Thursday 29 January 2009

Walkin' out the door

Demo film by Ben Sanders

"So what?" you might ask. "It's a guy walking out of a house. Gee." Well, this is something you haven't been able to do before in Moviestorm. Look carefully about 5 seconds in. See the fireplace through the window? See the picture through the door?

This is the first composite set, which includes an interior piece and an exterior building model. The lower central portion is a standard Moviestorm set, built and dressed as normal. Then around and above it, we placed some of the new modular customisable buildings, and matched the wall textures, doors, and window styles, so that the set is now located within a larger building.

So now your characters can walk seamlessly out of the set and onto the street, without the need for clever editing or camera angles to make it look as if the interior and exterior sets are actually joined together. It may not look like a big deal, but it completely changes the way you can film many different types of scene.

Mmmm, tracking shots... watching people through the window... doing that whole Citizen Kane number... all this will soon be yours!

Tuesday 27 January 2009

How to while away meetings

Meetings rarely require your full attention, and most of us doodle throughout them. Real artists tend to do better doodles than the rest of us...
Dave Lloyd, by Mitch Phillips 27/1/09

The adventures of Moviestorm in the 3rd dimension

Created in Moviestorm

You may have noticed this little gem from Chris over on the Web site. Yes, those are steps and stairs and balconies. And yes, one day soon, my machinimating friends, your little Moviestorm people will be able to walk up and down them, gaze down on their minions below, or recite poetry to their beloved up above.

Not only does this mean you can make many more different types of sets, but it completely changes the options for more interesting visual composition.

Monday 26 January 2009

Moviestorm 1.1.4 out soon

Version 1.1.4 of Moviestorm will be going into final QA today, and should be released in the next week or so.

It's mostly a patch release with a few bug fixes in, but also contains the necessary support for the upcoming buildings and vehicles packs which will be out in February.

Wednesday 21 January 2009


Dave likes 'em big. Screens, that is. He wasn't impressed with us showing Moviestorm movies on tiny little screens like Jeff's Nokia N78, David's Blackberry and iPod Touch, Johnnie's Android or Chris's PSP. You see, Dave likes to watch your movies on the biggest screen he can find. This is his home cinema setup, showing Saving Grace in HD on a screen about six feet wide. And believe me, it's quite a stunning experience.

(Now I'm wishing I'd grabbed a photo from last year's Cambridge Film Festival where we showed some of your movies on a real full-size cinema screen. Now that was truly awesome.)

World of Warcraft also looks impressive played on Dave's screen, as you'd expect. I don't even play the game, but I have to admit that some of the sequences are absolutely stunning when you see them that huge.

Running Moviestorm on it, and making movies on a giant screen is a very strange experience. It makes for a great editing environment, where you can really step back from your film. You get a very different sense of the atmosphere when you see the footage at that size, compared to looking at it on even a large monitor. And, as I've mentioned before, all the imperfections leap out at you when you're working with a huge image and chunky speakers. It's absolutely the opposite to having a movie studio on your lap, as you get with the EEE PC.

Tuesday 20 January 2009

It's not the size that matters, it's what you do with it that counts

The first time I saw an eee pc, I knew I wanted one. I had serious geeklust. I still haven't got one, but that's mainly because every time I manage to set aside some cash, a newer and better model gets released, and I have to reassess my choice.

Moviestormer warmanivan is way ahead of me. Not only does he already own a netbook, he runs Moviestorm on it. Not just Moviestorm movies - the full application. He popped in to the office the other day to give us a demo (and to let me take some pretty shoddy cameraphone pictures).

Darn it. Now I really, really want one.

It's falling from the sky!

All good film noir, cop shows, and action movies have at least one scene in the rain. As if the story wasn't dark and depressing enough, the whole atmosphere changes when you know that everyone is cold and soggy. Like this.

Or this.

And no, this is not a post effect. This is 100% pure Moviestorm. It does more than one type of precipitation too. Try these.

It's still fairly early days for this code, like yesterday's fireworks, so don't expect anything to be released too soon. But it's definitely on its way. OK, who's going to be the first to use the upcoming buildings and street dressing packs to do Singin' In the Rain? Look, we even have the little plant you need for this sequence...

Monday 19 January 2009


Wandering past Julian's desk earlier, I noticed him having a quiet little celebration, in his reserved Scottish way. And what better way to celebrate than with a few fireworks?

Yep, it's the beginnings of a Moviestorm particle system. There's more in the works...

Street scene

In the real world, buildings aren't always shiny and new. They get grimy, dusty, and generally deteriorate. So in this test shot of the new town houses, from the upcoming buildings pack, we've added dirt maps to make them look in less than brand new condition.

We also threw in the phone boxes which will be in the upcoming Street Dressing pack. Early Moviestorm users may recognise these from the Pioneer pack, but don't be fooled: these have been re-rigged with new textures so they'll look a whole lot better.

Friday 16 January 2009

Whaddya mean, stereotypes?

