actorartathleteauthorbizcrimecrosspostcustomerservicedirectoredufoodgaminghealthjournalistmedicalmilmodpostmunimusicnewsworthynonprofitotherphilpolretailscispecialisedspecializedtechtourismtravelunique

I am a Tim Schafer, AMA!

May 9th 2013 by TimOfLegend • 39 Questions • 2065 Points

Specifically I am the Tim Schafer who runs Double Fine Productions, who has recently bundled a bunch of games over at humblebundle.com!!

Have any questions about Stacking, Costume Quest, Brütal Legend, or Broken Age? Or pancakes? Bring 'em on!

Q:

How is the juice diet going?

A:

Well, losing the first 42 pounds was great, and I'm still juicing, but I've hit a bit of a barrier. I had a gall bladder scare a while back. One night I had pain in my gallbladder, and rapid weight loss can lead to gallstones. So I started re-introducing one meal a day back into my diet. Since then I have lost 0 lbs. I haven't gained any, but I'm flat lined. And now I'm about to travel to new york (kill screen conference) and Sweden (Nordic Games conference) and it's going to be hard to stay on the juice during that trip. So when I get back I'm going to go back to hardcore, 100% juice. A gallbladder is a small price to pay! :)


Q:

Do you want a Brutal Legend 2 with Iron Maiden to happen before you die?

A:

Yes.


Q:

What about Psychonauts why aren't you soliciting questions about Psychonauts

A:

You can! Why do people think I'm not answering questions about Psychonauts?


Q:

Who is your favorite camper from Whispering Rock?

A:

Tie: Clem & Crystal


Q:

Unlimited budget, no worries about making profits, ridiculous amount of technology and talent available: What kind of game would you make? Would you even make a game?

A:

The truth is I always act as if I didn't have to worry about profits, had all the money in the world, and no technical limits. Maybe that's why my games are considered "niche," why they go over budget, and why my programmers have to work so hard. So basically, I'd be doing exactly what I'm doing right now! :)


Q:

Oh, please answer this one.

Also, would you prefer independent game development over major studio work? Is the type of work you do on such a game (Psychonauts versus BF3 for instance) more desirable?

A:

I'd rather be independent and I'm not comfortable when I have to explain my actions to a higher authority. I don't like having a boss, and when you take somebody's money, they're your boss. The exception to this is kickstarter--I took the backers money, so they're my boss, and I like it! :)


Q:

How was it working with Jack Black?

A:

The best. Super nice guy. Really funny. Really serious gamer, too.


Q:

Screw that, what was it like working with this guy?

COOKIE!

A:

The Sesame Workshop people were amazing. David Rudman (Cookie) and Kevin Clash (Elmo) were super nice, creative, hilarious people. They love what they're doing and they all jump in to help make each shot work. Touring Henson Studios was a dream come true.


Q:

Hi, Tim. I am a videogame translator and I am curious about how you get to translate your games into other languages. Do you hire a company or do you hire freelancers?

Thanks!

A:

We often go through a company like Babel Media, but we are also curious about some of the croud-sourced methods that Valve has used. Might try that in the future.


Q:

DO WHAT VALVE DID! PLEASE!!!!!!!

I'm German and I mostly don't even bother because translations are just awful. Terribly awful. Blizzard is probably the worst with WoW (It's been years since they've translated most of the names and I still can't get over it). But Valve is great. Portal 1 and 2 were marvellous. I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the English version.

A:

The old Lucas games had great German translations though, right? Boris is the man!


Q:

Long time fan, thanks for all the great games. One question I did have, have you ever thrown around the idea of a Grim Fandango reboot or even a Grim Fandango HD release? I'm fairly certain this would get funded pretty quickly with a kickstarter. Keep up the good work Tim!

A:

Think about it a lot, but I don't own the rights to that game. Disney does. Hopefully that will be possible someday.


Q:

How do you feel about Kickstarter as a tool for developing games at this stage in your development, particularly since creating this new humble bundle to secure more funds?

edited a bit for clarity

A:

You mean kickstarting twice for one project? I have seen it done, but I feel like that takes a way some of the victory of the first kickstarter, so I'm trying to avoid it.

We're not doing the humble bundle to secure funds for any specific project. We're just always trying to find new ways to make money off our games so we can stay independent.


Q:

Hey Tim, pretty much a life long fan of your games, growing up with Monkey Island and Grim Fandango. How big a role will humour play in Broken Age? It seems a lot more serious that your previous adventures. Also, do you eat your pancakes with ice cream?

A:

I think it's more like Grim Fandango or Full Throttle, where the story set up is very serious sounding, but the moment to moment interactions are all comedy-inspired.


Q:

How are you doing post-juice fast? Are you keeping the weight off? I always thought they were silly, but I ended up buying a juicer when you went on your fast. I lasted a month, and lost 20 minutes. I've kept it off and have been more active and eating better.

A:

You lost 20 minutes??? :) I answered another question here about that, but yeah, I'm keeping it off so far. More to lose though.


Q:

Out of all the previous games you've worked on, which ones we you love to make a sequel to? (Besides Psychonauts like you said in the Broken Age backer videos a few times)

A:

Yeah, Psychonauts. Maybe Costume Quest because I'm reminded of that game every year! Lots of untold stuff in the Brütal Legend world as well.


Q:

Hi Tim! I don't really have a question, but you were on my plane on the way back from PAX Prime last year. I was wearing the double fine PAX shirt and you said "nice shirt". I know you probably don't remember that but it was one few times I have ever been starstruck in my life. Thank you and good luck!

A:

Thanks for backing!


