I'm running into holes in the Crisis dialogue design. Specifications are vague on the following:
- The player alternates between picking red and blue options. Does this just get them nothing?
- Is there still a red/blue/white option, regardless of which option is picked previously?
- The player picks primarily white options. Is this is a fixed result, or does this randomize? (My vote is fixed result. Dialogue trees with random results are bad.)
- Will the red/blue/white option change depending on which Mr. Johnson you're facing?
I'm going to give this some thoughts myself, but what did you have in mind?
EDIT: After pacing about for a bit, here is how I envision it:
Imagine you have two buckets; a red bucket, and a blue bucket. Over the course of the Crisis negotiations, you will be filling up these buckets based on your responses. Blue answers will fill up the blue bucket, red answers will fill up the red bucket, and white answers are wild cards; they can fill up one bucket, both buckets, or neither bucket. At the end of negotiations, we look at the buckets. If the blue bucket is sufficiently filled, you get some advantage in board position. If the red bucket is sufficiently filled, you get information on Mr. Johnson.
I'm thinking that negotiation results may not be a binary "reward/no reward" thing. Perhaps each bucket has different levels of fullness, and the quality of your reward depends on how full the bucket is. For instance, if a player hops back and forth between red and blue answers, they might fill both buckets halfway, and their rewards are halved as a result. Maybe they get only a bit of board position, and only one profile is knocked off the list. This would make branches with differing depths more difficult to balance, as the player would have more opportunities to fill either bucket, but that's an issue of implementation rather than design.
EDIT 2: I'm getting looming dread on the design of the dialogue tree itself. Specifically, how we can format this data in such a way that it's easy for us to manipulate and visualize what it will do. It's too big a thing to worry about for the prototype stage, but it's going to be in the back of my mind as we're designing how this all is supposed to work.