The Branching Dialog System for Vegas Prime Retrograde
I was tasked with designing and building a new dialog system to drive exploration through Vegas Prime.

Contributors Stuart Templeton, Thomas Hurtt

Created At Open Form Games

Role Lead Designer, Developer

The Challenge

The branching dialog system needed to integrate with our existing mission system.

The dialog system also had to be built with tools that are intuitive enough to be used by a creative writing community.

The Solution

I decided to implement a modified Twine system using Twine's Harlowe output wrapped in a C# abstraction layer.

Using Twine addresses our need for a simple interface for contributors, while the wrapper allows us to plug directly into our mission engine and our UI manager.

The StoryTeller

I wanted to be in the business of telling stories and building characters, so I re-imagined our linear "mission system" as a non-linear "story teller" with pages, chapters, short stories, and bookmarks.

The StoryTeller allowed us to take the creative output from Twine and plug it into Vegas Prime Retrograde, taking advantage of all of the systems we've already engineered.

It made it easy to get creative content from our writing community while also driving the gameplay away from a linear experience.

The stories in Vegas Prime Retrograde are now rich and deep experiences that allow the protagonist to make decisions and take actions. Her actions impact the story, the story impacts the characters, and the characters build and develop into a rich cast. We use visual novel mechanisms to give the player branching dialog trees that help them decide who Clara really is and what kind of relationships she has with the characters around her.