Jump to content
Double Fine Action Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Vectorferret

Pause During Cutscenes

Recommended Posts

Strangely, this only occurred to me now. Although almost every game (in single player) allows us to pause, almost no games have a way to pause during cutscenes. The ones that do usually don't tell you how. You press a random key on the keyboard and a pop up tells you the skip button, but no pause button is explained (if it even exists). When cutscenes are long, this is essential (bathroom, dinner, playing before heading out) and even when they are short, Murphy's Law will guarantee we need to leave in the middle of them. A re-watch mechanism (although also a great feature) doesn't completely cover the problem since there may be dialogue or other events after the cutscene that needed the context, and re-watching a ten minute cutscene only a few minutes after seeing it the first time because we missed the last 20 seconds isn't exactly fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point. I have little kids, and a pause button would be a real blessing. All my sessions of anything are ridiculously short. The first DFA video took me 6 hours to watch. I tried some freewriting the other day after reading Tim's post. It was late at night and everyone was asleep. One minute later the dog came around and wanted attention. After two minutes the (almost) 4 year old started crying in her sleep. Half a minute later the two year old woke up, at which point I quit writing things like "I can't concentrate like this" and got up to take care of him. It's a conspiracy, I tell you.

Edit: A pause button for the kids would be even more of a blessing, but that's much harder to implement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are two different kinds of "cutscene", though.

There is one where all the voicing and animation is just recorded into video and called up like popping a tape into the VCR*.

But there is the other kind of cutscene that takes place in-game, following a series of scripted events.

I imagine it's probably easier to add pause/skip to the first one rather than the last one. You could do the last one, too, but it involves a more complicated kind of pausing than the other one.

*(This is seriously the first thing I thought of, even though we have long resided in the age of DVD and bluray. Ridiculous. It had to stay.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I concur. But also, do we really need 10 minute cutscenes? Do we need them at all? I can take about 5-10 seconds of cutscene, and if it does more than simply set the scene then I get angry.

Just yesterday I finished Psychonauts (yay!) and there's a 10 minute cutscene towards the end. Hated it. "TIIIIIIIIM!" I screamed, "I could be playing this!"

Currently playing Broken Sword 3, same thing. Littered with expository cutscenes. So gruelling. Newer Telltale games also feature this. 5 Minute cutscene, 2 puzzles, change of scenery, rinse, repeat. Infuriating.

Anyway, back on topic: Yes, let us pause (and save) anywhere in the game. But mostly, I'd like to be playing the game, not watching it. So please don't make it a cutscene fest.

Oh, and ET3D: Sorry to hear you have kids. Tough blow. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, and ET3D: Sorry to hear you have kids. Tough blow. ;)

It would be okay if only I could find a walkthrough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shouldn't be too hard to implement, depending on the engine, I think? The Sam & Max games by Telltale allow you to pause at any time, which I honestly like as well. If I had a nickle for every time I missed dialogue because I had to look away from the screen for a minute...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shouldn't be too hard to implement, depending on the engine, I think?

Aaaand since they are writing their own engine (pretty much), it's a done deal.

/thread ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hear, hear on the pausing. I really don't want to have to shush / ignore the people I care about just because something 'important' is happening onscreen in the game I've invested myself in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All games with cutscenes should have at least a pause and replay function. Full video controls would be even better!

Nothing worse that getting to the most important cutscene of the game and then a courier arrives at the door or the phone rings >_<

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
All games with cutscenes should have at least a pause and replay function. Full video controls would be even better!

I don't know about full video controls or rewatching, but I would certainly like pausing. I don't really want what is a cutscene and what isn't made so explicit, and full video controls are pretty explicit.

There are two different kinds of "cutscene", though.

There is one where all the voicing and animation is just recorded into video and called up like popping a tape into the VCR*.

But there is the other kind of cutscene that takes place in-game, following a series of scripted events.

I imagine it's probably easier to add pause/skip to the first one rather than the last one. You could do the last one, too, but it involves a more complicated kind of pausing than the other one.

I think it might be a bit more difficult, but it would still be fairly trivial to do especially if it's planned from the start instead of added in later. Imagining that this would be any significant difficulty for them seems like an underestimate of what the programmers are capable of to me.

On the other hand, there are a lot of games that don't let you pause during cutscenes. Well, tell me if you can think of any technological issues you can imagine someone running into. I'm curious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I, personally, find it invaluable when I can pause a cutscene at any point in time. Life is chaotic, not missing stuff is good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it might be a bit more difficult, but it would still be fairly trivial to do especially if it's planned from the start instead of added in later. Imagining that this would be any significant difficulty for them seems like an underestimate of what the programmers are capable of to me.

On the other hand, there are a lot of games that don't let you pause during cutscenes. Well, tell me if you can think of any technological issues you can imagine someone running into. I'm curious.

Oh, of course they can do it. I don't mean to say it's SUPER INCREDIBLY difficult. It's just a different kind of pausing that is doing something a little more complicated, that's all I mean. It's less like pausing a movie and more like pausing a game, where you have to stop a bunch of different things all at once. But Mario has been doing that since NES, so I'm not saying it's some crazy new idea that would take a genius to figure out. I just mean it's different than pausing movies and you would need to plan it in the way you build the game.

