Day 1

by Ron Gilbert
Jan 02, 2015

First official day of Thimbleweed Park. Desk is clean. Not sure how long that will last. My guess is until 3:28pm.

Most of today will be spent getting getting tools organized and updating design docs. Gary and I have a lot of notes that I'm going to move into Puzzle Dependency Charts. They will start as a bunch of unconnected fragments, and over the next few months will all get linked together in the final design.

- Ron

Peter Andersson - Jan 02, 2015 at 12:01
I'm hoping that we get an updated pic(with time-stamp) when the desk is deemed unclean.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jan 02, 2015 at 12:06
Yes, 3.28 PM, PST timezone I suppose

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jan 02, 2015 at 12:04
OK! Let's go rescue Sand... ehm...
OK! Let's go!

Bastionride - Jan 02, 2015 at 12:05
Can you tell anything about what are these 'tools' of yours?

Malte - Jan 02, 2015 at 12:08
I hope, you'll have a successful year 2015. Best wishes.
I support the update pic with time-stamp.

LichiMan - Jan 02, 2015 at 12:55
So you post "getting getting" meanwhile you tweet "with with". Mmmm... interesting.

Ron Gilbert - Jan 02, 2015 at 12:56
What's your point point?

LichiMan - Jan 02, 2015 at 13:11
When you write about Thimbleweed Park, you do it as Gary and you. That's why why.

Seba - Jan 02, 2015 at 22:38
That's ridiculous diculous.

Christopher Griffin - Jan 02, 2015 at 12:58
Note to self: Turn iMac on. "iMac, I command you to wake from your slumber!"

manoflowmoralfiber - Jan 03, 2015 at 04:11
Maybe it is on, but the background image is really really dark?

JP - Jan 02, 2015 at 12:59
I would like to change my desktop backgound.
Could you share some Thimbleweed Park amazing wallpapers?
1920x1200 if possible


Scruffy - Jan 02, 2015 at 13:07
1/10 would have expected a flesh eating plant.

FETT - Jan 02, 2015 at 13:08
Hi Ron,
are you lefthanded?
I hope you have a lot of fun at you're work!
Regards from South Germany and blessed new year.

Brocc - Jan 02, 2015 at 13:16
Good luck and godspeed!

schluesi - Jan 02, 2015 at 13:17
Use cardboard with Smartphone.

StrayGator - Jan 02, 2015 at 13:27
Tell me about your fine curtains.

Ron Gilbert - Jan 02, 2015 at 13:33

Mattias Cedervall - Jan 06, 2015 at 09:22
Hello, Ron-san! ^_^

Unfortunately I missed your Kickstarter campaign! :-( But I'm
not bitter (unless it's a full moon). I'm glad you like(?) IKEA.
I'm also from Sweden and I would gladly translate your
game's text into IKEA, I mean, Swedish for free! ;-) I'm
actually even better than Tiger Woods is at Swedish. Maniac
Mansion for NES was translated into Swedish and that's how
I played it. Why not keep that 100 year old tradition going?
Warning: I wouldn't understand the jokes, but I could still
translate to English or binary!

I never pirated Maniac Mansion or The Secret of Monkey Island.
Day of the Tentacle on the other hand/tentacle couldn't be
found in any store... :-(

I bought MM for NES and TSOMI 1&2 for PC (the collection with
new graphics). I liked MM for NES because I thought it was cool
that the big house would fit on a NES cart and that I could walk
around in it and do lots of stuff. It was very difficult and I
wouldn't have made it without the severals calls I made to the
Nintendo hotline (I called Edna first, but the babe didn't answer).
I also lived in a house and of course I thought the game was
based on my house. :P I hope we will see characters from MM
in Thimbleweed Park! I can imagine one character being into
ridiculous Thimbleweed Parkour...

I bought Thimbleweed Park today! Thank you for making the game!
You will receive the Nobel Prize in gaming/humor/catfood!

I hope you read my message while in the bathroom so I didn't
take up too much of your time and concentration, but your
games have taken up much of my time so I guess we're even.

Second best regards, Mattias (maleman guydude)

Janosch - Jan 02, 2015 at 13:36
Hey Ron,

happy new year! Will you be using Xcode for the development?

Thx =)

Ron Gilbert - Jan 02, 2015 at 13:52
Yes, I'll use Xcode for the engine. Not sure yet what the best IDE is for the scripting language. Still figuring all that out.

