Transcript Podcast #9

Thimbleweed Park Podcast #9

“Yet another Thimbleweed Park stand-up meeting podcast!”
Original airdate June 12, 2015
Transcribed by Sushi


(Ron:) Hi! I’m Ron Gilbert and welcome to the weekly Thimbleweed Park stand-up meeting podcast. We were off the air last week while I was moving but we are now back with David and Gary.

(Gary:) Hey there.

(David:) Hi!

(Ron:) So what we’ll do is we’ll go around [and] we’ll quickly talk about what we did last week and what we’re gonna do next week and then any other interesting things about Thimbleweed Park. So, we’ll start with David. What did you do last week?

(David:) Last week was interesting because since you were not around, I think the flow thing coming to me dried up a bit. So I was doing other things for part of it. But over the last few weeks -since I haven’t been here for the last two weeks- I’ve got to create an elevator and program that and I feel sorry for the people that actually do that in real life, yes. There’s this balance which I’m gonna write about in the next blog, where you want to make something fun in the game and realistic enough so that you aren’t being frustrated like “Whoa, in real life I could push this button and go somewhere… Why can’t I do it now?” but without getting so close to the real-life thing that you end up basically writing the entire elevator code for a hotel. And I’m not quite there yet.

(Ron:) It could be a side business. That we actually do, on the side, we program elevators and do adventure games, yeah.

(David:) At least for graphic adventures, yeah.

(Gary:) I mean we could program an elevator that you couldn’t go to a certain floor unless you went to the corner of the elevator and unbolted a panel and had to connect the wires or something like that.

(Ron:) Yeah real-life elevators with adventure game puzzles: I think they would like that!

(David:) I think they would.

(Ron:) I think we’re on to something here.

(David:) And if you make a mistake, you’re stuck there for five days. They’d love that.
I also got to do the telephone -I did that last night- sending opcodes so that when people dial specific numbers, they’ll be able to get actual recordings.
And the big one I did -I think it was last week- which I had really been dreading, was to wire up the sewers: multiple rooms, pretty large maze…

(Ron:) Oh, don’t say “maze”.

(David:) It’s not a maze!

(Ron:) You used the “M”-word, David! 1 [David laughs]

(David:) Well, at least it’s not random 2 so once you go through, you’ll figure it out.

(Ron:) Yeah, I was walking around the sewer -I’m not gonna call it a maze- the sewer area after you had wired it up and I was starting to get lost in it. It makes me think we do need to come up with some kind of signage because it needs to be an expansive place, but I don’t think people should ever get lost in it either, so…

(David:) I think one thing that would help us since it really isn’t [a maze]… we actually mapped the sewer out to match the streets above, we might as well just say, you know, “A street sewer” or something like that.

(Ron:) Oh, yeah.

(Gary:) What we should have -and this is not really a spoiler- is that the Pigeon Brothers should have a map of the sewer in the back of their van that you swipe or something like that.

(Ron:) I think if we just had good signage on it so people knew… if they’d even knew the flow of the water or something. You know, that you always follow the flow of the water to get out. I think that would be fine. Because I do like that it’s this expansive area that you get to explore, it’s just a little bit too easy to get lost right now and that’s probably just a signage issue.

(David:) Right. I have a map and I used it and that helped but without a map, you would have to map it.
I think I’m gonna be doing some more stuff… loving [it] now we can actually talk about Mark Ferrari. 3

(Gary:) Man!

(David:) That’s been the hardest thing not to talk about, because I’m just so excited about the rooms. I was trying to get one of his new rooms and said “Wow, I get to wire this thing up!” so Gary, you can talk about that.
Next week, I guess, just more wiring. Not sure exactly which items are coming next, so I’ll just continue working.

(Ron:) I think almost all of the rooms are in the game right now, aren’t they?

(Gary:) Well, that and also if you look at the schedule of the rooms, David, it should have delivery dates now on everything that’s left to do in the first pass on it.

(David:) Great. Yeah, I think there might be a few close-up screens that aren’t in yet and those are ones that actually sometimes have like the telephone keypad and stuff. Those have actual things you can do, but I think it is 80 or 90 percent have at least a first pass.

