Thimbleweed Park Podcast #54

by Ron Gilbert
Jun 19, 2016

In today's episode, we talk about redesigning a puzzle much later than we should, but that's what makes it exciting! Right! Right?

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 19, 2016 at 14:36
8:30pm and not 3am this time... gonna listen to it right away :)

tcmsurfer - Jun 19, 2016 at 14:38
"Merry had a little lam".... Nice test phrase. What is Davids ? :)

BTW when do we get the "best of" thimbleweed podcast including all the funnies :)

tcmsurfer - Jun 19, 2016 at 14:39
"lamb", sorry, pressed "Submit" too fast :)

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 19, 2016 at 17:32
Mary, not Merry.

Carlo Valenti - Jun 19, 2016 at 18:08
"I protest! I am not a Merry Man!"

tcmsurfer - Jun 19, 2016 at 15:08
int main() {
Ron, David, Gary, thank you for the lovely podcast on this Sunday evening. Just what the doctor prescribed. (I was sick since Friday)

I am looking forward to the game and hope you are going to consider making another one.

Love the contest, love the T-Shirt and Mousepad. Sadly T-Shirts are not my thing, however the mousepad is really something. I might get that one for work. If you *could*, would you also provide some extra nice posters with panorama view of building like the occult book store?!?

Anyways, see you later. Best wishes,


    return 0;

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 19, 2016 at 16:18
I'm a last minute-person so I agree that it's exciting, but also stressful.

I hope you'll have pictures of the TP team (or their avatars) in Thimbleweed Park's after credits!

Gary, who is this Mary you keep speaking of?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 19, 2016 at 17:52
"Mary had a little lamb" is a doggerel for children.

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 19, 2016 at 18:26
I know! I was just trying to kid around with Gary. Not very funny, I guess now.

Nor Treblig - Jun 19, 2016 at 20:31
Wasn't it "Gerry had a little lamb"?

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 19, 2016 at 22:52
Could be.

Christian - Jun 19, 2016 at 16:39
Please make it so that pressing the period key always shows the next piece of text. In the new Sam'n'Max-games they often had a piece of audio where the associated text was too long and skipping made you miss the remaining text of this piece.


Carlo Valenti - Jun 19, 2016 at 17:50
Hey guys, how about a stunning new piece of in-game, non-spoilerish art? Just to keep the buzz running.
Or some small piece of non-spoilerish information about Franklin or Delores? Just to make me stop talking.
Thank you! This is the best TWP Dev blog *EVER*

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 19, 2016 at 18:29
It's gonna be hard because David can't live without spoilers! :-)

Carlo Valenti - Jun 19, 2016 at 18:06
Hey guys, did you realize you are going to release the game at the same time the new Star Trek series is gonna be released? Will the game make a cameo in the pilot episode? Are you going to allow the actors to make a tour on the set of TWP?
Thank you

Gv - Jun 19, 2016 at 19:13
Sorry for this off-topic post.
These are images from artist Marco Ferraris application "Skip the day" featuring non animated, non palette cycling, static,
fully dithered, 3 bit, copyright free, landscape images. ;)

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 19, 2016 at 19:16
Quite nice. Thank you.

Gv - Jun 19, 2016 at 19:43

Big Red Button - Jun 20, 2016 at 01:35
3 bit. Very retro! It reminds me of the first digital photos I've ever seen.

Big Red Button - Jun 20, 2016 at 01:50
I remember having saved image files with such a low quality in order to save space on the floppy disk. Though, I miss floppies much more than such 3 bit photos. Well, how about a Zip disk version of TP, for old times' sake?

@ Ron: How many 750 MB Zip disks would TP need?

Simon Simon - Jun 20, 2016 at 03:02
750MB? I prefer 100MB zip disks or SyQuest cartridges.

Nor Treblig - Jun 20, 2016 at 07:53
Oh I'm so glad this unreliable crap is gone! Also those 100MB Zip Drive disk weren't that reliable either.

I also remember having a combo drive which could use orginal 3.5" floppy disks and their own 120MB ones

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 20, 2016 at 03:20
They look nice to me!

Gv - Jun 20, 2016 at 09:51
Thanks, everybody!

Ema - Jun 20, 2016 at 14:52
Marco Ferraris?


Seems almost a fake name, as, for example, Dave Fennec, or Jerry Losenik, or Jon Albert...

Gv - Jun 20, 2016 at 16:18
Yes, it's fake. (It's Mark Ferrari evil twin brother) :)

Nor Treblig - Jun 20, 2016 at 16:45
Is he really his twin brother? Maybe the names are just very similar, like with Guybrush Q. Threepwood!

