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Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123290
06/23/03 04:10 PM
06/23/03 04:10 PM
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esube Offline OP
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The discussion initiated by johnboy about Broken Sword provokes the following question: when is a conversation a puzzle?

Let me put this another way. We all know what to do in an adventure game when faced with a conversation with a game character. Talk to them about everything we can. There often isn't very much to do but sit back and listen.

I am trying to think of situations in which the conversation itself takes on puzzle-like qualities

The best example of what I am thinking about perhaps is in Egypt II, where the conversation choices involve a complicated series of trades with various merchants in order to come up with just the right item(s) at the end.

I think another is in Broken Sword with Kahn on the cliff, though game-stopping dialogue choices are not so much puzzles as just bad choices laugh

Any other examples?


"I could help you if I had my salmon"
Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123291
06/23/03 04:27 PM
06/23/03 04:27 PM
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Getting into the wireless room in Titanic: Adventure Out of Time.

Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123292
06/23/03 06:05 PM
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i just finished the X-Files game... there are a few instances there where you have four conversation choices and only one of them will allow you to advance (i.e., the other three choices get you killed). it wasn't a very hard choice (for me), but i guess you could call this a puzzle...

-emily

Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123293
06/23/03 07:56 PM
06/23/03 07:56 PM
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I'm with Mr.Lipid, Titanic had loads of converse triggers. Good fun though, especially with the more camp passengers. But, TLJ wins hands down when it comes to listening to monologues before you can "progress".


The ghosts are waiting, in the dark places, the forgotten places. Waiting for you: Darkling Room Games
Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123294
06/23/03 08:29 PM
06/23/03 08:29 PM
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Insult sword fighting in the Monkey Island games. Salaambo has some dialogue choices that will get you captured and possibly killed. There are also puzzles in some games where you have discuss something before an item becomes useable or before you can find something -- Beyond Atlantis for example.

Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123295
06/23/03 11:59 PM
06/23/03 11:59 PM
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Esube,

I was just thinking about this from another thread. smile

To me a puzzle in a game is any obstacle or challenge that you have to figure out how to get past to advance the story. So many times it is a person to get past or securing their cooperation/help. This can be done by doing something for them, giving them an item, using an item on them. But many times you have to ask the right questions, give the right response or ask a question of a particular person to trigger game advancement. If so to me that is a puzzle. There is a lot of that in the Tex Murphy games. The whole plot changes in Pandora depending on the responses you make or what you pursue in dialogue. Many of the old Lucas Arts are the same way as is Syberia and Post Mortem.

I actually like more intuitive based puzzles. More challenging in many ways. I enjoy a good mix and also classic inventory based games. But I think in many ways the emphasis on plot based challenges is one of the nice developments for me in newer games.

Laura





Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123296
06/24/03 04:12 AM
06/24/03 04:12 AM
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In "Planescape Torment" (I know this is a RPG but RPG's have Adventure game elements) there are a number of conversation puzzles where you need to make the right dialogue choices to navigate through to solve the puzzle. If you don't make the right choices you start the conversation again.

This feels unnatural to me - you wouldn't in real life replay conversations like this. In a pure Adventure it also feels unnatural to me to have a dialogue choice which alters the plot - less so in a RPG (but games are most interesting when they break the rules.)

Regards, Peter.


Used to answer to "Peter Smith", now answers to "Peter Rootham-Smith"
Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123297
06/24/03 06:32 AM
06/24/03 06:32 AM
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Mystery of the Druids. If didn't make the right conversation choices, the cat wouldn't show up.


Never resist a generous impulse.
Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123298
06/24/03 08:53 AM
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As Becky said, MI's insult fights are the only true example of dialogue "puzzles" I can think of.

Blade Runner and Shadow of Destiny both included dialogue options that altered the course of events, but those are really plot devices, not puzzles.

It's hard to win with this one. Often the most direct route through a conversation is the dullest one, which is why the developers add options. But then going through the options causes unnatural results.

Personally, I feel this is a definite weakness in games that better scripting could so easily enhance. The "exhaust the options" method is a snooze, and the "right and wrong" method is restrictive. As with ALL puzzles, developers should be exploring ways of creating branching dialogue puzzles that all work back to the desired result - whether or not that would qualify them as "puzzles" still remains to be seen, but the degree of interactivity would certainly be improved.

