I'm Makin a Game: Dialog System

So What's New?

Aside from a hundred fixes, tweaks and little heres and theres, I've got the core of my dialog system in place. It's not pretty, but nothing is at first.

Give me the short version

Basically, I want character interaction and story to play a large part of the game. This being the case, the dialog between NPCs and the player is important to me and I wanted to do something a bit more enjoyable and engaging than what you tend to find in most games. I'm going to actually have a lot of game relevant (experience, points, game mechanics) things inserted into talking to NPCs to keep it from just being a way of getting the next plot point or quest, and actually being something the player will enjoy doing. Along side your basic dialog options and responses, the player will build up a vocabulary that they will be able to use to question NPC's about various things. Depending on whether or not it's relevant, they'll get proper answers, or just get people angry and annoyed. How many random ass questions would you be willing to answer before you decided you didn't want to talk to some weirdo anymore. *tangent to follow* In any case, the core is in place. The player will collect vocabulary from the world, from NPCs, and wherever else I feel like, and then be able to use them in conversations to try to get more information or just to see what people have to say. Which is what I really hope players will use it for.

Tangent. Not exactly relevant to the game

Today I ran into a goddamn druggie. At least, I think he must be a druggie to have messed up his mind to the extent that this guy was messed up. He kept asking random questions about the exchange rate of Korean Won, and about whether or not I'd invest in him to make money and all sorts of other nonsense. Eventually, I just told him to leave me the hell alone. Luckily, I'm a fairly big guy (not fat, I'm old but I can still bench over 300 =P) so I wasn't exactly intimidated by him. . . but at the same time, you can't help but have a bit of fear when it comes to someone who is actually insane. Because, you know, they're actually insane. Anyway, I can't believe I just now realized the parallel between that experience and what I've been putting together in my game -_-;;

Slightly longer with more details

While I don't want to spill all the beans on how this thing is going to be put together since I have no idea how long it'd take to finish the game and as ridiculous as it sounds for ANYONE who's not someone in the industry to say, I don't want my idea to pop up in a different game before I can release mine -_-;; What I can show though, I've pretty much shown. Obviously, it's just the core of the system. I've got a pretty good idea of how I want to display the information to the player. Up till now, I've really wanted to have voice acting in the game. . . but I've come to the realization that it's just not a reasonable thing for me to try to do. At best, I think I'll be able to have a few lines voiced per NPC such as the greeting so that the player will at least have an idea of what they might sound like. That's prolly what I'll be going for and since I don't personally know that many people who'd be willing to (or even have the talent to), I'll prolly end up fishing the internet for some pro-bono voice work with the payment being in the form of being in the credits =P

I need to really emphasize that this is in no way representative of how the dialog system will look once finished. I just have everything scrolling and repeating at the moment just to make sure that all the responses and lists are populated properly. It looks freaking awful at the moment but the only thing I'm really displaying here is that I have a dialog core and that it works =P I'm a stickler for UI so I'm gonna try to polish this to a shine before I'm happy with it =)

That's about it for now

As always, I've got plenty to do and not nearly enough time to do it. I can't say for sure what I'll be working on other than just knowing that I'll be working on the game. Almost all the critical core components are in the game at this point and it's only a little longer before all I'll need to focus on is the content. E.G. Combat moves, enemies, story, artwork, hud. . . . . oh man, the list goes on forever. Also, sounds. . . I'll need plenty of sound effects and oh god. . . the music. Anyway, it's comin along. slowly. but coming. Btw, this new system completely replaces two separate older quick and dirty hashes I put together. Right now they're sitting in a folder in my game labeled "Trash" but I can't bring myself to delete them. Close to two weeks of coding is a hard thing to delete with a single keystroke. . .

Thanks for reading, and I'm always open to suggestions, comments, criticisms, etc.

EDIT: BTW, I'm sorry about the ridiculous bloom filter that's currently on. It's not going to be used that way in the final game. I've just been experimenting with using pixel shaders recently and I forgot to turn it off when I recorded the video.

10 Comments
11 Comments
Posted by Fobwashed

So What's New?

Aside from a hundred fixes, tweaks and little heres and theres, I've got the core of my dialog system in place. It's not pretty, but nothing is at first.

Give me the short version

Basically, I want character interaction and story to play a large part of the game. This being the case, the dialog between NPCs and the player is important to me and I wanted to do something a bit more enjoyable and engaging than what you tend to find in most games. I'm going to actually have a lot of game relevant (experience, points, game mechanics) things inserted into talking to NPCs to keep it from just being a way of getting the next plot point or quest, and actually being something the player will enjoy doing. Along side your basic dialog options and responses, the player will build up a vocabulary that they will be able to use to question NPC's about various things. Depending on whether or not it's relevant, they'll get proper answers, or just get people angry and annoyed. How many random ass questions would you be willing to answer before you decided you didn't want to talk to some weirdo anymore. *tangent to follow* In any case, the core is in place. The player will collect vocabulary from the world, from NPCs, and wherever else I feel like, and then be able to use them in conversations to try to get more information or just to see what people have to say. Which is what I really hope players will use it for.

