What Can We Be Doing Better?

by Ron Gilbert
Mar 13, 2015

Thimbleweed Park has been cranking away for coming up on 10 weeks and we've blogged about the development process 30 times, getting some great feedback and suggestions in the comments. It's been truly invaluable for us.

This is all a very odd departure for me. When making games, I'm used to tolling away in private and asking for advice, input and help from a very small group of friends. Much of that comes from me being a pretty extreme introvert. I like quiet and I like to be able to think about that I'm doing. There is a reason you don't see me doing twitch feeds or being a clown in front of a camera.

So doing a dev blog (if the BAFTA gave out awards for dev blogs, we totally would have won one) where Gary and I post about everything that's happening, good and bad, is pretty stressful for me (I can't speak for Gary), but it's also been fun and very helpful.

So... our question to you is:

What could we be doing better? What would you like to see that we're not showing or talking about? How can we make the Thimbleweed Park dev blog more useful, more entertaining, more insightful, and more educational? What can we do better?

- Ron

P.S. We won't reveal spoilers, so don't ask for that.

Mr:Know.Not - Mar 13, 2015 at 12:51
I wonder, if there is a method or "system" that you use to create the puzzles. It would be great, if you could write about that.

Iiro - Mar 13, 2015 at 12:55
Sorry, I can think of nothing. I quote you when I explain good practices in game development.

enthusi - Mar 13, 2015 at 12:57
I really dig the "in depth" technical parts. So the more of those the better (for me ;-).
Everytime any of you share some secrets of the past (details on MM development) I am in awe.
Also actual design decisions, ie. why you chose to do it like this or that rather than not.
Hm, I guess this is pretty much how you're doing it already ;-) So one vote for those three things from me.

Vegetaman - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:04
In my opinion, keep doing what you're doing here. It's fantastic. I'm a software developer myself, so code snippets and footage/screenshots to go along with it are fantastic. Also, how you architect things in the background and your thought processes are very interesting to me. I don't always have suggestions on how to make it better, but I still take note of how you're making components. The only other thing is I'd like to know about the music when it starts cranking (but I think you answered a few days ago about that one, so that sounds good too).

Juan Ferreyra - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:08
Maybe show us some pics of the places you'r working, no matter how boring they are, it's always interesting to see the workplace.
where you are gathering for meetings, things like that.what type of coffee you guys drink, chairs...
Pics of street dogs are fun too.

Strange Cellar Guy - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:15
I think we all should respect other people's privacy. And it's neither the location that makes a good game nor the coffee.

Derrick Reisdorf - Mar 13, 2015 at 16:00
Ron's already provided a snapshot of his work area.  I don't think it's too personal.  It's just his workspace.
I wouldn't mind a few candid quips about the goings-on in anyone's day even if it's not directly related to the game's development.
I just think that Ron shouldn't feel he needs to add any personal stuff into the blog post considering he's already got a lot on his plate.
The updates are very much appreciated; he should just post whatever he wants to share, whenever he wants to.

Tim - Mar 15, 2015 at 10:29
I agree on this one. It's fun to see you guys working in stead of just reading about it. It's not so much I'd like to see more of your personal stuff. Personally I feel more part of the process if you guys would share a video, vine of photo while at work on a regular basis. I think it would do a lot marking wise as well.

Tom - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:10
You give even more technical infos, special problems you solved in C++ or squirrel would be cool. That kind of stuff belongs in a devblog IMHO.

I has been really great so far. Much better than what "you" guys did for DFA ;-)

Tim - Mar 15, 2015 at 10:35
I really like the transparency of sharing code and talking about it. On the other hand, the way it's presented I think it's only interesting for programmers. Since the majority of visitors are game enthusiasts with little to no experience in programming (myself included), I think it would be great if there's a bit more tutoring on the matter.

Scroobies - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:11
I've backed a number of Kickstarters, and this has easily and truly been the most open and informative blog.  Every post appears to be at least a 1000 words with several pictures, an occasional video, code snippets, etc.  I think I can speak for everyone when I say fans would have killed to have this during the golden ages of LucasArts.  We were always scrambling for even the tiniest bit of information.  Somehow people would find screenshots not in the game, dig up old television interviews, etc.  They were desperate times.  When someone finally reverse engineered SCUMM's resource and data formats, it breathed a whole new life into the games.  Discussion about unused inventory items, sprites, etc. brought thousands of new posts to forums.  That's part of the fun of mods today.  Squeezing every bit of entertainment out of something you enjoy, for better or worse.  I think for better.

Personally, I'm here for the code and the occasional never-before-been-told stories.  So I guess it'd be nice to filters posts by tags so in a few years when the game is released and we're bored of it, we can come back and look at code snippets and art that didn't make it into the game and wonder what it all means.

Jammet - Mar 13, 2015 at 14:21
Yes, this is exactly how I feel about it, too.

I was this kid, leafing through print magazines on mass when Lucasfilm games were all the rage here in Germany. And the PowerPlay magazine was kind enough, most of the time, to see the hunger and provide interviews, editorials, columns and what not - all about Lucasfilm Adventures.

To imagine that I'd be here, all these years later, with the same enthusiasm!

Outatime - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:17
What about creating and sharing some awesome Thimbleweed Park wallpapers (including 1920x1200)?
So that people will say:
"What is that INCREDIBLE AWESOME AND SPECTACULAR Wallpaper you have????"
"Oh, that?  That is Thimbleweed Park. You should check it out!!!"

Lennart - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:24
This blog is already a treasure chest of information. I cannot think of anything you could do better.

The most recent thing I found interesting was that you are routing all the rooms and puzzles together with dev art (I imagine that is what you mean with storyboard version), before the real art is done. While it seems obvious now that you should test your puzzle design before making the art, I never thought of it being this way. Did you do that for Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island too? Maybe you could share some of that dev art...

Philipp - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:24
Perhaps, more stories about setbacks, dead ends and failures and how to deal with them? Very few development stories consist purely of progress, milestones and achievements, so what do you do when you paint, or design or program, yourself in a corner? And if, with the accumulated experience between the three of you, that doesn't happen, perhaps you can dig up some old anecdotes that inform the way you do things now.

Ron Gilbert - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:29
We'll be talking about a lot of that stuff down the road. The project is in the "honeymoon" phase, so very few of the decision we've made are coming back to haunt us.  But it will happen.

There have been some small design choices we've backed out of, but those are hard to talk about without introducing spoilers. But we'll try and figure a way to talk about it more.


Milo Casagrande - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:28
As somebody already said, a tagging system on the blog would be appreciated. People can filter based on their interests (dev, design, script, brainstorm,...).

I'm personally intrigued by the code examples, the brainstorming processes and what they lead to (always wondered, "how do they do that?", "how do they got there?"), they puzzle charts...

It's just great material, better than 1000s 4k videos that will takes ages to load on my hamster-slow Internet connection.
Some topics that I would like to see: the save & load games system (how the game state is saved, where, the file format...), how the graphic elements are glued together with the code to assemble the final result; the music system...

Well... you know, just do what you are doing, you are doing an outstanding job.

Ron Gilbert - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:30
Yeah. Save/load. I have no idea how I'm going to do that. It keeps me up at night.

Jim - Mar 14, 2015 at 09:19
I'm sure you've thought about it, but couldn't you simply dump all variables to a file? Positions of all the actors, inventory items, and all the set states such as...
talked_to_guy = 1;
did_other_thing = 1;
And so on... That's how I imagine I would do it!

Rmn - Mar 14, 2015 at 15:35
Well, I think it should at least be a little more complicated than that.

Most intuitively, it enables easy cheating.
I don't know to which extend Ron's going to say "Well, if they think they must cheat, then they should".
I think it's not the great deal for a game that does not have any online features where you compare with each other.

However, I think that people *will* fiddle with the save games if they're so easily readable.
And then it's probably very easy to brick your save game by creating states you normally shouldn't be in. Of course it's the users' fault, but I can imagine that forum threads like "I think this game is unsolvable... oh wait, btw I set that flag to 1 and continued playing for 5 hours." should be avoided.

Mike Pikowski - Mar 16, 2015 at 07:08
Should be no Problem, even with Visible Variables in the Savegame.
Just create some kind of checksum with some kind of timestamp and filesize in the file for the game to check.
If the file was manipulated the checksum is wrong and you can start a nasty Cheater Animation :)

Andy Geers - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:31
You're doing a wonderful job already - really enjoying all that you're doing. Keep focussing on making a great game and the devblog will stay interesting - whereas the more you focus on making a great devblog the less interesting it will become!

Alessander - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:54
I completely agree, having seen that happen with another Kickstarter for an old school point & click adventure game...

stderr - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:43
Would you consider releasing one of your test programs as a very limited demo? Watching a video of a character moving around, picking up stuff and so on is fine and all, but it would be so much cooler to be able to control the characters yourself.

Ron Gilbert - Mar 13, 2015 at 13:48
Yeah, I've thought about that. Right now the game doesn't run outside of Xcode or VS, so I need to do some work on the resource loading system, but once that is done, we'll do that. Maybe in the next month.

vpelletier - Mar 13, 2015 at 14:11
Although I backed the project, I only now start to read the blog. Sorry if the following is a dupe.

Your comment on the game not running outside of an IDE made me think:
What about developing the engine as part of scummvm ?

I would tend to think that reusing scummvm's existing features and build environment (which covers an impressive variety of platforms) would reduce development costs. I'm only an occasional contributor to residualvm and poked a bit in scummvm source, so my point of view is very theoretical.

