Content Complete

by Ron Gilbert
Oct 06, 2016

It's been a busy last few weeks.  The stress is really starting to get to me. I don't handle stress well.  I tend to become hyper-focused on the cause of stress, which often makes it worse. There is nothing more or less stressful about finishing Thimbleweed Park than any other game I've done. It always happens.

When it gets to this point, I always say "I'll never do this again", then I do.

On October 15th, we're scheduled to hit "content complete". Every project and company has a different definition for content complete, mine is: every piece of art, animation, sound, music and puzzle is in the game. If not for bugs, you could ship the game.

Content complete is important, because up to that point, you're probably creating more bugs then you're fixing. After content complete, it should be about fixing bugs. The list should always be getting smaller, not bigger.

I also think content complete is an important milestone because it forces you to finish the damn game. I come across so many indie developers that don't know how to finish, they keep adding and changing. Having a firm date you drive towards is important, you won't ever finish without it.

We could work on Thimbleweed Park for two more years. It would make the game different, but probably not better. Just finish your damn game.

October 15th: Content complete. Oh shit, that's 5 days away. We're screwed.

No, we're fine. We always are.

I extracted all the text a few weeks ago and was shocked.

There are over 16,000 recordable lines in the game. That's twice what I expected. It was a "oh shit" moment.

Since then we've gone through the game and found a lot of places where all 5 characters are saying something, but realized that only one of them will ever actually say it. We've also found several places where it's easy (and makes sense from a game/story standpoint) to block a character from a small section of the world. This has also saved a lot of dialog. We were also letting all 5 characters do stuff that is "official binsness" that only the agents should be doing. That has also saved dialog.

It's still going to end up being 50% more dialog than I expected, and that's going to put budget pressure on us, but it should be fine.

In hindsight, I should have realized this. In hindsight, I should have been extracting the dialog on a monthly basis and keeping a better eye on it.  Writing is fun. We used to say "dialog is free", but that's no longer the case.

- Ron

Paul J - Oct 06, 2016 at 12:54
Please don't take this in a weird stalker kinda way (although I am standing outside your house right now ;) ) but I am going to miss this blog post and the podcasts when the game is done and out.

On the plus side, if you do decide to get on the merry go round again, and need some crowd source funds, count me in ;)

Strawberry - Oct 06, 2016 at 13:05
It's been a fantastic ride following your blog, you're nearing the end and you've done a fantastic job.
Someday, I hope to be as good at game dev as you.
Take care of yourself, you'll make it through this last stretch.
Remember, your health is priority. The game is important, but so are you!

Patrik Spacek - Oct 06, 2016 at 13:08
I handle stress same way....not a good thing. :o/   and if you really dont have to, dont add more dialogues, it can become very over-talked / boring game. We have seen several latest adventure games, that had so much dialogues that it made people sleepy a bored. Lets keep it straight and funny.

David Fox - Oct 06, 2016 at 13:13
Ron's not the only one on the team feeling stress... I definitely am as well... and this is the same for all games. The only difference between games is how long the stressful period lasts. Worst one for me was probably all 9 months of dev on the game. This one's MUCH better than that.

Randy "Dirt Farmer" Hofbauer - Oct 06, 2016 at 13:31
All nine months of dev on which game, David? Maybe I misread, but I didn't see the name.

... of your first bat. - Oct 06, 2016 at 13:38
Is in your def of feature complete (for this project) all the data just available or also already setup, so that you can also use it, the way it is?
Are you this strict or don't you also change stuff like polish graphics here, add tiny stuff there whilst hunting down bugs?

For some reason i like crunch phases but i also need the emptiness afterwards when you're in a weird disconnected state to your work and refill yourself with other impressions and stuff.

Anyway, good luck and keep on making sport.

Ron Gilbert - Oct 06, 2016 at 13:44
Everything is in. We'll add nothing new, unless it's directly related to a bug.

Martin Wendt - Oct 06, 2016 at 13:56
Oh.  Wow. I wish you all the energy, health and body fluids you need for the coming days & nights. A bit too long for no-sleep I guess. I hope your wifes and dogs back you up here. Mine did fortunately when I became 'funny' after three nights :-) I am still fixing bugs I carefully inserted in that stage...
Whatever horror awaits you: enjoy! I do envy you

Emmanuel - Oct 06, 2016 at 13:57
What you just wrote about dialog is what makes me suspicious of recording voices. The original Phoenix Wright games had no recorded dialog at an age where recording dialog was common practice and they were amazing. (I think.)

In the future, do you think that you'd weigh the flexibility that unrecorded dialog being "free" offers you over the benefits of good voice acting? Or do you think that you're permanently in the opinion that good voice acting is overall a plus?

It is worth remembering that Sierra and even Origin would record dialog using whoever was hanging around the office in the 90s. (Let's try not remember King's Quest V's Cedric. *shudder*) At that time, LucasArts already had amazing voice acting... But ten years later Phoenix Wright had no voice acting at all...

So are you sure that the age of printed text only is over?

Big Red Button - Oct 06, 2016 at 14:35
I personally don't need voice acting, but, if the voice acting is well done, it's nice.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:24
Did you call me?

Lukas - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:53
Yeah, count me in the 'don't need voice acting' column. I read fast enough that I only ever hear a third of it anyways. It's just distracting.

Julian - Oct 14, 2016 at 03:52
Oh, I never even expected voice recording.

urielz - Oct 06, 2016 at 14:05
16000 lines! That's more than the average book. Even if it gets cut down to 10000. Can't wait to read it all!

Mattias Cedervall - Oct 06, 2016 at 14:08
Ron, were you able to implement dynamic fog that react to the playable character's movement?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:28
Mattias, Ron is *THE CREATOR*. He can do anything.
Even convert straw into gold, if he wanted... (what it was? D-E-D-E  if I remember correctly...)

Sushi - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:36
(Although the codes might be different for every playthrough... mmm...)

Mattias Cedervall - Oct 06, 2016 at 16:24
How wonderful! Praise the lord = Ron! :D

Lee Allan Sanders - Oct 06, 2016 at 14:09
Clown Puke! I love it :-) Hydrate. Soda crackers. Increase the number of espresso drinks prior to 10 am. You shall overcome, and we will be very grateful. :-) Onward!

Big Red Button - Oct 06, 2016 at 14:30
You won't record the book titles or the book contents, do you? You should avoid this.

Ron Gilbert - Oct 06, 2016 at 14:34
No, those are text only.  The player just reads them, the characters don't.

Ema - Oct 07, 2016 at 11:43
And if the character deos read them, he doesn't read loudly. Nobody does it.

Brian Small - Oct 06, 2016 at 14:34
Hmm..  I'm sensing a general theme in the visual elements of this post. I'm not sure how to describe it, perhaps "nauseated'?   :)

I'm impressed and inspired by your rigor in herding the many cats that is this game, and finding a way to finish it, Ron.  Your experience shines through at times like this, and I am (and I am sure we are all) very appreciative of the hard work of you and the rest of TWP team  And on top of all that, you continue to do interesting and engaging blog posts and podcasts.  Thank you so much for connecting with your supporters so well during this whole process.

I imaging the whole TWP development team as running a marathon, and you are at around mile 21, hitting the infamous "wall".  All of us supporters are standing at the sidelines, cheering you on, and we'll be waiting for you at the finish line, with high fives and cold beverages of your choice.  :)

Itamar Shefi - Oct 06, 2016 at 14:52

I wonder what such blog post would look like in 1990, before monkey island

Guga - Oct 07, 2016 at 02:07
I don't know if I already asked you, but... are we related to each other?

Geoffrey Paulsen - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:02
Is your auto-bot still finding any bugs?  or is that just crazy-talk at this phase?

PigeonBoy - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:09
I'm really too sad to have missed the KS campaign and the collector boxed version :,(

Daniel Wolf - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:14
Ron, you wrote "We'll add nothing new, unless it's directly related to a bug." I do hope that applies to *content* only. I'm still very much looking forward to your trying out Rhubarb Lip-Sync.

By the way, the demo video is only 48 seconds:

longuist - Oct 06, 2016 at 16:29
I too hope the bug is that not all dialog is recorded yet and therefore integrating was low priority. This feature would be cool (even better than dynamic fog :)

Big Red Button - Oct 06, 2016 at 16:51
I don't know, but if it doesn't get implemented until the release due to a lack of time, maybe they will try it afterwards and patch it.

Marco Lizza - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:18
When subject to development pressure I begin to dream about it. Which is not funny at all. I end up working "in my mind" on an aspect of the game/project only to wake up and find out that all the dreamy fatigue was worthless. Darn!

Sushi - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:26
So in 6 days (or 9 calendar days), all art, icons,... are FINAL? Does that mean that Gary, Mark and Octavi are done? I assume Gary might have some things left to do for the rewards etc. But Mark and Octavi - and especially Mark- will have some time on their hands to write a long overdue blog post we were promised -cough Mark! cough-

Ron Gilbert - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:28
Mark has been done for a few weeks.  Octavi will be done, unless bugs require changes. Gary will be on call until the end for little fixes as needed.

Sushi - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:31
Or does it mean all art and animations are "shippable", but they'll keep polishing until a later freeze milestone?

Ron Gilbert - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:34
We're done polishing. We might tweak stuff if it's related to a bug or a playtesting issue. We need to move people off the project. If money was free, we could keep everyone around, but it's not.

Sushi - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:47
Wow,  impressive how fast that polishing went. I am going to miss Gary saying he did more of the same and is sounding like broken record.

"I am going to miss Gary", now that's a line you could totally misread. Ha ha. But I meant the verb 'miss', not the noun :)

Brian Small - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:58
I'm guessing you also aren't referring to shooting a projectile in his general direction.

Jammet - Oct 06, 2016 at 21:54
I hope this doesn't mean they're completely out of a job now. Everybody should be free to take a break and go on a vacation, but just what exactly is the ideal time to work on something new and different?

You don't crank out games like this like it's a toy factory I suppose. In any case, if you do crowdfunding again, count me in. If you don't do any crowdfunding for ... those ideas that most certainly keep getting washed up ashore sketchbook island, while working on something that has no room for new ideas any longer - I hope you don't keep it all a secret for too long. <3

Derrick Reisdorf - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:27
So what's next?

