearing when you can't see it, finding every bit of memory or performance, having the hardware for less time, boldly leaning into Mode 7, the swinging chandeliers, slowly moving the character while the level rotates, letting the player deal with small issues and compromises, the Golem boss and shrinking the character, a great moment with the enemy design, learning how much time various actions take, being punished for slow reactions, multiple enemy states, wanting more helpful pickups, secondary/sub-weapons, moving up in levels, the navigation challenge of the stairs, analog stick vs d-pad, sticky surfaces in cover games, ladders in late 90s/early 00s games, bad publishing deals, physical game production, walking backwards up stairs, being able to think about the game when you're not playing it, genre death and rebirth, tension and boss placement.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Myst III: Exile, Obduction, Riven: The Sequel to Myst, The Book of Atrus, Warcraft, SNES Classic, Braid, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Mortal Kombat II, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Dark Souls, The Six Million Dollar Man, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Legend of Zelda, Nintendo Switch, Kingdom Hearts, Nicholas McCormick, Robyn Miller, Cyan Worlds, David Brevik, Diablo, Blizzard, LucasArts, Daron Stinnett, Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sega, Zimmy Finger, Mike Vogt, Radiohead, Bohemian Rhapsody, Return of the Obra Dinn, Lucas Pope, Papers Please, Unreal Engine, Presto Studios, The Journeyman Project, Disney's Haunted Mansion, Ready Player One, The Shining.

Next time:
Finish the game!

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

Jun 19, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we turn to 1991's Super Castlevania IV, due to the series having its anniversary this year. We talk about quite a lot of stuff, including its arcade nature but also its nods to the home market, its tone and setting ,how it teaches stuff, an a host of other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
The first two stages

Podcast breakdown:
0:42 Castlevania Discussion
46:32 Break
47:11 Feedback

Issues covered: games in 1991, the arcade nature of this title, Metroidvania, arcade elements, common approaches to design, making Simon feel heavier and different, remaking Castlevania, the different approaches of other Castlevania games, playing something so old school, learning skills along the way, learning timing, using layers in Mode 7, exploring with some depth, jumping levels and stair climbing, the cool thing you can do with the new hardware, the multiple uses of the whip, powering up the whip, discovering that you can whip the background, teaching moments, enemy design, cursing the bobbing medusa heads, ramping the difficulty on enemies, mixing up enemies by plussing them up, putting all the enemies in the manual, possible sales technique, multi-phase bosses, patterns to detect in their movement, using sprites to lengthen out a spine, fighting the boss mid-level, seeing the boss's health level throughout the level, balancing difficulty, JRPGs, your weapons of choice, using hearts as ammo, the original name Dracula Satanic Castle, satanic panic of the 80s in the US, the animated series, talking about the many entries, the many places this series has gone, a Singing Review, uses for players guides, prodding you to think, developers working with players guides, getting Mew and Mewtwo in Pokemon, Japanese development.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Link to the Past, Super Mario World, Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy IV (/II), Civilization 1, Megaman 4, Monkey Island 2, Metroid 2: Samus Returns, Streetfighter 2, Another World/Out of this World, Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts, Neverwinter Nights, Road Rash, Tecmo Bowl, Konami, Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid, Contra, Frogger, Pro Evo, Dance Dance Revolution, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, GameBoy Advance/Nintendo DS, Bionic Commando, Indiana Jones, Dungeons and Dragons, Bram Stoker, Netflix, Warren Ellis, Hideo Kojima, Platinum Studios, SNES Classic, MJVogt85, Paranoid Android, Radiohead, Moby, Magnus Carlsson, MYST, Riven, John from Cincinnati, The Wizard and the Princess, Space Quest, King's Quest, Baldur's Gate, Fallout, Obduction, Infocom, Sierra, Robyn Miller, Rand Miller, David Wingrove, Dark Horse, The Witcher, Starfighter, Jedi Starfighter, Republic Commando, Fallout 3, Skyrim, The 2nd Quest, Disney, Imagineering, Jonathan Ackley, Chris Pavis, Rob Huebner, The Journeyman Project, Presto Studios, UbiSoft, ScummVM, ResidualVM, Gothic Chocobo, irreverentQ, Pokemon Sword & Shield, Unreal Engine, The Pokemon Company, Game Freak, Lightning Returns.

