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I explain the dialogue layout of Secluded and it's significance in the game.

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In this update, I'd like to talk about dialogue in Secluded, for the last two weeks, I've been working exclusively on dialogue, it's UI design and I've drawn numerous drafts for the UI graphics. But that's still in progress, what I want to talk about is the concept of dialogue and how I plan to implement it in Secluded.

Dialogue in most games (especially RPGs) are mostly made out of a list choices, these choices are exhausted one after the other and you basically pump information out of the NPC, you don't converse, you are basically interogating her/him. I like games that make dialogue meaningful and engaging and the way I'm designing the dialogue in Secluded is to make dialogue persistent and thought provoking.

The common theme throughout Secluded is to make choices that matter and to take advantage of information that is available to you at a certain point. You may miss a point of interest if you go through it too fast, or you might get different dialogue choice later on depending on what you chose earlier.

I want to show you a chart of one of the dialogues in Secluded, and explain how the dialogue is structured and give you a taste of what you can expect in the full game.

Dialogue Chart

The image above is a basic flow chart of a dialogue in Secluded, it starts at the very left and it ends at the yellow node.

The grey nodes are player responses and the rust red nodes are the NPC responses. The player will get to a point in dialogues where she is prompted with a number of dialogue choices, those are indicated by the grouped player nodes. You notice that there are red nodes within the prompt, those choices are called "reckless" choices and can give the player negative reactions down the line. Of course, the player don't see what choices are "bad" or "good", sometimes a reckless choice can unlock Story-points, it's a give-take thing.

The green nodes, these are interesting. The green nodes are Story nodes, they unlock Story-points (explained in an earlier update) and in lots of cases are only unlocked through a certain dialogue choice, that is indeed the case for the example above. Some Story nodes are reachable no matter what choice you make, those are often related to the main plot.

The reason why I think it's interesting is because I plan to have a natural flow to dialogue, that means that you typically can't talk about the same thing with an NPC numerous times and the player need to listen carefully when an NPC talks. This means that you must consider your choices well in dialogue, if you chose one path, you might gain info that is exclusive to that choice while missing out on another piece of information.

And lastly the blue nodes, they simply indicate that a certain dialogue choice or response is obsolete or no longer available. In this case the blue node removed the beginning of the branch but in some cases they can remove choices or responses in other prompts or part of dialogue.

Some dialogue trees have multiple endings depending on how it branches and in other trees the branches connect to form a single ending, like the example above.

That's basically it considering dialogue, if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and if you like the project, please tell your friends about it.

EDIT: And sorry, I said I'd probably have a screenshot ready for this update but as I've been very distracted with dialogue, I never got the chance. I won't make a new promise but I will instead say that a new screenshot will come eventually.



tjjos - - 1 comments

Hi Elias!

I'm very interested in dialogue systems as I'm currently developing one myself. What tools are you using to build yours?

Thanks and keep up the good work!

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Eliasfrost Author
Eliasfrost - - 4 comments

Hi tjjos!

I'm not actually using a dedicated system to create dialogues per say but I use yEd graph editor (which is free, good stuff) to lay out the dialogue and then I hard code it into the game using a combination of its own dialogue system and my own code.

Thank you for your kind words and good luck with your own project! :)

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