If you look at older games, like SNES games, you didn't call up videos at all back then. There was no video file to pause. So all of the movies/cutscenes you saw were all of those individual characters/objects being told by scripts and timers how fast/far to walk, which sprite to use, when/where to enter/exit the scene. You might have a code running that is a sort of timeline that drives everything like "At 0:01 A happens, 0:03 B happens, 0:10 C and D happen, 0:15 A ceases, 0:35 B ceases, 1:02 E and F happen and D ceases" etc etc.

And each one of those things, say "A", could be as complex as "Draw NPC number 7 on the screen at coordinates (100,345) and move it at 270 degrees toward point (600, 100) at a speed of 3 using the animation npcsprite7 at an animation speed of 0.25" etc etc

Pausing a movie is just pausing the timeline on a movie file. Pausing a game or an in-game cutscene means you have to pause all that stuff while it's in the middle of being executed. It's the difference between having a stop button that turns a single conveyor belt on/off and a stop button that turn 100 conveyor belts on/off. And you can do that easily. You just have to plan for a different kinda switch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you look at older games, like SNES games, you didn't call up videos at all back then. There was no video file to pause. So all of the movies/cutscenes you saw were all of those individual characters/objects being told by scripts and timers how fast/far to walk, which sprite to use, when/where to enter/exit the scene. You might have a code running that is a sort of timeline that drives everything like "At 0:01 A happens, 0:03 B happens, 0:10 C and D happen, 0:15 A ceases, 0:35 B ceases, 1:02 E and F happen and D ceases" etc etc.

And each one of those things, say "A", could be as complex as "Draw NPC number 7 on the screen at coordinates (100,345) and move it at 270 degrees toward point (600, 100) at a speed of 3 using the animation npcsprite7 at an animation speed of 0.25" etc etc

Pausing a movie is just pausing the timeline on a movie file. Pausing a game or an in-game cutscene means you have to pause all that stuff while it's in the middle of being executed. It's the difference between having a stop button that turns a single conveyor belt on/off and a stop button that turn 100 conveyor belts on/off. And you can do that easily. You just have to plan for a different kinda switch.

I've seen it being a problem in Flash games where people just had little snippets of code in all the Flash symbols that just kind of ran on their own, but in this case where Double Fine has access to everything, I don't see this being a problem.

The game would probably have some sort of main loop or a function that was called every time interval, so an easy way to pause would just be to stop executing that loop or function once the player has pressed the pause button and wait until the player pressed the pause button again to resume.

I'll admit that I can actually think of some situation where they might not be able to do that and this would be a problem, but I figured if you couldn't imagine what those things are we could just shut our eyes and pretend they don't exist until someone from Double Fine comes in and tells us why pausing isn't that easy and then I think, "Oh, they're actually doing that. That sounds annoying to deal with."

But yeah, I don't think the thing you're thinking of would be a problem. Unless you know the thing I'm thinking of or some other thing I didn't think of.

Edit: Oh yeah, conveyor belts. So I'm saying that they might have a bunch of conveyor belts, but they're actually all driven by this one bigger conveyor belt and they could just stop the big one instead of going to all the small ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@RT

Yeah, I think we're thinking along the same lines. The problem I was thinking of is if you somehow created a pause that tried to pause the timeline running the scripts, but ended up with a glitch where some script or piece of code ended up operating independently from the timeline and it changed the state of an instance you didn't intend to change, thereby screwing up your scene and/or game.

A small example would be a situation where you had some kind of action RPG where you created a pause that stopped the animations of all characters, objects, and effects in the scene, but a moment after the pause, due to your forgetting some other script was running independently of the timeline, one of the characters went into a damaged state from a fireball that hadn't actually hit them yet...

A bigger example would be if you did something crazy like having the fireball impact as the trigger for a subsequent event in the scene/timeline, so then when the above situation happened, it would initiate the next event before the fireball had hit and the scene would be out of sync and potentially result in an unwanted collision, causing subsequent scripts to not making any sense, crashing the game.

I'm not saying that these examples don't involve some really terrible, amateurish decisions, haha, I'm just saying as an example of how something MIGHT happen in that kind of pause.

But my programming experience is super limited, so a programmer with years of experience in C++ and game design might tell me that it's actually way more simple than I'm making it out.

Like maybe you could create nested categories of instances and just deactivate certain categories all at once but still keep other broader categories running. More complicated than anything I've ever done, but I could see it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's not much point to "it's possible to do it badly" arguments. These are things which can be fixed if they are caught during testing, and we have enough beta testers here. I think it's best to assume that it will be implemented well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes I like to pause and unpause a particularly good cutscene rapidly so that it lasts twice as long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sometimes I like to pause and unpause a particularly good cutscene rapidly so that it lasts twice as long.

Or else it makes all the characters look like they're doing the robot in a strobe light and it's kinda like the characters took a break from the game to go to a rave.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pausing in cut-scenes is something I do enjoy greatly. There have been times where I need to do something right now but accidentally skip a scene and have no idea what's going on once the action starts. It has been the cause of problems more than once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pausable cutscenes would be wonderful, even better if the game can be paused any time so the player doesn't have to worry about missing anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just want to add that a pause/save menu being available at all points in a game is something I have always loved in games... sometimes I just need to turn off my computer ya know? maybe there's a lightning storm or the battery is about to die or whatever... or a kid screams and I have to walk away.

Also, make it so if I hit the "skip cut scene" button I get a confirmation dialog or something... even if it's the same button again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...