And Now For Something Completely Machinima

Completely Machinima 4.3 Discussion Topics May 2021

May 20, 2021 Ricky Grove and Phil Rice Season 4 Episode 3
And Now For Something Completely Machinima
Completely Machinima 4.3 Discussion Topics May 2021
Ricky on SciFi in Machinima
Tracy on Scifi in Machinima
Phil on SciFi in Machinima
Phil on BioShock
Damien on Babylon 5 series same gender love
Tracy on Peter Rasmussen
Ricky's List of great scifi machinima
Damien on good games for scifi machinima
Tracy on AI based restoration of video. Should we restore old machinima films?
Phil on old games and restoration
Ricky on Microsoft 3D filmmaker and the Gman actor
And Now For Something Completely Machinima
Completely Machinima 4.3 Discussion Topics May 2021
May 20, 2021 Season 4 Episode 3
Ricky Grove and Phil Rice

And Now For Something Completely Machinima is a podcast devoted to machinima (movies made in game engines). This month (May 2021) we are splitting our 4th podcast into four sections which will post once a week: Machinima News (May 6), Machinima Films (May 13), Machinima Discussion (May 20) along with several interviews which we will publish separately throughout the month. 

Episode 4 was produced by Damien Valentine who is joined by hosts Ricky Grove, Phil Rice, and Tracy Harwood.

Contact and Feedback for this show:

Two questions for the group - one, why has science fiction been such a popular genre for machinima, and two, what are some of the game platforms that are available for scifi machinima creation. Also, Ricky shares a list of great scifi machinima.

See the chapter markers for timestamps (above)












Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

And Now For Something Completely Machinima is a podcast devoted to machinima (movies made in game engines). This month (May 2021) we are splitting our 4th podcast into four sections which will post once a week: Machinima News (May 6), Machinima Films (May 13), Machinima Discussion (May 20) along with several interviews which we will publish separately throughout the month. 

Episode 4 was produced by Damien Valentine who is joined by hosts Ricky Grove, Phil Rice, and Tracy Harwood.

Contact and Feedback for this show:

Two questions for the group - one, why has science fiction been such a popular genre for machinima, and two, what are some of the game platforms that are available for scifi machinima creation. Also, Ricky shares a list of great scifi machinima.

See the chapter markers for timestamps (above)












Computer Voice  0:01  
And now for something completely machinima.

Damien  0:08  
Welcome back to another second machinima with continuing our space and sci fi themed, and in this particular episode, we're going to be having some discussions about machinima. But I thought we'd start off with talking about the cinema and sci fi has always been a big part of machinima seems to be a very popular theme, people making sure to use it in their creations. So why do you think that is?

Ricky Grove  0:38  
Well, one of the obvious reasons is that science fiction, partially due to the Star Wars effect became a major genre. And it was right around the times when game development was starting to happen, rolling into the 80s. And then in the 90s, the subsequent success of the Star Wars series made it a natural for video games. And that made it so popular that people thought, well, we need to do other science fiction video games. And the gaming world has always had a strong element of science fiction to begin with, because it's technology oriented. And technology is one of the major themes of science fiction, its impact on culture, its impact on race, its impact on gender, and politics. So it's natural that machinima filmmakers would latch on to games that have science fiction themes, and their machinima would be science fiction themed as well. But we had some developments Doom itself is a science fiction element with a game with elements of horror added to it. quake is the same kind of thing. You're in a science fiction world. A science fiction duels that started the beginning of machinima were things that you could see in literature in science fiction literature. Also, a major impact was valves, half life series, which had some of the most incredible popular popularity amongst gamers. And then people started making all sorts of interesting Half Life machinima films. So science fiction has always been an important aspect of gaming and therefore, machinima as well as some of my very favorite machinima films, or science fiction films. After we do our initial round of comments, I've made a short informed a quick and formal list of some of the most important science fiction machinima films that I'll share with you guys.

Damien  2:42  
Looking forward to hearing that?

