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.
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.
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.
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.
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'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)
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.
But I think patron may have connotations of influence over the artist. (I could be wrong on that.)
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.
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.
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.
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?"
Nonetheless, two things I absolutely love about text:
1) It can't be ruined by bad acting.
2) It leaves more to the imagination.
(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 . 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 , 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.
Another excellent voice acting game: Tim Schafer's Full Throttle.
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.
As soon as you hear George Lucas say the words 'what I originally intended' you should run a mile.
In other words, yes the game would be great regardless of its looks - but a visually pleasing setting only helps the cause.
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 . . .
Then you make a game.
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.
See for example the success of every new Civ game compared to the success of other strategy games.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Also, almost anything by Ben Chandler, but that's usually short form. My favorite is Eternally Us( I know, yucks at the name, but it's a beautiful game).
And Donna is one of the best games I played las year, so there is that.
There is also Machinarium  by Amanita (of Samorost fame). No dialogue, so less like MI, but still one of the finest games ever made.
And Machinarium is definitely charming.
Not a bad accolade given the creative games that have come out (FTL, my personal pick, was Polygon's #6)
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.
If you're in a hurry, try their top 100 list, at http://www.adventuregamers.com/articles/view/18643
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.
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.
[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.
"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.
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...
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.
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.
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
And according to one experienced source (OP): The answer is a resounding "yes"!
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.
I usually just do block quotes as italics by surrounding them in asterisks. As I did above.