Q:

Why did you make brutal legend? I just want to get an idea for what went through your head when you birthed the idea of a rock and roll themed RTS game.

A:

I always wanted to make an RTS since Warcraft and Herzog Zwei. And I wanted to do it with hot rods and demons, like the custom car art I grew up with. Then I also had a story idea about a roadie for a heavy metal band who goes back in time like Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court, or the end of Evil Dead II. Then I realized the two things would go great together. And tada! It turned into our bet selling game do date.


Q:

Would you like a Day of the Tentacle HD or a sequel?

A:

yes. If i could work on it.


Q:

Please make my Halloween dreams come true and tell me a Costume Quest 2 will eventually exist. Please?

A:

That is my dream as well. I think we'll make it happen some day!


Q:

I LOVE PANCAKES. And I also love you, Tim, and all your awesome games! But my question is, as a game developer, what would you say has been your biggest regret thus far, and your biggest triumph?

A:

I wish we had made meat circus easier. Biggest triumph so far is surviving 13 years!


Q:

What made you decide to include such unique gameplay in Brütal Legend?

A:

It started out as an RTS, inspired by Herzog Zwei. It just got more action-based as we worked on it. By the end it was thought of as an action game with "surprise" rts elements in it, which is pretty funny.


Q:

What do we need to do to convince you to regrow the beard? Charitable donations? Animal Sacrifice?

A:

Men need to embrace dynamic facial hair. Change is good. Sometimes there will be a beard, some times not. Some times a half beard, soul patch, or chinstrap. Neckbeard, Lemmy handlebar, whatever. But please feel free to make charitable donations nonetheless!


Q:

In regard to your dynamic hair, which razor(s) do you use as your Tim Schaver?

A:

Not sure if it's this exactly, but it's like this: http://www.amazon.com/Philips-Norelco-QT4070-Stubble-Mustache/dp/B003U8ESI4/


Q:

i try to explain this to people when ever i cut my beard off to do something new. when you see yourself every day, a little change goes a long way

A:

Keep them guessing. They'll complain, but secretly they like it.


Q:

You you're accepting sacrificial goats then?

A:

Depends. Can you make bacon from goat meat?


Q:

Any chance Double Fine will be undertaking another Brutal Legend/Psychonauts scale game in the future? Or are you pretty committed to the smaller indie style game?

A:

For the moment, we need to make games at the scale where we can afford to make them ourselves, so we can stay independent. But maybe we'll be able to fund a huge one later. Who knows?


Q:

What made you decide to do Mac/Linux versions of your older games?

A:

We eventually want to have all the games on everything! And people asked for mac & linux. Also, linux is showing up in more and more places.


Q:

Woo!! So are you and Scott C. still good buds? Do you make recommendations for his "Great Showdowns" paintings?

A:

We are still best bros. But he has so many ideas for great showdowns, he doesn't need any from me.


Q:

Are waffles fancier or less fancy than pancakes? Like which one would wear a monocle?

A:

Waffles are definitely more STRUCTURED than pancakes, and look better in pictures, imho. They are the tuxedo of baked flour and milk.


Q:

First of all, thank you from making some of the most lovable characters in gaming, and some of my favorite games. What do you think is the most exciting thing about Broken Age?

A:

Thanks! I'm excited to find out if adventure games can reach new people. I've always thought that many people who currently call themselves non-gamers would actually enjoy adventure games if they tried them.


Q:

Are you planning on making a bid to wrestle Grim Fandango away from Disney so it can be re-released similar to Monkey Island?

A:

OUR backers


Q:

Thanks for Psychonauts - incredibly amazing, and thanks for all the great memories of Monkey Island (Haven't played your other games yet)

Do you think you'll ever make a game for Android? I'm seeing that in the last 6 months I've played the most on by Galaxy S3 and less on the PC.

How do you think the boom in Mobile gaming bodes for Adventure gaming/ gaming in general?

A:

We are going to be bringing Broken Age to Ouya, so Android is rapidly approaching in our future.

I think the boom in mobile for gaming, specifically tablets, is very exciting for adventure games. They're great on the iPad!


Q:

What are you wearing right now?

A:

Levi's 501s, Iron Brigade t-shirt.


Q:

Hi Tim! How's your day going?

A:

So far so good. It's pretty sunny here in SF, and I did not hit anything with my car on the way to work.


Q:

Are you still driving the Challenger to work? I stalk you on twitter and see pictures of it from time to time.

A:

I drove my wife's prius, because my Baracuda is in the shop. But I'm picking it up today at lunch!


Q:

When are you going to launch the next Kickstarter project?

A:

When would you like us to launch it?


Q:

Favorite kind of pancakes?

A:

I prefer the flatter Scandinavian variety, rather than the fluffy, cakey kind that sop up syrup. So a nice Swedish or Norwegian pancake with lingonberries, for example. Or else a Finnish oven pancake.


Q:

Tell me how to continue relevant in the game biz after so many years and so many financial flops [I'm not questioning the quality of your adventure games, which are awesome, but Grim Fandango and Full Throttle unfortunately didn't sell very well]

A:

Full Throttle was actually a big hit. Gave me the money I eventually used to found Double Fine.

Every game we've made at Double Fine has made a profit. We just haven't had a blockbuster yet. Luckily our business plan isn't dependent on blockbusters. You can make a lot of money off a game that sells less than that if you keep your costs down and plan ahead.


Q:

What's your definition of Blockbuster, 'cause I'm staring at Psychonauts, Grim and Monkey Island to name a few.

A:

In the old days, it was selling a million copies. These days, it's like six million or more.