Exposition in the Game or as a Cutscene?

If there's a section of exposition or long dialogue, what would you rather see/play?

  • Within the game using the text boxes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Cutscene

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • Depends on the Scenario

    Votes: 5 83.3%

  • Total voters
    6

Ryisunique

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So, in one of the games I'm working on, I have this chunk of dialogue that happens when the Player enters a room, looks around for missing people, and then tries to text someone on the phone. Secondary character pops up on the TV and they end up talking for about a minute about what's happening.

It's kinda long, and you can't see the secondary figure in anything except the dialogue boxes. I was wondering if a cutscene, a comic that I would draw, would work better in the situation. Showing more of the faces, emotions, the secondary character. Or if keeping what I have with the event and them talking with the dialogue boxes.
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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You could go the normal text box way and still implement the faces, emotions etc..

Also, the in-game way of doing it via text boxes and so on is called cutscenes too in RM terms at least. So to clarify, what you mean by "cutscene" is a video of sorts? Like those pre-rendered cutscenes in video games as opposed to real-time (in-game) ones?
 
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Ateliae

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I think it depends on the game. Would this be a one time thing? It is better to keep consistent.

Either way, I think both would be effective and wouldn't mind either.
 

gstv87

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I've always disliked blunt unnatural exposition.
The likes of "Heh. You're one to talk, you who did this thing that time, when I was present, right in front of me, that we both remember very clearly and doesn't merit explanation between the both of us."

development of the matter should be subtle, giving the pieces to the player, so THEY can make a picture of what's going on.
-"Heh... you're the one to talk... remember (*that place*)?" (that *place*, not *that event*, but that *place* the event took place in)
-"Oh come on, I wasn't even trying then..."
-" 'Wasn't even trying'! But a bloody hell of a mess you made!"

without saying anything, it's implied that something happened, that both characters witnessed, that was significant, that happened at a certain place, that is most likely happening again, and that is most likely developing in a similar fashion.
with that in place, if the viewer wants to know what it is, they only need to keep watching, further driving attention towards the plot, and effectively, the work itself.

if there's a third character asking about the matter, and the player learns about it through that explanation, then yes, it should be as long as needed, because that's no longer the two main characters talking to each other, that's an outsider being filled in (and indirectly, the player).
If the exposition is not needed between characters that know the matter, then it shouldn't be longer than a couple of key words.
 
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Eschaton

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Try to convey as much information as you can while using blunt dialogue is a last resort.

Also, if you need to do an infodump, you should do what I call "clapping between words." Sometimes, when you really want to make a point, you shout what you're saying while clapping between words. But I use that as a metaphor for expository dialogue with an action setpiece as the backdrop. Best example I can think of is during The Terminator in which Kyle Reese explains to Sarah Connor what a Terminator is...during a tense car chase.

Even without clapping between words, you can convey information with the objects you place on the screen during a scene. Consider Blade Runner, in which we get a shot of Deckard's messy bedroom full of clutter and empty booze bottles. That tells you a lot about Deckard without uttering a single word.

Or in Star Wars, with that first shot of Darth Vader, clad in the dark. You hear the grim musical cue and his mechanical breath. You see the deference the Stormtroopers have for him. You learn a lot about Vader with just one shot and not a single line of dialogue. Later, we see Vader interrogating a man by choking him to death. To make it clear that Darth Vader is a bad person, we need to see him doing bad things.

And to swing things back to JRPGs, consider the moment Final Fantasy IV introduces us to the main antagonist. First, we hear of Golbez doing really bad things, like leading the genocidal attack against Damcyan. Later, during a siege on Fabul, we encounter the brainwashed Kain beating the crap out of Cecil in a playable battle before acknowledging someone as his master. Enter Golbez, clad in the dark. You hear the grim musical cue. You witness him blasting Yang and Edward with powerful magic like it was nothing. He kidnaps your girlfriend.

You could do that entire scene without a single line of dialogue. Dialogue is just the sprinkle on top. It's how people could understand what the hell was going on despite FFVI's terrible SNES translation.

Try and block your events/scenes. Then write dialogue. The scene is the cake. The dialogue is the frosting.
 

Ryisunique

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@gstv87 What if it's unnatural because Player and Secondary don't know each other?

@Engr. Adiktuzmiko I think I was going with that now, but length is, something.

@Ateliae Now I'm wondering about that because there was a point where I was considering drawing out something toward the end. Nowhere else though.

@Eschaton It's just Player talking with Secondary, in their home, the only thing would be to show that the missing people left things behind. That's where I feel my problems are coming from.
 
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gstv87

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What if it's unnatural because Player and Secondary don't know each other?
then it is *dialogue*, the kind that helps develop the plot.
it's one character relaying information to another, in character, where the player also picks up information.
just make sure it's not plain *info dump* that's only there to inform the player of something the characters should already know because it's part of the universe they're in.
 

Ryisunique

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Okay, okay, that makes more sense.

I'm going to repeat that it's not an info dump for the next hour.
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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I think I was going with that now, but length is, something.
The length won't change though no matter how you go about it. TBH, just pick whatever is faster/easier for you. If its quicker for you to make a video and just have the game play it, then go for it.
 

Kupotepo

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@Ryisunique, you are making a mystery detective game, correct? You just show pictures of the texting and show the evident like finger print, a blood wall, or the marking which it is creative and mysterious at the same time.

I advise against doing an info dump or too long cutscene of stupid chitchat. People like to play games more than watch them.
 

Ryisunique

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@Kupotepo Different project. The one I started before Curious Cases. Went back to it, and found my long even with dialogue.

@Engr. Adiktuzmiko Faster and easier. Okay.
 

Kupotepo

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@Ryisunique, what kind of your game is a previous game about? What is a genre? Please be more clear because I am playing a guessing game right now. Please provide more information. So I can give you proper suggestion.
 
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Kes

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@Ryisunique General Discussion is not for feedback on individual, specific projects. That belongs in either Ideas and Prototypes or Games in Development, depending on how far you are in the process.

As there are some general points being made which others can benefit from, I am leaving this thread open for the time being. However, please note, if a reply is not relevant to your game, then ignore it. Don't say "oh, that's not how my game works", or whatever, as that has the effect of closing off a discussion which might help someone else.
 

Kupotepo

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@Kes, I do not know this thread should belong here or not.
I need the least general information of the game to answer questions surely.

"Exposition comprises of the choices you make, as a writer, to set the scene and initiate readers to your story. It is about conveying initial and necessary information."

You see what I mean for an example, an action RPG, I usually suggest start a battle right away or as soon as possible. Cliche exposition is Herold getting up the bed late:LZSsmile:.
 
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Aesica

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If the choice is between:

"Long ago when I was a kid, I had to steal bread from the town market and fight off angry bears...blah blah..."

vs

*Flashback where the player can actually move the character in question around the town market, stealing bread and fighting off angry bears, etc"

Go with the latter. Long, rambly/bantery info dumps are not only lazy design, but they'll also try the patience of most players until they reach a point where their eyes glaze over and they start button-mashing.
 

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