I made a visual representation of how many hotspot descriptions and combos go into an adventure game room.

I love adventure games, but I've always been bothered by how most will just yell back the same "I can't do that" variation at you whenever you try using an object on a hotspot.

I've been working on my own adventure for a while, and one of my ambitions was to have custom responses to all item and hotspots combinations, plus multiple descriptions for pretty much everything.

So I was toiling away at writing these things, and - being an artist by trade - I got increasingly curious about how these would look represented visually.

The gif only shows hotspot descriptions and item to hotspot combinations. Not pictured - item to item combos, and most importantly, actual dialogue between characters which holds by far the most lines of text.

The Math

Really quick, dirty and very loose math: my game has 50 screens, with an average of 200 description lines per room, that's 10,000 lines of dialogue. Let's add item to item combos in the inventory - with an average of 10 items per chapter, that's 100 inventory combos per chapter; at 7 chapters in the game, that's 700 lines. We can safely round that up to 11,000 lines. Some might be repeated, but 99% of them aren't.

Add to that such a boatload of actual character dialogue that I won't event try quantifying... And we're voicing everything.

I guess what I'm saying is, even though I'm very happy to be able to pull this off (and it's NOT easy, especially being an Eastern European studio paying mostly American actors), I have a newfound understanding for games that just say "I can't do that". I still wish they tried harder, I still want my playing character not to sound like a broken record, but I understand why they did that. I do believe the way we do it makes for a much more entertaining and believable world, and connects the player to the character more.

My sympathy goes out to anyone of you making a narrative-driven game with tons and tons of dialogue. It is incredibly fun, and a great way to really show your creativity - I love juggling art, animation, music and creative writing - but there's just SO much work behind it, especially for just one writer. Kudos (do the cool kids still say that?) to games who pulled this off in the past, like Josh Mandel's games who pioneered this, Edna & Harvey, Homestuck more recently... If anyone can think of any others, please let me know, I'm eager to play them.

If there's anyone on here working on a game that has tons of text, be it adventure, VN, RPG, I'm curious to hear about your experience, and how you deal with the workload.

I know adventure games haven't exactly been hot shit for a while now, so thanks for reading, hopefully this was interesting to some of you.

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