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Please don't ban exposition from dialouge


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Do people really believe that the dialogue is going to be stripped out or dumbed down in this game based off that single comment in a discussion forum? Was Fallout New Vegas hindered by the lack of exposition?

 

New Vegas is chock-full of exposition. Hell, one of the most apropos criticism of its writing I've heard is that it relies too much of telling instead of showing. Which is also one of the reasons I'm not too worried about a lack of exposition in Project Eternity: he might say that, but so far, none of his work shows such a design philosophy.

Edited by WorstUsernameEver
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I love rich long dialog and learning/talking to NPC's about random stuff. It makes NPC's more than simple walking arrows sign posts for the almighty quests and one of the most important things I love about old school RPG's. Take the original deus ex, PST, Fallout..etc, I would sit there and read, and read all the random dialog...and I LOVED it. Please do not take that away or dumb it down.

 

Someone should make a poll and ask what everyone thinks.

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Well, I thought what he meant was how in some games you can just ask NPCs a bunch of questions that a person wouldn't actually ask, just to act to give background information on the world, which could be discovered through other means. I mean in some games I end up aksing all these questions that I actually basically know the answer to, just because the option to ask is there and because I get uncomfortable if I don't ask everything possible. Like asking about something that is going on right next to where the conversation is happening - it doesn't really add anything except artificial playtime.

 

Plus, how often do people start talking to strangers, in real life, about the world and everything that's going on in town. Exposition in dialogue isn't really necessary for characterisationand plot, which is more important for dialogue, there are other ways to find out about the world... I think anyway (though I'm not saying it shouldn't be there, just not all the time and in every conversation you have)

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That's entirly a question of execution though. For example how you formulate the question.

 

For example instead of *What's the chantry* you ask *What do you think about the Chantry*

 

True, it all depends on how the information is packed into the conversation. In your example, the answer would also shift from well known fact to personal opinion, which could be biased or useless and probably conflicting with what other people told you... changing the entire feel of the conversation. And might actually force the player to use his brain.

When I read "straight exposition" in the original post, I instantly had to think of some NPC shoving the backstory down my throat, which lead to my "hell no" reaction.

 

That said, I don't really think they'll abandon small talk or pestering random people in this game. Now someone get that man over here so you guys can stop worrying =P

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Do people really believe that the dialogue is going to be stripped out or dumbed down in this game based off that single comment in a discussion forum? Was Fallout New Vegas hindered by the lack of exposition?

 

New Vegas is chock-full of exposition. Hell, one of the most apropos criticism of its writing I've heard is that it relies too much of telling instead of showing. Which is also one of the reasons I'm not too worried about a lack of exposition in Project Eternity: he might say that, but so far, none of his work shows such a design philosophy.

 

I wouldn't say it was chock-full, but New Vegas level is acceptable for me (though I'd prefer a bit more wordy in a non voice-acted rpg). It just sounds worrying and like he thinks that nobody appreaciates these options anymore. (Waste of time comment).

 

That was one of the reasons I made this thread too. Showing this isn't true and we do appreciate them.

Edited by C2B
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Well, there's lore & flavour and then there's exposition. If I'm reading Sawyer right in the thread then he's simply saying that he would want to avoid exposition when information like that can be introduced in a far more natural way.

 

Remember, exposition is generally viewed as necessary evil - forcing characters to explain something in dialogue for the benefit of the audience. Ordinarily those characters wouldn't really say such things. Poorly handled exposition is hugely frowned upon and can feel far more "gamey" and immersion breaking. so I'm happy to remove exposition.

 

The interactive nature of games, coupled with some quality writing, presents the opportunity for the player to discover important background information in far more natural means. Freeing up conversation for character development, story telling and generally bringing those characters to life. Having said that, exposition can be handled pretty well in some cases - and can be so subtle as to be barely noticeable and feel like development. I am sure, reading his comments, that Sawyer wouldn't mind that.

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Currently playing IWD2 and it's kind of irritating how little exposition there are from NPCs. I hope Sawyer allows for more of it in Eternity. Even if it's just little tidbits from NPCs when asking them about inane stuff, it definitely adds a lot.

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Do people really believe that the dialogue is going to be stripped out or dumbed down in this game based off that single comment in a discussion forum? Was Fallout New Vegas hindered by the lack of exposition?

 

New Vegas is chock-full of exposition. Hell, one of the most apropos criticism of its writing I've heard is that it relies too much of telling instead of showing. Which is also one of the reasons I'm not too worried about a lack of exposition in Project Eternity: he might say that, but so far, none of his work shows such a design philosophy.

 

The thing with New Vegas is that everything you heard was clearly coming through the filter of the character. "Truths" were never hard and you always got the sense that people were giving their opinion as much as they were conveying "facts."

 

This seems to be the crux of what Mr. Sawyer was getting at. Not cutting dialogue down to the tersest amount of prose possible.

