Branching Conversations – Update #4

Branching conversations are the staple of cRPGs. They reinforce the feeling that the player has meaningful choice in the game, as well as that they are indeed role-playing a character.

In Elemental Enigma you will talk to NPCs, as well as inspect objects and solve puzzles using a branching conversation system. Often the skills and the abilities of the player character, as well as the whole party, will be tested to unlock special conversation options. Choices in-game, as well the order in which the player chooses to pursue quests, will have an impact on them as well.

The idea is that the full game cannot be experienced in a single play-through, that how the player chooses to develop their character, how they choose to interact with the game world, will put them on their own path. Some differences will be minor, some may end up being major, but the end goal is to give the player choices, and have these choices matter.

Of course, building a game with many branches and options can get complicated. It’s important to track and react to what the player has done and how. Data required to make it work can blow up in size very, very quickly. Thankfully that is not a new problem and many games, have managed to deal with it. Knowledge and processes developed by others are being employed while making Elemental Enigma so that the best possible, most immersive experience can be provided to the player.

In the currently developed demo, there are already a number of branching interactions. Here’s an example of the data structure used to define one of them: