Dialog feature

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nemesis
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Dialog feature

Postby nemesis » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:03 am

Hi,

after some small talk too Roots about the dialog system, maybe some bigger discussion about in what direction dialogs may changed in future releases. What I'm thinking about is making dialogs more player active.

Right now as I can see, some thing like multiple choice is available (in some form). Therefore, some some branches in a dialog may be available, that may alter some of the behavior of the character.

Example:
* NSC: Hello, are you a friend or a foe.
* Possible Answers: 1. Fiend, 2. Foe

Everyone can expect a complete different dialog depending on what you have chosen. This should already be possible with the current system.

But what about:
* NSC: Hi, I'm a mercenary from XYZ. Right now, I'm with ABC here. We will leave tomorrow in the morning.
* Now, the player might want to ask about: 1. XYZ, 2. ABC, 3. Direction where they leave.
* With the system now, the player may choose one of this and the dialog continues. But how to get back to the other questions?

What I would propose is some dialog system like in the later Ultima parts (7, 7/2, 8). There, the player has some kind of topic list where items where added everytime the NSC tells some important key word. So, the player always have a list of everthing he might ask the NSC.

Example would be:
* Dialog starts.
* Players list: job, bye -> Choose job.
* NSC: I'm a mercenary from XYZ. Right now, I'm with ABC here. We will leave tomorrow in the morning.
* Players list: XYZ, ABC, Direction to leave, bye -> ABC
* NSC: He's a rich guy from the town HIJ.
* Players list: XYZ, HIJ, Direction to leave, bye -> HIJ
* NSC: I cannot tell you anyting about, I've never been there.
* Players list: XYZ, Direction to leave, bye ...

Also, everytime some important question from the NSC comes, the list is replaced by the only aswers to this question. Based on the players answer, the comments of the NSC to any keyword may change in the dialog. In this system, different topics may be mixed, since everytime all keywords are available.

Also, we can add something similar to the existing system. There, once you have started a conversion to any topic, you may only ask more detailed questions to this topic or you may go one level up (something similar is implented in Baldurs Gate).

Example:
* NSC: Hi, I'm a mercenary from XYZ. Right now, I'm with ABC here. We will leave tomorrow in the morning.
* Player: - Tell me more about XYZ.
- ... ABC
- ... Direction to leave
- I will have to go now. (Dialog ends).
Player takes ABC.
* NSC: He's a rich guy from the town HIJ.
* Player: - Please tell me more about HIJ.
- May I ask you another question. (back to original list, then without ABC ... or still with if the player should be allowed to repeat dialogs).

The general question is, if we want to have a dialog system like this (in any form) or if the dialogs should be kept as small as possible so the game is more tending to the player doing some action than the player is reading.

Please give me some feedback to the ideas how the dialog system should look like in the future in general and in which form you prefer it.
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Roots
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Re: Dialog feature

Postby Roots » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:47 pm

I have two initial reactions.

1) Generally speaking, I like the idea of the dialogue "evolving" during the discussion, where additional topics and options open up throughout the dialogue. It feels more natural.

2) I'm concerned about making the game too dialogue-heavy with this addition. If we use this too much, I can imagine some players being turned off from it, since reading dialogue isn't exactly a whole lot of fun. But I think that if we limit the use of this evolving dialogue feature to the major events and important pieces of dialogue, it will be acceptable.


That's how I feel right now anyway. I haven't thought it through extensively yet.
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Re: Dialog feature

Postby gorzuate » Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:16 am

This is a cool idea... if it's done right. This could be one way to immerse oneself in the lore, culture, and history of the world of Allacrost, but that could require content we don't have yet. Something to keep in mind, anyway.

As for the game becoming too dialogue-heavy with this, the player doesn't have to go through all the keywords that come up. When they're done they just select the leaving option (which should always be there for them to select).
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Re: Dialog feature

Postby Roots » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:42 am

gorzuate wrote:This is a cool idea... if it's done right. This could be one way to immerse oneself in the lore, culture, and history of the world of Allacrost, but that could require content we don't have yet. Something to keep in mind, anyway.


I believe Brian (our writer) really wanted to add in lore text for items, equipment, places, etc. in a sort of in-game encyclopedia. I'm generally for this idea provided:

A) it contains completely optional text that the player need not read to complete the game or utilize to get an advantage.
B) Brian/other writers are committed to writing this sort of text for everything in the game
C) Its a feature that we will put off for a long time because there are many more critical components for the game

Basically, such a feature would satisfy those who really want to know all the tiny details about the universe that the game is set in, but players who do not care for such things are free to ignore it and just play through the game.


gorzuate wrote:As for the game becoming too dialogue-heavy with this, the player doesn't have to go through all the keywords that come up. When they're done they just select the leaving option (which should always be there for them to select).


