Thimbleweed Park Podcast #11

by Ron Gilbert
Jun 26, 2015

Over 2 mins of bonus material because I forgot to stop recording!

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

- Ron

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 26, 2015 at 18:24
I must say that this is one of the games I've been most excited about in my life!

Przemek - Jun 27, 2015 at 18:17
True! The funny thing: I had absolutely no idea about kickstarter campain for the game. I was watching Douglas Crockford's video about JavaScript on YT one night (, then jumped into his homepage, saw a link to article and booooooom! Right in the middle "Thimbleweed Park: A New Classic Point & Click Adventure! by Ron Gilbert & Gary Winnick" link. Then I hade no other options than clicking it and then the awesome "Support Us" button. What is also important: the first adnventure games I ever played were Indy 3 at my high school's PC and Zak on my Amiga 500. With these games I started learning english by pressing pause on every dialog line and searching through pages of my dad's english-polish dictionary for translations. Then I got interested in programming and finished my MSc degree in computer science at Warsaw University. In other words, Zak and Indy 3 had quite important influence on my life. Hmm... ...or maybe it was some kind of accident with aliens' mind bending machine. Who knows. I am still not quite sure. And now, with Thimbleweed Park... Should I be affraid? ;-)))

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 27, 2015 at 18:46
I also missed their Kickstarter campaign. :-( The first I played was Maniac Mansion for NES in my native language Swedish. I took a beginners course in Ada back in 2009, but I think I'm not very good at abstract thinking because it was hard for me to understand it. Maybe I need to spend more time trying to program.

Ron Gilbert - Jun 27, 2015 at 19:01
I think we did a really bad job of getting the word out. I still run into people that not only didn't know about the Kickstarter, but didn't know about the game until I just told them.

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 27, 2015 at 19:30
I found out about the game when Kickstarter showed successful projects from 2014. I bought the game using PayPal and I hope I can change it so I can buy the soundtrack as well. I'm telling everyone I know about Thimbleweed Park. Thank you very much for your comment, Ron! :-)

Mario Faross - Jun 28, 2015 at 04:36
i think, if you would have mentioned that David and Mark will join the project on kickstarter, i guess you would have gained more backers and money.  but it's too late anyway, just do that on TP2. ;-)

David Fox - Jun 28, 2015 at 18:40
@Mario, Ron did mention that I was joining the project in one of the Kickstarter updates during the campaign (Dec 10):

The reason Mark wasn't mentioned back then is that he wasn't on the project yet.

But nice of you to think we would have driven more backers/money to it!

Mario Faross - Jun 30, 2015 at 05:01
yeah, i read that. it was update 10. funding was already rolling, but not to late though.
i am sure you'll do better on the next game. ;-)

Przemek - Jun 30, 2015 at 17:40
I have just checked polish pages related to gaming and there is a lot of information about Thimbleweed Park. So the good news are out there and I just missed it. :-( And you make a lot of work on your blog talking about the project progress. That is awesome, in my humble opinion!

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 26, 2015 at 18:32
PS. Thank you for the nice bonus material! :-) I always buy the special edition of movies on DVD because I really like bonus material.

Dominik - Jun 26, 2015 at 19:17
@Gary: Have you and Mark figured out the final graphical Style for the game? Because this seems to me like Part of the preproduction Phase?! Woud be great to hear your thoughts on that bcause I recall it was quiet a Hot topic in the comment section!

Hearing you guys talking about comments from the blog makes this seem so real - weird! :-)

Dominik - Jun 26, 2015 at 19:32
@Ron: In the podcast it is said that you broke down the playthrough into several Parts. Does this mean the "dreaded" save functionality Works now or how did you proceed?


David Fox - Jun 27, 2015 at 04:53
@Dominik, Ron added lots of debugging tricks for us to make it easier to move around in the game's universe. We can immediately jump to any room, and we can pick up any inventory object via a pop-up menu. We actually weren't playing the game this time, just moving from room to room and taking notes on changes/additions we needed to make.

Dominik - Jun 27, 2015 at 16:51
Thank you for clearing this up, David!

Would it be possible (and a good idea?) to record the next playthru from you guys? That could be a really interesting blog post (after the game was released, of course).

David Fox - Jun 28, 2015 at 18:42
Probably not a good idea since you'd then see entire sections of the game and would be *SPOILED* for playing the game when it came out. Maybe at some point we could do that with a small section of the game that wouldn't result in a spoiler...

