Conversational systems

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  • I was reading Tigsource and there's a post about dialogue in games.

    That reminded me of extended brain-racking about alternatives to the dialog systems we have nowadays in games. As the columnist says, life (and film and books) has a LOT of dialogue, but games don't because it's difficult to get right.

    Has anyone put thought into this? alternate dialog systems? fancy/crazy ideas?

  • I don't think there is less dialog because its harder. There is less dialog for the same reason people choose to play a game rather than read a book.

  • A few games do have a lot of dialogue, generally murder mystery games, and I find myself skipping them. It's not that the dialogue isn't good or well written, it's just when playing a game you want the gameplay more than to read.

  • I was thinking about that many times. In classic adventures games like Lucasarts ones, the dialogues are quite advanced. They aren�t only linear dialogues where you only need to press a button to continue. I remenber that The Longest Journey's director and writer, Ragnar Tornquist, explained in an interview that they had developed a dialogue system to write conplex "trees" easily. An I think that all scumm type game engines have, or should be at least.

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  • I think the best way to do a conversational system is read external text/ini/whatever files with a list of all the dialog in them. Otherwise you're going to have a ridiculous mass of pointless events all just to contain the dialog.

  • A dialog-heavy game doesn't mean it has to be a lot of reading.

    Just look at Mass Effect's conversation system. Pretty sleek.

    Also, The Sims talk a lot among themselves, that's a nice system too. Only it makes almost no sense.

    I played this game once that had you queuing up things to say and the other guy would react. It was a game about politics, forgot the name. It was kind of random if you won or not, and what was said didn't make much sense, kinda like The Sims.

    What I'd like to see (or make) is a system that allows for conversational ninja skillz. Like... quick redirections and tricks. You know, when you talk to someone and afterwards you're like "WTF was that".

    Problem is when you talk about conversation system, everyone assumes you mean dialog trees (because of the Lucasarts legacy) and no one really wants to go back there. What I mean is a new gameplay idea that works as dialog.

  • Another benefit to story chunks and dialogue being stored externally is easier editing... it'd sure be annoying to sift through event sheets checking for typos and things that could use rewriting. I'd use a system like that for sure. Is there a tutorial or example .cap on accessing/sorting external txt/whatever files yet?

  • I think it should be fairly easy using arrays and their storage/retrieval actions.

    So no one has considered alternatives to conversation in games? wow

  • Yeah, I have my idea for my uber secret personal project that will perhaps never be completed, but that is a secret. But, basically, tell your story without using words, or as few as possible. Language can be powerful, but I find games that rely on words to tell their story or provide meaning and emotion are taking the shallow route.

    Ico comes to mind.

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