Hey Wizards and Sorceresses!
Long time no see ya all! My art took me away from the game dev! I’ll be back full-time on Wizards of Unica in November, but because of hundreds of hours traveling for my business I’m preparing the next phases of development.
Pixel art, animations, backgrounds and music are widely set up, but still there is a big piece of the cake which is still to build from the hair to heels: dialogues!
Maybe I’ll be able to avoid the need of a complete screenplay, but to emphasize the immersion into the Empire of Unica, we wanted our characters to have a personality and express their thoughts. But how to write stun dialog?
I wish I had a short, universal answer for the question. Unfortunately I don’t, but as in the past, I find a solution giving myself some rules. And before start to write WHAT a dialogue express, is fatal to define HOW it does.
1 – How long? – Wizards of Unica is a tactical RPG, not a pure RPG, so Luca and I we didn’t want to flood you with hundreds of words. An angel and a demon could spend centuries in a discussion, but we don’t. So I didn’t gave myself a number of words, but I know I want short and efficient dialog.
2 – Develop the plot & the characters – If a phrase do not increase the player’s knowledge about the plot or the characters is poisonous to the narrative efficiency. Everything must be related to the events we care about or the story and psychology of our heroes, otherwise is useless. The development of the setting must be a consequence of this two thing.
3 – Variety – The styles of the characters must be various. I assigned to everyone a Mood, and an Attitude. In example the Yuki Onna, Spirit of the Frozen Spire, has a depressive mood and a passive/aggressive attitude. Belphagor, Lord of the Gap, has an unkempt mood, and a sarcastic attitude. More, some of the Spirits as living creature from an ancient past could have unusual way to express: i.e. noble spirits as Catacano the King of the Crypt, or Garuda Mount of the Gods could refer to their self with the pluralis maiestatis (the royal we), using the 1st plural person (we think, we want, etc…). Others could refer to their self with the 3rd single person, as the Anar from Mass Effect or the Assassin in Game of Thrones. This variety would give me an expression grid where I can create a recognizable way of speech very typical for every single characters.
4 – Balance – The dialog will be equally distributed along all the game, but there is no need that every character speaks as much as the other. Erishkigal the Scorpion Queen would like to criticize everything, while nobodies knows if Skrymir the Jotun is even able to express a thought. This will magnify diversity of the characters, much more than flood the player with words, or just assign one line to everyone just to let them be present.
These are mine rules to dialog. I started to write the first lines, and is so exiting to see the Wizards and the Spirits start to exist beyond pixels, beyond the game itself, and become present into our world with their own thoughts! Because that’s what dialog is good for: let the characters “happen” into our mind.
Thanks for your passion and support!
Daniele Lynx Lasalandra – Art Director