While I did not even come close to accomplishing my goal of a full dialog pass before my vacation, I am back at it, finally. I should have known. The dialog pass is a huge amount of content, especially because it tends to reveal new features that I didn’t have before that have to be added.
In this case, I needed to add a feature to my dialog system that checks to see if the player has a particular piece of evidence in their inventory. If so, a selected dialog option appears. If not, you get one less option to pick from.
I spent most of today’s dev time developing this new feature. Fortunately, it was pretty straightforward: just tell the dialog system which response is the “special” one, along with what particular piece of inventory needs to be there. It looks to see if anything has been specified. If not, it just goes along its merry way. If evidence has been specified, it checks the player inventory. It the player’s got it, great, you get the dialog option. If not, you don’t get it.
To test this quickly, however, I needed to install some new debug cheats. In professional game development, you can bet there are numerous cheats that the devs can use, lest they have to play the game from front-to-back every single time. A laborious process! For this dialog feature, I needed to install the cheat because otherwise it would be a 3-4 minute process of playing the previous chapter that actually had the needed evidence in it, collecting that evidence, AND completing the interrogation (my game’s “combat” as such) for that chapter. Probably more like 5 minutes, actually.
Having to grind for five minutes just to arrive at a test case is an eternity in game dev. Far better to spend about the same amount of time once coding up a debug cheat. My debug cheat just scans the game world for all evidence and stuffs it ALL in my inventory. So it basically awards the player the entire game’s worth of evidence in one button push!
This worked well, fortunately. Except for one amusing thing- when you collect evidence, a friendly little chime plays. When you cheat, that chime plays except it stacks for every piece of evidence! So now you get a speaker shattering, distorted BLAST of sound. Pretty surprising the first time!
With this done, I suspect the rest of the dialog pass should go quicker, as I don’t foresee having to add any more gameplay features to the system. Just author that content!
Until next time, detectives…