How do you balance talking in the game?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Blair Pendragon, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. Blair Pendragon

    Blair Pendragon Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    41
    First Language:
    English
    I love long cutscenes... IF they aren't bland.

    Most children RPGs or RPG maker games are just Fetch this, or worry about something you don't care about.

    My suggestion is to have very little story at the start, keep it extremely basic, until the 1st tutorial boss, where you can establish more information.

    in most cases, people want to explore a bit, and test the waters, but complex mechanics and story they arn't too worried about yet.

    Wait 2-3 bosses for really complex mechanics being forced to win.

    (but make them available early, for those who don't want simple attack/potion strategies)

    Similar to storyline.

    make the basics give them the freedom to play around, while leaving enough information there if they want to seek it out. (like from NPCs in town, who walk around randomly.)

    If you don't have that OMG hook, don't bother slamming them with too much dialogue.

    An example from a friend.

    She started watching Avatar.

    The show is very simple and cliched, along with some terrible writing.

    but she watched it as she worked on stuff around the house.

    Barely paying attention to it.

    But as the show moved on, she slowly became attached to the characters and cared to know what happens.

    This is a good example of people can react to storytelling in RPGs.
     
    #1
  2. Volrath

    Volrath Knight in Sour Armor Degica

    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    116
    Location:
    Cromwell, CT
    First Language:
    English
    A few folks have gotten at the point I'm about to make, which is - the more a player enjoys the story and dialogue, the more of it they will tolerate. It's been a while since I've played one of the Golden Sun games but if I recall correctly, my problem was not so much that it was long but that it was very dry and uninteresting. So the longer you make the cutscenes, the more you've got to commit to making it memorable. And people may still not like it, but at least the effort will be evident.

    If you value characterization, then it's important to give yourself some time to work with. If it's always just-the-facts "we need to go to the temple" kind of stuff, the characterization will really suffer. There's a school of thought out there for writing that says that every line of dialogue should advance the story. I never liked that idea. Yeah, you shouldn't drag the actual plot out too much but things like incidental conversations and debates are what get people to connect to characters.
     
    #2
  3. amerk

    amerk Veteran Member

    Messages:
    1,439
    Likes Received:
    510
    First Language:
    English
    Think of it this way. What are you willing to sacrifice. I mean, sure, every game I've played can be condensed even more in the name of "getting to the point". But at what cost? Probably the cost of character development. We can all write our games with the basic bare-bones style of Final Fantasy I if we eliminate every trivial scene. But I'd prefer to keep character development and an epic plot, assuming the story is well written and not boring. If you want a game with no cut scene, go find yourself a rogue dungeon crawler and leave us Xenogear-loving folk alone.
     
    #3
  4. randomuser

    randomuser Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    212
    Likes Received:
    18
    First Language:
    English
    edit
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2013
    #4
  5. Ministry

    Ministry Villager Member

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    California
    First Language:
    English
    Your game needs to have a 5 minute timer (possibly 10 or 15 for RPGs due to their nature). When the player starts the game they need to experience something that hooks them before this time has run out or they wont keep playing. I've seen too many RPGs, some released recently, that forget this rule and start you out in a peaceful town with a whole lot of talking to wade through before you see some action. This can kill a game before it starts.

    It seems like everyone agrees that the length of talking and cut scenes that a player will tolerate is directly proportionate to how much time they've spent playing it.

    And, basically, it comes down to this: Don't tell the player what you can show them, and don't show them something they can experience first hand.
     
    #5
    Omnimental, Rayne and Des like this.
  6. Chaos Avian

    Chaos Avian Abyssal Wing Restaff

    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    783
    Location:
    Currently fighting demon hoards for fun.
    First Language:
    English
    I've seen Xenosaga come up alot of times as a series that uses long cutscenes (a great series), but I'm sort of surprised why no one has mentioned the Shin Megami Tensei games. The y have alot of dialogue all through out, especially the intros. (Notably Persona 4 and SMT: Strange Journey). Dragon Quest also has large parts of dialogue, though not as frequent.

    I personally like long cut- scenes, RPGs are narrative driven (or at least supposed to be) so I don't mind it. Though if it isn't relevant it can definitely get quite jarring after awhile, but if it rewards you I guess it can't be that bad I guess.

    Agreeing with Indrah, good story telling is a must as its shown through the perspective of another. Not everyone likes the read so there was voice- acting. That's cool but when games cut out a lot of text/ dialogue I'm left with: "Err..."

    But that's just me.
     
    #6
  7. Maus Merryjest

    Maus Merryjest Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Colorado
    First Language:
    English
    It seems to me that complaining about in-depth dialogue in an RPG game is a little bit like buying a role-playing game and complain about the 'role' part. Surely if fast-paced, uninterrupted action is what the player wants, they can buy a platformer or a first-person shooter, or a Zelda game.

    Role-playing games require, as a cornerstone, world-building and characterization. Shallow ends on either side will make for an uneven product. Think about the great exponents of the series, such as Final Fantasy VI and, to a lesser degree, VII. Ultimas VI-VII, Chrono Trigger etcetera- dialogue is an integral part of how the player comes to understand the world and the characters (including his own), and cutscenes follow the "Show, Don't Tell" school-- it's far more effective for the player to see Schala's attempted sacrifice at the Mammon machine than for an NPC to come over and say "Dude, Schala totally tried to stop that horrible witch of a mother she's got, but everything went wonky! Let's go kill us some Queen!" The dialogue in a game exposes the lore- that which has come before the player started exerting influence in the world, and cutscenes expose the state of the world as it is affected by the different forces at play in the present.

    Part of playing a roleplaying game is the immersion into lore and world. To claim that dialogue and cutscenes are not part of the 'play' element for these games is inaccurate.

    One thing I do, though, in my game is that the player can research the lore of the world if they want to (by talking to specific lore masters and historians) ... but it isn't necessary. However, there are some quests that have a different outcome if the player has better knowledge of the local lore (he is in an island whose history is unfamiliar to him, so he would not have this lore firsthand)-- the quest outcome won't break the game or make it unwinnable, but those quests that have an extra perk through knowledge will benefit him towards the end, making the endgame scenario much easier thanks to all the allies and interesting things he finds. In short, I like to give the player the option: "You can muscle your way through this world and do alright, or you can explore and understand it and use that knowledge to your favor and get the really good goodies."

    I also add the option to bypass the introductory cutscenes, with a mind for players who are replaying the game. It makes no sense for a player who has already gone through the game once to have to see the setting of the scene. They know what the world is like and what has come before (this is the one of the few flaws FFVI had- the beginning introduction is great for first-time players, but the fact that it can't be skipped poses a problem for repeat players, as it is rather long.)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2012
    #7
  8. Levi

    Levi Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    798
    Likes Received:
    143
    First Language:
    English
    I find that having lengthier Cut-scenes is permissible in RM, because of it's limitations.

    With current gen titles you can have people speak in passing, or during action (Skyrim, ME3 etc)... but in RM you have to pause the action one way or another. To me, as long as it's well written and relevant, it's fine. You have to decide what is important enough to the player to warrant a cut-scene. And then, if you've decided that something must be said, you have to write it in a way that isn't overly wordy/rambly... while also not being too concise or "point form-ish". It's a fine line...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2012
    #8
    The Stranger likes this.

Share This Page