At what point a cut-scene started being too long?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by TheoAllen, Jul 27, 2018.

  1. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    And your player demand the gameplay back.

    I'm writing scenario for my game that turned out to be a novel material instead. Some of them might be too long to for a cut-scene, but idk.

    Opinions?
     
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  2. Engr. Adiktuzmiko

    Engr. Adiktuzmiko Chemical Engineer, Game Developer, Using BlinkBoy' Veteran

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    Hmmmm I guess for me if it goes beyond 10 minutes it would feel tiring already. Maybe you can cut them out and put some playable part in between so that at least the player will have control for a while.
     
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  3. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    There might be a cut content or so, but I want to know how far until I'm starting to cutting it.
     
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  4. richter_h

    richter_h Eh? Sweetroll? Veteran

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    My rule of thumb: if a cutscene took more than it should (like, you expected the event to be 3 minutes long but in reality, it took up to 8 minutes), then consider breaking the cutscene into several bits. Maybe the scene can be split into several shots, maybe you can use those unused scenes for later, or maybe you need to reevaluate the cutscene and trim unnecessary info cues or dialogue lines, for example.

    It's totally relative for a cutscene to be considered as too long. I mean, Metal Gear series is the prominent example of using cutscenes effectively, although in later installments the cutscenes are ridiculously long (like, you don't expect two hours of cutscene when you play one, don't you?)
     
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  5. Vox Novus

    Vox Novus Knight of Whispers Veteran

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    I'd say try and keep it 5-10 minutes for something major and under that for the smaller stuff. There isn't quite an exact rule of thumb though, its different for each person and even different for the game perhaps. Sometimes you suddenly get that feeling where its like you just are ready to dive right back into it or more practically just wish you could save the game.

    You see a lot more scripted interactive scenes in games now than you used; where you have control but the game is still playing out a specific way. Its sort of the best of both worlds, you get the interactivity but they get to tell a specific narrative event.
     
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  6. CraneSoft

    CraneSoft Veteran Veteran

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    I am far from completing a game yet and this is also one of my concerns as one of the biggest challenges when building the prologue/introductory segments to establish the setting/characters/conflict - it requires a good deal of dialogue on stories where you can't just throw the player in the middle of a dungeon at the very start. Persona games come to mind in that aspect due to the sheer length of cutscenes it has compared to others and I have seen people complaining about it.

    While everything depends on the nature of the game, long scenario/cutscene segments are fine as long as they are not too frequent to the point where the player spend more time reading than exploring/actual gameplay. And IMO shouldn't appear too much early-game on where the player is still trying to grasp the gameplay segments. While player reading speed differ 5-10 minutes should be the norm for long cutscenes with few exceptions, give players some sort of interaction between long ones should be a plus too if I absolutely had to exceed that.
     
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  7. Landazar

    Landazar Veteran Veteran

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    Or perhaps try solution from warcraft 3 (RoC / TFT) split cutscene into two major parts:
    prolouge and epilouge and between them put minor sequences.
     
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  8. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

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    More than 10 minutes would be too long for me.

    But keep in mind that the number may vary depending on games. A story heavy rpgs may have longer cutscenes than an exploration game with many quests for example.
     
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  9. Canini

    Canini Veteran Veteran

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    If a cutscene in a game is over ten minutes, or even five minutes long it really needs to be a well-written cutscene with real voice-acting and the characters moving and "acting". I think the maximum cutscene lenght in a rpgmaker game should not be longer than three minutes tops. Perhaps it could work in a visual novel? My personal opinion is that if you got so much story content that it is better suited for a novel, you should just go ahead and write a novel.
     
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  10. Engr. Adiktuzmiko

    Engr. Adiktuzmiko Chemical Engineer, Game Developer, Using BlinkBoy' Veteran

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    yeah, whether or not there is movement in the screen also changes things a bit. A cutscene full of only dialog gets boring faster than one where units move around and do things
     
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  11. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    I'm actually considering to write a novel version of it with additional content that may not fit in game scope. And cutting down the content to fit within the game scope. There might be not enough 'space' to tell everything in game, so I'm picking the important one.

    So I take it as within 5-10 minutes long before everyone might get boring on keep reading and skipping next dialogue. Or putting player interaction between long scene.

    Personally I also don't like long text dialogue with static sprites. So I will try my best to keep it as minimum as well.
     
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  12. Grunwave

    Grunwave Veteran Veteran

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    I probably have an outdated outlook on this, but:

    I want some stake in your game before you bog me down with back story.

    Take FF1. You are plopped into a world with little-to-no background information. You have to interact in the world to find out why you are there and what you must do.

    After completing the first "stage", you are awarded with a cut scene that portrays the background of the world and your overlying quest.


    Conversely, Golden Sun is ranked in the top 10 of best RPGs ever. I never made it past the intro, because it is saturated with dialogue.





    Personally, I read a lot. When I want to read stories, I go to books. I hope this anecdotal account helps you some.



