Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Dialogue systems
What is a dialogue system? This is the part of the game engine which is
required to run the dialogue and the tools needed to implement the scripts
in a manner that the engine can use. It may not appear to be very compli-
cated to play some dialogue or display text on screen, but the reality is that
with increasing sophistication of games, dialogue scripts can be extremely
intricate. Of course, this will depend on the complexity of the game's
dialogue requirements - a simple voice-over here and there will not require
the complexity of a deeply-involved RPG - but showing how a script might
work in different circumstances will create a clearer picture of how you
might approach the writing.
Nearly all development studios create their own proprietary script systems
because they need something that matches the requirements of the gameplay
and even if they look similar on the outside, how they work and how the
scripts are prepared can be very different.This in turn means that, unlike film,
TV or radio, there is no standard format for script layout.Although games are
a visual medium, the script layout of TV and film screenplays are less
applicable and the format of radio scripts or even stage play scripts are closer
to a 'standard' because they are easier to incorporate into the game and at
recording time will offer fewer page turns as more dialogue lines can be
placed on each page.
So what might a game script look like? To show how this might look, I
will create a basic script and go through the process of how it might be
turned into a game script. For the sake of argument, let's assume we have a
scene where the player character (Edwards) is investigating a murder. He talks
to a potential witness (Wilks) and the scene could begin as follows.
Edwards:
I heard that you witnessed the shooting.
Wilks:
That so?
Edwards:
Just tell me what happened!
Wilks:
Get lost! I didn't see nothing!
For many games, this may be all that is needed from the scene.The dialogue
is not interactive and simply plays out when triggered by the player in some
way. So how does the above transfer into a game script? It can depend on
how writer-friendly the scripting system is and the following shows how this
might look in a system that strives to be as readable and user-friendly as
possible.
 
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