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Ross does not save Christmas

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Hey everyone. I was really hoping to have a surprise Civil Protection Christmas episode out in time, but the time's passed for me to get it into Machinima.com in time for Christmas, so that's not going to happen.

 

I think this may be the most frustrated I've ever been in working on a video. I might be saying this because I've been awake for 26 hours working on it with only 4 hours sleep the night before, but this video really drained me. I honestly though this was going to be a simple video, a comparatively easy one for Civil Protection. Really in concept, it still IS a simple video, but the problem is a "simple" video with relatively high production quality in the Source engine can be grueling by almost any other standard.

 

I have no idea how much time I've put into this project, but I'm certain it's at least 250+ hours. This is for a video that's going to be about 7-8 minutes and involves mainly just dialogue. While I'm actually very pleased with how the video is turning out, I consider this ratio of work to what I can produce to be rather horrible. This video also contains more motion capture in it by far than any other episode I've worked on. I was hoping this would be a solution to animating much more rapidly and taking more of the drudgery out of making the videos. After having worked with it quite a bit, I think it has a lot of potential and can save time, but it also has many limitations as well. For this episode, I think it definitely improved the quality of some scenes, but didn't have a significant impact on production time either way.

 

I may have hinted at this before, but I really do not enjoy animating. I do it because it's necessary in order for me to create videos. If I never had to animate again in order to get videos made, I would be happy. I still want to make videos, but not like this. I feel like this is more like a torture exercise where something good comes out at the end of it. I think there's a real chance this could be the last video I make in the Source engine because of this (then again, I said the same thing after Halloween Safety). While it's miles ahead of many other game engines out there in terms of customizability, it still has so many limitations and bugs, that I can't trust it at all not to completely ruin a project I'm trying to work on.

 

I still want to make videos, but I really don't know how I should be doing that now. I don't want something overly simplified so that I have extremely limited options, but I'm also not trying to make a Pixar production either. I just want something that looks "good enough" without being torture to animate in. I'm still willing to put in work animating if I feel like the rate of return is better than than what I'm doing now and I'm not wasting 3 hours trying to get a character just to wall up a damn hill because the engine has decided it wants to glitch out permanently. I'm not a graphics snob at all, though I feel like characters need a certain level of fidelity to them so that viewers can get immersed in a story rather than get creeped out by stiff moving and unnatural looking characters.

I would love some viewer feedback on what software / methods I should use for creating more animated videos. Before this trainwreck, I was actually planning on making an announcement on New Year's that I was going to start work on a BIG feature-length project in the Source engine. I now think that would be a mistake, but I'm still interested in making a full length movie eventually. Email me if you have experience working with other software that would recommend. I expect nothing will come of this, but I'm cyncal and sleep deprived.

Anyway, I'll release the Civil Protection episode late sometime after New Year's, it's still pretty good even if it misery to make.

 

 

ADHD Version:

Ross is pissed at the universe and the Source engine and wants to try different software for videos. He will still continue Freeman's Mind.

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GMOD screenshots FUCK YEAH

Alright, maybe not.

 

Sorry to hear that video won't be out for Christmas and that Source engine is being such a pain.

 

Anyways MERRY CHRISTMAS!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Damn, sounds like a truly painful experience. :(

 

Did you have any luck finding a programmer who could perhaps help with the Source engine issues?

Feel free to PM me about almost anything and I'll do my best to answer. :)

 

"Beware of what you ask for, for it may come to pass..."

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I think it's the right place to spill the word of mine [Apologise, if I use strange terms, from Russia, with love and so on ;) ]

 

I "thubms up" your desicion to change engine for something else. Leader today sofar I know is Unreal. With plenty room for machinimizing and creating videos, though I've never heard of frame-by-frame Source like capturing tech, it offers damn big opportunity to make pictures or movies in the head come true. The main scripting there is fairly simple, so even non programmer get is quickly. Cameras work nicely. Also the ability to script scene is awesome...like well...flickering lightbulb made only with one 3ds max tube and some mask for better appearance. 10 mins scripting and there you go. Still this zone is more limited then the next one.

 

Pixar Pixar, maaaaybe, there is a better way getting away from GamingEngines for 3d apps like Cinema or Max or Maya. As far as I'm concerned, there is no suvere change in complexity of "behind the scene's" work. Anyway YOU have to: create[or steal ) ] a stage, characters, animations presets and so on. But! There are tons of tutors, tons of sliders,numbers and other setting you can tweak.

