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The Monkey Island box set from Limited Run Games


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Correct, I was just daydreaming for fun but the real chances of this happening are close to zero. Plus they aren't going for pixel art this time, which I recall was something Ron would instead use for a hypothetical MI3a.
Still, all the secrecy is weird: while it's true that Ron doesn't feed hype, he often used to share screens or chunks of screens / production material even for personal projects, let alone full games. Something good's cooking.

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57 minutes ago, Rum Rogers said:

Correct, I was just daydreaming for fun but the real chances of this happening are close to zero. Plus they aren't going for pixel art this time, which I recall was something Ron would instead use for a hypothetical MI3a.
Still, all the secrecy is weird: while it's true that Ron doesn't feed hype, he often used to share screens or chunks of screens / production material even for personal projects, let alone full games. Something good's cooking.

I just want to know more. Any new adventure game by Ron is cause for celebration. 

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I say bring on a COMI remaster. Yes, they will undoubtedly get some things I consider "wrong", but on the whole they're usually massive improvements in some area: Day of the Tentacle came out really well, aside from one or two tiny niggles. Full Throttle was amazing with its improved soundtrack -- even though there was some weird lapses in quality control. Grim Fandango added amazing new music and unbelievably better controls AND a point and click mode... despite the occasional lapses in quality control (again).

 

SOMI:SE was (for me) a total abomination. I hated every second (apart from Earl Boen and whoever voiced the Shopkeeper -- even Dom seemed off). So many things were ruined... so I just don't play it (in fact I never even got off Melee). MI2: SE was a vast improvement and started getting more things right (especially on Phatt Island, which really looked absolutely perfect in one or two scenes).

 

So with those being my recent experiences, I say bring on the new ways for me to experience COMI. The original isn't going anywhere. Give it to me!

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I never digged the soundtracks to MI1&2:SE. To me they missed the caribbean feel, and I just don’t understand why they didn’t ask Michael Land to rerecord them.

 

Then again, I never liked the SE’s as a whole, (although MI2 was a definite improvement). The Double Fine remasters at least show what you can do with the vision of the original creator, part of the original team and a talented team behind them. I love them, apart from the above nitpicks. (And I really miss the original tentacle suction cup sound.)

Edited by Lagomorph01
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Speaking of CMI, Jonathan Ackley recently joined Twitter and just posted a couple of interesting facts:

 

"Curse of Monkey Island trivia: In our first design, the Hotel on Blood Island was called the "Flamingo." A character called Matchstick McGee was going to set it on fire and the 'O' was going to fall off the sign."

 

"We had difficulty finding the voice for Guybrush in #TheCurseOfMonkeyIsland. Finally, our director came to us and said, "I have one more guy. But he keeps saying, 'You don't understand. I AM Guybrush Threepwood!'" (He's referring to Dominic Armato, naturally. :D )

 

He also posted other info, including a mention that he worked on several versions of The DIG, which I still find interesting even though I no longer believe in the Secret Project theories I used to espouse. The history of LucasArts is always fascinating to me.

Edited by ATMcashpoint
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Even though I'm not a big fan of the direction the DOTT and FT remasters took, I'm still happy they exist because they provided us with a bunch of new behind the scenes stuff, and they included  80-90% accurate recreations of the original versions (some changed sound effects and missing colour cycling are the main issues iirc). I also can play the originals off my CD-ROMs via SCUMMVM, so that's fine (there's also apparently a way to get the remastered voice audio into a SCUMMVM playthrough, but I can't figure it out for the life of me!). It's a bit disappointing to me that the remastered graphics were rather unadventurous and ugly, but never mind.

 

If they made a CoMI remaster, and all that came with it was the original version and a new version that had ugly background repaints (I was not a fan of the ones that Tiller did recently) and 3D character models, I'd be gutted. Because, along with a lot of fans, the one thing I actually want is a very faithful up-rezzing, using the original recordings and art where possible and whatever combination of computer and human upscaling is needed to fill the gaps. Laserschwert has done some amazing up-rezzed samples of the cutscenes (and I think the backgrounds too? EDIT: yes, here: https://forums.mixnmojo.com/topic/200308-share-your-content/?do=findComment&comment=2787399, unfortunately the comparison links are broken now, but the imgur ones still work).

