Info

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.
RSS Feed
Dev Game Club
2021
March
February
January


2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: Page 1
Mar 3, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we celebrate our five years of podcasting by doing something a little bit different. We look at our first Adventures, the Atari 2600 Adventure and Colossal Cave Adventure. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: why we're doing the adventure games, the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, birds and videos, connecting the printer to the modem, arcade games we played, action games, seeing a representation of a dungeon crawl, the dynamics of the simulation, clockwork and the surprising depth, a surprising story of a bat and a sword and a dragon, playing games with Dad, what you show the player and what you leave to the imagination, mapping problems, a score rush, muscle memory, wanting to explore to find new text, discovery, using text as game design and the emergence of narrative design, the ongoing life of interactive fiction, being able to page back through your work, other games of interest, the evolution of the design, the many dynamic aspects of the game, programming the Atari 2600, the first Easter Egg, a new timeline, being humbled to hear someone is making games, some other introductions, format fiddling, the first time planning a podcast.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Atari 2600, Will Crowther, Don Woods, Oregon Trail, Space Invaders, Boot Hill, Galaga, Pac-Man, Asteroids, Dungeons & Dragons, Commodore 64, IntelliVision, Zork, Planetfall, Hunt the Wumpus, Enchanter (series), Deadline, Witness, King's Quest, Space Quest, Richard Powers, Plowing the Dark, Twitch Plays Pokemon, Andrew Plotkin (zarf), Pitfall, Tomb Raider, Sierra On-Line, Racing the Beam, Nick Montfort, Ian Bogost, Warren Robinett, Lode Runner, Baldur's Gate, Johnny "Pockets", Dave from Seattle, Super Metroid, Keith "mysterydip" Wagner, Robert Smith, The Cure, Hitman, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
We return and finish Baldur's Gate!

Links:
Emulated Adventure 2600

Colossal Cave Adventure PHP implementation

Colossal Cave Sources Article

The Easter Egg

Juno StarPlanet

The type of paper we used

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

Feb 24, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Bioware's 1998 CRPG classic, Baldur's Gate. We talk a bit about the structure of the world, the difference between playing straight through on the main story and indulging in side quests, companions, and some about audio and music before turning to your feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Chapter 5

Issues covered: Brett explains Tim's intro, consistency of tone in the writing, economics in pop culture, considerations of what mixes badly with chocolate, the flow of Cloakwood, Brett makes a map, leaning into quicksaving, pulling back like a tactical map, how much time has been spent in-game, Tim's Cloakwood PTSD, CRPG arachnophobia, a few standout side areas, the slowness of D&D's progression mechanics, a well-written side character, companion characters from the beginning, adding in 3e backstab rules, the compositions of our parties, a walk through how you gained XP in different editions, D&D tournaments, Brett's anecdote about a chime of hunger, gaining story rewards, rich complex settings like the Forgotten Realms, how much do you leverage the IP, a fan wanting more fan service, being a potential recruitment tool, ambient audio, songs sticking in your head due to hours with them, orchestral soundtrack, inconsistent tone in voice performance, the large number of side characters, the unheroic death of Dorn, Rasaad's side quest in Baldur's Gate, the curse of Crenshinibon, the manual and tutorialization, brain-twisting THAC0, what editions/settings we're playing online, what designers leave to the player's imagination, cutting away from cutscenes, many uses of narrative design, audio logs, environmental storytelling, having the opportunity to sit with a story space in video games, how the numbers and pattern recognition lead to player stories, level caps in games, needing the cap for production reasons, needing the cap for design reasons, level caps and player goals, retiring in a tabletop game, modding in side management games into big RPGs.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: The Dungeon Run, Critical Role, Star Wars, Eye of the Beholder, Darkstone, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale, Black Isle, Birthright, Trading Places, Vampire: the Masquerade, R. A. Salvatore, World of Warcraft, Michael Hoenig, Charles Deenen, Craig Duman, Interplay, Wayne Cline, Hal Barwood, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Michael Dorn, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Grant, Winnie the Pooh, Darkwing Duck, Jim Sterling, Jennifer Hale, Kevin Brown, Champions, Call of Cthulhu, Paranoia, Wizards of the Coast, Rime of the Frostmaiden, Roll20, Greyhawk, The Shackled City, Zimmy Fingers, Bioshock, Fallout 3, Bethesda Game Studios, Pillars of Eternity, Obsidian, Diablo, Elder Scrolls (series), Cosmic Funkonaut, Grace Blessey, Hitman (series), Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time (two weeks!):
Finish the Game

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

Feb 17, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Baldur's Gate. We talk about racing through versus following multiple sidequests, about tactical battling, and about the huge variance in verb sets for different party members, amongst other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Chapters Two and Three

Podcast breakdown:
0:57 Baldur's Gate
1:02:11 Break
1:02:43 Feedback

Issues covered: meeting Drizz't, chasing side quests and not knowing where to go, balancing with side content, the hidden cost of racing through, replaying battles, dynamic difficulty, JRPGs vs western RPGs for grinding XP, low XP rewards, getting too much data, potential fixes for allowing multiple styles of play, giving the player points to spend, discussing XP accrual when you choose not to level up, milestone-based leveling, giving the player options, enjoying the tactical battles, wanting more clarity as in an action point system, the blessings of the Random Number Gods, multiple whiffs, old manuals, quest scripts ending and dropping into systemic play, QA and ISV, the possible ways in which different departments could have been responsible for a bug, a digression into multiclass vs character with two classes (and its interplay with race), the wide gap between verbs for different archetypes, verbs not represented in this game, the huge change to go to 3rd-5th and have skills, adding class abilities, discretely placed content vs curated content, finding the very specifically placed items that feel like tabletop, the possibility for an ecology, building tension without combat, introducing players to game worlds, timed quests, thinking hard about when to initiate timed quests, time and failure, time being an important element in your game.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Temple of Elemental Evil, JFK, Elder Scrolls (series), World of Warcraft, Super Metroid, Ocarina of Time, Path of Exile, Fallout (series), X-COM, Calamity Nolan, Ray Muzyka, GURPS, Diablo, Dragon Age (series), Divinity: Original Sin, Ashton Herrmann, Ultima VI, Dan Hunter, Vampire: the Masquerade, Brian Mitsoda, Aliens, DOOM (1993), Warren Linam-Church, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Chapters Four and Five

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

Feb 3, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series about Baldur's Gate, the 1998 CRPG from BioWare that revitalized the genre. We situate the game in time, talk about BioWare as a company, and then turn to a lot of Dungeons & Dragons nerdery. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Chapter 1

