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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: March, 2021
Mar 31, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. We talk a bit about combat and especially the way the baths area expands the level design, despite a few visual language missteps. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through the Soldier's Mess Hall

Issues covered: the physics of ponytails, trying to make the palace feel like a real place, deathtraps, major locations, a thin narrative, establishing a relationship between the Prince and Farah, who he's telling the story to, a charming rogue, differences with other similar heroes, the upcoming elevator scene, a companion character that is genuinely helpful, the scripting of Farah to be helpful, Farah as an element of the combat space, having different voice lines for small changes in order, the availability of further linearization, making your small choices make an experiential impact, not being forced to learn by trial and error, not refreshing mechanics for players, the cadence of mechanics to reinforce learning, level design and design jokes, the bath house room, going between two spaces, recontextualizing a space, environmental storytelling misleading the player, symmetry getting in the way, macro goals getting in the way of the level design, the possibility that these were solutions that needed further refinement, being able to rewatch the vision as a band-aid, loving the ability to climb up through swinging and jumping, having the heavy sword as a key, not cuing that the sword is going to go through the wall well, the rewind time mechanic, using the sands as a resource, the cooldown mechanic, an additional health bar for combat and not caring about your health as much, painless experimentation without reloading, learning combat by rewinding to the moment of pain, crowd combat and finding gaps to escape through, finding ways to make traversal less punishing in more modern games, not needing the sands to be a resource, needing to refill the bubbles by killing enemies, the grittier sequels, our lack of cussing, narrative reactivity, our streaming lives.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Mark Garcia, Tomb Raider (series), Chris Hecker, The Three Stooges, Mass Effect, Half-Life, Uncharted, Tangled, Firefly, Nathan Fillion, Aladdin, Republic Commando, Captain America, Mark of Kri, Rise of the Kasai, God of War (2018), Resident Evil 4, Ico, Dark Souls, Devil May Cry, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, JS Bach, the Crab Canon, Assassin's Creed, Super Meat Boy, Arkham (series), Jonathan Blow, Braid, Remi Lacoste, Frost Raven, John Romero, mysterydip, Finding Dory, Maximum Super Dip Land, Bastion, Supergiant, Logan Cunningham, The Crow, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, Baldur's Gate, Vampire: The Masquerade, Troika Entertainment, Icewind Dale, Hitman 3, Knives Out, Sherlock Holmes, Clue, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Errata:
The word for a story that is the story of its own making is poioumenon. We regret the error.

Links:
Tomb Raider: Cameras and Emotion

Next time:
A Bonus!

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

Mar 24, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. We set the game in its time and studio, and then speak a fair amount about its holistic approach to design, its fluidity, and its contextualization of game mechanics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to defeating Demon Dad

Issues covered: 2003 with lots of sequels and licenses, when you launch a new IP, a strange sort of gap year, the prior incarnation of the game, emulating Tomb Raider and feeling heavy, buliding one you can learn with, burning Jordan Mechner, UbiSoft becoming a bigger player, the continuation of the series into the next generation, maintaining IP rights, rebooting with your own flavor of a thing, partnering with Nintendo, branching out with outside the box thinking, UbiSoft model of layering in content, supporting four engines internally, the Jade engine, the feeling of flying, feeling like a hero, perfecting and polishing a mechanic and getting the credit, melding multiple things together very well, using the linearity to contextually drive movement and camera, setting it in a place, the formula being copied for many years, "motion capture," rotoscoping in the original, moving from mark-up to mark-up fluidly due to blending, using transition points to drive the camera, shipping programmer art, orientalism, a holistic translation to 3D, contextualization of mechanics, basing the mechanics upon the narrative elements, avoiding cognitive load through holism, ludonarrative dissonance, writing getting out ahead of mechanics, switching discs.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Max Payne 2, Jak 2, Ratchet & Clank 2, Final Fantasy X-2, SoulCalibur 2, PlayStation 2, Devil May Cry (series), Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb, Splinter Cell, Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness, CORE Design, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, EverQuest, EVE Online, Call of Duty, Knights of the Old Republic, Mario Kart Double Dash, Beyond Good & Evil, Legend of Zelda (series), Michel Ancel, Jedi Academy, Uru: Ages Beyond MYST, SWAT, The Hobbit, Charlie's Angels, Pirates of the Caribbean, Enter the Matrix, Hulk, Ang Lee, True Crime: Streets of LA, XIII, Red Orb, Broderbund, Jordan Mechner, UbiSoft, Rainbow Six, Tom Clancy, The Learning Company, SSI, Rayman (series), Assassin's Creed (series), Patrice Desilets, Clint Hocking, Baldur's Gate, BioWare, Dragon Age, Nintendo, Immortals: Fenyx Rising, Wii, Far Cry (series), Watch Dogs (series), EA, God of War, Gears of War, Kill.Switch, Mario 64, Tomb Raider, Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Crystal Dynamics, House of Moves, Obi-Wan, Remi Lacoste, The Initiative, Daryl Gallagher, Perfect Dark, Starfighter (series), John Webb, Pillars of Eternity, Secret of Evermore, SNES, Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment, Uncharted (series), Raiders of the Lost Ark, Eric Fox, Grim Fandango, Knives Out, Mission: Impossible.