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Do people really believe that the dialogue is going to be stripped out or dumbed down in this game based off that single comment in a discussion forum? Was Fallout New Vegas hindered by the lack of exposition?

 

New Vegas is chock-full of exposition. Hell, one of the most apropos criticism of its writing I've heard is that it relies too much of telling instead of showing. Which is also one of the reasons I'm not too worried about a lack of exposition in Project Eternity: he might say that, but so far, none of his work shows such a design philosophy.

 

The thing with New Vegas is that everything you heard was clearly coming through the filter of the character. "Truths" were never hard and you always got the sense that people were giving their opinion as much as they were conveying "facts."

 

This seems to be the crux of what Mr. Sawyer was getting at. Not cutting dialogue down to the tersest amount of prose possible.

 

Still not answers the mentioned parts of his first comment I've pointed out. If the lying thing was the only thing he was getting at he wouldn't have said as much.

 

It'd be nice to have another statement regarding the whole though.

 

We're kinda repeating the same thing over and over. Again, I'm not saying every NPC has to tell the truth. Not what my first post is about at all.

Edited by C2B
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Well, there's lore & flavour and then there's exposition. If I'm reading Sawyer right in the thread then he's simply saying that he would want to avoid exposition when information like that can be introduced in a far more natural way.

 

Remember, exposition is generally viewed as necessary evil - forcing characters to explain something in dialogue for the benefit of the audience. Ordinarily those characters wouldn't really say such things. Poorly handled exposition is hugely frowned upon and can feel far more "gamey" and immersion breaking. so I'm happy to remove exposition.

 

The interactive nature of games, coupled with some quality writing, presents the opportunity for the player to discover important background information in far more natural means. Freeing up conversation for character development, story telling and generally bringing those characters to life. Having said that, exposition can be handled pretty well in some cases - and can be so subtle as to be barely noticeable and feel like development. I am sure, reading his comments, that Sawyer wouldn't mind that.

 

If it's forced. Yes, absolutly (though, it can still be effectivly used depending on the point you're trying to make).

 

If it's not forced, No.

 

Asking about random stuff you may want to know about when you talk to people is not something evil. Nor should it be seen as such. Asking the way and about other things is something people do in real life.

Edited by C2B
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The thing with New Vegas is that everything you heard was clearly coming through the filter of the character. "Truths" were never hard and you always got the sense that people were giving their opinion as much as they were conveying "facts."

 

This seems to be the crux of what Mr. Sawyer was getting at. Not cutting dialogue down to the tersest amount of prose possible.

 

Sure, but that's just, like, dialogue-writing 101? People shouldn't go out of character to give exposition.

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Do people really believe that the dialogue is going to be stripped out or dumbed down in this game based off that single comment in a discussion forum? Was Fallout New Vegas hindered by the lack of exposition?

 

New Vegas is chock-full of exposition. Hell, one of the most apropos criticism of its writing I've heard is that it relies too much of telling instead of showing. Which is also one of the reasons I'm not too worried about a lack of exposition in Project Eternity: he might say that, but so far, none of his work shows such a design philosophy.

 

The thing with New Vegas is that everything you heard was clearly coming through the filter of the character. "Truths" were never hard and you always got the sense that people were giving their opinion as much as they were conveying "facts."

 

This seems to be the crux of what Mr. Sawyer was getting at. Not cutting dialogue down to the tersest amount of prose possible.

 

Still not answers the mentioned parts of his first comment I've pointed out. If the lying thing was the only thing he was getting at he wouldn't have said as much.

 

It'd be nice to have another statement regarding the whole though.

 

We're kinda repeating the same thing over and over. Again, I'm not saying every NPC has to tell the truth. Not what my first post is about at all.

 

I'm not talking about lying per se, I'm talking about the notion of dialogue furthering character development vs. using NPCs as a walking encyclopedia -- which is what they frequently amount to in some cRPGs -- and that was my take away from Josh's comments.

 

I just feel as though we're getting a little bogged down in the minutiae here. After reading his comments, I don't believe Mr. Sawyer, Mr. Avellone and co. wish to write a terse, dumbed down RPG.

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The thing with New Vegas is that everything you heard was clearly coming through the filter of the character. "Truths" were never hard and you always got the sense that people were giving their opinion as much as they were conveying "facts."

 

This seems to be the crux of what Mr. Sawyer was getting at. Not cutting dialogue down to the tersest amount of prose possible.

 

Sure, but that's just, like, dialogue-writing 101? People shouldn't go out of character to give exposition.

 

It happens frequently in games if I recall.

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The thing with New Vegas is that everything you heard was clearly coming through the filter of the character. "Truths" were never hard and you always got the sense that people were giving their opinion as much as they were conveying "facts."

 

This seems to be the crux of what Mr. Sawyer was getting at. Not cutting dialogue down to the tersest amount of prose possible.

 

Sure, but that's just, like, dialogue-writing 101? People shouldn't go out of character to give exposition.

