DGC Ep 061: Planescape: Torment (part four)

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing 1999 Black Isle classic Planescape: Torment. We talk about the usefulness of tropes (which this game mostly overturns), keeping your bearings when so much is available to you, and the uses of story and narrative to prop up underwhelming mechanics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Through Ravel's Maze

Podcast breakdown:
0:39    Segment 1
57:45  Break
58:17   Segment 2: Feedback/Questions

Issues covered: permutations and open maps at the Clerk's Ward, open world games, quest UIs, tuning out the journal entries, Tim second-guessing himself, Lothar stealing Morte, alphabet soup names, Brett messes up Soego's name five different ways, how tropes give you a handhold, how The Witcher uses tropes and lore, culture: you're soaking in it!, anything can open a portal, evolution of usability, the game as maze, leaning on the journal, buying up all the items in the Curiosity Shop, tedium of fetch quests, lack of mechanical interest, being enthralled to the material, designing a puzzle platformer, marrying elements together to make something stronger, object-oriented ontology, diving deep into a thing and its mechanics and limits, the audience will decide, mainly an adventure game, thin mechanics, DA:I companion quests, Fallout as a better marriage of mechanics and story, playing as a character vs playing as a player avatar, "it's barely an RPG," combat difficulty, missing hack-and-slash, PST diverging from other Infinity Engine games, more combat and more combat difficulty in IE games, Heart of Winter mode, development divergence, finding a balance of narrative people can hang on to or not, the Brothel of Intellectual Lusts, discussing high points, whose head did you get?, Soego the wererat spy, multiple needles vs multiple haystacks, getting mazed, the zombie in the Coffinmaker's shop, the Alley of Lingering Sighs, metaphorical meaning, passion in game development, programming challenges in videogame development, moving to games from applications programming, waterfall vs iterative development, opportunities in 3D art, crossover with film, designers and passion, communicating through code, seeing branching vs taking branches, story vs systems in reader feedback.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussedDragon Age: Inquisition, Infinity Engine, The Witcher 3, Star Trek, Memento, Baldur's Gate (series), Andrzej Sapkowski, Beauty and the Beast, Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber, Anthony Halderman, Ian Bogost, Georgia Tech, The Atlantic, soccer, Tetris, Chess, Go, What Remains of Edith Finch, Giant Sparrow, The Unfinished Swan, Naughty Dog, Nate Wells (obliquely), Portal, Thomas Was Alone, Play AnythingIcewind Dale (series), Bioware, Interplay, Fallout, Dungeons & Dragons, Darksiders, Zelda (series), Diablo, Halo (obliquely), João Vitor Bispo Galvão, Aaron Evers, John Carmack, Fargo, Starfighter, Chris Corry, Andrew Kirmse, Unreal, idTech, Timothy Homan, Final Fantasy IX, Dragon Age: Origins, Bethesda Game Studios, Kurt Strock, Chris Mead, Deus Ex, System Shock 2.

Point of Information:
Nate Wells was the Naughty Dog Lead Artist (of The Last of Us) who went to Giant Sparrow that Tim and I were trying to remember.

Next time:
Until we return to Sigil

Video Games Are Better Without Stories, Ian Bogost 

The Exceptional Beauty of Doom 3's Source Code


@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub