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AuthorTopic: Realism
Shock Trooper
Member # 4214
Profile #0
I find it very pity that you can only choose a limited number of options in a conversation.
Those things you say in a conversation, you possibly haven't find out yourself yet, and things you suspect, you can't tell.

Why can't you type things in conversation? With substrings or something. That shouldn't be that hard to programmate.

If you could conversate that way in Blades of Avernum, I could have told to Jaen that I suspect that the Hill Runners are getting help from … SPOILER

…The Vahnatai. When I visited Fahl, and heard from Sunde that the walls were destroyed with one fireblast, I knew someone extremely powerfull must have done this. A Vahnatai. Perhaps Rentar-Ihrno himself.
If I could proof this, the Empire would have realised that it's wrong to ignore the carnage here that much, and at least evacuate the island and send their mighty armies to engage the war against Rentar-Ihrno.
Posts: 356 | Registered: Tuesday, April 6 2004 07:00
Triad Mage
Member # 7
Profile Homepage #1
Rentar-Ihrno is a woman.

Blades of Exile let you type whatever you wanted. People wanted the Avernum dialogue system.

"At times discretion should be thrown aside, and with the foolish we should play the fool." - Menander
Drakefyre's Demesne - Happy Happy Joy Joy
Encyclopedia Ermariana - Trapped in the Closet
You can take my Mac when you pry my cold, dead fingers off the mouse!
Posts: 9436 | Registered: Wednesday, September 19 2001 07:00
Member # 4245
Profile #2
I don't mind the Avernum dialogue system at all. If I wanted freakishly open-ended conversations, where anything could happen, i'd play an MMORPG ;)
Posts: 4 | Registered: Monday, April 12 2004 07:00
Member # 22
Profile #3
Avernum's dialogue system makes a tad more sense then randomly guessing four letter words to ask people in BoE, even if that wasn't as limiting.
Posts: 2862 | Registered: Tuesday, October 2 2001 07:00
Member # 1993
Profile #4
There is an option to type in ZKR: a password.
And isn't it possible, to create type-in-dialogues with the BoA-editor?
btw I'm glad about Avernums click on-system.
R.-I doesn't make troubles anymore. We killed her in A3 ...
:D ?

Slartucker: * facepalm facepalm facepalm *
Dikiyoba: Are you unconscious yet?
Posts: 1420 | Registered: Wednesday, October 2 2002 07:00
Member # 2711
Profile #5
kind of OOC, but rentar-irhno didnt die in E3/A3...
Posts: 126 | Registered: Wednesday, February 26 2003 08:00
Member # 4
Profile Homepage #6
Originally written by Mind:

Perhaps Rentar-Ihrno himself.
Stop destroying Alec's fantasy world...!

That said, I'm a huge proponent of Avernum's dialogue system. You couldn't possibly realize just how much control it offers us designers! I can control EVERYTHING about a conversation, it's insane!

Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4239
Profile #7
Originally written by Mind:

Why can't you type things in conversation? With substrings or something. That shouldn't be that hard to programmate.
I can tell you aren't a programmer. Besides, if you could do that, how could the programmer tell if you really knew that group x was planning to attack the town you're in, rather than simply asking questions about group x?
And imagine how frustrating it would be to try 6 different keywords before you found the one that gave you the info you wanted. Avernum's dialog lets you keep track of what you've asked and haven't asked, which is much more useful.

There are two kinds of game players...those who are newbies, and those who were.
Posts: 322 | Registered: Monday, April 12 2004 07:00
Member # 1993
Profile #8
Originally written by Midknight Warrior:

kind of OOC, but rentar-irhno didnt die in E3/A3...
She is not supposed to die, but she can be killed at the end ...

Slartucker: * facepalm facepalm facepalm *
Dikiyoba: Are you unconscious yet?
Posts: 1420 | Registered: Wednesday, October 2 2002 07:00
Member # 4160
Profile #9
A dialogue tree is simply a what you call in programming a "Directed Graph". Each question(branch) leads to a new state (a node in programming) which has a bunch of different branches (links pointing to other talknodes). If you draw it like a big web dialogue programming makes a lot more sense. A big, mixed up web.

