Quick Time Redux

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Quick Time Redux

Shamus offers a few ways that quick time events might be made to suck less.

Read Full Article

Speaking as a guy who wrote one of those Which Games do QTEs Right? threads pretty quick after reading Stolen Pixels, it was an attempt to try to figure out the best possible ways to do these if we have to, and to get rid of them if at all possible.

Also, most people didn't listen when I asked them not to trot out God of War as an example.

Oh goodness yes, to the PC ports thing. It seems manufacturers have been getting more and more lazy with PC ports recently--or maybe I've just run across more lazy ones. Even The Force Unleashed was almost unbearably bad on PC.

God of War (III) does exactly what you suggested- it flashes the icon on the side of the screen so that you aren't looking away from the action. At first I found that that actually detracted even more, because out of reflex, I stare to the side and look at the button thinking,"It might be different this one time (it never is)."

Eventually I got used to it, but by then the game was already almost over...

God of War does them right because they are usually just "MASH CIRCLE" and that seems to work well to indicate a repeated move, i.e. STAB STAB STAB STAB.

Though, you need QTE to slay those massive creatures and still feel like you are in actual control, rather than let some cutscene like thing play off infront of you, masturbating to itself whilst you cannot participate in the action.

It's a blessing and a curse?

I dunno... pressing a button to execute an extended series of motions that make you wish you were actually doing something that awesome has never been fun to me.

Funny you should mention suggestion #1. God of War 3 actually did exactly this, and I thought it worked wonderfully. It took a tiny bit of getting used to watching my peripheral vision for the prompts on the side of the screen, but it kept the action going on right in front without getting blocked.

The worst is when the game randomizes them so that you can't even learn them as you fail. Uhg!

I don't feel QETs have a place in gaming at all. They are esssetially a "Well we are sory this cut-scene is so long here is a arbritarty immersion breaking sign that makes your reclining during this awesome cutscene redundant and only serves to cuase you irritation" or just that sense of "Haha you have to watch this all over gain, pay attention fucker!".

They are a rudementary way, proabaly the most rudementary way, of linking cutscene to gameplay that only exist to add the illusion of interactivity to passive veiwing. If they existed during a DVD they would just piss everyone off. Get we just get over this cute idea from 1999 and get on with our cut scene?

Turok did a decent job with QTE.

I agree 100%. God of War does QTE alright, although I still end up missing the action because I'm so worried about missing one of the 5 button presses I need to tear a Minotaur's head off or whatever it is. Seems to me, in the case of action games, you don't need QTE's whatsoever. There's usually a special button for activating stuff, right? How about when you beat up an enemy to a certain point, there's 1 queue - maybe your character makes a specific and obvious motion/change of stance, maybe there's a DING sound, maybe there's a glow on the enemy. Either way, hitting your activate button (ie: the one to open doors and talk to people) will cause you to do the cool kill moves, and from there you can do whatever you want like - build your own kill move. Maybe there'd be a timing to it, so the better your timing the more moves you can pull off to make it more epic and a much crazier and more satisfying kill. You could do a simple punch/kick/throw or a stab/kick/slice or whatever, but if your timing is perfect you could wind up completely dismembering your target.
In a sense, a little bit like The Witcher combat (timing based)

The only problem with #1 is that some games use the triggers as well as the face buttons. You could just try putting those prompts in the corners, but then there are the left and right buttons (different name for playstation but in the same place)! Where would those go?

obviously HEAVY RAIN covers the QTE, but i would hate to see it invading other games where you couldn't expect such stuff. coding stuff is a good compromise for PC, symbols for actions in mercenaries 2, but why not have us use the same buttons without the popup symbols? like having it disablable in menu.

The only quicktime-type thing I've ever enjoyed in a game is in Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones.

What made it work was:

1. The prompt was just a flash, no icon for a game controller button.

2. The system only ever used one button, it was simply about timing hit the button when you see the flash and the character pulls off a cool move.

3. The penalty for failure was never "reload and try again." If you missed the timing, all you missed was the quick stealth kill. You'd then just have to fight the enemy normally (which was also fun - key point there as well).

