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What flavors of voice do you guys want to see in dialogue options?


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You know how it is:

  1. "I'm a selfless saint!"                                        (I'm good!)
  2. "I want money!"                                                (I'm (maybe a little) selfish!)
  3. "How bout I put my fist in your face?"           (I'm bad!)
  4. <Neutral response>                                        (I'm all business.)
  5. <Maybe a joke>                                               (I'm a little disconnected.)

Often this is enough, but just as often none of the responses quite seem to fit the character we're trying to project.  What additional dialogue response flavors would you like to earnestly (or not) see to suit a typical (or atypical) character archetype?

 

Dramatic/Excentric?  --  "Follow me, and quickly!", "It was a pleasure and an honor.", "The possibilities are astounding!"

Doesn't give a ****?  --  "Waylaid by bandits?  That's nice, I'll leave you to that.", "I don't know... that cave's kinda far..."

Noble-raised? -- "Are you kidding?  There's spiders in there.", "I don't suppose this backwater ghetto has a decent inn, hmm?"

Crass? -- "Money's fine, but how bout a kiss instead?", "I'd love to chat away, really I would, but you know, I got a world to save."

Efficient/Reserved? -- "Get it together you two; fight it out on the road.", "What needs to be done?", "I will accept your company, but trust and companionship will have to be earned."

Edited by Pipyui
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I think some of the best player dialogue options I've seen where in VTM:B; it didn't have any of the usual flavors, it was in fact quite constricting but it still managed to give life to my character. I think good writing supersedes the number of options, I rather have 3 well defined archetypes than 5 just thrown there for the sake of variety.

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I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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I don't mind even the cliche flavors, to be honest. What gets me is that they seem to all be independent for each individual option prompt. Like the witty one. There's no coherence. It's not like you're being witty towards some end. You're simply being witty. Super ultra serious stuff could be going on, and you get the arbitrary option to dickishly joke about it.

 

"Well, that's one less child to worry about, HAHAHA! 'Cause that child burned! Guys, I'm not being evil! I'm just making a joke!"

 

Or the good ones. It's as if you're good because you say that, rather than that you say that because you're good.

 

"Dude... everything's on fire. We can't save everyone. What should we do?"

 

"(good response) SAVE EVERYONE!"

 

"... I just TOLD you we can't! You're going to have to pick some course of action here, or everyone's just going to die."

 

"No, I'm good, and the good thing to do is to save everyone. So, I choose to stand here and will everyone to not-die! >_< *focuses really hard*"...

 

You get a bunch of good points, because you got to be good.

 

Or, better yet, you run into a bunch of bandits, and you always get that like Jedi mind-trick "good" response of "Hey now, let's all just hug and stop fighting, yeah?". Like you just will good to happen, but you don't really apply rational thought to how to achieve it in a real-ish world.

 

So, yeah, I think the point is to have a style of responses actually chain together in coherence.

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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 think some of the best player dialogue options I've seen where in VTM:B; it didn't have any of the usual flavors, it was in fact quite constricting but it still managed to give life to my character. I think good writing supersedes the number of options, I rather have 3 well defined archetypes than 5 just thrown there for the sake of variety.

 

I can understand that, and in many situations I find this to be fine, but occasionally I find myself in a situation where I have to ask myself "Why the heck don't I have an option C?" either in regards to taking action or simply responding to people.  Sometimes I find myself with only two, perhaps three, choices - be the next coming of Jesus, or be a malicious villian - when other branches should be obvious.

 

@Lephys

That's a very good point, and just once I'd like to see one of my companions not only oppose such a choice, but honestly question my competence as well.  I was playing Mass Effect 2 again recently, and I found some of the paragon options odd.  A mild example, but the very beginning of the game can go something like this, and it feels a little incongruous:

 

Miranda:  "Throughout the terminus systems several human colony worlds have been lost.  In every case, the planet is scoured clean, without a single soul or trace of conflict, as if the entire colony vanished at once in the middle of eating dinner.  The latest instance we're headed to now hasn't been touched by the Alliance yet, so we shall look for clues as to what happened and if it relates to the reaper threat."

Shepard:  "That's great Miranda.  Our first priority is to look for survivors."

