Author Topic: So You're Going to Write a Romance, By David Gaider  (Read 9377 times)

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So You're Going to Write a Romance, By David Gaider
« on: July 11, 2012, 06:24:23 AM »
This is a post from David Gaider, BG programming guru. Date on the post is September 30, 2001 and is taken from Quiz 68:

- try to keep the limitations on when the regular romance dialogues are going to occur to a minimum. Dialogue that is supposed to take place on a Rest (before everyone goes to sleep) or after a Rest (in the morning when everyone wakes up) is OK and not too hard to script...but adding plots into the romance and dialogues that depend on the outcome of those plots can be considerably more complicated for the scripter.

- *if you are going to add plots into the romance*, consider the following: what occurs if the player drops the romance from the party during the plot, what if the party takes too long to continue the plot, what if the plot fails, what if the plot succeeds, what are some alternate paths (if possible) that the party could complete the plot.

- if the romance interest is going to leave the party at any point, make it very clear whether or not the party must go and pick them up from somewhere or whether they will return. Consider that, on their return, the party might be full again.

- Jaheira's romance is NOT a good romance to use as a baseline. By this, I mean it was so complicated with its quests it was almost impossible to de-bug. Perhaps something similar could be done to a limited degree...but consider how long it took post-release to get this romance working. And it was not for lack of trying. Consider that Aerie's romance, which is dialogue-only, still had considerable scripting complexity due to the Haer'Dalis triangle but was far far easier in comparison to Jaheira...and was probably one of the most popular romances in the game. Anomen's quest-driven romance is, in contrast, a good compromise between the two.

Dialogues that must be considered:

- consider a point in the regular dialogues where the romance becomes 'committed'...where it would be unrealistic that any other romance would be going on at the same time (if someone wants to be juvenile and play with a patch that allows three romances at once, let them dream). This is where the 'romance global' gets set to 2 and other romances are no longer possible.

- Before the global gets set to 2, consider that there may be other romances that are still in the 'build-up' stage. Insert several 'jealousy dialogues' before that point that lead up to the PC having to make a choice right before the romance becomes committed.

- don't forget NPC reactions to certain events, like when Madame Nin in the Copper Coronet brothel asks the PC if they would 'like someone'. Also consider any alread-existing dialogues that the NPC does that should be either negated during a romance OR given a different path.

- for female NPC romances, there must be a reaction to the Phaere seduction.

- dialogue must be added for Bodhi when she kidnaps the romance (this is easy), but must also be prepared for the NPC when they are saved from vampirism.

- remember the Tree of Life dialogue, as well as the initial reaction upon entering Hell.

- for ToB, consider whom the romance will be 'meeting' in the Gorion exchange.

- there is always an exchange after Saradush is discovered to be destroyed.

- don't forget the exchanged right before going to the final battle (when all the tests are completed in the pocket plane) and the 'final speech', both good and bad. This includes a different ending for the ToB epilogues, should the player decide to remain with the romance.

That's about all I can think of. I bet there's some I've missed, but overall I think this is a pretty decent guide for people to follow (esp. when combined with the dialogue format below). People might want to contribute items I've missed or even specific NPC dialogues that might need changing/deleting for referene. Then this whole thing could be collected in a single FAQ document, should anyone think of doing this in the would make it that much easier for these romances to become a reality, no?

David Gaider

Design, Bioware corp.