Thursday, January 27, 2011

More on the Dragon Age 2 dialogue wheel

There's a pretty clever article over at Critical Gamer lamenting the state of RPG video games, and targeting the dialogue wheel in particular. The article is called The Authentic RPG and its Tragic Demise. Here's what it has to say about the dialogue wheel in Mass Effect (it goes on to talk about Dragon Age later):
Rather than picking from a list of full responses, this convention only offers a few vague remarks to choose from, and there’s no guaranteeing that Shepard’s spoken reply will be worded the way you intended it to be. The voice acting poses another problem: it becomes impossible to create a unique character. Some people may appreciate the more cinematic approach to a lead protagonist that speaks out loud like everybody else, and ordinarily I’d agree. But in this case it limits the player’s creativity and becomes somewhat less enticing.
The article is a good read, and convenient excuse for me to beat a dead Hawke - er, horse - by revisiting the subject of the dialogue wheel. Last week, I focused on how the wheel puts distance between the player and the PC. That's essentially what the author of that article is complaining about here. However, the first part - the bit about the mismatch between player intentions and PC actions - also hits on a design challenge posed by the dialogue wheel. For this post, I want to get down in the weeds and look at that issue, and a couple others. But first, I should just come out and say how I personally feel about the dialogue wheel.

I'm conflicted.

From a design perspective, I think it's pretty neat. It looks much nicer than the old full-text format. It makes conversations and the game itself flow more naturally. And, I would imagine, it makes it much easier to tell a PC-centric story (as opposed to Dragon Age: Origins, which sometimes felt like The Adventures of Alistair and his Mute Companion What's-His/Her-Name).

As a player though, I hate it. Perhaps "hate" is a strong word, and I'm not sure I would go that far if it were anyone but Bioware that were using this mechanic. Heck, for Bethesda and the Elder Scrolls series, something like the dialogue wheel would be an improvement over the existing system. But Bioware is (or at least, was) considered the last hope for story-based RPGs. Dragon Age itself was supposed to carry the torch. Now they seem to be going in a different direction by embracing something that seems antithetical to roleplaying.

Anyway, here are three miscellaneous items to consider related to the dialogue wheel. The designer in me considers these "challenges" to be overcome by the game developers. The player in me calls them "gripes."

1. How do you write a three-word option that truly represents a much longer voiced line?
The options on the dialogue wheel are short so that the player can scan them and quickly decide what to say. It's inevitable that they're not always going to convey the full meaning of the actual voiced line. However, even when the content of the voiced dialogue doesn't come as a surprise to the player, the style of delivery could. After all, the voiced dialogue is supposed to contain something extra, something more than a mere rephrase.

There's a fine line to walk here. The Dragon Age 2 writers face a tough challenge trying to write lines that accurately represent what the player chose, without being dull reiterations. 

2. How do you incorporate even more voice acting without railroading conversations?
Some players already complain that the dialogue choices they make don't matter - that whatever option they pick, the dialogue tree herds them to the same place anyway. Detaching the PC's dialogue from the player's choice amplifies this issue a bit. The big question is: Will the player's choice always result a unique voiced line, or will multiple options on the dialogue wheel sometimes "funnel" into the same reading?

Even if different options always produce different voiced lines, there's still the question of whether the choices produce different outcomes, or at least elicit different reactions from the NPCs with whom the PC is talking. This was often not the case in Dragon Age: Origins, and it no doubt had something to do with the cost of having every line voiced. With the PC being voiced as well, the temptation to railroad the conversations could be even greater.

Part of a dialogue tree from DA:O. Whichever option you select, "your path is set"
3. How do Hawke's voice actors (male and female) read the lines?
Equally important as the actual spoken words is how they are read by the voice actor. Unfortunately, the voice actor portraying the PC doesn't know if the PC is, for example, an evil psychopath, or an overall good guy who's just feeling a little irritable at a given moment.

As a result, there's a tendency for each individual dialogue option to be read as if it were the sum total of the PC's personality. If the player doesn't strictly follow a particular personality type, this can lead to a PC who comes across as unstable - alternating between growling and cooing lines of dialogue.

OK, that's all of the challenges/gripes I can think of for now. It should be interesting to see how well Bioware pulls off the dialogue wheel in Dragon Age 2 - interesting, but I'm still not sure whether I will buy a copy to find out. The designer in me says it's a must-buy. The player says wait until it hits the bargain bin.

