What we in the business call Xbox Games Showcase Extended happened today, and during it Tim gave a presentation about Psychonauts 2. He describes the game’s setup in pretty good detail, offering a more expansive look at the overworld than I’ve seen so far. It all starts at 16:40 in the video below.
Sixteen years after Maniac Mansion Deluxe, another LucasArts oldie has received a fan remake of astonishing care – the oldie, it could be argued. The decade-long labor of love Fractalus is now available for Windows, MacOS and Linux, and it’s probably as fine example of this sort of thing that comes along. May I present my first witness: the project lead of the 1984 original?
If that’s not enough to make you download the game, I’m not sure what else can be done for ya. Highest marks to the Australian enthusiast who apparently masterminded this. One wonders: is the Land Down Under to Rescue on Fractalus! what Germany is to the SCUMM games?
So apparently, back in 2016, when Campo Santo was both a small, scrappy company putting out a fun newsletter and in existence, they put out this game called Firewatch. The critically acclaimed game was scored by one estimable Chris Remo, and the soundtrack, on vinyl, sold out.
Woe, as the kids say. Anyway, if you've wanted to get the soundtrack on vinyl since then, you'd have had to sell a kidney and score it on eBay. Except as of last week, when Remo put (what is likely the) final printing up on Kickstarter for all you surface noise-loving, guitar-strumming tree huggers hopefully-locked-indoors out there. (I joke because I'm one of you, except the guitar bit.) Grab it here.
Being cool and popular, we recently received the following email:
My name’s Tim. I worked with George “The Fat Man” Sanger for a long time to release his master recordings from the Humongous Entertainment games he worked on. We worked really hard on the albums, restoring and remixing a lot of lost content, and taking them from raw ADATs to excellent listener-ready spreads. Now they’re finally out.
They sound fantastic, missing the 11025Hz distortion so characteristic of SCUMM games with digital music, and I thought your readers might be interested.
They can be found at thefatmanandteamfat.bandcamp.com
I run the Curator YouTube channel, too, which has some fun Putt-Putt related interviews and other content you might like.
Thanks for the great coverage over the years!
Do I need to draw you a road map? Go download those digitally liberated soundtracks right now!
In the last few days a reporter at PC Gamer has noticed several strange goings-on at Campo Santo, the game developer started in part by ex-Telltale and ex-Mojo Jake Rodkin. They report some disappearances of mentions of the game-in-progress Valley of the Gods:
...recent changes in the Twitter bios of three of its lead developers—Firewatch producer and 3D environment artist Jane Ng, art director Claire Hummel, and Campo Santo co-founder Jake Rodkin—has some followers worried that the game has been canceled.
A check of the Internet Archive confirms that the changes were made relatively recently. The Twitter bios of Ng and Hummel both indicated that they were working on In the Valley of Gods as recently as October 2019, while Rodkin's bio made the same reference up to September. All three now indicate simply that they are employed by Valve.
But they also point out that the game website is still up, as its Steam holding page. Jake could clear this up, but what are the odds of that?
It may come as no surprise, but Dynamighty ceased operations sometime back in 2017.
An all too common story of small game studios but regretfully, after the release of CounterSpy, we were unable to secure a follow up project. We made a small mobile game, Fingers of Fury, as our team members slowly dispersed to other opportunities...
The end was painful. We didn’t want to say goodbye, which is why we were remiss in posting here. But it’s been a couple of years and recent events brought us back together and reminded us of how amazing this journey was and how thankful we were that we got to make this game CounterSpy. That we got to work together as an amazing team, making lifetime friends, and that millions of people like you reading this, played our game. We thank you all.
It is with sadness then, that I reveal the second part of this post, which is the event that brought us Dynamightys back together.
Back in 2014, 2 ex LucasArts folk met with a guy who decided to team up with them and invest his time, passion and energy into starting a company. That man was Mark Erman.
