Your Approach for Cutscenes

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Kupotepo, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. Kupotepo

    Kupotepo Fantasy realist Veteran

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    I know this is a silly question. Do you use many animations, balloon icon, and weather effects? Nest, the question is: do you do a shank screen often ( it gives me a headache.) What do you use flash color? ( I know what it can do but what is useful or appropriate to use?)
    Are fade in and fade out a must or not to make it like a professional to transition from a cutscene to a player control?

    I just ask because I might be missing something sometimes. Thank you for your insights.
     
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  2. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I use the fade in/fade out to start the scene, and between the fade in/out I do all my set up events (move events into position, change the music, change tint if needed, etc).

    Shake screen I almost never used. I used it for 2 scenes in my entire game, and it was to simulate a crash. Flash color I used once to do an intense explosion as in here:

     
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  3. Palin

    Palin Veteran Veteran

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    The usage of animations really depends a lot on the pacing and style of your game. You could be going for a more visual/less text approach. Personally I tend to lean more toward text-based and use animations only when I really want to accent something.

    Balloon icons are different, IMO. There's a rule in creative writing "show don't tell" and using these a lot really feels like a violation of that rule. To that end I typically only use them to express emotions as a last resort. I almost never use them if I have to make the player wait for the animation to play (I've done this once in my game in a joke scene, but the pause fits the pacing of the scene).

    I agree with bgillisp on the screen effects.
     
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  4. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 Great Sorcerer Ainz Ooal Gown-sama Veteran

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    I do exactly like @bgillisp. Fade in/out to start the scene, set the event positions and start the dialogue. Sometimes the dialogue will pause for characters to move a bit, or at least face another direction, or introduce another character. I sometimes use animations and ballons, rarely shake screens, and sometimes screen flash. I don't play with camera zoom, but it has happen that I move it around a bit.
     
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  5. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I have never used balloon icons in any of my games. I find them irritating and intrusive. Do i really need to see a question mark before a bit of dialogue in which the character asks a question? What does it add to my understanding? Similarly with other text. If I need an exclamation mark or the tear or the angry balloon to let the player know what is going on, then I have failed as a writer.

    I also don't use a screen shake, but do use tints and/or fades in and out where appropriate.
     
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  6. Aoi Ninami

    Aoi Ninami Veteran Veteran

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    I think balloon icons can be justified if a character does not speak at the time -- e.g. one person says something, the others in the group all react with surprise. You wouldn't want to add a dialogue line for everyone just to convey that surprise, and you can't really show facial expressions on the sprites.
     
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  7. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 Great Sorcerer Ainz Ooal Gown-sama Veteran

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    @Aoi Ninami I think totally right. The few times I use balloons is when a character isn't speaking and is displaying an emotion. I prefer a little pause with the "!" balloon instead of displaying a message with "!" in it. However, it is true that having the balloon at the same time as displaying the text is kinda weird imo.
     
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  8. woootbm

    woootbm Super Sand Legend Veteran

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    Except that video games are a visual medium. On the flip side of things, I get really annoyed by games that act too much like books. I don't want to read descriptions of everything. Show me.

    I use balloons a good bit. That's more in lieu of something better. If I had way more of an animation and programming budget, it'd be nice to have more modern cutscenes. But if I had that, I might not be using RPG Maker in the first place :hswt:

    To answer the original question, I guess it's kinda "all of the above." I try to break things up with visuals when I can. People don't want to read giant blocks of text. Shake things up. Don't have characters just standing still talking. Walk around, interact with the world, do things, animate where you can, use sounds. You have a lot of toys to play with, use them.

    That being said, to be successful you need to have... taste. Like you mention, shaking the screen is nauseating. So use it sparingly, and don't overdo it when you do. And fading the screen in and out is disruptive. Don't overdo it either, heh. I sometimes use animations (VFX) to cover up a sprite change (or other things) so I don't have to use a fade.
     
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  9. Henryetha

    Henryetha Veteran Veteran

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    I use balloons whenever I think, they are needed and appropiate.
    "failed as a writer" - idk, maybe. But we're not writing books, but creating a videogame. Visuals and interactivity I think is just as important.

