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xenocide
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« Reply #330 on: January 19, 2008, 04:28:01 am »

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You have argued fairly persuasively that the two best choices might be to attack or to leave, but it should be clear from this thread that those certainly aren't the only choices that seem reasonable to most players. Do you see me arguing to add more choices? No. I'm just saying you need to make it clear to the player exactly what choice he is making. Not the consequences of the choice -- as discussed in the ToughLove thread, having surprising consequences is good. But the choice itself -- that is, what your character does after you click the dialog option -- should be crystal clear. As it stands now, it's absolutely not, since many/most people believe that choosing the first option leads to more conversation and choices, when in fact it leads to grabbing a random piece of paper and jumping out a window.


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You're thinking like a designer, I'm thinking like a player. It doesn't matter how exactly these options could be consistent and balanced in the gameworld. All that matters is that I, and others, saw the dialog option and immediately expected it to be followed by other choices. Both in my first consideration of the choices, and after more thought, it seemed to me that there were options worth pursuing. Given that the player thinks he has options, and that the dialog line you wrote does nothing to rule those options out, it is wrong for the game to make the character do something contradictory to those options without the player's input.


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Quote from: Vince on Yesterday at 09:18:54 PM
In this situation, your mission is over and you don't need anything from the guard.
Yes - you know this, because you designed the game. The player doesn't.
How is the player to know that it's an entirely straight-forward situation? Couldn't the guard be an important source of significant information? Maybe he has another story to tell, and the assassins' guild has being lying to the PC. Maybe he has powerful friends who'd find and kill his murderer. Maybe he has business propositions of his own....

You know that there's nothing more to the situation, but the player doesn't. It's perfectly reasonable for him to make an attempt to learn what there is to be learned before taking serious action - even if he plans to kill the guy.


These three paragraphs really make the point well.  Vince, I actually agree with you that the 2 choices you have now are the best way to handle things.  But like the others have said it is not that clear.  I said earlier that I expected to be able to attack after the intimidation.  Maybe attack was wrong, but I definitely expected to be able to do something. I was suprised that my character just left. 

I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I wonder if you are thinking a little too much along the lines of "get the player the map, this is the point of the vignette."  Now, this is correct, that is the point of the vignette, but like galsiah said, you know this but the player does not.  What if the main quest was started by you killing the wrong man?  In this situation you would probably have to talk to the guard.  I know that is not the situation, but the PC does not know that.  I think it is perfectly reasonable for a player to expect  a little more after the intimidate option.  All problems would be solved  (at least in this situation between galsiah, cardtrick and myself) by a simple edit of the dialog words of the PC, or a game world consequence that makes the PC leave. Personally I am a little biased towards the gameworld forcing you to leave, perhaps in a way a little like mine own suggestion earlier Wink
« Last Edit: January 19, 2008, 04:48:21 am by xenocide » Logged
xenocide
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« Reply #331 on: January 19, 2008, 04:43:41 am »

One other little thing that may seem a bit nitpicky.  It seems somewhat random that the PC takes the map after the intimidation success.  Obviously if you loot the whole room you would take it, but I think a small notice of the map would make it seem a bit more important.  Something small like "The bolt hits his chest and Gracius slowly goes down.  His last action before he dies is to tightly grip a piece of parchment.  The mercenary looks at you ........"  Subtle and small, but gives just a hint that the parchment is important.
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GhanBuriGhan
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« Reply #332 on: January 19, 2008, 05:47:33 am »

@galsiah

about [lie] and [truth]
Yeah, I am aware that it is often entirely not clear from context, I have run into that in plenty of games. The only option is to make all replies truths, except if it is clear they aren't (e.g. saying you have done something, or have an item that you clearly haven't). Maybe  a dedicated lying skill isn't such a horrible idea, actually. Straigh faced lying IS a skill only few people master. Of it could be part of a larger acting skill or subsumed under disguise? (I think [acting] or [disguise] would be a pretty clear indicator you are saying something untruthful. But I concede it is not an issue really, just something I personally dislike, style wise.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2008, 06:01:43 am by GhanBuriGhan » Logged

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"Merely killing those being mean to me. It's not my fault it's everyone in the world of AoD". (Vahhabyte)
Vince
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« Reply #333 on: January 19, 2008, 10:43:37 am »

Why does a [truth] have to come with a [lie]?
Because forcing your character, who might be a lying bastard, to tell the truth is as bad, if not worse, than the design crimes we're reviewing now.

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The player should never be surprised by what his character does.
I agree with you here and acknowledge the design flaw. The question is how to fix it and which option out of many suggestions that were made fits the situation better.