Mark passed away last week after a long battle with cancer. In life, Mark was one of the kindest, most warm hearted people you could know. He was a key part of The Dynamighty team throughout its own too short life. He ran the studio so we could make the game.
Condolences to Mark's family, friends and colleagues. You can read the full post here
If Counterspy passed you by, here's a taste of what you've missed.
Some sad news is making the rounds today, reporting the death of programmer Stephen Ash, a veteran of LucasArts, Double Fine, Ion Storm Dallas, Factor 5 and his most permanent home, id Software.
Ash's career at LucasArts included work on Grim Fandango, and like a number of developers on the Grim team, he was one of the earliest employees of Double Fine, where he developed the physics system for Psychonauts. Tim acknowledged his contribution and passing in the following tweet:
Saying goodbye to Stephen Ash, a brilliant programmer and kind, soft-spoken person. Everybody wanted Steve on their project. We were lucky to get him on Psychonauts in the early, unheated warehouse days of Double Fine, to help get our first engine off the ground. Thanks, Steve!
The most colorful expression of the white-out outrage that was ignited by the cancellation of Sam & Max 2 undoubtedly came from The Wibble Wobble Hat Stand (W.W.H.S.), which found its true calling as an “LEC Hate Site” in March 2004. Refusing to stop at merely collecting the various works of “hate art” righteously spewed forth by the greater Mojo community, deceased virtuoso Gabez went the extra mile and produced a few games of grandiose hostility under the W.W.H.S. banner. Despite their uncommon artistic virtue, these Adventure Factory classics have been sadly lost to time.
Or have they? Don’t ask me how, but we’ve managed to locate copies and get them uploaded, an act of nobility that we figure is at least as big a deal as Netflix finishing Orson Welles’s last movie. There are no guarantees that these will work on your machine, but then, wasn’t that the case from day one? So download these zip files and try the executables out for yourself. They’re probably not just viruses:
(NB! The games currently only work on Windows (or Wine). We expect ScummVM will add support any day now. - Remi)
This year, the students are working on the following games:ScummVM:
While we're on the subject of ScummVM and ResidualVM, both projects have had updates lately:ResidualVM 0.31 has been released. This is a bugfix release that fixes a few bugs in Myst III, in preparation for Cyan's upcoming digital release of Myst III that will use ResidualVM to play the game.
ScummVM's addition of Xeen, the first RPG engine added after ScummVM changed their guidelines to allow RPG games alongside the adventure games, is now completable in the daily builds. There are five RPGs that are currently completable: Might and Magic IV, Might and Magic V, World of Xeen, World of Xeen 2 (CD Talkie), and Swords of Xeen. If you want to play these games in the daily builds, make sure that you place xeen.css in the same folder as your game files.
After a savage bidding war (Mojo offered a Planet Threepwood coupon and a bloody molar), Valve ultimately won out and has officially acquired Firewatch developer Campo Santo, it's been announced. The vaunted, twelve-person studio will relocate to Bellevue, Washington where they will continue to make In the Valley of Gods and swat away attempts by their new neighbor Remi to gain access for exclusives.
Though we don't know what to make of this news, we congratulate these hardworking virtuosi (and Jake) for selling out securing a future with what look to be ideal partners. We anticipate it will be a future glittered with many golden trophies. Or it will turn out like Humongous. Either way!
You may recall Mojo reporting back in December 2016 on a new game engine for X-Wing being created by modder Azrapse. Well, the mod has now entered a Pre-Alpha testing state. If this news isn't exciting enough, check out the comments on the associated Kotaku article, where you'll see one Laserschwert say;
Jul 31, 2017, 11:58pm
I'm part of the XWVM team, and regarding TIE Fighter: We know it's the better game. And that's exactly the reason why we are tackling X-Wing first, because it's in much more need of an update. Plus it's the less complex game of the two, with simpler mission structure, fewer different ships and smaller in scope altogether. It's just less work to update (which is still a LOT of work), so it makes sense to get all of that down first. As much as TIE Fighter is build upon the foundation of X-Wing, a theoretical TFVM would and should be built upon XWVM.
