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SCUMM

SCUMM stands for Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion. It was a tool developed at LucasArts (known at the time as LucasFilm Games) to ease development of a graphic adventure game, Maniac Mansion.

It is somewhere between a game engine and a programming language, allowing designers to create locations, items and dialogue sequences without coding in the actual language the game source code would end up in.

SCUMM was subsequently reused in many later LucasArts adventure games, and updated and rewritten several times. There were eight versions of the SCUMM engine, known simply as "version 1", "version 2", etc. The original version was written by Aric Wilmunder and Ron Gilbert. Most SCUMM games feature a verb / object design paradigm. The player-controlled character has an inventory, and the game world is littered with objects with which the player can interact, using a variety of verbs - a large collection of these featured in the early games, but by Escape From Monkey Island these had been whittled down to "Look at", "Use" (which was context sensitive and could produce various actions - Pick up, push, pull, etc.) and "Talk to".

Puzzles generally involve using the right verb action with the appropriate object - "use cookie cutter with another rubber tree", for example. "Talk to" produces dialogue sequences, in which the player selects from a list of pre-defined questions or comments, and the character they are talking to replies with a pre-defined response. The notable exception to this general paradigm is LOOM, which does not use the standard verb / object paradigm, but does feature dialogue sequences.

SCUMM version 1 was used in:

SCUMM version 2 was used in:

SCUMM version 3 was used in:

SCUMM version 4 was used in:

SCUMM version 5 was used in:

SCUMM version 6 was used in:

SCUMM version 7 was used in:

SCUMM version 8 was used in:

There is a open source project to make a free, portable, SDL library based, C++ coded SCUMM engine. This allows many of the SCUMM engine games to be played on systems where the original versions will not work or have trouble operating - many modern Windows systems, and Linux systems, for example. It is also functional on the PocketPC[?] platform. The project is known as ScummVM.

See also: GrimE, SCI[?], Z-machine.


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