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#61 mos6507

 

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 12:05 PM

I thought you were having success importing sets from other programs?


Necessity is the mother of invention. I have made some truly amazing breakthroughs after making this post, which are being documented in Twitter-fashion on the facebook page. Hope you don't mind if I post a link to it? Not meant to self-promote, really, but I've taken down the mailing list and that's the only real page that features updates. I'd love it if I could find someone really familiar with extracting geometry out of Quake3 maps (with textures intact). That's what I'm struggling with right now, using data from Elite Force which is based on Quake3. It's becoming sort of a digital archeology project because there's only a small remnant of people still involved with games of this vintage.

Fem Trekz is going to be a really funny beast for anyone familiar with Trek games as it will be a true technology mashup--Xtranormal characters appearing to live inside the Bridge Commander and Elite Force environment. Originally I was going to do this via the greenscreen but now I can actually get these assets integrated. Taking this shortcut was the only possible way I could finish this project and have it look half-way decent. Unfortunately the creators of these mods are pretty hard to reach, otherwise I'd try to get the model data directly from them rather than going through rather extreme lengths to rip them out of the modpacks, but I am doing whatever is necessary which includes employing outside help to work over the model-data.

If I had enough information about Xtranormal's character data then I could make custom characters, give Guinan her hat, etc..., but as it is, the absolute limit of Xtranormal modding is to bring in custom sets and props and to make more limited customizations to characters (retexturing and swapping modular bodyparts). This is where Xtranormal has been, um, less than helpful. But I never thought I'd get anywhere this level of creative control with this software so I really can't complain about hitting absolute limits. If Fem Trekz appeared to have gone nowhere over the last year with me frittering away the time with goofy little shorts about panty raids and junk in the trunk and what not it's because a mountain of R&D took place behind the scenes to extend the software to the point where the show is both feasible and practical. I had to piggyback an advanced animation system on top of a crippled animation system. I did this because I simply wasn't satisfied with the look and feel of Moviestorm, IClone, or Muvizu characters.

I say this totally as a constructive critique from an audio buff's point of view, is there any specific reason you don't use voice actors?


Kirok, sorry to give you the War and Peace explanation but it has to do with my creative process. I actually coined a phrase for it: Emergent Animation. The idea is I sit down in front of the computer (with all the preproduction taken care of ahead of time), drag the characters onto the stage, and pretty much don't look away from the screen until I have a finished scene some hours later. Going into it I only ever have an outline. I never write out the dialogue beforehand. The scene kind of writes itself spontaneously out of the spirit of the moment, and because everything is so close to realtime, I can very much role-play or puppeteer my way through it. The only thing that is very well-defined are the characters. I know who they are cover to cover. I know what they stand for, their hopes, dreams, fears, and flaws. I lose myself into the persona of each character as I get into this very deep meditative state. I know this all sounds kind of freaky but I love it, otherwise I wouldn't be busting my ass to do it. It's the reason machinima appeals to me rather than devoting years of effort towards the goal of delivering some single prewritten storyline via more traditional animation programs. I enjoy getting into that zone more than anything else in the world (even if it has mostly produced ephemera like panty raid skits). Unlike other visual arts, it's very close to instant gratification. It's what I was never able to experience when I was in film school in the late 80s nor my abortive attempt to break into CGI in the mid to late 90s. You know, waiting for the workprints, waiting for things to render, waiting waiting waiting. Plus, it doesn't even feel like linear storytelling because the story can branch off in unexpected directions. Once I have done all the drudgery ahead of time to world-build, I can let these characters loose to explore, and by extension live vicariously through them. It's almost like lucid dreaming.

So it's a very closed-loop creative experience. The second I have to explain to a voice actor what to say and how to say it, with all the latency involved, it destroys the spontaneity. I just don't think I can do my best work under those constraints. I've tried it and actually been less satisfied with the delivery than the TTS. (Yes, it actually is possible for real people to give flatter performances than TTS.) And since I can not have a voice actor at my beckoned call 24/7, they can not produce when I feel most inspired and woudn't like me constantly changing the script on them as I do with TTS. The process I've described above is something that I can't really turn on and off like a light-switch. I have to kind of ramp myself up for it, clear away all distractions, sit down, and go for broke. (With real voices I actually prefer to use a soundboard method of canned phrases, as I'm planning to do with Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan. That works surprisingly well for supporting characters.)

