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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, 2022
Nov 30, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our main series on Dead Space. We talk animation and audio support for player state, economics, the ammo balance, and how the game shifts more to shooter than horror towards the end, before turning to takeaways. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Tim (Ch7), Brett (finished)

Issues covered: it's always the doctors, the resource economic loops, kinesis energy as combat use, level 5 suit, many types of resources, the assumption of replayability and discouraging experimentation, tuning knobs via the sellback value of items, progression availability and not knowing when you'll get the last gun, balancing more towards shooter at the end, orchestration of moments, dynamic spawning, perception of progression being off, cutting off limbs, bespoke enemy placement, stasis + punching, not being sure conservation is paying off, knucklehead horror, Knuckle Head is the worst boss, leaning into power fantasy, feeling Isaac's health, breath changes and our sympathetic neurons, accessibility issues with various channels of information, stomping heavily on one's enemies, camera closeness and seeing what you're doing, lacking the payoff for killing human enemies, building up a villain and lack of payoff, good section to use kinesis with an unkillable enemy, making the humans monstrous in other games, self-seriousness and killing civilians, representing systems in characters, seeking redemption, diagetic everything, the UI in the 3D space, the feeling of a real space, efficient direction, embracing the tropes, using genre to set the expectations, audio and music design, enemy design that fools with the zombie mechanics for shooting, competence porn, digital archaeology.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: BioShock, Final Fantasy VI/IX, Resident Evil (series), Ratchet & Clank, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Calamity Nolan, The Callisto Protocol, Xbox, Alien (series), Paul Reiser, Far Cry 2, Iron Man, Star Wars, Silent Hill, Space Quest, Prey, System Shock, mysterydip, DOOM (1993), David Baggett, Crash Bandicoot, Daron Stinnett, PlayStation, Naughty Dog, Insomniac, Spyro (series), Dark Souls, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
TBA

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

Nov 23, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on 2008's survival horror in space, Dead Space. We talk about the ways we are maybe breaking the game a bit, art design, level design and camera framing, and sometimes... how it doesn't work. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Into Level 7 (Brett) or 4 (Tim)

Issues covered: unkillable aliens, alien encounter tropes, taking themselves seriously, unknowable cosmic horror being taken seriously, dying again and again in a turret section, managing a lot in the asteroid section, being unable to learn a pattern, silence accentuating strangeness, building up to turning on the turret, the increasing grandiosity of set pieces, making set pieces last longer through difficulty, replaying areas in games and allowing that richness to carry you through, set pieces with cutscene rewards, the right mix in a set piece in the centrifuge, putting the character in unlikely places, breaking the game with the pulse rifle, the expectations of the space marine, good achievement design, getting rewarded similarly to a headshot, using stasis to learn where to shoot, fearing running out of upgrades, the suit design and the skeletal vertebrae, making Isaac look like he's in the same space as his suit, not feeling space, extra layers of geometry, repeating spaces to make things feel artificially familiar, framing doors so that you can see what you're doing next, not needing the breadcrumbs.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Visceral, Star Wars: Starfighter, Alien (series), Independence Day, Resident Evil 4, Event Horizon, Tom Cruise, Asteroids, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Dark Souls, The Last of Us II, Uncharted (series), Tomb Raider (series), Killer 7, Suda 51, Grasshopper Manufacture, Platinum, H. R. Geiger, Mystery Dip, Blarg42, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Our last episode of play

Errata:
Brett was in fact on suit level 3. He regrets the error.

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

Nov 9, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on 2008's space survival horror game Dead Space. We talk about the fantasy of competence and the grounded elements of the tasks, and contrast that a little bit with the spells. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A few more chapters

Issues covered: a weird D&D one-shot, the player insert character, rebooting Space Quest, being in the right place at the right time, hitting all the tropes, set dressing to make a space feel lived-in, Tim makes an unintentional pun, diagetics around the map, committing to the level load, audio design, a sense of game development craft in earlier survival horror vs a more polished modern game, set pieces with slight difficulty spikes, learning the hard way that goop slows you down, a natural way to put timers in, perfect feedback, in space no one can hear you scream, everything coming together in one section, hearing the centrifuge in the outer hallway, the player recognizing his changes, paralleling the original mystery and narrative design, the hallway with the banging, changing the light levels as you pass into an area, delivering the space walk under constraints, teaching you that you can only go short distances, being deflating, landmarks and their lack, getting disoriented and having a moment of not knowing where to go, power nodes as keys to rooms, only soothing my OCD brain, designers liking the psychology of giving up a thing, unnecessary and manipulative friction, spells/Jedi powers, motivating the science fiction, "I slow the enemies down to make it easier to cut their limbs off," getting better at the player skills, a remote worker butcher, maybe breaking the game, echoing the monsters in the static of video communication, Drunk Souls.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Extra Life, Dungeons & Dragons, Child's Play, Half-Life (series), Star Wars, Liam Neeson, Space Quest, Alien (series), BioShock, Event Horizon, Mass Effect, Alien Isolation, Resident Evil, Republic Commando, Star Trek (obliquely), Lance Henriksen, Ian Holm, Nintendo Wii, Patrick Redding, Prey, Skyrim, God of War, Pipe Dream, Artimage, Dark Souls, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
A week off, then more chapters!

Links:
Artimage's Twitch and Extra Life challenge

Karrokay on the Heath One-Shot

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

Nov 2, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on 2008's EA space horror game Dead Space. We position it in a change in Electronic Arts at the time (having just done another game from 2008) and then get into the spookiness of it all. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Chapter 1

Issues covered: Halloween Longo shenanigans, doubling down on 2008, the limits of the podcast, Electronic Arts at the time, shifting to new IP and building creative teams, conservatism as a publisher, building the IP and then owning it, starting with the horror, being direct vs being baroque, overly antagonistic actors, setting up the story by using existing tropes, the janitor, another version of diagetics, excellent character design, a third-person character who doesn't speak, cohesive character, picking science fiction influences from places, rough spots on the onboarding, being cohesive with character and setting, constraints driving their design and resources, a single location story, fish out of water but using the tools you have, building survival horror into the bones, holographic UI, technical benefits, who was the innovator, stealing like an artist, committing to the bit, a short but sweet review, hearing your language in a game, permadeath and Far Cry 2, Extra Life.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Jean-Luc Picard, Aw Jeez, Dark Souls, Lord of the Rings, EA Spouse, Star Wars, Bioware, John Riccitello, Mirror's Edge, Dante's Inferno, Harry Potter, Warner Bros, George Lucas, Resident Evil (series), Bill Paxton (RIP), Far Cry 2, BioShock, Visceral Entertainment, God of War, The Evil Within 2, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Callisto Protocol, Alien, Sunshine, Event Horizon, Glen Schofield, Ian Milham, Prey, System Shock 2, Republic Commando, Gears of War, Kill Zone, Kill Switch, Max42357, Raymond, SimCity 2000, Masuhiro Sakurai, Jeffool, Clint Hocking, Manveer Heir, Ben Abraham, Extra Life, Artimage, Lani Lum, Ocarina of Time, Monolith, Dungeons & Dragons, Joel Gifford, Troy Mashburn, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Chapter 2-5

Links:
Masuhiro Sakurai's YT English link

Destructoid on Far Cry 2 and permadeath

Ben Abraham's FC2 Permadeath

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

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