Whiteboards

by Ron Gilbert
Apr 09, 2017

Now that we can post preproduction design docs without fear of spoilers (warning: spoilers ahead) I thought we'd start with the whiteboards.

Early in January, right after the Kickstarter finished, Gary and I got together for a few days of brainstorming on the whiteboard. At this point, we knew the basic story, in so much as these agents show up to investigate the body, and there was a clown, a dead guy and computer programmer.

We didn't really know how the game would end, or how we'd get there, but hey, that is the fun part.

After the first brainstorm session, Gary had the idea of a big factory and this tube based AI. It seemed ripe for digging, so we ran with that and never looked back.

A couple of months later, David Fox joined the team and we started to get into the nitty-gritty of solving the murder.

After the first day with David, I was really bothered by all the details of finding evidence. It seemed like an arbitrary  jumble and players would be lost.

I went home feeling a little dejected and overwhelmed. What the evidence gathering stage needed was focus, then the idea of TronMachines hit me. By placing them in the Coroners office, it would give that focus. The TronMachines wanted specific items, and that meshed better with how an adventure game worked.  David and Gary seemed to like the idea and it gave out design sessions more focus as well (always a good idea).

Originally the Coroner's office had 4 TronMachines, the BloodTron, FaceTron, FingerTron and EnhanceTron.  The EnhanceTron was going to be used to enhance a video image taken from the Quickie Pal video camera, but it felt like too much, so we cut it.

We saved the flashbacks for last, and for those brainstorm sessions Jenn join us. Ransome's flashback started to get huge and we cut it back significantly.

We took pictures of the white boards at the end of each session, or before we erased them.

Most of what you see made it into the game, although tweaked quite a bit. Other parts never got off the whiteboard.  Some of it made it off the whiteboard and into the wireframe version, but was cut before final art.



Benjamin Clot - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:07
Did I read this correctly: "Stan's Toys & Comics"? We could have had a patterned-shirt Stan? :D

Patrick Paquet - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:08
Wow, thanks for sharing this. It's quite interesting to see how you guys work with all those ideas...  seeing that plain whiteboard with those notes makes it feel so much more tangible and human.

I'm pretty sure the 3 specks of dust I didnt collect are on there, somewhere!

Miguel - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:12
I'm still amazed by how much of the final story is included in the original brainstorm of ideas, the ones that had individual game ideas about a ghost, detectives, and... Characters being in a videogame trying to escape of the simulation.

I'm really enjoying going back to those old posts from two years ago and see how hard it was not to share spoilers, but sharing insightful details of the plot and ideas behind it.

Miguel - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:21
More on this here

://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/early_brainstorm

Geoffrey Paulsen - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:20
How long do you think this content will be up on the blog?  I'd like to read it in detail, but I'm in the middle of the game, and not ready for spoilers yet.

Ron Gilbert - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:22
A long time.

LogicDeLuxe - Apr 10, 2017 at 13:11
When you are doing the retail DVD, consider putting a copy of this blog on it including all the videos. And all the trailers should be there too.

Uli - Apr 14, 2017 at 05:43
Or even include the blog posts in successive game updates. I suppose you could add an "Extras" section to the menu with behind-the-scenes info. Would evenfit the meta-ness of the game.

Erik Red - Apr 10, 2017 at 16:44
* no spoilers * Finished the game today (what an ending!) and went philosophical - am now reading Kierkegaard for a couple of days. Thank you for a great game. :)

Keppie - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:21
Ron, Gary & everybody on the team, thanks for the great game and a fantastic throwback to the great days of gaming ! I sincerely hope you guys weren't kidding and haven't changed your mind about wanting to do follow-up projects if this one went well. I'll be looking forward to it !
PS : You're still funny as hell :-)

Mister T - Apr 19, 2017 at 15:20
+1

Although I would not dare to ask for 10+ hours or the complexity of 5 characters again.

Jeepika - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:31
The `to do` list is another great way to stay focused. That didn't exist back in the MM days, now it's easier and helps not to feel the frustration of not knowing what was going on and what to do next.

Gordon Shumway - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:32
Great game, thoroughly enjoyed it, I will try some bugs before updating 😀

Antonio Mazzanti - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:35
Hi. Thanks for sharing this epic feat! I believe everyone has his own destiny and yours, guys, is to make point and click adventures. Please don't make us wait another 25 years... again. I'm getting older you see...

Maurizio - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:35
I was SO  looking forward to this post!

You say: "It seemed like an arbitrary jumble and players would be lost.  ... then the idea of TronMachines hit me. By placing them in the Coroners office, it would give that focus. "

I wonder what's so wrong with feeling lost. If anything, that happened in Monkey 2 part II: so vast, so overwhelming, and with so little guidance, that you felt *really* lost there. But that's why it was so good! The sense of vastness and of being lost is what makes it feel like a real world. When you are lost, that's when the game starts working, when it becomes a world. (To make an extreme example, remember Ultima 7: there the vastness really works).

In Thimbleweed park I got lost once, because I started concentrating on the details and losing the big picture. In particular I had forgotten the TRON machines were there, waiting for me to put evidence in them. Then I read the notebook and remembered they existed. And I realized I could start putting stuff in them. Ok. But if the notebook hadn't reminded me the TRON machines existed, I would have gone in all rooms one by one and eventually remembered.

Gffp - Apr 11, 2017 at 04:52
I totally agree with you about feeling lost in Monkey Island 2, I was talking about it just yesterday in our italian TWP chat on Telegram https://t.me/joinchat/AAAAAEE5YBcL4BwYpUTbSQ
But I also have to say that TWP is the first adventure game in my whole life that I completed without any help. There weren't in the first two days after it came out! Never got or felt really lost.
I should separate the two things. I mean the sense of vastity,  and the feeling of being lost in a vast world.
TWP world has always appeared to me like a precise map between single places, more than a world. Also, in the places I was almost always pretty sure of the things which I could interact with.
So feeling lost it's probably not a good sensation for many, expecially the newest audience, but for sure I think that the most would have appreciated a richer world. But that's not a complain, I'll explain why.
Monkey Island 1, being set on two islands, having those maps that were like living aerial views of the islands, with changes between night and day (and a sunset with two different backgrounds of the dock before and after by Mark Ferrari!!!) and travelling by the sea, all this created much more a sense of a vast world.
But all that I wrote above is not a complain to TWP which was intended, since the beginning, as a successor of Maniac Mansion way more than Monkey Island, and if you see it by this point of view, its limitations appear like a way to reproduce the feeling of the original title. (If you think also that there are no close ups of the characters like in MI 1... when you tell a story by images, you define characters by close ups on them, on the faces and the expressions, it's exactly what a camera does in movies).
Probably I agree with you that the hard mode is a little too easy, compared to other titles, since you have already a casual mode for the new audience. Expecially the fact that you have those wonderful notebooks it gives you the turbo! Man, give me a written to do list, and I shall move the world!

Big Red Button - Apr 11, 2017 at 06:10
Yes, the notebooks make it much easier indeed. I'm not sure how I ought to think about them. Maybe the notebooks should be in easy mode only, because the puzzles are very logical anyway.

By the way, I haven't finished the game yet. But, the only puzzle that cost me a lot of time was the PoliceTron 3000, because the first dialog options were jokes (e.g. singing "Daisy, Daisy") so I didn't take the PoliceTron serious any more and therefore didn't notice the solution of the puzzle, even though Natalie told what she was waiting for. After all, I have to blame myself, not the game, just as Ron has intended it.

Gffp - Apr 11, 2017 at 13:12
That one was a very nice puzzle to me.

Mister T - Apr 12, 2017 at 03:52
The notebooks allowed the player to pay a bit less attention. I guess it is the best way to get modern adventure player (which are basically one room with one object and one hotspot each moment and other than that just dialogue for additional expostion) into the boat of this much more complex puzzling. By know the end of a puzzle chain it is also easier to find out which objects are already occupied by some future function. The trials in Monkey Island 1 and the items needed for the Voodoo doll were a bit like that. I expected th Trons to become important towards the end though, because they got pretty much established like the Voodoo doll, which is the other side of the same principle.

Big Red Button - Apr 12, 2017 at 08:27
In my opinion, the dialogs in TWP already provide enough mild hints, so that it would suffice to talk to other characters if you don't know what to do, similar to MI and DOTT. I doubt that I would miss the notebooks, if they weren't available in hard mode.
However, they don't take you by the hand too much. The hard mode is far from being easy, in my opinion.

Gffp - Apr 12, 2017 at 16:58
vastity      lostness
MM       0                   1
MI1        1                   0
MI2        1                   1
TWP      0                  0

The vastity of a world is a choice done by the developers. It's strictly part of the design. It can depend on many factors, budget included. The Mansion is not vast. But you can feel lost in it. Also Thimbleweed Park is not vast, and with the help of the notebooks and to do lists (and the fact that you can't die) you can avoid the feeling of being completely lost. They even gave us an explanation in the story about  why the world seemed so limited.
The introduction of the notebooks was a great enhancement in my gameplay experience, I just loved it. I loved the gameplay experience, which was the best I' ve ever had in such a game (less for the story).
So it really could be a way to please on a hand those who want a feeling of being a little lost, 'cause you can look at them to focus your way; on the other hand those who do not want to feel lost in any way.
IMHO with the wonderful notebooks you can higher the difficulty of hard mode a little more even.

Nor Treblig - Apr 12, 2017 at 17:55
MI1: vastity == 1?
I'd say MI1 is similar to TWP in this regard.

Gffp - Apr 12, 2017 at 18:11
Vastity, oh sorry, I mean vastness.

Thank you very much, Nor.
Vastity has another meaning in english, you know, false friends.

Yes, but MI1, as I said before, thanks to living aerial view maps, change in islands, change in night and day, a story developed in a long period of time, the travelling chapter, has a "sense" of a greater world. I'm not saying that it is actually greater in terms of rooms.
Also you have to consider that TWP has a way higher complexity in gameplay experience, since you have to control five characters.
TWP has a unity in time and space: all happens in one night, in strictly defined places. As Maniac Mansion did, it's a design choice.

Nor Treblig - Apr 12, 2017 at 19:28
I didn't know the word 'vastity' before either, but I assumed vastness anyway.

I was more thinking in terms of room count and number of interactions than story time etc., but now I understand what you mean.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 14, 2017 at 12:10
Zak
Vastness = 1
Lostness = 0

Nor Treblig - Apr 14, 2017 at 12:25
Maybe it was because I was a kid but I'd say:

Zak
Vastness = 1
Lostness = 1

I could fly around the whole world (and beyond) and it took me some time to figure out what I actually have to do. Beside the first assignment (two-headed squirrel) there weren't really clear directions (like you have in TWP by looking into notebooks).

Maurizio - Apr 16, 2017 at 04:39
Zak: lostness = 0 ? Are you crazy man? :)

I am still stuck at zak mckracken. I've been stuck for 28 years now. Just arrived on the moon.

Arto - Apr 16, 2017 at 06:15
No wonder you are lost... You should be on Mars.

Maurizio - Apr 16, 2017 at 06:55
LOL
That must be the problem!

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 16, 2017 at 08:12
I think the moon you are referring to is from "another game"...

Gffp - Apr 19, 2017 at 07:17
Guys, I think it's clear to everyone that using 0/1 choises it's just a trivialization, in order to explain a point of view. It would be better to use a range 1-10 for vastness or lostness. Lostness is very subjective, but you can make an objective statement pointing on dead ends, and focus on objectives.

Uli - Apr 14, 2017 at 05:55
I like the notebooks, as I tend to not have much time each evening to play, so I have to split any game into weeks of short sessions. Given I have to work etc. in between, it is good to have something that reminds me of things I discovered last week when I was tired at the end of a session.

That said, I would prefer if there had been more progressive filling out of objectives and less "you start out with the character's arc for this chapter and optional achievements". I don't like games where the mission tracker is how I find out about new missions, I want a little cut scene or dialogue at least.

E.g. The "collect specks of dust" thing seemed like it should have been an easter egg (though I think it gets mentioned in the last bit of dialog, so sorta understand why you would have wanted to make sure everyone's done it by then).

Nor Treblig - Apr 14, 2017 at 09:23
I think the only reason they've included the specks of dust in the notebooks is to have a non abstruse in-game countdown for that achievement.
But they should have made it count for the current game only (which also means you would only be able to get them in hard mode).

Patrik Spacek - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:36
We do design same way, always start with whiteboards and taking pics afterwards. It helps a lot. We always get overhelmed with tons of ideas, almost confused where the hell we ended up... then going backwards and scratch off lots of unnecessary details, that would just waste player's time. So we write a major goals first and made a tree graph from it. Later on, suddenly, our characters met again and finished their journey together :)  ...  (if not died)

Most of the players complained about the TP ending, but I actually love it! It makes sense to me and the ega art brought up some C64 memories. TP was a nice refreshment for our hard working days and Trumps decisions. :)

Ron Gilbert - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:38
People hated the MI2 ending when it first came out, but a lot of people also liked it.

Johnny Walker - Apr 10, 2017 at 13:30
Well it obviously grated on a lot of people because it basically said, "It was all a dream!". Not the most satisfying ending :) Of course you decided to leave LucasArts before embarking on #3, so that's the ending we were left with.

Nathan - Apr 10, 2017 at 16:19
That's the thing though, we don't know if it was all a dream or not. He added that final flourish of evil power eminating from Chucky and also the shot of Elaine back on the surface hoping LeChuck hadn't cast an evil spell on Guybrush.  Somehow the worlds are connected and it's still unclear if one is more real than the other. That's the Secretâ„¢ isn't it?  

I like the ending because there are so many possibilities left open. As much as I want a IIIa, so I can get the real answer, part of me doesn't want to lose the sense of wonder that can only be had by not knowing.

Marco - Apr 11, 2017 at 02:08
I would appreciate M3a for sure - but at the same time I agree with you: I kinda love the mystery that remains around the real Monkey Island. And since Disney is not going to sell the IP to Ron I am sure we will never see a proper Monkey Island (proper = made by Ron) game again. Sad but true - but if we see further games like TWP in exchange I will be more than happy.

I never watched Matrix 2+3 and I am glad I did so. The ending was open and very satisfying - I am not going to ruin it. I DO feel the same about Blade Runner 2049 ... but the teaser-trailer was so awesome that I think I will likely have to go and see it ...

mux - Apr 11, 2017 at 13:05
Uh, I didn't know there are Matrix 2 and 3.

Jammet - Apr 11, 2017 at 18:33
While I like the ending, how it's made and everything, I'm a real softie. Save one, evervyone's basically died. I thought the ending was really sinister. I appreciate the philosophical side of it of course!

Schala - Apr 12, 2017 at 12:20
Be glad.

Mister T - Apr 12, 2017 at 04:05
Playing Guybrush again in MI3 would indeed be a problem. But if some other beginner pirate would get employed by Elaine to discover where Guybrush went, it could be an interesting starting point for new adventures in the same universe, while the explaination still could be limited to vague hints. The biggest problem of sequels is their incestuous nature: The same characters who found organically together in the original are forced to mate over and over again. Just look at how free Rogue One felt (except perhaps those forced Darth Vader parts), loosely connecting to the franchise, even giving further expostion which made the originals better in hidsight, but avoiding to destroy backstories by unlikely constellations, watering down known conflicts or simply repeating what has been done before.

Nor Treblig - Apr 12, 2017 at 17:44
I'd be happy to get another MI-, Zak-, TWP-like game from Terrible Toybox. But I don't really need a real sequel to e.g. MI or Zak as long as the new game/IP is as great. Which they've proven they are capable of with TWP.

Marco Lizza - Apr 13, 2017 at 10:52
Definitely agree.

I'd rather play another ORIGINAL game/IP rather than a sequel. I'm not very fond of sequel.

Big Red Button - Apr 13, 2017 at 12:27
I also agree.
By the way, the more I play TWP, the more I realize the complexity that is caused by the number of playable characters. It's impressive!
Though, for their next game, a single playable character would definitely suffice for a dramatic adventure experience. For example, some of the reasons why MI has been so epic are the journeys, the appealing rustic settings, the leitmotifs in the soundtrack and the permanent rivalry of the protagonist and his unabashed archenemy.

Nor Treblig - Apr 13, 2017 at 15:34
A compromise would be a sidekick à la Sam & Max or Indy4 which you can talk to and can be used solving puzzles but without that much complexity.

Big Red Button - Apr 14, 2017 at 05:50
@ Nor Treblig:
Yeah, this would be a compromise. But, I never considered them to be conducive to the entertainment in these games.
After all, it depends on what you want: TWP is supposed to pay homage to MM, so it suggests itself. But, if you want the player to focus on the problems of the protagonist in order to make the story feel more dramatic, a second playable character may distract the attention of the player by having different motives. In TWP, you have five different characters and everyone has her/his own motives. The game is nonetheless fun and I appreciate the design of the puzzles very much. The puzzles are logical while the level of difficulty is balanced very well. But, in my opinion, TWP cannot be as epic as MI 1 & 2, because these five individual characters pale a bit beside each other.

Nor Treblig - Apr 14, 2017 at 09:18
@Big Red Button:
Although you could easily make the second character playable with this (TWP) engine, you could also just make it like in the above mentioned games: Max can be 'used' for puzzles, with Sophia it's done via dialog; no direct control.
You can use the second character e.g. just for advancing the story / conveying information to the player in a non-soliloquising way. Also you can use them for reflection when you are stuck (I think in Telltale's Sam&Max Max starts giving hints [if enabled] automatically when you are stuck for some time).

Main focus would be still on the primary character.
Having established such side-character you can then use them for dramatic events (e.g. the abduction scene in TWP with the agents).

Have you played Sam&Max Season 3 Episode 3: 'They Stole Max's Brain!'? This kind of episode was a very fun change from the normal structure of their episodes :-)

Mario F. - Apr 10, 2017 at 13:40
I still didn't get the ending until today. i only can recall that the ending if MI2 reminds me to play a sequel. am i right? a real sequel that hasnt been released yet.

Sedat Kapanoglu - Apr 10, 2017 at 15:58
I loved MI2 ending, probably my most favorite adventure game ending. I wish it had been even more vague (the grin was a bit on the nose).

Marco - Apr 11, 2017 at 09:14
Ron, when did you decide to leave Lucas actually? Was Monkey Island 3 already (roughly) planned or did you leave right after Part 2 was finished?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 12, 2017 at 13:17
I really loved this finale, it's original!
To the backers that helped you in build in this project, it's a great gift.

Who of you, users of this blog, did a check on the internet to see what the first Kickstarter trailer featured?
I bet my original Zak McKrackenâ„¢ box that nobody of you did it.

Nor Treblig - Apr 12, 2017 at 18:01
It's also one of the only endings allowing them to put the wireframe world into the game!

Btw.: Of course I didn't. But there are thousand of commentators on this blog so you better start check shipping fees or whatever you have to do with your box now...

Marco Lizza - Apr 13, 2017 at 16:01
> I really loved this finale, it's original

I did liked the way the finale is told, but I can't say it's ORIGINAL in its strict sense. It winks to lot of movies/stories, mixing the up in a very peculiar way... but it's far from being strictly original (and that's by design).

One thing that I loved very much is the somewhat "steampunk" theme due the tubes-use-and-abuse.

Nathan - Apr 10, 2017 at 12:56
I loved the ending to MI 2. People who didn't like it must have not understood MI 2 was the middle act of a bigger story.

What stands out about it is I didn't see it coming, even though the hints were there along the way. You did a really good job of peeling back the layers ever so subtly...

TP's ending I saw coming, but I still enjoyed it.  By the way, did you murder the tourist?

Bogdan Barbu - Apr 10, 2017 at 13:02
How well did the game do as far as sales go so far? Perhaps it's early to tell but I'm sure you're not completely in the dark about it either. :)

John - Apr 10, 2017 at 13:08
I'm intrigued by the GHOST TOAST.