(Ron:) You know, one thing that we should probably do, is like a team walkthrough of the game. I think they are always interesting. It’s a little bit hard since we’re in three very different places, but I think if we just took an hour or two and all three of us sat down and just each with the game running on our own screens, just went from room to room to room together and actually solved the puzzles and talked about stuff. I’ve always found that really useful whenever we do team walkthroughs and sit down with the team and you just spend two or three hours and you just play through the game and you come back with a list of really great bugs and nice to-do lists and great ideas for things to add and whatnot. So we should probably schedule one of those because we’re almost done with pre-production . Production is going to start on July 1st, so it’d be nice to do that walkthrough while we’re still in pre-production.

(David:) That’s sounds good.

(Gary:) I’m up for that, obviously.

(Ron:) Yeah, let’s try to schedule that for next week.

(Gary:) Okay.

(Ron:) All right, Gary what did you do last week? What are you doing next week?

(Gary:) Well, let’s see… mainly been working on getting everything that’s on the room list addressed and that’s now great because it’s [a] combination of me and Mark Ferrari which I can talk about now, as David said, so the good news about that is [I] pretty well now turned over all of the background rooms to Mark - certainly all the new ones. There is some stuff that we will go back and retrofit together but what it has freed me up to do now is I’ve been working on things that are kind of outside of conventional room continuity. As David said, I’ve been working on close-up screens, so I’ve been doing a number of - I’m gonna call them somewhat UI-like but for the most part you know they’re a close-up of a screen, let’s say of a book that you can page through to find a phone number, as David said, or possibly when you turn on a… I’ll say, a machine of some sort, you can see a screen [and] something happens on the screena. Those kinds of things, you know? To be as vague about it as possible, we have a dozen of those kinds of things in the game that need to be addressed since I’ve been working on those. So that, as I mentioned, has freed me up to work on that.
And then I’m gonna start moving forward pretty much full-time -after we get through the end of this month- with just concentrating on animation while Mark continues to concentrate on background art. So it’s really nice to have that division of labor on this particular thing.

(Ron:) Yeah the animation will be nice. I’m looking forward to getting that in the game and seeing more of the characters. We have the generic character but when you actually see the characters that’s kind of nice.

(Gary:) Yeah. I mean…

(Ron:) We also did that post about about Delores.

(Gary:) Right. So I’ll be addressing that as well because we need to focus in on her because she’s one of the main characters and we need to figure out what she looks like. That’s something that we should probably address and get done over the course of this next week. So I’ll be following up on that and there will be some additional posts and some sketches and stuff so we can go ahead and finalize that.

(Ron:) OK, all right. Last week I did, well, pretty much nothing on the game. I moved from San Francisco to Seattle so I’m now in Seattle and it’s quite lovely and overcast here right now, which is weather I’m looking forward to. But I’m finally here. Half my stuff is still in boxes so I’m slowly starting to get unpacked but hopefully next week will be like a full work week for me, getting stuff done. So I didn’t really get anything done last week. I’ve just fixed a few bugs that David had found.

(Gary:) Do you have any road trip pictures you’re gonna post or pictures of your apartment with boxes ?

(Ron:) I do have some pictures of my apartment with boxes and some road trip pictures, but I don’t know if I’m gonna post them.

(Gary:) Uh… everybody wants to see those, Ron.

(Ron:) Everyone has to sit through my road trip photos. I did that post the other day about a puzzle that we were trying to figure out a solution to and there’s probably 350 responses to that post, which is great. Yeah, no it’s really good. I mean there are some really good ideas, there’s some really great kind of brainstorming happening on that, so… I flagged a bunch of the ideas that I thought were pretty cool, so we should go through and talk about them and figure out how to finally solve that puzzle. So that was a good post, I did that.
So next week, I’m going to try to get a bunch of stuff with character lighting done and some other stuff with the camera. Right now the camera is very crude: it follows players around. There are some things that I’d like to do with the camera, like being able to do different types of zooms and pans and I want to get all that stuff in so we can we can start to add some of the more dramatic scenes to stuff. So that’s really the plan for next week for me.
[5 seconds of silence]

(Ron:) Is that it? Or does anyone…

(Gary:) I guess so, since there’s dead silence.

