Jump to content

2012 Update

Recommended Posts

Here's an update of what's going on:

 

VIDEO RELEASES FOR JANUARY:

 

Civil Protection: The Christmas episode is practically done, it's primarily just sound editing left. While I could delay until December of this year, I'd rather just release it as soon as possible, even though it's late.

 

Freeman's Mind: You can expect at least 2, maybe 3 episodes this month.

 

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION:

While I'll be continuing Freeman's Mind, my goal for this year is to create a really great movie. I have an idea for one I've been interested in doing for a long time. I'm still writing the script to it, but I have a pretty solid idea of what I want it to be. It's going to be a feature-length movie and take place in a medieval fantasy environment. It will be a comedy / adventure / mystery movie. I was originally going to attempt this in the Source engine, but after my experience on the last CP episode, I'm going to use something else now. It's my hope to finish this movie sometime this year, though I can't promise anything. It depends on how long it will take for me to learn new software, animate everything, and get all the assets I need. The help I'll need will depend a lot on what software I use. Right now the only position I know 100% that I'll need help with is a creature modeler / animator.

 

NEW SOFTWARE / ENGINE:

Due to my frustration with the upcoming CP episode, I'm about ready to abandon the Source engine for anything more complicated than Freeman's Mind. Unfortunately, I still don't know what software I'll be using instead. I was originally leaning towards the program iClone, though someone has recently made some compelling arguments for the Unreal 3 engine. If I want to port over the many assets available for Source (one of the areas it really shines in) I'll likely need an array of programs. I'm still open to suggestions, but please don't recommend software if you haven't used it yourself. In my experience, there's a world of difference between what software is theoretically capable of, and what a non-programmer can actually do with it; kind of like Linux. I've made a list of features I'm looking for to help clarify things:

 

Ross's wishlist of features for animation software / engine:

 

-Support for importing motion capture .BVH data*

-Support for lip sync and facial expressions (preferably finding a facial expression capture solution)*

-Ability to create new humanoid characters with facial flexes and be able to modify things like proportions and clothing without it being an enormous undertaking*

-Ability to export footage frame-by-frame (as opposed to real-time)

-Ability to export with motion blur OR at very high framerates

-Some sort of physics engine

-lighting quality at least as good as Source's

-ability to keyframe object / character movements

-some system that can automate standard movements of characters, like walking and running, including on non-level terrain

-some procedure for importing models and textures from the Source engine

-some procedure for converting Source engine map architecture + textures to compatible format OR robust mapping community for new engine / software

-decent camera controls

-Reasonably low bugs

 

*very important category, it's not even worth me considering an engine without some solution for this first

 

So that's what I'll be up to in case you're wondering what's taking so long. Check back later this month for more videos!

 

 

- - -

 

Edit: There were several other events that came up, pushing back the FM episodes, making my time estimates worthless yet again. They're next in line to come out however.

Share this post


Link to post
Wait... Does this mean no more CP?

I hope he meant latest instead of "last". Or at least the last made with the Source engine.

"It's not about changing the world. It's about doing our best to leave the world... the way it is. It's about respecting the will of others, and believing in your own."

Share this post


Link to post

"I'm about ready to abandon the Source engine for anything more complicated than Freeman's Mind"

D:

Does this mean no more CP or will you still continue CP on a different engine?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Share this post


Link to post
Wait... Does this mean no more CP?
CP is going to take a backseat to this movie idea I have, though I can say if you like CP, you'll almost certainly like the movie I have planned too. It's not dead, but this next episode may be the last one actually done inside HL2. That means future episodes will inevitably look a little different, but not drastically so. One of my best movie ideas is an extended CP episode actually, but I haven't considered it seriously just because I thought it wasn't possible on the Source engine.

Share this post


Link to post

Happy new year, Ross!

 

I want to say I really appreciate how close you are with your fans and how open you are about your problems.

 

My personal thoughts are that maybe you should've stuck to simply using one version of the Source engine instead of updating it, considering each update will undoubtedly change a lot of things and remove some features. I can't really speak about engines since my knowledge is limited about them, all I know though is that the Unreal 3 engine is quite popular and that most of the games I play probably use it, and it would be interesting to see what your new work is going to look like in it.

 

Good luck on your future endeavours.

Game developments at http://nukedprotons.blogspot.com

Check out my music at http://technomancer.bandcamp.com

Share this post


Link to post

You can always try Blender. It has the marked points well covered, as well as the others. The problem is that you would have to convert the models and I havent found a real way to import maps (maybe rip them with a pipline spy).

http://www.chaosincarnate.net/cannonfodder/cftools.htm tool to convert Source models to SMD

https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Category:Blender SMD tools used to import the models to Blender

http://www.moddb.com/games/half-life-2/tutorials/how-to-import-source-models-in-blender a handy tutorial

Of course, then your videos would lose the tag machinima, but maybe that's ok?