Dominik - Jun 29, 2015 at 02:47
Of course! I meant after the game's release. A short shnippet with minimal spoilers would be of course greatly appreciated before that ;-)

man - Jun 26, 2015 at 20:21
wasnt the title "revenge of the jedi" conceived in order to wheat out all those companies who where making unlicenced star wars products? (only the real producers knew the title would eventually be return of the jedi, and those who wrote revenge were just guilty)

David Fox - Jun 27, 2015 at 04:55
Hah! Interesting theory... had never heard that one before. Guessing that's not actually what happened though. The name was changed to "Return" so far in advance of the release that any company could probably still have created unlicensed products if they wanted to. And Lucasfilm was famous for being very protective of its IP and would go after any company producing unlicensed products, so maybe not even worth it.

Paulup - Jun 28, 2015 at 12:10
I always wished LucasArts had made a Star Wars adventure game... like Indy 3 and Indy and the Fate of Atlantis, but with Star Wars.
Were there ever any plans for something like that?

I'd have loved to have been Luke and done stuff like "pick up lightsaber," "use Force on jawa," "talk to Uncle Owen," etc.

David Fox - Jun 28, 2015 at 18:45
Not during the time I was there (which was 1982-90). We actually were prohibited from doing any Star Wars games during the 80s due to already existing licenses with other companies (Atar for arcade games, Parker Brothers for home games, and other companies who paid big bucks for a license). I would have loved to do that if we were allowed to. On the other hand, being able to stick with mostly original stories/ideas meant we could pretty much do what we wanted to. I'm not sure if we would have been given the freedom to create an edgy/whacky Star Wars game!

Big Red Button - Jun 29, 2015 at 09:42
I've read that Lucas wanted to make sure that Star Wars stands for action. But adventure games would have provided too little action for Star Wars, I assume.

Nevertheless I hoped for a Star Wars adventure game, too, until LucasArts abandoned point & click adventures.

Ron Gilbert - Jun 29, 2015 at 09:56
David is right. It was just a legal issue that prevent us from making Star Wars adventure games. But in the end, I'm glad we couldn't. There would be no Maniac Mansion or Monkey Island if we could have because it's all we would have done. Partly because we were all Star Wars fans, but also because they would have made a ton of money and it's all the company would have wanted us to make. Just look at what happen to LucasArts after they could make Star Wars games.

Paulup - Jun 29, 2015 at 10:05
Phewf, close call then! I would not swap any of the games that did come out for a Star Wars game (but it would have been nice to have one in addition to them)...

Though I also think Indiana Jones probably works better as an adventure game than Star Wars would have, because part of Indy's character is going around exploring places and working things out, which fits in perfectly with adventure games, while it may have been harder to fit Star Wars into an adventure game mold.

Big Red Button - Jun 29, 2015 at 12:51
You're right, Ron and David, the legal issue was actually a lucky chance. The subsequent flood of Star Wars games was simply uninspired. There has actually never been any Star Wars game that appealed to me as much as Maniac Mansion or Monkey Island did.

Giulio - Jun 27, 2015 at 04:51
Please do implement dialogs as in MI. In my opinion dialogs really are a fundamental aspect of an adventure game. Many of the funniest moments I can remember come from them!

Ben Henson - Jun 27, 2015 at 21:43
Mmmmmmm, bonus material!

Natalija - Jun 28, 2015 at 04:58
Hello Ron,hello Gary,hello David,hello Mark.

Peter - Jun 28, 2015 at 06:31
Today, I was reading the Wikipedia Article on "Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders". Is it true, that the whole team Thimbleweed was working on the production of "Alien Mindbenders"? I read: Director: David Fox, Designer: Ron Gilbert, Artist: Gary Winnick, Enhanced versions: Mark J. Ferrari. If that's the case, I would like to ask David, if "Thimbleweed Park" is going to be similar to "Zak". Currently, I'm playing Zak, because it's avaible on GOG.COM ( What I liked very much is the scene in the airplane, where you use toiletpaper in the washbasin, push the button that the stewardess is comeing and go to her cabin, to put a egg into the microwave! Super funny! :D

Maybe a second question to David Fox: Is it possible, that in the future there will be an official "Zak 2" ?


