31 December 2009

Thank You & Happy 2010

We would just like to say a quick thank you to everybody who supported us the past 6 months after the launch of Shelf Life.

Our debut into the machinima community was officially launched on July 6, 2009 and we have had a great time participating in festivals and getting to know many of you.

We have taken longer than expected to produce more of Shelf Life but we hope to make good progress in early 2010.

Who knows what the new year will bring but that is the exciting part!

Happy New Year!

22 December 2009

Valve Is Not Interested In Machinima

Here is a direct quote from Valve:

"We are not interested in licensing our technology or IP for machinima. This includes providing copyright approvals."

Well, that about says it all. Valve has no interest in machinima. It is really unfortunate because the Source Engine is so amazing and they offer such great tools for creating machinima.

What does this mean for Source Engine machinima? Probably nothing. Most people will continue to do what they do until they are told directly not to do it. But this does change things for those of us who look beyond YouTube popularity as what we want to achieve.

Source Engine can make amazing machinima. However, you cannot do much with it other than put it on YouTube, hope for a lot of views and then maybe hope that those views lead to somebody taking interest in you.

And what if they do take interest in you, then what? You can't actually use the Source Engine to make anything for anybody to use. Even joining some festivals will prove risky because some ask for extensive copyright permissions. This means YouTube Partner and Revenue Sharing is out of the question as well. I still have no idea how machinima.com does it and Valve would not comment on the subject.

I don't want to give the wrong idea and make it sound like we are giving up Source Engine machinima after our first try or anything. We still love the engine and the machinima that comes out of it and of course still have Shelf Life chapters to work on, we just feel very disappointed in Valve and the lack of interest they have in machinima. There is clearly no real future with Valve or Source Engine machinima other than personal projects free to the community.

This may lead to people moving away from Source Engine machinima and toward alternatives with licensing options. We were just given the iClone software that looked great already but sounds even better now that we know where Valve stands on machinima. Who knows what else we will look into, Source Engine is all we have known up until now.

Well, that's the news from the Valve vs. Machinima front. Thought it might be interesting to some of you.

19 December 2009

SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Comes to an End

Yesterday was the last day for SIGGRAPH Asia 2009. It was an interesting experience and I met some really great people. Everybody at the Digital Hollywood/Association of Machinima booth were really excited about Shelf Life but also machinima in general so it was fun hanging out with them and talking about the different aspects of creating machinima.

We screened Shelf Life as well as Mr. Nagahama's Second Life films and there was a little demonstration going on to the side of the booth on creating machinima in Second Life.

It was definitely an excited atmosphere to be a part of and seeing all the people genuinely interested in machinima was great.

From left to right: Chee Yue (director of Association of Machinima Singapore), James Spencer (lost in translation), Hidetaka (creator of Award winning Second Life films), Keiji (professor at Digital Hollywood University)

There were a lot of other interesting things at the conference. Motion capture seemed very popular.

The emerging technologies exhibits were interesting and could have been at the MoMA in San Francisco.

The tech talk about Pixar's Renderman had a packed audience but I think not many people could actual follow the details of the program with any confidence. It was cool seeing how they build their shots though.

So that wraps it up. Hopefully machinima will continue to grow and expand in ways that allow for bigger events like to take place and attract more attention.

I am now in Tokyo spending my last day doing some relaxing and sight seeing. I really want to thank all of the great people I met at SIGGRAPH for making it such a pleasant experience for me!

18 December 2009


Yesterday I did the first presentation on our film Shelf Life. The first time slot was at 11:30 AM but technical difficulties made us reschedule for 3:30 PM. The second time went smoothly and a nice little crowd gathered around.

I handed it over to the director of the machinima association in Singapore Mr. Chee Yue at the end and he presented the awards. Mr. Nagahama was also present and received awards for his two award winning films in the SHOOOT festival.

It was great to meet everybody and Sayuri was really helpful the entire time. It turns out Sayuri used to live on the same block as us in San Francisco, so strange!

I watched a Pixar lecture about Pixar's core rendering technology, RenderMan and the movie UP. Last night I went to a great two hour screening of animated short films. I have another presentation today and then that is it for me at the convention. Hoping to head over to Tokyo tonight or tomorrow morning.

16 December 2009

Yokohama Japan!

I made it to Yokohama Japan! It is pretty strange being here all alone and lost and not knowing any Japanese. Where I am staying it is a convention center and it looks like a carnival off to one side.

Tomorrow I am supposed to give a little presentation. It is very casual booth style presentation, we will see how it goes.

I met the girl who was helping me organize the trip and it turns out she used to live in a building next to mine in San Francisco. So strange.

When I found the booth Shelf Life was playing on a TV off to the side.

I will try to post more after tomorrow. I plan to watch a Pixar lecture and I have pass to the electronic theater so I will have to figure out what that is about. :)

06 December 2009

SHOOOT Awards : Best Overall Machinima

The SHOOOT Awards concluded on December 6 and Shelf Life took Grand Prize as Best Overall Machinima and also received wins in the sub-categories of Best Long Machinima and Best Games Machinima!

We really felt honored by this win because the competition was very strong. There were five other finalists in the International Best Long Machinima category and two other finalists in the International Best Games Machinima. Below shows the listings as seen on the Shooot site.

Shelf Life Machinima SHOOOT Awards Winner

Shelf Life Machinima SHOOOT Awards Winner

Please watch all of the finalists:
Shelf Life - Source Engine
Dear My Father - Second Life
Death in Venice - Moviestorm
Clear Skies - Half Life 2 / EVE Online
The Ship - Unreal Tournament
The Stolen Child - Second Life
Resident Evil 2 in GTA - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Granado Espada Nobody Dance - Granado Espada

We would like to congratulate all the finalists for creating such great films. We would also like to thank the SHOOOT Awards for presenting us with such a great award!

The Grand Prize includes a trip to Japan and a pass to attend SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 in Yokohama! So we are off to Japan! We will also be doing a presentation on machinima and Shelf Life on two days at the conference. What an amazing award!

Of course I am a bit nervous about the presentations since they have slotted 30 minutes, but we can talk about movies, games, coffee and mahcinima for that long easily, I hope! :)