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Introduction – Who Are We? Marty Stoltz Studio Cinematic Director, Midway Chicago Mortal Kombat: Deception/Shaolin Monks, Psi-Ops, The Suffering: Ties.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction – Who Are We? Marty Stoltz Studio Cinematic Director, Midway Chicago Mortal Kombat: Deception/Shaolin Monks, Psi-Ops, The Suffering: Ties."— Presentation transcript:


2 Introduction – Who Are We? Marty Stoltz Studio Cinematic Director, Midway Chicago Mortal Kombat: Deception/Shaolin Monks, Psi-Ops, The Suffering: Ties That Bind, Sanitarium Richard Rouse III Director of Game Design, Midway The Suffering, The Suffering: Ties That Bind, Drakan: The Ancients’ Gates, Odyssey, Game Design: Theory & Practice

3 Introduction – Cinematic Games What are “Cinematic Games?” Often people mean: Better/more cut-scenes Better story/dialog More custom-scripted Over-the-top Hollywood action

4 Introduction – Cinematic Games Heavily loaded term Avoid “Hollywood Envy” Don’t want Interactive movies Uninteractive games

5 Introduction – Cinematic Games Our definition of “Cinematic Game Design” Draw from cinema’s 100-year-old library of techniques Integrate these devices into actual gameplay Not just copying, expands our medium

6 Cinematic Technique #1: Rim Lighting Used to “pop” a character from the background environment Can also be used for specific emotional effect Example from: Bride of Frankenstein

7 Rim Lighting: Gameplay Application Useful in third-person games where the avatar should not disappear in a dark environment Slightly unrealistic, but that’s OK Sometimes referred to as “Edge Lighting” Example from: The Suffering

8 Cinematic Technique #2: Camera Following a Character When tracking a character, principles of photography apply to the cinema Obey the rule of thirds Avoid “computer” camera moves Example from: Goodfellas

9 Camera Following: Gameplay Application With a third-person game, always keep the character framed appropriately Avoiding fading out/making the avatar disappear Balance player control with good shot composition Example from: Max Payne 2

10 Cinematic Technique # 3: Slow Motion Many films have used slow motion to emphasize the beauty/brutality of a scene Can also be used to slow/quicken an event where the audience won’t notice Simulates real-life dramatic events seeming slow Example from: Aliens

11 Slow Motion: Gameplay Application Lots of games have stylishly used slow motion as a game mechanic or an FX component Slow motion can also be a tool for storytelling Could also be used more subtly Example from: FEAR

12 Cinematic Technique #4: Subjective P.O.V. Often multiple non-realistic effects can be combined to make the audience see a scene from a particular character’s POV Effects include: FOV adjustment, slow motion, exaggerated lighting, screen filters, audio mix Example from: Raging Bull

13 Subjective P.O.V.: Gameplay Application Used for literal sensory changes: Drunk (GTA) Drugged/Stoned (Rise of the Triad/Narc) Dream Sequences (Max Payne) Shell Shocked (Call of Duty) Could be used more subtly to indicate emotional state of the main character

14 Cinematic Technique #5: Parallel Editing Inter-cuts two scenes that are happening at the same time Great way to build suspense Example from: The Silence of the Lambs

15 Parallel Editing: Gameplay Application Underused technique in games Not the same as plot-driven cut-aways Perfect for breaking up long navigational sections, if kept short & quick Has to be done carefully to not frustrate or confuse the player Example from: Karateka

16 Cinematic Technique #6: Split Screen Similar to parallel editing, but different pacing Can be used for suspense or emotional juxtaposition Example from: Kill Bill

17 Split Screen: Gameplay Application Also underused in games Excellent for in-game storytelling Do not force the player to intently watch multiple views simultaneously Example from: Indigo Prophecy

18 Cinematic Technique #7: Building Tension Keep the pace changing but maintain a general direction Don’t be afraid to slow things down in an action sequence Use audio to keep the audience on edge Example from: Alien

19 Building Tension: Gameplay Application Design game mechanics in ways that will give the player some information, but not all of it Motion sensor in Marathon and AvP Radio static in Silent Hill 2 Audio design in System Shock games Interactive music perfect for building tension in gameplay

20 Cinematic Technique #8: Emotional Setup This technique breaks down the barrier that protects the audiences’ emotions and catches them off guard Can create a roller coaster ride effect Example from: 28 Days Later

21 Emotional Setup: Gameplay Application Perfect technique for scripted/highly- controlled games Many games do some (but can do more) Tricky to do during gameplay, but more effective than in cut-scenes Important to make the emotional manipulation feel logical, not arbitrary

22 Cinematic Technique #9: (Mis)Leading the Audience If audience figures out the story: bored If audience can’t figure anything out: confused (Both are bad.) Hitchcock said: audience likes to be one step ahead of the story Mislead audience away from what will actually happen Example from: A Clockwork Orange

23 (Mis)Leading the Audience: Gameplay Application Games have repetitive mechanics Players expect them to work consistently Thus players are susceptible to being misled Be clever/devious in how you mislead, but don’t go for “cheap shots” Example from: The Suffering

24 Questions? Contact: Marty: Richard: Final slides available at:

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