Looking for a dialogue designer for a science fiction comedy vignette

I’m currently working on a project that could benefit greatly from the expertise of a collaborator here. It’s a hobby project, a mod for the game FreeSpace 2. Normally this is an arcadey space fighter shooter - essentially Star Wars in a different universe - but my mod takes a detour at Albuquerque and includes a section with a very different style of gameplay. This section requires the player to accomplish a goal through a series of dialogue trees.

The mod is a lighthearted parody of FreeSpace in particular and science fiction in general, with a sprinkling of memes and other humorous references. There is also the occasional lampshading and fourth-wall break. The player character is to some extent an AFGNCAAP but does have dialogue and a certain amount of characterization: he is a Terran fighter pilot who generally tries to play things straight in a universe where things go bonkers as often as not.

I’m looking primarily for someone who can help me with the dialogue tree design, although if you are also willing to do some writing, that would be welcome. During the scene, the player is being held prisoner on an alien transport. The goal of the scene is to escape, which involves first persuading the guard to let the player out of his restraints, and then tricking the guard into a moment of vulnerability that allows the player to attack. I read up on Emily Short’s storylet concept and I think that would be a good paradigm to follow, as I imagine the scene can be organized into a collection of storylets. Some storylets can be used to gather information, some can be used to increase (or decrease) progress, and some can be purely for entertainment.

Here is a demo of the beginning of the scene. The first few responses have been written and programmed. The artwork is not final; this is just placeholder art to block out the scene.


Are your dialogue trees/storylets written in the mod itself, or being pulled from a different source like a spreadsheet?

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They are being pulled from a text file which is loaded by a Lua script. I have the ability to write new Lua code if I need to, which means I could change the text file keywords, or even implement support for loading from a new file format. Or I could write a separate tool to transform another format into the text file format.

So any contributors can feel free to use their favorite design/authoring tool. I’ll take care of putting it into the mod.

It’s been a week so I’m bumping this. I really hope someone here will be willing to collaborate.

I decided to try sketching out a story structure and this is what I came up with:

I think because it’s hard to get a sense of how to contribute beyond what you’ve already done. You’ve already done the research into the concept of storylets, and having that framework to work from is a great start for building your narrative structure. You’re already sketching out character interactions and thinking through cause and effect.

Frankly, I think you’ve got this. The hard part now, of course, is putting words to page. If you get stuck with larger narrative framework questions or need folks to bang ideas off of, then perhaps bring that to the forum for brainstorming.

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Kylo Ren: NEVER obey her!
Stormtrooper: Yes sir!
KR: (leaves)
Rey: Release me!
S: I’ll tighten the restraints, rebel scum!
R: Fine! DON’T release me!
S: I’ll not fall into your tricks! (Releases restraints)
R: (dumbfounded, then gathered herself)
R: DON’T open the door!
S: I won’t listen to you! (Opens the door)
R: DON’T leave me here alone!
S: Of course I’ll leave you alone here! (Walks out)
R: DON’T drop your gun!
S: F*** you! (drops gun)


KR: (angrily) Where is she!!!
S: (told KR what happened)
S: (proudly) Therefore, I never obeyed her as per your order!
KR: (stunned)

EXT. POV: multi level holding cells. Workers are scurrying about, working quietly throughout the day. The silent is broken only momentarily as a Stormtrooper was force-pushed over from the height of the structure to down to his death, while screaming “Wwwhhhyyyyyyyyy?”


Well thank you. It does seem a lot more organized when put into diagram form. And it helps to have peer review from a member of the IF community.

I’ll still need help with the actual writing part. As you said, the hard part now is putting words to page. I’ve been working on this project for more than two years and I’m pretty task-saturated on the programming and mission design parts, so I’d welcome some writing assistance. I’ll repurpose the thread.

EDIT: Well, I’d rename the title and change a few words if I could, but it looks like I can no longer edit the first post. Regardless, I’m now looking for collaborators for the writing part.