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Dialog Mechanics


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#1 Durakken   Members   -  Reputation: 518

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 09:37 PM

So I'm working on an idea for a dialog mechanic where basically the player chooses the character's feelings and from that the game chooses how to proceed from those settings rather than a direct choice. Now obviously I haven't worked this all out, but meh. I need some more things for the following 2 categories to try to figure out how to do it best... So... please give more things to fill these 2 categories ^.^

 

- How do you feel about this person/topic - 
Like - Dislike
Attracted - repulsed
Agree - Disagree
Informed - Uninformed
Intelligent - Unintelligent
Wise - Foolish
Arrogant - Humble
 
- How are you going to act towards this person -
Helpful - Harmful
Happy - Angry
Excited - Annoyed
Outgoing - Shy
Arrogant - Humble


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#2 facehead1992   Members   -  Reputation: 443

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 10:51 PM

How exactly would you be implementing this technique? I feel as though if a game were to ask me, as a player, to indicate, either as a binary choice or worse as a spectrum, to define these details in each choice presented to me, or even once each time I encounter a new character, it would feel as if I'm having to go through a large amount of work just to give a response in dialogue. Wanting to add to this would only make the issue more emphatic. If you can find a way to draw these details from player actions (based on the combination of multiple responses in traditional dialogue choices they provide), and derive the game events from there, I feel like you would have a better shot at using the data to craft a story. It just helps to limit the number of choices presented to the player, so as not to overwhelm them, or worse irritate them at the frequency of the seemingly large  task.

 

If instead you have an alternative method for presenting these decisions, or at least a method that deals with this potential issue, then I would say you may want to be careful of "Agree - Disagree" since people could be confused (they may agree with the most recent statement made by the character, but disagree with things they did earlier, etc. - in this case, would you be requesting an all-around summarization of the players agreement with the character?).

Off the top of my head, here are some other options (technically, some could be put in either category):
Gentle - Harsh
Forgiving - Vengeful
Generous - Greedy
Proud - Embarrassed

Confident - Nervous
Courageous - Cowardly
Interested - Disinterested (for indicating a desire to engage in a romantic dialogue option)

 



#3 Durakken   Members   -  Reputation: 518

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 10:30 PM

The reason I'm compiling this list is so that maybe I can figure out a way to simplify them into a mechanic that wouldn't be cumbersome to handle. Ideally neither should be explicit anywhere.



#4 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4710

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 03:50 AM

Does this system have room for acting, flattery, and deception?  I would think it would be a common situation for a player to want to pretend to admire an NPC they know is a bad guy, or flirt with a merchant they want a discount from but aren't actually attracted to, or want to act extremely confident in the face of a dangerous opponent but actually be wary and defensive behind that facade.


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I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#5 Dodopod   Members   -  Reputation: 474

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 09:07 AM

In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the player is given a choice of 3 or 4 1-word emotions (eg annoyed, detached, curious) or tactics (eg intimidate, placate, absolve), though these are actually (except in persuasion mode) a 1-to-1 abstraction of a traditional dialogue tree. Is this like what you're proposing?



#6 Durakken   Members   -  Reputation: 518

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 06:52 PM

Sunandshadow, I don't see why those things wouldn't be somehow in there... I just don't quite know how...

 

Dodopod, something like that, but not quite... deeper in the background, but I want to make gui simple so that you would maybe only get those 1-word stage directions on the surface but underneath that the choices that you've made in the past and what you've thought/said about these topics/people are taken into into account to weight what your character does.

 

For example there might be a selection of honest or deceptive in the options and what that means would depend on what the characters positions are... If you've said that you agree with what this person said in the past and then you select to be deceptive you'd say you disagree for example.

 

How you might go about selecting likes/dislikes... agree/disagrees on topics is that there might be a dictionary that when you pull it up it gives you a menu that you can select what you think, or leave it blank as a "neutral" ground...or it might be the character naturally isn't neutral, but instead has a certain feeling towards this or that by default rather than neutral.



#7 Deadmedic   Members   -  Reputation: 139

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 01:23 AM

My first response to this, as well as in a game situation - is there are too many responses.

 

It might be important to ask, "What is the quickest way to get to the fun?" Less responses might warrant that.

 

EDIT: I may have misinterpreted the topic post - if you are looking for more words, you might want to consult a thesaurus or something.

 

It is a direct choice that the player is making however. The PC is directly agreeing/disagreeing and acting happy/harmful to the designated NPC.

 

What is the object of the game, I have to ask? 


Edited by Deadmedic, 11 May 2014 - 01:30 AM.


#8 Durakken   Members   -  Reputation: 518

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 03:31 AM

Deadmedic, this isn't a thesaurus type thing.

 

The player is not directly choosing what the character is saying/doing... The player is more choosing the feeling that what's happening is making them feel in that moment and that adjust various stats in the background which then chooses the action.

