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Moviestorm for Dummies


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#1 primaveranz

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 01:11 AM

Are there any plans to release a Dummies guide?

"If we only use 1/3 of our brain, what's the other 1/3 for?"


#2 Killian

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 02:04 AM

QUOTE (primaveranz @ Nov 16 2009, 01:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Are there any plans to release a Dummies guide?



There is, of course, Machinima for Dummies (which was written a good while ago and, despite being an overview of the whole process, contains a large section on filming with MS; it's out of date now, of course, and if I recall correctly, Hugh mentioned in Iceaxe's interview with him that he'd considered making a second edition, but didn't think it would sell well enough... though I could be wrong on that!)

Still, it's something that the Powers That Be should consider; if not a "dead tree" version, perhaps a PDF available for purchase? A "bible" of tips from some of the well known directors combined in one printable format?

#3 tkd27

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 02:05 AM

QUOTE (primaveranz @ Nov 15 2009, 08:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Are there any plans to release a Dummies guide?


This would be cool, except because Short Fuze is constantly updating the program, guides and tutorials are constantly being made obsolete. Over the two years I've been using Moviestorm it seems like there's been a major UI change every few months :-P

But if they do decide to do this, I nominate Angri to take on part of the writing. Johnnie would be an obvious counterpart, given that he's both a Moviestorm employee and a past Dummies writer (having co-authored Machinima for Dummies).

#4 tkd27

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 02:11 AM

QUOTE (Killian @ Nov 15 2009, 09:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There is, of course, Machinima for Dummies (which was written a good while ago and, despite being an overview of the whole process, contains a large section on filming with MS; it's out of date now, of course, and if I recall correctly, Hugh mentioned in Iceaxe's interview with him that he'd considered making a second edition, but didn't think it would sell well enough... though I could be wrong on that!)

Still, it's something that the Powers That Be should consider; if not a "dead tree" version, perhaps a PDF available for purchase? A "bible" of tips from some of the well known directors combined in one printable format?


You posted one minute before me, so I missed this on the first go :-P On the point of a Bible of tips, I think that's what the Wiki is supposed to be, and it probably has the most potential as the definitive guide, because as a wiki it can (theoretically) keep up with Moviestorm's changes. The problem is (and I'm as guilty as anyone, having initially volunteered to help with the wiki) that is hasn't been expanded or even updated since it was created. Being a free guide, there's no money to be made by maintaining it (except by Short Fuze, in the sense that it would make Moviestorm more approachable for new comers), and people can only do so much working on it as a hobby :-/

The idea of this, or a Moviestorm for Dummies, though, does sound great. Maybe I'm just not thinking outside the box enough.

#5 primaveranz

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 02:46 AM

QUOTE (Killian @ Nov 16 2009, 01:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There is, of course, Machinima for Dummies


Yeah that's what got me into Moviestorm. It was a great book and I think a more specific one would bring a few more devotees into the MS camp. Apart from which it would save me having to find and compile all the training notes I keep jotting down on scraps of paper and then losing wink.gif

Of course if it takes someone away from actually developing MS then I withdraw my suggestion rapidly!

P.S. I fully expect Zuckerman to jump in now and say he has already created a virtual version which runs on a Wii!

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#6 AngriBuddhist

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 07:27 AM

QUOTE (tkd27 @ Nov 15 2009, 07:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But if they do decide to do this, I nominate Angri to take on part of the writing.

Ah, thanks. wink.gif

QUOTE (tkd27 @ Nov 15 2009, 07:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The problem is (and I'm as guilty as anyone, having initially volunteered to help with the wiki) that is hasn't been expanded or even updated since it was created.

Huh? No, it doesn't get updated that often but, yes, there has been a lot of additions since it first went live.

My sense of humor is a sick and twisted thing that can't be shared on a site like this. I wouldn't have any idea how to be funny while writing a technical manual. The entries I've made in the wiki are all written as if the reader had no knowledge of the subject what-so-ever.

The wiki, itself, has very little functionality and after it's last hiatus it came back even less functional. Unlike video tutorials, which have to be completely reshot when UI changes are made, screenshots can easily be replaced. Unfortunately, the wiki no longer accepts uploaded images. I've made a few posts about it but there hasn't been a fix or even a response.

This led me to first think about putting my help guides on another site but eventually to the idea of creating a Help Addon (sorry, you must be a member of the Pioneers for that link to work).

