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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: Category: Games
Apr 1, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series playing Chrono Trigger. We talk about new modes of exploring the game, the tone of the translation between the two of us, some of the boss battles and go over the story bits for the week. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to "What Lies Beyond?"

Podcast breakdown:
0:53 Chrono Trigger
1:14:42 Break
1:15:17 Feedback

Issues covered: bowling balls and sashimi, slipping in jokey references, tone in translation, finding places for the game to be heavier, being caught off guard by differences in tone, the consequences of your actions, getting more information on Lavos and getting a sense of cosmic horror, being a little lost on the timeline, focusing on the linear story vs the ripple effect, other games dabbling with time travel, Tim moves to Wait mode, Wait mode and feeling like a better fit, using Marle's Haste ability and having her as a utility player, having many options for party make-up, what other JRPGs do with character roles and XP, the impact of the past, Tim moves to Wait mode, Wait being better balanced for menus and for exploring abilities, leaning on Marle's Haste ability, allowing the player to explore party makeup, XP side-leveling, party members as utility players, mixing in the characters you want to play with, Brett's long game, the spooky tone of the Magus's Castle, all the NPCs being faceless, controlling pacing, chasing Ozzie from room to room through traps, fighting a part of the environment, fighting the Magus and shifting elemental attacks, having a role for the whole party, Tim having the benefit of auto-combat, not being clear on why you go back in time, Lavos being summoned and learning more about his history in the world, finding and riding pterodactyls, exploring the world and finding breadcrumbs for later, Brett gets over-geared, Tim asks Brett about jerky things, stepping on buttons in the reptite castle, starting in on dual techs, fighting Nizbel again and being allowed to pass but not really, the arrival of the red star, portaling to our last time period, taking the bifrost, getting a new trope, a quick review of the royal house of the Enlightened ones, being sent away by Schala and powering the amulet Marle wears, coming back to the scientist who is building the ship, coming full circle with time, recordings from the Guru of Life, going through the Beast's lair to ascend Mt Woe, strategies for defeating Giga Gaia, the dragon counting down, ATB in various Square JRPGs, later exploration coming, a full Final Fantasy ATB survey, Tim getting a JRPG itch, the way tech conveys character, how you learn techs and prerequisites, the trade-off of a multi-character technique, forgetting where the magic chests are.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Final Fantasy (series), Avengers: Age of Ultron, Memento, Looper, Primer, Time Lapse, Rear Window, SNES, Ultima (series), Earthbound, Eternal Darkness, Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages, Ocarina of Time, Shadow of Destiny/Shadow of Memories, Shenmue, Ni No Kuni, Pokemon, Errol Flynn, Ron Gilbert, Day of the Tentacle, Thor, Walker Farrell, Chrono Cross, Eric Anderson, Kingdom Hearts, Stardew Valley, Reed Knight, World of Warcraft, James Roberts, Wasteland 2, Torment: Tides of Numenara, Obsidian, inXile, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Finish this game!

Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Mar 25, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series playing Chrono Trigger. We talk exploration vs following the story threads, delve deeper into the combat, chat about the game's difficulty and accessibility, along with story recaps and other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to the Magus's Castle

Podcast breakdown:
0:52 Chrono Trigger
1:30:48 Break
1:31:22 Feedback

Issues covered: why Tim hates JRPGs, why Tim took a little longer this time, irascible exploratory Tim, getting to the top of the mountain and finding nothing, feeling discouraged from leaving the main path, what the rewards of the game are, having the prototype of what additional interactions would look like, exploring party make-up, when Ayla met Bobo, the blandness of Crono, being able to put yourself in the character, characters who start at the beginning of their story vs somewhere in the middle, party members standing out more, where you decide to spend your development time, swapping out party members and when you can, the pressure relief valve for difficulty, what is the real set of defaults for this game, having a more dynamic combat with Active Time Battle, developing your menu-diving skill, being forced into repetition and limiting ability exploration, wait mode as being more accessible, having higher highs in active mode, feeling like active mode is an experiment, having menu difficulties with Kingdom Hearts, the burden of memorizing key sequences, the timer as animation tell, having too many characters to manage to memorize things, escaping combat, using run as a means of skipping combat, dealing with status effects (Heal/Panacea), cutting out the searching for specific status healers, using specific attacks for elemental weaknesses, generally not needing to worry about weaknesses, using lightning to remove defense, fighting Spekkio, needing to restore the timeline, returning to a changed Medina, not knowing what we changed in the past, having weird interactions with monsters, localizing using stuff based on your real life, turning assumptions on their head, translation barriers, looking for Masamune, starting to subvert tropes, a kid who's no hero, a good boss battle, going to Melchior with both halves of the sword, meeting Ayla and having a big party, making Crono dance, echoes through time, losing the dreamstone via Kino, fighting Azala and the Megasaur, learning the history of Cyrus and... Glenn?, echoes of Tolkien, making a significant commitment to characters, having calls to action, integrating Glenn into the main quest, getting to equip the badge to Glenn, an update on Tim's hike, the responsible thing, stay safe and healthy, cultural references, beating up robots, variations in the courtroom and jail scenes, localization and emotional intent, the business case for localization, the high costs of localization, making choices about what content to keep in Yakuza and a design which accommodates players ignoring it, friction between an original market and a new market, growing to appreciate the underlying value of the business end, looking to journalism to fill in the gaps.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: irreverentQ, Chrono Cross, The Outer Worlds, Fallout (series), Prey, Earthbound, Final Fantasy (series), Kingdom Hearts, Batman: Arkham (series), Pokemon (series), Ray Bradbury (obliquely), Narnia, The Clan of the Cave Bear, Ultima Underworld, Minecraft, The Two Towers/Return of the King, Mass Effect (series), Sam Thomas, Short Circuit 2, Westworld, The Terminator, James Roberts, Patrick Holleman, Gothic Chocobo, Persona 5, Andrew Dice Clay, Yakuza (series), Kotaku, Robert Downey Jr, Iron Man, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Wasteland 2, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Links:
Short Circuit 2

Hitchhiking Robot Beheaded

Robot falls into fountain

Reverse Design: Chrono Trigger

Yakuza: Judgement replacing actor

Next time:
Up to "What Lies Beyond?"

Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, @brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Mar 18, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin our series playing Chrono Trigger, the beloved 1995 SNES classic. We cover a lot of ground with this one, including the story, some of the combat, the way the game pays attention to you... all sorts of topics for a corker of a game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to The End of Time!

