Movie-Making Games (Was RE: Spam: RE: [MUD-Dev] Star Wars Galaxies: 1 character per server)

ceo ceo at
Wed Feb 19 05:03:49 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

Damion Schubert wrote:
> From: Travis Nixon
>> The implementation I'm thinking of would be server-based, though,
>> and require rather obscene amounts of logging.  :) I can't really
>> think of any way other than that to let people trade them around
>> easily (without making them email multi-megabyte sized files), as
>> well as fulfill all the other neat possible uses.
> Playing back a movie is really nothing more than saving a data
> stream and then replaying it back in the client in a different
> mode.  Thus, a one-minute movie saved to disk isn't going to be
> substantially larger than the data stream it takes to distribute
> that to a single client.
> It's fairly easy.  The largest challenge (as well as largest
> file-size hit) is reinitilizing the landscape that the movie takes
> place on (i.e. people's initial clothing, set pieces, the terrain,
> lighting, etc).  While this problem is worse if you allow players
> to 'splice' different scenes together, it's a problem you'll have
> to solve for other situations in the real game anyway (example:
> login).

There's been a few articles on Gamasutra about the problems of
playback; one of the biggest is unexpected randomness throwing off
the calculations. IIRC there was a thread about it a year or so ago
on MUD-DEV, although I can't recall any subject lines :). In
summary: theoretically very easy, in practice can be very hard
because of subtle "loss of synch" bugs, hardware-derived timing
dependencies, etc.

But all the problems had fairly straightforward workarounds if you
didn't mind removing complexity from your game or removing various
accuracies and details from the recorded movies. (Or you could just
spend many hours tracking down the synch bugs :).

Try looking on Gamasutra for stuff about Age of Empires (who
certainly did some synchronised playback, albeit for different
reasons), although I think there's another - I just cannot remember
which game I'm afraid.

Adam M

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