Top Tips for Writing Dialogue in Games

by Arya Wirendra Published January 14, 2024
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Starting an indie game can be extremely exciting. But, it is also a huge challenge, especially when it comes to writing interesting dialogues. As an indie game developer, you need to craft engaging dialogue to make your game world more immersive for the players.

In this article, we’ll share some tips that will help you improve your dialogue writing skills.

This article is part of a series on game narrative and writing.

Be concise

Your game’s visuals and gameplay can be distracting so it’s important to be brief. People who play games like when things are short and to the point. A famous game writer named Has Hofman said this was a good idea, and we agree. So, when you want to tell players what to do, remember to KISS: keep it short and simple.

Don’t force lore on to the players

Respect the player’s time and attention. While lore is essential, don’t force-feed it. Follow the lead of successful games like Dragon Age and Elden Ring. These games offer lore through optional side quests or codex entries. This allows players to choose when to delve into the world’s intricacies without compromising the main narrative’s flow.

Think about the character

When you write, be sure to consider the character archetypes and how that person would communicate based on their character backstory.

Make use of “uh-ohs” and “wows” 🐶

When you play a video game, you might hear characters make little comments like “wow” or "uh-oh". These are called barks, and they can make the game feel more real. But sometimes barks can be annoying or distracting. To make good barks, you should think carefully about what the characters are saying and why. Make sure that each bark is different and important, so that the game is more fun to play.

Use easy-to-understand words and phrases

Don’t use old-fashioned language that’s boring and overused. Take a cue from modern fantasy shows like Game of Thrones. Use words that are easy to understand and interesting, and mix in some relatable language so that players don’t get overwhelmed with weird words they’ve never heard before. But, be careful not to take this too far into modern slang.

Keep learning

Constantly read and write from various resources, online or offline, to improve your dialogue skills. A great place to start is with short story writers such as Hemingway and Chekhov.

Apart from prolific writers, we recommend that you study the work of well-known copywriters like Laura Belgray. Incredible copywriting might also teach you to express yourself clearly and effectively.

Don’t limit yourself. Expose yourself to a variety of languages and cultures so you can incorporate different styles and influences into your own way of communicating.

Don’t sweat it

Accept that not everyone will remember every single thing you say. Instead, focus on creating moments that are memorable and lines that make an impact. Even if some people don’t engage with all of your written content, it’s important to make the ones they do engage with count.

Conclusion

In conclusion, becoming skilled at crafting dialogue is a challenging but rewarding journey for indie game developers. If you keep learning and expanding your skills in creating engaging dialogues, you can create an unforgettable gaming experience for players. So, keep working hard and enjoy the process!

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