Below are some "facsimile screenshots," pictures which I have created myself to show off how the interface of Brian Moriarty's version of The Dig worked.

They are not actual screenshots, nor are they intended to represent the gameplay of this early version. However, I've tried not to contradict anything I know happened in that design for the game.

The interface worked very much like the one in Sam and Max Hit the Road. It used several verb icons located in the inventory that functioned as cursors when clicked on.

The major differences from that game's GUI include a Walk to white pointer as the default cursor, and the more "LucasArts-like" position of the inventory slots.

Presumably the Talk to action was done by double-clicking on characters with the regular Walk to white cursor, in a foreshadowing of the later "one-click-does-it-all" interface.


Low, Brink, Robbins, and Olema stand in the alien graveyard.

In this design the verb icons scrolled along with the inventory. When a player was carrying many items, he or she would have had to scroll back and forth between the icons and items repeatedly while solving puzzles. This is visible in an article from a 1993 French games magazine.


This facsimile shows the problem mentioned above: the Examine icon has scrolled off the GUI.

I made a complete guess on what the "scroll arrows" would look like, but I'm pretty sure the shovel and a square metal plate were inventory items.
What I don't know is whether they would've really been in Low's inventory at this point...


On the edge of the central canyon; the Use icon is selected.


The crew stands in a room with dangerous falling acid droplets. This is a recreation of a screenshot from Adventurer #7.
The only thing I couldn't replicate was the acid rain itself...just imagine it. ;)


The seashore. This time the Examine icon is in use.


Inside the underwater cave; Pick up is selected, as there appears to be a metal plate nearby.


The Nexus. Move is the cursor this time.


Here the Examine cursor is over the arming key, which was not lost during the journey to Cocytus in early versions.


This is the minimized interface, useful for screens on which objects or walkways dipped below the regular GUI. The Dig was intended, from Brian Moriarty's version onward, to use fullscreen graphics.

When Dave Grossman came on board on the game, the interface was improved slightly. Now the verb icons remained stationary while the inventory scrolled, allowing easier manipulation of objects. The result was a GUI that looked like this:


Here all the icons are on screen, but the PenUltimate has scrolled left off the visible inventory.

Although Sean Clark had the game converted from StoryDroid to SCUMM, a modified form of the original interface nevertheless remained for a time.
Presumably it too had the problem with scrolling verb icons.

Again, these facsimile images are not intended to represent actual gameplay in early versions, merely how the old GUI worked.


Low at the rock bridge in the map spire.


The beach which in the completed game houses the Eye part.


The upper end of the crashing-waves room in the planetarium spire.


The pathway just beyond the lip of the canyon. Since the tunnel into the Nexus had not been added by this point, I assume the original route out of the central basin was still in the game.


The bottom of the ramp leading up to the pathway from the last picture.


Unlike in earlier designs, Walk to showed up on the Sentence Line when no verb icon was selected. The cursor was also different.


The problem with verbs scrolling off the screen is back. If Sean Clark had put the earlier solution to the problem into the new SCUMM build of the game, the five-icon interface might have gotten fewer complaints from testers later, and thus survived into the final product.

Return to the page of pictures from Brian Moriarty's The Dig

Return to the pictures from early builds of Sean Clark's The Dig

Return to the information on the history of The Dig

For more neat The Dig stuff, be sure to visit the Dig Museum.

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