WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT TEXT PAUSES IN GAME DIALOG?

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unity
You're magical to me.
12577
Hello everyone! ^_^ Have you been playing an RPG, and character dialog will be displayed on the screen... but it will pause... between words for emphasis?

I don't tend to ever use this in my own games, and in the past, I have assumed, perhaps unfairly, that this sort of thing was cheap and unnecessary. The biggest bee in my bonnet was always text that slowly displayed o n e... l e t t e r... a t... a... t i m e .

So, my question is, can text pauses be used to build emphasis and emotion or even intensify conversations? Are they an unneeded crutch? Or do they work well in some games but not in others?
If you're creating an RPG in Japanese, then yeah, ellipses work perfectly (games in Japanese tend to have a ton of those :p) Things like "......", "......!", "......Well,"

But yeah, I think ellipses should be used sparingly and only when necessary (eg. when conveying deep thoughta etc.).

EDIT: Ah, in that case, I believe pauses are good to use on a situational basis. If executed correctly, pauses can pull off the right mood for the situation.
unity
You're magical to me.
12577
Oh, I should have been more clear. I mean when the engine itself pauses before or after displaying the characters, not just including the ellipses. Like "Jack... (game pauses for a second) ...I... I don't know how to tell you this... (another pause) I like (long pause) fried chicken."
When I have pauses, I allow the player to skip them at their leisure. The \! command is infinitely better than the \| command.

Sore Losers uses far too many forced pauses. It's one of the first things I'd correct if I were to release a patch for that game all these years later. I think it's a pretty rookie mistake to assume that the player wants to read everything at the same pace you think they should.
Red_Nova
The all around prick
9196
I like it when it's used in dialogue. Adding in short pauses to help convey the character's manner of speaking can do wonders for immersion. Adding in a 1/4 second pause if a character stutters, or a text pause if some action occurs that interrupts the flow of speech.

The Phoenix Wright games are great examples of text pause use. The words are written out and read just as the character speaks, so their mannerisms and mood are conveyed through text as well as their visuals. Just like any feature, it's all about implementation. Having pauses in every text box would get old very quickly, but having only one pause in the game would be jarring and out of place.
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7419
Always use \., never \|. \| is too much.

If you ever use an ellipsis (which proper storywriting says you should never, EVER, EVER do), encapsulate it with \s13 and \s0, but with brackets. It's like a second pause, but something's actually happening on screen to keep the player's attention.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5354
I HATE THESE SO MUCH

IRRATIONALLY SO

YOU ALREADY PUT IN AN ELLIPSIS THAT MEANS A PAUSE MOTHERFUCKER

I DON'T NEED TO READ REAL TIME AND I GET THE PICTURE NOW SHOW THE REST OF THE TEXT THIS ISN'T DRAMATIC IT'S ANNOYING AND TAKES ME OUT OF THE STORY >8(

It's basically like if you got to a dramatic part of a TV show, and then suddenly everyone just sort of stopped and looked around awkwardly for about a minute, then continued as though nothing had happened.

(ETA: A better example- If you were reading a book, then a dramatic pause happens and someone covers the rest of the page for an arbitrary length of time so you can appreciate the length of the pause. BITCH YOU ARE DISRUPTING MY FLOW BACK OFF.)

If a writer feels like they NEED a pause beyond an ellipsis, simply making the player manually advance the text window is all you need.

The s l o w a d v a n c e effect doesn't bother me as much, though it seems equally useless. I think it works better in Japanese, since they use phonemes rather than letters, so it actually reads as someone emphasizing each bit, rather than playing spelling bee. (To illustrate, an equivalent for "s l o w a d v a n c e" would be "slow ad vance." It really doesn't work at all in English. :/ )

Still, it can be tolerable if used REALLY sparingly for dramatic emphasis. Though there are soooo many better and more natural-seeming methods of emphasis in English. Ain't nothin' wrong with bold, italics, underline, ALL CAPS, streeeeeetching ouuuuuuut wooooorrrrrrds, etc.
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7419
author=Sooz
streeeeeetching ouuuuuuut wooooorrrrrrds, etc.

That sounds terrible.

author=Sooz
(ETA: A better example- If you were reading a book, then a dramatic pause happens and someone covers the rest of the page for an arbitrary length of time so you can appreciate the length of the pause. BITCH YOU ARE DISRUPTING MY FLOW BACK OFF.)


I hear the fans now, "Oh c'mon, that's an iconic scene; and besides, that's a few hours in. FF6 is soo good."