Issues covered: explaining Brett's intro, flashbacks, 1998: a great year in games, the setting, 2nd edition AD&D, founding BioWare and "the doctors," different flavors of CRPGs, how the backgrounds hold up, feeling like your way through an explorable world, talking a little bit about methodical combat, hiding some of the complexity of combat scheduling, the varieties of turn-based combat, how they might have gotten to the combat, how we're using combat, scripted AI characters, the (new?) tutorial, THAC0 explained, table-driven combat and war-games, discussing the difficulty levels in this and the other games, having to reload, statistical difficulty vs statistical gentleness, player expectations in early D&D modules, leaning more towards role-playing, BioWare and dialogue/ethics systems, mixing in other genre elements, evolving towards loyalty quests, feeling like the tabletop, having all the text, party members not meshing, changing perspective, being banned from Candlekeep, classic characters, death of a dad figure, reinforcing the main quest, building up a party, multi-classing vs two classes, potential party members, kicking party members out for roleplaying reasons, letting characters die, characters not interacting well, including VO, VO and character, needing to gather a party before venturing forth, playing evil characters, the affect of game-making on mood, animating the deaths of children, abstraction and craft, having to deliver, project rhythms, sense of flow, playing "right" vs efficiently, incentivizing the player, intrinsic vs extrinsic rewards, achievements as a psychological motivator.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Planescape: Torment, Dungeons & Dragons, LoZ: Ocarina of Time, BioWare, Shattered Steel, Half-Life, Metal Gear Solid, Grim Fandango, Resident Evil 2, Starcraft, Unreal, Thief: The Dark Project, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six, Xenogears, Tales from the Sword Coast, Icewind Dale (series), Forgotten Realms, Wizards of the Coast, TSR, Magic: the Gathering, Hasbro, Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuk, EA, Mass Effect (series), Dragon Age (series), Diablo, Blizzard, Fallout (series), Black Isle, Obsidian Entertainment, inXile Entertainment, David Brevik, Temple of Elemental Evil, GDC, GURPS, Shadowrun, Storyteller, Call of Cthulhu, Dark Souls, Cyberpunk 2077, "etcetera,etcetera," Sam, Lani Lum, Nintendo, Tomb Raider, Bethesda Game Studios, Pete Hines, Starfighter (series), Republic Commando, Soren Johnson, Michael, Halo, The Witness, Assassin's Creed: Origins, Chris Hecker, Christian Bale, Hitman, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Through Chapter 3

Errata:
Apparently, Shattered Steel was *not* a Windows 95 title. We regret the error.

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

Jan 27, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we look back on the podcast year of 2020 (because we'd like never to think about the year in general ever again). We talk over our takeways, largely drawn from our interviews but also bringing in themes from the games we played. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: Tim's non-trip, COVID/US tragedies, playing a bunch of sims, every day is problems, better people means better problems, getting a lot out of making yourself play games deeply, being in school/structure, listening to the series you're interested in, how we approach our takeaways, games with holistic merging of aesthetics/dynamics/mechanics, "done is not the same as good," "wouldn't it be great if," production as a tax, the cube and the stickers, putting the aesthetics together with the mechanics, the questions Nintendo ask themselves, making the mundane into a fun source of game design and delightful experience, applying the filter of interactive design over anything, simulating the arc of a TV episode, music and audio, how the audio sells the experience, the difference between visual and audio when it's missing, the difficulty in talking about audio, building the AI for a Civ game, focusing on the player experience, the anti-pheromone pathfinding algorithm, filling in the gaps, the stories that come out of simulation games, Brett's ongoing relationship with Bertha, characters who have their own lives vs being the chosen one, identifying with the main character, a SWRC Easter egg, our next game, Infinity Engine.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Chrono Trigger, Ocarina of Time, Republic Commando, Nintendo, World of Warcraft, Serial, Phoenix Wright, Civ III, Jeff Morris, Sid Meier, Soren Johnson, Populous, Glenn Corpes, Rubik's Cube/Erno Rubik, Peter Molyneux, Lani Lum, Halo 5, Animal Crossing, Brian Mitsoda, Aaron Brown, Brian Reynolds, Johnny Pockets, Assassin's Creed: Origins, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, Nintendo Power, Counterstrike, Cody Harlin, David Collins, Starfighter (series), Dungeons & Dragons, Baldur's Gate (series), Larian Studios, BioWare, Pool of Radiance, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale, Spelljammer, Hitman (2016 series), Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Baldur's Gate: Through Ch 1

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

Jan 20, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we air our December interview with Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines writer/designer Brian Mitsoda. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:48 Interview
1:11:02 Break
1:11:34 Outro

Issues covered: wanting to start in screenwriting, playing a game that gets its hooks in you, overdressing for the interview, the low bar to QA entry, starting out testing RPGs, "don't crunch, kids," a game cancellation, the OC style, branching dialog, being given a lot of leeway, including mature language, generalizing across level design vs writing vs narrative design, two designers, bringing hubs to life with supporting characters, working to get the Ocean House scary, funneling the player subtly, the importance of audio to horror, sticking to your guns about keeping combat out, a necessary density, representing Santa Monica, thinking about who lives in a location, satisfying player expectations and wish fulfillment, filling in gaps and fixing things yourself, domain protection, not needing permission, balancing input and ownership, keeping the game in your head, a lived-in quality, how to branch effectively, focusing on player intent, the difference between writing and narrative design, 24 ways to say "ow," helping to design and build tools, guiding the experience, maintaining cohesion, how writing is delivered, prepping to work with a license, managing experienced players' expectations, bringing in players as a new vampire, avoiding a Chosen One story, thinking of clans as a mod, feeling important and unplanned delights, reskinning the game for Malkavians, thinking of characters as having lives that are interrupted by the player (not waiting for the player), overlap with theater.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Icewind Dale, Messiah, Interplay, Troika Entertainment, Obsidian Entertainment, Alpha Protocol, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Double Bear Entertainment, Dead State, Panic at Multiverse High, Bloodlines 2, Fallout, Black Isle Entertainment, Invictus, TORN, Planescape: Torment, Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, The Writer Will Do Something, Matthew Burns, Tom Bissell, Universal Studios, TJ Perillo, Chad Moore, Jason Anderson, Ubisoft, Dungeons & Dragons, Halo, Half-Life 2, LucasArts, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Annual Takeaway Show!

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

Jan 13, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we explore Ocarina of Time a bit more through an interview with industry Executive Producer Lani Lum. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:48 Interview
1:07:25 Break
1:07:54 Feedback

Issues covered: nerd markings, "why are you studying anthropology?", drawing the short straw, transferring into production, unsung heroes, "this is a game about a girl?", video games being marketed towards boys, still waiting on a female protagonist, making programming a male job, art becoming specific with graphical power, a female arm for CounterStrike, opening doors, a less linear feeling game, the comfort of early childhood encounters, a game you can trust, room for so much debate, rolling onto Hyrule Field and the model, revelatory moments, struggling with camera control, overcoming the feeling of size, introducing the game to a new generation, listening to the music in your life, the difficulty of looking back, "I don't think I'll ever play a more perfect game," the sense of discovery, context-sensitive controls (and a modern version), "games will never be the same after this," two kinds of people: those who care about the timeline and normal people, the possibility Link turns into a skeleton, Brett the Heartless, Tim the teary-eyed, using the Triforce to hop the line, innocence and lack of cynicism, asking yourself the right questions, being honest with what we're doing, using influence rather than control, mapping the pieces of the triforce to game development, the perspective of the Triforce in different games, Tim swayed by passion, the complexity and expectations of Flight Simulator, Flight Simulator in VR, shipping while working from home during a pandemic with a nine hour time difference, the importance of representation and the mishandling, family focus, transferring into your adult self as wish fulfillment, the timing of recording and recent events, the cautionary tale of becoming an adult, motion capture and Ocarina, inverse kinematics in games, skipping the game play, we've gotten away from feeling we have to force people to play a particular way, if the game is claiming to be good at a thing it should be compelling enough that people want to play it, free-to-play and intrinsic interest, the value proposition, games in school.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Turok, Threewave Software, Aion, NCSoft, Microsoft, 343 Studios, Halo (series), Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Counterstrike, Republic Commando, NES, The Karate Kid, Indiana Jones, Gamecube, Harry Potter, Breath of the Wild, N64, Minecraft, Koji Kondo, Roblox, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart Double Dash, Kingdom Hearts, Shigeru Miyamoto, Starfighter (series), TIE Fighter, Super Metroid, Wii, Nintendo Switch, Dungeons and Dragons, mysterydip, Drew, Freaky Friday, big, 18 Again, Jennifer Garner, Elizabeth McGovern, Elizabeth Perkins, Moon, Duncan Jones, Kevin Spacey, Michael Justice, Tomb Raider, Majora's Mask, Shadow of the Colossus, League of Legends, Sam, Math Munchers, Oregon Trail, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, Lemonade Stand, Robot Wars, Manhole, Ken and Roberta Williams, Wizard and the Princess, Mystery House, Rogue, Sierra, Hitman, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Another Interview!

