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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: July, 2023
Jul 26, 2023

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we begin a new series on 1991's Eye of the Beholder, from Westwood Studios and published by Strategic Simulations Inc. We set the game in its time before exploring its primary mechanics and the feel of being in this world. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
First level or two

Issues covered: knowing who the evil is, tactical top down Gold Box, the opening cutscene, being amazed at how much they get into the Game Boy version of a Metroid game, lots of movie tie-ins, a wide variety of machines, lack of automap, being everything one wanted for a Forgotten Realms nerd, one of the ten games, semi real-time, living inside the depths of Waterdeep, a style of play which continues today, having to rest immediately, gaining information through audio, uncovering the whole map vs racing towards the goal, tournament play, losing is fun, the only way out is through, annotating a later map, interacting with the play space, accessibility and the mouse, contextualization and abstraction in game design, having to throw weapons in the world, how cool the audio is, using items to locate yourself, creating a party, crunchy spells, shout-outs to upcoming work, difficulty in the bosses in Metroid games then and now, games influencing games, getting the green light, justifying the game via the sweet spot of trends, why not just make this a Star Wars game, how green lighting changes with bigger franchises, games that changed our perspectives.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Gold Box games, Westwood Studios, Dune 2, A Link to the Past, Super Castlevania IV, SNES, Mega Man 4, Final Fantasy IV, Metroid II: Return of Samus (and Metroid series), Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega Genesis, Battletoads, Rare, Stamper Bros, Civilization, Another World, Space Quest IV, Monkey Island 2, Wing Commander 2, Hudson Hawk, Terminator 2, American Gladiators, Hunt for Red October, The Godfather, Amiga, PC-98, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Apple ][, Spectrum ZX, Amstrad, Questron, Disney, Legend of Kyrandia, Command and Conquer (series), Electronic Arts, Earth and Beyond, Louis Castle, Brett Sperry, Strategic Simulations Incorporated, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Pool of Radiance, The Ruins of Myth Drannor, Ultima (series), Wizardry (series), A Bard's Tale (series), Ultima Underworld, Dungeon Master, Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest (series), Diablo, Wasteland, Temple of Elemental Evil, Legend of Grimrock, Etrian Odyssey (series), The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, The Tomb of Horrors, Infocom, Ocarina of Time, Rogue, Deluxe Paint, Baldur's Gate, Jarkko Sivula, Single Malt Apocalypse, Sierra, LucasArts, Wierd Tales, Amazing Stories, Tintin, Pippin Barr, David Wolinsky, Game Thing, The Stuff Games Are Made Of, Walker, Dark Souls, Nintendo, Skyrim, Breath of the Wild, Johnny Pockets, Mad Max, Full Throttle, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, Republic Commando, Sam and Max: Freelance Police, Bounty Hunter, RTX Red Rock, Gladius, PlayStation, Tomb Raider (series), Halo: Infinite, Quake, MYST, Lode Runner, Sabotage, Robotron 2084, Joust, Dark Forces, WoW Classic, Everquest, MUD, Ultima Online, Meridian 59, Adventure, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
more Eye of the Beholder!

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

Jul 19, 2023

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we add another bonus to our series on Metroid Prime with an interview with Jack Mathews, a technical lead on the title. We cover a lot of ground in this one, folks, which is appropriate for a Metroid game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Podcast breakdown:
1:10 Interview
1:03:17 Break
1:03:53 Outro

Issues covered: scanning for IP addresses, supporting QuakeWorld, bored by anything but coding, the Wild West, the Dallas studio, feeling like a Nintendo series, similarities between the glide renderer and the GameCube hardware, a central technology group, arriving to a bit of a mess, a lot of lost undirected work, taking veteran console first person success and turning MetaForce into it, cancelling titles, unhappy marriages, starting on day one, building data streaming, hardware meant for streaming, pattern AI, dynamically modifying for performance, working on a world editor, "you know, a duck," building practical things, there being a lot of fans, bucking against doing first-person, limitations of the controller, working towards accessibility on the controller, having to be 60 and having to stay there, optimizing for the worst case to avoid a hitchy mess, avoiding performance traps in specular and bump mapping, being unable to choke the memory pipelines, throwing up flashing if you went under 60 ever, taking something away to justify anything else, software is a gas that will expand, limiting the content rather than expecting technical wizardry, testing Nintendo's demos, faking specular, being consistent and polished, having a sytem rather than scriptosaurus rex, planners and not designers, limitations, being a bad engineer or a bad artist, knowing where you fit, seeing the constraints in the game, Tim's crisis of faith, Love and Lemons plug!, targeting games where we know people, giving people constraints, relying on designers too much to accomplish goals, embracing constraints.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: GameSpy, Quake, 3dfx Voodoo, Ritual Entertainment, Retro Studios, Armature Studio, reCore, Dead Star, Bluepoint, Shadow of the Colossus, Demons's Souls, Joe Powell, Tim Cook, id Software, John Carmack, Quake World, Zoid Kirsch, glQuake, Gary McTaggart, Charlie Brown, LucasArts, PowerVR, Ion Storm, Rare, GoldenEye, Andy O'Neal, Raven Blade, Shigeru Miyamoto, MetaForce, Jeff Spangenberg, Iguana Games, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, NFL Madden (series), Twisted Metal, Steve Baum, Steve McRay, Matt Kimberling, Akintunde Omitowoju, Frank Lafuente, Unreal, Mark Haigh-Hutchinson, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Mike Abrash, PS3, Jason Behr, Karl Deckard, Mark Pacini, Mike Wikan, Legend of Zelda, Love and Lemons, God of War: Ragnarok, Sony, Kynan Person, Dave Bogan, Daron Stinnett, Dark Forces, Outlaws, Matt Tateishi, Indiana Jones & the Infernal Machine, Jedi Knight, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia. 