Share this post


Link to post

Sorry to be bursting the bubble, but I was just interested to know if the XVID-to-AVC encodings were somewhat swept under the carpet. :)

 

That has been announced some time ago, and I was just wondering its whereabouts in your list. Do not take any pressure out of this, though. ;)

Share this post


Link to post

Hi, Ross,

 

thanks for great machinimas You are making, I'm actually a long-term fan of these.

 

Speaking of topic, maybe You should use Episode 1 version of Source engine, like You some time ago said You would? Or, at least, version released before majority of problems You described appeared? Just make sure You don't update them (as You see, I'm totally agreeing to what Alyxx just said).

 

Looking forward to CP X-mas issue, it surely will be great, no matter release time.

People who see life as anything more than pure entertainment are missing the point.

Share this post


Link to post
My personal thoughts are that maybe you should've stuck to simply using one version of the Source engine instead of updating it, considering each update will undoubtedly change a lot of things and remove some features.
Well except for the demo bug I had that did get fixed, the updates would sometimes fix different bugs as well. Ultimately, I didn't have a lot of choice since the 2010 update, Valve made it so that all the games use the more modern code now. I have an offline version of the SDK I use for working in, but I can't expect volunteers to have an elaborate system like that. Really I would have been SCREWED if I was using the auto-updated code when making The Tunnel, there was an instance where Faceposer was completely broken for 3 months.

 

Speaking of topic, maybe You should use Episode 1 version of Source engine, like You some time ago said You would? Or, at least, version released before majority of problems You described appeared? Just make sure You don't update them (as You see, I'm totally agreeing to what Alyxx just said).
No, almost all all the problems I had this last episode have always existing in Source, it's just that this time I had real time pressure, so they really got under my skin. I feel confident the video would have been done on time if I hadn't had so many bugs and/or limitations. The next episode was more a catalyst for me to realize my work to production ratio sucks on Source and it might really be worth it for me to try something else, even if that means more of a time investment upfront.

 

Sorry to be bursting the bubble, but I was just interested to know if the XVID-to-AVC encodings were somewhat swept under the carpet. :)
No, not at all. That's about the same priority as fixing the links on the website, emails, and getting more subtitles updated. I haven't forgotten at all about it, but it does take a lower priority for me than creating new videos. I've actually done a ton of testing on that in the background since I'll be using x264 RGB encoding for archive backups which will save a bunch of space for me. Also while handbrake demonstrated the best compatibility with players (compared to the x264 commandline), there's an additional setting I was hoping to add that will make sure the correct colorspace is used on players that are more sensitive to getting it wrong. Even then, that's subtle, but I'm still refining the process a bit. I may replace the MKV uploads I've already done later, but you probably won't even notice the difference if I do. I figure I'll pick one day eventually and go on a spree of converting as much as I can to MKV so you'll have higher quality copies. Regardless, future videos will be released as MKV.

 

You can always try Blender.
I can look into it, though I'm thinking Blender might be overkill for what I'm trying to do. While I'm sure it has a lot of functionality, the bottom line (besides having the functionality I need) is how easy is it to use the software after I've already learned it. The Source engine nickel and dimes you to death with the number of steps required for every little aspect of production. Besides figuring out what software is and isn't capable of, I'm also thinking of what is the fastest thing to work in that doesn't sacrifice my functionality / quality level. I'll probably need something like Blender or 3ds max to convert files though, but I don't know if it would be best to make that the primary work software.

 

As for whether the videos count as machinima or not, I don't care, I'm only interested in the end result. I see machinima as a medium rather than anything I need to conform to.

Share this post


Link to post

My game clan leader Tamaru just loves the UDK engine, especially the fact that you can create terrains that have such good quality and a vast majority of effects.

 

EDIT: Blender is not a good solution because it's programmed in python. Many, MANY people hated it.

Edited by Guest (see edit history)

I just... I don't even...

Share this post


Link to post

Really too bad that the source engine isn't made for this kind of thing. Valve takes forever on a video game and they have an entire staff! with you working on it and a few helpers i'm really surprised you haven't killed the patrons of Mcdonalds with a pick ax. :lol:

 

(then again you aren't even making a video game, but still the amount of work it takes is incredible.)

Share this post


Link to post
Blender might be overkill for what I'm trying to do.
I certainly can be. I twould take a lot of time to set up a relaiable frameowrk, but if you would be using mocap, things would go a lot smoother after that. Copying all the assets would be a first hurdle, I doubt that the tools would be very kind with textures and such.
Blender is not a good solution because it's programmed in python. Many' date=' MANY people hated it.[/quote']People hate many things, doesn't mean that Blender is bad though. I wrote an exporter for Blender, wasn't that hard.