Phil  2:43  
I was just gonna say helmets appeal. But but in seriousness, you know, I mean, Halo was a easy entry point for machinima for a number of reasons, but I mean, certainly one that made production easier was not having to worry about lip sync, you know, with  with the helmet there that, you know, they would emote through body movement, there was no worry about facial expression. No worry about lip sync course at the time. machinima made another game engines didn't have lip sync, generally speaking, it was too damn hard, you know, or just not possible at all. And so the only way people could pull it off would be to use a post production tool like reallusion is crazy talk. Which can you know add mouth and facial movement to a still image? But I mean, that's that's technically very challenging to to implement that. The degree of skill that let's say, right, Leah Lucien Bay did in beast he used to talk for the mouth movement on that. But yeah, I think that the film that we watched of Damien's this month the the Star Wars one helmets, how much production time to debt, save them in that? And does it save the guys who make the real Clone Wars series and those types of things that you know, it's a lot easier, a lot less stuff to worry about when you don't have to worry about the face. And that's not a criticism. It's just it's just a fact it's just easier. So now of course there are a lot of games now that make that easier to contend with, I think, probably the first and foremost leader in that regard was valve, the Source engine with the Source Filmmaker and Garry's Mod and those toolkits, that the ability to animate those types of things in game to where things like you remember Paul Marino's still seeing Breen that music And there was, you know, the ability to do very good facial animation and lip sync. That, of course, a sci fi game as well. So anyway, so I've kind of meant it like half as a joke is a rub to, to, to what Halo sometimes gets criticized for, but but there's also some truth to it.

Damien  5:23  
I think you're right there because there's a reason ccpn stormtroopers are my favorite cactus animates in my head

Ricky Grove  5:31  
for that matter. Yeah.

Tracy Harwood  5:35  
I guess it's also it's also the cases is it not that you know you because games and game engines provide that kind of extended window on to pure fantasy and and escapers story worlds that you know, you're never going to achieve the same kind of immersive experience in film and theatrical plays, because you've got real physics to deal with. So it's harder to create that sort of suspension of disbelief, is it mean?

Phil  6:12  
Well, I think that and also the fact that and maybe this is kind of what you are getting at tutoring with, with sci fi and fantasy worlds. There's, if you're telling a story set within today's, you know, modern world or even as a specific historical period, there are certain conventions, you're expected to follow certain rules that you can't break, you know, anachronisms and whatnot, that you and you know, there's certain things that aren't possible. In sci fi, and in some, some forms of fantasy, well, anything's possible, really, you can, you can make anything happen. And the only rule you have to follow usually, is to make it consistent within the world you've made there. So if, if in the Star Wars world, you can go through hyperspace and end up somewhere and you know, nobody has lost any time and grown an extra beard or whatever, then that's the Star Wars universe. And as long as you don't break that convention, then then it works. You know, and I think sci fi offers a lot of freedom to, to, to either break the rules or write new rules about what's possible. And now, first of all, that's fun. That's I think that's the problem. That's been an appeal of science fiction, since before there was ever movies. You know, I think even in writing science fiction, that's one of the great joys of that genre is that freedom to just really branch and, and explore new things. The other thing that I think is, is great about sci fi as a storytelling medium is what I think what Gene Roddenberry did with the Star Trek series, perfectly illustrates this, and that is you can talk about pretty sensitive, political or, you know, certain themes that would be really uncomfortable to talk about, if it was set in the modern world. But you would see, it's not a truck show, even in the 1960s when and sometimes to great controversy, you know, issues related to race or ethnicity or to some degree gender as well, that he could explore those and, and push messages, you know, because Gene Roddenberry had had a pretty specific view of the world of what he thought we could be as a species. And that show was a vehicle to, to put that out there as a message, you know, but it wasn't nearly as offensive as you know, a preacher getting up and get delivering that as a sermon, you need to do this, and you shouldn't do that. Well, essentially, that's that's what was coming through in the messages of Star Trek, but it was delivered with such craft. And yes, in this package that just made it really enjoyable to watch that, you know, you sit back in your chair and go, Well, alright, maybe I will listen to this. Hmm. This is interesting. And I think sci fi has always had that power. And yeah, the great sci fi authors and the great sci fi directors are the ones who really, I think, maximize that opportunity to that, frankly, I don't know that Star Wars, that that was really what George Lucas was about when he did it. You know, I think we alluded to it in some earlier discussions of Star Wars that he really kind of wanted to step back a bit and just have fun and make it an enjoyable, fun experience. And you know what the world needs that too. Yeah. Yeah. I think one of the strengths of sci fi is when you use it for a vehicle for something else. I mean, A doctor who television shows specially in the last 10 years has been, I would say with maybe not the greatest effect. They've been pushing the limits of just how much preaching can you get away with in a sci fi show, you know, and not really tick off people. But I love that they're trying that, you know, and there's no, there's no better vehicle for, for trying those things and trying to change minds. that's ultimately what people using sci fi for that reason you're trying to do. Yep, breathing.

