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If I Made Another Monkey Island... (grumpygamer.com)
309 points by skardan on Apr 16, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 83 comments



I supported Double Fine Adventure on Kickstarter and lot of the last points of the OP refer to how Tim Schafer is managing it.

But, in this case, if Ron Gilbert is making a proof of concept with this post, a MVP to check if Monkey Island 3a can be crowdfunded - or even if it is just a critique of Double Fine Adventure campaign, I am on Tim Schafer's side here.

Crowdfunding is not about "give me the money and trust me". The crowd is not a substitute for publisher's money or even a maecenas. He wants to win the lotto and create a game, not receive the support of the crowd (and all that come from it).

I love the documentary updates, the forums, to understand what happens behind the scenes. This is not about keeping the hype up, this is about sharing the world of creating games with the people that supported it.


> "give me the money and trust me"

That's basically the inverse of my attitude when I back a kickstarter. I generally support what they're doing, believe that they are going to try and make the thing they said, and then just trust that they'll eventually deliver something.


I didn't read that much of a value judgement into it. It seems more like he's just managing expectations by explaining that he wouldn't do it that way.


I tried to read it again, but I see a lot of value judgement into it. One possibility is that it maybe not a judgement of how Tim is managing it, but a critique to the Kickstarter model as a whole. Either way, I don't agree with him.

If a Monkey Island is going to be created in this manner I wouldn´t support it as a crowdfunding project. But I would certainly buy the game after it is released! And pay good cash too!

I don't think Ron is doing something bad by stating those things, I just think he doesn't get crowdfunding the same way I do.


I'm on the other side. He created the first two, which I grew up with and loved, and he didn't ask me about those at all. So I'm willing to trust him.

For me, crowdfunding is more about ensuring the actual creators receive my money and avoiding the "publisher", than it's about being able to contribute to creative process.

I backed Wasteland 2 and haven't said a single word to the developers. I've looked at the preview art and video, but I wouldn't mind very much if they hadn't release those things and just showed up with a game.

However, if they did that, and the game fell flat, I might not back another. I assume most Kickstarting companies realize the preview/updates are not "owed" to backers, but are in fact an opportunity to preview (e.g. test) with a highly engaged and invested audience, thus mitigating the risk of failure of their final product.


> Crowdfunding is not about "give me the money and trust me"

You speak on behalf of the crowd? The entire crowd? If Ron Gilbert's (hypothetical) proposal is unattractive to people, they won't support it.


I don't get involved with the games I fund. I love that other people do; I think that's a really neat thing that's become possible. But it's just not my thing, personally. I'm happy to wait and see what they come up with.

I'm fine with funding projects with either philosophy. If it comes down to just "give me the funds or the game can't get made", and I want to play that game, then I'm happy being a substitute for the publisher's money. (I had to look up maecenas, and I still don't get it)


Sorry, I think it as a more common word in portuguese than in english (maybe I mistranslated it too).

Maecenas would be someone that gives money to an artist be able to produce its art. Long time ago, before artists could access market to finance themselves, great artists (e.g. Renaissance artists) often needed a Maecenas to pay the bills while they were creating their masterpieces. No financial interests, arts for art sake (sure, other reasons like vanity, social influence, power demonstration and etc were involved too).

Not sure this was an accurate explanation, but I tried.


That sounds like what would normally be called a patron in English. See definition 4 here: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/patron#English

But I think patron may have connotations of influence over the artist. (I could be wrong on that.)


#4 is quite similar of what I have in mind. But no connotations of influence in theory - in practice, I imagine that was hard to have zero influence on the supported artist.


I disagree with the first part. The crowd should support the artist vision and give him total freedom. If is not a substitute for having a publisher, what's the point?

I agree with your conclusion and I don't think it is necessarily the opposite, you can have artist freedom and access to the backstage.


I disagree. I love that model of crowdfunding and I think he hit the nail on the head: the stretch goals, crowd feedback, demos, etc are a hallmark of a blockbuster Kickstarter.

But, as he admitted, he's not interested in breaking records. He's interested in making his game the way he wants.

That's totally legit and I totally support someone making that claim.

It's up to each and everyone of us to assess that claim and decide if we trust him in that endeavour.

I strongly resist the idea that Kickstarted games MUST follow one model or they are wrong or bad. Not every creative mind works well with the chaos and bile that spews from the crowd.


I have no less respect for Ron than I did back in the 90s, but I think that sometimes the veterans lose sight of what made their old games great (and this of course, is just my opinion). He wants keep the retro aesthetic, which is good, but then wants to include things like DOF and glows...which can technically be done with a palette, but I don't think this is what he is getting at, and could potentially destroy the rigid palettization that makes pixel art what it is. He wants to use speech instead of text, which is one of the things that I think ruined Monkey Island 3. There are many ways to improve on the old formula while keeping the superficial aspects that fuel our nostalgia - it seems like most remakes these days jump on the very generic looking engines like Unity (yes you can tweak Unity to look any way, but if you use the default shaders, cameras, etc it will look like any other game).


> He wants to use speech instead of text

While the no-talkie and partial talkie DotT are great, full-talkie DotT is absolutely awesome.

> He wants keep the retro aesthetic, which is good, but then wants to include things like DOF and glows...which can technically be done with a palette, but I don't think this is what he is getting at, and could potentially destroy the rigid palettization that makes pixel art what it is

I'm not sure pixel art and retro looks is the solution. There was something unique yet common to all those great games that made them memorable enough that we long for them even today.

As an example, while I don't quite like the whacky universe and style that evolved since Rayman 2, Rayman Origins engine and graphics were stunning, and captures part of that essence. Sadly the gameplay is largely forgettable, almost a rhythm-based party game — I long for something like the first Rayman gameplay — but the graphics part is a step in the right direction.

I feel like Orioto [0-3](browse his tumblr blog for more) tries to captures this essence, and I long for games looking like his work. Given the incredible horsepower we have at hand as of yet, I just can't believe it's not possible.

[0]: http://www.redbubble.com/people/orioto/works/8245345-through...

[1]: http://www.redbubble.com/people/orioto/works/8290902-city-bo...

[2]: http://orioto.tumblr.com/post/15721511369/1200p-1080p-print

[3]: http://orioto.tumblr.com/post/15627728854/1200p-1080p-print


"Given the incredible horsepower we have at hand as of yet, I just can't believe it's not possible."

I'm reminded of this line from near the beginning of the movie Primer:

"The rest of it is the mercury bath... which you wouId know better than I do, but they're probabIy just showing off. I mean, you have it, you got to use it, right?"


Thanks for the info! I actually only played DotT with text, so maybe I am missing the potential of voice.

Nonetheless, two things I absolutely love about text: 1) It can't be ruined by bad acting. 2) It leaves more to the imagination.


So, my theory is that Day of the Tentacle had voice so early (as optional add-on packs for those rare systems that could use them rather than part of the base install, that's how early this was; voice packs that could fill up your meager little hard drive) that nobody involved realized that game voice acting was "supposed" to suck. System Shock is another example of the same effect. Both of those games are wonderful and completely stand up to the best of modern voice acting. It wasn't until later that voice acting really started to suck hard.


The voice version of DotT is indeed awesome. My favourite example of voice acting in adventure game that you don't want to click through. Too many games rely on this "ask 23 inquiring questions picked from a list" in a way that becomes really boring, with swathes of dialogue to get through.

(Even worse, in my opinion, are those that require that you delve into a certain part of the dialogue tree in order to get an item or otherwise open up something in the game, which means you have to go through the entire dialogue tree even some of the questions seem uninteresting and you don't want to go through with it. DotT did have a few of those, if I remember correctly.)

I agree about the retro pixel art. A retro style just to capture the essence of a golden age is, in my opinion, philosophically harmful; it quickly becomes annoying. There are some games that sort of redeem themselves: "Superbrothers: Sword + Sorcery", which uses ultra-low-rez graphics blown up to full size combined with fluid animation, is pretty good, although I wound the glib, self-referential tone of the game to be a bit obnoxious. Then there are Wadjet Eye games (like Gemini Rue and Primordia), which use some kind of SCUMM-like, really retro engine, and graphics that are something like 320x200, again blown up to full size, but without any modern animation wizardry. The games are so good that it works, but you do get the sense that the time of this kind of game is, and should be, over.

