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Dev Game Club

Join hosts and game industry veterans Brett Douville and Tim Longo as they explore older titles to talk about the influences those games had and what we can learn from them even today.
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Now displaying: Page 5
Feb 9, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. We talk a little bit about how leveling appears to work, finding quests and using the journal, and just heading off on your own. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
More hours

Issues covered: two roads diverging in a wood, the various Tongs, having some fantasy etymology and naming conventions, the emergence of groups and politics, a huge leap forward from prior Bethesda games, clear analogies to Forgotten Realms, the Dark Brotherhood quest lines, murder triggering a quest line, quests being tied to guilds, worrying about the flexibility of the game to support player choices, grinding reputation in an MMO as opt-in, the QA/dev speedrun challenge, game exploits vs bug exploits, fictional identity to align quests vs clear differences between main and side quests, getting lost on the "roads," modularity and reuse, going deep and losing focus, committing to a character concept, the "good" assassins, etymology of cantor vs canton, the hugeness of Vivec City, tracking a serial killer, trying to track down the Morag Tong under the Arena, the trade-offs between single-character and party RPGs, raising your open skill, "I want to kill people but I want to be good!," opposing the old guilds and the new in the underbelly, cities are their own thing, surprise moment to introduce a spell, opening up all the variables as fodder for quests, adding layers of backstory pieces as you go, going deep into every bit of content, your major skills and how they contribute to leveling, born under a bad sign, the ability to break the game, loving the game because of its flexibility, the user experience problem, not reading the effing manual, having the strategy guide, success breeding stagnation and not pursuing the bugs, isolation and bringing in new talent and the same people making the games, building up technical debt and the costs of servicing technical debt, making different triage decisions and the balance of your focus, sailing the Ship of Theseus, managing scope and risk, 404'ed credits, changing the feel with dual wielding vs the grenade, player overwhelm with choices.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Emil Pagliarulo, Witcher III, Fallout 3, Factor 5, Rogue Squadron, Reed Knight, Xbox, Dragon Age 2, Baldur's Gate, Ultima, Dungeons & Dragons, Just Once/James Ingram (obliquely), Breath of the Wild, Less Than Zero, mysterydip, NetImmerse/Gamebryo, Billy Idol, Grand Theft Auto (series), Uncharted (series), Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Halo (series), 343 Industries, Jaime Griesemer, UbiSoft, Resident Evil Village, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
More-owind

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

Jan 26, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we add a bonus to our series on Halo with a chat with designer Jaime Griesemer, whose sniper rifle talk we referenced in the series. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
1:01 Interview
1:13:02 Break
1:13:37 Outro

Issues covered: looking up Halo lore for the intro, going to school to be a physicist, blackmailing someone for a studio tour, quickly leaving QA by making multiplayer maps, teams stacked with talent, refusing to return the keys, building the level before the play, enjoying the economy-free RTS, "sci-fi Myth," the early version being mostly vehicle- and exterior-based, finding the fun with multiplayer first, having long single rounds, Microsoft seeing something in Halo, how the demo worked, rehearsing to capture one long take, having no sound engine and covering it with music, desperation is the mother of intervention, a hair's breadth from disaster, FedEx-ing the disc, "tell us the formula," being bound to legacy, reverting to the roots, the philosophy background helping influence his design, incepting to understand design process, working with lousy controllers, reconfiguring other games, using the Usability Lab, the interrogation room/psych experiment lab, cameras pointed, being unable to ask whether controls are inverted, testing allowing natural configuration of buttons (and failing), how default became the default, an intro level that holds up, threading the needle between boredom and forgetting, people who forgot to look, people who can't use both sticks, the connection between the tutorial and the Usability Lab, a boring part making the exciting part more exciting, contextualizing the 30 seconds of fun, recontextualizing, why Halo has two weapons, limited memory, constraints inspiring creativity, having to make the right decision, the power of violating conventions, removing what's between you and the fun part, "random access controls," making all the decisions available "right now," thinking and having actions happen immediately, enabling the golden tripod, adding more buttons or sticks doesn't help, the co-evolution of games and controllers, the limitations of arcade controls, the Griesemer Click, the iterative process of tuning, synaesthesia, coming back to re-tune from scratch after a week, craft yourself into a good experiencer, "if I was good at the games, the games wouldn't be good," appreciate things while they're happening... and then seek something new, seeing whether games can do something new in nonfiction, regretting your quotes, reflecting back on a panel, enjoying the specifics, a restrained amount of progression, not having an RPG character in Master Chief.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Myth, Tyson Green, Jason Jones, Destiny, Sucker Punch, Infamous: Second Son, Highwire, Marty O'Donnell, Golem, Evan Wells, Dustin Browder, Blizzard, Starcraft, Matt Tateishi, Randy Smith, Paul Bertone, Chris Barret, Alex Seropian, Oni, Warcraft, Company of Heroes (series), MacWorld, Microsoft, ARMA (series), Steve Jobs, Julian Gollop, X-COM, Marathon, TimeSplitters, GoldenEye, PlayStation, Ratchet & Clank, Uncharted, Jim McQuillan, Tetris, Call of Duty (series), Shigeru Miyamoto, DOOM (1993), Half-Life, Nintendo, Six Days in Fallujah, Thief, Hal Barwood, Halo: Infinite, AC: Odyssey, Troy Mashburn, Resident Evil VII/Village, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
More Morrowind!

