640x480 WMV (44MB)
Well here's the next episode of Freeman's Mind. There's no motion blur in this one due to problems mentioned in the last post. Due to the recording method, it's a little twitchier, but hopefully shouldn't be too disorienting.
This is going to be the lastr video release for this year, but I will be working on getting new stuff for January over the winter break. Right now I'm going to be focusing more on the new CP episode and the website. Sorry I didn't make anything Christmas-related this year, but I'm still kind of catching up on everything. Things are starting to fall into place though, it's my hope to produce more videos in 2009 than all my existing ones combined
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
A lot of you know that bugs in the source engine are nothing new when it comes to my videos, but I honestly wasn't expecting them to affect Freeman's Mind. Lo and behold, Half-Life Source has a bug where if you're recording a demo, it causes the tongues on almost all barnacle models to shrink up, even though in-game they're still hanging down, just invisible (try it yourself). This interrupts my usual production method, so I've contemplated the alternatives:
1. Ignore it (which isn't a great option since there are a lot of them in the game)
2. Use fraps to record footage instead (not a good option for me since I always get SOME stuttering this way)
3. Record the game in Half-Life original (not a bad option, but the effects won't be quite as nice, plus recording will be more of a pain)
4. Export the footage in-game without using demos (best option, but no more motion blur)
So what this comes down to is demo recording in Half Life Source is bugged, so I won't be able to rely on it for all the episodes. So if you're wondering why there's no more motion blur in the next episode, this is it. Also as a standing offer, if anyone can FIX this problem with barnacles and demo recording, I'll add your name to the credits of every future episode of Freeman's Mind that has barnacles in it, which will probably be a lot.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
640 x 480 WMV (62MB)
Well here's the latest episode of Freeman's Mind. I'm happier with the pacing on this one and it doesn't feel quite as crammed as the last one. This one has a little more language, but Freeman has to put up with more in this episode too. As long as people are interested in it, I hope to keep doing a lot more of these. I plan to have another one out sometime this month, then a new Civil Protection episode either at the end of the month or else early January.
Friday, November 28, 2008
"Ross... we need you to redo the camerawork section. You were supposed to cover camera motion, but these are bomb instructions..."
and I'll have to adjust it accordingly. For now though, I've done everything on my end. Anyway, what this means is that I'm going to start producing much more machinima now. Right now I plan to be focusing on Civil Protection more, but I'll be working on Freeman's Mind whenever I have to wait on getting material back from other people, so I'll be working on something either way. For the next CP, I'm actually thinking of postponing the scary episode just a little bit. After the last episode, I want to get more of a "normal" episode out first, so there's not any confusion about what direction the series is headed. It will be a shorter one, but I think everyone will like it. After that, I promise the next CP episode will be the long scary one.
Finally, things aren't going well for the new website. I've sent him a couple emails, but I haven't heard back from the guy helping me with the code since October. I'll give him a little bit longer, but I may need some more help with this if he's completely MIA since I don't know html myself.
EDIT: I've just heard back from the website guy. Turns out he was in the hospital for 3 weeks, so I guess that's a pretty good excuse. I was actually just joking earlier when I implied he might die, but it looks like that wasn't too far from the truth. If he does die I'll have to dedicate the next episode to him I guess. I dunno.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Well I've been extremely busy, but I would have felt bad not getting SOMETHING out for Halloween. This isn't really Halloween themed, but this section takes place in one of the creepier parts of Half-Life. I'll be the first to admit this one has a few shortcomings. It's not really anything new for the FM series, but I'm still having some problems pacing everything because I'll record the footage ahead of time before I know everything I'm going to say. So there are some sections where Freeman is a little rapid-fire with his commentary. This can be kind of neat in the sense that it makes him appear more manic, but I still want to avoid it. I spend less time trying to perfect FM than I would with CP as it's just commentary on top of game footage. Also I apologize but this episode has a little bit of volume clipping. I tried my best to clean it up, but I may have to look into getting a better mic as mine's pretty cheap.
