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It's GSoC Season For ScummVM and ResidualVM

23 Jun, 2018, 21:55 | Posted by: Jennifer | Comments: 1
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.


    Monkey Island Documentary Ahoy!

    21 May, 2018, 00:34 | Posted by: ThunderPeel2001 | Source: YouTube | Comments: 8
    Stuart Brown's YouTube channel, "Ahoy", has just released its latest episode, a 75 minute documentary(ish) on everyone's* favorite adventure game, The Secret of Monkey Island.

    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.

    Wanna see a 40 minute interview with Tim Schafer?

    22 Apr, 2018, 03:47 | Posted by: Jason | Comments: 6

    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.

    Ken Macklin discusses Maniac Mansion cover art, a year ago

    03 Apr, 2018, 00:21 | Posted by: Jason | Source: VGArc | Comments: 1

    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?

    Maniac Mansion now on Steam

    20 Dec, 2017, 02:17 | Posted by: Jason | Source: Steam | Comments: 3

    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.

    The road to Hell is paved with well-intentioned remasters

    23 Nov, 2017, 15:05 | Posted by: Jason | Source: Rock Paper Shotgun | Comments: 18

    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.”

    Harsh! But Ron has a point. And as we've seen, the "original version" you can switch back to often isn't the perfect recreation it purports to be. After all, the only "classic" version of Monkey Island 2 that anyone can buy has vertical scrolling effects removed and some dialog altered. My grandkids will grow up without the "white slavers" line, so I hope you're proud of yourself, Craig Derrick!

    GOG.com Disney Publisher Sale

    06 Oct, 2017, 19:36 | Posted by: Jennifer | Comments: 1
    All of Disney's catalog is currently on sale at GOG.com. That includes tons of LucasArts games:
  • Afterlife
  • Armed and Dangerous
  • The Dig
  • Loom
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  • Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
  • Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb
  • Monkey Island 1 SE
  • Monkey Island 2 SE
  • Outlaws + A Handful of Missions
  • Sam & Max Hit the Road
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Star Wars: Empire at War
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Dark Forces II
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D
  • Star Wars: Tie Fighter
  • Star Wars: X-Wing
  • Star Wars: X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter
  • Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance
  • Star Wars: Rebel Assault 1+2
  • Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Saga
  • Star Wars: Rebellion
  • Star Wars: Star Fighter
  • Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
  • Tim declares war on crunch mode

    13 Sep, 2017, 23:17 | Posted by: Jason | Source: Medum | Be the first to comment!

    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.

    The whole piece is worth a read.

    In lieu of actual Indiana Jones gaming news, read this

    11 Jul, 2017, 22:54 | Posted by: jp-30 | Source: The Onion | Comments: 2
    Our fine friends over at The Onion have pulled a Mojo and reviewed ranted about the TT Games LEGO Indiana Jones videogame series some years after release.

    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.

    Full Throttle article ascends from print origins to your screen

    04 Jul, 2017, 14:47 | Posted by: Jason | Source: PC Gamer | Comments: 1

    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.”

    You know what I did in my early 20s? Not make Full Throttle. Learn more about how Tim outclassed me by reading the full article.

    Habitat rises again, world kind of shrugs

    02 Jun, 2017, 16:22 | Posted by: Remi | Comments: 5

    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.

    Full Throttle Easter Egg Discovered (Finally)!

    28 Apr, 2017, 14:18 | Posted by: ThunderPeel2001 | Source: Double Fine | Comments: 2
    Double Fine's luscious Full Throttle Remastered has revealed an easter egg in the game that has managed to stay hidden for over 20 years! According to the Remastered commentary one the game's main programmers, Mark Crowley, got a little punchy one night and hid a little surprise for anyone who entered his date of birth into Malcolm Corley's safe.

    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!

    Full Throttle Remastered coming April 18th to PC, PS4 and Vita

    14 Mar, 2017, 22:01 | Posted by: Jason | Source: engadget | Comments: 6

    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.

    Tim discusses the hunt for original Full Throttle assets

    12 Mar, 2017, 21:27 | Posted by: Jason | Source: GamesIndustry.biz | Comments: 2

    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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