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FMV vs real time cutscenes


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So i had this thought the other day. Why do developers use FMV anymore?

I much prefer it when everything is handled with the game engine as it gives a more consistant feel to the universe.

I had this thought while playing Nightfire, you're driving down the mountain escaping from the enemies when all of a sudden the game stops. 1 second black screen then a FMV of the vehicle driving though a tunnel and out the other side of a mountain going through the open mid section of a helicopter and destroying it.

Now to me that just would have been so much a cooler moment if it was something that i'd done. I mean they force you to drive on rails anyway so i was bound to go through the whole, just make the hole big enough.

keep it the normal view until you have gone through the helicopter and then switch the camera to a rear view Burnout 2 replay style. if only developers would think about these things.

I find myself getting more and more bored with FMV handling the key parts of battles now, i really liked the Shenmue idea of having to QTE through cut scenes. Much more involved and kept you sucked in, you couldn't just sit back and relax.

Of course some things can't be done in games like what Claire does at the beggining of Res Evil Code: Veronica. Shame.

Then again games like Panzer Dragoon Saga and Resident Evil seem to get the balance right. Warcraft III is ace though. FMV to set the scene but ti tells the main story in the actual game while you're playing.

So anyone else no any games that suffer from the "aw i wanted to do that" factor. It has to be possible though.

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FMV is so much easier to do than real time though, create your models, do your animations, render, save as a movie file. Done.

Real time cut scene, create models, animate, hope they dont fall through the scenery, or nothing else goes wrong. Make sure button pushes dont mess up the cut scene, if you allow someone to end the cut scene early, make sure you dont have two models of the thing that was in the cutscene, make sure the camera is perfect, make sure you have the ram to do it. Etc etc. So many more things can go wrong in a real time version than FMV, that is why developers use FMV. Also with lots of big explosions, its easier to do it as a movie than optimise the engin to make it not slow down etc.

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I know i was thinking about what would happen if the car hit the side instead of going through. That's why i said make the hole big enough, possibly even look the steering even though it is already such a tight tunnel you couldn't miss. As long as it gave you the illusion it was your accomplishment.

If the engine couldn't cope with one helicopter exploding against a grey undetailed background then something's wrong with the engine.

I just see it as laziness. It would increase my enjoyment of the game ten fold. As it is you do the boring bits and it does all the cool bits.

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Xenosaga, Namco's better-than-everything RPG, has at least 10 hours of cutscenes and I'd estimate that half of them are FMV. The exact same models and environments are used in both, it only switches to FMV when it has to do something that the PS2 just can't cope with, like a huge fleet of ships or a lot of complex particles.

The only way you can tell the difference is by looking at the aliasing (as, obviously, the movies have been anti-aliased).

There's nothing wrong with this approach (apart from storage concerns - Xenosaga is still the only PS2 game to use a double-sided DVD, and it was released almost 2 years ago now)

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No as i've said Panzer Dragoon Saga and Res Evil split them just right.

It's only using FMV for things which aren't needed. Especially the 2 second shot in Nightfire that it has to load up so it isn't constant.

I love FMV in RPGs when it's filling in the background story, it's amazing the skill being used there.

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FF8 i think had some great FMV that sadly i only got to see in the adverts, you was being lowered down on a rope, while fighting someone else and the camera panned down to reveal a huge battle going on in the background.

Huge explosions in games are a pain for modern consoles, something to do with particals (like smoke) that cause the machine to slow way down, no matter how many polygons there is on screen, also you have to have a helicopter that looks solid but can explode easily into hundreds of bits and for the car to hit the helicopter without getting stuck and making sure it triggers off the explosion. It IS lazyness, but when you have a deadline, its easier to make FMV rather than ingame cutscenes.

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It's a game, not a film. Even doing an in-engine cut-scene severs the player's link to the game briefly, doing an out-of-engine one can be downright jarring.

And that's where the developer has to make sure they do it well.

A break from gameplay in a game is sometimes a good thing, especially if it's to see something special, after something special... or before something special.

It can work.

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Indeed, when it works, it's good, but doing it in-engine gives better continuity. For example, if you pan away or something. Hats off to EA for the transforms and mini-story-segments in the LotR games, though, that worked amazingly well.

