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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: May, 2020
May 27, 2020

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

Sections played:
An hour or so a day!

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

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

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

Links:
Michael Abbott on older games

Next time:
Star Wars Republic Commando: The Geonosis missions

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

May 20, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links:
Five GameCubes and Four Sword

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

Ryan Darcy: Designing Spartan Abilities for Halo 5: Guardians

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

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

May 13, 2020

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

Sections played:
An hour each day!

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

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

Next time:
Hitting a few seasons!

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

May 6, 2020

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

Sections played:
An hour a day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next time:
Still an hour a day!

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

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