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BloodSpell Development Updates

Weekly Progress Update

BloodSpell Development Updates

Weekly Progress Update

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So, where's the BloodSpell project at the end of this week?

Overall Progress

We've had a great week. Primarily, we've been shooting still shots for the animatic (a moving storyboard with sound), which we're going to be reviewing at the end of next week.

The speed that we're getting through these shots is just amazing - 2 to 4 pages of shots per day, equating to between 3 and 6 pages of script. Even in the viciously complex opening fight sequence (16 characters, a mixture of magic, melee and ranged fighting, with emotion and conversation happening in the middle), we were getting through two pages a day. When we started shooting the animatic last year, we were getting through more like half a page or less in the same time, and the quality of shooting wasn't nearly as high.

We've also been continuing to push the trailer, and watching the download counts go up at quite an amazing rate. In just over a week, we've had more than 25,000 downloads! To put that in context, that's more downloads in a week than 99% of films on Machinima.com get in their entire lifetimes - we've only got 16 films on there that have ever achieved more than 25,000 downloads!

Go us, and thanks to everyone who's given us publicity for their support.

Consulting Mayhem

We've also had the great good fortune to have Jamie Fristrom, a man with awesome games and software industry experience (most recently as Technical Lead on the Spiderman games), offer to do some pro bono consulting with us.

I was on the floor and blabbering when I read his offer, and since then he's, well, lived up to the blabbering. We've instituted a couple of very simple but effective "best development practises", one of which (an online bug tracking database) is already reaping dividends, and we're currently chasing up a source control program he's suggested. More on that once we get it working.

What Else?

Some things haven't gone so well. For example, we set up on Sunday night to do some scratch dialogue recording for the animatic - scratch dialogue being rough dialogue, not film-quality, but useful enough for our purposes, which are to test whether the story and shots work. We got through two hours of recording, everyone was giving us great work - and then the hard drive recorder we were using (a Tascam, which I've ranted about on here before) failed to save any of our work.

Had it been mine, it would have been heaved out the window. Seriously.

So we've been figuring out what our best options are audio-wise, and I've just painfully forked out the money for a new PreSonus Firepod, which will give us 8-track recording with preamps straight into my laptop. No more bloody stupid custom encoding, and no more use for the World's Most Expensive CD-Writer. Assuming, of course, it turns up on time - we've been promised hand on heart that it'll turn up on Monday in time for the recording.

And of course there's been all the little things, like interviews, team meetings, and spending Wednesday hacking through my 6-inch-deep intray.

Next week the main filming team is running madly hell-for-leather to finish the animatic. Nik, our Noise King, will be coming up with cool bands and cool music, and Justin our uber-animator will be finishing off Jered's head, Arianne's breasts, and starting to hack into the huge list of animations we need.

After that, we've got the Machinima Film Festival, and then we're heads down to producing the first episodes, based on our hopefully by then perfect animatic.

See you next week. Remember, Shots and Quotes of the Week on Monday, and more showcasing on Wednesday!
  • Oh my dear goodness, you're not using source control yet? On a project this big? Yikes! :)

    I don't know what JF recommended, but I recommend Subversion (subversion.tigris.org), myself. I've used it in pro game dev, and it does the job. I do NOT recommend CVS, as it behaves very badly with binary files.
    • Jamie recommended Perforce, which we're looking into. However, there might be some issues with the licensing, so we'll also check out Subversion! Thanks.
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