Voicemail Testing

by Ron Gilbert
Dec 28, 2015

One of the Kickstarter reward tiers was to appear in the Thimbleweed Park phonebook. During the Kickstarter, someone in the comments suggested that it would be neat if they could also record a voicemail message.

Not being above stealing a good idea, we quickly added that and pretended we thought of it all along.

We've delayed gather all the names and voicemail messages because we wanted to make sure we were getting all the right information. We've implemented the phonebook and puzzle with dummy information and now we're ready to start gathering names and voicemail recordings.

If all we were gathering were names, it might be easier, but we also need to gather recordings and have a place for people to upload them, plus we wanted to build a system that lets people go back and change the recording if they want.

I built such a system over the past few weeks, and now we need to test it. Nothing would be more embarrassing than having to ask 3000+ people to re-upload their recordings.

Which brings us to YOU!

Are you willing to help test out the voicemail system? You don't have to be a backer to help test.  If you're willing to help, follow this link and give us your email.

Testing will start in a few days.

Actual voicemail site will go live mid-January.


Testing has ended. Huge thanks to everyone who helped out. We found a lot of bugs that can only be found by swarming masses!

Here is the breakdown of around 500 readers in response to their primary language.

Thanks again.

- Ron

hihp - Dec 28, 2015 at 20:27
Yesyesyes :-)

Patrik Spacek - Dec 28, 2015 at 20:32

Patrik Spacek - Dec 28, 2015 at 20:48
I can do more languages than its listed.

Yehuda - Dec 28, 2015 at 21:09
Can't provide name and email, it's grayed out.

Yehuda - Dec 28, 2015 at 21:10
Ah, stupid me. Just confusing UI.

kamborio™ - Dec 28, 2015 at 21:38
I've been waiting for this moment for a long time! Particularly because I knew from the beginning the message (more or less) that I would record: My 2yo daughter's voice! (I am sure this won't be an original idea, but as ideas go... not many are original are they?)

So Ron... Can we do that?

In terms of language: In my household we speak 5 different languages: English, Spanish, German, Swiss-German (which apparently is a language on its own right, but if anyone want to argue, please talk to my wife!) and Galician.

Out of the 5 I think that 3 are "supported" languages (english, spanish and german) so I was wondering... can we record our own version for each of the languages?

Ron Gilbert - Dec 28, 2015 at 21:46
You can only record one voicemail message. That message will be tied to your name in the phone book. You could record 5 different languages on that one voicemail.

Sándor Sebesi - Dec 30, 2015 at 02:25
Ron, is it possible to "hide" an additional language as a voicemail? We can record our voicemail in English, German, Italian, French and... Hungarian. We would be very grateful if we could record the Hungarian part as well. :)

Mike McP - Dec 29, 2015 at 19:47
FIVE languages?!

Today I went to the gym, and couldn't remember which locker I hung my keys in.  I opened about 60 lockers before I found them.

vegetaman - Dec 28, 2015 at 21:39
Done and done. Should we expect a confirmation e-mail at some point? Or you'll just let us know on the blog when it's live?

Derrick Reisdorf - Dec 28, 2015 at 22:03
Two things (sorry if I overlooked any info):

1)  How much time is estimated for a tester to spend per week?
2)  What are the requirements for submitting messages as a tester (equipment/software/file format/sampling rate/file size)?

Ron Gilbert - Dec 28, 2015 at 22:17
Not sure about time. It will take 10 or 15 minutes to upload your info and you might need to do that 2 or 3 times, but that's about it.

When the email goes out to all the testers, it will include a link to submit feedback.

Bogdan Barbu - Dec 28, 2015 at 22:37
Make it so that we can actually call Gary's phone from the game.

Bogdan Barbu - Dec 28, 2015 at 22:40
You know you want to!

Derrick Reisdorf - Dec 29, 2015 at 00:42
And these will be answering machine messages, not voicemail messages, correct?  :)

Hopefully, you'll have a way to add different beeps at the end of our messages...

Derrick Reisdorf - Dec 29, 2015 at 00:46
...And maybe also for us to be able to set the number of rings before or answering machine picks up?

Orcan Ogetbil - Dec 29, 2015 at 00:51
Hmm. Will you add a beep after our message? Or do we get to make our own beep? I need it to be perfectly timed.