In a similar manner to the the way the XL Engine runs the original Dark Forces game files in an enhanced way, this XWVM mod uses a Unity based engine to interpret and run the original X-Wing game files.
XWVM is a mod to the original Star Wars: X-Wing game from Lucas Arts and Totally Games by Larry Holland and Edward Kilham. Our goal is to rebuild the game engine with newer technologies that allow it to run and make use of the latest hardware and improvements in gaming hardware. The mod will require the player to own and have installation of the original Star Wars: X-Wing game, or have the GOG or Steam versions of X-Wing Special Edition (either the 1993 floppy, the 1994 CD, and/or 1998 Windows edition). XWVM neither contains nor distributes any copyrighted material. All game resource files (missions, voiceovers, SFX, iMUSE automaton, etc) are loaded from the player's copy of the original game, or are original creations of our team, where the original resources are considered inadequate for today's standards.
The mod creator has been discussing iMuse and ship models in the long running XWA Upgrade Project's forums. I wish Azrapse the best of luck with this project - may it one day see the light of day!
Right before a major release they do a public testing phase for new and improved games, which helps them iron out any remaining bugs. This testing cycle includes two new games: Myst (and Myst: Masterpiece Edition) and U.F.O.s (also known as Gnap). There also have been a lot of improvements in the SCI engine as of late, so they are also testing Conquests of the Longbow, Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist, King's Quest V, King's Quest VI, Quest for Glory 1 VGA, Quest for Glory 3, Space Quest 1 VGA, and Space Quest 4. Other games that have seen recent improvements and are undergoing testing include Beneath a Steel Sky, the Commodore-64 version of Maniac Mansion, Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Rose Tattoo, and Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel.So, if you have any of those games, play them through in a daily build of ScummVM on your platform of choice, and report any bugs you find at the new and improved ScummVM bug tracker. Then tell the team about your experience, and any bugs you filed (or if you didn't spot any bugs at all) in this thread on the ScummVM forum.
You've really got to admire this kind of stubbornness.
A fan-made remake of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis has been incubating for over two years now. I'm not clear on how far along the project is - indeed I've lost track of the Fate of Atlantis fan projects over the years - but the Facebook page has screenshots.
Labors of love like this traditionally just get put out at the risk of cease-and-desist orders, such as 2004's Maniac Mansion Deluxe, which as far as I know faced no legal repudiation, although the risk of getting the kibosh rises steeply when fans start dabbling in the big IPs, specifically Star Wars and Indy.
Whether for that reason or some other, the team has apparently sent a formal request to Disney to obtain a license for this remake. They even included some schwag! I find this admirable and crazy in roughly equal measure, but color me impressed.
I have a hard time imagining these good folks will get a response, much less approval, but I'm also a curmudgeon-y bastard without a sliver of optimism. At any rate, this has gotta be unprecedented, no? Correct me below if I'm wrong or at least join me in being awed by this team's hard work and indomitable spirit that's reminiscent of Indy himself.
- Amazon: Guardians of Eden
- Beavis and Butthead in Virtual Stupidity
- Broken Sword 2.5: The Return of the Templars
- Labyrinth of Time
- Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender
- The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Rose Tattoo
- The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel
- Zork: Grand Inquisitor
- Zork Nemesis: The Forbidden Lands
The original team (Dominik Haslinger, Jens Doblies and Sebastien Ronsse) did the majority of the work. It was originally intended to be a much longer game, but it was cancelled. I finished up the ice cavern sequence so that it could be released as a completely playable game as I thought it would be a shame if no one got to play it. Their sourcecode was playable up to the point where you complete the mechanism in the cavern.Here are the changes and fixes that I made to that source code:
- Replaced LucasArts logo with a ScummGen logo.
