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Hormalakh

An idea for a future game mechanic (PE2)

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Just wanted to throw this up here so someone could see it.

 

Basically, it's a dialog mechanic. What I was thinking was to have a more "robust" dialogue mechanic. It would be a mixture between the Alpha Protocol and the old-school dialogue. You have 3 or 4 "tones" to your comments, and then 3 or 4 options for topic conversations.

 

Based on the topics and the way you ask them, you get varied responses from different people. It allows you to lead the conversation down a certain path while allowing your "tone" to also do part of the talking. Different people would react differently to different tones.

 

Anyway, it's probably a pretty bad idea (so much dialogue rewriting!) but I thought it might be a nice thing to try out one day...

 

Example:

 

At the top of the dialogue box you have 3-5 tones (aggressive, timid, professional, suave, etc) and you also have your multiple choice dialogue topics like in old-school games. Each tone you click gives you a new set of lines but the topics are the same in all the different tones.

 

Aggressive:

 

1- Give me the quest, I don't have all day.

2- I'll only do this job if you pay me, you moron.

3- Out with it! Where's the nearest tavern?!

4- Out of my way pleb!

 

Professional:

 

1- Sir I would gladly accept your quest.

2- I must ask that I be paid for this quest.

3- Would you mind telling me where the nearest tavern is?

4- Excuse me, I must be leaving.

 

Suave:

 

1- Yeah baby. I'll take your quest too *smirk*

2- You gotta put your money where your mouth is...

3- Hey there good looking. Where can I get a drink around these parts?

4- Catch you later!

 

Yeah, it's a pretty bad idea, right?

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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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I don't think it's a bad idea. It's just a bit hard to make such things intuitive. They usually either end up WAYYY too easy (where you always know the perfect thing to say, and how to say it), or they end up LUDICROUSLY enigmatic (I personally had no idea what was going on in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, heh).

 

Really, though, it all comes down to writing and content design. If you did it right, it could work pretty nicely.

 

I do think it's high time for dialogue to be more about "how" and less about "what." We've gone too long with the "Say the aggressive thing to start a fight, say the polite thing to gain favor, say the terrible thing to frighten them, say the sexy thing to seduce them, etc." structure. But, that's more a comment on specific designs than the system itself. 8P


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I do think it's high time for dialogue to be more about "how" and less about "what." We've gone too long with the "Say the aggressive thing to start a fight, say the polite thing to gain favor, say the terrible thing to frighten them, say the sexy thing to seduce them, etc." structure. But, that's more a comment on specific designs than the system itself. 8P

What games have you been playing, and where can I find them? Are you from the Glorious Future of cRPGs? O_O

 

Most cRPGs (classic and modern) outside of AP and PST don't give me any choice at all in what things I can say, let alone how I can say them. Of the choices mentioned, the only ones the player gets nine times out of ten are "start a fight" and "ask politely."

 

With the dialogue-wheel mechanic current games favor, even that's pushing it. It's usually "start a fight politely" or "start a fight by being rude."

 

And then you get into combat, and there are twenty-seven different varieties of flail you can smash your enemy's brains in with. You know? Dialogue mechanics are still crazy underdeveloped compared to combat mechanics. I understand the logistical reasons behind that, but I still feel like there's a lot more developers could be doing.

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What games have you been playing, and where can I find them? Are you from the Glorious Future of cRPGs? O_O

Hehe, :). I only meant that, technically speaking, they've already got the tones in there on most games. They're just (like you said) wayyy to infrequently available, and/or always overly simplified or attributed to a single outcome (aggressive = fight, flirty = romance, etc.). So, really, it's not that they're lacking a system of complexity, they're just intentionally keeping it ludicrously simple.

 

And I agree with you on all the rest. I have a good feeling about Obsidian, though. I think my favorite part of Josh popping in and sharing so much with us (and all the update info they provide) is getting a good feel for how they're going about coming up with the mechanics.

 

Usually, all we get is advertising once the game's done (or almost done), so we see things like "Revolutionary new combat will let you decide how to fight!". But, what does that mean? I don't know. But, when the development team delivers 3 paragraphs about their thoughts on how they feel combat should work, you know what they're going for.

 

What they've said about speech and dialogue so far bolsters my hopes for just the advancement in that area that we're hitting on here.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I think it sounds like a pretty good idea, actually. I'm all for more variety of dialogue options.

 

I'm also guessing, though, that it would be much more difficult (or at least time consuming) to implement than the usual system, because then the amount of dialogue needing to be written would be multiplied by the number of different tones available, and then likely further multiplied by the variety of reponses to those different options and the further options that would come of that.


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Well maybe...maybe you could automate/script some things to reduce the workload.

 

Let's say each NPC has a personality profile that determines how it will react to different tones. So every tone may backfire spectacularly.

 

You just tried to smoothtalk a guy who despises smoothtalking....

