by Ron Gilbert
Nov 28, 2016

I hate tutorials. I really hate tutorials. Let me just get that out of the way.

OK, now all that said, I just got done adding the tutorial to Thimbleweed Park.

Working on tutorials isn't something that I hate, it's something that actually makes me angry.  Tutorials have about as much place in narrative games as they do in a movie. Can you imagine sitting down to watch a film and having pop-ups come on screen to tell you who the protagonist was and when a plot point happened?

Now, the big difference in a movie and a game is, when watching a movie you just sit there. Understanding the movie might affect your enjoyment, but not understanding who the protagonist is doesn't cause the film to stop, or move in slow motion.  I will grant you that.

I think the main reason I hate tutorials is they are conditioning players to be un-inquisitive. Modern players often expect to be led through the experience, and it's starting to go beyond just the tutorial, but into the game itself. Some players don't want to explore, they want to be told where to go and what to do.  They are being conditioned to do only what they are told to do.

For me, part of the enjoyment of starting a new game is figuring out what I can and cannot do. I enjoy exploring the bounds of the game. I want to feel clever when I figure out a short cut.

The problem Thimbleweed Park (and any point and click adventure) has is that it's complex. Not just in the logic, but the UI.

In the good old days, it would take 20 minutes to install the game from floppy, so to kill some time, we'd read the manual.

Today, players just jump right into the game and a large share of them are immediately frustrated when they don't know exactly what to do (I'm not talking about the puzzles, but what to click on and how).

If you're well versed in the language of adventure games, then it's quite self evident, but if you're new to adventure games, it can be a little unwieldy.  Part of the goal of Thimbleweed Park is to convince a large group of people that love narrative games, but don't play point-and-click games, to give Thimbleweed park a shot.  If you liked Firewatch or Gone Home, you'll love Thimbleweed Park.

But, Thimbleweed Park is a lot more complex than either of those two games and can be daunting to a new-to-point-and-click player.

For those people, I think we need a tutorial (please understand I can came to this conclusion kicking and screaming).

Since the beginning, the story of Thimbleweed Park started out in this little self-contained area, and we designed the first few puzzles to teach you the basics: opening a door, talking to someone, picking up objects and using them.

While this steps a new player through the basics early on, it's not telling you "how" to do these things and that is where a small, lightweight tutorial comes in.  "This is how you open a door" and "this is how you pickup an object and use it".

How to do these thins probably seems obvious to everyone reading this blog, but if you've never played a point-and-click adventure before, it's actually not.  You couple this with some players reluctance to just explore the UI and it's going to be tears all around (mostly from me when I have to go get a real job).

The compromise I reached with myself is: the tutorial will only happen in "easy" mode. If you select hard mode and dive right in, we're going to assume you know what you're doing, or you don't mind a good challenge.

I felt dirty for a day, then took a good shower and now I feel fine.

We're hoping to get a chance to test the tutorial out on casual players that have never played a point-and-click adventure. Given the circles we travel in, that's harder than it might sound.

- Ron

Randy "Dirt Farmer" Hofbauer - Nov 28, 2016 at 18:45
Seasoned P&C adventurer here, but I wouldn't complain if we got a nice manual in the works, especially in the boxed edition -- more to collect and touch/hold, Ron!

Nor Treblig - Nov 28, 2016 at 22:34
The first thing I do when playing a new game is reading the manual and checking out (+ memorising) key bindings.
The second thing is adapting key bindings to my liking.

Is there a support group for people like me?

Lukas - Nov 29, 2016 at 03:01
I'd often read the manual to new Game Boy games on the way home, in the train. In hindsight, I don't know why I didn't just bring the Game Boy to the store, but the anticipation of playing the game, going through the manual trying to make sense of the pictures, reading up on the lore and gameplay, was a pretty amazing experience.

Uli Kusterer - Nov 30, 2016 at 06:47
Same here, but for me it was game CDs and a Mac, so it wasn't as if I could carry that all-in-one CRT beast to the store with me, and the Mac dealer was one city over.

That said, I'm glad games these days don't rely on manuals anymore, and instead offer tutorials. Getting a quick pop-up about some mechanic I already know is a tiny chore, but better than bad console ports that just pick 4 weird and random keys on my keyboard and randomly rotate through which of them I'm supposed to press within the next 10 seconds. A modicum of mnemonic value or a useful physical arrangement (e.g. make me memorize WASD for walking and group everything else around those) are all it takes to make a useful PC game control scheme. But even the best tutorial is useless if I come back to play some more one week later and would need the tutorial again to remember which key does what.

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 08:58
You don't need a tutorial, you "just" have to print out something like this for your game:


Schala - Dec 18, 2016 at 02:07
I'll join that group as well. The first thing I used to do with any game would be to read the manual, and I would complain like crazy if I found a game's manual lacking or nonexistent. Call me weird, but I enjoy reading those things, plus it's easier to refer back to if you forget something and need a refresher. Nowadays I'm kind of resigned to the fact that things have shifted to in-game tutorials rather than printed manuals. I can understand it from a cost perspective, but it still bugs me.

Mattias Cedervall - Nov 28, 2016 at 18:46
Will you create an instruction manual (paper and/or PDF) for Thimbleweed Park?

Brian Ruff - Nov 28, 2016 at 18:52
Please consider these Japanese game developers' perspectives (this is super awesome):


Brian Ruff - Nov 28, 2016 at 18:53
"At first it was easier, but when the testers said 'this is too difficult', I made it even more difficult." - Tomonobu Itagaki

Ron Gilbert - Nov 28, 2016 at 18:55
Don't confuse the difficulty of the game with the difficulting of the UI or controls. Different beasts.

Mister T - Dec 08, 2016 at 18:28
Invert the mouse movements on random occasions. That will teach them.... I mean... us.

frisby - Nov 28, 2016 at 18:52
You should just put a link on the main menu to the readme.txt from MI.

spiffy - Nov 28, 2016 at 18:52
I played Monkey Island as an 8 year old and I didn't read the manual. Point-and-click adventure games can't be that complex.

spiffy - Nov 28, 2016 at 18:57
If you know how to form a sentence you can play an adventure game.

Ron Gilbert - Nov 28, 2016 at 19:02
You will be a very sad person when you actually sit down and watch people try. They are completely confused. It's the fear of exploration that shackles most people.  It's very frustrating the watch someone flounder becasue click on the the word "open" and then the "door" just isn't obvious.

ChrisKo - Nov 28, 2016 at 20:01
I get that. Sad how spoilt players have become with those slightly interactive movies that are considered adventure games nowadays. Times and audiences were different in the 80s. I don't remember if I needed to figure out Maniac Mansion back then as a 7 year old. What I do remember is that the friend who first had the copy of the game just said something in the lines of "This is such a great game, you walk around in this house and can do everything". I think that was the biggest part of its appeal and made it so different from the other games back then. Never mind the exact story line or dialogue, we didn't even get any of that in the first place as none of us knew English except for a few random words. Exploring and just trying stuff were the motivation to come back to that game. Finally getting upstairs past the tentacle and seeing new rooms and screens were the reward. Now it's some achievements that you get and can look up in your account...

Lukas - Nov 29, 2016 at 03:26
I think it's important to understand that most "normal" people are afraid of their computers. They have been conditioned for decades to be afraid of them. Because computers are really stupid. It's so easy to accidentally remove half your Word document and not know how to get it back. It's so easy to accidentally delete a file, or lose it on your hard disk because the application suggested a weird place to save it, and never get it back. It's so easy to accidentally uninstall an app on the iPhone, and lose all of its data when you reinstall it.

To most people, computers are a dark catacomb full of death traps, and their main job is to avoid tripping any of them.

It's understandable that they retain that attitude when they play games, and are very hesitant to just start trying out things, and clicking anywhere, lest they accidentally break the game.

Maze - Nov 29, 2016 at 07:50
Very well said. I totally agree!

Peppermallow - Nov 29, 2016 at 13:14
This is something I see all the time in my own IT job and after nearly 20 years, I still fail to understand how people don't get the basics even after being raised alongside computers. I ran some training on our software classes the other day and one attendee didn't know how to use a mouse. He was approximately 30 years old, and held a very senior role for a university. I swear the guy must have been living in a cave all his life....

Uli Kusterer - Nov 30, 2016 at 06:50
But did you start playing it all alone? Most games I was exposed to, a friend had on their computer, I saw them, and then imitated when I was allowed to play it. Once you've seen someone play an adventure game and see that you click the verbs and objects (and sometimes even *several* objects), it's obvious and easy to remember. But adventure UI looks pretty unlike what we have on our computers, anywhere.

Oh, and also, at age 8 you probably just started clicking in random places and checked what would happen. If a game makes me do that, I usually don't have the patience anymore these days. I have so many other options for good content these days.

Ron Gilbert - Nov 28, 2016 at 18:54
"as an 8 year old"

Exactly! Kids love to explore before it is slowly beaten out of us on our journey to adulthood.

Dom - Nov 28, 2016 at 19:13
Yeah i'd have to agree with this, seems to be a modern thing, and it seems to go *a little* beyond the UI too,

I watch many of my loved ones sit down and try to pick up games like MI, they figure out how to walk and talk to characters with the UI but then when the blind guys tells them to goto the SCUMM bar to find the pirate leaders they are like "OK, what am I supposed to do now?",

"what would you do in real life? you are a pirate wannabe, in a new place, and you have just been told if you want to be a pirate, go find the pirate leaders at the SCUMM bar"

in real life they when they travel to cities they havent been to before they ask hotel concierge's and what not where to find the best place to each so and so and then explore and find their way there, it just doesnt seem to translate to adventure games for them.

Jammet - Dec 01, 2016 at 01:16
It seems that I never dropped this kid-like approach to games. Lucky me! Seriously, I'm so glad about that!

But even then, back in the 80s, there were games that I couldn't figure out as a kid. Because most of the ones on my friends computers were pirated games, we had no manuals, no nothing, and even when the chance to read something about a game presented itself -- fear not -- your buddy will smack that joystick button or spacebar and the stupid wall of text in front of you will vaporize and be replaced with MUSIC and a title screen, or ELSE~ damn these slow Commodore floppy drives!

Curiousity hard-coded, and ready to whack every single key, test all kinds of keyboard combinations, we felt like babies trying to squeeze the squares into the circle-shaped holes so many times, but eventually, we found a fit!

