by Ron Gilbert
May 18, 2016

In the State Of The Game #3 post, I mentioned the schedule we were working on to ship the game in Jan, and someone in the comments asked if I would show the schedule.

So without further delay... our schedule...

I'm a visual person. I need to see a schedule as colored lines depicting time's relentless march forward. I know some people like a list of dates and have no problem understanding that, but for me I need to see time. I want to sit back and squint and feel an overview of how long each task is going to take.  Seeing dates like "May 29 - June 3" gives me no sense of the time involved.

If I had some fancy gantt chart software, I'd do my schedules in that, but I also get sucked into fancy software and tend to waste too much time explore features and settings, so I prefer to do my visual schedule in a spreadsheet. It's simple and does what I need.

OK, so let's talk about the schedule...

First row is the ship date for the Mac, Windows, Linux and Xbox versions. Sometime in Jan 2017.  I start with this since it's the the immovable date.

We're going to start the Linux port this week and given we use SDL for Mac and Windows, I don't expect it to be a huge problem. We have top people working on it. Top. People.  The iOS and Android versions won't ship in mid-Jan, they will likely be delayed by a month or two. If things go well and I have more time than expected in Nov and Dec, they might ship sooner. If we had more money, we could hire people to do those, but we don't and it will probably fall on Malcolm (shh... I haven't asked him yet) or myself.

I tend to work backwards when doing a schedule, so the next thing we don't have a lot of control over is the Microsoft cert process. It can take anywhere from one to two months, depending on how many issues are found. We decided to plan for the worst and put it down as two months. There is a small milestone on Oct 1 for pre-cert, to see if there are any issues, but we don't have to submit a final build.  We might move that up a month or two and do it as soon as we have a stable xbox build with close to final ui.

Working back from there, text lock will be Oct 1. At this point, all the text needs to be final and a locked script can be given to the translators. We will also prep a recording script and we'll begin recording.  I am delaying this as late as possible and honestly, it should really be happening one or two months before this, but I've be spending a lot of time on the dialog. I'm not completely happy with how the dialogs are working and we need time to play with them. We don't have enough time for pickup lines and testing. This is going to be a stressful time.

In the middle of October we'll start translation art. Our plan is to translate any art in the game that has text in it. We'll compile a list and get them translated first, then make the art changes. I'll soon have a system in place in our engine what makes this pretty simple and should require no code changes, assume it was all set up correctly.

Next we come to the areas of the game and when each of those needs to be done. The game is divided into Act 1, Act 2, Act 3 and Epilogues After those are done, we enter a stage of game-wide polish where we franticly try and fix all the little crap we find and or didn't have time to fix during the sprints. This is the point where you look at something and say "no one will notice" and drop it off the fix list. 99% of the time, you're right and no one notices.

All the art will be done by mid July and then we go back and polish.

Music should all be done by July 1 and seems on track. There will be small fixes after that, but nothing major.

The game should be 100% done by Oct 1. Anything that changes after that needs to be "critical."

And it goes without saying that testing is a non-stop process.

So, that's the plan. What are the chances everything will go as planned? Zero percent, but that's what makes game dev so much fun.

- Ron

Christopher Griffin - May 18, 2016 at 12:24
Beta access?  Will there be a backer beta available at some point?  Didn't see it listed on the chart.

Ron Gilbert - May 18, 2016 at 12:29
No, we are not doing an open or closed beta.

Sally - May 18, 2016 at 12:37
If they did a backer beta, the game would end up on pirate sites within a week and it's not a game you play over and over.

urielz - May 18, 2016 at 12:33
Asking this out of complete ignorance but... you're allocating 1 month for each act and the epilogue. By following the development via the blog I have the impression that Act 1 has gotten a lot of attention already, and the rest little (or none at all).... Does this imply that there's a risk to see a relatively lower quality of the second half of the game? Thanks for the update. Very informative.

Ron Gilbert - May 18, 2016 at 12:41
It's something we are aware of, but that's true for most any game. The beginning just gets a lot more focus. The first act is probably half the game, so it's not all bad. We will be focusing a lot of the playtesting on Act 2 and then Act 3.

Brian Small - May 18, 2016 at 14:20
Does there tend to be the chance that the later acts will take less effort to polish, due to a) what is learned in doing the first act, and b) possible sharing of actual polished art/animation/scripts with the later acts?

David Fox - May 18, 2016 at 21:54
Yes and Yes. A lot of the character animation used in the later acts will already have been done. Same for the locations. So mostly it's interactions, cutscenes, etc. And we're all WAY faster than we were before.

Ema - May 21, 2016 at 03:27
I really appreciate your honesty here. Since I played it for the first time back then (even if I was just a kid) I felt that Act 1 in MI was much more developed than the others. I didn't feel it as awkward. At first you have to familiarize with the UI and the concept of the game: you need al lot of inputs (objects, characters, informations about the story), and just a few simple puzzles to get used to them and to immerse in the game. Nothing worse than those adventurse in which you are immediately stuck in the first room and you can't escape.
So I guessed that focusing on the beginning had to be a wanted bias. I think that when the budget gets higher the player should feel it less (as it is, ie, in MI2). But, as I'm trying to say, it's not all that bad: later on in the game you want to focus more on puzzles and on art, and less on storytelling. Act III in MI is much more rough than the first: small rooms in a big world, no face close-ups, nearly no human interactions. But that's its beauty. Life (and adventures too) is made of fast periods, in which you meet lots of people and do a lot of things, and slow periods, in which you experience silence and reflection.
I've always felt that this need has been perfectly balanced in MI1 to match storytelling and technical design needs.

Did you work on this aspect, or is it unintentional? Anyway the final effct has been great. I hope the same, and even better for Thimbleweed Park.

Tropper - May 18, 2016 at 12:34
Jan 2017?! I thought "late 2016"... *starts crying*

Derrick Reisdorf - May 18, 2016 at 12:43
Cool.  What about non-game design stuff?  What about other stuff not related to programming?  Like brainstorming and designing physical backer rewards (like the "feelie" included with boxed copies)...
What other events do you have scheduled, if any?

And, when do we need our answering machine messages submitted by? I need to get on that.

Ron Gilbert - May 18, 2016 at 12:46
This schedule is just about shipping the game, as you pointed out, there are a lot of other things we're also tacking (some better then others).

Simon Simon - May 18, 2016 at 13:09
Thank you for this interesting Update!
What exactly is the MS certification process? Is it something like their bug-testing quality control or more content-approval related?

longuist - May 18, 2016 at 13:16
Scheduling, ZZZZzzzzz___.
I don't know how, but you managed it to be an interesting read. Thanks!

It seems possible to propose the direction of a future blogpost, so how about a nerdy programming one, it has been a while :)

Maybe about an overly complicated shader effect no one will notice. Or a bug in the engine which took ages and complicated measures to fix. Something you are proud of and something you will share no code because its a steaming pile of *BEEP*.

Simon Walser - May 18, 2016 at 13:17
Interesting as always, thanks!

Still (and always be) happy to be able to follow this project so close.
The most interesting and emotionally i've backed so far.

(and my english isn't getting better ;)   )

Charles - May 18, 2016 at 13:53
It's 2016, Android commands a 66% market share over IOS, placing Android phones in the hands of 2-out-of-3 mobile users, and Google has now passed up Apple’s previously record breaking market cap.

Yet why do developers STILL insist on prioritizing IOS development over Android?????   /rant

Ron Gilbert - May 18, 2016 at 14:16
Because iOS games make a lot more money than Android games. Most Android users won't pay for a game, iOS users are much more likely to.  It's not about installed base, it's about what the user base is willing to pay for.

Charles - May 18, 2016 at 14:26
*sigh* Damn consmer economics... *hangs head*
Thanks for the honest reply though lol

Nor Treblig - May 18, 2016 at 15:40
It's also easier to develop and test on a handful of devices than on an infinite number of different ones.

Ellen - May 19, 2016 at 23:45
100% yes to this (with iOS you only have to worry about one manufacturer with limited devices and OS), as well as what Ron and David said: it's as much about AverageRevenuePerUser as number of installs. I can't remember numbers exactly, but on the big freemium game I worked on, it was only when we had double the installs on Android vs iOS that the total revenue started to match up. And poor Windows users (both phone & desktop store) were a tiny group that hardly spent and yet complained loudly, and thus got little attention. Sorry, people with Windows Phones: spend more and we'd love you more.

Nor Treblig - May 20, 2016 at 15:46
I can imagine that Apple users are willing to spend more money, but I'm quite shocked by the numbers David told us!

