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Author Topic: Let's play AoD!  (Read 562072 times)
Fritharik
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« Reply #570 on: February 08, 2008, 03:11:38 pm »

Sure, you can figure everything out via the context, but quotes instantly tell you what is happening regardless of the context.
In a game, dialogue is usually instantly indefinable as such by context. Written dialogue appears in a visual manner (such as dialogue screens, floaters, or subtitles) in-game, and most of the time is completely unambiguous. Books have a different mechanism because they have to work within their medium, which makes the clear separation of dialogue from the rest of the text more important.

Separating actions in the list case is the more important task, which the humble asterix does admirably. Besides the fact that it is a common enough usage that I doubt it will through all that many people for a loop.
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TheLostOne
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« Reply #571 on: February 08, 2008, 03:13:34 pm »

Astericks are too informal and "forumy" in my opinion.  I see astericks around actions and I think dumbfucks in forums typing "Shut up! *slaps poster*"


As for the dialogue, I wasn't going for "Fuck off" in the response and I did actually know what the guy was referring to, it just sounded awkward to me.  You're asking about a single object and he's talking about "these things". 

Maybe "I don't know anything about that." would work better, although that sounds damned generic.
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Morbus
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« Reply #572 on: February 08, 2008, 03:49:41 pm »

Astericks are too informal and "forumy" in my opinion.  I see astericks around actions and I think dumbfucks in forums typing "Shut up! *slaps poster*"
I think Vince gets what you mean. I sure do. However, what he is trying to say, and what I think you are not quite getting is that having inverted comas in pretty much every dialog choice can be quite intrusive (that's what he called it), because, well, you know, most of the dialog choices don't involve actions. So while the asterisks would be the exception, you know, actions, the quotes would be the rule should they be put on every spoken sentence. Asterisks do look forumy, but well, Fallout had them too and I never minded them, really. If you look at it, it's just nitpicking, and what do you care about more: nitpicking or not having all dialog choices have inverted comas?
« Last Edit: February 08, 2008, 03:52:08 pm by Morbus » Logged

TheLostOne
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« Reply #573 on: February 08, 2008, 04:10:43 pm »

Yes, it is nitpicky I agree.  I won't be pissed if astericks are in the game, I'd just prefer quotes. 

For the Fallout example, I felt like all the text in that game was MEANT to look typed.  Your displays could have been lifted off an old IBM green monotone monitor.

AoD should look more organic and bookish IMO.  Fits the theme better.

Yet again this is nitpicking.  The Codexer in me can't stop trying to convince everyone why my opinion is RIGHT!  Wink
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cardtrick
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« Reply #574 on: February 08, 2008, 04:18:52 pm »

Warning -- I'm typing this line after typing the rest of this post, and what's below may make me sound like a bit of a crazy person. It's entirely possible I overstate my case. Anyway, read on at your own discretion.

Astericks are too informal and "forumy" in my opinion.  I see astericks around actions and I think dumbfucks in forums typing "Shut up! *slaps poster*"

Ye gods, me too. That and chat room/MUD larpers typing shit like *gazes contemplatively out the window as the day's dying light throws shadows on his face*.

I no longer have any interest in trying to sound reasonable. I absolutely hate the asterisks and I think they look unprofessional. They do not live up to the quality of the rest of this game. They are to the dialog as the old interface screen (before Oscars's improvements) was to the new 3D graphics -- not only do they make the rest of the dialog look worse, but the fact that the dialog is so good makes the disconnect even more jarring.

If I were a game reviewer, I would point them out in the review. If I liked the game, it would be one sentence, and I would laugh it off (much as I did with not being able to save games or put things back into containers in The Witcher). But if I was a "professional" gaming journalist looking for any excuse to crucify the game because Iron Tower wasn't bribing me, I'd make sure to post a couple of screenshots of the asterisks and then write a dismissive paragraph about the unprofessionalism of indie devs, criticizing AoD's production values, and comparing Iron Tower to the basement dwellers who post on web forums all day *looks away, embarrassed, realizing he just insulted himself* </irony>.

If you look at it, it's just nitpicking, and what do you care about more: nitpicking or not having all dialog choices have inverted comas?

I have absolutely no idea what this question means, and I certainly don't want either option. They also seem neither comparable (apples and orange juice) nor mutually exclusive. Moreover, nitpicking shouldn't be a dirty word in a forum for a game made by only a few people, with no editor, with a designer who has repeatedly insisted that he's interested in input from fans.

This will most likely be my last post on this subject. I think I've made my point clear, but I just wanted to emphasize how strongly I feel about this. I think this is the kind of thing that the developers may not see as important, but many players (and reviewers) will -- exactly like the lack of sounds and the inability to see items on the ground that aroused so many complaints earlier.

