Special Case Animations

by Ron Gilbert
Jun 22, 2015

It's Monday so it's time for another Monday Thimbleweed Park blog post. For me, the past two weeks have mostly been taken up by my big move back to Seattle from the Bay Area. I first moved here in 1992 to start Humongous Entertainment, then moved back to the Bay Area in 2004 and now I'm returning to Seattle. I really love Seattle and missed it quite a bit.  It's great to be back, but I don't feel like I've gotten a lot done on Thimbleweed park in the last few weeks.

I did do another pass on the budget. Gary and I did a pretty detailed budget pre-Kickstarter, but now that things have gotten rolling, we have a much better idea of the actual costs and the work involved. When you're doing a preliminary budget, it's all about guessing based on past experience. It's 99% hand-waving and 1% actual data.

As you leave preproduction, you have a much better idea of what you're building and how much time it's going to take and the resources involved. Some expenses were moved from one line to another, some grew and other shrunk, but the end result is we're actually spending a little less than we planned, which gives us a tiny bit of flexibility to bring on an additional artist to help with some of the animation.

In Maniac Mansion, the character animation consisted of what we called walk-talks. Four frame walks in three directions (left and right were flipped) and then talking. There isn't any other animation in Maniac Mansion. When someone uses the weight machine, the machine move up and down (two states) and the character just stands there.

When we started working on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, we decided to add "special case animations". These were animations that would be used in one place.

Having or not having them wasn't a work issue as much as it was a disk-space issue. Adding a single disk to the game would increase the "cost of goods". Add too many "cost of goods" and the "return on investment" (ROI for those without a MBA) would plummet.

At the beginning of a project were were given a budget of floppy disks. Monkey Island would get 5 floppies. As the cost of floppy disks would fluctuate like they were pork bellies being traded at the stock exchange, we would sometimes get "an extra floppy" added to our "cost of goods" budget and it was like Christmas. Sometimes we'd get an extra floppy added because we just whined and complained or maybe the game was looking really good and promising. Throughout production you'd have to keep a close eye on your floppy-count™.

Steve Purcell did the first "special case animation" where Indy jumps down into a pit. It was impressive to see a character do something that wasn't walking or talking. Seems quaint and silly these days, but it was pure magic back then.

The other thing added around that time were reach animations. Indy and Guybrush had animations to "reach high", "reach med" and "reach low". They were played whenever the character interacted with an object in the world. Each object was tag with HIGH, MED or LOW and the system would play the appropriate animation.


The advent of the CD-ROM and later DVDs and now internet downloads have crushed most of the joy out of the floppy-count™, but there is still budget to contend with. Given the fidelity of our graphics, Thimbleweed Park has an unlimited floppy-count™, but someone still has to draw, animate and program it all, so we still need to be careful.

For Thimbleweed Park, we budgeted for a good amount of generic reach and special case animations, but doing larger cut-scene animations stayed on our wish-list. We don't have a lot of cut-scenes in the game, mostly because I think cut-scenes kind of suck. They are great for big infrequent emotional rewards or quick little scenes, but, let's face it, you're playing a game because you like "playing" and that involves interacting. I like to follow the "10 second rule". Don't go more than 10 seconds without some kind of meaningful interaction (pro-tip: pressing OK is not a meaningful interaction).

Besides budget, the other issue in doing special case animations is a tech one. How do we do them? If they are just special animations the character is doing (like using the weight machine), then it's easy, we do them in the same tool we're doing walk-talks in.

But if they are larger and more complex and require coordinating several elements, it's not as easy as just playing a canned animation. The animations might take place across several screens involving many separate images. I know some game devs use After Effects and then have exporters that export data used for playback, but that seems overly complex to me.

I've been playing around with Spine and quite like it. The problem with Spine is neither Gary nor I have used it before. I'm sure if we sat down and spent a week we could become proficient at it, but we're both swamped with work.

Which brings me to the real point of this blog post (is anyone still reading?).

We're looking for someone that is very proficient in Spine who could spend a few hours doing some (paid) tests for us. If Spine does what we need, it might translate into some more work compositing and choreographing our cut-scenes and larger animations.

If you already know Spine (I mean really know it and have produced a lot of work using it), please contact us.

