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Please reconsider the Whole Chat system and NPC Dialogue + few other things

Discussion in 'Release 10 Feedback' started by Lordy, Sep 26, 2014.

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  1. Lordy

    Lordy Avatar

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    Hello guys,
    i just got my collector's hat :D

    I'm not used to moan and the sense of this thread is to be considered as a serious advice to Portalarium people, more then a moan...now to the point.

    I'm sorry i said this day one of "chicken room" and i repeat now even more: the Whole chat system HAS to be reconsidered, and i mean completely. The original idea was Amazing, avoiding clickable Npc's guiding you to the next quest etc, a sort of intelligent system able to answer your question almost like if you were interacting with a real entity.

    Sadly though, i believe that the current system completely missed the original goal and actually breaks immersion in the game. Furthermore, with recent modification it's even closer to the idea you guys wanted to avoid: clickable words, and a very primitive idea of journal....no i'm sorry it's not working. I'm sure there are some super purists folks out there claiming that this is the best system etc. (i'm perfectly aware this is a Pre Alpha, likewise i'm aware this game should ship first months of 2015, and this means right now the big boning and meat of the system should all be in place at most...)

    Sadly this is not to me and i fear to the broader audience the game wants to involve. To me it Leaves a sense of unfinished, sort of amateurish system. I'm sure the system will receive some tweak with the months to come, though the problem is it should be completely revamped. Personally i like overhead bubbles, i don't understand what is the problem with them, as i like the traditional system about getting quests etc. I mean, so far in the game you guys noticed that people do not log anymore in game during R events. I'm one of them, and the reason it's easy: i find really annoying to spend alot of time to try and understand how to get a quest. I play MMO's since early UO Beta, going to DAOC etc. and even working for few major MMO's during early 2000, though this is the very first time i have difficulties with the Learning curve of a game.The fact that you had to put an NPC exactly close to the respawn point of players, in order to get them involved with the Grand Tour quest, is a clear confirmation that something is not properly working, and it's actually a step toward the direction you guys wanted to avoid. The npc is only missing a big Yellow exclamation mark over it's head to be 100% traditional, like all other competitors. Also, you said that you created this system because you wanted to avoid super "easy peasy lemon squeezy system" that kind of led you to your goal....like "bring this basin to the NPC in the other map" putting a huge X on screen showing you the way. Ok, sadly though what will happen is easy: people will jump to Internet Explorer (and i'm again referring to the broader audience), open one of the several SOTA database insert the name of the quest in the search string, and Boom, find the coordinates they need to go... So i'll repeat myself and actually evoke mr. Einstein himself "make things easier, without simplifying them". You don't need to make the game easier, you need to make it's mechanics and systems more user friendly otherwise people will lose interest in the game and think it's boring.

    - I will not talk in deep about the Graphics so far, as i belive it could improve by launch (it has to improve if, as Starr stated, they want to be competitive with products available on market now. I'll name one: Archeage. Please consider this game has no monthly fee and actually it's pretty deep and beautifully looking). What i can say about SOTA graphics is that it's FAR too dark overall.

    - Animations of avatars need a Boost. He is damn too slow and i don't know what but it gives me a feeling of latency problem, it kind of reacts like in slow motion to my commands. Maybe it's a feeling, but well i Always trusted my feelings :D

    That said, i don't think i will play much more R10, i'm honest. But i do have 100% faith in Portalarium guys, i know they are trying their best and i'm sure the game still has a lot of potential. I do belive as well, though, that if some solid change is not made anytime soon,(and questing system + chat is on the very top of my list), this could affect the overall feeling that the broader audience of the game (thos bringing the $$$$ guys, please don't believe that Hard core gamers alone could make this or any game to survive) could show toward SOTA.

    Thanks
     
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  2. Fox Cunning

    Fox Cunning Localization Team

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    That's a well expressed opinion, which I partially share while I still am a big fan of the type-in dialogue system.

    However, I believe the issue does not fully reside on the "user-friendliness", and there are other important aspects.
    For example, if the game is designed in such a way that you talk to characters just to get a quest, that is already a quite big mistake.

    If the point of the game is to make a believable virtual world, then the NPCs should not be "quest givers". They should be "people", and they should not exist as a function of the player.
    They should rather have their own purpose, and you would converse with them like you would with a person, not an automatic quest dispenser. Insert keyword, get quest. Insert quest item, get reward.

    Thus, the conversation would have to flow, unsurprisingly, like a conversation! If you can smell the script and hear the triggers clicking, then that is not a conversation anymore; you could just as well pull a lever and get a quest.
     
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  3. KuBaTRiZeS

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    I don't consider myself a super purist folk, but i think i'll be the one this time.

    I'm currently trying the game in solo play mode, doing a couple of quests and getting familiarized with the way of SotA. I'd like to say i'm enjoying the chat system; even if i don't consider it perfect, it's been a while since i had so much fun just interacting with npc's, and i don't share at all the concerns of the OP.

    I think some sort of tutorial will make new players get used to the chat system; it's not so hard, and is layered so you can interact in a dialogue-ish way with them (if you get the trick) or just click/write the suggested words and get whatever information they'll have for you (or just the next underlined word). I'm a bit confused about your statement of the chat system having a journal and clickable words... you meant it as something bad since is not so purist? or are you implying since they're going down that road it would be better to make a standard quest system? for the main topic of your post i suspect is the latter, so i'll say that you can get quests easily just clicking words, if that's what you want. Why make it easier? this way, both sides could be happy. Just matter of guiding new players into the way of doing things.