Next time:
The next three stages

Links:
Myst and Disney

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

Jun 12, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we aren't quite ready to say good-bye to MYST and devote a bonus episode to the 2016 Cyan game Obduction. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A couple of hours for Tim, the whole game for Brett

Issues covered: being down the rabbit-hole for Brett, talking about the opening of Riven, losing the framing of the placed cameras, a game where you can't die, the MYST formula, getting lost without a map, the addition of photographs, having theories and testing them, mechanically consistent, being on a separate track from the rest of game development, technology and design and VR, natural evolution, recreating levels on later technologies, designing around limitations, learning to read the language, adventure games start-up cost, adding fluency as you played FPSes, mouse-look, the odd navigation on a phone, new interface/new game, ways that analog bits are bleeding into the design, no systems in the game, finding MYST Easter Eggs, physically fully rendered puzzles, not always pointing the camera in the right direction, camera and level design, Mew under a truck, saving Aerith, secrets in the age of arcade, closing and opening doors in Cyan games, modern accessibility and having automated animations, having our predecessors lay the groundwork for a later game, what makes a good MYST puzzle, Channelwood and the water pipes, the Selenitic Age, making the games for ourselves, larger teams meaning more eyes, timing puzzles and variety, our next game.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: MYST (series), Cyan, Unreal, Riven - The Sequel to MYST, realMYST, Rand Miller, Robyn Miller, Dungeons and Dragons, Super Mario Bros, Minecraft, Little Big Planet, Dreams, Pong, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Arkanoid, Metal Gear Solid, Star Wars, Uncharted, Fallout, Tacoma, William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, LucasArts, King's Quest, Space Quest, Day of the Tentacle, Half-Life, DOOM (1993), Duke Nuke'm 3D, Quake, Morgan Gray, Nick Foster, Gone Home, Nintendo, Switch, Wii, Super Mario Run, Red Faction Guerrilla, Gears of War, MJVogt85, Cory Potomis, Pokemon Red/Blue, Final Fantasy VII, Square Enix, Mortal Kombat 2, Waypoint, Tron, Pac-Man, Burger Time, Food Fight, Dig Dug, Nolan Filter/irreverentQ, Zimmy Finger, Mark Crowe, Diablo, John Romero, Bethesda Game Studios, Jak & Daxter, Super Castlevania IV, Castlevania Anniversary Collection, Konami, SNES/NES, Metroid, Symphony of the Night, Radiohead, Moby.

Next time:
The first two levels of Super Castlevania IV

Link:
That Time Some Players Thought Mew Was Under A Truck

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

Jun 5, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we're so lucky to get to talk with Robyn Miller, co-designer of MYST and its artist, composer, and writer as well. We think you'll agree, it's a fascinating discussion. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:40      Interview!
1:06:14 Break
1:06:43 Additional discussion

Issues covered: getting into game development, bringing other interests and skills to bear, drawing a world and following what the world wanted to tell him, the fluidity of working in HyperCard, following where things take you, going to an expo with your product, HyperCard as a precursor to the web, learning that computers would connect together, each machine being isolated, self publishing and having publishers come to you, adding a soundtrack to make a CD-ROM worthwhile, a small number of games, packing in with OEMs, pushing further with MYST into narrative/cinematic/gameplay/interface, the ease of PR when you have a narrative about two brothers, throwing all your influences in like a soup, choosing an island to provide natural barriers, designing for non-linearity, diving into imaginary worlds through role-playing, dropping the mechanics of the tabletop RPGs in favor of story-based games, being into 19th century novels, multiplayer being an ideal, wanting character and story and puzzle all to be communicated together, maturing as developers, putting in doodads because you didn't know better, the order in which worlds were built, evolving the design within development, moving from 2D illustration to 3D modeling, redrawing wireframes in minutes and full frames in hours, turning off all the objects not in the view, seeing into a world for the first time/being the first person in a place, finding a video solution, having QuickTime come along at the right time, pushing the limits of technology and working with its developers, how the music came to be, proving to the publisher that music wouldn't work, wanting only diegetic audio, not wanting the publisher to corrupt the vision, mismatching emotional direction with the player experience, having the soul of an artist, unknowingly trailblazing, finding your way via your passions, a distillation of making a game.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: The Manhole, Spelunx, Captain Osmo, The Book of Atrus, Riven, Zoobreak Productions, Obduction, The Immortal Augustus Gladstone, Rand Miller, HyperCard, Bill Atkinson, Activision, Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island, Dungeons & Dragons, Rod Miller, Arthur Conan Doyle, Anton Chekhov, Quicktime, Stratavision, TRON, Chuck Carter, Macromind Director, QuickTime, Broderbund, LucasArts, Sierra, Vangelis, Michael Giacchino, Mark Crowe, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Supergiant Games, Bastion, The Sims, Lightning Returns.

