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17 hours ago, Jenni said:

I never watched the pilot or played the game, but Gary Winnick's comics were pretty enjoyable.

 

I have yet to read them. I will one day! But credit where it's due: I believe Purcell wrote the scripts (although Winnick invented the world). 

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Hi, everybody! I have always found this webpage (and forums) very enjoyable and interesting. The first thing I would like to say is I’m Spanish, so I hope you can forgive my (for sure) numerous errors

I’ve written a few posts in here saying the theory is bullshit - because it is - but deleted them because just saying that alone didn’t seem like it would be enough. I thought just saying “this is BS”

People don't behave according to how they should in your mind. You're not God.   You can't base entire theories on how you think people behave in every situation and take every deviation of

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There is almost certainly an archive of cut content somewhere, even if "archive" is used in the loosest sense of the term. I direct theatre, and my directing books are stuffed with half formed ideas, abandoned concepts, and the pages of my scripts look like the ramblings of an insane man. I use them, sometimes, to teach theater history courses as a condensed archive: the students have to examine the process of the show from beginning to end based only on my book, journals, notes, pre-production design documents, and, eventually, photographic evidence of the show -- only at the end do I show them a finalized recording of the production. All of this counts as an archive.  I can't tell you the number of times students have made crazy claims about my shows based on what is in the material I give them ... it's a good lesson in the danger of doing history, and of finding your own narrative in the archive, as much as you find the narrative of the archive itself. 

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Some food for thought:

 

Several of the drafts in LOOM are in-jokes or puns of some sort: eg, the Closing Draft is DECE (as in "deceased"), while two possible combinations for the Rending Draft are ABBA and BAAB (suggesting that Brian Moriarty doesn't much care for Swedish pop music or similar songs like Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe").

 

But the Waking Draft includes the combinations EFGA (AGFE backwards) and DEFA - allusions to German Agfacolor film stock, which was used by famed Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein for a scene in Ivan the Terrible; and to East German film company DEFA, which made the SF film The Silent Star, which influenced The DIG in things like the naming of Ludger Brink.

 

The use of these combinations for the Sleep/Waking Draft suggests that Moriarty may have intended them as allusions to a future project he wanted to do. Which naturally brings to mind The DIG, since as I've said in the past his design for that game was heavily influenced aesthetically by East German and Soviet SF films.

 

But according to the official narrative of LucasArts history, Moriarty had no intention of taking up The DIG at that time, since Noah Falstein was supposed to be working on it. (Though between Last Crusade and doing The DIG at the same time as MI2, what was Falstein working on exactly?) And yet, here's Moriarty with science fiction on the brain already.

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There probably wasn't a huge gap of time between Last Crusade and the first version of The Dig, and Falstein has credits during and after that period which indicate he was lending a hand with other projects. When the first version of The Dig was shelved, its team was dispersed to assist with Monkey Island 2 and Fate of Atlantis, and I believe Noah was laid off shortly after Fate.

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32 minutes ago, ATMachine said:

Some food for thought:

 

Several of the drafts in LOOM are in-jokes or puns of some sort: eg, the Closing Draft is DECE (as in "deceased"), while two possible combinations for the Rending Draft are ABBA and BAAB (suggesting that Brian Moriarty doesn't much care for Swedish pop music or similar songs like Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe").

 

It could be a reference to ABBA. An easy one to make with a musical scale and four notes. His feelings on the group is pure speculation on your part.

 

Quote

But the Waking Draft includes the combinations EFGA (AGFE backwards) and DEFA - allusions to German Agfacolor film stock, which was used by famed Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein for a scene in Ivan the Terrible; and to East German film company DEFA, which made the SF film The Silent Star, which influenced The DIG in things like the naming of Ludger Brink.

 

And this is where you enter A Beautiful Mind territory.

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You dont' have to be psychic to guess that putting an ABBA reference in the Rending Draft (the one that tears apart the Loom and kills Hetchel) is not meant to be flattering.

 

And as for the influence of retro SF films, including Soviet/East German ones, on The DIG - I've been talking about that for years, since long before this Secret Project business came to my radar. I even mentioned it in my old Mojo article.

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3 hours ago, Udvarnoky said:

There probably wasn't a huge gap of time between Last Crusade and the first version of The Dig, and Falstein has credits during and after that period which indicate he was lending a hand with other projects. When the first version of The Dig was shelved, its team was dispersed to assist with Monkey Island 2 and Fate of Atlantis, and I believe Noah was laid off shortly after Fate.

 

The earliest design doc we have for that version is dated December 1990, while the infamous kickoff meeting (the one with the Loma Prieta earthquake) took place on October 17, 1989. That's over an entire year, at a time when it wasn't unheard of for LucasArts to put together entire games in nine months.

Edited by ATMachine
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The early design period could well have been that slow if Falstein was flitting between projects (note his "Additional Design" credit on Monkey Isand 1) or if it was not yet a priority. Remember that Ron had submitted his Monkey Island 1 proposal before being pulled onto Last Crusade, which forced him to table it for close to a year. So there is probably a Monkey Island pitch document dated 1988 out there. (Or maybe it emerged already? I forget.) Just looking at dates can paint a misleading picture if you remove the circumstances.

 

We also have to remember that we are talking about a studio that had a pretty unique culture, especially in the 80s. Did you see Ron's post-mortem on Maniac Mansion? It took two years to make that game, and it sounds like Ron and Gary were allowed a staggering amount of time to just kind of percolate on their concept before even figuring out what genre it was.

 

There are just too many specifics we do not know to assume that the most sensational possible scenario is more likely than the ten mundane ones.

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Here's a screenshot from the manual of the Spanish translation of Monkey Island 1, showing a different font than in the published version:

 

mi1spanishmanual.png

 

It looks like the GUI was pasted onto the lower area of the screenshot. But the text is fairly accurate (though not exact) to the game. What's more interesting is that the font looks very similar to, but not quite the same as, the font used in the published game - like an in-house variant of the same design.

 

In the second line the "h" in "Oh" has a tall stem to match the capital O next to it; in the fourth line, where it's not next to any capitals, the "h" has a shorter stem. Likewise, the "u" in "Cuanto" on the third line has a pixel in the lower-right corner that's absent in the "u" letters seen elsewhere.

 

Now this could be a SCUMM feature that never appears AFAIK in any published games: letters whose design varies based on the surrounding letters, for the sake of legibility.

 

Or it could be just a simple Photoshop job.

 

In fact, I'd have opted for the latter, if the same feature didn't appear elsewhere - in early screenshots of The DIG, no less.

 

digjoyc.png

 

Here the letter "r" in Brink's surname is shorter than the "r" in "tourniquet".

 

Mind you this is supposed to be a screenshot of actual gameplay. (Aside: there's also a graphic filter that's visible in this image; probably the same one that was put into various LucasArts adventure-game Macintosh ports by Aaron Giles, which he later imported into MAME as the Advanced Mame 2000 filter.)

 

It'd make sense, in an in-joke-y sort of way, for Brink to have a letter glyph in his name that differs from other instances of that letter - because Toshi Olema's surname too has a very un-Japanese L in it.

 

But that would require special coding, and probably isn't the sort of thing one might do for a one-off gag. It'd make far more sense as a borrowing from an already existing codebase - like that in the Spanish MI1 image above.

 

That in turn raises the question of why this feature doesn't appear in other LucasArts games. Not least the published version of MI1 in Spanish. Too buggy? Too much work to program? A combination of these with wanting to save some stuff especially for a crazy "secret library archive project" time capsule thing?

 

Hardly conclusive evidence, but it does make me wonder.

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Maybe what we see in these screenshots is the actual font that the in-game UI is based on, but the real font has more complex ligature data than the purely sprite-based version SCUMM supports.

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Maybe so. But The DIG apparently supported that in-game somehow at least.

 

On the other hand, as Marius posted in another thread, screenshots on the MI1 German version box instead go with a font that is totally different for the inventory, while keeping the same font that's in-game for the verb bank. Plus a dialog font that was seemingly ripped straight from DPaint - but nonetheless has only one space between letters, like the font in MI1 proper, instead of the erratically wide letter spacing of actual DPaint text.

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Maybe by the time of The Dig they supported tracking/kerned pairs, etc in SCUMM fonts. It would probably make regional localization and non-latin fonts easier.

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If so, it doesn't show up in any published games AFAIK. It'd be an interesting case of "hiding your light under a bushel." Like the overall argument proposed in the rest of this thread.

Edited by ATMachine
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  • 2 months later...

Seeing the peg-legged flapper in the MI1 stream brought a similar character to mind from Quest for Infamy - a peg-legged, red-haired prostitute who "looks familiar":

 

http://dustbin.mixnmojo.co/qfipeggy.png

 

http://dustbin.mixnmojo.co/qfipeggy1.png

 

http://dustbin.mixnmojo.co/qfipeggykick.png

 

From previous posts, Quest for Infamy is a game that I already surmised is probably connected to the whole Secret Project thingy.

 

Now this might just be a case of landing on the same visual gag... but there's no reason ever given in game for this character to "look familiar" to the player or the main character. Except perhaps as an allusion to her being modelled on the MI1 flapper. They even have similar character stances, both showing off with a leg-kicking animation.

 

Though the MI1 EGA flapper had dark hair. Rather like how Elaine's own hair also went from dark in EGA to red in VGA.

 

Also, if you talk to her, the QFI prostitute (named "Peggy", naturally!) mentions being an adventurer herself, but that line of business having dried up "around 20 years ago" - and she's looking to "get back in the game". (As in, out of the source code and onto the disks? :D )

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Hi, everybody! I have always found this webpage (and forums) very enjoyable and interesting. The first thing I would like to say is I’m Spanish, so I hope you can forgive my (for sure) numerous errors along my posts. I will try my best to communicate with you.