Obviously I'll still buy the game if it has asterisks, and obviously I'll still love it. I'll get past them and be able to ignore them. But I desperately want this game to be a genuine success, so that Iron Tower can make more games and maybe more indie devs will be inspired, and I feel that this is the sort of presentational issue that belies the depth and quality of the game, making it appear less than it is.
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GhanBuriGhan
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« Reply #575 on: February 08, 2008, 04:20:38 pm »


Nice to meet you *shake his hand*


makes more sense and is easier to read than this:


"Nice to meet you" shake his hand


what do you guys do when you read a book? 

Well, it IS more clear. The thing is that "Nice to meet you" shake his hand Looks like a regular sentence in a book, but it makes no sense. In a book you would read >>I said"Nice to meet you", and shook his hand.
Therefore the above form is just confusing. * clearly is a meta tag, and that works just fine. Consistency is key here.
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TheLostOne
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« Reply #576 on: February 08, 2008, 04:38:33 pm »

The format would be: "Nice to meet you." You shake his hand.

That's pretty clear to me.  "'Nice to meet you.' shake his hand" is shitty english.
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Fritharik
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« Reply #577 on: February 08, 2008, 04:42:36 pm »

You *know* asterisks can work.
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Morbus
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« Reply #578 on: February 08, 2008, 04:50:02 pm »

Anyway, my point is that we have to look at what the exception is. And in this case, the exception is actions, so we have to find a way of make actions look like exceptions, not like plain text.

What if we get two options, and both of them are actions with no text? There'd be no sign whatsoever and it'd look weird. I mean:

Quote
Shut up you fucker!!!!!!zorz!1

1 - Hit his face.
2 - Run away.
When you get a situation like this, in a game where the majority of the dialog options are spoken, you kinda get the impression that you are actually about to say "hit his face"... It would be better to have something like:

Quote
Your mom's on some calkalkjna!!! Run!!! Go get the calkalkjna!!!

1 - [Fart]
2 - [Hit his face]
3 - [Go ahead and get the calkalkjna]
Now, I know square parenthesis are already being used, but I mean if we have to "modify" something in the text, we should modify that which is actually the exception. We shouldn't modify the spoken sentences themselves.

I say we go for :'s. Two dots: :. If you know what I mean... Like emoticons! Yay!

EDIT:

:Fart:

See? Much better C:
« Last Edit: February 08, 2008, 04:52:07 pm by Morbus » Logged

Vince
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« Reply #579 on: February 08, 2008, 06:28:22 pm »

Cardtrick, I'm overwhelmed by your passion. We'll do it your way.
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cardtrick
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« Reply #580 on: February 08, 2008, 06:38:48 pm »

Well, of course you had no choice . . . we've all seen my signature. (But really, I do think it's best. Thank you! Smile)
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Fritharik
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« Reply #581 on: February 08, 2008, 07:06:02 pm »

And I still think it's misguided. But, it did work that way in Planescape: Torment.
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Priapist
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« Reply #582 on: February 08, 2008, 09:28:58 pm »

I don't think quotes and asterisks are the only option.

Quote
Then DIE! :fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob:
Then DIE! <fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob>
Then DIE! -fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob-
Then DIE! =fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob=
Then DIE! ¤fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob¤
Then DIE! ¦fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob¦
Then DIE! Ξfuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cobΞ
Then DIE! ϶fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cobϵ
Then DIE! ϵfuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob϶
Then DIE! ▫▪fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob▪▫

Etc.

I also want to weigh in on the side of not misusing quotation marks:

Quote
"Then DIE!" Fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob.

...is just horrible. Misusing a known convention is far worse to me than defining you own convention. It would be like making land mines in a first person shooter look like white boxes with red crosses on them, or arbitrarily making a road green and grass grey in a driving game - you'd get a better response from players if the road was purple and the grass pink, because that's just a different "reality", not a corruption of one they know.

Text in general and particularly dialogue is completely different beast in computer games compared with its literary counterparts. You have to use different rules and conventions:

Quote
"Then die!" you yell, your voice rising to a quavering, frenzied scream as you leap toward Chris, buttery corn cob in hand.

But you're hypothesising future events, so present tense is out of place:

Quote
"I'm going to leap at Chris with a buttery corn cob and try to fuck him in the ear while shouting 'then die'," you think to yourself.

Truly awful. The main reason why that isn't going to work is because dialogue selections describe future events without using future tense. Off hand, I can't think of a traditional literary method that works this way to illustrate emerging thoughts, let alone a small set of potential futures, simply because traditional literature has no need for multiple outcomes or end user authorship. Even stream of consciousness techniques which break many literary traditions don't really have an equivalent to dialogue/action choices in a game.

So to me, the only solution is to say "fuck tradition!" and go with whatever works well. In this case, you just need something to denote actions and distinguish them from speech.

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Euchrid
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« Reply #583 on: February 08, 2008, 09:50:50 pm »

Using italics, without quotation marks (my preference):

1. Are you sure that they are spies?
2. Open the window.
3. [Dexterity] Catch! Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.