Out of interest, @Laserschwert and anyone else in the know, hypothetically what's to stop the fan community achieving this themselves with a combination of ESRGAN and crowd-sourced effort? The SCUMMVM forum thread seems rather pessimistic, but say if someone took charge and started this fan project, and everyone on those forums signed up to do as much grunt work as was needed (e.g. going through every sprite sheet and checking for ESRGAN errors) would it be doable with enough effort or are there some insurmountable technical hurdles?

Edited by TimeGentleman
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I’ve wondered about that myself. I think the main hurdles would probably be less the assets and more getting the game to run at a high resolution, no issues with coordinates, etc. Maybe @bgbennyboy has some ideas on that.

 

One thing that probably wouldn’t upscale very well is the sprites. I did once spend like 10 mins in Procreate seeing how hard it was to do a paint-over and it was pretty straightforward. However I suspect the engine doesn’t support semi-transparent edges so some of the refinement would be lost — not enough to matter that much though.

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Technically, there wouldn't be a reason to use ScummVM for this though. It would probably be much easier to just extract all the scripts from the game and make a separate "Virtual Machine" to use them in a game engine like Unity. Using arbitrarily upscaled assets in there would be no problem whatsoever. Legally, this would be just as much of a problem as creating upscaled assets for use in ScummVM.

 

I think on the art side the main hurdle ARE in fact the sprites. Not only are they compressed and downscaled to a size that makes upscaling them problematic, they are also split and segmented into so many different assets (more often than not with different limbs on different layers) that rebuilding the correct animations out of them is a huge undertaking. There are probably ways to extract the rules and coordinates on how they are assembled in-game from the data files, but I'm no coder.

 

Nowadays, it makes no sense to differentiate between "fan-made" and "professionally made" games, because everybody has access to the same tools, and talent can be found everywhere on the internet. Where professional productions need a budget to pay for the work done, fans tend to put in even more work, out of passion, for free. Having access to existing assets (like voice files and obviously background images) reduces the workload immensely too.

 

But in the end, it's all still in vain. A fan-made remake of CoMI, however possible it might be to be created by fans, wouldn't make it past an announcement before the Disney lawyers bring down the gavel on it.

Edited by Laserschwert
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Well, I was imagining that if it were done in SCUMMVM and only graphical/audio assets were replaced, with the other original files still needed, it would be less like a remake and more a mod that might go unnoticed by legal eyes, akin to a Half-Life texture pack or something!

Interesting about the sprites. As they're all flat-coloured, I figured they'd be pretty easy to upscale. And I would have thought that if you stuck to the same sprite sheet (or whatever) format as the originals, and ran it all through SCUMMVM, then the game would build the animations as usual with all the higher-res body parts. But I'm no coder either! I can imagine though that if you were crowd-sourcing the upscaling, each animation being split into loads of different bits would greatly increase visual continuity issues.

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Yes! Laserschwert's upscales would be good enough for me, even without the sprites being fixed. Surely it cannot be that hard in ScummVM? We managed to do a similar thing on the Grim Fandango Deluxe project, and it worked fine, so I don't see why upscaling COMI's backgrounds would be so difficult. (He says naively.)

Edited by ThunderPeel2001
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I remember checking those backgrounds and actually making the point that they look better than the originals even when scaled back down to 1x. It's only the colour limitations of COMI I think. Maybe one day I'll have the time to learn more.

 

@LaserschwertDo you have PNGs of those 4x backgrounds anywhere? The jpegs are great, but a lossless format like PNG would be even better.

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  • 2 weeks later...

3D animation… It’s the go to process for games and movies… (Anyone seen the Rescue Rangers trailer where Chip is supposed to be 2D… ugh…)

I’m starting to think people (especially in the movie/game industry) have forgotten what true 2D animation can achieve and has achieved. It might be labour intensive, but the suggestion of life can’t really be simulated.

A while back I talked with a dutch Donald Duck comic artist, and I asked him if he did his inking digitally or by hand. He told me he did it by hand, because that way, he couldn’t redo it and the tiny faults made it human.

I think that, and the lack of ultra high detail, enhances the humanity. Just look at Ghibli films, they’re often more human than human.

 

In short, (to mr. Tiller), please don’t even suggest that a CMI remake should be done in 3D… The cartoon animation style and wonderful 2D backdrops give it it’s own look and make it a truly wonderful and unique experience.

Edited by Lagomorph01
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I feel you, sadly he'd totally consider a 3D take on one of the best 2D adventure games ever. Not sure why he thinks 3D models over 2D backgrounds merge properly, when it's super clear they just don't mix. It just looks like a 3D character floating over a piece of paper, which in turn has a fantastic background drawn upon, but that's not enough.

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Yeah...no thanks. I kinda hope that if a remaster is in the works they just took his backgrounds and stuck to the 2d characters. Like I said before though, I'd prefer no remaster at all over 3D. 
 

That aside, where's Monkey 6? That's really all I want.

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No, I mean Monkey6. All the MI games have their place and imo Tales had the best story. I think there's way more to be explored with the Voodoo Lady and that end credits scene. Mi3a would only diminish the value of MI2's ending as an unanswered question; the 30 years of speculation and crazy fan theories would all come to an end and knowing the secret will ultimately be disappointing, no matter what it is. No doubt, I'd be curious about it and a new Monkey Island game by Ron Gilbert would be fascinating, but I'm more invested in where the characters are post-Tales than going backwards just for an explanation that we don't need. 

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Sorry, but I find this anti-3D sentiment makes no sense to me. Yes Studio Ghibli films are beautiful... but so are most Pixar films. It's all about doing things well. Unfortunately the switch to pre-rendered 3D characters is usually a cost-cutting measure (see SOMI:SE), which is why the results tend to look horrible.

 

If Disney were prepared to invest in the project properly it wouldn't matter what process they used. Even 2D backgrounds and 3D characters can work perfectly together if they're done well. A proper budget would ensure the beautiful movement and animation style of CMI could be preserved, no matter what.

 

It's really all about the budget. I'd rather have a properly funded remaster, no matter what techniques they used, than a poorly funded remaster that used hand-drawn 2D animation (there's plenty of cheap and horrible 2D animation out there).

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On 2/18/2022 at 9:41 AM, Blondebeard said:

Bill has recently been replying to some comments in my Instagram account and he said the following regarding the draw lines (or lack of it):

You can find the comment on this post.

 

I can't see any comments on that post. But he's saying that he'd add the drawlines back into the backgrounds if the characters were also 2D, but for 3D he'd leave them out? That makes sense.

As for the 2D vs 3D stuff - for my part, I'm only anti-3D in the specific case of a COMI remaster. 3D animation in general can absolutely be just as fantastic as 2D. And like I say, if they want to do a 3D remake of COMI, good for them (although the game wasn't designed for it so I feel like it would be a cost-saving measure rather than a creative one). But I personally want a faithful 2D remaster, so if they did a 3D remake at the expense of that, I'd be very disappointed. And perhaps a 2D/3D remaster could match the quality levels of the original's art and animation, but it inherently wouldn't be preserving it. (Besides which, I suspect that simply doing some new art and replacing the original assets with it would simply clash too much against the artistic direction and general design of the game, no matter how gorgeous it is).
Now what I would be very interested in is a 2D backgrounds/3D characters remaster of Escape From Monkey Island - imagine how gorgeous that game could look these days!
(Also, while we're here, my ideal remaster of the first two games - not that I think they need it, I'm happy with the originals - would be to get them to match the Purcell cover-art style in a way that the low framerate doesn't clash and looks like someone flipping through a gorgeously illustrated storybook. No voice-acting. Stick with iMuse just with better samples. And I wouldn't mind Skunkape Games getting their hands on Tales, doing all their usual polish, plus replacing some of the re-used character models etc. And then get Size Five Games to make Monkey Island 6. There, easy!)

Edited by TimeGentleman
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Yeah I think you might have misunderstood @ThunderPeel2001, it's 2022 and 3D is great now (even for adventure games!).

It doesn't have the technical limitations we were forced to accept 20 years ago, which objectively harmed games that had so much more detail in 2D back then and needed to give that up.

I guess we were all referring to a potential 3D take on CMI, which sounds like blasphemy to me, not 3D in general.

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8 hours ago, ATMcashpoint said:

I think it might be relevant to this discussion that the MI2 SE used 3D models exported as 2D character sprites for a lot of the art - I think Guybrush's sprite was done that way, for instance.

Considering Bill Tiller's latest games, I don't think that's the case. I think he wants to adopt the same approach as in A Vampyre Story, Ghost Pirates and Duke Grabowsky. At least, considering the lack of black outlines and actual 3D models there, it seems to be most likely to me.

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