- Made a few grammar corrections to the original script.
- Created icons for inventory items that lacked them (all instances of the stones and the gas can).
- Programmed an if/then statement regarding the gas can that was referenced but not implemented in the source.
- Fixed the mechanism puzzle to require both objects, as before it was possible to complete it with only one object.
- Added dialog to facilitate the change in the mechanism puzzle.
- Fixed the lighting so that the cavern stays lit when you move to the cavern entrance and back.
- Enabled the usage of the item used to exit the cavern, as referenced but not implemented in the source.
- Changed description of the macguffin as it was originally used as a joke related to the game being unfinished (but kept it humourous to suit the tone of the original).
- Added dialog necessary for the ending sequence.
- Added end screen.
(Those of who you don't find the big news in their emails ought to subscribe to the Campo Santo Quarterly Review.)
Firewatch is being developed by a rag-tag crew of the ex-Telltale Gamesies who turned your heart to putty in The Walking Dead: Season One, including ex-Mixnmojo Jake Rodkin. A first person adventure game, it concerns a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness at a time when things seem to be going rather...awry.
How awry? Find-out this February!
(And then tell those of us who can't afford a system good enough to play the thing.)
Campo Santo proves that it's good for more than making absurdly promising games; it's also positioning itself as Mojo's replacement by recently siphoning Full Throttle reflections out of Tim Schafer. Those memories combined with perspectives from folks you might recognize make for an insightful retrospective on the game and its impact on Schafer's career thereafter.
Acknowledgement is also made of Tim's good fortune to see both of the game's unsanctioned sequels die on the vine, quelled threats that nonetheless motivated his departure:
One day, deep into production on Grim Fandango, Schafer noticed that the project leads on the third Monkey Island game were at work on a new project, and asked somebody what they were up to. “Someone said, ‘Oh, I think they’re working on a Full Throttle sequel. And I was like, ‘They’re wh-wh-what? Nobody told me about that!” I went and asked them, and they were like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, man!’ ‘And no one even asked me?” ‘Um, I don’t know… yeah…’
“I was upset about that. I was horrified. I felt so personally attached to that game; those are my characters. The idea that someone else could make a sequel to it… I was so horrified that I didn’t own it.” It was one of the reasons Schafer would leave LucasArts after making Grim Fandango. “It was fair,” he acknowledges, “I mean, they did pay me for the time. I’m not saying they stole it from me.
Christian Adam has found a solution to allow the people who have graphics hardware below the requirements of Grim Fandango Remastered to play the game in classic mode.Massive Chalice went out of early access and received it's full release, and Iron Brigade has had Game for Windows Live replaced with Steamworks, fixing matchmaking. The latter was possible thanks to the fact that Double Fine has regained the rights to Iron Brigade from Microsoft.
At E3, it was revealed that ex-Mojoer and former Telltale developer extraordinaire, Jake Rodkin's company Campo Santo will have the console debut of their first game Firewatch on PS4. It is also going to be released on PC, Mac, and Linux. No release date has been set, but Campo Santo is aiming for release by the end of 2015.Telltale is making a three episode miniseries that will be DLC for The Walking Dead: Season Two called The Walking Dead: Michonne, set during the period of the comics when Michonne is absent from the group. They also finally showed a little bit of what their Minecraft: Story Mode will look like.
Lucasfilm is working on a fully interactive 3D virtual Star Wars world, via their ILM experience lab.Humongous Entertainment games are starting to make their way to GOG.com. The Pajama Sam series made its way to the service earlier this month.
The co-creator of Maniac Mansion and Thimbleweed Park, Gary Winnick, had his best selling comic, Bad Dreams, released in trade paperback format on the 17th of June.While we're on the subject of Thimbleweed Park, be sure to check out the Thimbleweed Park development blog, as lots of good inside information about the development process of that game is being posted regularly.