Oct 262009
 

ian4Huge poisonous spiders lie ready to pounce as you carefully traverse a forest lit only by moonlight. This is one of the initiation rights you will face in One Night, a new game that has been prototyped by AFTRS lecturer Ian Brown using Unity3D software. He recently gave a presentation of the project at Gamejam09, the games pitch and demo event initiated by LAMP in 2008.

It took Ian about a month to create a level of One Night including the design of all the assets from scratch. He did modelling and texturing in Mudbox software, the animation in Maya and it was exported to Unity3D where all the gameplay was scripted in Javascript. Unity 3D is a multi platform tool and its relatively easy to create games for Mac, PC, web or iPhone.  There is a rapidly growing list of great games being created in Unity3D which you can find here.

You can see a gameplay capture of the One Night on our YouTube channel AFTRSgames or you can play through the prototype by downloading a zipped executable for Mac OSX or Windows.

For those interested in creating their own games like One Night,  AFTRS are running a Graduate Certificate in Games and Virtual Worlds in 2010 and we’re looking for visionaries who can create innovative games and rich immersive social virtual worlds.  Applications for the course close on November 1 2009 and more information is available here.

Continue reading »

Sep 112009
 

Profiling successful case studies, people and the latest techniques across multi platform media. FREE themed seminars running on the last Wednesday of every month at 5:30pm – 7pm. No need to register just turn up to Theatre 1 at AFTRS Sydney

Upcoming FREE seminars:

  • AFTRS, Main Theatre, 5:30pm – 7pm, Wed Sept 30
  • Wed Sept 30 – Building Creative Collaboration Online

community Social networking applications have opened many new opportunities for creative people to collaborate online. Australian online collaborative spaces are notoriously thin on the ground but there are a few leaders in a small pack. What consitutes an online creative community, how do you motivate people to contribute content and what are the benefits that are offered?

Speakers will include:

  • Sherre De Lys from the ABC’s Pool – a creative community for online collaboration and content creation and
  • Matt Fayle and Pip Jameson from The Loop, a creative portfolio and collaboration site about to be launched targeting creative industries.

Continue reading »

Jul 152009
 

STUDY GAMES AND VIRTUAL WORLDS part time at AFTRS in 2010

All video and audio below recorded at the AFTRS Theatre April 2009. LAMP pod and vodcasts are published through iTunes – click on the icon on the right if you have iTunes to subscribe now!

SIX SEMINAR VIDEOS – Click the skip arrows to move between presentations

  1. VIRTUAL TV: TREET AND SLCN – 24m © TreetTV & Gary Wiesneski CEO SLCN.TV
  2. MACHINIMA: THE ILLCLAN WAY – 14m © Illclan and AFTRS. Peter Giles Director of Digital Media AFTRS Interviews Ill Clan. Writer/director Kerria Seabrooke, cinematographer Paul Jannicola and producer Frank Dellario
  3. VIRTUAL STORY: THE ART & CRAFT OF MACHINIMA – 42m © Gary Hayes Director LAMP @ AFTRS and CCO of MUVEDesign (slideshares here)
  4. MOVIE OVER GAMES INTEGRATED ENTERTAINMENT – 10m © Jim Shomos CEO Forget The Rules
  5. WANDERING EYE PICTURES – 40m © Mark Strong Head of Wandering Eye Pictures
  6. WHERE MACHINIMA MEETS CG – Panel Interview 17m ©AFTRS Peter Giles Director Digital Media AFTRS in conversation with Jim Shomos, Mark Strong and Kit Devine (AFTRS CG Animation Lecturer)

[pro-player width=’480′ height=’252′ type=’mp4′]http://storylabs.us/lamp/podcast/lssm_machy_garyw.mp4,http://storylabs.us/lamp/podcast/lssm_machy_illclan.mp4,http://storylabs.us/lamp/podcast/lssm_machy_gary.mp4,http://storylabs.us/lamp/podcast/lssm_machy_jim.mp4,http://storylabs.us/lamp/podcast/lssm_machy_mark.mp4,http://storylabs.us/lamp/podcast/lssm_machy_panel.mp4[/pro-player]

Original seminar link – All video and audio below recorded at the AFTRS Theatre May 2009. Machinima is a dynamic new form of storytelling that will be explored in a seminar and interactive workshop at AFTRS this week. This unique event will feature leading international experts speaking about the exciting future of this new form which utilises games and virtual worlds as new tools of filmmaking.

A quick ‘tour of tools’ machinima created in only 3 hours using wowmodelviewer as part of the intro presentation, featuring @SilkCharm character and voice over.

AUDIO ONLY VERSIONS OF ABOVE – Click the skip arrows to move between presentations

[pro-player  width=’480′ height=’52’ type=’mp3′]http://storylabs.us/lamp/podcast/lsmp3_machy_garyw.mp3,http://storylabs.us/lamp/podcast/lsmp3_machy_illclan.mp3,http://storylabs.us/lamp/podcast/lsmp3_machy_gary.mp3,http://storylabs.us/lamp/podcast/lsmp3_machy_jim.mp3,http://storylabs.us/lamp/podcast/lsmp3_machy_mark.mp3,http://storylabs.us/lamp/podcast/lsmp3_machy_panel.mp3[/pro-player]

ABOUT LAMP PODCASTS

This podcast presentation by LAMP @ AFTRS.

  • Video & audio recorded by AFTRS Post-production & Digital Dept
  • Pod and vodcast editing, encoding, tagging & publishing by Gary Hayes
Nov 092008
 

GameJam 2008 was run at AFTRS in Sydney on 1 November and featured talks to do with developing for or playing with console, pc games or online games. Creating and using virtual worlds, games, film cross-over, machinima, writing, AI and educational, fun or just plain cool stuff.

gamejam04

Below is a selection of those captured on the day including a short item related to three new courses AFTRS are offering in 2008 featuring Previsualisation elements – Animation Directing, Games and Virtual Worlds.

