Monday 24 September 2012

Moviestorm 1.5.3 nearly ready

We're currently finalizing the release of Moviestorm 1.5.3.  If all goes well, it'll be ready by the end of this week. Here are the highlights of what we're hoping it will include (note that some items may not ship if they fail final QA):

New features

  • Look At now has a customizer which allows you to change the duration of the look at blend, where on the target the character is looking, and to do the look at with just the head, just the eyes, or both the head and eyes
  • Switching between the Cutting Room and the Camera View or Director's View keeps the timeline position, if the Cutting Room is showing a view of the scene.
  • Ceilings now cast shadows, provided Interior lighting is disabled.
  • The Script Editor now has a 'clear timeline' option when right clicking on the current scene, which removes all activities in that scene.
  • The prop customizer in the set workshop now has an option to stop a prop casting shadows. This will also stop it reducing shadowmap quality, which can otherwise happen for props near the edges of your scene.
  • The 'Home' key now centers the view.

Bug fixes

  • The 'Dead' mood now prevents any automatic look at activities, or any improvisation.
  • Very long (eg over 6 min) clips now display correctly on the Cutting Room timeline.
  • The say record buttons are now play/stop buttons rather than having a separate stop.
  • Loading a multi-scene movie that was saved in the Cutting Room will go straight to the Cutting Room rather than asking which scene to go to then going to the Cutting Room.
  • Having a broken video in your movie no longer stops it from loading.
  • When changing the duration of a walk, it should move later activities along to provide space.
  • When using the image browser, images over 4 megapixels now warn the user to resize them, rather than risking breaking Moviestorm.
  • Remove mark now works on marks that do not have an associated walk.
  • When taking screenshots in the Camera View with the snapshot button, the resulting images now include depth of field.
  • The cel-shading tick box on the lighting settings no longer overrides the movie cel-shading tick box on the script settings unless you tell it to.
  • Memory leak fix: Moviestorm no longer holds onto copies of videos that were used as previews, or that were used on the Cutting Room timeline, or that were deleted.
  • Modders workshop: changed the 'Move to' menu so that you can scroll through the list of addons.
  • Modders workshop: fixed the 'Browse' button so that it works for props that have spaces in their folder names.

Thursday 23 August 2012

After iPad, what next?

As you've probably seen, we've just released our Moviestorm iPad app. It's an important step for the company, which we hope will bring movie-making to a whole new generation of people.

We've had a few questions from people about where this will lead next, so we figured we'd take a few minutes to reply.

Will there be an Android version?
We're certainly planning on it. There are some technical issues we need to sort out, since we haven't developed for Android before and it's not quite the same as iPad, even though using Unity means we're already most of the way there. We're currently trying to decide whether to do it all in-house, bring someone into the team, or contract it out. 

Will there be an iPad 1 version?
We were hoping to have an iPad 1 version from the get-go. However, it turned out that the iPad 1 wasn't really up to the job, so we're having to create a different, lighter version for that platform. We'll probably have to go with more cartoony characters, and make some other changes to the art. Once we've figured out exactly what we need to do to run on the iPad 1, we can see whether already we've got everything we need to put an iPad 1 app together quickly, or whether it's going to take more than that.

Is that it for the iPad?
Not at all. We wanted to start with something very straightforward just to prove to ourselves we could do it. There were a lot of features we wanted to put into this first version that were left out because of time, or because we were still getting used to the limitations of the platform and finding out how to make the best of it.  For example, you can't add in a music track or use pre-recorded audio. We're already thinking about what will get put into it next - it'll depend on what's easiest and quickest.

Are you still supporting the PC & Mac versions?
Of course! We're working on a new update to Moviestorm right now, which includes some performance enhancements and bug fixes.

The iPad app and the desktop app are two very different products, even though they're based on the same principles and technology. The iPad app is designed for quick, easy movie-making, or doing stuff when mobile, but it has its limitations. Moviestorm itself is for people who want to spend longer on their movies, or who want to do more complex things. We're hoping that some of the people who use the iPad app will want to do more with their movies, and will see what they can do with the desktop version: conversely, some of the people who found Moviestorm too complex will find that the iPad app does all they need, and for a much lower price.

What's coming out next?
A good question. That's a lot of different projects for a small team. We're currently reviewing all our options, and then we'll decide how to proceed. (And we're moving into a new office next week, so things are even more chaotic than usual.) Right now, the answer is we're not really sure yet. 

Hope that answers some of your questions. We'll keep you posted.

Thursday 19 July 2012

Instant subtitles

If you've ever gone through a movie adding subtitles, you'll know what a slow, tedious and laborious process it is. It's even more annoying if you've already put the dialog into the say activities to improve the lip sync.

We've just finished off adding a feature which will take a lot of that work away from you. When you add subtitles in the Cutting Room, there's an option to automatically generate subtitles from the say activities in your movie. Moviestorm will then add the subtitles to your entire movie.

Obviously, if you make spelling mistakes in your say activities, you'll get them in your subtitles too...

You can then manually adjust the subtitles individually if you want. It's still a bit fiddly, but it's a lot quicker than having to add them all in one at a time.