My main goal with the series is to keep moving forward with it so I can get more episodes out as I have a lot of ground to cover. Unfortunately production will still be stalled for a little bit longer, but I'll make an annnouncement as soon as I'm done with Noesis, then I'll really move into full gear on this stuff. The current release rate of Freeman's Mind is NOT representative of how long it takes to make an episode, I've just been too busy to make more. So it may take a little while, but the pace WILL improve.
In other news I'm getting closer to finishing the design of the website, but the coder helping me has gotten pneumonia and has been too sick to work on it lately, so lets hope he doesn't die on me.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Freeman's Mind - I can get these out much faster than CP and I really need to step up the pace if I'm going to get through all of the Half-Life series. I'm hoping to have another one out by the end of the month, then a lot more out after that, but I'm not setting any deadlines since that's already backfired on me before.
Civil Protection shorts - I may release some CP episodes that are very short in nature. I'm not sure whether I want to count these as actual episodes or not, but I'd like to be able to release more of CP without it taking forever. Depending on how much time volunteers have to work on it, this could also come out this month, but I'm making no promises.
15+ minute episode - this will be the scary episode, called "The Tunnel". It's already been partially produced, but it still has a ways to go. This will likely be the next big episode to come out. I was originally hoping to release this by Halloween, but that's not going to happen now because of everything else I have to do. I'm hoping it can be done by sometime in November.
20+ minute episode - this one is also partially produced, it will be called "Open Forum" (as in the Greek kind, not an internet one). It will mainly focused on dialogue and will introduce several new characters. It will also require a lot of facial expressions, which I'm leaving to someone better at that than myself. So when this one comes out depends on how busy everyone is, but I haven't forgotten about it.
New website - work has resumed on this again, it might come out this month, but it depends on whether the person helping me will have time to finish the coding and if I have time to make a new logo for it.
I also have a ton of other ideas of things I'd like to do, but that's what's going to be coming in the semi-near future. For everyone frustrated with the pace of things so far, I feel the same way.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Medium quality (800x452) 70MB WMV
High quality (1280x720) 211MB WMV
Well the new episode is finally out, it took about 1-2 weeks longer than it should have for a lot of different reasons and has been the most problematic release so far for several other reasons. This episode contains an enormous amount of custom content I hunted down on the internet, as you'll see in the credits. So thanks to everyone who let me use their maps, models, and textures. The tone of this episode is a little different than the others as it was intended for an environmental contest that ended up getting postponed, but I'm releasing it anyway. It's a little fact-heavy as a result, most of the humor is towards the end. My primary reason for making this though was an excuse to use a one-liner I'd had in my mind for a while (the "hybrid car" one). And for those wondering, I took the corny title from the old computer game by the same name.
You should by no means assume anything said in Civil Protection or Freeman's Mind necessarily reflects my own beliefs, however this is one case where they do. The theme of this episode is how we're in big trouble once we run out of oil. The research I did on the topic suggest that things are going to get pretty ugly in the future. One expert interviewed by National Geographic says that the world oil supply is plateauing right now and we have about 6-8 years before it will start to decline and this guy was right on the money about when the U.S. was going to be be unable to rely on domestic oil back in the 70's. Besides what Mike mentions in the video (I won't spoil it), I think our only realistic solution is figuring out how to get cellulosic ethanol production to work on a mass scale (this isn't the same kind made from corn, sugar, and other crops). I'm not really a miltia type, but the more I read about the situation, the more it makes me want to live in a cabin out in the woods with guns and a bunch of canned goods. That would be a good place to be if society starts to fall apart. It'll be at least 10-20 years before things really get bad though.
If you hate this episode and think it's being too preachy, don't worry, this is probably the first and last episode of CP with any sort of "message". I'd rather focus on making funny, strange, or exciting videos anyway. Finally, check back in a few days and I'll have an update about what you can expect in the future with regards to CP and FM.