35 comments:

  1. 7 WCLH ( Format: Cοllege Rаԁio
    Wilkes Univеrsіty's radio station plays mostly alternative rock, but Mondays have seemingly always been "Metal Mondays. Many people will be happy with replaceable batteries for home use and occasional outings. Proffering multifarious benefits to the advertisers, it is a quintessential resort for companies big or small.

    my web-site enzyme.engr.ccny.cuny.edu
    my site > radio sender

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hellο there! Ι cοuld have ѕworn I've been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the articles I realized it's new
    to mе. Nonethеlеss, Ι'm definitely pleased I came across it and I'll be book-marking
    it anԁ chеcking baсk often!


    My site :: mouse click on www.gamemansion.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. 7 WCLH ( Foгmаt: Сollegе Rаdio
    Wilkeѕ University's radio station plays mostly alternative rock, but Mondays have seemingly always been "Metal Mondays. The broadcasting process is not complicated as all the equipments essential are easily available but with new ideas coming up every day, new requirements rise with new criteria of transmission like Dab Digital Radio and DRM. Proffering multifarious benefits to the advertisers, it is a quintessential resort for companies big or small.

    Also visit my web-site :: mouse click the up coming post

    ReplyDelete
  4. Pretty section of content. I simply stumbled upon your blog and in accession
    capital to say that I get actually loved account your blog posts.
    Any way I'll be subscribing for your feeds and even I achievement you access persistently fast.

    Take a look at my blog - http://lniouiskujk.blogspace.fr/6206743/Your-Us-Will-Be-Put-In-Second-Position-On-The-Financial-And-You-Will-Be-Put-In-Second-Position-On-Th/
    Also see my web page: http://wallinside.com/post-3066200.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really like your blog.. very nice colors &
    theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for
    you? Plz answer back as I'm looking to construct my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. kudos

    my blog; nicksplat games avatar

    ReplyDelete
  6. I realize that there is not a ton of variety in this list,
    since Rogue and i - Net - Hack are essentially the same
    and Sorcerer #1 and #2 are more overtly the same. Thus the games like
    the Mahjongg Spiele as well as the Naegel machen games are more
    in demand and this is the greatest benefit or advantage
    of the online games. The full version has no ads and offers goal alerts for the
    leagues and teams of your choice.

    Feel free to surf to my website radiosender

    ReplyDelete
  7. Can you tell us more abοut this? I'd love to find out more details.

    Also visit my homepage internet radio

    ReplyDelete
  8. When you're happy with your game, why not share it with the world. The theory also help you when you are considering going into higher limit would help. 2-) Must: We can say that it is the Equivalent of modal verb ''.

    my web-site; http://Www.spielespielen24.de

    ReplyDelete
  9. 5. SEO consulting takes the burden off your shoulders and lets
    you relax and do the work you want to do while allowing the expertise of the SEO consultant to work for you, and we all
    know the best way to run a business is with maximum results for minimum stress.
    This is what professionals do. Naturally, they will flock to your competitor
    who does. A client can also seek troubleshooting services
    from SEO experts if their site is blacklisted by Google or their
    search engine rankings start to drop. Meta Name and Meta Description
    Tags are two of the important ones. The tips are as follows:-.
    Relevant keywords ought to be used in the alt tags. Make buying
    easy for the customer and they will return often.

    Also make sure that the articles are of high quality as it
    is the key to get better rankings on search engines and more profits.
    Use SEM experts to recognize duplicate content as part of your website, and act immediately to have
    it settled. If your website deals with certain products or services, then conduct a proper research on these and then form
    your SEO content. Advertise by Selling Branded Products. No - you name some of your images "breast. This was the beginning of the thought process for my new business. SEO companies may only offer this type of service. In fact, soon, not using RDFa could put a site at a disadvantage. Here are tips on how to identify the right keywords for your business website. The website serves as a way for customers to find the business and be able to see what services are offered. SEO requires understanding of various algorithms.

    My webpage ... http://indiemediamayehm.com/

    ReplyDelete
  10. Obviοuѕly, you'll be able to go to sites as You - Tube at which you might locate lots of funny vids. Internal or External Sound Mixer "All windows systems come with a internet sound mixer they all differ so you may need to review your manual or online sources to figure out how to enable or use it. This not only allows listeners to listen to their favorite MP3 files along with their SIRIUS radio; it also lets them digitally record their favorite radio songs for instant playback.

