Posted 22 July 2007 - 05:41 AM
I've been tinkering with your program for a couple of weeks now and I have to say I am pretty impressed with what I have seen so fare. After being very disappointed with iClones I believe you guys are on the right track with MovieStorm.
I love what you are doing with the director style. Being able to tell your actors to move anywhere within the set and interact with props and each other. That's really cool. However there is one other major thing that I think your program would benefit from. A simulation system.
Ok, all games have some kind of simulation aspect. Pleas let me explain with a simple example. Say I wonted my characters to walk up some stairs.
If I were to do that in Poser I'd have to, tall them to move a sertin distance on the ground, tell them how high off the ground thay need to move and lastly move there feet for every step thay take.
Now lets take the same action in GTA: San Andreas. You position your character in front of the stairs and press the forward button.
Do you see what I'm getting at hear? The game engine knows to simply allow the character to walk up or down a drop under a certain hight. Anything over that hight is a "cliff" instead of a step. The same principles apply to things like cars. In GTA:SA the cars have weight, speed health etc. You don't have to tell the game that if you are going at 100kph and put on the handbrake that you might skid out of control. It's already programed in there.
When I started looking for a game that had more flexibility than "The Movies" I was drawn to GTA:SA because of its range of all purpose features. Like when you jump in the water you can swim, you can drive around in cars, fly in plains, the weather changes, the scenery changes, you can work out, eat, get skinny, get fat and if you walk off a building it plays the fall animation as you fall and when you hit the ground it plays the death animation. All this is a relitivly simple form of simulation.
Now I'm not saying that you should have some super accurate physics engine incorporated into Movie Storm but it would be really cool to have some basic functionality there.
What do you guys think about that?
Posted 22 July 2007 - 02:12 PM
I've been modding UT2k4 for the same purposes... considering how many people are doing this in so many different game engines makes me suspect that the merging of 'action' games with filmmaking tools is inevitable.
If Moviestorm was the 1st to do so, they would establish a rep that would blow away the competition. But it would probably mean a total re-write for them.
I have suggested that they should licence an engine like Unreal or whatever, and build on that. I'm part way there, just me and a buddy working in our spare time, but we're only working towards a 'total conversion' mod for UT, not a commercial product.
With a graphics engine all ready to go, the dev team of Moviestorm could really focus on the tools & creative stuff without having to worry about performance and rendering issues so much... and the movies made with it would take NO time to render!
Posted 23 July 2007 - 06:17 AM
This is, I think the biggest reason why I think they won't do it now. Perhaps in later versions but after working on it up to this point it might be a bad move to do a total rewrite.
If they could afford to license a pre-existing game engine I would recommend Half-Life 2 if possible. It has a great, and scalable, graphics engine, built in weather systems, land, water and air vehicles and a kick ass physics system.
I think they have the right idea about the, walk hear, make this expreshion, say this, thing. That, I believe, is spot on.
Groovy, the reason I was drawn to GTA, also Half-Life 2, was because of the all purpose natior of the engines. Unlike say, a flying game, a car racing game or a RTS game they have an element of sandbox game play that gives you a good base for making movies with.
However, though people have maid tools for creating movies in GTA it is a hack and as such you have to use it in certin ways to get around the fact that it'n not supposed to be used for that purpas. Also there seem to be nothing in the way of suport or tutorials to help new people get started.
Unlike with MovieStorm where the interface is simple, fermilior and largely self explanatory.
I'm interested in how your mod is going. Could you send me a link to some more info about it?
Posted 23 July 2007 - 01:49 PM
I have done a lot of work to the Half-life 2 engine, which is the Unreal engine - in UT2k4, and we've made a lot of progress there, modded custom characters and buildings into it. The particle systems are phenomonal, the terrains & texs are superb. My website for this project is currently http://tmobar.awardspace.com, there's a few demo movies in 'modding project'.
