Thimbleweed Park Podcast #52

by Ron Gilbert
Jun 05, 2016

All your Friday Questions answered!*

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You can also get the podcast directly from iTunes.

- Ron

*for small values of all.

R.C.M. - Jun 05, 2016 at 20:13
LOL, gotta love the cursing conversation!

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 05, 2016 at 21:00
I hope there will not be act transition-cards.

I agree that there shouldn't be an hint system.

David, I buy movies I like on DVD even if I first saw them on TV for free.

Nor Treblig - Jun 06, 2016 at 08:28
I like act transition-cards!

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 06, 2016 at 13:26
The game feels more fluid without act transition-cards that I think breaks the fourth wall.

Nor Treblig - Jun 07, 2016 at 05:07
It always felt like an accomplishment when reaching a new act. But it will be fine without them I'm sure.

Ron will instead show a big dialogbox in the center of the screen: "Achievement unlocked" :D

Big Red Button - Jun 07, 2016 at 08:01
Me too, but I can live without them since MM has no act transition cards either.
If they made an homage to Monkey Island, act transition cards would be a must, of course - as well as bobbing heads instead of bobble heads. :-)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 05, 2016 at 21:31
Hi, it's 3:28 AM, I just finished to serve my country (it's election day for most cities, including mine). What is the best way to finish this long journey? By listening to the podcast :-)
Intesting and funny,  as usual!
Good night

Nikola - Jun 06, 2016 at 04:43
I remember the times when podcasts were 5 minutes long.

e - Jun 06, 2016 at 05:11
How about doing a podcast dedicated to your approach on game sound? Film director Peter Greenaway has said that 60% of cinema is sound, even if viewers don't really even realize sound is there if it's done right. What's it like from a game designer's perspective?

How have things changed now that you can have the same sound effects and music in every version of a game on different platforms and hardware doesn't really limit you anymore?

TheTrond - Jun 06, 2016 at 07:04
Tabs, ftw!

Nor Treblig - Jun 06, 2016 at 08:15
Tabs vs. spaces is not really a thing.
It's tabs. EOD.

Nor Treblig - Jun 06, 2016 at 08:16
On a serious note: The important thing is to decide it at the beginning of a project and then just keep it consistent.

Sushi - Jun 06, 2016 at 15:06
Well, that depends on x in your :set tabstop=x and :et

Nor Treblig - Jun 07, 2016 at 05:07
x is 4 of course. Spoiler alert: et flew home, there is no et anymore!

Sushi - Jun 10, 2016 at 15:49
You mean ':noet' ?

Nor Treblig - Jun 10, 2016 at 17:12

Nor Treblig - Jun 06, 2016 at 08:30
Regarding Let's Plays: I like to watch them to decide if a game is worth it. Especially I want to see how the gameplay is like which you nearly never see in trailers (sometimes you can't even  guess the type of game...).

It's good when the presenter is emotionally invested in the game or when he explains stuff which isn't apparent to the viewer (e.g. controls are responsive or not).
Otherwise I just want to see the game and I prefer them to shut up :-) (I perceive many of those popular Let's Players as annoying...)

Bogdan Barbu - Jun 06, 2016 at 09:55
I don't like tabs because different people's editors are configured differently. Things will not be aligned for everyone unless they either restrict their coding style to avoid multi-column alignment (e.g., consider a class definition that contains multiple lines like this one: "<tab>type<tab>variables;") or unless they only use tabs for the first column alignment and then just switch to spaces.

But, yeah, we have tools to help minimize the conflict. :)

longuist - Jun 06, 2016 at 10:14
Word. Automatic tab to 4 spaces is the (only!) way to go :P
And for the sitcom, i dont get why this is funny. Its *f**BEEP**ing* serious.

longuist - Jun 06, 2016 at 10:17
Yes, thats an överloud f, a piddly beep and a earthshak ing. As intended.

longuist - Jun 06, 2016 at 10:26
Do you take measures so the mono-pixel-color-cycling-retro-mode (MPCCRM™) runs with a decent and steady framerate? I fear micro-stuttering could turn out to be makro-stuttering. Especially the VR version (2x1 Pixel) should be synced.

Christopher Griffin - Jun 06, 2016 at 10:56
The big average-colored pixel comment totally reminded me of a device that someone invented that you leave turned on in your living room while you're out to simulate a television on while you're actually away from home!

Jammet - Jun 07, 2016 at 03:58
We're totally seeing movie theater simulations withing the scope of current VR implementations these days. People like to put frames in a frame. A computer screen would show a fake window to the alps. The holodeck of Star Trek could show anything from abstract to high detail simulations. Games like "You have to win the game" (that's actually the title) simulate older computer monitors, including even the curvature of the display. Generally, nostalgia, retro, "home cinema" of the future, that's all a thing. :)

Christopher Griffin - Jun 07, 2016 at 17:33
Sony was doing it with PS Home starting quite a few years back.  It was interesting to see it used, but I still found myself running off, because the content was meh.

Actually, the thing I was most excited to learn about was the game you highlighted here -- "You have to win the game".  This thing stole my heart in a big way, so thank you for that, kind internet stranger!

LogicDeLuxe - Jun 06, 2016 at 13:31
The big average-colored pixel comment actually reminded me of this mocking video "If Quake was done today":
Also the displayed hint system is somewhat related, and of course completely ridiculous.

Sushi - Jun 06, 2016 at 15:12
What a pleasant podcast episode! I didn't mind the traffic jams one bit this morning,  as I was listening to it in my car. Lots of lol, lmao, and so forths...

