I spend a lot of time dealing with problems such as this. I have gotten the conversations cluster in pretty good shape, so I ran a rehearsal. One problem was immediately obvious; here’s one of the pages from the rehearsal display:
It’s obvious from this that the character responds to ‘let’s talk about’ with his own counter ‘let’s talk about’ far too often. Why? Here’s the inclination script for the decision:
This looks perfectly reasonable, doesn’t it? The script figures out the ReactingActor’s strongest feelings towards the Chosen4Actor, and subtracts how much he likes ThisSubject from that strongest feeling. In other words, he asks “Do I have feelings about Chosen4Actor that are more intense than my affection for ThisSubject?” Here’s the log of the execution of this script:
The problem is immediately apparent: the ReactingActor (Camiggdo) hates ThisSubject (Nynub). What this means is that, if you hate somebody enough, you’ll NEVER go along with their suggestions, and instead you’ll want to talk about ONLY those people for whom you have the most intense feelings. In effect, ReactingActor is saying “I hate you so much that I don’t give a damn what you want to talk about; we’ll talk about what *I* want to talk about or we won’t talk about anything!"
I suppose that this is acceptable, but there’s another flaw in it. I decided to show my disdain for Camiggdo by refusing to accept his proposed topic, instead responding to his every “let’s talk about” with my own “let’s talk about”. This should have made Camiggdo so angry that he’d terminate the conversation, but he didn’t. That, it turns out, is because the increase in anger in response to such behavior is a constant value of 0.3. It should increase in proportion to the number of times you’ve contradicted his preferences. So I revised the Adjust_Fearful_Angry script to this:
But that still didn’t fix the problem; Camiggdo hated Nynub so much that his inclination for insisting on his own topic exceeded his angry inclination to say goodbye. To fix that, I need merely add his hatred for Nynub into the inclination for saying goodbye. This solved the problem.
A typical problem with a typical solution.