I hope you keep chugging along with the blog long after content lock.

Perhaps we can get some insight on (maybe a few more videos):
Music composition and sound design (we hadn't seen too much on this so far),
debugging.  Maybe with some code.  Or pseudocode?  I miss code.
the voice recording sessions,
curating/reviewing/importing all the crowd-sourced content,
additional marketing/advertising/promotions (how do you find opportunities and make the deals?),
advertising/marketing art (U.S. and international?),
porting the game (wooing investors, hiring devs to do the port),
going "gold"-physical production and distribution (physical and digital),
the design of the physical copy- art/box design, manufacturing/production, ideas and design/production of the "feelie".  If you want to keep the "feelie" a surprise- if you think it's exceptionally cool- that'd be fine by me.
Oh.  And also, afterwards, a retrospective.

How's that stress?  ;)

You know...Why does "crunch time" even exist?  Why is it that it's always a given that programmers/devs will have to put in a ridiculous amount of hours during the last stage/stages of development?  Why don't we just allot more time to finish up the game?  Or enforce slightly shorter/stricter deadlines of earlier milestones?  One of the things that kept me from pursuing a career in game development was the idea of crunch time being a standard.

Derrick Reisdorf - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:36
Here's an article about crunch time- not so much why it's a standard- but moreso about the issue of uncompensated (and usually mandatory) crunch time hours.

DZ-Jay - Oct 07, 2016 at 05:58
Why don't we just allot more time to finish up the game?

People do.  They actually honest-to-goodness do.  It just never works out that way.

As I've heard said before, development effort is like a noble gas:  it will expand to fill all the space and contours of its temporal container.  For some reason this was true back when Fredricks Brooks managed development work for IBM mainframes back in the 1960s, it was true at the turn of the Century when Microsoft was pushing for the next version of Windows after XP, and it is true today when Ron Gilbert is wrapping up building a brand new 1980s style classic adventure game.

The weird thing about software development projects, the thing about writing software code, is that it's equal parts widget-building, abstract art form, arcane wizardry, and mathematical purity.  It's unique in the pantheon of human endeavors in that it is very close to actual thought and pure creation, but requires an insane amount of effort and discipline to shape it into a usable form.  It's during that transformation from pure thought to physical expression that it changes from universal mathematical truth to mundane human craft work -- and it is there where the bugs creep in.

In almost 60 years of the industry, we haven't figured out a way how to make it work effectively.  We've tried everything and each methodology seems to be The One That Works... until it doesn't; and then we're back to the drawing board.

It seems like programming should be formulaic and predictable like engineering, that it should be measurable and quantifiable like mathematics, and yet it keeps proving itself closer to the whims of a temperamental artisan.

I wonder if this is how we discovered other mechanical, industrial, and creative arts, such as masonry and engineering?  Perhaps the trade is too young.  Perhaps in one hundred years we'll crack this nut and learn how to plan software development properly.  Or perhaps robots will do it for us and we won't care any more.

Anyway, I'll let Messrs. Fredrick Brooks and Donald Knuth describe it with my favourite thoughts on programming:

" programming is an art, because it applies accumulated knowledge to the world, because it requires skill and ingenuity, and especially because it produces objects of beauty."  - D. Knuth

"The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff.  He builds castles in the air, from air, creating by
exertion of the imagination...  Few media of creation are so flexible, so easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand conceptual structures... Yet the program construct, unlike the poet's words, is real in the sense that it moves and works, producing visible outputs separate from the construct itself. […] The magic of myth and legend has come true in our time.  One types the correct incantation on a keyboard, and a display screen comes to life, showing things that never were nor could be. "  - F. Brooks

And more to the point of this post, as Mr. Brooks stated in his book The Mythical Man-Month, which was impressively prescient almost 50 years ago:

"How does a project get to be a year late? … One day at a time."  - F. Brooks.

Just like the art and craft of engineering applies equally to the shaping of a screwdriver as it does to the majesty of a bridge; those thoughts apply the same to a vast operating system project or a lowly video game.


Arto - Oct 07, 2016 at 13:38
Good writing, thanks.
I'm often asked "You are an artist, why do you do programming?". I usually reply "Because I'm an artist." For some reason programming is not recognised as creative work, which couldn't (usually) be further from the truth.

Derrick Reisdorf - Oct 11, 2016 at 11:24
Great post.  Thanks!

You wouldn't happen to have any recommended reading for me- about development, project planning, crunch time, or the history thereof?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 06, 2016 at 15:32
I feel this blog won't finish here. Absolutely not, I feel it will go further beyond the release date, for months.
We players have to excange our impressions, feeelings, critics... isn't it?

Mario Faroß. - Oct 06, 2016 at 16:14
...and give hints....

Mattias Cedervall - Oct 06, 2016 at 16:26
I agree. You're a nice guy and one of those I would like to keep in touch with after the game's been released.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 07, 2016 at 03:11
Oh, thank you!
I wish to get in touch with nice people met on this blog, too.

