2018 Goals

Jan 01, 2018

As a little kid growing up in the 1970s, 2018 seems like an unimaginable future. Moon bases and rocket ships. It didn't quite turn out the way 8-year-old Ronnie imagined. Some ways better. Some ways worse. I'm not sure my life turned out the way I imagined. Some ways better some. Some ways worse.

2017 was the year Thimbleweed Park came out. It was also the year a dipshit narcissistic asshole became president. I would gladly trade Thimbleweed Park for a mentally stable president. And so should you.

But enough reminiscing and fostering armed rebellion... it's on to 2018.

I've never been the kind of person that does New Year's Resolutions. Like 99% of all people, I just forget about them a month later and have now decided to be honest with myself and stop making them. So let's call these "goals" for 2018. It's also worth noting that these are just my professional and career goals. My personal goals are another whole can of worms that I won't be sharing on the damn internet.

Let's get going...

Play more games

Yeah, I can't say enough about this one. I hardly play any video games. 2016-2017 were busy years for me, but deep down I know that is just an excuse. At the end of the workday, I'm burnt out and I just don't want to play games, they always feel more like work than relaxation. It's also really hard for me to play a game without deconstructing it and that saps a lot of the enjoyment away.

I did play Golf Story for many many hours until rage quitting (more on that in a future post). I quite enjoyed West of Loathing as well (no rage quitting). But besides a few mobile games to waste some time, I didn't really play anything else.

I hear from friends about all the games they played and I wonder "where do you find all the time?" Well, all that is going to change in 2018, and now that my blog is fully operational, I hope to write about what I'm playing. And I promise not to just bitch about them.

Then again... maybe I don't enjoy playing games. That's a terrifying thought.

Do a Twitch steam

I've always wanted to do this. I doubt it will be a gameplay stream, I am way too quiet when playing games. When I watch Streamers, I marvel at how they can talk non-stop while playing. When I play games, I get very quiet and contemplative. I don't tend to "think out loud."

What I'd like to do is a programming Stream. I joked about adding floppy disk sounds to Thimbleweed Park when it's loading data, so my goal is to stream me implementing that. Streaming from a Mac is a little harder, but I'm sure I can figure it out.

Give a talk

I really hate giving talks. It's not stage fright, it's more that I over prepare and end up spending months writing the talk and stressing about it. It's just not a good use of my time, so I tend to avoid it.

Also, when most people ask me to talk, it usually about Monkey Island or some retro topic. I really don't want to only be known as "the guy that created Monkey Island and made point-and-click games" and that's all anyone wants to hear me talk about. It would depress me greatly if that was actually the truth.

So my 2018 goal is to give a talk about a non-monkey-island-point-and-click topic. I have a talk in my head called "10 things I don't know." I think I'll give that one. Or maybe "It's not imposter syndrome, you actually suck at your job." Then there is "Don't get cocky kid, it's mostly luck."

I refuse to give a talk about Thimbleweed Park unless it's "Everything we fucked up in Thimbleweed Park." I'm sick and tired of survivor bias talks. GDC is filled with them.

OK, fine, this is why people only ask me to talk about Monkey Island.

Blog often and stay off Twitter

It's been over a month since I've been on Twitter and it's been great. I highly recommend it. Like shedding any addiction, the first few weeks are hard, then it gets harder, then it gets better. Getting the Grumpy Gamer blog back up and running has been very therapeutic.

Being able to write about something in other than 140 (now 280) character angry shouts has been nice and I plan on doing a lot more long-form writing in 2018. Currently, hardly anyone comes here, so it might take some time to build back an audience and convince the kids that the entire internet isn't just Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Please pass the word and share any good posts. I might end up writing a Twitter bot that just posts links to my blog when it updates (that will reach a hell of a lot more people than RSS).

Start working on a game

To be clear, my goal in 2018 is to start working on a game that will eventually ship. I am working on fun/relaxing prototypes that are helping to solidify various ideas in my head, but I doubt any of them will ever be finished. Thimbleweed Park was a huge grind and it's going to take me a while to come down from that.

This new game doesn't have to be my own game. Finding a small group in Seattle that could use my talents would also be fun. Working with other people in the same physical location would be a gust of fresh air.

I don't know if I'd Kickstart a new game either. Kickstarter was fun, but it's also feeding the hype/narcissism train like nothing I've ever seen. It almost demands it and one could say that it's good for promotion, and that's hard to argue with, but it can make you do crazy/stupid/unproductive things. The Thimbleweed Park Kickstarter turned out well (thank you Fortuna), but I do wonder if all that stress could have been put to better use.

