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Fallout Tell me about Tell Me About

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by rusty_shackleford, Jun 24, 2021.

  1. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Recently spent a bit of time thinking about dialogue in RPGs after playing a few different ones that had very different dialogue systems. Apart from hating dialogue wheels a lot, the one that stuck with me the most was:

    [​IMG]

    The fusion of dialogue trees with being able to ask about specific events, places, people, things etc., was a good idea, if a bit undeveloped. It being abandoned in FO2 -- where it would have been even more useful due to the larger world -- and then forgotten about completely by future RPG developers is a damn shame.

    I think I prefer entering the words manually over the systems that use keyword banks(wiz8, morrowind and such.) Manually entering the words requires more thought from the player than just using a keyword bank. If you're given a keyword bank, you'll either go through the entire list to find what they know(what's the point, then?) or the developer would have to limit the times you can ask about things(not a bad idea.) When manually entering the words(or, perhaps, using a keyword bank with limited tries) you'll be more careful about what you ask and take time to think about what this NPC might have knowledge of.

    It might have to some extent even helped alleviate the information dumps we've seen in recent RPGs. If you are specifically asking an NPC about something, them giving a detailed response is actually fair.

    What's the Codex's thoughts on Fallout's "Tell Me About" button?

    :cainapproves:
     
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  2. Tacgnol Shitlord Patron

    Tacgnol
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Grab the Codex by the pussy RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    It's a good system, best of both worlds really.

    You get the dialogue trees, but you also get the chance to reward players who think outside the box.

    Also potentially solves the issue that players frequently complain about not being able to raise certain topics with NPCs, assuming that the devs write responses for those keywords of course.
     
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  3. Wunderbar Arcane

    Wunderbar
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    In Fo1 this button only frustrated me because i was asking obvious questions and the npcs kept repeating a generic line about not knowing wtf was i talking about.

    Good thing in theory, but you'll have to write a fuckton of lines for every random thing the player could ask.
     
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  4. Alphons Savant

    Alphons
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    It's a bit underdeveloped in FO, but it's a real shame that it was completely abandoned.

    Imagine if subsequent iterations allowed you to have even simple conversations (starting trading, asking for and accepting quests, starting combat with taunts etc.).
     
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  5. c u in da ballpit ashren Novice

    c u in da ballpit ashren
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    Oh boy. I remember asking Seth in Shady Sands "Sex" in the Tell Me About. When he said "Never heard of it" it gave me confidence with Tandi and Katrina as I laughed at him.
     
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  6. purupuru Learned

    purupuru
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    I liked the idea but I doubt it could be anything but underdeveloped without a shitload of development time. First you need to have lots of lines to cover just the basic questions, then if you want the system to be anything interesting and reward players for thinking outside the box, then the writers would have to think outside the box themselves and keep fingers crossed that their outside-the-box thinking will magically align with players'.
     
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  7. Jenkem お前はもう死んでいる Patron

    Jenkem
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    Make the Codex Great Again!
    "Fallout invented a text parser."
     
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  8. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    There aren't many examples of text parser being mixed with dialogue trees.
     
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  9. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    It's a great feature for not so complex game like Fallout 1.

    Fallout 2 double the complexity and Tell Me About would BREAK your balls. Devs' balls, that is. There's so much stuffs to ask about. And so many people to ask.

    Which I imagine why F2 abandon that feature. Great, but just too complex for words.

    Fallout3 and Fallout New Vegas reduce the complexity in topics somewhat, but their voiced dialog system limit this feature become possible.
     
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  10. Nifft Batuff Liturgist

    Nifft Batuff
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    I remember great amusing moments trying to interact with NPCs using the parser-based interface in the old Sierra adventure games. With all the evolution of computer technology in recent years, machine learning, deep neural networks, natural language recognition, etc., you would now expect games with Turing test-proof interactions...

    Instead now you have Fallout76.
     
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  11. kain30 Arbiter

    kain30
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    I prefer a keyword bank because english is not my mother language and i will have lots of typos.
     
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  12. Jigby Augur

    Jigby
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    Fallout's tell me about to me was too incoherent/inconsistent, you had the classical hypertext dialogue and on top of that the parser. Either go full hypertext or full parser. It reminds me of the QFG4 dialogue system where on every screen there were 2 dialogue trees, one where you click on an NPC to talk to and the other, where you click on yourself to talk. So if you wanted to ask the burgomeister for the keys, instead of talking to him you had to talk to yourself. inconsistent
     
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  13. <3sRichardSimmons Arcane Patron

    <3sRichardSimmons
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    As others have said: good in theory, poor in execution.

    I think the realities of scope are such that it works best as a puzzle or isolated encounter with clear parameters. Primordia did this really well with the information kiosk. In that instance there are a few things you need to learn, but there are also a bunch of “hidden” things to discover that will give broader context for the world and give some gentle hints. The hidden entries require some inductive reasoning about what you already know to discover and finding them gives a good “Aha” moment.

    But yeah, I think RPGs are just too broad in scope, even relatively small ones like FO1, for the system to work well.
     
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  14. Lonely Vazdru Pimp my Title

    Lonely Vazdru
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    Unless my memory plays tricks on me, I think you can enter words manually in Wiz8 too.
     
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  15. Faarbaute Learned

    Faarbaute
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    I think it could add something to interacting with NPCs but it would depend on how the developer wants you to interact with it, if he want you to succeed or if he is setting out to oneup you at every opportunity, making you suffer for your "wrong" decisions and so on.