Big Red Button - Oct 06, 2016 at 18:11
Moreover, I'm curious about the team's future plans, both on this game and on their next game.
And, seeing the kickstarter campaign and this blog, I would say that this is already more than just a game.

Someone - Oct 06, 2016 at 19:49
The future plans are easy to guess. :-) After the game is done, I bet they will go on a vacation. And they will patch bugs. And port the game to Android/iPhone. And port the game to Playstation or whatever they can afford. So I guess they have enough work with Thimbleweed Park after they finished Thimbleweed Park. ;)

Jammet - Oct 06, 2016 at 21:57
I think what he meant was that he's interested in whatever might be going into pre-production next, if it isn't already.

Big Red Button - Oct 07, 2016 at 03:39
I meant both. Of course, their next project will be very interesting, but also the patches for TWP (if they are not only bugfixes) and maybe future releases of TWP on other platforms.

It would also be very nice if they run a blog for their next game, too. Since it would probably be no crowd-funded game, they would not need to inform us as frequently as they have done on this blog, of course, so they could write blog entries only whenever they wanted. For example, when it comes to needing hundreds of book titles. Or, when they would like to get some feedback or inspiration.

Someone - Oct 07, 2016 at 10:16
Yes. :) But I don't think that the Thimbleweed Park Team will even think about a new project within the next year (from now on).

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 07, 2016 at 10:29
Possible spin-offs:
- Ransome and the elevator with no walls
- The door on the vista
- Bookstore Construction Kit (with auto-roof adjustment feature)

Ema - Oct 07, 2016 at 11:48
Will there be dynamic fog in one of the new titles?

Ooops, I couldn't help it ! ;-)

Big Red Button - Oct 07, 2016 at 17:47
Correct. The fog will run through 50 shades of gray.


Arto - Oct 07, 2016 at 16:32
Oh man, if there will be Door on The Vista game, I want to be an artist on that. If there will be a Bookstore Construction Kit, I want to be a conceptual artist. I have experience.

Carlo Valenti - Oct 06, 2016 at 16:35
David, Ron, Gary: can we still be far-friends? I mean: I'm gonna miss your voices. I'm gonna miss sending you jokes for friday questions.
I feel like those times I clicked the last click in one of your adventure games, went through the end sequence, and then stayed mute, staring at the screen for half an hour on the last line of the credits.
Rats. This time I still have to play the game.

longuist - Oct 06, 2016 at 17:03
OT: Fortunately i found no pixelated dead body...

Big Red Button - Oct 06, 2016 at 18:17
Did you see some pigeons?

longuist - Oct 06, 2016 at 22:34
yes, but normal sized.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 07, 2016 at 03:12
Wow! Where is located?

longuist - Oct 07, 2016 at 07:26
Fort Bragg, CA
Pudding Creek Trestle

Gffp - Oct 06, 2016 at 17:08
I hate stress too. For what counts my single opinion, feel extremely free to put your health first. From a certain point, more or less one year ago, Ron with the help of David in the comments has put all the effort of communicate the  development on his shoulders. I never read such a communicative blog before. This is probably beyond every commitment a development blog needs. So thank you Ron for your congeniality and friendliness.

Peter Campbell - Oct 06, 2016 at 17:39
As bad as the stress of trying to finish up a game must be, I must imagine that the stress from the suspense of waiting for reviews and sales numbers to come in must be even worse.  Opening up your web browser and looking at Steam/GOG/Humble Bumble sales data and the Metacritic score must be a terrifying experience where you want to know but you don't want to look lol.

Ivan Braidi - Oct 06, 2016 at 20:13
Ron, you need a ton of antiemetics! XD

I can't wait for TP™!!

Jammet - Oct 06, 2016 at 21:46
Since the entire world has basically become to expect full voice work on all and every single game, ever line of dialog and every single word uttered, dialog ceased to be free, I guess.

That's kind of a bit of a bummer. Honestly, I can easily go back to play adventure games of old which had no audio dialogs, just the text to read. Classic Monkey Island -- quite honestly? The voice work in the remastered version doesn't add quite as much to it as I thought it would. And that's strange.

Guga - Oct 07, 2016 at 02:13
Where I work, we'll lock the source code in three days. We should have been feature complete THREE MONTHS AGO, we had to postpone the release date.

Everyone is freaking out. Fortunately our team isn't, we were feature complete two months ago and we just spent these months fixing bugs. It's quite boring now, since we can't do anything, but it was extremely satisfying when we began fixing the big bugs, and then the medium bugs, and then we had time to fix some of those "yeah right I'll fix it next century" bugs.

Now I want a raise.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 07, 2016 at 03:16
Where I work, we develop buggy programs, every employee can change code, we have a 4-pass testing phase but, in the end, the final users are our neverending beta-testers.

DZ-Jay - Oct 07, 2016 at 06:51
You probably have the same problem we had:  the super-duper ultra-long-and-expensive QA testing phase is based on requirements provided by the developers.  The problem is that, instead of testing to ensure the application fulfills the *business* requirements, you are testing whether the outcome is what the *developer* coded.  So, if the developer misinterpreted the requirements, the output will be wrong, but the test will always succeed in verifying that the wrong output is precisely what the developer intended.