Tangent. Not exactly relevant to the game

Today I ran into a goddamn druggie. At least, I think he must be a druggie to have messed up his mind to the extent that this guy was messed up. He kept asking random questions about the exchange rate of Korean Won, and about whether or not I'd invest in him to make money and all sorts of other nonsense. Eventually, I just told him to leave me the hell alone. Luckily, I'm a fairly big guy (not fat, I'm old but I can still bench over 300 =P) so I wasn't exactly intimidated by him. . . but at the same time, you can't help but have a bit of fear when it comes to someone who is actually insane. Because, you know, they're actually insane. Anyway, I can't believe I just now realized the parallel between that experience and what I've been putting together in my game -_-;;

Slightly longer with more details

While I don't want to spill all the beans on how this thing is going to be put together since I have no idea how long it'd take to finish the game and as ridiculous as it sounds for ANYONE who's not someone in the industry to say, I don't want my idea to pop up in a different game before I can release mine -_-;; What I can show though, I've pretty much shown. Obviously, it's just the core of the system. I've got a pretty good idea of how I want to display the information to the player. Up till now, I've really wanted to have voice acting in the game. . . but I've come to the realization that it's just not a reasonable thing for me to try to do. At best, I think I'll be able to have a few lines voiced per NPC such as the greeting so that the player will at least have an idea of what they might sound like. That's prolly what I'll be going for and since I don't personally know that many people who'd be willing to (or even have the talent to), I'll prolly end up fishing the internet for some pro-bono voice work with the payment being in the form of being in the credits =P

I need to really emphasize that this is in no way representative of how the dialog system will look once finished. I just have everything scrolling and repeating at the moment just to make sure that all the responses and lists are populated properly. It looks freaking awful at the moment but the only thing I'm really displaying here is that I have a dialog core and that it works =P I'm a stickler for UI so I'm gonna try to polish this to a shine before I'm happy with it =)

That's about it for now

As always, I've got plenty to do and not nearly enough time to do it. I can't say for sure what I'll be working on other than just knowing that I'll be working on the game. Almost all the critical core components are in the game at this point and it's only a little longer before all I'll need to focus on is the content. E.G. Combat moves, enemies, story, artwork, hud. . . . . oh man, the list goes on forever. Also, sounds. . . I'll need plenty of sound effects and oh god. . . the music. Anyway, it's comin along. slowly. but coming. Btw, this new system completely replaces two separate older quick and dirty hashes I put together. Right now they're sitting in a folder in my game labeled "Trash" but I can't bring myself to delete them. Close to two weeks of coding is a hard thing to delete with a single keystroke. . .

Thanks for reading, and I'm always open to suggestions, comments, criticisms, etc.

EDIT: BTW, I'm sorry about the ridiculous bloom filter that's currently on. It's not going to be used that way in the final game. I've just been experimenting with using pixel shaders recently and I forgot to turn it off when I recorded the video.

Posted by Still_I_Cry

Sounds more and more like a game that I will/would enjoy.

hope it turns out as good as it has been sounding :P

Now I have high expectations.

:D...-_-?

Posted by Ravenlight

You should have a cheat code that makes the game explode with bloom.

Edited by Still_I_Cry

@Ravenlight said:

You should have a cheat code that makes the game explode with bloom.

Make explosions in the game!

Posted by FinalDasa

How is this the first time I've heard of someone making this game?! o.O Keep it up, it looks awesome :)

Moderator
Posted by JimmyPancakes

Damn this looks so freakin cool!

Posted by Kazona

I am falling over from sleep right now, but I promise that I will read and comment on this more thoroughly tomorrow!

Posted by Kazona

Ok, I'm commenting a day later than I said I would, but better late than never, right?

I'm really liking the idea behind this dialogue system, although I'm not sure how players will react to having a ton of dialogue options to go through if all the characters in the game react as you said. I think it's gonna take a lot of careful coding and writing of dialogue to not give the player the feeling that they're going through a trial and error system each time they talk to an NPC.

Once again, I'm really liking this idea, and I think if done right, it could (and I'm not joking here) change the way we think about dialogue in games.

Posted by Fobwashed
@Kazona Glad you like it. I really am shooting for something different but not just for the sake of being different but because I think this'd be an interesting and more engaging way to interact with npcs in a game. This approach would be nigh impossible to implement in a very large game with dozens upon dozens of npcs due to the interconnecting diolog streams but for a smaller cast that you can get a bit more intimate with, I think it would work perfectly. I've put some more time into the way everything interconnects and I think it's really beginning to take shape. For the most part, aside from the aesthetics and interface (both of which I feel are incredibly important), all I've got left to do is implement the "gamey" parts. In creating more and more test dialog, I'm also beginning to really feel the difficulty in creating believable characters. I have no problem creating lines that are very extreme, but as I write more and more lines, I feel like the npcs are all starting to sound like versions of myself playing different roles rather than actual characters. I'm toying wih the idea of having different people I know actually write lines of dialog for different characters as that'll at least result in different vocabulary and maybe even speech patterns. I may also have to start looking into psychology or something to really flesh out the characters and how they would react.
Thanks again for taking interest.
Posted by Fobwashed

Oh, and one more thing is, it's really hard to conver emotions with just dialog. Obviously with VO, you can show a wide range of emotions and in literature, the author also has the advantage of being able to describe the manner in which lines are being delivered. Since VO is pretty much ruled out, and I don't have the resources to draw a large amount of character portraits or animations, this is gonna be rough. It really makes me appreciate how emotive those little sprites were in the snes final fantasy games were. A jump and twirl really conveyed so much even tho it was so little.

Posted by tekmojo

Good luck, looks pretty interesting, especially since you are showing off as you go.