But again, there were those games that we ... never figured out. And revisiting these games as an adult today, shames me greatly. Some of these games I STILL can't figure out. How in the name of crappyplanet do you play Raid over Moscow anyway ... just one example, don't quite remember those very well.

But SCUMM games? The LUCAS Logo burned into my brain forever, all I ever wanted was more of those. More, more and more. Can't get enough. Yes, I know there's Zork and gazillions of fun text adventures that I liked, and those helped me learn and expand my vocabulary in german too. But they weren't as fun as this. Also, for some stupid reason I could never enjoy the Labyrinth, it was kinda weird. Maybe the movie just weirded me out too much. Can you imagine the betrayal I felt every single time one of those games wasn't ported to the CPC? My lovely home computer?

Big Red Button - Dec 05, 2016 at 10:57
Well, we ain't seen the Terrible Toybox logo yet, but I'm convinced it will make us forget about the Lucasfilm logo over the next few years. :)

Arto - Dec 05, 2016 at 16:28
We have seen it, right here: https://dl.dropbox.com/s/652g15cwmevgpaf/TerribleToybox-logo.gif

Alas, Ron hasn't called me and said "I'll pay you million bucks for it!".

Daniel Wolf - Dec 06, 2016 at 08:35
Nice! Your own design, I assume? It reminds me of something, but I can't put my finger on it.

Nor Treblig - Dec 06, 2016 at 09:09
Not sure if you are serious are not..., but here we go: https://goo.gl/aMuZQt

Daniel Wolf - Dec 06, 2016 at 09:48

I must confess I was serious. I looked at your logo, thought "isn't that LucasArts," googled "lucasarts logo," and found the L logo with the golden man. So I thought I'd been mistaken. I didn't think to google Lucas**film**.

Sushi - Apr 20, 2017 at 16:04
now the game is released, it is kinda sad there is no Terrible Toybox logo at all (at least not in the beginning - I did not complete the game yet)

Nor Treblig - Apr 22, 2017 at 12:04
Nothing which can't be patched in later, like the copyright notice in the menu!

Ron Gilbert - Apr 22, 2017 at 12:23
There is no Terrible Toybox logo, this is on purpose, it won't be patched in.

Iron Curtain - Nov 28, 2016 at 18:57
Have you ever played Monomi Park's Slime Rancher? It has no tutorial because it's so intuitive that you don't need any. There are text overlays for informative purposes (such as what kind of slime eats what (play the game to understand)), but so far the lack of tutorials turned out to be to the game's benefit.

sgsD - Nov 28, 2016 at 19:04
I think self-irony during tutorials is awesome. Did you play "Deponia"? The tutorial is really funny. :D

Ron Gilbert - Nov 28, 2016 at 19:07
I don't want a tutorial to be funny. I want it to be invisible. I don't want it distracting from the mood and story being presented. I don't want it there at all.

Damian - Nov 28, 2016 at 19:49
Why not a "Help" section instead of a tutorial? (Maybe putting a button somewhere in game.)

I think tutorials change the pace of the game, and don't like them... (unless designed to intentionally break the fourth wall and be funny.) :P

Damian - Nov 28, 2016 at 19:32
I don't like tutorials on top of the game.
I like tutorials inside the game, even if they break the fourth wall (specially those who break the fourth wall!)

For those who don't know what I'm talking about: imagine a character in a room thinking "I should get out of here...", then, if the required action doesn't happen in a period of time "maybe I should try opening that door".
Then "maybe you should try clicking 'open' and then clicking the door, duh!".
And if still it doesn't happen, animate the cursor, click on "Open" and then on the door and say "See? It wasn't that hard!"

No need to tell you that I like LMGTFY: https://lmgtfy.com/?q=breaking+the+fourth+wall


Graem - Nov 28, 2016 at 19:54
Nice. This got me to thinkin' about what kinds of tutorials I like the most, and I'd have to agree that the invisible kind is the best kind.
The only times I found myself admitting I needed a concrete, step-by-step tutorial experience were in games that were so complicated, they almost encouraged people to stay away from them. Some mech games and Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis come to mind. I love CK2, but the fact I had to spend a genuine 100 hours learning how to play the game and what all the terminology meant, through via YouTube player tutorials, is something both exciting (I'm a sucker for being taunted and told to "get better or die"), and something no normal person would do. It's a niche game for a niche market and I suppose it revels in it.

Adventure games aren't like CK2. Invisible tutorials are best, but [insert incoherent, unnecessary, and self-destructive rant about Gen Y and Gen Z here].

People are scared of going outside their comfort zones. I got in trouble enough for that as a child. It's embarrassing that I find myself ridiculing my juniors and seniors for the same thing.


Graem - Nov 28, 2016 at 19:58
(Quick after-post correction because I'm anal retentive like that)
through YouTube*

Wluut - Nov 29, 2016 at 17:42
Games where I liked (and needed) the tutorials:
- Civilization
- Frets on Fire (a free Guitar Hero clone)

I will most certainly play the tutorial of "Thimbleweed Park" (after I completed the hard mode, of course), just out of interest how it looks like.

Ema - Dec 17, 2016 at 03:14
OT: I've always been a Civ fan, especially of the IV episode.
I started playing Civ I in the nineties with no tutorial, except from those 2-3 advices the game gives you in the very first turns.
I explored it, and made my own way through the tech tree and to reach the supremacy.
But something happened. Whit the new chapters of the game I realized that I tend to apply always my preferred playing schemes, in the last years my play has become less exploring and less fun. And I'm stuck at a certain level, but I can't say way I should try to improve.
That means only one thing: I need a sort of "advanced tutorial". I think no game has such a feature.

actual millenial - Nov 30, 2016 at 08:51
Gen Y grew up in the 90s, though.  I remember getting frustrated explaining how to play one of my adventure games to my Gen X dad, who was more of a Space Invaders guy *grumble grumble about other generations lumping us all together*.

Granted, a good chunk of us would remember Freddi Fish better than Threepwood, but adventure games were everywhere.  I was sad to not see them around as much anymore when I looked for some in college.

Lee Allan Sanders - Nov 28, 2016 at 20:05
Yes, I am a total point and click game noob. Yes, I funded the development of Thimbleweed Park.. Yes, I contributed voice and a short story too :-) Yes, I live in Santa Cruz and buy my stuff at Level Up and they know you guys :-) My excuse is that I want the stuff for my grandchildren, but really I want to be a decent gamer :-) I have "Gone Home" on my Xbox, and I did not do too well and had to just get a couple hints to start moving through it. I have promised myself that I shall just "be" with the Thimbleweed Park game until I get it. I shall not be ashamed if it takes me a very long time. I am old now, and when I am successful I shall feel reborn, and then challenge my grandchildren to games too :-) I will not use the tutorial, so you can feel better about that if you want to. Nice of you to do it though :-) Bon Chance, and hurry up and publish the damn thing, OK? Heh. :-)

Big Red Button - Nov 29, 2016 at 04:10
I think, the point is that people who haven't backed the game and have never played such a game are less patient.
It's too easy to return a game to the shop nowadays.

Paulup - Nov 28, 2016 at 21:10
I'd like Ransome to do the tutorial in full-on beepy glory...
"It ain't beeping rocket science! Open the beeping door, ya beepface!"

Guga - Nov 29, 2016 at 01:52
When  I published my small adventure game, I got LOTS of complains about the lack of tutorial. And it was just "touch an object, a verb coin comes out". Still, people refused to play if they weren't explicitly told how to interact with the environment.

I was surprised, since I approach games as I did when I was a kid: don't read anything, explore and figure out yourself. Not to mention that point-and-click are to me the most intuitive of all, since it's just "construct a sentence" or "click the eye icon to examine the object".

However, after one year of complains (except from seasoned point-and-click players, which found the UI intuitive) I had to include a tutorial option. I felt dirty, but still it stopped the complains. Not all complains, there is ALWAYS the player who doesn't even listen to the tutorial and expect the game to play itself, but now everything's better.

Roman - Nov 29, 2016 at 02:47
Back in the 80s we didn't even have manuals with instructions for the games........erm..*cough* *cough*..

I don't like tutorials either......If even a shooter needs 10 minutes of introduction I drop it.
I wonder what's the age of the players who have no clue. As you said, children want to explore...the touch/point/click here and there and at one point (even if it's after hours) they succeed.
Old guys like me (erm...44) remember the 80 games...so.....the ones must be somewhere in between 10 and hmmm 30.

Lukas - Nov 29, 2016 at 03:31
To be fair, 30 years later, I still have no idea what I'm supposed to do in half of my Atari 2600 games (the ones I got from the flea market without a box or manual). Fire up and try playing Indiana Jones or Desert Falcon once in a while, and tell me what the hell you're supposed to do in Indy, or what any of the items  in Desert Falcon actually do... It's actually a rather disturbing experience.

Nor Treblig - Nov 29, 2016 at 06:24
You forgot to mention E.T.: The reason it's hated by so many people is that they were used to just put the game in and play. But this game (and those you mentioned) required you to read the manual to understand what you are supposed to do.

Sushi - Nov 29, 2016 at 17:38
I remember playin E.T. on the 2600! Collect candy pills, run around between the trees, collect phone pieces, something with Elliot, avoid police and ... phone home! The 6 year-old me even liked it! I only read years later about its role in the demise of console games and (almost)  the whole video game industry (thanks internet for spoiling another childhood memory! In said memory, you had this flying BMX racing sequence in 3D...)

Nor Treblig - Nov 29, 2016 at 18:25
You can now play a fixed version and it will be better than ever!

Sushi - Apr 20, 2017 at 16:11
Lukas (in case you still would see this): one word for you: https://www.atariage.com/

Marco Lizza - Nov 29, 2016 at 03:21
I think that another reasoning behind nowadays game-tutorials is that people is becoming lazier and lazier. They cannot conceive reading a (paper) manual telling them what the key/button bindings are. And they don't like experimentation, as well.

I spent days, back in 1984, trying to figure out how to play exactly with Crane's "Ghostbuster" and "Skool Daze". And I still know guys who loved those game despite being incapable to play them.

Roman - Nov 29, 2016 at 04:22
Skool Daze !!!! Helll.....I need to fire up an emulator...I really enjoyed playing it without having a clue what to do (besides writing dull texts on the board or hitting the bully...or renaming the teacher names)

Carlo Valenti - Nov 29, 2016 at 17:12
Crane's Ghostbusters... I spent six months on that game on C64, and the Marshmallow Man always crushed the city out, until someone told me to press "B"...

