Life’s Impetus Devblog #7 – To Make People Talk

Hey! It’s been such a long time, hasn’t it?

But, I think I can confidently say that I’m done with Sky’s Isles. Thus, it’s time to concentrate Life’s Impetus once again. So, what am I going to talk about this time, then? Well, this devblog is going to be about the cutscene system (AKA the conversation system). One of the most important parts of LI will definitely be the dialogue, so I want to make sure it’ll be as interesting as possible not only from a content perspective, but also from a presentation perspective. I’ll be looking into the different features I have planned and how I will (probably) implement them.

How People will Talk

So, what can I do to make sure conversations are presented in an interesting way? If I were to sum it up simply, I would say control. What exactly do I want to control? Let’s see:

Time between characters

Am I talking slowly? Or am I just slurring words as quickly as I can? Well, technically I’m not doing either since I’m not really talking. But, the point I’m trying to get to is that it’s impossible to tell how I’m saying something just by reading a text sentence. There’s obviously techniques to convey one thing or another with no more than letters (forexampleimjustslurringnow), but I much rather use a technique common in games: gradual text. It’s the typical system they use in RPGs where text appears gradually, character by character. What’s makes what I’m doing unique, though? Control. In most cases, you can set a speed in the options, and all text will be displayed at that constant speed. Instead of that, I plan to control the time between each individual character. Is is obsessive? Maybe. But if I get it right, it’ll really help me control how people “talk”, and it’ll be great for giving personality to each character and conversation.

Precise Noise Control

This is another variation on how typical RPG dialogue works. Most of the time, the sounds played during dialogue are linear and constant; my plan is to control exactly what noises are played, when they’re played and not only that, but also the pitch and volume of these noises. As I mentioned before, what I want to is to control exactly how people talk; whether they talk loud or softly, talking excitedly or sadly, etc.

How People Will Be Able To Talk

So how am I going to do this? Well, with a lot of effort for each dialogue, obviously, but what I want to use is a text format I can edit easily without having to open Unity. So, I’m going to be using XML. What is XML, some of you may ask? XML stands for Extensible Markup Language, but what matters is that it’s a very clean way of organizing text structures. I can basically divide a conversation into chunks of text where each chunk has a different part of the dialogue. My plan so far is to have one with the actual text message, another with the time between characters, and the last will have sounds I’ll play. Sadly, I haven’t advanced on this enough yet to show you much (that’s why this devblog is so short), but I hope you’re interested! I’ll be showing you something when I can so stay tuned.

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