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Modding the conversation system (typing text?) #465791
06/05/13 01:03 AM
06/05/13 01:03 AM
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Posts: 28
Arkham Offline OP

apprentice
Arkham  Offline OP

apprentice

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Currently, the conversation system uses a selectable-keyword only system, where you click on one of a number of listed topics (remniscient of Ultima 7 or Morrowind).
Could a modder add a text-input field so the player(s) can enter a keyword that is available but not necessarily seen on the list?

Re: Modding the conversation system (typing text?) [Re: Arkham] #465794
06/05/13 01:21 AM
06/05/13 01:21 AM
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Stabbey Offline
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They'd also need to add a parser to take the text input and then compare it to a list of existing keywords.

I don't really see any point to allowing text input, it would have to end up back at the same point anyway at a list of existing keywords. That's not really much different than adding a new keyword to the system and having a specific event set that flag to activate it.

Re: Modding the conversation system (typing text?) [Re: Stabbey] #465858
06/05/13 08:15 PM
06/05/13 08:15 PM
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apprentice
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Originally Posted By: Stabbey
That's not really much different than adding a new keyword to the system and having a specific event set that flag to activate it.

But it is different. With the method you're describing, the new keyword only shows up at a certain point in a coversation, or perhaps at the beginning of a conversation. This presents two poential problems -- a player who knows a keyword can't input it right when they wish, and have to sort through a conversation to make it show up; whereas if it shows up beforehand then someone who doesn't know the new word will suddenly know about it because it showed up. Both are too artificial and "game-y" for my liking.

Instead, if the player had the option of typing in a word that was not displayed on the list, they could skip right to the topic directly if they wish (and if they know the keyword) while a player that didn't know it wouldn't have it spoiled for them. Simply having a list of words to click on cannot allow this kind of interaction.

Anyway, I hope this is something the folks at Larian will consider allowing in the editor if it's feasible.

Re: Modding the conversation system (typing text?) [Re: Arkham] #465868
07/05/13 12:05 AM
07/05/13 12:05 AM
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PenguinTD Offline
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PenguinTD  Offline
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the idea is good, but really hard to implement.

In older RPGs, you have to have enough charm to get extra dialog options, same can be implemented with D:OS. But to hide those extra choices, it could quickly become annoying like in traditional point-and-click adventure games where you must use keyword to use/combine objects(where you know what to do but have to try all the combinations of keywords).

Imagine a situation like this, is D:OS, there is a dialog sequence, where you ended up have this following typical situation.

"Did you slay the monster and avenge my son's death?"

Normally, a modern RPG won't ask you this, it's on a check list, automatically checked off and gives you exps. But say in D:OS you might be able to do the following:
1. lie about it( roll check against charm, bear the consequence if you don't actually kill the monster.)
2. tell the truth and give up evidence( like a +10 stat monster eyeball. )
3. demand more reward
4. kill the client( assuming that the monster is cursed by the client and ask you to help instead.)

So without reveal these choices upon dialog( ie. 4 might be hidden if you don't understand monster language or didn't do enough dialog with related NPC.) It would require a machine like IBM's Watson to understand nature language( remember we have several language ports), and related story info to determine the context you just input. In example 1/2, how are you intended to implement this?

player might type:
"I killed it, now give me my money!"
"Done!"
"It was a easy task."

In above 3 situations, game won't be able to tell if you mean 1 or 2. but can easily done, if you have high enough charm to show first choice.

I'd like to hear if you have better approach to this problem.

Re: Modding the conversation system (typing text?) [Re: PenguinTD] #465874
07/05/13 04:44 AM
07/05/13 04:44 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 42
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K-Money Offline
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Maybe the wrong section for this but instead of having a keyword for the dialog, and instead of having all the dialog showing, why not have a "scroll over" design where there are keywords but once scrolled over, it becomes a dialog paragraph. That way if there is 7 or 8 keywords, there doesn't need to be all dialog or all keywords.... Just a suggestion

Re: Modding the conversation system (typing text?) [Re: PenguinTD] #465877
07/05/13 06:19 AM
07/05/13 06:19 AM
Joined: Apr 2013
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Arkham Offline OP

apprentice
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Originally Posted By: PenguinTD
Imagine a situation like this, is D:OS, there is a dialog sequence, where you ended up have this following typical situation.

"Did you slay the monster and avenge my son's death?"

Normally, a modern RPG won't ask you this, it's on a check list, automatically checked off and gives you exps. But say in D:OS you might be able to do the following:
1. lie about it( roll check against charm, bear the consequence if you don't actually kill the monster.)
2. tell the truth and give up evidence( like a +10 stat monster eyeball. )
3. demand more reward
4. kill the client( assuming that the monster is cursed by the client and ask you to help instead.)

So without reveal these choices upon dialog( ie. 4 might be hidden if you don't understand monster language or didn't do enough dialog with related NPC.) It would require a machine like IBM's Watson to understand nature language( remember we have several language ports), and related story info to determine the context you just input. In example 1/2, how are you intended to implement this?

player might type:
"I killed it, now give me my money!"
"Done!"
"It was a easy task."

In above 3 situations, game won't be able to tell if you mean 1 or 2. but can easily done, if you have high enough charm to show first choice.

I'd like to hear if you have better approach to this problem.


Hmm... that's an interesting example. To be honest I don't know if that sort of thing would be a candidate for what I'm talking about; killing a guy seems like enough of a brute force tactic that it wouldn't really make sense as a hidden or secret option.

