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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: November, 2020
Nov 25, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We talk a bunch about mechanics big and small in this one, focusing on things that come up through the first dungeon as well as some audio chat and themes of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Death Mountain

Issues covered: adorable Gorons, audio hardware, voice emotes, the unappreciated half of an audiovisual medium, memory cost of voiceover, ambient dungeon music, hearing Saria's Song near the entrance to the Lost Woods, using stereo music to guide you through the woods, being able to map out the Lost Woods (rather than randomization), the opportunity to get stuck, getting a hint from the King's guard, modern design vs two decades ago, many people having one thing to say, seeing a 2D representation of a ruin moved to 3D, games keeping track of things, inspiring creativity in the music through a constraint, limiting to five notes, unifying all the game music, not needing to chord up the buttons, using the Ocarina as a key, holistically integrating time into the play and leveraging it for production, the safety in mechanical and replenishing dungeons, being able to retry a room by resetting it, learning to use the tools, locking down milestones, the ease of returning to places, the repeatability of Dark Souls, the progression of the bomb mechanics, teasing that things will be available to you, the tradition of level design at Nintendo (Lost Woods in Breath of the Wild), modernization of Nintendo design (and the critical sphere), a new generation of level designers, the King Dodongo reveal, accentuating the relative size of Link, searching for gold Skulltulas, getting all the Korok seeds in Breath of the Wild, stealth mechanics, the mechanics of the shield, naming things, having a use even for a weaker shield, lighting things on fire in Zelda games, torches as an indication of adventure, Goron dancing, moving around, centering the camera, lock-on targeting, using target switching to do your next attack, care and feeding of your controls, Switch joycon drift, a note of thanks, weird to do a podcast for so long, still learning, applying the tools.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: SNES, N64, Super Mario 64, Dark Souls, Breath of the Wild, Shigeru Miyamoto, Metal Gear Solid, Dungeons & Dragons, The Dungeon Run, Majora's Mask, Zimmy Finger, Valve, Discworld (series of novels), Batman: Arkham Knight, Mark of Kri, "Drew," Joystick Butter et al, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Becoming the Hero of Time

Links:
Valve's Dev Note

Iwata Asks

Joystick Butter

Tribute 64

Steel Sticks

Retro-Tink 2x Pro

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

Nov 18, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on one of the highest-rated games of all time, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We of course first situate the game in time, but especially start the discussion by talking about how ground-breaking and revolutionary it felt at the time. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through meeting Princess Zelda

Podcast breakdown:
0:50 Ocarina
1:01:05 Break
1:01:40 Feedback

Issues covered: a man without a fairy, the antithesis of our last game, not being sure where we stopped, a surprising discovery, "I'm Mr. Rhythm," 1998 in games, release days in stores, seeing the character in 3rd person, a large team for time, the 64DD expansion, a mind-blowing impact, amazingly well-received, the revelatory step to 3D in this game, two giant cratering events in the year, approach of a Mario vs a Zelda in terms of problem space, cinematic choices, artful cinematics in-engine, stepping into the world and all the world-building, Nintendo and finding ways to present innovation, introducing a controller with Super Mario 64, creating characters that represent a mechanic, Navi & Lakitu & Wii Fit Trainer, helping people surmount the 3D barrier, the Fairy Navigation System, having to find the sword, near-perfection, a sense of ease and trust, being led to the places where you need to go, changing the world in ways that recontextualize the space, the timer of fire, one of the best introductory dungeons of all time, knowing you're doing the right thing, a weird choice with the Lost Woods, the quality of the moment of waking up, animation to show quality, getting a lot out of limited facial expressivity, using cinematic language to establish emotional tenors, texture changes to convey ageing, limited tools in 3D, music interactions, leading up to a boss, presenting you with a 3D way of thinking of past/2D Zelda dungeon construction, wondering how they iterated on the level design, why it's hard to talk about our more recent games, discussing some other weird differences in play between our games of Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines, an unanswered question about VtM.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Vampire the Masquerade, Nintendo 64, Troy Mashburn (obliquely), Starfighter (series), Full Throttle 2, Jake Stephens, Wind Waker, GameCube, Wii, Metal Gear Solid, Half-Life, Thief, Grim Fandango, Banjo Kazooie, Xbox One, Crash Bandicoot, PlayStation, Xenogears, Suikoden II, Resident Evil 2, Fallout 2, Baldur's Gate, Unreal, Starcraft, Starsiege: Tribes, Falcon 4.0, Rogue Squadron, Shigeru Miyamoto, Eiji Aounuma, Yoshiaki Koizumi, Link to the Past, Koji Kondo, Mario 64, Link's Awakening, GameBoy, LucasArts, Shadows of the Empire, Wayne Cline, Hal Barwood, Tim Schafer, Psychonauts, Jon Knowles, Forza (series), Bill Tiller, SCUMM, Breath of the Wild, Wii Sports, Monkey Island (obliquely), Twilight Princess, Bethesda Game Studios, Dungeons & Dragons, Final Fantasy (series), Kingdom Hearts (series), Blarg42, nambulous, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Through Death Mountain

