Hey, look! It’s a new category! I’m actually a bit disappointed that I haven’t talked about this sooner, because a good workflow is absolutely essential to the development process (or at least mine), and the use of tools in improving my personal workflow is absolutely massive. A tool simplifies the process to get something in game and working, which makes the entire process easier and faster on me. The tool I have been using for almost the entirety of this last week is a the narrative tool our lead programmer, Silas, made for me to help me implement dialogue throughout the world.
The tool creates the base behavior of allowing the player to place the capacitor in the correct spot, and then brings up dialogue and some visuals. It then has space for me to implement the dialogue, place and tweak the visuals, and set a color for everything. This allows me to hone in specifically on the narrative aspects of the interaction, making sure that it tells the story I want it to tell, without having to worry about the base functionality of the system every time I want to bring in a new bit of dialogue.
The time we have left to develop Protocol Aurora is almost at an end. We are going to be gold master (a term which refers to the completed version of the game, from back when games would be put on a single disk and sent to the publishers, and all other versions of that game would be copied from that disk) at the end of next week. This means, in addition to helping with level polishing and improving feedback, I’m working in my last stretch to get the narrative into the game and make sure it is understandable.
This is where the narrative tool really makes things easier on me, because it allows me to get into a smooth workflow for placing the interactions, and blast out the content that needs to be implemented. While there are a few things that need to be tweaked individually for each interaction, such as the placement of the visuals and the actual dialogue, having the tool allows me to mass-edit connected events, changing colors quickly and easily, updating the connections between the dialogue, and making sure the visuals are appearing and disappearing like they are supposed to.
And, if I do something wrong, it’s a small matter to go back to the offending interaction, and adjust a single thing in order to get it how I want it to be, without having to redo everything else that is a part of the interaction.
Between Silas’ work, and the work of our tech artist Robin, the narrative tool helps create fun, functional, and attractive interactions for players who enjoy lore in games.