Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Should dialogue progress automatically?

At the moment, I have dialogue popping up and progressing automatically. So one character speaks, then maybe six seconds later the dialogue changes to another character's line. I also have it so you can skip through each one by hitting enter or the mouse button.

But I'm wondering if it should all progress manually. so a line of dialogue stays open indefinitely until the player clicks to progress forward.

There are certain times when the dialogue pops up during battle. I guess keeping that automated would be important. Just in areas where there is a gap in the action would require user input.

Any thoughts?


BrandFeelsGood said...

If the conversion is just padding / story , keep the progress automated so that it flows nicely but can be skipped.

If you have conversation trees where the player is asking the NPCs questions then the conversation progress should be manually controlled.

Rob D said...

Yes, I think I'll go half-half here. During action the dialogue will stay automated. But in 'stop and chat' sequences it'll be click through. My main concern is the player feeling rushed to read the lines.

kyle said...

My point of view is probably a little silly. To me, when it comes to dialogue that progresses at a fixed rate with the option to skip, I never know what to do.

I can either wait for the conversation to progress, but at a slower rate than I can read, or I can press a button to skip to the next line of conversation but also risk skipping over that line if it changed at the same time I pressed the button.

Personally, I prefer conversations that wait for me whether it's a fixed conversation or one with a conversation tree.

Rob D said...

You bring up a good point, Kyle. Everyone reads at a different speed, and hey sometimes you may need to duck off to the toilet mid sentence!

Accidentally skipping a line of text can break the flow as you end up wondering what it was you missed, and in turn miss every line afterwards.

BrandFeelsGood said...

Kyles point is a good one.

There is a solution to the problem of skipping dialogue text by mistake. Implement a 300ms clear buffer at the beginning when each text dialogue is displayed. Any input received between 0ms - 300ms is ignored by the interface.

This should go some way to reducing 'user error' while preserving the ability to skip text.