Well, there you have it. My 2018.

Headwuend Jan 01, 2018
Happy new year, Ron. Good to hear that you plan on blogging more again. I also like your ideas for a talk; it's odd how the industry has been hardly maturing and I'd like to learn more about why.

Rafa Font Jan 01, 2018
Are there nice co-working spaces around you?
Something I would like to hear from you on a talk would be where do you get the skill to start coding so easily. My impression is that you're brave enough to code a game engine seemingly without effort.

Ron Gilbert Jan 01, 2018
Are there nice co-working spaces around you?

There is a indie game co-working space in Seattle, but it's a nasty 2 bus rides away. If it was closer, I'd go.  But it's not just about being around "people", it's being around team members.

Martijn Jan 01, 2018
<i>"At the end of the work day, I'm burnt out and I just don't want to play games, they always feel more like work than relaxation."</i>

What about narrative games? 2017 saw some excellent ones like Night in the Woods, Tacoma, What Remains of Edith Finch and Tacoma.

Zak Phoenix McKracken Jan 01, 2018
Is your "give a talk" offer valid even if the controparty is thousand miles away from you? (=do you mind to give a talk over the Internet?)

Sigbjørn Herstad Jan 01, 2018
For streamingw to twitch from Mac you simply need OBS https://obsproject.com

Vili Jan 01, 2018
Just wanted to say how great it is to have Grumpy Gamer back! It's sad how the nature of online communication has changed in the past decade or so as social media has replaced personal websites, blogs, discussion forums and chat rooms. Whenever a website reactivates, it brings back a little piece of that idealism that we had for the web in the 90s. Open, flexible, decentralised, interconnected, and so on. Very much the opposite of today's Twitters and Facetagrams.

Also wanted to say: you may want to tweak the comment form style settings a bit for mobile. At least on my phone (Firefox on Android) the comment text boxes are quite small, and the input for the anti-spam question so much so that the question actually doesn't fit in when in vertical mode. Might even make sense to display the question outside of the input box itself on mobile?

yrface Jan 01, 2018
Great idea for a livestream of you programming the disk sound.  I for one would definitely watch that!  Happy New Year!

Ron Gilbert Jan 01, 2018
What about narrative games?

I don't find playing narrative games relaxing, I just look at all the frustration stuff I think they did wrong, or endlessly look at what they did right and think about how to use it. Playing games is work for me. There is nothing I find relaxing about it. There have been a few exceptions, but they are few and far between.

Luis Jan 01, 2018
Hello Grumpy, In case you care, just to let you know that I started this new year playing The Cave, after ending 2017 playing Thimbleweed Park and have been enjoying them a lot. The Cave has been a very good surprise for me - didn't knew the game and for me it is great. Question: I'm wondering if you think that an adult might enjoy playing the humongous entertainment (for kids) games? Is any of those games (or all) interesting for adults that enjoy adventure games? Thanks and regards

Not Dolores Jan 01, 2018
Happy new year! Have a good one.

>  I would gladly trade Thimbleweed Park for a mentally stable president. And so should you.

Joke's on you! We actually have a rather nice president here. ;)

> Start working on a game

I like the sound of that.

Leak Jan 01, 2018
"Everything we fucked up in Thimbleweed Park" - I doubt I'll ever get to America to see you live, but I'd gladly also watch a video of that talk... :)

Johnny Walker Jan 02, 2018
Nice to see GG back. Would definitely be interested to hear you talk about everything that went wrong with TP. Or just your thoughts on the whole Kickstarter experience. What you've said already sounds interesting... I never really thought of the downsides of a successful campaign. (What does the "narcissism train" look like?)

Big Red Button Jan 02, 2018
This new game doesn't have to be my own game. <<
Maybe it doesn't have to be your own game, but nonetheless I would love to see a continuation of your partnership with Gary (and maybe also with some other people we know from your former projects). Moreover, you actually wrote that you'd never work on an IP that you don't own, so an "own game" would suggest itself, I think.
By the way, your team might have become very familiar with your TWP engine, which is an asset.

it can make you do crazy/stupid/unproductive things <<
Just do what your gut feeling recommends to you. ;) If it allows you to create another game, Kickstarter should be an option.
If the involvement of TWP backers turned out to be too time-consuming during the development process, backers should understand this fact during future crowd-sourcing projects.
I would gratefully back your next "own game" anyway, no matter how much the backers would get involved.
In your "If I Made Another Monkey Island" blog entry, you wrote:
I would vanish for long periods of time. I would not constantly keep you up-to-date or be feeding the hype-machine. <<
I would be completely okay with it, if this applied for another crowd-sourced game from you as well.