While I loved the zany style of DotT, I never liked the exaggerated "French" drawing style of Monkey Island 3 [1]. Monkey Island 4 was just awful, and the new Monkey Island episodes are downright creepy in its empty-eyed-doll animated characters, and the "enhanced" remake again does a kind of Disney-style makeover that doesn't quite fit. (Among other things the animation has gone from wonderfully zany to just plain. Watch how they animate talking people [3], it's hilarious.) (Of course, part of the problem with MI3-4 and later was that they turned Guybrush from a likeable, sort of innocent hero into an annoying, clueless, condescending moron somewhere between Chris O'Donnell and Chris Elliot. I don't know if it was the voice, or the hair, or whatever, probably a combination of them. It didn't work for me. It wasn't Guybrush.)

A more recent game that creates a cozy and charming, yet contemporary and technologically up-to-date style is Machinarium. Crisp high-rez graphics, charming animation, fun story, pretty much perfect in every way. That's the way to go, I think.

[1] http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-O8op_6zSEYQ/UBDrWkuhwiI/AAAAAAAAAG...

[2] http://wiimedia.ign.com/wii/image/article/100/1008507/tales-...

[3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9eJHotWoDQ


The voice acting in The Dig was really good. It also didn't have the verbs. The graphics were great as well but the plot was lacking...


Yes. Actually, I really liked The Dig's plot [spoilers ahead!] until they brought forth the magical alien ghosts. It was basically Rendezvous with Rama reworked with some subpar new-age nonsense.

Another excellent voice acting game: Tim Schafer's Full Throttle.


I think one of the things he said is telling and gives useful perspective - they wanted to do more with the visuals, but were stuck with what was possible in 1990. We shouldn't elevate retro pixel art to some perfect art form. It's unlikely to be what the original artists intended, rather it was what they had to accept.


I agree. :) Pixel art is not inherently perfect, and there is A LOT of bad pixel art (especially in many mobile games now days). However, there is something about pixel art that I think makes it great: it is timeless, and if created correctly, incapable of many of the flaws other art types are subject to. Polygons are very hard to work with, especially in an FPS, because players can get very close and observe every detail, and the model quickly degrades when it is close to your face - not to mention the texturing, which more often than not is completely flat, sans parallax mapping or displacement mapping. Vector art is much harder than people might give it credit for, and making "good" looking vector art is very, very challenging -- the most common problem I see is messy curves because people did not take the time to tweak the handles on their beziers. More often than not, vector art comes out looking like the kind you find in cheap Flash / mobile games. Raster art (i.e. Photoshop without limitations), often results in art that is in many ways blurry - various blurs and super-sampling tend to get over-used, and the result is very soft looking artwork (take Hearthstone as an example):

http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/static/images/media/screens...

It certainly does not look bad, but many icons here lack the same crispness you would find in pixel art.

Assuming you follow all the correct guidelines (1 pixel wide outlines, no pillow shading, good dithering, small palette, cold -> warm shading, clean lines and fills, etc), pixel art can approach perfection -- because of its inherent limitations. A single vector curve can have an infinite variety of permutations, but there are only so many ways you can draw a line of pixels (the same goes for a NURBs surface or set of polygons). It is exactly this limitation that enables artists -- if you are given an infinite canvas with every color of paint in the known universe, you can kill yourself trying to perfect one piece.


What the original artists intended may well not have been as good as what they ended up creating.

As soon as you hear George Lucas say the words 'what I originally intended' you should run a mile.


That's because George Lucas is very seldom telling the truth about his intent. If you look at the things George Lucas said and wrote back then and compare them to what he says and writes now, it seems pretty clear that Lucas doesn't readily distinguish between his present ideas and his previous plans. I don't know whether he actually doesn't remember that he used to think differently or if he's consciously trying to reshape history — but at any rate, the George Lucas of today can't be relied upon for insight into the mind of the George Lucas of yesterday.


I used to think the same way that you do, until I played the special edition ipad remakes of monkey island with the improved graphics. You don't have to go all 8-bit to get that retro vibe. I much prefer the high quality ipad version over the original.


I think you lost sight of what made those games great. Certainly not how they looked. Getting more skilled artists on the job, with a fresh perspective on the world, would be awesome.


