Another Example of Technique Stacking

As you know, I stress the use of Emotioneering Techniques in combination. In the film noir bar scene, four techniques are used:

  1. She talks about Kyle, so she and Kyle have Chemistry.

  2. The dialogue is interesting. He has one trait (Dry Humor), and she has one (Depressed). (See Chapter 2.3, "Dialogue Interesting Techniques.") And it stays within the noir style.

  3. The scene itself is interesting in that it reverses itself. She starts by flirting with you and ends by talking about Kyle, whom we presume she has feelings for. (For more on these kinds of reversals and other ways to make cinematics interesting, see Chapter 2.31, "Pre-Rendered and In-Game Cinematics.")

  4. Suspense is present: Will she end up, at the end of the game, with you or with Kyle? (See Chapter 2.25, "Motivation Techniques.")

That's a lot of Emotioneering, crammed into a very short cinematic!

Underkill Is Sometimes Better than Overkill

In the example cinematic, I kept the extent of the woman's feelings about Kyle a bit vague, although we can sense she's concerned about him or she wouldn't have brought him up. Her last line was:

 WOMAN: A great day? What's that? (Pause) Kyle loved this place. 

Now I'll add an extra line at the end, so her dialogue becomes:

 WOMAN: A great day? What's that? (Pause)  Kyle loved this place. (Worried) I hope they  haven't messed him up. 

Let's look at the entire interchange, with this new ending:

 You walk into the bar. She's sitting there, a drink in front of her. She observes you as  you approach. WOMAN: You're the best thing I've seen all  day. SELF: I'm flattered -- but only if you've had a great day. WOMAN:  A great day? What's that? (Pause) Kyle loved this place. (Worried) I hope they  haven't messed him up. 

The interchange now has a fifth Emotioneering function: Worry. Worry is another NPC Dialogue Deepening Technique, so it gives her more depth.

This isn't to say her worry improves the cinematic; in fact, I think it definitely lessens it for two reasons:

  • Her worry diminishes the suspense that comes from the earlier version, where her feelings were more indeterminate about both you and Kyle and thus created suspense by making us wonder if she'd end up with you.

  • Simply by talking about Kyle in the earlier version, we can deduce she's worried about him. To then restate that ("I hope they haven't messed him up") is telling us something we already know, and thus is boring.



Creating Emotion in Games. The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
Creating Emotion in Games: The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
ISBN: 1592730078
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 394

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