Dustin

Posts by Dustin

Conflict Resolution in Dialogue (or Lack Thereof)

It’s been a couple of years since we first released Dialogue: A Writer’s Story, and I wanted to take this opportunity to view it with a lens we don’t usually use. Minor spoilers for the game ahead, so feel free to go play it right now =)

When talking about the game, we often highlight how it is an everyday sort of story. It is about exploring Lucille’s life as a writer and her relationships with others. The stakes are low and your choices do not create wide sweeping changes. All of this is true, but there is also something else, something complementary, beneath all that. Dialogue determinedly avoids clean conflict resolution, and this can feel ‘off’ to a lot of people.

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What do you mean by ‘Narrative Design’?

Fellow narrative designer (and all around great guy) Rob Morgan sometimes introduces himself in talks as ‘a narrative designer, whatever that is’, and it’s always stuck with me. I cannot help but appreciate the sentiment, having witnessed the term ‘narrative designer’ used to describe a variety of roles and jobs in talks, job descriptions, and in normal conversation with colleagues. I don’t believe any of those different uses of the term were wrong or less significant than any other, but I do think they can be distinct, sometimes covered by different people on a team or requiring different skills.

In the interest of thinking about this a bit deeper and preventing the title from meaning so many things that it functionally means very little, here are the three main kinds of narrative design I have come across. This list is almost certainly not exhaustive, but I hope it acts as a good starting point for discussion, and inspires you to examine your own thoughts on the subject.

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Mechanics of Dialogue: Exploration Conversations

Hey everyone! We’re excited to finally be counting down to the Steam release of Dialogue: A Writer’s Story – Sept 20th is less than two weeks away! To celebrate, we’re doing a couple of blogs to talk you through the two main conversation types of Dialogue and the mechanics therein. In case you don’t already know, Dialogue is a game about conversation which sets you in the everyday life of a writer, Lucille. Different types of conversations have different mechanics to better reflect their nature (if you want to read a bit more about Dialogue in general, you can find out more here). Today, we’re kicking off with Exploration Conversations.

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Conversation, Games, and You!

Here at Tea-Powered Games we talk about dialogue quite often, but what is it that good dialogue could add to your game?

In the case where you use dialogue to add new kinds of play to your game, it gives players a change of pace, a new mechanic to play with, or different kinds of goals. If you tie dialogue to your game’s current mechanics, fans of those mechanics will get to interact with them more, and experience more interesting variations. More importantly, entirely new stories and games become possible when you start thinking about conversation as a part of the game rather than just more words on screen.

It sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, figuring out what kind of dialogue your game needs is not very straightforward.

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A bit of Q&A

Hey there. We’ve built up a backlog of questions in response to some of our previous blogs about Dialogue, so we thought it was about time we answer them.

A big thanks goes out to Dylan Connor for these questions.

After this post, we’ll be taking a bit of a break from weekly posts to accommodate an ever-busier schedule. We hope you’ve enjoyed these early looks at Dialogue. We’ll be back with more announcements about this and future work as soon as we can.

For now, enjoy!

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From Plans to Scenes

In this week’s post we want to talk a bit about the process of making our game, focusing on an individual scene. Hopefully this will give you a bit of insight into the kind of process that lead to Dialogue being the game it is.

We have to start somewhere, so we’ll go from the scene outline. This is just a few sentences on what the scene itself is about and which characters are in it. It’s already been placed within the story as a whole, so you can see the conversations that happen before and after it, as well as its own relevance to the plot as a whole.

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Faces of Adrian

Dialogue is about conversations, and conversations need characters. Today we introduce you to Adrian: next door neighbour of the main character and a biochemistry researcher by trade. We have a soft spot for science at TPG, so it’s no wonder one of the more heavily featured characters tries to deliver an everyday-lens on research to the story. Have a gander at a few of his in-game expressions, along with sound bites (voiced by the talented and enthusiastic Monty d’Inverno).

Adrian1

 

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Background Work

 

 

Last week we teased some character art and story, this week we have a few backdrop snippets for you. The overall setting for Dialogue is modern, everyday life, so I can imagine it being a difficult task to make it suitably ordinary, in its own stylish extraordinary way. I say ‘imagine’ because Zoë, our resident artist for Dialogue, was definitely up to the task. But why don’t I let this preview of her work speak for itself.

LucilleRoomSmall

Lucille’s living room

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