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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: September, 2023
Sep 27, 2023

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Batman: Arkham Asylum. We talk about the progression system in the game, the various forms of reward, how well things are integrated, and Tim gets to relive the death of the Waynes. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Near to end (Brett), thru 2nd Scarecrow (Tim)

Issues covered: the death taunts, Edward Nigma vs the Riddler, relatively few gadgets, discussing the gadgets and their uses, not knowing what they had yet, using gadgets as a reward, dependencies on rewards and presentation, breaking up health and armor into increments, the weirdness of Batman getting XP, player expression, health and then opening up more options, seeing how you would evolve the formula, crafting environmental scenarios, finding ways to bring in the rogues gallery, rewarding you while gratifying you, spreading out the villainy, giving space to each villain, having too much space for the villains, every combatant being bespoke, threading villains through rather than opting in, economical reuse of space, changing up combat patterns, pushing the player rather than reusing the same quarter, rethinking strategy but not being stuck, not overloading with combat options and then larding on, being able to struggle through without being perfect, players finding something that works for them and sticking with that, combat overload, interview tapes and deepening the characters, did this game create Batman fans?, tying all the pieces together, the tightness of the economy, being able to play the alley scene, retelling the origin stories, 

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: other Arkham games, BioShock, Bethesda Game Studios, Joel Schumacher, DOOM (2016)/DOOM Eternal, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia. 

Next time:
Finishing and takeaways!

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

Sep 20, 2023

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Rocksteady's breakout hit, Batman: Arkham Asylum. We freeflow our way through a bunch of combat, put on the visor, and even hit a couple of the villains (and I'm not talking about our emails). Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
More of the game (Brett to Poison Ivy, Tim to first Scarecrow)

Issues covered: Tim's many times dressing up as the Joker, Joker owning the island, having a Batcave on the island, being prepared as Batman, Bioshock vibes, layers of Arkham, layering activities over level areas, seeing things before you can get through them, a Metroidvania for the collectibles, not needing to do challenges for XP, Joker teeth as breadcrumbs to what you should do next, an approachable game for the license, Detective Mode as a little alienating from Batman, seeing how the world is put together, a bit of a cheat for Batman, character vs player focus, predecessor experiences, being mashable and less punishing, having a dozen enemies and being able to lower fidelity, everything working together, dramatic and telling finishing blows, a bunch of knockouts all at once, wanting it to feel like Batman is outnumbered and overcoming it, reinforcing goals and caring about the right things, being able to modularize the combat and change the feel, battle loss taunts, finding ways to show the highest LOD models, the Scarecrow introduction, horror movie scary stuff, the surreal space of the Scarecrow, asking the controls to be more generous, having Scarecrow be over the top and weird, wanting the fear to come from the A/V experience, Daredevil and Batman, centering the Rogues Gallery, pathetic and horrific Bane, a small universe, the Justice League vs the Vengeance League, feeling the impact of freeflow combat immediately, audience and alignment of all the goals, seeing the problem-solving in action, putting all the pieces together, "The Witcher is Just Fantasy Batman," when you don't feel connected to the character, fighting Deathstroke, embracing the multiverses, 

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Bioshock, Mark Hamill, Heath Ledger, Jared Leto, Joaquin Phoenix, Metroid, Tomb Raider, Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark of Kri, God of War, Tim Ramsay, Republic Commando, Eternal Darkness, Dead Space, Nightmare on Elm Street, Alien: Isolation, Christopher Nolan, Star Wars, The Boys, Watchmen, Bvron Music, Assassin's Creed, Half-Life, Halo, GoldenEye: 007, Jarkko Sivula, Tim Burton, Eye of the Beholder, The Witcher, Call of Duty, Control, Deus Ex (reboot), Jack Kirby, Pokemon, Calamity Nolan, Mark Garcia, Artimage, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers. 

Next time:
Even more of the game!

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

Sep 13, 2023

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on 2009's Rocksteady breakout, Batman: Arkham Asylum. We set the game in its time, as well as introducing its principals, and talk a bit about one man's fandom. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Roughly up to first Scarecrow encounter

Issues covered: introducing the center of the madness, returning to these two, mythology and archetype, the games of 2009, some early Rocksteady history, coming out of the shadows, developing their process, taking on the superhero genre, licensed titles and not overcoming them, replicating game designs to the license, something finally living up to or exceeding expectations, a long digression into superhero cinema, seeing the attention to detail, pre-code comics and other Brett comic history, a small development team, puzzle box, comparing team sizes, a time with fewer new sorts of games, the August window, great voice cast and writing, seeing signs that they really care, narrative design and other writers, getting a lot of mileage from the voice cast, setting up the story, a big plan from the Joker, introducing Arkham as the location, constraining Batman to present the Joker, not your typical Batman universe, exaggerated characters, a simple setup/trope, establishing a new look for Harley Quinn, other influences for the art direction, "I admire its purity," the clear proof of concept in vertical slice, what a vertical slice, solving major production questions, a good tutorial room vs one that works less well, having all the elements, how Batman has stealth, using fantasy in the checkpointing, impacting later Batmen, filling a Pokedex. 

