Thinking out loud again...there are a few good moments of character interaction in CT, but a large amount of the dialogue is written to be party-agnostic. At the beginning of the game, you get some great moments with Marle, Lucca, Lucca+Frog, Marle+Lucca...then, around the time you get Robo, the very nature of the party's dialogue changes. Instead of it being, "Marle talks to Lucca," now it's "Marle says something about the situation. Lucca then says something about the situation, in a way that doesn't acknowledge the previous speaker whatsoever." -- because the previous speaker could be anybody. Not everybody gets to know each other, and yet somehow, people on the B-Team know everything that's going on, as if they were there from the start. I've thought of a few things that could, at the very least, add some fresh new dynamics to the cast.
End of Time Conversations
In The End of Time, characters talk to each other. No longer do they simply ask to join your party, then get upset if you say no. Some examples:
- Marle, asking Frog about her great great great great grandmother.
- Lucca, reconciling with her initial fear of Frog's appearance, and coping with the idea that "Magic" is a thing.
- Marle and Lucca talking about Chrono, while Chrono sits silently at the opposite end of the room (if he happens to be alive).
- Frog, feeling mesmerized by this large talking suit of metal armor that the others call "Robo."
- Lucca, fixing up Robo and Robo asking something existential.
- Frog and Ayla, talking about loyalty and protecting the weak.
- Marle, Lucca and Ayla having a conversation that isn't what you think.
- Robo, having an awkward conversation with Marle about Provoke/Allure, and how illogical of a combat tactic it is.
- Robo, in his ongoing quest to learn about humans--nay, humanity--asking questions to Ayla that are way over Ayla's head.
- Ayla, showing absolutely no trepidation, going up to Magus to say what she thinks of him.
- Lucca, curious about Ancient Zeal technology, making an inquiry to Magus that is met with "Why are you asking me? Go talk to one of the Gurus."
- Marle, approaching Magus in a very "You poor, tortured soul! Let me fix you!!!" sort of way, with no success.
- Robo, in his ongoing quest to learn about humans--nay, humanity--deeming it only logical to have a conversation with Magus. Magus is surprisingly open, answering most of Robo's questions. Robo makes note that he's talked more with him than any other living being, Magus sharply responding that he doesn't consider Robo a "living being."
- Chrono, talking to Magus. Chrono says nothing, while Magus tells you it's rude to interrupt a private conversation.
I've detailed the logistics of this system, realizing now that it may very well exceed what you are capable of doing in a rom hack. But I don't want it to go to waste, so here's what would need to be done:
- All secondary party members would need to be removed from the End of Time, and "replaced" with a regular-old NPC object. (If you want to change party members, press Y)
- Every NPC Object would have a Default State, which includes the coordinates they normally spawn in at, and some generic dialogue. This is where everyone who is not a part of a custom conversation would go.
- NPC Objects would also have a Conversation State, wherein they have custom coordinates and dialogue (Both, based on what conversation is taking place).
- In Default State, the character's dialogue can change depending on game events, and who is in the lead position at the time. (Just for a little flavor)
- When you enter End of Time from the Epoch or a Gate, a check will take place to see if a "Conversation Event" will occur. NOT when you enter from Spekkio's room, if possible. NOT after you exit the Party Menu.
- A "Conversation Event" occurs if these conditions are met:
- - - Members A, B (and sometimes C) are not in your party.
- - - A prerequisite in-game event has occurred. (Optional)
- - - A special flag, specific to each conversation, is not currently set. (More on this soon).
- The game goes with the first conversation that meets the aforementioned requirements, preventing multiple conversations from occurring at once. Using a queue would allow you to check if members of Conversation 1 and 2 AREN'T shared, in which case both conversations could execute...but that's going above and beyond.
- During a Conversation Event between two or more characters, all participating NPC Objects will initiate the same dialogue when spoken to. (i.e. Talking to Marle or talking to Lucca will always lead off with Marle's line)
- - - It may be necessary to lock player movement during these dialogues.
- After seeing the conversation through to completion, a special flag would be need to be set to indicate the end of this particular conversation, preventing it from occurring again.
- - - Members of the conversation will have different dialogue, when talking to them immediately following the conversation. A 'closing statement' of sorts. You only get one chance to read this text, so it's fairly inconsequential. Check for ("In Conversation Event" == true and "This Conversation Is Over" == true)
- If you swap out party members in EoT while a Conversation Event is active, and one of those characters is a member of said conversation, then "cleanu" occurs. Members in Conversation State (Custom position and dialogue) return to Default State.
- - - (So, you'd need to do a check if Player closes party menu, and is also at the end of time).
- Anyone you swap out from your party while in the End of Time should automatically enter Default State.
- - - For some extra spice, you could have them be in "Benched State," where their dialogue matches what they would have said if you told them "No" to joining the party.
Simple, right? This might be approaching "If you want the feature, you'll have to create an illegal remake of Chrono Trigger" territory.