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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: April, 2018
Apr 25, 2018

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

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

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

Links:

Bernard Kliban's Original Roger Wilco

Space Quest III Timelapse

Guys from Andromeda

Guys from Andromeda YouTube Channel

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

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

Apr 18, 2018

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

Sections played:
Up to the desert / through Athens

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

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

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

Next time:
Up through the Three Challenges

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

Apr 11, 2018

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

Sections played:
Finished SQ1

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

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

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

Links:
Sierra Death Generator

Space Quest 3 Promo

Space Quest 1 VGA Remake Commercial

SQ Docucomedy

Panzer Dragoon Saga

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

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

Apr 4, 2018

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

Sections played:
Up to Planet Kerona

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

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

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

Next time:
Finish Space Quest!

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

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