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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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Dev Game Club
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Now displaying: December, 2020
Dec 30, 2020

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

Sections played:
Finished the Game!

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

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

Next time:
Takeaways and a bunch of feedback

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

Dec 23, 2020

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

Sections played:
through the Spirit Temple

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

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

Links:
Ocarina TV ad

Twilight Princess trailer

Next time:
Finish the Game!

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

Dec 16, 2020

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

Sections played:
Through the Water Temple

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

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

Links:
Brian David Gilbert's total Hyrule timeline

Next time:
The next two Temples

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

Dec 9, 2020

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

Sections played:
Through the Fire Temple!

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

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

Next time:
Two More Dungeons!

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

Dec 2, 2020

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

Sections played:
Until becoming the Hero of Time

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

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

Next time:
Next two dungeons!

Links:
Blind Gamer Beats Ocarina of Time

Interview with that Gamer

Another Blind Gamer who Beat OoT

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

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