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dungeons and Dragons, Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, DC and Marvel, The Batman, Robert Pattinson, Sega, Michael Keaton, Batman: The Animated Series, PlayStation, Jamie Fristrom, Insomniac, Uncharted 2, Borderlands, Demons's Souls, Ratchet & Clank, Brutal Legend, League of Legends, Assassin's Creed II, Infamous, Eye of the Beholder, Dragon Age: Origins, Left 4 Dead 2, New Super Mario Bros Wii, Bayonetta, Rocksteady, Urban Chaos, Warner Bros, Eidos, Crystal Dynamics, Jamie Walker, Sefton Hill, Argonaut Games, Ubisoft, Star Wars, Electronic Arts, Lord of the Rings, Godfather, Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan, Tim Burton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Joel Schumacher, Peter Jackson, Superman 64, Freedom Force, Grant Morrison, Dave McKean, Sandman, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, X-Men, Ben Affleck, Metroidvania, Fallout 3, Bethesda Game Studios, Dark Souls, BioShock, Madden, Baldur's Gate III, Larian Studios, Paul Dini, Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Arlene Sorkin, Adrienne Barbeau, Half-Life, John Cena, Steve Austin, The Rock, Alan Moore, Frank Miller, The Dark Knight Returns, Alex Ross, Gotham Central, Gears of War, Tomb Raider, Alien, Penny Arcade, Sam Fisher, Thief, Flight of the Conchords, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia. 

Next time:
More! We don't know how much more!

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

Sep 6, 2023

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our series on Eye of the Beholder. We talk more about D&D adaptation, spend some time with a sequel, and get to our takeaways before emptying the mailbag. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: which levels count in the sequel, killing lots of beholders, whether you could have killed Xanathar in the original, striation of hit point values, scaling for sense of power, paying off on the quests, finding all the beholders, beholder physiology, having more fun with beholders as designers, bulettes and basilisks, "just keep going," being trained for level navigation, designing towards the player understanding, wanting coordinates, using simple concepts well, modular repeatable and combinable concepts, leaning into the limitations, an onion layer level, "mapping matters," loving drawing maps, sanding off of friction (various ways of telling the player how to get there), being more embodied in the dungeon, the more you take out the less the experience becomes, allowing for abstraction and having to draw you in other ways, translating D&D, why simulate the math, a bad game to simulate, "what is a saving throw?," using video games to inform the evolution of your tabletop game, emphasizing the human, a more elegant system, dice variance, a useless party experience, usability issues, bad games that were influential on us, remembering movie moments but not the gameplay, even bad actors are better than what we could do at the time, digging into all the RPGs, not knowing what to do in SimCity, DOS vs Mac music and early audio, a craftman's respect for audio, warm analog music, hearing multiple versions of the same soundtrack, not playing a lot of real-world games, physics in games and pitting against fun, wanting to get to specific rides vs how you build a park, Tim gets turned off on the CRPG book, building on foundations and the legacies they carry, business concerns, shipping code passing cert, climbing uphill to make changes, maintaining the feel.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Eye of the Beholder II, Winnie the Pooh, The Dungeon Run, Metal Gear Solid (obliquely), Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM (1993), Gary Gygax, PS5, Xbox Series X, Dark Souls, Temple of Elemental Evil, Indiana Jones (series), Far Cry 2, Starfighter, Jurassic Park, Ultima Underworld, God of War, Baldur's Gate (series), World of Warcraft, William Shatner, Vampire: the Masquerade, Call of Cthulhu, Mechwarrior, Mechassault, Warhammer, Morrowind, Fallout, Diablo, Westwood, Ashton Herrmann, Kyrandia (series), Lands of Lore, Trespasser, Clint Hocking, Assassin's Creed (series), Darkstone, Neverwinter Nights, Kingdom Hearts, Twisted Metal Black, Warcraft II, Quake, MYST, Grim Fandango, The 7th Guest, NextGen, Sam Thomas, The CRPG Book, Skyrim, The Bard's Tale, Disco Elysium, Rogue, Betrayal at Krondor, Cobra Mission: Panic in Cobra City, Andrew, SimCity 2000, GameBoy, MegaMan, NES/SNES/N64, Grant Kirkhope, GoldenEye 007, Metroid (series), Half-Life (series), Rollercoaster Tycoon, The Matrix, Disneyworld, Great Adventure, Canobie Lake Park, Dungeon Master, Chris, Populous (series), Dungeon Master, Fallout 3, mysterydip, Commander Keen, Dwarf Fortress, Metroid Prime, Bethesda Game Studios, Halo (series), Bungie Studios, Tomb Raider, Galleon, Toby Gard, Redguard, Reed Knight, Todd Howard, Starfighter, Grand Theft Auto (series), Starfield, Unreal (series), Gears of War, Republic Commando, Jack Mathews, Mark Haigh-Hutchinson, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia. 

Next time:
Our next game?

Links:
The CRPG Book
Dungeon Master Encyclopedia and video

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

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