show episodes
 
T
Tone Control
Rare
 
Steve Gaynor of The Fullbright Company sits down with noteworthy video game developers for an in-depth conversation about their career and creative process, and the tricky work of establishing and maintaining a cohesive tone in their games.
 
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Designer Notes
Rare
 
Why do we make games? Every designer has a different and very personal answer to that question. Soren Johnson, founder of Mohawk Games, sits down with noted designers to find out by examining their careers as a whole.
 
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Twin Peaks Rewatch
Monthly
 
Join us as we revisit David Lynch and Mark Frost's unsettling murder mystery serial, Twin Peaks. Each week we'll watch and discuss one episode—send questions and comments on the current episode to twinpeaks@idlethumbs.net to be part of the conversation!
 
I
Idle Thumbs
Monthly+
 
Idle Thumbs is a video game podcast full of in-depth discussion and absurdity. Between overly-enthusiastic dissections of their latest media experiences and baffling phonological explorations of Jeff Goldblum's name, the cast has managed to find a regular audience of dedicated readers. Scoop up the latest episode and hear us extol the virtues of whatever we've just watched, played, or read—then attempt to answer reader mail before getting sidetracked about robots.
 
I
Idle Thumbs
Monthly+
 
Idle Thumbs is a video game podcast full of in-depth discussion and absurdity. Between overly-enthusiastic dissections of their latest media experiences and baffling phonological explorations of Jeff Goldblum's name, the cast has managed to find a regular audience of dedicated readers. Scoop up the latest episode and hear us extol the virtues of whatever we've just watched, played, or read—then attempt to answer reader mail before getting sidetracked about robots.
 
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show series
 
In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews veteran game designer Clint Hocking, who started his career working on the original Splinter Cell and was also the Creative Director of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Far Cry 2. They discuss how his early time as a Dungeon Master informs his design work, how he took a huge pay cut to join the games ind ...…
 
In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews veteran game designer David Sirlin, best known for his work on Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Yomi, and Puzzle Strike. They discuss how many hit points are too many hit points, whether his work is post-modernist, and how to make the first move in Yomi. Also, listen to see if Soren can successfu ...…
 
In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews veteran game designer David Sirlin, best known for his work on Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Yomi, and Puzzle Strike. They discuss why games with more mechanics are not deeper, whether fighting games should also include cake baking, and why he didn’t end up designing Street Fighter 4.…
 
In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews veteran game designer Brian Reynolds, best known for his work on Colonization, Civilization 2, Alpha Centauri, and Rise of Nations. They discuss why Big Huge made Rise of Legends instead of Rise of Nations 2, why you shouldn’t let a company provide you with a computer, and how he cost Zynga $800K from a ...…
 
We've been through a lot together, Karla and I. And now, in what seems a fitting series finale for Tone Control, my business and creative partner sits down with me at the Fullbright office for a long conversation about her background in TV animation, how we came to cross paths in the games industry, and what we've made together. That's it, folk ...…
 
Derek Yu has been making video games for almost as long as he can remember. In that time he's helped build thriving game developer communities, created more than one classic indie game, and called Jack Thompson's bluff. Now he's on to his next adventure: fatherhood, and reflecting that experience in the upcoming Spelunky 2. Learn all about Dere ...…
 
In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews veteran game designer Brian Reynolds, best known for his work on Colonization, Civilization 2, Alpha Centauri, and Rise of Nations. They discuss when Brian discovered Twilight Struggle, how Alpha Centauri influenced BioShock, and whether he could have made Rise of Nations at Firaxis.…
 
Robert Yang is awesome. Educator, advocate, and subversive game developer all in one, his work focuses on issues of gay culture, sex and sexual politics, consent, surveillance, and the absurdity of digital eroticism. He also does great talks at conferences like GDC, where I caught up with him this year to chat about his work and outlook on what ...…
 
All of our lives have been upended because of some pretty awesome news (read item one here, and item two here), and it has had the unfortunate effect of knocking our recording schedule totally out of whack. So for this month's Idle Thumbs we have something a little different! At PAX East 2018, Chris moderated a panel called "Building Bridges & ...…
 
