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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: 2021
Mar 3, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we celebrate our five years of podcasting by doing something a little bit different. We look at our first Adventures, the Atari 2600 Adventure and Colossal Cave Adventure. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: why we're doing the adventure games, the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, birds and videos, connecting the printer to the modem, arcade games we played, action games, seeing a representation of a dungeon crawl, the dynamics of the simulation, clockwork and the surprising depth, a surprising story of a bat and a sword and a dragon, playing games with Dad, what you show the player and what you leave to the imagination, mapping problems, a score rush, muscle memory, wanting to explore to find new text, discovery, using text as game design and the emergence of narrative design, the ongoing life of interactive fiction, being able to page back through your work, other games of interest, the evolution of the design, the many dynamic aspects of the game, programming the Atari 2600, the first Easter Egg, a new timeline, being humbled to hear someone is making games, some other introductions, format fiddling, the first time planning a podcast.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Atari 2600, Will Crowther, Don Woods, Oregon Trail, Space Invaders, Boot Hill, Galaga, Pac-Man, Asteroids, Dungeons & Dragons, Commodore 64, IntelliVision, Zork, Planetfall, Hunt the Wumpus, Enchanter (series), Deadline, Witness, King's Quest, Space Quest, Richard Powers, Plowing the Dark, Twitch Plays Pokemon, Andrew Plotkin (zarf), Pitfall, Tomb Raider, Sierra On-Line, Racing the Beam, Nick Montfort, Ian Bogost, Warren Robinett, Lode Runner, Baldur's Gate, Johnny "Pockets", Dave from Seattle, Super Metroid, Keith "mysterydip" Wagner, Robert Smith, The Cure, Hitman, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
We return and finish Baldur's Gate!

Links:
Emulated Adventure 2600

Colossal Cave Adventure PHP implementation

Colossal Cave Sources Article

The Easter Egg

Juno StarPlanet

The type of paper we used

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

Feb 24, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Bioware's 1998 CRPG classic, Baldur's Gate. We talk a bit about the structure of the world, the difference between playing straight through on the main story and indulging in side quests, companions, and some about audio and music before turning to your feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Chapter 5

Issues covered: Brett explains Tim's intro, consistency of tone in the writing, economics in pop culture, considerations of what mixes badly with chocolate, the flow of Cloakwood, Brett makes a map, leaning into quicksaving, pulling back like a tactical map, how much time has been spent in-game, Tim's Cloakwood PTSD, CRPG arachnophobia, a few standout side areas, the slowness of D&D's progression mechanics, a well-written side character, companion characters from the beginning, adding in 3e backstab rules, the compositions of our parties, a walk through how you gained XP in different editions, D&D tournaments, Brett's anecdote about a chime of hunger, gaining story rewards, rich complex settings like the Forgotten Realms, how much do you leverage the IP, a fan wanting more fan service, being a potential recruitment tool, ambient audio, songs sticking in your head due to hours with them, orchestral soundtrack, inconsistent tone in voice performance, the large number of side characters, the unheroic death of Dorn, Rasaad's side quest in Baldur's Gate, the curse of Crenshinibon, the manual and tutorialization, brain-twisting THAC0, what editions/settings we're playing online, what designers leave to the player's imagination, cutting away from cutscenes, many uses of narrative design, audio logs, environmental storytelling, having the opportunity to sit with a story space in video games, how the numbers and pattern recognition lead to player stories, level caps in games, needing the cap for production reasons, needing the cap for design reasons, level caps and player goals, retiring in a tabletop game, modding in side management games into big RPGs.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: The Dungeon Run, Critical Role, Star Wars, Eye of the Beholder, Darkstone, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale, Black Isle, Birthright, Trading Places, Vampire: the Masquerade, R. A. Salvatore, World of Warcraft, Michael Hoenig, Charles Deenen, Craig Duman, Interplay, Wayne Cline, Hal Barwood, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Michael Dorn, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Grant, Winnie the Pooh, Darkwing Duck, Jim Sterling, Jennifer Hale, Kevin Brown, Champions, Call of Cthulhu, Paranoia, Wizards of the Coast, Rime of the Frostmaiden, Roll20, Greyhawk, The Shackled City, Zimmy Fingers, Bioshock, Fallout 3, Bethesda Game Studios, Pillars of Eternity, Obsidian, Diablo, Elder Scrolls (series), Cosmic Funkonaut, Grace Blessey, Hitman (series), Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time (two weeks!):
Finish the Game