    I mean.. I could write "Tina turns around, not saying anything".
    Or I use the "..." balloon, make the character turn around, following another "...".

    Myself as a player I dislike wall of texts in cutscenes, so as a game designer, I don't write text walls, but replace/complete texts whenever appropiate with effects - may it be balloons, animation, flash, SEs, playing a certain BGM, tint screen, pictures, etc etc

    I don't see why to avoid resources, the engine gives us - as long they fit into the game and the scene ofc.

    And players loved it so far in Exorcist's Path..

    Ofc, there is not solely balloons, but there's not only text either.
    And now again talking as a player - for me there is nothing more boring than text walls. Text walls make me stop playing a game, even if it's promising. I havent the patience, to force myself through all that.
     
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  10. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    I don't like the fade in/out between cutscenes, I prefer a seamless transition, even allowing players to enter cutscenes from all sorts of angles in the more open areas, slightly altering things depending on their initial position.

    Things like screen shake and flashes are used pretty frequently, because explosions happen or monsters get destroyed. Balloon effects not as often, but occasionally, I do, mostly for comedy effects or when I want to skip a dialogue box over something small.
     
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  11. Mrs_Allykat

    Mrs_Allykat Failsauce Veteran

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    When playing, I like to see effort. If the maker uses a lot of balloons, and they're not blocking up other things from happening and they fit the game - I'm good. If the maker prefers using actual dialogue that's well written, I'm also happy. Where I have a problem is when someone gives a giant wall of dialogue with nothing to break it up, no animated sprites or even letting the player "move."

    Good dialogue has to be mechanically sound at least. I dislike text not fitting in boxes, action locking the player, text boxes over the character sprites, or taking way too long to get to the point far more than any disdain of spelling or grammar errors.

    As far as what I do as a maker, I'm still "finding myself" with that. In the one I finished (cat game), I used a lot of busts, animations, and cartoon like galv-text bubbles (not to be confused with the little balloon emotes). That, however, is not an RPG (though it is an RM-MV game).
     
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  12. NinjaKittyProductions

    NinjaKittyProductions Professional Murder Hobos Veteran

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    This...


    and this...


    These are how I do my cutscenes now (=^_^=).
     
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  13. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    I like it when the game cutscene acts like I'm watching a movie or anime. Because it's a video medium. So I tend to use visuals a lot. Character's jumping, character's animation, faceset, balloon icon, shake the screen and flash only when necessary. The animation really depends on the situation, but I do use them. For cutscene starts, I prefer seamless transition, but I don't have a problem with fade-in/out when necessary as well. SE usage is yes without saying. But most of the time, I had a hard time to pick which SE to play.

    Also, I think it's unpopular, but I like to use text pauses like "\." and "\|". Most of the time, people just use show text without pauses. I also put a wait between show text for pacing.
     
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  14. Darth Equus

    Darth Equus Veteran Veteran

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    All of this, so much.

    I myself look at those effects as tools, and your game is a piece of wood to be carved. Use a drill or a saw too much on a part of the wood and what happens? You end up making too many holes or cutting off too much. Use them, but with moderation.

    A personal example I put in my project: There's a scene with two characters trying to sneak into a campsite by disguising themselves as a shipment inside a cardboard box (nod to Metal Gear). When the camp guards try to lift the box to take it to its destination, they discover it's unusally heavy after it slips from their grasp and start commenting on the situation. I could have done it all with text, but it felt really bare, so little by little I added stuff to enhance it (animating the box as if it was being lifted, making it drop, add sound effects, changing the music, giving the guard sprites anime-like faces and animating them to laugh when commenting how unlikely it would be for someone to try that old trick on them, etc), and it ended up feeling like a skit in an anime with just the right amount of dialog.
     
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  15. Mrs_Allykat

    Mrs_Allykat Failsauce Veteran

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    Another thing I like to incorporate is scenes to add live to a map. I like having sprites do things other than interact with the character. It can be a pain to shut them down while doing a cut-scene, but it adds life outside of the cut-scenes. On a current project, I'm simply having two ladies having a discussion in the background, completely unrelated to what the player is doing.