That being said, there is an element of teamwork necessary to pull off a show like this, and I am finally just opening up my checkbook to pay for some A-class animation of the USS Earhart for the full-length pilot. Just as she's getting built within the story she's also getting built behind the scenes as a model. It's just that when it comes to the, how shall I say it, directorial aspect? of animation, where I get the characters onto the stage and start talking, I really prefer to do that myself. So the use of TTS is a necessary evil unless someone wants to literally be on-call at-will. Do I like the artefacts or the fact I can't get them to really raise and lower their voice? No. But I've been doing this for over two and a half years, and before that I had been playing with voice synths all the way back to Software Automatic Mouth close to 30 years ago. So whatever the absolute upper limit of TTS is capable of doing in the right hands, as supported by the writing, the gestures, the music, the editing, etc... I feel confident I'm the one doing it. If that's still not good enough for the majority of the target audience, I guess I will just have a hard time building a following. But that's the $10,000 question that I hope to have answered when the final story starts unrolling itself on Youtube. Will it be well received or will it fall flat? I don't know, but there's only one way to find out. All I know is I like what I create, and I have anecdotal evidence to show that others do too.

I do have an open slot for Admiral Hall, who is a character who will be used only once to give the captain her ship. She has an important monologue to deliver. One-offs like that I am cool with using voice actors, and there is one character I will voice myself. Beyond that I just fear that it will destroy this unique creative process that I have embraced for myself (and am trying to turn other people onto).

So if you know anybody who might be good for Admiral Hall (I was actually hoping for Nichelle Nichols, yeah right...) then please have them contact me, because otherwise I'm using the same voice as the Doctor which is going to be painfully obvious.

Also, I'm now partnering with someone else who uses voice actors with Xtranormal and there may be some way for me to leverage that talent pool. I don't rule it out down the road, but I want to make sure I don't lose the very personal and immediate nature of what I'm doing in the process.

Maybe one way to do it would be to ADR the dialogue after I do a first pass with TTS. Not technically ADR, as I can just go back into the projects and swap out the TTS for real voices, but it would be a similar process of the voice actor hearing the original and recording over it. But the one time I had someone replace TTS with real dialogue I actually preferred the TTS, no offense to her. I associate the characters very closely now with their TTS voices, like Captain Bakshi's indian accent. Someone else stepping in would have to match the timbre and cadence very closely otherwise it wouldn't seem right to me.

Also, I'm already so mindful of the TTS's limitations that I write scenes very deliberately around those limitations. So if those limitations weren't there anymore, if they could scream and shout and whisper and whine, my stories would be very very different and I'm not sure how I'd deal with that after wiring myself so specifically to the limits of XN. While I admit it's jarring at first, I think over time people have become more used to seeing XN animations as they've proliferated on Youtube and are now used to the way the dialogue sounds just as they might be used to crude visual animation styles like South Park cutouts or Filmation rigid animation where only the mouths and eyebrows moved. It's its own subgenre, IMHO. It will never compete with Avatar, obviously.

Edited by mos6507, 21 February 2012 - 12:08 PM.


#62 Kirok

 

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 08:27 AM

Quick responses (I should be editing!)
  • Other than commercial spam you can pimp yer services as imaginatively as you like! :thumbup:
  • Elite Force? You know that Raven software has donated that to the public domain? <searches for link> ummm try THIS
  • Ok, I can respect that. Fan production is (or should be) all about what YOU get out of it, not what your audience expects. Sure, you need to take critique into account, but if there is a specific 'creative-fu' that you want to experiment with... go for it! its all part of the creative journey! It might ultimately be a dead end - or it might NOT - but either way it is an experiment that you want to try.
  • I wonder how hard it would be for a VA to lip synch to an animation? I know it is always done the other way around but even so... just thinking aloud.
  • I can think of a couple of good female VA's who could do an admiral. Give me a day or so.
Cheers

K

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#63 Kirok

 

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 03:15 AM

Elite Force? You know that Raven software has donated that to the public domain? <searches for link> ummm try THIS

I was thinking of RPG-X and the version from The Last Outpost, RPG-XCE...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBIKDc4ue8Q

...strikes me as a pretty active communityand the resources seem to give a lot of possibilities.

K


Latest releases !!! ~ March 11 - HFO Personal Logs 2 ~ March 19 - PD Smith-Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571 ~ March 11 - Bruffy-NovaTrek06 : A Tale Of Two Captains, Pt 2 ~
Kirok of L'Stok - Director of Media ..... "I love deadlines! I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!" - Douglas Adams

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#64 Beast Boy

 

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 04:21 AM

Kirok,i played in RPG-x in 2010 year on internet network,maps was is wonderful,but me sadly what nobody does not on server.All servers is empty.If i correct understand you,this is new release rpg-x or this just video from old maps?

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#65 Kirok

 

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 01:48 AM

Kirok,i played in RPG-x in 2010 year on internet network,maps was is wonderful,but me sadly what nobody does not on server.All servers is empty.If i correct understand you,this is new release rpg-x or this just video from old maps?

