Larian Banner
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Joined: Oct 2020
V
vitfast Offline OP
stranger
OP Offline
stranger
V
Joined: Oct 2020
First of all, excuse me for my English, I'm not a native speaker.

Well, I don't know if this point has been mentioned before, but the quality of the dialogues varies from okay to lousy. Most replicas of the NPC are well written and excellently voiced, but the answers I as a player have to choose from are monosyllabic and uninspired. Good dialogues, as any writing couch will tell you, are the result of giving the dialogue partners different "scripts". In other words, the dialogue partners must pursue different objectives. And they must express them with their own unique voices. Tension arises and we are drawn into the dialogue & the story. The really BIG (!) problem with your game is that we as players have almost only monosyllabic dialogue answers to choose from. Since these are also unvoiced, one has the feeling that the NPC are interacting with a bot (the player!). This is the strangest and most unpleasant listening/reading experience I have ever had. And I have read thousands of books in my life.

Of course, there are also reasons against long lines of dialogue: The player must spend more time reading. BIOWARE has solved this problem in an elegant way: You choose between short answers, but the character speaks in complete and mostly interesting sentences.

If you don't understand what I mean, take a look at the dialogue between the PC and the pub owner in BG1. The guy fools around with the PC. And I as a player have different ways of dealing with the guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IHGRT7zhGI

Now, let's have a look at the first meeting with Lae'zel. Can you see the difference? In BG1 we are dealing with a dialogue. In BG3 it is almost a monologue. It's like Lae'zel talking to a bot!

Please, find a solution to this akward problem. Turn the monologues into real dialogues!



Last edited by vitfast; 19/11/20 09:14 PM.
Joined: Oct 2020
Dez Offline
member
Offline
member
Joined: Oct 2020
I somewhat agree with you. I agree that the PC response feels... Lacking, at times.

However, I am not extremely fond of the "short descriptions, but long and elaborate replies" for playable characters. This is because in a lot of games where this is a thing, my response sometimes turn out to be something COMPLETELY ELSE than I had in mind. SWTOR did this, and I lost count of how many times I just used alt-f4 to get out of conversations to start them over cause my character's response did not turn out like I expected, at all. Sometimes the short descriptions simply cannot describe the response properly, leading to misunderstandings. In my case, playing as a sith inquisitor, I had issues knowing when the replies were ironic and when they were not. I thought it suited my sith well to be a bit of an sarcastic douche, but about 50% of the times, the replies were genuine - and there really wasn't always a way for me to tell if they were sarcastic or genuine during the short response descriptions... :x

I am not saying I don't want longer and more elaborate responses for our characters - because I do. But oh dear - I dread the short description panels... I can already see myself quick-saving before each conversation - just in case... >.< Dealing with the consequences of my actions is one thing - I can deal with that - but dealing with my character not even responding the way I want to is a completely different issue that I rather not deal with (or at least deal with as little as possible).

Joined: Oct 2020
journeyman
Offline
journeyman
Joined: Oct 2020
I think the tag-specific dialogue options are pretty solid and have a lot of character in some cases (Tiefling and Drow stick out in particular).

For the regular ones I would've preferred more personality. Something like the three different tones in Dragon Age 2 would've been nice. As much as people rag on that game, it's dialogue system allowed for a solid amount of flexibility by mixing and matching the three different attitudes based on situation.

Joined: Oct 2020
Location: Liberec
old hand
Offline
old hand
Joined: Oct 2020
Location: Liberec
Originally Posted by vitfast
BIOWARE has solved this problem in an elegant way:

I cant imagine anyone who manage to say this with serious face. O_o

Im sorry, but i want to know what dialogue choice i take, not gues. :-/
This is what i fear when someone mentions BioWare and dialogue in same sentence:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz9t5Gkj4WY&ab_channel=WhatCultureGaming


I liked original spellcasting system more ... frown

Anyway ... i cast Eldritch Blast!
Joined: Oct 2020
Dez Offline
member
Offline
member
Joined: Oct 2020
Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
Originally Posted by vitfast
BIOWARE has solved this problem in an elegant way:

I cant imagine anyone who manage to say this with serious face. O_o

Im sorry, but i want to know what dialogue choice i take, not gues. :-/
This is what i fear when someone mentions BioWare and dialogue in same sentence:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz9t5Gkj4WY&ab_channel=WhatCultureGaming


^^^^^^^^ THIS.

