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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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Dev Game Club
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Now displaying: July, 2021
Jul 28, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on the delightful action platformer shooter thing called Ratchet & Clank. We set it in its time a little bit, and talk a bit about developer Insomniac, and then turn to talk about introductory impressions and continue to catch up on feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to Novalis

Issues covered: destroying your enemies with flame, tone and charm and humor, 2002: a Good Year with a Thick Coat of Peanut Butter, the mascots, playing PlayStation games at the start of the PS2 lifecycle, the Cerny Method, Tim's first time, the war on consoles surrounding mascots and third person action, what Microsoft was up to, Brett projects that Tim will be amazed about with the guns, a little sideline into Resistance, the titles, future streamlining, getting animation to film quality, stretch and squish as a frontier, making a character feel very alive, Brett dives into the hardware, wishing you could take your technical expertise back, seeing lots of characters and structure very early, consistency of tone, enjoyable juvenalia, a series of gags, the surprise of having a map and quests, a variety of enemy types, the tendency of consoles towards PCs, a huge pile of FF6 secrets, a game coming to you at a time where it helped you get through, what we'd want from JRPG combat, taking a week off, thinking you've finished the game,

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Insomniac, PlayStation 2, Disruptor, Spyro (series), Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Kingdom Hearts, Eternal Darkness, Animal Crossing, GameCube, Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, Wind Waker, Republic Commando, Xbox, Sly Cooper, MechAssault, Splinter Cell, BG: Dark Alliance, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4, Phantasy Star Online I & II, Andrew Kirmse, Warcraft III, Jedi Outcast, Freedom Force, Irrational Games, Jonathan Chey, Dungeon Siege, Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, No One Lives Forever 2, Neverwinter Nights, Battlefield 1942, Jedi Starfighter, Rez, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Metroid Fusion, Metroid Dread, Sonic (series), GTA III: Vice City, LucasArts, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy Tactics, Sunset Boulevard, Sunset Overdrive, Fuse, Mark Cerny, Game Developer Magazine, Jak & Daxter, Super Mario 64, Nintendo 64, Crash Bandicoot, Rare, Banjo Kazooie, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Sega, UbiSoft, Rayman, Gex, Crystal Dynamics, Croc, Bonk, Blinx: The Time Sweeper, Frogger, Halo, Max Payne, Brute Force, Psychonauts, Viva Pinata, Perfect Dark Zero, GoldenEye, Sea of Thieves, Resistance, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Agent Carter, Skylanders, Toys for Bob, Star Wars, Space Quest, Anachronox, Warner Bros, Animaniacs, Bugs Bunny, Ryan/Biostats, Top Gun, Ninja Turtles, Ducktales, Chrono Trigger, Mark Garcia, Undertale, Skyrim, Death Stranding, Calamity Nolan, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Play more! How much more? Peep the Twitters.

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

Jul 21, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we at last conclude our series on Final Fantasy VI. We give our takeaways and then turn to some of the mountain of feedback that's been piling up. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: June says hello, developing deep character backstories, differing combat mechanics for each character, being pushed to mix parties at the end of the game, full world state changes, going against the grain, going dark places, getting a lot out of their engine and their small set of sprites, stretching beyond your audience's expectations, the alienness of opera, merging exploration with linear story, not knowing what order the story might come in, storylets and minimum expectations of how much game you get, Brett's Book Recommendation, dealing with the end of the world, having trouble getting past an early fight, a strange fan theory, having lots of story and wanting to split the characters, cautioning against reading too much into "original plans," marketing input, the contrasts of Terra and Celes, games as products of their constraints, the business constraints of a changing technology base with many developers, Terra's special ability, input lag in the Anthology, more about the weird Relm sketch glitz, how tools lag, higher fan expectations, the slowing of velocity with each generation, going towards the lowest common denominator or what we know works.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Sebastian Deken, biostats, Chrono Trigger, Baldur's Gate, BioWare, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Ultima (series), Gold Box (series), Wizardry, Dungeons & Dragons, SNES, Batman (obliquely), Shadow of the Colossus, God of War (series), Deus Ex, The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace-Wells, Death Stranding, Logan Wells, Skyrim, Star Wars, Sega, Phantasy Star, Wes from DFW, Ted Turner, The Museum of Film and Television, Mikael Danielsson, Sam, Johnny Pockets, Valheim, Cyberpunk, The Witcher III, Marvel, Wonder Woman, John Romero, DOOM (1993), Quake, Stardew Valley, Ratchet & Clank, PS3, Hideo Kojima, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Ratchet & Clank (first level)

