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Ketchaval

Interactive action movies?

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Ketchaval    186
The only game that I have played that felt like I was playing an action movie, is Resident Evil (Nemesis) which felt kind of like the action scenes from Jurassic Park. The cinematographic angles made it feel like I was controlling an action hero(ine). And theset-piece introducing cut scenes helped create this feeling. Whereas Half-Life which also gets much credit as being like an interactive movie doesn''t feel very movie like to me cos it is in first person view. But HL is a lot more interactive than RE in terms of emergent situations. It would be great to be able to combine the gameplay of HL and the movie-like feel of RE.

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I think trying to make a game seem like a movie mitigates the strongest points of both mediums. I''d rather watch a good movie and then play a good game than wrestle with their mutant freak bastard offspring.

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Ketchaval    186
quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
I think trying to make a game seem like a movie mitigates the strongest points of both mediums.


A fairly good point, and indeed the ''interactive movie'' was another horrendous buzzword in the 90s. But I''m not sure that it is impossible to make something approaching that "feel". In and of themselves, can we say that techniques (okay, maybe I just mean camera angles and movement) borrowed from cinema cannot work in terms of video games ''vocabulary''?

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Oluseyi    2103
Camera angles that maximize "cinematic appeal" minimize control and interactive usefulness. Note that the biggest complaints about fixed-camera games such as Resident Evil all center around the camera: "I can''t see if there''s someone/something around the corner!", "The camera places me in the most impossible position to aim from!", etc.

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Oluseyi is right. Many elements of cinematography (camera angles, total darkness, etc.) don''t fit well in games. Also, the fact that game players aren''t total idiots when it comes to self-preservation is another problem. When things explode and the heroine is supposed to stand there and scream, a player who has been trained for combat on the battlefields of Quake and Rainbow Six will grab some cover and look for a weapon.

Gamers can occasionally be convinced to stand still and machinegun an enemy until one or both of them die, but even that is pretty rare. They hate to shoot at things they can''t see, they like to be able to aim for the squishy parts of their enemies, and they''ll take a big axe over plot exposition nine times out of ten.

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Ketchaval    186
quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
Oluseyi is right. Many elements of cinematography (camera angles, total darkness, etc.) don''t fit well in games. Also, the fact that game players aren''t total idiots when it comes to self-preservation is another problem. When things explode and the heroine is supposed to stand there and scream, a player who has been trained for combat on the battlefields of Quake and Rainbow Six will grab some cover and look for a weapon.

Gamers can occasionally be convinced to stand still and machinegun an enemy until one or both of them die, but even that is pretty rare. They hate to shoot at things they can''t see, they like to be able to aim for the squishy parts of their enemies, and they''ll take a big axe over plot exposition nine times out of ten.



two words, intelligent cameras. ;-) make them sensitive to what is going on. I was none too impressed with running into zombies that I couldn''t see in Hard mode of RE. But not being able to see round corners is a. natural b. can be fixed (ie. allow them to peer round corners like in Manhunt/MGS) Or make it so you don''t need to shoot enemies off screen. Or give the player a tracking reticule on the edge of the screen like in Messiah.


people standing there and screaming has always made for a cheesy movie anyway (ie. sexist assumption that all women will do is stand there and scream when it hits the fan > see almost any series of Doctor Who for this in operation).

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Way Walker    745
What about a game with less immediate control of the character? See ideas given in the last "Redux - One Button" (or whatever it was called) thread (in particular, I''m thinking of those ideas given by Iron Chef Carnage, if I remember correctly) or the sort of things brought up in the "Misdirection" thread. Or pick up a "Choose your own adventure" or "Lone Wolf" book.

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Ketchaval    186
the most important factors were the fact that it was third person, that it had memorable events that matched the best set pieces (ie. like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park) and that it used very brief cut-scenes to ramp up the pace.. ie. you pass the window it quickly cuts to the zombie jumping out and gives you control again. This camera cut (and pause in the action) allows the designer to focus attention on one particular thing that they want you to notice.. whereas in a first person game.. you might not even see the zombie (so the sound effects would need to be shocking). Zelda used mini cut scenes to show the result of a puzzle. I don''t think that the insistence that everything should be in real time is necessary.. but you shouldn''t take the player out of the action for long.

Whereas say Dino Crisis has longer cut scenes which detracts from the impact.

A Manhunt-style over the shoulder style camera system would probably be a lot more satisfactory in terms of combining control and visibility.

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BiggerStaff    122
I really liked those super-quick cutscenes - they were fixed so that you'd always see them, but not so long that it felt like a break in the action. Maybe this is one (admittedly small) technique that encompasses the best of movie and gameplay experiences?

Adding to Ketchaval's comments about missing something like that in an FPS game, does anyone remember the first level of Unreal ? There's a section where you enter a long passageway to find a dead end, and then all the lights start to go off, starting with the furthest, and then slowly the ones nearer and nearer to you. Then there's a moment of darkness, and then strobe lighting and a monster jumps out at you. This is all pretty cinematic stuff, but there's nothing to ensure you get the whole thing. The first time I was playing it, I was facing the wrong way when the monster appeared and so only realised it was there when my health started to decrease.

Another game that did dynamic cuts really well was the latest Prince of Persia game. In that, when you did a special move such as backflipping over an enemy and swishing away with your sword, the camera would sometimes cut to an above view as you flew over, and then back to the normal position when you landed. It didn't interrupt or disorientate you at all, as during the jump you can't alter your direction anyway, and by the time you need to move Prince around again the camera has returned to the position you're used to.

I think the key thing here is that these traditionally cinematic techniques can be used to great effect in games, but they must be used carefully so as not to break up the action or disorientate the player.



[edited by - BiggerStaff on April 1, 2004 10:38:53 AM]

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How could I have forgotten the first level of Unreal? You don''t even have a gun, and the guards (it''s a prison transport ship) are getting killed around every corner, but you never see the skaarj except in brief flashes. It''s alinear level, and dorrs malfunction or walls collapse to "herd" you to the right path, but you creep through vents, and aliens skitter around corners, and steam pipes break right next to you, and the whole experience is absolutely delightful. Worth a look.

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Ketchaval    186
quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
It''s alinear level, and dorrs malfunction or walls collapse to "herd" you to the right path


I wonder if this kind of technique could be used more in non-linear levels in order to create linear levels?

Actually I think this is why Resident Evil and Dino Crisis style games have so many locked doors and keys to collect. (In what would otherwise be a fairly non-linear experience. The locked doors allow them to herd the player and set up specific encounters. Ie. They have to go through corridor x to get to the key and when they go back the same way, an enemy attacks. Linear pathways (ie dead end corridors) also allow them to generate suspense.

Locking open doors also allows you to herd the player.

(Personally I''ve always liked AI that wanders around and so you encounter it in different places each time).

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