Info

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.
RSS Feed
Dev Game Club
2019
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: March, 2019
Mar 27, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we extend our time with 1996's Diablo with an interview with Condor/Blizzard North co-founder and Diablo lead programmer and designer David Brevik. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:39 Interview
1:21:19 Break
1:21:51 Wrap-up

Issues covered: falling in love with games as a young person, learning how to program, finding out you could make a living making games, typing in programs from magazines, sticking with games, clip-art discs, founding Condor, Diablo pitch document, meeting people at CES, genre calcification and RPGs, working on a fighting game and finding out the SNES and Genesis games were being developed independently, switching to PC games, having the whole gang up to get a pitch, starting with Rogue and adding graphics, the short life of claymation-based graphics, signing as turn-based but Blizzard wanting real-time, getting a 3D0 contract for a football game on the M2, a side distraction into baseball and other sports, cutting turns up fractionally, being all-in on the turn-based/permadeath nature of Rogue-likes, strategy games going to real-time, squeezing more money out of the publisher, getting real-time running in a couple hours, stealing from X-COM's graphics, having a moment when the clouds part and the angels sing, democracy works, having an "I've never seen this before" moment, moving away from D&D tropes and getting darker, having internal hockey tournaments, lowering "time to killing monsters," removing complexity from potions and also verbs, pen and paper requiring character development and games less so, stealing the attributes/requirements loot properties from Angband, getting away from Tolkien and towards the Gothic from the art direction, the contribution of music to the tone, trading player-oriented drama for immediacy, constraints leading to a cornerstone of the series, simplification of the good and the evil, having the stories you get from playing rather than from dialog and designer-written story, running around in multiplayer, getting owned by The Butcher, tackling lots of big new programming stuff on Diablo including networking, having a tutor in Pat Wyatt, inventing Battle.Net, coming in with the multiplayer very late, peer-to-peer model and notifying others, non-deterministic model and rampant cheating, erring on the side of being generous, uniting people on the Internet, the huge impact of Diablo's designs on gaming as a whole, David's latest project, going from CEO to a one-man-show, the huge impact David's had on the industry, transformative games.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Iguana Entertainment, Condor/Blizzard North, Flagship Studios, Hellgate: London, Gazillion Entertainment, Marvel Heroes, Graybeard Games, It Lurks Below, Pong, Apple ][+, Richard Garriott, Ultima, Inside (magazine), Intel, FM Wave, Tramiel family, Atari/Atari Lynx, Gordo 106, Sunsoft, Acclaim, 3D0, Justice League Task Force, SNES, Sega Genesis, Silicon & Synapse, Warcraft, Davidson & Associates, Math Blaster, Reading Blaster, Allen Adham, Mike Morhaime, Pat Wyatt, Chris Metzen, Rogue, Nethack, Moria/UMoria/Angband, Primal Rage, Dune 2000, Baldur's Gate, X-COM, Starfighter, Mortimer and the Riddle of the Medallion, J. R. R. Tolkien, Dungeons & Dragons, NHL '94, DOOM (1993), Erich and Max Schaefer, Matt Uelmen, Dragon magazine, Amazon, Total Entertainment Network, Daron Stinnett, Dark Forces, Loderunner, Terraria, Starbound, Zork, Don Tomassello (now that's random), Planescape: Torment, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Bill Roper.

Next time:
An additional bonus episode with Diablo III!

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

Mar 20, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we finish our main discussion of Blizzard Entertainment's 1996 classic Diablo. We cover level design in a procedural world, how the tone of the game darkens further in this final segment 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:
Killed Diablo!

Issues covered: quoting oft-repeated lines, last two levels as a more authored experience, strategy for the final levels and killing Diablo, the final cutscene and tying to Diablo II, exposition delivery, over-the-top font, going after Lazarus, missing quest pieces without Leoric, missing exposition when you kill a character out of order, random teleportation stuff, "co-opetition," missing major quests with the random quest selection, lack of in-game messaging about random quest generation, possible complaints if seen as a single-player game, getting the itch to play again because of multi-player, level design and macro tiles, fitting a set up tiles together, seeing the algorithm, having more authoring capability from bigger pieces, purely algorithmic generation, following a table-driven approach, feeling like a real place and good environment choices, not getting drops that fit your character, innovation in loot drops to encourage other styles of play, getting an unique item, procedural everywhere, shifting to real-time, the influence of this loot system, giving an identity to your loot, the cool lighting model, constraints breed creativity, simplicity of the game, multiplayer as a key element of the game, trading in multiplayer, our upcoming bonus episodes.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Star Wars, Jonah Lobe, Bethesda Game Studios, Mario (series, obliquely), Kingdom Hearts (series), Borderlands (series), Planescape: Torment, Gold Box (series), Eye of the Beholder, Might and Magic, Ultima, Spelunky, Castle Ravenloft, Betrayal at the House on the Hill, Rogue, Nethack, Dungeons & Dragons, World of Warcraft, Warcraft, Everquest, MUD, Carl Sagan, David Brevik, Path of Exile, Blizzard North, Tanarive Due, The Good House, Stephen King.

