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Hear Laserschwert's amazing work on his soundcloud page here.
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.
I've only watched the first 30 mins, but I like what I've seen so far.
Thanks to Threepwood4life to alerting us to this video's existence.
* Yes, everyone in the whole world.
*It's probably not coincidental that podracing is also the best part of the Star Wars: Episode I film.
Of course you do. And you're in luck, because that's just what was recorded at something called "EGX Rezzed 2018." I assume that's the name of an expo, though it may also be the model of dirt bike my nephew got for Christmas. For those of us who happened to be washing our hair during Tim's panel, here's a handy Youtube embed of the whole interview:
I haven't watched it myself yet, but reportedly Tim mentions the possibility of further LucasArts remasters, iterating once again that he'd insist on the original creators being involved. Hasn't Brian Moriarty been pretty upfront about wanting revisit Loom? Anyway, Tim evidently talks a bunch about Psychonauts as well, so it's sure to be a worthy listen all the way around.
Because why the hell not? In anticipation of an upcoming Escape from Monkey Island extravaganza, we give you the soundtrack:
Che[ck/que] can be sent to the regular address.
Update (April 17th)! Some of you had issues with the zips; these should now be fixed.
Ken Macklin, the artist behind Maniac Mansion's iconic box art (and who was supposed to do the Thimbleweed Park box), was interviewed last year about the development of said art. It's brief but you'll be glad you read it. A year later.
Now all that's left is for somebody to leak all of Macklin's background art for Noah Falstein's version of The Dig. Anybody got that lying around?
For once, we’re not (too) late on some old news. We might even have reported on it back in the day, who knows? (I’m too lazy to check.) Anyway!
A Retro Gamer article on the making of Sam & Max Hit the Road is up on PC Gamer for your reading enjoyment. You might not learn a whole lot from it, but entertaining it is, anyway.
It happened without warning, and goodness knows it happened decades later than it should have, but the the original Maniac Mansion is now available on Steam. Sure, you already have it as a free bonus feature within Day of the Tentacle, but don't you want the pleasure of buying it individually, especially since the last time you could do so was like forty years ago?
And anyway, it's less than five bucks. So do it. Do it now.
Rock Paper Shotgun published an interesting article yesterday about the artistic merit of remastered video games. Ron, Tim, and Brian Moriarty are all on hand to weigh in on the technical and even ethical pitfalls of "upgrading" a classic:
“We had limitations back then” recalls Gilbert in an email interview, “and the artist worked magic to make the game work within those limitations. They often turned working within those limitations into an art all its own. When classic games get ‘hi-resed’, you lose all of that.”
“It’s true that you can often switch back to the original graphics,” he says, “but that is also true of colorizing black and white movies.
“You can always watch the original, but that doesn’t make colorizing it any less of an artistic sin. Saying you can switch back to the original art feels like a cop-out.”
In case you missed it at the bottom of Remi's news post three weeks back, here's an hour long (almost) interview with composers Michael Land and Clint Bajakian about their days at LucasArts. It also gives us a chance to test out our new embed code for Vimeo. Mojo: Truly on the cutting edge of technology.
If the next game after their alleged Star Wars: Commander and Star Wars: Rivals appeals... Star Wars: Aenemia maybe (!?), get in there and apply for a position!
Tim is the subject of a new article on Medium in which he speaks about the oft-documented strain - and, perhaps, the needlessness - of crunch mode, a period at the end (or sometimes throughout) of a game development cycle when teams work around the clock to meet looming deadlines.
Speaking about his experiences at both LucasArts and Double Fine, Tim's thoughts on the subject are sobering and even personal, such as when he relates how the passionate and relentless climate at LucasArts during his early days at the studio brought consequences at home:
Schafer saw the crunch periods become more demanding as time went on, and it wasn’t long before he experienced the heavy price of that kind of working culture. His first marriage, he said, collapsed after just a year.
“You don’t realize until it has happened that you’re doing all this damage to your personal life by staying at work all the time,” he said. “You can mentally put the rest of the world on hold, but the rest of the world can’t necessarily be put on hold by you. I was so gung-ho about it. If you think someone will wait for you and tolerate you not being around… people move on.”
Even then, with a relationship falling apart around him, the work came first. The rewards were just big enough, and the aura of George Lucas radiant enough, that it felt impossible to leave. Schafer only met Lucas three times in the 10 years he worked for him, but says his presence was felt in the craftsmanship and artistry of the house and its grounds. The attention to detail exuded an air of quality that reminded everyone that things needed to be done right.