Yes, bad wording on my part. I used to be in the "looks don't matter at all" camp - and there are very many "ugly" games that I have thoroughly enjoyed. However, if you look at the way our brains are wired, one of the ways that we derive "fun" is on a strictly visual level. I think that traditional pixel art is inherently "fun" because it follows rigorous guidelines that produce something most people think is visually pleasing, yet at the same time challenges the brain to interpret it (vs. something that is completely realistic). Like anything else, fun derived from visual stimulus can wear off when it becomes "ordinary" - which is why seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time is thrilling, but seeing it 100 times is considerably less so.

In other words, yes the game would be great regardless of its looks - but a visually pleasing setting only helps the cause.


"True, I wouldn't raise huge sums of money or break any records . . ."

Haha.

Come on.

I'd wager that MI 3 would far and away be the #1 all time Kickstarter fund raise, starting with my money:

"After its release on Steam, the Special Edition remake topped the sales charts for the week ending July 18. On July 20th, the Xbox 360 version had already sold over 38,000 copies" (1)

I bought the SE on iPad the day it was released, and still haven't played it - that is how strong the nostalgia is with me . . .

(1)http://www.miwiki.net/The_Secret_of_Monkey_Island:_Special_E...


What business model is this? Give gamers blue balls and then wait until they inevitably ram down your door with money trucks?


You plant the seed for the violent revolt of rampaging gamers that will ultimately see Disney surrender the Monkey Island IP to restore global peace.

Then you make a game.


Disney's takeaway from a "violent revolt of rampaging gamers" will be that this IP is tremendously valuable, which is probably the opposite impression you should be cultivating if you want to buy it from them at a low enough price to make third-party development itself practical.


If he wanted to put the effort and time to make this game, why would it have to use the Monkey Island IP?

I think that any new game with same quality, the humor and mechanics, but in a different setting (or heck, just a different name!) would still be loved.


Using existing IP is a lot safer, and will generate more sales, even if otherwise the games are the same. There are a lot of people who played Monkey island in their youth and are nostalgic for it, but who don't follow the latest game news and wouldn't auto buy a game without the IP. Yes it could be successful, but that the Monkey Island name it would be more so.

See for example the success of every new Civ game compared to the success of other strategy games.


He has built an engine that is powered by gamers' frustration over things they can never have.


Sounds like a good plan to me! I'd just like to add that the first rule of Monkey Island 3a is that you don't talk about Monkey Island 3a. Shhhhhhhhh!


Let's just hope Disney goes along with this!


I may be an odd ball here, but I cheated at Monkey Island 1 and 2. I don't like to be frustrated with a puzzle that relies on either randomly choosing inventory items or seeing some pixels that look like almost every other set of pixels on the screen and trying to pick them up.

For me, what made Monkey Island great was that it was a pretty quirky comedy. I wanted to see what Guybrush would say next.

Further, it shocks me at how bad the graphics are at some of these games after looking at them again after decades. It occurs to me that what I remember it looking like is a heck of a lot better than what it actually looked like. So I'd rather the game not look like the pixely original. I'd rather have it look like I remember.


I think Machinarium is a good example of how you can preserve the fun frustration of adventure games without pushing people to cheat. They would allow you to play a mini-game in order to reveal some extra hints which would push you in the right direction enough to figure out the rest on your own.

In Monkey Island I would sometimes get annoyed and google for what to do out of angry frustration. It was easy for me to throw my hands up and say "I don't give a shit any more, time to move on!" Lots of times the solutions made zero sense to me. In Machinarium I still got a sense of frustration and puzzlement, but I would try to forego the hints out of pride for as long as I could which made for a much more enjoyable experience.


You mean Altavista?


Machinarium's gameplay could (and should) be pretty much copy pasted onto lots of adventure games, both remakes and new ones. It's just perfect. I hope Amanita goes back to that franchise, there's still a lot that could be explored there.


I really liked the puzzle difficulty with Machinarium. I think I had to use the hints system once for one of the particularly difficult puzzles. Great game.


> Further, it shocks me at how bad the graphics are at some of these games after looking at them again after decades.

I played MI 1 and 2 in the early 1990s and after revisiting them after 15 years or so, my impression was exactly the opposite: "Look how well the graphics has aged!". Yes, pixels are there, but the aesthetic value of locations, landscapes etc. is relatively unaffected, it's still pleasing to watch (esp. in MI2). I think this says something about the quality of graphic design in those games.