Guga - Nov 30, 2016 at 01:31
...wait, WHAT?

I thought it was just the inevitable doom of the city. As a kid, it felt like a nice metaphor of future life, where you just gather and gather and gather money and wait for the disaster to leave you broke. Pretty nihilist if you think about it.

So to say, I found out the game had other stages when AVGN made a review of that game in the GB special episode. I really had no idea, and now you tell me there's a way to avoid marshmallow man to destroy everything?

E che cacchio.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 30, 2016 at 02:09
I remember it was written on ZZap!
And for the first time after many many many tries, two ghostbusters or of three entered the palace going through the gap of the Michelin's man legs.
End of the game.

Marco Lizza - Nov 30, 2016 at 10:20
Rewinding back to 1985. Games came without manuals of any sort for many of us. Yeah, we all know the story,.

Magazine reviews served as a "surrogates" for those manuals. I learned that "B" key was to be used to drop a bait from a friend of mine, who bought the aforementioned "Zzap!" issue.

Good times.

Carlo Valenti - Nov 30, 2016 at 17:51
Exactly, "B" was for "ghost *B*ait". It was not a cheat, you had to buy that particular piece of equipment at the very beginning of the game.

Marco Lizza - Nov 30, 2016 at 10:23
> As a kid, it felt like a nice metaphor of future life, where you just gather and gather and gather money and wait for the disaster to leave you broke. Pretty nihilist if you think about it.

Sorry pal. Your current self is just a result of a misunderstanding.

Marco Lizza - Nov 29, 2016 at 03:28
One way to implement a "non-obtrusive" tutorial can be to limit the actions of the character in the very first period of the game, by exploiting a plot-device. For example, the character is victim of an amnesia, and the UI holds just the "pick" and "use" verbs (the others being somewhat disabled). The player is left free to experiment, but having a very limited set of choices it should be pretty easy.

Of course finding a valid and fitting plot subject is not granted...

Carlo Valenti - Nov 29, 2016 at 17:14
Somehow, Loom tried this way.

Geoffrey Paulsen - Nov 29, 2016 at 03:33
Artists must suffer for their art.  Your pain is unavoidable.

Maze - Nov 29, 2016 at 04:22
I personally think it is a very good thing you are still, although you are angry about it and even feel dirty about, implementing a tutorial.

Now for you, the term "tutorial" seems to be something evil. And I kind of agree - if you think of tutorial as something that is bad designed, that literally teaches players through text only and making it so that it doesn't fit the story/setting and mood of the game. And yes, there are tons of those games with those kind of tutorials.
However I believe, a designers job is to teach players their game in a GOOD way, even if it isn't that complex. But as you said, "...Thimbleweed Park is a lot more complex than either of those two games and can be daunting to a new-to-point-and-click player."

You make the point that in the past, you'd wanted a game to let you explore a game without telling you everything what to do. I think that this didn't change much. People still like to find out things, explore on their own and get rewarded by the feeling by finding something out by themselves.
Just nowadays, there are so many games, that have to be controlled in so many different ways that it's hard to just rely on what you know about "those kind of games". However, people still do that. People expect or want things to work similiar because they don't want to relearn everything. They hate when there's a new update on windows, mac or whatever that makes them re-learn stuff they knew that way for ages. Imagine if suddenly Microsoft would change the "X" button to close a menu to make it minimize it. It would drive people nuts.

Now this might be an exaggeration obviously but I think that this is one of the reasons that nowadays games, if they do things differently in controls and UI than other games, have to explain to players how to interact with them. In a good, invisible way. In a way that doesn't make them feel patronized and also let's them figure out enough on their own, even makes them think on their own. And this is probalby not done by just throwing someone in and telling them "now figure everything out on your own". And I believe that it's quite fair to say that manuals, even if they were useful back then (even I read them sometimes and I am a 90ies kid), are still a boring way  of teaching something. Not just in games but also in everyday life circumstances such as a coffee machine, a washing machine or whatever. When did you realy LOVE that you had to read a manual for those so seemingly simple machines? Or when did you enjoy setting up a tv , having to read the manual for it more than actually watching the Tv and while using it's functions? In my case, almost never. And mostly this is often because those things are just designed in a way that expects people to not fail and to perfectly interact with the machine. But failing is a part of the process. Especially in games. I think it's important to always assume that people will make mistakes. All the time.
I think if you are not trying to teach through design (and you can't always teach everybody), then maybe writing a manual doesn't fix that. This manual can be inside the game. In an invisible, enjoyable way, that empowers people to be able to play your game and not telling them literally what to do.

Tutorials are good. If they are designed well. But hey need to be there. In the best case: invisible.

Nor Treblig - Nov 29, 2016 at 06:52
Maybe that's the problem that as kids we didn't have any expectations about how particular games were supposed to be played, versus as grown-ups where we often expect something to be in a way, not being able to think outside the box so easily (may it be from experience from other games or the real world).

Maze - Nov 29, 2016 at 07:48
Yes, the biggest problem always is that you somehow have to cope with learnd things and behaviours (even if they are "bad") that are very hard to get out of people.

It's also very true what you say for kids. Also sometimes kids seem to have way more "patience" as odd as that may sound. I feel even for myself that I feel like I don't wanna "waste my time" with finding out how to play something because I always feel that I "don't have the time for it". That's also a reason why I don't play MMORPG games or any game that give you something endlessly to do. As I grow older I really appreciate games that are shorter and good.

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 08:56
I agree: Those "older" people (meaning people who now have a job + family == no time) appreciate short but qualitative good games over quantity.
This wasn't so much of a problem in our youth.

LogicDeLuxe - Nov 30, 2016 at 08:20
Then, we need more "outside the box"-puzzles. Deponia series did a nice job at it, btw. And the worse one is in Simon the Sorcerer 3D, since you are required to physically eject the CD, which is a problem if you don't have an eject button at hand, ie. in a download version, or on a computer without a CD drive.

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 08:58
It's just a lot of effort to teach people outside of the box puzzles when the UI is already too much outside of the box for them...

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 29, 2016 at 04:22
Ron, my little cousin (12) usually plays games like GTA, COD, Uncharted... he never played an adventure game before.
He could be a good tester.
He lives in Italy.
Welcome to Italy, Ron! :-D

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 09:08
If you send him a plain ticket be sure it's not refundable or he will just fly to the Bermuda Triangle and use the remaining money to drink booze and do party with dolphins in the sea (or something like that).

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 15:05
uh, it should read plane ticket of course...

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 30, 2016 at 16:33
OK, the flight / fly ticket.

Geisterkarle - Nov 29, 2016 at 04:29
I'm an old P+C player, so damn you Tutorial ;)
Also I lived through the first Witcher games, where you are thrown into a melee and don't know what your signs are doing, how you fight or anything. And I know there were some complaints about that too!
Interestingly the "if you don't know, die" idea is one of THE selling points of Dark Souls!
So, telling people what to do vs. "figure it out" is quite diverse and who wants what!
Your example of opening the door is interesting. Yes, some think "why do i have to do that?" but "we" old P+C players know, that is essential for the game! How often did we enter a room and had to close the door to get something, that was behind the door or similar "reactions" (and I hope I didn't spoil a litte quest in TWP ;))
Also totally different game: I have to think about Super Meat Boy. The first few levels are designed to stop the player and that he/she has to learn, what Meat Boy is capable of to advance. It starts out learning, that you can jump on a wall and off to a platform. Then you learn you can jump on a wall repeatietly and reach higher positions. Then there is a gap and if you didn't find the "run" button you will be stuck there. ... and all of that you have to figure out yourself ... at least in my PC-copy; if I see XBOX-players play, they have some "signs", that help you. I'm thinking that came after some complains...

So, long story short: I don't know how you designed the Tutorial. But make it as simple as it gets! Maybe nudge the player in the correct direction, but don't hold hands! You wanted to make a "classic" P+C adventure and not some new "follow this arrow to your destination" game!

Nor Treblig - Nov 29, 2016 at 06:49
Though there is one big difference to a game like Dark Souls:
In adventure/exploration games you are not constantly being punished until you figure it out. You need to be a much more masochistic player for being able to play the former...

> How often did we enter a room and had to close the door to get something
Those were quite mean puzzles :-)
But did it happen so often? I remember specifically MI2 and DOTT.

Jacky - Nov 29, 2016 at 04:37
Well hard mode it is then! :D

Andrea "Rum Rogers" Serreli - Nov 29, 2016 at 05:33
I'm enthusiastic about the difficulty mode selection.
The last we had was in Curse of MI, but was useless to say the least.
Finally I get to see another adventure where (probably) the difference is as big as in MI2.
Ahhh, good times, good times!

mr. T - Nov 29, 2016 at 06:32
As a friend of old & new point and click adventures, I wouldn't mind there being a tutorial even that I myself wouldn't need one. I'm able to comprehend that newbies have probably grown in a totally different gaming culture and feel more or less lost. I was prepared for there being a "Skip the tutorial" button and then going about my way, but it seems you saved me the small inconvenience. Even better, nice touch. Like a "safe space" for pro adventurers, avoiding most of the terrible diseases :) Though after reading this post I might have to check out the tutorial and see if I will get an insurmountable rage spasm or contract scurvy...

mr. T - Nov 29, 2016 at 06:34

:)   =>   ;)

An important distiction.

Averell - Nov 29, 2016 at 07:45
when I started playing point and click, I never needed to have a manual or a tutorial.
It's also a main issue to explore the game - what's possible and what's impossible.
While doing such things sometimes you get in funny situations and that's what these games are made for - to have fun.
I'm looking forward to the release.

Martin Wendt - Nov 29, 2016 at 07:55
Actually, I can see your point.
When we were demoing our C64 point-and-click adventure at gamescom this (and last) year with ONE stick and ONE button controls, we saw that all kinds of ages from 6 to 70 dealt fine with it, yet people of the same age-span completely failed.
They immediately had their fingers on W,A,S,D. Then after the slight hint to use the Joystick they pushed it, it fell over, they stand confused.
After telling them to take it into their hands about 1/3 managed to hold it with the cable pointing towards them, i.e. wrong orientation.
Some even played like that.
While we were amazed how many people did well and actually stopped to play, controls could not be simple enough for all people to get them intuitively.

Dieter - Nov 29, 2016 at 12:16
Beside holding the joystick, controlling caren is more complicated than it could be. And you are using a non-standard controlling scheme (why don't you use just point-and-click?).

