Improving Icewind Dale's dialogue system

Discussion in 'Icewind Dale Total Conversion' started by Allyx, Nov 16, 2016.

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  1. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    Assuming the current pre-demo release bugs are few and easily squishable, I want to start exploring options to improve IWD's dialogue related quests.

    Currently it's very basic, aside from a few (character has levels in Bard/Paladin/Cleric) checks, every other dialogue option is available to every PC. For 2nd ed D&D this is fine, for 3.5 ed it basically renders a "face character" with dialogue skills entirely redundant.

    ToEE has options in dialogues to check skill levels, but these IMO still aren't perfect.

    The options as I see it are currently:

    1. Leave IWD dialogues true to the original game.

    2. Add dialogue checks for Bluff/Intimidate/Diplomacy/Sense Motive just like in ToEE (IE Check skill level for minimum required skill level only).

    3. Add dialogue checks for talking skills with both "successful result" and "unsuccessful result" options (IE Check skill level with both positive and negative outcomes based on skill level only).

    4. Add opposed rolls between the speaking character and NPC, adding skill ranks and ability modifiers as appropriate to the rolls, and pushing the opposed roll results to the rolls window if desired. (I don't know how feasible this option is, I would like to assume it is possible, though I don't know how to code it.)

    Option 4 would be my preferred choice personally, then 3, 2, and 1 in that order.

    Any thoughts from anyone else? (including help with scripting option 4 obviously) ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
  2. FDR4PREZ

    FDR4PREZ Established Member

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    I think adding these checks would be a good thing in that it would make IWD less linear and predictable, but I think there is a fine line that needs to be straddled.

    We don't want to change IWD too much, in that if the IWD conversion done here ends up being much better than IWD:EE then it could draw unwanted attention about hurting their sales. Even though I bought IWD and HoW when they first were released and I have no plans of purchasing IWD:EE

    But at that point why even bother with any conversion of a game if it can't take advantage of the ToEE engine and add things that are obviously missing?

    I'd rather see this added before NPCs.
     
  3. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    You can't push skill rolls to the rolls window in regular ToEE.

    I'm also personally against adding anything beyond better AI. I'd first focus on doing a 1:1 recreation and worry about roleplaying improvements later since it's a big enough task as it is, and this is a combat oriented game anyway.
     
  4. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    I guess that rules out option 4 then, I assume Temple+ would be able to make this dialogue system work in future though?
     
  5. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    Yeah, Temple+ supports that already.
     
  6. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    Heh, I guess I finally have a reason to make an IWD+ version then... Would be nice if *someone* did the dialogue changes I suggested to ToEE and maybe KotB too though. :D
     
  7. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    So I could get opposed rolls to work in a script 'under the hood' so to speak, so the rolls are opposed, modifiers added and the result trigger the success or failure response, but the actual rolls and modifiers would not be displayed for the player to see, right?
     
  8. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    Yes.
    IIRC KotB had dialog rolls that it reported via floating messages.
     
  9. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    Ooh cool... I'm gonna have to get around to playing KotB one day ;)
     
  10. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Global Moderator

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    I'll ignore that... yes, KotB had rolled pass/fail skill checks (though not opposed ones, but they would be simple to implement: get the DC from the NPC's stats rather than an initial figure put in when you make the call). The floatlines (which I did and for memory Sitra improved on and made more consistent) could, most importantly, be turned on and off if they got annoying.

    BTW, I am ambivalent about adding all this to IWD, I agree that we should probably make a pure version before doing an NC version ;) but I DO think it would add something to what is otherwise a massively combat-heavy game so far as I can see.

    But as I said to Marc long ago, if you are going to do something like that, you've got to do it consistently from the beginning. It's got to be built in from the ground up to really work, not tacked on later (imho) which is why I never tried to ret-con extra skills for ToEE.

    Btw, having converted more than 20 dlg files, I have to say it is not at all uncommon for there to be class-based dialogue, and some evil stuff: cleric, druid, paladin and ranger options are all very common (and I've seen race-based and mage-based as well). One obvious idea is to only let evil parties see the evil options, keeping mind that IWD may have a party ranging the whole gamut of alignments, but ToEE will demand you choose a party alignment. We could go with that - only show certain options to certain parties. Instant replayability :)

    Anyway, food for thought, no answers here ;)

    EDIT: Forgot to mention, the KotB stuff is all in IWD: the rolled pass/fail stuff is in scr/scripts.py, and the text floaters are at mes/dice_rolls.mes
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016
  11. Oleg Ben Loleg

    Oleg Ben Loleg Established Member Supporter

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    Exactly! And that is the quality of this game, the challenging, diverse fights. If you want to ad aspects here, maybe you should plan that for a time after you have completed the already heroic task still ahead of you.
     
  12. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    Yeah, point taken, it just seems a shame to ignore ToEE's better implemented dialogue system in favour of a far simpler method. It also makes a mockery of the 5 diplomacy related skills and other related feats.
     
  13. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    I was working on Uligar's dialogue earlier (DOrcChei.d in IWD) and there is an obvious intimidation check with both success and failure dialogue lines in his file, to check whether the PC is successful it states the PC must have 13 or more in strength, intelligence, and charisma otherwise the check is failed and combat begins.

    It's been a while since I edited dialogue prerequisite checks, so just wanted to check - putting "and" between each of the 3 ">=13" stat check queries for the successful option, and "or" between each of the 3 "<=12" queries for the failure option will work right? So a player needs higher than 13 in 3specific attributes, any of them being 12 or lower results in failure, correct?

    (Would be easier with a simple intimidation check instead)
     
  14. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Global Moderator

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    Yes and yes. I found something similar in one of the files (the Elf in the Inn?) where you got 'dumb' dialogue if you had low Wisdom and intelligence. I think for memory I did it as per IWD but if we start assuming PCs have lots of high stats, or lots of low stats, then we are creating scenarios where very few real world characters will ever encounter it. very few characters have multiple dump stats, let alone the face character. Ditto for high ones, I feel no need to reward the players who make overpowered PCs. Better to do it as 'or', or as an Intimidate check.(imo).

    Did you convert with my dlg converter? o_O
     
  15. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    I did, many of the commented out sections - the IWD code bits were on new lines, I removed the carriage returns to keep the lines straight and easier to keep track of what code is expected for that line.

    I was thinking about a uniform method for determining the DC of dialogue options should we go that route. Should it be assumed that someone in the party has maximum ranks in each speaking skill at the time the NPC is encountered for the first time, or should we calculate the DC as a 'take 10' adjusted by the NPC's relevant skill ranks and attribute modifier + any feats that apply irrelevant of how many ranks the PC is likely to have obtained at that stage of the game?
     
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