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Showing content with the highest reputation on 09/28/2012 in all areas

  1. Character building for games isn’t easy, and it requires a lot of effort, especially when it comes to companions. I’ve had the good fortune to work on a variety of titles with strong support characters over the years, and I enjoy writing them a great deal. I still can’t believe I get paid to do this (don’t cut me off, Feargus). There are a few guidelines I try to follow when designing companions (some of these are dependent on the engine and franchise). - Combat/Challenge-viable. Any companion that can’t hold their weight and help support the home team in some fashion i
    15 points
  2. Great article! I wanted to comment about the first point, combat. While I agree with you, I think it's also important to not make the companions too great. In BG2, for example, some of the companions were built with some downright weird stats allocation - Anomen, a cleric, had 13 wisdom, many fighters had less than 18 strength and many were uselessly multiclassed. This just made them more interesting and usually really drove the character point home. This worked because in party-based RPGs, as long as the companion has a role he can feel serviceably, he is useful enough. He does after all hav
    4 points
  3. Oh how glad I am to read this. A lot of people ask for companions who despise the main character (or something along these lines). What they miss, I think, is that if a companion really couldn't care less about the main character, he wouldn't really be fun to travel with. There'd be no arguements, no criticism (when I think someone's stupid, would I bother to tell them?), no witty banter. As for the influence: I want it badly. Mostly because I've seen it done wrong in modern games, and want to see it done right. To gain influence over someone in DA:O, you need to say what they like
    2 points
  4. i agree very much, hide the numbers! i always end up playing in a way where i try to get the highest score with everyone - i just can't resist the numbers away with them! let us _feel_ the reaction of the guy, don't show us the numerical equivalent!
    2 points
  5. Isn't the fact that the companion has agreed to accompany the player and accept their leadership a type of ego stroking, in and of itself. For instance Roche and Iorveth, may accompany the player at various points in the Witcher 2 but in now way are they subordinate to Geralt, their paths and goals have just happened to collide. In a way this is a far more realistic implementation than the traditional party mechanic. That being said the mechanic presented in both Torment, Kotor 2 and Dead Money to explain this subjugation of free will was logical and didn't diminish the companions in too g
    2 points
  6. re: Influence meter, I don't mind having it, but don't show the player. This is something that should be a background mechanic. And as to player initiated vs companion initiated dialogue, these should not be exclusive. You should be able to initiate dialogue with your companions whenever you want, but your companions should be able to do the same.
    2 points
  7. Hear, hear! I think there is a great deal of room for innovation in the relationships between players and companions. Many RPGs today have reduced companion interaction to a post-quest checklist: do something in the world, return to base and talk to everyone, repeat. It would be wonderful to have these interactions happen in a more organic way, as they do in real life. To me, that means having companions with their own hopes/dreams/opinions who react to their their circumstances in a way that reveals those things. Sometimes they need to tell you something important. Sometimes they rea
    1 point
  8. This was a very enjoyable read, thanks Chris. I do have a few notes which I hope you'll read; "The companion needs to ego-stroke the player in a variety of ways. Sometimes this can be romance, sometimes this can be simply reactivity (either brief barks or conversations about the player’s actions), or any of a variety of methods. Ultimately, however, any companion that simply sits around bitching, complaining, and haranguing the player isn’t someone you want to drag into the nearest dungeon to help clear it out… you may simply want to throw them in the dungeon and lock the door." I don't
    1 point
  9. I agree. If the numbers are hidden (both the current influence score and the increase/decrease popups) it will feel much more natural (see #1). You will get to feel how companions think of you, whether it's clear as crystal or more obscured (see #2). #1 Treat a companion like dirt? After a while she starts to greet you more and more bitterly. Be nice to a cranky companion? He's still a prick to everyone else, but when talking to you he develops a normal tone. With hints like this, coupled with the fact that the player should remember which companions he's been friendly or unfriendly to, th
    1 point
  10. I'm a little weirded out at the paragraph on "ego stroking" the PC. Could you explain further? Taken too far, this could mean that companions have little identity of their own. I've also always enjoyed "bitchy" characters that don't just roll over for the PC.
    1 point
  11. Great read, thanks for taking the time out to post this. However I should point out I have no problem with a character upstaging the character. If the story calls for it, and it makes sense in the world/lore. I don't see it as a problem. However I can see why you don't do this due to some peoples dislike for it. I also like the comment about PC personality having an effect on available characters, I loathe when a character sticks around even when you do something that goes against their beliefs right in front of them. I would be all for them leaving/ attacking the character based on pa
    1 point
  12. To dmbot's point about companions initiating the dialogue: I agree that it does make them feel more alive, but it can sometimes be annoying, particularly if it's out of context. In BG2 I would be in some dark, messed up dungeon and then Jaheria and Aerie would start cat fighting over who likes me more (who could blame them). There would always be a dialogue option where you could tell them "not now" or "no one cares" but I never chose those for fear of affecting the relationship with them. So, while I do like when they bring stuff up, there's a time and place. Certain dialogues should
    1 point
  13. I think it's fair and a good point - companions shouldn't be (1) more powerful than the player, to the point where they can handle the combats by themselves, (2) upstage the player, and (3) seem to have used the ruleset in ways the player cannot to their advantage (ex: they're allowed to have stat allocations that no normal player could have made). All these things can breed resentment. A lot of the CNPC-initiated companion stuff makes them feel more alive, as long as the execution is handled correctly and it makes sense in the context of the situation. I probably should have mentioned
    1 point
  14. At work, we have a lot of rules for how to write. These range from punctuation (single-spacing after terminal punctuation) to spelling ("all right" vs. "alright") to structural (where a "goodbye" response should be relative to a "start combat" response and where that should be relative to a "friendly" response). Every project has a document (or documents) on the specific guidelines for that project. In spite of all the details, there are certain high-level principles that tend to be common. Okay, maybe it's just in my mind, but here are principles that I believe are important for writing playe
    1 point
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