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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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May 18, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Dark Souls. We catch you up a little bit on where we are before trying to catch up with the mail bag! Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Brett 115hrs, lvl 114
Tim 33hrs, lvl 50

Issues covered: getting and placing the Lordvessel, Frampt and the second bell, Anor Londo and the two bosses, farming rats for humanity, getting invaded and hiding, the mystery of Gwynevere and leaving Anor Londo and also what's with Gwyndolin, meeting Reah (sp?) again and again, being ambushed by paladins, grinding to upgrade, Tim defeats the Ceaseless Discharge, having sorcerors that revivify the skeletons, powering up your spells, the fire keeper's soul, kindling more, fast traveling, a level design joke, twinkling sounds and occasional marks, being invaded and the costs of banishing, parallel play, recordings of other players, asynchronous multiplayer, fellow-feeling, a Metroid moment, making a big soul-infused thing, good RPG math tropes, missable bosses, the actual level cap, what weapons we use, the reward is the knowledge and the items, the origin of that quote I mentioned, pushing scale, using framing really well for landmarks and aesthetics, "butt explosion!"

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Ashton Herrmann, Morrowind, Bloodborne, Demons's Souls, Elden Ring, Death Stranding, Animal Crossing, Metroid, Jarkko Sivula, Ben Zaugg, Sam Thomas, The Honorable T.H. Sismyre Alname, VaatiVidya, Triple Click, Kotaku Splitscreen, Shadow of the Colossus, Disney parks, Brandon Fernandez, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Links:
That Majestic Quote

Next time:
Maybe Brett finishes?

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

May 5, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Dark Souls. We catch you up a little bit on where we are in the game, leveling weapons, and the mix and match of combat, to name a few topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Brett: Level 80, 77 hrs
Tim: Level 41ish, 27 hrs

Issues covered: defeating the Iron Golem, finding the bonfire, discovering you can dash and jump, watching a giant drop rocks into a hole, killing a hydra, switching back to the leather armor, fighting the nerves, fiero, pushing it too hard, a scripted invasion, one-shotting the gaping dragon, seeing a space and then fighting in it, the game clicking, a game of patience and intent, having a mace for a long time, transient curses, getting all the moves at once in some games, feeling like you push to a place where you farm things, twinkling titanite, lot of cool armor sets, walking with the silent ring, considering some souls already lost, Blighttown's scaffolding, having to push quickly when cursed, planning gear against what an area is like, vertigo feelings, "Hey, I just got a humanity," thinking that humanity drops from killing lots of enemies, lots of little button combos, the discovery of mechanics versus explicit telling, speculating on the benefits of magic weapons, attacking with two hands, the rhythm of switching weapons, omnicompetence, wish fulfillment, market conditions and getting through games, choices that cut you off from experience, usability problems and fairness, player skill and spectacle.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: "They Might Be Giants," John Huizinga, Shadow of the Colossus, Mario (series), Jedi: Fallen Order, God of War, Morrowind, Dagur Danielsson, Deus Ex (series), Skyrim, Epic Mickey, Warren Spector, Junction Point Studios, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
More Dark Souls

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

Apr 28, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on 2011's Dark Souls. We talk about some bosses, exploration, and our quest for humanity. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Brett: 66h, level 75
Tim: 21h, level 30ish

Podcast breakdown:
0:48 Dark Souls
1:01:57 Break
1:02:23 Feedback

Issues covered: that dang mimic, Brett's fistful of rings, Tim the Tree and moth killer, production budget, the cost of polishing any given encounter, making specific choices about your systems and how they interact with the level design, forcing the player to think about how to use the space, farming to have equipment, the things Tim has that I don't have, running through the Firelink Shrine to get elsewhere, the game trolling you with resources, rushing and pushing too hard and dying, Tim one-shots the Butterfly trading off with a bow, the area beyond the Crest of Astorias, changing strategy mid-game, being able to self-balance, clearing a whole area and feeling powerful and accomplished, similarities to MMOs, the "no way" moment of a shortcut, encountering a sad demon, admiring the majesty of some of the bosses, understanding the impact of the game, more polish and usability choices, giving permission to return to run-based games, learning telegraphs vs being given telegraphs, Brett is old, the birthday gift for Tim, stripping down mechanics and watering down, not really hurting the bottom line, being numb to your own game, losing perspective, making games for yourself, finding the balance for a different audience, being proud of Fumitsu ratings.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Assassin's Creed, Nintendo, Prince of Persia, Elden Ring, World of Warcraft, Shadow of the Colossus, Half-Life, Studio Ghibli, Capcom, Tunic, Legend of Zelda, Hollow Knight, Jedi: Fallen Order, Tomb Raider, Uncharted, Gothic Chocobo, Pokemon, Bethesda Game Studios, Fallout 3, Morrowind, Dungeons & Dragons, Artimage, Skyrim, Republic Commando, Hidetaka Miyazaki, Bloodborne, Sekiro, CoD: Modern Warfare, Fumitsu, Starfighter (series), Metal Gear, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
More Dark Souls!

