Saturday, September 25, 2010

Party members have opinions too

In a short progress update for The Shattered War today, I've been working on getting party member interjections working seamlessly within conversations.  This isn't actually as simple as at sounds given the way that conversations work in Dragon Age. 

Ideally, conversations have a "stage" positioning all the actors at particular locations in a level. This allows for things like camera cuts and character animations to make the conversation more cinematic.  However, this also requires that every participant in the conversation be mapped to a particular stage location. This mapping causes a problem when dealing with party members, as a particular party member could be in varying locations (depending on party order) and they could be absent entirely if the player has chosen to leave them out of their party!

Mannequins and cameras abound

As such, there are generic "henchmen" actors that can be assigned to a particular stage location, but I had to find out the means to allow my new party members to be treated in this manner. Thanks to the helpful TimelordDC in this thread, I was able to correct this issue and I can now happily create conversations where party members interrupt. Of course, their interruptions may not always be welcomed by those you are talking to...

Sometimes it's not easy to make friends

This means that I've been able to turn my concentration to the real task at hand for me today, which is getting a side quest finished. I'm quietly hopeful that I'll have it done before the day is out.


  1. Ew, stages :) I had a lot of fun writing interjections for Classic Week, but it was trivial because stages/cutscenes weren't appropriate for the MMO context anyway, and the "NPCs" naturally couldn't respond to your fellow "PCs".

    Is that your village level in the screenshot? I'm building something with that today myself.

    - Mengtzu

  2. Stages are wonderful, in my opinion. They do add a little bit of overhead at points, but the things they give you in return make it more than worth it.

    That screenshot *is* using my village level - nicely spotted. Glad to hear that someone else is also getting use out of it!

  3. Hrm, it seems I have some very observant readers!