Wednesday 30 November 2011

Bombay taxi

If you've ever been to India, you'll instantly recognise this style of vehicle. Indian taxis are quite fun once you get used to the sheer terror of being driven around at high speed in heavy traffic, dodging potholes, overloaded motorcycles, pedestrians, buses, trucks, cows and elephants...  Another shot from the upcoming Indian pack.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Monday 28 November 2011

New packs for 1.5

A very harried Amos told me earlier today that testing on 1.5 is going well, and we're aiming for a release date "very early in December".  He wouldn't commit himself any further than that, and there's only so much threatening I can do on your behalf from 5000 miles away.

He did, however, let slip that the long awaited sword fighting pack will be released "in time for Christmas", and that before that, there will be an "Indian pack" that's been ready to go for a while, just waiting on some code that's in the new release.  That will include some interior and exterior sets, plus a few costumes - acha hai!

I'll try to get the guys to snap a couple of screenshots of the new stuff when they're not so busy, and we'll post them for you here.

Monday 21 November 2011

Upcoming Pack - Construction Site

After being put on the back-burner for a while due to development of Moviestorm 1.5 and various Bonus Content assets, we are now almost ready to release a complete pack, called "Construction Site".
As you may have guessed by the name of the AddOn, this pack contains a selection of Building/ Construction props for your Moviestorm Scenes. There's a back-hoe type digger, a cement mixer, scaffolding, a skip, bricks and blocks, safety fencing and piles of sand which you can drop into your set like any other Moviestorm asset. For your characters, there's overalls for both male and female characters with an option to add high-vis waistcoats. Of course, the obligatory yellow hard hat is also included in the pack - we wouldn't want your characters to get injured...
All being well, this pack will be available in the marketplace before the end of the week, and it will be priced very competitively (in Moviestorm Points) against our previous packs.

Thursday 17 November 2011

Friday 11 November 2011

Flashy's Movember

Now, it's a little-known fact about Andrew that he's a big fan of the Harry Flashman novels. They're a series of bawdy adventures, featuring a Victorian soldier who gets into scrapes all over the world. Andrew's always had a secret hankering to emulate his hero, particularly in the matter of facial hair. So this month, he's decided to go for it.

Why? It's in a good cause. Here's Andrew's explanation.

Some people climb mountains, run marathons or bike across China. The lengths of human endeavour to support a needy cause can know no bounds when a driven individual decides to try and make a difference for a particular charity. So, those of you that know me will not be surprised to hear that I have decided to push my body to endure new lengths of suffering, all in the aid of stuff that my fellow man suffers from, but are crap at taking care of – the wife prostate and testicular cancer.

There are loads of stats about how bad the problem is, but I think Peter Griffin sums up the problem we face best ...

So, for the month of November, I am devoting my top lip to bring awareness to the importance of giving your plums a regular squeeze, and potentially allowing a suitably qualified person to go where no man has gone before, all in the name of male health. I have the full intention of growing some truly embarrassing facial hair, that Dizz will absolutely hate.

If you would like to support the cause, you can support my Movember campaign by making a donation by either:
*Donating online at:
*If you want to go old school you can write a cheque payable to 'Movember', reference my name and Registration Number 2133058 and send it to: Movember Europe, PO Box 68600, London, EC1P 1EF

If you'd like to find out more about the type of work you'd be helping to fund by supporting Movember, take a look at the Programmes We Fund section on the Movember website:

I thank you!

And here's the first photo of the new fuzz. This is Day 6. Dashed fine, what?

Please consider supporting Andrew in this worthy cause.


Tuesday 8 November 2011

Upcoming features: Autosave

At the end of last week, the QA Team were presented with the first release-candidate of Moviestorm 1.5, which now has around 1600 individual tests to pass before it’s released. During this time there will be some tweaking of features to check that they behave exactly as originally specified, and almost every aspect of the program will be pushed to its limits on various hardware platforms and different operating systems before you folks get to download and install it.
So, no news this week then? On the contrary!
You’ll notice that the landing page image at the top of this post has not three, but four buttons. That’s because we have a new, modified Autosave function, which I am now allowed to explain to you. Previously Moviestorm’s autosave feature incrementally saved project information on a “per-movie” basis, giving the user a confusing choice of time-stamped files for recovery. The new method is much simpler to use, and to explain... Moviestorm now backs up your work at a predefined time interval, completely independent to the saved file in your Projects folder. If you exit the program without saving (or experience a crash, powercut, or inquisitive child pushing the power button), Moviestorm will simply ask you if you want to continue where you left off. This means that you don’t have to worry about loading the wrong backup file (and thereby jeopardising your saved movie), as Moviestorm doesn’t go anywhere near the saved project. Dave is actually so convinced by the new system that he’s also removed the Save confirmation dialog, improving workflow that little bit further. We’re looking forward to you guys getting hold of it, it really does make a huge difference!

