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Any examples of games with group conversations?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Erzherzog, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. Erzherzog Magister

    Erzherzog
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    I've been thinking about diplomacy skills in games and why they always feel like a let down compared to the fun obtained from other skills, and one thing I noticed is that almost all conversations are merely between the player and a single npc and I can't think of many examples otherwise.

    I mean hell, some people thought that the courtroom scene in NWN2 was a hightlight (people rightly bitch that it has zero impact in the end and therefore worthless but that's not what I'm trying to discuss.)

    Certainly a lot of our conversations in real life are just between 2 people but a lot of our most significant interactions are in group situations, but most RPGs model groups as a bunch of individuals that don't necessarily act as a group.
     
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  2. Malakal Arcane

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    BG2 has banter between MC and 1+ party members and funny interactions but those do not necessarily bring anything other than enjoyment (well some party members like to kill each other but thats it).

    DA also goes this way but has less companions active at the same time so its 3 people in conversation max.

    Other than that I dont really remember any games.
     
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  3. hoverdog dog that is hovering, Wastelands Interactive Developer

    hoverdog
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    that russian alcatraz-something had some group conversations, if i'm not mistaken. got bored pretty quickly though, so not sure how often they appear.
     
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  4. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

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    Storm of Zehir? Although that's still more like 'player's blob conversing with NPC' than multiple people talking, but whatev.
     
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  5. Erzherzog Magister

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    True, but it's a large improvement in my opinion. I've never gotten far in SoZ but I liked conversations more than your standard RPG.

    I don't play many RPGs not centered on a clearly defined main character though, how do they generally handle dialogue in comparison? Is dialogue simply just assaulting a single npc with your multi-headed dragon of characters?
     
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  6. Phelot Arcane

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    You were right to delete that post, Commie :smug:

    PST sort of had it in the form of one character inserting a one liner, though IIRC Morte would butt in at times.

    I always find it to be kind of funny to have 1on1 conversations with someone, sometimes very deep and meaningful (romance in BG2) while the other members just stand there... awkward and it never feels right. They just shouldn't put it in if they're not going to include the other characters, or make it triggered if alone with the particular NPC.
     
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  7. Sceptic Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    In IWD it's whichever char you picked to talk to the NPC. IWD2 was more interesting because class and race could heavily affect your options. Most of the other party-based CRPGs that I can think of didn't have dialog trees. In Dark Sun you could assume it was your assigned party leader... though come to think of it it may have been closer to SOZ, as you'd get the option to pickpocket for exemple if you had a thief in your party.

    The conversation with Ravel with interesting because the NPC's can butt in with more than just an unimportant one-liner. I always have Annah, and she's the one who points out to Ravel that she loved TNO.

    Conversations with Morte and a prostitute are the closest I've seen to a natural group discussion, especially if you let Morte piss the prostitute off.
     
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  8. commie The Last Marxist Patron

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    Only did it because I didn't realise we were talking about party based games.
     
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  9. Phelot Arcane

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    It's really just fantasy on our part though, it'd be nearly impossible to write all the possible alternate conversations and it's lame having an NPC butt in only to be ignored like in BG2. You'd be talking to someone and one of your companions would babble out a threat that the NPC would just completely ignore.

    I can almost imagine the NPC staring at the companion for a second, then turn back to the player and continuing the conversation :lol:

    Anyways, best not to do it unless it's real light or within the party.

    Another note: what little I played of DA:O, it seemed like the party banter could have been interesting except that they went on and on and on while I was running around doing shit. Who runs as fast as they can while babbling? I don't know, it seemed strange, though at least it tried I guess. Too bad it was terrible writing.
     
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  10. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator

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    The trial in Serpent Isle comes to mind. In fact, I'd almost be willing to bet they included the trial in NWN2 as an homage to Serpent Isle. It almost plays the same way (In that after the conclusion of it, noting happens from it) sadly.
     
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  11. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    SoZ party convos clearly had a lot of work put into them; the breadth of unique alignment/skill/attribute-based dialogue options was great.

    It was a real shame they didn't find some way of putting that in a more interesting game, but they seemed to decide that not having a focused main character = it's okay to have a half-assed plot and NPCs.
     
