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April-June 2007 (oldest-to-newest)

2 Apr 2007 - Update

I've only begun the final editing on the next video blog entry. Expect it in a couple days. It's a long one.

Update April 4: This is going to take longer than expected. Look for the next video entry next week some time.

10 Apr 2007 - First cut

I have the first cut of the vblog done. It clocks in at eleven minutes. Given that YouTube restricts you to ten minutes I'll definitely have to do some trimming. Especially since I haven't even added the preview of next month's entry yet. YouTube also limits the size to 100MB. The version I have is a shade under 600MB so the quality will definitely take a hit.

Still, I think it's a fun entry. It's kind of like a newscast about NUON. Ironically way back in grade school I was involved in an extracurricular activity that included creating a fake newscast. I blew it off at the time :) Funny how I'm making one now not only willingly, but also actually enjoying it.

12 Apr 2007 - Video blog #2 - Hello NUON

Here's the somewhat delayed second video blog post. After the tame three minute job last time I got a bit too ambitious for this one. The director's cut clocks in at almost thirteen minutes. I trimmed it down to ten to fit YouTube's requirements.

I wanted this video to be a good way to introduce people to what NUON was. Feel free to point people to the video as needed.

Update: There is an audio sync problem with YouTube that does not appear in my local version. I will attempt to fix it and will repost a new version if/when I do. I uploaded it to Google video and it doesn't have the problem. Try this link.

Update #2: Replaced embedded video below with Google Vid.

The post suffers somewhat because the parts removed were the more colorful, non-news-like segments. For posterity I'll note them here so that the content is at least available:

  • I worked for VM Labs from 1998 to 2001. I still consider it one of the highlights of my career.
  • For the VLM, the later Samsung models allow user interactivity via the game controller.
  • VLM creator Llamasoft also made the light synthesizer NEON for XBox 360.
  • "A DVD feature that never saw the light of day and one I would have loved to see come to fruition, was called Director script. It was planned to enhance the idea of commentary tracks by allowing the commentator to manipulate the movie while he or she spoke. They could pause, fast forward, or play the movie in slow motion, all while continuing to talk. They could also draw on the movie with a virtual chalkboard similar to what you see on a sporting telecast."
  • Ballistic received a revival as Magnetica on the Nintendo DS, and the similar Puzz Loop.
  • Merlin Racing was released on PSOne after being split into three separate budget titles: Rascal Racers, Airboat Racing, Space Race.
  • After being pulled from the shelves, Iron Soldier 3 given away for free to members of the NUON community as a thank you.
  • Iron Soldier 3 also appeared on the PSOne.
  • There was also a game only released in Korea called Crayon Shin Chan. View a clip of it on NUON-Dome.
  • There also exists a finished, but unreleased version of Bust A Move.
  • VM Labs assets and IP were bought out of bankruptcy by Genesis Microchip.

The full script for the post is also available here as a Word document. The removed sections are highlighted in yellow.

Some production notes:

  • Avoid boring backgrounds. Thank goodness I had the NUON poster to spruce up the wall.
  • Lighting is hard (and very important). I had several lamps with their shades removed and it's still darker than I'd like.
  • Use a voice recorder to get a consistent audio track so that when you mix video sources the audio doesn't sound disjointed (something I did, thankfully).
  • Might I also add that constantly refreshing while waiting for YouTube to finish processing your uploaded movie is very OCD-like behavior. Not that I suffer from it mind. *refresh*
  • The video quality on this post is noticeably worse than the first. Higher compression was needed to meet YouTube's requirements. I'm sure the full-res version will be made available at some point.

Next time: GFKAEV

13 Apr 2007 - Director's Cut

Screw YouTube. I'll be using Google Video from now on. No audio sync issue and no time/size limits on the video. Here is the full-length version of the latest video entry. Sorry to those that have already watched the other version.

Link here for feed watchers.

25 Apr 2007 - Update on vblog #3

I did a rough estimate and even cutting out a bunch of stuff I'm still looking at around 20 minutes of footage. Thankfully Google Videos doesn't have a limit so I'm not as concerned about the length. Still, I don't want to make it so long that no one has the patience to sit through it. I'm going to aim for between 10 and 15 minutes.

4 May 2007 - Almost ready

Final render is in progress on the latest video entry. After that I'll check it out for any major problems and upload it to Google. With luck it will be ready tonight. Above is the video timeline taken from Edit Studio.

4 May 2007 - Video blog #3 - GFKAEV part 1

Clocking in at twenty minutes, here's a run-through with commentary of the easy levels in my Yaroze-to-NUON port of Decaying Orbit. I would have had this out a couple days earlier if not for some issues with Edit Studio and video stuttering. Even so it's a bit choppy in places - sorry about that.

This entry was split into two parts because I wanted to include every level in the game, but knew it would run too long. So what you get here is a full run to the end of the game without taking any branches to the higher difficulty levels. The next entry will include the rest of them.

As you see in the video, GFKAEV stands for Game Formerly Known As Escape Velocity. I don't actually explain the reason for the name change until the second part next month, but the explanation is also available on the Decaying Orbit page. A Google search on the acronym has one of my old pages as the top entry. Back when I was forced to change the name I did a global search and replace and changed all mentions of Escape Velocity with GFKAEV‡ where the ‡ pointed to an explanatory footnote. Once I settled on Decaying Orbit as the new name I did another search and replace. I must have missed some references to GFKAEV. Doing my own internal search reveals quite a few references to the acronym.

