A full motion video (FMV) is a video game narration technique that relies upon pre-recorded video files (rather than sprites, vectors, or 3D models) to display action in the game. While many games feature FMVs as a way to present information during cutscenes, games that are primarily presented through FMVs are referred to as full-motion video games or interactive movies.
The concept of full motion video can include pre-rendered animated cutscenes, which use assets more powerful than those of the game engine to create a smoother video image than would be available by having the engine itself rendering the events depicted in real-time. This was commonly used in the 90's and is still used to some extent today.
FMV can also consist of literal live-action video footage of actors on real sets, acting out a script to move the story of the game along. Although at the time the concept was introduced, live-action FMV was far superior to the visual quality achieveable with any in-game engine or even most studios' pre-rendered cutscenes, FMV's strangely jerky editing cuts and near-universally poor acting and film quality (due to an understandably low budget) lead the fad to fade out almost as fast as it began.
Even today, however, there are still dedicated groups of gamers who enjoy live-action FMV ironically, and the technique is still used on occasion, mostly in franchises who were once famous for doing so, such as the Command & Conquer titles.
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