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
2020
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
May 27, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we cap off our revisit of the unique series Animal Crossing with a bonus episode about it's latest installment, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. We talk about the feeling of the new game, the intersection of new mechanics and quality-of-life improvements and how they change the feel of the game, and we give the museum some love in addition to other topics and feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
An hour or so a day!

Podcast breakdown:
0:47 Animal Crossing: New Horizons
57:04 Break
57:37 Feedback & Next Game

Issues covered: the vacation that's not a vacation, observations of humanity and how we use our phones, our own relationships with phones, similarities with Pocket Camp, seasonal events, the evolving mobile game and its influence into New Horizons, explicit vs implicit cooldowns (and being able to pay to remove them), analysis paralysis at the beginning, the things that Brett's not crazy about in the game/Nook Miles tracking, preferring the lack of incentives, worrying about achievements, intrinsic vs extrinsic rewards, stacking fruit, hacking and modding scene, losing the innocence, imagining a world in which the original game appears now, visibility into the indie space, blowing tranquility out of the water with Nook Miles, achievements, the influence of business models on the churn and turmoil of the industry, the changing approachability of games, being able to ask Tom Nook what to do, losing discovery and its accompanying delight, taking a positive lesson from trash, franchise challenges in terms of what you keep and what you discard, tracking multiple economies, revisiting EverQuest or Ultima and not knowing what to do, taking things academically for the 'cast, wanting to stay in the tent, not being engaged by the acquisition loops, losing characters in the original, animalizing changing your look, beauty as a feature, only doing the required crafting, overlap between classic AC/WoW and modern AC/WoW, the fantastic music, Tim captures a flea, the huge impact of the beauty of the museum, Brett's Book Recommendation, having a birthday intersecting with holidays in Animal Crossing, anticipating what will delight a player, being akin to a clicker, why play a game about chores, being rewarded by a chuckle, tend-and-befriend, Scandinavian comfort culture (hygge), ikagai and lagom, thinking about the next generation of hardware, load constraints, being interested in constraints, being curious about genuine innovation, what you can do with a really big hard drive, the expense of building for a new generation, high definition as a feature, pushing up against the constraints, we look forward to returning Geonosis, Brett's screed against YouTube.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Chris Hecker, Ultima IV, Ultima VII, Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon, Death Stranding, Quake, Michael Abbott/Brainy Gamer, World of Warcraft, EverQuest, Hitman 2, Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteredge, Tay if that is his real name, 30 Rock, Mike, Cookie Clicker, Universal Paperclips, Cow Clicker, Last of Us, Mike Baker, LucasArts, Sierra On-line, Edwin, Nintendo Switch, PS2/3, Xbox, Wii, Metal Gear Solid, Pokemon, Fallout 4, Mark Cerny, Star Wars: Republic Commando, Star Wars: Starfighter/Jedi Starfighter, Kotaku, John Williams, David Collins, Epic Mickey, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Links:
Michael Abbott on older games

Next time:
Star Wars Republic Commando: The Geonosis missions

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

May 20, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on the unique Animal Crossing. We talk about the holidays we visited, Mr. Resetti and not wanting to mess with your save, going to the island, and many more, before turning to our series takeaways and feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
An hour a day! (Many in holidays.)

Podcast breakdown:
0:41 Animal Crossing
1:07:38 Break
1:08:13 Takeaways and Feedback

Issues covered: Brett's gyroids and UFO, Tim's asteroid, the attract mode and seeing outfits you don't have yet, learning about how to play the stalk market, whether the animals talk about things you haven't engaged with, additional visiting characters, how the fireworks work, the tricks on Halloween, how Jack works on Halloween, Tortimer's gifts on holidays, losing items to tricksters, having big scares on Halloween as a kid, how different Halloween is, the evolving nature of Mr Resetti, wanting to protect your town, the animal version of the Windows BSOD, playful shaming, having a dialogue with a designer, emerging design, recognizing what the player is going to do, seeing the things the player will do, encouraging the player to diverge from the intended style of play, weeds everywhere, setting the world state on the clock, having unique sets of animals between us, speculating about why the acre transitions occur, aesthetic choices and whether that translated to movement, Tim's adventures with morning aerobics and sports day, lacking interactions in mini-games, changing up the appointment play, trading off appointment play with real-world tension, theme sets on holidays, moving events to be longer time-framed for MMOs, talking about the new game's egg-onomy, reaching the island via Kapp'n, picking coconuts and wearing island shirts, Kapp'n's songs, the remarkable amount of discovery, Brett finds a coelacanth, the variety of bugs and other collectibles, attuning yourself to the world and being able to read things in the environment, appointment play and mobile gaming influence, the connection to mobile and social games, tend-and-befriend, means of player expression, Brett's gyroid fascination, growing expressiveness of the series, representing everything in the world, mechanically using the things that players interact with as animals and animal interactions, a huge variety of discovery supplanted by shallow interactions, not getting stuck, the potential to generate stories, a singing non-review delivered as a dramatic reading, the role of a designer for longer and larger development (such as AAA), the shifting needs for system design, communicating and holding a vision for an element of a design, advocacy and the narrative or progression of a design, communicating across departments, the complications of enemy or vehicle design, having to put micro pieces together that support the macro, being about more than the ideas, answering lots of why questions.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: The X-Files, Auld Lang Syne, Blizzard Entertainment, RoboCop, Starcraft, Asteroids, Gothic Chocobo, Game Boy Player, World of Warcraft, GTA III, Facebook, Zynga, FarmVille, Mafia Wars, The Sims, Pixar, Batman, Waypoint, Metal Gear Solid 4, Civilization, Peyton Place, Beverly Hills 90210, Blarg42, Pokemon, Billy/The2ndQuest, Halo (series), SW Republic Commando, Jamie Griesemer, Ryan Darcy, Elan Ruskin, Left 4 Dead, Epic Mickey, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
An hour a day of Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Errata:
Although I stand by my memory of there being a coelacanth discovered in the Mediterranean in the 90s, the discovery that coelacanths had survived to the modern era dates back to one being caught in 1938.

Also: Brett, what is a "stegalosaurus?" STEGOSAURUS.

The television show Brett was looking for was Melrose Place. Peyton Place was in fact a multi-year running prime time soap rather than a mini-series.

Links:
Five GameCubes and Four Sword

Jamie Griesemer: Changing the Time Between Shots for the Sniper Rifle from 0.5 to 0.7 Seconds for Halo 3

Ryan Darcy: Designing Spartan Abilities for Halo 5: Guardians

Elan Ruskin: AI-Driven Dynamic Dialog through Fuzzy Pattern Matching

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

May 13, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on the unique series Animal Crossing. We talk about collecting, changing the world, paying off your second mortgage, the many purposes the animals serve, and the fun the developers seem to have had contributing ideas to the game, among other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
An hour each day!

Issues covered: Brett's growing gyroid collection, Gyroid Orchestra, speeding through your second mortgage, expanding player verbs through mortgage payoffs, stealth training and game expansion, changing perspective in games and in life as your routine is hampered, limiting your verbs by weather and time of play, the metagame of what's worthwhile to have in your inventory, revealing something about you through your style of play, freeing up time by paying off that second mortgage, how a change in inventory management would dramatically change play, being careful of what you incentivize, convenience changes behavior, the choice of your third mortgage, starting to fill in the museum, having few opportunities for insect collecting when you play at the same time each day, the difference between this and a Majestic, allowing you to come to a game vs a game coming to you, having more weeds when you miss a day, using the animals for so many things, subtle tutorialization, replacing real socializing with the animals, asynchronous social, putting everything in the interactions with animals, Brett details his ongoing romance with Bertha and the interactions with Lily and Alli, reading into the characters, the return of Tortimer and bridge placement, unplanned design, banging rocks with shovels, giving your designers tools and making it possible to add whatever they can think of, empowering creativity, allowing the player to make play, pitfalls, customizing your attire or space, added and experimental hardware, using the GBA to go to an island, the eReader, getting another type of fruit, the fish market, the difficulty of the ocean fishing, Tim's cherry tree that lived, terraforming your whole island, a digression into who Snake's Mom is, your Mom guilting you over labor, reflecting nostalgia in Animal Crossing and in anime, speedrunning the rest of the game, potential seasons and holidays to see, localizing holidays, MMO adoption of events.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Resident Evil 4, Majestic, Phantasy Star, Legend of Zelda: Four Sword, The Sims, Lee Meriwether, Metal Gear Solid 4, The Girl Who Could Stop Time, Shenmue, Epic Mickey, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Hitting a few seasons!

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

May 6, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on the unique series Animal Crossing. We talk about real time gaming, acquisition loops, how it resembles a mobile game and other topics, before turning to reviews. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
An hour a day!

