Horizons: Warcraft Adventures

October 29th, 2011 by | No comments

If you play World of Warcraft (like Ron Gilbert and myself) then you are probably know many of the essential characters in the Warcraft lore. Maybe you even played some of the Warcraft RTS games. However, did you know that about 14 years ago Blizzard was working on an adventure game called Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans? By the sound of the title this could have been the first in a series of adventures set in the Warcraft world. The game was set to be released in 1997, but was delayed to late 1998 due to several development problems.

In May of 1998 the game was canceled because several sequenced of the game had to be be rewritten which would involve more ani9mation and more voice work. Bill Roper (producer) also felt the game looked dated when compared to Curse of Monkey Island which had been released the year before and the announcement 0f Grim Fandango sporting a 3D engine. These statements were mentioned again by Mike Morhaime (president and co-founder of Blizzard) during an interview at last week’s Blizzcon.

Read more about the canceled game on Wikipedia which also has some links to YouTube videos that have surfaced in the last couple of years.

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Horizons: Lego

October 22nd, 2011 by | No comments

You probably know the Lego video games, such as Lego: Pirates of the Caribbean. But before there were computer games, Lego already existed as little plastic bricks. It’s hard to imagine such a prehistory, but perhaps you yourself have played with them, and maybe you still do? Ah, the stories you can enact with the little yellow figures… someone has even recreated Mêlée Island with Lego bricks! How about you? Did you ever play with Lego? Maybe you made something Monkey Island related with Lego that you want to share? If so, do leave a comment, we’d love to hear your story!

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Horizons: Stalking Ron Gilbert

October 10th, 2011 by | No comments

No, I’m not talking about camping out in his yard or hiding all night in the bushes with a thermos filled with hot soup hoping to catch an elusive glimpse of Ron Gilbert only to find yourself disappointed after an uneventful 12 hours followed by a desperate rummage through his trash salvaging only half of a used q-tip and a discarded slice of pizza that hopefully hides some precious saliva but otherwise has lost all taste and is no longer the feast of flavors it once was.

No, I’m talking about following Ron Gilbert on various modern (and hip) social medias. That includes his Twitter account and his Google+ profile where he posts about things such as a Monkey Island themed Monopoly game, hi-res backgrounds of old LucasArts adventure games, his current projects, and stuff around the Internet he finds interesting.


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Horizons: Psychonauts

October 1st, 2011 by | No comments

If you’re one of the few people who have still not purchased Psychonauts, now’s a good time to right your wrongs. The Steam version of the game has received a bit of an overhaul, adding achievements and decreasing the difficulty of a particularly hard level (that I didn’t get to on my first playthrough, which reminds me I really need to play that game again). To be fair, the reason I didn’t finish it was because keyboard controls are just a bit too clunky for a platformer, so it’s nice that they also added support for an Xbox 360 controller in the update!

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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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Horizons: Sheeped Away

September 11th, 2011 by | 1 lonely comment

Long-time fans of this site and The World of Monkey Island before it will surely remember Junaid Chundrigar, who, apart from being a Monkey Island fan, is also a gifted artist… and animator. To officially earn this last title in animation school, Junaid made a short film entitled Sheeped Away, which is about a farmer who suddenly finds his sheep being sucked up by a UFO. Do give it a view if you haven’t already seen it, and/or visit the official Sheeped Away site!

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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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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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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!

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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