Next time:
??? Tim and I to discuss

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

Jul 12, 2023

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we add a bonus to our series on Metroid Prime by looking into Metroid Fusion, before turning to the mail bag. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Almost all of it

Issues covered: the space jump boots, connectivity with the GBA, Metroid nostalgia, a hardcore game, GBA architecture, moving goalposts, kinship between Metroid and Legend of Zelda, snacking on Dread, an A bug in a final room, code save states, a limited control set and linear upgrades, having keycards/security access, Samus's lack of agency, changing what you think about the character, enjoying the setting, not knowing where to go, not thinking about space in a particular way, host origin stories, roles we've had, leaving for opportunities, burning out, a book club for games, keeping up with technology, learning languages, not being able to share what we're doing yet, how we keep going, hitting versions of writer's block, context shifting, being good with just a small amount of work, project doldrums, mental thinking, sometimes you just need idle time, gaining perspective via sharing, asking why questions, shifting between productivity approaches, disguised linearity, games where the level design pulls you along, trusting the developers and trusting your players, player empowerment, games we didn't get, not enjoying the controller for FPSes but changing later, getting revved up by programming and needing cooldowns.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Blarg42, TheSecondQuest, Game Boy Advance, Pokemon Stadium, Zelda: Four Sword, Crystal Chronicle, PacMan, Splinter Cell, Tingle Tuner, Legend of Zelda, Mercury Steam, Dead Space, Event Horizon, Team Ninja, Tomonobu Itagaki, Kyleanderror13, Republic Commando, Star Wars: Starfighter, LucasArts, Tomb Raider, Jonathan Williams, Bethesda Game Studios, Fallout 3, Mario (series), Rebel FM, Naughty Dog, Looking Glass, System Shock 2, Irrational Games, Soren Johnson, Civ 3, GamaSutra/Game Developer, Sixty Second Shooter Prime, Jamie Fristrom, PlayStation Vita, Commander Keen, Luke, RPG Maker, Bvron, Fumito Ueda, Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian, Ocarina of Time, Link to the Past, Arcane Studios, Dishonored, Prey, Death Loop, Planescape: Torment, Castlevania, Dead Cells, Hollow Knight, Ori and the Blind Forest, Dark Souls, Jarkko Sivula, GoldenEye, Demon's Souls, Resident Evil, Nathan Martz, Final Fantasy (series), Dungeons & Dragons, Trespasser, Skyrim, Minecraft, Dragon Quest Builders, Valheim, Dwarf Fortress, Joel Burgess, Capy Games, Ubisoft, Watch Dogs, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia.

Next time:
TBA!

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

Jul 5, 2023

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we complete our series on Metroid Prime. We discuss the visor modes, the pleasing arc of the end game, and other topics before we turn to our takeaways. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Finished the game!

Issues covered: the face of the Metroid Prime core, reflecting the art of Samus in the environment or creatures, seventeen films in five and a half days, vision modes in games, using vision modes for boss fights and other uses, what is that sound you're hearing?, scanning to get the riddles, using this as a blueprint to figure out other things to do, using the Chozo descriptions to find the artifacts, having the sense of empowerment returning to the areas, not needing to move the goalposts, the toppled tower and other setpieces, a game about seeing, scanning the totems as an unlock, the prophecy of the chosen/Chozo one, where these games connect together, Omega Pirate adding visors to combat, love/hate and the Ridley battle, those Switch joy-cons, learning the pattern recognition, not being sure where your collision ends, finding depth in the movement system, having a final boss that's a little easier, Tim totally misses me saying "that's how we roll" in our Metroid series, translating into a new genre and going their own way, excellent art direction, making the 3D work, the importance of craftmanship, the controller matters, making a business model choice.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Mark Haigh-Hutchison, Marvel (film series), Star Wars, Republic Commando, Mortal Kombat (series), Arkham (series), Assassin's Creed (series), Dr. Who, Morrowind, Halo, Eternal Darkness, Brad Furminger, Everybody Switch, Nintendo Labo, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers, Mark Garcia. 

Next time:
Bonus content!

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

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