Jack

Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123299
06/24/03 11:22 AM
06/24/03 11:22 AM
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I sure felt like Post Mortem's hotel clerk was puzzling mad He never wanted to share info with me and I wished heartily for a weapon to threaten him with (not that I'm violent, of course) laugh

Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123300
06/24/03 03:10 PM
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Talking to the old people in Shambala at the end of Beyond Atlantis 2 was a puzzle that could only be solved by trial-and-error - a very obnoxious and boring way to have to solve a "puzzle." It's similar to the scissors puzzle in Mystery of the Druids in that you don't immediately lose and can try again, but you have to listen to the same lot of %$#@! over and over again to figure out what to say and when.

Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123301
06/24/03 10:14 PM
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I agree that the MI insult duels are the best examples of this. I guess that they are so good that I had put them into a separate category altogether. laugh

I agree with what Laura and Jack said.


"I could help you if I had my salmon"
Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123302
06/24/03 11:50 PM
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I agree Jenny..that old couple in Atlantis 2 was the pits!! If you played the the first Atlantis..you will remember there were a lot of conversations in it where ....."you ask the wrong question, you were dead!" Glynn

Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123303
06/25/03 07:36 AM
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In Star Trek: A Final Unity there was a place where Wil Riker had to answer several questions in order to pass a diety-type being. It was interesting because
Spoiler
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all the correct answers were the answers that were the least specific and the most flowery. The diety seemed to think that namby-pambiness showed deep insight.

Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123304
06/26/03 08:04 PM
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Two unusual games I can recall were ROBOT WORLD & STARSHIP TIATANIC. You had to ask a question at just the right time or the next step didn't become available. Then you had to determine if what you were told was really a clue. Most times I dislike conversations in games because the choices given are either not the questions I really have and would want to ask, or else they are questions I had not thought of and in themselves have just become a "spoiler"

Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123305
06/26/03 08:58 PM
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Pandora Directive had a scene where you had to negotiate through the dialouge tree in a specific order otherwise you died. There was no way past that scene until you found the correct order. Much like a visual puzzle where you are required to click your mouse over the correct hotspots in the correct sequence. It was different than the insult sword fighting in MI in that when you restarted the converstation was fixed. I think in MI the game introduced some randomness which was more fun I thought.

Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123306
06/26/03 09:44 PM
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Count me in with the Monkey Island insult fights, ya bunch of Grog Grubbers!!

But wasn't the language learning part of TLJ a puzzle?

Although I have heard people hated that part (or at least the long monologue which followed), I loved it. It's unusual that any fantasy undertakes the effort to explain how it is that the protagonist travels to another world and everyone speaks English. SO... I liked it just because it made sense (kinda like the miniturization backpack in Outcast... finally solving the riddle of how a character carries around all that inventory!).

But I also liked it as a puzzle. Certainly not something graphical like a slider, but not an inventory based puzzle either. I thought it was interesting.

Now... here's a question... Does "talking" to the monkey in Road to India count?


"Learning to fly... and I'm trying to try..." Ritchie Havens (Tex Murphy: Overseer)
Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123307
06/27/03 12:43 AM
06/27/03 12:43 AM
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Hey....I forgot about the monkey puzzle in Road to India, sure seems to fit to me. As for monkey combat/ insult sword fighting... one of my most favorite puzzles of all times. Bwah-ha-ha-ha and a dead gamer's chest. laugh

Laura





Re: Conversation with characters as puzzles? #123308
06/28/03 02:18 AM
06/28/03 02:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by CNW400:
Most times I dislike conversations in games because the choices given are either not the questions I really have and would want to ask...
Some of the questions given as choices are sometimes rather stupid and not at all pertinent. Of course, the same thing can be true of actions. The obvious thing to do is such and such and you can't do that since some triggering action has not been taken. This happens so much in inventory games. I think it is because of the programming complexities that some rational actions cannot be taken. Maybe with more advanced game-creation programs it will be possible to "act" more naturally in a game. I won't hold my breath. smile


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. -- Aristotle
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