I'm also open to other tools readers may have used. Probably the most important issue is being able to tween animation movement over time and easy to parse file format.

Anyway. Long post. Thanks for reading.

- Ron

vegetaman - Jun 22, 2015 at 20:28
I really liked cutscenes in Maniac Mansion. Unlike modern games, they were very short and to the point. They either told you exactly what you needed to know, or gave you creepy backstory to the Edisons. I wish more people followed your 10 second rule!

PrinzJohnny99 - Jun 23, 2015 at 00:15
I think this is right for most of the cutscenes in MM, but some just took you out of the game because they started just all of a sudden while you wäre playing. Some made sense, like when Ed wants to come down into the kitchen, which warned you to get out of there. But others just didn't gave any value to the game, like the scene when Edna talks with Ed.

Ron Gilbert - Jun 23, 2015 at 00:29
I agree about cut-scenes happen all of a sudden. In Maniac Mansion, many of them were on simple timers. It was a idea that didn't work out as well as we wanted. The cut-scenes in Monkey Island all happened based on events and actions of the player.  I do disagree about the cut-scene between Ed and Edna, it was needed to set Ed up as a possible sympathetic character.

Soong - Jun 23, 2015 at 04:04
I actually like the timer.s because it makes the game feel less predictable because I don't know where in the game I'll be when something happens.  I do understand the problems with timers too, though.  If you have the time, maybe Thimbleweed Park could have some sort of combination?  A user action could still trigger an NPC event/a cutscene, but it would not happen immediately, but at random within a given timeframe after the user action.

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 23, 2015 at 19:14
I think that a combination would be good.

Vegetaman - Jun 23, 2015 at 09:11
I thought the cut-scenes were nice between Ed and Edna, and Dr. Fred and Edna, and even Sandy/Purple Tentacle/Dr. Fred. It gave good background on the game without having to read a manual that may or may not exist (I played on NES) and gave you some character motivations and background. Also hint cutscenes like Dr. Fred in the game room "hmmm, the power must be out". The only downside maybe as a kid was I always wondered if I beat the game before I got to see all the cutscenes that can occur.

Derrick Reisdorf - Jun 24, 2015 at 01:04
I liked the timed cutscenes. It was like you were in a living, breathing world. You had to play through the game a few times to fully know how the game can be impacted by the timed events. I think you just need to make the player aware that something is going to happen before it does, perhaps subtly.
In addition, if I remember correctly, as soon as the timer expired, the cutscene would happen right then and there. Perhaps, the cutscene could have waited until the player left a room; or maybe a simple fade effect would have made those cutscenes feel less jarring?

Justin Graham - Jun 22, 2015 at 20:40
Spine is pretty good.. Also check out this tool.  http://creature.kestrelmoon.com/

Christopher Griffin - Jun 23, 2015 at 12:26
I tried out the Trial version of Creature, and the trial leaves a LOT to be desired.  It looks like the Pro version is really feature-rich, but the trial was poorly thought out and required me submitting a post to the help forum just to ask how I'm supposed to do *anything*.

RCM - Jun 22, 2015 at 21:00
Very informative post- I like hearing how modern design compares to old-school. I agree with vegetaman- more game designers need to follow the 10-second rule. If I wanted to watch a movie, I'd watch a movie.

"It's 99% hand-waving and 1% actual data." Just like Stan!

Peter Campbell - Jun 22, 2015 at 23:40
It's rare, but there are exceptions where games can be masterfully built entirely around cutscenes, taking advantage of them, like Metal Gear Solid 1 for example which created an unforgettable and thrilling game experience.  The story, the characters, the voice acting, the combination of the gameplay and the cutscenes intertwined with one another, everything came together perfectly in MGS1.  Lightning in a bottle like that is insanely difficult to capture but Hideo Kojima managed to do it.

Then there's games like Devil May Cry 3 which has great over-the-top action cutscenes at the beginning and end of each mission, but the cutscenes also make for a really great story and great characters.  They are completely skippable at the press of a button, so they do nothing but benefit the game.  

One of the major appealing factors of rpgs, particularly old-school jrpgs like the Final Fantasy games is their stories, which have lots of cutscenes.  I mean really the quality and entertainment of cutscenes is largely dependent on the type of game that they are being used in, and games that are very heavy on story such as the Final Fantasy series make intelligent use of cutscenes to carry the story on and expand on the mythos of the game's universe.