So you've got the Law and Order pack, right? (Right?) And now you have lots of upright guardians of the law to deal with the foul miscreants who populate our streets. But who are those evil, drug-dealing, gun-running criminals they're going to be arresting?

Step forward, Luther and Mark, who will shortly be making an appearance at a Moviestorm store near you. Or in a jail cell. Or in a music video. It's up to you.

Work in progress shots from the desk of Chris Ollis. More outfits to come, more texture variants, and, oooh, other stuff. When it's ready...

Thursday 15 January 2009


Once upon a time, phones were for making phone calls. And they weren't always very good at that. Now, of course, that's just a minor piece of functionality. They're for texting, holding your calendar and address book, playing games, listening to music, surfing the Net, getting travel directions, twittering, and, of course, watching movies while you're supposed to be doing something else.

Here's Jeff's Nokia N-78 playing - oh, you all recognise this movie by now, don't you?

Wednesday 14 January 2009

The fast and the mildly annoyed*

It wasn't so long ago that we released our very first moving cars for Moviestorm. Apparently, you guys liked them, so we decided to do some more for you. Here are a couple which look a bit like a BMW and a Chevy Camaro.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines...

Oh, you want to know when you can have them, do you? C'mon, you know the answer to that. All together now... "when they're ready!"**

*We're British. We're far too polite to be furious.
** Layla's working as fast as she can to get them to QA before she leaves.


Next in our series of Moviestorm movies running on neat little devices, here's Whatever Is Wrong With You on David Bailey's Blackberry. And, because David is (a) a gadget freak and (b) vain, he also sent us a picture of himself doing a corporate presentation on his iPod Touch.

Actually, it's not that he's vain. David is, in reality, a shy and retiring chap, with a severe phobia about actually talking to people, so when he's at conferences and people asks what he does and what Moviestorm's all about, he just whips out his iPod and shows them the video. That way he doesn't actually have to speak to anybody.

Tuesday 13 January 2009


Ain't technology wonderful? Following our posts showing Moviestorm movies running on the PSP, and then under the defiantly mediocre YouTube client on the G1, long-time Moviestorm ForgeUK has sent us a photo of his iPod. Can you guess what's on the screen?

There are lots of ways to show off your Moviestorm movies, from the tiny to the tremendous. So come on - who can out-geek ForgeUK? Tell you what: I'll offer a prize right here and now of a few hundred Moviestorm Points to the person who sends me a photo of Moviestorm (or a Moviestorm movie) running on the most bizarre device. Send your photos to johnnie D-O-T ingram .at. moviestorm D-O-T co D-O-T uk, or just post a comment with a link to the image.

Want to see some of the movies that ForgeUK has on his iPod? Take a look at his Moviestormer page.

Monday 12 January 2009


Following on from the earlier post about Chris running Moviestorm movies on his PSP, here's Johnnie's T-Mobile Android G1 running Moviestorm tutorials, as written by, erm, Johnnie. Now when he's at high-flying Hollywood parties and people ask him what he does for a living, he just whips out his phone and shows them. Never fails to impress, apparently.

Come on, who's gonna show us their iPhone with a Moviestorm movie on, then?

Moviestorm movies on PSP

Chris has recently become obsessed with putting Moviestorm movies on to his PSP, so he can watch them when he's out and about, and show them off to people. "It's easier than carting a laptop about and the screen shows them off beautifully!" he says.

If you fancy collecting your catalogue of movies (and your favourites of other peoples) it's quite a simple process. First grab PSP Video 9 - it's a free video converter that takes almost any format (MOV, AVI, FLV) and converts it in to the PSP standard MP4 format, making a nice thumbnail for your movie too! Then you simply drop the two files in to the PSP's video folder and you're done. Hit play and you're running, Moviestorm movies on the move!

Chris adds: "If anyone from Sony is reading this and wants to send me some free PSP films to compare the moviestorm ones against that would be great. Actually, come to think of it, I'm testing this on a first edition PSP, so a new 3000 edition would be handy to test playback on too, oh, and some new games, Loco Roco 2, Secret Agent Clank, God of War, that sort of thing..."

Let us know if you've got your Moviestorm movies running on any other cool devices.

Thursday 8 January 2009

You've got me on my knees

We'll shortly be saying farewell to the lovely Layla, artiste extraordinaire. She's moving to Denmark in a few weeks, where her boyfriend is about to start a new job.

We wish her well, and we'll miss her. More importantly, I'll have to steal someone else's lighter now.

If you build it...

So what's on the drawing board for 2009? First up are the new customisable buildings, which allow you to create almost unlimited street sets. These should be out in a couple of weeks, as soon as QA finish complaining about the bugs. You can have them sooner if we decide to lock Mr Pajak and Mr Thatcher in the cupboard under the stairs and not let them out until they give it the all clear. Hmmm, what do you think? Should we let them finish testing it?

Click for a nice big version.

The next content pack after that... well, let's not spoil the surprise, shall we? Meanwhile, the programming team are working away on version 1.1.4, which is mostly small changes and bug fixes. But there's Big Stuff in the works, oooh, yes, there is!