237 episodes

Join hosts and industry veterans Brett Douville and Tim Longo as they discuss older titles and the impact they had on the games industry, as well as any lessons that could be taken away even today. Play along!

Dev Game Club Brett Douville and Tim Longo

    • Video Games
    • 4.9 • 176 Ratings

Join hosts and industry veterans Brett Douville and Tim Longo as they discuss older titles and the impact they had on the games industry, as well as any lessons that could be taken away even today. Play along!

    DGC Ep 232: Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines (part two)

    DGC Ep 232: Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines (part two)

    Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, from 2004. We talk especially about level and design density and the world structure, as well as tidbits of our playthroughs and of course, our names! Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.
    Sections played:
    Through Downtown
    Issues covered: picking your character's name, insane vampires, the disposition of White Wolf, jokes that are timeless or not, having special abilities in dialog, how many clans there are, the way Malkavians speak, why you might play this game multiple times, level and design density in Santa Monica, quest and interaction density and opportunities in the world, staying on top of the side quests for XP, sprawl in 2D RPGs, knowing who to talk to, width rather than depth, discrete-ness of locations in other RPGs vs high degrees of interconnectedness, doors in video games, density of opportunity, limited depth of systems, lack of soft failure, sum of parts/grotty fish stew, inherent limitations of CRPGs vs tabletops, being able to take over a guard's mind, taking a cab to downtown vs having to use the sewers, how a cutscene had to be built, when it is safe to feed, combat and bosses pushed, checking out the license plates, computers in the game, the "aesthetic," the generational challenge, threading the needle of a particular vibe, doubling down on being the "adult RPG," cyberpunk and Cyberpunk, marketing/authoring missteps, cyberpunk's moment and playing a role at a time, timeless ideas and settings vs narrower ones, talking through things with people, how good the faces look, really good voice acting, the split personality sisters as an example of something that doesn't play well, handling women poorly, scummy characters, being scared by atmospherics, good camera shake in 2004, the quality of the Ocean Hotel, failing or not failing a quest, liking to feel smart, meeting Bertie Tung, enjoying the warehouse (or not), giving an old woman a heart attack, each player having their own high points, expectations of dialog vs systems, spending a lot of time reading, new areas on the website, the timeline, how long games are, being into MMOs, talking yourself into playing the game again, fine control in character creation, vectors for narrative, setting the scene with the question-based character creator, working around the limitations of being a Nosferatu (as a designer), having to pay attention to the dialogue.
    Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Enola Holmes, White Wolf Publishing, CCP, Onyx Press, Paradox Interactive, Ian Watson, Vampire: The Requiem, Johnny Carson, Baldur's Gate (series), Wasteland 2, Planescape: Torment, GTA III, Deus Ex, Eidos Montreal, BioWare, Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls (series), Fallout 3, Rubik's Cube, Prey, Dishonored (series), Hitman (series), Ken Levine, Half-Life 2, Twilight, True Blood, Charlaine Harris, Leonard Boyarsky, Cyberpunk, The Witcher 3, William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Dungeons & Dragons, Robert Forster, Quentin Tarantino, Alien: Isolation, The Shining, Warren Spector, AwwwwwwYeahhhh, Conor, Final Fantasy IX, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Eternal Darkness, Johnny Grattan, Ben "from Iowa" Zaugg, Glenn Corpes, Mikael, Ultima (series), Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.
    Next time:
    Through Hollywood!
    Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, Twitter: @timlongojr and @devgameclub
    DevGameClub@gmail.com

    • 1 hr 20 min
    DGC Ep 231: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines (part one)

    DGC Ep 231: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines (part one)

    Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we return to our annual tradition: a series on a horror-themed game. This year we look at 2004's Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, the last game from RPG developer Troika. We set the game in its time (and its crowded month) and talk about its license, how that compares with D&D in particular, and the opening moments of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.
    Sections played:
    Into Santa Monica
    Issues covered: our interview with Glenn Corpes, 2004 and especially November of that year, stiff competition, shipping on an untested engine, what engine support one can expect, the costs of building your own engine, delays in engine/game development, shipping Steam at the same time, why Valve isn't more of an engine company, founding and fall of Troika, the studio's earlier games, the full implementation of D&D 3.5, save-scumming through a final battle, the consolidation of RPGs under Microsoft Game Studios, southern California game developers, a differing style of tabletop RPG, lesser emphasis on statistics, heavier melodrama with more role-play focus, politics and diplomacy, ending the world of White Wolf, a modern setting, vampires living among us, "classic" settings in D&D, Dark Sun/Eberron side settings, a question of being less timeless, tying into a very specific aesthetic and time and place, anti-heroic settings and edginess, the Storyteller System, mission goals for small numbers of XP rather than around skill uses and cleverness, cinematic combat in tabletop, focus on intrigue, Greyhawk/The Forgotten Realms, timelessness in settings, the White Wolf MMO, the options for character creation, multiple-choice questions, vampire clans/archetypes, dancing around what we were picking, ending as Nosferatu, vampires as an analogy for disease, being staked and stunned, a big world-building moment, Camarilla vs Sabbat, a theater of the undead, the niche nature of the World of Darkness, not necessarily wanting to pick a Nosferatu, possibly feeling like a different game based on clan, the horror of becoming like Tim, designing a question system for RPG character creation, tournament selection and classes, points-based questions and answers, attributes: physical/social/mental, abilities: talents/skills/knowledges, feats as combinations of attributes and abilities, vampire magic as disciplines, experience points as skill trees purchases, not being able to have it all, the high quality of Smiling Jack as a focus and as a world-builder, various skills to introduce, learning powers and having multiple tutorial paths based on clan, simple passive tutorializations, watching a loop of the TV or listening to the radio, how much we both love LA.
    Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Glenn Corpes, Populous, Kotaku Splitscreen, LucasArts, KotOR 2, Doom 3, Fable, Sly 2, Spider-Man 2, Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Jak 3, Pikmin 2, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Beyond Divinity, Baldur's Gate 3, Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault, Everquest II, World of Warcraft, Half-Life 2, Halo 2, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Counterstrike (Source), Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, Bejewelled 2, Epic, Unreal, Valve, Respawn, id Software, Deus Ex, Troika, Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, Fallout (series), Interplay, Jason Anderson, Temple of Elemental Evil, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, Bethesda Game Studios, TES V: Skyrim, Andrew Meggs, Shadowrun, Dungeons & Dragons, Obsidian Entertainment, The Outer Worlds, inXile, Wasteland 2, Brian Fargo, The Bard's Tale, The Village of Hommlet, White Wolf, John Stafford, Crystal Dynamics, Call of Cthulhu, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion, Mummy: The Resurrection, Gary Gygax, Lord of the Ring