Christopher Griffin - Jun 06, 2016 at 16:39
Thanks for the birthday wishes, guys!  Even though David didn't sing, it put a big dumb grin on my face on one of the worst-of-work Mondays. :-)

Jammet - Jun 07, 2016 at 03:53
Guess that question only served as amusement for everyone, for some reason, but I for one would have really enjoyed a CRT or classic VGA monitor emulation mode. I don't think the question was meant as a joke, at all.

Big Red Button - Jun 07, 2016 at 07:45
I took a look at the screenshots that are linked in the comment, but I still think that only a real CRT screen looks like an actual CRT screen. Not to mention the curvatures. Though, according to the podcast the versions for MacOS, Windows and Linux won't have a 4:3 aspect ratio mode, so there will be no satisfactory way to play TP on a vintage 4:3 CRT monitor, even though there are some tablets with a 4:3 aspect ratio out there, which may have to be considered when they do the ports for iOS and Android, but all in all it's a modern game, made for modern platforms. Furthermore, many people wouldn't even be able to connect an old CRT screen with their machine, since VGA connectors are obsolete nowadays.
For my part, I honestly won't miss a CRT screen, since LCDs are much more eye-friendly in the long term. Whenever I play a game via ScummVM, I use an LCD as well, without any retro filter, and I'm still very happy.
Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to the retro pixel mode in TP.

Nor Treblig - Jun 07, 2016 at 18:40
It was previously mentioned that the game will support all kinds of aspect ratios which will also apply to the desktop versions (especially there will be 4:3 which is needed for iPads).

I don't need retro filters too. I also never use those advanced upscaling filters, nearest neighbour is everything I need (I don't want an algorithm to add more information when there isn't more, but maybe it's just nostalgia).

Big Red Button - Jun 08, 2016 at 05:31
Oops, I apologize, if I was wrong. Hopefully, I was wrong, even though 4:3 displays have become quite seldom! Though, in case of a 4:3 mode, the GUI shall be compressed instead of being just scaled, in my opinion. That's even a must for the pixel retro mode.

Nor Treblig - Jun 08, 2016 at 07:27
I remember Ron specifically stating this. But no need to apologise, unless you really want to, then Ron could make an option for that :-)

I'm not sure how the UI will change...
Do you mean with compressing that it should be horizontally scaling only? You can't do this with the inventory, the items and their pixels need to stay square. Also you would need the keep the pixels of the verbs square.

I can imagine two things:
- Either only whitespace is horizontally scaled and the verbs are made to fit the space (maybe with adapted letter spacing; inventory keeps its aspect ratio).
- Or the hole UI scales respecting the aspect ratio. Which could mean that in 4:3 you see more of area which is normally behind the UI.

This would be an interesting question for the podcast in three weeks!

Big Red Button - Jun 08, 2016 at 09:51
"Option" always sounds great! Whaddayathink, Ron? :-)

Your first suggestion, reducing the horizontal spacings, is my favorite, because the inventory would overall have the same aspect ratio like in the SCUMM games. But only if they also reduced the inventory by leaving one column out, would it be realizable. Moreover, the arrows in the middle would probably need to be a bit more slim.

It's an interesting question indeed.

Big Red Button - Jun 08, 2016 at 10:06
Sorry, it's not the inventory that would have the same aspect ratio like in the SCUMM games, but the whole GUI. It would seem pretty strange, if the GUI had the same aspect ratio on a 4:3 screen as it has in the 16:9 aspect ratio, because it would look extraordinarily flattened.

Nor Treblig - Jun 08, 2016 at 18:04
Oh right, removing an inventory column would be a possibility to make it narrower without needing to resize verbs too much. Though it could look quite different compared to the currently used 16:9 ratio because the screen is split in the middle (50% verbs, 50% inventory including arrows).

Maybe also the maximum width should be restricted in case of super wide displays.

Ron Gilbert - Jun 08, 2016 at 19:27
The game will be in 16:9 and 4:3.  All other screen ratios will be letter boxed. Due to it's roots, the UI was not designed to be fluid. That's not to say that it's not possible, but we have a limited budget, time and resources and the two ratios (with a little letter boxing) cover about 95% of the place you'll play it.  We have to pick our "battles". If I was doing an adventure game UI from scratch, I would make it fluid.

Big Red Button - Jun 09, 2016 at 05:13
I think, that's absolutely sufficient. The letterboxings will be very decent if there will be both a 16:9 and a 4:3 mode available, even on mobile devices, I think.
If anyone has a device that would show a heavier letterboxing effect due to a display with a very exotic aspect ratio, it's his fault, not yours, because 16:9 and 4:3 are the real deals, in my opinion.

Nor Treblig - Jun 09, 2016 at 05:57
That sounds quite arrogant and ignorant... But I only use 16:9 so I don't care. :-)

Big Red Button - Jun 09, 2016 at 07:38
That's the point. As Ron wrote, 16:9 and 4:3 already cover almost the full 100 %.
Of course, a fluid GUI would have some advantages and I understand that everyone would like to use the full screen of his device regardless of its aspect ratio, but, as Ron mentioned, it would cost both time and money. Nevertheless you are going to be able to play the game on almost any contemporary device - and the thin black edges, if any, might not be worth mentioning.

Nikita - Jun 07, 2016 at 06:15
Alas, my question wasn't answered((

Fausto Fonseca - Jun 07, 2016 at 12:43
To solve the Git issue with large binary assets we use in our company

Nor Treblig - Jun 07, 2016 at 18:46
This looks interesting.
Only thing left is the possibility to lock files (or did I overlook this feature?). They said in a podcast that they currently rename the files all the time to mimic locking. It's not pretty but it works for them.

Simon Simon - Jun 08, 2016 at 06:02
Thank you for answering my question about "let's play" videos!

Tugumi - Jun 09, 2016 at 18:45
Thank you, lovely podcast for an app.