View Full Version : live action or cgi cutscenes?

09-25-2003, 10:44 PM
I really loved the cutscenes from JK, and i hated how MoTS had cgi. When JO came along and was also CGI, i was really ticked.

Jason Court was a great Kyle and I think they should have paid him whatever he wanted to reprise the role. I think the JK cutscenes look better than any of the cgi crap that the later games have.

Wes Janson
09-25-2003, 10:46 PM
Live action? Dude, you're living in the middle ages of gamedome.


09-25-2003, 11:04 PM
Well... This topic I really can't decide on. On one hand, the live action cut-scenes are just better looking and add a nice little touch to the game, but on the other hand, more can be done in CGI. Showing people for example, sliced by a Lightsaber probably wouldn't look as real unless we had movie-quality special effects. Not to mention actors who actually LOOK like the characters have to be hired and reherse for the scenes and have to receive a salary. In JK, the actor who played Kyle looked NOTHING like the one in-game.

Boba Rhett
09-25-2003, 11:45 PM
Finally someone else who loved them! Most people I've talked to say they sucked. Angela Harry is also an added bonus.

Wes Janson
09-25-2003, 11:55 PM
The JK live action reminds me of a really decent fanfilm.


09-26-2003, 12:28 AM
I liked it, i really liked it. And in JK the guy didn't look like the in-game guy b/c of graphics in that age.

09-26-2003, 01:54 AM
I liked them because it was a nice reward to the end of each level. I don't think it takes you out of the game world at all.

On the other hand. There's no way games will use it anymore.
Most people think they take you out of the game world. What needs to be done is have better in-game cinematics. The Quake III engine sucks at them. Doom III will be much better at it, and just take a look at Half-Life2. It will get better. As soon as they ditch the crappy old Quake III engine. It's good for shoot-em-ups, not anything with deep story, and cinematics.

El Sitherino
09-26-2003, 02:33 AM
Originally posted by Boba Rhett
Angela Harry if it wasn't for her i wouldn't have liked JK very much. i think LA was spying on me. :| *shakes fist at their knowledge of asian gals sexiness* I dunno... I'm rambling.

I loved Live Action. BRING BACK ANGELA HARRY!!!!!!!!!!!!! and some twi'leks. :)

09-26-2003, 03:04 AM
For a person who likes to have mods in the game, I would have to say CGI since it allows me to have a more personalized feel of the game when I can see like Anakin being taught by Katarn, instead of some Live-action shot thing that I have no control over on how it looks. and when I start modding the voices soon, it should help enhance the experience

09-26-2003, 03:35 AM
Yeah, I didn't like MotS CGI scenes, but these days I don't mind it, since the actor models look pretty good anyway.

But yeah, I really liked the cinematics in Jedi Knight, they brought out more of the characters than any other type could have, and like mentioned, gave the player a respite from the "game."

09-26-2003, 03:39 AM
I love both, but now I prefer realtime renders because they are more consistant with the rest of the world. Back in 1997 and before, a full blown cutscene was impossible in a game like JK, so live action was the only real choice. Now, live action just seems out of place, expensive and just silly. Ingame renders are also much more impressive to me, when done right.

Luc Solar
09-26-2003, 05:19 AM
Not seeing "real" cutscenes in JO/JA was a big disappointment for me. I loved the cutscenes in JK, they were awesome.

This game engine -crap just doesn't "do it" for me. :(

09-26-2003, 06:07 AM
It's a simple question of flexibility. You can have CGI or in-game renders do anything the animators can concieve of. Actors just can't do that. There are cutscenes in JA, that I will not specify for those of you who haven't finished it, which involve action sequences that we cannot yet fake humans doing. Even if we were talking about Yuen Woo Ping doing the wire work, unless real martial artists are used it looks painfully odd. And those guys cost way too much money to put in a video game for a total of like 15 minutes of footage. What I like about the in-game renders is that you can have the characters do impossible things and it will be believable because it stays within the boundaries of a world you have already accepted. There's also no question of budget for costumes and props and locations to make things look legitimate, as all of this already exists in digital form for the game itself.

09-26-2003, 10:51 AM
I think in the end, it depends on the quality of the engine, since when it's a good engine (cough half life 2 cough) you can make great cutscenes, but when you use Q3, it sucks.

09-26-2003, 12:02 PM
Given the choice, I'd opt for real actors any day. I really liked the cut scenes in JK, even though the in-game characters bore little resemblance to the live-action footage. Only real actors can portray all the nuances of emotion effectively - not simply in terms of facial expression, but in poise and movement.

The unfortunate reality, though, is that live action is very expensive to film, as stated above. You have to pay a film crew, the actors, have props and costumes made...and film against a blue screen where CGI backdrops are inserted later. It's like a mini-shoot for a real movie, and unless you can be assured of a high sales return, it's risky to set aside that kind of budget.

I always think of 'CGI' as the prerendered sequences (i.e., rendered in a proper program like Maya or Softimage), and on the whole these were good in JA - showing the ships going to and fro, etc. In the absence of live action, some high quality CGI work with motion-capture can go a long way to improving cut scene quality. You get higher detail, better animation, and most of the CGI cut scenes that I've seen in the games I have really shines through.

I'm not really a fan of in-engine cut scenes unless they are done extremely well. If you look at a game like No One Lives Forever 2...the in-engine cut scenes are very well executed, because the characters are very detailed, and motion capture is used for even the subtlest human actions, like shifting from one foot to another. This kind of 'natural and passive' movement can go a long way in making characters seem more alive. Return to Castle Wolfenstein also touched on this area, and the cut scenes in that (Quake 3 engine) game were quite acceptable - but then, the characters did not really move around that much.

Although the in-engine cut scenes in JA were a definite improvement over those in JO (the facial animation was a noticeable improvement, along with more 'dynamic action'), they still fell short of the kind of quality seen in NOLF2.

The problem with all in-engine cut scenes is that the characters are usually bound to the movement parameters of the game itself - unless specific motion-capture is used for specific scenes. It is also harder to get the 'dynamic action' elements flowing due to the constraints of the engine - or a lack of the necessary skills of those using the engine to produce a more 'cinematic quality'. I remember seeing a preview clip for a fan film...Quake, the Movie, or something. They used the Quake 3 engine to render it...and on the whole, it was impressive what they were able to achieve using the engine, along with some good animation, and proper direction. I think many game developers would do well to actually look at some of the fan-made in-engine movies that have been rendered, because with the right skillsets, some of them are actually very well executed.

With the newer crop of engines, particularly the likes of the 'Source' engine, which places an emphasis on facial animation and body motion, I think in-engine cut scenes can start to approach pre-rendered quality. That's obviously a major step in the right direction, if it goes hand-in-hand with a willingness to impart individual characteristics and 'habits' on the virtual characters. Each of us has our own brand of little quirks. Some people chew their nails, or pick their noses, or run a hand through their hair, or pull an earlobe when thinking. All of these micro-behaviours serve to identify us, and give us an individual characteristic stamp - and I think that's the next step in bringing 'life' to the virtual world.

09-26-2003, 01:09 PM
Tossing aside StormHammer's well thought out and argues points ... ;)

I liked the JK 'mini-movies' about 1 million times more than MotS's attempts at CG cutscenes. Partly because of the graphics of the day, and made worse because they captured them at low resolution, so I'm playing at 1600x1200 watching awful cutscenes at 640x480.

I really like the ones from JO and especially JA. (At least what I've seen so far ;) ) Why? While I agree that the motions and actions are limited by the engine, I want to see *my character*, not some actor interpreting *MY* character. Especially Jaden.


09-26-2003, 03:04 PM
one of the main reasons i loved the live action cutscenes from JK is that it gave the game a larger than life feel. In other words, it made me feel that this game is so huge and so awesome that it has actual mini-movies in it. It went beyond a bunch of code monkeys programming and into the world of cinema. with CGI, i just don't get that same feel. It almost seems lazy to me.

09-27-2003, 02:34 AM
I just can't imagine some of the FMVs in JK used with CGI, esp. when you defeat the guy missing half his body.