Official Thimbleweed Park Forums

SCUMM Questions for Ron and or Community


#1

I hope you can spare a few minutes to answer some Qs
(feel free to answer whenever - Or perhaps the community might know)

OK, So as an Amiga user I really loved the Scumm based games. But it was also used for Maniac Mansion and Zak on the C64. The IBM PC compats, Atari ST, Mac and other systems. I am amazed that it was so flexible.

I was wondering if you or anyone could give me some idea of how the system worked. I am particularly interested in:

  • Which version came first when a new game was being worked on - What was the lead platform ?

  • Is Scumm an Engine or a Language?

  • How could Scumm be used on both the C64 and Amiga/PC other platforms?

  • Did Scumm have to be ported itself to each platform or because it was coded in say C
    could you cross compile for all systems (say 16 bits at that point) ?

  • What did the coders for the different platform do? Did they create - do the code that handled * the specific graphic / sound hardware of that platform?

  • Did the art get created for one system first (say in Deluxe Paint) then those files get converted / crunched / reduced in colours and formats for each system by the graphic artist assigned to that platform?

  • Was the scripting for the conversations / animation / sound cues all exactly the same for each version? Or did it need to be customised.

  • Did you find supporting all the IBM PC Compatibles and their possible hardware for graphics and sound a pain in the arse or was there good support from the manufacturers.

Was it a matter of using a driver or dll (supplied) or whatever to interface with them in a straightforward way, or did you need to create those yourselves?

  • Did you like the Amiga versions? To me as an Amiga user (C64 before that), I always felt they were of a very high quality, I adore them!. They came on a lot of disks but I didn’t care.

  • Do you agree with my opinion that at the time (late 80s-early 90s), The Amiga was far superior than most PC systems in terms of graphics and sound?

Before Direct X and Win 95.

  • Would it have been possible to convert some of the latter games like Full Throttle & Sam & Max to the Amiga or had it got too advanced by that point?

Not SCUMM Qs but would like to know

  • Did you get to see the box art. Did you have any input into that side of things?

  • Do you have any favourite box art from those games?

These might be dumb Qs but I’d really love to know thanks Ron / everyone :sunglasses:


#2

If I remember correctly, Ron said they did the actual programming on UNIX terminals, not directly on the C64.


#3

Yes, a lot. They are the first ones I ever played. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was the very first one. Then Monkey Island 1. I played on my A500 and loved the music. The intro theme, and its atmosphere were so catching!

Absolutely yes. When I first saw Monkey Island 2 on a friend’s 386, that pc-speaker sound was a strange experience, it was gross compared to Amiga sound.

The Secret of Monkey Island. Sometimes I still look at myself in the mirror trying to make the same face as Guybrush there! Purcell at his best there.

@anon36378415, do you remember those monkeys? :slightly_smiling_face:


#4

Depends on the game: MM and Zak on the C64, all other games on the PC.

It’s explained here:

That’s the way Interpreters/virtual Machines work. :slight_smile: (SCUMM has to be ported though and at least the C64 versions were different beasts.)

Short answer: This.

Both: Some systems had their own graphics, some were converted. For example the Amiga version of Monkey Island 1 uses the converted VGA graphics. Those in turn were redrawn because the “original” PC version used EGA graphics.

Yes. :slight_smile:

Then you had never the PC versions on 5,25 inch discs. :wink:

Depends on the time you are referring to. At the “beginning” (until the late 80s) the Amiga had better graphics and sounds.

AFAIR you can play some of the games via ScummVM on the AGA(?) Amigas. But it is possible. (There is a conversion of “Simon the Sorcerer”.) The problem was (and is): No one would buy them. :slight_smile:

/edit:
There was/is DOTT for the AGA Amigas, based on a modified ScummVM - more information here: http://amiga.h-plus-t.com/
And it seems that DOTT runs on ECS Amigas too.
The current ScummVM version is only available for AmigaOS 4.

No, I liked them all. :slight_smile:


#6

At first, it was the C64, then it was the PC. The Amiga, ST, etc where always ports. We never worked on those machines directly when developing.

Both

Mostly cross compile, but graphics/audio systems were so different that that had to be recoded.

Post 64 (MM/Zak), all the art was done in DPaint and then used on all the platforms. In some cases (like the FM towns, all the art was redone).

In those early days (MM - MI2) graphics on the PC were all the same… it was sounds cards that were a pain.

In all honesty, we had an Amiga but we rarely used it. The Amiga ports were done by contractors. The art on the Amiga and PC was 100% the same (once we started doing 256 colors on PC), but the audio was much better.

For the US releases, the designers always saw and had a lot of input on the box art and marketing. The EU versions were handled by our partners in each country and we had less input on that.


#7

The German boxes were mostly the US boxes (expect some minor differences like the German text :slight_smile: ).


#8

Yeah, they look pretty much the same everywhere.

http://lucasarts.vintagegaming.org


#9

Obviously PC speaker sucked but better PC’s had decent sound cards. Sadly at this point Amiga was already behind PC and MI2 shows this. Unlike PC, Amiga version doesn’t have iMuse and most of the music isn’t there. Earlier titles are a different story but there really is no reason to play Amiga version of MI2 or Indy 4.


