Friday, January 14, 2011

Rotted Report 03: What is this woman afraid of?

This post was supposed to be about some of the unique lore surrounding The Rotted Rose, but I decided to hold off on that until I could share some Codex entries that will actually appear in the game. I haven't written those Codex entries because, as often happens in modding, I became absorbed in something else. In this case, it was making a cutscene.

I've spent some time bitching about the Dragon Age toolset; now it's time to talk about something I really like about it. The screenshot above is from the Cutscene Editor, a truly sublime tool in the Dragon Age toolset.

If you've never used it before, the section below the viewing window is the cutscene's timeline. The vertical line shows where you are in the timeline. The horizontal bars represent different actions, effects, or animations, each attached to a different character and each having different properties that can be tweaked to produce the desired effect at just the right moment. For erstwhile wannabe filmmakers like me, this stuff is pure crack. In any case, it sure beats scripting cutscenes, as you had to do in the Neverwinter Nights toolsets.

Note: Normally I have two viewing windows open - the cutscene viewer displayed here and another window that I use to position characters and cameras. For the screenshot, I maxed the cutscene viewer to make the action easier to see.

I don't want to say too much about the buildup to this cutscene, as it might spoil the plot somewhat. However, I don't think it's revealing too much to say that the cutscene is from a conversation the PC has with the pictured lady at a key moment in the plot. The player will only see it if he or she selects a dialogue option to kill the woman. Not a very nice thing to do, but given the content of the conversation, I think it's an option that (evil) PCs will certainly want to have.

To reiterate for those who skipped down to find an answer to the titular question, this woman is afraid of one very PO-ed PC. Here's the PC preparing to do the the lady in (the editor allows you to insert a stand-in for the PC - this will be replaced by the player's PC in the actual, in-game cutscene).

And now the money shot. I think I mentioned in an earlier report that, as an Apostate, the PC would start with the Lightning spell.

The Rotted Report is a periodic update on my upcoming standalone adventure for Dragon Age. Feel free to stop by The Rotted Rose project page on the Bioware Social Network.