Martin Wendt - Nov 29, 2016 at 13:34
We iterated very carefully over this and apply refinements even now. It helped alot to see those “masses“ giving the game a try. Once they get it, they play it quite smoothly since we let go of the double-click :-)
I am actually quite happy with it now. My comment was on how to let people know how it works. Not everyone has to like it -or the game- but most seem to appreciate the control scheme now =) Steering a pointer and not the characters is per se not intuitive (certainly not for a joystick these days).

Dieter - Nov 29, 2016 at 18:29
The problem with the control scheme in V1 of Caren is, that you have two different modes (or states): It is intuitive to control Caren with the joystick. But if you push the button, the whole joystick (and the game) is in a complete different mode. That's bad (UI-)design because the player has to learn two different behaviours and to distinguish two controling schemes - one for walking and one for the actions: Pushing the stick left moves Caren to the left. But holding(!) down the button and pushing the stick left selects an action.

With the cursor from Maniac Mansion it's clear that you control the cursor with the joystick/mouse/whatever. And only the cursor. Through the whole game.

(And we don't talk about the verb interface - there are much "easier" solutions. :-))

Martin Wendt - Nov 30, 2016 at 00:49
Can't be too complex when it can be summarized in two short sentences, can it? :)
However, that is still slightly wrong. You never move the character per stick, merely the pointer. This is the genius standard since MM, fortunately. But I take the point that you don't like it as it was/is :-(
I had the chance to play TWP on the xbox, and once you get into that, it is probably a very unique adventure game experience (speaking of the controller, not specific xbox features). Everything that doesnt require a keyboard during play is good for me, though =)

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 02:32
Could you try different controller schemes or which one was default? (direct character control vs. cursor control)

Dieter - Nov 30, 2016 at 05:16
Ah, you got me. ;-) It's round about a year ago since I played Caren.

But you *have* two joystick modes in Caren. And yes, they are easy to describe. But first the handling in the game is more complex (try to explain your whole interface - I bet you can't write it down in two sentences). And second: What counts it's the handling itself. You fiddled two complete differend controlling schemes together. Even I who regulary plays computer games cursed several times. The controlling in Caren is more complicated then it should.

Oliver Lindau - Nov 30, 2016 at 07:26
Caren's controls are as 'complicated' as touch based control in mobile games, games like Full Throttle or those communication and action wheels in todays rpgs (even though we implemented the inventory in the same dialogue). Esp since the doubleclick was removed in the current dev-version.

Wluut - Nov 29, 2016 at 17:32
I have just played The Stanley Parable for the first time (because Ron recommended it a an interview he gave recently).
I needed approx. 5 minutes to figure out that I had to use W, A, S, D to move. I tried cursor keys, I tried the mouse, but nothing happend, except that the game started over a few times because the only possible thing to do was to close the door (the shorest possible path to end the game).
I finally figured it out. but maybe that says a lot about my experience with modern games (a.k.a. games after 1992 ;-)).

Nor Treblig - Nov 29, 2016 at 18:37
I've heard him recommending The Stanley Parable some time ago (but didn't buy it because it wasn't an GOG).
Now I've bought it too after hearing a more recent interview with him about it again and finding the game in the Humble Store (DRM-free)!

Roman - Nov 29, 2016 at 08:33
I doubt a tutorial helps if you have to use a monkey as a tool..... ;-)

Katie Parsons - Nov 29, 2016 at 08:39
Yeah, I get that. On the rare occasion that I've ventured outside my cosy retrogaming world to play a FPS or whatever, I've needed that damn tutorial. So I guess that works in reverse for people who might be trying out an adventure game for the first time, and it'd be a shame if they were put off just because of the UI.

Personally I wouldn't want it to be too long, though. Just the basics.

And maybe the ability to skip it if desired. Particularly if some hardcore adventure gamers want to play through all difficulty levels - you know, just for completion.

But I doubt anyone would be nerdy enough to want to do that.


Shinjica - Nov 29, 2016 at 10:54
Adding a tutorial in a Point & Click game is really sad. Stupid people will always be stupid, tutorial or not.

Tom - Nov 29, 2016 at 11:02
Don't worry about creating a tutorial. Within 48 hours of release someone will have played the complete game and posted the video to YouTube. Unfortunately this may reduce profit since some people will just watch the game walkthrough like a movie instead of purchasing. Example channel ZackScottGames (one of many). Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?  Search for Monkey Island Walkthrough and get about 89K results. Maniac Mansion 22K results. I will buy the game but will probably seek assistance online if I get stuck.

Katie Parsons - Nov 29, 2016 at 11:45
The aim of the tutorial is to show people how to use the UI, not how to progress through the game. I'd only look up a walkthrough if I got really, really stuck on a puzzle – surely that's what most people use walkthroughs for?

xor 0x69 - Nov 29, 2016 at 13:10
Sales of a game usually increase when a popular Youtuber plays it.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 29, 2016 at 16:54
Youtube wasn't even born when all Lucasfilm Games reached the Hall of Fame.

Tom - Dec 01, 2016 at 16:53
I hope Millennials think point and click games are cool like the NES Classic (that is sold out). Also vinyl records seem to be popular now. Also Stranger Things is cool. Maybe TWP is the next cool thing.

Iron Curtain - Dec 05, 2016 at 13:38
Actual Millenial here (born in 1982). I was born and raised on LucasArts point-and-click games. So those would apply for some nostalgia for me. Also, I think an actual NES (i.e. the actual hardware) is cooler than a limited system that can only play the "classics" and nothing else. Why? 1. Chiptunes. 2. New games being made, such as Star Versus and Haunted Halloween '85 and Haunted Halloween '86, (and the upcoming Lizard), etc.

Jeepika - Nov 29, 2016 at 11:37
I really enjoy exploring, hope there will be a 'skip tutorial' option.

Jeepika - Nov 29, 2016 at 11:39
won't have any tutorial in the hard mode! Woo-hoo!

Claire J - Nov 29, 2016 at 11:49
I feel your pain... I hate tutorials at the beginning of games. I may change my mind though as I get older when games and stuff move on without me.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 29, 2016 at 11:50
Meanwhile, in the near future...
- "Hi Zak, what's there?"
  - "Hi little cousin! There is a new game, a game you have never seen before! Its name is... Thimbleweed Park!"
- "Cool! It's a shooting game?"
  - "...no."
- "A driving game?"
  - "No, No, No... nothing you have seen before. It's an adventure game!"
- "Wooow! I love adventures! Load it!!"
... loading ...
- "Zak, there are some big words on the screen. Can you take them off?"
  - "They are verbs, you have to click on them to make a sentence."
- "What? Like I do at school?"
  - "... sort of..."
- "Zak, I want to play a game, not make a sort of homeworks! Please load CoD or GTA, thank you..."
  - "Wait, don't be disappointed. THERE IS A TUTORIAL TO EXPLAIN YOU how to play!"
- "OH! Like in CoD on my very first mission?"
  - "...yes!"
- "Great! Let's play!!"

... continue ...

EdoBvd - Nov 29, 2016 at 15:56
first real graphic video game I ever played: Maniac Mansion
on a monochrome screen
it made it quite difficult to notice the doormat
nonetheless, I wandered for hours around the house trying to figure out how to break a window or something
until a friend blew my mind by putting the cursor in the right place

Flav - Nov 29, 2016 at 16:07
Gone Home is hipster garbage. Not even close to deserve to be compared with the good old legendary point & click games you helped produce ;)

Benoit FOULETIER - Nov 29, 2016 at 16:19
"[people] want to be told where to go and what to do" ... true that :( !
We recently released an exploration game (Seasons after Fall, go get it: http://seasonsafterfall.com), with no quest pointers and no map... and got a lot of flack for it. Now I'm not saying we did the best job in the world (there's "good lost" and "bad lost"), and the game is clearly not for everyone, but the "no hand-holding" thing was very much intentional, and a lot of people rejected it outright, in a "why would you even want to not tell me what to do???" knee-jerk reaction.
It's not a hard game either, it's a very forgiving and relaxing experience, the challenge is all in the exploration and the puzzles, not the skills.

Arto - Nov 29, 2016 at 17:15
Hmm... Maybe you should redesign the game so that there is no need for tutorial...

And/or, the obvious: make it an option ;)

Kidding aside, I think adding the tutorial to easy mode only is a clever choice.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 29, 2016 at 17:44
What will be the very first screen of the game?
The Terrible Toybox logo or the Options Menu?

Nor Treblig - Nov 29, 2016 at 18:45
The options menu will have its own company logo screen of a different company ("Optional Toybox, Inc.", a subsidiary of "Terrible Toybox Inc."; it's a separate development studio which was created for the sole purpose to develop our configuration management system).

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 30, 2016 at 02:13
[X] Sounds good

Peppermallow - Nov 29, 2016 at 17:43
What I would love to see is a tutorial that, if followed exactly, lets the player learn.  But there is a hidden 'easter egg' puzzle that experts can find.  Eg, the player starts in a garage, where they have to open a petrol can, get a lawnmower going, and take it outside to mow the lawn. But if they ignore the prompts, they set the garage on fire with the petrol and cause all kinds of fun (aka damage).  Now they have to put the fire out, while the tutorial taunts them

If they figure out how to put the fire out, an extra book appears in the library called "Congratulations you nerd' and some text on how to be a better arsonist.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 29, 2016 at 17:48
Uhm, something like this has been implemented in Escape from Monkey Island:

Nor Treblig - Nov 29, 2016 at 18:33
I've found a screenshot of your tutorial: https://goo.gl/m8PqVJ

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 30, 2016 at 02:04

Peppermallow - Dec 16, 2016 at 14:11
Lol. Brilliant. I'm printing that out onto a t shirt

Paulup - Nov 29, 2016 at 19:49
I was going to say that as a kid all the point-n-clicks and even text parser games were really intuitive and easy to figure out without a manual, but then I remembered the one exception: Loom.
I could never figure out what I was meant to be doing or how it worked, I still to this day have no idea how the UI works, I'll have to revisit it one day.

Paulup - Nov 29, 2016 at 19:53
(Also I meant "easy to figure out" just in terms of the interface, obviously many of those games were super duper hard with the actual puzzles.)