Gv - Jun 20, 2016 at 16:49
The truth is, it is my machine under the guise of Mark's twin brother. My machine wants to be an artist but it can only run a program on other people's art to achieve a retro effect. ;)

Mario F. - Jun 20, 2016 at 02:37
Don't ship the game unless you all feel comfortable with it.

Carlo Valenti - Jun 20, 2016 at 18:02
And the winner iiiiis.....

Sushi - Jun 20, 2016 at 19:29
...not me! Although I came pretty close with "1138"!!! No bonus points for the reference to THX 1138 I snuck in there? Actually I counted the phone book backers on KS (5600-something) and then interpolated the response rate on the two pages shown, which resulted in 1120. But then I thought "let's round it up to a *meaningful* number..."
Damned, so close!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 22, 2016 at 02:42
How unlucky, really!!

Carlo Valenti - Jun 22, 2016 at 05:44
I refused to do a serious calculation, so I used my home address numbers :)
Pretty close myself! (918)

Guga - Jun 22, 2016 at 07:40
I did the same, but I got 1187 as a result so I went with 1187.

Good to know 1) I was not the only one to try that, and 2) it actually was a good estimation.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 22, 2016 at 10:08
I was under by 60, I guessed 950. Pretty close, but not enough.
Good luck next time!

Sushi - Jun 24, 2016 at 15:26
he he, your math sucks as bad as Ron Gilbert's!

Big Red Button - Jun 22, 2016 at 16:49
I was far far away from winning. Therefore, I don't have to be too upset. :)

Andreas - Jun 21, 2016 at 05:18
Regarding the guessing contest:

"The wisdom of crowds" would have won too:
Average: 1104.33 (ignoring guesses bigger than 9999)

I am always impressed by these things...

Martin Wendt - Jun 21, 2016 at 15:46
Will any/all of you guys be at this years Gamescom in Koelln?
That would be appreciated (just to let you know)

longuist - Jun 22, 2016 at 08:22
Will there be an explanation (or a remark) why so much people live in Thimbleweed County while its "capitol"(?) only has a population of 81 (-1) ?
A huge sanatorium nearby?

Someone - Jun 22, 2016 at 14:14
Canberra has a population of "only" 350,000 people while Sydney has a population of nearly 5,000,000 - maybe something similar applies to Thimbleweed. :)

longuist - Jun 22, 2016 at 15:44
Sorry, my english is sometimes a bit uncertain. With "capitol" i meant "district town", finally i looked that up :)
But maybe Thimbleweed Park is just a small town near Thimbleweed City.

Someone - Jun 22, 2016 at 16:22
A "district town" doesn't have to be the biggest city/town in the district. :)

longuist - Jun 22, 2016 at 17:11
I am rubber, you are glue.
Ok, i give up :)

This means most people of Thimbleweed County live in the woods (in tree houses with telephone connections obviously).

-> Precisely, Robin! The only possible meaning!

Someone - Jun 22, 2016 at 17:53

Thimbleweed Park has a population of 81 (or whatever it has) and is the district town for the Thimbleweed county.

In the Thimbleweed county there is another town called, let's say, Thimbleweed City with a population of >3000 People.

So no one has to live in the woods. :)

longuist - Jun 22, 2016 at 19:08
I was just pulling your leg, Batman '66 style.
Thimblecity is a good and likely explanation, but also a very boring one :P

R.C.M. - Jun 22, 2016 at 19:38
According to the TWP story, Thimbleweed Park -used- to be a highly-populated city, maybe it's just an old phone book.

Mister T - Jun 24, 2016 at 04:58
Would explain why nobody picks up.

Nor Treblig - Jun 24, 2016 at 06:29
But who is paying all the phone bills and power bills for the answering machines? I can smell a conspiracy!

Mister T - Jun 25, 2016 at 13:31
Solar energy. And the people writing the bills left as well.

MARTIN - Jun 22, 2016 at 10:32
Hi i have an question, i just finished Monkey Island Special Edition Collection.
It was really great, but now idk where i'll get 3rd part. I cant find it on steam.
Or should i play tales now and skip curse and escape ????
(this is maybe bad place to ask, but i thought that all of you here are big MI fans :O)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 22, 2016 at 11:31
Hello Martin,
I am a big fan of all Lucasarts Adventures.
I can say you can skip episode 3 and 4 of Monkey Island series, they are not strictly connected each other.
If you can't find them, go to play directly Tales of Monkey Island (5 parts)!

