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.
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.
Halo MacWorld Demo (1999)
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