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View Full Version : [WIP] Enhanced Dialog Choices and Personality Traits (TSL)


Andrei Gijgorev
05-31-2009, 10:29 AM
(This willl be my fourth mod, with one being finished and the other two currently being in testing.)

In TSL, the only thing that indicates your personality is your Light Side / Dark Side alignment. This mod will change this by introducing traits such as:

humility <=> pride
pacifism <=> violence
trust in others <=> reliance only on self
considerateness <=> inconsiderateness
respect for droids <=> disrespect for droids

What you can say in dialogs will affect - and be determined by - those otherwise invisible traits. Also, the LS / DS system will be overhauled to match the complex system of the Star Wars universe instead of the clichéd "good" <=> "evil" scheme. Sudden acts of violence will NOT net you DS points anymore, it will only result in loosing LS points, depending on your current alignment, and it will also reduce the amount of LS points you can possibly get. So if you plan on getting LS or DS mastery, you'll have to play consistently. No more jumping between extremes.
The traits will also have interaction. A darksider will generally have more pride and less trust in others than a lightsider, and so on.

Here's an example (after Kreia explains that the Force Chain may be lethal):

1. Then we'll work together and try to be careful until we can fix this. (old)
=> +trust, +cons
2. What can we do? I don't want my actions to place you at risk. (old)
=> +cons, -pride
3. But at your age you could die any moment, especially considering the way you act. (old)
=> -trust, -cons
4. Then stay out of my way. I have no intention of dying just because you're incapable of fighting. (new)
=> +pride, -trust, -cons
5. I will not allow my life to be tied to some half-dead delusional old woman. (old)
=> +pride, -cons
6. This link is a threat to me - and an inconvenience. We need to sever it, now. (old)
=> -trust, -cons
7. You sure killing you won't solve the problem? (new)
=> +viol, -ls

An inconsiderate, proud, selfrelying darksider will get the red choices, while the stereotype considerate, pacifistic, humble, trustful lightsider gets the green choices.
The white choices are only available for players with a different personality. As you can see, you now have a total of 7 compared to the original 5 choices, but you can only see 3 or 4 at a time. A completely neutral character would get the choices 2, 3, and 4.
In general, even a lightsider can get "evil" options if he has high pride, high violence, or low considerateness; but he will get less dialog choices that net LS points, which keeps things in balance. And of course LS actions usually net considerateness and humility.

Well, that's the description of the mod for now. Since I'm not a native English speaker, I'm looking for someone with exceptional knowledge of the English language to correct my lines and maybe contribute own ones. If you're interested, please PM me and I'll tell you whether you meet my high standards. :)

EDIT: Found someone, thanks Salzella!

VarsityPuppet
05-31-2009, 06:11 PM
This is a pretty complex and interesting idea.

However, I think the main problem with this whole concept is that some of the dialog options are subject to the interpretation of the player. Also, it is rather hard to attribute character traits to statements that are written rather than spoken.

I'm not saying this couldn't work, but it should be well thought out before you start modding. Some people don't really appreciate the work put into mods, especially when the changes are either too drastic or not apparent at all.

Lord of Hunger
05-31-2009, 10:02 PM
This is a very interesting idea. I've noticed that you like big mods that restructure systems within TSL.

I have to say, however, that the only way to truly reform morality in KOTOR and TSL, is to not have LS tied to the Jedi and DS tied to the Sith. It is perfectly possible for a Sith to start an orphanage and a Jedi to steal candy from babies. Titles do not affect morality, yet when you say to Atton "And that is why the Sith are right." not only does it result in DS points but it also is deliberately placed in a DS context. One is not evil for the group or ideology one ascribes to, but what one does in the name of that group or ideology.

What would also help is for individuals who clearly have DS traits but are lightsided like the members of the Jedi Council (especially Vrook) to have alignments that truly reflect their nature. Vrook and Atris should have alignments of 30 for their dogmatic outlook and need to destroy anything vaguely associated with the Sith. Zez Kia Ell, meanwhile, would have an alignment of 80 for his open-mindedness and sense of responsibility. Kavar and Vash would be slightly less at 70.

Salzella
06-01-2009, 08:15 AM
mmm, tough stuff. I'll be interested to see how you implement it into the gameplay, though i'm all for the idea of further character development. the system you're going for seems to me rather like the Mass Effect paragon/renegade system, where as opposed to one continuous scale, you get two seperate scales. with that in mind, i'd remove one or two of those traits - four would seem ideal. for example, the 'droids' trait seems rather too specific to be relevant in the overarching storyline - there are only one or two instances of the issue really beng dealt with. moreover, it would be best not to overcomplicate the system in any case, for the sake of both ease of use and ease of implementation.

that said, i really like the idea of altering NPC's stats to further reflect individual character. i can see it now. Atris on a 90 for pride, Kreia on 0 for trust...

vanir
06-01-2009, 09:26 AM
Easy to start a philosophical debate here.

You do realise that ultimately all complex behavioural traits can be recombined to either positive or negative towards life (or non-commital and inconsequential to any balance or lack thereof between freedom and threat).
One should recall that religions, which the Jedi Order is clearly stated are formed on the premise of a diametric between healthy/detrimental or good/evil to describe behavioural culture, these being based upon the experience of elders. Put simply, recognising patterns is a learned concept, generally you start off thinking there are a wealth of options when young and when a grandpappy start to realise there had always been only one choice for every you made and it was a strict diametric every time, though the option to bow out of the choice sometimes existed (ie. "neutrality").

Even in psychology where any amount of extrapolation of the human condition is given individual examination, the maxim for mental illness still remains to be "any firm belief or idea which has become a problem for the individual" (ie. a conspiracist is not mentally ill for example, until they become paranoid, hear voices, etc. no matter how eccentric otherwise).

See? Black and white.

I think it is also important to note the Star Wars galaxy does not presume to assert the Jedi are "lightsiders" per se. This is left for the audience to assume. There is the Force, and there is a Dark Side to the Force. If you have a simplistic rendition of what is good and what is evil, certainly this would appear to imply therefore darksiders are evil and Jedi are holy. It is not at all the case.

Darksiders harm life and justify it for personal gain. Definitely evil yes, there's no in-between. Jedi are Guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy according to the very first Star Wars screen crawl. They're just cops, not angels. I dare say a good Jedi doesn't think he's better than anyone, whilst the ones that think they are be wind up like Anakin and the ones that think they could be lose a little respect among their contemporaries like Windu (whom Yoda clearly indicated when discussing arrogant Jedi).

But point being, the "lightside" as we the audience have defined, is really just an absence of the Dark Side. There are no other choices, no other roads. No such thing as Neutral Lane, for there is a definitive point where sitting on the fence is just being complacent.

Things like pride and inconsequential traits (which don't directly affect other life but do point towards behaviour and may influence decisions which do), aren't strictly related to the diametric of threatening harm or promoting growth. Essentially wherever you stand between these extremes you would remain for the act alone. Particularly as it is most commonly a perceptual assumption incapable of impacting world events.


So you see whilst "losing ls points" in fact implies some loss of personal memory or knowledge (not entirely far fetched regarding criminal acts as relative to delusion and thus contact with the true self), the reality of the matter is that gaining Dark Side points is really about how many doors you're opening for "corruption of life" to enter your psyche. In some cases complacency is all it takes.


For example:
humility <=> pride
pacifism <=> violence
trust in others <=> reliance only on self
considerateness <=> inconsiderateness
respect for droids <=> disrespect for droids

Substituting the "lightside/darkside" system for these extrapolations is most literally defining a totalitarian state. These are extremely subjective assertions. It would be better to use the Jedi Code and give dialogue options for various aspects of the Jedi Code, and reveal dialogue options of the Sith Code for darksiders.


What I suspect? Like many young people faced with any assertion of good/evil the safer and more comfortable belief is there is little or no such extremity in life. Everything is just life. It's all good (until somebody loses an eye). By reasserting this ignorance there is less trouble in living life, less consequence in the mind. Yet experience will tell you whilst life cannot exist without threat, threat most definitely can exist without life and this is the only possible environment in which there are no longer any extremes, because anybody who might've thought of one is dead.

Life is black and white. There is life, there is not life. No in-between.

Andrei Gijgorev
06-01-2009, 10:32 AM
This is a pretty complex and interesting idea.

