Thimbleweed Park Podcast #43

by Ron Gilbert
Feb 27, 2016

Gary gets a new computer and we can't stop talking about it.

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- Ron

Areanes - Feb 27, 2016 at 18:14
First time listening to the podcast sounds promising!  :)

Mattias Cedervall - Feb 27, 2016 at 19:08
Ron, have you come up with a good method to switch characters while playing?

Brad - Feb 27, 2016 at 20:25
Hi guys love the podcast and blog, can't wait to play the game. Interesting to me that Gary assumes most people will be playing on screen sizes sub 27",   I figured most people  these days would have a larger monitor on their computers than that?  Also considering the console launch,  surely most people will be playing on larger screens?  or are you expecting a larger market on the mobile platforms? I tried to find some stats on google for common screen sizes but wasn't a great deal I could find. Just curious as to why this is the expectation.   All the best guys love your work!!

Ron Gilbert - Feb 27, 2016 at 20:56
I think a lot of people who play on PC are running on laptops with smaller screens. I have no empirical data. I know when I play games on my 27", I always play windowed because I don't like giant pictures that close to me.

Don M - Feb 28, 2016 at 00:04
I don't know why you'd think that Ron, but I would bet you're very wrong.

Steve - Feb 28, 2016 at 01:14
According to the Steam hardware survey, we can guess the monitor sizes:

1920 x 1080 has 35.11%
1366 x 768 has 26.62%

Most 24" monitors are 1920x1080, I've got two 27" running that resolution too.

From what I've seen 1366x768 is a laptop resolution.

Another thing to think about is the XBox port with 50"+ TVs....

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Feb 28, 2016 at 02:03
Among other things, I manage a local cinema/theatre. Nowadays you can link a xbox to the digital projector via HDMI and play on the big screen... 18 x 11 meters size.
Imagine... You can trust me, it's very cool!

Ema - Feb 28, 2016 at 06:54
I simply can't play windowed. It breaks my suspension of disbelief.
And I get distracted by what's in the frame.

It was not such a problem since I used to play on a 19".
I recently bought a 27" retina, which is awesome for Photoshop use and allows an easy multitasking when you have multiple windows open, but if you are working on a single window it can be really fatiguing, if you do not reduce your resolution and you work windowed to limit eye (or even neck!) movements.
With my 19" I always used the same resolution, now I find myself tweaking it very often to meed my needs.

Said that, 8 bit games are an issue, since I don't like windowing and all I can do is to put my monitor as far as possible.

The same is for strategy games, where I also have to reduce the resolution in order to read larger fonts.

Conversely, I like to pump up my resolution and to put my monitor close to me during simulations, widening the view angle in the game options. So that the center of the screen lies comfortably in the middle of your visual field, while the outer frame is in the peripheral field. This makes the experience really immersive, but I think it is not a good idea do that for more than one hour....

Lennart - Feb 29, 2016 at 16:47
An awesome feature would be to have a setting to scale the game viewport down in fullscreen. Having a distraction free blackness would be cool as I'm also one of those 27" display owners who cannot play windowed for reasons of immersion.

Yes, that would be an awesome feature.

Indeed, an awesome feature.

As awesome as an invisibility neckchain, but I'm not going to say please a whole lot. :-)

Don M - Feb 28, 2016 at 00:03
I hate to break it to Gary, but I doubt most people are using a 15" monitor.  I only know of one person who *doesn't* use a 27" monitor.  The other guy only uses a laptop and that's 17".

MrKii - Feb 28, 2016 at 04:29
I'm on the other side, I only know of on person which uses a 27'  (and it's a Mac, where you choose between 21 or 27) Laptops apart, my known people range from 17" to 24". Personally I'm on dual 17" monitor, but I'm a weirdo coder, so don't count me ;)

I suppose this depends heavily on the purchasing power of the country you're in. Remember the game is played across the world :)

And then, tablets are also to be considered.

Felix - Feb 28, 2016 at 07:46
I on the other hand don't know anyone who still uses a stationary setup for private purposes.
My daily tasks at home (including occasional gaming) are done on a 12" laptop, most people I know use 13"-14" laptops.

SMB - Feb 28, 2016 at 08:41
Same here - I think there may be a disconnect between the stationary users of today using large retina monitors at home (say, in a home office setup) and those of us whose jobs do not involve the need for an large screen at home. Everyone I know uses a setup similar to mine, using small ultrabook-size laptops at home (12-13 inch), which they may or may not plug into larger monitors at work, but not at home where the computer is no longer afforded a sizable portion of a room, but rather laptops kept temporarily on kitchen tables and such, easily cleared away, or looking minimalistic on the table in closed state.

No idea how the point-and-click-crowd is distributed along these lines.

Big Red Button - Feb 28, 2016 at 05:08
In my circle of friends there a only very few people who use a 27" monitor.
Given that your device has a Full HD resolution, there might be no reason for a 27" monitor, even if it's not a laptop - unless you work all day long on the respective computer, of course, as Gary does. Therefore 27" might be an appropriate size for Gary (and probably for the other team members as well).
I myself actually own a 27" monitor, but I only use it for watching 3D movies and TV, since 27" are pretty big on a desktop and my older (much smaller) monitor still suffices for my applications. Furthermore, a larger monitor typically has a higher power consumption.

Carlo Valenti - Feb 28, 2016 at 06:19
To show the game - yet unfinished - to people like playtesters, Microsoft and so on, should be a most rewarding phase, as the others act like a mirror to ourselves : it is not like having two minds on a subject, it's more like having one mind^squared.
If one is humble enough to accept that his intelligence can be enhanced by the others, that "only I shall win" is a loss,   then it'll be a success.