I hope no one minds if I hijack to ask:

What are some really good MODERN adventure games, along the lines of MI or the Space Quests?

Besides the Two Guys' Kickstarter campaign, I mean...


Most of the games by Wadjet Eye are great. I specially recommend Gemini Rue.

Also, almost anything by Ben Chandler[2], but that's usually short form. My favorite is Eternally Us[3]( I know, yucks at the name, but it's a beautiful game).

And Donna[4] is one of the best games I played las year, so there is that.

[1]http://www.wadjeteyegames.com/ [2]http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/site/games/author/Ben30... [3]http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/site/games/game/1303/ [4]http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/site/games/game/1523/


I consider "L.A. Noire" the modern equivalent of an adventure game. Much of your time is spent walking around crime scenes picking up everything that isn't nailed down. The rest of the time consists of solving the game's "puzzles", which are all in the form of conversations, and sometimes involve using objects (evidence) to solve, while otherwise requiring careful observation. The combat and chase sequences are actually very incidental, with the foot chases in particular having extremely simplified controls (just hold "up" to climb a whole set of fire escape ladders and stairs) and if you screw them up enough then the game will simply let you skip them. Unlike old adventure games, there are multiple ways to solve each case, and there are no instances of "Moon Logic Puzzles".


I enjoyed LA Noire except for the conversations. Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I could never figure out the right responses when interrogating someone.


Wadjet's latest, Primordia [1], is really good, especially if you are into postapocalyptic scifi. (Windows, but runs perfectly on Macs via Wineskin.) Retro graphics, looks like it was made cirka 1990. There is also their earlier cyberpunk game, Gemini Rue [2], also great.

There is also Machinarium [3] by Amanita (of Samorost fame). No dialogue, so less like MI, but still one of the finest games ever made.

[1] http://www.wadjeteyegames.com/primordia.html

[2] http://www.wadjeteyegames.com/gemini-rue.html

[3] http://machinarium.net/


To add to the Wadjet Eye love, I also enjoyed the entire Blackwell series.

And Machinarium is definitely charming.


I really liked the Chzo Mythos. It is a mystery / horror point and click adventure, quite short. The atmosphere is really great. http://www.fullyramblomatic.com/5days/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chzo_Mythos#7_Days_a_Skeptic


The Walking Dead game was selected by Polygon as game of the year:

http://www.polygon.com/2013/1/11/3863618/game-of-the-year-20...

Not a bad accolade given the creative games that have come out (FTL, my personal pick, was Polygon's #6)


It's fun, but a rather different type of game.

Classic Adventure games are a cross between a puzzle game and a story - often using inventory or area switches to get past..

Walking Dead instead used an illusion of choice as it's core mechanic. It focuses on story more, and it works well, but it's not identical.

That said, TellTale's Sam and Max games and Tales of Money island are highly reminiscent of such old school works, as is Machinarium and quite a few others.



Daedalic Entertainment makes great adventure games. Checkout The Whispered World for instance. But beware, those are real adventure games not your typical arcade/3d-camera/jumping-puzzle/console/casual/mainstream "adventure" game.


Seconded - I've found and played some of the King's Quest remakes by ADG and Infamous Adventures, then started wondering if there are more recent games along these lines.


Lots! Check out http://www.adventuregamers.com/ - They have reviews frequently.

If you're in a hurry, try their top 100 list, at http://www.adventuregamers.com/articles/view/18643


For the people going on and on about Kickstarter and crowd funding, note point #11: "The only way I would or could make another Monkey Island is if I owned the IP"

This seems more like a post to get the masses exited and perhaps help him get a license for or ownership of the Monkey Island franchise.

I hope he's successful, I was a big fan of the first two games (never got to play the 3rd). I'd certainly buy whatever he produced if it inspired the same awe of the prior games.

I do like the idea of starting fresh with a new story, ala The Legend of Gorilla Mountain, or something silly like that. After all, it was the wit of the writers and the artists that really sold the game.


Isn't it actually relatively possible now for him to secure the IP rights from Disney? With LucasArts disbanded, they've made it clear they intend to license the IP to other developers.


