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Holding a Conversation

You've got some character in your Place, and you'd like your guests to be able to chat with them. Properly chat, so that at various points in the conversation your guest can choose from a range of questions to ask or comments to make, based on what has just been said. Such conversations could be used to give puzzles, to receive the answers to puzzles, to move forward a plot line, or just for good old fashioned flavour text.

The literary problem of writing the conversation can be quite interesting, but the programming is straight forward.

To show what is meant here, we will give a detailed example. This is taken from a conversation in a squat run pub called The Zombie Goat in Port Foley1). First we show a flow chart for the conversation. Each box represents one conversational fragment, and from each such fragment the guest can choose from any of the arrows leading out from that box.

 Planning a conversation.

As a sample conversational fragment we quote the "Buy a pint for the squat" box.


Buy a pint for the squat talking to you.

"A pint of McThugger's for this gentleman here." you tell the bar...person.

The squat eagerly accepts the pint and takes a long draught from it. "Urr fack. Thutz butter."

Looking up, he notices you again. "Oo ur yu thun?"

You tell him your name and ask his.

"Oim Scurrilous McThugger, innoi?"

"What McThugger as in McThugger's Special?" nodding your head at his pint for emphasis.

He draws himself up slightly. "Aye. Thutz roit. Wun uv thum McThuggers. Squat McThugger. Founder uv Squat Hole. Thutz uz. Termagent erez me aunt, inshee?" nodding towards the serving squat.


To set this up, you need the main room (in this example The Zombie Goat Tavern) and then a page for each conversational fragment (in this case, eight pages). Once you've decorated your room and pages appropriately, go back to your flow diagram. Leave initial fragments showing (in this case 'Buy a pint of McThugger's Special' and 'Buy a pint for the squat') and hide the rest. Now on each page, set up a program with an Add Page Access Contraption for each conversational fragment leading off from it. So in this example, on the 'McThuggers founded Squat Hole?' page, have two Add Page Access Contraptions, one pointing to 'But the Skronkys own the baccy mines!' and one pointing to 'Why are you living here then?'. That's all that need be done.

As it stands, links to the initial conversational fragments will always be visible from any point in the conversation. If you want these to disappear at any point, then simply use Hide Page Link Contraptions in the relevant programs.

The basic idea can be extended. Different fragments can have their own pieces of program. So for example, in the above conversation, "Give honest opinion about the cider." could have a Warp Contraption which takes you to another room decorated. "You wake up battered and bruised with an empty wallet." and a one way door to just outside the pub.

One conversation fragment could be asking for something that you need to have solved some puzzle to know about, and could have a program using one of the Commentary Command Contrivances. All sorts of things could be bolted onto the basic conversational structure.


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1) This is part of a slightly larger one that really does exist. If you want to see it in action then go to Port Foley, then go north and look in the bar of the Zombie Goat. You have to get there at the right time of day - between eight am and ten pm game time.
 
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places/conversations.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/28 03:54 (external edit)