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

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I might drop off myself as well from this, but for now I want to see how this goes on for a while. This will be a succesfull KS in any case.

     
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I’m likewise not a huge fan of the MM/Zak art style, but I find it hard not to support Ron Gilbert being as old-school as humanly possible. Backed on good faith.

This also gives it the added benefit of a very realistic scope and an adequate budget to realize that vision. Given the cautious nature of backers these days, there’s something to be said for not over-promising.

Points for the apparent Twin Peaks vibe, as well.

     
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Also, when you look at the big picture, there’s something to be said for the huge range of approaches we’ve seen to updating the old-school adventure. I mean really, almost everything you can think of, from pure old-school like this, to completely modernized from the ground up like Dreamfall, and everything in between. 2D, 3D, all levels of production value… There’s room for all of this.

     
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diego - 19 November 2014 09:25 AM
Karlok - 18 November 2014 04:52 PM

But those screenshots are some of the worst I’ve seen in recent years, and I’ve played quite a few retro adventures.

TimovieMan - 19 November 2014 06:38 AM

And I agree with Karlok that those graphics look bad, even for a retro game.

I warned you. Tongue

 

Ron probably took one glance at that thread and said ‘wow, he’s right. Graphics are worse but adventure games are more popular than ever!’ and then took it to logical extremes.

Nice going, diego!  Thumbs Up

Tongue

     
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Jesus, the Kickstarter has barely started, yet the topic already turned into another rant about “bad old graphics, complex interfaces and overrated classic devs”. Good thing that adventure forums barely represent the adventure community, otherwise only Dreamfall Chapters and 1/2 of Broken Age would’ve been produced.

     

PC means personal computer

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Well said Doom..

     

Playing: 1) Calm Waters

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A game that would be “like opening a dusty old desk drawer and finding an undiscovered LucasArts adventure game you’ve never played before” was exactly what I was hoping Tim Schafer had in mind when he announced his kickstarter a couple years ago, as we were in no shortage of the “finish-in-one-evening-without-ever-getting-stuck-games” that became the standard after the golden years. Sadly, the first part of Broken Age turned out to be just another one of those (though, with good story and voice acting, which was refreshing).

I really miss the old ones that could take a month or more of pondering to finish, and that seems to be exactly the kind of game Ron & Gary are planning here, except their time-machine may have landed a few years too far in the past (about 4 years too far, to be exact).

I agree with Karlok, the graphics here are hideous… Stale, boring 1p perspectives all the way, accompanied by an unappetizing color palette. Why, oh why, not go for something closer to Monkey Island 2? MI2 and MM represent the outer extremes of pixel art, from best to worst. They know how to do both (atleast Gary does), but settles for the way they did it before they learned how to draw properly. This puzzles me, particularly when considering what an amazing graphical artist Gary Winnick really is.

To those claiming that quality of art is entirely subjective, try comparing small thumbnails from MM and MI2 side by side, while gently squinting your eyes, and see which ones you instinctively feel more attracted to. See how the vibrant colors and compositions of MI2 instantly engages the eye, while the thumbs from MM won’t have that effect at all, mainly due to poor contrast in the coloring and generic compositions.

While Ron is applying 20 years of lessons learned to this project, I hope he won’t forget to do the same within the art department for his next project Smile

Graphics aside, I’m actually quite excited about this game, puzzle, story, humor and length-wise, I believe it’s gonna hit the spot just perfectly.

     

Duckman: Can you believe it? Five hundred bucks for a parking ticket?
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I’ve been reading more into this project and have slightly narrowed down my main reasons for not backing it.

I think many of us would like to see what Gilbert can do now, with the tools currently available. He is at a point in his career where I’d like to see him build the next big thing, which I can’t imagine is Thimbleweed Park, a throwback to one of the least interesting eras of PC gaming, in my opinion.

Besides, as much as I absolutely adore all kinds of PC classics, I’ve become more willing than ever to try out new genres and fresh ideas in recent years.

