Messaging Basics

Dialogue

A Spoken Line in the Message format has two basic components:

CHARACTER_NAME
Dialogue

Actor

  • Character name should be in all caps and have no spaces.
  • Actors with two names (i.e. Doctor Smith) should be written in all caps, separated by an underscore.
  • Only 3 special characters are allowed: underscore, apostrophes and periods. This example would work:
    DR._ATH'RODRAK

Voice

  • In Messaging stories, the player is placing themselves in the shoes of one of the Actors.
  • We call this Actor the Voice and their text is colored differently and appears on the right side of the screen at all times.
  • You can change who the Voice is at anytime:
    (Voice BOB)

Dialogue Line

  • Dialogue lines are Actors talking to each other.
  • They should not contain any line breaks:
    DR._ATH'RODRAK
    We all sprang from apes, but you obviously didn't spring far enough.

Narrator (Special Actor)

  • The Narrator is a special actor used to deliver in-game prose description of events to the player.
  • It's styled differently and sits in the middle of the History.
  • Narration should be in the 2nd person style, present tense.
NARRATOR 
You lean down and looked over the corpse.
NARRATOR 
The short, cool breeze helps you forget about Tiffany.
NARRATOR
Tuesday, 3:14 P.M.
1256 Juniper Blvd.
  • Narration is from the perspective of the player, and so cannot inform the player of things the Voice Actor doesn't know.

Bad Example:

You leave. Marco doesn't feel happy about that decision.

Good Example:

As you leave, you notice Marco scowl. It appears he's unhappy with your decision.
  • Narration should never take the place of non-visualized Actors, such as a computer speaker or television.

Notification

  • This style of Narrator is to teach the player something.
  • It should be used very sparingly as it is used to break the narrative:
    NARRATOR
    [#notice]
    Be aware how you treat the townsfolk. Each one has a way of helping you.

Passage of Time

Beat

  • If you want to represent that a few seconds have passed, the syntax below will render a pendulum for a few swings:
    NARRATOR
    [#beat]
    ...

Time

If you want to represent more time has passed use [#time]

  • A character sleeps for the night and wakes up the next day.
  • One character waits while another leaves and returns with something.
  • A character takes a test.
ASHLEY
Omg, he's going to stab me!

MARCO
Get out of there!

NARRATOR
[#time] 
…

MARCO
Ashley?

NARRATOR
[#time]
...

MARCO
ASHLEY!!!

Wipe

  • You may want to represent a large amount of time has passed OR a new person is texting you.
  • You'll want to call a wipe commmand to clear the screen right before a time command.
MATHISON
Talk to you later!

(Wipe)

NARRATOR
[# time] One hour later.

ASHLEY 
I really need to talk to you

New Message

You may want to indicate someone new is talking to the Voice. This will require some setup in the header section.

Setup New Texter

Copy this into the top of your script in the middle of your header:

| Sets | MESSAGE_001 | Mom |  | ImageUrl | New Message

MESSAGE_001 has to be a unique name. Mom will the person displayed in the person for them to answer a message from.

ImageUrl is the background you want to appear in the next message thread.

New Texter Enters Scene

  • Now that you have things setup, you can call for a text message from a new sender:
MATHISON
Alright, I'll talk to you later

(Travel MESSAGE_001)    

MOM 
When exactly were you going to call me back?

Visuals

Images

  • You can use images in your story to represent pictures that one character is sending to another
  • The player should not need to see an image to understand the story. Players should WANT to see them, but not NEED to.
  • Do not use copyrighted images, make sure you've chosen images that are royalty free.
  • There are 2 types of images: Objects and Vignettes.

Object

  • Objects are typically physical items presented without context.
  • They're helpful when an item is impactful (such as an artifact or keycard) or isn't effectively described (such as a comedy twisty straw).
  • Objects enter chat history without a background.
  • Use the syntax [&. OBJECT_NAME] (notice the . after the &)
NARRATOR
Drusilla turns from you for a moment. When she turns back, she holds a tightly rolled scroll in her hand.

NARRATOR
[&. PLAN_SCROLL_SEALED]

Vignette

  • Vignettes are typically full painted scenes comprised of characters, items, and locations.
  • They're helpful when you have a big or explosive moment to show, or want to leave the player on a powerful image at a cliffhanger.
  • Use the syntax [&. VIGNETTE_NAME]

    Note: The syntax for Vignettes and Objects is identical except for the period after the ampersand. Objects have a period, Vignettes don't.

DRUSILLA
(Surprised)
It's them! The Cult of Minerva!

NARRATOR
[& BATH_FIGURES]

Comments

If you ever need to leave notes to yourself and do not want the reader to see it, simply add a semi-colon ; at the beginning to create a comment. You'll find this a useful way to communicate with your editor or with FableLabs:

; I might want to insert an image here instead of describing it with words.

Ready to Level Up?

Start playing around with the Tales Writer!

If you've mastered the basics, continue onward to learn how to add:

  • Choices
  • Variables
  • Conditions
  • Multiple Endings