Issues covered: pinchy-pinchy and puns, wanting to pay off that second loan, the daily routine of play, filling about an hour, "that fossil belongs in a museum," Tim's routine, lost and found items and the villagers, having more villagers than you can keep track of, chicken varieties, localizing names, Brett playing in a more laid-back way, tranquility, grinding for bells, being trolled by the animals, tying in to the GameCube clock, appointment gaming, mobile touchstones, lacking monetization and being liberating, how many trees you chop down, forest maintenance, weekly events: seagull and fortune teller and furniture seller and rug seller, keeping the player in a rhythm, finding rhythms in MMOs, fighting the mobile monetization mechanics in Pocket Camp, introducing resource loops in later games for crafting, furniture falling out of trees, Brett running out of gyroids, getting the right fruit for you, the difficulty of completing sets, how to know you complete a set, limiting memory use at the time, loving finishing the collectibles, having a nice place to put your stuff, grounding things in the world, the many places you can find a new item, "I got the modern wallpaper and I was pretty happy with that," Brett's torrid love affair with Bertha, punning on your paper type, speedrunning the letter-writing, animals getting cross with Tim for his short mails, theorizing about how the letter responses work, keeping responses vague, wondering about keywords, not wanting to break the illusion, character responses to blowing them off, maintaining the archetypes of these characters, maintaining an attitude, clean conscience gaming, the foreignness of the traditions of Animal Crossing, the normalization of Nintendo in its games, animal identity and jokiness, colonialism in the new title, wanting to see the numbers go up on your Happy Room score, reducing your debt, capitalism and growth, exploitation of natural resources, simulations making an argument, the sterility of weeding vs the messiness of weeding in real life, gyroids and Haniwa (Kofun period), the basis of the Miis, anagram fan, the difficulty of replicating a success like this, not wanting to be the second game in a cornered niche.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Indiana Jones (obliquely), Nintendo's Treehouse, Farmville, Facebook, Gavin Newsom, Destiny, Fortnite, Diablo III, World of Warcraft, EAD, Assassin's Creed (series), Metal Gear (series), Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley, Waypoint, Tomb Raider, Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Violet B Trudel, Scrabble, irreverentQ, NotADoctor, The Sims, SimCity, Cities: Skylines, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Tim's Favorite Things:
Lens flares on cameras with many a jump cut,
CQC combat that shows off Old Snake's butt,
Cute codec calling to save with Mei Ling,
These are a few of my favorite things

When the Vamp bites,
When Pain's bees sting,
When I'm feeling sad...
I simply remember my Metal Gear things,
And then I don't feel so bad

Who is this Raiden and Iroquois Plissken
Invading a snow base I hope you brought mittens
Sons of the Patriots pulling my strings
These are a few of my favorite things

When Gray Fox strikes
When Deep Throat rings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my Metal Gear things
And then I don't feel so bad

Notes:
Tim describes Animal Crossing as having been made by DeNA; it was by EAD. We regret the error.

Next time:
Still an hour a day!

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

Apr 29, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on the unique series Animal Crossing. We situate the game briefly in time before turning to some of the ways the game introduces itself and its mechanics, before turning to feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
An hour a day!

Podcast breakdown:
0:50 Animal Crossing
1:08:09 Break
1:08:43 Feedback

Issues covered: "this is one of my favorite Nintendo series, actually," Tim uses the 'cast to his advantage, trying to think of forerunners, Daddy, an explosive era of design, the variety of games and the PC/console divide, thinking outside the box, a weird kind of buzz, the Nintendo spin on some genres, having a chillout time, being able to meditatively play, the weird concepts at work and conveying that to a potential audience, Nintendo going its own way, having a lot going on in even this first game, daily routine and tranquility obscuring the systems, heading off player aggression, meeting up with KK Slider, setting and subverting player expectations, listening to KK Slider play guitar, that Nintendo touch, hopping the train to town and meeting Rover, the important Rover connection, committing to characters and making them iconic, social propriety and cell phones, contrasting this with character creation, representing everything in the game (with an inventory as well), chibi/big head character design, attitude with their voicing, character design and presentation being economic but expressive, timing phonemes against the spaces between words, spending a lot of time on the speech system, Nintendo's habit of having everyone in the company try the games, anime/manga idioms for expression/emotion, developing an internal language and sticking with it, Rover the cat, we reveal our town and player names, getting a mortgage and job from Tom Nook right away, establishing verbs early, passing by the dump and into the store, learning how to put on clothes, gating progress on activity, being naturally pushed to explore what the game has, atypical goals and tricking you into addiction, talking to the animals, establishing something like a main loop gently, coming up with your own "quests," random towns (a discovery for Brett), shared characters between towns, we introduce our characters and NPCs, review from Finland, some design choices that a 25-year-old game overcame, leaning on the RNG to some degree, remembering getting into Animal Crossing and the draw of NES games, the acquisition loop and its evolution, Tim having not really analyzed this game before, gyroids.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: The Sims, Little Computer People, Tamagotchi, Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley, Alex Neuse, Silent Hill 2, Anachronox, Ico, GTA III, Civilization III, Devil May Cry, Soul Reaver, Star Wars: Starfighter, Jak & Daxter, Final Fantasy X, Halo, Xbox, Metal Gear Solid 2, Advance Wars, Pikmin, Black & White, Max Payne, World of Warcraft, Dark Age of Camelot, PS2, Luigi's Mansion, Peter Molyneux, LucasArts, Starcraft 64, Halo Wars, Resident Evil, Spider-man 2, Satoru Iwata, Wii, Viva Pinata, Pokemon, Happy Home Designer, Amiibo Festival, Mario series (obliquely), Sonic series (obliquely), Final Fantasy (series), Zelda (series), Sailor Moon, Madman, _Dupre/Petri, Commodore 64, Ultima IV, Bitmap Books, Derek from Spokane, Chrono Trigger, Octopath Traveler, Chrono Cross, Sea of Stars, Sabotage Studios, Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, SNES Classic, Final Fantasy VI, Ni No Kuni, Dragon Quest (series), Level 5, Dark Cloud (series), Square Enix, Reed Knight, Metal Gear Solid 4, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
An hour a day!

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

Apr 22, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we return to Blizzard's 2004 classic MMORPG World of Warcraft. We discuss the pace of the game in solo vs group, another dungeon, and make some observations about MMO combat before turning to feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to level 30

Podcast breakdown:
0:53 WoW Talk
1:06:32 Break
1:07:08 Feedback

Issues covered: blasts from the LucasArts past, "a gaming miracle," XP bonuses galore, Westfall culminating in Deadmines, quest storylines culminating in a dungeon run, extending the storyline into the Stockades, elegant design of these quest lines, breaking someone out of Stockades in modern, instance dungeons getting better over time, grey setting and repetitive play, hit point sponges, lack of boss mechanics, similarity to tower defense or EverQuest, dungeons with wings, the game as a group experience, having less down time, having a better balance in solo vs group experiences in modern, getting better at the types of roles warriors can fulfill, separating into tank/healer/DPS and some stagnation in the MMO space, the effect on D&D and being better to go the other way, having stances per character later, finding the right challenge level, the types of quests in Redridge, good critter variety, more verticality, introducing the Black Rock orcs, starting into the long game of end game quests, having deep lore and organizational structures in your setting, loving the Duskwood art design, hating the Duskwood quest design, lacking a culminatory dungeon, a wandering abomination, the pfffft of the Stalvan quest line, getting cursed repeatedly, enjoying the Raven Hill cemetery, reviving the Embalmer, snitches get Stitches, introducing the Worgen, the process of recruiting and traveling to an instance, evolving the theme park, the technicality of aggro and pulling and enemy awareness, using tactics against the technology, lacking saves and structuring strategy around that, seeing the top-down view in your mind's eye, using simple representations (planes and circles), running a combat system on a single machine for everyone in the zone, the costs of scale, using line of sight against the enemy, exploits as game-play, Brett's Book Recommendation, New Game+, the cost of additional development, paid DLC, checking NG+ off the list, block quotes from Woolsey and Slattery, a book club for books about games, finding all the endings, Frog and Robo's themes, being impressed by what they get from music hardware, "It's Not Easy Being Green," soundtracks we loved, lots of Chrono Trigger details, Janus/Magus as the main character, an update on Tim's trip.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Gladius, LucasArts, Mike Terpstra, Tippett Studios, Alex Neuse, Jedi Starfighter, Chrono Trigger, Activision/Blizzard, Makendi, The Goonies, Warcraft III, EverQuest, Dungeons & Dragons, Guild Wars 2, Reed Knight, Dark Age of Camelot, The Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Ravenloft, Reanimator, Bride of Frankenstein, DisneyWorld, The Witcher, Diablo, Ultima Online, Dragon Age, Stephen King, 11/22/63, Sam Thomas, Devil May Cry, Dark Souls, Breath of the Wild, Gabe Durham, Boss Fight Books, Ted Woolsey, Tom Slattery, Michael Williams, Skyrim, Elder Scrolls, Dave Fort, Earthbound, A Christmas Story (obliquely), Mikael Danielsson, Phantasy Star, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Mass Effect (series), Halo (series), Brock Holt, Red Dead Redemption, Kirk Hamilton, Shadow of the Colossus, Peter McConnell, Psychonauts, Grim Fandango, Clint Bajakian, Outlaws, Ryan/Bio, Ryan McPherson, Final Fantasy VII Remake, James Roberts, Chrono Cross, Nintendo Switch, Wasteland 2, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Animal Crossing (2001)! An hour a day!

