ADRIFT Forum


The place to discuss the ADRIFT Interactive Fiction toolkit

Pros and Cons of Character Convo tab VS Task Conversations?

This forum is the place to learn about and discuss ADRIFT 5. Feel free to mention any bugs you find here, but please also add these to the Bugs & Enhancements list.

Please also refer to the ADRIFT 5 Wiki for more information.

Pros and Cons of Character Convo tab VS Task Conversations?

Postby MOGz » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:21 am

Hello everyone for the first time! I recently downloaded the Developer and Runner and am excited to try out a few games as well as work on a few projects. The system is pretty good and mostly intuitive, and I have seen a number of topics here that have answered some of my questions on development so far.

However, one which seems to plague me pretty consistently is the benefit of either Task Based conversations over using the Character Conversation option that each character comes equipped with.

I have seen several topics that briefly mention specific work arounds and fixes for a variety of problems, which are helpful in the advice offered, but one thing I come across several times in reading these discussions is that many experienced Adrift users prefer using task led conversations over the one provided for the characters. But I have yet to really see an explanation for why, or a discussion that goes over the benefits (and problems) inherent in the use of each one.

So I decided to add my own query on it. As the type of person who tends to obsess over the reason for why things are the way they are, I get confounded and a little frustrated with the simple explanation of, "Just because."

I would think that using the resource available on the Character would make the most sense for games with only a few characters (Or whose main characters might require some more refined conversation options), but task oriented conversation seems like a possibly more elegant solution for a large cast of people. Are there specific cases where one would be used over another, or even conjunctively?

Also, I am a bit confused about the function of the action "conversation." What is it's purpose, if the description for a task could be used to supply all the conversation that would be run by that task (Aside from merely flagging when a character is "in conversation" with the player)?

Anyway, this being my first post here, I hope to learn all I can and get to know some of the other people here a bit as I do some exploring of this awesome system!
MOGz
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:41 pm

Re: Pros and Cons of Character Convo tab VS Task Conversatio

Postby Lazzah » Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:17 am

I have always used task based conversations in my games, simply because I could not get my head around how the conversation system worked with its "explicit and implicit introductions". We are not all blessed with college or university educations in maths and computer science and such! :haha:

I actually delete the restriction CHARACTER 'name' MUST BE IN A CONVERSATION WITH CHARACTER 'name' from whatever tasks it is in as I had never worked out how a conversation is "triggered". And I have been using ADRIFT5 for 8 years now.
WIP: The Lost Labyrinth of Lazaitch

ALSO AVAILABLE: The Axe of Kolt, The Spectre of Castle Coris, The Fortress of Fear, Die Feuerfaust, The Lost Children, Run, Bronwynn, Run, Magnetic Moon, Starship Quest, Revenge of the Space Pirates
User avatar
Lazzah
Moderator
 
Posts: 2247
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:54 am
Location: Dagenham, Essex
Points: 60

Re: Pros and Cons of Character Convo tab VS Task Conversatio

Postby Lumin » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:55 am

Welcome!

May I ask how you found the site?

Myself, I always used tasks for conversations. Tasks are so flexible and the built in system just seemed like a more complicated way to accomplish the exact same thing.

But if you have a ton of characters and a ton of things they'll respond to, it may be preferable to use the conversation system just for organization purposes.
User avatar
Lumin
 
Posts: 2030
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2004 5:48 pm
Points: 34

Re: Pros and Cons of Character Convo tab VS Task Conversatio

Postby The0didactus » Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:26 pm

I use the task-based system for character conversations as well, but because I loathe guess the verb issues, I always have a limited number of things you can talk to characters about. I'll say early on you can ASK characters ABOUT the following 15 things: The bomb, the secret mission, the united states, the alien, etc...

If you were going to make a more robust system where you wanted to have tons of characters teach of whom responded to dozens and dozens of things, you might want to use the conversation system.

In reality, ADRIFT's task system is so versatile that I end up just making tasks for almost everything.
The0didactus
 
Posts: 243
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:20 pm
Points: 105

Re: Pros and Cons of Character Convo tab VS Task Conversatio

Postby MOGz » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:17 pm

@Lumin, I typed into google "Text Based game," or some such, and after a few minutes of browsing came across Adrift.

I am also a bit confused about the "Must be in conversation" restriction, but am a bit worried about doing anything wonky by removing it. I am hardly an expert coder, so most of figuring things out is turning out to be tinkering trial and error.

My thoughts were that for a robust NPC conversation system the convo tab on characters seems easier, since you could create a skeleton character model upfront and then copy/paste the character so you do not need to do it over and over again. If the NPC conversation system you plan is just quick and easy, you do not need something as robust, hence tasks. But this is my impression, which you all seem to confirm.

I can't seem to get the convo tab to function well, however...it seems to come into conflict with the conversation tasks a bit, which makes me want to just delete them to test it out (but then I risk damaging a core component of the system in the standard library that I may not be able to replicate).

Hmmm...well, it is a process, and I am at least enjoying the problem solving, strange as that may seem.

Thanks for the input so far!
MOGz
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:41 pm

Re: Pros and Cons of Character Convo tab VS Task Conversatio

Postby saabie » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:17 am

The "Must be in conversation" restriction is there so that ADRIFT knows if the %convcharacter% variable has been set yet.
This variable is set whenever you are in a conversation with another character.
There are tasks such as "Ask character about subject" that let you choose which character you want to talk to.

If the player types "Ask about mission" then there are two different tasks that could run.
If you are already in a conversation with another character then that is the character that is asked using the "Ask about subject" task.
Otherwise the "Ask about (Lazy)" task runs, which has a restriction to check that you are alone with one other character and starts a conversation with that character.

