[Tutorial] How to Make Cutscenes [RPGXP]

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Level 55
Noun. The act of illuminating.
Contestant - GIAW 9
How to Make Cutscenes

Alright, there are probably tons of tutorials that explain this exact thing, but I have this illusion that I can make a particularly good one (not really) with my background in more low-level game design, where you have to do it all from scratch. Let's see how it goes. You can't win if you don't try.

Part 1: The event
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First, we add an event in the upper left corner as described in these screenshots:
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This event will make everything happen during our cutscene. It is left without a graphics, for it should be invisible. Its trigger must be parallel process (What is even the difference, between parallel process and autorun? Someone tell me) so that is runs at once the map starts, unless of course you want it to start at a different point in time, in which case you can modify the trigger to fit you.

Part 2: The screen
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We will now add the black widescreen-borders on top and bottom of the screen. It will look like this:
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Here is the image (You only need one that can be used for both!):
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Save it and import it as a picture, or make your own. The top half of the image is used for the bottom and the bottom is used for the top. Pretty clever, huh?
The next thing we will do, is show these in our scene. We want to show two of the same image, one at the very bottom and one at the top. They will start outside the screen and move in. It will look cool, I promeese!!11

Add the following to your Cutscene event that we created:

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Then add a wait 30 frames and then erase event. You list should now look like this:
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You can now playtest your game and it should work nicely.

RPG Maker XP has a cool screen color tone feature. That is perfect for this, because we can change the tint just as the widescreen borders slide in. Add the Change Screen Color Tone right above the Move Picture commands and below the Show Picture commands. I will present to you two different setups, but this is totally open for experimentation:

1. Flashback old style. Black and White:
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2. Poetic morning light style: Good for general cutscenes
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I would not recommend adding any fogs unless they are for lighting alone in scenes like this. At least not unless there is actually fog of some kind in the scene. The fog may seem a nice way to add visual variation to the scene, but it can break the fiction to put fog in a place where such a thing would not be found. Yeah, you get my point.

Part 3: Making stuff happen
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To make stuff happen, you will generally use the Set Move Route command and the wait command. This is easy stuff, but I guess I have to touch it slightly anyway. I won't be teaching you how to move events though, go to a "Basics of Eventing" tutorial for that. Instead I will be giving some tips.

1. Don't move your characters directly to the destination.
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When you are gonna make one guy move over to another place on the map, your initial thought might be "Move Toward Player" or in another way taking the fastest route depending on the situation. Don't do this, it is boring and unnatural. Sure, people try to move as fast as possible to where they want to go in real life, but in real life there is always lots of stuff in the way that you have to walk around. Additionally, nobody in real life walks as straight as they do in RPG Maker, so this is really important.

Bad move route:

Good move route:

Yep, it is longer and the player will have to watch your characters move for a longer time. But guess what, that is a good thing. The few RPG Maker games I have tried were all too fast-paced in their cut-scenes to be understandable. Besides, it is common knowledge that non-stop action and information is poor story-telling as there must be time for reflection and suspense-building. So have fun with your move routes.

2. Add props and animate them.
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The more subtle they are, the better. Add unimportant background stuff that actually does something. It brings your scene to life. Put some smoke in the chimneys, make some random people stand talking in the "background" or similar things. I am too lazy to go in depth and make anything original here, remind me of this later and I will update it.

3. Sound effects!
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Go to a site like this one or this one (they were top two on google search: Free sound effects, so please check copyrights and such yourself) and download sound effects for every little detail that happens in your game and add the appropriate sound effect to it. It is hugely improving the experience of a cutscene. Trust me.

It is really short at the moment, but please don't judge me by the length. I will add more every day. Most of this is obvious stuff, I know, but very few games actually do it, so I thought it might be useful. Thanks for reading, please let me know what is missing.

RMRK's dad
Level 86
You know, I think its all gonna be okay.
For going the distance for a balanced breakfast.Project of the Month winner for June 2009For being a noted contributor to the RMRK Wiki2013 Best WriterSilver Writing ReviewerSecret Santa 2013 Participant
Hey, good effort. Thanks for sharing your energy with us. It's a tad dry, but the content is fairly good. I think I'd add some more description if it were me.

Oh, and Parallel Process runs the event instructions in a cycle. Autorun tries to run the instructions before it does anything else, but it can't. That's how it was explained to me, anyhow.