GSPC Episode #38: Patrick Presents: PSP Oddities and Classics! Including Cho Aniki Zero, Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire, and Gitaroo Man Lives!

November 11, 2018

Patrick makes another appearance at the Grid Snaps Studio in San Jose, and brings his PSP with him! We check out some awesome and interesting games for the system, including:

 

Cho Aniki Zero - Yeah, it's weird. But it's a fun 2D shooter also!

Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire - You have never seen a shooter this awesome.

Gitaroo Man Lives - Rhythm bliss!

 

We hope this episode finds you cruisin' ebay for PSP systems and games! Enjoy!

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GSPC Episode #37: Rob and Kip discuss the Red Dead Redemption series with Environment Artist Konrad Honey

October 28, 2018

Rustling cattle. Dueling. Playing cards. And unforgettable characters! Everyone is playing the latest game in the Red Dead series, so Rob and Kip bring on environment artist Konrad Honey to talk about these amazing games from Rockstar San Diego.

Topics covered:

The history of the series, going all the way back to Capcom's Gun.Smoke.

The characters of the series: how they seem multi-dimensional while using recognizeable tropes.

Innovations in open world game design: using the wilderness instead of a city.

The soundtrack and how it is used in a powerful way.

Verisimilitude and how it keeps you from just using fast travel. You want to explore the world!

Kip lets the podcast audience know how "dastardly" he is.

Bonus material! Rob talks about how to make games the Rockstar way, in this column.

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GSPC Episode #36: Rob and Patrick Discuss God of War

October 15, 2018

ACTION! BOMBAST! MULTI-HIT COMBOS! FURY!!!!!!!!!!

Hugging a tree.

Yep, both these things happen in Sony Santa Monica's smash-hit God of War series. Rob is playing the 2018 game, while Patrick counts the original trilogy amongst his all-time favorite games. They talk about the differences between old and new and what works well for both. 

Topics discussed:

The high-action introductions of the original game, versus the intimate, peaceful introduction of the 2018 game.

How the camera creates the chaotic frency in the original trilogy, versus how the "documentary" style camera creates a personal feeling more appropriate to the older Kratos in the 2018 title.

Mico-hubs: how the new game encourages exploration within the context of a linear game.

Living versus dead game worlds: Rob opines about how many games take place in post-apocalyptic worlds.

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GSPC Whitebox Commentary: Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise

October 7, 2018

You're already listening. At least, we hope so! We welcome "Japanese Games Correspondent" Patrick as a regular co-host by having a brief conversation about the newest Fist of the North Star game: Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, by Sega's Yakuza studio!

We discuss our history with the series (the 11th highest grossing media franchise of all time!) and our thoughts about the game so far.

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GSPC Whitebox Commentary: Far Cry 5

September 25, 2018

For the first "whitebox commentary" (short discussions with minimal editing), Rob discusses the game and level design of Far Cry 5.

  • Character Persistance being a common trait in AAA games
  • Chaos versus planning in open world encounters
  • World simulation in games
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GSPC Episode #35: Rob and Kip talk Halo’s Hang Em’ High

September 19, 2018

A CRT monitor, an original Xbox, the trunk of your car... and fun. Everyone loves the original Halo, but most people remember the map "Hang Em' High" specifically. Why is this map so beloved? Rob and Kip dig deep to figure it out!

Episode Notes:

-In Hang Em' High, gameplay was king. Had to keep at a high framerate, no fluff.

-Environment artists like Kip love to take gameplay focused spaces and create visually compelling elements with it.

-Creativity being about multiple people coming up with ideas together.

-Why Hang em' High is a map we still talk about so many years after the game was released?

-Rob talks about how the game design is fully exploited in the level design of Halo: Combat Evolved.

 

-"Level Design always has to take the ingredients of the game design and enhance them." -Rob

 

-Rob and Kip's amazing firefight during our play session and what the says about the map.

 

-"It [Hang em' High] takes into account every ounce of the multiplayer game design [of Halo CE] and has something to say about it." - Rob

 

"You use the design work as the palette for the visuals and to apply applicable shapes; ascribe visuals that lend themselves well to the environment you are trying to make." - Kip Carbone

 

"You can create shapes that work well for the space you need to make that's fun for the gameplay." - Kip Carbone

 

"I try to be true to the game design. I rely on the game designer, their vision. I'm accentuating that." -Kip Carbone

 

"You can make the most amazing Mise-en-scène... but you're gonna run past them at a million miles per hour, versus the monolithic structures in a Halo map. You gotta have those." -Rob

 

-Capture the flag as a great level design exercise.