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 02:27
You should definitely play it again. I'm sure you will figure it out now by yourself.
If not just come here and ask us :-)

JP - Nov 29, 2016 at 20:05
I wouldn't like a tutorial. I want the challenge.
I am going to play it in the hardest mode possible. (I imagine that's how you imagined/designed the game to be played)
But, if adding a tutorial will make more people understand, play and enjoy point and click adventure games and give you enough money to keep making these kind of games for you and for us, then put all the tutorials needed. :)

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 02:29
New option unlocked:
[ ] cursor visible

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 30, 2016 at 06:32
[  ] Don't show text when character speaks (read the lips to understand)

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 09:09
You didn't check it? You must be an easy-mode player!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 30, 2016 at 09:36
Even the "X" is invisible! That's another skill!

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 10:19
[  ] Show option choices
(yes, it's marked, as you can probably see)

longuist - Dec 01, 2016 at 04:57
[ ]

Dieter - Nov 30, 2016 at 05:07
The tutorial is only in the easy mode. If you play the game "normal" then you won't see a tutorial. Please read the blog post.

Baki comics - Nov 30, 2016 at 03:02
The one and only way for me to read the tutorial is - it is printed as a small coloured book with lot of pics - and that will be the thing to collect (not to know something new about adventure games). I do want to get box edition with some sketchbook/manual/etc.  I wonder what will be the difference between easy/normal/hardcore modes? Thats not a fighting game, right? :))   Anyway i will do the hardcore mode first! Oh boy, i cant wait to play the game!

Dieter - Nov 30, 2016 at 05:06
The hard mode has more puzzles. That's the only difference. (That's what Ron said.)

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 05:38
No: the easy/normal mode has less puzzles, that's an important difference!

Dieter - Nov 30, 2016 at 06:41
Nitpicker. ;-)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 30, 2016 at 09:35
I agree with Nor :-)
The normal game is with all the puzzles, then a easier game was created deleting some parts.

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 10:20
Or in other words: the normal game is the hard mode and the easy mode is the normal game. Easy, huh?

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 05:37
Colourful pictures? Back in 1987 we didn't have any colourful pictures! :-)

Ransome - Nov 30, 2016 at 04:15
What the @#*§???
This is not what i kickstarted you for! That's total #*§@''&%!
Spend your time on making things harder, funnier, awesomer!

Ron, you really sold your soul for commercial success. I understand you got a dog to feed, but a tutorial... ???

Anyways, i really enjoyed the Lucas Arts Games, happily funded this Project, love the blog and looking forward to finally playing the game.

Keep it up :-)

Dieter - Nov 30, 2016 at 05:02
Just play the hard mode. Not tutorial. All the pain. It's just that simple.

Beside that, a tutorial could be fun. Especially if Ron is making it. ;)

Dieter - Nov 30, 2016 at 06:40
Not = No

(Damn typos. :))

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 05:37
Also it seems like he is trying to sneak a demo mode into this game :-O

The Kickstarter never mentioned that there will be a downloadable demo version of the game for the public (i.e. peasants) to try out (and enjoy)! REFUND!

Uli Kusterer - Nov 30, 2016 at 08:22
I always liked the tutorial that came with old Macs. They had an animated character that grabbed the menu bar and pulled down a menu with his hand. Would be neat to do a tutorial like this, where someone grabs the mouse crosshair and throws it at the respective items, kinda 4th-wall-breaking. But I suppose that'd require a lot of special-case animations for something most will just skip.

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 09:09
An animated character? This doesn't always work out so well...

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 30, 2016 at 11:07
(it's in italian, but I wanted to show you the page more than the words. But if you want to translate... feel free to do it! :-) )

Nor Treblig - Nov 30, 2016 at 13:46
Oh, the bubbles are actual HTML and Google Translate can (tries to) translate them!
The translation of "Cazzi tuoi!" seems off though...

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Nov 30, 2016 at 16:36
Ehm... yes, it's better not tell those two words in front of an italian, or you could receive a fist in front of your head! :-P

Nina - Nov 30, 2016 at 16:18
Sometimes I really need a manual or tips to move around! It depends on player anyway!

Mario F. - Nov 30, 2016 at 18:23
Ahhh... F*beep* new players. If someone needs a *beep* tutorial for point n click then he is the *beeep* wrong person anyway. We learned to play it with the age of 8 to 11, and even in foreign language we knew how to solve this games. The Verbs are selfexplaining. What else needs a player???

Zombocast - Nov 30, 2016 at 19:46
Hard/Easy/Story Mode.
Story Mode unlocks once you beat the game.
In Story mode i can select one of the 5 characters auto play the chapter, then select another character for the next chapter.
It should be easy to reprogram your auto tester program to only select each required item to progress through the game

Clifton - Nov 30, 2016 at 20:41
I pretty much despise tutorials myself, and have worked hard to make sure they're not necessary in my game. But I do understand there's a certain point where it just becomes necessary. A lot of games find clever ways to get around making a tutorial seem like a tutorial, so I hope you've been able to do something like that. Not that you don't already have a ton of fans, but if you're ever looking to run your kinda-tutorial past someone, I'd be down to check it out and even find non-gamers to help test it.

Ron Gilbert - Nov 30, 2016 at 20:48
"A lot of games find clever ways to get around making a tutorial seem like a tutorial, so I hope you've been able to do something like that"

No, I'm very specifically not doing that.  The tutorial is for beginners and I want to be blunt and get it out of the way.  Doing clever tutorials can affect the mood and feel of the game. Thimbleweed Park starts out with a very dark mood and I don't want wreck that with fourth walling or the such. This tutorial will feel like a tutorial, but I think that's what beginners need.

We are not teaching players how to solve adventure game puzzle, we are teaching them out to select OPEN and select DOOR.  Yes, it seems silly, but it's sad how much that is needed.  Once we get people past that, the puzzle solving is natural.

Keep in mind, it won't happen in hard mode.

We plan on doing a lot of tutorial testing.

Balloon Boy - Dec 01, 2016 at 04:20
How about just making the tutorial its own separate thing that's accessed through a menu option? It wouldn't need to feel like its part of the game at all. It would essentially be like an interactive instruction manual.

Nor Treblig - Dec 01, 2016 at 04:46
What you say is that you want to require those people who are in need of a tutorial in the first place have to press the correct buttons in the menu in the correct order to get to the tutorial.
This is assuming they actually want to do an optional tutorial. "Smart" people don't do this. They just start the game and then write complaint letters/mails/tweets or even professional game reviews about how bad the UI is.

Balloon Boy - Dec 01, 2016 at 08:59
I was non-specific about where the menu item would be because that's something to experiment with. The easiest is putting it right in the main menu next to Easy Mode and Hard Mode. It could also be a big shiny button in the corner of the screen in easy mode that's easy to see and click on (and presumably it would go away eventually or could be dismissed). I think this would be fine because if people don't have the most basic button-clicking and menu navigation skills, how on earth did they manage to launch the game in the first place?

Ron Gilbert - Dec 01, 2016 at 09:43
The tutorial is only in easy mode, that solves most of these problems.  Requiring people who need a tutorial to actively engage it never works.

Dieter - Dec 01, 2016 at 10:13
But you should make clear (i.e. in the menu) that there exists a tutorial in the easy mode. There are players who never played an adventure game but would like to play the "hard" mode (just because they play every game in the hard mode). :-)

Nor Treblig - Dec 01, 2016 at 15:18
I would assume when you face a player who isn't particular familiar with that game are at least with its genre with the choices: easy, normal or hard most would choose normal ("normal" sounds like the way the game was meant to be; if it later turns out too hard or too easy you can still restart and adjust the difficulty).

Having that said: I wouldn't call the easy mode in TWP "easy", but "normal" because of what I said above and also to avoid needing to mention the tutorial.

Nor Treblig - Dec 01, 2016 at 15:24
Also there could still be an "easy" button, just linking to a Let's Play video...

Dieter - Dec 01, 2016 at 16:46
I assume that Ron is doing a screen similar to the one in Monkey Island 2, with explanations on the two difficulties.

Nor Treblig - Dec 04, 2016 at 00:53
Here is a screenshot of the difficulty selection screen (or is it a room?):

Arto - Dec 01, 2016 at 15:53
"We are not teaching players how to solve adventure game puzzle, we are teaching them out to select OPEN and select DOOR.  Yes, it seems silly, but it's sad how much that is needed."

In a world that elects Trump as POTUS and opts to Brexit, we have to understand there are people who need to be shown how to OPEN the DOOR. Sad. Really.

Jammet - Dec 01, 2016 at 00:59
To me, Maniac Mansion and Zak Mc Kracken were pick-up-and-play games. And yes, I was a terribly scummy little kid who had copies. And no manuals. What I had was just articles from the german Power Play magazine, and I was in awe ~ in total awe ~ at the way the complete world was emulated.

Mind you, those copies weren't even really my own. I didn't own a Commodore 64. Nor an Amiga. Or an Atari. And it would be quite a while longer before I could step up from my lowly Amstrad CPC 464, to a 286 with VGA and a Sound Blaster! It would be years until then!

So what did I do? I played a foreign language old school "complex" graphics adventure game on my friends Commodore, in their basement after BEGGING them and HUMILIATING myself endlessly, to be allowed to play! And after half an hour or so, my friends lost patience with the games and just wanted to play something else.

And I resumed BEGGING them and HUMILIATING myself more and more hoping to be able to continue playing.

Did I mention I begged and begged?

God damn, those were strange times.

And today, I play the games as long as I want. They still don't give a damn about those games. At least most of them do. One of them may have one day shown me Monkey Island for the first time, on their almighty Amiga 500, but you know what? I still love that game today. To them it was just a thing to show off. And here I am, back for seconds. Backing the next game. And the game after that, no doubt. Because I've always been an adventure gamer.

Mister T - Dec 01, 2016 at 19:24
That was the time when one got no entertainment for free. Today people get drowned in options, so they have much less patience. Myself included: I play MM in a foreign language before I learned it at school and just looked up single words in the dictionary. I cannot imagine myself doing that with a norwgian or italian game today.

Romano - Dec 01, 2016 at 04:07
I took The Secret of Monkey Island for the Amiga back to the shop because it "wasn't working". The kind and patient shopkeeper informed me that I would need to use the mouse and that a joystick wasn't the correct thing to be using. I was 5 and had only ever played games where you shoot or jump on stuff.  Thinking about pointing and clicking was just thinking too far out of the box for me.

I wonder if instead of tutoring people on exactly what to do in a game they could just be told how they need to think in order to not get completely stuck? Maybe people wouldn't have the patience for it.

