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.
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.
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!