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Random Conversationalism

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Not sure this is the right place to post this, so please move if it's not.


I recently started playing Gothic (and I'm loving it) and there is a sort of random conversation that goes on in between NPCs. It consists of generic barks they can say back and forth to each other that blend together for the most part. For example, walk past a couple of NPCs in conversation and they might say (I don't have it memorized - this is just to give an idea),


NPC 1 "Are you sure you want to do it that way?"

NPC 2 "Well, I don't know..."

NPC 1 "I told them it wasn't going to work, but no one listened."

NPC 2 "When you rely on people for things, this is what happens."

NPC 1 "I'm going to have to take care of this myself."



In Gothic, it's a bit simplistic, but with some creative design and a system of tags where only certain replies can be given to certain barks, this could really work well, in places where generic talk is desired rather than a scripted conversation. I'm pretty sure a lot of that goes on in Thief 3 already, e.g.,


"Look alive there, you vagabond."

"Yes, your lordship................................

. idiot."



"Who asked ya?" or "All's well!" or just "Evenin'."


Combining T3's concept with Gothic's, and making the responses actually *directed* could have fantastic results. I believe some brief talk about this has taken place, so do take a look at Gothic if you get a chance. I'm imagining something like:


Group A:

"So, what do you think?"

"What are you going to do about it, then?"

"What happened?"



can have responses from,

Group B:

"I don't know, it doesn't make much sense to me."

"Who knows? I wasn't there. Who cares, anyway."

"It's not good, I can tell you that much."

"I don't see it as important. They can easily find another way to do things."


which is followed by,

Group C:




Group D:




Group E:



Etc. That sort of thing. Anyway, I was just thinking about the structure of it all because of Gothic. Obviously the usage is limited to areas where the NPCs are not the focus, because there is clearly no replacement for real conversation and scripted events. But in areas like the populated wing of a mansion during a ball, or city streets (like Gothic - the AI feels quite alive), it'd be very useful.

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Yep, I suggested this some time ago. Don't know if NH decided to go ahead with it or not.

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Already planned for this, it's in the vocal design key but I'm not aiming to make it overly complicated. With the number of characters we have to record...the amount of conversation variations would be insane. Not to mention making them all work together.


I think it's better to focus on a limited Greeting/ Reply system and give it plenty variety than to make numerous branches that are limited to keep things small. They do exist in T3 but there are only around 3 optional greetings and replies. I aim to double that.

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In Gothic they have bits and pieces of conversations. So any time you are passing by an AI it sounds as if you are interrupting or listening in on an ongoing conversation. This works quite well, because the phrases are quite generic. Of course you notice it after some time, but it still sounds pretty realistic.


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