Going way back to 1989, there's the original Ninja Gaiden on the NES which wouldn't be as memorable of a game without it's cutscenes, which made for a rather simple but memorable and exciting story and would get players hyped for the next stage of the game.  And again they are skippable with the press of a button.

Most games these days, especially those made by AAA developers do have awful and horribly long and boring cutscenes, and it does seem like the developers spend more time and energy on the cutscenes than the actual game itself, and unfortunately the gameplay seems to suffer because of this, so with that I do agree with you but there are times when cutscenes can dramatically improve a game and make it a better experience, it just depends on how well they are done and incorporated into the game itself.   I just can't stand when cutscenes are unskippable or there's no way to speed through them, especially when they are long and frequent, that really irritates me.

And then there's games like Journey and Fez which actually benefit from having practically no cutscenes or story at all, it's more about just exploring and discovering the worlds inside each game, letting the player use their imagination and figuring out the puzzles.

Peter Campbell - Jun 22, 2015 at 23:44
Btw, I'm strictly talking about the SNES and Playstation 1 era Final Fantasy games in my previous post, alongside Chrono Trigger.

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 22, 2015 at 21:18
Thank you for the long post, Ron. :-) I would gladly help you for free if I knew how to use Spine! ;-)

Iron Curtain - Jun 22, 2015 at 22:10
Ron: Wait a sec, didn't you live in Vancouver, BC, Canada circa 2008-9 to work on the first two Penny Arcade™ games and DeathSpank™ at Hothead™ Games? I distinctly remember you working in Vancouver around that time…

Ron Gilbert - Jun 23, 2015 at 00:25
I did, but only temporarily. I loved Vancouver (probably for the same reason I love Seattle), but it was never my home.

hihp - Jun 23, 2015 at 04:12
I haven't used it personally, but I heard (and saw) some good things about Synfig...

Estranged2 - Jun 23, 2015 at 04:49
Perhaps asking this question on Kickstarter could lead to more potential candidates.

Darius - Jun 23, 2015 at 05:01
Another 2D animation tool is Spriter. http://www.brashmonkey.com/spriter.htm

DZ-Jay - Jun 23, 2015 at 05:57
Hmm... I took a look at some samples of Spline work and I see that I recognize its use in many modern "retro" games.  Personally, I do not like that sort of animation where the 2-D image is warped when moved; it looks too much like a cheap Flash cartoon.

I understand the huge amount of work involved in your game and that you would like to streamline, but I really hope you stay true to your original pitch and make sure the visual style of the game follows early point-and-click adventures.  I'm still not convinced that the gorgeous and deliciously intricate new artwork provided by Mark is the way to go, and I hope your sprites don't end up twisting and flexing like so many Flash-based games of the 90s.

Your project is entering a critical stage now, but if there is anybody I trust can navigate the tricky waters of scope creep, is you.  Too many Kickstarter projects are afflicted by the "we've got unlimited powah! we can do what we want!" bug.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your progress with us.  I'm looking forward to this game. :)


Ron Gilbert - Jun 23, 2015 at 09:30
We won't be using any of the warping and scaling features of spine, they don't fit with the aesthetic of Thimbleweed Park. We're only using it to move and coordinate images.

DZ-Jay - Jun 23, 2015 at 17:29
That's great to hear!  Like I said, if there is someone who can keep his head on straight and delivery a great experience is you and your team.  I am really excited over this project, and can't wait to see more of it.  :)

Thanks for replying.


Big Red Button - Jun 23, 2015 at 09:41
Let's just wait and see, I think.

Big Red Button - Jun 23, 2015 at 13:17
Sorry, Ron, I began to write that before you responded. So it's not addressed to your reply. I have no doubt that you will completely measure up to my expectations.

LogicDeLuxe - Jun 23, 2015 at 06:04
Interestingly, I don't even know a Monkey Island version on 5 floppies, only 4 or 8, depending on the disk size and color depth. Unless, you count the optional Roland upgrade for the EGA version in. But then again, you certainly would have used the entire disk and shipped it with the game, if that was part of the calculation all along.

