Thimbleweed Park Podcast #4
“Yet another exciting stand-up meeting with Team Thimbleweed.”
Original airdate May 1, 2015
Transcribed by Sushi
(Ron): Hi, this is Ron Gilbert and welcome to the Thimbleweed Park stand-up meeting podcast and I am here today with Gary…
(Ron): … and also David Fox…
(Ron): …and these quick podcasts, we talk about what we did last week and what we’re going to do this week.
And I believe Gary started last week, so I’m gonna start this week.
Let’s see… last week I got the “Give” code working, so you can pass objects between playable characters. There were some puzzles that really require that and so I wanted to get that working so these puzzles can get wired up.
I started the whole cutscene system so the cursor and the user interface could all be turned off and then I would start to remember where I was at the end of a cutscene.
The other thing I got done which was pretty cool, was I started the automated testing system 1 where the game just goes through and plays itself in the background. And it’s really simple: it just it randomly picks some object in the room and then it randomly applies some verb to the object and just does that over and over and over again. And you know, leaving it running overnight it’s actually amazing how fast or how far the [automated testing system] actually got into the game. So, that’s pretty fun to watch. You put it on fast mode and just watch the game play itself! That’ll become really important later on as the game becomes more complicated, we’ll do overnight subtests and just let the game play itself.
Now, next week I want to finish up the verb code. There’s a couple of little complications with how I want to do it. And then the big thing is I’m gonna start getting vertical scrolling in. We only have horizontal scrolling like the old SCUMM system had, but I’m gonna do vertical scrolling 2 . And then it’s just a lot of wiring up rooms.
(David): Yeah, last week I got to do -for the first time- some factory scenes and also some animated obstacles, so actually having things moving around in the room. I won’t say what yet…
First exposure to [a] little cutscene and the cool part is when I’m doing something and I’m finding it’s just too hard to do it brute-force method, with a bunch of code, I can just ask Ron for a feature and a couple hours later we have a new feature in the system which makes it much easier to do that.
Also I had a couple conversations with Ron on the flow of the “Give” command and how it might work and just kind of talking through it.
Next week I will be doing some more wiring of rooms in the factory, connecting them together so you can walk around the whole thing contiguously… and I think that’s it!
(Ron): Yeah, I think one of the things -and I don’t mean this as an insult, David- but I think you and I share this trait that we’re both lazy at some degree and it’s like if we find ourselves typing three lines to do something, we want to type one line to do it. And I think that’s where we’re getting into these great conversations about adding new features so we can do something in one line of code rather than three lines of code.
(David): Yeah, well I think that computers are our servants and they’re supposed to make things easier. So if I’m finding that I’m having to do extra work when I don’t have to… That’s why I spent some time with BBEdit 3 to try to get all those shortcuts in place so I don’t have to type up a bunch of extra characters and just let it do it for me.
(Ron): Yeah those were useful. Thanks for those!
(Ron): Okay, Gary?
(Gary): Gee… one thing I didn’t realize is if I told Ron that I needed like something to make drawing go faster that he’d have it for me in a couple hours! I’ll have to try that after this…
But in any case, [I’ve] been trying to keep abreast of doing the wireframe rooms -and there’s quite a few to do still- but we’ve made good progress. I would say on the art stuff we’re a little bit behind, mainly because there’s only one of me and there’s two of these guys so maybe if I clone myself or something or start getting a little bit faster… but I think that the end of the prototyping of rooms is getting to be inside sometime over the next few weeks.
I’m also going to be switching over to working on inventory objects as well because I need to just crank out a bunch of that stuff.
The nice thing about wireframing actually -and Ron keeps reminding me this- is the level of detail doesn’t have to be as much as I think it should be and so I keep continually finding myself doing more than I need to and sort of having to scale back. But overall I think I’m getting into a rhythm of it and I think it’s coming along, it’s just more of the same. I just have to crank through a long list of stuff. It’s great fun, I will say that, working with these guys again. Man. that’s been the most fun I’ve had in a long time working on a project, so I really appreciate both Ron and David in that respect.
So I’m just gonna keep doing more of the same right now.
(Ron): How’s the box cover coming?
(Gary): Box cover is interesting: it’s going through multiple iterations. I think we’re getting kind of nitpicky now, but that’s the good thing because we’re at the stage where enough of the major elements are figured out so we can be nitpicky and move them around. I just went ahead and put together a quick box comp[osition] where I could see what the illustration would look like, [a] rough illustration with the actual components of a box on it and it’s starting to look pretty interesting to me. So I think that what we’ll do -I’ll need to talk to you guys about this- is work up maybe a blog post where we actually put up some of that stuff. I just want to not put it up prematurely, right?
(Ron): Okay. Well I think that’s it. I guess this was a nice short stand-up meeting. Thanks guys!
(David): It was. Thank you. See ya! 4
(Gary): Take care. Bye!
2: Some vertical scrolling examples:
https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/occultbooks (wireframe version)
https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/occultbookstore (video with lots of veritcal scrolling).
3: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBEdit Not related and not to be confused with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BB-8
4: Famous recurring catch phrase from David Fox’s 1988 game “Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders”.