Twitter: @timlongojr and @devgameclub, instagram:timlongojr
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Nov 11, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we finish our series on Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. We talk about Chinatown, the end of the game, boss design, 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:
0:52 VtM: Bloodlines
1:01:03 Break
1:01:44 Takeaways

Issues covered: the use of voiceover in RPGs at the time, the whole game Maguffin, some remaining events in Chinatown, confronting the Mandarin, referencing the G-Man, Brett's dancing werewolf at the Luckee Star, the linearity of Chinatown, development and cutting late in the game, the connectivity of the macroworld, Brett misses a shark boss, being violation free, the threat of losing to a violation, having more vampire hunters in the world due to violations, having more and more abilities but narrowing the actual game options (to combat), being unable to talk people out of combat, feeling like there should be no-combat options, lacking intrigue options, wanting a nemesis system, the difficulty of endings, having trouble reading the Ming Xiao boss fight, an unbalanced fight, exploits, circularity with the cabbie and Smilin' Jack and character creation, maybe meeting Caine, a poetic and humorous ending, the other endings, spending a bunch of points at the end, interconnected level design, fitting your fanbase/drawing on your license, providing distinct experiences for your first-person RPG, world-building, "best of" inclusion, genre-busting, having to fully support combat to include it, Brett's Book Recommendation.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Half-Life, Kevin Mitnick, Wargames, Maximilian Schreck, Nosferatu, Bill Gates, Arcanum, Kill Bill, Dishonored (series), Prey, Shadow of Mordor (implicitly), Mafia III, Deus Ex, Obsidian, Interplay, Jabberjaw, Street Sharks, Suicide Squad (comic), Fallout 3, Skyrim, The Stand, Sandman, The Matrix, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Fallout, Anne Rice, Tom Cruise, Twilight (series), Stephanie Meyer, Dracula, True Blood, White Wolf, Cyberpunk 2077, LucasArts, The Vampire Tapestry, Suzy McKee Charnas, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Either an interview or our next game

Errata:
Brett said The Shining when he meant The Stand, and Tim said The Corsican when he meant The Corinthian. We regret the errors.

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

Nov 4, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. We delve into Chinatown, touch on some of the level design issues, and revisit some of the thinking of how RPGs and genres were starting to bleed into one another at the time. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through Chinatown

Issues covered: level design in the Warrens, whether things were fully tested, leaning on what was new in the Source Engine, jamming barrels into spinning bits, sewage tunnels that go nowhere, leaning away from what the game is, likely lack of playtesting, the reservoir tank race, keeping the player on the right track through signalling, the simplicity of telling the player they are doing the right thing, possible solutions for visualization, body horror and the late 90s/early 00s, having to backtrack, being reminded of Lamplighter, enjoying the payoff of the Nosferatu den, having locations for all the clans, the Nosferatu hacker, Tim's choice of fighting style, supporting some styles and not others, trinkets and blood, being unable to visit a location again, being a game unlike others, dissolving genres, experimentation with first-person, expectations of first-person action today, having to teach the player, getting stuck in Chinatown as a player, Brett gets confused about how to get to the Nosferatu, a level design joke, good character design, leaning into a real place, connective tissue and cross-pollination of quest design, mapping that onto a 3D world, the lure of interconnectedness, the quality of the artwork in the tabletop and its translation into the game.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dungeons & Dragons, Half-Life 2, Valve Software, Fallout 3, Nate Purkeypile, Hackers, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief, System Shock 2, Metroid Prime, Unreal, id Software, Cyberpunk 2077, CD Project Red, The Witcher (series), Gremlins, Blade Runner, The Misfits, Eli Wallach, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, The Good Bad and the Ugly, Hitman, Shenmue, Leonard Boyarsky, Ubisoft, Bethesda Game Studios, Microsoft (obliquely), The Outer Worlds, Tim Cain, Tim Bradstreet, White Wolf, Ralph McQuarrie, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Finish the game!

Errata:
It's called "Little Lamplight," and its denizens are "Little Lamplighter."
That other rose-colored glasses vampire is probably a Toreador.

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

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