    • 1 hr 20 min
    DGC Ep 230: Bonus Interview with Glenn Corpes

    DGC Ep 230: Bonus Interview with Glenn Corpes

    Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we conclude our series on Populous with a special guest interview with Glenn Corpes, the original programmer who came up with a little generator for height maps that ended up launching a whole genre; we'll talk about that and tons of other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.
    Podcast breakdown:
    0:45 Interview
    1:18:41 Break
    1:19:02 Next time
    Issues covered: how Glenn got in, seeing a computer for the first time, being a computer operator, getting a job for your woodgrain, getting hired as an artist, porting a game without the code, winging it on things like collision detection, being unable to port something and casting about for something else, writing a level generator to avoid writing an editor, having to add the ability to raise and lower land, having the whole world with a pixel per cell, the game on top being all Peter's, working backwards from mouse coordinates, having the original disk, the potential for the landscape to rise up over the interface elements, updating the map every frame, limiting the use of the blitter, size of Bullfrog at the time, the musician/salesman, understanding the "metal-bashing aspect" or not, three man weeks of graphics, blocks vs sprites, one thing per square and no more than 256 total, managing character state, no pathfinding, map steps: the opposite of pheromones, buildings based on the flat space around, people as groups of people, the interaction of weapons multipliers and population, getting an explanation of what all the bars mean, the most significant digits, the strategy for managing population, the strategy for clearing land, a clarifying button on the SNES, near-launch title, sales and the UK Chart, multiplayer only until shortly before ship, communicating through a networked file, writing the game in 7 months, watching two AIs play each other, the ways in which AI difficulty is managed, reimplementing all the gameplay in two weeks, faking out the AI because it will always attack your oldest building, AI speed, responding to flood, the manna rules, going into a manna debt and paying it off, making inroads for the knights, stuck messages, adding a campaign two weeks from the end, having an accountant QA the game, the most difficult level of the game: Biloord, how to beat "Biloord: The Hardest Level in Populous," slowing the game vs arcade-ing it up, faking out a sphere, making the cube without the stickers, flat land as currency, synergy and serendipity, revolutionary gameplay from an unexpected place, last minute additions, fights on Populous: The Beginning, heretical choices in game development.
    Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Bullfrog Productions, Magic Carpet, Dungeon Keeper, Syndicate, Lost Toys, Moho, Battle Engine Aquila, Kuju, EA, Weirdwood, 22 Cans, Edge, Topia, Fat Owl with a Jet Pack, Ground Effect, powARdup, Commodore PET, ZX-81, Sinclair, Telex, Amiga, Taurus, Peter Molyneux, DPaint, Druid 2: Enlightment, Gauntlet, Spectrum, Fusion, The Ultimate Database, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Alienate, Knight Lore, Spindizzy, Marble Madness, Dungeon Master, Ultima Underworld, Andrew Bailey, Dene Carter, Big Blue Box, Fable, Lionhead, Kevin Donkin, Powermonger, GDC, SNES, The Sentinel, The Promised Lands, LEGO, Black&White, Godus, Sean Cooper, Civilization, Alan Wright, Alex Trowers, Command & Conquer, Ernő Rubik/Rubik's Cube, X-COM, Wayne Frost, Julian Gollop, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, Leonard Boyarsky, Fallout, Tim Cain, The Outer Worlds, Obsidian, Microsoft, Dungeons & Dragons, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.
    Next time:
    Vampire: the Masquerade: Bloodlines (up through.... some of Santa Monica)
    Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, Twitter: @timlongojr and @devgameclub
    DevGameClub@gmail.com

    • 1 hr 31 min
    DGC Ep 229: Populous the Beginning Bonus

    DGC Ep 229: Populous the Beginning Bonus

    Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we talk about our Populous takeaways and then take a little bonus look at Populous: the Beginning, an RTS spinoff from the original games. We talk about how the game takes concepts from the originals and molds them into something new, before turning to feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.
    Sections played:
    A few missions
    Podcast breakdown:
    0:56 Takeaways and Populous: The Beginning
    1:12:48 Break
    1:13:20 Feedback
    Issues covered: dreaming big, the one-sentence/high concept, buying on the box, the mindset you approach the game with now and at the time, creation vs destruction mechanics, your Old Testament gods, toys vs games academically, indirect control and influence, opacity of interface, being engaged even indirectly, board games as an influence, the interactions you have as a god, "when I get to mid-game, I flood the world," emergent strategy, simulated villagers, wanting the stories of how strategies developed internally, simulating a population, what are your choices for abstraction, the mystery of simulation, watching an ant colony, it's like the terrain itself was a character, Tim's troubles getting this game running, user-created solutions to get this thing running, forgetting to save, how the god of Populous ascended, borrowing from multiple tribal traditions, is a thing 3D or not, a rotable camera vs an isometric view, a level-designed game, limitations on raising and lowering land, getting a number of charges to raise land, directly controlling villagers to become warriors or to build and occupy buildings, your godlike powers, tech tree driven by level/macro design, having the RTS ruts, critical unit mass and rhythm, franchise pillars and what you bring with you, winged monsters, converting savages through your Shaman, converting units, a finite unit map, religion and colonization, a puzzle level, micro-management of units, seeing patrol paths, the costs of scale, being neither enough of an RTS nor enough of a Populous game, legacies, eye strain, hardening of the corneas, blue light blockers, perception of depth of field and focusing, ambient light, what do you tell a young person, organizing thoughts creatively, the benefits of a liberal arts education, communication as key life skill, doing the thing every day, game jams online and in person, Brett's Book Recommendation.
    Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dungeons & Dragons, Bullfrog Productions, Lionhead, Peter Molyneux, SimCity, Civilization, Will Wright, The Walking Dead, Black & White, Ultima IV, Windows, Star Trek, Warcraft, Dune 2, Command & Conquer, Starcraft, Quake III Arena, Nintendo DS, Total Annihilation, EA, Haden Blackman, Paul Pierce, Tropico (series), Anno (series), Sam, Cody, Unreal, Unity, Blender, MGS 3: Snake Eater, Resident Evil 4, Mario 3, itch.io, Terry Pratchett, Discworld, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.
    Next time:
    An interview or possibly our Halloween-themed game
    Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, Twitter: @timlongojr and @devgameclub
    DevGameClub@gmail.com

