Transcript Podcast #13

Thimbleweed Park Podcast #13

“Our unlucky cursed 13th episode. Listen at your own risk!”
Original airdate July 10, 2015
Transcribed by Sushi


(Ron:) Hi, this is Ron Gilbert and welcome to the Thimbleweed Park stand-up meeting podcast and every week we talk about what we did last week and what we’re gonna do next week. And I am joined by David Fox…

(David:) Hello!

(Ron:) … and Gary Winnick.

(Gary:) Hey there!

(Ron:) I believe this is our 13th podcast.

(Gary:) Lucky 13!

(Ron:) Yeah, I wonder if we should just skip right to 14 or something.

(Gary:) I don’t know. Do we have a 13th floor on the hotel? I don’t know about that.

(Ron:) Yeah…

(David:) This is the penthouse podcast. It’s not the 13th.

(Gary:) OK, yeah there you go: it’s the penthouse floor, it’s not the 13th. That makes a whole lot of sense, David!

(Ron:) [laughs] All right. We’ll start with David. What did you do last week and what are you doing next week?

(David:) Last week I got to work on Mark’s first final drawing where he took one of the rooms we have, which was before in black and white, and gave us a full color [version] with all sorts of cool effects. And I got to animate some stuff in it and it was just really fun to work with because it was so cool! Actually there’s something really strange about it and I realized it was because it was silent and something that looked that finished without sound seemed to be a problem, so I went ahead and added my crickets from other projects I worked on and a few other sound effects and I just kind of brought it to life. Now of course all the rest of the game started to feel really dead…[laughs] in comparison.

(Ron:) [laughs] Well, you got to get cracking on those.

(David:) [laughs] I also found a whole bunch of bugs, new features needed and that was really fun.
Next week, [I’m] continuing with some more puzzles. I’m sure I’ll get some more final rooms to put in and just going through. I haven’t done anything with dialogs yet, that’s something I like to try out so after you’ve kind of got that stabilized, I think I want to try to do one or two.

(Ron:) Yeah, I think it’s pretty close to being stabilized. I added a couple of features yesterday for the dialogs, but I think it’s good enough that you could start doing some stuff. Because I find that when I’m writing the dialogs, that’s when I go “oh wow, I wish I had this feature!”, you know? Like one of the things I wanted to be able to really easily do when a dialog line is displayed, is decide whether it’s like Ray or Reyes or Ransome that’s actually the selected character, so I just did a little quick syntax notation, where you just put their name in brackets and then if that character is selected, it will display the line otherwise it won’t. So I definitely find stuff like that as I’m actually writing the dialog. So go ahead and do that and if you discover anything that we should be adding to the syntax to make it easier, let me know.

(Gary:) One thing that’s interesting that I’m finding playing the game now with the dialog trees that Ron has put in, is actually the stuff is very reminiscent of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion. It’s actually really funny stuff! This is first pass dialog, I hope we don’t change a lot of this stuff which is just like kind of weird for me to be looking at the stuff and getting a real feel for the characters in the game just on Ron’s first pass, so that’s pretty interesting to see.

(Ron:) Well, I’m lazy enough that my first pass is probably my final pass.
[Gary and David laugh]

(David:) Yeah, I agree! This will help with writing other dialog too because a description of who they are really isn’t enough to tell you who they are untill you actually see them talk.

(Ron:) Yes, it’s one of the things I’m finding as I’m putting the dialog in, it really makes you ask yourself “who is this character?”, because they can’t just be saying these bland generic sentences, you know? They have to be saying sentences that give them a personality, just in their speech patterns or how they respond to stuff. And so I spent a lot of time and I’m starting to realize “okay, I understand who the sheriff is now” and it’s not something that I really understand until I start writing their dialog.

(David:) But where did you get that little bit with the sheriff his manners and speech mannerism?

(Ron:) I don’t know. I was just writing it and I wrote the first one I thought “Oh, this is kind of interesting”, so I just added it to the rest of his dialog.

(David:) Yeah I like that, it’s really fun.
Oh, the other thing I was gonna say is I noticed that there are now .yack files.

(Ron:) Yeah I just changed that.

(David:) Does that do anything different?

(Ron:) It doesn’t do anything different right now, but I thought it might be good to change them from .text files to .yack 2 files, so inside BBEdit we could create a syntax coloring sheet for them…

(David:) Mm-hmm.

(Ron:) …and if we give them a unique extension, then it’s a little bit easier to do that in BBEdit.
All right, Gary?


