* INIGO Introduction :)

Who is Inigo?

Inigo is a fully voiced khajiit adventuring companion with thousands of lines of unique dialogue. He's essential. He’ll level alongside you. He’ll avoid most traps. If you’re sneaking he won’t chatter. If you talk to him while sneaking he’ll whisper. He can run out of arrows. He’s highly skilled in archery, one-handed, and sneak. He has unique, random combat dialogue for most enemies. Your morality is his morality. He tells stories, sings, and is influenced by your time together.

PLEASE NOTE: Although Smartbluecat is a member on this forum, he would GREATLY appreciate it if you could please report any issues you have with Inigo

on the relevant Oldrim/SE Nexus 'Posts' pages (after carefully checking the FAQ first). You will find support there. Redirect links below.

Issues reported via pm will possibly go unanswered due to how EXCEPTIONALLY busy he is.

The more people who don't read the documentation and ask SBC to personally solve their issues, the longer V3 will take ;)

Thank you all for your co-operation. :)

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Author Topic: INIGO IN DEPTH - Character, story, and systems (Contains Spoilers)  (Read 1695 times)


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Offline Beowulf1976

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  • This article, written by Smartbluecat was taken from the Nexus to share with you all here:

    This article takes a look at some of the deeper aspects of Inigo - subjects I don't feel comfortable addressing fully in the main posts thread due to the length of my ramblings and/or potential spoilers. There are a few spoilers here but they are fairly light and I don't discuss Inigo's story beyond the events of Bad Vibrations and the subsequent conversations about your past and forgiveness. Every topic containing spoilers has a warning in the sub-heading.

    1. Why did you make Inigo such a strange colour?

    2. Does Inigo really share a past with the player?

    3. What if I remember Inigo? Why not support this with dialogue options

    4. Arrow to the skull. If Inigo did shoot me how did I survive?

    5. Why can't Inigo move in with me?
       (Spoilers relating to Inigo's mini quest - Bad Vibrations)

    6. Why is L so rude?!
      (Spoilers relating to a character in Inigo's mini quest – Bad Vibrations)

    7. Any more thoughts?

    8. How does Inigo's looting work?
       (Spoilers related to Inigo's looting system)

    9. Songs and special conversations
       (Spoilers related to unlocking songs and conversations using one early example)

    10. Why doesn't Inigo warp to keep up?

    11. Amnesia and prophecies are tired tropes. Why use them?

    12. Inigo's voice variations

    13. Immersion– A long ramble

    1. Why did you make Inigo such a strange colour?

    He's a unique shade primarily for character reasons. I wanted to create a good soul inside a potentially off-putting exterior. His scars and colouring gave me a latitude in his narrative that wouldn't exist otherwise. More for him to push against if you will. Khajiit lore is very sketchy in places so I found a particularly interesting gap (explained in a certain cabin) and slipped Inigo in there for people who chose to dig a bit deeper. His oddness and various weaknesses create more dissonance between him and the world he inhabits, he's an outsider born into a race of outsiders. This makes him an interesting portal to view Skyrim through, and I hope that it also makes him more interesting to interact with as the player. He's a bit of a study in prejudice, individuality, and empathy. His precise colour doesn't really matter, but it was important to me that he was outwardly unique and was at a point where he was fairly comfortable with that uniqueness.

    With all that in mind I set about creating his look. I was aiming for what could be perceived as a handsome ugliness, if that makes sense. Ideally some players are initially very aware of his colouring, but then over time his character (hopefully) replaces that paper thin perception until they just see their friend Inigo. The idea of creating this internal journey for players intrigued me most of all. Inigo rewards those who can see him for who he is by simply being himself. To this day the number one reason I hear for people not trying him out is his appearance (I receive messages asking me to make him a more normal shade almost every week). In my humble opinion this is a success. It's almost become a meta commentary on prejudice and what it can cause one to miss out on. :P

    2. Does Inigo really share a past with the player?

    It's your choice. You can successfully convince Inigo you are not who he thinks you are once Bad Vibrations has been completed, or confirm your shared past happened. Whatever you choose becomes fact. If you tell him he's mistaken he'll have trouble processing it at first, but after a day or two he will be ready to accept the truth. Whatever you decide is correct and neither choice will lead to Inigo abandoning you. Inigo's dialogue will reflect the option you go with from time to time, but I intentionally leave a fair amount open to interpretation.