Podcast breakdown:
0:51 Chrono Trigger
1:31:07 Break
1:31:41 Feedback

Issues covered: COVID-19, SpaceWorld and E3, the year 1995 in games, the creative team, character design in hand-drawn art and intro, the Dream Team, the top-down look of a 16-bit era game, companions following around, combining the background and the foreground in the PlayStation era, the quality of the art direction, running right into combat vs modal play, lack of random battles, choice of battle mode, Active Time Battles, differences between active and wait styles, the overworld and entering spaces, influence of other games, the basic menu presentation, the "Sakaguchi style" and its culmination, being able to approach things fresh, getting on with it, the bouncy playfulness of childhood, Chosen One tropes, Mom waking you up trope, relatability, the princess incognito trope, mixing up a trope, feeling more surprises in FFIX, short-term goals vs long-term/Chosen One goals, signposting the Day of Lavos, whether or not we're able to choose to come back, having another JRPG pay homage, seeing the change in various timelines, enjoying our time with the Frog, the evil Chancellor, the Cathedral and Yakra's minions, having a moment of talking with the monsters, the juxtaposition of drama/horror and comedy, space for Japanese vs letters, returning to the present with Nadia and having a trial, referring back to things you did at the fair, the designer noticing you, the game is safe, the theme of our choices mattering for our future, wanting to be the paladin, the courtroom as setting, escaping the dungeons, a little scene in the warden's office and telegraphing importance to the player, possibly a stealth mechanic, the Dragon Tank on the bridge, affine transformations in the background, using atmospherics for setting tone, the computer telling the tale of Lavos, recruiting Robo, having to pass through Lab 32, the flamboyant Johnny, racing Johnny in Mode 7 to the end of the Lab, Johnny the Biketaur, Robo getting beat up by the other robots, the valiant robot who sacrifices himself for you, Brett gives Tim a hard time for ST: Nemesis, humanizing the non-human characters, gunbows and floral horrors, Tim's big hike, renaming in the new translation, the difficulties of translation, localization as its own art form, adding difficulty with IPs, machine translation, recognizing the great translators, testing your focus as much as your execution, repetitive learning, playground of moves, looping in failure to the style of play, board games and failure, higher highs, rubbing death in your face, worsening the traditional model, obfuscatory, dealing with people who wave their brains around, being open to looking foolish, "Caveman Tim" and being self-deprecatory to diminish status differences, asking simple questions repetitively, active listening, reflection as a means to learning in the moment, being in the moment, being okay with vulnerability.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Ted Woolsey, Tom Slattery, SNES, Dark Forces, TIE Fighter, LucasArts, Full Throttle, The Dig, Phantasmagoria, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, Warcraft, Command & Conquer, N64, Dracula X (Castlevania: Rondo of Blood), Twisted Metal, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Super Bomberman 3, Kirby's Dreamland, Earthbound, Dragon Quest (series), Trials of Mana, Tales of Phantasia, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Final Fantasy (series), Yuji Horii, Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball, Shonen Jump, Masato Kato, Xenogears, PlayStation, Shiren the Wanderer, Ninja Gaiden, Yasunori Mitsuda, Nobuo Uematsu, SquareSoft, Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, Pokemon, Kingdom Hearts, GameBoy, Ni No Kuni, Ultima (series), Breath of the Wild, Skyrim, The Witcher (series), John Romero, Fallout, Wasteland, Enix, Activision/Blizzard, Dragon Warrior, Dungeons & Dragons, Jason Schreier, Chrono Cross, BioWare, Ocarina of Time, Aladdin, Diablo, Dragon Age, Baldur's Gate, Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon Ho, Day of the Tentacle, Tim Schafer, Dave Grossman, Mass Effect, Super Metroid, Super Castlevania IV, Wall-E, Shenmue, Mario Kart, The Mandalorian, Planetfall, Isaac Asimov, Star Trek: Nemesis, The Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed, James Roberts, Stretch Armstrong, Boss Fight Books, Michael P. Williams, Republic Commando, Star Wars, Cyrano de Bergerac, Roxane, Douglas Hofstadter, Un Ton Beau de Marot, Love in the Time of Cholera, Edith Grossman, Margaret Jull Costa, Odyssey, Emily Wilson, Warren Linam-Church, Jeff Morris, Civilization, Mario 64, Dark Souls, Demon's Souls, Super Meat Boy, Beyond Earth, DOOM, Batman: Arkham Knight, Soren Johnson, Maas Neotek Proto, The Turbo Encabulator, Obduction, MYST, Metroid Prime II: Echoes, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.

Next time:
Up to The Magus's Castle

Errata:
Brett said RPGs when clearly he meant RTSes. We regret the error. (It's Tim's fault.)

Links:
John Romero on Chrono Trigger

Tim's Charity Webpage

Pacific Crest Trail Association

Big City Mountaineers

The Turbo Encabulator 

Anime Intro Movie

Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, @brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Mar 11, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we finish our Civilization III discussion with an interview with Jeff Morris, producer on Civilization III and long-time producer in the industry. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:47 Interview
1:09:53 Break
1:10:25 Feedback

Issues covered: not being suited to programming, being part of the problem, the huge shadow of Origin growing up, getting a job through the hospitality suite, the game culture in Austin, the game dev scene of a city, rivalry between studios, sinking the MicroProse battleship, QAing a flight simulator, the difference between single-vehicle and survey sims, falling in love with modern air combat, Baltimore as actual flight sim town, loosening up or not, learning about the American Civil War, embedding in QA from remote, the number one job in QA, wearing multiple hats, only being able to get better as a producer working with a team, the team not needing design input, keeping a firewall between production and design, different kinships between QA and design or production, the difference between done and good, learning the tools of production, looking at Civilization as a war game, Baltimore and Avalon Hill, reading the effin' manual, boardgame legacy, localization complexity, what's in the manual vs not, rewarding a style of play, loving the early and middle game, where the one more turn comes up from mixed levels of goals, Sid's Dinosaurs game transforms, "the manual for Civilization is in your brain," shipping, the benefits of programmer + designer as one person, fast iteration, being able to predict when assets would be done, feeding scheduling data back in, keeping track of people and their implementation rate, difficulty of scaling, being rewarded for neglecting certain programmers, paying the production tax and getting something for it, getting Civ II experts involved, doing everything possible in a game being impossible, compliance testing machines, having bug reports from dev heroes, being driven by playtest, playtesting with post-its, shipping your 518th implementation, "wouldn't it be cool if," spending time in the right places, streamlining the advisors, the elasticity of production titles, in the trenches production, making mistakes into small bumps in the road, insomnia Civ play, the influence of where you've been on what you do, playing the game every day, production notes, reasons for designers to be programmers, the mix of people on a project, avoiding obfuscation, trusting your experts, what Tim will do on the trail, the Superman hate minute, we review Olrox, Tim's JRPG education.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Origin Systems, Janes (military sims), Ultima Collection, Firaxis, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Epic Games, Unreal Tournament (series), Gears of War, Red Five, Planet Moon, Crystal Dynamics, LucasArts, Kabam!, NCSoft, Free Range Games, Ultima Underworld, Apple ][, Warren Spector, Starr Long, Richard Garriott, Steve Jackson Games, MicroProse, Longbow, US Navy Fighters, Advanced Tactical Fighters, Top Gun, Marine Fighters, NATO Fighters, A-10 Warthog, F-15, Larry Holland, Battlehawks 1942, SWotL, Autoduel, Moebius, Andy Hollis, EA, Sid Meier's Gettsyburg, Jeff Briggs, Soren Johnson, Jason Coleman, JACKAL, Avalon Hill, Empire, Pool of Radiance, SSI games, Beyond Earth, Sid Meier's SimGolf, Maxis, Pat Dawson, Blizzard, Casey O'Toole, Microsoft Project, Tim Train, Brian Reynolds, Alan Emrich, Computer Gaming World, Bruce Shelley, Absolute Quality Incorporated, Archon, Jon Freeman, Bethesda Game Studios, Aaron Loeb, Star Wars Uprising, Ed Catmull, Pixar, Lulu LaMer, Daron Stinnett, Spotify, Stitcher, Derek Achoy, Josh Harding, Oliver Uvman, Designer Notes, Idle Thumbs, Scratch, GameMaker, Doom (1993), Minecraft, Portal, Noita, Richard Feynman, John Lethbridge, Ben Zaugg, Superman, The2ndQuest, Batman: Arkham Knight, Chrono Trigger, John Romero, SIGIL, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Final Fantasy IX, SNES, Dragon Warrior, Dragon Quest, Eye of the Beholder, PlayStation, Kingdom Hearts, Spider-man.