I hope to write about what I'm playing. <<
I'm looking forward to this, if it won't impair your future projects.

Big Red Button Jan 02, 2018
Of course it won't impair anything. Sorry for having written such a silly crap! It was just my impatience for your next game. :)
Actually, enjoying and discussing games is the most important basis for creating new great games.

Senad Jan 02, 2018
Don't forget sending out your new blog posts per email / having a newsletter. A lot of blogs I follow do that. It is good for reaching people.

However, I personally by far prefer RSS.

Mr. Pinsky Jan 02, 2018
It sounds like you are burnt out on games. Have you ever thought about doing something completely different?

Bon_Antza Jan 02, 2018
I can totally relate on the deconstruction issue you mentioned. I'm so envious of those who can just feel and experience - for me it's constant analyzing, nagging commentary from the brain and continous interruptions by the overly critical mind.

faehnrich Jan 02, 2018
I'm hoping to stay off Twitter, et al.  I want to  go back to my computer (including the one in my pocket) being a tool instead of something to use for its own sake, not looking at Twitter just to look at Twitter.

Dimitri Bitu de Araújo Jan 03, 2018
I read your blog and I will follow you on twitter or blog. Just let me know wich one I should go. :)
Last year, you gave a little review about Rogue One. Care to review the Last Jedi?

Michael Shannon Jan 03, 2018
Seems to me like a lot of folks are switching from video games to board, card, and DnD.  I'm not sure if it's the social aspect, or the flexibility in rule interpretation, or the hipster mentality, or maybe I've never really paid attention.  Either way if I were to ever try and design a game, I would want to try and pull in some of the aspects that those games instill.

Glad you linked over to your blog, I'll be keeping tabs with crappy RSS.

Nor Treblig Jan 03, 2018
I'd love to hear any of those mentioned talk topics.

Also: RSS FTW!

_dareDev Jan 04, 2018
Oddly, I made goals this year, not resolutions, not sure why, it just felt more productive.

Richard! Jan 04, 2018
Please, please, please do a Twitch stream!  I don't care if yr quiet.
Hail all spurners of Twitter!  When I hear the verb "tweeted," I turn off the sound/walk out the room/turn up any handy music source such that whatever follows it is unheard.  Tag it "Since 2017..."  Like that guy named Jeff, "hostile crap-filled dumpster-fire of shit™" is officially my favourite new handle for Twitter.

goffmog Jan 04, 2018
Would love to see that programming stream. Whenever I find myself over-engineering things I say to myself "I bet this is not how Ron Gilbert would do it" I have no idea where this impression comes from, maybe it's because I've seen those SCUMM programming notes? But I'm sure I've been doing it for longer. With this stream I could finally see what my internal monologue is talking about!

SteveHNH Jan 04, 2018
Would definitely LOVE to watch a programming stream from you. I've learned a ton from those by just watching how people think and work their way through problems.
The Mac isn't too tough to stream from. OBS is multiplatform and can simply capture a window or screen so you can stream straight from it. Best of luck! Happy 2018 :D

Romulus Jan 04, 2018
Glad to have you back. I started following you years after I played your games (I didn't paid much attention to credits before sincerely)....About the programming aspect: I am also a developer, but I tend to make lots of game parts (or engines) and never put them to use. I am mostly a graphics person but I like to code anything game related (gameplay code is so fun). If you want some distance company for programming / developing without any compromise, here we are! I would love to see you talk about how you fucked up games or how the game engine worked / problematic stuff about its development :)
PS: RSS is love.

Kame Jan 04, 2018
Rage quitting Golf Story? C'mon!

vandervillain Jan 04, 2018
I'd love to watch a programming stream. Enjoyed the blog, hope you stick to your resolutions!

Barton Lynch Jan 04, 2018
Hi Ron, Happy 2018!

I know it's hard to start a new project, especially knowing the grind and stress that Thimbleweed Park produced. But a part of me wishes you make another one (yes, that's how much I loved and enjoyed TWP, thank you). So do what's cool, less stressful and productive for you. One step at a time and take it easy (but I still hope deep down you make another classic-styled game with Fox and Ferrari).

Here's to a good year.

P.S. Great you brought back the old Blog! Better than Twitter.

George McNeill Jan 04, 2018
Great to see this blog in my newsfeed! Coincidentally, Thimbleweed Park was my first purchase of the new year (on the Switch!) so I'm looking forward to familiarizing myself with your latest labor of love.

