Monkey Island 2′s Unofficial 3D Treatment

By John Walker on September 21st, 2009 at 10:31 pm.

The potential!

This should put the new fuzzier friendlier LucasArts to the test. Following their remake of Monkey Island, a German modder is seeing how much farther the reinvention of the classic adventures can be taken. He’s recreating Monkey Island 2 in the Cryengine. And it looks very pretty indeed. In fact, it’s astonishing, capturing the original style faithfully, but rendered in 3D. Pics and videos underneath.

It’s hard to imagine this as anything other than beyond doomed. LucasArts have said that they haven’t ruled out remaking other old games if the first is a success, and Monkey 2 is an obvious contender to come next. But looking at the work from Hannes Appell’s LONECLONE, they might want to consider taking the more exciting step of hiring him.

Clearly I completely understand how Appell is rendering the original scenes in 3D, but if I wrote it out it would be too clever and complicated for people to understand. So instead, and definitely because I definitely do understand it all, I’m going to quote his own explanation:

“While the art style for MONKEY 1 is somewhat less defined due to the nature of the pixelated Deluxe Paint backgrounds, MONKEY 2 uses scanned hand-painted backgrounds. Simply redrawing the scanned artworks to work in higher resolutions would be a bit of a shame actually, but there is another way of bringing them into the high definition future. So, rather than loading up an original background or a scanned piece of concept art as a template and then repainting or drawing over the original, we’ll do something a little bit more sophisticated.

A camera mapping method is used to create higher image fidelity and detail from the original 2D concept art. The technique is normally used to produce 2,5D or 3D mattepaintings out of a 2D or photo source and to speed up the production process. But hey! There is no rule against using it to enhance a normal 2D background. The original art is projected onto simple 3d geometry that is built with the original viewpoint in mind. If done right, even basic 3d geometry can enhance lighting mood, shadows and surface details. On top of that camera mapping opens up possibilities for animation or a conversion into a faithful 3D level or 3D scene.”

Yeah, me too! He continues:

“After some model clean-up and baking of the projected image into a UV texture usable by a 3d game engine, the sets are ready for real-time use! They were taken into CRYENGINE2 to further explore them and add surrounding environments. Due to enhanced shader techniques, as well as enhanced real-time lightling effects like HDR, cloud shadows and multiple dynamic lights, rendering quality from CRYENGINE2 surpasses the normal Maya output quality easily. The only thing missing now is a proper 3d Guybrush!”

I, er, know what Maya is. Oh, hell, this video explains it brilliantly:

But still, my pathetic ignorance doesn’t change the fact that this is a really exciting project and one it would be great to see LucasArts supporting. See all the details here. And thanks to everyone who let us know about this. Here’s a video of it in action in Crysis, which is all kinds of great:

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96 Comments »

  1. Shih Tzu says:

    Why, why, why, in this day and age, does anyone make the bonehead move of announcing their trademark-infringing fan projects before they’re released? Did we learn nothing from Chrono Resurrection?

    I will be saddened when the lawyers swarm upon this and tear the flesh from its bones… But I will not be shocked. Too bad we’ll never see it, as it looks sexy.

    • Wooly says:

      /Neo

      But seriously, that looks beautiful! @_@

      That be really cool if Lucasarts got behind it, but the Cryengine 2 pwns my computer. =(

  2. dishwasherlove says:

    It isn’t a project. He is just showing what *could* be done.

  3. DMcCool says:

    Its..beautiful. Its like my dreams.

  4. nutterguy says:

    Wow, this does look really excellently done!
    <3 Cryengine + <3 Monkey Island, <3 Crykey Island!

  5. Nick says:

    Looks a damn sight better than their Guybrush in the remake!

    Much better hair! *runs from John Walker*

  6. nutterguy says:

    The links to http://www.loneclone.de/ are not working for me.
    Could be his site is getting hammered by lawyers or fans or both.

  7. Persus-9 says:

    You know what I love apart from how insanely technically impressive it is for a fan mod? The fact it apears to have a really good interface.

    I’m beginning to I think the horrible interfaces of Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition and Tales of Monkey Island may have scarred me for life.

    • nutterguy says:

      True that menu system does look good, a hell of a lot better than the special edition one anyway.
      I actually found myself switching back to the old version and it’s inventory/menus to get stuff done a lot of the time because it was easier than fighting the new menu system.
      This system looks very similar to the old one with every option and the inventory on screen all the time.

  8. Railick says:

    Post something on RPS is a sure way to destroy an ill-equipped website :P

  9. M.P. says:

    This is the most poetic marriage of old and new since Miles Davis’s performance of Pachelbel’s Canon.

    • M.P. says:

      His website’s down btw – is it due to hordes of rabid fans clogging it or did the Cease&Desist letter get the priority express courier treatment?

    • M.P. says:

      too slow :)

      @Nick: I’m pretty sure that’s Telltale’s Guybrush model photoshopped into his screenshots. Would be cool if he could render it in 3d as well!

