Thimbleweed Park Podcast #7
“Weekly stand-up meeting podcast for the 2D point and click adventure Thimbleweed Park”
Original airdate May 22, 2015
Transcribed by Sushi
(Ron:) Hello, I’m Ron Gilbert and welcome to the Thimbleweed Park stand-up meeting podcast! Today, as always, I am joined by David Fox…
(Ron:) … and Gary Winnick.
(Gary:) Hey there!
(Ron:) And today we’re just gonna to talk about what we did last week and what we’re gonna do this week. And I think I’ll start because I think David and Gary have started the other two times.
So what I did last week is I did a big refactoring of the engine taking the actor entity and the object entity which ended up sharing a whole lot of the same code, so I combined them into this single entity which I call an “obtor” and so it just required a lot of refactoring, but I got that in. And I think the code is a little bit cleaner and it’s gonna give us some more flexibility with how we can treat object and actors. Like for example objects always had verbs: you could call the open or the close or the push of the pull [verbs], but now that I’ve combined them, you can actually call verbs on actors as well which I think will make things interesting.
I did a whole lot of bug fixes. David keeps finding really good bugs as he’s working on the stuff, so I’ve been scrambling to keep up with him.
I got the cutscene 1 structure in so we can now call cutscenes. And the cutscenes are kind of interesting because when you call a cutscene it saves the state of the game a little bit and it can call the cutscene and when the cutscene ends it restores things back: it follows the actor it was following and etc. So they’re kind of nice structures.
I fixed a bug in the walk boxes that was kind of annoying me and I wasn’t really sure whether it was a bug or not but then David found a case that was causing some problems so I fixed that.
And I started to look just very, very early at the console ports and whether we want to do those and whether those make sense. I talked to a friend 2 of mine who I would like to do the ports and we just chatted about it to see what would be the scope and what would be the work involved in that.
I also talked to somebody 3 who I’d like to bring on as the lead tester probably in a few months when we get to that point. That’s what I did last week.
Next week I think it’s just gonna be lots of bug fixes, chasing behind David.
(David:) Should I go next?
(David:) OK. Well, I’m assuming everyone here knows what a cutscene is but just in case: it’s a scene which is non interactive -usually we turn off the user interface- and play out some little snippet of stuff where things happen or different characters say things. So with Ron’s new code, I got to do my first couple of cutscenes. One of them [is] kind of reminiscent of the stewardess in Zack McKracken where I got to take a worker who I’ve been frustrated with in real life and make them nasty in the game and did that with a postal worker. I’m not done with that one yet, but that was fun.
(Ron:) Not that there’s anything wrong with postal workers. [David: postal workers…] Not that they’re all nasty and mean.
(David:) No and I’ve been to post offices where there’s at least one that was nice and often though I’ve had issues with them. They’re just… anyway.
(Ron:) I think mean and nasty characters are more fun to write for, though.
(David:) Yeah mostly they’re just bored and that’s not very fun so… This one [is] a little bit more irritable.
Also got to do some of the initial work on some more sewer sections, although they’re not connected together.
(Ron:) But they will be in the actual game.
(David:) I hope so, yes. [Both laugh]
(Gary:) We’re not gonna have any rooms where you maybe see a cutscene from them, but you never actually need to go there? [But] it actually exists in town.
(Ron:) Yeah, I guess the doctor Fred’s lab in Maniac Mansion… did you actually ever go there to the secret lab, at the very end?
(Gary:) You did. You had to go through the lab to confront the meteor.
(Ron:) Oh, that’s right. That’s right. Although you didn’t go to the talk show set. There were a couple of rooms in Maniac Mansion which were only featured in cutscenes.
(Gary:) And you didn’t go to Mark Eeters’ office or whatever, you know… Mark Eter… Mark Eet… Eter… Eteer! 5
[Ron and David chuckle]
(David:) There were some more circus rooms that looked really great that I got to do. I found that bug that Ron mentione, where during debugging often we can shift and pop into rooms just to check them out and there’s a couple of rooms where I pop into I couldn’t move. That was a walk box problem that Ron was able to fix and that was just because, I guess, you were landing in an area which wasn’t the best place for a walk box, or something.
(Ron:) Yeah, the real issue -and it took me a while to figure this out- it was kind of a weird little math problem. It’s when you place a character or click on a point that’s outside of a walk box, I try to find the closest point to where you clicked on. So if you click outside a walk box, the character will still walk, they’ll try to get where you were going and the code was determining the closest point to the walk box. Then there was a separate piece of code that was determining whether you were actually inside a walk box at that moment and the problem is that the closest point to the walk box code would bring you right to the line of the walk box and then the code that was checking whether you were in the walk box, they were just mathematically off by like .00000001 and so it was kind of thinking that you weren’t in the walk box when you really should have been. So I just gave it an epsilon 5 on the math stuff and then that seemed to fix that and actually fixed a bunch of other problems that were annoying me with walking.