    GEA
     
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  13. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    @Grunwave To be honest that FF1 approach is one I'm aiming for, glad someone mentioned that method. The first build of my game used info dump much that even myself didn't like it that I had to drop it (it was one of many reasons though).

    Now the new direction I'm working is better, and tried the FF1 method of introducing the world building / background story, still ended up a kinda info dump, though indirectly, unfold by character interactions that again turned out to be a novel material instead.
     
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  14. Kuu_t

    Kuu_t Veteran Veteran

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    What kind of cutscene? How well made? Is it a full animated scene with interesting action or "speaking heads having a conversation"? If speaking heads, 1-3 minutes feels like a long act. Also, while we are on RPG -maker with small teams and resources, I really can't recommend doing a long, full animated cutscene :) Short cutscene can be very informative too! And for sure, more fun to watch!

    Let's think the problem in this way, one anime episode is usually 22-30 minutes long. That's full animated action with lots of characters and lot of things going on. Even that can get boring so how about 10 minutes conversation?

    If your manuscript is a novel, maybe you should offer a novel for the player from the menu? Anyway, people play games for gaming experience and reads a book for novel experience. Pick up your media, buddy!
     
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  15. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    @Kuu_t I find your whole questions interesting. And since you brought up anime, that 24 minutes long with only all conversation can also be interesting actually. Are you saying if it well made, players will forgive of having 20 minutes worth of a scene?

    True, people play game for gaming experience, this is also why this thread exists. If I want to give my player a full gaming experience, I'd rather make a game that only focused on gameplay like what I did in my previous game. However, I want to get experience on writing a game story / scenario as well, so I'm learning this. In short, I'm making this for my own sake.
     
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  16. Engr. Adiktuzmiko

    Engr. Adiktuzmiko Chemical Engineer, Game Developer, Using BlinkBoy' Veteran

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    I think you can do something like after every chapter of the game (or every few important events) you get a "Book" item which then triggers a cutscene or opens a book window where the player can learn about the "full" story so far. That way the player has the choice while everything is still integrated in the game.
     
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  17. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    I somehow find opening a book "triggers" a cutscene is a weird approach, it could work though, but idk how it will turns out. An extra lore like the world itself, maybe I will put on book, but not a cutscene lol. Not sure whether going for book (as item) or journal (as menu). But that is a matter for another topic.
     
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  18. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I think this has to be broken down into several aspects.

    The first really important point is the reading speed of your player. If you have players for whom English is their second, third or even fourth language, they will read it far slower than a native English speaker. (One of the many, many, many reasons to avoid voice acting is that it will go completely out of sync with the written text for such readers). Where, however, some of the information is presented visually (movement, for example) then the speed of the scene will pick up for everyone. So, try and convey at least some of the actual information in non-verbal ways.

    Will the whole cut scene take place on one map? Having a cut scene which switches location helps to prevent it appearing too long. For example, my intro cut scene in my present project has 4 different locations and lasts just about 3 minutes. It feels fast paced - though obviously what happens in those 3 minutes contributes.

    If you can't switch locations, would it be possible to pan the camera somewhere else? For example, your party are prompted into the dialogue by seeing something. Position your trigger point so that the player cannot see what they can see, and then use the "Look at that" (or whatever), and pan the camera so that the player can now see. At some point, move the camera back to the party. You've varied the visuals without moving a step.

    Maybe the location stays the same, but significantly different lighting effects can add variety, and variety almost always feels shorter than static.

    Can it be broken down into more than one scene? If it can, then 9 times out of 10 it should be.

    There are probably other aspects as well, but I'm in a hurry and can't think of them.

    When you add all those things together you can see that the length of the cut scene should depend, at least in part, on how it is constructed. Having plenty of variety will allow you a greater length.

    For a basically static cut scene, I would say 5 minutes is a reasonable limit. With more variation, up to 10 minutes. Unless you are an extremely good writer, that is, imo, probably the top end of the range.
     
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  19. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Depends on the scene. I've made it through all of Persona's long cutscenes with no problems, but there are other games with shorter cutscenes where I've found myself going "Just shut up already." I think it depends on if the player can see that there is a point to all that is being said or not. So if your RPG is rattling on what the players ate for the last 10 days, they are going to probably be bored with it quickly as they will see no point in this information.

    As for my game, one approach I used was for longer cutscenes I give the player an option to save. I tried to space those every 5 minutes or so (and 5 minutes not based on my reading speed, but what appears to be 5 minutes for most players, as I read fast and I already know the story), but sometimes it is longer or shorter so as to not oddly interrupt what is going on.
     
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  20. zacheatscrackers

    zacheatscrackers Machinehead Veteran

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    Keep a cutscene/dialogue exchange/whatever only as long as the story needs it to be. It can easily cross into mindless blabbering if you're not careful, like Kingdom Hearts cutscenes. Thank god they added an option to skip starting from 2 lmao.
     
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