    ... I'll embed a whopping 18 seconds of video. It's not a cut-scene, but having the the balloon icons in the background add a little life outside of any scenes that do occur.
     
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  16. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Both of these make what I think is a mistaken assumption. Good writing anywhere, but especially in video games, is as concise as it needs to be. Good writing in a video games is emphatically not the same as acting like books. That would be a classic case of bad writing, in this context. Therefore when speaking about writing in a cut scene, I am not talking about a wall of text.

    And of course it is visual. For example, I had a highly emotional cutscene in my last game where a character finds someone dead. All he says is her name, twice. However, the sprite drops to its knees beside her body, bending over her, and the face in the dialogue box is crying. This, together with a change of music at this point, was more than enough, imo, to convey the emotion. It didn't need balloon icons to show the player what the emotion was, the player could see it for themself.
     
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  17. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    A few thoughts:

    1) Remember that one person's thought on how they would love their cutscenes is another's can't stand them. Even in books, there is disagreement as to what is good and bad books due to the writing. I've seen the same paper get an A and a C from the same teacher even, just to show you how polarized this is. In my opinion, what you need to do instead is find a style and stick with it. Someone is going to like it, someone is going to hate it. Remember, everyone is a critic.

    2) About balloons. There are some things I feel they convey that flows better with natural speech that can't be done with only text. For example, surprise. Or forgetting oneself and not speaking properly. Or too angry to speak. Etc. A wall that flows with no interruptions in my opinion is not realistic human speech, as we pause. We laugh. We get angry. We get startled and go silent for a while. No conversation is usually just going on and on and on with no pauses whatsoever.

    I myself use the balloons to convey those pauses and the emotions going on at the time. Sometimes, it's just silence as the group just got a shocking revelation and needs a minute to process it. If say you just learned that your mayor is really the Dark One reincarnated, the entire group would probably be too stunned to talk, and that is a great place to do a speech balloon, to put the natural pause that any real conversation would do.

    Some may argue the ... would do it, but I hate that approach Just do the balloon and don't make me click to go to the next text box to continue the conversation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
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  18. Mrs_Allykat

    Mrs_Allykat Failsauce Veteran

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    @bgillisp Don't forget the "the dish your girlfriend cooked has transformed into Cthulu himself!" There are no words to describe the shock and awe associated with that surprise!
     
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  19. woootbm

    woootbm Super Sand Legend Veteran

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    Ah, well then yes it was a mistaken assumption. But I mean... I wouldn't think to take that any other way. Now, reading this, it sounds more like that you just have a distaste for them specifically, since you have no problem using something as obvious as music cue.

    In the example given, though, you're really more hitting a tone issue. The balloons are so cheeky and cute, they don't fit a heavy scene at all. I, perhaps, overuse them. But I find it tiresome to have to constantly bring up a character's portrait just to show their change in expression and have the text "..." In Oni Sellsword, I have a scene where two characters are having a back and forth, and a third keeps trying to interject but gets ignored. The best way to convey simultaneous interaction, I found, was to give her the angry balloon while the others keep going.
     
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  20. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    Screen shakes/tints: Only if they're relevant to the scene, which in most cases is no because screens don't shake or turn red unless people fight (which I'd rather show via a battle) or if something happens along the lines of a bomb or powerful spell going off, which is not most of my cutscenes.

    Fades: I like my cutscenes to flow without fading when possible, just like the classic RPGs I used to play as as kid. Like, in one I just finished, the players approach some people and guards in a town and the cutscene starts because every event is already in place. The party witnesses the conflict between the guards and the townsfolk, then the party expands out (all members split from the main walk-around player sprite) to talk to each other about what to do, then fold back in when the cutscene concludes.

    The only time I'd ever use a fade is if the cutscene took place somewhere away from the player's current area, like a villain's hideout, a flashback, etc.

    Animations and Balloons: I use balloons rather often because they add a bit of emotion to what would otherwise just be people talking to each other. Animations are also useful for adding a bit of extra punch when, say, a player touches something warded with magic/technology, when an npc hits another npc, etc.
     
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