DGC Ep 067: Half-Life (part three)

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing Valve Software's 1998 classic Half-Life. We especially focus on level design but touch also on weapon design and a bit of reuse of weapon progression. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through Lambda Core

Podcast breakdown:
0:40       Discussion segment
1:05:03  Break
1:05:28  Feedback

Issues covered: the Russians, level design variety, designer control over geometry, blocking out levels and then beautifying, binary space partition, realistic spaces vs non-realistic spaces, lack of training, amusement park design and enticing users, willing suspension of disbelief and spectacle/distraction, expectation of a real place, tension between realism and play, Blast Pit and memories, all the things that will kill you, reminding the player of goals, sense of completion, cost of making mechanics, speed of building a rough level, sense of scale, Brett defeats a puzzle by accident, taking weapons away from the player, resetting the power curve, forcing choices between two single-shot weapons, enemy design towards risk/reward, having a fallback position for being out of ammo, problems with finite health, Surface Tension, moment in "Questionable Ethics" that makes you feel smart but doesn't make tons of sense, one shot helicopter kill, holding the paint on a rocket target, alien grenade grubs, the legend of Gordon Freeman.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Winston Churchill, Joe Pesci, JFK, Oliver Stone, Doom, Quake, Republic Commando, System Shock 2, Unreal, Galaxy Quest, Mysteries of the Sith, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, John Romero, The Empire Strikes Back, Clint Eastwood, Halo, Tribes, Michaelsamiller, Kotaku Splitscreen, Super Mario 64, Resident Evil, Danferno, Brehvin!, Lackrin, Planescape, Legacy of Kain, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, @giant_rat.

Next time:
Finish the game!

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub