DEVLOG#33 – Quests in Delivering Dialogues

Ahoy Ascenderian Matey! Garnet be here!

It’s been a while since I wrote my article last time. After the prologue story of Ascender, this time I want to share about my challenging quest in creating some in-game dialogues.

1st challenge : wondering

This my very first challenge when I had some discussions with the game conceptor and the game designer. We discuss a lot of things verbally and it flew like a water in a river when its happening on my imagination. But when I start to open my computer and face the document file for dialogues,  most of the times I  stuck wondering what the NPC should say as we discussed before. I’m an action game and RPG lover, then it’s causing first thing in my imagination is about voice over. Here is the real deal! Ascender doesn’t have any voice over in-game, it’s all about text based dialog that some words or messages are easier to deliver them verbally / directly with voices. When a player are having a game experience, he or she doesn’t know about my imagination is all about. So, I have some limitation in expressing voices on my head into some texts (I have to remind myself to think about Pokemon Mode or some 2D Isometric online gaming mode).

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Pokemon’s Dialogue Example
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RPG Dialogue Example

2nd challenge : characters, the way they think, the way they feel

Okay, I have been criticized in this matter so often  by teammates. It has the connection with the 1st challenge where I have to feel the same way or at least think the same way as the character that I’ve made (not all the characters that I made, anyway). Some of the characters inspired by real persons around me, but others are just made by the creativity or real person that I’ve never been interact with. In example, Professor Toro Hudo is the main character, I met some professors before and know exactly their style when we had a conversation, but I never knew they had limbless child or not. Is Prof. Toro say the words like a wise man? yes? But does he feel stressed about working on Ocean’s limbs? Is he never gone in a lunatic mode? And so on….. So, first time I make Professor Toro didn’t have any stand out character, all of his dialogues just flat as new cutting board :

“I think it is the sound of boiling pot downstairs. Sky, please turn off the pot.”

I’ve been scolded by my friends. I think again “Toro is a professor that so detail and dedicated in his work, so sometimes he forget what he did before and become panic after realizing it”. To deliver this idea, the dialogue became :

*Sizzling sound effect*

“Oh! I forgot to turn off the stove downstairs. Sky, please help me to turn it off!!”

There it goes all the way around….

3rd challenge : clue

Hah! My game designer is my enemy in this case!! Hahahahaha. Nah, I don’t really mind it. But this is also tough challenge. Why? Because sometimes it is really weird when I want to express the character but also have to deliver clues about a task or background story(easier because I’m the one who made it) or location. For the example, my game designer created one NPC to give a clue about who Sky has to find, NPC name is Stressed Villager :

“Someone call Marcel in Mustang, please! My life is ruined if this elevator can’t work!”

See? It’s weird if just looks like that, I break it down into 2 dialogue section :

“Darn it! No..no…no…! Why’s the elevator out of order?! I’m going to be late! I’ll lose my job!”

“Someone call Marcel, The Head Techinician, in Mustang, please! My life is ruined if this elevator can’t work!”

There’s 2 added points that I want to be clear about in revised version. First, the stressed character have to stand out. Second, the reason of finding Marcel, because he is the  head technician!

Simplified words for this challenge : Motivation and reasoning of clues.

4th challenge : length

This is the stuffs that I learned about. I just copy and paste the first point of that article and you may know what’s the deal with this matters and the relation with previous challenges.

1. Concision -“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”

Has Hofman was onto something when he said that.  Concision is probably the absolute most important quality any writer, of any medium, can develop.  Verbosity kills, especially in this day and age where writing needs to be clear, concise, and interesting.  Dickens would not have survived long as a writer in the games industry, but Hemingway might have.

Think of a simple example, say, of an NPC asking you to kill some wolves for them.  It seems like some variation of this quest has appeared in every game in history, so let’s start off with a base example of terribleness:

“Hail, noble traveler.  Please, permit me to beseech your aid.  I am Jammers, a peasant in service to Count Argyle.  A pack of wolves have taken to my flock of prized sheep.  I intended to give one to the Count as a tribute for this year’s harvest festival.  If you kill 10 of them, I will reward you with 50 gold pieces.”

So much pointless information.  There are 62 words in the exchange above, you can get that down to half, or even a third.

“Traveler, help me!  Giant wolves have taken to my flock.  Kill 10 and I will give you 50 gold pieces.”

Much better.  In 20 words you’ve delivered every bit of relevant information the player needs to know what to do.  They need to kill some wolves to get the gold.  It’s not the most exciting sentence ever, but it gets the job done.  The essence of concision is understanding what you yourself are trying to say and helping you put it to paper.  Once you’ve sheared away all the fluff and gotten to the heart of what needs to be said, everything else is pie.

5th challenge : fonts, grammatical and punctuation

Well, I’m not so excel in my English and often make mistakes in this matter. Not without consideration as I’m taking the act as the writer with my “not so excel in English”. I’m just careless in delivering the right English. Yeah, this challenge is actually I’m dealing with myself. Luckily, one of the art team has a good capability to do the proof read! She’ve been a great help for me! Woohoo!

Moreover, I also use these three things to show some characters in NPC. For example, the illiterate butcher, Vincent Ursa :

“Bucket… Empty… Upstairs… Need….. Water…..”

or the angry meat trader, Zlatko Boban :

“If you’re in business with Vherand again, ASK HIM WHERE ARE MY SHARPENED METALS?!?!?!”

I hope you see the difference between those two NPC’s character.

Garnet is signing out from GameChanger Headquarter!

 

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