How Fast Should Joe Read?

How fast do people read? Asked another way, how quickly should text disappear from the screen?

Being a point-and-click adventure game, ehm, a tap-and-click adventure game, there is a lot of story to be told. The narrative and dialog is done by the very talented Anders Pedersen, and I think you guys will love it.

We would love nothing more than being able to afford voice actors to do the dialog and narrative. But on our tight budget, we’ll have to go the classic way. And it does suite the style of the game very well.

We are currently working on the whole dialog and text system. Whenever the player click, eh, taps on an object, Joe will walk over to it and describe it. Often with a comment which might tell more about Joe’s personality and situation, then the object itself. This is how much of the back-story is told, and is our primary way of informing the player.

The comments are displayed at the top of the screen. Unobtrusive, it won’t take away the flow of the game, and the player can continue on without tapping pages and pages of text, if she doesn’t want to read it.

But every now and then, Joe needs to talks to people. This is usually important for knowing your actual goal in the game. So we have made a dialog system which pops up in the middle of the screen. It displays a profile picture next to the text so you can tell, who is saying what.

As it turns out, there is a whole science behind reading, reading speed, and type of reading. Looking at the Wikipedia page, our player will read for comprehension, which is for an adult between 200 and 400 words per minute, at a average word-length of 6.

I am pretty bad at reading myself. So we have set the text to display at 200 wpm with an added one second fixed reaction time. In dialog between the protagonist and other NPCs, we have decided to require the player to tap to the next page, so she won’t miss important plot-points (unless she want to).

How fast do you read? Please leave your comments and opinions in the comments below or on Facebook.

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One Response to How Fast Should Joe Read?

  1. thomas says:

    Short answer is that I think that the player should read until they tap on the text to turn it off again, some players probably want to read everything, others as little as possible.