To solve this, change your QA testing focus from testing the application as written, to testing the expected behaviour from the user perspective.  That is, put the BA or FA in charge, not the Lead Engineer.  This puts the QA team in opposite to the development team, and will surely antagonise them, but it's the only way.


Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 07, 2016 at 07:32
Thank you for your suggestions, unfortunately it's easier to write than to do it!

Nor Treblig - Oct 07, 2016 at 09:36
Just hire people who are very good in negotiating software maintenance contracts. There is no problem anymore, just profit.

DZ-Jay - Oct 07, 2016 at 19:11
I know it is not easy.  It requires discipline, management support, and executive will.  However, it is possible, and I've seen it done.

Like I said, as long as you continue testing the application "as developed," rather than "as defined by requirements," your tests will mostly succeed, but the application will not fulfill the user's needs.


Mario F. - Oct 07, 2016 at 04:22
i am sure, that the progress of building and creating this new game engine will result in doing other games. otherwise it would be a waste of it, only be used for TP.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 07, 2016 at 05:41
Who knows, maybe they will release a Thimbleweed Engine Creator™, where users could write their own adventure games, creating rooms, backgrounds, sprites, characters, interfaces, events, variables, animations, special effects, dialogs...

Thimbleweedster - Oct 07, 2016 at 06:12
Ron, it will be fine. You guys will sell fuquetonnes of extra copies and earn a fortune. You may stop crying into your pillow now. ;-) . Looking forward to the game!

DZ-Jay - Oct 07, 2016 at 06:55
Dear Mr. Gilbert & Co.

Thank you for all the effort you have put into this project, and particularly, in making the process itself as transparent and engaging to your fans and followers as possible.  I know it has been a lot of hard work to do both, the core development work and the sharing and blogging, and I hope it has been worth it to you and your team as I'm sure it has been to all of us.

I look forward to the finished product and wish you a successful launch and a well-deserved restful holiday.

      My best and warmest regards,

Katie Parsons - Oct 07, 2016 at 09:16
Wow, I can't believe it's nearly finished. I've really been in awe watching the progress of this game and learning about all the intricacies.

It's only just hit me that this will have an end, and I'm a little sad! The abundance of pukey gifs is helping though. I might have to make a tiled desktop background of them. Is that weird? I think it's weird.

Arto - Oct 07, 2016 at 13:42
It might be a bit weird.

Jammet - Oct 09, 2016 at 21:43
In a good way.

Nathan - Oct 07, 2016 at 09:55
This sounds like something to celebrate. Odd that it is so quickly followed by stress. Congratulations?

Salty ride - Oct 07, 2016 at 13:29
Im really happy to read that theres gonna be a lot of dialog. I played monkey island a thousand times just because i liked to speak to every character, choose every possible line of dialog and laugh every time about everything.

Dialogue enrichens the game world, makes it more real, more immersive, and characters define their personality.

Thanks for coming to argentina. It was incredible. You changed my life when i was a kid.

Arto - Oct 07, 2016 at 13:48
"There are over 16,000 recordable lines in the game. That's twice what I expected."

If I remember correctly, year and a half ago you were pondering if the game should have dialog at all...

Peter Campbell - Oct 08, 2016 at 01:08
The game was always going to have dialog, it was dialog trees that Ron wasn't sure if he wanted to have in the game or not.

Jammet - Oct 09, 2016 at 21:47
That reminds me -- I will play the german version first, if I can, and I hope there is an option to disable all the english voices entirely, because it's always been a jarring experience to play a game where you read one language and hear the other.

Hans Kruger - Oct 07, 2016 at 17:27
Lots of dialog! Boris will be busy!

Nor Treblig - Oct 08, 2016 at 05:26
On 15th it will be content and feature complete?
This means you can finally concentrate on the configuration system for enabling and disabling features! Finally!

Ema - Oct 08, 2016 at 05:51
Dynamic Fog... OFF
Door on the Vista ..... OPEN
Rainbow puke.... OFF
Light temperature in Edmund Hotel lamps... WARM
opening direction of the doors of the radio station.... OUTSIDE
plumage thickness of the pigeons.... MEDIUM
self-updating sign delay... FAST
Pixelating decay.... SLOW
Ransome's balloon content .... HELIUM
Enable options toggling .... OFF


Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 08, 2016 at 09:16
Pixel Purity Mode... BOGDAN BARBU
Music style... POP
Music substyle... POP-ROCK
Preferred scratching body part for idle character animation... NOSE
Characters ears size... MEDIUM
Allow in-game pets... NO
Achievements animation... CROSS-FADE
Title Cards... ON
Year of the Game... 1987
Preferred Attorney for Franky's Trial... PHOENIX WRIGHT
Preferred Pizza for Pizza Man... MARGHERITA
Pizza to avoid for Pizza Man... PINEAPPLE
Mic... ON
Voice command for 'Pick Up'... OBJECTION!

