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Default Modern 3D cutscenes in games

February 11th, 2013, 07:40
There's a thread about old 3D graphics, but what do you think of modern 3D cutscenes?

I personally find them atrocious, because no matter how wonderful everything is graphically, all characters have dead empty eyes! Just look at them, they've got no expression at all, like robotic dolls.

If you compare with animated 2D graphics, I'm not saying cartoons but at least with anime or even static pictures, you can see the difference. 2D shows so much emotion expressed in the eye that you can easily see emotions fluctuate in meticulous detail. But 3D eyes are empty, it's like visiting a doll theatre where puppets go through the physical motions and that's it. And I find it a bit creepy how 3D characters tend to stare at vague undefinable points with their dead unseeing eyes while interacting.
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February 11th, 2013, 07:48
Good topic. I hate the cut scenes in modern games. They are a gigantic waste of money and time as far as I'm concerned. As you said, the technology is still so primitive that the characters can't emote and the best they can do is just look creepy. On the broader subject, I also hate the games attempting to be movies thing that has been an ongoing trend for years now. Games should not attempt to be movies, instead, try being good games instead. {sarcastic light bulb above head moment} I am so glad for the revival of old school rpgs. I think this is because of all the crap games that have been released and is a reaction against this trend of dumbing down everything. It is nice to see there are several rpgs on the horizon bucking the trend completely of games as movies and instead returning to a classic rpg aesthetic of depth and complexity, instead of the simple-minded shiny eye candy of silly modern rpgs such as those ridiculous cut scenes.
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February 11th, 2013, 08:02
Well I'd say modern 3D graphics overall are great, they add up to the feeling of the game being so damn real! I admit to walking around and staring at water and grass and peeking into people's houses just to see how they live. All of that is by no means a defining feature of a good game, but it adds so much to the experience. Dead eyes do the opposite, though, they remind you that characters are puppets.

Originally Posted by Arkadia7 View Post
On the broader subject, I also hate the games attempting to be movies thing that has been an ongoing trend for years now
Which ones? I can only picture some of the console games, but you sound like you're talking about the overall trend.
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February 11th, 2013, 08:09
Yea, I'm talking about the general trend. It was being discussed in another thread that I happened to be reading, so not trying to derail your topic. Anyway, I agree some of the graphics of today are sweet, but yea, the faces are at a very primitive level and so the cut scenes with those creepy video game characters supposedly trying to act are off-putting, to say the least. And I know those cut scenes cost a whole lot of money and time to develop too, which to my mind is a complete waste.
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February 11th, 2013, 09:20
If you don't think modern cinematics look good, you might want to get your eyes checked.

That said, I don't like when too many cut scenes take me away from the gameplay. Thankfully, most Western developers seem to feel the same way.
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February 11th, 2013, 09:55
It depends on what you mean by 3D.

Are we talking pre-rendered or rendered by the engine?

Because both can work and both can not work.

Well-done prerendered cutscenes can be absolutely amazing, as is evident by the stuff Blizzard puts out. The recent Elderscrolls Online trailer was also extremely well done.

But I don't think they do all that much for the game itself. It's a marketing ploy more than anything.

As for cutscenes rendered with in-game assets - they can be more immersive, and they can be more relevant for the game itself, for obvious reasons. Sometimes, the engines are too primitive and as a result the cutscenes will look bad.

But, I find that 3D cutscenes - overall - look good and they serve their purpose quite well.

I tend to despise 2D animated stuff, because they almost exclusively go for a cartoonish style or something cutesy. I was sick and tired of that many years ago, and it has only gotten worse.

I don't know why we have SO many games done in that style - and SO many cutscenes - but my guess is that people don't know how to do anything else.

Frankly, I'd rather have NO cutscenes than I'd want to watch another amateur 2D animated cartoon.
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February 11th, 2013, 10:41
I don't mind cinematics in general, but I really do hate cinematics where I lose control of my character, and then my character ends up doing something stupid. That completely breaks immersion. I've seen this happen in way too many games.

Classic scenario: You fight a boss type character. You're winning. Cinematic time. You lost, and will have to face the boss later on. Examples: SW: KotOR (Malak) and The Witcher 2 (chapter 1 ending).
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February 11th, 2013, 11:12
I think anything that takes control away from the player is a bad thing, with a very few exceptions. A cutscene at the beginning and another at the end of a game is fine, and tastefully done mini-cutscenes can work if they're done well - say, the monster introductions in Doom 3 - but I'd generally rather do without.

The exception is something like the Batman Arkham games, where you're playing an established character with established voice actors. I didn't mind the game going into "look, we're totally a legitimate form of entertainment" movie mode there, but that's about the only series I can say that about. I was controlling Batman and I didn't mind losing control for him to be Batman. I've got far less patience for Joe Designer's pet character, or for when a game takes control of my character and makes him do something I wouldn't.

