And Now For Something Completely Machinima

Completely Machinima 9.2 October 2021 Machinima News

October 14, 2021 Ricky Grove, Tracy Harwood, Damien Valentine, and Phil Rice Season 9 Episode 2
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Completely Machinima 9.2 October 2021: Machinima News

Ricky, Phil, Tracy and Damien discuss updates, new releases and toolsets that will be of interest to machinima creators everywhere!


machinima, game, film, puppeteer, omniverse, blender, scene, called, create, nightmare, phil, damien, buy, news, updates, filmmakers, released, build, working, people


Damien Valentine, Tracy Harwood, Ricky Grove, Phil Rice


Ricky Grove  00:23

Hey everybody, this is Ricky Grove and you're listening to the podcast And Now For Something Completely Machinima on here with my pal, Damien. Hi Damien.


Damien Valentine  00:33

Hi Ricky.


Ricky Grove  00:34

And Tracy Harwood. Hello, Tracy.


Tracy Harwood  00:37

Hello, how are you?


Ricky Grove  00:38

And Phil Rice is back with us. Thank you so much for being here, Phil.


Phil Rice  00:43

Thank you. Yep.


Ricky Grove  00:45

Okay, this is our second podcast of the month of October, the the Halloween month of October, and this is our News podcast. So I'm going to jump right into it. Although it's not machinima, it's 3d. But I think it's important to talk about this film. It's Phil Tippett's Mad God trailer. Now Phil Tippett was a effects and coordinator for movies like Jurassic Jurassic Park, Robocop 2 and for 20 years, he's been working on this homegrown project. He's using crews volunteers to help him, he'd work on the weekends and he get 15 or 20 people coming around it's all stop motion and he got aid from a Kickstarter donation to create the the first resection which makes up about half of the film. He really some mad from buying the scenes footage on YouTube. You can watch the trailer on YouTube we'll sure put the link in and Mad God is now on the festival circuit the complete film it's a feature length film, and it's pretty crazy. It's pretty wild. Did any of you guys happen to watch the trailer at all? No, I didn't


Phil Rice  01:57

I did. I did I watched it just prior to our recording Ricky it is it reminds me of the artist formerly known as M Dot Strange. With you know significantly more budget going on for sure. It's got that same sort of weirdness and and very bizarre visuals and amazing.


Ricky Grove  02:19

Yeah, soundtrack music. Everything is handcrafted. That's really lovely. Did you get to see it at all, Damien?


Damien Valentine  02:26

No, I haven't I keep meaning to and you just mentioned he's been working on this for 20 years, I released the first for the trailer and behind the scenes on YouTube. When he started making this YouTube didn't exist. He had no way to pay. So think about how much things have changed, but from when he started it to now when he's finished it.


Ricky Grove  02:45

Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, one of the cool things about stop motion, is that stop motion can capture weirdness really well. I mean, some of the weirdest films ever made the Quay brothers. I don't know whether you guys have ever seen films by the Quay brothers, but sure there are these twins and they've just they were filming one film that was used a lot of dust on the set. And they actually had to hold their breath while they were filming certain parts of it because if they breathe, they'd move the dust. So they had to hold their breath while they're filming and then they turn their heads around and get so part of the process of the weirdness of making the stop motion film comes out in the making of the film itself and this Mad God is just absolutely brilliant I can't wait to see the whole thing


Phil Rice  03:34

you know Phil Tippett, he by the time this podcast is released, he will have just turned 70 years old. Wow. You don't see many independent stop motion you know it feels like a you know younger man's game but yeah, he's he's been at this a long time. His his resume of stuff he's worked on is quite incredible.


Ricky Grove  03:58

And I love the fact that it is so bizarre compared to the mainstream conventional films that he's worked on, it shows you that people's imaginations even though they work on these films are much richer than what you might expect. 


Ricky Grove  04:14

All right, moving on to we have some major updates to Nightmare Puppeteer, we've been beating the drum of Nightmare Puppeteer by M Dot Strange, over the years are over this the last several months, and I had a Zoom call with him. And one of the users suggested that he use motion capture in it and he loved the idea. Two days later, he had it done. I can't believe that coding in the game. He uses the Kinect 2 which has become quite a cult method to do a motion capture and I tested it out for an article I did which I'll link to and it works perfectly. Well I bought up Kinect 2 off of ebay for 40 bucks $10 for a connector to fit the, the Xbox connector to USB, put it in pulled up Nightmare Puppeteer, and immediately started doing motion capture this, this really advances the capabilities of the game for machinima. Because and some of the small scenes that I've been working on, it's been hard to approximate realistic animation with the animation that he's provided, because it's so strange and wild. And it's keyboard based. So it's puppet based. This time, you can do combinations of both using motion capture, and I did about a five minute video that you can see, to shows you how it worked out again. So that's an excellent update. In the conversation, we also talked about the possibility of people bringing in their own scenes, which he's working on right now. It's a little more complicated coding wise, because there's several different ways to bring a scene in. But eventually, he wants to be able to, you can build a scene in blender, you can buy a scene in DAZ Studio, you can buy a scene in Unreal, you can buy a scene at Unity, and import it into the game as a scene. Wow, are you now he hasn't been able to get it done. As I said, the coding is somewhat complex. But what he what we did talk about was a variety of new scenes. And he's put six new scenes in.  One scene that I requested that which I was really happy to get, which I think you guys will laugh it, it's dirty public restroom. And he loved it. And we've got a dirty public restroom. To do all sorts of scenes. Just think of the dramatic possibilities, Phil. I mean, after doing all but you can move right into this.