1 Guy Gadney “The Life of an MMORPG Diaspora”

Guy takes us on a personal tour of one of the first ‘grass roots’ online games as he tells the story of Diaspora. MP3 recording 6.9MB Click to listen

2 Dan Graf “Story and Game”

Dan gives a thoughtful talk about the conceptual framework of film or book to game adaptation. He talks about experiential design and audience centric focus when you plan your interactive version. An interesting session at the end when Ian Brown joins the discussion and  the perennial issue of narrative vs play is brought to the fore again. MP3 recording 13.4MB Click to listen

3 Peter Giles “Future of Game Education”

Peter looks at many of the issues that are facing educators and academic institutions as they begin to consider games as a core part of curriculum. MP3 recording 5.6MB Click to listen

4 Physical TV “You Are Going To Die”

Karen Pearlman and Richard James Allen are the creators of a cross-media property called Thursday’s Fiction. They worked with Gary Hayes on the virtual world aspect of the project and talk more about where the proposition is headed as it moves into game space. MP3 recording 6.4MB Click to listen

5 Marigo Raftopoulos “Galapagos: Serious Game”

Marigo introduces us to her serious game concept to help businesses understand the benefits of thinking about the environment. MP3 recording 4.9MB Click to listen

6 Brett Robertson “History of Games”

Brett takes us on a light hearted trip down memory lane and also at the current state of the games industry. MP3 recording 7.9MB Click to listen

7 Ian Brown “Portal, Have Your Cake and Eat It Too”

Ian takes us behind the scenes from a user and passionate fan perspective of one of the most unique games to have become commercial, portal. He also looks at the original game, Narbuncular Drop, designed by students that Valve used to develop Portal. MP3 recording 7.4MB Click to listen

8 Michela Ledwidge “MOD the Movies!”

Michela takes us deep into Sanctuary and the thinking behind allowing the audience to customise, mash-up and generally Mod cinematic content. MP3 recording 7.4MB Click to listen

9 Gary Hayes “Reality & Pleasure – State of Play of Blended Real Life, TV and Game World” Vod/Podcast

This video above available as a download (with better audio & creative commons) 50MB MP4 click here

LAMP PODCASTS

All LAMP podcasts are published through iTunes – click on the icon below if you have iTunes to subscribe now!

ABOUT LAMP PODCASTS

  • This podcast presentation by LAMP @ AFTRS.
  • Audio recorded by Gary Hayes & Brett Robertson
  • Description, editing, podcasting and production by Gary Hayes

Finally a short compilation capture edited by Peter Giles (note video has camera sound, podcasts are higher quality direct lapel mikes).

Sep 222008
 

A presentation by Chris Edwards, CEO of LA based Third Floor to the Visual Effects Society in Sydney on 5th June 2008

Third FloorA special released talk related to three new courses AFTRS are offering in 2008 featuring Previsualisation elements – Animation Directing, Games and Virtual Worlds.

This is a podcast of a talk Chris gave in Sydney on the 5th June 2008 for the local chapter of the Visual Effects Society. Chris’s visit to Australia was sponsored by Omnilab and Framework and he spoke to Australian games development, visual effects and animation companies during his visit.
Previsualisation is a hotly contested area at the moment particularly between Visual Effects supervisors, Cinematographers, Directors and Production Designers.

“Previs is a win win for directors and producers – it is one of those few things, it helps artistically and it simultaneously saves money. It also helps directors convey their vision to their entire cast and crew…it can also be used to enable endeavours that would have normally been too impossibly complicated to tackle and lastly previs can be used to raise money to for films that have yet to be greenlit”

“I feel the future is more a ‘multi-player’ experience of creating things (the not too distant future either).  I think what you want to have is software that will allow you to log in as a user and then the director can log in – I imagine he’d be a bit bigger of an icon or something  – and you could literally, if you’re playing Halo with your friends – you could have a guy drive the truck and someone else driving the camera and then having extras out there and then people in the back room actually set dressing behind the scenes. I think it’s definitely going to happen.”

CHRIS EDWARDS – CEO of Third Floor Studios

Chris Edwards is the CEO of Third Floor, an LA company who specialises in pre-visualistion for feature films, commercials and games cinematics. Third Floor completed extensive previsualation work on Cloverfield and the Narnia movies in addition to games cinematics for Lair and Resident Evil 5.

Chris studied at Film School and went to work for Disney on animated projects including ‘Dinosaur’. He went to work at Skywalker ranch on the previs teams that worked up the Starwars Prequel features before setting up Third Floor.

MP3 recording time 59:27 (23.7MB) Click to listen

All LAMP podcasts are published through iTunes – click on the icon below if you have iTunes to subscribe now!

ABOUT LAMP PODCASTS

This podcast presentation by LAMP @ AFTRS.

Audio recorded, edited and presentation description by Peter Giles

Conversion and podcast preparation by Brett Robertson and Gary Hayes

Sep 242007
 

A stellar line-up of mentors from all over Australia and a few internationals have been confirmed for the 7th Live-in-lab (LAMP: Story of the Future) on South Stradbrooke Island, Queensland Nov 07. They can be seen on the mentors page or copied below.

GUARDIAN MENTORS

MATT COSTELLO – Writer and Games Designer, Polar Productions
Matt CostelloMatt Costello is based in New York, London and LA and has written ground-breaking and award-winning novels, games, and television. Matt has scripted dozens of best-selling games and of one Time Magazine said, “The story is delivered with unusual art.” He wrote the groundbreaking Pirates of the Caribbean 3 game across all platforms and has been commissioned to do the fourth in the series.