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

Jan 6, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we conclude our series on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We talk takeaways and then catch up on our feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:50 Takeaways
48:18 Break
48:45 Feedback

Issues covered: the Master Quest version of the game, the 3DS version, transitioning to 3D, coming up with mechanics to answer new questions, the evolution of block puzzles, the wow I'm a genius moment, object-oriented quest design/chunky progress, list-based vs tangibility in quests, gating in different designs, "true adventure" and sense of space, tricking the player into how big a space is, a richer space and a sense of adventure, overlaying side quests everywhere, the keys that aren't keys, the ocarina key-ring, tying the colors of ocarina songs, the music, looking at the manual, Brett's Book Recommendation, jumping the Lon-Lon Ranch fence, critical path objects that don't appear on the critical path, challenges you set for yourself, missable/skippable things, it's our podcast and we can do what we want to, giving the player options, allowing player expression, Tim talks streaming, rumors of secrets,

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Mark Garcia, Tomb Raider, Breath of the Wild, Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind, Jeff Browne, Shigeru Miyamoto, Eternal Darkness, Brad Furminger, Mario (series), Koji Kondo, Kirk Hamilton, Strong Songs Podcast, Earthbound, Bone Houses, Emily Lloyd-Jones, Roel, Guy Morgan/notmyviews, Darksiders, Vigil Games, Gunfire Games, Starfighter (series), Tim, Full Throttle 2, Hitman (series), Game Maker's Toolkit, Voltron, ElfQuest, Atari 2600, Mortal Kombat, Streetfighter II, Ed Boon, Adventure (Atari 2600), Warren Robinett, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
An interview!

Links:
How Zelda's Puzzle Box Dungeons Work


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

Dec 30, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We talk about a lot of side quests and then turn to the end of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the Game!

Issues covered: playing games too fast, the tension of verbs and shortcuts, loss of discoverability, taking note of where things are (or not), where to find remaining skulltulas, feeling like you are in a place and finding everything, wanting to live in the world, knowing where things are, feeling like an epic adventure, translating the epic from 2D, knowing the gravekeeper (you know, to talk to), emulating a game vs emulating a movie, simulating a world vs simulating empty places for adventure, Nintendo's approach to an RPG, a series of rooms that test everything you can do, rewards that are less useful, the final exam, lending the character to the Gerudos, realizing what the mask of truth was for, using it on many... many stones, side content in Ubisoft games, overly systematizing side content, other ways of making open world content unique, finding the Biggoron quest and being pushed everywhere, goofy gossip stones, localization and the gossip stones, the one room which challenged us both, losing a tunic, Tim has more horse teeth, having duplicate items where only one is the path forward, climbing the tower with increasingly louder organ music, the final Ganondorf fight, the pain point this boss could be, a timed escort escape, the climactic building coming down, a building settling into an arena, "that's not a knife.... this is a knife," Wisdom keeping Power in check so Courage can deliver the blow, damsels and unnamed archetypes, cursing one's descendants, seeing all the characters again, seeing the locations again, joining up the characters again, ongoing series, end of year episode.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Final Fantasy IX, Mark Sean Garcia, Final Fantasy X, Kingdom Hearts (series), Witcher 3, Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones (films), Mario (series), Square, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Ubisoft, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, Bethesda Game Studios, The Elder Scrolls (series), Fallout (series), Horizon: Zero Dawn, Uncharted 2, Crocodile Dundee, Age of Calamity, Hyrule Warriors, Return of the Jedi, Earthbound, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario 64, Link to the Past, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Fumito Ueda, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Takeaways and a bunch of feedback

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

Dec 23, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We talk about the ability to play things out of order and the precursor dungeons and temples of this section of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
through the Spirit Temple

Issues covered: the possibility for going out of order to dungeons, being able to get all the tools, how to speedrun this, not being sure about what map stuff means, being stumped by side quests, watching Tim Schafer beat the boss, visiting the Gerudo area as a child, being confused by the carpenters, only knowing when you have done a thing, Brett gives a hint, the 3D representation adding a level of epic feel, reproducing progress in the save file, seeing the beginnings of lots of 3D adventure and puzzle tropes, the potential influence of Tomb Raider, teaching you how to think with the Lens of Truth, not enjoying the magic drain of the Lens, making you think about other tools when you run out of a resource, finding the third magic, wondering how to thaw the Zora domain, the well and the connection to the Shadow Temple, the stencil effect of the Lens of Truth, performance on the N64, using knowledge of your inventory to know whether you need to approach as a child or an adult, having more keys that aren't keys, discussing the longshot vs the arrows and timing, the difficulties of the Phantom Bongo Bongo, the design of the witch beams, fighting the Z-targeting, seeing how much of the formula they got right here, preferred length of dungeon vs shrines and temples, the OCD nightmare, being able to re-enter a space from multiple directions, missing the set piece centrality of a hub in first-person design, a fine review, wild connections between this and the preceding games in feedback, who is Impa in Breath of the Wild, transcending lore nonsense, specificity with myth and fireside stories, a present for the listeners.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Tim Schafer, Grim Fandango, Breath of the Wild, Link to the Past, Tomb Raider, PlayStation, Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot, The Witcher 3, JJ Abrams, Silicon Graphics, Starfighter, Twilight Princess, Wind Waker, Skyward Sword, irreverentQ, Link Between Worlds, Uncharted, John Romero, SIGIL, DOOM (1993), Far Cry, Dishonored, Pokemon, tylenardo, Billy/The2ndQuest, Toy Story, Jim Henson, The Christmas Toy, Star Wars, How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps, Age of Calamity, Mark Garcia, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Links:
Ocarina TV ad

Twilight Princess trailer

Next time:
Finish the Game!

