Tales of Monkey Island plunders the iPhone!

November 30th, 2011 by | 2 comments

This may be old news for some, but it’s still awesome!

For just $4.99, you can take the first of five episodes of seafaring adventure anywhere you go with the remaining four episodes hitting the App Store soon!

Get Monkey Island Tales – Episode 1 for the iPhone in the iTunes App Store Now!

In case some of you didn’t know. I didn’t  o.O

Okay, back to hiatus.

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Posted in Tales of Monkey Island

Weekly Wiki: Tongue of the Manatee

October 11th, 2011 by | No comments

The Tongue of the Manatee is an artifact that allows a person to communicate with manatees while underwater. It is in the shape of a large horn, and the user blows into the base to create the loud noise like a manatee’s voice. It comes with a standard set of phrases that a tourist might commonly use; it is up to the user to learn how to say more phrases.

In his quest for La Esponja Grande, Coronado De Cava knows that he will have to navigate the Manatee Mating Grounds, so he procures a Tongue of the Manatee to get past the giant female manatee who lives in the cave where La Esponja can be found. While he entrusts this task to his favourite crewman Santino, a deep-sea diver who learns the language of the manatees from the Marquis De Singe on Flotsam Island, he considers Santino too important to have such a menial task as holding the Tongue, which he gives instead to Moose. After the party is swallowed by a giant manatee and the crew goes down to its belly to party, Moose uses the Tongue as a funnel to drink copious amounts of ichor.

After Guybrush Threepwood has earned his way into the Democratically United Brotherhood of the Manatee Interior (founded by the four members of De Cava’s crew) and subsequently betrayed their trust, he learns from Noogie (or Bugeye or Moose, depending on which one Guybrush forces the information out of last) the true nature of Moose’s ichor-horn and returns to the Manatee’s belly to retrieve it. With it he is able to talk to the Manatee, but he cannot understand its responses until he finds a way back to Flotsam to get the Marquis’s book on the manatee language. With both these tools, Guybrush makes a deal with the male manatee, pretending to be him and wooing the female guarding La Esponja. He succeeds in drawing her out from her seclusion, and the two manatees are later seen swimming together and holding flippers.

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Posted in Weekly Wiki

Ask a Monkeyologist – Game DEMO Launched!

September 26th, 2011 by | 2 comments

Yes, the time has come!

All you need to know is on this page.

Please leave a comment below after you try the demo! Any suggestion/thought matters (positive, negative and neutral) and it will help me make this game better for you awesome people! 😀 Enjoy!

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Posted in Ask a Monkeyologist

Weekly Wiki: The Chef

September 20th, 2011 by | No comments

The Chef of the Scumm Bar is a semi-notable side-character from The Secret of Monkey Island who occupies the bar’s kitchen, only leaving it to ask what the patrons of the bar want. In the game Guybrush has to sneak into the kitchen when the chef is in the front room in order to get the useful inventory items therein.

The Chef is a friend of Otis and during his imprisonment he sneaked food to jail; mostly pork trimmings and rump roast (with tails).

He can later be found crying at the Scumm Bar when LeChuck kidnaps Governor Elaine Marley and scares off all the customers. If the player talks to him he will state the obvious: where LeChuck is hiding, what the player has to do in order to get there and why he has to do it. As the player leaves the Chef will give him some heartfelt advice and start crying uncontrollably.

In the first game he appears to be the only employee under the Scumm Bar’s owner, but in Escape from Monkey Island a second employee, the Scumm Bartender, is also introduced.

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Posted in Weekly Wiki

Horizons: Filming a Monkey Island Movie (5)

September 18th, 2011 by | 1 lonely comment

Tales of Monkey Island is next.

Forget the actors, forget the music… the sets will kill you. I mean, think about it: the insides of a manatee? Underwater? (even if you did have underwater in LeChuck’s Revenge, this is an entire sequence!)… not to mention the Land of the Dead!

Even big Hollywood Production Companies would have a difficult time figuring this out. Oh and Portals through different places? Poor, poor you. You’ll grow bald trying to figure out how to film all these.

Besides having a great story, Tales of Monkey Island provided awesome images/scenery. You could go all GreenScreen on it but that’s still a lot of work.

You also have to bring new actors, even architects to build sets such as DeSinge’s home or the Courthouse! Let’s face it… even if the previous Monkey Island movies would’ve been successful, there’s no way you can turn Tales of Monkey Island into an accurate live-action representation of the game.

Seeing your villain/actor play human LeChuck could be entertaining (and easier without all that make-up on) but I’m curious to see how are you planning on shooting the entire Escape-from-Manatee scene. So what can we do, you ask?

Well, it wouldn’t be nice to end this mini-series for Horizons without giving you, at least, a direction in which to go and explore new possibilities. Therefore, I recommend going Disney on it, transforming everything into one big cartoon, starting from Monkey Island 1 to Tales of Monkey Island. CGI or FlashMovie, it doesn’t matter… it will  be the only way you can do this without selling your soul to the devil.

