What modern game creation software can I use to build a game with branching narratives and dialogue?
April 6, 2012 5:41 AM   Subscribe

What game creation software is currently available that is suited to building games (or levels/mods) with a focus on branching narratives and dialogue, of the sort found in role-playing games like Mass Effect?

To put it another way, when Chris Avellone says here that "the best way to break in [to narrative design for games] is to actually write for games, even if it's for free and as a hobby. There are plenty of mods and game editors out there that you should be able to work on or contribute to..." - what mods and game editors is he talking about?

I'm a little out of date on games and editors so would appreciate any help. I'm a programmer but am ideally not looking for software in which the programming would be a major focus - I want to focus on the writing/dialogue/level design. Thanks everyone.
posted by Kirn to Technology (8 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
The extremely dialogue heavy (and tear jerking)To The Moon was written in RPG maker.

Ren'Py is for interactive 'visual novels' -- notably used by Christine Love.

Inform is for text adventures.

Undum is also for interfactive fiction.
posted by empath at 6:00 AM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Aurora toolset for Neverwinter Nights lends itself nicely to multi-threaded branching conversations. There's no rule that says your module has to contain any combat elements if it's the roleplay and conversation aspect that floats your boat.
posted by talitha_kumi at 6:33 AM on April 6, 2012

Katawa Shoujo was created by a group of amateurs using Ren'Py. (Wikipedia)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:24 AM on April 6, 2012

These are great guys. Does anyone know of anything like Neverwinter Nights 2 that's more modern? I'm thinking of the kind of things game companies might look at in a portfolio, and I'm not as sure about the interactive fiction/visual novel stuff, although I'm definitely going to check it out.
posted by Kirn at 8:09 AM on April 6, 2012

My boyfriend is a level designer -he suggests the GECK level editor from Bethesda (makers of Fallout and Skyrim) or the kit from Dragon Age.
posted by imalaowai at 8:53 AM on April 6, 2012

I'm not as sure about the interactive fiction/visual novel stuff

You should check out Christine Love's three Ren'Py games: Digital, Analog, and Don't Take it Personally.

They're nothing but branching dialogue. Very low budget, and they got a lot of serious attention from game critics.
posted by empath at 9:18 AM on April 6, 2012

Just reading the link for the aurora editor...

There's a version for Neverwinter Nights 2 called the Electron toolset.
posted by Netzapper at 5:49 PM on April 6, 2012

Thanks everyone - I think the fantasy stuff is closest to what I'm looking for but I've started experimenting with Ren'Py which actually seems pretty cool, I'll give it a shot.
posted by Kirn at 4:25 AM on April 9, 2012

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