Recently, we’ve seen some really great HL2 shorts, and this week we have an excellent one for you – Patient Zero is by TheParryGod aka Richard Makk, released in Feb. This is so well done you can cut the atmosphere with a butter knife, the choreography between the actors is brilliant and there are even some gratuitous small animal shots to boot. Hear us discuss the details and check out the film following the links below.
YouTube Version of this Episode
Show Notes & Links
Patient Zero – A Half Life Short, by TheParryGod aka Richard Makk, released 22 Feb 2023 –
This week, we highlight three excellent Unreal storytelling projects, and some other interesting storymaking development projects we think you’ll find just as intriguing.
Brave Creatures, released on 2 March, is one of the most inventive and magical stories made using Unreal Engine we’ve seen and it’s not been set on an alien planet full of freakish monsters and travellers in space suits. The creative team, Studio Pallanza (none other than Academy award-winning VFX artist, Adam Valdez) was awarded a Mega Grant to bring this project to life, and it has done a truly outstanding job of it. It will surely be the basis of a new children’s series? Here’s the link –
and if you want to hear Adam discuss the work, check out Jae Salina’s interview with him here –
Promise with Dr. (English version), released on 17 Feb by TT Studio, is another magical story, albeit with a completely different aesthetic. Great editing and storytelling, do check this out too –
Miika is an award-winning film by Ugandan director, Nsiimenta Shevon, released on 27 Feb. This is powerful and disturbing, as only tales of African conflict can be. Beautifully animated by Solomon Jagwe, here’s the link –
Storymaking in Other Ways
This is not a film or an animation, but a fascinating insight into the storymaking possibilities of interactive chatbots and animated robots. In this ‘show and tell’ presentation at SXSW 2023 by Disney Parks’ chair of Experiences and Products Josh D’Amaro, Tinker Bell (Peter Pan’s sidekick) is shown as an animated chatbot in a box and a roller-skating child-like robot is emoted using mocap. These are Disney’s ‘greeters’ of the future, embedded with storytelling capabilities through the design process. What is particularly interesting is that, at least for me, the usual uncanny valley effect had somehow disappeared – what do you think?
In our next selection, MidJourney has been used to conflate two very different yet seemingly complementary storyworlds into a series of bizarre images, one being Star Wars and the other being the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. This work, called Star Wars by MidJourney, by AI Visionary Art, was published on 18 Feb and somehow converts the grotesque and nonsensical creatures into a familiar canon (for some, Damien) –
And finally this week, we share an overview of an InWorld AI driven adventure game called Origins (our feature image for this post), animated using Unreal’s Metahuman characters and presented in the style of a film noir (or rather, a neo-noir). This is vaguely reminiscent of some of those very early games that inspired a lot of machinima creators back in the earliest days, Max Payne for those with long memories. InWorld AI has described its approach as the future of NPCs, but its also their DNA too. The chatbot and naturalistic style interface is a really interesting development for storymaking and storytelling and we’re definitely looking forward to seeing what creators do with this kind of creative platform in future. Check this out –
That’s it for this post, thanks for reading and do share with us anything you spot that you think we should be reviewing on the podcast.
This week’s film selection comprises 2 shorts, both untitled but actually worlds apart in their development. Its not often we get to comment on a first ever machinima project as the framing for a creative idea but our first film is just that, by Sydney Walker and made in an environment we have never seen used for machinima before, Final Fantasy 14. Our second film is a psychological thriller, drawing us in from a the whole world of familiar cinematic language in a way that we struggled with in the Astartes Project. BUT, the title needs work because “iClone shorts” just doesn’t cut it for us… over to Just Art Animation Studios!
YouTube Version of this Episode
Show Notes & Links
MachinimaFinal by Sydney Walker, released 10 Feb 2023 –
iClone Short by Just Art Animation, released 25 Feb 2023 –
and BennyDee/Benjamin Dazhi YouTube channel here –
This week, we highlight more creative talent than we can ever hope to include in our weekly film review discussions.
Interloper Ep 4 LIVE
You may recall we reviewed the Interloper series a couple of months ago, convincing Phil that this was ‘for real’! Well, maybe it is, as in this episode, which was streamed live on 22 March in a very interesting approach to storytelling on a ‘grand scale’, Anomidae continues the saga. We certainly concur with comments on the video that suggest this transcends into the paranormal. I’m sure it will enthrall just as much as the first episodes did –
Hired Steel Ep 3
The Hired Steel team are producing some outstanding work, and this is another episode from the TMC team that we first reviewed back in July last year, released on 10 Feb. These guys are going from strength to strength and what’s really great viewing is the way that character empathy is built through the storytelling. Nice work, do check it out –
Little Nightmares Rap Song
JT Music (formerly JT Machinima) released a video to ‘Hungry for Another One’ in SFM, working with Harry101UK, released on 21 Jan. This is a real treat both aurally and visually. These guys are top of the pops for machinima music vids. Enjoy –
Death Train [S2FM]
A great short by Vladislav Zharkov released on 27 May last year, this is actually a scaled back version of a project for which the creator originally had a much bigger vision. Its a great concept and one we would definitely encourage the creator to continue to develop. In the meantime, he’s focussing on the music –
SL The Tragedy
Finally this week, we present a wild west story not from the world of Red Dead Redemption but from Second Life. In this film/music video set to Lady Gaga’s 911, Godiva SL has created a fun and fast-paced story, released on 24 Jan (its also the feature image for this blog post). Its well edited, the horse and hounds even gallop to the beat of the music, and takes you on a real journey –