Pinback's 10 Questions with: Source Filmshl2c_articles - Source Films: A unique mod for HL2 | Posted by Pinback on Oct 24th 03 09:19 PM
This week I caught Nick to ask him my 10 questions. Instead of doing all the HTML stuff, [Pinback] is me, and [Nick] is..well, Nick. See? Simple...
[Pinback] What kind of movies or films is your team geared towards. Not necessarily genre, though.
[Nick] We hope eventually to use the HL2 tools and Source engine to make feature-length machinima. For now, though, we will be starting small--short films to learn the ropes and explore different styles and genres. All of our projects will feature very high-quality video and models, with professional voice acting powering the characters.
[Pinback] Sounds great.... are you worried about the capabilities of the Source engine? Worried about not being able to add an essential feature in?
[Nick] Currently we have no "essential" features that we are worried about. I have communicated with Gabe Newell, and the response that I got from him was partially what started this project off to begin with. According to him, when it comes time to render the film, i.e. after we have crafted the models and sets and scripted the action, we will be able to set a resolution and frame rate and render the movie accordingly, at whatever slowness is necessary to achieve a 30fps movie. Apparently, we will be able to use very high-res everything, as the movies need not be rendered in realtime. It shows me the whole thing.
[Pinback] What kind of goals are you looking to achieve in completing the mod? OR are you just making it for fun?
[Nick] The whole team is dedicated to producing the machinima that we can, while having a great experience together. If we get lucky, we may eventually be nominated for the AMAS (Academy of Machinima Arts and Sciences, like the Oscars) awards, but that's a far-off goal. Currently, we all hope to create a great finished piece (and, eventually, pieces) for any gamer to enjoy. Many of us also know people, who are film buffs, and machinima might be a way to lure more people into the gaming community, but, like the AMAS, that's not our main goal.
[Pinback] Are you still hiring people? Mappers? Coders?
[Nick] We are always looking for new people to join. If we get enough (we may already have enough, but we're still coalescing) we may be able to form two studios and simultaneously work on two projects. The most looked-for new people are modelers and mappers, who will be crafting the sets and characters in the films, but everyone from voice actors (also important) to script-writers are welcome to apply. (Send applications to firstname.lastname@example.org)
[Pinback] What kind of communication is there between the team members?
[Nick] We are still assembling, so there has been a small degree of disorganization, but the way it works is simple. Everyone has constant contact with me, and contact with the other members of the team of their "type." We have frequent IRC meetings for design discussion and idea exchange and we are always active on the developer forums.
[Pinback] How is the mod coming along? Any problems so far?
[Nick] Thus far, the only real problem is the lack of Half Life 2. The whole team has proven to be very friendly and easy-going, and we have been able to be quite productive in discussions. The "mod" is coming along nicely, I suppose, but I can't answer that well because it was only started two weeks ago
[Pinback] After HL2 and the SDK come out, how long do you think it will be until the first project is released?
[Nick] I can't really give a great answer for that yet. The team has just assembled, and, while it seems that it will be quite successful, I am unsure how long it will take. If we can get a few more modelers, we may be able to be one of the earliest projects finished, as our project is least dependant on the availability of coding capability.
[Pinback] How are you planning to release the movies? Demos (.dem)? Actual in-game cut-scenes the whole time?
[Nick] We will almost assuredly be releasing the movies as video files (i.e. mpgs, perhaps). This will a) allow non-gamers to enjoy the films, b) allow for easier editing, and c) facilitate another idea that I can't share yet.
[Pinback] How long do you estimate one movie will take to make?
[Nick] Because we have never done this before (and neither has anyone else) I cannot give an informed estimate.
[Pinback] Last question. WHY did you decide to make this whole mod? Inspiration, or just some crazy idea?
[Nick] I've actually been looking into getting involved in machinima for quite some time. It's been a twinkle in my eye, you could say. However, until the announcement of HL2, there wasn't an engine available that could give the level of quality that I wanted to have. Now that HL2 is nearing release (and under the impression that the release would be 9-30), I decided that it was time to take action. We'll see how it turns out.