Designing Investigate Conversations

“In a lot of games, conversation is provided as a static menu: a character has topics; the player clicks through them; conversation is complete when all have been clicked.

How do we evolve conversation beyond this static paradigm?”

Jon Ingold
Heaven’s Vault

InkleStudio‘s Jon Ingold has written a sequel to his Sparkling Dialog talk, with 5 strategies for dialog gameplay.

Most narrative games employ a core mystery spooled out over the game to keep the readers curious and engaged. One problem with interrogative dialog is when the questions become a grind mechanic, and players feel obligated to “vacuum up” every last clue by exhausting the dialog options. NPCs are treated as kiosks rather than characters with agency who help drive the narrative.

Ingold offers 5 strategies to “keep characters feeling juicy, when the player simply wants to squeeze them dry”, including methods to transition in and out of conversations, and also allowing the NPC to take turns leading the conversation.

Read it on his Gamasutra blog.