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Buddy of DoQ: Thoughts on Life, Machinima, and Everything
Buddy of DoQ: Thoughts on Life, Machinima, and Everything
Stolen Life | Mini-Review 
Friday, June 29, 2007, 06:13 PM - Machinima
All the way from the land down under, my copy of Stolen Life came in this week! Woot! So, turn on that big screen, crank the stereo, plop in the disk and lets watch some machinima.

I could write pages of review, going into all the gritty details about how certain elements worked or didn't work but it's Friday, Las Vegas is days away, and frankly I don't think I could really do it justice like that so here's a SHO style out of 5 chucks review:

Story: 4/5
DVD Presentation: 2/5
Audio (sfx): 5/5
Music: 4/5
Voices: 5/5

Classic film noir, slow/mellow pacing, loads of exploratory camera work (as opposed to straight establishing shots, really helps set the mood), and some of the best over all audio performance I've seen in machinima. (Having professional actors didn't hurt either.) The graphics ate away at the potential for supreme excellence, but excellent it managed to become before the last frame anyway. The story really draws you in, however I must admit the slower pacing and mellowed direction almost put me to sleep. (Not in the boring way, more like... mesmerizing) Animation was stiff, but seeing as our cast of characters are robots, this only makes sense. All elements of the characters combined, they eerily formed a human bond with me as a viewer, by the end I was no longer watching robots in space, but people like me, just trying to survive...

Why the low score for DVD Presentation? Maybe it was my crazy-upscaling DVD player on my particular TV, but the transfer seemed quite bad. Blacks were saturated and had horizontal lines (Encoding issues? My crazy player?), and I was sort of hoping for some cool bonus footage. Next time include some interviews... or something, I mean, it's a freaking DVD release!

If you like Noir, Sci-Fi, or Machinima a real-whole-lot *cough*Ben*cough* I highly recommend Stolen Life, as it achieves greatness in all that and more.

Overall (not average) | out of |
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SummerTech Blog 2007 
Saturday, June 23, 2007, 11:36 PM - SummerTech
Greetings Campers!

As I sit here in Dallas enjoying my summer swimming, dating, outfitting classrooms with wicked new technologies, and playing with my Wii, I am struck with a tearful sorrow; that I am unable to teach Machinima this year at SummerTech. The other half of Dead on Que has taken over, and I know that Mike will make this THE SummerTech to remember for everyone involved!

Not only did I (co-)teach the Machinima course in years past, but I also did my best to keep the wider world community informed of our weekly exploits, and obviously I am unable to do so this year. So, I have asked, and the great Lord Barricus has agreed to take the blogging helm! I will also do my best to link to any other blog, or picture gallery that happens to crop up along the way.

Lord Barricus's Blog

"Have fun! Learn something!" -Steve
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Video Games Live 
Friday, June 22, 2007, 12:31 AM - Everything
Video Games Live is a video game music concert... ok, it's a symphonic gaming event that tours major cities around the world. This week they landed in Dallas, and I was most fortunate in having the right friend at the right time, and so I heard about the performance before hand, for once.

The show is arranged much like a regular performance at the music hall, only this time it's edged up a bit to make it more exciting and appealing to the gaming audience. At first glance it's hokey, what with cosplay contest, video game nerds, and Tommy Tallarico playing host. (With a wicked electric guitar interlude) If you like game music, chances are they played a bunch of your favorites. The highlights for me included Zelda, Sonic, God of War, and although I'm not a big Blizzard fan, the Warcraft music rocks. Halo fans got a nice surprise with some new footage and music, and Pong fans had a little something for them as well. And did I mention the One Winged Angel theme? Oh yes.

All said and done, a very well done musical event, and if you get the chance, I highly recommend you check it out, even if their website leaves you wondering, "what this all about now?" After the Metal Gear Solid act, you're so into it that you don't even recall thinking, "Hey, this could be pretty hokey!" It's a powerful does of nostalgic, and a must see for any fan of the art.

And what, you ask, got the first standing ovation? That would be the WWW famous Martin Leung and his mad piano solos featuring Mario, FFVII, and Tetris melodies.Video!

Goodnight everybody!
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One of those days. 
Friday, June 1, 2007, 01:07 PM - Life
So, Iím thinking last night, ďHey, you know, if it wasnít already 8pm, Iíd call in for Friday off, maybe Iíll just take a half day!Ē

Should have called it in.


Goats. Wild, manic, rampaging, peeing on your shoes, yes! Escaped local domesticated goats. Only slightly madder than the ďbehind a fenceĒ kind, this sucker had a taste for freedom, and chose to unleash it in the schoolyard.

Look, I fix computers, I watch anime, and my family farm only raises crops. I donít know how to handle livestock! Well, just as well, because it was me who was handled by Mr. Piss, thatís what I named him, after his favorite thing to do on me. Well, favorite right next to kicking and chasing folks around.

By this point Iíve been at work only a few hours, and Iím called over to the second building to deliver some tech-goods. No big deal, a bit of a walk but the weatherís nice after all that rain. So, I hand off my bundle, shake a few hands, and am quickly on my way. Outside near the playground I bump into Mrs. F, who is a fellow technically minded individual. So we get into it about the school website and the merits of teacher account management, when a few kids notice a large dog in the parking lot, coming right for us. We take a quick glance and share a line, ďThatís no dog, itís a goat!Ē So here trots up Mr. Piss, head up like, ďHey guys, I was in the neighborhood, whatís going on?Ē So, Iím like, ďHey goat, not much, look man, weíve got some young ones over there and you smell like youíve been out drinking in puddles, why do you go back and get some rest?Ē He takes a sideways look at me, whips it out and proceeds to piss on my shoes. Iíve got the quickness and somehow remain dry. Seems heís now taken offence at my dogging skills, so he does the next best thing, a nice head-but followed by what I can only describe as kangaroo-fu. Reared up on hind legs, heís now taking cheap punches at my face. Again with the quickness, Iím off to the nearest door. Naturally, the laws of life decree that anything willing to run, must be chased. So Iím quick behind the door, holding it down against his head-buts. Now the goatís spotted the summer school kids on the playground, so Iím resident evil style holding closed the door trying to get his attention back to me. Heís done and lost interest and starts in after the kids, who had been quickly ushered into the gym without incident right as the punching started. Not so lucky was Mrs. F, who got cornered on the other side of the playground by the now very pissed, uh, Mr. Piss. All this time Iím back outside making a monkey show of my self trying to get the goat to charge my way, where he can harmlessly bounce off the blast doors. I guess it worked well enough, but he still chased Mrs. F into the gym with a huff.

Soon enough, Iím darting to another building as Mr. Piss remembers how fun it was to piss on my shoes. On my way I run into some kids trying to go back outside from a restroom break. With deft authority and a slight hint of urgency I asked that they remain indoors, and perhaps itíd be best find their group in the gym. We quickly scoot indoors. Now without mortal victims, Mr. Piss has resorted to crossing swords with our sign, which had been roped up to some polls. Well, word gets around that Iím outside getting owned by a goat, and Mr. H comes out and proceeds to whip Mr. Pissís little goat ass. Iím a bit awestruck, as Iím poking my head out of the door to witness the battle. Before injury can befall either participant, the local animal control boys drive up, grab the goat by the horns, and simply toss him into their truck bed with their bare hands. If there was ever any motivation for beefing up this was it. Never know when youíll be at work and a goat tries to beat you up, I plan on being ready next time! What about you?

I somehow managed to snag this pic of Mr. Piss attacking our sign while cowering shamelessly behind the door.

A quick proof-read makes it sound like I got hurt, never fear, only my pride took a real hit this day.
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GT Film Project 
Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 11:46 AM - Everything
Lessons learned while filming with young students at school:

Field Trips four out of the six days of filming hurts production schedule, but not moral.

Spiriting away your cast and crew during normal class time is cheered by said cast and crew, while normal class time instructors generally frown upon this practice.

All right, so we bit off more than we could chew, and we busted a tooth or two in the process. Weíve got about 60% of the film in the can, 40% of that requires ADR because our boom microphone XLR adapter had broken, and went unnoticed for a while. We officially ran out of time last week, and as this is the last week of school, what with all the last-minute classroom administration, pulling them out to finish would be unfair for everyone, teachers and students.

We were filming with a Canon GL2 and for what it was, I was fairly impressed, a very pro-consumer level camera. We used borrowed house lamps with colored party lights, a rubber zombie mask, and we took apart a standard microphone stand with a rubber mic-grip for a quickly deployable boom mic. I put together what we had in iMovie, slapped on some letterbox and a blue tint, came out looking better than I had expected. Itís in a lot of pieces, missing narration and several key scenes, but I feel given the size of the project and the unfortunate field trip timings, they did a great job producing their first film.

I wonít upload any footage out of respect for the plot, but hereís the info page with the script, and stills from the film!

GT Project Page

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