Author Topic: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log  (Read 4764 times)

Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« on: 28 Oct 2008, 15:10 »
Hi there, I am a big fan of these AGS games and although I haven't yet made the jump to trying to make my own, I'm a long time game player and always have lots of ideas as to how games can be improved.

One thing I have thought of that could be used in any game is a log of the most recent dialogue or other text the game has presented to you. The reason I say this is if I accidentally click the mouse and skip some onscreen text, a lot of the time the only way I can read it again would be to reload an earlier game or restart. Because of this I find myself saving my games very regularly just in case I miss dialogue.

It could be as little as the last 1 or 2 lines of dialogue/text, it could be integrated as a notebook or just as the character's memory, it wouldn't seem out of place in any game I reckon.

Thanks for reading! I have other little ideas like this that I think could become a part of each game as standard, often things I see in one game that I think should really be in every game. I'm happy to elaborate if anyone is interested!

Thank you all for the great games you make, they go a long way to livening up my life.

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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #1 on: 28 Oct 2008, 15:22 »
Hi!

Not sure if that is needed as a standard implementation. I find myself doing the same thing once in a while but mostly in the games that the speech automatically skips to the next line after a time. But usually those topics are still accessible afterwords.

Also, I'm pretty sure this belongs in the AGS related talk and chat forum.

Just as long as you don't say 800x600 should be the standard AGS resolution, you should be taken seriously and welcomed properly. This could spawn a fun topic about things we accidentally do that piss us off while playing adventure games ;)

Welcome by the way!


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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #2 on: 28 Oct 2008, 16:17 »
Thanks Snake :)

Yes often the dialogue can be repeated by talking to characters again, but sometimes that particular dialogue option disappears after use, or your character says something the first time they do something or enter a location and they won't say it again unless you load up and replay.

I know it's only a little thing and I'm not trying to say every game has to have this, it's just meant as food for thought as I'm sure any serious game designer wants to know how they can improve their games.

Shane 'ProgZmax' Stevens

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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #3 on: 28 Oct 2008, 16:38 »
The Critics Lounge is not for general suggestions/comments, it's for posting your work to get advice :).  I'm moving this to Adventure.

Snake

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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #4 on: 28 Oct 2008, 16:39 »
Oh I agree with you. I hate not seeing what a character says if it's a one-time deal or a cutscene.

But yeah, this won't be a standard, but definately something we all can ponder about when designing our games. It's an awesome idea.

There are, though, a few options in the general settings for how you want dialogue to be skipped. One I believe is a key-press only, but that would probably get a little tedious after the first couple of conversations (if being a strict "mouse only" game as well). I don't know exactly how that works. I wonder if it would keep skipping lines while holding down a key.

--EDIT--
One could also script a dialogue box with a "Continue..." button when the player is ready to proceed.
« Last Edit: 28 Oct 2008, 16:48 by Snake »
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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #5 on: 28 Oct 2008, 16:46 »
I wrote a conversation log module for my game (Twice actually. The original version used an external file but if the player restored an old game the same dialogs could be added multiple times. So when CJ implemented Strings with no character limit, I rewrote it to use those). The reason I haven't made it public is that it uses a custom Say function that parses the lines of dialog to the logging function. So to use the built-in dialog scripting you must have tons of dialog_request calls which isn't very practical. The same would be the case for your suggestion unless CJ eventually adds an on_character_say event (which I've suggested and it may happen now that he is reworking the dialog system).

Edit: As Snake said, you can also set the variable game.skip_speech_specific_key to for instance '.' like in the LucasArts games, to prevent the player from unintentionally skipping past dialog.
« Last Edit: 28 Oct 2008, 16:51 by GarageGothic »

Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #6 on: 28 Oct 2008, 17:23 »
Thanks guys, sorry I put it in the wrong forum.

Yeah as I haven't played with any actual coding of games with AGS I didn't know how difficult my suggestion would be to implement, sounds like it might currently be a lot of hassle. Maybe it will be a possibility if the changes to the AGS engine are made. Glad to hear someone has had similar thoughts!

Yes I must say I would always favour a mouse-click-only or key-press-only way of skipping text and dialogue, that would avoid most of these incidents from occuring in the first place. And it would stop me missing dialogue because I didn't read it quick enough either. When checking out the demo for the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy game I see this was put into the options of that game, you could choose either timer, key press, mouse press or key/mouse press. I think that's a great feature to include.

Thanks for taking my ideas seriously, I'm so used to people just insulting me constantly on other forums whatever I say.

Trent R

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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #7 on: 28 Oct 2008, 18:37 »
The GK games include a tape recorder that records the conversations. This is more necessary because it's about putting together clues and revisiting past dialogue helps you get the whole picture.

