Personality stats in game

What is your opinion on how DA2 and ME franchise handled personality of the player character? Would you like your character to be described by traits and have other characters react to them based on that?

I plan to post a demo this week and I’m debating whatever to make the personality stats visible to the player. I’m not planning to pre-program player’s responses because the game’s format allows more flexibility when lines are not voiced or acted out. But the game will change based on your character’s personality - and some might find that punishing.
What do you think?

8 Likes

I lile the idea of establishing a personality based off of pre-existing replies, and DA2 handled it very well (in my opinion). I like the idea of personality stats actually influencing the storyline, since many COG games seem to treat them as a tally sheet to fill out the stat screen, unfortunately enough.

5 Likes

Choice Script provides the option of “opposite pairs” stats and percentile stats. The mechanical structure of these stats is not as flexible (or complex) as ME/DA so, you might want to consider what you, as a coder, is capable of making in your game.

Traits are a double edged sword - most of your audience will have per-defined ideas of what they are expecting when you structure personality this way. If your structure conforms with those notions you should be ok but if there is any deviance then you might give some readers fits - justified or not.

Have you looked at how the different games here have tackled this, because there is quite a lot of difference between titles. Tin Star is very complex and very in-depth - it is also very popular. Titles like Choice of Dragon are a lot more simple and have appeal based on that simplicity.

My suggestion would be to map out your mechanics now and get feedback on them once they are more concrete. It is so hard to say "this idea is good but we won’t know for sure until we see something implemented.

4 Likes

To be honest, I don’t like stats that show me “You are 65% Renegade and 45% Paragon” because it doesn’t sound right to measure my players personality in percentage.
I like that I can choose from what feels right for me and I LOVE it when people react to that. But often I think that personality stats are just useless when it comes to that “reaction thing”. Most of the time it is just there so you can’t give certain answers.
Even playing as a nice person, I sometimes want to tell people to “F**K OFF!”, but often it looks like this:

A. “No, it’s ok” I say to her/him
B. I’m fuming with rage but I am too nice to say anything (wtf? Why should I even think this but not act?)
C. I tell her/him to “F$%§ off!” (and this answer is greyed out, because of my 2 answers in the chapter before)

Or what can also happen is that the personality stat changes from 65/45 to 50/50 and in the next chapter, someone doesn’t like me anymore because “I’m not nice enough”.

I think personality stats should be an indicator of how the NPC’s are seeing you OR it should be more balanced if you need it for romance options etc.

(And I really hope it makes sense, I’m not an english native)

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I think you would get a better system using flags over stats but this will quickly turn into a bookkeeping nightmare.

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Well, for me a good system shouldn’t be about how you tend to interact with others (stat like renagade and all like ME did) but how you HAVE interact with others. If i took kaos exemple it will be like this:
The last time you see this guy, you have tell him to fuck off. Now you see him again and he start complaining about what you have say earlier. What will you do?

  • I excuse myself, (paragon choices)
  • I tell him it was worth it, (neutral choices)
  • I kill him kindely, (paragon choices)
  • I kill him, (neutral choices)
  • I kill him brutally, (renagade choices)
  • I give him flower. (what the fuck are you doing choices)
  • I kiss him (sexual harassment choices)

and then, if you chose to kill him, when you encouters his brother who is also your boss, he won’t look at you base on how you tend to be but by the fack that you kill his brother.

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What are DA2 and MA franchises?

Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect (ME) games published by Electronic Arts and made by Bioware game designers.

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I’m ashamed I didn’t get that.

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As you should be! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

But yeah, I think @kaos is on point. There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to react a certain way and not being able to due to personality stats. Even super nice people can get irate or lash out under the proper circumstances, just as someone who’s normally nasty can be nice and sweet.

I like seeing my personality stats adjust of course, but I think their use in game should be primarily in affecting NPC responses and impressions of the player. For example, maybe you’re always lying and have a low honesty score. You can still choose to tell the truth, but whoever you’re talking to will be less likely to believe you. Conversely, someone who’s always honest would be believed. (I realize that another way to interpret that high honesty score would be that the MC is bad at lying, but I think that would require not an honesty stat but some kind of speech or deception skill. Similar, but different)

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Basically this. I was just too bad at describing it. xD Sorry.

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I prefer players to define and role-play their own character without a reliance upon any stats. I’m a big fan of introducing fake choices in minor interactions to allow for the player to decide how they interact and respond to people at the micro-level (ie, the level of banal conversation, questioning, and small-talk); that allows for them to decide what character they want to play and gives them a bit of flavour without doing a load of convoluted branching.

For the macro-level, I use a lot of true and false variables to track the history of the player’s activities and relationships. Without trying to straightjacket the player, I also try to let what the player chooses to subtly influence some text they receive in the future. For example, if the player chose a dialogue option in a more significant interaction that involved them stammering when placed under pressure, I will refer to them blushing and feeling their speech grow pressured in several future encounters. If they keep doing this, it will be noticed and remarked upon by other characters (and may open up or close other options).

This avoids stats and its sad constraint upon roleplaying whilst still allowing for some branching of the story.

9 Likes

Thank you for your responses so far guys :blush:

Fair play :slightly_smiling_face:

You are making sense, don’t worry - and that’s what I’m planning to do, the stats are less to affect what you can say and more how other characters respond to you. Personally, I like seeing all variables my character is described by the game - not everyone will though, it might break immersion and I’m still unsure how it will affect choices, it’s a flavour feature for now. I guess I could hide the sheet, and those who wanted to could dig in.

Yesss, stats are so much easier and I can view them anytime.

A reputation stat and a speech skill :slight_smile: doable but I think it would work best for rpgs that involve a group of people or entire countries/cities. Baldur’s Gate 2 had a reputation stat but it was simplistic - you got a number that was based on the amount of good/bad things you did. Nothing sophisticated as what you are known for or known to be like.

I agree I’m not going to add automatic players responses, other than the dialogue they get to choose. It would even be possible to input text with keywords recognized by npcs, but that sounds like a nightmare to make and the only games that played with that still made it feel as if you had to say something pre-determined, it’s defeating the purpose unless you keyword dictionary.
I like your explanation on how to avoid rp constraint :slightly_smiling_face:

2 Likes

How about a stat percentage that alters the narrative after passing a “check” for a specific number? I find that to be something worth exploring.

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