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Fionavar

Top Ten @ Obsidian

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I'm disappointed in some of Avellone's answers. Particularly how he thinks long dialogues are not fun and that your character should be able to do something else at the same time. Seriously, WTF?

 

Perhaps he meant that, with today's technology, it's possible to express many aspects of the dialogue through other means. For example, ever since I've played VTM:Bloodlines, I've become a fan of realistic facial expressions and body language in games. IMO, both of these things can do a great job in further reinforcing the emotions conveyed through regular dialogue. Thanks to that, the developers could remove some of the more abstract scene descriptions (which were present in their older games) and present them in a visual form instead.

 

Don't get me wrong though, I loved the lengthy scene descriptions of Fallout and PST (those two are my favorite games after all :cool:) and the extra lines made both games much more immersive for me at that time. However, using modern technology, the developers can now actually make those lines come to life, and thus achieve an even higher degree of realism and immersion while saving some money on the localization costs at the same time.

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The issue is that the degree of description possible with pre-era RPGs (up to BG2, even) cannot yet begin to be rivalled by the newer technology. Instead of waiting for the possibilities of that technology to mature so that there is an actual improvement, we are left with a *replacement*, thanks to a rushed implementation (and domination) of a system whose technology has and will for some time numerous drawbacks. The most obvious? The limited nature of facial expressions / animations.

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I'm sure when NWN 2 finally get released, purists will be all over it for having "less" dialogue than for instance PST, just because the devs didn't write lengthy textboxes, explaining what the character is doing during the dialogue.


I was raised by polar bears. I had to fight against blood thirsty wolves and rabid penguins to get my food. Those who were too weak to survive were sent to Sweden.

 

It has made me the man I am today. A man who craves furry hentai.

So let us go and embrace the rustling smells of unseen worlds

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MCA has talked about dialogues getting in the way of hot fireball action before, so I don't think his answer was just about bringing new technology to conversations.

 

I doubt there was anyone who didn't like the facial expressions in Bloodlines. However, in my opinion text descriptions are better because they're much more flexible and can be used in many other circumstances too (when entering a new area, for example, like in this screenshot: http://www.basiliskgames.com/Screen5.htm)

 

Prelude to Darkness managed to make the descriptions both easy to read and elegant. They fit perfectly in the text boxes and worked really well. http://www.zero-sum.com/walkthrough/pics/screen148.jpg

Edited by Jora

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Personally I hope that there won't the amount of text PST had. Animations and facial expressions go a long way. Long enough to make the boxes obsolete.

 

Edit: Thanks, Pidesco.

Edited by Musopticon?

I was raised by polar bears. I had to fight against blood thirsty wolves and rabid penguins to get my food. Those who were too weak to survive were sent to Sweden.

 

It has made me the man I am today. A man who craves furry hentai.

So let us go and embrace the rustling smells of unseen worlds

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@Azarkon....I agree with much of what you said there. I liked the influence system of KOTOR 2 but I agree that it did not feel organic enough and I did not like metagaming to get to certain results (whether that be LS/DS shift or something else).

 

perhaps a solution is, as you say, more NPC-initiated dialogue. that way, if you go up to an NPC and start talking, you are doing that just for fun. if they approach you, you have to really concentrate on what you want to say as that segment will (most likely) never be repeated again.

 

and, perhaps, more of a random element in the dialogues. for instance, if you start talking about the Mandalorians (to a non-Mandalorian), someone walks into the room and takes over the conversation from the one you had been talking to. things like that, anything to make it feel a little more organic.

 

still, they were definitely on the right track.

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'Dialogues' become boring when they're freaking monologues. It has to be interactive in more ways than just 'go on, please, please just go on' virtually all the time. Dialogue has to feature a gameplay element, in which the player actively interacts and plays a part in said dialogue, not just be an exposition device. The conversation with Atris (I timed it! 45 mins!) is one of my favorite scenes because it WASN'T a monologue. You were defining your character at the same time as being fed relatively large amounts of information about your past. Would it have been more fun if it were full of narrative such as 'Atris leans back and strokes her chin, her icy glare piercing your eyes with hot sweaty hatred'? I'm not convinced.

 

MCA isn't wrong, though. Economy of words is important. Be too overly verbose, and the player isn't even reading what you're writing. In which case, you've already lost.

