Tuesday 30 June 2009

Fingers crossed

Finally, Moviestorm 1.1.6 is on its way up to the servers. We had our fair share of last-minute irritations and silly mistakes, but now we can all go home while it uploads.

Tomorrow morning, we give the downloads a final check to make sure they arrived safely, and then, assuming there are no last-minute problems, it'll go live.

But now, beer!

Friday 26 June 2009

Johnnie's boots have never looked so clean

We're lucky enough to have found yet another deluded student who, for some unfathomable reason, wanted to do some work experience with us. Chris Heppell has been in the trenches with the QA team for the past fortnight. In what's now become a Short Fuze tradition, we asked him to write a short summary of his time with us.

1.1.6’, ‘Release candidate’, ‘Bug’, ‘Oh, #*%@!!!’ and ‘ARRGHH!!’ are all some of the phrases I’ve been constantly hearing at the Short Fuze office. That doesn’t come as a surprise though, as 1.1.6 is due for release very soon and everyone wants to get it out with the minimal amount of fuss and zero problems. This is where I come in … I’ve been breaking Moviestorm.

As soon as I started my Work Experience at Short Fuze, I was shoved into a chair by Johnnie who told me to "Break Moviestorm! And tell us what we did wrong!" ... Well, not really: I was shown around the establishment and introduced to the team first (who are all a bunch of great people!) and then shoved into a chair by Johnnie.

It wasn't too long until I found a bug. My first was noticing some problems with thumbnails. Johnnie was happy. But later on I found another bug which was originally marked as fixed, which meant it had to be reopened. Johnnie was no longer happy.

During the first week, I got a chance to see what was happening in the development of Moviestorm, and I have to say, it looks really good. The new Modders Workshop, Pyro Pack, Hairstyles and a couple of other things I’m not sure I’m allowed to mention are all looking fantastic.

The next week I was set on making some textures, and it wasn’t long before I got into the flow of texture creation, and made all sorts of different textures. The best thing? They’re going to be put into a free addon pack for anyone to use in Moviestorm.

These 2 weeks of work experience have been full of enjoyment and hard work. I’m going to miss it after I’ve left, but I know It's been one of the most productive things I've ever done. I now know what it's like to work in the software/computer industry, and I'm sure that this experience will definitely benefit me for my future, but most importantly of all: Unit Tests are a pain in the ____.

Thursday 25 June 2009

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night ...

It's hard work sometimes, you know. In the last few days before a release, nobody is allowed time off, no matter how extenuating the circumstances. Andrew, our Chief of Operations, oversees us with zeal. He doesn't exempt himself from discipline, though. When the Air Conditioning system began to freeze his delicate neck, he used the ingenuity natively available to any upstanding British chap:

You see? Stiff upper lip, and on with the job. That's the way we do things over here.

We're all now convinced that he's actually got an enormous ugly boil on the end of his nose, and the helmet is just an excuse.

EDIT: After I posted this, Andrew realised that his foolish antics were bringing shame on our once-proud nation, and changed into something that looked slightly less silly: a tea-towel held in place by a baseball cap.

Moviestorm visual effects: making it wet

While we've been showing you some of the visual effects filters Julian's been working on, he's been experimenting with combining them to produce some strange, interesting and unusual results.

This is what happens when you make your movie black and white, add in some noise, throw in some rain, and put some ripple distortion on. It looks like an old movie, shot outdoors, and there's water all over the lens. Or looking out through a wet window onto a rain-soaked world. Or something. I'm sure you'll think of a way to use this kind of effect.

The possibilities for weird and wonderful visual styles from combining the different filters is huge. I can't wait to get these off Julian's desk and into a version I can play with, but it looks like that'll be quite a few weeks yet. Until then, I'll be as impatient as you!

Oh, wait, did we say rain? Yeah, there's rain too.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Moviestorm 1.1.6 reaches the final hurdle

I've just had the first release candidate (RC1) of Moviestorm 1.1.6 dropped onto my desk by Ben, which will doubtless generate a huge collective sigh of relief. If you're not a software developer, that may not make much sense to you. So let me explain, while I'm waiting for it to install.

The RC1 is the first stab at what we're going to release. It means that we've put everything into the release that we intend to put in, and the QA team think this going to be worth shipping. The code is taken out of the development environment, and is now running in a standalone fashion, exactly as you will get it. From this point on, the programmers and artists aren't allowed to touch it unless the release team find a problem they need to address. And that's not what we want to happen.

