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NPC Dialogue Do's and Don'ts

petuuuhhh

Active member
#1
Hi guys! Pt. 2 of my posts for today. What are the do's and don'ts of NPC dialogue in a Pokemon game? I'm working on my hack and it's really difficult to come up with dialogue beyond the basic competitive blabber. I would like to spice it up, if possible. I've always felt like the main games have done well in the dialogue department, but I've never been able to pinpoint what it is about the dialogue that I like so much. In this thread, I would like to see some examples of good NPC dialogue. Some of the most memorable dialogue can be silly things like, "Shorts are comfy and easy to wear!", so it shouldn't take much for dialogue to work well in a game.
 

Aperso

Moderator
Moderator
#2
Besides competitive dialogue, hints & tips are a nice thing to put about I.e. point out a certain pokemon that is available in the area.
Or spurt out random facts about the pokemon the trainer has. Like when a pokemon evolves. Or how an item can improve them in battle. Especially useful when new items or evolution conditions are changed.
 
#3
What I happen to do quite often is having some of the NPCs talk about useful background information either about the area you're currently at, or nearby places. I also try to come up with something unique to be shown quite often. These unique things can be storyline related events, structures and stuff happening there, just random events on the way (as an example, cutting tall grass blocks for making a grassless path for a girl to pass to the town close by).

Naturally for storyline related events - especially if something dramatic happens, NPCs have something to say about them. Similarly if you can involve an NPC with some random events, you may not have to pick up anything else for them to say.

What comes to structures such schools, libraries, prisons, temples etc., if you can pick up a reason for having a special area at a town or a route in between, it's all but natural to have NPCs tell you about it. They could talk about history related to that structure, seeing some shady character close to one (in case some gameplay related event involving this character would happen soon) and so on.

There are plenty of ways for generating interesting NPC dialogue when you have something to tie them onto. If there is nothing other than gameplay related stuff like "Potions restore your Pokemon health." or "Let's battle - Oh.. I lost." the NPCs could talk about, the region isn't probably very interesting either. So use your imagination! Come up with interesting events and possible history for the places the player is about to see. That way you don't have to try coming up with unique dialogues for generic NPCs. Of course even while having something the NPCs should talk about, there will always be generic trainers and NPCs. But even these can be tried to have their unique ways of communicating like "Hahha! Betcha didn't see me coming!" if the trainer was hiding in such a way that he was (almost) unseenable.

These are just my takes on this though :) But yeah, I'll also agree with Aperso's points about providing hints during the journey. You can also try to introduce these in some context by having the NPC a reason in telling you whatever (s)he wants to tell. "Hey, did you know that you can find Pidgeotto in Route xx? Those could turn out useful if you want to take on gym leader yy who uses grass type Pokemon."