Karaski DevBlog #6: NPCs, Dialogue, and Real Life Influences

Karaski indie Game NPCs, pre-alpha

I spent the past week translating the imaginary character outines from my design docs into tangible NPCs you can interact with in my game. Say hello to the gang!

One day, one Character

Time has come to populate my game world with actual characters! I set myself a simple goal: one day, one new character, fully integrated, even if just bare-bones. That means dialogue, modeling, texturing, and putting it all together in a Unity prefab with the AI. While there’s still a few NPCs missing, the core cast is close to being in!

Say hello to the gang but please keep in mind this is very Work In Progress and just the first iteration!

Karaski Indie Game NPCs, Pre-alpha

Quite the Breakfast Club, aren’t they?

Dialogue and writing

I recently blogged about new challenges in writing meaningful dialogue, and so been trying a new approach of multiple short branches. It’s too early to really tell, but so far I’ve been really liking it, feeling it gives me more room to play with numerous variables.

Karaski NPC screenshot, pre-alpha

Mrs. Boyel sure likes her drink…

The conversations are still very bare-bones, but so far I already got:

  • A character who goes on a personal rant when drunk
  • A secret about someone you can uncover via finding clues or talking to others
  • Confronting said character about the secret – outcome depends on your previous relations with them
  • A character reluctant to talk to you if you’ve been caught acting suspicious
  • A character who actually opens up to you more if you’ve been caught snooping around (perhaps recruiting your help?)

More fun things to come, like uncovering other secrets, or NPCs randomly initiating conversations, or confronting trespassing player.

Literary Inspirations

Design of Everyday things book

Wot I’m reading

As a side note, I have recently been reading The Design of Everyday Things, an interesting read that goes into detail about human interaction with various objects, the psychology behind them, and the responsibilities of a designer. While it isn’t focused on gaming in the least, it still brings up a lot of good points relevant to game design


Real world influences

Those who met me or played Postmortem: one must die know my interests in torn nations and conflict resolution, themes I will again be revisiting in this title. Given its Slavic-inspired setting, there are some (accidental) parallels between the game and what has been currently going on in Ukraine. It’s an interesting, and somewhat terrifying connection. I encourage everyone not familiar with the situation to head to their news site of choice and do some reading; much like the Arab spring, these are important events touching on issues of freedom, identity, and flaws of democracy.

Next week’s plan

Karaski indie game NPC dialogue, pre-alpha

Since my Conversation System is super robust I realized i can use it as my ingame debugger, hehe…

Now that I have a bunch of characters in the game, I can start playing around with breaking into people’s rooms without getting spotted, tweaking the stealth gameplay and AI accordingly. And I want to keep expanding the dialogues as I lay out more plot/story items in the world.

Time permitting, I might also get to designing another level focused more on stealth, exploration and looting, moreso than narrative and characters. We’ll see!


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Karaski: What Goes Up... is a an open-ended "Who-Dun-It" mystery adventure onboard a sabotaged 1920s Airship where the player is as likely a culrpit as the suspects. Deus Ex meets Clue with a bit of Telltale!

Karaski: What Goes Up...