Links:
Halo MacWorld Demo (1999)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YJ53skc-k4

On All Levels (2003 GDC Talk, audio only)

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

Jan 19, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Bethesda Game Studios RPG classic from 2002. We situate it in time and then dive right in, having been released from imprisonment and sent on a specific mission. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A few hours of play

Issues covered: 2002 in games, Todd Howard's first mainline game as director, a little about Bethesda, Tim's history with the series, early games feeling open world, finding the titles generic, Brett confesses, not playing just the main quest, directing the player via POIs, self-motivated quests, interview homework, the prophecies, something is going on in Vvardenfell, name/job, situating you in the world with character creation, the census bureau, the clever setups, tutorial and usability, the death of Ultima as a franchise, Brett the battlemage, being able to pick up anything, we try to find the names of the elven races, all the skills and accidentally thieving, sleeping in the wrong bed, having laws enforced, not being able to barter because of contraband, thoughtful world-building, imagining a bigger world from small interactions, playing the good assassin, being opposed to the outlanders, coming up with concepts from the real world, coding the Khajiit as shifty Arabs, homebrew and archetypal sources, steering away from making particular races evil, slavery in RPGs, walking to Balmora, doing some quests, different architecture, Tim's sidequest to woo a Dunmer, directions to get to a quest, what is the arc of the game?, feeling like you have chapters even when a game doesn't have progression or leveling up, the small decisions you make all the time in game design, the crosshairs in Halo.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Jonah Lobe, Jean Simonet, Andrew Kirmse, Republic Commando, Oblivion, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Kingdom Hearts, Eternal Darkness, Ratchet & Clank, Xbox, Metroid Prime, Splinter Cell, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Sly Cooper, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Jedi Starfighter, Battlefield 1942, Age of Mythology, Jedi Knight II, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Neverwinter Nights, Bioware, Jade Empire, Knights of the Old Republic, Todd Howard, Redguard, Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, NHL series, Terminator, Fallout (series), Starfield, The Witcher III, Reed Knight, Ultima Underworld, Arena, Daggerfall, Patrick Stewart, Firaxis, MechAssault, DoubleNegative (youtuber), Liam Neeson, Fallout: New Vegas, Underworld Ascendant, Paul Neurath, Baldur's Gate, Tyranny, Planescape: Torment, Pillars of Eternity, Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars, WoW Classic, Infinity Engine, Sea of Thieves, Ifthatisyo U'rerealname, Halo, RE VII, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
More hours?

Links:
You're Finally Awake

Errata:
The game we referred to as the spiritual successor to Ultima Underworld was Underworld Ascendant and not Ascension (which was the subtitle to Ultima IX). We regret the error.

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

Jan 12, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we reflect on the year that was, looking back at the interviews and lessons we took away. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: work and long hours, how we generate our lists, more keys that aren't keys, the tangibility of character sheets, the impact of D&D campaigns, your love and fun translating into what you make, labors of love, feeling games that no one felt a spark making, feeling like your hard work paid off, cancelling projects, ideas coming up again later, maintaining the fragile connection between player and character, a perspective on the effort that it takes to deliver a great experience, trailblazing a new feature, thinking about a camera, camera design is like puzzle solving, good camera work being invisible, Uematsu loves prog rock, accessibility, "the team makes the game," sharing credit, bringing in all your players, collaboration, finishing games you hadn't before, being a finisher vs not, Master Chief as the iconic space marine, feeling like Master Chief is black, being more about the lore than the story, CW Suicide (skip 54:20 - :30), getting hooked on Halo, a game series following you through major events, the LucasArts Halo tournament, connecting with your kids through games.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Baldur's Gate, Ratchet & Clank, Brian Allgeier, James Ohlen, Michael Backus, Dungeons & Dragons, Joel Gifford, Control, Girl with a Stick, Ted Price, LucasArts, Tim Schafer, Grim Fandango, Double Fine Productions, Psychonauts, Headlander, Lee Perry, Lee Petty, Epic Games, Jon Knoles, Bounty Hunter, Blackout Club, Question Games, Bethesda Game Studios, Remi Lacoste, Prince of Persia, Assassin's Creed, Ubisoft Montreal, Donald Duck Gone Quackers, Crash Bandicoot, Nintendo, Sebastian Deken, Final Fantasy (series), Nobuo Uematsu, Halo, Sony, Microsoft, Patrice Desilets, Resident Evil 4, Ocarina of Time, Prey, Arkham Asylum, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, Jarrko Sivula, 343 Industries, Star Wars, Book of Boba Fett, The Mandalorian, Ashton Herrmann, Bungie, Half-Life, The Fellowship of the Ring, Crystal Dynamics, KB, Lia, Minecraft, Sasha/Truffles Moccachino, RE 7, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Either an interview *or* our next game!

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

Jan 5, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we really wrap our series on Halo by providing our takeaways, and then dive in and out of feedback to talk Halo Infinite. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A few hours of Halo Infinite

Issues covered: being stuck with the helmet silhouette, 30 seconds of fun, the feel of the controls, elevating lesser elements, world-building and an iconic character, compelling people through mystery, the feeling of the epic, bringing the world to life through physics, verticality and memorability, knowing where you are in the outdoors, mixing up enemies for AI variability, directing the player, possible physics changes, things that the graphics changed, playing with your son, sampling some types of missions, the tank simulation, resetting the story of the series, picking Master Chief out of the debris, having a grappling hook, returning to the spirit of the first game, revealing the ring, really committing to the grappling hook, showing all the things you do with the grappling hook in the opening cinematic, extending the golden triangle, explicit damage types, ammo crates, having more headshotting, audio, story missions, switching from in-person to remote, having sneakernet be part of the normal production process, designing process and culture for your working environment, video game adjacent spaces, machinima, recording matches, shipping the complete package, having so many products and just one team, franchise history, all the things that a TES game is expected to have, Tim getting scared.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: George Lucas, Ratchet and Clank, Ringworld, Larry Niven, Discworld, Half-Life 2, Myth, Bungie, Republic Commando, The Red, Linda Nagata, John K, Goldeneye, Will, Microsoft, Paul Crocker, Lani Lum, Star Trek, Legend of Zelda, Sotaro Tojima, Metal Gear (series), Assassin's Creed (series), Ben Zaugg, Red vs Blue, Rooster Teeth, Netflix, Xbox Live, Forge, Luke S, Red Dead/GTA Online, Ghosts of Tsushima, Last of Us II, Skyrim, Activision, Call of Duty (series), Ubisoft, 343 Industries, Resident Evil VII, Saw, PT, Paranormal Activity, Silent Hill, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Brett's Book Recommendation: The Red, by Linda Nagata

Errata:
Brett looked it up, and it's the Battle of Wolf 359. We regret the error.

Next time:
Possibly an interview!

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

Dec 29, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we finish our series on Halo: Combat Evolved. We talk about some of the major story beats here towards the end, the repetitive aspects good and bad, letting the fights play out in front of you, music, and more! Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the game!