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

Feb 17, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Baldur's Gate. We talk about racing through versus following multiple sidequests, about tactical battling, and about the huge variance in verb sets for different party members, amongst other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Chapters Two and Three

Podcast breakdown:
0:57 Baldur's Gate
1:02:11 Break
1:02:43 Feedback

Issues covered: meeting Drizz't, chasing side quests and not knowing where to go, balancing with side content, the hidden cost of racing through, replaying battles, dynamic difficulty, JRPGs vs western RPGs for grinding XP, low XP rewards, getting too much data, potential fixes for allowing multiple styles of play, giving the player points to spend, discussing XP accrual when you choose not to level up, milestone-based leveling, giving the player options, enjoying the tactical battles, wanting more clarity as in an action point system, the blessings of the Random Number Gods, multiple whiffs, old manuals, quest scripts ending and dropping into systemic play, QA and ISV, the possible ways in which different departments could have been responsible for a bug, a digression into multiclass vs character with two classes (and its interplay with race), the wide gap between verbs for different archetypes, verbs not represented in this game, the huge change to go to 3rd-5th and have skills, adding class abilities, discretely placed content vs curated content, finding the very specifically placed items that feel like tabletop, the possibility for an ecology, building tension without combat, introducing players to game worlds, timed quests, thinking hard about when to initiate timed quests, time and failure, time being an important element in your game.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Temple of Elemental Evil, JFK, Elder Scrolls (series), World of Warcraft, Super Metroid, Ocarina of Time, Path of Exile, Fallout (series), X-COM, Calamity Nolan, Ray Muzyka, GURPS, Diablo, Dragon Age (series), Divinity: Original Sin, Ashton Herrmann, Ultima VI, Dan Hunter, Vampire: the Masquerade, Brian Mitsoda, Aliens, DOOM (1993), Warren Linam-Church, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Chapters Four and Five

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

Feb 3, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series about Baldur's Gate, the 1998 CRPG from BioWare that revitalized the genre. We situate the game in time, talk about BioWare as a company, and then turn to a lot of Dungeons & Dragons nerdery. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Chapter 1

Issues covered: explaining Brett's intro, flashbacks, 1998: a great year in games, the setting, 2nd edition AD&D, founding BioWare and "the doctors," different flavors of CRPGs, how the backgrounds hold up, feeling like your way through an explorable world, talking a little bit about methodical combat, hiding some of the complexity of combat scheduling, the varieties of turn-based combat, how they might have gotten to the combat, how we're using combat, scripted AI characters, the (new?) tutorial, THAC0 explained, table-driven combat and war-games, discussing the difficulty levels in this and the other games, having to reload, statistical difficulty vs statistical gentleness, player expectations in early D&D modules, leaning more towards role-playing, BioWare and dialogue/ethics systems, mixing in other genre elements, evolving towards loyalty quests, feeling like the tabletop, having all the text, party members not meshing, changing perspective, being banned from Candlekeep, classic characters, death of a dad figure, reinforcing the main quest, building up a party, multi-classing vs two classes, potential party members, kicking party members out for roleplaying reasons, letting characters die, characters not interacting well, including VO, VO and character, needing to gather a party before venturing forth, playing evil characters, the affect of game-making on mood, animating the deaths of children, abstraction and craft, having to deliver, project rhythms, sense of flow, playing "right" vs efficiently, incentivizing the player, intrinsic vs extrinsic rewards, achievements as a psychological motivator.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Planescape: Torment, Dungeons & Dragons, LoZ: Ocarina of Time, BioWare, Shattered Steel, Half-Life, Metal Gear Solid, Grim Fandango, Resident Evil 2, Starcraft, Unreal, Thief: The Dark Project, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six, Xenogears, Tales from the Sword Coast, Icewind Dale (series), Forgotten Realms, Wizards of the Coast, TSR, Magic: the Gathering, Hasbro, Ray Muzyka, Greg Zeschuk, EA, Mass Effect (series), Dragon Age (series), Diablo, Blizzard, Fallout (series), Black Isle, Obsidian Entertainment, inXile Entertainment, David Brevik, Temple of Elemental Evil, GDC, GURPS, Shadowrun, Storyteller, Call of Cthulhu, Dark Souls, Cyberpunk 2077, "etcetera,etcetera," Sam, Lani Lum, Nintendo, Tomb Raider, Bethesda Game Studios, Pete Hines, Starfighter (series), Republic Commando, Soren Johnson, Michael, Halo, The Witness, Assassin's Creed: Origins, Chris Hecker, Christian Bale, Hitman, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Through Chapter 3

Errata:
Apparently, Shattered Steel was *not* a Windows 95 title. We regret the error.