... sorry, I'm playing a different game, during these day! :-D

Ema - Oct 08, 2016 at 10:55
SoundCard emulation... PC SPEAKER
Simulation of color aberration due to unshielded loudspeakers...GREEN/PURPLE

Nor Treblig - Oct 09, 2016 at 06:22
Those are great suggestions! I'm sure Ron is taking notes.

Mario F. - Oct 08, 2016 at 13:11
this will go further and Terrible Toybox will invent the next level of PnC Games, called SnD Games: "Say and Do". with Microphone Commands "Open Door" , "Pull Corpse" or "Use Gas with Chainsaw"

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 09, 2016 at 04:04
Correct. But Internet connection required.

Nor Treblig - Oct 09, 2016 at 06:25
Of course! You will need the power of the cloud to process all those complex voice commands.

Ema - Oct 08, 2016 at 05:58
That Ransome's slow puke is so deliberately unnatural that it would be even more creepy if he puked with is eyes wide open.
Or with no sign of suffering, just an evil grin....

ne0n - Oct 08, 2016 at 10:34
Woa, that´s a lot of puking in this post. I can imagine the stress level. Though, I am stoked and happy to see the game is on the finishing line. Really cannot wait to play and experience the game.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 08, 2016 at 12:32
In the next podcast, I wonder if Ron will say "...and what we are going to do NEXT WEEK" again...

PigeonBoy - Oct 08, 2016 at 17:13
There's a chance to have a physical version after the game's release ??

Big Red Button - Oct 09, 2016 at 06:19
This was also one of my friday questions, but they didn't reply on it. Maybe they aren't sure yet. Of course, they have to do more important things, until all releases and ports of TWP are 'shipped'. That will be half the battle.

Nor Treblig - Oct 09, 2016 at 06:25
They have to do a physical release for backers anyway. So maybe at that point they will figure a normal physical release out too, or decide against it.

Dieter - Oct 09, 2016 at 06:47
I for myself would like to see that the "big box" (the TWP-team used the term "collectors box") remains backer exclusive. I don't mind if they release a "normal" (DVD-)box version. But the backers made TWP possible with their money, so they should get something exclusive/special.

Nor Treblig - Oct 09, 2016 at 07:13
I don't think the big box is something they would sell normally anyway. But e.g. if they team up with some distribution partner for the backer releases they could use them to sell normal boxes too.

Big Red Button - Oct 09, 2016 at 09:44
I agree with you. And, I'm convinced that the team will see to it that the collector's box will be an actual collectible.

Well, I assume that they wouldn't even like to release a 'mainstream' physical copy, because online stores are a much easier way to offer the game (and more profitable, even though the tax for the online stores is pretty expensive). Moreover, Ron must have become tired of signing MM and MI boxes for fans.

Dieter - Oct 09, 2016 at 10:28
"Well, I assume that they wouldn't even like to release a 'mainstream' physical copy, because online stores are a much easier way to offer the game (and more profitable, even though the tax for the online stores is pretty expensive)."

Yes and no. In germany there are serveral publishers who are still selling indie-games in a box (in most cases a DVD box). Speaking of adventures, i.e. Daedalic is selling their games in a box. Another example is Nelly Cootalot, another Indie-Kickstarter adventure: Application System Heidelberg did the german voice recordings and is still selling a "Collector's Edition-Box". Just have a look at Amazon to see more examples.

At least in germany there is a demand for such boxes. So the TWP team could find easily a partner in germany that is doing the german voice recordings and producing a box (without any financial risk for the TWP team). :)

But, as I said, I would prefer the "TWP collectors box" to be backer exclusive.

Nor Treblig - Oct 09, 2016 at 20:28
Oh, I backed Nelly on a digital-only level back then but I've bought the physical edition only some days ago!

I remember Broken Sword 5 being distributed by Deep Silver, which is also a German company.

Jammet - Oct 09, 2016 at 21:53
I absolutely want to buy the best kind of box that I can get for money, post backing, because I really aren't that rich that I can spend this much on backing, so it'd be enough for the box. Would've loved the box.

Also, I never saw the point in making things unavailable or too exclusive. This should be limited to the amount of people who're willing to spend good money on it.

We need more boxes on our game shelves, people! <3 I want this to stand right next to Monkey Island.

Dieter - Oct 10, 2016 at 06:24
Well, the backers made the game possible. Without the backers you and others won't even have the opportunity to buy the game digital. So I think it's only fair if the backers get something special. Without Kickstarter a publisher gives the money and gets the whole revenues. In this case the backers gave the money and get - nothing. Up to  this point there was only the phonebook. The swear glas was an extra 25 Dollar upgrade and the shirts can still be bought by everyone.

Don't get me wrong: It's Ok for me if others can buy a box. But the box for the backers should be something special. It could be much bigger or include a little/small "feelie". .) I think of a pin or badge with the words "Ask me about TWP" or a detective notebook or something like this (these things are cheap to produce but they say "thanks" to all backers). I think the guys from The Book Of Unwritten Tals 2 did that right: Backers got a very nice big-box and some other exclusive things. :)

Big Red Button - Oct 10, 2016 at 15:06
Seeing that Ron always emphasized that backing doesn't mean buying, there is still room for a 'stock box' .

