Jump to content

Civil Protection: The Tunnel

Recommended Posts

DaveD here posting this on behalf of Ross Scott:

 

 

 

This is being displayed hopefully not-post-humously, but my access to internet will be infrequent for a little while, so I typed this in advance.

 

"The Tunnel" is finally released! It feels like some sort of curse being lifted. I have a LOT to say about this episode, so I'll break it down into chunks:

 

 

 

THE EPISODE:

 

This is the longest video I've created, coming to 26 minutes total. It's split into two parts on Youtube, I didn't have time to do an encoding of the unsplit version before I left, but that will be put up on the site as soon as I have access to my computer and internet again. The full size of this episode is 120GB uncompressed, so I need to crunch that thing down.

 

In some posts I've stated before that I have some top-level ideas that I think would blow people's minds. This still isn't one of them. I have always wanted to have some variety in the episodes for Civil Protection however, and this is an example of that. This isn't really like any of the previous episodes. I'll warn you that this isn't the funniest one either. I was trying for a balance to make it kind of creepy and develop more of a story versus having some comedy in it. There will be more of a comedy focus in future episodes of CP however.

 

I think the biggest weaknesses in this episode are that it's a little slow to develop and I may have left too many unanswered questions. The episode was written years ago and if I were to do it again today I would have made some more changes. By the time I noticed some script weaknesses in it, I had come too far in production to just change everything. This is actually one episode I could see getting a direct sequel, but there's no way in hell that will happen under current production methods. Also, I noticed after the fact that there are some minor light glitches I might have been able to fix if I realized them sooner, so I recommend not watching this on a screen that's TOO bright. I might fix them before I release a copy of it on the site, I'll see. That's the closest thing I get to a "patch."

 

As for the strengths, this is my first real attempt at trying to create something scary (in "Halloween Safety" the scare was more of a coincidence) and I hope it's succeeded a little bit. I also think this is the most atmospheric of the episodes. When I was working on the editing, it felt a little like Mike and Dave were getting sucked into another reality, I enjoyed that aspect of it.

 

 

 

WHY DID THIS TAKE SO DAMN LONG :

 

The length of time this episode has taken has been an embarrassment. To make matters worse, it took a long time for all the wrong reasons. This isn't the most spectacular looking episode and if it were filmed in reality, most of it could be shot very easily. If I had known how much work this deceptively-easier-looking episode would be, I never would have started it in the first place and would have worked on different ideas instead. It went on and on just because I wanted to finish the damn thing rather than throw all my work out. If you're wondering what the reasons for it dragging on, here's quick breakdown:

 

 

 

-The Source Engine. This, far and away, trumps every other reason as to why the episode took as long as it did. This episode was filmed mostly in the Episode 2 version of the Source engine and I ran into far more bugs than I've ever faced before. If it wasn't for some coding help, this episode would have never even been finished. I'm not a programmer, so when I face a bug, I have to come up with some elaborate workaround to it with the SDK tools, or else it can put a halt to the whole production.

 

I can forgive a company for bugs, it's inevitable. What makes me bitter though, is I swear Valve breaks as many things as they fix when they make an update. So the engine may receive some lighting update, and then an entity I was using to animate characters no longer functions at all. While I think it's great that tools are released for free, I have a real issue with how Valve will auto-update the SDK, which can often break important functionality of it, and then LEAVE IT broken. I'm sure they just see it as fiddling around, but from an end-user perspective it feels downright mean when it breaks all the work you've been involved with; like someone coming in and stomping on your sand castle. The bug list for this episode was staggering. For future episodes, unless I can solve major, major problems involved with engine for creating machinima, I'm going back to the Episode 1 engine. It really is that bad.

 

 

 

-Work on other things. The episode has been dropped and resumed multiple times. I've created 4 other Civil Protection episodes since I first began working on it, started the Freeman's Mind series, launched the website twice, moved various times, etc. While technically it first started in 2007, it hasn't been worked on during that whole time.

 

 

 

-People flaking out. I won't name names (except for Ryan McDonald), but at times getting some people to work on a simple task felt like pulling teeth. I see this more as my fault, since this is very common with volunteer help. If I had been more on top of things I could have gotten more "backup" people sooner. If I could afford to actually hire people, especially an animator, I would in a heartbeat. However, if I were to pay everyone what I could afford out of my own pocket, it would just be an insult ("Congratulations, here's your 45 cents!"). Don't get me wrong however. While I did all the work on the older episodes, this episode wouldn't have been possible without help from other people, some of which did an absolute fantastic job.

 

 

 

-I kind of hate animating. As much as I love creating movies, I find the animation process to be misery a lot of the time. I hope that some day I won't have to do nearly as much animation work as I currently do. While I did receive some great help in areas , ultimately I think did the majority of the animation work on this episode. This is the last episode where I spend as much time as I do on animating. I'm really getting serious about exploring motion capture and you can expect it to be a cornerstone of future episodes or else I'll just work on something else.

 

 

 

-I'm not a great manager. While I think I could be a competent manager by itself, I'm not when I'm also a director, animator, editor, and work on more than one series. With more people helping, most things are managed primarily by email, so keeping track of everything can be a bit daunting for me in addition to everything else. Having something like a better project communication / coordination system, or an actual producer or assistant director could help tremendously.

 

In the future, I expect to address most of these problems and have a complete overhaul of the production process.

 

 

 

THE MUSIC:

 

Machinima.com has changed their policy on the use of game soundtracks multiple times. Music was very important to this episode for establishing mood and at one point I was told I wouldn't be able to use ANY game soundtracks. Since then, I managed to get lucky with one or two (and received direct permission from composer Zdeněk Houb), so I at least got to keep the original title theme to the series (for now anyway). Because use of soundtracks is still discouraged, a lot of music was composed for this episode and it really shows. I couldn't be much happier with how the music turned out. I gave the composers a lot of feedback to try and get the right mood I was after.

 

Unfortunately, not everyone who composed music had material that made it into the episode; and I felt really bad having to throw out good music that simply wasn't the right mood I was after for a particular scene. To make up for this, over the next few weeks, I plan to have a "composer showcase" periodically for each person that contributed music to me for the episode, so you'll get to hear music from everyone who tried to help out, not just the people in the credits.

 

 

 

THE FUTURE:

 

The immediate future will be involved with me moving and getting a new place set up, but after that, my focus in the shorter-term will be with producing a LOT more Freeman's Mind episodes and with responding to the many, many emails I am woefully behind on. Months behind. I'll have a later post detailing my plans for future videos farther in the future.

 

 

 

Hope people enjoy the episode, and if you don't, just remember I plan on making many different videos.

Share this post


Link to post

Very enjoyable, in desperate need of a sequel.

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..."

Share this post


Link to post

Wow, that was great. Nice little scares (the car, the dead body, the journal author at the end). And nice Lovecraft references (e.g. Miskatonic Tunnel, Dave's gibbering at the end, and probably a lot of others I have no idea about).

 

It may not be the greatest work of cinema in history (paraphrasing Ross's earlier post), but I think it's one of the best (if not THE best) episodes of CP yet.

 

Now take a break, Ross; you've earned it.

Share this post


Link to post

Kind of disappointing. Told myself not to expect much, and started watching with an open mind. But the ending didn't feel like an ending at all, I thought the credits were a joke. First thing I thought was "well, now all I have to do is wait for the sequel", and now I see that "there's no way in hell that will happen under current production methods". I understand, but it will feel kinda weird watching a new episode where they act like nothing happened.

But don't get me wrong, I only didn't like the way it seemed to end prematurely, because the episode itself felt very good, loved the music and the atmosphere, I was very interested in the story, it just didn't have an ending.

Keep up the good work, can't wait for the next one

Share this post


Link to post

1. GODDAMN CLIFFHANGERS

2. This is freaking awesome - I want a sequel

3. I heard the Cthulhu reference when Dave was muttering

4. I want a sequel

5. This is amazing

6. I want a sequel

 

Freaking fantastic. I'm gonna go watch it again.

Share this post


Link to post
1. GODDAMN CLIFFHANGERS

2. This is freaking awesome - I want a sequel

3. I heard the Cthulhu reference when Dave was muttering

4. I want a sequel

5. This is amazing

6. I want a sequel

 

Freaking fantastic. I'm gonna go watch it again.

Agreed!

bi ti ʤi ˈbulzaɪ

Share this post


Link to post

Amazing for what it was, ending was washy I still think it was done well, well worth the wait in my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah! The wait for the tunnel is finally over! Now I just have to wait for the damn thing to buffer... I'm proud of you for finishing and without any bad "light at the end of 'The Tunnel'" puns! Kudos!

I have the perfect comeback. A Spaz-12.

Share this post


Link to post

Great episode. I thought the atmosphere was horrific for the most part. The beginning part of the Secondary tunnel in the darkness, I thought the music was just outta place. I guess he was going for an action type of feel, but when u view the horror atmosphere over all, it really sticks out. 5/5.

Share this post


Link to post

the episode was great you guys bring machinima to a whole new meaning 5 stars out of 5 it was one of the best machinimas i've ever seen ,hoping for a sequel

Share this post


Link to post
Best episode of the series. It felt serious, atmospheric and downright creepy. And it was excellently animated really.

 

Yeah, it was actually scary, and also had some comedy added in to, 5 out of 5.

Share this post


Link to post

I thought this episode was fantastic and cant wait for the video in one file. I have always loved the work done, and your episode here definitely was its tops. Also my brother and I as we watched kind of got a Silent Hill 1 vibe from early in the video. Maybe just us haha. Either way I look forward to more Civil Protection, enjoyed it since ep 1!

Share this post


Link to post

I rather liked the video, as for all the advertisements for Machinima not so much.

 

Openings + Endings + Watermarking, for god sacks just pick one already.

Share this post


Link to post

Great episode, Ross and whoever else helped! Extremely atmospheric and I loved it from beginning to end. I can't wait for you to put in on your website so I can download it.

Share this post


Link to post

It's not saying much, but I am really creeped out. Great job, Ross, and everyone else that worked on this! You should see the comments on YouTube; they're actually appreciative for once.

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

×
×
  • 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.