Next time:
A bit of Obduction!

Links:
HyperCard on Computer Chronicles

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

May 29, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we finish our discussion of 1993's MYST. We talk about avatar-based puzzle games, story elements, and some other bits and bobs before turning to our takeaways from the game and answering listener feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:45     Final sections discussion
58:27   Break
59:00   Takeaways and feedback

Issues covered: not seeing the fourth ending, a first-person avatar/playing as yourself, increasing immersion, not having to develop a back-story, throwing back to text adventures, forcing a light touch on the story, removing layers of story, the player succeeding or failing, using FMV to reinforce that they are people which matches with you, other story/adventure games, getting stuck in the Stoneship Age, being unable to see details in the frame, up-rezzing and porting, having difficulty with the compass and the submersible lamp, logical vs physical connections in Stoneship and Channelwood Ages, Brett and Tim do math on-air, the sounds in the Selenic Age, teaching how a puzzle works, compatibility issues in 1994, the lore in the books, trying to piece together the timeline, the themes of reading and being immersed in a book, finding through-lines in Cyan's work, stewardship of young minds, fan service and Jules Verne, absent fatherhood, we work through a possible plot hole, talking about each of the endings, threading your story and lore to enrich the world, accessibility in interface and approach, limiting verbs, complexity in other adventure games, playing to your strengths and using constraints to improve your game, being in the right place at the right time, technology matters, Brett's Book Minute, interface suggestions for touch, VR controls, parallels between game design and modular synthesizers, gameplay programming and constraints, making choices around accessibility and context-sensitivity, disturbing side rooms, word of mouth and watercooler talk to get ideas about games, leaning into obfuscating, playing games in the 80s, finding ways to make a community work together, disarming nuclear silos in MGS V, getting out through the solar system in Noby Noby Boy, placing limitations on yourself in the age of the Internet.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Sierra On-Line, LucasArts, Colossal Cave Adventure, Zork, Enchanter, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Curse of Monkey Island (obliquely), King's Quest (obliquely), Space Quest (obliquely), The 7th Guest, Gabriel Knight, Phantasmagoria, Roberta Williams, Tex Murphy, Full Throttle, The Dig, Grim Fandango, The Wire, biostats/Ryan, The Manhole, Alice in Wonderland, The Mysterious Island, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Gone Home, Tacoma, Xbox 360, Assassin's Creed, Riven, The Lighthouse, gutenberg.org, The Impostor, Javier Cercas, Raymond Cason, realMYST, Walker Farrell, Super Mario World, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Starfighter, HyperCard, Nolan Filter, Cory Potomis, Pokemon Red/Blue, Rockstar, Mortal Kombat 11, Richard Powers, Plowing the Dark, Silicon Graphics, Dark Souls, Ninja Gaiden Black, Majestic, Destiny, MGS V, Noby Noby Boy, Red Dead Redemption, GTA San Andreas, Jonathan Blow, The Witness, Robyn Miller, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.

Next time:
Either an interview or a bit of Obduction!

