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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: July, 2018
Jul 25, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are finishing out our discussion of 2000's Deus Ex. In our fifth episode in the series, we talk a bit about the game's viewpoint(s) and 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 at last

Issues covered: Tim's marathon of M:I, the othering of Anna and Gunther as well as Walter Simons and Bob Page, building a sense of place and history, the inhumanity of JC Denton, a game about the grey area of decision-making, Tim merges with the AI, choosing a little less globalization, wealth operating in secret, playing the good guy, turning off the Illuminati-sicle, pulling the opposing threads back further into the game, the gas station level, Tim finds a prototype AI, mashup of genres, robust optional content, stealthing the end of the game, using thermoptic camo, leveling up the sword, a fully-realized Vandenberg Base, flying the drone and blowing up the robots, using the AI's rules to stealth through, doing the mission impossibly, like we're playing two different games, emergent design, using tools for mayhem vs success, paying off on story choices/the game watching and keeping track of little things you do, the RPG lineage, projecting onto the character because of flat affect, allowing Paul to live, Tim likes the trains to run on time, bringing in all the various conspiracy theories, tracking things and setting up the sorts of things that we track today, choosing story beats instead of being able to fully get through non-lethally, level design feeding into emergence, the saga of BobPage51, adding surrealism to everyday life, the modern Deus Ex games, lockpicking and time, knucklehead stealth and limited playtime, assigned roles vs created roles, player tracking, internal vs external, expectations of privacy, the challenge of interpreting player data, heat maps and ways to tie the data together, justifying any decision, tracking and part of the competitive landscape.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Mission: Impossible, Terminator (series), RoboCop, Peter Weller, The Witcher 3, Fallout, Warren Spector, Far Cry 4, X-COM: UFO Defense, Kindergarten Cop, Jack Black, Nacho Libre, Grand Theft Auto III, Ultima Underworld, Dragnet, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Starfighter (series), Rick Butler, Metal Gear Solid V, Splinter Cell (series), Thief, Ben from Iowa, Clint Hocking, Aaron Evers, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, UbiSoft, God of War, Tomb Raider, Jumanji, 343 Industries, Microsoft, Halo 5, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, League of Legends, DotA 2, Fortnite, Unreal Engine, Unity, Prey.

Next time:
A big chunk o' Prey

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

Jul 18, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we have finally turned our attention to 2000's Deus Ex. In our fourth episode in the series, we talk about maps, the damage model, augmentations, and more! Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through the Paris Cathedral

Issues covered: stealth and non-lethal play, hitting your foes with tranq darts, externalizing statistics, the things you track, a decision or a priority, a stuffed UI, adding notes to images, self-motivated play vs auto-mapping, usability, detailed maps, orienting yourself via the maps, feeling in conversation with the designer, map fidelity and playing into the fantasy, leaning on the existence of a map as a designer, leaning on navigation mapping as a crutch, spatial sense, making navigation design choices based on the needs of the game, emergent design and not holding hands, navigation as a resource, taking away mechanics you lean on, sneaking up on snipers, accurate modeling of bullet trajectory, making weapons feel like they should feel, suspected player collision model, accuracy model, difficulty making decisions, understanding the weapons having not using them, the damage model, weapons being more lethal sometimes than others, random vs statistical distributions, seeing the RNG and damage model, tuning and spread and balance, player expectations and numbers, progressive improvement in random chance in MMOs, perception is everything, "it's not a blunderbuss," augmentation choices, not meeting tougher creatures when you make the choices, not upgrading, recycling + healing non-stop, playing into power fantasies of different types, potential "best way to play," being a sum of parts rather than strong at any individual thing, VO issues, player stories in the Dowd level, making weird decisions with guns, audio design, triggering enemies through walls, provoking exploration, more player stories in the Dowd level, scripting interactions and weirdness, clash of script and AI, player feedback, a future bonus episode, proper noun soup.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Fable, Metal Gear Solid (series), Ultima Underworld, Far Cry 2, Elder Scrolls (series), Perfect Dark Zero, Xbox 360, Dead Space, Resident Evil, Dark Forces, Unreal, Halo, X-COM: UFO Defense, Sid Meier, Civilization, World of Warcraft, Planescape: Torment, Fallout, Thief, Grehtn/Zimmy Finger, Darren from Ohio, Prey (2017), The Witcher 3, Warren Spector.