    The important bit is whether he shot you or not. Almost everything else can be true or a symptom of Inigo's muddled mind. It's up to you. If you decide you have a past together he'll never contradict your version of events beyond that decision. Inigo will not bring up old stories of your time together even if you have a shared past. There are too many potential player-created back-stories that could still mesh, and any deviations beyond what you can read and hear when you first meet him could destroy someone's immersion.

    His personal past is not up for grabs. Whether you believe the stranger aspects is entirely up to you, but he did get those scars in a crypt, he does have a dragonfly who is important to him, and his family met their fate in the manner he describes. Details such as what exactly happened in that crypt, if Inigo can actually hear Mr D, etc can be interpreted any way you choose, he could be crazy or the victim of a crazy life... but there is a lot of evidence that many of the stranger beats in these tales actually happened. What you do with that evidence is again entirely up to you.

    3. What if I remember Inigo? Why not support this with dialogue options when I meet him?

    I've thought about this long and hard, I even recorded some dialogue for it at one point, but it's very tricky to impart the info that needs to be conveyed AND stay true to so many potential back-stories... in other words it's tricky to stay neutral in a way that also compliments what happens later in other dialogue trees. It's far simpler to either make Inigo wrong or right in broad terms. There are additions that I may consider; a more expository opening response from the player for example (if I can think of something satisfactory), but sometimes just seeing an option that makes no sense to one's play-through can leave a bad taste in one's mouth, so I have to be very careful when choosing what options to directly support.

    In most cases it's far less immersion breaking to leave things out that are only going to be relevant to a small group of players, especially since the options available already cover so many bases when you add a dash of imagination. In this case the player's response would have to carry some of the exposition that Inigo's dialogue does usually. When playing about with the idea I wrote something like this:

    INIGO - "Come to kill me at last, have you?"
    PLAYER - "You shot me and left me for dead you skooma addled cut-throat!"

    If you can't see the issue with this exchange then we both got lucky with a mutually acceptable response, many other players would not be so lucky. An equally valid line would be:

    PLAYER - "What happened? We were on some kind of mission then... I don't remember."

    Some players would far prefer this option, but it doesn't tell you anything about your past together so Inigo is very likely to contradict it within the next couple of lines if the player is not aware of his story before creating their own, leaving them feeling cheated. The list of potential opening lines is endless, but each will upset someone with its specificity Vs Inigo's story. They are either going to choose to believe it or not anyway so why make things more complicated than they already are. It's more unobtrusive to let everyone make up their own minds about one simple question: Is Inigo mistaken about your past together or not. If not then memory loss is the simplest thing in the world to factor into almost any Skyrim play-through. I personally feel this decision is best made once you've had a chance to hear his version of events and spent some time with him.

    4. Arrow to the skull. If Inigo did shoot me, how did I survive?

    Any projectile travelling at relatively low velocity can graze, then skim off a skull. It's rare but it does happen. I once worked a dig with a guy who excavated Agincourt and he said they found the skull of a French soldier who had two grooves (arrow ditches), one across his cheek bone and another across his temple. The wound to his temple was a lot older than the one on his cheek meaning he'd probably survived two rare injuries in two separate battles... Then he fought at Agincourt, poor fella. If an injury like that is fatal it's usually because ofthe associated blood loss, the brain is often unharmed. There was another similar story I heard from a WW2 veteran who saw his friend shot in the head. He rushed to his side and turned the guy over. A large swatch of skin fell over his friend's eye. It had peeled away from the skull. The round had hit the skull at such a shallow angle it had skimmed off the cranium like a stone off water but had torn away the skin like cloth. The soldier had passed out and everyone thought he was dead until he mumbled something. They flattened the skin back against the skull and got him out of there. The man survived with no adverse affects apart from minor memory loss about the day it happened and a very long scar mostly hidden by his hair. This was certainly an influence when creating Inigo's back story.

    5. Why can't Inigo move in with me?
    (Spoilers relating to Inigo's mini quest– Bad Vibrations)

    Since V2.2 Inigo is completely off the vanilla follower system and is considered a team mate rather than a follower by the game. This means he no longer works with mods such as My Home is Your Home. This may upset a number of players, but it actually fits Inigo's story far better and brings a little more consistency to his character.

