Saturday, September 29, 2012

Machinima Expo Submission Deadline Extended

For those of you who haven't yet found out Ricky and Kate over at the Machinima Expo have decided to extend the deadline for submissions to this year's expo by one week.

That means that now you can submit your film at any time up to October 7 at midnight. This gives you plenty of time to put some extra polish or finish up that film that you want to show the world.

If you hadn't previously thought about submitting a film to the expo, this extension means it's not too late to submit a recent work. The more the merrier!

To recap: October 7 at midnight. As Larry the Cable Guy likes to say, "Git 'er Dun!"

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Moviestorm Update Greatly Improves Product

     Usually the folks at Moviestorm reserve major updates for the the 1.x versions, and the version 1.x.y versions are just the bug fixes and various code changes for future upgrades.
     However, the latest version, 1.5.3, which was released today is a doozy that could be considered version 1.6 in spirit. It's a big update with multiple feature upgrades, memory fixes and a ton of little upgrades to the interface and how the program works. Individually each upgrade don't pack any particular "wow" factor, but combined they all make this program exponentially better.
     If you want to see everything you can read the release notes here. Some of note include:

  • Added Eye Motion animations (originally from Moddingstorm) which has 27 new animations, including being able to have the eyes look in multiple directions, dramatic blinks, various saccades, rolling eyes, moving eyes from side to side, cross and boss eyes, and widening and narrowing the eyes. Obviously this allows for much more expression in characters.
  • Look At now has a customizer which allows you to change the duration of the look at blend, where on the target the character is looking, and to do the look at with just the head, just the eyes, or both the head and eyes. This has often been requested by users and to see it finally implemented is great. This also allows much more creative freedom in directing your characters and creating mood. Combined with the new eye animations, these are in themselves quite a major upgrade.
  • In the Camera View or Cutting Room View, there is an aspect ratio option on the Camera View large button triangle menu. This lets you see the camera framing with a different aspect ratio. Rendering is still 16x9, however. It's unfortunate that you can't render in different ratios, but at least with this you can properly frame your shots before cropping to the ratio you want in an external editor.
  • Improvement of the Flirty Look Over Shoulders animations and improved skinning on multiple costumes.
     I could go on and on, but there are literally so many updates, especially under the hood, that this post would require it's own server just to stay on the net.
     Ok, maybe not that big, but this is a huge update, and a big win for anyone who uses the program.
     Kudos to the MS staff, and to Chris Ollis of Moddingstorm for allowing them to put his eye animations into the core product.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Welcome to the new Dark Lord Productions

Once I had a site called Dark Lord Productions. One say I woke up and realized that I could do the same thing without paying what amounts to a new guitar every year for hosting. Don't get me wrong, the host for the site was great, but new guitars!
So then I stopped that and I didn't have a site. But with updates to the site I blog on, totally awesome customization, and telling my domain name where it really wants to go (because it knew it wanted to), I have a site again.
So welcome to the new Dark Lord Productions web packaging, same great taste!

How about a tour? On the left you see the "pages" menu that takes you to other oddities of the site. To the right are the ramblings of some madman and links to other places where we can connect. I heartily recommend clicking every link you see.

Totally Semi-related News: I, Zombie is in back in full production. Recently redid and rerendered a scene and am composing and recording the main score. Release is set for Spring of 2013. This is turning out to be pretty something, and I'm getting excited about sharing it with you. More details as they develop.

Moviestorm Announces Version 1.5.3 Is Near Release

Moviestorm announced on it's Development Blog that they are hoping to release the latest version, 1.5.3 by the end of the week, provided the build passes QA testing. A nice list of features and bug fixes includes:

New features

  • Look At now has a customizer which allows you to change the duration of the look at blend, where on the target the character is looking, and to do the look at with just the head, just the eyes, or both the head and eyes
  • Switching between the Cutting Room and the Camera View or Director's View keeps the timeline position, if the Cutting Room is showing a view of the scene.
  • Ceilings now cast shadows, provided Interior lighting is disabled.
  • The Script Editor now has a 'clear timeline' option when right clicking on the current scene, which removes all activities in that scene.
  • The prop customizer in the set workshop now has an option to stop a prop casting shadows. This will also stop it reducing shadowmap quality, which can otherwise happen for props near the edges of your scene.
  • The 'Home' key now centers the view.

Bug fixes

  • The 'Dead' mood now prevents any automatic look at activities, or any improvisation.
  • Very long (eg over 6 min) clips now display correctly on the Cutting Room timeline.
  • The say record buttons are now play/stop buttons rather than having a separate stop.
  • Loading a multi-scene movie that was saved in the Cutting Room will go straight to the Cutting Room rather than asking which scene to go to then going to the Cutting Room.
  • Having a broken video in your movie no longer stops it from loading.
  • When changing the duration of a walk, it should move later activities along to provide space.
  • When using the image browser, images over 4 megapixels now warn the user to resize them, rather than risking breaking Moviestorm.
  • Remove mark now works on marks that do not have an associated walk.
  • When taking screenshots in the Camera View with the snapshot button, the resulting images now include depth of field.
  • The cel-shading tick box on the lighting settings no longer overrides the movie cel-shading tick box on the script settings unless you tell it to.
  • Memory leak fix: Moviestorm no longer holds onto copies of videos that were used as previews, or that were used on the Cutting Room timeline, or that were deleted.
  • Modders workshop: changed the 'Move to' menu so that you can scroll through the list of addons.
  • Modders workshop: fixed the 'Browse' button so that it works for props that have spaces in their folder names.

I know that the new "Look At" feature is something that people have been wanting for quite some time and it's great to see that it is now being added.
Hopefully everything goes well in QA and all the "stormers" out there can go crazy ;)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Poulet Noir releases Urban Decay pack

Poulet Noir, a prolific and respected modder for Moviestorm, recently got permission from the people who created FPSC Pack 36 for the First Person Shooter Creator.
The Urban Decay pack is just that: run-down buildings and street decor/debris to give your sets a more gritty look.

Here's the original demo of the conversion to Moviestorm:

Looks great, don't it? Download it here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Mechanic

Recently, Moviestorm's Bonus Content Pack, free to subscribed members, was updated to include a flashlight, something that has long been on the wishlist of many "stormers".

Seeing that the MS staff hadn't made a movie demo showing it in action, I thought I'd have a go at it. Over the course of an afternoon, out popped "The Mechanic".

There is a problem with the power. The mechanic goes to fix it, but finds the problem is too much for him to handle.

It lights things up pretty well, despite the lack of shedding ambient light, and it has a nice halo effect. Kudos to the MS staff for making Moviestorm just a little bit cooler.