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Dev Game Club

Join hosts and game industry veterans Brett Douville and Tim Longo as they explore older titles to talk about the influences those games had and what we can learn from them even today.
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Now displaying: December, 2017
Dec 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 20, 2017

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

Sections played:
Through Votowne

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

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

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

Next time:
To the Surface of Democratus!

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

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

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

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

Dec 13, 2017

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are beginning our new series on 2001's quirky Western-built Japanese-style RPG Anachronox. We set it in its time, and discuss how we decided to play it and then spend a lot of time on its world-building. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Bricks

Podcast breakdown:
0:40    Anachronox in time, Initial discussion
38:36  Break
39:04  Thanks and feedback

Issues covered: Games of the Year, how we came to choose Anachronox, 2001 in PC games, mash-ups, lack of character creator, is the character a Chosen One, possible character antecedents, world-building in simple ways and picking up things as you go, avoiding the lore bombs, dialogue trees vs continuing dialogue, progenitor race tropes, technology we don't understand but make use of, more character antecedents, film noir tropes, Boots as sad sack, layout of the introductory area and not getting lost, mix of architectural styles, moving city blocks around, putting ideas into games more quickly, investing in mechanics to make them pay off multiple times, boat action sequence, mini-games, shifting audience expectations, less forgiving audiences, changing suspension of disbelief, character names, a codex with all the names of stuff, potential fragility of scripting, thank yous, German B-thing, Tim's phone audio, musical touches in Mario 64, Brett's favorite Mario 64 levels, games we replay, Brett and Freud, picking games and timing, interviews, difficulty in getting Japanese devs, next time.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Alien Isolation, Nintendo Switch, What Remains of Edith Finch, Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Assassin's Creed Origins, AC Unity, AC Syndicate, id Software, Quake II, Mass Effect, Silent Hill 2, Max Payne, Clive Barker's Undying, Oni, Bungie, Soul Reaver 2, AVP, Star Wars: Starfighter, Halo, Final Fantasy, Deus Ex, Blade Runner, Omikron: The Nomad Soul, David Cage, David Bowie, Starcraft, Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Gateway, Rendezvous with Rama, Babylon 5, Geoff Jones, Frederick Pohl, J. Michael Straczynski, Firefly, Sam Spade, Bob Hoskins, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Grand Theft Auto III, Dark City, City of Lost Children, Alex Proyas, Rufus Sewell, Unreal, Half-Life, Dario Casali, John Romero, DOOM, Chase Thompson, Super Mario 64, Aaron Evers, MDK, Giants: Citizen Kabuto, Good Old Games, Metal Gear Solid, Mark Garcia, Gamer Lawyer, Skyrim, Fallout (series), Bioshock (series), Hitman (series), Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, Mario Kart, World of Warcraft, Tim Dore, Sigmund Freud, Thief: The Dark Project, Bullfrog, Dungeon Keeper, Theme Hospital, Silent Hill 2, Portal, TIE Fighter, Star Wars: Rogue One, Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, System Shock 2, X-COM: Enemy Unknown, Oddworld: Abe's Oddyssey, Ashman86, Jason Schreier, Kotaku: Splitscreen, Republic Commando, Chris Avellone, Julian Gollop, Marc Laidlaw, Reed Knight, Darren Johnson, Larry Holland, The Phantom Menace, AddictArts.

Next time:
Up to (and possibly through) Votowne

Corrections:
Arthur C. Clarke wrote Rendezvous with Rama. We regret the error.

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

Dec 6, 2017

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

Sections played:
Finished the game!

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

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

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

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

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

Super Mario 64 120 Star Race at GDQ

Super Mario 64 0/1 Star Race at GDQ

Half Button Presses 

The Super Mario 64 coin that took 18 years to collect 

Next time:

Anachronox! Through "Bricks"

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

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