20 March 2010

Voicing concerns

Well, I've been thinking about the talky talky system (or, conversation/dialogue system for the grown-ups out there). Huge flowing dialogue trees are fantastic to play through, but insanely long to write. Still, it's something I want to have in the game. Which means I might have to curtail the length of some conversations or at least the number of times you can talk to somebody if it means keeping the number of choices and quality of writing up to scratch (actually, it needs to be much better than scratch).

To really make this sort of thing shine, and in fact the game in general, I've been thinking a lot along the lines of how Warren Spector originally planned to do the first Deus Ex (one of my fave games). His plan was for the whole game to only be played within the confines of a single building and then to make just about anything and everything you wanted to possibly do in that building possible.

It's a goal I've always admired, and while they instead went on to make a game that traveled the world, it still had the feel of so much to do. At the very least, it lived up to the point of that goal. I'm hoping to do something in a similar vein (why is that a common turn of phrase? How often are veins shared that it became common to talk about them in that manner?). This means that I can keep down the number of art assets I'll have to create and turn that towards other components, hopefully speeding up the game creation, or at the very least giving me more time to really refine the game play.

Refining the game play is pretty important in fact. It's very easy for a game that handicaps players to become tiresome or annoying. So I'll have to be very careful about the way I implement the game's mechanics. While I want to showcase the more human aspect of characters in games, I still want this to be fun to play. If something detracts from that, it needs to be fixed and in the worst case, cut from the game.

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