DGC Ep 065: Half-Life (part one)

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are discussing Valve Software's 1998 classic Half-Life. We talk about what a year 1998 was, and a good deal about the restrained opening to the game and its provenance. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up to "We've Got Hostiles"

Podcast breakdown:
0:34 Segment 1: History and Half-Life beginning
1:00:57 Break
1:01:30 Segment 2: Feedback, Next Time

Issues covered: 1998 as a year, engine licensing and 3D engines, Radiant level editor, Steam's launch, diving back into the FPS, "Doom clones," raising the bar for shooters, fully committing to the introduction, discipline and pacing, mundanity and attention to detail, "the world's slowest rollercoaster," the mundane hero vs the military hero, the everyman, genesis of the "walking simulator," leaning on a license, making the environment more responsive, unlikely hero, standing out in a sea of shooters, "immersive world rather than shooting gallery," stark contrast, teleporting between worlds, the in-fiction tutorial, learning verbs through achieving goals, mantling, NPCs who will follow you a ways, usability testing, momentum in player movement, contiguous space and level loads, console/PC hardware differences, points of no return, topics for the future, particularly enjoyable moments, indies taking risks to push boundaries out, giving players what they don't know what they want, avoiding calcification, students and game analysis, when you introduce your kids to games, innocence lost, reviews.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussedHalo 3, Gabe Newell, Valve Software, Jason Schreier, Kirk Hamilton, Starcraft, Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, Unreal, Ocarina of Time, Grim Fandango, Rogue Squadron, Rainbow Six, Pokemon: Red and Blue, Thief, Descent: Freespace, Dune 2000, Shogo: Mobile Armor Division, Quake, NOLF 1 & 2, Tron 2.0, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Steam, Final Fantasy Tactics, Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, Chris Avellone, Jeff Morris, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Doom 2, Dark Forces, Duke Nukem 3D, Starfighter, Obi-Wan, System Shock, Chris Corry, System Shock 2, Halo, Marathon, Rise of the Triad, Heretic, Alien vs. Predator, Michael Biehn, Team Fortress, Mark Laidlaw, The Mist, Stephen King, The Outer Limits: The Borderland, "Area 51," id Software, Nintendo, Tribes, Mario, John Romero, Jazz JackrabbitUltima Underworld, Republic Commando, Chris Suellentrop, JJ Sutherland, Shall We Play A Game, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Tyranny, Johnson "Blue" Siau, Ian Milham, League of Legends, Overwatch, Troy Mashburn, Jordan Innerarity, Kye Harris, Putt-Putt, Pyjama Sam, Freddi Fish, Nintendo DS, Nintendogs, Animal Crossing, Minecraft, Disney Infinity, Lego series, Mario Kart Double Dash, Raiders of the Lost Ark, LesserOfFour, Zelda: A Link to the Past, KRL360, ChiliDogJr, GoodJobMr2Percent, RebelFM.

Next time:
Play up through "Apprehension" (stop at "Residue Processing")

Thoughts about Violence in Video Games and when to expose kids to stuff

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub