Gamescom 2015

by Ron Gilbert
Jul 24, 2015

It's after 10 pm and I haven't written the 2nd blog entry for this week. In my defense, I spent most of the day writing the dialog that happens when you visit the Diner. It's the first dialog I've written that introduces one of the other playable character flashbacks, so I spent some time trying to figure out the best way to unveil some information.

It's also a dialog I don't want you to exit out of early and that can be tricky without the player feeling trapped.

For most (and I mean most) dialogs, you should always be able to choose the last option and end the dialog. We call it the "goodbye" line.

 Don't leave town, I'm watching you. -> done [ray] [heard_about_ransome]
 Thanks for your help, we'll be back if we have anymore questions. -> done [reyes] [heard_about_ransome]

It should always be there and make the player feel safe: there is no penalty to getting into a dialog, you can always exit.

The one general exception to this rule is if the dialog dumps you into a small node that is just for comedic purposes. four joke answers. That's OK because it should send you back into the main node with the goodbye line.

For this dialog, I couldn't let that happen, not without making the dialog obscenely complex and probably overly confusing in the process. The trick is to make the dialog so interesting that players don't want to exit, but that borders on being pretentious.

Anyway. Bla bla bla. Enough about my problems.

The good news is that I'm going to Gamescom! I've never been before and I'm really exited. We're not showing Thimbleweed Park (at least not while I'm sober... hint hint), but it should be a lot of fun!

I'm going to be at the Adventure-Treff party, so if you want to hang out and talk Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Thimbleweed Park or adventure games in general, come on by.

- Ron

Oli - Jul 24, 2015 at 03:38
Will you be at gamescom the whole time or just on Friday? If you're there earlier already, where can we find you?

alone1982 - Jul 24, 2015 at 05:04
Is this evo-x Oli asking?

@Ron : great location, nice place beside the "masses".

not evo-x Oli - Jul 24, 2015 at 09:41
I had to google evo-x .. so .. no, sorry :-)

SunDancer - Jul 24, 2015 at 06:49
I'm there the 5th. Any chance on meeting up Ron? Please!?

Johannes S. - Jul 24, 2015 at 07:28
Ron, you could include the goodbye line, but the person you’re talking to tells you to wait and just tells you more. But of yourse this depends on the situation whether this person is really willing to tell you his/her story. (Think of Stan in Monkey Island – he would do that.)

Christopher Griffin - Jul 24, 2015 at 10:40
Yeah, when the player selects the goodbye line, the person in the Diner could fly into a Kanye rage on you: "Imma let you finish, but FIRST ... (continue dialogue)"

LogicDeLuxe - Jul 25, 2015 at 10:50
Reminds me of the Loom guy in the SCUMM bar. I think, that instance is unique as he has some alternative lines when you press ESC during the advertisement part, instead of just skipping the dialog at once.

I guess, having no goodbye option in certain situations is fine. There are several examples throughout the LucasArts games, but those are rare enough not to bother too much. I never felt really trapped in any of them. If you can't exit a dialog at a certain point, there was always a good enough reason so that you didn't want to end it either.

Jammet - Jul 24, 2015 at 07:35
Very nice, Ron! Enjoy the city of Koeln! Wish it were possible for me to join.

I really love it when you have a dialogue tree, and when you try to click on the goodbye line, the other character say something to the point of, "Not so fast!..."    or maybe   "We're not done talking!" :) In special situations. You want your players to feel the importance. Even when a player does not get any "punishment" for clicking the wrong dialogue, it will make sense.

Also, are there timed dialog puzzles in the game? Like when you have to give the idol to the Cannibals in Monkey Island, and you take took long? If so, ... I hope this time the other person doesn't wait quietly, but gives you cues.

"Hurry up, I don't have all day! Or night."
"Don't have anything small and pointless with ya?"
"Gah, I give up! Come back when you have something for me."

McP - Jul 24, 2015 at 07:41
I like this idea too.

It sounds like in Ron's example, you're talking to a person of authority, or at least someone who thinks they're in a position of power, so not allowing you to leave imparts a further sense of intimidation.  It's also a clue to the player that this is more than just a joke tree, so they should pay attention.

Tobias - Jul 24, 2015 at 08:13
@Ron: Telling us your problems is not a bad or annoying thing. It may give room for ideas how to approach them.

Such ideas can inspire you to find the best possible solution yourself finally.

I for myself like the idea of including a goodbye line which doesn’t allow you to really exit. Do you?

Use your adventure fan base, Ron. Be glad you have it ready when necessary. The final decision is always yours, of course.