Miguel - Mar 14, 2015 at 13:06
I've been working for a while on a SCUMM files parser and believe me, you don't want to write an "encoder"... The image compression formats are mental (but made sense for the time and it's been a great puzzle to decode the images) and the way the files are structure are something less than ideal and not necessary at all these days (like storing the offsets of rooms or palettes of rooms separately).

The fact that there's an interpreter that makes easy to play old games does not mean that it would be easy to write that format again. And I guess that'd hinder creativity since, for example, SCUMM's operation codes are limited.

On what could be done better, I'd really really love to have all the code publicly shared in a public git repo, but I understand that it's not how Ron works and I know it'd put more stress on him.

vpelletier - Mar 14, 2015 at 15:17
Note that I didn't suggest to author game resources again the SCUMM engine, but to write an engine as part of the ScummVM engine collection, which does much more than just implementing the SCUMM engine.

Ie, it has a build environment which supports an impressive number of platforms (I mean... Dreamcast ! IRIX ! Atari !), is adapted to a lot of different ways adventure game engines interface with the user and use resources, and has a record of keeping old-school adventure games alive.

I'm just very curious about how it looks from the perspective of a fresh engine development.

vpelletier - Mar 14, 2015 at 15:23
...and of course I'm quoting whart are to me the most unlikely platforms as a way to show how dedicated devs are. Of course, windows, osx and linux are supported as well.

Norman - Mar 13, 2015 at 23:49
Well, I use Xcode all the time, so I wouldn't mind an Xcode-only release of a "demo". :)

Chris - Mar 13, 2015 at 14:02
Nothing to request. Just to say keep up the good work on the blog. Really enjoy the technical posts the most, like how the scripting works.

Jackoboxo - Mar 13, 2015 at 14:03
To be honest: for me it's perfect the way it is. It's informative and entertaining and already more than I ever hoped for.

Vegetaman - Mar 13, 2015 at 14:05
The one thing I really enjoy that I forgot to mention before is the occasional tidbits of insight into your older works as well. Like referencing back to Maniac Mansion with the whole walking speed was very interesting. Or things you think did or didn't work in those adventure games, that you feel were unfair, or things you think adventure games have lost or do wrong today. It's all good.

Jammet - Mar 13, 2015 at 14:17
I have  ... nothing to compare this to. This is the first time we have this blog.

If anything, this blog is real! Just ... keep it this way. Give out information and fun tidbits as you see fit, like you have before.

The very best thing you can do, is keep reading the comment feedback to what you're offering, and maybe have a dialog here and there if time permits. This interaction alone is what counts; undiluted by flourish and fanfare - this is the real treasure.

This sort of blog is what I would have wished for if I only knew it were possible, even when your earlier games were made.

To me, this blog is like a plain door to your workplace, where every now and then I can have a small exchange of ideas, be shown all kinds of tidbits, and maybe offer to make coffee or one of these other insanely tasty new age hot drinks for you people, on my way out.

This feels personal in a way. To some extent, it really is! Thank you!

Alex Camilleri - Mar 13, 2015 at 14:20
So far it's been extremely interesting, really really insightful. As a designer I'd love if you could go a bit more in-depth into puzzle-design and the microscopic structure (rather tham the macroscopic one that we're used to see in this blog). Maybe you can spoil a very "simple puzzle" of the game, and explain a bit the logics behind some decisions or principles that you use. I hope this makes some sense :)

Natalija1999 - Mar 13, 2015 at 14:26
I would like to see more videos of characters moving around and picking up stuff. .. Are you going to make one of the characters look like you  ( Like this one in green shirt on your picture) ? Is he going to appear in game?

David - Mar 13, 2015 at 14:26
I would add a search box to the blog :)
But everything else is perfect! Great blog! Always looking forward for the next post.

Brian S - Mar 13, 2015 at 14:36
I love this development blog.  Since you are asking for suggestions/feedback

a) A login option, so if you have an account, you don't need to fill in all the fields and the seckrit question when posting.
b) I would love to have a better way of identifying the comments that have changed since the last time I checked the blog.  There may not be a practical way to do that, I don't know - but it would be super useful.
c) It's great hearing from everyone involved in the project.  To the extent you can encourage posts from all team members, that's certainly appreciated.  You've been doing this, so, I guess the feedback there is - that's awesome, don't stop :)
d) I think the higher the technical content the better.  The code examples are great.
e) I would personally be interested in some discussion on the build process you are using, the tools, the flow, etc.
f) Most importantly, though, It is critical that you foster the fun and passion you and the rest of the team have- because that's what makes this blog work.

Bobe - Mar 13, 2015 at 15:04
>I think the higher the technical content the better.  The code examples are great.

Agreed.  You can't get too technical.  After all, adventure gamers started programming their own engines and releasing games online in the late 90s and early 00s.

Christopher Griffin - Mar 13, 2015 at 14:45
Someone mentioned tagging posts, but honestly, I find it all too fascinating to discriminate against any of the posts.  I enjoy seeing your Squirrel scripts, but what I've actually been more curious about is the C-based back end that is running the scripts...  I have a boring corporate programming job, and so I like to live vicariously through game developers to fulfill my wishes of joining their ranks one day.

I'm not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, but it would cool to see some of Gary's work flows as well.  Perhaps some shots of how he generates layers or a walkthrough of creating a character using the tools that you've decided upon.

More code!  More sarcasm!  Do what you're doing now, but turned up to 11.

$d021 - Mar 13, 2015 at 15:15
You're already doing a wonderful job, so my primary wish would be - keep it up as long as it doesn't make you feel uncomfortable. Personally, I love all the details about how it all comes together.
Thank you for this!

Andreas Hyldgaard - Mar 13, 2015 at 15:17
I find the process of making the game come alive immensely interesting. To get a feel for how much (or little) is decided at this early stage of the development and seeing it develop over time is golden. The code less so from my point of view, despite being a developer I tend to brush that off as implementation details ;-) Thanks for sharing the process with us! I can only echo a previous comment, that I'd like to hear about both good and bad - there's no shame in making mistakes or bad decisions, but it gives us some bit of insight into the mystery of game development.

E. W. M. - Mar 13, 2015 at 15:39
I really like this blog, but how about adding some additional background stories that won't be included in the game? What about releasing a small page of information about a character, the city, the bank, or other aspects in the game per week or month? You can include a small (or big, wallpaper sized even) image, just like an instructional manual. This will keep the readers invested in the game even before the release. If you've already promised an instructional manual for some of the kickstarter contributers, how about releasing some kind of teasers? Or how about letting fans send in fanart of thimbleweed (and maybe even maniac mansion or monkey island), and then you'll post it on the blog? I think keeping the backers (and future buyers) involved in some way can be great for all of us. How about having contests with silly prices that don't cost anything? Winners can beta test the game, or how about giving the winners to play the game with the police man and woman as you two? Anyhow... I might have gotten a little carried away, but doing fun things like these would be epic.

Christopher Stevenson - Mar 13, 2015 at 15:48
Just give us more of the same Ron and Gary and David.

The mix between art, code and concept has been great so far. The only thing I can think of to make things any better is for you to post more often, but there’s no way you could do that. Once a week, plus the odd extra, is fine.

Good work, keep it up.

Derrick Reisdorf - Mar 13, 2015 at 15:53
There's not much I would change.  ...Maybe every once in a while (every couple months or so) repost a project timeline with milestones/dates (don't forget non-game stuff like Kickstarter rewards planning- e.g. brainstorming for feelie ideas, or choosing art for poster; which will come near the end of the dev process, I'm sure).

A Wizard - Mar 13, 2015 at 15:55
Great job guys, keep on doing what you do!!!

I would welcome, if some questions regarding project management were addressed:
- Is it "simple" to work with Kickstarter or rather complex?
- What are you spending all the money for? Except your working time, of course ;)
- Any pitfalls regarding project organization?


Iron Curtain - Mar 13, 2015 at 22:13
I can answer the second question: When Kickstarter raises money for video & computer games, they're raising money primarily for salaries. Of course, there are business expenses (like electricity, hardware and software, for instance), but salaries are the prime chunk of money that's being put into the game. Unless you're making games in your spare time, you don't make games for free.

Alex - Mar 13, 2015 at 15:57
As a freshly budding young virgin game developer, I'm finding pretty much everything you post to be very helpful and interesting. I say stay the course!

Alex - Mar 13, 2015 at 16:07
Actually, one thing that comes to mind. This obviously wouldn't be something you could do until way later, after the game has been released, but would you consider releasing any design document or "universe Bible?" I always find those things really interesting, to see how the work was shaped and what did and didn't make it into the final game.

Dominik - Mar 13, 2015 at 16:01
What could you do bett with this blog?

That's a really hard question because this blog is the most awesome thing in gaming I stumbled across the last few years: I love the project, I love the posts, it's super informative and insightful and (which is really saying  something today!) even the comments are all very interesting and not a single one was aggressive or spiteful. This project, including the blog and the community, as simple and small as it may seem compared to big budget games is something very special.

So if you ask what you could do better than my answer would be: The best thing you can do is to keep the spirit of this blog for the rest of the game development. That alone would be great. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

That being said, a few things do come to mind:

- I would like to see more additional posts from Gary (or is he still sick?) and David. Maybe that could ease your stress with the blog? Of course I do love your programing posts, but you should feel comfortable maintaining this blog next to the project itself

- An avatar-icon of the author next to the post

- If the site could highlight new comments since my last visit. Since you don't want to implement a full account magenement perhaps a simple cookie that stores the timestamp of your last visit would suffice? Most people would gladly add a cookie expection for your site, I think.