In my experience, all the bugs I get while working in 3dsMax or Zbrush, is 10% soft bug, 20% out of RAM (fixed with 64x bit Win),70% hands growing out of my butt (incompetence). For example as I made my first skeleton for animation I recognised the elbows are bending in the wrong direction after it was too late, and I had to redo everything after elbows again...and again :) good thing i had a save just before getting to them. So it's like a house, if you use spoiled bricks here and there everything will eventually piss you off :) But skill comes with it...sometimes... and some people call it "The Joy of learning!"... I never understand what is so cool about it....... Aaaanyways, sorry for offtopic.

 

The real difference to me between 3d stuff and Game Engine is a style. Every rendering software leaves its touch. So every decent gamer can tell which engie the game or machinima is using. So it's mainly up to you to choose the direction, whether it is reality,cartoonity,machinimity or blend between them. You can do something Off charts like pencil drawing using 3d models, or Bad Apple (use YouTube).

 

As a matter of fact, CivPro characters may fly over to a new engie, sure, different appearance, still all we are familiar with and their names, voices, and behaviour patterns, which allows to transfer them to about any world without making fans feel bad about CilPro dying, instead of ReBirthing!

 

ps I can help with some 3d modelling if you need one.

pps I started to hate Source engine after being inspired by Galaxy Gulp and failing to replicate anything even close to it due to bugs :)

Edited by Guest (see edit history)

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Look on the bright side. At least you know now that the source engine may not be suitable for your needs.

 

"No venture, no capital"

 

I wish I could help you, I hope you find what you are looking for so you can continue to do what you really enjoy (with fewer headaches).

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We will wait all the time needed. Take your time, Ross. You don't work for us.

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We will wait all the time needed. Take your time, Ross. You don't work for us.

This attitude is way to go. Concentrated creativity!

 

I think everyone here agrees that's the key of AccFar popularity. Making one episode at a time, instead of ten in the same amount of time, but not better then most of "could be better" machinimas.

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I had a feeling you were up to something like this.

 

You know there's no need to drain yourself like that, right? We are perfectly happy with the occasional

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6ljFaKRTrI post. Please, forget about deadlines, they only serve to stress you out.

 

For what it's worth, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

Ygft_Y2R0cs

I bring you mortal danger and cookies. Not necessarily in that order.

http://www.youtube.com/jclc

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Sorry to hear you're having so many problems with the engine. I assume Valve never got back to you with that bug fix (damn you Valve time). PLEASE, get some rest! Everything always seems worse when you're running on little sleep, especially when you're working hard. I wish I could recommend some course of action, but I don't have any experience with this sort of thing. Based on your previous posts, would moving back to a pre-episode one version of the engine help at all? Maybe? I dunno.

 

Anyway, have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year! Get some sleep!

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Well I already did tell you that I'm willing to do all the animation work for you in the last email I sent you, I'm not sure if the 2nd email I sent to you afterwards got through but just making it clear that I'd be willing to do every single animation task and would rather just focus on the animation/choreography parts of things for civil protection.

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Just keep doing what you're doing and don't stress yourself. I've never animated with the Source engine, but I can imagine how boring and monotonous it is. (Though maybe not) But we all appreciate your effort and hard work :)

http://steamcommunity.com/id/Kaweebo/

 

"There are no good reasons. Only legal ones."

 

VALVE: "Sometimes bugs take more than eighteen years to fix."

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Don't kill yourself over it, just do your best, and work when you want to, we won't die without constant updates, and I'm sure we'll all love whatever you put out, whenever it gets done. The Tunnel was well worth the wait, and anything else you put out will be to, keep at it.

"That which you do not know, is not a moral charge against you; but that which you refuse to know, is an account of infamy growing in your soul. Make every allowance for errors of knowledge; do not forgive or accept any breach of morality."

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Well I already did tell you that I'm willing to do all the animation work for you in the last email I sent you, I'm not sure if the 2nd email I sent to you afterwards got through but just making it clear that I'd be willing to do every single animation task and would rather just focus on the animation/choreography parts of things for civil protection.

 

Way to go! Let's help out! Let's DO something Useful! NOW!

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The only animation software experience I have is with Maya, which is pretty good for animation (ungodly amounts of expensive though unless you can get a student discount; =( can get a free trial though. ). The only main problem I had with it was modeling *has horrible flash backs to my final* O_O ... anyway I wish I could say I can help but really I'm not that good.

Just take your time none of us mind. =)

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I suggest trying out Cryengine. The way you create maps and cutscenes is just so intuitive, and everything can be added or tweaked on the fly without having to re-render anything.

