I should sleep, but here I am.
Hey everyone, this is another one of my I’ve-been-awake-for-36-hours-and-feel-the-urge-to-communicate posts. The REASON I’ve been awake so long is I just barely managed to hit the extended deadline for the mystery video I’ve been working on for weeks. This deadline was a for a film festival Machinima.com is going to be participating in a few days that will last about a week. You can expect the video to go up in a few days, I’ll make a new post about it when I’m more lucid.
For now I guess I’ll just rant about Source Filmmaker. My initial impressions of it acting like an inverse relationship to Source SDK are entirely correct. They are both great at some things, and horrible at other things. So horrible. Just saying the software sucks doesn’t really do it justice, because it does have some nice features, but to take that and assume that as a WHOLE it’s great is incorrect. I get kind of annoyed by this kind of reasoning as I think some people make one TF2 video of some guy jumping around (or better yet, have never animated anything in their life), then assume Source Filmmaker is the answer to everyone’s problems and will usher forth a new Renaissance for all. I kind of feel like eventually someone will make the end-all standard for making good machinima with the least amount of pain, but it’s not there yet. I’ve been waiting for it ever since I started working on this. I do plan on jumping ship to UDK, but I’m going to have help with getting models ported over and having NPCs created. UDK gives you basically nothing in terms of assets, whereas Source has a plethora of options there. If I was just starting off making machinima today, UDK wouldn’t be a realistic option. Great potential, no assets. That’s great for developers, but machinima is all about taking shortcuts so you can actually get stuff done. I don’t want to animate, I want to manifest things in my brain, but that doesn’t happen, so I animate and do a hell of a lot of other things too.
I really don’t understand what the hell’s Valve’s attitude is with their tools. People complain about how long it takes their games to come out, but I’m guessing those people haven’t worked in the Source engine. Hell I’m amazed they get as much done as they do. The crazy thing is I think Valve as a whole works like I do. They take a long time to do things and their energy gets divided up among several different projects. I want to do civil protection, I want to do freeman’s mind, I want to do short fun videos, I want to do the movie, I want to do other series ideas, also have improvements to the site, finalize subtitles, respond to emails, etc. The thing is though, I’m just one guy who earns less than your schoolteacher. They’re a mega corporation with no rules. If I had access to a fraction of the money valve has to work with, I feel like I could get 10x more done than I do now. Hell, anything to get animation out of my hands without sacrificing quality would do it. If I didn’t have to animate anything, I would have 10x the videos I have now. So back to Valve, what are they doing with that money? Are they building an underground secret civilization? Rich people should be doing all this crazy Scrooge McDuck stuff with their money, not just letting it in sit in a pile when you already have more money than you would ever spend in your life several times over. I guess the idea goes against their touchy-feely “no management” employee ethos, but why not hire some people whose sole job is just to fix the source engine and make better tools. They have so much money it could operate at pure loss directly, but would help solidify their long term future on yet another front. If they DO have people like that, they’re either bad at their job, understaffed, or too hamstrung by someone else. Source is a mess for the kind of resources they have backing it. Almost every major update I’ve seen to the engine since HL2 came out has been more about eye candy than making life less like hell for devs. I’m calling them out, I think if I had access to those kinds of resources I could have more games out that are just as fun AND better tools for people without making everyone hate their life, like at Electronic Arts. It would take management, but you can have managers that aren’t assholes, that could be a company policy. I have ulterior motives though, I get frustrated with having to take care of hundreds of different elements in a video where the right tools could have saved me thousands of hours over the years, but the people I’m at their mercy for seem to operate like they’re not sure what they’re doing.
Anyway, I’ve lost weeks to Source Filmmaker and this video. I’d say it wasn’t worth it, but I’m pretty happy with how it came out. It could use some improvement, but I’m not letting Source steal any more of my life force. I’m never using the Source engine again for anything major (Freeman’s Mind doesn’t count, that’s just playing through). I could using it for some simple 30 second videos, but nothing I really cared about. That way lies only pain. Pain.
I know this will piss people off, but the month of Freeman was completely robbed by this side project that took way too long. I plan on doing it, but this video took so much out of me, I’m going to take a break for a few days before I start anything again, I still promise a FM spree at some point. To put it in perspective that all of you can understand, I haven’t even had a chance to play Black Mesa yet, I have literally been that busy since when it came out. I did a lot of lip sync work on it back in 2007, but I ended up flaking out timewise and made more civil protection instead. I’m wondering if they kept my name in the credits or purged me from the project, probably with lots of others, I can respect their decision either way. So I’ll be chilling out, but I’ll try and catch up on emails. I’m going to sleep.
ADHD version: I haven’t slept in a while.
It turns out public schoolteachers on average make about 56k a year, so I should have said I probably should have said “grocery bagger” instead.