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

Jan 27, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we look back on the podcast year of 2020 (because we'd like never to think about the year in general ever again). We talk over our takeways, largely drawn from our interviews but also bringing in themes from the games we played. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: Tim's non-trip, COVID/US tragedies, playing a bunch of sims, every day is problems, better people means better problems, getting a lot out of making yourself play games deeply, being in school/structure, listening to the series you're interested in, how we approach our takeaways, games with holistic merging of aesthetics/dynamics/mechanics, "done is not the same as good," "wouldn't it be great if," production as a tax, the cube and the stickers, putting the aesthetics together with the mechanics, the questions Nintendo ask themselves, making the mundane into a fun source of game design and delightful experience, applying the filter of interactive design over anything, simulating the arc of a TV episode, music and audio, how the audio sells the experience, the difference between visual and audio when it's missing, the difficulty in talking about audio, building the AI for a Civ game, focusing on the player experience, the anti-pheromone pathfinding algorithm, filling in the gaps, the stories that come out of simulation games, Brett's ongoing relationship with Bertha, characters who have their own lives vs being the chosen one, identifying with the main character, a SWRC Easter egg, our next game, Infinity Engine.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Chrono Trigger, Ocarina of Time, Republic Commando, Nintendo, World of Warcraft, Serial, Phoenix Wright, Civ III, Jeff Morris, Sid Meier, Soren Johnson, Populous, Glenn Corpes, Rubik's Cube/Erno Rubik, Peter Molyneux, Lani Lum, Halo 5, Animal Crossing, Brian Mitsoda, Aaron Brown, Brian Reynolds, Johnny Pockets, Assassin's Creed: Origins, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, Nintendo Power, Counterstrike, Cody Harlin, David Collins, Starfighter (series), Dungeons & Dragons, Baldur's Gate (series), Larian Studios, BioWare, Pool of Radiance, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale, Spelljammer, Hitman (2016 series), Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Baldur's Gate: Through Ch 1

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

Jan 20, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we air our December interview with Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines writer/designer Brian Mitsoda. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:48 Interview
1:11:02 Break
1:11:34 Outro

Issues covered: wanting to start in screenwriting, playing a game that gets its hooks in you, overdressing for the interview, the low bar to QA entry, starting out testing RPGs, "don't crunch, kids," a game cancellation, the OC style, branching dialog, being given a lot of leeway, including mature language, generalizing across level design vs writing vs narrative design, two designers, bringing hubs to life with supporting characters, working to get the Ocean House scary, funneling the player subtly, the importance of audio to horror, sticking to your guns about keeping combat out, a necessary density, representing Santa Monica, thinking about who lives in a location, satisfying player expectations and wish fulfillment, filling in gaps and fixing things yourself, domain protection, not needing permission, balancing input and ownership, keeping the game in your head, a lived-in quality, how to branch effectively, focusing on player intent, the difference between writing and narrative design, 24 ways to say "ow," helping to design and build tools, guiding the experience, maintaining cohesion, how writing is delivered, prepping to work with a license, managing experienced players' expectations, bringing in players as a new vampire, avoiding a Chosen One story, thinking of clans as a mod, feeling important and unplanned delights, reskinning the game for Malkavians, thinking of characters as having lives that are interrupted by the player (not waiting for the player), overlap with theater.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Icewind Dale, Messiah, Interplay, Troika Entertainment, Obsidian Entertainment, Alpha Protocol, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Double Bear Entertainment, Dead State, Panic at Multiverse High, Bloodlines 2, Fallout, Black Isle Entertainment, Invictus, TORN, Planescape: Torment, Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, The Writer Will Do Something, Matthew Burns, Tom Bissell, Universal Studios, TJ Perillo, Chad Moore, Jason Anderson, Ubisoft, Dungeons & Dragons, Halo, Half-Life 2, LucasArts, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Annual Takeaway Show!

