What The ‘Bloody’ Spell?

Neverending Nights and Bioware Mention!
Interesting! Neverending Nights lands in another Bioware Weds! But… through a different means!

Here’s the link. (Nice find, Chessrook)

Neverwinter Nights Machinima Tutorial

Profile by Jay Watamaniuk

The new industry of Machinima has been on the rise for years with its own celebrities, award shows, and a multitude of fans. A great thing about this sort of animation is that virtually anyone can get started without extensive training or resources. To help the fledgling directors out there, Hugh Hancock, benevolent overlord at www.machinima.com, developed a quick tutorial on using our beloved Neverwinter Nights to make movie magic.

Where can I read your Neverwinter Nights Machinima Tutorial?

Is there a website where I can take a look at more of your work?
Hugh: Yes – in addition to running www.machinima.com, the main Machinima website, we can also be found at the production company site, www.strangecompany.org. We’ve produced 16 films in all so far. You can’t find them all on the website, but you can find quite a number of them.

What is your experience in creating Machinima projects? How did you get started?
Hugh: We were the first professional Machinima production company in the world, having been making Machinima for 8 years now, 7 years full-time. We’ve worked to produce Machinima for Electronic Arts, the BBC, and BAFTA, amongst others. We have spoken at the GDC and the Annecy International Animation Festival, are on the board of the Machinima Film Festival in New York, and have had our work shown on four continents and praised by critics like Roger Ebert.

We got started through some journalism work on Quake I was doing back in 1997. I started working with some guys to make a film, I ended up taking the project over, and it all went from there, and boy, did it go! I’d never have imagined then that I’d be where I am, doing what I am, now.

You have crafted a tutorial for helping people create a Machinima project with Neverwinter Nights. Can you expand on why you did that?
Hugh: It all grew out of our current project, BloodSpell, which will be a feature film using Neverwinter Nights. We’ve been working on it with a crew of between 5 and 15 people for 1 year and 10 months now, and are hoping to start releasing it in the next few months.

We’re describing BloodSpell as a combination of Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, and the Sex Pistols. It will be a full feature-length animated film (running around 82 minutes) of approximately the same scale, in terms of number and scale of sets, characters, and action sequences as the first Lord of the Rings (although about 50 minutes shorter). We’ve got over 7,000 new assets, 22 new sets, and new technology allowing us to do lip-synching in the NWN engine. We’re very excited about it.

Anyway, we’ve developed a good bit of knowledge from doing that, and we were asked to write a tutorial on making movies for PC Format magazine, which we chose to do using NWN. That article fell through, so we decided to publish it on Machinima.com.

We’ve learned a lot about Machinima production in NWN since then, I must say, so we’ll probably do another tutorial at some point soon.

What do you think of the Neverending Nights guys?
Hugh: They’re great. We first profiled them on Machinima.com about a year ago, I think. The way they work around their limitations is great – almost exactly the opposite approach to the one we’re taking, but that’s why they’ve been able to produce so much more quickly. And I found some of their episodes, the “lost in the woods” one in particular, accidentally-breathe-coffee level funny.

I must confess, I’ve not had time to see their most recent episodes, but I intend to catch up with them as soon as possible.

I’ve also been very impressed with another NWN Machinima series, Consanguinity, a Buffy fan-fiction with low production values but an increasingly great storyline.

What can Machinima fans expect in the future from your site?
Hugh: Well, BloodSpell, for one! We’re intending to run it in 18 5-minute episodes (approximately), and we’re hoping to have the first ones released in time for the Machinima film festival. We’re also currently working on getting translations ready so that when it goes out, it does so in English with Spanish, German, and Chinese subtitles.

We’ll also be releasing a lot of other material around that, probably including D20 material on the BloodSpell world (it’s not based formally in the AD&D universe), some of the ton of custom content we’ve made, and a bunch of additional tutorials. We’re really hoping that the NWN crowd and the Machinima crowd will go wild over it.

And, of course, Machinima.com will keep providing the most complete coverage of Machinima on the Web.

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