And Now For Something Completely Machinima

Completely Machinima Episode 2.1

March 03, 2021 Season 2 Episode 1
And Now For Something Completely Machinima
Completely Machinima Episode 2.1
Chapters
0:00
Cold Open / Introduction
6:55
Machinima News
34:38
Sponsor / Skit
38:01
Films of the Month
1:17:47
Interview: Ricard Gras
1:26:56
March Machinima History
1:30:45
Group Discussion
And Now For Something Completely Machinima
Completely Machinima Episode 2.1
Mar 03, 2021 Season 2 Episode 1


And Now For Something Completely Machinima is a monthly, long form podcast devoted to machinima (movies made in game engines), real-time technologies and virtual reality.

Episode produced by Phil Rice, joined by hosts Ricky Grove, Tracy Harwood, and Damien Valentine.

Our second podcast features a discussion of recent news in the machinima and VR sphere, four very diverse short films, a cameo by Baby Yoda, an interview with SIGGRAPH Asia’s Ricard Gras, and much more!

Contact and Feedback for this show: https://completelymachinima.com/#talk

Fully detailed and link-infused notes for this episode are available at:
https://completelymachinima.com/2021/03/04/season-1-episode-2/

6m 55s – News

34m 38s – Sponsor: Machinima P1mp – The Fat Cat Conference

38m 01s – Films

Damien’s Pick

Tracy’s Picks

Ricky’s Pick

Phil’s Pick


1h 17m 47s – Interview: Ricard Gras

1h 26m 56s – March Machinima History with Ben Grussi

1h 30m 45s – Group Discussion

  • Mobile Machinima?
  • Why still use games?

Contact and Feedback for this show: https://completelymachinima.com/#talk

Music Credits are spoken at the tail end of the podcast audio.

For complete details and links, please see the full liner notes at:
https://completelymachinima.com/2021/03/04/season-1-episode-2/

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers


And Now For Something Completely Machinima is a monthly, long form podcast devoted to machinima (movies made in game engines), real-time technologies and virtual reality.

Episode produced by Phil Rice, joined by hosts Ricky Grove, Tracy Harwood, and Damien Valentine.

Our second podcast features a discussion of recent news in the machinima and VR sphere, four very diverse short films, a cameo by Baby Yoda, an interview with SIGGRAPH Asia’s Ricard Gras, and much more!

Contact and Feedback for this show: https://completelymachinima.com/#talk

Fully detailed and link-infused notes for this episode are available at:
https://completelymachinima.com/2021/03/04/season-1-episode-2/

6m 55s – News

34m 38s – Sponsor: Machinima P1mp – The Fat Cat Conference

38m 01s – Films

Damien’s Pick

Tracy’s Picks

Ricky’s Pick

Phil’s Pick


1h 17m 47s – Interview: Ricard Gras

1h 26m 56s – March Machinima History with Ben Grussi

1h 30m 45s – Group Discussion

  • Mobile Machinima?
  • Why still use games?

Contact and Feedback for this show: https://completelymachinima.com/#talk

Music Credits are spoken at the tail end of the podcast audio.

For complete details and links, please see the full liner notes at:
https://completelymachinima.com/2021/03/04/season-1-episode-2/

Phil Rice:

I stood mesmerized by the song of desert cicadas, marveling at the beauty all around me. Such desolation this Western plateau, this battlefield of rugged species hardened and fizzled and desperate competition for what would never be enough water. Most of lose their struggle with thirst on this day pounded by a merciless sun. But in this moment, this plane of death and pestilence was painted in pink splashes by that murderous son now, while still awakening, patiently waiting to unleash your fury. Ricky was calling to me. I couldn't see my friend of 20 years but I could hear him as if he was standing at my side. He called again, his voice betraying a level of concern we cowboys take great pains to press down to deny this guy is going to kill me. I gave my scrawny nag a soothing pat on her mane and a whisper climbed aboard the saddle and gave her a gentle pick my heels and the tug on her reins and the direction I presumed I would find Ricky. We climbed about a short rise and they're covered in the same pink paint of morning was Ricky and the assailant, the aforementioned this guy. it seemed imminent, that this guy was indeed on the verge of beating Ricky to death. I hopped from my horse, drawing my pistol and fixing it on the disheveled stranger. I fired a shot fortunately missing Ricky but, unfortunately missing the stranger as well. I stepped closer and fired again. This time my aim was true. The bullet left my gun and hit the stranger in his side. But he continued his assault on Ricky undeterred. Who is he? I asked. Before Ricky could answer. The stranger connected a powerful right hook to Ricky's jaw. His body went limp before it even hit the ground. Oh, man. He killed me. Ricky complained. I got this, I assured him, raised my pistol and fired again. This shot hit the stranger right in his chest, because he had already turned to advance on me his eyes to fiery coals. The filthy drifter came at me relentless, raining down blow after blow. I emptied the rest of my revolver into him point blank, but the assault continued unabated. It was as if I forgot how to fight. I just couldn't get my arms to work. I couldn't manage to return a single blow. Because I didn't know what button to press and ever present was the echo of Ricky's original entreaty. This guy's gonna kill me. This stranger this dust covered in vulnerable drifter. This psychotic NPC who murdered my friend and I that day, without so much as airing one word of his grievance, and made us part of that thirsty dead landscape splashed in pink. So beautiful

Ricky Grove:

He was a drifter. We have no idea he just showed up out of the blue beat us both to death.

Phil Rice:

Welcome to and now for something completely machinima, the machinima and VR related Podcast. I am one of your hosts, Phil Rice, and with me is Ricky Grove.

Ricky Grove:

Howdy

Phil Rice:

Tracy, I'm forgetting your last... Harwood, hey!

Tracy Harwood:

Hey, how are you doing?

Phil Rice:

And Damien Valentine.

Damien Valentine:

Hi there.

Phil Rice:

We have all been we've all known each other for quite a few years and been friends and had this common interest for many years. And it's it's my pleasure to be with you guys to talk to you again.

Ricky Grove:

Yep, same here. happy to talk to you.

Damien Valentine:

Likewise.

Phil Rice:

so I want to just give a quick reminder upfront that the feedback from you, the listener is vital to the show. It's not that we didn't enter the show without any plans. But we definitely entered into it with the idea that Your feedback is going to shape the direction and the emphasis that we put into play on this show. And we've tried to make it as easy as possible for you to contact us through a variety of different ways. Those are all listed over on our website, which is completely machinima.com. Or you can click the talk to us button right at the top of our website. And it'll take you right to that section of the page, which shows the email address you can do, you can text us at a phone number, if you like. You can leave us a voice message through a service that we found called reverb.chat. And for actually, for any, any audio messages like that, we might even play your audio message right here on the show and then respond to it. And then there's also a Discord server, we've got a Facebook page. So we're trying to be everywhere that you'll be, so that it'll be easy for you to tell us what you think of the show how we did and what you'd like to see us discuss in the future. So please, please be sure to take a moment to do that. It's it's vital to knowing how we should proceed going forward. And I'm going to thank you in advance for doing that. Now coming up on today's show, we've got a little bit of machinima news to discuss, we've got a very interesting bevy of films, some some really great variety that just all of us independently went out and found films we want to talk about. And it couldn't be a more diverse little group of films. So we're very excited to talk to you about that. We've got an interview with a special guest coming up later in the show. And then a little bit of discussion at the end. So thanks for joining us. Terrible connection troubles trying to get to where we were playing on the same server. We were so happy when we finally got it to work and it's like, Alright, and then the first thing I hear out a rookie is Oh, man, this guy's gonna kill me. And I'm thinking to myself, who did you piss off? I mean, we haven't even been here. 10 seconds. But apparently this guy just came running over. And just started wailing started wailing honest.

Ricky Grove:

Just started wailing on us, yeah.

Phil Rice:

And never Yeah, just didn't utter a word just grunting like an animal and just beat us to he was unarmed. And I hadn't learned to control like, throw punches. I go, Whoa, what do I do? So I'm, I'm just clicking my gun.

Tracy Harwood:

Did you not turn the horse's backside on him?

Phil Rice:

Well, I was off my horse, I tried to get on the horse. And he just kept hitting me in the kidneys.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah, yeah. Now he didn't even have a name, though. I mean, he was. He was just so drifter. I think,

Phil Rice:

That's what we called him that it didn't have any kind of

Ricky Grove:

No name, no "Bill the Butcher", nothing. Yeah.

Phil Rice:

And so after this happened, it kills us both. And then we get rejoined together. And then I hear Ricky say, "Oh man, there he is, he's coming for me again." Just crazy.

Ricky Grove:

I just took off running and managed to outrun him.

Phil Rice:

so surreal, about the time that we got clear of the guy and thought, okay, we can actually go round exploring, then boom, we got disconnected again.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah.

Tracy Harwood:

Yeah. What did you learn from that experience?

Ricky Grove:

The team play on Red Dead is pretty screwed. I don't know how other people do it. Yeah. I mean, we managed to end up being together for what, five minutes? I think, exploring this odd little place. But then suddenly, Phil got kicked off again, you know.

Phil Rice:

There are tools within the game to be able to join up with, like, you can join the online and you're just there. But it's this grid of servers across, you know, the whole planet, I assume, but certainly across the country for Ricky and I. And so we could both be in the same town. And in fact, at one point we were and I'm like, dude, there's a butcher shop right in the middle of this little town. I'm standing right in front of the butcher. And Ricky was in that same town to going you're not here, man. That's when we realized that there are different sessions. So there are some tools built into the game for find a friend and then either join their session or invite them to yours. I mean, most of the time, I would say more than nine times out of 10. As a frequency rate, the connection would just fail to connect at all. And then you ha e to restart the part of the gam to even try again and So in when it would work, yeah, it as just very unstable. We ju t all of a sudden, just on of us would disappear for t e other. Because we were disconn cted. We're still in the ga e, still walking through the sam field, still getting beat by the same stinky drifter. But no , we're not even there to help e ch other. So yeah, it's, it' a frustrating experience for ure. All right, Ricky, you have a news item you want to discuss stay related to VR and steam wa ts you tell us a little about th t?

