Half Life

S4 E120 Machinima News Omnibus (Mar 2024)

Tracy Harwood Podcast Episodes March 14, 2024 Leave a reply

This week’s podcast episode is our curated news omnibus for this month.  We cover lots, and enjoy reflecting on the significance of the stories we highlight for the world of machinima and virtual production. 

btw, the international internet pipes failed and microwaves fried our apps during this recording session, video corrupted and monsters ran loose among us, so enjoy the voice data we’ve managed to resurrect and video clips we’ve added – we’ll be back next week in full glory!



YouTube Version of This Episode

Show Notes & Links

Fan communities under pressure?

Valve’s Steam policy and recent take downs for Team Fortress 2 and Portal fan projects – article on Games Radar here

Half Life 3 aka Entropy Zero (and 2) projects – Fandom.com overview here and video –

New Moviemaking Toolsets

Blockbuster Inc, Prologue version now on Steam here

Demo by Orbital Potato here –

Replikant now in free beta on the Unreal Marketplace.

Replikant has a Youtube channel with plenty of tutorials on it already, and there’s a great demo of it which gives you a sense of the animation quality it produces –

And for those wanting a quick and dirty tutorial on UE5, check this out –

Steamboatin’ Along!

Minecraft Steamboat Willie which is a fun take on it, made by Red and Blue –

Fewture Studios’ trailer for The Return of Steamboat Willie, made in Unreal Engine –

Screams

The origins and impact of the Wilhelm Scream – BBC shorts here

More about Sheb Wooley here

And another video about it here –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNvZYzg7o68

AI Genies Rising

Community action against deepfakes of Taylor Swift – link to story on BBC site here

Jae Solina has done a nice overview of OpenAI’s SORA here –

and this is a link to RunwayML’s video controller toolset (and our feature image for this post) –

The Suno model, released by ElevenLabs, for music composition – here is a fun example on X –

S4 E103 Longest Walkable Distances (in a game) | UE: The Alchemist’s Confession (Nov 2023

Tracy Harwood Podcast Episodes November 16, 2023 Leave a reply

This week we present a critique of two very contrasting machinima productions – one took literally months to make and the other just a few days. In our first pick, the creator has asked: just how big are the maps in games these days? Well, vast actually – and quite frankly it blows our minds to think that so much effort has gone into answering the question. The film is called Longest Walkable Distances in a Video Game, by How Big is the Map. Our second film is a review of a creative experiment in Unreal Engine, called The Alchemist’s Confession by Cory Williams – it was inspired by a found marketplace asset and is experimental in a number of ways, not least in the five days it took to make it. Ricky highlights the weakness in the writing albeit the film is technically masterfully produced and acted, using mocap and LinkedIn (yep, you heard that correctly!). We also start this episode with some links we hope you enjoy and a discussion about the voice characterisation of G Man in the Half Life series.



YouTube Version of This Episode

Show Notes & Links

Longest Walkable Distances in a Video Game / Maps Size Comparison by How Big is the Map, released 2 Sept 2023

An Alchemist’s Confession by Cory Williams, released 27 September

and he’s also created a how to, Behind the Scenes

Fractal Pi video mentioned by Tracy, by Chirag Dudat –

All G Man’s speeches, by No Click –

Projects Update 2 (May 2023)

Tracy Harwood Blog May 29, 2023 Leave a reply

From AI to sci-fi to dystopian world stories, this week’s selection demonstrates creative tools and processes being used to realize these shorts.

Our first selection this week is a beautifully rendered morphing AI film called The High Seas, made using 60fps/4K by Drew Medina (released 9 Apr 2023) – one of the few we’ve seen so far. Embedding has been disabled, but please do follow the link here.

Constelar is by Oskar Alvardo (score by Lee Daish), released 4 Feb 2023. This has been made using Blender and an interesting approach to storytelling, with an almost 1970s noir feel to it –

The next film is a cinematic tribute to the makers of StarCraft, called Judgment Cinematic by Nakma, released 23 Mar 2023. The music (which we note is uncredited) adds much to the story telling but it also needs some understanding of the StarCraft world to fully appreciate the nuances in the plot which is vaguely Star Wars-ish. Nonetheless, a great effort, especially since it took just three months to make this machinima – there are some great shots and editing is well done –

The dystopian world of Valve’s Half Life, made using Source Filmmaker, has been used in our next two film selections. The first is called Combined and draws on the lore in the game. It is quite violent but does well to ‘humanise’ the characters. The animation looks surprisingly old-style, even if it is only 2021 – a reflection on just how quickly the cinematic aesthetic has changed in such a short period of time. In Perimeter (our feature image for this post), which also portrays the Combine, there is quite a different aesthetic finish to it. What’s interesting about this film is the inspiration it drew from: concept art by Vyacheslav Gluhov. Both these films are great examples of how a game inspires creators to take one aspect, in this case the Combine character in HL, and extend the narrative into new and interesting directions.

Combined by Virlance (released 19 Mar 2021) –

Perimeter by Komegatze (released 14 Feb 2023) –

Projects Update 1 (Apr 2023)

Tracy Harwood Blog April 17, 2023 Leave a reply

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 –

S3 E64 Film Review: Half Life 3 (Honest Game Trailers) by Fandom Games (Feb 2023)

Tracy Harwood Podcast Episodes February 9, 2023 Leave a reply

This week’s episode reviews a film by Fandom Games called Half Life 3: Honest Game Trailers, released 31 March 2015. The film is a throwback style of satire and even if you’ve not been following Valve’s Half Life developments, you’ll enjoy this. For those less in the know, HL3 is a game that never made it beyond the hype, despite its avid fan base waiting patiently (or impatiently) to play it for 20 years! We reflect on Fandom Games origins in Jimmy Wale’s Wiki technology. We also discuss our approach to ‘healthy criticism’ on the podcast.



YouTube Version of this Episode

Show Notes and Links

The film –

The Fandom wiki site link here

Video Game Leak’s commentary on the expectation for HL3 –

Article by Eurogamer on the recent leak of Valve’s video game assets