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Larry Holland’s Totally Games, the studio behind a slew of well-regarded flight simulators often published by LucasArts (among them the X-Wing series), was at work on an Xbox-exclusive fantasy game in the early 2000s that didn’t make it to the finish line. Details on the sometimes-called Knights of Decayden have now emerged from Axios. Here’s a summation by Eurogamer:

According to Axios, Knights of Decayden - which has briefly surfaced once before in 2009, in a listing on cancelled games website Unseen64 - was to take Totally Games' experience with space shooters and adapt the formula to suit a fantasy setting. It would see players - either in the single-player story campaign or multiplayer mode - controlling a knight on a flying seahorse, travelling "amid skyscraper-like islands soaring above a sparkling sea." Action was to be a mix of ranged combat and slow-motion jousting against other knights and monsters, and would also incorporate underwater segments against sea creatures.

In addition to reading about how the game died, you can check out this footage:

If you’ve been following Aaron’s DREAMM page or forum thread, you may have been keeping up with the various beta builds of DREAMM he’s been regularly unleashing to your testing efforts. Well, he’s now reached the milestone of the final beta release, which means it’s the last call for you to submit issues before Version 1.0 is minted.

So do your part: download the current version, dust off your Hebrew version of Loom, and report your findings. Put this thing through its paces for mankind’s benefit.

Marius Winter - Flash animation extraordinaire, celebrated intern of Telltale and Double Fine, co-conspirator of livestreams with Jake, reaction video artisan, reluctant imbiber of root beer, and unanimously elected* mascot for all of Monkey Island fandom - was not about to allow basic human needs like eating and sleeping apply any kinda deacceleration on his ever-escalating contributions to your happiness.

In fact, after coming down with an aggravated case of being awesome, he's putting the final touches on his greatest achievement yet: a Flash film version of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. Stare directly into the burning bush by checking out this sneak peek ahead of Monday's premiere:

*Not that it was gonna stop Germany were it otherwise.

If you read our interview with Aaron Giles back in March, you’ll remember that we touched a bit on the dilemma of faithfulness with running the old SCUMM games on modern systems, leading Aaron to drop this juicy nugget:

In fact, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to these specific issues recently and have created a new SCUMM-specific DOS emulator called DREAMM, whose goal is to combine the fidelity of an emulator with a more approachable and simpler interface tailored to how the SCUMM games work. I hope to be able to share it more broadly in the coming months.

So what exactly is DREAMM, and what purpose does it serve in a world where both ScummVM and DOSBox exist? Well, you get to find out for yourself seeing as the software is now in public beta, but this snippet from Aaron’s FAQ sums it up pretty nicely:

How Is DREAMM Different From ScummVM?

ScummVM is a modern reinterpretation of the original SPUTM game engine. It has a nice modern interface, but may not achieve 100% fidelity to the original code, due to the fact that it is not actually running the original code. For most people, this probably isn’t noticeable/doesn’t matter. But if you’d like to experience the games closer to their original form, complete with original bugs and user interface, DREAMM might be closer to what you want.

How Is DREAMM Different From DOSBox?

DOSBox is a generic DOS emulator, and has a lot of similarities to DREAMM in how it is constructed. The advantage of DREAMM is that it was specifically written for the SCUMM games, so it knows about how the games use the system. This allows for automatic configuration for each game, better mouse integration with other programs, and a simpler, more approachable user interface.

The “limitation” of DREAMM is that it is Windows-only and relies on you having the original .exes (which, inexcusably, are often missing from the official releases on Steam/GOG, since ScummVM acts as a replacement), so you’re going to have to dig out your old floppies and CDs. But for any DOS-based version of the SCUMM games (plus, in a heroic exception to complete the catalog, the natively Windows The Curse of Monkey Island), there is no better or more convenient way to play them with faithful exactness, making DREAMM a wonderful new tool to add to the True Fan™’s arsenal.

Ron "zo" Gilbert took his website, GrumpyGamer down the other week (I'm not going to find out exactly when, what do you take me for, a journalist?) prompting many in the community to speculate that it was due to a vocal minority of disgruntled 'fans' unhappy with what they've seen of Return to Monkey Island so far and not afraid to swear at the developers about it.

It turns out there might be a nugget of truth to those speculations, because the site is now back with an article called When I Made Another Monkey Island, in reference to that other one. He seems keen to make a few things clear.

For example, he'd like you to know that whatever his idea for MI3 was way back when, it was a nothing. There wasn't enough of a vision in the first place for it to become ruined.

The totality of that idea was "Guybrush chases the demon pirate LeChuck to hell and Stan is there." That's it. That's all it was.

There you have it. The plan for Monkey Island 3, in its entirety.

He goes on to give what I think is a spirited defense of the art style they chose for the game in the context of the history of Monkey Island, expresses disappointment with some of the fan response so far, and finishes with a plea to fans to join them in this ride. I don't think I can entirely do it justice in quotes so you'll just have to read it. I will leave you with one tantalising tidbit about the music, though:

The music Michael, Peter, and Clint are doing is equally amazing. It's not AdLib, Sound Blaster, or even Roland MT-32 music. Its stunning, interactive, and recorded live.

I'm giving you permission to get excited about Return to Monkey Island, people. I know you have it in you. Or as Ron puts it:

Return to Monkey Island is an incredible rollercoaster. Get on and have some fun or stomp out of the amusement park because it's not exactly the rollercoaster you wanted.

We're not quite through selflessly promoting "Video Game History Hour" - that would be the podcast of the Video Game History Foundation - which just last week delivered another Mojo-baiting episode by having Noah Falstein as their guest.

Noah's always a great listen, and this is no exception. He also at one point mentions having a "thick stack of design docs" still in his possession, which can only be interpreted as fishing for a bribe. Anyway, treat yourself to recollections from one of the industry's most storied careers, and thank me later.

You remember Kevin Bruner, former CEO of Telltale Games? Well, he's back... in Dramatic Labs form.

The new games studio collective is "an independent collaboration of 20+ former Telltale writers, developers, designers, artists, and producers" according to their website. Their launch title taps into the beloved, and currently much expanding Star Trek franchise, and they even have a very Telltale-esque teaser trailer to show for their efforts. Behold Star Trek: Resurgence.

The standalone, non-episodic game is due next spring for PC, Playstation and Xbox. And, err, they're hiring!

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:

Hi Mixnmojo,

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!

Comments: 4 / Source: Bandcamp

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?

Comments: 5 / Source: PC Gamer
A post today on game developer Dynamighty's facebook page confirmed the studio, who had a well received release in Counterspy, has closed down. And as a double blow, one of the founding members passed away.

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.
Direct Link
Comments: 6 / Source: Facebook

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)

ScummVM and its sister project, ResidualVM are participating in the Google Summer of Code once again.

This year, the students are working on the following games:

ScummVM:
  • Pink Panther: Passport to Peril and Pink Panther: Hokus Pokus Pink. Student: Andrii Prykhodko
  • The Immortal. Student: Joseph-Eugene Winzer
  • Star Trek: 25th Anniversary and Star Trek: Judgment Rites. Student: Matthew Stewart
  • ResdiualVM:
  • The Longest Journey (currently completable with missing features). Student: Liu Zhaosong
  • 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!

    Here's your first non Remi posted news in over a month!

    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;

    Laserschwert
    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.

    I mean, I assume it's the same Laserschwert? If not, this really was a crappy way to break Remi's run.

    That's right, he'll answer any question. Provided that you asked it yesterday, because that's when Noah's AMA happened. Lots of good stuff in there, though.

    Comments: 3 / Source: Reddit
    If you've ever wished to fire up the original LucasArts classic space combat simulator X-Wing and are dismayed at the DOS version's low-res graphics, or the XWING95's lack of iMuse soundtrack, then Azrapse might be a modder you'd like to keep your eye on.

    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.


    YouTube Link

    Azrapse says:

    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!

    Comments: 3 / Source: Mod DB
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