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Questing Dialog Revamp?

Discussion in 'Release 30 Feedback Forum' started by Wodin Folkvardr, Jun 8, 2016.

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  1. Wodin Folkvardr

    Wodin Folkvardr Avatar

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    Hey guys,

    I'm pretty sure that this has been brought up before in past releases, and with the push of Quest Polish and New player experience updates I was curious if there has been any talk about changing the way that we interact with NPC's?

    As it stands my personally opinion is that talking to NPC's feels very sloppy. You must fight against cursor positioning, active chat tab/UI elements, and general latency. It feels like this aspect of the game should be very much front and center to get it polished and functional as not only something that gives a large portion of the new player experience, but also something that every player must endure for the entirety of the game.

    SOTA has great potential to create living and organic feeling cities with NPC's that exhibit personality traits that help the player feel more immersed but that is quickly halted during the actual interaction - Talking to the NPC does not feel like talking to a person, even if we use the same chat window - it feels like it was tacked on as a last minute call.

    So my question would be; @Chris , Has there been any talk development side on revamping how players communicate with NPC's and therefore changing how they experience the awesome mechanics we could potentially have with our AI conversation system?

    I believe there was at least one post that had a great illustration of an idea; Unfortunately I could not find it, if someone else knows where it's at if they could reference it that would be great. I really think breaking the NPC chat away from standard chat window could potentially improve the experience a lot - Perhaps fading out other UI elements to draw the user into the conversation. Just some thoughts.

    What does the rest of the community think on the subject?

    ~Woden
     
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  2. Fister Magee

    Fister Magee Avatar

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    I think, because we have to speak to the NPC's differently than any other player, that the interaction with them should be somehow separate, maybe like Ultima 7.

    Currently my interaction with an NPC is like this: I literally caveman-speak them.... 'name' HIT ENTER 'job' HIT ENTER 'help' HIT ENTER 'health' ENTER AGAIN... (what was the fifth global keyword..? :p oh yes... 'bye', but I can rudely walk away and not have to type this polite response out :) ) I then wait for the system to catch up to my queries, and then click on everything that comes up underlined. So NOT fun. If it is to complete a quest where I have to word something EXACTLY, it can take a few tries before I come up with the phrase that the NPC expects. Even less fun. I had to consult the journal more than once to see how perfectly the phrase needed to end a quest, was worded... :(

    I know many ppl spell funny or in abbreviations, so this system also affects them.. not to mention the non-localized versions and players whose first language is not english (and no localized version exists yet for them)....
     
  3. Wodin Folkvardr

    Wodin Folkvardr Avatar

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    That's true, but I guess where I was coming from was more the mechanic of the act of talking to them. Tell me if this sounds like a familiar scenario:

    1. Walk up to talk to NPC
    2. Check chat window to see if it's active
    3. Type/click through conversation
    4. Accidentally break chat mode by walking/esc/clicking
    5. Talking to NPC but actually talking in Local
    6. Exit Conversation mode
    7. Cycle to main tab/click to close NPC tab
    7.5. Too lazy to cycle through tab/close NPC tab so you run 30 yards away randomly just to get it to auto close

    Honestly the whole act of the MMO chat window to interact feels shoddy in my personal opinion; The toggling 3rd person/cursor mode further complicates things, and then obviously the NPC chat logic - which I'm confident will get better down the line.

    I'm mainly concerned with the fact that this is a "Framework" element of the whole game yet feels like a DOS script made by college students that was just tossed in. (I mean no insult to the development staff, I know how priorities work.)

    ~Woden
     
  4. Fister Magee

    Fister Magee Avatar

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    I agree with your assessment :) After I create my character, one of the first things I turn off is the 3rd person convo view, it is completely jarring, especially when wrestling with the tabbed chat thingy.. and the NPC interaction sees fit to even make it's own tab.. I create a few tabs at as well, one meant to filter out the npc and mmo chat.. adding another tab to my chat window annoys me. If I am always changing defaults because they are clunky or feel better without it, I have to feel sorry for the new players coming in and given this current interface with the quests (and are not familiar with what all them options in the Game Settings means).. it needs some work to feel more fluid. Which is why I think it needs to be separate from the whole mmo chat window.

    I only hope it is a lot of placeholder stuff, and that the devs will surprise us with the real quest/npc chat system that will work with their underlying code... I can hope! :)
     
  5. Wodin Folkvardr

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    This right here is what I feel as well, the game should not require 15 minutes to setup chat tabs and settings to make the questing feel semi-functional. New players and that initial experience is what's going to make or break a player staying with the game. I feel the game will constantly receive negative feedback until they can polish this significantly. Being a core component it should also be prioritized pretty early on.. IMO

    ~Woden
     
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  6. Bluefire

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    In addition to the other great concerns in this thread I'd like to see an option to remove any highlighting at all from the NPC chat for those of us that really want a challenge. It's not enough to just remove the link, I want the option to remove the highlight as well so I have to figure it out on my own. Call it U4 mode.
     
