Friday Questions

Jan 05, 2018

Hey, it's time for Friday Questions*, but since I've never done this before on Grumpy Gamer, there are no questions to answer, so you have a week to ask some. If you have a question, put it in the comments below and I'll pick 4 or 5 and answer them with a stark honesty that will amaze you. Questions can be about anything, but please keep them game or game industry related. Please don't ask the same questions I've answered a hundred times in a hundred different online interviews. Unlike the Thimbleweed Park Friday questions, these will be answered in old-fashion text-a-reno.

  • Friday Questions can be canceled at any time due to lack of interest. Both yours and mine.

Zak Phoenix McKracken Jan 05, 2018
Do you think it could be fun to make a computer game based on some famous board game?
I have recently played a board game called "five tribes", and while playing, I was imaging it as an adventure game...

mtoivo Jan 05, 2018
When creating adventure games like TWP, how do 'feed' the puzzles to the engine? I understood you used Squirrel to script the actual game, so do you just write a squirrel-file that describes the game and also the puzzles within? If possible, could you post a snipplet of a such script? Asking for a friend.

Romulus Jan 05, 2018
When deciding on 2D vs 3D was money the only factor? We all know 3D sucks eh? Also, how you decided what were the components required on the engine? Based on your previous scumm experience?

Daniel Jan 05, 2018
What do you think about the "Walking Simulators"? (What Remains of Edith Finch?
, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Firewatch...)

Christof Jan 05, 2018
What means it for you to creating videogames? What motivates you the most?

Jensan Jan 05, 2018
Could you see yourself coding a C64 game from scratch in 2018? If so, what type of game?

LowLevel Jan 05, 2018
Beside Thimbleweed Park, can you suggest some *recent* adventure games to play?

Harald Nesvik Jan 05, 2018
As a designer/director who obviously cares a lot about stories in your games: Do you like story based games that play very differently from your games, like for instance Star Control II (one of my absolute favourites)?

Also: One of my favourite games from the last decade is XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which has excellent character stories that you basically create in your head as you experience what happens to the characters you create. There is not much "designer created story" in the game, but a lot of effort has been put into making the framework for letting the player create stories. That kind of storytelling is fairly unique to games, and do you enjoy it, and why/why not?

Kim Jørgensen Jan 05, 2018
What was the best and worst design decision for TWP?

Nerdbene Jan 05, 2018
I've been making games for many years but I never released any single one of them. I said that I would release one before I turn 40 (I'm 34 at the moment) and I've been coding for the last 6 months on and off because I have two jobs and I find very difficult to organise my ideas and commit to just one single aspect of it and finish it, I mostly code different parts at random times and it always end being a complete mess. Do you have any tips regarding commitment and organisation? Thanks in advance.
PS: You're one of my heros. I loved Thimbleweed Park and all your games through the years. I wish MI3a would be a reality in the short future.

Yrface Jan 05, 2018
If you were to punish a visitor for unauthorized copyright infringement of your website, how/who would administer the punishment?

Peter Jan 05, 2018
Can you please please please do another old school adventure game?

Someone Jan 05, 2018
Can you imagine to make a board game in the future?

marthurstewart Jan 05, 2018
Any progress on getting the Monkey Island IP from Disney? I would still love to play your MI3a someday.

Mike Mariano Jan 06, 2018
The Thimbleweed Park podcast was very good. Would you be interested in doing another game design podcast?

Alfonso "Kingofgng" Maruccia Jan 06, 2018
Ron, what do you think about all these new VR toys available on PC and consoles?

Lukas Jan 06, 2018
Can you make the comment section a bit more social, so one could reply to other comments?

JJK9 Jan 06, 2018
How would you compare creating indie games now to big budget games in the 90's and why does the retro pixel look work so well now  even with all the advances in graphics.

Jon N/A Jan 06, 2018
Hey Ron.
There used to be posts here - "excerpts" from a novel you have *not* been writing.
I loved those! I found them hilarious and very inventive.
Would you put them back up again? And better yet, write more of those?

Nikita Tattoo Jan 06, 2018
Hi Ron! I've seen a lot of your photos with your Nintendo switch. Could you tell more about your experience with it? What are your favorite games? What do you hate about it?

Steve Brown Jan 06, 2018
I didn't really notice this during my first several playthroughs of TWP, but after making a puzzle dependency chart for the game, it seemed like the game's nine parts lined up nicely with screenplay structure.  (That is, a mix of 'heroic journey' + screenplay plot points.)  The non-linearity of a typical playthrough occluded this somewhat, but when I stepped back and just looked at the moments that separated the 9 parts, they seemed intentionally plot point-ish.

Intentional? Encouraged while at LucasArts? Something you picked up since then?

I've often felt that many narrative-driven games have a clear 'call to adventure' at the beginning and 'inner sanctum' at the end, but between those points, things often just meander. TWP seemed to make a point of building up to a noticeable inflection point in the middle (the will reading....and, in retrospect, it seems all the more appropriate that it was essentially a cinematic), then the two tiers of 'reveals' in the factory.

I didn't have a specific question in mind about that last paragraph....but this should work:
Do you think that adventure games be generally better if they paid more attention to plot structure?  And if they don't, will good adventure games drown in a sea of bad ones, or does the current style of game-publishing make it easier to let a good game stand out, no matter how many mediocre games are out there?

Siddesh G Mysore Jan 06, 2018
1. Why don't u join LucasFilms again?
2. Is 8 bit better or 16 bit?
3. What tool do you recommend for pixel art?