Phil Rice  06:57

I've made I've made precisely the number of restroom themed movies that I'm going to make,


Damien Valentine  07:05

We don't get a sequel, and now with this new thing,


Tracy Harwood  07:09

I think Phil's right, he's done it.


Ricky Grove  07:12

Like so but I just thought you're so good with restrooms, I thought maybe you might Thank you. Anyway, he's got that and he's got a deserted warehouse. He's got all sorts of interesting things, and working on the way to bring him in. He also released a fantastic and I mean, fantastic feature length film using Nightmare Puppeteer, which combines live action, and it's called Nightmare Puppeteer Documentary. And it's live action. he commissioned some guys to do footage of San Jose, which is apparently turned into quite an awful place in many respects. And he combines this live action with these sort of story segments in Nightmare Puppeteer. One of the main characters in the in the nightmare puppeteer section is a drug dealer who becomes a mega star. And he is because he's a mega story, a young boy decides to take drugs and he overdoses, and the mother of the child becomes quite a celebrity and turns her celebrity into her Hollywood ticket to make money off of her dead child, and, as usual, his humor is very, very black. But it's just marvelous. So if you guys get a chance to check out Nightmare Puppeteer Documentary, it's on him, stranger, his Imagination Rabbit YouTube channel, I just loved it. And you know, when when I sit down and it's a full length film, and I went, I don't think I want to watch a full length. You know, that's a machinima and we talked about this last time. 45 minutes later, I woke up and I went, Oh my God, I've been watching this for 45 minutes. It's great. It's really good. So if you guys get a chance to watch it. He also is right in the middle of releasing his new feature length film, created inside of combination of cinema 4d and DAZ Studio, believe it or not, called M Doll. That's coming out in October. He's released a couple trailers to it. It's not machinima, but he's such a great filmmaker, and he's such an interesting person. And he's and finally in to sum up all this. He has started a new channel to talk with his people that like him and collaborators on a site called It's similar to Discord, although it's primarily chat, and the cool thing about it is you can leave that chat open for 24 hours, you can leave it open all the time, and just check back in when you want to respond. And the last time I saw there were about 30 people on it. And they and some people were sharing problems that we're having other people were talking about ideas that they had for films and stuff. It's a fairly nice place. You can get the invitation from Imagination Rabbit video. It's free. There are no commercials or anything. So that's telegram we'll put a link on. But I have to say I've been working with Nightmare Puppeteer for seven weeks now. And I'm really, really liking. I've done a series of introductions to crappy horror films that I've put on my YouTube channel called The World Beyond. In in the afternoon, I was a kid and Saturday, there was always a horror film, or science fiction at three o'clock in the afternoon ever growing up in Arizona, called The World Beyond. So I decided to go ahead and post some of these public domain films. But I wanted to do the sort of horror host introduction. So I'm using Nightmare Puppeteer to do the introductions. And they're there to two minute pieces, but they're lots of fun. I really like doing it. I'll put a link to them in there. 


Ricky Grove  11:09

Speaking of games, we've got a ton of indie game action going on. I came across a site called Free Game Planet, which is a source for indie games, all of which are free. A lot of those games have machinima potential, and you won't find the crap ones that I'm going to mention. They're all really interesting. I discovered a game they're called a Dinner With An Owl, which is a sort of eight bit thing, which really has machinima potential. That's very strange. And it's a guy who shows up to work on legal issues with a person who's turned into an owl. And all of the his wife and his butler, they won't acknowledge the fact that he's turned into an owl. So this guy is just freaking, that's a Kafka situation. And it's just marvelous, just marvelous. So check out Free Game Planet. 


Ricky Grove  12:02

Also, there's a really interesting thing called Core Games, which was the source of an article called the future of game making video by Grant Abbott. It's a free platform to create games and sell them via tips or in app purchases, you get 50% of the price of the sale. The downside is you can't import content, but they have a lot of kitbashing and it's very robust. There's a lot of machinima possibilities here, possibly even for making some money that's Core Games. We'll put a link to it there. 


