Luc Carbon

Narrative Designer

Wild Wild Wetlands

April 2023 Trailer
  • Role: Narrative Designer (starting 9/23), Design Lead (starting 8/23)
  • Team: Toadstools (19 people)
  • Project Type: 3D Platformer
  • Major Tools: Unity Engine
  • Time Frame: 9/22 – 12/23

Wild Wild Wetlands is a 3D platformer built in Unity alongside a 19-person multidisciplinary team. I began the project as a narrative designer, writing the game’s story and helping with other design tasks. Due to changes in team composition, I took on the role of design lead in August 2023, helping to organize tasks for a 4-person design team in addition to my narrative role. The project will be released in Summer 2024.

As the team’s primary narrative designer, it was my job to ensure that the team was unified in our vision for the game’s main story. To that end, I coordinated with other departments about narrative-related work, along with writing and maintaining documentation to keep everyone on the same page. Below is the final narrative treatment for the project:

Our game has been intended to be a tongue-in-cheek Western since the beginning, and our storyline embodies several prominent Western movie tropes. Because of our gameplay loop’s focus on locating ability upgrades that allow for greater movement, I chose to marry these elements with a classic zero-to-hero story. Our protagonist, The Frog With No Name is not a cool gunslinger, but a well-meaning fool who became a cowboy to get revenge on a bandit who wronged them. No Name grows into their role as a hero alongside the player gathering abilities.

In addition to my role coordinating the main story, I also worked to improve our game’s dialogue system. This meant working with our UI artist to ensure we had the proper assets, and until August 2023, coordinating with our tools programmer to ensure our custom dialogue system had the necessary features.

Due to changes in our team composition, I became the primary scripter for our dialogue tool, maintaining and modifying it to meet the design team’s needs. I improved dialogue triggers to ensure that the story remained fully sequential, and allow for dialogue that triggers immediately upon walking up to certain NPCs.

To construct the story of Wild Wild Wetlands, I wrote lines of dialogue to deliver beats of the game’s story, flesh out the game’s world, and help break up gameplay segments. I then used a custom dialogue and NPC system created by our game’s tools programmer to implement lines of dialogue. For ease of reference and proofreading, I wrote lines into a centralized dialogue spreadsheet before putting them into the game. A version of the final dialogue spreadsheet is attached below:

This document contains all the lines for each character, separated across three acts. In addition to trackers for whether a line has been added in the engine and tested for functionality, each line is assigned to a particular NPC during that story step. The dialogue tool requires each NPC to have a unique ID, and allows for three different kinds of dialogue:

  • Story Dialogue, delivered when the player talks to the NPC as part of the main story.
  • Post-Story Dialogue, a single line summarizing the Story Dialogue if the player interacts with them again.
  • Initial Dialogue, delivered outside of the story, allows NPCs to react to player actions.