Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. We delve into Chinatown, touch on some of the level design issues, and revisit some of the thinking of how RPGs and genres were starting to bleed into one another at the time. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.
Up through Chinatown
Issues covered: level design in the Warrens, whether things were fully tested, leaning on what was new in the Source Engine, jamming barrels into spinning bits, sewage tunnels that go nowhere, leaning away from what the game is, likely lack of playtesting, the reservoir tank race, keeping the player on the right track through signalling, the simplicity of telling the player they are doing the right thing, possible solutions for visualization, body horror and the late 90s/early 00s, having to backtrack, being reminded of Lamplighter, enjoying the payoff of the Nosferatu den, having locations for all the clans, the Nosferatu hacker, Tim's choice of fighting style, supporting some styles and not others, trinkets and blood, being unable to visit a location again, being a game unlike others, dissolving genres, experimentation with first-person, expectations of first-person action today, having to teach the player, getting stuck in Chinatown as a player, Brett gets confused about how to get to the Nosferatu, a level design joke, good character design, leaning into a real place, connective tissue and cross-pollination of quest design, mapping that onto a 3D world, the lure of interconnectedness, the quality of the artwork in the tabletop and its translation into the game.
Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dungeons & Dragons, Half-Life 2, Valve Software, Fallout 3, Nate Purkeypile, Hackers, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief, System Shock 2, Metroid Prime, Unreal, id Software, Cyberpunk 2077, CD Project Red, The Witcher (series), Gremlins, Blade Runner, The Misfits, Eli Wallach, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, The Good Bad and the Ugly, Hitman, Shenmue, Leonard Boyarsky, Ubisoft, Bethesda Game Studios, Microsoft (obliquely), The Outer Worlds, Tim Cain, Tim Bradstreet, White Wolf, Ralph McQuarrie, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.
Finish the game!
It's called "Little Lamplight," and its denizens are "Little Lamplighter."
That other rose-colored glasses vampire is probably a Toreador.
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