Thimbleweed Park Podcast #14

by Ron Gilbert
Jul 17, 2015

We talk about earthquakes and actors in brackets, whatever the hell that means.

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

- Ron

Frank Einstein - Jul 17, 2015 at 20:26
I certainly also think you should keep the big head characters, as in Maniac Mansion. It gives it a certain charm, even without nostalgia making my judgement.

Personally I like that C64 font. But that is only because you mentioned it was C64. Which takes me to the next point: I really hope there will be a reference to C64, like that subtle reference to Beta Max (movietron-beta-rent-2000 in the store).

Brian Ruff - Jul 17, 2015 at 21:11
Project is looking fantastic guys. Thanks for including us backers in this process.

Brian Ruff - Jul 17, 2015 at 21:17
P.S. I''m hoping we'll get to hear Mark on one of these podcasts soon.

Mattias Cedervall - Jul 17, 2015 at 21:14

I hope you keep the C64 font and the bobbleheads!

Malcolm - Jul 18, 2015 at 01:39
No-one ever wants to hear from me :(

Mattias Cedervall - Jul 18, 2015 at 03:38
What do you mean? You had your own TV-show "Malcolm in the Middle".

tommy wiseau - Jul 19, 2015 at 08:14
OH, Hi Mark

Patrik Spacek - Jul 17, 2015 at 21:33
You answered all concerns from my comment in previous article, thanks. I would also suggest to add additional characters to make the game more funny like: rat, cat, dog, birds etc. randomly behaving in some scenes.
Just question about voice overs...will you have any dialogue document for audition? I would like to participate.

A man with a tape recorder up his nose - Jul 18, 2015 at 05:00
Yeah. There needs to be a Cat named Francois, who fought in Vietnam.

Guy with broken chainsaw - Jul 18, 2015 at 11:13
If the cat is french then would it not make more sense if he had fought in the french war in Vietnam (back when it was called french indochina, from 1945-ish to 1954)? Or maybe he was the reincarnation of a french soldier who had fought for Napoleon. Or maybe it was an ordinary cat, who had his brain upgraded by a Crazy scientist called Ed, who lives in a mansion...

Guy with broken chainsaw - Jul 18, 2015 at 11:26
Or how about a russian dog named Igor? And he is a KGB-spy, who are spying on that tin-foil hat guy, who thinks the world is acctually in 3D (even though we all know the world is 2D)

Sushi - Jul 18, 2015 at 01:45
Hi Ron,

What if none of the dialogue conditions [] are true? Will the engine skip all options #1 and show the next line of dialogue on the first position?
What if none of all dialogue lines have a true condition( a corner case and bad dialogue design), but wouldn't that get the player stuck, as there is no line to be clicked on.

Oh and thanks  for your code review on my fountain dialogue!

PrinzJohnny99 - Jul 18, 2015 at 04:10
At first I understood "The Fonz in the verbs." and thought this game starts to get really interesting. But unfortunately it was just my bad english.

longuist - Jul 18, 2015 at 09:12
I'm all in for consistency. I like the *enhanced* old-school-style mark is delivering. When the shiny new inventory icons arrive, the interface font may seem odd. I trust you in finding a better font.
For my brain the c64 font is inseparable connected to the golden age of adventure games. In my (sad puppy)eyes the use of more funky, comical fonts and the abolition of verbs in general accompanied the decline of the genre. I know there is no direct connection.
So i ask you kindly, please, if you happen to find a better font, please make an option to revert the interface to this bulky, meta-pixel-y primordial font. please?!? (wish for both birthday and christmas)

Paulup - Jul 18, 2015 at 14:39
I like the idea of using a different font for the verbs - still pixelated, but something unique to Thimbleweed Park.

It was cool how the LucasArts games all had an overall LucasArts feel in common, BUT at the same time they all had their own individual styles within that too.