Dave Pittman Jan 04, 2018
Thanks for setting up the bot Ron. And I'd watch a programming stream, or just good puzzle design guidelines. (That seems to be a dying art replaced by BS QuickTime events.)

m. Jan 04, 2018
How do you feel about game jams? I'd love to see what you'd come up with for a Ludum Dare or such!

Thank you Ron, for having given us a trip to a time where the games were created with good taste and intelligence, unfortunately today there is so much talent wasted on products for masses with little brain....

Katie Parsons Jan 04, 2018
I'm glad the blog is back. Also love the disclaimer - totally not overshot.

Meghann Jan 04, 2018
Hi Ron. Stoked to be able to follow you to a new blog. Have you ever considered teaching? (You're already a teacher, but more formerly.)  I have my bachelor of composition students one day a week and it's the best gig. They reimagine musical systems for games and 95% of assignments I get make me go, "Wow," because they've dreamed up something innovative and context perfect. And it's nice having something to offer to starry eyed, inclusive, wonderful young people. And it makes me reflect on my process when I'm organising content. It brings me great joy. Best of luck! I'll come and read this for sure. Meghann.

Someone Jan 05, 2018
> "Working with other people in the same physical location would be a gust of fresh air."

As an introvert person? 😀 What about developing a game in a virtual workspace?

Ron Gilbert Jan 05, 2018
As an introvert person? 😀

I think you're confused as to what being an introvert is (and it's a common misconception). Introverts don't dislike people, we just have small groups of very close friends, not large groups. Being in an office and around people is fine. I just don't like being thrust into situations where there are lots of people I don't know. I've spent the last 4 years working in a virtual office with a team of 12+ people.

Someone Jan 05, 2018
> "I just don't like being thrust into situations where there are lots of people I don't know"

But isn't that the case if you go into a _new_ office? Or is there only a small "developer scene" in Seattle?

Stefano Jan 05, 2018
Happy New 2018 Ron! I love the idea of a programming Twitch session! I always wanted to be a game developer but I ended up writing boring enterprise software :-/

I still hope TWP will have an infinite tail, you guys totally deserve it to be a commercial success.

Noah Falstein Jan 06, 2018
I love this: "It's not imposter syndrome, you actually suck at your job."  - you could do a whole series of those talks.  It's not age discrimination, ... It's not sexism, ....    someone has to tell the bitter truth (and get blasted for doing so, better you than me!)

Someone Jan 06, 2018
"... someone has to tell the bitter truth (and get blasted for doing so, better you than me!)"

Yes, I would do it - if I would get paid for it... ;-)

BeardofPants Jan 06, 2018
I don't use Twitter much (havent since gamergate. I really only checked it to follow you and some other game folks. Guess I'll follow you here :)

terranov Jan 06, 2018
Awesome! I really hope to see that Twitch channel becoming reality. Sounds like a great idea to me!

George Jan 12, 2018
I never noticed until now that you sound so depressed. Has it always been like this? Are you going through hard times? Best wishes in any case.

Seb Jan 16, 2018
I'm looking forward to talks completely unrelated to Monkey Island!

Brock Jan 23, 2018
I just replayed the first 3 Monkey Island games, and I now have post-series depression.

Andrew S Jul 27, 2018
I normally don't comment on social media, especially not to trash someone but... I hated the ending to Thimbleweed Park so much that I'm going to here. What the fuck man? You set up a really interesting story and atmosphere and it's all completely pointless. It's basically the ending to Mario Bros. 2 "it was all a dream", or that 80's hospital show. Not even an original idea, and horribly executed. Oh and way to poke fun at players for suspending their disbelief and buying into the narrative. Like no shit I realise that I'm playing a game and the town is not realistic, I'm ignoring all of that because I'm enjoying myself. It's like if half way through Twin Peaks David Lynch was like: hey idiots you actually care about any of the mysteries that you've invested hours of time into? It's just a t.v. show idiots, none of this is real!

The thing is I loved the game, that's why the ending pissed me off so much. It's one of the best experiences I've had with a game in years, up until the last 10% which seriously nearly ruined the entire experience for me.

I hope you write an actual story for the next game you make, not some contrived hackneyed b.s.

Ron Gilbert Jul 27, 2018
If the ending seemed like "it was just a dream", then you didn't pay attention. As I've mentioned in several of my talks: if everyone likes your ending, you just created a predictable boring ending.  Some people like those, but I'm not one of them. Thing is... something thing I hate stays with me and I keep thinking about it.  The hate festers into understanding.  This has happen to me more than once with movies. Not saying this will happen to you in regard to TWP, but I can hope.