Rainbow option (it was not a serious suggestion) replaced by asterisk option:

1. Are you sure that they are spies?
2. *Open the window.*
3. [Dexterity] Catch! *Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.*

CardTrick's no italics option:

1. "Are you sure that they are spies?"
2. Open the window.
3. [Dexterity] "Catch!" Throw the guard your crossbow. While he’s distracted, use a crossbow bolt as an improvised dagger, and lunge for his throat.


For me, the CardTrick option is fine, though, given all of this text is in dialogue, I don't think it makes sense to treat spoken text as the exception by using quotes. For instance, quotation marks are not used in screenplays or plays, which I think are more analagous to the situation than novels.

I'm not a big fan of asterisks, but they do work. It has the advantage of clearly delineating the actions as something different, and keeping the spoken word as default.

My preference (changed from previously), is normal text for spoken words, italics for actions, square brackets for skill checks. It makes most sense to me, grammatically and conceptually, as well as being most pleasing to the eye. Spoken words are the default of dialogue, so they are unmodified, actions are something different, but still part of the game world and are somewhat similar to conveying the character's thoughts (often shown in italics in literature), or possibly even closer to stage directions in a play (usually in italics and square brackets). Skill checks are part of the game's mechanics, so are treated differently by being enclosed in square brackets.

This prompts another question, will the character's thoughts ever be presented?

I certainly don't have the passion that CardTrick does, I'm happy with anything consistent, whether asterisks, quotes or colours. Of the options above, the asterisk option would be my next choice, if italics are completely out of the question.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2008, 11:23:41 pm by Euchrid » Logged
cardtrick
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« Reply #584 on: February 08, 2008, 10:36:37 pm »

Er . . . it seems I may be the odd man out here. I'm starting to feel bad about evidently having had so much influence on this -- honestly, arrogant though it may sound, I assumed I was providing the impassioned voice of the silent majority. Smile Also, I want to be very clear about one thing -- all of my passion was against asterisks, not for quotes. The asterisks are just so reminiscent of forums and chat rooms that they look awfully out of place. I prefer the quotes to all the other non-asterisk options that have been brought up, but it's a slight preference, and Priapist raised a valid objection.

I also want to weigh in on the side of not misusing quotation marks:

Quote
"Then DIE!" Fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob.

...is just horrible. Misusing a known convention is far worse to me than defining you own convention. It would be like making land mines in a first person shooter look like white boxes with red crosses on them, or arbitrarily making a road green and grass grey in a driving game - you'd get a better response from players if the road was purple and the grass pink, because that's just a different "reality", not a corruption of one they know.

I don't really understand this exactly. Honestly, I don't think the quoted example is bad at all. Later, you talk about future actions and things, which leads me to believe that much of your complaint is about the voice/tense of the actions compared to that of the dialog. The issue is that despite being in the present tense, more importantly the actions are in the imperative mood. (All of my words for grammar come from Latin classes, but I assume words like tense/voice/mood have the same meanings in English.) They are constructed as orders or directions -- when you select the option "Fuck him in the ear," you are ordering your character to fuck him in the ear. The same holds true for dialog lines, which is why it's misleading when you write:

Quote
"Then die!" you yell, your voice rising to a quavering, frenzied scream as you leap toward Chris, buttery corn cob in hand.

or

Quote
"I'm going to leap at Chris with a buttery corn cob and try to fuck him in the ear while shouting 'then die'," you think to yourself.


Instead, if you want to be totally explicit like this, you just need to stay in the imperative mood. So you would have, simply,

Quote
Say "Then die!" and fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob.

Here, you are explicitly ordering your character to say "Then die!" and then skullfuck the dude with the corn. However, surely you've noticed that in a novel or other written work the author will frequently drop the he said/she said attributions when they are not required for clarity, like, for example:

Quote
     "Have you ever been fucked in the ear with a candy cane?" asked Bob.
     "No," Cindy replied, "but I was once ear-fucked by a buttery corn cob."
     "Really? That must have been incredibly painful!"
     "Well, yeah, it was at first -- but as you know, I'm smokin' hot, so it wasn't long before the kernels popped, showering me with delicious, gooey, white . . . popcorn. After that, the cob was smaller so it felt a lot better."
     Bob grinned appreciatively at his much younger cousin. "Wow, great story! Gotta run!" With that, he turned and leapt off the roof.

It becomes tedious to see lots of Bob said, Cindy said. So the author (Shakespeare) drops them after a while for brevity and elegance. Similarly, in the game, when it's clear that your character will be the one speaking the words, it's acceptable to drop the "Say" from that line and end with your original example, which looks fine and makes perfect sense according to normal English conventions:

Quote
"Then die!" Fuck him in the ear with a buttery corn cob.

EDIT: Corrected "excellent" above to read "elegance" as it should have.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2008, 12:22:30 am by cardtrick » Logged
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