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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: February, 2019
Feb 27, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new game: Blizzard Entertainment's 1996 classic, Diablo. We situate the game in time and in the RPG landscape of the 90s before diving into the first quarter of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Levels 1-4

Issues covered: Brett's Ph.D. falls to Diablo, playing in the various pits of LucasArts, games slipping across the industry due to Diablo multiplayer, RPGs of the 1990s, apparent look of Diablo as an isometric turn-based game, tabletop lineage and Western RPGs, limitations on casting, coming from arcade design, the origin of rogue-likes, loot drops, the death of RPGs and the rise of first-person shooter, overturning genre conventions, moving a strategy game reinvention to the RPG, having multiplayer, underpinnings of so many loot systems, screenshot test, limiting down to one character, balancing AI design to allow the player to react, mechanics/dynamics/aesthetics framework, lack of health bars, being pulled in and freneticism and panic, position maintenance and target prioritization, doing everything with one input, lack of numbers, streamlining health/stats, quest selection, saving frequently/infrequently, memorable terrifying boss, simple quest system, multiplayer games, getting a friend to help you retrieve your corpse, lack of game history in the curriculum, DGC timeline, lack of cursing, tenets and pillars of studios as well as for the games, incorporating players into games, fighting each other, Japanese interviews, the show music and production, leveling up spells.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, Doom, Quake, LucasArts, Duke Nukem 3D, Pokemon Red/Blue, Super Mario 64, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Nintendo 64, Game Boy, PlayStation, Civilization II, Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Mario Kart 64, Crash Bandicoot, Meridian 59, Andrew Kirmse, 3DO, Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Cross, Chrono Trigger, Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment, Betrayal at Krondor, Sierra Games, Ultima VI, Ultima VII, System Shock 2, Fallout, Elder Scrolls: Arena, Might and Magic VI, Wizardry (series), Eye of the Beholder, Ultima Underworld, Gold Box (series), Halo, Dungeons and Dragons, Gary Gygax, Jack Vance, Chainmail, Gauntlet, Nethack, Moria, Rogue, Dave Brevik, Condor Games, PC Gamer, Computer Gaming World, Rise of the Triad, Dune, Command and Conquer, BioWare, World of Warcraft, Fallout 4, Destiny, Dark Forces, Jogsidf, Deus Ex, King's Quest/Space Quest, Johnny Grattan, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill 2, Julian Gollop, X-COM, TIE Fighter, Sakaguchi Hironobu, Ueda Fumito, Kojima Hideo, Suda Goichi, SWERY65, Deadly Premonition, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
The Catacombs

Links:

PC Gamer Diablo Preview

Original Diablo Pitch Document

Dave Brevik Classic Game Postmortem

IGN Interview with Dave Brevik

Arcade Attack Podcast Interview with Dave Brevik

Diablo 2 Office Tour

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

Feb 20, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our discussion of Kingdom Hearts. We talk about the end of the game, a few topics we'd never got around to, and of course, 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:
0:47    KH Discussion
56:50  Break
57:20  Takeaways and Feedback

Issues covered: the separation between the sky and the land, Brett playing again and again and again, leaning on Tinkerbell with default equipment, boss escalation at the end of the game, Tim's power problems, Ansem's final form, where we ended leveling up, wanting more item slots, when a game grabs you, Disney moments that pull on the nostalgia, nailing the animation and modeling archetypes of so many varying shapes/sizes/gaits, high degree of developer difficulty, contextual attacks, triggering attacks from menus, differences with the PS3/PS4 version, carryovers from another style of game, transitional games, making sense of the story, Ansem and his reports, relying on the journal or not, losing track of characters, the Gummi Ship construction, finding the Gummi Ship missions, minimal vs maximal design, relying on the Internet or a strategy guide for secret bosses and late-game content, having an ending that sets up a next game, smashing up two franchises, being the last moment in dev history that you could have smashed these together, trying to introduce people to JRPGs rather than billing it as Final Fantasy, mashing up mechanics and systems, bringing people in with action-oriented mechanics, being okay to be earnest, "cool" culture vs "hot" culture, main characters as children, Sora as child vs Ansem as adult, Sora as the stand-in for the child in all of us, canceling Squirtle's evolution to grind him forever, Brett obsessing over a thing, what we're playing next.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: The Matrix, Alice in Wonderland, Final Fantasy IX, World of Warcraft, Witcher 3, Prey, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Metal Gear Solid, Fantasia, MediEvil, Dark Souls, Heart of Darkness, Final Fantasy VIII, Kung Fu, Square Soft, DC, Marvel, Star Wars, Disney Infinity, Elite Beat Agents, NK Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Brian Lam, Pokemon Blue, Game Boy Pocket, Snazzy Snorlax, God of War (2018), Pokemon Let's Go, Diablo, Blizzard, Ni No Kuni.

Links:
Diablo on the Wayback Machine

Next time:
Diablo! The first four levels/up to the Butcher.

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

Feb 6, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our discussion of Kingdom Hearts. We talk about some memorable moments, some about character design, a bit about AI... a whole hodge-podge. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to the Hollow Bastion

Issues covered: Brett playing simultaneously on PS4, televisions, being stuck on the boss, grinding and action combat, navigating in 3D, slow leveling, assigning items to party members and changing their strategies, leaning into tech points and the way the camera and enemy AI fights that, parrying the boss, games that require grinding versus those that don't, leveling via critical path in Pokémon, the Trinity symbols, character design in Atlantica, new Heartless visual and enemy design in different worlds, camera controls in the PS4 version, combination of 3D camera design and level design, difficulty navigating with few landmarks, designing one's house, logical flow colliding with geometric flow, camera relativity and movement, designing your areas and cinematography around what your camera does well, level length with Halloweentown, visual beats from the films, wishing you were the movie character, letting a moment be a moment, the Hundred Acre Wood, minigames in the Hundred Acre Wood, summons, item synthesis, pro-tips for combat and leveling, lock-on and enemy AI design, strategies for using space in combat, camera design for combat, running different programs, Game Dev Club,

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Peter Pan, Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid, The Wrath of Khan, Final Fantasy IX, Pokémon Red/Blue, Anachronox, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Square Soft, Soul Reaver, Doom, Quake, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Resident Evil 4, Winnie the Pooh, Bambi, The Lion King, Aladdin, Dumbo, Dagur Danielsson, Arkham (series), Ben Zaugg, PlayStation, XBOX, ENIAC, EarthBound.

Next time:
Finish the game!

Link:
Brett talks about the end of EarthBound

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

 

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