Dialogue Puzzles

dyoghenes

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Hi!

I don't know whether this was discussed before (I didn't find any thread with this or similar name) so if it already exists I am sorry.

Previously I made combat-heavy games because that was the only way I knew how to prolong the walkthrough time. I recently started working on a non-combat game that is basicly an adventure game in style of the great adventure games from the '90s.

However, I had a problem with dialogue puzzles and implementing them in RPG Maker. A dialogue puzzle is basicly a conversation tree with normally one correct path and loops where previously selected choices are not shown anymore. For example Ron Gilbert posted a short snippet from his game Thimbleweed Park on its blog, you can find it here at the end of the post with a black background: https://blog.thimbleweedpark.com/dialog_puzzles

I write the "skeleton" of the dialogue in Microsoft Visio which gives me a very visual preview of the tree and makes it easier to recreate in RPG Maker. I implement this using labels and using a plugin (in MV) that allows me to disable/hide choices, but still it is very time consuming (I use Yanfly's Extended Message Pack 1 plugin to hide choices but it seems it hides them globally, so I have to reset them and use a lot of switches to check for each conversation).

My main question is: How would you implement a conversation tree/dialogue puzzle in RPG Maker? Which is the most time-saving and shortest way to do it? To be more specific: how would you recreate the Ron Gilbert's short mockup in RPG Maker?

Thank you for reading this!
 

Kes

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This is a "How do I...?" (implementation) question and so belongs in the Support forum for the engine you are using. However, you do not specify which one you are using, so I am unable to move this.

Please post with the engine so that this can go to the correct forum.
Thanks.
 

gstv87

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*one* way, is to send score updates to an overall counter based on the responses selected (+1,-1, etc) and return the final result according to a list (from -X to total X of possible points)
It would save you a lot of conditionals and switches, and it's quicker for individual scenes that you need to see through in order to advance (AKA, not things that would affect quests or events elsewhere)

Another way (probably THE way) is to build a small manager that would deal with text and lines (and, character names, and/or faces, and/or name colors) pulled from a database.
That way you can write the entire dialogue as a set of individual lines with their own ID, and when you need to alter the dialogue you send a call like
"$manager.say_text(Character, lineID, parameters)"
and it will show up as a regular text window, without you needing to use the GUI tool for that.
Also, when I say Character, "Character" implies faceID, name and name color, and whatever other special symbols you want to add, since it's always the same character.
You'll also need a custom window to display the dialogue choices, as the standard choice window only allows 4 ways (and maybe is capped in string length.... I don't remember)
Making the new window from scratch is hard, and it involves messing with the general flow of the game (if you use XP/Ace/MV... I don't know about VNM), so, the best work around that is to take the existing window, copy it, and redefine it's values.

Since everything will be code, you can work the script calls down to one single line, and pack everything nicely as a common event.
Your only limitation will be that the choice window only supports 4 options.
If you deal with that, you should be set.
 

dyoghenes

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Kes: Sorry, I am using RPG Maker MV.

gstv87: The first method I don't quite understand. As far I can see it doesn't do anything about hiding a choice. Although the variable-based choices coupled with calling common events should make the progress easier.
The second method is unfortunately too hard for me as I am not a coder.
 

gstv87

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what I mean is, using a standard choice window, make the outcome of every selection an update to a general counter.
you can use labels and conditionals to jump back and forth between splashes of choices if you need to repeat a section.

at the end of the run, your main counter will have a value.
present the result based on how much the player has updated that value...... that's up to your design

ever done an IQ test? or a general personality test?
each answer adds or take points from a total score... at the end of the test, you score maybe 80/100, or 6/10, whatever the maximum is.
make up a list of possible outcomes, and add or take points based on the answers.
 

Kes

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Thanks for the info. In that case...
{mod]Moving this to RPGMaker MV[/mod]
 

dyoghenes

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each answer adds or take points from a total score... at the end of the test, you score maybe 80/100, or 6/10, whatever the maximum is.
make up a list of possible outcomes, and add or take points based on the answers.
I see now what you mean. But that is not exactly what I am looking for. I need my conversation to branch out after each choice, not only after summarizing all of my choices.

For example:
I can choose initially A, B, or C. If I choose A then I get a response and go back to choosing between B or C (A no longer being available), then B gives me another the options of D, E, and F. If I choose D, then I go back to the first A (if not selected before), B, C options, selecting E returns me to D, E, F, and so on.
 
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GrandmaDeb

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Okay, not to nit-pick, but if you pick A, then can't choose A so choose B, then choose D - How did A become Available agin?

this might be easiest to event as "stations" - people to talk to or kiosks or windows - rather that purely evented dialog.
 

dyoghenes

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Sorry, A doesn't become available again, I only wrote A because it was part of the first "list".

How do "stations" work?
 

GrandmaDeb

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So if you have a strict "dialog" you are talking about a wall of text - a long event with show choices as @gstv87 said to select among options and lots of text messages.
IMHO this sounds awfully tedious to event and play.
but you could accomplish the same thing in a few different ways.
You could have a number of people with whom you interact for each question phase, each of whom would offer their individual dialog options and you could choose the person. Either by saying yes to an NPC, or by clicking on part of an image.
It is just another way to control the flow without it all being completely yes, no and read.

Which is not to say you cannot do it that way. Well written dialog can be incredible. But going back to previous dialog would be easier if, for example, the postman say message "A" and you can turn his question on and off, rather than having to type it all in again.
ooops, I missed that you would not go back. Then your idea would be much easier to implement with show text and show choices, as above. =]
 

dyoghenes

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Using different NPCs are not really what I am looking for.

Here is an example:
An NPC tells me that the city is under attack. Then I can choose from 3 questions.
1. Who attacked the city?
2. Why are you not protecting it?
3. How can I help?

Selecting the first would give me an answer then return me to these 3 questions. Selecting the second would also give me an answer but then I could not select it again, so only the first and third question remains available. Then choosing the third would move the conversation forward. If I understand it correctly, you would solve this somewhat like this: the NPC would say that if I want to know who attacked the city, then talk to NPC #2, and to help talk to NPC #3. Is that right?
 

GrandmaDeb

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Really this would depend very heavily on the complexity of your dialog tree. =]

A straight show choices event with text might work. But I have no way to know if you are creating essentially a looping puzzle or what else it might be doing. See what I mean? It all depends on the complexity.
 

dyoghenes

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I wanted to believe that there is a "universal" method regardless of complexity. :) The complexity varies but I solved all of it with show choices-show text commands and loops, which work but are really hard to see through it later.
 

gstv87

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I wanted to believe that there is a "universal" method regardless of complexity. :)
and that, my friend,..... is how you design a manager.

figure it out, and you'll be able to code it, and remove it from the common events tab :D
 
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