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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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Dec 4, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we return to Blizzard's 2004 classic MMORPG World of Warcraft. We talk a bit about the grind, a notable MMO moment, some differences with world layout and characterization over time and character, as well as other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to level 20

Issues covered: hitting the Classic grind, fetch quests, zone refinements in modern, finding the right quests for your level, not leading you by the nose (vs not knowing the best way to go), having a sense of mystery, going from Coldridge to Dun Morogh, having curiosity about the world, being conditioned to a reward schedule of a different type, buying a weapon due to slow positive reinforcement, limits of combat mechanics, feeling like you had to grind out levels, lacking an equivalent to the Barrens, the variety of locations in Stormwind, running into a player who helped us find and finish a quest, having the network of other players to guide you to content, building a world, broadness but not depth in character, traveling long distances, playing co-op even with strangers, complementary character builds, tank/dps/healing triumvirate, flying over a very dangerous area and the exhilaration of what you'll see some day, like visiting a whole new place, progressing from very small to small to absolutely enormous, transitions from place to place, limitations of Westfall as an area, transition from Coldridge up into Ironforge, designing around when you transition zones, stretching quests a little too thin around Thelsamar, order of continent design, limitations of the Alliance, curiosity about retention, Tim's theory about humans as most retained race, approachability of the familiar, wanting different experiences the more games you've played, worrying about money, controlling what's purchasable, the importance of money, getting abilities for free, having to make interesting or hard decisions about money, running out of money, cutting off experimentation because things are expensive, evolving into multiple currency types, auto-sorting things into bags, the nightmare of inventory management, grognard capture and approachability, setting graphics to the WoW look, getting into a dungeon.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dark Age of Camelot, Dr. Seuss, Disneyland, Gone Home, Firewatch, Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Bethesda Game Studios, Everquest, Brad Furminger, Eternal Darkness, Nintendo, Shenmue, Dreamcast, Austin Walker, Waypoint Radio, Makendi.

Next time:
A new game: Shenmue (check Twitter for how far)
(And to 30 for a future WoW episode)

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

Nov 27, 2019

Following on from our DGC series on 2002's Eternal Darkness, we talk with designer Brad Furminger, who got his start at Silicon Knights working on Eternal Darkness and an earlier version of Too Human. We talk about design choices on Eternal Darkness and get lots of little stories.

Podcast breakdown:
0:42 Interview segment
1:03:35 Break
1:04:06 Feedback

Issues covered: getting in with geographical luck, progressively getting into deeper discussions with a future employer, becoming second party with Nintendo, being at a teaching developer, diversity of background and interests, structuring for various characters, studying the game bible, working with tough tools, the "glamour" of game development, having an intense crunch, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, not being able to show fear, having a learning moment that lasts, a four-room prototype, meeting ED, building worlds and universes and not just individual games, a universe with mystery, diversity of characters, a strong positive female role model, the ancient ones and their machinations, establishing the importance of places in the world, building and rebuilding the world, returning to a place and knowing where to go, blending the player and character experience, the meta effects, the adventure game beginnings, sanity effects coming from the whole team, incorporating good ideas as a designer, Brad's favorite meta sanity effect, the difficulty of going low sanity, "You need keys that aren't keys," illustrative koans, finding ways to connect Alex through the chapters as keys, teaching the player to navigate the unknown, Nintendo's excellent QA department, finding a weird.... hardware bug?, PEBCAC, sacrificing a feature to make the game a little more approachable, seeing the flaws in our own work, making not enough use of the body part targeting, having to change to Pargon for Japanese, the magic system, developing around four plays, the percentage of people who finish a game having started it, hoping rather than expecting people would play more than once, making changes that cut down on differentiation of playthroughs but benefited QA, getting into teaching, getting experimental in classes, the impact of 9/11 on Eternal Darkness, Bush invoking the Crusades, incorporating development lessons into teaching, a game recommendation, the impact of fans in keeping games alive and playable, usability testing and playtesting, getting information about the whole player, blind testing, having that discomfort and not saying anything about play, getting a sense of what the player is experiencing, giving voice to what you're playing, pushback on playtesting, using different departments to playtest, seeing and not reading, usability issues again.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: World of Warcraft, Silicon Knights, Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes, Too Human, Bedlam Games, D&D: Daggerdale, George Brown College, Toronto Film School, Denis Dyack, Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen, Full Sail, DigiPen, Sandbox Studios, Digital Extremes, PlayStation 1, Nintendo 64, GameCube, Nintendo, Ted Travor, Sierra, King's Quest, Space Quest, Robyn Miller, MYST, Lovecraft, Shigeru Miyamoto, Trevor Fencott, Runbow, 13AM Games, Jedi Starfighter, DLC Podcast, Jeff Cannata, Christian Spicer, Alynne O., FromSoft, Shadow Tower Abyss, Metroid Prime, Half-Life 2, King's Field, Dark Souls/Bloodborne, Owen Lawson, TIE Fighter, X-Com, Dark Forces, Planescape: Torment, Star Control 2, Stardock, Lucas Rizoli, Microsoft, Republic Commando, Michael Abbott, Valve, Blizzard, Jeffrey Sondin-Kung (Pinecone), LEC-Game Theory, Zachary Crownover, Johnny Pockets, John Romero, Persona 5.

Links:
Patrick Klepek on Mizzurna Falls

Next time:
Up to level 20 (?ish) in World of Warcraft

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

Nov 20, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we start a new series with a bit of a different goal: a game we'll play for an initial couple of episodes and then return to from time to time. We discuss 2004's seminal and crowning MMORPG World of Warcraft, discussing the year in which it came out, a history (personal and not) of MMOs, and then dig a bit into the initial 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 level 8

Issues covered: revisiting our chat with John Romero, looking at 2004 in games, a live game model in EverQuest, self-cannibalization, early history of MUDs, a sad discovery, reflecting on Brad McQuaid's career, sharing games as source, MUDs and theming, talking through the history of a number of MMOs, talking about the market and approachability of other MMOs, peak users, the influence of other Blizzard games on WoW, Brett's confession, introducing characters through the RTS, modding and Warcraft III, launch and WoW, pulling the games from the shelves, server queues, revenue gross, Brett does some on-the-fly math, Activision-Blizzard merger, the starting area for gnomes and dwarves, inviting you into the world like a DM, learning the design language of the game, usability of the quest system, shifting the focus to quests (vs combat grinding), doing multiple things with the quests and rewards, changing your character's look, each race having its own animation set, differentiating races strongly, pre-rendered introduction, RTS influence again, seeing your first human (on a horse), simplifying WoW in the modern version, having to read the text to understand where to go, adding user interface mods, increasing intrinsic reward through difficulty, managing your own grouping, growing the scale of what you see, scale of towns and villages, growing up with the world through exploration, experience ramp.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: John Romero, LucasArts, Republic Commando, God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, Half-Life 2, DOOM 3, Metal Gear Solid 3, Fable, Halo 2, Far Cry, Chronicles of Riddick, Katamari Damacy, Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines, Source Engine, Troika Entertainment, Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, The Outer Worlds, EverQuest & EverQuest II, 989 Studios, Sony Online Entertainment, Rob Pardo, MUD, Roy Trubshaw, Richard Bartle, DikuMUD, Brad McQuaid, Zork, Adventure, MOO, Pantheon, Saga of Heroes, Habitat, LucasFilm Games, Randy Farmer, Chip Morningstar, Meridian 59, Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Asheron's Call, Raph Koster, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Underworld, Turbine Entertainment, Lord of the Rings Online, Mythic, EA, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Blizzard, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, Bill Roper, Diablo, David Brevik, Warcraft III, Chris Metzen, DotA, Icefrog, Riot Games, Dark Souls.

Next time:
To level 20

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

Nov 14, 2019

Following on from our DGC series on 1993's DOOM, we've been lucky enough to get connected with John Romero to talk about his early career and how id and DOOM came to be. We hear all sorts of stories about those early days, and we hope you enjoy it.

