Thimbleweed Park Podcast #34

by Ron Gilbert
Dec 19, 2015

Where we fulfill our legal obligation to talk about Star Wars on a podcast.

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

- Ron

Andreas (tcmsurfer) - Dec 19, 2015 at 16:03

Andreas (tcmsurfer) - Dec 19, 2015 at 16:18
Nice podcast! ...with sound FX (tm)

Helge Frisenette - Dec 19, 2015 at 16:47
Do you ever feel like just starting crunch now to make it less grueling and soul destroying?
Well, I mean why not just work a bit faster in general from now? Real crunch is not something you can stand for more than a month or so.

Ron Gilbert - Dec 19, 2015 at 16:58
It's why we have sprints, they are mini-crunch modes. If there is too much work to do, you slip the project or cut features. Burning people out is never the right solution. You can do it for 1 or 2 months, but that's about it. After that, you're not getting quality work.

You can also work smarter, in that you stop dealing with little details and hit the big stuff.  Save the little stuff for later because most of it doesn't need to be fixed anyway once it's seen in a grand context.  This is the mode we will start into in Jan.

What you can't do is just "work faster". Something else has to give, and that is usually quality.

vegetaman - Dec 19, 2015 at 20:22
The old mantra of "Cost", "Quality" and "Schedule" (Pick 2). And yeah, burning people out is the absolute worst thing.

Helge Frisenette - Dec 19, 2015 at 17:23
Well, by faster I meant put in more hours. I would be surprised if you are slacking now, but if you have a deadline, those hours are going to come from somewhere.
All I'm saying is, better to spread them out now while you have the option. What's best one hour more a day now or crunch? Honest question.

the guy - Dec 19, 2015 at 17:51
Hey-ho: there is a petition on about Ron Gilbert's Monkey rights!

Everybody sign it and let's try to make the world a better place !

Mattias Cedervall - Dec 19, 2015 at 19:00
I signed it!

Bogdan Barbu - Dec 23, 2015 at 04:21
What a silly petition. While I'd love for Ron to own the rights to MI, you can't just ask a business to give up its property. I see two potential outcomes:

1. The petition will silently die off. This is by far the most likely result.

2. The petition will get enough signatures to make Disney consider making a sequel of its own. And even if they asked Ron to contribute, he'a unlikely to agree without having creative freedom (according to him, not me).

For the record, I also loved MI3 and MI5. (Ron was even involved in the latter, for all you cult people out there.) While MI4 had a couple of gems in it, was kind of a bore---I never even finished it.

Mattias Cedervall - Dec 19, 2015 at 19:00

Sushi - Dec 20, 2015 at 05:03
"That's called Natural Selection"  lol
Ominous music: lol
"Episode 1 is the best": you're a bunch of comedians. If the finished game is as funny as these podcasts are, we're in for a real treat.

Sushi - Dec 20, 2015 at 05:11
Regarding Episode VII, which I saw last Wednesday (one advantage of living in Europe:)! -NO SPOILERS- and the out-of-orderness of the film releases: do you know the real reason behind that?
It's because of Yoda: "yes, in charge of the order I was, mmmhh!"

Arto - Dec 20, 2015 at 06:22
LOL. But if Episode I would have been released first, there wouldn't have been Episode II or the rest of the saga.

Gae (Gffp) - Dec 20, 2015 at 11:31
Since Star Wars 7 appears to be a big remake, mixing elements from the original trilogy, (especially "a new hope"), thus costraining the plot and the whole story in something not fresh and already seen (Geroge Lucas said" fans will like it" but not his creator-director' soul) I appreciate even more the choice to work on a completely new plot for Thimbleweed Park, instead of something like Monkey Mansion or Maniac Island.

Iron Curtain - Dec 20, 2015 at 19:10
What makes you think the plot will be anything like Maniac Mansion or Monkey Island? If anything, what little we heard about the plot for Thimbleweed Park makes it sound like an original plot for a Lucasarts-esque graphic adventure game.

Gffp - Dec 20, 2015 at 20:29
Absolutely nothing.  What I said is that Thimbleweed Park is a completely new adventure with new characters and I appreciate this choice. Mr. Gilbert has shared a text with the early ideas of the borning game, made to decide the plot together with mr. Winnick: among the titles there were Maniac Island and Monkey Mansion. Didn't you read it? Maybe you missed it... nevermind

Iron Curtain - Dec 20, 2015 at 21:48
Whoops. I reread what you wrote again, and I misread it the first time. My apologies.

Gffp - Dec 21, 2015 at 04:34
Don't worry I know that I'm not very fluent in english. I think that the most of you have to read my comments two times before you get the point eheheh

Iron Curtain - Dec 21, 2015 at 08:02
It's not your fluency in English (if anything, you're quite fluent!); it's just a reading comprehension fail on my part.

longuist - Dec 20, 2015 at 14:09
I fully agree! Thanks for THE totally unique right from the start special edition game of the year 2016 and 2017.
Don't need mi3a. (Just send me an envelope with the secret ending in it. 2 sentences at most please, my time is precious)

Zarbulonian - Dec 20, 2015 at 17:21
I'm going to miss this podcast once the game is done.

It's just reeealy pleasant to listen to your laid back conversation.