DZ-Jay - Apr 10, 2017 at 19:12
I guess it would have taken the place of the Ghost Cake...

David - Apr 10, 2017 at 13:19
Hi! I reeeeeeeally enjoyed the game SO much!! It's absolutely amazing what you made me feel playing it. I'm a BIG MM, MI1 & MI2, DOT, etc. fan and this one is terrific! I laughed a lot, and every reference to old school LucasFilm adventure games made me smile.

I can't wait for your next game!

P.D. Stan's toys & comics and the scary toaster for the next game (it remembered me the Ghostbusters's Bill Murray scene: 'The ooooooooooooool' man eating toaster' haha.

Thanks you so much again, guys!

Johnny Walker - Apr 10, 2017 at 13:21
"What?! You cut things out?!!!? You promised everything would be included?!?1111!!!111!!11" <-- My impression of a typically ignorant backer if they'd seen these whiteboards BEFORE the game had been released.

Christian - Apr 10, 2017 at 13:35
[spoiler] I still remember the blog post about the cut rooms. It was very satisfying to actually see those rooms again in the wireframe world. Would not have thought that the cut content actually remains in this way :-)

The game was excellent on all levels and had a really good flow. Also the execution (schedule, budget) was great, very good planning.

Johnny Walker - Apr 10, 2017 at 13:26
I guess we can talk about spoilers in this particular thread. The game ending was already spoiled for me when someone else in another thread declared that they "weren't normally a fan of meta stories", so I saw the ending coming a mile away. (Thank you to that poster!)

Where and when did the idea for the ending come about? It's actually not too dissimilar to the mock Text Adventure I ran on the Double Fine forums where the NPCs had become self aware and decided to seize control of the world and imprison the player character. I'd love to think I influenced TP, but I know I most likely did not.

Mario F. - Apr 10, 2017 at 13:31
Holy F-Word.

Filippo in the bowl - Apr 10, 2017 at 14:31
Hello Ron !!!! Thank you so much for sharing with us these boards !!!
I wanted to ask: has just released a new update of the game on GOG. What introduces new?

Rodney S. Hall - Apr 10, 2017 at 14:41
Ron, in https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/act1issues you said:

"How to make the purposely non-sexy door sexy?

The solution was to put something else behind the door and tell players about that, but not the surprise that is really behind the door. Now players think there is something else they want behind the door (IT'S NOT REALLY A DOOR!) and seek it's key."

I already won the game, and now I've been trying to figure out what this non-sexy surprise door was. One of my guesses is the mushrooms/murder weapon, but it's not very sexy or a big surprise. So would you mind sharing what the door metaphor was about?

Zombocast - Apr 10, 2017 at 19:56
My take was
The door was the vista,
The key was the town map,
Now you can see the rest of the town, but you need the key to get there.

Nor Treblig - Apr 10, 2017 at 20:21
But the question is: What was crisis #2?
It sounded like it was some "door" seen already, i.e. either in/near the town or in a flashback.

Maybe it was the sewers or the bank? (though not much surprise there?)

Rodney S. Hall - Apr 11, 2017 at 12:11
Yes, everybody and ever your grandma knows what the first door was. :-)

DZ-Jay seems to agree with my guess about door #2 and I like his explanation too. Still, I hope that Ron tells us what he was thinking.

DZ-Jay - Apr 11, 2017 at 05:51
Warning...

* SPOILERS *
The first non-door "door" is obviously the Sheriff blocking you from walking past the vista.  The non-key "key" is getting the county map, which opens up the rest of the game world.

My guess is that the non-sexy non-door "door" is the fell tree blocking the entrance to the sewer.  The non-key "key" is the gas you find in the Mansion mansion for the chainsaw you found under the bridge at the beginning of the game.

The sexy non-key "key" in my opinion is then the magic mushrooms you must pick up from the sewer which will lead you to... (ta-daaa!) the murder weapon!

Just like that thread explains, once you unlock the vista (open the non-door "door"), you want to start exploring the new areas and you eventually come across the gas for the chainsaw, which you couldn't get before.  However, by now you sort of put the murder mystery in the back of your mind and are trying to solve more interesting puzzles, so you no longer feel the pressure to go digging into the less interesting sewer.  (I know it was with me.)

However, the murder weapon needed to advance the game is in that very sewer.  How to push you to go into the boring sewers without just spelling it out and ruining the surprise?  How to make the non-sexy sewers non-door "door," more sexy?

Enter the gypsy asking for a mushroom in the sewers which will have her give you some juicy secret.  All of a sudden, the sewers are sexy again, but for what eventually turns out to be a completely innocuous red-herring.

Brilliant!

      -dZ.
* SPOILERS *

Ron Gilbert - Apr 11, 2017 at 12:14
That is basically correct. Not 100% because puzzles changed since the question was originally asked no the blog.

DZ-Jay - Apr 14, 2017 at 06:52
Brilliant all the same.  I know I felt exhilarated when I "coincidentally" happen to find the murder weapon when I was just seeking a simple mushroom.  Mine and my wife's reaction was essentially the same as the character: "Whoa! It's the murder weapon!!!"

I will admit that some of the puzzles in the game are much too simple and sometimes trivial; some are excruciatingly hard; but on balance they are all fair.  Overall, the game is great. :)

      -dZ.

P.S. I did my part as a backer:  I've gotten to co-workers interested in purchasing a copy. :)

Maurizio - Apr 11, 2017 at 13:59
DZ-Jay

That's brilliant, man! Now can you also tell us what is the secret of Monkey Island (TM)?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 12, 2017 at 13:19
Bravo!

Felix - Apr 11, 2017 at 05:56
Your theory sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Good catch!
That would also explain why (spoiler) the mushrooms turned out to not serve any purpose in the end.

Ijon - Apr 10, 2017 at 14:50
I didn't enjoy M2's ending. Most adventures' endings aren't truly great. TWP's ending was foreseeable, from a certain point on you had enough information to get a feeling that things could end this way. The usage of the ballon animal came as a surprise. Gathering info this way is known from online and mobile games but I haven't seen it in an adventure before.

I wouldn't have minded a (slightly) longer Ransome flashback. Franklin's flashback was a little bit boring and too easy. The puzzle weren't this interesting, it included repetitive steps and there was too much holding hands (limited space, a to-do list, Franklin telling you what to do). I wonder if his part was so easy by intention or due to feedback from the play testers. How do you balance a puzzle? How much is teh result based on your experience/gut feeling and how much is it influenced by the team and testers?

The to-do list generally was a powerful tool, making things a lot easier for you. Sometimes you were glad that it was available, sometimes it was too much and the game felt kind of railed, taking autonomy from you. I tried to ignore it. On' hard' the game lacks a little bit more challenge.

peterszky - Apr 10, 2017 at 14:54
I just finished TWP (~14 hours on hard), needed only a little hint, because I forgot that the pizza meeting is at the forest (it's not on the flyer). Great game, I hope I could get a big boxed copy in the future. Thanks a lot Ron, and the whole team!

Guga - Apr 11, 2017 at 01:00
I think it's never stated, that the meeting is in the forest. Or maybe it was, and I didn't remember it. I just figured out that if all those people wander into the forest, there must be something there.

Ricardo Marichal - Apr 10, 2017 at 15:03
You know... make games is easy.

longuist - Apr 10, 2017 at 15:21
I will look at the whiteboards later, just wanted to say i desperately tried for hours to open the toilet to find a cave or a meth lab. Damn thing won't budge. Next game's seckrit lab location: under the loo

Brian Bagnall - Apr 10, 2017 at 15:28
There's kind of a hitch in the storytelling that isn't too obvious. After you make the arrest, you get access to Deloris and the rest of the characters. Every character keeps telling you , "I have to get into the pillow factory." So in my mind, that's my main goal for this chapter, and everything I need to get into the factory will now be available to me somewhere in Thimbleweed, ready for me to discover it.

Some characters have other goals on their checklists. For example, the ghost has "Visit Chuck's Tomb". You do that and seemingly nothing actually happens there. Deloris has "Study my ASCII table". You do that and nothing happens. No big deal, but the point is some of the items on checklists are pretty unimportant, and there's no way for you to tell which are important to move the story forward and which aren't.

That brings me to the will reading. Deloris isn't saying to me, "I have to get the will read." There's no urgency to it. For all I know, it doesn't move the plot forward. So I spent LOTS of time and energy trying to figure out how to get into the pillow factory when in fact, as I later found out, I could not get in there with all the time in the world until chapter 6 or something. Even though the characters were telling me they had to get in the factory. They are intentionally misdirecting me, sending me on a fool's quest that isn't solvable. I solved all the puzzles to get 4 green lights, but still couldn't get the door open. I even had C4 and thought maybe I had to blow it open or get in from underneath in the sewers or something. Lots of wandering aimlessly, wasted effort and confusion.

My belief was that the PF-11 tube was in Uncle Chuck's safe with the finger print reader. I needed to somehow get his fingerprint on a piece of tape using the fingerprint kit. So I was really focused on that, convinced there must be an object with Chuck's finger print on it somewhere in the world waiting for Agent Ray to use her fingerprint kit on. In fact, I was dead sure the wooden sculpture on the bank manager's desk must have the fingerprint.

But then I happened to talk to the Lawyer again and realized that thing he said about not getting paid by Chuck must actually be of some importance. That quickly led to enlisting him, but man, I must have wasted 2-3 hours in dead man's limbo.

Someone could argue, "Hey the chapter was called The Will you dingbat." Well, I guess I probably saw the chapter title as I was sipping my Coke but didn't think too much of it and forgot it soon after because, well, lots of stuff is coming at you at once and you can't tell what is important. It seems like I was misdirected and misled for no purpose other than to slow me down and make me frustrated.

Don't get me wrong, this game is awesome and I'm having a blast, trying to stretch this experience out to last as long as possible. The story-line has me really intrigued. I have my theories about what Uncle Chuck is up to (he's set a game in motion to get Delores to take over the factory). The misdirection is the one time where I felt, in retrospect, it wasn't quite fair.

DZ-Jay - Apr 10, 2017 at 19:28
I had a similar experience with the arrest, where the characters kept pressuring me to do other things like get the will read or enter the pillow factory and after hours of trying things like you I finally remembered the TRON(tm) machines and decided to use them.  Once I gathered all the evidence, the arrest was made and the game advanced to the next chapter.  I realized I wasted hours and would never had been able to get the will read since that was the focus of the next chapter.

I almost did the same as you during the "Will" chapter, trying to break into the pillow factory, but every time I was going to try that, I kept reminding myself "the chapter is called "The Will" I think I should focus on that."

I agree: the game goes out of its way at times to guide you in the easiest puzzles and then there are things like this that throw you off for hours, all due to a minute detail that we missed or for overeager characters giving you premature hints.

    -dZ.

Nor Treblig - Apr 10, 2017 at 20:23
Maybe it would help if the savegames would include the name of the current chapter? This way it would remind you of the current main goal, especially when returning to the game after a pause.

Ron Gilbert - Apr 11, 2017 at 23:06
Yeah, that's a good idea. It might look at adding that, but it would have to wait for a major rev.

Gromish - Apr 12, 2017 at 04:41
I don't think is a good idea,
You have 5 logs (paper/diaries), one for each char, to give a read when savegame is loaded.

Maybe putting in that lists:
- Dark grey things: what I can/should do
- Light grey things: main goal/next chapter goals
could be enlightening

Bogdan Barbu - Apr 19, 2017 at 08:48
I disagree with both those suggestions. Why load a bunch of saved games and check diaries/to-do lists when I can just know what I'm loading from the get-go? Also, I like to be surprised. I don't want to be told what happens when or what story beats I should be expecting. Besides, the characters don't know which chapter they'll get into the pillow factory --- why should we?

Guga - Apr 11, 2017 at 01:11
That's why you should never focus on the same thing if you feel stuck :-P

I also had a hard time for the will because I was absolutely convinced I had to learn the spell book's title before searching through Morena's library. So while I was searching for it, I tried to solve other tasks once in a while, and ended up solving basically everything except enter the tomb and enter the factory.

It was frustrating, since all my progresses weren't moving the plot forward, but still I made progresses and once I opened the tomb I had already everything in place.

Felix - Apr 12, 2017 at 03:46
Now that I think of it, I found it strange that the ghost book in Morena's library wasn't really hidden between the other books, but was just lying 'on top' of everything, rendering all the amount of other books practically useless (in puzzle aspects). Up until the end of the game I thought there might be something else hidden there.

Cole Trickle - Apr 11, 2017 at 01:41
Are you THE Brian Bagnall, author of the book of Commodore history?

Brian Bagnall - Apr 11, 2017 at 22:49
How could you tell I was an author by my 7 paragraph explanation of a simple puzzle?

Cole Trickle - Apr 12, 2017 at 16:26
Cool, I got your book, german edition. Great work!

Maurizio - Apr 14, 2017 at 11:18
"Every character keeps telling you , "I have to get into the pillow factory." So in my mind, that's my main goal for this chapter"

These is the characters' ultimate goal. If the characters told you the immediate goal, it would be a hint system...

Miguel - Apr 10, 2017 at 15:28
As someone who works remotely with people and often has to share drawings, diagrams and others, I'm curious: did the meetings where all these were discussed and decided happened face to face, or did you use any remote tools to make them possible? If the latter, what did you find the most challenging and how was it overcome?

JanW - Apr 10, 2017 at 15:47
That Scary Toaster sounds funny. Seems it got replaced by iced cake...
Really loved all the puzzles with Franklin's ghost. They really used all his ghost skills so well, it was quite intuitive without being obvious...

Maurizio - Apr 10, 2017 at 16:15
Is it normal that I finished Thimbleweed in hard mode but I am stuck at Freddy Fish 2 ? Not kidding

Redenhalter - Apr 10, 2017 at 16:36
There was a scene where Ray or Rayes lay on the pathological table and was not playable. Shortly thereafter he was back, but it was never mentioned again. What was the scene good for? Did he have an inventory item that should not be used at this time?

Erik Red - Apr 10, 2017 at 16:52
Saw that one too, but had a save game and rewinded. Didn't see it again.

DZ-Jay - Apr 10, 2017 at 19:30
If you check the Agent's notebook you would see a new item.  Something like "blacked out for a while, but I'm OK now."

I think it just adds to the intrigue of what's going on in the town.

    -dZ.

Nor Treblig - Apr 10, 2017 at 20:43
It's supposed to be mysterious. I think it worked...

Keith Ward - Apr 10, 2017 at 16:52
Having finished the game, maybe you should've planned an ending for the game.

Guga - Apr 11, 2017 at 01:12
De gustibus...

I really loved the ending.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 12, 2017 at 13:20
Me too.

john s - Apr 13, 2017 at 16:57
me too

Big Red Button - Apr 19, 2017 at 17:38
Me too. In my opinion, it's very satisfying.

I've finished all of the five different endings half an hour ago, after more than 30 hours of playing TWP. The journey is the reward, of course!

SPOILERS:

Finally, I was able to talk to Ron at ThimbleCon!

Though, I wonder why the security door is repaired at the end.

One little suggestion:
Whenever a character is swearing (e.g. Ransome climbing up the ladder, the guy on the stilts or Delores' digitized uncle inside of the factory), the spoken lines are a bit repetitive sometimes. This sounded a bit unrealistic to me, so maybe it would be advantageous to make sure that no line is spoken twice in succession.
In the case of Delores' uncle in the factory and Sexy Riker, it could also be advantageous to increase the intervals between those lines.

Big Red Button - Apr 19, 2017 at 18:39
By the way, I agree with Ron that you get used to the more modern look of the game very quickly (in comparison to the SCUMM games), so that I never missed the pixel mode or the retro font. It's just more eye-friendly this way. Or maybe I'm just spoiled by modern screen resolutions and screen sizes. Back in the 90s, pixels were smaller, because the monitor screens were smaller. After all, I prefer my 16:9 LED display.
But, maybe the rotating sprites (fans, satellite dish, robot arms,...) would have looked even more suitable if they were rendered (solely) in a pixel purist mode, because rotated pixels look a bit strange to me.
Also, the high resolution e.g. inside of the circus looks quite high in comparison with the other rooms and the UI, even though it's a mass scene.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 20, 2017 at 06:20
I agree, but the only "retro" thing I have left while playing, was the sentence line.
I am too used to look at that position, just over the verb and inventory interface, I felt comfortable in that way.
I have used the new font, the new verb interface and with transparency on.

Victor Von Doom - Apr 10, 2017 at 16:57
I'm still playing the game as well, so I'm trying very hard to avoid spoilers, but I'm really pleased with the experience. I hadn't spent this much time playing any game in ages, but now I have a massive headache, because I've been playing in the wee hours, after the family has gone to bed :-D

Just completed part 2 last night and I'm not at the beginning of Franklin's backstory. As other have stated, the puzzles are very logical, but it does help if you lived in the 80s (for instance, to figure out how to create ink for Delores' printer, or trade the empty bottle for a nickel), as was the case for me! The only thing that seemed kind of random to me was that I had to call a number painted on the sewers in order to get out. I would expect that dialing 911 or the Sheriff's office would more sense. Weird-a-reno! (or should I say weird-a-hoo?)

Also, I'm missing the "Are you sure you want to win?" option in the game :-D

Cheers!

Steven McKinney - Apr 10, 2017 at 18:56
Interesting stuff. I assume the video rental machine outside the convenience store was part of the Enhance-o-Tron puzzle? I was a little frustrated that I couldn't trade the Betamax tape from the machine to the clerk for the surveillance tape.

Zombocast - Apr 10, 2017 at 19:49
I too was saddened by still having it in my inventory 8(

Mister T - Apr 12, 2017 at 04:21
A friend of mine from a family of early adopters had a Betamax machine, I'd so have liked a puzzle involving a throwback into those absurd technological dead end of the 80s.

DZ-Jay - Apr 14, 2017 at 07:01
Obviously off-topic, but it wasn't an "absurd technological dead-end" of the 1980s.  It was actually a superior format in many ways.  Indeed, it was the standard in the content creation industry (think TV entertainment and news stations; direct to video mastering, etc.) because its quality was significantly higher in both video and audio.

It's just that the VHS format seemed more convenient to the home user since it was cheaper and could record considerable longer times (at the expense of lesser quality).

It would be like saying the FLAC audio format was an "absurd technological dead end" of the 2000s because MP3 became the consumer standard of choice.

    -dZ.

Mister T - Apr 17, 2017 at 11:40
BetaCam became a professional standard. But BetaMax was just the shortlived opponent of the much better thought through VHS standard in a time when consumers had to decide which format they would go (a lot like HD DVD vs. BluRay). Sony made the same mistake again with the Super Audio CD, thinking that quality would be a more important factor than usability. Well, it was not. Millions of iPods with inferior headphones show: nobody cares about quality. Even when paying lots of money.

Dom - Apr 10, 2017 at 18:57
Hello are the writers of the Books in the Credits?☺

Mattias Cedervall - Apr 10, 2017 at 19:00
I'm too stupid to finish the game on my own, so I will avoid huge spoilers.

Peter Campbell - Apr 10, 2017 at 21:26
Ron, recently on twitter you retweeted someone who said they hoped to see an add-on for TP.  Is that something that you would consider, such as maybe doing a "Director's Cut" version of the game with more rooms, puzzles, dialogue, endings, etc. etc. that you maybe wanted to include originally but ran out of time/money to do so?

Marco - Apr 11, 2017 at 02:56
A "Director's Cut" would be awesome - one more reason to play the game again. Finished it last friday and already miss the pixel-y world of 1987 :-)

Mild Spoilers: I loved the Noseglasses joke(s) :-D

Peter Campbell - Apr 11, 2017 at 12:53
In the indie community, it's rare for an indie single-player game to not get some type of director's cut or expanded edition content update after release lol.  Gives players another reason to return to the game, gives new players more incentive to try out the game, gives developers a chance to add in more content that they wanted to originally but ran out of time/money for, and also gives devs a chance to add in or change things based on fan feedback.  A win-win situation for the devs, the fans and the game itself =)

Dom De Re - Apr 10, 2017 at 22:25
Thanks for these posts!

I've been consuming these like everyone else during the development of the game, but didnt really know when would be a good time to express my gratitude for the insight into game design and development they have produced,

This post is quite a mother load, so it feels like the right time, i cant let this one go by without saying thank you!

Hope the sales have been very promising

Gffp - Apr 11, 2017 at 04:56
Team Thimbleweed, at what stage of the production did you decide for the actual ending?

DZ-Jay - Apr 11, 2017 at 05:40
Can I ask for a new feature?

    [ X ] Make Sexy Riker shut the *beep* up!

I love the ThimbleCon, but the more time I spend there with any of the characters, the more that stupid "pew! pew!" annoys me!  It's so loud and grating. :grr:

    -dZ.

Bogdan Barbu - Apr 11, 2017 at 06:14
I had a similar feeling about the boombox in Franklin's flashback. :) But I don't think there should be options to turn that stuff off.

DZ-Jay - Apr 11, 2017 at 06:47
That's different...

* SPOILER *
I tried to change the volume of the game.  I thought it was a bug.  I saved the game and quit, then came back and tried to adjust the volume again.  I was sure it was a bug, so I ignored it and moved on.  As soon as I walked a couple of paces to the side, I noticed the sound getting louder and immediately realized that it was part of the game logic.

Eventually, you manage to turn it off.

In the ThimbleCon, I don't think there's a way to make Sexy Riker shut up by solving some puzzle, like with the boombox.  It's just the normal atmospheric soundtrack of that area -- like the bum in the street shouting about his dime.  That "pew! pew!" is just too loud, though and won't go away. :(
* SPOILER *

Gffp - Apr 15, 2017 at 10:20
Hey, what's your damage? That music is the latest and THE GREATEST!

Nor Treblig - Apr 11, 2017 at 13:56
pew pew pew!

xunaj - Apr 12, 2017 at 02:09
aaarrrgh! this hurts so much! please stop.

Amb - Apr 17, 2017 at 14:15
What I found amusing was an earlier post where they were trying to avoid Ransome looking like a clone of Krusty the Clown, but they completely forgot to avoid Comic Book Guy (pew pew pew), Ned Flanders a boo, a who, etc and Lisa Simpson. XD

Nor Treblig - Apr 17, 2017 at 16:51
That's not something you can avoid...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpsons_Already_Did_It
(for everyone who saw this episode: it's already been 15 years. South Park exists since 20 years. Yes, you are old)

Mister T - Apr 19, 2017 at 15:29
It would be so cool if one could achieve that by stealing his spaceships while he is gone. Although of course that would be an extra nasty red herring, distracting the player from the initial reason of sending him to his room.

Techno - Apr 11, 2017 at 09:46
Awesome Game!

Finished it last week and i spent many hours with * warning spoiler* the puzzle of secret pizza meeting: I initially used the Sepp Navigator head for searching "the right way" through the forest (remembering the good times) arriving at the legendary treasure of Melee Island(tm).
This goal convinced me, for a while, that no more surprises were present in the forest.


P.S. Franklin could simply call Delores to talk with her, unless the banker was not endowed with supernatural powers :P

Carlo Valenti - Apr 11, 2017 at 12:12
Ron, I am not reading these posts nor the comments  yet since I am playing the game and don't want any spoiler,
But I am not getting any mail notification from ThimbleMail anymore, even if I re-subscribed. Is it ok?

jtc - Apr 11, 2017 at 14:26
*SPOILERS*

Well, I finally finished it, hard mode of course. To my shame I had to look ONE thing up. Couldn't figure out what to do with the book of the dead on the pedestal - the book itself held the clues but I couldn't read it anymore after placing it on the pedestal..altar..whatever. So I forgot what it said and figured I'd need the crystal that Xavier had. Wrong. Flower. Duh. The clues would have probably made it more obvious but I couldn't read them anymore.. :( But at least that was the only time, everything else was good old adventure game puzzle solving, and I loved every minute of it.

Thank you Ron and the team for making me feel like a kid again. I grew up on the adventure games of the 80's and 90's, Thimbleweed Park was everything I could hope for. I really hope this turns out to be a great financial success for you guys so you can make more games like this. There's going to be people lining up for a sequel, or another completely new title, just don't change anything! It was perfect! No modernization needed, I absolutely loved the atmosphere.

I've no idea who holds the Zak McKracken licenses or whatever but would that be something to look into?

Anyway, thanks. It was awesome.

DZ-Jay - Apr 11, 2017 at 19:34
* SPOILER *
It took me a while, but eventually I picked up that "I don't know what you need, but the room smelled nice" was a hint given out by one of the ghosts.

I thought he meant they were scented candles, since the place was surrounded by old melted candles.  En it hit me: "the flower, it probably smells nice!!!" :)

     dZ.
* SPOILER *

jtc - Apr 12, 2017 at 02:42
Heh, those were my thoughts exactly, I thought the nice smell was a reference to the candles. Couldn't make the connection, I was so sure I needed the crystal.

Stefano - Apr 15, 2017 at 13:40
The other ghost with the cake gives the hint: something like "you can visit your dead relatives if you place something that was close to their tomb on the altar"

Gromish - Apr 11, 2017 at 14:51
I don't want my money back:  the game overall was pretty good.
Good enough? No.
You could do much better.



1) Graphics: impressive.
A little point: no shadows under characters, dunno why.
Good light interactions with characters.


2) Retro font: have a f**ing tiny black border. How much tiny?
Like a third of a pixel. Argh.


3) Animations (thinking to the elevator under the pizza van). Too much detailed (1px host)? How they would look with 1px (in-game pixel size) movements? More retro ofc.


4) The story ending: the explanation of the "TP world/universe" sucks.
It's the use of an old and worn-out "escamotage" and I never expected that lapse in taste .
Somehow remember MI2, without magic.


5) The coherence: how the story is realistic (proportionate to how much should in an imaginary pixelated world)?
The story is pretty EVERYTHING in a game like that.

5a) Why characters can exchange objects between them?  In some cases they are perfect strangers or they hate each other. This is not explainable and make collapse the story.

5b) No way to talk each other (with some doors-keys maybe), to give chars more depth. Even Indy and Sophia could.  

5c) Ray's and Reyes's envelopes: no words. WTF.

6) You don't like "teleport" ? I don't like Benny Hill (sometimes working/sometimes not working) speedruns.

7) Inventory bugs? In 2017?

8) Maybe other points, I don't remember everything.


I will not wait for a "special edition".
I hope you will do (one day ofc, I understand you are exhausted) a TP2 or something like.

Despite what I don't appreciate about the game, I still think it is good, really good (not enough for your name/past).

Don't take that as bad judgement in absolute, I'll like to talk about the game with some others enthusiast, but I don't know where :-D

Thanks by the way.

Marco

Guga - Apr 12, 2017 at 00:38
"Inventory bugs? In 2017?"

I don't think you know what the hell is software development.

Gromish - Apr 12, 2017 at 04:31
What about writing automatic tests on how objects interacts...? Eg

It's a graphic adventure.
I don't think I will play it again soon (because of the game type) so it should have near 0 bugs and have to be finished... because is a one time run..!

Here many people finished MI (and the others) many times. They, I for sure, remember the place/moment played it for the first time.
I don't remember MI patches...

Guga - Apr 12, 2017 at 05:01
Ok, you definitely don't know how software development works.

Nor you don't remember anything, since MI had re-releases. The first versions allowed you to burn the instructions to build the navigator, for example. So, there were patches, even if it was a time where releasing a game meant going through a lot of processes, not just putting it online for everyone to get an update.

Ron Gilbert - Apr 12, 2017 at 11:12
Monkey Island was filled with bugs. We did patches, but the required a lot of work and existing stock had to sell out before the ones boxes showed up.  Money Island is filled with bugs.

Nor Treblig - Apr 12, 2017 at 17:38
We don't need stinkin' patches when we can have the one and only Ultimate Edition(s)!

Btw., here are quite extensive lists of bugs collected by the creator of the Ultimate Editions:
- Monkey Island 1: https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/zero_bugs#582cd4ab7dce7cc674c6ee91
- Monkey Island 2: https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/zero_bugs#582ddc927dce7c0726c6ee91

Maurizio - Apr 12, 2017 at 02:56
Ron has some great intuitions: the dislike of teleport, the dislike of closeups... and many more. It is very important not to teleport.

(If it were up to me, I would have even removed auto-path finding! It removes the sensation to be there.)

I am uncertain about his principle "if the player loses control for more than 15 seconds, you are doing it wrong.". Sometimes a story just can't be changed to be told like this. Also, this principle led him to invent the lucas-style multiple choice dialog. But this in turn causes problems (player assumes that the dialog will always contain a "give" choice when it makes sense, and this spoils some of the most interesting puzzles)

LogicDeLuxe - Apr 13, 2017 at 07:33
What closeups are you talking about? He always used them. The first things you see in Thimbleweed Park are closeups of a blinking signal and of a padlock.

And for teleportation: It is a story element in Zak McKracken.

And no auto-path finding, I don't think so. The game clearly wants to be different then Sierra's. Take this scene, which was fun for a second, but gets annoying very fast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DiCXG1bqhg&t=74m49s

gfS - Apr 13, 2017 at 13:54
Is this also fixed, LogicDeLuxe? https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=35860 Btw, your project is great! :)

Nor Treblig - Apr 13, 2017 at 15:44
Ron said he actually didn't really like such close-ups as used in MI1 and MI2. When you see characters mostly as a bunch of pixels having such close-ups may collide with how you have imagined them. (Also look at TWP fan art: the characters often look very different). It's not so much a problem with objects as they normally look as expected.

Also he said he doesn't like teleportation, but if it fits the story (Zak) I'm sure it's OK.
Nonetheless he added the map feature in TWP for convenience reasons. But you still can't zap from room to room without actually traversing it (even on the map, although they can run quite fast; btw. those small guys on the map reminded me of Zak :-).

Direct control: I've played games like (the original) Grim Fandango and The Cave, personally I'm fine with both input methods (direct or point'n'click).
I actually thought this video was funny :-)

Maurizio - Apr 14, 2017 at 04:25
@Nor

"having such close-ups may collide with how you have imagined them. "

You always get things right, Nor. If you made a game, I think it would rock.

Nor Treblig - Apr 14, 2017 at 09:20
"If you made a game, I think it would rock."
Thanks, but no, I'm afraid this won't be true. But I'm happy to pay Terrible Toybox & Co money to make such great games like TWP :-)

Maurizio - Apr 14, 2017 at 04:19
@LogicDeLuxe

I am talking about face closeups, as Nor said.

When shown during dialogs, Sierra style, I think face closeups are doubly bad. If you are looking at the big face closeup, you cannot look at the hand gestures and body language made by the characters while they talk. (and if a game does not have body poses associated to dialog lines, this is bad. I can't relate with characters that stand still while talking)

Teleportation: if it is a story element, of course it's fine :)

What is the project you are making, LogicDeLuxe?

LogicDeLuxe - Apr 14, 2017 at 12:09
I agree with those pictures which appear along with the spoken text in Sierra games. I don't like them that much either. Fullscreen face close ups are a different thing. I actually liked those in Monkey Island, although they lack animations.
And while gestures are a good thing, it is noteworthy how long adventures could do without them. LucasArts introduced in-dialog-gestures in Monkey Island 2. SCUMM V5 has control codes in text strings to trigger them.

And about the project gfS mentioned, I guess, he was referring to these Ultimate Talkie Editions: http://www.gratissaugen.de/ultimatetalkies/
Monkey 1 is done so far. Monkey 2 is also fully playable, but I still intend to do some final tweaks at some time and also add a General MIDI option.

Ron Gilbert - Apr 14, 2017 at 12:13
I actually liked those in Monkey Island, although they lack animations

Exactly... fixing this one little thing on close-ups send you careening down the uncanny valley, not to mention lip-sync etc.

LogicDeLuxe - Apr 14, 2017 at 15:03
So it wasn't omitted due to disk space?
I wonder, what would you have made different in your old floppy disk based games, if you were allowed to use as many floppies you want?

Mister T - Apr 12, 2017 at 03:40
5a and 5b are pretty much the same: by the lack of communication it cannot be established why the characters interact. This becomes obvious when one looks at the automatic conversations, like between Ray and Reyes at the beginning, which make clear why they team up although they distrust each other. But Ransome helps them at a point where they still investigate against him. Just some set of oneliners would have done the job. Also there is no way an information Franklin gathered can reach any other player. Some Ouija-tron (a tube-infested town meeting an occult store...) would have done that job, without needing too much further exposition.

But all of that of course are details in more than 10 hours of adventuring in an absurdly free world, so I can see why it did not get that much attention.

Gromish - Apr 12, 2017 at 05:12
Details make stories..

Mister T - Apr 12, 2017 at 11:59
True. But they still tend to disappear in the mix when you have ten hours of them.

Ijon - Apr 11, 2017 at 15:59
What i don't understand about Ransome's 'character development'. The moment Ransome stops being a dick/himself, he isn't funny/interesting anymore. A happy clown, without a tragedy, isn't a good clown anymore.

N. Harold Cham - Apr 12, 2017 at 04:12
I think I found a bug (SPOILERS)...

When I want to ask Sandy for a burger but accidentally ask for a hotdog first, the burger choice disappears afterwards. Talking to Sandy again won't bring it back but I get new chance with another character. I needed three characters to order the burger and wondered what would happen if I really did mess up my choice four times.

Another thing: Is the doomsday device a backer item? It's actually pretty neat and a quick way to end the game.

Nor Treblig - Apr 12, 2017 at 17:53
I'm pretty sure this is a backer item. There were 16 such tiers during the Kickstarter (I hope they've all responded to put their item into this awesome game!).

Btw., there was no CAT5 in 1987... (but 1991 is quite close)

Mario F. - Apr 12, 2017 at 11:27
offtopic for devs:
i just saw that doublefine is goin to release fullthrottle remastered. AFAIK it was a Lucasfilm Game.

1. So did Doublefine get the rights to release the remastered version?

2. If Doublefine could get the rights from LucasFilm (maybe  before Disney took over), could there be a chance that TTB could get the rights for Zak or MM too?

3. It seems that 14.90 for a remastered game is not cheap at all and due to this fact i think TP with 19.99 could be a bit to low.... (ok, the sales for an old game that is remastered wont be as high as a new game release but yet Schafer is trying to.get some Money in)..

4. Is Schafer jumping on the train coz of the TP release ? Seems he uses TP to get his thing rollin. Could be good in both ways to push P'n'C but it leaves a bad taste.

5. Could it be an option for you, just to design games in retro-style, then release it for us oldies, and afterwards you give it to the remastering team to remaster it. So when your next game comes out in retro style (cause we old people want to play retro style first), the remastered version of the game before could be released as well. If you could schedule that exactly, you would have a chain-sale and always push both games at the same time: New Retro Game and the Remastered "old" Game. .... Loop ... Loop ... and ...Loop ...

Marco - Apr 12, 2017 at 13:41
I would not want to see a "remastered" version of TWP - the game is so beautiful and designed like this on purpose.

For the remastered Monkey Islands: The new music is cool but I like the old art better, especially in SoMI the new art is not that awesome at all, IMHO

N. Harold Cham - Apr 12, 2017 at 14:00
I agree, the MI:SE soundtrack is very well done and enjoyable but Guybrush's 'remastered' hair looks so terrible it renders the game virtually unplayable. :-(

Ijon - Apr 12, 2017 at 14:17
I, don't, know. These games are still playable and feel right just the way they are. I prefer investing time into creating something new. It's also hard to get things perfectly right with those games, I haven't seen any SE/RM fixing everything and without introducing new' issues. No RM feels as solid that you would like to remove your old games. Somehow nice but ultimately, putting business interests aside, it feels like a waste of time.

A content update for Thimbleweed Park sounds great, especially looking at the whiteboards, it's so much fun to imagine lots of stuff going on in Thimbleweed Park, I wouldn't mind a Thimbleweed Park 2 or going on to something completely different. But before i replay a SE of Full Throttle, I have tons of more things to do. For just about the next 319409 hours the universe would be a very cool place if a bright shining star wouldn't turn turn into another black hole without any creative output.

john s - Apr 13, 2017 at 16:43
I am actually disappointed Double Fine can't be able to produce games anymore and have resigned themselves to just "remastering" old titles.. But after the disaster and disappointment of Broken Age, not many people are surprised by this,

Uli - Apr 14, 2017 at 06:18
AFAIK Broken Age did fine, and I loved the story. Sorryto hear it disappointed you, but I actually feel it's the more original game.

TWP is awesome, but it set out to be "retro", and is in some ways very self-referential and uses lots of insider jokes. Whereas BA set out to make a new game that happens to be in the adventure genre, but with contemporary sensibilities.

By definition that makes it less derivative. TWP was never advertised or announced as anything else, so that's fine, but I'd love to see Jenn, Mark, Octavi, Ron & Gary take on a more modern game for their follow-up project. One with fewer inside jokes and references. It was great twice (TWP and the ending of MI2), but I can't help imagine how something like that would look.

Nor Treblig - Apr 14, 2017 at 12:19
I agree, there is nothing wrong with Broken Age. People were disappointed who expected some kind of retro P'n'C adventure but it became clear early it won't be that.

When looking at steamspy numbers I assume it sold 10 times more copies (including GOG and Humble) than there were original backers, this looks like a success for me for this type of game.
I wonder if Ron (because of TWP) was in contact with Tim since it would be very interesting to know its mobile sales in comparison to its PC sales.

Franklin - Apr 14, 2017 at 12:27
I was very disappointed in broken age.  Tim has never been good at designing puzzles and the game really proved that. Most of the sales came from free giveaways on humble bundle.  But the cult of Tim will never realize that. Tim just charms his way into everything. From what I hear, Ron doesn't even speak to Tim anymore.

Nor Treblig - Apr 14, 2017 at 12:48
Except the design meeting which I've seen in the Broken Age documentary I've never seen Tim and Ron talking to each other in my whole life anyway... (not even in the Kickstarter video :-)
(btw. Tim retweeted the release of TWP so at least there doesn't seem to be much hate involved or whatever you were referring to)

I like charming stories.

Big Red Button - Apr 14, 2017 at 12:53
Moreover, Tim Schafer is one of the backers in the phone book.

Nor Treblig - Apr 14, 2017 at 13:40
Sadly there is no voice message, unlike e.g. Dave Grossman.
It could be some other guy with the same name, or even some impersonator (huh? who what be so lanigironu!)

Big Red Button - Apr 14, 2017 at 17:59
@ Nor Treblig: Yeah, it's a pity that there is no voice message from him, but I don't believe that it was someone else. Ron didn't record a voice message either.
I listened to Dave Grossman's message, too. It was a nice surprise!

By the way, did you call Jenn and follow her advice? ;-)

Nor Treblig - Apr 14, 2017 at 18:06
Of course I did! I phoned the whole team and I think they all did record voice messages. Well, except that one you have mentioned. Slacker! He probably missed the phone deadline last year.

Nor Treblig - Apr 14, 2017 at 12:49
(yes, cheap bundles can skew Steam sale numbers especially if you want to know people actually wanting this particular game, or concluding sale incomes; I'm sure Broken Age was already in quite some bundles; But you also said "Most of the sales", which I cannot disprove but I call it bullshit unless proven otherwise; note that people buying a bundle not caring for game X probably won't install it or even redeem such keys at all)

Mister T - Apr 15, 2017 at 12:50
Well, MM2 had some nice puzzles. Schafer just seems to be too much genius to ever have developed the tools to create ideas in case his brilliant brain does not offer that one decisive inspiration in an situation. At that point one gets some carriage puzzle or the yarn rollercoaster. Or one of those hints buried deeply in some dialogue tree as some kind of fig leaf to receive some item from a totally causally disconnected action. Wonderfully weird can easily become painful trial and error if it isn't carefully thought through. The inability to stick to a schedule also hints at that lack of creative discipline.

I was more disappointed by the way the second half of BA appeared entirely mismatched after the first appeared rather original and hinted at some bigger story. Instead the characters finally met in scribbles behind the closing credits, the backstory becomes inflationary (every question just gets drowned in more exposition while there is little to no interaction with the world described, instead one is stuck to the locations of the first part) and the allegory the beginning seems to develop becomes rather half-assed. There is a reason the metascores for both parts differed significantly,  even though the production value is equally stunning: the graphic style is very defined, the voice acting top notch and where the game works (like in most of the first part) it is a smooth and immersive experience.

I doubt Ron and Tim had any kind of fall out. To me it appears more like two creative guys just not sharing their approaches to the degree that a collaboration would make much sense. Ron seems much more like the thinker, who improves his idea by questioning them, where Schafer relies on his spontaneity. So I guess their methods can stall each other if they work too close. I have not seen any hint that they would not appreciate each others' work on some level.

Big Red Button - Apr 14, 2017 at 12:49
Many people have bought it at a reduced price. Me too. So, the number of sold copies does not necessarily prove whether the game was a success. Also, someone wrote on this blog that Double Fine had spent a lot of money in addition to the money from the backers.
I have stopped playing Broken Age, since TWP is out, but I wouldn't call Broken Age a bad game either. If you expect a classic point & click game, you will be disappointed indeed. Personally, I bought it with dampened expectations, seeing the mixed reviews. All I can say, up to now, is that it seems to be most appropriate for children. Maybe this was another reason why a lot of backers were disappointed. It just depends on your expectations. It's always difficult to please everybody.

Nor Treblig - Apr 14, 2017 at 12:53
Yes, it probably cost them twice or thrice as much or something like that.

A sale at reduced price is still a sale. It won't make them rich, but you still bought it.

Big Red Button - Apr 12, 2017 at 13:58
I noticed a minor bug: The exhibitors at ThimbleCon (except Bryan) are inside of the walkbox. Hence you are able to get between them and their tables, which looks weird.

DZ-Jay - Apr 14, 2017 at 06:47
There's a similar bug in the county vista:  if you pay attention, the flocking birds fly behind the Mansion mansion, even though they also fly in front of the mountains and forests simultaneously.  :)

    -dZ.

Liviu Boar - Apr 12, 2017 at 16:18
Haven't finished the game yet, but, man, what a masterpiece! You can tell that the man who made Monkey Island made this game. It's a tour de force and a master class in adventure game design. We're actually working on our own adventure game, and playing Thimbleweed has made us go back over some of our puzzles with some new ideas inspired by the incredible puzzle design in TWP.

Not to mention Mark Ferrari's background art. Holy moly, the light and colors in those environments. Everything in the game looks, feels and sounds exactly as I hoped it would. Every adventure game fan needs to buy this game, if we want good point and clicks like this to exist again.

Trying to steer clear of spoilers as much as possible, I can't wait to finish the game this Easter Monday. I can already tell there's some controversy about the ending, and I LOVE that. People SHOULD talk about your ending, they should love it or hate it, but they should not walk away shrugging their shoulder. SO curious how it ends, but I'm convinced it will not let me down.

I did not back this back in 2014 because I was really broke at the time, but I bought it immediately and will buy another copy on GoG for a friend. I know she'll love it.

Thanks again for this gem, Ron. And now that you have the engine, no excuse for not making another one!

Liviu

Nor Treblig - Apr 12, 2017 at 19:43
Yes, the whole team needs to play it, it's called research!

Ray - Apr 12, 2017 at 17:29
WOW! just WOW, sharing those docs is way cool Ron.
just completed the game, (with my purchase i redeemed myself for copying all the MI stuff right?!?)

Ray - Apr 12, 2017 at 17:34
i really hope this will be a financial success. you know what would be next right? getting a the rights for MI3!! That would be awesome...now with the engine you built for Thimbleweed...you could realy do Monkey Island 3TM! And conerncing the numbering/labeling. Kust call it "Monkey Island Three" and everyone will be happy.

greets Ron, apprecitiate and love your work.

Nor Treblig - Apr 12, 2017 at 17:44
Well, the established (Hollywood) way to call such game (independently if it's a sequel, prequel or whatever) would be: "Monkey Island".

LogicDeLuxe - Apr 12, 2017 at 18:15
"Monkey Island 3" is not yet taken either. ;)

chandl34 - Apr 12, 2017 at 21:58
Island Island

Ijon - Apr 12, 2017 at 21:31
It's interesting to read reviews, critics and browse through walkthrouhgs after you've played through the game and took your time to think about it. The release dates of the videos I've checked out, show, that the game needed a few days to be completed. There was a time span of silence and thinking after the game was released.

There is so much joy to the right rhythm of progress and getting stuck. Exploring a situation, being confronted with a problem, solving it as you go by or getting stuck (hard and soft) stimulating you to look at a given situation like playing Chess/Go, imagining the world, looking at your options, gathering further knowledge, coming up with possible solutions, getting feedback by trying out stuff ... and once you got it right, best being rewarded with a funny clever idea which enables you to progress in the story with your character(s).

This can create powerful and memorable moments. Sometimes it's hard to believe how this could get lost.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 13, 2017 at 03:42
During Kickstarter, there were 16 people who pledged for a custom inventory item.
I wonder which ones?

----- SPOILER -----
.
.
I'm pretty sure about Matt the bear, Isabelle the spaceship.
Oh, and the hot chili sausage used in Delores flashback (because I was told it from the Most Divine Team Person. No, He's not Mr. Gilbert)

Guga - Apr 13, 2017 at 03:50
I'd also like to know who are the three backers whose name and likeness have been put in the game :P I'm pretty sure one of them is the guy at Thimblecon selling comics - sorry, I don't remember the full name, it was Ken something - he looks too different from the other characters, too "real".

Nor Treblig - Apr 13, 2017 at 15:35
Who is the real Sexy Riker!

LogicDeLuxe - Apr 13, 2017 at 07:54
I also wondered. Can we have a list?

Nor Treblig - Apr 13, 2017 at 20:15
I thought they were very obvious, having the backer's name and so on. But so far I've only found 14!

- animal paperweight (a small, wooden figure with "Matt" carved into the base)
- anti-itch cream (Kauzlaric's Patented Anti-Itch Medicine)
- CAT5-o'-9-Tails whip (CAT5-o'-9-Tails produced by getDigital.eu)
- Eric's Eye Magic (a bottle of Eric's Eye Magic special drops)
- HaoLinKinYao Tea (HaoLinKinYao Tea, A magical tea. Gives you the gift of speaking many languages)
- hot sauce (Flask of Extreme Chili Sauce by Brian H.J.)
- Levo's Bear Repellent
- Philipp's Dangerous Dövice
- Sepp the Navigator's head
- Silbury hacker boot disk
- snake in a box (Mort You-Eye's 'More-Toys' prank jack-in-the-box)
- Starship Isabella in a bottle
- Susiboy's red gel decoder
- tuna can (Crockford's Tuna Heads - the good parts)

Maybe someone can complete the list?
Is there a backer named Poopsiâ„¢ of any chance? :-)

Stefano - Apr 17, 2017 at 16:25
Perhaps Delores stuffed animal?

Nor Treblig - Apr 17, 2017 at 17:17
That's quite possible! I forgot about it, it's only in the flashback.

Guga - Apr 18, 2017 at 05:29
No, it's not! Maybe it disappears if you pick it up in the flashback, but I didn't and I had it for the rest of the game

Nor Treblig - Apr 18, 2017 at 09:27
Oh I see.
So is it a bug or a feature?

Stefano - Apr 18, 2017 at 13:09
I picked it up after the flashback and had it until the end too.

Nor Treblig - Apr 18, 2017 at 14:06
I consider it a bug: How could she forget her beloved chinchilla when she returned from MMucasFlem! HOW??

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 18, 2017 at 06:26
Sepp the Navigator's head seems to be there on purpose... because it is needed to discover a hidden Easter egg!

LogicDeLuxe - Apr 18, 2017 at 08:11
Isn't it possible that they designed the easter egg this way because of Sepp?

Nor Treblig - Apr 18, 2017 at 09:28
I also think they've added some eastereggs just because of those backer items, like the eye drops or tea or blowing up the mansion.

Nor Treblig - Apr 18, 2017 at 09:29
Also I don't recall him being named Sepp (or any other name). I couldn't quickly find his name anywhere.

Maurizio - Apr 13, 2017 at 07:15
The awkward moment when you realize the podcasts have given me more enjoinment than the game itself. :) I wonder if you could turn them into a side business. (other than programming elevators of course). I also wonder if now that you don't have to worry about spoilers, you can do them more cheaply without editing. :)

garulfo - Apr 13, 2017 at 14:51
Because everybody uses the comments here to dump impressions and feedback, I'd like to join the party:

Overall, I had a lot of fun. I especially liked the puzzle design and somehow the game just flowed right.

Here are my pet peeves:

- Some places feel underused and empty. For example the cemetery, the fortune-teller with the big library and the sewers. E.g., the sewers: If I remember correctly you just walk around and pick up mushrooms and find the bum's shelter.
- Very demotivating: you solve a puzzle (bring mushrooms to the fortune-teller) and then there is zero progress.
- Often you can give many funny answers. But it breaks immersion if you say something execptionally stupid or outrageous and you only get a generic answer, i.e. the other character doesn't react at all.  
- Sometimes there is not enough reactivity: the sheriff tells you sth. along the lines of "I confiscated all the maps", yet you can't go to the Quickie-Pal and ask the guy about it.
- If I remember correctly,  sometimes you can't pick up stuff if somebody's watching ("They wouldn't want that"), at other times you just steal in plain sight and it's okay.
- Mostly, I was fine with the walking distances. Except for the cemetery. That was just way too much.
- The in-jokes and references were exactly as promised and fine for what Thimbleweed Park wanted to be. But if you ever do another adventure game, I'd love to have a game without them.

I really  hope you'll create another adventure and if I could wish for three things that would be:

- No more meta endings. This one was fine, but in general they feel overused in modern stories (It was all a dream! I'm only a ghost!)
- More fleshed-out characters.
- Stay clear of 3D. It seems to be very hard to create a distinct and affordable 3D style. If you use pixel art again, I'd love to see a different style.

Again, I really hope you made enough money to make another one (not sure about that, Steamspy doesn't seem too promising and GOG is probably only a fraction of those numbers). If not, thanks for this great game and got luck with whatever you are going to do next!

Nor Treblig - Apr 13, 2017 at 16:23
- I agree with the cemetery (or e.g. factory): They've made gorgeous background but there was nothing to do there, you only needed to traverse it once (I don't understand why you mentioned it regarding walking distances).
- mushrooms: It was just a joke.
- same reactions: Yes, this happened sometimes, e.g. I remember calling Lenore more or less a prostitute but she kept rambling about her sister :-)
- maps: First it was only implied (I remember Leonard mentioning the Sherrif took them all [for him unknown reasons]), later the Sherrif was explicitly telling he can return them now (so you know you can get them and distribute them among the actors). Maybe this wasn't a fitting example.

Ijon - Apr 13, 2017 at 17:43
I enjoyed staying there, feeling the open dense atmosphere, wandering around and being curious where to show up next (on the first time) and later on playing with the scrolling (the hills in the front could have been on their own layers). I visited the cemetery a couple of times, it's a good place to think about things. There is less wind than on the trailhead and vista (the vista confuses me due to the fixed clouds). I wouldn't have minded more interaction in the tomb though. It's about rhythm again, it's nice if scenes are packed but offering some space here and there 'for free' feels alright (it could have been a great place for a hidden rocket launch though, just saying).

I often positioned my characters at places where I enjoyed the mood (sound, graphics, meaning). With the nice controls and map travel system everything was within reach, sometimes you needed to walk a little bit, but this felt natural and right.

Nor Treblig - Apr 13, 2017 at 20:00
Talking about the tomb: It uses a very unique perspective. I wonder why they didn't use actor scaling in there.

Ijon - Apr 14, 2017 at 16:34
I guess due to limited resources and in order to keep it simple (maybe it looked weird too). The walking area is rather limited already but the 2d characters are fighting against the rotation and the perspective of the scene. The lawyer looked awkwardly placed, the group on the right next to the wall worked good enough (Dolores appeared to be quite tall in comparison). I guess they wanted to keep the complexity of the animations as low as possible. Otherwise Dolores also wouldn't swap her bag everytime she turns left/right.

The room generally looks different to the rest, its angle, perspective, only banding with a few nice colors, the darker/less integrated front-art (btw. I liked this in the other scenes, red herrings with the wires) ... maybe it's due to the artist, from a specific phase during the dev process, a test area, there are a few inconsistencies in the game. Most scenes offer a nice mix of dithering and banding but in some scenes the banding is too much or the dithering is too obvious. I like the art at the tower, the radio station, in front of the Nickle News ... I didn't like diner and the gate entrance to the old circus (I would have smiled at a spinning big wheel, Hi Hillbilly!).

garulfo - Apr 13, 2017 at 17:53
cemetery: it takes forever to walk across it. Worse, you can't even easily run all the way (or I was to odumb). Sure, you only need to go there once, but well ... when I'm stuck I walk all over the place, so I visited it more than once.
maps: hm, I may have misremembered that one then.
mushrooms: I had been stuck before and was super excited to advance the story and then ... nothing. Cruel world! ;)

Maurizio - Apr 13, 2017 at 17:34
"the sewers: If I remember correctly you just walk around and pick up mushrooms and find the bum's shelter."

Man, there was a *beeping* dinosaur in the sewers!

Matt - Apr 16, 2017 at 15:48
Yes, I also stumbled upon it, but thought it was underused. You can't really interact with it and it isn't mentioned anywhere else in the game.

Maurizio - Apr 17, 2017 at 16:01
"Yes, I also stumbled upon it, but thought it was underused. You can't really interact with it and it isn't mentioned anywhere else in the game."

Wait... interacting with the dinosaur was not needed, because the dinosaur already fulfilled its purpose... that is, to make us crack up with laughter and think "these guys are crazy". It totally worked for me. I was in awe.

john s - Apr 13, 2017 at 16:24
Just finished the game, I absolutely loved the ending. This was pure BRILLIANCE!

john s - Apr 13, 2017 at 16:31
BTW. Took just over 20 hours in hard mode, no walk-through! :D

Best part of the game:
- keeping with the spirit and feel of classic point and click (SCUMM like interface so reminiscent of MI2 is gold!), classic point and click, early 1990s like graphics.
- intelligent puzzles
- great voice acting. Best one definitely was Ransom, so hilarious, the voice suits the character 100%. Then Agent Ray. I don't understand voice critics, there was no bad voice IMO.
- fantastic dialog, self-referential humor.

Overall best classic point and click games for a very long time. I hope the team will get board with their well deserved break and come back with a new project at some point.

Many thanks to the team.

Uli - Apr 14, 2017 at 05:36
Awesome insights, thanks! I was wondrring if you'll do more posts about audio recording? In particular, I'm curious about how you did the phrases that change depending on my actions (like the names you can check in under) or are random (like the gazette riddle). Did you insert words? Did you record the entire phrase? Did they work out theway you hoped?

Uli - Apr 14, 2017 at 05:40
A question: How did you handle choices in-game in general? What were the difficulties? How did this affect the engine, savegames, art? I mean, changing the tube shop sign probably involved drawing each choice by hand, or is that a font?

Stefano - Apr 15, 2017 at 01:57
*SPOILERS*





I just finished the game and I LOVED IT! I got stuck twice, once to get the map from Natalie, and once to the the gloves from the bakery (it took me forever to think about it). A couple of things I noticed: Leonard says he just got a betamax, but Delores says no one has one in town (maybe she didn't know).

If you ask Delores to look at the picture of Reyes dad she says that kid looks like one she went to school with, but towards the end Chuck asks her if she remembers at all going to school and she says no.

One more important thing....who kills the investor and kidnaps one of the agent? In Chuck's journal he says he will deal with it...but how? Is that a creation of the evil AI that can happen because it was just a game?

Oh and can you win a game of tic-tac-toe? I managed only to tie, I was wondering if after some time the computer was like "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play"







*SPOLERS*

bobdeniro - Apr 15, 2017 at 02:56
SPOILERS


TicTacToe: I won, just once, the first time I played. Then only ties

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 16, 2017 at 08:17
I don't believe you! :-)

bobdeniro - Apr 17, 2017 at 00:29
You couldn't win, so you don't believe me? :D

Nor Treblig - Apr 15, 2017 at 09:06
I also won a round. This computer didn't take advantage of advanced tube-AI.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 16, 2017 at 08:18
I don't believe you either :-)

Nor Treblig - Apr 16, 2017 at 12:41
You are right, I lied. I remember beating him twice.

Stefano - Apr 15, 2017 at 13:37
*SPOILERS*


My take on the broken phone ringing. If you wait after few rings it plays the modem connection sound....the same you hear at the end of the game when the Japanese mistery man beams Ray up. Perhaps someone from the upper world was connecting to change something in the TP world, Matrix style :-)




*SPOILERS*

Matt - Apr 16, 2017 at 15:53
To me it seems like a reference to phreaking, which was done in the 80s, but at first I thought it should have been used to rewire phone lines to help the bank manager tormented by phone calls like so that the prank caller gets connected to Edna's phone sex hotline. Having it just there with no interactions except looking at it and no lead to something or someone, was confusing and disappointing.

Ijon - Apr 15, 2017 at 22:07
Standing at the bus station, at the end of the game, I feel a desire to drive to another town and experience more adventures.

Daniel Wolf - Apr 16, 2017 at 02:30
I'm not sure whether I've found a bug or whether I'm just being stupid.

Chuck's diary states that he's hidden some plans in the library. Delores has read it, so she should be eager to find that book in the library. But whenever I try to use the library computer, she tells me that she's not looking for a book.

The thing is: Earlier in the game, in the Delores flashback, I knew (or guessed) all the MMucasFlem interview questions at the first attempt (yes, I'm a nerd). So I didn't use the library computer back then. And now I'm afraid that it may be stuck in some weird mode.

Can someone confirm whether that's expected behavior? (No spoilers, please!)

Stefano - Apr 16, 2017 at 03:46
I guessed all the questions too without checking the library. Delores said she didn't need to find a book until I got to a puzzle where that was needed. I was able to finish the game, so you should be fine.

Daniel Wolf - Apr 16, 2017 at 12:20
Thanks, that's reassuring. Now I just need to figure out what to do next. But I'm confident I'll manage!

Nor Treblig - Apr 16, 2017 at 12:39
I had the exact same idea: After reading about it I wanted to get it from the library but she didn't want to use the Index-Tron. I also knew such book exists because I already had previously seen such book title somewhere there.

But don't worry, it doesn't matter yet.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 16, 2017 at 12:39
Enjoy the game and take your time. It took me 30 hours, including reading almost every book in the Mansion Mansion library.
And if you feel stuck, take a break, relax, go to sleep. The solution will appear in your dreams!

Big Red Button - Apr 16, 2017 at 13:18
That's true. Taking a break has helped me very well in TWP. Whenever I'm stuck, I take a break. And when I continue the game, I somehow make progress.

Big Red Button - Apr 16, 2017 at 18:49
... mostly.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 16, 2017 at 08:21
I wrong answered one question, and so I couldn't try anymore until I've found the book in the library. But I don't think you are stuck, because the book is still in the library, and you should be able to spot it, since it's one of the few books translated in your language (yes!)

Someone - Apr 16, 2017 at 10:05
Not a bug. In which chapter are you?

Someone - Apr 16, 2017 at 10:57
=== Spoiler ===

First: Happy easter everyone. :) I haven't read the blog since I started playing the game. After finishing the game today I came back, read this "Whitboards" post and said to me: Yes, I were right! :)

I guessed the ending very early, because the story reminded me of Beneath a steel sky (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beneath_a_Steel_Sky) and The Feeble Files (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Feeble_Files). With one exception: The break through the fourth wall. That surprised me in a positive way. But there is a "but". :)

After watching the credits I had the feeling that this ending won't fit completely to the rest of the game - especially the beginning. It seemed to me that the game has two parts: The murder at the beginning and a second part after the will reading. Something in my head told me: The writer(s) of the story hadn't an ending in their mind after they began to write the story. Then I read this blog post and voila:

"We didn't really know how the game would end, or how we'd get there, but hey, that is the fun part."

This is Ok but very dangerous. In all normal cases an author begins the story with the end. Only with this approach the author stays focused. If one starts only with the beginning one tends to get lost in his/her own story. That leads often to an ending that isn't satisfying or like "It was just a dream".

After playing the game I(!) have the feeling(!) that this happend with TWP (but of course not in an extreme way). So, Ron: Maybe you could write in a future blog post how the TWP team had the idea of that ending. :)

Don't get me wrong: The game is good, beautiful, has a surprising ending and is exactly what I've backed. :-) These are just my thoughts after playing TWP. And the puzzles are the best I've seen in the last years in adventure games! So yes, please, do more adventure games! :)

I have just two little remarks (that were made already above):

- I missed the possibility to talk to the other protagonists. You won't need the notebooks if you allow the characters to discuss their problems. I.e. Ray could ask Reyes what she could do next. For me this feels much more natural then looking in a notebook. With this technique you are also able to avoid the second "problem":

- I haven't understood why the five main characters are helping each other. I.e. no one likes Ransome. So why should they give him an object? If you let the characters talk to each other you could explain that quickly.

But that's nitpicking. :) The game is great and brings back the feelings of a good old Lucasfi.. ehrm... MMucasFlem game. :)

Nor Treblig - Apr 16, 2017 at 12:49
ad 1) I understand we want to have them to talk to each other, here is why I think this isn't feasible: https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/patch_notes#58e532ee7dce7c27290421bc
Ron said the notebooks already were a hassle to implement.

ad 2) May standpoint is that you are playing those five characters: If you have the urge to give someone something you can make up any conversion you like in your mind.
Or maybe it's just me hearing voices in my head all the time anyway.

Someone - Apr 16, 2017 at 17:09
ad 1) Yes, there are several combinations. But you have far more combinations in the conversations with non-playable characters. A lot of them say different things in different situations and to different characters. And you don't have to implement a whole question-answer-tree. I.e. if I let Ray talk to Reyes, he could just respond "No time to talk. We have to find ABC, then go to DEF and do GHI." So you just have to write 24 lines (or some more if you take care of the current chapter) and you don't have to hassle with the notebooks.

ad 2)

"Or maybe it's just me hearing voices in my head all the time anyway."

That's it. ;-) Well, at least I don't hear voices and in TWP I couldn't imagine what the characters would say to each other. I often had the impulse to let the main characters talk to each other.

Maurizio - Apr 16, 2017 at 14:45
After more reflection, I think what you really need is not to be able to *talk* to other characters. (which would resemble a hint system as Ron said). What you need is characters to *automatically* comment on each other's actions. (preferably with irony, e.g "I could have done better", "I'm impressed", and so on).  This is what really works. This would allow their personalities to grow during the game, and the *relation* between them to gain depth during the game. Instead, in Thimbleweed Park, once the (strong) personalities of the characters are established, they don't grow during the game. . Of course, to do what I said, two of the characters would need to follow each other automatically.

Someone - Apr 16, 2017 at 17:14
"What you need is characters to *automatically* comment on each other's actions."

Yes, that would/could be an interesting alternative. But that will only work, ...

"Of course, to do what I said, two of the characters would need to follow each other automatically."

... if the characters are in the same room. And only Ray and Reyes are related to each other. Especially Ransome and Delores are working on their own. So it won't feel natural if some of the characters will follow one other.

Nor Treblig - Apr 16, 2017 at 17:27
Having more of such moments like with Ray and Reyes would have been nice of course. And it's much easier to implement than talking between so many playable characters.

There could have been more dialog between Delores and Ransome for example.

Personally I didn't mind this at all. I only would have preferred to be able to look at every actor/NPC.

Someone - Apr 16, 2017 at 17:32
"Having more of such moments like with Ray and Reyes would have been nice of course. And it's much easier to implement than talking between so many playable characters."

Nope, it's more work. Because you have:

- to ensure that both characters are in the same room. That sounds trivial (just let one character follow the other) but there are several exceptions. I.e. if Ray gets locked in the sewers.

- check after each action if and which comment is now appropriate. So you have to handle far more situations as if you let the characters talk to each other.

Nor Treblig - Apr 16, 2017 at 18:27
Then we are talking about different things. I mean more stuff like the cutscene on the vista which are part of the plot and brings characters together. It would also be possible with the trampoline puzzle since you have those two characters there.

Somone - Apr 16, 2017 at 18:30
Ah, Ok. Then I have to agree. :)

Maurizio - Apr 22, 2017 at 08:10
@nor

"Personally I didn't mind this at all. I only would have preferred to be able to look at every actor/NPC."

I wonder why do you feel the need to *look* at characters. I would never even think about this.

Nor Treblig - Apr 22, 2017 at 12:07
I just like to look at everything (including everyone) in a game. When I can get the character's opinion about objects I should also be able to get their opinions about subjects. Also I don't like hotspots (e.g. NPCs) disappearing when switching to the 'Look at' verb.

And I like confirmation. Is this a door? "It's a door" YES!

Ron Gilbert - Apr 22, 2017 at 12:56
We did this on purpose, and it goes all the way back to MI.  If you can use the full verb set on NPCs, players spend a lot time trying to USE, OPEN, CLOSE, PUSH PICKUP (haha) NPCs.  Generally, the only thing you can do it TALK TO them, so that was all we enabled.  When you try verbs on NPCs, the natural thing is for the NPC to respond to the action in a way an object wouldn't, and that creates a ton of new dialog.  It was just easier to not have any of it, so players will quickly move on. Limiting choice is a good way to focus players.  It's the same reason it's bad adventure game design to hotspot objects that have not puzzle or story value.

I do think LOOK AT should have been enabled for NPCs.

Nor Treblig - Apr 22, 2017 at 14:44
This makes perfectly sense. I also understand that sometimes typical NPC verbs are disabled (e.g. 'Give' + Sandy).

There may be a problem in situations where you really want to use a special verb with an NPC (e.g. 'Push') but the player was taught to not use them.

Maurizio - Apr 22, 2017 at 18:45
"When you try verbs on NPCs, the natural thing is for the NPC to respond to the action in a way an object wouldn't, and that creates a ton of new dialog. ...  It's the same reason it's bad adventure game design to hotspot objects that have not puzzle or story value."

Wow, some very interesting claims.

I would have thought the opposite. If you hotspot many useless objects, you discourage the player from playing the wrong way, from trying everything randomly, and he will have to start thinking. So it seems to me a good thing at first glance.

But it seems like you feel a duty to create new dialog to handle silly combinations, instead of just having the character say "I don't see why you should do that".

Ijon - Apr 16, 2017 at 17:41
You're in control of the characters and (hopefully) know what you want them to do. Spending a budget on characters talking to each other about things you're already aware of (and eventually boring you by doing so) doesn't sound like a good idea, if you can agree on the god like influence.

I'm in control of the characters. They work with each other in order to proceed. That's it. It can be interesting taking a step back to Maniac Mansion (if you can deal with the steering/dead ends/timings). You can express your feelings about characters by the time you spend with them. Ransome stands out, he's fun. There is no reason not wanting to help him, unless you're more into boring characters (like the typical bad written, dull, embarassing, annoying characters video games tend to offer).

Going another route, taking roleplaying and simulation more serious, where characters only know what they should know, acting within their roles, without relying on your knowledge, can introduce a whole bunch of new options (all the possibilities resulting from characters' knowledge/motivations/feelings/...). With enough resources this could be used in very interesting ways (ranging from small 'wanted' changes up to being something completely different).

I guess a number of decisions were made, based on experience and getting things done. The status quo allows a focused direct satisfying experience. It's more disturbing if a game tries to offer too much but is unable to pull it throughout the whole game. kiss

Someone - Apr 16, 2017 at 17:55
"I'm in control of the characters. They work with each other in order to proceed."

No, not in every situation. ;)

"That's it. It can be interesting taking a step back to Maniac Mansion (if you can deal with the steering/dead ends/timings).""

You can't compare MM with TWP: In MM you control a *team*. Dave, Bernard, Razor, ... are (close) friends. They all want to save Sandy.
In TWP you control five individuals. They have (in the first few acts completely) different goals and they don't like each other. Delores and Ransom are even suspects!

Yes, I can "command" them to do things. But it doesn't feel natural. It's like to force them against their will.

Ijon - Apr 16, 2017 at 20:59
#1
Ja, i guess you know what i meant.

#2
Dave was Sandy's boyfriend but i can't remember how close the rest of the characters were supposed to be with each other. Anyway the point is, that in both games you're in control of a bunch of characters with some more or less noticeble individual capabilities and in order to achieve some goal(s), they temporarily need to work with each other. I think it's less important if they're doing this because they're after the same goal or doing so in order to fulfill their own plans.

#3
I see but I prefer having access to the Arcade, more resources spent on puzzles, ... more than dealing with the players' characters' sensitivities because if you go this route, you want to do it right and there already exist differences between how interesting and fleshed out some characters are. The game isn't perfect and I wouldn't complain about a few enhancements but considering staying within a budget, comparing it to other adventures  ... I really appreciate the result. Jesus, I wasn't trying to protect the TWP team this much.

Someone - Apr 17, 2017 at 05:03
#2:
The characters in MM got together to rescue Sandy. So they have this friendly relationship. From the beginning it is absolutely clear that they will work together to achieve their goal. They have their own abilities but they are working together, they form a team.

In TWP that isn't clear. The only information you got is: "I can control all five characters". This is the only fact that implies that these characters are working togheter. Reyes and Ranosme even complain "why should I carry your crap" if you give them an object. If you just follow the story as it is told by the current version of TWP no one of the characters would work together with the others (before they enter the factory).

#3:
You don't have to protect the TWP team. :) They did a great job and we backers even got more than they announced, i.e. better graphics, etc. But the relationship of the characters is something that they could beared in mind during the design phase. And as I above said: This is nitpicking. ;)

Someone - Apr 17, 2017 at 05:05
"Reyes and Ranosme"

Sorry, should be: Ray and Ransome. :)

Ijon - Apr 17, 2017 at 18:39
From a god like perspective there is nothing to complain about and it makes things straight and easy. If you argue from a character's limited perspective then yes, introduction/necessity might be missing for some characters (although they're fine for the Rs and Dulores and her father) but as i wrote before, it's about priorities.

You know, I always gave the specks of dust characters collected (I expected them to building up a frame, some more meaningful data, like 4125 needed to) to Ransome because it was fun to hear him complaining (variations?). It felt like making some fun of your friend whilst smiling at him. I saw the comments other characters made in a similar way. Different persons dealing with each other. I could have been cool if you needed one character working against the whole thing until a climax too but ... ideas.

Two persons meeting at a bus station, there's a moment, some eye contact, you smell a fragrance and *boom* things start going. You could reduce it to small but important moments but there is a beauty to the simplicity not having to convince characters to do something, you already know that you want them to do. It also fits to the 'you found this disk in your drawer' vibe.

Btw. Dalores (have i used all the umlauts already?) isn't my favorite character but the self referencing delivers her a background. I wanted to code something in front of the C64, at least fixing some  'obvious' broken/unfinihsedcode, poking a little bit around, on hard. Could have been more fun than Tic-Tac-Toe.

Two further notes:
A recent planetarium presentation of how earth and moon got build, reminded me that they're all pretty bad. Unless VR won't fix this, I would like to use a time machine in order to see (having control over the time lapse) how our solar system got built, watching it from some position in space, hopefully without too many asteroids crashing into my wonderful green space suit.

I still like the verb interface. If you think nine verbs are too much, check out Maniac Mansion. But I also like symbols with a reasonable amount of variations. It's a pity that translated versions aren't always up to an original. On the other side, if you understand a language good enough, you'll want to play an original anyway because it adds this tiny layer of distance and mystery. Hah, the 'a-reno' only sounded strange whilst the '*le' was instantly annoying.

Somone - Apr 16, 2017 at 17:56
Just to clarify:

"In all normal cases an author begins the story with the end."

With this I mean: The author first comes up with the ending. After that he will write the whole story down.

Ron Gilbert - Apr 17, 2017 at 11:07
"In all normal cases an author begins the story with the end."

That is completely untrue.  In movies, books, comics etc. While it happens sometimes, part of the creative process is finding you ending. As an author, you often have an ending in mind, but as you write that changes as you discover the characters.

Someone - Apr 17, 2017 at 13:36
"That is completely untrue."

No. ;-)

I've learned in writing class that you have to keep the ending in mind while writing. I just know the german specialist literature in writing theory, so I can't give you a concrete example. But have a look at the bonus stuff on the film "Little Miss Sunshine" (even if that is a bad example because they managed it to produce a good film :-)) and if I remeber correctly "Charlie's Angles".

And I can tell from my own experiences as a writer: If you don't know the ending, you tend to introduce several "curvy" story lines and "dead ends" in the story. And you get "logical problems" within the story.

It is true, that you can first have an idea of the beginning of the story. But you have to find an ending before you begin to write (it down).

Ron Gilbert - Apr 17, 2017 at 13:42
Yes, keep your ending in mind, but let the true ending come out. Stephen Kings does this a lot. He just starts writing and lets the story tell him what the ending is.   Don't believe everything they tell you in writing class. They are trying to impose structure (not a bad thing when you're learning), but it's not the way it works in the real world. Sometimes it does, and Little Miss Sunshine might be a good example, but it's not "normal".  Movies go though huge processes in the editing room that sometimes completely changes the ending.

It's OK to know your ending and follow it, it's also OK to let your story tell you the ending. Both are valid.

Amb - Apr 17, 2017 at 14:26
A lot of Stephen Kings novels end poorly though.  They often seem forced or out of control.  The unplanned or predestined finishes let his novels down. Your game definitely didn't feel like that.

Amb - Apr 17, 2017 at 14:27
Unpredestined

Amb - Apr 17, 2017 at 14:27
Unpredestined

Someone - Apr 17, 2017 at 18:07
"They are trying to impose structure (not a bad thing when you're learning), but it's not the way it works in the real world."

I know. :) That's why I wrote, that it's dangerous(!) not to know the end. You can just write along but you have to be a good writer not to come up with a "meta-ending" (like "it was a dream") and - more important - get lost in your own story. I've read so much (commercial!) books where the author gets lost in his own story. Some parts of TWP still reminds me of those problems and unfinished story lines (but of course not in such a dramatic way - TWP has a good story!). Another example beside the ending of the game is the brother of the pizza man and his group. He and the others are ready to fight. The player gets exited... A resitance group! And the insult clown in between. That could be funny! Maybe they do something undercover? Or do they plan an assault? No, they will never appear in the game again. You cut this story line. But I'm currently playing TWP again. Maybe my feelings/first impressions will change. (And note that these are my own impressions, they don't have to be correct!)

"Movies go though huge processes in the editing room that sometimes completely changes the ending."

Yes, but this dangerous too and could break the whole story or make the film and/or the ending worse. One example that comes into my mind is the ending of the original "Blade Runner" that doesn't fit somehow to the rest of the film.

But basically it's OK to discard the current ending of a story and replace it with a new one. But then you have to revise the whole story. I've read only a few short stories from Stephen King, so I can't say much about them.

Maurizio - Apr 17, 2017 at 15:48
"I've learned in writing class that you have to keep the ending in mind while writing."

This is not a rule. If you are writing Agatha Christie, of course it's true. If you are writing Stephen King, this is unimportant. The ending is just not an important part sometimes.

The ending in Monkey 2 sucked. Who cares? It's still one of the best game experiences of my life.

Someone - Apr 17, 2017 at 18:16
"The ending is just not an important part sometimes."

Can you give an example?

For me(!) each story has three important parts:
- The beginning has to "suck" me into the story so I won't be able to to stop reading
- The turning point (or turning points)
- The ending

The ending is important because this is the part that the reader/player/... will most remember of. You left the reader with the end. That doen't mean that the ending has to be a happy ending. :) But you should take care of the end. (This is my own opinion and not what a teacher told me ;) )

Maurizio - Apr 17, 2017 at 19:13
I say "the ending is not important sometimes" in the sense it's not needed for something to have a good ending in order to be a masterpiece. Example? Monkey 2. Actually, after part 2, the best has already come. Part 3 and 4 are worse. But Part 2 is enough to make it a masterpiece. It could end there, and it would still be a masterpiece, regardless of what came after.

Or... take most horror movies. The ending is often not what you remember them for.

Or even most movies. "Taken" with Liam Neeson. Surprise, he rescues his daughter. That's not why we remember the movie.

Nor Treblig - Apr 17, 2017 at 20:52
I agree with Maurizio especially when talking about such long story-based games like TWP or MI2: When I enjoyed playing them for 20 hours why should a bad ending or an ending I dislike impair the enjoyment I had those 20 hours before?

I remember one early TWP review on Steam of some guy who played >10h basically saying he quite enjoyed the game but didn't like the ending. Thumbs down. WTF?
I guess some people need their Hollywood endings (including concluding and explaining everything).

Stef - Apr 18, 2017 at 09:08
Please stop saying that. The ending of MI2 was just *beeping* great.

Mister T - Apr 18, 2017 at 11:13
"I've learned in writing class..." Not matter what you create, there are no absolute rules. Everything you do has an effect. If you don't want the effect, don't do it. The rules are crutches to help you evaluating. Best example is jumping over the axis when editing a film or video. According to the rules it is a big no-no. But if the editor wants to express confusion, shift the dynamic of the scene or signal passing time, the very same edit can be fine. That is the difference between art and engineering. Structure is great to keep an eye on things, it never should become its own purpose but serve the story it is carrying.

Miguel - Apr 16, 2017 at 18:22
I think the ending was defined since the beginning... If you check the point 14 of this post https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/early_brainstorm it states:
"Group of characters slowly realize they are just characters in an 80's adventure game and must find their way out."

Someone - Apr 16, 2017 at 18:28
Hm... I'm not fully convinced. I would say that they had to find an end and then they just took that position 14. But maybe Ron could clarify that.

Stef - Apr 18, 2017 at 09:03
Given all the clues they disseminated through the game, there were probably 10 different viable endings.  They could have made the AI a more prominent villain, or they could have brought Chuck's involvement with the text adventure game to the extreme consequences Tron Legacy-style, or whatever. Any of them could have made for a fantastic conclusion of the game, so I don't really see your point when you say "they had to find an end". Going FULL META like they did looks like a conscious artistic decision.

Gffp - Apr 18, 2017 at 10:34
Ahem, I'm selling these full meta jacket...

Matt - Apr 16, 2017 at 15:41
I think you should have invested more thought in this at the early stage. Especially the lack of pace and goal in the story arc and the cut puzzles (e.g. the Betamax CCTV) or way too outrageous ones (e.g. radioactive trails) really made the whole game not very enjoyable to me. It seems you focused a lot on technical details (the engine and it's effects are great except the nauseating ghost effect) and self-referential inside jokes, which seem very forced and overdone.

