Thimbleweed Park Podcast #12
“A very special 4th of July episode.”
Original airdate July 4, 2015
Transcribed by Sushi
(Ron:) Hi! I’m Ron Gilbert and welcome to the Thimbleweed Park weekly stand-up meeting podcast and today I’m joined by David Fox…
(Ron:) …and Gary Winnick.
(Ron:) What we do is every week we go over what we did last week and what we’re gonna do next week and this week I think we’ll start with Gary.
(Gary:) OK, so this week I finished up pretty much -I think I might have one left- but I finished up all the close-ups that I had on the wireframe list and then also we posted the most recent version of the Delores development blog and we will be finalizing that by next week as well. A lot of good feedback on that, though it is interesting once again to see how many differing opinions there are. In this case I think it’s been a little hard to home in on that but once again Ron and I will decide and we don’t care what anybody else thinks, really.
Let’s see… next week I’ll be working hopefully on some character renders and animation. This week we’ll be finalizing the actual final style of the backgrounds with Mark, so we will be able to then integrate our characters into that and figure out what the level of render needs to be in order to work best with that.
(Ron:) Yeah, he’s working on two rooms that he’s taking to final, right? Is that correct?
(Gary:) That is correct. An interior and an exterior so we can get an idea of what the final rooms are gonna look like. And then Ron and I will be doing a bunch of scheduling next week in terms of once we have a clear idea of what everything’s going to look like, we’re going to actually then schedule out the rest of the entire game now for production.
(Ron:) Yeah, scheduling is fun!
(Gary:) [hesitant] Yeah…
(Ron:) That’s the fun part of game development.
(Gary:) I’ve learned a lot about that from you, Ron. Your my sensei when it comes to scheduling.
(Ron:) Oh you are so in trouble…
(Gary:) I know! [laughs]
(Gary:) And then the other thing I’m going to do is plug a couple of personal things shamelessly. First of all Bad Dreams, my graphic novel, is shipping this week into comic book stores as well as you can go on to Amazon 1 and order a real copy for yourself. Or if you’re into all this sort of digital nonsense, you could go to comiXology and the download of Bad Dreams is actually available right now on comiXology 2 . You’d have to just download comiXology’s app, which I assume most of the people out there know what that is.
And then finally I will mention one other thing on a personal note: anybody who’s in the Northern California area, particularly in the Santa Cruz Bay Area, I will be participating in Felton’s first Friday Artwalk this evening. I do that every month, first Friday in Felton at the satellite where my office is, on highway 9 in Felton, CA. So stop on by and say “hi”. You know, that sounds like an actual commercial for the ladies or something .
(Ron:) [laughs] Do you have like a flashing number for people to call? “Call right now!”
(Gary:) Yeah, “Visa and MasterCard accepted.”
(Ron:) “Only four left!!”
(Gary:) [laughs] Yes, so that’s about it for me.
(Ron:) All right. David?
(David:) I finished up the telephone book code. This is the huge phone directory where all the names of backers and other people will be listed. Also I set it up so you can pull a random name out of the phone book and use it as part of puzzles and actually have one of those wired in. [I] added new Quicky Pal rooms from Mark and wired some puzzles into those. [I] found lots of bugs. [I] was able to take a look at Ron’s new code where when you enter a room, instead of just being there stationary 3 the character now walks a couple steps so it looks like they’re actually [entering and] not statues that were there in the doorway, which looks really good. I think that’s it for what I’ve done.
Next week, I just continue. I have a list of puzzles that I can now complete wiring that we have objects and rooms [for] and I can do more of that.
(Ron:) All right, great! So last week I got the dialog system in. I did a post 4 talking about the file format we’re using for dialogs. So I got that all working. [I] still haven’t completely decided if we can do dialogs or not. I decided that I would probably try to write five of them and just see how much work it really was and whether we could do this abbreviated dialogs, where they weren’t these really long involved trees but were much much shorter trees. So I have the dialog in for the first time you meet the sheriff and I’m putting the dialog in right now for when you meet the reporter at the Nickel [News] and the dialog when you try to leave the Vista and go down into the county - the dialog with the sheriff. So I’m just trying this very small little dialog trees for them and I think it’s working okay. It certainly is a lot of fun.
(David:) The one where you leave the Vista is really funny. That kind of proves that they really have a place if they’re used at least judiciously.
(David:) Maybe don’t use them every single place [where] there is an interaction. But it also really captured the character of the sheriff and much more than you could by a couple comments the sheriff would make.
(Ron:) Yeah, I think from the comments that I saw on the blog, that was one of the things that people were saying: you don’t have to do these full, super deep conversations. You could do these very shallow conversations with people and that would feel good. And I think that’s right. I think that dialog on the Vista with the sheriff is a good example of that because that’s not a very deep dialog tree but it’s still fun.
(David:) Yeah, so if the purpose is more to portray information and maybe give a couple hints or something as opposed to working away and to find an answer that you’re gonna need for later on as a puzzle that you’re solving then I think they’re much less tedious and I think it really works.
(Gary:) [It] goes a long way to help define the personality of characters as well.
(Ron:) Yeah and I don’t think the dialog puzzle should be about going down deep and giving information.
[wining puppy sounds] My dog is making noise.
(Gary:) Your new dog, agent Ray?
(Ron:) My new dog 5 is making noise. [to Pep] Hello there! She wants out.
OK, let’s see. And so I did that. That was a big thing I did last week.