 

The thing, all that energy being spent on narrative and descriptions I would rather have invested into further character development and relationships, especially with party members. The amount of input those dudes get during dialogue is very appreciated, but please sir, I want some more. There's a lot of room for more interaction there. This was done much better in KOTOR2 than in PST, in which, intraparty interaction was pretty minimal - it was basically 'you and me' relationships. I'd give up narrative for this, especially when ample narrative isn't really that optimal an option anymore.


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Personally I hope that there won't the amount of text PST had. Animations and facial expressions go a long way. Long enough to make the boxes obsolete.

Text-boxes nowadays are great for low-budget modules, but for game developers the standards are higher. Gamers today who pay want voice-overs, facial expressions, and scenery displayed graphically rather than textually. These things are all possible and will improve with time.

 

On the other hand, text descriptions in games can tap into your imagination better than anything graphically can, much like a book. Maybe we are talking about two different branches here, rather than one branch growing into another.

Edited by Blank

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The weird thing is that Jora, who is a finn, is actually asking for more text in games.. There goes my stereotype out the window. Personally I've always been more impressed with artists that can express a ton of emotion using as few words/pictures as possible. Take Aki Kaurism


Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

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I'm not saying that every RPG should be like PS:T (although a few more wouldn't hurt!) but I find Avellone's talk about the need to make dialogues shorter and prettier worrying. Combine that with Feargus' love for particle effects and who knows what kind of monstrosity might be born? :)

 

And I'm not asking for overly verbose descriptions before and after every sentence an NPC utters. A few lines here and there can add much to a dialogue.

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They can add much...or nothing at all.


I was raised by polar bears. I had to fight against blood thirsty wolves and rabid penguins to get my food. Those who were too weak to survive were sent to Sweden.

 

It has made me the man I am today. A man who craves furry hentai.

So let us go and embrace the rustling smells of unseen worlds

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I have to say that I find the Teen v. Mature rating issue is interesting to me.

...

I'd really, really like to see mature themes in many of these games.  The demo to Hitman, which is something I have only had a chance to play once, brings some of that home.  It depicts violence within the context of the story and, so far, the demo has not glorified or reveled in the violence.

...

The latest Splinter Cell does a good line in ethical dilemmae, apparently, too.


OBSCVRVM PER OBSCVRIVS ET IGNOTVM PER IGNOTIVS

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OPVS ARTIFICEM PROBAT

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They can add much...or nothing at all.

Of course. But the same could be said about anything. Graphics can add much... or nothing! I just assume that MCA & others could write well.

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Sawyer, perhaps?

 

 

Edit: Or Darren Monahan, or Chris Parker.

 

And let's not forget Feargus isn't done with his questions. Here's hoping he finds the time to answer them. :thumbsup:

Edited by Pidesco

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We already know everything there is to know about Sawyer. And if we don't, we can always easily ask him here. Darren is a producer, not a designer, so that makes him kind of boring. :thumbsup:" I'm most interested in the new blood we know nothing about. Designers who have worked on KotOR2 and/or NWN2.

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I agree. Sawyer's actually pretty good about answering questions in the first place. Let's grab someone we can't normally hold down for an answer. I think a programmer would be good. After all, once the designer gets done thinking profound thoughts and designing great games, the programmer must translate those thoughts and designs into a working product. It would be good to see what kinds of things translate better than others.


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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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I vote for Mr. Ass. Prod.


This post is not to be enjoyed, discussed, or referenced on company time.

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Oohh, I would love to ask Mitsoda a few questions.. none of them regarding his work on Obsidian though :))


Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

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Hi, if Chris is reading this im just curious to his thoughts on whether or not he feels that the modular approach to content we saw in NWN is a restriction on the gameplay: In Torment you were able to make very unique settings specifically made to fit the story. This made the game much more immersive and interesting from a roleplaying point of view.

In NWN the design approach goes towards making the content generic and flexible and not designed very specifically the story.

How will that same design approach (as i understand you will apply, since you will support a public toolset) affect the gameplay in NWN2 compared to NWN1 ?

 

I fully understand the greatness of supporting a community, but i also feel that the price is too high on the quality of the game.

 

/Cheers

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I think it'd be more rewarding to do Top Ten sessions with devs on the unannounced projects after we know what they are. We can then ask specific questions with the game context in mind and they'll have more freedom in answering the questions.


Spreading beauty with my katana.

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