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Ron Gilbert, developer of Thimbleweed Park is switching to Linux

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Ron Gilbert is a name most in the game industry will know from the likes of Thimbleweed Park, and earlier works like The Cave while at Double Fine and they were even the producer on my all-time favourite RTS Total Annihilation. More than that, Gilbert was also the creator of the classic Monkey Island and it appears they're now attempting to switch to Linux.

Terrible Toybox, the actual team behind Thimbleweed Park are working on a new game and game engine too. They released Delores: A Thimbleweed Park Mini-Adventure in May 2020, as a small standalone title that acts as a prototype for their newer game engine. They even put up the source code for the Delores game on GitHub, although it's not under an open source license. It doesn't support Linux yet but that appears to be planned.

So what's the fuss about? They're switching their development flow to Linux and they've started blogging about the adventure too with a first post about their new hardware a few days ago. Seems they've settled on a Dell XPS 13 with Ubuntu Budgie. The question is: why are they doing it? As they said in the post:

My goal is to see how far I can get developing my new game on directly on Linux and not the Mac (I haven't developed on Windows in years). Can I ditch the Mac and go 100% Linux?

For working on the "game", this shouldn't be a problem once the engine runs on Linux. The few custom tools I use (Wimpy, for example) and all built from the same code the engine is, so once it's working under Linux, they should compile as well.

It's quite interesting to see more developers try out Linux, although not too surprising with how Apple is now again moving CPU architecture. Not just that though, as Apple have been getting more hostile for indie developers, with all sorts of extras being needed now and that's on top of the "Apple tax" that forces you onto their hardware. Gilbert mentioned this as well, with Apple being 'more paranoid and authoritarian' as time goes on.

Since their initial blog post it seems it went mostly okay, and they're continuing to learn and find the software they want. Will be fun to see how it all goes. Good luck, we're here if you need us Mr Gilbert and our Forum is always open. We're always happy to help game developers on Linux.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Game Dev, Misc | Apps: Thimbleweed Park
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DigitalSin 28 Jul
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: DigitalSinWhat are the Linux alternatives to Apple's Xcode? Last time I used it, was easy and fast to use - with incredible search capabilities. (This was years ago in Tiger.) I can't really find a comparable IDE for Linux.

There's a forum thread with people's thoughts on various IDEs. Might be worth a read through:
https://www.gamingonlinux.com/forum/topic/2425

I've never used Xcode personally (never owned a Mac, never done development for one), so I can't comment on anything with the same features or interface, but maybe you'll get an idea for something to try.

Thanks for the link. Looks like there are a lot more options than I had known about!
DigitalSin 28 Jul
Quoting: Linas
Quoting: DigitalSinWhat are the Linux alternatives to Apple's Xcode? Last time I used it, was easy and fast to use - with incredible search capabilities. (This was years ago in Tiger.) I can't really find a comparable IDE for Linux.
Have you looked at JetBrains products? AppCode is probably the closest thing.

Those look really interesting. But they are for macos :)
Linas 28 Jul
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Quoting: DigitalSin
Quoting: LinasHave you looked at JetBrains products? AppCode is probably the closest thing.
Those look really interesting. But they are for macos :)
Whoopsie daisy, you are right. AppCode is only available for macOS. CLion on the other hand is for Linux.

I have personally used IntelliJ IDEA (Java), Rider (C#, .NET, Unity engine), PhpStorm, and Android Studio on Linux. They are all based on the same platform, with different plugins installed. I suggest you try the free IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition, or/and the trial versions. Definitely worth the money if you are using them professionally. They also have free versions for students and open-source developers.
DigitalSin 28 Jul
Quoting: Linas
Quoting: DigitalSin
Quoting: LinasHave you looked at JetBrains products? AppCode is probably the closest thing.
Those look really interesting. But they are for macos :)
Whoopsie daisy, you are right. AppCode is only available for macOS. CLion on the other hand is for Linux.

I have personally used IntelliJ IDEA (Java), Rider (C#, .NET, Unity engine), PhpStorm, and Android Studio on Linux. They are all based on the same platform, with different plugins installed. I suggest you try the free IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition, or/and the trial versions. Definitely worth the money if you are using them professionally. They also have free versions for students and open-source developers.

Those look pretty neat, and I think CLion is cool but a tad too pricey for me.
I was looking mainly for C/C++ support and would probably purchase CLion, but most of my [opensource] projects aren't actually built to make money!
mirv 29 Jul
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Quoting: DigitalSin
Quoting: Linas
Quoting: DigitalSin
Quoting: LinasHave you looked at JetBrains products? AppCode is probably the closest thing.
Those look really interesting. But they are for macos :)
Whoopsie daisy, you are right. AppCode is only available for macOS. CLion on the other hand is for Linux.