Links:
Modular synthesizers

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

May 22, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue discussing 1993's MYST. We talk about representing a physical space, the problems of camera and limited modes of interaction, and a host of other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Two more ages!
(Both: Channelwood; Tim: Stoneship; Brett: Spaceship)

Issues covered: turning a lot of valves, making and motivating a physical space, losing a sense of direction due to the lack of camera, having a hard time getting your bearings, filling in the blanks and having your intention mislead you, wanting to know where the touch box is, the importance of camera framing, minimizing the HUD, maximizing the diagesis, simplification as a strength, cameras as challenge or gameplay and that not being designer intent, building out the whole world, when a gun isn't Chekhov's gun, elaborate bits and not being clear on their relevance, caring so much about their story and lore, clockwork/repeatability/knowledge loop, mixing bedrock interactions with new mechanics, using repeatability to encourage experimentation, player goals and implicit goals, reinforcing the sense of a real space, lack of reversability in other adventure games, closed loops and watertight game state, not knowing why a thing is in the game, having those AHA moments, when you get it vs when you don't, making puzzles to keep intruders out, being stuck and not having anything for your brain to chew on, accidental solutions, accidentally solving things, reading player intent, how you rank your design goals, setting the game apart from competitors, Mac vs PC, Brett gives a KH update, humor in puzzle games vs dramatic/horror adventure games, using the books to be invested in the ages, more reading than expected, DGC merch, the creeping sense of dread, Johto region update, Brett being a monster.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Devil May Cry, Resident Evil, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, Anton Chekhov, Sierra, LucasArts, Day of the Tentacle, The Witness, Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, Greta Garbo, HyperCard, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Leonard Nimoy, Waypoint Radio/Lore Reasons, Natalie Watson, Raymond Cason, The 7th Guest, Broken Sword, Monkey Island, Phantasmagoria, Gabriel Knight, Infocom, Enchanter, Zork, HP Lovecraft, The Lurking Horror, Cameron Hass, DOOM (1993), Soma, Amnesia, Halo Infinite, Jamie Zucek, Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver, Pokemon OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire, Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu, Pokemon Sword/Shield.

Next time:
Finish MYST

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

May 15, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series looking at 1993's MYST. We talk about the strains of adventure games at the time, HyperCard, the emergence of the CD-ROM platform, and a bit about the game itself. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
One Age (Mechanical, as it turned out)

Issues covered: what we're playing it on and why, the game landscape in 1993, using MYST to justify CD-ROM pack-ins by OEMs, using HyperCard to work together and pool their talents, HyperCard base technology, broadening the base of PCs, non-gamers having a copy of MYST and showing off your new PC, everyone knew what MYST was, the limitations of the art style in other graphical adventures, MYST and DOOM (1993) clones, streaming video, the benefit of constraints, image transitions, confluence of many emerging technologies, interconnected puzzle games, walking simulators and a simpler interface, hidden object games, simplicity of interface, sense of solitude, music and ambient soundscape, Redbook audio, game developer snobbishness, comparing MYST and DOOM (1993), covering the same ground again and again, trying to find a toehold in the world, getting lost in the open structure, finding the format of the main island puzzles, pixel hunts, spurious interactivity, enlivening the space, real-time puzzle/interaction, avoiding spoilers, teaching concepts, aha moments that keep you going, because it feels so good when I stop, the answer is there somewhere, putting two and two together to make five, how you set resource costs for upgrades, tuning for both cost and behavior in upgrade systems, numerous small points about Devil May Cry, bouncing between multiple characters.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: UbiSoft, iOS, Riven, Day of the Tentacle, Link's Awakening, Kirby's Adventure, X-Wing, TIE Fighter, The 7th Guest, Syndicate, Master of Orion, Sam & Max Hit the Road, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father, DOOM (1993), Megaman X, Starfox, Disney's Aladdin, SNES, Sega Genesis, Mortal Kombat 2, Samurai Showdown, Virtua Fighter, NBA Jam, LucasArts, Sierra, King's Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry 6, The Sims 2, Cyan, Cyan Worlds, Rand Miller, Robyn Miller, HyperCard, QuickTime, Broderbund, Stratovision 3D, Macromedia MacroModel, Photoshop, Gateway, HP, Dell, Star Wars: Rebel Assault, Fortnite, Lighthouse, Dark Forces, John Knowles, The Manhole, Alice in Wonderland, Jules Verne, The Mysterious Island, Chronicles of Narnia, Zork, The Room, Gone Home, Skyrim, Gorogoa, Dear Esther, Proteus, Unreal Engine, Source, Vangelis, Starfighter, Jedi Starfighter, Blarg42, Devil May Cry (series), Daniel C, Ben Zaugg, Metal Gear (series), Wayne Cline, Star Wars, Resistance 3, Jak & Daxter, irreverentQ, MaasNeotekProto, owellgi, dontkickfood, Gothic Chocobo, biostats, Makendi.