I am also not sure if the multiple playable characters was a good idea. At least how it was executed. There was few interactions between them except in the beginning. Afterwards it made less sense as actors kept standing around idle and almost too few group interaction was required like handing over the convention tickets to others, which still triggers the "oh, I might keep the cards for your friends" convenience dialog and breaks the immersion.

Having the inventories spread out also was a bit annoying. Especially with all those redundant items that got lost between the flashback chapters and me trying to find them like the apparently unused AA batteries which seem to have been replaced by the car battery and the cheese which occurred multiple times. I felt confused and instead of an eureka after looking many puzzles up, instead I thought those are flawed designs. The number lookup games with the telephone also were a bit too much of the very same.

To sum it up: although I am a Monkey Island fanboy nowadays I like the modern story driven and realistic adventure games a lot more, which come with better dialog, absorbing storylines, more inventive new puzzle modes (like smarthpones / "hacking" as in social engineering) and less inventory and more realistic interactions as published by Wadjet Eye Games in the recent years.

By the way: why didn't you use/improve the existing Open Source Adventure Game Studio (AGS) and instead programmed your own proprietary engine from scratch for just this game? Might have saved some development time and strengthened the adventure creator community as a whole.

Someone - Apr 16, 2017 at 17:28
"By the way: why didn't you use/improve the existing Open Source Adventure Game Studio (AGS) and instead programmed your own proprietary engine from scratch for just this game? Might have saved some development time and strengthened the adventure creator community as a whole."

Are you a programmer/developer? :)

If you take an existing engine, you have to read and understand the code first. In most cases you begin to refactor and modify the code. At the end of the day you invest more time and work. If you build your own engine you have the full control over it.

See: https://twitter.com/necrosofty/status/837739038576533505

Stefano - Apr 16, 2017 at 18:30
There is no such thing as an outrageous puzzle in TP - it's all personal. I solved the radioactive puddle in 10 mins (all NPC were clearly stepping in the puddle, and I knew I needed something done there), but I got stuck for days to get the gloves for the thimbleweed berries. I found all puzzles fairly logical and fun to solve. If I can say something about the game is that it was too easy once you get inside the pillow factory- once you get locked you know you must have all the items you need and it really took me 10 mins to finish the game from that point. Great game for the rest.

Someone - Apr 16, 2017 at 18:33

Matt - Apr 17, 2017 at 06:19
Reading this and other overly enthusiastic game reviews I probably should have not played the game in a hurry over the holidays or chosen the casual mode in the beginning. I didn't as I knew adventure games and didn't want to miss anything. Maybe the disappointment was that the game doesn't follow an intriguing story paused by puzzles, but rather a "story" is just there as a means to an end to connect as many puzzles as possible for people who really love them.

Someone - Apr 17, 2017 at 11:15
There are different types of adventure games: In some the puzzles just interrupt the story - like in "Silence". Then there are adventure games where you have to figure out all yourself. An example is Maniac Mansion where you get told to rescue Sandy - and that's all (beside some cut-scenes). And then there are adventure games that are in between those extremes. :)

Thimbleweed Park is more like Maniac Mansion (or Monkey Island 2). I for myself played only the "hard more" and there the (solution of) the puzzles forms the story - and I like that! :) Each solution reveals some more aspect of the story. For me it was a thrilling story until I got into the factory (because of the explanations I made above in my own comment).

In TWP you can solve puzzles before the story told you that you have to solve it. That leads to problems DZ-Jay mentioned in his commend below. I'm still convinced that these and a lot of other "problems" mentioned in this blog results from jamming a second, completely different story (the adventure-simulation) in an existing one (the murder).

Ron Gilbert - Apr 17, 2017 at 11:28
The fact that everyone is debating and talking about this warms my heart. Everything that is in the game exits for a reason (even the "story flaws" people are talking about), it's all part of the puzzle.  There was no "jamming".  Stop taking everything so literally and it might come together.  Stop looking at things as flaws and problems and look at them as clues.

Stefano - Apr 17, 2017 at 12:57
Ron, is some stuff in the game because in your mind there could be a sequel and those points might or might not be part of it? Three I can think of:

1) The stretcher cutscene with one of the agents
2) Delores that remembers she might have gone to school with Reyes (but then she says she doesn't remember going to school at all in the revelations dialogue with Chuck)
3) The broken ringing phone with the modem connection sound

Or are all those things self referential within TP?

As I said before, awesome game!

Ron Gilbert - Apr 17, 2017 at 13:07
1) Everything about this scene was done on purpose. The agent remembering would have broken the scene.

2) This was just an error. The first part was written a long time ago, before I wrote the final dialog and was missed. Chet and Leonard also mention school, I should have cut the line in the final dialog. Of all the story flaws people have mentioned, this is the only one that is valid. All the others have meaning.

3) There is a reason for the ringing, etc.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 18, 2017 at 04:54
I wondered why agent Ray, suddenly, was on the examination table with the Sheriff-a-reno, too.
I thought he was kidnapped on purpose, in order to steal all his items, but I was wrong.
So, I still haven't figured out the real reason of that cutscene...

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 18, 2017 at 04:54
...I mean: agent Reyes

Nor Treblig - Apr 18, 2017 at 11:18
@Zak Phoenix McKracken:
The strange thing is he/she doesn't remember anything of it and also doesn't care being suddenly relocated to some other place. What did they do with the agent? Did they alter his/her programming?

Stefano - Apr 18, 2017 at 13:13
After seeing that scene I was expecting something that Reyes would have done towards the end, like not being controllable anymore and try to sabotage you, but I couldn't really see anything like that.
There is a mention in the hint book that the devs might have left something important in the text adventure, but I didn't really explored it, I just went straight to the solution I read in the hint book.
Thimbleweed Park holds more mysteries, perhaps :)

Maurizio - Apr 18, 2017 at 16:29
The abduction scene will probably make sense in a sequel. :) Otherwise we'll have to conclude that Ron and Gary have gone insane :)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 18, 2017 at 10:57
I was stuck for the gloves, too.
But I had clear in mind that, if nothing could be used, then try talking with people. So I did, and stepped into the "Valvolì Valvolà" shop :-)
(which italian name did you choose?)

Nor Treblig - Apr 18, 2017 at 11:19
1. She chose it, I just suggested something.
2. She named it You Tube.
3. I tried to contact Google lawyers but couldn't find their number in the telephone book.

Stefano - Apr 18, 2017 at 13:04
TubeTasticTM for me :)
I was really frustrated on the gloves. I knew I needed them and for some reason the dialogue with Sandy confused me because she said something about they were out of pies since Chuck ate all of them. So I thought it would have been through her or something around the Diner. I tried to use any flier I had to pick the berries, I tried anything with anything. I was stuck for like 4 days there, when I used the "let everyone talk with everyone approach" and it worked.

Nor Treblig - Apr 18, 2017 at 14:06
Btw., that was one bloody animation :-)

Gromish - Apr 17, 2017 at 14:20
I like​ your view.
About the proprietary engine I don't agree.

The game looks done in hurry to be finished,
because many many aspects (not arguing here)

In my opinion
You should
Write the story and evaluate it very deeply.
Is it consistent in every detail? Continue
Is not? Correct.
Then, make a game.

Ron Gilbert - Apr 17, 2017 at 15:43
"The game looks done in hurry to be finished,"

I find this deeply offensive. It was not done in a hurry or rushed.  It is very very complex and I would hope that reading this blog for the past two years would have shown you that. Using 20/20 hindsight, you get to pick at all the little details, but you get to ignore all the things that worked, because they worked and you don't notice them. There are thousands and thousands of little details, you try your best and you miss a few.  A few of these we spotted lated the developments, but you let have them go or you will never fish your game. I see this time and time again with indie developers. They will never ship their "prefect game".

Some of them aren't even problems, they are only problems because you haven't figured out why they are like they are.

DZ-Jay - Apr 17, 2017 at 19:20
Dear Mr. Gilbert,

Although I have been following the development of this game since its very beginning, it is my opinion that the huge amount of effort, thought, talent, skill, and love that has been put to this game is absolutely palpable in the final product.

Sure, there are some very minor niggles here and there, and who doesn't get frustrated with a puzzle or two?  But on balance, the characters are interesting and deep; the story (so far, I haven't finished it yet) is exciting and original; and all puzzles are logical, fair, clever, and fun.

I just thought it was important to let you know, amidst all the complaints (including some of mine), that your vision and effort are very much apparent and appreciated.  Thimbleweed Park is indeed a great game. :)

   Best regards,
     -dZ.

Big Red Button - Apr 19, 2017 at 18:37
I agree with that. It's obvious how complex the game is, especially due to all the possibilities and constraints caused by the number of playable characters.

Nor Treblig - Apr 17, 2017 at 16:57
That's not how you should make a game unless you are talking about complete other type of games (e.g. visual novels or Telltale Games like adventure games)

In this kind of games like TWP one of the main gameplay mechanics are the puzzles. In a "proper" adventure game those are seamlessly integrated into the environment and story (in contrary to e.g. 7th Guest type of games where story and puzzles are more or less completely separated).

You have to iterate a lot when creating a game and if you don't do this gameplay will lack.
If a puzzle turns out to not work as good as on paper it needs to be modified and doing all those changes may influence the story and vice versa.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 18, 2017 at 04:49
Hi, I have programmed with AGS, I tried to make my own adventure game.
It ended unfinished, for technical issues.
AGS can help developers to make Lucas-style adventure games, but it has its own limitations.
With the help of plugins, you probably could have made the fireflies, but I doubt that other effects like the 3-parallax scrolling or the waved screen while playing with Franklin as a ghost could have been made.

I remember the very few initial months in 2015, when Ron had written on this blog how carefully he evaluated the engine choice. It should be flexible enough to add anything he could have in mind.

Matt : all the items you have found in the refrigerator during Delores' flashback... are there for a purpose :-)
I am not sure if you have played all the Lucasfilm Adventure Games, starting from the one published in 1987...

Matt - Apr 18, 2017 at 14:10
The ketchup comes up to my mind. Thought someone cut his hands on it, I can take a blood swab and match it with machine, but that just threw me off the track.

Yes, to be honest I never liked Maniac Mansion and didn't finish it. Especially the dead end situation and the constant getting caught and incarcerated put me off.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 18, 2017 at 17:07
"Too bad you weren't on my side..."
Oh, yes, how many times I was incarcerated!!
But I felt there should be something useful to escape from there...

Marco Lizza - Apr 18, 2017 at 19:03
> Oh, yes, how many times I was incarcerated!!

Once master, getting caught and put into prison is an amazing and fast method to move in the mansion. ;)

DZ-Jay - Apr 16, 2017 at 17:45
I finally got unstuck (haven't finished the game yet, but I was stuck for about a week now).  This seems to be a recurring theme in my game at least.  There are a few places in the game where if you don't do something at a specific moment when a hint is given, say, you because you missed it, it is very hard to recover after that.  What's worse, the longer you go without doing the specific action you were supposed to do, the more likely you will completely forget the context of the puzzle.

Eventually, you get to a point, like me, where you are sure you are missing something, but you don't know what.

* SPOILER *
This particular sticking point was the Pigeon Bros. Sisters' wrench.  I managed to get to the point where I needed to get into the Pillow Factory.  I knew what to do to open the door, but I couldn't get the stupid truck to move.  I also knew how to "solve" that puzzle:  I was sure I needed the wrench in order to unlock the bolt and take the battery, charge it with the electric fence, and move the truck out of the way.  I had already worked all that out, but... *damn* I couldn't find the stupid wrench!

I knew it was the Pigeon Bros. Sister's wrench.  Much earlier in the game I had had the manager of the Hotel-a-boo call them up to fix some paranormal event in a guest's room.  However, at that point in the game, I didn't steal their wrench.

Now, that I need the wrench, I couldn't find where they were.  I kept seeing the Pigeon Bros. Sisters' truck parked at the hotel-a-boo but I couldn't find them.  I tried calling their number multiple times, randomly walking through the hotel looking for them, etc.  I did not try checking every single room in the hotel because I was absolutely positively sure that Mr. Gilbert and his crew would never make me do that in one of their games (that's more of a Sierra move).

For days and days and days, I've walked through every little corner of Thimbleweed Park with every single playable character trying to figure out what other puzzles I could solve with the hope that the wrench "puzzle" would come eventually.  Nothing.  It's been almost a week, and I was ready to give up and search for a walkthrough (which I really didn't want to do).

Today, I broken down and started searching the hotel room by room and eventually found the Pigeon Bros. Sisters fixing the guest's bathroom.  I took their wrench, et voilá, I managed to solved that stupid puzzle and now I'm inside the Pillow Factory and moving on.

It was a logical puzzle, and it was very fair.  However, the fact that the game branches out with so many combinations of puzzles simultaneously, and being able to follow multiple paths with multiple characters at the same time, means that if you miss a hint or if you didn't pick up something for a particular puzzle, you may end up solving many others and eventually removing yourself so much from the context of that one that you can't find your way back.

In my case, something as simple as the hotel manager-a-boo saying something like "Have you seen the Pigeon Bros.?  I wonder if they solved that guest's problem...", would have helped guide me and keeping the focus.  Or some way to bring me back to the unsolved "get the wrench" puzzle.

I like the game, I really do, and I have enjoyed it for the most part.  However, I have gotten deeply stuck now three times and two of those have made the game completely frustrating and boring for days at a time, robbing me of enjoyment.

All puzzles are fair, but there are some quirks in the narrative and in the way the in-game characters keep you focused on the important tasks in order to progress.  When the game works, which is most of the time, it is absolutely brilliant; but when it doesn't, it is unfortunately worse than just "confusing," it is downright disastrous.

I hope the developers take this as a lesson for their next adventure. :)
* SPOILER *

     -dZ.

Nor Treblig - Apr 16, 2017 at 18:53
So you've figured everything out: that you need a wrench, you know who got one, you know where they are (at the hotel, somewhere).

Having the hotel manager check out the Pigeon Brothers like he did previously with the guests would be a good idea.
It allows you to remember this "wrench" situation (which could have happened some time ago depending on how it was played), and to look up the room number again.

DZ-Jay - Apr 17, 2017 at 05:24
Well, it's not that simple.  I _thought_ they were at the hotel because their truck was there, but I wasn't sure.  I also _thought_ they had come to Franklyn's room, because I had completely forgotten that they came to a different room, and I didn't take note of which room it was.

I also saw the Pigeon Bros. at the "sekrit meeting" so there was no real evidence that they were still at the hotel and absolutely no indication that I should search for them.

I think the problem is that by the time I actually "solved" the puzzle of calling the Pigeon Bros., I was very far removed from entering the Pillow Factory, so there was absolutely no motivation or any indication that I should follow them and pick up the wrench.

There were several puzzles between that point and me needing the wrench, so the context of the latter was completely lost.

     -dZ.

Maurizio - Apr 16, 2017 at 19:05
What do you mean you eventually found the Pigeon Bros. Sisters fixing the guest's bathroom? Are you playing easy mode? Because in my game, I had to do something to make them come to the hotel.

DZ-Jay - Apr 17, 2017 at 05:11
I did do "something" to get them to the hotel.  I just didn't take the wrench back then, and I had advanced through the game by completing several other puzzles.  I was now in a completely different frame of mind, with completely different goals, and several days had passed.  I knew the Pigeon Bros. were in the hotel because the truck was there, but I couldn't see them.

What's more, I forgot that they went to some specific room.  I missed the subtle hint of following them to the room in order to take the wrench.

    -dZ.

Matt - Apr 17, 2017 at 04:06
I guess you are right. The puzzles probably didn't get harder. Just as the world expands with more rooms and characters, the overview gets lost. The TODO checklists were introduced to help I assume, but they focused more on the obvious larger goals or the first minor puzzles and then didn't update consistently with more sub-tasks.

DZ-Jay - Apr 17, 2017 at 05:29
I agree.  The puzzles were not really harder, but the combinatorial effect of the multiple player threads and non-linearity of the game's puzzles makes it that much harder to keep focus.

At the beginning of the game, I found the "TODO" lists a brilliant aspect of the game.  As I progressed through the game, I found them less and less useful.  Somewhere through the game, they just become no more than:

1. Play the game.
2. Get to the end.

Which are very high-level goals that you know you have to achieve, but nothing on the details of the tasks you have to complete.  I guess I lost the view of the forest for the trees.

     -dZ.

Deadite137 - Apr 17, 2017 at 04:42
The pidgeon brothers come after you first frighten a particular guest in a particular room of the hotel so I'm finding it surprisng that you were confused where that room was since you must have already completed the first part of the puzzle there?

DZ-Jay - Apr 17, 2017 at 05:15
I guess it wasn't obvious that I had to follow the Pigeon Bros. to the room.  In my mind, I completed the puzzle:  I scare the guest, I gave the Hotel Manager-a-boo the card, and he called them.  The Pigeon Bros. came in and started working on the bathroom.  I thought I was done with that, and moved on.

Several days later (and several dozen completed puzzles after), when I realized I needed a wrench, I had completely lost the context of that puzzle.  I even forgot that they came to a special room -- I kept thinking of going back to Franklyn's room, or any of the other rooms for which I had the key.

All that because I did not "complete" the wrench puzzle at the time, because there was no motivation for me to get a wrench at that moment.

       -dZ.

Maurizio - Apr 17, 2017 at 15:43
"Several days later (and several dozen completed puzzles after), when I realized I needed a wrench, I had completely lost the context of that puzzle. "

But that's how it should be. :) It is not a flaw in the game.

The puzzles in this game are all logical, so the difficulty cannot come from the puzzles taken in isolation. So where must the difficulty come from? It must come from the fact that there are so many things in the game that you lose track of stuff.

DZ-Jay - Apr 17, 2017 at 19:09
Ah... so difficulty by contrivance, I see.  Somehow I think that's anathema to what Mr. Gilbert has predicated in the past, and goes against the spirit of the very many ways in which the game goes out of its way to help you keep track.

     -dZ.

Mister T - Apr 19, 2017 at 15:16
"I thought I was done with that, and moved on."
But you got nothing out of it. You solved a puzzle before you knew why you would want to do that. It is hardly the fault of the game.
If the notebooks would show the complete puzzle chains, it would become a walkthrough.

I made the same mistake with the clown contest, because I assumed it would be like the spitting in Monkey Island II and I would find out what to do different during the contest, so I almost forgot about the record. When I needed it however, I remembered that Ransome already had it. Just like wondering where to get a wrench should make you remember the pigeon bros. you ordered into the hotel for no reason so far.

DZ-Jay - Apr 20, 2017 at 07:14
"You solved a puzzle before you knew why you would want to do that."

But that goes against one of the "sins" that Mr. Gilbert has mentioned in the past about bad text adventures:  finding the solution before the puzzle is encountered is bad design.

I'm not suggesting that the notebooks should include the complete puzzle chain, but the game should know when you have reached a bottle-neck, i.e., a point in the puzzle dependency chart where the entire rest of the game is contingent on a single puzzle you have not managed to solve and no progress is possible and offer some way of focusing the player on that particular point.

Either that, or avoid the possibility of such bottle-necks by not letting the player find a solution without a puzzle.  In my case, it could have been as simple as not letting the manager call the Pigeon Bros. Sister until the need for a wrench was apparent.  I don't know, I'm not a game designer.

Also, had you read my comments above, you would have noticed that I did say I knew I needed the wrench from the Pigeon Bros. Sisters -- I just couldn't find them on the Hotel.  It was not clear to me at that point that the summoning I did before was part of *this* puzzle.  It was also not clear that they were still at the Hotel (although the van parked outside suggested this, which I as a hint).