Anyway, as someone earlier said, you can force someone to answer a question by typing in text. Its just generally understood that in Avernum, the small amount of text an NPC gives you leaves you with only a limited number of totally obvious questions. Nuances, unfortunately, are truly difficult to capture, and kudos to any designer who has the foresight (patience, raw WPM), to make a dialogue very engaging.

Jeff does a good job, but only the main characters have monologues. Most of the side characters , its more you talking than them speaking. (He uses wayyy too many talknodes, imho).

Anticipating every question a gamer would think of is a difficult task for a game designer or programmer. This is one of the reasons I'm a HUGE fan of pen and paper roleplaying. In this situation, where a gamer asks a question that was previously unanticipated, the designer of the game can instantly provide a solution or answer. Not so in the world of computing. The more alpha and beta testing that is conducted on a module (and the more back and forth response or activity that results), usually provides a great spectrum of questions in the end. However, Avernum is still limited...I'm not sure how many questions can be linked to a state, but I'm sure its not a very large number.

Games that dont have a dialogue tree, though, are generally much harder to play. For instance, how many different words are there for brush? Shrubbery? Plants? Scrub? A sleepy designer can easily make one or two mistakes like that. Caldera is a game such as that, and I remember giving up halfway through, frustrated. (Though it was pretty good while it lasted).

Highlighting words in the dialogue (like Caldera) is also just like Blades of Avernum, but perhaps better for the gamer. Maybe a good compromise :) Its also a good design technique. Wonder what questions you should link to your node? Just look through the dialogue that links to it. Pick words out. Make sentances. Easy :)

Anyway, just my two centavos. Mucho gusto amigos.
Posts: 40 | Registered: Saturday, March 27 2004 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #10
Highlighting words in the dialogue (like Caldera) is also just like Blades of Avernum,
This is what Nethergate did. I kind of liked it. I certainly liked it much better than in Exile, when in BoE I never knew what to ask. I think I like the Avernum system better than either of these, though. No real reason; I just do.

Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #11
To my mind, the main advantage of response-based dialogue is that it allows you to express your opinions to characters and have arguments with them, which keyword-based dialogue doesn't do well at all. In BoE, even when a conversational choice is something simple like accepting or refusing a mission, it often has to be done by dialog box instead of dialogue.

In other words, if Jeff did want the player to be able to find out that the Hill Runners were getting help from the Vahnatai, it'd be much easier to implement in BoA than BoE. :P

[ Wednesday, April 14, 2004 18:21: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Member # 4248
Profile #12
I think Nethergate had the best conversation system. In Avernums you don't have as much freedom, but you can ask sensible questions, not just say singular words. Besides, if there is a way to force type in responses, WHY THE HELL ARE YOU COMPLAINING!

I have nothing more to do in this world, so I can go & pester the inhabitants of the next one with a pure concscience.
Posts: 617 | Registered: Tuesday, April 13 2004 07:00
Member # 4186
Profile #13
I quickly tried Nethergate demo and I agree its links conversation mode seems really interesting.

I also agree that BoA tree system makes more clear dialog progression.

About typing words, just a quick try of BoE demo gave me an example that it isn't so realistic. I was speaking with commander who speaks about Fort Talrus. So I typed Talrus, no answer, I had to type Fort.

All in all, I never experienced a lot a dialog system as nethergate but it seems to me the more natural. But to speaking about another subject than the previous talks (and their highlight words) it uses free text typing and I hardly believe of this system even if I know that there's a lot of progress in this area.

I think a sort of mix of the both, Nethergate and BoA would be the best, tree system the base and word links shortcuts to navigate through the tree.
Posts: 175 | Registered: Friday, April 2 2004 08:00
Member # 2820
Profile #14
I think we'd all be happier if there was just an additional option to ask things that we type in.

Thuryl: I mean, most of us don't go around consuming our own bodily fluids, no matter how delicious they are.
Alorael: War and violence would end if we all had each other's babies!
Drakefyre: Those are hideous mangos.
Posts: 1415 | Registered: Thursday, March 27 2003 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #15
Nethergate's system is identical to BoE's except for word emphasis. That emphasis doesn't always work right, either. If "fort" gets a response, "fortunately" will be blue as well, and it will lead to the same dialogue.

I prefer Avernum's conversations. They are clearer and better under almost every circumstance. The exception is when the player behind the characters has to realize or guess something and confront someone about it. Say you find javelins and broken spears at an ambush site. You don't know the sliths did it, but you suspect. In BoE, you could ask "slith." In BoA, you're stuck without it.

Still, there are plenty of workarounds, the easiest being inserting conversation scripts that prompt the player to enter text. The benefits of the Avernum dialogue trees outweigh the problems.

—Alorael, who thinks the Avernum conversation system is great for giving real sentences, not words, and possibly questions that aren't directly obvious from the dialogue. If the commander grumps at you, it's nice to be able to say, "You're rather grouchy, aren't you, you old coot?"
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
BoE Posse
Member # 112
Profile #16
Absolutely. It's so much better than going up to a guy and saying "Name. Job. Mission. Reward."

Rate my scenarios!

To Live in Fear
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Isle of Boredom
Posts: 1423 | Registered: Sunday, October 7 2001 07:00
Member # 4186
Profile #17
I hadn't succeed to play a lot BoE demo. A strong problem was the interface design, more than graphics. But finally despite the only scenario I could try was one I already knew (and in a more recent version), I succeed anyway to play the demo more.

I realized that BoE dialog system had some really interesting adventadges.

1 - A first really positive point is that the word click system that avoid typing words is very efficient to get plenty information.

2 - Questions has strong adventadges (as quoted in this thread) but often when it's just to get more information they are just useless style writing (fillers!) and then they could be as heavy than a crowd of elephants when compared to words clicking.

3 - The choice to not underline the words to click unlike Nethergate is in fact much better, for me:
3.1 - It makes me read and think about the text much more by forcing me to detect on which word to click.
3.2 - The search of words to click on adds a bit of action in dialogs, more than BoA or Nethergate systems. This point is important, it changes dialogs to give them a gaming aspect that "stupid" questions choices you have under your nose is far to provide as well.
3.3 - When the action or story is hot I doesn't have the temptation to rush to read the new questions linked with the answer (or only underlined words).

Ok this BoE dialog system has flaws mentionned in this thread plus few other. But the point 3 mentionned above is a major adventadge for me and I strongly regret this system.

The best would be to have a dialog system that mix both system.

The overall design for the authors could be :
- Word click and no question when it's just to get more information.
- Question only when it's to manage a dialog choice or other cases mentionned in the thread for which only questions allow to manage that fully.
- A click on a word and a question show when it's just to mention more information than a word but not choices for the player.

But once you allow questions too, how the player will know that there are or not words to click on? That's the problem of the mix.

Beside a mix, I feel that some other changes could have improved the system :

* The "Ask about... option should be removed from the dialog system in order to not allow authors to abuse of this. Instead for only rare case, the author will have a system as in BoA that allows script and have a popup that asks a word. But then the author have also to manage by script the answer himself and not have that embedded in the dialog system. This will low down strongly an abuse of word typing.

* The system should allow more than one go back and then should also allow "Go next" (more than once too). I have no idea how to manage "Go back feature" with a dialog system that allows scripts.

* It could be usefull to be able to get the list of the words that you have already cliked on (each with a short context description).

As a side note this deeper try of boE demo made me quote that BoE game design (not interface design wich is in general poor in comparison with BoA) had some differences that bring gaming adventadges. Ok that's another topic.

[ Monday, April 26, 2004 14:21: Message edited by: Vent ]
Posts: 175 | Registered: Friday, April 2 2004 08:00