Link:
The Audio Design of RDR by Kirk Hamilton

Magus as the Main Character

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

Apr 15, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our series playing Chrono Trigger. We discuss the handful of remaininig quests in "The Fated Hour" and defeating Lavos (as an afterthought) before turning to our takeaways and feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finish the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:48 Chrono Trigger
1:27:22 Break
1:28:05 Feedback

Issues covered: reforestation with Robo, being aware that certain characters have to be in your party, Robo's world sprite, seeing Robo on the world map, being able to have player theories, not deploying Robo as a player verb, Robo's theory, a Gaia hypothesis, the double-edged sword of optional content, time travel wish fulfillment, having trouble saving Lara, a moment by a campfire, Robo's evolution, Lucca's mini robot and the progeneration of the robots, collecting the highest power loot, hunting the moon stone, Tim discovers there's an in-game map, the Sun Keep boss and randomly selecting, hitting the right flame, having a different tactic to deal with the boss, clearly telegraphing the Sun Stone, the mayor whose kids hate him, the consequences of your actions, Sins of the Father visited on the sons, how you open up a game, open worlds vs Chrono Trigger, the stifling linearity of the early game of FFXIII, losing narrative cohesion, telegraphing important decision, how your game's goals close off other opportunities, replayability vs feeling the impact of player choice, doing everything the designers want you to do, freeing Cyrus's ghost, hating on Crono, Prometheus and Robo and Atropos, pouring one out for Toma, the court scene, bursting through the stained glass, the many endings, the developer ending, the bridge ending to Chrono Cross, the Dream Devourer and Lavos and Schala, the advent of New Game+, the various final weapons, Tim's water level theory, fighting science fiction elements, supporting the party as being important, supporting party experimentation, limited party combat vs full party combat, deepening characters, subverting the tropes, letting the hero die, strong female characters, a world structure that works, not worrying too much about paradox, The Three Wise Men and Magi vs Magus, Magus's lieutenants' names, the strengths and weaknesses of the combat, splitting Chrono Trigger into two games, tragedy vs comedy, goals for translations, the richness of this game and being able to investigate it over and over, squinting and seeing Frog as the hero of the game, silent protagonists in JRPGs, a story of a killed game, the strength of this game's New Game+, systemic games and story generation.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: James Lovelock (obliquely), Rio Bravo (obliquely), Final Fantasy XIII, The Witcher 3, GTA III, Wasteland 2, Alpha Protocol, LMNO, Steven Spielberg, David Cage, Doug Church, Randy Smith, Breath of the Wild, Final Fantasy IX, Pinocchio, Boss Fight Books, Michael Williams, Akira Toriyama, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Chrono Cross, Silent Hill 2, Fallout, Persona 5, Kingdom Hearts, Earthbound, Mass Effect, BioWare, KotOR 2, irreverentQ/Nolan Filter, Warren Linam-Church, Patrick Holleman, Shakespeare, Ted Woolsey, Tom Slattery, Rick Butler, James Roberts, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (obliquely), John Webb, Final Fantasy VII, Breath of Fire 3, Walker Farrell, NieR: Automata, Zimmy Finger, Civilization, Dwarf Fortress, The2ndQuest, Johnny "Pockets" Grattan, Marc LeBlanc, Ron Gilbert, X-COM, World of Warcraft, Metal Gear Solid 4, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Link:
The 1UP article about LMNO appears lost to time, but here's a contemporaneous Kotaku article reporting on that article

Reverse Design: Chrono Trigger

Dwarf Fortress

The Hamlet of Tyranny

Errata:
Brett referred to Tom Slattery as "Shepherd." We regret the error.

Next time:
Another WoW Checkin

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

Apr 8, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series playing Chrono Trigger. We hit the story notes first and doing things in your own order before turning especially to where the game goes once we reach "The Fated Hour." Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up into The Fated Hour

Podcast breakdown:
0:50 Chrono Trigger
1:08:35 Break
1:09:07 Feedback

Issues covered: the chapters at the end, the monomaniacal immortal queen and her daughter, underdeveloped queen nemesis, the cast of characters surrounding the queen, a battle with the Golem Twins, having bosses that are puzzles rather than slugfests, bringing in cosmic horror, fighting Lavos early, finding the locked chests organically... and not, finding the blue pyramid, a brief digression on the Ultimate Weapon, the revelation of the prophet, Chrono struggles to his feet and is obliterated, the fall of the floating continents, the party reacts to Chrono's death, choosing a new leader, losing and retrieving your stuff on the Blackbird, looking through grates, similarity to an adventure game, crashing the time ship after defeating Dalton, leveraging the history of the characters, Brett blows Tim's mind, "the black wind blows" and telegraphing Magus's identity, learning how everything came from one event, the gurus help you out, having an object out of order, bringing you full circle, having trouble with a mini game, more frustrations, QA being good at a thing, designing to the controller you have, another difference between the two versions, Brett and Tim talk about time paradoxes, whether you always have to have the main character, finding Ozzie's fortress by accident, assembling all the ingredients to fix the timelines, monsters and humans living in harmony, Brett theorizes about how to finish the desert quest, advice from the Civ 3 political advisor, modding and Civ 3, updates from the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, the appeal (or lack thereof) of developing a 4X game, worrying about the spreadsheet and chaos, not being sure you could go the distance, being able to tell a story about your game, replaying a JRPG and length, having more or less grind.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Timothy Dalton, James Bond (franchise), X-Men (series), Brian Taylor (obliquely), Final Fantasy (series), The Sneetches, Dr. Seuss, Metroid (series), Pulp Fiction, Wii/Virtual Console, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Xbox, Back to the Future, James Roberts, BioWare, Civilization 3, Wild Weazel, Soren Johnson, DOOM, Johnny Grattan, Sid Meier's Beyond Earth, X-COM, Julian Gollop, The2ndQuest, Legend of Zelda, Dragon Warrior, Shakespeare, Wasteland 2, Persona 5, World of Warcraft, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Finish the game! For real, this time!

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

Apr 1, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series playing Chrono Trigger. We talk about new modes of exploring the game, the tone of the translation between the two of us, some of the boss battles and go over the story bits for the week. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to "What Lies Beyond?"

Podcast breakdown:
0:53 Chrono Trigger
1:14:42 Break
1:15:17 Feedback

Issues covered: bowling balls and sashimi, slipping in jokey references, tone in translation, finding places for the game to be heavier, being caught off guard by differences in tone, the consequences of your actions, getting more information on Lavos and getting a sense of cosmic horror, being a little lost on the timeline, focusing on the linear story vs the ripple effect, other games dabbling with time travel, Tim moves to Wait mode, Wait mode and feeling like a better fit, using Marle's Haste ability and having her as a utility player, having many options for party make-up, what other JRPGs do with character roles and XP, the impact of the past, Tim moves to Wait mode, Wait being better balanced for menus and for exploring abilities, leaning on Marle's Haste ability, allowing the player to explore party makeup, XP side-leveling, party members as utility players, mixing in the characters you want to play with, Brett's long game, the spooky tone of the Magus's Castle, all the NPCs being faceless, controlling pacing, chasing Ozzie from room to room through traps, fighting a part of the environment, fighting the Magus and shifting elemental attacks, having a role for the whole party, Tim having the benefit of auto-combat, not being clear on why you go back in time, Lavos being summoned and learning more about his history in the world, finding and riding pterodactyls, exploring the world and finding breadcrumbs for later, Brett gets over-geared, Tim asks Brett about jerky things, stepping on buttons in the reptite castle, starting in on dual techs, fighting Nizbel again and being allowed to pass but not really, the arrival of the red star, portaling to our last time period, taking the bifrost, getting a new trope, a quick review of the royal house of the Enlightened ones, being sent away by Schala and powering the amulet Marle wears, coming back to the scientist who is building the ship, coming full circle with time, recordings from the Guru of Life, going through the Beast's lair to ascend Mt Woe, strategies for defeating Giga Gaia, the dragon counting down, ATB in various Square JRPGs, later exploration coming, a full Final Fantasy ATB survey, Tim getting a JRPG itch, the way tech conveys character, how you learn techs and prerequisites, the trade-off of a multi-character technique, forgetting where the magic chests are.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Final Fantasy (series), Avengers: Age of Ultron, Memento, Looper, Primer, Time Lapse, Rear Window, SNES, Ultima (series), Earthbound, Eternal Darkness, Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages, Ocarina of Time, Shadow of Destiny/Shadow of Memories, Shenmue, Ni No Kuni, Pokemon, Errol Flynn, Ron Gilbert, Day of the Tentacle, Thor, Walker Farrell, Chrono Cross, Eric Anderson, Kingdom Hearts, Stardew Valley, Reed Knight, World of Warcraft, James Roberts, Wasteland 2, Torment: Tides of Numenara, Obsidian, inXile, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Finish this game!

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

Mar 25, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series playing Chrono Trigger. We talk exploration vs following the story threads, delve deeper into the combat, chat about the game's difficulty and accessibility, along with story recaps and other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to the Magus's Castle

Podcast breakdown:
0:52 Chrono Trigger
1:30:48 Break
1:31:22 Feedback

Issues covered: why Tim hates JRPGs, why Tim took a little longer this time, irascible exploratory Tim, getting to the top of the mountain and finding nothing, feeling discouraged from leaving the main path, what the rewards of the game are, having the prototype of what additional interactions would look like, exploring party make-up, when Ayla met Bobo, the blandness of Crono, being able to put yourself in the character, characters who start at the beginning of their story vs somewhere in the middle, party members standing out more, where you decide to spend your development time, swapping out party members and when you can, the pressure relief valve for difficulty, what is the real set of defaults for this game, having a more dynamic combat with Active Time Battle, developing your menu-diving skill, being forced into repetition and limiting ability exploration, wait mode as being more accessible, having higher highs in active mode, feeling like active mode is an experiment, having menu difficulties with Kingdom Hearts, the burden of memorizing key sequences, the timer as animation tell, having too many characters to manage to memorize things, escaping combat, using run as a means of skipping combat, dealing with status effects (Heal/Panacea), cutting out the searching for specific status healers, using specific attacks for elemental weaknesses, generally not needing to worry about weaknesses, using lightning to remove defense, fighting Spekkio, needing to restore the timeline, returning to a changed Medina, not knowing what we changed in the past, having weird interactions with monsters, localizing using stuff based on your real life, turning assumptions on their head, translation barriers, looking for Masamune, starting to subvert tropes, a kid who's no hero, a good boss battle, going to Melchior with both halves of the sword, meeting Ayla and having a big party, making Crono dance, echoes through time, losing the dreamstone via Kino, fighting Azala and the Megasaur, learning the history of Cyrus and... Glenn?, echoes of Tolkien, making a significant commitment to characters, having calls to action, integrating Glenn into the main quest, getting to equip the badge to Glenn, an update on Tim's hike, the responsible thing, stay safe and healthy, cultural references, beating up robots, variations in the courtroom and jail scenes, localization and emotional intent, the business case for localization, the high costs of localization, making choices about what content to keep in Yakuza and a design which accommodates players ignoring it, friction between an original market and a new market, growing to appreciate the underlying value of the business end, looking to journalism to fill in the gaps.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: irreverentQ, Chrono Cross, The Outer Worlds, Fallout (series), Prey, Earthbound, Final Fantasy (series), Kingdom Hearts, Batman: Arkham (series), Pokemon (series), Ray Bradbury (obliquely), Narnia, The Clan of the Cave Bear, Ultima Underworld, Minecraft, The Two Towers/Return of the King, Mass Effect (series), Sam Thomas, Short Circuit 2, Westworld, The Terminator, James Roberts, Patrick Holleman, Gothic Chocobo, Persona 5, Andrew Dice Clay, Yakuza (series), Kotaku, Robert Downey Jr, Iron Man, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Wasteland 2, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Links:
Short Circuit 2

Hitchhiking Robot Beheaded

Robot falls into fountain

Reverse Design: Chrono Trigger

Yakuza: Judgement replacing actor

Next time:
Up to "What Lies Beyond?"

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

Mar 18, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin our series playing Chrono Trigger, the beloved 1995 SNES classic. We cover a lot of ground with this one, including the story, some of the combat, the way the game pays attention to you... all sorts of topics for a corker of a game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to The End of Time!

Podcast breakdown:
0:51 Chrono Trigger
1:31:07 Break
1:31:41 Feedback

Issues covered: COVID-19, SpaceWorld and E3, the year 1995 in games, the creative team, character design in hand-drawn art and intro, the Dream Team, the top-down look of a 16-bit era game, companions following around, combining the background and the foreground in the PlayStation era, the quality of the art direction, running right into combat vs modal play, lack of random battles, choice of battle mode, Active Time Battles, differences between active and wait styles, the overworld and entering spaces, influence of other games, the basic menu presentation, the "Sakaguchi style" and its culmination, being able to approach things fresh, getting on with it, the bouncy playfulness of childhood, Chosen One tropes, Mom waking you up trope, relatability, the princess incognito trope, mixing up a trope, feeling more surprises in FFIX, short-term goals vs long-term/Chosen One goals, signposting the Day of Lavos, whether or not we're able to choose to come back, having another JRPG pay homage, seeing the change in various timelines, enjoying our time with the Frog, the evil Chancellor, the Cathedral and Yakra's minions, having a moment of talking with the monsters, the juxtaposition of drama/horror and comedy, space for Japanese vs letters, returning to the present with Nadia and having a trial, referring back to things you did at the fair, the designer noticing you, the game is safe, the theme of our choices mattering for our future, wanting to be the paladin, the courtroom as setting, escaping the dungeons, a little scene in the warden's office and telegraphing importance to the player, possibly a stealth mechanic, the Dragon Tank on the bridge, affine transformations in the background, using atmospherics for setting tone, the computer telling the tale of Lavos, recruiting Robo, having to pass through Lab 32, the flamboyant Johnny, racing Johnny in Mode 7 to the end of the Lab, Johnny the Biketaur, Robo getting beat up by the other robots, the valiant robot who sacrifices himself for you, Brett gives Tim a hard time for ST: Nemesis, humanizing the non-human characters, gunbows and floral horrors, Tim's big hike, renaming in the new translation, the difficulties of translation, localization as its own art form, adding difficulty with IPs, machine translation, recognizing the great translators, testing your focus as much as your execution, repetitive learning, playground of moves, looping in failure to the style of play, board games and failure, higher highs, rubbing death in your face, worsening the traditional model, obfuscatory, dealing with people who wave their brains around, being open to looking foolish, "Caveman Tim" and being self-deprecatory to diminish status differences, asking simple questions repetitively, active listening, reflection as a means to learning in the moment, being in the moment, being okay with vulnerability.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Ted Woolsey, Tom Slattery, SNES, Dark Forces, TIE Fighter, LucasArts, Full Throttle, The Dig, Phantasmagoria, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, Warcraft, Command & Conquer, N64, Dracula X (Castlevania: Rondo of Blood), Twisted Metal, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Super Bomberman 3, Kirby's Dreamland, Earthbound, Dragon Quest (series), Trials of Mana, Tales of Phantasia, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Final Fantasy (series), Yuji Horii, Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball, Shonen Jump, Masato Kato, Xenogears, PlayStation, Shiren the Wanderer, Ninja Gaiden, Yasunori Mitsuda, Nobuo Uematsu, SquareSoft, Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, Pokemon, Kingdom Hearts, GameBoy, Ni No Kuni, Ultima (series), Breath of the Wild, Skyrim, The Witcher (series), John Romero, Fallout, Wasteland, Enix, Activision/Blizzard, Dragon Warrior, Dungeons & Dragons, Jason Schreier, Chrono Cross, BioWare, Ocarina of Time, Aladdin, Diablo, Dragon Age, Baldur's Gate, Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon Ho, Day of the Tentacle, Tim Schafer, Dave Grossman, Mass Effect, Super Metroid, Super Castlevania IV, Wall-E, Shenmue, Mario Kart, The Mandalorian, Planetfall, Isaac Asimov, Star Trek: Nemesis, The Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed, James Roberts, Stretch Armstrong, Boss Fight Books, Michael P. Williams, Republic Commando, Star Wars, Cyrano de Bergerac, Roxane, Douglas Hofstadter, Un Ton Beau de Marot, Love in the Time of Cholera, Edith Grossman, Margaret Jull Costa, Odyssey, Emily Wilson, Warren Linam-Church, Jeff Morris, Civilization, Mario 64, Dark Souls, Demon's Souls, Super Meat Boy, Beyond Earth, DOOM, Batman: Arkham Knight, Soren Johnson, Maas Neotek Proto, The Turbo Encabulator, Obduction, MYST, Metroid Prime II: Echoes, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.

Next time:
Up to The Magus's Castle

Errata:
Brett said RPGs when clearly he meant RTSes. We regret the error. (It's Tim's fault.)

