Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Camera got you down?

All too often I see machinima movies that contain weird camera issues that never appear in professional films. They are annoying in a sense, not only because they are blatantly obvious and easy to fix, but because they immediately take me out of the story and tend to lose interest (which is a big oopsie if you are looking for views, and who isn't?)
I've never been able to name them, and describing them often was more of frustrated grunts and groans then anything.
But Kate Fosk over at MachinExpo managed to do both quite nicely, giving great advise with a great sense of humor. Even if you're an experienced director, it's worth checking out:

Kate Fosk on Machinima Camera Problems

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Star Wars Fan-Fic archived online!

Those who know me know I'm a pretty big Star Wars fanboy. Yes, I tend to quote the movies a lot, have several comics, novels, collectibles, etc. littered throughout my house. I believe there may even be a photo of myself playing pattycake with my youngest daughter (around 2 years old at the time) while I was wearing a Darth Vader mask. Did I mention the same daughter when she was even younger had a onesie with a picture of Darth Vader and the quote "Who's Your Daddy?" on it?
Yup, big-time fanboy.
Back around 2005, in excited anticipation of the imminent release of "Revenge of the Sith" I was spending a lot of time on the forums the Star Wars web site, speculating on what the final movie may bring, the finer points of each movie and their know, fanboy stuff.
Anyway, along the way I met a few like-minded individuals and we developed friendships among us that carry on to this day. We had similar tastes and POVs, but we were a literal rogues gallery of personalities, the sith (myself), the jedi (Aaron Sinner aka Ki-Aaron-Mundi), the mercenary (Erick Osuna, aka N11ORDO), the rogue (Tim Dunlap aka Echo7Solo), and the soldier (Enver Klychak aka KilledBeforeAction of KBA for short). We called ourselves, fittingly, the Rogues Gallery, and we would choose topics we would become engaged in and pretty much take it over, debating with each other (and occasionally against) in an effort to show the other fans there, well, what made sense and what didn't, why we were right, etc.
All in good fun, and we did have fun! We soon expanded our correspondence to emails and phone calls. One year we exchanged gifts during Christmas.
After the movies release we had some questions that we debated, like who was Darth Plagueis the Wise, how did Palpatine become a know, hardcore fan questions. We also wanted to keep having fun and were seeking ways to do it.
Somebody (don't remember who, I think it was Aaron) sent us an email with a couple paragraphs of a story (they are the first paragraphs in the fan-fic, but I'll get to that), and next thing you know each of us had devised a character and were taking turns, back and forth, adding to the story.
Before long we had a pretty good fan story that added a lot of answers and kept a few mysteries.
Every fanboy is familiar with a site called, a great archive of both canon material (from the films) and Expanded Universe material (from the novels, games, etc.), and they also archive fan fiction.
Aaron began the process of getting our fan-fic archived, submitting it, coordinating with the test readers on the site, and taking their feedback and letting the rest of us know what they had to say. Aaron did a lot of rewriting, I added some new ideas, proofread for continuity and did some rewriting, and Erick did the cover art (Erick is an artist and founder of Urban Myth Studios.)
Today I got the email that all the work payed off, and the story is now online for all to enjoy. Take a read, I hope you like it!

Dark Side Rising

It's a fun, dark story that fills in some holes from the movies, uses some EU (expanded universe material), and shows our love for a galaxy far, far away. It's something we're all quite proud of, and we hope you like it.
Special thanks to Aaron for getting the ball rolling, keeping it rolling, and being the driving force.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Moviestorm staff are such teases!

Although many have felt that the relative quiet (in terms of updates and new official content) over at Moviestorm Towers was a bad omen for the future of the software, recent posts in their development blog indicate that anyone's fears could not be further from the truth.
Today, our intrepid heroes posted another look into a long-awaited content pack that is finally nearing release, the sword fighting pack.
From the Dev Blog:

"The last couple of weeks have been pretty exciting here at Moviestorm Towers, with the checklist of bugs and features for the next version of Moviestorm being slowly crossed off.
One major piece of functionality that we've been promising for a while is the ability for two characters to interact with one another whilst using held props. Moviestorm uses animation blending to fill in the gaps between poses so that the characters don't "snap" from one pose to another, but when a character moves out of position and has to blend back to "Idle" all sorts of horrible things happen. Add the extra complexity of held props claiming a characters joint resources and the system often gets confused ...
Well, the times are a-changin'.
The code is now in place to support the Fantasy Swords pack (among others), meaning that held prop activities can be used to their full potential!"

Obviously, this will eventually open new doors in storytelling and content development.
Along with this bit of information, there was posted a teaser video of the swordfighting content. What little they show us leaves me eager in antici-


I know I've said it before, but it looks like exciting days ahead for Moviestorm users.