Right-click to Skip Dialog

May 12, 2020

Much like when TWP launched, people have been asking for right-click to skip dialog in Delores. I've really pushed back on doing this for one reason: It's too damn easy.

During the TWP playtests, I watch players right-click to skip dialog so fast that it didn't even register something came on the screen. Then a bit later they would be confused. I'd ask some questions and it was clear that the dialog was never even seen.

The problem with right-click is that the right/left-button twitch is so ingrained that the moment text flashed on the screen players would instinctively right-click like they were playing a round of Jeopardy. Most of the time they wouldn't even notice they were doing it.

This isn't matter of me being a prima donna about players not reading my glorious dialog, this is about players not reading any dialog, being confused, and inevitably blaming the game (my therapist keep reminding me that there is a line between me and the game).

If you have ever watched someone playtest something you've done, you will know the feeling.

While players can skip dialog with the PERIOD key it's not as automatic as right-click. Just that small separation helps a great deal.

All that said, you can middle-click to skip dialog, but it's not as instinctually ingrained as right-click. Even skipping dialog on controllers isn't as pavlovian as right-click.

You can add rightClickSkipsDialog: 1 to your Prefs.json file (finding that is an exercise left up to the reader) and happily skip as much dialog as you want. It is good for speed runners, or the 10th time player, but it's hell on new players.

Like in TWP right-click only skips dialog in cut-scenes and other situations where input (the cursor) is off.


Christian May 13, 2020
just curious, not that I would ever dare skipping a dialogue, but how would someone (not me ofc) do it on the android version?

Ron Gilbert May 13, 2020
If I remember correctly, it's a doube-two-finger tap?  I might be wrong.

Patrick May 13, 2020
I agree, yes sir. I myself have instinctively skipped dialogues and then I have regretted it. At one point I even missed a fundamental dialogue from an adventure game and then got stuck. I was never aware of your strategy, but I haven't been stuck with Thimbleweed Park for something like this. So good for you.

Snufkin May 13, 2020
Why not add that option to the settings menu? I mean, an user-friendly interface should probably have customizable controls anyway and it would also be good for accessibility. If you're worried about people accidentally clicking past dialogue then add a check to ignore the right mouse clicks during the first full or half  a second of a line. I've seen few engines and games use that feature.

Nor Treblig May 13, 2020
@Snufkin:
> add a check to ignore the right mouse clicks during the first full or half  a second of a line.
That's horrible: when I want to skip dialog I want it NOW, I don't want to wait for such relatively long delay before it works. Also speed runners won't be amused.

Just get a mouse with a middle mouse button!

Snufkin May 13, 2020
@Nor Treblig: Yes, it is horrible for those who want to skip the text entirely and not read anything at all. I'd imagine most people click past text and dialogue, because they've finished reading and want to continue faster than the games intended pace. Which is why I also recommended customization, you can actually have both buttons available for use and map them wherever.
For some, all these different possibilities would probably seem unnecessary and bloated, but I'm always for more options and customization. That is something that point'n'click are missing compared to lot of other genres.

Christian May 13, 2020
84265 ?968

Nor Treblig May 13, 2020
@Snufkin:
I can be very picky about controls (e.g. I like to have hotkeys for verbs in those kind of games), but I'm also very forgiving regarding this particular genre.
You typically play such games at a slow pace and often there is no action at all involved.

Other genres like FPSs or platformers on the other hand better allow me to customise bindings or I will blame the controls every time I die 😀

Regarding skipping dialogue:
>  I'd imagine most people click past text and dialogue, because they've finished reading
I don't think this is the main reason, it sounded more like people just do it automatically or unintentionally.
There may be some who want to proceed after finishing reading but it probably fills Ron with horror when he sees someone playing TWP the first time and killing of all the painstakingly recorded lines 😀

Ron Gilbert May 13, 2020
The problem isn't they skip past dialog when they are finished reading, right-click is so instinctive they skip it WITHOUT reading.  I don't care if players don't hear the recordings, I do care if they don't read at all and get confused and lost in the game.  This is a feature almost exclusively asked for power-players, so I give them a pref to turn it on.

Kk May 13, 2020
I've done this accidentally. I have no idea why I do it. You're right -- it's just an instinct I've acquired somewhere. In-game dialog screens are usually pretty tacky. I've yet to see a good one. It's too much like chatrooms or text messaging -- either a wall of text or it's grouped by person. Both ways feel weird. And you don't want hundreds of "I can't do that." lines, so do you only log it once? But what if there's dialog option deeply-nested in a dialog tree that the player is supposed to get at? Wouldn't you want to show the context around that? It's an interesting problem to think about.

Andrei May 14, 2020
As someone who likes reading every single piece of dialog to the point of being obsessive, I get infuriated when I accidentally skip text

Sushi May 14, 2020
I am so pre-conditioned to not right-click in adventure games that I keep forgetting I HAVE to right-click in Delores to open up the extra verbs.

Adrian May 14, 2020
How about allowing skipping dialogue when it has been already seen? I mean that there are always dialogue options that are available for plot reasons to remind the player what to do, or just general conversation pieces that stay accessible, or just the end dialogue speech. Skipping those that have been already seen might be not a huge deal for comprehension.

Nor Treblig May 14, 2020
@Adrian:
IMHO the current behaviour (even without this additional option) is already the best solution:
Players can decide when and what dialogue to skip, immediately and without delay.
They just have to use the middle-mouse-button instead of the right-mouse-button.

Your proposal works if you actually want to force the player to read all lines at least once, but this wasn't Ron's goal any may annoy some players.

Simon May 14, 2020
It could be differentiated between new dialog and already-heard dialog.
For example, in the new Delores game, I revisited people in the game and talked to them again. (Natalie, for example, but also others-a-reno). I ended up skipping known dialog, and accidentally skipped a new line.

Shawn May 15, 2020
I love the option to middle-click skip. It's much less ingrained but still useful. Personally I love to navigate an adventure game casually with just the mouse, so utilizing the . key for skips was annoying. Thanks Ron, you are the best.

JV May 15, 2020
Just for curiosity, how many players have played TWP for ten times? Did you say that not so many players have found alternative ending? That makes me think...

Bo J. May 21, 2020
The only litmus test for this right click skip question is if u release TWP II. What pillow factory do I need to burn down to get TWP2 RELEASED???????

Jorge Jun 07, 2020
I'm a proud old schooler; thanks for keeping the PERIOD for the same it was on Monkey Island! ..glad to find all in its right place  : )

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