Kim Jørgensen - Jan 02, 2015 at 13:47
Hi Ron,
Based on the picture I guess that you be working from home. Will Gary and you (and others) be collocated at some point?

Ron Gilbert - Jan 02, 2015 at 13:51
Gary has a small one room office that's he's worked out of for years and I'll be working from home. We live about 120 miles apart, so we'll only get to meet face-to-face once every few weeks. Office space is expensive, so that's one area we're saving money.

David - Jan 02, 2015 at 14:01
I noticed you watched handmade hero, will you be using any of the techniques from handmade hero when creating the engine? i.e. Platform layer, Audio sync, live code editing

Aaron Carroll - Jan 02, 2015 at 14:11
Who is that lurking behind the curtain on the left?

ghostinthesoft - Jan 02, 2015 at 14:22
be careful, there is some bugs on your curtain

Winslow - Jan 02, 2015 at 14:57
How exciting! I can't wait to see the progress and help out in any way possible~

Jim - Jan 02, 2015 at 14:59
Hi, Ron - huge fan and proud backer of your latest project. I'm also a programmer who has always dreamed of making a game like your classic works. I'm really looking forward to your development blog and reading about the tools and processes you use to take a game like this from concept to reality. Do you have any recommendations on good resources for the novice game designer? I'm inclined to just pick an existing engine and start monkeying around (lol!) but if you had any advice to lessen the learning curve I'd love to hear it.

Your games were a huge part of my young-adulthood (I was 14 when MI came out) and the fact that I can type words on a keyboard 24 years later and have you read them blows my mind.

Thank you so much for those games, from the bottom of my heart.

Ernesto - Jan 02, 2015 at 15:06
Hi Ron and Gary, I've been a fan (a human fan, that is) since Maniac Mansion on the C64 and I'm glad we're going on a new adventure together, again.
And this is the first time I follow a development blog since i's beginning, yay!

Cheers from Argentina!

Nik - Jan 02, 2015 at 15:23
Is that one of them fancy new Retina iMacs? You can probably run Thimbleweed Park at full resolution in its own icon ...

Ron Gilbert - Jan 02, 2015 at 15:25
No, it's a 2010 iMac.

Peter - Jan 05, 2015 at 19:13
Probably better for older imacs you can still upgrade harddrive or memory if needed. And if you didnt watch out with ordering the newer imacs you got a very slow laptop(5400RPM) harddrive which makes it slower then the old iMacs. Happened at my work they are replacing them now with the laptop versions and a monitor.

flakitosoft - Jan 02, 2015 at 15:26
take your time pal.

Stark - Jan 02, 2015 at 16:14
Hi! i'm a proud backer and fan of your work.
i use to make the charts. What do you use?

monkeysworth - Jan 02, 2015 at 18:02
How many monkeys will be in the game?

Simon - Jan 03, 2015 at 17:14
And how many heads will those have?

Joost - Jan 05, 2015 at 09:55
just look behind you.

Seba - Jan 02, 2015 at 22:36
Plants. How'd You make them not die?

joost - Jan 03, 2015 at 01:46
We use a package of Gliffy, jira, confluence at work for documentation and design. They link together beautifully and they are really cheap or free-as-in-beer for small businesses. Also, no bloat. Just work.
Kinda boring, really.

joost - Jan 03, 2015 at 01:46
We use a package of Gliffy, jira, confluence at work for documentation and design. They link together beautifully and they are really cheap or free-as-in-beer for small businesses. Also, no bloat. Just work.
Kinda boring, really.

james - Jan 03, 2015 at 04:20
hi guys,

To tide us over til next year, how about a recommended reading list of stuff that is inspiring you on this story (or MM)?


Matt - Jan 03, 2015 at 05:44
Ahoy there, fancy pants aka Ron,
you said that you'll use Xcode for the engine. But that'll be only the Obj-C/swift part. How do you handle multi-platform support?
Will you build a SCUMM-like system with separate engines for different platforms and a unified scripting part?

Looking forward to follow the development process!

