Author Topic: Writing then Coding, or Writing and Coding?  (Read 4907 times)

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Offline Sir_Carnifex

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Writing then Coding, or Writing and Coding?
« on: August 21, 2012, 02:44:22 PM »
Since I've gotten back into this and started working on some NPC-PC dialogue (something I'd not done before) I've found that the conversations become much, much more complicated.  With NPC-NPC, it's easy, right?  One NPC says this, the other responds, and so on -- just one large chain of strings.  But the PC-NPC dialogue branches out more, and more, and more, before you finally bring it to a close either by directing various options back to a few endings or by having a large variety of endings.  Looking at the script can be fairly confusing.

So, the question is... what method do other people use when writing dialogue?  Do you write it out separately (and if so, how do you keep the answers, etc., linked?) and then code it, or do the code as you write (what I currently do)?  Either way it would be a chore, but I've been thinking that it might be a better idea to write everything out without code so I can focus on one thing, and THEN go into the coding process.  The main problem I see with that is you still have to spend time organizing the dialogues and marking which one goes where ... unless there's some sort of program that will automatically "tree" it for you.   Any tips?
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Offline Red Carnelian

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Re: Writing then Coding, or Writing and Coding?
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2012, 02:59:41 PM »
When I wrote the dialogs for the Stone of Askavar I treated the whole thing like it was a play and used notepad to plan it all out and used some psuedo code to get an idea of how to condition the events. I remember looking at how dialogs work for the characters in BG1 using Near Infinity to get some ideas. Without NI I don't think I would have been able to do it.
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Offline Sir_Carnifex

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Re: Writing then Coding, or Writing and Coding?
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2012, 03:10:18 PM »
When I wrote the dialogs for the Stone of Askavar I treated the whole thing like it was a play and used notepad to plan it all out and used some psuedo code to get an idea of how to condition the events. I remember looking at how dialogs work for the characters in BG1 using Near Infinity to get some ideas. Without NI I don't think I would have been able to do it.

I'm already familiar with how dialogues work since I've done a fair amount already.  I was mainly looking to see if there was a way to simplify the process.   I think I spend about 10% of my time just scrolling up and down the screen linking dialogues together!   >:(

I have done minor planning on dialogues, but it's more of a summary than actually putting it into a tree form.    Editpad (basically enhanced Notepad) is what I use right now, though I'm wondering if Notepad++ would work out better or not.
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Offline Red Carnelian

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Re: Writing then Coding, or Writing and Coding?
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2012, 05:17:20 PM »
Eventually I got fed up using Notepad so I moved to ConText editor which is free. That was pretty good for writing stuff with. I used its tabbed functionality quite a lot. It definately makes it easier with a decent editor. http://www.contexteditor.org/
Little is known of Nirel, a powerful cleric who could resist the spells of his enemies. However, history does record that he was a vile zealot whose hatred for followers of other faiths knew almost no bounds. It is said that he kept the heads of his victims as trophies and was personally responsible for defiling over one hundred temples of other faiths. In the centuries since, his mace has appeared in the hands of evil clerics across the Realms.

Offline Sir_Carnifex

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Re: Writing then Coding, or Writing and Coding?
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2012, 06:08:34 PM »
Eventually I got fed up using Notepad so I moved to ConText editor which is free. That was pretty good for writing stuff with. I used its tabbed functionality quite a lot. It definately makes it easier with a decent editor. http://www.contexteditor.org/

I had that on my old computer.  I think it's roughly equivalent of EditPad if I remember right.
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Offline Solaufein

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Re: Writing then Coding, or Writing and Coding?
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2012, 09:05:04 PM »
I write and code at the same time. I'll just Copy and Paste everything to Word to find spelling errors.
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Offline Sir_Carnifex

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Re: Writing then Coding, or Writing and Coding?
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2012, 10:01:21 PM »
I've started putting everything in a TRA file so all the dialogue goes into one file and not much else is there to clutter it.  It makes proof-reading easier and also the code won't get in the way if I copy/paste into Word (Or in my case, OO Writer).  That also means that the coded part can have all the spelling errors in the // text and there won't be a problem.  I just have that for a reference.  Once I'm done with coding I'll delete all the text references and just go with the TRA with the exception of a backup work copy.   
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Offline Sir_Carnifex

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Re: Writing then Coding, or Writing and Coding?
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2012, 01:10:33 AM »
So I just completed the first PC-NPC talk.   This is my first experience doing anything other than joining/leaving dialogue trees with the PC and it gets really complicated!  I've got so many branches going in whichever direction that it's hard to keep order (although I have a LITTLE order).   Doing banters is so much easier with the exception of having to copy styles for the latter.   Yup, I really wish we had a nice dialogue tree program.   Sigh.

On the positive side.... progress!
In progress - Armin Kasun - a mercenary NPC for BG2

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Offline BR4ZIL

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Re: Writing then Coding, or Writing and Coding?
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2012, 03:43:44 PM »
Well, if you didint checked this out already, maybe the The Looping Branch Technique for dialogue trees can help you out, jcompton made a tutorial here:

http://forums.gibberlings3.net/index.php?showtopic=646

He made it for Lovetalks, but you can use it for pretty much any dialogue with PC interaction  ;)

Offline Sir_Carnifex

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Re: Writing then Coding, or Writing and Coding?
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2012, 05:29:33 PM »
I've read that before.  Putting it into practice is a little more difficult, at least for me.  Sometimes getting something to wrap back around to a common point isn't easy.   I did manage that somewhat, but I think it takes some planning to pull it off better.  For instance, already knowing that you have point A as the first destination ... and you'll get there eventually no matter what dialogue branch you take, and then once there, it branches off again, eventually looping to point B.   In that case, it might be handy to have the lines for A and B already written before writing the rest of that particular talk.   It'll take some playing around to get it right.
In progress - Armin Kasun - a mercenary NPC for BG2

On hold - Halbo NPC for BG2, the evil halfling thief, food critic, and party troublemaker