Scripted events are any events programmed into a scenario, map, or level by the creator to make any number of things happen. They can be as simple as a player reaching a certain point, at which a monster will jump out and attack them, such as the much-maligned " monster closet."
Generally they are used to move a story forward, often because the story would make no sense if the player completed the action in a different manner. They are also often used to frighten the player with a surprise action or event such as monster closets or the ghosts in System Shock 2. In older games scripted events were often used to destroy objects in a relatively realistic manner as complex physics processing was too expensive on contemporary processors; this still somewhat exists as the required force to displace physics objects such as an explosion - the explosion is scripted but the objects crumble on their own accord.
Cutscenes can be considered a scripted event, especially if they are rendered in-engine, such as the player attacking Andrew Ryan in BioShock , but they are not considered scripted events for the purposes of this concept page.
Scripted events are more often seen in single-player or cooperative games as they are used to complement the AI which would otherwise not be able to complete the relatively complex actions scripted. There is a general trend to letting the AI and physics handle events as freely as they can to provide a more dynamic, and therefore re-playable, experience. This is easier in games where the enemies' goals and motives are simpler, such as "kill the player."
|Pick Up That Can |
Half-Life 2 is chock full of of scripted events. At one point, a Combine will knock down an empty soda can and orders Gordon Freeman to pick it up.. Players may choose to pick up the can, whereupon they must proceed to throw it in the trash, or agitate the Combine by throwing the can at him.
|A Falling Wizard|
While heading north out of Seyda Neen and up the main road to Balmora,
a scream can be heard and a figure will fall from the sky and die upon impact. The unfortunate is a Bosmer enchanter named Tarhiel, who aspired to greater glory by creating a spell that would allow the user to travel great distances by jumping to immense heights... with disastrous results, as his "Icarian Flight" spell wears off before the user hits the ground, robbing them of the resistance to landing that comes with their increased jumping ability.