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Full screen conversation storyboards?

Having some trouble wrapping my head around how to achieve this. My game is 2D with some conversations handled via portraits, that's simple enough. The player clicks on another character in the navmesh and the conversation is handled normally.
Some events though are supposed to be full screen slides that happen like interactive storyboards for a film, such as with a visual novel. This segues between scenes but also has conversation elements such as dialogue choices and subtitles. The player avatar is not visible at all in these sections. So the player clicks a hotspot, full screen image pops up with subtitle, player clicks again and next image plays with next subtitle, possible branching choices in text and images. Doing this by camera changes seem clunky and there would be far too many images to show/hide. So my understanding is the best way to do this is through menus? Is there a tutorial on how to create custom menus like this? So far I've only found tutorials on editing the existing menus or adding the journal.
Thank you.


  • A lot of it depends on how exactly you intend the sequence to look. If you have some mockups or example screenshots to illustrate exactly what you intend, please share so that I can advise more specifically.

    It's possible to assign "portrait" graphics to characters that can be set to display as they speak - see the tutorial here.

    For a more "film-like" approach, though, that involve the full-screen and have characters/backgrounds animating outside of just speech, I'd suggest using scene objects rather than menus. This needn't involve having showing/hiding many different objects, however - you can recycle a lot through animation.

    For example, you can have a "Close up background" sprite object with a "Close up camera" Camera object that is positioned to view it (both off-screen from regular gameplay). Through animation, you can then change the background's assigned sprite each time a new close-up begins - avoiding the need for a different pair of camera/background objects for each sequence.

    I'd recommend considering the use of Unity's Timeline tool when it comes to cinematic sequences like the one you're describing. AC supports Timeline through its custom MainCamera and Speech tracks, among others. Details on AC's Timeline integration can be found here.

    I gave some thoughts on a topic similar to this in a recent thread here - it may be of help in this case as well.

  • edited March 2022

    Thank you for always being so helpful Chris.
    Right, I have been using the scene objects approach off screen with camera changes for when the player "looks at" things. I haven't tried animating this yet though. So I would do that with Unity's Timeline?

    Yes it is more "film-like". As an example, the player character is in school, they click on the door to the classroom. Rather than load a new scene with a player sprite and navmesh like normal, instead a series of full screen images with dialogue takes the place of the class "scene". Here is a quick example:
    (Note these are pre-rendered 2D images, not realtime 3D)

  • Thanks for the details.

    You can use regular Animations together with AC's Object: Animate Action to control the background sprite, but I'd recommend relying on Timeline and AC's Engine: Control Timeline Action to control playback.

    You'll have to break up your cutscenes into separate Timelines that surround your Conversations - so the example above would consist of two sequences, one before and one after the Player's choice. The 3D Demo uses this technique as part of its opening cutscene.

    If you're new to Timeline, I'd suggest playing around with it in a separate scene/project to get a feel for it.

  • Thank you very much!

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