Thimbleweed Park Podcast #11
“With over 2 minutes of bonus material!”
Original airdate June 26, 2015
Transcribed by Sushi
(Ron:) Hi! This is Ron Gilbert and welcome to the weekly Thimbleweed Park stand-up meeting podcast. And as always I am joined by David Fox…
(Ron:) …and Gary Winnick.
(Ron:) And each week we quickly do a little stand-up meeting where we talk about what we did last week and what we’re gonna do next week and I think we’ll start with Gary.
(Gary:) OK, so [I] continued to work on art. I’ll probably say I continued to work on art every time we have one of these things. I don’t know if that’ll change very much.
(Ron:) Well I think when you say I didn’t work on art, that’s when we have to worry.
(Gary:) Yeah I was busy doing something else that had nothing to do with this.
(Gary:) So anyway, also having Mark [Ferrari] involved has been really a godsend just in terms of helping keep the quality up and keeping on track. So working with him, going through and making sure that we were staying on track relative to finishing up pre-production so we can move into production in about a week. That’s all looking fairly positive.
I finished a couple of rooms, a couple of close-ups. I also finished up some icons, I was working on those with David and I think we have most of those, at least the working ones for the wireframe, all up and running. A few more will trickle in but for the most part we have almost everything that is required to do the inventory.
And then I also did a little bit of review, we’re working on the logo with a logo designer and we’ll probably put some of that up once we feel ready to do that 1 . We’re still moving through the packaging concept stuff. And then we’ve been working on doing these walkthroughs and we finished up the last of those this week. I think Ron will probably have more to say about that .
Next week I will probably continue to do a few more close-up rooms that we have [and] wrap up everything on wire framing. And then I have to distill down the feedback on Delores and maybe do some pixel versions of her and then also look at some of the animation stuff moving forward. That’s pretty much it for right now.
(Ron:) I just want to say I think your Ransome the clown underwear inventory icons are gonna go down in history.
(Gary:) If we actually show that to people. [all laugh] We have a Ransome underwear icon that is clean and we have one that -I’m gonna call- is “soiled”.
(Ron:) Yeah, I think when I saw that [the] first time, my response was “Eww!”.
(Ron:) All right. I guess I’ll go next. A lot of bug-fixing, just the more David works on the scripting, the more little bugs come through and little features that I add to make things easy to do. One of the things I’m going to do is add trigger volumes 3 so you can set up little areas of the screen that whenever an actor walks into them, it can trigger some script to execute. I think it’ll save us a lot of time [not] having to constantly monitor people’s locations if they walk into something, [but] have the engine be a little more proactive in notifying the scripts when people walk into places. So that’s something I’ll do.
The big thing that I did programming-wise this week was [that] I got the dialog system implemented. I’m still not 100% sure if we’re gonna do dialog trees like we had in Indiana Jones and Monkey Island or not. But even without them, getting that system in is very useful, so I’ve spent the last couple of days getting that working. So there are actually dialogs: you can walk up to the sheriff at the beginning of the game and carry on a little dialog with him. I’ll probably do a post Monday talking about the dialog system and showing what the file format looks like and how all that comes together 2 .
And then we did our epic walkthroughs of the game. We walked through the entire game [and] I made a lot of notes about little things that need to change.
And I think that was about it for me unless I’m forgetting something. David?
(David:) Yeah, the walkthrough took a while. You were smart in trying to do it in relatively small doses, so we didn’t have to spend eight hours a day going through it - that would’ve been crazy.
(Ron:) Yeah, I think about an hour and a half, I think it’s kind of a human limit to being able to pay attention to stuff like that.
(David:) I think we ended up doing like a week full of that.
(Ron:) Five days of it, yeah.
(David:) Yeah, every day for an hour and a half. I think the first one was the longer and that was exhausting.
I started to wire up Gary’s new inventory objects and a few more of those. I actually wired a part of the endgame sequence based on one of our walkthroughs, [I] re-did parts of it so it works better.
First time working with printing text on the screen for the security book and the phone book. [I] start looking at data format for the phone book information for all the supporters.
(Ron:) I think there’s almost 4000 names that have to go in that phone book. 4
(David:) Yeah and I guess it’s not really gonna be that hard to generate that, but Gary did a first pass of a phone book where you can select the first letter of the person’s last name so you can jump to that section and I’ll probably be working on that next week also. I just got the first part of it done and I’ve got to [do] quite a bit more on that. Regarding what Ron said about trigger scripts, I actually used the walk boxes in one room to create an automatic opening door and this works better since it doesn’t have to be constrained to just one walk box or have a walk box do double duty. So that would be much better.
(Ron:) Yeah, using the walk boxes to figure out trigger volume can… it’s kind of a kludge, right? I think it’s better to have proper trigger volumes for things. And they can be smart. It’s like I want to set up the trigger volume so when you create a trigger volume you can actually specify “I only want to be triggered if a selectable character walks in the box” or “I only want to be triggered if Ransome walks in the box”. And I think off-loading that to the engine will just be a lot more efficient than having to write all that stuff in script.
(David:) It might be good to go the opposite, so that if someone’s in a box, that is triggers when they leave the box.
(Ron:) Yeah, I was gonna do that and I was gonna have both of those triggers, so a trigger when you enter and a trigger when you leave.
(David:) Yeah, good! I also spent, oh about 10 hours yesterday photographing my office, so you can see it on my blog. 5
(Gary:) It’s not that big, David!
(David:) No, I was cleaning it up first.
(Ron:) We’re going to make sure you get your awesome Revenge of the Jedi poster in there.
(David:) I know, thank you for adding that. You missed the last spot in the back wall that had the Zak [McKracken] poster in it too, so that’s there too. So I do have a Zak poster someplace.
(Ron:) I gave my sister for Christmas, back when I worked at Lucasfilm, I gave her a Revenge of the Jedi T-shirt. I hope she hasn’t used that to stain lawn furniture or something.
(David:) Yeah, some people look at it and they don’t realize what they’re seeing on the poster and forget about that that wasn’t actually the title of the movie.
(Gary:) David, if you need a few bucks, you can always take it to Pawn Stars. 6
(Ron:) Yeah and those Revenge of the Jedi posters and the t-shirts, I mean those are like legitimately printed, right? I mean they weren’t just fake funny printed that [David: no] absolutely was the name of the movie.
(David:) It was. When I first started working there [at Lucasfilm] 7 , that was the name and I think soon after they changed it. Maybe that was why they gave away these posters, because they realized they couldn’t use them anywhere. 8
(Ron:) “Oh, these are worthless.”
(David:) Yes, I think I got like four or five of them and have them somewhere at my garage or someplace rolled-up but this one is nicely fitting on my wall.
(Ron:) Oh, nice.
(Gary:) Don’t let anybody know where you live, David, [or] they’re gonna come and barge into your garage.
(David:) Yeah. Someone asked, I think in the blog about the name change and the thing I always heard was that it was gonna be called Revenge of the Jedi and then some kid wrote to George and said “but Jedi[s] don’t seek revenge” and George changed the name to Return [of the Jedi]. So I guess he had to make sure the first two characters were the same.
(Ron:) I wonder if that’s true or not.
(David:) I don’t know.
(Gary:) I just heard that through some series of events they could have concluded that it seemed too harsh. 9
(Ron:) Alright. So do we have anything else are we done?
(Gary:) I think that’s it for today.
(Ron:) Anything big on people’s agenda for next week?
(David:) Incremental stuff for me. Just continuing.
(Gary:) At some point I’m gonna really start concentrating on animation. We’re still sort of getting through wireframing, but that’s coming up pretty soon.
(Ron:) I think next week for me the big thing is getting the Spine 10 integration so we can choreograph animations in Spine and they can play back. I got a couple of people’s response from the blog post that did some tests, so I’ve got some good data.
(Gary:) So those happened already?
(Ron:) Yeah those have already happened. I already got that stuff back. 11
(Gary:) Oh, great.
(Ron:) So once I get the playback engine integrated then we can start playing those animations and see whether this is an easy way for us to save time.
(Ron:) All right, well I guess I will talk to you guys later.
