May 15, 2008

Final Project

I didn't stray too far from my original concept; however, I wasn't able to use as many skills learned from this semester to create this project as I had intended to. Initially, I was too ambitious with my ideas and I underestimated the difficulty in making rhythms out of sound effects. I've never composed any songs before, but I didn't think it would be that time consuming. I wanted to use clips from Deathmatch but it was almost impossible to "black out" the background when stylizing in After Effects. Using all black textures and no lights in Hammer made this video recording process much easier to record myself getting blown up or shooting various things, but it doesn't so so well with capturing other entities in the room. Overall, I suppose I'm satisfied with this final product, but it certainly was a windy adventure along the way.


View image

View image


I spent too much time deciding what colors to use, but thanks to, I found the winners.


May 14, 2008

Progress for 5/9 and 5/14


I finished all video recording via FRAPS and processing via After Effects. I added a few more sound clips to my sequence of beats. I began experimenting with certain sound clips matching a certain video clip or animated video clip. For example, I gave this custom model a pink background and whenever the "ping.wav" sound plays, the video clip will flash.



I'm trying to match up video clips with appropriate sound clips. Since I've been fiddling and staring at these video clips for so long, I'm not sure if I'm losing sight of what works well together or not. The sound clip associated with the skeleton video clip sounds much like a spring (like a propelling sort of spring, not the water kind of spring) so as the clip plays, the skeleton grows from small to large in a spiral motion.


I've been using the website to test color schemes. I want to make sure that the background colors I choose work well together and this site has been quite helpful in that regard.


May 9, 2008

This Week's Progress


I managed to record, stylize and export six clips from Hammer and Model Viewer of a zombie, police guy with a stunstick, shooting gravity gun, morphing orb, barnacle and another headcrab. It was rather difficult to make models move while recording without getting the cursor in the way. I'm trying to figure out if FRAPS can record without including the cursor in the footage.


This is what all my video clips will look like (some backgrounds will have color instead of black).



In Adobe Flash, I created about 40 seconds of musical beats using HL2 sound clips. For each rhythm, I want to apply a specific video clip to it. I experimented with importing different video formats into Flash to see which will give me the freedom I desire for specific clips. For instance, since I want some of my clips to have transparent backgrounds, I need to export videos from After Effects as the Flash Video format so the alpha works in Flash. I also want some clips to be animated, so I will have to export videos from After Effects as SWF files so I can make them into Movie Clips which then can be animated. Perhaps this sounds more complicated than it really is.


This is the Flash timeline showing the timing of sound clips thus far.

April 25, 2008

Final Project Progress 4/25

Today, I began capturing video footage from Model Viewer and Deathmatch maps created from Hammer. I imported those video clips (about 12 clips of various time lengths so far) into Adobe After Effects so I can stylize the threshold and key alpha stuff. I tested a few clips in Flash to make sure that my alpha is working and started working with various background colors to see what tickles my fancy. I extracted loooooots of sound clips from HL2 and Deathmatch using the GCFS stuffies but I haven't started creating rhythmic sounds yet. During the upcoming week, I plan to create sweet beats out of those HL2 wav files, brainstorm/storyboard sequence of video clips and decide on what colors/backgrounds I want to use.

April 23, 2008

Final Project

1. Concept
In creating a rhythmic sequence of sounds using built-in sound effects and dialogue from HL2 and capturing video footage of characters and props in the game, I hope to create a music video... of some sort. The song will be solely made up of HL2 noises that will prompt the actions in the video. Lately, I've been increasingly interested in beats and melodies from unconventional mediums so I'd like to experiment with HL's potential. I have a concept in my head that I'm not quite sure how to explain, but it is seemingly not too difficult so hopefully I will be able to show you a preview so you can have an idea of what I intend. Do you recall those ipod commercials where you see peoples' silhouettes dancing with solid colored backgrounds? Well, that's sorta the 'artistic look' I'm going for. The final product will be a machinima.

2. Technical
I'm planning on using both HL2 and Garry's Mod to gather a wide range of video assets. I want to use the original characters of HL2 so I probably won't be custom modeling but I will need to use Hammer Editor and Face Poser so I can implement other sentences and such. Because I possibly want to layer videos and apply alpha channels to videos, I will use Adobe After Effects and possibly Flash as well.

