Game Development Reference
to continue, or to confront the obstacle that the character represents.
If all that your significant enemy character says during this confrontation
is something along the lines of, 'Prepare to die, vile human!' then it is likely
to elicit inward groans from the player, particularly if the style of voice
recording is also a little cheesy. If there really is no opportunity to have a
significant, non-clichéd scene with the character, then it is better to have no
scene at all and simply get on with the action.
Character interactions will often provide the player character with infor-
mation or items they need. Story exposition, too, can be revealed through
such interactive scenes. When the amount of information or exposition is
large in such interactive scenes it is a fine balance between a dynamic inter-
change and running the risk of losing the player's interest. For instance, if the
story exposition is too long, then you will probably need to split it up between
a variety of characters or have the same character give the information over a
number of encounters. Perhaps the character being questioned has to do more
research to discover further information, or he could be wary of divulging
everything because he does not trust the player character. Winning his trust
could be part of the gameplay, as could finding items to trade for each piece
of information or exposition.Whether that fits with the main gameplay ideas
is another matter and would have to be discussed with the design team.
Too regularly I have seen games where the player character interacts with
another to get an item and the other character hands it over as if the two of
them are best buddies.Where is the dramatic tension? Where is the conflict?
Could this be why so many players hate dialogue scenes - because they can
seem to have no purpose and fail to keep the player's interest?
Tension and drama are created through something known as the expec-
tation gap.This is the difference between what a character expects and what
actually happens.What the player expects to happen and what actually does
is the expectation gap. For example, a character may expect to open a door,
but finds it locked; he then talks to the woman who has the pass key but she
refuses to let him in and calls her boss who throws the character out.
In a game, because of its interactive nature, the expectation gap goes
beyond that of the characters and extends to the player. Finding ways to
overcome the expectation gap is the gameplay.
In game scenes where there is no expectation gap there will be no drama
and so the scenes will come over as dull, particularly if all they exist for is to
provide exposition. Without the conflict within scenes, the dialogue will
never be made to shine.