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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #8 on: 28 Oct 2008, 18:57 »
Slightly off-topic, but I think it would be great if the "skip" mousebutton/keypress command was disabled just after the current line changed on its own. The way I usually miss a line is when I want to skip the previous line, but it changes just before I hit the button, so I skip the next line instead. For this reason, I'm often afraid to press the skip button, especially on short lines.

I guess this behavior is scriptable too, so it might not require a standard implementation in AGS.

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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #9 on: 28 Oct 2008, 23:53 »
You 'could' just add additional silence at the end of short lines to make them display longer.

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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #10 on: 29 Oct 2008, 01:07 »
I know Space Quest 6 had this exact “log” of your previous conversations. It is rather annoying to have to cruise back through your dialog options to find that one you’ve inadvertently skipped. I’m not sure how this could be implemented into AGS as standard though, because it’s also rather annoying to not be able to skip the dialogs.

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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #11 on: 29 Oct 2008, 02:27 »
You 'could' just add additional silence at the end of short lines to make them display longer.

Well, that's not really what I'm trying to achieve. I want to be able to click to skip lines that I've finished reading, with confidence that I won't miss a line because it switched just as I clicked.

Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #12 on: 29 Oct 2008, 04:41 »
Snarky: that is an excellent suggestion! There were times in Trilby's Notes (just to pick one example) where I inadvertently skipped dialog because I would type just as the message popped up, only to miss what was said.

The only current way I can think of to fix this would be to just turn off the auto-disappear option. However, I wouldn't consider this an adequate solution because of all those times where I just feel like sitting back and watching a cut-scene.

On the topic of conversation logs:
In any games that I have played that do keep a conversational journal, I don't think I have ever enjoyed going back to read dialog that I've already had. And if it would be required for a puzzle, I think that would just be tedious.

Trent R

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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #13 on: 29 Oct 2008, 07:40 »
On skipping: I think you'd have to script your own system filled with Timers or while loops to replace the c.Say function.

On logs: I just replayed GK2, which features one puzzle using the log system. Gabriel has a tape recorder that he records all of his conversations (and you can replay them to listen to them again), but there is one time where you splice a new tape from bits and pieces from another conversation (that may have made no sense, sorry).
Also in that game, I enjoyed going back to the logs of Grace (which more summaries, because she has a notebook instead of a tape recorder) to check historical dates and other facts. However, this is because that sort of behavior lends itself to that purpose. I wouldn't want to go back and read conversation logs of Prince Alex of KQ6--that'd just be boring!

~Trent
« Last Edit: 30 Oct 2008, 02:07 by Trent R »
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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #14 on: 29 Oct 2008, 11:33 »
Hell even Grim Fandango had a log(right?) or was it Discworld Noir..or some other game, yep it's useful and yes we all skip lines for certain reasons. I think it's not that hard to script and well it might end up useful for some and others might not even notice it. Concerning text parsers I'm wondering this is re-type last command useful or should something like Excel does when your typing something you typed before be more useful?
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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #15 on: 03 Nov 2008, 00:45 »
Just thinking out loud here...
What if, during a conversation, you could simply press a particular key (say, the left arrow key) and it would go back to the previous line of dialogue.  I'm sure that could be easily acheived with just a simple line of code (by someone who knows what they're doing - not me :-\).

Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #16 on: 03 Nov 2008, 19:03 »
There are times when you might not want the text to be skipped, if say timing of the cutscene is crucial.

I love Snarky's idea, I never thought of that before, and I've sometimes skipped dialogue by mis-timing my click at the last second.

Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #17 on: 04 Nov 2008, 01:27 »
You could always have an option in the menu to disable auto timed dialog lines.

Or what snarky suggested.  If the dialog line changes on it's own, have a programmed timer start for 3 seconds.  If you click within the three seconds it won't change currently changed line of dialog.

I can't see that being difficult.

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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #18 on: 04 Nov 2008, 15:26 »
Or what snarky suggested.  If the dialog line changes on it's own, have a programmed timer start for 3 seconds.  If you click within the three seconds it won't change currently changed line of dialog.

I can't see that being difficult.

There are two problems in getting this to work that I'm not sure how to resolve:

1. Starting the timer when a dialogue line changes. As far as I can tell, there is no inherent way to know that the previous line of dialogue just changed/went away. I can write a replacement function for character.Say() that starts the timer after the line goes away, but I'm not sure what to do within dialogue scripts. I don't want to have to call run-script() after every line of dialogue to start the timer.
2. Knowing whether the line timed out or was clicked away. I'm thinking that on_mouse_click() wouldn't work.

Trent R

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Re: Suggestion for all games: Dialogue log
« Reply #19 on: 04 Nov 2008, 18:26 »
I was thinking about it too and I came to the same conclusion, you may have to use run-script after every line....

Maybe CJ can implement a new on_event EventType for this?


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