Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ramblings: Totally Unreal Epic Journey

So im totally stoked to play with the Unreal 3 engine. Again if you havent been following my grand adventure into the world of machinima, let me recap:
years ago i saw a machinima entitled "A Few Good GMen" by Nailbiter, which was the Courtroom scene from the movie "A Few Good men" where Gman was Jack Nicholson and Barney was John Travolta. It was definitly a step in the right direction from what i wanted to see in a Machinima production. Most would take real gameplay footage from online games like Team Fortress 2 and Halo and just adlib dialogs over character movement. Some would write scripts and just do the same thing (like Rooster Teeth and their great Red vs Blue series). Some even take Machinima oriented game slike 'The Movies' and use that to make their shortfilm riddled with canned animation and reactions. Where i was inspired was the fact "A Few good GMen" was custom digital acting, within a game engine, compelte with lip synch. And THAT is totally up my alley.

On my journey ive traversed through trying to use Valves Source engine like nailbiter, but where i wanted to go where Nailbiter didn't, was custom actions. Nailbiter did a phenomenal job using canned actions blended together to look like they fit the part, i want to animate my own sequences entirely by hand. The simple idea of simply adding animations to a preexisting characters animation bank, was definitely more troublesome than it was worth, so i then turned to Id Softwares Doom3, reminiscing about the scarcely layed cutscenes inspired me to think that it was going to be more robust, and the md5 model/animation system would be alot easier to add sequences to a characters bank. This is of course true, once you figure out the Doom3 DEF system, which si pretty complex with all of the switches and ways of doing things.
I was about ready to animate my first part of the Garbage day lip synch, when i got landed with a fantastic computer purchase deal.
i was reluctant to find out Doom3's tools are largely incompatible with vista, though the game itself runs great. also Maya 6's License Server is also incompatible with Vista, rendering the main 2 tools useless. So i tried to installa dualboot of XP and that didn't go over so well as i forgot, HPs hardware is only compatible with ITS drivers, and ITS drivers are only vista compatible. so that was a 5 day downtime thanks to complications and legal matters.

So I've made a decision to switch engines again, this time, ill be working with longtime Id Software's rival: Epics Unreal3 Engine. Why this one? Because its the most modern engine i can easily get into. CryENGINE2 doesn't have enough public documentation, not enough community support. Id tech 5 isn't available yet, and the other engines are proprietary enough that the tools aren't going to be sufficient, plus i know Unreal3 is Vista compatible and as with most tools used to work with it, and has quite the community behind it. So in the end: It just makes the most sense.

So i think when i get down to it, ill write a "Gut Reactions" article on how i feel about it, as i traverse around with it. A "Gut Reactions" article is one i continuously post and add to throughout the extent of time im exposed to it. Leaving previous edits and timestamps unedited to keep the integrity of changing opinions.

Also, Alex is buying Army of Two today, so ill be playing some mean coop online with him.
Cant wait, itll be my first true online experience with the Playstation 3 outside of simply online demos and junk.
See ya online Alex ;)

9ps. in case you haven't noticed, i update this blog regularly and constantly, so to help save confusion, everything within the day i write is encapsulated between bright orange day stamps to form groups of posts from the same day, so don't think that this post is just for today)

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