The topic of this series of devlogs is the very reason for Lilavati's existence: an idea for dialogue as the main course of our gameplay, rather than a mere digestive (or, at best, a delicious entremet). The basic concept - showing the dialogue tree instead of hiding it, and turning it into an actual strategy game - is simple enough and has been approached from various directions by various other games, yet none seem to have gone all the way. But hey, that means we have a niche, which we are glad to share if you feel inspired.
Y'see, we like stories about clever people, from Paul Atreides to Hannibal Lecter, who always come out on top by the sheer silverness of their tongue. The grand orators, the cold readers, the Trickster Gods, you get the idea.
We also like stories about human relationships evolving through complex conversational interplay, from Tom Stoppard to My Dinner with Andre, The Sunset Limited and all those European movies where people just. won't. stop. talking.
It makes sense that we would like to play those sorts of scenes or stories. There is so much going on - rivalry and empathy, misdirection and seduction, careful risk-taking and planning, glorious victories of logic over emotion or the opposite - that the possibilities seem at least as vast as, say, military strategy, city building, dungeon looting or cow clicking.
Unfortunately, almost all that we have now, even in the very best-written and most engaging of games, is multiple choice tests and skill checks. For all that I love Planescape: Torment and Arcanum, there is something unsatisfying in the sheer gap of player agency and abilities between fighting situations and diplomacy.
Which is not to say that nothing has been tried. Most of the games I will mention below are very good in their own right. (Most of them.) They are simply not scratching this specific itch.