September 3, 2019
Games have environments, and they have to look beautiful. But is that all there is to it, or is it more? In this educational episode, Rob interviews his co-host Kip Carbone about his views on the environment art profession. A must listen for students!
Check out Kip's Artstation here:
August 12, 2019
Rob's still getting things set up at the new studio location in Indiana, so here's one more classic episode.
Lead World Designer Nathan Cheever calls in to talk about Prey 2, a game he and Rob both worked on and loved! Despite its controversial fate, it remains one of the most popular cancelled games of all time (and our most popular episode overall). Join Rob and Nathan as they discuss his long career, and all the cool stuff in Prey 2 that you missed out on!
With a VERY brief intro added by Rob: you can hear the Grid Snaps moving staff shuffling in the background :)
August 5, 2019
Kip wasn't qualified to be on this episode because he wasn't an art director himself yet!* Fortunately Rob knew somebody else that could break down the amazing art of Cuphead: Ken Hogan! One of our most popular episodes, Ken discusses why the art in this game is important and gives some insight on how it was made. Once again Rob adds a brief introduction before the podcast begins.
Stay tuned as we get the new Indiana-based Grid Snaps Studio set up! Fresh episodes should be coming shortly!
*Just kidding Kip!
July 29, 2019
Rob's moving the Grid Snaps Studios to Indiana, so we've prepared some of our best episodes for you to listen to, with a brief introduction added by Rob.
This episode is one of our most popular! We talk about the "real life" level design of Ikea.
July 23, 2019
This time Rob has big news to share (the moral of the story: appear on the Grid Snaps Podcast, gain great sucess!), but after this, we talk about one of Rob's most popular blog posts, an article he wrote in 2016 called the Elements of Level Design. Kip (now an Art Director!) provides input as well.
The purpose of this article was to break down the discipline of level design into its core parts. Some are well understood by those in the industry, such as level layout and scripting, but other aspects, like world design, is still poorly understood.
July 9, 2019
Remember those super fun action RPGs where you could team up with your friends and bash the playstation buttons for hours on end? Environment artist Konrad Honey and game designer Rob Howard dive into Activision/Raven's classic Marvel Ultimate Alliance series.
Topics discussed include:
-How the camera perspective influences the gameplay and level design.
-How the designers used simple interactions to give pause to the combat.
-The heritage of these games, going back to Gauntlet in the arcades and Diablo on PC.
June 19, 2019
A long time ago, Rob read in a magazine about "Service to the Player," but couldn't recall what it was referring to exactly. Over time, he developed this into a theory of game design choices: when to break immersion to deliver something useful or fun to the player (a "service," so to speak).
Often seen in Japanese games, Rob, Patrick and Kip discuss this concept and how it improves games by keeping them player-centric. They also discuss what is *not* service to the player.
While this is a topic near and dear to Rob's heart, you might notice the crew is a little punchy in this episode. This is because this was recorded shortly before Kip Carbone departed San Jose for another adventure in his game development career (though he will STAY ON as co-host of Grid Snaps, thanks to the wonders of the internet!).
May 7, 2019
Perhaps the most anticipated console of its time, the PlayStation 2 was a fertile breeding ground of creativity. Described by Rob as part of a "golden age" of gaming, the system helped support a variety of titles, from AAA powerhouses to quirky games by mid-sized and smaller developers.
Also, ignore Patrick. Gungriffon Blaze is good ;)
April 25, 2019
For a small but growing number of American gamers, the best in Japanese action is spelled with three letters: EDF!
While the series made its debut on the PS2 in Japan and Europe, most Americans know Sandlot's Earth Defense Force series from the third game, Earth Defense Force 2017, which was released on the Xbox 360 in 2007 in the United States.
With giant mutant bugs, robots, and voice acting that seemed to feature "talent" pulled from a random Los Angeles bus stop, EDF 2017 became a "best kept secret" for many gamers.
One of those gamers included the Grid Snaps' own Rob Howard, who went on to design levels for the American made Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon while at Vicious Cycle Software. Rob and Patrick discuss the series, going all the way back to the origins of developer Sandlot though the current day's releases of EDF 5 and EDF: Iron Rain.
1. Sandlot's origins, from Human Entertainment, Firepro Wrestling, and Sandlot's first game: Robot Alchemic Drive (RAD) on the PS2.
2. The "Simple" series of budget titles, home of the first EDF games.
3. How in the world did a low budget Japanese shooter series end up on the Xbox 360?
4. The "American" EDF game that Rob worked on.
5. How EDF 4.1 might be the best game in the series.
6. What Rob and Patrick think of EDF 5 and beyond.