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About our trailers, and what "in-engine" and "gameplay" mean.

Bart_CABart_CA Creative AssemblyHorsham, UKRegistered Users, Moderators, Administrators, CA Staff Posts: 350
edited December 2015 in General Discussion
Hi everyone,

With the Karl Franz in-engine trailer going live this afternoon (2pm BST!) and a lot of discussion going on around what 'in-engine' means, we thought it’d be worth a post explaining the different kinds of videos we make and why we make them.

As you've probably noticed, we create a lot of videos for our games. When they’re not making in-game cutscenes, most of these are created by the Total War in-house cinematics team, and in some cases members of the Total War community team.

We create different types of video for different purposes and to suit a range of different tastes. When we first announce a game, we tend to kick off with a big CGI trailer, designed to establish the studio’s vision for the game (usually produced externally with the help of a CGI house), with consultation from the game’s senior developers and often using early elements of the in-game art (such as 3D models, or concept art).

tww.jpg

As development gets up to full speed, more and more in-game assets are completed. We start using these assets in videos to show off how things are coming together, such as the ‘Introducing Demigryphs’ video released earlier this week.

When we show early game code to journalists, we usually follow up by releasing a video of it. The first of these will be released in two weeks’ time on the 30th of July with the Battle of Black Fire Pass Developer Walkthrough and there will be more to follow.

A bit closer to release, when the game is coming together in earnest, we’ll begin producing videos using gameplay footage. These come in the form of lets-plays, spotlights and eventually broadcasting livestreams.

Today we release our first in-engine cinematic trailer. These videos introduce characters and races, and the narrative surrounding them. They tell the kind of stories that we imagine players will experience when they play their own campaigns. They also give us a place to start showcasing cool features of the game in an exciting way.

Once we’ve storyboarded and written a script for a cinematic trailer, we set to work with our in-house cinematics tool (It’s called CINDY if you’re interested). This enables us to set up environments, units, models, terrain, and create custom camera paths directly within the game engine. Today’s Karl Franz trailer, for example, was set up in the Black Fire Pass battle map you’ll see in-game.

The cinematics team often ask our team of animators to make some custom animations for these trailers, chiefly for when a main character is gesturing and gesticulating. These aren’t generally made for the game but they help us to explain what’s going on and are often also used for in-game cutscenes. This being so, Total War: Warhammer offers an embarrassment of riches. Our animators have gone to town on hand-crafting spectacular combat-anims for many monsters and beasts in the game – the kind of stuff you just can’t get in the mocap studio. In today’s Karl Franz trailer for example, you’ll see a giant pick up a soldier and smash him repeatedly into the ground. This is just one of a variety of attack animations you see the giants perform in battle.

When we render the final video out, we add some post-processing cinematic effects such as enhanced depth of field and motion blur. Not features you’ll see in the game, but in these cinematic trailers we’re trying to create atmosphere and tell a story. These techniques help us do that.

So in a nutshell, that’s what an in-engine trailer is for us. We use the game engine itself as the set, along with all the props and actors it provides. We add some custom animations and some cinematic effects to make it a better watch.
mocap_pano.jpg?itok=nhPbe9vJ

Ultimately though, there’s going to be plenty of unedited gameplay to see before the game is finally released. If you follow us on social media or the forums you’ll see something for everyone.



Clearly Labelling Videos

So moving forward, we’re also going to make sure all our videos are clearly labelled so you know what you are seeing. If it’s not otherwise very apparent (like one of the following terms is used in the video’s title), you can check the description text on the video on our YouTube channel, and each will be tagged with one of the following:


‘Gameplay’
Footage captured from the current game build. If you played the game as it currently stands, that’s what you’d see. It might be edited down to make it fit the format (so loading screens removed, or various shots used to show different things).

Before launch it is also likely to be marked ‘Development in Progress’, in which case you can expect it to be representative of the final game, but you should be aware that it is not the final game and anything you see is subject to change as the game is worked on.

Gameplay videos can also be marked ‘Scripted’ or ‘Scripted Demo’, this means we’ve set the game code up to make sure specific things happen. This is handy in a sandbox game like Total War where sometimes anything can happen, but also important in the early production stages of the game where some features or components may not be ready to be integrated into the code yet and so they need to be simulated. For example, in the forth-coming video of our Total War: Warhammer Black Fire Pass demo, we’ve scripted when the various units engage with each other to simulate the battle gameplay, because we want to show off the different units fighting without them killing each other behind the camera while we’re not looking.

‘In-engine Cinematic’
The video uses Development in Progress in-game assets and code as a basis for a video shot with cinematic camera techniques to create movie-like footage. This is representative of the themes and general look and feel of the game, but it is not the direct in-game experience you will get when you are physically playing the final game.

