Black Ops Theatre Mode
I was lucky enough to get a little 2 hour preview before the whole event started but wasn't allowed to talk about it until the event started. Because the amount of people for this VIP preview was around 20 people, it was easy to get the attention I deserved In this time I was able to get an indepth overview of theatre.
I'm sure we're all familiar with the Theatre option in Halo games we have seen for some time. At first this theatre mode was used as a development tool to catch bugs and glitches and be able to recreate them. Then there was some genius at Treyarch, the name escapes me at the moment :P, that said well if we like this for development, wouldn't our community like it as a feature? That question became a reoccurring theme for a lot of features that you'll see in other articles.
At first the developer of the development version of the theatre mode said "No way, it would take years to make this work". Well they told him that he didn't have years, he had months... looks like all it took was a little fire lighting under the arse as the team had to hold the team back and to stop trying to add more and more features so it could be ready for a November release.
How it works
Like magic... end of blog. I obviously jest but it is somewhat magical what this theatre mode allows you to do. All your recent games are available to pull up in the theatre to get some video for your file share, which we'll go over in a minute. I asked Josh Olin how many videos get saved and he kind of grinned and laughed and said a ton. So for you people used to Halo and only getting a few... I played over 15 games and ALL of them were on the list to pull into the theatre for editing.
Once you find the game you want and you are in theatre you have so much freedom of what you're doing here. The time bar at the bottom is great because it puts green bars on the timeline when you killed someone and red bars on it when you die making it very easy to get to the action.
You are able to do first person, third preson or free roam on the camera allowing any angle you want for the game. You can also slow down game play and speed up gameplay to record your segment. On top of all this, you can watch the game from any players point of view in the game, providing a great resource to watch top players gameplay and strategy and really helping on competitive gameplay options.
Now while in theatre mode you there is a button to record which means in order to have this video in your file share for the community to view, you need to record the gameplay or segments. Once in your fileshare, the entire community can view your video and you can tag the video, rate videos etc. Players on your friends list will be able to go in and look at your recent games whether you have them saved or not... time to clean up that friends list!
The segment editor on this is very cool and allows you to take clips (up to 10) and put them together with transitions. Right now there were only two transitions I got to see hands on: Cut and Fade but was told there would be many others in the November release. Now because it is only 10 segments, the amount of clips to put a montage together would be limited but if you had 10 nice multi kills to put together could be a pretty sick video for the community to watch.
Questions still remaining
Can we download these videos for use on our own websites or other video sites?
They still have some stuff they are working on regarding theatre mode and do not have the freedom to talk about this aspect but is at least something they recongnize players want to do.
The video is a script file that has to have the call of duty engine behind it so that's probably what they are having to work on so when you save the video for upload elsewhere that it's rendered with the engine to work on machines that don't have the Black Ops game in it.
What is the maximum amount of file share space you have?
It didn't look like there was any kind limit on what you could upload but with the probable 500,000 to 750,000 XBL players, this could become a very server intensive feature and I for one would not blame them to make it a fee for unlimited videos.
Will theatre mode be on PS3?
The event was all on Xbox 360 so whether this mode exists on PS3 at this time is unclear.
With these questions and this article we hope that maybe @jd_2020 or someone can comment further on the remaining questions we still have regarding theatre mode.