Dialogue choices


#1

So, I’ve been working on my own project on and off for the best part of 12 months. I’ve not made an enormous amount of progress, but I have everything mapped out and think this might be the first ‘game’ I might actually manage to complete (I’ve started games in various IF packages including ADRIFT and Inform).

Anyway, as it currently is, my project gives the player chances to respond to various dialogues with general responses i.e. when greeting a new person, the player is given the option to greet the person ‘warmly’ or ‘coolly’. This is then followed by a brief line of dialogue said by the PC, i.e. ‘You smile and nod your head in greeting’ or ‘Your face remains impassive, though you briefly incline your head in acknowledgement.’

However, when running through what I have so far, it struck me that this is fairly restrictive in some ways as it means I am not really allowing the player to choose what they actually say, but only the tone of it. I have a feeling that giving the choices as a line of dialogue instead of a tone could add a lot more flavour to the experience, and truly allow the player to choose the personality of the character. So, rather than being given the option of greeting someone ‘warmly’ or ‘coolly’ instead you would be given the option of saying: “Why hello good sir, it’s lovely to meet you again!” or “Good day sir.” I suppose my worry is with this style, is that some dialogue might not necessarily convey that the character is being warm or cool (or whatever the attitude might be). Would it be acceptable to mix the two possibly? i.e. [Warmly]“Why hello good sir, it’s lovely to meet you again!” or [Coolly]“Good day sir.”

So, I guess what I’d like to know is what is people’s preferences. Would you prefer to see what your character is going to say, or would you just like to choose the general tone. I know the former would involve a lot more work, but I think I would probably enjoy it. Thanks for reading.


#2

Hm, perhaps the intonation can be implied, for example, some of the choices could be:

“‘Why hello! It’s a pleasure to see you again.’ It never hurts to be friendly with someone, especially someone this influential.”

“‘Good day sir.’ One must always feign a modicum of respect towards the influential, but he deserves nothing more.”


#3

I second 13ventrm’s suggestion of intonation.


#4

I would be very tempted to say, just go with what “feels right” in that particular situation–sometimes tone, sometimes speech–but the more I think about the above suggestion, the more appealing I find the whole idea from a potential player’s point of view. If you can manage that style throughout, or just for the most part, it would make for wonderful character immersion.


#5

Yes, I agree that seems a sensible compromise. I think what irked me when I was playing through my latest version was that the dialogue the PC was speaking wasn’t exactly *my* choice, and felt a little like a wall. I loved playing games like Baldur’s Gate 2, for example, because you could really direct your character’s dialogue - I always enjoyed selecting a deeply sarcastic response…