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sunandshadow

soldier dialogue

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Hi Sunandshadow;

Almost all military communication is based either on strategic or tactical functions. It''s actually a very powerful form of communication, despite was people may say about military intelligence. It is designed with brevity, clarity, intelligence conveyance, avoidance of confusion while simultaneously preventing counterintelligence interception decoding/translation (for obvious purposes).

When I write dialogue in these settings, I use the rule of form follow function.

A basic military training tome on manuvering, close order combat tactics, and front order (battle front)command, strategy and tactical battle condition and case references would be of help. It''s all about practical military necessity, it''s the adjustment people have to what constitutes military necessity that confuses their interpretation of military command communication strategies.

One thing I like about this form of communication, is that you can, using the lingua franca as it were, in a very few words or phrases (designed to be shouted over the noise of the engagement, in combination with hand signals, something to be used preferentially for clear reasons) initiate several actions amongst several resources and units/squads/specialists rapidly, coordinatedly and without the possibility of misinterpretation, which could cost people thier lives, while achieving the objective with the fluidity, safety and surprise so necessary in military situations.

I''m also thinking that perhaps some of the Tom Clancy Series of games may have made some sort of interface capabilities for you to ''signal and communicate'' to you AI squads to response to changing conditions in the field no amount of planning can 100% account for in advance.

Addy

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Do you want objective-oriented dialogue, like "Team Delta lay down supressing fire on that bunker!" or "Foxtrot to Yankee, I need artillery support at [fancy military-sounding coordinates] pronto!"

Or perhaps you want ambient comments, like "I'm getting my ass shot off out here!" and "Well, they tried their best, but they didn't count on running into the biggest squad of Marine badasses in the Corps!" That last one is from Halo, which is a wealth of such comments.

Maybe you're looking for barracks banter, ranging from stories of engagements to wistful conversations about home to discourse on the finer aspects of female anatomy. That's trickier. You're going to have to either script conversations, like the guards in Splinter Cell ("Are you hoarding smokes?" heh.) or else come up with the most elegant as lib conversation program ever. Good luck.

[edited by - Iron Chef Carnage on November 16, 2003 1:28:40 PM]

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Medal of Honor does a fair job with soldier dialogue. Play the campaign and listen to your officers and fellow comrades; they say some interesting things.

You also need to be sure to swear a lot. lol... Don''t get me wrong, I''m not supporting the use of foul language, but that''s just what happens when you''re being shot at and everyone around you is dying. I don''t know this by first-hand, of course, but if you watch any documentaries or war movies, it happens. For example, here''s a fun little scene I just made up:

1st Officer: "Dammit, Argento, what the hell do you think you''re doing?!"
Argento: "Sorry, sir, my gun, it got, jammed."
1st Officer: "Don''t tell me that, you sorry piece of shit! Either you make it work, or I''ll shoot you myself!"
Argento: "Yes, sir, sorry."
1st Officer: "Don''t tell me you''re sorry, either; just do it, dammit! And get back with your squad!"
Argento: "Sorry sir, yes sir, I mean..."
1st Officer: Clubs Argento over the head. "Get out of here, now!"

And so on... Obviously, in this scene Argento is pretty scared, possibly some new recruit caught in the middle of a battle, and the first officer is some mean-old veteran only trying to keep his soldiers alive. Remember that gun-shots are zippin'' by, the ground is shaking and blowing up, planes are flying; the usual war specticle. You could probably change Argento''s words a little to not make him look so scared, or change the officers to make him less aggressive, but either way... That''s kind of what I''d expect from soldier dialogue.

Enjoy.

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Again, that sort of interaction will be insanely difficult to create unless it''s a series of "skits" that are composed by the designer and executed in-game. It''s far easier to build in conditions for brief sequences of chit-chat.

Remember in Goldeney, at the beginning of the Control Room level, when you leave Natalya in the elevator and shoot out all the gun emplacements and kill all the guards? When you get back to the elevator and open it, she either says "Jame, you were wonderful!" "James, you''re hurt," or "Oh my, that didn''t go very well," depending entirely on how much health you have when you get there.

In Halo, the "biggest squad of Marine badasses" comment is triggered when you come through a fairly hairy battle with all of the marines alive and well. Otherwise, they don''t say it. That game has serveral points at which such an event takes place. They are cleverly scripted so that at times when the player feels particularly macho, the Marines seem to, as well. Thus, it''s not just a clever feature to make the characters more "real", but actually serves to heighten the experience of playing the game. Just once I got to hear a Marine say, "Did you see me? I kicked ass!" That was extremely satisfying, because I knew he wouldn''t even have survived that encounter without my help.

On the topic at hand, which is resources for such writing, I can''t help much. Again, it depends on your intention. The three categories I described in my post above are relevant here. If you want battlefield orders, look up (or invent) commands, requests, etc. that might be utilitarian in the heat of the fight, and cue them with either the battle scenes or your AI. If you''ve designed a map to have a planned battle in a small box canyon with enemy snipers and friendly artillery support, have your ranking officer (if both he and the communications officer are active) shout, "Davis! Get on the horn and direct artillery to that bluff! Those bastards are picking us apart down here!" To which Davis replies, "Yes, Sir!" and then, "Fire company Bravo requesting artillery support at (fancy military sounding coordinates). Please sustain fire until further orders are forthcoming."

Using AI cues, you could have basic action-based chatter for your men. If a soldier is altering his focus of fire to target an enemy that''s obviously shooting at another friendly soldier, he could shout, "I''ve got him, Johnson!" Or if the enemy is targetting him, he''d say, "Don''t even think about it, you sunuvabitch!" I always like it when you kill something and your buddy says, "That one was mine!". Halo is again a great source of situational comments. Sometimes the Marines will shoot an enemy corpse shouting, "Die! Die! Die!" or "You like that? Huh?" or "Get up so I can kill you again!" It''s neat. Though the Marines contribute little to the battle except on the lowest difficulty setting (at which time they''re nigh invincible), it''s often worth the extra effort to keep them alive, if only to enjoy their company.

For the third type of conversation, I imagine it would occur most commonly in cut-scenes or in relatively small "base" areas, which would be controlled environments with few threats. For that, I recommend scripting. A few hundred five- or six-line conversations would make for organic "safe spots", and if you could tie that into actual player interaction, it would be great. "Jared here was just telling me about blah blah blah and yakkity yakkity. What''s up with you?"

As to actual resources, I recommend every war movie, especially Aliens, and any number of video games, including Halo. I remember that there''s a database somewhere of every verified marine quote in Halo, so that''ll save you a thousand hours or so of gameplay. My favorite: "I would have been your daddy, but the dog beat me over the fence!"

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Here's a link to a good Halo quote database, if that's the sort of thing you're looking for. Obviously, there are copyright issues involved, but it's a good reference regardless:

<link> http://halo.bungie.org/misc/dialogue.html

How the crap do you do a link?

[edited by - iron Chef Carnage on November 16, 2003 9:43:28 PM]

[edited by - iron Chef Carnage on November 16, 2003 9:44:00 PM]

[edited by - iron Chef Carnage on November 16, 2003 9:44:33 PM]

[edited by - Iron Chef Carnage on November 16, 2003 9:45:09 PM]

[edited by - Iron Chef Carnage on November 16, 2003 9:46:02 PM]

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WEll, if you want to read about the way the Army speaks, why not read what the Army writes
The US Army have a great amount of documents that can be browsed online, with tactics, SOP, material, how to plant mines and other joyous stuff like that It's at
General Dennis J. Reimer Training and Doctrine Digital Library
I suggest you look up the Signal section if you want to get more than you could ever imagine about communications.
Or you could look up the Acronyms dictionary to get an idea of how efficient the Army is when it comes to comms. If you thought KIA, ETA, FUBAR were the only acronyms really ever used, think again

Hope you enjoy !


Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

[edited by - ahw on November 17, 2003 11:35:29 AM]

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