Director(s) David Fox
Designer(s) David Fox
Matthew Alan Kane
David Spangler
Ron Gilbert
Artist(s) Martin Cameron
Gary Winnick
Enhanced versions:
Mark J. Ferrari
Basilo Amaro
Writer(s) David Fox
Matthew Alan Kane

Peter - Jun 28, 2015 at 06:33

Here is a great Interview with David Fox:

DZ-Jay - Jun 28, 2015 at 07:37
Hi, Peter,

I don't want to speak for Ron and his team, but I will tell you that they are the same people.  That is why we are all excited about the Thimbleweed Park project:  it's genuinely being designed and implemented by the same team who made our favourite games from the 1980s! :)

By the way, I believe they also collaborated in different capacities and at different times in other projects as well.  For instance, Ron, Gary, and David designed and developed Maniac Mansion.

Ain't it cool?

Peter - Jun 28, 2015 at 08:19
But what I don't understand: Ron and David are saying, there will be no "Zak 2" or "Monkey 3a", because Disney owns the rights. But how could Tim Schafer work on "Day of the Tentacle Remastered" or "Grim Fandango Remastered", if he is not owning the rights?

Franklin - Jun 28, 2015 at 12:17
Tim is not making squeals to DotT and Grim, he got Sony to license the originals from Disney, he didn't even do that himself. The truth is Tim is desperately trying to save Double Fine by doing deals like this. People love to call DF an indie developer, but did you know that Broken Age is the ONLY game DF has ever done that wasn't funded with big publisher money. In 10 years, they have done ONE indie game. Tim is just really good at spin and hype.

Peter - Jun 28, 2015 at 12:38
Thanks! Do you know the release date for DOTT remastered? I would love to buy it, because it was my favourite game, besides Monkey Island and Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis (that would be my Adventure Game Top 3 from Lucas Arts: 1) Monkey1; 2) DOTT; 3) INDY FATE OF ATLANTIS). I bought all the old games via Steam and GOG. Do you know where it is possible to buy "Last Crusade". I'm german and live one year in France (Paris): In France it was possible to buy Last Crusade on Steam, but back in Germany it is not possible...

a - Jun 29, 2015 at 11:26
Broken Age may have been their first self-funded game, but they've done others since then. Spacebase DF9, Massive Chalice, Costume Quest 2, etc.

David Fox - Jun 28, 2015 at 19:38
True! Ron and Gary designed Maniac Mansion, and I came onboard to do much of the SCUMM scripting. Ron made several changes to SCUMM for Zak, and was available for brainstorming sessions plus spur-of-the-moment design questions (and Gary did the character animation). I was the designer/project leader/scriptor, and Matthew Kane came on to help with the design and scripting. On Indy3, Ron, Noah Falstein, and I were the designers/programmers/scriptors. I don't see Gary listed on this one, but he may have helped with animation.

Nor Treblig - Jun 28, 2015 at 13:01
Yes, the stewardess puzzle was great! You should also read following post if you haven't already:

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 28, 2015 at 15:46
Really incredible, that after many many years, there is still someone who is playing Zak McKracken And The Alien Mindbenders for the first time, despite of the "old fashion" graphic! That's becuase "the graphic doesn't do the game" !

Peter - Jun 28, 2015 at 16:03
I'm 34 years old, I remember that I had it on my C64 when I was 8 or 10 years old, but never finished, this is my first time finishing the game on my Macbook Pro OSX10 after 25 years... :D

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 28, 2015 at 16:33
So, this is the time to get it and finish once for all! Welcome!!

Peter - Jun 28, 2015 at 17:55
If "Thimbleweed Park" has the atmosphere of "Zak Mckracken", it is a real great game. When I was a child, I was much impressed by the general atmospheric Aspect of a game like "Monkey Island". Today, I would say "Zak" is nearly exactly as good as "Monkey", because of his great very subtil humour (for example the squirrel, the stewardess, the sleeping bus driver (with the kazoo)).

Really loved also this one:

Marco Lizza - Jun 29, 2015 at 03:50
To be honest, Zak is pretty much more Adams-influenced and humorously alike.

I really love Zak and played it to death, but Monkey Island is just more articulated and really fun to play. It represents one of the rare cases where a technology leap forward really served the gameplay.

Peter Brodersen - Jun 29, 2015 at 07:05
How were volume triggers implemented in the original SCUMM games if any? For instance when you got close to Edna in the kitchen in the beginning of Maniac Mansion (or at least when the room panned enough to the right)? Were these implemented on a case-by-case basis?