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But the choice itself -- that is, what your character does after you click the dialog option -- should be crystal clear. As it stands now, it's absolutely not, since many/most people believe that choosing the first option leads to more conversation and choices, when in fact it leads to grabbing a random piece of paper and jumping out a window.
No arguing here.

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Vince, I hope you understand that I'm not saying I want you to implement those options, or that I necessarily think they're the smartest choices for the character.
No, of course not. You're a smart guy and I'm interested in your opinion. I think you have good points there, and I'm testing your position by trying to punch some holes in it and see if it can handle it. It's an ancient, almost forgotten Codex technique of friendly arguing, so don't take it personally. My intentions are honorable. lol

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If selecting a dialog line is going to make my character attack an NPC, then that needs to be clear.

If selecting a dialog line is going to make my character leave a room, especially one that he can't get back to, then that needs to be especially clear.

If selecting a dialog line is going to make my character give an object or money to an NPC, then that needs to be clear.

I could keep going, but I'll stop. My character should never act unless I tell him to. Grabbing a map and jumping out a window when all I told him to do was say something to a guard is not acceptable.
Well said. So, what's your way of fixing it then other than using the [truth] indicator?

Edit: Just saw your next post. We'll consider your suggestion, thanks.



« Last Edit: January 19, 2008, 10:48:07 am by Vince » Logged
Vince
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« Reply #334 on: January 19, 2008, 10:55:51 am »

In this situation, your mission is over and you don't need anything from the guard.
Yes - you know this, because you designed the game. The player doesn't.
How is the player to know that it's an entirely straight-forward situation? Couldn't the guard be an important source of significant information? Maybe he has another story to tell, and the assassins' guild has being lying to the PC. Maybe he has powerful friends who'd find and kill his murderer. Maybe he has business propositions of his own....

You know that there's nothing more to the situation, but the player doesn't. It's perfectly reasonable for him to make an attempt to learn what there is to be learned before taking serious action - even if he plans to kill the guy.
So, what would you ask him? "I've just killed your master. How does that make you feel?" or "Any comments?"
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Fosse
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« Reply #335 on: January 19, 2008, 11:51:27 am »

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For a player who is definitely decided on killing the guy, but wants to find out what he can first, it's perfectly reasonable to intimidate first.
Find out what?
Maybe there is nothing to find out , and it'd be silly for the character to think that there is.  But it's entirely reasonable for the player to believe there is a second layer of dialogue underneath the option as it stands.

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Overall, I agree with the criticism. You guys are saying all the right words and making all the right points. However, the question is what happens when you intimidate the guard. What do you do next? What is the reason for staying?
Maybe you want to evaluate your chances to best the guard in a fight.  You evaluate his response to intimidation.
Maybe you want to kill him, but like to play with your food.
Maybe you want to pursue the intimidation line further, talking him into backing slowly out of the room.
Maybe you want to tie him up to make an escape with no chance of pursuit.
Maybe you want him to give you his weapon
Maybe you want to learn why the merchant came back into town, and hope the guard knows.
Maybe you want to know how much it costs to hire a mercenary guard, and here's one, why not ask?
Maybe you haven't thought of anything, but know from years of game playing that if there is something interesting to do it's behind the first option and not the second.

If only result of the options are to attack or run away, and there will not be a second layer to the dialogue tree, then the choices given to the player should be:

1. Attack
2. Flee


edit:  Stupid quotes....
« Last Edit: January 19, 2008, 04:27:44 pm by Fosse » Logged
xenocide
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« Reply #336 on: January 19, 2008, 12:50:05 pm »


So, what's your way of fixing it then other than using the [truth] indicator?





--  Change what the PC say to make it more clear what will happen: "I am going to tell my superiors this scum is dead, but if you insist I can hang around another minute and kill you too."

--  Add an action description after the spoken text: "blah blah"  (Attempt to leave without antagonizing the guard further)

--  Have an in game thing happen that forces the PC to leave:  Guard yells for help, PC knows he can't win and leaves

--  Make it 100% clear that this is a vignette/introduction.  In this case I don't mind having the develper force some things on the PC.  I don't know what kind of intro you have planned (moive, stills w/ text, etc), but if some cutsceens were spliced into the vignette it would be obvious the "true" game has not started yet.  You make your character...a movie plays....you meet your guildmaster and take the quest....a fade into some stills with credits overlayed "developed by Vince"  "special input by xenocide" lol.....the action with the merchant plays out....fade to a short movie......you discover something about the map....a black screen with the AoD logo in the middle (cool music plays)......the "real" game starts.  Maybe even start at the screen where the "real" game starts, say "As you wait for the merchant cart to pass you breifly look back on how you got here...." fade into vignette.  If it is 100% clear this is a vignette/Intro maybe even a flashback, it makes sense to limit the choices the PC has.