 

ATMachine, you have brought up a very interesting topic here. Certainly I have found this post very interesting and mysterious. You have a great documentation. It’s incredible how you have brought up some things from almost lost archives or old magazines… But… while your documentation is impressive, your conclusions seem to be a little rush to me. I hope I don’t hurt your feelings. Don’t misunderstand me: I love the post and everything you have said. I would like it to be true… But, you know, there are some things that seems to be unlikely possible to me.

 

I hope you don’t get bored with my long post. I will try to comment some things.

 

The point that fails to me is generally the assumptions you make about some things. For example… A time-capsule archive? Why that and not other thing? One of Sherlock Holmes’ quotes I find more interesting is that in which he said that we have to make theories with the evidences we have. As he said, we can’t do the contrary. We can’t distort the facts to support our theories.

 

What I’m trying to say is that I love the facts and data you have posted. But the conclusions or theories you have about them are as valid as other theories completely different as well. So… it’s hard to believe that many things LucasArts did (or even other companies did) is related with a secret project that has been hidden this whole time…

 

Although you have some interesting points which are worth to be examined. I think there are some secrets and projects we didn’t know about in LucasArts indeed. But I don’t think everything is connected or something like that. I think that is something that happens in many companies. It’s normal. Do you know the “Resident Evil 1.5” matter? It was a previous version of the final Resident Evil 2 that Capcom discarded years ago and it didn’t come to the stores. Along many years, “Resident Evil 1.5” was nothing but an urban legend… But, one day, the pieces of that lost game appeared and we knew that the development of the game had been difficult and Capcom had to throw away a lot of the material to remake the game again and create the final version we saw in 1998.

 

I bet there were a lot of beta versions or entire projects that were discarded in LucasArts those years, but is something normal that happens in many companies. I think they are isolated incidents and they are not connected to a secret project or something like that. But, hey, it’s just my opinion.

 

I think there are a lot of things that seems to be logical to me. I don’t see any mystery on them. For example… when you mention the quote of Jhonathan Ackley talking about a “secret budget”. I don’t see any strange on this affirmation. I think he is talking about the company knowing that the project leaders were making their first game. So, the company didn’t entirely trust that they could be able of staying inside the planned budget… So, LucasArts had some extra money saved in case Ackely and Arhem (both supposedly inexperienced in leading a project) needed a little more because they weren’t able of doing a good maths about the needed money to create the game. Sorry about my bad English and explanations… I’m trying my best. I hope you can understand me.

 

The same happens with the interesting story about Kit Williams and Masquerade. It’s a great story and a very interesting experiment but I don’t see why that proves that LucasArts was working in a secret project.

 

The Gabriel Knight mysterious actor before Dead Erickson… I haven’t seen the original material. You gave us the link (thanks for that!) but I don’t know if I have to run the exe in DosBox or something? I don’t know how to see the original material to get some context of the situation. Anyway… Maybe it was a very early casting… Or just a little test with a random person. It seems to be a Gabriel closer to the original look of “Sins of the Fathers”. Pay attention to the short hair (more look alike to the first game than the Dean Erickson’s mane) and the black jacket (again, more similar to the one of the first game). Maybe they changed some little ideas at the early stages of the development. Nothing weird there. It would be interesting to know anything else about this first actor and his experience with Sierra, though.

 

About Sierra doesn’t talking about that… it’s not strange. Companies are very shy about certain things. Sometimes they make the workers to sign legal stuff and they are not allowed to talk about the things that happen inside the company. It’s normal, I don’t see any conspiracy here.

 

All your conclusions about George Lucas wanting to make different Star Wars movies from the ones we watched… It’s your theory, but we don’t have any proof of that. In fact, if you have read interviews with Lucas (or watched some videos) he is very happy with the result of the movies and the message of them. If he wanted to change something, he made the changes in the special editions.

 

Although, as I said before, I think there are a lot of interesting points you have brought up and we should not discard. For example… It would be interesting (as I said before) to know more about the early actor on Gabriel Knight 2 (although, as I said, I don’t think he is related with any secret project or something like that). But it’s an interesting fact in its own. It should be investigated to know more about the video games history and the development of Gabriel Knight series.

 

To know even more about The Dig development it would be very interesting to investigate more about what was the thing Brian Moriarty showed to people in that mysterious conference at the end of the video. Doesn’t anybody know about it? I guess he can’t talk about it because of legal reasons (Disney would own the rights of Loom, The Dig, etc, I guess), so… maybe we won’t know much more about that topic… But it would be very interesting to know about the things Brian showed… Or even to know more about that mysterious “meta-game” he was talking about. I wonder if anyone could arrange an interview and ask him about it.

 

The same about Tim Schafer’s comments about “a secret library project” or something like that… I wonder if anyone could ask him about it in an interview or something. It would be very very interesting certainly. We need more proofs and data, because that “secret project” Schafer is commenting about could be anything (not necessarily your theory). Maybe it was even a normal game that never came out and was cancelled. Who knows… The best way of knowing more is asking him directly.

 

The other assumptions you make seem to be too far-fetched to me, sorry. But, anyway, I have found this topic and your posts very interesting. I hope someone could shed more light in some areas.

 

Edited by NightWalker
I tried to fix some gramatical errors... I'm sure there are even more, though
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