Tobias Pfaff

Researcher. Game programmer. Stingray enthusiast.

Grim Fandango Remastered

A few months after I released my Mouse Mod for Grim Fandango, Doublefine announced an official remastered version of the game. I was responsible for mouse/touch integration, the UI overhaul, the rewrite of the pathplanning system, scene 3d reconstruction and handling general gameplay issues with the legacy lua code. The official homepage has links to all kinds of stores if you want to check it out, plus a bunch of nice Making-of videos. The game is available for PC/Mac/Linux, PS4/Vita, and iPhone/Android.

I obviously can’t show any code for this project, but here two random tidbits on my work on the project you may find interesting:

For the new fancy rendering in Grim, such as the re-lighting and high-res shadows, we needed correct 3D information for the scenes. As the original assets were lost, we only had the zbuffer images that were included in the game. Those often were incomplete or completely missing. However, using multiple views on the same scene plus debug renders, it’s possible to reconstruct most of the 3d geometry in the scene. The remaining holes are filled using as-planar-as possible L1 fits. The video above shows a reconstruction of the main zbuffer in the scene outside the DoD (color represents depth). You can see the incomplete zbuffer (black hole) gets completely filled. The changes popping in at the end are the final L1 fit.

Here’s a visualization of the pathplanning system (The scene is Manny’s office). The original Grim had built-in path-planning, but it was only used to cover short distances for cut-scenes. For long distances or in complicated parts of the map, it can either fail completely or produce crazy non-optimal paths. The new mouse/touch controls require path-planning to remain stable and smooth in all cases. The image above shows a comparison between the old (left) and the new (right) path-planning. While the old system does not fail in this case, the path is non-optimal with zig-zaggy movements. We can get nice smooth movements with the new system.