Honestly after "The Cave" and "Deathspank" I'm not sure Gilbert is on my HERE TAKE MY MONEY list any more. And him saying "MI3 will be RETRO looking!" isn't making me interested; the Monkey Island games were GORGEOUS for the time, but I don't want to go wallowing in nostalgia for something made now.


Indeed, The Cave had good visuals, but extremely boring gameplay. I understand what he was going for, but it just didn't work. Way too much running back and forth to place your characters in a certain place, and all the running took way too much time.

Deathspank was mildly amusing, but got tired very fast. It was visually flimsy and felt underdeveloped overall; it wasn't a good RPG, but it wasn't a good action game either, and it was a terrible adventure game.

Admittedly neither of those games are classical point and click games. It may well be that he's just much better at designing point and clicks than at the other game genres.


Yes, I've been burned by enough one- or two-hit wonders to not just assume the next item will be good. World of Goo was another example; they then made Little Inferno, which while continuing their trend of uniquely beautiful art, was unbelievably monotonous and shallow to play, a stark contrast to the game that made their name. XCOM was another example - XCOM remake! Take my money! How bad can it be? Well, they could strip out the strategy part of the game altogether, giving it zero replayability.


FFS, I was secretly hoping for a tiny kickstarter link at the bottom.


Myself as well. On the other hand, I'd wait to see how the Two Guys from Andromeda [1] fare before having hopes of something like this. They appear to have missed their February delivery.

[1] http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spaceventure/two-guys-sp...


This is absolutely brilliant! One on one with the community, speaking from the heart to people that understand you, no marketing BS, just the good old truth. I enjoyed Monkey Island for that same reason. By this point, I think it is pretty obvious Ron is just trying to gauge the readiness of the crowd, which obviously is there and happy to pay up. The one thing that scares me - he'll probably have start buy shelling out a ton of money to buy the IP and that may turn out to be a showstopper...


I love Monkey Island series and other Lucas Arts Adventure games, spent way too many hours playing them. However, I am a bit disappointed in this article because it feels a bit concierge-mvp to nostalgia (feeling the grounds before a full-on Kickstarter campaign), unfortunately without any interesting build upon what those great games offered. Well, consider this as my feedback to the mvp. Grim Fandango was a breakthrough, including its no-interface approach and clever use of camera angles to script the player. I have never seen a game script coming alive so strongly, it was like playing a movie. But Monkey Island re-pixelated? Although I played it on my iPad and switch back and forth between old-new renderings, I would expect these wonderful minds to be more inventive than nostalgic when producing something new.


Reading the linked rules of adventure gaming, it is true that you can have arbitrarily hard puzzles without breaking any of them.

[spoiler for a two puzzles in Monkey Island 2 below]

The example for me is in MI2; there comes a point at which you are suspended over a boiling cauldron with a candle that is burning through the rope holding you up. If you are really clever, you will remember that earlier you got a drink that would thicken your spit (and you can't have not picked it up, since you needed it to solve a puzzle to get to this point). However, you can't spit at the candle, but you can spit at a shield on the wall, causing a ricochet to extinguish the candle.

I was stuck on this for months, finally got bored and played through the game again. The moment I got to the first time you need to spit I just slapped my self in the head.


People have so much respect for the Monkey Island series from yesteryear and for Ron as well. Lets face it, if there was a Kickstarter for a retro-styled Monkey Island game built by Ron and a few of his friends, it would shatter Kickstarter records faster than Usain Bolt. Just tell me where to send the money and I'll send it all, so many would love another Monkey Island game, lets get the IP back into the hands of Ron and let him work the magic.

"True, I wouldn't raise huge sums of money or break any records . . ."

We all know that isn't true. A remake would seriously break any sales record of any game no doubt.


Is SCUMM really better than Lua?


No. I've used SCUMM, was the core systems engineer on Grim, and founded Telltale. I'm very familiar with both. The spirit of SCUMM is very much alive, but SCUMM is a system, not just a language. Lua runs circles around SCUMM as a language (SCUMM didn't support >8bit numeric types till Monkey3!), but as a game development system SCUMM was really cool. There's much that Unreal, Unity, etc could learn from it, but "running circles around Lua" is (ahem) hyperbole.


That's what I thought. I wonder what the DSL used in Grim and Escape from Monkey Island looked like.