 

Of course, the problem with scripting is the often too-robotic feel you get.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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love it, but very impractical in terms of work that needs to be done to fit this for every dialogue.


Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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So... you just want 3-6x more dialogue options? Also, for the record, you shouldn't be hired to write the dialogue.

Edited by AGX-17

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Also, for the record, you shouldn't be hired to write the dialogue.

Seems unnecessarily harsh. It's clearly placeholder material used to illustrate his point, isn't it? No, they're not exactly Richard Price-caliber lines, but I doubt he (she?) expended a great deal of effort on them.

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Well, if you allowed the tone to account for the skill you're trying to check (lie/bluff, intimidate, charm, etc.), you could THEN have the various options for each of those have varying degrees of effectiveness, depending on how the person was responding to things already said, etc.

 

This would work even if you didn't use hard speech skills. But, let's say you get SOME mathematically represented bonus or modifier to Intimidate from your Strength/physique/equipment. Maybe you make it clear you want to intimidate someone (not sure how that'd work in the dialogue UI... but let's just ignore that for the moment), then you're presented with 4 different ways in which to intimidate them (not necessarily ALL variants of the exact same sentence.) Maybe you can intimidate them from various angles, regarding various topics. So, you get 4 different options. Maybe with your bonus/modifier, 3 of them will intimidate them to a degree, and get some extra info out of them, and only one (of those three) will intimidate them to the max, making them provide the most extra information that can be obtained through intimidation (or maybe you can even get them to give you things because they're so scared). Maybe without the modifier, you can still try it, but only 2 of those same options will successfully intimidate that same person, and only one of the 2 will provide maximum intimidation. Maybe, since you aren't scarily strong or equipped, one of the options will actually cause you to fail, and the person realizes you're trying to intimidate them and laughs at you because it doesn't work very well. *shrug*

 

It could be nice. Would be a lot of extra dialogue work for the devs, but I'm curious to know how they're planning to handle it as it stands. They've said they want to make it more about how you handle the dialogue options and less about skills providing beefed up ones. One would think that would almost have to include more dialogue options (than usual), to some degree.

 

And really, all the typical single options do is grant you a skill check. "I've bitten through tree limbs thicker than your arms" is basically just flavor text for "Try to intimidate them," Because you're either going to, or you aren't. There is no "Oh, well, maybe what you said worked! 8D". Mechanically, it's just an illusion. So, without hard speech skills, one would think that only single dialogue options for each tone/intent wouldn't really do the trick.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I would hate to be tasked to write these and all the reactions to them. It would be mind-numbingly dull, which I think would affect the quality of the writing. I prefer a more free-form approach with a mix of different tones and responses as contextually appropriate.

 

You could internally flag these with personality traits you're tracking, though, and then create some nice mechanics around those -- for example if you have a reputation of being a mean, surly type of person, suddenly picking a kind, compassionate response could have a bigger impact. Or there was the great "curse" idea where a curse would gradually whittle away your kind, compassionate options until you only have the balls-to-the-wall evil ones left.

 

But yeah, systematizing it like you suggest does sound like a bad idea. Huge chore for the writers with relatively small pay-off. Depending on how you set up the UI, it could also add another layer to selecting those options which would interfere with the flow of conversation.

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I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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@PrimeJunta:

 

The idea is, however, an intriguing thought. Certainly, there's something there that's worth developing.

 

Which is not to say that you aren't correct. :)

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I prefer a more free-form approach with a mix of different tones and responses as contextually appropriate.

 

 

I think the availability of different tones and specific responses being contextually appropriate would still be a viable way to handle such a system. You could still limit or expand the options based on context and need. The only important thing I think would provide great benefit is having more than one of each tone/response. Even if it's just 2 for each, that would make all the difference in the world.

 

Maybe you have your initial choice-list:

 

Question A

Question B

Aggressive starter

Charm starter

 

Then, if you pick Aggressive starter, you get:

 

Aggressive option A

Aggressive option B

 

Maybe A is to intimidate, and B is to straight up try to start a fight. Maybe if you have them each be different types of aggression, you'd have a third response so there wasn't simply a pass/fail one of each (intimidate, provoke)? I don't know.

 

But, not everything would even have an aggressive starter, and/or a charm starter, and/or a deception starter. I do think that increasing the total number of dialogue options is an integral part of increasing the dialogue depth, because "I'm rolling to intimidate you with this option" dressed up as "Are you certain you want to cross a man like me *cracks knuckles*" is pretty one-dimensional and gets pretty old. I mean, you don't come at a lock with a lockpick from 3 different angles. But then, dialogue manipulation isn't a lock.

 

Of course, where most systems have a pass for any such skill check being always positive, you could simply have all options pretty much available in any dialogue, and have only certain things be positive and certain things be negative for different people. Meaning, you might be a BAMF at intimidation, but intimidating this particular person just pisses them off, or makes them so scared they actually share LESS information because they're just rocking around in a sitting position, hugging their knees. Same with deception, or charm. *shrug*. You could stick with single dialogue options in each scenario, reducing the workload on the writers. It maybe wouldn't be quite as deep as adding more options for each manipulation/tone, but it's a pretty decent compromise, I think. Off the top of my head, at least.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Sounds like a great idea, Hormalakh. It would definately add depth and characterization to dialogue.