Ricky Grove:

Sure. Sure. Well, I've been thinking a lot about VR since I do graphic reporting for renderosity.com. And I've attended all the graphs. And I've seen the rise and development of VR. And I was thinking, well, how does that impact or how does that interest in the cinema filmmaker, and I wanted to share a couple bits of data that steam, which is the major online platform for VR for most people, they released back in December, their 2020. data. And this was reported through Road to vr.com, which is a great site, by the way, if you're interested in keeping up with the news, and the steam said that they saw 1.7 million users, new users experience a VR game for the first time in 2020. And their overall, users jumped to more than 104 million VR sessions. Now, that's a huge increase from the previous year. And one of the most interesting factors in that is that 90% of those VR users were mobile based, not PC, which I thought was incredible. In 20, they also reported in 2016, the, there were about $6 billion worth of money was made. Now it's 20 billion and last year. So that's a three fold increase. So the point is, is that virtual reality, for everyday people is growing and growing and growing, they said, they see it as being a huge marketplace in the future. Now, some of that steam success was due to the fact that they released Half Life, Alex, in a VR format. And the half life community is huge. I almost left in then. But the best VR headset was one that was designed by Valve themselves. And that was cost two grand. And I just wasn't willing to spend that kind of money to get that experience. However, now you can get the What does it call the quest quest, thank you, quest two is $299 for a 64 gigabyte 399 for a 256 gigabyte. And that's without a connection, that's a wireless connection. And you don't have to have monitors, you don't have to have sensors or anything like that. So you can jump in to VR creation, or VR consumed as a consumer for about 300 bucks. And it's very highly rated. I didn't get all the details from Steam as to their sales online, but quest two has just been selling out. The problem isn't so much. It's a matter of supply. Nobody can get it because it's selling like crazy. So and very quickly, I just wanted to mention that. VR content is primarily two types. It's 360 degree videos, and it's interactive 3d simulations. Now, when you play a game, you're playing the character, right. But when you're playing a VR character, you become the character inside of the game. So it's a it's a different matter of perspective. Now, I've been experimenting over the last year with 360 degree videos because I bought a really good video camera. And essentially, if you can imagine if you if you got two cameras, and you put them back to back, that would and you recorded at the same time, that would be a 360 degree video, and Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, and many other video platforms have all instituted editing 360 videos, including transitions, including being able to set the placement of the camera when you first enter into the world. So it strikes me as a very interesting and logical transition for the machinima filmmaker who wants to instead of being outside of the game, providing an experience for us Traditional film experience for people to watch the game, instead step inside of the game, or inside of the game world and create a 360 video in which you guide people's experience. Because you can do say five 360 video sessions, and then stitch them together with transitions. So for example, if you were in half life, you could set up a 360 video at one location, do a 360 video at another location and stitch those two together with narrative. You can do your own voiceover narrative for them. So the point I'm trying to make is that the future of VR is a fascinating one. I can see Hugh Hancock with a glass of wine going, I think that'd be great. That'd be great. Oh, let's do something. Let's do something right now. And be up all night trying to create something. But I think it's a viable and interesting possibility for machinima filmmakers. And for those people who are just interested in VR. It's affordable. The technology is there. Oh, and one last thing, they made a excellent tool called multi brush, which used to be Tilt Brush, which is a way to create inside of VR, create 3d objects, and, and all of that they made that open source last year. Whoa. So now it's run by the open source community. So you have a tool, you have the medium, it's reasonably priced. I think it's worth a worth checking out.

Tracy Harwood:

Sounds great. What's your view on them? And I guess you sort of alluded to how you could tell stories with 360 video, but I think that's really quite hard to do. And to sort of create a, a flowing story in in 360.

Ricky Grove:

Well, you have to reimagine storytelling for one thing, and much of it has to do with perspective, because you have to be able to understand that the viewer experiencing the story is going to see it in a different way than they would if it was done like a proscenium, you know, have a picture frame in front of them where you can guide them. Instead there they can turn around and look behind them. Or they can look over at another place plus 360 videos don't allow you to move within the video, meaning your place in the 360 video is determined by the camera position. And that static that's different than vr 3d interactive simulation. So in a 3d simulation, you can move around and do all kinds of stuff. Google had a series of VR creations in which they released them. And one of them was a 360 that took place inside of a car. And the car was moving. But what they did was put the car with a green screen outside of it. And then the person was inside the car. And you could look and you could see as the thing traveled, which I thought was an ingenious way and it might be go towards answering your question Tracy about the challenge, I think is directing the viewers attention, being able to take their attention and put it on places so they can capture the story that you want to tell. But fundamentally, it changes the way you the way you understand story. And I think we're still in the process of trying to work that out.

Phil Rice:

It seems like it would involve that type of storytelling would involve a similar skill set to what video game designers like some of the Bioware wear titles, I'm thinking of where or even half life for that matter where the cinematics are happening within the game there, you know, you walk into a room and players start having a conversation that maybe you're supposed to interact with or not. And it's happening there but that there's nothing stopping you from turning around and looking the other direction or whatever, they have to account for all that it's a it's a, it's a much less, like you said it's less controlled environment for the viewer than it would be. For film typical film is what the director tells you where to look. And in some cases using, you know, depth of field even narrows it down even more that you're supposed to look at this specific thing in the frame. And this is a much more open thing with a lot more moving parts if you will. And it's interesting, it seems like it would be very, very challenging to create

Ricky Grove:

as a sound designer, I think of it often in terms of sound. Sound is is one of those things in a in film and in machinima that is often added to enrich the scene or to give an emotional response to it or to add realism to it. I think in VR, it can be a stronger tool than in film, because it can help guide the viewer towards attention. Absolutely. they'll react to a sound Well, they'll react to music, or something that you could use vs a sound effect to direct their attention in a way that doesn't happen in traditional film.

Phil Rice:

Sure.

Tracy Harwood:

So would you need spatial audio for that as well? I've seen you,

Ricky Grove:

I think you would I spatially its spatial audio is recorded. To my knowledge I did. My experiments were with my Halloween yard not every year, Lisa and I do a big, elaborate yard art. I mean, it's big, it's all kinds of stuff going on with sound and lighting and everything. And I placed the 360 camera and for different positions. And then when I watched it, all of the sound was located according to where it was in real life. I think you however, you can add sound that spatially oriented, 360 oriented in terms of he's wanted to do sound editing, or sound mixing on it. So I'm not 100% sure about that, because I haven't mixed the 360 video, but

Damien Valentine:

some of the video editing software that I've played around with options for 5.1 sound, and you can kind of get a little compass to place where the sound is. So I imagine it'll be something like that, but even more elaborate. So you kind of get I guess you would have like a compass, and it would give you some indication of what is going to be in each direction. And then you can place a sound according to that. But I'm just kind of guessing that that's what would make sense to me if I was creating the software.

Phil Rice:

Tracy, I believe you've got a story, you wanted to talk about something related to brilliant game studios.

Tracy Harwood:

Yeah. And so brilliant game studios, about well say about sometime later this year going to be releasing ultimate epic battle simulator two. So this game is literally epic, it will let you run millions of characters simultaneously on screen with a planned release date in the autumn. And, of course, it's following the mother's favorite version one which was released in 2017. And which was built on unity. So it's not surprising that it's going to be built on unity, again, I believe. And what it allows you to do is create Battle Royale scenes. So version two, will handle apparently 100 times more characters on screen. And in far greater detail and quality. I think that promises to be quite an interesting game. And with it, you'll be able to create time watering battles with hundreds of 1000s and even millions of characters. And in sandbox, you can generate infinite army sizes, according to the description of the brilliant have put out. There's also going to be a first person shooter view where your you can play through the eyes of a soldier fighting off hordes and masses. I think what's interesting with this one, though, is that it's going to be using a new crowd rendering and AI technology which will require some kind of heavyweight GPU. And the developers aim is to ensure that every individual is highly advanced decision making and animation bringing this physics to a scale that we've never really seen before. So there'll be running 1000s of ragdolls and millions of physics based objects. It sounds like it's the physics engine to me, which is going to be determining its release date, it appears to be in relatively early stages of development at present, so it's one to look out for later this year. I wouldn't like to say that it's going to make the autumn date, but that's what they're suggesting. And if you want to see what version one is capable of, there's a really great video on YouTube, which apparently has something like 11,000 penguins versus 5000 Santa Claus in this army battle scene. So you can you can have a look at that. It's it's quite a lot of fun. But you can download the game for about $15 on Steam. So it's a it's a great thing to to think about if you want to stage some of these epic battles in the future.

Damien Valentine:

I think I better start writing my script for one of those big epic battles now.

Tracy Harwood:

Absolutely.

Ricky Grove:

favorite was reindeer vs. reindeer vs. Zombies. That was the one that rain reindeer kicking out at the zombies and the zombies are falling in their SWAT. Oh my god, it was incredible. I looked up a little bit about the tech on this. And one of the ways that they're able to generate so many figures is that they don't use bone based technology for them. They're skinned, but they're not boned. And that allowed them to be able to create a lot more than you normally would. And I didn't fully understand how the the animation could occur. But they have managed to solve it without actually using bones for their characters.

Tracy Harwood:

Yeah, that's a technical detail. Yeah, I read that too. But yeah, I mean, I think a lot hangs on the on the GPU that that they're going to be developing. And, and, you know, one of the challenges, of course, at the moment is that there's a bit of a GPU shortage.

Phil Rice:

Especially the new NVIDIA line.

