Good day, all
For a large quest/town mod, I need to add some random conversations to a fairly large number of NPCs who will be fully voice-acted, and I'm having difficulty getting it to work.
As background, I will note that I have done a lot of player/NPC quest dialogs and also scripted NPC utterances ("conversations" in game mechanics, but one-way monologues in human terms). So I'm familiar with the basic mechanics of the process. I also am aware of the issue of NOT being able to entirely disable the vanilla dialog topics from the various Generic... quests, as well as miscellaneous dialog for combat, crime, persuasion, and so forth. Although it is not ideal, it is not feasible for us to use custom races or similar workarounds and have all our voice actors record all those thousands of lines of miscellaneous dialog. There are about 75 NPCs in our mod, and we have around 25 voice actors, so that would just make the project too big.
Fortunately, though, the dialog I need is generic for all NPCs in a particular (and fairly small) group of factions. There is one faction in which all citizens of the town are members, at various ranks, so I can easily filter general town dialog based on GetInFaction() calls. In fact, I am already doing this for certain player-selectable topics (such as "tell me about the town's history"). When I tried this for conversations (that is, HELLO...something...something...GOODBYE topic sequences), the NPCs seem to ignore my new conversation topics, except in one specific situation which resulted in a really anomalous behavior, but I'll cover that oddball case at the end of this post.
I should also mention that this mod has a "supervisory quest", invisible to the player, that is enabled at game start and is never completed. It does no journal updates (well, *now* it does, for debugging, but it won't in the released version), but enables some custom dialog (such as the "tell me about the town's history" example from above) and stores some quest variables that govern behavior of some of the town's NPCs and features. So I do have a good place to insert my random conversations without modifying the Generic... quests in the vanilla game.
The goal is one of two things, in preference order:
1. My NPCs use *only* my custom voice-acted conversations for their random NPC/NPC conversations, and eschew all the vanilla conversations. Some of the behavior I have seen with quest dialog suggests that the game engine may in some cases prefer quest-specific dialog over generic dialog, but that isn't the way the documentation reads (and yes, I've studied that in multiple places). The documentation doesn't really seem to cover my middle-ground case; people talk about adding dialog or totally disabling all vanilla dialog, but not my case of wanting to replace only part of the vanilla.
2. My NPCs add the custom conversations on top of the existing vanilla conversations. In this scenario, I would create topics like HELLO and CreatureResponse that simply merge into the existing conversations. My concern with this option is that I might have to modify the Generic quest, and some of the online documentation seems to suggest that this would badly invite conflict with other mods. In particular, I found one article on the CS wiki that suggested that any modification of the Generic quest would result in a "last mod in load order wins" situation, rather than simply having my new topics just be added. That seems counter-intuitive to me, but there it is.
So, I'm looking for any guidance people could offer on how best to do this. Is it okay to modify Generic, with dialog conditioned on my custom factions? How do I get the dialog to actually be included, as it mostly seems to be ignored right now? Is there a way to make my NPCs prefer my random conversations over the vanilla, or at least to treat my conversations separately?
I'll post separately on the weird anomaly, still in this thread but as a separate post so as not to entirely cloud the main issue.