- Keep it unfiltered and honest - i really dislike how the documentary of some other project felt very "scripted" and dramatzied


Dominik - Mar 13, 2015 at 16:05
Oh, one question though:

What is your reason for asking what to improve? Do you want to reach more readers?

Sushi - Mar 13, 2015 at 16:50
I wonder too... I think Ron is just asking for a big hug

and now get your *ss back to coding and writing :)

David Fox - Mar 14, 2015 at 03:00
Cool, a hug from Sushi! I want one too!

Sushi - Mar 14, 2015 at 09:01
No Zak, I am still upset that you put me in the lamp and then turned it on for a second or two before turning it back off.
Then you put me in the sink and turned the switch on...
The things I have seen in the sewers, in the SF bay and the ocean! I could teach Nemo a thing or two about the ocean.

oh well... after 27 years I might forgive you... after all I am just a goldfish and not an elephant!
* hug *

(By the way, a great argument to include turn on and especially turn *off* in Thimbleweed park)

Brian S - Mar 13, 2015 at 20:53
I am not sure if you are aware, but the blog supports Gravatar accounts.  You can to to the Gravatar site and create an account with an email address - adding whatever avatar/jpeg/png you want, and use that email address when entering the post, you will get the avatar you were asking about.

Derrick Reisdorf - Mar 13, 2015 at 16:02
Oh!  And, does anyone else have an issue with the Seckrit Question timing out too quickly?  It seems like all to often if I spend too much time on a post, I'll have to answer the Seckrit Question again.
I guess it's not a big deal; I was just wondering if anyone else had that issue or thought it happened too often.

Sofia Giotidi - Mar 13, 2015 at 16:11
Maybe it is better to stop blog posts for a long time, go in silence and work without the noise pollution of the internet.

I love your blog posts (they are absolutely amazing), but it am afraid they are taking away too much energy from you.

Mario - Mar 13, 2015 at 16:14
i would like to see some videos , where ron, gary and david sit together and show us brainstorming some things out. sure without spoiling.
or a video how gary is drawing things.

Christopher Griffin - Mar 13, 2015 at 16:54
I concur!  Obviously, this would take some "production" time to record/edit/upload, so I don't think anybody would expect too many of these.  Maybe 2-3 throughout the entire development time?

Damian - Mar 13, 2015 at 16:21
I'm pretty amazed already at the frequency and quality of the blog.
It's a-ok for me! Great job on both of you. :)

EdoBvD - Mar 13, 2015 at 16:51
After all those years, it would be nice to keep the magic pristine... or not :~]

I'm captivated by everything on this blog (like others, my F5 key has melted, twice)
Thanks for taking the time to do it.

I'll add my vote to more technical stuff, as long as you keep some surprises for later.
If I may, I would recommend this guy's website, where he dissects famous old game engines and presents them in a fairly clear way.

Also, if you have old photos of you guys from the pixel period, that would help the immersion into the Thimbleweed universe, as if it was an undiscovered LucasFilm game, lost in a drawer.

Finally,  deep in the synapses of my auditory cortex, Maniac Mansion's songs still triggers a strange and comforting Pavlovian feeling of exploring something new, truly interactive and amazing. The challenge is high, and  I don't expect the same with Thimbleweed, but I don't know your plans for sounds/music, perhaps you can tell us a few words about that?

Momomomo - Mar 13, 2015 at 17:43
Well, this blog is fantastic... it's quite entertainment. Full of content, and unfiltered open thoughts.

What I would add you ask?

Hmmm it's hard to say... It's seems a bit stronger from the scripting side, (code snippets!! :D), than from other sides of game development, so I would try to balance it.

Here there are a lot of programmers (and I'm one myself so :P), but I think more on the art department (from concept to final version, animation tips, progress, character design, thoughts), more about game design in general (like some of your puzzle design posts at grumpygamer), story structure, its pacing, sound, voice dubbing, marketing, the press, events (I mean... you went to GDC, so... how that went? (Thimbleweed related))...

The things you guys are learning, the things you learned years ago and are applying here today :) Every bit is really appreciated

That kind of thing :) But I said... It's a great blog... I didn't expect an weekly post (or more!), and so full of content.. so, don't worry... you are doing great. :)

mr T. - Mar 13, 2015 at 18:34
Like many others, I think the blog is just unbeatable as it is. And I think most of us wouldn't want you to stress too much about our needs anyway. My only hope is that I can pretty much follow this all the way through and still feel at least 99% unspoiled when the game is ready to be played. I think you've done a good job with the blurs etc. I can do the rest when things get dicy (instant blank-out and scroll past when art is displayed or area names flashed).