    • 1 hr 35 min
    DGC Ep 228: Populous (part three)

    DGC Ep 228: Populous (part three)

    Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on 1989's genre-defining Populous. We take a little more time with the game and then think about how and why and it might have hit so big at the time, in addition to considering its principal designer, Peter Molyneux. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.
    Sections played:
    Several more battles
    Podcast breakdown:
    0:50 Populous Discussion
    51:30 Break
    52:02 Feedback
    Issues covered: Tim's new podcast, the thinness of the game, the systems present in the game, minimal surfacing, settlers and food and buildings, getting a feel for systems rather than directly understanding or showing them, finding a formula, reinforcing castles as good but it maybe leading to a poor dynamic, indirect control, being unable to stop them from making castles, weird ant farm thoughts, overclicking, building up to flood them, speed-land raising by the AI, flooding rather than swamping, the OCD clean-up dopamine, turning the tides, tit-for-tat strategies, a narrow tipping point for Brett, not knowing what to do about things, forgetting about the population bars, getting to flood conditions, being ready to do the thing at the right time, wanting to act on the enemy at exactly the right place, fighting on the borders, pinball wizardry, examining the "load-out" of the level set-up, the fun of playing genre-defining games, that Unique Selling Proposition, finding the big selling point, calcifying genres and breaking away, being not "another one of those," shooting an eye out from a mile away, Molyneux's unique talent, overselling his ideas, child-like enthusiasm, being a forcing function on development, going beyond the limits of what's possible, different approaches to how you push beyond preconceptions, console generation and caring less about new hardware, interesting games being interesting on any platform, an Ubisoft model, applying the specific game to every design, the value of working cheap, having the value of working with more interesting hardware, simulating lots of Little Computer People, how we build an image today, not being able to re-render the whole screen, getting to the interface they had, actually using all the screen to play, being confused about how it all works, runtime performance of PCs in the 1980s, the screenshot test, selling the experience not the visuals, severe technical constraints, switching from another industry, creative leadership in different industries, being willing to step down before stepping back up, the difficulty of going from peak to peak, leveraging your leadership/mentoring skills.
    Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Northern Exposure, Voice of the Last Frontier, SimCity, GTA, Civ, Dungeon Keeper, Dominion, The Who, Thief, Ultima (series), Heroes of Might and Magic, Dave Perry, Shiny, MDK, Peter Molyneux, Syndicate, Bioshock, Shigeru Miyamoto, Pikmin, Roberta Williams, Space Quest/King's Quest, PS2, Ubisoft, Immortals: Fenyx Rising, Monster (energy drinks), Michel Ancel, Bullfrog, Populous: The Beginning, From Dust, Eric Chahi, Yannick from Germany, Maas Neotek, Amiga, John Romero, Benoit B. Mandelbrot, Apple ][, NES, MegaMan, The Legend of Zelda, Jonathan, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.
    Note:
    The Amiga was in fact 640x512, higher than I would have guessed! This would have been EGA/VGA depending on the machine on other PCs.
    Next time:
    A bit of Populous: The Beginning!
    Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, Twitter: @timlongojr and @devgameclub
    DevGameClub@gmail.com

