U.S. Patent No. 8,082,499: Graphical interface for interactive dialog
Issued December 20, 2011, to Electronic Arts Inc.
Filed: March 15, 2007 (claiming priority to March 21, 2006)
The dialog selection tools for games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age is patented.
U.S. Patent No. 8,082,499 (the ‘499 patent) relates to a circular, graphical interface for choosing dialog options in interactive dialog. The ‘499 patent details simulated conversation with a program, the program having several possible dialog responses, some being associated with a definable conversation segment type. The program includes code for generating a displayable choice indicator, allowing user choice via a directional input selection. The program also includes code for generating dialog responses associated with each directional choice, matching the definable conversation segment type with the directional choice.
The segment types correspond to an emotion related to the dialog response, and are generally associated with the same directional choice, so that, over the course of use, a player has a consistent location for selecting dialog responses relating to a particular tone or emotion. The ‘499 patent can allow for players to become comfortable quickly choosing dialog options with a particular emotional tone, without bogging down players with lots of reading prior to making dialog choices.
The ‘499 patent might be recognizable as implemented in the Mass Effect or Dragon Age series for dialog selection. In Mass Effect, the conversation segment types are known as paragon (top right; nice) and renegade (bottom right; mean), allowing for a different emotional tone of the main character, Commander Shepard, depending on a player’s choices throughout the series. Dragon Age’s wheel is similarly ordered, with the top right being friendlier, middle right being neutral, and bottom right being harsh.
A system and method for creating conversation in a computer program such as a videogame. A plurality of classes of dialog is provided and a conversation segment is assigned to each class. A graphical interface is displayed during operation of the program that provides a choice indicator, wherein the choice indicator has a plurality of selectable slots, each associated with a dialog class. The graphical interface is consistent as to the position of dialog classes throughout at least a segment of the program.
- A computer program for a computer system, wherein the computer program resides on a non-transitory medium, the computer program configured to present a graphical interface to be displayed during execution of the computer program, enabling a user of the computer program to participate in a simulated conversation with the computer program, the computer program comprising: program code for managing a plurality of possible dialog responses, at least some of which have a stored associated definable conversation segment type; program code for generating a displayable choice indicator, wherein the displayable choice indicator indicates directional choices selectable by the user; program code for reading from memory an indication of a definable conversation segment type associated with each of a set of the directional choices; program code for generating dialog responses associated with each of the set of directional choices, wherein a given dialog response is associated with a given directional choice when the definable conversation segment type of the given dialog response matches the definable conversation segment type of the directional choice; program code for receiving an input indication from the user, wherein the input indication corresponds to a directional choice wherein the stored associated definable conversation segment type for each possible dialog response corresponds to an emotion related to the dialog response, wherein the definable conversation segment type associated with each of a set of the directional choices also corresponds to an emotion such that, over a plurality of user interface displays, the program code for generating dialog responses repeatedly places possible dialog responses that relate to the same emotion with the same directional choice, thereby providing the user with a consistent location for selecting dialog responses corresponding to a particular emotion.