Sushi - Jun 24, 2016 at 16:03
WARNING mild spoilers possible
WARNING mild ranting probable
Actually Tales of MI does refer quite often to Curse of MI (Murray! The relationship between Guybrush and Elaine, the general look and feel), but indeed ignores everything that happened in Escape from MI, which is a good thing (The Ultimate what-a-reno?).
I'd say Curse is better than Tales, as it is 2D and the puzzles are better. (c'mon how often can you use the same object to solve the same puzzle... - yeah, I am looking at you Pyrite Parrot and at you, hook which picks EVERY damn lock), the dialogues are better (in Tales I often was able to get out-of-order dialogue trees, which are like reverse puzzles, where you first solve it before you knew you had to solve it. I hate it when e.g. Guybrush knows the cat"s name while he never asked for it. And then you can select a line where he asks "what is your cat"s name?" Probable you can avoid it if you only prune every tree from top to bottom, but what is the fun in doing that? Then I prefer that certain dialogue only unlocks if you passed another relevant dialogue choice first)
But still Tales is waaaay better than Escape or any of those "classic 2D point and click adventures with beautifully hand-drawn art" that followed in the slipstream of the great LucasArts Adventures ( yeah; I am looking at you, Broken Sword, Runaway and a bunch of other close-but-not-quite-so-magical games)

Nor Treblig - Jun 22, 2016 at 15:31
What Zak said. But you should definitely play Curse of Monkey Island eventually! Even if it's not Ron-approved.

MI3 and MI4 cannot be bought currently. You would have to buy it second-hand (or "find" them somewhere else) and use ScummVM to play them.

Big Red Button - Jun 22, 2016 at 16:35
Seeing that you've already finished MI 1 & 2, I can congratulate you on having enjoyed all of those Monkey Island games that were done by Ron Gilbert, who is the creator of the series.

Curse of MI was the first MI game which was not designed by Ron. If you ignore MI 1 & 2, you're actually able to enjoy Curse of MI. It's completely different on several points, but it's the most felicitous sequel. Of course, Ron would have done it differently, so it's actually non-canonical. If you don't find Curse of MI anywhere, you should look for a second-hand copy on a CD-ROM and play it via ScummVM. In some respects, you can consider Curse of MI as a consolation for the absence of a third MI game by Ron. It's still a nice adventure game.

In my opinion, you should avoid both 3D games from the series (Escape and Tales). I admit that I never really played Tales (only the demo), but Escape was clearly a low mark of the complete series at that time. I even think that a MI game with 3D graphics is foredoomed. Neither is comparable to MI 1 & 2 - not even to Curse. They are no more than average commerce, sadly.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jun 22, 2016 at 17:26
Well, I had purchased all 5 episodes of Tales From Monkey Island. Altought I didn't like the 3D engine in Grim Fandango nor in Escape FMI, in Tales they did a good job, and the playing is ... enjoyable.
And the story is also funny, really! Especially the 5th episode!!!

Big Red Button - Jun 23, 2016 at 03:56
Thank you for your recommendation! I will think about it.
I played Back to the Future: The Game by Telltale and I found it to be worthy of a play. By the way, the hint system was a bit too appealing to me. That doesn't mean that I was overstrained by the puzzles. I was just too impatient for avoiding the hint system, whereas I seldom take a look for a solution in the internet if there is no hint system in a game. Well, I don't like to find myself cheating, so I totally consent to Ron's abdication of a hint system.
I will definitely not play Tales until I have finished TP and some other games, but maybe at a later date.

MARTIN - Jun 23, 2016 at 08:43
Thanks for all answers, wasn't expecting that !
I decided to play Curse so i downloaded ScummVM and started playing it.
I was curious how will they continue after Big Whoop, well it wasn't much explained.
I also really like that talking skull, he is really funny !!! (i think his name is Murphy )
I think i will skip Escape, because everyone is saying that it have clumsy controls and bad jokes :(
You can use UHS (universal hint system) i find it very helpful it first starts with small hints and then give full solution.

P.S. i hope you understand me im from Czech Republic and i dont speak english well.

Nor Treblig - Jun 23, 2016 at 11:38
Escape from Monkey Island is probably the worst in the series. But this doesn't mean it's bad! I enjoyed it!
Regarding controls: remember you can switch between character relative (tank controls, wohooo!) and screen relative if this makes it better for you.

Murray is awesome! Also he want to kill us all.

Keep in mind that Ron wasn't involved in CoMI, so it's not the *real* outcome of the Big Whoop story.

Sushi - Jun 24, 2016 at 15:35
It seems ScummVM  wasn"t the only thing you downloaded :-S

Nor Treblig - Jun 24, 2016 at 21:13
Well if they don't want to sell you sausage you have to make your own sausage... or something like that?

After all Disney allowed remastered versions of DOTT and FT, so who knows what will happen in the future... but until then I cannot blame anyone...

