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.

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Jun 242008
 

Over half of all the LAMP projects are in or have been produced to audiences now. üBERgroover.tv was a project that came into our 4th residential on Milson’s Island in 2006 and we have just heard from ex-AFTRS student Tina Lymberis, it’s driving force, of the official launch and plans to take on the world. Here is the media release

Electronic Engineer Tina Lymberis trades in the circuit board for a camera and microphone. After 12 years of gruelling study and work in fields she had no interest in, Tina found her calling in television production. This was cemented once accepted into the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) in 2006. Her AFTRS lecturer, Louise Clarke says: “Combine an ideas powerhouse with the latest knowledge in TV training, add a generous splash of boundless enthusiasm and you have Tina Lymberis: a recipe for success.”

Working as the Head of Video Production with iPRIME through 2007, Tina had a platform to leverage her many years of management experience and delve into the world of online production. Coupled with her passion and enthusiasm for dance, the only logical path was to produce üBERgroover.tv. iPRIME CEO, Tony Surtees affirms: “Really great media finds a way to engage across cultures and connect people…ü̈BERgroover.tv does that by reaching that something in all of us which really “connects” with our emotions. It curls the corner of your mouth, tugs at your heart and brings a tap to your toes. It’s music, it’s community, it’s tribal.”

The first season starts 6pm, 25 June 2008 and consists of 20 Australian made webisodes (each four to six minutes in duration) released weekly via http://www.ubergroover.tv. The show includes everyday people sharing their stories and favourite dance moves. Having grown up in a Greek-Australian household, Tina felt that “Australians need dances that connect them to the diverse constituents of their culture”.

Audiences can create grooves that represent modern Australian culture through “groovemaker”, a tool which incorporates the latest online interactive technology. It allows anyone to combine dance-moves and music, using their web browser, to choreograph their own routines. Gary Hayes, Director of LAMP declares: “ü̈BERgroover.tv is a good example of where collaborative entertainment is heading. It is about community created content in perfect synergy with the intention of the original creators – it is also a great deal of fun! LAMP is delighted with this launch”.

“üBERgroover.tv fuses user created content with professional production values and interactive tools to provide immersive entertainment; a perfect recipe, considering viewers are getting tired of watching stand-alone amateur content, but still wanting to show themselves off”, concludes Ms Lymberis. “Viewers hold the future of propelling Australian dance culture in the click of their mouse.”

Media contact: Tina Lymberis +61 402 123 933 tina@mediarize.com

Good luck from all the LAMP team and keep on ‘grooving’!

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.