In my mind, I took the previous puzzle as a demonstration of a game mechanic:  I now must find a way to summon the Pigeon Bros. Sisters to the Hotel like I did before, so that I may take their wrench.  It was absolutely not clear that the previous puzzle I had solved several days (and dozens of puzzles earlier) was connected in any way.

In the end it doesn't matter.  I am bringing up my struggle to light so that the developers can take it as feedback on the experience of an otherwise fantastic game.  I would imagine they would be more interested in creating better and tighter adventure experiences and honing their craft, than to blame their customers for being idiots.

     -dZ.

Maurizio - Apr 22, 2017 at 19:43
"finding the solution before the puzzle is encountered is bad design."

Hm... I thought so too when I got the wrench before I had a use for it. But then I thought: wait. this is an impossibly high standard for a game. By that line, I was able to pick up the trophy in the beginning. But it is only used near the end of the game. does this mean it's bad design?

Ron Gilbert - Apr 22, 2017 at 19:51
Not necessarily.  Objects can be picked up if enough time laps.  You can pick up the trophy, but you still have to have to epiphany that it can be used.  The solution to the puzzle is really that since the use is not unconventional.

The wrench is a hard one, and I will admit that is a place I would have liked to fix, and also not be an arbitrary limitation. If the Sheriff, I mean Hotel Manager, had just refused to call the Pigeons, that would be arbitrary.  The player needs to do something to unlock it.  We could have put the Pigeon biz card by the truck that needs to be moved, but that wouldn't make much sense. We went round and round on this one and any fix broke other things, so we left it. A lot of players just forget about the biz card, which is the intended idea. For the ones that make the connection early, it seems a little backwards.

Maurizio - Apr 23, 2017 at 05:12
"Objects can be picked up if enough time laps. "

Exactly! thanks for clearing this up! So the design rule is: either you need to find the object much later than the puzzle, or much earlier.

(I can't believe I am talking about puzzles design with Ron Gilbert. Just wow.)

LogicDeLuxe - Apr 23, 2017 at 11:14
Why not just stop the hotel manager from turning on the computer? This particular hotel guest he's spying on could arrive just in time when you need the wrench.
Or you could keep the room number on the monitor as a reminder. Of course, it would show the Pigeon Brothers then.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 18, 2017 at 04:56
Did you prefer a monkey wrench instead of a Pigeon's one? :-)

DZ-Jay - Apr 18, 2017 at 19:11
Well, that's not possible, since they don't "monkey wrench" around! LOL! :)

     -dZ.

Maurizio - Apr 18, 2017 at 02:06
I'd like to point up how many things this game got right:

1) The vastness of the world, which is essential to create immersion. They really succeeded in making you feel like you are in "a world". (and this vastness also allows the create puzzles that are logical and at the same time not too easy).

2) the incredible attention to the structure, with the world that "opens up" and "narrows down" at specific times. And it does so multiple times in the game. There is such *balance* in the game. Compare this with Monkey 2, where part2 was so vast but part 3 and 4 were just a sequence of cages. There is an overall sense of balance in TWP that can really be felt.

3) the humor really works. I don't remember in monkey island to have laughed as much as when in TWP I saw the dinosaur, or when I drank from the fountain, or when I read "goddamn makeup", or when I talked to the TRON machines.

4) the incredible attention to the characterizations of protagonists (and Chuck's NPC as well). Their personalities are so strong, and the amount of attention to their past.

5) the integration between story and puzzles. Those games where you write the story first and then try "jam" puzzles in afterwards suck. But the opposite (you think puzzles first  and write a story to fit them in) also sucks. In this game, neither the story nor the puzzles take precedence over each other. The puzzles feel natural in the story, but the story can stand up on its own. And all this without having too long unplayable parts.

6) The puzzles have such great quality. Sometimes you have an object which is normally used in a way, but in this game it is useful for some secondary, non obvious, property; or only when used at a specific time; or only because of a reaction that it will trigger in some other character; or objects that must be used in one place but will have effect on a totally different place. There are so many techniques employed for puzzle creation. But at the same time, the puzzles are all logical and fair, though it is of course "videogame logic"; and finally the puzzle solution is often even funny. These 3 qualities together are incredibly difficult to achieve at the same time. (even the first two alone).

Maurizio - Apr 18, 2017 at 02:16
7) That the authors understand the importance of low-res graphics. When we see a low-resolution, "fuzzy" image, our brain automatically creates details that are not there. And the details we imagine are better than the details we see. So that world feels real. This is why pixel art works and high-res graphics (arguably) does not.

8) the sprite style chosen, which is funny in itself (avoiding things like Spine...)

9) the lighting effects and the animations (a game that feels "still" will always feel fake)

10) the hand gestures;

11) the avoidance of teleports and face closeups during dialogs...

There are so many ways it could have gone wrong, and none of them happened.

Ijon - Apr 18, 2017 at 17:37
@pixels
Both work but it heavily depends on the art style and your resources. Good low-res is better than bad made high-res but well made high-res also can offer space for projection whilst looking great. Part of the reason why i played the game in windowed mode was that sometimes the pixels scaled too big for my taste (like in Safely First Savings). Your distance to the screen, the size of it, the colors ... it's about the impression of having pixels without that they're staring at you.

Btw. what's new in 1323.866?

Maurizio - Apr 19, 2017 at 02:28
the problem with hi-res graphics is that there seems to be a kind of "uncanny valley" , applied to objects, not faces. high-res graphics becomes more similar to the real objects, so the small difference starts being really noticeable and becomes annoying. instead, low-res graphics is not trying to "compete" with the real world, so it works.

In theory I think that if you spend 2 million dollars on graphics, you _could_ create a high res game which works. But in practice...

Ijon - Apr 20, 2017 at 19:07
You can avoid ending up in the uncanny valley by choosing a different style/from of abstraction without spending millions. lowres was the right choice for TWP, it clicks due to adventures' roots, technical limitations/benefits, players' habits ... the lowres experience varies and offers a range, based on your personal preferences, your gaming history and your system. Did you play adventures on C/E/VGA? How good was your signal/screen/angle? ... MM on the Amiga looks much more alive than on the C64.

Looking at TWP (I enjoy standing on the right side of the green farmer in the thimble con scene, the tune creates a wonderful mood, the ghost is subtile and there are drinks and planets, most scenes in TWP look great), it feels like a 360x225 scene built out of 8x8 pixels (from 6x6 to bigger ones). Staying lowres, I wonder how a more dominant 480x300/6x6 or doubled res would feel like.

Btw. looking out of the window near the prison cell, could trigger a comment. *going to Bumpusville*

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 18, 2017 at 05:01
I think a new insult could be added into future adventure games:
"You are so stupid that you could be stuck during TWP part 5!"

Paul - Apr 18, 2017 at 13:38
Finished it and enjoyed it...

I loved the puzzles... they were complex and challenging, but fair. I got stuck a few times, but figured it out after thinking about it some more, which was satisfying.

Excellent art and music, though I missed the atmospheric map style of Monkey Island.

I thought the game was hilarious in places, though I felt it could have benefited from an additional joke writer or two, just to vary the types of humor throughout the game. And then you could also just keep the best-of-the-best of everyone's jokes in there.

The setting was very well realized, though I am more a fan of fantasy/sci-fi/pirate settings, so a small 80s town wasn't my first choice, but I understand that's just a personal preference. I liked going through the wireframe world a lot, I thought that was clever and interesting.

I liked the twist ending and concept, though I felt like a lot of the time I was rushing through the game to reach the big reveal and so I wasn't really involved in the earlier stuff like solving the murder.

Thanks for this game guys! I hope it does really well and that you do another adventure game.

Paul - Apr 18, 2017 at 15:16
Well, at least no one has yet spoiled the part about how Ray and Reyes are lizard people from the planet Omuclon 5 and how Thimbleweed Park is set entirely on an asteroid orbiting their homeworld...

Dixiegrizzly Comatose - Apr 18, 2017 at 15:12
Cannot run this game on Windows XP. There's not a win32 valid application. Anyone in here knows how?

thedes - Apr 18, 2017 at 18:21
> MINIMUM: OS: Windows 7 (fully, FULLY patched)

Someone - Apr 18, 2017 at 18:22
The solution to this puzzle is found in the section "System Requirements" on the Steam page: The minimum is "Windows 7 (fully, FULLY patched)".

Someone - Apr 18, 2017 at 18:23
*beep* thedes was faster. ;)

Victor Von Doom - Apr 18, 2017 at 21:25
I'm playing this game at a leisurely pace, partly because I'm too busy, but also because I want to enjoy the experience as dive deeper and deeper into the plot. Ok, maybe also because I'm slow :-D

As other have stated, the puzzles are logical and I found that I'm much better at solving them than I was 20+ years ago. Having said that, I've got a head-scratcher in my hands now: how in the heck do I get that watch repair kit from "Sexy Ryker"? I've gotten as far as giving him the rancid hamburger and watching him go into this room to vomit. I also got Franklin in there, but he leaves as soon as Riker comes in, and I can't slip into the room while the dude is hurling in there. So at this point, I'm thinking that maybe I can jam the door somehow while it's open, but so far I haven't found an object to accomplish this task (if that's what's needed)...and I don't want to randomly try everything in my inventory, because I know the puzzles are logical.

Anyway, my question is rhetorical...meaning, I don't want a spoiler or be told how to solve the puzzle. If nothing else, I'm just giving the developers insight into my thought process (not that they haven't gotten enough of that with their beta-testers).

Fun times-a-boo!
Victor

Nor Treblig - Apr 18, 2017 at 22:12
SPOILER ALERT (not really):
You have to draw the map you have seen in your dream!

But seriously: Your thought process isn't completely off track.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 19, 2017 at 04:51
Eheh, that puzzle made me think a little bit more than usual.
Yeah, even Ransome doesn't want to step in the room, while Mr. Sexy is vomiting.
But you know, now, in which room you can find the tools.
So... stay focused on that room, after Sexy Riker left it.
And think... think... think...

DZ-Jay - Apr 20, 2017 at 07:23
You are on the right track and your thought process is similar to mine.  As a matter of fact, I too struggled a bit with this one.  It was my wife that made the crucial mental leap that eluded me.  When she mentioned it to me, I was absolutely dumbfounded at how obvious it was.

Really, it is obvious, do not over think it.  Just consider the characters you already have and what they can do.

* SPOILER FREE-ISH HINT *
You now know in which room Sexy Riker stays, and he told you he has his tools in his room.  If he won't get them for you, can you find a way to get into his room when he is not there?
* SPOILER FREE-ISH HINT *

Victor Von Doom - Apr 22, 2017 at 14:22
Thanks for the encouragement, guys. Finally figured it out (zap zap!) :-)

I guess what was throwing me off is that the game was not in cutscene mode while Riker was in his room, leading me to think that I had to do something while he was in there (similar in nature to when you disable the radio antenna to lure Cassie out and you have to do stuff while she's out).

Onto the next puzzle!

Magnum Enterprise - Apr 18, 2017 at 21:41
Oh Jesus Christ! It must be a solution. Tell me there's a Windows XP Patch for godsake...

Nor Treblig - Apr 18, 2017 at 22:17
SPOILER ALERT:
To solve this puzzle you have to run a virtual machine (you are using Windows XP 64-bit, right?) and run Linux or Windows 7 in it and then install and play TWP.

If a Windows XP x86 PC is really your only available "gaming" device... maybe you can wait until iOS/Android versions are released?

Someone - Apr 19, 2017 at 04:52
You can install Linux next to Windows XP. So you don't need a 64 bit Windows XP. But depending on the distribution it's not an easy task (I recommend Ubuntu or Kubuntu).

Nor Treblig - Apr 19, 2017 at 10:07
But then it won't run on WinXP, it's cheating!

Someone - Apr 19, 2017 at 10:28
Hehe, yes. :-)

Guga - Apr 19, 2017 at 01:09
While I think WinXP was a wonderful OS... it has been released SIXTEEN years ago. Maybe it's time you update your machine :P

Someone - Apr 19, 2017 at 04:49
Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP three years ago! It's a surprise that your machine hasn't been hacked already. :)

Gffp - Apr 19, 2017 at 07:08
I still have a machine with Windows XP on it (a system way more user friendly, just to mention how it handled upgrades...)
Anyway that machine still works fine, no hacking or virus problems. Simply install a third party free antivirus. Or Linux. It could be useful as a workhorse.

Someone - Apr 19, 2017 at 16:12
"Anyway that machine still works fine, no hacking or virus problems."

If the machine is connected to the internet is is very dangerous because most of the modern malware hides from the user. Your machine could be already a (sleeping) zombie and you don't know it.

"Simply install a third party free antivirus."

I thought all antivirus programs have stopped their support for XP?

Gffp - Apr 19, 2017 at 18:07
No, no, that's not true. Many antivirus and other useful programs are still completely compatible with Xp. Even MS continues the support for the OS for its business users (companies and so on). On that pc I use the great office suite Libreoffice, Firefox, and Avast Antivirus wich is one of the antivirus I prefer because it has an engine that can get started before the OS starts so it is very powerful. And also Macrium Reflect to create a backup image of the disk. For an average use you can do everything. So really no problem on that machine, but the fact that I can't run Thimbleweed Park! :-P

Dixiegrizzly Comatose - Apr 19, 2017 at 23:33
Well gffp, now I'm so scared about my PC. A few months ago I connected the PC to the net and my Avast went down permanently. Now I changed a DLL file just to play this f' retro game and my PC doesn't want to turn off by itself anymore. I'm pretty scare. I must to backup everything soon. And get a good cracked Windows '98. I don't want to play Thimbleweed Park but to restore my XP for good. By the way, witch virtual machine do you recommend? And, someone said something about something called Free Party Antivirus? What is that? Oh, it must be the brother inside.

Gffp - Apr 20, 2017 at 04:04
Ahah, you're a funny guy! :-P I use it always to surf on the internet, to download documents, to get or send emails and also for my bank account and everything I need for home needs. As a second home pc it is very useful, given that it is also a laptop (portable). Don't get scared for these things, my friend, enjoy your life!

Someone - Apr 20, 2017 at 10:25
@Gffp: If I were you, I would be scared. :)

https://blogs.microsoft.com/microsoftsecure/2013/08/15/the-risk-of-running-windows-xp-after-support-ends-april-2014/

The CVE database counts over 600 vulnerabilities in XP:

https://www.cvedetails.com/vulnerability-list/vendor_id-26/product_id-739/cvssscoremin-5/cvssscoremax-10/Microsoft-Windows-Xp.html

But no risk, no fun. ;-)

And no, Windows 98 is not a good idea either if you like to use the internet. Update to a current Windows version or use Linux. The latter one is free software. You don't have to pay for it (but of course you need some time to learn how to use it).

Gffp - Apr 20, 2017 at 17:38
Ok guys... Given that all the programs I use on that pc exist also for Linux, when I have some spare time, I'll install Ubuntu. For now I won't use Xp anymore. I just never thought to be so interesting for hackers... I can't stand playing an adventure game with the risk of someone taking remote control of my machine and solving puzzles at my place!

Someone - Apr 20, 2017 at 18:14
@Gffp: Then just pull the network cable. :-)

Dixiegrizzly Comatose - Apr 19, 2017 at 23:20
Its because I don't have Internet on that PC. I just use for study and reading. Ok, I use a pendrive to install programs and PD and music and so on. But there's not a direct connection to the net.

Someone - Apr 20, 2017 at 10:32
You could install a 64 bit version of Linux on an USB stick. Then boot from the stick, install TWP on the stick and play it.

Cons of this method:
- Your PC has to be able to boot from the stick.
- Your PC must be able to run a 64 bit OS
- The installation on the stick is not trivial. AFAIR the program Unetbootin is able to install Ubuntu that way:
https://unetbootin.github.io/
- You have to boot from the stick each time you want to play TWP

Pros:
- Your Windows XP isn't touched.
- You can play TWP.

Dixiegrizzly Comatose - Apr 21, 2017 at 19:33
Oh fuck me Jesus Christ, fuck me...  my OS is asking me for a sweet fix. My Windows XP doesn't to turn off alone anymore. I have to take off the power cord. Everything started with TWP. I'm so stupid I didn't saw any of the Steam requirments to play this amazing retro game. Then I started to change DLL files on my system 32 folder. Folks: I have an Intel Core I5. Do you recommend to install Windows 7 or 8? And, by the way, do you recommend a virtual license or a physical Windows copy. Everyone says that is a perpetual licence to install the Windows over and over, but... what kind of change to my hardware and the Windows "get" that the PC is the SAME ONE. I mean... if I upgrade the motherboard, the Windows Original licence will work fine? and if I upgrade my Sentey Case? And if I upgrade my Intel I5 to Intel I7? I want a Windows perpetually. Windows XP is the best OS in the world, but Thimbleweed Park needs another OS. Oh jesus. I just hear the crickets on my garden. It's a wonderful night. I hate how many trailers of TWP I saw, I'm afraid I know the whole game before playing it. I'm changing the mood: I will not see any teaser of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In december I will enter to the theater and I will be a God.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 19, 2017 at 04:53
You can safely upgrade to Win 7... compatibility issues are very very very very low.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 19, 2017 at 04:59
Nov. 10th, 2015.
Ron Gilbert wrote a post on this very blog about early brainstorming session for the game.
Please, read it now... you will find that several points of that list are actually in Thimbleweed Park !

https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/early_brainstorm

Maurizio - Apr 19, 2017 at 06:58
Number 4  would be awesome... (control everybody in town and do whatever makes them happier)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 19, 2017 at 09:05
Like in the "Pleasantville" movie!

chandl34 - Apr 19, 2017 at 11:22
Here's an important question:  In the original Monkey Island, was Guybrush able to say "I want to be a Fireman" in the ending?  I remember this from when I was a kid, but I can't reproduce it on my newer Monkey Island Madness version of the game.  I know he says it early in the game.  I remember it being a running gag.

Nor Treblig - Apr 19, 2017 at 12:25
Hey says it only once when talking to the important-looking pirates. He never says it again, not in the EGA, VGA nor VGA-CD version of the game.

LogicDeLuxe - Apr 19, 2017 at 13:37
Exactly. I just checked the scripts to be sure. The word "fireman" only occurs once in the Scumm Bar.

Nor Treblig - Apr 19, 2017 at 14:07
I've also searched for 'flooring' and was surprised it was only used once in MI1 and then once in MI2. Strange how we sometimes remember running gags... (well, he does say it a lot if you replay the game a lot :-)

Emilie - Apr 19, 2017 at 11:50
I finished the game a couple of days ago and just wanted to thank you guys for the giant kick of joy + nostalgia I got from playing it. I think you did a fantastic job of keeping true to the old style, while finessing the graphics enough to make it feel fresh.

+ Ransome has to be one of the best characters in adventure game history. The voice actor you guys found for that role really nailed it.
+ I really wish I had been aware of the game since the Kickstarter phase -- the way you chose to incorporate your donors was so unique (and must have been insanely time-consuming).
+ I loved getting to walk through the wireframes. Being able to finally go into the arcade was such a payoff.

Can't wait for the next one! Thanks for giving this gift to the adventure game community!

DZ-Jay - Apr 20, 2017 at 06:59
I loooooooove Ransome's character.  I mean, I hate him, he's a jerk; but I love the characterization and the way the actor played him.  It's spot on!  It is one of the most interesting and memorable characters in an adventure game.  He is like a caricature of a jerk in much the same way that most jerks act out like caricatures of themselves.

I find myself quoting Ransome in my head whenever someone asks me something stupid or crosses me; Ransome's voice -- complete with *beep*ing effects -- just pops into my head and I must resist the urge to say it out loud. :)

The other very endearing character to me is Delores.  She is smart, clever, empowered, passionate, witty, curious, warm, and well rounded without the typical naivety imbued in such archetypes in popular culture, nor the need to act like a know-it-all, entitled, feminist bitch.  She is the soul of Thimbleweed Park.