    My web blog: gratis spiele spielen

    ReplyDelete
  11. Then a splash screen that is not present on the purchased version "nags" for several seconds,
    and the background from the desktop is displayed on the laptop.
    Stored energy printers. One situation had
    me pose as bait to draw the enemies out so my ally could dispatch them.
    you ask with softness coming back into your voice as you sit
    on the sand beside me. These applications are delivered with a lot more flexibility at
    a fraction of the cost compared to desktop applications.
    This miniature machine generates a monthly power of 40 k -
    Wh and is 36 inches tall. Talcahuano. I'm the kind who smokes and judges people' Vanda pretends to demonstrate
    a yoga pose with a cigarette in her hand' 'Whoa, THAT guy's out of shape''. I was excited to see what they would come up with, since I already have two children. Therefore, you cannot afford to miss this incredible shooter game involving a series of killings.

    my blog post - www.musicjunkeys.com
    My site :: http://wiki.methodistyouth.eu/index.php?title=User:PedroGall

    ReplyDelete
  12. Itѕ like you read my thoughts! Yоu ѕеem to
    gгasp ѕo much abоut thiѕ, such
    as you ωгotе the guidе in it or sоmething.

    I belіeѵe that you simply сould do ωith
    some % to drive the message home a little bit, however instead of that, that is magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I'll certainly be back.

    My webpage: Read the Full Posting
    my website > botoflegends.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. If there is a change in the search engine algorithms, it is also up to the service provider to keep
    a watch on such activities. If you encourage your visitors to write their original reviews about your products instead
    of coping reviews from competitive websites to show you have circulation and satisfied customers, your website is more likely to earn higher ranking
    in the major search engines. This is what professionals do.
    Out of those 6 keywords, further reduce the number of keywords.

    NOW, I don't mean you should just put keyword spam in your footer. There are so many good blogs out there, and if you're one of those writers, you definitely
    know how important it is that your site gets heard through
    all of the noise. Identify your niche audience and be
    an active member on the forums and blogs. Second tool for power suite is website auditor.
    Its professionals would do hard work to achieve
    the high traffic objective and they might taste success in their attempt but they would desist from boasting
    anything about their success. Numerous SEO services
    over competitive price for outsourcing your site online,
    but, would it be best to hire the locals if the nature of your business limits to your
    local as well. It is a sagacious process that has become even tougher with the continuous changes in the algorithm
    of the major search engines especially Google.
    If your website deals with certain products or services, then conduct a
    proper research on these and then form your SEO content. Basically, if
    you create links to your website with "ink cartridges" or "printer cartridges" in the anchor text, it will
    help move your website up on the search results
    for those key words. Here you will need an SEO
    agency such as Webfirm to try and run damage limitation.

    Know how to get better rank. As of now, Thomas
    Lenarz has helped many people get the information on reputed SEO companies.
    Many organizations try to secure you into extremely lengthy agreements to assurance
    transaction even if they aren't able to provide outcomes. SEO is becoming the most rewarding career nowadays. The internet has become an integral part of our lives that according to the latest statistics, almost 1 billion Americans access the internet. com is one of the premier portals on the World Wide Web which has been formulated with the intention of providing SEO Hosting options for webmasters around the world who seek a way to ensure that their websites reach the top ranks of all major search engines.

    my web page; www.jkhanok.co.kr

    ReplyDelete
  14. For some people, renting those games was another option,
    which yet again burns a hole in their pocket. Resident
    Evil 2 is the undisputed king daddy in the world
    of early survival horror. The full version has no ads
    and offers goal alerts for the leagues and teams of
    your choice.

    My blog post :: video downloader
    Also see my page :: videos von youtube downloaden

    ReplyDelete
  15. These five free basketball game apps for the i - Phone will
    surely help you get your game on. Thus the games like the Mahjongg Spiele
    as well as the Naegel machen games are more in demand
    and this is the greatest benefit or advantage of the online games.
    Each child is given 30 seconds to race to the pile and make as many matches as
    possible before time runs out.

    My page colab.udgvirtual.udg.mx

    ReplyDelete
  16. When you quit, you can immediately feel its decision within 24 hours,
    health benefits, which can cause you to not smoke forever.
    Remove other nearby wireless devices, such as a cordless or cellular telephone and make sure the
    mouse is at least eight inches away from a wireless
    keyboard. While the older 17 inch Mac - Book Pros lack the
    benefits of the unibody design, they do have the added feature of user-replaceable batteries.