Gv - Dec 01, 2016 at 06:56
With the constant flow of games competing for the player's attention very often if someone finds the game difficult, he or she uninstalls it and goes for other game. At least that is what I do. It is different if you have paid for the game, I think.

Ron Gilbert - Dec 01, 2016 at 09:47
If people who paid for the game struggle with it, while it's true they have already given us their money, they won't tell their friends how much they liked the game. So much success from small Indie titles is word of mouth, we need to do everything we can to make the first-time play experiences good for casual players.  Which is why there is easy mode.  Hard more is for is for the rest of you, hard puzzles, long gameplay and no tutorial.

Gv - Dec 01, 2016 at 10:32
I would never set aside this game, but I thought that the tutorial was for that exactly reason, to capture the casual gamer. I am a casual gamer for many games out there, especially cell phone games ;) , not for this one of course.

Gv - Dec 01, 2016 at 10:36
.. and the casual thing happens mostly when games are free, that's why I commented that. If you pay is because you are more interested.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 01, 2016 at 10:34
And, after we experienced users have finished the normal mode, the curiosity inside us will push to try the easy mode, and we'll play the tutorial with a smile in our face.

Wluut - Dec 01, 2016 at 14:39

Gv - Dec 01, 2016 at 16:08
Oh, I get the point, Ron. I misunderstood your comment, and I think I didn't phrased my first comment very adequately. I didn't intend to protest the use of a tutorial but to give reasons why I think it is convenient.

Brian Bagnall - Dec 01, 2016 at 10:20
"Some players don't want to explore, they want to be told where to go and what to do.  They are being conditioned to do only what they are told to do." - Sounds like the snowflake generation! :)

Oregondanne - Dec 01, 2016 at 15:13
I hear ya about tutorials. But I wonder if one is really necessary, especially as trial and error doesn't hurt you in any way (it's not like you can die in a Ron Gilbert game, unless staying underwater for more than 10 minutes of course...). People who have never played point and click games will eventually get it. I recently replayed Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse (absolutely love it), which is perhaps the closest modern adventure games come to classic ones, and there is no tutorial in that. I know it doesn't use verbs, but the verbs in themselves are self-explanatory, I think. Nice compromise though!

Nor Treblig - Dec 01, 2016 at 15:25
Ron established it already as a fact that you absolutely need one.
Some people are just dumb, I mean, some people are not doing what the programmer want them to do. Which is inexcusable.

Oregondanne - Dec 02, 2016 at 12:09
Well, I'm just trying to say that neither Broken Sword 5 nor Broken Age (my other favorite modern classic adventure game, so to speak) had tutorials and I don't remember people complaining about that, so I don't think we can speak of "facts" here. It's a choice. But, like I already said, I do like the idea that the tutorial is only in the easy/normal and not in the hard mode (because as Ron also establishes in his post, he's just about as fond of tutorials as I am...).

Nor Treblig - Dec 03, 2016 at 02:44
Just because you and me and existing adventure game fans don't need a tutorial doesn't mean there aren't a lot of people who otherwise just wouldn't get it.
Especially since there are a lot of casual gamers (e.g. on mobile platforms) which would potentially enjoy such type of game. If the controls makes it a burden to get into the game for some of these then there should be a tutorial.
(and I'm definitely not a fan of dumbing down controls)

The TWP team have seen people playing the game. I'm pretty sure they have evidence of some struggling getting into it.

Oregondanne - Dec 03, 2016 at 15:03
Please understand that I'm not criticizing Ron & Co. for incorporating a tutorial. I'm just stating my opinion. If you have a different opinion, then great. :)

Nor Treblig - Dec 03, 2016 at 02:46
Speaking of Broken Age: It's a good example where a tutorial is really unnecessary.
It got very simple controls (single touch/click interface).
I remember it only hints the use of the inventory the first time you get an item.

But then on the other side: Many fans of the adventure game genre complained about the dumbed down controls (single verb).

Oregondanne - Dec 03, 2016 at 14:59
It's not like Broken Age was the first adventure game using single verb... That's how point-and-click games have looked for 20 years, even later LucasArts games such as The Dig. I think it's cool that TP goes back even further, resurrecting verbs, but I don't think it necessarily makes puzzles harder to solve just because you have more verbs to choose from.

Nor Treblig - Dec 04, 2016 at 00:52
There may be many games with single verb interface, but those aren't typically adventure games.
Most of those "proper" adventure games which had a very simplified UI often still used two verbs.

E.g. Sam & Max seasons from Telltale Games used left and right click for action verb (use/pick-up/talk-to/...) and look-at verb.
(Which already need to be explained somewhere or I bet you will find someone who tries to play the game without ever finding out you can look at objects.)

The Dig: I don't remember exactly how the interface works but I think you also have at least two verbs: action and examine (via inventory item or hotkey).
It's been some time, I really should go and replay The Dig...

Oregondanne - Dec 04, 2016 at 16:00
Oh, if you're counting "look at" as a different action verb then yes, most of the ones I'm talking about are like that. I thought you were referring to choices of action verbs that actually impact what the character does with the objects.

Nor Treblig - Dec 04, 2016 at 22:58
Yeah it was meant in a technical way.
The thing is, that as soon you have a second verb there need to be a way to switch between those verbs.
In the past it was easy when you could just assume the presence of a mouse (left click, right click), but since today you want to have games work on touchscreens too (especially for mobiles and tablets) the player needs know how to do it.

TWP actually makes it easy because of its old school verb interface everything is on the screen.
But apparently it's still not easy enough for some (although I can't think of designing an interface more obvious than that).

Btw. somehow I have forgotten the interface from The Dig. It seems quite awkward to me now.

Carlo Valenti - Dec 01, 2016 at 17:05
Mr Gilbert:
- was the beginning of voice recording a good one?
- are you planning a new trailer any soon?
Thank you

Brian Small - Dec 01, 2016 at 18:13
... And more importantly, if they can't figure out the game, they are more likely to give up and not tell their friends good things about it.

Brian Small - Dec 01, 2016 at 18:14
Oops - that was supposed to be a reply to the Oregondanne/Nor Treblig thread above.

Nick - Dec 01, 2016 at 20:08
Thins. You said "thins" instead of "things" in paragraph five. Old point and click adventures suffered from subtleties that no one could pick up on, or from actions that could ruin an entire game and you couldn't fix unless you still had a save from before you made that crucial decision. Tutorials are not needed for games but I feel like instructions are. Some games now have a tutorial mode to replace the lost instructions but others just assume you'll figure it out. Just pick a path. It's all about how much you can make off the game. Why else would you release something with ZERO instructions? This is an absolutely brilliant game and will no doubt become a great seller, but only long after the initial release. A cult classic if you will. The reason for crowdfunding is to create a game you want. Please don't spoil it.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 02, 2016 at 04:58
I think there will be more than one tutorial, one for each platform: PC, Xbox, smartphone... poor Ron...

Nor Treblig - Dec 03, 2016 at 02:46
The good news is: He only needs to create the tutorial for PC, which can then be reused.
The bad news: You can have mouse, keyboard, game controller and/or touchscreen on PC so it's the same work anyways :p

Geoffrey Paulsen - Dec 02, 2016 at 07:42
Is there any way to create the tutorial in the game engine, rather than the specific game code, so that future games can just plug in some graphics (probably already existing elements of those games), and the engine would have the tutorial ready to go?  I'd expect much of the tutorial would be engine / UI related, and not game specific.

Salty rde - Dec 02, 2016 at 22:21
When i played monkey 2 i played easy and then hard, because puzzles were really different in some parts so the game felt like two different ones.

Is this the case with thimbleweed or the differences from easy to hard are really subtle?
Can we enjoy the two gameplays or playing easy will kill the fun in hard mode?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 03, 2016 at 18:01
Hi there, in this calm and cloudy night, I need to relax, the night before the long electoral journey for me, working as a teller, so... here I am, trying to imagine how this adventure will be.
I am imaging the whole story, starting from what has been granted to see, and it ends up to be fantastic.
Multiple endings (at least in my mind)
Delores will marry Ransome, and they both will have many clowndren, beautiful and smiling.

OK, let's go to sleep :-)

Nor Treblig - Dec 04, 2016 at 02:01
Oh, that's much better than my take where they marry and have childrowns.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 04, 2016 at 06:12
Eheh my clowndren can swim. In my imagination :-)

Wluut - Dec 04, 2016 at 14:16
Now you spoiled the whole game for me. :-(

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 04, 2016 at 19:36
OK it's all over, the election day has finished... Everything will remain unchanged.
Let's have a whole new fantastic game, at least!
The release of Thimbleweed Park is approaching...

Nor Treblig - Dec 04, 2016 at 23:23
I'm all for equality (equity) but IMHO it would have been a much better year if male suffrage was globally prohibited this year...

But let us now look forward to 2017. A big year for video games since it will be the release year of TWP.
And maybe also TWP:TCE (Thimbleweed Park™: The Configurator Edition).

Guga - Dec 05, 2016 at 01:08
The worst voting of all time, and I'm not referring to the result. At least it's over.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 05, 2016 at 05:40
This voting day could inspire you a new adventure game: the unerasable pencils and Piero :-)

Still patient - Dec 04, 2016 at 05:58
I´m so damn excited to finally play that game :)
And in regards to the topic at hand - how gaming, nay, how the gaming INDUSTRY as changed the mindset of 90% of all players is so sad... it really makes me sad. First it was angry - then it was frustration, then sadness.
Also because it fits to a world where stupidy and superficiality spread out like a bushfire.
But let´s not become too pessimistic or psychologic ;)
With the invention of crowd-funding, A new spark of hope has been set aflame that ambitious games won´t die!
And that is a good thing :)

Mister T - Dec 04, 2016 at 09:35
The issue is a bit more complex and you can find the same pattern in movies and music, and pretty much every shape of pop culture:
when a medium evolves the products get more lush and expensive to produce, while the price more or less stays fixed. A game like an 80s arcade game could be sold in an app store for a few cents, when at that time it did cost about as much as a mid priced game on Steam today. While it was more complicated to program, there were a handful of people involved, opposed to today's teams of 20-200 people.
This is only possible by selling more units. This means making the content as accessible as possible to convince people to play it. This is also why franchises get more valuable especially with video games: people already know the content. If it worked before, they are sure it will work again.
It is less dumbing down but more finding the lowest common denominator. It is the flawed assumption of the designer to assume this would need a watered down experience, when in reality it is mainly about making it easy for people to access the game.