Miranda:  "Maybe you weren't listening.  The entire planet in every case is made devoid of sentient life.  What do you expect to find here?  We must look for clues and ascertain this threat.  We can handle survivors if we encounter any."

Shepard:  "Survivors, Miranda."

Edited by Pipyui
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I can only think of this image,

 

rpg-dragon-age-2-vs-planescape-torment-4

 

Regarding to the topic at hand I agree with there needs to be a change from the usual A B C dialog

 

I mean you can even see it on DA2 screenshot

 

I love you (Good)

I'm Hungry (Neutral)

Get Out of Here (Evil?)

 

Ever since I played the SMT games (Nocturne in particular), when I go about making choices in RPGs I pick the choice that would most benefit me during that situation.

 

Versus traditional alignment I now look at it like this:

 

Law: Given Protection (City Guards, etc.) and a good reputation (staying within the bounds of the moral codes everyone must follow) however; the price you pay is freedom.

 

Chaos: No Protection and given a generally bad reputation by the major populous (Reputation is now with those who are in the same mindset as you); have complete freedom. 

 

 

I'll take for example one of the choices you have to make in the Witcher 2 where you are given the choice of traveling with either Person A or Person B.

 

When I had to make the choice between the two I thought of the backgrounds of each character.

 

Person A: Works for the men who imprisoned me, owe him for a favor, finds honor in duty, if I stay with him I'll be restricted by choice since he only has one goal in mind

 

Person B: Cutthroat, can't necessarily trust him yet, finds honor by aiding his people, if I go with him I have the possibility of leaving his band to pursue my own needs

 

I picked Person B for the chance at being free to try and pursue what I believed Geralt would want.

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I don't want 'archetypes' so to speak, I find that, especially today with the more limited options in dialogue for most games, that it often means you just keep choosing the same 'archetype' response every time because otherwise your character ends up just too erratic.  For instance, do we need a 'witty man' response for every option?  Better to just have a witty response when it's appropriate so that people can choose that inbetween their usual responses. 

 

Or if there are 'archetype' responses, to let there be more than one archetype response for each, so you get more variation, especially since some 'evil' actions can be done by 'good' characters and vice versa.  For instance, say I'm playing a goody-two shoes who normally helps people but who believes so strongly in 'justice' that they will not let people just walk away for doing a bad thing, especially if they think they will do it again: I should get a choice to gut the muggers because I can't take them into the authorities and refusal to just let them go and do it to someone else that doesn't require me to gloat evilly and proclaim that I do it to satisfy cthulhu.  I don't expect a choice that will fit perfectly of course with my motivations, but one that doesn't assume I'm being an evil bastard would be nice. 

 

I remember playing through Venetica, early on you get murdered by two twats who decide to murder you, an innocent girl at this point, because you 'might' be the person some attackers had been after and then GLOAT over it, before panicking when you rise from the dead (you're special) and begging for mercy.  The good option is to **** out and let them go, but hell was I going to let MURDERERS get away with it just because they were lucky the girl they stabbed up came back from the dead, next girl they do that to might not be that lucky!  It was a duty to smash their faces in!

 

No doubt I failed to explain what I'm trying to say naturally.

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"That rabbit's dynamite!" - King Arthur, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail

"Space is big, really big." - Douglas Adams

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Dialogue writing shouldn't be approached with a consistent set of archetypical dialogue options. The responses should always be tailored to the conversation at hand.

'nuff said

how can there even be a debate about this?

 

I understand where you two are coming from, but I can't say I completely agree with this logic.  Saying responses should be tailored for good writing is like saying that a building should be designed using good plans.  It's not wrong, it's just incomplete and far too abstract.

 

Of course I want responses to be tailored well for their respective conversations, but these response options must differentiate themselves or else be redundant, and this is done by tailoring them to fit the number of reasonable actions or answers available for the PC to choose from, and to variations of the PC's character.  It's not like I need to see these archetypes each getting a say in every response node ever, I'd just like to see different character types generally addressed overall.

Edited by Pipyui
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I remember playing through Venetica, early on you get murdered by two twats who decide to murder you, an innocent girl at this point, because you 'might' be the person some attackers had been after and then GLOAT over it, before panicking when you rise from the dead (you're special) and begging for mercy.  The good option is to **** out and let them go, but hell was I going to let MURDERERS get away with it just because they were lucky the girl they stabbed up came back from the dead, next girl they do that to might not be that lucky!  It was a duty to smash their faces in!

