Monday, November 14, 2005, 01:59 PM - Machinima
I have returned from NYC, host of the Machinima Film Fest 2005!
Below is a copy*paste from what I wrote at m.com, it sums it up pretty well for me.
Congrats to everyone! Such a heated competition this year, it was unbelievable. I can't wait to see what next year holds in store for Machinima! The festival in and of itís self was very cool, at least the parts I could get away for. (The discussion panels.) Hearing the voice behind a lot of what gets posted here is always interesting and provocative. I really encourage everyone to attend next year even if your film doesnít make the cut, the sheer amount of people interested in machinima looking for filmmakers to talk to is worth the price of admission alone. (Plane and cab fare included!) Manning the Fountainhead booth provided me with an interesting angle to pitch both their software and machinima as a whole to those who were 'dragged along,í by having the clearly labeled and simple Machinimation interface and a game engine right in front of them to play with, I think it opened a lot of eyes. I also had my fair share of interviews, both on and off screen, almost lost me voice!
There was almost always someone at the booth; often all 6 machines had people. It never got so swamped that Alex and I (sorry I forget your last name now, but he's 5m regular, writer, and just a cool guy to work with) ever became overwhelmed. There was a steady flow of people from the start all the way to 6:30. Only one machine crashed after all the abuse dished out during the day, and it was only to desktop.
The discussions were all about topics covered here a dozen times before, but this time before a live audience. I found it interesting to see who saw flaws where others saw possibilities. The issue of the Holy Grail machinima tool kit was brought up again in a major way. The desire for a machinima program easy enough to use without any other piece of software is highly desired. Something where you can create characters, animations, cameras, and effects all in one with simple click and choose interface was the general consensus for the bare minimum feature set. I would love something along those lines, but unless it was an extremely robust character creator, I would never use it seriously, and still opt to hand mold my characters in a 3D app. Perhaps if it would take base model styles of my design and then allow for size/prop/color customizations from thereÖ Procedural animation, and the idea that game engines, like Source, are good enough look-feel wise from now on was brought up. This was something I did not agree on; while texture rendering may be fine, the lighting tech still has a long way to go IMHO. I'm not too familiar with procedural animation, so I can't really comment on that. (I understand that it would be animation based on algorithmic input, but I haven't seen it in action.)
I recently purchased the Torque engine for evaluation, and I havenít really had a chance to dig into it yet, but finding that the ILL Clan use it for their live performances to a very successful degree at the fest makes it really seem worth wild (and 100 bucks.) So I can hereby recommend serious machinima types to at least check out the demo. (Warning: Requires programming!)
The nice folks from Second Life setup shop next to us, handing out free T's and demos. I got to see it in action for the first time, looks really interesting, I'll have to seriously check it out soon.
I think the highlight of the event had to be the presenters of the awards, having Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and John Waters present the trophies was a hoot, to say the least! It'll be tough to top that next year.
Apologize go out to everyone for my early 'ducking out,' I'll be sure to stay in town longer next year.