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

Jan 13, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we explore Ocarina of Time a bit more through an interview with industry Executive Producer Lani Lum. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:48 Interview
1:07:25 Break
1:07:54 Feedback

Issues covered: nerd markings, "why are you studying anthropology?", drawing the short straw, transferring into production, unsung heroes, "this is a game about a girl?", video games being marketed towards boys, still waiting on a female protagonist, making programming a male job, art becoming specific with graphical power, a female arm for CounterStrike, opening doors, a less linear feeling game, the comfort of early childhood encounters, a game you can trust, room for so much debate, rolling onto Hyrule Field and the model, revelatory moments, struggling with camera control, overcoming the feeling of size, introducing the game to a new generation, listening to the music in your life, the difficulty of looking back, "I don't think I'll ever play a more perfect game," the sense of discovery, context-sensitive controls (and a modern version), "games will never be the same after this," two kinds of people: those who care about the timeline and normal people, the possibility Link turns into a skeleton, Brett the Heartless, Tim the teary-eyed, using the Triforce to hop the line, innocence and lack of cynicism, asking yourself the right questions, being honest with what we're doing, using influence rather than control, mapping the pieces of the triforce to game development, the perspective of the Triforce in different games, Tim swayed by passion, the complexity and expectations of Flight Simulator, Flight Simulator in VR, shipping while working from home during a pandemic with a nine hour time difference, the importance of representation and the mishandling, family focus, transferring into your adult self as wish fulfillment, the timing of recording and recent events, the cautionary tale of becoming an adult, motion capture and Ocarina, inverse kinematics in games, skipping the game play, we've gotten away from feeling we have to force people to play a particular way, if the game is claiming to be good at a thing it should be compelling enough that people want to play it, free-to-play and intrinsic interest, the value proposition, games in school.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Turok, Threewave Software, Aion, NCSoft, Microsoft, 343 Studios, Halo (series), Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Counterstrike, Republic Commando, NES, The Karate Kid, Indiana Jones, Gamecube, Harry Potter, Breath of the Wild, N64, Minecraft, Koji Kondo, Roblox, Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart Double Dash, Kingdom Hearts, Shigeru Miyamoto, Starfighter (series), TIE Fighter, Super Metroid, Wii, Nintendo Switch, Dungeons and Dragons, mysterydip, Drew, Freaky Friday, big, 18 Again, Jennifer Garner, Elizabeth McGovern, Elizabeth Perkins, Moon, Duncan Jones, Kevin Spacey, Michael Justice, Tomb Raider, Majora's Mask, Shadow of the Colossus, League of Legends, Sam, Math Munchers, Oregon Trail, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, Lemonade Stand, Robot Wars, Manhole, Ken and Roberta Williams, Wizard and the Princess, Mystery House, Rogue, Sierra, Hitman, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Another Interview!

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

Jan 6, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we conclude our series on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We talk takeaways and then catch up on our feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:50 Takeaways
48:18 Break
48:45 Feedback

Issues covered: the Master Quest version of the game, the 3DS version, transitioning to 3D, coming up with mechanics to answer new questions, the evolution of block puzzles, the wow I'm a genius moment, object-oriented quest design/chunky progress, list-based vs tangibility in quests, gating in different designs, "true adventure" and sense of space, tricking the player into how big a space is, a richer space and a sense of adventure, overlaying side quests everywhere, the keys that aren't keys, the ocarina key-ring, tying the colors of ocarina songs, the music, looking at the manual, Brett's Book Recommendation, jumping the Lon-Lon Ranch fence, critical path objects that don't appear on the critical path, challenges you set for yourself, missable/skippable things, it's our podcast and we can do what we want to, giving the player options, allowing player expression, Tim talks streaming, rumors of secrets,

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Mark Garcia, Tomb Raider, Breath of the Wild, Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind, Jeff Browne, Shigeru Miyamoto, Eternal Darkness, Brad Furminger, Mario (series), Koji Kondo, Kirk Hamilton, Strong Songs Podcast, Earthbound, Bone Houses, Emily Lloyd-Jones, Roel, Guy Morgan/notmyviews, Darksiders, Vigil Games, Gunfire Games, Starfighter (series), Tim, Full Throttle 2, Hitman (series), Game Maker's Toolkit, Voltron, ElfQuest, Atari 2600, Mortal Kombat, Streetfighter II, Ed Boon, Adventure (Atari 2600), Warren Robinett, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
An interview!

Links:
How Zelda's Puzzle Box Dungeons Work


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

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