Podcast breakdown:
0:42 Interview segment
1:40:30 Break
1:41:00 Next time

Issues covered: a brief history of John Romero, playing games at the arcade and on a mainframe, programming without being able to save them, living with hyperthymesia, learning BASIC and 6502, hand-assembling without a computer, bailing from college, selling games to a bartender, meeting a fellow programmer for the first time, zeroing in on Origin Systems, co-opting a demo PC, Origin in New Hampshire, overlapping between John and Brett, being up against other Commodore programmers, killing the interviews, making every life change at once, making your own hardware and writing your own protocol, getting your first raise, the death of 8 bit, learning PC and moving house, missing out on your chance to make a great 8-bit game, wanting to make games all day, hiring an artist based on musical taste, knowing a coder from the game, Carmack renting a PC to port his own RPGs, getting your own room and making your own games, two games in a month, becoming the game everyone in Pakistan and India played, dividing up the work, vertical scrolling vs smooth horizontal scrolling, getting stuff done in a night, knowing when it's time to move on, pitching a game to Nintendo, mistaking fan mail, making deals through the mail, making bank and cutting a deal to avoid a lawsuit, nearly selling the company, shareware just taking off, moving into the black cube, writing a... strong press release, riding the rocket, being fluent in code and creativity at the same time, multi-user editing, breaking out of a rectilinear world, getting out of the intellectual model, no room could have been made in the prior game, having to solve unknown problems, coding everything into the editor and coming up with the needs, programming all sorts of wild secrets, goals for SIGIL, coming up with new ideas that are reasonable extensions, someone stealing your thunder, flipping switches to get from multiplayer to single player, loving designing stuff, the Empire RPG, dream game with the dream team, spending time with John Romero, working on 90 games, working solo, the history of games in one man's head, June calls out, we talk our next game, SWotH.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Sigil, Origin Systems, Softdisk, John Carmack, Adrian Carmack, Tom Hall, id Software, Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Quake, ION Storm, Daikatana, Deus Ex, Anachronox, Monkeystone Games, Midway, Slipgate Ironworks, Gazillion, Loot Drop, Brenda Romero, Romero Games, Empire of Sin, Poison Cookie, Hunt the Wumpus, Nim, Adventure, Robert Lavelock, Will Wright, Dr. Cat (David Shapiro), David Crane, Capital Ideas Software, Apple ][, Nibble Magazine, Scout Search, InCider Magazine, AppleFest 1987, UpTime, Jay Wilbur, Cocktail, Epic Software, Lane Roathe, Ultima I, ManPower, John Fachini, Denis Loubet, Robert Garriott, Ultima Underworld, Mapping the Commodore 64, Inside Out Software, Might & Magic 2, Tower Toppler/Nebulous, Epyx, Lynx, Crush Crumble Chomp, Temple of Apshai, Alien, Dark Castle, Ideas from the Deep, Al Vekovius, Karateka, LodeRunner, Choplifter, PlayStation 2, LucasArts, Gamer's Edge, Sub Stalker, Tennis, Mark Crowe, Paul Lutus, GraFORTH, Catacomb, SuperNES, Mario, Zelda, Dangerous Dave, Solitaire, Minesweeper, Slordax, Michael Abrash, Captain Cosmic, Nintendo, Scott Miller, Kingdom of Kroz, Commander Keen, Aliens Ate My Babysitter, FormGen, Sierra, Ken and Roberta Williams, Wolfenstein 3D, Spear of Destiny, Kevin Cloud, NextSTEP, Wizardry, REKKR, Civilization, Paradox, The Irishman, Martin Scorcese, Francis Ford Coppola, Skyrim, World of Warcraft Classic.

Next time:
World of Warcraft Classic (up to level 5)

Links:
Making of SIGIL

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

Nov 6, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we complete our play and discussion of 2002's GameCube horror adventure Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. We discuss re-use and when it doesn't quite work here, but highlight the end of the game and then turn to our takeaways. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:39 Segment 1 -- ED discussion
59:30 Break
60:00 Takeaways and Feedback

Issues covered: Tim talks about his surprise trip, leaning into spells as lock and key mechanisms, having to use the dominant color, systems that are more simply multiplicative, the portraits of the human archetypes, committing to personification, rune descriptions and lore, Lovecraft's racism, natural opposition in different archetypal systems, the fourth playthrough, Pious's purple dispel, learning at the same rate as Alex, setting the final rune and soft failure, having a hard time knowing what to do, usability fighting fiction, getting into a designer's head, describing the WWI bosses, communicating how to fight the boss, timing with the seven-part magical attack, scripting-heavy bosses, playing against your instincts, our go-to spells, objects showing up in the trapper world, running past because your sanity is low, the most repetitive points of the game, using the towers as an amplifier, good camera use, finding a cyclical story for production benefits, the final fight as a restatement of the rest of the game, starting the game as Pious, villainous consistency, learning to hate Pious with Alex, phases of the fight, getting lucky with the ghosts, Brett's Book Recommendation, the strength of the structure of the game, the statues in the walkway, finding a story that allows for production benefits, finding additive bits via the insanity systems, adding coats of paint to levels, water cooler talk, viral marketing, generating surprise, insanity effects and a conflict with a resource, interplay with difficulty, Alex slowly going insane, the magic system and its visual and experiential representation, gender and racial representation, a note about our book club feel, lighting in DOOM vs gzDoom, lighting complementing emotion, level design and lighting, fidelity and lighting, using light as a landmark to propel the player, photorealism and its interplay with design, remembering you're making a game, lightening the load on the player.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Brian Taylor, HP Lovecraft, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Hamlet, Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom, Waypoint Radio, Austin Walker, The Night Ocean, Paul LaFarge, Metal Gear, Diablo, Dejan Josifović, DOOM, Sigil, John Romero, Alan Wake, Dead Space 2.

Next time:
An Interview!

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

Oct 30, 2019

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

Oct 23, 2019

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

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

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

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

Next time:
Finish the game!

Links:
IGN pushing ED sales

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

Oct 16, 2019

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

Sections played:
Levels 3-5

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

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

Next time:
Levels 6-9, nice.

Links:
Angry Video Game Nerd on Chex Quest

The Hit Box

Mike "BrolyLegs" Begum

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

Oct 9, 2019

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

Sections played:
The first three levels

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

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

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

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

Oct 2, 2019

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

Sections played:
First few levels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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