‘In-game Cinematic’
This is the same as an ‘In-engine Cinematic’ except you can expect to see the vast majority (if not all) of the footage appear in the final game as an in-game movie, such as a intro or win movie for example.

‘Cinematic Trailer’
This is a video that doesn’t use the game engine to produce its visuals. They might use some game assets like models and audio to contribute to the making of them, but for the avoidance of doubt, please assume that nothing you are seeing is from the game itself. These are typically CGI or Live Action trailers and videos, and will be otherwise very apparent.

‘Livestream’
You’re more likely to see this on our Twitch channel of course, but unless stated otherwise, what you see during a Livestream is live gameplay captured from the current code build. Again, this may be flagged as ‘Development in Progress’ and therefore as above, is subject to change.

If during development a video we’ve previously released changes it’s classification for some reason (like the designers decide that an In-game Cinematic should be replaced with something else, or they really like our In-engine Cinematic to be included in the final game) we will endeavour to go back and update the description on YouTube.

If you’re in any doubt as to what you’re seeing, then post a question for the Community Team in the appropriate thread on the forum, but do please check the original official post on the forum which announces the video first.

Thanks for reading - if you have any questions, please post below.

You can always find this text here on the wiki for future reference: http://wiki.totalwar.com/w/About_our_trailers


Bart CA
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Formal disclaimer: any views or opinions expressed here are those of the poster and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of The Creative Assembly or SEGA.
Post edited by Bart_CA on
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Comments

  • HollandiaHollandia Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 137
    edited July 2015
    Great explanation, this will really help with avoiding people getting their hoops up for something that will (probably) not be included in the game.
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  • GrudgeNLGrudgeNL Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 7,179
    edited July 2015
    Good stuff :)

    Hopefully this will answer a lot of questions.
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  • TheokolesOfRomeTheokolesOfRome Senior Member The Highlands in me kilt.Registered Users Posts: 1,485
    edited July 2015
    Dang it, you beat me to it.

    Mine wasn't as long winded though. ;-)
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  • WallensteinWallenstein Member Registered Users Posts: 49
    edited July 2015
    Thanks alot! In my opinion an explanation like that was overdue.
  • WintermistWintermist Senior Member SwedenRegistered Users Posts: 5,812
    edited July 2015
    Just fab!
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  • ITA_Vae_VictisITA_Vae_Victis Senior Member ItalyRegistered Users Posts: 1,644
    edited July 2015
    Thank you for your clarity and honesty. It's really appreciated.
  • dge1dge1 Moderator Arkansas, USARegistered Users, Moderators, Knights Posts: 19,508
    edited July 2015
    Great info! Thanks.
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  • englisharcher89englisharcher89 Senior Member Bath, UKRegistered Users Posts: 4,107
    edited July 2015
    Nice one, thanks guys :) looking forward to see it. It's just right before my theory exam for driving this afternoon lol
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  • GoslingGosling Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,887
    edited July 2015
    I'm really glad that they're being really direct and honest with us: they didn't need to go through all this explaining for us!
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    An' den I'm gonna get really mean."

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  • ignaciospain1ignaciospain1 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 139
    edited July 2015
    Very, very, very nice move CA. From announcing with days/weeks what´s to expect to the tagging of videos and their definition.

    Very good decision.

    I am starting to think you have learned from Rome 2 fiasco. Now give us a demo some weeks before release and i might even eat my words and preorder!
  • panzerschreckpanzerschreck Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 225
    edited July 2015
    Very, very, very nice move CA. From announcing with days/weeks what´s to expect to the tagging of videos and their definition.

    Very good decision.

    I am starting to think you have learned from Rome 2 fiasco. Now give us a demo some weeks before release and i might even eat my words and preorder!
    indeed, demo is the best way to avoid catastrophic surprises on the first day of release!
    THE GREAT WAR MOD Team/MAPPER
  • SceligatorSceligator Member Registered Users Posts: 36
    edited July 2015
    Good guy developers for taking the time to explain this to avoid another "Siege of Carthage".
    +10 Respect for CA :)
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  • Phoenix99Phoenix99 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,036
    edited July 2015
    TW:WH ****! When?!
  • Pr4vdaPr4vda Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,109
    edited July 2015
    Keep going like that CA. Provide your community good informations and contents regularly, and everything will go well.

    Because don't forget that with TW:WH, you have to satisfy 2 communities. Take your time, and create the best WH game ever (what is really really possible for you).

    Can't wait for some gameplay videos, with some campaign map and dwarves :)
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  • thesniperdevilthesniperdevil Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,929
    edited July 2015
    Good move. A detailed taxonomy like this ensures that the videos are watched, enjoyed and discussed within teh right context.

