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Journey to Phatt Island, with a stop at Playstation Home

April 16, 2010

Once again, we join you at the end of the week with a brief recap of new Monkey Island news that has been hitting our Facebook Page and our Twitter feed. You really should join one of those. It’s instant gratification – the kind gamers love.

This week we journeyed to Phatt Island thanks to the fantastic Captain Dread. Below you’ll see the screens we released (and a few we didn’t). The reaction (as we hoped!) was fantastic. You guys really love your Monkey Island. But, we can’t just let some screenshots be all the news… Read more…

The World of Woodtick

April 9, 2010

This week our community got their first tastes of Monkey Island 2’s Special Edition.  Featuring locales from Scabb Island, we really wanted to begin giving fans a taste of how much time we were putting in to each backgrounds. Using the original art both in execution as well as inspiration, these scenes have amazing levels of details in them – and quite a few secrets for those die-hard enough to notice. Like Wally’s new maps.

But the world itself is the real story here. Woodtick, a seaside port on Scabb Island has been taken over the evil and diminutive Largo LaGrande. Luckily, our hero has allies to help him in his time of need. While Scabb has many sights to see, my memories of the island always take me right back to the first time I crossed that bridge with piles of coins and gold in my pockets. For those who missed out on all the nostalgia and want to join in, hit the jump to see Scabb Island in its high-res glory.
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Log In to Playstation Home, You Must!

March 4, 2010

In line with the previous few weeks of our dive into the world of avatars and virtual worlds, this week sees another update to the PlayStation Home world from a galaxy far, far away.  And near, actually. Not only do you get a few Star Wars items from The Force Unleashed, the entire saga, and even Clone Wars, but you can also grab a some Indiana Jones items if you so desire. Who doesn’t want a Fertility Idol on their shelves?

So now you can dress up as Starkiller, rearrange a few Crystal Skulls, and even head out to the Central Plaza. What’s so cool out there? Keep an eye out for a new fountain featuring the worlds favorite green Jedi Master. Modeled after the fountain we at Lucasarts are lucky enough to walk by everyday, now you too can bother a bronze Yoda with everyday questions. Ask him about your career, your money, love and more – and he will give you sage wisdom in return. Check out the gallery after the jump – then head into Home and dress your avatar up!

As a side note, I still have not witnessed any Lightsaber battles taking place within Home. I am disappoint. Get out there and show us how creative you can get!

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Like we would forget about XBox Live Avatars?

February 25, 2010

With the launch last week of our Playstation Home costumes and items, there were quite a few questions about if those items would be coming to the Xbox Live Avatar Marketplace. Yesterday, with the release of the Hoth add-on for The Force Unleashed, observant players noticed that the marketplace was quite flooded with Star Wars gear. And yes, I do mean flooded. What exactly did you find?

The plethora of items can be purchased on Xbox Live, but like all good net-faring XBLA user, you can also drop right into their website and pick up the set!

So many things happening!

February 17, 2010
tags: , , , ,

Why hello again, LucasArts fans. I’m quite happy to be writing another blog post after a  (semi-brief) hiatus. As we came into the new year, we wanted to take a step back, and rethink exactly what this whole ‘Workshop’ blog was really about.  Think about it – last year this blog kept you up to date on Monkey Island, Lucidity, Steam and Direct2Drive releases and more. That’s quite a bit of stuff to be throwing at you. And this year is shaping up to top all of that.

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Lucid Learnings

November 25, 2009

Via David Nottingham

Hey All,

Since we launched Lucidity on XBLA and PC, it’s been a really valuable experience to track the response from people to this experimental new game we put together. We’ve had some fantastic, supportive fans and positive responses and have gotten some great reviews from sites such as Edge, Eurogamer and Official Xbox Magazine.

At the same time, as many of you may have seen, we’ve also been getting feedback about the difficulty of the game, that people are finding it particularly punishing. We’ve seen comments about the lack of checkpoints in the game. At the time that we balanced the game, we designed the levels to be fairly short and the restarts as quick as possible and we felt that the game would be fine without checkpoints.

The dreams of Sofi...

However, when we started getting feedback, it became obvious that people were getting frustrated! We knew that the game was a challenge, but this showed us that we had underestimated that challenge by quite a bit.

We feel that there is so much great content in Lucidity that we want to open it up and make it more accessible for people to experience. So we have decided to create an update.

This update will launch for PC today and on XBLA in the coming weeks. The update will include the addition of checkpoints! So no more level restart when you die just before the end!

Keep an eye on this space we’ll post when it goes live. Let us know what you think of the improvement and tell your friends to check it out if they haven’t already. We hope this change will make it a little more accessible for a broader group of people!

Lots of Love

The Lucidity Team

Indiana Jones Greatest Adventures is Live!

November 16, 2009

Hey, I know that guy!

Hello there, fans of all things classic and LucasArts. This week LucasArts is proud to announce that yet another entry of the classic games has hits the Nintendo Virtual Console. With Super Star Wars’ as a trilogy hitting recently and Zombies Ate My Neighbors just two weeks ago, we have learned how many fans there are who are waiting for the classics to be released. As of today we have release Indiana Jones Greatest Adventures for your classic playing.

Set across the original three films prior to Crystal Skull, IJGA is quite beloved by collectors. A personal favorite of mine thanks to the solid platforming and (at the time) mind-blowing graphics. Those who’ve played it remember it – the classic platforming and shooting of old with that iconic whip-across-gaps that could only be done if that perfect piece of wood was sticking out of the wall.

Many nights were spent trying to get through the game. I don’t remember if I ever did, but I doubt it. This one, like Zombies Ate My Neighbors, is another shining example of those incredibly difficult games you simply cannot put down. The Himalayan raft scene from Temple of Doom might be the most fond of my memories, but the biplane sticks in there. After all, The graphics were totally top of the line – just look!

Go Indy Go!

Okay, maybe not now. But at the time it was amazing on a home console. Ahhh, memories. Nostalgia makes all those old videogames feel like they have the poly-count of The Force Unleashed.

Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures is out now in North America on Virtual Console, and this Friday worldwide. Be sure to drop a comment with your favorite memories – I know I’m not alone. Oh, and passwords for the later levels.

The Sound Design of Lucidity – Blurring the Boundaries of Game Audio

November 10, 2009

It was obvious from the very beginning that Lucidity was no ordinary game. Jesse Harlin and I knew that we had the opportunity to do something unusual with the audio. As the game was set in a dream world we wanted the soundtrack to have an ethereal feel to it. So we hit upon the idea of focusing the audio around the music, with sound in the game complementing to and blending with the music.

We tried to blur the lines of where sound design ends and music begins, with Jesse doing a first pass on the majority of the prominent game sounds, from the musical notes of picking up fireflies to the cymbal crash of the exploding bomb. Meanwhile I created some “instruments” for Jesse to use in the music from our sound design library. This included tuned owl calls and frog chirps turned into rhythm sections.

As I was creating the sound effect ambiences I carefully tuned each element in the mix from bird calls to the drone of crickets to match the root note of each level’s music so that they blended to create a single musical soundscape. We also timed all of the sounds related to Sofi in the game to play on a 16th note Grid so they were not only tuned to the music but also in time with the music.

The enemies in the game, such as the hornets, mushrooms and dust bunnies, needed to create a sense of danger to the character, so the sounds we chose were deliberately non musical and not timed to the music to create a sense of dissonance with the Sofi’s dreamlike musical existence.

As you can imagine with our melding of music and sound design the division of labor wasn’t clear cut, as the overall soundtrack of the game ended up as cross over of ideas and work between the two of us.

From dreams come dreams

November 10, 2009

Lucidity is a game set in a dream world — which makes it fitting that it all started with DreamWeek: late last December, everyone in the company put their pencils down, gathered into small ragtag teams, and made a bunch of games.  All kinds of interesting, wacky, and totally inspiring games made with whatever they could get onscreen in 5 short days.  After it was over, we were lucky enough to get to “borrow” one of the original DreamWeek team members, Chip Sbrogna, to work on the Lucidity design team.

Chip has been a designer in the games industry since 1998.   Before Lucidity, he worked on God of War II, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (among others).  He also recently won third place at the Guitar Hero Arcade World Championship.  Since we’re all pretty busy and the only time I see Chip anymore is at the karaoke bar down the street where it’s too loud to have a real conversation, we exchanged a few emails about Dream Week, and Lucidity.

Shara: Lucidity was born out of DreamWeek, and it was your team’s game.  As a seasoned game developer, what was the Dream Week experience like for you?

Chip: I loved it.  Having a full week to work with a talented group of people on whatever we wanted was an incredible experience.  It felt like the garage days of game design —  no politics, no egos, no red tape — just a small group of people with a passion for making games.  It was one of the most productive weeks I’ve ever seen in the industry, and certainly the most fun I’ve ever had.

(More after the jump)

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Secret of Monkey Island – The Deleted & Extended Scenes

November 9, 2009

Hey there, Monkey fans. I got a chance to pick the brain of one of the designers on Monkey: Special Edition, and he volunteered to author what is (in my opinion) the coolest article we’ve had yet on the Workshop. Without further ado – I introduce you to Adam!

My name is Adam Bormann, and I was one of the designers on the Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition.  One of the things I worked on was the new hint system, which meant a lot of digging through the old original SCUMM source code to figure out how Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and company were tracking the state of different puzzles and whether Guybrush had completed something or not.  One thing I quickly noticed was that Ron and Tim had left a lot of notes in the code, explaining why things were the way they were, or putting a date when a certain bug was fixed.  This was fascinating to see and read.  The other thing I noticed is that when they made some changes, they left the original versions of the code in there, but commented out, so that it wouldn’t be used.

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