A Suitable Watchmen Reference

By Jim Rossignol on October 31st, 2007 at 11:54 am.

Rorschach is a lovely little conversational adventure game, with some fantastic scribbled-in-felt-tip visuals.

It’s been developed as freeware by one of the programmers from Chronicles Of Riddick studio, Starbreeze. Said programmer, Jens Andersson, explains that “I’ve been experimenting with a new way to have conversations with non-player characters. The idea is to allow the player to pick up and carry conversation-topics between characters in the game. If a non-player character mentions something new, the player can pickup that topic and carry it to another character to ask him about it. By limiting the number of topics the player can carry, you force the player to decide which topics are worth keeping, instead of just asking about everything as you do in many games. This creates some interesting possibilities where information almost becomes an item that can be used for puzzles and trade.”

As it turns out, the results are pretty good. The conversation topic inventory is an idea that I expect to see stolen all over the place in games to come. You’ll want to play this one. There’s a direct link to the 14mb (the size of around one Peggle) download just here.

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14 Comments »

  1. Schadenfreude says:

    Sounds similar to Discworld Noir’s notebook mechanism; scribbling down clues instead of picking up hundreds of items. Shall have to give this a go.

  2. mujadaddy says:

    Dammit. I came up with that years ago.

    Limited number of topics is a good idea, though…

    Consider it ‘swiped.’

  3. paper says:

    That somehow reminds me of Shadowrun for the SNES, wherein every other word that any NPC in the world said to you became a “key word” that you could ask other NPCs about. Except that not all NPCs had real responses to everything, so you would have to go through a huge list of dozens of key words until you found the one or two that the person you were talking to actually knew about. Just like real life.

  4. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Short and sweet this, cheers for the heads up. Bizarrely it also has joypad support, which caught me off-guard when a little thing saying ‘Press (A)’ flashed up.

  5. Cian says:

    Rather marvellous, and satisfying.
    Shall look forward to the next instalment.

  6. Pesh says:

    Can’t wait to find out what happened!

  7. roBurky says:

    Only had a quick 5-10 minute go at it. I think I can see it getting a bit tedious running back and forth and sitting through the text writing animation to get the topics that you saw earlier but didn’t have room for.

  8. Cargo Cult says:

    For another, completely different dialogue system – look at Captain Blood for the Atari ST.

    Universal language icons, for constructing inter-species sentences out of. Actually worked, despite its mad 1980s French programmers with just an 8MHz 68000 to work with.

  9. webrunner says:

    Final Fantasy II for the Famicom did this. It’s in the Dawn of Souls release too.

  10. Theory says:

    This is truly fantastic. It’s exactly the sort of thing I’d like to create some day. :-)

  11. Lilo says:

    you would have to go through a huge list of dozens of key words