So before we get into the meat and potatoes of this post, I want to say that is my first impressions using the Destinations Workshop Tools and not the independent build that is set to come out at some point or another, and what I say here might change when the free standalone Source 2 SDK releases. Additionally I would also like to mention that I won't be mentioning how the Particle Editor works because I have not touched that tool yet...
Now I was a modder once upon a time before I stopped in 2015 after discovering what my true passion is, but because of this I am quite well versed in how one would create assets (models, textures, maps) for the 14 year old engine; Source. Other then waiting for maps to compile, I didn't really think the now outdated tools was all that painful to use. I created a bogie wheel in a smaller gauge then a full fledged railway as a test model and through this I'm going to find out what makes these tools tick and if there any complications along the way...
The Model Editor:
Now this is an definite improvement over it's predecessor - You don't need any QC files or any plugins to export models into Source 2: All you need to do is export from your program as an FBX file (or SMD if you want to do that), open the model editor and choose to create new from file, locate where you exported your model to, ignore the warning about it being outside of the directories of the given game, tell it where you want the outputted .vmdl file to go (this is where you can change what measurement you want the engine to translate the scale, since I made the model in metres I chose CM), if you have a collision file (don't know how to generate that yet) you will need to tell Source 2 where that is, and then S2 does the rest more or less... Right off the bat this seems miles easier and quicker then how you would compile .mdl files for Source 1.
The auto-compiling feature is a nice touch as well because you can see changes done in realtime. Which I think helps with the creative process quite a bit!
However there is a few problems I feel needs to be addressed: Firstly the pivot tools (move, rotate, and scale) seems to be greyed out meaning I couldn't move my model away from the floor so I could see the entire thing. Secondly I could not figure out how you could change what material the model would use instead of the one you told the editor when you first created the model... I feel like this is an oversight from Valve because say you want to change the material for your model to something completely different and it has a different name to what the model has been assigned; you could not easily be able to do that without maybe recompiling the model which inside itself slows stuff down... Overall I feel like this is counterintuitive.
The Material Editor:
Unless you have VTFEdit, making textures for Source was hard and difficult, as like compiling models for said engine, it was heavily reliant on text commands. The new Material Editor, while not perfect, is a step in the right direction! What I liked the most from this tool is that everything you'll need is more or less there, menu's that allow you to easily change the shader your using, being able to change what attributes the texture will have (like if it is going to be like wood, metal and other stuff like that) and you can (nearly) add the textures with ease! Another plus is you don't need to convert your main textures into a proprietary format (like VTF's for instance) and you can have the base texture as the more universally used TGA or PNG file formats (There are other ones to choose from as well )
Also can we take a moment to appreciate that Valve took the time to have a dedicated Substance Painter shader built-into Source 2? I mean Valve could've easily not done that and forced us to use a different shader for our material, but they have a created a shader that would properly show the material as it was in Substance Painter... Now whether Valve did this because they are using Substance Painter now instead of Photoshop or the very similar (but stupidly expensive) Mari program, or just because they knew modders/developers are using it is completely up in the air... But it's still nice it's there...
In terms of things I didn't like with the tool, the main thing that's sticking out for me is that when the model editor automatically generated a material for me, it locked out the "Metalness Texture" option even if I had the specular map enabled, I couldn't figure out to enable it... What I ended up doing was creating a new texture from scratch and that seemed to have fixed it as I could now click on that option as you can see above.
Hammer 5 looks and feels like the next logical step for the map editor to take: You can easily change the layout of the editor, the docks are a definite improvement, and the pivot tools similar to what you find in Blender, C4D, etc, is a nice touch. Speaking of nice touches the dynamic lighting system inside of the new engine means we can have get a real-time look of the lighting in Hammer without a need to compile it and launch the game, I think this really helps because you can quickly and accurately see how the environment looks without spending potentially hours waiting for the map to compile in the older engine, which in turn means you can focus on the creative aspects of the map!
The I/O system from previous Valve engines (Goldsrc and Source) has once again made a return which I'm very pleased about; it's so much easier for me to get my head around then a node tree system found in other engines and I find myself able to make somewhat complex scripts inside Hammer more efficiently then say the blueprints system found inside UE4. I haven't tried the terrain tools in this version of Source/Hammer, but by what I've seen in a video, it looks immensely more powerful and useful compared to the tools given in Hammer 4.x!
Speaking of more useful tools: the new and improved level compiling tool bundled in Hammer 5 is very clean and still just as easy to get your head around like the older version. The presets allows you to quickly choose how you want to compile your map (there is now a custom option if your looking for something more specific), interestingly enough there is a "Final Compile" option along with the "Full Compile" variant... honestly though I couldn't tell you what the difference is! Then you get options for things like loading the map in the game (launching the game as it where), any custom commands you want the engine to execute while loading the map (Console Commands) and finally when your ready, just hit "Build"!
