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Matt Chat 155: Jennell Jaquays on Epyx, Ensemble, id, and Game Careers

I'm back this week for the third and final part of my interview with Ms. Jennell Jaquays. In this part we talk about her game 4x4 Off-Road Racing, a fun little game published by Epyx (Amiga version shown here). Then we talk about her time at id and Ensemble, focusing on Age of Empires III and the War Chiefs expansion, her favorite project of all time. We wrap up with a great discussion about what it takes to get (and maintain) a good job in the games industry.

You can download the mp4 here. I'm saving for a new hard drive (mine is full again), so your donations are especially helpful at this time. Click here to make a one-time donation or set up a subscription.

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Matt Chat 154: Jennell on Coleco, Adam, and Bard's Tale IV

I'm back this week with part 2 of my interview with Jennell Jaquays. This week, we turn to her time at Coleco during the early 80s, when she worked on a prototype that I'm sure Mr. Bill L. would love to get his hands on--an RPG that combined two "hot" techs of the time--bar codes and speech chips. It never materialized, but it sounds amazing. Jennell also describes why the ADAM was a failure from an engineering perspective. Next, we turn to Bard's Tale IV, and get a look behind-the-scenes of what would have been the most ambitious Bard's Tale game ever. I was interested to know that it offered three different perspectives.

Download the episode here. As always, if you like the show and want to see more episodes, donate today. I've had a few people inexplicably cancelling their subscriptions lately, so I'd really appreciate your contributions to keep this show in production.

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Matt Chat 153: The Jennell Jaquays Interview: The Dungeoneer

Hi, guys! I'm back this week with one of the rare female guests to grace Matt Chat, Jennell Jaquays, one of the true greats of role-playing. Jennell has done lots of videogame work--including the Coleco--but here we focus on her background in D&D. She's the author of some of the best modules and books on the topic of good role-playing. She's now serving as the lead level designer on the World of Darkness MMORPG, an upcoming CCP game (think Vampire: The Masquerade). Enjoy!

Download the episode here.

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Matt Chat 152: Grim Fandango--the killer adventure game that killed off adventure games

Well, it had to happen sooner or later! This week, it's back the late 90s for the game many people consider the Greatest Game that ever killed a genre. That's exaggeration, of course, but it does make for a good headline. The story goes that although the game did reasonably well--it was NOT a commercial failure, despite the pundits--it wasn't exactly the cash bonanza that LucasArts was expecting. End result--they pulled the plug on their adventure game development. Now you had a situation where the two greats--LucasArts and Sierra--were not making adventure games anymore. Of course, Cyan was still around, but nobody but me seems to count them.

Or, download the mp4.

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Dev Diary 027: Online Multiplayer with Smartfox and Unity C#

I'm a little apprehensive about putting this out, because although it seems to be working fine on my end--who knows what'll happen when people actually try to connect to my humble little PC. At any rate, I'm curious enough to try it out. Assuming you're able to connect, the game is controlled by the keyboard as follows:

A/D - rotate left and right
W - thrust
+/- - adjust power
space - fire

I've disabled the other ship models and weapons here--if all goes well, I can always put them back in. After I catch up on my book project, I'll polish this thing up (assuming it's not a turd. Although Mythbusters proved that you CAN polish a turd; but I digress). Have fun!!!

There is currently only one game room available. In theory, you should be able to enter your name and be put in when it comes available, but I've not tested this yet. I'm not expecting a huge load here, but if it did become an issue, I could add more rooms (and hopefully find some way to have this thing hosted for real).

At any rate, enjoy, and let me know (gently) about all the bugs and glitches you find.

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Matt Chat 151: Shane R. Monroe on DRM, Amiga, Abandonware, and why he'll never play Diablo III

In the last segment of my interview with retrogaming's Howard Stern, Shane R. Monroe chats with me about the glorious days of the Amiga (and why it ultimately failed despite having the best tech), the illegal but inevitable abandonware black markets, the "sinister" and self-defeating DRM industry, and why he would have never made the Vita. He gets really fired up in this episode--classic Shane--and there's pretty funny moments.

Download the video here.

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Dev Diary 026: Learning SmartFoxServer

There's two problems with the current Outlaws game. One is that it requires joystick support, which while great if this were an Xbox 360 indie title--and, who knows, maybe one day it will be!--most PC gamers don't have a gamepad connected to their machine like I do. Secondly, even if they did, they don't have anyone locally around willing to play the game with them. Adding keyboard support as an option is relatively trivial from a coding perspective, so I decided to tackle the far greater problem first--online multiplayer.

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Dev Diary 025: Outlaws of Gravity Beta

Outlaws of GravityOutlaws of GravityI know it's been awhile since I last made a dev diary. I've been working steadily, but it took me a long time to get enough of my "Outlaws of Gravity" to be able to offer a working prototype. Quite a bit has changed since the last version! Note, too, that this is an executable file. I do plan eventually to make this playable in a browser, but there's some issues with inputs that I haven't worked out yet. The standalone versions allow the user to setup their own controls for joysticks, so that's what I'm going with for the time being. There's no online multiplayer (yet), so it shouldn't be an issue anyway. Download the prototype here. Okay, so here's what's new:

1. Choice of ships. I downloaded a "star fighters" pack from the assets store for $30. I got about 8 or so ships and was able to use all but one of them (it was oriented differently than the others, and I couldn't figure out how to change it).

2. Each ship type has a different speed, hull, energy, and bonus damage variable.

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Matt Chat 150: Piracy, DRM, and Digital Media with Shane R. Monroe

Episode 150! Even I'm amazed that I've produced so many episodes. So many reviews! So many interviews! So many bad jokes! Yes, it's time to celebrate. Besides a great interview with Shane R. Monroe--who I assume most of you are familiar with here, I offer up a special "thank you" in the form of an old school demo!

You can download the video here. Below are some thoughts on the show and reflections on 150.

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Adventure Bundle in a Box

Adventure Games BundleAdventure Games BundleHead over right now to grab your Bundle in a Box! Pay what you want, no DRM, and support charity to boot. There's some great games in this package (see below). If you're a fan of old school adventures, it's worth getting for Gemini Rue alone. You also get codes for STEAM and something called Desaru (?). At any rate, at $5 this is a complete no-brainer, so go grab it now!

From our good friend Gnome of Gnome's Lair:

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