Joined: Oct 2020
V
vitfast Offline OP
stranger
OP Offline
stranger
V
Joined: Oct 2020
Well, I couldn't help laughing. laugh But I must also honestly say that after the first two Dragon Age titles I didn't play any more games from Bioware. Besides, some mistakes do not prove that all dialogues are badly written. The video also criticizes The Witcher 3. But the game has great dialogues. I was not interested in praising this specific system (short option - long answer). Basically I don't care which system Larian uses. The main thing is that the dialogues are well written. And that is not the case at the moment.

Joined: Oct 2020
enthusiast
Offline
enthusiast
Joined: Oct 2020
+1

The writing really is subpar, almost universally.

Joined: Oct 2020
V
vitfast Offline OP
stranger
OP Offline
stranger
V
Joined: Oct 2020
A good point. But Larian will hardly use the system. It only makes sense with fully dubbed dialogues. Basically I don't care which system Larian uses. The main thing is that the dialogues are well written. And that is not the case at the moment.

Joined: Oct 2020
V
vitfast Offline OP
stranger
OP Offline
stranger
V
Joined: Oct 2020
First of all: I love the tag-specific dialog options. They are amazing, even better then in PoE2. But individual dialoge options should not be confused with good writing. That's a huge difference. Dialogues can be tag-specific and bad written at the same time.

An example from the very first dialogue in the game:

Lae'zel says: "Imps block the path forward. You will assist me in destroying them - we must reach the helm before we transform."

That's a good line. We learn something about the character of the figure: She is dominant, does not tolerate any backtalk. And what is even more important (for me): the speech melody is right!

BUT! Now comes the answer options: "Transform? What do you mean?" "Who are you?" "Is the helm our way out of here?" "Onward, then."

The PC is on a strange flying ship and meets a githyanki. And all he can think of is a generic "Who are you?" Really? Who speaks like this? My digital language assistant has more personality!

I played as githyanki. And I really liked the optional choices. But again: they were still poorly written in most cases.

Last edited by vitfast; 20/11/20 12:07 AM.
Joined: Mar 2020
Location: Belfast
old hand
Offline
old hand
Joined: Mar 2020
Location: Belfast
Hmmm... that’s is a tricky subject, but I wouldn’t categorise it as good/bad writing. OP seems to suggest that Larian writing team is fully capable of writing expressive lines - they just don’t do so for PC.

I will ignore heavily pre-defined playable characters (Shepard, Geralt, Hawke) as those are on completely other part of the spectrum. Let’s stick to more “open” RPGs - Baldur’s Gate1&2, Tyranny, Pillars1&2, Fallout. While those characters aren’t as defined as Shepard/Geralt/Hawke they are still quite defined - you are a Gorion’s ward/child of Bhaal, Fatebinder, Watcher, vault dweller. Within those rolls you get a range of who you get to be. While it’s more granular approach, then let’s say Hawke diplomatic/aggressive/humorous, but in many ways it is the same thing.

I think Larian aims for a much bigger player freedom. Tadpole seems more like a driving plot gizmo, rather then definition of who we are as a character. Various PCs also don’t share background, history, geographical knowledge, world knowledge. No matter who you are in BGs, you always grew up in Candlekeep, you always had dark destiny ahead of you, you loose your mentor, and world outside Candlekeep is alien to you. That’s a lot of stuff to write about, which will be true of every character you create.

I don’t see how Larian could write a more expressive PC lines, without heavily restricting who player characters are. And while companion lines might be well written, keep in mind those varied and expressive companions will also need to use the same lines written for PC, if they are picked as origin. PC isn’t another character, whom we can mole to some extend - he is a set of actions, abilities and knowledge available to us, based on our “tags”.

I don’t know if it’s an effective approach, but it is what it is.