Issues covered: why is the Flood on Halo, a floor wax and a dessert topping, how do you prevent people from visiting dangerous places, proper noun series, wiping the galaxy of food, Sentinels working for and against you, the deeper meaning of Halo and religious resonance, dealing with big archetypes and lending timelessness, explaining/contextualizing as you move on, losing the mythic, having to get Keyes's authorization codes, using the enemies against one another, engaging and becoming the focus, detecting when the player should be the focus of attention, sandboxes and thinking you can do more than you actually can, stealth and not for Halo, the repetition of the Library, the strength of the original graphics, the golden triangle, the dance of combat and the depth of multiplayer, switching grenade types, tactical choices behind weapons for the enemy types you'll fight, going out and returning to the Pillar of Autumn, feeling different if you have vertical movement, the confusion of the engineering space, having to find the armory, finishing the game co-op, Brett's many failures, requiring skill checks along the way to lead you to the challenge, art/architecture getting in the way, payouts getting drowned out by frustration, time pressure, high skill ceiling, smoothing out the experience, orchestral accompaniment, combining disparate musical elements, the impact of music, the theme song matching the character, setting tone and mood with the Flood themes, pairing opposites, conservative plus primal.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Destiny, Portal 2, Stephen Merchant, Wesley, Star Wars, Legend of Zelda (series), Bruce Willis, Looper, Call of Duty (series), Medal of Honor (series), DOOM (1993), Resident Evil 4, Star Trek, Andrew Kirmse, Skyrim, Death Stranding, Marty O'Donnell, Michael Salvatori, John Williams, Indiana Jones, ET, Harry Potter, Nintendo, Myth, Resident Evil VII/Village, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
A little bit of Infinite

Errata:
Brett realizes it's not a beholder but a cacodaemon in DOOM, but has D&D on the brain. We regret the error.

Also, the Covenant ship is the Truth and Reconciliation.

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

Dec 22, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Halo: Combat Evolved. We talk vehicles, architecture, lore, and level design 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 the Library!

Issues covered: the ungainly Marine vehicles vs the sleek Covenant vehicles, enjoying the shooting quite a bit, the driving model of the Warthog, camera-based driving, driving into walls and off edges, co-op driving, the freedom of driving in the sandboxes, checkpointing based on logic vs location, promoting experimentation, having the feel of an RTS and having the freedom to move around, component-based mix and match, watching an RTS fight from both sides, having the ability to use the damage model to your advantage, having two guns and not constantly refilling just one or two weapons, knowing what weapons you can pick up, orthogonal weapon design, high-level play, the feeling of the different difficulty levels, looking at the original artwork, space Egyptians, beton brut, building from an architectural principle, lower noise in the original art, the huge sense of scale, the story being told in a particular way, not wanting the lore to take precedence, archetypes and mystery, liking a reboot, losing your bearings from the repeated nature of the spaces, the granularity of its environmental modules, kitbashing in other games, differentiating through enemy mixes, Halo being best as a horror game, the Covenant had a point!, suddenly having a shotgun, AR tie-ins fueled by Doritos and presented by Mountain Dew, how Halo holds up, not loving the horror, loving the horror.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Andrew Kirmse, Myth, Baldur's Gate, Triple Click podcast, DOOM (1993), John Romero, Jaime Griesemer, Mark Garcia, Stargate, James Cameron, Aliens, Nic Bouvier, GoldenEye, Star Wars, RA Salvatore, Bungie, Destiny, Ridley Scott, Prometheus, Resident Evil (series), Final Fantasy (series), Witcher (series), Mario (series), Mike Wu, Skyrim, Fallout (series), Bethesda Game Studios, Flood/They Might Be Giants, Polygon, Nolan Filter, Paranormal Activity, Pokemon Go, 7-11 Presents Halo 4: King of the Hill Fueled by Mountain Dew, Geoff Keighley, Tim, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
Finish the game!

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

Dec 15, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series about Halo: Combat Evolved, Bungie's seminal 2001 FPS on the Xbox. We set it in time, discuss its development history, and delve into tutorialization. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to rescuing Keyes on the Truth & Reconciliation

Issues covered: 2001 in games, lull in PC shooters that year, Bungie history, the astonishing development, seeing the migration in the game from the units on the battlefield, betting big, other shooters on consoles, the unexpected internal hit at Microsoft, Oni's complex combat system, the seminal paper on first-person controls, aim acceleration, the big impact of being purchased, the audacity of a PC-focused developer muscling into the market, the library advantage of Sony, lack of distinguishing system sellers, the sole mascot, the enterprise/application/services mentality, the alienation of PC games, DirectX as a unifying force, friends lists and achievements, Xbox Live, politics derailing JSF being the Xbox Live launch title, orthogonal approaches like GamePass, unthawing the Chief, the usability lab, just asking you to look to establish preferences, Technical Requirements Checklist/Technical Checklist of Requirements, being rebellious, a lot of mysteries right at the beginning, sequences for health/shields, giving context, having a motion tracker, Covenant mirroring you vs grunts that don't, low morale pests, clear and different silhouettes, target prioritization, dropping the weapons they carry and enabling different decisions, being able to swap to the old graphics, hating our wokeness, dynamic ability and missability of treasure stuff in RE4, being a bit obscure, survival horror working against scouring an area, possibility of inviting a critic, indie games, the age difference between Leon and Ashley (vs the apparent difference), aging the protagonist towards your own age.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: GTA III, Silent Hill 2, Ico, Civ III, Anachronox, Animal Crossing, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney, Devil May Cry, MGS 2: Sons of Liberty, Super Smash Melee, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3, Jak & Daxter, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, Game Boy Advance, Advance Wars, Max Payne, Black & White, Dark Age of Camelot, Baldur's Gate II, Painkiller, DOOM 3, World of Warcraft, Everquest II, Asheron's Call, Bungie, Marathon (series), Myth (series), Mumbo Jumbo, Take Two Interactive, Apple, MacWorld, Microsoft, Ed Fries, Oni, Republic Commando, Starfighter (series), GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Rare, Jason Jones, id Software, Epic Megagames, PlayStation, Forza, Brute Force, MechAssault, George Lucas, Bill Gates, Nintendo, Sega, Dreamcast, Star Wars, Geoff Jones, Medal of Honor, Saber Interactive, 343 Industries, Troy Mashburn, Karl Popper, Resident Evil 4, Zachary Crownover, Nick Miller, Limited Run Games, Indie Game: The Movie, Suikoden 2, Jason Schreier, MinnMax, Rebel FM, Undertale, Braid, Call of Duty (series), This War of Mine, 11bit Studios, Ben Zaugg, Resident Evil VII, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
More!

