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Full Throttle Remastered coming to Linux on April 18th

full throttle remastered coming on april 18th to gog linux gaming news

The third classic #LucasArts adventure title to get the #remastering treatment, Full Throttle Remastered. Hence Double Fine is eagerly awaiting the Linux, Mac and Windows PC release on April 18th via #GOG. So it’s great to see Double Fine releasing such gaming news. While revamping the 1995 adventure game about future bikers. After 22 years, it still has one of the finest opening scenes in gaming.

Since Double Fine’s update brings new artwork along with remastered sound and music. While also including the option to switch between the old and new sound, graphics, and UI.

So watch this special message from project lead, Tim Schafer:

So it’s a pleasure to see Full Throttle Remastered will be available cross-platform. Hence the first time in ages, plus that new the new art will make it more inviting to many people. So who hasn’t played this lovely game?

Released by LucasArts in 1995, Full Throttle is a classic graphic adventure game from industry legend Tim Schafer, telling the story of Ben Throttle; butt-kicking leader of biker gang the Polecats, who gets caught up in a tale of Motorcycles, Mayhem and Murder.
Now over 20 years later, Full Throttle is back in a remastered edition featuring all new hand-drawn and 3D high-resolution artwork, with remastered audio and music.

Since bit of gaming news regarding the ongoing remastering, also fuels expectations of Double Fine to bring back Sam & Max Hit the Road. So far only remastering LucasArts games that Double Fine boss Tim Schafer has worked on. Hence both Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango.

According to Double Fine, “FT won’t be a Linux title straight away at launch, or probably won’t anyway, so we’ll be a bit delayed.”

Full Throttle Remastered is coming April 18th to Linux, Mac, and Windows PC. So normally we do not mention pre-order bonuses but seeing as this game has kinda been out for 22 years. Therefore, go to GOG if you know you want to check it out and you can save a few dollars by pre-ordering.

Thimbleweed Park completely funded on Kickstarter

thimbleweed_park_completely_funded_on_kickstarter

Thimbleweed Park is the product of #RonGilbert and Gary Winnick, two names that should be familiar to any #LucasArts adventure #fans.

The pair described their new project as “like opening a dusty old desk drawer and finding an undiscovered LucasArts adventure game you’ve never played before”, a pitch which clearly got its legs for the $375,000 Kickstarter already fully funded, one week from being announced.

“I am at a loss for words. The support has been overwhelming and it’s making us giddy,” Gilbert wrote in an update to backers. “Before launching this Kickstarter, Gary and I debated endlessly if people would want a game that felt like it was made in 1987. A game made at the beginning of the golden era of point & click adventures. I think we have our answer. All 10,000+ of them.”

The pair have announced a couple of stretch goals including more language options, mobile ports and voice acting, with others to come if thee is enough demand.

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Tim Schafer to remaster further LucasArts Adventure Games if Grim Fandango Sells

Tim Schafer to remaster more LucasArts Adventure Games if Grim Fandango Sells

Double Fine’s Tim Schafer said that he would love to #remaster more LucasArts adventure #games he worked on, though Grim Fandango Remastered will have to sell well in order for that to happen.

The news comes from the Grim Fandango: Bringing the Dead Back to Life PAX 2014 panel, where Schafer and other developers who worked on the original game talked about how they are handling various aspects of the remastered edition.

“We would love to make more of them,” Schafer said in response to a fan in the audience who asked if they considered remaking or re-releasing other LucasArts adventure games. “If everyone buys 10 copies it will make it more likely that we’ll make another,” Schafer joked.

As to why they decided to tackle Grim Fandango first, Schafer said it was a combination of the team’s passion for the game, the fact that it became hard to get only a few years after it was originally released, and the negotiations between Sony, Double Fine, and Disney, which acquired LucasArts last year.

Schafer and the panel also discussed the current state of Grim Fandango Remastered. The plan is to dig up the original assets, polish them, and use as much of them is possible in the remastered version. One exception is the game’s music, which will be performed and recorded with the Melbourne orchestra just for the new version of the game. The Melbourne orchestra also worked with Double Fine on Broken Age.