Links:
An Ultima-te fail

Podcast rec from Johnny Pockets

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

Jul 14, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we add a bonus interview to our series on Final Fantasy VI. We are joined by Sebastian Deken, whose new book explores especially the music in the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:51 Interview
1:05:21 Break
1:06:03 Outro

Issues covered: not being able to talk about video game music, researching live performances of video game music, pitching Boss Fight Books, playing a friend's copy of Final Fantasy, racking up Blockbuster fines from pushing the rental, knowing that you're a musician from early on, studying to be an opera singer, having punishing stage fright for performance, getting into the Columbia MFA program, getting a great thesis advisor, the influence of prog rock on FF6's soundtrack, "the steampunk of music," Celtic music as an influence, the other influences you hear, having the Chocobos take you out of the game, the transitions from overworld to Zozo, knowing what to expect from a game vs not, needing a quilt of a game to quilt the music, planet-hopping, doing a lot of work through the music, having to find a way to talk about music through analogy, showing a few examples visually, the subtlety of Relm's musical number, sassy Relm, getting the whole story about Shadow and Relm through multiple playthroughs, the opera scene and "how is it possible," not making any sense to get the airship this way, the game as an opera with a three act structure, reflecting back what's happening in the game, opera as a strange confluence of factors, transcendant beauty that stays with you, opera as its own answer, needing to hear something as an 8x8 square, maintaining the illusion, matches of fidelity, the viewpoint on opera, not being meant to see people up close in opera.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: biostats, Brett White, Boss Fight Books, NES, StarTropics, Dragon Quest, Matt Shafeek, Gabe Durham, GameCube, Kirk Hamilton, Strong Songs, St Louis Symphony, Upright Citizen's Brigade, Margo Jefferson, Michael Jackson, Koichi Sugiyama, Nomuo Uematsu, Mario (series), Nine Inch Nails, Ennio Morricone, Indiana Jones, Baldur's Gate, JRR Tolkien, Ultima, Skyrim, Elder Scrolls (series), Forgotten Realms, Super Mario RPG, Ryan Thompson, Cosi fan tutte, La traviata, Otello, Puccini, Ingmar Bergman, The Magic Flute, Kenneth Branagh, Hamlet, Spelunky, Derek Yu, ZZT, Anna Anthropy, Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima, Dragon Quest Builders, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Takeaways and feedback

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

Jul 7, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we mostly conclude our series on Final Fantasy VI, though we'll be back for takeaways and more email. Brett takes us through the ending and we discuss some other late-game content. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the end

Issues covered: games we haven't finished for the 'cast, setting aside a day to finish, three hours of the final dungeon, the advantage of the SNES Classic, the emulation problems, delving into the magic points per battle for Espers, cross-pollination of Espers and various systems, gaining Ultima and Ragnarok, Ragnarok's weird power, grinding for Ultima, using Phantom to vanish as a strategy, having Dualcast and whether you can find it, naming things with X-, potential localization differences, games with multiple translations and intending different things, needing Mog to get the Yeti and not Gau, Relm's dad, the credits for the characters, betting Striker to get Shadow, Tim's FF6 Watch, finding the tile to change Relm, the paintings in Owzer's, figuring out how to turn on the light, the final dungeon tileset, the statues as bosses, philosophical chats with Kefka, ordering your whole party, battling through a bunch of Espers, healing/restoring MP to people so they can cast Ultima, things matching up well, Ultima cutting through everything, Relm's powers sometimes being good for the enemy, final cutscenes, the stately pacing of the end of the game, having time to come down, finishing games rather than just getting what you needed, the mixture of unrelated elements, having to maintain player goals through combat, an on-air production meeting, favorite Finals Fantasies, serious games with their lighter moments and their antecedents.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy IX, GTA III, Dungeons & Dragons, SNES Classic, PS1, Tacoma, Chrono Trigger, Star Wars, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Final Fantasy VIII, Reed Knight, "Tom," Willy the Shakes, Macbeth, Henry IV, Halo, Death Stranding, Dragon Quest Builders, Nolan Filter, mysterydip, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
TBD!

Errata:
In FF8, they are actually "Ability Points." We regret the error.

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

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