NorseDude - Part I What is a Cut-Scene

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NorseDude - Part I: What is a Cut-Scene?

NorseDude's Cut-Scene Tutorial

Note: these tutorials were written prior to the new cut-scene functionality added by BioWare in patch 1.30.

The purpose of these tutorials: To help the average NWN module maker create his or her own cut-scenes in NWN. Simple as that.

Requirements: Not much, but I do expect you to know at least the basics in module-creation. When I say "Create a NPC named 'Bob' with the Tag 'bob'", I will not tell you how to do just that since I expect you to know that already.

My e-mail:

Part I: What is a Cut-Scene?

A cut-scene is a short movie, or chain of events if you like. An example might be you see a NPC walk in a door, start a conversation with another NPC, and then the two of them walk away. It could be simpler (with just the NPC entering the room), or as complicated as you could ever like. You could even create a five-hour long cut-scene if you want, although this is a game, not a movie.

For this tutorial, we will focus on learning what a cut-scene is and how to create one; the rest is up to you. As soon as you get the basics, you will be able to make your own cut-scenes with ease. But to start somewhere, let's find out what we want the cut-scene to do first (this is actually usually the hardest part). What could we possibly do in a cut-scene that could be of any interest? A NPC entering a room and talks to another one could of course be fun the first time you do it, but it quickly gets boring, right? We need more... well, more. So here's an idea. We enter a room, and... uh-oh, we're taken prisoner! Two guards quickly remove all our inventory, and throw us in jail. Better? Well, yes. But not good enough. Why would we be thrown in jail just like that, without being able to explain we are innocent? So let's make the guards take us to the leader so we can talk to him. The leader won't believe us, so we're going to jail anyway. But wait, what if we were in fact only a distraction so other people could storm the room and kill the leader? We're standing there, talking to the leader, and... boom! Enter the cavalry! Wait, why would the others kill the leader without talking to him first? So let's make their leader talk to the other leader, and just for fun, let's have a random outcome. Either our leader convinces their leader a war is a bad idea and everyone gets to go home and have dinner, or he fails and everyone starts fighting anyway. Getting interesting now, isn't it?

As you can see, a cut-scene is nothing more than a few scripts and conversations combined. As soon as you get the basics figured out so you can start, you're already almost done. There are a few things you should remember about cut-scenes, though. First of all, a human player needs to be in the area for a cut-scene to happen. More, the camera can't be moved away from the player. With this in mind. always have the cut-scene very close to the player so you are sure he can see it. You could make one player trigger the cut-scene and let another player in another area see it, but that would only be useful if you run a check to see if the second player is where you want him to be. And if he is, why can't he start the cut-scene?

A cut-scene can be of any length, but keep in mind not everyone will enjoy a very long cut-scene. With this in mind, there are two different kinds of cut-scenes: plot related and non-plot related. The plot related cut-scenes have something to do with the story (the player gets captured), while the non-plot related don't have anything to do with the story itself (two NPC's discussing the weather for example). Why do we need to separate them? The plot-related can't be skipped, since they are very important for the plot. Since not everyone enjoys a long cut-scene, these should be kept a bit on the short side. The non-plot related cut-scenes on the other hand have nothing to do with the story, and can be any length you want. If the player don't like the cut-scene, he can simply walk away since he don't need the cut-scene to be able to finish the module.

 author: Michael Kenyon, editor: Charles Feduke