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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: October, 2022
Oct 26, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we turn to a second bonus interview with Patrick Redding, credited as Story Designer on Far Cry 2, though we would tend to call that a Narrative Designer today. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:45 Interview
1:16:50 Break
1:17:20 Outro

Issues covered: happening to start listening at the right time, a background in physics, avoiding computer programming, applying problem-solving skills, hearing about new media, exploring story and design through tabletop, thinking about how to incorporate story into existing games, coming on to an existing team, getting thrown into the deep end, why you'd drop the PS2, string of pearls, wanting to reinvent the wheel, tearing apart the macro structure of the game and piecing it back together, moving from camera designer to narrative designer as a field promotion, shipping another retail game while joining a second, not designing the story but tightening the linkage between authored content and player-driven play, waterfall vs iterative and maintaining consistency, making a shooter and not an rpg, systemically reflecting the choices of PCs and growing out that modularity to the whole game, hitting thresholds and dealing with levels of chaos to expose the Jackal, freedom being required in time *and* space, anteing up your buddies, counterpressure and infamy, analog parameters becoming indistinguishable from random, the main wager of putting your buddy in play, a real deal-breaker for the PC, carrying through everything to achieve a pressure dynamic, having far more underlying variables to affect, the simulation of sensibility, offloading computation to the player brain for narrative meaning, creating a narrative from a sports team, the difficulty of getting parseable human interactions in games, thinking about the approach and where the tension is coming from, pie-slice approach and shells of interaction, the emotional whiplash of going from closing mode and tempo to passivity, the big switch, enjoying the camaraderie, narrative design vs writing, the emergence of narrative design in the industry, changing expectations when you ship.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Clint Hocking, UbiSoft, Splinter Cell (series), Gotham Knights, Apple ][e, Dungeons & Dragons, GURPS, Xbox, PS2, Greg Gobbi, Jeff Hattem, Tuque Games/Invoke Studios, Hasbro, Nic Eypert, Richard Dansky, Tom Clancy, Red Storm Entertainment, White Wolf, Republic Commando, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Black, Jean-Francois Dugas, Eidos Montreal (Onoma), Guardians of the Galaxy, Deus Ex, Heart of Darkness, Yojimbo, Red Harvest, Dashiell Hammett, Call of Duty 2, Battlefield 1942, Jonathan Morin, Watch Dogs (series), Thief, The Walking Dead, Telltale Games, Metal Gear Solid V (or V), Dead Space, The Callisto Protocol, Glen Schofield, Striking Distance, Dark Souls, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Dead Space (2008)

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

Oct 19, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we discuss Far Cry 2 with none other than Creative Director Clint Hocking. We talk about his early career before getting into the game proper. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
0:43 Interview with Clint Hocking
1:07:12 Break
1:07:37 Outro

Issues covered: starting out in writing, taking a terrible pay cut, good fortune, taking on many jobs, tough development cycles, making a perfect version of the first game, making the game in the last six months, reacquiring a brand, finding something fresh in the prototypes, open worlds and RPGs, taking new ground, fertile ground, "of course there's a game here," what you do when you don't have a corridor, playing on a harder difficulty, a world that's hostile wherever you go, forward pressure, enjoying playing your own game, making the better movie in the game than what's in your head, surfing the wave, the anecdote factory, playing at concert speed, the PC version vs the console versions, committing to the game, punctuating the sentence or the musical phrase, going all the way as developers, everything working together to create a physical bond that works towards just one or two moments in the game, holistic design, picking the place, reading up on colonial issues, not knowing if you'd make the game again, the exigencies of the medium, the difficulty of approaching some topics, a game that sparks different sorts of questions, bringing topics and concepts to an audience who might not encounter them, an actually mature game, the future creeds.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Splinter Cell (series), Assassin's Creed (series), Ubisoft, LucasArts, Valve, Amazon, Watch Dogs: Legion, Edge Magazine, Unreal Tournament, Crytek, Crysis, Prince of Persia, DOOM (1993), Castle Wolfenstein, GTA III, Morrowind, Oblivion, Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, Battlefield 1942, Half-Life, John Romero, Resident Evil, Dead Rising, Tomb Raider, Alexandre Amancio, Black Hawk Down, Trespasser, Legend of Zelda (series), Dark Souls, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

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

Oct 12, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our series on Far Cry 2. Brett describes to Tim some of the buddy system stuff he missed, and then the hosts look at later installments before turning to takeaways. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Far Cries 3, 5, and 6

Issues covered: a cry too far, buddies dying and having to choose how, variants on missions and why you might not do one, being able to replace some buddies, punishing moments and impact vs lack of control, a false sense of agency, making a safe area dangerous, wanting to get to the Jackal, your buddies turning on you at the end, how much the weapons and enemies update, always having a fresh gun, real things in the world as progression items, the fork in the road, quality of life and usability and the loss of the commitment to useful player friction, becoming the "list game," automated gaming, caring more about why you're doing what you're doing, missing immersion and discovery, watching the minimap/playing the UI, increasing enemy variety and using damage types, stealth improvements, playing in a dark way, going campy, leaning on cultures and claiming not to be political, diagetic design/character embodiment, healing yourself or your buddies, the right feedback at the right times, the feedback in the world, audio design communicating so much, greater depth of simulation, useful friction and leading to interesting encounters, what games iterated on these ideas?, open world checklist, dealing with the "real world."

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: STALKER, Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now, Crysis, Arkham (series), Assassin's Creed (series), Ghost Recon (series), Metal Gear (series), Ratchet and Clank (series), GTA III, Metro (series), Just Cause (series), Saint's Row (series), This War of Mine, Dark Souls, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
?? Spooky Game ??

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

Oct 5, 2022

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Far Cry 2. We talk about some more systems in the game as we plan to play the descended versions and present our takeaways next week. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Midpoint (Brett) and more (Tim)

Issues covered: gun loot and such in the ongoing series, the elimination of friction, putting the objective marker far from the quest giver, the efficiency of taking out a checkpoint, intrinsic rewards vs other intrinsic rewards, the gun aspects, everything being diagetic, driving with the map in your lap, everything is entropic including you, consistency of vision, cars and physics, the pinging audio in a Datsun-like car, putting the systems in the game, the length of system loops, wanting degradation/negative feedback to be because of something you did, forcing dramatic moments, the distinction of player initiation, malaria mechanics, progressing the game, pressures on the player for styles of play, being trained by faction gameplay, living your best murderous life, "No Russian," feeling black and white about the Jackal, a bold commitment to a backdrop, mad libbing the missions, a game meant to be played once, endangering your experience, everything is may-mays, early dynamic storytelling, slurs about the player, being edgy and gritty, not being able to feel the impact, thinness of representation, the limit of lived experiences, the messaging around Mass Effect, feeling too derivative, sci-fi soup, lack of ideology/motivation, resonating with the structure, player insertion, lack of narrowing of options, the series of grey decisions, being able to identify a franchise from just one scene.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Ghost Recon (series), Diablo, System Shock 2, Fallout (series), Breath of the Wild, Left 4 Dead, Gears of War, Reed Knight, Tim Ramsay, Republic Commando, The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger, Call of Duty (obliquely), Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now, Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, The Witcher, Patrick Redding, Skyrim, The Walking Dead, Sean Vanaman, Jake Rodkin, The Lord of the Rings, Ian McKellen, Rocksteady, Arkham (series), Papers Please, Lucas Pope, Return of the Obra-Dinn, Dark Souls, The Honorable T. H. Isismyre Alname, Mass Effect, KotOR, Bioware, Star Wars, Star Trek, Jeff Cannata, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
Far Cry 2+

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

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