Well I’ve done some researching and for the time being I think my best option for producing episodes faster is simply to get as many people involved in CP as I can. Thus, I want to advertise different positions I’m looking for help with here. This is an ongoing offer, however your odds of getting in on the action increase the sooner you apply. I hope to recruit more people than I need, with the idea being that if someone bails from the episode or goes MIA on us, then someone else can step in to fill his or her place. Some people I need for as soon as episode 5, other people I’ll need for episodes farther down the line. So, I may want your help, but it could be a little while before I’ll be able to work you in. Finally, this is unpaid volunteer work. I don’t make any money from this, so the only thing I can offer you in return is your name in big blocky letters in the credits. So, here are the positions I’m looking for; positions marked with an asterix I especially would like help with and I consider crucial to episodes coming out faster and me not getting burned out doing this:
*Animators (in Faceposer) - I’m looking for all kinds here. I need a lot of help with simple stuff like bobbing the heads of CP characters to match the audio, but I’d also love to have people essentially be in charge of animating the different scenes. You could have a decent amount of freedom here, in being able to decide what gestures get used where, using body language to help emphasize dialogue or scenes, etc. I’m still learning about it, but I hope be able to get you metrocop models with a LOT more gestures available than what you’ve seen in previous episodes. Also while not every episode will need it, this includes people who know how to do lipsyncing and are willing to manually go over the lines to make sure they look natural and don’t blindly rely on the computer to generate the phonemes.
Animators (In Hammer) - Some scenes simply need to be done via scripted sequences or throught map entities and AI. This will focus on how to have characters interact via Hammer. A lot of this will deal with NPC’s moving around. So if an NPC is pacing back and forth or jumping over a gap, I’ll need your help to help make that happen. While this does focus on Hammer, you’ll need a basic understanding of Faceposer in terms of using scene triggers or working out the timing with different animations. Also this can deal with complex tricks that need to be invented in order to make some scenes happen (like Dave jumping into the water from Ep. 4). You’ll probably have a lot of freedom here in how scenes get accomplished, but this could also be one of the most challenging positions as I’ve found that a lot of creative methods need to be thought up in production.
Animators (other) - This is by no means a required position, but if you have experience in XSI or some other 3D application that you think can get imported into the Source engine, then I’d love to be able to have more animations than what comes with the game. The downside is that I have almost no experience here, so you’ll be kind of on your own for this.
Mappers (design) - Update: No further mappers needed at this time, I’ve already has some amazing responses here.
Mappers (effects) - This probably overlaps with other positions, but I want people who are good at the dynamic end of mapping. So if I need an explosion, I want someone who can can have chunks of concrete come out of a wall, have smoke rise up, see flames, etc.
Modellers - I doubt there will be a whole lot of work I need in this area, but I’ll probably have need of some custom props for some episodes. However if you want to work on something ambitious, particularly creatures, I can be sure to work something in. Like the 3D app animators however, you will be on your own for this, I have almost no experience working in 3D modelling software.
Sound design - Update: No further sound people needed at this time
Source gurus - If you know tons of things about the Source engine, odds are I have questions for you as to how to accomplish a given scene or effect or just weird stuff I’m trying to make happen with the engine.
Texture artists - I probably won’t have a whole lot of work in this area, but the need will definitely arise for having custom textures.
Video effects editing - Update:no further editors needed at this time
Voice actors - Before you get your hopes up, I’ve already had a ton of offers to be a voice actor. What I’m looking for right now are people who can come close to faking the voices of Half-Life 2 characters; specifically the G-man, Dr. Breen, and possibly Eli. I’m afraid Barney and Kleiner have been filled at this point.
Those are the positions I’m looking for help with in the series now. This should basically be treated like you’re developing a game mod, except the difference is we’ll actually be able to finish what we’re doing and the scale won’t be as large. If you’re interested in helping out, please email me at [email protected]. I will be requiring that you can show me some sample of previous work related to the position. Do NOT send me attachments, I have limited space on my email account, use megaupload or some other external link instead. Remember that I’m just some dude making comedy episodes, you’re not applying for a real job. While I want to keep the quality level as high as previous episodes, I’m not going to be ruthless about this. I’m only going to hold people to standards as high as what I’ve already met in existing episodes. To everyone else who’s reading this, now you know why it takes me so long to make these episodes.
After numerous delays, here is Episode 4 at last. This one is clearly a step above the previous ones in terms of production quality and I hope everyone enjoys it. This episode has nice motion blur, mobile camera shots, scenic backgrounds, and more action than the previous 3 combined. This was originally meant to be Episode 5, but since the numbering is arbitrary anyway, it may as well be 4. I’ve switched the video hosting to filefront since I wouldn’t have enough space for this on my student account. As always, there’s the Youtube versions, but for this episode especially, it’s worth getting the high quality copies.
If you missed my previous post, I was griping about how much time this took for things that I think could be expediated. For that reason, I’m putting the series on hold until I find a faster way of producing these. I’m not going to be aimless; I do have some ideas, they’ll just take me time to research. I’ll make another post here once I’ve started up again. Until then, don’t wonder when the next episode is coming out because it’s on hold for now. And finally, to engage in some shameless hint dropping, I DO have work right now, but it will not be steady, so the future is uncertain, though the same could be said for everyone.
High Quality version (92MB)
Youtube version (streaming)
Well I was originally planning to wait until I released the next episode before I made another entry, but I keep getting requests for one despite answering questions in the comments (I don’t have a forum). First off, Episode 4 is getting close to done, I plan to have it out in less than a week. It’s an obvious step up production-wise from the others and so far I’m pretty pleased with how it’s looking.
That said, working on this episode turned into somewhat of a negative experience for me. It feels like I’m wasting so much time setting up the scene, animating mundane things, and constantly working around the bugs and shortcomings of the Source engine. While I did have some help on this one, I didn’t see the workload savings I was hoping for. This episode will span multiple maps and I invested at least a month in simply creating one of the maps. What it boiled down to mainly was that most people weren’t able to spare the same kind of psychotic time devotion to this that I was, or that communication wasn’t very good in that I would have to explain things in such detail or correct existing work that it would be faster to do it myself. Ultimately I think it’s a safe estimate that I ended up doing about 95% of the work on this episode.
The reason I don’t update more frequently is because I don’t want dozens of updates and no progress to show for it. I’m becoming very frustrated with the production rate since mine is horrific. Machinima is supposedly a time-saving medium, but so far I’m not seeing any of it. For these reasons, after I release Episode 4, I’m going to put the series on hold until I find a better way of producing these. I’m convinced there are better techniques out there, since I think most machinima makers don’t seem to have the same kinds of problems I do, which makes me think I must be doing something wrong. I’m going to explore different options after I finish this and I will probably have to learn new software in order to do so. Right now, the process is simply too time consuming for me to keep it up for much longer the way it is. As it is, in making the first 3 episodes, it was essentially a solid burn where I just sacrificed my free time in order to make it happen. To put it in perspective, I’m an avid movie fan and I’ve only watched 2 movies since I stated making this in October. While that’s not a hardship or anything, it does discourage me from wanting to make more of these episodes. I feel like most of the time I spend on these episodes is the result of not having the right tools or resources for what I’m trying to do, so this is what I’m going to focus on in the future otherwise the work/production ratio will be too much for me to want to continue doing this in the future. The best analogy I can make is that I feel like I’m trying to cut down a forest with a hatchet and I want a chainsaw.
Well I’ve been getting a few requests for an update, so here’s what’s going on. I didn’t make the contest deadline, I ran into too many delays. I’m still working every day on getting the next episode out, but it’s just much more involving in terms of what I’m doing. Without spoiling anything, here was my original plan for the next two episodes:
-Episode 4: Should completely rock, I won’t be able to top this one for a long time
-Episode 5: Still pretty damn cool (I think)
That’s changed since then, since I’ve mainly been developing episode 5, so that will be the new episode 4. As for the original (confused yet?) episode 4 idea, I still plan to do it, but I’m thinking about postponing it, just because it’s going to take forever and a day to animate. I have no shortage of episode ideas, so I may work on something I can produce a little faster first. On top of this, I’ve been approached by a couple people about different projects that sound promising (I won’t reveal who, they’re all hush-hush), so that may steal more of my time away.
On top of this, I’m going to be moving soon, which means I’ll have to start job-hunting again so I can hopefully find something better than flipping burgers. So, I’m going to be pretty busy, but getting the next episode out is still my top priority outside of reality. I have NOT stopped working on it, and will finish it as soon as I can, even if that may be another couple weeks. If you really want these things to come out faster, try and harass somebody you know who really understands Source (the engine for Half-Life 2) so I can get some help with the animating. Again, thanks for watching!