Play Thimbleweed Park at PAX East

by Ron Gilbert
Mar 31, 2016

We're not only going to be showing Thimbleweed Park at PAX East, we're installing four state-of-the-art interactive stations so you can sit down and play Thimbleweed Park.

We'll be part of the always awesome Indie MEGABOOTH and will be joined by some of the best indie game devs around. I look forward to hobnobbing and sharing war stories about game dev.

This will be the first time we've opened the game up to the public and it's nerve wracking. What if everyone hates it? What if the MEGABOOTH is packed, except for the deserted Thimbleweed Park booth? What will we do with several hundred unclaimed mouse pads? Those are the thoughts that race through my head and keep me up at night.

Hopefully they also make us try harder and be better. You're a tough crowd.

We'll post more about our prep, showing what we're going through to get everything ready.

- Ron

Adam - Mar 31, 2016 at 12:02
I'll take an unclaimed mousepad! :) good luck!!

Stefan - Mar 31, 2016 at 12:06
Don't worry, people will love the game -- even if it looks a little pixelated :-)

Ikaru - Mar 31, 2016 at 12:23
DAmmit!!, i'm too far away!!. Be honest... it gonna be full of people.

Paul Jacobson - Mar 31, 2016 at 12:30
Use the mouse pads as make shift helmets so when you are tracking down those last few bugs in a few months you can smack your head on the table and remain conscious to carry on working =)

Personally I reckon you'll run out within about 30 seconds of the doors opening ;)

urielz - Mar 31, 2016 at 12:43
Dang! PAX already sold out here in Boston. I would have love to check it out :/

Miles - Mar 31, 2016 at 12:54
I'd like to join soo much but there's an ocean dividing me from destiny! This will work out well, I'm very sure.

Mattias Cedervall - Mar 31, 2016 at 13:14
I wish I could go there!

Brian S - Mar 31, 2016 at 13:24
Wow - that looks like a fun conference, especially the Indie Megabooth.  I would love to be able to attend.  I went to schedule a trip to visit my family in New England, until I heard it was sold out.  Looks like Thimbleweed Park has a nice central location in the Megabooth as well:

Brian S - Mar 31, 2016 at 13:28
Hmm.. but wait - StubHub has tickets for about a 3X markup available...  Need to think this over.

Francesco Marciare - Mar 31, 2016 at 13:30
Me too, I'm too far away. How pitty. I wish you a lot of good comments and (good) press coverage.

Please ship 5 mouse pads the the following address.

Just kidding.

(Wasn't sure about my answer on the "Seckrit Question" but now that I see that this very constructive post is online, it's a relief)

tcmsurfer (Andreas) - Mar 31, 2016 at 13:31
Mousepad ?!? - *want* - Ship me one here to Germany! I got money! (not that much though!)

BTW, can there be any A2 size Posters of the nice background art of some of the rooms? I would *love* to have one of those for my office! If nothing else (since shipping and production etc. costs so much), could you supply "hi res" poster templates of a few rooms and allow them to be poster printed, pretty please ?!? You could "sell" those templates and watermark em if you like.

The occult book store background would make a perfect poster for example.

Sadly cost/shipping/taxes are always an issue when you live in another country than the one of origin.

Best whishes from a fellow software dev (no games though) and fan.

Brian S - Mar 31, 2016 at 13:43
Will you be recording the gameplay sessions that occur during the show in some way? (I mean, recording the game action in log files, so you can playback in a debug mode later, as opposed to video recording?)  I assume a lot of the gameplay will occur "unsupervised", but may reveal issues with the game...

Ron Gilbert - Mar 31, 2016 at 13:57
The game records a ton of analytics right now. We can see every click a player did, every objects they interacted with or picked up, plus every dialog choice they made. It's useful for see how a play tester went though the game, and for bug testers to double check the game state when they find a bug.  Currently there isn't enough information to produce a playback, but that is possible and I might add that (just for fun).

Brian S - Mar 31, 2016 at 16:40
Nice.  I would imaging a playback capability also has the potential to save considerable time later in the project when you are doing a lot of testing and bug fixing.  At least that's the kind of rationale *I* would usually use when trying to decide if I have the project time/budget to add a cool/fun feature. :)

Jammet - Mar 31, 2016 at 17:20
I remember Monkey Island and some other games had these neat little keyboard shortcuts to start gameplay recording, and also play it. I was really fascinated by it, and pestered friends and people to play the game, and I would start recording the game session and be able to watch that as many times as I wanted later. Might sound a little creepy bit it was great fun! Though half of the time, the playback got out of sync XD.

Ron Gilbert - Mar 31, 2016 at 17:22
We were just recording the cursor position and the frame number on click. If anything (random) happened differently, then it would get hopelessly lost.

Martin Wendt - Apr 01, 2016 at 01:20
Unless you initiate your PRNGs with exactly that, frame count during clicks. This might be slightly less straight forward in non Assembler languages though... :)

Kalle - Mar 31, 2016 at 14:03
Mousepads would work as nice comfy carpet tiles, right? I bet they'd work as acoustic tiles as well.

