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.
This week’s film is Ricky’s pick, a Team Fortress 2 composited trailer of Law Abiding Citizen (film) made using Source tools. We discuss the throwback to the mid 2000s and how well the film has stood up to the test of time, the Saxxy Awards and another TF2 film which we also really enjoyed, Demoman (Pure Pwnage ep 15 Intro) by GiigoPwNs.
YouTube Version of this Episode
Show Notes and Links
Team Fortress 2 – Law Abiding Engineer, released 1 April 2010 by TrueOneMoreUser
Side by side comparison between Law Abiding Engineer and Law Abiding Citizen
TF2 – Demoman (Pure Pwnage ep 15 Intro), released 25 Nov 2007, by GriigoPwNs
Welcome to a brand new year, 2023! We start the year off with Tracy’s pick of the month, a sublime short by Half M.T Studios, called The Voice in the Hollow, made using Unreal Engine. We were blown away by quality of the virtual production in this short, although Ricky highlights a couple of pointers from a storytelling perspective. It is a very dark little tale, a la Cain and Abel, but there’s an even deeper back story to this one which Tracy explains.
The film provokes a discussion about the differences and similarities between virtual production and machinima – asking just how much fun is there now with making these productions? Spoiler alert: lots of course!
We’d love your feedback on this too, so do get in touch – contact info on our website, or drop in your thoughts below on the chat.
This week’s Projects Update on machinima, virtual production and content creation:
One of the most interesting creative projects we’ve seen so far using MidJourney, a creative AI generator is the The Crow (by Glenn Marshall Neural Art). Here the generator has been used to recreate a version of the ballet performance portrayed in the short film, Painted (by Duncan McDowall and Dorotea Saykaly). Stunning to say the least and we recommend you play it at least once side-by-side against the original performance too for added insight.
We’re so impressed with the potential of AI generators, whether that’s DALL-E, MidJourney, Stable Diffusion or any of the others that are now emerging, that we’re going to dedicate a special episode of the podcast to the subject next month, so watch out for that!
Jim Henson Company
Jim Henson Company is using real-time animation on their new show, Earth to Ned. Characters are created with Unreal (its the AI in the background) but JHC has been so impressed with the workflow and no post production requirement that it is looking to use the virtual production method more. What’s interesting is the level of feedback in the process that guests experience – they are not aware of the puppeteering in the background, just the virtual actor on the screen, performing naturalistically in real-time! We’ve not seen much of this kind of machinima before although actually Hugh Hancock did some very early work on this and of course Rooster Teeth have done live performances using similar techniques. We can certainly expect to see a lot more of it, particularly for interactive theatre, VR and AR.
Half Life 3
Half Life 3 was never going to be like the originals? This article on Tech Radar is interesting: the author (Phil Iwanuik) contends the Half Life franchise remakes would never be like the originals because the extreme attention to the world of HL created so much pressure the Valve team could never live up to it. We’re not sure about that, but it’s an interesting idea.
A very impressive MMO has launched using the Dune world, currently in beta, Dune: Awakening. Here’s the trailer – we’re looking forward to seeing machinima made with this –
Dungeons & Dragons?
What does Dungeons and Dragons, typically a game played around a table, have to do with machinima? There’s been a rise in popularity of web based shows where people play the game and act out scenes. This group (Corridor Crew) is using Unreal Engine 5 for virtual production (not quite The Mandalorian but sort of similar) to put their actors, real-time, into the environments of their adventure. Check it out here –