Joined: Oct 2020
old hand
Offline
old hand
Joined: Oct 2020
Originally Posted by vitfast
First of all: I love the tag-specific dialog options. They are amazing, even better then in PoE2. But individual dialoge options should not be confused with good writing. That's a huge difference. Dialogues can be tag-specific and bad written at the same time.

An example from the very first dialogue in the game:

Lae'zel says: "Imps block the path forward. You will assist me in destroying them - we must reach the helm before we transform."

That's a good line. We learn something about the character of the figure: She is dominant, does not tolerate any backtalk. And what is even more important (for me): the speech melody is right!

BUT! Now comes the answer options: "Transform? What do you mean?" "Who are you?" "Is the helm our way out of here?" "Onward, then."

The PC is on a strange flying ship and meets a githyanki. And all he can think of is a generic "Who are you?" Really? Who speaks like this? My digital language assistant has more personality!

I played as githyanki. And I really liked the optional choices. But again: they were still poorly written in most cases.



Okay, so what options would you give the player to choose from, in that specific scenario?

Joined: Oct 2020
member
Offline
member
Joined: Oct 2020
I wouldn't say the writing is subpar, that would be unfair. I think the writing is convoluted due to the huge number of possible story permutations. Writing to encompass 8-10 characters with their own branching stories within the same active scenario is incredibly difficult to do without leaving great holes in the dialogue and story plots. It is made even worse when you try and give every companion unusual and complex personal backstories within said scenario. Nobody is "just some guy/gal" doing nothing particularly interesting before "event".

The writers have been given the job of writing a monumentally complex story which has the effect of making the story linear. It makes it linear because to branch 8-10 story arcs from the main plot would be an unrealistic number of variables. This is why the McGuffin (tadpole) is basically rime and reason you cannot do anything BUT continue down the same path. EA is basically a bunch of dead ends leading you to a single path with no variation. It makes it almost cliché storytelling but it isn't the fault of the writing.

If you "custom character" were written as the protagonist with maybe a couple of prologue backstories like DAO depending on class it would be easier to branch interesting arcs. When the companions only have to react to your decisions it is easier to widen decision making variables, reactions and relationships. When you add many protagonists all these protagonists have to react to each other as otherwise it make no sense.

Joined: Sep 2020
member
Offline
member
Joined: Sep 2020
If nothing changed from when they said that there will be full voiceover, we don't really know how the writing looks for our character. In many cases we have options like "tell about", which obviously will turn in full monologue from our character in voiceover.

Originally Posted by Dez
I just used alt-f4 to get out of conversations to start them over cause my character's response did not turn out like I expected, at all.

Allow me to ease your pain for the future: Esc works as abort for cutscenes in SWTOR, so you can restart them without restarting the game.

Joined: Oct 2020
enthusiast
Offline
enthusiast
Joined: Oct 2020
Originally Posted by Soul-Scar
I wouldn't say the writing is subpar, that would be unfair. I think the writing is convoluted due to the huge number of possible story permutations. Writing to encompass 8-10 characters with their own branching stories within the same active scenario is incredibly difficult to do without leaving great holes in the dialogue and story plots. It is made even worse when you try and give every companion unusual and complex personal backstories within said scenario. Nobody is "just some guy/gal" doing nothing particularly interesting before "event".

The writers have been given the job of writing a monumentally complex story which has the effect of making the story linear. It makes it linear because to branch 8-10 story arcs from the main plot would be an unrealistic number of variables. This is why the McGuffin (tadpole) is basically rime and reason you cannot do anything BUT continue down the same path. EA is basically a bunch of dead ends leading you to a single path with no variation. It makes it almost cliché storytelling but it isn't the fault of the writing.

If you "custom character" were written as the protagonist with maybe a couple of prologue backstories like DAO depending on class it would be easier to branch interesting arcs. When the companions only have to react to your decisions it is easier to widen decision making variables, reactions and relationships. When you add many protagonists all these protagonists have to react to each other as otherwise it make no sense.