I still haven't finished the game (although I think I'm close to it now), but I am loving the story and the characters.

    -dZ.

jpeg - Apr 19, 2017 at 17:15
After finishing the game last weekend, I've been blowing through the dev blog the past few days. (I knew about it due to the constant KS reminders, but opted to stay away from any potential spoilers.)
I actually find it a bit hard to say which is more awesome: the game itself or the detailed dev documentary. Obviously having both is the best thing ever. :)

Thank you for producing such an amazing game! I love the characters (even Ransome sort of grew on me, though he's still a jerk), their backstories and the story as a whole. The puzzles make sense and fit the world and I'm utterly delighted with the ending.

I didn't notice any glaring bugs. My one issue was that I didn't realize it was possible to abort dialog (I'd heard before) via "." which got a bit tiring for some of the more lengthy dialogs. In fact,  I only learned that there were hotkeys for _anything_ after I'd already finished the game. Oh well, it's not called Point & Click adventure for nothing. ;)

Huge thanks to the entire Thimbleweed Park team. You did an amazing job. Thank you! :D

Zombocast - Apr 20, 2017 at 14:32
Its amazing how many people died and I still don't know how they died. I'm a bad detective (O_o)

Schala - Apr 21, 2017 at 23:20
* SPOILER *

Yeah, we never do find out for certain who killed Boris and Franklin. I have an idea who did it, but that's never actually revealed in the game.

Cole Trickle - Apr 20, 2017 at 15:42
I just found a serious bug! The C64 screen that you get as an achievement icon when you watch the whole credits has an error. The top line "** Commodore 64 Basic V3 **" is not in the middle of the screen but on the left side.
I use this screen as a background picture for my Xbox, so it would be really nice if you could fix that.

Someone - Apr 20, 2017 at 16:29
It has to be "COMMODORE 64 BASIC V2" by the way (in capital letters). ;-)

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 20, 2017 at 17:09
If it's V3 it's there for a purpose.
Did you know that Commodore did V1, V2 and V4 BASICS?
V3 never existed. So, it's used only to reboot Thimbleweed Park!

Someone - Apr 20, 2017 at 18:11
Yep. Knew/know that all. :) The C128 had BASIC V7.0, btw. ;-)

LogicDeLuxe - Apr 21, 2017 at 02:23
And the 264 series has BASIC V3.5. Some Commodore specs claim the C64 BASIC to be V2.2, but the startup message indeed only says V2. The early PET's have no version on the startup message at all. And the C65 ROM's say BASIC V10.0.

V3 is okay, since it is a fictional computer. The text formatting doesn't look like the real thing either. The misaligned top line looks ugly, though. Especially when the text scrolls.

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 21, 2017 at 03:49
C65 ?
Never heard of that. When it was released?

Someone - Apr 21, 2017 at 04:45
Never. There were only a few prototypes:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_65

Cole Trickle - Apr 21, 2017 at 07:10
Ever heard of the Mega65?
http://mega65.org/

Someone - Apr 21, 2017 at 07:41
You mean me? Yes, I've heard of the Mega. But he is still in development not available yet. In addition, the Mega65 is just an emulator. :)

Someone - Apr 21, 2017 at 04:48
"V3 is okay, since it is a fictional computer."

Yes, but it's a mixture of the real C64 and a fictional computer. I.e. it says "Commodore 64". So it should be BASIC V2. Or "Admiral 64 Basic V3" or something. :-) I think that is, what Cole Trickle meant.

LogicDeLuxe - Apr 21, 2017 at 10:43
Maybe V3 is Chuck's take on an unofficial upgrade. He was a coder after all. Or Delores modified the KERNAL. She is also a coder.
Neither the real C64 gives credit to the BASIC (which is by Microsoft), nor does this fictional C64.

Cole Trickle - Apr 21, 2017 at 12:08
No, I didn't even notice :o)
I just noticed, the the writing in the top line was not centered like it should be.

http://www.hummelwalker.de/wallpaper/c64-wallpaper.jpg

LogicDeLuxe - Apr 21, 2017 at 12:46
Yes, it is centered on a real C64, but certainly not like in your picture. All letters would be on a 40x25 grid. Since an exact center is not possible that way, it has 4 spaces to the left and five spaces to the right border.

Brian Ruff - Apr 20, 2017 at 15:55
I happened upon a payphone yesterday and thought how "meta" and cool it would be to be able to call the Thimbleweed Park phonebook numbers via an 800 number like 1-800-THIMBLECON #2525. What do you think of this idea?

Guga - Apr 21, 2017 at 00:44
So... I was thinking about the ending.

Chuck says that their only way out is to delete the game, which Delores does by destroying the Tron machine in the wireframe.

However... the ending shows that TWP is reloaded, and you can play again. In fact, if I were to turn my home PC now, I could double click on the TWP icon and get to guide the characters again.

Is the game really over? We just THOUGHT we freed them from our own tyranny, but actually everything was in vain, they're still there at our commands. The only way to actually end the game is to uninstall it from your machine at home.

Or am I reading too much into this?

Zak Phoenix McKracken - Apr 21, 2017 at 03:51
Guga, please, try to sleep at night! ;-)

Maurizio - Apr 21, 2017 at 04:08
I think you just found a major loophole!

Someone - Apr 21, 2017 at 04:50
Just delete the game from your hard drive ... ;)

Somone - Apr 21, 2017 at 06:24
But then you are trapped in the loop. ;-)

Ema - Apr 21, 2017 at 11:44
No. If you uninstall your local game, the characters will still live in captivity in other computers in all the world. The creators have made up this TWP world, and they watch it just like sadist gods who are amused and entertained by the suffering of their creatures. The only way to destroy this insane world is to destroy the upper world. When the End of the World will come, peace will come for Thimbleweeders... (or however the residents are named...).

Arto - Apr 21, 2017 at 16:49
A bug (misbehaving code called Delores) can destroy (i.e. crash) the program, but not delete it. When the game has crashed, the player (upper world being: you) can just load the program to create it again. Which actually happens in 1987 Commodore 64. ish.

I'd like to present here a theory backed by a lot of scientists, that I have actually supported for a long time: if at any point in time humanity can simulate a universe, and there would be at least two simultaneous simulations running, the probability for us really exist in corporeal form is smaller, than us being part of one of these simulations. And there could be infinite number of these simulations running.

You may think you have a body, but your body and your world may be just information. Bits and bytes.

Miguel - Apr 22, 2017 at 07:10
Actually, if you start a new game after the end and then save it, the hours in the subsequent saves will include the first time you played.

DZ-Jay - Apr 22, 2017 at 17:27
I finally finished the game!  YAY!!!

I must say that I really like Thimbleweed Park.  It is a very good game; perhaps even a great game.  Certainly, it is destined to be a classic, and I can see myself re-playing it ever so often in the same way that I re-play some of my favourite 1980s graphic adventure games whenever I feel nostalgic.

It does have some flaws, albeit not many.  The flaws seem to be inadvertent, and they strike me as related to some very hard decisions that were made at some point in order to keep the game on track, on budget, and on time -- especially as the game enters the third act, where things feel rushed and the game feels a little bare on interactivity.  Even my wife (a non-adventure gamer)  commented on this, saying that it looks like they ran out of money by the end of the game and had to conclude it as best they could by cutting some puzzles or interactions.

All that said, and budgetary constraints notwithstanding, the game is a fantastic piece of work.  My wife and I were both very impressed with the quality and stability of the game, and with the brilliant story.  The characters were also brilliant:  every single one of them had depth and nuance imbued not only by the very clever writing, but by fantastic voice acting of the cast.  I bought into everyone's story and characterization, and I just felt like I knew them well.  That's not an easy thing to accomplish, so congratulations to all involved.

Finally, I would like to comment on the ending, but I want to alert others that there may be spoilers below.

* POSSIBLE SPOILERS *
The ending to me felt very anti-climactic and disappointing.  Yes, it concluded the story, but it felt very rushed and "magical," relying too much on too many deus ex machinas.  Please do not misunderstand me.  I am not criticizing the writing nor the plot resolution; which I found very intriguing.  I also do not want to give the impression that I dislike the ending because "it's not my thing," or because "I didn't get it," or any of the many excuses that creators tend to use to rationalize criticism.  I certainly "got it," and weird sci-fi-ish plot twists make me smile (I loved the Matrix, and I was young enough when it came out that the twist when Neo took the red-pill took me completely by surprise).  I guess it's perhaps the execution that left me wanting.

Resolving all characters at once felt a bit contrived -- especially since everything after the last encounter with Chuck within the PillowTron 3000 (tm) was less puzzle and more of a linear "paint-by-numbers" script.  Perhaps it would have been better to have had the ability to resolve the character's stories little by little throughout the third act rather than at once.  For instance, there is definitely no reason to keep Franklyn around while everyone is locked in the Pillow Factory except to make a phone call -- a puzzle which could have been resolved differently had Franklyn would have passed on by then.

Perhaps that way, the focus of the plot would have narrowed towards Delores' story, which turns out to be the main character.  I don't know.  I just know it all when through too quick, just clicking within the extremely limited interactive spaces allowed, like I was going through the motions in a perfunctory manner without much thought.

I understand the meta-physical implications of this: there is no free-will after all, and they are all playing their part in stopping the simulation by following the steps of another preordained simulation.  It's just that in practice, it falls flat and feels a bit, well, a bit dull.  I'm playing a game after all, one that had entertained me immensely so far and for which I had no expectation of it turning into an abstract, high-concept thought experiment.

That's not to say that there is no place for abstract, high-concept thought experiments within games; it's just that in this case I don't think it really worked.  Judging by some comments here and in other forums (from fans and reviewers), I am not alone.
* POSSIBLE SPOILERS *

Well, this turned out to be longer than I expected, so probably nobody will read it.  At the end, I would like to praise Mr. Gilbert and the entire Terrible Toybox cast & crew for the Thimbleweed Park experience:  from the Kickstarter campaign, through the development blogs and podcasts, all the way to the release of a great game.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to many of us, and I suspect to some of you as well.  I hope the game sells enough units to fund your enterprise for many years to come so that you can go back and do it all over again.  :)

       Regards,
       -dZ. & Shera

DZ-Jay - Apr 22, 2017 at 17:40
P.S.  I tend to over-emphasize the negative aspects sometimes, but that's because I am passionate about the success of the project, and care enough to point out what I think could be improved on a future one.  I want to make absolutely clear to the game developers, that I loved, loved, luuuuuuurved the game.

It took me a bit over 28 hours to complete, spanning three whole weeks (I started playing on release day), and other than a few hours spent stuck in a puzzle or two, I enjoyed every single minute of it.  I have already started playing it again to see if I missed anything and to try to find some easter eggs.

I'd like to point out one more thing that should be of note to the developers:  although I fancy myself an old-school adventure gamer, I've never been more than a casual player, even back in the day.  I've never, ever, ever successfully completed an adventure game without a walkthrough.  Never, that is, until Thimbleweed Park.

I played the game from start to finish -- without spoilers and without hint guides.  I played with my lovely wife, a decidedly non-adventure gamer, and we both had a great time.

Thank you for all the fun!
     -dZ.

Nor Treblig - Apr 22, 2017 at 19:40
I liked the ending but I agree there was no reason for Franklin's ending to wait until the big finale. I was wondering how to get rid of Xavier and get the crystal. In the end it was a little arbitrary for him to change his mind and stand up against him which I would have liked to do before all the time (of course the dialog with Delores need to be different depending on her knowledge).

I would have also liked to roam the county with Franklin after getting rid of Xavier (floating into every closed building, visiting the sewers...) :-)

DZ-Jay - Apr 22, 2017 at 22:18
Yeah, that's what I thought.  I like the *idea* of the ending, but not exactly how it played out.  It felt a bit empty and arbitrary.  But overall, the game was really fun and a beautiful love letter to the genre. :)

     -dZ.

Ron Gilbert - Apr 22, 2017 at 22:35
The ending used to be longer, but it felt wrong when you had to know solve a bunch of puzzles. The pacing was wrong and the game felt like it dragged on, so it was cut. It felt better to be to have the ending be a nice, easy release, not a build up. That was my decision and I stand by it and don't regret it. It was the right move.

Franklin was always a problem, with him being stuck in the hotel. We had a lot of conversations about him. Resolving his ending before the confrontation with Chuck would have seemed out of place. It would have been better of Chuck had given Delores the item that made Franklin stand up to Xavier. I didn't think of that until it was too late.

Sephantos - Apr 23, 2017 at 05:59
I noticed and loved the deliberate easy pacing at the ending. There is a special, somewhat melancholic mood particular to classic adventure games in general, when everything's drawing to a close,  secondary characters begin to disappear and parts of the map are no longer accesible. You know it will be over soon and you're just saying good bye. It's sad and it's sweet.

In Thimbleweed Park this was even more powerful -that last solitary stroll through wireframe town felt like discovering childhood photographs you didn't even know existed.

Loved it.

Someone - Apr 23, 2017 at 06:30
"The pacing was wrong and the game felt like it dragged on, so it was cut. It felt better to be to have the ending be a nice, easy release, not a build up."

That was one of the main things why I don't like the last part of the game. In the current form it feels like to "rush" through the last part of the story.  The player isn't able to dive into this depress mood. And it feels like the story suddenly ends in the middle.

Regarding Franklin: You can even solve the whole adventure without ending his story.

@DZ-Jay: Very good summary! I full agree!

Ron Gilbert - Apr 23, 2017 at 09:39
Regarding Franklin: You can even solve the whole adventure without ending his story.

That's true of everyone, except Delores.

There are also a few hidden endings most people never see.

DZ-Jay - Apr 23, 2017 at 10:26
I've heard from you and others about some easter eggs and hidden endings.  I think I found only one of each.  Now I'm playing again to see if I can find anything.  Any chance that you could offer a non-spoilery hint?

* SPOILER *
Easter Egg:  I found Nurse Edna in the wire-frame kitchen of the Mansion mansion, which was a nice touch.
Hidden Ending:  I blew up the Mansion mansion using some secret devöce with a big red button, which lead me to a big "GAME OVER" message.  That was surprising and very funny! :)
* SPOILER *

Gffp - Apr 23, 2017 at 10:34
Hmmm... Try to keep the spirit of Ransome unaltered...in the most important moment...

DZ-Jay - Apr 23, 2017 at 08:31
Dear Mr. Gilbert,

First, thanks for taking the time to response.  Second, I can completely appreciate your reasons for making such decisions and and I cannot challenge them because, 1) I did not see it as it was before; and 2) you are the experienced game designer and probably know what you are talking about. :)

However, I wonder if perhaps it went too much in the other way.  In your eagerness to improve the pacing, that perhaps you went too far into correcting it.  To me it feels too rushed.

I would not have expected a big build-up or another few hours of puzzles, just a bit more "meat" on the bone.  I compare it to reading a fantastic mystery novel with very interesting characters and an intriguing story, in which having reached the final chapter, it's a single page, enumerating the conclusions:

" Epilogue:
* Johnny did it and is now serving time;
* Nancy divorced Peter and took his money;
* The butler tried to run away with the silverware, but was caught;
* And the kid never got his ice cream.

The End."

You go, "that's it??"  I think a bit more substance (and a puzzle or two) may have serve better.  As it stands, I felt I couldn't savor the resolution since by the time I got enough of a taste to understand each one, it was over and gone without time to relish, and we move on to the next.  That's my opinion and I stand by it. :)

All that said, I am a (lame and obscure) game designer myself (although nowhere near your caliber), and I know that this is difficult.  Coming up with a satisfying ending that resolves the story satisfactorily; that is commensurate in style, breadth, quality, and depth to the rest of the game; and that flows with a natural cadence -- all at once is not easy.  I applaud you for your effort. :)

Now I really can't wait to see what you guys will come up next!!

    Best regards,
    -dZ.

Paul - Apr 23, 2017 at 11:58
"The ending to me felt very anti-climactic and disappointing.  Yes, it concluded the story, but it felt very rushed and "magical," relying too much on too many deus ex machinas."

I felt a bit the same, but maybe for different reasons.
I would have liked the big reveal to have happened much earlier in the game, as I think it's a great twist and I would have liked to have characters deal with the implications more. Eg. having to go back and forth between the wireframe world to solve puzzles, ask the in-game game designers to design them a new character to help them, get stuck in bits of other games, etc.

I think the Matrix is a good example because Neo takes the red-pill pretty early on. I feel like in Thimbleweed Park the red-pill was taken right at the end just as the game was about to get really, really interesting/crazy. We got some of that, with the wireframe world and Ray being beamed up with the modem and I really loved those parts of it.

From the start the game hinted at a big mystery that I couldn't wait to find out, but when I finally got to the factory the game quickly wound-down. It felt a little like spending the whole game doing lots of puzzles on Melee Island waiting to get to Monkey Island, then finally arriving on Monkey Island only to have Herman Toothrot meet you on the shore and go, "congrats, you reached Monkey Island and finished the game!"

DZ-Jay - Apr 23, 2017 at 13:37
I know exactly what you mean.  However, I rather not engage in fantasies of what the game *could* have been.  After all, the game is done, we waited for two years, and this is the game we got.  It may not be perfect, but it is a very good game.

I just wanted to point out (like you) to Mr. Gilbert some things I perceived as flaws that could be considered for their next game.  :)

    -dZ.

Gabarts - Apr 22, 2017 at 19:19
I managed to open the main door of the factory! It's been a great challenge and a real pleasure playing again with the SCUMM power!
I must say that Thimbleweed Park is a work of genius, definitely it's SCUMM at its peak and I loved the many easter eggs and weird things, puzzles. There are plenty of great memories in the game and the noir-weird atmosphere brings me in mind something about Twin Peaks which I love. Then the Thimblecon 1987 (the year of Zak) with Ron, David and Gary, amazing stuff! This game is a lesson in how an adventure game should be done. I had hard time with Zak, Last crusade, Loom, and the fact of facing an early dead end was a bit like eating 4 hotdogs from Sandy's here in Thimbleweed you can play for hours without losing the fun and you can even enjoy the audio from the bakers in the Mansion mansion. A perfect game!

DZ-Jay - Apr 23, 2017 at 08:41
By the way... I don't know if you meant it metaphorically as its direct descendant, but the game is not built in SCUMM.  Mr. Gilbert created a brand new game engine based on all the work he's done in the past (including SCUMM).  As far as I know, this new engine does not have a name -- at least not one as catchy as SCUMM.  Mr. Gilbert has mentioned in the past that he may consider releasing it in the future for others to use.

So, yes, let's celebrate the new Golden Age of adventure games in the spirit of the old-school SCUMM! :)

    -dZ.

P.S. I agree that the books in the library and telephone messages, and all backer content, is great.

Gabarts - Apr 23, 2017 at 11:26
Well, it has SCUMM as a base of course, but it's clear that it has a different power, let's call it SCUMMtron 3000. I wasn't following the blog, so I have missed something on my path... if Ron Gilbert is going to publish this engine I hope it will create a full software around it, I think is not a bad idea after all, maybe it can be a 100$ software for creating special pixel art SCUMM style adventures, made by the man himself! I mean for example it can have special brushes to paint directly in the software pixel art characters and backgrounds, special animations commands... considering the success of TWP and how amazing is the game built with this new engine, would be a cool idea...

DZ-Jay - Apr 23, 2017 at 13:33
Haha, SCUMMtron 3000 (tm) -- don't forget the "tm"!!! :)

I can't speak for Mr. Gilbert, but my impression is that it is not really based on SCUMM, and completely designed from scratch as a very modern engine.

Perhaps a better name would be the ThimbleTron 3000 (tm). :)

     -dZ.
what is two + two?