I have personally used IntelliJ IDEA (Java), Rider (C#, .NET, Unity engine), PhpStorm, and Android Studio on Linux. They are all based on the same platform, with different plugins installed. I suggest you try the free IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition, or/and the trial versions. Definitely worth the money if you are using them professionally. They also have free versions for students and open-source developers.

Those look pretty neat, and I think CLion is cool but a tad too pricey for me.
I was looking mainly for C/C++ support and would probably purchase CLion, but most of my [opensource] projects aren't actually built to make money!

I know it's probably not your comfort zone, and so it might very well be unappealing, or simply not your preferred way of working, but with C/C++ I do recommend considering setting up a language server protocol (LSP) of some kind (I use rtags). Quite a few editors support the protocol, so you get all the benefits of code analysis, referencing, etc, for exactly the code base you're working on, with the build options you're using (although rtags for example relies on clang, not gcc). Assuming your build system and IDE are not tied together too (even then, a proper IDE would at least allow a makefile or something to be used).

I use this with emacs for example, but there's vim, qt-creator also supports it I believe, eclipse, atom, visual studio code, etc. It might open up other avenues for you to explore that way.
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: DigitalSin
Quoting: Linas
Quoting: DigitalSin
Quoting: LinasHave you looked at JetBrains products? AppCode is probably the closest thing.
Those look really interesting. But they are for macos :)
Whoopsie daisy, you are right. AppCode is only available for macOS. CLion on the other hand is for Linux.

I have personally used IntelliJ IDEA (Java), Rider (C#, .NET, Unity engine), PhpStorm, and Android Studio on Linux. They are all based on the same platform, with different plugins installed. I suggest you try the free IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition, or/and the trial versions. Definitely worth the money if you are using them professionally. They also have free versions for students and open-source developers.

Those look pretty neat, and I think CLion is cool but a tad too pricey for me.
I was looking mainly for C/C++ support and would probably purchase CLion, but most of my [opensource] projects aren't actually built to make money!

I know it's probably not your comfort zone, and so it might very well be unappealing, or simply not your preferred way of working, but with C/C++ I do recommend considering setting up a language server protocol (LSP) of some kind (I use rtags). Quite a few editors support the protocol, so you get all the benefits of code analysis, referencing, etc, for exactly the code base you're working on, with the build options you're using (although rtags for example relies on clang, not gcc). Assuming your build system and IDE are not tied together too (even then, a proper IDE would at least allow a makefile or something to be used).

I use this with emacs for example, but there's vim, qt-creator also supports it I believe, eclipse, atom, visual studio code, etc. It might open up other avenues for you to explore that way.

Some of that stuff KDevelop does, but that looks like it on steroids - so I may come to that. Thanks for the heads up.


Last edited by DigitalSin on 1 August 2020 at 3:43 am UTC
Quoting: CreakAs a developer, I understand the urge to own and control your own code but, to make a poor analogy, developing your own game editor to make your game is a bit like developing your own Photoshop to create your textures.

No no, that is an EXCELLENT analogy.

I say that as someone who once well victim to it myself.

These days for modern 3D games you need things like inverse kinematics for positioning hands on weapons, tools for generating navigation meshes from level layouts, lightmap bakers and global illumination solutions, soft body simulation for character hair or cloth to move in the wind, ability to stream in level content in separate threads, and of course if you were writing an engine from scratch today you would be using Vulkan..

.. the idea of making a game engine for a game in 2020 is madness unless all you're making is a simple 2D game. Even then I can't help but ask 'Why?'. What exactly do you think your 2D engine is going to do that some other game engine that has been worked on by more people for longer won't do?


Last edited by gradyvuckovic on 2 August 2020 at 12:27 am UTC
14 2 Aug
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Hope it goes well.
mirv 2 Aug
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Quoting: gradyvuckovic
Quoting: CreakAs a developer, I understand the urge to own and control your own code but, to make a poor analogy, developing your own game editor to make your game is a bit like developing your own Photoshop to create your textures.

No no, that is an EXCELLENT analogy.

I say that as someone who once well victim to it myself.

These days for modern 3D games you need things like inverse kinematics for positioning hands on weapons, tools for generating navigation meshes from level layouts, lightmap bakers and global illumination solutions, soft body simulation for character hair or cloth to move in the wind, ability to stream in level content in separate threads, and of course if you were writing an engine from scratch today you would be using Vulkan..