Next time:
The beginning of Chrono Trigger!

Links:
Scratch programming language

Twitch: brettdouville, Instagram:timlongojr, Twitter: @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Mar 4, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our Civilization III discussion with an interview with Soren Johnson, Civilization III designer and programmer and head of Mohawk Games. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:49 Interview
1:39:20 Break
1:39:54 Feedback

Issues covered: surprises on the 200th episode, getting into games, mispronouncing a California city, computer science as a term, figuring out where to work, being into history, getting away from games in college, the troubled history of Civ III, preferring not to do sequels, bad choices at MicroProse, not thinking about walking away from IP, a rights battle, getting Sid Meier to make a Civ game, Brian Reynolds turning away from Civ games, brain drain, a golden opportunity, "the adults had disappeared," evolving into designer-programmer, the beginning of a franchise, switching away from adding proper nouns to the game, incorporating culture as a fountain to establish borders, design ideas that feel like they should have always been there, adding strategic and luxury resources, pushing trade and tension through resources, the advantages of particular historic civilizations and that not being a good fit for Civ, game play coming from map generation, lacking a single AI technique, starting the AI by starting at the beginning of the game, keeping hard-coded values out of the AI, making things data-driven, mod-ability, adapting the AI to changes and iteration in development, whether an AI is "cheating," being careful with how the AI interacts with the player, the intricacy of a naval invasion, how to choose a good city for your invasion and how players subvert that, making small decisions plausible, having no firewall between AI and game data, scaling for difficulty by bonuses and penalties, beating the opponent vs providing behaviors as a challenge, the inherent difficulty of diplomacy, AI as NPC, the negotiating table, AI career beginning when Civ III released, optimizing the fun out of the game, you don't give up anything to trade technologies, limiting what the AI is allowed to do, Civ is a game about math, giving up floating point math, balancing the numbers through Early Access now but patches in the past, being on the frontier of live games, holding the game together via time with the audience, discovering the perfect strategy for asymmetrical games via iteration, re-examining the 4X with his next game, automating as a poor solution, removing unnecessary vestigial stuff, taking away decision-free micromanagement, being afraid of changing mainstays, revisiting your prior design ideas, working like film and being out-of-order vs starting at the beginning, GDC postponement, Irene of Athens, Tim's love for Civ stories, manga and comics, the variety in the Japanese games market, the prevalence of handheld and mobile in the Japanese market, greater variety of games in smaller budgets, the value of common language, Tim's charity pledging.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Mark Sean Garcia, EA, Knockout Kings, Firaxis, Maxis, Spore, Dragon Age Legends, Mohawk Games, Offworld Trading Company, Adam Saltsman, Designer Notes, Idle Thumbs, Commodore 64, Amiga, Black Isle Entertainment, Avalon Hill, Sid Meier, MicroProse, Brian Reynolds, Spectrum Holobyte, Sid Meier's Gettysburg, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Activision, Infogrammes, Hasbro Interactive, Sid Meier's Dinosaurs, Starcraft, Age of Empires: Age of Kings, Tim Train, Jason Coleman, David Inscore, Railroad Tycoon, Pirates, X-COM, Julian Gollop, Jake Solomon, Jeff Briggs, Bohnanza, Settlers of Catan, Guns Germs and Steel, Warcraft, Paradox Interactive, Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, A Few Acres of Snow, Dominion, Ten Crowns, Empire, Beyond Earth, John Romero, SIGIL, DOOM (1993). Warren Linam-Church, Oedipus, Shakespeare, Johnny Grattan, Maus, PlayStation 2, Mr. Mosquito, Xbox (original), Prey (2017), Batman: Arkham Knight.

Next time:
Another interview?!

Links:
Playing to Lose, GDC 2008

Irene of Athens

Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, @brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Feb 26, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we engage in a little bonus talk about 2014's Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth. We talk about the game's strengths and iterations over Civ III and also the things that particular work for the hosts in the game, before turning to a brief celebration of our episode 200 and some feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A few hours of Beyond Earth (9 for Brett, 15 for Tim)

Podcast breakdown:
0:57   Beyond Earth Discussion
40:31 Break
41:16 Ep 200 and Feedback

Issues covered: how much Beyond Earth we played, getting its hooks in, knowing you've lost, many types of victories, pursuing victory types, not stacking units, board game simplicity, being mocked by other leaders, having a good set-up for interest if not for victory, being condemned for violence against aliens, getting over the hump, the huge benefit of tooltip additions, integrating advisors into the UI, the web of technology rather than the linear development, more visually parsable tech web, colorblind settings in Civ III, affinity colors and positions, exploring the tech web, adding RPG elements/progression to units, expanding your city, preferring the tone and setting, putting money into an opening cinematic, Brett's Book Recommendations, 200th episode surprises, the castle flip, being into the JRPG nonsense, our good fortune in interviews, spending time with immersive sims, Brett unwraps a thing, our poster with six Easter Eggs (true video game fashion), a heartfelt thank you from a listener, our own thank you to our listeners, some gentle ribbing about our ability to count, whether designers should be programmers, not being held back by what you know to be possible, being able to communicate clearly between design and engineering, the value of communicating and terminology, Caveman Tim, finding a way to say yes as an engineer, laying out logical steps for programmers, following up on older episodes, why Shenmue contracts down to having a job, autobiography in Shenmue, the Civilopedia being what you can do and not what you should do, Civilopedia as a legacy feature, a fantasy Civ.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Jurassic Park, Dark Souls, Confucius, Boris Johnson, Shenmue, Simon Parkin, A Game of Birds and Wolves, The New Yorker, Metroid (series), Castlevania (series), Alex Neuse, SNES, PlayStation, Kingdom Hearts (series), Disney, MYST (series), Final Fantasy (series), Persona 5, Prey (2017), David Brevik, Robyn Miller, Ken Levine, Bill Roper, King's Quest, Space Quest, Mark Crowe, DOOM (1993), Diablo, Quake, System Shock II, Hitman 2, Deus Ex, Thief, Ultima Underworld, Arkane Studios, Dishonored (series), Giant BeastCast, Vinny Caravella, Aaron Evers, Mark Sean Garcia, Devil May Cry, Mario 64, Halo, Skyrim, Fallout, Gothic Chocobo, Pokemon, Game Maker's Toolkit, Johnny Grattan, John Romero, Murray Lorden, Roberta Williams, David Perry, Shiny Entertainment, Republic Commando, MDK, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Warcraft (series), Jedi Starfighter, GTA III, Bill & Ted Face the Music, Yu Suzuki, Björn Johannson, Magic: The Gathering, Warren Linam-Church, Mikael Danielsson, Master of Magic, GOG.com, MicroProse, Ultima VII, SimTech, Master of Orion, Wargaming, Star Control II.

Brett's Book Recommendations:
For Civ III: A Game of Birds and Wolves by Simon Parkin
For Shenmue: What I Carry by Jennifer Longo

Next time:
more Civ bonuses!

Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, @brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Feb 19, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our discussion of Civilization III (and of the Civilization series generally). We talk about Tim bending the game to his will and falling down the game's rabbit hole before turning to takeaways and feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the Modern Era!

Issues covered: Brett just can't play the game, making a very specific game, finding the ceiling of your audience, sticking with the series, interacting with the game at a narrative level, our rabbit holes, OCD: The Game, pursuing the space race victory, Tim leaving a perfectly good planet, techno-utopianism, the final frontier, espionage and the information fog of war, losing to the United Nations wonder, trying to get to a victory as fast as possible, skipping unnecessary tech, turning to another game in the series, setting your own goals and being drawn into a game, "all games are the same," building a society of the industrious and unhappy, choosing your Civ to suit, building a rocket in 1890, not being able to copyright gameplay, interlocking systems and numbers, balance and cost/benefit and personality, politics and responsibility, how bad American history education is, emerging stories due to interlocking systems, the strength of the AI, kudos to us, what we play and why, considering more recent AAA and indie games, being mindful of our positions in the industry, looking forward to next episode (our 200th!).

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Telltale Games, Apple ][, Ancient of Art of War, Rob Zacny, Waypoint, Three Moves Ahead, Star Trek, Skyrim, Fallout, Leonard Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, Anna Karenina, Elon Musk, SpaceX, Dominion, Jurassic Park, Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams, Nellie Bly, Sigmund Freud, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Nikolai Tesla, Beyond Earth, LOOM, Bruce Shelley, Age of Empires, Avalon Hill, MicroProse, Firaxis, Jon Shafer, Barbarians at the Gates, Soren Johnson, Offworld Trading Company, World of Warcraft, Mike Morhaime, Rob Pardo, Civ Revolution, Ani_Mitchell, Jesse, John Romero, MYST, Return of the Obra Dinn, Undertale, Fez, Zack, Breath of the Wild, God of War (2018), Pokemon Let's Go, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Final Fantasy IX, Death Stranding, 343 Industries, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Persona 5, Prey (2017), Spider-Man (2018).

Next time:
Beyond Earth Bonus! And Episode 200!

Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, @brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Feb 12, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our discussion of Civilization III. We talk about Tim triggering a World War, the slow-down in the mid-game, Brett as a war criminal, and other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to the Modern Era

Issues covered: Rome gets what it deserves, having more vs fewer Civs, running out of time/hitting a point of no return, not knowing what to ask for when you're suing for peace, wanting more feedback, being the type of game you need to figure out in a time when games wouldn't hold your hand, wanting a shallow end of the pool, having suggested scenarios, do they lean on old players, wondering if culture wins are possible against military might, experimenting to figure out the rules, getting an army and not knowing what to do with it, having military history vs not, fantasy/science fiction settings and the burden to teach, educating a player as they follow the series, Tim triggers a world war through diplomatic agreements, talking about history, trade and the economy, the weird ending screens, democracy hating war, appreciating the craft, this being a forever game, whether Brett would get a game with a different skin, bouncing off this style of play because it's not escapist, watching the AI and learning from that.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Star Trek, Fallout, Civilization: Revolution, Dominion, Magic: The Gathering, Beyond Earth, Madden (series), Daron Stinnett, Final Fantasy (series)/ Final Fantasy Tactics, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Sid Meier's Pirates, Balance of Power, Risk, Starcraft, Persona 5.

Next time:
Finish the game/additional games!

Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, @brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Feb 5, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our discussion of Civilization III (and of the Civilization series generally). We talk a bit about the middle game generally, why it doesn't catch on with Brett as much, and especially address the layers of game play and how they interact. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the Medieval period

Issues covered: converting members of the population to entertainers, lowering taxes instead, fighting overpopulation, filling out a tech tree to trigger the next age, bouncing off this game again and again, managing complexity, educating yourself with the Civilopedia, finding the decisions less interesting, lack of simulation pressure, having found a boring game and having less to worry about, fighting over every resource, having all the spice, cascading effects over resource distribution, thinking about how the AI might work, characteristics of nations and persons, thinking too hard about civilization breaks the game down a bit, the horrors of balancing, the benefits of iterating a franchise, running into the turn limit, the types of victories, a clash of simple systems, low complexity of any individual system, games of conflict and domination, turn-based combat and domination, putting faces to the civilizations, playing characters as caricature, marketing with Gandhi, personification and putting naming things, the pros and cons of having associations, competition games generally, the astonishing level of achievement here, generating little stories about your civilization, personalizing your board game, what do you bring into your game, visualizing your relationships with other civs, preferring "your" version of a game, playing games linearly but developing them out of order, interpreting the title (and possibly irony), how we teach history in America, sanitizing history, understanding causes, sitting back and evaluating rather than being in it, procedural rhetoric, mirroring it history, games in other areas that focus on different civilizational histories, getting to games.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Star Wars, Dune, Diplomacy, Risk, Fallout, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Phil Simms, The Osbornes, Dominion, Balance of Power, Chris Crawford, Mario Kart, Pandemic Legacy, Risk Legacy, X-COM, Rob Daviau, Matt Leacock, PRACTICE, Jeffool, Final Fantasy (series), Sam Thomas, Europa Universalis, Ester Olsen, MicroProse, The Aristocrats, Paradox Interactive, Persona 5, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Day of the Tentacle, Tacoma.

Links:
Rob Daviau, Designing a Legacy Game
Sun Tzu's War Academy
The Apollo Program

Next time:
Finish a game!

Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, @brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Jan 29, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin our discussion of the game series beginning in 1991, Civilization, through its 2001 incarnation Civilization III. We talk about it in time, the type of sim it is, some bits about "civilization" and lots of other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to the Medieval Age

Issues covered: choosing your names, looking at the series as a whole, one more turn, the 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) genre, situating the game in two times, additions to the Civilization franchise, needing the manual, the PC as the home of the deeper simulation game (wargames and flight simulations), "a game is a series of interesting decisions," Sid Meier's studio history, game perspective and the God Game, Brett and insomnia and a number of turns, learning through failure and why people bounce off, high highs and low lows, having a hard time making the early decisions, getting a better understanding of the early game by having a good roll, not knowing how far apart to place things, not cracking the manual, not knowing what to do, the difference between Civ and some other styles of Sim game, transparency of numbers and systems, the distinction of toys vs games, limited automation in Civ, digging into the Civilopedia, genre-defining creation of its own choice space, what you read in the Civilopedia, playing against harder AI levels, reading as a min-maxer, applying concepts as relatable, being pushed away from the "realism/historicity," colonialism and Western civilization as the framework, limiting historical tribes as "barbarians," scope and production realities, warping reality, using peoples as pure resources, colonialism and barbarians and their inherent game limitations, layering systems, leveling units against barbarians, limiting what you ask of an old game, being curious about a ruler, finding an essentialism in a representative leader, arguing that different civs might have an opportunity to rule, seeing another Civ pass through a first time, early game tranquility and the end of innocence, creating a story around a single resource, shifting to a new form of government, establishing Pax Romana, the simple power of names, layers of ironic naming, "the past is never dead, it isn't even past," film and games, not being part of the cultural conversation, the mystery of games to people, Oscars and Pulitzers and prizes, marketing and games, proud self-support, staying away from a side-hustle, a couple of well-wishes, Tim's charity walking.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Metal Gear (series, obliquely), Nintendo, Sonic the Hedgehog, Avalon Hill, Computer Gaming World, Sid Meier, Link to the Past, Super Mario World, Street Fighter II, Monkey Island 2, Metroid (series), Super Castlevania IV, id Software, Bungie, Blizzard/Silicon & Synapse, 3D0 Corporation, SNES, World of Warcraft, Neverwinter Nights, Stormfront Studios, SSI, Gold Box Series, Ico, Final Fantasy IX, Doom (series), Soul Reaver (series), Star Wars: Starfighter, Devil May Cry, Silent Hill 2, Halo: Combat Evolved, Jak & Daxter, Max Payne, Red Faction, Serious Sam, TIE Fighter, MicroProse, Spectrum HoloByte, Hasbro Interactive, Infrogrammes, Firaxis, 2K Games, Take-Two Interactive, SimCity, Populous, Will Wright, Maxis, Peter Molyneux, Bullfrog Productions, Sid Meier's Pirates, Istanbul (not Constantinople), They Might Be Giants, Flood, Soren Johnson, Puerto Rico (board game), UFO: Enemy Unknown, StarCraft, Requiem for a Nun, William Faulkner, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Candy Crush, Fortnite, Lady Gaga, Geoff Keighley, The Economy of Prestige, James English, Alexander, Luke Theriault, The Revenant, Persona 5.