#10

You’re right. That’s probably why I played both (MI2 and Indy 4) many years later, around 2000: I wasn’t interested in Monkey Island II mainly because of the poor sound of the machines on which I originally saw it, and the hand drawn graphics “brought” into pixels. I jumped directly from C64 to Amiga500 to Pentium MMX. I’ve never used the 80186 processors (286, 386, 486 etc…). I didn’t know that iMuse wasn’t in the MI2 Amiga version. I would have never expected that, since the music on those computers was really good, but probably it wasn’t affordable to work more deeply on a port for a machine with so evident memory limitations: the idea of playing a game, despite an adventure game, on 11 disks is a little bit onerous for the player. The Amigas were also capable of showing only 32 colors (instead of the 256 of the PC version) but they were so carefully chosen among the available palette, that you will barely recognize the difference, having mostly color gradients suffering from it:

Screenshots from the article: http://www.oldgamesitalia.net/articoli/amiga-vs-pc-sfida-dei-colori-parte-iii (OldGamesItalia: The Color Challenge - Part III)


#11

Hey, I had the same journey, C-64, Amiga 500, Pentium 60. Despite so many disks MI2 was playable on Amiga, but Indy 4 was atrocious on A500. I played with 2 disk drives, which probably made things even worse as it was very, very slow in some parts. You could count the frames of animation sometimes. Despite this I was bent on finishing the game (that’s what you do when you’re young and stupid) and I remember this as the worst gaming experience in my life. When trying out different positions for stone puzzles I was actually reading a book, since it took so much time to load. Ugh…


#12

I’d like to thank everyone, especially Ron for taking time to reply to this post.

I thought the Amiga versions were brilliant. Friends could afford Hard Drives and such luxuries but I couldn’t. Coming from the C64 and tapes I didn’t mind switching disks, the games tended to be organised very well so there wasn’t too much insert A, Insert B, Insert A again business.

I remember seeing MI on some of the older PCs and …

I was indeed meaning late 80s-early 90s. Once Dos was superseded by Windows and Direct X with it’s HAL the game changed. Of course even MS Dos could have brilliant games but back then on the compatibles of the time they were pretty week compared to the amigas output.

I don’t know all I know is the sound of the Amiga games was brilliant and that in MI2 you walk into different places and it changed depending on your circumstances in the game, I thought that was the iMuse system in action.

Simon the Sorcerer was released on the Amiga at the same time as the PC, the sequel (which I don’t like at all and think is awful) was ported much later by a team and a chap I am on nodding terms with on facebook.


#13

If we talk about the VGA age I wouldn’t agree with that: If the game was developed on the PC the quality was better than the Amiga conversion (more colours, better sound, …). The crappy PC games were mostly bad (or fast produced) conversions from Amiga games.


#14

Nah, it was much more. In the PC version as you walk around, the music changes piece by piece, gradually introducing new themes, to morph from one track to another. This was possible thanks to the magic of midi sequencing and very clever music compositions. I’m not aware of any other game that would do a similar thing.

It was certainly possible on Amiga, as tracker type software that was used on this computer to make music, worked in a similar way to midi but I suppose it may have been too costly. In addition, I checked the gameplay of Amiga version today, and so much of the music is just missing!

BTW since midi is gone from modern gaming, the remastered version of MI2 didn’t use iMuse either, as it would be difficult to recreate using just audio tracks.


#15

To me it looks like the versions on the Amiga 3000 looked and sounded like the best of the PC versions (for instance we got the more detailed and realistic close ups of Monkey Island 1 on the Amiga).

Another thing I wonder is how my german language version of Last Crusade happened to be uncensored?


#16

Why Amiga 3000? It had a faster processor, but everything else (that matters to us) was just like A500. I’m not sure what are the differences in MI1 between Amiga and PC, besides the music which is very nice indeed on Amiga. MI2 really has no advantages over PC that I know of.


#17

Well the biggest problem of the Amiga might have been the lack of a CD Rom disc drive so you could pretty much forget about voice acting in Fate of Atlantis (which I think was even the final LA game release for any Commodore computer. And all the other games after that had no versions without voice over)

But in general the Amiga worked real fine for those early games.


#18

Early yes - Loom, MI1, Indy 3 were great technically for the times. After that Amiga was behind. There was a CD-Rom drive expansion for regular Amiga, there was CDTV (Amiga 500 really) and CD32 (Amiga 1200 really) but it was all too little, too late. Commodore was run by idiots.


#19

By that time, yes. And you wouldn´t believe how long the community was waiting and hoping for the next big thing (can´t remember the titles but there were quite a few announced and cancelled) and the resurrection to becoming leader in the market again. I think it took at least until the late 90s when the final print magazines stopped publishing when most people moved on. There might still even be today a hardcore base that still expects a comeback…


#20

Maybe it was a crack/hack? The German Amiga version was censored (I played that version and I still own it).


#21

That it was, yes. But I´m surprised they went through the trouble of combining the german text with the original visuals.