Tim Schafer to remaster more LucasArts Adventure Games if Grim Fandango Sells

At the moment, the team is still digging through the archives to see what they have, but has already begun improving textures, cutscenes, and other assets, as well as implementing new mouse and DualShock controls. A short video about the production of the game that played before the panel started also briefly showed it running on the tablet, though the game hasn’t been officially announced for iOS or Android devices.

Double Fine announced that Grim Fandango will be released for Linux, Mac, and Windows PC in addition to PS4 and Vita. A release date for the remastered version of the game has not yet been announced, but Double Fine says it will be a simultaneous launch across all platforms.
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Double Fine’s Tim Schafer on Kickstarter success: “I did not expect this” (interview)

Double Fine Production’s Tim Schafer misses point-and-click graphic adventures from the early days of video games.

“I miss making them and I miss playing them. Because there’s a certain kind of player who doesn’t really like a lot of the games that are popular now,” he said.

As a writer and programmer for LucasArts in the 1990s, Schafer was responsible for co-designing some of the genre’s most well-regarded titles, including Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, and The Secret of Monkey Island. However, in an industry currently dominated by first-person shooters like Call of Duty, he says it’s hard to get publishers to take a risk on a more thoughtful, slower-paced game.

“They’re just looking at the numbers. They’re just looking at how much those games have typically sold and how much they could make if they did something like a shooter, and I think the numbers just don’t make sense for them.”

So for his latest title, temporarily-named Double Fine Adventure, Schafer turned to crowd-funding website Kickstarter and his loyal fan base for help. His goal was to raise $400,000, a modest number for a modern day video game budget. Not only was the project fully funded in just over 8 hours, it raised a record-breaking $1 million by the end of the first day.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs_KO4_Dvy4&w=480&h=274]

“We’ve always had really passionate and dedicated fans, but I did not expect this kind of financial reward,” Schafer said. “I really thought that we might make our goal of $400,000 by the end of the 30-day period, but when we hit a million in the first 24 hours we knew that we were on to something really unique.”

Double Fine Productions is the first major studio to finance a video game through Kickstarter and develop it in the public eye. Schafer says all of the donated money will go towards making the product bigger and better. It will now launch on multiple platforms, including PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. It will also feature voice acting and localized text in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. A documentary series filmed by 2 Player Productions will follow the Double Fine team as they work on the project and will be available to backers.

“They’ll get to see our brainstorming sessions. We’re going to get people together and do like we did in the old days, just sit in a room and talk about anything we want to talk about until we come up with a couple of puzzles each day. We’ll let people see that. And they’ll see what the artists are drawing, the kind of thought process we go into when we’re shooting, what character designs we like. We want to make them feel as much as possible like they’re here in the office sharing in the game development process with us.”

Schafer says his team is not nervous about the thought of cameras following their every move, having already taped an episode of G4 TV’s Icons during the crunch period for the 2005 3D platformer Psychonauts. “That was really revealing. We had some people complaining about how hard the work was. Some people were sleeping on the couch. We’ve opened our doors to cameras before, but this is really the first time people are going to see the beginning of the creative process, not just the painful conclusion.”

With the Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter project now past the $2 million mark, many have questioned whether or not its success will change the way video games get published. Developers like Obsidian Entertainment’s Chris Avellone and InExile Entertainment’s Brian Fargo are now toying with the idea of launching crowd-funding campaigns of their own. Schafer sees it as a good thing.

“I think people have asked, ‘Is this a game changer? Is this going to revolutionize game production? Are the publishers doomed?’ And I don’t think it’s that extreme, but I also think when people dismiss it as just a one-off deal that only Double Fine could have done — and it only could be done once — I think that’s not true either,” he said. “I think as long as someone else comes up with a similar story, whether it’s a game or not — just the right project, the right person making it, the right time, and a reason why only something like Kickstarter could fund it — I think you could have another explosive funding project on your hands.”