But, in my opinion they should wait with the release of a 'stock box', so that they would first sell the game digitally only, and later, on a second beat, physically in a non-backers box.
This may be not very consumer-friendly, because many people would feel forced to buy the game twice, but all of us would like to see more Terrible Toybox games, which of course cannot be developed or promoted for free.

Ron Gilbert - Oct 10, 2016 at 15:10
The boxed version will be available for everyone to buy, but it won't include a feelie or some other KS extra. It won't be for sale for several months after the KS box is shipped.

Nor Treblig - Oct 10, 2016 at 17:14
@Dieter: Note that the Backer-T-Shirt will be a different one than those currently available at Fangamer.

Dieter - Oct 10, 2016 at 18:09
@Ron: That's exactly what I voted for. :) Great to hear!

@Nor: Ah, you are right. I forgot the shirt.

@Big Red Button: I backed the game to support the production, the game and this really, really, really great blog. So I won't cry if the box with the whole content wouldn't be backer exclusive. But Ron clarified it already. :)

Big Red Button - Oct 11, 2016 at 05:24
@ Ron: Sounds absolutely fair. :)

Even though, I dislike Christmas trade, I actually think that such a box would be a nice Christmas present. Therefore, even though the game won't be released until next Christmas, you could nevertheless release the box in late November 2017.

By the way, if you own a digital copy, you can even keep the box unopened... provided that you are able to resist.

Dieter - Oct 10, 2016 at 06:30
The Nelly backers found additional/exclusive things in their box. :-) So the box that is now sold is not identical with the ones for the backers.

The Broken Sword 5 big box was (or is?) available in germany in several retail stores. Here in my city you could still buy BS5 in a DVD box. And the Revolution anthology. :-)

Nor Treblig - Oct 10, 2016 at 17:18
I guess it's my fault for not pledging for the physical version back then (which I often do, but I've never heard of him before at this point of time). I now know better :-)

Bogdan Barbu - Oct 10, 2016 at 04:32
I know they said something about a box in the Kickstarter but I believe they mentioned on this blog that the box would only contain the manual some and other goodies---not the actual game. Frankly, it doesn't really make sense to distribute games on removable media because (a) it's more expensive for everyone, (b) that copy gets out of date pretty much immediately, and (c) you need a different copy for each platform.

Dieter - Oct 10, 2016 at 06:37
(a) Yes. But they are still sold (at least in germany). :) Like vinyl records. They are collectors items.

(b) We got the internet. You could easly download a patch.

(c) No, you don't need a different copy for each platform. You can ship the Windows, Mac and Linux versions on one DVD. That was even common back in the 90s. Even in the 80s there were floppy discs with a Atari and C64 versions on one disc (or cassette :)).

Zombocast - Oct 09, 2016 at 00:26
Ideas for future Blog Posts
1. Official content count(Oct-15)    Music clips 90, Rooms 120, Dialog lines 1600, books 926, Voice mails 1100
2. Interview with Steve Kirk(TWP's music composer)
3. Budget #2
4. Meet the voice actors (Ray/Rayes/Delores/Delores/Ransome)

Here's Rons timeline

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 09, 2016 at 03:57
Oh, right!
It's translation time, now!

Nor Treblig - Oct 09, 2016 at 06:27
Can the engine handle more than 100 rooms? In Classic Mode it should at least ask for the next disk before proceeding beyond room 99!

Also there was never meant to be a Budget #2, after Budget (#1) comes No-Budget (#1).

Big Red Button - Oct 10, 2016 at 15:42
If I remember correctly, there was such a joke in MI 1, which caused thousands of phone calls at Lucasfilm by desperate people who missed their seemingly missing floppies. So, I'm not sure if this joke would be wise.

Nor Treblig - Oct 10, 2016 at 17:11
Yes, the famous tree stump joke:
But it's a non-issue since the invention of the Internet (and its broad availability).

Nor Treblig - Oct 10, 2016 at 17:25
Btw. that easter egg with the crack is very easy to discover, but did you guys know this quite similar one:
It's the first time I've seen it!

Arto - Oct 10, 2016 at 17:36
People got those extra disks, if they bought MI2. The catacombs were there.
(yes, yes, I know about the MI3 joke, but that's not in canon)

Carlo Valenti - Oct 09, 2016 at 15:25
Playin' Monkey 1:
- can anyone explain me the END-TIP-POINT insult+answer?
- why is the Sword Master doing circles on herself out of her house?
Thank you!

Ron Gilbert - Oct 09, 2016 at 15:49
why is the Sword Master doing circles on herself out of her house?

Because it looked dumb is she was just standing there and we didn't have enough to time to do an animation.

Jammet - Oct 09, 2016 at 21:40
Gotta say, the sword master rotating like that in front of her house doesn't look dumb, it looks frickin' hilarious! XD

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 10, 2016 at 07:11
She was dancing on "The Sword" by Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, of course!

If you don't know what song it is, you can take a look here:

Soren Ladegaard - Oct 11, 2016 at 06:21
That's funny.