I won't lie to you: while I spent ages in the 90s to wrap my brain around how a game works, I want to jump in and play immediatly these days. But that does not mean that I like if layers are added after that point and the game gets complexer.

My guess is also that this kind of ramping up complexity is just too difficult to balance, especially with the glossy perfectioned surfaces of today's games. At the same time the industry, unlike the movie industry of the 90s, completely failed to make those complexities clear. Only the recent trend of Early Access and Kickstarter allowed an insight into how difficult it is to make the right decisions in the middle of the process and what work follows from that.

So it is less a thing of stupidity but pop culture as such.

Nor Treblig - Dec 04, 2016 at 13:28
I agree.

It's great to have insight in projects when backing on Kickstarter&Co, and you also see that a lot of people/backers never knew how much work (time and money) even simple games can be.

Regarding price I want to add that this didn't really stay the same. Only triple A titles can still afford those prices. Indie titles are cheaper from the start and are very quickly put on all different kind of sales (also look at mobile game prices...).
The competition is big and visibility is a problem today. If you as a player get stuck in a game or it doesn't capture you enough it's easy to just drop it and move on to another one.

Big Red Button - Dec 05, 2016 at 05:24
I agree. It's due to the accessibility. Therefore, the tutorial is a good idea. Adventure games have never sold as well as arcade games. Most consumers prefer the latter genre. Why ever. So, I would blame the audience instead of the game industry, because the companies only try to attract their audiences in order to sell their products.

Big Red Button - Dec 05, 2016 at 05:35
I mean that the supply follows the demand.

Mister T - Dec 06, 2016 at 04:58
But the supply also generates the demand when it comes to media. Audience and industry are part of the same culture. The industry failed to raise the audience in a certain way, at the same time the audience does not exactly shine with collective cleverness. And of course the "journalists", which operate more or less on the level of sport journalists and prefer to talk about framerates and resolution, as if a game would be a mere technical task.

Tim Lammert - Dec 04, 2016 at 14:30
Why not make something like this the first screen:

♦Load Game (only if there is already a game to load)
♦New easy Game
♦New hard Game

Does not kill the mood if you select it befor the game, nobody needs to go through a tutorial, but everybody can do it.

I personally hate it if I´m forced to play and go through a tutorial like in so many games. I like to find out stuff. But I also like to have the opportunity to play or see a tutorial if I think I´m to stupid to find out everything by myself.

Or you include some animations while loading the game. Of course this Game will have to load a lot of content :)

Nor Treblig - Dec 04, 2016 at 15:57
This is how the current implementation looks like (part of it anyway): https://twitter.com/grumpygamer/status/805272295740567552
I assume it comes after a New Game menu entry.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 05, 2016 at 05:42
That description for 'normal game mode' fits my person perfectly :-)

Nor Treblig - Dec 05, 2016 at 06:41
You are an experienced adventure gamer and want all the pussies?

(now it can't be unseen, MWAHAHAHA)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 05, 2016 at 08:45
AHAHAH no no... P-U-ZZ-L-E-S ! :-P

Lucas - Dec 05, 2016 at 11:15

Nor Treblig - Dec 06, 2016 at 01:08
Teaching game mechanics through level design is good.
The first scene in TWP already did that for a long time (like teaching you to pick up objects, giving objects to another character, switching character, using one inventory item with another inventory item).

Still it seems like the very basics (OMG so many buttons on a controller!) was a problem for some.

Carlo Valenti - Dec 05, 2016 at 18:08
I need a tutorial. No matter about what.

Nor Treblig - Dec 06, 2016 at 01:05
Here is your tutorial:
Breathe in, breathe out, repeat.

longuist - Dec 06, 2016 at 11:00
But how??

Nor Treblig - Dec 07, 2016 at 02:15
Well you.. oh, I think it's too late. He moved on to the next "game".

longuist - Dec 07, 2016 at 07:46
Never mind, found it:
I am certain that all people around me will like my sighing while exhaling!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 06, 2016 at 06:08
Thimbleweed Park mentioned in the following pages:
- Top 100 Anticipated Games 2017 (rank #81) : https://www.igdb.com/top-100/anticipated
- 8 less known Xbox One games with potential that are coming for 2017 (rank #1) : http://www.lifeisxbox.eu/2016/11/28/eight-less-known-xbox-one-games-with-potential-that-are-coming-for-2017-part-1/

Nor Treblig - Dec 06, 2016 at 09:12
There are other anticipated games fro 2017? Hm, will look through that list when I have time.
(btw. on first glance this list is for 2017 or later... or never; Star Citizen: 2017? LOL)

James Dean Martin Sheen - Dec 06, 2016 at 09:11
Is it true that you have to be connected to the internet to play the game?

Nor Treblig - Dec 06, 2016 at 09:15
No. Unless you have an open remote support session in which Ron is showing you the solution to the one puzzle you are currently stuck at.

Now I wonder: Is this a question which needs to be answered in the tutorial?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 06, 2016 at 11:18
...it's for a different game! :-D

Nor Treblig - Dec 07, 2016 at 01:55
Good times when online actually meant online and not some GSM/WLAN sh*t :-)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 06, 2016 at 11:12
Maybe only if bought from Steam, but the game itself has not internet requirements.

James Dean Martin Sheen - Dec 06, 2016 at 18:27
So all the people who are concerned about their personal gaming data being sent to Terrible Toybox can play the game on a machine that never connects to the internet during gaming time and then uninstall it.

Am I wrong?

Nor Treblig - Dec 07, 2016 at 02:07
The DRM-free version will definitely work without Internet (by definition). So if you disable network access you can still play the game.
Not sure about the Steam version though.

The current builds used by testers do collect a lot of telemetry data but it's not even sure if the release version will contain this at all.

Chris - Dec 06, 2016 at 16:50
We don't need a tutorial. There were no tutorials nor instructions in the glory days of c64 and Amiga as all the software we had was pirated.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 07, 2016 at 03:57
You are right, unfortunately the brains have changed during these years...

Zombocast - Dec 07, 2016 at 00:06
My Bus is delayed again..
If only i had a Click and Swipe adventure  from Terrible Toybox on my phone to pass the time..

PS: Excited to hear the voice for Ransome The Clown is good!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 07, 2016 at 08:09
May I suggest you to try Scurvy Scallywags?
It's a 3-in-a-row game, but with piratesque adventure inside.
And most of all... it's made by Ron Gilbert, with music composed by Steve Kirk. Two names also involved in Thimbleweed Park!
I'm currently addicted to it ;-D

Arto - Dec 08, 2016 at 13:42
I'm not at all addicted. I'm on level 27.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 09, 2016 at 05:50
I'm at level 34, but I am selling every item needed to build a ship. I like the ship that I currently own, which reduces the enemy's power.
On the other hand, with that ship and power at +250%, the game starts to be too much easy: every level can be finished in 50 moves or so.
But I like it anyway, I just want to see the end :-D

Geoffrey Paulsen - Dec 07, 2016 at 23:09
RIOT TIME!?!  Where is our new podcast?

You just THINK we care about the game.  We REALLY just want to hear you blather on about how stressed you are about a fictitious requirement (game).

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 08, 2016 at 02:20
Eheh I was wondering when we'll receive another podcast. We know from a few tweets that Ron is currently busy with the voice recording sessions.
So, we should just be patient, and maybe. ..the next podcast will contain many 'audio' surprises!

Ron Gilbert - Dec 08, 2016 at 03:56
Hoping to do one next Friday.  I'll be back in Seattle.

Jammet - Dec 08, 2016 at 13:28
I'm wondering if a lot of the podcast bits could later be used to play the game in a sort of "commentary" mode.

Bogdan Barbu - Dec 08, 2016 at 14:02
Not sure who would be willing to actually sit through all of them and then to go on to edit them. Besides, most of it would probably be worthless anyhow: "Today I've implemented...", "Next week I'll do...", "Foo wanted to know...". There's very, very little in these podcasts on the game content; it's more about how far they got at particular points in time.

The only usable things that pop into my mind are a couple of funny stories, like when Mark acidentally (or not?) stole some money he got for the TWP merchandise.

Mister T - Dec 08, 2016 at 18:27
I like the idea of having an audio comment in the style of Gone Home or Half Life 2, where bubble-shaped game objects trigger the audiofile when used. But it would be more efficient to have someone of the team just saying a few sentence about whatever is worth knowing about the part. But it is even more fun when it is added in some Steam update and gives a reason to revisit the game months later.

Farooq - Dec 08, 2016 at 05:13
Ron's voice helps me sleep at night.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 08, 2016 at 18:11
Ahah really?
I usually listen to the podcast at midnight (between Saturday and Sunday), because of different time zones,  but I am not able to sleep until the end of the podcast. And I mean... the VERY end... :-)

Big Red Button - Dec 08, 2016 at 18:49
I usually write a comment after I listened to the whole TWP podcast. Even if it's by far after midnight.

If Ron knew how much time we regularly spend on this blog he would perhaps get a guilty conscience. So, let's welcome the current quiet here. :-)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 09, 2016 at 05:54
How much time?
I can tell you dozens of minutes. Each day.

Big Red Button - Dec 12, 2016 at 02:15
Me too. It's my all-time favorite blog. :-)

Brian Small - Dec 09, 2016 at 15:29
I only listen to the podcast while going on a run.  So, it's nice when a new podcast comes out because I'm motivated to get out on a run.  Unfortunately, I need to run more often than the podcasts come out, but that's not so easy this time of year,.

Geoffrey Paulsen - Dec 11, 2016 at 06:00
That's a great idea!  I should use that as motivation also.  Thanks for sharing.

Geoffrey Paulsen - Dec 11, 2016 at 06:08
Maybe he could add a mode to the next game that connects with fit-bit like products (I'm sure there is a standardized API for that now, right?) that prevents a puzzle from being completed until after a certain amount of cardio is done.

The character could turn into the camera and say "I see you're trying to use a rubber chicken with a pulley on a rope.... but don't you think you should get up and walk around a bit first"?

If nothing else, it could be easy to add, (just mimic back whatever the user's trying to do), and be good for a joke.  Plus it could generate some media interest.

Nor Treblig - Dec 11, 2016 at 07:02
Of course there is a standardised API. But every vendor is using his own standardised API...

Farooq - Dec 12, 2016 at 02:29
haha yeah no I mean after I finish listening to it.

