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Thimbleweed Park—Maniac Mansion style game from Ron Gilbert & Gary Winnick

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As we started discussing over in Any upcoming Kickstarters?, Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick (creators of Maniac Mansion) are teaming up after 25 years to make a new, old-school point & click adventure. Their Kickstarter campaign launched this morning: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thimbleweedpark/thimbleweed-park-a-new-classic-point-and-click-adv

More details in the juicy AG interview here: http://www.adventuregamers.com/articles/view/27496

I actually never played Maniac Mansion as a kid (somehow I didn’t know that LucasArts even existed, only Sierra…) but I did pirate it a few years ago to take screenshots for an article. So I jumped in at the $25 tier to absolve my guilt. Grin


(Full disclosure: I’m helping Ron and Gary with PR for their campaign. But I’d be psyched about it even if I weren’t!)

     
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Ah, I was just reading AG’s interview actually. I hope they make it but if current numbers are any indication, the project is off to a good start!

I won’t be backing it though because I’m really not a fan of Maniac Mansion and its art style. I like Sierra games from the 80s but can’t get into anything LucasArts did before Monkey Island. Also, going back to the verbs and this particular inventory layout feels unappealing to me. Please don’t get me wrong, I applaud the effort of going back to basics and capturing a retro feel, but I think that can be done while still using a larger canvas, for lack of a better word.

I’m thinking mainly of Tesla Effect, for example. It was perfectly old-school while also looking spectacular and using new technology. But hey, it’s all a matter of personal taste. All in all, it’s always good to see old-time designers team up again!

     

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As I mentioned in the other thread, I belong to the odd folks who played MM on NES, so for me these graphics aren’t really tickling any nostalgia spots.

But I will admit that I’m excited to see this happening nonetheless. I didn’t hesitate a second to back it.

MM was the first point n click adventure I ever played and I deeply respect how progressive a production it was, and how much it meant in the shaping of this genre that we so deeply love. But damn, it sure has its fair share of flaws.

I backed this new project out of sheer respect. Whether Thimbleweed winds up being anything I’ll find fun to play or not, only time can tell!

     
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As I also indicated in the other thread, I’m an instant backer, but have some doubts about their strategy.
Anyway, what I wonder based on their breakdown of the cost, how they justify 63% of 375k for design art & coding. It seems that the 2 of them will work on it for 18 months each, and 1 artist is hired for 6 months. If you assume everybody gets payed the same, this would total to a yearly gross salary of 67.5k salary per person on a yearly base. Is that a typical yearly salary in game development?

     

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The first adventure game I ever played was Maniac Mansion on the C64. So this really tickles the nostalgia bone for me.

Whether I still have the patience to click through a classic verb interface I guess I’ll find out.

I’m excited to see what they do with this.

“Use Money on Kickstarter”

     
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jaap - 18 November 2014 03:47 PM

If you assume everybody gets payed the same, this would total to a yearly gross salary of 67.5k salary per person on a yearly base. Is that a typical yearly salary in game development?

It’s low, actually. Averages published in Gamasutra’s 2014 Game Developer Salary Survey:

Business and management: $101,572
Audio professionals: $95,682
Programmers: $93,251
Artists and animators: $74,349
Producers: $82,286
Game designers: $73,864
Quality Assurance: $54,833

Of course, self-employed indies make less. But this gives an idea of the salaries Ron and Gary could be making if they were working for a studio.

     
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@fov: thanks! those are interesting numbers!

     

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Story and humor hints from the KS pitch, make it sound really promising.

     

I never asked for this

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lol @ the 10k tier.

     

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Sorry, no offence to anybody, least of all Ron Gilbert. But those screenshots are some of the worst I’ve seen in recent years, and I’ve played quite a few retro adventures. Nostalgia and all that but I don’t understand why anyone would want to make a 2014 game look ugly, uninteresting, unappealing and uninspired.

Backing is out of the question. If it turns out to be a very good game in spite of its appearance and outdated concept, I might, just might buy it. But right now I really don’t care whether it gets made or not.

fov - 18 November 2014 02:43 PM

(Full disclosure: I’m helping Ron and Gary with PR for their campaign.

Of course you are. What a surprise.

     

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Karlok - 18 November 2014 04:52 PM

Nostalgia and all that but I don’t understand why anyone would want to make a 2014 game look ugly, uninteresting, unappealing and uninspired.

The rapid speed at which this is getting funded tells me that the Nostalgia-factor yielded by the maniac-mansion lookalike design appears to be a pretty good way to go. Whether folks like you and I dig it or not, you gotta admit it appears to be a pretty sound choice from a funding perspective. Smile

On a fairly unrelated note; I’d hate having to play something so similar to Maniac Mansion with anything but a NES controller.

     
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While I also prefer the Monkey Island/Indi/DoTT style, I dig MM and Zak McKraken as well. They had their own B-movie charm, they were open-world, and they offered a great number of crazy random stuff. This one seems like a very dedicated nostalgia trip. Gilbert seriously wants his 80s back. There is also another thing about “Money Island” he dropped in Twitter, so his real aim might be a certain license he’s been after for decades.

     

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I’ve never been a huge fan of the graphical style of MM or Zak McKracken, but I’ve always liked both games. Both games are close to my own taste in movies, as I’ve always had a soft spot towards b-sci-fi and horror.

     
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Sensing a bit of Mulder and Scully in that screenshot.

I’m surprised Ron would want to go back to the verb interface though - he seems more like the advocate for a streamlined UI.

     
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100k already , good. The influence of Ron is all over. Smile

     

I never asked for this

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Ron did talk about on one interview how he’d like to go back to the early days of Lucas adventures some day. That was for his idea of Monkey Island sequal, but it does look like he’s trying to research the idea with this.

     
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