Ricky Grove  10:27  
I think that that's a key thing that you said, the difference between polemics and message, not from Western Union. But as part of the part of the story, right. I recently reread for a project that I'm working on to HG Wells, novels, war, the worlds and time machine. And I started and almost finished with a biography of HG Wells, because I was trying to understand his background as a, as a person and as a scientist. And he was caught up in a time at the end of the Victorian age in which science of evolution, physics, sociology, had all made major impacts on culture. And he wanted to write about that. But he didn't want to write an essay that everybody else was writing, he wanted to write a story that would reflect those ideas, hence, more of the worlds and time machine, which on rereading are as fresh as they have ever been, for me, as fresh as they have ever been. But this time, I have the knowledge, the background knowledge of what he was trying to do with that, the points he was trying to make, and it made it enrich the reading experience this time. Now, if you flash all the way forward to Doctor Who, Star Trek, as you mentioned, they're not trying to, if you come away from watching it, excited and happy about the strange and interesting experience in outer space. And oh, wow, wasn't that alien interesting at all, while Dr. Spock handle this, but at the same time, you're getting this interesting message about outsiders, outsiders are unfairly kept outside of wood, that we should be more empathetic towards them, that women that that, that people who have a different color should not be looked at and the way they have been traditionally, science fiction was a way to open all of those things in our society that were repressed that we could couldn't talk about openly, but we can do it in the form of the science fiction, themes and science fiction situations. And it's still that way. today. I read 10 novels from the 1960s. Science Fiction, American science fiction, not too long ago, discovered the big schism between the old fashioned folks who were trying to recreate the pulp values, which were women have to know their place, women are either mothers or sex objects. There's a class system, people have wealth are more important than people who don't have wealth. And the new wave science fiction which which is addressing all of those issues, about politics have and have nots about gender, about our futures in space about technology. And it was clear that there was a battle between the two going on, and neither side actually won that battle. But the two strands have gone off that still exists in our society today. And I love the fact that games have have followed that same narrative as well. You have some games that pose the traditional structure for some old old guy science fiction for men, women know their place, and new games in which we deal. Look at half life. Half Life is a game in which you play a terrorist in a society. What How many times have you been put in the role of being the anarchist and I know you're the hero who's fighting the anarchists in a science fiction game. So all of that politics were so suddenly there, you know, in games, and I think in a lot of machinima films, the people that picked up on those things reflected them in the films that they were creating. So I think science fiction has had a big impact on machinima.

Phil  14:37  
Another name that comes to mind that does that Ricky is Bioshock Oh, yeah, several series of it. But the first one in particular. Maybe a little heavy handed at times even but it was. It was a response against the popular iron Rand philosophies. Of how society should be run and the kind of capitalism that she espoused. And this game basically starts from the premise of in a sci fi context of what if we let that come to pass? Exactly as you know, these people say that they want that society to be what would that look like? On the other side of it? having fallen? Oh, it's just brilliantly done. Yeah. Again, a little heavy handed But still, I think effective and the passion of the the guys who wrote and developed that really come through. It's and you don't have to

Ricky Grove  15:35  
know anything about Ayn Rand now in order to enjoy that game. Yeah, that's

Tracy Harwood  15:41  
absolutely agree.

Ricky Grove  15:42  
And it's an exploration of a utopia failed utopia. Yeah. Which is another central theme of science fiction. No.

Phil  15:50  
Yeah. Either, either. You know, because I feel like that. That Gene Roddenberry's worldview, Star Trek as a whole kind of gives this sense of that some kind of utopian galactic society is possible. And maybe at the time of Star Trek, they're not quite there, but there's certainly a lot closer to it than we are, you know, that's the implication there. Yeah. But then yeah, but then the whole dystopian genre deals with the fact that that's never going to work. And here's why, you know, and with various, various theories for that, and I think these are like really, really, really important things. For us as people as a people to deal with these ideas, you know, that they must be wrestled with, I would much rather than be wrestled with, in some heavy handed sci fi than in human experiments. Where lives are at stake, you know, it's it's, it's valuable to explore, for lack of a better word, dangerous ideas. In the world of sci fi and fantasy, I think it's very valuable. And essential.

Damien  17:00  
I can add a little personal story here is one of the shows I watched, and I was younger, was Babylon five. And there was a theme between two characters, Commander vanover, the telepath Italia winters, and it was very heavily suggested that they were attracted to each other, and there could be a romance there. But what happened is the actress playing Talia winters wants to leave the show, because she wasn't happy. Not getting her part of the story yet. So she eventually left. But I remember when it was revealed that they had feelings for each other. That was the first time I was aware that two people with same gender could have that attraction to each other. Because I was very young at the time, I had never experienced this before. And the way they portrayed it was the drama was not because there were two women. But because Tony was a telepath and Ivanova hated telecast because she blamed telepaths for the death of her mother. But she was in love with one. And that's where the conflict was. I'm missing now think about it. Oh, that makes sense. It's not about the two in it's about that. So when she encountered her sexual people for the first time in real life, how do we had that thought and was able to completely accept it without thinking, we're not going to do that awkward pause where I'm coming to terms with in processing in my head, because I'd already had that. And it's just from watching a TV show. And because of other things, I'm quite grateful to have had that experience.