Incidentally that's the first mention I've made to my custom search script. It works okay for simple stuff, but I have hesitated to make it live due to a few issues that I can't be bothered to fix :)

On going through my old DragonShadow Insider site (remember that one?) I was reminded that the very first name for the game was Planet Graviton. Page is here in the new site format, or here on the old Insider site.

Production notes:

  • Framing is important. I recorded a nice intro at the time that I shot the main footage. Unfortunately I didn't verify that my camera was pointing correctly and ended up cutting off my head. The intro you see is one I recorded last week.
  • Record in highest quality *always*. There are three sources of video in this entry: my digital camera behind me on the couch, the USB camera attached to my laptop, and the gameplay footage from the TV. The latter was recorded to a VCR first and then captured later. I realized after the fact that I had the VCR set to EP, which is the worst quality.
  • I say "so" a lot. I transcribed the entry to text and noticed that I start a lot of my sentences with "so". How annoying. I tried to address that in the second part, but still caught myself doing it quite a bit.
  • Look at the camera. In this first part I didn't look at the camera as much as I should have. That meant I didn't cut to the shot facing me very often. I remedied this when I recorded next month's entry.

I recorded this in March when Goldberry was still somewhat healthy. Unfortunately she took a turn for the worse and we had to put her to sleep on April 30th. She had been in my life for over eleven years (my wife even longer) and is one of the reasons I met my wife. So long sweetie. You'll be missed.

With this entry I had thirty minutes of raw footage to edit and only managed to get it down to eighteen, not counting intro and preview. The raw footage for the next part is over fifty minutes long. It will be quite a challenge to boil that down to something interesting that's not too long.

I think I'll be shooting for shorter entries in the future. Longer ones ones are fun, but take weeks to edit properly. I gotta cut back if I want to fit in any development time.

11 May 2007 - This time with subtitles

I updated the latest video blog entry with subtitles. That will let you know what I'm mumbling at any given time. I did it primarily to figure out the process involved.

The most time consuming part, of course, was transcribing the speech to text. I tried to use an automated tool for speech-to-text, but the resulting text was quite laughably incorrect. So I did it by hand. I did it mostly to help me edit out of the final video to document what parts to include or leave out.

Since I had the transcription lying around anyway I went ahead and turned it into subtitles. I used the free Subtitle Workshop. I'll try to make a habit of doing this for my posts going forward.

18 May 2007 - Rough edit

I went through and did a rough estimate of the length of the next video entry. It's sitting just under thirty minutes at the moment! And I thought I'd get off a bit easier since I didn't talk as much while recording this one. And thus begins the process of paring it down to a length that someone will actually want to watch.

I've recorded the footage for the next two entries. They will be *much* shorter - under ten minutes definitely - maybe closer to five.

1 Jun 2007 - Video blog #4 - GFKAEV part 2

I had every intention of posting this yesterday. I even had a nice long entry written up. I was waiting to give Brandon time to put up his post about it on Insert Credit. Give him the scoop as it were. Then somewhere along the way my script to submit news decided to wig out and I lost it all. So here I am retyping everything again. I know you can just imagine how much fun that is.

So here's the second part of the Decaying Orbit walk-through commentary. Well, it's not a walk-through per se since I took the liberty of skipping or fast forwarding through the boring parts. You can thank me later.

Link here for feed watchers.

This one is only a few minutes longer than the last, which is remarkable given it came from almost twice the amount of source footage. I guess I just didn't have as many interesting things to say. Subtitles are already added so you can fully appreciate the downright poetic mumblings that I emanate.

Production notes:

  • The gameplay footage is much darker than I'd like. I brightened it somewhat in the video editor, but it's still difficult to make out the nebulas. Note the transition from gameplay to over-the-shoulder cam at around 2:30. The purple nebula is nearly invisible in the former while plainly obvious in the latter. As I said last time, I accidentally recorded these on my VCR in the worst quality possible. I have no doubt that contributed to the darkness.
  • Goldberry was still with us at the time of recording. She passed away about a week after I shot this.
  • I realized that I put the wrong date on the previous entry. The caption says April 2007 when it should say May. I didn't think I had fallen a full month behind already.
  • I'm sorry to say that I cannot recommend Editstudio as a video editing suite. It just has too many annoyances. Most can be worked around using third-party tools - the developers even suggest as such. However, why should that be necessary? Look, as a software engineer I know how difficult it can be. However, it would bug me to no end to know one of my products has the technical issues that this one does. Contact me if you want details.
  • The gameplay sections on this entry are a lot smoother than the previous one due to one of the aforementioned workarounds. The workaround shouldn't be necessary to get smooth video, but I'm glad just the same that it's possible.

To reiterate, the next entry will be much shorter than the last few. Only two camera angles and only about ten minutes of footage to edit together.

Next: Robot Ron

28 Jun 2007 - Server & vacation

I recently changed servers for the site. Hopefully you didn't notice, but it still created a bit of work for me getting everything up and running again.

I also just got back from a week long trip. Traveling with two toddlers just sucks the energy out of you. Especially when it's as humid as it was at my parent's place. Makes me appreciate Mountain View weather all the more.

I'll be editing the next video blog entry this weekend so it will likely not be ready until the first week or two of July. But, hey, it is the entry for July so technically it's not late until August right?

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