      You know what’d be almost as cool though? If he released those as Crysis multiplayer maps! :)

  10. pilouuuu says:

    Amazing! It makes you wonder why there aren’t more Cryengine games…

    • nutterguy says:

      I think Cryengine got a very bad rep when Crysis was released for being a system hog, which on it’s highest settings it really was, but it is hugely scalable. Even if it doesn’t look pretty at all on low.
      Anyway the engine is first class, right up there with the Source engine and the Unreal 3 engine.

      Plus the map editor is amazingly easy to use basically… Not to say that this project would be anything approaching easy. No definitely not…

    • Crush says:

      Simple till very recently there was no console versions of the Cryengine and its tool-chain ergo no-one is going to make AAA games on a PC engine alone. Ubisoft did port the original cryengine (in Farcry) to the Xbox, Xbox 360 & Wii but that was there own work and abandoned the Cryengine for Farcry 2 building their own. Now that Crytek have ported their tools to the PS3/360 we might start to see some AAA games using it.

    • nutterguy says:

      no-one is going to make AAA games on a PC engine alone – Crush

      Wait… what?
      I believe you are mistaken!

  11. Feet says:

    That is: Great.

  12. Schmung says:

    This gent is a hero. That is all. I was going to write a monstro post about the cleverness of the way he did certain thing, but probably not the best place for it.

    I will suffice to say that retaining the look and making it work in cryengine is a truly splendid bit of work from him.

  13. Magnus says:

    I wonder how many games could be given the same treatment using this method?

    The mind boggles.

  14. Lambchops says:

    I can't remembeer Guybrush splattering frogs!

    Looks rather nice though.

  15. Rob says:

    Erm … wow. That’s really amazing …

  16. Matt says:

    I love it. More of this sort of thing.

  17. Garg says:

    Lucasarts need to hire this guy. HIRE HIM HARD.

  18. Kalain says:

    That is just so many different kinds of awesome on so many levels I cannot possibly describe here. Now, if only people would make games like this using the Cryengine instead of Unreal 3…

  19. faelnor says:

    No but I completely picture him doing that !

    • faelnor says:

      That was a reply to I can’t remembeer Guybrush splattering frogs!.

      The most incredible thing about that video is how pausing it anywhere and looking at the still looks wonderful enough to be a still from the original game.

  20. Dan says:

    Far from a C&D order, apparently LucasArts have actually approached this guy (although I’m not entirely sure how true that rumour is), but he turned the job offer down as he already works at Crytek.

  21. Mike says:

    Extremely clever. This is a really cool technique that’s being used more and more lately, but to see it applied here is just glorious.

  22. Ted says:

    Did RPS already manage to get LucasArts to shut this guy down? Since it’s a near certainty that LA is working on a MI2 rerelease, there was no way this going to fly anyway.

  23. vanarbulax says:

    Holy hell! That goes beyond impressive, that;s outright amazing.

  24. army of none says:

    My god. I would give my firstborne for that done to the entirety of Day of the Tentacle

  25. Lee says:

    To think this will never see the light of day makes me sad; it is beautiful to the point that my brain just oozed out of my eyes. Do the right thing LA and follow on from the techniques shown here. Don’t re-draw the art in the old game, it was perfect as it was.

    Using this technique to recreate the game in a pseudo-2D fashion, would be just perfect.

  26. Vinraith says:

    VERY impressive. It’s a shame I don’t have a copy of 2. :(

  27. Down Rodeo says:

    That man is a fucking genius and should be recognised internationally. Very very clever and realised beautifully. He has a nice rig to make Crysis look like that…

  28. Kakksakkamaddafakka says:

    Seriously, why didn’t LA hire this guy for the “remakes”?

    And, Nick, I’m totally with you on the hair *scampers off as well*

  29. Leeks! says:

    I would like to see a Crysis remake of monkey island that lets you solve puzzles as a guy wearing a high-tech nanosuit. It would be about two minutes long. But it would be a satisfying two minutes.

  30. HolyShitMatt says:

    Astounding, I think that’s a good adjective for this project.

  31. faelnor says:

    Anyone know who did the music ? Or maybe it’s the original midis put into a sequencer with a real soundbank ? Sounds great

  32. JKjoker says:

    this looks kind of awesome, i doubt lucasarts has ppl smart enough to follow his advice tho

    the loneclone link gives me a 404 btw

  33. Coldblade says:

    That’s fucking awesome. Too bad it will never see the light of day.

  34. MD says:

    Oh man, this is amazing. And instead of all the detached resignation, shouldn’t we all be firing up and pointing out that if Lucasarts actually do shut this down, they are a bunch of soulless cunts who do not deserve a single dollar from any of us, ever again?

    As someone else pointed out, it’s also pretty exciting to contemplate which other games could be given this or similar treatment.

    • noom says:

      Whether this is a full remake or not, let us not forget that Lucasarts already have a history of shutting down monkey island fan projects. There were 2 in varying degrees of completion that got shot down shortly before the release of MI3 or 4 iirc.

  35. drygear says:

    I hope Lucasarts does hire this guy. Any chance you can get a bunch of people in the industry together and use your influence to persuade Lucasarts to do it?
    Nah, it probably wouldn’t work.

