I recently gave a build of my game to some people and asked for any thoughts. One of the ones I keep getting is, 'I didn't know where to go first, but I guessed.'

The problem is, I'm still getting this after having revised NPC text to be clearer and more helpful to the player. The build in question is here, if you're curious to see what exactly I'm up to.

How can I make sure my NPC dialog is effective at guiding players to the next objective?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think asking for a list of guidelines is too broad here; especially since you hardly waited at all to get that list. I tweaked your question a little, but I still think it's too hard to make it answerable in its current form. However if you were to take a few snippets of your dialog (or screenshots of the game with the dialog, that may be better) and ask how to specifically improve those, that is probably closer to something with a practical answer. \$\endgroup\$ – user1430 Jan 17 '14 at 22:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just wanted to give you some props on the game, it looks good! \$\endgroup\$ – aglassman Jan 17 '14 at 23:13

One thing I have seen often is highlighting key words like places, a macguffin to collect and key characters to talk to next. this allows a player who is just skimming to stop and reread the context

consider having a fortuneteller character who gives more direct hints, just someone who will be always available to talk to maybe in the home town maybe duplicated all over the place, depends on the world really.

if the players are lost in the sense that they don't know where places are then add signs and a world map


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