PLEASE HELP ASAP Omnipresent characters/Dialog questions

So, I’m trying to create a character that while the player/reader is in a set area they can always talk with this character. Specifically this is a space craft that the player is on and I want them to be able to hold conversations with t regardless of where they are on the ship.

Second, I’m having a real hard time with creating dialog, I’ve tried checking out a number of extensions in the hope that they would make it a bit easier, but they either were to complicated/frustrating to use or created errors I didn’t know how to fix. Any suggestions on creating dialog, any good tutorials or extensions that can be recommended?

Just write the dialogue and have it happen at the appropriate time. If you want the dialogue to be variable, either use randomness or have the variability depend on the mood my character’s actions have placed me in or the mood into which my actions have placed the person I am talking to. I don’t like attempting to simulate an actual human conversation in which one side’s dialogue is typed by me and the other side’s dialogue is played by a computer. It doesn’t work! Alan Turing kinda showed this, but still, for some reason, many, many authors prefer to pretend as if this does work. So I am in a minority in this opinion even though it’s very objectively clear that it doesn’t actually work. (Possibly even a minority of one! After all when everyone is in denial, logic doesn’t really enter into it.)

As for how to be able to refer to the same object in every room, one way is to define it as a ‘backdrop’ and then put that backdrop in every room. Example I cribbed from the manual…

The stream is a backdrop. It is in the Upper Cave and the Ledge.

You want to do things with scope. See 17.27 Deciding the scope of something for information about how scope works, but here’s the general idea:

After deciding the scope of the player: 
if the player is in the Communications Room begin;
if the current action is asking someone about something begin;
place The Interlocutor in scope;
end if;
end if;

(with ‘asking someone about something’ replaced with the relevant conversation action of your choice.)

The first decision you need to make is how you want the player to interact with dialogue. Do you want menus, ask/tell verbs of the ASK BOB ABOUT MONKEYS sort, or some combination thereof?

Yeah I wanted to avoid having the player guess what they are supposed to say and wanted to give options that print out for them to talk with other characters.

Yeah I thought about the backdrop thing, but characters can’t be back drops…can the player even interact with backdrops, like talk to them and get responses?

Maga, thanks for the scope thing; I’ll give it a try.

You can make a character ‘a part of’ a backdrop. You can also make kinds of backdrops, and make your own properties with their own handlings, which is what I ended up doing for some things. But I rarely use the ‘[topic]’ interface due to my aversion to ASK/TELL.

And when you make bad assumptions, you can make your logic prove anything. Very few people feel that NPC dialogue needs to pass a Turing test. The Turing Test isn’t about fiction! It’s about situations where there’s a genuine uncertainty about whether you’re talking to a person or a computer. Requiring an NPC in a computer game to satisfy the Turing Test is like throwing a brick at your TV and then complaining when it breaks the screen instead of the character’s head. Your personal preferences with here are legitimate, sure, but please remember that they’re aesthetic. Simulationist realism is not a logical requirement of fiction.

In general, dude, you’re very hasty to assume that everybody else in the room is being an idiot, or that you’re somehow the only person who has bothered to think honestly about a subject - very often, as in this case, a subject that’s been discussed in depth, over and over, for a very long time.

I didn’t intend to assume that, and sorry if that’s the message that was received, but I said it was my opinion literally three words before the section you bolded. How often must I say so? Between in my opinion every word IMO I type IMO? At this point just assume everything I type is my opinion, because it is. I also was at pains and went to great lengths to admit and make clear that I am in an extreme minority on my contrariwise opinion.

I understand that you think the Turing test isn’t being applied in those situations, but you are speaking from a position of a perspective that has learned to overlook the flaws. That is why I say ‘in denail’; only when everyone is in denial, it becomes a self-supporting system that newbies can find difficult to crack. I have watched many newbies try many games and I feel confident in my assertion that the Turing test is applied whenever you let a player supply words into a conversation from a supposedly infinite field. They will very quickly comment on the apparent dumbness and robotic nature of the responses, if merely by sheer reptition of denial conditions, which are totally unnatural in conversation. The minute you give them the idea that they are supplying data into a conversation, they want to play the conversation. It’s a natural instinct that an IF veteran learns to ignore in order to focus on only specifically mentioned nouns, and only nouns mentioned in certain contexts at that.

EDIT: DictatorZero, if the direct scope modifications don’t work out for you, here’s more on how to do animate backdrops.

So for the animated backdrop I cannot declare the character in question as a person?

Not the way I did it. But for my purposes, at least, getting it classified among the ‘animate’ was enough.

