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In this tutorial you will learn...

• How to go about making a good cutscene
• How to glitch-test your cutscene
• How to avoid common problems

Cutscenes are one of the most fundamental parts of an RPG, and they are fun to do, as well. This tutorial will hopefully teach you how to plan, set up and make a cutscene of your own - and how to fix problems with it!

So, let's get going! First of all, we need to plan out what we want our cutscene to have in it. I'll just make something up on the spot... Lets say that our hero is walking in the forest, perhaps looking for an important crystal, when he is attacked by thieves. The thieves, who also want the crystal, engage in a fight with him (our hero is a fairly good sword fighter) but in the end, our hero is outnumbered. They knock him out and take him to a dungeon somewhere in the depths of the kingdom.

Clichéd, I know, but it's good material for a short cutscene. So! Where do we start? First of all, we need to build the maps. We need a forest for the hero to walk in, and a dungeon where he is taken to. See how they turned out...

Okay, now we have the maps, we need to plan out what we want to happen. You can use Word or pencil and paper or whatever to do this.

Screen is black
SE: Birdsong
Screen fades to normal, showing a dappled forest with our hero walking restlessly through it.
Hero: Now where is that darned crystal? If I don't find it soon, Master will certainly not be happy...
Our hero looks around in the trees for a short while.
Hero: There it is!
SE: Pick something up
Our hero 'picks up' the crystal and begins to make back for his village.
SE: Footsteps / rustle
Hero: What was that?
Our Hero looks around.
Hero: Must have just been an animal...
A thief leaps from the undergrowth.
BGM: Something dramatic
Thief: Aha!
Our hero leaps backwards in shock and the thief advances. Two more thieves jump out from the undergrowth.
Thief 1: So, tell me, Hero, what is this crystal that you speak of?
Hero: Erm -
Thief 2 advances.
Thief 2: Perhaps an element crystal?
Thief 3 advances.
Thief 3: Well, if that is so... We're going to have to ask you to find it and hand it over to us.
Hero: Never!
Thief 1: Either hand over the crystal, or we will have to take it from you.
Hero: Not without a fight!
Our hero slashes thief 1 down, and thief 2 and 3 move in, swords drawn.
Hero: Back off!
Hero slashes thief 2 backwards, but he is quick to recover. Thief 3 slashes our hero unconscious.
Screen fades to black.

The screen fades to normal.
Our hero wakes in the dungeons, opening his eyes and standing up.
Hero: Oh no! They've taken the crystal!
Our hero walks to the door, and tries to open it.
SE: Clunk
Hero: Locked...
Our hero walks back.
Hero: I've got to find a way of getting out of here...

And I'll leave it there for now - that's plenty to be getting on with. So, where do we begin? The screen is black, and there is birdsong. However, there is one problem. If I start the game on the forest map, and have an Autorun event setting the screen tint, the map will flicker and look unprofessional. To get rid of this effect, I will use a blank map, then set the screen tint, and then transfer the player. See here (this is an Autorun event on the blank map)...

My starting postition is on a map with nothing on, which will appear black when I start. This Autorun event will kick in and make the screen black anyway, and then transfer the player to the forest. Clever, huh? However, just before this happens, the player can be seen for an instant. To solve this, I head over to the database, click the System tab, and delete all actors from the initial party list, like so...

Now when I start the game, the screen is completely black. To add Arshes back into the party (so the transfer player works) I just need to add one extra command into the Autorun event, AFTER the screen tint change. See here...

You'll find that command on the first page, on the bottom of the first group on the right-hand column.

So, now we're in the forest, with a black screen. I need an Autorun event to control everything, which I will place in the top-left corner of the map. My first command will be Change screen tone back to normal, and then I will need a Parallel process event with the birdsong SEs on.

The first image is of the Autorun event that I have to change the screen back to normal. The wait command is so that anything that happens after this will wait for the screen to change back to normal before it does. The second screen is of the parallel event with the birdsong set to play at different intervals in the background. Now, let's get on with the rest of the cutscene. Commands are below - yes, it can scroll! (If it looks screwed up, refresh the page or press F5 to do so. It should sort it out. It sometimes does that.)


Okay? I'll go through any bits that might confuse you. You should be very familiar with the Set Move Route command (from last tutorial) and the Show Text and Wait commands should be old hat by now. The Wait commands are more important than they first appear; without them, the scene seems all squashed together and happens too quickly. Don't be afraid to use lots of them! The only new-ish thing here is the Play SE, which does what it says - plays a sound effect at a definable volume and pitch. When you choose this command, you'll get this box (this one doesn't scroll, unfortunately =P )...

It's pretty simple: the list on the left is of which sound effect you want to play, and the sliders vary the volume and the pitch. Using different combinations of volume and pitch you can create some pretty good effects. (Hmm... dé ja vù. I think I've been over this before, in my Weather Tutorial...)

And the last thing that I want to explain is the little command at the bottom. You've used this before, in our basic eventing tutorial where we made the quest. Remember? But this one has a different purpose. When I'm making cutscenes, I always use variables to mark out different sections, to keep the length of event pages to a reasonable size and also so that troubleshooting is easier. And, so that I can remember which number of which variable means which scene, I keep a variable map. This is just a simple word or text document with the variable names listed, and their different values and respective 'markers' in the scene. You don't have to use this idea, but I find it very helpful! Anyway, the Control Variable command at the bottom of this page simply switches the event to the next page. Read on and you'll see a screen shot.

So, onto the next bit. The thieves jump out on our hero and attack him. See below for the next page of event commands.


The little bit at the top stops the parallel SE. First of all, I stop the current SE, and then I turn on a switch. On the parallel event with the background birdsong, there is a second page with the condition set to this switch being on, and there is nothing on that page (the trigger is set to action button). This stops the parallel birdsong SE all together. I think everything else here is self-explanitory. I changed the BGM at the top - which, when you select the Play BGM command, gives you a box like this...

It's much the same as the Play SE box, really. The volume and pitch are changed with the sliders on the right, and the actual music is selected from the list on the left. I changed it to something dramatic (I know that it says Positive, but trust me, it doesn't really sound it!) when the thieves jump out.

Okay, now we're at the part where Arshes has just been blacked out. I've put another variable-maker thing in, and this takes us to the third page of event commands. These will be short; we're transporting to the dungeon soon, so we'll use an Autorun event on that map. See below for the final page of event commands on this map...

Again, pretty easy to understand. At the bottom, the variable marker leads to the fourth page, which has nothing on and has a trigger of Action Button. This is how you end any cutscene, or stop it freezing up when you switch maps.

So, the last page of event commands, when our Hero is in the dungeon. See below...


Everything is pretty much simple - just Move Routes and the such. At the bottom, I set the variable to its final value, 4, which goes onto the second event page where there are no commands and the trigger is set to action button. Then control is given back to the player.

Well! I think that's pretty much it from my longest tutorial yet. I hope that everything was made clear enough. Oh - and just so you can see how the commands work out, I've included a download of my Cutscene game (I've changed the font and done some other easy scripty stuff to change the interface, but don't worry - I'll go over this in a later tutorial). Any questions or queries and you can contact me on the Contact Page and I'll try and answer best I can. Good luck!

Download Cutscenes.zip: 1,077kb

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