Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
game, both of which are outside the writer's control. Setting a simple true/false
variable once the section has been run for the first time will prevent it from
running again. Sometimes well-written comedy can give a game replay value,
particularly if it can only ever be triggered once in each play through. Players
have been known to replay games just so they can hear the dialogue again.
Logic structure can also be used to advantage even when the game is re-
started, if you have the opportunity to do so. A series of conditionals could
be set that each has a humorous exchange within it or a snappy one-line reply
contained within each one. If the condition to be met is based on a variable
that is set to a random number, each time the game is played from the begin-
ning or from an earlier saved game the exchange is chosen randomly.This, of
course, is more work for the writer, but when players and reviewers pick up
on the extra detail you have employed - providing it works well - the response
is very gratifying. It should also be noted that you should not need to do this
for every comedy exchange throughout the game, but concentrate on the
feature where it will have the most impact, particularly near the beginning
or around areas where the player is likely to have to replay sections.
Surprise and risk
Because much comedy works best through surprise (a sudden, unexpected pie
in the face or conversational lines that take an unforeseen turn) a writer
sometimes needs to take risks to deliver the surprise necessary. After all, the
world would be a poorer place if the Monty Python team had not taken risks
with each sketch and film they produced. By its very nature, risk has its
dangers and you must be prepared to be both loved and hated for taking risks.
Unfortunately, getting your risky comedy into the final game can be
problematical if there are others who do not buy into what you are trying to
do. Even people who love your scenes and laugh out loud may not be so
happy about being a part of the risk. Not only will you have to convince the
design team, but probably the game's director and producer, as well as the
publisher's representatives.You therefore need to be clear about your inten-
tions and convinced that it will deliver a laugh that is in proportion to the size
of the risk taken.You need to have complete belief in your idea so that you
can persuade others that it will work and to make it work in the game itself.
Interactive comedy
Games are an interactive medium, so it is easy to think that a humorous game
must naturally have interactive comedy. However, this is not necessarily the
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