Links:
John Romero on Chrono Trigger

Tim's Charity Webpage

Pacific Crest Trail Association

Big City Mountaineers

The Turbo Encabulator 

Anime Intro Movie

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

Mar 11, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we finish our Civilization III discussion with an interview with Jeff Morris, producer on Civilization III and long-time producer in the industry. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:47 Interview
1:09:53 Break
1:10:25 Feedback

Issues covered: not being suited to programming, being part of the problem, the huge shadow of Origin growing up, getting a job through the hospitality suite, the game culture in Austin, the game dev scene of a city, rivalry between studios, sinking the MicroProse battleship, QAing a flight simulator, the difference between single-vehicle and survey sims, falling in love with modern air combat, Baltimore as actual flight sim town, loosening up or not, learning about the American Civil War, embedding in QA from remote, the number one job in QA, wearing multiple hats, only being able to get better as a producer working with a team, the team not needing design input, keeping a firewall between production and design, different kinships between QA and design or production, the difference between done and good, learning the tools of production, looking at Civilization as a war game, Baltimore and Avalon Hill, reading the effin' manual, boardgame legacy, localization complexity, what's in the manual vs not, rewarding a style of play, loving the early and middle game, where the one more turn comes up from mixed levels of goals, Sid's Dinosaurs game transforms, "the manual for Civilization is in your brain," shipping, the benefits of programmer + designer as one person, fast iteration, being able to predict when assets would be done, feeding scheduling data back in, keeping track of people and their implementation rate, difficulty of scaling, being rewarded for neglecting certain programmers, paying the production tax and getting something for it, getting Civ II experts involved, doing everything possible in a game being impossible, compliance testing machines, having bug reports from dev heroes, being driven by playtest, playtesting with post-its, shipping your 518th implementation, "wouldn't it be cool if," spending time in the right places, streamlining the advisors, the elasticity of production titles, in the trenches production, making mistakes into small bumps in the road, insomnia Civ play, the influence of where you've been on what you do, playing the game every day, production notes, reasons for designers to be programmers, the mix of people on a project, avoiding obfuscation, trusting your experts, what Tim will do on the trail, the Superman hate minute, we review Olrox, Tim's JRPG education.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Origin Systems, Janes (military sims), Ultima Collection, Firaxis, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Epic Games, Unreal Tournament (series), Gears of War, Red Five, Planet Moon, Crystal Dynamics, LucasArts, Kabam!, NCSoft, Free Range Games, Ultima Underworld, Apple ][, Warren Spector, Starr Long, Richard Garriott, Steve Jackson Games, MicroProse, Longbow, US Navy Fighters, Advanced Tactical Fighters, Top Gun, Marine Fighters, NATO Fighters, A-10 Warthog, F-15, Larry Holland, Battlehawks 1942, SWotL, Autoduel, Moebius, Andy Hollis, EA, Sid Meier's Gettsyburg, Jeff Briggs, Soren Johnson, Jason Coleman, JACKAL, Avalon Hill, Empire, Pool of Radiance, SSI games, Beyond Earth, Sid Meier's SimGolf, Maxis, Pat Dawson, Blizzard, Casey O'Toole, Microsoft Project, Tim Train, Brian Reynolds, Alan Emrich, Computer Gaming World, Bruce Shelley, Absolute Quality Incorporated, Archon, Jon Freeman, Bethesda Game Studios, Aaron Loeb, Star Wars Uprising, Ed Catmull, Pixar, Lulu LaMer, Daron Stinnett, Spotify, Stitcher, Derek Achoy, Josh Harding, Oliver Uvman, Designer Notes, Idle Thumbs, Scratch, GameMaker, Doom (1993), Minecraft, Portal, Noita, Richard Feynman, John Lethbridge, Ben Zaugg, Superman, The2ndQuest, Batman: Arkham Knight, Chrono Trigger, John Romero, SIGIL, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Final Fantasy IX, SNES, Dragon Warrior, Dragon Quest, Eye of the Beholder, PlayStation, Kingdom Hearts, Spider-man.

Next time:
The beginning of Chrono Trigger!

Links:
Scratch programming language

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

Mar 4, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our Civilization III discussion with an interview with Soren Johnson, Civilization III designer and programmer and head of Mohawk Games. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:49 Interview
1:39:20 Break
1:39:54 Feedback

Issues covered: surprises on the 200th episode, getting into games, mispronouncing a California city, computer science as a term, figuring out where to work, being into history, getting away from games in college, the troubled history of Civ III, preferring not to do sequels, bad choices at MicroProse, not thinking about walking away from IP, a rights battle, getting Sid Meier to make a Civ game, Brian Reynolds turning away from Civ games, brain drain, a golden opportunity, "the adults had disappeared," evolving into designer-programmer, the beginning of a franchise, switching away from adding proper nouns to the game, incorporating culture as a fountain to establish borders, design ideas that feel like they should have always been there, adding strategic and luxury resources, pushing trade and tension through resources, the advantages of particular historic civilizations and that not being a good fit for Civ, game play coming from map generation, lacking a single AI technique, starting the AI by starting at the beginning of the game, keeping hard-coded values out of the AI, making things data-driven, mod-ability, adapting the AI to changes and iteration in development, whether an AI is "cheating," being careful with how the AI interacts with the player, the intricacy of a naval invasion, how to choose a good city for your invasion and how players subvert that, making small decisions plausible, having no firewall between AI and game data, scaling for difficulty by bonuses and penalties, beating the opponent vs providing behaviors as a challenge, the inherent difficulty of diplomacy, AI as NPC, the negotiating table, AI career beginning when Civ III released, optimizing the fun out of the game, you don't give up anything to trade technologies, limiting what the AI is allowed to do, Civ is a game about math, giving up floating point math, balancing the numbers through Early Access now but patches in the past, being on the frontier of live games, holding the game together via time with the audience, discovering the perfect strategy for asymmetrical games via iteration, re-examining the 4X with his next game, automating as a poor solution, removing unnecessary vestigial stuff, taking away decision-free micromanagement, being afraid of changing mainstays, revisiting your prior design ideas, working like film and being out-of-order vs starting at the beginning, GDC postponement, Irene of Athens, Tim's love for Civ stories, manga and comics, the variety in the Japanese games market, the prevalence of handheld and mobile in the Japanese market, greater variety of games in smaller budgets, the value of common language, Tim's charity pledging.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Mark Sean Garcia, EA, Knockout Kings, Firaxis, Maxis, Spore, Dragon Age Legends, Mohawk Games, Offworld Trading Company, Adam Saltsman, Designer Notes, Idle Thumbs, Commodore 64, Amiga, Black Isle Entertainment, Avalon Hill, Sid Meier, MicroProse, Brian Reynolds, Spectrum Holobyte, Sid Meier's Gettysburg, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Activision, Infogrammes, Hasbro Interactive, Sid Meier's Dinosaurs, Starcraft, Age of Empires: Age of Kings, Tim Train, Jason Coleman, David Inscore, Railroad Tycoon, Pirates, X-COM, Julian Gollop, Jake Solomon, Jeff Briggs, Bohnanza, Settlers of Catan, Guns Germs and Steel, Warcraft, Paradox Interactive, Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, A Few Acres of Snow, Dominion, Ten Crowns, Empire, Beyond Earth, John Romero, SIGIL, DOOM (1993). Warren Linam-Church, Oedipus, Shakespeare, Johnny Grattan, Maus, PlayStation 2, Mr. Mosquito, Xbox (original), Prey (2017), Batman: Arkham Knight.

Next time:
Another interview?!

Links:
Playing to Lose, GDC 2008

Irene of Athens

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

Feb 26, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we engage in a little bonus talk about 2014's Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth. We talk about the game's strengths and iterations over Civ III and also the things that particular work for the hosts in the game, before turning to a brief celebration of our episode 200 and some feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A few hours of Beyond Earth (9 for Brett, 15 for Tim)

Podcast breakdown:
0:57   Beyond Earth Discussion
40:31 Break
41:16 Ep 200 and Feedback

Issues covered: how much Beyond Earth we played, getting its hooks in, knowing you've lost, many types of victories, pursuing victory types, not stacking units, board game simplicity, being mocked by other leaders, having a good set-up for interest if not for victory, being condemned for violence against aliens, getting over the hump, the huge benefit of tooltip additions, integrating advisors into the UI, the web of technology rather than the linear development, more visually parsable tech web, colorblind settings in Civ III, affinity colors and positions, exploring the tech web, adding RPG elements/progression to units, expanding your city, preferring the tone and setting, putting money into an opening cinematic, Brett's Book Recommendations, 200th episode surprises, the castle flip, being into the JRPG nonsense, our good fortune in interviews, spending time with immersive sims, Brett unwraps a thing, our poster with six Easter Eggs (true video game fashion), a heartfelt thank you from a listener, our own thank you to our listeners, some gentle ribbing about our ability to count, whether designers should be programmers, not being held back by what you know to be possible, being able to communicate clearly between design and engineering, the value of communicating and terminology, Caveman Tim, finding a way to say yes as an engineer, laying out logical steps for programmers, following up on older episodes, why Shenmue contracts down to having a job, autobiography in Shenmue, the Civilopedia being what you can do and not what you should do, Civilopedia as a legacy feature, a fantasy Civ.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Jurassic Park, Dark Souls, Confucius, Boris Johnson, Shenmue, Simon Parkin, A Game of Birds and Wolves, The New Yorker, Metroid (series), Castlevania (series), Alex Neuse, SNES, PlayStation, Kingdom Hearts (series), Disney, MYST (series), Final Fantasy (series), Persona 5, Prey (2017), David Brevik, Robyn Miller, Ken Levine, Bill Roper, King's Quest, Space Quest, Mark Crowe, DOOM (1993), Diablo, Quake, System Shock II, Hitman 2, Deus Ex, Thief, Ultima Underworld, Arkane Studios, Dishonored (series), Giant BeastCast, Vinny Caravella, Aaron Evers, Mark Sean Garcia, Devil May Cry, Mario 64, Halo, Skyrim, Fallout, Gothic Chocobo, Pokemon, Game Maker's Toolkit, Johnny Grattan, John Romero, Murray Lorden, Roberta Williams, David Perry, Shiny Entertainment, Republic Commando, MDK, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Warcraft (series), Jedi Starfighter, GTA III, Bill & Ted Face the Music, Yu Suzuki, Björn Johannson, Magic: The Gathering, Warren Linam-Church, Mikael Danielsson, Master of Magic, GOG.com, MicroProse, Ultima VII, SimTech, Master of Orion, Wargaming, Star Control II.

Brett's Book Recommendations:
For Civ III: A Game of Birds and Wolves by Simon Parkin
For Shenmue: What I Carry by Jennifer Longo

Next time:
more Civ bonuses!

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

Feb 19, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our discussion of Civilization III (and of the Civilization series generally). We talk about Tim bending the game to his will and falling down the game's rabbit hole before turning to takeaways and feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the Modern Era!

Issues covered: Brett just can't play the game, making a very specific game, finding the ceiling of your audience, sticking with the series, interacting with the game at a narrative level, our rabbit holes, OCD: The Game, pursuing the space race victory, Tim leaving a perfectly good planet, techno-utopianism, the final frontier, espionage and the information fog of war, losing to the United Nations wonder, trying to get to a victory as fast as possible, skipping unnecessary tech, turning to another game in the series, setting your own goals and being drawn into a game, "all games are the same," building a society of the industrious and unhappy, choosing your Civ to suit, building a rocket in 1890, not being able to copyright gameplay, interlocking systems and numbers, balance and cost/benefit and personality, politics and responsibility, how bad American history education is, emerging stories due to interlocking systems, the strength of the AI, kudos to us, what we play and why, considering more recent AAA and indie games, being mindful of our positions in the industry, looking forward to next episode (our 200th!).

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Telltale Games, Apple ][, Ancient of Art of War, Rob Zacny, Waypoint, Three Moves Ahead, Star Trek, Skyrim, Fallout, Leonard Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, Anna Karenina, Elon Musk, SpaceX, Dominion, Jurassic Park, Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams, Nellie Bly, Sigmund Freud, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Nikolai Tesla, Beyond Earth, LOOM, Bruce Shelley, Age of Empires, Avalon Hill, MicroProse, Firaxis, Jon Shafer, Barbarians at the Gates, Soren Johnson, Offworld Trading Company, World of Warcraft, Mike Morhaime, Rob Pardo, Civ Revolution, Ani_Mitchell, Jesse, John Romero, MYST, Return of the Obra Dinn, Undertale, Fez, Zack, Breath of the Wild, God of War (2018), Pokemon Let's Go, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Final Fantasy IX, Death Stranding, 343 Industries, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Persona 5, Prey (2017), Spider-Man (2018).

Next time:
Beyond Earth Bonus! And Episode 200!

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

Feb 12, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our discussion of Civilization III. We talk about Tim triggering a World War, the slow-down in the mid-game, Brett as a war criminal, and other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to the Modern Era

Issues covered: Rome gets what it deserves, having more vs fewer Civs, running out of time/hitting a point of no return, not knowing what to ask for when you're suing for peace, wanting more feedback, being the type of game you need to figure out in a time when games wouldn't hold your hand, wanting a shallow end of the pool, having suggested scenarios, do they lean on old players, wondering if culture wins are possible against military might, experimenting to figure out the rules, getting an army and not knowing what to do with it, having military history vs not, fantasy/science fiction settings and the burden to teach, educating a player as they follow the series, Tim triggers a world war through diplomatic agreements, talking about history, trade and the economy, the weird ending screens, democracy hating war, appreciating the craft, this being a forever game, whether Brett would get a game with a different skin, bouncing off this style of play because it's not escapist, watching the AI and learning from that.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Star Trek, Fallout, Civilization: Revolution, Dominion, Magic: The Gathering, Beyond Earth, Madden (series), Daron Stinnett, Final Fantasy (series)/ Final Fantasy Tactics, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Sid Meier's Pirates, Balance of Power, Risk, Starcraft, Persona 5.

Next time:
Finish the game/additional games!

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

Feb 5, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our discussion of Civilization III (and of the Civilization series generally). We talk a bit about the middle game generally, why it doesn't catch on with Brett as much, and especially address the layers of game play and how they interact. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the Medieval period

Issues covered: converting members of the population to entertainers, lowering taxes instead, fighting overpopulation, filling out a tech tree to trigger the next age, bouncing off this game again and again, managing complexity, educating yourself with the Civilopedia, finding the decisions less interesting, lack of simulation pressure, having found a boring game and having less to worry about, fighting over every resource, having all the spice, cascading effects over resource distribution, thinking about how the AI might work, characteristics of nations and persons, thinking too hard about civilization breaks the game down a bit, the horrors of balancing, the benefits of iterating a franchise, running into the turn limit, the types of victories, a clash of simple systems, low complexity of any individual system, games of conflict and domination, turn-based combat and domination, putting faces to the civilizations, playing characters as caricature, marketing with Gandhi, personification and putting naming things, the pros and cons of having associations, competition games generally, the astonishing level of achievement here, generating little stories about your civilization, personalizing your board game, what do you bring into your game, visualizing your relationships with other civs, preferring "your" version of a game, playing games linearly but developing them out of order, interpreting the title (and possibly irony), how we teach history in America, sanitizing history, understanding causes, sitting back and evaluating rather than being in it, procedural rhetoric, mirroring it history, games in other areas that focus on different civilizational histories, getting to games.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Star Wars, Dune, Diplomacy, Risk, Fallout, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Phil Simms, The Osbornes, Dominion, Balance of Power, Chris Crawford, Mario Kart, Pandemic Legacy, Risk Legacy, X-COM, Rob Daviau, Matt Leacock, PRACTICE, Jeffool, Final Fantasy (series), Sam Thomas, Europa Universalis, Ester Olsen, MicroProse, The Aristocrats, Paradox Interactive, Persona 5, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Day of the Tentacle, Tacoma.

Links:
Rob Daviau, Designing a Legacy Game
Sun Tzu's War Academy
The Apollo Program

Next time:
Finish a game!

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

Jan 29, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin our discussion of the game series beginning in 1991, Civilization, through its 2001 incarnation Civilization III. We talk about it in time, the type of sim it is, some bits about "civilization" and lots of other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to the Medieval Age

Issues covered: choosing your names, looking at the series as a whole, one more turn, the 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) genre, situating the game in two times, additions to the Civilization franchise, needing the manual, the PC as the home of the deeper simulation game (wargames and flight simulations), "a game is a series of interesting decisions," Sid Meier's studio history, game perspective and the God Game, Brett and insomnia and a number of turns, learning through failure and why people bounce off, high highs and low lows, having a hard time making the early decisions, getting a better understanding of the early game by having a good roll, not knowing how far apart to place things, not cracking the manual, not knowing what to do, the difference between Civ and some other styles of Sim game, transparency of numbers and systems, the distinction of toys vs games, limited automation in Civ, digging into the Civilopedia, genre-defining creation of its own choice space, what you read in the Civilopedia, playing against harder AI levels, reading as a min-maxer, applying concepts as relatable, being pushed away from the "realism/historicity," colonialism and Western civilization as the framework, limiting historical tribes as "barbarians," scope and production realities, warping reality, using peoples as pure resources, colonialism and barbarians and their inherent game limitations, layering systems, leveling units against barbarians, limiting what you ask of an old game, being curious about a ruler, finding an essentialism in a representative leader, arguing that different civs might have an opportunity to rule, seeing another Civ pass through a first time, early game tranquility and the end of innocence, creating a story around a single resource, shifting to a new form of government, establishing Pax Romana, the simple power of names, layers of ironic naming, "the past is never dead, it isn't even past," film and games, not being part of the cultural conversation, the mystery of games to people, Oscars and Pulitzers and prizes, marketing and games, proud self-support, staying away from a side-hustle, a couple of well-wishes, Tim's charity walking.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Metal Gear (series, obliquely), Nintendo, Sonic the Hedgehog, Avalon Hill, Computer Gaming World, Sid Meier, Link to the Past, Super Mario World, Street Fighter II, Monkey Island 2, Metroid (series), Super Castlevania IV, id Software, Bungie, Blizzard/Silicon & Synapse, 3D0 Corporation, SNES, World of Warcraft, Neverwinter Nights, Stormfront Studios, SSI, Gold Box Series, Ico, Final Fantasy IX, Doom (series), Soul Reaver (series), Star Wars: Starfighter, Devil May Cry, Silent Hill 2, Halo: Combat Evolved, Jak & Daxter, Max Payne, Red Faction, Serious Sam, TIE Fighter, MicroProse, Spectrum HoloByte, Hasbro Interactive, Infrogrammes, Firaxis, 2K Games, Take-Two Interactive, SimCity, Populous, Will Wright, Maxis, Peter Molyneux, Bullfrog Productions, Sid Meier's Pirates, Istanbul (not Constantinople), They Might Be Giants, Flood, Soren Johnson, Puerto Rico (board game), UFO: Enemy Unknown, StarCraft, Requiem for a Nun, William Faulkner, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Candy Crush, Fortnite, Lady Gaga, Geoff Keighley, The Economy of Prestige, James English, Alexander, Luke Theriault, The Revenant, Persona 5.