However, I think the main problem with this whole concept is that some of the dialog options are subject to the interpretation of the player. Also, it is rather hard to attribute character traits to statements that are written rather than spoken.
I don't quite get what you mean. What exactly should be the problem with player interpretation and attributing character traits to written statements?


I'm not saying this couldn't work, but it should be well thought out before you start modding. Some people don't really appreciate the work put into mods, especially when the changes are either too drastic or not apparent at all.
Luckily I'm modding mostly for myself, so if people don't appreciate my work that won't concern me very much.


This is a very interesting idea. I've noticed that you like big mods that restructure systems within TSL.
Yup, I like modding very much, and I usually spend more time tweaking games to my likes than actually playing. Not all my mods are big ones, but I don't start WIP threads for the others. One that allows you to choose the Jedi class of each companion is already submitted to kotorfiles and should show up there soon, for example.


I have to say, however, that the only way to truly reform morality in KOTOR and TSL, is to not have LS tied to the Jedi and DS tied to the Sith. It is perfectly possible for a Sith to start an orphanage and a Jedi to steal candy from babies. Titles do not affect morality, yet when you say to Atton "And that is why the Sith are right." not only does it result in DS points but it also is deliberately placed in a DS context. One is not evil for the group or ideology one ascribes to, but what one does in the name of that group or ideology.
I agree with you there. Maybe add a trait Sith Code <=> Jedi Code? I just looked through some more dialog files, and there are quite some choices that follow the codes closely.


What would also help is for individuals who clearly have DS traits but are lightsided like the members of the Jedi Council (especially Vrook) to have alignments that truly reflect their nature. Vrook and Atris should have alignments of 30 for their dogmatic outlook and need to destroy anything vaguely associated with the Sith. Zez Kia Ell, meanwhile, would have an alignment of 80 for his open-mindedness and sense of responsibility. Kavar and Vash would be slightly less at 70.
Generally, I agree with you. But what affect does it have on gameplay what alignment the Jedi masters have? You can't see it (apart from Force sight) and you can't change it, so why bother?


mmm, tough stuff. I'll be interested to see how you implement it into the gameplay, though i'm all for the idea of further character development. the system you're going for seems to me rather like the Mass Effect paragon/renegade system, where as opposed to one continuous scale, you get two seperate scales. with that in mind, i'd remove one or two of those traits - four would seem ideal. for example, the 'droids' trait seems rather too specific to be relevant in the overarching storyline - there are only one or two instances of the issue really being dealt with. moreover, it would be best not to overcomplicate the system in any case, for the sake of both ease of use and ease of implementation.
Whether I have four or six traits doesn't make any difference, the problems start at seven. However, the more traits I have, the easier it gets to decide which trait each dialog choice belongs to. I'm also thinking of having the considerateness trait replaced by amity towards each party member (seperate).


Easy to start a philosophical debate here.

You do realise that ultimately all complex behavioural traits can be recombined to either positive or negative towards life (or non-commital and inconsequential to any balance or lack thereof between freedom and threat).
One should recall that religions, which the Jedi Order is clearly stated are formed on the premise of a diametric between healthy/detrimental or good/evil to describe behavioural culture, these being based upon the experience of elders. Put simply, recognising patterns is a learned concept, generally you start off thinking there are a wealth of options when young and when a grandpappy start to realise there had always been only one choice for every you made and it was a strict diametric every time, though the option to bow out of the choice sometimes existed (ie. "neutrality").

Even in psychology where any amount of extrapolation of the human condition is given individual examination, the maxim for mental illness still remains to be "any firm belief or idea which has become a problem for the individual" (ie. a conspiracist is not mentally ill for example, until they become paranoid, hear voices, etc. no matter how eccentric otherwise).

See? Black and white.
What you describe are personal beliefs, and while those of course are also present in my mod, the emphasis lies on personality traits, which is something different. Darksiders and Sith (except for Kreia) don't have any negative attitude towards life, on the contrary.


I think it is also important to note the Star Wars galaxy does not presume to assert the Jedi are "lightsiders" per se. This is left for the audience to assume. There is the Force, and there is a Dark Side to the Force. If you have a simplistic rendition of what is good and what is evil, certainly this would appear to imply therefore darksiders are evil and Jedi are holy. It is not at all the case.
That is true and has already be mentioned above. I think adding a Jedi code <=> Sith code trait will do this justice.