.. the idea of making a game engine for a game in 2020 is madness unless all you're making is a simple 2D game. Even then I can't help but ask 'Why?'. What exactly do you think your 2D engine is going to do that some other game engine that has been worked on by more people for longer won't do?

You've given a very narrow view of what constitutes a game, though I'm sure that wasn't your intent. If you want to make a game that looks and plays like, say, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, then no you probably wouldn't create an engine from scratch.

But let's take the example of Star Swarm (I'll let you look that up). Particularly at the time, and I daresay it's still true, other engines couldn't handle what it was doing. Not without lobbing stupidly massive computing power at the problem. And therein lies the crux: requiring obscene computing power reduces potential customers, and also makes development an utter pain. Tailoring your own code base to the desired game type has performance, sometimes stability, and development benefits in many (not all) situations.

It's a balancing act of course. If an existing game engine does all you need, use it. If not, can it be modified to do what you need, and what effort will that require. Is it complete overkill, will it limit potential customers and sales, or will it provide more.

No Man's Sky. Existing engines couldn't handle the procedural generation requirements, as in literally weren't written to handle the data precision needed. The developers had to write their own engine.

Generic game engines are great for many developers, but if you overlay the use cases in a sort of Gaussian distribution, there's still extreme ends where a pre-existing game engine simply isn't suitable. That's because not all games are the same (thank goodness), and not all developers have the same level of resources available to them.

And I've ignored something else that goes into making a game: the reasons for making it. Particularly for indie developers, there are programming language reasons (a game is a great way to hone one's skills), personal satisfaction, of just plain freedom to play around entirely unconstrained by someone else's whimsy. Graphics aren't everything, after all.
ObsidianBlk 5 days ago
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: gradyvuckovic
Quoting: CreakAs a developer, I understand the urge to own and control your own code but, to make a poor analogy, developing your own game editor to make your game is a bit like developing your own Photoshop to create your textures.

No no, that is an EXCELLENT analogy.

I say that as someone who once well victim to it myself.

These days for modern 3D games you need things like inverse kinematics for positioning hands on weapons, tools for generating navigation meshes from level layouts, lightmap bakers and global illumination solutions, soft body simulation for character hair or cloth to move in the wind, ability to stream in level content in separate threads, and of course if you were writing an engine from scratch today you would be using Vulkan..

.. the idea of making a game engine for a game in 2020 is madness unless all you're making is a simple 2D game. Even then I can't help but ask 'Why?'. What exactly do you think your 2D engine is going to do that some other game engine that has been worked on by more people for longer won't do?

You've given a very narrow view of what constitutes a game, though I'm sure that wasn't your intent. If you want to make a game that looks and plays like, say, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, then no you probably wouldn't create an engine from scratch.

But let's take the example of Star Swarm (I'll let you look that up). Particularly at the time, and I daresay it's still true, other engines couldn't handle what it was doing. Not without lobbing stupidly massive computing power at the problem. And therein lies the crux: requiring obscene computing power reduces potential customers, and also makes development an utter pain. Tailoring your own code base to the desired game type has performance, sometimes stability, and development benefits in many (not all) situations.

It's a balancing act of course. If an existing game engine does all you need, use it. If not, can it be modified to do what you need, and what effort will that require. Is it complete overkill, will it limit potential customers and sales, or will it provide more.

No Man's Sky. Existing engines couldn't handle the procedural generation requirements, as in literally weren't written to handle the data precision needed. The developers had to write their own engine.

Generic game engines are great for many developers, but if you overlay the use cases in a sort of Gaussian distribution, there's still extreme ends where a pre-existing game engine simply isn't suitable. That's because not all games are the same (thank goodness), and not all developers have the same level of resources available to them.

And I've ignored something else that goes into making a game: the reasons for making it. Particularly for indie developers, there are programming language reasons (a game is a great way to hone one's skills), personal satisfaction, of just plain freedom to play around entirely unconstrained by someone else's whimsy. Graphics aren't everything, after all.

If I may add just my two cents on top of this...

If there were not some people out there that took on the challenge of making new game engines, then we wouldn't have the likes of Godot, Unity, Unreal, Game Maker, Cryengine, etc, etc. Furthermore, if *everyone* falls into the belief that it's not worth making a game engine, how many future engines with even better features or design methodologies may we miss out on?

The great many game developers out there may be best suited to make their game in a pre-existing engine. For those that are excited about going the extra (thousand) mile(s) and building something literally from the first bit onwards, it's those dedicated souls that keep the industry growing, give the others options, and allows everyone to build something new!
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