Next time:
Civ III to the Industrial Age

Twitch: brettdouville, instagram: timlongojr, @brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Jan 22, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we welcome Kirk Hamilton, composer, podcaster, and retired writer/editor to the podcast to talk about music composition, working with licenses and licensed music, the way music and play work on our brains, and a host of other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:16 Interview
1:10:31 Break
1:11:00 Next game, announcement, etc.

Issues covered: Kirk's early writings, using your ear training, picking up a saxophone, Brett's saxophone solo, getting a broad mandate, modeling on NPR podcasts, geeking out about NPR podcast intros, aerophone, jingles as condensed composition, working with synthesizers, programmer art for the theme, remembering the old themes, the hard work of working with composers as a non-musician, talking about intangibles, level reviews and music, working on established IPs, breaking the music, repeating music in older games, composing for player actions, iMUSE and music blending in between states, game audio with multiple sound cards, preserving game audio, CD-ROM game audio/Redbook audio, the excellent audio and voice department of LucasArts, the many cool influences of Peter McConnell, artists at play, the evolution of the human brain, playing with your prey, the mix of lyrics and music and story and game play, the need for technical understanding in game composers, writing for an environment, adding data to music tracks, scheduling audio to play at the exact right moment, building a dynamic game play system and finding a way for music to match that, how Zelda music has changed over time, being aware of the creative vision of the game, Japanese game development, the mismatch of the opening vs the play of a game reflected in its music, feeling the play, the Tomb Raider menu music, Lara Croft in media vs Lara Croft in the game, the loneliness and promise of the menu music, the exploration of Tomb Raider vs the pulp of Raiders, licensing music, matching a soundtrack to the game's moment, using the right soundtrack that reflects the music, dropping in some Miles Davis or Sonny Rollins, Brett overshares his saxophone history, Kirk's projects, feedback about how we should set up each episode, going from game/book club vs discussing and analyzing games, what's next, Tim's big adventure.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Gamer Melodico, Kotaku, Strong Songs, Kotaku Splitscreen, Maddy Myers, Jason Schreier, Red Dead Redemption, Aaron Evers, NPR, RadioLab, Fresh Air, This American Life, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, World Saxophone Quartet, Matthew Burns, JukeDeck, Slate Culture GabFest, Succession, Nicholas Britell, Star Wars, Tomb Raider, Halo, Jason Graves, Republic Commando, Jesse Harlin, John Williams, David Collins, Ludwig Göransson, MIDI, Michelle Hinners, iMUSE, LucasArts, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, Dark Forces, Nintendo, GameBoy, The Secret of Monkey Island, Michael Land, MYST, Curse of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, George Lucas, Peter McConnell, Psychonauts, Double Fine Entertainment, Metallica, ProTools, David Byrne, How Music Works, Austin Wintory, Journey, That Game Company, Flower, Uncharted, Zelda (series), Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, Koji Kondo, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Manaka Kataoka, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Cadence of Hyrule, Danny Baranowsky, Super Meat Boy, Mario (series), Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Odyssey, UFO: Enemy Unknown/X-COM, John Broomhall, Timothy Michael Wynn, The Avengers, Morgan Grey, Indiana Jones, Crystal Dynamics, GTA (series), UbiSoft, Watch Dogs, Martin Scorcese, Birth of the Cool, Miles Davis, Saint Thomas, Sonny Rollins, The Lost Boys, Phillip from Copenhagen, Pokemon, World of Warcraft, Kingdom Hearts, Shenmue, Eternal Darkness, Rebel FM, DDR, Civilization III, SimCity, Sid Meier, Alpha Centauri.

Next time:
Civilization III

Links:
Kirk and the Secret of Monkey Island

Gameplay and Story Are Exactly Like Music and Lyrics

Strong Songs Patreon

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

Jan 16, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we return to Blizzard's 2004 classic MMORPG World of Warcraft. We discuss the focus required to work in groups, zone design and macro story choices, and delve into our first dungeon before turning to feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Into the mid-20s

Podcast breakdown:
0:47       WoW talk
1:16:45  Break
1:17:16  Feedback

Issues covered: shortcuts/acronyms for what's going on, our change in schedule, streamlining roles into tank/healer/dps, a first experience tanking, explosions of types of role-playing games, the interplay of innovation and risk/cost, being able to easily fall into a role, limitations on boss encounters due to role specificity, crowd control roles, elite feel for a game requiring harder roles, spreading abilities around to all classes, roles becoming automatic and rote, designing dungeons to the variety of player you actually have, building more complex MMO behaviors, limiting mechanical complexity, using position as an element in combat for boss design, adding puzzles to dungeon instances, being a part of a bigger raid, the perfect tank build, designing zones to slowly push you to the tough challenges, randomly encountering folks tackling the tough challenge, naturally pushing people to the same locations and forcing social interactions, quest lines that cycle you past places you've been, having long-term enemies and macro stories, having your endgame tie into characters you've seen before, breadcrumbing storylines, seeing higher level characters and having aspirations, returning to new player areas, Tim uses the B word, trying to find a group via server-wide channels, how busy the servers are, modern and match-making, name collisions on the server, being over-leveled for the dungeon, being overwhelmed to fulfill the role, getting careless or pulling badly, switching tactics for a dungeon, high highs and low lows, knowing your role while you're in a 5 person raid, surprises along the way with different types of characters, designing like an amusement park, having surprising visual moments, going out on an adventure, why there aren't lots of games like Shenmue, the historic hangover due to lack of diversity in AAA games marketing, making a game to reach our parents' generation, reaching Tim's mom, discoverability, attach rates and consoles, modern games with deep Shenmue vibes, mobile and casual games, availability of "classic" mobile games, game portals.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dungeons & Dragons, Destiny, Everquest, Final Fantasy XII, Left 4 Dead, Valve, Sekiro, Lord of the Rings (obliquely), Disneyland, The Goonies, Dark Age of Camelot, Shenmue, Robin, Resident Evil, The Sims, LucasArts, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Nintendo, Wii, Wii Sports, Persona (series), Tokyo Mirage Sessions, Red Dead Redemption 2, GTA (series), Nick McCormick, Spider, Drop 7, Osmos, Andy Nealen, Big Fish, Diner Dash, Crazy Taxi, Plants vs Zombies, World of Goo, Peggle, Alchemy.