I wasn't sure about how it was going to work UI wise, but Lephys solved that as far as I'm concerned. I like the idea of long and complicated dialogue chains as long as they are well marked.

The only other way I see to look at is by allowing tone to exist as something that can be chosen alongside dialogue. Your character would still make the same statement, but if you chose intimidate you'd move forward with a hand on your weapon or just speak the lines in a quite gentle voice if charm was chosen. Thus tone would be more about body language than actual lines spoken.

 

Whatever the case with dialogue, you all have certainly peaked my interest for the next update in that lane.

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You've given me an idea
Add "tone" as an option to conversation options. Not all dialogue choices would have this, but some would.

You'd have the normal conversation options, but based on your dialogue skills you can click the relative icons for intimidate, or charm, or diplomacy, or lie as long as they're not greyed out.

So "I like your cloak" [c][d][l][o]

 

you can choose not to click any, it will simply be a remark with a standard response.

you could click the for intimidate, in which case that worm might give it to you rather than face any more trouble

you could click the [c] for charm, in which case he may thank you and be more helpful

you could not click [d] for diplomacy, because it's not really a diplomatic conversation choice

you could not click [l], for lying because it's irrelevant as well

you could not click for bluff, because you're not boasting or pretending to do something you can't

you could click [o] for observation (or intelligence or wisdom, or perception, etc) because you've noticed that it's a cloak of fine make, in which case he may comment on it, how he got it, or what type of cloak it is.

 

It would also clean up dialogue somewhat as you won't see several similar responses listed below each other like I've just done. making dialogue easier on the eyes.

Edited by JFSOCC
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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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^^ Not a bad idea that.  Maybe if the options were greyed out, just remove them from the line altogether?

 

One small suggestion though, would be to have the full word listed. [c][o] feels more like a game development app. Whereas [intimidate] [Charm] [Observation] feels more like the fulsome, chunky RPG of old.

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Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for.

 

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^^ Not a bad idea that.  Maybe if the options were greyed out, just remove them from the line altogether?

 

One small suggestion though, would be to have the full word listed. [c][o] feels more like a game development app. Whereas [intimidate] [Charm] [Observation] feels more like the fulsome, chunky RPG of old.

I was thinking of easily recognisable icons. but I suppose tags could work.


Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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^^ Not a bad idea that.  Maybe if the options were greyed out, just remove them from the line altogether?

 

One small suggestion though, would be to have the full word listed. [c][o] feels more like a game development app. Whereas [intimidate] [Charm] [Observation] feels more like the fulsome, chunky RPG of old.

I was thinking of easily recognisable icons. but I suppose tags could work.

 

I thought of icons too. Then thought, we'd have to colour code them or something, which goes back to the colour blindness argument. But it could still work. Maybe a simple tool-tip when you mouseover, so you can learn which is which when first starting out.  I just wonder if having icons alongside text would cause a styling issue though. No way of really knowing until we see a working model.  Either way, I like the "tonal" options you mentioned. It would save a whole lot of editorial work.

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Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for.

 

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Yesssss! The alchemical pot of discussion! Brainstorming thoughts go in... awesome ideas come out!

 

For what it's worth, regarding color coding and color blindness, I think a very, very, very small portion of the populace is actually fully colorblind. And, the ones that are are usually red-green, or possibly blue-orange, or purple-yellow, because of the complementary nature of such color pairings (I think... I might be mistaken). They are literally on the opposite sides of true-neutral-grey (Grey is like a D&D Druid, man!).

 

So, while red-green color coding becomes a pretty big issue (I wanna say somewhere close to 10% of the populace has trouble with red-green?), you change it up and almost everyone's fine.

 

That being said, I don't see a reason not to use something like an icon as well. You could have color-coded icons. For the people who don't have color troubles, the colors help identify the buttons almost immediately, whereas the icons are still there for even further visual context, AND could satisfy the needs of even those who cannot distinguish color at all.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I wish there was a way to 'Like' entire threads, to signify that this is something I think the devs should look at. I'd like the hell out of this thread.

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awesomethread.jpg

 

I was saving this, but what the hell. :)

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Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for.

 

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I wish there was a way to 'Like' entire threads, to signify that this is something I think the devs should look at. I'd like the hell out of this thread.

 

Oh, but there is, my dear fellow!  :)

 

Just go to the thread "Ideas not to be forgotten", explain why you think the thread is great, add a link and add it to great list of ideas there and copy it at the bottom of your post, and hey presto!

 

And that is what I'm gonna do now. What a great day! Two entire threads worthy of that high-esteemed list within hours. Yay!


*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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