Thimbleweed Park Podcast #53

by Ron Gilbert
Jun 11, 2016

Two blog posts in one day! It's the end of times! Better listen to this podcast quickly before it's too late!

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

You can also get the podcast directly from iTunes.

- Ron

tcmsurfer - Jun 11, 2016 at 21:06

It's just 3am here... oh well....

tcmsurfer - Jun 11, 2016 at 21:25
Cat is still up, dog is asleep, children are down and my wife slumbers gently....

Finished the podcast, looking forward to the next, now I csn go to sleep.

Good night!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 12, 2016 at 07:25
Checking your statement and the time of your comment, I deduce you are living in a region of the same TimeZone of mine :-)
Can I ask where are you from?

tcmsurfer - Jun 12, 2016 at 08:56
Europe is big, Germany is, too :)

I'm from Germany.

Nor Treblig - Jun 12, 2016 at 12:47
This one time it's not one from Italy. But it's interesting there are so many adventure fans from Italy, at least many are active here on the blog!

xor - Jun 11, 2016 at 21:58
I wonder if you can get TesterTron 3000™ to write blog postings. It would be interesting to read his opinion on the game.

Ron Gilbert - Jun 11, 2016 at 22:08
TesterTron 3000's thoughts on the game:


Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 12, 2016 at 07:28
01001111 01001011 00101100
00100000 01010100 01001000 01000001 01001110 01001011 00100000 01011001 01001111 01010101 00101110

Mister T - Jun 12, 2016 at 19:10
How rude!

Arto - Jun 13, 2016 at 10:34
01001110 01101111 00101100 00100000 01101001 01110100 00100000 01110111 01100001 01110011 00100000 01110010 01100001 01110100 01101000 01100101 01110010 00100000 01110000 01101111 01101100 01101001 01110100 01100101 00101110

Mister T - Jun 13, 2016 at 12:29
01001110 01101111 01101110 01110011 01100101 01101110 01110011 01100101 00101100 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01101111 01101110 01100101 01110011 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01111010 01100101 01110010 01101111 01100101 01110011 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01101010 01110101 01110011 01110100 00100000 01100111 01101001 01100010 01100010 01100101 01110010 01101001 01110011 01101000 00101110

David Fox - Jun 13, 2016 at 13:44
01011001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100111 01110101 01111001 01110011 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101111 01101111 00100000 01100110 01110101 01101110 01101110 01111001 00100001

urielz - Jun 13, 2016 at 15:52

Sushi - Jun 13, 2016 at 16:23
00110000 00110001 00110001 00110001 00110000 00110001 00110000 00110000 00100000 00110000 00110001 00110001 00110001 00110000 00110001 00110000 00110001 00100000 00110000 00110001 00110001 00110000 00110001 00110001 00110001 00110000 00100000 00110000 00110001 00110001 00110000 00110000 00110000 00110000 00110001 00100000 00110000 00110000 00110001 00110000 00110000 00110000 00110000 00110000 00100000 00110000 00110001 00110001 00110000 00110001 00110000 00110000 00110000 00100000 00110000 00110001 00110001 00110000 00110000 00110001 00110000 00110001 00100000 00110000 00110001 00110001 00110000 00110000 00110000 00110000 00110001 00100000 00110000 00110001 00110001 00110000 00110000 00110001 00110000 00110000 00100000 00110000 00110000 00110001 00110000 00110000 00110000 00110000 00110001

longuist - Jun 13, 2016 at 16:27
00101011 00110001

Nor Treblig - Jun 13, 2016 at 18:26

longuist - Jun 14, 2016 at 04:32

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 14, 2016 at 04:38
This is for Real Programmers:


Nor Treblig - Jun 14, 2016 at 08:08
Fb lbh unq gb nqq rkgen haarprffnel pbagrag gb trg n pbzcerffvba engvb orybj bar?
Ng yrnfg zl grkg vf frpheryl rapelcgrq!