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

Apr 20, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Dark Souls. We talk about how we use our souls, where and how we farm for resources, the player's goals, the variety in any given encounter, and much more! Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Tim: ~15h, Brett: ~52h

Issues covered: worrying about the level cap, the variety of a single encounter, farming for arrows, fighting down in Quelaag's lair, the satisfaction of escaping Blighttown, recontextualizing spaces, the flow of the world design, convincing smoke and mirrors, brains and memory, getting time away and confidence, the huge help of an NPC in a battle, when and whether you want to fight the dragon on the bridge, finding sets of armor, feeling locked in to your choices, the curse mechanics, the choice of a lack of a map, having to earn the bonfire every time, the two weapon slots, not being able to buy miracles, clearing up the weapon confusion, the black knights, mini-bosses as skill checks for bigger bosses, playing similar approaches but with very different skills, progressive deepening, the bell ringing cinematic, having only a single/simple goal, being confused about the Darkroot Garden mist, gaining Humanity randomly, missing out on the full Humanity experience, bow timing, Drunk Souls, piecing the narrative together, using the Master Key.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Half-Life, Elden Ring, Monkey Island, King's Quest/Space Quest, Demons's Souls, Shadow of the Colossus, Ico, Artimage, Qhuenta, Morrowind, Bloodborne, Alien: Isolation, Resident Evil (series), Tunic, Death's Door, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
More Dark Souls!

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

Apr 13, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Dark Souls. We talk about how progress is made, the run-based approach, and the mix of player skills and RPG stats, amongst other discussions. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Brett: ~29h, Tim: ~12h

Issues covered: the melodramatic NPCs, enjoying the architectural setting, seeing dragons, not knowing there were tree creatures, the bosses Brett has seen, being different from other RPGs with equipment and loot, mixing player stats and player skill, having trouble with the parry, having to memorize enemy attacks, learning and losing the timing on counters, feeling like you are learning to speed-run the sections you enter, cheesing a boss, whether or not you click, the cost of upgrading a low stat because of the XP costs, the XP system granting the same number of souls for an enemy type, the sense of progress and accomplishment being in the player and not tracked by the game, feeling like losing souls is a huge setback vs knowledge, learning and mastery as progress, dropping some Humanity knowledge on Tim, having a helping hand from an NPC, the slow death of manuals, wanting to feel like you discover secrets, the usefulness of the messages, moving trees and revealed paths, Brett drops the trompe l'oeil, being afraid you'll miss important things, personal progression and increasing confidence, grinding to find out what things will drop, the double gargoyle, seeing players who get really good, getting invaded and getting wrecked, not understanding the invasion mechanics.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dragon's Dogma, Shadow of the Colossus, Ico, The Last Guardian, Demons's Souls, Elder Scrolls (series), Dungeons & Dragons, World of Warcraft, Labyrinth, Jedi Fallen Order, Star Wars, Triple Click, Dishonored, Elden Ring, Bloodborne, Tunic, Death's Door, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
More Dark Souls

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

Apr 6, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on Dark Souls, the 2011 breakout from From Software. We briefly set it in its time before going on to make our characters and discuss the outset of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
A few hours (Brett: 3, Tim: 6)