Since writing the critically acclaimed classic game The 7th Guest, he has scripted dozens of best-selling games such as Shellshock-Nam ‘67 (Guerrilla Games and Eidos), Bad Boys 2 (Empire) and 2005’s Doom 3 winner of an unprecedented five awards at E3 including the Game Critics Award: Best of E3. Just Cause, co-written for Eidos, debuted as the #1 game for Xbox 360 in the UK. Named ‘Best Adventure Game’ at the 2006 E3, it premiered on the US best-seller lists as the #2 Xbox 360 game.

He has written a major new game for Eidos and Rage a new game for ID Software and other notable games include:

  • Hercules, for Disney Interactive
  • The Dark Half, for MGM.
  • Derelict, for The Sci-Fi Channel
  • Fatal Illusion -The Clue Chronicles – for Hasbro
  • Barbie’s Riding Adventure–for Mattel
  • Clifford’s Reading– for Scholastic
  • Starsky & Hutch – for Empire
  • The Italian Job – Eidos

Matt also specialises in the kid’s genre and has created many award-winning games for children. Several years ago he co-created one of the first major experiments in ‘two-way TV’, called ZoogDisney. Branded as ‘TV you do’ – for two years the ZoogDisney weekend bloc re-shaped the Disney channel, bringing it squarely into the interactive and ‘tweens world. He has written a kids book series for Scholastic , The Kids of Einstein Elementary, which blends adventure and math and also scripted episodes of the award-winning PBS animated series, Cyberchase. Other awards include the landmark Aladdin’s Mathquest with math expert Marilyn Burns for Disney, as well as A Cartoon History of the Universe (Putnam).

Matt is a designer of many role-playing and board games, including Dungeons and Dragons, Call of Cthulhu, Batman, Lone Wolf & Cub, and many others. He also co-wrote episodes of the BBC/Disney series Microsoap, winner of the Prix de Jeunesse and is currently creating an MMOG using Multiverse which integrates its story world with an animated Childrens BBC TV series. Penguin published his latest novel, Nowhere, in 2007.

JENNIFER WILSON – Head of Innovation, Nine MSN

Jennifer WilsonJennifer Wilson has over 20 years in interactive consumer content and information services, from first building interactive voice response systems in the UK, through voting, banking, gambling and marketing services; online and on all forms of telephone, fixed and mobile.

She was previously Managing Director of HWW, a specialist content aggregation, syndication and digital publishing company, which provides the yourTime™ products (yourMovies, yourTV etc). HWW is also a major developer of mobile sites, providing mobile publishing tools for hard-to-source content as well as building third-party mobile (and web) sites. HWW was recently purchased by ninemsn.

Jennifer holds a patent in the delivery of TV to mobile phones. She has a keen interest in social networking, digital public spaces, tribes, blogs and forums and the interesting digital world of Gen-C.

Dr. JOHN BANKS – Researcher & Games Manager

John BanksDr John Banks is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Federation Fellowship program, ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, Queensland University of Technology. His research interests focus on the emerging relations between media corporations, educational and cultural institutions, and user-led innovation and consumer co-creation in participatory culture networks. He has a particular interest in videogames.

From 2000-2005 John worked in the videogames industry for Brisbane based Auran Games as an online community manager, focusing on the development of user-led content creation networks within the context of game development projects; he has published widely on research grounded in this industry background. He was also a researcher and project leader at the Australasian CRC for Interaction Design (ACID). His background also includes research and tutoring in literary theory and cultural studies at the University of Queensland (School of English, Media Studies and Art History).

John’s current research & consultancy continues to work at the interface of game developers and gamers as they negotiate emerging co-creation relations. He is currently working with Auran Games on social network strategies for their forthcoming massively multiplayer online game, Fury. In April 2007, John gave an invited presentation to the Convergence Culture Consortium, MIT, addressing the challenges of co-creation relationships (“Navigating Co-Creator Relationships: How do you make this Damned thing Work?”) You can see John’s recent presentation on these issues for AFTRS Centre for Screen Business (User co-creation relations: Emerging social network markets) here.

MARISSA COOKE – TV, new media and advertising writer, new media producer

Marissa has worked extensively in television, cross-platform entertainment and interactive advertising over the past 10 years as a writer, creative strategist and content producer on a diverse range of innovative, award-winning cross-media projects.

As a new media content producer and senior interactive writer for Australia’s first interactive television series produced by Hoodlum Active, Fat Cow Motel (ABC, Austar), Marissa was responsible for developing an immersive, cross-platform game and producing interactive content across web, iTV, email, mobile and dial-up channels that delivered unprecedented results for the ABC becoming the most visited TV website ever for ABC Online. Marissa also worked on an innovative pre-broadcast viral media campaign delivered via print, radio, email, SMS and web. Marissa won the inaugural Australian Writers’ Guild Interactive Media Award in 2005 for her work on Fat Cow Motel.

Marissa was also a scriptwriter on the AFI award-winning first series of the Foxtel drama series Love My Way  (Southern Star), as well as the Australian-German co-production Blue Water High (Southern Star) and the SBSTV Mockumentary Series, S(truth).

Marissa’s recent work includes roles as Interactive Content Producer and co-writer for the Yahoo! 7 interactive drama series and game, PS Trixi produced by Hoodlum Active – a world-first 12 episode new media ‘event’ delivered across web, Instant Messenger, email, mobile and video platforms.

