Thimbleweed Park Podcast #22

by Ron Gilbert
Sep 19, 2015

They say better late than never, but in the case, maybe never is better than late. We were plagued with technical issues, so apogees all around for choppy audio in places. It's only a podcast about making a game, it's not like we're describing how to do brain surgery.

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

- Ron

Farooq - Sep 19, 2015 at 12:39
Is there a picture to go with this? I really wanna gaze at something while listening to this.

Mattias Cedervall - Sep 19, 2015 at 12:44
David, avoid lousy Apple!

David Fox - Sep 20, 2015 at 15:29
I'm an Apple fan. Been using Macs since 1985... Too late to switch (I've used Windows when I need to, but my productivity drops dramatically and my frustration level rises just as much).

Patrik Spacek - Sep 20, 2015 at 15:47
Financing,  no interest...  good to go.

Mattias Cedervall - Sep 20, 2015 at 16:22
I'm sorry to hear that, David! :-( I'm a computer technician that don't like the user interface and the price of Apple's computers, but I do have great respect for Steve Wozniak. Thank you for your reply, David!

Ron Gilbert - Sep 20, 2015 at 16:33
Well, the Thimbleweed Park dev environment only works on OS X, so there isn't really a choice. Like David, I've been using Macs since 1985. I use Windows only when I have to. I just couldn't work on a machine that didn't have native bash and unix tools at my finger tips. Every time I use Windows from the command line, it feels like I'm using a toy. Largely it's just personal preference. OS X has a lot of down sides, but no more or less then Windows, just different ones.

One of my huge issues with Windows is there is no firewall like Little Snitch. I want to block every outgoing connection to the Internet and white list only the ones I want. Little Snitch does this and I've never found a good one for Windows. In this day and age of everything reporting back to the "home office", I never use a computer without it. It's just stunning how every little program you run sends information home, even if it has no reason to do so and you have no idea what it's sending.  I just block them with Little Snitch when it pops up saying "Notepad" wants to connect to the Internet. "No, no it doesn't."

Mattias Cedervall - Sep 20, 2015 at 18:48
I see. I must add that I hate Windows 8's user interface. I prefer XP or 98. There should be a Little Snitch-alternative for Windows... I know a guy that is a network technician so I can ask him if you want. Thank you for your reply, Ron!

longuist - Sep 21, 2015 at 02:45
Using Linux atm, but when on Windows...
use TinyWall. Free, blocks almost everything unless explicitly said otherwise. No pop-up-crap. Try this when testing TP on Windows.

Bogdan Barbu - Sep 21, 2015 at 04:01
I feel you. I also prefer the UNIX programming environment. Even though I still use WIndows for development sometimes, I drop into Cygwin and do all my work from there; I don't even run Vim natively. The only downside is that I still can't use Valgrind that way.

By the way, UNIX tools can indeed run natively under WIndows (i.e., without an emulation layer on top of the Windows API) since the NT kernel is modular: it runs things called subsystems, such as NTVDM (for 16-bit DOS and Windows programs), Win32, Win64, and OS/2. In versions prior to Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2, the SUA (Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications) could be enabled in the Control Panel but they deprecated it since.

It's a good thing I was here, now everyone is saved!

Natalija - Sep 19, 2015 at 12:47
Why were you late? And why is only your voice choppy? I didn't notice Gary and David had choppy voices.

Natalija - Sep 19, 2015 at 12:48
P.S. choppy.. I love to say that word loud: "Choppy,Choppy.." .. So cool!     :-D

Christian - Sep 19, 2015 at 12:52
One important thing just came into my mind: Can we expect any revival of the goldfish from Zak McKraken? ;)

Qe - Sep 19, 2015 at 12:52
The Ray/Reyes conversation system sounds useful for when you've just loaded a game and haven't played in a while, too.

urielz - Sep 20, 2015 at 16:31
True. Another way to solve that problem is to have some kind of in-game journal that tracks what you've done so far...

Kim Jorgensen - Sep 19, 2015 at 14:32
Will you tell us how save games will be implemented, Ron?

Patrik Spacek - Sep 19, 2015 at 15:53
i got question to previous post about xbox dev. Ron mentioned he is filling up the paperwork for MS. what are their rules to be able to obtain xbox dev kit? i am sure they wont give it to everyone, and how much each cost?  thanks

Ron Gilbert - Sep 19, 2015 at 16:06
Not sure what the MS rules are for getting a devkit. It's not like the App Store, so you need to have and be working with a contact at MS and they will get you the devkits. As part of our deal, they gave a few devkits, so I don't know what they would cost if you had to buy them. They are just an xbox with some small change to the hardware/formware and can be used as normal consoles, so I image they don't cost much more then a retail xbox. The paperwork we had to sign was all NDA stuff.

Patrik Spacek - Sep 19, 2015 at 16:17

Dan - Sep 19, 2015 at 18:03
Speaking of complex dialogs: I've just started to play Gabriel Knight. The dialogs in that game are widely humorless and definitely overlong. I'm sure that you are doing a better job than them!

Michael Hoffmann - Sep 20, 2015 at 16:18
The dialogs in Gabriel Knight are not meant to be humorous. Not every Adventure game is supposed to be a comedy, you know! There is a substantial amount of fans who prefer games with a serious tone and for them Gabriel Knight is the holy grail of Adventure games, which is fine by me. You simply can't compare the dialogs in Ron's games with Gabriel Knight - totally different target audience.

Dan - Sep 20, 2015 at 18:38
You're right, that humor wouldn't be very appropriate. I respect the game's popularity. That's the reason why I started to play it. And I admit, that it also has some assets. But I dislike the design of the dialog trees for some reasons.
Well, I'm still at the beginning, therefore I'm still open to change my mind about some details.

some dude - Sep 20, 2015 at 18:22
And it's got that strange "tape recording" thing with all dialogs you've already gone through. I don't even remember using it, I'm not sure what it was intended for. That game is a classic but it definitely has some weird things I don't like, but hey... it's Sierra!

Peter Campbell - Sep 19, 2015 at 19:37
8-bit VR makes me think of Nintendo's Virtual Boy.  Quite possibly the worst thing ever invented lol.

urielz - Sep 20, 2015 at 16:35
VR game with Mark Ferrari's art? Epic. Seriously. :D

Iron Curtain - Sep 23, 2015 at 19:38
I could think of worse things, like the Atari Jaguar CD-ROM add-on. At least the Virtual Boy was functional when you put a cartridge in. The Jaguar CD-ROM always crashed upon booting, or so I've heard…

Zombocast - Sep 20, 2015 at 05:49
This is how I imagine all that Parallax-ed art looks like on the Oculus Rift:
Don't break the Matrix Ron. You may end up a vegetable.

Jammet - Sep 20, 2015 at 08:50
Looking forward to the box! Hope I really can up my pledge at some point. With paypal.

Mario - Sep 21, 2015 at 15:50
i like the way, the inventory colors are different for reyes and ray. good choice to go with grey and blue.

Does ransom the clown get red?

David Rasch - Sep 25, 2015 at 14:46
You've mentioned several different libraries through the past podcasts and sought feedback on different experiences in past entries including:
- OpenGL
- some animation library
- some sound library

Can you remind us what these libraries are and any others you've found really valuable?