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Idle Thumbs reports that Shelley Day, who co-founded the companies Cavedog and Humungous Entertainment with Ron Gilbert, has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for forging bank documents in order to secure large loans. You might recall Day's name on the credits of some older LucasArts adventures; she served as producer on games like Loom, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis before venturing with Gilbert to start on their own. The District Judge has denied the request to defer the sentence until April so that Day could continue work on a potentially profitable in-development children's game (I'm not sure what developer she's currently part of).

Oops.
The Plunder 3D team have added weapons to their Monkey Island inspired Unreal Tournament mod, and, yes, you will be able to throw Murray at chickens to make them explode.

What?s more, top UK gaming magazine PC Zone featured Plunder 3D in their December issue, saying that it looks "fairly intriguing" and printing a couple of the lush screenshots. I?m without a scanner at the moment, but if some dedicated Mojo reader wants to scan-it-up then I?m sure it would be appreciated (I?m looking at you, Tingler!)
A new version of ScummVM (the tool that allows many old adventure games to run on new systems) has just been released. It can be downloaded here.

Notable changes this time round include a new improved launcher and ingame gui, preliminary support for NES and C64 LucasArts games and support for vintage adventure games Inherit the Earth and Gobliiins.

Today also sees the launch of the new ScummVM forums, so any questions about the new release can be posted there.
News From Russia (presumably some KGB intelligence-fed agency) claims Steven Spielberg will return from his decade-long game concept creation hiatus, and set up camp in a new office at EA for a 3-game deal.

Of course last time he turned his hand to gaming the result was the 'love-it-or-hate-it' LucasArts space adventure epic The Dig.

This time round "the deal involves much more than the Hollywood director merely putting his stamp on a game or popping in for quick consultations, said Neil Young, vice president and studio head of EA's Los Angeles studio. Instead, Spielberg will have an office in EA's studio. He plans to work side-by-side with game developers to create original gaming content beginning with the concept - not a game based on a movie, or vice versa, both of which are common practices nowadays".
The article concludes by stating in the early 1990s, LucasArts, the game-making arm of Lucasfilm Ltd., created a computer game called "The Dig" based on a Spielberg story idea. Game observers considered it a flop.

Of course I prefer the game players to the game observers for game opinions. And to round out this barely on-topic news post with another tenuous link to LucasArts, I direct you to Ron Gilbert's Spielberg quote that was posted here a few weeks back.
Oh yeah, stuff is probably coming soon. Besides, it?s Autumn now. Stuff always comes in Autumn.

But in the mean-time: Kaz-zow! It?s some sort of wacky Unreal Tournament 2004 Plunder Island moddy thing! Don?t get too excited, though; you can?t actually play the dam thing yet. But you can look at the screenshots. And they?re very pretty. And Goblin is the team leader dude and he?s also the guy behind Blood Island 3D so you can be sure that the project is in safe hands. Keep your eyes peeled on plunder3d.net for more loveable shenanigans over the next few months!

I love snickers
Okay, not really. The site simply now allows you to click more links that lead to nothing. But, at least it means something's going on, and this makes me feel giddy.
Those curious about how ScummVM looks running on a Nintendo DS might want to check out this thread over at Shacknews, where someone who has it up and running has posted a few screenshots and a video. Looks really tempting, but it's apparently still a big pain to get it all up and running.
I've just released a new version of Psychonauts Explorer - the tool that allows you to rip resources such as music/voices/textures from the game.

New in this version:
  • The xbox audio codec is no longer needed. Audio files are now dumped to normal wav files.
  • Big improvements in sound ripping. All audio in the pc version now plays correctly as does 99% of the audio in the xbox version.
  • You can now view/save the artwork and textures from each level. (Look inside the .ppf level files).
  • Bugfixes relating to the xbox version
Get it here.
Whoa. Everybody was thinking it, and now someone's gone and done it. A touchscreen-aware Nintendo DS port of ScummVM is now available care of some crazy people. Someone with the ability to load homebrew DS stuff onto their system needs to check this out. There's some discussion of the port here.
This may well be old news, but there is a partially-functional Steve Purcell official website up at spudvision.com. Spudvision is the name of the (delayed and still unreleased) compendium of Purcell artwork and tidbits.

The only link clickable on the page is 'portfolio', but alas the link is broken. One section is labelled "Sam & Max". Who knows what will eventually be revealed in that section now that the game rights have reverted back from LucasArts to Purcell?

While there's no real content on the site as yet, you can *ahem* poke about in the images directory, though this could be considered a little bit like being an online peeping-tom. What does it all mean? Who knows, but I did find this;
Bgbennyboy, of Quick and Easy fame, has released a new program of awesomeness for you to download - Psychonauts Explorer. Having used his magic fingers on the game, the result of his love-filled labours is this impressive list of features:

  • Opens lots of different files from the game! It can also dump those files, whatever that means!
  • It can preview images and then rip them for your wallpaper related pleasure!
  • You can apply filters to images! No using Photoshop for you!
  • You can extract and save music and speech! (But buy the soundtrack anyway!)
  • ...And much much more!

    Coming soon: Psychonauts Quick and Easy, for when the game refuses to run on Windows 3000 machines.
  • Bgbennyboy of Quick & Easy fame has developed a Psychonauts Audio Ripper, which -- you guessed it -- rips audio from the game Psychonauts. Set it to work on either the Xbox or PC demo and you?ll have Razputin and Co.?s vocals playing on your iPod in no time.