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Indeed, when it works, it's good, but doing it in-engine gives better continuity. For example, if you pan away or something. Hats off to EA for the transforms and mini-story-segments in the LotR games, though, that worked amazingly well.

Sure.

Like in PoP, at the start... I thought it was loading or something. "coooome on..."

"oh, what? I can move? Shiiiiit that looks nice".

Which reminds me to take some shots of PoP... I'll do that soon, I'm playing Star Wars Galaxies right now though. :)

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I *love* it when in a cutscene, you see the damage and destruction you left behind, like in Halo at times. It makes it really feel like it's your adventure, and not just playing out an interctive movie.

I have a vaugue memory of bodies, in Commandos 2, being where I put them in the Cutscenes. At least in the Burma level. I would need to get the game and experiment, but would it be possible to do anything like that? As in 'edit' the output of the FMV with what you did in-game? That would be tip-top.

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Some cut-scenes used polygon models on pre-rendered FMV. Generally when a pan-around to show something was needed, or when something your characters were standing on had to move. Couple of larger-scale cut-scenes here and there, but mostly mini-cuts.

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Final Fantasy 8 had one of the most impressive cut-scene/in-game renders I have ever seen, and I still to this day can't fathom how the hell they pulled it off...

*SPOILERS*

It's during the battle of the two Gardens, just after you land on the battle field and find Rinoa, she tells you to run off to the left. And then suddenly the pre-rendered background becomes animated and it is full of people fighting each other, but you still have full control over the character - and then you find you can run not only left and right, but right into the background, into the pre-rendered people fighting each other, and even behind them!

Even the flying bit with that jet-pack soldier feller had an impressive scene where you could see your own shadow on the FMV background as it zoomed past...

I was in awe over that. I have no idea how they pulled it off.

Best. FMV. Ever.

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Final Fantasy 8 had one of the most impressive cut-scene/in-game renders I have ever seen, and I still to this day can't fathom how the hell they pulled it off...

*SPOILERS*

It's during the battle of the two Gardens, just after you land on the battle field and find Rinoa, she tells you to run off to the left. And then suddenly the pre-rendered background becomes animated and it is full of people fighting each other, but you still have full control over the character - and then you find you can run not only left and right, but right into the background, into the pre-rendered people fighting each other, and even behind them!

Even the flying bit with that jet-pack soldier feller had an impressive scene where you could see your own shadow on the FMV background as it zoomed past...

I was in awe over that. I have no idea how they pulled it off.

Best. FMV. Ever.

Definitely agree. That moment where you're swinging on the rope and then you see all the people fighting behind you, like you mentioned... magical.

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I utterly despise FMV. I cannot understand why someone would wish to make their own game look inferior. I mean you could take something like Prince of Persia and say 'would the bath scene have been as good' but frankly who cares? (I'm probably not going to have many supporters on that one).

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I utterly despise FMV. I cannot understand why someone would wish to make their own game look inferior.

Inferior? FMV looks better though.

So you've either got:

-Ok graphics, okay cutscenes.

or

-Ok graphics, great cutscenes.

Surely the latter is the best choice where possible?

I totally disagree. Taking PoP as an example (Soul Reaver being the last game I played where this happens, I don't tend to buy games with FMV), I'm looking at this gorgeous render and then it cuts back to what after that can only be a let down. It's unnecessary. It doesn't add to immersion, in fact it detracts from it by reminding me I'm playing a game.

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I utterly despise FMV. I cannot understand why someone would wish to make their own game look inferior.

Inferior? FMV looks better though.

So you've either got:

-Ok graphics, okay cutscenes.

or

-Ok graphics, great cutscenes.

Surely the latter is the best choice where possible?

I totally disagree. Taking PoP as an example (Soul Reaver being the last game I played where this happens, I don't tend to buy games with FMV), I'm looking at this gorgeous render and then it cuts back to what after that can only be a let down. It's unnecessary. It doesn't add to immersion, in fact it detracts from it by reminding me I'm playing a game.

Yeah, I agree with that.

Often you get some graphical wonder of a cut scene and then when it swaps back in to the normal game you really notice the difference in style and quality, it really can have a bad effect on the game.

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