NPCs, realism, and blue language

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S.P.Harvey

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Oct 27, 1994, 7:41:30 PM10/27/94
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What do we think, group? Is this verboten totally, or are we allowed to
flavor our NPC dialogue with some of the more spicy words of the English
language? Naturally, I'm not talking about NPCs that rant and swear like
extras in a Tarantino film.

I'm working on two NPCs simultaneously: a soldier and a bartender. It
seems very realistic to me to have these two utter a few obscenities now
and then, when appropriate in their dialogue. Especially the soldier,
as he's been drinking and is quite worked up.

Obscenities by the player are still disallowed, naturally.

Of course, I can take the "safe" route and simply use "hell" and "bastards"
instead of a few more choice euphemisms, but that's not nearly as much fun.

I'm curious to hear what others think.

Scott

Oh, BTW, I'm also adding a truck driver. :)


--
----------------------| S.P. Harvey |--------------------------
"They say a good man is hard to find. Maybe Woresley was one of those.
But who on earth wants a good man? Who for that matter wants a good woman?
Not me." - Roald Dahl, "My Uncle Oswald"
----------------------| sha...@interaccess.com |--------------------------

Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Oct 27, 1994, 11:24:42 PM10/27/94
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In article <38pdra$i...@nntp.interaccess.com>,

S.P.Harvey <sha...@interaccess.com> wrote:
>What do we think, group? Is this verboten totally, or are we allowed to
>flavor our NPC dialogue with some of the more spicy words of the English
>language? Naturally, I'm not talking about NPCs that rant and swear like
>extras in a Tarantino film.

Oh come now. Do you really have to ask? :) There's nothing wrong with
any word, in my opinion. Personally, I like a little realism in the NPCs
in the games I like.

>Obscenities by the player are still disallowed, naturally.

*coff* If you say so. Personally, I have:

>%&#$&

The air seems to darken for a moment, as though your ill-chosen words
had somehow upset the balance of good and evil. Then again, perhaps it's
just the author trying to frighten you.

I would be disappointed in any sailor or soldier who didn't have a few
euphemisms to hurl our way.

>HELLO, SAILOR

"Hey, F' you too, you scumbag." The sailor angrily throws something at
you. It lands at your feet, barely missing you. "Aw F'. That was my
last F'ing bottle of rum!" Disgruntled, he stares at you as the ship
sails away.

:)

--
<~~~~~E~~~G~~~SIGHT~UNSEEN~~~LOST~IN~THE~FOG~~~CYBER~CHESS~~~SPAG~~~|~~~~~~~>
< V R I O Software. We bring words to life! | ~~\ >
< T "We at Vertigo apologize for the delay. Sorry." | /~\ | >
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Felix Lee

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Oct 28, 1994, 12:04:01 AM10/28/94
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how about player-settable ratings? videogames have had a
"violence/gore" switch for a couple years now.
--

S.P.Harvey

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Oct 28, 1994, 8:12:46 AM10/28/94
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Felix Lee (fl...@cse.psu.edu) wrote:
: how about player-settable ratings? videogames have had a

: "violence/gore" switch for a couple years now.
: --

Felix: this is a decent idea, but I don't really believe anyone plays
Mortal Kombat without the "blood" switch activated. At least when their
parents aren't looking.

An IF-example: did anyone really play Leather Goddesses on any setting
but "R"? Sure, it's amusing to go read all the slightly varied
descriptions, but in the end, it doesn't add anything more than more work
for the designer.

Scott

--
----------------------| S.P. Harvey |--------------------------

"people who believe in politics/ are like people who believe in god:
they are sucking wind through bent straws."
- Charles Bukowski
----------------------| sha...@interaccess.com |--------------------------

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Oct 28, 1994, 12:51:05 PM10/28/94
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Excerpts from netnews.rec.arts.int-fiction: 27-Oct-94 NPCs, realism, and
blue lan.. S.P.Harvey@interaccess.c (1215)

> What do we think, group? Is this verboten totally, or are we allowed to
> flavor our NPC dialogue with some of the more spicy words of the English
> language? Naturally, I'm not talking about NPCs that rant and swear like
> extras in a Tarantino film.

Why not? I don't think the language in _Pulp Fiction_ was gratuitous. It
was plausible for those characters. If you write a game in which people
swear like that, put it in. If you write a game in which people swear
like I do (ie, much less, but sometimes), put that in.

> Obscenities by the player are still disallowed, naturally.

Why?

Excerpts from netnews.rec.arts.int-fiction: 28-Oct-94 Re: NPCs, realism,
and blue.. Felix L...@cse.psu.edu (108)

> how about player-settable ratings? videogames have had a
> "violence/gore" switch for a couple years now.

