Author Topic: 2014-10-18 - Something you want to add to this briefing, Captain?  (Read 8366 times)

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2014-10-18 - Something you want to add to this briefing, Captain?
After the release of “Shattered Armistice,” the call came out for volunteers to join the Diaspora project, including 3D animators. I’m a much better animator than I am a modeler, so I jumped at the chance.

When you ask to join the Diaspora team, there’s an audition process where you’re given a minor assignment in whatever your area is. The original concept for mine was deceptively simple: In several episodes, the Galatica’s “war room” was seen, which had as its centerpiece a large light-table where the crew pushed around little models with sticks to plan attacks, or keep track of battles that were in-progress. The concept was to have a 3D-rendered version of the table and these models, and to show them being pushed around in a cutscene, to replace one of the in-engine briefings for “Shattered Armistice.”

After some modeling and some R&D figuring out what the best conceit was for how to present the briefing, we settled on the idea that a war room strategy session with the CAG, CO, XO, and other important initials which was recorded by a ceiling-mounted camera, and was being played back for the pilots on the briefing room overhead projector.

After animating the models being pushed around in time to the existing voiceover, I saw there were a lot of holds and dead air, and there were some concepts I was worried weren’t being communicated, such as the location of the missile batteries to be targeted on the enemy ships, so I experimented with cutting in some “gun-cam photos” of the Cylon basestars, and an engineering status screen. These were a hit with the team, so I continued in that vein, using the tabletop models in a supporting role as one visual aid among many.

Once I had a completed cut of the briefing, I was officially inducted, which consisted mostly of me getting a little icon on the forums implying I know what I’m talking about. Lacking anything else to do, and realizing that it’d be kind of weird to have just one cutscene briefing, I started replacing all the single-player mission briefings for “Shattered Armistice.” Since there was only one mission with a degree of planning or strategic complexity that justifies the use of the war room, I created DRADIS readouts, starcharts, comm-screens, countdown clocks, and whatever else I could think of that the CAG might slap together into a futuristic PowerPoint show for her briefings. I even redid the engineering readout for the first briefing I did, after I’d built up a library of BSG-style computer graphics. And let me give a shoutout to Matt Haley, who recreated the DRADIS screen in Adobe Illustrator and graciously allowed me to use it and build on it in these cutscenes.

The most ambitious section was easily the recording of a pilot being shot down for third mission’s briefing. I animated a BSG-style space-battle, shot from a Viper gun-camera, with no cuts. The most challenging part was working out the timing and animation of the camera, so I could show everything I needed to show, without a lot of dead air, while still feeling like something the player would recognize from the show and, more importantly, from their experiences with the game, where they would’ve been playing the mission this recording was depicting moments earlier.

As a bonus, I created desktop-sized renders of all the tabletop models I created for this project, including several that weren’t used. At least, not in this release. ;)

Re: 2014-10-18 - Something you want to add to this briefing, Captain?

A warm welcome to the community, good animators are rare! I'm looking forward to seeing your work in the next release :)


Offline Master_Drow

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Re: 2014-10-18 - Something you want to add to this briefing, Captain?
I remember seeing at least one of these in the game when I played recently. (or maybe it was a youtube recording of a person playing) anyway, I thought that the team had spliced together footage from the show (but it seemed to perfect for the game) or hired some actors and filmed it.

All I have to say is AMAZING WORK! I love it!  :D


Offline AdmiralRalwood

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Re: 2014-10-18 - Something you want to add to this briefing, Captain?
The cutscenes have been in since Diaspora 1.1.
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schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

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"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

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<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

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<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

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Offline SypheDMar

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Re: 2014-10-18 - Something you want to add to this briefing, Captain?
Holy crap, that's awesome! Welcome and continue making good work!


Offline CKid

Re: 2014-10-18 - Something you want to add to this briefing, Captain?
When I first heard that animated briefings were added, I quickly updated my version of Diaspora, eager to check out what got changed. I was floored by the professionalism and the attention to detail of these briefings. Watching the viper getting shot down, I truly thought I was maybe seeing some deleted scene that was cut from the show. Thank you for for making these quality briefings and I can't wait to see what else you have in store for us.
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