Bit of an update

Following on from our meeting with Mike the previous week, Jamie and I just spent the day blitzing our 4D. We like the idea of using an existing narrative but maybe update it. Bambi was mentioned a few times last week with Mike so we had a trawl thru’ Disney films. While we were doing that, we decided that maybe doing a fairy tale would be better. Most of them are quite dark and are metaphors for other things but have been Disney-ed up to look quite bright and friendly. I’m gonna be researching Little Red Riding Hood.

We also deconstructed Person2184. Of the films Friedrich Kirschner’s made, we both really like this one. The look and feel, it’s very comic-book like. Also, having cartoon-like backdrops with newspaper-style photographs of the characters is pretty cool. Anyway, back to the film. We’ve managed to export some of the characters but they’re all in DDS format but with the correct plugin, Photoshop can work with them so we can now see how Friedrich created them.

The plan of attack for the next couple of weeks are research our fairy tale, get hold of the DDS Photoshop plugin and deconstruct some characters.

1 = 1

Jamie and I spent the afternoon playing about with importing images into UT2004. As well as having to be in targa format, the dimensions have to be multiples of 2. We also discovered that 1 pixel in the real world equals 1 Unreal unit. So, as we already knew that an image is tiled when it’s imported we’re gonna have to make sure that the dimensions of our shell matches that of our backdrops when we come to make the scenery. Next on our list is to experiment with making characters.

Animation and lighting tests

We finally sussed how to get a scene to play in UT2004 instead of the preview screen which means all the little angled lines and stuff don’t show. We’ve also managed to animate a character and got him to run up some stairs. One of the problems with running a scene thru the game proper is that you now have to worry about lighting – no different from a real film studio I suppose but not something I’ve certainly never considered before. So it was back to the tutorials for a quick lesson on how to brighten up a scene. The first clip below is how the scene plays without extra lighting and the 2nd is with some lighting added.

Something else we’re gonna have to bear in mind is that there is a slight delay between starting the screen capture and Fraps actually capturing stuff coz you’ll notice that the Space Marine starts part way up the stairs. A delay added to the start of the scene would probably fix it

Animation test 1
Animation test 2

Importing textures

Another week, another milestone achieved. This time we’ve managed to create some textures and have imported them into a game which you can see in the short movie below. And you might also notice some steadier camera work.

Imported textures

Camera work

I’ve had a bit of an experiment with UT2004 with cameras and capturing the action. Using an existing map that came with it, I’ve managed to set up 2 cameras and get them to move. Unfortunately one of them moves thru’ some scenery which spoils the effect a bit but I guess you’ve gotta start somewhere. I’ve only got it working in the Preview view but hopefully later in the week I’ll be able to get it to run in the game itself. Plus, I’ve been able to workout how to capture the action using Fraps. It’s a brilliant little tool, I can see it being dead handy in making training videos – pity it’s Windows only. So, click on the link below and marvel at it.

Moving camera

4D machinima thing

Jamie and I had a chat about what we’re gonna do and the first thing we need to decide on is which game to use. We thought it best to use one that has a bit of a track record so at least we know it’s possible and have narrowed it down to:

  • Unreal Tournament 2004
  • Quake 3
  • Doom 3
  • FEAR

Even Second Life is a possibility but as I’m not having much luck getting it to work at the mo, it might get crossed off the list pretty quickly. So the next step is to get hold of a copy or 2 of them and start playing….all for the purposes of research obviously. We also agreed that there will be no voiceovers. Firstly, who wants to hear a pair of janners but more importantly, when lip-synching is wrong it stands out like a sore thumb – just watch any foreign language film dubbed into english.


Jamie and I have decided to make a film in the machinima style. What the narrative will be or what game we will use has yet to be decided but experimenting will be part of the fun. You can download our (brief) proposal here.

Some influences

Seeing as this year is about hacking, I’m quite keen to make a piece of machinima and the 2 pieces that I have really inspired me are The Journey and Person2184 both made by Friedrich Kirschner.

4D intro

This module explores the impact of digital media technologies on traditional video, film, and audio-visual presentation forms. Through practical group/individual production work students develop projects which explore the new temporal opportunities opened up by interactive multimedia technologies, such as digital television, streaming media, and video on demand.

“The experience of space and time have imploded and become fused by speed. As a consequence of this implosion we are witnessing a distinct reversal of the two dimensions, a temporalisation of space and a spatialisation of time. We live increasingly in a perpetual present, flattened by speed and simultaneity, and grasped by instantaneous perceptions of the eye. The only sense that is fast enough to keep pace with the astounding increase in the technological world is sight. But the world of the eye is threatening to turn into the flat world of the present.”
Pallasmaa J, 1996, The Eyes of the Skin, Polemics, Academy Group Ltd