Your Approach for Cutscenes

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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My cutscenes normally begin at the start of the map so I do have fadeout/fadein for it.. Theo othertime I use fades is when I need the party to show up in the scene, while the scene begins when you're already doing stuff on the map.

I try to use movements when needed and balloons to somehow "show emotion". I also use battle animations on some "action" parts of the cutscenes.

I dont use screen shake, never a fan of those. I also never had a scene which needed a flash yet..
 

Henryetha

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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.
Yes I use them too, together with slow text.
In order to let the immersion properly happen, it might be necessary at times.

However - not sure about how it would be received, it was at first more of an experiment. So far noone complained about it, but I guess pauses are to be placed very carefully still.
 

Hayden

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I use pretty much everything if it suits.

I wasn't a big fan of balloon icons at first because I wanted to get that emotion through via dialogue and character animation. Now, though, I try to use all 3 of those things to get the effect I want. I'm not writing a book after all. If there's visuals available, I may as well use them.

I use fades, but not always. A lot of the time I'll have a cutscene just trigger when a player hits a certain tile. No need for fades or anything. And for when it ends, I don't fade out. Like Aesica, I use fades if a cutscene is taking place somewhere else.
 
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The popup also... doesn't have to be a balloon! At least in MV, you can modify the balloon system file to make it fit your game better.

I feel like the best of the cutscenes I've seen in RPGMaker games switch to giving a character's eye view through showing drawings of the scene that update as the dialogue progresses. You can imply a lot of emotion with what's essentially a one-panel-per-page comic!

The balloons make most sense for when character A is talking but character B is already having Feelings about it. They make up for the fact the default sprites can't really have facial expressions, and are arguably still useful even if you heavily use custom assets because it's a pain to be constantly flipping images around.

That said, I tend to have an entire faceset with different emotions for each of my characters to show their emotions with each line of dialogue. My 'main' game project is a VN done in Ren'Py, so a lot of the habits of how to build a scene have bled over from my experiences there!

Another good tactic is to take a cutscene where the PC would be moving around, and instead wait for the player to decide to complete the next step. For example, I have scene that begins when the player picks some flowers - a set of mysterious footprints starts walking around. If they run into it, it gives new dialogue. If they run into it again, it triggers a little cutscene which transitions halfway through into a battle.

You can also do cutscenes by way of the battle interface. For example, a climactic showdown with the king might let the player use an entirely new diplomacy-themed moveset instead of physically attacking him, with dialogue that advances as he gets more convinced.
 

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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.
I custom tailor animations, or make edits specific to the scene. I can combine effects, and often put in small flair that makes a scene special and stand out; such as weapons and props used. Balloon icons also help if they are in the same style of the set/actor sprites you are using. Using them for impact with a character's expressions, movement, and behaviors is something that takes a few tries to get properly, but is worth the extra time involved. Weather effects are best used in idle scenes or transitions, as having too much movement distract from the actors or the scene tends to lessen it's impact. The same if you had two characters in a movie talk outside in the rain.

Your grammar is devolving the further into your post I go, it's frightening. Screen shake is best used for when a large impact, or when you want to knee jerk the player into paying attention. Things can be fine one moment, and then when the screen shakes/intensity of which will get the player to focus. Doing this too often leads to annoyance. Flash color is good for lightning and not much else. Flashing colors too often will keep players from focusing, and causes a variety of problems I can't begin to get into. You are better off using pictures and having them paired with a color overlay.

I don't think you have to worry about being professional. Work on being effective. If people think something looks polished enough or well done they will make their own assumptions. Fade in/outs are not necessary, but they help because they cause a dissolve effect. This shows a transition. Transition are done for a variety of reasons, and can have an impact on game play to show an amount of time, or distance has been traveled. While it helps, it too can be over done without rationing it or using it correctly. Look at examples in movies and media. Then compare it to games. Media doesn't translate well from one form to another, but you can see what works and what doesn't visually.
 
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On the topic of bubbles they, along with animations, text, sound and faces/busts are simply a single tool when it comes to 'storytelling'. As with any tool it comes down to how you use them. In some games/scenes bubbles are completely out of place in others they add a sort of charm when showing 'voiceless actions'.

Like, lest say you had a scene where a party member saw a flower bed showing the '?' bubble. They then approach the flowers as someone else turns to see what they're doing and displays the '!' bubble. Upon reaching the flower a stabbing sound is played and the character leaps backwards, finally showing the teardrop bubble. The onlooking character then says "seriously..." and walks off.

Now if you were talking a scene like @Kes described where they are mourning a death, cartoony bubbles would destroy all sense of emotion. Even just the sprites standing there for half a minute as sad music plays and the screen gradually darkens would be far more emotional. Like in some films/anime/etc where a massive explosion engulfs an important character/place but instead of a deathly booming the sound is replaced with quiet music as everything fades to white.
 

Ninjakillzu

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Surprise! I don't have any "traditional" cutscenes in any of my games (all are in varying stages of progress, and I'll eventually get around to posting one on this forum).

For balloon icons, I use them every now and then to emphasize segments of the current conversation, to reflect who is speaking to you (such as someone speaking to you who you aren't adjacent to, and to provide meaning when no words are needed (such as using the "sleeping" balloon on a drunk dude passed out on a bench). Screen shakes and flash color is useful when there is an explosion. For instance, a bomb goes off in a nearby building, then it would cause the screen to shake, and the screen would flash a bright orange. I don't use animations very often in maps.

I use fades instead of certain move routes. If there is a NPC who leaves your vicinity after they talk to you, I use the fade (accompanied by the "move" sound) to signify that they went elsewhere, instead of having to mess with unneeded move routes.
 

Kokoro Hane

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Cutscenes are interesting and fun to do, though mine tend to run a bit long due to habit of working on visual novels more often (hence why I will often put in save screens between scene switches). I use whatever means---balloons, sometimes battle animations, a character jumping, sound effects, tints, but I primarily like my cutscenes to be voice acted. I think voicing the cutscenes really adds to the immersion of the scene since I wouldn't say my cutscene skills are that great. I do my best with the commands I can do, but that has limits. Voices make these cutscenes more special and something to look forward to rather than groan at, especially since mine tend to run a bit on the long side. So I might as well make it an anime like experience. I of course take use of facesets with various emotions, if available, but even if I only have one image of a face, I tend to build the character's personality around that and the inflection of the voice actor helps.

One thing I'd love to try one day is have event CGs, like in visual novels. Special static illustrations that show up every so often. I hadn't had the chance to try it yet, but it'd be very easy to do. Another thing I plan to attempt would be an animated cutscene via video file, since my brother loves animation and I'd love for him to do something really simple (something like the old school RPGs where they had basic lip flaps, eye blinking, hair moving, sometimes head turning, etc. for these minimal anime-cutscenes).
 

kaukusaki

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It depends on the game. I don't have anything to add as everyone covered all possible points.
 

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