EDIT: I forgot ANOTHER person in the credits! Oh well, his nickname is "JakeyB" and he did the port of "The Postal Dude" model I used as a cameo in this episode.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
EDIT: I'm trying to upload the video right now, but my internet has cut out 5 times now. I'm hoping it will hold up at least long enough to get it up.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Breaking news here! The first tutorial is now out! I literally just found this out, I haven't even seen the finished product myself yet! Here's a link to it here:
Machinima Choreography Guide
Being a real cheapass myself, I admit the price seems little high. I didn't set it, plus this is a VERY comprehensive guide. I wrote the whole thing targetted for people with NO experience with the Source SDK. An incredible number of hours went into this, so for all that do buy this, you have my thanks. You can read more about it on the page, but here's what this guide will cover:
-Setting up your scene
-Beginning usage of Hammer (enough to get you started with machinima)
To sum it up, this is the technical end of machinima-making in Source. If you want to know how I've done a lot of the more elaborate animations in Civil Protection, this tells you how. This guide definitely teaches you everything I knew when I created "Friday" , and more beyond that.
However this guide does NOT teach things like camerawork, demo recording, audio/video editing, motion blur, all the other things related to making a video. That will be covered in the NEXT guide, which I'm still scrambling to get done. Also since creation on this began before HL2: Episode 2 existed, this is all done using HL2: Episode 1. However, easily 90% of what's taught here is applicable to any Source engine game.
EDIT: I'm trying my best to get the episode out on Tuesday, though it's possible the audio processing might add another day.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Progress is going well on the next episode. This one won't have much action (don't worry, that won't be a new trend), though it should be more of a treat visually. This one will involve a lot of different maps, many of which I'm taking from existing custom-made maps online and will be crediting the various authors. Right now the ETA on this is under 3 weeks. It would be sooner, but I'm still juggling the last half of Noesis with this. As always, once that's over, then things are really going to start moving.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
1. Add new weapons: Provided we have the models and animations (for the weapon and character), I want to be able to add new weapons to the HL2 world. So if we wanted to be able to give Dave an AK-47 from the game Counter-Strike Source, we would need your help on making this possible. This would include stuff like making sure things like firing animations are played, ejecting brass, adding muzzle flash, etc. All the animations, graphics, and models will be provided for you, but you would have to make them work together as an actual weapon.
2. Have NPCs fire weapons on command: Right now the only way we can make an NPC fire a weapon is through AI use, which is unpredictable. This can be a good thing, but other times I want tighter control over when they fire. I want to be able to tell an NPC exactly when to fire his gun and when not to, or to empty his entire clip without pausing, reload, then keep on firing. I'd prefer doing this via some sort of input command in Hammer, but a hotkey I could press in-game would be adequate as well.
3. Create new NPC's out of other character models: Right now getting a model from another Source game to behave like an NPC can be a real annoyance. Generic_actor entities are unreliable and swapping out models for other npc's only works for some situations. If we had all the animations already available, we'd like to be able to have the model behave like a regular NPC for most situations. Right now this becomes a hack that doesn't always work. I don't anticipate any exotic needs here. Mainly just walking, running, and firing a weapon. If they could behave like an npc_citizen, but simply use a different a model, this might be all we'd need.
If you think you can help us with this, please email me at email@example.com. Some of these functions won't be needed until later episodes, but others we could get you started working immediately for the next episode. As always, this will be volunteer work, but you would get your name in the credits.
EDIT: I originally listed particle effects, but it looks like that won't be the issue I thought it was. The other functions are still desired however.
Friday, August 15, 2008
The good news is that I'm going a little batty from not working on anything more creative, so I've decided to start a shorter Civil Protection episode that will be easier to animate. With everyone helping on it, it should be out sometime mid to late September. After that, I'm going to do everything in my power to finish the original episode I meant to release for Halloween 2007 I ended up postponing; except now it will be in time (hopefully) for Halloween 2008. This one is already partially completed, but there's still a lot to do on it. It will be at least 15 minutes and I hope will be the scariest episode of CP yet.