(David:) Hmm… good! I put in my first temporary sound effect. I don’t know if you found it yet?
(Ron:) No, I didn’t hear that.
(David:) So, check it out!
(Ron:) You’re going to tell me where it is, or I just have to go find it?
(Ron:) Because I can just grep 6 the source code, you know.
(David:) Yeah I know you could find it. Try using the wrench on something you’re supposed to use it on.
(Ron:) Oh, OK.
(Gary:) I actually did that and it didn’t register with me that that was new. Just like “oh, it still is feeling more like a game”. I mean, I’m so impressed by the fact that I can do something as ridiculous as ring a doorbell or turn a knob .
(David:) [There’s] no animation yet for that stuff, but at least you can do a few things, yeah. Just make sure the sound’s on. Sometimes I have the sound off on my computer so I would have missed it.
(Gary:) But I feel so much like Maniac [Mansion] to have a character turn towards something [showing the character only] from behind and just have something happen and then turn back and nothing and they don’t do anything else.
(Ron:) Yeah, no animation or anything.
(David:) We don’t have a face [towards] command yet, do we?
(Ron:) I think there is: actorFace and then you give it a direction. 7
(David:) The other thing I did was [I] went through the dependency charts that you created and start adding some more inventory objects in rooms and updating more things that are adding more close-up screens and the list of things we have to do.
According to my inventory list, there’s over 100 inventory objects right now, so far…
(David:) 107. Looks like there’s 32 that I still need art for…
(Gary:) Somebody will get around to that!
(Ron:) Gary has people that do that!
(Gary:) Yeah. I keep training my underaged children do it.
(David:) I think that’s about it.
(Ron:) OK, Gary?
(Gary:) I’m gonna ask one quick question: do you have a recollection of how many inventory objects that were in Monkey Island by any chance? I’m just curious.
(Ron:) No, I don’t know that. I know how many rooms there were, but I don’t know how many inventory items there were.
(Gary:) OK, I’m just curious. Well, I’ll check into that and see how it stacks up against what we’re doing because I’m just curious.
OK, last week I finished up sewer art -wireframes obviously- which I turned over to David and we were trying to connect that on a map and figure out where that stuff actually went, which was a little confusing because we’re still trying to spatially figure out all the connectivity of everything in the game but it’s sort of coming together. So I worked on that.
And then this week I proceeded to work on animating main characters. I’m probably gonna focus on animation for a while. You guys have a lot of rooms and locations and we still have some to do, but I really wanted to get focused on animation because we only had like one or two characters previously, so we need to populate the world -which David is doing - with both non-player characters as well as we’re wanting to make sure we get the main player characters in the game. I animated Ransome. I just finished that up.
I’m sort of thinking about Franklin right now. Since Franklin is a ghost, I don’t know if he walks around like everybody else does or he kind of floats around or whatever. We need to figure that out and see if maybe there’s some happy medium or whether or not we want to have something different going on for that kind of character.
(Ron:) Yeah, I think it would be interesting if he floated and he didn’t walk. I’m not sure what that would look like. So yeah I think it will be interesting to try that out, to see how he looks floating.
(Gary:) Yes, I was thinking about that. And then there’s… -I will say this is not a spoiler- but Franklin’s a ghost and there are a number of other ghosts in the game and I want to come up with a way of doing them that looks kind of unique and interesting. So we’ll figure that out this week.
(David:) I like the idea of [him] maybe bobbing a little bit as he floats so it’s not just point-to-point.
(Gary:) Oh no, I wasn’t thinking that he just go there like he was an X-man or something like that, you know? But it was [rather to] come up with something interesting, maybe they move a little bit, maybe they move their feet… I don’t know yet. We’ll figure that out. I’ll probably do some different tests on that.
And then I have to animate Delores and the issue I have with Dolores right now is [that] I had designed her for the Kickstarter wearing a funeral outfit, but I really need her to have a regular casual outfit, so I’m working on some designs for that I will run by you guys. 8 And that’s about it for right now.
(Ron:) OK, guess that is it unless anyone else has anything else to talk about.
(David:) Next week I might not be here. I’m gonna be out of town. So if I’m not, then I’ll see you guys in two weeks.
(Ron:) OK. All right, thanks. Talk to you guys later.
(Gary:) Okay, bye!
(David:) Bye bye.
1: Term coined by Ron Gilbert himself. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutscene
2: That would be Malcolm Stead.
3: That would be Robert Megone.
4: That would be Mark Eteer.
5: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/(ε,_δ)-definition_of_limit. Basically a very small number.
6: Unix slang for searching text in a file. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grep
8: You can read the wonderful community fueled re-design of Delores here: https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/exploring_delores, https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/exploring_delores2, https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/exploring_delores3, https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/exploring_delores4, https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/exploring_delores5