So the first job is to test the hell out of it in anger, by using it exactly as you will use it - by making test movies. All sorts of problems can show up in this stage that weren't evident when Moviestorm was running in the development environment. We could, for example, be shipping with a slightly different version of Java, or have failed to include something in the build that all the developers have on their machines, or simply failed to configure it properly. It's also a very different testing regime: instead of checking to see whether the individual features work and the specific bugs are fixed, then crossing them off when they're done, we're going back and forth between screens and modes, keeping Moviestorm up for hours at a time, and just playing with it, experimenting, and trying to achieve specific creative results. In other words, doing what you do.

We also have a huge checklist that we have to go through - checking the images on the launcher and the main menu, and making sure we've included any new ones. We don't get to see the launcher in the dev environment - Moviestorm starts a completely different way - so this is the first time we get to check that over. Then there's checking we've updated the version number and the EULA - it's so easy to forget little things like that in the last minute rush. Preparing the release notes and any copy or screenshots for the Web site, blog, etc - these can't be done until we're sure what's going to make it into the release.

Simultaneously, there's the huge business of making the patches and installers, and then testing them. It's not as simple as just building a 1.1.6 release. We need to build something which upgrades you from (or earlier) to 1.1.6. This includes not just the main body of the code, but all the content packs as well. And then all of those have to be checked - on Mac, Vista and XP.

Finally, assuming we didn't find any major issues - and, of course, it never goes 100% smoothly - we agree that RC1 is good to go. It's like Mission Control. We all have a go / no-go vote, and sometimes this can be quite uncomfortable. There are always things we'd like to fix, or we'd like to do better, but we have to make a call between getting something out to you and getting it perfect. If we all say go, we wait expectantly for our Glorious Leader to give us the thumbs up. Or else we start over with RC2, RC3, RC4...

When we get the go, we upload everything to our servers, go out to the pub while we wait, and then come back and check that the upload's gone OK, and nothing got corrupted en route. This means downloading and installing every new patch, and making sure they run. Then - and only then - can we make it live and release it to you.

OK, RC1 is installed. Time to stop waffling and get testing!

Moviestorm effects 11: Night

You may remember, how in the dim and distant past, the first filter we showed you was night vision? Well, here's the companion to it, the night filter. Many night shots aren't actually shot at night, for all sorts of reasons. They're shot in daylight and then tweaked to look like night. This gives everything a blue tinge, and then changes the luminosity to match human night perception. You can adjust the intensity to go from really dark to post twilight or full moon.

Anyway, here's a recap of the visual effects filters we've shown you so far:

  1. Night vision
  2. Sepia toning
  3. Black and white
  4. Greyscale with red boost
  5. Halftone
  6. Negative
  7. Glow
  8. Bloom
  9. Camera shake
  10. Ripple distortion
  11. Night

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Moviestorm effects 10: ripple

After that brief interruption yesterday for customisable held props, let's return to visual effects filters.

This one is a distortion effect similar to looking at someone through rippled glass or through water. It's the sort of thing you could use in dream sequences, for alien vision, or for looking out through the windows of a space suit. There are parameters that allow you to control the degree of distortion - turned up high, you get a strange fuzzy mess, or turned down low, you get something more like heat haze. Here it is with two different settings.

Usual disclaimers apply: this is really early dev code, not representative of final quality, and we don't have a release date for it.

Monday 22 June 2009

Customisable held props

As well as all the stuff we already promised you for 1.1.6, we've also managed to squeeze in another new feature: customisable held props. You can now, for example, tint the briefcase, or add your own photo to the ID card. Just use the prop as normal, then click on the character (while she's holding the prop) and hit Customise Prop.

One hidden benefit of this is that similar props are now variations of each other, so you can set a character up with one guitar, build your music video, and then switch guitars without having to redo everything.

Friday 19 June 2009

1.1.6 update - and a little tease

Well, there's good news, and there's more good news. As we told you at the beginning of June, Moviestorm 1.1.6 went into testing at the start of the month, we've bashed away at it for 2-3 weeks, and we're looking good for a release before the end of the month, just like we planned.

Of course, all the usual disclaimers apply. We can't guarantee that Dave won't find a horrible bug somewhere in Dave's code, or that cyber-terrorist ninja gibbons won't sneak into our Moviestorm Towers over the weekend and replace every thirty-third bit in jogl.jar with a random number. These things do happen.