Next time:
Civ III to the Industrial Age

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

Jan 22, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we welcome Kirk Hamilton, composer, podcaster, and retired writer/editor to the podcast to talk about music composition, working with licenses and licensed music, the way music and play work on our brains, and a host of other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:16 Interview
1:10:31 Break
1:11:00 Next game, announcement, etc.

Issues covered: Kirk's early writings, using your ear training, picking up a saxophone, Brett's saxophone solo, getting a broad mandate, modeling on NPR podcasts, geeking out about NPR podcast intros, aerophone, jingles as condensed composition, working with synthesizers, programmer art for the theme, remembering the old themes, the hard work of working with composers as a non-musician, talking about intangibles, level reviews and music, working on established IPs, breaking the music, repeating music in older games, composing for player actions, iMUSE and music blending in between states, game audio with multiple sound cards, preserving game audio, CD-ROM game audio/Redbook audio, the excellent audio and voice department of LucasArts, the many cool influences of Peter McConnell, artists at play, the evolution of the human brain, playing with your prey, the mix of lyrics and music and story and game play, the need for technical understanding in game composers, writing for an environment, adding data to music tracks, scheduling audio to play at the exact right moment, building a dynamic game play system and finding a way for music to match that, how Zelda music has changed over time, being aware of the creative vision of the game, Japanese game development, the mismatch of the opening vs the play of a game reflected in its music, feeling the play, the Tomb Raider menu music, Lara Croft in media vs Lara Croft in the game, the loneliness and promise of the menu music, the exploration of Tomb Raider vs the pulp of Raiders, licensing music, matching a soundtrack to the game's moment, using the right soundtrack that reflects the music, dropping in some Miles Davis or Sonny Rollins, Brett overshares his saxophone history, Kirk's projects, feedback about how we should set up each episode, going from game/book club vs discussing and analyzing games, what's next, Tim's big adventure.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Gamer Melodico, Kotaku, Strong Songs, Kotaku Splitscreen, Maddy Myers, Jason Schreier, Red Dead Redemption, Aaron Evers, NPR, RadioLab, Fresh Air, This American Life, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, World Saxophone Quartet, Matthew Burns, JukeDeck, Slate Culture GabFest, Succession, Nicholas Britell, Star Wars, Tomb Raider, Halo, Jason Graves, Republic Commando, Jesse Harlin, John Williams, David Collins, Ludwig Göransson, MIDI, Michelle Hinners, iMUSE, LucasArts, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, Dark Forces, Nintendo, GameBoy, The Secret of Monkey Island, Michael Land, MYST, Curse of Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, George Lucas, Peter McConnell, Psychonauts, Double Fine Entertainment, Metallica, ProTools, David Byrne, How Music Works, Austin Wintory, Journey, That Game Company, Flower, Uncharted, Zelda (series), Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, Koji Kondo, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Manaka Kataoka, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Cadence of Hyrule, Danny Baranowsky, Super Meat Boy, Mario (series), Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Odyssey, UFO: Enemy Unknown/X-COM, John Broomhall, Timothy Michael Wynn, The Avengers, Morgan Grey, Indiana Jones, Crystal Dynamics, GTA (series), UbiSoft, Watch Dogs, Martin Scorcese, Birth of the Cool, Miles Davis, Saint Thomas, Sonny Rollins, The Lost Boys, Phillip from Copenhagen, Pokemon, World of Warcraft, Kingdom Hearts, Shenmue, Eternal Darkness, Rebel FM, DDR, Civilization III, SimCity, Sid Meier, Alpha Centauri.

Next time:
Civilization III

Links:
Kirk and the Secret of Monkey Island

Gameplay and Story Are Exactly Like Music and Lyrics

Strong Songs Patreon

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Jan 16, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we return to Blizzard's 2004 classic MMORPG World of Warcraft. We discuss the focus required to work in groups, zone design and macro story choices, and delve into our first dungeon before turning to feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Into the mid-20s

Podcast breakdown:
0:47       WoW talk
1:16:45  Break
1:17:16  Feedback

Issues covered: shortcuts/acronyms for what's going on, our change in schedule, streamlining roles into tank/healer/dps, a first experience tanking, explosions of types of role-playing games, the interplay of innovation and risk/cost, being able to easily fall into a role, limitations on boss encounters due to role specificity, crowd control roles, elite feel for a game requiring harder roles, spreading abilities around to all classes, roles becoming automatic and rote, designing dungeons to the variety of player you actually have, building more complex MMO behaviors, limiting mechanical complexity, using position as an element in combat for boss design, adding puzzles to dungeon instances, being a part of a bigger raid, the perfect tank build, designing zones to slowly push you to the tough challenges, randomly encountering folks tackling the tough challenge, naturally pushing people to the same locations and forcing social interactions, quest lines that cycle you past places you've been, having long-term enemies and macro stories, having your endgame tie into characters you've seen before, breadcrumbing storylines, seeing higher level characters and having aspirations, returning to new player areas, Tim uses the B word, trying to find a group via server-wide channels, how busy the servers are, modern and match-making, name collisions on the server, being over-leveled for the dungeon, being overwhelmed to fulfill the role, getting careless or pulling badly, switching tactics for a dungeon, high highs and low lows, knowing your role while you're in a 5 person raid, surprises along the way with different types of characters, designing like an amusement park, having surprising visual moments, going out on an adventure, why there aren't lots of games like Shenmue, the historic hangover due to lack of diversity in AAA games marketing, making a game to reach our parents' generation, reaching Tim's mom, discoverability, attach rates and consoles, modern games with deep Shenmue vibes, mobile and casual games, availability of "classic" mobile games, game portals.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dungeons & Dragons, Destiny, Everquest, Final Fantasy XII, Left 4 Dead, Valve, Sekiro, Lord of the Rings (obliquely), Disneyland, The Goonies, Dark Age of Camelot, Shenmue, Robin, Resident Evil, The Sims, LucasArts, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Nintendo, Wii, Wii Sports, Persona (series), Tokyo Mirage Sessions, Red Dead Redemption 2, GTA (series), Nick McCormick, Spider, Drop 7, Osmos, Andy Nealen, Big Fish, Diner Dash, Crazy Taxi, Plants vs Zombies, World of Goo, Peggle, Alchemy.

Links:
Shenmue on the Saturn

Next time:
Our (delayed) interview with Kirk Hamilton!

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Jan 8, 2020

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our series on 1999's Sega cult classic Shenmue. We spend a lot of time lifting cargo and putting it into place and also run pell-mell for the exit before we turn to our takeaways and some feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finishing the game!

Podcast breakdown:
0:44    Shenmue discussion
58:24  Break
59:03  Takeaways and Feedback

Issues covered: why we're even working in the harbor anyway, being stuck in the harbor and not being able to free-roam, triggering scenes day by day, being committed to the forklift bit, warm-up racing, earning raises, giving in to the routine, turning off the open world and opt-in, being stuck at the harbor if Ryo had more to do, "the worst version of wandering around," being directed but not being able to directly forward the story, genre-bending, watching forklift operators and then feeling part of that machinery, playing anything, having a first job, feeling communion with Ryo more and with the characters with whom he interacts, whether Death Stranding derives from this, having timelines with Nozomi and Goro and Mai, wondering what we missed, having to rush to the docks at midnight, connecting to the schedules, hopping on a motorcycle, a late timed challenge, getting into the Mad Angels' hideout, a music video returning Nozomi home, having to fight Gui Zhang, having to fight everyone who hangs out in the docks at night, leeching drama from a scene through repetition, Tim getting into the move set, wanting a little more from the fighting game parts, going half-way and lacking camera and HUD support, an aside into Japanese gang sartoria and Hong Kong cinema, missing out on Lan Di, having the final conflict, incorporating more fight moves in the final fights, finding scrolls and being taught the moves, suddenly dropping in narration, an abrupt ending, the life simulator, succeeding at building a living world, the real-time clock, lacking character state in unscheduled interactions, having rewarding moments off the beaten path, how the notebook fills in and not being able to use that to explore the world, "interactive cinema" and how that drove the game and industry, paralleling certain cinema tropes, embracing the mundane, crafting as mundane, having the mundane to balance and buoy the action, setting the game in its time again from fans, technical achievements of Shenmue, things feeling a little stilted, Brett not remembering the names of stuff, spending time on side things, looking ahead.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Yu Suzuki, Ian Bogost, Play Anything, Death Stranding, Metal Gear (series), John Woo, Jackie Chan, Oldboy, Virtua Fighter, The Warriors, LucasArts, Full Throttle, Persona (series), Left 4 Dead (series), Top Gun, David Cage, Heavy Rain, World of Warcraft, DreamCast, Guy Morgan, Lloyd Parker, Soul Calibur, PlayStation 2, Final Fantasy VIII, XBOX, John Carmack, DOOM 3, Daniel Louks, Animal Crossing, Assassin's Creed, Skyrim, The Witcher 3, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
An interview with Kirk Hamilton about the new theme!