Tracy Harwood:

gonna say everybody's queuing up to get there in video. And as they're not getting those very quickly. And that's to do with chip manufacturer, as I understand it. So there will be a challenge with this, I'm sure. But it sounds like a really good fun game. Good thing to have in your arsenal of machinima creating tools, I think

Ricky Grove:

One of the YouTube things was a guy who, on this site, who had played the first one, and he was reviewing the second one, in its current sort of beta state. And it started up and he was his cynical guy. And he goes, Well, I've seen all this before. Yeah, it's the same generation. And then it moves. The camera keeps moving on that battlefield to another area that goes, Oh, wow, they've got another battlefield. And then it went to a third area. And he goes, there's, there's more. And it kept going to a four, and then a fifth and then a six. And by the time the guy was just raving about all my god. He was just going crazy. It was so funny. It was so funny. Because it was true. No matter where you went. There were there were hundreds of thousands of these things fighting each other. It was hilarious.

Unknown:

Speaking of new innovations, if I'm not mistaken, Damien, you're going to be talking about meta humans.

Damien Valentine:

Yeah, the Epic's new MetaHuman Creator. So it's a character creation tool, which was announced just this last week. And it's designed to create photorealistic characters that you can use in video games, or, in our case, I imagined to be very popular for people making machinima. And the video that they used to reveal this technology, it starts off with these human characters talking. And the first time I watched it, I thought, I didn't realize they were animated, I thought that was a real person that I was looking at. And then they started talking. And it kind of shows off the sort of animation that these characters are able to do. And again, it's so realistic. So what they're doing is you can use facial mocap through the live link face. So you can record the motion capture on your iPhone, and it will feed into the software, and animate the characters that way. And then they kind of showed off some of the character creation itself, with all these different options for skin color. Shaping, choosing the secret of different features and your slider bars to you know, make the nose bigger, or stick out more, or whatever you want to do. And then you've got these characters greets you choose different hair and different outfits. It's not available yet, but there is a there's kind of a trial copy with two characters that you can play around with available now on the website. I haven't had a chance to give it a try it yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing what to do. And I've seen a couple of videos that people have made testing out and you've seen what they've done with it. And it looks very impressive.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah, I was very impressed with it and Epic, you know, their cash rich right now. And they've got a lot of research going on. I think this is going to be a creative tool that's just going to grow and grow and grow. That one of the concerns I have though, is it's part of a drive towards realism that I think is typical of American culture in general, especially in 3d. We often look at things that are more realistic as being better in some way or more dramatic. But I'd like to point out that Tracy's film last week beast had characters that were not realistic at all. In fact, they were low poly rez, and yet the impact of those characters hers was equally as good as anything that could be highly realistic. If you took characters created in a meta humans and then redid Beeston, and I'm not sure it would be any better. There's something about the low poly quality of that makes the horror of that situation even more intense. So I think one of the problems with having hyper realistic characters is that it, it doesn't really make the story more realistic. Because the emphasis is not on the characters. It's on the story. It's the realism of the story. So I think, although I'm glad to see that there's more realism going on. I mean, real illusion had character creator, three came out this last year in which you had subsurface scattering on the, on the skin and had all sorts of blotches and everything. And I'm glad because I always hated to see 3d films that had these clay faced characters and always drove me crazy early icon films had that problem. And it's why I didn't like icon at the beginning, they've changed that though. And character creator three has allowed them to do that. So a certain amount of realism, I think is is good, because it doesn't take you out of the story. But I think the key thing is that the story is where the realism lies, not in the realism of the characters.

Tracy Harwood:

It's an interesting point, because... Yeah, no, it's a really good point. But the point that I've seen being discussed quite a lot is it is in relation to the fact that they're not really enough. And that, you know, the the animation quality gives way to the uncanny valley, because the mouth doesn't quite move as you expect it or the eyes are not quite doing what what folks are expecting. So there's a bit of a kickback in the community, the Unreal community about the lack of realism, which is an interesting, an interesting point, I think, because I take your point really strongly on board, I think that's an absolute absolutely critical thing. If you're not, you know, you can't just rely on the assets to tell the story. You have to tell the story using the full range of means available to you. And that is the narrative and the voice acting and the sets and the scene and what have you, not just the characters, but I think it's an interesting development. But they're, you know, they're creating these these assets that presumably give people that have no experience of, of creating characters, some opportunity to play with the tools that that gives them potentially lifelike features.

Ricky Grove:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. I see that. I wanted to ask you, Damien. Is AI technology used in the MetaHumans?

Damien Valentine:

Um, I'm not entirely sure. Because the even though they've put some details up, there's still a lot that they haven't said. And I didn't see anything about AI in what I read. I must, I must be some use of AI somewhere. But it is kind of vague on the details of how this actually works.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah, well I think there's, I think there probably is some AI technology in it, because some of the things that you're talking about Tracy, that uncanny valley effect is by the fact that everything is so uniform on a face. Whereas in real human faces, there are all sorts of randomness. And I think AI is perfect for creating that sense of randomness. So maybe that's one way they're going to go. And now that I think is really cool. Because you can do, you don't have to have such a hyper real face. If you're able to have random colored blotches, random skin tones, random, poor skin, good skin. And AI handles that. So deep, deep learning algorithms handle all of that stuff really well.

Damien Valentine:

Yeah, I agree. I think you do need that randomness. To create the more realistic characters. You need that randomness to make them feel more natural, because human faces are not perfect.

Tracy Harwood:

Oh... I was going to say.

Phil Rice:

Speak for yourself. All right. We'll be right back after this word from our sponsor.

ZSPAN Announcer:

Coming up next, ZSPAN catches up with Chip Vichysoise at the World Fat Cat Investor Conference.

Chip Vichysoise:

introduce myself, hey, you don't know the most successful CEO in the world right now. Come on. Oh, okay. For the listeners. Hey, I'm Chip Vichysoise, and I'm here at the FCIC conference. That's Fat Cat Investor Conference to you. And I'm super proud to say that the MP has just won top company award the FCIC group of 100 power companies in the world today. Yeah. Well, my brother and I had some money to burn. And we wanted to get into the game world big time. You know, we watched some machinima a few years ago on machinecinema.com. And I thought, whoa, this is our ticket in. So we contacted the kids who were running the site, and we gave him a few bucks to buy the whole kit and caboodle. And the VTube was starting up at the time, so we decided to move everything over to VTube, and start our worldwide domination of the game kid market right there. Business model? We saw a bunch of kids playing games 24/7, we want to put them to work.

Tip Vichysoise:

We told them that we'd give them cash for every machinima they make.

Chip Vichysoise:

That's right. And I thought that was a good idea. As long as it wasn't too much money, you know. So now we got over 2000 of these little s****s making movies and making money. Hear that, kid? Sign up for $1,000 bonus right now. We call these little kids content chipmunks or CCRs. You know, give the little chipmunks some money while they play games and they feel like a grown up for a while. Oh, yeah, we definitely plan on creating a global amusement channel at VTube Marketing strictly for the boys 14 to 24 gamers baby. We saw dollar signs on these little pricks' faces. And that was that we have now that number one channel on VTube with over 1 billion pickups and zero drops. 1 billion baby! F*** ideals. My brother and I are driven by money, pure and simple, but that doesn't mean you know we're insensitive. You know, we want to help these kids learn something they can take into their adult years. You know what I mean?

Tip Vichysoise:

What he said.

Chip Vichysoise:

What? Who said you got a name? I'd like to pay a visit to them. No, no, seriously, we got so many cut this chipmunks are always telling me how happy they are making machinima and playing games. With that many kids you're bound to have a couple of bad apples who just want attention. Tip and I aren't losing any sleep over it especially since we're up so late counting our cash. Yeah, I'll give it to you straight. Hey, kid. You want to play games 24/7 and make money while you're doing it? Sign up for Machinima P1mp today. Your best friend's doing it. Your schoolmates are doing it, your game buddies are doing it, even your sister's doing it. So sign up now and get a free content chipmunk package worth 1000 bucks. We wanna P1mp you now. So sorry. I gotta get this. Hey Rudy. Hey, what's up, friend? Hey, listen, can't talk here, it's not private. What? You tell those ****s if they can't do business politely I'll cut their ****s off. Now who is it? A 10 year old? Oh, man, I hate kids, I hate kids, I hate kids, I hate 'em. All right. All right. I'll call you right back. Let's go Tip we got another little chipmunk asshole threatening a lawsuit. You're gonna edit all that out, right?

Phil Rice:

Alright, it's time to talk about some films, and everyone has a very interesting picks this week. Damien, let's start with yours.

Damien Valentine:

The film I've chosen this month is called the Hamilton incident. And it's made with Elite Dangerous, and its story about the spaceship investigating this barren planet. And this kind of abandoned Connie, which they let they kind of do a flyover and scan it and then the Land Rover comes out and looking around. And they've got no idea what's happened to any of the people there. (AUDIO SAMPLE) I don't say any more than that, because it's only a short video and I don't wanna give any spoilers but it's, it's a very creepy, spooky sci fi film, it kind of reminded me of alien. One of the reasons I liked it was it's told almost entirely through external shots of the vehicles. So you see the spaceship flying around. And you see the rover driving around. And there's a couple of shots of characters walking across the bridge of the ship at the beginning, but you don't see any characters themselves. It's all told to shots of the vehicles and you get the voiceover of the to the pilot of the ship and the guy driving the rover, and that they're talking about via radio. And that's how the story is told. And I just thought, that's a really great way of telling a story because so many so many stories we see rely on seeing the human characters or whatever characters that we're dealing with. Right And then the vehicles driving. And I was really impressed by it. And I thought, this is the film I was wants to share with everyone this month.

Phil Rice:

it felt it had a very Twilight Zone feel for me like the old Rod Serling episodes of Twilight Zone with the the mystery and and a lot happening that you can't see, you know, the use of that psychological type of terror that's not about explosions or monsters or anything of the sort, you know, it's it's maybe a panic sounding voice and things like that. And again, I don't want to give any spoilers away either. But I found it very enjoyable. Yeah, it's it's a, it's a great little mystery.

