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Zellin Offline OP
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Hello dear, Larian
I suppose by now you’re pretty tired of reading about unpolished animation here, “baaaad script” there and “why are you spending time and money on cinematics instead of *insert whatever here*”. So rest assured this thread is not about this kind of stuff but about a more systemic problem I'm perceiving as the really important one when you're trying to implement cinematic dialogues in a modern game with co-op and story being an important part of the game.
The problem is that you didn't fully implement what some players call Real-time cutscenes. I’m not sure how it is called among developers, some articles imply that the term should be different, so allow me to illustrate what I mean with this video from Halo Infinite:

What can we see in this video:
1. No fade-in black at any point.
2. Soldiers that were not meant to be in the scene stayed visible and performed their idle animations.
3. A soldier got affected by the scripted physical effect that took place in the scene.
It seems to be quite a minor thing to have in this particular game and scene. Developers could just make it look like whoever wasn't meant to be in the scene moved away from it. But in your game the situation is really different.

In BG3:
1. In co-op players who decided not to listen to the dialogue can't see what's going on at all unless some "mirroring" script takes effect. And they aren't visible for those who are participating in the dialogue. Now think how stupid it looks when some action happens inside the dialogue?
2. And both in co-op and solo playthrough it breaks the flow of action and story all the time. Companions are moving to certain points in dialogues and then they are still standing somewhere behind when the dialogue ends (try talking to Spike with Wyll in your team and you'll see what I'm talking about). NPCs are dying and falling dramatically in cutscenes and then lying in totally different poses outside of dialogue due ragdoll. Someone being teleported in scenes from time to time because the scene implies a different position.

So let me be honest: if you’d ask me “for our game do you want cinematic dialogues which are happening in some parallel reality all the time or no cinematics but everything actually happening here and now?” - I would choose the second option. But as I'm seeing in some other games it is quite possible to have the best of both worlds in one game.
So maybe it's one of those challenges you should accept, Larian? If it's not too late of course.

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That's a good topic to discuss, though I feel I lack understanding on how cinematics work in the game.

As far as I understand it: generally when cutscene starts "actors" are assigned to predetermined places. There also doesn't necessary need to be an actual "stage like" continuatiy between shots - meaning actors can be moved around to facilitate next shots, items can be spawed etc, new actors can be teleported over to join the conversation.

If anything I feel BG3 doesn't do enough for that. As far as I can tell in games like Witcher3 or Mass Effect all conversations happen in pre-determined places, allowing devs to make sure no distracting stuff happens (like shot being covered by a wall or something like that). Avoid problems like that will be easier in FPS like Elder Scrolls or Fallout as the conversation will be initiated from point of view the layer already choose. Halo, I think is a poor example as it's FPS game (so perspecitve doesn't change for the cinematic), cinematics are few and inbetween allowing for greater amount of polish, and actual actors (participants in the cutscene) are heavily controlled - this cutscene can be initiated in this place only, and you have to move into the position to initiate it. The background NPCs aren't part of the cinematic, so while it is cool that the simulation continues while cinematic plays one doesn't affect the other - the soldiers aren't part of the cutscene, while what you seem to be complaining about is that in BG3 the actors are in different places in cutscenes then they are in simulations, and actions in one (like death in the cutscene) aren't translated directly to simulation. In Halo we have two actors - Chief who needs to move into a very specific position to initiated the cutscene, and the Weapon who spawns for cutscene only.

The issue I see is, that for cutscenes in BG3 to play out normally for players unengaged in the cutscene and for continuaty you request, they would need to be fully animated from top down view, would require for "actors" to stay and naturally move from positions they initated the conversation, and then the camera would need to procedurally capture the "footage". That I think in unachievable - really no hand scripting would be possible, unless like in Halo example, players would need to move into a very specific positions to engage in a conversation, and all NPC would be completely static. Otherwise everything would need to be generated - actors movements would need to be generated to respond to the location of the actors, and camera would need to be generated to capture what is happening.

Cutscenes by the very nature take away control from the player - that creates a conflict between the scripted nature of cutscenes, and player driven interactivity of simulation will be forever in conflict - especially when Coop is at play when other players are allowed not to engage in the cutscene. I really can't see a good solution that wouldn't require heavy sacrifice from one side. Either cutscenese need to manipulate world for actors to be and do what cutscenes need them to do, or they need to limited to the point where they can accomodate any conversation, engaged from any point - so pretty much static D:OS2 conversations, but with zoomed in camera. Even that I don't know how well it would work. I am pretty sure that games like KOTOR or DA:O, which for the most part just used static, gesticulated dolls still teleported actors to pre-determined positions.

Last edited by Wormerine; 12/04/22 11:35 AM.
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Zellin Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Wormerine
The issue I see is, that for cutscenes in BG3 to play out normally for players unengaged in the cutscene and for continuaty you request, they would need to be fully animated from top down view, would require for "actors" to stay and naturally move from positions they initated the conversation, and then the camera would need to procedurally capture the "footage". That I think in unachievable - really no hand scripting would be possible, unless like in Halo example, players would need to move into a very specific positions to engage in a conversation, and all NPC would be completely static. Otherwise everything would need to be generated - actors movements would need to be generated to respond to the location of the actors, and camera would need to be generated to capture what is happening.
Sorry, you're exagarating the complication here, while that puzzle was already solved long ago in DOS2 for co-op. In that game when you take a backseat in co-op for certain important dialogues the game takes a little pause and takes away control from you to make your character come to the needed point. For example you are perfectly safe to stay somewhere in corridor when conversation before the final boss-fight happens, your character will run inside the room and stop by side of another player character himself. Same goes for NPCs, sometimes they just take a moment at the start to move to needed coordinates. And BG3 certainly has "walk from wherever you're to this coordinates"-logic in it's engine, it's used for our movement all the time.
But with all that said I would be fine If Larian would just use a bit more "mirroring" scripts to at least mask the problem with semi-prerecorded cutscenes better. Because it's one thing when I switch to some companion and see that my character is standing still instead of playing some complicated animation, but it's totally another and much worse thing when I see how Wyll runs into the room after the cutscene ends, when in the cutscene he was already in the room even further than my character.

Last edited by Zellin; 15/04/22 04:17 AM.
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Originally Posted by Zellin
Sorry, you're exagarating the complication here, while that puzzle was already solved long ago in DOS2 for co-op. In that game when you take a backseat in co-op for certain important dialogues the game takes a little pause and takes away control from you to make your character come to the needed point.
D:OS2 didn’t have cinematic dialogues so it solved it by not having silly idea to cram cinematics into a multiplayer RPG, which is indeed a solution I would welcome.

Your suggestion could be interesting as long as you don’t think on it too hard. The game would need to track where positioning is in cutscenes, and move “actors” accordingly. From player perspective It sound doable, however, pathfinding barely works as it is. I expect that NPC would end up doing some weird shit, like getting themselves killed, setting off traps etc. Can you imagine a cutscene starting after the battle and game moving your party into the middle of burning oil to match the cutscene?


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