 

No doubt I failed to explain what I'm trying to say naturally.

 

No you explained yourself quite well, it sounded to me the characters you were describing were Chaotic Good where they only see things in Black and White there is no Grey type of person in their viewpoint. If someone commits an evil deed there is no salvation for them they must be destroyed.

 

Though this leads to the viewpoint of the neutral populous where some people will be, "Yay! We don't need scum like this in our city" or "This guy might of taken things a bit too far"

 

Lets take an example from Baldurs Gate 2, in Athkatla's Temple District there is a woman accusing of any man she sees going pass her to have been the father of her child and that she needs money to support her (is clearly extorting her child for money) how would you respond?

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Or if there are 'archetype' responses, to let there be more than one archetype response for each, so you get more variation, especially since some 'evil' actions can be done by 'good' characters and vice versa.  For instance, say I'm playing a goody-two shoes who normally helps people but who believes so strongly in 'justice' that they will not let people just walk away for doing a bad thing, especially if they think they will do it again: I should get a choice to gut the muggers because I can't take them into the authorities and refusal to just let them go and do it to someone else that doesn't require me to gloat evilly and proclaim that I do it to satisfy cthulhu.  I don't expect a choice that will fit perfectly of course with my motivations, but one that doesn't assume I'm being an evil bastard would be nice.

 

This is mostly the kind of thing I'm trying to address.

I really want to roleplay Rorschach now, or maybe a Saren type from Mass Effect. 8)

Edited by Pipyui
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Dialogue writing shouldn't be approached with a consistent set of archetypical dialogue options. The responses should always be tailored to the conversation at hand.

And how does it contradict archetypes? Dialogue options simply can't be tailored without assumptions about PC and his social status, goals and so on.

Personally I miss dramatic/arrogant options "Your existence is a one big mistake and I'm going to fix it", "I cannot be stopped, not by bunch of rags with knives for sure" because these options are usually taken by one of antagonists.

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The problem with the archetypes is the way that it's often done: it's mindlessly ticking off a box. 'Here's the good, neutral and bad options', even when it makes no sense. I'm reminded of Dragon Age: Origins, where in Ostagar there's a prisoner. There is a quest to get him some food and water...or you can kill him. For no apparent reason. Even though you've just enlisted in a military organization to protect the people.

 

When I say the responses should be tailored to the conversation, I mean that the tone of your responses should be informed by what the NPC just said. Here's a good example:

 

Nameless.png

 

Someone threatens you with harm unless you keep quiet. Your responses are:

1. Return the threat in kind.

2. Lie about not saying anything and maybe rat him out later.

3. Back down from the threat.

4. Maintain your composure.

 

All the responses are tonally consistent with themselves and with the threat the zombie just made. There is no 'casual' response or anything else that sticks out.

Edited by Quetzalcoatl
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^Except that traditionally your responses tend to be treated like this, either by a moral guage or by the world:

  1. You are the evils!  (-2 goodness, everyone hates you)  [brutish]
  2. You are still the evils (though the zombie may not realize it)!  (-2 goodness, everyone hates you)  [Misleading]
  3. You are the goods!  (-2 badness, you are Neo Jesus)  [Friendly]
  4. Neutral.  (-0, meh)

The archetyping is still there (usually), projected either through these moral guages or NPC responses.  Despite my snarkiness, I'm not suggesting that this is inherently bad per se, I just like having as many options as are appropriate to the dialogue (and being snarky).  In the example of the above post, you must make a direct response (an action, in effect) to dialogue, and so there are only so many reasonable responses available to you, as was addressed.  Often times a response may not directly translate to an action (or interogation), however, and these are the times when I wish to see greater range of dialogue option than {good, bad, neutral}.

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^ I think that's further evidence for the idea that writing dialogue options to support some system of behaviors/styles/alignments is a worse idea than simply writing dialogue options to support the situation at hand.

 

Morality values and such could always be applied, regardless of which way you do it. They don't really need to give you an evil thing to say. They just need to give you a variety of feasible things to say, and let you and the NPCs of the world decide why you're saying them.

