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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, 2021
May 26, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Final Fantasy VI. We talk about more of what we've played so far, including differences between each of our experiences especially, and culminating in the Opera House. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through the Opera House!

Issues covered: not being able to play every day, lack of recaps, enjoying the thief play, fighting a merchant and stealing his clothes, "who does this?," playing different games, the influence of party members on combat play, the trickster as main character, missing out on surprises because you spent so much time on a space, recontextualizing a space, paying off the cider/setting up things that needed to be dealt with later, transitioning based on order, a little bit of proto-Tower Defense, how/why Brett lost, fighting Kefka, the transformation of Terra, spell ordering in the menus, learning from Espers (rather than treating them as Items), implementation cost tradeoffs, effective use of Mode 7, a brief aside on how Mode 7 works, hardware-supported image tricks, retroactive peformance analysis, making a level out of sprites, party composition, a flashback with Edgar and Sabin, losing context for later information, Locke and Rachel, the backstory and its many tropes, the HadesGiga earthquake thing and avoiding it, the clock puzzle in Zozo and everyone lying to you, Edgar's chainsaw, the Opera House, getting to rewind time, Tim failing the timer due to shenanigans, really laying out the scene, not playing to the game's audience (with opera), a big set-up to introduce Setzer, investing in the developers' passions, limited sources of pop culture reference, drawing from a wider range of influences, layering force over the top, a review that calls back a couple years, keeping Edgar in the party, Balthier (FFXII) as Han Solo stand-in, abstraction and JRPGs, music in the game, getting into JRPGs in 2000.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dragon Quest Builders, Chrono Trigger, Star Fox, Mario Kart, PlayStation, Jedi Starfighter, Super Castlevania IV, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Romeo and Juliet, Friday the 13th, biostats, Nintendo DS, The Three Amigos, Star Wars, Aliens, The Matrix, BioShock, Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, The Witcher 3, Death Stranding, ArmsTech President Kenneth Baker, Metal Gear Solid, Eric Anderson, Logan Wells, Kirk Hamilton, Jason Schreier, Triple Click, Maddy Myers, Stephen, Dragon Quest XI, Raph Koster, Dungeons & Dragons, Nobuo Uematsu, The Last Story, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Check the Twitter!

Links:
An orchestral/sung version of the Opera

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

May 12, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Final Fantasy VI. We talk about the story and the utility of allowing players to choose the order in which to play a few sections, among other things, before turning to your feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through two of the post-rapids sequence

Issues covered: the ins and outs of S. Figaro, finding the rebel base, Tim forgets the names, whether longer names would be easier to remember, having a way to introduce several characters quickly, a digression into how several FFs are related in terms of tone, enjoying the presentation because it's more cohesive, potentially not predisposing a player to particular characters, strategy guides and long manuals, learning to control Sabin's moves, suplexing the train, the death of Doma, the tension of melodrama and darkness, conveying moments through simple tools, the possibility of anything coming next, getting everything out of the SNES, an analogy to silent films, being curious about how big studios reapproach the formula (aka FF7 Remake), running down to the veldt, meeting Gau and what's their deal with primitives, not knowing what ability to pick from Gau, Cyan's swordtechs, active battle mode and Cyan (vs wait mode), not knowing how to get past Gau, the tight little text bursty questy stuff, all the different modes of world interaction, the weirdness of the Serpent Trench, Chocobos and lack of random battles, running low on resources, resources as rewards, the potential to grind for gil, the saga of trying to play Final Fantasy VI, why teach you what you learn from Ymir fight, a poorly executed teaching moment.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Remi Lacoste, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Dungeons & Dragons, Chrono Trigger, Hironobu Sakaguchi, The Last Story, Square, Nintendo, The Artist, PlayStation, Ray Bradbury, Legend of Zelda (series), 668 The Neighbor of the Beast, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Shout at the Devil, Vincent Price, Mark Garcia, Nintendo 64, Super Mario 64, Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft, Death Stranding, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.

Next time:
To The Opera House!

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

May 5, 2021

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we present a bonus interview with Remi Lacoste, who reflects on what it took to make the camera of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, which was far more authored than previous 3rd person platformers and action adventures. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:50 Interview
1:04:29 Break
1:05:00 Outro

Issues covered: trial by fire with the last talk of the week, "If the job is well-done, people won't realize how much work there is," being the bad goalie, exploring a new medium for storytelling, working with level designers, developing an aesthetic, setting up the alternate camera, providing the player more spatial context, expressing yourself as an artist, getting views you couldn't have gotten otherwise, building a relationship with level design, anticipating problems, discovering the rules as they went, attempting to preserve the feeling of the 2D game, a 3D navigation puzzle, helping guide the player, camera-relative steering, finding the exact moment to cut, camera behaviors, splines, placing thousands of trigger volumes, preventing panning for jumping between walls, moving the camera to see better, helping the player better understand a space, placing shadows well on the wall to help the player understand the timing of jumps, creating exclusion lists to prevent bugs, maintaining controller and player facing continuity, changing camera at a knowable time, avoiding a problem that's hard to train/tutorialize, the fragility of the player-character control mapping, watching someone else play your game, having flybys and not enjoying watching them, audience problems vs play problems, using camera as a crutch for weak level design, having to show the player something they couldn't see via cuts and trying to avoid that, find the way to frame the destination while you're activating it, blending back when you cut, collaborating with an excellent team, a major milestone, the game's tone and mechanics, the timing with UbiSoft taking off, a darker tone for the sequels, everything needing to work together, pushing the GDC talk again

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Assassin's Creed (series), Behaviour Interactive, WET, Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider (2013 reboot series), The Avengers, The Initiative, Microsoft, NES, Patrice Desilets, Philippe Morin, Half-Life, Rainbow Six (series), MYST (series), Donald Duck: Quack Attack, Crash Bandicoot, Rayman, Mario (series), Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, 3D Studio MAX, Alex Drouin, David Châteauneuf, Raphaël Lacoste, Splinter Cell, Michel Ancel, Beyond Good and Evil, Final Fantasy VI, Death Stranding, The Last Story, Mistwalker Studios, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Links:
Creating an Emotionally Engaging Camera for Tomb Raider

Next time:
More of Final Fantasy VI!

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

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