Due to events I couldn’t possibly have foreseen, the game has been delayed again. Sorry about that.
However, today I started working on a sprite and on a tileset. It goes slow but nicely.
To make up for the delay, I decided to talk about my work on the Pier Solar NPC script a bit.
When I wrote it, I first spoke with the director Fonzie to get some direction and suggestions. There were a lot of events in the towns of Pier Solar, and there were over a dozen towns, so the NPC script required a lot of work. There were 13 towns, of which 3 were small and one was gigantic (it had several districts, a school, a mine and two docks).
When writing, I tried to write lines which fit the town setting. For example, in one of the towns in the mangrove jungle, they talk about eating wild animals, while in the more civilized town’s poor district they talk about unemployment. I read the story script to see if anything in particular needed to be said by the NPCs of any town.
To get a good mix of different characters and lines, I made sure to have children, adults and seniors in all towns, and about as many of both sexes. The lines were categorized as such:
- Everyday life. Some towns had not much to do with the story other than being a pass-through area, so some NPCs just talked about their normal life. Cooking, sleeping and relationships are some typical subjects.
- Story events. I always tried to attach some NPCs to the story. That could lead to some clues for the player. But often these lines were already written in the main script.
- Sidequests. There weren’t many sidequests in the game, but when there were the NPCs gave hints on were to find them or how to beat them. Sometimes, when there wasn’t a sidequest nearby, I wrote a hint to find a hidden chest or getting an item by them. The later was complicated to script though, so there weren’t that many characters like that.
- Battles. Again, this was hard to write, because when I wrote the NPC script, most of the battle work hadn’t been implemented in the game yet, and writing it later wasn’t possible because the script was to be translated in several different languages (and one of the directors understandably didn’t want them to re-translate later). But when I could write about battles, the characters gave hints on how to beat some enemies, for example destroying a turtle egg before it hatches and the turtle baby attacks you.
- Jokes. Yes, I love humour and wanted to include a lof of it in the game. A review I read of the game had an NPC line in its headline and ended its review with another. That made me very glad!
A lot of inspiration came from my own life. Lines by the small kids were often stuff I heard when I was a small kid myself, and lines by the seniors were often quotes from the seniors I take care of at my job. I remember having a small notebook where I wrote down their quotes, which I later re-typed on the computer when I came home. I also had a notebook next to my bed. Another things I did was playing some 16-bit RPGs to see how the NPCs in those games were. But I was determined to write in my own style and touched on subjects never included in those games.
Another thing I implemented was naming a few NPCs to people who pre-ordered the posterity version of the game. There are about one character per town named this way.
Most NPCs had several lines, spoken at different occasions in the story, “before event A”, “after event A” etc. I tried to make mini-stories of their lines. Often they had a trouble during the first line, and then a solution for the second line.
When the script was written, I worked with the story and script writer Sean to proof-read and edit it. Then, much later, I put the lines into the game. This was also a lot of work. I had to choose character sprite, place this character on the map and how the character moves, if he/she does. I wanted as much variety as possible. There were some drawn characters which just had a single frame and no animation, I focused them on characters which were standing still, such as shop owners. One mistake I did was the speed of the characters. I thought the number, 00-99, would make a faster character if the it was higher, but it was the other way around. So most kids in the game are really slow while the seniors are running around. Whoops!
That is all! If you have any questions, please let me know!