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writing in dating sims

Posted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:20 pm
by REDREDSWAP
hi! i'm currently working on a game that has the structure of a dating sim and i need insight.

how do you all, as players of the game, expect the level of writing to be? are straightforward one-liners suitable or boring and dull? or would richer dialogues be better or too troublesome to read? which style is more suitable for dating sim in your opinion?

Re: writing in dating sims

Posted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:00 am
by Desertopa
Definitely overwhelmingly in favor of richer dialogues and character development. Without compelling dialogue, I can really only muster up about as much enthusiasm for the romance as I could mashing a couple of dolls' faces together and pretending they're kissing.

Re: writing in dating sims

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:11 am
by Mutive
What do you mean by 'one liners'? (e.g. dialogue that's only a sentence long? That's not strange...that's how most people talk!)

But I do like a reasonable amount of dialogue. It makes sense to me to get to know characters by talking to them. (However, I don't mind description or narrative, either. Sometimes characters are quiet and shouldn't be expected to say much. Also, I'd far prefer, 'and then they talked until late in the night' than 10,000 words describing every last word the characters said, much of which might be exceedingly boring.)

Re: writing in dating sims

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:26 pm
by AntisocialMilkshake
I like richer dialogues! They're more interesting and fun in my opinion.

Re: writing in dating sims

Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:32 pm
by nerupuff
Within the community, I think you will find that a lot of the people would prefer richer dialogues. In a sense, we want to be able to connect to the characters you will present in a dating sim, so that we can take interest in them and pursue them over the course of the game. Richer dialogue increases the interest the player will have in choosing one dateable character over the others. Otherwise, it would just become boring, and not much incentive is taken from it.

Re: writing in dating sims

Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:26 pm
by jdhthegr8
One option is to explore a character's inner thoughts. You could have a protagonist who thinks more than they say, or thinks many things they might not say out loud; you could also have a scene or scenes play out from the perspective of another character to explore their internal thoughts. It all has to be done intelligently of course, because you still want the dialogue to make sense. But there is a lot of room for exploring through that. Some of my favorite stories have just as much or even more lines of character actions and internal thoughts than spoken dialogue.

Re: writing in dating sims

Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:32 pm
by gekiganwing
REDREDSWAP wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:20 pm
... how do you all, as players of the game, expect the level of writing to be?
If there's an emphasis on gameplay, then I don't expect too much story. Having said that, I appreciate the following:

* A conflict. The main character wants to achieve a specific goal, and someone / something is preventing them from achieving that goal.
* Characters who are more than they appear to be. In a comedy, sometimes it's okay to feature one-note characters. Otherwise, I appreciate it when main charas have flaws, goals, social lives, and so on.
* Brisk pacing. Even in a slice of life story, tension can make sense. Don't tack on combat scenes or chase scenes. At the same time, strive to make the characters proactive.
REDREDSWAP wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:20 pm
... are straightforward one-liners suitable or boring and dull?
It would be amusing to see a character deliver an action movie one-liner. :P Especially if it fits their personality.

Re: writing in dating sims

Posted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:39 pm
by REDREDSWAP
Mutive wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:11 am
What do you mean by 'one liners'? (e.g. dialogue that's only a sentence long? That's not strange...that's how most people talk!
mmmh well, when i comes more to actions. for example, gameplay resume itself to player chooses an activity for the evening -> short description of said action, usually a stat building one (e.g "i went to work and earned 120$!") or an interaction with a love interest (e.g they have a conversation and from choices the player makes out of menus, said stats go up or down). it's usually very straight-forward and chosen events are over after a few clicks which, to a certain extent, is understandable since a dating sim, due to its nature, is massive. i mean, if it goes on for 30 days-ish, that can get pretty long :O

i totally agree with you, one-liners are a MUST with dialogues. nobody talks 5 sentences at a time, that would be suffocating to sustain and to listen hahaha. however, when it comes to everything outside of dialogues (inner-thoughts, descriptions, etc.) do you think richer writing would weigh down the game and impact gameplay in a negative way or it would make it better?

Re: writing in dating sims

Posted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:25 pm
by REDREDSWAP
Desertopa wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:00 am
Definitely overwhelmingly in favor of richer dialogues and character development. Without compelling dialogue, I can really only muster up about as much enthusiasm for the romance as I could mashing a couple of dolls' faces together and pretending they're kissing.
oh lord, you described it perfectly. that's the direction my game is taking right now and it's horrendous. however, even though not ideal, i think one-liners work in dating sims with archetypes??

Re: writing in dating sims

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:53 am
by Desertopa
REDREDSWAP wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:25 pm

oh lord, you described it perfectly. that's the direction my game is taking right now and it's horrendous. however, even though not ideal, i think one-liners work in dating sims with archetypes??
Could you give examples of what you have in mind?

There are always some audiences who'll go for a work that hits notes they already know they like, even if it's not very colorful and there isn't much depth to it, but on the other hand, if the characters feel too much like a rehash of standard cliches, that can also irritate audiences even more than if their personalities were minimal, but more original.

That's not to say that you can't express a lot of personality with dialogues of limited length. Although it only falls very broadly into the "dating sim" category, I'd point to Crush Crush as a game which does a good job winning players over with limited amounts of dialogue per character. But achieving that kind of charm with short dialogues is very demanding in terms of writing, and it's really not any easier than winning audiences over with longer conversations. You give them less time to get bored per-conversation, but if you don't give them enough reason to get invested in the characters, it doesn't matter, because they'll quickly get bored with the game as a whole. The actual quantities of text don't necessarily have to be very large, but I don't think there's really a way around needing some degree of engaging writing to get players invested in your characters.

Re: writing in dating sims

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:33 am
by Mutive
REDREDSWAP wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:39 pm

mmmh well, when i comes more to actions. for example, gameplay resume itself to player chooses an activity for the evening -> short description of said action, usually a stat building one (e.g "i went to work and earned 120$!") or an interaction with a love interest (e.g they have a conversation and from choices the player makes out of menus, said stats go up or down). it's usually very straight-forward and chosen events are over after a few clicks which, to a certain extent, is understandable since a dating sim, due to its nature, is massive. i mean, if it goes on for 30 days-ish, that can get pretty long :O

i totally agree with you, one-liners are a MUST with dialogues. nobody talks 5 sentences at a time, that would be suffocating to sustain and to listen hahaha. however, when it comes to everything outside of dialogues (inner-thoughts, descriptions, etc.) do you think richer writing would weigh down the game and impact gameplay in a negative way or it would make it better?
Okay, that makes more sense!

For me, a lot would depend on a combination of factors. How interesting is the description you add? Does it repeat? (Anything that repeats again and again I tend to prefer to be simple. e.g. if every time you go to work, the same dialogue repeats, I'd prefer something like, "I went to work and earned $100" to "I went to work. My boss was riding my butt again, whining about how I need to clean the counters better. I used the right solvent and everything, but he just went on and on about..." because I'm going to start skimming after a point if I see this 95 times.)

Also, one thing I've learned from description in fiction is that, typically, the more words used, the more important it is.

So if you're describing meeting a major love interest, more richness is highly desirable. (Because you want people to REMEMBER that meeting her is important.)

OTOH, if it's literally just, "Go to work, make money" describing the scene in a TON of detail is clue to readers that the scene is more important than it really is, which can be super confusing.