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The deal with FMVs

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So using FMVs to tell the game story in part or in full... Good? Bad? I usually like a good intro movie. I think it adds to the immersion factor and it''s a good vehicle for introducing the player to the background and setting. But I have mixed thoughts on the use of cut-scenes to advance the story or plot. We''ve probably all seen examples of well done cut-scenes that enhance game play and bad ones that detract from it. Examples... GOOD: Max Payne -- interacting with TV takes you to a cut-scene of a news broadcast about the current police search underway for you. It fit the setting and relayed story info to the player in a "realistic" way. Overall enhancing gameplay. And best of all... the player chose whether or not to interact with the TV or not thereby offering the option to skip the cut-scene altogether. BAD: Homeworld -- start of a new mission you send out a probe to investigate an area. Once the probe arrives a cut-scene begins. At the end of the cut-scene the camera is following enemy ships that are flying towards your fleet. They are obviously inbound to attack you. But instead of being allowed to prepare defenses the player is trapped watching the inbound ships get closer & closer. Finally when they are on top of your fleet the player is "realeased" from the cut-scene and can play the game. Now obviously this was done to force the player into scrambling up a last second defense. But there are other ways to do that -- being "trapped" in a cutscene is frustrating. I''d like to hear other opinions on the subject -- all the posts I''ve been reading lately seem to refer to FMVs in general as bad. When are they appropriate (if ever)? Do you watch them or skip them? Are they seen as a "reward" on par with say a new weapon or leveling up? Do you look forward to the "end game" movie? Just curious.

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With cut-scenes, timing is everything. Imagine that your avatar has to escape from a collapsing building. You are on the edge of your seat, madly pushing uttons to dodge falling debris. Suddenly, your avatar is not responding to your commands. Instead, you are watching a cut-scene. It may be a good cut-scene. But it is still interrupting your gameplay. A cut-scene after you had exited the building, instead of being an annoying distraction, would be a chance to unwind.

What I''m getting at is this: cut-scenes interrupt gameplay. If the gameplay is not intense, or the player needs a breather, that''s fine.

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Agreed. Cut scenes should only be used during "down time". If you really need to point something out during a battle or something, do it like SimCity did. Have a little icon appear in the corner, and have "Press [Tab] to quickview Emergency" blink at the bottom. Nothing to it.

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I recently played through Another World again (yes, the retro thread brought back some old memories), and I thought the cutscene system in that was brilliant. Most cutscenes were short (1-2 seconds) and really made the game feel that much more immersive. As Zennith said, timing is everything. Usually a cutscene was used to denote an important change in gameplay or the introduction of a new factor (the big black beastie appearing at the start, for instance). The closest I''ve seen to it recently is the play-along-with-the-script sequences in Halo.

Important factors: Quick loading (zero load time is good), short cutscenes, nothing too disorienting, offers a new perspective on current events.

My $0.015, anyway. Damn depreciation.

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quote:
So using FMVs to tell the game story in part or in full... Good? Bad?


I think FMV refers to a prerendered video file, which i don''t like. scripted cutscenes are much better, like in HALO.

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Actually, yeah. Brain malfunction. <:|

I was talking about scripted cutscenes. In terms of actual FMV, I reckon Blizzard has the right idea. One or maybe two longish FMV clips scattered throughout each phase of the game, to further the story and as a bit of a reward for the player. FMV interspersed with gameplay within a level or mission? nah. Graphic engines these days are better than that, and in-game cinematics don''t break the thread of continuity.

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