But read all the text you write, both ways, and make sure that both are
stories you are willing to put your name on.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."

Erik Max Francis

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Oct 30, 1994, 5:35:35 PM10/30/94
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sha...@interaccess.com ( S.P.Harvey) writes:

> Of course, I can take the "safe" route and simply use "hell" and "bastards"
> instead of a few more choice euphemisms, but that's not nearly as much fun.

One option is to have a switch that the player can use which will
substitute the particularly unpleasant words with some lighter ones.
Many systems I've seen with this kind of problem have such a prissy
switch, though I don't really know if anyone ever uses it.


Erik Max Francis, &tSftDotIotE ...!uuwest!alcyone!max m...@alcyone.darkside.com
San Jose, California, USA -><- -><- ICBM: 37 20 N 121 53 W _
H.3`S,3,P,3$S,#$Q,C`Q,3,P,3$S,#$Q,3`Q,3,P,C$Q,#(Q.#`-"C`- ftmfbs kmmfa / \
Omnia quia sunt, lumina sunt. ("All things that are, are lights.") -><- \_/

Erik Max Francis

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Oct 30, 1994, 5:37:08 PM10/30/94
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sha...@interaccess.com ( S.P.Harvey) writes:

> Felix: this is a decent idea, but I don't really believe anyone plays
> Mortal Kombat without the "blood" switch activated. At least when their
> parents aren't looking.

It's not so much a matter of what people will actually use; it's more
a matter of giving them the option. The people who make a big stink
about too much violence or profanity or sex or what have you -- and
consequently the people that will give your product, be it game,
television show, movie, CD, etc. -- are probably not the type of
people who would be interested in your product in the first place.
They're complaining to get censorship or partial censorship or warning
labels or whatever in the attempt to "help" other people from
mistakenly getting your product without realizing that there's
something which might offend some people in it.

It's not a matter of mechanics, it's a matter of politics. Besides,
in the case of interactive fiction, rigging something up where you
have variables for the profanity that the characters use and
substitute those with weaker or stronger language upon the player's
request is rather trivial.

Gareth Rees

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Oct 31, 1994, 6:32:35 AM10/31/94
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S.P.Harvey (sha...@interaccess.com) writes:
> Are we allowed to flavor our NPC dialogue with some of the more spicy

> words of the English language?

You're 'allowed' to do whatever you like (within your country's
copyright and obscenity laws, of course). I think you should go with
whatever makes your game feel most realistic and interesting.

If you're concerned about restricting your audience, then by all means
have "profanity on" and "profanity off" commands.

--
Gareth Rees

Mathematical Institute, (0865) 2-73525

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Oct 31, 1994, 7:23:56 AM10/31/94
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In article <38pdra$i...@nntp.interaccess.com>, sha...@interaccess.com ( S.P.Harvey) writes:
> What do we think, group? Is this verboten totally, or are we allowed to
> flavor our NPC dialogue with some of the more spicy words of the English
> language? Naturally, I'm not talking about NPCs that rant and swear like
> extras in a Tarantino film.
>
> I'm working on two NPCs simultaneously: a soldier and a bartender. It
> seems very realistic to me to have these two utter a few obscenities now
> and then, when appropriate in their dialogue. Especially the soldier,
> as he's been drinking and is quite worked up.
>
> Obscenities by the player are still disallowed, naturally.
>

Naturally... Well, in defence of art as opposed to censorship, I don't
see any reason why you should write something you wouldn't have chosen
initially to write, for such a lame reason. My personal view is that
gross bad language for its own sake is tiresome and juvenile (e.g.
Eddie Murphy as a stand-up "comic") but that's different.

Philip Larkin once described his great collection of poetry "High Windows"
as "oath-larded depression". It would have been less technically brilliant
without the lard.

Graham Nelson
Oxford, UK

Harrison Page

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Oct 27, 1994, 1:43:34 AM10/27/94
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sha...@interaccess.com ( S.P.Harvey) writes:

> What do we think, group? Is this verboten totally, or are we allowed to
> flavor our NPC dialogue with some of the more spicy words of the English
> language? Naturally, I'm not talking about NPCs that rant and swear like
> extras in a Tarantino film.

Hee hee! Why on earth would a rude NPC be forbidden? I'd welcome it,
personally. You may want to consider a switch to turn off "rude mode,"
sort of like the Tandy version of Deadline. (I'm not very bright, so
feel free to fill in any gaps of this story as you see fit.) I had read
that Tandy objected to "bastards" and "private dicks." Strange folk.

> Obscenities by the player are still disallowed, naturally.

Probably best.

..Harrison

--
Harrison Page (harr...@hedgehog.darkside.com || harr...@wiretap.spies.com)

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