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timewizardstudios

Does anybody know how to write a point-and-click adventure game?

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I'm making a point and click adventure game and I'm trying to write it. The problem is, that writing a point and click is unlike any other type of writing. It's not like a novel where you can just write paragraphs and also it's not really linearly written.
 
Instead there is a bunch of if-then conditions where the dialogue that shows up is based on what the player has done/read before hand. To move the story forward, you solve puzzles and get items. Large portions of the story are locked away until you complete certain tasks.
 
I'm trying to find out if anybody knows of a method of how to write the script so that it is follow-able, not confusing, and easy to implement.
 
I'll tell you my current method. Right now I split up my files into three types: Character Outline, Character Script, Location Script.
 
Here is a screenshot of my google docs folder
 
d7O4IHA.jpg
 
In the character outline file, I try writing the story like in a normal writing style where I just outline what will happen and such.
 
Here is an example
 
MHIeowM.jpg
 
Then I have the character script file where I take what I wrote in the outline and turn it into an actual script.
 
Here is my example
 
MsLTeXY.jpg
 
It's the script of all the dialogue between the main character and that specific character. As you can see the writing doesn't really stand on it's own and it's hard to tell what is happening unless you wrote the entire thing which makes it hard for me to hire new writers. I also feel like later on, I'm going to have 50 if statements before a single line of dialogue, which can't be a good thing.
 
The last file I have is location script file which is very similar to the character script file but instead of all the dialogue that happens between the MC and one character it is all the things that happen in that specific location with all characters.
 
Here is my example of the Cafeteria Script
 
afXQ2pC.jpg
 
So that's how I'm trying to organize all the writing. As you can see, I don't think this method is working out quite well. For the first 10-20 minutes of game-play I already have like 30 different files created. I feel like the complexity will keep increasing exponential as I add more characters,quests, and objects.
 
Does anybody know a better way? Either a better way to organize all the files/documents or a third party software that specifically handles this type of writing?
Edited by timewizardstudios

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Point and click adventure is not really VNs, but whatever. The question is interesting nonetheless and could be interesting for VN creators as well in case they want to make a heavily branching plot.

Sadly I'm not sure I can come up with a simple solution. The best thing I can think for getting an overview of something this complex would be a database. Think something like VNDB. You can enter a VN and in that VN you can get a list of characters. You can then enter a character and get a list of VNs where that character is mentioned. You should build up something similar with quests and characters. Perhaps add a third entity for items, allowing specific items to be used in multiple quests. Build the game, have notes for each quest and character and once quests are well defined, you will have the ability to look up a quest and see all the interesting points in that quest, possibly with notes about order. You can also look up a character and get a list of quests that characters should take part in, which is the first step in planning a dialogue tree.

Another interesting point is that you should plan dialogue trees rather than dialogues. It seems you have different text depending on event flags. You should know the branching layout, possibly make notes about what topics to touch in each branch and then the last step is to fill out the details of each branch.

The most important issue with designing is to only try to accomplish one thing at a time. Do not try to design quest, dialogue tree and dialogue in the same step because you will end up focusing on one of those and sacrifice the other two and you will end up with two or three of those three parts being messed up.

I can't really answer the question of which software to use. I wrote that it is supposed to do, but I can't think of anything, which delivers such a functionality and telling you to code something from scratch is likely not a useful approach either.

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You might want to look into ink. Not a software package for writing point-and-click games, but rather a scripting language for writing branching dialogue and so on. It's written in C# and designed for Unity projects, but there's a JavaScript port, too. 

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