One of the key things that developers don't seem to get is that quicktime events don't have to be hard to be fun. The point is to show you a cutscene or a cool move that you can't do in the regular game engine while giving you a sense that you are doing something instead of just watching. Since when does anyone want a difficult cutscene?

Its good ideas...and, I understand QTE can play there parts, but...still. They need to be made less wooden, and more...dynamic, in the whole scheme on things

The worst QTEs I've ever seen were in Spider-Man 3 for Xbox 360. Couldn't tell you how many controllers I was out once I reached the credits. Too many. So I just hate on QTEs in general now. If you're gonna do them, then take a cue from Heavy Rain, and have a scene keep going even if you miss a button. Making us watch the same cutscene over and over is NOT good gameplay.

I invented the perfect solution(for when there absolutely has to be any indication onscreen):

***this system requires inteligence and creativity to make it work***

1.cutscene is differentiated from eventscene(music would be appropirately demistealthy)
2.stopped or slowed time
3.let it be multiple options,each represents an idea(one of em is the fastest route)
4.ideas clearly associated with buttons/logics the player already understands
5.options are visualised thoughts(= transparent parts of imagined reality)
6.there is some kind of shadow getting thinner as the idea is vanishing with time(happens only in slowtime scenes)
7.multiple logical ways to trigger specific action(action/direction based)
8.neglect=/=instant death

shamus has some ideas I agree with(enviro prompts obviously HR)

They're such an immersion-breaker it's unreal.

Honestly, I'd much rather just watch Starkiller kill the enemy in a cutscene after I'd taken away all their health. I've never played through one where I feel like I'm doing anything anyway.

Tarakos:
The worst QTEs I've ever seen were in Spider-Man 3 for Xbox 360. Couldn't tell you how many controllers I was out once I reached the credits. Too many. So I just hate on QTEs in general now. If you're gonna do them, then take a cue from Heavy Rain, and have a scene keep going even if you miss a button. Making us watch the same cutscene over and over is NOT good gameplay.

Oh dear God, you actually needed real-life fucking Spidey sense to hit those things.

Urthman:
The only quicktime-type thing I've ever enjoyed in a game is in Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones.

What made it work was:

1. The prompt was just a flash, no icon for a game controller button.

2. The system only ever used one button, it was simply about timing hit the button when you see the flash and the character pulls off a cool move.

3. The penalty for failure was never "reload and try again." If you missed the timing, all you missed was the quick stealth kill. You'd then just have to fight the enemy normally (which was also fun - key point there as well).

One of the key things that developers don't seem to get is that quicktime events don't have to be hard to be fun. The point is to show you a cutscene or a cool move that you can't do in the regular game engine while giving you a sense that you are doing something instead of just watching. Since when does anyone want a difficult cutscene?

And why has absolutely no one mentioned Kingdom Hearts 2 yet? That was released in Japan around the same time that Two Thrones was released in America, the QTEs worked almost exactly the same way, they were woven into the big events as well as the small ones, they didn't detract from the battle at hand, and they often let you alter the entire flow of battle depending on where and when you used them.

Your anti-JARRH PEE GEE bias is showing again. Though KH2 shows that Squeenix might actually be better at doing action-y games than trying to remake the RPG every FF cycle. (Seriously, their shooters-though I can only think of Einhander and the Gummi Ship offhand-were actually loads of fun! Squares non-standard-RPG games are actually pretty awesome until the old RPGs invade and consume them.)

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: Quick Time Redux

Shamus offers a few ways that quick time events might be made to suck less.

Read Full Article

Only problem I see with number 1 is the tunnel-vision effect when you get so focused on the action in the centre. Although the in-game markers on objects would be a nice change to that.

And difficulty-related QTEs; yes please. On easy you could make them completely automatic or just make every button an action and then gradually reduce the time to complete it or subtract any help markers. So many better possibilities.

porschecm2:
Oh goodness yes, to the PC ports thing. It seems manufacturers have been getting more and more lazy with PC ports recently--or maybe I've just run across more lazy ones. Even The Force Unleashed was almost unbearably bad on PC.

On the plus side, bringing down the Star Destroyer on the PC version is so much easier than the console versions. On the xBox it takes me 4 or 5 tries, on the PC I can do it in 3.