Arto - May 20, 2016 at 16:14
They are globally true numbers. I have had hard time to explain some of my clients the same. It is incomprehensible for some people to understand, that with ~30 % market share they get almost 90 % of the revenue. This will change soon, but for couple of years forward this will still be the trend.

David Fox - May 24, 2016 at 15:57
I remember reading an article a few years ago that tried to explain this. They had some research that indicated that a large percentage of Android phone owners never used any apps other than the browser, maybe not even that. They were just looking for an inexpensive phone.

David Fox - May 18, 2016 at 21:57
Totally agree with Ron. In my limited experience (created cross-platform 3 apps on iOS and Android), iOS sales represent close to 90% of the revenue earned with Android about 10%. So market share has little to do with it.

Gromish - May 23, 2016 at 13:37
That is not so true and you will see....
Remember you are not talking about a "game". You are talking about "the return of point and click" (aka Thimbleweed Park).
Most of ex pointers&clickers are now Android users: can be painful, but that's true.

I'm on Android and I'm gonna buy it.
If you made a "puppet app" to buy and finance you, I'll already bought it.

1/2 cent from android_user #IT98u430952

longuist - May 23, 2016 at 15:00
That may be true, but there are a lot of rooted devices out there. Not all sinners reach out for absolution.
Don't copy that floppy :)

South Side Tony - May 18, 2016 at 14:05
Am I weird?  The thought of a Ron Gilbert spreadsheet game sounds fascinating.  Yeah, I'm weird.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 18, 2016 at 14:09
Thank you for this visual schedule!
It's nice to see how much effort you put in this game. It's not only "your job", it's really like a child to grow up well...

Przemek - May 18, 2016 at 14:16
OMG! Jan 2017?  No! I can not wait so long! No, no, no! I can not handle this anymore! Please, give me the game or kill me! Or at least: send some alien mindbenders which will extract my memories and all destroy my knowledge about this project! Aaaaaaaaaaaagggghhrrr... :-)

Thiezn - May 18, 2016 at 15:07
But think about all the extra podcasts and blog posts in the meantime!

urielz - May 19, 2016 at 10:39

Brian Small - May 18, 2016 at 14:27
I'm very excited the Linux port is getting some attention right now.  And by Top. People. no less!  That will be my platform of choice.

Do you have a "regression'" script that maybe runs nightly or weekly, that makes sure that changes that get introduced on a regular basis don't break various configurations of the game,  By "break" I guess I mean crash, or hang.  By configurations, I mean - different OS ports, different user GUI settings, etc.  Is that sort of thing in your camp, Ron - since you are the "engine" expert, or would that be something Robert would do?  It's kind of an extension of Testertron3000 (are you still using that?).  Sorry for the slew of questions - automation and regression testing is just my thing.

Derrick Reisdorf - May 18, 2016 at 16:34
Hey I'm fairly new to Linux.  I recently installed xubuntu on a kind of old Dell laptop that used to run XP.
Any flavors of Linux you recommend- maybe good for older laptops but can easily handle a game like Thimbleweed?

Brian Small - May 18, 2016 at 16:42
The only Linux distro I have significant experience with (for a home destop machine) is Linux Mint, using the Cinnamon desktop.  It's based on Ubuntu under the hood, which is important, since Ubuntu is one of the most supported distributions out there.  I've read Mint is a better choice than Ubuntu on older hardware, but that could just be anecdotal.  Google "Mint vs Ubuntu" to get more info/opinions on the matter.  I'm curious what distro Ron will be developing and testing with.

Derrick Reisdorf - May 18, 2016 at 16:50
Awesome- Thanks for your insight!

Big Red Button - May 18, 2016 at 18:46
I installed Linux Mint KDE a few weeks ago and I love it. I'm really looking forward to play the game on Linux.
Though, the difference between Ubuntu and Linux Mint seems to be marginal. Both are very open to beginners.
If you're looking for a stable and efficient Linux, maybe you should give Linux Mint MATE a try. Cinnamon has some more features instead.
By the way, I found the following tips to be quite useful:

Big Red Button - May 18, 2016 at 18:50
Be aware of the fact that I'm not responsible for any contents on that site.

Skullinane - May 18, 2016 at 14:32
Hello!  Long time Xbox user here.  I'm sorry that you have to deal with the headache of the certification process.  But thank you for going through with it.  It means a lot to me.

Gffp - May 18, 2016 at 14:49
Yeah, that's a enjoyable way to learn how to do schedule!

Huxi - May 18, 2016 at 15:53
Aren't translated art assets kind of immersion-breaking?

The story is about a town in the USA so a sign reading "Zirkus" instead of "Circus" would feel weirdly out of place...

Ron Gilbert - May 18, 2016 at 15:57
Is it any more immersive breaking then residents of the US town all speaking german?  Also, FWIW, we never say where the town is.  But you  bring up an interesting point. I'm curious what our readers think?

EdoBvd - May 18, 2016 at 16:15
As French native speaker, I'm probably going to play the game twice: once in English, once in French.
So long as the story makes sense,  especially the jokes, my brain doesn't raise any flag.
Most of the time if I don't understand something, due to lost in translation, as long as it's not too important, I just forget about it and move on with the adventure and the next puzzle.

As usual, I expect the English to be much better (and not just because the lips of the actors are not in sync).

Derrick Reisdorf - May 18, 2016 at 16:57
Fortunately for everyone, I believe the mouth animations will automatically sync to the audio track.  You know- if you're old enough to remember- Teddy Ruxpin and those novelty radios in the shape of an animal or robot that moved its mouth to the sound.
I think the track may be initially imported that way, then parts could later be tweaked if the devs think something didn't look right and needed adjusting.  Maybe Ron could confirm/clarify this?

Estranged - May 18, 2016 at 16:26
I live in one of those 2nd world countries where we don't localize anything and read and listen to English all the time. We're so used to this, that very often, listening to our own language in a movie or a game feels weird and out of place.

On the flipside, I had a few opportunities to play a very well localized game (even the fonts and the textures that depicted signs and messages were localized). For the first time in my life, I felt as if everything was happening in MY city, even the blandest mundane lines and the insincere emotions felt more profound and more honest and more emotional.
On the other hand, this feeling of immersion was similar to the Oculus Rift or the Wii - yeah, localization feels like a nice gimmick, but I wouldn't put it as a top priority.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 18, 2016 at 16:26
I think, since the town is not mentioned and could be everywhere, that translated art will be more immersive, for people who natively speak the translated language.
As for me, I have always played every Lucas adventure in english: I think most of the fun could only be understood in the native language.
Only when available, I have replayed every adventure in italian.
I remeber having played Maniac Mansion in italian, for the first time, when I played DOTT...

Ema - May 18, 2016 at 16:33
In Italy we have one of the most strong dubbing tradition in cinema.
All the movies and all the TV series, from the 30es on, come very well dubbed. Italian dubbers are very good actors, and people love their voice, and some of them are real "faceless celebrities".
So we are very used to see american people speaking in Italian in movies and it feels perfectly natural, while a translated art could be awkward, in my personal opinion.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 18, 2016 at 16:36
(Do you know where this conversation is leading to?)
..."I will make it an option."

Derrick Reisdorf - May 18, 2016 at 16:49
Do you think you can do a pass over the game and take out any and all American references? Then it could most certainly be a town anywhere in the world.  But then, do you localize the proper names, too?   Instead of Ray and Reyes we have Gunther and Wilhelmina, lol.  I think that having German audio in a game supposedly taking place in the U.S. is not quite as weird as seeing German signage.  If I were you, I would concentrate only on artwork text that is important and where its translation cannot easily be deduced.

Big Red Button - May 18, 2016 at 18:15
Yes, the combination of english voices and translated inscriptions (even though it takes place in a U.S. town) might feel strange. On the other hand, you are able to turn the voices off. In that case, it's exactly how the translations were done in Maniac Mansion, in which almost everything was translated. Furthermore, a lot of people who are less familiar with English are going to play the game, especially children (hopefully). So, if the texts are relevant for the gameplay, it might be reasonable to translate them. The newspaper articles ought to get translated, for instance.

Big Red Button - May 18, 2016 at 18:18
Sorry for partly repeating you.

Ron Gilbert - May 18, 2016 at 18:19
There is some "text in art" that is need for puzzle solving, so it's always felt like an all or nothing thing to us.

Mattias Cedervall - May 18, 2016 at 21:52
Ron, will I be able to translate the art to Swedish? I lack Gary's skills by the way.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 19, 2016 at 04:43
If the puzzle text is made by numbers or personal names, there is no problem. Names should not be changed even in translation. Ray is Ray, Ron is Ron, David is David, Gary is Gary. I will never call you _Ronaldo Gilberto_ ...

If the puzzle text contains words that can be easily translated (e.g.: right, left, up, down, after, before...) there is no problem, too. The text art should be translated with the correspondent word.

If the puzzle text contains puns where the meaning is understandable only in english (for example: "TAKE A FLY", has double meaning only in english), this could be a problem. The correct translation depends on what logic is in the game. If the character should take an airplane, or an insect, there will be a different translation for each case.

Guga - May 20, 2016 at 05:00
Ronaldo Gilberto? I'd bet all my money on him becoming a Golden Ball winner!

(However, when did we stop translating names? Queen Elizabeth is still known as Elisabetta in Italy, as well as "principe Carlo" but her grandson and wife aren't "Guglielmo e Caterina")

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 20, 2016 at 05:20
I think after the mess with the movie "Home Alone", translated in italian as "Mamma ho perso l'aereo" (Mom, I lost my fly). What a bizzarre translation!
Since the end of the 90's, almost every movie had the original title also in italian.

OT lover - May 21, 2016 at 13:52
It's not uncommon to hear translated birth names in dubbed movies from the sixties... usually with an unwanted funny result.
But it was a common habit, once. Think of Giovanni Calvino or Francesco Bacone... for Jehan Calvin and Francis Bacon.
And it happened also backwards: think of Christopher Columbus, aka Cristobal Colon, whose real name was Cristoforo Colombo.
In ancient times it was very common to translate the name. Important people used often on the papers their name translated in latin.
A peculiar case is that one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He has a german name, a latin one, and the surname.
The interesting thing is that on his papers he is called (Joannes Chrysostomus) Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart: the german name is somehow "latinized", while the latin name is literally translated in... greek!

Anyway, if I obviously think that translating birth names doesn't make sense, I have to tell you that I don't like the habit, from the 90es on, of avoiding any translation of the movie titles.
Sometimes the literal translation is not so powerful as the original. Italian translators has always used a lot of fantasy in creating bizzarre new titles. Sometimes better than the original, even if I have to admit that in most of cases they simply suck.
In my opinion, when the italian literal translation doesn't sound good, the localization should provide a new title with, aside, the original. Sometimes happen.
What I don't like, as I said, is when simply nobody translates the title, when the corresponding italian would have been nice and well-sounding, and sense-making.

The world-famouse italian movie "La vita è bella" is known abroad as "life is beautiful". And I think it is perfectly lecit.
Why should they keep it in italian?


Mr.. Nitpicker - May 21, 2016 at 16:46
A better english translation for "Mamma, ho perso l'aereo" could be "mom, I missed my flight".
The translation of "mom, I lost my fly" is quite bizarre too, since it means "Mamma, ho smarrito la mia mosca"

Arto - May 21, 2016 at 16:58
@OT Lover
"I don't like the habit, from the 90es on, of avoiding any translation of the movie titles."

I have to tell you that there is one example of Finnish movie translations, where the original title would have been better. I understand that "Shawshank Redemption" would have been way too difficult title for Finnish audience, but the "translation" for that title "Rita Hayworth - avain pakoon" was the most idiotic thing to do for any movie title ever, in any language. That Finnish title translated to English is "Rita Hayworth - the key for escape" which gives away the plot.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 21, 2016 at 18:07
@Mr.. Nitpicker: OK, I agree.

Gffp - May 19, 2016 at 08:36
Oook. Let's see... hmmm
Proper nouns and common nouns.
The general rule should be: a proper noun is not translated, in the "text in art" as well as in the text. Exception: the proper noun contains a pun, a puzzle, or a suggestion to solve a puzzle, e. g. the empty aluminium can of "Shining Fin Tuna" brand, which is written on the can itself, could be used to reflect the sunlight in a puzzle.
A common noun is translated, in the "text in art" as well as in the text, with the exception of the most recognised english words like Circus, Hotel, Bank, or when the common noun goes together with the proper noun in a toponym e.g. Wall Street, Finchley Road... But I have to say that professional translators are well trained on these differences so I'd expect them to distinguish common nouns as I did it.

Derrick Reisdorf - May 20, 2016 at 02:21
If he could figure out a way that looks and flows well, I think Ron should consider leaving everything in English and just subtitle it.
If there's a closeup of an English newspaper, I picture the camera panning down the paper as the player reads through subtitles (possibly paced by the player tapping a button to read the next couple lines; or without need of button presses and a player could change the speed of subtitles).

Gunther - May 19, 2016 at 13:46
In the German version
- the sheriff does not wear a cowboy outfit but a green and beige uniform
- the post office is yellow themed with a black post horn logo
- the town sign is orange, not green
- the American diner is replaced by a Bratwurst stand or a döner kebap shop
- the Quickie Pal is replaced by a Späti
- Ray and Reyes are not FBI agents but Kripo-Kommissare (don't forget to change the badge icon!)
- Reyes is not Hispanic. He is of Turkish descent. His name is Yilmaz.
- the name of the town is "Krähwinkel an der Wipper", not "Thimbleweed Park"
- Ransome's mistress is not in Aspen but in St. Moritz

longuist - May 19, 2016 at 15:00
Yes this would be the minimum effort. The whole game should be altered to be set at WWII if you mean it.

T.M. - May 20, 2016 at 03:34
Shouldn’t Thimbleweed Park be Fingerhut-Unkraut Park in German :) Interestingly though the term ”thimbleweed” isn’t really used in any other languages than English and even then it’s pretty much just US based. (Oddly enough Japanese does have direct translation but even then it literally means ”thimble-shaped-flower-attached-to-plant”)

Mahaku - Jun 03, 2016 at 16:53

longuist - May 18, 2016 at 16:54
Aww snap, i can't resist... m m make it an option?!
Not funny repeating joke aside, translation of art is a good thing, but there may be a few exceptions. For the german translation you should send the list to Boris as well.

Huxi - May 18, 2016 at 17:29
I kind of assumed that Ray and Reyes are FBI agents, pointing to the US... but I'm not sure if the agency was ever explicitly mentioned.

It's just very unusual in movies to have more than a translation subtitle for assets. So the character in the movie would take a look at a newspaper with an English headline and the subtitle would provide a translation. This is often simply fixed by letting the person read out the headline. So having German voice but original art wouldn't feel weird at all. We are all used to it. :)

If I had to choose, I'd rather like to see more special animation and polished art than translated art that has the potential to harm the game if something goes wrong.

omg... I just imagined an Oktoberfest version of Thimbleweed Park in Germany. :D

Carlo Valenti - May 18, 2016 at 21:42
Yes, I think it would be more immersive-breaking, in my opinion. Maybe it is that audio goes subliminally accepted more easily. And/or:
In Italy, we are totally accostumed to see US characters in US stories speaking Italian in a US world.

Mattias Cedervall - May 18, 2016 at 21:56
Ron, I'm used to watching subtitled movies and animated movies made in the USA set in the USA translated with Swedish voice actors, but I haven't lost the feeling of the movie's setting in the USA. It's not immersive breaking to me.

hihp - May 19, 2016 at 00:59
As some people already said: Make it an option.

I would suggest to actually go so far as to make it possible to separately select the languages for the three item groups
- text / subtitles
- artwork
- speech audio

For example, a player might be willing to have English audio with subtitles in his own language just to improve his language skills (I have fond childhood memories of when I, living by in Germany, would be watching Star Trek: Next Generation on Dutch TV in our cable - in English, but with Dutch subtitles!) Etc.

Kroesi - May 19, 2016 at 01:48
I'm from Germany and for me translated art always feels weird while translated audio does not! Interesting...

Michael Nicke - May 19, 2016 at 13:50
Agree. It usually kicks me out of the story when I see that (like in many pixar movies). The only really intense experience in this issue I can recall was Kubrick with SHINING, where they localized Jacks "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" into "Was Du Heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf Morgen" for the TV version (not on DVD nor BD). Totally insane and intense.

Big Red Button - May 20, 2016 at 16:52
I never get seriously distracted in such cases, provided that the translation is accurate. I'm even surprised in a positive sense when filmmakers or game developers troubled to translate some artworks, too. I'm okay with it, especially when the text is relevant to the story or to the gameplay, respectively.

Speaking of Shining: I've heard that Kubrick arranged for re-translations to be done, in order to check whether the translations were felicitous.

Mattias Cedervall - May 19, 2016 at 17:58
I agree! Suske en Wiske! Finn och Fiffi!