Nor Treblig - Jun 14, 2016 at 08:10
@Zak Phoenix McKracken:
Such puzzles wouldn't be really an enjoyment for a lot of people... But there could be an easter egg!

longuist - Jun 14, 2016 at 16:35

Guvf gbbx n juvyr, v thrffrq vg unq gb or n fhofgvghgvba pvcure, ohg v gubhtug bs fbzrguvat gbb pbzcyvpngrq :/
(V nz n sbby va pelcgbtencul)

V abg ernyyl unq gb nqq haarprffnel pbagrag, zrnavatshy jbhyq unir orra fhssvpvrag :)
Nf guvf pbzcerffvba zrgubq gnxrf nqinagntr bs gur ercrgvgvba bs erpheevat cnggreaf, n ovttre vachg grkg jvyy yrnq gb n orggre engvb, fb lbh ner evtug nobhg gung.

Lbhe rapelcgvba vf uvtuyl fbcuvfgvpngrq, ohg gb znxr vg fgngr bs gur neg lbh fubhyq KBE vg jvgu 0k69 :)

Nor Treblig - Jun 14, 2016 at 19:11
@longuist (note: for portability reasons you should consider changing your name to Int32uist or Int64uist)


longuist - Jun 15, 2016 at 09:19

"I’m more confused than mere words can convey".

I said i am *BEEP* at cryptography and therefore at a loss. Hexdecimal and then what? Even unXORing with 0x69 does not work. And everybody knows this is the holy grail of applied cryptography.

Nor Treblig - Jun 15, 2016 at 16:25
I used XOR as last step so yes, this is the first thing you should do (but then there is another step but it should be fairly obvious).

Of course I used XOR for *encryption*, for decryption you have to use unXOR :-)

uint64_tuist - Jun 15, 2016 at 17:58
Argh, the tool i used mangled the hex-values. Adding more conversion steps leads to the famous "security by obscurity". Yes, we now have reached the pinnacle (of my patience :)

Btw, even though XOR and unXOR is the same and thus the word is bullshit, i declare it as marketing term. Prepare to get sued.

Nor Treblig - Jun 15, 2016 at 18:33
Then you better shouldn't have used unROT13, I'll sue the hell back!

Oh no, what happened to your sign?

uint64_tuist - Jun 16, 2016 at 04:47
OBJECTION! No No, i have used ROT7 + ROT6 (+ROT26 obviously) consecutively , so you can call it customROT13.

Ace of base-2:

I ditched the sign and it opened up my eyes
I ditched the sign
Coding is demanding without understanding
I ditched the sign and it opened up my eyes
I ditched the sign
No one's gonna drag you up
To get into the Endianness where you belong
But where do you BeUINT64

Carlo Valenti - Jun 12, 2016 at 08:52
And here is the whole game (final release) : 1

Oh, it's dictionary compressed.
I received it from the aliens in the dessert, but I lost the dictionary, and could not resist to eat the dessert.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 12, 2016 at 12:39
The message I wrote is meaningful.
Just click on my name to get an hint...
C'mon, aren't you skilled Lucasfilm adventure game players? ;-)

Carlo Valenti - Jun 12, 2016 at 16:23
Ok, thank you.

Brian Small - Jun 13, 2016 at 14:53
I had to hunt online for one (backup was to write a Perl script).  Little did I know you snuck a link in with your post.  A new sneaky purpose for the "Website" field - excellent!

Carlo Valenti - Jun 13, 2016 at 18:18
Maybe aliens are going to give me again one dictionary in the dessert...

Milo Casagrande - Jun 13, 2016 at 03:44
There might be a bug in TesterTron 3000 because the output is not valid. Just saying. :-)

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 12, 2016 at 01:54
It was very dramatic to hear the beginning before the beginning of the podcast!

It's fantastic that Thimbleweed Park will be at E3! :-)

Ron, maybe there's a 3,5 to USB-adapter for the headset you desire?

Ron, do you ask a friend or relative for help with hard math?

tomimt - Jun 12, 2016 at 02:36
I wanted to add my two cents to the "to bleeb Random or not."

I played through Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love For Sail recently and that game has one charcater, Peggy, who's a foul mouthed pirate type. Her cursing is partly bleebed out, in the way of that you hear her saying some milder words, like shit etc, but the more fouler words have been bleebed so, that you can almost make out what she's saying. That works pretty well in my opinion, as it also makes the charcater seem fouler.