The new dialog box is a lot moe useful as well... Namely because it doesn't immediately close the moment it has finished compiling (or failed to do so) and because the font is a lot more crisper and clearer compared to the old compiler; you can read the log more easily.
Honestly I didn't have much issues with Hammer, I like how you can do things like change the grid size through a dropdown menu instead of remembering the key combination to do so, I like the real-time lighting of the viewport and overall I feel it is an improvement over Hammer 4.x!
I feel this needs noting but I've noticed when as you probably have as well that unless the material is really well lit, it's just black and I have verified it's due to the "metalness" map. Now I don't know steel too well but I think that it would refract light even in darker environments. It's probably just a bug in this branch of Source 2, but it's sill an inconvenient one none-the-less.
Would I use it?:
Now let's say hypothetically I was a game developer and I was developing a VR Title and the standalone Src2-SDK was released, would I use it? Maybe. I know for most of this post it seems I've had more problems then successes in my little test, but I do see immense potential in these tools and they are a lot easier (and dare I say: fun) compared to the older tools found in the original Source SDK. Could I possibly get around most if not all of these problems by looking at the Valve Developer Wiki? Possibly, yes. But if Valve fixes some of these gripes I've had with these tools in the next branch of Source 2 then I theoretically would seriously consider the engine as the underlying base of my VR experience, but as it stands I feel Valve is very close of achieving their aim on creating tools that one could more efficiently create mods/games on!
The story itself looks a lot more promising then I thought it would be... but I want to spend this post to mostly gush over the visuals that I’ve seen in the trailer!
know the overall style of the movie has been more then a little controversial inside the pony community, but I personally loved it from when I first saw the vectors almost a year or 2 ago, not only that I kinda prefer it to the show style. This is because I adored the finer lines Toon Boom had allowed them to achieve, not to mention the ears look almost 3D which I thought it was very clever how they achieved that with the lines they placed and the gradient they used to give the ears some depth.
Moving onto the trailer itself, the animation struck me as being buttery smooth: every head turn, every little movement the characters did looked and felt fluent and natural, it was really believable these characters where alive and I applaud the animators on pulling this off - even if these motions are unfinished they look unbelievably polished!
You know something is extremely well made both visually and animatedly if I start to wonder if they are using the old style “frame-by-frame animation”, I know they are using vectorised puppets inside Harmony, but the way each character movement was so fluent that it almost look like each frame was hand drawn and I personally loved it - it’s almost like they cared enough to “commission” everything properly! ^^
One more thing on the visual I want to point out is that throughout the trailer I felt the characters felt more... fleshy and alive as I swear I could see their body stretching and squashing as if they were in the real world. Also the film I feel is going to be less 2D and more 2.5D because I could saw the backgrounds looking 3D but shaded in 2D which gives a very nice effect. That is mainly the give away however along with the 3D objects in the world, I notice with camera pans - the rotation of a character was a lot more fluent then what I’ve seen equivalently done in the actual show (which is created in Adobe Flash/Animate), again this smooth camera pan effect gives an almost hand-drawn look to everything which I think looks cool!
Story-wise it looks interesting (SPOILER WARNING AHEAD) - A unicorn that seemingly got banished many moons ago has returned with a vengeance and is not best pleased to put it lightly (I can only imagine how painful having her horn snapped off like that would be), and naturally she plans to take over Equestria and once again the responsibility has fallen upon the mane 6 (Because Celestia knows the Royal Sisters can’t take care of this! XD), so Twilight and the others goes off around Equestria and beyond to set up alliances to prevent the corrupt unicorn from achieving her plan! It’s a good premise for the film, and it’s definitely has peaked my interest.
Overall I’m excited on seeing the final product and I can only hope the final film is going to be as good as the trailer here depicts. I’m interested to see why Rainbow Dash did a Rainboom as seen in the trailer: Personally I cannot wait to find out! So say say we all!
So these plus a few other reasons is why I've decided to retire these models a lot earlier then I ancipated for animation, and consequently I'll be moving forward far future plan of mine to use a less realistic style for all my animations that is both more resource friendly but still really pleasing to the eye! You will be able to track the progress on the models related to this style on my Tumblr page as well as my fortnightly livestreams I do on YouTube. The fanimations is still on table whether I will go through will this portion of Phase 2 or not, but taking a stab at other universes seems really unlikely this point...
And this wraps up whats going on with second "phase" of Crystallised Entertainment. I do want to point out before I sign off however that these semi-realistic MLP models I'm retiring isn't gonna go away completely, I still think they're still good for posters/artwork, just not animation! Thanks for reading and I'll catch you in the next one!
