The Ron Gilbert wiki last edited by joshwent on 05/16/14 10:03PM View full history

Ron Gilbert the Early Years

Ron has stated that he became interested in games thanks to the Texas Instruments TI-59 Calculator that his father used to bring home from work. His father's calculator and the recently released 1977 film, "Star Wars," caused Ron to become very interested in telling stories via video games. In 1979, his parents bought a NorthStar Horizon home computer and he tried to replicate the games he had made on his father's calculator on his computer. As he got better, he started to look at advertisements in magazines for Atari 2600 games and tried to imagine how they played and start building them. Ron would then show the games to his friends and ask for feedback on how to make them better.

In college, Ron and his friend Tom McFarlane wrote the program called Graphics BASIC which they sold to HESware, Ron was offered a job programming games for the Commodore 64, but none of them were released. After HESware went out of business, Ron got a job at Lucasfilm Games porting Atari 8-bit games to the Commodore 64.

Professional Life

Ron began his career in college in 1983 by writing Graphics BASIC, with his friend Tom McFarlane. They sold it to HESware, who later hired Ron. However, the company went out of business shortly after hiring him and never released any games that he worked on. He later joined LucasArts (then, Lucasfilm Games) and worked on ports from the Atari 800 to the C64. In 1985, he got the chance to create a game of his own with graphic artist Gary Winnick, and created Maniac Mansion. To simplify the coding of that game, rather than making it with an existing programming language, Ron created the Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion, more commonly known as the SCUMM. It was used in all future LucasArts adventure games, excluding Grim Fandango and Escape From Monkey Island. This is where the name for the bar in The Secret of Money Island, The SCUMM Bar, came from.

In 1992, he left LucasArts to start Humongous Entertainment with ex-LucasArts producer Shelley Day. There, he created such games as Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam and the Backyard Sports series. Many of these games used an offshoot of SCUMM.

In 1995, Ron created Cavedog Entertainment, a sister company to Humongous created for non-kid games. He produced games like Total Annihilation and worked on Good & Evil, a game considered to be his "Pet Project." However, Good & Evil was cancelled when Cavedog Entertainment closed down in 1999. He claimed that Good & Evil project suffered because he was trying to create the game and run the company at the same time.

Ron worked at HotHead Games as Creative Director, working on DeathSpank until the game's completion in April 2010. He has since departed from the company.

On September 24, 2010, Ron announced that he has accepted a position to work with his old colleague Tim Schafer at Double Fine. Tim Schafer also announced that Gilbert would be working on one of their four "small" games.

Trivia

Ron was also the person who coined the term "cut-scene". There had already been non-interactive scenes in other games, but they usually happened before or after a level, or after winning the game or loosing a life. Maniac Mansion was one of the first to use those scenes cut in between the action in a movie-like way.

The term "cut-scene" itself is an actual command in the SCUMM language programmed by Ron.

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