Have fun in Cologne. Too bad I haven’t known before; After a meeting with Chris Hülsbeck for lunch, I’ll leave by train at 5pm. Bugger. :-(

M - Jul 24, 2015 at 08:52
Please go on about your problems. It's interesting :)

Heinz - Jul 24, 2015 at 09:13
@Ron: I will be at Gamescom 2015 too. From wednesday to friday. It would be great if there would be a possibilitiy to meet you. Do you have a meeting point already located? ,

Heinz - Jul 24, 2015 at 09:22
uuuups!! sometimes my fingers are faster then I can read ;) - But my question stays, because I am not able to attend this Party, because I do have to go back homa at friday noon.

Paulup - Jul 24, 2015 at 09:39
I don't think anyone minds a few opening dialog things with info, even if they're inescapable... because you know you're gonna have to get the plot info somehow.

The point where it gets annoying is where you enter every room and there are multiple characters who all have vital information that you need to click through dialog trees for.

anku - Jul 24, 2015 at 09:46
ouu how nice! An unsuspected visitor to cologne! Looking forward for some Kölsch™ at the beach

Peter Brodersen - Jul 24, 2015 at 09:58
Time for a new Kickstarter: Buy booze for Ron. There will be stretch goals.

Big Red Button - Jul 24, 2015 at 09:58
Sounds great! Are you going to give a lecture at the Gamescom?

Natalija - Jul 24, 2015 at 10:04
When are you going to post next thimbleweed park podcast? I tought it will be today.

Natalija - Jul 24, 2015 at 10:09
P.S. I would love to come there and meet you but unfortunately I live far ,FAR away! And I'm too young to travel alone!!!! :-(

Arto - Jul 24, 2015 at 10:28
"...writing the dialog that happens when you visit the Diner."

Dan - Jul 24, 2015 at 11:03
If the dialog options were rerunning, the player would feel like to be going in circles.
But if the options were evolving instead so that you never have a repetition of the same phrases during the dialog, the player wouldn't feel trapped, I think, because he can clearly see that the dialog proceeds.

Flo - Jul 24, 2015 at 11:42
Did you notice that they released the DeluxePaint source this week?
It looks like pixel art is getting trendy again :-)

Dan - Jul 24, 2015 at 12:14
What are the odds! Though for non-commercial use only.

Arto - Jul 24, 2015 at 12:24
Ah, Deluxe Paint. That and Lucasfilm Games / LucasArts are the main culprits for me being a professional graphic artist today. And a programmer on the side.

Mattias Cedervall - Jul 24, 2015 at 18:08
That's fantastic! :-)

Andy - Jul 24, 2015 at 13:00
Maybe I'm alone in this, but I always ENJOY it when the exit line isn't available: it just cues to me that my character is in a particularly engaging or significant conversation, and gives a kind of dramatic boost to the moment. Brief local episodes of linearity never make me feel trapped; they make me feel excited.

Furthermore it has always (for 25 years) felt a little off to me when the "exit line" appears too early, or too universally in dialogues, i.e. in places where no conceivable player would ever choose it, since something essential is obviously still in the process of being conveyed. It feels right to be denied the exit line until it is dramatically feasible.

So I say don't worry too much about players feeling "penalized" by being stuck in mandatory dialogues and infodumps. I as a player understand very well that when I choose to talk to a new character I am making a miniature commitment to see the conversation play out.

I guess the key word above is "brief." Figure you get... at least 30 seconds(?) of my reading attention before it even occurs to me to need to check in with my general freedom of action as a player. Maybe that's the wrong duration, and maybe it varies from person to person, but it works like that, I'd say. That is, it's essentially a quantity/pacing issue rather than a branching/freedom issue.

tcmsurfer - Jul 24, 2015 at 13:43
Enjoy the Gamescom and the adventure Party.

As a fellow poster already said: If you are at gamescom at a specific location at a specific time earlier than 5pm, you could probably meet some of us backers to say hi.

Personaly I will be at the gamescom that friday starting in the morning leaving some time in the afternoon. That would make my day to say "Hi".

If nothing else.... be careful at the gamescom. It'll be crazy full and some halls have no room to even walk...
Much worse than a christmas market.

Got a funny story regarding that meeting the voice of Mario at gamescom 2 years ago.... crazy. Maybe later.

Best Regards,

Zombocast - Jul 24, 2015 at 14:41
Highly recommend telltale games for thier text adventures. "A wolf Amung Us", and "Back To The Future" were great. Speaking of BTTF, they had a hint feature incase you got stuck. It was mentioned earlier on how you intended to assist players for finding the next clues  or who to talk to, but how was not decided, can we discuss that topic again?

Peter - Jul 24, 2015 at 16:16
Hi Ron, if you come to Germany, you should try this:

Paulaner or Erdinger Hefeweizen!