(See version with images here)
First I would like to thank all of you for being patient on waiting for a new video to come out on my channel, it is truly appreciated! I however, decided to postpone my Alushy short indefinitely... You maybe wondering “Why I am doing this?” or “Why can’t I seem to stay on projects that isn’t for collab entries?”
I’m going to be answering the former question today, and it really comes down to the fact that my mare base for Cinema 4D is nearly complete, it’s in the debugging stage of development and then it’s ready for me to spin of characters from it! So after I wrap up some stuff in SFM, I’m going to redirect all of my attention to Cinema 4D and start my transition away from SFM as I have planned for about 11 months now.
Now don’t get me wrong, I really want to finish the Alushy meets Dandymare short, and perhaps one day I will. But for now starting that transition is a higher priority. Again, thanks for your patience and expect some more BTS stuff showing up on Tumblr eventually!
So from what I remember, I was in some sort of apocalypse (real original, right? ) and we setup some sort of base in the forest with 3 or 4 other people. I think it was a zombie apococlipse to be exact which just adds to the originality of the concept. -_-
We were just unpacking the beds right when we where called into some sort of emergency. The next thing I remember is that I was opening a box (a Canon looking box) that had a URSA Mini inside (Makes sense because I watch a positive review from LTT the day prior to this dream), It had the lens and the body and obvoisy I loved it and made it my best camera in my arsenal. Then thats when the apocalypse began, but I couldn't find my camera (Because that would be at the top of my concerns during a time like that. XD) but fled to the woods non-the-less. I'm guessing I received the camera somehow after the apococlipse began, that's how I made sense of it.
And finally the last thing I remember is that I was in an hospital of some sort, With my forehead facing the bed. Apparently I had a bullet in the back of my brain that didn't manage to kill me and they need to remove it. I was awake when they started the procedure (in the dream naturally), I felt them messing with my brain, then I woke up in real life, presumably I died mentally or just completely, because I normally wake up when I die in some fashion...
Even though it is inconsistent and there is only so much I can remember since I woke up 13-14 hours ago, but regardless I think some of the dream could make a really cool (and unoriginal) animated short, probably in the view of the protagonist because not many videos does that. But maybe you be able to make use of the nonsense that goes on in my head, because Celestia knows I can't! XD
Also the amount of time he tried to guilt trip his family is really not cool! Really, he should know better then that! Basically he reminds me of someone I know so much that it's not even funny, he's arrogant, lying for most of the episode. We also saw a side to Fluttershy I think we've never seen before. Stern, strict and had a tone I've never heard her use before! It is really cool and somewhat frightening to see her act the way she did! Also throughout the entire episode, she always a good point, one after another, her logic was impeccable! And you could tell despite how many times he drove up the wall (as brothers always do) this episode, you can tell Fluttershy had the best intentions in her heart for her brother!
The song was really cool, catchy and the lyrics has some real good points. The female duet parts where my particular favourites of the song, with the Fluttershy single as a close second, Zephyr's singing voice was "meh" at best (In my opinion!). Despite how much I don't like Zephyr s personality (or ponyality, maybe? ), it was nice to see him finishing his course and getting his qualifications. Also those new faces Fluttershy had were really cool and I was digging them a lot! Somehow even when she is annoyed or with those new faces, Fluttershy still looks absolutely adorable! ^^
Overall, the rating I give for this: 7/10! The story was good, the song, faces and backgrounds were great! But I say it once and I'll say it again: I don't like Zephyr's attitude, the way he pushed his parents around, the way he tried to guilt trip his family members... TWICE, and the way he always never did what he was mean't to really pushed my buttons.
Also apparently "peeve" is a swear word in pony world (I'm gonna note that), and I'll NEVER support the Zephyr Dash ship (if that ever set sail)
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Seeing the different timelines were cool but seemed like if one attacked the others did not (like real FNAF style there), I don't know if that was because Celestia was able to defeat them in those timelines or not... But after a ton of persuading (and having a canon look to Starlight's past), she finally saw the error of her ways and the effects on time! Unsurprisingly the Elements of Harmony forgave Starlight on her crimes. But now I'm wondering if Starlight willl be part of the Mane cast from here on out or what? =\
Overall loads of timey-whimey stuff and a somewhat confusing ending but still was a good episode! 9.2/10
ALSO STARLIGHT WAS NOT A COMMUNIST, SHE'S WAS A CULT LEADER!
Now that's out of the way: OH MY GOSH, THE CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS GOT THEIR CUTIE MARKS!!! It still hasn't sunk in yet but this is just the beginning of a even bigger adventure these fillies will embark in! Also had 3 songs in 1 episode aaaand BUTTON MASH!!! It was a
If you want to watch what I did on that faithful day, then get the vlog below:
I hope you enjoy watching the vlog, I certainly did creating it!
But since I've started watching MLP, I learned lessons that I should of learned when I was younger and now I'm trying to get back with my old friends for a catchup session thing.
I feel that in a way I've wasted my childhood, not going out that much and not thinking about my friends that much... also in a way I envy the CMC, being the best friends that they are and having fun getting their Cutie Marks. But I wouldn't change my past if I had the chance... because despite of the regret off not hanging out with my friends as much as I now wish I could, if I change my past that means that I change who I would grow up to be, changing who I am now which I really don't want to do. Remember you only live once!
So me and my "old" Twilight attitude will no doubt continue be a problem for me in my future, but I now can atleast try to amend my own fence!
The style of the animation reminds me of the film "The Snowman" which I like the look of quite a bit... This is definately something I would love to see turned into a complete film!
So I hope you enjoy watching it as I did creating it:
Live long, and Prosper Leonard. ;-;
Now timeloops are pesky things, sure the prospect of doing something today and have no consequences the next day (or the next loop would be more precise) is an interesting idea but at the end of the of it all - it can get annoying, especially after you went to such lengths and preperation to do something great for friends and family. Now in this chapter, 3 ponies are the only ones aware of that they are in a timeloop, for the sake of the entry I will say who these ponies are: Sweetie Belle, Twilight Sparkle and an OC called "Life Bloom", also later on so does Pinkie Pie (but only if you used the codeword which I believe was "Orange Banana"). Anypony else I mention does not know their inside a timeloop and will completely forget what happened in the previous loop.
Now Sweetie at first had fun things planned for her to spend as much time as she can before they get their Cutie Marks (Scootaloo and Applebloom), but on the third or fourth loop Life Bloom pointed out that it was all and well creating memories, but it wouldn't be so good when she asks if they remember something inside the loop, and they wouldn't have a clue what your talking about. So to cut a long story short: Sweetie Belle decided to plan the perfect day for all her friends and Rarity.
Since her cooking is and I quote "Hazoudous to anyone but Spike", Sweetie decided to go to Sugar Cube Corner for Pinkie to teach her how to cook. Now, this is where Pinkie relises their inside a timeloop (but of course will forget about the conversation on the next loop), so she had a codeword (from outside the loop) so she would know she was in a timeloop. During the first couple of months, Sweetie's cooking was catastrophic: everything from setting the entire building on fire to summoning demons from an another dimension. After a few 'months' later Sweetie decided to give cooking a break and practice her singing, I'll go in more detail about that later.
Now after several 'months', Sweetie thought she was on the last loop, so she did what she planned on doing: creating the perfect day for her friends and her sister. Again to cut a long story short we'll move straight to the end of the day. Scootaloo just finished all the stunts and tricks for her show and it moves to Sweetie and Melody's performance, Melodious Sonata is her full name, she is a green earth pony with piano keys as a cutie mark. So anyways, they both performed a song called "You're my Best Friend". At the end of the song Sweetie finally got her Cutie Mark, she is an extremely good singer in the show so technically this could happen.
While the fireworks display was going off, Twilight thought she figured out how to get them out of the timeloop, but it turns out she "miscalculated" and Sweetie was back to the beginning of said day with Rarity waking her up of course having no memories of the absolutely perfect day before. Now Sweetie naturally reacted as anypony would given the circumstances. She grabbed her old bat and ran towards the source of the timeloops (which is a device called the Mana Engine) and she destroyed the machine. This were the irony kicks in, it turns out that all was needed to get out of the timeloop was to damage a specific component of the engine to intiate a failsafe protocol that would not cause the Mana Engine to explode (which is what caused the timeloop in the first place), so this means that the timeloop has now officially ended.
Now there is so many things wrong with this I didn't know where to start, she has lost all of the perfect day she had excuted, she has lost perhaps the best memories she would ever create with her friends, but the one thing she didn't loose is her Cutie Mark. In a way I feel the same way as Sweetie Belle felt at this given moment: Sad, like I feel like I'm about to cry and angry because I just want to shout out in frustration to the heavens. Now I feel like this is because I just feel so sorry towards Sweetie Belle for how messed up this is and just purely due to have the perfect day ruined by essentially having the 'reset' button pressed and consequently causing everypony to forget about that specific day, a day she'll never get back nor being able to replicate it to the degree that it would be like the original!
Basically what I'm getting at is: for a while you might enjoy living in a timeloop but when it comes down to something important, and you lose all the progress and frankly the memories you created then you realise how pesky timeloops really are.
And also ponified Frosty the Snowman with Sweetie Belle and for a first attempt, I'm reasonably happy with the results.
But above all else I like to wish you a Merry Christmas and hope you'll have a happy new year!