A kid's review of Thimbleweed Park

The period key skipped dialog in Lucasfilm games.

In the later games, yes. But not for example in Indy III.

Any complex selection for the player to make about hearing dialog or seeing text will be too confusing with no context. People have to understand the choices they are making, and before the game ever starts, there is no context for them to make an informed choice.

The best solution I’ve heard is don’t tell them about it, make it discoverable.


If you present the player the two options “Voices on or off?” at the beginning of the game, it isn’t confusing. It’s quite the opposite, especially on smartphones: The player has only two options. Without them the player has to enter the options, where far more options for audio and text are available. If the player plays at home and in the subway he has to enter the options again and again. So he needs more finger tips as with my solution with the two buttons. (If you feel better, you could allow the player to disable the question at the beginning of the game in the options of the game. :slight_smile: )

Is is confusing. Voices? What kind of voices? How are they used? In what context? You know, because you’ve played the game.

Then ask “Sound on or off?”. (If the player plays in the subway the music should stop playing too… :slight_smile: )

/Edit: What I mean is the following:

  • If the player presses the “Yes, gimme Sound!” button, play the music and the voices but don’t show text.
  • If the player presses the “No Sound!” button, don’t play any sound but show (only) the texts.
  • If the player wants both, text and voices, or other weird combinations, he could chose that in the options.

/Edit 2: Damn. My idea isn’t working as expected: In TWP we have only English voices. So this isn’t working if the player chooses for example German as his language. Hm… But maybe “Sound on/off” would still work: If the player chooses German (= a language where no voices are available) and then “Sound on” you could just turn on the English voices. :slight_smile:

What about a compromise: The player is only able to skip text and cut scenes that he has already read or seen? (So the player can’t miss an important sentence but he isn’t forced to read the same texts again and again - for examples Franklin’s “This glass is lipsticked to death.”)

And if the player finds the text speed to slow, he could still speed the text up with the corresponding option (see my other suggestions above).


That is true. It was my fault that I naively told Dante how to skip the dialog. That’s what started the whole thing.


I admit not knowing about that back in the day. But also then my friends and I acted out the cutscenes reading them in different voices. Because we cared!

I like this so much!

Could be reasonable to implement the following?

  1. If the sentence is displayed for the first time, it’s not skippable
  2. Otherwise it’s skippable through the period key

I can tell you that, from my experience, in games like Ace Attorney (where it’s fundamental to read everything), the player can skip the piece of dialog only if it has already been read. It was disappointing to me only the first time I have played it. Then it became natural.


I feel the same. I think the text on top of the heads might be the problem. it made sense in the days when there was no speech. but now not so much. it attracts your attention so you are compelled to read. and then the character is still talking, and the temptation to skip is too big. maybe if you moved the text to the bottom of the screen, like normal movie subtitles…

It reminds me a bit of when I was recently watching a kid play an old FPS title I had originally played several years ago. His reflexes were quite fast, such that I found myself getting a bit dizzy watching him whip the player view around. It seemed impressive at first, but then I noticed that he was missing every single medkit he encountered. He was so focused on his primary goal of finding enemies to fight, that he wasn’t doing anything to resolve the low health problem that was causing him to have to restart repeatedly. Telling him he just missed a medkit wasn’t enough for him to reliably locate it, because he’d still whip his view around faster than he could really process. I’d have to manually give him directions and sometimes even point at the screen in order for him to find them, and we’re talking about a red object against dark blue and gray backgrounds.

I get the impression that some kids (and adults) get too focused on a single goal and fail to take in all the information around them, especially if doing so requires them to slow down.

1 Like

And they have a much shorter attention span …

Yes, this was my idea. :slight_smile: This would be a good compromise but it has two problems: What if the player has or wants to re-install the game? And some people are reading faster while other people are reading slower.

That’s why I suggested to let the player adjust the text speed or to implement a “fast forward” key. The latter one would speed up the text and the cut-scenes - but only as fast as the developer allows.

The first problem shouldn’t really exist, because such a feature should keep track of that within the player’s save files. Doing it that way means the functionality automatically resets as needed whenever a person starts a new game or reverts to a previous save. Very similar functionality already exists in adventure games. Save the game right before talking to someone for the first time, talk to the character, then load the saved game and talk to the person again. They won’t remember your previous conversation, because there’s no global state tracking it. By loading, the game “forgets” that you talked to the character, because you reverted to a time prior to the conversation. Starting a new game does basically the same thing.

The second problem really shouldn’t exist either. A person will read at their own pace and skip the line when they’re done reading it.

I think putting in a dialogue speed slider would be unnecessarily complex, especially since it would require tuning by the player to get idea results, which could require popping in and out of menus too many times.

If the ability to skip dialogue really needed to be balanced against potential misuse, the way I’d do it is with a timer. Assuming the display of text is already on a timer, I’d check to see if a certain percentage of time has passed before the skip dialogue button works. For instance, if a line of text would normally be onscreen for 5 seconds and the percentage is set for 40%, that would mean that the line would be visible for 2 seconds before it could be skipped. Perhaps there would also be some lower limit, to avoid having issues where a person could skip a 1-second line almost instantly.

I suspect it’s more trouble than it’s worth though. There’s only so much one can do to fight against a player’s own bad decisions. The best way I see to deal with this issue is already done by quality adventure games. Simply ensure that important dialogue can always be repeated somehow. If the ability to skip dialogue means that a person can permanently miss an important clue, the problem is with the dialogue, not with the dialogue skip. After all, skipping text isn’t the only way a person can miss dialogue. I’ve had many times when I’ve been interrupted by some “emergency”, and couldn’t devote full attention to game dialogue. And in some cases, even if a person does see the dialogue, they won’t necessarily recognize the significance of it, and forget the line. It would not be fun to have to restart a game, simply because a one-time chance to receive a hint wasn’t recognized.

I think what I’m going to try (maybe only for touch?) is when you skip a line of dialog, the audio immediately ends, but the text line takes 1-2 seconds to fade out, then the next line comes on (if there is one). This means people skipping text will have to read it for at least a few seconds.

This might not work, but it’s easy to try.

I would try it even for pc/mac version. Don’t you?

Hmmm… perhaps that would deter them from skipping everything. It may annoy those trying to legitimately skip repeated dialog, though.

Yes, but no. :slight_smile: I’m thinking of two situations:

  • The player restarts the game to replay the whole game. Ok, this case isn’t really a problem because you can keep track of the players state in an additional save file.
  • The player uninstalls the game and one year later (or so) he installs the game again. Ok, you could work with cloud saves, but not all players are using them (and you don’t know, if the cloud exists in a year).

But he/she/it can’t skip the line during the first play.

TWP has a speed slider in the options already. This would be enough. The “fast forward” key would be very similar to the “dot key”: If the player presses the comma (or space or whatever), the game could just set the text speed to the highest value and if the player releases the comma key, the text speed is set to normal again. In cut scenes you can just speed up the whole scene, that should be easy to achieve. :slight_smile:

There are people out there who read faster: Let’s assume one of them can read a line in only 1 second. If the lines are 2 seconds on the screen he will be annoyed.

This will be a huge problem on mobile phones.

I think this is a good idea and you should give it a try, but as @DZ-Jay pointed out, it could annoy several players: Beside the ones who read lines again, several players will complain that the audio is gone but the text is still there (they think: “I wiped the sentence, so go away!”). And depending on how long you keep the text on the screen it could confuse some players (“Huh? I’ve interrupted the sentence, so why is the text still there?”).