Darksiders harm life and justify it for personal gain. Definitely evil yes, there's no in-between. Jedi are Guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy according to the very first Star Wars screen crawl. They're just cops, not angels. I dare say a good Jedi doesn't think he's better than anyone, whilst the ones that think they are be wind up like Anakin and the ones that think they could be lose a little respect among their contemporaries like Windu (whom Yoda clearly indicated when discussing arrogant Jedi).
I strongly disagree here. While it is true that darksiders (and most other people) harm life for personal gain, I don't consider this to be "evil" per se. Otherwise all non-vegetarians on this planet (and in the whole Star Wars universe) would be "evil". Being egoistic is not "evil". Most darksiders are egocentric, and most "evil" people are also egocentric, but that doesn't mean that all darksiders are "evil".
Personally, I think things like "good" and "evil" don't even exist anywhere but in the minds of people. Atris is very good example for this.


But point being, the "lightside" as we the audience have defined, is really just an absence of the Dark Side. There are no other choices, no other roads. No such thing as Neutral Lane, for there is a definitive point where sitting on the fence is just being complacent.

So you see whilst "losing ls points" in fact implies some loss of personal memory or knowledge (not entirely far fetched regarding criminal acts as relative to delusion and thus contact with the true self), the reality of the matter is that gaining Dark Side points is really about how many doors you're opening for "corruption of life" to enter your psyche. In some cases complacency is all it takes.
Actually, I don't like the existence of a Light Side either. If the LS/DS bar to the left side of the player screen were replaced by an only DS bar (from gray or light blue to red) and we had a Jedi/Sith bar to the right, that would be perfect. I don't think this is possible, but I'll look into it.


Life is black and white. There is life, there is not life. No in-between.
Yoda, is that you?


---


Having read all your posts and thought about it a bit more, I came up with this slightly different system:

LS <=> DS
- Will work similar to the original game, although it will be much harder to achieve mastery, and if you play inconsistently, you will definitely end up in the middle. If possible, I will replace it with an only DS bar that starts from Gray Side and can only proceed to Dark Side (no turning back except for special cases).

Jedi Code <=> Sith Code
- Emotions and striving for power will drive you to the Sith side, while self-sacrifice and such will drive you to the Jedi side. It's actually a lot more complex than that, but you know that, don't you.

Humility <=> Pride
- How much you place yourself over or under your surroundings. ("You're lucky my ship's gracing your trash heap" <=> "[Persuade] Sorry for the inconvenience, but I can pay for the space... and your time.")

Pacifism <=> Violence
- How often the player resorts to violent methods. Since pacifism often involves backing down, this will sometimes have an impact on humility <=> pride as well.

Trust in others <=> Reliance only on self
- How able the player is to rely on his party members. Relying only on self is usually connected with pride and the Sith code, while the opposite may not necessarily be true.

Respect for droids <=> Disrespect for droids
- How much the player treats droids as sentient beings. While this may not be too apparent in TSL, it is a semi-central aspect of the Star Wars movies, and therefore I consider it important.

Temperation <=> Excessiveness / Impulsiveness
- You could also call this Lawful <=> Chaotic. Options like "You, give me all your credits, then go jump into the central pit" require some impulsiveness, but whilst the Jedi Code demands temperation, this will usually not affect the Sith Code trait at all.

Amity towards each party member (14)
- On what terms the player is with each companion. I think there are many people that like or dislike certain party members, and a global "considerateness" trait would not do this justice. Me, I really hate Mical and Kreia, and I don't want being mean to them affect my relationship to other party members. This will also have an effect on your influence on the party member and vice versa.


---


I'm not sure whether that has been made clear, but the requirements and effects of each choice will NOT show up to the player. Unlike with influence, you also won't get a popup message, so for the player it's kinda like a black box.
Overall, this system may be more restrictive than vanilla TSL, but I think it enhances the replay value of the game nevertheless.