The writing is ALWAYS subpar for cinematic dialogues; You HAVE to take shortcuts, at the risk of boring the viewer or sounding cheesy and looking cringy. The acting might be good, but everything else is empty compared to text base dialogues> IF DONE RIGHT.

The foundation of this whole argument is basically just that; Movie like visual dialogues verses book like storytelling dialogues.
In 2020 the bar for acting out <<interesting dialgue>> cinematics in a game is very very very low. Basically if BG3 at its current state was a HBO miniseries with just the cinematic dialgues, would you watch it? lol I guess it might work as a comedy...
SO my belief is basically this; keep cinematic dialogues for ONLY impactful dialogues, emotional scenes that fit the medium. Keep the rest in text form with tons of branching options.

Last edited by mr_planescapist; 20/11/20 10:17 AM.
Joined: Nov 2020
Banned
Offline
Banned
Joined: Nov 2020
I had only one truly annoying moment ingame.

The event where we encounter the Gobs bullying the Deepgnome on the Windmill.
Wyll was present and of course, demanded immediate Justice. wink
And to have some interrogation time with the Gob alive afterwards.

In battle the Goblinboss yielded ( is that new? )
and in a cutscene, my character heard Wylls voice via telepathy in her head.
" Kill him! ", Wyll said determined.

I understood it as an order/plea to do it. So I killed the ugly thing as I prefered.

Next cutscene starts right after and what does Wyll say?
" Why did you do that? I wanted him alive! Bla bla bla bla bla... "
( --_--) " Aha, cool. "


Man that must be improved.
Interrogated the Gob as usual via Amulett of Deadwhisperer from the Crypt.
But damn what a misleading script from Wyll.

Joined: Oct 2020
enthusiast
Offline
enthusiast
Joined: Oct 2020
Originally Posted by Soul-Scar
I wouldn't say the writing is subpar, that would be unfair. I think the writing is convoluted due to the huge number of possible story permutations.


I am going to stop you right there. . .That is precisely what sub par means -below average standards of acceptability. If something is convoluted, it is sub par, no justification is sufficient to excuse it. The difference between good writing and poor writing isn't in the language used, the effectiveness with which it is employed, the breadth of vocabulary drawn from, the power of the imagery or the novelty of the concepts explored. That is what distinguishes good writing from excellent writing. What differentiates the good from the bad are two very simple criteria: Convenience and contrivance. Is the writing convincing and making something convincing is all about foundation. Bad writing is almost always the result of laziness. That is it. Allow me an example.

A man spends all of the wealth he possesses which he is not otherwise directing toward his own sustenance buying ice cream for children at the park on weekends.

Now if you are reading a story about this man, and it is well composed, you might be able to conjure up some head canon or rationale to explain this and may enjoy the story having filled in some necessary logical requirements to make it work. But that does not pardon the work from being bad. lets try again.

A man spends all of the wealth he possesses which he is not otherwise directing toward his own sustenance buying ice cream for children at the park on weekends - because his daughter died

This would appear to be an improvement, since a motivation is provided which did not exist previously, but it is actually equally poor if not worse because while the first example was unconvincing as it offered no explanation, this motivation calls everything into question for being implausible. It isn't that it is impossible for someone to respond to tragedy in this way, it is simply that we all know enough about human nature to know it isn't a typical or reasonable scenario. -This is where much of the game is now. Unconvincing. Sub par. Lets try one last time with something barely adequate.

A man spends all of the wealth he possesses which he is not otherwise directing toward his own sustenance buying ice cream for children at the park on weekends -because his daughter died in an auto accident. They had been arguing over ice cream while driving home and maybe if he not been fighting with her, if only he had stopped to buy her that sundae. . .

With a little more context an implausible situation and a borderline uncomfortable character can become a sympathetic one with the potential of a compelling story. Something plausible and if you are lucky, something interesting. Good writing rewards you for the suspension of disbelief you lend it. Bad writing will not work without the suspension of disbelief. Anything specific one might criticize, from general unoriginality to Mary Sue characters and cliche, are all in essence accusations of laziness. It is the one thing which no writer which takes themselves seriously should ever be.