Someone - May 19, 2016 at 03:10
The art points to the US. E.g. there aren't such radio stations in germany and the buildings in your screenshots looks very "american". :) And overall: "Thimbleweed Park" is an english name. :) So it doesn't matter if you translate the art. Zak, Maniac and if I remember correctly Indy doesn't had translated art - and no one noticed it. :)

Big Red Button - May 19, 2016 at 05:40
I wouldn't attribute it to the architectures, but of course there are no sheriffs in Europe, not to mention the sheriff's star. However, I hope that you don't replace the sheriff and his star by a policeman. :)

Unlike Zak, MM had translated art, though there was very few "text in art" in MM. In the german version there was written "gehaimlabor" in the prison, for instance. They even translated the spelling mistake there.

Though, not everything would need to be translated for the german version. For instance, you can say "Bank" or "News" in German as well - even the above mentioned word "Circus". Furthermore, every german child knows the english labeled (often illuminated) "open" signs at stores and snack bars. The proper names don't need to be translated either.

By the way, in the german version of Indy 3 the Nazi symbols were cut out for legal reasons (I never missed them).

Big Red Button - May 19, 2016 at 06:35
On second thought, I agree in terms of some buildings. There hasn't been any Googie era in Europe. Googie has even become a symbol of the USA in Europe for this reason. I even have got some pictures at home that are inspired by the Googie style, due to my wanderlust. So, the radio station and the Diner, which looks similar to Rosie's Diner and has a Wurlitzer jukebox style entrance, look totally american.
But wooden houses are common in Scandinavia, too.

Simon Simon - May 19, 2016 at 06:45
I agree - although it was never explicitly mentioned to be a town in the US, some game elements imply it (e.g. the sherrif). That is why too much translation might be awkward. "Circus", open signs, name of town & people could very well stay english. However, it makes sense to translate most of the art IMO, e.g. newspaper related images, the phonebook.

Translating the game language does not move the location of the town 'Thimbleweed Park' to a different country, so especially translated art has to be done really carefully. (I have no doubt that Boris Schneider Johne will do a good job and find the right balance.)

Someone - May 19, 2016 at 10:34
"In the german version there was written "gehaimlabor" in the prison ..."

No, not in the C64 version.

Big Red Button - May 20, 2016 at 18:41
That very well may be. I only know the DOS version. By the way, I was a bit wrong however: It even says "gehaimlabohr".

Someonw - May 21, 2016 at 10:23
Which one? The original EGA version or the "enhanced" version or the "deluxe" version? (The enhanced version was/is included in DOTT.)

Nor Treblig - May 21, 2016 at 11:53
As far as I know there was only one German DOS version (v2/EGA), and maybe that's true for other translations too.
That's also the reason why the German version of DOTT contained MM v2 in contrast to the English version which had MM v1.

Nor Treblig - May 21, 2016 at 11:57
For the sake of completeness: DOTT *Remastered* contains MM v2.

Big Red Button - May 24, 2016 at 15:25
According to ScummVM I have v2 and it features the inscription. The graphics from the "deluxe" version might be based on it.
My copy is not pirated, by the way! :)

Lukas - May 19, 2016 at 05:14
I live in Switzerland. In my experience, when watching US TV shows or movies, spoken text is dubbed, but on-screen text is left alone and (if necessary) subtitled 90% of the time. So that's what people are used to.

Whenever I watch a Pixar movie where they actually take the time to re-render stuff with on-screen text, it completely throws me, particularly if I watch it with the english audio track. The only time German text in English movies makes sense is if the movie takes place during WW2, and they're looking at a German newspaper :-)

Big Red Button - May 19, 2016 at 06:54
In the old Star Wars movies from the 70s and 80s they even changed the inscriptions from English to fantasy hieroglyphs. That's immersion-breaking, especially when you're used to the original texts! In the original version you could even read that Obi Wan shuts the energy down.
Moreover, in The Force Awakens the english subtitles are part of the video stream whenever an alien is talking, so the translated subtitles are displayed at the top. Though, it better to watch it in the original language version anyway.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 19, 2016 at 08:24
The first Star Wars movies have been heavily translated in Italian, even the names of characters: Darth Vater became Lord Fenner (!!), because "Vater" was similar to an offending word.
Different time...
The latest Star Wars movies kept the original names.

Nor Treblig - May 19, 2016 at 19:56
LOL, Lord Fenner?
This sounds a little bit like Spaceballs (guess what year it came out...)! What names were used there?

(Pssst: He is called Darth Vader, but you couldn't know.)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 20, 2016 at 05:34
Yes, Lord Fenner.
Listen carefully, the following is the STAR WARS IV in italian, dubbed in italian. Here is the point where the militars are discussing about the utilization of the Death Star or not, arguing with Darth Vader about the power of the Force...
(until 37.18)

Nor Treblig - May 21, 2016 at 01:03
"arguing with Darth Vader", never a smart move!
Now I now what Vader sounds like in Italian :-)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 21, 2016 at 13:18
Eheh yes. That's the reason :-)
TOILET in italian it's written "WATER", but pronunced "VATER", like "VADER" but with a T.
So, in the 80s, you couldn't say "DART VATER", it sounded too hilarious.
LORD FENNER was more ... imperial!

Ema - May 21, 2016 at 16:35
In the italian version of Spaceballs, the name of the character is "Lord Casco", that means "Lord Helmet".

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 21, 2016 at 18:18
In the parody of the "Star Wars Episode IV" made by Gem Boy (I can't write the title here, because in english it's a dirty word, it sounds like "wars" but is written in a different way with a different meaning), they refer to Darth Vader as "DART VATER" :-)
If you don't know what I am talking about, click the link:
(*WARNING*: Parental Advisor - Explicit content)

pmarin - May 19, 2016 at 05:18
I have never seen a dubbed movie where the decoration is also translated. It is weird in my opinion.

Mario F. - May 20, 2016 at 08:58
but e.g. Toy Story and the latest pixar movies are translated / dubbed in different languages, also inside the movie are the gfx swapped and localized.

Fluctuation Eight - May 19, 2016 at 08:27
actually it says "Thimbleweed Park, USA" on :-P
*nobody likes smartasses* *smartass mode off*

Soong - May 19, 2016 at 09:25
I think it's fine either way.  Translating art helps those people who would really not understand it otherwise.  As far as immersion goes, that's not something I care about with adventure games.  There are plenty of good things in them that break immersion, such as the verb interface.

And you would need to do an awful lot of localization to not have anything stick out.  For example, in Germany, the police does not use badges and they don't even have decent IDs.  So there will always be something that shows that the game takes place in an Anglo-Saxon setting and that is perfectly ok.

Oregondanne - May 19, 2016 at 19:40
As a Swede I'm perhaps not the right person to ask as we wouldn't go for dubbing over subtitles even in a week of Sundays (I think I stole that one from George Stobbart), but I think that even in countries where dubbing is common place they're never trying to break the illusion of where the story is taking place. So even if Fox Mulder speaks German or Spanish I think it's quite clear that he's an FBI agent working in the US. Likewise (even if the exact location is never specified, as you said), I don't think there's any doubt that agents Ray and Reyes are operating in an American environment. So if it were up to me I'd definitely leave the art untouched. What if the game took place in Japan and the signs were all in Italian? That would just be absurd. Is any of the game art important for puzzle solving? If so, I recommend just using subtitles. Finally, as we're seeing in this forum even (crowded with German and Italian point-and-click connoisseurs), I think that most of my fellow Europeans are much more capable of comprehending English now than they were a couple of decades ago.

Ron Gilbert - May 19, 2016 at 19:45
If I was watching a movie that took place in Paris with french people, I would accept the fact that they spoke English (with bad French accents), but I would expect all the signs in Paris to be in french, but if the actors in the movie picked up a note and the camera showed what it said, I would expect/accept that in English.

Derrick Reisdorf - May 20, 2016 at 02:11
Hmm...What if you left everything in English and just made it either a clickable object or it displays the translation of the word/s when you mouse over it.

An example of the first case would be a legible billboard.  You mouse-over it and it says "billboard" in whatever language. Then, the character reads it aloud when you "LOOK AT" it.
The second case may be a little weird- but you could test it out on some people to see if it isn't too unnatural.  Have a special case where translated text is displayed in a different color when you mouse over it.  For example, there's some words that read "floor 5" next to the door in a stairwell. When you mouse over it, it displays the text translation in a different color.  The player realizes it's not a clickable/interactable object- s/he knows it's just a translation of the word that appear in English.
As for your newspaper example, if I was watching a French movie and saw a scene with a closeup of a French newspaper, I would expect to see it subtitled (not a French newspaper written in English). Of course, if a character was reading the text aloud, the voice could be dubbed in English as well.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 20, 2016 at 06:07
In the case of an adventure game, the note could had a puzzle in it, understandable only in english.
Only in that case, only that note should be left unchanged, IMHO.