For everyone waiting on Freeman's Mind, it's still going to be kind of sparse until I finish the Noesis tutorial, then you can expect a big increase in its frequency. Thanks again for everybody's patience, we're going to be producing some good stuff over the next couple months.
Friday, July 25, 2008
The first part of the Noesis tutorial is done on my end, I'm told it will be coming out soon. I was hoping to have them both done at about the same time, but it looks like there may be a couple weeks delay. This one coming out will definitely be the more technical one. It's going to cover how to animate with the Source SDK, the other guide is going to cover everything else I do in machinima EXCEPT that. I'll give more details about them once they get closer to release.
My new mantra is going to be "August". August is when I plan to finish the Noesis guide by, and will consequentially be when I really start getting back to work on CP again. I'm excited about this since it's been on hold forever and now I've got more good people helping than ever before. I'm not making promises at this point, but it is my goal to be producing at LEAST two videos a month once the tutorial is done. Most of these will just be Freeman's Mind, but it's my goal to get all the groundwork done on the CP episodes, let other people take over the animation/mapping work in different areas, then while they're working on it, I should have time for FM.
Finally the new website is making progress, but the person helping me with the code is going to be moving too and won't be available to work on it again until mid-August. If I'm lucky, we should have the website up in late August, but it could take as long as September depending on how everything goes.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
640x480 WMV download link (66MB)
EDIT: Download link now fixed
Well I'm still very busy with the Noesis tutorial, but I made enough time to get another Freeman's Mind episode done. This will be the last video I make before I finish the tutorial. I realize things have been pretty slow, but once the tutorial's done you can expect a BIG increase in the frequency of video releases. Speaking of which there's going to be so much covered in the tutorial it's actually mushrooming into 2 different guides. One will cover nothing but Faceposer and Hammer, the other will go over everything else (writing, sound editing, camerawork, etc.).
Also I was interviewed a month or so ago for an online magazine article. I've been informed it's been published and you can check it out here. I thought it was a little odd that he seemed to focus most of his article on my stuff, but he mentions some other good machinimas in there as well. Notably "The Monad" by Sam Goldwater (which is the best machinima drama I've seen) and "Hey Shipwreck!" by Patrick Hrabe, of which I really enjoy his series.
Finally I haven't forgotten about the website, subtitles, or Civil Protection itself, I just have a big juggling act going on with all the work I have to do. Good things are coming.
Monday, June 23, 2008
For the subtitles, here's my current plan: I've received several subtitles in various languages and I do plan to post them up on the new site. However, I think it will be easier for everyone involved in translating if I can get the English subtitles up first. The advantage to this is that I'll know that the English you're working from is correct, and also the subtitles can be color-coded so that they correspond to the right speaker. This will also make things easier for the people doing the subtitles as they'll have pre-existing timing tags to work off of. So I want to concentrate on getting the English subtitles finalized, then we'll move on to getting the ones to other languages up. Right now I only have the English subtitles for CP episodes 1 - 3. If someone sent me others, I've probably lost them, I apologize, I've been disorganized with email. So if you wish to create English subtitles for Civil Protection episodes 4,5, and the special, or any episodes of Freeman's Mind, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do have the scripts for the Civil Protection episodes, but have no scripts for Freeman's Mind as I only used loose notes to create them. If you wish to transcribe those, that would also be welcome. I can verify any of the lines being said.
There won't be any new Civil Protection episodes until after the tutorial is made, but the 20+ minute long one is still in production and it's the one I plan to release next. I'm not making any promises, but I may try and get the next episode of Freeman's Mind out before then as those are less time consuming to produce.
EDIT: A volunteer submitted the English subtitles for CP episodes 4 and 5, so I'll be sure to put those up with the rest once the new site's up.
Friday, June 06, 2008
High quality streaming version &
1280 x 720 WMV download link (60MB)
Well this was done a little while ago and while it's normally my policy to never withhold a video release, this episode is a little different. This is a mini-episode that was done at the request of Machinima.com putting together a collaborative video asking several directors "What Is Machinima?".
EDIT: The high quality version is up now and contains additional dialogue.