    Inigo is a friend not a housecarl. He has better things to do with his spare time than house sit. That said, if you ask him to relax in your home (or anywhere safe) he'll do so indefinitely. Until his main quest has reached its conclusion he'd rather spend his free time in a place that encourages contemplation. He has his reasons and will even share them with you under the right circumstances. He doesn't need or want anything fancy. He may find a new place to call home when his quest is over, but he will want to do it on his own terms.

    Once Bad Vibrations is complete Inigo can in fact move out of his cell, but he won't move in with you. Inigo will explain his reasons for this choice when/if you unlock the option. If you want Inigo to move out of his cell and you've finished BV, start by revisiting L's cabin. Inigo and L will have a brief conversation about Inigo's cell. Once this conversation is over and you've cleared up the matter of your shared past, you can discuss the subject with Inigo soon after you leave the cabin.

    6. Why is L so rude?!
      (Spoilers relating to a character in Inigo's mini quest– Bad Vibrations)

    L is challenging. Challenging to write (knowing where the story goes) and certainly challenging to be around. I wanted to draw a line under how much the player means to Inigo in a dramatic way. L and the mini quest seemed like an interesting way to do it. They are opposites linked by circumstance. I attempt to highlight this theme in a number of ways. Inigo talks about your past, quests you've done, etc. L tells your future, possible failures to come. Inigo is street smart. L is learned. Inigo is social and open minded. L is a recluse who's whole existence has become a myopic obsession with a single person at its centre. They are both people in need though. Inigo doesn't need L. He needs you, where as without Inigo L is nothing, his whole life a waste of a perfectly good mind. He wrote, illustrated, and bound the journals chronicling his search for Inigo as relics of his life's defining purpose. He refers to his Inigo prediction as The Inigo Prophecy, a ridiculously grand title for a recurring dream, but again it solidifies the importance he needs his life to have... and what if he's right?

    Then you show up. Someone who Inigo wants him to respect. Someone who Inigo openly calls "The only friend I need." Someone who can use a power he can't. A power that was supposed to define his place and purpose and bring meaning to his life. If the power wasn't broken, just in need of the right hands, then what is he for? What else has he been wrong about? A relationship based on expectation and fantasy is suddenly revealed for what it is. Understandably he's a bit grumpy.

    Does this make him potentially dangerous? Perhaps, but if he comes to terms with his new place in Inigo's story maybe you'll see he wasn't that bad after all. Of course, anyone is capable of just about anything under the right circumstances. In a way L is in need of saving just as much as Inigo. You, the player, are the circumstance that L has the most trouble with. It's largely an internal struggle. Initially his snipes and jibes are merely steam escaping the lid of a boiling pot. So from one perspective he's actually showing great restraint. Can he assimilate this new turn of events in a harmless way? Just as everyone's Inigo is slightly different, so is everyone's L. You may get out what you put in as is so often the case in life. No choice you can make is wrong, and where L ends up will not be entirely determined by your treatment of him, but it may contribute. Larger factors, perhaps seemingly unrelated to L at the time, will undoubtedly hold more sway.

    When I first received reports from players who met L they were almost entirely negative. He tends to elicit a strong reaction. People often say he makes them feel more protective of Inigo. If that's the case, then he's doing his job. He was designed to get your back up. What I didn't want to create was a shallow character who was just plain nasty. I hope that with the foundation I've put in place there's room for most players to eventually see a different side of L. That's a player/npc character arc I'm very interested in nurturing. Hence the huge wealth of L lines and Inigo/L interactions available after Bad Vibrations is complete.

    7. Any more thoughts?

    Inigo has a huge number of thoughts and I always try to add more with each release, but after watching countless let's plays and receiving many messages on the subject I've come to realize that a great deal of players never stop to ask him what he's thinking, or only do so very rarely. This is to be expected and is completely understandable, but since every line I add takes a lot of time to produce I'll be cutting back on the amount I add in future. I'll include new entries for certain moments and specific situations, but I won't be devoting extra time to pad out the topic in general. To get the most out of Inigo's thoughts you really need to have some understanding about how the game works, and this is a little unfair on the player. For example I frequently see people asking Inigo his thoughts after completing a quest or dungeon. They often get one of his more common responses because once the dungeon/quest has been completed and they are out of the location, it's very hard for me to determine when the adventure took place or if Inigo was with them at the time. As a rule comments and thoughts are usually about things that are currently happening. I could/and have found ways around this for certain quests and situations, but since so few players frequently use the topic creating separate thoughts for various moments in every quest is arguably more trouble than it's worth. He already has around a thousand thoughts and combined with the V3.0 additions, I feel that's quite enough all things considered.

