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Greetings! New member looking to have a question answered.

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Hello there!

I'm a budding freelance artist and indie game developer.

Recently I've started planning a game I would like to make, and upon finding this website figured it may be beneficial to join(seeing as this is a website for game developers to come together).

I thought perhaps joining a community could help grow my knowledge in game development as well as provide a source for constructive criticism and motivation.

Now, for the moment, I have one major question;

You see, for the game I'm planning(one that I will be selling) I would like cutscenes. By cutscenes, I mean imported videos as opposed to just rendering them inside of the game engine(which...I don't know if a visual novel counts as a game engine?). Problem is, I've done a lot of research and apparently video containers/codecs like MP4(and AAC audio) require you to pay a royalty fee in order to use them in commercial work. I've checked out OGG file formats which I find horribly low-res, as well as OGV and MVK don't seem too well known for what I want. I was considering using compressed AVI formats, or even WMV and WMA files for video and audio except I think you need a license from Microsoft to do that too? I posted a question on both Microsoft's support forums and game dev forums asking about this, but am no closer to an answer as of right now. If anyone could drop me a tip or some information regarding this issue, please let me know.

In terms of my current progress in creating this game, I've been going through writing out plots, creating character and environment concepts, layout and gameplay aspects.

Any sort of advice on what my next few moves in game development should be is much appreciated, seeing as I am a newbie.

Edited by thebakadev

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Welcome. :)

The industry standard for pre-rendered cut scenes has long been Bink Video, but it is expensive. If you want a patent free solution that costs nothing use OGG Theora.

 

23 minutes ago, thebakadev said:

I've checked out OGG file formats which I find horribly low-res, as well as OGV and MVK don't seem too well known for what I want.

I don't know where you get that from, OGG Theora supports arbitrary resolutions up to 1048560 × 1048560. (And quality is a function of bit rate.)

And Theora has been used for cut scenes in games before.

 

32 minutes ago, thebakadev said:

Any sort of advice on what my next few moves in game development would be very much appreciated, seeing as I am a newbie.

I think you should get a playable prototype of your game before worrying about details like cut scenes. That way you can see if the game play is any good. If it isn't the rest don't matter much. 

And depending on how much of a "newbie" you are, a game that requires plots and cut scenes might be a too big of a projects. Start with something simpler.

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Thank you!
 

3 hours ago, kolrabi said:

The industry standard for pre-rendered cut scenes has long been Bink Video, but it is expensive. If you want a patent free solution that costs nothing use OGG Theora.

Perhaps I wasn't doing something right, but I tried converting an AVI video file and an MP4 video file into OGG format, but for some reason it came out really low quality with an odd pixel-y/blur effect and artifacts. (Or I meant low bit rate from the beginning and not resolution...forgive me, I'm really new to all of this haha). Maybe it's because I used vlc media player?? It's all that I have to try at the moment, and my main video editing software, Hitfilm 4 express, only exports files as MP4 files and AVI files.

 

3 hours ago, kolrabi said:

I think you should get a playable prototype of your game before worrying about details like cut scenes. That way you can see if the game play is any good. If it isn't the rest don't matter much. 

And depending on how much of a "newbie" you are, a game that requires plots and cut scenes might be a too big of a projects. Start with something simpler.

I want to get a playable prototype going, although I feel like I have somewhat of a mental block that I have to break with preparations first(namely basic plot and getting this whole cutscene ordeal over with). I'm also not a complete newbie. I say I am mostly due to the fact that while I have a pretty decent knowledge of branches, variables, interface programming and generally getting myself around in a game creating software, this is almost entirely graphic scripting. I want to learn a scripting language, but am first deciding what software I'll be using for this game. I want it to be a mix between a point and click game and a visual novel, but with a decent amount of freedom to learn about the in-game world and interact with various characters. I'll likely be using Tyrano Builder, which runs Javascript. No idea how easy javascript is to learn.

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There is a whole lot of opensource codecs, both video and audio, a quick google search will find them for you.

As for the best on that is a matter of opinion, I like x264, it's easy to build into your game so that your movie works even if the player doesn't have it installed.

3 hours ago, thebakadev said:

Any sort of advice on what my next few moves in game development should be is much appreciated, seeing as I am a newbie.

Making the movies used in cut scenes are normally done by a studio as large as the one making the game; it isn't just some simple thing any game can add.

For a indie game you should aim small, maybe one person describing the events of a world. Something that you don't need to hire hundreds of voice actors and a director.

Then there is rendering. Even if your movie renders 1 second per image it's 24 frames for one second of movie. That is 24 second = 1 second. That is 1440 frames for every minute and is half an hour fer a very fast render.

Now if we took the more realistic rendering time of 30 seconds per image, that is 15 hours per minute of movie you make.

 

In game movies have a lot less drawbacks and don't break immersion, so keep them in mind for a fallback.

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43 minutes ago, Scouting Ninja said:

There is a whole lot of opensource codecs, both video and audio, a quick google search will find them for you.

As for the best on that is a matter of opinion, I like x264, it's easy to build into your game so that your movie works even if the player doesn't have it installed.

Making the movies used in cut scenes are normally done by a studio as large as the one making the game; it isn't just some simple thing any game can add.

For a indie game you should aim small, maybe one person describing the events of a world. Something that you don't need to hire hundreds of voice actors and a director.

Then there is rendering. Even if your movie renders 1 second per image it's 24 frames for one second of movie. That is 24 second = 1 second. That is 1440 frames for every minute and is half an hour fer a very fast render.

Now if we took the more realistic rendering time of 30 seconds per image, that is 15 hours per minute of movie you make.

 

In game movies have a lot less drawbacks and don't break immersion, so keep them in mind for a fallback.

Huh....I'll try x264. Hopefully that will bear good results.

As for the cut scenes; Don't worry, I'm not aiming for super high quality full-length 3d animations or something like that. The cut scenes are only there to display actions and/or short events that would be difficult to portray using the default visual novel view or static images. I have a decently quick render time for my animations, and I was planning on doing either a sketchy/whimsical kind of animation, or something akin to cutouts used in puppet shows. In regards to a director and voice....I guess I kind of am the director, not to mention while I definitely can't afford to pay voice actors...at the same time, I somewhat like the idea of having the characters' voices absent so that the player can imagine what they might sound like. Especially since I want this game to be driven on the player's perspective on the world and it's inhabitants; from molding the protagonists' personality, to forming connections with the characters, to taking it upon yourself to choose how much you want to learn about them and their world(part of this probably comes from my love of an old animal crossing game I used to play. My gosh I loved that game.)

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