Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Dialogue and logic
Dialogue is the most direct connection players have with the craft of the
writer and it regularly comes under the most scrutiny. The style and quality
of the dialogue will have a strong bearing on the overall impression the game
has on the player, particularly how it sits with the characters, the settings and
the style of play.
Just as everyone has an opinion on art, it seems they also have strong views
on dialogue and feel they know when something is badly written or poorly
acted. Even dialogue that is generally regarded as being of a high quality will
have its detractors; such is the diversity of tastes and opinions. Gaming can
often bring out the most extreme views from players and dialogue is a regular
target for them.
The dialogue in adventures - a genre well known for the large amounts
they contain - can still elicit very mixed views from the players.When Broken
Sword was released in 1996 many people loved the huge amount of rich
dialogue, yet there were many others who felt that there was simply too
much and that at times it got in the way of playing the game. When the
sequel was released in 1997, the amount of dialogue was drastically smaller,
which won over a number of people, yet others felt the depth of the original
was lacking.
Clearly, finding the right balance for the amount of dialogue is as impor-
tant as the quality, but that balance will be one which will differ from genre
to genre and even from game to game.
The play pauses
Each time characters speak means the player stops playing the game, however
momentarily. Therefore, creating scenes which are direct and to the point
minimise this non-interactive time, particularly if the scene is part of a high
action game.
When games first moved onto storage formats with much larger capacity
(CD-Rom, for instance), many games used pre-rendered full-motion video
(FMV) sequences to portray scenes in which important characters spoke to
one another and vital story information was revealed to the players, who
were initially excited by these sequences. Often a game was judged in part
 
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