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

Dec 16, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We dive into the Water Temple (see what I did there?) as well as elaborating more about some topics we touched on last time. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the Water Temple

Issues covered: what Tim means when he talks about Hyrule Field, lack of prior art for 3D hub and spoke, the beginnings of an open world, sight lines for blocking and enticing, breaking the prior structures, physically representing the choice space of macro decisions, looking at a level in a tool to get a sense of scale, getting different perspectives, seeing the DNA of 3D Zelda, getting a sense of a space, a return to Goron City, revisiting areas with new tools, stealing object-oriented quest design, filling in the slots and a sense of accomplishment, gaining levels or using an economy for reward, hybrid systems, allowing for player choice, renting tools in later versions, getting to Breath of the Wild and having all tools fairly early, not caring about remaining progression stuff, what happened to Jabbu-Jabbu?, dabbling with buoyancy and friction on the ice, having a tool that's only useful in one dungeon/Domain, having to give up something in a bottle, having a need for that analog stick, having to make decisions about how you'll use a container, concretizing the abstract, an area of effect key, how they devised their rules, Navi's... cryptic hint, using stores as a clue mechanism, a usability feature, replacing lost items, how many hearts Dark Link have, a camera problem with the Forest Temple boss, taking off the boots as soon as you get in the temple, the water level as a state you can change many times, the floating platforms as an item of interest, hookshot anchors, the potential influence of Tomb Raider and The Cistern, a quick aside on which versions we're playing, the creepy reveal of Dark Link, how we each defeated that boss, the evolution of wearables as also bindable in the future, upgrading a tool instead, making it clearer that you need another means of solving a puzzle, the cold hard truth about fishing games, variant gameplay should be easy, a preference for Tim's explanation for all the Legends of Zelda.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dark Souls, Demon's Souls, Super Mario 64, Disney World, LucasArts, N64, Shadows of the Empire, Dark Forces, Rogue Squadron, DOOM (1993), TIE Fighter, World of Warcraft, Republic Commando, Dave Collins, Jesse Harlin, GTA III, Metroid, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Troy Mashburn, Arkham (series), Link Between Worlds, Skyward Sword, Kingdom Hearts, Diablo, Path of Exile, Torchlight II, Tomb Raider, 3DS, Chrono Trigger, Milo Kent, Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, Okami, Jak and Daxter, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Link to the Past, Switch, Dungeons & Dragons, Sam Thomas, Brian David Gilbert, Polygon, Halo, Vlad, Kirk Hamilton, Strong Songs, Ultima Underworld, Final Fantasy, Aaron Evers.

Links:
Brian David Gilbert's total Hyrule timeline

Next time:
The next two Temples

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

Dec 9, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We talk a lot about cluing direction, small keys, and the two dungeons we played. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the Fire Temple!

Issues covered: what brings out the email, developing a relationship with Sheik, having trouble figuring out how to go back and forth in time, getting stuck in the Goron City, weird cluing, the lingering effects of a critical path mini-game, not knowing there's a verb in the graveyard, the inconsistency of the grab/pull verb, signalling critical path via text, the expanding set of verbs and the expanding amount of space they can be used in, "horse teeth," where your head goes when the puzzle logic is vague, stumbling upon a critical key and not knowing that's what it was, trying to figure out the what the key is from the shape of the lock, discussing where the bottles are, the multiplicative effective of verbs, wondering about whether the time change is critical path, world changes, psychological safety in world changes, big bang for buck, good camera trickery in the Forest Temple, making you believe more is going on than really is, "Object-Oriented Quests," quest status screen and the objects on it, abstract pegs on a board, strong work through theming, lack of copyright over game mechanics, making an RPG without a quest log, not usually being able to add UI elements indefinitely, keeping the same formula and iterating it and pushing it, feeling unsettled by small keys in the Forest Temple, wanting more clarity from key linearity, the interchangeability of the small keys, directing the player attention via a side goal, wanting specific keys, the fact that keys are not shared between dungeons, the impact of age, the Headless Horseman feel of the Phantom Ganondorf, timing and attacking/returning an attack, being misclued by Navi in combat, needing to worry about magic (or not), a serpent-style dragon, having a routine before attempting a boss, music in these two dungeons, revisiting the fishing game when Link is an adult, how different people bounce off different challenges, teaching players to throw the bomb, updating the contextual button text, overworld sparseness, the performance choices in 3D overworlds, the tiling rendering being the same as being in a level in 2D Zeldas, changing pace with Hyrule Field.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: SNES, N64, Day of the Tentacle, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine (obliquely), Tomb Raider, Super Mario (series), DOOM (1993), Spelunky, Final Fantasy (series), Drew, Mark Garcia, Walker, Chris Hecker, Rubik's Cube, LucasArts, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Two More Dungeons!

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

Dec 2, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We look at some of the snags around the Zora domain as well as its main dungeon, chat about mechanic literalization, and then Tim explodes a Lore Bomb. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Until becoming the Hero of Time

Issues covered: the undercurrent of masculine tropiness, the canonical relationship between Ruta and Link, not loving the Zora section, ignoring the critical path minigame, solving a puzzle in different ways, running around for an hour because of presentation, experience with the series hampering you, the usability problem presented by longevity, Tim connects the dots for Brett, not wanting to enter the Lost Woods, looking for another way to get a fish, not having the Rumble Pack, showcasing the rumble add-on, an elaborate fishing mini-game, the Game Cast 'Cast, whether or not the message in the bottle is misplaced, resolution changes between N64 and GameCube versions, bottles on the critical path, being misleading, the multiple uses for bottles, telling a parent when you're asked not to, getting sucked into the giant fish, watching the king scooch over, circuitous routes to map locations, difficulty with cause and effect and timing, lack of clarity with affordances, not knowing the distance you can throw Ruta, introducing a new element, another level inside a body, the ability to do organic stuff in textures, the mini-boss room, an unnecessary difficulty spike, the easier multi-stage boss with tentacles, failing mini-games and not wanting to repeat them, literalizing mechanics, upgrading without experience points, korok seeds in Breath of the Wild as a similar literalized mechanic, using the primary verbs to collect, the cutscene with Zelda and Sheik and Ganondorf, getting the Ocarina of Time, the Lore Bomb about the origin story of Ganon, overexplaining the lore, supporting differently abled gamers, bringing Zelda mechanics into musou games.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Big, Dark Souls, GameCube/Wii, Chris Hecker, World of Warcraft, Nintendo 64, Tomb Raider, System Shock 2, Thief, Pinocchio, Kingdom Hearts, Breath of the Wild, Far Cry 2, Assassin's Creed (series), Homer, Star Wars, future_Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs (obliquely), Death Stranding, Metal Gear Solid (series), Johnny Pockets, Left 4 Dead 2, Sony, Microsoft, Valve, Age of Calamity, irreverentQ/Nolan Filter, Dynasty Warriors, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Next two dungeons!

Links:
Blind Gamer Beats Ocarina of Time

Interview with that Gamer

Another Blind Gamer who Beat OoT

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

Nov 25, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We talk a bunch about mechanics big and small in this one, focusing on things that come up through the first dungeon as well as some audio chat and themes of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Death Mountain

Issues covered: adorable Gorons, audio hardware, voice emotes, the unappreciated half of an audiovisual medium, memory cost of voiceover, ambient dungeon music, hearing Saria's Song near the entrance to the Lost Woods, using stereo music to guide you through the woods, being able to map out the Lost Woods (rather than randomization), the opportunity to get stuck, getting a hint from the King's guard, modern design vs two decades ago, many people having one thing to say, seeing a 2D representation of a ruin moved to 3D, games keeping track of things, inspiring creativity in the music through a constraint, limiting to five notes, unifying all the game music, not needing to chord up the buttons, using the Ocarina as a key, holistically integrating time into the play and leveraging it for production, the safety in mechanical and replenishing dungeons, being able to retry a room by resetting it, learning to use the tools, locking down milestones, the ease of returning to places, the repeatability of Dark Souls, the progression of the bomb mechanics, teasing that things will be available to you, the tradition of level design at Nintendo (Lost Woods in Breath of the Wild), modernization of Nintendo design (and the critical sphere), a new generation of level designers, the King Dodongo reveal, accentuating the relative size of Link, searching for gold Skulltulas, getting all the Korok seeds in Breath of the Wild, stealth mechanics, the mechanics of the shield, naming things, having a use even for a weaker shield, lighting things on fire in Zelda games, torches as an indication of adventure, Goron dancing, moving around, centering the camera, lock-on targeting, using target switching to do your next attack, care and feeding of your controls, Switch joycon drift, a note of thanks, weird to do a podcast for so long, still learning, applying the tools.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: SNES, N64, Super Mario 64, Dark Souls, Breath of the Wild, Shigeru Miyamoto, Metal Gear Solid, Dungeons & Dragons, The Dungeon Run, Majora's Mask, Zimmy Finger, Valve, Discworld (series of novels), Batman: Arkham Knight, Mark of Kri, "Drew," Joystick Butter et al, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Becoming the Hero of Time

