DGC Ep 020: Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (part 1)

In this first episode of our series discussing Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, we examine the relevance of the original game to the series as a whole and its genre in particular and begin delving into the mechanics on display in the first few levels of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:

First two levels of each campaign: H1, O1, H2, O2

Podcast breakdown:

0:32       Intro and segment 1 (relevance, personal and industry wise)

33:55     Break 1

34:23     Dev and mechanics talk

1:07:05   Break 2

1:07:32   Quick additional topic and next time

Issues covered: committing to the division of Orcs and Humans, reading the freaking manual, what went into manuals and not, training the player and avoiding the manual, credits in the PS2 era, what did you need a manual for, the Indie Box, tooltips and in-game instruction, story development inside of Blizzard games vis a vis Westwood, CD-ROM and FMV, mission type variety, mods as aid to development, unit grouping count, small squads vs large armies, moving towards hero focus, MOBAs born from heroes, prioritizing even derivative lore and the potential benefits, reading 8 to 10 Warcraft novels, beneficial aesthetics, humor, self-seriousness and camp, playing with your toys, discovering games on shared computers, multiplayer culture in RTSes and FPSes, using multiplayer for develop, pathfinding and the Dining Philosophers problem, lack of formation, micromanagement for tactical gain, counting frames and managing combat closely, unsignaled progress, energy and efficiency, levels of fog of war and the Eye of Kilrogg, the weight of individual units, build speeds, deliberate pacing (lack of click-to-move), contextualization and automation debates in the mid-90s, "the game playing itself," automating those things which are not the focus, stylization and exaggeration in visual design, minimum spec. 

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Dave Grossman, Tim Schafer, Uncharted 4, Day of the Tentacle, LucasArts, Starfighter, Dark Souls, Gone Home, Dune 2, XCOM, Westwood, Command & Conquer, Starcraft, Wing Commander, The 7th Guest, Rebel Assault, Starcraft 2, Warcraft 3, Sid Meier, Dawn of War II, Company of Heroes, Relic Entertainment, Defense of the Ancients, J. R. R. Tolkien, Gary Gygax, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen, Samwise Didier, Michael Morhaime, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Games Workshop, Dungeons and Dragons, Patrick Stewart, Dark Forces, DOOM (original and 2016), Castle Wolfenstein, Prince of Persia, Myth: The Forgotten Lords, Bungie, Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void, Starship Troopers, Little King's Story, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Wayne Cline, Ultima IX, Tomb Raider, Super Mario 64, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Hal Barwood, Overwatch, Diablo III, Disney, Nintendo, Pokemon Go

Next time:

Play four more from each campaign, still alternating Humans and Orcs!

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub