Aric’s World


A peEk into my Games Industry Archive

1986 02 07 Maniac Mansion. Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick release an early proposal for Maniac Mansion.  Ron has a link to a version of this document on his website.  I’m not sure how the fans reacted to learning that their favorite game characters were originally named  Greg, Sandy, Bobby & Joey.

1983 06 13 Star Raiders II.  I was hired by Atari Coin-Op to develop a sequel to Star Raiders.  The first step was writing the Design Document (left) and I suppose I thought giving my boss top credit would make the approval process go more smoothly.  The playable game is available here.

1986 12 17 Maniac Mansion. As part of the product development process, early releases would go through an Alpha Release process.  This allowed the organization to review the in-progress work and provide feedback to the developers.

1990? Mutiny on Monkey Island.  This is one of the earliest Monkey Island proposals I have located.  It is undated so likely 1989 or 1990.  I’m checking with Ron to see if he can help sort out the order of these.

1990? Mutiny on Monkey Island - Game Flow.   This document describes the originally intended step-by-step breakdown of how the game would be played.

1990? The New Monkey Island.  This is the gameplay in a more narrative form.

1985 02 25 Alien Tanknology (Koronis Rift).  This is the design document for the second wave of LucasFilm games using Loren Carpenter’s Fractal engine.  Koronis Rift was a first-person combat game as you were integrating alien tech into your mobile assault vehicle.

1985 02 14 The Dragon Game (The Eidolon).   This is the original proposal for the game that released as The Eidolon.  Charlie always had an affinity for dragons.   He used to attend the Renaissance Faire as a dragon.   His hood ornament was a dragon.   The main character was Dr. Agon.  See the theme here?

1985 04 30 The Eidolon.  This is a synopsis of the game presented in a diary format.   It was not uncommon for the designer to have a hand in the development of the original manual and this may have been done for that purpose.

Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Maniac Mansion, The Dig, Indy Iron Phoenix, the list goes on.   I worked on all of these and had a suspicion that someday there would be interest in how these games were made.  Years ago I visited the LucasArts facility in the San Francisco Presidio and brought along two grocery bags of design documents.  I asked if they had an archivist and I was told that since I had kept these safe for over two decades, it was best if I just kept them together.  I have met with the archivist at Stanford and these documents will either end up there or at a museum dedicated to preserving game design.  Until then, I plan to release a few documents every month, and I am currently looking at using GitHub for archiving the SCUMM source code.

July 10 - Rebel Assault, Shadows of the Empire, Defenders of Dynamo City & The Telecommuter. 

July 2 - Labyrinth, The first design for Indy Last Crusade, Sam & Max, The Dig, and Curse of Monkey Island.

Coming Soon...

1991 The SCUMM Tutorial.  So you wish you could build a SCUMM game?  First we send you to SCUMM University more affectionally known as SCUMM-U. After the first group of games, a full-time writer was hired to document the SCUMM engine.   This project was always a moving target as the engine continued to evolved.  One group of students made their own class T-Shirt.  SH-209 was the room we used for training in the Stable House at Skywalker Ranch.

1996 The SCUMM Manual.  Commands, Functions, Scumm Variables, Glossary entries, System files, Language references, Flow control, Terms, Applications, and Retired commands, this is the definitive guide to the language.  Don’t want all that detail?   Here’s just the Glossary.

We are just getting started.  There is even a design document for a Star Trek Scumm game, and the original design document for Gauntlet.

1988 10 13 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  This was a crucial point for LucasFilm Games since this was the first time we were tasked with designing a game to release with one of George’s movies.   The game had to be great, the schedule could not slip, and the original concept was NOT a Scumm game.

1990 06 01 FORGE.  After LOOM, there was interest in exploring additional parts of that universe.   Kalani Streicher and Mike Ebert teamed up and put this proposal together.  (cover only at this time)

1992 11 11 Sam and Max Hit the Road.  Mike Stemmle and Sean Clark had been scripters on many of our previous games and Steve Purcell had been an animator I think starting with Last Crusade.  Beforing joining LucasArts, Steve had created Sam & Max, Freelance Police as a comic book which brought great characters and wonderful dialog to one of our favorite games.

1979 Source Code for Star Raiders.  As part of my development for Star Raiders II, my boss at Atari tracked down a copy of the original source code.   Over a decade later, I loaned the printout it to a friend and he released it to the gaming community.

199?   No date on this document but this time Kalani, Michael and I teamed up for a game that was a cross between the A-Team and Mission Impossible with a pulp-science fiction feel.

1988 04 27 Star Trek The SCUMM Game.  There is no designer credit on this document, but within LucasArts there was always an understanding that anyone in the organization could propose a game.  If they could get momentum behind the design and team members were available, anything was possible.

1992 02 24 Maniac Mansion II - Day of the Tentacle.   Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman, graduates of our recent SCUMM-U team up with a proposal for the sequel to Maniac Mansion.  Noteworthy items include characters Moonglow, Chester, and Razor from Maniac I.

1986 01 15 Labyrinth.   I believe that this was David Fox’s design that was used to create the game based on the Jim Henson, David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly movie.   I believe that this was C64 only, but our first effort building a game around a movie license.

1990 12 06 The Dig.  Spielberg approached us with a story idea that was a cross between ‘Treasure of the Sierra Madre’ and ‘Forbidden Planet’.  There were three different designs and three different project leads before it was finally built.  Not sure which revision this was, looks like the first or the second.

1995 08 29 Curse of Monkey Island.   Jonathan Ackley and Larry Ahern dive into the accursed world of Monkey Island to create a worthy successor to the Ron Gilbert franchise.  They even take a few swipes at the ending for Monkey II.

1991 01 04 The Dig Kickoff.   More puzzle details in this doc.  Overall Structure, subsystems, character interactions, resource management, characters & puzzle list.

1990? The Telecommuter.  And you thought that Ron Gilbert was just a game designer?  Frustrated with the sad state of modem software, Ron proposed a simplified interface where users wouldn’t have to learn about ‘stop bits’ and ‘parity’.

1990? Defenders of Dynamo City.   There were a number of original designs based on super-hero concepts.   Here’s Gary Winnick, co-developer of Maniac Mansion, diving into this genre.

1992 04 10 Star Wars CD (Rebel Assault).   Vince Lee was working for me when our President at the time, Kelly Flock, had dinner with Vince and asked if he’d like to build a Star Wars CD-ROM game.   It wasn’t named Rebel Assault until near the end of the project and I remember someone from Marketing worrying about the fact that Assault had the word ‘Ass’ in it.... really.

1995 01 26 Shadows of the Empire.   Jon Knoles directed this N64 project with my former office-mate Eric Johnston.  EJ was also the developer of Ben’s Game designed by a young cancer survivor to help others fight the desease.  EJ was also Batman when tens of thousands in San Francisco helped another young cancer survivor live his dream of being BatKid.

New -1993 10 06 Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix

I get lots of inquiries about this project and for the past few months I have been working with a writer to chronicle the history behind this project.  Over 60 pages of original story design.  150 pages of screen designs, puzzles, character art, animation lists.  Here’s a link to the story behind Iron Phoenix.