Consider: While the Indiana Jones of film punches out Nazis, his mute Lego doppelgänger spends far more time attacking trees and flowers. Indy can scarcely walk five steps without finding a cluster of greenery that he’s compelled to destroy in order to collect the tiny Lego studs that constitute the in-game currency. Even when outrunning the giant boulder—that most iconic moment from Raiders—he’s evidently supposed to risk his life brutalizing the vegetation for a few extra studs. So you’ll understand, Adam, if I’m at a bit of a loss as to what makes this game “pretty fun.”
Bravo Onion, bravo.
PC Gamer published an interview with Tim about Full Throttle in their June issue, but you don't buy magazines anymore, so you didn't read it. At least not until its ink exclusivity ended and it wound up online, which is now.
At the time a LucasArts adventure was expected to sell around 100,000 copies, but Full Throttle sold over a million. And now, 22 years later, the game has been re-released with remastered graphics and audio. I ask the game’s writer/director Tim Schafer what it’s like going back to something he made when he was in his early 20s.
“It’s been interesting looking at how I wrote dialogue back then based on my life experiences at the time, and how I interpret it differently now that I’m older,” he says. “And now that I’ve actually been a biker on the run for a crime I didn’t commit, that adds a lot of depth to it too. I had no idea what that was like back then.”
29 years after it was shut down, Habitat is set to go live again. The (at the time) groundbreaking online game is considered a bridge between the MUDs (multi user dungeons) of the time to today's MMOG (massively multiplayer online game), and it will relaunch at midnight under the name Neohabitat.
Yeah, I don't even know, but check out more info on the official site, if you so wish.
So well hidden was this little easter egg, that not even Tim Schafer was aware of its presence.
Since the reveal, fans have been trying to find Crowley's date of birth, but it was proving very tricky, and even reaching out to him over social media had been fruitless. Enter ScummVM developer Digitall who examined Full Throttle's game code and discovered Crowley's date of birth hidden deep within:
14 December, 1962.
That's right, entering 12-14-62 into Malcolm Corley's safe will reveal a little secret that nobody, not even Tim Schafer, was aware of.
The easter egg itself is very silly, and isn't the secret to Monkey Island or anything, but it is amazing that we're still finding secrets after all these years! Enjoy!
Some news requires no comment, other than: w00t.
Here's Tim humbly suggesting that you pre-order from GOG:
One last cool thing: apparently Tim had the original demo of the game (a PC Magazine exclusive) remastered as well because it featured unique dialog not heard in the shipped game, and Tim wanted all of Roy Conrad's lines preserved in high quality. Pretty rad.
As with Day of the Tentacle Remastered and Grim Fandango Remastered, Double Fine had to go through the LucasArts archives to resurrect Full Throttle, and Tim talked about that effort with GamesIndustry.biz:
Schafer called it a sort of "digital archaeology." For Full Throttle, the art was completely repainted, often with input from original artists like Larry Ahern and Peter Chen. 3D elements like the game's motorcycles had to be remodeled from scratch because the originals weren't archived. Roy Conrad, the original voice actor for the game's protagonist Ben, died over a decade ago, so they had to track down the uncompressed DAT tapes of his original voiceover sessions in order to remaster them in stereo.
"We're in a unique position where we remember where the bodies are buried," he said. "'I think that sound guy took home a box of tapes once, and I know so-and-so has that thing in their attic.' And at Skywalker Ranch there's an archive that has a lot of cool stuff there, and we got access to those. We got to dig through these flat files, finding these great pieces of art and putting them in the concept art browser for the first time to let you see all this stuff when you play the game. It's more like a fun treasure hunt."
One might expect that the hassles of remastering projects like these would cause Double Fine to re-think the way it preserves its current titles for the future.
"I feel like we had all this trouble finding all these archives," Schafer said, "and it was like, 'Why didn't we archive this stuff better?' And then I was like, 'Are we archiving our new stuff better?' We had to really look at it, and well, you know... In some ways it's easy to make those same mistakes again, to just not really think about what's going to happen 20 years from now. 'Yeah, that stuff's all on that one artist's hard drive, but we don't have time to do all that...' So you really have to push yourself to create good archives, and to put away a machine that can do the actual build of the game. And that's something I hope all developers do, or they'll be kicking themselves later."
It's a comfort to know that Roy Conrad's line readings will liberated from that Turkish prison that is MONSTER.SOU.
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