Lord of Hunger
06-01-2009, 11:05 AM
@ Last Sentence: The more restrictions on TSL the better. One problem with that game is the lack of balancing and such. Once you've played through it a couple times you know exactly what to do in order to get the UberExileOfDOOM!!!!! and completely annihilate anyone who stands in your way. KOTOR was less so,
and the recent BOSSR mod is extremely challenging.
Darksiders harm life and justify it for personal gain. Definitely evil yes, there's no in-between. Jedi are Guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy according to the very first Star Wars screen crawl. They're just cops, not angels. I dare say a good Jedi doesn't think he's better than anyone, whilst the ones that think they are be wind up like Anakin and the ones that think they could be lose a little respect among their contemporaries like Windu (whom Yoda clearly indicated when discussing arrogant Jedi).
I strongly disagree here. While it is true that darksiders (and most other people) harm life for personal gain, I don't consider this to be "evil" per se. Otherwise all non-vegetarians on this planet (and in the whole Star Wars universe) would be "evil". Being egoistic is not "evil". Most darksiders are egocentric, and most "evil" people are also egocentric, but that doesn't mean that all darksiders are "evil".
Personally, I think things like "good" and "evil" don't even exist anywhere but in the minds of people. Atris is very good example for this.
I like to see this issue through the teachings of Uthar Wynn and Yuthura Ban. According to them, the Sith do not seek to be different from the carnivores commonly found in Star Wars, such as the Tukata. The Tukata uses fear and anger to track down pray and eat it, yet how are they evil in this regard? These base emotions are essential parts of our nature and what the Jedi preach is to inhibit these emotions. It is important to note that the Jedi live detached from life in general and thus have no problem with letting the Mandalorians wipe out a few planets, while the Sith tend to take their animalistic view to an extreme (genocide and the like). Neither can be considered superior.

Thus, I think another trait you should add is "detachment vs. involvement", the tendency to either ignore or get involved in situations.
Generally, I agree with you. But what affect does it have on gameplay what alignment the Jedi masters have? You can't see it (apart from Force sight) and you can't change it, so why bother?
Fine tuning. Even the smallest things can indicate a major storyline flaw, and the strength of KOTOR and TSL is IMO storyline.

VarsityPuppet
06-01-2009, 11:14 AM
The player's interpretation of the responses is key to this mods usefulness to others. In your example you posted above, I could see some people who were playing this mod, thinking that response 3 and 4 were dark side responses, if said players imagined it in the right tone of voice. Not so much a big deal as I originally thought, but it's still there.

Also, some people might argue as to which traits would be present in certain responses.

For instance, would response 2 (What can we do? I don't want my actions to place you at risk.) necessarily imply that the player actually has changed his/her sense of pride? Some might say yes, some might say no. Once again, subject to the player's interpretation.

Ultimately, if all of this extra effort is going to be "invisible", I doubt many people will see/understand the complexity and sophistication of this mod, and therefore not appreciate it. But, like you said, if you're doing this more for yourself, that's not a problem then.


Thus, I think another trait you should add is "detachment vs. involvement", the tendency to either ignore or get involved in situations.

how is that indicative of a light/dark alignment? Or even positive/negative alignment?

Andrei Gijgorev
06-01-2009, 03:32 PM
The player's interpretation of the responses is key to this mods usefulness to others. In your example you posted above, I could see some people who were playing this mod, thinking that response 3 and 4 were dark side responses, if said players imagined it in the right tone of voice. Not so much a big deal as I originally thought, but it's still there.
Just because someone's "mean" doesn't mean he's Dark Sided, and vice versa.


Also, some people might argue as to which traits would be present in certain responses.


For instance, would response 2 (What can we do? I don't want my actions to place you at risk.) necessarily imply that the player actually has changed his/her sense of pride? Some might say yes, some might say no. Once again, subject to the player's interpretation.
Well, I wrote "-pride", but it's actually a bit more complicated than that. It's like with LS/DS, there are three or more different magnitudes of shifts, and once you've reached a certain alignment, the smallest shift won't affect you anymore, and so on.


Ultimately, if all of this extra effort is going to be "invisible", I doubt many people will see/understand the complexity and sophistication of this mod, and therefore not appreciate it. But, like you said, if you're doing this more for yourself, that's not a problem then.
Well, maybe I'll make them visible after all, if only for debug purposes.