Links:
Valve's Dev Note

Iwata Asks

Joystick Butter

Tribute 64

Steel Sticks

Retro-Tink 2x Pro

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

Nov 18, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on one of the highest-rated games of all time, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We of course first situate the game in time, but especially start the discussion by talking about how ground-breaking and revolutionary it felt at the time. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through meeting Princess Zelda

Podcast breakdown:
0:50 Ocarina
1:01:05 Break
1:01:40 Feedback

Issues covered: a man without a fairy, the antithesis of our last game, not being sure where we stopped, a surprising discovery, "I'm Mr. Rhythm," 1998 in games, release days in stores, seeing the character in 3rd person, a large team for time, the 64DD expansion, a mind-blowing impact, amazingly well-received, the revelatory step to 3D in this game, two giant cratering events in the year, approach of a Mario vs a Zelda in terms of problem space, cinematic choices, artful cinematics in-engine, stepping into the world and all the world-building, Nintendo and finding ways to present innovation, introducing a controller with Super Mario 64, creating characters that represent a mechanic, Navi & Lakitu & Wii Fit Trainer, helping people surmount the 3D barrier, the Fairy Navigation System, having to find the sword, near-perfection, a sense of ease and trust, being led to the places where you need to go, changing the world in ways that recontextualize the space, the timer of fire, one of the best introductory dungeons of all time, knowing you're doing the right thing, a weird choice with the Lost Woods, the quality of the moment of waking up, animation to show quality, getting a lot out of limited facial expressivity, using cinematic language to establish emotional tenors, texture changes to convey ageing, limited tools in 3D, music interactions, leading up to a boss, presenting you with a 3D way of thinking of past/2D Zelda dungeon construction, wondering how they iterated on the level design, why it's hard to talk about our more recent games, discussing some other weird differences in play between our games of Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines, an unanswered question about VtM.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Vampire the Masquerade, Nintendo 64, Troy Mashburn (obliquely), Starfighter (series), Full Throttle 2, Jake Stephens, Wind Waker, GameCube, Wii, Metal Gear Solid, Half-Life, Thief, Grim Fandango, Banjo Kazooie, Xbox One, Crash Bandicoot, PlayStation, Xenogears, Suikoden II, Resident Evil 2, Fallout 2, Baldur's Gate, Unreal, Starcraft, Starsiege: Tribes, Falcon 4.0, Rogue Squadron, Shigeru Miyamoto, Eiji Aounuma, Yoshiaki Koizumi, Link to the Past, Koji Kondo, Mario 64, Link's Awakening, GameBoy, LucasArts, Shadows of the Empire, Wayne Cline, Hal Barwood, Tim Schafer, Psychonauts, Jon Knowles, Forza (series), Bill Tiller, SCUMM, Breath of the Wild, Wii Sports, Monkey Island (obliquely), Twilight Princess, Bethesda Game Studios, Dungeons & Dragons, Final Fantasy (series), Kingdom Hearts (series), Blarg42, nambulous, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Through Death Mountain

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

Nov 11, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we finish our series on Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. We talk about Chinatown, the end of the game, boss design, and then turn to our takeaways! Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the game

Podcast breakdown:
0:52 VtM: Bloodlines
1:01:03 Break
1:01:44 Takeaways

Issues covered: the use of voiceover in RPGs at the time, the whole game Maguffin, some remaining events in Chinatown, confronting the Mandarin, referencing the G-Man, Brett's dancing werewolf at the Luckee Star, the linearity of Chinatown, development and cutting late in the game, the connectivity of the macroworld, Brett misses a shark boss, being violation free, the threat of losing to a violation, having more vampire hunters in the world due to violations, having more and more abilities but narrowing the actual game options (to combat), being unable to talk people out of combat, feeling like there should be no-combat options, lacking intrigue options, wanting a nemesis system, the difficulty of endings, having trouble reading the Ming Xiao boss fight, an unbalanced fight, exploits, circularity with the cabbie and Smilin' Jack and character creation, maybe meeting Caine, a poetic and humorous ending, the other endings, spending a bunch of points at the end, interconnected level design, fitting your fanbase/drawing on your license, providing distinct experiences for your first-person RPG, world-building, "best of" inclusion, genre-busting, having to fully support combat to include it, Brett's Book Recommendation.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Half-Life, Kevin Mitnick, Wargames, Maximilian Schreck, Nosferatu, Bill Gates, Arcanum, Kill Bill, Dishonored (series), Prey, Shadow of Mordor (implicitly), Mafia III, Deus Ex, Obsidian, Interplay, Jabberjaw, Street Sharks, Suicide Squad (comic), Fallout 3, Skyrim, The Stand, Sandman, The Matrix, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Fallout, Anne Rice, Tom Cruise, Twilight (series), Stephanie Meyer, Dracula, True Blood, White Wolf, Cyberpunk 2077, LucasArts, The Vampire Tapestry, Suzy McKee Charnas, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Either an interview or our next game

Errata:
Brett said The Shining when he meant The Stand, and Tim said The Corsican when he meant The Corinthian. We regret the errors.

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

Nov 4, 2020

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.

Sections played:
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.

Next time:
Finish the game!

Errata:
It's called "Little Lamplight," and its denizens are "Little Lamplighter."
That other rose-colored glasses vampire is probably a Toreador.

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

Oct 28, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. This week we talk a bit about how we're playing the game, what that suggests about its design, and continue to delve into all this vampire mythos. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through Hollywood