But the good news is that we managed to sneak an extra little feature into 1.1.6. It's neat, and you'll like it. However, you'll have to wait till next week to find out what it is, cos I can't grab a picture of it right now,* and it just doesn't look good without a picture. Suffice it to say that there's one more thing in mainstream Moviestorm that previously required modding to achieve.

*It's technical and complicated. Oh, alright, the rest of the team are too busy testing to make screenshots for me, and I'm only partway through installing the latest build on this PC, and it takes hours. Or maybe that's all a lie, and I'm just being unnecessarily mysterious in an effort to get you coming back next week. You decide.

Moviestorm effects 9: camera shake

Camera shake is one of the most requested effects. It's ideal for earthquakes, explosions, big stompy monster footsteps, and all sorts of other action sequences.

This doesn't actually move the camera - that would be a nightmare to edit with. What it does is to take the camera's nominal position and apply an offset to it. This has a whole bunch of controls, so you can change the amount of movement in either direction, the frequency of movement, and how juddery or smooth it is. This is one effect that you almost certainly don't want to apply across a whole scene (or across a whole movie), so this will also need start and end keyframes, which is going to require some additional user interface on the camera view.

Usual disclaimers apply: this is really early dev code, not representative of final quality, and we don't have a release date for it.

Thursday 18 June 2009

You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain

I use Moviestorm every day, often running through the same few test sequences each time. Although I love it, it's sometimes hard to get excited or inspired when I'm so familiar with Moviestorm that I regularly dream about it and see the interface swimming in front of my eyes when I wake up in the morning. Nonetheless, every once in a while something I've thrown haphazardly together to test a bit of functionality will remind me that, actually, Moviestorm is a storytelling tool above all else.

Here's a bit of silliness that started as a test of the Pyro pack and ended up as quite a cool short sequence.

I know it doesn't fit on the page, but dagnamit, it's so pretty I don't want to butcher it into a smaller size. Watch the full version on my Moviestorm page.

I've no idea who the hooded pyromancer might be, or why he's attacking the cameraman in an art gallery, but that doesn't matter: from such initial fragments are big stories woven.

Now then. The disclaimers. I know we always throw in the usual "when it's ready", "development code", "your mileage may vary" disclaimers, but in this case I really do have to emphasise: the mobile fireballs are something that we're trying out at the moment and they still have some bugs. You - hopefully - won't see any in this video, but that's more by good luck than good management. Rolling balls of fiery flaming death might not make it into the Pyro pack at all. Certainly, I wouldn't be surprised if they were only static objects by the time the pack is released, with mobile fireballs scheduled for a future update. We'll try and get them ready, but I can't promise that we'll manage it.

Don't worry. They'll still be balls, they'll still be great, and they'll still be - most emphatically - of fire.

Moviestorm effects 8: bloom

Bloom is a lot like glow, except that it's keyed to brightness, which produces an effect a bit like using HDR (High Dynamic Range). It adds blur and brightens the bright bits of the shot. Bloom is one of the most versatile filters so far, with various parameters to create a number of different looks. It's great for dream sequences, flashbacks, or other surreal shots, and works well in music videos.

Usual disclaimers apply: this is really early dev code, not representative of final quality, and we don't have a release date for it.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Moviestorm effects 7: glow

Glow is one of those subtle filters that adds softness to a shot. It adds a gentle blur to a scene, and is often used for romantic sequences. A standard cameraman's trick was to smear vaseline over the lens, or stretch a very fine mesh over the camera, in order to diffract the light and create this well-known soft focus effect.

If you really push the glow, you end up with something that's quite stylish, but it can easily be overdone.

Usual disclaimers apply: this is really early dev code, not representative of final quality, and we don't have a release date for it.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Moviestorm effects 6: negative

Negative is another one of those filters that you don't know you need until you need it. It's not often used these days, but was popular some years ago for psychedelic sequences and a standard "just got shot by an alien weapon" effect in Seventies Doctor Who.

Usual disclaimers apply: this is really early dev code, not representative of final quality, and we don't have a release date for it.

Monday 15 June 2009

Moviestorm effects 5: halftone

Halftone is one of those weird effects that you never know you're going to need until you need it. It's based on the way comics and the like were printed, where everything got reduced to dots, back in the days before we had pixels. It's great for creating Sixties-style credits sequences, and, ummm, any other ideas? Still, it's entertaining! This hasn't got any parameters yet, but we're playing around to see what we can mess about with.