There were different verb styles for Monkey Island, Indy, and Day of the Tentacle and it helped give those games their own character.
I also liked how Simon the Sorcerer 1 did that as well, they aped the LucasArts verb system, but had their own font style to it.

Zuckerberg - Jul 19, 2015 at 09:43
Actually, the part about the .yack syntax was interesting... as I'd like to second Matthew's python implementation of a dialog tree parser from a few days ago with yet another parser done in Perl. It even has terminal ANSI colors for speaker coloring, yikes!

Helge Frisenette - Jul 19, 2015 at 18:29
Let me just again add that graphics like these would have been *easily* accomplishable on 1987 consumer hardware.
A well programmed Amiga, or an Amiga with a small accelerator would have been able to pull this off.
The X68000 would have been able to do this with ease.
The a Acorn Archimedes (first ARM CPU) would also have been able to do this.

The only thing that is doubtful would be the soundtrack. That could be done with a CD drive of course.  But none of the computers had a CD drive available at the time. But still theoretically and economically possible.
I'd prefer a chip tune track anyway though, I think.

So no anachronisms here.

Helge Frisenette - Jul 20, 2015 at 08:48
Just had a thought. How about if you instead of going click click, clicking click, to walk around, instead enable the player to just hold down the button (or finger on the touchscreen) and move the cursor around the screen, and the character would follow?
It would make make navigation more fluent and less stop and go.

Mattias Cedervall - Jul 20, 2015 at 12:36
Sounds good!

longuist - Jul 20, 2015 at 13:59
If yes, only as option, because after this glorious milestone the genre would have to be renamed to "hold and drag adventure"
Ever played a classic adventure with a gamepad and liked it? Then you deserve it to have it implemented :P

Dan - Jul 20, 2015 at 15:28
That's right. It only makes sense if you are using a gamepad or a keyboard, if at all.

Mattias Cedervall - Jul 20, 2015 at 15:32
You two are right now that I think about it some more. It should be an option.

Grafekovic - Jul 20, 2015 at 16:09
No. It should be point and click. It is more precise. And more classic. Maybe as an option, but p'n'c has to be in the game.

Dan - Jul 20, 2015 at 17:22
Would you ever consider a mini fundraiser via something like IndieGoGo to bring Tim Schafer on to write dialog puzzles and dialog trees? To raise enough $$ to contract Tim for a month as a writer.

It would be so cool to have a collaboration on something like that, and very fitting given the nostalgic throwback that the game is!!

I would definitely contribute!

Phaze - Jul 20, 2015 at 19:36
How about a modding tool, with which you could alter the dialogue-trees to the game and share the dialogue-packages with other players? I think it would probably create a nice thing for the community and enhance replayability.

Helge Frisenette - Jul 21, 2015 at 03:54
Of course it would still only be optional to click and drag. The two aren't mutually exclusive. If for example you are walking through a scrolling room, it makes a lot more sense to just drag the cursor to the right or left and then hold the button down until you have reached your desired spot.

It cracks me up all the people suggesting this, that and everything should be an option.
That is not how you design a great game, a great application or a great interface in general.
The game designer makes those decisions because he alone is the expert, not you.
You should receive a finished, neatly wrapped up product. Not a sandbox filled with toys.

longuist - Jul 21, 2015 at 13:40
Yes, it makes sense for scrolling rooms.
No need for a nervous breakdown. That were just suggestions, nothing binding :)

Mister T - Jul 21, 2015 at 20:05
Rather than having a look which emulates a specific time in video game development, for me the retro idea is about setting limits. A limited palette, limited animation phases, limited scrolling, etc. Limits which make the designer think about how to adapt to what it possible.

In that way I like for example the dithered background of the art, which on the one hand deals with the rule dicating a "crude" look, but using those limitations so elegantly that the initial problem or task still gets solved. This is the quality which is immensely important for me, no matter whether the final palette is closer to MM, MI2, I3 or even some fictional game from a parallel time in which graphics progressed in a different order.

Are there already limits like those defined or is it a purely artistic decision from case to case?