Thimbleweed Park Podcast #10

by Ron Gilbert
Jun 19, 2015

Join this week's hilarious podcast where I talk about losing $30,000 of the Kickstarter money.

You can also subscribe to the Thimbleweed Park Podcast RSS feed if that's 'your thing'.

- Ron

P.S. I apologize for the volume of my voice being so low, damn it Jim, I'm a game designer not an audio engineer.

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 19, 2015 at 19:00
I can't find the volume control on the embedded Soundcloud. :-( Soundcloud is always too loud! :-(
Ron, the volume of your voice was indeed low, but I read your lips!

Karl - Jun 20, 2015 at 14:32
Unfortunately they don't have any volume controls on the embedded player.  I'm not sure why making you go to the Soundcloud site just for a volume knob is a good thing, but they never asked me (or anybody else I'm sure).

Peter Campbell - Jun 19, 2015 at 20:30
Great podcast as always.  A huge exclamation point appeared over my head when I read the part in the description about the kickstarter money, glad it turned out as being just a simple math error lol.

I'm really looking forward to seeing a finalized room in the game, comparing the wireframed version of a room that Gary does to the reworked version that Mark does.  I'm curious as to how Mark reworks and redraws a wireframed room; what the process, what tools he uses and whether or not he has to completely redo all of the pixels or just make slight alterations to them.

I bet you guys are glad to be getting out of pre-production and now you can really start to go full steam ahead with building the game.

Orcan Ogetbil - Jun 19, 2015 at 22:55
Circus at night time. Hmm.... Sounds pretty neat. I don't think I saw anything like that before.
What is the name of it? Farfalle Sisters?

Arto - Jun 20, 2015 at 13:01
Circus at night time was actually seen earlier here on this blog, illustrated by Mark.

Orcan Ogetbil - Jun 20, 2015 at 15:03
I guess I missed that

Peter Campbell - Jun 20, 2015 at 15:47
Most of the entire game takes place at night, to add to the game's creepy mystery theme.

Peter Campbell - Jun 20, 2015 at 15:52
Gah, wish there was an edit feature lol.  Anyway, let me rephrase my post...

Most of the game is going to take place at night, while things like some of the flashbacks will take place during the day and the end of the game/epilogues may take place post-dawn.  Ron mentioned that nighttime adds an extra sense of mystery/intrigue to the town, given that this is a game with a creepy murder mystery theme among other weird X-Files type of secrets that are hidden around the town.

Zarbulonian - Jun 21, 2015 at 15:48
I don't remember reading this, where was it mentioned?

Peter Campbell - Jun 21, 2015 at 18:59
Doing a quick google search.... I can't find the specific blog post that this is from because the date of the post seems to be incorrect but here's Ron's response to someone asking if the game takes place at night, aka the "blue hour".

"Yes, almost the entire game takes place as night (or the blue hour as you stated). The one exception are the flashbacks, some of those take place during the day. Night is just a lot more interesting visually and the colors can have a more feeling and mood. Also, Thimbleweed Park is a big mystery and mysteries are a lot more fun in the dark." - Ron Gilbert

Peter Campbell - Jun 21, 2015 at 19:03
Oh,  actually it was this here, the name of the blog entry is even listed in the link I posted in my previous response lol.

The last couple posts talk about nighttime/the blue hour.

Zarbulonian - Jun 22, 2015 at 08:16
Thanks, I had missed that very post (it was posted one day after the rest of the thread).

Simon - Jun 20, 2015 at 19:37
If you have problems with your audiofile and leveling or background noise or ANYTHING really, try running it through I have been running a podcast myself and using it on a regular basis. Can definitely recommend it!

Greetings from Germany,

Sushi - Jun 21, 2015 at 03:49
Question for Gary and Ron:
I hear you talking in this or one of the previous podcasts about perhaps adding shading or lighting. This made me realise that in all your pixel art the character is typically illuminated from left/above. Could you elaborate on the technical impact and work involved to add more dynamic lighting?
For what it's worth, I never missed dynamic lighting in MM or Zak (kind of binary lighting with the grey silhouette in dark rooms), while sometimes (monkey island Special Edition comes to mind) dynamic lighting feels unnatural. In humanoid robot faces, there is a kind of barrier where the human brain accepts things but when it becomes more realistic, it is perceived as creepy instead of more realistic. Dynamic lighting on 8-bit pixel art might suffer from the same?
What are your thoughts on this? Perhaps you can add some video in a next blog post. Perhaps I totally misunderstood what kind of shading and lighting effects you would like to add to the engine, in which case a short video would help to explain.
It's been so long since the last video post! :D

Rene - Jun 21, 2015 at 04:43
During this podcast got me thinking....i hope there will be "lots" of objects in the different rooms that wont really do anything but still can be clicked on and experimented with. Like..."open door" would result in some kinda "its the dont go piss in an adventure game..!" or "Pick up tree root" equals a "are you kidding me?" response.  I always liked that about the old adventure games. In the modern adventures most rooms would mostly only highlight objects that were usable and required to solve a puzzle - in which case the adventure game really becomes a movie you just play through - and thats boring.