Ricky Grove  18:29  
That's a great story. Damien. That's a great story.

Phil  18:32  
That's awesome. Roddenberry was so good at that his successors to have carried on the tradition tend to be very good at that. And probably the most famous early example of that type of thing. Damian that expos A of the of that was the when Kirk kissed Lieutenant O'Hara. Hoorah. Yeah, is the first interracial kissed ever, ever depicted in television. It was hugely controversial, like it did, you know, tripped off the censors. And I remember that, oh, yeah, it was a big, big deal. But what was great about it is that when, when it was portrayed in the show, it wasn't portrayed as a big deal. In fact, nobody brought up that issue on the show, like in the context of the story, that to me was the brilliance of it, is just, if you're wanting this to be understood to come to be understood as normal and acceptable, then portray it as such in this society that he's already established is this is the better version of ourselves that if we do things right, and managed to not blow each other up, remember that's that's the era that he came to Star Trek and Star Trek came to be, is this world where everybody thought the US and Soviet Union were gonna blow each other up and take everybody with them, you know, just this, this, you know, it was a very tense time and you're up and said, You know what, on the other side of this is something much better, where we don't disrespect where, where women are empowered, where we do not value people by class, where income isn't even discussed. Yeah, wealth is not even discussed, you know. And so when you have like, what is the Frankie? Yeah, we're all money changers and all that they look weird. Like, it's like absurd. Like everybody in the Federation is like, What is with these guys? You know, when the truth is they remind us of people that we know, you know, right on the slot machines at the store three down three down from mine, you know, and someone's just portraying, you can use sci fi to portray where you want us to be. And people don't get there right away. But it can, it can lead things that way.

Damien  20:53  
There are some Frankie episodes in Deep Space Nine, where you see the Frankie perspective on humans. And they talk about how human history is very bloody with all the wars, world wars and massacres and all that thing. And when the Frankie characters actually makes a point saying, we don't have anything like that in our history. So you look down your nose at us for being very profit oriented. But we've never had these kinds of wars and conflicts in our world. So we're actually better than you humans, because we've never done that. It's I think that's a nice way to kind of explore it from the other perspective.

Ricky Grove  21:30  
Sure. Yeah,

Phil  21:31  

Ricky Grove  21:34  
Tracy, you've been kind of quiet. What are your thoughts?

Tracy Harwood  21:38  
I've got lots of thoughts on sci fi really, I think one of the interesting thing though, with machinima is how it's crossed over with other types of films. So you know, with with the self parodying in Halo in Halo that red versus blue, did that that was a kind of a sci fi crossover. And then, you know, I'm with I was always very taken by Peter Rasmuson stolen life in 2007. And that's a sort of a film noir kind of, you know, clear mix of genres that he's attempting to do to do that. And unlike some of those, like more sort of well known tropes that you're talking about I I was quite drawn by some of the the early machinima that Peter Rasmussen did for example, he did one called rendezvous

Phil  22:39  
rendezvous. Wonderful.

Tracy Harwood  22:44  
I think he's either a second or third machinima that he did in 2000, which was a sort of a deep space, kind of serendipitous assignation between what appear to be gendered robots. I don't know if they are, yeah. And there's sort of a, you know, but then, but it's not just about a sort of a, lead me into trouble kind of story there. It's also, you know, there's also other sort of aspects to that, that going on. It's all those crossovers like I quite like, that are being played with through through the storytelling. So yeah, but but rendezvous stood out for me there, which I think was a preparatory piece for stolen life, as was killer robot, a killer robot, which was another one of the films that he was he was playing with, I didn't realize quite what the issues were that he was trying to address in playing with the technologies that he was actually using, you know, the robot voices and, and what have you, I didn't realize why he was playing with those at that, that sort of point in time. But nonetheless, the fact that he's kind of trying to think about current types of storytelling and wrap them in with these robot sci fi scenarios, was it was a fascinating way in which to take sci fi itself, I thought. What do you guys think?

