Feedback: Narrative Text and Storytelling

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Corv, Feb 27, 2018.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Corv

    Corv Avatar

    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    1,139
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    NC
    I take this quote from Richard Garriott very serious and I hope in turn you take this feedback that is written in the names of many SP Ultima fans just as serious:

    "We feel the obligation to show you how we're spending your money and for you to be able to speak up when you feel things are good or bad."


    This is feeback that I know is very important to every SP Ultima fan I have ever talked to. Many of my friends are Ultima fans (one of them is @Sir Cabirus who sadly has left the community). This is why it would be very very much appreciated if you could honestly think about it @Lord British @DarkStarr and @Lum the Mad

    I love every Ultima storyline from IV to IX and it is one of the most important aspects for me in an Ultima game.

    SotA has a GREAT storyline created by Richard Garriott and Tracy Hickman. I read the first book and I think the game could not have had a better start in terms of story than SotA had. Great job!! Really!

    But then you play the game. There is a great storyline! but it is hidden! Where? under a huge pile of text that says less than it could!

    So what is the problem?

    - the Dialogues are too long winded
    - there is no narrative text

    ---

    How can you fix it?

    - make dialogue more succinct
    - add narrative text
    - play Ultima 7 to see how it's done right. Don't fix what ain't broken.

    ---

    why haven't you fixed it then?:

    Richard Garriott answered the question about narrative text once quickly in a telethon (while being on his cell phone grrr ;) ). He said that he does not want narrative text because we do not know what the NPC is thinking and he wants the player to see the NPCs reactions on their face / their bodies, not in text.

    I want to reply to that here:


    -About the "we do not know what the NPC is thinking":

    I think this misses the point. The narrative text should not say what the NPC is thinking, but narrate what the NPC is doing while talking to you.

    I'll steal examples from Ultima 7 and that other thread:
    [​IMG]
    It says that she seems pleasant and welcoming and that she is beaming. It adds SO much to the scene! There is no way you could convey that with SotA NPC animations (and that is perfectly OK, just add narrative text)

    -About us being able to see in the NPCs animations what's going on:

    It's just not realistic to expect that from SotA, it's not even realistic to expect it from a single player game that focused way more on that aspect like Mass Effect Andromeda. The only game so far that was able to do that is L.A Noir with their very unique and special technique developed for the game. Wanting it be that way and actually it being that way are two completely different things. SotAs graphics are good for a MMO but thinking that the NPCs can convey what you usually need narrative text for is just not realistic. It's sad that we miss out on story immersion because of a lofty goal that is far from being achieved.

    [​IMG]
    The dragon responds with great resignation. This little line adds SO much to this scene, adds so much to the immersion. How do you want to show this dragons resignation with the current and near future state of SotAs graphics/animations? Please be honest to yourself, you can't. And again, that is PERFECTLY OK!! not complaining about graphics here at all... just add narrative text. It's a shame that the player has to do without great storytelling just because of some theoretical design goal.

    Why is it worth revisiting this topic instead of just shooting it down as being too late or that it has been discussed already?

    Because you CAN still fix this WITHOUT creating new features or having to change game mechanics. And IF you fix it you will make many many of those early Kickstarter backers and SP Ultima fans VERY VERY happy. Why miss out on that opportunity to make your core Fanbase, the SP fans happy?

    @Lord British @DarkStarr @Lum the Mad You have an AMAZING core game there. Like I wrote in the other thread and like I tell my friends: I have FUN playing SotA.. This is not me bashing your game, so please don't be offended. It is a honest attempt to help you make the game better in an area where it is still lacking. Take the chance and make SP Ultima fans happy. It's lot of work for writers yes, but it is possible and it certainly is worth it.

    There is a thread by a user that does not exist anymore, but I do not want to necro a one year old thread. I also want to post this topic again because it is worth getting into again.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  2. Browncoat Jayson

    Browncoat Jayson Legend of the Hearth

    Messages:
    6,358
    Likes Received:
    14,146
    Trophy Points:
    153
    I agree. /signed
     
    Jamet, hroth, smack and 6 others like this.
  3. Cordelayne

    Cordelayne Avatar

    Messages:
    3,246
    Likes Received:
    10,808
    Trophy Points:
    165
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    +1 I love reading the conversations in game, but sometimes it can be a bit convoluted or the NPC just walks away while I'm reading the text causing the conversation to "break".
     
  4. Lord_Darkmoon

    Lord_Darkmoon Avatar

    Messages:
    4,350
    Likes Received:
    14,678
    Trophy Points:
    153
    Yes. The conversations in the game are one of the weak parts. They are way too long and they play out like talking to robots. The NPCs don't react to the player. They just wait for the keyword to be typed in or clicked on and then the associated text is displayed. Even when asking them the same things again and again they say the exact same things. This doesn't give an organic feel to the dialogues. Also reading so much text is tiresome.
    And yes I am also missing the descriptive text like in the old Ultima games that tells me how the NPC behaves or what he does. If we would have really detailed NPC models and animations which could even show a frown or someone smirking then this would be ok but we don't have that. So how can I see if someone smirks or frowns?
     
  5. Rada Torment

    Rada Torment Community Ambassador (ES)

    Messages:
    1,481
    Likes Received:
    4,662
    Trophy Points:
    125
    Thank you @Corv for an honest and construtive feedback.