Next time:
Two more Ages!

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

May 8, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we take a bonus trip to discuss a more modern game in Devil May Cry 5. We especially note how much they capture the feeling of the original game, despite modernizing some aspects. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
The first few hours

Issues covered: cramming everything Devil May Cry into Devil May Cry 5, iterating on a formula and delivering the same feel, pulling the Resident Evil series along, iterations in camera, having the same feeling of play but with lower effort, feeling cool even outside the cutscenes, the reward of spectacle, risk/rewards and timing and breakers, translating enemies to the modern era, the addition of the grapple action of a breaking arm, teaching you to grapple and incorporating it into a boss fight, the story catch-up at the main menu, going back and forth in time, fighting with a motorcycle, opening credits sequence, tight franchise identity, being happy with the sequel, high level of craft, lack of maturity in the women characters, Barbie-Dolling the bodies, being careless with stereotypes and archetypes, lock and key and self-awareness, Dante's styles, fan service, Brett's Book Minute, using difficulty to train the player for higher difficulty levels, different ways to address turn-based vs real-time goals, trading off the cerebral for the immediate or vice versa, being too nit-picky about the details.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: William Blake, The Force Awakens, God of War, Resident Evil (series), The Raid: Redemption, A Star Is Born, Adam Driver, Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Platinum Studios, Vanquish, Bayonetta, Ninja Theory, Metroid: Other M, Team Ninja, Heavenly Sword, Hellblade, Microsoft Game Studios, Diablo III, Kingdom Hearts 2, Jak & Daxter, Takashi Miike, Ryu Murakami, In the Miso Soup, Book Riot, Horrorstör, Grady Hendrix, Mike Vogt, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Johnny, David Brevik, War and Peace, X-COM, Fallout, Final Fantasy 9, FTL, Into the Breach, Temple of Elemental Evil, Tim Cain, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, MYST.

Next time:
MYST (check Twitter for how much)

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

May 1, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our discussion of 2001's Devil May Cry, discussing the ending of the story (for the benefit of one co-host) and some mechanical elements about the structure before turning to our takeaways. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the game! (In theory)

Podcast breakdown:
0:45 Segment 1: End of game discussion
42:55 Break
43:10 Segment 2: Takeaways and Feedback

Issues covered: Tim confesses, spending big chunks of time on bosses, Trish's betrayal, packing story into the end, fighting your brother Vergil, the high cost of failing Mundus, Trish's sacrifice, fighting in an intergalactic void, the shooting mechanics at the end vs the swimming mechanics, changing up the mechanics at the end, high melodrama, escaping the building, the surprise return of the biplane, strength in character rather than plot, introducing themes through associations, Mundus's motivation, seeing the underpinnings of future lore, negative reinforcement and mission continue, resource consumption across retries, disincentive to grinding, learning skills and the player improvement loop, jankiness with Nightmare, using space to your advantage, losing Devil Trigger to use the Sparda sword, end-of-game rankings, reconsidering your approach to consumables, the Nightmare boss's design elements fighting one another, blood locking, artfully obfuscating blood locking, embracing and clearly communicating blood locking, artificial creation of potential wall moments, good world structure as a means of limiting blood locking, not clocking failure, running with Happy Accidents, ultra focus on high skill/high speed mechanical combo-based melee skill-based combat, juggling minor enemies, third person experimentation, being able to read the animation tells, additional aesthetics driving feel of the game, swagger in game design, gamification of ranking your successes, camera and levels must work together, working on our audio, how animation contributes to play, communicating movement through tiny details, telegraphing and animation, frame counting in fighting games, video games bringing people together, cultural appropriation and context, historic insularity and imperial context in Japan, preferred camera style, refining cameras, preserving drama with camera.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dark Souls, God of War (2005), Space Harrier, X-COM, Final Fantasy IX, GTA III, Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Legend of Zelda (series), LucasArts, Call of Duty, Onimusha, PlayStation 2, Kingdom Hearts, Suda51, TheSentry42, Waypoint Radio, CaffeinatedBrushes, Josh Rogers, James King, Warcraft, Command and Conquer, Don Daglow, Ester Olsen, Donut County, Zimmy Finger, Ico, Alpha Protocol, God of War (2018), Jak & Daxter.