I'd say, the 10 seconds rule should also apply for dialogues. You should be able to select a line or do something else every few lines at least.

Sean Hastings - Jun 23, 2015 at 10:55
As a software developer that loves adventure games, I just wanted to say thank you for the effort you guys put into this blog and recording the standups. I really like how it gets into the nitty gritty of planning and dealing with the "puzzles" that come up with the everyday work.

RoB Osinga - Jun 23, 2015 at 13:27
When i saw Guybrush jump trough the scene in the governers mansion in Monkey Island 1, i was amazed by the special animation!  I really appreciated these extra's. It made me feel like Guybrush was capable of anything! I do hope that you can and will squeeze in a nice animation/ action utilizing the chainsawpuzzle.  Maybe a blogpost followup combining the chainsawpuzzleproblem and animation ideas for that puzzle.

Thank you guys for this great blog!

Derrick Reisdorf - Jun 24, 2015 at 01:19
Right? Use wax lips on yak, etc...

Simon Simon - Jun 25, 2015 at 07:54
This was probably the scene in Monkey Island that I enjoyed least. It felt so linear, pseudo-interactive and a bit out of place... Probably I founded a longer cut scene instead more rewarding. Nevertheless, the puzzles to get into the villa were great.

doglobster - Jun 23, 2015 at 13:55
Another great post, Ron.

For me the stand out

doglobster - Jun 23, 2015 at 14:03
Whoops, posted too soon.

Was going to say that for me the standout special case animation was in the fate of atlantis when Indy jumps over the desk and socks the Nazi. That got me fired up for adventure like nothing else!

With all this stuff it's all about moderation and holding things back to make the payoff that much more satisfying. Remember how excited you were when you'd finally clock an 8-but game like phantasy star or r-type, and the ending would just be a couple of pretty bespoke pics and a bit of text?


Yes mate, more o' that please ron.

Marco Lizza - Jun 25, 2015 at 11:30
I mostly agreed.

In fact, e.g., the ending in ZMKATAM and MM was just a tiny epilogue between replaying the game from start once again. :)

By the way, that period of the year (June with the beginning of the summer and the long awaited holidays from school) in tightly bound with both MM and ZMKATAM. It was in a distant (1989) summer that I first played them both. Love at first sight and endless replays for that fourteen years old kid! :)

Darkstorm - Jun 23, 2015 at 13:59
The MI2 cutscenes had quite a few a lot longer then 10 seconds right (like when largo first returns to lechuck's fortress)?

Would you change that in retrospect?  I thought they were all pretty good.

Rum Rogers - Jun 23, 2015 at 20:52
10 seconds?
I'm glad you came to this conclusion AFTER making Monkey 2.
The scene with Guybrush pricking Largo's voodoo doll lasts at least 3 minutes if we include the following chat with the voodoo lady, and it's absolutely hilarious. I'd hate if it had been cut out of the final game.
I agree with the fact that I want to play and not watch a movie, and that's something "modern" adventure game makers seem to have forgotten.
But sometimes a longer scene is needed: the Monkey 2 scene I just mentioned is one of the many things that make that game so special.
So, well, please don't follow the 10-seconds-rule as a mantra, exceptions can be done.

Ron Gilbert - Jun 23, 2015 at 20:55
There were very few scenes in Monkey Island that lasted longer then 10 seconds, it's one of the reasons I liked doing dialogs, because you can break things up with choices. That said, I'm not hard and fast on the 10 second rule, but if it's going to last longer than 10 seconds, there batter be a reason.

Rum Rogers - Jun 23, 2015 at 21:02
Wise choice!
Thanks for sharing these tidbits with us, more posts like this one please!
Best regards,


Peter - Jun 24, 2015 at 05:33
Sorry, this is a little bit Off-Topic (what about a Thimbleweed Park Forum ????).