Ricky Grove  24:18  
Yes, very much. So. I think Rasmussen he's on my list of important machinima films that were created. He's probably one of the premier machinima filmmakers and science fiction. Some of the others are time traveller series by Pookie media. I don't know whether any of you saw that it was for young adults. Yeah. Created in Second Life. They were excellent series. I like I love your series of particles of humanity and your more recent one. I always forget the title. What's the more recent series

Damien  24:53  
as the Empire mean?

Ricky Grove  24:54  
Yes. Civil Protection by Ross Scott. Another really interesting series shot in half live on Aqua rocks and achronix the movie, Jq and then clear skies series of movies with Ian Chisholm probably is the most accomplished and professional of the series shot in half life and done with immense sensitivity and skill in terms of science fiction tropes. Very, very good. Of course, the Red vs Blue Series is really good. They also did another series called panics that's infection oriented, but my Rooster Teeth, the Codex series is a really good one. And I think that's a halo. There were many science. Second Life has been a source of many cyberpunk style science fiction series, including some that are quite avant garde. If you do a search for those, you'll come across a lot of them half life two, of course, still seeing Breen, many others. Star Citizen has been a big one, Halo. Also, I've noticed an interesting series of more recent science fiction films being done using a game slash application called space engine. I included originally a movie that I had space cowboy that I had come across and it space engine is it generates a universe each time. And as a kind of infinite universe, in which you have all of the stellar phenomenon that you see in space. Black holes, space Nebula, double stars, all sorts of astronomical and physical things that are that are involved in it. And you can travel through this universe at time and place you can select your locations, you can adjust the time, the lighting the the time of day, they've recently come up with a lot of mods to it. So you can introduce a spaceship or multiple spaceships. It's a great format for being able to create if you were doing a science fiction series, and you needed those establishing shots before you go inside of something. It's a great way to set those up. I think the game is like 2495 on Steam right now. But some of the stuff that's been done, it's reminiscent of the school videos that you saw when you're in school for physics, or something on astronomy in the solar system, except for they're much more beautiful. And they're done with great. They're done with a great sense of fun and excitement. It reminded me a lot of Star Wars without all the characters.

Phil  27:55  
Yeah, it reminded me of those educational films made by like, Carl Sagan,

Tracy Harwood  28:00  
do you know I was just gonna say or even

Phil  28:03  
even some of the documentaries made based on Stephen Hawking's work. Yeah,

Damien  28:07  

Phil  28:08  
those those illustrations. Yeah, the visuals are really nice with it.

Ricky Grove  28:14  
I'll link in the show notes for space engine. And it's also something I'm gonna play with. I'm not sure what's going to come out of it. But I really want to

Damien  28:22  
I think I want to get out as well. Looks like

Ricky Grove  28:25  
and listeners if you if we've left out any important sci fi movies made as machinima, please let us know. Phil's dying to hear from anyone. Yeah.

Damien  28:43  
So moving on to our next topic, I thought. Since we've been discussing sci fi and Star Wars, machinima, we should talk a little bit about some of the platforms that are available. So I'll see you we've got games like Star Citizen, Elite Dangerous space engine that Ricky's just mentioned. If you're looking to make Star Wars stories, in particular, there's a few worth more than a few Star Wars video games out there. Some of the best ones available actually Jedi Academy because it's heavily modifiable. There's a very healthy modding community out there who, even now the game is. It's quite an old game now. But people are still creating new characters and new maps that you can use in your productions. Another good one is Empire at war. Again, it's got to, it's very heavily multiple, and it's recently had it Steam Workshop support added. So there's tons of mods on there to improve the graphics, right? And because there's so many different areas of Star Wars, there's most for pretty much all of them. So if you want to do a Clone Wars themed film, you can get there's a number of places Most mods out there so you can get all the Clone Wars ships in a really good for big sort of space battles or ground battles while it does space and ground battles. So in the more recent games like Battlefront two, or squadrons or fallen order, they look fantastic. But they're not really designed to be modded or have much in the way of camera support. So I'm not saying you can't do it, but it might be very tricky, which is why some of these older games might be better suited for it. Which is leads into a discussion of how do you feel about using all the games to make machinima. Now,

Ricky Grove  30:42  
my Oh, one platform that we didn't mention was EVE Online is another good one. That's a big one, because it's a multiplayer. So you can do all you the old fashioned Hey, I'm the director of the rest of you guys. Or gals go out and do that stuff. And we can record it. So that's a good source as well. Yeah.

Damien  31:03  
So yeah, how do we feel about using old games to create machinima?