Nor Treblig - May 21, 2016 at 00:58
Does the note describe how to build a monkey wrench by any chance?

Sushi - May 24, 2016 at 17:34
For lots of stylistic and cultural reasons, the story takes place somewhere in the USA (radio station KW-whatever, diners, 7/11 store, plumbers dressed up as pigeons??, comic con, listing the population on the city limit sign,... the list is endless). And that is fine. Localization is not about transporting everything to another country. It is about helping those who speak/read another language than it was originally written in understand as much as possible. Do things get lost in translation? Inevitably. But as an up-side, you can watch/read/play it in all the languages you know and enjoy the differences and/or discover some extra details you missed the first 20 times.

On translations: even in English there might be an issue with the hotel floor numbering (as the first floor is something different in British vs American English.)

Mahaku - Jun 03, 2016 at 16:46
Translated art definitely breaks immersion for people who've grown up with dubbed but otherwise unchanged media. Just think of "Feds" in front of Euro-language signage... *shudder*

Steve - May 20, 2016 at 07:07
When we do our localisations for our games, the casual portals QA always want the graphic text to be translated... ALWAYS!! :(

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 20, 2016 at 07:27
Clicking on the link of your name, I can see only card games.
Do you make also some games with text in art, involved in puzzles?

Lordesn - May 18, 2016 at 16:26
1 month for localization, eh? I would have thought this is a text heavy game. What would the word count for a game like this be approximately out of curiosity?

Ron Gilbert - May 18, 2016 at 16:29
I might be too optimistic about the time for translations, but there is some slop in that.

spiffy - May 19, 2016 at 14:17
Do translators get a walkthrough or do they have to solve all the puzzles on their own in time?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 18, 2016 at 16:32
Please consider that translation is not so direct. The story must be known, If you decide to translate a certain word in a precise way, you should keep in mind that precise word.
Sometimes, there are common saying that have many translation, depending on their context.
If Ron has planned 1 month for the translation, that means that 3 weeks should be used for the pure work of translation, and the remaining week to test if the translation is meaningful.

Arto - May 20, 2016 at 14:42
Yes. And to my experience, translation work is never purely about translating words and sentences, but a good translation needs some copywriting also. The language needs to adapt and that's usually the real challenge to a good translation. Often the best translators are also good copywriters.

Mattias Cedervall - May 19, 2016 at 12:48

Big Red Button - May 18, 2016 at 17:39
You're right. "Gantt chart" was my first thought when I saw your spreadsheet. Well, an actual gantt chart software would allow for calendar dates and dependencies, which might be helpful especially in case of a delay. On the other hand, you seem to already overlook those aspects anyway.

Carlo Valenti - May 18, 2016 at 19:30
About translation of art:
I think that one would like the solution he is accustomed to. In Italy, we are accustomed to:

1st choice: the visual itself is not translated, but it comes with a subtitle with the translation when it is required for the understanding. This happens very often.

2nd choice: no translation of visuals at all. Sometimes, the dubbing introduces a sentence/word/exclamation with the translation, which is often clever.

3rd choice: the art is translated; it gives a strange feeling, it's pretty rare. They do it in Pixar movies, if I recall correctly, it's obviously well crafted, but still it feels strange.

Brian Small - May 18, 2016 at 20:09
This reminds me how they changed the recorded video and dubbing for the movie "Demolition Man" for certain European Markets.  The scene in the future (2032) where they go the expensive restaurant ("Taco Bell", because it is the restaurant that survived the restaurant chain wars) - they changed the logos in the video and the audio dubbing to change the restaurant to "Pizza Hut" because it would be more familiar to those markets.

LogicDeLuxe - May 19, 2016 at 10:35
I always prefer option 2 in movies. In many instances, the translation of letters, signs etc. are just read loud representing the thoughts of the person reading it.

And there is the silly 4th option as well: They put subtitles for EVERYTHING visual, no matter how obvious (for instance a place or a date) and/or unimportant (for instance a completely unrelated poster) they may be. In Germany, we call those "Deppenuntertitel" (= subtitles for lunatics). I've also seen examples were people talk in a foreign language with subtitles for the audience, and they DUBBED them to German anyway AND they put a German subtitle on top of it.

Good thing, we have Boris Schneider, thus I'm pretty sure, nothing that stupid will happen here. :)

Arto - May 20, 2016 at 15:06
In Finland only children's movies are dubbed and anything else is just subtitled, so I think for us any content that is altered in any way will break immersion. Be that dubbing or altering signs. If a sign is translated in subtitles and we can see the original sign, it's ok, but if that same subtitle covers the original sign, it's not ok. If the sign is altered pixel-perfect to look like the original, it would be even weirder to see Finnish in e.g. Los Angeles. And if everything looks American but sounds and reads like Finnish, it's just surreal.

So yeah, it's all about how we are accustomed to view things.

Big Red Button - May 20, 2016 at 20:25
It would probably reduce the amount of work, if the less prominent signs were simply translated via the "look at" verb.

Mattias Cedervall - May 18, 2016 at 21:50
So Linus Torvalds will convert Thimbleweed Park to Linux? :-)

Words of Magic - May 19, 2016 at 09:56
As a rule, we try to keep text-in-art in the language of the country where the action is supposed to be. Lots of things in Thimbleweek Park hint at the US, or at least an English speaking country (starting with the name of the town and the town sign).

Furthermore, in a game where you have a "Look at" option, translation could be provided in a character dialog line. That would sound more natural (and it would save the time and budget of having to redraw art for each language).

Of course, it also depends on the nature of puzzle that involves text-in-art... But be very careful with any puzzle involving text, because it could be super tricky to translate (I still remember that infamous Gabriel Knight 2 tape splicing puzzle...).

Lastly, if you want an estimate of how long translation will take (or cost), just let me know. I've been doing this for a while now.

Simon Simon - May 19, 2016 at 12:27
Hmm... I try to imagine a future Thimbleweed Park player who does not speak English at all.

I think it would be not fair to not at all translate art for those players.
Whilst some untranslated purely decoration art may be acceptable (or even authentic in some special cases: a flashing "open"-sign, the term "circus", or the town and character names), puzzle-related art should of course be translated. How could a non-English speaking player otherwise solve the puzzle?

Then of course there are pieces of text-art which may be unrelated to a puzzle, but still contribute to the overall ambience which the player is expected to perceive: "closed forever" or "for sale" texts which increase a certain mood of despair, or a "call Ron 555-..." graffiti (a phone number which you can actually try to call). It would be a pity if players missed those parts of the game, so I think as much as possible should be translated in the first place. If the translation feels too awkward in some special cases, maybe a translation subtitle triggered by a "look at" (as suggested before) can help.

Of course we could compare this problem to the late 80ies & early 90ies adventure games, but I don't think it is fair to do so. I am not a native speaker, but back then - as a child - I played a couple of those games in English language, and most of the translated games had untranslated art anyway. I have great memories to those games (also how I learned some English via those games), but I certainly missed jokes as well as more subtle ambience-related stuff that was transported by in-game text-art. I realize this now when I revisit those games. - I don't want to make those memories more golden than they are, and I follow your announcement of TP being a modern game designed to match "how the early adventure games live on in our memories" (i.e. without tech. restrictions, with clever puzzle design etc.). In my "prettified memories", art is translated, and I hope to see an adventure game that has lots of translated art!

It is a good sign that there actually is puzzle-related text-art, because it tells me that the puzzles integrate the different media of the game. If text-art or some piece text/puzzle in general is difficult to translate, I would vote for translations that happily adapt and change meaning rather than keeping untranslated parts.
It is all a question of the quality of the translation. If all the text(-art) has seen a sophisticated high-quality translation, I do not think it will break immersion at all.

The amount of time that you, Ron and team Thimbleweed, spend on the polishing on the dialogue, shows us the importance of the text - and thus of course the importance of a high-quality translation.

The topic reminds me of discussions about translations of Terry Pratchett novels (quite a free translation), the Harry Potter novels (translation of EVERYTHING, even street names), or the German dubbing of the Bud Spencer + Terence Hill movies (complete new jokes): There is always the discussion of "overdo" vs. "missing parts". There will always subtle differences between translation and original. A language translation will not move the location of the setting. However, it works fine if it is well done.

Translation may be awkward if it is generally frouzy or if it tries to mimic language-specific jokes instead of replacing them with a localized variant. A couple of the good-old-adventure games had quite lousy translations - deal-breakers basically. I do not have this fear for Thimbleweed Park.

