Throwing out The Forged Kingdoms' dialogue system

Started by Legend, Mar 20, 2020, 03:16 PM

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Old dialogue system has been thrown out. As a reminder, it worked like classic rpgs on the surface.

The NPC gives their line and then the player has ~4 responses to select from. If the player didn't like those options, they could edit them or write their own using a pretty complicated internal grammar system.

I ditched this method because without editing your replies it functions exactly like every other rpg. Players wouldn't mind it but it wouldn't be anything special either.

With editing and the full grammar system, it just becomes an unfun mess. It takes way too long and pulls you out of the game. A simple thing like buying bread from a baker becomes a minute long ordeal when it should be a single button press.

For the new system, I have three major goals.

Be fun to use.
Be fast enough to be used during combat.
Be expressive. Let players say exactly what they want to say.

The previous system sure was expressive but it was not fun and it was not fast.

The solution is a Mass Effect style conversation wheel, with a catch.

Every game with a dialogue system like the one above offers fake choices. The player may select different lines but the NPC will usually have a generic catch all response to keep the story from branching.

The Forged Kingdoms however is procedural so the story is always branching. I can let the player say more things because the NPC can have near infinite reactions.

So the new dialogue system uses a conversation wheel but the listed options are not full paragraphs.

Instead back to back to back conversation wheels can be used to expand on what you are saying before the NPC responds. Say you are being attacked.

First wheel: "Stop attacking me!"
Second wheel: "I can pay you lots of gold"
Third wheel: "Just name your price"
Fourth wheel: "Please I'm begging you, I'll pay anything."

At any moment the player could stop selecting responses, they are not forced to keep going. The chained conversation wheels are only needed to let the player narrow in on a specific thing they want to say. Without them only ~8 unique responses are possible while with them thousands are possible.

In addition, there is always a second conversation wheel without procedural options. Like in Death Stranding, clicking R3 jumps to the next page. These are quick to use and function the same way but allow players to say standard stuff like "would you like to join my town?"

I'm implementing this new system right now so hopefully I can dive into the nitty gritty details of how it works soon.


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