Here is some great information about the visual art in the early Lucas Arts Games:


"Lucasfilm Games’ art department presently employs eight full-time artists and four to six independent contractors. Each artist contributes a unique array of skills, experience, and talent to the job. The credit for assembling our group of highly talented artists goes to Gary Winnick, who was my predecessor as Art Department Manager and is now a Project Leader. He helped in the design and implementation of our early adventure games like Maniac Mansion and Zack McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. His latest project is a Nintendo game called Defenders of Dynatron City. Thanks to Gary’s expert eye and great artistic sense, our group of artists is the absolute best in the business.
In the past, only a few artists were needed to create the artwork for a game. For our early adventure games, the artists were responsible for drawing backgrounds as well as animating characters and objects. Now that VGA has become the marketplace standard, and prices for machines with large hard drives have dropped, our games are larger and more complex than ever. This means we must create significantly more art for each new game. As a result, we use more artists per project, and we’ve divided each team into two groups: background specialists and animation specialists.

Adventures in DPaint

The background team on Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis used Electronic Arts’ graphics program Enhanced Deluxe Paint (DPaint) to draw scenes directly on the computer screen with a mouse, pixel by pixel. One of our biggest challenges when using DPaint is trying to make computer art look more spontaneous and organic. For Fate of Atlantis, lead artist Bill Eaken and his team used decorative textural patterns and translucent colors to soften backgrounds, so they’d appear more natural and less computer generated. Bill discovers new ways daily to trick DPaint into doing the impossible.
Bill worked closely with background artists Avril Harrison and James Dollar to create a tantalizing panorama of backgrounds that set the tone for the entire game, which consists of just over 95 screens. From the lush jungles of the Yucatan, to a dusty Algiers marketplace, to Atlantis’ fiery lava maze, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is a visual treat for the eyes.

Back to the Drawing Board

For Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, we tried a different approach to creating backgrounds. Instead of using DPaint, we used a scanner to import original, painted artwork into the computer. A scanner works a little like a copy machine, but instead of creating a paper copy, it creates computer images that matches the original drawing, painting, or photograph.
We tried scanning in artwork created with several different techniques, including gouache, acrylics, colored pencils, and colored markers. The technique we settled on for Monkey Island 2 involved drawing a scene with colored marker pens, overlaying it with layers of paint to accent and enhance, and finally using colored pencils to sharpen any soft edges. Using this method, a single background can take anywhere from a half a day to three days to complete. After a background is completed, it is scanned into a Mac II using Adobe Systems’ Photoshop, a program developed by a group of programmers from Industrial Light & Magic. With this software, we are able to manipulate and enhance the image, using various filters and adjustments, to create effects not easily achieved with traditional painting methods.
Steve Purcell and Peter Chan were the lead artists on Monkey Island 2. Sean Turner also helped with some of the backgrounds. Steve, who had been lead artist on the original Monkey Island game, assisted Peter and Sean in keeping the overall look of the two games consistent. Peter went on to create most of the background images for Monkey Island 2, and had developed a wonderful technique using the markers that takes advantage of the scanner’s color and texture sensitivities."

It seems to me, that it would be necessary to work with dPaint to create the original Atmosphere of the old games. Maybe it is possible to find a dPaint Emulator. To creat the "look and feel" of Monkey Island 2, it is necessary to paint everything by hand and to make a scan and some additional paintings, filterings and effects with Photoshop (like for a Comic Book).

Gv - Jun 24, 2015 at 06:33
I once downloaded D-Paint (  ok, not very legal :) but I guess it's abandonware  ). It's a long time since I last used it, but I think it works with DOSBox. Check my website: http://gfvh.webs.com or http://freewebs.com/gfvh, some of the art there, was made in DPaint, the first dithered images of the page.

stderr - Jun 24, 2015 at 12:40
"It seems to me, that it would be necessary to work with dPaint to create the original Atmosphere of the old games. Maybe it is possible to find a dPaint Emulator."

Have you tried grafx2? http://pulkomandy.tk/projects/GrafX2

Patrik Spacek - Jun 24, 2015 at 13:55
I started using Dpaint on Amiga 500 and Amiga 1200 later. 32 colors expanded to 64 colors (shades).
I still love old school pixel art, but not before 1990. The best Pixel art quality started since 1990. Every studio tried to produce the highest quality like Psygnosis, Team17 or Lucasfilm and Sierra. Now I enjoy to improved to art instead of go backward. :) or at least make the pixel art at 640 pixels range, which brings up more details.

Nor Treblig - Jun 24, 2015 at 22:26
Oh, that one looks really nice! I also liked the art style of Simon the Sorcerer which was similar detailed.

Simon Simon - Jun 25, 2015 at 07:43
Oh yes indeed. Simon the Sorcerer had beautiful scenes (especially the forest and the mountains), and also lots of character animations... I always wondered how it was able to fit on THREE floppy disks (3.5") only! Dott was on seven discs if I remember correctly. Was it compression algorithm magic?

Nor Treblig - Jun 26, 2015 at 14:40
Hm, I don't know. I also don't remember floppy disk counts :-)
Since SCUMM file formats are quite well documented and ScummVM also supports Simon it's at least possible to look it up...

Patrik Spacek - Jun 24, 2015 at 09:11
I was driving to the work this morning and I was listening to 40s Jazz/Standard radio, and suddenly they played Fats Walter - Dry Bones !! Monkey Island 2 jumped in front of my face! Dancing bones! ..  uh such a blast! I am sure, it was the inspiration for the game.
Here you go:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-jFZEhKfnQ

Peter - Jun 24, 2015 at 09:56
I don't have experience in C++, but I'm useing LISP for Music. Has somebody experience to use LISP for Games?
Has somebody experience in LISP?


Gv - Jun 24, 2015 at 12:48
You should ask somebody from Sierra On Line in the 90's, a competitor :) (considering the people behind TWP are from "Lucasfilm Games") . They used something similar to LISP to make games with their SCI Engine. You can even try it with programs like SCI Studio or SCI Companion. I've never tried it :).

Peter - Jun 24, 2015 at 14:54
And Scumm? Was Scumm written in C++ ???

Peter - Jun 24, 2015 at 14:57
Ok, I found it... Scumm was written in C++. But why is Ron Gilbert not useing the old Scumm for Thimbleweed Park ???



Language features

ScummVM is written in a subset of C++. Due to limitations of the C++ run-times on various platforms, the following features cannot currently be used:

    C++ exceptions (throw/catch): Not all C++ compilers support these correctly (esp. on embedded systems), and exception support incurs a noticeable overhead in binary size.
    C++ RTTI (run-time type information, as in dynamic_cast<>): This incurs a (to us) severe overhead in binary size, since the static tables used for objects will get bigger.
    Global C++ objects: Their constructors / destructors will not be called on certain targets, causing all kinds of bad problems and requiring ugly workarounds. (The GCC option -Wglobal-constructors helps finding code doing this.)

Furthermore, the standard C++ library is a big no-no. Besides usually heavily relying on the above mentioned features, it also sucks up rather more resources than we would like to, so we have our own replacements for various container classes etc.

We are reviewing these decisions from time to time, but so far, in our estimation the drawbacks of using any of these outweigh the hypothetical advantages.

Marco Lizza - Jun 24, 2015 at 16:16
That is ScummVM, which is a re-implementation of SCUMM. It's implementation details give no clue with regard to the original incarnation.

Moreover, Ron answered on why he won't be using the "old SCUMM" for Thimbleweed Park in one of the first blog entries.

Ron Gilbert - Jun 24, 2015 at 16:25
The C64 version of SCUMM was written in 6502, after that it was written in C, not C++. C++ wasn't really around back then. I'm not using SCUMM (in part) because it is a very old system with a crappy toolchain compared to what can be done today.

Peter - Jun 24, 2015 at 16:29
Are you programming for Thimbleweed Park a new engine, comparable with Scumm that can be used in the future for other adventures. What is the difference, what you are programming at the moment, comparable with Scumm?

Peter Campbell - Jun 24, 2015 at 17:53
For those who may be wondering, yes we are two different Peters lol.

Peter #2, you'll want to read this:
and this
and this

more stuff can be found under the "Archives" tab at the top of this site and some things may have changed but that should give a good amount of info.

Peter - Jun 24, 2015 at 17:58
OK, cool! thanks!

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 24, 2015 at 19:24
Two different Peters?! Highlander taught me there can be only one...

Peter Campbell - Jun 24, 2015 at 21:37
Ever watch "The Adventures of Pete and Pete" on Nickelodeon back in the 90's?  Hands down one of the best, unique, cleverly funny shows ever!

Mattias Cedervall - Jun 25, 2015 at 10:12
No, I haven't seen it, but I will take a look now. Thanks for the information.