Tracy Harwood  31:08  
Do you think the older games have got too much of a clunky feel now to them? Given that graphics quality has changed so much? And audience expectations offer increasingly sophisticated kind of confidence? And if if that's the case, what do you think of tools like Dr. defy in terms of maybe looking at some of that content and refreshing it? Is that is that a possible route to go? I think I'm you know, I'm looking at, for example, something like beast that we talked about one of our episodes a little while ago. And the quality of the of the performance is no doubt outstanding. But the graphics quality now will let that down. And you wouldn't get the same response to that. Now, as you would have done, then, so how do you how do you overcome that kind of aesthetic?

Ricky Grove  32:16  
That's a very good question.

Damien  32:17  
Yeah, I think one way to look at is it may not necessarily attract the modern gaming audience because they want the latest graphics in for whatever the latest games are in the videos they watch. But one way to look at it is it's a stylized approach. We've talked a bit about the the Clone Wars cartoon series throughout this episode. And in no way looks like it's very high. It's not very photorealistic. The characters are very cartoony looking, and the animation isn't Yeah, yeah. But that's, it's designed that way on purpose. And that's the stylized approach, like you can you'll see a picture of Anakin Skywalker in this show, he doesn't really look like Hayden Christensen at the actor who played him in the live action films. But you know, instantly that it is Erica Skywalker, because there's enough of a stylized resemblance to him that you get you recognize who he is. And maybe some of these other games have. They are kind of blocky and the animation can be jerky. And maybe you don't get quite the same amount of control as if you were using a modern game or something. I claim that you can still treat it as a stylized film rather than a more realistic film.

Tracy Harwood  33:33  
I've got really intrigued lately by the AI based restoration of image and video files, like Like, for example, the Lumiere brothers 1896 snowball fight, which was, you know, one of the first Moving Image films ever made. And when you have a look at this, you'll see that what they've, what they've basically done is they've filled in the gaps in the footage, increase the contrast in it and colorized it. So the sound is rubbish, don't listen to the sound But have a look at the film and see what they've they've done with it. Now I wonder if you could do the same kind of thing with old machinima films. So I have a little play with it. I took a piece of Hugh Hancock's blood spell to get to the character from that and ran it through the my heritage app, which is where the deal all the fi app that was used with the snowball fight has subsequently been incorporated into this commercial event once it's freely available software in my in my heritage. Just to see what you end up with and it's it's pretty clever stuff. You know, you've you've got something that was quite a grainy animated image and you did it with a sort of a snapshot. I didn't do it with a piece of film. I just With a snapshot, although it will take pieces of film as well, and it restored the characters face, it's fairly low, low rez quality. But as I was pretty impressed with it, and I'm just wondering, do you think that might be a tool that we can think about using to not just restore old machinima films, but take old games and think about them again as contemporary tools for machinima creation,

Ricky Grove  35:30  
or Diablo has doing that with Diablo two remastered which is coming out at the end of this month and their demo over this weekend, they did a select release of the demo to about 100 fans. And those fans have been putting up on their discord channel their play with it. And as part of the game, it allows you to be able to see, as you're playing the game, the restored version, to switch back to the old version, in the middle of playing, you can you can go back and forth. So they did that. So you could see the difference in visual quality. And it's just striking. Striking.

Tracy Harwood  36:12  
You see the other thing that I always remember, and years ago, I wanted to show Diary of a camper in a film festival that I was speaking at. And, you know, I've got the original Diary of a camper film as a as a video file, which somebody cut for me from, you know, from one of the only games and then I for whatever reason I lost it meaning machine crashed or something, and ended up getting a hold of another copy of Dover camper. But it had been shot on a more modern, more modern computer and the colors in it were completely different. Completely different, such that you wouldn't even recognize it as the same film. And then I sort of, you know, what is it we're trying to do here? Are we, you know, are we trying to sort of preserve the original films and just show them for what they are and where and respect them for what they were? Or are we trying to sort of, you know, re restore them and show them in a different context. I think you have to be quite clear about what it is you're trying to do. So I I have this these questions about, you know, the use of these old tools, the role of old games and the way in which are being used to appeal to new audiences, I think really