Well, one thing would be cool. When it's finished, it might be educational to read some retrospective project babblings. I think some might be inspired to build their own adventures and the info might help or just be generally interesting.

LogicDeLuxe - Mar 13, 2015 at 18:46
I wish, it would be possible to automatically highlight new posts every time I visit the comment pages here. It is easy to miss one, especially with this tree structure.
Other than that, I'm quite happy with the way you're doing it. Keep it like that and concentrate on the actual game.

Soong - Mar 13, 2015 at 19:40
Let me start out by saying you guys are doing great.  I've backed quite a few things on Kickstarter/Indiegogo and as much as I like the videos and stuff some other projects release, it often takes a while to produce them and I love how direct the updates on this blog feel in comparison.  So far, this has been the greatest backer experience I've had.

Since you asked, though, here are a few minor things that you could improve on:
- programming updates
I'm a programmer myself, so I get the general idea with those updates, but there's often not enough code to really get me thinking about things.  It's often just a "Ah, ok, that's what the script will look like.".  So I wouldn't mind seeing a little bit more context there to get me more engaged.  That being said, I know those updates might already be pretty code-heavy for non-programmers, so I guess you struck a good balance.  The way the updates currently are (code without a lot of context), I sometimes almost don't need the code, because when you explain the ideas behind the code, I start visualizing my own code.  So another route might be to just give more details with what you tried to achieve and how you eventually did it.  That way, the amount of code could stay the same and those updates would still be more interesting (not that they are bad now).  I hope that makes sense.
- puzzle updates
These are by far my favorite because it's the core of an adventure game.  So just having more of that and maybe more detail (I guess that might still be coming anyway) would be awesome.  I don't need spoilers, actually I don't want them, I'm happy that things are blurred, but getting glimpses of how designing good puzzles actually works always gets me incredibly excited.

Other than that, I can't even think of any way that you could improve and even those two things are very minor.  So don't worry, I love the blog as it is and if you keep everything the way it is, you still beat out all the Kickstarter/Indiegogo competition for me.

Mike McP - Mar 13, 2015 at 20:25
I'd love to see some info on the marketing side of the game.

I know you're developing, and that floats my boat, but hearing about how you might plan to market the game would be interesting.  Will you try to do a distribution deal?  Will you try to go solo?  Thinking about attending some trade shows?  Now that it's been 'Kickstarted' (I get mad props for that pun), there's a large demographics that has no idea this game is out there, but are ripe for the pillaging!

Also, the dialog interests me.  Do you do a final run through of all the lines to try to tweak them for maximum cleverness?  I know movies and TV shows have teams of writers that will tweak a script.  Is it just you guys, or do you have a "Hey, we MUST run this by Jim, because he'll take it to the next level of insanity"?  I realize this is difficult without revealing spoilers, but a high-level view of the refinement would be cool.

Since there's not really a cut-throat P&C game industry, I'd like to hear your thoughts on open-sourcing your tools and libraries.  Based on what I see of the Zak fans, I think the German economy would probably tank the day of release.

Other than that, just keep it up.  I know it takes a good bit of time to put these posts together, but we eat this stuff up.

Ethan Bordeaux - Mar 13, 2015 at 21:04
I'm really enjoying the blog.  As a developer I'm always happy to see deep dives into the technical side of things.  The scripting code is interesting but I'm also really curious about the game engine you developed, and how you manage the interface between the engine and the scripts (I've worked with libraries like SDL but have never put scripting on top of it).  If you can expose any details of that I'd really enjoy it too.

Thanks for taking the time to share!

Walt - Mar 13, 2015 at 21:08
I just fired up The Secret Of Monkey Island for the zillionth time on PS3... and I'm curious...

Just how the hell did Guybrush end up on Melee Island?

Ron Gilbert - Mar 13, 2015 at 21:38
It's a secret.

Alex - Mar 14, 2015 at 03:14
The secret?

Thom - Mar 13, 2015 at 21:45
I just wanted to chime in and let you know I think you guys are doing a great job.

What could be awesome is a recorded conversation between you and Gary (or you and Ron??) talking about things. Game development is a weird, impenetrable thing to try to convey to laypersons (like myself), veering between code talk and design. I feel like some of that complexity is smoothed out in conversation.

That's just me though! Best wishes and regards!

Peter Campbell - Mar 14, 2015 at 00:17
This dev diary has been fantastic so far and there really isn't a whole lot to recommend as far as improvements/changes that I'd like to see made.  Obviously a lot of things cannot be included in this diary, at least not while the game is still in development, simply because of risking spoilers that would give away too much information especially with a game being centered around a murder-mystery theme.  But anyway, between building an entirely new game from the ground up and running this dev diary, you guys have your hands full and are doing a mighty fine job so just keep on keepin' on.