  36. ulix says:

    As far as I know only Square Enix are total assholes when it comes to “protecting” their trademarks from evil non-profit modders. Nintendo, for example, have absolutely no problem with them, as proven time and time again.

    • Dominic White says:

      Unless I’m mistaken, I think it’s only the American wing of Square-Enix, too. They’re stuck in the 90s as far as their business practices and attitudes towards international releases (EU versions are STILL months later than the US version, despite there being no reason for this anymore)/

  37. tycho says:

    As JKJoker says, it’s a 404 already – wow, LA were quick even by George Lucas standards!

  38. Ozzie says:

    I doubt that it’s because of LucasArts. It’s more likely that there was a run on the servers.

  39. Zebrahorse9 says:

    @nutterguy: CryAion?

  40. PC Monster says:

    Nice to see none of us are completely buying in to Lucasarts’ inexplicable conversion back to the Geek Side and still expect the legal hammers to fall.

    Will be a massive shame, though, because that really is sublime to look at.

  41. Risingson says:

    Oh, great. Now, when the 3D version of Casablanca is coming to the cinemas?

  42. valentingalea says:

    This is utterly fantastic!

    Now I want Grim Fandango in CryEngine!

  43. Magrippinho says:

    What’s with the straightforward post title guys? I propose “Look, behind you! A 3D-headed monkey!”

  44. gidora says:

    If only Telltale had the wit and talent to pull something like this off. They should really be banned from touching these old franchises. Seems like they turn anything they touch into toothless, characterless, neutered bubblegum. THIS is how Monkey Island should look!

    • Crush says:

      I think thats pretty unfair, the cost of doing what this guy has done of which it is only a small fragment of the game does not come cheap especially in a Cryengine license for a commercial game that is also episodic the costs could prohibit any game being made.

      Also quit your complaining & looking through rose tinted glasses the people who made the original Monkey Island are making the new ones and yes they dont look super spiffy but they are making games for everyone to enjoy not just a tiny niche of high end PC owners.

      See critic of Monkey Island by Ron Gilbert
      http://grumpygamer.com/8280380

    • jalf says:

      If only Telltale had the wit and talent to recreate an existing game instead of making new ones? What are you smoking? You do know that it is LucasArts, not Telltale, that made the Monkey Island remake, right?

      What exactly does “wit and talent” have to do with this? This guy is giving an existing game a graphical makeove. He is not touching the gameplay. He is not making a new game.

      As for Telltale’s characters being “toothless”, which characters in this project were better? Among all the many characters this guy has invented for this project.

      Nothing like a healthy dose of fanboy rage at nothing.

  45. Soy Oso says:

    I just want another grim fandango game.
    Full stop.

    The worlds needs more noir, jazz filled gems of funny.

    • NukeLord says:

      As utterly brilliant as Grim Fandango is, It’s perfect as it is, on it’s own. Another Grim Fandango game could never come close to being as loved as the original, as an example see Deus Ex.

    • jalf says:

      I’d love to see a remake of GF. The story was great, but the controls were *not*. Vista compatibility is not. The graphics could do with a makeover as well.

      You’re right though, I wouldn’t want to see a sequel. But an improved version of the original game would be fine with me, just to bring it up to date, and fix the technical shortcomings of the original.

      If done carefully, a second game set in the same world, but at a different time, with different characters and no actual ties to the first game, *might* also work. But it could also be really really bad. :D

    • Tang says:

      I agree, as amazing as Grim Fandango was (and it still rates as my favourite adventure game ever), I would rather see a new game as good as it than see a sequel. It doesn’t need a sequel…

  46. gidora says:

    Crush – maybe a bit harsh, but the characters in TT’s games feel toothless and inoffensive to me. Maybe technical shortcomings are forgivable, but their games lack soul. I’m sure they are big fans, everyone’s a fan of those games. But “anyone” isn’t equipped for making one.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I largely agree with what you say.

      In fact I have been enjoying the new TellTale games as far as they go. But they deffinitely lack soul. And for my money the art direction, while technically competent, also lacks atmosphere.

      THIS project on the other hand, oozes atmosphere visually. And I also thought the Special Edition MI from LucasArts had a nice art direction that complemented the MI theme from what I’ve seen, but i have not played it myself yet, so my view has been limited.

      For my money, I would happily have paid for a remake of MI using this technique rather than the new Tales. But you gets what you get and if wishes were kisses I’d be a lucky man. etc etc.

      So yeh, I agree with you gidora. but that’s just the hand that’s been dealt. There are, however, quite a few really good point and clicks out just recently. I recommend Cevile (sp?) for example. Still, not enough rubber chickens for my tastes.

  47. Farfarer says:

    I think that CryEngine vid is even more resounding proof that games don’t need to be uber-gritty-realistic to look absolutely beautiful.

  48. jackflash says:

    wow, that was amazing. Funny how the guy played it with a gamepad, though.

  49. Petrushka says:

    Not MI4 actually, it’s MI3 mostly. Except for the bit at the end, which is ultimately from MI1, but I think even that rendition is taken from the moment in MI3 where Guybrush pokes his head through a hole to find himself back in the forest of MI1.

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