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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: March, 2023
Mar 29, 2023

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our series on Dwarf Fortress. We tell a couple more stories, get into how this would or would not eat up our lives, and turn to takeaways. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Another 10 hours (Brett) or two hours (Tim)

Issues covered: withdrawing from society to create an heirloom, failing your ghosts, feeling the wet walls, watching the water spread around, creating a well by flooding your lower level, getting stuck in the morass vs learning, the continuing sadness of the Very Pouty Bard, the looming tension in other games, the complexity of some of the systems, diving into other menus, finding the mission system, sanding down difficulty edges, running into the system friction, losing is fun, the pleasures of recovery, so many ways of failure and the time to failure, every happy family, the real boss: the happiness scale, getting further away from the paint can, layer of abstraction, play intensity and life mismatching, the strength of the theme, the amount of iteration and being able to see them, driving design and iteration, the profit motive vs archiving, it's okay to be unforgiving, the presentation allowing for opacity, procedural generation, generating a lore bible or tome, becoming the go-to example for a mechanic, zeitgeists, dead drunken cats, seeing the chain of events that leads to a bug.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Populous, Civ, SimCity, World of Warcraft, Spelunky, Dark Souls, Leo Tolstoy, Ratchet & Clank, BattleCruiser 3K, Firewatch, Colin "The Shots" James Tiberius Tsougas, Kingdom Hearts (series), Super Mario 64, Jumping Flash, Halo, GoldenEye, Kill.Switch, Gears of War, Cliffy B, PlayStation, Daron Stinnett, PacMan, DOOM (1993), Gothic Chocobo, Far Cry 2, Dead Space, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia. 

Links:
Tarn Adams NoClip

Next time:
Maybe the mailbag?

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

Mar 22, 2023

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Dwarf Fortress. We turn to the Steam version of the game and especially talk about how a more graphical presentation changes the feel of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
2 - 8 hours (Tim - Brett)

Issues covered: starting over, an unhappy bard who you just can't make happy, the necromancer who injured himself in a ravine and who raised an undead to defend him, exploring the game's systems to try and make her happy, goals that arise indirectly, the accomplishment of making her happy, abandoning saves, letting the simulation run, walling in your staircase and the art being unclear, 500K events, the history of the world, watching the world be built or discarded, being curious about a smaller world, resource pressure, task management, a relatively frictionless first year, the leap of graphics, zooming up through the canopy, seeing your floors, realizing what things represent, going narrow so you can go deep, generating stories, hidden personality variables, dating sims, adding pressure by adding a bunch of new dwarves, meeting areas, a starving cow, so many timers and spinning many plates, the evocative melancholy of the music, games from our childhood.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Animal Crossing, Black & White, Chris Corry, Andrew Kirmse, Valheim, Minecraft, Kitfox Games, Starfighter, Chris Crawford, Rimworld, Populous, SimCity, Tarn Adams, Colin Tougas, Pokemon Red/Blue, Wizardry (series), Ultima (series), Eye of the Beholder, Etrian Odyssey (series), King's Quest, Space Quest, Tetris, Lode Runner, Ultima Underworld, Docobron, Final Fantasy IX, Super Mario World, Metal Gear Solid 3, Chrono Trigger, The Witness, Artimage, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia. 

Next time:
More DF and our takeaways

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

Mar 15, 2023

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Dwarf Fortress. We talk about working on a thing for a long time, the refinements of the latest version, and a host of other small issues. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Several hours of the latest version of the game

Issues covered: rendering different glyphs, working on a thing for twenty years, the historical record, preservation, iteration, a game of saying yes, being able to leverage systems to other purposes, adding to the interface, modernizing their UI, experimentation and direction, setting goals, greater clarity, when a dwarf can't do a thing, doing more planning due to exposure to the systems, intuiting where things should go in relation to one another, the presentation of UI, the depth of the emotional state of the dwarves, world generation and fantasy elements, amount of space determining how dwarves will act, hotkeying to views, elevation levels of the world, planning ahead, the responsiveness of the dwarves, increased tick rate and the way it impacts play, communicating state of what the dwarf is up to, how the game might do on Steam, the appeal of life simulation games, emergent stories, a child playing with the trash, adding dialog for trade, giving goals or quests without a quest system, making a thing out of the trade panel, the tradeoff of fidelity and simulation, the benefits of Moore's Law, games we have a hard time playing now, liking problematic things, the sign that a thing is a problem from another's perspective, simple mechanics that work, increasing the fun.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Halo, World of Warcraft, APEX Legends, Fortnite, SimCity, Lynx, Lexis-Nexis, DOS, Linux/Unix, Emacs, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Minecraft, Populous, Civilization, RimWorld, The Sims, Will Wright, DOOM (1993), Cities: Skylines, Fallout, Farmville, Skyrim, Flight of the Conchords, Colin Tougas, GTA III, Pokemon Red/Blue, Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid, Dragon's Lair, Tron, Death Stranding, Jarkko Sivula, Rogue, Dark Souls, RPG Maker, Unity, Godot, Uncharted, Mainichi, Mattie Brice, Microsoft Powerpoint, Sierra On-Line, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia. 

Next time:
The Steam Version

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

Mar 1, 2023

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on 2006's Dwarf Fortress. We explore our failures by telling some stories about our experiences, and describing what that tells us about what this game is and what its systems might be. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Our first Fortresses

Issues covered: needing a Trade Depot, changing state of a building, feedback on buildings, iconography challenges in a game of this scale, the emotional state of your dwarves, seeing a melancholy dwarf, a dwarf wading into a pond, state vacillation, being aware of the passage of time, building a really good fortress that fails anyway, the underground river, a drowning cat and a shaking room, enjoying the failure, maybe having to plan ahead for the failures, storytelling as a vessel to understand the game, being unable to attach to dwarves as individuals due to cognitive load, gaining attachment to particular dwarves, developing your game in public vs private and the dev story attached, what language its in, moving to Simple Direct Layer, the feral cat and its bad seed kitten, the jaguar battle and post-traumatic stress, going in and out of a bedroom, the confluence of so many systems and story generation, messing up my first trade, the arrival of additional dwarves, wanting some kind of save states, "Happiness is a thing," wanting a chair, early strategy tips from Brett, not knowing how to farm, hunting vermin, intent in design choices, the actual interaction vs the way we talk about it, movie recording and wanting to share, wanting a bit more information about why things aren't happening, wanting a game to be the entire presentation, short runs and roguelikes, judging for the IGF, accidentally summoning a bunch of zombies, layering in more stuff with text and leaning into subverting your story.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Sophie's Choice, Sim City, Civilization, Virginia Woolf, Rogue, X-COM, Battlecruiser 3K, Tarn and Zach Adams, pfs:Write, DOS, Dark Souls, Sam, Spelunky, Nethack, A Dark Room, Frog Fractions, Zachary Crownover, Plundered Hearts, Thief II: The Metal Age, Dishonored, Prey, Dead Space, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia. 

Next time:
The most recent Windows version

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

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