Isaac Serna - Dec 29, 2015 at 02:21
You have my sword!! :-p

LogicDeLuxe - Dec 29, 2015 at 03:27
Make sure, the beep sounds like a simple tape recorder, because that is what answering machines were in the 80's.

Kai - Dec 29, 2015 at 04:34
I hope you will go the extra mile and re-encode all voice messages that people upload (the actual ones that you will get in mid-January), because otherwise there is a theoretical risk that someone uploads a "tainted" audio file that does bad things (TM). Then again, you will probably get all kinds of different bit rates and codecs so you will have to convert them all to one common format anyway...

Dominik - Dec 29, 2015 at 04:56
Will there be secret numbers (i.e. easter eggs) that you can call in the game?
Like hearing one of the developers or other cameos?
In that case: Please hide the numbers thruout the game. Perhaps a crumbled note, perhaps a graffiti etc.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 29, 2015 at 05:00
It's thrilling!!
Test form submitted, you can count on me!

Mattias Cedervall - Dec 29, 2015 at 05:14
I will gladly help even though my voicemail won't be in the game!

Farooq - Dec 29, 2015 at 05:34
Hello!. Is it alright if i record in my native language Urdu? I'm from Pakistan and i'd love to do that.

Farooq - Dec 29, 2015 at 05:40
It'll seem both strange and funny imo. and should work in every version >_<

LogicDeLuxe - Dec 29, 2015 at 07:17
I sure hope they remaster all submissions. They have to be limited bandwidth and dynamics, just like telephones sound. There should be no audible compression artifacts, though, as the majority of telephone networks were analog back then.

If you're searching for vintage phone sounds, ask Evan Doorbell. He has tons of recordings on his home page: http://www.evan-doorbell.com/production/

It would be also cool to have a speaking clock. That used to be the most called service in the 80's here in Germany before radio controlled and network controlled clocks became commonplace.

Adrian - Dec 29, 2015 at 10:28
Is someone getting the job of listening to all the voicemail messages or are you going to trust that people aren't going to abuse the opportunity - deliberately or carelessly? Doubly so if people are not English speakers.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 29, 2015 at 14:15
Off topic with this post, but interesting news: Thimbleweed Park in the most anticipated games of 2016:

Christian - Dec 29, 2015 at 14:35
What kind stuff are you all going to record there? What kind of jokes are realistic for an answering machine? Or is it expected to just state your name in your language and say "talk after the beep" and that's it? (I don't have an answering machine by the way and never spoke on one by the way)

Mad Digger - Dec 29, 2015 at 17:22
Done.  I hope you'll enjoy this voicemail message from France.

Derrick Reisdorf - Dec 30, 2015 at 00:12
Should the phone book listings follow common convention:


    Adam Marcus
    Alan J
    Alan W
    Bob B
    Lawrence G
SMOAK Justin

Just wondering.

Derrick Reisdorf - Dec 30, 2015 at 00:13
...I mean as far as capitalization goes.

Derrick Reisdorf - Dec 30, 2015 at 00:18
Will capitalization of the names be corrected?
And should we clarify that last name is actually the surname and the first name is the given name?  Not sure if the acceptable languages differ from English naming convention.

Ron Gilbert - Dec 30, 2015 at 09:32
The phone book is going to be First Name Last Name. It's not the way normal phonebooks or directories would be sorted, but it simpler.

Flowo1974 - Dec 30, 2015 at 10:20
Now I've waited a year to record my voice message, but I have no idea what to say :(

Arto - Dec 30, 2015 at 12:00
I think that is a good line right there.

Flowo1974 - Dec 30, 2015 at 12:38
LOL. That just made my day. I might stick to it ;)

Frank - Dec 30, 2015 at 17:04
Hi! Great news!

But I've another question:

What contents are allowed in the voice-mail and what's not?

Thanks for reply!

Daniel - Dec 30, 2015 at 18:25

I'm one of the thousands of people who payed 50$ during the crowdfunding... And I would like to know if there is a change to get my name and voice recording on the phonebook of the game.

How should I proceed?


Ron Gilbert - Dec 30, 2015 at 18:38
We're just testing the system now. In a few weeks an email will go out to all the Kickstarter backers who get their name in the phonebook with instructions.