3. Schedule
Friday April 25 - capture video footage, gather sound effects
During the week - create the 'song' and begin to tweak video clips in After Effects, determine what I want to be lip-synced
Friday May 2 - capture more video if necessary, lip-sync a few dialogue clips
During the week - compile everything together

April 7, 2008

Facemap in Deathmatch


AH! I'm a man!

April 4, 2008

deadly icon


It's quite an uninteresting icon but hopefully I'll take a better screenshot soon!

yay douche!


mmm mmm good polka dot douche


Download file

my model files

March 31, 2008

Machinima Review - Rebel vs Thug


"Rebel vs Thug" is a music video machinima piece created by Ken Thain in 2002 using Quake II/id Software with music by Fine Arts Militia. It was made using the QuakeMAX open source engine and Quake II models.

Since I couldn't find much information on "Rebel vs Thug," I'm not quite sure what Ken Thain's objective or process was in making this machinima. But because I'm not too familiar with Quake, or machinima piece's using the Quake engine, I figured I best familiarize myself with it now. From the reading, we know that soon after Quake was launched in 1996, editing and modifying became much more accessible (although not necessarily easier than DOOM) and people could customize avatars, textures and levels. Being that I've never played or modified Quake, I'm not sure how much time and skill was necessary to create "Rebel vs Thug," but Thain had the potential tools (PC and software) to create this machinima from mid 1996 and he completed it in 2002.

Ken Thain devised these two factions, rebel and thug, with their distinguishing models, spiky green or bluish alien-like dudes and darker-skinned baggy pants dudes. Basically the rebels and thugs are just running around and shooting each other. I think the thugs are bombarding the rebel's base for some unknown reason and in the end, succeed in securing the rebel's main center. I'm not sure if there's some greater message to this machinima but it seems to lack environmental variety for four minutes and lack of a substantial storyline, which is just fine but just not progressive in its content. Perhaps he was experimenting or perhaps he just wanted a basic A vs B plot.

In terms of this piece being "interesting" well, the first time I watched it, I moved on after about 20 seconds because I didn't find it aesthetically pleasing and already after 20 seconds I thought it was redundant and quite uninteresting. But when I gave it a second chance, I thought about why I found it to be so ineffective. "Rebel vs Thug" could become much more interesting and luring if the actions were synchronized with the music. It would add much more difficulty but be rewarding in the end. If Thain indicated an incentive for the factions to oppose each other, or gave reason for the Thugs to break into the Rebels' lair, it would add so much more to the purpose. Because it's made with computer game technology, I expect more out of machinima pieces like this. If these two improvements were implemented into the machinima, then I'm sure more than just Quake players would be interested in this piece as a machinima and in turn, want to play Quake.

As far as "Rebel vs Thug" being "art," well, I don't see why not. It's a video with a story, personalized characters and staged scenes with the medium being Quake. I think people get hung up on the video game aspect of machinima because they find it difficult to see video games as art. I completely agree with what Henry Lowood states in the reading, "Perhaps we should not bother too long with the question "are games art?" Instead, we should ask if high-performance play is capable of transforming our notion of how art is created."


Mod idea

Ever since I started playing video games, I've been waiting for game developers to create a game that has multiple paths to take and multiple endings. For some games, it seems so unreal and so unlikely that one story would end one way. If I created a mod, I would most definitely want to focus my attention on a variety of outcomes depending on what decisions the player makes while playing. This would open the possibilities of "winning" through many methods, failing, or uncovering a new side of the story.

March 21, 2008

Just in case...


Just in case my model doesn't open in Model Viewer ever again, I wanted to record my success in opening the model (although not quite correctly generated in Mod Tool) in Model Viewer.

March 13, 2008

mod mod mod...

Although I've finished reading the Bernstrup interview, I am yet to devise a legitimate idea for a mod, hopefully something will come to me soon...

March 7, 2008


Download file
Here's my freaky facemap!

February 29, 2008

Half Life 2: Deathmatch Level


Yay first level!

February 27, 2008

Yummy Points from "The Art of Computer Game Design"

1.) Identify the goal and topic!

2.) Research, define and evaluate the game/program structure!

3.) Program it!

4.) Play the game to identify design and programming problems!

5.) Fix fix fix!

6.) Put on your best armor to protect yourself from potential criticism, rejection and no profit!

February 21, 2008

Do you have the instinct to survive?


I've been noticing that all the games I've played or watched lately have either the purpose or necessity to kill other people - World of Warcraft - kill a faction of races, Call of Duty 4 - kill Russian Ultranationalists and Middle Eastern people, Crysis - kill North Koreans, Half Life 2 - kill modified humans and zombies. Wouldn't it be lovely to kill something else for a change? Wouldn't it also be interesting to kill as something else too?

Well, good thing Dino-Instinct, a Half Life 2 mod, will be released soon for all our dino-enjoyment. "Intense, realtime, gameplay in a fully realised prehistoric world. A battle of survival between carnivores and herbivores." aahahhaha I am so excited to attain various dino abilities and become the ultimate dino! Although the objective of the game is similar to other team death matches, battlegrounds or eliminations, I'm hoping that being a dinosaur trying to take out other dinosaurs will be an interesting change, or perhaps it will be a disaster. We'll see.


Dino-Instinct site

February 12, 2008

What social reaction makes people play WoW?


I often question whether playing video games benefit or progress people in life. During the winter and summer breaks from school, I play World of Warcraft on an average of three hours per day; that’s almost a day of WoW per week! But in playing this game, am I getting anywhere? What happens when players grow increasingly addicted to WoW? At what point do players start to prefer the “ virtual world” over the “real world”?

Knowing that millions of people pay to play WoW on a regular basis, there obviously must be powerful attractions and satisfactions in playing the game. I think people are so lured into WoW because of their social reactions to a sense of accomplishment, imposition, community or connection and adventure or exploration, etc. I want to highlight the achievement aspect of WoW in relation to its ability to keep players engaged and motivated to play the game.

Every player has their own objectives within the game, but I’m sure that everyone thrives on the instant gratification WoW provides through completing quests, receiving experience points to level, gaining better gear, making money and killing enemies. Whether a player’s character is within a city, in the middle of a vast land or in a battleground, some sort of award or success can be fulfilled. I enjoy discovering every possible land to discover, strategizing on my combat tactics and becoming more powerful. I’m not sure if this sense of achievement validates playing WoW, but it sure is fun :)


Hmmm, perhaps people play WoW to seek this instant gratification because they either do not have or do not have enough of achievement in their daily lives (work, school, responsibilities). People have such hectic schedules today that hardly allows time to relax, enjoy themselves or feel rewarded by the day's tasks. So many people are constantly struggling through the current task and just thinking about what else must get done. Because of WoW, they can set their own pace, release the tensions from a regular day and see their progression and advancement through gaining experience, items, money, etc. Am I getting closer to this "social reaction" theory?

February 6, 2008

Noesis Tutorial

Bunny face
Download file

Download file

February 5, 2008

Is John Paul Bichard's "The White Room" art?


John Paul Bichard constructed several scenes (like above) using the interior, objects and weapons from the game Max Payne 2. He named this set of in-game photos "The White Room" all of which address some sort of aftermath of murder.

I absolutely consider this type of photography art; it's simply captured in a virtual world instead of the "natural world." Bichard uses Max Payne 2 both as inspiration and as material to create an idea or message just as any other artist has an idea and finds the means to formulate it. This photo stimulates the imagining of possible contexts and factors that could result in this depiction just as other photography induces thought and expression.

February 1, 2008

How is HL2 different from reading a book or watching a movie?

Although computer games, books and movies all have predefined stories with a beginning and an end, HL2 includes more objectives and obstacles. Within HL2, players control their actions allowing them to explore the environment, interact with given props and annihilate enemies. Unlike books and movies, HL2 requires problem solving, puzzle solving, and survival in order to proceed in the game. Books and movies simply cannot provide the viewer with the freedom to investigate locations, physically uncover mysteries or find destruction gratification such as in this screenshot where an unfortunate enemy meets an eager grenade.