Space Engineers

Space Engineers

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Official Guide: The Cutscene Editor
By Steinmarder
A short guide, explaining the Cutscene Editor and how to use it.
The Cutscene Editor
In this guide, I will explain a little bit about the new cutscene editor feature we have recently added to the "develop" branch on steam. It will also soon be available on stable.

I will try to keep it easy to understand without any scripting knowledge necessary. However, if you haven't done so already, you will need to set up the Visual Scripting Editor.

For this, please refer to the first segment of my Visual Scripting Guide here.

What we will be doing

Now, for this guide, I will use the Easy Start Green scenario and add an Intro Cutscene to it that will play when the level is started.

We will have the camera move along a spline and fire an Event during the cutscene, triggering a door block to open.
The "How"
Scripting Tools

After loading up the world you want to create a cutscene in, hit F11 until the "Scripting Tools" appear on the right-hand side of your screen.

Here you can switch between "Transformation" and "Cutscenes" via the buttons on the top.

Transformation Page

When in the "Transformation" screen, you will move your spectator camera around, place your Waypoint Entities for the later camera movement and assign unique names to objects in the world you want to influence by script.

If you have done some visual scripting before you will have already worked with this menu.

Cutscenes Page

Now on the "Cutscenes" Page you can, surprise, set up your cutscenes and specify and edit the camera behaviour.
This can be done over a spline, which is a curve created from 3+ waypoints which the camera will traverse along. By default it will just take each waypoint's position and orientation and interpolate between them.

You can also go more fine-grain and specify exactly how you want the camera to behave between 2 points. Where to move, what to look at and how to rotate. But we will come to that later :)
Getting Started

First, we have to create a new cutscene and give it a name by clicking the "New Cutscene" button.

After confirming the name, the cutscene will automatically be selected in the dropdown box "Selected Cutscene:" and you can now edit the "Can Skip" and "Events" checkboxes.

Since we are creating an Intro, we deselect the "Can Skip" checkbox. As mentioned before, we want to have a simple event being triggered by our cutscene, so we leave "Events" checked.
Otherwise we wont be able to use scriptevents within this cutscene.

In the 3 boxes above "Position/Rotation, Look Rotation, Fov" we can already input "Waypoint_0", "Waypoint_0" and leave FOV on its default value of 70.
This means our cutscene will later start at the first Waypoint (in programming, your PC always starts counting at "0") and take its rotation and orientation.

About "Nodes"

Below that, you will find the area labeled "Cutscene Nodes". Each Node acts as a subsequence of your cutscene. In them you define for example how many waypoints you want to link together to a spline and set the time the entire sequence should take.

You should always make logical use of this, splitting your cutscene into different nodes, so you can finetune the different segments of your cutscene individually.

You can also, when working on the last nodes of a lenghty cutscene for example, change the "Time" parameter of the other nodes to "0". Thus you only play through the nodes that still have a "Time" value set when previewing your cutscene.
Creating your first Camera Spline


So let's get started: Click the "Transformation Tools" button on top of your Scripting Tools, move your camera to the place you want your cutscene to start and align your view.

Hitting the "Spawn Entity" button will now create a Waypoint-Entity at this location named "Waypoint_0".
Continue by creating more Waypoint-Entities along the path you want the camera to move along.

When you are done placing waypoints for your first Cutscene Node, switch back to "Cutscene Tools" and hit the "Add Node" button in the "Cutscene Nodes" segment.

You should now see an entry appear in the blue box, reading: "1: 0s". So this is your first cutscene node, with a total length of 0 seconds. Obviously you will want to change this :)
So select the line in the box and change the value in the "Time" box right below to something that makes sense :)

Finaly, add the sequence of waypoints you want the camera to move over at the very bottom into the "Spline Waypoints" field, seperated by semi-colons.
It should then read something like:
Waypoint_0;Waypoint_1;Waypoint_2;Waypoint_3;Waypoint_4;Waypoint_5; ... and so on

Preview and Troubleshooting

Now we can preview how the cutscene we have set-up so far will behave by clicking the "Play" button at the top of the toolbar.
Tip: If you double-tab "ESC", you can reactivate the F11 while playing the cutscene, so you can see the different Waypoint-Entities the camera is moving through.

Like so:

So just set up all your waypoints for the camera movement now and divide them into different Cutscene Nodes in a logical fashion.
When setting up your splines, remember to add the last waypoint of the previous spline as the first waypoint of the next one. Otherwise your camera will jump :)
Preparing for an "Event"
So, now we want to also add an event to the cutscene that will open a door when triggered for our camera to fly through (instead of just zipping through the block / the closed door).

Identifiying the Block

For that we need to be able to access the block we want to interact with via a script. So we have to assign a unique entity name to the block.

Go to your transformation tool, select the block so that is highlighted in blue as shown in this screenshot.

(It's a bit tricky sometimes.. In complex structures, you might have to move your camera INTO the block before you get it selected..)

and then hit the "Rename" button for "Selected Block".

Now just type in a name that makes sense for you and hit "Confirm" :)

Note, that it is already showing you a name for the block, the name specified in the grid terminal. This however is no identifier that you could access with a script. Assigning an entity name will also not change the terminal name of the block.