“I think it’s a great way for a lot of projects, games or not games, to be made whenever the ‘gatekeepers’ — the big companies that decide what gets made and what doesn’t get made — are not serving certain segments of the fan base,” he added. “And enough of those fans can use the Internet to coordinate and kind of pool their resources. They can make it happen for themselves instead of waiting for these gatekeepers to do it.”

Schafer says it’s the relationship between creators and backers that makes the Kickstarter process interesting. “Instead of making a game and risking all your money and hoping the fans show up, here the fans are showing up at the beginning. So the risk is over and they’re paying for the game in advance, essentially. And what that requires is just a lot of trust and faith that we’ve built up doing this for 10 years with Double Fine and 10 years before that with LucasArts. Hopefully, we’ve built up enough trust where they feel like I’m gonna do my best to deliver something worthwhile to them.”

Playback: Broken Sword

You point at things, you click on them and stuff happens. I think you can quite safely use that to describe quite a few genres when played on PC. Shooters get gunfire and explosions when you click, strategy games get troop movement, gunfire and explosions, and the eponymous Point & Click Adventure game gets “I don’t think she’d enjoy that” as a flat rejection of your proposed action by the adventure’s protagonist. Generally no gunfire or explosions.

Point & Click Adventure games have been and gone, you might think, but you’d be wrong. LucasArts and Sierra, the two heavy weights during the 1990s, packed it in a decade ago but the genre has lived on in many guises. Control systems have been adapted so that you’re in direct control of a character, obviously more suitable for console controllers, and gameplay changes have also evolved.

In fact, they’re more pervasive than you might think. Telltale Games, formed from the ashes of LucasArts’ closed studio, is particularly prolific, and there’s smaller scale indie efforts like the charming Machinarium and Lume that sit alongside them on the PC. Then there’s the hugely popular Professor Layton series on DS, a console that really brought pointing at things to the forefront before the Smartphone revolution. Even a game like Heavy Rain is more of a cousin once removed than a whole new genre.

They might not be strict Point & Click anymore, as the control systems have adapted to suit the input methods you have, but I think the genre name suffices. Today I want to talk about on of the classics, Revolution Software’s Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars. This one lives up to the genre.

The game opens in Paris, with George Stobbart being caught in a clown instigated explosion at a Café that succeeds in murdering a man, and nearly catches our protagonist too (though that would make for a very short game). From here he meets Nico Collard, a seductively voiced French photo-journalist, and they begin their own investigation of a series of similar murders that quickly takes George away from Paris and around Europe on the trail of a conspiracy that may sound familiar to fans of Assassin’s Creed. Those Knights Templar are being all sorts of dastardly again, and it’s up to you to figure out what on earth is going on and how to stop them.

The first time I got to play this game was in 2002 on the Gameboy Advance, so when Good Old Games hit their six millionth download (congratulations are most certainly in order) and teamed up with Revolution to give away the Broken Sword Director’s Cut for free I jumped at the chance. The Director’s Cut has a few extra scenes at the beginning of the game, and some different artwork in places, but really I just wanted the original game. Well not quite, I wanted to play it on my HP Touchpad. This set me off on a little adventure of my own, to get this game onto my tablet.


Those pesky Templars!

Enter ScummVM. Starting off as a project to keep LucasArts games based on the SCUMM engine, particularly Monkey Island 2, playable on turn of the millennium PCs, it quickly evolved to include pretty much every 2D adventure game from the 1990s. Not only that, but it’s also found its way onto a whole host of platforms and devices. Naturally that means PC, Mac and Linux support, but you’ve then got iOS (Jailbreak only) and Android ports, and even more obscure avenues like the PSP, PS2, Xbox and Dreamcast!

Thankfully this also included WebOS, so I grabbed the latest version of ScummVM for Touchpad, took the files from the GoG.com install, simply copied them over and started playing Broken Sword all over again. I’m so glad to say that although it has aged noticeably, it has lost absolutely none of its charm for me. In fact, since the GBA version I originally played had no voices or motion in the cinematics, it’s even better!

