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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, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on 1999's Sega cult classic Shenmue. We talk about waiting for time to pass, delve into similarities with other auteurist life simulation games, and get caught by guards ten times apiece. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up until we're getting a job

Issues covered: getting on the bus, missing the bus, watching the wheels on the bus go round and round, having that awkward moment trying to figure out how to get on the bus, imagining the design meeting, making concessions to the player with fast travel, a removed economic mechanic in Skyrim, always having to follow the schedules, looking at things on shelves in markets, the many mechanics around the focus, finding and having to put down the elixir of life, selling the father's back story, making things make sense in the fiction, picking up and buying stuff in the store, feeding the kitten, the cat disappears and can be found, Brett's issue with Nozomi, running up against the boundaries of the sim and caring, having a sense of things, it becoming Christmastime and the town, meeting Santa, why can't I thank Nozomi, mysticism maybe slipping in, bringing in wire movement from kung fu cinema, having a cool moment in the dojo, pocketing a family heirloom, an infinite inventory, using the flashlight again, how to get the scene with the father's memory over breakfast, missing things, systems vs spaghetti scripts, what David Cage owes to Yu Suzuki, building scenes vs world building, in theater: why is this the day or period of this character's life, choosing the most important day in Hamlet's life, padding a game and not fully motivating it, providing contrast, the map of the old warehouse district updating, filling in the homeless man's map, adding in the guard patrol paths, the forklift meme, trying to get into a warehouse and thinking you need a forklift, Quick Time(r) Events, a brief digression on laserdisc games, having a soccer ball kicked at you, lots of mini-moments, mapping QTEs to natural motions, using direction vs button presses, having the right player logic.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Seaman, Phantasy Star Online, Sega Pro Bass Fishing, World of Warcraft, Yu Suzuki, Skyrim, Big Trouble in Little China, Rockstar, David Cage, Heavy Rain, Omikron: The Nomad Soul, Anachronox, Fahrenheit/The Indigo Prophecy, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, LA Noire, Chekhov, Dragon's Lair, Space Ace, Cliffhanger, Badlands, Don Bluth, Game Boy Advance, God of War (2005), Tomb Raider (2013), Metal Gear Solid 4, God of War (2018), Persona 5.

Next time:
End of year bonus!

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

Dec 11, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we start a new series on 1999's Sega cult classic Shenmue. We've visited 1999 before, so we briefly set it in context before moving on to the salient question: What even is this game? We talk about the way the story begins, the environment interactivity, and the "open world" and time, among other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up until we're looking for Warehouse 8

Issues covered: what this game was relative to 1999, the most expensive title of its day, lack of commercial success, a strange turn for Yu Suzuki, the importance of SEGA in the industry at the time, how much of Ryo's story has been told, Dreamcast's weird experiments, the change of the Japanese market, not even really knowing what this game was, starting from scratch even from a genre perspective, "full reactive eyes entertainment" or FREE, getting into the cold open, motivating the player, giving you an in to the mystery and the start of play, player and character motivations tightly linked, slowly introducing you to the world, removing some of the mechanics of mourning, the Band-Aid of power, "pointless interaction," little cutscenes with his father, methodical slow initial pacing, being worried about a full inventory, quickly removing a picture from the wall, a sort of tech fetishization, attention to detail, feeling like a simulation, what kind of simulation this is, very elaborate per-character scripting, the sorts of ways we simulate these days, the cost of developing a game like this, other highly scheduled games of the time, day-night schedules, always having the clock on the HUD, lack of time manipulation, learning to know your location, learning the schedules of characters, seeing a character leave or arrive at his apartment, being able to theorize about what characters it made sense to talk to, calling back to text adventures, process of elimination vs logic-ing out, systemic conversation options, automating something similar to Ultima keywords, spaces in the notebook, having cultural aspects in the story, integrating into a foreign culture, likely personal goals for the game, an allegory for certain clashes, the fortune-teller, upsetting the DAoC economy, staying away from the WoW economy, making crafting more or less optional, encouraging interaction between players or not, insider training in WoW, real world money, getting around in WoW, playing modless, finding a place again a decade later, having those moments you can't have any other way, being aware of your market and building budget-appropriate.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Charlie Chaplin, System Shock 2, Planescape: Torment, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, EverQuest, Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear, Counterstrike, Alien vs Predator, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Team Fortress Classic, Half-Life, Quake, Final Fantasy VIII, Medal of Honor, The Longest Journey, Sierra, Unreal Tournament, Homeworld, Silent Hill, Super Smash Bros, Mario Party 2, Dreamcast, Crazy Taxi, The Offspring, Soulcalibur, Yu Suzuki, Hang-On, Space Harrier, Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter, Out Run, Afterburner, SEGA, Blue Dragon, Phantasy Star Online I & II, Sonic Adventure, Blue Stinger, Seaman, Samba de Amigo, Rez, Ikaruga, PlayStation 2, Red Dead Redemption 2, Trespasser, Gone Home, The Sims, Majora's Mask, Groundhog Day, Ocarina of Time, GTA III, Assassin's Creed (series), Bethesda Game Studios, Skyrim, Deadline, Witness, LucasArts, Ultima (series), Yakuza (series), Godzilla, jesusfreak144000, Eric Fox, Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft, EVE Online, Makendi/Aaron, Twitch, Curse, Ashton Herrmann, Morrowind, Dark Souls, Game Maker's Toolkit, Dead Space (series), Frank Gibeau, Mark Brown.

Next time:
Up until the end of the next open world section

Links:
Could not find the gold farmer article, sorry!

 

Dec 4, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we return to Blizzard's 2004 classic MMORPG World of Warcraft. We talk a bit about the grind, a notable MMO moment, some differences with world layout and characterization over time and character, as well as other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to level 20

Issues covered: hitting the Classic grind, fetch quests, zone refinements in modern, finding the right quests for your level, not leading you by the nose (vs not knowing the best way to go), having a sense of mystery, going from Coldridge to Dun Morogh, having curiosity about the world, being conditioned to a reward schedule of a different type, buying a weapon due to slow positive reinforcement, limits of combat mechanics, feeling like you had to grind out levels, lacking an equivalent to the Barrens, the variety of locations in Stormwind, running into a player who helped us find and finish a quest, having the network of other players to guide you to content, building a world, broadness but not depth in character, traveling long distances, playing co-op even with strangers, complementary character builds, tank/dps/healing triumvirate, flying over a very dangerous area and the exhilaration of what you'll see some day, like visiting a whole new place, progressing from very small to small to absolutely enormous, transitions from place to place, limitations of Westfall as an area, transition from Coldridge up into Ironforge, designing around when you transition zones, stretching quests a little too thin around Thelsamar, order of continent design, limitations of the Alliance, curiosity about retention, Tim's theory about humans as most retained race, approachability of the familiar, wanting different experiences the more games you've played, worrying about money, controlling what's purchasable, the importance of money, getting abilities for free, having to make interesting or hard decisions about money, running out of money, cutting off experimentation because things are expensive, evolving into multiple currency types, auto-sorting things into bags, the nightmare of inventory management, grognard capture and approachability, setting graphics to the WoW look, getting into a dungeon.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dark Age of Camelot, Dr. Seuss, Disneyland, Gone Home, Firewatch, Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Bethesda Game Studios, Everquest, Brad Furminger, Eternal Darkness, Nintendo, Shenmue, Dreamcast, Austin Walker, Waypoint Radio, Makendi.

Next time:
A new game: Shenmue (check Twitter for how far)
(And to 30 for a future WoW episode)

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

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