It'll be a large task. One that, doing it alone, would require a big commitment. I'd be more than willing to collaborate with others but as tkd27 mentioned, most aren't willing to do much more than say that it should be done by someone, preferably someone else.

I actually already have a free google site (that allows uploads of screenshots and embedded Youtube vids) that I copied my work from the wiki to. Since it's been down twice, the wiki that is, and I was kicking myself both times for not making backups, I thought it was about time to get smart.

Edit: I plan to use the site, set to private, as a template for the Addon, pages linked together and organized prior to adapting it to html files that work with Moviestorm's help system. As a collaborative effort, the site, still set to private, could be edited just as a wiki is. Pages could even be created where the compilation of training notes could take place.

#7 AngriBuddhist

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 08:32 AM

QUOTE (tkd27 @ Nov 15 2009, 07:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Being a free guide, there's no money to be made by maintaining it (except by Short Fuze, in the sense that it would make Moviestorm more approachable for new comers), and people can only do so much working on it as a hobby :-/

The idea of this, or a Moviestorm for Dummies, though, does sound great. Maybe I'm just not thinking outside the box enough.

Excellent points.

Over on the wiki, before and it's last crash, I was on a roll working on a Step by Step walkthrough of Moviestorm, from StartUp to Render. Even in it's first stages and draft, it's supposed to be, although very flat, enough to guide a new user through the layers of confusion. From - How do I draw a wall? To - a .wav? WTF is that? Where TF do I put it? Post a LOG.txt?

The larger reason for wanting to do that was the potential benefit to SF and MS as a product, but, yeah, after the length of time that passed before the wiki returned that burst of interest had burned out.

As I mentioned above though, the idea of creating it as an Addon, accessible through Moviestorm, in a small window that remains open and on top of the work area, that (if there is enough value given) could be sold as a very cheap pack, is (if not practical) an interesting one.

#8 johnnie

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:01 PM

You're not the first person to ask for a printed (or printable) manual for Moviestorm. There's no doubt that such a manual would be useful. The problem, as Killian correctly surmises, is the Moviestorm changes so often and so dramatically that it would be almost impossible to keep such a manual up to date. Even Moviestorm's internal help text - which is by no means extensive - is almost always out of date.

That's because Moviestorm isn't finished yet. We're still building it; making it better, easier and more powerful every day. Unfortunately - or fortunately, depending on your outlook - Moviestorm will never be "finished". We'll always have more ideas, improvements, and changes.

Writing a ... For Dummies book is a mammoth task. I speak with some authority here :-) Machinima For Dummies strikes a nice balance between very specific information (which quickly becomes outdated) and more abstract information (which is still as relevant as the day the book was published). Even still, by the time we'd finished writing the last few chapters we had to go back and rewrite some of the first chapters we'd written, because they were now incorrect.

I don't mean to discourage anyone from documenting as much (or as little) of Moviestorm as possible. The more documentation we have available, the better Moviestorm will be for all of us. Hopefully, we'll soon be able to offer better support to people like AngriBuddhist: there's no reason why Angri's (excellent) modders guide shouldn't be something that's sold through our official marketplace in the future. That's something we'd love to support, but (as we've detailed on blogs and forums more than once) we want to ensure that the infrastructure is in place before we start down that road.

The ... For Dummies books are published by Wiley Publishing, and they're always willing to listen to suggestions. If you'd like to see Moviestorm For Dummies (or even a second edition of Machinima For Dummies), get in touch with Wiley and let them know. You'd be surprised at how few enquiries they need to start thinking seriously about a new title. I'm not promising I'll write it, mind you - writing Machinima For Dummies was one of the hardest and most stressful things I've ever done (and I once sat through the entirety of Sing-along-a-Sound-Of-Music four nights in a row).
Johnnie Ingram
Co-Author, Machinima For Dummies

QUOTE (The Overcast @ July 23 2006)

#9 primaveranz

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 08:23 PM

QUOTE (johnnie @ Nov 16 2009, 11:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
(and I once sat through the entirety of Sing-along-a-Sound-Of-Music four nights in a row).


Johnnie "Pure Mad Mental" Ingram rolleyes.gif

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#10 tkd27

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 12:58 AM

QUOTE (AngriBuddhist @ Nov 16 2009, 02:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ah, thanks. wink.gif


Huh? No, it doesn't get updated that often but, yes, there has been a lot of additions since it first went live.