And in any case, I dubt that Ross will need to code anything for it.

Share this post


Link to post

I have a question:

 

If Valve ever releases their Source Filmmaker program to the public, would you consider coming back to Source? I'm sure it'll make machinima MUCH easier to do, because as the program's title suggests, it's designed to make movies in the Source Engine.

Share this post


Link to post
I have a question:

 

If Valve ever releases their Source Filmmaker program to the public, would you consider coming back to Source? I'm sure it'll make machinima MUCH easier to do, because as the program's title suggests, it's designed to make movies in the Source Engine.

 

Crytek is going to release a filmmaker program soon in CryEngine 3.

 

YHNWj8HmWwQ

 

Of course it is unreleased so no one can contend to how easy it is to use. I do know that the Sandbox editor for CE3 accepts a fairly wide range of formats and is basically set up to run on what ever models you bring to the table. And as seen in the video, facial animations and complex shaders are supported.

 

As for .BVH support I found this on the Crytek forums posted by one of the staff.

 

CryEngine does not support or import any MotionCapture data format directly, so it doesn't matter if it is bvh, htr or c3d. It only imports exported and compiled (compressed and processed) caf files for skeletal animation.

The caf file format is the CryEngine internal animation format - there are exporters available for the big 3D packages.

 

You can use whatever format you have and export it into caf using the exporters that come with the SDK.

 

So I guess the .CAF exporter can compress and process .BVH animations.

Share this post


Link to post

Hey guys, something to think about: when making a new episode I usually like to figure out the most difficult aspect to do first, so I can be sure I'll be able to create it. The same applies here and I think the most difficult aspect of production on a new engine is having fully functional character models. I'd like to focus on what software will be best for creating new character models with facial flexes, then look at what software is compatible with THAT. For example, I'm going to need a couple dozen peasant / villager models for this movie idea I have, many of which will need facial expressions and lip sync capability. If someone were to do that by scratch for each character in 3ds Max or Maya or something, that would take forever. However look at the character creation screen for Oblivion (I haven't played Skyrim yet), I can create a new functional humanoid model with a working face in minutes. Now that doesn't mean Oblivion / Skyrim is the best choice overall necessarily, but a shortcut of that nature is a big deal for me. So before I look too heavily at what software to use overall, what software can I (or someone else) use to easily create a lot of characters that are capable of facial expressions and lip sync?

 

 

CB1993: Possibly, but it would need to solve major problems besides just filming. Like for example, there's no easy way for a character to drop an item he picks up in Source. That should be a fundamental thing. I do it by tricky workarounds, Valve does it in-game by using custom code, labelled as unstable and experimental in the wiki.

 

A Satanic Panda: Those graphics look sick, though I might not want to aim for a quality level THAT high because that would require more work making higher fidelity assets. I want to use as much pre-made content as is practical. If other games have pitchforks, haystacks, wagons, horses, pig models, etc. and they look at least as good as HL2's quality, then mission accomplished. What looks good at HL2 quality probably won't look good next to Crysis-level assets.

Share this post


Link to post
If I want to port over the many assets available for Source (one of the areas it really shines in) I'll likely need an array of programs. I'm still open to suggestions, but please don't recommend software if you haven't used it yourself. In my experience, there's a world of difference between what software is theoretically capable of, and what a non-programmer can actually do with it.

 

I'm also interested in switching the engine and porting assets for my own series. Time doesn't allow me to make the switch in the near future but if you reach a viable solution perhaps you'll share the technical details with anyone interested.

 

As l gather more experience with the Source engine I find myself more and more limited. I always write my scripts with limitations in mind, which is not unusual in screenwriting, but in this particular case I have to consider even the most commonly tasks. I'm cheating my way through shooting and editing but there are some ordinary things that just don't work. Unless you're animating a talk show, you're bound to get in trouble at some point.

Little Freemans - Episodes 1-5

www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCD714E092FC2A2A1

Malf Hockery - Episodes 1-5

Share this post


Link to post

Hey Ross, I don't know if you'd scoff at this idea or not. But if you're making a fantasy movie, you could maybe try Oblivion, there are a ton of tools to let you manipulate the A.I and your own character. But it's just an idea :S

R.I.P Stephen "Anti-Social Fatman" Bray

 

"In the meantime, the sun will be rising. You will know all, and I will not feel this dread any longer."

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in the community.

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 81 Guests (See full list)

    • There are no registered users currently online
×
×
  • Create New...

This website uses cookies, as do most websites since the 90s. By using this site, you consent to cookies. We have to say this or we get in trouble. Learn more.