Bookmark this post, cos this is a good one.
I watch a lot of commentaries and talks and panels on how games get made. They’re spread out a lot across the internet, so I figure it’ll be a good favour for everyone else if I put em all in one place. Here’s a list of a tonne o good stuff to watch (and some podcasts, some written articles etc.) if you like hearing people you’ve heard of talk passionately about things you’ve seen.
RATCHET AND CLANK 2 PLAYTHROUGH WITH DEVELOPER COMMENTARY
That’s right, the people who designed the Suck Cannon (the best weapon in anything) talk you through how one of the best games on the PS2 got made! Tony Garcia and Mike Stout were programmer and gameplay designer at Insomniac in the mid-2000’s, and since then split apart to work at Blizzard and Double Fine.
PORTAL 2 POST-MORTEM
Eric Wolpaw and Chet Faliszek, writers at Valve, talk about writing the comedy into Portal 2.
THE SECRET ORIGINS OF EPIC MICKEY
Did you know that Epic Mickey wasn’t invented by Warren Spector? It was a concept first established by a 21-yr-old intern at Disney Interactive Studios way way back in about 2003 when a board of higher-ups gave him the brief of “Come up with a Mickey game that people like you would play”. Almost a decade ago! This is a clip from an episode of The Idle Thumbs Podcast, a podcast that I hugely reccomend if you like this list.
HOW FRUIT NINJA HAPPENED
Shitload of testing and iteration, long-story short.
EXTENDED INTERVIEW WITH EDMUND McMILLEN
Big hour-long talk with Ed McMillen, artist and designer of Super Meat Boy. There’s one right next to it with Tommy Refennes, the coder and co-designer on Team Meat. I really love interviews with these guys because they’re SO just the honest, natural side of making games. They have ZERO business accumen, and speak completely openly about the human story of what they’re doing, and the terrifying horror of actually trying to release a videogame. I WISH that everything you heard from us as a company could be 100% real, straight from my mouth, but I’m not nearly as confident in my own games as Tommy is with Super Meat Boy. When people ask me about the games I make I just complain about them, and if I ever worked with Microsoft like that I’m sure I’d be a giant pussy and say they were really nice.
EXTENDED INTERVIEW WITH GABE NEWELL
This is the one where he directly addresses the big Valve sequel we’ve all been waiting for, to finally cap off that story after all these years, the one that started it all: Ricochet 2.
Also the Welcome To Valve handbook is just about as inside baseball as it gets. Probably only really amazing if you’re completely familiar with how game studios are USUALLY run.
IRRATIONAL BEHAVOIR / IRRATIONAL INTERVIEWS
Podcasts from within Irrational Games about how everything is a giant fucking struggle even though from the outside they look like a huge smart company.
Also Ken Levine interviews other developers and people you’ve heard of.
HOW BIOSHOCK INFINITE GOT STARTED
A panel about a napkin-drawing that eventually turned into Bioshock Infinite
CLIFF BLESZINSKI TALKS ABOUT BEING HIMSELF
Some people on the internet don’t like Cliff Bleszinski, but whatever I think he’s dreamy.
WHY GAMIFICATION IS SO GREAT
In the futute we’ll all unlock achievement points for drinking Pepsi Next!
WHY “GAMIFICATION” IS ACTUALLY THE WORST FUCKING THING AROUND
In the futute, we will all unlock achievement points for drinking Pepsi Next.
Arin “Egoraptor” Hansen (You may recognize him from “The Tester”) dissects videogames in as smart a way he can, and y’know what? THE GUY’S PRETTY SMART! If I could talk into a microphone without feeling like a dick, I’d LOVE to make videos like this. I can’t wait for the episode about Ocarina of Time.
And then I can’t wait for the episode after that about how RAIDEN IN MGS2 WAS A GREAT IDEA FUCK YOU ALL!!
Here’s a shitload of designers you’ve heard of saying stuff at a screen, so have fun getting lost in that for a while.
