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Basic Cinematics

created 8/23/03

By CheeZy monkey


What are Cinematics? Cinematics in AOM are script oriented-trigger induced camera movements, these "movements" are called Tracks which are made up of waypoints. As with most things in the Editor, you use a tool created by the Developers so that things are very very easy for you. Cinematics Tracks are created through the Camera Track Editor. To access the Camera Track Editor click this button on the editor interface.

The Camera Track Editor looks like this:


For this demonstration I've setup a small map to demonstrate how to make camera tracks

It is hard for some people to grasp the concept of creating cinematics in a game so I'll start by explaining how exactly it works.
Like I said, a Camera Track contains Waypoints. When the camera track is played, the camera moves through the waypoints you set. Thanks to Age of Mythology's excellent programming team, The camera speed and waypoint values are averaged when the camera moves (This means the camera moves very smoothly through the waypoints), allowing for some movie quality camera work. Now enough jabbering, you're probably wanting me to get on with it and explain how to make waypoints. Well it's easy. It's very easy, So easy in fact that people often have trouble figuring out how exactly to do it, but then that’s what this guide is for.

To create a new Camera Track click the Insert button. This will Automatically setup your first Waypoint as well. Now move the camera (your view) to where you want the next waypoint to be and click the Add button.

In this demonstration this is what my First Waypoint (Which was created as soon as I clicked Insert Track) looks like, and what my Second Waypoint (which was created when I clicked Add Waypoint) looks like . If you screw up somehow, select your waypoint and click "update", this will update it to your current view (camera). Those red lines on the top and bottom of the screen are the "Letterbox Bars", click the letterbox bars button on the interface to toggle them on/off. Basically they show where the letterbox bars will go during cinematic mode in gameplay.

Now setup the rest of the waypoints in your camera track. Mine looked like This Now set the duration, this is how long it will take for the Camera to go from your first waypoint to your last waypoint. In Age of Mythology it is possible to preview your camera tracks without having to test the game. You may have already noticed the progress bar and play buttons on the Camera Track Editor. Select your camera track and click play, this will play your track. Make sure everything is right and your waypoints are capturing what you want (If not, find which waypoint went wrong and "update" it).

If the camera track previewer wasn't enough, you can get a visual perspective of the path the camera takes by selecting your camera track and clicking the Show button. To illustrate this, I've zoomed out a bunch and clicked "show" to view my Waypoints. It looks like This The first camera is your starting waypoint (waypoint 0), the second camera is Waypoint 1 and so on. The Blue Line is the path the camera takes through the waypoints.

Now you have your Camera Track. To use it in the game though, requires some Triggerwork. Triggers in AOM control events that are "fired" throughout the game, events that you cannot otherwise do, like making a computer change diplomacy, displaying messages, tasking units etc. For more information on how to use triggers look for Trigger-related articles in this Scenario Design Library.
Now then, to use this camera track ingame, you have to go to cinematic mode, play the camera track, control any ingame-events and messages that you want to be played durring the cinematic, then end the cinematic. Start by creating a trigger:

TRIGGER:1
CONDITION:ALWAYS(the trigger immediately fires)
EFFECT1:Cinematic mode > ON
EFFECT2:Camera Track > select Track 1 (the track you made in the Camera Track Editor)

TRIGGER2:
CONDITION:Timer > [put the length in seconds of your camera track]
EFFECT: Cinematic mode >OFF


This sequence starts Cinematic mode, (it turns on the letterboxes), plays the camera track, and then ends the cinematic when the camera track ends. To display Dialogue while your cinematic is playing, use the Dialogue effect.

People use Cinematics in the scenarios as an introduction to build up on the story and introduce players to other characters in the game or their objective. For this demonstration I created a small scenario, to look at what I did in further detail you can Download the Demonstration and look at it in the editor. Pay special attention to the triggers I used and in what order I made them. That’s all you need to know to use cinematics in your scenario. Happy Designing.

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