Peter - Jun 12, 2016 at 06:18

Nor Treblig - Jun 12, 2016 at 12:39
Finally we have templates for close-ups! (make it an option...)
And for Ransome we could use Tim Curry as It.

Nor Treblig - Jun 12, 2016 at 12:49
(P.S.: I've selected an image where he is smiling, it's creepy but not too horrific. Think of the children!)

tomimt - Jun 12, 2016 at 16:46
While it would be nice the hear Curry in the role, he probably still hasn't fully recovered of his stroke a couple of years ago.  At least he hasn't been very active since then.

Nor Treblig - Jun 12, 2016 at 17:35
I've heard of it :-(

But I just meant close-up images like they were used in MI1, which Ron will willingly add (with an option to turn them off of course).

Jammet - Jun 12, 2016 at 14:58
Thanks for another fun podcast! :)

I think I finally updated my voicemail recording enough today to feel satisfied with it, overall. :] Will sound like I've left town. Possibly to never return! :] Leaving you guessing why.

Gffp - Jun 13, 2016 at 03:04
How did you manage to solve the issue with gender of names, if you did? I think that French, Spanish and Italian have all the same issue, since most names of things have a male or female gender. Do you have to rewrite them as single objects in order to allow translators to associate them with their gender and related pronouns? A solution would be to repeat always "this object" as a general expression (or the name of the object itself) instead of the pronoun.

Also these Romance languages have enclitic pronouns (they form a word with the verb) :
- English: "I_can't_use_[it]_this_way" (neuter object, every thing);
- Italian:    "Non_posso_usar[lo]_così" (male object) "Non_posso_usar[la]_così" (female object);
- Spanish: "No_puedo_usar[lo]_asì" (male), "No_puedo_usar[la] asì" (female).

In the classic adventures from LucasArts, in Italian they used male as a neuter gender. They always say: "Non_posso_usar[lo]_così".
Also in English there's only a definite article, which is the same for all genders and numbers. In Romance languages they are different:
El pueblo, la rosa, las plumas.... Then I think that with Scumm they were forced to write every noun with a single entry for the gender and number (there are also single things that are plural, like scissors), or maybe to write them with their article, because the article could be without vowel with many nouns... ([la] rosa - female- , [l']amaca -female too-).

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 13, 2016 at 04:07
I remeber an italian version of Monkey Island, publised in late 90's, where the verbs were at infinite mode and every object had its proper article, for gender accomplishment.
So, for example, "Pick up seagull" was translated with "_Prendere_ *il* gabbiano" instead of "Prendi gabbiano".
Every object had its proper article.
Anyway, I don't think it's an issue for Ron, but for the translators.

Gffp - Jun 13, 2016 at 05:35
Yes, if the translators have the possibility to insert the name of a thing together with its proper article, there is no problem, noun and article go as a single entry. The verb should be in imperative form without any issue. The problem is that I think there is a function that associate an answer that goes well for many actions requested by the player. You have also to consider that English use definite article less than we Romance languages speakers do. E. g.:
Use [fuel] with [wooden house]./Use [pizza flyer] with [lamp]  ----> I can't use [it] this way.
Usa [la benzina] con [la casa di legno]./Usa [il volantino] con [la lampada]. ----> Non posso usar[lo] così./ Non posso usar[la] così.
But, since every noun has a single entry and the possibility to be marked as male/female/neuter and to be together with its article, there will be no problem.
I think also that the issue is zero also when there's a single specific answer to a requested action:
Use fuel with wooden house ----> I'm not that desperate.
The other issue, as Sushi said, is with generic answers that involve gender of the grammar subject, evident in adjective or past participle (in many languages they have gender too).
If the above would be a generic answer, it should allow different genders, since there are different characters (males and females).
Action requested to agent Rey: Usa la benzina con la casa di legno ----> Non sono così disperat[a].
Action requested ro agent Reyes: ""                                                              ----> Non sono così disperat[o].