 

The need for an expansion of the Like - Dislike list is to then see if there are any generalities that can be picked up on then compressed into an efficient set of options to make it easier on script writing and programming.

 

As to the object of the game... I'm doing this largely for use in a RPG, but I'm thinking I might just program this into a Pet type game just to play around with it.



#9 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 1522

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 07:55 AM

I am implementing a "Mood System" myself using fuzzy logic. Moods cannot be accurately described with binary because they come in degrees. That is why I chose fuzzy logic.

I have used this system to detect when a character is "close" to an object. My interpretation of close, as far as my engine is concerned, is a set "range of distance values." I have a interpretation of far also.

Taking one part of your case you have the options

Agree
Disagree

However on several questionnaires I have seen the options

Strongly disagree
Disagree
Agree
Strongly agree

Again take:

Happy
Angry

Is a person either 100% happy or 100% angry? No, they are instead varying degrees of angry and happy.

So perhaps you have code that says if the person is happy to a larger degree, then they might say one thing, and if they are happy in a lower degree, they might say another. The more the happy, the less the angry.

This will make the dialogue much more realistic and dynamic.

Check out my journal for my findings so far.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#10 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1116

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 08:16 AM

The only problem I can think of is that you should limit your choices rather than expand them even further. Too many choices confuses the player and chases away gaming purists. Otherwise, you have a good idea.

 

I fail to see why a system using "Like - Dislike" can't be built as far as one that uses "Like - Dislike" and "Agree - Disagree". Think of it like a Facebook, where if someone likes, agrees with, thinks something is funny, etc., they just press "Like". Here is the system I propose:

 

Opinion-based:

 

Like/Dislike

 

Action-based:

 

Flirt

Tutor/Instruct

Pickpocket

Chase away



#11 Durakken   Members   -  Reputation: 518

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 09:39 AM

Tutorial Doctor - Yes, that is what I have planned, but there are various levels of how much change there is too... I'm not concerning myself with that yet though.

 

Shane C - I'm only looking for an expanded list for me, not for the end product. Think of it like this... To decide what is the best metal to use for something one is in a better position to make the best system if they know all the metals and all the various alloys than someone who only know of gold, silver, and copper. The thing might be done with gold, silver, or copper, but it doesn't mean that they are the best to use to do that thing.



#12 Dodopod   Members   -  Reputation: 474

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 04:38 PM


Dodopod, something like that, but not quite... deeper in the background, but I want to make gui simple so that you would maybe only get those 1-word stage directions on the surface but underneath that the choices that you've made in the past and what you've thought/said about these topics/people are taken into into account to weight what your character does.

So does the player always know (or have a very good idea) what their character is going to say after any one choice? And if so, how? To take your example,

 


there might be a selection of honest or deceptive in the options and what that means would depend on what the characters positions are... If you've said that you agree with what this person said in the past and then you select to be deceptive you'd say you disagree for example.

What if the player forgets that they've previously agreed with this person? Does the game simply ask the player whether to be honest or deceptive per se, and if they don't remember what their character would consider honest or deceptive, they're forced to gamble with their words? Re-reading your post, it seems like you want to give the player a menu where all their character's opinions are spelled out (or at least the relevant ones, which would make it easier if the player is looking for one in particular) and can be changed. Is this correct?



#13 Durakken   Members   -  Reputation: 518

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 09:02 PM

The player is acting as more along the lines of the "gut" feelings of the character rather than direct control of what they're saying or thinking.

 

There are multiple factors involved in what is being agreed to and how it would work. For example if the the player selects "agree" it doesn't necessarily mean that the character 100% agrees, but rather that the gut feeling with regards to what the other character is saying is "true"... However, the character could act deceptively (even without you telling them to) or agree emphatically, or just listen till there is a disagreement to jump on. This all depends on the context of what is being said and who is saying it. This is because if you're in the presence of an idol who you disagree with you might just agree with them because you love them and want to date them and likewise you may also be in the dark lord's presence and try to fool them into thinking you're on their side or you may be in a meeting with the rebels and you're considered a leader so you need to more emphatically support what was said.

 

The best way to describe what I'm talking about is probably something like Context Sensitive Dialog Mechanics. 

 

Character opinions are never spelled out directly to the player, however, they are tracked by the game and are changed through various means.

 

Think of it sort like Fable's sliding scale of good vs evil, but with multiple vectors and every character/npc has various settings about how they feel about these topics which influences what they say to the player character which influences how they respond which influences what the NPCs thinks/says and so on and so on. The goal is to create a dynamic dialog system where player choices change the information they are given, but characters (including player characters) act more naturally and more in line with those specific characters. So that the main character acts like the main character even when the player is moving them down a given direction and the change in the character actions/reactions is gradual rather than suddenly this way or that.






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