Game Development Reference
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up in suitable logic - which could change the flavour without the need for
a complete re-write.
Holding all this in your head as you write can be pretty daunting, so it's
sometimes a good idea to develop the structure of the scenes before writing
the dialogue within it. Ask yourself plenty of questions as part of this process
(What if Edwards has spoken to Sally? What if Edwards has spoken to
Johnny?). Be sure to check with the design department that what you are
developing is correct. There is no point writing part of the scene which
assumes Edwards has spoken to Sally if the player does not get the oppor-
tunity to meet her until much later in the game.
The actual logic structure I have used here is only one possibility and will
vary from project to project and how interactive the dialogue scenes are
going to be. How the design and implementation teams will set out the logic
and put it into the game must be understood by the writer as it may affect
the way the dialogue scenes are written.
The scripts for dialogue scenes can become littered with many other
functions, which will depend on the sophistication that the engine can
deliver. These functions could be to play an animation (the character
scratches their head while speaking), to change a character's facial expression
(suddenly looks angry as a result of what the other character said), to move
the character to another position (walks over to the door), to change the
camera position, or numerous other possibilities. This can have the effect of
making the scripts much harder to read, but many scripting tools have the
ability to set up colour-coding. By having functions appear in one colour,
variables in another and dialogue in a third, say, the scripts become a lot more
readable again and you can learn to ignore what is irrelevant to you.
Often, the dialogue can be exported from a complex script and into a
separate file, where it can be edited much more easily and then imported
back into the toolset once more. This usually means that the dialogue is
exported into a spreadsheet, which is actually very useful when the dialogue
is localised into other languages.
If you do not already know how a spreadsheet works, it may be worth
your while gaining some degree of familiarity, though you do not need to
become an expert. When editing dialogue in a spreadsheet, it can be better
to create a new column for the changes, which makes them easier to spot by
anyone reading the spreadsheet. However, make sure that you check the
preferred method with the design team.
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