Next time:
A bit of Devil May Cry 5!

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

Apr 24, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our discussion of 2001's Devil May Cry, discussing underwater controls, the camera, combos in combat, and other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Missions 11-17

Issues covered: the two scariest words in video games, the underwater sections, forcing emotional stress through cumbersome controls, putting the player out of her element, pulling you out of the experience because your character is usually a superhero, sailing the ghost ship, game play "jokes," collision detection and keeping the player on walkable space, testing against 2D instead of 3D, 2D thinking in level design, walk boxes, moving the world around the ship, camera relative controls and camera switching, everyone's playing in the pool and Mario has an inner tube, having to model everything and yet keeping a set of fixed cameras, making the mistake of designing the camera around the levels instead of vice versa or in concert, framing for coolness at the sacrifice of player cohesion, being curious about where the camera ends up, attempt to make more vertical game play in Republic Commando, believing you can do anything with the camera and players proving you wrong, making 3rd person game play with a first person mentality, making a test case or prototype that proves out your camera design, lack of block and blocking with an attack, going without block to promote fast and forward motion, having trouble with Sparda, streamlining combos down maybe too much, finding the combo rhythms, physical mastery games, Brett puts the petty in competition, reading the telegraphing of bosses with the camera, the stress of restart/lives mechanics and boss battles, learning for one boss but not gaining thereby, trial and error on bosses, cultural appropriation, being able to defeat Phantom in the hallway, experimentation in game play to find information and secret missions, chapter endings in the Resident Evil series.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Jedi Knight, Resident Evil (series), Frictional Games, Amnesia, SOMA, Halo, The Goonies, Sony Santa Monica, God of War, SCUMM games, Grim Fandango, Thimbleweed Park, Ron Gilbert, Republic Commando, Super Mario 64, Tomb Raider, Soul Reaver, Remi Lacoste, Prince of Persia, Ubisoft, Full Throttle 2, Mysteries of the Sith, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Super Mario Odyssey, Diablo III, Dark Souls (series), Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Kirk Hamilton, Maddy Myers, Kotaku Splitscreen, Derv_PNW, Super Metroid, X-COM, Half-Life, Link to the Past, Gothic Chocobo, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Jak & Daxter.

Next time:
Finish the game!

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

Apr 17, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our discussion of 2001's Devil May Cry, discussing enemy introductions, the mission structure, grinding to find your difficulty level, and other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Missions 5-10

Podcast breakdown:
0:32 Devil May Cry part one
34:32 Unintentional break
34:56 Devil May Cry part two and feedback