I did the walk thing that David was talking about where characters, when they first appear in the room, they take just a ten pixel step forward and -as David said- that really helps because it helps inform that continuity of motion that they were moving from one place into this place and you can see them, so I think that worked really well. So next week I’m gonna just work on the dialog stuff. I’m going to try to do as many dialogs as I can and try to get a big sense of the amount of work that’s needed. And it’s nice when the dialogs are going in. You’re really starting to see this story of the game developed where we hadn’t really seen that before, you know, we’ve seen puzzles come together and the rooms come together, but now we’re seeing the story all come together and I think that’s neat.
(Gary:) From Ron’s head to a screen near you.
(Ron:) And then as Gary said, we’re gonna do a bunch of scheduling. Mark is taking up all the rooms to final. Part of that process is just completely locking down: “OK, this is the style of our final rooms” and the other part of that is so Mark can get a better understanding of how long it takes him to actually bring the rooms to final.
And then once we have that, we’ll just go through and we’ll schedule every room in the game and also every animation that we need to do in the game and then I guess figure out how screwed we are.
(Gary:) Yeah, we’re not gonna have enough time. Yeah, that’s what [will happen].
(Gary:) Well, I mean, I’m sure it’ll be fine because Ron’s responsible for the scheduling and he knows what he’s doing.
(Ron:) Yeah, I just keep cutting. It’s gonna be a five room adventure game with three characters.
(David:) Yeah, what was that exercise you had us do, where we had to list rooms when you cut? I had a hard time coming up with with this many as you wanted.
(Ron:) Yeah. We have we have about a hundred walkable rooms in the game, which is quite a few. Monkey Island I think had in the high eighties and we have over a hundred, so I just sent an email to you and Gary that just said “pick 15 rooms we’re gonna cut” and I just wanted to see do we have cruft 6 ? Was there’s this common set of rooms that both you and Gary would cut and I haven’t done my list yet. I haven’t read yours because I don’t want to read your list until I’ve done my list…
(Ron:) …but I’m gonna do my list and then we should look at those and see if there is five rooms that every single one of us said we should cut. And if that’s the case then we really should.
(Gary:) I did write actually 17 rooms we could cut, but I cried the entire time. [David laughs]
(Ron:) It’s hard, cutting is hard! It’s like every single thing you think is absolutely important and critical but once you cut it and time has gone by, you kind of go “yeah, we really didn’t need that anyway”.
(David:) I couldn’t get to 15. I think I did 11.
(David:) Yeah and by the time I got to the end, I was starting to cry also. [Ron laughs] I couldn’t work through the crying.
I had a question I want to ask about the close-up of the bulletin board.
(David:) This one Gary did is a full screen but it seems like there needs to be some interaction with it and [I was] wondering whether we need the verb interface.
(Ron:) What’s the interaction that needs to happen on that bulletin board?
(David:) You’re looking at stuff that’s there, you’re picking up at least one thing and you’re putting something else on it.
(David:) It seems like to do that without the interface is gonna be awkward, because you really won’t know what you’re trying to do when you’re clicking on stuff.
(Gary:) Just have your cursor tuned into a little hand when it’s something you can pick up like like on a Mac or something.
(Ron:) Yeah but you also in this particular case you have to pull something off the bulletin board and then you have to put something back on the bulletin board, right? I suppose we could do the put in the far view, where you can say “use blank with bulletin board” to put it on the bulletin board.
(David:) I thought of that, but it just felt awkward that you’re kind of switching UIs about how to interact with it.
(Ron:) Yeah, that’s a good point. I guess we should look at that and see… I don’t know. I mean, I’m sure the bulletin board it can be done in that long skinny format that fits the room with the verbs, but I think it might look a little weird.
(David:) I would just bring it in on the edges so it still keeps more of a [same aspect ratio] so it’s not so long and narrow. Do we have any other close-ups that the UI is still there? We might not, but this one, I think you need it.
(Ron:) We don’t. All of the other close-ups are things like the telephones and things you simply look at. We do have the map, there is the overhead map where you’re walking around the county, but in that case you’re really just clicking on places like the Monkey Island maps where you’re just clicking on it to walk around.
(Gary:) The biggest problem is having to put something [down on it] now that I’m thinking about it. Because even on the books we have little dog-eared corners you can just turn, which is a natural way to do it but there’s not a way to actually put something down onto a close-up.
(Ron:) Right, picking up and putting down… [thinks for a second] All right, we’re cutting the bulletin board 7 .
(Gary:) Oh… OK?
(Ron:) Everybody agreed?
(David:) Well, not cutting, just…
(Gary:) C’mon, David wants to modify, Ron immediately goes to CUT! CUT! CUT!
(David:) Let’s cut half of it… the bottom half.
(Ron:) All right, is that it?
(Gary:) Feels like it.
(Ron:) OK, well, I will talk to you guys later and next week we will have Mark Ferrari on.
(Gary:) Did you check that with Mark yet?
(Ron:) No. No, we should probably ask him whether he wants to or not.
(Gary:) Yeah, because he could be off doing whatever Mark does.
(Ron:) Yeah that’s a good point. OK, see you guys around.
(Gary:) OK. Bye.
(David:) Ok, bye bye.
1: The print version is currently unavailable though. https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Dreams-Gary-Winnick/dp/1926513029
3: As was the case in most old SCUMM adventures.
5: https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/pep Named after Putt-Putt’s dog.
6: Badly designed or redundant code. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruft
7: The close-ups of the bulletin boards was eventually cut. And so was the puzzle where you had to put something on the bulletin board.