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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: January, 2022
Jan 26, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we add a bonus to our series on Halo with a chat with designer Jaime Griesemer, whose sniper rifle talk we referenced in the series. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
1:01 Interview
1:13:02 Break
1:13:37 Outro

Issues covered: looking up Halo lore for the intro, going to school to be a physicist, blackmailing someone for a studio tour, quickly leaving QA by making multiplayer maps, teams stacked with talent, refusing to return the keys, building the level before the play, enjoying the economy-free RTS, "sci-fi Myth," the early version being mostly vehicle- and exterior-based, finding the fun with multiplayer first, having long single rounds, Microsoft seeing something in Halo, how the demo worked, rehearsing to capture one long take, having no sound engine and covering it with music, desperation is the mother of intervention, a hair's breadth from disaster, FedEx-ing the disc, "tell us the formula," being bound to legacy, reverting to the roots, the philosophy background helping influence his design, incepting to understand design process, working with lousy controllers, reconfiguring other games, using the Usability Lab, the interrogation room/psych experiment lab, cameras pointed, being unable to ask whether controls are inverted, testing allowing natural configuration of buttons (and failing), how default became the default, an intro level that holds up, threading the needle between boredom and forgetting, people who forgot to look, people who can't use both sticks, the connection between the tutorial and the Usability Lab, a boring part making the exciting part more exciting, contextualizing the 30 seconds of fun, recontextualizing, why Halo has two weapons, limited memory, constraints inspiring creativity, having to make the right decision, the power of violating conventions, removing what's between you and the fun part, "random access controls," making all the decisions available "right now," thinking and having actions happen immediately, enabling the golden tripod, adding more buttons or sticks doesn't help, the co-evolution of games and controllers, the limitations of arcade controls, the Griesemer Click, the iterative process of tuning, synaesthesia, coming back to re-tune from scratch after a week, craft yourself into a good experiencer, "if I was good at the games, the games wouldn't be good," appreciate things while they're happening... and then seek something new, seeing whether games can do something new in nonfiction, regretting your quotes, reflecting back on a panel, enjoying the specifics, a restrained amount of progression, not having an RPG character in Master Chief.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Myth, Tyson Green, Jason Jones, Destiny, Sucker Punch, Infamous: Second Son, Highwire, Marty O'Donnell, Golem, Evan Wells, Dustin Browder, Blizzard, Starcraft, Matt Tateishi, Randy Smith, Paul Bertone, Chris Barret, Alex Seropian, Oni, Warcraft, Company of Heroes (series), MacWorld, Microsoft, ARMA (series), Steve Jobs, Julian Gollop, X-COM, Marathon, TimeSplitters, GoldenEye, PlayStation, Ratchet & Clank, Uncharted, Jim McQuillan, Tetris, Call of Duty (series), Shigeru Miyamoto, DOOM (1993), Half-Life, Nintendo, Six Days in Fallujah, Thief, Hal Barwood, Halo: Infinite, AC: Odyssey, Troy Mashburn, Resident Evil VII/Village, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
More Morrowind!

Links:
Halo MacWorld Demo (1999)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YJ53skc-k4

On All Levels (2003 GDC Talk, audio only)

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

Jan 19, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Bethesda Game Studios RPG classic from 2002. We situate it in time and then dive right in, having been released from imprisonment and sent on a specific mission. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A few hours of play

Issues covered: 2002 in games, Todd Howard's first mainline game as director, a little about Bethesda, Tim's history with the series, early games feeling open world, finding the titles generic, Brett confesses, not playing just the main quest, directing the player via POIs, self-motivated quests, interview homework, the prophecies, something is going on in Vvardenfell, name/job, situating you in the world with character creation, the census bureau, the clever setups, tutorial and usability, the death of Ultima as a franchise, Brett the battlemage, being able to pick up anything, we try to find the names of the elven races, all the skills and accidentally thieving, sleeping in the wrong bed, having laws enforced, not being able to barter because of contraband, thoughtful world-building, imagining a bigger world from small interactions, playing the good assassin, being opposed to the outlanders, coming up with concepts from the real world, coding the Khajiit as shifty Arabs, homebrew and archetypal sources, steering away from making particular races evil, slavery in RPGs, walking to Balmora, doing some quests, different architecture, Tim's sidequest to woo a Dunmer, directions to get to a quest, what is the arc of the game?, feeling like you have chapters even when a game doesn't have progression or leveling up, the small decisions you make all the time in game design, the crosshairs in Halo.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Jonah Lobe, Jean Simonet, Andrew Kirmse, Republic Commando, Oblivion, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Kingdom Hearts, Eternal Darkness, Ratchet & Clank, Xbox, Metroid Prime, Splinter Cell, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Sly Cooper, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Jedi Starfighter, Battlefield 1942, Age of Mythology, Jedi Knight II, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Neverwinter Nights, Bioware, Jade Empire, Knights of the Old Republic, Todd Howard, Redguard, Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, NHL series, Terminator, Fallout (series), Starfield, The Witcher III, Reed Knight, Ultima Underworld, Arena, Daggerfall, Patrick Stewart, Firaxis, MechAssault, DoubleNegative (youtuber), Liam Neeson, Fallout: New Vegas, Underworld Ascendant, Paul Neurath, Baldur's Gate, Tyranny, Planescape: Torment, Pillars of Eternity, Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars, WoW Classic, Infinity Engine, Sea of Thieves, Ifthatisyo U'rerealname, Halo, RE VII, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
More hours?