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

Dec 8, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this add a bonus to our series on Resident Evil 4 by taking a look at Resident Evil Village. We talk about the bit of the game we played, some of the things that come with first-person and realistic rendering, and then turn to some feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
The first couple hours

Issues covered: the entrancing Lady Dimitrescu, looking forward to playing more over the break, the very different storybook introduction, whether these games are a continuation, building on things others have been doing, the way photorealism falls into an uncanny valley from even props, the way older games signify what is interactable, feeling like you're in a vision mode, knowing the baselines from your initial experience, the acceptability of something rundown, a modern update of RE4, "why does this keep happening to me," wanting to know who you are, being a cipher should maybe go all the way, age-appropriate character delivery device, the over-the-top murder of Mia, the impressive engine they are using, good claustrophobic audio and camera design, finding your sweet spot, slowing in ADS, good resource balancing, a single enemy being terrifying, the creepy guy who is like Mendez and being transported with the ringing of the bell, the systemic daughters that can be defeated in specific ways but short-term dealt with, the slower pacing, doing less with more, prioritizing the right things/focusing on the right stuff, survival horror and working through dark stuff safely, the game you had in your memory, how a game is set against the background of other games you're playing, how we deal with things that are pretty gross, calling it out, needing to be better, being open to perspectives, listening.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Calamity Nolan, Metal Gear Solid, Inside, Limbo, Last of Us 2, Gone Home, Dear Esther, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, What Remains of Edith Finch, P.T., Metal Gear (series), Half-Life, Alien: Isolation, Monster Hunter World, Capcom, Artimage, God of War (2018), Sasha Visari/Truffles Mochacchino, Wii, Ratchet & Clank, BioShock, Ocarina of Time, Hitman 2, Trespasser, Reed Knight, Seamus Blackley, JJ, Karl Popper, RockStar, GTA III, Activision/Blizzard, Chris Corry, Xbox Live, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
???

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

Dec 1, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our series on Resident Evil 4. We talk about various set pieces at the end, a bit about ammo types and balance, and of course, our takeaways. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the game!

Issues covered: having more cutscenes and quotable lines, set piece stuff that reminds you of other series, tying back to the series, parallels with Metal Gear Solid, being campy vs leaning into camp, new enemy types, whether an enemy was skippable, feeling resource poor, weapon choices, conserving resources as much as you can, losing resources to being unable to line up enemies, making ammo more powerful via upgrades, killing parasites with flash grenades, whether resource constraints are balanced for all players dynamically, leaning more heavily on QTEs, replacing mechanics with QTEs, forcing exposition, camera authoring, uninteresting skill challenges, Ashley driving and the rail-shooting, being more action-y than survival horror, wish fulfillment/power fantasy, where you can kill enemies, Krauser and backstory, leaning on prior character knowledge, feeling like the Saddler battle doesn't pay off, not having the right location, the eye in the mouth, the series going darker, replaying the jetski scene again and again, controller problems, planned obsolescence, the rainbow proposition, sturdier controllers, credits story time, ending with a bit of a whimper, Mike we hardly knew ya, Brett's Book Recommendations, the commitment to design tension, the pacing of combat, linear macro design with arena sections, agency in level flow, the AI states and how they work everywhere, the great balancing across the whole game, balancing a game you can't change, pushing your game further but not too far, adding the right things and leaving the right things behind.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Metal Gear Solid, Konami, Capcom, Die Hard (obliquely), Killer 7, Grasshopper Interactive, Suda51, Fatal Frame, Hideo Kojima, Dark Souls, 28 Days Later, Gamecube, PS4, Nintendo, Deus Ex, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia, Mexican Gothic, Julian Gollop, X-COM, Soren Johnson, Civilization III, Control, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Good question! Thought you might ask!

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

Nov 24, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Resident Evil 4. We take a little sidestep into the things that aren't mentioned in the manual, and then work through Chapter 4. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through the end of Ch 4!

Issues covered: things we didn't notice about the game, target practice, going to apparent side tracks first, extending play to try to slow trade-in, collectibles, gacha mechanics, needing to enjoy the core thing, a precursor to lootboxes, expanding to other types of players, ways to expand the mechanics, upgrading treasures, having the nagging idea that you might need to go back, hidden mechanic that extends play, adding discovery, Eastern vs Western design philosophies, misreading the thing they wanted from the El Gigantes, the dragon room, having to come back to a side room, leaving Ashley behind, the layers of history of Europe vs Japan, looking for locations and ideas that can support a lot of varied fictional, differences between systems and level design and parallels with programming, the creature that seems unkillable, being unable to read the boss' states, the Salazar bot and Salazar as an enemy (versus others), the mine car section and its tensions, failing the QTE at the end, wanting an indication that a QTE is coming, feeling unfair, Brett makes a plan, the problem with setpieces, matching expectations, insta-killed by being grabbed by a lava gigante, dropping barrels on your enemies, fighting in close quarters, being absorbed into a giant plant, jumping down to avoid QTEs, turning and running and fighting the design, Your Princess is in another castle, giving a little bit of thanks.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Shenmue, Arkham Asylum, Metal Gear (series), Dark Souls, Demon's Souls, Assassin's Creed, Legend of Zelda (series), Arkane, Dishonored (series), Prey, Mass Effect, Fallout 3, Ico, Dragon's Lair, Republic Commando, God of War, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Donkey Kong, The Thing, Control, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia, Temple of Doom.

Next time:
Finish the game!