Gffp - Jun 13, 2016 at 03:25
Oh, you actually answered one of my questions in the podcast, so it will be possible to associate every noun with a gender, as a subject and as a object...

Sushi - Jun 13, 2016 at 03:38
Hi Ron,

regarding those male/female bits. Do you have a 1 bit flag that can be set to either male or female? Beware that there is also a group of genderless words in some languages, so you need to have at least two bits to cover three options : "he, she or it"

Also beware that the gender of a word isn't necessarily the same in different languages that have nouns with a grammatical gender. So how does that work, is the translator able to change the gender bit(s) for every object, allowing to correctly translate a generic response like "I don't need  it" when picking up an object? i.e. "I don't need her/him/it." - but then in another language-

To make matters worse, you also have languages where not only nouns are gender specific, but also the adjectives are (most roman languages). So if you have a generic response, you need to foresee a male/female response. E.g. "I think I am in love" would be translated differently in French when said by Ray or Reyes. The problem is that you don't know upfront if a particular sentence needs a complete gender specific translation or if it is just a matter of substituting the gender bit(s) for the "it" reference. Worst case you'd have to foresee two lines for each line of (generic) dialogue that can be used by  two actors of opposite sex.

In Portuguese, even "thank you" is either "obrigado" or "obrigada" depending on the gender of the who is expressing his/her gratitiude (luckily it is not dependent on the receivers gender)

anyway, short recap: 3 genders needed for every object/actor, 2 gender-specific place holders needed for every common/reusable dialogue line (assuming inanimate objects won't talk)

Daniel Wolf - Jun 13, 2016 at 04:46
+1 :-)

In German, 'spoon' is male, 'fork' is female, and 'knife' is neutral. I agree that that knowledge needs to come from the translator.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 13, 2016 at 05:05
Great analysis, Sushi!

Ron Gilbert - Jun 13, 2016 at 10:29
There is not a 1 bit flag 1 = female, 0 = male, that would be a rookie move. 1 = female, 2 = male, 3 = neutral, 4 = etc...

That said, there is only so much we can do, given this is a very complex issue. We'll try and get as much as we realistically can given our time and budget constraints. Even big AAA tiles punt on this issue. We could spend months and months of developer time on this, but I don't think anyone wants the game delay or rooms cut to get the resources to fully deal with the idiosyncrasies of different languages. We'll do our best, but realistically, that going to be make it 80% right.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 13, 2016 at 05:10
This thread about translations, gender and articles popped in my mind a curiosity, maybe it could be a question for the next Friday-questions-podcast:

Why Largo's last name is "LaGrande" and not "*IL*Grande"? It's one of the Ron's tyops or there is a reason behind it?

Ron Gilbert - Jun 13, 2016 at 10:32
I grew up in the town of "La Grande" Oregon. That is where he got his name.

Mystery solved!

Daniel Wolf - Jun 13, 2016 at 10:41
Another childhood illusion shattered! Playing MI as a child, I was sure the female surname was some sort of obscure pun!

Arto - Jun 13, 2016 at 10:46
Oh, and there's Island City nearby.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 13, 2016 at 16:55
Ah! Thank you!
LaGrande... fantastic! This is a story to tell sitting down on a log, around a firepit!

Big Red Button - Jun 13, 2016 at 18:10
I've always wondered about the derivation of his female surname, too. Now I know that it's a nice town midst of a great landscape!
By the way, due to his first name "Largo" I've always assumed that it had to be pronounced italian and used to trill when I said his surname, but I just read that it's actually French. I've always gone without voice acting, but I can't dismiss that voice acting provides clearness in terms of the pronounciation.

Arto - Jun 13, 2016 at 10:44
It rhymes. Sort of.

Ron Gilbert - Jun 13, 2016 at 10:54
This is where I grew up:

We moved from there just before I started college.

Carlo Valenti - Jun 13, 2016 at 14:40

Sushi - Jun 13, 2016 at 16:18
The infamous Gilberts' Mansion Mansion !

TM !

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 13, 2016 at 16:58
Wow, looks like a wonderful place!

A. - Jun 13, 2016 at 18:19
Okay! Now we know where Largo originated!