The way to make it clear is to avoid using words and phrases like ‘very objectively clear’ or characterising opposing positions as illogical. Those are terms with meanings. If you employ terms like that about your position, you give up the right to defend that position as mere opinion. If you follow that up with ‘everybody but me is in denial’, you’re doubling down on your claims of objectivity.

This is a pretty widely-acknowledged problem. It’s not the same as the Turing test; it’s a similar process, but the desired end-state is not ‘the player is unable to distinguish NPCs from real people’, but a state where the player is has smoothly learned and accepted the conventions of interacting with NPCs. And, again, there’s pretty widespread agreement that our current tools fall a long way short of this ideal, and that something better should be developed; the disagreement is about what direction to take for a replacement, and the difficulty lies in finding one that satisfies some set of desiderata (the contents of which are up for considerable debate) while not presenting an insurmountable workload for the author. And while very few people are likely to claim that vanilla ASK/TELL is an ideal solution to anything, some are willing to stick with it as the least worst option.

Some authors absolutely take your approach of avoiding the problem entirely by having NPC interaction happen largely by proxy, or not at all. (It’s probably a more popular approach than tackling the NPC problem head-on.) But it’s a pretty big limit on the kinds of things the player can do, which means that it’s a limit on the kinds of stories you can do a good job with.

Well when I parse logic I call what is illogical, illogical. Others may disagree. Since I am not the final arbiter on what is logical, I see no problem with making my declarations particularly when I make clear I am in the minority.

As for ‘very objectively clear’, you seem to think either something is objective or it’s not. I do not think this; I think of objectivity as a spectrum, which is why I said ‘very objectively’. You reacted as if I said ‘absolutely objectively’, because, as I’m reading it, to you there is no other kind. But that is not what I meant.

Not true and I refuse to accept this regime of fake responsibility at all. Am I not allowed to believe everyone is in denial on this issue? Is this opinion for some reason verboten? No, clearly that cannot be an off-limits opinion, because that is a ridiculous imposition, and therefore I am here to hold it. I am here to represent that opinion. If I couldn’t represent that opinion, I would cease to come here except when I needed help.

So you say it’s not the Turing test but a ‘similar process’? What is the difference? Either way, I don’t want that test to fail. It’s also a bit revealing that you are coming down on me like a ton of bricks merely for apparently confusing Turing test with what you want to call a ‘similar process’. This is a classic symptomm of denial. In any case, whatever you want to call it, I don’t want to have to tell the player to suppress their instinct to participate in the conversation while dangling out the ability to supply words yet continuously slapping their hands when they naturally choose the wrong ones. And the end goal of all this is to have each character behave like a dictionary, and to teach the player to treat every conversation like consulting a reference tome, which produces a very narrow range of possible flows of conversation in almost every case. So it’s (usually) a poor execution of a highly self-limiting goal.

This is just another shade of denial, in my book. In this case quite explicitly so, because these people you describe do know there is a problem; they just deny that it’s a mission critical one.

Well I just disagree with this on general principle. Just because the way is not immediately obvious, doesn’t mean there isn’t a way. Film can’t show you inside people’s thought processes very well, but filmmakers often find a way, and then that way spreads. This medium is still young. It’s too soon to declare the limits of indirect manipulation of dialogue.

I’m getting the following error:

Don’t use ‘in every room’ for backdrops – I had this problem too. Either put the backdrop in each room it is supposed to be in, naming them all specifically. Or put the backdrop in a Region and define all the applicable rooms as being in the Region.

Now I’m getting:

Sounds like maybe you had already defined ‘Prizma Interior’ as something else?

Well it’s a region and it is only mentioned in the sentence that makes it a region/places rooms in that region and to indicate where the backdrop is…

You may have to post the relevant code or reread the backdrop section of the manual to find where you are differing from the expected syntax/sequence of assignment. I need to split for a while but by the time I return probably somebody else will have added even better advice. Often happens. 8)

Looks like you get that answer if you write “Lab is in Prizma Interior” before “Prizma Interior is a region.” Try declaring “Prizma Interior is a region” before you put any rooms in it and see if that solves the problem.

EDIT: That is, this:

Lab is a room. Lab is in Prizma Interior. Prizma Interior is a region.

will fail with the message you got, while this:

Lab is a room. Prizma Interior is a region. Lab is in Prizma Interior.

will compile.

Also, if you do want the Prizma backdrop to be everywhere, there is a handy syntax for that: The Prizma is a backdrop. It is everywhere.