An Experiment: Generic Conversation Menus

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An Experiment: Generic Conversation Menus

Postby AFADoomer » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:41 pm

When I re-worked the conversation menus for Blade of Agony and realized quite how hard-coded everything was, I decided to try to make a more "modder-friendly" interface to the conversation menus.

I'm honestly not sure if this is the "best" way to do this, and I'm sure it can be improved, but this certainly makes it easier for me to set up a customized conversation interface... So I figured I should share.

Image
(Additional text added just to make sure to show the scrollbar)

Essentially, I've created a descriptor class that holds conversation-scope variables and settings and an array of the dialogue controls that are added. I created generic dialogue components with a standard set of attributes that can be managed from one inherited class, instead of having to duplicate and modify each part of the existing menu code every time I want a new configuration.

Spoiler: Example code for the interface in the screenshot


There are some non-intuitive bits, but for the most part the variable names are self-explanatory (and commented in the base .txt file).

Things this adds beyond the capabilities of the original code:
- Individual "controls" support font selection and scaling (see above: speaker name is BigFont at 0.5 scale, text is SmallFont - the default - at 0.75 scale)
- Supports setting the default x/y coordinate resolution for control placement - defaults to a 320x240 resolution
- Instead of CONFONT, uses graphics for response selector arrow (will probably add another bool to make this optional in future for standardization)
- If a textbox has content longer than it can hold, a scrollbar is automatically added (uses graphics similar to the selector arrow's)
-- Scrollbar is mouse- and mousewheel-enabled (click and drag handle, click arrows or scrollabr area, scroll mousewheel when textbox is active, etc.)
- Tab and Shift+Tab can be used to navigate between items with a 'tabindex' value set
- Navigation between controls can also be set to automatically happen (e.g., if you scroll down to the end of a textbox, selection will automatically move to next tabindexed control)
- Background dim for selected control can be modified (alpha and color), and margins can be set to control how far out from the control get dimmed.
- New CVars via CVARINFO that can be customized by the modder to govern what I termed as the "active", "inactive", and "alternate" color for the graphical dialogue components
-- In the shot above, the up arrow on the scroll bar is inactive (because the text box is scroll all the way up), the down arrow is active (because there's more to scroll to in that direction)
-- The scroll handle is alternate and the selector arrow swaps between alternate and inactive color and between two graphics.
- Text alignment (left/right/center) for textboxes and responses. In the example, speaker text is centered, replies are left aligned, and reply numbers are right aligned.

Download Sample (based on BoA's new conversation code layout that Tormentor667 mocked up). Easiest way to see this in action is to run it in Strife and go talk to someone.
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Re: An Experiment: Generic Conversation Menus

Postby ramon.dexter » Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:09 am

Cool...just perfect. But one question: Does this work with the 'stock' conversation functions, like "conversation, name, dialogue", or do I have to learn new functions?

EDIT: Yes, it of course works with stock vonversation controls. Just sweet.
Last edited by ramon.dexter on Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An Experiment: Generic Conversation Menus

Postby Tormentor667 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 2:37 am

Brilliant work AFA, I am pretty sure that people will be very happy having a better conversation system on their hands :) Maybe this would even be interesting to be added to the Realm667 repo... the question is just: Where? Maybe we'd need a new category called "ZScript" for that kind of stuff.

On a side note, do you think making the speaker name in BIGFONT for Blade of Agony as well might be a good idea in terms of look?
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Re: An Experiment: Generic Conversation Menus

Postby ramon.dexter » Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:34 am

One more question: How do I align the text? The stock diallogue system worked that when the text was without any "\n", it was centered. With "\n" it was aligned to the left. Now all text is aligned to center. Can you replicate this former behaviour? Or tell me how to modify alignement.
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Re: An Experiment: Generic Conversation Menus

Postby AFADoomer » Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:23 am

Tormentor667 wrote:Brilliant work AFA, I am pretty sure that people will be very happy having a better conversation system on their hands :) Maybe this would even be interesting to be added to the Realm667 repo... the question is just: Where? Maybe we'd need a new category called "ZScript" for that kind of stuff.

On a side note, do you think making the speaker name in BIGFONT for Blade of Agony as well might be a good idea in terms of look?

Sure, we can add it somehwere in the repo!

I'll port this into BoA once I've tweaked a few things... Namely, adding another bool to restore the option to use the default CONFONT selection cursor, so that everything in-game has the same look.

I also have a set of files that replaces the default blinker cursor on the game menus and the slider bars with graphics that are scaled to the CONFONT components' size (see pic)- problem is, as far as I know, you can't currently replace a menu component/class without using a different name, which necessitates essentially duplicating the entire core MENUDEF - and since the selection cursor is used in both the list and option menu types, it's *all* of the menu entries that have to be re-worked. Plus I haven't been able to figure out how to replace the video settings menu properly; looks like it has a hard-coded exported function.

ramon.dexter wrote:One more question: How do I align the text? The stock diallogue system worked that when the text was without any "\n", it was centered. With "\n" it was aligned to the left. Now all text is aligned to center. Can you replicate this former behaviour? Or tell me how to modify alignement.


Open 'Sample.txt' from the .pk7 - it's under 'Scripts/Conversations'. Scroll to the bottom and find this line:
Code: Select allExpand view
         SpeakerText.textalign = ALIGN_Center;

Valid values there are 'ALIGN_Center', 'ALIGN_Right', or 'ALIGN_Left' (or delete the line; left alignment is the default value).
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