Story events for PaSSAGE are created using the Aurora Neverwinter Toolset, the content creation tool that is included with Neverwinter Nights, a computer role-playing game by BioWare Corp. Required skills for authors include beginner to intermediate level programming skills, and familiarity with using dialogue trees and navigating 3-dimensional environments is beneficial.
Each event in PaSSAGE exists primarily as a collection of scripts and conversations.
Scripts are pieces of program code that describe the courses of action, triggers, conditions for role passing, hints for player steering, and character actions for events. The following script controls the actions that the Wolf (in our case, a Troll) performs when Red provokes him into fighting her: we retrieve the actor playing the role of "guardian" in this event, cancel the player’s current conversation, make the Troll speak a few lines, cause the Troll to attack the player, and then set a flag to record that the combat has occurred.
Conversations are collections of lines of dialogue that are organized into a tree; every odd (red) layer of the tree (treating the Root as layer #0) is a non-player character line, while every even (blue) layer contains one or more lines for the player to choose from. The figure below shows an section of the conversation tree for Red’s first encounter with the Wolf (in our case, a Troll).
Creating an Event
In addition to actor actions and lines of dialogue in conversations, events additionally need three more types of scripts: adjustments to the player model in response to player actions, annotations for each course of action stating which types of player will prefer each course, and specifications of what conditions to check before role passing occurs.
Adjustments to the Player Model
In the figure of the conversation tree above, the highlighted line has been associated with a script which increases the player’s preference toward combat (the variable PM_FIGHT is increased by a large amount).
Annotations for each Course of Action
The figure below shows how the two courses of action ("branches") in the example event are annotated. In this case, the "Ingredient" branch has been annotated as being very good for players who are Tacticians (who enjoy solving puzzles) and Power Gamers (who enjoy increasing their character’s wealth and power).
Conditions for Role Passing
This figure shows an example of the conditions which must be satisfied by an actor before it may play the role of Threshold Guardian in this event; in this case, it must be a creature in the class "guardian", and it must be closer than five meters to the player before any action will take place.
Final Step: Add the Event to a Set
The final step in creating an event is to add it to one of the event sets that is associated with the phases of Campbell’s monomyth, as shown in the figure below.