Also, just to clarify: I meant the player would type a single keyword, and not an entire sentence like "I killed it, it was an easy task" or something like that. Basically the player would be able to enter topics (via single keywords, one word per topic) that aren't displayed on the list, but are still available to talk about "under the hood".


Here's an example where I think this might work (I admit I'm getting this example from another game that most here have not played, but I'll generic-ify it enough that it won't matter):

Say there's an angry guy who sits outside his house all day (and is a shut-in at night -- schedules are in, after all!) and yells angrily at anyone who passes by. As far as most people know, including the player, this is just some angry older crank with a funny nickname who doesn't like anybody. However, perhaps there is a history book, or a townsperson with a bit of info, that can lead the player to realize that this angry guy was actually a personage of some importance, whose accomplishments went unrecognized, or someone else stole the credit/glory from him, what have you, and he's been bitter ever since. By going up to him and telling him his real name as the keyword, you might get him to open up and tell you about his past. The quest might finish there, or keep going onto another section, but that's the basic framework of what I'm thinking of.

Here is the key difference between this kind of quest being built around topic list vs a text entry: with the former, the game "detects" that your character has learned this guy's name and makes the topic show up the next time you talk to him. With the design I'm thinking of, the revelation would be a lot more subtle -- the book or townsperson wouldn't outright say "oh, that cranky old guy actually used to be this other guy, his real name is _____" -- instead the source of info would only allude to the information in a way that the player has to piece it together themselves. Maybe the townsperson could describe an article of clothing, and if you were to sneak into the old guy's house at night, you'd see an old worn version of that same article of clothing. Or something along those lines.

Under this design, making the name show up on the topic list defeats the purpose of making the player figure it out, and leads them by the nose too much. Instead, letting there be a place for the player to enter the name once they figure it out gives a way for this little story to open up naturally. It's another avenue for discovery and exploration, but NPC-centric instead of environment-centric.

There are many other possibilities of course, maybe asking characters about events or topics that one wouldn't normally expect to show up on their topic lists, but that they might have something to say about anyway. There's lots of directions something like this could be taken in.

(Also, one more clarification -- I only bring this up as possibility in the modding tools. I don't really expect Larian to design the vanilla game with a feature like this in it; it would just be cool if a feature like that were available for modders to use in their own works.)

Re: Modding the conversation system (typing text?) [Re: Arkham] #465880
07/05/13 06:50 AM
07/05/13 06:50 AM
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Arhu Offline
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Yep, would be cool if text-input for quests would at least be possible with the editor.


This is a bit of meta gaming: the Thalion games (Amberstar, Ambermoon, Albion) often had Riddle Mouths to block the player's passage -- only upon entering the correct answer to a small riddle would the Riddle Mouth slide away. In this case the player had to think, not the character. I found it a cool feature.

Another example from these games: some old inscriptions in the game were made of runes, like those in the Hobbit. The riddle mouths also spoke with runes, IIRC. The player could translate them to normal letters, which sometimes provided useful information, and at one time even had to input a translated keyword somewhere.

Neverwinter Nights on the other hand didn't have this, it was purely character-based, like classic adventures. If you had to say a password, you were offered a list of options, and only if some specific flag was set was the right answer available to the player.

Re: Modding the conversation system (typing text?) [Re: Arhu] #465885
07/05/13 08:24 AM
07/05/13 08:24 AM
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Posts: 182
Indira Weresheep Offline
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Text-input in CRPGs has a high nostalgia-factor to be sure! smile

Still, I've learnt to live without it. There's one case, however, where I think it deserves a revival, and that's when you get to type in answers to riddles. I love doing that by hand, don't know why, I just do.


I got Comment 33,333 at the legendary Larian KS for D:OS
Re: Modding the conversation system (typing text?) [Re: Indira Weresheep] #465890
07/05/13 12:03 PM
07/05/13 12:03 PM
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Stabbey Offline
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Entering puzzle solutions from text in certain situations is probably the only time when a text parser would really add to the experience. By itself, a text parser is just an interface between the player and the keyword database - no different than a mouse clicking on a graphical keyword.

Re: Modding the conversation system (typing text?) [Re: Stabbey] #465919
07/05/13 05:41 PM
07/05/13 05:41 PM
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PenguinTD Offline
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In a sense, it might be more gratifying to player who "know" what the answer and choices is. Like Stabbey said, this is probably really limited in case of our dialog branching system. Where a situation like if you fail to input correct possible choices, what should NPC respond? pretend that you haven't enter anything? show a error message? reply with "I don't know what you are talking about" in the middle of a arguing or inquiry? Many of the available "error handling" is not that appealing and breaks game flow for majority of players.

One excellent implementation I really appreciate is how Ace Attorney did for their defending process. You get to choose interrupting point, and there is only a limited interruption for you to counter. It's basically a text based adventure game, and handled it exceptionally well. Even with that mechanism, they still have to offer player fixed choices as in selecting from evidences. Although I like it a lot, but to be honest some situation I have to save/load and try many different point and evidence to get through, which is sorta frustration if their writing is not superb.(some times I just choose to fail and see how judge mock the protagonist.)

When IBM Watson is available as a cloud service like google voice search, then maybe there is a opportunity to create games that understands natural language. the dialog system evolved from pure text input of Zork to modern stat based multi-selection with obvious reason to minimize breaking game flow thus keep player hooked to the plot.


Last edited by PenguinTD; 07/05/13 05:42 PM.

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