Frank - Jan 01, 2016 at 14:57
Are there regulations about the contents of the voice-mails?

Greetings and happy new year!

Daniel - Jan 02, 2016 at 18:38
Thanks Ron!

I would also say that it is a honor to be answered by you :)

I'm a big fan of your adventure games since I was a child...


Steffen - Dec 31, 2015 at 09:20
Hej Ron & Co.

I am just wondering about the languages your fans and backers speak and countries they are from. Do you have any statistics?

Even if it's just Thursday a more specific Question (should I ask on Friday again?):
How international is Thimbleweed Park? And how much influence does this worldwide following have for game development (beside unicode)?

Many thanks.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Dec 31, 2015 at 10:46
Hello, I'm going to prepare myself for New Year's Eve, so I write now....
Happy New Year!

See Ya in 2016!

Carlo Valenti - Dec 31, 2015 at 19:30
Happy new yeeaah!
Let's hope: less vamped consumerism, more substance in what we are; to help each other, to give life.
To Ron, Gary, David: may your work make this world, you and us a little better!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Jan 01, 2016 at 05:11
Thank you Carlo (burp!)

Loftcraft - Jan 01, 2016 at 10:18
Germans (and Austrians) have always been huge Adventure fans. I hope we get a good translation ;)

Jammet - Jan 02, 2016 at 06:56
Boris Schneider will see to that ;D.

Puma - Jan 02, 2016 at 19:44
Where is Dutch! The Dutch are awesome adventure fans! This can be found in our colonial heritage where we crossed oceans to find new lands for trading :) But then again... we grow up almost bilingual with English as a second language and don't like synchronized movies since the original is always the best! Sooooo never mind the Dutch request ;) Can't wait for the release so please if it takes to much time to translate into other languages release the game first! Yeaaaaaah everything is awesomeeeee!

Sven Hinze - Jan 03, 2016 at 02:36
Damn, I missed the test. I'm from Germany. Only for Statisktik

German Number - Jan 03, 2016 at 16:09
Hi Ron.

Just a suggestion. There might be a lot of guys who bought themselves into the phonebook... and now when the time comes to speak something into the mic they feel kind of scared. Like not wanting to mess up your cool game with junk and spam.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of that kind (cough). But there might be people who do not have a good idea for their voicemail.

Maybe it would be a cool idea to feed some of the backers with hints or background information about the town. One per number. Some real hints and some fake ones. Backers could use this information for creative voice messaging.

It feels strange to be part of TIMBLEWEED PARK as a citizen with a phone number without knowing the game, the story or the town. Please don't let us ruin your game :)

Dennis - Jan 04, 2016 at 01:53
did I just the testing for voicemailing or did I actually miss the real Recording?

Jaap - Jan 04, 2016 at 16:43
Aww crap, was just looking for some mp3 voice recording software on mac. Anyway curious to see how it will work out.

Quarnz - Feb 22, 2016 at 18:07
Has the system for the voice mail recordings gone live?
Also when is the cut off date planned to have the recordings in by?

Ron Gilbert - Feb 22, 2016 at 18:12
Yes, it went live several weeks ago. If you were a phonebook level backer and you didn't get an email, contact me via the Contact link above.

OverNerd 9000 - May 13, 2016 at 04:31
Is it still possible to add a Voice Mail? And when - how?

Brian Small - May 13, 2016 at 12:15
You should have received an email with instructions (assuming you backed the project at the voicemail level or higher).  Ron and team have recently extended the deadline, originally May 1, to July 1  - so you still have time.  They discuss this on Project Update 23 on the Kickstarter page:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thimbleweedpark/thimbleweed-park-a-new-classic-point-and-click-adv/posts/1563358?ref=backer_project_update

OverNerd 9000 - May 14, 2016 at 16:53
I have payed the "25 - PIRATE " Edition + Extra Reward Ransome Swear Jar Ransome-In-Traning. Is that enough? Which Package i need to buy?

longuist - May 14, 2016 at 17:42
Unfortunately the voicemail thingy was just an option for the exclusive (funky) bunch of kickstarter backers. (correct me if I'm wrong)
You are not alone, all you can do now is: SWEAR