The only things I have to say are that...

- I'm really looking forward to trying out some playable test demos of the game engine no matter how simple they are, even if it's something like just moving a character around a single unfinished room just to play around with for the sake of playing around and possibly discovering any glitches/bugs.

- Also after the game is finished and released, I'd like to see this dev diary continue on with a special spoiler-filled open blog where we can ask questions about why something made the cut but something else was cut out, why you guys came up with a specific puzzle or location in the game, questions about the story and if you had originally planned for someone else to be the killer,  etc. etc.  Basically an open Q/A blog entry that only those who have played through and completed the game would want to go to to read about and ask questions about the game and not have to worry about spoilers since they've already experienced the game and know the major plot events/killer's identity/what the solutions to the puzzles are, etc. etc.  But I know too that a lot of these questions will already be answered in the "The Making of Thimbleweed Park" pdf/coffee table book that you'll be giving out to those of us who backed you at those tiers on Kickstarter.

Other than that, if I have any complaints I'll be sure to let you know!

PEtruza - Mar 14, 2015 at 00:39
Nothing Ron. All we want you to do is what you do best, making games. Everything else you wanna do, go ahead, it's alright, no need to improve.

Mike K - Mar 14, 2015 at 01:17
Things that could make this blog better:

1 - Posts narrated by the one and only Stan S. Stanman  (wild gesticulation included).
2 - More anecdotes about how a specific feature, character, location, item in game was inspired by a real life event, place or thought.  These flashes of inspiration are great to read.
3 - Periodic musical interludes from GT and The Suction Cups.
4 - Less stress.
5 - More fun.
6 - More posts!

Keep up the great work!

Alex - Mar 14, 2015 at 03:22
Have there really been no spoilers? Wasn't "open clock" a spoiler for a puzzle solution? There's no way I would have ever thought of doing something that wacky all by myself...

Also, maybe blur out more of the puzzle dependency charts. I feel that even knowing that we enter the pillow factory at the end of Act 2 is a spoiler of sorts.

Great blog by the way!

nico - Mar 14, 2015 at 04:21
I don't know, this blog is pretty nice to me. Just don't waste too much of your time writing posts and reading commentary. But then again, maybe it's a way good for you to rest a bit between hard working sessions.

Mattias Cedervall - Mar 14, 2015 at 04:28
It would be great if I could subscribe and get a messages to my e-mail address when you post updates.

Mattias Cedervall - Mar 14, 2015 at 04:30
It would be great if I could subscribe and get messages to my e-mail address when you post updates.

Mario - Mar 14, 2015 at 06:13
@RON : i dont know why you worry.... everything is alright. if you give to much away, maybe it could ruin the fun and mystic of this new game.

Rob Rendell - Mar 14, 2015 at 06:17
I want to echo the sentiments expressed above - the blog is very informative and entertaining.  Thank you so much!

One suggestion for later in the process: when you cut puzzles or other content from the game, it would be great to see blog posts describing that cut content and discussing your reasons for cutting it out.  Since the content isn't going to be in the final version of the game, you can describe it in detail without spoiling something that's going to be in the final game.

longuist - Mar 14, 2015 at 07:00
The blog system may not have all the modern convenience functions, but it is straight forward. Dont waste your time with it.
Looking forward to a demo. Maybe a test room with all implemented features and the most ugly game art you can come up with..

Daevin - Mar 14, 2015 at 07:10
What I would like to read is: How to design a good puzzle? Is there anything you should never do (e.g. possibility of making the game unwinnable)? How do you get inspiration for puzzles? Should all puzzles be related to the plot? Would you rewrite a small part of the story fit in a really cool puzzle you thought of?

Davide - Mar 14, 2015 at 08:29
I think that it is an already cool dev blog..
Btw, I would like to know how you and Gary divide decisions on the
creative process. How do you deal with conflicting ideas?

Jim - Mar 14, 2015 at 09:09
I am very happy with this blog as it is - it's my favourite blog at the moment, and I come here every monday to catch the latest update. But if I got to make one wish, it would be to have Gary do a few more posts! I enjoy every glimpse I can get of the game, and being a programmer myself, I especially enjoy reading your posts, Ron. But I'm also curious to see what Gary is up to. Perhaps we'll see more from him later, when the engine has been developed a little more?

Reload - Mar 14, 2015 at 12:51
The only thing I can imagine how how to make everything better:

Travel back in time into 1995 and start creating Thimbleweed Park. Then keep making more adventures together. I'm quite sure that we would live in a better world then, everyone being rich and happy, living all together peacefully, and so on. And we would already have hoverboards.  

Seriously, I really enjoy this blog. Thank you for doing a great job.