Podcast breakdown:
0:50 VtM: Bloodlines
57:41 Break
58:12 Feedback

Issues covered: how we get from area to area, the Nosferatu primogen... Gary, sect and clan, getting to meet Grout (or not), meeting our first vampire hunter, playing to the tabletop fanbase, integrating the worldbuilding and servicing fans, getting caught up in the machinations, building a power base, sending the player back and forth between hubs, having dialog options that tie into the politics, feeling like a double agent, Nosferatu as the Shadow Broker, misreading Malkavian cues, including Tzimisce and whatever Pishi is, having a number of trope locations, good connections between locations and storylines, being able to rely on a quest log, needing to take notes, missing a codex, a narrative quest log presented in a more mechanical way, having difficulty remembering who or where a character is, lack of a player-focused map, wanting a little more direction at times, telegraphing and inconsistency, the affordances of GMs/DMs and adapting tabletop RPGs, more of an action game and an adventure game, testing spending upgrade points, dialog supporting the RPGs, needing to support things as augmenting the storylines, their first 3D game, lack of levels, the combat not delivering XP, having difficulty reading the cameras, leveling obfuscation, choosing melee over guns, audience expectations around combat for RPGs and particularly modern-set RPGs, sum of parts/grotty fish stew, maintaining the Masquerade, increasing your stealth so high that you can get closer to things, whose hand you're playing into, appreciating the many scary locations, having to hit the right level of pastiche, someone asking me not to sing a singing review, indirect control games, the rhythm of conflict, direct vs indirect control in Populous, limitations of controls, MOBAs, iteration in AAA: sprints vs longer prototypes, gating iteration, the difficulties of high fidelity, iterating a big feature in Skyrim, how milestones change late in development, working on an intellectual property you love, the difference in feeling of playing each clan type, solo character RPGs being the big difference, how you're reined in to have the game be buildable, choices around women.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dracula/Drakthar, Dungeons & Dragons, Fallout (series), Mass Effect, The Shining, Silent Hill, The Witcher 3, Shenmue, Hitman (series), Half-Life, Troika, Bethesda Game Studios, Crimson Peak, Bioshock, Thief, Dishonored 2, Resident Evil, Maas Neotek Proto, Podcast Addict, Spodboy, Jon Cheatham, Giant Beastcast, AwwwwwYeeeaahhh, Populous, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, John Webb, SNES, Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, Glenn Corpes, Warren Linam-Church, SW: Republic Commando, John Romero, Skyrim, Todd Howard, Dagur Danielsson, CCP Games, Dragon Age (series), Deus Ex, Kingdom Hearts, Chinatown, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Up through Chinatown

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

Oct 14, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, from 2004. We talk especially about level and design density and the world structure, as well as tidbits of our playthroughs and of course, our names! Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Downtown

Issues covered: picking your character's name, insane vampires, the disposition of White Wolf, jokes that are timeless or not, having special abilities in dialog, how many clans there are, the way Malkavians speak, why you might play this game multiple times, level and design density in Santa Monica, quest and interaction density and opportunities in the world, staying on top of the side quests for XP, sprawl in 2D RPGs, knowing who to talk to, width rather than depth, discrete-ness of locations in other RPGs vs high degrees of interconnectedness, doors in video games, density of opportunity, limited depth of systems, lack of soft failure, sum of parts/grotty fish stew, inherent limitations of CRPGs vs tabletops, being able to take over a guard's mind, taking a cab to downtown vs having to use the sewers, how a cutscene had to be built, when it is safe to feed, combat and bosses pushed, checking out the license plates, computers in the game, the "aesthetic," the generational challenge, threading the needle of a particular vibe, doubling down on being the "adult RPG," cyberpunk and Cyberpunk, marketing/authoring missteps, cyberpunk's moment and playing a role at a time, timeless ideas and settings vs narrower ones, talking through things with people, how good the faces look, really good voice acting, the split personality sisters as an example of something that doesn't play well, handling women poorly, scummy characters, being scared by atmospherics, good camera shake in 2004, the quality of the Ocean Hotel, failing or not failing a quest, liking to feel smart, meeting Bertie Tung, enjoying the warehouse (or not), giving an old woman a heart attack, each player having their own high points, expectations of dialog vs systems, spending a lot of time reading, new areas on the website, the timeline, how long games are, being into MMOs, talking yourself into playing the game again, fine control in character creation, vectors for narrative, setting the scene with the question-based character creator, working around the limitations of being a Nosferatu (as a designer), having to pay attention to the dialogue.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Enola Holmes, White Wolf Publishing, CCP, Onyx Press, Paradox Interactive, Ian Watson, Vampire: The Requiem, Johnny Carson, Baldur's Gate (series), Wasteland 2, Planescape: Torment, GTA III, Deus Ex, Eidos Montreal, BioWare, Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls (series), Fallout 3, Rubik's Cube, Prey, Dishonored (series), Hitman (series), Ken Levine, Half-Life 2, Twilight, True Blood, Charlaine Harris, Leonard Boyarsky, Cyberpunk, The Witcher 3, William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Dungeons & Dragons, Robert Forster, Quentin Tarantino, Alien: Isolation, The Shining, Warren Spector, AwwwwwwYeahhhh, Conor, Final Fantasy IX, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Eternal Darkness, Johnny Grattan, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Glenn Corpes, Mikael, Ultima (series), Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Through Hollywood!

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

Oct 7, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we return to our annual tradition: a series on a horror-themed game. This year we look at 2004's Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, the last game from RPG developer Troika. We set the game in its time (and its crowded month) and talk about its license, how that compares with D&D in particular, and the opening moments of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Into Santa Monica

Issues covered: our interview with Glenn Corpes, 2004 and especially November of that year, stiff competition, shipping on an untested engine, what engine support one can expect, the costs of building your own engine, delays in engine/game development, shipping Steam at the same time, why Valve isn't more of an engine company, founding and fall of Troika, the studio's earlier games, the full implementation of D&D 3.5, save-scumming through a final battle, the consolidation of RPGs under Microsoft Game Studios, southern California game developers, a differing style of tabletop RPG, lesser emphasis on statistics, heavier melodrama with more role-play focus, politics and diplomacy, ending the world of White Wolf, a modern setting, vampires living among us, "classic" settings in D&D, Dark Sun/Eberron side settings, a question of being less timeless, tying into a very specific aesthetic and time and place, anti-heroic settings and edginess, the Storyteller System, mission goals for small numbers of XP rather than around skill uses and cleverness, cinematic combat in tabletop, focus on intrigue, Greyhawk/The Forgotten Realms, timelessness in settings, the White Wolf MMO, the options for character creation, multiple-choice questions, vampire clans/archetypes, dancing around what we were picking, ending as Nosferatu, vampires as an analogy for disease, being staked and stunned, a big world-building moment, Camarilla vs Sabbat, a theater of the undead, the niche nature of the World of Darkness, not necessarily wanting to pick a Nosferatu, possibly feeling like a different game based on clan, the horror of becoming like Tim, designing a question system for RPG character creation, tournament selection and classes, points-based questions and answers, attributes: physical/social/mental, abilities: talents/skills/knowledges, feats as combinations of attributes and abilities, vampire magic as disciplines, experience points as skill trees purchases, not being able to have it all, the high quality of Smiling Jack as a focus and as a world-builder, various skills to introduce, learning powers and having multiple tutorial paths based on clan, simple passive tutorializations, watching a loop of the TV or listening to the radio, how much we both love LA.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Glenn Corpes, Populous, Kotaku Splitscreen, LucasArts, KotOR 2, Doom 3, Fable, Sly 2, Spider-Man 2, Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Jak 3, Pikmin 2, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Beyond Divinity, Baldur's Gate 3, Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault, Everquest II, World of Warcraft, Half-Life 2, Halo 2, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Counterstrike (Source), Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, Bejewelled 2, Epic, Unreal, Valve, Respawn, id Software, Deus Ex, Troika, Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, Fallout (series), Interplay, Jason Anderson, Temple of Elemental Evil, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, Bethesda Game Studios, TES V: Skyrim, Andrew Meggs, Shadowrun, Dungeons & Dragons, Obsidian Entertainment, The Outer Worlds, inXile, Wasteland 2, Brian Fargo, The Bard's Tale, The Village of Hommlet, White Wolf, John Stafford, Crystal Dynamics, Call of Cthulhu, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion, Mummy: The Resurrection, Gary Gygax, Lord of the Rings, Anne Rice, Wizards of the Coast, Twilight (series), The Matrix, Ray Gresko, Richard Garfield, CCP, Ultima (series), What We Do in the Shadows, Nosferatu, System Shock 2, Ubisoft, Far Cry, Assassin's Creed, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Danny Trejo, Tom Cruise, Interview with the Vampire, AwwwwwYeeeaah, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Through Downtown

Note:
White Wolf Publishing became defunct in 2018. We were unaware, which may speak to its niche nature.

