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Haerski

My criticism about dialogue

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Gameplay aspects of the beta have been discussed pretty thoroughly, but most I have seen said about dialogue is that it's great.

 

While dialogue itself is indeed great in the beta, there is a small hinderance I find somewhat annoying: It's useless and repetitive descriptions during conversations. Describing situation is necessary at the beginning of dialogue, when you need to know who you're talking to and if there are some specific details about their appearance or environment that you want to press in following conversation. It's also necessary when you are supposed to see, hear or otherwise sense something that the game engine can't deliver to you in other ways.

 

In Pillars of Eternity the game describes everything. "She adjusts her bandages", "He scratches his butt", "He nods/blinks/leans closer", "Character X frowns", "Character Y smiles", etc. Those are not necessarily exact quotes from the beta, but that's the basic idea. My point is that I don't need most of those. My imagination could take care of large chunk of the description that has been written in the dialogue and I would like it that way in a game that's so heavily based on written text. Pretty soon I was skipping most of the grey parts without problem, but by doing so I might also lose some of the important stuff. I'm roleplaying, not reading a book (Actually even many books don't do this as much as PoE in certain conversations). Tell me only if my character notices something unusual I don't already know or something important happens during conversation. Otherwise I would like to enjoy my dialogue as is and fill it in with my own imaginations as I see necessary.

 

This problem seems to be worse with some characters and with others it's completely absent. Hendyna is burned, bandaged and in some pain, I don't need to be reminded about that during every line she says. Medreth seems to nod quite a lot. Dengler is an innkeeper and cleans mugs, I don't need to be reminded about that during every line he says. Lord Harond's silk gloves must be quite a fabulous sight considering how many times they have to be mentioned during the conversation. Most of it doesn't add much to the conversation as dialogue itself gives you the same information. For example "he nods" as gesture of agreeing is useless if it's immediately followed by "yes" in actual dialogue. Same goes if character is angry, agitated, sad, etc.

 

I think this is something writers should keep in mind. Sometimes less is more and writing roleplaying dialogue should not be approached same way as writing a book. When roleplaying it's "me" whose talking to a person and when I talk to a person I'm not making obvious remarks like "he seems sad" in my head. Context given in the beginning of the conversation should be enough to set the mood and let imagination flow.

 

What do you think? Am I the only one who's at all bothered by this?

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Can only speak for myself and for me more is better so I am happy to have the nuances spelled out. I liked PST also... :yes:

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Nomadic Wayfarer of the Obsidian Order


 

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Sometimes less is more and writing roleplaying dialogue should not be approached same way as writing a book. 

...

What do you think? Am I the only one who's at all bothered by this?

 

PlanescapeTorment-1.jpg

 

No comment. :)

Edited by Infinitron
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That's actually part of what I liked about PS:T, so I'm glad they're doing it that way.

So far I'm impressed by the dialogues in the BB.

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Moar descriptions of that kind, please!

 

Especially since the tiny NPC models won't be doing any of those actions, anyway - it would be hard to see - this isn't some AAA game posing as a block-buster movie.


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

 

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Sometimes less is more and writing roleplaying dialogue should not be approached same way as writing a book. 

...

What do you think? Am I the only one who's at all bothered by this?

 

PlanescapeTorment-1.jpg

 

No comment. :)

 

E = MC2  and this equation are mind-boggling. :yes:

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

 

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I love the little descriptions. Sometimes they feel a bit superfluous but I'd much rather have them in all in all. To me it gives the feeling of a GM describing things to me, I've always liked that.

 

I will agree however that its use is a bit uneven in the beta with some characters having much more than others. Did the bard/chanter at the inn have any text like that?

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Listen to my home-made recordings (some original songs, some not): http://www.youtube.c...low=grid&view=0

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i'd say that's the Chris Avellone style and i like it. I disagree with the imagination thing. On the contrary, i think this style creates imagination and in BG2 i really missed that. The only thing that kills imagination is cutscenes/videos.

 

Edit: i agree with the OP though that it's enough if it's only at the beginning of the dialogue

Edited by 4ward

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Sometimes less is more and writing roleplaying dialogue should not be approached same way as writing a book. 

...

What do you think? Am I the only one who's at all bothered by this?

 

PlanescapeTorment-1.jpg

 

No comment. :)

 

You didn't read my post through with thought, did you? PST kind of verifes my point as it used description in very practical manner to counter inabilities of the engine. Lots of strange stuff was going on and devs couldn't show it to us in any other way. In PoE much of description is just stating obvious casual everyday things and they don't add anything to the stuff we can already tell by reading the dialogue.


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Haerski: That's not true. I replayed Planescape Torment less than two years ago, and it's one of my all time favourite games. There are oodles and oodles of exactly those kinds of everyday descriptions.

 

Just one example out of a million others:

post-138285-0-28686600-1295037376.png

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

 

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Haerski: That's not true. I replayed Planescape Torment less than two years ago, and it's one of my all time favourite games. There are oodles and oodles of exactly those kinds of everyday descriptions.

 

Just one example out of a million others:

post-138285-0-28686600-1295037376.png

You are right. My memory betrays me, and I apologize for that. Still, it's been years since my last playthrough and I would like to point out that using PST in my avatar and banner doesn't mean I think it's the best and most perfect thing out there and everything it did should work for me in different game.

 

Also that still doesn't chance my point about some descriptions being repetitive and useless. Your example from PST seems ok and actually tells you something about character you are talking to, something which I can't honestly say about PoE or quite possibly about much of the dialogue in PST if I started it again today.

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No worries, Haerski. I'm wrong about stuff all the time. Also, repetitive description that don't add (up) to any atmosphere at all is not much to celebrate, that is true. :)


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

 

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