    It should hopefully thwart the fools out there who take everything at face value as well as those who take the most convoluted interpretations and amplify it out accross the communities causing confusion to all.
  • MonkeeyoMonkeeyo Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 854
    edited July 2015
    So TL;DR they will not be showing gameplay today, but an in-engine trailer like "The Last Roman" trailer. giving you an idea of the graphics of the game and possible features.
    Over the Alps perhaps!
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  • Sulieman the MagnficentSulieman the Magnficent Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,851
    edited July 2015
    A good explanation, but for every total war game you release - please put this as posting this as MANDATORY. Rome 2's videos displayed nothing of the kind that was advertised, and I don't want Warhammer ending up like Rome 2. Especially not when you get to the stage of cutting excellent features and putting in features that no one wants.
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    "
  • KlunzKlunz Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,436
    edited July 2015
    Cheers for the explanation can't wait to see it! Just a few more minutes before it's live!
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  • Prophet of SotekProphet of Sotek Senior Member TexasRegistered Users Posts: 310
    edited July 2015
    I greatly respect this move, Creative Assembly. Kudos to you for reaching out to comfort the community!
    Pst! Come by my Youtube channel for Warhammer Lore videos! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH4nPsl2ctS365aEfFBwxbg

    Or come by the Sub-Reddit for discussion and ask any questions you'd like! https://www.reddit.com/r/LoremasterofSotek/
  • Bart_CABart_CA Creative Assembly Horsham, UKRegistered Users, Moderators, Administrators, CA Staff Posts: 350
    edited July 2015
    Monkeeyoz wrote: »
    So TL;DR they will not be showing gameplay today, but an in-engine trailer like "The Last Roman" trailer. giving you an idea of the graphics of the game and possible features.

    Just to be clear, the Last Roman Trailer (here) would be an "In-Game Cinematic" in that it is the intro you get when you play the campaign, but it is still a cinematic.
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    Formal disclaimer: any views or opinions expressed here are those of the poster and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of The Creative Assembly or SEGA.
  • NelecNelec Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 417
    edited July 2015
    This level of transparency definitely helps to builds consumer trust, very impressed by concise explanations.
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  • JollyRogeroJollyRogero Member Registered Users Posts: 670
    edited July 2015
    Really appreciate the transparency in these matters. Speaks volumes - all good - Again, thank You!
  • FrontlinerDeltaFrontlinerDelta Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 3,549
    edited July 2015
    Even knowing some of those animations are real at least (like the giant picking up the soldier) is awesome. I like the extra definition from CA though. The game looks excellent and as I said in the other thread about the video, while we very likely won't have quite those numbers of units I could still see glimpses of a Total War battle in there.

    And it looks great.
  • ZoeDiyaKZoeDiyaK Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 430
    edited July 2015
    Interesting info thanks CA. You didnt have to, but you did. Great video btw.
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  • wakko2kwakko2k Member Registered Users Posts: 89
    edited July 2015
    When saying "in-game footage" customers would most likely assume this is what the game is going to look like... IN-GAME. Why do you add effects that wont be in the actual game? You're basically saying that this is how the game is going to look, then remove graphic features and such from the actual game. Just like you did with Rome 2 screenshots?
  • DonniMalakaDonniMalaka Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 613
    edited July 2015
    Cheers guys, loving the trailers so far!
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  • Bart_CABart_CA Creative Assembly Horsham, UKRegistered Users, Moderators, Administrators, CA Staff Posts: 350
    edited July 2015
    wakko2k wrote: »
    When saying "in-game footage" customers would most likely assume this is what the game is going to look like... IN-GAME. Why do you add effects that wont be in the actual game? You're basically saying that this is how the game is going to look, then remove graphic features and such from the actual game. Just like you did with Rome 2 screenshots?

    Hi wakko2k,

    We aren't saying "in-game footage"; please refer to the definitions in the original post. Perhaps you mean "gameplay" or "in-game cinematic"?

    If we say "gameplay", yes you could assume this is what we intend the game to look like at the time the footage is captured. If it is marked "work in progress" then it is subject to change and graphical or gameplay features may be changed before release as part of the development process.

    This is unavoidable, we would like to show everyone the game as it comes together, but it will change in the development process as it is made.

    We shouldn't assume that everyone understands how games are made, and so we will adhere to these terms in future to help make it clearer.

    Thank you for reading,

    Bart CA
    Forum Terms & Conditions

    Formal disclaimer: any views or opinions expressed here are those of the poster and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of The Creative Assembly or SEGA.
  • PiperRTWPiperRTW Member Registered Users Posts: 51
    edited July 2015
  • FredrinFredrin Senior Member LondonRegistered Users Posts: 3,014
    edited July 2015
    Nelec wrote: »
    This level of transparency definitely helps to builds consumer trust, very impressed by concise explanations.

    Very much agree. Good to see CA exhibiting some respect for its fanbase in these matters. And a helpful way of keeping expectations well managed!
  • NorsaNorsa Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 997
    edited July 2015
    WoW, how wonderfully transparent of you! I like it alot :)
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