Podcast breakdown:
0:49 Dark Souls
56:52 Break
57:25 Reviews & Feedback

Issues covered: an exception, the thing we mention all the time, the look of Western fantasy tropes by Japanese developers, exaggerated architecture and the third person perspective, working on the same style of game for so long, picking female characters, pushing against normal choices, picking classes and not understanding what all the stats mean, cheesing the final boss in Demons's Souls, picking a rogue character, figuring out what the builds are, not being a transparent game, accentuating the moment to moment, punishing gratification, allowing players to customize the experience, the in-game messages that other players can leave, tutorialization messages, beautiful grotesquerie, series that don't maintain consistency, whether you can plunge on the Taurus Demon, a Singing Review, the mudcrab merchant and all the books in Skyrim, lore reasons, a listener makes his own game, lack of accessibility vs usability, vibrancy in a medium, stagnation, "I guess this is my life now, I'm Dracula," rebuilding a temple in Morrowind, being pointed in the direction of everything vs not, being grabbed by the weird friction.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Elden Ring, Portal 2, Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, L.A. Noire, Rockstar, Team Bondi, LoZ: Skyward Sword, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Bastion, Limbo, Rayman: Origins, Skyrim, Morrowind, Microsoft, Bioshock, Amy Hennig, Nintendo 3DS, Switch, Metroid Dread, From Software, Hidetaka Miyazaki, Bandai Namco, King's Field, Dragon's Dogma, Monster Hunter World, Shadow of the Colossus, Ico, Dungeons & Dragons, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Susanna Clarke, God of War, Hideo Kojima, Resident Evil Village, Tunic, Baldur's Gate, Tomb Raider (series), Death Stranding, Sekiro, Bloodborne, mysterydip, Jeffool, Brian David Gilbert, LoZ: Ocarina of Time, Halo, Republic Commando, Frank O'Connor, LucasArts, Starfighter, Rogue Squadron, Warcraft, Zimmy Fingers, A Short Hike, Darren from Cleveland, Todd Howard, Calamity Nolan, Disney, Spike & Mike's, Pixar, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Nickelodeon, Adult Swim, The Book of Kells, Hayao Miyazaki, Logan, Lord of the Rings, The Witcher 3, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy (series), Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Links:
Quote from Design Works book about the dragon design

Skyrim's Top 5 Books

Zimmy Fingers new game

Next time: More Dark Souls!

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

Mar 31, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our series on Morrowind, giving our takeaways and then trying to get to the bottom of our mailbag. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
103 hrs (Brett) vs 36 hrs (Tim)

Issues covered: Brett destroys the heart of Lorkhan and meets another god, games that don't end, wondering about what would happen with the quests, grandmaster quests, not caring about the prophecy, the ur-game, building up a lot of game over time, a leveled-up version of Morrowind, slimming down the dialog options and NPCs, the potential to do everything, approaching the MMO grind loop, feeling like you're in the same game, delivering on the dragons, the sense of a real living world in the abstract and in the experience, the art direction, naming rules, the time to push back to strange, useful frictions, systems you can experiment with, not being handholdy, going big but going built, being in the right era to find a template, interconnected systems, unintended consequences and the ripple effects, emerging systems, the value of continuing to iterate on your ideas, the accessibility of Oblivion, not having to kill a guild master, crazy late game stories, delivering for the writers, creative collaboration, integrating into the creative goals and finding a way to avoid antagonism.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Fallout 3, Tunic, Dragon Age, Monster Hunter World, Halo, Menzobarran, Eye of the Beholder, Starfield, Ubisoft, Far Cry, DOOM (1993), Quake, Father Beast, Xbox, Ashton Herrmann, OpenMW, mysterydip, Evan Skolnick, Halo, Star Wars, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
A bit... of Dark Souls

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

Mar 24, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Morrowind. We thought we were so close, but neither of us has finished and so we talk about some late quest stuff. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Brett 102 hrs, Tim 36 hrs

Issues covered: losing a quest item, Brett spends many hours playing weekend games, having no next steps for a quest, having guild quests to finish, not obvious when there's more stuff, having to talk to everybody, the journal breaking under it's own weight, not remembering names, voice anchoring you to a character, skipping stuff in the world and not being curious, having the idea of the space but not quite having enough support to see the transitions, not being able to identify the current quest for yourself, a good formula to build upon, becoming acclaimed by all the councilors, speaking to the Gods, having to buy a slave in the main quest, the main quest being a whole game on its own, maximal games and being what you want, a brief tangent into Enchanting, going after the Dark Brotherhood, the commitment to the books, rewriting The Lusty Argonian Maid, a good quest, the feeling of a homebrew campaign, having a character be recalled for politics, carrying too much stuff, devaluing items, MMO levels of systems, having a long life with a game, discovering stuff for ten years, making a specific class, the "and" games, Brett and lore, wanting the lore to impact what you're seeing, finding the vampire clan houses, curing vampirism, saying yes to everything and the costs that incurs.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Psychonauts 2, Reed Knight, Dungeons & Dragons, Fallout 4, Meridian 59, Ultima Online, Chrono Trigger, AD&D Gold Box, Artimage, Kingdom Hearts, Mass Effect, Star Wars, LucasArts, Ashton Herrmann, mysterydip, Resident Evil Village, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Takeaways and Mailbag catch-up

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

Mar 16, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Morrowind and briefly celebrate 300 episodes of Dev Game Club. We've mostly devolved into discussing what has happened in our individual playthroughs at this point, but what else is one to do with an RPG this substantial? Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Tim: 29 hrs, Brett: 90 hrs

