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Cutscene using actionlist or timeline

Hi there fellow creators :)

I need some advice, my game has a lot of long animation cutscenes with custom animations (basically after using an item on object/NPC to see animation as a result, or at the start and end of the scenes to progress the story.)

I'm using Spine animation (managed to import animations using this script.

I also used this one as well. Both working fine but the first script has an easier workflow (so far no bug/glitch).

I spent so many hours figuring out why a Character > Animate > Play Custom not working, which ended up needing Engine> Wait to play them correctly. After resolving issues, I created a test cutscene using Actionlist but it was so much hassle (maybe that's normal), or so many nodes for a simple cutscene, using lots of "Engine > Wait" or having trouble syncing positions, timing or even character direction and fixing frame flickering at some point etc.

My question which I need advice about is, this is the way? or do you think it's better to use Unity Timeline for long/main cutscenes and Actionlist for item-on-object situations? and if not, does my action list look normal to you (not so many nodes?) If it's the usual way, then I should get used to it then and learn it better. (suggestion: wish we had an import-export action list feature or something to make it easier, zoom in and zoom back action editor window etc.)

Or does it gets easier if I use Sprites Unity (or Complex), by easier I mean fewer nodes, less hassling around set timing or fixing characters/objects positions between "in-game state" and "during playing custom animations when character using objects on objects/npc". Cuz I saw in the Park 2d Demo, animations were managed a lot easier I assume. If I go this way, I lose Spine importing which is not cool but I prefer an easier workflow inside Unity (easier management on animations since my game **heavily **relies on them). Or something between mix-and-match if it doesn't create a bug/etc.

best similar game to our situation is this one: "Lost in play" please take a quick look if you can, we want to have smooth animations playing in different situations with "right way of managing them inside engine", and to play animations correctly with their desired position and correct timing, and even when two different objects in scene should involve in the animation (I guess I should use lot's of enable and disable actions as well, and beside all of these, sound effects are there too) and I wonder if this is possible via AC or not (which I blv it must be possible).

Sorry for the long message, and I hope I made my point. So many thanks for your time :)

I love AC and having much fun using it, thanks for developing it so that small teams/artists can make their game <3


  • Welcome to the community, @foggy_studio.

    Of the two Spine integrations on the wiki, the second you mention is more robust - as it relies on its own dedicated "Animation engine" option as opposed to trying to retrofit itself into AC's Sprites Unity option.

    If you're having an issue with its "Play Custom" option, however, share details/screenshots of the setup and I'll try to spot what's wrong.

    Generally, the number of Actions involved should more or less be the same when using AC's provided Sprites engines vs Spine, since the animation calls would be equivalent.

    Using Timeline to play animation sequences is also possible, and is often a good choice if you want to line up many animations together - either in sequence or in parallel. AC includes a number of custom Timeline track types that you can find details of in the Manual's "Working with Timeline" chapter.

    Working with Timeline also allows you to control a character's position with another AnimationTrack. Outside of Timeline, animation and motion are handled separately - so you'd need to use different Actions to handle animation playback, and set a character's position.

    Ultimately it's really a choice you'd want to make per-instance, but let's see about that bug you're facing first. Is it with a character that uses the second integration's "AnimEngine_Spine" animation engine, and what are your AC/Unity versions?

  • edited June 2023

    Thank you so much Chris,
    Really appreciate your time and consideration :)

    I'm using unity 2022.1.10f1 because of spine runtime compatibility (Compatible with Spine 4.1.00 or newer and Unity 2017.1-2022.1)
    AC version is 1.77.3

    As I was figuring out why "Play Custom" won't play properly, I tested the 2 ways of spine integration and also the sprite sheet. Until I found out I should use "Engine > Wait" and set the duration of my animation (or a little more) for it to wait and play, and do this every time I need to "Play Custom" inside a cutscene, no matter what animation engine or method I used. And that looked a bit weird that's why I asked if this is the right way, then all good. And I was learning AC, at first it looked so much hassle for every single step, now I'm getting used to it and of course its very good compare to coding o:)

    I also tested Unity Timeline today and this one also needed "Engine Wait" otherwise it won't play. But I guess the timeline gives us more space to edit our animation better and sync stuff more easily.

    I'm doing some more accurate tests and will share screenshots and more details soon.
    If updating AC is important, please let me know so I go for it, or any other unity version works better with Spine and AC both together.

    So many thanks! :)

  • Until I found out I should use "Engine > Wait" and set the duration of my animation (or a little more) for it to wait and play, and do this every time I need to "Play Custom" inside a cutscene, no matter what animation engine or method I used.

    This should not be necessary - both the Character: Animate and Engine: Control Timeline Actions have Wait until finish? options that should prevent the need to use further Engine: Wait Actions that match the animation's duration.

    I can't tell just yet if you're encountering a bug - but if you can share those details and screenshots, I'll get a better idea of the situation and be able to advise further.

  • edited June 2023

    Yes I used that as well.
    I guess it might a very rookie mistake.

    But here is the video, showing one animation called "fem_happy" won't play until it has Wait.

    But I'm still making better animation for testing it better, and if I had this problem will share better details.

    Thanks again :)

  • I can't see the top of the first Character: Move to point Action in your list - is this moving to the "fem_3" Marker, or a Marker positioned where they should stop moving and play the animation? If the latter, you can check Wait until finish? in that first Action and remove the (3) Engine: Wait Action of 1.5s after it.

    It looks like this might be an issue related to the character moving beforehand. As a test, insert a Character: Move along path Action just before (4) Character: Animate, setting the Character to move to Female, Method to Stop Moving, and checking Stop instantly?. Does that cause the Animation to then play without the need for the (5) Engine: Wait Action after it?

  • edited June 2023

    Omg so many thanks, it's working :)
    No need for Waits. Character > Move to Point needed Wait until finish? to be checked. The one before Character > Animate (Play Custom)

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