On a technical level, how do they show movies in Fortnite? Is the movie downloaded onto your computer in advance, or do they stream the video in real time? Is it as simple as putting it on a texture in the game and playing the audio as if it were a sound effect?


I just heard about this today and it sounds fascinating

In: 7

Can you show an example of what you are talking about?

Video games developers use one of two techniques to show “movies” in their games – pre-rendered cinematics or in-game scripted custcenes.

In-game cutscenes are happening in real time and as the name suggest are rendered on the fly by game engine. They are created by devs meticulously scripiting and animating everything (well… sometimes they use motion capture) and taking taking over your camera to show what they want you to see and hide stuff like enemies freezing after they leave your FoV or models getting warped (and if you mod your game right, you can regain control over the camera to see all the tricks they pull off to make such cutscenes look how they do)

Fortnite on the other hand seems to be using pre-rendered cinematics. They are bascially pre-made videos either made in special animation software or rendered in-game on a beefy computer so you don’t need to render it yourself. Pros of such a solution? – you can see big fights with flashy effects that would make your GPU scream in agony if you had to render it yourself. Cons? – They feel more disruptive because of a high discrepancy between in-game and cinematic visuals, they don’t retain the custom look of your character and are limited to they quality that they were rendered on (some games however allow you to download higher quality videos as DLCs ex. Shadow of War allows you to download 4K 60FPS cinematics to substitute it’s normal 1080p 30FPS )

Depends on the game but for frotnite it is prob streamed in real time. There isn’t alot of good reason to have a pre rendered video on your pc if the game is always online. A 1080p footage is only about 200 MB a min which is possible to stream directly to your pc with a modern internet connection. They can also determine what kind of video size to send based on what your current in game settings are to prevent u from streaming 4k footage on a 720p screen etc.

Since u can watch and stream at the same time like Netflix u don’t have to download the whole video at once which also lowers the amount of data u need at any given point.

Very succintly? It’s an actual video player inside the game that’s made to look like it does. VRChat has the same functionality. In that game, you can insert video links like Youtube or live stream links like Twitch. Some worlds even have huge archives of movies streamed onto a video screen inside the game.

Though I cannot explain the precise technical aspect of how that’s done.