Thus, I think another trait you should add is "detachment vs. involvement", the tendency to either ignore or get involved in situations.
how is that indicative of a light/dark alignment? Or even positive/negative alignment?
It is not, but it is still a very important trait in TSL, since there are many situations where you can get involved or not. Thanks for suggesting, I'll add it. And since I've just found a very simple method to use a nearly unlimited amount of traits, I will also introduce the following traits:

Honesty <=> Lying for the sake of it
- There are some options in TSL where you can lie. I will add many more of those, and while lying goes against the Jedi Code (well, not really, but a Jedi shouldn't lie too much, methinks) it will have no effect on the Sith Code trait. It will be an important trait nevertheless, since whether you lie or not usually has a greater impact than whether you're polite or not.

Obedience <=> Rebelliousness
- How much the player values authorities, i.e. how often he will do what he's told to ("Lay down your weapons...").

Reliability <=> Unreliability
- This is kind of a mix between obedience and honesty, but it's still something different. Basically, it describes how often the player will hold his promises. Even a liar can have a high reliability.

Detachment <=> Involvement
- How often the player lets himself getting involved into other people's business, or even enforces involvement.

Humor <=> Lack thereof
- Not much to say here. Of course the humor of a Dark Sider will be rather black. :)

dholm
06-01-2009, 04:27 PM
This seems a rather huge task -- you basically have to overhaul every single dialog option in the game. I'll look forward to the result.

Mr. Shadow
06-03-2009, 01:02 AM
This seems a rather huge task -- you basically have to overhaul every single dialog option in the game. I'll look forward to the result. That's pretty much my thoughts. Good luck with this!

Andrei Gijgorev
06-03-2009, 09:55 AM
Yeah, I'll look forward to the result as well. Actually so much that I've already started writing the scripts, although I planned to not do scripting until the I knew exactly which traits I'm going to implement.

Anyway, I did a bit more of thinking, and this is the list I came up with:


Alignments (one way):

Force in general
Light Side (will probably be removed)
Dark Side
Jedi Code
Sith Code

Manners of speaking:

Treats droids as: Sentient beings <=> Scrap
Has sense of humour: Much <=> None
Cynical <=> Idealistic
Proud <=> Humble
Lies: Never <=> Whenever possible, for the sake of it

Personality Traits:

Extreme and excessive <=> Disciplined and moderate
Violent <=> Pacifistic
Strives for power: Yes <=> No
Reckless <=> Cautious
Gets involved <=> Tries to not get involved
Respects authorities <=> Defies authorities
Trusts others <=> Trusts only self
Holds his/her words <=> Doesn't care about what he/she said before
Tries to manipulate his companions: Yes <=> No
Ruthless <=> Merciful
Controls his/her emotions <=> Gives in to emotions and acts impulsive
Egoistic and egocentric <=> Altruistic

Relation to party members (each seperate)


If you think there's something still missing, please tell me now while I haven't started working on the .dlg files!

Salzella
06-03-2009, 10:48 AM
The only trait missing to be would be 'selfishness/selflessness'. Although obviously this overlaps with aspects like pride or power-hunger, I think there are numerous occasions in TSL where one can be selfish yet 'good' and selfless and dark-sided, for example the cut lines for helping Vaklu on Onderon and such, as well as many others. Plus, i think such an aspect casts the character's actions in an interesting light as much as the others you've listed. my inspiration for this is the fall of Jacen Solo - a selfless Sith Lord, if you will. And on the flip-side you get the Palpatines of the world that are wholly selfish. and so on. Less applicable to Jedi, as selflessness is one of their main tenets, but still, it would make for an interesting attribute.

PS. I've never heard of the word 'Zynic' and nor has wiktionary. so maybe a little re-wording? :p

Andrei Gijgorev
06-03-2009, 11:04 AM
Uh yeah you're right, I meant "cynical". I knew I would need you. :)

Selfishness is a very good idea. How could I overlook this very "Sith vs Jedi"-like trait? Added it.

Salzella
06-03-2009, 11:10 AM
aaaaah. Yeah, cynicism makes a lot of sense. I can just imagine painstakingly constructing a cynical, humourless, ruthless and egotistical PC who nonetheless love droids and respects the authorities.