Monday 7 November 2011

Making Better Movies with Moviestorm - change to Volumes 3 & 4

Earlier today, I finished the first draft of Volume 3 of my series of books about using Moviestorm to help make better films. The preceding two covered camerawork and staging, and this one, originally due to be published in a few weeks, covers editing.

After re-reading it, I decided to hold that volume and publish it as Volume 4 at the end of December. Instead, I'll cover sound and lighting in Volume 3. This was originally planned for Volume 4. Fortunately, it's mostly written, so I'll be able to stay with the schedule for monthly releases, and Volume 3 will still be out in early December.

Throughout the book on editing, I kept referring to things you could do with sound and light, and several of the exercises had footnotes saying "this will be covered in more detail in Vol 4". That just felt wrong to me. It made more sense to deal with those techniques earlier in the series, and then refer back to them in the editing exercises.

More importantly, though, it also fits with my philosophy on filmmaking.

For me, the film isn't made by the director. It's not about what happens on the set. A film is made by the editor. The only time the director gets to make a film, unless they're doing the whole thing themselves, is when they release a Director's Cut - and that's not always a guarantee it'll be better than the original.

It's the editor who assembles everything, and who decides what is in the film and what isn't. It's the editor who blends the visual and the audio. It's the editor who creates the context for each shot by deciding what comes before and after. The editor can completely change a film, even to the extent of turning a horror movie into a comedy, or lacklustre documentary footage into an absorbing visual essay.

All the time I was writing this series, I felt that I wanted to start with how to create great shots, and then end with an entire volume on how to put them together into a finished movie, so that's the way it's going to be.

Thursday 3 November 2011

Update to Bonus Content: Microphone.

For this update, we’re bringing you a microphone held-prop so that your characters can perform a selection of singing, interviewing and recording animations.
Unlike microphones available in our other packs, this one has a wider selection of animations allowing your characters to sing, rap and carry the microphone from one location to another, or perform interviews in a outside-broadcast type way. Also, the microphone itself can be shown as a singing microphone, outside broadcast microphone or voice recorder, depending on your needs.
As always, the download is free if you are a paying customer of Moviestorm Complete or Moviestorm Themes – you just need to register for the license at the bottom of the following page and then all of the bonus content will be installed the next time you use Moviestorm.
(p.s. Bonus content is not currently available for Moviestorm Education users due to the lack of internet connectivity needed to regularly update the pack. However, we will be updating Moviestorm Education’s content to include all appropriate Bonus Content for a future upgrade).

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Upcoming features: WebM

As regular visitors to our forums will know, we have big plans for the next version of Moviestorm. We’ve already talked about the headline features such as the terrain editor and option for oversized set area, improved character animation, rewritten autosave feature, more flexible character creation tools, advisor system, plus improvements to the performance and stability of the program – but there’s one feature that we haven’t yet mentioned...
The way that Moviestorm handles video has been completely rewritten. We have adopted the new WebM video format developed by Google as our new standard, which offers great performance and image quality even on older hardware, plus the advantage that it’s as friendly to the Mac OS as it is to Windows – this means that most machines will playback the new movie format “out of the box”, and those that don’t will only have to do a small update for compatibility.
Another great advantage of adding this format is that the way Moviestorm handles video clips has had to be re-written. A side-effect of this is that you can now run video on Moviestorm props in the Director’s View in real-time (even on modest hardware) and with sound playing. You can also add videos in the Cutting Room that can be dragged to the timeline in the same way as your camera shots. This means that you can import footage into your Cutting Room bins and drag video clips into your movies without the need for an external editor. If you’ve previously had problems with running out of system resources on complex multi-scened projects, you can now simply render them out separately and combine the clips in an empty Movie, with almost zero overhead.
Of course, we’ve left the old video format in there for those users who have an established workflow that they don’t want to alter, but we think WebM is the way forward...