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SCUMM co-creator digs up game design treasure trove

SCUMM co-creator digs up game design treasure trove

March 23, 2016 | By Chris Kerr

After spending his career at Atari, LucasArts, 3DO, and Microsoft, veteran programmer Aric Wilmunder has amassed a treasure trove of design documents, and now he's going to share them with the world. 

Although he might not be a household name, Wilmunder has worked on some of the industry's most adored, critically-acclaimed releases, including Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Maniac Mansion, The Dig, and Indy Iron Phoenix.

Most of those titles have been out for decades, but Wilmunder is giving us a chance to turn back the clock and dig into the design techniques of yesteryear by uploading a whole catalog of tantalizingly detailed design documents.

"Years ago I visited the LucasArts facility in the San Francisco Presidio and brought along two grocery bags of design documents," wrote Wilmunder, on his personal website.

"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."

Scanning and uploading the documents will be a gradual process, but there's already a healthy pile available for viewing right here

What's more, in the interest of preservation, Wilmunder is also planning on using GitHub to archive the SCUMM source code. 

SCUMM, or "Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion", is the video game engine behind some of some of the most memorable games ever made, such as Full Throttle, Day of the Tentacle and Sam & Max Hit the Road.

Wilmunder coded the original version of SCUMM alongside Chip Morningstar and Ron Gilbert in 1987. You can hear his account of how the legendary engine was born right here on Gamasutra

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