Usual disclaimers apply: this is really early dev code, not representative of final quality, and we don't have a release date for it.

Friday 12 June 2009

Moviestorm effects 4: the red dress

So we can do greyscale. What would be really cool would be if we could do that famous shot from Schindler's List, where everything is in black and white apart from one character in a red coat. Like this.

Or, if you prefer, we could go more Sin City, and do the same thing with cel shading turned on, like this.

Of course, it's not just clothing that will stand out - you could do the same with blood splatters, a red car, or anything else. We're aiming to add some options so that you could have green or blue stand out, but no promises on that. Any colour other than the three primaries is pretty much out of the question though.

Usual disclaimers apply: this is really early dev code, not representative of final quality, and we don't have a release date for it.

Thursday 11 June 2009

Moviestorm effects 3: black and white

And a third filter for your enjoyment. Staying with the "old movies" theme for another day, this one gives you black and white. (Well, strictly speaking, from an artist's point of view, it's greyscale, but that's what we normally mean when we talk about black and white movies.)

This filter doesn't have any options associated with it yet - it just strips out all the colour information.

Usual disclaimers apply: this is really early dev code, not representative of final quality, and we don't have a release date for it.

Wednesday 10 June 2009

Moviestorm effects 2: Sepia

Here's the second of the filters that Julian's been working on: a sepia-toned "old movie" style that will be familiar to us all. It was common in pre 1930s movies, and would be good for old-fashioned slapstick comedy, pulp science fiction, or just plain antique styling. The scratches are optional.

Usual disclaimers apply: this is really early dev code, not representative of final quality, and we don't have a release date for it.

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Moviestorm visual effects: night vision

One of the things we always liked about The Movies was the large variety of "film stock" you could use to give your movie a particular style. If you're a Moviestorm user, you're somewhat limited at the moment to either the standard look or the cel shaded look, unless you drag your footage into a proper external video editor and apply filters to it there. Some users have created some amazing effects - iceaxe's Clockwork, for example - but that's more than most people have time or skill to do.

So, quietly, Julian has been putting together a set of filters that can be used directly inside Moviestorm, with no need for an external editor. So far, we have eleven that we'll show you over the next couple of weeks.

When we've finished, you should (we stress, should) be able to overlay several filters on top of each other, and combine this with cel-shading as well. Quite how well this will work, we're not entirely sure yet, but you should be able to create some interesting looks. It will certainly hammer your performance, that much we do know!

Here's the basic test movie that we'll be using to demonstrate each of the filters. It's not exciting, but it'll give you an idea of what's coming up.

A few things to note: This is not representative of the final quality. This is really, really raw development code that we've grabbed straight off Julian's desk, and he hasn't actually finished writing it yet. That's why some of the movies don't fit nicely in the screen - there's a bug that can cause the filtered 2D image to resize when it's rendered - and you'll see walk marks in all the test movies too, which is part of the animation and nav mesh stuff that Mark's working on.

There's no user interface to any of the filters yet - it's all controlled from within the code by manually setting parameters, so it's nowhere near as fine-tuned as we'd like. (The jump at the beginning is just due to bad camerawork when we set up the test movie - that's not Julian's fault!)

And please remember - everything you see here is 100% pure Moviestorm. There's absolutely no post-processing at all. We haven't changed the lighting or any other settings. We've simply applied the filter and re-rendered the exact same footage.

As usual, we can't say when this will be released, but it certainly won't be 1.1.6, and 1.1.7 is highly unlikely too. Still, we're really excited by the possibilities these filters offer, and figured you'd like a look anyway. So here goes. Enjoy!

Effect #1: Night vision

First up, here's an effect we're all familiar with from countless movies: night vision. It's based on what you'd see through an image intensifier, a starlight scope, or perhaps seeing through a cat's eyes. This would also work well loaded onto a TV or computer screen for a surveillance camera effect. Optionally, you can add in noise, which gives you a slightly more authentic look.

Monday 8 June 2009

Jeff gets out the Zie-brush

Moviestorm's been through many incarnations since I did the very first design for it five years ago. Most of them never made it off the drawing board, some stayed firmly in-house, and I think we've shipped three different layouts with different icon styles since our initial pioneers release.

It gets better each time, but we've still not yet found the design that says what we want it to say. We're striving for something that has the ease and accessibility of a game, but is also a functional, powerful tool, with modern styling.

