Interactive Fiction: Other Characters

0 Conversations

One possibility which some games implement, is instead of the usual commands such as, ASK x ABOUT y, TELL x ABOUT y, etc., is to have just the TALK TO command, but when used have it open a menu of numbered choices, from which the player can select what to say. This system is used in many graphic adventures, and there is no reason why it cannot be used in text adventure. A few text adventures go so far as to have the numbered choices as the entire means of interaction, though these end up feeling much like a Fighting Fantasy novel.

The beauty of the NPC illusion is that, when well-done, it can hide enormous limitations in the interactivity of the character. Inform and TADS only allow the player to converse after a fashion, by probing the NPC with single-word input ("ask Einstein about relativity"). Even with this limitation, it's patently unrealistic to expect a piece of code to be able to hold forth about every irrelevant topic the player could bring up. At the very least, though, a well-developed NPC should be able to react to basic conversational input about the elements of the present situation, and about his/her background. The default response for unknown input can itself convey character; consider "Fiona treats you to a lengthy and brilliant conversation about , which unfortunately leaves you no closer to getting out of the prison cell" versus "Fiona just grunts and goes back to reading her paper". Customized responses to social actions such as "kiss","hit", and "give" are also essential to the fully individualized NPC.

mood mazes

Other entries in this Project

Project Text Adventures and Interactive Fiction

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Conversations About This Entry

There are no Conversations for this Entry



Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry


h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more