Adding an Event to a Cutscene Node

Select the Node you want the Event to be triggered by and type in a name for the Event into the box labeled "Event" below.
Again, pick a name that makes sense for you.
You can also specify a Delay for the event, counting in seconds from the start of the Cutscene Node. For this, use the "Ev. Delay" box.
Next to it, "FOV Change" lets you change the "Field of View" between Cutscene Nodes, it is not directly tied to events.

Adding the Cutscene to the Scenario
The Levelscript

To actualy get the Cutscene to play when starting the Scenario, we still have to work some magic, namely:
  • Creating the Levelscript in the Visual Script Editor, and
  • Adding the Levelscript Path to your scenario file.
Again, for setting up the Visual Script Editor, please refer to the first segment of my Visual Scripting Guide here.

Starting the Cutscene

Depending on whether you are creating a solely singleplayer scenario, where the player is already present in the world, or a multiplayer scenario where the player spawns first, you will want to use one of the 2 ways shown above to start the cutscene.

Node Event Behaviour

Now to our Node Event. In this example, I will open the previously shown door when the camera moves towards it. In the room the player is standing, the camera turns to move into his "eyes" and the door will close in front of him at the end of the cutscene.

You will find these Script Nodes in the lower right corner of your Visual Script Editor interface under "Key Events".
To open the list of functions you can use, right click and select "Function". For further information, please have a look at my Visual Scripting Guide here.
Manual Movement
So, by now you know quite a bit about how to setup your camera splines and also how to add an Event to a cutscene.
Sometimes you might want a little bit more fine-control on your camera though, not just move it along rails.

If you add a Cutscene Node without providing a camera spline it will automatically take the last camera position of the previous node as starting point.
The target of the next movement, you now provide with the 3 "Action" boxes in the lower end of the toolpage, labeled: "Move to", "Rotate like", "Look at".

In the example in the screenshot, you see the camera will move to the next waypoint, take its rotation as well and look back at the previous one, while the Node-Time is set to 3seconds.

In essence: It will make a relatively slow, smooth movement while turning 180° and moving the camera into the engineers eyes. End of Cutscene :)
Advanced: The Tracking System
Ok, so you know now how to make the camera move and how to point it at things..

But what about some more advanced movement.. like follow a flying object or even: A ship, controlled by another player, while he is piloting it?!

This is where "tracking" comes in. At the lower end of your cutscene tools page, right above the "Spline waypoints" field, you have your input boxes for the 4 different kinds of tracking you can activate:
  • Look Track - Have the camera follow a specified entity
  • Pos. & Rot. Track - Move and rotate along with an entity
  • Pos. Track - Move along with position changes but dont change rotation
  • Rot. Track - Follow rotation changes only
Whatever kind of tracking you activate in one of your cutscene nodes - it will stay active for the rest of the cutscene.
To end it, put an "X" into the relative field in another cutscene node and it will stop tracking again.

If you start a new cutscene, this behaviour is also reset.
At the time of writing this guide, the interpolation of the camera movement along a spline is a bit clunky at times. This will be improved on.
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Udrakan Apr 25, 2019 @ 10:36am 
Hi, by no means was I attacking you personally, I was criticising Keen. I said the guide is trash because of being outdated, im sure it was relevant back when it was released.
Steinmarder  [author] Apr 24, 2019 @ 11:02pm 
Thank you for your feedback. I am no longer working on Space Engineers with Keen Software House so I am not aware of the latest developments or plans. Please direct your questions to their official forums instead, you can find it under:

Thank you very much!
Udrakan Apr 20, 2019 @ 10:43am 
Also, if you release another competition, how about a quick 5 minute look at the tools that people would use for it? There is video competition even now and this guide is trash and the tool it self is like minesweeper with 99% of the tiles being crashes.
Udrakan Apr 20, 2019 @ 10:12am 
This guide is outdated (old HUD) videos in the guide are not available, the tool it self is bugged to no end. For example LookAtEntity crashes your game. Guide is called "Official", is this what Keen considers a support for "official" stuff?
Jupotus Apr 30, 2017 @ 5:13am 
Hi, the advanced tracking system has some problems. Tracking a moving ship is very sluggish. I'm trying to make a camera pan around a ship while it moves. The camera wont stay on the waypoints but it gets more offset as the ship velocity increases. Also there's a crash if I put "X" into the field.
Nice work though with the cutscene editor. :)
Steinmarder  [author] Mar 13, 2017 @ 3:57am 
Oh also, you have to be in offline mode or it wont show! Obviously you dont want other players to be able to mess around with your game logic/cutscenes and so on :)
Steinmarder  [author] Mar 13, 2017 @ 2:42am 
@Galactic Nerds: Make sure you are actualy in creative mode
Uriel Septim Gaming Mar 12, 2017 @ 1:35pm 
I'm still confused how to open the F11 screen. I hit F11 and nothing happens, I hold it, nothing, I press it a bunch, nothing.
Lewis Mar 11, 2017 @ 8:12am 
tuna sam Mar 9, 2017 @ 2:37pm 
i like this :D