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  12. Erzherzog Magister

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    We're not, necessarily. Actually what I had in mind was how a player addresses highly influential people with no direct protests from a third party that the player has to argue against. It always just ends up as an isolated example that gets praise rather than the norm in a game. When I discuss politics with the king, people representing other interests should definitely speak up.
     
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  13. thathmew Zero Sum Software Developer

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    We had quite a few party and multi-character based dialogs in Prelude to Darkness, it was a design goal from the start that while one character was the party's "leader" at all times, everyone in the party would have some influence on conversations. For instance its assumed that with a really low charisma someone in your party might belch at an inopportune moment in the middle of a dinner at a nobles house, which might send the conversation in a particular direction, or just provide flavor, or might institute a check to see if the leader can overcome his "friend's" rudeness.

    Its not too hard to incorporate multiple characters in to a linear dialog, but when you start trying to incorporate multiple characters stats/responses/influence in to branching dialogs its just scripting hell, which is why it tends to only appear in larger set-pieces like important trials and such. Serpent Isle is my favorite of those outside of our work.
     
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  14. PorkaMorka Arcane

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    Yeah I was going to say, JRPGs and Japtactical RPGs tend to do quite a bit of it, because it's easy for them as dialogs are 100% linear and they know what characters will be with you.
     
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  15. Thrasher Erudite

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    NWN2 OC and MoTB has them, too. Usually in these instances, there are opportunities to gain/lose influence with one or more party members.
     
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  16. Lumpy Arcane

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    In MotB, characters also chipped in with skills of their own - very rarely though.
     
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  17. Jaime Lannister Arbiter

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    The main quest conversations in Mass Effect almost entirely involved more than 2 people.
     
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  18. Sceptic Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    Ah that reminds me, MOW did those very well. When the paladin and cleric start arguing, the thief chips in, and then you can.
     
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  19. oscar Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Arcanum had a good example near the beginning. You get approached by a shady looking fellow and Virgil butts in. Whether you interrupt him or not results in a different outcome. Sadly not too many more come to mind.
     
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  20. racofer Thread Incliner

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    HAHA U BROS CAN HARDYL GET TWO CHARACTERERS TO HAVE NAY NON POPAMOEL DIALOG AT ALL NOWDAYS BUT NOW U R EXXPECTING MOTEHRFUCKING THREE SHEEPLE CONVERSATIONS OH MAEK ME LAUGH GODEX MEKE ME LAWL
     
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  21. FruitOfFallout Educated

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    Um. Final fantasy. Final fantasy 10. Everyone took their turn in talking.
     
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  22. Excommunicator Arcane

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    There are a lot of games that do it. In fact almost all RPGs since like... Ultima 7? probably have done it. Dozens of them anyway.

    However, these so-called "group conversations" have essentially always been limited to characters "butting in" one at a time in a conversation. The problem lies in the fact that the mind generally cannot process more than a single thing with efficiency at any one time, so unless the conversation (presumably text) is superfluous enough to not require the player to read all content, its not going to feel very dynamic or involving or like a group activity.

    I think racofer has made a most important point in his own way.. the foundation of dialogue as it stands - between the PC and a single other NPC - is in need of serious changes anyway, so moving on to group conversations from such a primitive foundation would be rather backwards. But there is no way for it to happen in this mainstream climate; devs are more and more favouring the idea of minimising the amount of information processing at any one time (which in turn makes players less intelligent, but that is a whole other topic). The moment you start to prepare a generation for simplified information processing is the moment you set back the human mind's amazing ability to grow with its surroundings.

    I would love to see really complex dialogue systems, but the current methods of presenting that information will turn it into a pretty tiresome activity for the player (let alone the designer/programmer).

    The only way we will be able to introduce significant amounts of additional information into dialogue is through simulation of dynamic facial and bodily expressions, after all that is how our mind is wired to be able to interpret such a large amounts of social information at once. Words are just not going to do the job. Neither is shitty voice acting.
     
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  23. CrimHead Scholar

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  24. Ammar Scholar

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    Yes, at least since Ultima 6 many games had that features. Since it came closest in regard to a living world and NPC with schedules I always found the absence of conversations including several characters a weakness of Gothic 1&2.
     
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  25. GarfunkeL Racism Expert

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    No, you had to have the thief as the party leader to get thief options.
     
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