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Storytelling in cinema and games. Storytelling. Is story important for games? Why use story in games? How to write a good story Don’t ask me… We are not good doing that! How to present a good story I can do that!. We can learn a lot from movies Aristotle’s dramatic arc

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Presentation Transcript
  • Is story important for games?
  • Why use story in games?
  • How to write a good story
    • Don’t ask me… We are not good doing that!
  • How to present a good story
    • I can do that!
good storytelling
We can learn a lot from movies

Aristotle’s dramatic arc

Game levels repeat this pattern


Good storytelling



presenting to the audience
Presenting to the audience
  • Even if your story is good, you have to show the story unfold in an appealing way
    • Suspense, surprise
  • Presentation is communication
    • Narration
    • Camera
    • Music
  • Choosing good scenes/shots
gaming team part a the virtual film crew
Gaming Team Part A -The virtual film crew
  • Director
    • Makes decisions about the best way to shoot a scene.
  • Cinematographer
    • Camera placement to carry out director’s orders.
  • Editor
    • Decides how long scenes and shots should be to preserve a good flow of timing.
virtual director
Virtual director
  • In film, the director controls the scene and actors to achieve desired camera action.
  • In games, the director has little control of action.
    • Determine which good camera shots are available
    • Think about all the ways to shoot an event
sketch of a virtual director
Events are constantly happening in the game

Collect information about events

Determine priority of events

Provide editor with list of currently available shots

Relative shot priority

Timing information


Estimated length

Decay rate

End condition

Shot information

Primary & secondary actors



Sketch of a virtual director
virtual cinematographer
Virtual cinematographer
  • Placement of virtual camera
  • You have access to scene geometry
    • But the scene is dynamic
  • Versus first-person and third-person limited
virtual editor
Virtual editor
  • Decides which shots to use
  • Unlike film, must do this in real-time
  • Also choose transitions between shots
sketch of virtual editor
Sketch of virtual editor
  • Different editors have different preferences
    • Lshot
    • Lscene
  • New shot is chosen when end condition of current shot changes
  • Filter possible shots
    • Start time is not too far in the future
    • Current shot must terminate now and start time is now or recently passed
  • Sort remaining shots based on quality
4 basic shots with two actors
4 basic shots with two actors





how to show an actor
How to show an actor

Extreme close-up


Close shot

Medium shot

Full shot

line of action
Line of action
  • Rule of thumb: never cross the line of action
  • Imaginary line that keeps the audience oriented
computing the angle 1 actor


Computing the angle (1 actor)


2. Rotate MCO and Voffset around the up vector of MCO by a

3. Rotate MCO and Voffset around the right vector of MCO by b

camera constraints
Camera constraints
  • Every actor has a set of constraints
    • Range of vantage angles
    • Range of viewing distances
    • Preferred vantage angle
    • Preferred viewing distance
searching for optimal viewpoint
Searching for optimal viewpoint
  • Now search the solution-consistent area for the (q, f, d) closest to the preferred vantage and distance
  • Convert back to Cartesian coordinates to place camera
shot timing





Shot timing
  • Beginning time
  • Decay rate
  • End condition function
    • Cannot be terminated yet
    • Can be terminated if another shot is available
    • Must be terminated
  • Which shot is running depends on dynamically changing priorities of all possible shots
choosing transitions
Choosing transitions
  • Between shots in different scenes:
    • Cut
    • Fade
  • Between shots in the same scene:
    • If both actors are same or primary actor is same and line of action is similar: cut
    • If line of action changes significantly: move