Next time:
An interview! And your feedback!

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

Mar 13, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue discussing Blizzard Entertainment's 1996 classic Diablo. We talk a bit about macro pacing issues and how other systems tie into that, changes in enemies as you go deeper, and some tight spot anecdotes. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the Caves

Issues covered: going after the Lord of Terror with the Horadrim, cutscenes tying together two games (end of one to beginning of next), Brett gives a Kingdom Hearts update, the side games of KH, getting Mickey and Donald and Goofy as you play, limited inventory slots, emotional peaks and valleys in the dungeons, tranquility of the town and resetting your emotional baseline, the loop of magical drops and identify, reducing anxiety, music reinforcing the emotional state of the area, limited resources and resource sinks, how inventory stacks and filling it with gold or potions or what-have-you, encumbrance systems and negative reinforcement, balancing the loot loop with resource sinks, monster reskinning and reuse, converting sculpture into 3D models, using 3D models to make 2D images, having a different walk cycle in town, your weapon palette changing when your armor does, transmogrification and aesthetics in WoW, mixing and matching enemy stats, enemy types and managing mana use, recharging staves, immunity and bosses, how to generate a monster, getting cornered and having to manage your potions closely, continuing to play when UI tabs are up, multiplayer requirement, the best implementation winning history, moving to controller use on the PC, playing widely, inspiring designers from games off the beaten path, drawing inspirations from unexpected places, playing our failures, Diablo on Good Old Games, pacing vs action in town visits, approachability and the need for breaks, Diablo II's ongoing community, being a dad with Pokémon, separating character from save, profile character vs save character, next time.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Kingdom Hearts: Re: Chain of Memories (et al), Dominion, Magic: the Gathering, Metal Gear Solid (series), Game Boy Advance, Resident Evil, Jill Murray, Kirk Hamilton/Strong Songs, Dungeons & Dragons, Skyrim, Fallout, DOOM, Dark Forces, World of Warcraft, Dark Souls, Dan Smith, an opinion haver, TurboGrafx/PC-Engine, Dungeon Explorer, N64, Operation Winback, Ultima 8, LoZ: Ocarina of Time, Gauntlet, Gears of War, Trespasser, Clint Hocking, Far Cry 2, Richard Lemarchand, Uncharted 2, Dear Esther, LucasArts, Henry David Thoreau, Hearthstone, Andrew Henninger, Jamie Zucek, Pokémon, Warren Linam-Church, Plato.

Next time:
Finish the game!

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

Mar 6, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue discussing Blizzard Entertainment's 1996 classic Diablo. We look at tone, discuss art direction, dive a bit into procedural loot and how it has reverberated through games since, with other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the Catacombs

Issues covered: dark and brooding tone, gothic melodrama, using the palette to your advantage, having to address troubles with art direction to make the game play readable, choosing an unusual palette for the time, diving into the lore in the manual, character design through-lines in Blizzard properties, stuffing the retail box with stuff (including lore), having fewer quests and sticking to the essential quest of killing Diablo, the issue with lack of urgency in open world main quests, "pixel hunt," procedural loot and generation of items, the winner gets the credit ("Diablo loot"), procedural loot invading anything with even light RPG elements, the store, obvious future refinements to the loot drops, chasing the loot, entwining loot and difficulty, buying from the store to refresh it, the audio cues of drops, classification of loot value with colors, adopting colors for relative difficulty as well, the Butcher's Cleaver, having the experience of a gold drop, re-speccing your character around the drop you get, sorcerer changing spell types for the enemies you find, spatial management as the warrior, sub-speccing yourself, associating items with attributes rather than classes, the town music, game musicians learning the town theme, knowing you're safe from the music, Tim's golem spell and who's having the fun, the better implementation winning, clearing an area in Diablo and not being able to in 3, clearing to white in Republic Commando, having the initial experience in SWRC to move data to the hard drive, determining how long the initial scenes in SWRC are, remapping controls and how you do it and why you might not.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, Diablo III, DOOM, Duke Nukem 3D, Aaron Evers, World of Warcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Disney, Starcraft, Overwatch, Starfighter, LucasArts, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Tomb Raider, Destiny, Borderlands, Freebird, Stairway to Heaven, Halo, Star Wars, Indiana Jones (a series of only three films I will *fight you* on this), Resident Evil, Red Sox, Lee Davey, Ultima 8/Ultima (series), Gears of War, Kill.Switch, Gauntlet, Raymond, Ben Zaugg, Republic Commando, Matt Alan Estock, Adam Piper, Jeremie Talbot.

Next time:
Through the Caves

Link:
Dave Brevik on moving from turn-based to real-time

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

1