Also, you can have the original actors reprise their roles or simply take the lines from the games themselves. I know it’s not the first time I suggested this, but if you have a better idea or even arguments, please share! I’m curious to see what you’re thinking about!

As for the Monkey Island Movie(s), you can read the updated wiki page and see what THEY were thinking about in the first place!

Thanks for reading!

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Posted in Horizons

Horizons: Filming a Monkey Island Movie (4)

September 4th, 2011 by | No comments

Let’s say that, through a miracle, you managed to make the third Monkey Island Movie a huge success. Everybody loves it, nobody thinks it’s similar to Pirates of the Caribbean and we’re happy. Hooray.

Good, but, the fans ask for more! They want Escape from Monkey Island: The Movie! So what are you going to do?

Well, besides bringing back the same actors (who, by now, should be filthy rich), you’re suddenly facing a problem: You have more extras than ever before. Well, not exactly extras, more like very unimportant roles but vital to the atmosphere of the movie (for example, the waitress in the LUA Bar).

Ok, let’ say you casted everyone, found an old man willing to play Ozzie Mandrill and Herman Toothrot’s actor is still alive. Good. Also, don’t worry about the old Teacher, Miss Rivers, I can talk with my old math teacher. That woman is a copy/paste phenomenon of Miss Rivers herself. At least, she was when I played the game. Don’t know if she’s still alive though, but we’ll think of something. Moving on!

But what about the scenery? We’re not talking about building a few cottages for the cannibals or renting a hotel for the Goodsoup family scenes… nonono, we’re talking about Planet Threepwood! We’re talking about having a big schoolhouse right on the beach! Did I mention that the same beach should be covered in boulders?

Well, if you had a choice so far, now it’s not a choice anymore: you must go CGI. Just thinking about building all that would cost you more than you could imagine and I honestly don’t see how you could rent yourself the Second Biggest Monkeyhead you’ve Ever Seen. Yes, okay, maybe some of those scenes were used in previous Monkey Island movies but, as a counter-argument, you DO need to make it all look fresh again. Otherwise, the public will be like: “Oh, they ran out of ideas and started re-using sets… boooring!”.

Music, you know what to do… Costumes, you can figure stuff out by now… But you are facing a lot of new effects here, from LeChuck’s constant transformations to the Giant robot Fight at the End! CGI again… I’m starting to understand George Lucas, honestly. CGI is faster and cheaper!

But it still doesn’t make up for bad story-telling.

Overall, you still need the same amount of work (if not even more) as you did for Curse of Monkey Island. Financially speaking, this is starting to look pretty grim, even with all the optimism in the world. The story itself may work in a video game, but as a movie… heh, you will lose money.

Giant Monkey Robot? …hm…yeah, you will lose money.

No worries, after you go bankrupt you still have to make Tales of Monkey Island! Fortunately, the situation is simpler here.

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Posted in Horizons

Weekly Wiki: Jungle Beast

September 1st, 2011 by | No comments

The Jungle Beast of Flotsam Island lives deep within the jungles and is never seen. Only Hemlock McGee seems to believe in it, and his depiction of it hangs in Club 41. He tells the story of how meaty sacrifices are left on the altar in the jungle at night and disappear before the morning, with a foul stench left behind.

Guybrush Threepwood can track the monster by dousing his offering in sugar water, leaving a trail of fireflies for him to follow. The beast turns out to be a meat-eating plant. Guybrush can retrieve a lion’s paw from its mouth; it retains the beast’s terrible smell and is an ingredient in the “Feast for the Senses” used to embiggen La Esponja Grande.

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Posted in Weekly Wiki

Horizons: Filming a Monkey Island Movie (3)

August 28th, 2011 by | No comments

So, you’ve filmed the Secret of Monkey Island and LeChuck’s Revenge. Huge success, fans are cheering! Hooray!

But what now? The environments in Curse of Monkey Island are so detailed, you cannot really blame the pixels if your art department messes up. So, you may have to re-think the design of the sets. Whether you are working with a greenscreen (cheaper method) or filming on location (selling-everything-you-own method), Curse of monkey Island: The Movie will look and feel different from everything you shot so far.

Sure, actors are the same… but the costumes get a more cartoony feel to them. Of course, you’re the director, it’s up to you to decide… but if you make them too realistic, you’ll lose that special atmosphere that CMI tends to create. Oh and you need to bring back characters like Lemonhead. Let’s hope the actor still wants to play the part!

Don’t forget to add chickens. At least add chickens. You must add chickens.

Not to mention skeletons! How are you going to do that? Well, your props department (Aunt Brunhilda) may spend some weeks trying to create puppets that you can later on handle on the set. Or you go with CGI which is much simpler and cheaper, but the feeling won’t be so organic. Again, tough decision, your call.

The lighting changes drastically, as you probably noticed. The mood shifts from creepy to pleasant, from mysterious to down right scary! That’s a LOT of lighting-work and your filming hours may double just for that.