     
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*points to The Cave*

     
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The Cave was neither the next big thing nor a Kickstarter project. But you might be right in highlighting it as the very thing I’m asking Gilbert to do.

     

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Dag - 19 November 2014 02:26 PM

I agree with Karlok, the graphics here are hideous… Stale, boring 1p perspectives all the way, accompanied by an unappetizing color palette. Why, oh why, not go for something closer to Monkey Island 2? MI2 and MM represent the outer extremes of pixel art, from best to worst.

MI2 wasn’t really “pixel art” though. (unless you’re talking about the character sprites). The backdrops were mostly scanned marker work if I remember things correctly (albeit low res and with a limited palette). But they do indeed look amazing. I’m pretty sure they were mostly made by peter chan and steve purcell though.

This is sorta off topic but it’s pretty amazing how well the environments of MI2 fit together, considering how iterative point n click development is, and how difficult (impossible) it was to make edits to a scanned painting back then, once they realized they needed to modify the room for gameplay-reasons… They’d have to just redo the entire painting from scratch. Insanely impressive.

What I’m trying to say with this long post is that if you want a game to look as good as MI2 you need to hire awesome artists, and make your pipeline more convoluted. (not nearly as convoluted as back when MI2 was developed though!) Thus making the project more expensive and less rapid to develop. This is why I can totally relate to Ron and Gary’s decision to go with this “back to basics” style. Which will be cheap to develop, and easy to edit, when edits are needed. And if they purely want to focus on good puzzles and plot, having a “cheap” visual style is a pretty smart move. Especially if it tickles people’s nostalgia gene enough to make people throw nearly 200000 USD at them in virtually no-time.

That said, I don’t really like the look of it either. But the decision makes sense.

Edit: On a side note, with the huge-ass pile of money they’re apparently going to wind up with, they probably COULD afford making this game look good. Maybe they should consider the “HR” stretch goal that Tomimt is advocating. I (as many other here, apparently) would strongly prefer if thimbleweed had a more ambitious visual style along MI2/DOTT, rather than MM/ZAK.

     
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MI2 has indeed hand painted backgrounds. I have an old games magazine somehwere, that has an article about the production of MI2.

     
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theo - 20 November 2014 03:15 AM

Edit: On a side note, with the huge-ass pile of money they’re apparently going to wind up with, they probably COULD afford making this game look good. Maybe they should consider the “HR” stretch goal that Tomimt is advocating. I (as many other here, apparently) would strongly prefer if thimbleweed had a more ambitious visual style along MI2/DOTT, rather than MM/ZAK.

I’m against this. Look, a game has to decide what it wants to be. In this case Gary and Ron have said they want it to be old-school and iconic. Not in the style of the later Lucasarts adventures, but in the style of the foundations. For better or worse, that’s what it’s going to be and it’s clear they intended that style to work with the other elements of the game. Adding a Hi-Res option to please everyone will only dilute their artistic vision.

     

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Well you do have a very good point there, Oscar. Designing two games instead of one isn’t really a very good idea when you look at it from a focus-kind of perspective (whether you have the funds for it or not). It would likely wind up being a very convoluted development process that indeed would hinder the game’s actual design.

Also, with better looks come more requirements, like higher fidelity music and voice acting. (Not requirements, but more likely to be expected!) So they really would wind up making two games instead of one. Which is kinda crazy.

Maybe a better “stretch goal” would be to make one more entirely different game after this one is done, aimed at the early-mid 90’s look. (But then again, it doesn’t really seem like that interests Ron very much).

     
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You know, the style is starting to grow on me. It’s still ugly, but I don’t mind it that much anymore.

I think one reason they chose this particular style is, that they know they can pull it off with a samll team, just like they did in the early days at Lucas. A character style like they have will lower the expections for animation quality quite a bit, unlike in games like Larry Reloaded where the high resolution character art made the clunky animation pop out a bit too much.

In the end the style itself is pretty well thought of I think, no matter how unpolished it looks.

     
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