    I'd state as well that i don't feel it unimmersive having underlined words (since i can chose to get along as topics of interest my character heard in the conversation), nor "quests givers" (since i can choose to interact with them as a player, or as a roleplayer - which is what i'm doing right now on my own). This game will be played by different people, and the current system allows them to choose how to play it. As far as i know, that's one of the goals of SotA; to be a game of options regarding the way of playing.

    Playing devil's advocate, i'll use this post to say some things i don't like... But i also think it's just matter of fine-tuning.
    • I do find annoying (and hilarious!) is the system recognicing "i'm" as a way of introducing yourself. So far, Npc's called my character "Looking", "Charged", and "Fine". It would be better to just associate your character introduction with "name is" or maybe to make "i'm" to be preceeded by some formal way of introduction? (example: Hail and well met commoner! i'm Kubatrizes).
    • It seems that sometimes former tag words are ignored in expense of the first ones (for example, if i say i'd like to help with the undead problem, NPC tells me the "help" dialogue part, ignoring the "undead"). I'd suggest to make some sort of priority system between words, making the uncommon ones more important than the common (for example, in the last sentence, undead will get priority over help, since it's not a sentence used in everyday conversations, nor a tag for every NPC in the game.
    Havent played long, and so far that's what i found. I'll keep my notes up, since probably i'll find more annoying things :D.
     
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  4. Lord_Darkmoon

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    The basic conversation system with having to type in sentences/keywords or clicking on the keywords is ok and the dialogues are written very well. But the interface per se does not work for a conversation system that should also carry the story.
    I wrote this proposition on how to enhance the interface without changing the basic system and RG even said that they are discussing it:

    https://shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/conversation-interface-suggestion.13599/
     
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  5. Poor game design

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    I like the NPC Chat and Quest system. I'm annoyed when NPC's "can not understand me" but I realize the system is limited. If the alternative is to have WoW like mechanics where NPC's are nothing more than efficient quest dispensers, I'd rather keep what we have.

    What I'm more concerned with is the fact that the chat window often gets in my way whenever I'm trying to do something like trade, fight or move. I hope if the devs read this the one thing they take away from this thread is to find a way to stop players from seeing "wwwwwwwww" on their chat window. It's infuriating.
     
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  6. Logain

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    But Lordy, do you realise that the system is simply lacking 'keywords' to interact with (the dictonary isn't populated yet). I won't claim that we'd be getting ELIZA state, but I'm convinced we can get far closer to 'a sort of intelligent system able to answer your question almost like if you were interacting with a real entity' then we are at now.
    I'm actually curious and eager to see what Lum/Portalarium is going to come up with in order to allow the Dev+ Backers to design their NPCs, since that can be quite a drastic changing point in your perception. 5000 people, regardless on how bad they are at it, can work out 'more' script than 10 professionals. Yes, it would have to be proof read, but that should take less time then actually writing that stuff! I'm still hoping we're going to see a release where that kind of stuff is tested and we're then starting to work our way there, slow but steady!

    There's always going to be people 'betraying' themselves from the experience of actually solving riddles and quests themselves, since they consider them as easy means to gain items, so they can grind some more and kill people, or brag. But considering the mature and special community, I'm not sure that you'd find equal amounts as with other games.

    As for the Guided Tour, that is by no means a quest and the introduction states that rather explicitely. It's meant specifically to lead people to where Portalarium wants them to test things. It's great! A paid alpha-tester would get a shedule and notes to take special care of feature X since that's being worked on by the development team. This is a less forced, but more incentive system with paying backers to try and achive similar results.
     
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  7. DamonDelp

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    I don't like the clickability of keywords or a quest journal at all.
    Observing auto-updating of quest records is lame. I left other games to avoid this kind of nonsense, and there is one game I enjoy that doesn't use them.
    If I recall correctly, the linked words feature can be disabled. However, I believe removing the feature from game is a better design.
    In spite of what I like/dislike, I highly doubt anyone of consequence will want to remove a feature they told developers to create.
     
  8. adaamhimself

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    I don't like to converse with NPCs, as I find it incredibly awkward. It's less a conversation and more a game of "discover the keyword."
     
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  9. Sir_Hemlock

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    I have to agree, the conversation system needs to be revamped.
     
  10. Lordy

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    The problem, as somebody wrote, it's that im spending time trying to guess the proper keyword,with an intrusive interface ruining my game immersion + the total feeling of talking with a Bot and not a real NPC. This system would be OK, ONLY if all npc's are able to follow at least a basic level of conversation. Happened several times to receive answers like " sorry i don't understand" to questions like, "hello how are you?"

    Im sure it will improve, but i just wanted to ring a bell, just to be sure :)


    I mean, Apple Siri is smarter :) and alot...
     
  11. smack

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    I really do hope they devote much more resources into the conversation system. It will live and die by the number of keywords in its dictionary. Well, and the ability to properly parse it contextually. :)

    And sure, it would be great to have Siri-like tech behind it, but they don't have the $121M it cost Apple to buy Siri. I wonder how much Microsoft spent on the Cortana tech.
     
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  12. rune_74

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    I think like lord darkmoon said...it's more in the way that the game considers conversations like a chat window and not a conversation window.

    Do it like Wasteland 2 did and everything is golden.
     
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  13. smack

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    I think they can do both so you have a focused conversation UI that isn't jammed into an MMO chat box and still have full text parsing. Plus, if they did it that way, they may even be able to support Party NPC chat -- that is, your conversation with the NPC is shared with your party members. And perhaps you can transfer "control" of that chat to other party members, but everyone learns what the NPC has to say and get updated journal entries.
     
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