(Gary:) Yeah, so as David was mentioning, we’ve been working back and forth with Mark on now finally getting some final rooms done and that is really making the stuff come alive. He’s done both an exterior and interior test and I think we’re very close to what we need those to be like. And as you said you’re also working on the shaders and stuff, so we can then in turn put characters in those scenes and see how they work with the proper kind of lighting and stuff which I think hopefully will bring this all much more to life. It feels like it will, but until I see it, you know, it’s kind of hard to know that exactly. So that’s been coming along.
We’ve been working -as I said- with Mark back and forth, once again doing a lot of scheduling nonsense with Ron… or not nonsense, excuse me “important scheduling stuff” with Ron about that, but it is very important that we do all of that stuff.
And then I’ve been working on some character stuff as well. All of the characters have been very stiff so we’re now working on coming up with some poses for them that will be much more natural when they go into a stand or whatever. The last thing I did was Ransome standing around picking his nose…

(Ron:) Picking his clown nose.

(Gary:) Yeah. Picking his clown nose and we actually had more more discussion about that than a lot of the other things. I was surprised at how much discussion a clown picking his nose can bring on the team.

(Ron:) Yeah, that’s because we’re all like mentally twelve-year-olds.

(David:) [laughs]

(Gary:) Yeah I think so. You know, Ransome farting jokes and stuff like that: we’ve been doing a lot of those lately, so we’ll see where that all goes in the final game, since I said “well this is a G-rated game” Ron said “uh, PG probably” and I said “oh okay, so then we can have a clown farting and stuff like that and it’s OK”. So we’ll see if we actually do that, but once again, it adds more personality to everything we’re doing.

(Ron:) Yeah, it’s good stuff.


(Gary:) And then the other thing I have to mention: I did put the Delores post up and we got a lot of response to that and as I mentioned in the post, I was following a picture of Ron’s cute dog so I have to ask Ron about the cute dog. Is the dog really that cute in real life? And how much you’ve been playing with the dog and like spending time with the dog and stuff like that?

(Ron:) Yeah. The dog’s really cute and alive. Except she’s just a puppy, so she’s not house trained yet.

(Gary:) Oh, so she’s like Ransome.

[David and Ron laugh]

(Ron:) I have to really keep my eye on her and that’s taking a little bit of time because she has to stay here in the office with me all the time and it’s a little bit of work, but yeah, I know, she’s great, she’s great!

(Gary:) Teach her to code or something.

(Ron:) Yeah exactly.
All right. Yes, so the Delores stuff, how do you think that has gone?

(Gary:) Well the thing about that is for one thing -and although people are [giving feedback] and I want to see it- it’s not a democratic vote if you know what I mean. So I am going to go through I think and pull all the data from that and see what everybody’s preference was, but Ron and I are going to be looking at that I think one final time this week and then we’re going to decide which one it’s going to be and then I’ll go ahead and make a post about that for next week. But right now… the thing that’s weird is just, as I said in the post, you can just noodle something like that to death and I’m kind of over it, if you know what I mean, so I’m looking forward to sort of locking down what Delores looks like and moving forward because it’s been an interesting process, and I did want people to see what the process was, but really we do need to get focused on that. So that’s all coming to a conclusion very quickly.

(Ron:) Yeah, you really do have to just make a decision sometimes.

(Gary:) Yes.

(Ron:) It’s like it doesn’t feel like it’s perfect and you noodle and you just make a decision and then just push forward and [noises of Pep playing in the background]

(Gary:) Yeah.

(Ron:) It’s like a month later you don’t even realize it, you know, you’re totally happy with what you picked. And I remember when Steve Purcell was doing the original Guybrush , we just went around and around and around and around on what he looked like and I don’t know that I was ever completely happy with all the rev[ision]s that were coming through but [at] the end of the day, I’m completely happy with it.


(Gary:) You know what? I’m just gonna pick it and go so… well excuse me, WE’re
gonna pick it and go…

(Ron:) Yeah.

(Gary:) But I’m ready for that.

(Ron:) I mean, we can always change it later. You know, if in a couple of weeks from now we’re looking at her in the game and moving and everything and something’s not quite right, we can change it. But yeah, I think you just have to
just pick something that looks good and go with that.

(David:) We could always let the players say… you know, “Enter a letter from A to I” and you get one of these to show up.

(Gary:) Somebody has got to animate all of that stuff.

(Ron:) Gary has to animate all 9 Deloreses to do that. We’ll do a secondary Kickstarter campaign…

(Gary:) …for the Delores Expansion Pack.

(Ron:) [laughs] Excellent!

(Ron:) OK, so last week more working on dialogs. I’m just doing a lot of experimentation with dialog puzzles, trying to figure out whether I can do them in kind of a lean way that they’re not going to balloon into something that it’s gonna be an amazing amount of work down the road. So I’ve been doing the whole opening sequence, there’s the beginning of the game where Ray and Reyes meet the Sheriff and I’ve been getting all those dialogs done and kind of figuring out, well, what’s the minimum I need to do and still have the dialog puzzles, you know, feel like they’re actually real but not be these rabbit holes of work. So I’ve been doing that.
Let’s see… I don’t know if you have tried to talk to the drinking fountain yet?

(Gary:) Where’s the… oh you mean in the hallway?

(Ron:) Yeah in the city hallway.

