This week’s review is of a No Man’s Sky machinima called Origins, produced by Evil Dr.Porkchop. Its a beautiful cinematic travelogue showcasing the vast expansiveness that is No Man’s Sky – a game in which you will almost never have the same experience twice. Of course, Ricky wanted more drama and story but Phil nails it, reflecting on what might be possible if you could use No Man Sky’s environments with Eve Online’s space battles and Star Citizen’s avatars! Yeah… but that’s not this film!
YouTube Version of This Episode
Show Notes & Links
Film, Origins by Evil Dr.Porkchop, released 30 November 2020 –
Music soundtrack by Confidential MX and full credits here –
This week, we’ve got a few things for you to add to your tools list and some info about things you’ll be keen to watch out for… but before you check those out, we share with you a showcase of Unreal’s MetaHuman and a rather creepy demo of tendons in Blender!
This is a creative piece, made using Unreal’s MetaHuman, that will give you goosebumps – note the very detail of the facial animation and especially the whistfulness captured in eyes of the character. You could almost see this guy opening a bank account using facial recognition tech! The short, based on a poem by Mike Antic, is called Blue Dot and has been created by Epic’s 3Lateral team in collaboration with Serbian artist Radivoje Bukvic (released 15 June) –
In this uncanny valley special demo created in Blender, Chris Jones‘ shows a ‘throwaway WIP’ – its great but if this is modelled on someone’s actual hand, well, I don’t really want to know more…
Reallusion has released free ZBrush and Character Creator plugins. Both are excellent tools for refining your animations, and the ability to link these together makes for exciting new possibilities for improving your workflow. Here’s the link to the downloads and here’s a video explainer –
The popular open world game, No Man’s Sky is now also available for Mac. This may or not make it more accessible to creators because, of course, most of the tools folks have are still only PC but nonetheless its a start!
Onwards and Upwards
Unity, in collaboration with Apple, has devised a Beta programe for creating ‘spatial experiences’, intended to support development of content for the Apple Vision Pro. You can sign up to participate here.
Unreal features a neat demo of its massively scalable procedural generation framework (PGC), which ships with version release 5.2. This looks great – the demo is called Electric Dreams, and also illustrates its amazing Substate system. Video link here –
Worth Waiting For
Blockbuster Inc., seemingly made in the mold of that well-known machinima creator studio released way back in 2005 called The Movies, has released a demo which is now on Steam (it is being developed by indie studio, Super Sly Fox). Here’s the link – the full release date is reported as being later this year.
We’re all eagerly awaiting Blender 4.0, right (due November 2023)? As part of the release, Grease Pencil 3.0 will be included in its 2D animation toolset, originally an annotation tool that has evolved to do quite a bit more. You can read the update on Blender’s develop blog here.
This week, tech updates cover Epic’s new tools for self-publishing, Omniverse’s USD rebrands, thoughts about the nascent metaverse and some throwbacks to good-old-fashioned machinima creative techniques.
Epic’s Games Store
Surely a move that will make rival Steam squirm, Epic announced on 9 March that it has launched new tools for self-publishing on the Games Store, all on the back of its 68M active monthly users. Publishers will receive 88% of the revenue through sales (compared to 70% on Steam). There are some interesting points raised in the T&Cs, such as the need for cross-playability (across all PC stores), achievement tracking for games, age rating requirements and an affiliate creator programme that enables publishers to share their takings with others – check out the T&Cs on their announcement here. The announcement intimates at much bigger things to come, relating to metaverse propositions, but its an interesting development for now. Here’s a walk through of the tools from their livestream about it –
Nvidia’s Omniverse Create and Omniverse View are rebranding, announced on 3 March. These will now be called, respectively, Omniverse USD Composer and Omniverse USD Presenter. The omnipresence of USD (Universal Scene Description) has become a driving force for 3D creative development in a very short space of time – just last August, Nvidia summarized its vision with embedding USD as the foundation of the metaverse for creatives (and also industrial teams, smart services providers and such), where content could be pushed across a vast array of different platforms. Less than a year later, workflows everywhere have evolved with it and USD is now a ubiquitous technology, much like the internet is the driving force for the web. What’s a little intriguing is why draw attention to it at this juncture, and what’s the point of editing archival videos to include the new names, like this one – recognition, reinforcement, repositioning or something new coming down the pipeline?
Beyond the hype, and clearly the practices as we’ve highlighted above, the metaverse is taking shape in interesting ways. An interesting article, published in VentureBeat on 4 March, highlights the lengths that media and entertainment companies such as Sony are going to in creating virtual worlds that transcend film, game and experiences, including in VR and theme parks. These are more than alignments of creative talent teams, but allude to the potential of vast new ecosystems for collaborators and partners. What’s interesting of course is that the inflection into such ecosystems can be from any creative medium (game, film or artwork presumably), with outputs that are going to be more visceral and consequently more immersive. Since toolsets such as USD facilitate the creation of these ecosystems, it will be interesting to see how indies get in on this action too – we’re already seeing a number of start-up enterprises pushing the boundaries, but there’s also scope for small studios to join in. Question is, where are they now?
Cinematics (the Old Way)
No Man’s Sky has been a machinina creators’ go-to for some time, and this short gives a great overview of how to create cinematics in the environment, by EvilDr.Porkchop (also our blog post feature image) –
Eve Online is another such environment, and now of course a [very] old one, but here’s a nice ‘how to’ for making epic looking machinimas, by WINGSPAN TT –
This month, Damien leads the discussion on another fabulous film selection by the Completely Machinima podcast team… Phil’s Stalker fan film by Sodaz is dark and disturbing; Tracy’s music vid picks are light and airy; Ricky’s is far from bland and Damien’s is a moving affair too! The team also discuss approaches to promoting a film once it’s been made, thanks to a question raised by show follower, Mike Clements.