Monkey Island 2’s Unofficial 3D Treatment

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:


  1. Christian says:

    Great project, I hope this won’t be forgotten or abandoned and they use their lawyers to set up a work contract instead of suing him.

    Also, somebody should redo Ultima 6 with the CryEngine (I’d also settle with 7). The atmosphere would be great if it was done like in the video above. Can the CryEngine do acceptable third-person-views?

    Plus: I also second the Grim Fandango thought above.

  2. armlesscorps says:

    This looks amazing. It all looks 2d from a distance until the character gets close and you realise its 3d. This is one of the best things I have ever seen a game engine do.

  3. tmp says:

    It’s very pretty but (the CryEngine verion) seems to highlight for me how it’d add next to nothing worthwile to an adventure game — you can swim around and you have to spend more time manually moving between locations of interest. Whee?

    At the same time the seamless 3d navigation also removes or limits some of the puzzles, the ones which would stitch together screens and require to pick directions between them based on some custom source (“The head bone is connected to the hip bone”)

    • Dominic White says:

      You don’t seem to understand what a game engine is. Just because it’s the Cryengine, doesn’t mean it has to be first-person or realtime or anything. Hell, the Unreal 3 engine was used not long ago for The Last Remnant, a turn-based japanese RPG.

      It’s just proof that you can render scenes that look almost hand-drawn in realtime in the engine, which is a very good thing. It means that you’re not limited to a static camera anymore.

  4. Javaguy says:

    Hire him, Lucasarts. Please.

  5. LionsPhil says:

    Oh, wow. The premise is actually pretty simple, but the second video shows the amount of effort this guy’s put in. Nicely done.

  6. Tei says:

    Great work. Shows giganteous ammounts of love for a single game. It have all my sympathy.

  7. We Fly Spitfires says:

    Amazing stuff. I hope Lucasarts give me a job. They’ll probably sue him though :)

  8. tmp says:

    You don’t seem to understand what a game engine is. Just because it’s the Cryengine, doesn’t mean it has to be first-person or realtime or anything.

    No, you don’t seem to understand my comment. I was talking of this specific implementation, as presented in the video. You can do more than one thing with the engine great, but in this context largely irrelevant.

    It’s just proof that you can render scenes that look almost hand-drawn in realtime in the engine, which is a very good thing.

    And in other news, Queen Victoria is dead…

    Games been “proving” this for quite a few years now (blatantly hand-painted textures were utilized to different degree in TF2, Final Fantasy 12, GTA 4 and the most recent Prince of Persia just to name a few big titles) Planar projection for texturing is an even older trick. Seriously, it does look lovely and even more so because fond memories of Monkey Island colour my impressions, but none of this is some sort of a –pardon a bad pun– Big Whoop.

  9. nutterguy says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    none of this is some sort of a Big Whoop.

    Really, I think that if this game came out tomorrow and it was as perfect as it looked in those videos then it would sell like some very hot cakes!
    Of course it won't and that makes me sad.
    Still he did release the map so we can all pretend! Yea!

  10. SanguineAngel says:

    I think what makes this a Big Whoop for me is that it is using modern graphical technomajiggery (IE Using a modern graphics engine) but RETAINING the feel, style and atmosphere, art-wise, of the original game. When you look at the new Tales of MI, that IS something worth commenting on.

  11. A-Scale says:

    I’ve sought to have a game built on the Crysis engine that will let me LIVE in and explore the world since I first touched the game. I spent as much time punching boats into the ocean to take a voyage into shark infested waters as I did shooting koreans in the face.

  12. lio says:

    incredible! beautiful… but unfortunately very probably doomed :(

  13. Steven says:

    Wow that is just impressive. Growing up with video games as part of my childhood Monkey Island is definitely a huge part of it. I know there is a solid rumor Monkey Island 2 Special Edition is coming out but this cryengine looks spectacular. I’d like to shake the hand of the guy who created this. Excellent work, you make the Monkey Island fan base proud.

  14. Jani Azim says:

    Can be blogengine better than hubpages in some manner? Should be as it’s increasingly popluar as of late.