    Here are a few tips for those who want to hear as many thoughts as possible. Inigo's thoughts repeat but they are also random. If he responds with a line you've heard ask him again and something new may spring to mind. If the topic 'Any thoughts?' is white, his next thought is something you haven't heard yet (this does not always apply to other topics where longer responses often branch out from standard starting lines). Certain thoughts are only available once a game and under specific conditions, so it's always worth accessing the topic when you know a new entry is waiting. Inigo has more thoughts when you are not sneaking. Since he whispers when you crouch his dialogue is less limited when you are standing.

    8. How does Inigo's looting work?
    (Spoilers related to Inigo's looting system)

    After a conversation about forgiveness the subject of money and looting come up. You can ask Inigo to give you what he finds or let him keep what he picks up. He'll never take loot that you could take (that would get very annoying for some players). His loot is hypothetical to you but very real to him.

    When you're adventuring together in a lootable area Inigo has a small chance of gaining loot. As he explains, this loot is not stored in his inventory (more on this later). Instead it's in a private purse, and is tallied based on player level and has four possible amounts depending on how much he has scavenged. You can get a rough idea of how much Inigo has by asking him how his looting has been going in the money section of "Mind if I ask you something?" He either has not much (essentially nothing), a little, a decent amount, or a lot. The last two levels are only possible if you've told him he can keep whatever he finds. If you've asked him to give you what he picks up straight away he will hand his loot over as soon as he finds any (when you talk to him he will greet you by gifting you what he's picked up). If you let him keep his loot it will stack until he has reached level four (a lot). At any time you can say you need some money and Inigo will selflessly hand over what he can spare.

    Allowing Inigo to keep his money leads to a number of random events. I don't want to spoil them all, but one example is if Inigo has money of his own (any loot level above 0) you may see him give some gold to beggars from time to time in a brief scene. Other random events require Inigo to be at a higher loot level and are therefore rarer. Depending on the event it can sometimes take Inigo's loot level down considerably... or it may not affect it at all.

    I wanted an unobtrusive system that would also give Inigo a bit of autonomy in the world. I liked the idea that he has items you can't access through his inventory (bread and writing materials anyone?) and it made sense to me that his gold should be handled in the same way. If I opened a friend's pockets and emptied their wallet without permission I'd expect repercussions. This way you can still have Inigo look after your gold without having to worry about him spending it, and the ambiguity around the exact amount he personally has makes him feel more like a real individual who values a bit of privacy. It also makes Inigo self reliant in other situations. My advice is to make your choice (reversible at any time in the money section under Mind if I ask you something?) then forget about it. Inigo will then deal with his looting and gold and you can deal with yours.

    9. Songs and special conversations
    (Spoilers related to unlocking songs and Inigo-initiated conversations using a single early example)

    Inigo can sing songs he's written and initiate conversations about a variety of subjects. These features are linked.

    If you want Inigo to improvise songs while you are travelling, first you need to sit with him in a safe area and talk to him about singing. During this conversation you can express an interest in hearing him improvise something, or say you have no interest in hearing him sing (the option can be unlocked later if you change your mind). If you tell him you wouldn't mind hearing a little improvisation while you travel, a new option allowing you to request an improvised song will appear in his main topic window the next time you are travelling across Skyrim together. The option is not visible if you are near danger or sneaking and is only available in the main Skyrim worldspace. Once Inigo is singing he will follow you as normal and his song will often reflect whatever it is you are doing. If you sneak, enter a city, enter a clearable area, or encounter an enemy Inigo will stop singing. When you start to sneak while Inigo is singing he will finished the current line then stop with an appropriate comment. This final comment will be far shorter if you are sneaking with a weapon or spell equipped.