[David and Ron laugh]

(Ron:) I’ll cut out the silence. Or maybe I’ll leave the silence in?

(Gary:) I think you should leave it in because it’s real life.

(Ron:) Yeah it was an awkward silence.

(Ron:) All right, well I guess we’re done. We should definitely do that walkthrough next week. Let’s plan on that.

(Gary:) Sounds good.

(Ron:) And I guess I will talk to you guys later!

(Gary:) Ok thanks!

(Ron:) Bye!

(David:) Bye bye!


1: One of the (modern day) criticisms to Zak McKracken is the use of mazes as a means to artificially prolong gameplay. It’s one of the things David would fix if he would get to redo Zak. :leftwards_arrow_with_hook:
2: Zak McKracken even included random mazes in the jungle parts , which are impossible to map out. :leftwards_arrow_with_hook:
3: Mark Ferrari is most famous for the background art he did for Monkey Island, Loom. But he also worked on other Lucasfilm/LucasArts games including Star Wars X-wing and the PC version of Zak McKracken. :leftwards_arrow_with_hook:


If someone knows what “g-docs” is, let me know! (around 4:20). Youngster lingo for Google Docs? No idea…

Still, I remember very well this podcast, it has so many references to Zak McKracken!
Good boy Sushi, you always spelled its name correctly! :grin:

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I’d say it is Google Documents, yep. I also use to say “G-something” for “Google Something”.

That’s what I thought at first too, but then

  1. I googled the term “G-Docs” and not a single reference to google docs as “g-docs” showed up…
  2. I remember they all use Mac’s… so I’d expect them to use something like “iDocs”?

For the sake of the transcript, I’ve omitted the word “Gdocs”. But it’s there in the closed captions.

Maybe they have said something else but it sounded like Gdocs? Maybe @David oder @RonGilbert can help?

Could be our shorthand word for Google Docs. That’s how we shared documents where we could all edit them at the same time… lots of spreadsheets and freeform text docs throughout the project.


That’s how the cool kids call it!

To be fair: Those weren’t mazes.
But they looked like they were and their “logic” had me puzzled me a long time.

Well, either way, they did a great job at getting lost in them. So to be fair, they were evil and unfair mazes. I think I even never figured out their logic. It was only when David Fox mentioned the key to getting through them on the blog/podcasts, it finally made sense.

Did you also use to believe you´d eventually get eaten by lions or tigers or something when you got lost long enough?

No. By something more otherworldly, judging from Zak’s reaction. I liked that the source of that noise wasn’t revealed, allowing your imagination to fill in the blanks. At one time I was pretty sure it was part of the solution to find a way out.

I discovered quite soon the logic of the jungle mazes, because only if you went back, Zak said “I get lost”.
Every real (normal) maze had something to let you check which door you went through:

  • the geroglyphs inside the Sphinx
  • the torches inside the Maya pyramids
  • the colours around the doors inside the Mars’ face

…while in the jungle, no clues.

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That´s the part I love about the keeper of the sphinx. What is it? I know people have suggested a mummy but to me it was more like an animal. Like if the sphinx was an actual animal that roared like a lion or something.

@David what kind of being is the keeper of the sphinx supposed to be?


I took that as an explanation why you were ending up in another room when backtracking. It usually took me 5 minutes or more to get through any jungle. It probably fed the illusion what a HUGE game this must be. Always saved my game directly afterwards!

I always imagined it as a very large animal. Maybe a sphinx, or a lion, or it transformed itself to whatever your worst fears were.


I would have really liked to be able to die in Thimbleweed Forest™! They could have reused the berry picking animation…

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Zak was one of the first times teaching me about Egyptian history. Zak and Asterix.
Egyptian mythology is one of my favourite tropes in games. Did I mention I like mazes?

In real life they may not be so glamorous and interesting as in my imagination (spoiler alert: pyramids are just giant graves for giant egos).
Still they are always good for another surprise.

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Hands up who´s already been inside the great pyramid of giza. :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed:

Spoiler alert: There´s no yellow crayon at the sphinx´s feet.

Then I’m not interested to visit it.

Spoiler alert #2: The most unrealistic thing in Zak by far is the severe lack of masses of japanese tourists in the great pyramid.