[featuree] In-Game Dialog Editor

[featuree] In-Game Dialog Editor

Postby TheAncientGoat » 11 May 2011, 15:37

I messed around with creating a dialog editor in Qt + lua, and got it to render dialogs pretty decently, but I can't help but feel it would be more useful if this feature was in game. I was thinking, if the player is an admin, have an extra dialog option when talking to NPC's called "ADD" that when pressed goes into a dialog branch where you can select from the different dialog actions, which when selected pops up a text editor that lets you enter the dialog/variable value. Heck, this should be extended to all content, sothat you can add feats, items, quests etc. ingame, which should improve content creation hugely
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Re: [featuree] In-Game Dialog Editor

Postby amuzen » 11 May 2011, 20:26

I don't want to pursue this direction myself because it'd take lots of time and effort that would be better spent directly improving the gameplay or content at this point, I think. There's also no input from writers or gameplay designers to confirm that the features are needed and that no better approaches exist. Lots of work for uncertain benefits doesn't sound appealing to me.

There are some things that would certainly benefit from a GUI but my focus will be on those that can't be easily done in a text editor. That basically means that the map area editor is the only tool I'll be working on in the near future. Later I might add a select few other tools for visual tasks such as editing the appearances of NPCs but that won't be too soon. I don't think full in-game editability will happen.

To give you an idea on how much work it would be to make everything editable with a UI, obstacles can have around 10 configurable properties, items around 40 and species around 70. A few of those properties also have considerable complexity on their own so the UI would probably need to support around 150 widgets to make objects fully editable from it. In addition to the effort to implement that, there'll be a big maintenance burden since the spec formats still change frequently as new features are added and bugs fixed.

Dialog editing would be a bit easier to implement but achieving higher productivity than with a text editor would still require lots of usability testing and polishing. I can't see myself ever editing dialogs with buttons or dropdown menus so the dialog editor is unlikely to benefit me personally. Since there are no reports of writers having interest in the project so far, I can't tell for sure if anyone will benefit from it much.
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Re: [featuree] In-Game Dialog Editor

Postby p0ss » 09 Jan 2012, 13:10

I could certainly make a UI that would intuitively accommodate all those options, however you are right, we'd need to standardize the properties first, and it is not a top priority.

Having a feature like that *will* attract writers, no doubt, even if they haven't expressed interest so far.

TheAncientGoat: if you want to take a crack at it, I'd suggest using a Lua GUI toolkit: http://lua-users.org/wiki/GraphicalUser ... ceToolkits

Again though, even once you get it working, we need to have a stable feature set before we can really do a proper information architecture, which would inform and govern our UI design. We'll also need to do some work on NPC AI before trying to implement any kind of ingame WYSIWYG editor through them.

I'd suggest its a post beta feature.
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Re: [featuree] In-Game Dialog Editor

Postby TheAncientGoat » 09 Jan 2012, 19:51

I sort of got a dialog displayer working with QT-lua in a couple of lines of code. Kind of gave up on it because I wasn't getting the branches to display correctly, and saw that getting it to re-format into working dialog scripts would be quite a bit of work, and that once you know the dialog markup, it's actually pretty easy to follow.

In-game would still be pretty ideal though :)
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Re: [featuree] In-Game Dialog Editor

Postby charlie » 09 Jan 2012, 22:40

Surely the way you make a dialog editor that supports 100+ properties is not to define each field individually [in the code] but to have the editor read a list of supported properties and generate the UI from that. Then you can easily (by editing a single definition file) adapt the editor.
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Re: [featuree] In-Game Dialog Editor

Postby amuzen » 10 Jan 2012, 14:19

charlie {l Wrote}:Surely the way you make a dialog editor that supports 100+ properties is not to define each field individually [in the code] but to have the editor read a list of supported properties and generate the UI from that. Then you can easily (by editing a single definition file) adapt the editor.


Definitely, but it'd still be a considerable amount of work. The properties objects can have are somewhat messy currently so either the code generation would have to support a lot of different kind of lists and attribute groups or the object specs would require a good deal of cleanup. Either way, it'd probably be more fun to implement than manually creating 100+ widgets.
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Re: [featuree] In-Game Dialog Editor

Postby charlie » 10 Jan 2012, 22:33

Sane defaults amuzen. Everything is text, right? So just start out with a freeform textfield for each property name and value. Keep it ultra simple. Narrow it down to just a few recursive functions, then expand from there as makes sense and as time allows.

Actually surely this is a great 'TODO' for an aspiring contributer rather than yourself.
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