    If you keep your ears open Inigo will tell you when new songs become available and where they can be heard. You can hear a number of songs Inigo has written as soon as you meet him by travelling to the Bard's College in Solitude. Once inside take a seat near Inigo (he doesn't have to be seated) and when you talk to him you'll be able to request a song. He starts with just three, but the list grows as you spend more time getting to know each other. After Bad Vibrations, once you've resolved the matter of your shared past, a hidden quest will randomly update when he performs certain actions in your company. The first of these actions is related to spiders. Let's use this as an example. Every other day there's a chance the hidden quest will move forward when Inigo fights a spider (other quests/events are progressed by meeting different conditions but the principle is always the same). When the hidden quest reaches a certain stage Inigo will start a conversation about spiders the next time you are both seated somewhere safe. Once the conversation is complete a new song is unlocked at the Bard's College. The hidden quest then continues to unlock stages as you adventure together, but this time the conditions that move stages forward have changed (I won't spoil that here). Once the next Inigo-initiated conversation has been unlocked and completed another, but far more personal, song can be heard at the college. If you travel to Solitude and hear Inigo perform this special song, you'll discover he can now sing any of his songs while you're out adventuring together. At this stage Inigo can also sing his songs when you're seated in any safe area.

    10. Why doesn't Inigo warp to keep up?

    Inigo doesn't have any kind of warping script at all. It's not that hard to do, but it has a number of downsides that his summon spell avoids (complete his mini quest if you don't have it yet). I prefer moment to moment control over where Inigo goes. I'm just speaking personally, but warping often doesn't mesh with how I play and it occasionally spoils certain moments - especially moments I'm working on for V3.0. I prefer that Inigo keeps his autonomy and goes his own way, even if that means he can't always keep up when I'm bouncing over mountains. It may sound crazy, but I feel it helps maintain the sense that he's a real person. While the summon spell isn't as convenient as a warp, it was designed to be used frequently in a way that's hopefully entertaining and useful (hence the multitude of responses). In the end it's down to personal preference, but since I'm really making Inigo for me I don't plan on adding a warp feature. Sorry.

    11. Amnesia and prophecies are tired tropes. Why use them?

    I couldn't agree more and while I employ both, neither of the examples present in Inigo are as vital to his story as they may seem at first glance. Amnesia is only there for players who agree they share a past with Inigo and the device is not used again beyond that point. It's simply the easiest, most streamlined way to give as many people as possible choice in the early stages of their relationship with Inigo. It also has the benefit of reinforcing the symmetry Inigo's story shares with a standard TES player character. Incarceration and memory loss should feel pretty familiar to any long-term fan of the series. The prophecy you encounter with Inigo is actually a bit of a poke at that particular device. It may end up being true, but perhaps not in the way you expect. I personally hate when stories depend on prophecies to function. In these cases it often feels like the writer didn't know how else to fill in a gap somewhere so... MAGIC! This does not happen with Inigo. The prophecy I use is more of a trailer for a potential future that will or won't happen regardless. The man who gives it, and how his interpretation could be coloured by other factors is what really interests me. Will the player change their approach because of a dream someone else had? How much do they trust him because of, or in spite of his visions. He's the only one calling it a prophecy after all and He's the person who created it. It's accuracy is largely arbitrary considering how intentionally vague it is. Any truth hidden within is more likely to makes sense retrospectively once Inigo's story is complete.

    12. Inigo's voice variations

    There are discrepancies between some of Inigo's lines in terms of fidelity, tone, and roughness. Maintaining a single uniform voice for Inigo is unfortunately impossible for reasons I'll go into in a moment, but I do endeavour to maintain as much consistency as I can. This often means going back and re-recording older lines so they better mesh with what has become his natural voice over the years I've been working on him. When I started building Inigo I was mainly focused on just getting lines into the game and his 'voice' was all over the place. Load up any version older than 2.0 and you'll notice a much broader vocal kaleidoscope. To make matters worse I was also using a terrible microphone and way more noise reduction in post as a result. You can still hear the present day Inigo among those early recordings, but it was one of many minor variations. As time went by I had to pick a voice that was easy to maintain and still sounded like... well, Inigo. His raspyness is a killer on my throat and constantly led to me losing my voice early on so that had to be dialled back a touch. Also, his voice slowly became less caricatured over time. Some of those old lines were painfully cartoonish. As I continued to add more dialogue using a better microphone and a more evolved, natural version of his voice, it became clear that many of the early recording stood out in the worst way possible. They had to be redone. Since I couldn't possibly redo all the old lines in one go I've been updating them a thousand at a time with each new release. Some players may think the old lines sounded better, but having actually heard them side by side I can tell you this is objectively false. The human ear is terrible at discerning specific differences unless examples are played in quick succession, as a result many players have sighted lines that haven't been touched as examples of “bad re-recording” while other sections that have been completely overhauled (and rewritten as well) have gone seemingly unnoticed. To get a clear idea of the difference visit the “Let's chat” topic while you're seated in an inn together. At the time of writing this (V2.2), that conversation is exactly as it was in V1.0 and the lack of quality and vocal differences really stand out when compared to his other lines. Most of his thoughts and many of his idles have been redone for V2.2, his intro and performance review were redone for V2.0, in fact all that's really left is the scars story and the 'Let's chat topic'. In V2.0/2.2 when I didn't have time to redo whole topics that bothered me, I rerecorded the opening lines and let my voice slowly become more like the older Inigo to smooth out the transition between the new and the old. Of course, there are still discrepancies between some of his newer lines, the map marker conversation instantly comes to mind, but for the most part the transitions between different lines should be far less jarring now. Anything from a mild cold, to randomly adverse recording conditions can alter how he ultimately sounds, but he's closer than ever to a single coherent voice.

    13. Immersion- A long ramble.

    Apparently Inigo is considered by some to be a particularly immersive companion. While attempting to maintain immersion is certainly one of my main aims when working on him, I'm sure that many players don't feel I've succeeded in the slightest. It's largely subjective and I'm no authority, but I do have some fairly strong opinions on the matter. For those of you who have asked to hear them here they are.

    First I'd like to address the common misuse of a word often used when talking about this subject. That word is “realism”. Realism is not related to immersion in any way. Never the less, it's often used to defend an individual's stance on a mod's immersive properties. Generally, the word people are actually looking for is believability. They are entirely different terms describing very different cognitive attachments. Is it realistic that you can shoot fire from your hands and run faster than a horse? No, of course not. Is it believable in the world we inhabit when playing a game? Absolutely. It's the internal consistency of a believable world that aids immersion, not realism. One's real life experiences certainly inform what an individual may accept as believable, but realism as some kind of global constant doesn't come into it one jot. With that in mind I hereby banish the topic of “realism” from the rest of this article.

    Immersion is difficult to support primarily due to its subjective nature. We each have our own metaphorical lines in the sand we don't want to be pushed across, but I think there are a few constants worth bearing in mind when dealing with the subject. I try to make Inigo an active participant in the world as much as I can, but more often than not maintaining immersion is more about what you leave out rather than what you add in.

    Inigo almost exclusively only makes comments about the universe he's aware of. There are a couple of minor exceptions to this where he dances up to the fourth wall and gives it a brisk shake, but for the most part he only reacts to something when I'm sure it's present or a part of the world he inhabits. I attempt to maintain his connection to the space you share at every opportunity. This is why Inigo's condition stacks contain as many negative checks as positives. I want to be as sure as possible that he's not going to say something out of place.
    This often means writing lines so they make sense in a variety of circumstances, or cutting responses entirely if I can't figure out a way to limit them to relevant situations. I'm not always successful. In a world where anything can happen at any time, even without other mods messing up condition checks on flags and keywords, I don't believe 100% accuracy is attainable, but I do my best. It's arguably what I spend most of my CK time on. If a single factor could be attributed to any immersion Inigo brings to the game, I believe it's that he generally knows when to say what. Without all those checks in place telling him not to speak, he'd quickly destroy your belief that he's really there by your side. A thousand little immersive enhancing acts can be destroyed by one out of place comment.

    Frequently repeating dialogue is also an immersion killer in my opinion. Any interaction the player repeats with Inigo tends to have as many brief responses as possible. Most of his lines cannot play more than once a day, and many of his idles are only available once a week on specific days. On top of this each line is individually conditioned in an attempt to remain consistent to events and location. Unfortunately sometimes this means limiting lines instead of pushing them front and centre. I dislike repetition but I'll suffer it when the alternative is inconsistency. In these situations I try to add as many random infrequent alternate responses as I can. My hope is that if Inigo can surprise you every now and then with a unique response to a tired topic, the unpredictability this brings helps maintain the illusion he's a real person. How many individual greetings do we use in real life conversations anyway? Inigo has about 75 and it's still nowhere near enough in my opinion.