Having said that, it’s a 15 year old game now, and this shows in many areas. The game’s original resolution is a paltry 640×480 and quite heavily compressed even then. Given that it’s all hand drawn art, it’s completely stuck at that resolution but ScummVM happily upscales two or three times, and has some nice options to smooth the image and make it much easier on the eye. The animation is now in sore need of some extra frames and can often be a bit jerky.

The audio is heavily compressed, and the actual recordings vary wildly in quality; with some of the voices sounding like they were recorded in someone’s garage onto a wax reel. Then there’s the music which gets a bit repetitive once you’ve re-visited an area for the fifth time, and doesn’t blend so wonderfully when going from one area to another quickly. It can get a bit annoying when you’re stuck.


This Syrian backdrop rather reminiscent of an Indiana Jones film.

The gameplay is still your classic Point & Click game. You have to use objects and conversations to progress through areas of the game, to discover the next link in the story, unlock new areas and so on. Sometimes you might not be entirely certain of what you aim to get out of a puzzle, especially if you’ve not paid quite enough attention to the dialogue, but I really enjoyed the plot and how it gradually unfolds in a tangled web that jumps from location to location and back again.

There’s plenty of obscure puzzles, though, and the numerous occasions where you need to combine some objects in a strange and very particular fashion, or show a particular item you’re holding to a certain person in order to progress. It can often lead to moments where you’re completely stuck and so try literally every combination of items and people you possibly can; though all of that is simply part and parcel of the genre of old. It’s still quite nice to be able to finally find a use for that item which you picked up right at the beginning game in the final chapters, making all previous attempts and reactions to it all the better for it.

These are all 21st Century complaints of a 20th Century video game. It’s a bit like saying that classic films like The Third Man could really do with being in colour, or that the original Star Wars trilogy could use some tweaking. As soon as you see past the technical limitations of the time, you’ll see that the animation is wonderfully extravagant in a way that carefully shows every action quite clearly at the original resolution; that the music and sounds sit in the background or comes out of nowhere, swelling majestically when you’ve finally figured out how to get past that guard; that the script and performance is so carefully filled with knowing humour, snappy wit and stereotyped clichés of characters and nationalities. It all more than makes up for it, and is why this game is still rated highly by many.

The Director’s Cut and remaster of the second in the series do try and alleviate some of these modern day complaints. Puzzles have been tweaked, and they’ve taken the opportunity to insert new ones at certain points that make sense. So rather than George simply saying he’s done something, you have to complete a little standalone puzzle instead. They also added some little blue dots over objects you can interact with, which helps reduce the long moments of scanning a room with your cursor, along with the four stage hints system.

Lastly, the graphical changes. Most noticeably they added some facial expression graphics for when you’re having a conversation with someone. These I found to be a bit out of place, as the mouths in the portraits don’t move in the DC, but those shown in the original game’s view still do. The odd moment of new or redone graphics also seemed to clash a bit with the largely unchanged art of much of the rest of the game. So the quality varies quite noticeably at points, along with the new and occasional spot of re-recorded audio. I can see it working well for smaller screens where the shifts wouldn’t be so noticeable, and I’ve heard that the remaster of Broken Sword 2 is done a bit more consistently. I would have loved to simply get the original game’s art reproduced at a higher resolution, though.

Don’t get me wrong, the Director’s Cut is still a good game, but the changes felt a bit odd to me coming from the original. It is still most certainly one of the best and most popular from the Golden Age of the genre, whichever version you play.

Whilst deciding to write this piece about this game, I also made up my mind to take the time to put together a little trailer for it. That “Power” song seems to be quite popular these days…

Oh, and you know the best thing about all of this? I spotted over the weekend that Revolution are working on a Broken Sword 5, and that a fan creation I vaguely remember called Broken Sword 2.5 was completed last year. Time for me to stop writing and play through the entire series so far, I think.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IprnyTAUL9Y&w=480&h=274]

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