The Video Game Dialogue Corpus

The Video Game Dialogue Corpus

An open-source collection of dialogue from role-playing video games.

Highly structured data

The corpus is consistently coded in a special JSON format. This indicates who is speaking and includes structures that can represent an arbitrary dialogue tree. Below is an extract from Final Fantasy VII:

{"Aerith": "Excuse me. What happened?"},
{"CHOICE": [
	  {"Cloud": "You'd better get out of here."},
	  {"Aerith": "Really? I don't know what's going on, but all right."}],
	  {"Cloud": "Nothing... hey, listen..."},
	  {"CHOICE": [
			{"Cloud": "Don't see many flowers around here"},
			{"Aerith": "Oh, these? Do you like them? They're only a gil... ?"},
			{"CHOICE": [
				  {"Cloud": "Buy one"},
				  {"Aerith": "Oh, thank you! Here you are!"}],
				  {"Cloud": "Forget it"},
				  {"Aerith": "Ahh... not again."}]]}]]}]]}

Gender bias in video games

A study led by Stephanie Rennick at the University of Stirling and Seán Roberts at Cardiff University performed the first large-scale test of gender imbalance in the dialogue of 50 role-playing games. It discovered that games include nearly twice as much male dialogue as female dialogue on average.

Main findings

  • 35% of words were spoken by female characters.
  • 29% of characters were female, which suggests the imbalance is driven by a lack of female characters.
  • 94% of games had more male dialogue than female dialogue.

Key barriers for women in gaming

A study in collaboration with Undone Games and Unity on how women feel about playing video games. We found:

Read more ...

Trope Informed Design

Tropes are tools that can make or break a player’s experience.

Trope Informed Design is a new approach to designing game dialogue systems. Drawing from the fields of pragmatics and Conversation Analysis we explain when and why many conversations with NPCs break player immersion. Considering how and when to perpetuate, subvert, or transcend tropes can help guide designers in improving their game mechanics.

We are currently working on a survey of the kinds of options players are given in video games. Tropes can help guide efficient content creation and suggest new ways of expanding dialogue systems.

Talks and Workshops

We have run several workshops for video game writers and producers, as well as public engagement events on gender biases in video games. Contact us to organise a talk at your university, company or event.

Contact the authors