New Engines for Christmas

It’s CHRIIIIISTMAS! (or it will be soon) And there are new and exciting engines crawling out of the woodwork left, right and center. First up, Ricky Grove has written a piece on persuading the Unreal Engine 3 editor to work, both with Gears of War (fail) and Unreal Tournament 3 (pass). It’s an interesting read, and includes links to some great resources too. I’ve had a look at the U3 editor myself, and there’s some real power in there.

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Moviestorm Modder's Workshop is back (for real this time)

A few days ago I wrote about the release of Moviestorm version 1.0. Among the many boasts I made was that the new release included the Modder’s Workshop that certain prominent machinimators have been jonesing for. Alas, it was too good to be true. The decision was made to hold back the Mod Shop from this release at the very last second. Overman’s screams of frustration could be heard around the globe.

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SUPER(b) Video encoder

I’m sure I’m late to the party here, and a lot of you will already know about and regularly use the freeware video encoder Super, but just in case there are people who, like me until very recently, have no knowledge of its existence, I’m blogging about it here. Super is basically a GUI wrapper around the free and open-source ffmpeg codec and encoding library. Although there’s theoretically nothing that Super can do that clever command-line use of ffmpeg couldn’t also achieve, Super makes it oh-so-very-much easier.

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Second Life Gets Prettier

Second Life has just had a major graphics upgrade, in the form of the new “Windlight” client. Whilst this doesn’t solve all the problems that we discuss in the book connected to Second Life, it certainly does massively increase its usability for some projects - if you’re doing a primarily landscape-based piece (like Robbie Dingo’s awesome “Watch the Worlds”), you should definitely check this out. Even if you’re not, the technology is worth a look for compositing purposes - you could, for example, use this to generate an landscape to composite in outside a MovieStorm set.

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Moviestorm leaves Beta

Moviestorm, which features pretty heavily in the book, officially left Beta status a few hours ago. Moviestorm 1.0 is a brand new release, featuring new base assets, a new interactive tutorial, and - best of all - the long-awaited return of the Modders Workshop! And about darned time too, as Moviestorm Beta users will attest. Moviestorm 1.0 and the new Base pack are completely free to download and use, and any machinima you create is yours to exploit, so take a look if you haven’t already.

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In-depth review at Renderosity.com

Ricky Grove has written an extensive and thoughtful review of MfD over at the CG super-site Renderosity - a good read!

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Focus grouping fer cheap

We recommend focus-grouping your work a bunch of times in Machinima for Dummies - where by “focus-grouping”, we mean “getting people who aren’t you to watch your film before it’s released”. It’s one of the most valuable processes you can go through. Ideally, it’s most valuable when you can cross-question your audience, but any eyeballs that aren’t yours or your team’s on your work will help pick up the problems that you’re too close to what you’re doing to be aware of.

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Hugh in Vancouver

Ok, so I’m going to be in Vancouver between the 13th and the 17th of November. I’m mostly on holiday, but wouldn’t object to meeting Machinima people whilst I’m there! (I’m also going to be in Montreal and Edmonton on that trip, but I’ll put a seperate post up about that.) So - any Machinima enthusiasts out there in the cold north, and if so, care to show a tired author your friendly local beer establishments?

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The State of the Art

I tend to watch music videos for a good sense of the state of the art in FX and editing - what you see there will get to feature films about two years later. If you want the same kind of insight into Machinima right now, I recommend you watch the world of Baron Soosden, combining World of Warcraft, Unreal Tournament, Half-Life 2 and some truly spectacular editing using Sony Vegas and After Effects.

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Another minor typo

We spend some time on Page 362 enthusing about the brilliant World of Warcraft-made Edge of Remorse. We also generally sing the praises of the equally brilliant (but totally different) Return. Unfortunately, it seems that we got so carried away writing about these two films that we accidentally referred to Edge of Remorse as Edge of Return at the bottom of page 362. Oops. Sorry Jason! (Thanks to Simon Taylor for bringing this one to our attention)

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