    Think Josh Saywer. You ask about your father? Should have used the term "my old man" instead! Now the NPC returns a standard "I don't know what you're talking about" response, even though he damn well knows about your dad or onley valid entries beeing faux gaelic or italian pretend words, forcing you to go along with the whole ack engwythian postanegro thing. Maybe having to guess someones correct pronoun wouldn't be out of place either.

    In that case, I'd rather have standard dialogue trees.

    But if the developer is working with you and not against you, it could really reward exploration and paying attention to details in the enviroment or story. Beeing forgiving but not too obvious, like having a character be self conscious about their big nose, letting the player know or guess this somehow, you could then ask them about their big nose and trigger some unexpected turn of events without just "farming" the dialogue tree, 1,2,3,4,5. gray. close window.
     
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  16. Rabbity_Thing Magister Wumao

    Rabbity_Thing
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    It wasn't "forgotten". Wizardry 8 came out 3 years later and it had something similar.
     
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  17. Clockwork Knight Arcane

    Clockwork Knight
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    I wonder if stuff like AI Dungeon could lead to this mechanic being popular again. Player inputs something and based on the words and context the game tries to write a semi-coherent response to any topic the devs didn't write a specific answer to, instead of "sorry, I don't get it".
     
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  18. ExposedBrainMatter Educated

    ExposedBrainMatter
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    Why would it limit it? You could simply have all the existing dialogue in NV activated via the text parser. The only problem would be avoid Sierra tier frustration by lots of playtesting.
     
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  19. KeighnMcDeath RPG Codex Boomer

    KeighnMcDeath
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    Those who still play text adventures, games mixing text/adventure, ultima-like dialog, and others might like a more complex dialog option.

    I tell you, I HATE & LOATHE this choice of 3 dialogue options. Sometimes these are static and sometimes situational and/or deoendent on stats/skills. Always, limited as fuck and often NOT what I want.

    I hate the limitations when NPC lines aren't developed and it would take a fukton of lines inputed to every npc or an damn intelligent thinking ai based on personality and interaction with pc/npc.

    I don't see it happening to satisfaction any time soon. So, retarded dead hollow npcs you just won't give a shit about.
     
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  20. Murk Arcane

    Murk
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    I like the concept a lot but the execution often leaves something to be desired.

    If I were magically creating a mod for F1 or suggesting this to a modern day game (which we will just pretend will not suck, despite historical evidence to the contrary) then I'd posit something like:

    Have some key terms be highlighted as a hint early on for what types of words you can use in that system. Obviously any term can work given the right NPC, but the intention would be to show if you're talking to a farmer to ask agricultural questions and if you're talking to a magistrate to ask legal questions.

    Then slowly phase out the high lighting, or tie it to a character skill that lets them identify information of relevance (gather information, insight, or as related to other skills -- high skill in trap disarming? Learn to ask questions about vault security, etc.) The tutorial examples would use this too, just with a low skill-check and so would likely be highlighted for most characters even with mediocre stats/skills.

    And of course, have a metric fuckton of options to ask based on relevance without any highlighting what so ever so that there's always the possibility of a "I never knew he had that dialog!" effect.

    All of this filtered through the relevant NPCs reacting to relevant topics ofc.
     
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  21. catfood AGAIN

    catfood
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    The change from text parser to dialogue trees was a mistake.
     
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  22. Butter Arcane

    Butter
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    Grimoire's parser + highlighted keywords is excellent. Fallout rarely provides moments when you feel like the parser is necessary. A dialogue tree is obviously best if you want various skills affecting what options are visible/available.
     
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  23. LudensCogitet Learned

    LudensCogitet
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    I'm playing Ultima 4 right now. Obviously typing in keywords is an essential part of that game. There are several situations where you need to learn that you can ask some character about some topic before you'll even think of trying it. Having a list of responses or topics would ruin that.

    However, Ultima 4 is very focused (agents of decline might call it "limited"). Practically all the dialogue in that game is actually gameplay, part of a game world spanning riddle pointing to the means of accomplishing your goal.
    I'm not sure I've seriously attempted to use the parser even once in Fallout. I can certainly say I didn't notice it was removed in Fallout 2. But that doesn't mean it couldn't work. I think a game just has to commit to making that kind of mental connecting of the dots by the player a serious part of the gameplay and, perhaps, accept the possibility that it's going to make dialogue seem more stilted or disjointed from a narrative perspective.
     
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  24. Divine Blessing Educated

    Divine Blessing
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    textboxes r an archaic artefact of an ancient epoque and belong to museums, exclusively the very (un)happy few will visit (to linger on the good ol Gold Box times). quite an actual issue of RPG overall, majority of customers dont want to read a book( aka lore dumps), but to experience an adventure.

    there still is no dialogue system to match any PnP/tabletop. almost every dialogue systems makes me favor soulsbornes show-not-tell, where the lore is transported via vistas, mobs, items and only a very few(, but even more magical) lines. the advantage here is the non-invasive (mis)representation of at least the player character, as i could almost never identify with any (of my) chosen characters dialogue (like no company ever could write a paladins lines right).
     
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  25. J1M Arcane

    J1M
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    I like the way Exile 1-3 used keywords. You could type in a random word, but usually clicking on a word in an NPC's comment was the best way to navigate the conversation.
     
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