Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Want dialogs?

My first encounter with an RPG was in the... well, cant remember. My cousing brought a Fallout 2 CD from UK, the game was weird, I didnt had my own PC to play, and sleeped in a box for some time. When I played it, I was impressed by the dialog system: the choices depends on active quests, your stats/skills, items, etc. That was the kind of game I wanted to develop!

Even when I asked a lot in forums and mailing lists, I couldnt implement a dialog system as I wanted. Yes, I made one, quite powerful, but the dialog was just a long Lua script with dozens of if/then. It was a mess, and had to be edited by had, by a programmer. What I really wanted was something I could edit with a tool that a non-programmer could use.

Seems that Im closer to achieve it. Yesterday I finished an XML structure and basic parser that allows me to have dialogs. What I did this time was to split NPC lines and answers in separate elements. As I thought, the correct approach was to see the conversation as a tree, with a complex root node. The root node is the entry point, it could have several alternatives, depending mostly on assigned quests, each one routes the dialog towards the corresponding branch.
Previoulsy my mistake was not to decouple NPC lines and player answers.

You can see a prototype here. Cant say that my dialog system is perfect, it is just a very early version, but seems that Im getting closer to achieve it. Of course, any suggestion is welcome.

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