Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

  1. Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.
    Dismiss Notice

1eyedking Long-winded dialogues suck

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Darth Roxor, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. Quatlogender: ⚧ Arcane

    Quatlo
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2013
    Parrots:
    752
    Click here and disable ads!
    Oh, its you being a dumbfuck again.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
    ^ Top  
  2. AngryKoboldgender: ⚧ Cipher

    AngryKobold
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Parrots:
    504
    At first I wanted to throw some insults at Roxor. Low effort trolling must be met with contempt.

    At the second thought he may have some point.

    The main trait plaguing popamole genre in its pathetic current state: focus on cinematics. The business got overrun by talentless hacks thinking they're movie directors. At the same time games focused on written content attract the same kind of deviants. Talentless hacks thinking they're actual writers. But it's not the poorly written prose that breaks the text content but the length. The POINTLESS length.

    That's because the primates forget what't the main point of text narrative in the game. Mammals are so dumb they think the text in a game serves the same purpose as does the spoken language every day: to yap as much retarded sounds formed into meaningless words as possible.

    WRONG!

    Text in the game is supposed to provide the player INFORMATION. RELEVANT INFORMATION. Hacks drown player in completely irrelevant information, basically useless blabbering. To get things worse, the insufferable, absolutely worthless wall of text must eventually have some information RELEVANT to the game. That's where the chore starts.

    Recent examples: Pillars of Eternity, Wasteland 2.

    PoE: Durance. Reading over and over again the same phrases said by blabbering madman. It's beyond me how anybody could think it's a good idea- to write all lines of said madman as literal, one- to- one, blabbering of madman. How about FUCKING STYLIZATION? Anybody remember what Sharkspeare said? Fucking garbage.

    W2: every conversation with NPC brings exactly the flood of irrelevant information I wrote before. A perfect example, too bad a negative example.

    The described flaws apply to all written content, including VA dialogues nad cinematics.

    The limitation of memory storage was a real blessing for the all old games. Now CPU work so fast it's pointless to count GHz-s anymore , RAM is measured in dozens of GBs. No physical obstacle can stop an insane mammal from transferring its mental diarrhea to computer memory.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 3
    ^ Top  
  3. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Parrots:
    20,969
    If only Obsidian Entertainment would give Josh "all three Splinter Cell games were more well-executed and polished than any of the Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Fallout, or Neverwinter titles" Sawyer full creative control, we could have a role playing title with extremely dry, grounded dialogue.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  4. Excidium IIgender: ⚧ Self-Ejected

    Self-Ejected
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2015
    Parrots:
    1,866,260
    Location:
    Third World
    And now the exact same script, fully voice-acted!
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
    ^ Top  
  5. Sheepgender: ⚧ Prospernaut

    Sheep
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Parrots:
    2,070
    Location:
    Hungry
    Durance was actually entertaining to read. His point is to be blabbering madman preacher kind of guy and he does it well.

    I think walking-encyclopedias everywhere are bigger problem of PoE's dialogue
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 6
    ^ Top  
  6. thesheeepgender: ⚧ Arcane

    thesheeep
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    Parrots:
    5,878
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    Kinda. Yes. Just a bit. No. No.

    I agree with your overall point, some dialogs really suck and some others sure are too long-winded. But your examples are really a mixed bag.

    And of course games can be, party at least, literature.
    Games can be pretty much anything, really.
    Hell, there are games that practically count as movies (Telltale, anyone?).

    If you don't like games with lots of text, how about you don't play games with lots of text?
    I wonder: did you like PS:T?
    In the end, all that matters is if you like the writing style, and if that style is coherent and fitting to its own context.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 4
    ^ Top  
  7. Old Onegender: ⚧ Magister

    Old One
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Parrots:
    1,587
    Location:
    The Great Underground Empire
    Brevity is the soul of wit.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 6
    ^ Top  
  8. Blowhardgender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Blowhard
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Parrots:
    110
    I agree wholeheartedly. You'd think rather than poorly emulating PST, a lot of these games took their narrative lessons from Morrowind's NPCs.

    I think a good balance between brevity and verbosity can be found in Fallout 1 and 2. The games have interesting and expansive dialogues when they're necessary and make sense contextually. Otherwise everyone keeps things short and to the point. RPG writers are typically not very well trained in actual writing, nor person to person interaction (let's be real here) and have gleaned most of their literary chops from improper inspirations. I imagine these would mainly be pulpy or hackish novels by Salvatore and co. and various RPG manuals, plus some comic books and graphic novels. A lack of subtlety is the problem here. What goes unspoken is just as often as important as what is. In the case of the original Fallout, the brevity of the majority of the game's NPCs goes to show you just how much of an insignificant scum you are to the locals, who can't give you more than about 30 seconds of their time, and are further probably going to get pissed off and refuse to talk to you again if you continue to be a retard asking shit you should know. (Side note: what this also accomplishes is establishing a sense of authenticity to the world by showing that the NPCs have better shit to do than talk to a culture-less, clueless, sheltered moron. Oblivion, Skyrim, et al. with their hyper realistic *cough* NPC schedules feel less alive than Fallout's "static" NPCs by virtue of Bethesda's "living" NPCs basically "living" only to serve the player. They are not people, but power fantasy masturbation aids. Fallout's NPCs exist for themselves and themselves only) So with an irony that would probably make a modern RPG writer's head explode Scanners style, the fact that people DON'T talk to you does far more to establish the atmosphere that the wasteland is a cold hard place and everyone is harder than you far more than some 10 minute expository dialogue ever could.

