I'm back this week with part three of my interview with Neal Hallford, designer of Betrayal at Krondor. In this installment, we chat about why Ron Gilbert's Cavedog company failed followed by a discussion of Neal's book Swords & Circuitry, the best-ever guide to creating your own computer role-playing games.
Download the mp4 here.
Sadly, Neal's Thief of Dreams kickstarter failed, but a third party has emerged to back him anyway.
I was recently invited to be a guest on TPG Cast with Adam Ames and Phil Cordaro, and though Adam sadly had to miss, Phil and I had a great discussion on how I got started with Matt Chat, academic gaming, DRM, where the industry is headed, and much more. These guys are a hoot, so please check out their other episodes if you like this one.
In my second installment of my interview with Neal Hallford, we chat about his masterpiece, Betrayal at Krondor. Famous among CRPG aficionados for its epic story and superb writing, BaK is set in the fantasy world of Raymond E. Feist. Unfortunately, Neal did such a great job mimicking Feist's style that many people wrongly assume that it was Feist who penned the game script! The interview also covers why a proper sequel to the game was never made.
Download the mp4.
This week's Matt Chat features the first slice of an interview with fantasy author and game designer Neal Hallford, best known for his work on Betrayal at Krondor, Dungeon Siege, and Planet's Edge. He talks here about his roots and inspirations, which include Cinematronic's Space Wars arcade game. We also chat about his time at New World Computing, where he worked with Might and Magic creator JVC. There's lots of great stuff here for retro fans to enjoy.
Download the MP4.
You can support Neal's new Kickstarter project for his fantasy novel here.
I received a notification today that Google is about to shutter Reader, so in my quest for finding a replacement (I ended up with Feedly), a blog post from Rampant Coyote caught my eye. He features the new trailer for Broken Age, which I must say just doesn't impress me as much as I hoped it would. Then Jay talks about how he has plenty of unfinished adventure games on his shelf now, just as he did back in 92. Like Jay, I also tended to give up on many adventure games, only finishing LucasArts classics like Monkey Island and a few other series such as Myst, Broken Sword, Gabriel Knight, etc.
I recently read Ian Bogost's book How to do Things with Videogames and was quite impressed. There are many good essays in this book worth discussing, and hopefully once this hellish semester/winter from hell is over, I'll actually have some time to blog about them. At any rate, one in particular that I think will interest folks here is called "Habituation," which tries to complicate Bushnell's argument that a great game is easy to learn, but hard to master.
According to Bogost, this maxim is misunderstood. Most people assume that this maxim applies to the game mechanics or rules being easy to master, but what it really refers to is conceptual familiarity. The reason Pong succeeded where the earlier Computer Space did not is that most people are already familiar with ping pong, so they brought a lot to the table, so to speak. By contrast, Computer Space was based on the game Spacewar!, which only a tiny fraction of people had played, and no one was familiar with the zero-G dogfight.
I'm back this week with a retrospective of Larian Studio's Divine Divinity, a 2002 release. It's a brilliant take on the Diablo genre, with immaculate artwork and one of the best soundtracks ever.
Download the mp4.
Support the Divinity: Original Sin kickstarter--3 days left!
Buy Divine Divinity from GOG.com using this link. No extra cost to you, but the show gets a kickback!
Hi, all! I'm back this week to chat with Swen Vincke, the founder of Larian Studios, a Belgian outfit. Swen is a hilarious and passionate dude, so this is a riot even if you're not a big fan of Divine Divinity. The new game is definitely worth checking out, though, since it's a big move from action to turn-based battles. They've also got some great ideas for item combining and co-op concepts. This is one where I really want them to not just hit the basic goal, but start getting into their stretch goals. Check out their Kickstarter and see this thing; I'm sure you're enjoy it if you're at all into RPGs. Their kickstarter video has a genuine LOL moment that will have you in tears.
Download the video here.
Joel Billings is back for one final time (at least for this interview series!) to tell us about the decline and fall of his one great company. Why isn't SSI with us today? Then there's the great What-ifs--What if Trip Hawkins had been at the meeting with EA? What if SSI had held off just a bit longer before selling out to Mindscape? Enjoy!
Download the episode.