Sushi - Jun 25, 2016 at 03:43
Takes of monkey island is ON SALE (-75% off, so less than 5$ or €) on until June 30th

Regarding pirating Curse of MI: you can find used copies on Amazon. It's not because it is not available, you can legally download it for free from a torrent...
If we would have applied that reasoning way back before the Internet existed and local computer shops had very little stock, we would have been pirating 99% of the games we played.... Oh I see :)

Big Red Button - Jun 25, 2016 at 12:53
Even though I've become very distrustful in terms of any new MI-related project, I think that a remastered version of Curse would be nice, because the graphics have not really been pixel art. Furthermore, they are not contemporary any more, due to their 8 bit color depth and their low resolution. A sound-enhanced Full HD High-color version (or even better True-color) would therefore be really nice. I don't think that they have disposed the drawings for this game. Though, maybe they would be not detailed enough for a modern screen resolution.

Well, the graphics from MI 2 may also be no pixel art, because they are pictures that were scanned, just as the graphics from Curse. But, in my opinion, the graphics from MI 2 actually look pretty much like pixel art, due to the lower screen resolution - and probably thanks to some digital postprocessing as well. And I assume that the characters from MI 2 are still created completely digitally, unlike those from Curse.

Nor Treblig - Jun 25, 2016 at 16:17
@Big Red Button:
It sounds plausible what you've said about MI2.

I disagree with CoMI: The graphics look perfectly fine resolution and colour depth wise. I would buy such games if they would be released now.

(Honestly I don't care so much about remastering, I care that the game is available for purchase again on as many platforms as possible so all the soon-to-be fans can enjoy it!)

What they could improve is the scaling of the characters when run in higher resolution (see TWP), and I also like commentary.
I've never played CoMI with ScummVM filters, do they look any good?

Big Red Button - Jun 25, 2016 at 16:17
I've just read a short interview from the 90s with the designers of Curse (J. Ackley and L. Ahern).
They told that the heads of the characters had been larger in the prequels only because of the lower screen resolution. They explained it as if they found the proportions in Curse to be more realistic than the proportions in the prequels. It really sounds like a flimsy excuse to me, seeing how slim Guybrush has been in Curse. I'll never understand it.
Interestingly, they joked about how they would be going to create the sequel of Curse, which they eventually didn't make at all, as we nowadays know.

Nor Treblig - Jun 25, 2016 at 16:35
Maybe sometime there will be Monkey Island 4A? :-)

I can imagine CoMI having these proportions and comic-like style being a design decision (hey they already had amazing VGA resolution!) and not a technical one as it was especially with e.g. MM, Zak.

Big Red Button - Jun 25, 2016 at 17:43
Monkey Island 4A would definitely not be the worst idea for a new MI game, even though I would prefer MI 3A, of course. :-)

I agree that it's obviously a design decision. Nonetheless, I don't understand why, because it only increased the cut between Curse and its prequels. I remember that I needed to accustom myself with the new proportions of Guybrush back then. The difference is much heavier than the difference between Bernard's look in MM and his look in DOTT, for instance.

I've never tested any ScummVM graphics filter with Curse either. But I don't think that it would make any significant difference, because all the filters I know are designed to bring the edges of every single pixel down to a round figure, whereas the pixels in Curse are already a bit too small for a noteworthy effect. By the way, I played Full Throttle with such a filter and I really disliked how it looked, because I prefer pixels that look like pixels.

Nor Treblig - Jun 25, 2016 at 21:36
True, I had to get used to his new look at first too (but it didn't took really long, also I like those chickens).

If you compare it with DOTT: I think MM with the bobble heads looked cartoony from the beginning while MI1 and MI2 had a realistic look (also when looking at the box covers).

Maybe they went for a more cartoony look with CoMI because when going to higher resolutions it's easier to draw and animate more abstract characters than realistic ones. It also fits Guybrush a lot better than making a cartoony Indiana Jones adventure :-)

MARTIN - Jun 26, 2016 at 13:53
Is it illegal ?

PrinzJohnny99 - Jun 23, 2016 at 09:26
Oh boy, I seem to be the only one who enjoyed Escape (if you consider it as an adventure with some MI references).
But nonetheless I would prefer a "REAL" MI3 from the man himself.

Nor Treblig - Jun 23, 2016 at 22:05
You are not alone!

(Oh *no*, I *think* Ron *broke* the Internet!)

Susan Stebbins - Jun 22, 2016 at 21:01

A. - Jun 24, 2016 at 20:00
Curse was still an important part of my childhood - Ron wasn't involved, but I think it was a lovingly executed sequel/hommage/continuation of his ideas. Music by Michael Land is legendary and so are the backgrounds by Lucas Arts Bill Tiller, who also worked on The Dig.