Game Development Reference
for jokes or comedy lines that should instantly be a part of the game. To
prevent the development falling into chaos, such team contributions should
be carefully controlled through brainstorming sessions.
The design team and the writer should be the ones who decide which
suggestions are included and should be wary of any that are inappropriate.
These can range from company in-jokes - which will clearly never work for
the players - to silly suggestions that in the context of development are
hilarious, but in the context of play probably will not make sense.
Some suggestions can be brilliant, of course, so keep an open mind in case
one of the artists or programmers comes up with a real gem that gives a lot
of mileage. However, these contributions should be handled with caution -
even a brilliant suggestion may have to be excluded if the style of the
humour does not fit the situation or the characters.You should always look
at the possibility of taking good ideas and adapting them to the required
style. Brainstorming can often be more valuable for the tangential ideas that
are thrown up than for the initial ones.
One of the biggest potential problems in developing game comedy is
repetition. Most humour is based on delivering the unexpected, which does
not always sit so well with games in which sections of play could be repeated
before the player succeeds in overcoming the obstacle in question.
Any repeated dialogue can be very wearing on the player and generic lines
must always be handled very carefully. When those generic lines are an
attempt at humour they can suddenly become the biggest reason to hate the
game. The line could be hilarious the first time the player hears it, but if it
keeps cropping up throughout the game it can drive the player to the point
of complete distraction. Not only can the player become extremely annoyed
by the joke's repetition, the character will appear to be stupid and lacking in
depth because they only have a handful of no-longer-funny lines. The
character turns into the class outcast - the poor guy at school who constantly
repeats a joke because it got him a laugh the first time.
Although this humour repetition can be easily prevented by ensuring that
there are no jokes in any of the generic lines, other kinds of repetition should
also be avoided. This is where the logic structure outlined in the previous
chapter can really help. By wrapping any humorous exchanges in conditional
checks you ensure that the player does not trigger the same section of dialogue
more than once without starting the game again or restoring an earlier save