    Get the ripper here, and read up on all the necessary information in this thread.
    The folks over at Adventure Developers have published two parts of an article titled "The Cold Hotspot: A critique of the state of adventure games," with a third part to come soon. It's a long but interesting read, and part one and two can be found here and here, respectively. Here's a quote:<:MORENEWS:>
    "The adventure game is not sacred or written in stone and needs to own up to it! There, I said it. Sue me, but you'll be doing so more out of spiteful denial than charges of defamation. The truth is, the adventure game genre, as we all know it, has long been suffering from obscurity, lack of progress, sheer banality, isolation (surprise!), and, simply, from the garden variety of dullness."
    Harsh words indeed, but you've got to admit, they've got a point.

    Like I said last summer, adventure games have to evolve... or die.
    Six months after saying that a new version would be released 'sometime in the next month' ScummVM Quick And Easy 1.4.0 is out.

    The new version introduces many new features including: game filters - to display only games of a particular type, a frontend for the extra scummvm tools - so you can compress various datafiles without having to use the command line, and options galore - so you can tweak and change the program to suit your own preferences.

    The full list of changes is huge so its best to read this thread for an explanation of the most important ones.
    Wow. Like most of you, I didn't expect to wake up to news like this. I'm shocked, depressed, possibly drunk, you name it. Yes, out of the middle of nowhere, Adventure Developers.com is back from the dead, after years - literally - of being offline! The site sports an amazing new look and is well worth checking out in full.

    Huge congrats to Erwin and also anyone else who helped get that thing back that I don't know about. Good work!
    The ScummVM team has issued a call to arms, in the form of a fun friendly contest. If you're a web designer with too much time on your hands, the ScummVM folks are looking to you to redesign the ScummVM.org website. The full details are here, but keep in mind that "the main focus should be on an easy, noticeable and uncrowded navigation system." As any newbie who's tried to grab the lastest version, or find an FAQ knows, this is definitely a problem with their current site.

    The deadline is October 21st, so get going! I know this community has some pretty accomplished web designers, and therefore I expect to see some really cool results.

    Prizes will be awarded to the winner, though nobody has told me what they are yet. Probably because I'm supposed be at least partially supplying them and haven't come up with any yet.
    ScummVM 0.6.1 had a couple of nasty bugs some of you may have noticed. Well, they went and fixed them with ScumMVM 0.6.1b. Whether you noticed problems or not, you should probably go grab the new one.
    Endy of the ScummVM team posted a note in our forums letting everyone know that a new version of ScummVM is out.

    The new release contains mostly bug fixes (including fixing the bulk of the sound problems in Curse of Monkey Island, Full Throttle, and The Dig), as well as adds support for 64-bit processors. You should go download the latest version today. Don't know what ScummVM is? Ask in the comments and someone will explain.
    Theforce.net reports on forthcoming plans to shop a gaming concept to LucasFilm whereby the game input is controlled via brainwaves.
    Steven Barnes: "there is a project that I am working on that would... control the video game with your feelings, instead of with a joystick, literally use the force to control the game ... you would attach sensors to your body and use your feelings to control the game ... I'm part of a project to work with this right now I can't tell you anymore about it but we hopefully will be presenting this to Lucasfilm within a month or so and if this happens we'll probably be announcing it at the Indiana meeting next year [Celebration?] But I don't know if this will happen but I have been telling these people that with their technology with what I know about storytelling that it could be done and that the Star Wars fan would support it if it works"
    For all the details, the original source, audio of the interview and info on Steven Barnes, visit the links provided at theforce.net. Further info on the state of harnessing neural waves to control applications can be read here.

    Am I the only person envisaging implant chips in gamer's skulls, and Star Wars: Yoda's Force Lift Challenge at the next E3?
    Everybody rejoice, a new ScummVM is here, and it is full of classic adventurey goodness. Who needs Sam & Max 2 anyway, eh? We've got all these other games that LucasArts decided to actually publish instead of unceremoniously can, so we might as well enjoy them properly with our modern computers and up-to-date operating systems.

    New LucasArts stuff in the latest ScummVM release:<:MORENEWS:>
    • Full Throttle is now actually supported, including the Old Mine Road fighting sequences, and the destruction derby sequence.

    • The original, really blocky and ugly versions of Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken are now properly supported. This means that you can now play the version of Maniac Mansion that was included with Day of the Tentacle. However, you can't play it from within DOTT yet, you have to add it to ScummVM as a separate game.
    Also in this release is a new and improved user interface which, while still ugly and green, allows you to change the graphics settings and things without manually editing the config file, or resorting to a program like the excellent Quick & Easy. ScummVM 0.6.0 also supports both Broken Sword 1 and Broken Sword 2 now, and on their downloads page they've provided alternate versions of the games' video cutscenes, which are recompressed to work with ScummVM.

    Lately, major ScummVM releases have included bonuses, and this release is no different. As a special treat, the classic adventure game Flight of the Amazon Queen has been released as freeware, and is fully supported by the new versions of ScummVM. So, if you've been looking for something to fill the hole left by the loss of Sam & Max 2, want a new classic graphic adventure to get your hands on, or if you just loved the original and haven't played it forever, get it today.

    Download the ScummVM 0.6.0 release binary for your operating system of choice, as well as the games Flight of the Amazon Queen, and Beneath a Steel Sky from the ScummVM downloads page.

    If you don't know what ScummVM is, read more at the official website, or have someone in the comments explain it to you, because I've repeated it here enough times already.
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