Errata:
Nosferatu was 1922 and it is Count Orlok. Count Orloff/Orlov is a figure in Russian history.

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

Sep 30, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we conclude our series on Populous with a special guest interview with Glenn Corpes, the original programmer who came up with a little generator for height maps that ended up launching a whole genre; we'll talk about that and tons of other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:45 Interview
1:18:41 Break
1:19:02 Next time

Issues covered: how Glenn got in, seeing a computer for the first time, being a computer operator, getting a job for your woodgrain, getting hired as an artist, porting a game without the code, winging it on things like collision detection, being unable to port something and casting about for something else, writing a level generator to avoid writing an editor, having to add the ability to raise and lower land, having the whole world with a pixel per cell, the game on top being all Peter's, working backwards from mouse coordinates, having the original disk, the potential for the landscape to rise up over the interface elements, updating the map every frame, limiting the use of the blitter, size of Bullfrog at the time, the musician/salesman, understanding the "metal-bashing aspect" or not, three man weeks of graphics, blocks vs sprites, one thing per square and no more than 256 total, managing character state, no pathfinding, map steps: the opposite of pheromones, buildings based on the flat space around, people as groups of people, the interaction of weapons multipliers and population, getting an explanation of what all the bars mean, the most significant digits, the strategy for managing population, the strategy for clearing land, a clarifying button on the SNES, near-launch title, sales and the UK Chart, multiplayer only until shortly before ship, communicating through a networked file, writing the game in 7 months, watching two AIs play each other, the ways in which AI difficulty is managed, reimplementing all the gameplay in two weeks, faking out the AI because it will always attack your oldest building, AI speed, responding to flood, the manna rules, going into a manna debt and paying it off, making inroads for the knights, stuck messages, adding a campaign two weeks from the end, having an accountant QA the game, the most difficult level of the game: Biloord, how to beat "Biloord: The Hardest Level in Populous," slowing the game vs arcade-ing it up, faking out a sphere, making the cube without the stickers, flat land as currency, synergy and serendipity, revolutionary gameplay from an unexpected place, last minute additions, fights on Populous: The Beginning, heretical choices in game development.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Bullfrog Productions, Magic Carpet, Dungeon Keeper, Syndicate, Lost Toys, Moho, Battle Engine Aquila, Kuju, EA, Weirdwood, 22 Cans, Edge, Topia, Fat Owl with a Jet Pack, Ground Effect, powARdup, Commodore PET, ZX-81, Sinclair, Telex, Amiga, Taurus, Peter Molyneux, DPaint, Druid 2: Enlightment, Gauntlet, Spectrum, Fusion, The Ultimate Database, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Alienate, Knight Lore, Spindizzy, Marble Madness, Dungeon Master, Ultima Underworld, Andrew Bailey, Dene Carter, Big Blue Box, Fable, Lionhead, Kevin Donkin, Powermonger, GDC, SNES, The Sentinel, The Promised Lands, LEGO, Black&White, Godus, Sean Cooper, Civilization, Alan Wright, Alex Trowers, Command & Conquer, Ernő Rubik/Rubik's Cube, X-COM, Wayne Frost, Julian Gollop, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, Leonard Boyarsky, Fallout, Tim Cain, The Outer Worlds, Obsidian, Microsoft, Dungeons & Dragons, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Vampire: the Masquerade: Bloodlines (up through.... some of Santa Monica)

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

Sep 23, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we talk about our Populous takeaways and then take a little bonus look at Populous: the Beginning, an RTS spinoff from the original games. We talk about how the game takes concepts from the originals and molds them into something new, before turning to feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A few missions

Podcast breakdown:
0:56 Takeaways and Populous: The Beginning
1:12:48 Break
1:13:20 Feedback

Issues covered: dreaming big, the one-sentence/high concept, buying on the box, the mindset you approach the game with now and at the time, creation vs destruction mechanics, your Old Testament gods, toys vs games academically, indirect control and influence, opacity of interface, being engaged even indirectly, board games as an influence, the interactions you have as a god, "when I get to mid-game, I flood the world," emergent strategy, simulated villagers, wanting the stories of how strategies developed internally, simulating a population, what are your choices for abstraction, the mystery of simulation, watching an ant colony, it's like the terrain itself was a character, Tim's troubles getting this game running, user-created solutions to get this thing running, forgetting to save, how the god of Populous ascended, borrowing from multiple tribal traditions, is a thing 3D or not, a rotable camera vs an isometric view, a level-designed game, limitations on raising and lowering land, getting a number of charges to raise land, directly controlling villagers to become warriors or to build and occupy buildings, your godlike powers, tech tree driven by level/macro design, having the RTS ruts, critical unit mass and rhythm, franchise pillars and what you bring with you, winged monsters, converting savages through your Shaman, converting units, a finite unit map, religion and colonization, a puzzle level, micro-management of units, seeing patrol paths, the costs of scale, being neither enough of an RTS nor enough of a Populous game, legacies, eye strain, hardening of the corneas, blue light blockers, perception of depth of field and focusing, ambient light, what do you tell a young person, organizing thoughts creatively, the benefits of a liberal arts education, communication as key life skill, doing the thing every day, game jams online and in person, Brett's Book Recommendation.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dungeons & Dragons, Bullfrog Productions, Lionhead, Peter Molyneux, SimCity, Civilization, Will Wright, The Walking Dead, Black & White, Ultima IV, Windows, Star Trek, Warcraft, Dune 2, Command & Conquer, Starcraft, Quake III Arena, Nintendo DS, Total Annihilation, EA, Haden Blackman, Paul Pierce, Tropico (series), Anno (series), Sam, Cody, Unreal, Unity, Blender, MGS 3: Snake Eater, Resident Evil 4, Mario 3, itch.io, Terry Pratchett, Discworld, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
An interview or possibly our Halloween-themed game

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

Sep 16, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on 1989's genre-defining Populous. We take a little more time with the game and then think about how and why and it might have hit so big at the time, in addition to considering its principal designer, Peter Molyneux. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Several more battles