    • 1 hr 23 min
    DGC Ep 227: Populous (part two)

    DGC Ep 227: Populous (part two)

    Welcome to Dev Game Club, where this week we continue our series on 1989's Bullfrog Productions hit and originator of the God Game genre, Populous. We talk about using the mouse in 1989 and dive into particular strategies and the surprising depth of the game, before turning to feedback. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.
    Sections played:
    Another... 5? Levels
    Issues covered: the tutorial just going on, restarting a conquest, having a false sense of security in the tutorial, generating more manna early in the tutorials, games being more keyboard-only at the time, evolving use of home computers for games, adventure games/text adventures and interfaces, figuring out the input interface, hard-to-use mouse input, the Taurus/Torus mix-up that gave us Bullfrog Productions, the PC platform space in 1989, RTS improvements to help navigate, keyboard controls, figuring things out on the second or third game, unanticipated phases to the game, avoiding arcadey controls by indirection, slow manna generation, the costs of raising land, the dangers of flooding, leaving a lone knight errant to decimate the enemy, the enemy flooding himself, unanticipated stories, flooding yourself to kill the enemy, the ways the AI cheats, rubberbanding of a sort, using swamps and earthquakes to disrupt the enemy, papal magnet management, the impact of the map, how to analyze a map for an RTS, developing a simple unit-based AI, the Game of Life/cellular automata approach to AI, focusing on knights, using the gather behavior to make tougher nights, how much space castles take up and the borders around them, the macro around score and how far to advance in the 500 levels of Populous, how would one speedrun Populous, modern descendants of the game, loving having Molyneux in the industry, "to think, it all started with baked beans," machine speed in DosBox, not adjusting for time in old video games, what is an honorific, honorifics and first-person identification in Japanese, observing sexism as potentially embedded in the writing alphabet, gendered particles/radicals and similarities to Romance languages.
    Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Prince of Persia, Civilization, Ultima (series), Doom (series), Quake, King's Quest, Space Quest, LucasArts, Dark Forces, Ultima Underworld, Duke 3D, Amiga, Peter Molyneux, World of Warcraft, 22 Cans, EA, Microsoft, Fusion, SNES, SimAnt, Game Developer, Warcraft, Dune, Command & Conquer, Game of Life, John Conway, Darwinia, WarGames, Introversion Software, DEFCON, Uplink, Prison Architect, Scanner Sombre, Godus, Curiosity: What's Inside the Cube, Dungeon Keeper, Fable (series), Mr. Beast, Chris Corry, Syndicate, Johnny Pockets, Chrono Trigger, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Harry Potter, George Orwell, allthosewhowander.org, Kirk Hamilton, Aaron Evers.
    Next time:
    More Populous
    Link:
    That Italian translation article I mention
    Note:
    It is in fact possible to navigate the view window with the number pad. But the number pad does in fact control the viewport scrolling. The problem is, the number pad and the mouse are typically both controlled with the right hand.
    Twitch: brettdouville, instagram:timlongojr, Twitter: @timlongojr and @devgameclub
    DevGameClub@gmail.com

    • 1 hr 17 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
176 Ratings

176 Ratings

AwwwwYeeaaaah ,

Entertaining and informative podcast

(Sing to the tune of 9PM from Animal Crossing New Horizons)

Samspot101 ,

Must-listen show for players, developers, and gaming historians!

Fantastic podcast for anyone interested in the history of video games, aspiring developers, or someone simply looking for recommended games to play and think deeply about. Not only do Brett & Tim bring their own great insights, but they also bring on really notable and interesting guests and draw out stories you’ve never known about your favorite games!

If that isn’t enough, they also read listener emails and talk deeply about the questions we ask. Wow!

S-rank podcast, 5 stars isn’t enough! May your heart be your guiding key.

the on and only person ,

I really like it

It’s good just swrc has gone on for ever, still love it doh!

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