    Come to think of it, it'd be great if a modern RPG did a little twist on the "you're an idiot so I'm not speaking to you again" thing by presenting "normal redundant" dialogue options to the player in a conversation, then the person you're mining encyclopedicly thinking you're an actual retard for your poor reading comprehension.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
    • Brofist Brofist x 7
    ^ Top  
  9. Liluragender: ⚧ Arcane

    Lilura
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2013
    Parrots:
    2,400
    PS:T comes off like a drawnout wank, at times. Fallout's writing strikes a better balance between info and flavor, and it's 10 times the cRPG, too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
    • Brofist Brofist x 7
    • Shit Shit x 1
    ^ Top  
  10. Naveengender: ⚧ Arcane

    Naveen
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Parrots:
    778
    It's not a trend or anything "popular", it's what happens when you are not a good writer as your tl.dr version says (if there are currently more bad writers than before, I do not know). Good prose has always been very condensed in meaning, and one or two steps away from poetry.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 3
    ^ Top  
  11. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

    Infinitron
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Parrots:
    65,694
    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Popping in to say that the people who think PoE's verbosity is worse than Shadowrun "Let's siphon walls of text from the same seven shopkeepers plus assorted NPCs after every mission" Hong Kong are nuts

    My opinion on the other games will be forthcoming after I play them
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 3
    ^ Top  
  12. upwardlymobilegender: ⚧ forum posting consultant Patron

    upwardlymobile
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2014
    Parrots:
    434
    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
    i feel bad for any game designer reading this dumbass thread and trying to figure out what he could possibly write that the codex wouldn't hate
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 24
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • Prestigious Prestigious x 1
    ^ Top  
  13. I'm With Her SausageInYourFacegender: ⚧ for prison Arcane Patron

    SausageInYourFace
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2013
    Parrots:
    2,118
    Location:
    In your face
    Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    RPGs have too much text and I don't have the attention span anymore to read it all and I am not all that interested in it in the first place and so I skip through the dialogue to get to the combat and thats somehow the games fault. Kay?

    I swear, anyone other making this thread than Roxor would have been blown out of the water.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 3
    ^ Top  
  14. Make America Great Again Ellefgender: ⚧ Deplorable

    Ellef
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    Parrots:
    3,099
    Location:
    Shitposter's Island
    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
    I agree, and it's a particularly common disease in fantasy literature as well, though at least they have an excuse that more writing = longer series.

    Good author
    ...

    Pillars of Eternity
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 3
    ^ Top  
  15. Quatlogender: ⚧ Arcane

    Quatlo
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2013
    Parrots:
    752
    Its simple. Important shit.
    I really dont care why a npc I meet for the first and the last time is telling me about his family issues and his horrible disinteria. If he is my PC childhood friend? Fine. If im going to meet him again? Fine.

    But I'm sick and tired of unimportant exposition dumps about every fucking thing in the world I will never meet again.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  16. Abeliangender: ⚧ Somebody's Alt

    Abelian
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Parrots:
    2,278
    Video game writers should read more Hemingway.

    I often find the lack of paragraph breaks more annoying than the length of the text itself (this also applies to forum posts).
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  17. Make America Great Again Average Manateegender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Average Manatee
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Parrots:
    8,270
    PS:T's text wasn't really that long. When it ran long it was either an NPC monologuing (which is just continuing the conversation in a one-sided manner) or because it was an important scene relevant to the plot.

    Newshit™ games really don't have a problem with their dialog being too short, many conversations run long and are simply cut up into shorter lines. The problem with DA/ME/others is that the player's dialog options are always short and irrelevant.

    See this: [​IMG]
    It's technically a long single response, but its 90% dialog and wouldn't be hard to translate to a modern game

    This could be reduced in length by 50% with no loss of information and an immense gain in readability. Text should not be describing every detail of a scene unless its important to the scene. That's what the imagination is for, abruptly adding four extra adjectives to every sentence is like throwing a curve ball every second word.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 7
    ^ Top  
  18. Raghargender: ⚧ Arcane

    Raghar
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Parrots:
    9,403
    You should be happy they can at least somewhat write.
     
    ^ Top  
  19. Tigranesgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Parrots:
    6,264
    Serpent in the Staglands Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Length is a peripheral detail to Roxor's complaint, which is actually about bad writing. And following on from that, the real reason that the complaints are such a complicated tangle is because there are so many different ways in which RPGs have bad writing.

