Technical details with the Portrait system & Dialogue system

Since I’ve pretty much figured out how to make NPCs follow their schedules, I can move onto other things, such as the portrait and dialogue system – two crucial things.

The portraits will be static (they don’t change poses), but they will show a wide range of emotions. If anyone has ever seen my VX movie Slimey, then you know I love having a different expression for almost anything the character says.

Unfortunately, the way I handled it with Slimey is that I created a new portrait for each expression. This meant I had like 40 different pictures of one character, and with several characters in the game … it really racked up the file size. So the way I’m going to combat this in Tailor Tales, is to make a separate image for each position of the mouth, eyes and eyebrows.

(Bill the test subject again)

That’s basically how the layers will work, they just stack up on one another. I can then make different expressions in-game, without having to resort to make a complete portrait for each expression. This will definitely reduce file size.

Of course, this also means it’s a heck of a lot more complicated, but with IceDragon’s variable image script, I think I can manage.

The portrait system goes hand-in-hand with the dialogue system. Each piece of dialogue must have a portrait accompany it, so they’ll have to be made simultaneously.

At the moment, I have a pretty good idea how I’m gonna make the dialogue work in-game. Basically the NPCs that walk around won’t hold dialogue themselves, they’ll extract that dialogue from a common event where I control everything, what is going to be said, when it’s going to be said, and on which heart level etc. This will be a lot more work than setting up the portrait system.

I still have a looooong road to go. The good thing is though, if I have all the basics set up for this (with placeholder images), then I’ve completed about 25% of the entire game. The other 75% being heart events, festivals, the main storyline, all dialogue, spritesets and portrait graphics etc.

Speaking of dialogue, I’m tweaking Bill’s dialogue a bit, and I’ve added two questions he’ll ask you for each heart level (every bachelor will), as well as each season. This is to emerge the player a bit with the bachelor, and actually make him seem interested in you. You can earn extra relationship points if you answer correctly. Right now I’m only focusing on the Spring dialogue though.

Edit: So I did a very quick test to see if I could call the dialogue through a common event based on different things such as the bachelor’s heart level, his location, the week day and the time. And surprisingly, it worked flawlessly.

(the open space on the left is to make room for the portrait)

I’m almost impressed with myself with the way this worked without any problems O_o

Oh right, I also forgot to mention that any bugs reported in beta 0.9 have now been fixed.

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