All of our lives have been upended because of some pretty awesome news (read item one here, and item two here), and it has had the unfortunate effect of knocking our recording schedule totally out of whack. So for this month's Idle Thumbs we have something a little different! At PAX East 2018, Chris moderated a panel called "Building Bridges & ...…
 
Due to some scheduling requirements, we take a break from our GDC chats to visit sunny London, England! While I was in the UK for BAFTA, I sat down with longtime Media Molecule Siobhan Reddy to talk about her time spent helping run her parents' skate shop in Australia (!), the world of mid-'90s web design (!) and working on Discworld Noir (!!) ...…
 
Enjoy this bonus episode drawn from the Idle Thumbs Patreon Ruination Online! Each month, we do a livestream where all topics have been posed by high-tier backers of our Patreon campaign: patreon.com/IdleThumbs. Due to popular demand, we're releasing the audio of that stream to the main podcast feed for easier listening. As usual, we'll be back ...…
 
Enjoy this bonus episode drawn from the Idle Thumbs Patreon Ruination Online! Each month, we do a livestream where all topics have been posed by high-tier backers of our Patreon campaign: patreon.com/IdleThumbs. Due to popular demand, we're releasing the audio of that stream to the main podcast feed for easier listening. As usual, we'll be back ...…
 
In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews veteran game designer Brian Reynolds, best know for his work on Colonization, Civilization 2, Alpha Centauri, and Rise of Nations. They discuss how his original dream job was to write compilers, all the bad decisions he needed to make to end up as a game designer, and his true feelings about the philoso ...…
 
Everything keeps resetting, but still you progress. You got the sword, the watering can, but you died five times in the process. The teens burned down your pirate ship while you were away. Your audio equipment is degrading at an unsettling rate. Fortunately everything is safe, now that you live in the cloud. Now that you're live in the cloud. N ...…
 
Everything keeps resetting, but still you progress. You got the sword, the watering can, but you died five times in the process. The teens burned down your pirate ship while you were away. Your audio equipment is degrading at an unsettling rate. Fortunately everything is safe, now that you live in the cloud. Now that you're live in the cloud. N ...…
 
Some games love you. Some games are indifferent to you. Some games fucking hate you. Some game DEVELOPERS fucking hate you. Bennett Foddy, by god, fucking loves you. He believes in you. He knows you can do it. And also he'll be there, laughing, every time you fail. Get to know one of modern game design's uncompromising masters of the absurd and ...…
 
Naughty Dog Month is completed by my interview with Richard Lemarchand! One of the sweetest, most thoughtful and supportive folks I know in game development, Richard charts... ;) his course from jolly olde England to the sunny shores of Santa Monica, California, going from a kid growing up on ZX Spectrum and arcade games, to helping create one ...…
 
Enjoy this bonus episode drawn from the Idle Thumbs Patreon Ruination Online! Each month, we do a livestream where all topics have been posed by high-tier backers of our Patreon campaign: patreon.com/IdleThumbs. Due to popular demand, we're releasing the audio of that stream to the main podcast feed for easier listening. We'll be back with a re ...…
 
Enjoy this bonus episode drawn from the Idle Thumbs Patreon Ruination Online! Each month, we do a livestream where all topics have been posed by high-tier backers of our Patreon campaign: patreon.com/IdleThumbs. Due to popular demand, we're releasing the audio of that stream to the main podcast feed for easier listening. We'll be back with a re ...…
 
НДД -*- Cracked by..: WAREZ 1999 :.. -*- ДДН ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ Description:.. An episode of the Idle Thumbs podcast in which the guys pretend to be on a different podcast called Press Start Go, but really it's just another Idle Thumbs. Chris and Nick go deep on Into The Breach, which sounds like it's destroyi ...…
 
НДД -*- Cracked by..: WAREZ 1999 :.. -*- ДДН ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ ³ Description:.. An episode of the Idle Thumbs podcast in which the guys pretend to be on a different podcast called Press Start Go, but really it's just another Idle Thumbs. Chris and Nick go deep on Into The Breach, which sounds like it's destroyi ...…
 
Naughty Dog Month begins on Tone Control! This time I'm talking to former Dog Bruce Straley about his long and storied career-- starting with a Sega Genesis X-Men game I played as a kid (!) all the way through his work as a game director on the Uncharted series and The Last of Us. Join us on a trip across console generations, with a view into h ...…
 
In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews independent game developer Chris Hecker, best known for his work on Spore and SpyParty. They discuss accessibility versus depth, when SpyParty suddenly became fun, and why Chris Hecker ruined Spore.
 