Turns out that Jeff - our CEO - used to be a graphic artist in a former life, so in between all the other myriad jobs that are involved in running this place, he decided to tackle the design himself. This is very much concept work, and all we're doing is experimenting with different styles. We may jettison this and go somewhere completely different, but here's a first look anyway.

With just the new icons in place, Moviestorm feels completely different to use, even though we haven't changed the layout or started on any of the other graphic elements.

It'll take time before we settle on the final design - the only way to do this job is to build it, and then work with it, over and over again, until we decide whether it feels right.

Friday 5 June 2009

Smoothly does it

One of the most irritating things when making a movie - to my eyes, at least - is the unwanted animation "pops" when a character suddenly snaps from one pose to another. And then you get limbs going through each other, characters going through the floor, and so on. Glitches like these can ruin an otherwise perfect shot, it's disconcerting, and, well, dammit, it just doesn't look good. Sure, there are ways to shoot or edit around it, and it's a common problem with videogame characters, but it's still bloody annoying.

The problem is caused by layering animations one on top of each other, and linking them together. If we knew exactly what you were going to do, we could ensure that everything just worked fine. However, because this is a movie tool, the range of possibilities is, quite literally, infinite. We can find ourselves blending together the animations for walking (mixing two gaits and the speed customised), using a prop (with each individual activity customised), gesturing (customised), facial expression and improvisation (yes, also customised), talking (you get the idea now?), looking at something (possibly a moving object), breathing, and blinking. Each of those is a separate mathematical transform that has to be applied to the skeleton, and then checked to make sure it's anatomically possible. Blending them all together involves taking all the different transformations and working out how they all go together. So one activity may tell the character to put her hand behind her head (improvised scratch), another tells her to lift it straight up (dance gesture), and a third tells her to swing it by her side (walk) - you try doing all three at once and see how far you get. It's no wonder our Moviestorm characters get confused.

Here's an example movie made in Moviestorm 1.1.5.

Yeuch, huh? All he's doing there is walking, playing the trumpet, and sitting down (and breathing and blinking and improvising). The existing animation blending just can't cope. His feet go through the floor, his right arm goes through his torso, his left arm pops - oh, it's just horrible.

And here's the same again using Mark's new blended animation code. You really, really don't want an explanation of the complexity of the mathematics that go into this. Even Dave runs away screaming when Mark starts explaining things like this. (Actually, even if you do want an explanation, we're not going to tell you. This is really hairy stuff, and we ain't giving it away.)

It's not quite perfect yet, that's true, but it's much, much better. The bad news is that you won't get to see this till 1.1.7, and we don't yet have a release date for that. It'll be a couple of months at least. Sorry.

Thursday 4 June 2009

At last: Dave, Mark VI

Dave Holloway, post-haircut.

For the uninitiated, these are the previous Daves:

Mk I - Codename Lloyd
Mk II - Codename Lovemore
Mk III - Codename Bailey
Mk IV - Codename Pajak
Mk V - Codename Thatcher

We're pleased to report that the original Mark I ShortFuzeDave is still going strong.

Getting going quicker

Much as I'd like to, I can't deny that Moviestorm does take a while to start up and get itself sorted out before you can actually do anything with it. I can tell how frustrating this is from the swearing around the office as people go get a cuppa or even nip out for a haircut while waiting for Moviestorm to load. This isn't so much due to the engine, but to to the huge amount of data that Moviestorm has to load to tell it what costumes, props, animations, etc are available, how to use them, and a whole load more besides.

Much of the reason that Moviestorm is slow is the enormous pile of little files that it has to scan. Individual files are convenient for the artists to generate and easy for us to work with, but not nearly so convenient for the operating system to load. Not to be an Apple fan-boy here, but Windows is particularly bad at scanning directories and reading in lots of squitty little files. Each file only takes a few milliseconds to open up and peer into, but when you have literally thousands of them, it all adds up to quite a horrendous load. But it doesn't have to be this way, and it's changing. What I'm doing is to take a leaf out of most games and designed some new "pack" formats for our AddOns. This bundles up loads of files together, and hugely reduces the overhead of opening files.

For example, one of the big delays in starting up Moviestorm was reading in all the metadata for characters and props (descriptors, templates, etc). Since this involved scanning the file system to find them and then parsing each file, this could take quite a while (easily a minute or more with a lot of AddOns loaded). The metadata are now all published in a single file that can be scanned for content really fast and then loaded on demand. As a result, this phase of the start-up process has been drastically reduced, and now typically only 5-10 seconds!