Issues covered: 300 episodes, Thermopylae, skill-based play, Brett finishes the Assassin's Guild, having the writs to get off easy, economical use of the mechanics they have, wanting the NPCs to cross your path more so you have a bigger moment when they intersect with the main story, feeling lost in the main quest, nothing handed to you on a silver platter, readability with a pixel-perfect font, the correlation between level advancement and guild advancement, being unable to get in to the Houses, not knowing what to do to become Hortator, opacity to figure out what to do, too big a game to be trial and error, "if I could just find some poetry," Tim pretends he hasn't read "The Lusty Argonian Maid," getting blocked by NPCs, being generous with fast travel, having a lot of unresolved mystery and meeting the dwemer, leaving all the lore behind, using all the hooks to do things, the flexibility for modding, the first time you enter a dwemer dungeon, whether there are callbacks to earlier games, having to finish this thing, running the game below minimum spec, the ways games bring people together, voice acting vs text, the broader reach that voice allows, experimentation in the indie space.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dungeons & Dragons, Reed Knight, Greg Knight, The Witcher 3, Final Fantasy IX, Kevin Kauffman, Fallout 3, Todd Howard, A Beautiful Mind, Oliver UV, Baldur's Gate, PC Gamer, Daron Stinnett, Falcon 3.0, Mig-29, Jeffool, Wildermyth, Janine Hawkins, LMNOP, Steven Spielberg, Deathloop, Elsinore, Harley Baldwin, Hamlet, Emily Short, Chris Crawford, mysterydip, Resident Evil Village, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Notes:
The name I couldn't come up with was Emily Short.

Next time:
Finishing Morrowind!

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

Mar 9, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Morrowind. We talk about the role-playing feeling of the game, how the guilds have a sense of real progression and reputation, and motivating play. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Brett to 71 hrs, Tim to 24

Issues covered: Tim decides he's going to be a good assassin from now on, having to kill the leads of guilds I'm head of, a level design soapbox moment, not leveraging symmetry, getting lost in Vivec City, victory in the Arena, self-guided missions, feeling like some quest-givers gave meaner quests, going to various locations for guild quests, doing work for the Night Mother, the squabbling over artifacts, an assassination behind locked doors, "the most Mel Brooks assassination," being OP for the game, feeling like the later games are more generic, feeling like you are really playing the role, infiltrating a base for a target, backbiting amongst the academics, having a bold moment of quest design, iterating on the formula, developing a sense of place, enjoying motivated play, friction between groups motivating play, having a complete experience from a quest line, revisiting the game, MMO feeling, the structure of The Witcher 3 and side quests that aren't, figuring out the alchemy system and its power, using the mad magician as motivation, a sum of parts game, not proud, adding time to every quest line.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: The Three Musketeers, Greg Knight, Mel Brooks, Starfield, Fallout (series), Reed Knight, Crazy Taxi, Dungeons & Dragons, The Witcher, Sam, Stephen, Kingdom Hearts, The Matrix (obliquely), Resident Evil Village, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
??? What is time?

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

Mar 2, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Morrowind. We talk a little bit about the systems and friction, our individual stories, and Brett solves his Magicka problem. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Just more hours of Morrowind

Issues covered: not sharing the same experience, we compare hours played, a Chocobo Paradise situation, finding where the UI tells you what factions want from your skills, joining the Imperial Legion, working on my long blades, paying off your murders, the weird reveal of the fog of war, very specific usability in terms of having to talk to people, the strangeness of the setting, the friction of the navigation of literal space and its basis in tabletop, wanting to get more usable and sacrifices are made, pure open world design, Eurojank with systems and friction, physical movement in the 3D space, discovering a community of vampires, being guided to points of interest, using markers on the map, training limits, how level design has evolved for dungeons in open worlds, the things that have started to work, finding the Ghost Wall, spending two hours on one assassination, seeing layered architecture in a place, managing the inventory with single icons for groups of potions, having your own diseases, an above-ground Underdark, conjuring a ghost to absorb its magic attack, being so systemic that weird actions result, equations that scale up, emergence of systems, the acrobatics of 1000, Valestra the Thinker, loving the support of all the different play styles, Tim atoning for his sins, a Mage's Guild where you have to teleport to get in, the creative goals of the game guiding how much art you reuse, marketing needs, being responsible with making your art,

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Legend of Zelda (series), Final Fantasy IX (obliquely), Tolkien/LotR, Dungeons & Dragons, World of Warcraft, Mount and Blade, Fallout 3, Ultima Underworld, Assassin's Creed (series), Hitman (series), Pulp Fiction, Halo, National Lampoon's European Vacation, mysterydip, Zeriquinn, Dan Hunter, The Witcher (series), Eye of the Beholder, Logan, Mario (series), BioWare, Call of Duty, Bungie, Horizon (series), Tom Cruise, Robert Mitchum, Resident Evil 7, David Collins, Uncharted/The Last of Us, Resident Evil Village, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
When does it end?