Links:
How It's Made

Next time:
Up to the Drawbridge


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

Mar 18, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we conclude our series on Baldur's Gate. We talk takeaways and then clean up a very full mailbag. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: the long-term quest of the franchise, Baals everywhere, converting from D&D, not every rule translating well, limiting the story to a generic "Gorion's Ward," having different expectations for their other games, a full campaign, feeling like a bad adventurer, mechanical map support, fog of war, stories about the side content, the story picking up from the flooding of a mine, tactical hybrid combat, the wide variety of character choice, companion quests, addition of voice, closing off branches, RPG elements, holistic design and RPGs, the use of archetypes, the spectrum of being a role-playing game, companion pairs, richness for companions, leaning into the save system, the puzzle nature of the combats, the ideal in level design vs core mechanics, the influence of level design on mechanics, comfort with tools, making the mistake of stopping a story having an impact on me, greater maturity expected of players, missing out on an opportunity for executing a plan, having a wider field of options for play, not worrying about what happens to your game after you've left it,

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Diablo, Dungeons & Dragons, SSI, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Jade Empire, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, Neverwinter Nights, Black Isle, The Witcher 3, Fallout, Temple of Elemental Evil, Larian Studios, Icewind Dale, Planescape: Torment, Beamdog, Dragon Lance, The Belgariad, David Eddings, Divinity: Original Sin, Dan Hunter, Descent 3, Dark Souls, UbiSoft, Assassin's Creed, Arkham (series), Bette Davis, Dragon's Dogma, Final Fantasy, Warren Linam-Church, Greg, Logan, Borderlands, Uncharted, Jedi Starfighter, GTA 3, Keith "mysterydip" Wagner, Firewatch, BioShock, The Walking Dead, Artimage, Wizards of the Coast, Ashton Herrmann, Republic Commando, Trent Oster, Soul Reaver, Populous: The Beginning, Hitman 3, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
TBD

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

Mar 10, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Baldur's Gate, the 1998 D&D interpretation that put BioWare on the map, as it were. We talk about the end of the game based on our two approaches to play, some fun side content, and other issues! Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:48 Baldur's Gate
1:09:35 Break
1:10:06 Feedback

Issues covered: names in reverse, a brief tour of one title in Brett's childhood library, side content, discovering someone swapped your Oil of Speed for a Potion of Confusion, when things were added to the map vs being actually playable, the potential for hitting the level cap, balancing to the save system, the sense of going out and finding stuff being missing for a non-completionist, the way the main story is much clearer, the journal as guide, the way we draw connections in the tabletop that make their own stories and how that crosses over with the CRPG and the journal, a game made by fans for fans, the sense of getting to the big city, intrigue and the setting, the Doppelganger Banquet, retrieving the dying Duke, leaning on the thievery, Tim's greater difficulty at the end of the game, talking your way through things, having to design in all the options, accentuating the horror, two ways skipping side content hurts you, having very little interesting gear, wanting the blessings of the RNG, feeling like you have two many options, being framed by Sarevok at Candlekeep, circling back to where you began, having a murder mystery where you're the prime suspect, exploiting knowing where the enemies were vs using protection from paralyzation, missing a critical bit of information and getting lost, the battle in the castle, the lack of clarity in the tactical rules, messing with the maze, the ruined city beneath the city, entering Bhaal's cathedral, being blessed by the RNG Gods, having a hard time making the final moments epic because of reloading, how quickly the game ends, the large number of sequels the game should have, Brett's Book Recommendation, using ASCII characters for games, not playing or watching a lot over the last year, the way graphics are in our memories, how much you can talk about as far as bugs go, triaging bugs, losing the ability to even evaluate a game at the end, self-handicapping, using achievements to find unusual ways to play.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Nintendo, Forgotten Realms, The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings, George Lucas, The Phantom Menace, The Elder Scrolls (series), Dark Souls, Eternal Darkness, Brian Taylor, Soren Johnson, Jill Murray, Tomb Raider, The Crystal Shard, R. A. Salvatore, Raymond, Castle Adventure, Rogue, Atari 2600, Drew, Edwin, Istvan Pely, Fallout (series), Stanley Kubrick, Matt, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Pikmin, The MinnMax Show, Halo, Hitman (reboot).

Next time:
Takeaways!

Links:
Finding a Bow in a Rockpile

Tim on The MinnMax show

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

Mar 3, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we celebrate our five years of podcasting by doing something a little bit different. We look at our first Adventures, the Atari 2600 Adventure and Colossal Cave Adventure. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: why we're doing the adventure games, the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, birds and videos, connecting the printer to the modem, arcade games we played, action games, seeing a representation of a dungeon crawl, the dynamics of the simulation, clockwork and the surprising depth, a surprising story of a bat and a sword and a dragon, playing games with Dad, what you show the player and what you leave to the imagination, mapping problems, a score rush, muscle memory, wanting to explore to find new text, discovery, using text as game design and the emergence of narrative design, the ongoing life of interactive fiction, being able to page back through your work, other games of interest, the evolution of the design, the many dynamic aspects of the game, programming the Atari 2600, the first Easter Egg, a new timeline, being humbled to hear someone is making games, some other introductions, format fiddling, the first time planning a podcast.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Atari 2600, Will Crowther, Don Woods, Oregon Trail, Space Invaders, Boot Hill, Galaga, Pac-Man, Asteroids, Dungeons & Dragons, Commodore 64, IntelliVision, Zork, Planetfall, Hunt the Wumpus, Enchanter (series), Deadline, Witness, King's Quest, Space Quest, Richard Powers, Plowing the Dark, Twitch Plays Pokemon, Andrew Plotkin (zarf), Pitfall, Tomb Raider, Sierra On-Line, Racing the Beam, Nick Montfort, Ian Bogost, Warren Robinett, Lode Runner, Baldur's Gate, Johnny "Pockets", Dave from Seattle, Super Metroid, Keith "mysterydip" Wagner, Robert Smith, The Cure, Hitman, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
We return and finish Baldur's Gate!

Links:
Emulated Adventure 2600

Colossal Cave Adventure PHP implementation

Colossal Cave Sources Article

The Easter Egg

Juno StarPlanet

The type of paper we used

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

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