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

Nov 17, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Resident Evil 4. We talk about the ecology of the monsters, defense sequences, and bobbing and weaving. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to the end of 3-4

Issues covered: sagacity and gardens, finding the PS4 to be a slightly easier platform, the enemy count, the easier tram ride as a setpiece, running out of ammo in the town on replay, being thoughtful of ammo use and switching to the knife, the suplex, the retinal scanner, Mendez taking the stylized symbol shape, the ecology of the parasite, the dev-evolution of the parasites, feeling like a cohesive setting, a place that used to be a place, Saddler's insectoid form under the robes and his cosmic horror staff, the creep Salazar, gunning and running, taking advantage of AI slowness, higher breeds of hybrids, using the sandbox in interesting ways, having to defend Ashley when separated, having the final exam with Ashley and changing up the challenges, Brett discovers that Tim didn't get the turret gunner, getting a lot out of spaces, the back and forth with Ada Wong, localization issues, another test of the player, Ashley's contextual attacks, the camera closing in and Ashley sticking super close, avoiding the hard thing, noticing the weirdness, poor localization choices, investing in decisions you make (especially when it comes to cultural sensitivity), justifying the investment, othering and foreignness, screaming at Leon, playing RE4 more as a strategy game, pacing and a strategic spectrum, using games to do games stuff.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: PS4, Zach, Dungeons & Dragons, James Bond, Alien, Benjamin Button, Tomorrow Never Dies, Michelle Yeoh, Kumail Nanjiani, Call of Duty, David Cage, Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Max, Guillermo del Toro, Akira Kurosawa, Ghosts of Tsushima, The Seven Samurai, Sony, Stephen, Xbox, X-COM, Alien: Isolation, DOOM (1993), Control, Alan Wake, Reed Knight, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
All of Ch 4

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

Nov 10, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Resident Evil 4. We talk about the new horror in the game, our systematic companion and the other NPC, look at the choice of paths, and then take the tram. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
To Chapter 3

Issues covered: remembering the game, recovering the map, El Gigante reveal, stabbing the creature in the back, getting to no health but being allowed to recover, taking big swings early, foreshadowing traps and the dog, the systematic companion, the church and navigating to Ashley, the quality of the puzzles and being more grounded, the emergence of the Las Plages virus, introducing the enemies, reuse of gameplay objects in the siege, ugh-inducing achievement names, losing Ashley to the Gigante, the many ways Ashley interacts with the game, mechanical/narrative consonance, being introduced to interactions before you have Ashley to interact with them, being able to plan and having accommodations for the plan and executing the plan, maximizing the amount of play you can get from a space, having an apparent plan but being unable to pay it off because of camera movement, changing the camera to be lower in the El Gigante fights, the difficulty of the tram section, the accuracy of the Wii version, another potential way to play BioShock, the soft way BioShock reinforces whether you should deal with the Little Sisters, systems and endings, the interconnectedness of RE4, modality of fire and move at the same time being key to the pacing, finding all the little things in a game you love, tapping A once or twice for slow or fast doors, returning to Ordinary,

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Zachary, God of War, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Leon: The Professional, DayOfTheDan, The Lonely Island, Andy Samberg, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Mark Garcia, BioShock, Dishonored II, Wildermyth, Janine Hawkins, Walker Farrell, David Graeber, Debt: The First 5000 Years, Zachary Crownover, Sam, Grim Fandango, Silent Hill, Control, God of War (2018), Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
More RE4!

Links:
"Play" in evolutionary science

Death animations in RE4

Sam Thomas's RE4RL game and trailer

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

Nov 3, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Resident Evil 4. We talk a bit about the modern mechanics it introduces to the series and consider how it maintains its balance despite it. And, of course, we take a peaceful boat ride across a lake. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up past the lake

Issues covered: quoting the merchant, how the chain saw Ganado appears in the opening section, approaching the town in a particular way, bottlenecking, the dynamism of the enemies, knifing enemies, integrating the merchant into play, art object collection and the economy, trends in 2005, player agency not working against survival horror, the risk of breaking your economy, wondering if they tune for money drops, wanting to find all the things, tuning dynamic difficulty, navigation puzzles, paths to be able to run away, the canyon area, the ups and downs of the series, excellent and non-excellent helicopter rides, QTEs and non-repeatability, maybe being generous in the remaster, attracting you to the collectible, the peasants just farming, keeping performance up with lots of characters, not using tons of tricky spawning, film grain look plus feeling color graded, the lake creature being a cryptid and not just a big alligator, having more characters, introduction of Ada Wong, the scale of the first big monster feeling so overwhelming, getting tossed from the boat in the lake, upgrading weapons and carrying a lot of grenades, are guns worth more after being upgraded?, obsolete upgrades, ideology and abstraction, how the DLC recontextualizes BioShock Infinite, maybe giving BioShock too much credit for its themes, are there horror games that fill us with dread, being scared at a young age, psychological horror getting to you, the importance of audio, power dynamics and increasing tension.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Zachary, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Rage, id Software, Designers Notebook, Left 4 Dead, God of War, Lord of the Rings, Devil May Cry, Tobe Hooper, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Tim, BioShock, Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Message, Baron/Daniel, Tanner, Fatal Frame/Project Zero, WiiU, PT, Alien: Isolation, The Exorcist, Mortimer and the Riddles of the Medallion, Minecraft, Valheim, Dragon Quest Builders, Control, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Find out on Twitter, maybe, if I remember :)

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

Oct 27, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we start a new series on 2005's Capcom horror classic, Resident Evil 4. We place it in its time and then talk immediately about how it really kicked the third-person action-adventure game into higher gear. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to the second typewriter

Issues covered: the Capcom 5, having some trouble getting the game off the ground, success of the remake, a really different feel, relying on establishing POV shots from slashers, horror movie touchpoints, moving away from straight-up zombie games, differences between Chris and Leon, meeting Hunnigan via the Codec, popularizing the third-person shooter, hold-overs from the older controls, fighting the controls, embodying the character, disempowerment, pick a spot and stand your ground, jerky enemies, shooting a weapon out of the air, opening up the level design to multiple paths, the gun-and-run, Leon's better tactics, "various awesome actions," moving saves away from being a resource, a more revealed map, having people coming at you with pitchforks and torches, can you get the chainsaw guy?, disconnects with marketing, getting lucky to have marketing departments who got it, moral choices and the morally objectionable, motivating the character choices for evil, coloring the tone of dialog to reflect your choices, what weapons we chose with BioShock, talking about the wrench kill, loving crossbows, style over substance in Control.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, SW: Republic Commando, Psychonauts, Guild Wars, Civ IV, FEAR, The Undying, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, AC: Wild World, Guitar Hero, Mercenaries, Battlefront II, KotOR II, Lego Star Wars, Xbox 360, Capcom, GameCube, PN 03, Vanquish, Viewtiful Joe, Suda51, Killer 7, Clover Studio, Hideki Kamiya, Dead Phoenix, Panzer Dragoon, PlayStation 2, Devil May Cry, PT, Game Developer Magazine, Friday the 13th, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Godzilla, Classic Monsters, The Hills Have Eyes, 'Salem's Lot, The Omen, The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Living Dead, Shawn Cassidy, Silent Hill, Gears of War, Metal Gear Solid, Frankenstein, Deathloop, Sam Thomas, BioShock, The Green Knight, David S. Lowery, Ghost Story, Jarkko S, Dishonored, Metro, Hitman, Control, Aki Kaurismaki, The Last of Us Part II, Ryan, Deus Ex, No More Heroes, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Check Twitter!

