Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Shattered War: Dialogue Update

It's been quite some time since I've done a Shattered War update, so I thought I'd let people know what I've been working on.

Dialogue has been the primary focus of my modding efforts in recent times, writing conversations involving the major characters in the mod. Now, while this may seem a little strange, given how long I've been working on the mod, and how much of the mod is done, but I find this approach works better for me. While in many cases I've already outlined the content of what will be included in these conversations, the actual spoken lines are usually not written until I'm happy that the overall content provides sufficient character depth and development.

However, in addition to writing dialogue, I've also received recordings for a number of characters from several of my voice actors. These wonderful people are offering their time for free, and helping to bring the people within the mod to life.

Part of a finished dialogue

Even this process of voice integration adds significant time to the production of a mod in order to make everything look right. The choice of camera shot, when to cut from one camera to another, what gestures the character should use, how they should stand and their facial expression all must be reviewed before a conversation can be considered "complete".

Neutral facial expressions or gestures that don't match with the line result in a disconnect with the dialogue, because it no longer looks "real". Players can and will pick up on abnormal movements, which will distract them from the true purpose of the cinematic dialogue in modern games: developing a believable scene in which the character can become emotionally invested. Characters whose facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice match to deliver an emphatic line help to give the player a reason to care about the adventure they are experiencing. It is up to the designer to make sure all those elements combine to give the most engaging scene to a player - and that is a responsibility that I take very seriously.

No comments:

Post a Comment