And, sweet Azathoth, I never want to be forced to stand there and watch a villain slowly run away, open a door, get on a moped, and drive half a mile down the road because I'm stuck in a cutscene ever again.
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February 11th, 2013, 12:42
I personally like the way it is done within SWTOR : The character even wears the current outfit meanwhile !

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February 11th, 2013, 12:56
So most people do not notice dead eyes?

Partially that was a reason I asked. I never used to notice them, until I watched the Dragon Age movie with its CGI graphics. Basically that looked like cutscenes from the game, and I guess I expected something else from it, expectations for a game and a movie differ considerably, something more articulate, like an actual movie. And now I can't help but notice that 3D eyes are equally empty in 3D games' cutscenes.

I'm sure it's the best graphics doable for today, though. But I'm puzzled why 3D is so bad at reflecting eye expressions.
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February 11th, 2013, 13:55
Originally Posted by Elel View Post
So most people do not notice dead eyes?

Partially that was a reason I asked. I never used to notice them, until I watched the Dragon Age movie with its CGI graphics. Basically that looked like cutscenes from the game, and I guess I expected something else from it, expectations for a game and a movie differ considerably, something more articulate, like an actual movie. And now I can't help but notice that 3D eyes are equally empty in 3D games' cutscenes.

I'm sure it's the best graphics doable for today, though. But I'm puzzled why 3D is so bad at reflecting eye expressions.
Yeah, sure, I notice dead eyes. But I don't think it bothers me that much.

Subtle human facial expressions can be extremely challenging to implement, because you generally don't create them by hand. You have to implement a system that fits for all models - and that's most likely a huge challenge.

That said, several games have provoked a powerful empathic response regardless.

I don't immediately recall the details - but games like Vampire Bloodlines, Mass Effect, L.A. Noire, The Witcher 2 - and others have all managed to create lifelike human behavior - even though they're clearly not perfect.

I don't respond particularly well to cartoons, as I said - so maybe that's why I'm not so down on 3D.
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February 11th, 2013, 14:44
What dead eyes is this thread about?

I saw no dead eyes in TW1 and TW2 cinematics so please Elel, give us exact game titles you were talking about. Thanks.

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February 11th, 2013, 21:56
Joxer, TW1 is a good example of empty eyes. I didn't play TW2 yet.
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February 11th, 2013, 21:59
I really don't see any empty eyes in the Tomasz Baginski's animated intro masterpiece.

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February 11th, 2013, 22:10
Yeah, refer to post#3 here. Actually I was thinking of TW1 while posting this. I played TW1 before watching that CGI movie but dropped it, my old PC wasn't up to running it well. Later I replayed TW1 after watching the movie and comparing it to other non-CGI movies. And so the first time cutscenes were perfect and characters were alive, afterwards I saw the empty eyes and lack of facial expressions.
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February 12th, 2013, 01:24
I prefer the 3D, rendered by game engine cut scenes in the game over a cinematic CGI (or godawful live-action) one. Dont get me wrong, there are some glorious little movies out there, Dawn of War intro for example. I can appreciate some good CGI, but I prefer money and disk space spent elsewhere.

I'd rather have money spent on making the game itself (I'm going to be looking at for years) look better overall, than a little movie snippet (something I'm going to watch once then skip). The game engine is more than sufficient.

Also, there's a chance that your character's model w/ current gear and all that stuff will be in the cinematic.

Also, it reduces the size of the files on the hard drive. It matters, my little M11x gaming netbook only has a 100gb SSD!
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February 12th, 2013, 01:28
^ I agree with you pretty much. I really enjoy game engine cutscenes. I like how Skyrim did it. It was immersive in a sense that it didn't really take you out of the action, yet cool things were still happening around you, and it was still movie-like.

That said, I also like normal cutscenes that have been around for ages. I really enjoyed the cutscenes in Lost Odyssey, for example. As long as they are done well and advance the story well enough, I'm happy.
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February 12th, 2013, 04:57
I'm not really seeing the dead-eyes thing. Most of the modern games have enough animation now to at least move the eyebrows around a bit in the cut-scenes. Pre-rendered stuff has been doing that for eons now.

As for movie-games, I'm fine with that. Assuming it's a good movie and a good game, of course. Xenosaga did just that, in fact. You could actually watch it as a movie right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpAHn…BE2C4E7D8A79CC
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February 13th, 2013, 11:28
So, what would be your example of well done 2d eyes and facial expressions?
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February 13th, 2013, 11:49
Not really bothered by cutscenes. Grew up playing jrpg's in the 90's and they relied on them. I would like more games to use the system like L.A. Noire though. The problem would be the cost to implement it. It's not worth it.
As for movie-games, I'm fine with that. Assuming it's a good movie and a good game, of course. Xenosaga did just that, in fact
I still have all three ps2 games. I think it's time for a replay. Looking forward to the new Wii U version that was showcased.

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