metadigital Posted August 3, 2005 Share Posted August 3, 2005 Wading through the sycophantically effusive "preview" of Oblivion in this month's PC Gamer, I did read some interesting stuff, which I shall relate herewith. ... and what makes it most exciting is that it also addresses its shortcomings with almost surgical precision. The lifeless text-based dialogue system has been replaced by an unbelievable 50 hours of speech, including erstwhile Enterprise captain Patrick Stewart as the human emperor. They've wisely given up on the messy stream-of-consciousness journal system, and the new quest log is similar to that of World of Warcraft. Persuasion - which previously degenerated into bribing people until they told you what you wanted - has come a particularly long way. When executive producer Todd Howard decided to put the moves on a bookseller he liked the look of, the new interface popped up. It's a disc with the four compass points labelled with methods of persuasion: joke, admire intimidate, and taunt. You position your cursor for the right balance of methods you think will work, all the while watching their face intently. If you veer toward the obsequious end of flattery, you'll elicit a scowl of distaste as your sycophancy becomes transparent. Once you find a sweetspot between adulation and cool, it'll be obvious from their expression that they're amenable to your tone; so you let go of the mouse button and they react to your line for real. Todd went for a mostly jokey angle, and when he released the mouse button the bookseller chuckled appreciatively: "An orc in a dress? That's a good one." A few more classic jibes at greenskin cross-dressing later, and he got her talking about the attacks on the town. Now much more open with him, the bookseller admitted the violence was starting to scare her. In fact, she could use someone like him around for protection. Would he care to stay the night? He would. This is where the biggest change has taken place: in the private lives of the NPCs. For starters, they now have them. But what we saw was more than the daily routine rhetoric we've heard about before; it was something almost scarily involved. Hanging out in her bedroom, our new 'friend' got on with practising her archery. She had to down an aim-improving concoction before her practice was entirely safe to perform with company, and with her small ldog scampering about. After three bullseyes, she was satisfied and settled down to read. Her dog was still making a nuisance of himself, though, so she found a steak for him and tossed it on the floor. Here's the root of that term 'Radiant AI' you might have heard bandied about: the dog scans within a radius around him, locates the steak, realises it's food and that he's hungry, and gobbles it. Stats boosted, he yapped with renewed vigour, and eventually his mistress OBSCVRVM PER OBSCVRIVS ET IGNOTVM PER IGNOTIVS OPVS ARTIFICEM PROBAT Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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