Dialogues, Letters, Papers – conversations in the Animal Kingdom

On the 6th of May in 1840, the (real) world’s first postage stamp was produced. Well, in the Kingdom, postage stamps are still not a thing. Letters are sealed, inked, and hand-stamped in the old fashioned way. And don’t forget it’s not the internet era yet either (D’UH!), so unless you’re royalty with your own carrier service, you need to get your letter all the way to the nearest post office to have it delivered!

The printing press, post office and the Royal Newspapers editorial staff all work in the same location!

The entire game starts with a letter. As Charles receives one from the royal messenger, he is summoned to the capital.

On today (6th of May) in 1840, the (real) world's first postage stamp was produced, while our entire game starts with a letter.
Charles: Is this an order or a request?
Messenger: The words of a Sovereign do not allow for such distinctions.

Letter sending happens quite often in the game and is one of the game mechanics we’re opting for, as most of the game will see Charles off in the colony across the sea, so his only way to retain contacts with the Crown and other important Kingdom characters will be through dialogues which are “offset” by time. What does this mean? Let’s explain.

Of course we have the usual dialogue trees you have with characters (like in other games) where you ask something, and get a reply, and then ask something else, etc, like this GIF here:

Also a very interesting read, check out that article as well if you’ve missed it!

Apart from those, we’ll also have the dialogues which you write as letters to others.

However, the letters will just have a series of questions and things you can write, and then when you finish your letter to a person in your list of contacts, you can send it and expect a reply in some time. This can sometimes lead to additional clues or just a reputation boost (if you solved a mining problem in the colony, perhaps the Burrows mine would love to hear about it as well).

This is similar to how the original Broken Sword had that envelope with all the contacts and you could choose when to call who and catch up for clues or just fun dialogue fluff:

Best phone pickup line in adventure game history: “Hi. My name is George Stobbart. You don’t know me.”

It might be a bit more difficult to pull off as every time you write a letter you have to go on with the rest of the game and the reply comes back in a week or more (not actual game time but still), until which time you might have forgotten what you were talking about (however there should be a “letter history” available, to make this easier).

A similar system of “delayed conversation” in the game is writing your own scholarly reports and publishing them to the Kingdom’s newspapers. This is similar to a dialogue tree as conclusions you make bring forth new possible branches of conclusions, et cetera, but unlike in dialogues, here there is only one person doing the talking (writing) – you:

On today (6th of May) in 1840, the (real) world's first postage stamp was produced, while our entire game starts with a letter.
A very early draft of the reporting UI

These reports will be published in the Kingdom’s newspapers and will have some “reviews” by your peers (other scholars, intellectuals, Kingdom elites, et cetera) depending on the topic at hand, which you can then reply to with other reports as well, thus having a “conversation” of sorts as well.

What do you think about these ideas? Are there games with similar mechanics? Do you think it would be cumbersome for you to use these mechanics, or would you just forget about them and never use them, or abuse them completely and send so many mails until the game has nothing more to give?

Feedback is welcome! Thanks!

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