Ron Gilbert - Jan 03, 2015 at 11:49
XCode is used for the Mac build, Visual Studio is used for the Windows Build, not sure what I'm doing about Linux yet.  CMake is used to generate the projects from a common code base. Obj-C is only used at the very very core level to do Mac/iOS specific task. Everything else is in C/C++

Lennart - Jan 03, 2015 at 13:51
Why aren't you using abstraction libraries such as SDL and OpenAL? That way you wouldn't have to handle Operating System specific tasks and could have a common codebase that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux the same. You mentioned your own graphics library earlier, so that's probably the reason, but still, it might save you some time/headache. On Linux, the Codeblocks IDE is quite nice.

Ron Gilbert - Jan 03, 2015 at 14:05
I am using SDL.  There are still low level OS issues I need to deal with and on the Mac/iOS that means some obj-c. Sometimes abstraction layers won't do everything I want, so I need to provide my own.  I think my entire engine has one obj-c file at this point.

DuphusDigital - Jan 10, 2015 at 11:19
If you need someone to build the linux port, just e-mail me

Shahbaz Youssefi - Jan 03, 2015 at 06:32
I have a suggestion!

Seeing that you guys got funded by "the people", why not give something back to "the people" also?

I imagine the whole game (from a developer's point of view) could be divided in two parts. One is the engine running everything (what SCUMM VM did in the past) and the rest is the game itself which is scripts over the engine, arts, sounds etc.

Now the game that you would want to sell is the second part. The first part just makes the game happen.

My suggestion is to make the first part, i.e. the engine of the game *free*, e.g. with an LGPL or MIT license and hosted e.g. on GitHub. There are a couple of reasons why I say this:

- Without the contribution of the people, this game wouldn't have happened. You could be nice and let the engine out in the open.
- Free software is better. Even if you get a single patch fixing a bug, it's a win for your own game, and it costs you nothing.
- Free software is better. You can only test your game with a couple of different hardware configurations. The engine if it were free, would get tested by many people before the game launches.
- Free software is better. There are a lot of people in areas of expertise you can never imagine that may contribute to the project. That would make for a much efficient engine not to mention features that would make your own life easier.
- Free software is educational. There are a lot of people that can learn from your code.
- Other people later would start using your engine to make other great games. By making this engine free, who knows, maybe you can make a come-back for old-school adventure games happen.

With a free engine, you are still in total control. Even though people will fork the engine and make other engines out of it, they will mostly try to get their changes back in your repository, which you can choose to accept or reject. So while your engine could be father to many other ones, your own version remains always as you want it.

What do you say? Be a pal!

P.S. Thumbs up for not developing under horrible windows.

entropy - Jan 03, 2015 at 17:28
Ron does not owe us the source code of the engine.
Of course not. :)

However, I would also appreciate the move to make
the sources public under a permissive license.

Simply for the fact that it preserves the game for future OSes and environments.
Yes, the ScummVM people do an excellent job reverse engineering those engines.
But this is difficult and, thus, very time consuming.

I'd really like to hear Ron's opinion on that matter.

Ralf - Jan 05, 2015 at 11:01
Maintaining free and open software is not a "costs you nothing" game. You need to validate and decide upon patches / pull requests sent to you. You may need to communicate with authors of patches. Having a FOSS engine would be nice, but I'd rather see Ron developing more games than him juggling patches from the community.  If and when they release the engine to the public any time they choose to do so, it's great. But if they never do, it's OK too. Ron Gilbert has spent a life creating games he did not "own". For this first time it's different. Maybe asking him to give away part of his work for free is something you should not stress before the first line of code has even been written. Just a thought.

Making games for a living requires some hard decisions. Maybe that's why there is no OpenSWOTL ;)

Gaston Blanco - Jan 03, 2015 at 08:13
Is that Chuck The Plant?

Gaston Blanco - Jan 03, 2015 at 08:15
ah...and you should definitely get a Magic Mouse

Helge Frisenette - Jan 03, 2015 at 08:56
Ron doesn't owe the people anything.
The system he comes up with might very well be highly proprietary, convoluted and personal. Might be a lot of extra work to make it transparent and useable to other people.
Plus they a still selling this game. Giving free access to competitors to a superior tool would be foolish.

That's quite the botanical garden there, although I must admit that I am a bit disappointed not see a Venus Flytrap. ;-)

whut - Jan 04, 2015 at 05:16
wtf? thought you're using a c64?

Dr Qrunch - Jan 08, 2015 at 14:05
Aaaah! I was so much enjoying my time off that I missed this occasion! Congrats and godspeed!

Magnus Wiklund - Feb 04, 2015 at 09:55
Go Ron! We're rooting for you!