 

If, say, a villager walks up to you and introduces himself when you enter a village, there are only so many things you can feasibly say/do there:

 

You can remain silent or you can say something (can't do neither)...

You can introduce yourself, or present a false name, or make no reference to your identity at all.

You can ask him a question, or judge his words thus far, or ignore everything he's saying and just demand some information, etc.

You can do something aggressive to him, anywhere from pushing him out of your way to running him through with your sword.

 

 

Your choices don't need to be "give him a bunch of money and bless his family" or "teleport him to a pit of torture for all eternity" or anything. You don't need a "Be evil" option.

 

It's not just "Look! A situation! Quick! We need to be able to do something really good, evil, snarky, gruff, or manipulative here!" It really depends on the situation. You don't need an evil response to a greeting. Plenty of evil people still politely greet others. Just for example...

 

I think the best role for variety in dialogue option "flavor" is in how you can say things, rather than in specifically what you can say. For example, if you want to tell someone they need to leave, you could deliver that message in a variety of ways. Maybe one option is to simply grab them by the shirt and throw/push them out the door. Another might be to simply point at the door. Another might be to politely tell them they should leave. Another might be to logically explain that it would be prudent for them to leave. Another might be to sarcastically tell them how great it would be to stay and have bad things happen.

 

Etc.

 

Obviously it becomes an awful lot of writing to have 15 different ways to say everything there is. But, I think it's a good ideal to aim towards, even if you've gotta go for a target closer than the horizon.

Edited by Lephys
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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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@Lephys

You're much better at portraying my ideas than I am.
 

Honestly, in reflection, I'm not even entirely clear on what it is exactly I'm arguing for anymore, so I'm just gonna go slither away until things are more concrete in my noggin. :sweat:

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Meh. What's the saying? You've gotta ramble a bit to make an omelet?

 

I'm sure it's something like that, u_u...

 

:)

 

Really though, I sometimes find it useful to fan the noggin-concrete so it'll dry faster, so to speak. Even if everything in between the pouring and the hardening isn't quite as purposeful as I'd like it to be. 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 always found citing the conversation with Ravel misleading since it's a very unique (and powerful) conversation, that in my opinion reinforces the theme behind what Ravel is interested in by asking TNO that particular question.

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If Karen David can do her Liessa Dragonlady voice, I would immediately take her voiceset for my character.

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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I ask all of our designers, area or narrative, to provide responses that they feel would spring to various characters' minds.  I encourage them to make heavy use of our personality reputation system, but only to provide specific types of responses when they feel like they would naturally flow from the conversation.  This means that when it doesn't seem like the character would naturally say something witty or cruel (for example), we don't try to force that reply into the node.  We do try to provide regular "play it straight" replies so the player doesn't feel shoehorned into picking an uncharacteristic response.  That said, occasionally those responses are in tense or crazy situations and will earn you a reputation for being stoic.

 

The important thing is to give the player a good range that feels appropriate and entertaining, then work out the gameplay implications as a secondary concern.

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Part of the problem is this idea that dialogue should be quantified in some way. The example given about the +2 good/-2 evil, etc is really, in my opinion, the wrong way to be creating dialogue in the first place. A few thoughts.

 

1- Dialogue should generally toggle flags as opposed to numerical responses, and these flags should be followed for the greater characters in dialogue. Flags should toggle for certain things asked, said, or not said. then those flags should activate or deactivate certain dialogue nodes.

2- For the regular person on the street that offers few, if any, information a numerical scale might be fine, because that allows a general populace/faction reputation to be developed over time. However, these NPCs should also have a singular flag of LIKE/HATE/SPOKEN. So that if during the conversation, you say something to them that bothers them, they'll hate you. If you flatter them, they like you. If its neutral the flag is SPOKEN, so that they don't keep repeating the same introductory dialogue. npc dialogue should be affected by the fact that you've talked to them before.

3- i don't like dialogues that keep going back to a higher node. it should be a conversation with a beginning and an end. you shouldn't be able to ask 100 things from someone and keep asking them over and over again. dialogue should pay like a resource. you can get specific information from people, but only a set amount. if you want new information you have to ask a new person.

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