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April News


Well as some of you may have guessed, yesterday’s video was not actually a new game engine. It was the work of Michael Breazzeal , who has done other game-related animations. He contacted me last year about a Freeman’s Mind animation he made and offered to help with the videos. I thought this style of animation would be good for an idea that had some sort of time pressure on it, since this is much faster than animating in 3D. All the animation for this was done in under a week, though he was working feverishly on it during that time. Because of the time constraints, he wanted me to emphasize that this is not his best work and is capable of better quality.

This was originally meant to be a triple feature, though one of the episode ideas was scrapped to make sure everything came out on time. I have dozens of ideas for CP in my head, these were two I thought work work well with this animated style. “Reception” was just a quick joke one that I thought wouldn’t lose anything by not being rendered in 3D. “Lift” was one that due to other projects I have planned would likely have been years before I got around to it. While some of “Lift” would be possible in the Source engine, doing something like that without having the lighting being screwed up would have required a LOT of tricks and may not have been possible in Source.

This double feature was also another reminder as to why I try to avoid deadlines. While the animation work was done well ahead of schedule, the sound editing was not and a lot of it ended up being done at the last minute by a backup backup sound editor and myself. I had no less than four people bail on me during the duration of this episode and it was really down the to wire getting it in on time. Also while his name isn’t in the credits, “Chuck the 2nd” gets an honorable mention for volume balancing work that just didn’t happen in time because the pipeline was so jammed up.

Finally, working on this and not having to do ANY of the animation work was kind of intoxicating. I love writing and directing videos, but animation work is usually an exercise is misery for me. While I do appreciate the cinematic feel that 3D graphics can provide, I could see doing more animation projects, so long as I don’t have to be the one animating it. Any ideas that I feel like won’t massively benefit from being done in 3D or else require too many resources might get transferred to animation projects instead, provided people will be able to animate it. I prefer the look of 3D graphics, however, I would much rather have more of my ideas get out in a different medium than not at all.


Progress on the movie project is going slowly, but is very encouraging. I am definitely seeing benefits of allowing myself more time to write and develop the script, I think the eventual payoff on this will be enormous. I’m taking every effort to make sure this script is extremely fine tuned and is some of the best material I can come up with, a practice I think even Hollywood doesn’t exercise most of the time.

As for the engine, I actually did research all the engines mentioned in yesterday’s post. Based on my research, I’ve decided to transition to the Unreal 3 engine for multiple reasons:

-It appears to be far less buggy since when it was launched, and I think likely has much more functionality than Source at this point.
-I’ve seen machinima from other games successfully ported over to it
-It seems to have the most overall community support, so I won’t be on my own when I have problems
-Despite trends in the industry, it doesn’t actually HAVE to have desaturated color, the whole screen in a tinted color, and excessive bloom everywhere. It is capable of very good graphics, so much so that I don’t see obvious advantages of other engines like Crytech or Unigine.

I am still learning the engine however, which will take me time. If you wish to help with the movie project, the #1 thing I want to focus on at this phase is being able to have a dozen or two rigged human models, capable of lip sync and facial expressions. I think it’s unrealistic to do this all from scratch and variations to some sort of template model would be best for this. I’ve also heard Poser or Daz Studio may be well equipped for this job. If you have experience creating or modifying faces of 3D models and wish to help on this project, please contact me.


More Freeman’s Mind is coming, the next episode is about a quarter done. I actually was planning to have another video done for March, but I ended up moving again (I don’t want to be a nomad even though I seem to live that way), which consumed a lot of my time, also I was trying to ensure the April Fool’s Day video got done in time. Progress will resume on it very soon.

ADHD version: Ross is working on more videos.

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