And don't worry, everybody, I'm not singling out FF6 (although I really don't see what makes it so memorable); I can shit on FF7 and FF8 all day, too.
author=Sooz
I HATE THESE SO MUCH

IRRATIONALLY SO

YOU ALREADY PUT IN AN ELLIPSIS THAT MEANS A PAUSE MOTHERFUCKER

I DON'T NEED TO READ REAL TIME AND I GET THE PICTURE NOW SHOW THE REST OF THE TEXT THIS ISN'T DRAMATIC IT'S ANNOYING AND TAKES ME OUT OF THE STORY >8(

(...)

If a writer feels like they NEED a pause beyond an ellipsis, simply making the player manually advance the text window is all you need.

^^^^

I was going to say "hate".
Here we go ~
Go for "...", go for blank spaces you can then procceed from, thats fine. Don't make me wait for no good reason, I read fairly quickly, too.

Which reminds me I need to tell someone I was playtesting a game for this. Because they are everywhere ...
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5354
author=Corfaisus
author=Sooz
streeeeeetching ouuuuuuut wooooorrrrrrds, etc.
That sounds terrible.


Better than implying that every letter- including ones that wouldn't be pronounced!- is being p r o n o u n c e d s e p a r a t e l y

Also none of your examples are what I'm talking about so vOv
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
14510
I think there are a few usage cases where they don't annoy me. I will say right off that they don't really fit happy-go-lucky or energetic games.

-Suspenseful and/or dark games. I think that a quarter-second after commas and periods adds a bit of weight to dialogue, especially if it's a game with little text but every sentence matters. Karsuman and I did this in Visions & Voices because it fits all three of those criteria.

-To fuck with the player while establishing characterization. Naturally, Undertale comes to mind. Ace Attorney does this too. It's hard to imagine an Undertale where everybody talks at the same pace, especially with contrasting characters like Mettatron and Alphys. And with AA, Wendy Oldbag wouldn't be herself if shedidn'ttalkatarapidpaceandautoclosethetextboxsoyoucan'tevenreadwhatshe'ssaying. Compare to weighty characters like Quercus Alba or Von Karma, who use deliberate pauses to show the player that THEY are in control, even of the text speed.

-because you don't know how to make english games
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
14510
i was looking for just a gif but couldn't find it. thanks darken
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7419
Undertale, yes! Spoilers: but when shit gets real with a particular character, they slow down the text to a single letter every half second or so and every letter hits you like a pile-driver.

author=Darken

It's even better than I remember.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5354
Leaving aside the punchline, I think the YT comparison is even better, since it shows the dramatic difference in how much information is conveyed in one character in Japanese vs. English: one character might be a phoneme, or an entire word, so the information comes a lot faster.
Ratty524
The 524 is for 524 Stone Crabs
12986
I don't find anything wrong with text pauses, so long as they are used deliberately to help "color" your writing.

I especially love it in the sense that it treats the message window as being more than just a functional way to show you text without voice-overs. It gives you a picture as to how dialogue is spoken without hearing anything.

Undertale is certainly not the first game to do this, not by a long stretch, but it is a good example of how text pauses are used well. Heck, you can argue that the entire message system is done well in that game, with how the text sound effect changes to identify certain characters, and the message speed as a whole is played around with to really create a mood. Notice how Mettaton displays his message word by word as oppose to letter by letter? You really got the sense that he was a robot that way, just for example.

So yeah, I don't mind it when used properly, and I think more people should play around with it. I don't think it also has to be exclusive to "whimsical" games, either.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5354
author=Ratty524
It gives you a picture as to how dialogue is spoken without hearing anything.


This is literally what an ellipsis is for, just saying.
I'm likely guilty of doing the \. and \| in my game Veritas, but then I realized I could use \! instead. So I'll split up sentences, sometimes, with \!.

Of course in my current game I'm going for a Roguelike flavor where everything is old-school, so the text displays instantly, with few exceptions. Gotta' love that \> command.
Ratty524
The 524 is for 524 Stone Crabs
12986
author=Sooz
author=Ratty524
It gives you a picture as to how dialogue is spoken without hearing anything.
This is literally what an ellipsis is for, just saying.

In a static book, yes, but in an interactive medium, why not have both?
In the game I'm making, the text engine I've built doesn't have pauses (yet?). It displays all of the text at once. If I were to incorporate pauses, I'd currently have to do it in blocks of text, with the player's button press advancing each pause.

P.S. Ellipses are also used formally as a bridge between two pieces of dialogue (the same way quotations mark something somebody said). In this manner, it's appropriate to use ellipses even when showing a pause with the software itself. They're not just the pause conveyor, they're the pause demarcation.
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