Darkstorm - Feb 28, 2016 at 11:18
I personally game using a 42" tv connected to a desktop PC at 1920 x 1080.  I only use my laptop for email/internet.

I sit slightly further away then usual so I can see the whole screen without moving my head.  Probably an unusual setup, but I use the same telly for the consoles, and I don't really want to have a monitor as well anymore.

Mirko - Feb 28, 2016 at 14:01
I use 55" Tv as a monitor for my pc 💻 😀
I just sit a bit further playing 8bit games on my Amstrad CPC emulator, but close when playing modern games :-D

Nor Treblig - Feb 28, 2016 at 16:20
Amstrad CPC with a 55" monitor? That's awesome! And it's meant to be, isn't it? :-)

Jesper - Feb 28, 2016 at 13:46
Good you mentioned the voice recordings for the phone book - I totally forgot about it.. Guess I have to hurry up figuring what to say.. must try to come up with a clever way to include my two small kids who only speak Danish.. hmmm..

Nor Treblig - Feb 28, 2016 at 16:21
You have until 1st of May, see

Jesper - Feb 29, 2016 at 09:20
Thanks for digging that up for me.. can relax a bit now :)

Quarnz - Feb 28, 2016 at 17:58
Where do we upload our voice recordings to?

Nor Treblig - Feb 28, 2016 at 18:19
You should have gotten an email with a personal link where you can specify your name and upload the voicemail.

Hamustar - Feb 28, 2016 at 18:09
Btw, what's the estimated playtime, first time through?

Necrosis Thanatos - Feb 28, 2016 at 20:53
I use a 27" monitor and will be playing the game on that.  I don't own and never have owned a laptop.  For me, a laptop would be useless.  I'd probably just end up hooking a keyboard, large screen monitor, and a mouse to it anyway.  Oh, right.  No one cares.  Sorry.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Feb 29, 2016 at 03:08
Hi there!
First cover of the Thimbleweed Park intro music is coming!
(thanks to my co-worker Valerio Volpe)

Erik Hermansen - Feb 29, 2016 at 18:00
Nice cover! It also makes me reflect on how much that little ditty has grown on me. It's catchy.

dada - Feb 29, 2016 at 07:38
Frankly i have a problem comprehending this "i don't wanna dedicate too many cones to playing this game" attitude. The only reason i can think of to play it on my tablet or anything smaller than my desktop screen would be to play it in my bed, otherwise i fail to see how that is a better experience.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Feb 29, 2016 at 08:26
You are right, I used to play Ace Attorney on Nintendo DS, especially in my bed, and it was very comfortable !

Mattias Cedervall - Mar 01, 2016 at 19:34
Objection! My arms got tired from holding my Nintendo DS.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Mar 02, 2016 at 03:42
If you lay down on your side, you can place the Nintendo DS on his side, leaning on a pillow.
And your arms will not get tired!

Mattias Cedervall - Mar 02, 2016 at 09:45
Sustained even though that would get a bit uncomfortable after a while.

Gffp - Mar 01, 2016 at 19:26
I'm writing from a ThinkPad E530 laptop with a 15" screen running a stunning native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, and it was released in 2013. If you consider Retina screens in Apple laptops, it is the same, if not better. Many times I have to increase the dimension of things in programs (OS included) because they appear too small.

It should be possible to generate pixels always using the native resolution of LCD (Led oled plasma are the same), otherwise the images will lose their sharpness and clearness, and it would be very unpleasing for a game that want to reproduce the aesthetical sensation of old pixels, with no antialiasing and such things.

zui - Mar 01, 2016 at 21:16
27 inch compared to 15 inch: 3.24x larger in size, 2.8444x in pixels.

Quite some OS X machines run on MacBook(Pro)s which means sizes of 15/13/12/11 inch.

Sushi - Mar 02, 2016 at 01:54
"Whenever the player does something unexpected, a window with the three of us should pop up, saying : no you are playing it the wrong way!"

Mmmh... So you're basically going for the Sierra-style now? And you're even being lazy about it!! Sierra, at least, always came up with a thousand of *different* ways to say that ("oops! You're dead" or in Franklin's case: "oops, you found inner peace and passed on to another plane of existence that we didn't bother to render") :P
(17" laptop, 20" desktop)

DZ-Jay - Mar 02, 2016 at 07:11
Hi, Mr. Gilbert,

This is a completely off-topic and random question, but I hope you could provide some guidance based on your experience.  I will re-post this in your other general blog, just in case you feel it more appropriate there.

I would like to understand how you implemented walk-path and collision detection in SCUMM for Maniac Mansion.  It seems to me that computing the intersection of arbitrary concave polygons (even if one of them is a simpler rectangle) would be expensive, especially on such a primitive machine like the Commodore 64.

I myself am implementing a similar framework for an even more primitive machine (the Intellivision), and have thought of just constraining walk-paths to extremely simple rectangles.  However, I cannot help but think there may be clever solutions that might help with a more general application.

Also, were all other object-region collisions implemented the same way?  I mean, is collision with the borders of the screen or doors just part of the "walk-path" region, or were there more specialized mechanisms for each one?

Thank you in advance for your attention.  I look forward to your response.


Soren Ladegaard - Mar 03, 2016 at 04:55
Who's up for the challenge of converting the game to Amiga? Let's say a stock A1200 with harddrive? Would it be possible? Would an accellerator with extra RAM be required?

Epic Interactive Entertainment obtained the rights to Simon the sorcerer 2 and did a CD-ROM AGA release for the Amiga in 1999.
And in 1994 some crazy people did Lemmings for the Commodore 64.

Why not Thimbleweed park (talkie version) for the Amiga?