Or as makeshift bedding in the back alley after the game bombs and takes all your money, your car and the house.

So don't worry Ron, you got options!

Marc - Mar 31, 2016 at 14:54
Bit off topic but ... This video deals about Maniac Mansion in CGA compositie mode and it looks surprisingly good! at 8:03 you see green gras and plants while 9-pin D-sub CGA uses purple and cyan. Was MM especially written with composite CGA in mind?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 01, 2016 at 06:19
Cool video, Maniac Mansion starts at 4:56.
The first time I played Maniac Mansion was on Commodore 64, 16 colours. Later, I think in 1993, I replayed it on Amiga with more colours. But even if it was in 4 colours CGA, I am sure it would have been nice anyway.

Marc - Apr 02, 2016 at 16:58
Look up one message: apparently the cga version was made with more colours in mind when utilizing a composite video monitor.

Mario F - Mar 31, 2016 at 16:09
thats a pity. someone else can play it before i as a backer can. that sux. btw. where are the cigarettes? ;-)

Big Red Button - Mar 31, 2016 at 17:34
Never forget that this game has already been a financial success!
I haven't checked out the other exhibitors, but I'm pretty sure that it might rather be your game that attracts the visitors like no other game at the booth. There are too many fans of MM, Zak and MI out there who would immediately recognize the classic GUI and then wallow in nostalgic feelings. A lot of people are probably going to attend PAX East just because of you!
Moreover, there will be no leftover mousepads, unless you don't display them sufficiently. That's a fact.
You see, there is no reason for being nervous! ;-)

It's a pity that I won't be able to attend.

Have a nice time there!

PS: The character animations above are fine!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Mar 31, 2016 at 17:52
Don't worry, since the Kickstarter campaign, the game *IS* a success.

Brian S - Mar 31, 2016 at 20:30
Just saw this new article (came out a few days ago, but well over a week after GDC).  Great Q&A Interview format.  I especially like Ron's comment: "A lot of people look back at Monkey Island and they go, oh, that game took me 40 hours to play through! Yeah, but you were 12."

I wonder what kind of press coverage will come out of PAX East.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 01, 2016 at 06:11
One of the images in that article shows an interesting inventory item : "moldy cheese". I wonder if it should be used with some stale bread?

Brian S - Apr 01, 2016 at 11:53
Interesting, I thought I remember "moldy cheese" as an inventory item in an earlier adventure but I could find only one reference when I did a little searching now, and it was from King's Quest V - the reward from a very poor puzzle design requiring pixel hunting in a dungeon with a fish hook (without any reason!).  Perhaps this is a subtle homage :)

Sebastien Frippiat - Apr 01, 2016 at 03:58
Well, if you have too many mouse pads left, you can always put one in my game box when you ship it :)

Userious - Apr 01, 2016 at 08:55
Why doesn't at least one of the two agents puke once in a while in the idle animation?

Nor Treblig - Apr 01, 2016 at 15:20
They are just bored, they haven't visited S&D yet...

Arto - Apr 01, 2016 at 20:14
They should, both, every now and then. And the corpse, too.

Natalija R. - Apr 01, 2016 at 12:52
Ron, why can't I comment anything on your blog Grumpy Gamer on the last post (April fools day)? P.S. I was waiting for your to post it :-D

badde - Apr 01, 2016 at 15:19
Very professionally! A game with no updates at the time of delivery! Old school ; -)

Necrosis Thanatos - Apr 01, 2016 at 16:46
Not everyone will hate the game.  I'm sure there will be one or two people that like it.  And the booth won't be deserted.  I mean, you'll be there, right?  You can sell the unused mousepads on Ebay.  At a loss, of course.  Just thought I'd help you sleep better at night.  :-)

Userious - Apr 02, 2016 at 11:37
Also, bring an air compressor and pump the booth air into a tank. You can sell the Timbleair later on in tin cans. Sell it as "Timbleair Director's Sniff". All that sweat and tear vapor, condensed into a nice tin can.

Gffp (gas fueled Ford prototype) - Apr 02, 2016 at 22:24
If people desert Thimbleweed park booth it means that they have been informed about where you guys are signing autographs.
I've my gas fueled car but unfortunately there is more than an ocean between here and Boston.

vertexar - Apr 03, 2016 at 21:55
Will you have available mouse pads and t-shirts the last day? ;-)
(I can only make it the last day).

Mathieu "Zorch" Martin - Apr 04, 2016 at 16:47
I hadn't considered this until just now - will the characters blink?

Ron Gilbert - Apr 04, 2016 at 17:14
Yes, they blink.

Andreas - Apr 06, 2016 at 05:25
Will the amount of idle animations per character be equal to a prime number?

James Katarski - Apr 08, 2016 at 04:11
And PAX Australia? Huh? HUH?


Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 08, 2016 at 06:04
Hello, I was looking the PAX EAST website:

In the list of indie games, I can't find Thimbleweed Park. What is the reason?
Thank you!

Ron Gilbert - Apr 08, 2016 at 09:29
That's the PAX Showcase, we didn't apply for that. We're also in the Indie Megabooth, so we might not appear on the list of exhibitors.