Gary, David and Ron: Ok, bye!
(Gary:) All right.
(Ron:) I think we’re done.
(Gary:) Is there anything else you want to talk about while we’re all here? Probably not, right? Just more of us keeps doing what we were doing.
(David:) [with a straight face] I think we should just start over and do another walkthrough…[awkard silence] [laughs]
(Ron:) [laughs] Yeah, owkay…
(Gary:) You’re a funny guy, Fox!
(Ron:) Yes, write us up some notes and let us know how that went David! [laughs]
(Gary:) David, why don’t you just do one and you can give us your notes.
(Ron:) I figure we’ll probably will do another big walkthrough, but it’ll probably be like November or something and when final art is going in the game.
(David:) It was really good for another reason, besides just checking stuff, I have lists of notes and bugs I had to fix and things that weren’t working right and you do a room and you go on to the next room but we aren’t playing the game through, so we never really see where it broke.
(David:) So that’s good.
(Ron:) Yeah, I think the next walkthrough we do will probably actually be playing the game, not just walking from room to room.
(Gary:) Hey Ron, did Mark [Ferrari] ever respond to your Slack invitation?
(Ron:) No, he never did.
(Gary:) Because we do want him maybe to do one of these podcasts with us, coming up for the next few weeks and also I would like him really to be able to play a walkthrough of the game so he can kind of see how… I mean, it goes a lot to see how these things are connected when you can actually walk around.
(David:) Has he tried playing the game at all yet?
(Ron:) No, I’ve never given him a version of the game. Today I will get the Windows version running again and then get him a version.
(Gary:) Yeah, because that would also help them with this whole vista thing, I think, and stuff like that too, to just get a better feeling -even though [he has] this crappy map that I told him not to pay a whole lot of attention to it- I think it’s helpful for him to be able to walk around in the world and see how that feels.
(David:) I also think it would help for him to see some of the rooms starting to come to life. I think it’d make him even be more excited when he’d see some animation of things he gave that are actually animating, even though it’s rough.
(Ron:) I will do that. I will do that by the end of the day.
(Ron:) I’ll get him the Windows version.
(Gary:) All right. OK, bye!
(Ron:) See you guys.
(David:) All right, bye!
1: The final logo was revealed eventually only in the release trailer on March 30th 2017.
3: A trigger volume is an invisible area that generates a trigger event whenever an object or avatar enters or exits the area. This can be useful for opening automatic doors, spawning enemies,… The use of the term “trigger volume” instead of “trigger area” is because of its use in creating 3D games like first-person shooters.
4: The final number of entries in the phonebook is 3457 out of 3914 people that backed at the phonebook level or higher. https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/final_phonebook_import
7: Summer 1982. From http://www.electrondance.com/changing-lives-david-fox-part-1/ which features a picture of Dave Levine wearing a Revenge of the Jedi T-shirt.
8: The advance poster of Revenge of the Jedi (like the one David has) was distributed to theaters in November 1982. In early December, Lucasfilm licensees (like Kenner who produced the action figures) are quietly told that the movie will be retitled to Return of the Jedi. On January 27th 1983, four months before the movie’s premiere, Lucas announces the title change. Prices of the teaser poster on the black market immediately skyrocket from $10 to $200. All posters would be destroyed in a warehouse, safe for 6800 that were offered to official Star Wars Fan Club members for $9.50. They sold out in three days. [source: Star Wars, year by year, a visual chronicle]
9: Another take on the story is given by Stephen Sansweet, collector and long-time Star Wars ambassador, in his book “Star War 1000 collectibles - Memorabilia and stories from a galaxy far, far away”. George Lucas is said to have originally titled the movie “Return”, but producer Howard Kazanjian convinced him that the word wasn’t strong enough, so it was changed early in the production process. But Lucas was never totally on board. Lucasfilm did some focus groups in November 1982 to determine which was the most effective title. If the saga were to continue the good-versus-evil theme it had delivered to date, then “Return” rather than “Revenge” would be more effective in communicating that message, the report concluded. 20 Years later, Episode III is called “Revenge of the Sith”.
10: A 2D animation software tool. http://esotericsoftware.com/