Also, it looks like a growing number of people are becoming frustrated with how long it's taking for me to release videos. Believe me in that I share that frustration. A big part of the problem is that with this tutorial combined with other oddjobs, I've been spending most of my time working on stuff to make income so I can do things like eat and pay bills. I ask that you hold out a little more patience, once this tutorial is done, I promise I'm going to start putting out machinima faster than ever.
In order to make more time to work on episodes, I'm planning to move soon near a friend where I'll have relatively low housing costs. I'm very frugal, so once I'm there, I think I'll be able to survive on part-time work somewhere (hopefully as a videostore clerk or something). That should afford me more time to make videos, plus I'm going to be getting more help on animation for CP, which is the slowest part of its production. In addition to this, I'm getting help setting up a new website which will serve as a central hub for all videos, especially CP. I'm still trying to find the best/cheapest host for this that can accommodate any forseeable bandwidth needs. It will contain a cleaner interface, more information, more updates, subtitles, extras, and just be better all-round. I still need to figure out what will be a good hosting option for the bandwidth load I'm anticipating however.
Right now I'm still too busy with the tutorial to work on any more episodes, I'm sorry. For the record, I am NOT taking the stance of "I don't owe you anything." If no one liked my movies, I wouldn't make them. The fact that there are so many fans makes me want to make new episodes more than ever. Also I am confident that the best episodes are still yet to come. Thanks for hanging in there.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Well Noesis has given me the go-ahead to release the supplemental video to go with the tutorial, so here it is:
low quality (Youtube)
medium quality (86MB WMV)
It's a short comedy about a gas station in space with a variety of characters. The goal here was to create something funny using a whole range of the custom models Noesis already had available. Since they ranged from a skeleton and a dwarf to a robot and alien I tried to come up with an environment weird enough so that they wouldn't all seem out of place. I think it worked, I almost look at this as a video casserole. Anyway, I hope you like it, and when the tutorial is done you'll hopefully be able to learn how we made this.
We're still planning one or two more promotional videos for the tutorial, though this is the main one. Meanwhile I'll still be working on the tutorial itself, so for better or worse, everything else is going to be on hold until then.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
A big reason there haven’t been any Civil Protection releases lately is because I’ve been contracted by Noesis Interactive to make a supplemental machinima video for a tutorial they’re making. It’s a short comedy that will be released as a promotion when the guide is closer to done. The guide itself will be on using the Source engine to create machinima the way I do. As it turns out, I’ll be creating most of the tutorial as well. It will be a video tutorial with me writing and narrating it. It’s my hope that when the guide is done, anyone interested in creating their own machinima will be able to with it. I’ll make an update here when it’s done.
I was contacted recently by Machinima.com to make a short video for them that will be part of a collaboration video they're making. It won't be very long, but it will have Mike and Dave and it should be pretty enjoyable.
Work is still in progress on what will be the longest CP episode so far. Unfortunately progress is slow due to all the other stuff I'm dealing with, but I haven't given up on it.
1. I'm still in dire need of someone (or two) who is proficient at the program "Face Poser" for the Source SDK. Your main purpose would be animating Mike and Dave within the game. You don't have to be an expert, but you do have to be patient and reliable. Some knowledge of Hammer is also a plus.
2. Alternately, I need someone (or two) to work on the head-bobbing animations you see when Mike and Dave talk. Honestly, this is a pain to do and very repetitive. You need a lot of patience in order to do this, if you have obsessive-compulsive disorder you might be perfect. You do NOT need to already know how to use Face Poser for this position; I have made a tutorial that teaches how to do this. You probably will have to redo some of your work at first, but it is not difficult to learn.
As always, this is volunteer work. If you're interested in helping out, please email me at email@example.com.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Q: Is Civil Protection cancelled?
A: No. Production is underway on what's going to be the longest episode so far.
Q: Will you continue making the Halo videos?
A: No. Trying to get 3 people online at the same time reminded me why I work in single player to film.
Q: Did you delete my comments?