This is false. The player would have no idea which options (if any) presented in a dialogue contain information that is vital to their quest or feeds them knowledge that they can later take advantage of in the game. You always want to talk to every person you meet in an RPG to make sure you are informed, equipped, and prepared for what lies ahead of you. Now, if we had some way to indicate important versus non-important dialogue, I would be more willing to accept such a feature. For example, important options could be displayed in red while unimportant ones displayed in blue or something (though we don't have support for multi-colored text right now nor any plans to add it in the future).

I still say we should just not get too dialogue heavy to avoid this problem altogether.
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Re: Dialog feature

Postby nemesis » Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:18 am

I always had a few additional though about this topic, bascially exactly those you both already mentioned. In my oppinion, dialogs reflect the best way on giving background informations on anything that happens or will happen (or happened in the past).

Basically, the dialog system would be almost the same, independent of a heavy or not the heavy usage. If we want the have interactive dialogs it almost completely doesn't matter, how deep they will go. It is just a task for the designers.

I was also thinking about how the adress both kind of players: those how are interested in long dialogs and those who are interested in more action with only the few necessary information in the dialog. Although the multicolor approach is really not bad I didn't though about this one. But what we can also do is to ensure, that the important information are given in any case.

This can be done during the beginning of the dialog:
* NSC: There is one very important thing I need to tell you. [...] Do you have more questions?
* Here, the player will have everything he needs to know and may continue his quest if he won't spend more time on this dialog. Otherwise, he still has the opportunity to continue talking for some more (not so important but interesting information).

Also this can be done during the end of the dialog.
* Some talk between player and NSC.
* Players topic list: ABC, XYZ, bye -> player picks bye, but XYZ has been marked by the designer as an important topic (this feature needs to be implemented though :angel: )
* Therefore: NSC: Before you leave, I need to give you some important information of XYZ...
--------------------------------------
* In the case the player already asked about XYZ ->
* NSC: Bye.

This way we can ensure, everything that's necessary was said, independent of how soon the player quits the dialog. Maybe there needs to be some hint for the player in the very beginning of the game like:

"You can never miss important informations in a dialog. So it is up to you, how many time you want to spend for this."
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Re: Dialog feature

Postby nemesis » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:30 am

Since there was not an active discussion about the dialog feature itself I'm going to implement some of my ideas.

However, first I need to go through everthing the already exists in detail. After that, a probably longer post will follow containing a very detailed description what is going to happen. There it will be the best location for everybody to comment every single idea.

The main reason for me to work on the dialog system is that it should be completely functional. Although there were concerns about the game becoming too dialog heavy I don't fear this. The main question is, how designers (i.e. we) are going to use the system. But I'm quite sure, independent of the number of dialogs we will have later, there will be definitely a few (containing details of the plot, the history, the land the main actors/villians) that may require a real dialog containing many informations. I don't think the player is happy going through 50 pages of dialog by only pressing the confirm button. Some interaction will strongyl improve the gaming experience. Therefore we will need this some time.

But since I don't want the completely re-roll everything that already exists it may take some time for me to make up to plan.
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Re: Dialog feature

Postby Roots » Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:06 pm

I think work on the dialogue system is low priority because the current system will adequately meet our needs for the next release. But if you really want to work on this, I otherwise see no reason to tell you not to.

nemesis wrote:The main reason for me to work on the dialog system is that it should be completely functional.


It already is :/

nemesis wrote:I don't think the player is happy going through 50 pages of dialog by only pressing the confirm button. Some interaction will strongyl improve the gaming experience.


I disagree. I think such an improvement would be minor at best. Allowing the player to select one dialogue path instead of another is not a huge deal. What is a huge deal is when the choices that the player makes in a dialogue have an effect on the events or order of events in the game. That's where the real money is.




We can already do this with the current dialogue system anyway. Since we can specify a script function to be executed after each line or option in a dialogue. You can also specify the next line for each line and option of dialogue as well. There are some rough edges to the dialogue system that I'm sure you can improve, but I don't feel that the current limitations of the dialogue code restrict us in any way.
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Re: Dialog feature

Postby nemesis » Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:55 pm

nemesis wrote:
The main reason for me to work on the dialog system is that it should be completely functional.


It already is :/

After going through the existing code you're absolutely right. :rolleyes:

Code: Select all

I disagree. I think such an improvement would be minor at best. Allowing the player to select one dialogue path instead of another is not a huge deal. What is a huge deal is when the choices that the player makes in a dialogue have an effect on the events or order of events in the game. That's where the real money is.

I agree to both.

IMHO you are right, everything stated here can be done by the existing code. Different paths can be designed quite easily. However, what I wanted to have here is a dialog system, that not only allows designing different paths but also just gives the player more possibilities in the dialog. Therefore simply, asking what he is interested in in any order and providing a more realistic feel.