    • E.g. POE's problem isn't that it uses descriptive narration (PST did it just fine), or that it is verbose. Its problem is that it wants to use that verbosity to be subtle, nuanced, understated, all the time. So you never have just green trees, the trees are always bent slightly towards the ground as if burdened by the oppressive sky but not too depressing because they're also very green etc etc etc. That kind of nuance takes a lot of energy from the reader, so if you try to do it every single time then even people who love to read will be worn out.
    • In contrast, other games suffer from a completely different problem, which is the inability to edit down or distribute exposition, so you get long dumps. AOD does this a number of times (ask Feng "so where u from mang" and you get pages of ancient history).
    • Shadowrun was again different, but to be honest I don't remember enough to diagnose, because I forgot literally every single line in that game. Maybe that was the problem there.

    The solution isn't just to keep it short and focus on information all the time, because (1) sometimes short writing is much harder, and so you lead to confusing or stilted writing; (2) characters aren't meant to be infodumpers, and nobody enjoys talking to NPCs that say "You. I need muscle. Go see Caius Cosades. Balmora." unless they're mondblut. It's unrealistic that all these different types of writing are going to have the same problem or solution.

    I would hazard a guess that there isn't a huge amount of editorial control when a bunch of game writers are trying to get the writing done while everything else is going on. The hamfisted way Durance and Grieving Mother got inserted to POE, or FO2's different areas coming together literally in the last few weeks of development, are extreme examples of what might be a wider phenomenon. So it is then no surprise that each writer may feel like they're keeping things balanced, but then put it together and everything is way too verbose, or too melodramatic, or exposition gets way too clumped, etc. Better planning, quality control, etc. can produce enjoyable writing whether it uses descriptive narration, swearing, flashbacks, etc, etc. To focus on 'length' won't solve any problems. After all, skipping a long dialogue doesn't take much longer than skipping a short one.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 12
    • Prestigious Prestigious x 1
    ^ Top  
  20. Excidium IIgender: ⚧ Self-Ejected

    Self-Ejected
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2015
    Parrots:
    1,866,260
    Location:
    Third World
    Yeah that's a thing with PoE writing, it tries as hard as possible to not leave much to imagination. It goes to the lengths of having artwork of the guy sitting right next to a textual description of his appearance (WL2 is guilty of this too, and is generally inconsistent as fuck across portrait/character model/text description).
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
    ^ Top  
  21. PorkyThePaladingender: ⚧ Arcane

    PorkyThePaladin
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2013
    Parrots:
    1,012
    This is silly. Long winded dialogues are great if they are written well, and horrible if they are written badly. The same way that a lot of combat sucks in a game with a badly designed combat system, or a lot of exploration in a game where exploration is just not fun.

    Personally I look forward to reading some heavy dialogue after combat/exploration, but of course I want it to be written well, and relevant to the game and to what you are doing.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 6
    ^ Top  
  22. Make America Great Again Ellefgender: ⚧ Deplorable

    Ellef
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    Parrots:
    3,099
    Location:
    Shitposter's Island
    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
    Pillars writing feels like a bunch of newbies to the industry without much cohesion, trying to outdo each other in having the most detailed scene.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 4
    ^ Top  
  23. Excidium IIgender: ⚧ Self-Ejected

    Self-Ejected
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2015
    Parrots:
    1,866,260
    Location:
    Third World
    And with how hit-or-miss writing is in CRPGs, it generally tends to be worse than concise and natural writing you can get through fast.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  24. MasterSmithFandangogender: ⚧ Arcane

    MasterSmithFandango
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2008
    Parrots:
    7,230
    Honestly, it's not that. The "rules of writing", such as they are, emphasize conciseness and clarity. Make your point briefly and clearly. It's less about the "quality" of the sentences, and more about the reader hostility.

    Walls o' text break that rule. If you're going to break the rules, you better do it well. And those books that generally break the rules well - be it Pynchon, David Foster Wallace, James Joyce, or Tolstoy - are tough slogs even if you really are into it.

    For instance - if I go to the grocery store and ask the clerk checking me out how their day was, I don't expect an account of their events. I expect a "not bad". If this were an RPG though, that question would be met with a Tolstoy-esque diatribe about the goings on of the local residents.

    Long-windedness in RPGs is nothing more than the writer wanking over their own "talent".
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 4
    ^ Top  
  25. Angthorongender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman RPG Codex Staff

    Angthoron
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Parrots:
    12,566
    What also makes nu-text not work, besides things already mentioned before, is that it is often irrelevant flavor that is there between the player and the action and you're reading it in vain hope for some relevance beyond being over-stylized exposition.

    The reason it works in PST is because in that game, text is the action. The game isn't about killing balanced crowds of goo and trolls, and it's not about exploring an exciting wasteland for boxes of post-apoc loots. It's about the story. In fact, in PST it's the combat that takes the role of NUGAME text - it's there between you and your reading.

    But in PoE and WL2, yeah, I jumped in and tried to treat the text like I did in the old games. You know, either organic or text-centric. Sadly, after just a very short time I realized my mistake and started treating text more or less like I do in MMOs - speedread fodder.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 7
    ^ Top  

(buying stuff via the above buttons helps us pay the hosting bills, thanks!)