Bogdan Barbu - May 19, 2016 at 13:33
Out of curiosity, what do the colors on that Gnatt chart represent?

longuist - May 19, 2016 at 14:28
I guess people and profession:

"Mauve": Ron + kind of everyone else like Jenn and David
yellow: I guess not Malcolm but a person at Microsoft
"nearly red": art: Gary and Octavi and Mark
blue: music: Steve Kirk and "put name here" (The Team page should be updated)
green: Testing: Robert and the reckless bug hunters
and so on,
And this single red is the evil deadline

Bogdan Barbu - May 21, 2016 at 08:29
I know, I just made up a phoney question to show off that I know what these charts are called.

longuist - May 22, 2016 at 13:20
And you even sneaked a typo in, i should have seen it :P

Bogdan Barbu - May 23, 2016 at 02:35
CRAP! :)

longuist - May 19, 2016 at 14:31
ok, not deadline, i meant shipping, which maybe involves a lot of promoting, shaking hands and sipping luscious drinks

mr. T - May 19, 2016 at 15:28
I prefer non-translated art but can imagine that probably many don't (more options perhaps?).

I think my rationalization goes something like this: the game is the product of the culture the makers represent, be it the jokes, the types of scenery, architecture style, types of characters etc. If TP uses themes from X-Files, Twin Peaks and Stephen King, then one would probably classify the identity of the game as north american (even if the town would be Town1 and characters Character1, Character2...). Therefore it would feel a bit out of place if some street sign art or the convention sign art would be translated to my language/culture. Like it would try to persuade my imagination that those cultural concepts might exist in my country (for example a trekkie convention...maybe not but not totally impossible).

I don't know if the translated art thing is widely common practice or not but somehow it feels like taking the first step in a list of things to come. And the next ones would be localized character names, localized architecture, localized mood, localized jokes etc. etc.  

So, I would much rather just experience the original art and then just click on it or have a timely subtitle pop out on my language if it is a passing moment. In the movies, hearing impaired people get their additional subtitles too and I don't know if they complain too much about them. But this is just me and let there be many flowers and so on.

Carlo Valenti - May 19, 2016 at 15:56
I'd like the text of the game in full English or maybe Esperanto, with Morse Code subtitles, and voice acting in Napoletano.
Yes. I'd like it.
O'Timboluidd' sta'nfronte a te.

Gffp - May 19, 2016 at 16:27
Carlo tu pazzije, ma je me sto  attrezzann'...ahaha (you're joking, but I'm preparing for this).
Guys, it would be great if we readers of the forum from all Italy do an amateur  dubbing of the game. Zack is good, as he shows in the fake podcast, with his friend fake David Fox. I'm good too, I've also a little experience in voice acting. And since we come from different places we could distinguish the characters with slightly different accents. It would be an honor and a privilege.

Ron Gilbert - May 19, 2016 at 16:30
A few months after the game is released, we will release the script for fan translations and instructions for adding fan voice as well.

longuist - May 19, 2016 at 19:30
I'm pretty sure you already mentioned this a while ago, but i am as excited as hearing it the first time. That could be great fun, especially when the "translation" is in full bollocks mode. Sinnlos in Thimbleweed Park!

Gffp - May 19, 2016 at 16:33
Sorry I said forum but I meant blog, it's easy to understand why because we talk each other like in a forum and that's simply great!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 19, 2016 at 16:46
Genova, Milan, Brescia, Florence and Naples are already here on the blog.
If there are someone from Venice, Rome and Sardinia, we could make an italian translation with regional slangs :-)

urielz - May 19, 2016 at 17:28
Spanish Argentino here, but a very good friend of mine is from Milan and he would totally get on board with this. The main problem with voice translations is the equipment needed to do a decent job. A mic from the kwik mart won't cut it, no matter how good the voice actor is.

Gffp - May 19, 2016 at 18:28
You're right urielz. A little recording studio or radio station could do a good job, I guess. And it would be a lot more fun if we meet and do all or part of the job together, renting the equipment in a recording studio after we did a proper studying, practice and testing with basic equipment and talking via skype. Unfortunately there's a lack of female voices. Is there any application?

Guga - May 20, 2016 at 04:51
God, I don't know how I'd react to see an adventure game in Sardinian language. I still feel puzzled about Notepad++.

Anyway, I'm not expecting much from the Italian translation. It's difficult to adapt humor and I've always seen jokes get lost instead of adapted... let's hope for the best!

Carlo Valenti - May 20, 2016 at 19:48
Yes, one character per region. I'd like it. Let's think about it. Serious. But only when the time comes, and only if we intend to do it high quality.

Gffp - May 20, 2016 at 22:04
I agree. I wrote about using our voices with their regional inflections but only if the original characters have also inflections and a certain slang. So the fact that we all come from different places could turn in a point in favor in order to give back something near to the original characterization for our ears.
Listening to the opening sequence, the voice of the female actress sounds to me without a strong inflection, like an educated american woman. And if it is so, it don't need an inflection in Italian too.
We could also do effects in voices to distinguish thoughts and spoken words.
I hope that, at the time the game will be completed and the proper instructions released thanks to Ron, we are still in contact. In any case you have mine.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 21, 2016 at 13:21
Did you italian guys play Escape From Monkey Island, with italian voices, too?
I remeber well that every character had an accent from a specific region.
It was fantastic!
I agree in making a Thimbleweek Pard dubbing, with a character per region.
I think we could do a good job!

Ema - May 21, 2016 at 16:42
Do you remember the pathetic dubbing of Sam&Max Hit the Road?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 21, 2016 at 18:19
No, I played it with english voices and italian text.
I well remember the game starting with a voice saying:
"...FRIENDS?!" :-)
It's stuck in my mind. Forever!!

Gffp - May 21, 2016 at 18:45
After we've played the game, I think we can decide better if it is good or not to use our regional inflection, and how much... The examples you both used, Sam & Max and EfMI are good to start the discussion... so guys get ready for that time ;-)

Gffp - May 20, 2016 at 10:38
Ok we have Zak and his friend, Carlo Valenti, Ema, Guga, and Marco Lizza by now. Hoping that we all have a little skill with voice acting, we could do the male characters, but more people would be better. Also guys from Spadoni Production could give a hand and there are also ladies there. My girlfriend worked at the university radio for years as a speaker so she could easily dub that character. I have a female classmate from high school that was part of the teather's projects every year and has a good and educated voice and above all she's a great fan of Monkey Island! I should investigate on how she is in the world actually.

My skype adress is

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 20, 2016 at 17:12
P.S. my co-worker (starring 'fake' David Fox) is quitting. He decided to stop working and start a new adventure, a PhD in a foreign country. But he promised me to record the last part of the "Unanswered questions of Friday Podcast", before leaving...
Anyway, I believe we could easily remain in contact.

Ema - May 21, 2016 at 17:04
One important thing is to choose the right voice for the right character. Here's my proposal.
Let's play all the game through.

Then we'll choose some lines of three or four characters.

Then we'll meet on a social network or on a mailing list. We'll do a casting. Everyone would give his interpretation of the chosen lines, so that we can evaluate which person is the most suitable for which character. Then we'll vote for it, and choose the actors.

Ema - May 21, 2016 at 16:57
Well, I was pretty decent in acting, back at high school... I also did some radio speaking as well, and also a little directing.
I haven't acted for some 15 years, but.... Why not? :-)
We could prepare and practice every line by ourselves, then we could meet. I bet we can do everything in a weekend working hard... So that we can save on the rental of the studio recording just a couple of days, and we won't get fired on our real jobs...

But please, no regional characterization. Or at least, let's keep it to a minimum. Remember S&M...

Gffp - May 21, 2016 at 18:01
I totally agree with both your comments.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 21, 2016 at 18:29
Well, I remember Escape From Monkey Island, with voices, texts and text-in-art completely translated.
They did a very funny voices.
Look at this part, in Lucre Island, where a guy selling perfumes has the voice of a native of Bergamo:

longuist - May 22, 2016 at 13:31
Oh, that is sth. i want to play. I tested it at a friends, but after too much dialogue in the beginning and this awkward controls i gave up early and even didn't want to borrow it. Hopefully will add mouse controls in the future.
Is it any good?

Nor Treblig - May 22, 2016 at 15:09
Everyone agrees that it's the worst in the series. But this doesn't mean it's bad! I actually enjoyed it, but maybe I'm just easy to please.

Tank controls FTW! (btw. you can also change it to screen-relative)

longuist - May 23, 2016 at 03:11
Thanks for the reply. Screen-relative with a keyboard is Zig-Zag-Control, so tank control is not that bad :)
I will definitely play it, but i guess not now. I still have some lifetime left...

Nor Treblig - May 23, 2016 at 08:12
So many point&clickers complained back then, I don't know why. I don't really have issues with tank controls except one annoyance (applies to GF and EFMI):
When running into a wall it makes you automatically turn which makes it sometimes hard to hit a narrow passage (especially when running).

longuist - May 23, 2016 at 09:37
It was okay. I enjoyed GF very much, despite the controls. Its not that bad when using a gamepad. But this interface is more complicated than it needs to be (and too slow). No wonder they added mouse controls to the remaster. Unfortunately they added ridiculous high system requirements so i'll stick to the classic game.
p.s. Maybe you played resident evil a lot and developed a resistance :)

Sally - May 23, 2016 at 10:13
I didn't like GF. The writing was great, but I found the puzzles to be really weak. I find this with all of Tim's adventure games. He's a brilliant writer, but a mediocre game designer.  I found Broken Age filled with puzzles that lacked any inspiration and failed most of Ron's tests for why an adventure game puzzle should exist. That's just my opinion.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 23, 2016 at 10:45
@Sally: I recently played Broken Age. It was simple to complete (less than 20 hours), maybe because I consider myself an experienced Lucas Adventure player, but I loved the story and some original ideas of the game. The clouds world, for instance, was funny!

Nor Treblig - May 23, 2016 at 12:53
I wasn't really into Resident Evil (though I completed the first one at least once), but I did play the Alone in the Dark series.
Even to get the character to start running was a challenge :-)
But then it also helped getting you scared like sh*t when you cannot move away from the things which want to kill you.
I also played a lot of FPS which made me especially hate this turning-away-from-wall feature.

Not sure what you mean with slow. You have faster modes of running and turning. You can browse through the inventory quite fast and also use hotkeys to select items. Maybe you mean the case when you have to cycle through hotspots in reach or have to reposition to have the correct one in reach.

Nor Treblig - May 23, 2016 at 12:55
I never really analysed the puzzles in GF too much, but when I will play it next time I try to think like a game developer and apply the things I learned in this blog :-) (something I wouldn't like to do when playing games the first time, this would be one curse of being a game developer I guess)
But when I did play it the first time I enjoyed it very much and also the subsequent times. So I can live with a good (delivered) story even with weak puzzles.

I also like Broken Age. Here I noticed that the puzzles are more on the simple side (one-click-interface also contributes), but story was enjoyable. It's an adventure game inexperienced gamers and even non-gamers can easily have fun with.

longuist - May 23, 2016 at 14:50
You are right, i also played Alone in the Dark (I+II), and the tank controls helped to get immersed and scare people.

In GF you are dead anyway and the tank control is the only thing that scares you :)
In such way that i never attempted to replay it.
You pretty much summed up what i meant with "slow". Yes, you can run, but then you often crash into a bounding box. For object interaction you need to align correctly, so clumsy.
It gets tiresome when you are stuck and actively need to go long distances by "hand", this effort adds up to the feeling of a slow pace. I stuck at least 3 times, and i remember it totally sucked. Fortunately the story was rewarding.

Nor Treblig - May 23, 2016 at 23:54
@longuist: That reminds me that I should really try the remastered version, I still haven't found the time to play it and try the mouse controls. Also I want to hear the commentary!

Btw. regarding system requirements: You can also play the original version with ResidualVM + mouse mod (which actually inspired Double Fine when they made the remastered version).

Guga - May 24, 2016 at 00:48
I agree with the regional characterization. I never played S&M in Italian but I can imagine.

However, as Darth Vader would say, "the Sardinian accent is strong with this one". Not at "groundskeeper Willie" level, and I can do my best to minimize it, but still one would notice I'm Sardinian :P

(For those wondering, in case it isn't clear: in the Italian version of The Simpsons, Willie's character was depicted as Sardinian)

Nor Treblig - May 24, 2016 at 01:23
Talking about S&M (imagine non-adventure enthusiasts reading this blog) and The Simpsons:
In the German versions the voice of Max was the one of Bart Simpson! (very strange at first but hey, you get used to it)

Sushi - May 24, 2016 at 17:57
A good voice actor will make you forget who he/she is.
While playing Full Throttle, I never once thought: "hey, that"s Luke Skywalker!"

Nor Treblig - May 25, 2016 at 12:06
That's true. And Bart Simpsons has a very unique voice but when immersed in the game you forget it.

Ron Gilbert - May 25, 2016 at 12:10
Nancy Cartwright played Putt-Putt in the later games.

Ema - May 25, 2016 at 18:30
I'm sorry, this could be interesting only for italian people....
did you know that the good actress who played Elaine in MI3 was the same actress who performed the orgasm in "Essere donna oggi" by Elio e le Storie Tese?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 26, 2016 at 06:02
@Ema: Elain in Monkey Island 3 was dubbed by Grazia Verasani. She also dubbed Maureen Corley in Full Throttle.
But I didn't know she was involed in Elio E Le Storie Tese songs, ahahah!!!

Ema - May 27, 2016 at 09:58
I don't remember where I got this info.... anyway it was referenced. Maybe I read it on Grazia Verasani's homepage, which is offline at the moment, so it can't be browsed.

Guga - May 22, 2016 at 15:56
I actually made some voice acting a couple of years ago. It was for an audiobook of fairy tales. Well, it was actually just two lines, but still... :P

goodidea82 - May 19, 2016 at 16:07
People always forget to include holidays in Gantt chart.

Malc - May 19, 2016 at 21:16
Holidays?  We're making games here...

Carlo Valenti - May 20, 2016 at 19:29
C'mon, everybody knows that game development is a dream job, just fun, entertainment, and orange juice on a sunny beach. Oh, and you also get payed a big amount of money, and become a legend.
This is the reason everybody is a game developer. I just don't get one thing: who is the guy driving my bus home then?

Enemy Unknown - May 19, 2016 at 17:19
Luckily the germans get the best translator i have seen, Mr. Boris Schneider himself.

Man, i was as kid so happy, my english was non existent, and already there i felt he did an amazing job.

Also he just didn't translated it, he adapted it to our way of Humor. And to top this, he didn't used jokes like for an example there would be a T.V. on with Sheldon Cooper, translate it to our awful GZSZ,  who would not fit in the same way. Boris Schneider is a genius and i thank him even 30 years? later, that i was able to play Monkey Island. Made a brillant game a Masterpiece! Not to forget the Music, who also is never reached again.

An idea maybe to support players who would have problems with Signs etc.. Such names shouldn't be translated. Destroys the whole Atmosphere and there is not without any reason that Names, Cities etc., should not be translated. Best example was World of Warcraft. Even nowadays, people are feeling gross when you hear or read such name like Ironforge translated. :OD

Would it not be helpful, if you could push the "Alt" key for example and when you hover with your Mousecursor over an "Open-Sign" for example and it would be written at the cursor the translated text? *shoulder shrug*

Sry for my misstyping and english. Broken right arm and never had english in school. It is all just from reading english books, movies, games and a small dictionary book for travellers. *blush*

PS: I would like to thank all the bakers, who let made this project that special way possible. And Thimbleweed Team that are the only one who can make such game. Naja, maybe the Andromeda Guys would come close. And Mr. Schneider, what an extraordinary one in translations. Thank God he is in the boat! I would like to mention, that he topped the english jokes sometimes with his creative mind. <3

Guga - May 20, 2016 at 04:49
Never played the German version (I should, now that I know the language) but I always felt like the Italian version was missing something.

We Italians have a loooong long history of mistranslations and misadaptations. The most infamous example is the Italian version of The Big Bang Theory, the first N episodes (I think N == 8 but not sure) were awfully adapted and most of the humor got lost.

I sure hope we get a good translator this time. Otherwise I'll make my own.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 20, 2016 at 23:21
The Italian translation of Zak McKracken was hilarious.
Bobby pin sign = cartello di molletta
Remote control = telecommando
Not to mention the dialogue sentences. But I played it after having finished Zak in English, so it was Ok and dirle the fun!

Marco Lizza - May 21, 2016 at 15:21
Notable examples date back in the early nineties. If someone ever read the "Turrican" italian instruction manual would agree...

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 21, 2016 at 18:30
"Turrican" for Amiga?
Ehm... at that time there were only "trained" copies...
with no manuals at all!

Marco Lizza - May 21, 2016 at 18:57
Original games were available, back them. If one was willing to buy them! :P I bough both Turrican and Turrican II for the C64 and, guys, the instruction manual translations were painful. The even translated "1 UP" literarily... gosh...

