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Durakken

an interactive dialogue idea...

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I was watching DICE 2010 stuff... and I got the idea... We want interactive dialogue which is there, but not... So i was thinking...why are we controlling what the character is saying directly? We don't do that with our selves all that often... So... the idea is this... You take the dialogue and you break it down into topics which are then given points towards how your character feels about that topic... For example "religion" some people just don't care while others are curious... while still others don't want to hear it... so you give this religion topic a "curious" "don't want to hear" value... next you give the character status like angry, bored, happy, etc which can be effected by the player itself saying, im angry, or from an event like you're in a hurry or something has just happened You also have a third set of variables of "adventurer" "explorer" "killer" etc that is defined by how the character plays the game, the more the player looks for things, the more points in the explorer stat, the more a player kills the more points in the killer area... now in the cutscenes or whatever as the characters speaks there is a UI which allows the player to click option from bored, curious, angry at the guy (stuff from the first2 sets)... etc so that the which each button press your character begins acting more in that fashion... The third set of various comes up invisibly in the way your character communicates. The more of an explorer someone is the more they might be interested in the lore so the character asks about a place they're being directed to go to or about the NPC... further, these dialogues would also effect the NPCs around so an angrier killer type might elicit more fearful reactions while a kind killer might get reactions of "you a killer? yeah right" Basically this makes the entire experience customize to the player while making the character feel more right which allows writers to write the character better because the writer would know "in this circumstance he is feeling this way" This is just off the top of my head so not refined at all, but what do you think?

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It's certainly an interesting idea - the player becomes something of a director, giving the actor his "motivation" without specifying exact dialogue.

There are a few problems of course, perhaps most notably the loss of direct control over the character which may displease some players - it's a rather strange abstraction of dialogue control. There is the chance that the character will do/say something which the player really didn't want them to do.

Consider a "killer" character, where the player wants to interrogate an NPC about his next mission location - an "explorer" might have asked about the location, but the "killer" intimidates/extorts the NPC instead of questioning him. I can see the system being fun to interact with, but issues may arise when the player has a specific goal in mind. Because of this, including actions such as "investigate X" may be somewhat difficult to avoid.

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I think that if you were to make a game where you have a story planned out you only need to hit the key points and anything beyond that is based on character progression... You miss out on something, all the better for the next play through.

That is to say though that the world has to be designed as though there is no super secret arbitrary nonsense (looking at FF12's ultimate weapon v.v) where the player doesn't get access to something because of dialogue but rather they don't figure it out the same way.

I mean, A killer type character isn't going to care that an NPC isn't going to let them into their house because a killer type char would just bust into the house.


Also, as bad as this might sound I think the wisest decision would be to make it so even if you miss out on key dialogue, like say you were sent somewhere to get info from someone and you just kill them... had you gotten that info they would have sent you to another place to save the world from an alien invasion because it prevents the invasion from ever happening or stops it through some super weapon... but because you didn't get it the information the invasion happens and you have to try to stop it via regular means...and if you fail, well, that's part of the story too. It's not just a game over, but rather the end of the story is that the world is invaded and you die.

In other words, it gives the implied dynamic of the game over, explicitly. Or the game gives you another path to go on.

I think i answered the investigate x coherently, but let's say you are a killer type and you are told to go investigate the docks for clues on a crimelord that is working from those docks...well how are you going to do that? The player has the decision to sneak around and get the info from paper work... or they have option of infiltrating...or the have the option of busting in and beating people up. The character then has the option of killing everyone or letting them go or dismembering them or what not. A killer character, based on their mood, would more or less work on the principle of tell me or i kill you...but at the same time they might be feeling nice and let the guy go. but all the same they might not.

This all stems from make the experience more dynamic and don't set in stone things that you don't have to. Is there a way for a character to kill everyone and get info? yup. Is there a way for them to do everything wrong and still proceed with the story? well what would happen in real life? Would just not getting that info stop the story? no...so why should it in a game?

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Original post by Durakken
I think i answered the investigate x coherently, but let's say you are a killer type and you are told to go investigate the docks for clues on a crimelord that is working from those docks...well how are you going to do that? The player has the decision to sneak around and get the info from paper work... or they have option of infiltrating...or the have the option of busting in and beating people up.


Really I was talking about a situation where the player wanted to do/say/ask something which wasn't specifically related to a task assigned by the game. If the mission is to investigate the crimelord at the docks then obviously dialogue options can be tailored to fit the character's mood and "type" (killer/explorer/adventurer etc.) while still allowing them to complete the mission somehow.