Since it maybe is not completely clear what I though about, here I will summarize the direction of what I thought (added by some new ideas):
  • A dialog should contain of different topics. Topics may be asked in any order the player is interested in.
  • Asking a topic may create more topics the player can ask. However, every topic may only appear once in the list.
  • Events are completely supported for dialogs in several ways:
    • Asking a topic may lead to a scripted event.
    • During the answer of a NPC to a topic, questions may come the player has to answer. Here, also different events can be called.
    • Events allow (also during the dialog) to add/remove topics from a dialog or to change the reply to any topic.
  • A item to end the dialog will always be available.
  • The designer can mark topics as important. Those topics will be answered automatically by the NPC when the player didn't ask them before closing the dialog.
Basically you are right, there is nothing new in all those ideas and most of this can by designed by the existing system. :rolleyes:

But to be honest, I think it is too complicated to design a dialog allowing all of the aforementioned will not lead to ease-to-read map scripts. Therefore maybe providing a system that allows everything (and maybe more) natively for dialogs will strongly ease designing dialogs with different path/topics/events.

Two points before concluding.

1) In the battle system we are thinking about providing different modes for players with different intentions. :think: When we think one step further, why not doing the same for dialogs? We can provide two modes: the fast mode and the detailed mode.
The detailed mode will allow the player to select topics in any order as he wants and to ask for additional (not plot relevant topics). The system described before will assure nothing important is missed if the player finishes before asking everything manually.
The fast mode will be quite similar to what is already existing. The player is not asked for clicking on topics. The dialogs will more or less go completely automated (except for questions from the NPC) through all as important marked topics. In this mode, dialogs can be kept as short as possible by still providing all necessary informations.

2) Since it is maybe more important to work on a few bugs and smaller improvements there will be some more time for discussion here (until probably next weekend :cool: ).
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Re: Dialog feature

Postby lucileburt » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:29 pm

nemesis wrote:Hi,

after some small talk too Roots about the dialog system, maybe some bigger discussion about in what direction dialogs may changed in future releases. What I'm thinking about is making dialogs more player active.

Right now as I can see, some thing like multiple choice is available (in some form). Therefore, some some branches in a dialog may be available, that may alter some of the behavior of the character.

Example:
* NSC: Hello, are you a friend or a foe.
* Possible Answers: 1. Fiend, 2. Foe

Everyone can expect a complete different dialog depending on what you have chosen. This should already be possible with the current system.

But what about:
* NSC: Hi, I'm a mercenary from XYZ. Right now, I'm with ABC here. We will leave tomorrow in the morning.
* Now, the player might want to ask about: 1. XYZ, 2. ABC, 3. Direction where they leave.
* With the system now, the player may choose one of this and the dialog continues. But how to get back to the other questions?

What I would propose is some dialog system like in the later Ultima parts (7, 7/2, 8). There, the player has some kind of topic list where items where added everytime the NSC tells some important key word. So, the player always have a list of everthing he might ask the NSC.

Example would be:
* Dialog starts.
* Players list: job, bye -> Choose job.
* NSC: I'm a mercenary from XYZ. Right now, I'm with ABC here. We will leave tomorrow in the morning.
* Players list: XYZ, ABC, Direction to leave, bye -> ABC
* NSC: He's a rich guy from the town HIJ.
* Players list: XYZ, HIJ, Direction to leave, bye -> HIJ
* NSC: I cannot tell you anyting about, I've never been there.
* Players list: XYZ, Direction to leave, bye ...

Also, everytime some important question from the NSC comes, the list is replaced by the only aswers to this question. Based on the players answer, the comments of the NSC to any keyword may change in the dialog. In this system, different topics may be mixed, since everytime all keywords are available.

Also, we can add something similar to the existing system. There, once you have started a conversion to any topic, you may only ask more detailed questions to this topic or you may go one level up (something similar is implented in Baldurs Gate).

Example:
* NSC: Hi, I'm a mercenary from XYZ. Right now, I'm with ABC here. We will leave tomorrow in the morning.
* Player: - Tell me more about XYZ.
- ... ABC
- ... Direction to leave
- I will have to go now. (Dialog ends).
Player takes ABC.
* NSC: He's a rich guy from the town HIJ.
* Player: - Please tell me more about HIJ.
- May I ask you another question. (back to original list, then without ABC ... or still with if the player should be allowed to repeat dialogs).

The general question is, if we want to have a dialog system like this (in any form) or if the dialogs should be kept as small as possible so the game is more tending to the player doing some action than the player is reading.

Please give me some feedback to the ideas how the dialog system should look like in the future in general and in which form you prefer it.


sound good :)

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