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  7. Leostorm

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    There was talk of chat UI revamp coming last hangout i think
     
  8. Lum the Mad

    Lum the Mad Developer Emeritus

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    We have some plans for this but unfortunately it has been bumped from the immediate schedule (@Chris can attest I literally held my breath until I turned blue, to no avail, amazingly things like "making the game not crash" take precedence, whouldathunkit). We do know it needs some work and are working through some ideas to make it more accessible and less like an IRC chatroom.
     
  9. Lum the Mad

    Lum the Mad Developer Emeritus

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    I'm not sure the game would actually be playable at that point; there are parts of the dialog that link from an NPC's speech as part of a cinematic sequence/to space out dialog that isn't exactly intuitive.
     
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  10. smack

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    @Lum, how will you solve the keyword inventory / management problem? Scrolling back and forth within a wall of text in the chat tab is really clunky. Sure, we can write every new keyword per NPC down on paper, but was wondering if you're considering solving this in the UI somehow.

    Example: Wasteland 2 has a keyword hotbar, in addition to its free-form text input. Not suggesting we copy that, but something to consider to see how another game that has NPC chat like SotA.
     
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  11. Quenton

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    I have a bit of a different problem with NPC chatter which I'm not sure at least some others are experiencing. Here is the process from my view:

    1) Double click NPC (and I think there's a brief moment of pathing towards the NPC?)
    2) Screen fades out, fades into closeup of NPC
    3) Conversation begins, I rapidly say name and how can I help in quick sucession
    4) Pause
    5) NPC responds
    6) I start clicking on everything that NPC said that I think might be relevant. Not one link, every link.
    7) Pause
    8) NPC responds
    this repeats, including the constant pausing, until I'm done - usually when there's an update saying my journal has been updated
    9) Screen fades out, world fades in
    10) I reset my camera to max zoom out because the game doesn't care what my original zoom levels were and instead resets to the default

    There's a few things to note here:
    • I don't care about closeups. If I want to see the guy's face, I will zoom in. I know you don't normally talk to people from a third person view, but the first person view here doesn't work thanks to the delay. If there's a way to really speed this up, maybe it could be done. The fadeouts alone would likely have to go.
    • The zoom level goes back to the default, for every single conversation I have. This is more of a problem than it seems, because it's not just happening now and then, or just once, and it's not even a single key to fix, it's: type "bye", wait for fade, mousewheel down, mousewheel down, mousewheel down. Then continue playing.
    • The pauses between every single keyword. I don't think I'm really supposed to be clicking multiple keywords at once while I wait for the NPC to respond to all 3 at once so that I don't have to deal with those pauses quite as much, but it's the only thing keeping me sane in those conversations. Like Wodin said - it feels sloppy.
     
  12. smack

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    There is an in-game option to disable Conversation mode when talking to NPCs.
    The zoom level reset has been an ongoing bug for many releases. Not sure when they're going to fix that.
    The conversation lag has also been reported and it can be pretty bad at times (upwards of 10+ seconds). No ETA on this fix either.
     
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  13. Bluefire

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    Lum, color me confused and intrigued! If I can see it highlighted or linked, how can I not guess the word or possibly the sequence needed? I understand it might not be intuitive and for those rare instances where it is a series of words that players would likely struggle to figure out then perhaps a hint (spoiler if I may) icon could appear at the end of that sentence to give me a chance to click it - but then I could just opt back in to highlighted or linked words if I was feeling stuck.

    Without giving away anything could you give us a not in game model example?

    My primary concern is that as a spiritual successor to games that I had to almost wildly guess what the NPCs would respond to, I find SotA to be too "obvious" with highlighted words. Granted I have to stumble upon the correct NPCs, but when I'm talking to them they highlight the words that really matter and that just seems too easy to me. I have found some that will respond to things I randomly or "fingers crossed" throw at them - such as locating someone I'm looking for or other not-so- directly-related quests.

    Appreciate you sharing.
     
  14. Lum the Mad

    Lum the Mad Developer Emeritus

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    We would like to implement something similar. Stay tuned!
     
  15. Wodin Folkvardr

    Wodin Folkvardr Avatar

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    I did not mean to say that the team had bad priorities necessarily; I was under the impression that the members working on stability were different than those working on things such as UI elements and other quest related assets.

    Even myself being more MMO/PVP oriented I feel like questing usability has really taken a back seat.. if I feel this way I can only imagine what those who came to the game looking for a rich, engrossing story line think as they muddle through it all.

    Just some thoughts from a peon =)

    ~Woden
     
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  16. Lord Andernut

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    We need to schedule a sit-in. I'm very fond of name/job/bye but more from my U7 days where we had conversation branches rather than typing :)

    The current system would be great for me in a MUD where I'm reading everything and combat is also via the keyboard etc. c sulfur slime.
     
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