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Dragon Age and Machinima

Gamespot have recently posted an article looking at the toolset that will be included with Dragon Age.

As with Neverwinter Nights, the toolset is designed to give players a chance to create their own worlds and adventures. As far as machinima goes, it was used to create Consanguinity and Bloodspell.

But what really caught my eye was how customizable the characters are. Bioware have taken their face editing tool from Mass Effect and applied it not just to player characters in the game but you can use the same thing with NPC characters in the toolset.

The third page of the article talks about how you can use the conversation editor to animate characters and make cutscenes.

It looks very promising for machinima and hopefully we'll see some good stuff.

Check out the full article.

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Audio/Pix from Clear Skies 2 Premiere

Members of the audience enjoying Clear Skies 2

The Premiere for Clear Skies 2 went swimmingly this last Sunday. With about a dozen people attending, we screened CS2 while director, Ian Chisholm, commented via text chat. Watching some scenes that seemed very simple on screen while Ian told us that the scene had a very high level of complexity in the HL2 engine gave us all an even healthier respect for what Ian and his team have accomplished. The difficulty in combining two separate game engines (Valve's Half Life 2 and Eve Online) is great in the idea stage, but the technical obstacles are enormous.

Hathead's great new screening room

Ian felt that Clear Skies 2 is a better film because he had a much better grasp of tools like Faceposer and voice recording. And you can see this in the quality of the film itself. The voices are much clearer (a fan loaned him some good audio equipment to record with) and the style of the film seems smoother than the first one.

Virtual Ian Chisholm relaxing during the Q&A

It was a great pleasure to watch the film in Hathead's new screening room on Hathead Island in Second Life. He's been working hard to re-vamp and upgrade his SL constructions and the place looked great. My thanks to you, Hathead, for providing a space for us to have our Machiniplex shows. Please visit his blog when you get the chance or check out some of his live music sets in Second Life (his King Bee rendition is wonderful). He's a very supportive and talented person. Thank you!

Clear Skies boys have their eyes on the stars it seems

The Q&A after the screening was very enjoyable. With Phil Rice moderating, we covered the making of the film, how it was put together, problems encountered and, something I liked a lot, celebrated just how damn good the film was. Ian was constantly witty and amusing with anecdotes on voice recording, script-development and "star cruiser" wrangling in Eve Online. I challenge anyone to spend an hour with Ian and not understand immediately why his films are so well done and feature characters with such a sense of fun and mischief at the same time.

I was fortunate in being able to record the Q&A. With Phil moderating, I could capture decent audio and after a bit of cleaning and editing, I think it's a decent recording. There are some SL sounds that come and go, but nothing too distracting. For those who would like to listen to the Q&A session with Phil and Ian (about 60 minutes) you can stream it here:

Or, if you'd like to download the mp3 file you can do that here (right-click, save link as). You can also watch and/or download the film in a variety of formats at our Machiniplex site. My thanks to Phil for providing the excellent encoded streaming version of Clear Skies 2. What can't you do, Phil?

Phil on the left; Ian on the right.

At the end of the session, Ian indicated he felt he was at a crossroads with his career. He had learned so much over the last three years while making Clear Skies and Clear Skies 2 that he didn't want to chuck it away and so he's looking to figure out how to work animated filmmaking into some sort of career. He's not sure what direction he'll go in, but with his talent and personality, I have a feeling he'll do very well.

Here's wishing you the best, Ian, and your entire crew. Clear Skies 2 is a film to be proud of.