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

Oct 20, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we add a little splice to our series on BioShock by revisiting and discussing its sequels, somewhat vaguely. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: whether Elizabeth is a grown-up Little Sister, getting a chance to revisit Rapture, breaking cycles and circles, overstuffing the narrative space, the mechanics, Skyline rollercoasters, kitchen sink combat, trapping with vigors, combining vigors, being on the nose, dehumanizing the enemies and putting that next to more serious topics, a creator revisiting previous work, friction between teams, wanting more BioShock, "it is a big ole TWO," being able to use both types of weapons at the same time, simplifying hacking, finding new types of puzzles, fleshing out Rapture, paying off on a wish fulfillment you didn't know you have, "getting the franchise," going deeper, the difficulty of seeing someone else work on your work, the weirdness of the DLC, what would they do with a sequel, earning the ending, having more fun via creativity.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: The Lottery (Shirley Jackson), Dishonored, Fallout 3/Fallout New Vegas, Alien: Isolation, Prey, Halo (series), Daron Stinnett, Star Wars, George Lucas, Escape from New York, Arkham (series), UbiSoft, Death of the Outsider, Deathloop, Resident Evil 4, GameCube, Tantuar, Drew, The Prestige, Hannah Arendt, Ken Levine, Sunset Overdrive, Ratchet & Clank, Insomniac, Control, Todd Howard, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Notes:
The quote is "There's always a lighthouse, there's always a man, there's always a city." We regret the error.

Next time:
Resident Evil 4!

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

Oct 13, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our series on BioShock. We delve into the end and endings of the game, and of course address our takeaways.Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the game!

Issues covered: Brett's terrible fathering, Big Daddy issues, developing Suchong more as a character, Yellow Peril, leaning into pulp, being like a ship, turning the lower classes via demogoguery, leaning on the Irish, tracing the arc of Diane McClintock, using abstraction to hide real harm, character dualities, turning you into a Big Daddy, seeing the evolution and development of the program, putting the big boots on, fully integrating the backstory into the level and narrative design, redesigning to support the movement of the Big Daddy, changing the perspective, moving from alien camera views to first-person perspective, forcing the section where you protect the Little Sister, being paranoid about keeping the Little Sister alive, playing this section on Hard, BioShock 2 as a better-playing game, handing you the syringe, also becoming a Little Sister, where the series goes from here, the specificity of the series, how to adapt the themes of the series repeatedly, the point of no return, the boss working on paper and maybe not in-game as much, Fontaine being under-developed, still getting Ryan's story after his death, not knowing enough about Fontaine before meeting Ryan, the binary that drives the bad ending, becoming like your fathers, unmotivated world monstrosity, the good ending, doing something other games hadn't, BS jobs, failures of capitalism, a shooter with the heart of an immersive sim, greater approachability, two senses of place (sight and sound), high production values, ease of use/play how you like to/forgiving design.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Fu Manchu, Titanic, Ratchet & Clank, Revenge of the Jedi, 2K Games, Cloud Chamber Studios, Activision, Call of Duty, Fallout, Star Wars, Metroid, Prometheus, Alien, Six Feet Under, The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand, Bullshit Jobs, David Graeber, Debt: The First 5000 Years, Occupy Wall Street, Dishonored 2, Prey, God of War (series), Portal, Control, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Bonus: the sequels!

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

Oct 6, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on BioShock. We talk a lot about the surprise of the scene of Ryan, and some mechanical and production aspects we haven't had a chance to talk about yet. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to Apollo Square!

Issues covered: where the game should (?) have ended, playing golf with your dad, finding a way to incorporate a power station, Ryan the abstract monster vs Ryan the concrete monster, changing the lens you view Ryan through, rationalizing one's choices, the red yarn board, forcing the player to see a scene the way they want you to, egocentric Ryan and seeing oneself as a tragic hero, every villain as the hero of his own story, mythological framing, other ways you could tackle player agency here, "The Cake Is A Lie," the Irish charmer becoming the Irish thug, using Atlas to puff out Ryan as a monster, the many many layers of references and archetypes, all that matters to me is me and all that matters to you is you, killing people who are much like you, differentiating the Little Sisters in the Tenenbaum section, the mind-control plasmid, walking a tightrope with difficulty and challenge, mixing up your plasmids, the simplicity of upgrades, some numbers change or more things can be impacted, not feeling the power of tonics and plasmids, lack of builds, the limited number of axes across which powers and weapons apply, compressing the depth, modularity in world construction, solid art direction, regularity in the built world, kit-bashing, a couple of kind reviews, dealing with issues of preservation, what gets lost, wanting leaders to do more, having let's plays for reference.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: System Shock 2, Snowpiercer, Portal, Walt Disney, Wide World of Disney, PIXAR, Studio Ghibli, William Hearst, Citizen Kane, Modern Warfare 2, The Last of Us 2, Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima, Arkham City/Arkham Knight, Robert De Niro, The Irishman, Ken Levine, Village of the Damned, Metroid, Ratchet & Clank, Unreal, Gears of War, Skyrim, Fallout (series), Jarkko S., Baldur's Gate, Diablo, Final Fantasy VI, Metal Gear Solid, Chris_3646363, Ocarina of Time, mysterydip, Phil Spencer, Vectrex, Double Fine, Square Enix, The Matrix (series/Online), The Wachowskis, Meridian 59, Andrew and Chris Kirmse, Control, The Lost Room, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Links:
Twitter thread on preservation

Next time:
Finish the game!