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Jan 1, 2020

No show notes this week -- just our annual takeaways and recaps. Happy New Year -- let's make 2020 a good one, folks.

 

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Dec 18, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on 1999's Sega cult classic Shenmue. We talk about waiting for time to pass, delve into similarities with other auteurist life simulation games, and get caught by guards ten times apiece. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up until we're getting a job

Issues covered: getting on the bus, missing the bus, watching the wheels on the bus go round and round, having that awkward moment trying to figure out how to get on the bus, imagining the design meeting, making concessions to the player with fast travel, a removed economic mechanic in Skyrim, always having to follow the schedules, looking at things on shelves in markets, the many mechanics around the focus, finding and having to put down the elixir of life, selling the father's back story, making things make sense in the fiction, picking up and buying stuff in the store, feeding the kitten, the cat disappears and can be found, Brett's issue with Nozomi, running up against the boundaries of the sim and caring, having a sense of things, it becoming Christmastime and the town, meeting Santa, why can't I thank Nozomi, mysticism maybe slipping in, bringing in wire movement from kung fu cinema, having a cool moment in the dojo, pocketing a family heirloom, an infinite inventory, using the flashlight again, how to get the scene with the father's memory over breakfast, missing things, systems vs spaghetti scripts, what David Cage owes to Yu Suzuki, building scenes vs world building, in theater: why is this the day or period of this character's life, choosing the most important day in Hamlet's life, padding a game and not fully motivating it, providing contrast, the map of the old warehouse district updating, filling in the homeless man's map, adding in the guard patrol paths, the forklift meme, trying to get into a warehouse and thinking you need a forklift, Quick Time(r) Events, a brief digression on laserdisc games, having a soccer ball kicked at you, lots of mini-moments, mapping QTEs to natural motions, using direction vs button presses, having the right player logic.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Seaman, Phantasy Star Online, Sega Pro Bass Fishing, World of Warcraft, Yu Suzuki, Skyrim, Big Trouble in Little China, Rockstar, David Cage, Heavy Rain, Omikron: The Nomad Soul, Anachronox, Fahrenheit/The Indigo Prophecy, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, LA Noire, Chekhov, Dragon's Lair, Space Ace, Cliffhanger, Badlands, Don Bluth, Game Boy Advance, God of War (2005), Tomb Raider (2013), Metal Gear Solid 4, God of War (2018), Persona 5.

Next time:
End of year bonus!

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

Dec 11, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we start a new series on 1999's Sega cult classic Shenmue. We've visited 1999 before, so we briefly set it in context before moving on to the salient question: What even is this game? We talk about the way the story begins, the environment interactivity, and the "open world" and time, among other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up until we're looking for Warehouse 8

Issues covered: what this game was relative to 1999, the most expensive title of its day, lack of commercial success, a strange turn for Yu Suzuki, the importance of SEGA in the industry at the time, how much of Ryo's story has been told, Dreamcast's weird experiments, the change of the Japanese market, not even really knowing what this game was, starting from scratch even from a genre perspective, "full reactive eyes entertainment" or FREE, getting into the cold open, motivating the player, giving you an in to the mystery and the start of play, player and character motivations tightly linked, slowly introducing you to the world, removing some of the mechanics of mourning, the Band-Aid of power, "pointless interaction," little cutscenes with his father, methodical slow initial pacing, being worried about a full inventory, quickly removing a picture from the wall, a sort of tech fetishization, attention to detail, feeling like a simulation, what kind of simulation this is, very elaborate per-character scripting, the sorts of ways we simulate these days, the cost of developing a game like this, other highly scheduled games of the time, day-night schedules, always having the clock on the HUD, lack of time manipulation, learning to know your location, learning the schedules of characters, seeing a character leave or arrive at his apartment, being able to theorize about what characters it made sense to talk to, calling back to text adventures, process of elimination vs logic-ing out, systemic conversation options, automating something similar to Ultima keywords, spaces in the notebook, having cultural aspects in the story, integrating into a foreign culture, likely personal goals for the game, an allegory for certain clashes, the fortune-teller, upsetting the DAoC economy, staying away from the WoW economy, making crafting more or less optional, encouraging interaction between players or not, insider training in WoW, real world money, getting around in WoW, playing modless, finding a place again a decade later, having those moments you can't have any other way, being aware of your market and building budget-appropriate.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Charlie Chaplin, System Shock 2, Planescape: Torment, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, EverQuest, Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear, Counterstrike, Alien vs Predator, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Team Fortress Classic, Half-Life, Quake, Final Fantasy VIII, Medal of Honor, The Longest Journey, Sierra, Unreal Tournament, Homeworld, Silent Hill, Super Smash Bros, Mario Party 2, Dreamcast, Crazy Taxi, The Offspring, Soulcalibur, Yu Suzuki, Hang-On, Space Harrier, Virtua Racing, Virtua Fighter, Out Run, Afterburner, SEGA, Blue Dragon, Phantasy Star Online I & II, Sonic Adventure, Blue Stinger, Seaman, Samba de Amigo, Rez, Ikaruga, PlayStation 2, Red Dead Redemption 2, Trespasser, Gone Home, The Sims, Majora's Mask, Groundhog Day, Ocarina of Time, GTA III, Assassin's Creed (series), Bethesda Game Studios, Skyrim, Deadline, Witness, LucasArts, Ultima (series), Yakuza (series), Godzilla, jesusfreak144000, Eric Fox, Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft, EVE Online, Makendi/Aaron, Twitch, Curse, Ashton Herrmann, Morrowind, Dark Souls, Game Maker's Toolkit, Dead Space (series), Frank Gibeau, Mark Brown.

Next time:
Up until the end of the next open world section

Links:
Could not find the gold farmer article, sorry!

 

Dec 4, 2019

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we return to Blizzard's 2004 classic MMORPG World of Warcraft. We talk a bit about the grind, a notable MMO moment, some differences with world layout and characterization over time and character, as well as other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to level 20

Issues covered: hitting the Classic grind, fetch quests, zone refinements in modern, finding the right quests for your level, not leading you by the nose (vs not knowing the best way to go), having a sense of mystery, going from Coldridge to Dun Morogh, having curiosity about the world, being conditioned to a reward schedule of a different type, buying a weapon due to slow positive reinforcement, limits of combat mechanics, feeling like you had to grind out levels, lacking an equivalent to the Barrens, the variety of locations in Stormwind, running into a player who helped us find and finish a quest, having the network of other players to guide you to content, building a world, broadness but not depth in character, traveling long distances, playing co-op even with strangers, complementary character builds, tank/dps/healing triumvirate, flying over a very dangerous area and the exhilaration of what you'll see some day, like visiting a whole new place, progressing from very small to small to absolutely enormous, transitions from place to place, limitations of Westfall as an area, transition from Coldridge up into Ironforge, designing around when you transition zones, stretching quests a little too thin around Thelsamar, order of continent design, limitations of the Alliance, curiosity about retention, Tim's theory about humans as most retained race, approachability of the familiar, wanting different experiences the more games you've played, worrying about money, controlling what's purchasable, the importance of money, getting abilities for free, having to make interesting or hard decisions about money, running out of money, cutting off experimentation because things are expensive, evolving into multiple currency types, auto-sorting things into bags, the nightmare of inventory management, grognard capture and approachability, setting graphics to the WoW look, getting into a dungeon.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dark Age of Camelot, Dr. Seuss, Disneyland, Gone Home, Firewatch, Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Bethesda Game Studios, Everquest, Brad Furminger, Eternal Darkness, Nintendo, Shenmue, Dreamcast, Austin Walker, Waypoint Radio, Makendi.

Next time:
A new game: Shenmue (check Twitter for how far)
(And to 30 for a future WoW episode)

https://twitch.tv/brettdouville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub
DevGameClub@gmail.com

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next » 9