Most recently, Marissa worked as creative strategist, concept and gameplay designer for Emmerdale Online, a new interactive, cross-platform channel and narrative-based game produced by Hoodlum Active for the hugely popular UK television series, Emmerdale. Emmerdale Online has recently been nominated for several prestigous international awards including Best Drama in the MIPCOM Mobile, Internet and CrossMedia TV Awards, and Best TV online channel for the 2007 Pixel Awards.

Marissa is currently developing several of her own cross-platform projects as well as consulting for a range of clients including television programme producers and award winning interactive advertising agency Tribal DDB as a digital content developer and copywriter across campaigns for Volkswagen, NIKE, Gatorade and McDonalds, three of which were awarded Gold Medals at the prestigious Montruex International Advertising & Multimedia Festival in 2006 & 2007.

ANDREW APOSTOLA – Creative Director Portable Content

Andrew ApostolaAndrew Apostola is the co-founder and Creative Director of Portable Content, an Australian based digital studio that designs and manages innovative web applications for a range of clients in the online space.

In 2006 the company successfully launched portablefilmfestival.com, a user generated video site that distributes video to users through portable video platforms including iPods, mobile phones and laptops. In 2007 the project expanded internationally and was recently launched in the United States at the South By South-West Film and Interactive in Austin Texas.

Andrew has worked for a range of broadcasters and media providers and is well known for successfully launching the Student Youth Network alongside Portable Content co-founder Simon Goodich in Melbourne in 2003. The network is the largest youth media orgnanisation in South-East Asia, operating a full-time terrestrial radio license and broadcasting on television and the web.

As Creative Director of Portable Content Andrew follows the emerging online video sector closely and develops and implements innovative video components for the company and its clients. These include the creation of classnet, a video sharing community for educators and students and syn.org.au, an online distribution platform for independent mediamakers.

Andrew has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), a Post Graduate Diploma in English Literature at the University of Melbourne and Film and Television Production at Ryerson University in Toronto.

ANTHONY EDEN – Interactive Producer and Designer

Anthony EdenAnthony “Arse” Eden is a co-founder and director of Snepo Research, an Australian software and game development studio with a strong focus on innovation. Arse spends his time at Snepo researching new interface and software technologies as well as directing the production of public facing interactive systems. Over the last two years Snepo has cemented its place as a premier development shop, servicing customers all over the world.

Arse has co-authored books on software development and digital creativity, including New Masters of Flash and titles on 3D and Game development. He’s developed award winning educational software for Microsoft and the ICAC and his work has appeared on NBC, CBC and Channel 4. He’s run interactive game development workshops in Norway, Wales and Canada. He’s also an internationally known speaker, having presented at conferences all over the world.

His passions lie in the application of abstract mathmatic principals to the digital realm. By combinding those principals with his fascination with natural patterns and organic relationships he creates truely unique and engaging interactive experiences.

JACKIE TURNURE – Non-linear storyteller

Jackie TurnureWith script editing and writing experience in both traditional and new media, Jackie Turnure brings a unique perspective to the role of narrative in cross media production. For the last 15 years she has been working across film, television, games and online production, with a particular focus on animation and children’s content.

Jackie received her Bachelor of Arts (Visual Communications) from Sydney College of the Arts and her Master of Fine Arts (Film Production) from San Francisco State University. She spent nine years in the US teaching screenwriting at New York University, Hunter College and the Academy of Arts College, San Francisco. During that time, Jackie wrote and directed eight short films and videos that have won awards and screened internationally.

After returning to Sydney, Jackie produced and directed three 3D animated kids’ games for PC, “Bananas in Pyjamas ” It’s Party Time”, “Oz – The Magical Adventure” and “Oz – The Interactive Storybook”. The games have won numerous awards and been distributed in 18 countries. Jackie lectures part time at AFTRS, was an industry mentor at the NSW Film and Television Office’s Indigenous Writers Workshop, ran a Game Design Workshop in FTI in Perth and gave a workshop on Alternative Narratives for the Australian Writer’s Guild. In addition, Jackie works as a script editor and story consultant on feature films, animated television series and animated games. She recently completed story producing and writing 3 episodes on Deadly, a half hour animated TV series based on the books by Paul Jennings and Morris Gleitzman. Jackie was the script editor and voice director on Stolen Life, an animated feature produced in Machinima, written and produced by Peter Rasmussen. She has just recently won a development award at Milia 2007 from Ogilvy and AMEX for her ARG project ‘Diamond Reef’.

GARY HAYES – Director LAMP and Head of Virtual Worlds, TPF

Gary Hayes

Gary is the Director of LAMP and the Head of Virtual Worlds with the UK ‘The Project Factory‘. He has led The Laboratory for Advanced Media Production at AFTRS since 2005 that has helped develop 54 Australian emerging media projects and run hundreds of workshops and industry seminars. As Head of Virtual Worlds at the Project Factory he has personally produced, designed and built Second Life presences for Australian brands, including Telstra, Tourism and MultiMedia Victoria, Physical TV and ABC TV. He is currently developing experience worlds for fortune 100 and other global companies.

Before coming to Australia Gary was Senior Producer at BBC Broadcast and New Media for 8 years devising and producing many of the BBC’s digital “firsts” – the first 24/7 Interactive TV service, the first live internet documentary and the first truly interactive programming for Broadband TV. He also created over 20 other enhanced TV shows, several future BBC cross-platform navigators and was part of BBC Imagineering developing early “inhabited TV”, Virtual World and TV Mixed Reality formats.

He was a driving force behind New Media training and strategy and became BBC Senior Development Manager in New Media and simultaneously chaired the Business Models for TV-Anytime (the global personalized TV standard). He moved to the US in 2004 to develop on-demand TV with broadcasters such as NBC and CBS and also line produced the Showtime’s enhanced L-Word, PVR service as part of the AFI initiative. He recently co-authored a UK Department Trade and Industry Report on Personalised TV and has been an International Interactive Emmy juror for the past two years.

Gary recently keynoted on virtual worlds at CeBit, AIMIA, Monash and presented on education and brands in virtual worlds on radio, podcasts and many seminars. He produces dramatic and corporate machinima and runs workshops in virtual Multi User Story Environments (vMUSE’s) for cinematographers, designers, and script writers – exploring the potential of shared, social online virtual worlds for collaborative production, creativity and education. He runs several popular blogs including media personalisation, digital brands, new media forms (personalizemedia), Second Life POV (justvirtual) and many others found here on his Wikipedia user profile.

PRODUCTION MENTORS

CATHERINE GLEESON – Interaction Designer

Catherine GleesonCatherine has been working as a Creative Director in print and new media since 1988. She has extensive experience in information design and visual communication. Her projects include: creative direction of visitor multimedia for the National Gallery of Victoria’s (NGV), Centre for Australian Art at Federation Square.

Past work includes consultation, creative direction and design on local and international projects for clients such as: the National Geographic (Washington); the Smithsonian Institute (Washington); the American Museum of Natural History (New York); Foster’s Brewing Group; Lonely Planet and ANZ.

Through her company Platform09, Catherine also maintains a separate creative practice. Past projects have included: collaborative, installation work for Experimental; motion graphics, animation and multimedia design for theatre, film and video.

PETER GILES – Head of Digital Media AFTRS & Producer LAMP

Peter GilesPeter has worked as the Head of the Digital Media Department since 1998 and has established Australia’s leading postgraduate and professional programs in Visual Effects, Interactive Media, Broadcast Design and Computer Animation. The Department has produced short films that have won both Australian and international awards for artistic and technical excellence.

Prior to joining the AFTRS Peter worked as Digital Media Manager for Metro Screen where he initiated programs to develop the skills of new and emerging filmmakers. He managed a wide range of innovative production workshops in partnership with organisations including the Loud Youth Festival, IBM, the Australian Film Commission, the NSW Film and Television Office, ABC Online, SBS TV, the Performance Space, the Australian Centre for Photography and the Australian Network for Art and Technology.

Peter has developed digital media curriculum and taught workshops at the University of Sydney, the University of Technology, Sydney, Griffith University and the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

Over the past 15 years Peter has produced projects for radio, television, film and interactive media. His video artwork has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. Peter is a well known commentator on digital media and is currently the Chair of the Sydney Chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH, the leading computer graphics industry body.

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Aug 282007
 

THE VIRTUAL STORY
Film Making and Cinematic Experiences Using Virtual Worlds and Games

There is a revolution happening in the way both users and professionals are creating films and story environments. YouTube, Machinima.com and many other video portals are filled with thousands of short films made in game engines and virtual worlds. It is a fast changing space and even in the past week HBO have commissioned the world’s first machinima series to made entirely in a games environment and the first episode is a nominee for an academy award. This two part course consists of a seminar which introduces participants to the exciting work being produced in this area, and a one day workshop that provides a hands-on introduction to the tools that are available.

Virtual Story

SEMINAR

The one day seminar, presented by award winning machinima and virtual world creators, will start with state of the art examples, live demos, a panel review show and presentations on the art and craft of machinimation. The second half of the day will look closely at Story Environments – places where rich virtual experiences encourage users to “live”, role play and create their own stories. Several case studies will illustrate the tools and design techniques being used to create these rich story spaces. The day will end with a panel where traditional film industry practitioners discuss how their various crafts apply to films being made in these virtual worlds, followed by another live, theatrical machinima.

Presenters include (see Bios below):
* Gary Hayes, AFTRS – Director, LAMP and Head of Virtual Worlds The Project Factory
* Jackie Turnure, AFTRS – Lecturer, Interactive Storytelling, and co-creator of machinima feature Stolen Life
* Gary Wisniewski – CEO of Second Life Cable Network SLCN.TV
* Ian Brown, AFTRS – Lecturer, VFX and Animation
* Richard James Allen – Writer & Director
* Karen Pearlman, AFTRS – Curriculum Designer, and Writer, Producer, Editor

Special Guest Presenter:

Gary Wisniewski is the CEO of the Second Life Cable Network (SLCN.TV), a professional video network designed to expand the in-world audience as well as deliver virtual entertainment to the real-world. SLCN.TV was started in March 2007 and has now established itself as the leading broadcast service in Second Life. Live broadcasts include The Transformers’ press conference, the largest in-world event ever staged, as well as in-world events for the Die Hard 4release, the 300 press event featuring Frank Miller, as well as events for the ABC and many more. Gary will be demonstrating some remarkable techniques and camera technology they use in the some of their four camera live machinima captures in the seminar and the workshop the following day.

Guest Panelists include:

* Mark Ward, AFTRS – Head of Sound
* John Rohde, AFTRS – Head of Design
* Teresa Rizzo, AFTRS – Lecturer, Screen Studies
* Timothy Smith, AFTRS – Screen and games writer
* Melvin Montalban, AFTRS – Directing student

Speaker details below and full registration details here

SEMINAR DETAILS:
Date: Wednesday 12 September 2007
Time: 9.30am Registration – 10am-5pm
Registration: Pre-registration and payment is essential. Please use the online Registration Form
Cost: $30 (Light lunch and afternoon tea provided)
Closing Date: Friday 7 September
Venue: Museum of Sydney, (Cnr of Bridge & Phillips Streets), Sydney CBD

TOOLS WORKSHOP

This one day workshop builds on the themes presented in the seminar and provides participants with hands-on experience of the tools used to create virtual stories. This practical session will introduce the best tools available, including: Neverwinter Nights, The Movies, Second Life, Unity, World of Warcraft, The Sims 2 and Console Games such as Halo. We will also explore specific craft aspects of production including cinematography, character animation, sound and set design. Attendance at the seminar is a pre-requisite for attending this workshop, which has limited places and application is essential.