Friday 8 June 2012

Swordfighting preview

It's been a long time in the works, involving a whole load of rewritten code in areas we didn't expect, and a complete new version of Moviestorm, but finally the sword fighting pack is ready for release. We're currently in the process of wrapping everything up, sending it to the server, and checking the download, and we'll have it for you some time next week, priced 2000 MSP.

The pack includes two characters, the swordsman and swordswoman, a collection of swords and shields, and a huge collection of animations. And, to recreate that authentic Ren Faire atmosphere, there's a medieval tent and flagpoles.

Here's a first look at what you can do and how to use it.

For best effect, combine it with the medieval packs from Moddingstorm, which include more costumes, hairstyles, beards, horses and a castle. They're available together as the Medieval Addon Collection, which saves you 25% over buying them individually.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Moviestorm on Windows 8

Overheard in the Moviestorm office:
"Moviestorm functions fine on Windows 8. I don't function fine on Windows 8, however. It combines some of the things I hate about Macs with some of the things I hate about Windows."

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Update to Bonus Content: Violin and animations.

This update to the Bonus Content includes a classical violin, which can be used on set as a static item or by your characters as an animated held prop. It includes a wooden or tintable body material and character animations so that it can be played on the low and high strings. Combine this prop with the piano, drum kit , saxaphone, trumpet and guitar items and you'll soon have a full band to perform in your movies!
(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 do update Moviestorm Education’s content to include all appropriate Bonus Content with each version update).

Thursday 22 March 2012

Friday 24 February 2012

Moviestorm 1.5.2 coming soon!

Over the next week, we’re hoping to bring you a new upgrade to Moviestorm called 1.5.2, which has a host of fixes and features that we hope will enhance your Moviestorm experience.
Firstly, we have found and fixed a few performance issues, which means that Moviestorm can be used harder and for longer. These improvements have affected the entire program, right from loading your movies to set design, right through directing, camerawork, the cutting room and publishing.
We’ve also added some extra functionality to the shadows, so that you can specify a 2048 shadow map or even a 4096 map (up from the original 1024), meaning sharper, more accurate shadows for those of you with supporting hardware. Also, there are a few user interface tweaks, that will help you find and edit your commands with greater ease.
Most notably, new characters don’t appear in the Dressing Room in their underwear anymore. While we originally thought that this was the ideal starting point when defining a character, we’ve had a few disapproving comments made about how inappropriate this was for our younger users. These costumes are still available, but the user has to consciously select them – default characters now appear in jeans and t-shirts.
Another little “tweak” that has been added is a “Centre View” command, so that if you get lost navigating around the virtual environment, you can quickly return to the centre of the stage. For seasoned Moviestormer’s we know this isn’t that great an issue, but we really think it will help users that are new to the program.
All in all, 1.5.2 will be more stable, more user friendly, and more robust than the previous version – and did I mention that the update will be coming next week?! Keep your eyes and ears peeled for a new message of the day in your launcher, and please let us know how you get on with 1.5.2!

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Update to Bonus Content: Toothbrush & Electric-razor.

For this update to the Bonus Content pack we’re adding a toothbrush and electric-razor for your domestic scenarios.
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 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).

Thursday 26 January 2012

New Content Pack: Classroom.

Here's a great pack for any scenarios that you need to create that have classrooms, students or education in general.

There's a sizeable selection of school uniforms, school furniture and teaching stock in this new pack (such as books, an interactive whiteboard, stationary and other props). We’ve also included some useful animations to allow your characters to play out their roles as teachers and students, and you can portray any subject or topic by simply changing the whiteboard’s main image.

For more details, please visit the Marketplace

New update: Moviestorm 1.5.1

It’s usual for us to launch a patch soon after a major release, but this one is slightly different . . .
In addition to the usual bug fixes that inevitably need resolving when the software is exposed to an ever-increasing combination of hard ware and software, we have had time to get a couple of very useful feature requests implemented, that we hope will really help your workflow and improve stability.
Firstly, we now have a working Google SketchUp wizard for the Mac version of the Modder’s Workshop. This means that users of both Mac and PCs will no-longer have to change workstations to import a Google Warehouse model, as they can now bring the asset into Moviestorm on both platforms.
In addition to this, we have added a single level undo to the Terrain Editor, so that you can’t ruin an otherwise perfectly sculpted terrain with an accidental brush stroke.
Many of the costumes have been tweaked so that their foot-fall sounds (footstep audio), so that characters will now sound correct when walking on a variety of floor types. The WebM importer has been altered so that videos that contain no sound can be successfully imported and improvements have been made to the way Moviestorm handles navmeshes (especially with the Extra Large Set), so you shouldn’t experience any crashes, and you should now be able to navigate from one navmesh to another.
Lastly, copying scenes in your movie works correctly again, and we’ve updated the printable cheat sheets so that they are up to date with the latest UI changes.
We hope you all enjoy the new version (which is an optional update, so that you can choose to update or not), and we’ll soon have news of some new content to add to your libraries!

There's also an updated user manual available here.