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Default NWN 2: Storm of Zehir - Forum Tidbit

June 28th, 2008, 16:17
Obsidian programmer Anthony Davis has posted an example of Storm of Zehir's party dialogue system at RPG Codex:
I am still implementing and tuning the Party Conversation System so all of this is subject to change depending on how the gameplay works or technical limitation we encounter.

Here is the example though.

Here is my party:

When I start the game, I select (or create) what the Aurora/Electron engine refers to as the Player Created Character. This operates exactly like NWN1, NWN2, and NX1.

Player Created Character is NOT functionally the same thing as the Party Leader, though they are frequently the same creature.

I select Grubs, my half-orc monk.

Once in NX2, we have access to the Party Creation Screen.

To complete my party, I select a cleric , a smarty pants mage, and a rogue to cover everything else.

So my party now looks like this:

Grubs the Monk (PCC and also currently the leader has a BLUFF of 5)
Oswyn the Cleric (has DIPLOMACY of 10)
Karak the Mage (has LORE of 10)
Reylene the Rogue (has BLUFF of 10)


I'm going to get a little bit more technical here, but it has to be done.

Every conversation node has a series or replies. Each reply has or can have conditional scripts that fire that determine if the reply node should appear. It worked this way for NWN1, NWN2, and NX1.

For example, if I put a conditional on a reply node that says APPRAISE > 5, that reply node will ONLY appear if the player character talking to the NPC has an APPRAISE skill greater than 5.

Conditionals can be ANY script out there as long as it returns a TRUE or a FALSE.

Got it?

Moving on…

Let's pretend we talk to some dude, and his conversation tree looks like this:

>Sup, what can I do for you guys?
1. Hey, nothing.
2. (If BLUFF less 10) Gimme your money. !Failure!
3. (If BLUFF greater than or equal 10) Gimme your money. !Success!
4. (If DIPLOMACY greater 5) We come in peace!
5. (If LORE greater I have heard of you!

(The words between the !'s represent comments that would not be shown in game)

Whatever, you get the idea. Talking to this guy will bring up the new Party Conversation System.

The new Party Conversation System looks similar to the Quickchat Screen from NWN2, except for a series of tabs that allow you to switch between current party members.

In our case, it is Grubs, Oswyn, Karak, and Reylene. Grubs is currently the active/highlighted tab because he is the party leader.

Grubs has the following dialog options:
1. Hey, nothing.
2. (If BLUFF less 10) Gimme your money.!Failure!

If I click on Oswyn's tab, I am in effect allowing Oswyn to talk for the party. I will then see Oswyn's dialog options:

1. Hey, nothing.
4. (If DIPLOMACY greater 5) We come in peace!

Karak:
1. Hey, nothing.
5. (If LORE greater I have heard of you!

And finally, Reylene:
1. Hey, nothing.
3. (If BLUFF greater than or equal 10) Gimme your money. !Success!


Flipping through the tabs will allow you to see what options each character might have if you chose to allow them to speak for the party.

Remember, my example is weak sauce compared to what the real designers do, afterall, I'm a programmer.
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June 28th, 2008, 16:17
Sounds like a pretty good system. Much better than having to save the game, try dialog with a certain party leader, then reload and try with another so see their choices.

A simpler way would be to have the conversation choices show every dialog option for every character currently in your party. Of course doing it that way would use only the best skill in the party when showing the options (so in his example the Bluff Failure would not be shown at all). I mean why would you even try to have the character with the lower skill in Bluff do the Bluffing at all? I guess it would be nice to have it segregated like that so you know exactly who is doing the talking but I'm sure you'd know that anyway since you know who has what skills.

The tab conversation system seems nice and new and all that, but overly complicated IMO. Better than the old way of doing it though.
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June 29th, 2008, 00:13
I always have mixed feeling about this and prefer to use one character for all my dialogue throughout a game. I know this goes to the heart of the party appeal but it reduces the importance of the PCC, in my opinion.

Still, Storm of Zehir sounds fantastic.

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June 29th, 2008, 00:28
I guess it's a simple simulation of playing with other people and those players being able to use their own abilities in conversion but you're controlling the group. That's good for roleplayers no?
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June 29th, 2008, 01:08
Well…yes…and no. I'm not trying to throw a wet blanket over this - I'm impressed with Obsidian's direction with this expansion and the party dialogue system needed overhauling - lots of players will appreciate this.

I'm just observing that is takes some of the hard decisions away from player character creation. Why stress over having dialogue/diplomatic abilities in your main char when you can just add a sorc (etc) to your party, who inherently has a high charisma?

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June 29th, 2008, 01:33
I guess you'll still have to choose from an intimidate, bluff, diplomacy or lore and it also means the possibility of a complex combination of approaches using different types of skills through a conversation tree.
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June 29th, 2008, 06:05
Never made Sense to me when my Fighter-PC had to try to be diplomatic, while the Party-Paladin with his high Charisma and Diplomacy-Skill was standing right next to him

OTOH it enables to use i.e. Charisma as Dumb-Stat and Brain-Damaged Athlets (with STR, CON and DEX 18, INT, WIS, CHA 3) will once again rise in the Realms - this might be difficult to balance but might also give a nice challenge to non-Powergamers (oh, and Mind-Flayers will become once again the bane of braindead bodybuilders ).

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June 29th, 2008, 06:09
Both valid comments, so I guess this reflects my personal bias.

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June 29th, 2008, 08:27
Yeah, I'm with woges on this one. It'd be fun to make a party with a designated Intimidator, a designated Diplomat, a designated Loremaster, and a designated Bluffer, all different people. The Charisma stat doesn't really matter all that much other than at low levels if you max out the appropriate skill with skill points.
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June 30th, 2008, 01:17
The thing one could criticize, is the switching during the dialog. It doesn't feel right. It's like opening all gift pack and then picking the one you like the most. I like the idea of changing my party lead for a dialog, just like in Icewind Dale at some points. But this one is a little bit too much.

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June 30th, 2008, 01:48
So how is this going to work multi-player?
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June 30th, 2008, 11:00
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Well…yes…and no. I'm not trying to throw a wet blanket over this - I'm impressed with Obsidian's direction with this expansion and the party dialogue system needed overhauling - lots of players will appreciate this.

I'm just observing that is takes some of the hard decisions away from player character creation. Why stress over having dialogue/diplomatic abilities in your main char when you can just add a sorc (etc) to your party, who inherently has a high charisma?
I agree with you Dhurin, but I've got other NWN2 campaigns for a single protagonist based storyline. I think it'll be refreshing to have a slightly more old-school party based game even if it means roleplaying (not sure that's the right word to use) is of lesser importance.
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