Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
on the quality of its FMV. As the standard of games has improved and FMV
is no longer the special feature it was, such scenes must really pay their way
if they are to be included in the game's development. Long, lingering estab-
lishing shots and fly-throughs are becoming a thing of the past and FMV
must be treated as if you were writing the tightest of film sequences.
Today, most pre-rendered sequences have been replaced by ones that use
the game's engine, which enables a visual consistency throughout. However,
the principle of the FMV sequence is retained and the player has no inter-
action while it plays through. Such sequences need to deliver dramatic,
relevant exchanges which pass on information in a way that does not lose the
player's interest.
The makers of Half-Life 2 took a different approach to the problem of the
loss of player control and rarely had a point in the game where control was
ever taken away.When dialogue scenes were triggered, the player was still able
to move around and interact with other objects or even walk away from the
conversation altogether.The down side of this, though, meant that it was very
easy to miss important story information. If the player was interacting with
something else at the time, they would not necessarily be paying attention to
the unfolding dialogue and this can give the player the impression that such
scenes and the information they impart are of little importance.The onus was
on the player to get the best they could out of the experience and it was this
aspect which appealed to many players - that their control was maximised
within the style of game and the unfolding story.
The usual alternative is to ensure that dialogue scenes are delivered to the
player in full, but in a way that is controlled by the player by making the
dialogue as interactive as possible.The player chooses which topics to discuss
in which order and when to exit a conversation. They should also be given
the opportunity to return to the character and resume the conversation at
any time. The control given to the player is a very different style to that in
Half-Life 2 ,but one which maximises the interactivity of games which rely
on gathering information by talking to others.
While the writer and design team may work together to define how
dialogue scenes are presented to the player, whatever solution is chosen will
rarely suit everyone's tastes. Trying to please everyone could lead to the
creation of a system that becomes over-complicated, which in turn could
lead to a lot more work when writing dialogue to match the system.
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