Dealing with dialog

The gamebook that I have been working on deals with a lot of dialog. I wondered how much people care about there being choices on what their character says when speaking to someone or rather a love interest. Or would it be fine to leave a lot of choices out?

I really want the reader to pick the flow of how the relationship goes but it can be hard to make a lot of choices in dialog because it can branch off so much…so certain information might be given during the dialog which can then affect a latter conversation which can get very complicated… I also don’t want to make a bunch of fakechoices because the flow might not be as good and end a certain topic too short.

So I wondered what anyone else did about this kind of thing?

I know I can use the *hide_reuse command and force the reader to go through every possible topic in conversation (like when asking questions) but that still doesn’t allow for a change of direction.

My gamebook is very character and relationship driven so I want to do things well! So any tips would help :]

If your game focuses on characters and relationships, I’d expect as a reader to direct the flow through choices. I understand your dilemma – giving in-depth options may create a ton of branches. What you may want to do is have answers affect stats and let the stats drive branches.

For example, Tony asks if you enjoyed dinner with him.

#"I loved it in every way," I say honestly.
  *set generosity %+10
  *set truth %+10
  *set tony_relationship %+10
#"I loved it," I say. In reality, I hated it but don't want Tony to know that.
  *set generosity %+10
  *set truth %-10
  *set tony_relationship %+10
#"I hated it," I say honestly.
  *set generosity %-10
  *set truth %+10
  *set tony_relationship %-10
#"I hated it," I say. In reality, I loved it but want Tony to hate that restaurant.
  *set generosity %+10
  *set truth %-10
  *set tony_relationship %-10

This is a real simple example but it hopefully illustrates the concept. After doing a few choices that build stats, you can set future sections to check stats, knowing the way the reader has played.

*if truth >= 70
   *comment a section based on a truthful person's POV
*elseif truth >= 40
   *comment a section based on a neutral person's POV
  *comment a section based on a manipulative person's POV

Hm, that reminds me of one test I tried with naturally developing dialog… uh, to much choices.

I think, i you can live trough it, that go for it - You will have a unique game and from my POV that is important. After all in the end of the day we want to try something new, not been there done that.

As for me, I would love a game like that. In reality, that might be one of dream come trough games. I love dialogues. Good luck with writing and coding!!

@JimD Thanks for the example!

@dreamdragonhatchling alright thanks, helpful feedback! I want to know what people like so I can put my time into that.

If anyone can also give any ideas on what they like in dialogues that would be great too!

I like dialogue & the choices therein to fit the story premise. If your game setup is a plot (X is headed to Z, and your choices [Y] determine how Z pans out), then that should look different from a game setup that’s a scenario (X is true, so what do you choose to do from here?).

Examples of what I mean:
Plot-based: Choice of the Ninja, Treasure Seekers of Lady Luck
Scenario-based: Choice of the Vampire

The distinction is a nuance, but if you want to give lots of personality-affecting choices, stats will probably be the easiest way to set that up.