I've seen this question come up quite frequently and I've asked it myself as well: "What about multiple dialog entries?"
We're not talking about branching dialogs or having a complex dialog tree, however the current Talk-to and Popup-dialog aren't enough to simulate an actual conversation where the Player's Captain appears to actually talk to an NPC, something that I feel can help stimulate the Player's imagination by reinforcing the illusion that the Player is actually asking questions or making statements to the NPC rather than simply acknowledging one pop-up dialog after another.
Setting up multiple dialogs isn't supported by the Foundry tool set. The steps listed below however produce a simulation of a conversation between the player and an NPC contact:
To set up the conversation, you must hide multiple copies of interactive objects that the Player can interact with. I chose the Light Ray Small Effect object and placed 3 copies of it under the NPC.
After the objects are in place, you can use them in a [Complete All] mission goal so that each interaction appears together with all the other interactions as multiple entries in the Interaction Window.
Then, I laid out popup-dialogs for each interaction mission-goal, and that's it, basically.
The Player can then select to activate any of the interactions, which in turn trigger the popup dialogs as demonstrated by the set-up in this image.
That's basically it. It looks kind of ugly because the player is actually interacting with an invisible object, and this trick doesn't allow for a fluid conversation without a very involved set up, but it's a start, and I hope it helps.
I'm currently publishing my story mission, which the above simulated conversation is a part of, as Project Revava 'Beta v0.3'. The conversation appears on the last map, U.S.S. Epiphany Cargo Bay #4. Tell me what you think?
Thanks to using [Complete All], you can mix dialog sequences as well as multiple dialog options. Of course, you still can't branch and have the user use only some options, but for information dump and a more non-linear feeling, this is awesome.
I think that for now, if Cryptic allowed us to individually set the "Talk to <NPC>" prompt in every Talk-to mission-goal, we'd be able to simulate the same effect I've managed to, but a lot easier and with more straight-forward interaction from the Player.
How about that Cryptic? Can we have that as a temporary solution perhaps... pretty please?
I was working on placing multiple NPC contacts at the same location--it worked ok with two (sometimes), but when I added a third, positions and animations would vary enough so it didn't look ok anymore. Plus, you didn't have the buttons you could control the text in. At least I know what a Gorn with three heads looks like.
Anyway, your idea is much more elegant and workable. Thanks for sharing.