Links:
Shenmue on the Saturn

Next time:
Our (delayed) interview with Kirk Hamilton!

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

Jan 8, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our series on 1999's Sega cult classic Shenmue. We spend a lot of time lifting cargo and putting it into place and also run pell-mell for the exit before we turn to our takeaways and some feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finishing the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:44    Shenmue discussion
58:24  Break
59:03  Takeaways and Feedback

Issues covered: why we're even working in the harbor anyway, being stuck in the harbor and not being able to free-roam, triggering scenes day by day, being committed to the forklift bit, warm-up racing, earning raises, giving in to the routine, turning off the open world and opt-in, being stuck at the harbor if Ryo had more to do, "the worst version of wandering around," being directed but not being able to directly forward the story, genre-bending, watching forklift operators and then feeling part of that machinery, playing anything, having a first job, feeling communion with Ryo more and with the characters with whom he interacts, whether Death Stranding derives from this, having timelines with Nozomi and Goro and Mai, wondering what we missed, having to rush to the docks at midnight, connecting to the schedules, hopping on a motorcycle, a late timed challenge, getting into the Mad Angels' hideout, a music video returning Nozomi home, having to fight Gui Zhang, having to fight everyone who hangs out in the docks at night, leeching drama from a scene through repetition, Tim getting into the move set, wanting a little more from the fighting game parts, going half-way and lacking camera and HUD support, an aside into Japanese gang sartoria and Hong Kong cinema, missing out on Lan Di, having the final conflict, incorporating more fight moves in the final fights, finding scrolls and being taught the moves, suddenly dropping in narration, an abrupt ending, the life simulator, succeeding at building a living world, the real-time clock, lacking character state in unscheduled interactions, having rewarding moments off the beaten path, how the notebook fills in and not being able to use that to explore the world, "interactive cinema" and how that drove the game and industry, paralleling certain cinema tropes, embracing the mundane, crafting as mundane, having the mundane to balance and buoy the action, setting the game in its time again from fans, technical achievements of Shenmue, things feeling a little stilted, Brett not remembering the names of stuff, spending time on side things, looking ahead.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Yu Suzuki, Ian Bogost, Play Anything, Death Stranding, Metal Gear (series), John Woo, Jackie Chan, Oldboy, Virtua Fighter, The Warriors, LucasArts, Full Throttle, Persona (series), Left 4 Dead (series), Top Gun, David Cage, Heavy Rain, World of Warcraft, DreamCast, Guy Morgan, Lloyd Parker, Soul Calibur, PlayStation 2, Final Fantasy VIII, XBOX, John Carmack, DOOM 3, Daniel Louks, Animal Crossing, Assassin's Creed, Skyrim, The Witcher 3, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
An interview with Kirk Hamilton about the new theme!

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

Jan 1, 2020

No show notes this week -- just our annual takeaways and recaps. Happy New Year -- let's make 2020 a good one, folks.

 

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

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

Nov 27, 2019

Following on from our DGC series on 2002's Eternal Darkness, we talk with designer Brad Furminger, who got his start at Silicon Knights working on Eternal Darkness and an earlier version of Too Human. We talk about design choices on Eternal Darkness and get lots of little stories.

Podcast breakdown:
0:42 Interview segment
1:03:35 Break
1:04:06 Feedback

Issues covered: getting in with geographical luck, progressively getting into deeper discussions with a future employer, becoming second party with Nintendo, being at a teaching developer, diversity of background and interests, structuring for various characters, studying the game bible, working with tough tools, the "glamour" of game development, having an intense crunch, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, not being able to show fear, having a learning moment that lasts, a four-room prototype, meeting ED, building worlds and universes and not just individual games, a universe with mystery, diversity of characters, a strong positive female role model, the ancient ones and their machinations, establishing the importance of places in the world, building and rebuilding the world, returning to a place and knowing where to go, blending the player and character experience, the meta effects, the adventure game beginnings, sanity effects coming from the whole team, incorporating good ideas as a designer, Brad's favorite meta sanity effect, the difficulty of going low sanity, "You need keys that aren't keys," illustrative koans, finding ways to connect Alex through the chapters as keys, teaching the player to navigate the unknown, Nintendo's excellent QA department, finding a weird.... hardware bug?, PEBCAC, sacrificing a feature to make the game a little more approachable, seeing the flaws in our own work, making not enough use of the body part targeting, having to change to Pargon for Japanese, the magic system, developing around four plays, the percentage of people who finish a game having started it, hoping rather than expecting people would play more than once, making changes that cut down on differentiation of playthroughs but benefited QA, getting into teaching, getting experimental in classes, the impact of 9/11 on Eternal Darkness, Bush invoking the Crusades, incorporating development lessons into teaching, a game recommendation, the impact of fans in keeping games alive and playable, usability testing and playtesting, getting information about the whole player, blind testing, having that discomfort and not saying anything about play, getting a sense of what the player is experiencing, giving voice to what you're playing, pushback on playtesting, using different departments to playtest, seeing and not reading, usability issues again.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: World of Warcraft, Silicon Knights, Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes, Too Human, Bedlam Games, D&D: Daggerdale, George Brown College, Toronto Film School, Denis Dyack, Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen, Full Sail, DigiPen, Sandbox Studios, Digital Extremes, PlayStation 1, Nintendo 64, GameCube, Nintendo, Ted Travor, Sierra, King's Quest, Space Quest, Robyn Miller, MYST, Lovecraft, Shigeru Miyamoto, Trevor Fencott, Runbow, 13AM Games, Jedi Starfighter, DLC Podcast, Jeff Cannata, Christian Spicer, Alynne O., FromSoft, Shadow Tower Abyss, Metroid Prime, Half-Life 2, King's Field, Dark Souls/Bloodborne, Owen Lawson, TIE Fighter, X-Com, Dark Forces, Planescape: Torment, Star Control 2, Stardock, Lucas Rizoli, Microsoft, Republic Commando, Michael Abbott, Valve, Blizzard, Jeffrey Sondin-Kung (Pinecone), LEC-Game Theory, Zachary Crownover, Johnny Pockets, John Romero, Persona 5.