Or perhaps the exposition is being used to help express and develop the character. Which is what it sounds like Sawyer was promoting.

 

Still, they gave plenty of exposition seemingly for exposition's sake.

"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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He also posts this:

 

"They're not boring infodumps because information is boring. They're boring infodumps when they're written in a boring fashion. Filler dialogue should be considered equivalent to filler combat. If a designer is implementing it, he or she should really ask themselves if they're improving the player's experience and understanding of the world and the people in it."

 

So, within the paradigm of what he's saying I don't think it's impossible to talk about random things. Their answers should just be written in such a way so that it helps characterize the NPC. By filtering the information that NPCs tell you through their respective perspectives, you get a deeper understanding of the characters and how people in general view the world. Dialogue could still give you lots of random information, but the information would come from an in-game perspective, meaning that it isn't purely filler text; it helps develop the characters involved, even if the topic may seem unimportant or inane. Such dialogue, while on the surface of little importance, furthers "player or NPC characterization."

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Sawyer posted this

 

I think there is more similarity in this project and the IE games than the perspective. I also think you're mischaracterizing my response. They're not boring infodumps because information is boring. They're boring infodumps when they're written in a boring fashion. Filler dialogue should be considered equivalent to filler combat. If a designer is implementing it, he or she should really ask themselves if they're improving the player's experience and understanding of the world and the people in it.

 

Calms me a bit. We'll see though. I do expect a lot of text and a lot of things to ask. Again, maybe not as extreme but Planescape should be a example.

 

Edit: Ninja'd.

 

Edit2: Evil Sagan on the SA boards sums it up nicely

 

I have just started playing Planescape Torment for the first time, and I've noticed something pretty interesting. Even though by now I have a pretty decent idea where to find Pharod, even though I'm sure these random strangers do not know where my journal is, even though I know full well where and what Sigil is... I still end up asking about all of these things every time I meet a new person. Everyone has their own way of responding to these general game queries, and it's cool to see them explain things through their own point of view.

Edited by C2B
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what hes talking about is when you ask a person about say the moon they should'nt say the moon is a small part of our planet that broke off of our planet when.........(insert text book definition of what the moon is) is should be : the moon? its the thing that orbits earth , you can see it at night?......how do you NOT know this? are you an idiot?

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what hes talking about is when you ask a person about say the moon they should'nt say the moon is a small part of our planet that broke off of our planet when.........(insert text book definition of what the moon is) is should be : the moon? its the thing that orbits earth , you can see it at night?......how do you NOT know this? are you an idiot?

 

Ezactamundo

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He also posts this:

 

"They're not boring infodumps because information is boring. They're boring infodumps when they're written in a boring fashion. Filler dialogue should be considered equivalent to filler combat. If a designer is implementing it, he or she should really ask themselves if they're improving the player's experience and understanding of the world and the people in it."

 

So, within the paradigm of what he's saying I don't think it's impossible to talk about random things. Their answers should just be written in such a way so that it helps characterize the NPC. By filtering the information that NPCs tell you through their respective perspectives, you get a deeper understanding of the characters and how people in general view the world. Dialogue could still give you lots of random information, but the information would come from an in-game perspective, meaning that it isn't purely filler text; it helps develop the characters involved, even if the topic may seem unimportant or inane. Such dialogue, while on the surface of little importance, furthers "player or NPC characterization."

Yes. F:NV's dialogues usually do this. In the thread being (partially) quoted, I talked about asking Trudi for directions to New Vegas. She doesn't just say, "Yeah it's north of here see ya."

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Yes. F:NV's dialogues usually do this. In the thread being (partially) quoted, I talked about asking Trudi for directions to New Vegas. She doesn't just say, "Yeah it's north of here see ya."

 

Yeah, which is fine. But, your post there was a little bit ill worded regarding it.

 

(I'd still appreaciate if *some* NPC's give straight answer depending on the person. Everyone doing that would also seem weird.)

 

Edit: Thanks for the clarfication. :)

Edited by C2B
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I think that it would be appropriate for only certain NPC's to talk in length about most things, characters like inn keepers, guard captains, mainly persons of interest to shorten the list. People who actually would have something worthwhile to say. Also I'd like to see different view points explained by NPC's of different cultures and factions.

 

But, I don't expect NPC's like peasants(at least the nameless ones) to talk to my character very much, possibly more like in this manner, a short, "floating" comment :

 

44_vault_normal.jpg

Dude, I can see my own soul.....

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Yeah, which is fine. But, your post there was a little bit ill worded regarding it.

My post there was part of a larger conversation.

 

Yup, read it. Still interpreted it wrongly which may be 100% my own fault.

 

I just wanted to express my concerns regarding it (Which I listed including how I'd like it to see). As I'm pretty passionate about the topic though I may have worded my OP a bit aggressivly.

 

Again, thanks for the clarification. :) I trust Obsidian and I trust you to deliever something great.

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