Friday, 2 October 2009

Back to Chat

So, back to making the dialogue-based game.

I'm going to use the term 'first person talker' for what I've decided to design here. I wanted to make a mystery game of some kind, and I think it should be a murder mystery. It makes the situation more suspenseful if there's a chance that the person you're talking to is the murderer, and could be psycho, after all!

I want it to be a sci-fi and set on a space ship. This gives a good reason for why your character is involved, as well as for why everybody's stuck there. I remember playing '7 Days A Skeptic' and being totally freaked out by the claustrophobic atmosphere. Of course, this would be less scary, and less gore-filled than that game, and without the supernatural elements.

The mechanics of the game:

There's a map screen, where you can select where in the ship you want to be. You have your dorm, the ship's mess, and the cabins of other characters. Not all characters will be in all the time. They have their own daily routines. Also, sometimes you'll find somebody in somebody else's room, or they'll be in the mess or somewhere. Time advances over the period of the voyage, and events happen. You have to decide how to spend your time. during waking hours (there is a curfew at nights, where you can't go out). This includes remaining in your room to wait.

You can converse with characters, which takes place in real time. You can talk to people face to face, or on your phone. I'll talk about the phone later. When talking, you can look around freely (with the mouse, wiimote, analogue or whatever). Avoiding eye contact may be offputting for some people you talk to. When you mouse over an object you see that's of interest, it will be added to your conversation queue.
Dialogue is initiated either by somebody asking you a question, or by you pressing the 'que' button. If you press this in the middle of a person's sentence, you will interrupt them. Characters may become agitated if you interrupt them repeatedly!
When you press the que button/key, you're given a list like:

"Er..." (this cancels the interrupt, the speaker may continue, if they haven't lost their thread or become angry)
"What do you know about...?" (this opens a menu of possible topics)
"I want to tell you about..."

During a conversation, you can press the 'demeanor' button/key to select from a menu your body language and tone of voice: Cold, Formal, Vulnerable, Gregarious, Sympathetic, Agressive. Different characters will react to these differently depending on their personality and current situation.

You also have a phone. You can use the phone in the privacy of your own room, or you can use it when in other places. Be aware that using your phone isn't always appropriate, and may annoy other characters. Your phone contacts can also call you, and you have to use your judgement whether or not to answer. Only you can hear your phone, but anybody in the room will hear your responses! This could lead to a great suspenseful scene in which the main character is in a room, talking to a character, their phone rings, they take the call, and it's a friend ringing to say they checked some details and think the person you're in the room with IS the murderer!
While speaking on the phone, you can look around as usual, but not use demeanour commands, because your friends know you too well and you're always on friendly terms.
Your phone friends will probably include:

-A science expert of some kind.
-A literary and/or history buff.
-Somebody with a lot of common sense/everyday knowledge
-Somebody who thinks outside the box, like a conspiracy theorist, detective novelist etc.

I think that's everything for now.
I'm thinking the main character will be an actor perhaps. I'll write more later.

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