I started playing The Secret Of Monkey Island again two weeks ago on my trusty old Amiga 500. I kept looking at the Sword Master and wondered why she kept doing circles :-)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 09, 2016 at 16:13
Carlo, I think you are referring to this one, in english:
- "This is the END for you, you gutter crawling cur!"
- "And I've got a little TIP for you, get the POINT?"
That is, in italian:
- "Questa è la FINE per te, topo di fogna!"
- "Ed anch'io ho una piccola PUNTA per te. Capito?"

TIP = the end of the sword (or since the sword is a sharp object... its very end is a point).
In italian, as you can see, it's translated quite well.

Carlo Valenti - Oct 09, 2016 at 16:22
And thanx to you!

blombo - Oct 10, 2016 at 12:11
If that's been translated "quite well" then I am Mickey Mouse.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 11, 2016 at 09:05
Nice to meet you, I’m selling these fine leather jackets...

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Oct 10, 2016 at 04:27
Just curiosity (#3 from me), for every person in TWP team:
- During the various playtest sessions, did you meet young people playing Thimbleweed Park? I mean, people born after the year 2000, who probably have never played a D.O.C. (=italian acronym for very high quality products) adventure game before. If yes, what feeling did you have? I am curious because children and tweens I know of that age, seem too used to games where the brain usage is small. Or, in other words, where it is not required to think, use logic, elaborate.

Christopher Griffin - Oct 11, 2016 at 10:40
Thimbleweed Park has been my favorite Kickstarter to date, and I've backed several other successful ones.  I feel a certain camaraderie with the other backers, because I feel like we all "know" each other by our avatars and screen names.  In many ways this feels like a tight-knit circle of friends that is about to disband, and for this reason I am overcome with sadness.

I'm pretty sure I speak for quite a few others, when I say we're older adventure gamers, and we've been living our adult lives like most others -- seeking those nuggets of joy in between life's ups and downs.  For me, this blog has been a steady stream of joyous nuggets, where I vicariously live the life of a game developer, instead of a programmer analyst at a corporate entity.  While the TP team was working on this project, and while we all anticipate its final release, we've all been thrilled just to have a ticket to ride.  Your work has directly translated to joy, and I can say this because I'm happy as a clam, and the game hasn't even been released.

Ron, Gary, David, Octavi, Mark, and Jenn (and anyone else I may have missed) all have made us feel welcome and a part of the project.  The input you asked for was a joy to provide and really helped made us feel like we were a part of something bigger.

Thanks to everyone!

Iconoclast - Oct 13, 2016 at 09:25
In light of today's news that Cuphead is being pushed (again) to 2017. I find this post amusing.

criskywalker - Oct 13, 2016 at 15:46
I love the vomiting gifs!

Helge Frisenette - Oct 14, 2016 at 03:44
I always find it weird when you talk about dialog being a big thing. Sure it is one of most important things in the game, and needs polish and taken, but it never seems as if it's more than a few pages of standard spacing in the old games. Could be mistaken of course. The programming and art by comparison seems much more like a time sink.

Nor Treblig - Oct 14, 2016 at 06:27
Dialog itself doesn't cost much. Every coder/scripter working on the game can easily add some lines.
But if you gonna record voices then this dialog costs more money. And twice as much dialog costs twice as much money to record.

Jorge - Oct 29, 2016 at 10:02
Why not release the game text-only, and then (if you must) add recorded speech in a later version?

That's what they used to do back in the 90s.

Fans get it faster!

Ron Gilbert - Oct 29, 2016 at 10:09
Because it wouldn't sell.  That is the reality of the market today. If the game is going to go beyond the hardcore market, it must have full voice.  We want to introduce good point-and-click adventures to people who haven't played the, or maybe only heard about them. To do that, you need voice.

Nor Treblig - Oct 29, 2016 at 10:31
This was a thing back then? Since I don't think you are talking about MI Special Editions (which are technically later versions), what games did you have in mind?

Ema - Jan 08, 2017 at 16:51
I remember back then I played -as it were a demo- a pirated copy of DOTT on floppy disk, while waiting for the publication of the CD version.
In a couple of weeks I menaged to substitute it with an original CD version.
The CD version had full spoken dialogues with italian subtitles, while the floppy version didn't. It had speech only in the intro.
It was with english voice and italian text.

I did the same with S&M, the difference was that the floppy version had english dialogues in the intro only, while the CD versione featured full italian voice for the whole game.

Nor Treblig - Jan 08, 2017 at 18:27
Yes, I remember the floppy version of DOTT having voices in the intro. But this suggests that the whole voices were already done at this point of time.
The CD-ROM version being delayed could have other reasons (maybe pressing the CDs for the non-English market just took some more time).
Wikipedia claims "concurrently released on CD-ROM and floppy disk", but I didn't find specific dates.

I didn't know there was a floppy version of Sam&Max. That must have been 8 disks or so!

Ema - Jan 09, 2017 at 17:32
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you're right, and  I had got just a demo of S&M before purchasing the CD.

Nor Treblig - Jan 09, 2017 at 20:25
It's easier today with online/digital distribution: You now know the exact day of releases!

Ron Gilbert - Oct 29, 2016 at 10:10
Good translation are also expensive.