David Fox - Jun 21, 2015 at 22:16
I love those too, and they're fun to write... especially after the 100th object and I'm just feeling really punchy and crazy stuff starts appearing on the screen as I type.

Zuckerberg - Jun 21, 2015 at 11:53
Thank you David for asking Ron what he means by "pre-production" vs. "production" - I was scratching my head about that since, I think, Podcast #3. Coming from a film background, for me, the work you described (actually programming, scripting, doing rough mock-up rooms, etc.) pretty much felt like "production" already... Now it's clear.

Talking about production: I'm a bit obsessed with "creative working environments" and behind-the-scenes. Already back in the days, while playing MM, MI or the Indy games, I was wondering how you guys work, what it looks like where you are and came up with all this stuff, "on the ranch", what the overall team spirit was and if you have passwords written on the wall behind paintings, to be found by looking through a telescope....
Now, with this blog, the podcast and all, the veil has been lifted quite a bit, and that's fascinating! Thank you for that!! And even though you're now working as a distributed team - what about taking a snapshot of your work den or office space and posting it here? (Asking if at least one of you took a photo or two 25 years ago, to post for comparison, well, would be Totally-Unreasonableā„¢ - right? ;)

David Fox - Jun 21, 2015 at 22:14
You're welcome @Zuckerberg. I actually asked Ron what he meant earlier in the week, and thought it would be good to ask again for everyone to hear. I also think of pre-production as the preparation stage, getting the design nailed down, maybe the art style, storyboards. That's true here, except the storyboards we're now creating is really a "wireframe" version of the world with rough placeholder art. And in my case, most of the scripting I'm doing so far is also just to get the connections between rooms in place, plus some spot animation (where I can animate a light going on and off, a door opening/closing, etc.) I did do one cutscene between two characters, just to exercise the system.

When the final art comes in, most of the scripting will stay in place, though I'll likely have to re-do walkboxes and move the location of objects (like doors) since the room layouts will often change.

Zuckerberg - Jun 22, 2015 at 07:32
+1 for another iteration of the process!

I now think my confusion with pre-prod and production stems from the fact that I'm still unsure about how TWP will look. Much of the art posted, the "wireframes", reminded me of MM and thus looked "final" - with you guys still talking about pre-production.., while I now understand TWP will look more like MI2, telling from Mark Ferrari's circus. A big "aha!" and a slap on the forehead.

BTW, I had overseen a first "this is my working space" snapshot: on Ron's very first blog post here, day_1...

Peter - Jun 21, 2015 at 17:52
Dear Team Thimbleweed,

one thing: I love adventure games, but I would love even more, if there is no romantic scene like the love between Guybrush and Elaine or the romantic Moments in "Broken Age" in "Thimbleweed Park". To be honest: I like love, but not in Art and not this ordinary "Girl loves boy, boy loves girl - but it is soooooo difficult to realize the romantic love" - love! I would prefer something with black humour, like "Day of the Tentacle". If characters please no beautiful characters, more silly but funny characters!



Ron Gilbert - Jun 21, 2015 at 18:57
There are no mushy love scenes in Thimbleweed Park. Ray and Reyes maintain a purely professional relationship, Delores isn't interest in dating right now, Franklin is dead and who the hell would ever go out with Ransome.

Dominik - Jun 22, 2015 at 11:04
Who could love Ransome?

Eaaaasy! He has a helium-filled balloon animal that floats behind him (on a leash) and which he talks to regurlarly during the game (and it answers in his mind). There could also be a special puzzle where the animal looses air and needs to be re-inflated.

So, even a creepy ass-clown ( can in fact be loved by a special someone (or in this case something) :-)

Herman Toothrot - Jun 22, 2015 at 05:00
Could be a reason, that "Thimbleweed Park" is so successful, because "Fox/Gilbert/Winnick/Ferrari" are back together? Is it comparable with a old band, that has a comeback tour? :D

Petri - Jun 22, 2015 at 17:27
Looking forward to hearing more about your solution for "directing" the cutscenes. I was trying to do something like this recently in a game jam project, and struggling with the scripting - and wondering what kind of a tool would be useful for it. What David mentioned - a tool that you could draw movements by hand - sounded interesting..

Patrik Spacek - Jun 23, 2015 at 11:12
Guys, you were talking about budget. I know you lost 5% from KS, but also you will lost bunch of money for shipping to backers. Have you counted that?

Ron Gilbert - Jun 23, 2015 at 11:13
Yes, production and shipping of the rewards has been accounted for.

Mike Hansen - Jun 24, 2015 at 07:05
Regarding the postscript, I AM an audio engineer. I missed the Kickstarter, (though I've prepayed), so I'd be happy to contribute in-kind. If you'd like some levels adjusted or noise cleaned-up on the podcasts, or if you ever need urgent access to a Pro Tools rig, a variety of mics, or an Apogee AD converter at 3 AM, let me know. 10 minutes from Seattle.

Schala - Aug 24, 2015 at 20:03
I'm catching up on a few months worth of blog posts and podcasts (gotta love the busy-ness of life) and only now did I listen to this. Very informative conversation as always. Ron, I'm glad you took up someone's previous suggestion and put the Thimbleweed Park music at the end of the podcast too. :)