Peter - Jul 24, 2015 at 16:17

I know, Le Chuck calls this "Grog" :D

Big Red Button - Jul 25, 2015 at 03:32
Hefeweizen (wheat beer) is from Bavaria. It tastes great, but Cologne is the city of Kölsch beer. If you are in Cologne it would be a shame not to try some Kölsch but Hefeweizen instead. It's just as not trying Altbier, if you are in Düsseldorf.

Big Red Button - Jul 25, 2015 at 03:35
Since they taste completely different, there are enough reasons to try them all, if you haven't yet. But you better not drink them all in the same evening of course.

Big Red Button - Jul 25, 2015 at 09:47
By the way the very most popular brand of beer in Germany overall is Pilsener. Well, so much for that.

Andi - Jul 24, 2015 at 16:23
Hello Ron,
do you, Gary and Dave plan to implement some Easter eggs in your game?
For example maybe a cameo appearance of yourself as a waiter to have a small talk with or any other character role in one of your already cutten rooms, which were meant to be useless in the last week's blog.

Mattias Cedervall - Jul 24, 2015 at 18:06
Ron, I hope you'll have a great time there! I wish I could go there to meet you!

tcmsurfer - Jul 25, 2015 at 07:04
Hey Ron,

one more try to reach you :)

I know you are very selective regarding answering posts and you are also very particular regarding conversing with ppl, but I believe a few here would be happy to know if you'd be at least a little bit willing to say "Hi" directly  @ GC2015 *before* the adventure party. We won't be offended if you say "no".

I don't know if you've heard, but be sure to check our the 25th Anniversary event from Revolution ( on that friday, if you happen to be there at this time.

Best regards from a fellow swdev,

Basti - Jul 25, 2015 at 08:13
Charles Cecil will celebrate the Anniversary at the Adventure-Treff-Party, too - so both will be at the same spot anyways. :-) The party is primarily a get-together of adventure fans - and it's open to all adventure fans. So if you can't meet Ron on the gamescom ground, give it a try there!

Peter - Jul 25, 2015 at 08:58
What for a kind of ticket do I need for this event? Regular 8 € Ticket ???

Basti - Jul 25, 2015 at 09:09
You mean the adventure-treff-party? Or the gamescom?

Peter - Jul 25, 2015 at 09:55

axelkothe - Jul 25, 2015 at 10:46
You don't need a ticket for the adventure treff party - just about 4€ minimum consumption (food or drink)

For the 25th anniversary celebration you need a regular gamescom ticket (which are sold out by now...)

Jammet - Jul 26, 2015 at 08:46
Oh dear, I wish I could say hi to Charles and Ron, myself. Can't really be there, Koeln isn't around the corner if you live in lower saxony.
Crud. Foiled again.

Ron Gilbert - Jul 25, 2015 at 09:46
I will try and swing by! Busy schedule, but I'll try and make time to see as many people as I can.

Geoff Paulsen - Jul 25, 2015 at 09:20

  I'm glad your humor is ever present in the blog entries, even after a late night dialog-jam.  I'm so very excited about this game!

Mike - Jul 25, 2015 at 13:48
Hi guys,
Still following your site regularly, such a relief from all the excitement, hatred and general crap of the internet.
So, my and a few thousand of other players worldwide are going to be so excited to play Thimbleweed Park probably during the Christmas 2016 break.
Playing adventure games is quite a lonely activity (=that's also why it's good), but still you want to share when you've done an achievement. I don't know for the others, but there's only so much you can decently expect from your family as far as listening to your in-game achievement, whereas they themselves are not playing the game.
Thus, will we have some kind of forum where we can discuss among players, with no "spoiler" risk ? For instance, the forum could have many "chat rooms"which, to enter, you would need to answer a question linked to the game itself, so that when I am at a certain point in the game I can "socialize" with other players that are at the same point in the game as I am and we can share a good laughter together.

Is my comment clear?


Tim Lammert - Jul 31, 2015 at 05:40
What a pitty, I´m there on Saturday and can´t change that.... :(

Tim Lammert - Jul 31, 2015 at 05:47
Ron, I assume you are there only on Friday, is that right?

Regards Tim

Tim Lammert - Jul 31, 2015 at 05:59
Oh I see, the Adventure-Treff party is outside of the Gemascom, I thought it would be Part of it.
In this Case I could come only to the Party on Friday and go to the Gamescom on Saturday :)
Ron, do you know at which time you will be there? I know, you will not have a lot of time for a talk.but just to see you live in person one time would be great.
You made a lot of my Childhood memorys and are responsible for o lot of my actual humor :)


Ron Gilbert - Jul 31, 2015 at 09:04
I'll be at the party, but won't be at Gamescom on Sat or Sun.