Next time:
Finish the game, no really, really!

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

Jul 11, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we have finally turned our attention to 2000's Deus Ex. In our third episode in the series, we talk about the RPG aspects as far as story goes as well as some obvious influences. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through the Paris Cathedral

Issues covered: mispronouncing the title of the game, bringing in all the story as you get to Hong Kong, level geometry in Hong Kong and getting lost the first time you played it, hearing the proper nouns, the gigantic conspiracy smoothie, pushing conspiracy theories 75 years forward, not being sure who you can trust, can you even trust Tracer Tong, hitting all the technology paranoia (clones, nanomachines, viruses and cures), having time still running while you're hacking/lockpicking, the final destiny of Maggie Chow, cutscenes and enemy AI, mini-games in hacking and lockpicking, player vs character skill in mini-games in BGS games, when mini-games pull you out of the game and when they don't, making hard decisions thematic resonance with hacking/lockpicking, "knucklehead stealth," giving the player lots of options even just to hack and player agency, getting captured by MJ12 in Brett's version and in Tim's, Anna Navarre and "I can see you," forced greets, procedural camera placement, dialog cutscenes in Mass Effect, revealing that you've been in the UNATCO base the whole time, forking level assets, how Alex and Jaime join back up with you if you choose to have them, finding killswitch codes for others, avoiding lethality, reuse of space, having to propagate fixes to multiple spaces, placing your RPG in the real world, connecting the world, globalization and fear and paranoia, naming post-apocalyptic cities, Tim outs my film choices on the podcast, contextualizing the make-up of the world, replaying games and length, engaging with backstory, what we're on about here.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Harry Truman, The X-Files, Millennium, Deus Ex (rest of series), Assassin's Creed (series), Leonardo da Vinci, The Matrix, Cyberpunk 2020, Shadowrun, Thief, Bioshock, Fallout 3/4, Skyrim, Dark Souls, Pipe Dream, LucasArts, Anthony Gallegos, RebelFM, Mass Effect, Anachronox, ION Storm, Eidos, Dishonored 2, Tomb Raider, Fallout 1 & 2, Lord of the Rings (films), Obsidian Entertainment, Alpha Protocol, Metal Gear Solid 2, Darren, Konrad the Canadian.

Next time:
Finish the game!

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

Jul 4, 2018

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we have finally turned our attention to 2000's Deus Ex. In our second episode in the series, we discuss difficulty levels for different styles of play vs augmentation hard choices and some level systems specifics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through Hong Kong (in theory)

Issues covered: trying to get out of the level when you've been in it a while, difficulty levels and combat vs stealth, the paths not chosen, the interaction of augmentations and difficulty, not being a great shooter, motivated level design, stealth and the tranq dart, balancing weapons, the ghost or non-lethal run, the emergent quality vs achievements for ghosting, player choice in play goals, trying to remove all the TNT from a room, punishing particular play styles, how you reflect player choices in the world vs the character, forking paths and the small bugs therefrom, the crowbar vs the baton, making hard binary choices, all active augmentation and resource usage, minimal resources, bioelectric batteries vs colas and chocolate bars, forgetting the skill points, point-based skills vs discrete augmentation levels, not playing completionist, getting rewards for different solutions, Tim's weird way of dealing with the hostage situation, failing for purposes of discovery, visual language, ladders in games, cutscenes and what systems get turned off or not, Tim goes backwards, the difficulty of getting through a door, using a heavy box as a defense, save-anywhere as a critical play system.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Starfighter (series), Halo, Thief, Dishonored, Harvey Smith, Julius Caesar, Warren Spector, Infamous (series), Fable (series), Far Cry (series), Dungeons & Dragons, LoZ: Link to the Past, Mark of the Ninja, Hitman 2.

Next time:
Up through Paris Cathedral

Links:
Ben Abraham Plays Far Cry 2 with Permadeath

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

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