    Consistency is a major key to immersion. You don't need to agree with a character or their actions, but I feel in order to remain believable and present in the player's mind they need to be as consistent as possible. If Inigo suddenly started loudly singing a light-hearted song about sweetrolls in a spooky crypt it would be very jarring. Similarly, if he randomly began flinging spells about the battlefield all those little lines about his fear of magic peppered throughout the mod would instantly be rendered meaningless. He'd lose consistency and the player would believe in him less. This sounds really basic but it's tough to stay on top of and a lot of people fail to give their condition stacks the attention they deserve when creating their npcs, Bethesda employees included. Consistency of character has always been a massive part of Inigo and it's actually more important to me than his role as a follower. The results of this focus can inadvertently annoy players who simply wish Inigo to be a simple sidekick. His autonomy and priorities are sometimes viewed as impractical, but I believe these features greatly enhance Inigo's tangibility, and therefore the immersion he brings. I didn't really set out to make a follower, I set out to make an Inigo. In many ways he's the player's equal and I view this as a necessity since I'm attempting to create a flawed character that is capable of earning your respect. He cannot be bound by follower conventions or player expectation. He has reasons for his opinions and a past that informs his present. He doesn't always want to go where you want to go, or enjoy the same things. He ultimately wants a life of his own.

    Using a somewhat prickly topic as an example - this internal consistency is the reason he starts out with ebony weapons by default. I've received many messages telling me that his starting gear destroys immersion. From my perspective it's far less immersive that a whole class of weapons only appear when the player reaches a certain level. Inigo is an experienced warrior who's had thousands of adventures you were never a part of. He is personally attached to those ebony weapons, they remind him of family heirlooms he no longer owns. Does the fact that these weapons exist before you're ready to wield them really destroy your immersion? That seems a little ridiculous to me and it's certainly a misappropriation of the word “immersion”. Inigo is levelled to you, being in a cell recovering from drug addiction may have feasibly made him a bit rusty in the combat department, but his weapons and the story behind them exist whether you're in the world or not. In my opinion this adds to his believability. Personally, anything that can make me feel less like the centre of everything increases my immersion. It's more internally consistent, and limiting myself and Inigo to the non-specific and entirely subjective rules each player imposes on their play-through would make for a far less interesting character and story.

    Breaking the fourth wall is a tightrope I avoid walking for the most part, and I'm not a fan of winking at the player for cheap laughs... but Inigo does very occasionally reference subjects he should not be aware of. I try to do it in a very specific manner though. I generally have him couch these references in a way that make sense without Inigo himself having to be in on the joke. This means the player can interpret a separate understanding from a line that Inigo didn't necessarily intend or understand. “The is a gremlin inside this gizmo!” may indeed be a 1980s film reference, but it also describes a system anomaly within a mechanical/electrical gadget. This way Inigo retains his believability but the player gets a little extra. There are times when Inigo's references are more transparent. In these cases I let him scamper up the fourth wall, have a peek, then abruptly haul him back down again – the hypnotized dialogue available in inns is a good example of this. He seems to gain knowledge of our world and the nature of your character's existence while in an altered state... but at the last moment there's a twist that places him firmly back in the believable camp (I hope). I think referencing other media and subjects outside the realm of the world your character inhabits is fine, as long as it's done with care and as long as it doesn't break that character's internal consistency. The important part for me is that Inigo isn't aware that he's not real. I personally think his fleas have a sneaking suspicion though.

    If you make attempts to ensure that your npc primarily talks about relevant subjects, doesn't remark on matters that are out of context, has a large number of things to say, doesn't repeat lines too often, and doesn't contradict themselves, you're probably well on your way to creating an “immersive” character in my book. Of course, there's a lot more to it than that in terms of writing and character development, but these are my thoughts about immersion, not a creative writing class. :)
    « Last Edit: Mon, 12 Jun 2017 - 18:49:09 by Beowulf1976 »
      “Them as can do has to do for them as can't. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”


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