Ricky Grove  12:37

Diablo 2 Resurrected is opening on the blog going on on the 23rd I had a chance to play the beta over the weekend about two weeks ago. And of course the graphics are modern graphics. So they're absolutely gorgeous. I think the company that Blizzard subcontracted was Vivacious Games I think it is. And they really wanted to make sure that the gameplay was identical. But the look has changed. So they've gotten away from the Victoria's Secret look for all of the female characters in the game and they're making them much more realistic and much more authentic characters. They also so it looks beautiful, and the effects are great, but one cool thing is that there you can zoom in closer than you could in the old game which makes for machinima potential. Now you can't control the... it's almost like working in Red Dead Redemption like you were were talking about earlier Phil. You can't control them so you have to do sort of improvisation, but the possibility for machinima especially comic machinima I think in the new Diablo 2 Resurrect is there. I plan on doing something in it. I'm not sure what but we'll see. But that's coming out on the 23rd.


Phil Rice  13:54

Have they Ricki have they gotten any backlash from? From teenage boys at the fact that they've gotten rid of the Victoria's Secret looking characters at the same time that they've instituted greater zoom possibilities?


Ricky Grove  14:07

No, you, you you, you bring a good point there Phil. The real problem overshadowing Blizzard is this terrible employee PR about mistreatment employees. In fact, the head of the Vivacious Games came out and says, I'll just leave it leave it up to you as to whether you want to buy the game or not. That's a pretty sad, sad statement, you know, when the guy can't even promote his own game, but I don't think that's going to really hold people back. The response that I've seen has been tremendous. And I think in this new age where anything bad happens that's related to knee jerk issues are not going to bring this is really great game and this beautiful new version of it down. I don't think so. Good. 


Ricky Grove  14:58

And then I'm Close getting close to the end of my spiel Blender 3.0 which is a mega improved release is coming out on December 1. Now why is this important to machinima filmmakers? Well those of you who use iClone, Unity or Unreal, the new Blender three oh will feature near direct import from Blender to the specified app, which means if you're going to do modding, you're going to be able to go from Blender directly into these new machinima capabilities. Now, a lot of people have, who don't know what's been going on with Blender don't realize that Blender in the last two years has had explosive growth and improvement. The graph, the graphic user interface has been completely redesigned to fit a more modern and easier to use interface. So you don't have any of that what the hell is this that I'm looking at? shock. It's easy to use. By the end of the day, after an hour or two of tutorials, you'll be designing and creating your own scenes, your own props, even your characters, there's kitbashing. If you don't know what kitbashing is, it's a collection of content that you put together. Like say a member, when you if you work model cars, you get all the parts to the model car and you put it together. Well, that's where the kitbashing is. So in blender, you can get a free kit bash, or buy a cheap kit bash, and build your own space station, build your own robot, bale your own Western town, all in 30 minutes, 15 minutes. And there are tons and tons of videos on it. And three-0 is going to be the step up. In terms of rendering real time rendering. You're going to have some node based stuff in it. Animation has gotten a big improvement. It's a major upgrade. And just just so you know that it's completely open source. Many major studios have adopted Blender as part of their workflow simply because they have access to the SDK. And they can change the code to fit their needs for their studio. And many of them have jumped on the to be patrons of Blender. Adobe just recently jumped on to be a major sponsor and a patron for Blender. So Blender is going places if you've ever thought about getting involved in Blender, now's the time to do it and December 1 is the best time to do it. 


Ricky Grove  17:28

That's finally my last tip my news. Omniverse. We've been talking about Omniverse Machinima and Omniverse in general... they released a five tips video and many more updates, especially to Audio to Face. Now I have to say after report but I still don't think the Omniverse Machinima platform is ready for primetime yet. It's in beta. So obviously they they're not saying this is an A level application for filmmakers. But it's still overly complex and cumbersome and slow if you don't have a high end machine, or a really good internet connection. But they're they they're not giving up. NVIDIA is working hard on it. They're making updates, they're cleaning things up. And I think eventually they're going to hit a sweet spot. And it's going to be become much easier, especially using Audio to Face which is a really a great way to do facial animation and lip sync is the best I've seen. And all this is free. You can sign up for the beta and get all the updates as I say they've been updating it regularly. But it's not quite there for machinima filmmakers yet. We'll stay on top of this and report the developments as they come. Well that's my news. Tracy, I think you've got to learn something that you wanted to share with us.