Phil  37:52  
interesting questions. Yeah. Yeah, it does. It does come down to the, to the purpose. Yeah, some of those old old game engines. I mean, even Doom, there's still people today that game is 25 years old or more. And there's still people today, revamping the game engine for that where you can take the original wad file, which was what holds all the levels and how they're connected together and all that stuff. But it's in this completely retextured engine, or, you know, maybe there's a new, you know, the original Doom, you could only look from side to side, there was no third dimension looking up. Well, now, it's very easy to just make a mouse look like any 3d game, and the game still plays. But the textures are like real high rez, and yet it plays. You know, it's it's essentially the same gameplay. Nothing has changed in that regard. And I know that people have been doing that with quake for years, and now they've been doing with quake two. And yeah, it does make you wonder, like, if you took some of the old films made in those old engines, random through that on a really high end machine with these sized up graphics, essentially, what Mass Effect is doing to their games. You know, they're retexturing. And they're, they're probably tweaking some gameplay elements as well. But most of it is just about just making it look better, you know, because it just hasn't aged as well as they'd like. or in some cases, like I have I bought Mass Effect. Within the last 12 months, I bought another copy of it because I'd lost my original through Steam, I can't even run it. Like it doesn't even you can't even get the menus to display properly enough to run the game in Windows 10. So I'm kind of excited to see the revamp version for that. But that's different. That's it the game doesn't function. What we're talking about here is Yeah, probably the same conversations that come up when you know, somebody takes one of the old you know, Thomas Edison films from the early 1900s or even You know, classic Laurel and Hardy films or something and they, they'll colorize it. And, you know, people have been doing that for decades. And it's the technology is just getting better and better and better. And now with the AI possibilities to enhance that even further,

Ricky Grove  40:14  
yeah, yeah, it

Phil  40:15  
does raise the question of, I think the answer is easier with something like Laurel and Hardy. Where I don't think it's, it's as important to most people to preserve exactly what the filmic quality was at the time it was made. It's more about keeping those performances alive. Yeah, another generation. This is about those two guys, you know, and that cast, The Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers, all those old films that are deteriorating away. This is a way to keep those performances alive. Yeah. Yeah. With Diary of a camper. I don't know if I guess that the same could be said there. But it's, it's somehow different. Because it's the performances run through a video game anyway. So yeah, it raises some really interesting questions. And I honestly I don't, I don't know how I feel about it either way, I don't have a strong feeling either way.

Ricky Grove  41:13  
In the commercial marketplace, the idea of repackaging and reselling something with him improvements is a long established practice, they do it forever. But in something that is part of a cultural marketplace, I think there's a whole different way of looking at it. I would like to see better copies of early machinima films. Yeah. And I think AI, the whole, that whole motion of upscaling things, using a technology has been very popular in the last two or three years. Because now you can actually do read without having to do a lot of manual labor. Right, you could do a restoration using software. So I think I think it's a good idea. Um, it brings it raises other questions about motive, you know, are you going to say that this is your film now that you've fixed it? Or is it still the people that invented it after that are created? So those are issues that I think are going to be tough to work out?

Tracy Harwood  42:24  
Really good point? Really good point?

Damien  42:26  
Yeah, just thinking about that now is if someone did stop scale, see continuity, right, very first missionary project posted on their YouTube channel. I'm not sure I'd be too thrilled that they've done that without asking me. On the other hand, thinking about now, that is a quite a tempting project idea to do myself. I don't know if I would actually do it. But I've got so many other more recent projects, but just I'm kind of curious. How would that look now if I were to run it through some kind of upscaling software?

Ricky Grove  42:57  
Yeah. Yeah.

Phil  42:59  
Yeah, my male restroom adequate film was rendered in 640. By 480. You know, very low rez by today's standards, almost a third the size of full HD. And that's, that's the highest rez that it exists in. Like, I never rendered it out to anything higher than that. I didn't have enough space on my computer to do it. And the footage wasn't even captured in. I think the footage was captured in 800 by 600. So and that was, what, 15 years ago now. So, huh? And yeah, the thing is, is a, with a movie like Diary of a camper, or any of the quake classic quake movies, a lot of those were designed to be played and viewed within the engine. So you can get the original demo files and play them back in whatever version of the game you want. And then recapture footage, but for films that were edited outside of the game, like like Melrose hermetica, for example, there's no way to do it any other way other than perhaps this deal defies type technology, because there's I'm not gonna make that again. Are you kidding me?

Phil  44:11  
Those are crazy production price.

Phil  44:14  
up for 5 million more views. would I do that? No way. Right. So But yeah, I would sure love I hate going to see that movie on YouTube. And yeah, you full size it up. And it's like, wow, this, you know, it's grainy, really grainy. So it does it. It makes me wonder, Gee, I wonder what could be done with that technology. It was unthinkable not too long ago to be able to upscale and have any kind of good result at all. You know, now that's possible. Now we got these questions to contend with. Yeah.

Ricky Grove  44:46  
Well, it's funny, this question comes up because I hadn't, I hadn't really thought about it. And about a week ago, I came across a site that talked about being able to use Microsoft 3d movies. Movie Maker and Windows 10. Now, if you remember Microsoft 3d Movie Maker, it was made for kids as part of Microsoft kids back and when the hell was it? 8080? Something 83 I think. But there's a whole movement of people who are making movies today in Microsoft movement Movie Maker. They've modded it. They there's a whole mod community that have created content for it, that share their movies that have festivals. They're awful festivals. But so I, and there's one guy that a whole thing on how to download it, how to set it up. I did, I downloaded it. And I've been playing with it for last three or four days. And I think what it is, is that it's not it's not that it's old, it's just that the quality of the, and the strangeness of it makes for wanting to tell strange stories, because of the way it looks, you're not going to be able to do a straight realistic drama with it. Because it would just be absurd. But if you wanted to do something very strange, like one of the things they did, which I thought was hilarious, and frightening, and its implications for our society, but about 20 filmmakers, they had a character that they didn't like. And that was a part of the original Microsoft 3d Movie Maker. And they said, Well, how many different ways can we kill this character? So 20 filmmakers made films on how they would kill this character. And it was absolutely hilarious. Because even though it was made for kids, Microsoft didn't realize they had created all this ability for violence. And I mean, you can squash them, you can jib them, you can shoot them, you can cut them, you can rip them apart. And it's just hilarious. So. So it's basically the, in this case, the older, the older game gives me an inspiration to create a certain type of story that only that older game can fulfill that you know what I'm saying? Definitely, and it appeals to me, because it's just so effective reminded me of em that strangest nightmare puppeteer, and had that same strange, weird quality. And I just love it. I just think it's just terrific thing. And we'll put links in our show notes on how to download it yourself. So you could kill this character, ladies

Damien  47:48  
and gentlemen, I think I have to give that a try. Cuz it sounds like a different experiment.

Ricky Grove  47:54  
And I found a very strange bit of news. One of the filmmakers pointed out that, that they've gotten rid of this and the download that you did that you actually get for moving making. But Microsoft created this elaborate system of introductions to filmmaking using this character, this green character with this enormous nose. Hey, I want to make a movie. Here's how you do it. That kind of voice you know what I mean? And cleverly moring, which is where to get rid of all of them in the download. You get that actor who played that character? One time to play the G man in the half life series. No way. Yes. And then we put them together their voices, and you can hear a little better gee man and his character voice. Oh, it's just, it's just great. Oh, I'll link that so everybody can see it, please. But I thought it was just fascinating. Yeah, 20 1515 years before he becomes famous in this thing he's voice acting for Microsoft in their Microsoft 3d movie Mecca. Hi. This cannot be a fun movie. 

Phil  49:17  
to do is take the audio from that Ricky and bring it into Source Filmmaker. Say a few lines from that. That's doing

You are a genius, Phil.

Damien  49:36  
Right. So I think we've covered that and anyone listening. Please do. You got some thoughts on using old video games to make machinima or restoring old mission projects, please send them in. We've got our feedback. We've got email and the phone line. I do not have them in front of me. So Ricky or Phil, would you like to show up? Contact Details.

Phil  50:01  
Yeah, absolutely. Email his talk at completely machinima. com. There's a phone number on the website that I don't have memorized either. But it's there, you can send us text messages that way. We have a, for lack of a better word of voicemail system through a site called reverb dot chat. There's a link to that on our website as well. If you wanted to leave us your note in vocal form. We will, we will make a G man Source Filmmaker movie and put your voice in it. Ricky will handle the production.

Ricky Grove  50:33  
I will.

Phil  50:36  
And then we have a Discord server. You'll it's the one if you stumble upon it, you'll know you're in the right place. If you hear the crickets

Ricky Grove  50:47  
you can hear the tumbleweed

Phil  50:48  
that's right or you can comment on any of our blog posts. Just don't use the name tampon insertion galleries that name is already taken.

Ricky Grove  51:01  
Well I love being with you guys today. It was great. I just love with I always get so excited talking to

Damien  51:07  
Yeah, it's been great. It's been

Tracy Harwood  51:08  
really good fun. So thank you very much.

Damien  51:11  
Thank you everyone for listening to find all the links for everything we talked about in the show notes. So I have to say is May the Force Be With You

Transcribed by

Ricky on SciFi in Machinima
Tracy on Scifi in Machinima
Phil on SciFi in Machinima
Phil on BioShock
Damien on Babylon 5 series same gender love
Tracy on Peter Rasmussen
Ricky's List of great scifi machinima
Damien on good games for scifi machinima
Tracy on AI based restoration of video. Should we restore old machinima films?
Phil on old games and restoration
Ricky on Microsoft 3D filmmaker and the Gman actor