I am not saying my specific examples are the best, but I think one of those four things is about all you can do if you don't want to leave it as is or add more dialog trees.


« Last Edit: January 19, 2008, 12:57:16 pm by xenocide » Logged
cardtrick
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« Reply #337 on: January 19, 2008, 02:07:23 pm »

Why does a [truth] have to come with a [lie]?
Because forcing your character, who might be a lying bastard, to tell the truth is as bad, if not worse, than the design crimes we're reviewing now.

No. Your original design already forces the character to tell the truth. Having the [truth] just makes that clear to the player so he knows what decision he is making. In a perfect world, it would be nice to have all possible options represented. In this poor, flawed reality we live in, I'll settle for having the options that are implemented be clear and sensible.


Quote from: Vince
My intentions are honorable.

:honorblade:

Quote from: Vince
Well said. So, what's your way of fixing it then other than using the [truth] indicator?

Edit: Just saw your next post. We'll consider your suggestion, thanks.

For the record, I still like the [truth] indicator a lot. Same for the [lie] indicator, if you have other quests in the game where the player might think he will follow through on what his character says but really has no option but to double-cross or deceive. It's a simple, one-word, extremely clear solution that maybe looks bad when we're typing it in a forum but is quite non intrusive in a game. I think it's by far the easiest fix, and that it's quite broadly applicable to other problem dialogs elsewhere in the game.
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galsiah
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« Reply #338 on: January 19, 2008, 03:26:45 pm »

Agreed - the only problems with the [truth] are arguable inelegance and psychological effect on the player.
Inelegance in that clarity using context alone would be ideal - though not achievable in general I think.

The psychological effect on the player is to raise the "But where's the [lie]?" question. Adding [truth] does nothing to restrict or reduce options - it only affects clarity. What it might do is highlight the restrictions that are already present. This, however, is certainly not a greater evil - rather than cheating the player of the option to lie, you're being upfront and clear that he has no such option.

If it really bothers you that a character will be forced into being truthful, then you either need more options (including lies), or you need to use game world conditions to force the PC's hand after choosing an option which could be the truth or a lie (e.g. something like xenocide's suggestions). Letting the player think he can lie until after the decision, then forcing his character into actions he didn't choose, is worse than being clear about the inability to lie in the first place.

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So, what would you ask him? "I've just killed your master. How does that make you feel?" or "Any comments?"
Rumours?
Almost anything really. At this point the player knows very little about the world, so might well have little specific idea. Nonetheless, he might see intimidation as the path to whatever talking options there might be.

If you really don't think there are any reasonable, fitting options, that's fine - just don't expect a player with five minutes experience with your game to be sure of this. If there aren't interesting ways to continue conversation, make this clear to the player, or have world events (rather than unchosen PC action) conspire to make such continuation impossible.
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JuJu
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« Reply #339 on: January 20, 2008, 02:30:49 pm »

Two things:
I HATE [truth]/[lies]/[skillcheck] indicators, because they kill any immersion you might have and scream in your face that you are just playing a game. Skillchecks should be clear from the context, as well as truth or lies.

Most people doesn't seem to get it that assassination is as honorable business, so it's unlikely that an assassin would steal, even from their victims. It should be frowned upon, because it makes the assassin unreliable, even indicates of his greed, which means that he probably could be bribed and thus fail his job. Imo, Vince, you should make it more clear, that the assassins are professionals, not lowlifes - that they do everything to get the job done, but doesn't do anything dishonorable with no or small gain. Maybe add a few lines to the guildmaster's dialogue about their code of honor or something like that (I'm out of ideas right now). Good reputation for assassin should be much more important than for even holiest of knights.
I hope that I got the right impression of the assassins guild.
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cardtrick
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« Reply #340 on: January 20, 2008, 02:53:08 pm »

You are entitled to your opinion, but your opinion is wrong.

First, what makes you think assassins are honorable? I'll grant you that's the way it is in the Discworld books, but that's about the only justification I can think of -- and given that the books are light comedic fantasy intended as satire, they don't do much to advance your cause. Remember, you're talking about people who sneakily kill for money, no questions asked. Maybe there's some kind of brotherhood or loyalty within the group, but if you think someone who will sneak into an inn and shoot an unarmed stranger in the back for a paycheck is somehow morally above lying, then you are daft.

Second, we've already seen in various screenshots that [skillcheck] indicators are in the game. Given that, it's not much of a stretch to add [truth] and [lie], is it? Those indicators serve a valuable purpose, as has already been discussed.