Links:
Patrick Klepek on Mizzurna Falls

Next time:
Up to level 20 (?ish) in World of Warcraft

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

Nov 20, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we start a new series with a bit of a different goal: a game we'll play for an initial couple of episodes and then return to from time to time. We discuss 2004's seminal and crowning MMORPG World of Warcraft, discussing the year in which it came out, a history (personal and not) of MMOs, and then dig a bit into the initial hours of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up until level 8

Issues covered: revisiting our chat with John Romero, looking at 2004 in games, a live game model in EverQuest, self-cannibalization, early history of MUDs, a sad discovery, reflecting on Brad McQuaid's career, sharing games as source, MUDs and theming, talking through the history of a number of MMOs, talking about the market and approachability of other MMOs, peak users, the influence of other Blizzard games on WoW, Brett's confession, introducing characters through the RTS, modding and Warcraft III, launch and WoW, pulling the games from the shelves, server queues, revenue gross, Brett does some on-the-fly math, Activision-Blizzard merger, the starting area for gnomes and dwarves, inviting you into the world like a DM, learning the design language of the game, usability of the quest system, shifting the focus to quests (vs combat grinding), doing multiple things with the quests and rewards, changing your character's look, each race having its own animation set, differentiating races strongly, pre-rendered introduction, RTS influence again, seeing your first human (on a horse), simplifying WoW in the modern version, having to read the text to understand where to go, adding user interface mods, increasing intrinsic reward through difficulty, managing your own grouping, growing the scale of what you see, scale of towns and villages, growing up with the world through exploration, experience ramp.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: John Romero, LucasArts, Republic Commando, God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, Half-Life 2, DOOM 3, Metal Gear Solid 3, Fable, Halo 2, Far Cry, Chronicles of Riddick, Katamari Damacy, Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines, Source Engine, Troika Entertainment, Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, The Outer Worlds, EverQuest & EverQuest II, 989 Studios, Sony Online Entertainment, Rob Pardo, MUD, Roy Trubshaw, Richard Bartle, DikuMUD, Brad McQuaid, Zork, Adventure, MOO, Pantheon, Saga of Heroes, Habitat, LucasFilm Games, Randy Farmer, Chip Morningstar, Meridian 59, Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Asheron's Call, Raph Koster, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Underworld, Turbine Entertainment, Lord of the Rings Online, Mythic, EA, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Blizzard, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, Bill Roper, Diablo, David Brevik, Warcraft III, Chris Metzen, DotA, Icefrog, Riot Games, Dark Souls.

Next time:
To level 20

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

Nov 14, 2019

Following on from our DGC series on 1993's DOOM, we've been lucky enough to get connected with John Romero to talk about his early career and how id and DOOM came to be. We hear all sorts of stories about those early days, and we hope you enjoy it.

Podcast breakdown:
0:42 Interview segment
1:40:30 Break
1:41:00 Next time

Issues covered: a brief history of John Romero, playing games at the arcade and on a mainframe, programming without being able to save them, living with hyperthymesia, learning BASIC and 6502, hand-assembling without a computer, bailing from college, selling games to a bartender, meeting a fellow programmer for the first time, zeroing in on Origin Systems, co-opting a demo PC, Origin in New Hampshire, overlapping between John and Brett, being up against other Commodore programmers, killing the interviews, making every life change at once, making your own hardware and writing your own protocol, getting your first raise, the death of 8 bit, learning PC and moving house, missing out on your chance to make a great 8-bit game, wanting to make games all day, hiring an artist based on musical taste, knowing a coder from the game, Carmack renting a PC to port his own RPGs, getting your own room and making your own games, two games in a month, becoming the game everyone in Pakistan and India played, dividing up the work, vertical scrolling vs smooth horizontal scrolling, getting stuff done in a night, knowing when it's time to move on, pitching a game to Nintendo, mistaking fan mail, making deals through the mail, making bank and cutting a deal to avoid a lawsuit, nearly selling the company, shareware just taking off, moving into the black cube, writing a... strong press release, riding the rocket, being fluent in code and creativity at the same time, multi-user editing, breaking out of a rectilinear world, getting out of the intellectual model, no room could have been made in the prior game, having to solve unknown problems, coding everything into the editor and coming up with the needs, programming all sorts of wild secrets, goals for SIGIL, coming up with new ideas that are reasonable extensions, someone stealing your thunder, flipping switches to get from multiplayer to single player, loving designing stuff, the Empire RPG, dream game with the dream team, spending time with John Romero, working on 90 games, working solo, the history of games in one man's head, June calls out, we talk our next game, SWotH.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Sigil, Origin Systems, Softdisk, John Carmack, Adrian Carmack, Tom Hall, id Software, Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Quake, ION Storm, Daikatana, Deus Ex, Anachronox, Monkeystone Games, Midway, Slipgate Ironworks, Gazillion, Loot Drop, Brenda Romero, Romero Games, Empire of Sin, Poison Cookie, Hunt the Wumpus, Nim, Adventure, Robert Lavelock, Will Wright, Dr. Cat (David Shapiro), David Crane, Capital Ideas Software, Apple ][, Nibble Magazine, Scout Search, InCider Magazine, AppleFest 1987, UpTime, Jay Wilbur, Cocktail, Epic Software, Lane Roathe, Ultima I, ManPower, John Fachini, Denis Loubet, Robert Garriott, Ultima Underworld, Mapping the Commodore 64, Inside Out Software, Might & Magic 2, Tower Toppler/Nebulous, Epyx, Lynx, Crush Crumble Chomp, Temple of Apshai, Alien, Dark Castle, Ideas from the Deep, Al Vekovius, Karateka, LodeRunner, Choplifter, PlayStation 2, LucasArts, Gamer's Edge, Sub Stalker, Tennis, Mark Crowe, Paul Lutus, GraFORTH, Catacomb, SuperNES, Mario, Zelda, Dangerous Dave, Solitaire, Minesweeper, Slordax, Michael Abrash, Captain Cosmic, Nintendo, Scott Miller, Kingdom of Kroz, Commander Keen, Aliens Ate My Babysitter, FormGen, Sierra, Ken and Roberta Williams, Wolfenstein 3D, Spear of Destiny, Kevin Cloud, NextSTEP, Wizardry, REKKR, Civilization, Paradox, The Irishman, Martin Scorcese, Francis Ford Coppola, Skyrim, World of Warcraft Classic.

Next time:
World of Warcraft Classic (up to level 5)

Links:
Making of SIGIL

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

Nov 6, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we complete our play and discussion of 2002's GameCube horror adventure Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. We discuss re-use and when it doesn't quite work here, but highlight the end of the game 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:
Finished the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:39 Segment 1 -- ED discussion
59:30 Break
60:00 Takeaways and Feedback

Issues covered: Tim talks about his surprise trip, leaning into spells as lock and key mechanisms, having to use the dominant color, systems that are more simply multiplicative, the portraits of the human archetypes, committing to personification, rune descriptions and lore, Lovecraft's racism, natural opposition in different archetypal systems, the fourth playthrough, Pious's purple dispel, learning at the same rate as Alex, setting the final rune and soft failure, having a hard time knowing what to do, usability fighting fiction, getting into a designer's head, describing the WWI bosses, communicating how to fight the boss, timing with the seven-part magical attack, scripting-heavy bosses, playing against your instincts, our go-to spells, objects showing up in the trapper world, running past because your sanity is low, the most repetitive points of the game, using the towers as an amplifier, good camera use, finding a cyclical story for production benefits, the final fight as a restatement of the rest of the game, starting the game as Pious, villainous consistency, learning to hate Pious with Alex, phases of the fight, getting lucky with the ghosts, Brett's Book Recommendation, the strength of the structure of the game, the statues in the walkway, finding a story that allows for production benefits, finding additive bits via the insanity systems, adding coats of paint to levels, water cooler talk, viral marketing, generating surprise, insanity effects and a conflict with a resource, interplay with difficulty, Alex slowly going insane, the magic system and its visual and experiential representation, gender and racial representation, a note about our book club feel, lighting in DOOM vs gzDoom, lighting complementing emotion, level design and lighting, fidelity and lighting, using light as a landmark to propel the player, photorealism and its interplay with design, remembering you're making a game, lightening the load on the player.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Brian Taylor, HP Lovecraft, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Hamlet, Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom, Waypoint Radio, Austin Walker, The Night Ocean, Paul LaFarge, Metal Gear, Diablo, Dejan Josifović, DOOM, Sigil, John Romero, Alan Wake, Dead Space 2.

