Feel free to lock/delete this if it's common knowledge, I just haven't encountered it in many tutorials/message board posts, so I thought I'd share a tip that helped me immensely.
using /showcampos 1 on a map will show both the player position and camera orientation. If you're not sure which is X, Y, Z, try jumping, and the one that changes is Y
This helped me a ton placing objects on the Vulcan map, where the initial player spawn point on the staircase is Y=0, then as you go downwards, Y goes negative. Basically, all the NPC objects and costumes were spawning at Y=0, then falling 50 feet down onto the fountain area. Worse still, the talk objects I wanted to use for non-mission dialogue triggers were spawning 50 feet above where I could reach them to interact. So now what I'm doing to plan my map is just hit play map, go to the game itself, then write down the Y coordinate for where I want each NPC/object to be. I go back to the editor, drag the object/NPC to where I want it to go, then type in the Y I recorded earlier so the height is correct.
I wanted to have NPC dialogue change based on different changes in the mission state-- have bystander NPCs say different things based on what the player uncovers. Basically, I wanted a dialogue that would change and not be a mission objective.
I'm really new to the Foundry, are triggers and interact talk objects not the best way to do that?
Triggers are certainly the easiest way to do that. I agree.
However, personally, I prefer having NPC default pop-ups as they allow a player to talk more than one with NPCs.
What you will have to do is set a first "opening" dialog box to an NPC. You can then add several response-buttons to that dialog and assign them states. An example:
The NPC says "Yes, Captain?"
The first button is a simple "Never mind." which ends the dialog. The second button could be "How are you?" with a state that hides with completing the first objective - which is, for example, a fight.
A third button could be "Are you all right?" and it's state is set to become visible with the second objective (which is after the fight is over).
Now what happens is this: Before the fight, whenever you talk to the NPC, a button would appear that lets you ask him how he feels. After the fight, this button is gone and you can instead ask him, if he is alright.
My thought was more for sort of bonus conversations or Easter eggs that might deepen understanding of the main story by giving bystanders dialogue as well without the big "I" over their head. It's probably true that without some sort of indicator, most people won't notice, though.
I know exactly what you mean. At first, I thought so too. But, yes, it's easier for the players to see that these are NPC that speak. If a player is in hurry, he can usually gather from the mission objective, with whom he needs to speak, if he want's to advance the mission - and you can always place a waypoint.
As I said. One of the biggest advantages is, that you can talk with an NPC over and over. If a player decides to stop talking and continue later, he can.