Meshes used to be painfully slow to load, but now all the meshes in an AddOn are packed into a single file and in the same format that OpenGL needs to send directly to the GPU. This makes loading characters and props much, much faster.

As well as looking at getting the data into Moviestorm faster, I've also been investigating the start-up process and what gets loaded when. Some of the stuff that Moviestorm does in the start-up phase isn't actually needed until later (typically, not until we get on set). So those bits of the process have been hived off onto worker threads, carrying on in the background and which will only cause a pause if it hasn't finished by the time it's needed.

The upshot of all this so far is that Moviestorm now gets to the first screen within about 5 seconds, and most of that time is just loading the binary, setting up OpenGL and other unavoidable bits of work. The main pause is now when you start a new movie or load a movie, but even then, you should get on set within about 30 seconds.

I haven't finished this job yet, so hopefully we'll shave a few more seconds off here and starting Moviestorm should become a real slick experience, comparable with starting World of Warcraft, Fallout 3 or anything from Steam. However, you'll notice the difference right away.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

The Wizard of Mods

We've been promising an improved Modder's Workshop for a while, not just because we're altruistic and want to give you nice tools, but because it makes life a whole lot easier for us too. The new version is now based around wizards, which makes the whole process not just quicker and easier, but a lot less error-prone.

Here's a basic Moviestorm mug. Not very exciting, is it? And, much though you love us, you may not want to put Moviestorm branding all over your movie. So let's open it up and retexture it.

First, define an addon which your new model is going to live in. This will be the thing that you can distribute to other Moviestorm users so they can use your mod too.

Next, give your cup a name. We've picked the highly innovative and original MyMug.

Now pick the parts of the mug that you want to retexture. The mug only has one part, so this is easy. If you're dealing with a more complex object, then you can retexture each part of it independently.

We're going to replace the existing texture with one we made earlier, so we select the Replace option. (We previously made the new texture using Photoshop and a public domain image to edit the .dds file attached to the original mug. It's in AddOn\DomesticDrama01\Data\Props\Mug\Textures if you want to try this yourself. However, it's even easier if you use the Edit option to create a copy of the original object and then you can get straight to the textures and edit them in your preferred graphics editor.)

Now we simply select the file we want to use as the new texture.

Et voila! Here's our new mug!

Finish off by publishing the new addon. This will contain a new template and your new texture, so the file size is pretty small and it's easy to distribute. This one's all of 86Kb.

The entire process takes slightly under 30 seconds once you've done it a couple of times.

Simple, huh?

Tuesday 2 June 2009

More new people at Moviestorm

Please join us in welcoming two new members of staff here at Moviestorm Towers.

Paul Kelley is joining Chris in the art team. In the dim and distant past he ran a video games shop, then took time out to travel the world and teach himself to be an artist. He did a stint at Jagex working on Runescape on characters and environments.

Quiz time: One of these is Paul. One of these isn't. You decide...
(There's a really big clue hidden in one of the pictures if you get stuck.

Dave Holloway is following in the long line of Moviestorm QA staff called Dave. A movie nut with a self-confessed penchant for "everything from the debased to the artistically sublime," he's worked in art, design and QA at a number of games companies, most recently Sony.

Dave won't let us take his photo yet because he wants a haircut first, so we'll post a picture of him later. This'll have to do for now. (We warned you, Dave!)

Monday 1 June 2009

Moviestorm 1.1.6 & 1.1.7 update

Moviestorm 1.1.6 will be going into initial testing this week.

Key features for this update include:
  • Support for the upcoming pyros and hairstyles packs
  • Support for a third content pack (which we'll announce shortly)
  • Improved modder's workshop
  • Various minor bug fixes
Testing will take 2-3 weeks, so we're aiming for a release towards the end of June assuming all goes well.

In development for Moviestorm 1.1.7 we have a whole bunch of performance improvements and major fixes for the animation blending. We've already seen some big steps forward in terms of performance, but they won't be ready for release in 1.1.6 - as often as not, fixing one issue reveals a load of other previously hidden problems. On the animation side, we've been dealing with the dreaded "popping", and at the same time changing the way the animation system works so that it works better when you have a character simultaneously using a prop, gesturing, talking, emoting, and moving around the set.

We'll also be giving Moviestorm a whirl under Windows 7 and see how well it behaves. In Dave's words, "I don't see any problems, but that was what I said about Vista." If anyone's already given it a go already, drop us a line and let us know what it was like!