I'm actually not really on top of what changes happened, so my apologies smile.gif

QUOTE
My sense of humor is a sick and twisted thing that can't be shared on a site like this. I wouldn't have any idea how to be funny while writing a technical manual.


That's interesting - Johnnie, I'd love if you'd weigh in on this. I always wondered if the humor in those Dummies books comes from the authors, or if the editors are tasked with spicing it up in the Dummies tradition. In most cases it's probably a little of both, and of course you (Johnnie) can probably only speak to your experience which isn't necessarily representative of all the books, but I have always wondered smile.gif

#11 johnnie

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 01:02 PM

QUOTE (tkd27 @ Nov 17 2009, 12:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Johnnie, I'd love if you'd weigh in on this. I always wondered if the humor in those Dummies books comes from the authors, or if the editors are tasked with spicing it up in the Dummies tradition. In most cases it's probably a little of both, and of course you (Johnnie) can probably only speak to your experience which isn't necessarily representative of all the books, but I have always wondered smile.gif


It does come from the authors initially, but there's a lot of help provided!

The process by which an author creates a ... For Dummies book is quite complex. First of all, we had to pitch for the contract. We sent Wiley a proposed chapter structure for the book, an overview of what we hoped the book would accomplish (and how), and a couple of sample chapters.

We tried to get some Dummies-style humour into those sample chapters. As it turned out, we weren't far off. Both Hugh and I had read plenty of Dummies books in our time, so we knew the style. Our editor actually told us later on that it's rare for them to get an initial pitch that's so close in style to the sort of authorial voice they're after.

They were still pretty strict, though. We had to change a lot to fit in with the Dummies house style, and a lot of our jokes were cut because they were just too geeky and obscure. Left to our own devices, Hugh and I have no defence against geeky obscurity in our natural conversation! It tends to happen whether we want it to or not.

I imagine it's a lot harder to write a Dummies guide as a single author. I was very lucky to be able to work with Hugh, who was already a good friend of mine. We have a similar sense of humour. We quickly established a rule: if one of us wrote a joke that made the other laugh out loud upon first reading, it stayed in. If not, we cut it.

We sent advance copies of certain chapters to some of our friends in the machinima community, who all contributed their own advice, as well as letting us know if the jokes worked or not.

Our editors at Wiley - Chris Morris and Kelly Ewing - were fantastic. Although they were both knowledgeable, neither was a machinima expert, so they served as a good test-bed to see if a particular section would be accessible and funny to the general reader. We were also very lucky to have Overman as our Technical Reviewer. He contributed quite a lot to the "feel" of the book.

In the end, though, the humour in a Dummies book comes from the author (although it's filtered by strict adherence to the Dummies house style). It may be that other authors have had a different experience, but I doubt it. The expectation was always that it was up to us to bring the funny.
Johnnie Ingram
Co-Author, Machinima For Dummies

QUOTE (The Overcast @ July 23 2006)

#12 ed

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 11:18 AM

QUOTE (tkd27 @ Nov 16 2009, 02:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
On the point of a Bible of tips, I think that's what the Wiki is supposed to be, and it probably has the most potential as the definitive guide, because as a wiki it can (theoretically) keep up with Moviestorm's changes. The problem is (and I'm as guilty as anyone, having initially volunteered to help with the wiki) that is hasn't been expanded or even updated since it was created.

Actually there have been some minor edits and updates after the release of 1.2. I noticed them as I went through it a few weeks ago, tidying up the apostrophes.

QUOTE
Maybe I'm just not thinking outside the box enough.
I'm liking how blue sky thinking speaks to pushing the envelope.

#13 AngriBuddhist

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 06:39 PM

Moviestorm 1.2 for new users...

http://www.moviestor...amp;#entry59596

#14 EugeneE

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 04:54 AM

QUOTE (Killian @ Nov 15 2009, 09:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There is, of course, Machinima for Dummies (which was written a good while ago and, despite being an overview of the whole process, contains a large section on filming with MS; it's out of date now, of course, and if I recall correctly, Hugh mentioned in Iceaxe's interview with him that he'd considered making a second edition, but didn't think it would sell well enough... though I could be wrong on that!)

Still, it's something that the Powers That Be should consider; if not a "dead tree" version, perhaps a PDF available for purchase? A "bible" of tips from some of the well known directors combined in one printable format?


Good book, I own a copy of Machinima for Dummies. But being that the book was released 3 years ago, Moviestorm has gone thru many changes over the past 3 years.



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