A: No, but I held back the ones saying it was April Fool's Day to see how many people fell for it. All the comments are back up now.
Q: Did you stage fake comments?
A: No. Those are all by you internet people.
Also if you missed it, for April Fool's Day last year, I took down the site entirely and put this up instead:
Speaking of the website, I’m leaning towards relocating the homepage for a couple reasons. The main one is that I’m making videos aside from just Civil Protection (though that will still be my main focus), so a different name might make more sense. Another is that I want to add extras like subtitles, alternate shots, etc., so more flexibility would be nice. Finally, everyone who’s helped me try to edit the website seems to hate using blogspot. I don’t have any definite plans yet, but I’m looking into different options.
I'll make another post when I have something to update, but right now everything's still in production.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
High quality version
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
It's not exact, but Freeman has about 2 years on me, plus he's fictional. Anyway, work is progressing on the next Civil Protection episode and I'm hoping to have another Freeman's Mind episode before the end of the month.
EDIT: I don't think I'll have a new FM episode out by March afterall, but only because I'm working on the next CP episode.
Monday, March 10, 2008
640x480 WMV version
Well I've finished the project I was working on so now I'm back to work on Civil Protection. I know I said the next release was going to be a CP episode, but there's still a lot I need to do and I hate going so long without releasing anything, so here's the longest and my new favorite episode of Freeman's Mind so far. This one has a little more language in it for those of you that care about that sort of thing. Since the game Half-Life has unavoidable mature content, the episodes for Freeman's Mind will be around a PG-13 to R rating, while Civil Protection will be around a PG to PG-13 rating. I make no promises however.
For those of you still waiting for more CP, thanks for your patience. Multiple episodes are in production along with a cameo appearance in an upcoming Half-Life 2 mod. Believe it or not I want to get the episodes out just as much as some of you want to see them. Just because you don't see frequent updates here doesn't mean I'm not working on it. I'm kind of bad at time estimation, but I will be trying to get at least one more video out this month, so I guess check back at the end of the month.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Unfinished Episodes: There are currently 2 episodes that are partially completed that I want to go back and finish before making too many new ones. I have plenty of good ideas for new episodes, I just don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.
Simultaneous Production: One of the animators in a previous episode has gone and founded his own machinima group, who has expressed an interest in helping to produce CP episodes. Since I’m already working with some good people on other episodes, I’m going to try and manage two projects at the same time, letting his group handle most of the production. This is an experiment, but it may lead to good things.
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic: I’ve been wanting to play this game since it uses the same engine as Half-Life 2. I’m going to see how much material it has for me to work with and if things look good, I may start a fantasy oriented series within it. If I do, it will also be comedy and will still have Mike and Dave, but maybe as guards in a more medieval setting.
Freeman’s Mind: While the writing is more difficult and the format is less interesting than my other ideas, it has the shortest production time of anything else I do, so I plan to continue it interspersed with other projects.
New Website Design / Subtitles: People are still working on this, hopefully it will be done before too long. Thanks to all the volunteers translating and your patience with this.
Other Game Engines: I use the Half-Life 2 engine primarily because it has better animation tools included with it than a lot of other games. If I have time I’d like to research other options. If anyone has experience doing animation in other games and thinks an engine in particular would be good to work with, please email me with more information. If you’re at this site, you’ve probably seen what I can do with the Source engine, so it would have to be roughly comparable to that.
That’s it for now, It might take about a month before I have anything to release again, but once things get going, I’d say to expect more machinima from me than ever before.
Friday, January 11, 2008
In the meantime, I could still use help on the webpage for any of you that are familiar with blogspot. I had one guy helping me who vanished, and another guy is helping me now, saying an additional person would be good too. So if you know all about html/blogspot, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also while I was planning to do it myself, I won't have a lot of time to work on the graphics for the site (buttons, banner, etc.) If you do graphic design and want to help work on the layout of the new webpage, email me too. I may want to see samples of your work however. That's all for now, I'll put another post up when I've resumed working on the series again.