Jammet - Jun 25, 2015 at 15:49
My apologies because this is a little off the topic, but I don't think the topic music in Thimbleweed Park has been talked about much. And I honestly have no idea what it's supposed to be like.

Will you be able to get someone like Peter McConnell and Michael Land?

I think, what comes closest to what I've got on my mind about the music is that in Day of the Tentacle. It has a very emotional bunch of themes that ooze ... a kind of mystery. The game is funny, but the music of DOTT  isn't -- it's more ... subdued. Mysterious. Even dangerous.

Please let me give you two examples. One is from DOTT, one is from Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.
These two are, if you ask me, just perfect scores for games like this. They have that sense of wonder, of puzzles.

If anything, I hope that the composer for Thimbleweed Park can capture these feelings all anew.

On http://retrotracks.net/music/301
The track "Crab-like Raft"

The other is, when you explore Dr. Freds House in DOTT, with Bernard, in the present. For instance, when you're in Dr.Freds office, next to the library. It's very toned down and slow but... interesting.

Peter - Jun 25, 2015 at 16:34
Very good point. If we are talking a lot about how to recreate old Atmosphere useing C and some kind of "neo Scumm", we should also use Roland MT32 Sound. This video shows very good, what is so special about the sound of that area:


I would also prefer Peter McConnell or Michael Land and Steve Kirk only for the main themes, maybe also for the "cut scenes". Why not programming music back in MIDI, like in old days. By the way: The music could also be programmed in C, there is also "Csound", which was invented at MIT... (http://www.csounds.com/)

But in general, it has to be MIDI, to recreate the old atmosphere , because the rib bone is connected to the arm bone, the arm bone is connected to the head bone, the head bone is connected to the leg bone... (etc.) :D

Jammet - Jun 25, 2015 at 23:12
Personally, I still adore the Adlib/opl sound a lot, and I have the music files to the Lucasfilm adventures and a player that'll play them exactly like they were in the game. MIDI was fantastic, but not with all games. Hopefully we'll get our wish :). A retro music mode?

Peter - Jun 25, 2015 at 17:26
This is by the way a great joke, that could fit with the Game-Music Topic:


Jammet - Jun 25, 2015 at 23:18
It's perfect! :) Now for desert, there'll be a room in Thimbleweed Park, where it is late at night - and we'll see the moon, and we'll hear crickets!

Peter - Jun 25, 2015 at 16:37
By the way, here is a great interview with Land:


Mister T - Jun 25, 2015 at 17:15
Oh, I remember that special animation. One reason why it was special was that there were not many of those and they were kind of unexpected. At the same time the opened up new options. In MM or Zak it was clear that some things would not work, because they would be impossible to show. In Indy III that option was gone.

I played that game with my brother and we went back to that scene (I think it we even had a savegame of it) several times, because it was so one step ahead of everything.

Pedram - Jun 27, 2015 at 13:07
Hi Ron,

I remember vaguely that I wasn't sure I saw additional animations when I installed MM2 on hard drive. Was there a difference when playing from diskette or was I drugged on sugar? I remember at the end of MM2, that LeChuck's head came flying towards the camera in the installed case. Please clear up that eternal mystery for me please.



Nor Treblig - Jun 27, 2015 at 17:35
At the end of MI2 (assuming you meant Monkey Island, not MM or DOTT) small-LeChuck was just evilly looking towards the player, maybe you meant MI1 when his ghost presence is destroyed at end?

There are differences between several MI1 versions (EGA, VGA, CD, ...), but non animation-wise that I can remember of and I also don't think there was a difference between playing from floppy or from hard disk.

Note: Not every white powder is sugar! :-)

Gv - Jun 27, 2015 at 20:12
I never saw the face you say (in MI 1) until I played it on a VGA monitor (the EGA version). When I finished it on a monochrome monitor, that face never appeared, I believe, because a friend of mine told me about that face and I said: what? what face? I didn't see it.

Matt - Jun 28, 2015 at 12:23

Have you considered using Maya?  You can rig everything up similar to what you can do in Spine, but there is a much bigger user base for Maya.  

That being said, Spine does look pretty cool and I will have to take a look at a trial.