Frank Jan 06, 2018
As an artist it would be interesting to do something really unexpected and to shock the audience: Can you imagine to do a really bloody ego shooter. All adventure game nerds would hate you...

Someone Jan 06, 2018
"Can you make the comment section a bit more social, so one could reply to other comments?"

I go further: Can't you integrate this comment section with a (or the Thimbleweed) forum, so we don't have to post at two different locations?

Thomas Mølby Jan 06, 2018
Hi Ron
Have you considered doing any long form thing (article series or streaming) about C/C++? like maybe how you implemented squirrel as a scripting language?
I enjoyed your articles on the Thimbleweed Park blog and would like to know more about your programming style. Particularly engine programming.

Paul Jan 06, 2018
What is Ron Gilbert's ultimate goal in the gaming industry?
To make a big popular game and then be able to make whatever you want off the back of it?
Continually make great games for a loyal smaller audience (eg. PnC fans) within budget and with reasonably healthy profit on each?
Branch out and make games in different genres?
Build Terrible Toybox further and make it a main game studio?
Put out artistic games that push boundaries, but don't necessarily find a large audience?

uriel Jan 06, 2018
From what I read is my understanding that Thimbleweed Park sold fine but it was not a resounding success. Do you think a bigger marketing campaign would have increased revenue to the point of making enough money to fully fund the next game? I guess I'm wondering how much do you think marketing can influence the success of a game. Thanks for doing this btw.

alan Jan 06, 2018
You mentioned that you program on a Mac. How to you create the Windows and Linux, and console ports of TWP?  Is the code portable like in the SCUMM engine?

Sushi Jan 07, 2018
Will we ever see a Terrible Toybox logo? If not, why not. If so, when? If maybe, just improvise something funny.

VoodooVince Jan 07, 2018
Hi Ron, Thimbleweed Park is so awesome, did you make any progress on getting the Monkey Island IP from Disney/LucasArts? A new MI with the Thimbleweed Park engine would be so great...

Gzurl Jan 07, 2018
Do you play any casual game on your phone that you would like to develop?

PS: Can't wait to see you coding on Twitch

Something of the Head Jan 08, 2018
Some maybe silly questions about puzzles and drawing dependency charts: What is for you the definition of a puzzle? What is its scope? I mean, how many different actions can a puzzle be divided in before thinking that you can have two of them? Is taking an object that is in sight a puzzle? If not, when you find an object like that at the beginning of the game and you don't need it till a puzzle at the end, don't you need to show their dependency somehow?

Cesar Jan 08, 2018
You have mentioned several times C++ as your main development language. How do you approach graphics/GUI implementation to make sure the code is as portable as possible.
How did you manage to get TWP ported to 7+ platforms? did you have to do lots of rewrite for the graphics (not the UI interaction) or you created a solid abstraction layer that made that conversion easier?

Thanks for this blog!

Lancelot's Hangover Jan 08, 2018
Hey Ron! In the TWP podcasts, you talked about the importance of the "sense of space" in adventure games and its importance for immersion. Could you tell more about it? Could you give pratical details on how you can add more sense of space within games? Could be usefull for adventure game designers.

Lancelot's Hangover Jan 08, 2018
Another question: I'm pretty curious about the talk you have in your head called "10 things I don't know". Could you give more details? What are those 10 things?

Hop Jan 09, 2018
What happened to the Thimblescript Wiki? I found it an excellent reference for writing my own engine.

Christoph Jan 09, 2018
Can you give an overview of the commercial success / result of TWP? Break even is great but not a success.

Octavi Jan 09, 2018
When making any kind of artistic work we know there's always a disappointingly huge difference between our first idea and the end result: which one of your games you'd say it's the most faithful to your original vision?

Gffp Jan 09, 2018
I totally second the last one by Octavi and would like to add: have you ever felt the presence of backers is some way diverted you from being faithful to your original vision?

LowLevel Jan 09, 2018
Can you share the final version of Thimbleweed Park puzzle dependency charts? I would like to understand how much intertwined the actions of the playable characters are.

Pitchfork Jan 10, 2018
Other than the dependency charts, what planning goes into your games, and how do you manage it? Do you have any example design documents you could show us?

Grafekovic Jan 10, 2018
Why haven't you answered any of my questions during the TWP Friday questions? And please don't say they weren't interesting enough.

Erik Jan 10, 2018
When you're programming are you always creating things from scratch? Do you maintain a personal Snippet Library ore something? Just curious about your programming process in general. :)

Lancelot's Hangover Jan 10, 2018
Totally agree with LowLevel and Pitchfork! I'd be very curious to read the complete version of TWP's PDC and other design documents (like assets lists on spreadsheets, room docs maybe?). That would be very usefull.

Antony Jan 10, 2018
How do you justify the lack of support of Android on your game Scurvy Scallywags while complaining about the lack of macOS support on Steam games?

Someone Jan 11, 2018
- Do you really read every single post in the Thimbleweed Park forum? If yes, could you ever laugh about (some of) the (funny) posts?
- Can you imagine to make a game for kids again?

Something of the Head Jan 11, 2018
@Antony I think he wasn't complaining about the lack of macOS support. You cannot pretend every game to be available on all platforms. I understand he was just saying it's better not playing a game on macOS if it is not ported to that platform that having to use a VM to play it. Would you download an iOS VM to play Scurvy Scallywags on Android?

Julio Jan 11, 2018
Do you know any effective ways to vacuum the car carpets? I always find that grass gets stuck in the carpet fibers and the damn stuff just won't come out!