It's an old video, Beast Boy, but The Last Outpost seems to be still going strong. You might need to find out exactly what dates and times they are running things on their servers. Have a look HERE

Had a good talk to the guys over at TLO and although no one seems to be using the servers as a machinima set, some of them have made some gameplay videos. I can't help but wonder if it might be possible to set up the legacy files from ENT TCW in this system as an NX-01 set? I particularly like the way that their characters have an extended range of emotes which makes them more expressive.

K

Latest releases !!! ~ March 11 - HFO Personal Logs 2 ~ March 19 - PD Smith-Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571 ~ March 11 - Bruffy-NovaTrek06 : A Tale Of Two Captains, Pt 2 ~
Kirok of L'Stok - Director of Media ..... "I love deadlines! I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!" - Douglas Adams

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#66 Beast Boy

 

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:44 AM

Kirok,yeah i download RPG-X from official sitethis mod,but people on game servers does not.
But what me liked in this mod:this is wonderful maps,can was activated lcars system on ship,use transport system and etc.Me very liked map for this addon,call "Defiant".Interesting know have this addon as RPG-x but only for EF-2?

Edited by Beast Boy, 28 February 2012 - 05:11 AM.

gKZxu0v.jpg?1


#67 Grizz

 

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 04:19 PM

Hello everyone, I'm Grizz from The Last Outpost (& SciFiProductions from the RPG-X Video above). I made the following video very quickly because, well, I was somewhat bored.. but I guess it shows off a bit of what you can do with it:


Edited by Grizz, 02 March 2012 - 08:49 PM.


#68 Kirok

 

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:40 PM

Hello everyone, I'm Grizz from The Last Outpost (& SciFiProductions from the RPG-X Video above). I made the following video very quickly because, well, I was somewhat bored... and due to a fault in Sony Vegas, the in-game footage came out very dark - but I guess it shows off a bit of what you can do with it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QapptYXWEY&hd=1


Hi Grizz! I'm glad you could make it! Welcome to the TU Forum!

I'm a great believer in using the best tool for the job. Geoff James did Borg Wars by combining ST Elite Force action scenes with Bridge Commander ship and space scenes, in this case you used Voyager TV footage and RPG-X for the action and the clever video editing merged it beautifully so that the viewer's "suspension of belief" was maintained. This is where we need to learn from the pro's: carefully chosing the camera angle and framing the shot to suit the action. You cut between your three major shots, Janeway, Tuvok and the engineering panel at just the right time, adding in the visual SPX to match the audio - the explosions, smoke and sparks, the camera shake all adding to the scene.

Pity it was a bit dark, and I think your audio was a bit low because I couldn't pick out the dialog, but if you fixed those problems I think this would work as, say, an animated episode of an ongoing series - the type of thing that Red Vs Blue did, short skits that would build up to a larger whole. That might not suit you - a series is a big commitment - but I know you like to do trailers for the Last Outpost's series, maybe if you could daisy-chain some scenes from the SRP into a Hollywood style trailer like...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPoHPNeU9fc

Introduce Threat - Statement, "We need Supafriends!" - Introduce characters - Characters interact - Battle/action clips - Desperate danger! - Character/team facing threat - title screen - epilog

Of course you wouldn't do anything as elaborate as the Avenger's trailer but you could get the people in the SRP to help script the trailer, then storyboard it, get VAs to deliver the dialog (or just get a narrator for a Voice Over) and build it up a clip at a time. The new trailer for ST Dauntless goes along these lines.

Gotta go! Catch you later!

K


Latest releases !!! ~ March 11 - HFO Personal Logs 2 ~ March 19 - PD Smith-Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571 ~ March 11 - Bruffy-NovaTrek06 : A Tale Of Two Captains, Pt 2 ~
Kirok of L'Stok - Director of Media ..... "I love deadlines! I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!" - Douglas Adams

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#69 Central Plexus

 

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 11:10 PM

Heyo!

I'm Central Plexus, yet another TLO member (as Kirok is aware of I believe) and I'd like to toss my hat into the ring. For the past year or two, I've sporadically created videos using a few different games/engines for the heck of it. While they are more of the "ship-landscape" type videos as I haven't had many willing voice actors, I figured you all wouldn't mind seeing a few of them.

This is a rendition of one my favorite TV shows... for Star Trek. Now this was made before I had the full version of fraps (which I have now) and when I myself was attempting some machinima like videos.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=avhRSiZqyd0

TNG Remade Teaser
Now this one turned out rather ugly in terms of aspect ratio, but otherwise I quite like it. It uses a program called NanoFX Viewer, based on the engine that the Star Trek: Excalibur project is to be based off of. It's a mix of an old TNG trailer spliced with the NFX footage.