Tracy Harwood:

Yeah, where it ends, you don't? You don't want to go in Do you and explore? And d? Do you ever find out what happens?

Damien Valentine:

No. And I quite like that.

Phil Rice:

Yes,

Damien Valentine:

I think notice that at the end of the video is a teaser is linked to a teaser video where they're going to continue the story. And it's kind of a distress call that's being received. But they never actually got around to telling that story. And part of me is sad about that, because they did it so well. And it's nice to see them do more storytelling, but that particular story. I don't want to know any more of it. Because it's that mystery is scary. And not knowing makes it scary. As soon as they explore that. It takes that mystery out and then it's not scary anymore.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah, I think the director's name was Vindicator Jones. Was that correct?

Damien Valentine:

Yeah.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah, he apologizes on the YouTube channel for not having a sequel. Which I'm glad because he needed to feel guilty for that because I wanted to know what happened, unlike you guys

Tracy Harwood:

Gave me nightmares that did.

Ricky Grove:

Yes. And no. Now anything that's got ships and planets and monsters. And technology is just an immediate plus for me. My my pleasure threshold for science fiction is extremely low. So it doesn't make any difference. I mean, planet of vampires, mollusks, giant mollusks on a strange planet I'm there 100%. So I just love this film. But interestingly, the same day I watched this film, I reread an essay by Michael Nitsche called, "Claiming It's Space: Machinima." And in it, he brings up a concept concept of machinima that I had completely forgotten. And that's inside and outside machinima. Inside machinima or filmmakers and it was developed by machinima filmmakers to describe different ways that people created mission and management cinema content inside machinima as filmmakers who built their stories built the the plots the structure the look of the film inside of the game. Outside Machina are people who brought outside the US the game engine itself, and models or or, or effects outside of the game engine into the game to make the machinima this is a perfect example of inside machinima filmmaking. And it made me think when Michael's writing about this, it made me wonder, well, then how do you evaluate a machinima film? This made from the inside versus the outside? I mean, do you use the same cinematic criteria to evaluate it? Because if you do, then the lack of filming humans in the episode is a problem. Because although you found it interesting, Damien, it's because you like that inside approach to filmmaking. And I suspect that the machinima filmmakers didn't plan that as an aesthetic choice. They did it because it was easier to do it that way. And faster. And that's exactly how early machinima functions so if you look at it from that point of view, you go Well, hey, that's great. There's no problem. But in alien, they would have never not have human coverage in there. They would have taken the camera and put it on the person when the guy goes What the hell was that? You know, what is this? Oh, he's looking around concerned or they would have cut back to the scene in the on the big ship where the guys going? Oh, that the the screens are going wild Captain the screams are going wild. So Which way do you the problem for me is? How do you judge a film like that? Personally, I don't really care. I just watch it. And if I like it, I like it. And that's why I prefaced it with, hey, if it's science fiction, I'm there. But it made me wonder based from Michael's essay, how do you how do you do? Do you see a film like this is flawed? Because it doesn't have coverage, human coverage like that, and that it all emphasizes tech technology and screens and readouts and things like that. Or is that typical of of how machinima is? That's just the way it is? I don't know. I don't have an answer that question, but it made me think a lot.

Damien Valentine:

I suppose with any film, there are, there are limitations, no matter what it is, it could be something someone was doing with their phone, or it could be a big budget film, there's still going to be limitations on what can be achieved. And they're working around what their limitations are.

Ricky Grove:

That's true. But I think in a way, though, I think the guys who made the film the people who made the film, love that kind of stuff. In there people like you, Damien, and me. And Phil and Tracy. We like game based machinima, we like it. But the question is, do you use? My question was do you use cinematic aesthetics to judge a film like that? Or do you just throw it all away and say, No, this is how machinima works. You either like it or you don't like it.

Tracy Harwood:

It reminds me a lot of when Peter Rasmussen's "Stolen Life" film came out, there was a lot of criticism against that, because of the lack of human actors in it. But the criticism of it came down to, you know, the, the fact that it was a great story and told very well as a story without having the great cinematic qualities for the animation as well. So people very quickly forgot the quality of the animation. Because the story itself was so, so good, and the voice acting was so good. A little bit like beast, I suppose that we were just talking about last month that you know, that's probably true in that one, it was such great voice acting that that held that one together. And I think that's the same in this one really, as well, Damien, that, you know, the suspense is achieved with the with the voices and the way that they talk to each other. It was some, you know, whether or not the actual visuals stacked up on their own, I think, no, I don't think they do without the voice acting. If that's what you call inside versus outside? I'm not sure I've got that distinction in my, in my head, really? I understand what you mean, but I don't see them. I don't judge them in that way. I don't think.

Ricky Grove:

No, no, this this was an essay written in what 2007. So it was that just after the peak of machinima. And it was when the whole like, there was a whole peak of academic writing on the subject. I just happen to read that one. I thought it was interesting. And I had forgotten that concept. It's another example of how the machinima community was unique before machinima incorporated took over. Because their community would make a film like that. And they would automatically understand the aesthetics and choices that were made. Because it was unique to the community. And it had value to the community that was the audience, the millions of people who were making and watching films that they were excited by that. Whereas if you took it and you gave it to, you know, Pixar or somebody like that, they say, well, it's a cute little story, kids, you know, we like it. And that's fine. I mean, but it's a different world. The machinima community is a different world, creating things and has different values. So inevitably, I would say that I think a film like the Hamilton incident is a fun, enjoyable film. And it doesn't make any difference. whether somebody on the outside would say, Hey, didn't have any human coverage in the middle of that. And thinking about Am I making any sense here?

Tracy Harwood:

Absolutely.

Damien Valentine:

Thinking about it as we've been walking. I'm not sure that it would work so well, if you could see the characters faces. Because you've got the mystery of what's happening. But you also got the mystery. If you don't know what these guys flying around even look like. If you're, if you're staring at their faces as they're doing it. Again, it takes away some of the mystery because you're kind of imagining what they look like yourself and it. It could be someone you know, you've never face on it or something like that. And again, that makes it Even more intense because there's no, there isn't that human element to it, you just get in the voice. And that's it. It's like you're listening to something happening far away, like that famous War of the Worlds broadcast over the radio, where people thought it was real because it was so real. Again, you couldn't see anyone he couldn't see happening, but people thought it was real because they could hear it. And it was performed in such a way.

Phil Rice:

That's a great analogy.

Ricky Grove:

That's a good analogy. Yes,

Phil Rice:

yeah. Well, speaking of inside versus outside, or, Tracy, you had an interesting film pick this week related to a video game, but maybe not made in a video game. Tell us about it

Tracy Harwood:

Yeah, exactly. This one is actually a tribute to Halo. It's made in Unreal Engine 4, by a guy called William Faucher. And it was released just a couple of weeks ago. And it's a piece of cinematic fan art by somebody who is basically a photography enthusiast, he actually has a background in in game and visual effects. And because he had some time on his hands, he wanted to create a short actually know what he wanted to do was create something so that he gets some nice stills of a halo character. But he got playing around with it. And before he knew what he was doing, he created this 32nd short, and it's absolutely stunning, it's got such an ethereal quality to it. What you immediately notice is the lifelike quality of the piece, the beautiful lighting, the range of camera angles, and the music that he's selected, just absolutely complements the piece beautifully. So it's it's a pretty impressive short, but it's actually not a story in any way at all. And we have some debate about this. And it and its merit really, in terms of it being part of this section in our podcast. And frankly, I'm in the camp that we need to be reviewing a breadth of types of creative work here, including storytelling, and experimental and artistic and documentary and what Tom john who would call animation and everything in between. and this very much to me falls into that artistic category. But what I liked about it, it was so it was just a beautiful homage to Halo. So what did you guys think? Did you have a look at it?

Damien Valentine:

Yeah, you can tell that the guy who made it is a huge fan of Halo, and he wants to express his love for the franchise by creating this video. The first time I watched it, I had took me a moment to realize this is not actually a guy in costume. Because it looks so real. And when the camera pulls back, I had to stop and watch it again. But no is actually animated. It's not it isn't someone when the costume. But it just goes to show how much effort he's put into creating this video to have that amount of detail into it makes you wonder, Is this real or not?

Ricky Grove:

I'm gonna be the troll under the bridge here, sorry. Bored the hell out of me.

Phil Rice:

"I want my 30 seconds back."

Ricky Grove:

I don't like Halo. I've never been interested in it. This was just boring. And it was a tech show off thing. Which as for what it is it did it well, you know, it was attractive, but I just had no interest in it at all. And I take your point at we need to have a wide variety of things that we're going to be talking about in terms of machinima. And for that reason, I'm glad you included it, but I didn't get anything out of it.

Tracy Harwood:

Actually, I'd love to talk to you about another little film.

Ricky Grove:

Why don't you, Why don't you because then I will be happy and not bored.

Tracy Harwood:

I've watched this several times I have to say and I and I love it. So for a bit of laugh out loud fun. You just have to see this Mando spoof music video made to the L King song "Baby Outlaw." So it's a it's called "baby outlaw and Star Wars." It's showing Grugu and Mandalorian and Gangster Blurg, have I said that right? Another Unreal film made by Kite and Lightning and it's it's basically according to the video, one man in his bedroom making this film in in three weeks and it's got some absolutely stunning lip sync. It's awesome, isn't it?

Ricky Grove:

Awesome, awesome man. That was just great. I just keep wondering, this guy's bank account has to be filled to the top with dough, all of the equipment he's got is very expensive. I mean that facial rig that it shows him wearing. That's a $5,000 rig there, you know, but it's so what? He's got it and he used it. He made it and it's fantastic. It's it's really, really good.

Tracy Harwood:

I'd be very surprised if this doesn't go viral at some point. It's not gone there yet, but definitely go get in there and have a look at this one.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah

Phil Rice:

yeah, I didn't get to see that one yet. I'm looking forward to watching that.

