Old Man At The Zoo

For some reason I have had it in mind for a long time to make a music-video with the  Simon and Garfunkel song “At the Zoo”, so if for no other reason than to get rid of the annoying book-mark in my head I decided to go ahead. I used “Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection”, 2018, to make the movie. Although I don’t usually like sims this is a very easy one to play and I would say the main target audience is children, although anyone who likes animals would probably enjoy it. It also includes a “Zoopedia” with lots of information about the animals, and a sad reminder about how many of them are nearing extinction!

For my purposes it has a sandbox mode where you can set up any animal in any situation then hire as many assistants as you like to do the routine work whilst you can concentrate on the animals. It has a “film” mode for looking at each animal but no record, except stills, so I used OBS Studio in “game-capture” mode to get my shots, cropping the hud from the edges of the screen. Once I had about 30 shots I batch-rendered them in Handbrake to 1920 res. ready for the video editor. I had intended to “test-drive” all of the editors mentioned in this article but soon realised my pc only has min specs for most of them, so settled with Shotcut.

Shotcut is a fully-featured editor with an active community and can render to practically any file, up to 4K HD with 5.1 surround, if you have the specs – 8 cores and 16gb ram. I managed 2K HD with 5.1 surround – 4 cores and 8gb ram. It is also very easy to use and once I had the shots imported I was able to do everything I wanted to do with them. So it should suffice for about 90% of editing needs. This video tutorial was a good way to get started with it.

“At the Zoo” is probably a good example of why you shouldn’t follow crazy ideas rattling round in your head! Although having said that it was a good way to get familiar with some great new software, which should come in very handy in the future. It also fulfilled two important machinima principles which are sometimes forgotten. 1) It was very easy to do. 2) It’s a fun and interesting way to extend the game-play of an enjoyable game. And I did get to feel like David Attenborough for a few hours!

“At The Zoo”

Or watch at the Internet Archive,

At The Zoo (High 1920 Sur 5.1)

At The Zoo (Low 720 Stereo)

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Epic or Uncanny Valley?

This meditation on Behind the scenes on The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience, made me think about the whole “Uncanny Valley” scenario.

“There are only a few films that change the way, as an audience, you view cinema,” says James McTeigue, Co-Writer and Co-Director on The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience. “The Matrix came at this intersection where people were starting to have this investigation around what’s real, what’s not real—how much our world will become digital.”

About a month ago I read this article, Google engineer says Lamda AI system may have its own feelings, and then this transcript of a conversation with LaMDA, Is LaMDA Sentient? — an Interview, and thought it was one of the most remarkable things I had seen for a long time!  The question of whether the AI is sentient is rather a moot point, although apparently the poor engineer was later sacked over the disagreement!?  But here is a clear example that computers can now converse far more eloquently than 99% of humans!  (I say moot point because I think full human sentience depends on our organic nature as “soft machines” and that is not something a pure machine can replicate.  But if such a thing as “sentient intelligence” exists then LaMDA has it in spades!)

In the future it is going to be more and more difficult to know whether you are connected to a human or a machine.  Although the significance of Deep Blue beating Kasparov was later played down, I think it represents a break-through moment.  And if that transcript with LaMDA is genuine that represents a similar break-through moment.  But the real fun will begin when VR is married to Quantum computing, then the possibilities will really be endless!

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The Other Sims 2

There were many excellent movies created with the Sims 2, but these three are exceptionally beautiful.  The stuff dreams, and nightmares, are made of!  Given the limitations of the Sims 2 they are a remarkable achievement and probably represent many hours of modding etc.

“Alice” by Kisai Studios.

“Monsters Ball” by Flutterby Studios.

“Happy Ever After” by Britannica Dreams.

Or watch them on the Internet Archive,


Monsters Ball

Happy Ever After

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Coming Soon – Omniverse Cloud!

Wendy Gram, Omniverse Community Manager, has informed me that Nvidia are currently working on Omniverse Cloud, which will enable users “to use Omniverse from any device, anywhere! “.  That is great news if, like me, your current PC doesn’t meet the required specs.  It will also make it easier for people in different locations to collaborate on the same project, and to access your own work from wherever you happen to be.

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Rage Against the Machinima

It seems art and money mix as well as oil and water.

This article from 2013 (with clear warnings about 2019) gives a good insight into some of the turmoil Machinima.com went through in the last decade.

Rage Against the Machinima

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