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Mrkpc

'Best' technique to write multiple choice dialogue

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Hello everyone, I think this is the right place of the forums to ask about my problem, if it is not, feel free to correct me.


The problem is that I can't come up with a clear way to write dialogue with multiple choices ('answers') for the player to choose.

For example, the classic Fallouts (1 and 2) gave multiple choices in dialogue, but if you write this all literally down, it will become a huge expanding 'tree' of choices and the 'answers' of the NPC to the PC regarding those choices, it will become so chaotic and hard to follow that there would be no use of writing it down in the first place.

Does anyone have a simple technique to write these all down in a clear way, or does anyone know how the developers of for example Fallout wrote these ( if they even wrote them before the actual stage of implementing them)?

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What I do is give each line of dialogue a label (a name and a number). Along with each line, you can list or show the possible places the game might have to jump to, by label.
A tree might be useful to have as well, if you can come up with a good way to show it. It's OK to make mini-trees, with connection labels to other mini-trees. I wouldn't try to make one huge tree out of it all.

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There was one poster here (whose name I forget) who used the Neverwinter Nights toolset's dialog editor for his game. Bioware made the format of their dialog file public and he wrote an importer for that to his game's format.

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Initial Dialogue:

NPC: "Would you like to make a donation to the church?"
Player Choice:
1.) "Sure!"

2.) "Uh, not today..."


If player selects 1: "Thank you for your donation!"

If player selects 2: "Very well, but please keep us in mind."
[/quote]



Something like that?
You'd have to make a dialogue tree, but not a large one.
Tom said it best.

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Yup, NWN had a nice editor.
Currently, you can try also the editor of Dragon Age: Origin toolset (I know that the Witcher had one toolset too, but I hadn't tried it).

Otherwise you can create a tree using something like "USUAL ANSWER A" to unite the common dialogue lines.

In many rpg there's a ROOT and multple DIALOGUE LINES.

For example player can choose dialogue line A and continue until it finish. When he finish he go back to the root. Some dialogues had multiple level of roots.

If you want to try a software to elaborate a dialogue graph you can try xmind.

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I would use an outline something similar this:

A.
1.
a.
b.
c.
2.
a.
b.
c.
3.
a.
b.
c.

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Interestingly enough, I'm slowly piecing together my own dialog editor. I'm half writing it for fun and half hoping that I'll eventually use it in a Deus-Ex style game. Basically it is broken down into a few basic objects - Conditions, Dialog Nodes, Dialog Choices, and Conversation. A dialog node can have a precondition, some text that is displayed, and 0 or more dialog choices. A dialog choice links to another dialog node. A conversation is a set of dialog nodes. Everything is identified by a GUID, so it makes it fairly easy to jump to a particular dialog node, conversation, or even a dialog choice. It's saved as an XML file, and should (in theory) be easily parse-able.

I really should get around to finishing it...

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I think it's best if instead of a dialogue system you would use a more open script system that would include not just messages\user choices but also any sort of game\system events.

The RPGMaker software has a very clean and intuitive way to go about with this, where you have a list of actions; those actions can be messages (textboxes), user choices or game events (like changing a switch, opening a door, receiving an item etc.).

Here's a list of the possible commands available to RPGMaker event-scripts.

To build these scripts the user has a "wizard" interface where you add actions to a script.
It's a very friendly way to approach event-scripting with dialogues, choices and system actions. You can look at the workflow in this RPGMaker tutorial.
Fashioning your own system like this shouldn't be too hard, if you analyse the RPGMaker software carefully.

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