None of this matters if the player is only ever with one other character at a time, but as soon as you have a room with 2 or more other characters in it then you need to know which one you are in conversation with.
saabie
 
Posts: 987
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:07 am
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Points: 50

Re: Pros and Cons of Character Convo tab VS Task Conversatio

Postby Denk » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:26 pm

MOGz wrote:I can't seem to get the convo tab to function well, however...it seems to come into conflict with the conversation tasks a bit, which makes me want to just delete them to test it out (but then I risk damaging a core component of the system in the standard library that I may not be able to replicate)
As long as you are only changing the standard library from within ADRIFT, you can "only" mess up the game file you are working with. As soon as you start on a new project, the standard library is fine again. Anyway, before you start experimenting with the standard library you might save your game under a new name, just in case things do not go as expected. But I can only encourage new users to experiment with the standard library. One of the ideas of the standard library is, that it should be possible to change it to suit your game. You can learn a lot by looking at the standard library tasks and see how it was done.

BTW, there is a thread intended for newcomers: http://forum.adrift.co/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=12082
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Bash Saga:
1. The Dragon Diamond 2. The Way Home 3. Stone of Wisdom
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Denk
 
Posts: 273
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:21 pm
Location: Hjørring, Denmark
Points: 56

Re: Pros and Cons of Character Convo tab VS Task Conversatio

Postby MOGz » Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:47 pm

Thanks for the encouragement @Denk.

I have since tinkered a little with the conversation tab and have seen improvement in it's function for what I am doing, so fewer problems in general. I also played a bit with the standard library tasks for conversations just to see what they do. One of the tweaks I made was to alter the word "about" in both Ask and Tell processes to be an optional word, such as [Tell] %character% {about}. That solves some of the wonky logic I myself come up against in phrase construction. "About" isn't used in as many iterations of a sentence as the developer logic would assume.

"Say" is it's own bit of crazy nightmare for me, especially since it is required for most of the general commands that are conversation dependent, and making it optional may cause problems when interacting with other task commands. So I will have to just deal with it.
MOGz
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:41 pm

Re: Pros and Cons of Character Convo tab VS Task Conversatio

Postby DazaKiwi » Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:00 am

Yeah Character conversations can appear at first to be one of the difficulty parts of Adrift 5 i think, but with some trial and error you can learn the basics of it. Just remember the general command has to use the same form as general tasks outside of conversations etc. eg. [bad] [weather] {today} [ ] = commands must be entered {} = optional

which the player types: say bad weather to Bob

You can use * as well which will accept any text before or after depending which side of the command it is on eg.
* [bad] [weather]
So the player can type: 'we had really bad weather' this can be handy for allowing a topic to be asked like a question without using ask...say to bill what do you know about the missing statue

Also Note: Adrift doesn't like the character ? used, so if the player types: say to bill have you seen the statue?
It will say...Bill ignores you. Not sure how common this might happen with those new to IF when playing but maybe something to warn new players about in-game especially if the game has a lot of questioning npcs like a detective style game.

Even if you make ? part of the command eg. * [seen] {the} [statue] {?}
This is something i wished would get addressed in the future because especially a new player to IF might enter ? like you would when chatting to a person online.

Ask and Tell instead have the following format if i am not mistaken: bad, weather

A further tip is if you want a different response when the player says something again you can right click the output area in conversation and choose Show only once and then create an alt desc and set this to "Start description with" it will display the next time the player asks,say,tell the same topic.

Ive made a little demo. However i have noticed something weird with it. This is something for other drifters to have a look at. To recreate this glitch do thus;
tell jack about missing cat (behaves as normal only outputs Jacks response)
tell bill about missing cat (it outputs jacks response first then bill's response)

Any idea why this is happening?
Attachments
Basic_default_conversation.taf
(16.02 KiB) Downloaded 5 times
User avatar
DazaKiwi
 
Posts: 643
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:05 am
Location: New Zealand
Points: 21

Re: Pros and Cons of Character Convo tab VS Task Conversatio

Postby MOGz » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:41 am

My guess is that you are "in conversation" with both characters, and it is picking up the identical number of words to display both outputs.

Since I am not at my computer, sadly I can't run the demo to look.
MOGz
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:41 pm

Re: Pros and Cons of Character Convo tab VS Task Conversatio

Postby Lumin » Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:21 am

I'd be really impressed if someone pulled off any kind of natural seeming conversation It seems like you'd run into a lot of obviously off responses when it's just looking at keywords, or a lot of annoying guessing if it wanted specific phrases.

I think for most games the standard ASK BOB ABOUT SUE, ASK BOB ABOUT MURDER is enough for information gathering purposes. Or a context sensitive menu system for when you want a conversation to be more characterful. But it'll be interesting to see what MOGz comes up with because I gather this is going to be a very NPC focused game.
User avatar
Lumin
 
Posts: 2030
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2004 5:48 pm
Points: 34

Re: Pros and Cons of Character Convo tab VS Task Conversatio

Postby MOGz » Tue Oct 15, 2019 4:35 pm

I have several game ideas in the works... I am trying to be patient with them because I tend to set my ambition too high from the get go. The conversation concept is one of many, but very much something I want to implement (in part) in each game, because I see no benefit to creating an action centric oriented game via text (personally, YMMV). Just looking at the system it seems that IF lends itself more to puzzle solving, treasure hunts, and conversational context.

Hence, I am trying to knock out the complexity of the portion I see as the most fulfilling.

I thought that maybe once I get my feet fully wet on how things function I might create a Convo demo, a simple game that showcases the function of the convo tab on characters. Not sure how useful it would be, but given that it is not the preferred option, and that I myself find it to be an incredibly diverse and variable process, I thought it might be nice to show it off a bit and also let others see how it works.
MOGz
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:41 pm


Return to ADRIFT 5.0

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron