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Ross does not save Christmas

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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