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Well I've had some sleep and did a little bit of research. I don't know anymore if I'm swearing off Source completely, but I'm highly discouraged from attempting any big projects in it again. I was looking around at different possibilities for what I could make movies in, so far I think I should learn more about iClone. My first impression seems to have a comparable quality / flexibility for what I want to do, though I'll need to test it before making any conclusions. This software would also support the motion capture, which I think could make a huge difference in the long term. My biggest issue with the motion capture is that it's still kind of jittery, but that might be able to improve more in time.

 

Leader today sofar I know is Unreal.
My understanding of Unreal 3 is that I would likely be exchanging one set of bugs for another. While it has gained a lot of traction with developers, I've heard plenty of horror stories regarding bugs with it as well. This makes me think I should maybe seek out something that really is designed more for videos and doesn't need such an extended feature set for gaming that might make the code less stable overall. For example, for one scene in the next episode, I had real issues with the demo recorder again. That's because it wasn't really designed to handle the complexity I was throwing at it, because the engine is designed to be able to handle multiplayer games, where you simply can't push as much data. Having software that is DESIGNED to render (no matter how slowly) whatever you throw at it could be a real boon for me.

 

As far as I'm concerned, there is no suvere change in complexity of "behind the scene's" work. Anyway YOU have to: create[or steal ) ] a stage, characters, animations presets and so on.
This is by far, the most important thing to consider and I do think shortcuts can exist. Even though other game engines are mentioned, the important thing to consider is what assets do I have to work with 90-99% of what I want do with videos doesn't require specialized content, it just requires SOMETHING that will work. This is where Source and the modding community truly shines. Between released games and mods, there's a ton of useful maps, models, and textures created for the engine that will work in a variety of different projects. I don't have to reinvent the wheel, I can use a lot of what other people have already done so I can focus on making a movie, rather than making an entire new universe. Really I would love it, if whatever software I use, I could find a way to import most of this content from Source into something else. This is what lies at my hesitation about using other engines, I simply can't create everything from scratch, only the most important things. I need to use existing work as much as possible. I'm not trying to steal, since I'll give credit to everyone I can, but realistically I need as much existing content as I can get my hands. For default Unreal, that means space juggernauts. For Crysis, that means tropical jungle, ruined city, Koreans and aliens. I'm going to need to import a lot more content than that

 

Getting back to the amount of work behind the scenes, this is where what software I use really matters. Source has some shortcuts already, like good lip sync generation, great physics, relatively good (for me) lighting. It also has problems. For example, I ran into a ton of trouble with the help of multiple people getting models to compile in the recent version of the engine. Or with the motion capture, if I need to adjust the default hand position, that could be a simple process in an actual editor, but it's basically impossible using the SDK. I don't like having issues that would be a simple tweak in an actual editor, but be a total drama in the Source engine. For instance, if I want a character to drop an object he's holding, I have to do all these backwards and tedious trial-and-error tricks in order to make that happen. I'm guessing that's not the case in other software. Or one of my biggest limitations in Source is the small number of faces that can actually speak and show expressions. I'm limited to what's in the game, and anything else requires a hellish amount of work. Whereas take Oblivion's engine, where you can customize the mesh of a face easily to make it look like different people. I'm not expecting any software to do the work for me, but the more functions it has to make my life easier when animating can count for a lot.

 

 

The real difference to me between 3d stuff and Game Engine is a style. Every rendering software leaves its touch. So every decent gamer can tell which engie the game or machinima is using. So it's mainly up to you to choose the direction, whether it is reality,cartoonity,machinimity or blend between them.
For me, this is icing on the cake compared to what the software can do. For example a common theme in Unreal 3 games is desaturated colors, shader aliasing, and a plastic look to characters. I like none of those things, but it had better capabilities than other software for what I was doing, I would deal with it the best I could. I definitely don't want a cartoon style, but I'm hardly aiming for realism either. The main thing I want is having animated things engaging enough that people can forget it's not real and be involved with the movie. In the same way old games with really good art direction can draw people in, lower fidelity graphics with good animation quality can do the same thing. I want functionality first, style is a luxury after that.

 

I've never animated with the Source engine, but I can imagine how boring and monotonous it is
That's part of it, but what kills me is when I put in all the work only to have things that SHOULD work completely break and not work and I'm just screwed until I can brainstorm a workaround. Or working on things that take many hours in Source, but would be over in a few minutes, given the right software.

 

I suggest trying out Cryengine. The way you create maps and cutscenes is just so intuitive, and everything can be added or tweaked on the fly without having to re-render anything.
I hear CryEngine 3 is pretty reliable, but it's like playing Mist through braille to figure out.
My main reservation about Crysis is the availability of assets for it, but the learning curve isn't a big issue for me if the software can do what I want. What is an issue is how easy is it to do things AFTER you've learned the software.

