The DialogueView class is the main mechanism for integrating Jenny with
a game engine. This class describes how
options are presented to the user.
There are two ways to use this class:
Adding DialogueView as a mixin
In both cases you will need to create concrete implementations of the
abstract event handler methods in order to use Jenny’s dialogue system.
DialogueView objects will then be passed to a
DialogueRunner, which will orchestrate the dialogue’s progression.
The class defines a number of “event handler” methods, which can be overridden in subclasses in order to respond to the corresponding event. Each method has a default no-op implementation, which means you only need to override those methods that you care about.
Most of the event handler methods return FutureOr, which means they can be implemented either synchronously or asynchronously. In the latter case the dialogue runner will wait for the future to resolve before proceeding (futures from several dialogue views will be awaited simultaneously).
The owner of this
DialogueView. This property will be
null when the
dialogue view hasn’t been attached to any
This property can be used in order to access the parent
or to send signals into the sibling
Called before the start of a new dialogue, i.e. before any lines, options, or commands are delivered.
This method is a good place to prepare the game’s UI, such as fading in/ animating dialogue panels, or loading resources. If this method returns a future, then the dialogue will start running only after the future completes.
Called when the dialogue has ended.
This method can be used to clean up any of the dialogue UI. The returned future will be awaited before the dialogue runner considers its job finished.
Called when the dialogue enters a new node.
This will be called immediately after the
onDialogueStart, and then
possibly several times more over the course of the dialogue if it jumps
to other nodes. This method is a good place to perform node-specific
initialization, for example by querying the node’s properties or
If this method returns a future, then the dialogue runner will wait for it to complete before proceeding with the actual dialogue.
Called when the dialogue exits the node.
For example, during a <<jump>> this callback will be called with the
current node, and then
onNodeStart will be called with the new node.
Similarly, the command <<stop>> will trigger this callback too. At the
same time, during <<visit>> this callback will not be invoked.
This callback can be used to clean up any preparations that were
Called when the next dialogue line should be presented to the user.
DialogueView may decide to present the line in whatever way it
wants, or to not present the line at all. For example, the dialogue view
may: augment the line object, render the line at a certain place on the
screen, render only the character’s name, show the portrait of whoever is
speaking, show the text within a chat bubble, play a voice-over audio
file, store the text into the player’s conversation log, move the camera
to show the speaker, etc.
Some of these methods of delivery can be considered “primary”, while
others are “auxiliary”. A “primary”
DialogueView should return
while all others
false (especially if a dialogue view ignores the line
completely). This is used as a robustness check: if none of the dialogue
true, then a
DialogueError will be thrown because the
line was not shown to the user in a meaningful way.
If this method returns a future, then the dialogue runner will wait for
that future to complete before advancing to the next line. If multiple
DialogueViews return such futures, then the dialogue runner will wait
for all of them to complete before proceeding.
Returning a future is quite common for non-trivial
all, if this method were to return immediately, the dialogue runner would
immediately advance to the next line, and the player wouldn’t have time
to read the first one. A common scenario then is to reveal the line
gradually, and then wait some time before returning; or, alternatively,
return a Completer-based future that completes based on some user action
such as clicking a button or pressing a keyboard key.
Note that this method is supposed to only show the line to the player,
so do not try to hide it at the end – for that, there is a dedicated
Called when the dialogue runner sends a signal to all dialogue views.
The signal will be sent to all views, regardless of whether they have
onLineStart or not. The interpretation of the signal
and the appropriate response is up to each dialogue view.
For example, one possible scenario would be to speed up a typewriter effect and reveal the text immediately in response to the RUSH signal. Or make some kind of an interjection in response to an OMG event. Or pause presentation in response to a PAUSE signal. Or give a warning if the player makes a hostile gesture such as drawing a weapon.
Called when the game demands that the line finished presenting as soon as possible.
By itself, the dialogue runner will never call this method. However, it may be invoked as a result of an explicit request by the game (or by one of the dialogue views). Examples when this could be appropriate: (a) the player was hit while talking to an NPC – better stop talking and fight for your life, (b) the user has pressed a “skip dialogue” button, so we should stop the current line and proceed to the next one ASAP.
This method returns a future that will be awaited before continuing to
the next line of the dialogue. At the same time, any future that’s still
pending from the
onLineStart call will be discarded and will no longer
be awaited. The
onLineFinish method will not be called either.
Called when the line has finished presenting in all dialogue views.
Some dialogue views may need to clear their display when this event happens, or make some other preparations to receive the next dialogue line. If this method returns a future, that future will be awaited before proceeding to the next line in the dialogue.
Called when the dialogue arrives at an option set, and the player must now
make a choice on how to proceed. If a dialogue view presents this choice
to the player and allows them to make a selection, then it must return a
future that completes when the choice is made. If the dialogue view does
not display menu choice, then it should return
null (possibly in a
The future returned by this method should deliver an integer value of the index of the option that was selected. This index must not exceed the length of the choice list, and the indicated option must not be marked as “unavailable”. If these conditions are violated, an exception will be thrown.
Called when the choice has been made, and the option was selected.
The option will be the one returned from the
onChoiceStart method by
one of the dialogue views.
Called when the dialogue encounters a user-defined command.
This method is invoked immediately after the command itself is executed, but before the result of the execution was awaited. Thus, if the command’s effect is asynchronous, then it will be send to dialogue views and executed at the same time.
In cases when the command’s effect occurs within the game, implementing this method may not be necessary. However, if you want to have a command that affects the dialogue views themselves, then this method provides a way of achieving that.