Natural Choices of Readers vs Enforced Choices of Design

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papillon
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Re: Natural Choices of Readers vs Enforced Choices of Design

#16 Post by papillon » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:11 pm

I think I once mused on how it might work to try and make all of the player's choices have a sincere/insincere option, without having to print out double the options like in PST:

[Truth] You're beautiful
[Lie] You're beautiful

It was important in Planescape Torment that you be able to lie a lot, but this sort of doubling is awkward for the interface.

I think I was hypothesizing having every option bar have a sincere end and an insincere end, and you would click on the side that was most appropriate whenever you picked something. If it's built into EVERY choice, it could therefore become more natural and less like "suddenly it matters that I'm lying about this one thing". Of course, figuring out what it means to be insincere about some options could be weird writing-wise, but it would be an interesting element to play with.

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Re: Natural Choices of Readers vs Enforced Choices of Design

#17 Post by philat » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:33 pm

I think my discomfort with the (lie) mechanism is similar to what papillon points out -- I really don't think that's what people are thinking when they are having conversations. In most normal social interactions (obviously leaving out instances where deliberate deception is the point, like spy or crime genres), people aren't really thinking "Oh, I'm going to lie." Usually, it's much more low key than that -- and often skirting / mixed with the truth. Also, in many cases, what turns out to be a lie isn't a lie at first -- you promise someone that you'll love them forever, and you mean it at the time, but then you don't. It's why I think the Persona 4 or Witcher 3 way of doing things is more appealing to me - say and do whatever you want, and then later if you were lying, consequences happen.

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Re: Natural Choices of Readers vs Enforced Choices of Design

#18 Post by Kailoto » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:44 pm

With regard to lying in dialogue options and tonal distinction, a friend of mine had a pretty good idea. In it, the color of the menu bar is used to denote tone - so for example, green can represent neutral or truthful, blue can represent sadness and melancholy, orange can represent sarcasm and snark, and red can represent lying or malicious intent. Obviously you'd want to boil it down to only a few different distinctions so that the player can instantly recognize them, but I think it's a bit more elegant than simply putting [Lie] in brackets. It does require a bit more programming and an in-game explanation, though.

The benefits are that it works for all sorts of situations, not just lying. You can choose whether to be snooty towards someone, or sincere, and you can express a lot more about your personality that way.
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Re: Natural Choices of Readers vs Enforced Choices of Design

#19 Post by trooper6 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:39 pm

philat wrote:I think my discomfort with the (lie) mechanism is similar to what papillon points out -- I really don't think that's what people are thinking when they are having conversations. In most normal social interactions (obviously leaving out instances where deliberate deception is the point, like spy or crime genres), people aren't really thinking "Oh, I'm going to lie." Usually, it's much more low key than that -- and often skirting / mixed with the truth. Also, in many cases, what turns out to be a lie isn't a lie at first -- you promise someone that you'll love them forever, and you mean it at the time, but then you don't. It's why I think the Persona 4 or Witcher 3 way of doing things is more appealing to me - say and do whatever you want, and then later if you were lying, consequences happen.
The tricky thing about that is that some lies are only about internal characterization things rather than lies that result in actions that might give you consequences.

I can imagine a VN with a romance element where you have the person you are supposed marry and you have some other love interest on the side. If you only have the Witcher option where they only look at your actions...i.e. you say "I love you Prince So-and-So" and then you stay with them forever. Well, The Witcher wouldn't register that as a lie and there you go.
But I'd like the option where you can register that you where lying when you said I love you "Prince So-and-So"--so you stay with the prince forever, but inside you know it is a lie. That some noble style 1950s internal melodrama that you get by having [Lie] Of course I love you options that you wouldn't get if you never had a way to register your internal feelings.

But I am pretty sure Choice of Romance let you mean it one time...and then change your mind later.

ETA: One of the things I think is really great about a VN is that the player can craft a relationship with the internal world of the protagonist, much like in a first person crime novel. This sort of relationship often doesn't happen in most video games where everything is very externally focused. And if you are having an experience where you have access to the protagonists internal world...or if you are embodying the protagonist and their internal world, I think intention tags are an important tool for creating that relationship, even when...and perhaps especially when...the NPCs won't have access to that knowledge.

With intention tags and other explorations of interiority, you can have a strong silent type that is mysterious to the NPCs but not to the player. I am really interested in exploring that for a few of my future VNs...and ways to share intent/interiority separate from action/exteriority would be really important for the things I have in mind.
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Re: Natural Choices of Readers vs Enforced Choices of Design

#20 Post by Mad Harlequin » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:46 am

Kailoto wrote:With regard to lying in dialogue options and tonal distinction, a friend of mine had a pretty good idea. In it, the color of the menu bar is used to denote tone - so for example, green can represent neutral or truthful, blue can represent sadness and melancholy, orange can represent sarcasm and snark, and red can represent lying or malicious intent. Obviously you'd want to boil it down to only a few different distinctions so that the player can instantly recognize them, but I think it's a bit more elegant than simply putting [Lie] in brackets. It does require a bit more programming and an in-game explanation, though.
Kudos to your friend for coming up with something cool like that. I'll have to remember it for a future project!
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