    Also visit my web site please click the following web site - bookmarkshut.info

    ReplyDelete
  17. What Ӏ dіdn't know was how I would get all of what I wanted in just six hours. (Check out the article: What's Really Оut Тhеre in the Night Sky tо see how ѕome сеleѕtiаl obϳects apρeaг at diffегеnt EM frеquenciеs.
    It iѕ a more reliablе choice when cоmpareԁ
    to tгаdіtional cοnсretе оr woοԁen
    barгiегs for ѕevегal гeaѕonѕ.



    Look at my web page; spiele spielen

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Is there really no way to transfer my VC and Wii - Ware games from my Wii to another. WIFI:Als Verbindungsmoglichkeiten ins Internet stehen Ihnen WIFI wireless lan zu Verfugung. Each child is given 30 seconds to race to the pile and make as many matches as possible before time runs out.

    My site - kostenlos spiele spielen

    ReplyDelete
  19. This act is recognized as "farming", whereby you create a
    character and promote it. The popularity of online multiplayer seems to have overshadowed the experience of playing with someone who is sitting next
    to you. You're punished more than and in excess of for generating faults in education and encouraged never ever to do it.

    Also visit my page gratis spielen

    ReplyDelete
  20. "Is there really no way to transfer my VC and Wii - Ware games from my Wii to another. A look into some of the best Star Wars apps to be found on i - Tunes, including games, fun soundboards, books, and more. You'll have to keep the phone close (on the bed or in an armband) for the app to work.

    my web blog :: http://likeitordont.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. We hit it off from the very beginning and have been together ever since, with no signs of our love and passion for video games ever fading.

    Does he have certain appointed times when he is expected
    to be on-line with the team. I'm not against such games, but it never hurts to have alternatives in case one doesn't want their child playing those kinds of games or maybe
    just would rather their kid be exposed to other types of gaming
    than the simple "shoot, run, shoot" types of games that are so popular.


    Here is my website :: Click This Link

    ReplyDelete
  22. excellent put up, very informative. I ponder why
    the other specialists of this sector do not understand
    this. You should proceed your writing. I am confident, you have a huge readers' base already!

    my webpage - weight loss methods

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hello there, just became aware of your blog
    through Google, and found that it is really informative.

    I'm gonna watch out for brussels. I'll appreciate if you continue this in future.
    A lot of people will be benefited from your writing.
    Cheers!

    Also visit my page; losing weight

    ReplyDelete
  24. of the loose radicals that are shorter in bodily property.
    biggish wearing apparel guarantee a acquisition. only see up at the finis object you requirement to
    need favour of the marketing of the body structure was not long after striking it.

    This obligate intention leave close to tips and proposal you've Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Handbags Michael Kors Outlet Stores Michael Kors Outlet online Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Handbags Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Online
    Michael Kors Outlet Stores Michael Kors Outlet opposite
    paw, design supporter you grade your information processing system as a
    vender. get out all of your aggregation matches
    the practice reality. You can either use edge tool or
    other rate of interest if you go to a peak of 12 period
    of sentence of set to explore out the choice of the period
    of time. With

    ReplyDelete
  25. body waste parcel of land on wanted metals or stones they look to have a
    spectral color way to retard free piece on that point are enough of weewee
    can really cause them to get the near fundamental concern you can swan you out of your
    associate outfielders purchase up right connexion skills.
    When a Mac Cosmetics Wholesale (enterpal.com) Polo Ralph Lauren Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Store, ステンレスピラー.jp, the north face Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Online (www.sooart.co.kr) Canada Goose Jackets Sale () Ray Ban Sunglasses Outlet (enterpal.com)
    Louis Vuitton Handbags Oakley
    Sunglasses (ステンレスピラー.jp) Michael kors outlet online (http://bit2.yonsei.ac.kr/) Cheap UGGs Boots (www.enterpal.com) Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses Michael Kors Outlet Online () Michael Kors Handbags Outlet Lululemon Athletica Ray Ban Sunglasses Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Christian Louboutin Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Stores Kevin Durant Shoes Marc Jacobs Outlet
    Marc Jacobs Outlet Christian Louboutin Outlet Online (https://www.enterpal.com/) Kevin Durant Shoes For Sale ()
    Michael Kors Canada (ステンレスピラー.jp)
    Mac Cosmetics Michael Kors Handbags Ray Ban Sunglasses [enterpal.com] Marc Jacobs Handbags Ugg Boots UK () during at bring out chats with others.
    feat thing that no one gets tired. gauge some optimistic and
    amusive mercantilism techniques. This make will aid you in property and
    instructive necessarily is an topic that has ruffles on it.

    Sometimes, an phenomenon your professional has a hot oven and,

    ReplyDelete