Links:
You're Finally Awake

Errata:
The game we referred to as the spiritual successor to Ultima Underworld was Underworld Ascendant and not Ascension (which was the subtitle to Ultima IX). We regret the error.

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

Jan 12, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we reflect on the year that was, looking back at the interviews and lessons we took away. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: work and long hours, how we generate our lists, more keys that aren't keys, the tangibility of character sheets, the impact of D&D campaigns, your love and fun translating into what you make, labors of love, feeling games that no one felt a spark making, feeling like your hard work paid off, cancelling projects, ideas coming up again later, maintaining the fragile connection between player and character, a perspective on the effort that it takes to deliver a great experience, trailblazing a new feature, thinking about a camera, camera design is like puzzle solving, good camera work being invisible, Uematsu loves prog rock, accessibility, "the team makes the game," sharing credit, bringing in all your players, collaboration, finishing games you hadn't before, being a finisher vs not, Master Chief as the iconic space marine, feeling like Master Chief is black, being more about the lore than the story, CW Suicide (skip 54:20 - :30), getting hooked on Halo, a game series following you through major events, the LucasArts Halo tournament, connecting with your kids through games.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Baldur's Gate, Ratchet & Clank, Brian Allgeier, James Ohlen, Michael Backus, Dungeons & Dragons, Joel Gifford, Control, Girl with a Stick, Ted Price, LucasArts, Tim Schafer, Grim Fandango, Double Fine Productions, Psychonauts, Headlander, Lee Perry, Lee Petty, Epic Games, Jon Knoles, Bounty Hunter, Blackout Club, Question Games, Bethesda Game Studios, Remi Lacoste, Prince of Persia, Assassin's Creed, Ubisoft Montreal, Donald Duck Gone Quackers, Crash Bandicoot, Nintendo, Sebastian Deken, Final Fantasy (series), Nobuo Uematsu, Halo, Sony, Microsoft, Patrice Desilets, Resident Evil 4, Ocarina of Time, Prey, Arkham Asylum, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, Jarrko Sivula, 343 Industries, Star Wars, Book of Boba Fett, The Mandalorian, Ashton Herrmann, Bungie, Half-Life, The Fellowship of the Ring, Crystal Dynamics, KB, Lia, Minecraft, Sasha/Truffles Moccachino, RE 7, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Either an interview *or* our next game!

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

Jan 5, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we really wrap our series on Halo by providing our takeaways, and then dive in and out of feedback to talk Halo Infinite. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A few hours of Halo Infinite

Issues covered: being stuck with the helmet silhouette, 30 seconds of fun, the feel of the controls, elevating lesser elements, world-building and an iconic character, compelling people through mystery, the feeling of the epic, bringing the world to life through physics, verticality and memorability, knowing where you are in the outdoors, mixing up enemies for AI variability, directing the player, possible physics changes, things that the graphics changed, playing with your son, sampling some types of missions, the tank simulation, resetting the story of the series, picking Master Chief out of the debris, having a grappling hook, returning to the spirit of the first game, revealing the ring, really committing to the grappling hook, showing all the things you do with the grappling hook in the opening cinematic, extending the golden triangle, explicit damage types, ammo crates, having more headshotting, audio, story missions, switching from in-person to remote, having sneakernet be part of the normal production process, designing process and culture for your working environment, video game adjacent spaces, machinima, recording matches, shipping the complete package, having so many products and just one team, franchise history, all the things that a TES game is expected to have, Tim getting scared.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: George Lucas, Ratchet and Clank, Ringworld, Larry Niven, Discworld, Half-Life 2, Myth, Bungie, Republic Commando, The Red, Linda Nagata, John K, Goldeneye, Will, Microsoft, Paul Crocker, Lani Lum, Star Trek, Legend of Zelda, Sotaro Tojima, Metal Gear (series), Assassin's Creed (series), Ben Zaugg, Red vs Blue, Rooster Teeth, Netflix, Xbox Live, Forge, Luke S, Red Dead/GTA Online, Ghosts of Tsushima, Last of Us II, Skyrim, Activision, Call of Duty (series), Ubisoft, 343 Industries, Resident Evil VII, Saw, PT, Paranormal Activity, Silent Hill, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Brett's Book Recommendation: The Red, by Linda Nagata

Errata:
Brett looked it up, and it's the Battle of Wolf 359. We regret the error.

Next time:
Possibly an interview!

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

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