Galactic Glory
This is a clean version of the previous footage, aspect ratio and all. Unfortunately the control system for vessels in the viewer isn't very streamlined, making most turns look mechanical and not very... well good looking heh. Still this was mostly just to see what sort of angles I could get.

Demo Record
Now I'm sure that most of you have seen Demo Record footage by now from previous machinima makers, but I'll go ahead and post my little test anyways. The tracking system for DemoRecord is absolutely fantastic once you figure it out. It makes all sorts of shots normally not possible in EF (very smoothly anyway) quite easy.

Happy Days
Finally, I did a short spoof of the Happy Days intro with some fellow TLO members that resulted in this. Unfortunately, I was using a frustrating editor and recorder at the time which made editing the video incredibly difficult. The additional lack of footage didn't help either, so it shall remain unfinished.

Sorry to bombard you all with such a long post after just joining, but I thought I'd toss in anything that could help. :)

#70 Kirok

 

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 02:43 AM

Hi Central Plexus, welcome to the forum! I really liked that first video of Deadman's Disruptor! The idea of adding your own animation to an existing audio is an interesting one - I've seen it done with OTR (Old Time Radio) although it was pro-level software.

Have you thought of doing a trailer for one of the Trek Audio Dramas? Not only would that give you practise without worrying about the audio but they'd almost certainly do the audio for a trailer for you in return. The drawback is that they are understandably mostly dialogso you'd need to come up with characters for them - does RPG-X support lip synch?

K

Latest releases !!! ~ March 11 - HFO Personal Logs 2 ~ March 19 - PD Smith-Tales From the Fleet 01 : Species 571 ~ March 11 - Bruffy-NovaTrek06 : A Tale Of Two Captains, Pt 2 ~
Kirok of L'Stok - Director of Media ..... "I love deadlines! I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by!" - Douglas Adams

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#71 Grizz

 

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 06:46 AM

Pity it was a bit dark, and I think your audio was a bit low because I couldn't pick out the dialog


I've since edited the post to show a fixed version, where the shots on the Bridge are now actually visible. Not sure about the audio, however, as it seems okay on this end. I've made no changes to the original audio track, in that regard.

Although I'll probably never have time for a full series of this nature, I won't stop trying to make RPG-X look pretty. Even if I fail :upsidedown:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTFHNe37bXM&hd=1

Edited by Grizz, 03 March 2012 - 06:51 AM.


#72 mos6507

 

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:04 AM

I want to say I've been very impressed with the level design of the EF mods, especially RPG-X, and I've since come up with a way to port these into Xtranormal State. Even though the Quake3 engine supports more than State does (although State's Ogre engine supports a lot that it doesn't even use) I prefer this route because State's character animation far exceeds what Elite Force can do, and that's what is most important to me.

This is going to result in a curious mashup of technologies. Xtranormal State, Elite Force, and the bridge models from Bridge Commander. Aesthetically I think it's a match made in heaven.

Right now the asset needs of Fem Trekz are fairly modest, as the pilot movie's plot keeps the crew mostly inside the ship, so the only EF map I'm porting over is the USS Solaris mod, which is Nova-class. In the process of converting the bsp -> map -> ase -> obj, some of the geometry like the LCARS consoles and tessellated surfaces get lost. I don't know if that's unavoidable or not, but if there's any way to maintain more of the integrity of the original levels, I'd want to network with the original authors of these mods. Obviously I also want to provide proper permission and accreditation. I was unable to reach the creator of the USS Solaris mod, though.

Assets are really what inspires story ideas for me. And I don't think I have the best grasp of what's currently out there.

I would like to find someone from the EF community who could act as an ongoing creative consultant for Fem Trekz, someone who knows the mods backwards and forwards and could retrieve whatever it is the show needs to broaden what is not just my personal show, but an open construction kit for Star Trek machinima.

So please PM me if this sounds interesting to you.

#73 Anarchist86ed

 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 04:04 PM

I dunno. This RPG-X thing looks neat, but if you have to depend on other people to act in your machinima on a server, then what's the point? People are unreliable.

#74 Central Plexus

 

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:06 PM

I dunno. This RPG-X thing looks neat, but if you have to depend on other people to act in your machinima on a server, then what's the point? People are unreliable.


That's not entirely true. RPG-X has admin capabilities which allow you to deploy models where you wish, and use actions (console typing, other gestures). In addition, a variety of different camera angles can be achieved for the player character as well. It only takes a bit of creativity to work around the limitations :)



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