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2010
08.14

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions and some that I anticipate:

GENERAL

Q: What is this site?
A: This is a hub for all the videos I create. I work primarily making machinima movies. Almost everything here will be comedy, but I eventually hope to make videos with action, adventure, suspense, or horror elements as well.

Q: What is Accursed Farms?
A: It’s simply a name I wanted to tack on to all my videos to give one central location for everything. It’s not a real company, or even an official group. It’s just a convenience for me and viewers.

Q: How did you come up with the name Accursed Farms?
A: I originally wanted something completely misleading, like “Smith Dairy Farms”, but decided against it. I compromised with Accursed Farms because I think it creates a slightly uneasy feel, which I like.

Q: Who are you?
A: I’m Ross Scott; I’m the writer, director, creator, etc. of the videos you’ll find here.

Q: What is machinima?
A: Movies created using a computer or videogame engine. Find an alternate definition here.

Q: Do you make these videos by yourself?
A: Some of them. The early Civil Protection and Freeman’s Mind episodes I did entirely on my own, but more recent videos have gotten help from volunteers (and it reflects in the credits). In the majority of the videos I’ve done most of the animation work.

Q: Who is in Accursed Farms besides you?
A: There’s not really an official roster. Things operate more like a mercenary camp. Some people have helped for a long time, others only briefly. The credits to the videos is always the best indicator to find out who worked on what.

Q: Why do these videos take so damn long to come out?
A: Animation. It sucks up more time than anything else. While I don’t have the same problems with Freeman’s Mind, if there’s a long delay it means I’m probably working on something else that is more time consuming. I’m currently working on plans to get a wider variety of videos out faster.

Q: Can I put your videos on another website, DVD, ipod, etc.?
A: In general, yes. For the downloadable copies, you can distribute these however you want as long as the credits remain in tact and you’re not selling them. For streaming copies, I ask that you please not make copies of them and instead just link to the copies I upload instead from either Youtube or Blip.tv.

Q: Will you link to my machinima site?
A: Generally no. It’s not that I’m trying to be unfriendly, I just don’t like playing politics. There are some videos I really like that I would link to, but there are other people that request links that seem like nice people, but I may not care for their videos. So rather than reject people, I’m trying to maintain a policy of neutrality. I’ll still link to other people’s series in posts when they contribute something for a particular episode.

Q: Has Valve contacted you about these videos / have you contacted Valve?
A: No, Valve has not contacted me. From what I’ve gathered Valve has a laissez-faire approach to machinima, plus I’m not exactly Speilberg, so I doubt they care about what I’m doing here in the first place. I have contacted Valve once before regarding an engine bug in the Source engine however.

Q: Do you use Garry’s Mod to make your videos?
A: So far, no. There’s so much work and customization involved in using the Source SDK that Garry’s Mod doesn’t really add much on top of that to justify it to me.

Q: Will you sell DVDs of the videos?
A: I have no plans to. While Valve is likely fine with the videos being distributed for free, I think they would crack down on actual sales of the videos. I will provide high quality downloads on the site with a delay after the streaming copy.

Q: Can I modify your videos / audio and release them as something different? Also can I use some lines from your videos in my own work?
A: As long as you’re not selling copies of what you make with my stuff and give me credit somewhere for the source material somewhere, sure.

Q: Do you support subtitles? Can I make them or translate them for you?
A: Check out the situation on subtitles here.

Q: Can I be a voice actor in one of your videos?
A: Probably not. I’ve already had a ton of requests for voice acting and I prefer using people I already have some history with. The exception is if you can sound like a particular character I’m looking for. I’ll make announcements on the front page if I ever need a new kind of voice.

Q: How do you record your videos?
A: For the most part I use the video recorder built into the Source engine.

Q: Do you use Source Filmmaker?
A: I have for one video, “Stranger In Need.” It has its own set of limitations. It can do some things Source SDK can’t and vice-versa.

Q: Will you link to my website?
A: Generally no. It’s not that I’m trying to be unfriendly, I just don’t like playing politics. There are some videos I really like that I would link to, but there are other people that request links that seem like nice people, but I may not care for their videos. So rather than reject people, I’m trying to maintain a policy of neutrality. I’ll still link to other people’s series in posts when they contribute something for a particular episode.

Q: How do you animate everything?
A: I use the software provided in the Source SDK, a combination of the programs Face Poser and Hammer. For later videos, volunteers will sometimes create custom animations, also some later episodes use motion capture.

Q: What other software do you use?
A: I use Virtualdub for processing motion blur, Adobe Premiere for editing, Adobe Audition for audio editing.

Q: Do you need help with anything?
A: Probably. I’m working on a multitude of projects so what I could use help with at the time may change. About 80% of people offering to help “flake out” and never respond again after I send them one or two reply emails. This makes accepting help from others always a gamble, especially for little things. In general I’m always interested in Source engine animators or even more broad ones, depending on the project. I generally hate animating, I do it as a necessary evil. I may set up a “help wanted” section later for when I could use more help.

Q: What is the subscribe feature?
A: The subscription feature will let you get email updates when the blog is updated or a new episode is released. Your email will not be shared with a third party, and your email will only be used to send email updates.

FREEMAN’S MIND

Q: Are you going to continue Freeman’s Mind all the way through Half-Life and Half-Life 2?
A: Maybe. Freeman’s Mind is sort of a runaway experiment that’s turned out more popular than I anticipated. There are projects I would prefer to work on instead, but nothing I could create in a similar timeframe. As long as there’s a continued interest in more episodes, I can’t see a reason not to make more of them. I just don’t want to promise I’ll complete the entire series in case people grow tired of it in the future.

Q: Will you switch over to Black Mesa for Freeman’s Mind?
A: No, I’ve come so far in Half-Life as it is, I think the transition would be jarring. Also if I’m lucky I’ll get to Xen before they do.

Q: Do you record the audio for Freeman’s Mind as you play? Is it a script?
A: I generall think ahead of one or two jokes for an episode, then think of what to say during editing. It’s not live, but it’s not scripted either.

Q: How do you come up with what to say?
A: I don’t have any defined system. It’s the same impulse I get if I’m sitting around bored and just let my mind wander. I had a lot of practice as this in school.

Q: I want to start my own “Mind” series. Is that alright?
A: Yes, you don’t even need my permission. The only thing I’d request is you don’t literally call it “Freeman’s Mind” somewhere in the title.

Q: I’m starting my own “Mind” series. Do you have any suggestions?
A: Try to avoid dead air as much as possible. Concentrate the most on your writing and voice acting and try to make it as entertaining as you can. I personally believe good writing and voice acting can compensate for many other deficiences in a video.

Q: How do you do pullups in Freeman’s Mind?
A: I have cheats enabled and have “noclip” mode assigned to a hotkey.

Q: How do you put away your weapon in Freeman’s Mind?
A: Originally I was switching to another weapon covered with invisible textures, but since then, one viewer has informed me of the command “impulse 200″, which can put away the weapon.

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