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NIFE: Conversations v2 Notes
Posted: Posted April 30th, 2018 by Xhin

Sometime today I'm going to do a bit more work on NIFE, and I'd like to continue to do work on NIFE even while pursuing other projects. Yesterday during my breaks I fleshed out how the Conversations v2 system works. I think this project will be particularly useful for advertising NIFE to worldbuilders.


Things you say to an NPC are now known as "topics". These can use the old talk/whisper system or they can use the new "dialogue" system.

With the dialogue system, topics can actually be arranged in a tree structure where new topics are reached through old topics.

Topics of all kinds that you've talked about with a character are tracked. There's a couple ways this tracking is compiled and used.

Dialogue topics are separated out in the auto-actions area as:

  • Talk to [character] about [topic]

    This then brings up an entirely new interface which I'll cover.

    Topic classes and templates

    Rather than assigning Topics to individual characters, you can instead assign them to Topic classes. These are basically ways of grouping topics together.

    You can then assign or unassign topic classes to characters manually or through events. These will actually link to the topic class so editing those topics will edit them for *everyone* that uses that topic.

    Alternately, you can set a topic group to be a "topic template" instead. This will instead *copy* those topics and allow you to customize them per character. Should be useful for building towns and such.


  • There are 6 Replies

    Dialogue system

    This allows you to put topics in a tree, so depending on where you are in the conversation there will be new choices available.

    An example might be:

  • 1. Aliens -- They are nasty. I hate them.

  • 1a. What makes them nasty? -- they are violent and mean

  • 1b. Why do you hate them? -- they killed my brother.

  • 1c. Are they just the worst thing in the world? -- no, goblins are worse.

  • 2. Weather -- they say there's a blood moon rising...

  • 2a. I mean what is the weather for today? -- oh, mostly sunny with a 10% chance of showers.

  • 2b. What is a blood moon? -- it's when the moon looks red but it also makes goblins really aggressive for some reason.

  • 2b1. What are goblins? -- how can you not know what goblins are?

  • 2b2. Tell me more -- it's said that goblins react violently to red light so when the sun or moon turn red they go on rampages. A red sun doesn't last long but a red moon can go on all night.

    In the above example, you can start a conversation either about aliens or the weather. You can continue the conversation with additional responses, opening up new conversations to explore.

    Conversation navigation

    Topics inside a dialogue are also known as "nodes".

    Unless indicated otherwise, nodes always have "back" and "start over" options. Going back goes up a level, so for example going from 1c to 1. Starting over returns to where you're asking about either aliens or the weather.

    Individual nodes or the tree itself can hide the "back" option, meaning that navigating conversations is more puzzle-based.

    They can also hide the "start over" option, meaning that you're stuck where you are until you find a way out. Since the system preserves where you are at all times even after exiting the conversation, this might allow for things like an NPC getting mad at you and staying mad.


  • Edited April 30th, 2018 by Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Special node options

  • You can provide soft links to other nodes. For example in 1c you can soft-copy 2b1: "what are goblins?". This allows you to explore this tree, but going back will return to 1c rather than 2b.

  • you can also provide hard links to other nodes, which will actually change your position in the tree. For example there might be an "I'm mad at you" node with no back or start over that you can get to and be stuck at by saying impolite things like "I hate you"at 1 or "don't be rude" at 2b1.

  • nodes can be "pushy" which means once you see them you'll always have the option to select them no matter where you are. A tree can optionally make all its nodes pushy, which gives you a different experience, letting you explore to find new topics which can then be explored at any time. You'll probably want to indicate topics that have been explored if you go this route.

  • like topics in general, nodes can be conditional, tying into whatever aspect of your game you want as well as a couple new useful options which I'll cover in a bit.


  • Posted April 30th, 2018 by Xhin
    Sky's the limit


    A few different things are tracked:

  • where you are in the conversation is saved so if you go do something else and come back you'll be where you left off.

  • topics you have talked about are tracked, as well as how many are left and if you've "completed" an NPC.

  • conversations can optionally have stats and traits attached to them, which nodes can manipulate and then work with. For example you might have a "friendship" stat that goes up when you say nice things for the first time. If this is high enough, new conversation options may appear. Or maybe anywhere the npc talks about his brother sets a "brother" trait which opens up some new lines of communication. These stats and traits can also be manipulated remotely via the Events system.

    Any of the above can tie into the Conditions in general, or specifically for opening or closing nodes. Maybe you can only talk about the weather once you've talked about at least 1 other topic. Maybe the "Loquacious Sword" in your inventory is only usable if you've competed a certain NPC. Maybe the Goblin King will only talk to you if you've made the Human King mad. Lots of options here.

  • Posted April 30th, 2018 by Xhin
    Sky's the limit


    The actual interface for this is a bit different and customizable to some extent.

    It's a real-time thing that lets you pick responses by clicking on them and having responses appear as needed. Below I'll explore some options:

  • you can set a by-character delay. This will make responses take some amount of time to actually appear in the conversation window depending on how long the response is. They can also appear in a segmented way, paragraph by paragraph. This option serves to make conversations feel more alive, like you're talking to an actual person. Responses you've already received will appear automatically if you want to see them again.

  • you can set some amount of character properties or conversation properties to appear in the window, and these will change in real-time as needed. Useful for tracking friendship scores and other things.

  • Responses that you've already picked and trees you've fully explored can be indicated in some way.

  • the total amount of topics explored, left and total can be indicated in some way.


    The goal of this project is to make conversations in NIFE deeper and feel more alive.


  • Posted April 30th, 2018 by Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    Good stuff!

    Posted May 1st, 2018 by Moonray

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    Posted May 1st, 2018 by Weid man
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