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#1 Cukeman

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 11:26 PM

Making a topic to discuss the writing of text that appears in game.

 

 I've started writing descriptions of items to appear in message strings when you pick them up. When it comes to the Blue Candle (Blue Lantern in my case), what is the best way to inform the player that it only works once per screen? I'd like to write something with logic that doesn't break the fourth wall.

 If you say it can only be used "once in a while" that doesn't explain once per screen, neither does "once per area". How do you say "once per screen" without using the word "screen"? ("Room" works, but only in dungeons.) "This item's use is limited" or "It can only be used infrequently" doesn't really tell you very much.

 Another thing is why would it only be usable once per screen? Is it a broken lantern? Does it have a very small oil reserve (or wick)? Does it leak oil? Is it a cursed item? Is it a "tiny" lantern?

 Perhaps "You got the Small Lantern. It can only hold a small amount of oil before it must be refilled" or "It has limited oil reserves." Followed by "You got the Big Lantern" (or Magic Lantern) "Now it can be used all the time." or "This lantern holds much more oil", or something like that. With the Small Lantern idea, perhaps some text that says "It refills itself over time"? Or maybe "Its short wick burns out quickly."?


Edited by Cukeman, 28 July 2017 - 11:53 PM.

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#2 Avataro

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 06:42 AM

What I do is just use the word screen. Item pickup probably already break the 4th wall in other ways, like telling you about buttons. And the fact that a message appears at all, which Link probably doesn't see, is 4th wall breaking.

 

I prefer the "cursed" explanation.


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#3 Cukeman

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 11:20 AM

I don't mind breaking the fourth wall in some ways, but I would like to come up with an alternate explanation that makes sense from Link's point of view.



#4 Russ

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 10:08 PM

Honestly, I don't think there really is an in-universe explanation for why it only works once per screen. It's purely a gameplay issue, and you're probably better off just accepting that and mentioning it in the pickup text, rather than trying to come up with an explanation that will ultimately just confuse the player.

#5 Shane

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 12:37 AM

I think explaining item mechanics does require 4th wall breaking. You could say the lantern temporarily used up all the oil which will mysteriously refill itself after you "walked far enough" but I think the most clear and direct way to tell the player is just through telling them once per screen. :shrug: Plus it doesn't help when the candle item doesn't really make logical sense and have to just accept it for what it is but I always imagined the candle just relights itself after some time (in this case when you travel across screen).



#6 Cukeman

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 10:58 AM

This is not all about the candle, there are other things to write about, I'll get to them later



#7 Anthus

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 12:03 PM

Since 99% of people who would be playing this will already know what the blue candle/ lantern is, I think you can get away with something like "You found the Blue Lantern! It's small, so you can only use it once in a while." or something. I think people will get it pretty quick, even if they for some reason, don't know how the Z1 candles work. You could also do what the GB games did, and have an NPC tell you about it separately, and say "but I'm just a kid" or something like that afterwards.


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#8 Avataro

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 12:41 PM

That's true.


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#9 Lüt

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 02:06 PM

I have a feeling the once-per-screen gimmick was a crude method of implementing a time delay/recharge feature, but given that it's the only item that would have required a recharge timer or bar on the subscreen, they figured it wasn't worth the display space, so they made its recharge "time" clear by having it ready to use at the start of each new screen.

 

Just a theory though.

 

As for in-game text, it's good to know what's plainly necessary, and what's best left for documentation. Some item kinks are best discovered through usage, and it's not a particularly hard one to figure out, even for a new player. I've also been creating item pickup lines for updated releases of my stuff (one a basic maintenance release, another a large revision), and man, the hardest part is fitting a good description into such a small text box. For this one, I just wrote "You got the Blue Candle! Use it to fry enemies and burn trees."

 

Short + simple's really your best option.


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#10 Cukeman

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 09:44 AM

Since 99% of people who would be playing this will already know what the blue candle/ lantern is, I think you can get away with something like "You found the Blue Lantern! It's small, so you can only use it once in a while." or something. I think people will get it pretty quick, even if they for some reason, don't know how the Z1 candles work. You could also do what the GB games did, and have an NPC tell you about it separately, and say "but I'm just a kid" or something like that afterwards.

 

Yeah, I think I'll go with:

 

"You found the Blue Lantern. There's a note inside... "I can only be used once per screen" ... You have no idea what a "screen" is... just take it with you."

 

"You found the Blue Lantern. There's a note inside... "I can only be used once per screen" ... You have no idea what it means... just take it with you."

 

EDIT: I think "It recharges as you travel" might be best


Edited by Cukeman, 28 December 2017 - 02:41 PM.

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#11 ZoriaRPG

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 11:15 PM

Yeah, I think I'll go with:

 

"You found the Blue Lantern. There's a note inside... "I can only be used once per screen" ... You have no idea what a "screen" is... just take it with you."

 

"You found the Blue Lantern. There's a note inside... "I can only be used once per screen" ... You have no idea what it means... just take it with you."

 

Are there in fact, any players who do not know this about the blue candle item?

 

For that matter, is there a particularly good reason to use the blue version in a quest?



#12 Cukeman

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 07:16 AM

For that matter, is there a particularly good reason to use the blue version in a quest?

 

Sure, to have burn triggers as a puzzle mechanic without giving the player a powerful weapon.




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