As a whole, I have never much liked QTEs, they always seem to be a half assed attempt to add more gameplay. I want to watch a cut/pre rendered scene, not have to woory about pressing X at certain times while missing it.

I must be the only mutant here who doesn't have much of a problem with QTEs (except for the ones that pop up randomly in cutscenes, like Bayonetta). Maybe it's because I can switch focus pretty fast so I can see the action and the appropriate button prompt I can do one and enjoy the other. Ninja Blade (eh, mostly. those QTEs were graded for some dumb reason, and why the hell do I need a cutscene to show me jumping a gap?), God of War, even way back with the iconic Shenmue (though the issue with them popping up in cutscenes probably started there), they don't bother me at all.

So long as I can still make a minotaur choke on his own regurgitated blood, still swat a wrecking ball as if I was playing badminton, and can still fold up a 20-foot-tall bipedal automaton like an empty wallet, QTEs are okay in my book.

Alakaizer:
Also, most people didn't listen when I asked them not to trot out God of War as an example.

Because it's dumb to not list the best example.

"Suck less than ever" is a bit subjective. There might be a small overall improvement, but they more or less still suck the same as they've ever sucked in hackneyed game studios where they're all trying to be like God of War.

You know what game I think did it right? Too Human.

Wait, don't go away. It's true.

In Too Human, to kill these 'trolls', you can climb up their backs and shove your weapon down their head-analogues. There are no button prompts in it, other than to jump on their back, and it's more of a context sensitive action than a quick time event. You need to balance your character on top of the troll, which you do by just looking at how well balanced he is rather than trying to juggle some sort of scale, and then you press the attack button when you're balanced, which you know because the camera will zoom in. Too complicated for you? That's OK - you can kill the troll the regular way. It's complicated because you need to target each of the troll's body parts (and the aiming in that game is not exactly flawless) so the reward is welcome, but not unsurmountable.

Of course, that's during gameplay, not cutscenes. Still, parts of it still work.

It's too bad Too Human never bothered to explain this. And that it's a pretty bad game (nowhere as bad as people are saying, but still, pretty bad). And that SK wasted time and money on it rather than doing a new Eternal Darkness.

I strongly disagree with the article, especially regarding using SW:TFU as an example. I dreaded the fact that I had to, STILL, press buttons after half an hour worth of duel time, only to be mocked by QTE to actually finish him off. Can't I just see a quick cinematic sequence, to get my "I killed him" joy feeling, rather than pressing more buttons?
One of the joys of defeating a hard enemy is to be able to kick back and just blow off the steam, that your boiling anger created. It's NOT to feel a tickle below my belt-buckle, because I pressed a button correctly.
Jeez, if I wanted to get a snuff hard-on for my button timing, I'd go play Guitar Hero, till my fingers bleed.

Great minds think a like, they say....
Now we know small minds do the same ;)

QTE's suck balls, always have and always will imo!
Best 'kind of' QTE's that i liked was the way you could handle conversation in Mass Effect 2 with it's paragorn/renegade options flashing across your screen. It provided something extra but nothing that important that you could not do without.
But the whole 'press X to not die', has been tried and failed on so many levels.
If i wanted to show off my button mashing skills i will play a platformer and those dont polute my screen with controler symbols.

Sjakie:
Great minds think a like, they say....
Now we know small minds do the same ;)

QTE's suck balls, always have and always will imo!
Best 'kind of' QTE's that i liked was the way you could handle conversation in Mass Effect 2 with it's paragorn/renegade options flashing across your screen. It provided something extra but nothing that important that you could not do without.
But the whole 'press X to not die', has been tried and failed on so many levels.
If i wanted to show off my button mashing skills i will play a platformer and those dont polute my screen with controler symbols.

Yes, I was just thinking about his distinct lack of ME2 in the article.

Honestly, I don't think a lot of effort should be exerted on getting quicktime events "right." Considering they're nothing but a stopgap (period) for simplifying the execution of actions more complex than the average console controller (or mainstream gamer) can perform, any effort spent getting them "right" is wasted. Polishing the brass on the titanic.