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

Feb 23, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Morrowind. We spend some time catching each other up on our successes and failures, talk about it as a preparation game, and the interconnectedness of the lore. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
More hours of Morrowind

Issues covered: Brett finds Tim's yurt, "Dare I continue," being out at the boundaries of the systems, a preparation game and not a find the things you need on the way, finding things to be too difficult, the mercenary who couldn't follow me, asking the game to cheat, Tim having Divine Interventions from early in the game, paying to teleport, Morag Tong sharing quests around, needles in haystacks, carrying armor back to sell, Dark Elven Barbarian Ashlanders, reuniting the clans, defeating the Dwemer, the feeling of richness of the world, creating mysteries and webbing them together, quests as direction rather than reward, white folks writing Africa/colonialism, hearing repeated references to slavery, Tim revisits Elder Scrolls lore, navigating the web of connections, diving into Daedric lore, playing Skyrim looking for how it will fit in memory, diving into memory and virtual memory, Z-keying a head all the way to Tenpenny Towers, the memory systems of consoles, Tim learns about crime and the uses of the writs, sleeping in the wrong bed, avoiding theft, accommodating the assassin's playstyle, being taught how to play the game, finding a bug in Halo and being unable to finish the fight, weird mission select structures, the opacity in the structure of Morrowind, individual playthroughs and how it makes you think about the game, having the low friction and higher friction layers of play, a frictionless model with weirder content, checking out the whole Halo series.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dragon Magazine, Ray Winninger, Fallout 3, Double Negative, Bioware, PlayStation, Sony, XBox, Half-Life, Guy Carver, Dreamcast, Dungeons & Dragons, mysterydip, The2ndQuest, Halo (series), GoldenEye, Agent Under Fire, Final Fantasy VI, Animal Crossing, Dragon Quest Builders, Ashton Herrmann, Breath of the Wild, Ubisoft, The Witcher 3, LoZ: Ocarina of Time, Skyward Sword, Psychonauts 2, Watch Dogs (series), Far Cry (series), Assassin's Creed (series), Shoe, Bungie, 343 Industries, DOOM (2016), Resident Evil Village, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Still More-owind

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

Feb 16, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on 2002's Morrowind. We talk about our own weird experiences some more, since we are essentially playing different games, and how we are feeling the intersection of different quest lines. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Another handful of hours

Issues covered: down and out in Vivec City, getting around in an oddly constructed city, weather effects, lava in dwarven ruins and by the side of the road, whether there are arenas in every game, feeling like you found something secret, the way the writing tricks you about being special, assassination writs, getting map markers vs directions, chaining silt strider vs boats to locations, the most Bethesda hour and a half, finding a way out of Suran, walking your dad all the way through the world in Fallout 3, QAing while you play, bursting at the seams, you never forget your first assassination, a little short for a stormtrooper, Tim enters cheese mode, using the door trick, paying your way through quests, having to kill a whole family, the various reactions to assassination, returning to the dwarven ruin, is this my life now?, high sense of discovery, choosing what you want to spend your time on, modern games and the externalized question mark vs Morrowind and the internalized question mark, activating quests, decoupling race in D&D, buying your way into NPC's hearts, a mushy game, paying your crimes off or sitting in jail, being mechanically mushy to compensate for lack of DM, everything having a purpose, being approached by the Dunmer hare krishna, "have you heard the good word about Dagoth Ur?," dreaming and prophecy, simple quests with rich text, overlapping every location with multiple quest lines, keyword unlocking, "always be sneaking," "we don't care if they finish the story," having your own story, some feedback about technical terms.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Knights of the Old Republic, Assassin's Creed (series), The Walking Dead, Choose Your Own Adventure (series), Trevanian, Breath of the Wild, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Fallout 3, Star Wars (obliquely), Hitman (obliquely), Darren Johnson, TIE Fighter, Miller's Crossing, Resident Evil (series), Witcher III, Fallout (isometric series), Dungeons & Dragons, Le samourai, Dragon Quest Builders, Richard Lemarchand, Crystal Dynamics, Amy Henning, Soul Reaver, Naughty Dog, _cpjk, Resident Evil Village, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Even More-owind

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

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

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