Joined: Mar 2020
old hand
Offline
old hand
Joined: Mar 2020
It's more complicated than that since we deal with a non linear story. And I still firmly believe the biggest issue is not the writing itself which has potential, but the very low priority Larian puts it in when designing their games. And of course the ho so sacred "freedom" they seem to worship without realising it's completely fake.

Last edited by Abits; 20/11/20 03:01 PM.

Larian's Biggest Oversight, what to do about it, and My personal review of BG3 EA
"74.85% of you stood with the Tieflings, and 25.15% of you sided with Minthara. Good outweighs evil, it seems."
Joined: Oct 2020
enthusiast
Offline
enthusiast
Joined: Oct 2020
I totally misread that the first time. lol

+1 Abi

Joined: Oct 2020
old hand
Offline
old hand
Joined: Oct 2020
I have an extremely hard time distinguishing good writing from bad writing. Despite the fact that I've read a LOT of books in my life, and even done quite a bit of writing myself, I genuinely never seem to know when writing is subpar. I watch movies and play games and tons of people say that the writing isn't good in them, and I thought it was totally fine. Like, it didn't occur to me to think that it was bad. I'm some kind of illiterate, I guess. Writing has to be absolutely ABYSMAL for me to notice that it's subpar. Like, "The Room" level of trash writing.

I mean, I can recognize especially good writing, as distinct from just "normal" writing. Planescape: Torment, Disco Elysium, these are games which clearly have superior writing. But the range of writing that just falls under "par for the course" for me seems to be very large. Much larger than most of the people I see reviewing and commenting on games and movies that I like. I never know if people are just too critical, or if I'm just a dullard with poor taste.

Joined: Oct 2020
enthusiast
Offline
enthusiast
Joined: Oct 2020
Originally Posted by Firesnakearies
I have an extremely hard time distinguishing good writing from bad writing. Despite the fact that I've read a LOT of books in my life, and even done quite a bit of writing myself, I genuinely never seem to know when writing is subpar. I watch movies and play games and tons of people say that the writing isn't good in them, and I thought it was totally fine. Like, it didn't occur to me to think that it was bad. I'm some kind of illiterate, I guess. Writing has to be absolutely ABYSMAL for me to notice that it's subpar. Like, "The Room" level of trash writing.

I mean, I can recognize especially good writing, as distinct from just "normal" writing. Planescape: Torment, Disco Elysium, these are games which clearly have superior writing. But the range of writing that just falls under "par for the course" for me seems to be very large. Much larger than most of the people I see reviewing and commenting on games and movies that I like. I never know if people are just too critical, or if I'm just a dullard with poor taste.


Sounds to me like you are unfortunately an artist. The only people who really care about the sort of distinctions we are talking about are those who have some passion for the subject and the truth is many, even those who write professionally, don't. It is also a topic with incredible nuance.

Human beings are complex and so are the things they create. Good writing is all about effective communication, distilling challenging ideas into simple expression. but based upon personal experiences some people will require less effort than others from individual authors. Its also why we love to discuss film and literature amongst ourselves. In reference to your statements, there is writing then there is story telling and they are two very different things. Stephen King, for instance, is a half assed writer but an extremely gifted storyteller. His concepts are wildly implausible, but his characters are usually grounded and well conceived, and so long as one can identify with the people in a story those characters will often sell the reality of everything else. Many people have difficulty distinguishing between the two because it isn't obvious that they are immediately different. The same way someone looking at a V8 for the first time may not necessarily know the intake manifold from the exhaust manifold. It all looks the same if you don't know what you are looking at. Anyone interested will figure it out for themselves with enough time.

There is also the fact that each of us like things which are objectively bad. It is very, very difficult to acknowledge something isn't as good as it could be when it is satisfying, especially when it is very satisfying, but we won't discuss this because otherwise we will find ourselves out in the weeds. Just think about the pizza you buy because they deliver as opposed to the pizza you will buy if you are willing to make a drive. Satisfying can be good, but isn't necessarily so while even things which are well executed may not be appealing.

Last edited by DistantStranger; 20/11/20 04:08 PM.
Page 1 of 2 1 2

Link Copied to Clipboard
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5