WORKSHOP DETAILS:
Date: Thursday 13 September 2007
Time: 10am-5pm
Places: 24
Application: It is a pre-requisite to attend the seminar, as well as having a familiarity with games/virtual worlds and navigating in a 3D environment. Please use the online Registration Form
Cost: $50 (Light lunch and afternoon tea provided)
Closing Date: Friday 7 September
Venue: LAMP LAB @ AFTRS, Cnr Balaclava and Epping Roads, North Ryde

PRODUCTION WORKHSOP

Participants of BOTH the seminar and one day workshop ONLY are invited to submit ideas for an original machinima film or story environment to be developed in an extra three day workshop. There will be a maximum of four projects chosen. Further details will be made available at the seminar and workshop.

DETAILS:
Date: Wednesday 26-September – Friday 28 September 2007
Time: 10am-5pm, 3 days
Application: Details will be available at the Tools Workshop on 13 Sept.
Cost: $150 (Light lunch and afternoon tea provided each day)
Closing Date: TBA
Venue: LAMP LAB @ AFTRS, Cnr Balaclava and Epping Roads, North Ryde

SPEAKER DETAILS

Jackie Turnure
Jackie was the script editor and voice director on Stolen Life, an animated feature produced in Machinima, written and produced by Peter Rasmussen. Jackie is a lecturer in interactivity and cross media at AFTRS, where she is also a mentor for LAMP (Laboratory of Advanced Media Production). She brings a unique perspective to the role of narrative in cross media production. Recently she won a development award at Milia 2007 from Ogilvy and AMEX for her Alternate Reality Game project ‘Diamond Reef’.

For the last 15 years she has worked across film, television, games and online production, with a particular focus on animation and children’s content. She has written and produced numerous 3D animated kids’ games for PC, including Bananas in Pyjamas – It’s Party Time, Oz – The Magical Adventure and Oz – The Interactive Storybook. The games have won awards and been distributed in 18 countries. Jackie recently completed story producing and writing three episodes on Deadly, a half hour animated TV series based on the books by Paul Jennings and Morris Gleitzman.

Gary Wisniewski
Gary Wisniewski is the CEO of the Second Life Cable Network (SLCN.TV), a professional video network designed to expand the in-world audience as well as deliver virtual entertainment to the real-world. SLCN.TV was started in March 2007 and has now established itself as the leading broadcast service in Second Life. Live broadcasts include The Transformers press conference, the largest in-world event ever staged, as well as in-world events for the Die Hard release, the 300 press event featuring Frank Miller, as well as events for the ABC and many more. Gary will be demonstrating some remarkable techniques and camera technology they use in the some of their four camera live machinima captures in the seminar and the workshop the following day.

Gary Hayes
Gary is the Director of LAMP and the Head of Virtual Worlds at The Project Factory. He has led The Laboratory for Advanced Media Production at AFTRS since 2005 who have developed 54 Australian emerging media and pervasive entertainment projects and run hundreds of workshops and seminars. As Head of Virtual Worlds at the Project Factory he has personally produced and built Second Life presences for Australian brands, including Telstra, ABC TV, Tourism Victoria, Physical TV and many more. Before coming to Australia Gary was Senior Producer at BBC New Media for 8 years devising and producing many of the BBC’s digital ‘firsts’ – the first 24/7 Interactive TV service, the first live internet documentary and the first truly interactive programming for Broadband TV. He also created over 20 other enhanced TV shows, several future BBC cross-platform navigators and was part of BBC Imagineering developing early ‘inhabited TV’, Virtual World and TV Mixed Reality formats.

As BBC Senior Development Manager he worked on global BBC digital strategies and externally chaired the Business Models for TV-Anytime (the global personalized TV standard) and then moved to the US to develop on-demand TV with broadcasters such as NBC, Showtime and CBS. He recently co-authored a UK Department Trade and Industry Report on Personalised TV and has been an International Interactive Emmy juror for the past two years. Gary recently keynoted on virtual worlds at CeBit, AIMIA and presented on education and brands in virtual worlds on radio, podcasts and many seminars. He produces dramatic and corporate machinima and runs workshops for cinematographers, designers, and script writers exploring the potential of shared, social online virtual worlds for collaborative production, creativity and education and runs a popular blog on media personalisation, digital brands, new media forms and creativity at www.personalizemedia.com.

Dr Richard James Allen Dr Karen Pearlman
Dr Richard James Allen (writer, choreographer, director) and Dr Karen Pearlman (editor, choreographer, producer) are founders of The Physical TV Company and explorers of media and the mind. In New York as That Was Fast they brought content back into dance in The Laughing Movie, Alphabet x 2, The Charlie Stories and other works in their original ‘cinematic blend of text and dance action’. In Australia with companies such as
Dance North and Tasdance, they explored the nexus between fully fledged original play scripts and dance scripts to make ‘dance plays’ such as If War Were A Dance and Blue Cities, bringing movement into character development and choreography into story.

They have been world leaders in the exploration of video dance and dance film and their work in this area as The Physical TV Company has taken them to a deep integration of the languages of cinema, literature and choreography as witnessed by short films such as Rubberman Accepts The Nobel Prize, No Surrender, and Down Time Jaz, and the short feature Thursday’s Fictions. Always engaged by new spaces in which meaning can be explored and communicated, they have recently delved into mobile content with the adaptation of Richard’s 9th book, The Kamikaze Mind, into animated phone poems, and the adaptation of the Richard’s 8th book, Thursday’s Fictions, from a play to a film to a 3D online immersive world in Second Life.

