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An adventure game about fish, love, and dire consequences
3,152 backers pledged $59,039 to help bring this project to life.

May Update: Dialogue Trees and Sass

Posted by clairvoire (Creator)

Hi'ya folks!

It's been a while! I'm sorry for missing last month's update, it wasn't the best month I've had in a while. Had a fever for a solid week, brain broke, burned myself out... but I've been making changes, cutting down on the all-nighters, and I'm feeling a lot more like myself now! B-but that's enough whinging outta me!

Finally getting into the good stuff! My ability to animate has tentatively returned to me (no jinxing it!) and I'm programming scenes now. Probably the best thing I've recently done on that front, is stop using data and files to describe everything, and instead hard code events or whatever I need as C++ functions. Cuts out all the needless abstraction I always tend to do.

And in that vein, I wanted to talk about how I'm going to handle dialogue and choices in the game!

Dialogue Trees!

Writing the dialogue trees, I try to fill it with good choices and branches.  The branches might either be based directly on a choice you make, or they might be based on a choice you made a while ago, or if Dove has a certain item, etc.  This works well if progress is fairly linear, but that isn't the case so much here. So I need a more uniform way of gauging how characters should react to Dove on top of all that.  And for that, I made the Sassafrass Chart!

There are two axis, Sassy/Sappy and Silly/Serious. Depending on Dove's choices, she'll move towards different ends of those axis, which ultimately influences what tone other characters speak to her with, and other more subtle things like pet names and such.

Sassy characters are very self-aware, and a bit cynical, but can't handle feelings at all. Their relationships are based upon what others might call Mutual Animosity. Sappy Characters are the opposite of course. They love to talk about feelings and are completely genuine; they can't use even 1st level irony. They tend to be kinda naive though, and will utter groan-worthy mush talk without warning.

Silly Characters are the most likely to take it easy, joke around, and complicate things. They tend to be more passive though. Serious characters on the other hand are blunt and rigid sticks in the mud, but they also tend to get things done.

No matter what way Dove goes though, she can still date everyone, and you'll never be locked out of any content based on your choices (it's not a moral choice system or anything). The only thing that changes is dialogue and other flavour stuff. This way, metagaming (looking up the 'right' choices on gamefaqs to get the outcome you want) isn't encouraged, and folks can choose choices they like without worrying too much.

Speaking of moral choice systems, there won't be any good/evil stuff goin' on, I promise. Dove might have the worst manners, but she's good at heart. Besides, how can someone fish evilly? (I just thought of several ways to fish evilly whoops)

Anyway, that's about it for now!

Next month, I want to talk about the animation process some! I was gonna do that this month, but the thing I wanted to use as an example, was taking too long. My animation process is breath takingly slow, urp...

I'll see you June! Please take care of yourselves and have a good summer!

Caidoz, Tony Puccinelli, and 29 more people like this update.


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    1. Frederik Vezina

      So we'll see you... Next June?

      Still looking forward to this, especially after finishing (the amazing) Shovel Knight.

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      Stephen Keating on

      Looks great, keep it up!

    3. Jussi Tuomi on

      Can't wait for your game. Take care and remember to take breaks! :)

    4. Andrew Neufeld on

      I look forward to reading these every month(-ish) so much. I will be a little sad when there are no more, but then of course there will be a game so I guess that's okay.
      Looking forward to rocking some serious sass.

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      Henrique Vignon on

      I love the dialog tree branches

      can't wait to play it :P

      Keepup the good work man.

    6. Jonathan Bereza on

      I still have absolutely no idea what this game is but everything I hear excites me. Can't wait for some in game stuff.

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      Awesome! Thanks for the update, this game just keeps sounding cooler!

    8. Lizard Robot on

      Haha, I love the two axes! This is such a wonderfully quirky project, I love your development blogs. :)

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      Jabberwok on

      I want to know more about evil fishing...

    10. Disastercake on

      I am always happy to see Sealark updates in my inbox! Keep up the great work, Clairvoire. =)

    11. SirTapTap on

      I'm gonna max that sass meter! Love the idea.

    12. TacoWaffle on

      Thanks for the update. I always look forward to them. Now, to go and fish! *twirls mustache*

    13. Сергей Мазаев on

      It brings us to a nice role-playing and dwelling into character, that's nice! I'm looking forward to getting June update, on my Birthday, probably! :)

    14. Matthew Mather on

      I really like the new Alignment System Chart. Really spices up the feel of the next Dungeons & Dragons edition to know that we are no longer measuring on the Law/Chaos and Good/Evil Axes. I look forward to a write-up of Detect Serious and Protection From Sassy spells next week.


      Wait, which Kickstarter is this?

    15. KezzieZ

      It's so good to see another update! I'm so glad the personality stuff isn't going to be like moral choice systems some other games have had; I'm really not a fan of being locked out of content for not going in one direction or not being far enough on the preferred side for my playthrough. Good luck with all of that animation work you're doing and I'm glad you've been feeling better.

    16. Desorbo on

      Keep it up!

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      Caidoz on

      Thanks for the update, glad to hear that things are still progressing. The dialogue sounds like it'll be fun. Take care and keep up the good work!