Posted 23 July 2007 - 08:20 PM
We did originally look into licensing a game engine, but we decided not to go down that route. Basically, that's because a game engine and a film engine aren't the same thing at all. Yes, they're both 3D engines, but they are quite different under the skin.
The main difference is that a film engine has to be able to run backwards, so you can gradually build up your scene, change bits of it you don't like, or simply scrub it backwards and forwards. Game engines either can't do this, or can't do it very well. As a result, we came to the conclusion that we would have to build our own engine from scratch. True, this gives us a few problems that we could easily solve if we used an off-the-shelf game engine, but on the other hand it allows us to do a bunch of other things that we simply couldn't do otherwise.
By the time we get to having steps or cliffs, we will be able to incorporate some of the simulation aspects you're after. In fact, we already do. If you click on the floor somewhere, you character will walk there - and if he has to go through a door to get there, he will go to the door and open it. It's not such a big step to apply the same principle to stairs (pardon the pun).
On the other hand, using physics for cars is less clear-cut. As a film director, you want cars to behave however it looks good on the screen, and not be bound by the laws of physics. That's why stunt cars are rigged in weird ways - because real cars don't act like that! So Moviestorm cars will probably have a different type of control. So you want to scream round a corner at 100mph? No problem. And the guy behind is travelling at 60mph, fishtails wildly and rolls the car? Then let's do it. What you, the director, want is far more important than what the game thinks ought to happen.
And the same goes for various other things. Fall off a building and die, OK, that's logical. But what if you want the guy to stand up, dust himself off, and walk away? Or land with a cat-like roll and keep running? Or maybe he doesn't even fall, but floats gently to the ground? Or flies? Rather than a fixed simulation which defines what happens in Moviestorm World, which is what you get in a game, we'd rather give you the flexibility to say what you'd like to happen in your movie.
This goes right to the heart of what Moviestorm's all about. When you use a game to make machinima, it defines what happens, and you have to work around it. That's great provided what you want to do fits with the way the game works, and you can do a lot really easily, but pretty soon, you want to do something different, and the game simply won't let you. That's the point where you realise that you need more flexibility and control than a game engine will give you. And that's where Moviestorm really comes into its own. You, not the game engine, decide what happens.
Posted 23 July 2007 - 09:08 PM
And that right there, in a nutshell, explains why I (and I expect, but don't deign to speak for, most of us) am so excited about not only what Moviestorm is now, but what it is on its way to becoming.
Posted 23 July 2007 - 09:32 PM
Yes, in-game filming has been for me arduous to say the least, even without all the modding I had to do in order to get a couple of custom characters & sets in. Fraps only goes so far, it provides a 1st person and 3rd person view, but from behind, as you're playing. Floating in free-camera is literally a crapshoot, there's no predictability, and UT's in-game videorecording can take years off your life if you're not careful... At this point, it's no quicker than designing and rendering a 3d scene in say, Bryce.
I'm quite impressed with Moviestorm, I'm just dreaming.
Posted 29 July 2007 - 09:47 AM
I see your point about being constrained with a simulation. However, and I realize I didn't specify this earlier, I wasn't saying that the director should be curtailed by this physics system. Rather have it there as a starting base to work from.
You could have it so that diferant aspects of the system could be turned on, off or edited depending on the effect you wont to acheve. So if you wonted to have a sceen on the moon, or a low G invironment, you could decrees the gravity and people would jump really high. If you wonted to have a ghost float through a wall you could turn "cliping" off for that character. If you wonted to make a character fly you could turn off gravity for that character.
Ok, sorry if I'm boring you hear but I'll give another example. Say the director wonts to have a seen in a car chase where a buntch of cop cars smash into each other in a big pile up.so he puts a bunch of cars on collision course with one and other and looks at what happens. Then he decides that a particular car should fly a little further over the pile so he might lower the gravity, or weight, of the car. Perhaps even turn off gravity for a second or two.
I know it might seem to be a lot of work for something that seems trivial but I think if you were to add this in it would get a lot of use. And it would make this tool ultimate.
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