Over at the Iron Tower forum, there’s a co-op post by Vince Weller and Gareth Fouche on the matter of dialogue systems in RPGs.
Essentially, they’re looking at ways to make conversations in games more dynamic and natural. Perhaps even more interesting. The question is, though, do we really want this?
Back last year, in Can We Talk?, I noted that the majority of conversations in RPGs tend to be with helpless wretches wanting some little job done for them. Of course, there are also more important interactions with major NPCs, and the dialogue in those instances can be much more involved.
Supposing that the system posited by Vince/Gareth could be created and worked fairly well. It brings us to the question I asked in my previous post: “If we were able to “talk” to NPCs as we talk to each other, would we find that unbearable after awhile?”.
Right now, we’re used to the “click-through-menu” technique. It has the advantage of being fast, especially when replaying a game. With the new method, that wouldn’t work as well.
We’d have to think during those conversations. We’d have to consider responses much more carefully. We might find ourselves saving a lot before talking to anyone, just in case (more than we do now, I mean).
This is something about which I’m a bit torn. On the one hand, we’ve discussed how it’s relationships that drive stories, and dialogue is an important factor there.
On the other hand, how much talk is enough, and how much is too much? If every conversation were “life-like”, would that become a burden after awhile? Once the novelty wore off, would we start yearning for the “good old days” of click-click-click? How much thinking do we want to do for every dialogue?
Check out the post, and see what you think.