Mixing in Some Matinee

(This video is based on a 3D Buzz tutorial, found at http://www.3dbuzz.com/training/view/unreal-development-kit/cinematics)

Another 3D Buzz tutorial, this time fattening out my skill set in Matinee. I built a level with a few key points (a switch, a moving door, lift, rocket launcher pickup and robot spawn location) and then, using the framework laid out by 3D Buzz, put together a Matinee sequence which framed the challenge of the level and presented a simple narrative (something is coming to kill you). Other, simpler, matinees were used to work the door and the lift.

It was an exercise in attention to detail. I found that Matinee can be an exacting, sometimes finicky, tool, but one which is clearly hugely powerful. What I enjoyed was how, frame by  frame, I could nuance the exact shot that I was looking for, constantly improving my work. In fact, playing with the camera and tweaking the FOV quickly became an absolute rabbit hole. It would have been possible to spend hours poring over this eight second clip, to the point where I just had to say enough was enough. For example, the door sliding open at 21 seconds was precisely timed, whereas the return camera makes a pretty ugly turn at 28 seconds which could have used more finesse. Ultimately I made a judgement, that I could learn more by leaving this level 99% perfect, and moving on to the next tutorial I am interested in (UI interfaces), rather than tweaking every last frame. If time wasn’t a factor, I would still be looking at it now.

The goal over the next week or so (possibly more) is to take the Matinee and UI skills I learn from the 3DBuzz tutorial and use them to enhance my (Eat3D based) Top Down Shooter prototype. I’m proud of the shooter, but it feels incomplete, and being able to add some more interesting features, some exciting matinee sequences and a professional front end, will turn it into a proper demo. I’m also hyper-conscious of trying to use an iterative approach, always looking to improve what I have when new ideas and skills present themselves.

As of now, my matinee skills feel much more solid, and I am comfortable taking the next step forward. That’s not to say I won’t be back in my simple level to improve it again … because as I’m learning, there’s always something more to add.

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