    If I'm not wrong, there are some narrative text in sota already, but they used in few npcs and quests. There are lot of good rpgs as example (as old Ultimas), but recently, Divinity Original Sin 2 did a great job (the CEO/designer is a known Ultima fan).

    Also I think an indie game has not enough resources and devs to try to create this via graphics these days, like some big games did (Witcher 3), even if Richard would love to make this all using their own animations, I don't think they are capaple of this atm.

    I'm sure they are going to try to give us more of this, but they need bit more time.
     
  6. MindBlast

    MindBlast Avatar

    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    246
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I want this to happen.

    But i am almost certain that this is not going to be changed anymore. Happy to be proven wrong though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
    hroth, smack, HoustonDragon and 2 others like this.
  7. Bubonic

    Bubonic Avatar

    Messages:
    2,499
    Likes Received:
    8,049
    Trophy Points:
    153
    Gender:
    Male
    I agree. This is something that me and many others have been requesting for a very long time, and our requests have been dismissed.

    The simple fact is that SotA's NPC animations are not detailed enough to convey the emotion and gravity required.

    I'm honestly not sure if Garriott just refuses to accept that, or what.

    It's pretty frustrating, honestly. I realize they have a budget and can only add so much realism to their game. But two things they COULD do were NPC portraits and Narrative Text. Just those two things alone would have done WONDERS for the storytelling power of SotA... yet they were cast aside in favor of a closeup camera on an NPC with little to no facial animation.
     
  8. Metlore

    Metlore Avatar

    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    239
    Trophy Points:
    30
    Gender:
    Male
    I agree. While I don't find the writing bad at all, I do find it lacking a lot of emotion and flavor. This does make it very robotic, especially once it became obvious that the preferred method of conversing with NPC's was shifted from typing to just clicking words. The disconnect between the player and characters has become too great now. Even basic emotive sounds like sniffling, crying, angry grunts, etc. could add a lot of depth to the conversations. I don't have a better solution of my own, but I will say that once players could just click the appropriate words, SotA took a step back for me.
     
    hroth, smack, MindBlast and 4 others like this.
  9. MasterWan

    MasterWan Avatar

    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    372
    Trophy Points:
    30
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hotlanta
    Just played through Highvale outskirts and it’s like a different game. Been playing awhile and reset quests and now need to do the path of courage. It’s so full of neat stuff and the dialogue has feeling. Just don’t think it’s made it to a lot of other parts yet. Great job on the new player experience from my limited POV!
     
  10. HoustonDragon

    HoustonDragon Avatar

    Messages:
    1,527
    Likes Received:
    4,396
    Trophy Points:
    125
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I want to like this more than once, damn it. Agreed fully on the immersion factor :D
     
    hroth, smack, mick1989 and 4 others like this.
  11. Cordelayne

    Cordelayne Avatar

    Messages:
    3,246
    Likes Received:
    10,808
    Trophy Points:
    165
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I agree with this statement. Highvale Outskirts was one of my favorite scenes for the following reasons:
    • It was diverse with many different areas to explore and adventure
    • Interesting quests, lore and storytelling from NPC's
    • Great "discoverables" like new emotes, magic items, and deco
    • Visually beautiful in it's layout
    This scene is the metric I hold others accountable to, simply because I loved it so much and for the aforementioned reasons! @Puuk did a AWESOME job here! :)
     
  12. Puuk

    Puuk Developer Emeritus

    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    1,023
    Trophy Points:
    30
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Wow! That made my day! Thanks! :)
     
  13. Corv

    Corv Avatar

    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    1,139
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    NC
    Is there anything you can do about this topic?
     
  14. Mr X

    Mr X Avatar

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    66
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Agree with the OP
     
    smack and Corv like this.
  15. Carlin the Druid Archer

    Carlin the Druid Archer Avatar

    Messages:
    836
    Likes Received:
    2,852
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    New Britannia
    I also agree with the OP, this would be an easy fix for the story if they put in descriptive text like Ultima 7.
     
    smack, mick1989 and Corv like this.
  16. Tane Mahuta

    Tane Mahuta Avatar

    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    104
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Agree with OP
     
    smack and Corv like this.
  17. Dee Hood

    Dee Hood Avatar

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Totally agree. Story text/wording needs descriptions along with actual dialogue!
     
    smack and Corv like this.
  18. mick1989

    mick1989 Avatar

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    3
    I totally agree ! Can't wait to see every scene as immersive as Highvale Outskirts! Keep the good work @Puuk ! Spread you talent and vision everywhere on Novia :)
     
    MasterWan, smack and Corv like this.
  19. Astirian

    Astirian Avatar

    Messages:
    614
    Likes Received:
    1,494
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Yeah, totally agree. It's just one of those things alongside solid SP spawning rules that really makes the SP experience shine. Even if we didn't get portraits (which would be amazing), and dialogue polish took till Q4 2018 to be complete, I'd be grateful even for a new dialogue box that's not a transparent rectangle with hard edges. Heck, even just the medieval font and some filigree around it would make me happy.
     
  20. Corv

    Corv Avatar

    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    1,139
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    NC
    Oh yeah a better font would be great, and a nicer dialogue box... and bigger text in dialogues, so it feels even less like a simple mmo chat (the last improvement of the chat box was great, but it needs more).
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.