Podcast breakdown:
0:50 Populous Discussion
51:30 Break
52:02 Feedback

Issues covered: Tim's new podcast, the thinness of the game, the systems present in the game, minimal surfacing, settlers and food and buildings, getting a feel for systems rather than directly understanding or showing them, finding a formula, reinforcing castles as good but it maybe leading to a poor dynamic, indirect control, being unable to stop them from making castles, weird ant farm thoughts, overclicking, building up to flood them, speed-land raising by the AI, flooding rather than swamping, the OCD clean-up dopamine, turning the tides, tit-for-tat strategies, a narrow tipping point for Brett, not knowing what to do about things, forgetting about the population bars, getting to flood conditions, being ready to do the thing at the right time, wanting to act on the enemy at exactly the right place, fighting on the borders, pinball wizardry, examining the "load-out" of the level set-up, the fun of playing genre-defining games, that Unique Selling Proposition, finding the big selling point, calcifying genres and breaking away, being not "another one of those," shooting an eye out from a mile away, Molyneux's unique talent, overselling his ideas, child-like enthusiasm, being a forcing function on development, going beyond the limits of what's possible, different approaches to how you push beyond preconceptions, console generation and caring less about new hardware, interesting games being interesting on any platform, an Ubisoft model, applying the specific game to every design, the value of working cheap, having the value of working with more interesting hardware, simulating lots of Little Computer People, how we build an image today, not being able to re-render the whole screen, getting to the interface they had, actually using all the screen to play, being confused about how it all works, runtime performance of PCs in the 1980s, the screenshot test, selling the experience not the visuals, severe technical constraints, switching from another industry, creative leadership in different industries, being willing to step down before stepping back up, the difficulty of going from peak to peak, leveraging your leadership/mentoring skills.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Northern Exposure, Voice of the Last Frontier, SimCity, GTA, Civ, Dungeon Keeper, Dominion, The Who, Thief, Ultima (series), Heroes of Might and Magic, Dave Perry, Shiny, MDK, Peter Molyneux, Syndicate, Bioshock, Shigeru Miyamoto, Pikmin, Roberta Williams, Space Quest/King's Quest, PS2, Ubisoft, Immortals: Fenyx Rising, Monster (energy drinks), Michel Ancel, Bullfrog, Populous: The Beginning, From Dust, Eric Chahi, Yannick from Germany, Maas Neotek, Amiga, John Romero, Benoit B. Mandelbrot, Apple ][, NES, MegaMan, The Legend of Zelda, Jonathan, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Note:
The Amiga was in fact 640x512, higher than I would have guessed! This would have been EGA/VGA depending on the machine on other PCs.

Next time:
A bit of Populous: The Beginning!

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

Sep 9, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on 1989's Bullfrog Productions hit and originator of the God Game genre, Populous. We talk about using the mouse in 1989 and dive into particular strategies and the surprising depth of the game, before turning to feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Another... 5? Levels

Issues covered: the tutorial just going on, restarting a conquest, having a false sense of security in the tutorial, generating more manna early in the tutorials, games being more keyboard-only at the time, evolving use of home computers for games, adventure games/text adventures and interfaces, figuring out the input interface, hard-to-use mouse input, the Taurus/Torus mix-up that gave us Bullfrog Productions, the PC platform space in 1989, RTS improvements to help navigate, keyboard controls, figuring things out on the second or third game, unanticipated phases to the game, avoiding arcadey controls by indirection, slow manna generation, the costs of raising land, the dangers of flooding, leaving a lone knight errant to decimate the enemy, the enemy flooding himself, unanticipated stories, flooding yourself to kill the enemy, the ways the AI cheats, rubberbanding of a sort, using swamps and earthquakes to disrupt the enemy, papal magnet management, the impact of the map, how to analyze a map for an RTS, developing a simple unit-based AI, the Game of Life/cellular automata approach to AI, focusing on knights, using the gather behavior to make tougher nights, how much space castles take up and the borders around them, the macro around score and how far to advance in the 500 levels of Populous, how would one speedrun Populous, modern descendants of the game, loving having Molyneux in the industry, "to think, it all started with baked beans," machine speed in DosBox, not adjusting for time in old video games, what is an honorific, honorifics and first-person identification in Japanese, observing sexism as potentially embedded in the writing alphabet, gendered particles/radicals and similarities to Romance languages.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Prince of Persia, Civilization, Ultima (series), Doom (series), Quake, King's Quest, Space Quest, LucasArts, Dark Forces, Ultima Underworld, Duke 3D, Amiga, Peter Molyneux, World of Warcraft, 22 Cans, EA, Microsoft, Fusion, SNES, SimAnt, Game Developer, Warcraft, Dune, Command & Conquer, Game of Life, John Conway, Darwinia, WarGames, Introversion Software, DEFCON, Uplink, Prison Architect, Scanner Sombre, Godus, Curiosity: What's Inside the Cube, Dungeon Keeper, Fable (series), Mr. Beast, Chris Corry, Syndicate, Johnny Pockets, Chrono Trigger, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Harry Potter, George Orwell, allthosewhowander.org, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
More Populous

Link:
That Italian translation article I mention

Note:
It is in fact possible to navigate the view window with the number pad. But the number pad does in fact control the viewport scrolling. The problem is, the number pad and the mouse are typically both controlled with the right hand.

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

Sep 2, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a series on the Bullfrog classic Populous. We set the game in its time and place and talk a little bit about Bullfrog and the different directions simulation games were going, driven by different designers, before talking a little bit about the weirdnesses of this game proper. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Tutorial and First Battle

Podcast breakdown:
0:51 Populous
1:03:48 Break
1:04:17 Feedback

Issues covered: welcoming Tim back and a discussion of his trip, 1989 in video games, a little discursion into Midwinter, creating the God Game, the immense sales of Populous, the Bullfrog game legacy, absorbing smaller developers into a larger publisher, the different directions that simulations were going under different developers, geographic distinctions, creating genres, limitations in processing power and UI representations, trying Populous in 1992 without a manual, the tutorial in the manual, failing the tutorial, the UI representation, performance concerns and filling the space, raising and lowering terrain, overloading icon use, the pause menu, GDC Lifetime Achievement Award, trying to figure out the best way to do a thing, influencing a game vs controlling the game, reading the map, using cartographic techniques in lieu of shading, killing the enemies indirectly, making your leader into a knight, mixing religious iconography, "we" are good and "they" are evil, the macro of the game, the way characters become stronger, overloading the use of the bars on the shield, lowering land to prevent a new leader forming, raising land to create a path for your knight, visual novel recommendations, an update on Pockets the Great, how deep the Civ rabbit hole goes, finding appropriate mentors, not always having the answer, listening to and asking questions of a report, the Socratic method, getting to know your people, setting Phoenix Wright in LA for a Western market, regional dialects, Shu Takumi's dog.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Revenge of Shinobi, Phantasy Star II, Golden Axe, Herzog Zwei, NES, River City Ransom, Castlevania III, Mother (Earthbound Beginnings), Final Fight, Strider, Xbox One, Nintendo GameBoy, Super Mario Land, SimCity, Midwinter, Minesweeper, Prince of Persia, Stunt Car Racer, Commodore 64, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, LucasFilm Games, The Colonel's Bequest, Roberta Williams, Batman, Bullfrog Productions, Peter Molyneux, Fusion, Amiga, Black & White, Lionhead, Microsoft, EA, Dark Forces, Dungeon Keeper, Powermonger, Syndicate, Syndicate Wars, Magic Carpet, Theme Park, Theme Hospital, 22 Cans, Godus, Origin Systems, LucasArts, Maxis, The Sims, Spore, Will Wright, Respawn Entertainment, Sid Meier, Civilization, Ultima Underworld, Warcraft, Rogue, MYST, Richard Garriott, Looking Glass, id Software, Tropico (series), Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Hotel Dusk, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Danganronpa, 999, Nonary Games, Jonathan Stoler, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, Nolan Filter/irreverentQ, Murder by Numbers, Picross, Johnny Grattan/Pockets, Morrowind/Arena/Daggerfall, Brian, Republic Commmando, Nick Faulhaber, Shu Takumi, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Five (?) more battles?

Links:
Amusingly enough, it *was* a Populous postmortem talk where I first heard Peter's anecdote

Shu Takumi's Pomeranian

Errata:
Thank you for playing... Wing Commander!

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

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next » 11