I thought I would repost this gem from one of my favorite writers in the whole wide world, who posted on the Foundry forums in a response to when dialogue becomes too long. What does one do? Kestrel writes –
Wall of text crits for 9000!
One of the things I’ve learned working on STO is that writing for a video game is very different than writing a novel or a script for a television show or movie. You have to consider everything — does that background info *really* need to be there? Could I just use a line of floater dialogue instead, or could it be cut entirely?
So how do you balance story with action? Couple of tricks that might help:
1. I tend to split my dialogue up into chunks that you can read without a lot of scrolling. If I’m writing something that takes more than two screens, I go back and look at it again. Not every word is golden — there’s almost always something that can be cut.
2. Sometimes there are things I want to add that are good for the story, but not essential to the mission. An example would be the logs of the experiments in “Coliseum.” We made reading them completely optional. The console was there if you wanted to use it, but you didn’t need to do so to advance the mission. That way, the people want to take the time got something extra, but those who just wanted to get on with the mission could do so.
3. Along the same lines, you’ll notice that a lot of our dialogue sticks have a “OK, I’m done” option. At any time, a player can choose that, close the dialogue stick and continue with the mission. Yes, if they do so, they’re going to miss out on some of the story, but that’s the way they want to play. It’s not my place to tell them how to have fun.
Hope this helps!
Yes Kestrel, it does.