Sunday, August 20, 2017

Inklewriter and Dialogue

Hello Lovelies,

Once again, I decided to check in with a little update to how things are going on the game design side and what exactly that really looks like.

First and foremost, after having pounded out the basic concept and design of the initial cutscene, I realized two major issues. One, I had not fleshed out any of the actual STORY for my STORY-BASED gameplay. I had vague ideas and concepts but had never sat down and started pounding anything out. This quickly led to number Two: I wasn't satisfied with what I had written initially and have to have my poor voice artist re-record stuff.

Luckily she had only done three lines as of yet.

I'll have her rerecord when it's done. Not when I'm starting.

And so, as I began actually WORKING on the story, I was very quickly presented with a whole new problem to handle. Dialogue. Now, as a writer, I was already very comfortable with dialogue and making things go back and forth. You get a certain sense for how people speak and interact and how to cut out the fluff to keep the story moving forward. What I never thought of before this, however, was the problem of 'dialogue trees'.

In a regular story/book/etc. you are dealing with a simple back and forth. Character A says blah, Character B says blah, proceed to blah blah blah until you've gotten to where you intend to for the story. But within game design, particularly a game that's designed around a self-building story with multiple endings and multiple paths, you have a key issue of dealing with multiple dialogue options.

If one character says blah, another character might say ha. If that character says ha, than the first character might say la OR blah depending on whether it's ha or HA. So, in order to make things flow and functional, I'm now building a dialogue tree that connects paths to and fro. Dialogue 1 leads to Dialogue 3 and 4 while Dialogue 2 leads to 5 and 6. Branch and connect as needed from there.

Honestly, it's been kind of a bitch. It's hard to think in that manner but I'm trying for now. I realized that while I had one line of dialogue planned out, I never really considered the next trail of information or how everything would connect. I'm thinking I'm probably going to need to go storyline by storyline from top to bottom, beginning to end, before I go any further because otherwise there will be too many loose ends and knots in the story.

No matter how I write it though, I need a way to do it.

I quickly found out that just writing the dialogue in a standard word document did not work. It worked even less well trying to plot it out within the game itself. I ended up hunting around and found a few different options, none of which I'm particularly satisfied with but I've currently settled on

As it stands, inklewriter works like post it notes that you can add dialogue directions to. If you have Point 1 and Option 1 and Option 2, you can follow respective options and keep writing, creating more options and points as you go. Personally, I like the flow of being able to just type like I was writing on a notepad, but in turn I can't SEE the flow of consequences. I can't see the's just a straight line of little pieces of paper.

There were a few other options but none of them were particularly appealing.

I'll need to just keep looking. If anyone else has ever worked on dialogue trees, I'm more than open to input.

 As always, I will try to post updates and new content through the week, but worst comes to worst will return on Sunday. With that said, I hope you all are having a pleasant day and enjoy.

- RB


  1. Can sure see how that would annoy, hopefully you find something that can work fully with what you want. Can't say I've ever had to work with a dialogue tree.

  2. Sounds like a good system to write dialogues.

  3. I am no help at all I'm afraid. But I sure find it all facinating even though I don't have any idea of what a "dialogue tree" is!
    Wishing you the best Robert~

  4. Yikes. This sounds like a totally new learning curve.
    Good luck. We'll be anxious to hear what happens next.

  5. A dialogue tree - while I'd love to converse with a tree, I somehow know that is not what you mean. of luck to you.

  6. Just thinking about it is making my brain hurt (both cells). Good luck.

  7. I always wondered how that worked. I guess not well. Maybe you'll just have to create the program for what you want. (If you can't find what you want, sometimes you have to make it yourself.)

    1. Shit. I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't think of that.

  8. Hi Robert - I can dialogue quite happily ... but don't ask me to write it down!! Good luck though ... cheers Hilary

  9. Fascinating. I wish you all the best. As for me, I'm sticking to straight prose. ~grin~ Happy Writing!

  10. How cool. For as much as I game, I guess I've never really given dialogue trees much thought, but it's true, it sucks when you go from dialogue to dialogue and you can just tell they don't really mesh together. Good luck, and looking forward to seeing how it turns out!

  11. Sure sounds like this is keeping you busy.

  12. The process sounds quite interesting and challenging.

  13. That sounds like a fascinating problem, but one that hopefully will be fun working out. Don't know if you ever played Choose Your Own Adventure books, but that would have been similar, with multiple dialogue options. Much more involved than a normal story, for sure.

  14. robert...."kind of a bitch" ?? !!

    sounds like whoa, what the hell; kind of a bitch.....I'd be lost
    in a dialogue maze before turning corner one; even if I was writing
    in "trout " !!! ☺☺♥♥

  15. Sounds like a good way to create normal dialogue which reads naturally.

  16. Good luck on everything! It sounds so interesting, but challenging!!