How to write great dialogue for your video game

Good dialogue is key to a great video game experience. It can make or break the player’s immersion, and it’s essential that you get it right. Here are a few tips to help you write great dialogue that will keep players engaged and entertained!

Dialogue between two ladies

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1. What is dialogue, and why is it important in video games?

Simply put, dialogue is the conversation between characters in a video game script. Dialogue is often one of the most important parts of any video game. Video games are able to tell stories in ways other mediums can’t. How it’s presented to players, however, sets certain limitations on what type of story can be told and how that story will be told. This often results in dialogue becoming one of the most important factors influencing how well the story is told, and if it’s done poorly, it can break the player’s immersion and ruin their experience. How you write dialogue for your game therefore has a huge impact on whether or not players enjoy playing it.

2. How do you write good dialogue for a computer game?

When writing dialogue for a game, it’s important to keep the player in mind. How you write your dialogue should be different from how you would write the same lines for a movie or a book. Players can hear and see things happening within your game as they play, so if your characters are speaking about an event that hasn’t actually happened yet within the context of the story, it can break immersion. You also have to make sure your dialogue fits seamlessly into the events occurring during gameplay.

You should let play testers help you with this process. When writing dialogue for a video game, make sure to get feedback from people playing it early on in the development process, and then keep it updating with fresh perspectives after each major story rework.

3. What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing dialogue for video games?

Writing dialogue that sounds natural, as if it weren’t written by a human being is one of the most common mistakes made when writing videogame dialogue. A lot of writers who have little experience with video games often fall into this trap. The flow and feel of your character’s speech should have some similarities to how real people speak in reality, so keep that in mind when you’re writing dialogue for your game.

An example of a silly mistake

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4. Avoid repetitive conversations & less can be more

Your game might only have a few NPCs, but that doesn’t mean they should always be saying the same lines of dialogue. Make sure to vary what you have each NPC say so players don’t become bored or annoyed by constantly hearing them talk about the same things. A great exception to this rule is the game Skyrim, because an arrow to the knee is just iconic and funny.

Sometimes cutting a lot of the clutter is the best solution to a dialogue problem. If a character’s dialogue has a lot of unnecessary words, it might be best to just cut some of them out to avoid boring players or adding too much quantity without respecting quality to your sentences.

Repetitive design

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5. How can I improve dialogue that I’ve already written?

If your dialogue isn’t getting the response you’re looking for, go back over it and look for places where it can be shortened or improved. How to improve dialogue? You could change what the character is saying, who they’re speaking to, how they’re saying it, or even where they are when they say it. Dialogue should sound natural and help move the game forward.

If it’s not doing either of those things, you might need to do some reworking or rewriting to make it more effective.

6. Tips to make your in game conversations sound natural and believable

To write dialogue that sounds natural, you should first think about how people speak in real life. How do certain words and phrases flow together? How can you structure your sentences so they sound as realistic as possible? How would the character be feeling at the moment they’re speaking? How does their personality influence how they talk to other characters?

A great tip is to try to think of what people you know might say in any given situation. Drawing on real life experience is an effective way to get a sense of the flow and rhythm of speech that sounds natural.

And don’t forget to let your play testers know what you want them to accomplish while they’re testing out your dialogue. How will their decisions change how characters respond? How does your game’s story alter based on choices players make? If you have play testers, let them know what you’re looking for while they play.

7. How to write if there are more than two people talking?

When writing dialogue for more than two people, some writers choose to put their NPCs’ speech in another font or add an extra line after each speaker’s dialogue. How do you write if there are more than 2 people talking? Doing this makes it easier to figure out who is saying what and how all of the characters fit into a conversation.

If you want to make an even more advanced conversation, you could have characters interrupt other NPC’s where it’s appropriate to the player characteristics. People interrupt other people all the time in real life, so it should happen in games also. This is an advanced concept, so you must really pay attention to what you’re doing and not rush the writing.

A Group having a conversation

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A recap of what you’ve learnt about dialogue in games:

Think about how certain words and phrases flow together? How can you structure your sentences so they sound as realistic as possible? How would the character be feeling at the moment they’re speaking? How does their personality influence how they talk to other characters?

If you have no answer to any of these questions, you have to think about rewriting your existing dialogue & finding proper motivations for conversations to seem more real. A good way to do this is just to create parodies of your friends and incorporate them into the game (don’t tell them you did this though!).

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