Then you’ve got characters that will take a lot of preparations, such as Murray. Wether you choose wires, greenhand (green glove over your hand, removed in post so you can only see the skull moving by himself) or CGI, Murray will be a handful. Also, you may have to get Denny Delk to provide the voice or talk to LucasArts to allow you to use the lines from the game. Either way, it may cost you a lot!

Now, don’t get discouraged. There are some good news too! …actually, there aren’t. Seeing as you added skeletons, you’ll compete with movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean. Sure, yeah, you and I both know where that movie got his inspiration from… but the regular viewev doesn’t and he’ll just take you Curse of Monkey Island as a cheap copy of “the original”. It’s a tough World, what can I say?

Don’t think you can solve the music problem as well. In the game, the tracks fir perfectly. In a movie, you’ve got shots, cuts, close-ups, wide-angles… in short, you cannot just copy/paste the music from the game on top of your shots. It will not fit. The entire soundtrack needs to be re-done. Have fun with that.

Fun fact from Mr. Jared Emerson-Johnson: Did you know that, generally speaking, hiring a small orchestra to record 60 seconds of music will cost you about 1000 dollars?

(I didn’t really ask him this for the article… I just remembered he told me that once. Thanks Jared!)

As you can see, the Monkey Island Series is becoming harder and harder to film, not to mention it may not even be successful on today’s market. Maybe as an animation, who knows, it may just do well… but until we reach that point, let’s hit MI4 next week!

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Posted in Horizons

Horizons: Filming a Monkey Island Movie (2)

August 22nd, 2011 by | 1 lonely comment

Well, you finished your masterpiece, Hollywood loved it, George Lucas sent in some funds… Ron, Dave and Tim sent you a nice postcard …and you start planning the Sequel!

Of course, you need to bring back all your actors from the first movie, and pay them double to make sure they keep their roles until the end.

Now, you must cast new actors, find/make new costumes and decide upon new locations.

You will have to make a model (Lechuck’s Fortress) and blow it up. Talk to pyrotechnics. Or talk to some CGI-guys and make it all digital. It’s up to you!

Basically the costs double here and the original script needs trimming. You just cannot include all the little details without making it feel rushed. So you need to take care of the script… also talk to the composer for some new material.

Other than that. the visual style resembles the first Monkey Island game, so keep going with that. It is like filming two SoMI Movies… nothing different here. Oh, just make sure the last part gets the dramatic vibe it needs since it is one of the most dramatic moments in MI history.

Honestly, you’re better off filming The Curse of Monkey Island. It’s shorter, it’s easier and it has less people in it. 🙂 But more on that, next week!

Posted in Horizons

Horizons: Filming a Monkey Island Movie

August 14th, 2011 by | No comments

I’m sure many of us thought of bringing Monkey Island to the silver screen… but how far did you went with that idea?

Well, I thought of covering each game so far with a simple list that contains all the vital elements for a successful AMATEUR production. (not including post-production stuff like editing, music etc.). Let’s dive into:

The Secret of Monkey Island – Production Notes

First, the actors… you would need Guybrush, Elaine and Lechuck as the main characters. Three main actors. Choose them wisely.

Then you have all the secondary actors like The Voodoo Lady, Stan, Herman, Meathook, Otis, Carla… they need to support the main cast, so don’t go easy on them. A good actor can supplement a not-so-good effect or background.

Oh and don’t forget the “episodic” actors, like the cannibals, the Pirates from the ScummBar, the Outlook… not to mention all the extras (ghosts, random pirates etc.).

You also will need a trained monkey.

As far as locations go… not everybody lives near a tropical island. You can find dungeon-looking-backgrounds easily (basements or some medieval-themed-restaurants). Hm, but you won’t find ships that easily… so you’ll have to think of some heavy greenscreen stuff.

Therefore… greenscreen! Since you also have battles, sword fighting, maybe adding some extra little scenes of your own.. I’d say a 6×6 meters Greenscreen should be enough. don’t forget the lights (one big for the actor, two small for the greenscreen to separate the foreground from the background).

But you can do a little research on that on your own. Mind you… filming on location is super expensive, but is a lot faster than filming at home and editing like crazy in post-prod.

Costumes! Costumes…costumes… yeah, I strongly recommend hand-made stuff rather than bought off eBay. It’s a lot cheaper. I’m not saying to make them from scratch, but you can grab a normal shirt off second hand shops, and cut it… bend it to your will muahaha! You get the point.

Equipment! Some stuff filmed on location (especially the scene with Otis in the dungeon) will require some heavy lighting. In one of my latest videos I used 3 big lights + a chandelier + some wall lights for a scene… and everybody says it’s too dark O.O  Sooo… imagine that you would need to look at some tutorials on youtube regarding how to light your scene.

Always remember, the camera is NOT your eyes. If your eye can see it, your camera may not… and vice-versa. Oh and…buy a camera too ^.^

Great! now all you need is a nice script adaptation and you’re good to go! Tune in next week where we’ll talk about quadrupling your production cost for Monkey island 2: the Movie 😀

Posted in Horizons, The Secret of Monkey Island