Ema - Dec 08, 2016 at 17:39
@Dev team

Maybe I missed this info in some podcast, but... are there any (un)official news of the date of delivery?
Some fan said january, some other said march. But I don't remember reading anything from the staff.

Thank you

Ron Gilbert - Dec 08, 2016 at 18:24
We don't have a date yet, still too many unknowns. Early 2017, but probably no later than March.

Ema - Dec 09, 2016 at 02:54

Geoffrey Paulsen - Dec 11, 2016 at 05:58
Is that when you're announcing your next project as well?   To ride on the heels of Thimbleweed?  

This blog has been immensely awesome, you could charge more for it (it is more work on your part) for the next project.  Be sure to add the reward level of Ron bringing the alpha to a bar near you.  I'm sure I couldn't afford that one, but some could.  Possibly groups of fans could group together.  North Dallas anyone?  

If you made a separate topic for folks here to brainstorm project ideas, that would be awesome too.

Patricio Martinotti - Dec 11, 2016 at 14:18
Oh my my... I used to think that I would able to play it in january, argentinian holydays. In march I must return to my studies.

Diego - Dec 12, 2016 at 12:27
Patricio... no te olvides que en febrero esta carnaval.... asi que por ahi tenemos la suerte de jugarlo para esa fecha! abrazo... MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU

Ignacio - Dec 12, 2016 at 12:47
Hahaha, I was expecting to play TWP not before March (end of Argentinean holidays) so my children will be back to school and I will have a little more free time.

Diego - Dec 13, 2016 at 07:16
Ignacio me hiciste reir con tu comentario! abrazo!

Tobias R. - Dec 13, 2016 at 14:55
Please, Ron, announce the final date about three weeks in advance. I am planning to take some days off from work to play through Thimbleweed Park upon release. My boss would like to know early when we go to holiday.

(As funny as it may sound, it is really important to me. Work and family took almost all my chances to play computer games. Therefore, I need to reserve the time.)

Thank you in advance!

Big Red Button - Dec 15, 2016 at 07:58
Don't panic! If the development of their next game takes as much time as this one, you have about two years to finish TP until the release of their next game. ;-)

Arto - Dec 17, 2016 at 12:05
It wouldn't take that long. Now they have the engine and the team ready and tested, so that would speed things up. Also Thimbleweed Park is said to be a *huge* game, and likely the next game won't be as large, so the development time would be shorter. So, hopefully, we could see next game's development start around May 2017 and be launched in August 2018. I guess TWP is going to be released Feb 15, so that would give 1.5 years to complete TWP before the next game.

Ron Gilbert - Dec 17, 2016 at 12:18
No date has been given.  When there is a date, it will be announced here. Don't believe anything else.

Also, there is a good six months of work after the game ships with port, maintenance, etc.  It also depends on how well the game does. If it doesn't do well, then we won't be doing another.  Making these games is beyond expensive.

Arto - Dec 17, 2016 at 12:31
Yeah, the date was my wild guess, nothing more.

It'll do well.

Tobias R. - Dec 18, 2016 at 05:13
I know how hard it is to predict a release date when there is still so much to do. If you can’t tell in advance, I will manage somehow. It’s just a bit easier for me.

It would be very disappointing if the game didn’t do well – for us, but especially for you guys. However, I can’t help you more than with what I already gave. Let’s just hope the best, OK?

SouthSide Tony - Dec 09, 2016 at 13:15
(Puts on fake mustache)

Hello Mr. Ron Filbert, I have never played a click n' point adventure video screen game before, so please send me, a complete novice, a copy of your electronic toy game for testing.

Geoffrey Paulsen - Dec 11, 2016 at 06:01
So sneaky, it just might work...

Carlo Valenti - Dec 11, 2016 at 15:50
When are you going to release your new, exciting blog post? If you need a kickstarter to support it, I'm in.

Geoffrey Paulsen - Dec 11, 2016 at 16:12
On the 8th (above) he said "next Friday", which I interpret as Dec 16th, and then a day or two to post...

Ron Gilbert - Dec 11, 2016 at 16:19
Yes, we will do a podcast on Friday the 16th.  I've been out of town recording and just got back and then recording all this week from Seattle.  Crazy busy time.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 11, 2016 at 16:22
It would be wonderful if that Friday could also be... "Friday Questions" day! :-)

Ron Gilbert - Dec 11, 2016 at 16:25
Friday questions take a lot of time, so we can't do that this friday.  Things are really crazy right now, so much work to do.

Carlo Valenti - Dec 11, 2016 at 16:40
Please forgive us. We Italian people always need to interact. Otherwise I would have not commented his comment, looking forward to your comment.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 11, 2016 at 17:51
OK, I'm sure that your next podcast will answer most of the questions we have, anyway: how the translations are going, how was the voice rec session, there will be a new video trailer, Have you decided when/where you will come to Europe, etc. etc.
And, of course, a big thank you !!

Carlo Valenti - Dec 11, 2016 at 16:23
Thank you. I apologize for not having noticed your previous comment about it. Good work to us all!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 12, 2016 at 09:26
Just 2 years ago, the Kickstarter campaign of this project was going to finish. Two years are a long time, but now is passed, in a blink of an eye.
Here we are, "sit down here in a room, praying for a yes", like an italian singer sings, waiting for the most awaited adventure game since the '90s.
All the team worked as we expected, and kept us constantly up-to-date during the development phase, listening at us for improvements, jokes, needs. That is the "Big Whoop" of the adventure games, I really think we could not have any better than this.
Proud to be part of this adventure!!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 12, 2016 at 09:28
..."All the team" = "the whole team", of course.

Gffp - Dec 12, 2016 at 16:32
Eeeeeeh, good old times Zak, when on my desk there were an Amiga 500 on the left, displaying a guy that looked like a linen salesperson (yes, that's the very good -that's the case- translation of 'floor inspector', incomprehensible to us who have mostly lived on ceramic floors), and a cassette recorder on the right playing Max Pezzali' songs from NordSudOvestEst!!!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 12, 2016 at 18:06
Eheheheheh... Max Pezzali incarnates the '90s for excellence!
I want to whisper you a little secret...
... now the site is closed, but still alive... try to browse www.883network.com ... sssssh!!

Gffp - Dec 14, 2016 at 20:53
Ebbrav' a ZZacck! Già andavi forte con la programmazione web parecchi anni fa! Io non ci capisco granché ancora adesso...

Christopher Begue - Dec 12, 2016 at 15:37
I was attempting to explain to my son this very same thing, ironically today when my brother sent me this blog entry link. My son has... frustration issues (mildly put) with older games that prevent him from playing many of the 'classics' and I was attempting to explain to this Kingdom Hearts/Minecraft player that reading the manual was something we actually did, because they did not have in game learn as you play tutorials like he is used to. One of my favorites, Space 1889, wasn't the only game I had required manuals for, though I recall not really reading it, the first time I tried to play it, I didn't get very far. But, I didn't have an "easy" game waiting for me to play if I didn't enjoy the one I was trying. People have such a huge amount of choice in this new market, even a marginal difficulty increase could be the difference between a recommendation and a disaster.

I am glad to see you put a tutorial in the game, if only to help sales - I'd rather see a successful game here, because while I love Telltale and the much needed shot in the arm it gave adventure gaming, it is blurring the lines between the traditional point and click and interactive movie with each new release.

One of the core reasons I support independent developers, is because I fear that we may lose "games" to limited interactive movies sequences someday. Maybe it will be fine, and I'll enjoy them more than gaming - but I'm very leery to the idea. While I liked playing Space Ace on occasion and the like, I don't want that to be it.

Jammet - Dec 12, 2016 at 19:47
Boy, remembering playing Kingdom Hearts, and the sequels and spin-off games. And their TUTORIALS. I would much rather read the manual or just have a reference card, than having to play lengthy tutorials like those from Kingdom Hearts. Because you're *bombarded* with Info, and you're expected to get it right! I can't just play the game and learn from mistakes, because the game won't even LET me make mistakes.

Diego - Dec 16, 2016 at 13:11
Hi everybody! any news from Gilbert and crew??

Greetings from Argentina!


dada - Dec 16, 2016 at 14:17
Last time i heard they were seen on a yacht heading into the Caribbean.

Diego - Dec 16, 2016 at 16:02

badde - Dec 16, 2016 at 16:30
Hi Ron, you can have your current project plan again to publish? I was very happy and i am now very curious !

Assaf - Dec 16, 2016 at 16:56
As our journey is drawing to a close, -please- some write more text blog posts. I really love them, it was a great concept. Would hoping there would be more, and as we are nearing release, I'd love to get a desert... Maybe some perspectives about things that changed during development... I'm pretty sure you don't need ideas. Would love to read more about anything in the development process.

Zombocast - Dec 16, 2016 at 21:29
He may do a postmortem but those typically don't happen until years afterwards due to spoilers. I too would love the blog to keep going but i'm sure hes going to start on fixes then ramp the next game because the game engine has a limited life and the code starts  becomes foreign to its creator.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 17, 2016 at 19:55
News : about 1000 lines of text have been lip-synced using DanielsWolf's tool!

Carlo Valenti - Dec 18, 2016 at 07:15
Hi Zak Phoenix! As far as you know, what are the levels of hype and expectation on Italian magazines about TWP?
I remember that, when I was a kid, my own expectations were highly dependent on theirs.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 19, 2016 at 04:51
[Italian mode ON]
Per quel che ne so, si stanno muovendo adesso. Cominciano ora a scrivere che sta per uscire una nuova avventura, ecc.
Tuttavia, leggo solo sui quotidiani online. Appena apparirà su The Games Machine o qualche altra rivista del settore, allora sarà un trionfo.
[Italian mode OFF]

Hi, in a scale from 0 to 100, I feel the hype level is 40, by now, based on articles published on the web.

Carlo Valenti - Dec 19, 2016 at 14:17
[Italian mode ON] anch'io leggevo TGM, certo che 40 è bassino... [Italian mode OFF] Thank you so much!

Barton Lynch - Jan 06, 2017 at 19:06
So basically at the opening of the game, the difficulty selection screen will come down to this:


OPTION 1: "I want it all! All the puzzles! All the work!"

OPTION 2: "I've never played an adventure game before. I'm scared!"

Where have I seen something like that before? Hmmm…

Nor Treblig - Jan 06, 2017 at 23:47
Hm, I guess you are talking about this game: http://i.imgur.com/4xOVeut.png

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jan 08, 2017 at 16:57
AHAHAAHH!! Oh boy, too many memories!