(Gary:) Oh, I haven’t. I didn’t know I could do that. I guess I’m gonna have to go check that out.

(Ron:) Well you don’t actually “talk to” the drinking fountain you “use” the drinking fountain, but it does have its own dialog puzzle. SPOILER!
Let’s see… we got the first pass of the lighting test for the characters and that looks very promising. Still a lot of work to be done on the stuff but I think it looks it looks really promising, so I’ll get you guys a build probably later today with that stuff in it. And fixing a lot of bugs that David has been finding, that’s what I’ve been doing.


(David:) Good! I had a question. Should I ask that now or [after the podcast]? This is for the bookstore, if you don’t have that special object should the books be touchable? Should any of the books be touchable or is it just like a bunch of books? You don’t want them to be able to pick it up before… 3

(Ron:) Yeah, that’s a good question. There’s a lot of books there. I think it might be strange though if when you had the special item that the book was now magically touchable, you know? We might want to create 50 or so books in the bookstore. Maybe you don’t pick them up, you know? Maybe you can just mouse over them and do the “Look at” on them and read the spines and see what they are, but only when you have the special item and the book is called out, can you then pick it up. Does that make sense?

(Gary:) Sort of…

(David:) Yeah, sort of… So that means you’d have a bunch of books you can read over and it just
means that you couldn’t find this one, I mean it could be that this one is also
disguised or something, so even if you found it, you wouldn’t know.

(Gary:) Well, I make the assumption that this book would be another book that you could mouse over and you would be able to read what its title was or something like that, but you still couldn’t pick it up until you had what you needed to pick it up maybe.

(Ron:) Yeah. I don’t think we’re actually finding the book by its title, right?

(Gary:) Yeah.

(Ron:) So it could randomly be any of the 50 books in the bookstore that you need and it’s just the item that identifies the book, correct?

(Gary:) Yeah. On top of that I’ll just say the book could look like something else until you actually have the right item for it, maybe? I don’t know.

(Ron:) Yeah, I think that’s probably the way to do it, is just have all the books kind of scannable and you can do the
"Look at" but you can’t actually pick them up, so it’s only that one book that you can actually pick up once it’s identified.

(David:) So can you pick it up before it’s identified?

(Ron:) No, you can’t.

(David:) OK

(Ron:) You know, we’ll just make it so none of the books are actually pick up-able. You can only look at the spines. We’ll have to come up with some reason why the character doesn’t want to pick them up that make sense.

(David:) Well… a little boring. [??? noisy]
(Ron:) Yeah… or maybe the Gypsy won’t let you actually pick them up, but when you’ve actually identified the book then
she’ll actually let you pick it up.

(Gary:) Or she just wants an exorbitant price for one of them until you find the right one or something.

(Ron:) Yeah… I think we can come up with some clever reason in dialog why that’s true.

(David:) OK. The other piece was that we have a ladder and we can move the ladder. How did you want to handle walkboxes on
this? Do we have like maybe six walk boxes for each position it could be in and we just turn them on and off as appropriate?

(Ron:) That’s a really good question! Right now, we’re just putting walk boxes up ladders and that works because the characters just walk up the ladder kind of Maniac Mansion-style, but I think in the final game people are gonna need to climb the ladders so I don’t know whether they’ll actually be walking the ladders. It may be a whole separate system that’s causing them to climb, in which case we wouldn’t put walk boxes on them. I don’t know how that’s gonna work. I would say in the book store just leave the ladder fixed where it is right now, until we figure out how we’re gonna do ladders. It’s probably not worth messing with.

(David:) OK. Good.

(Ron:) Okay, well I guess that is it.

(David:) Should you say why Mark isn’t here?

(Ron:) Oh yeah, we’re gonna get Mark on, we’re gonna have him on this week but we’re just having some technical issues
with his Skype and we’ll get those fixed and then we’ll get them on next week. All right?

(Gary:) Sounds good!

(Ron:) See you guys later!

(David:) All right, bye bye!

(Gary:) OK, bye.

(Ron:) Bye.

[TWP Theme Music]
[bonus material]
(Gary:) So you’ll edit out what you need to edit out, like like my phone ringing?
(Ron:) Yeah, yeah, I’ll pull that out.


1: to yack = US slang for meaningless and prolonged talking or chatter. The .yack files contain the dialog. :leftwards_arrow_with_hook:
2: At least according to my experience, I could pick up the book before knowing I needed it or identifying it using a special object. :leftwards_arrow_with_hook:


Regarding note 1, I think he’s actually saying “a just did little, you know, quick syntax notation.” Had to listen to it 5 times to get it though :slight_smile:

Also, regarding yack, and .yack files. I’m not sure, but when I heard it, I thought it was a reference to the lex/yacc linux parser tools. But I don’t know if that’s true.

1 Like

regarding the .yak files, I looked it up in the dialog blog entry (also for its correct spelling “.yack”)

quick syntax notation, definitively!
I’ll fix it tomorrow/later this week