FORMATTING DIALOG OUTSIDE THE EDITOR

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Red_Nova
The all around prick
7612
For my Ace* project, I type up all my dialogue in a Word document to catch any careless spelling mistakes:


If you're wondering about the spacing, it's written in such a way to make copy/pasting dialog much easier. The dialogue is formatted to accommodate the four line limit of each box, and the long string of numbers at the bottom of the screen is the width limit of the dialog box, so I know not to write past that. I use 11 pt Courier font to make sure the text size translates as best it can when added to the editor. The result of all this work is that I can just copy/paste the entire scene into one dialog box (with Batch Entry checked, of course), save, then bam. All the dialog boxes are written and cleanly formatted.

That's the theory, at least. And 90% of the time, it works.

The problem is that's a lot of guesswork on my part, and the margin for error is pretty small. If one single line is off, the entire format of the scene from then on gets borked. This means I'll have to either painstakingly redo every line in the scene (which is a nightmare for lengthy scenes), or just scrap the boxes, take another look at the text in Word, and try to figure out where the misplaced line is.

If I'm just being lazy and the solution is to just suck it up and deal with it, then fine. I can do it, as I've been doing it so far, but I can't help but wonder if there's a better, more precise way to write dialogue outside the editor?

For those of you that write your dialog outside RM: How, if at all, do you format your text? Do you use Word as well? Or is there some magical program that handles all of this for you? Magic would be nice. I like magic.


*: I say Ace because I'm unsure if my setup will work for 2k3, MV, etc. and if there are solutions specific to different engines.
Melkino
solos collectors on purpose
2021
I do almost all of it in OneNote. Text written in it is stored in containers, and you can drag those containers wider or narrower to approximate the width of in-game text. The vertical gray lines below are an example:



From there it's just a matter of triple clicking, copying over, cleaning up stray spaces, and typing in nameboxes (usually with a personal Autohotkey script to save more time). I'm not sure how well all this would work with RM's batch entry; I personally never used it. >_>

But I really like Onenote for areas where I have much less space to work with and need to find places to put manual line breaks, like bestiary entries and quest objectives. (the stuff on the right were old notes to myself, but I hope they help explain what I'm trying to say, haha)

These days I've been into plaintext writing when I want to bang out a rough draft without having to fuss with formatting. I like Atom because it lets me customize the UI and text to be completely dark and easier on my eyes.
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
19479
I absolutely use Open Office to type out my dialog (and sometimes scene direction, such as when to use emotion-bubbles). However, I leave the formatting until I go into the message box command, paste what I have, then use the Preview option to see where the best place to put line-breaks are. There's been times that I've done this, and find I've written a sentence takes up more space than what the message box allows. Which, in turn, causes me to revise what's being said so that it can fit!

Maybe it's not the best system, or the most efficient one. However, I've been doing this since Matsumori Days.

*Edit: RMText (or whatever the program was called) was a good tool to use for Might and Magic TsuK. It might be usable for TsuK3/2K3 and the other engines, but, of course, I've never really tired it outside of that game. Maybe Veil of Darkness too?
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7612
OneNote. Sounds. Magical. You sold me on it with just about every sentence you made. Based on the screens, it looks a lot easier to work with for line breaks and organization purposes, but I'll have to play with it to see if it will work with batch entry.

Haven't heard of Atom, so I'll give that a shot, too. Thanks for showing me this, Melkino!

Marrend, I used to have the same problem with inconsistencies between previews and message boxes. I think it's due to the subtle space difference in fonts and size, which is why I was recommended to type in 11 pt. Courier font.

Of course, if your game uses a different font, then it probably won't work as intended, but after switching to that method, I haven't had a problem as often anymore.
Interesting topic! I personally think that this is the way to go:

To each their own, I suppose.
Never found a good solution for this. I write the dialog outside the editor in a spellchecked environment, then copy it into RM and add the line breaks there. If any of the spacing is off, I'll fix it when I notice it ingame. I'm probably playing through the scene a dozen times anyway to get the pauses and movement right anyway.

But this OneNote sounds very convenient. Maybe I'll try it out and speed up some development.
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7612
I am in love with OneNote. Melkino, you just cut my workload and headaches in half at the very least!



As I said in the text above, OneNote lets you immediately highlight every line of text at a certain indentation level, so you can put little notes to yourself at higher indent levels without sacrificing formatting, which was impossible to do in Word.

I highlight and copy everything at indent level 1, start a text box in RM, check Batch Entry, then paste the entire contents of the cutscene into the box:



A quick playtest shows absolutely no formatting issues. If anything, this method lets me make the most out of each line of dialogue, as I can easily see just how much I can condense to one line without trial and error.

Yep. I'm switching to OneNote for all my dialogue-writing needs now with the added bonus of keeping other aspects of the game in one, easy to access location. Thanks so much for making me aware of this program!
Cap_H
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
6615
I use notepad and ms paint for everything.
author=Red_Nova
I highlight and copy everything at indent level 1, start a text box in RM, check Batch Entry, then paste the entire contents of the cutscene into the box:



This is impressive!
Granted, this isn't a OneNote forum... but... how do you highlight and copy everything at indent level 1? When I try to highlight, it just grabs everything.

Also, when you do a batch entry, do you have to include 4 lines of text for each batch for it to work? Do you do a carriage return at the end of each line of text for it to fit, or does the word wrap that occurs in OneNote carry on to RM without extra formatting?
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7612
author=djbeardo
This is impressive!
Granted, this isn't a OneNote forum... but... how do you highlight and copy everything at indent level 1? When I try to highlight, it just grabs everything.


Right click on the text box, then Select -> All at Level 1.

Also, when you do a batch entry, do you have to include 4 lines of text for each batch for it to work? Do you do a carriage return at the end of each line of text for it to fit, or does the word wrap that occurs in OneNote carry on to RM without extra formatting?


Yeah, you'll need to have four available lines in every dialog batch, whether you use them or not. Otherwise, the lines will spill over into different boxes when pasted into the engine. The example I showed above has correct spaces added, so use that as a reference.
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7645
For me (because I'm a no good Rm2k3'er), sometimes I write out my dialogue in Notepad and then run it through RMText, setting the character limit to 36 (maximum w/ faceset) and changing up the wording to make it fit as snugly into a perfect box as I can. Most times I can find an arrangement of words that is exactly 36 characters long for 3 lines (top line is usually reserved for a name plate), but it's not guaranteed.

Otherwise I just start with a general idea of how I want the scene to play out (usually basing it off a rough draft written up in my development notes document) and immediately type it into RMText and let it play out as it will.

VX and VX Ace are mixed bags in that it's impossible to tell exactly how many characters you can fit on one line, but the developers did us a huge solid by implementing a built-in test display so that we wouldn't have to go through the old method of trying stuff over and over again to make sure it fits (such was the nightmare of RM before RMText came out). For those, I just have an idea of what I want to be said and then reword it so that it fits in the amount of pixels allowed. If even half a period is cut off, I rewrite it so that I can tell there's some sort of gap left over.
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