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(UI MOCKUP DRAFT) Cutscene interaction

bluhmanbluhman Posts: 2,337 Arc User
So you're tired of having to either wait in solitude while a cutscene is playing. Maybe you minimize your game and do some other stuff while Hi-Pan is explaining his evil plot to the gangs of westside for the umpteenth time. Well, what I have here is a suggestion that aims to minimize these issues through three big components, listed in rough order of (estimated) difficulty that each feature would entail:
  1. Fix the 'mouse-focus from camera' bug, which locks the cursor at the center of the screen during some cutscenes.
  2. Let players continue to chat and interact with other players while a cutscene is playing.
  3. Have a system in place to skip cutscenes.

Labeled helpfully with numbers, each element is as follows:
  1. Chat Box - Same as the chat box inside the tailor, the Chat Box in cutscenes is initially collapsed into a small button in the lower left. When pressed, the entire chat menu will become available to the player for them to type, switch channels, and communicate as they please. Note that if the chat box is up and the player is typing into it, it will consume input concerning other elements of this UI, such as:
  2. Skip Cutscene Prompt - This label tells players that, in order to skip a cutscene, they must hold down the skip cutscene button (default likely would be space or A on controllers). If this is held down, then...
  3. Skip Cutscene Dial - This dial will fill up, indicating how long the key/button was held. And once filled, the player will be confirmed for wanting to skip the cutscene.
  4. Teammate display - Anonymously displays the other teammates and their cutscene-skip status. If a portrait is empty, this means they have not skipped the cutscene. If it is filled, they have confirmed a vote to skip. the cutscene will only skip if all players successfully vote.

Note that I understand that for some situations it is impossible to skip cutscenes because they are required to trigger events that allow the player to advance the game (i.e. in Resistance, there are cutscenes which will trigger situations such as: cave ins, floods, force-cascades that open up exits...) But then it's a question of whether skipping the cutscene is going to actually skip the events of the scene, or just restore control to the player? And if restoring control to the player, then is it safe to allow them to move into certain parts of the map? Could they get trapped or interfere with movement?

And so that's why the plan has three parts, and certainly why the function of just straight-up skipping a cutscene is very difficult to implement. But at the very least, the first bugfix and the feature would be nice, right?
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  • avianosavianos Posts: 4,867 Arc User
    edited July 2018
    YES YES YES YES, That's EXACTLY the feature the game needs :+1:
    A lot of MMOs have a skip scene option nowdays, especially in the farmable raids

    If anything, the chatbox should be available all the time, I hate when I type in alerts only to go KAPOOT​​
    An Introvert guy who use CO to make his characters playable but farms way to much to archieve that
    Playing as EVERYTHING but Superheroes (BUT they are my Heroes) Eternal Silver since 1 February 2011
    Currently playing with 72+ Characters (7 ATs, 65 FFs) Loving all of them, ALTitis for Life
  • aesicaaesica Posts: 2,406 Arc User
    I'm all for skipping cutscenes, but this might be a bit unnecessarily complex. In STO, skipping cutscenes (even in group content) is as simple as pressing esc. For cutscenes that are part of a transitional event that happens only after the conclusion of the cutscene, it's fine if players who skip it still have to wait. Skipping the cutscene would still allow them to continue talking to one another, move around, etc. I know there's some (Malvanum, Nighthawk) where players are repositioned after the cutscene, but honestly those particular queues should probably change that because heavy-handedly repositioning players during/after cutscenes is just plain lazy/bad/annoying/immersion-breaking/etc.
    (Hopefully) Useful CO Resources: HeroCreator (character planner), Cosmic Timers/Alert Checklist, Blood Moon Map, Anniversary Cat Map, and more (eventually, anyway).
  • spinnytopspinnytop Posts: 15,747 Arc User
    aesica wrote: »
    heavy-handedly repositioning players during/after cutscenes is just plain lazy/bad/annoying/immersion-breaking/etc.

    Why is it bad?​​
  • bluhmanbluhman Posts: 2,337 Arc User
    spinnytop wrote: »
    aesica wrote: »
    heavy-handedly repositioning players during/after cutscenes is just plain lazy/bad/annoying/immersion-breaking/etc.

    Why is it bad?​​
    hi i'm responding to this super late cause I'm bad at keeping track of my own threads.

    It's bad because it's reinforcing the design of cutscenes that lead to them being unskippable in the first place.
    The way cutscenes are done in a naive way for MMOs is to actually have the actors, characters, NPCs, and other map conditions change and move on the server-side to play out a cutscene. Consider the boss intro for Valerian Scarlet, which is a drawn-out conversation between Caliburn and Valerian:

    In this cutscene, your characters are actually still visible, static, in the background. If the cutscene was just made skippable, what would Valerian's AI do in this situation? Would she continue talking to Caliburn while trying to fight you off? What if she died mid-sentence? What if other players were still watching the cutscene? These are all considerations and reasons as to why it wouldn't be immediately possible to make cutscenes skippable in a situation like this. At this rate I could convincingly pass as a Cryptic employee with excuses like these.

    Then there's a later technique to making cutscenes that instead uses client-side 'dummies' to play a cutscene. Here's the ending cutscene to Whiteout:

    This scene is kind of dull honestly, it involves Justiciar, Sgt. Blair, and the player character walking in a robotic formation to talk to an angry roin-esh and a lot of dialog. It's also not skippable, but the real thing to notice here are two things:
    1. There's very precise movement patterns being carried out here in perfect sync. It looks silly, but the three walking characters basically remain in constant relative position to one another, which would be very difficult to preserve if these were ingame entities that had physics, AI, actual collision, ping, et-cetera with the server.
    2. The player character. There's also the consideration that this is a team-based adventure pack, meaning that you can do this with up to 4 other people. Where are they in this scene? Because the player-character is a dummy on the client-side of the game, all this means is that the center character shows up as your player's costume/model. This player is playing as a schoolgirl thing, so on their computer, is shows up as that character. If I was on their team, this same scene would be playing out with one of my ugly characters.

    So great, that's all we need for skippable scenes, right? There's already a set of cutscenes in this game that can be skipped by just mashing the space bar - all of the tutorial cutscenes, for example (powerhouse and crafting) are cutscenes that can be skipped. The zone intros are also like this. So, why not implement that in future lairs and stuff, wouldn't that work?

    Well, no, cause there's still:
    • If one person skips a scene, what does the rest of the team do? Does the skipper just Leroy-Jenkins in there by themselves? Should they be blocked by some invisible wall before the whole team is ready?
    • If a person does skip, should the cutscene be interrupted on other peoples' clients? Would it be permissible for other players to screw up how cutscenes play out? Would we get photobombings like we do at the end of alerts?
    • Dummies can be somewhat naive to player state. This means you can end up with some cutscenes that intend to play out with serious scenarios resulting in the player character rendering as a gingerbread man because of a inventory-trash become device.
    Which is why I thought up of a solution from a design perspective, so I mean, the ball isn't in my court anymore at this point. I've answered the first two issues, don't really have a good solution for the third, and didn't mention the fourth issue of Cryptic just straight-up not doing things, which is a problem I can never really solve without actively trying to get myself employed at the company.
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