But what if the player wants to interrogate someone about something out of their own curiosity? How do they make it clear that they want to angrily interrogate the NPC about the criminal activity at the docks and not just go on an angry rant about crime rates? Basically, it seems to me that a player is mostly goal-oriented - if there is some dialogue option which will give more information about the criminals, shouldn't the player be able to see this and take this option?

I can only see the player having this kind of control if you present them with three variables:
1. Target/subject (eg crime at docks)
2. Action (eg investigate/give opinion)
3. Mood/manner (eg angry/calm/happy)
[4. Play style/alignment (hidden variable)]

This is basically like existing systems, but with mood/emotion added (which current games like Mass Effect include in a limited sense by having a "good" and a "bad" way to say something).

But maybe I'm not clear on your proposed system - you mention the player manipulating two sets of variables.. can you clarify what these sets are?

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Original post by WavyVirus
Quote:
Original post by Durakken
I think i answered the investigate x coherently, but let's say you are a killer type and you are told to go investigate the docks for clues on a crimelord that is working from those docks...well how are you going to do that? The player has the decision to sneak around and get the info from paper work... or they have option of infiltrating...or the have the option of busting in and beating people up.


Really I was talking about a situation where the player wanted to do/say/ask something which wasn't specifically related to a task assigned by the game. If the mission is to investigate the crimelord at the docks then obviously dialogue options can be tailored to fit the character's mood and "type" (killer/explorer/adventurer etc.) while still allowing them to complete the mission somehow.

But what if the player wants to interrogate someone about something out of their own curiosity? How do they make it clear that they want to angrily interrogate the NPC about the criminal activity at the docks and not just go on an angry rant about crime rates? Basically, it seems to me that a player is mostly goal-oriented - if there is some dialogue option which will give more information about the criminals, shouldn't the player be able to see this and take this option?

I can only see the player having this kind of control if you present them with three variables:
1. Target/subject (eg crime at docks)
2. Action (eg investigate/give opinion)
3. Mood/manner (eg angry/calm/happy)
[4. Play style/alignment (hidden variable)]

This is basically like existing systems, but with mood/emotion added (which current games like Mass Effect include in a limited sense by having a "good" and a "bad" way to say something).

But maybe I'm not clear on your proposed system - you mention the player manipulating two sets of variables.. can you clarify what these sets are?


See I'm not 100% clear on the idea myself as it just came to me, like many of my ideas...Also this idea would have to be customized to the game so it would have different emotions and things that it takes into account...

One of the emotions/moods/feelings one might have is curiosity or something like that... I would think that how hard you press the button would also effect how much of that feeling the character would get as well as when you press the button... So let's set a scenario...

Your character is a killer type and he's angry... he busts in to a drug operation's HQ at the docks... busts up the boss and has a gone aimed at the guys heads...

The boss: "Please don't shoot, I didn't know what he was doin with them"

Now the player can press the curious button anywhere during that... and multiple times...

So assuming a player presses it during the first part "Please don't shoot" it might cause the character to spare the guys life and work out some sort of deal however if that's all they press it on they might miss out on the other three points I can think of which are who "he" is what "they" are and "what he was doing with them" pushing at these points at different intensities would causes the character to ask about them in natural dialogue... (though i have no idea how that last one would work)

Also the character could also kill the boss or not...as the player can increase the character's anger or boredom and that would cause a killer type to probably kill the boss if the information wasn't satisfactory...

You're getting the info. You're investigating, but your maintaining the integrity of the developed character.

As far as other topics, a player might be able to put a topic into the head of the character through some menu... or perhaps through voice recognition software. More or less in this idea the player is the conscience and a voice in the head of the character.

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Just a small note of my thoughts. I think in order to use a system like this, information will have to be available in other ways than simply talking to people. It would be neat for you to interrogate someone, but have them give you the wrong information (set up a trap/ambush) to get revenge, but if you read the poster/journal/whatever it gives the info you asked about, so you know he's lying.

Uses secondary sources of information I think would be key to making this system work.

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Original post by Dekasa
Just a small note of my thoughts. I think in order to use a system like this, information will have to be available in other ways than simply talking to people. It would be neat for you to interrogate someone, but have them give you the wrong information (set up a trap/ambush) to get revenge, but if you read the poster/journal/whatever it gives the info you asked about, so you know he's lying.

Uses secondary sources of information I think would be key to making this system work.


Yeah, consider a Detective game... you don't just get info from witnesses. You get info from evidence sources.

The point of the system is to make more natural dialogue that doesn't destroy the immersion factor. So i think being able to access other ways to put in topics to talk about while the conversation is going down is probably essential...

You're making decisions and thinking, while inputting emotions, and in a way having a limited time to come up with something else which replicates the thought process to begin with...

the problem that I can foresee from something like this is the UI. The conversation and such needs to continue while you are looking through other information and inputting mood commands.

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