Tracy Harwood  18:53

Well yes, just building on your own Omniverse story there. This is a contest actually which folks might be quite interested in. This is Nvidia's Blast From the Past: Design a retro scene in the new omniverse design contest. So what they're asking for here is for any builds and designs from the past such as a living room or a bedroom or college dorm or any other area if you like where they're saying the the submission can be big or small, meaning you can create an entire room or assemble just a close up of a floor or a desk. Something that's inspired your passion for gaming or computer graphics is what they're asking for. So you must use Omniverse to design it. And it must be in a retro style and buy retro they mean this this made me laugh 80s 90s or 2000s retro now so they said


Damien Valentine  20:02

That's me getting older.


Tracy Harwood  20:05

Yeah, that made me laugh as well. And so that gives you a flavor of it really. So it's not really targeting our age group, I think. They're collaborating with Turbo Squid. And they have some pre made assets that you can use. And you can only use a limited number of those in the build. But you can use any 3d software or workflow or connector to assemble the retro scene. But you must create the final render in Omniverse Create and they're going to they're going to judge it using various criteria, including the use of Omniverse Create, the quality of the final render and, and the originality of it. And prizes seem pretty good, actually. So there are three main prizes in NVIDIA RTX A6000, a GeForce RTX 3090 and the GeForce RTX 3080. GPU. deadline is October the 26th. So as this goes out, you still have a couple of weeks to submit. So get creating.


Ricky Grove  21:10

Yep. Damien, you have some news for us?


Damien Valentine  21:14

Yeah, there's two things I want to talk about. First one last month you we talked about our Quake has been remastered as the 25th anniversary of the game. And I pointed out that, I wonder if it'd be possible to import the old demo file. So you could replay all those old machinima projects that were recorded, actually in Quake rather than a video file in but you get the more enhanced graphics. And sadly, I've discovered that they've disabled the demo feature in the remastered version, which is really frustrating. And I went online to see if I was getting it wrong. But no, it looks like they've done that I couldn't find an explanation for why they removed it. I just thought it just seems to be the whole game as it is with enhanced visuals. So I don't know why that's gone. 


Tracy Harwood  22:06

There's a Discord server, you know, you should post something in the John Romero Discord server area, see what he's got to say about it?


Damien Valentine  22:16

Yeah. Well, I don't know. And that cuts it down to there, because I think we were excited for the possibility so. So the weekend we're recording, that's the Age of Empires for beta open beta test that they've been rolling out. And I've been playing a bit of that, it's because as you said, with the apple, you can zoom in, it's all the detailed info, basic grass, in the blowing in the wind, and all that kind of stuff. So when the game is released at the end of October, it's not going to have mod tools, but they are going to be releasing mod tools in the near future, I believe, early next year. So I'm wondering what the machinima potential for this game is going to be, because you can build these castles at night is is a very creative game where you can build your town, all the walls and have big armies and all kinds of stuff like that. And there should be a map editor. So you can create your whatever environment you want. In the copy, I've been had access to this there's grass, environments in the snow and desert. So you've got a wide variety of locations down I imagine even more in the final game. So it might be worth keeping an eye on that. I don't know what machinima potential its going to have, but I think it's worth looking at because you never know. And the effects and all the battles look really good. Like, you've got characters with guns, you see little smoke coming out of them as they're firing, and arrows as a fire and flames on them. And it looks really good. So I think there's potential there, we just have to find out what it is when we


Ricky Grove  23:50

Stay on that story and will report on as a progressive. You also have some news, some festival news for us didn't you Damien? 


Damien Valentine  23:59

Yeah, last month, I mentioned two contests, the Star Wars fan film contest, and both the iClone lip sync contest. Now they've just closed. So we kind of got the judging period going on at the moment. So I don't know who's won. Next month, when I come back to this, hopefully we'll get to announce who the winners are. So good luck to everyone who has submitted. Absolutely. And yeah,


Ricky Grove  24:26

Maybe we can talk about that a little bit with the winners and and give our two cents on the lip synching. Yeah. 


Ricky Grove  24:35

All right. Well, that's our news today. Thank you very much for listening. As always, you can contact us from 700 different ways, but primarily through the website, you'll see several ways to talk to us. We've gotten some feedback recently, Phil reported on it in our previous podcast. Thank you very much for that. We hope to hear more. If you're a filmmaker or somebody in the news and we've made a mistake, please contact us and let us know what's going on. That's it for our news. Thank you guys. We'll see you next week.


Tracy Harwood  25:12

Bye for now. All


Damien Valentine  25:13



Phil Rice  25:14

Sounds good.

Mad God trailer by Phil Tippett
Nighmare Puppeteer update
Nightmare Puppeteer Documentary
Free Game Planet
Core Games
Diablo 2 Resurrection update
Blender 3.0 release
Nvidia Omniverse Machinima update
Nvidia Omniverse Create contest
Quake Remastered update (.dem files)
Age of Empires 4 update