Issues covered: enemy introductions, bosses or more fodder enemies, finding first rooms for enemies that fit, introductions in Republic Commando, first person camera intros, marionettes and dread, weapon intros, smoke and mirrors in intros, ceding character for game play, cutting polygons from a model, high poly counts smoke and mirrors, introducing weapons, lacking weapon introductions in Jedi Starfighter, ideal intros, devoting a mission to introduce a new unit, limited introductions in Diablo, Japan and "cool" culture vs "hot" culture, cultural appropriation, snapping your fingers to open the door, Dante's insouciance when talking to a giant boss, changing and growing Capcom's brand identity, time pressure, teaching the player that time is a factor in getting the best rank, timed levels in games, being all about speed, eating your health away and an avenue to increase time, integrating time into games, kill streaks and time, overlaying a mission structure on a physical location, saving the game between missions, putting the mastery forward, giving frequent feedback, using trophies as a means to give feedback, ranking play in general, intrinsic gratification vs feedback, having multiple save slots and experimentation, being able to go back to earlier sections of the castle, limited resources in Resident Evil, upgrade stations being in the world, being able to move back and forth through the world, fast loads, grinding to find your equilibrium difficulty-wise, increasing player skill, using all the tools and feeling accomplished, using the shotgun for the banshees, taking another look at Bayonetta, level capping in Diablo and Paragon, ways of elongating games (as a service), accessibility in games, interpretative difficulty, commercial benefit to being "the difficult game," being more positive on the Internet, Nintendo and difficulty, doing a good job of making a hard game, feeling "guilty" about lowering difficulty, applauding commitment, the accessible controller.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Ben Grimm, Lobot, Professor X, Nick Fury, Republic Commando, Todd Howard, Fallout 3, Jedi Starfighter, Nintendo, Blizzard, Starcraft (series), Warcraft (series), Diablo (series), Ouendan and Elite Beat Agents, Metal Gear (series), Hideo Kojima, Suda51, Ghost of Tsushima, Infamous (series), Akira Kurosawa, Capcom, Resident Evil (series), Clover, Platinum, Bayonetta, Viewtiful Joe, PN 03, DOOM (1993), Metal Gear Rising, Jedi Knight, Reed Knight, Matt Tateishi, Unreal Tournament, Quake III Arena, Gran Turismo, NES/SNES, Castlevania, Metroid, Pit Droids, Kingdom Hearts (series), God of War, Alpha Protocol, Destiny II, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Darren from Ohio, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, War and Peace, Captain Underpants, Tacoma, Gone Home, Steve Gaynor, Return of the Obra Dinn, From Software, Souls (series), Bloodborne, Patrick Klepek, Super Meat Boy, Celeste, Keza MacDonald, Jason Killingsworth, King's Field, Microsoft Game Studios, Nathan Martz, Once Upon A Monster, Sesame Street, Hidetaka Miyazaki.

Next time:
Missions 11-17

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

Apr 10, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on 2001's Devil May Cry, an action beat-'em-up from Capcom. We situate the game in its time and talk about its evolution from the Resident Evil series with its action. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
First four missions

Issues covered: gaming in 2001, the origins of the title as Resident Evil 4 and making it into a new franchise, leaning into the tone, the beginning of the Clover legacy, distilling down to God of War, camera changes, we riff on the ranks, evolving the camera from Resident Evil, branching off the controls, dealing with the stick when moving from screen to screen, the Capcom 5, many takes on Dante's Inferno, "Devil May Care," dripping with style, style *is* substance, a game that wants you to dive in and get good, switching to be more aggressive to fight the first boss, where you can run from the return of that boss, the presentation of easy mode, learning to read a hard game, trying different third-person cameras at this time, facing difficulty and having to figure it out, change in game tastes in the last two decades: repetition vs continuing spectacle, physical limitations, grinding for consumables and the store, how does scoring work, taking a weird detour into watery skulls, how this series evolved to present day and greater generosity, procedurally generated emails, Diablo's shrines, the strategy of allowing a shared copy of the game actually driving sales, virality, generosity driving sales, hacks and cheats and the difficulty of preventing them.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Capcom, Jedi Starfighter, Ico, Grand Theft Auto III, Anachronox, Silent Hill 2, Resident Evil (series), Halo: Combat Evolved, Metal Gear Solid 2, Max Payne, Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance, Diablo, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Onimusha: Warlords, Nintendo GameCube, Super Smash Bros. Melee, 007: Agent Under Fire, PlayStation 2, Jak & Daxter, Twisted Metal Black, Andrew Kirmse, Pikmin, Luigi's Mansion, Hideki Kamiya, Shinji Mikami, Clover Studio, Platinum Games, Viewtiful Joe, Okami, Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Dark Souls (series), God of War, PN 03, Killer 7, Dead Phoenix, Dante's Inferno, Patrick Klepek, Kingdom Hearts, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Full Throttle 2, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Mr. Beast, DOOM (1993), Eric Fox, David Brevik, Quake, GOG, Alpha Protocol.

Next time:
Through Mission 10

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

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