 

-What is a whitebox?

 

-Exile from Halo 4 being a great example of the design process at work.

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GSPC Episode #34: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Part 2: Rob and Kip discuss Nova Braga Airport

September 1, 2018

In part 2 of Grid Snaps' series on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Rob and Kip take us on a design deep dive of the Nova Braga Airport playspace. What makes this a great place to sneak, shoot, and fulton extract soldiers? Rob and Kip also explore many great level design and environment art processes and techniques, in one of the most info-packed episodes to date!

Topics Discussed:

1. How real life events are used for the game and level design, re: Africa at the time of The Phantom Pain.
2. Contrasting the "trench" technique in older games (used to obscure long draw distances in outdoor environments), versus topography in a modern open world game.
3. Negative and positive space in level design.
4. Using the fences as a clever way to limit entrances to the airport.
5. The difficulty curve of the game: hard at first, but not so hard as to make one stop playing.
6. Adaptive difficulty in the game.
7. Theorizing about what the whiteboxing phase of this design was like.
8. How Rob and Kip, working together, might have approached desigining this environment.
9. Whiteboxing techniques from various companies and studios.
10. Making sure you aren't fooled by simplicity in a whitebox.
11. How Nova Braga airport has a lot of great design, despite it being a relatively simple in architecture.
12. In level design, things often start complex, but get "baked down" to simpler forms because they work better.
13. How players can easily "mentally map" the area.
14. Giving level designers proper recognition for their work, which the Phantom Pain does with its credits for each mission.

Here's the hilarious "real life Metal Gear" video Rob and Kip referenced.

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GSPC Episode #33: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Part 1: Chat with Chris Millar of Millartime.com

August 2, 2018

NOTICE: The version of this podcast released around midnight 8/2 has an audio error (music from the last podcast that was left in). If you downloaded this episode before 11:00 pm Thursday August 2, please re-download it to get the corrected version, thank you!

 

We loved the Phantom Pain so much, we wanted to do a two part episode on it! In this episode, Rob talked to Chris Millar of Millartime.com, who listeners may remember from the ECM podcast. Millar has put an enormous amount of time into the Phantom Pain, and has a lot to say about it from a player's perspective. Topics include:

  • Favorite story moments
  • Strategies from an expert FOB player
  • Stories about getting into the game

In addition, there is plenty of awesome music from the OST in the breaks!

Check out some of Millar's incredible MGSV gameplay here:

Zero Kills, Zero Alerts in Ground Zeroes

Deja Vu Mission (with Cyborg Ninja!)

Daytime FOB Invastion No Alert (Wow, this is awesome!)

Stay tuned for part 2, when Rob and Kip talk about the design and art of The Phantom Pain!

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GSPC Episode #32: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (again!) with Nichegamer.com’s Brandon Orselli

July 26, 2018

When Rob puts 200 hours in a game... he's gonna podcast about it, even if there was one already. While the first Xenoblade Chronicles podcast is a deep dive on the game's world design, Rob and Brandon instead talk about the game as a whole. Topics discussed include:

  • The history of developer Monolith Soft
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and Xenoblade Chronicles X
  • The deep battle systems
  • How Monolith Soft uses religious themes in their games

Make sure to visit Nichegamer.com, a great website that loves to cover games such as Xenoblade Chronicles 2!

You can also follow Nichegamer via twitter @nichegamer, facebook at nichegamer, and niche_gamer on Instagram!

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GSPC Episode #31: ArcadeHeroes.com’s Adam Pratt Discusses His New Book

July 5, 2018

Grid Snaps favorite Adam Pratt returns to promote his newest book, Arcade Heroes: Arcade Gaming Almanac 2018/2019, coming soon! We also discuss the latest developments in the arcade scene, including:

  • How has the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game affected arcade game design? Can we expect more "joystick" (not wheel or plastic gun based) games now?
  • What is going on with the Exa-Arcadia board, and can we see it here in the United States soon (the answer was YES!)?
  • California Extreme, one of the premiere events for arcade game fanatics, coming soon in Santa Clara, California. Both Rob and Adam will be there at this event!
  • Check out Adam's swag at his Teepublic site.
  • Catch up with Adam's first book, The Arcade Experience.
  • Of course follow all the latest arcade news at ArcadeHeroes.com.
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