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

Sep 29, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on BioShock. We talk about Fort Frolic and the arc of what's coming, guns and plasmids and a bit about their crossover, crafting, and gene tonics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through Fort Frolic

Issues covered: hitting the best beats of the game, having the future be a little blurry, Cohen's theatricality, using the camera purely as a framing camera artistically, the multiple payoffs of the camera, critical path integration of the camera, time-delayed gratification, a bottle episode, the statue splicers, using spotlights theatrically, how do you produce oxygen and filter out carbon dioxide, riffing on space games, putting crafting on the critical path, not having inventory as a presented system but having it underneath, not a lot of difficult decisions, always being able to get enough stuff through grinding, minimal benefits to adding crafting stations, only just getting better plasmids and tonics (not spending to improve them), the changing approach to respecs in modern design, wanting to ground systems in the world, categorizing tonics as a sop to balancing, Trojan Horsing the immersive sim, alienating a smaller audience in favor of a larger one, Jack's mother and father, themes of family in the series, getting a lot of mileage from the narrative setting, the uselessness of the map and the way the objective marker can put you on the rails, not having decisions that mean a lot, the greater impact of the older games, the rise of blogs and critical outlets, explosion of other outlets around the time.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Pokemon Snap, Dead Rising, Xbox, Unreal Engine, System Shock, Thief, The Chronicles of Riddick, Repblic Commando, Prey, Dishonored, Fallout 3, Tomb Raider (2013), Ayn Rand, Resident Evil, Peter, Planescape: Torment, Control, Blarg42, Twin Suns Corp, Batman (film series), Calamity Nolan, Airplane!, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
To Apollo Square

Links:
1998: Why it's (probably) the Greatest Year Ever in video games

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

Sep 22, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Bioshock. We talk about the horror elements early on, the use of minibosses, how low-friction the game is, hacking and of course, the Choice. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to end of Neptune's Bounty

Issues covered: reading how Atlas talks about Ryan knowing what we know, introducing Fontaine and audio tapes indicating maybe death at first, temporal setting, the game's argument both against and for the primacy of the individual, horror and the Medical Pavilion, doling out a good step-by-step game, having a solid target in Steinman, framing cinematic events well, theming characters in areas, audio design heightening the horror, seeing ghosts/echoes and the direct lift from System Shock 2, the setup and payoff of the Choice, Tim the Harvester, the difference between harvesting and rescuing, wondering about their goals in making the choice, the sea slug and the original version of the game, killing the protector and traumatizing the girl, not questioning Atlas even though he's wrong, the melancholy of the Big Daddies, the strength of the music and the use of diagetic music, the horror of the 1950s, dealing with the Sisters and Daddies as you go, the pipe hacking mini-game, being low friction, a very forgiving immersive sim, AI state vocalization, richness of AI voice lines, the shift of perspective and how it gives permission to allow for variety of lines, humanizing vs dehumanizing in AI state communication, Bioshock the power fantasy/shooter/hero story.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Half-Life, Arkham Asylum, Pablo Picasso, System Shock 2, Shadow of the Colossus, Bernard Herrmann, Fallout 3, Mass Effect, Prey, Thief, Deathloop, Splinter Cell, Uncharted (series), The Last of Us, Naughty Dog, No One Lives Forever, James Bond, Austin Powers, Artimage, Control, The X-Files, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
To the end of Fort Frolic

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

Sep 15, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on 2007's Bioshock. We set the game in its time and talk about how it expanded the audience for a shooter with sim elements, 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 Neptune's Bounty

Issues covered: the name change, retaining identity after being acquired, what is a brand, the games that year, the Shock-verse, wanting System Shock 3, missing the immersive sim, starting with the wrench and a power, the success of the game, broadening the appeal of immersive sim elements, the difficulty of balancing immersive sims and testing them, improving the shooting, a successful E3, keeping secret the weird beginning, the theme park opening, the bathysphere and the mystery, marine life being used once, delivering a really solid moment, a single location that is a character in and of itself, a sleeper hit, the games blogosphere, the "Bioshock slot", taking a chance on something quirky, superhero games often being bad, establishing an Art Deco aesthetic, amplifying fear by setting it underwater, leaning into the horror early, Dutch angle usage, needles, survival horror elements, staying in first person, story bits and teasing narrative out over time, growing story space, well-implemented audio logs, a good choice for narrative delivery, foreshadowing and making a place feel lived in, easy to enjoy, getting some stuff really right, Kindly filling folks in on Atlas, setting up the smoke and mirrors, reapproaching the 4X genre from an old hand, the fun that is Ratchet & Clank, choosing a language based on the regional flavor, how long to show the tutorialization, teach the player without them knowing they are being taught, dynamic tutorials.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Irrational Games/2K Boston, Firaxis, Microsoft, Bethesda Game Studios, SWAT 4, Republic Commando, Portal, Halo 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, Metroid Prime 3, Crysis, Nintendo Wii, Super Mario Galaxy, Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction, The Orange Box, Half-Life (series), Team Fortress 2, Medal of Honor: Vanguard, Call of Duty: Vanguard, Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted, The Witcher, Peggle, PuzzleQuest, Crackdown, WoW: The Burning Crusade, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Lulu LaMer, PlayStation, Xbox, Rainbow Six: Vegas, System Shock 2, Ken Levine, Cloud Chamber, Prey, Arkane, Deathloop, Bioshock Infinite, The Incredibles, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Todd Howard, Fallout 3, Arkham Asylum, Skyrim, Rocksteady, Warner Bros., Jules Verne, Control, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Johnny Pockets Grattan, Old World, Soren Johnson, Civ III, Drew, Ratchet & Clank, Traveller's Tales, LEGO (series), GTA, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Ni No Kuni, SEGA, Ghost Squad, House of the Dead, Yakuza, Metal Gear (series), Death Stranding, Alan Wake, Remedy, Dragon Quest Builders, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
TBD! More Bioshock!

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

Sep 8, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we interview Brian Allgeier, the Lead Designer of the first Ratchet & Clank (as well as many others) in connection with our series. We cover 20 years of career at Insomniac, creative leadership, Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.