Anyone who's been to GDC knows, it's a massive, vibrant, overwhelming, inspiring event. As a game developer, it's one of the most important weeks of the year-- and holy hell, it seems like a lot to manage, generally! So I spoke to Meggan Scavio, longtime General Manager of GDC (who's now moved on to be President of the AIAS, running the DICE co ...…
 
Enjoy this bonus episode drawn from the Idle Thumbs Patreon Ruination Online! Each month, we do a livestream where all topics have been posed by high-tier backers of our Patreon campaign: patreon.com/IdleThumbs. Due to popular demand, we're releasing the audio of that stream to the main podcast feed for easier listening. We'll be back with a re ...…
 
Enjoy this bonus episode drawn from the Idle Thumbs Patreon Ruination Online! Each month, we do a livestream where all topics have been posed by high-tier backers of our Patreon campaign: patreon.com/IdleThumbs. Due to popular demand, we're releasing the audio of that stream to the main podcast feed for easier listening. We'll be back with a re ...…
 
In this episode, Soren Johnson interviews independent game developer Chris Hecker, best known for his work on Spore and SpyParty. They discuss why game jams are no longer necessary, why the first triangle is always the hardest, and whether Powers of Ten was a good idea for a game.
 
A thirteen-foot-tall octopus named Edward Scissorhands rampages into your life and destroys everything you love. What do you do? If you're me, you interview him! This hellish creature, also known as Davey Wreden, is the creator of two of the most mind-bending indie story games in recent history, The Stanley Parable and The Beginner's Guide. Dis ...…
 
You look up from your keyboard and notice something's not right. It looks like the game you were just playing, but a little off. A little worse. Did you fall into a game within a game? "No worries," you think, as you resume tapping away at the keys, "I'll just finish up this little Easter Egg and be moving again in no time," and delve deeper. T ...…
 
You look up from your keyboard and notice something's not right. It looks like the game you were just playing, but a little off. A little worse. Did you fall into a game within a game? "No worries," you think, as you resume tapping away at the keys, "I'll just finish up this little Easter Egg and be moving again in no time," and delve deeper. T ...…
 
Harvey Smith is a mensch. Not only has he been a lead or director on some of the most inspiring and foundational Immersive Sim games of the last 20 years, he's also just a sweet, friendly, thoughtful guy who's great to talk to and has a wonderful southern accent. And lucky you, last time I talked with him, I had my recorder turned on! Hear insi ...…
 
Enjoy this bonus episode drawn from the Idle Thumbs Patreon Ruination Online! Each month, we do a livestream where all topics have been posed by high-tier backers of our Patreon campaign: patreon.com/IdleThumbs. Due to popular demand, we're releasing the audio of that stream to the main podcast feed for easier listening. We'll be back with a re ...…
 
Enjoy this bonus episode drawn from the Idle Thumbs Patreon Ruination Online! Each month, we do a livestream where all topics have been posed by high-tier backers of our Patreon campaign: patreon.com/IdleThumbs. Due to popular demand, we're releasing the audio of that stream to the main podcast feed for easier listening. We'll be back with a re ...…
 
In this episode, Adam Saltsman interviews independent game developer Manveer Heir, best known for his work on the Mass Effect franchise. They discuss the sunken cost fallacy and game development, why Mass Effect 3 would be a bad first game for a new developer, and when a game designer is like a baseball player and when it’s like a trauma surgeon.…
 
It's like rain on your podcasting day. It's when a train goes by, and you can't hear what I say. It's the hammer blows, that ruin your take. And who woulda thought, it figures.Despite a variety of exciting sonic interruptions, Steve and Nina soldier on to talk through her work a s Nuovo Award-winning indie game designer of titles like how do yo ...…
 
The year finally over, you drag your tired, ragged husk into your desk chair, flick on your monitor and reach for your mouse, but your hand slips and falls to your side, sleep finally overtaking you. Two days later you wake up, rub the gunk out of your eyes, drink a half gallon of water, and feel alive for the first time you can really remember ...…
 
The year finally over, you drag your tired, ragged husk into your desk chair, flick on your monitor and reach for your mouse, but your hand slips and falls to your side, sleep finally overtaking you. Two days later you wake up, rub the gunk out of your eyes, drink a half gallon of water, and feel alive for the first time you can really remember ...…
 
Charles Webb, self-styled "Senior Black Writer" at Hangar 13, joined the Mafia III team after a long and winding path that included writing narrative-driven cell phone games in the early 2000's (!), a bit of professional film criticism, and some time with Master Chief. Join us as we learn that led Charles to help bring Mafia III's Lincoln Clay, ...…
 
Enjoy this bonus episode drawn from the Idle Thumbs Patreon Ruination Online! Each month, we do a livestream where all topics have been posed by high-tier backers of our Patreon campaign: patreon.com/IdleThumbs. Due to popular demand, we're releasing the audio of that stream to the main podcast feed for easier listening. We'll be back with a re ...…
 
Enjoy this bonus episode drawn from the Idle Thumbs Patreon Ruination Online! Each month, we do a livestream where all topics have been posed by high-tier backers of our Patreon campaign: patreon.com/IdleThumbs. Due to popular demand, we're releasing the audio of that stream to the main podcast feed for easier listening. We'll be back with a re ...…
 
In this episode, Soren interviews independent game developer Tyler Sigman, best known as the designer of HOARD and Darkest Dungeon. They discuss how whether it makes sense to hide game data in the age of wikis, if Darkest Dungeon is too punishing or too forgiving, and what happened with the Corpse and Hound.…
 
Four hours since leaving home, who knows how many 'til you get there, and only the idle putts of the outboard motor have broken the silence. Silence so thick it's suffocating, to the point that you don't know what will happen if you actually do say something. You almost did early on, but you saw it in its eyes: the nervous anticipation, the anx ...…
 
Four hours since leaving home, who knows how many 'til you get there, and only the idle putts of the outboard motor have broken the silence. Silence so thick it's suffocating, to the point that you don't know what will happen if you actually do say something. You almost did early on, but you saw it in its eyes: the nervous anticipation, the anx ...…
 
Classic 2D animation: the art of drawing the same thing in slightly different poses over and over and then flipping through them so fast that they look like one fluid, moving thing. Beautiful, inspiring... but gosh, that sounds like a lot of work! And that work falls to intrepid folks like Mariel Cartwright, the Lead Animator of Skullgirls, and ...…
 
Welcome back... to Tone Control! Steve shipped another game, so conversations with video game developers begin anew. Kicking off Season 2 of Tone Control, Steve sits down with Leighton Gray, one of the main creative forces behind the daddy dating hit Dream Daddy! Steve discusses daddies, art school, Disneyland, the perils of sudden success, toi ...…
 
Enjoy this bonus episode drawn from the Idle Thumbs Patreon Ruination Online! Each month, we do a livestream where all topics have been posed by high-tier backers of our Patreon campaign: patreon.com/IdleThumbs. Due to popular demand, we're releasing the audio of that stream to the main podcast feed for easier listening. We'll be back with a re ...…
 
Enjoy this bonus episode drawn from the Idle Thumbs Patreon Ruination Online! Each month, we do a livestream where all topics have been posed by high-tier backers of our Patreon campaign: patreon.com/IdleThumbs. Due to popular demand, we're releasing the audio of that stream to the main podcast feed for easier listening. We'll be back with a re ...…
 
In this episode, Soren interviews independent game developer Tyler Sigman, best known as the designer of HOARD and Darkest Dungeon. They discuss how his game design career was almost derailed by staplers, how a weird aeronautical engineer is a normal game designer, and why his finished air racing game was never released.…
 
This episode is an artifact of a simpler time. Buried in the ground for mere days, when you excavate it now, you barely understand what is discussed. "Why aren't they talking about the new Mario game for half this episode?" you wonder, your brain unable to see what is right before you. Eventually you settle in and enjoy what you have and are a ...…
 
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