Openbound - Dialog

This articles covers dialog creation and syntax. It does not, however, cover customizing the <dialoger> element, with the exception of one attribute.

Table Of Contents

The dialoger element

The <dialoger> element is predefined in levels/[PROJECT]/etc/ui.xml in the sample, and changing it is not recommmended, unless you know what you're doing. There is one attribute worth noting, however. By default, the type attribute is not defined. It therefore defaults to standard. However, it has one other value, which is social. The social dialoger type includes the tagging system and icons below the standard dialog box.

Unfortunately, the default sample does not include the necessary files or asset definitions for the social type.

At the bottom of this article is all of the necessary content for the social type.


Dialog is essentially always seen within actions with the talk command like so:

<action command="talk" name="Talk.">
    @meenah_talk Hey what're you doing in my sample.
      @meenah_angrytalk This is my sample I swear to god I will fight you. Get out. Get ouuuuuut.
      @karkat_talk what
      @meenah_annoyed ouuuuuuut

It may be a good idea to keep really long dialogue parts separate from the room definitions to avoid getting overly long files.

Writing dialogue

Writing dialogue is extremely simple. You simply start your line with @, followed by the name of the character sprite. You then add a space and begin writing the actual text.

For example:

<action command="talk" name="Talk.">
    @meenah_talk Hey what're you doing in my sample.

Notice the @ at the beginning, followed by meenah_talk, which is the name of the dialog sprite. Then there's a space and then the actual line of text spoken by the character: Hey what're you doing in my sample.. Now, you might be wondering where the text colour comes from. Well, that has to do with the meenah_talk.

You see, dialog sprites are one of the only assets where the name must follow a specific pattern to work. The pattern must be [CHARACTER]_[WHATEVER]. Technically speaking, [CHARACTER], here, is a keyword. For some reason, the Openbound developers decided to predefine all the character names and their colours in the source code. To change them, see the text colours section.

Here is a list of the predefined colours.


For narrator dialogue, you can simply use ! instead of the dialog sprite name. Like so:

<action command='talk' name='Talk.'>
    @! You discovered an easter egg! It's easily the most boring thing you've seen all day.


The dialog system has a few different formatting options.


If you want to underline a piece of text in the dialog, simply place an underscore on either side. Like so:

<action command='talk' name='Talk.'>
    @! This text is _underlined_.

Changing colour

If you want to change the colour of a piece of text in the dialog, you simply define the hexadecimal colour directly inline. The colour change can be ended with ##.

Like so:

<action command='talk' name='Talk.'>
    @! If I were Meenah, I would say#77003c "this is glubbing stupid"##.

Image content

If you want to use an image as content in the dialog box, you can append ~[ASSET NAME] after the dialog sprite name. Note that this MUST be before tagging.


<action command='talk' name='Talk.'>

Different box

If you want to change the dialog box image, you can append %[ASSET NAME] after the dialog sprite name. This is used in e-bubbles to get them to look like Twitter. Note that this MUST be before tagging.


<action command='talk' name='Talk.'>
    @dave_idle%alttextbox_twitter DAVE/_EBUBBLES: you should probably brush up on your data structures


NOTE: Tagging is only available with the social type dialoger.

Tagging is pretty simple. After defining your dialog sprite, you add a : and begin writing tags, with each tag starting with a hashtags. When you're done writing tags and want to start writing the actual dialogue, you add a space.

It looks like so:

<action command='talk' name='Talk.'>
        @kanaya_smirktalk:#-#-#-#-#Additional-Bashfully-Blank-Hash-Tags KANAYA: Maybe

Now, that is understandably hard to look at. You may notice that where spaces would have been in the tags, there are, instead, dashes (-). The dashes are replaced with spaces by the engine, so it would end up looking like this:

# # # # #Additional Bashfully Blank Hash Tags

Don't forget that adding an actual space indicates the start of the dialogue.

Predefined colours

  • aa: "#a10000"
  • aradia: "#a10000"
  • ac: "#416600"
  • nepeta: "#416600"
  • ag: "#005682"
  • vriska: "#005682"
  • at: "#a15000"
  • tavros: "#a15000"
  • ca: "#6a006a"
  • eridan: "#6a006a"
  • cc: "#77003c"
  • feferi: "#77003c"
  • cg: "#626262"
  • karkat: "#626262"
  • ct: "#000056"
  • equius: "#000056"
  • ga: "#008141"
  • kanaya: "#008141"
  • gc: "#008282"
  • terezi: "#008282"
  • ta: "#a1a100"
  • sollux: "#a1a100"
  • tc: "#2b0057"
  • gamzee: "#2b0057"
  • dave: "#e00707"
  • meenah: "#77003c"
  • rose: "#b536da"
  • aranea: "#005682"
  • kankri: "#ff0000",
  • porrim: "#008141"
  • latula: "#008282"

The social type

For your convenience, the following is the necessary asset definitions for the social type. You should place them in ui.xml's <assets> element.

<asset name='hashTagBarSheet' type='graphic'>interface/hashtagbar.png</asset>
<asset name='heartButtonSheet' type='graphic'>interface/icons_heart.png</asset>
<asset name='spadeButtonSheet' type='graphic'>interface/icons_spade.png</asset>
<asset name='bubbleButtonSheet' type='graphic'>interface/icons_bub.png</asset>

For your convenience, the following in the necessary definitions for the social type. You should place them at the very bottom of ui.xml's <sburb> element.

<sprite name='hashTagBar'>
    <animation sheet='hashTagBarSheet'/>
<spritebutton name='spadeButton' x='440' y='300' width='30' height='26' sheet='spadeButtonSheet'>
    <action command='setButtonState' silent='true'>heartButton,0</action>
<spritebutton name='heartButton' x='480' y='300' width='30' height='26' sheet='heartButtonSheet'>
    <action command='setButtonState' silent='true'>spadeButton,0</action>
<spritebutton name='bubbleButton' x='510' y='300' width='30' height='26' sheet='bubbleButtonSheet'>
    <action command='cancel' silent='true' soft='true'/>

Here is a ZIP of the necessary asset files. If you want the social type to function, you should place them inside of resources/[PROJECT]/interface/.

Don't forget to set the type attribute on the <dialoger> element to social, if you want the previously described functionality.