Next time:
An Interview!

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

Oct 30, 2019

Just a quick announcement to let people to know we're on what we hope is a brief hiatus.

Oct 23, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we continue our play and discussion of 2002's GameCube horror adventure Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. We talk up the magic system as well as the level design writing checks that the camera and perhaps the tech can't quite cash, as well as other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
6-9 (Brett, nice), 6-8 (the other guy)

Issues covered: Tim gets a reference, the Spanish Inquisition, levels getting more complicated, returning to locations you've been to before, having additional things bolted on, reconfiguring a space, visiting cities that have built upon themselves, every location having something beneath it, uncovering the past, small differences between color playthroughs, the predator/prey color wheel and a mnemonic for it, where Tim got blocked by the camera, putting too many items in a camera frame, missing the lectern/podium, Nintendo lessons of learning and acting, teaching spells earlier, things getting away from you, where Brett gets stuck, the characters looking at objects, missing a critical object, putting too many things in a room, level design and camera design must work together, being constrained by your tools, scripted spline cameras, the difficulty of good camera tools, being worried about breaking your scripts, runes with meaning you can explore in the magic, sentences in older and younger languages, the god speaking the spell, the timing mechanic, the elegance of putting time into the spell-casting, the ways it can be interrupted, insanity effects, returning back to Alex, Pious Augustus using the same spell language, tying voice work between related characters, voice acting coming into its own, large number of characters, models being unable to emote and thus relying on voice acting, using tricks to make the lack of emotion work, is a handheld good for horror, requiring time to build tension, how baring mechanics works against horror, having space to move preventing horror vs claustrophobia, feeling capable and having power mechanics, insanity effects as titillation, the camp bathroom system in Dead Rising, frustration working against horror, seeing extra content, achievements, how the Internet changes game designs, streamable and giffable moments, finding the pearls of the game that are shareable.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Monty Python, Far Cry 2, Nintendo, Grim Fandango, Breath of the Wild, Dungeons and Dragons, Crystal Dynamics, DOOM (1993), Jennifer Hale, Mass Effect, Soul Reaver, The2ndQuest, Resident Evil, Stargate SG-1, Fatal Frame, Resident Evil 4, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii, Luigi's Mansion, PT, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro, Demon's Souls, Zachary Crownover, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill 2, HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Dead Rising, Alan Wake, Gothic Chocobo, Arkane Studios, The Outer Worlds, PUBG, Minecraft.

Next time:
Finish the game!

Links:
IGN pushing ED sales

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

Oct 16, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we continue our play and discussion of 2002's GameCube horror adventure Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. We talk a lot about the structure of the game, how it differentiates the choice we made last time, and also discuss the variety of player characters and how cleverly they get mileage out of some decisions. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Levels 3-5

Issues covered: achieving the pulp aesthetic, the structure of using Alex to find pages to enter more stories, linear storytelling hidden by apparently useful skills, running into well-placed insanity effects, having more insanity effects than you realize, having the work you put into a game pay off for someone, lack of efficiency in an open world game, efficiency of mechanics in Eternal Darkness, efficiency in design vs development, embracing a system team-wide, changing audio with low insanity, changing play when you don't care about your insanity, Tim's trouble with enemies, being under-resourced, feeling painted into a corner, save strategies, game play derived from that early choice, expectations of the player, being punished by a powerful enemy, how enemies differ across color, playing different characters due to the structure, a variety of endings for characters, the conspiracy to kill Charlemagne, having a fatal flaw that comes around to get you, good puzzles and showing you the states, hiding the locks and keys, the death of Charlemagne, revisiting the shrine where Pious Augustous became a lich, Karim's ending with a ghost, joining up eternally to protect some artifacts, having a freeze frame on the twist death, seeing Maximilian's ghost, going back to a different stage of the mansion, the weakening penmanship of A. Roivas, the secret entrance to the library, the pattern of the pulps, a long discussion of controllers and fighting games, we talk about our use of combo again, thinking differently about a game for the podcast.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: HP Lovecraft, Alan Moore, Providence, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier, Hamlet, Shakespeare, Warren Spector, Deus Ex, Breath of the Wild, Shadow of the Colossus, Starfighter, Resident Evil, Dark Souls, Thief, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Creepshow, EC Comics, Amazing Stories, Stephen King, George Romero, The Nameless City, Alone in the Dark, Dark Corners of the Earth, Charles Dickens, Robert Howard, Conan, HKris7, Warcraft, Derek from Spokane, DOOM, Chex Quest, Street Fighter, Sega Genesis, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Call of Duty, Chrono Trigger, Republic Commando, The Matrix, Alan Wake.

Next time:
Levels 6-9, nice.

Links:
Angry Video Game Nerd on Chex Quest

The Hit Box

Mike "BrolyLegs" Begum

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

Oct 9, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we this week we turn to the start of our annual spooky game content by looking at 2002's GameCube horror adventure Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. We situate the game in time a bit and talk about its critical and commercial reception, as well as the GameCube, before turning to the game proper. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
The first three levels

Issues covered: how names appear backwards, our horror tradition, this year in games, Nintendo and close third parties, the mythology around a good GameCube game that disappeared, moderate sales but critical success, the Nintendo horror gap, Japanese lens on sales, understanding the mind of Nintendo, finding the comic spookiness rather than true horror, avoiding mature stuff for first party, cosmic horror, not connecting with Lovecraft, Mantorok the Corpse God, paying plenty homage to Lovecraft, Brett's tax on game lore, taking itself seriously, minimal insanity effects, Brett's never-empty bar, Tim describes an insanity effect, describing the initial experience, reading the Tome of Eternal Darkness and as a result playing the game, writers and writing and their madness, ancient history and its influence on modern day, using libraries to find information and history books, seats of American academia, delving into memory, using an Animus vs a book version, the Necronomicon, changes to Alex as to whether she's astrally projected, having multiple interpretations, Pious Augustus's transformation, making an uninformed choice, making better informed choices in Kingdom Hearts, starting to see the structure, being in the same location across multiple time periods, whether or not one required a manual, the forces for and against manuals, slowly adding mechanics in a Nintendo way.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Resident Evil, Silent Hill 2, Thief, Nintendo GameCube, Metroid Prime (series), Resident Evil 0, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Animal Crossing, Super Mario Sunshine, Kingdom Hearts, Hitman 2, Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Jedi Starfighter, Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper and the Thievious Raccoonus, Warcraft III, PlayStation 2, LucasArts, Silicon Knights, Denis Dyack, Tatsuya Hishida, Hiro Yamada, Shigeru Miyamoto, Satoru Iwata, Resident Evil 4, Capcom, Retro Studios, Nintendo Switch, Mother 3, Kirby Dream Course, SNES Classic, Disneyland, Haunted Mansion, Luigi's Mansion, Devil May Cry, Bayonetta (series), Cthulhu, HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, In the Mouth of Madness, Assassin's Creed, Evil Dead 2, Alan Wake, Dungeons & Dragons, Kingdom Hearts, MYST, Super Mario Bros, Bill Roper, Lurking Horror, Infocom.

Next time:
The next three levels (until Lurking Horror)

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

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