Game Development Reference
case and the game may give comedy moments with which the player has no
interaction while it is playing out.
Interactive comedy is that which only unfolds on input from the player.
It could be something simple which delivers a slapstick moment or a more
involved revealing during an interactive conversation.
An example of the simple slapstick could be the old 'Do not press this
button' sign next to a big button.When the player presses the button (as they
invariably will), the possibilities are enormous, but mostly used before - pie
in the face, trapdoor opens, one-ton weight falls, etc. Alternatively, the player
tries to interact with the button and the character says, 'I'd better not ...'. It
could also be set up so that if the player persists and tries a few times the
character gives in to temptation and presses it, delivering the slapstick
moment. How long you hold off would need to be balanced by the expected
humour of the delivery.
This side of interactive comedy is actually not centred on the element of
surprise in a straightforward manner. If the player knows that a certain
interactive action will result in something humorous, it must be delivered in
a way that builds on the anticipation of the moment. In the game, Beneath a
Steel Sky , there is a point where, to distract a guard, the player must drop a
dog into a pond. The puzzle is quite intricate and involves luring the dog
onto the end of a plank with some biscuits and then dropping a pile of bricks
on the other end. However, rather than simply flipping the dog into the
water, the see-saw effect catapulted him into the air like a rocket and he was
off screen for a few seconds before coming back down and landing in the
water with a huge splash. Not only had the puzzle delivered the humorous
expectation, it had exceeded it with the extreme nature of the animation,
created by an animator who bought into the whole joke. This shows the
value of the writer working with the other members of the development
team, particularly when the comedy relies on visual aspects.
Interactive comedy in dialogue scenes tends to work best when the
character with which the player interacts has their own agenda.Though the
player character may want to ask questions that are relevant to the game's plot
or gameplay, the other character may only be interested in talking about
themself and try to twist around the answers to the questions. So asking
about the name of a nightclub could trigger them to reminisce about when
they used to be a cabaret singer, say.
Clearly, such scenes have to be handled carefully or the agenda of the
other character to talk about themself could just prove to be a distraction that