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Thread: Thoughts On CamVator...

  1. #1
    Registered: Oct 2001
    Location: 0x0x0

    Thoughts On CamVator...

    It was brought up in another thread that some dislike the CamVator. Since that thread was already going sideways and pear shaped I didn't want to derail it further.

    I've usually found them a wonderful way of imparting story info ie...The 7th Crystal or Frobber's "Keeper" series. R Soul used it nicely in his "Torc" series. Just another way to convey what a briefing vid might...

    What's the problem? Just curious.

  2. #2
    Registered: Jan 2011
    Location: Wild and Wooly West of Ireland
    I like 'em. It shows a bit of ingenuity, and it's a nice way to set the scene, IMHO. I don't think it detracts from the mission in any way.
    It's just like a cutscene, really.

  3. #3
    Registered: Feb 2007
    Location: South Coast,England uk
    they're ok....long as they work...I remember one that was a bit iffy (in the Fm .. the Mirror?)I seem to remember.

  4. #4
    L'architecte de Rocksbourg
    Registered: Nov 2005
    Location: Narbonne, France
    Regarding Thief, to me it goes against the core of its game design, where visual storytelling is key and the story unravel itself as you play and remain in control of your character. A camvator is similar to a cutscene which takes the control out of the player and forces you to watch an event from afar without any consequence to your actions.

    Now don't get me wrong, I don't especially dislike it. A camvator here and there can be a nice touch as long as they are rather short and don't break the flow of the game. I'm fine with it if it's used as an intro or an outro for example.

  5. #5
    Registered: May 2005
    Location: Full on Kevel's mom
    I do not like camvators. Especially during development because they're usually unskippable, so you always have to rig up something to shut them off while you work.

    Additionally, I like experiencing the story from the main characters POV whenever possible.

  6. #6
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Fields of bluegrass
    I had a bunch in DCE because that train started rolling years earlier when I didn't feel the same way about them, and so I decided to maintain consistency in narrative delivery method, so they remained in the final product. Nowadays, though, I greatly prefer movies for briefing and cutscenes, because they aren't prone to bugs and are skippable by the player who is replaying (or the dev who doesn't want to sit through it for the 1000th time). And for mid-mission scenes, narrative storytelling through experience is better than forcing the player to be a third person (and sometimes out-of-body) observer, as was the case with most the in-game cutscenes in DCE.

  7. #7
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: Texas
    I used a camvator in LS2 Part 2 during the wedding scene, and while some might not like camvators at least the player could control when the camvator took place.

    I don't dislike camvators, but some missions use them to take the player all over the map before the mission begins therefore spoiling all of the scenery.

  8. #8
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    Does NewDark allow the author to control the camvator camera facing, or are players still free to look wherever they want? That always annoyed me, as it sometimes wasn't clear where I was "supposed" to be looking during a camvator sequence. This made the sequences feel less like an in-engine cutscene and more like Garrett's Balloon Ride.

  9. #9
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    i love camvators so much,usually i would say at start or end of mission,but i have even played some missions where they during mission it self and wow it was amazing

    they feel so natural to thief i was shocked they not stock in someway,kinda like how the thief 1 intros use that drawing style omg so epic

  10. #10
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    God dammit Moon Moon.

  11. #11
    Registered: Oct 2018
    I believe CamVator was an LGS invention; there's one on the Engineering Deck in System Shock 2, when The Many shows you a vision of the central brain and offers you an ultimatum. Here, the sequence actually made narrative sense: it was intended to make the player feel small and helpless as an individual against an ineffable and transcendent hivemind. It also serves as a beautifully satisfying reprise at the end of the game.

    Sadly, I don't think I've played an FM that made use of them in an equally appropriate way. They rarely serve a purpose that a stylised briefing video couldn't have filled, but with extra downsides: as john9818a said, some of them spoil large chunks of the level right before you're supposed to explore it (Memento Mori 1 comes to mind). ZylonBane's analogy is perfect -- it feels like a balloon ride that isn't clear about where you're supposed to look.

  12. #12
    Registered: Nov 2010
    Location: Beyond boundaries of Magia
    Personally, I wouldn't really mind CamVators, if there was a function to skip them. While watching for the first time is fine, especially if it's constructed/directed well, but on replay you already know all the details of that or that CV cutscene in particular and you'd like to skip it... But you can't, unlike a video cutscene.

  13. #13
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: Texas
    Snobs 2 came to mind even though it was an interesting fm to play. What I was thinking is that if players can be given a choice in the beginning like in A Guard Called Benny, they can choose to have a camvator or not. Designing a mission that would allow the player to cancel a camvator would be very technical, and if it doesn't work then the player would be stuck to the camvator forever. The only way off then would be to restart the mission or reload a saved game.

    The player can look all around because the player is atrached to the camvator. If a method to use a camera like in CCTV setups is used, the camera would be facing the same direction throughout the whole path relative to the camvator. The place to look is where the action is taking place. If there is no action then the player should be able to look anywhere without consequence.

  14. #14
    Registered: Oct 2012
    Location: UK
    I don't mind a camvator scene, as long as it conveys the point/sets the scene without being drawn out. I like being able to have a look about at the scenery. The only negative for me is not being able to skip it if I have to replay that section.

  15. #15
    NewDark 64 Contest Winner
    Registered: Jul 2005
    Location: Locked Inside Dromed
    I personally don't like them. I'm always annoyed when I load up an FM and find I have to sit through one. Sadly, most of the information presented in them is usually completely unneccesary as well and can be conveyed much better in other ways. Even worse that they can't be skipped at all.

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