 

I assume Valve never got back to you with that bug fix (damn you Valve time).
Actually I DID get that fix, I'm not sure I would have even attempted the episode without it. The problems I had were in spite of that.

 

Well I already did tell you that I'm willing to do all the animation work for you in the last email I sent you, I'm not sure if the 2nd email I sent to you afterwards got through but just making it clear that I'd be willing to do every single animation task and would rather just focus on the animation/choreography parts of things for civil protection.
Well, hearing this could change my perspective a lot, though I'm still thinking maybe I should look into other software might be better in the long-term for overall productivity.

 

I never did get that second email. I do remember having to completely hound you about a few things towards the end of The Tunnel, and I thought you had become like Ryan, where absolutely nothing will ever happen unless I ask a minimum of 5 times, spread out over different time intervals. I totally understand if people get too busy to help, but I really don't want to do deal with that sort of pattern where I practically have to beg repeatedly for any help whatsoever. When I sent that email listing some stuff I could use help with, I never got a reply, so I assumed you were going to flake out and didn't follow up on it. My apologies if I was mistaken, that may have changed the course of the episode.

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I know you've talked about Garry's Mod before and how it's "unnecessary" since you can accomplish everything in it by animating, but Ross, I'm seriously suggesting that you take up Gmod animation.

 

I'm well aware that people generally associate Gmod machinimas with goofy slapstick crap that doesn't have half an ounce of effort put into them. While yes, Gmod is often used for that kind of stuff, it is capable of so much more than that. Many people have made high quality, story-driven movies at the fraction of the effort and time required for animating in the Source SDK. I could link you plenty of examples, but I'll just let you take my word for it. Although the quality of character animation may not be insane god-like Pixar quality, it is capable of coming pretty close and the effort required to make it is extremely minimal since there is no math or crappy UI's (or read: bugs).

 

Not only that, but Gmod is extremely versatile; you can download a variety of add-ons that enhance the movie-making process and make it easier. There's even a tool that let's you use your own animations and apply them directly to a model (so for example if you think a particular motion is too complex for physgun work, you can make an animation for say, Mike and then film him performing it in-game). I know that you are already in contact with DasBoSchitt, so I urge you to talk to him about it.

 

Bottom line is, if you're having trouble with a crapton of bugs in the SDK and feel that it's torture rather than fun, then use Gmod. Many movie-makers actually consider it fun, believe it or not. Please consider it.

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2Ross

 

As the question now is - what is most bugfree and compartible-with-everything platform is, it becomes very critical to find one designed or ment to fulfill your wishes. So we have some landmarks like:

 

No doubt, reusing AKA recycling is good for enviroment and somebody's nerves as well ;). So there is a way - export source stuff to universal (for ex. obj) format(or find it in internet exported already), USE FAKEFACTORY as it provides more advanced models and textures. Research how to extract all the pre made animation is critical, and with source, there will be much of getting prepared and tweaking the exported goods. Maybe it's part of job you can delegate ;)

[First time pain in the butt, later - fun nonstop]

If we take..say.. Autodesk's Max to bring whole thing together.

 

 

Regular people use tons of little specialized software to create separately anim, tex, UV, models and much more in a different prog

 

We must be sure that, we can export and reimport animation from whatever capturing device-prog you have. Max's probles is - it's universal for everything. Meaning its good for anything, even making coffee perhaps, but not something special. But there are wild world of plugins. And there is no real point in getting latest version of it, because plugs you need may not have been updated to work on latest ver of Max. [important part Begins ->]My concern is to suggest most optimized way to get end result. And the warning is this - Shortcut's are BAD!!!.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3Pjgs9I9Ns shows exactly what I mean by using wrong shortcuts.[-> Important part Ends] So, be really careful not to get such a result by using low-budget engines or software of any kind that limit creativity.

As I don't know your workflow I can't point direction to go I'd choose. My master plan is - prepare everything you will need properly and well thought through. Yes, I'm aware it can take month(!). And then let your creative beast out and have to big troubles whatsoever as you know where lies the tool you need at that particular moment.

 

No worries, no pixar quality, no pixar time. But nice cozy corner of love and..your fav colour i guess :P

 

In short: Go and try out what Pros use, get the standart for moviemaking today, and then you get overview of what you gain and what you loose by substituting parts with premade/generated stuff. And THAT gives you ability to objectivly judge pros and cons.

 

One wise man said: You should always spend 10% of whole project's time - planning it.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3Pjgs9I9Ns

fix this mod plz, I can't get it right somewhy, thx.

 

Sincirely your Fan

tumblr_ls5yiyHxZe1qhi529.jpg

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