Marsh-Frog Mondays 10 - Branching dialogue, choices, pacifist mode?
Hello Monday frog-friends!
Sorry for missing last week’s scheduled update. We hope you’re ready for a writing-heavy one this time. This month we’re busy with the story, cutscenes and branching dialogue, so there won’t be much to show in terms of new artwork.
Usually we don’t like to talk too much about the narrative aspects of the game, but it’s worth noting that we’ve come a long way since the Kickstarter launch. For example, rather than displaying text in a speech bubble, with 2-4 responses, the engine now supports up to 8 choices in a scrolling text box.
Note: Old screenshots ahoy, as we don't want to spoil the NPCs/dialogue we're working on currently.
This newer method, which has a distinctly cRPG feel to it, allows you to loop back to important conversation points, and unlock choices based on your specialisations. So far, the game’s key supporting NPCs have around 25-30 pages of optional dialogue each, allowing for some in-depth scrutiny of the game world for those who wish to seek it out.
For those who just want to get straight to the action, we’ve tried to keep the core dialogue and cutscenes pithy and to the point.
Other dialogue features we’ve recently added:
- Dynamic Dialogue Choices: Differently worded trees depending on the investigator doing the talking. The enigmatic Moose communicates via gestures and mime, whereas the Gentleman’s lines have a touch of the King’s English.
- Skill Tests: Reach a set value in a skill to unlock bonus choices in certain encounters. This is mainly used to test your charm, intimidate or barter skills, but there are more obscure branches of knowledge (psionics, rituals, antiques).
- Attribute Tests: Based on the five main attributes, Might, Senses, Agility, Craft and Spirit. Most commonly these will take the form of feats of strength (Might), like moving heavy objects.
- Antiques: While this isn't strictly a dialogue change, we have expanded the old relics item type, and renamed it to antiques. Investigators who specialise in antiques will be able to equip artefacts, cow creamers, salt shakers a whole host of mystical trumpery which has absorbed the strange energy surrounding Witchmarsh over the course of several decades/centuries.
- We're still posting up Luciana's item icons on Tumblr and Instagram, as well as tiny snippets of environments and pixel art. Come join us!
One question we’re often asked is whether there will be a peaceful route through the main story. Although such a run wouldn’t be officially on the cards, we are looking forward to seeing what you can do. To aid you in this, we’ve been investigating new ways for players to earn EXP outside of combat, and scripting a few non-combat resolutions to previously linear encounters. We’ll be sure to cover this more in a future update.
That’s it for this time. We should be back in two weeks with another report.
Thanks for waiting. :)