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Re: [Adonthell-devel] sematic web engine for dialogs

From: Kai Sterker
Subject: Re: [Adonthell-devel] sematic web engine for dialogs
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006 06:12:59 +0200

On 9/21/06, Alexander Hupfer <address@hidden> wrote:
I don't think this will ever be implemented, but it's an idea we could
at least talk about:


Now you maybe wonder what this all has to do with RPGs.

I think this could greatly be used for automatic content an dialog
generation. For example you could let the player ask "what kingdoms are
in the world of Adonthell" and the NPCs consults the semantic engine
that searches for countries that feature a "part of" relation to "World
of Adonthell" and gives his answer.

One problem I can see is that dynamically generated dialogue most
likely won't reach the quality of well-written, "ordinary" dialogue.
That aside, I could imagine a combination of hand-written pieces of
dialogue that could be assigned to NPCs dynamically as the game
progresses. Especially when it comes to "gossip"-topics that provide
background-information about characters or factions and their
relations to each other.

Not sure if that would make sense, but a possibility would be to

1) write small (or larger) chunks of dialogue and associate them with
certain topics.
2) Associate NPCs with meta-information. (Friends, Enemies, Factions,
Events, etc ...)
3) Add placeholders to an NPC's regular dialogue where smalltalk fits in.
4) During conversation, dynamically insert dialogue matching NPC's
"knowledge" or "interest" (however you want to put it).

On top of that, we could change NPC's interests/knowledge as the main
plot progresses and significant events occur.

If multiple pieces of dialogue exist for each topic, conversations
could be somewhat less repetitive. Each piece of dialogue itself could
have different paths depending on NPC alignment or race or disposition
towards the player. So Lady Frostbloom might voice her opinion about
Yetis different than Abbot Tham, but in both cases the same dialogue
snippet would be used. Next time round, the Yeti topic could be
replaced with a piece about the Order of the Keepers.

One benefit I could see with this approach from a dialogue writer's
point of view is that all information about a certain topic is
contained in one spot. That would make it easier to maintain.

On the downside, NPC's might lose some of their individual personality
if they share pieces of dialogue (especially if the same piece is used
for many different NPCs). However, having different paths for
different types of characters might soften the effect a bit.

What I also want to avoid is turning dialogues into a mere list of
topics. Instead I would like to preserve the impression that you are
really going through a conversation with the NPC. That doesn't mean
that there cannot be lists of topics, they just have to be well

Not sure if all that goes at least a little bit in the direction you
proposed, but it would be something that could actually be implemented
as an improvement and simplification when we have to deal with more
and more NPCs and a more complex game world. And it seems to go fairly
well with the idea of having modular dialogues


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