Ian Brown
Ian has been writing and playing games since the days of the Commodore 64, and is the proud owner of a scratch-built cocktail MAME machine. He is currently interested in the impending cross-over of film drama and games technology. For the past ten years Ian has worked in many disciplines and capacities in the film and television industry, encompassing 3D artist and supervisor, art direction, matte painting, production design and storyboarding.

His feature credits include The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge, The Quiet American, Hero, Mission Impossible 2, The Man who Sued God, The Great Raid, Red Planet, Garage Days and The Thin Red Line. His TVC work includes over 50 high-profile international commercials. As a director his work spans both shorts and high-end music videos, earning both local and international awards and nominations, including an AFI.

Panellists

Mark Ward

Whilst studying creative writing and literature Mark became infected with the filmmaking virus and has never fully recovered. A graduate of AFTRS in 1985 (Directing and Sound), he founded a sound design company, Counterpoint Sound, in 1987 with fellow graduates of the School. Counterpoint was a “script-to-screen” service for sound, and built its reputation in documentaries, short and experimental drama and TVCs. In 1991 the same team formed Oracle Pictures, a production company aimed at developing and producing documentary and drama.

By the end of 2000 Mark had put Counterpoint into a box and shifted focus to feature films, working on such features as Lantana, The Quiet American, and In The Cut amongst others. Mark has been a member of both the Australian Screen Sound Guild and ASDA since 1995. Since entering the industry over 20 years ago, Mark has experienced the transition of screen-sound from sprockets to analogue multi-track to software-based design and production. With the same feverish curiosity he looks forward to the creative opportunities of interactive sound design.

Jon Rohde
Jon Rohde has worked in the TV and film industry for over two decades working his way up through most Art Department positions. His most recent position was Production Designer on R.A.N. working in the Torres Strait for Chapman Pictures. Rohde’s other credits include:

  • Police Rescue – Assistant Designer, Blue Murder – Assistant Art Director, Wildside – Art Director
  • Art Director on Australian features including Risk and Bootmen (AFI winner for Production Design)
  • Segment manager for Sydney 2000 Olympics Closing Ceremonies
  • Production Designer for Columbia Tri-Star films; After the Rain and Heroes Mountain
  • Production Designer for Southern Star; Young Lions, Fireflies
  • Production Designer for Screentime; Jessica.

Jon completed a Diploma of Arts in Film and TV at QCA in Brisbane and worked for the Seven Network. He then moved to Sydney and began work in Art Departments for ABC Drama while completing a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts at UTS. He has worked for numerous production companies and with a wide range of producers, directors and other designers.

Teresa Rizzo

Teresa Rizzo graduated from Murdoch University, Western Australia, with a BA Honours in Communication Studies in 1994. Her honours thesis-video On Becoming won numerous awards nationally, and internationally. From 1994-2005 she has worked in the pay television industry in various producer roles, in organisations such as Teleitalia, Galaxy Media and the Premium Movie Partnership. She recently submitted her doctoral thesis in Film Studies at the University of New South Wales. Teresa’s research interests include Deleuze and feminist film theory, the modern horror genre, and the pay TV industry in Australia. Publications:

  • “The Molecular Poetics of Before Night Falls,” Rhizomes, forthcoming Sep. 2005.
  • “The Alien Series: A Deleuzian Perspective,” Women: a Cultural Review, Volume 15, Number 3 / November 2004.
  • “On Becoming-An Interview with Moira Gatens,” Southern Review vol. 28.1(1995): pp. 53-68. Questions and Interview by Teresa Rizzo.
  • On Becoming. Experimental documentary. Dir. prod. and writ. Teresa Rizzo 27mins. Winner of Flickerfest 1994.
Jul 022007
 

Project description: Fun and frolics with three feisty frogs in a swamp.” Animation, interactive TV show which is a combination of adventure, story and game.

MondoFroggo

MondoFroggo

MondoFroggo

MondoFroggo

MondoFroggo

MondoFroggo

Team Members
Kate Kennedy White, Murray Debus and Jon Kudelka
Guardian Mentor: Lisa Romano
LAMP Lab: June 2007
Target media: TV, Broadband PC, Video Portals, Mobile

Apr 222007
 

We had an overwhelming response to the call for submissions driven by the various seminars and workshops we held around the country over the past months. From nearly fifty extremely strong entries the ten judges have selected the final eight for the LAMP: Story of the Future to be held in Freycinet from 20-25 May.  The eight projects are listed below with brief descriptions in no particular order…

  • Thursdays Fictions
    You’ll Never Have Another Week Like This One! In order to enter the world of Thursday’s Fictions, you must respond the following  “You have five minutes left to live.  It is always said that you can’t take it with you, but what if you could?  What would you take with you?  What is important to you?  – NSW
  • p.u.l.s.e
    Take the pulse of the city through the wrists of writers, using sms. This is an entirely new service that builds upon the strengths and flexibility of mobile, locative, and social networking technologies, applied uniquely via collaborative inputs from a network of writers. p.u.l.s.e is an innovative collaborative writing project that explores the intersections of writing and mobile technologies.  – NSW
  • Tell Tales
    You are your own adventure. A new web-based writing game in which the participants develop their own take on the mystery story that they are presented with. – NSW
  • Get Carla
    “A beautiful girl is on the run with 100 grand.  Do you help her… Or turn her in?”
    An alternate reality game driven by a “true story” of a kidnapping that is an extension of a short film scheduled for shooting June 2007 – NSW
  • The Parcel
    Everyone has something to hide! The Parcel is an interactive cross-media murder mystery series set in the virtual community of Middlemania against the backdrop of the local council elections. – Tasmania
  • Mondo Froggo
    “Fun and frolics with three feisty frogs in a swamp.” Animation, interactive TV show which is a combination of adventure, story and game. – Tasmania
  • Captive
    A New World. A daring crusade. All in the name of friendship and freedom! CAPTIVE is a fun and exciting quest based online RPG for primary school children centred around British and Australian convict heritage in the 1820’s, taking history lessons into a whole new dimension… fun!  – Tasmania
  • Killer Gene
    ‘Killer Gene – who should control the code of life itself? – Victoria