Michael Hoffmann - Dec 20, 2015 at 19:39
Same here. Therefore I wouldn't be too disappointed if the game is pushed back a couple of months. No need to rush, guys! :-)

Zarbulonian - Dec 20, 2015 at 20:49
Well, they may not be as relaxed as they are now in that case...

Christopher Griffin - Dec 21, 2015 at 11:49
To us, there is no need to rush, but for them who have a limited amount of money to complete the project -- there IS an inherent need to at least meet the deadline.  After the deadline passes, you can think about paychecks drying up (until a revenue stream is realized, i.e. the game's completion and release).

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 20, 2015 at 18:32
Don't say anything about SW7, thank you. One has been hit for 5 minutes because he revealed the ending while exiting the cinema.... you have been warned... ;-)

Sushi - Dec 21, 2015 at 02:25
What a jerk!! But also what an overreaction! Does anyone like Star Wars episodes 4-6 or 1-3 any less, after seeing them and thus knowing the plot? (I can imagine some of us liked some episodes BETTER before actually having seen them. Knowing upfront that Jar-Jar Binks was such an annoying character helped me prepare and not bother too much). But I can safely say that SW7 is still a joy to see even if you would have read the entire script in advance.
Anyway, the ending of this movie is a credits roll... Not so much of a surprise, eh? Except if some animals actually were harmed this time, I might have missed that.

Ema - Dec 21, 2015 at 05:04
I always had this idea as a kid: If I ever would be a director one day, I'll write in the credits of my first movie "some animals were harmed during the production of this film. We sprayed some insecticide because one day the set was full of mosquitoes. Our truck accidentally ran over a rat. And finally, the sound technician had a non-veggie burger on the sly, but he got in serious trouble with us".

Sushi - Dec 21, 2015 at 05:57
I saw a movie once - I forgot which one- that actually mentioned the director's dog being neglected during filming. Or something to that effect...

Roman - Dec 21, 2015 at 02:43
I know it's not Friday-Pod-Cast-Question-Day, but anyway...Talking of Star Wars and George Lucas, what was his role when it comes to Lucasarts Games? Was he heavily involved or not at all? Did you meet him in person? Did he ever play the games?

Besides of this, enjoy the holidays...

Gary Winnick - Dec 21, 2015 at 13:39
George was not really a game player- given how busy he was working on film projects as well as developing the next generations of digital film technology. However, he did recognize that interactive game development was an important evolutionary step and was very supportive of the group. He would stop by occasionally to review demos and offer story related advice. Interestingly, Steven Spielberg who later came up the concept for 'The Dig' was an avid player of our games.

Ema - Dec 21, 2015 at 17:06
Yes... I remember someone of you saying that Spielberg used to call you asking for hints... Do you remember particular puzzles where he got stuck, and what did he like the most of your games?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 21, 2015 at 17:57
The Dig, how wonderful it was!! It seemed to play inside a movie!!
Why Steven Spielberg decided to make a game instead of a movie of "The Dig"?

Jammet - Dec 21, 2015 at 19:10
The Dig is still one of my favourite point and click adventures to this day. The nice and big shiny box with it's metallic effects is sitting right behind me on a shelf. I'm a bit of a fan of survival stories, as well as science-fiction of many kinds. So a Robinsonade on a distant planet was dream come true.
I also read the novel. Maybe I should re-read it sometime.
There hasn't been any game like The Dig, since that came out.

And the graphics was the most amazing I had seen. So colourful and detailed in that resolution. A print magazine critiqued them for not going Super VGA. I'm still shaking my head about that one, today.

Mattias Cedervall - Dec 22, 2015 at 07:42
I hope Steven Spielberg will play and enjoy Thimbleweed Park!

Peter Campbell - Dec 22, 2015 at 00:18
There's a trend going on in recent years with Director's Cuts upon release on DVD and Bluray that I think is a hugely positive thing for both directors and viewers.  

- A studio will demand that a film not exceed a certain running time and tell the director to cut so many scenes out of a film or trim them down.  Often times these scenes help to flesh out the story and characters and really do nothing but benefit the overall film.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a perfect example of this.

- A movie aiming for a PG-13 rating, often times a horror movie, will have to cut out a lot of content that the ratings board would deem R-rated material, and upon DVD/Blu Ray release the director can just re-add these scenes back into the film because the rating no longer really matters at this point.  The Grudge is a great example of this.  Not a masterpiece by any means but a good solid ghost flick, the 8 minutes or so of re-added footage really made a huge difference in making the film much more gloomy and frightening than the theatrical version.

I wouldn't be surprised at all to see The Force Awakens get a director's cut upon home video release, as JJ Abrams had to cut a lot out of the film (it was reported only 20 minutes worth, but there's no doubt it was a lot more than that) , otherwise the film would've been on the border of a 3 hour running time.

GoTal - Dec 22, 2015 at 00:28
Will there be STAR WARS stuff in Thimbleweed ? ...or some Star Wars like jokes?

Peter Campbell - Dec 22, 2015 at 00:55
Yep, there's a sci-fi convention going on during the game as seen here:

Carlo Valenti - Dec 22, 2015 at 09:05
What is this Stars War stuff you're all talking about?

Peter Campbell - Dec 22, 2015 at 12:55
Ronald Reagan's name for his military satellite program , of course.

Zuckerberg - Dec 23, 2015 at 09:33
how in the world did you manage to get invited to a Star Wars screening at Pixar's? Old Lucasfilm connections? What a perk...