Also, the Lua version used in Grim was 2.5 (!) and a major issue was the lack of cooperative multithreading (see http://www.grimfandango.net/?page=articles&pagenumber=2).

I don't know what version was used in Escape from Monkey Isand (3.1 ?), but the current version of Lua also "runs in circles" around the Lua that was used in those games.

EDIT: more by Bret on Lua in Grim: http://www.slideshare.net/hughreynolds/lua-patient-zero-bret...


Thanks for your work on Grim. It's the reason I learned Lua (via LuaDec and extracting code out of the .LAB files), and I play it at least once a year.


From what I've read about SCUMM, it was designed to be very similar to writing a regular script for, say, a TV show. The famous "hamster in the microwave" sequence was conceived, planned and implemented in one afternoon, and it even included some form of multitasking. Just by reading a piece of code such as this one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SLVyjUCOIo&t=0m10s) you get a sense of what is going on, and that makes trying ideas really simple.

You probably wouldn't use SCUMM for anything except an adventure game, but in that particular case I think it would be much better than a general-purpose language as LUA.


From what I've read about SCUMM, it was designed to be very similar to writing a regular script for, say, a TV show.

There's a programming language for writing textual interactive fiction games, Inform 7 ( http://inform7.com/ ), which reads as a natural language. For example, here's part of the "programme" of a game (copied from http://www.hpiweb.com/newmedia/i7/cbrk/source.html )

The Forest is a room. "This forest is cold and damp. Sunset is drawing very near and shelter must be found soon. The only apparent direction to go is north." A room called Before the Castle of the Big Red Key is north of the Forest. "The castle looms before you. Its massive front door has a lock that seems to glow a fiery red. You must continue north past that door. The only other exit is to the south." The big_red_key is here. The description is "It's a big red key." The printed name is "big red key". Understand "big", "red", and "key" as the big_red_key. It unlocks the massive front doorway. The massive front doorway is north of Before the Castle of the Big Red Key and south of the Castle Vestibule. The doorway is a door.

It would be interesting to have a graphical equivalent.


I wouldn't call Inform 7 a programming language, so much as a DSL for entering fact-tuples into a graph database (though some of these tuples do attach "rules" [predefined functions] together using AOP join-points). When you actually need to tell it how to "make things happen", you basically break out into a separate, imperative programming language--which happens to be I7's ancestor, I6.


I know only a little of Inform 7. I somehow thought it was as full featured as Inform 6. What can you do in I6 that you can't do in I7?


It's interesting that Ron Gilbert originally wanted to base SCUMM on Lisp: http://www.pagetable.com/?p=614

Of the few SCUMM script examples I've seen, I can't seem to understand what Gilbert means when he says: "It did things Lua could never dream of." The ability to control a C64 from a UNIX box? That actually sounds a lot like Naughty Dog's GOAL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_Oriented_Assembly_Lisp


I think you have to interpret that snide remark as tongue-in-cheek; he also says SCUMM beat up Lua for its lunch money. And he is playing that "grumpy old developer" role pretty consistently, which means bashing the new and venerating the old. Still, I think his main point is that SCUMM was a higher-level language than Lua that could express actions in a more game-specific form, and that's why it's more suitable (at least to his way of doing things), and that's why he would like to continue the SCUMM way rather than actually use Lua.


If I have understood it correctly, he also means that using SCUMM is fun by itself, so it just puts you in the right mood.


I think the question you meant to ask was: "Is SCUMM really better than Lua for the rapid/(agile?) development of 2d adventure games?"

And according to one experienced source (OP): The answer is a resounding "yes"!


Point Eleven is awesome!!

Eleven - The only way I would or could make another Monkey Island is if I owned the IP. I've spent too much of my life creating and making things other people own. Not only would I allow you to make Monkey Island fan games, but I would encourage it. Label them as such, respect the world and the characters and don't claim they are canon. Of course, once the lawyers get ahold of that last sentence it will be seven pages long.

edit: Thanks!


Grr, how do I do block quotes? Because, this is terrible. Apologies to everyone seeing it

I usually just do block quotes as italics by surrounding them in asterisks. As I did above.


What was wrong with Tales of Monkey Island? I thought it was good!


Living up to his name, and yet I still want him to TAKE MY MONEY NOW


Ron, please shut up and take my money!




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