The final list of mentors for this lab will be listed on the mentors main page. The participants and associated companies will be revealed on the residential follow-up projects pages.

Dec 042006
 

“Games don’t need a story – writers in the games industry are essentially unnecessary” Mark Laidlaw, VALVE

Jackie Turnure presented by AFTRS LAMP as part of its Friday Futures Series.

Taken out of context, this comment could be dynamite, but the point made by Mark and many of the speakers at the Writing for Games conference is that the most important question game players ask is ‘is it fun to play?’. This statement goes to the heart of the need for games writers to understand that they serve the player. Storytelling for games only works if it is immersive and interactive. Forget this and you’re not writing a game.

How story works in a game, the role of the writer, and how to technically script a game are all topics Jackie Turnure will be touching on in her 1 hour overview of the 2006 Austin Texas, Writing for Games Conference

Summary of the presentation

Jackie Turnure is one of the mentors at LAMP and lecturers at AFTRS in the area of games, online role playing, extended reality and virtual worlds (full bio below). This talk combines much of her knowledge as professional writer gained from her experience in the interactive industry along with a recent trip to the Austin Games Conference where she met and heard some of the best Games Writers in the World. She referred to presentations by four key writers who presented at the conference. The first Mark Terrano of Hidden Entertainment talked in his keynote about stories that are like home movies, meaningful to them, about not using other mediums to analyse or design games and most importantly for would be writers to actually play games to understand them. He finished on the importance of embracing user content, the personal experience, people want to personalize. Alexis Nolent a writer for Ubisoft made a key point that a writer is involved through the whole game production process not just at the beginning. Games are not remembered for the writing, gameplay is. But gamers often complain about bad story so it is critical to embed writers with the level designers to produce strong narrative at all points.

The third writer was John Sutherland from Microsoft who talked about conflict is important for drama. “Try selling the superman story without kryptonite”. Story will emerge from conflict and for MMO’s once the conflict is set up the writer has to learn to let go, as the players themselves create the story. Rules of games, do – if possible, show – if you must, tell -last resort. Rafael Chandler from Media Sunshine made a point in his talk about the production process, that gamers dont want story, they already have it. The final speaker was outside the writing stream. Raph Koster is renowned for dropping bombs in conferences and his main point here was that the ‘big’ games are finished. Console games and gigantic MMO’s are finished, ‘Age of the Dinosaurs’. His point was that games become services not products and that publishers and games creators will start to fragment with many hundreds and thousands entering the market creating small, niche services.

For this talk Jackie finished on her own ‘busted myths’ that she gleaned from the conference. They included myths such as:

  • Games = shooters
  • Games aren’t stories
  • Audience contribution is new
  • Interactivity breaks emotional engagement
  • Conflict = combat
  • Personalised content is not story
  • Story is king

and had some good news to finish on. Traditional skills do cross over in story, emotional engagement, genre, character, conflict, structure and dialogue and her final, final message was about the new skills many writers need to develop:

  • Balancing narrative with agency
  • Player is the protagonist
  • Making navigation transparent
  • Controlling rhythm and pacing
  • Incorporating personalisation
  • Encouraging real world interaction

PDF (83k) of the Powerpoint

MP3 recording time 41:15. (9.5MB) Click to listen

PODCAST SUBSCRIPTION
All LAMP podcasts are also published through the iTunes store.

ABOUT JACKIE
Jackie TurnureWith script editing and writing experience in both traditional and new media, Jackie Turnure brings a unique perspective to the role of narrative in cross media production. For the last 15 years she has been working across film, television, games and online production, with a particular focus on animation and children’s content.

Jackie received her Bachelor of Arts (Visual Communications) from Sydney College of the Arts and her Master of Fine Arts (Film Production) from San Francisco State University. She spent nine years in the US teaching screenwriting at New York University, Hunter College and the Academy of Arts College, San Francisco. During that time, Jackie wrote and directed eight short films and videos that have won awards and screened internationally.

After returning to Sydney, Jackie produced and directed three 3D animated kids’ games for PC, “Bananas in Pyjamas ” It’s Party Time”, “Oz – The Magical Adventure” and “Oz – The Interactive Storybook”. The games have won numerous awards and been distributed in 18 countries. Jackie lectures part time at AFTRS, was an industry mentor at the NSW Film and Television Office’s Indigenous Writers Workshop, ran a Game Design Workshop in FTI in Perth and gave a workshop on Alternative Narratives for the Australian Writer’s Guild.In addition, Jackie works as a script editor and story consultant on feature films, animated television series and animated games. She recently completed story producing and writing 3 episodes on Deadly, a half hour animated TV series based on the books by Paul Jennings and Morris Gleitzman. Jackie is currently script editing and voice directing Stolen Life, an animated feature produced in Machinima, written and produced by Peter Rasmussen.

Recorded at AFTRS Sydney 1 Dec 2006

Audio edited and processed by Gary Hayes.