Mario F. - May 20, 2016 at 09:11
oh come on, really? Boris'eseseses  job was just average. Many jokes were f***ed up. he couldnt translate them correctly and used childish words for some translations. some of them even didnt make sense. Many coders in the german cracking scene in that time, who always were in contact with the group members in the states, could have done a better translation than him. i dont know whats all the fuzz about Boris. he does it again now, and the germans have to live with that...again.... anyway, i will play that game in english as always. there aint no better way to play this games. in this case you dont miss any joke.

if i were dev, i would keep it simple, english and thats it. you cant handle all languages on earth. if you cant read english then let it go. play chess. or check google.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 20, 2016 at 09:46
'Play Chess' is a good advice.

Mario F. - May 20, 2016 at 14:02
need to reply myself:
in case you have a big production budget, then for sure you can go with translations of the main markets. but if you dont have such budget, like this TP project,  i would keep it simple and in english. maybe the devs have another POV. maybe they could share their thoughts again what they think about translations and the effect of it. how big is the additional gross by doing it? or could it be even a loss? the ratio between localisation effort and margin gain is important.

Ron Gilbert - May 20, 2016 at 14:17
There was a Kickstarter stretch goal for Spanish, German, French and Italian, so we're pretty much committed. As for translating text, it's not that much work, so it's purely a creative decision.

Nor Treblig - May 20, 2016 at 16:00
When I played those games as a kid I never thought the translations are bad. Nowadays I'd always prefer the original version over translated ones, which is the English version most of the time (though especially Lucasarts adventure games always had very good German versions).
Even non-English speaking developers now often develop their games in English first to have a better version for the large English speaking audience.

But I still want to have game translations, especially of such games which are suitable for a young audience (e.g. I don't care for Doom in German, but TWP, Broken Age, Nelly Cootalot are games I want in German too so I can easily play them with children).

Mario F. - May 20, 2016 at 17:52
30 years past,  nowadays they start teaching english in kindergarten luckily. and more effective in the first years in school. in my time, we started in the 5th class. I understand that the localisation is a good thing for children, so they can participate. and in fact i think solving puzzles and riddles enhances their capability of recognising connections and links. especially by trial and error.

Somehow, the devs are also teachers who educate the kids.....meanwhile... !!!

David Good - May 19, 2016 at 18:01
Thanks for the Linux support!  I'm so much more excited now that I know that I'll actually get to play the game on my native OS!

Martin Wendt - May 20, 2016 at 02:05
It would be soo cool if you could compile an ARM binary for Linux as well. Not just but in particular for RaspberryPi users/lovers. A 2017 released A^4 Title for Linux(ARM). Eternal credz for that :)

Christopher Griffin - May 20, 2016 at 16:08
Ah yes.  A slice of Thimbleweed Pi. :)

Big Red Button - May 20, 2016 at 20:40
I have RetroPie running on my Pi with ScummVM. So, TP would be a nice addition for it - not necessary but nice!

Andreas - May 19, 2016 at 18:24
Ron, how do you estimate how long the individual things will take?
Is it all experience or do you have a system?

I am currently using:
1.) guess how long it takes
2.) multiply by 4

Zombocast - May 19, 2016 at 23:47
Agent Reyes used "Pick Up" on Madame Morena

Madame Morena likes men with authority.. and cuffs

Martin Wendt - May 20, 2016 at 01:24
It is more fun the other way round. In France you see many cares and some shops saying “Pain“, which means bread. Playing a french translation of a game playing in SanFrancisco and having those pain-delivery-cars would feel funny... :-)

Tom - May 20, 2016 at 12:56
Are you sure linux opengl can handle 8 bit graphics?  Please add foot steps sound effects (determined by surface material, splash,...) for extra realism!

Bogdan Barbu - May 21, 2016 at 03:31
Don't worry, OpenGL is an industry standard, meaning it's supposed to be the same everywhere (simplifying a bit). If you have a higher color depth than you need at your disposal, you can limit yourself to using only a subset. If your resolution is higher than the one you need, you can just have your game pixels map to several screen pixels. There's really no special "8-bit graphics support" in OpenGL. Besides, they're not limiting themselves to VGA-style graphics, they merely aim to have that general aesthetic (sometimes they'll use more thab 256 colors on a single screen, sometimes they'll have tiny pixels, etc.).

José Manuel Benetti - May 20, 2016 at 20:48
No ps4 version?

Ron Gilbert - May 20, 2016 at 20:55
Microsoft has a 3 month exclusive, then we can port to other consoles. I can't guarantee a PS4 version, but we really want one.

Big Red Button - May 20, 2016 at 20:56
There are no plans for a PS4 port yet. Maybe they'll decide on it depending on the success of the Xbox version.

Steffen - May 21, 2016 at 17:01
Hello TP-team!

Actually I dont care if everything is translated or just conversations. Full localisation as well as partial one have advantages AND disadvantages. In full loc. one has a stronger focus on the quests. In partial loc. one has a better impression for the cultural background of the story.

But there is a third way: of course you have a pure english version. Then you could make a FULL foreign version with translated picture-texts as well. Additionally you could make a second version for the same language that only changes texts but no picture.

This way every user could decide for oneself....

David - May 22, 2016 at 13:38
I'd leave the graphics in English and just translate the dialogue and add subtitles if needed.

DZ-Jay - May 23, 2016 at 08:19
Dear Mr. Gilbert,

Thanks for the update.  It looks very aggressive, but it is clear you've had plenty of experience managing development projects before, so I trust it will all work out in the end.  If not, there is always "panic crunch time," which tends to produce surprisingly acceptable results, at the cost of a rather large piece of the team's lifeblood.  But what's a few decades of physical existence among friends? :)

In other news, your game has been mentioned in a recent article at Ars Technica.  It is extremely flattering, and I'm sure you will enjoy it.


Marialuisa - May 23, 2016 at 11:23
Have you already got in touch with translators? I'm an Italian native speaker and I've worked with Zojoi and Screen7 - among many others. You can reach out to me by sending an e-mail to Please give it a thought!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - May 24, 2016 at 03:04
Hello MariaLuisa, nice to meet you!
There are a bunch of italian guys here.
Please read this post, we are thinking about a nice idea, dubbing Thimbleweed Park with italian voices (just for fun).
Where region are you from?

Marialuisa - May 25, 2016 at 15:33
Hi! I'm from Campania, but as I have been an amateur theatre actress for years I can speak with no regional accent. I recorded some voice-over tracks for the trailer of an Italian game named Forgive me (by Gangster Games), but they stopped working on it for some reason, so I only have those recordings but no actual video to show you. However, you can tell me whatever text you want me to record as some sort of audition and I can send it to you.
Please, take note of my e-mail address and keep me posted on your project! I'm definitely in!

Ema - May 25, 2016 at 18:33
Good news.... Since you're the only girl right now, I bet you can make it to the leading role!

Gffp - May 25, 2016 at 20:23
Wow Marialuisa, I'm from Campania (a few km from Naples) too and I had this foolish idea of doing the voice acting in Italian! If you read the older comments of this blog post, you'll find the italian readers who are in the project and my skype address. I've already added zak from brescia. Hope to remain in contact by the time Ron Gilbert will communicate instructions on how to dub the game. Ciao felice di averti con noi!

Thiago Garcia - May 24, 2016 at 12:38
Ron, I'm Thiago from Brazil. Congratulations whole Thimbleweed Park team.

Is there any possibility to Thimbleweed be translated to Brazillian Portuguese?


Big Red Button - May 24, 2016 at 17:32
At least, it will be possible to create your own translation of the game. So I'm optimistic that there will be someone who does a custom translation to Brazillian Portuguese.

Rob - Jun 02, 2016 at 18:12
"We have top people working on it. Top. People."

First I tried to remember where this quote came from.

Then it hit me.

Then I lol'd.

But now I have an uneasy feeling: does this mean that this game will be the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant of adventure games, all in one, but once it is finished, it will disappear in some secret government warehouse, never to be seen again? I hope not...

Ron Gilbert - Jun 02, 2016 at 18:21
Actually, that quote is from Ghostbusters, or at least that is where I was drawing it from.

Rob - Jun 02, 2016 at 19:28
Thanks for the reply Mr. Gilbert, then I guess my fears are unfounded :)The quote I had in mind was this one: I have no idea why Indiana Jones came to mind immediately ;)

Ron Gilbert - Jun 02, 2016 at 19:33
I think the Ghostbusters line was just making fun of Raiders, but it's the Ghostbusters line that has always stuck in my head.

Brian Small - Jun 02, 2016 at 20:33
That must have been one of the *many* ad-libbed lines in Ghostbusters.  I can't find any reference to a "Top Men" or "Top People" quote in the movie script or online (except for Indiana Jones).  I'm going to have to go 80's old school and pull out my old VHS copy of Ghostbusters...