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BloodSpell Development Updates

Filmed by Invisible Badgers

BloodSpell Development Updates

Filmed by Invisible Badgers

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Well. Looks like I'm the first person from the team to regain consciousness after last night's preview showing, so I'll write the review as best I can.
It went well. It was a long night, but a lot of fun. The audience were on our side, and Hugh and began to relax a little as the evening wore on. (This may have been facilitated by an amount of alcohol).
As usual, we spent the two hours before we were due on stage in a mad panic, running round the SC offices shouting "What have we not got? What have we not got?". We arrived half and hour late and rigged up a wireless network in record time. After sending somebody out to get a spare mouse (and then finding one at the bottom of a bag, and deciding to keep that information to ourselves), we were ready to go. We started with an hour-long introduction to the crazy, fun-filled world of Machinima. We had about a dozen slides that we wanted to use. Hugh had a great idea for these. Instead of putting them into some sort of Powerpoint-clone presentation software, he reasoned, why not import them into AfterEffects and create a movie from them? That way, each slide is ten seconds long and we press pause whenever we get to the slide we want. Not content with this level of abstraction, he then proceeded to stream the resultant video over the network, meaning that it could only be controlled via a web interface running on a separate computer. Needless to say, the slideshow ran perfectly, and without any problems whatsoever.
Not.
We had a clever and complicated plan for interspersing our talk with a few good machinima films. Literally seconds before we were due to start (while a nice woman was giving a very complimentary introduction, telling everyone who talented and competent we both were), we realised that we'd left the list of films back at the office. So, in time-honoured Strange Company fashion, we made it up as we went along, and we just ignored the damn slideshow.
After a short break, it was time for the BloodSpell preview showing. We showed episodes 1 and 2, and a very rough version of episode 3. The reaction seemed, on the whole, to be positive. I got the impression that most people were surprised by the scale and the quality of what they were seeing. A lot of people commented on the pacing of some parts, particularly episode 2, and opinion was divided about Jered's new head. The showing got a good response, though, and some of the questionnaires that we handed out came back so crammed full of notes and suggestions that the whole page was blue. This is good. I'd much rather know what's confusing, silly or just plain awful now.
Another break, and then, with the able assistance of burmston, we once again attempted a live film shoot. The first time we tried this was at the Bradford Animation Festival last year. It worked well then and it worked well last night. Hugh gave a quick introduction and then fired up the NWN editor. Ross hacked around, destroying buildings and giving characters pirate heads, while Hugh gave a running commentary. Then (after a brief delay as Ross crashed the server by playing the "Cows From Hell" animation for a cheap laugh), they filmed a five-second shot from episode 4. The atmosphere by this point was relaxed and it was obvious (by the number of things that went wrong) that this was a genuine piece of filmmaking, and not just a staged recreation. It was great to hear the audience shouting out creatures for Ross to create on the map ("Badgers!" someone shouted. "Now, that I can do!" Ross replied).
We took another break (and by this point, Hugh and I were finding it a little difficult not to slur our speech or fall off the stage), and we arrived at the section that Hugh had lovingly christened "Playing Machinima films at them until their eyes bleed". We showed as wide a variety of films as we could think of, from A Few Good G-Men to April Hoffman's Black Eyed Peas video, from Hardly Workin' to Still Seeing Breen. in a magnificent display of drunken bravado, we finished the night with a little audience participation, inviting everyone to sing along to The Internet Is For Porn. I finally collapsed into bed at about 4am, having spent the early hours of the morning touring the streets of Edinburgh with Hugh, desperately searching for a takeaway that didn't close at midnight. A great night, all things considered. I'm not looking forward to getting in to work on Monday, where my day will be spent re-rigging the network and reading through the huge pile of questionnaires, but that's another day. For now, I'm basking in the glow of success.
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