Anyway, how can an indicator like that possibly "kill any immersion"? For the record, I hate the word immersion. If something like that breaks your immersion, then wouldn't seeing numbers in front of the dialog options break it too? Well, we'd better get rid of those! The player can just click on the option he prefers, forget keyboard shortcuts. Oh, but to click you have to use a cursor, and cursors aren't real. Immersion killer! Back with you! No cursors allowed.
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Priapist
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« Reply #341 on: January 20, 2008, 02:54:19 pm »

Weighing in quickly on the idea of meta tags in dialogue, I'm not really a fan. It's okay to have them as underlying systems, but I think dialogue actually benefits from being a bit hazy. Not "Mass Effect-style that's not what I wanted to say!" hazy, but I don't think [truth], [lie], [intimidate], [etc] are really beneficial in the scheme of things. The more metagame mechanics you introduce, the more likely the player will end up gaming the dialogue. Of course it depends on your goal, but I think having something that seems like a natural conversation (with ties to the character system under the hood) is better than having a couple of binary pass/fail checks dressed up as conversation.

As an aside, I think a situation where you jump through a window, put a crossbow bolt into a guy's neck and then turn to his bodyguard and simply say "Any comments?" would be fucking awesome.
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cardtrick
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« Reply #342 on: January 20, 2008, 03:04:11 pm »

The more metagame mechanics you introduce, the more likely the player will end up gaming the dialogue. Of course it depends on your goal, but I think having something that seems like a natural conversation (with ties to the character system under the hood) is better than having a couple of binary pass/fail checks dressed up as conversation.

I see what you're saying here, and I agree it's a concern worth thinking about. However, given that one of Iron Tower's goals with Age of Decadence is to "roleplay your character's skillset, not his personality," I think it makes more sense to explicitly indicate when skills are going to be used. Same for [truth]/[lie], for reasons already discussed earlier in this thread.

Quote from: Priapist
As an aside, I think a situation where you jump through a window, put a crossbow bolt into a guy's neck and then turn to his bodyguard and simply say "Any comments?" would be fucking awesome.

QFT.
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Vince
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« Reply #343 on: January 20, 2008, 03:41:19 pm »

As an aside, I think a situation where you jump through a window, put a crossbow bolt into a guy's neck and then turn to his bodyguard and simply say "Any comments?" would be fucking awesome.
"Any comments?" it is then. Brilliant stuff, Priapist. Simple, yet so elegant.

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Paranoid Jack
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« Reply #344 on: January 20, 2008, 03:47:56 pm »

I like the two options given and don't feel it necessary to expand the options...  dialog or otherwise since we all know it's the vignette. But I also understand the position taken by the others. I think just adding a little more info (dialog) at one or more points would best suit the average player and get us past this debate.

I know because I follow the game here (and previously on the Codex) that the player needs the map to start the game off. So maybe Vince should just add a little more to Neleos' description of the contract? ( page ten of this thread  http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=149.135 ) Like in the vignette for the lore-master (I think it was)... he was advised about the map and told he could keep it at some point. But the assassin wasn't given any information concerning the map the game revolves around. A situation easily fixed.

Anyway if Neleos drops a few hints or mentions a rumor concerning the map/document the PC then has some idea it may be important and he should get his filthy little hands on it if possible. During the encounter with Gracius the PC could notice the merchant clutching the document then after offing his mark (the merchant) he could be given an option to snatch it and just leave. Or attack the Merc. Either way the game has covered the angles. And given the PC an option at killing the Merc and obtaining more loot from his corpse and the nearby chest.

I have to side with Vince. The options are to the point and cover the two possible choice your PC has. Adding more filler dialog would be great if the Merc has any further use or info but that is something only Vince knows. So if he has no info or further use beyond the options given there will be no other course of action beyond the two choices given. It would be great if every NPC encountered had numerous branching dialogs that could lead to half a dozen different directions. But since this one doesn't we can assume his little part either ends here with a fight to the death or...  well, Vince already revealed the possibility of encountering the Merc at some point later in the story if your choice was to leave without a fight. I think at this point the options suffice.

Also I am opposed to the flags (truth or lie) because I have never been a big fan of dialog flags. They distract from the game-play. That said I admit they are needed at times but should be used sparingly. And don't feel this instance requires anything more than a bit of a dialog tweaking. Just my two cents. Either way I think Vince has gained more useful info even if some of it doesn't apply to this situation. And I loved some of the ideas given to expand the dialog options. I would have like to see some of them used but I don't feel it is needed or necessary at this point since this is just our prologue or vignette to get our PC started off in the correct manner.

« Last Edit: January 20, 2008, 08:38:04 pm by Paranoid Jack » Logged
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