Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Videos in Mary's Magical Adventure

Mary's Magical Adventure, my newest, work-in-progress game, is planned to have many cutscenes (internally called "FMVs") to explain each character's story and what happens in-between levels. Although these story cutscenes aren't in the game at the moment as levels aren't confirmed to be complete enough to avoid any differences between what the player sees in the cutscene versus the levels proper, believe it or not, there are two videos in the game! Past the jump-break both will be talked about.

Video #1: Game Over!

This one doesn't require much explanation as if you've played any game where your character has multiple lives, a screen saying "game over" will appear if you mess up too many times.

Technically, this particular video was much more basic in previous versions of MMA. It was a dark area where "game over" drops from the sky, spinning. Once it lands, the camera zooms in on the text and it fades out. It may be seen in one of my older videos.

It was obvious game overs would have to be more interesting-looking than that, both because it was basic and another reason I'll come back to in a bit. The route I went down with the new version was, to keep it one word, trippy.

Indeed, the video has multiple overlapping layers of children's shows, first Shushybye Baby, then the Dora the Explorer episode where Dora visits three kids around the globe, the cute French girl Amelie visible if you look closely. All of this plays over the weird-sounding game over jingle which, as the videos suggest, was technically made for the older video, hence how fast it is. If you're curious, it was all made in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, no Anime Studio Pro 5 or 10, unlike my usual cutscene videos for MMA.

Video #2: Xane Corp. Logo

Start up any game and you'll probably see companies' logos, either images or videos, appear, usually a couple of them, which is the worst if you can't skip them. Well, my game should look professional, but how? Well, in later versions you may see Xane Corp.'s company logo appear for the first time! Techincally, it first appeared in Harvest Moon PC 3's second version but that wasn't released online as it was never finished.

Xane Corp. is a fake corporation I made up years ago for...some reason, can't think of exactly why, unless I saw the aforementioned company logos when starting up games and wanted to have my own “company” to seem as good as the developers. Madison also came up with her own company, Maddy Inc., which was usually pictured as being more successful than Xane Corp., which would usually mess up by coming up with stupid ideas.

I suppose this logo marks the change for this non-existent company, and if I ever sell this game, this logo will have to go as I doubt I can call myself "Xane Corp." without being an actual corporation. Based on this forum topic, I wasn't the only one that did this years ago. Also, yes, this is the other reason why the game over video was changed; It would look too similar to the last part starting from when the X is shown falling.

Anyways, enough about that old story, it's been three paragraphs and I haven't talked about the actual animation yet! The camera moves close to a slowly-spinning cube, which then starts speeding up uncontrollably until it explodes, parts of it breaking off to form an X that gets shot high into the air, landing beside the rest of the logo, "ane Corp.". After the X flips over, a strange version of my voice says "Xane Corp." and the logo shines as the light previously seen under the floating cube moves across the letters in sync with the aforementioned voice.

What's the Process?

Now that both videos have been explained, I can tell how they're made, along with other things in the game! Mainly, I use Anime Studio Pro 5 for the in-game videos as it has 2D animation and simplistic 3D object support. This works for mostly anything I'll have to animate in cutscenes, though I may have to render the camera movements into a video that plays behind the objects and characters in the scenes as moving objects with the mouse becomes a pain when the 3D camera looks away from the default orientation.
A picture of five program windows. The one at the top middle shows a dark area with a light and the text Xane Corp. Other windows surround it with the tool list, style settings, layer list, and timeline, from the top left and rotating clockwise around the main window.
Anime Studio Pro 5 with the Xane Corp. logo project file open.
In this picture, you can see Anime Studio Pro 5 with the Xane Corp. logo open with the 3D X selected, as that's how I made that video. Indeed, cutscenes are made in Anime Studio Pro then rendered to a video. That video is then edited in Adobe Premiere Pro, adding things like the brief "shine" seen as the light goes over the Xane Corp. logo. Additionally, as GZDoom Builder's OBJ export doesn't remove the sky texture's polygons, a chroma key is needed to make it look like the sky and distant ground is still there.


After all of that is done, the video is rendered at three different resolutions. All are 30FPS.
  • 720p HD (MP4) - YouTube render
  • 480x270 (PNG) - High-resolution version for the hi-res FMV mod
  • 240×135 (PNG) - Normal game cutscene resolution
Adobe Premiere Pro makes this step easy. The only thing left after this is to upload the first version to YouTube and add the big series of PNG images (the reason for the very low resolution) to the hi-res FMV mod and the base game data, respectively. If ZDoom's developers kept support for PlayMovie and made it work on modern Windows versions and other operating systems, I wouldn't have to do this and would just include a single MP4 file or something similar with a higher resolution due to video compression.

Well, that wraps up this long blog post! Mary's Magical Adventure posts like this one will be written when I add anything new to the game if it's interesting enough.

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