I just made a quick mockup for conversations UI since I think it's time to move on from panel interfaces to something more lightweight. Notes below.
eternity_ui.jpg 177KB 14 downloads
1. Mockup doesn't show how it actaully should look like (there could be some nice frame around window, icons are just symbolic etc.).
2. Every dialog entry contains portrait of character who spoke/acted provided it is available. I believe it's definitely better than Obsidian's initial concept (no offence ) ), because it allows to have more portraits when player is engaged in conversation with multiple (N)PCs.
3. By standard behaviour dialog window appears nearby characters on map, but you can drag it (by clicking wherever within it where is not located some active zone - button, dialog option etc.) and move freely around.
4. At the bottom there are two options - dock window to bottom so it will be like standard pane - this option should be remembered for future conversation unless a player sets it back. Second is ability to resize window.
5. Background is transparent, however text has shadow for better readability.
It's just a modest concept, so no need to take it too seriously. Let me know what you think though ).