Ciantic - Mar 14, 2015 at 13:26
Keep it light enough so it won't be stressful. Even a simple pic, without code or text would suffice sometimes. I don't think you need to post more than once a week, and not about everything even if it seems significant.

prbalbontin - Mar 14, 2015 at 17:24
I wish there were an Online SCUMM University where to learn from Ron and Gary how to make incredible video games.

Second in my list is a blog with weekly posts on game development, a polite and insightful community of fans, and, hopefully, the possibility to contribute to the final product with a line or two... Oh, wait.

Ian / Nihil Quest - Mar 14, 2015 at 18:24
It would be nice to have an e-mail subscription option for the blog. I know there's RSS but since Opera browser dumped their internal RSS reader I don't use one. So far the blog is very interesting, I can't wait for the audio related parts.

Ron Gilbert - Mar 14, 2015 at 20:59
I'm looking into that.

longuist - Mar 15, 2015 at 12:33
Nothing wrong with e-mail notifications, but i think the new incarnations of opera have plugins for rss!?!

Gv - Mar 14, 2015 at 20:36
I love EGA and PC Speaker, it would be nice you add support for that too, if it's not asking.too much.

Gv - Mar 14, 2015 at 20:37
Not for the blog, but the game. :)

Rob Osinga - Mar 15, 2015 at 05:42
Hi Guys,

Great Devblog! And great results already.  @Ron; what could you do better?  Well since this Blog is growing bigger it might be handy to use a simple blokdiagram at the beginning of a new post to indicate about witch part you are blogging or starting a discussion. It might come in handy to use it as a quicksearchchart to skip through the blog by subject. It will also help to devide this developmentprocess into nice chunks.

Soong - Mar 15, 2015 at 06:03
Something I forgot to mention:  The fact that it is so easy here to leave comments, is awesome. I love the name of the "seckrit question" and I love being able to easily pass as a human being.  I hate having to squint my eyes just to leave a comment. Also not having to sign up is a big plus.

Jalte Sorensen - Mar 15, 2015 at 08:10
I would just love if you used more screenshots, pictures, art and video. Because that stuff speaks a thousand words. Dont get me wrong: you use those things well now. But more of it could never hurt :-)

Christian - Mar 15, 2015 at 16:05
This blog is pretty much perfect and also has a very good vibe. It makes me happy to read about someone enjoying to recreate the fantastic adventure games of my childhood

Guga - Mar 17, 2015 at 02:37
I didn't read all the comments so I don't know if somebody already asked it, but I'd like to know a little bit more about the engine and the "scheduler". I'm programming a small adventure game myself and, trying to mimic the behavior of the old SCUMM games, I found myself dealing with how the different actions have to be enqueued to work correctly. I found a temporary solution that became a permanent solution, but I'm extremely curious on how you're going to solve this.

Another thing I'm curious about is: translations. Right now the code snippets show hardcoded strings, I suppose it will change, but doesn't using an ID for each string reduce the "clarity" of the script? And what about the graphics? Will the sprites be translated too (signs, posters, etc.)? But this

Guga - Mar 17, 2015 at 02:38
Incomplete comment :D

But this is obviously something you're going to do later.

Geoff Paulsen - Mar 18, 2015 at 16:08
Hey Ron,

  I love hearing about the development about the toolchain, and what you're working on on a week to week basis.  Please keep up these posts.

  I have always been curious on how people draw that 16 color EGA graphics pallet.  How does the artist decide on the final 16 colors, and how do you dither (is that the right word?) to make "darker" versions of a particular color?  Surely there are tools to help with that.  But is the original art hand drawn, or is it all done digitally?   I remember hearing about "markers" and early scanners in Monkey Island.  Anyway, I'd love to see some blog posts that take us through the creation of that background image.

  Thanks,  Geoff

Gv - Mar 19, 2015 at 17:06
I always asked myself the same question. I know the scanning was done for Monkey 2, but I also think how they did the backgrounds for Monkey 1, if it is hand drawn then it is amazing, I try to be an artist and I could never make something like the original EGA art. It is just amazing.

Ron Gilbert - Mar 19, 2015 at 17:13
The backgrounds for Monkey 2 where scanned in and them touched up in Photoshop 1.0 (no kidding) running on a Mac. The backgrounds for Monkey 1 (EGA and VGA) where done in DPaint on a DOS PS.

Gv - Mar 19, 2015 at 17:36
Thanks for replying. I think the EGA art for Monkey Island 1 and Loom and to a certain extent Indy 3 are among the finest EGA art, ever

Dave - Mar 25, 2015 at 07:18
More technical detail please.

Vraister - Apr 04, 2015 at 16:34
It is a great blog and I have enjoyed every post so far. Thanks!

One thing I would like to see is more detail about the game engine. I am curious about which parts of the game are handled by the engine and which by the script. Also how the interaction between the two is done would be interesting.