Podcast breakdown:
1:12 Interview
59:45 Break
1:00:13 Feedback, Next Time

Issues covered: Girl with a Stick, first jobs, getting in as an animator and artist, getting a good demo reel together, being excited to work on Spyro, having trouble thematically connecting disparate elements, playing in a toy store, an alien traveling from planet to planet collecting weapons and gadgets, evolving the character, building levels diorama-style, getting the attitude of the character across, relatability, kitchen sink design, try it and see what happens, tinkering to find the fun, coming up with jokes except they were weapons, fun in the room translating to fun for the player, an iteration that last for years, grinding, having a rhythm of constantly getting more stuff, getting exciting to work on the games, focusing on story in a generation swap, eating up preproduction on a downloadable title, using challenges to develop as a studio, tricks from the book, switching to user experience research, learning about disability, figuring out movement in VR, always pushing forward, falling into pits, removing friction.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Spyro the Dragon (series), Sony, Ted Price, Phillips Interactive Media, CD-i, Scooby-Doo, Michael John, Mark Cerny, Vinnie the Penguin, Cuphead, Warner Bros/Loony Tunes, Doom, Blue Shift Inc, Running Wild, 989 Studios, PlayStation 2, Brian Hastings, Marvin the Martian, The Little Prince, Iron Giant, Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind, Conker's Bad Fur Day, David Guertin, Naughty Dog, Game Developer, Thomas Edison, Disruptor, Resistance (series), Call of Duty (series), Nintendo, Mike Stout, Halo, Pixar, Brad Santos, TJ Fixman, Directing Video Games: 101 Tips for Creative Leadership, Edge of Nowhere, Lucky's Tale, Sunset Overdrive, Remote Control, Nnedi Okorafor, Binti, Sam, Super Meat Boy, Spider-man, Tony Hawk, Control, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Notes:
Agent 9 was the spy-monkey in Spyro: YotD

Next time:
BioShock!

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

Sep 1, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we finish our series on 2002's Ratchet & Clank, with our takeaways and a bonus look at the 2016 remake. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Actually finished the game

Issues covered: the quality of the cinematics in the new game, Quark's criminal status, being underpowered for the final boss, getting money by going back so you can buy additional weapons, fun timing challenges, giving you a greatest hits in the last couple levels, the difficulty being a thing of its era, getting the benefit of dynamic difficulty, promoting grinding with currency systems, wanting additive rewards, the magic of the RYNO, the inaccessibility of the RYNO, keeping players stuck in one game, balancing on average vs minimum, giving you more navigation tools earlier and by default, doing what's coolest for the player, leaning into variety, infusing RPG elements into another genre, having lenses to navigate the environment, leaning into weapons, embracing the shooter/platformer combo, the Rule of Cool, generosity and finding ways to say yes to your designers and players, handcrafting lots of different things, the many things Insomniac does, the layout of the credits, character attitude, how Ratchet becomes more sympathetic, referring to Halo, character design changes, embracing modern third-person action, transmedia influence, appreciating the company.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Galaxy Quest!, Halo, Bungie, Insomniac, Dungeons & Dragons, Ted Price, Sony, Crash Bandicoot, Warner Bros, Animaniacs, Bugs Bunny, Spider-Man, Edge of Nowhere, The Unspoken, Song of the Deep, Slow Down Bull, Magic Leap, Control, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Marc Garcia.

Next time:
Another Bonus!

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

Aug 25, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Ratchet & Clank. We talk about the late game, variety in the game in its many forms, getting things out of order, favorite stuff, and more. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finishing the game?

Issues covered: what the remaster improved or didn't, finding upgrades, having to backtrack, how many weapons we have left, getting to the end of a sequence and not having a payoff, our bonus episode, the entertainment of Mr. Zurkon, comparing the film adaptations, favorite or favored weapons, throwing the wrench, getting the weapon placed in your hands when you pick it up, UI fighting design, chorded weapon wheels later, putting devices on or off the item select, silly trophies, skill points, the space battle with Quark, getting to be Giant Clank, fun being the giant monster, pounding lots of big enemies, the Gadgetron grind rail, tools for making things epic, having only two hoverboard sections, having the confidence to let your enemies look dumb, setting up the level design to make you feel clever, embracing the medium, "smart dumb fun," killer dogs, dynamic difficulty,

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Metroid (series), World of Warcraft, Fallout, Spyro (series), LEGO (series), Iron Giant, Psychonauts, Rampage, Final Fantasy (series), SSX (series), God of War, Halo (series), Jak & Daxter, Zachary, Starfighter, Republic Commando, Resident Evil 4, Mark Brown, Game Designer's Toolkit, Bloodborne, Horizon: Zero Dawn, The Last Guardian, Pokemon, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Note:
In LEGO games, the currency is the "stud"

Next time:
Finishing the game! and a bit of the re...visit

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

Aug 19, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Ratchet & Clank. We delve primarily into the variant game play we start to see at this point in the game, though admittedly with other topics sprinkled in. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through Bomb Factory

Issues covered: voice cast, Ratchet's longer story arc, dark and snark, opposing ideas of what have to be done, building story around archetypes, attitude mascots, moving from mascots to more realistic rendering and characters, PlayStation moving to more "mature" themes, Microsoft pulling Sony, changing strategy, wanting the variant game play to reinforce the setting, spline enemies, aim down sites, using tools to create problem-solving scenarios with weapons, having lots of rewards for completing variant play, enjoying being able to visit a space a second time, sticking with a single design structure for years, fighting the Snagglebeast, what we have to look forward to, miniaturization for backwards compatibility and as a business plan, picking the right version of a game to play, not looking to fans for what they want, having the tools to talk about game design through engaging with the podcast, talking about the end of Death Stranding.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Lost, Hitman, Pulp Fiction (obliquely), David Kaye, Transformers, GI Joe, Paul Giamatti, Mikey Kelley, Michael Richardson, Mortal Kombat, TMNT, Jim Ward, Prince of Persia, Star Trek, Mario (series), Nintendo, Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, Uncharted, The Last of Us, Sly Cooper, Infamous, Ghosts of Tsushima, Spider-man (PS4), Sony Santa Monica, Twisted Metal, God of War, Xbox, Halo, Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, Mark Cerny, Starfighter, Rogue Squadron, Starfox, Zelda (series), Spyro, Sunset Overdrive, Tony Hawk, Jet Grind Radio, Kingdom Hearts, Death Stranding, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, PSOne, Metal Gear Solid, LucasArts, Truffles Mochachino, Final Fantasy VI, Square Enix, Waypoint Radio, Chrono Trigger, Sebastian Deken, Bloodborne, Sekiro, Dark Souls, Horizon: Zero Dawn, biostats, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Finishing the game

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

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