DAVID JAFFE’S PAX KEYNOTE
Incase you didn’t know, David Jaffe is the realest fucking guy around. I seriously love David Jaffe, he’s completely ready to talk about anything and he just TALKS LIKE REAL PEOPLE TALK! A lot of game developers can come off as stoic or sound like a school teacher, or keep all conversation within this promote-the-game bubble, but I was watching an IGN thing once where they had David Jaffe host this Play Twisted Metal With IGN type thing, and one fan guy skyped in and said “HEY I HAVE A QUESTION FOR DAVID JAFFE, I’M GONNA GET MY FRIENDS TOGETHER AND PLAY TWISTED METAL, WHAT’S THE BEST BEER YOU RECCOMEND WITH THIS GAME?”
And David Jaffe fuckin without skipping a beat said “I’m sorry man, I’m not really a big beer-drinkin kinda guy, the best thing I would reccomend is I used to smoke marijuana playing games like this, that’s just how I like to kick back.”
“ALRIGHT COOL, THANKS MAN, BYE.”
and all these IGN guys are fucking deadly silent.
EXTENDED INTERVIEW WITH JONATHON BLOW
I really started stalking Jonathon Blow once I added him on twitter around E3, and laughed at how much he thinks everything to do with game is a ridiculous joke. Once you actually listen to the guy though, you can only agree with him. He’s looking at videogames from a different perspective than most people in the industry, and the stuff he’s saying about us all being in this outdated closed-off bubble is INARGUABLY true.
JONATHON BLOW GOES INTO MORE DETAIL ON HOW EVIL FARMVILLE IS
Jonathon Blow hates the way games are designed these days, and he also hates the way they’re made and sold. Again: he’s always fucking right.
ED MCMILLEN STATE OF PLAY INTERVIEW
That State of Play dude makes really good interviews, incase you didn’t notice.
THE DOUBLE FINE ADVENTURE
I honestly believe The Double Fine Adventure is the best documentary about making a game out there. It’s episodic, and there’s a new 20-30 minute episode every month, as well as 10-20 minute extrasodes. If you’re not in on it yet, or you’re avoiding it for whatever reason, I TOTALLY RECCOMEND you get in now. It’s 110% worth it.
MAKING CRASH BANDICOOT
This is a giant fucking book on making Crash Bandicoot. I’m gonna be honest: I’ve not read it, as it’s enormous.
JOHN CARMACK’S QUAKE-CON KEYNOTE
The funny thing about John Carmack is that once he starts talking about direct neural stimulation, he does not stop talking.
BUILDING THE BASTION
GiantBomb documented the making of Bastion! Bastion’s a great game by the way, I don’t know if you’ve played it. Also check out Greg Kasavin’s old blog if you wanna hear some real smart talk about writing games.
ROBERT KHOO TALKS ABOUT RUNNING PENNY ARCADE
I like hearing from people who run “small” giant businesses.
GAMETRAILERS: THE BONUS ROUND
GameTrailers’ show The Bonus Round can sometimes be a really cool watch. I reccomend the last episode, with Cliff Bleszinski, Tim Schafer and Mikey Neumann (hardest to spell panel of designers?) and the Uncharted 3 episode. There’s actually a lot of fluff and game-promotion, E3-hype episodes, so I’m not 100% confident about reccomending the series as a whole.
GAME DESIGN WITH JOE METHOD
Interviews with people who make videogames about what it’s like to make videogames.
AZTEZ DEVELOPMENT BLOG
Ben Ruiz is a long-time combat designer and SERIOUSLY KNOWS WHAT’S UP when it comes to beat-em-ups!
HOW TO DEMONSTRATE A GAME
Just throwin this in, this is just amazing.
SUPER METROID ANALYSIS
Check out this article if you’re a game designer. Most of the things you’re learning now, and the things you thought were so amazing on the Portal audio commentaries was already being used like 30 years ago.
ZELDA DUNGEON ANALYSIS
Remember Mike Stout from that Ratchet and Clank commentary at the top of this page? He wrote this! Wow it’s like we’ve gone full circle.
WELL!!!!! That should probably last you til christmas. This is all just stuff I’ve read and seen over the passed couple years- the good ones, I didn’t just list everything I could think of. If you’ve got anything similar, then I guess write a comment or something? Share this with people who might like it?
–Oh maybe I should also mention: A weird thing happened a couple weeks ago, and I discovered a bunch of un-used and un-heard audio tracks in our soundtrack. It’s all documented on our facebook page, but basically I uploaded a bunch of our music to Youtube. So enjoy that!