Ricky Grove:

Oh, it's lovely. It's definitely worth watching. Funny, funny. The the juxtaposition of the music with the visuals is a comic. There's a comic element to it just right there. You know, it's terrific

Tracy Harwood:

It is very good. It's well done, it's very well done.

Damien Valentine:

Some of the best use of home motion capture and face motion capture I've seen I've seen I've been keeping an eye on it. And sometimes it looks very rough. But this is absolutely perfect. You think it was like Ricky said he's got some very impressive equipment and it it shows it's done so well.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah, you can have all of that expensive equipment but if you don't know how to use it, so the guy's got chops.

Phil Rice:

Very true.

Ricky Grove:

He learned how to use it even knows what's going on.

Tracy Harwood:

Yeah, yeah. Well, the other one that you mentioned, Ricky the, the can't the Australian Competition that that's a that was a whole different ballgame that that was it was quite a bit of money thrown into that actually so so the one that one that "Cassini Logs" that was selected by Epic Games and Screen New South Wales to be part of this Unreal Engine real time short challenge, which it ultimately won. But you know, the guys that made it, they also have background in CG, artistry and 3d real real time. Artists, particularly specially specializing in Unreal, and that's also a really, really good film to have a look at. It's another short.

Ricky Grove:

Let's link that in the show notes so that everybody will get a chance to check out some really good films in that selection.

Phil Rice:

Now Ricky, you have an Unreal film, Unreal Engine film that's from back in the day. Tell us about that.

Ricky Grove:

Yeah, I was inspired by Tracy's throwback choice of the beast last week. And I came across a movie that I just loved when it came out. And I'd love it even more. It's called "The Ship" by Egils Mednis. It was done in Unreal Tournament 2004, using the Unreal editor of the time, which was a drastically different beast then than it is today. It's essentially the story of there's, there's hardly I don't think there's any dialogue in it. No, there's no dialogue in it. It's a story of a father and a son, who are on a sort of Arctic environment. And do you sense that there's a kind of tension between them through looks between the Father and the Son, but you don't know what it is, and they sleep. And in the middle of the night, this huge black ship, ice crushing ship shows up and it's behind them and they, they, they don't run from it, but you see that they're they're moving trying to get away from it. And it sort of brings out the tension between the Father and the Son, even to a greater degree until it finally climax is in a sort of strange and surreal ending. That is one of my favorite machinima endings ever. It's a terrific film. And it's an example of outside in filmmaking. Because Egils is a Latvian artist he worked in as an art background, he was professional graphics designer, even today is selling paintings on Etsy and several other places. And he worked with government subsidies to make this film. He worked with other professionals to mod the engine. In fact, there's a great interview in submarine channel comm Not long after this film came out because it sort of dropped out of sight, but everybody was wowed by it when it came out. He has a quote here he says machinima is more like a virtual tool, or a feature set and a medium I like most games. I'm not interested in doing machinima with standard in game designs, he said and that's true. They kept the engine they kept certain features. That they wanted to use, but they brought in the using Maya, they brought in the sets, they brought in the characters, and then use unreal ed to film that and to get all the cinematic and post production things. The story, interestingly enough, came out of a challenge another artist, he was in an old Riga city bar at the time, and another artist came in and said, Hey, are you a real artist? And he says, Well, of course I am, will tell me a single idea, you have plenty of them's. And so he tells the guy, he had a dream. And he It was about a father son go through a never ending field of snow nightfalls they go to sleep, the father feels the ground trembling. And at the very moment, he knows that they're being followed by a huge black ship. The father wakes up his son, they continue journey on the edge of exhaustion. And he hadn't finished the story yet. But that was his response, sort of a challenge response to another artist saying, Hey, you got an idea. Give me one right now. And he gave it to him. And it turned out to be this absolutely lovely film. And one of the things that I think it did for machinima is that showed and why it's an important film is that it showed that you can make characters in machinima and a game engine that can be you can empathize with, and not completely and have ambiguity about their motivations, with no dialogue whatsoever, because that's the key thing, the way they look at each other. The attitudes that they have the physical way that they relate and not relate to each other. And then at the ending, there's a key moment at the ending where they're, they've kind of resolve whatever issues they've had. And there's this pullback shock that just keeps going and going and going and going. And the set was composed in the interview, he talks about the set being composed of all sorts of features in Unreal Tournament and other games that they pulled in at the inside. It's just terrific. I love this film a lot. And he's got a couple other interesting films that he's put on there. He has paintings he has worked on behance. He also has a YouTube channel that has one of his other very amusing films called... you'll love this title, Phil, "How I Was Drilling Weasels." That was also shot in Unreal, that's hilarious. So he's not in machinima much anymore. I suspect that if he did machinima, it was all all in Latvia, that community there because he didn't share it anywhere. But it's a great film. And I highly recommend that you that you guys, listeners, you watch it.

Phil Rice:

I agree. It's it's one of my favorites from from that era. And it's just extraordinary achievement, the amount of craft, the amount of work that was involved. It's, it's, it's always exciting to when someone has the right level of skill and talent, and then is willing to do that level of work. in service of a story or an idea, or a concept. It's rarely a letdown. And this is this is no exception. It's just it's just a delight to watch even now

Damien Valentine:

I remember when the film was released, originally, and I watched it then, as I was so impressed by the amount of work that had gone into changing Unreal to be the environments and the characters that he wanted for his story. And think about how modding is now going back then, it was a lot harder to find that content to bring in. So much harder. Yeah. So I don't know where he found or created, how he created his characters or found the environments but just thinking that how hard it was. That's a huge achievement. So yes, it's an excellent film. And a lot of work went to it so, staggering.

Tracy Harwood:

I don't remember this one at all, actually, from from all that time ago. And when I was watching it, I hadn't. I don't remember seeing it at all. But what what struck me was just how haunting it is as a story. And I had no clue where it was, where it was going, you know, coming to it for the first time. And to me, it seemed very much like a metaphor for some of the contemporary issues that people are facing today around homelessness or hopelessness. And

Phil Rice:

I always assumed the same thing Ricky sharing was that this was basically the outline of a dream. That's news to me. I did not know that back then. I always assumed it was something metaphorical as well. It very much has that feel to

Tracy Harwood:

It definitely did for me, I didn't I didn't know it. any of the backstory to I just came to it. as a as a as a viewer, that really intriguing ending. And to me it seemed very Eastern European in the in the darkness of the of the storyline you see a lot of those kinds of dark and hopeless sort of stories coming out of that part of the world I think, for whatever reason, I don't know. But you do see that you see it in the paintings as well, quite a lot of the you know, the the paintings of dockworkers and stevedore, you know, stevedores, and all those kinds of things very typical of that area of the world.

Ricky Grove:

Well, in the interview, which we'll link in the show notes, it's a very good interview, and they talk about the interviewer was a very smart person, he says, it reminded him of the Russian filmmaker, Tarkovsky. "Stalker" in particular, which is a genius film. And he said he had a very good interest. He says, No, I know that filmmaker, and I liked him. But that was not my inspiration. I wasn't trying to copy any of his stuff. But I can't help but wonder if influence occurs subconsciously, sometimes, you know, where even though you don't say, Hey, I'm going to do this, just like Tarkovsky that those foil films, those moments might be stuck in your subconscious. And when you start planning them out, they they, they come out as a work of art. And I think that this is an example of a work of art, because it has so much ambiguity in the story that you have to read it in. And it also holds up to repeated viewings, I've watched it a couple times. And you get new details in the way that the Father looks, or that shifty look that he has, he's done something and you don't know what it is, and the film never tells you what it is. which I love. I think that is a marvelous thing. And it's also as you pointed out, Tracy very Eastern European style, that sense of dour pneus and, and, and hopelessness you know, and a lot of their, their film making

Damien Valentine:

excellent choice.

Phil Rice:

Well, fortunately, the film that I picked is, is as far from the opposite of of Eastern European angst as one could come up with,

Ricky Grove:

I'll say,

Phil Rice:

This film is called "I built a 1000 mile long hallway." By GraystillPlays and he GraystillPlays has been a let's player for quite a few years. With but with it with a little bit different emphasis in this film is is an example of it in this film, he's dealing with a set of characters that he's created in The Sims, Sims 4. And he crafts these psychotic situations. Ricky said that it reminded him of, you know, like, like one of the ancient, you know, gods of myth, you know, like, a trickster of some sort like toying with with the humans. And this is very much what he does just laughing maniacally. As he's building this contraption that is ultimately going to lead these Sims through their own AI, to the, to their death. And he follows every, every moment of it, it's very nicely edited. So it's not extraordinarily long. For as long as I'm sure he had to film it to get all that to happen. But it is a bizarre. And for someone who has a twisted sense of humor, like myself, I just was almost in tears, laughing watching this. Now GraystillPlays has a number of videos that he does in other engines as well. And the thing that he's been doing more recently is a series of... I don't know how to categorize the games, but almost survival type games. There's one where it's, you create these crazy obstacle courses and other players can create them. And you could download and play those maps as well. And you're riding through it on a bicycle. And you can choose your avatar for this bicycle. So the one that he likes to play, of course, is it's a father riding a bicycle with a toddler on the back seat. But these obstacle courses are made up of giant circular saws and massive hammers. And this the player if you make a wrong turn, you gets diced to bits. It's one of the goriest things I've ever seen in a video game. And that's saying something. Because, yeah, we all know where video games can go. And he's just again, just laughing and You know, kind of role playing at times as he's as he's doing this. This one is it was was most interesting to me because it takes advantage of the, let's just say, sometimes unimpressive AI that can happen with the Sims when you when you color outside the lines because the Sims, of course have all these, their AI is based on these different needs meters. And that was a big inspiration, of course for the the movie that I made with them. And that toying with that whole Hierarchy of Needs thing, and this is that, but turned into a torture chamber. And it's hysterical, and he's really good at that thing that he does, which, if you're mature, you probably won't like it as much as I did. You know? If you're if you're a grown up a true grown up, it will probably repel you a bit. But if you've got a guilty pleasure, sense of humor. Yeah, it's really really, really funny. What did you guys think?

Tracy Harwood:

I loved it. Mad scientist. Mad Scientist takes a guy. He's just playing a godlike character. He's having so much fun doing it. I love that comes comes over in everything. He's doing that, isn't it? I love that.

Phil Rice:

And it's in the guise of a Let's Play. But yeah, there's more going on there than that, with toying with them.

Damien Valentine:

Yes, definitely a performance not just I'm playing the game, having so much fun. tormenting these characters. It is very entertaining.

Tracy Harwood:

You might need to send the police round to him. I don't know.

Ricky Grove:

His his comments, which I suspect were often improvised, while he was putting it together. Were were absolutely sadistic in a way that was because it was a cartoon like, situation. And because he wasn't trying to create some sort of suspension of disbelief for a story. You were actually you saw the frame of the game around the Sims frame, you saw the whole thing. It was a game, it was a distant thing. So he's torturing these things that don't have any life. You know. (AUDIO SAMPLE) However, the Glee with which he goes through a mockery, the mockery, he makes it, there's the main character, which is this very heavyset person character is closest to beating his 1000 mile maze, you know, but he doesn't quite get there. And his his mockery of this character was just, I almost lost my cookies. He was having so much fun, it reminded me of those terrible American horror films sauce series, where the person, the crazy person with the clown mask would put these people through these awful machines that they could die. But that was terrible. That was real cruelty, because they were real people. And I hated that. But the distance that the game gives you, allows you to laugh in a way that it doesn't in the real world film. I just thought it was a marvelous, experimental, crazy idea that I had never seen anybody do before. Because you're supposed to be a good person, right? You're supposed to think, Oh, well, you know, get these sins and I'll help them. I don't know, maybe we'll do a little crime scene. There'll be some crime and the police. You know, it's all good Christian stuff. This wasn't anything like that whatsoever. He deliberately set up this situation for these characters to fail and enjoy taunting them, as they did

Tracy Harwood:

with putting little tidbits of food in places just to get them to another.

Phil Rice:

Well, the thing is, I think it I think it may be it, it tickles. It scratches an itch for anyone who's played the game and had moments where they have a little sense of mischief. And it's usually triggered by it. For me. It was always triggered by tragedy, that you know that I've got a new Sim, and I've decided to have them cook macaroni and cheese, and they start a fire and burn to death. Or something like that. There's no restore from the saved game in The Sims. That's it. That person is now dead or in some versions of the Sims, they later show up as a ghost. I mean, it's very. So there comes a point where it's like, I wonder what what happened? didn't train them in any skills? And And what if I didn't clean up any of the garbage that they don't seem to know how to throw away? What would happen? You know, and these there are things like scenarios where they you know, you read a headline on the Drudge Report where you know, police find house with 37 cats, and you know, six pile six, six foot piles of feces. And it's like, well, that's horrible in real life, But that's, that's, I wonder what would happen if I did that to assume what if I build a house with no doors? (laughter/crosstalk) Or put two people in there and just did nothing because you can do hands off and not interact with the Sims at all, which is kind of what he does. Once he sets it in motion. It's another starting point. And then he just doesn't touch it. Yeah. And yeah, it's it's mayhem ensues. And well, he takes that to like,

Ricky Grove:

another level. But you know what? It occurs to me that the cue that he gives the viewer to see it as comedy is when he brings in the Grim Reaper Don't you think? Because before you could say well, this is just really cool, you know, and there's Why should I watch this thing's cool book with any brings in the Grim Reaper, who he also forces to go down.

Phil Rice:

The Grim Reaper is actually a non player character that that the game generates when it's time for a character to die when they leave the game.

Ricky Grove:

Oh I didn't know that, I didn't know that.

Phil Rice:

Yeah there was one point in this movie where one of the characters had died in his 1000 mile maze. And so the Grim Reaper shows up to take care of them. And then you realize the Grim Reaper has to walk the 1000 miles to get to them. and yeah, you could hear him laughing at that and I left with that. Oh, just crazy. So an unusual pick for me because I tend to I tend to lean more towards I'm a fan of narrative stuff you know, I appreciate artistic films and abstract stuff but you know what you really get me is with good story. This has no good story. Or if it doesn't have a story it's not a good story. You know, this is bad. This is great a pleasure machinima for me and I i immensely enjoyed it and ended up going down a rabbit hole on his YouTube channel watching just incredible, absurd and and hilarious high jinks. So I hope I hope some of you enjoy it. With with the disclaimers that I think we've put in place.

Tracy Harwood:

This week we thought we'd catch up with what happened at SIGGRAPH Asia in December. Our listeners will probably be aware that SIGGRAPH is an annual conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques. The main annual event takes place in the US and has been running since 1974. SIGGRAPH Asia is a second annual conference that has been running since 2008 in countries throughout Asia. In December 2020, it was held online and included its first dedicated game track, although it had of course previously covered games in other tracks. The new game track was chaired by Ricard Gras. Now for those of you with long memories Ricard has a machinima background. He was part of the influential AMAS Europe team. His film "Silver Bells and Golden Spurs," which was filmed in Second Life won a Mackie for Best Commercial Machinima back in 2006. And you can read more about that in Henry Lowood and Michael Nitsche's Machinima Reader. He was also my technical advisor on the Machinima Europe Festival in 2007 and we've been friends ever since. So, this is a great chance to discuss the latest developments in games covered at SIGGRAPH Asia with a machinima hat on too. So Ricard, welcome to the podcast, it's great to have a chance to talk to you. I was gonna ask, do you want to talk a little bit about what you've been doing since 2007?

Ricard Gras:

It's a long time ago. To summarize, thanks for the intro, thanks for the opportunity. It's just great to continue to be in touch, not just with you personally, but also with with the community. So it's been quite a long way in terms of work. The one thing perhaps that would summarize it all is that like many, many of those who have started somehow doing machinima at an artistic or academic level, we ended up in the commercial world. And that's what I did, I started with using kind of, out of the box standard games, I then jumped into virtual worlds such as Second Life, which connected me with the opportunities brought to us by the commercial sector, marketing agencies, research institutions, and then ended up kind of taking on larger, larger projects. And then I joined a company that does a lot of those, including a lot of motion capture on the large side as well. But that's it. I am and I have continued to be in touch with machinima, though, as I said, at a more commercial level.

Tracy Harwood:

Yeah. And that's great. I know you've recently won a grant as well, do you want to tell us a little bit about that? That's a very exciting project.

Ricard Gras:

What it did do is just that, I guess that's in parallel to my work with machinima. One of the things that I have been doing is getting into virtual reality. Once again, as many of us like, you know, rest in peace, Hugh Hancock, who was very interested in that area as well. And I think it's a natural evolution. I think that the fact that you know, you went into machinima and you start playing with the language of video games and the language of film, and then you I think, by default, you have an understanding and relationship with the audience that is very unique, because you know that usually, those who enter machinima and watch machinima know the game that they're watching on screen. So my point is that, that is part and parcel of VR, that understanding of the audience and the way how they interact with content. And, and it is only natural that as I said, some of us ended up there. So I would use my time at work to do a PhD in immersive media. And one of the things that I wanted to do is explore how life experiences can happen in virtual reality. And I won an award to conduct the research, which basically allows what I call hosts to let you kind of manage the space and also manage audiences in live scenarios within 3D virtual worlds or otherwise.

Tracy Harwood:

And when do we get to play with this?

Ricard Gras:

I don't know. It is research at the moment, so I have completed it and it looks good, apparently. The evaluation is fine. But now is when development should go somewhere. Yes.

Tracy Harwood:

Excellent. Well, I look forward to having a look at this. Let's go back to SIGGRAPH then because as I said that you were Chair of the the games section this year, which is a really exciting role to have taken on. What games did you feature, and how do they help people make machinima?

Ricard Gras:

So the opportunity was, I mean, Jinny Choo, the conference organiser said, this is a new program. So what do you think we should do. I was given the chance to take on that which is a huge responsibility, for many reasons. But the key problem the key challenge that came to mind is to try and portray the diversity of the games industry in just three talks. So it is practically impossible to cover everything that's going on in eSports and mobile and so on. But I did choose Naughty Dog, the company that's behind The Last of Us 2. And I think that that game, is not just that it's critically acclaimed, but also by audiences too, it is so beautiful. It reminds me of a lot of the work that he did with GTA back in the day and I think is ideal for machinima. So machinima was part of that program, but in kind of a parallel way. Unity was invited to deliver the workshops and of course, one of the key parts of my program was inviting the guys behind the Unreal Fellowship. And perhaps I'm not sure if I should explain what it is. But to me it was the the one thing that is directly tied with the machinima community, and that is a very, very exciting thing that is going on in the games industry right now.

Tracy Harwood:

And what were their thoughts about where machinima is going? Well, they call it virtual production, don't they?

Ricard Gras:

Well the thing that I think is, I mean, technically speaking, we're probably talking about the same thing. But virtual production, let's not forget that it is as much about developing 100% 3D content, but it's also about hybrid stuff. So in other words, you would bring in the actors and the background would be virtual. But never mind, the process is very similar, the way how you would develop assets and move assets or think about camera angles, and so on, is very, very similar to machinima. But there is one thing that I think in terms of looking ahead, and it doesn't matter where this goes. But there's something about machinima which is quite unique, understood in the old school sense, which is that when you do a machinima and use an existing game, you immediately tap into the pop element of that game and how it plays in the minds of audiences. I think that's something that virtual production will never never achieve.

Tracy Harwood:

Yeah, I agree with you.

Ricard Gras:

And as much as I think it's a wonderful thing to the point that I invited these guys to the panel to the to be one of the keynotes in within the program.

Tracy Harwood:

So with the mega... is it mega grants? Or the little grants that we're talking about there.

Ricard Gras:

It's called the Unreal Fellowship, they give 10,000 US dollars and a month worth of training to anybody wanting to learn about how to use Unreal for virtual production.

Tracy Harwood:

And are they sort of looking at indie creators primarily and just upskilling? And if they are, what are they looking to do with the people that go through the fellowship program?

Ricard Gras:

So you mentioned, they have another program called the Megagrants.

Tracy Harwood:

Yeah, I was getting confused there, sorry.

Ricard Gras:

No, it's good, it's good to say that, obviously, Epic are committed to supporting the indie game developers, and that is a very, very strong, very powerful, very big, grand scheme. The Unreal Fellowship, it is, just to answer your question, is very, very much about diversity. So when I had Linda Sellheim and Brian Pohl, who are the people behind this program. And they made a point about explaining that they wanted professionals because they had a few Oscar winning people in their program as much as indies from other types of industries as well. Like they had some people from the theater world, some traditional directors of photography. So it's a very exciting mix. And I would recommend and encourage anybody to have a go. But of course, they give you 10K for one month training. So it's pretty competitive.

Phil Rice:

To hear the full interview with Ricard. Check out our blog at completelymachinima.com.

Ricky Grove:

Ben's going to tell us a little bit about machinima history. What happened in March in machinima history. What do you got for us today, then?

Ben Grussi:

Well, history that is one of those things where when you look at it on the surface, it's like, oh, that's not much. But when you look at it, how far it really goes back. You're like, Oh, my God, what have I been missing? So in March, a lot of things is going on that, for example, in March was a milestone for some books notable machinima in the past with Peter Rasmussen's "Killer Robot," that it was being prepared for a DVD release in March. The release date wasn't announced then. But it came to be very popular at the time. Another one was "Anna," done by Fountainhead Entertainment that Phil mentioned last podcast, had reached its 50,000 download threshold, which is very good. Also, we had a article in The New York Times in the way "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" and how it was made. It was also told by the creator that it machinima was the medium was an absolute inspiration for him to create "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" all by himself, and the team that was able to bring it to fruition. So a lot of press was going on at the time. You know, the Boston Globe also was talking about the premiere of Game Over that was on the UPN network. And also the collaboration that the Game Over team was also dealing with Fountainhead Entertainment where they were trying to use the machine machine animator tool to do a tie in with the show, calling it Game Over Machinimation software that was released along with the show's debut. So again, there's a intersecting of trying to cultivate machinima in a different form with the mainstream but also show like with the modding community that it is possible that you can take your IP and allow it to grow naturally with the community at large if you are so inclined to go that route. So your fanboys in your fangirls can, you know go to the next step and the next level of your devotion by creating your own little shows using the assets from the show in that context. Another article that was mentioned right at the end of the month is the Animation World Network also talks about machinima and also has quotes from Hugh Hancock, Katherine Anna King, Jake Hughes, Paul Marino, Frank Dellario, and others and a lot of pictures to explain the story that's going on and also one of Strange Company's projects that was on the on the production line, but unfortunately never was released was a rogue farm film that Hugh was doing with Antics. It was one of Those films that they were trying to do with the Antics software package that was just being announced. And he was trying to definitely incorporate it into his work because they he was planning to remake "Eschaton," with that software to try and give it a, you know, remake and just a redo. But again, unfortunately, that project didn't go past a screenshot that we saw publicly other than, again, back then, the possibilities of anything, you know, we're very lucky to say anything is possible. And anything that was announced was like, we never thought that would happen. So you know, it's very good that stuff like that, at that time, was just really cultivating the community to wonder what what could happen next.

Ricky Grove:

Thanks, Ben.

Phil Rice:

Ricky, earlier, you mentioned that a lot of I can't remember what the exact stat was, when you were talking about VR. And you mentioned that a lot of that is done on a mobile device somehow, which I had. We were running a little long on time. So I didn't want to ask you about that then. But maybe I will off off mic. But it, it reminded me of a topic that we've been meaning to discuss. And that is, can you make machinima on a mobile device, you know, on a cell phone or an iPad? And is it even possible to do that nowadays? You know, if you were to ask, several years ago, the answer would be Well, no. But nowadays, it's, you know, is this. Is this even possible? And if so, is it? Is it something that's kind of a missing part of the many, many machinima creation possibilities? What are you guys thoughts?

Ricky Grove:

Well, I did a lot of research on this. And I was not successful in finding tools or games that were designed for mobile cell phone platform or iPad platform that were machinima friendly. I thought at least say roadblocks would have something on there, but they don't. Is it possible? Yes, it is because you have screen recording software. So you could take a game and then record the screen and go back and record other parts of it and create a film but being able to create a real machinima film that has a variety of camera perspectives. I couldn't find anything that would allow you to do that. So it was pretty frustrating and surprising to me when I saw that 90% of the steam VR was all done on mobile. Unfortunately, that was only data to me, I didn't get to follow that up to find out what what tools they were using in order to create the VR. I suspect it's all 360 video focused. But I don't know. That would make sense.

Phil Rice:

I know that years ago, and this is at least 10 years ago, Moviestorm dabbled with the idea of a mobile version of their app. I won't assume everyone listening knows what Moviestorm is. But Moviestorm was a platform similar to iClone kind of more infused with a Sims aesthetic, if you will. And you could basically script and sequence animations together and get characters to do this and that and and then set your camera angles independently, and then render out the footage. So it's basically a machinima creation tool without the video game. It's just running in that kind of engine. And they made a mobile version. What was what was supposed to be mobile version of that. And I tried it. But it was, of course not, not the robust platform of the original, very, very, for lack of a better word dumbed down, and very template based. So it would do things like well, you can take a photo of your face, and then it will put that photo on some kind of a flat faced character. And then you maybe pick from a menu, a certain sequence of animations, and then it will render it out. Well, there's nothing really about that's machinima. Frankly,

Damien Valentine:

I'm a veteran as well, because I was using the desktop version of Moviestorm for web projects at the time, and I thought, having a mobile version would be great, because if I'm on a train or something, I can still work on whatever I was working on and transfer it to the desktop. Of course, that wasn't an actual feature.

Phil Rice:

No, it didn't tie in at all. I was hoping for the same thing. Damien. Yeah.

Damien Valentine:

And of course, I was using mods as well for all the content I was using for the sci fi settings. And there's no way to put that on to the iPad either. So I tried it, but I didn't actually make anything that I've worked with want to share with it.

Tracy Harwood:

Would you think you'd be better off asking what part of the machinima process can be done on a mobile like you know, you can do a bit of mocap potentially you can maybe record gameplay footage without tweaking it as such, maybe just play the game and record it. Or you can do any voice acting.

Phil Rice:

Yeah, you know, with the right microphone Yeah, there's there's some decent recording apps that work on mobile that for at least capturing sound you a good microphones a must. I think I don't think there's any of the phones that that are going to give a satisfactory experience. But then again, if you're on a minimal budget, you can certainly do it.

Damien Valentine:

It's gonna sound really bizarre. I went to a men's room once. And it sounded like Sounds Sounds like a spaceship launch. This is the weirdest flush sound I've ever heard. I thought I want to record this and use it in a video. Because it didn't sound it sounded like a spaceship. So I I waited to finish and I got my phone and I recorded it. Doing it again. I hope no one was waiting outside. And I know it's just gonna it's gonna sound like it was recorded on the phone. But that's what I had with me because it wasn't anywhere near home. Like I could run back and get my mic and then do anything. Sure. But yeah, I used it and no one had any clue that it was a it was a toilet flush.

Phil Rice:

Oh, that's awesome.

Ricky Grove:

Well, maybe that's a question we need to throw out to the listeners.

Phil Rice:

Absolutely.

Ricky Grove:

Let us know if you know anything about if you know of any machinima that's been made on an iPad or an iPhone? Or if you know applications that you that are games that have been put on either platform. Let us know about that. I mean, yeah, at least idiots here we don't know what the hell we're doing.

Phil Rice:

Well, let's move on to our second topic then. Yeah. Okay, so you can make game based machinima and you can make machinima with tools like unity or I clone unreal so the question is why make games machinima when you can use those other tools? what's what's the appeal there?

Tracy Harwood:

Surely the the most obvious reason for staying with the game is that you want to use the the game as part of the story arc. So you're, you know, you're extending what you're seeing in the game, you're using the cultural context of the game and and why recreate it, you would just extend extend that arc in a new way. That's got to be the main reason Surely,

Phil Rice:

it is for me. Absolutely. The truth is a good video game. an immersive video game inspires auxilary storytelling. The other one I would think another would be ease. Yeah, sometimes sometimes. I look back on on some processes that I've had making machinima in games and I don't know that ease is a word that would come to mind but you know compared to like what Leo must have had to do to make beast cobbling a lot of that stuff from scratch because he had the skill to do so. You know, that's to me that that versus recording you know, engineering some gameplay scenarios within let's say Grand Theft Auto and and stitching those into a narrative. That's a much easier process for for me. So I think a lot of that is there's a balancing act there. Of course, it's not all about being easy. But But machinima is a big part of machinima is that it's, it can be done in a reasonable time. And that's not just how fast it gets rendered. But also how fast you can you can work overall. And game based machinima does have some some big advantages there a lot of times.

Ricky Grove:

Here's a good example. (Alex) Chan, who made "French Democracy." Yeah. Which is just beautifully covered in your book, by the way, Tracy, Pioneers of Machinima, fantastic. But here's an example a kid really doesn't have any filmmaking skills. But he's got an important message. He's got to get out. He's got to say this thing about what's happening around him. The riots that were occurring in France at the time. So he uses the movies, he creates this film, which, you know, if you look at it as a film, it's not really well made at all. There are a lot of problems with it. But that's not the point. He was able to put it together and what what was it two days three days Tracy it was and get it out and it became a signal event. And people Wall Street Journal's writing about it. Washington Post was writing about it. Yeah, this whole future of his life was changed based on this film, and he was able to do it fast. And and the idea was the point? And so that's what machinima does. The the quick speed of being able to put together an idea, a personal essay. I here's another example, the young woman at the beginning when you first arrive at City 17, and half life two, she's at the gate. She's on the other side of the chain link fence, and she's saying, did you see? Did you see?

Phil Rice:

She's waiting for somebody, right?

Ricky Grove:

Was there anybody else on the train? I want to tell you I've had dreams about that woman. Games create a fictional world in much the same way that novels did. Before the game world that Tolkien created a world in which world building in which you everything connects the verisimilitude of the of all the parts come together in such a way that you actually live inside of that world in your imagination. So why not make stories from that? particular dry stories, applying them to work flow with a bunch 20 people who are all set up and you lay it? I mean, yeah, you could do that. But machinima isn't about that sort of professional workflow. It's about getting an idea working with your friends, your feeling? community, that's what it comes down to. Basically, don't you think it's a community? share that you you you steer your films towards? You work with, you criticize each other, you learn from? I'm sure "The Ship" inspired many machinima filmmakers to think about how they could take their the game and we repurpose it in ways that they hadn't thought of before. So that's the key reason why you want to keep making machinima. Yeah, I'm surprised there aren't that many people that do work in Unity and Unreal, because it has all of the things that you want in machinima, Paul Marino sat down and listed everything that an ideal machinima application should have Unreal has them all. Unity has them all. But it doesn't have that community. It doesn't have that game world that you can step into automatically. It is a game engine. It's like the car with the engine with no personality to it at all. At least that's my take.

Phil Rice:

Well said.

Tracy Harwood:

Yeah, I think it also comes down to the story you want to tell, doesn't it? If only a small part of that game world is in? is in your story? would you use it then? Or would you go to another set of tools? That's, you know, I don't know, I think some of the stories you see are made with a little bit of a game, but a large proportion of something else.

Damien Valentine:

I was gonna say, thinking about the film's we were discussing earlier on the Hamilton incident. So that was made in Elite Dangerous, and it's set in that world. And so they could, in theory, tell that story in something like iClone, but then you've got the, you don't have to put the effort into animating the ships and all the engines and all the dust that goes from the rover driving around and building the surface of the planet, and the base, the Explorer, and all that kind of stuff. Whereas by using Elite Dangerous, which has, it's already in the world, he wants to tell the story in the contents already there. All he's got to do is fly his spaceship to the location. And then he can fly the space around. It takes that length of time. And it's, it's all right where he wants it to be. And why goes to the trouble of learning iPhone, and how to replicate the look of Elite Dangerous when he can just use the game. exactly as it is.

Phil Rice:

Sure.

Ricky Grove:

Well put

Tracy Harwood:

I mean, the only other you know, the reason why you wouldn't and this was I mean, I remember having conversations with Hugh about this is when you want to think about commercializing the outcome. I mean, that was always you know, one of the big reasons why you would never use a game engine. I'm not sure that's quite as true as it was. Because there are different monetizing models now through through advertising, as we've seen over you know, a good number of years but that was always you know, I think I remember a conversation with Hugh saying, you know, would would you still make machinima if you had the the tools that you have access to now and he said, I would never even touch the games to make the films that I want to make now. Because I know that I can't sell them. And so that was a real disappointment to him because he wanted to, to use the kind of game stetic but just couldn't make it work for, for the stories that you wanted to tell. Is that a good enough? Excuse?

Ricky Grove:

Yes. I don't know, you know, the whole for profit thing. That's part of the reason why I think Rooster Teeth went off and really wasn't a part of the community. In any significant way. I think I only met Bernie once. And I just, they were in a whole different world, creating a television studio and everything. I think, most machinima filmmakers are not into that at all. They're, they want to make these things because it's a matter of personal expression. Hugh wanted to be a filmmaker, and he found that he couldn't do filmmaking in the real world because it was too difficult and too costly. Plus, you had to get any entry point there was entry difficulty. Did he want to be a PA for 15 years before he got an opportunity to work on a camera? And then maybe somebody that you know, he didn't? Well, he wanted to make movies right now. And he saw that possibility and jumped into it. I think he's a...

Phil Rice:

More than that, too. He wanted. He wanted to tell *his* story,

Ricky Grove:

Hmm, yes.

Phil Rice:

And, you know, probably better than any of his rookie how it works with, with Hollywood how, how often is it that some that the guy who conceives the story that that's what ends up happening by the time it goes through the grist mill, you know

Ricky Grove:

Yeah, it's a whole different world

Phil Rice:

...through committee. And and yeah, it's, it's, and I think he saw that and said, Well, I'm not going to do that with some of the, with these stories that are really important to me. And also, these are big stories, big productions. So I need to figure out a way to pay myself not because I lust after money, but because I won't be able to finish these if I can devote myself to them pretty much full time. Yes, where the pressure comes to bear is, it's not just about, hey, I want to be Steven Spielberg and live in a mansion in Malibu, it's, there's only so much time in a day.

Ricky Grove:

That's right.

Phil Rice:

And money is, has a correlation to time. So if I want to spend as much of my life time doing this, I need to be able to eat while doing it

Ricky Grove:

and pay the bills.

Phil Rice:

I think very much. That's what was at the heart of Hugh's drive for that commercialism, if you will, it's not a term he embraced it all or liked. In fact, a lot of his activism was, was very much against that way of thinking. But ultimately, when you brass tacks, that's what commercialism is, it's, you know, paying your bills with it, you know, and he's very much lifestyle, even if, for him, I think it didn't have anything to do with mansions or, or sports cars, you know, he would have been perfectly happy living in a little flat with hot water, and a stove. And his computer. You know, that was the dream, if he could get to tell his own stories in his way. And I think a lot of people do relate to that part of it. But it is hard. It's it's hard when, when it comes to try and turn that corner and do this for income boy, it's, there's some really tough considerations that come into play in it. It makes it very difficult.

Ricky Grove:

I have a theory. And my theory is that after Machinima Inc. died, its ignominious death, suicide, I think the notion of machinima became less enticing and interesting to a lot of people. And I think what substituted for it what what technology took over was the ability to actually make games, Independent Games, the platform, Unity in particular began this ability for non professionals to create fully realized games. And I think the energy that was steered towards machinima moved towards actual game making. At least that's a theory that I have. And I think in that sense, it left machinima with less of a cultural impetus, you know, because why should I make a movie when I can make an entire game and I can be entirely inside of this entirely then the whole market for cell phone games through NDB just exploded. And you could make all sorts of interesting things relative with no no knowledge of code. So it was fast in the same way that machinima is fast. So I think some of the the impetus for making machinima moved into game making and then into those games. Why should I go to The game to make films because of the rights issues. Well, I can just do it inside of unity. Now I can make a cutscene inside of unity. And that's my. That's my machinima. But I think the rights issues have improved dramatically today from where they were many years ago. And I think people making machinima today can get into a game engine and resolve the rights issues, because there's a channel created to be able to do that today. Whereas in the past, I remember having a conversation with Paul Marino once and, you know, he was in the Academy of Machinima Arts and Sciences, and he was going to various game companies trying to get them to create models for rights issues. And when I asked him, Well, well, hey, how successful were you? He says, well, there's one company. Unreal is kind of interested. That was it. I mean, of all of the game companies he approached they were the only ones now that that whole landscape is completely different. So I think...

Phil Rice:

ironically, unreal, led the way on it, I think.

Ricky Grove:

Yes, yes. And so the impetus to make machinima is still there. And I think it's growing and I think like Tracy said, we're gonna have another peak in it. But I think that's part of the explanation for why people have moved towards moved away from machinima and move towards cutscenes and game creation.

Tracy Harwood:

But I still like game based machinima.

Ricky Grove:

Me too. Very much so.

Damien Valentine:

And me.

Phil Rice:

Me too.

Ricky Grove:

I'm working on one right now inside of Roblox for a little promo for completely machinima. It's a lot of fun

Phil Rice:

I'm working on one right now in Red Dead Redemption to about two friends who get murdered by a drifter. All right, so we'd like to just again, remind everyone listening that we really crave your feedback. We've created several different ways for you to get that feedback to us. They're all listed on our website, email, text us on the phone, voicemail, drop a line in discord or on Facebook, we're going to be listening everywhere we can. We'd love to hear what you think of this show. If there's a topic that was brought up today that you want to add something to or correct us on, because Ricky makes a lot of mistakes. And we'd we'd be happy to, to hear that. So Ricky, why don't you tell us a little bit about what to expect in the next episode?

Ricky Grove:

Yep, Episode Three is going to have M dot Strange is our interviewee and perhaps another one as well. We're going to talk about his Nightmare Puppeteer, why he made it, how we put it together, how it's doing the feedback at Steam, Steam has a really great support for its game makers. And a lot of people have commented on I also want to check with him to see how people have used it. So we're going to talk to him, we're going to have four new crazy films. And we're going to have a bunch of news. And also we're going to continue the saga the Vichysoise brothers as they continue on with their claim to fame. And but what we've most importantly, we really want to get feedback from you guys about what we're doing so we can gear our, our content towards you and find things that you that you were interested in. But it should be a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to it next month.

Phil Rice:

Me too. Thank you all for listening and thank the three of you for meeting here with me today. This is this has been great and I look forward to the next one already.

Ricky Grove:

happy to talk to you.

Damien Valentine:

pleasure as always

Tracy Harwood:

great talking to you. Thank you very much.

Phil Rice:

Music credits - see show notes.

Cold Open / Introduction
Machinima News
Sponsor / Skit
Films of the Month
Interview: Ricard Gras
March Machinima History
Group Discussion