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FinalShot

FMV Scenes?

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Still in the begginings of learning C++, I started playing Final Fantasy 8 on PC (after 6 years) and some questions sprang up. How do they create those FMV scenes at random times within the game? How do they design the models, then how they actually create the movie-style motions (Characters jumping around attacking etc). Also, how long would you say it took? Such an interesting part of the FF Saga I must say. Thanks for all replies.

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These scenes were probably pre-rendered in the same manner as Toy Story. A large animation studio probably designed each character model very diligently. They then give each character a very specific set of instructions that tell it how to move and when. Once this is done, a rather large computer farm spends a very large amount of time determining how each frame looks. Once that is done, the frames are put together in some sort of file (such as a mov or avi) and displayed on your computer.

There are a lot of tricks to getting things to look very lifelike. One of these is motion capture: I'm sure you've seen some documentary or something on it, it's where they attach all the pingpong balls to a person and they move how they want the models to move.

I remember reading somewhere that toy story took several hundred computers two years of constant computing in order to finish the film. I don't think the movies in any of the FF games approach the quality of toy story and their combined total running time is likely much shorter, not to mention that computer hardware has advanced significantly, so it probably took a somewhat shorter amount of time.

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I'm not sure if you are talking about FF8 specifically, or FMV in game in general.

In general, they are just pre-rendered out using higher detail versions of the low detail character models that are used in real time. When it's time to play them back, they just shift into FMV execution mode, and run whatever code they need to decode and playback the data.

FF8 sometimes threw up a FMV in the middle of actual gameplay and you could still play on top of it. The entire game Fear Effect, and it's sequel was made like that.

The movies are created in a raytracer / 3D animation program, and the motions are done in a combination of by hand (key framed) and by using actors for motion capture. Blender is a free program like this. www.blender.org. SuqareSoft uses the Maya program for their cgi movies.

Quote:
I don't think the movies in any of the FF games approach the quality of toy story
They far surpass the original Toy Story in recent games.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=lr3VQyeBlVg
http://youtube.com/watch?v=7A1T7njFIGk

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They're just compressed pre-rendered videos.

Modern graphic APIs can render videos as textures. To acheive the whole BG effect where you can play around with a video playing in the background, you can just render it to a polygon.

A game that uses this very, very well is Parasite Eve 2 for PSX. In the introduction, you walk through police cars and SWAT vans and the entire scene is a video that advances as you do, giving the illusion of a very detailled scene with a cinematic camera. Again, this is just a video rendered as the background; the game just exerts a heavy amount of control over the camera and the frame being played via the player's position. The effect is really neat though. :)

The movies are generated by 3D artists and animators. Essentially it's the same as rendering a scene in the game, only they don't make use of the game engine to do it. Instead they use their modelling and animation tools to render images that are then strung together as a movie.

As for how long it took, well, considering Square and other companies have experienced developement teams dedicated almost entirely to visual media, probably not too long (maybe a few weeks for big movies at best - it only took them ~2 years at most to make the game after all.)

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