The goal of gaming, right now, should be to make it possible to do things like slice an AT-AT in half without having to play a little game of simon. Quicktime events, no matter how "well" or "poorly" they're done, is the game telling the player, "sit over there and amuse yourself while I do something awesome." Its a big brother taking the controller away so he can beat a level while you hand him a soda or something. Its the complete antithesis of interactivity.

They're just proof whats possible in a video game is far beyond the reach of whats possible with current input devices.

Decent article, but without any mention of the Bourne Conspiracy game, I'm kind of disappointed. If there ever was a game that got it right, it was definitely that game. It was all about the speed and the reflexes and actually got me into it, thinking that I'm making this guy do all of this awesome stuff because I am fast enough to control Jason Bourne. The game used a sort of coo-ing sound when there was about to be a QTE and you could activate some on your own for quick instant kills. That game was definitely the best example I can think of for QTEs done right, and personally...I actually enjoyed them.

Oh yeah, theres also Ninja Blade.

Heavy Rain had good QTE.....

But seriously, the only movie/QTE that I enjoyed were the ones in Soul Caliber III. They weren't needed and only added minor tweaks to the story or gave you a slight handicap for the next match if you missed it.

" Now a player can jump between PlayStation and Xbox seamlessly without worrying about the irrelevant and entirely cosmetic differences between the controllers."

Ahhh watch out for the fanboys.....

Meh...meh...meh....six axis...meh...meh...meh

QTEs on the PC - Let's see... Console QTEs generally use the four face buttons (XYAB and such). Hmmm, I wonder where in the average PC control layout one might find four buttons whose position relative to each other stays mostly the same?

In case I was too subtle: Use WASD (or whatever the direction keys are mapped to) for QTEs on the PC! Those four are always close to each other and in a configuration similar to the XYAB keys of the standard 360 controller. If you need more than that, use stuff that's likely to be close by such as the "Use" or "Reload" keys.

OR you could just use the advantages of the PC as a platform! and let us REMAP the QTE keys as we see fit. Wouldn't that be grand?

Finally, go through the trouble of making icons for the various keyboard keys. I'm sure your budget can survive a bit more spending in the "generic icons" department...

Great article, but you missed a trick:

Do not make QTEs repetitive, do not impose them on a section of gameplay which you expect / demand that players will replay a dozen or more times.

The culprit for this one? Namco's Soul Calibur III. Each play through of the arcade mode there are, iirc, two QTEs in cutscenes in the middle. This is arcade mode, on a beat 'em up. Something the player is expected to go through about 20 times.

N.B.: You don't fail entirely if you miss it, but you do start the first round on 60% health.

Scrumpmonkey:
I don't feel QETs have a place in gaming at all. They are esssetially a "Well we are sory this cut-scene is so long here is a arbritarty immersion breaking sign that makes your reclining during this awesome cutscene redundant and only serves to cuase you irritation" or just that sense of "Haha you have to watch this all over gain, pay attention fucker!".

They are a rudementary way, proabaly the most rudementary way, of linking cutscene to gameplay that only exist to add the illusion of interactivity to passive veiwing. If they existed during a DVD they would just piss everyone off. Get we just get over this cute idea from 1999 and get on with our cut scene?

Sometimes, a game needs to have scenes in which a character does something awesome. QTEs are about the only way of making that awesome thing interactive. The other way would be to map separate controls for it and make you figure it out yourself, something which is a bit dumb in a game with lots of different kill animations requiring different combos (see: god of war 3's bosses).
And if they just leave the cinematic as it is and scrape the QTE, then people will bitch about the character doing incredibly awesome stuff but turning back into a pussy when the control is handed back to the player (see: Dirge of Cerberus).

I believe QTEs are a step forward, they just need to be done right. I have a few ideas: screen flashes are one thing, but how about an animation, say a greyscale black and white gradient that flows and moves in the direction you need to press the button? Of course, time would have to stop (matrix-like) during that sequence. During or at the end of it, you'll need to press the necessary direction (or move the analog stick) and press one of 2-4 buttons depending on the texture/size/speed/color of the gradient. It'd have to be transparent, easily identifiable, but not powerful enough to stop the flow. There can also be combinations: a screen flash would signal the need to keep one of the buttons pressed before moving the analog stick, or an inward gradient would mean pressing a button repeatedly.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here